Chapter Four


Teachers should read about the following events in Mahabharat:

• the land ofKandavaprastha
• Yudhisthira’s Rajasuya and the killing ofSisupala
• When Draupadi laughed at Duryodhana in the hall ofMaya
• the gambling match
• Draupadi’s insult and the oaths thatfollowed
• the second gambling match and the banishment ofthe Pandavas

1. Chant the verse for the session.

2. Check the homework assignment (Page 21). This will also serve as a review. Children who did the homework can be given incentives at this time. This can be something as simple as a sticker on the inside oftheir book or a star next to their name on a chart. If you want to review any other points made last week, do so now.

3. A story warm-up: Tell the children that before you tell today’s story you want to have a short arm-wrestling match. Ask for two volunteers to arm-wrestle each other. Right before you start tell one ofthe volunteers that someone will wrestle in his place but he will be declared the winner or loser instead ofthe substitute. (The substitllte should be someone who is obviously bigger and a lot stronger than the other volllnteer. It could be you, but better yet, get a man who looks strong and powerful to step in for this part ofthe class and arm wrestle. He should make it look easy as he defeats the child.) Have a few matches. When the substitute wrestler wins, callout the name ofthe child he is replacing, saying, ” wins!” Encourage the other child to keep trying. When the child has lost five or six times stop the activity.

Ask the children:

• How many ofyou thought this was afair match?
• What wasn’tfair about it?
• How did youfeel when __ (the substitute) kept winning?
• (to the child who wrestled) How did you feel when I announced that
_ (the substitute) was going to arm-wrestle you in place ofyour

classmate? How didyoufeel when you kept losing? Explain that in today’s story a similar situation happened to the Pandavas. As students listen to the story, ask them to imagine how the Pandavas felt.

4. Ask the children where we left off last week (the Pandavas come out of hiding). Tell the children that you will need them to help you tell the story today. Divide the class llltO two groups. Write the following chant on the chalkboard: “Shame, shame, shame! Stop this evil game, game, game!” Group One should practice chanting (shouting) this in unison. They should sound like they are really mad. Write the chant for Group Two on the chalkboard: “Sakuni Wins!” Have each group practice chanting loudly in unison as you point to them. Instruct the children to pay attention to the story since you will be pointing at one group or the other thrOUghOllt. Now tell the story as follows, pausing to point at each group when noted. Be dramatic!

The Pandava's Gain a Kingdom

Back in Hastinapura the Kuru elders were deciding what should be done. They held a conference. Bhishma, Drona, Kripa, Vidura, Dhritarashtra and others were there. They thought that the time had come for the Pandavas to be treated fairly. They urged Dhritarashtra to divide his kingdom with the Pandavas and save his reputation. He agreed and Vidura went to the kingdom of Drupada to bring back the Pandavas. Krishna and Balaram were also there and They accompanied the Pandavas, Kunti and Vidura back to Hastinapura. An official reception was held and King Dhritarashtra received them warmly. He explained that the Pandavas were entitled to the kingdom also since their father Pandu had helped rule it. The blind king divided the kingdom between Yudhisthira and Duryodhana, making Yudhisthira the lord of the land called Khandavaprastha. Khandavaprastha was half of the kingdom but the land was like a desert. The land was a wasteland where nothing would grow and no animals could live. This was Yudhisthira’s share of the kingdom. But Yudhisthira didn’t mind; he was tired of all the quarreling. When they looked over the wasteland, Krishna called Lord Indra. He asked hint to send the rains to make the land fertile and green again. They renamed the land Indraprastha and work soon began on the city. It was like magic and the area was soon transformed into a beautiful place. Yudhisthira wanted to perform a great sacrifice called the Rajasuya. Kings were invited from allover the world and they arrived bringing gifts and wealth to honor Yudhisthira. Krishna came as a special guest of honor. . It was during this Rajasuya that Sisupala insulted Krishna. Krishna was forced to kill him on the spot. What had begun to be a celebrated ceremony turned sour as the killing of Sisupala spoiled everyone’s happiness. Duryodhana’s unhappiness was the greatest of all. When he saw his hated cousins with great wealth and many citizens, prospering in the beautiful city that was once a wasteland, his envy doubled. He could not sleep due to thinking of ways to destroy these rivals.

