Thus, Duryodhana, his friends, and his brothers, all in excellent spirits, accompanied by a strong contingent of soldiers, headed for the woods of Dvaita.
Upon arriving, Duryodhana inspected his herd of animals, and finding them in excellent health distributed generous gifts to the shepherds. As it was very hot, they decided to go and cool off in the waters of a lake near the forest.
However, when they reached the vicinity, they noticed that a large group of soldiers had camped right where the king wanted to bathe.
Angered by the inconvenience, Duryodhana ordered messengers to go and tell the commander to clear the shores of the lake. The spokesmen, introduced to the general, reported their monarch’s words.
“Our lord, the glorious descendant of Bharata, king Duryodhana, orders you to leave the camp and go somewhere else, as he has chosen this place for bathing and for the men and horses to rest. If you do not go away immediately, he will be forced to let you test his military power.”
“We are Gandharvas,” retorted the other unimpressed by the threats, “and I am Citraratha, their king. This lake does not belong to Duryodhana. We got here first, so neither Duryodhana nor anyone else can order us to leave the place. Let him find another lake to refresh himself. As for his military strength, tell him that this is the least of our worries.”
As soon as the soldiers reported the Gandharva’s response, a great anger took hold of Duryodhana’s heart and he immediately ordered the attack. But the battle immediately turned out to be a real disaster: overwhelmed and massacred by the divine weapons of the Gandharvas, the Kuravas, including Karna, had to flee. On the field only Duryodhana remained, ignited with rage and with his armor and body splattered with blood and arrows. Abandoned by everyone, in a few minutes he was taken prisoner.
In the distance, the Kurava soldiers saw their king captured by the Gandharvas, and aware that they could not oppose them with their weapons, to free him they saw no other solution than to go to the Pandavas to ask for help.
When Bhima heard the tale he laughed aloud.
“They had come to make fun of us and look what happened to them. Poor Duryodhana. And he who trusts Karna so much! Where was this man while the Gandharvas took his friend prisoner? We must go to them and thank them for what they have done.”
But Yudhisthira was not of the same opinion.
“Despite the many wrongs we have had to suffer at his hands,” he said, “Duryodhana is still a member of our family, and his soldiers have come here to ask for protection and help. We cannot refuse to intervene. Even if he does not deserve it at all; even if his soul is dark as the night, we will go to free the son of Dhritarastra”.
Then Arjuna went to ask the Gandharvas to free their prisoner. But as they refused, the Pandavas fought and beat them severely. Eventually, Arjuna recognized their friend Citrasena as their leader, asking him to free Duryodhana. Citrasena accepted.
Duryodhana, demoralized, went away in deep suffering. He had come to humiliate and had been humiliated instead.
This is a section of the book “Maha-bharata, Vol. 1”.
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