After some time, Dhritarastra invested Yudhisthira with the post of crown prince.
Obviously, this could not make the king particularly happy, as he would have preferred his son Duryodhana to succeed him, but he certainly could not oppose the millennial Vedic traditions. In fact, not having been able to rule because of his own blindness, Duryodhana had lost the automatic right to the throne. In that circumstance, the king should have become the firstborn among his sons and those of Pandu. Yudhisthira had been born a year earlier, so, he had full right to the throne. Duryodhana was dying of envy and pain.
Around that time, Bhima and Duryodhana left Hastinapura to go to Dvaraka, where they took mace lessons with Balarama, Krishna’s brother, further perfecting their warrior dexterities.
In addition, in the same period Arjuna received further instructions from Drona, who gave him the opportunity to improve himself with the bow.
One day, the Pandava asked the master:
“Is there anyone on this Earth who can defeat me in a duel?”
“Yes, there is,” Drona replied. “He is Krishna, of the Vrishni race. He is not a man like everyone else, his origin is divine and no one can ever defeat him. You must make the strongest of friendships with him, and under his protection, you too will become invincible.”
A relatively quiet year passed, during which the people’s love for the Pandavas grew, as did Duryodhana’s hatred. One day, at the end of his endurance, he called Sakuni to speak to him.
“I can no longer tolerate the sight of these cursed people who thrive more and more every day. The people are on their side, the army too, Patriarch Bhishma has great affection for them, and Drona appreciates Arjuna to the point that it seems that only he exists. Even my father never hid his affection for these diabolical cousins. They have been able, no doubt about it, to win everyone’s sympathy.”
“I told you long ago,” Sakuni retorted, “that an enemy must be destroyed immediately, before he has a chance to become strong through alliances. Duryodhana, for your sake and that of the house you belong to, you must destroy the Pandavas!”
“I know that this is the only thing to do, but we have already tried and we have failed. This time we will have to do things more carefully because we cannot afford to make mistakes again, or we will risk losing our allies.”
So with Sakuni, Karna and Duhssasana, Duryodhana plotted a terrible plot to kill the Pandavas.
The first step was to convince his father to send his nephews to Varanavata for a period of rest. This was not difficult, as Duryodhana was almost always able to obtain anything from the latter. For his part, Dhritarastra suspected that his son was plotting something serious, but yet, he did not want to hinder him. Dhritarastra felt Duryodhana’s rivalry against the Pandavas becoming more and more overbearing every day, and in order not to see him suffer he hoped that Duryodhana would be able to get what he wanted in a non-violent way.
Having obtained his father’s consent, Duryodhana built a large house with all highly flammable materials and sent Purochana, his faithful friend, with the intention of having him set it on fire as soon as the opportunity arose.
In Varanavata, the Pandavas were in mortal danger.
This is a section of the book “Maha-bharata, Vol. 1”.
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