The Gambling Match

         Duryodhana had an evil uncle named Sakuni who always helped Duryodhana in his schemes to hurt the Pandavas. Now Sakuni approached Duryodhana with an idea. “King Yudhisthira is indeed a righteous person. He is Dharma personified. Yet he has one weakness: gambling. I know of a way that you can recover all that the Pandavas have. Let us invite the Pandavas here for a game of dice.” Duryodhana was delighted. Dhritarashtra agreed with the plan. Due to his selfish love for his son, he no longer cared about being fair to his good nephews. He sent Vidura to bring the Pandavas back to the kingdom of Hastinapura. Vidura didn’t like the idea and said (Point to Group One). The Pandavas were told that a new hall had been constructed near Hastinapura and they were invited to see it. The king wanted them to come and enjoy some games of dice. Yudhisthira was dismayed at the invitation. He guessed that the game of dice was planned for an evil purpose. His brothers didn’t want him to go and thought, (Point to Group One). But he felt he must obey his uncle Dhritarashtra’s command to come. Yudhisthira left for Hastinapura with his brothers, followed by Kunti and Draupadi. The Pandavas were surprised at the pleasant way the Kauravas welcomed them. They toured the new hall, appreciating its architecture and beauty. That was soon forgotten as Sakuni invited them to sit down for a game of dice. Yudhisthira tried in many ways to avoid playing but Duryodhana and Sakuni wouldn’t take no for an answer. Duryodhana challenged Yudhisthira but had Sakuni play on Duryodhana’s behalf. This was unfair and the other members of the assembly argued, (Point to Group One). Yudhisthira gave in to fate and played the game. Jewels were wagered. The dice was tossed. (Point to Group Two) was heard. Precious gems and stones were wagered. (Point to Group Two) was heard again. Gold coins by the thousands were wagered. (Point to Group Two) Yudhisthira lost again. His horses, his wealth, his chariots, his army, his slaves, his treasury — all was being swallowed up by the evil Sakuni. (Point to Group Two) was heard over and over again. Vidura pleaded with the blind king, (Point to Group One). Dhritarashtra would not listen. Yudhisthira had now lost all his worldly wealth. Sakuni said, “You have nothing now. If you still think you have something to bet, wager that. If you win, you can have back all that you have lost and Duryodhana’s riches as well.” Yudhisthira had lost all good sense and sat silent for a moment. He said, “I have something to wager. This handsome brother of mine, Nakula, will be my wager.” The elders who were present were shocked. Wager his brother? “No, no!” they said, (Point to Group One). But the dice rolled again and the shout rang out, (Point to Group Two). Yudhisthira lost. Now he bet Arjuna. (Point to Group Two) Now Bhima was the wager. (Point to Group Two) He next wagered himself (Point to Group Two) and lost. The five brothers were now the slaves of Duryodhana. Sakuni said, “You still have Draupadi. You have not lost her yet.” Arjuna and Bhima could barely keep from killing Duryodhana and Sakuni but they did so out of respect for Yudhisthira. This was too much. The others in the assembly could not believe it. (Point to Group One) Yudhisthira, his senses out of control, wagered Draupadi and lost her. Now there was nothing left. The entire assembly was stunned. Duryodhana commanded that Draupadi be brought to the hall. She was now a slave and should be sent to the servants’ quarters. Dushasan, Duryodhana’s brother, went to her room and laughingly told her all that had happened. She was horrified and angrily hurried towards Gandhari’s room. Dushasan grabbed her by the hair and forcibly dragged her in front of the assembly. She appeared before the elders with her dress wet with tears and crumpled from the rough handling of Dushasan. Draupadi stood in that great court as Dushasan and Duryodhana insulted her and called her names. They told her repeatedly that she was their slave and should now choose a new husband. She cried for help from the others but only Vikarna, a wise and good son of King Dhritarashtra, spoke up for her. Bhishma was silent. Drona was silent. Kripa was silent. As a final insult, Duryodhana ordered that the clothes of the Pandavas and Draupadi should be taken off and surrendered to him. The Pandavas removed their upper cloths and laid them in a heap. The cruel Dushasan took hold of the top of Draupadi’s sari and began pulling it off. Draupadi was frantic as she realized that no one could help her. She looked at each of her five husbands but they hung their heads in shame. No one stepped forward to stop this greatly sinful act. Draupadi remembered that surrender to the Lord is the only thing that can help. She folded her palms together and fixed her mind on Lord Krishna, begging Him to save her. She closed her eyes and did not try to stop Dushasan anymore. Then a miracle happened. As Dushasan pulled her sari and the stunned audience looked on, her clothes got longer and longer. Dushasan pulled with both hands and still the cloth grew. A heap of cloth was at his side as Dushasan angrily ripped at her clothes. Finally, exhausted, he gave up and sat down. Bhima, Arjuna, Sahadeva and Nakula were enraged. Their eyes flashed fire and they took terrible oaths, vowing to kill the sinful relatives of Dhritarashtra. The blind and weak-hearted king realized later how serious the situation was. He was frightened about the future and the wrath of the Pandavas. He later called Draupadi to him and asked her to forgive Duryodhana’s behavior. He offered her two boons. She first asked that Yudhisthira be freed. Her second request was that the other four brothers be freed. She didn’t care about their wealth; she only wanted that her husbands would not be slaves of such a sinner as Duryodhana. Dhritarashtra granted her this and as they took leave of Hastinapura, he was overcome by a feeling of generosity. He told the Pandavas to go back to Indraprastha and take back all that they had lost in the gambling match. “Just forget about today, as you would a bad dream. Think kindly of my sons and forget their sins. Go in peace to your home,” he told them. Duryodhana was furious when he heard what his father had done. After fulfilling his life’s dream of conquering his cousins, Dhritarashtra gave everything back to them. Duryodhana would not allow this to happen. He insisted that one more game of dice must be played. This time the winner gets to rule the entire kingdom. The loser must live in the forest for twelve years and must live the thirteenth year in disguise. Gandhari pleaded with her son to stop his immoral plot. She said, (Point to Group One). She wished now that she had taken Vidura’s advice and destroyed Duryodhana when he was born. But King Dhritarashtra was like a puppet in the hands of his son. He could not refuse him and so another game of dice was set. So the Pandavas returned to the same hall, the same dice, the same Sakuni. Yudhisthira sat and listened as Sakuni told the conditions of the game. “The winner will be the lord of the land of the Kurus. The loser will hav,e to spend twelve years in the forest. One year more must be spent in disguise. If he is recognized during that year in disguise, the los~r must spend another twelve years in the forest.” Sakuni took the dice in his hands. They rolled on the floor. The cry (Point to Group Two) was heard by all. The Pandavas were the losers doomed to spend the next thirteen years in the forest.

