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Chapter 20
Krishna's Grace on Draupadî


Parîkchit continued his wailing of protest. "Even ogres and barbarians respect their women-folk. Among them, if one woman is thus insulted, they avenge it as if the entire tribe is ill-treated. When such is the case, the elders of the clan, the emperor, their preceptors, sages and learned men, were all present there and watching in open assembly, this atrocious act; did the intelligence of those high placed witnesses suddenly disintegrate? Were their eyes suddenly blinded by some dire disease? Did they feed on grass that their taste became so beastly? Did they forget in their animality the honour of the race? And the elders! Their sense of discrimination deserted them and they must have looked pathetic caricatures of themselves."

Vyâsa interrupted this tirade against those elders who sat quiet during those awful moments; he said, "Son! Parîkchit! Do not jump to conclusions and confusion. No one of the elders in that assembly was in favour of the wicked behaviour of Duryodhana, Dussasana and others; they warned them of the consequences of their iniquity; what could they do if those foul men perpetrate sin? When Dussasana was dragging Draupadî by the hair, right into the royal hall which was tilled with courtiers and others, the agony of Vidura, Bhishma, and Drona was beyond control. Words are inadequate instruments to describe it. Tears flowed in streams down their cheeks. They could not lift their faces and cast their eyes upon the abominable gang.

There was another reason, too. Sparks flew from the angry eyes of Draupadî when she was so tortured and, if they had fallen on any one in the Hall he would have been reduced to ashes! Luckily, she was looking only at your eldest grandfather, Dharmaraja; his fortitude and equanimity were imprinted on her mind; so, the assembled men were saved from destruction. Or else, Duryodhana, Dussasana and the rest of that foul brood would not have survived at all.

The face of Dharmaraja, so full of equanimity, had such transforming effect. Your grandfathers, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula, and Sahadeva were watching that face, while their hearts were being torn by Draupadî's struggles; but as they watched, their tempers cooled. Dharmaraja's unruffled face saved every one from cataclysm that day; else, all would have been consumed in the fire of her anger, making the battle of Kurukshethra superfluous.

Nothing can happen unless God wills it so, isn't it? How can any one over-ride the Will of Lord Krishna? She wailed that no one of her masters rose to save her, though she called upon them and reminded them of their prowess and valour. Just then, the thought of Krishna, the Saviour, flashed like lightning, and filled her drooping heart with courage. "0 Shyamsunder!" she cried out, "This is not an insult dealt to me. Nor is it an infamous injury dealt to the Pandavas. It is an insult, an injury, dealt on you. You are our all. We depend on you for everything. Is it then just that you should now tolerate this cruel injury being perpetrated on our honour? We have dedicated our hearts to you. Listen! I have dedicated myself to you. Perhaps, you are not content with what we have so far offered at your feet. Let your will prevail." Thus, she surrendered, fully and unreservedly, to the Lord.

At this, the Guardian of the Forlorn, the Saviour of those who surrender, the Lord, took upon Himself the burden of rescuing her from distress; He moved in silent and unseen, and blessed her, unnoticed. And, wonder of wonders, the sari which the human ogres were attempting to remove in order to disgrace her was rendered endless; every one, including the tormentors, were stunned at the demonstration of Krishna's Grace and Draupadî's devotion. (See also S.B. 1.8).

Good men and wise realised that Sathya and Dharma can never come to harm. The tears of joy that rolled from their eyes gave proof of the exaltation they experienced. The wicked Dussasana fell down, exhausted and humiliated. Draupadî did not suffer the least dishonour. All the dishonor fell to the lot of the Kauravas, and the Pandavas were unaffected.

Can God permit the just and moral Pandavas to suffer humiliation? The harm that the Kauravas planned to inflict on the Pandavas recoiled on them only. This was the direct consequence of the Grace that Lord Krishna showered on your grandfathers and grandmother and of the devotion and faith they had reposed on Lord Krishna.

Intending to declare to the world the intense devotion of the Pandavas and its efficacy, and also to hold them up as examples for the Kali Age that was to come, the Lord contrived this thrilling drama; there is nothing more in this than that purpose of the Lord. You may be subjected to calumny, insult and dishonour; You may be plunged in poverty or pain; but, the person who has surrendered to the Will of God will welcome each of these gladly and bear it with equanimity. The Lord will never give up His children; those devoted to God have to be patient and calm, under the most poignant provocations. The fact is, the pious and the God-fearing are those who are visited by travails and troubles: in order to teach mankind these great truths, Krishna enacted this drama, with the Pandavas as the cast. Every incident in their lives is but a scene in His Play.


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