THE MAHABHARATA SAGA – SHAKUNI’S GAME OF THE DICE
The title is enough I guess to figure out who’s gonna be today’s entry. Yes, the planner and the initiator, the most clever person in this saga; Shakuni often called as Shakuni Mama. Let’s give our character some back story and a meaning by knowing him a little. The main antagonist in the Hindu epic Mahabharata. In Mahabharata, he is portrayed as an extremely intelligent, crafty and devious man. A mastermind who started the fire between Kauravas and Pandavas. He was the brother of Gandhari and in our previous entry, we got to know many things about her too. If you haven’t read it yet, have a look at https://gogomagazine.in/the-mahabharata-saga-gandhari-her-high-values-and-darkness/
Shakuni once said, “ What you can’t do with the sword, you could do with guile. You are a foolish Kshatriya, always thinking about the sword, always thinking about poison, always thinking about killing. There are other ways to do things.” And he rolled his dice, saying, “These are father’s bones. They will roll as I want, Asl me for any number. I will get it for you.”
At that time, it was a dharma that if you invited a Kshatriya for a duel or a game of dice, he could not say, No. Shakuni inspired Duryodhana to invite Pandavas to play and said, “Yudhishthira has a weakness for playing dice, and he has absolutely no clue how to play. Let us invite him for a game of dice. I will play for you. With this game of dice, we will get their wealth, their kingdom, everything out of them. Just bring them here. I will take care of the rest.”
And Pandavas fell for that. Yudhishthira was such a good man that he said, “Our cousins have invited us. They just came to us as our guests. Now it is our dharma to go to them and be their guests.” Bhima said, “We would be utterly stupid to go back to that place and play a game of dice with them. They got something up their sleeves. They will once again try to eliminate us in some way.” Yudhishthira said, “No, it is our dharma. When they call me for a game of dice, as a king, I cannot say ‘No.’” And he liked to play, even though he did not know how to play.
Thus the game begins. Pandavas arrived at the hall. The full assembly of the court was there to watch the game of dice. Yudhishthira sat down. Then Duryodhana came, but he sat down away from the dice board. People looked a little surprised, and Duryodhana announced, “Shakuni, my uncle, will play for me.” Yudhishthira said to Duryodhana, “I thought I was playing with you.” Duryodhana replied, “Brother, why are you afraid? My uncle is playing for me. What is the problem? We are of the same blood. Have you lost your courage?” Yudhishthira said, “No, it is okay. We will play.” They asked him, “What is your wager?” Yudhishthira bet his elephants, his horses – all kinds of things. Every time Shakuni rolled the dice, he got what he wanted and Yudhishthira lost.
Shakuni was so good with the dice that at the end of the game Yudhisthira lost his kingdom and everything in just one blink. Bhishma stood up and said, “Stop the game.” Duryodhana shouted at him, “It is not for you to stop the game. We are playing this game as per the dharma of the Kshatriyas. If Yudhishthira is afraid of playing the game, he may leave. No one else can stop the game.” Yudhishthira was not afraid of anything. He knew how to walk into any trap in the world. He lost the kingdom. Then Shakuni taunted, “I will give you one more chance. If you wager your brother Bhima, you can win back your kingdom and everything else.”
First, he put Nakula at stake and lost him. Then he lost Sahadeva. Then he lost Arjuna. Finally, he lost Bhima too. Then Shakuni said, “This is your chance now, Yudhishthira. Put yourself at stake, and you can win back everything.” Yudhishthira rolled the dice and lost himself.
And finally, the most embarrassing moment happened when Yudhisthira in the hope of winning his last chance, he wagered his wife and lost her. His wife Dropati and that was the starting of the humiliation of Draupadi. When Duryodhana asked his servants to bring the Draupadi, as his slave. Draupadi was dragged into the hall. Draupadi sat up and pleaded with Bhishma to interfere, but he put his head down. Then she asked, “Did Yudhishthira wager me first or himself first?” They said, “Yudhishthira wagered himself first.” Then she said, “If he had already lost himself and he was already a slave, he had no right to put me at stake.” Bhishma gravely said, “According to the dharma, even a slave has the right over his wife. So even as a slave, he had the right to wager her.”
It’s so sad that a game play became so inhuman that they humiliated a lady in front of everyone.
We all know Krishna and Arjun were very fast friends and Krishna promised Dropadi that he will always protect her. And in the Gita it is mentioned;
यदा यदा हि धर्मस्य ग्लानिर्भवति भारत।
अभ्युत्थानमधर्मस्य तदात्मानं सृजाम्यहम्
परित्राणाय साधूनां विनाशाय च दुष्कृताम्
धर्मसंस्थापनार्थाय सम्भवामि युगे युगे
मै प्रकट होता हूं, मैं आता हूं, जब जब धर्म की हानि होती है, तब तब मैं आता हूं, जब जब अधर्म बढता है तब तब मैं आता हूं, सज्जन लोगों की रक्षा के लिए मै आता हूं, दुष्टों के विनाश करने के लिए मैं आता हूं, धर्म की स्थापना के लिए में आता हूं और युग युग में जन्म लेता हूं।
As clearly it was against the dharma, humiliating a lady in front of everyone. That’s why Krishna showed up. And we know the rest of the story.
The above story is simply executing the image of a clever mind; Shakuni that how some game of dice created this Armageddon.
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