The First Attack

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The Pandavas Enter Hastinapura

Vaishampayana went on to narrate:

“A completely different life began for the five young men. The pleasant but austere times of the forest were gone, and for the first time they experienced the joys of the royal world, made up of pomp and opulence of all kinds.

Among the youth games, time passed pleasantly, but the boys paid no less attention to learning. Along with many other princes, the Pandavas deepened the studies that had been initiated by the wise men of the forest. They were smart and did not have to make great efforts to learn. And the more the days passed, the more it became clear that the five sons of Pandu had extraordinary gifts that allowed them to excel above all others. Yudhisthira was the wisest and most virtuous of all, Bhima was the strongest, Arjuna the most skilled with weapons, and Nakula and Sahadeva were the best at dealing with horses.

Duryodhana, Dhritarastra’s eldest son, who grew up in constant company with his cousins, was beginning to feel irritated by the supremacy that ruined his youthful games; there was no sport in which the best among them was not one of the Pandavas.

Then, little by little, out of irritation came envy and then resentment. It should not be forgotten that if Yudhisthira had been born a year later, or if the Pandavas had never returned to Hastinapura, he would have inherited the throne of Bharata. The idea of not being able to become king increasingly annoyed the young man, who at that age, was already beginning to give importance to his future.

Envy became burning, especially towards Bhima who, in his youthful innocence, did not miss any opportunity to humiliate him in front of everyone. Especially in fighting, thanks to his superhuman strength, Bhima regularly defeated him. Duryodhana could not help but remember the past times, when the cousins ​​had not yet arrived and he was the object of the attentions of all the people in the court. Now everyone spoke about the Pandavas and praised them constantly. During that time, the young man suffered a lot.

Duryodhana had a maternal uncle named Sakuni who was particularly fond of his nephew. Sakuni noticed that something was preventing Duryodhana from being in his usual mood and wondered what might have happened to him. So, in a moment when he found him alone, he spoke to him.

“It has been a long time since I see you overshadowed, and I find it strange. Usually you are always jovial and ready to joke with everyone. Do you have a problem? Any thoughts that particularly worry you? Open up with me, Duryodhana, and tell me what makes you so sad.”

“What worries me?” retorted the prince. “Is it so difficult to understand? Before the Pandavas came I was destined to become the king of the Bharatas and certainly the emperor of the whole world. All the attention was for me and everyone covered me with affection. Besides, I was always the best in the war games and no one ever beat me.

“But from the moment Pandu’s children arrived, everything has changed. I will not become king because of my father’s blindness, instead Yudhisthira, who was born a year before me, will soon ascend the throne. And as if that weren’t enough, his superiority is real. He is better than me in many ways and his loyal brothers always give him the utmost support.”

“Imagine what a fight between Yudhisthira and me would be like: have you never seen Bhima fight? His physical strength is superhuman. As long as he is there, Yudhisthira will be able to sleep a peaceful sleep. And, in addition, Arjuna… his military education has just begun, and yet he uses weapons as if he had never done anything else since the early years of his life.”

 “Look at Nakula, have you ever seen a more handsome young man? His physical features are as perfect as those of the Devas of the higher planets, and he fights with the agility of a Gandharva. The girls have eyes only for him. And Sahadeva? He even manages to communicate with horses and rides them perfectly.”

“All five are virtuous, kind, and intelligent and no one can help but love them unconditionally. Our Bhishma dotes on them, master Kripa reserves for them his most particular kindnesses, the faces of the court Brahmanas light up when they see them, and even my father doesn’t hide his appreciation of them. I mean, since they arrived, my brothers and I no longer exist and we don’t have the same attention we had before. Considering this situation, shouldn’t one feel bitter?”


This is a section of the book “Maha-bharata, Vol. 1”.

To buy the complete book, click above

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