Duryodhana is discovered concealed in a swamp, and compelled to fight with Bhimasena, by whom he is slain. Yudhisthira orders public rejoicings on the occasion.
Charvaka, a Rakshasa disguised as a sage, then enters, requiring rest and water. He relates that he has seen Arjuna engaged with Duryodhana, Bhima having been previously slain by the latter, and gives his hearers to understand that Arjuna also has fallen. Draupadi determines to mount the funeral pile, and Yudhishthira, to put an end to himself when the Rakshasa, satisfied with the success of his scheme, which was intended to prevail on this couple to perish, departs. The pile is prepared, and Yudhishthira and Draupadi are about to sacrifice themselves, when they are disturbed by a great clamour. Supposing it to precede the approach of Duryodhana, Yudhishthira calls for his arms, when Bhima, his club besmeared with blood, rushes in. Draupadi runs away; he catches her by the hair, and is seized by Yudhishthira—on which the mistake is discovered.
The braid of Draupadi’s hair is now again bound up. Arjuna and Vasudeva arrive, and announce that they have heard of the fraud of Charvaka. On hearing that the mendicant is slain by Nakula, Krishna expresses great satisfaction.
THE OFFENDED VISWAMITRA.
Maharaja Harischandra, a scion of the solar race, a powerful king, endowed with uncommon virtues and skilled in all arts, sees a vision of misfortune to come. Apprehending future evils for his subjects, he confers with his priest, and acting on his advice, spends a whole night in religious contemplation in a temple of God. Next morning the king enters the inner apartments of his palace to greet his wife. The queen, who is jealous on account of his absence during the night, says to him, “Oh! I see your eyes are red for want of sleep. The sight is not uninteresting; only, I am being consumed with the fires of agony of mind.” The king, on hearing this, smiles and says, “Oh my dear queen! do not be angry. Be assured, you have no rival in Harischandra’s affections”.
The queen is not altogether satisfied with this assurance, for love is suspicious. Just then, a messenger comes to request permission to bring in a hermit who is standing at the door. The permission is granted and the hermit enters. Addressing the King, he says, “The family priest has sent you some holy water, which will bring you peace of mind and ward off the evils for fear of which he made you keep up a whole night.” The king and the queen thankfully accept the water. The hermit retires. The queen, now learning from the hermit the cause of her husband’s absence from her, and of his wakefulness all night, becomes ashamed of herself and asks her lord’s pardon for the false insinuation she had made. On this he kisses the queen.