THE ABDUCTION OF DRAUPADI
Draupadi was the daughter of Drupad, the king of Panchala, and the wife and queen of the five great Pandavas, renowned alike for her loveliness and her great will.It is said that she reduced her enemies to ashes.
One day the Pandavas asked Dhaumya and Draupadi to stay in the hermitage of Trinabindu and went for hunting. Jayadratha, the king of Sindhu and Sauvira and son in law of Dhritarashtra were marching together with retinue and armies to Salva to marry his daughter. He saw Draupadi standing at the door way of the hermitage as static lightning observing the passage of the royal entourage. He was struck with the beauty of Draupadi and sent his bosom friend Kotikasya to fetch her. He came to Draupadi and said to her, "Most beautiful lady, who are you? Who is he that is fortunate enough to be your husband or are you a mortal maiden? Or are you the goddess of this forest? Or are you Sachi, the wife of Indra just descended to the earth or a diversion? I am Kotikasya, the friend of Jayadratha who is looking at you from the yonder chariot. He has sent me to find out who you are and fetch you to his presence."
Draupadi was perplexed and composed herself leaving the kadamba twig she was holding and said to him, "I know you are the son of Suratha, born in the reputed dynasty of Sibi. I am Panchali, the consort of Pancha Pandavas. As you are both related to my husbands who will arrive presently, you can partake of our hospitality and go. Now that you have known who I am, I hope you will observe the royal etiquette in speech and manners."
Kotikasya went back to Saindhava Jayadratha and told him that the lady he wanted to know so eagerly was none other than Panchali, the wife of the Pandavas. Then he went into the hermitage and accosted her asking, "Noble lady , daughter of Draupada why do you waste your loveliness and youth here in this forest in the company of shameless beggars? I am a king, you are a gem of a lady; I deserve you; come with me, leave the wretched Pandavas to their fate in the forest. I will treat you as the queen of my heart. Come please, get into my chariot."
Draupadi wanted to gain some time till the arrival of the Pandavas and said to him, "You are born of a noble family; it is unworthy of you to covert a family lady. I am, as you know, happily married and I have five children. Better control yourself; I may tell you, you will reap the consequences if you transgress the limits of decency and decorum. You cannot offend the Pandavas with impunity." Saindhava replied, "I do not like to listen to your talk. Please get into the chariot or the royal elephant, I can vanquish the Pandavas in a minute." Draupadi sternly asked him to get out. But he caught hold of Draupadi and placed her on his chariot and drove away. Draupadi raised a big hue and cry and Dhaumya who heard her sobbings and loud lamentations pursued the chariot running after it like a mad man.
The Pandavas returned from the hunting expedition and the maid Dhatreyika told Indradyumna that Draupadi was abducted by Saindhava. Immediately the Pandavas started fully equipped with weapons and armoury and chased Saindhava.His armies were completely routed and many commanders were killed by the Pandava brothers including the Sauvira warriors. Saindhava’s life was spared by the specific instructions given by Dharmaputra who said, "He is the husband of our sister, Dussala. Let us not render her a widow." However, Draupadi demanded that Saindhava should be killed. A bargain was struck. Sandhava’s head was shaved completely and Arjuna said to him, "If you fall at the feet of Dahrmaputra, we will spare your life." He fell at the feet of Yudhisthira and begged his pardon, and he was set at liberty.
Siandhava smarting under the great humiliation inflicted on him by the Pandavas performed penance to please Lord Shiva who appeared before him and asked him to seek any boon of his choice. He said, "Please grant me the prowess to conquer the Pandavas." Shiva smiled and said, "I cannot myself conquer Arjuna. However, you will conquer the rest of the Pandavas on the battlefield on a single occasion." So saying, Shiva disappeared.