Sunday, June 5, 2016

21. More Attempts by Duryodhana

In the meanwhile, the Kaurava and the Pandava princes set out for Hastinapura. On the way, the Pandavas noticed that Bhima was not with them. They wondered whether Bhima had left earlier. On reaching the palace, Yudhishtira enquired of his mother whether Bhima had returned. Kunti was alarmed that Bhima had not returned and advised her sons to look for Bhima.

Kunti then summoned Vidhura and conveyed to him the news of Bhima missing. She shared her suspicion that he might have been harmed by Duryodhana. Vidhura advised her not to accuse Duryodhana lest he should harm her other sons too! He consoled her saying that Vyasa had told him that all the Pandavas would have a long life.

It was only after seven days that Bhima woke up from his slumber. He felt refreshed after the sleep. He also realized that he felt very strong as a result of the nectar he had ingested. Seeing him awake, the Nagas cheered him saying, "Oh man of mighty arms, you have now acquired the might of a thousand elephants. Now, no one can vanquish you in a fight. Take bath in this holy water and return home. Your brothers and your mother may be worried about you."

Accordingly, Bhima took bath in that holy water wore the new clothes and flowers offered by the Nagas, ate the food offered by them and took leave of them. The Nagas lifted Bhima above the surface of the water and placed him in the garden where he had been sporting earlier.

Bhima rushed to Hastinapura and presented himself to his mother and brothers. All of them embraced him expressing their joy and relief. Bhima narrated to them the things that had happened to him. After listening to Bhima's story, Yudhishtira said, "Let us not talk about this to anyone. From now onwards, we should carefully protect one another."

Though shocked by Bhima's return, Duryodhana, in pursuit of his obsession, made another attempt on Bhima's life, by poisoning Bhima's food once again. However, Yuyutsu (Dhritarashtra's son by a Vaisya wife), a man of virtues, informed the Pandavas of this. Bhima consumed the poisoned food but the poison had no effect on him, his body having been conditioned by the nectar given by the Nagas.

Duryodhana was puzzled by the fact that the poison did not act on Bhima. He consulted his uncle Sakuni and friend Karna and tried several other ways to kill Bhima. However, all his attempts turned futile. Though all these designs were known to the Pandavas, they kept quiet in keeping with the advice given to them by Vidhura.

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