Sunday, June 5, 2016

20. Duryodhana Attempts to Kill Bhima!


The Pandavas were brought to the palace after they had performed all purifying rites. They began to live in the palace along with the Kauravas. Whenever they were engaged in play or other activity with the sons of  Dhritarashtra, their supremacy was revealed. Bhima excelled the Kauravas in speed of action, in striking objects with accuracy of aim, in consuming food and in scattering food. He would also pull their hairs playfully and laugh when they cried out of pain. Sometimes, he would pull them by the hair and draw them along, causing injuries to their knees, heads or shoulders in the process. Sometimes, he would hold ten of them and drown them in water and release them only after they felt extremely suffocated. When a Kauravasclimbed up a tree for plucking fruits, Bhima would kick the tree with his foot, bringing down some fruits and the fruitplucker too!  Bhima tormented the Kauravas in many such childish ways but he had no malice towards them.

Having seen and experienced the might of Bhima, Duryodhana began to develop hostility and hatred towards Bhima. He decided to kill Bhima by devising a cunning scheme. He planned to throw Bhima into the river Ganga when the latter was asleep. He could then imprison Yudhishtira and Arjuna and rule the country, he thought!

Duryodhana selected a beautiful place called Pramanakoti on the banks of the Ganga and  built a palace for sporting in the water, The palace was named  'The Water Sport House.' Skilled cooks were engaged to prepare delicious food and facilities for a variety of entertainments were created. When the palace was ready for use, Duryodhana invited the Pandavas to visit the palace and sport at the spot. The unsuspecting Yudhishtira accepted the invitation and the Pandavas were taken to the palace.

The Pandavas were impressed by the elegance of the palace and the facilities provided there. Sitting down with the Kauravas, they began to enjoy the things provided for them. They became engaged in, play and exchanged morsels of food with one another. Meanwhile the wicked Duryodhana had mixed poison with a particular item of food and in a friendly way fed Bhima  with that poisoned food. After they had had their food, the sons of Dhritarashtra and Pandu together began to sport

After playing for sometime, the princes retired to the palace. Bhima on whom the poison had begun to act felt fatigued and lay down on the ground. Duryodhana, who was waiting for this moment,  tied him with chords and threw him into the water. Bhima sank down the river and reached the Naga kingdom. The snakes inhabiting the Naga kingdom which had fangs filled with virulent venom, bit him by thousands. The poison from the food fed to him by Duryodhana which had entered Bhima's blood was neutralised by the snake-poison.

"On regaining consciousness, Bhima burst his bands and pressed the snakes down. While some snakes were crushed to death, others fled and went to their King Vasuki and narrated their experience. Vasuki, along with other snakes, went to Bhima. One of the snakes named Aryaka, who was the grandfather of Kunti's father recognized Bhima and embraced him. Vasuki wanted to give Bhima a present since he was related t one of the snakes. Aryaka suggested that Bhima be permitted to drink the nectar stored in rasakundas (nectar-vessels) and thus acquire immeasurable strength. Vasuki told Bhima that the nectar in one vessel would give the strength of a thousand elephants and permitted Bhima to drink as much as he could. Bhima There is the strength of a thousand elephants in each one of those vessels. Let this prince drink as mucdrank the nectar contained in eight vessels. The serpents prepared a comfortable bed for him, on which Bhima lay down and relaxed.

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