Cousins and Enemies: The Pandavas lived in the forest for a long time. It was difficult and dangerous to live there. The Kauravas believed that all the Pandavas would die in the forest. But the Pandavas did not die, and the twelve years they had to spend there were now coming to an end. The Kauravas did not want them to come back and claim their kingdom. They wanted to know how the Pandavas were getting on. They sent a spy to find out.
Cousins and Enemies: Story From Mahabharata
The spy returned and reported that the Pandavas were quite well and were living happily. This made the Kauravas angry. Duryodhana was so angry that he kicked the man who brought the news.
The Kauravas talked among themselves to decide what action they should take. Duryodhana suggested that they could frighten the Pandavas by taking a military parade into the forest. That would show them how strong the Kauravas were. The Pandavas would then be afraid to come back. Everyone liked the idea.
Soon orders were issued to organize the biggest military parade the world had ever seen. Duryodhana himself looked after all the arrangements. Within a few days everything was ready.
One morning the parade started. It was led by the Kauravas in their beautiful chariots. They were followed by many elephants, hundreds of horses, and thousands of soldiers, all armed and ready for battle.
People from far and near went to see the greatest parade they had ever seen. After passing through cities and villages the procession reached the forest. The birds and animals all fled away, frightened by the noise made by the marching army. The parade reached the part of the forest where the Pandavas had their camp.
The procession stopped by the side of a river and a camp was set up there. The forest around was beautiful. There were trees with lovely flowers and sweet fruits. The river was full and the water was as clear as crystal. The Kauravas felt jealous that the Pandavas were staying in such a beautiful place. The wicked Sakuni thought of a way to harm the Pandavas. He suggested that the water of the river should be poisoned so that when the Pandavas drank it they would die or fall ill. The Kauravas liked the idea and at once went and poured poison into the river water.
At that time, Chitrasena, a powerful Gandharva, was staying in the same forest. He was told that some people were poisoning the water of the river. He was very angry and rushed to the Kaurava’s camp with his followers. He recognized them and said, “I know who you are. You are poisoning the water of the river in order to kill the Pandavas. I am going to teach you a lesson.”
Duryodhana shouted, “Do you know who we are? If you want to live, stop talking and surrender to us. You must be our slaves. Other-wise we shall kill you all with our great army.” With these words he ordered his men to fight the Gandharvas.
A terrible battle followed. The Kauravas fought with great strength and courage. But the Gandharvas were stronger. Many elephants, horses, and men of the Kaurava army were killed and the rest of them fled. The Kauravas were captured. Chitrasena said, “We are going to take you to our country and you shall be put to work as slaves.” The Gandharvas tied the Kauravas to their chariots and started the journey home.
The Kauravas had no way of escape. They knew the Pandavas were some-where near. They called loudly to the Pandavas to come to their rescue.
The Pandavas heard them. Dharmaputra said to his brothers, “I hear the Kauravas calling to us for help. I do not know what has happened to them, but they must be in danger. Go and help them.”
Bhima, the strongest of the Pandavas, said, “I know what has happened to the Kauravas. They came to the forest to do harm to us. They had a fight with Chitrasena and his followers. Then the Kauravas were defeated and taken prisoner, and now they are being marched to Chitrasena’s home to work as slaves. The Kauravas are our enemies and their one aim in life is to destroy us. Why should we go and help them? Let them be taken as slaves by Chitrasena.”
“Yes, they are indeed our enemies,” said Dharmaputra. “But they are our cousins and they are in danger. They are seeking our help, and we have to help them. Go and set them free.”
Arjuna said he would go and do his duty as ordered by Dharmaputra. Bhima could not stay behind. So Bhima and Arjuna went to the help of the Kauravas.
They met Chitrasena and told him that he would have to set free the Kauravas. Chitrasena was surprised that the Pandavas had come to help the Kauravas, though they were their enemies.
Chitrasena was a friend of the Pandavas and he did not want to fight with them. So he set free all the Kauravas and told them to go home. He told the Pandavas that he was very happy to see how noble they had been in coming to the help of their enemies.
The Kauravas returned home in great shame.