Posted: 07 September 2014 at 1:52am | IP Logged
Only twenty-five days are left to the Kurukshetra War. Yudhishthir is sitting in his tent, while Sahdev is reading out the list of materials bought for the war. Arjun has gone for a meeting in the Panchaal tent, and Nakul is busy with the practice of the soldiers. The hundred maces that Bheem had sent for has reached and now he is shouting and dedicating them, one for each of the Kaurav brothers. All the maces are made of wood, leaving one which is made cotton stuffed in a cloth. This one is for the 18th brother, Vikarna. He's a good lad, he had spoken out against the injustice when Draupadi was being insulted.
Sahdev was reading,"Barley, 448 Kg, ground slaked lime, 29859200 Kg, unground slaked lime, 18662000 Kg -"
Yudhishthir was pretty irritated by the long list, but not showing interest doesn't look good, thus he asked, "Will that be enough ?"
Sahdev said, "It will be enough. It's only 7 Akshouhini, and the war will extend maximum till 20 days, and there will be plenty of casualties. Now, Listen - Ghee, 100000 pots -"
"You'll make me a beggar, I see. From where will I get so much of money ?"
"What's the need of money ? All of this I bought in credit. You shall pay them with sweet words after victory. Oil, 200000 pots, salt, 1866200 Kg -"
"Stop, stop ! Do whatever you wish, why dragging 'me' in between ? I understand the Vedas, the duties of the king, the law. Mathematics is a Vaishya's job, I can never understand that."
When such a discussion was going on, a guard came and informed them about an unknown hunchbacked person who sought to meet the king. Sahdev said, "No, Maharaaj is busy with his daily works now, ask him to come in the evening."
But, Yudhishthir, much eager to free himself from Sahdev and his lists said, "No, no ! Bring him just now !"
The newcomer was a hunchbacked old man, bald, with a huge pagdi on his head. He wore a blue stone necklace, and a long loose dress. He folded his hands as Namaskar and said, "May Dharmaraaj Yudhishthir be victorious !"
Yudhishthir asked, "Who are you gentleman ?"
The man said, "Please forgive me, but I wanted to speak only to the king."
Yudhishthir said,"Sahdev, you may leave now. Go and check the bags of peas, whether they have insects or not." Sahdev left with an irritated and suspicious mind.
The newcomer said in a whisper, "I am King Subal's son, Matkuni, Shakuni's step-brother."
"What good fortune ! You are our respectable uncle, please take this throne !"
"No, Maharaaj, I'm merely a maid's son."
"Fine. Then sit on that lower seat, and please reveal the reason of your arrival ! But Uncle, why haven't we seen you before ?"
"How would you see Maharaaj ? I prefer to be inside a house, and also, I was not here since the last 13 years. I couldn't become a warrior due to this hunch, so I studied the science of engineering and mantras, and have excelled in that. Vishwakarma, the teacher of the Gods, has blessed me. But, Maharaaj, I've heard that you're excellent with Dyut ?"
"Yes, people say so."
"Still you lost to Shakuni. Do you know why ?"
Yudhishthir replied with anger, "Shakuni, had used dishonesty to defeat me !"
Matkuni smiled a little, "There is nothing called honest and dishonest in a Dyut. If both the sides depend on luck, then normal people say it is honest. If one side depends on luck and the other side used his own intelligence, then the defeated side says it's dishonesty. Dharmaraaj, your luck-assisted dice has been defeated by Shakuni's brain-assisted dice. Now, you use a greater amount of intelligence, shoot a Raam-arrow against a Ravan-arrow, the Goddess of Dyut will choose you."
"Uncle, your words are not entering my head. People say that Shakuni's dice has a gold plate attached to one of its side, the opposite of which has the maximum digits, and so every time, it wins."
"Maharaaj, people don't know the real story. Many people use gold or lead plated dice, but that is not absolutely safe, as out of many times, a few times, the dice is bound to roll.Recollect, you had played for a number of time, did you win even once ?"
Yudhishthir replied with a sigh, "No, not even once."
"So ? Shakuni, is an experienced player. He wouldn't have played against you without absolute surety."
"But what's the use of these words now ? The war is nearing, there is no chance of another Dyut-sabha, and I can't defeat Shakuni anyway."
"Dharmaputra, don't lose hope. Listen to me now. Shakuni's dice was made by me, I have placed a magical spell inside it, so it is infallible. That Shakuni, has learnt the secret from me and discarded me. He had promised to give me the kingdom of Indraprasth, after you five had left for exile. When you left, I went to Duryodhan. He said - I don't know anything, ask Mamashri. And when I went to Shakuni, He said - What do I know, go to Duryodhan ! After this, the two of them imprisoned me in a secret fortress in the country of Balhik. I somehow fled from there after 13 long years, to meet you."
Yudhishthir said, "Oh, so do you want to roll me like a dice to get Indraprasth now ?"
"Dharmaraaj, I beg pardon for my previous mistake, but now I am your greatest well-wisher. I was like a fool, who tried to touch the moon of Indraprasth, but believe me, I've suffered enough for that. I will be content, if after your victory, you dethrone Shakuni and give me the kingdom of Gandhaar Only."
"As a prize for what your ingenious dice has done to me and my family ?"
Matkuni replied, embarrassed, "No Maharaaj, that's past. now listen, I've received news, that Dhritarashtra is sending Sanjay to you. Under the influence of Shakuni and Duryodhan, the old king is again inviting you for a Dyut. Maharaaj, don't miss this golden opportunity."
Just then, the sound of the wheels were heard. Matkuni said in an alarming tone, "Maharaaj, I beg you, don't deny. Tell Sanjay, that you'll think and send a messenger. I'll reveal my plan after Sanjay leaves. Till then I'm hiding is that room."
Edited by Radhikerani - 07 September 2014 at 4:28am