“The Dicing” and “The Sequel to the Dicing” set the background for the Kurukshetra war in the Mahabharata. The Mahabharata originally written by Sage Veda Vyasa, is the largest epic in the world of Literature. It was first written in Sanskrit and later translated by many authors in English. It was composed between 300 BC & 300 AD. It has over 200,000 verse lines, 18 million words and it is believed that it is believed that it could have taken over 600 years to write. It is roughly four times the length of the Ramayana. It was first written by Lord Ganesha, at the request of Vyasa to write the tale as dictated by him.
The book is divided into a total of 18 chapters (Parva) Vyasa is written this epic in approx. 24,000 lines, under the title ‘Bharata’.
Important Characters of Mahabharata
Vyasa – Narrator of Mahabharata, father of Pandu & Dhritarashtra.
Bhisma Pitamaha (Ganga Putra)- Stepbrother of Vyasa, the grandfather of Pandavas and the Kauravas (100 brothers).
Pandu – Father of five Pandavas.
Kunti – Wife of Pandu and mother of five Pandavas & Karna.
Dhritarashtra – Born blind king of Hastinapur, father of Kauravas & Duryodhana.
Gandhari – Wife of Dhritarashtra, mother of Kauravas.
Yudhisthira – Eldest son of Kunti and rightful heir to the throne of Hastinapur.
Bhima – Second son of Kunti and Strongest of the Pandavas Brother.
Arjuna – The third son of Kunti, A Key warrior from Pandavas’ side who killed many warriors.
Nakul & Sahadeva – Pandavas twins brother.
Dropaudi – Wife of Five Pandavas.
Duryodhana – Eldest son of Dhritarashtra and Gandhari.
Dushsasana – Second Eldest son of Dhritarashtra & Gandhari.
Karana – Secret son of Kunti, a Great warrior, friend of Duryodhana.
Drona – Teacher of Pandavas & Kauravas.
Shakuni – Brother of Gandhari and maternal uncle of Kauravas, main villain of Mahabharata.
Krishna (The God) – Avatar of God Vishnu and Supporter of Pandavas.
The Book of The Assembly Hall
The Book of the Assembly Hall or A Sabha Parva is the pivotal one of the eighteen major books of Mahabharata. It is the second of eighteen books of Mahabharata. It has 10 parts and 81 chapters (9 parts and 72 Chapters). It starts with the description of the palace and assembly hall (Sabha) built by Maya at Indraprastha. It presents the glorious kingdom of Pandavas.
There are specifically ten sections in The Book of the Assembly Hall. It defines the principles of crime against humanity, where any unharmed human being must also stand up for any evil or injustice inflicted upon the society and people at large.
Introduction Of The Dicing
The Dicing or The Sequel to the Dicing are two subchapters from the second book, The Book of the Assembly Hall (Sabha Parva). This book is one of the books of Mahabharata written by Sage Veda Vyasa. Mahabharata is the largest epic in the world of literature. It was originally written in Sanskrit and later translated by many authors in English.
“The Dicing” and “The Sequel to the Dicing” set the background for the Kurukshetra war in the Mahabharata.
Duryodhana convinces Dhritarastra to offer the Khandava forest to the Pandavas. Initially, it was a useless forest. Maya built a majestic assembly hall in the uncultivated land with his 8000 kinkara rakshasas in 14 days. The useless forest turns into a beautiful kingdom, Indraprastha.
The Defeat of the Jarasandha who defeated 84 kings, makes Yudhisthira the king of 85 kings. God Krishna suggests that Yudhisthira conduct Rajasuya to declare complete independence from Hastinapura and Celebrate the king’s glory. They invite Duryodhana to the ceremony with other guests. He is jealous to see the magnificent hall. The palace is a palace of illusions. As a result, Duryodhana mistakes a glass floor for a pool, and he falls into a pool Bhima, Arjuna, Draupadi, and other women laugh of him.
Duryodhana returns home with memories of humiliation. He is distressed and silent. Therefore, his maternal uncle, Shakuni, asks him the reason. Duryodhana reveals the fact that he is jealous of the wealth of the Pandavas and resents that they humiliate him. Shakuni reminds him that the Pandavas are invincible for defeating in war. However, there is one way to snatch their wealth. That is in the game of Dice.
Shakuni is a master of dicing. Duryodhana asks Dhritarashtra for approval. Dhritarashtra tries to convince his son to listen to the advice of Vidura. The king tells his son that despite having privileges, there is no point in feeling sad. Duryodhana begs his father to approve the game of dice so that Shakuni can take over their wealth.
Dhritarashtra leaves the decision to Vidhura because he wants to consult with Vidura in this regard. Duryodhana tells him that Vidhura is partial to the Pandavas and will never approve of it. He pressurizes his father to kill himself if it does not happen. Therefore Dhritarastra orders Vidura to invite Yudhisthira to enjoy a family dicing game. Vidhura forbids the king’s proposal because he foresees that this would lead to destruction. Despite his advice, Dhritarashtra orders him to invite the Pandavas to the game.
Vidura reaches Indraprastha and gives the news of the king. Yudhisthira agrees because it is the king’s order. Yudhisthira soon prepares to go to Hastinapur. The Game starts the next day. Shakuni welcomes Yudhisthira to play dice with him. Yudhisthira warns him not to use any trickery in the game. Duryodhana says that Shakuni will play on his behalf. Bhisma, Drona, and others enter the Hall.
Yudhisthira stakes a hundred thousand gold pieces and loses. After that, he stakes his chariot, a thousand elephants, a hundred thousand male and female slaves, Gandharva horses, his army, and his treasury. Vidura tries to stop the game during the game but to no avail. Despite losing one after another, Yudhisthira keeps staking his people’s property. Nakula, Sahadeva, Arjuna, Bhisma with nothing in hand. Shakuni suggests that he should stake his wife, Draupadi. Everyone in the assembly is shocked to hear that. Unfortunately, he loses her too in the game.
Duryodhana orders Vidura to bring Draupadi to the hall, but Vidhura denies his order. He tells Dushasana to bring her. Despite Draupadi’s protest, Dushasana drags her by her hair to the hall. Duryodhana asks Dushasana to strip the clothes from the Pandavas and Draupadi. The Pandavas strip off their upper clothes and sit silently.
Dushasana undresses Draupadi. Surprisingly, her clothes are replaced by similar clothes, this is God Krishna’s Grace to Draupadi. The more he tries to undress her the more clothes appear. At last, Dushasana is tired and gives up. Upon the insult of Draupadi, Bhima is in rage and swears that he will drink the blood of Dushasana. Duryodhana exposes his left there to Draupadi and Bhima swears to break his thigh.
At last, Draupadi complains about the lowness of the Kauravas. Dhritarashtra gives Draupadi two boons. For the first boon, she chooses the freedom of Yudhisthira, and for the second the liberty of the remaining brothers. In this way, Draupadi becomes the saviour of the Pandavas. Dhritarastra wishes Yudhishthira good luck and advises him not to ponder the insult they have faced in the hall. They leave the place and return to Indraprastha.
Thus, The Dicing scene is used as a metaphor for the struggle between good and evil. Yudhisthira represents Dharma or righteousness, while Duryodhana and Shakuni represent Adharma or Unrighteousness. In the end, Dharma triumphs, but only after a great deal of suffering.
It is also a reminder of the importance of women’s rights and dignity. Draupadi is a strong and courageous woman, but she is also a victim of male violence and misogyny. The scene is a reminder of the need to protect women and girls from all forms of violence.
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