5. Allow a few minutes for discussion and questions after the story. Let children who are familiar with the story tell of other parts they remember. Have the children tell you the ways that the Kauravas insulted the Pandavas and list them on the chalkboard.

6. Take a few moments now to talk about fairness. Children ofthis age have a strong sense ofjustice. Ask them ifthey have any experiences to share of someone being unfair to them. How did they feel? What do they think would have been the proper treatment?

Ask them to think quietly for a monlent and remenlber a time when they were llnfair to someone else. What made them act that way? How did they feel afterwards?

Point out to them that many times we may want something so badly that we treat others unfairly to get it. We may want to win a ganle so badly that we make up unfair rules. We may want that extra slice of cake so badly that we try to cheat our sister or brother out ofit.

Ask the students what Dllryodhana wanted so badly that made him treat the Pandavas llnfairly. (He wanted to be the ruler ofthe kingdom.) Show them how that one strong desire, along with his jealousy, caused him to be so unjust. Even with so many of his relatives telling him the right thing to do, he couldn’t listen.

Impress on the students that we should always treat others fairly — the way we would want to be treated. We must not let our desires allow us to be unfair in our dealings. Ifwe are ever in the situation where we are accused of being unfair, we should stop and think of how we would like to be treated if we were the other person.

7. Homework assignment: Tell the children that during the week they are to read Chapter Four and complete the questions 011 Page 28. Remind them that their parents can read the chapter to them and help them with the questions. Answers will be checked next week in class. There is also a Word Search puzzle on Page 29 they can do for fun.

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