There lived a king named Naḻa in the province of Niṣadha. He was strong, virtuous, handsome, and was considered foremost among the kings. The province of Vidarbha was ruled by a king named Bhīma who had a daughter named Damayantī and three sons – Dama, Dānta, and Damana. Damayantī’s beauty and noble character was known far and wide. It appeared that men and devatas had never seen a lady like her. Anyone who came to see her spoke highly of Naḻa and anyone who visited Naḻa praised Damayantī before him.
Arjuna stood there and undertook a terrible penance, subsisting entirely on fruits and leaves. Aggrieved by this, all the great seers in that region went to meet Śiva. Giving them solace, Śiva said, “All you return to your homes with joy and contentment; I know about Arjuna’s saṅkalpa (intention, conviction); he desires not the heavens, or wealth, or long life; what he wishes for, I shall send it to him at once!” He then donned the garb of a hunter, took his bow Pināka, and set out along with Pārvatī.
Draupadī said, “I am not denigrating dharma nor am I criticizing the Supreme; I'm just lamenting about my difficulties. The fruit of the action manifests itself only through karma, not through dharma; a man who falls asleep, entirely dependent on fate gets destroyed like a green pot kept in water. A capable man should not sit idle and silent for a long time, like one who is helpless. If one lacks competence, the fruits of his actions might be limited or he may not get anything; but one who doesn’t engage himself in action neither gets competence nor the fruits.
Kirmīra was an asura endowed with magical powers who inhabited the Kāmyaka forest. He was a brother of Bakāsura and a friend of Hiḍimba; Bhīma killed him. When Vidura visited the Pāṇḍavas in the forest, Kirmīra’s fallen body was still lying there. Having seen this and heard all the details about the episode, Vidura told Dhṛtarāṣṭra later on, after he returned to Hastinagara.
Śakuni said, “King Yudhiṣṭhira! Dhṛtarāṣṭra has arranged for the return of all your wealth; what he’s done is right. I’ve now suggested a condition that’s greater than acquiring wealth. If you defeat us in the game of dice, we shall don garments made from deerskin and retire to the forest for twelve years; then we will spend the thirteenth year incognito. If you find our whereabouts in the thirteenth year, we’ll stay in the forest for twelve more years.
Duryodhana began taunting Dharmarāja who had remained silent all this while. He said, “O great king! Bhīma, Arjuna, and the twins are your followers. They listen to your words. So please answer my question. Have you lost Kṛṣṇā or have you not?” With these words, Duryodhana who was overcome with greed, cast a lustful glance at Draupadī and let out an evil guffaw. He tried to humiliate Bhīma with his gestures. He pulled back his lower garment and revealed his left thigh that looked like an elephant trunk and made Draupadī look at it. Bhīma was enraged.
Duśśāsana pulled Draupadī’s garment and taunted her in vulgar language, even as she lamented, looking helplessly at the pale faces of her husbands. Her garment was dropping off her shoulder. Looking at this, Bhīma was greatly pained and told Dharmarāja in a furious tone, “O King! Gamblers never go to the extent of pledging their servants out of compassion for them. The Kauravas, through deception, have won over everything that was in our possession – the treasures that the king of Kāśi had offered to us as a sign of respect, our chariots, our weapons, and the entire kingdom.
Vidura’s advice fell on deaf ears. Śakuni said to Dharmarāja, “Yudhiṣṭhira, you’ve lost a lot of wealth. Tell us if there is something you haven’t yet lost!”
Yudhiṣṭhira replied, “I know how much of wealth I have – my riches are immeasurable. Why do you ask, Śakuni? I can pledge any amount I want – ayuta, prayuta, padma, arbuda. śaṅkha, nikharva, samudra , anything..!”
Yudhiṣṭhira welcomed Vidura with great joy at Khāṇḍavaprastha. He enquired after the wellbeing of Dhṛtarāṣṭra and his sons. Observing that Vidura’s face lacked joy, he asked, “Dear uncle, what’s the matter? It looks like you’re not happy! Is everything alright? Are the children and citizens coping well with Dhṛtarāṣṭra?” Vidura said, “The king his children are keeping well. He’s pleased with his obedient children. He enquired after your wellbeing. He has heard about the grand assembly hall you’ve built here and has built a similar one at Hastināpura.