When Dhirdarashtra came to know of the marriage of the Pandavas to Draupadi, he probably realized that the Pandavas were no longer poor sons of his brother - Pandu. Dhirdarastra immediately divided the kingdom of Hastinapur and assigned the Khandavaprastha to the Pandavas. It is interesting to note that the exact reason given by Dhiradarashtra for dividing the kingdom was that he wanted to make sure that there was no difference of opinion between his sons and the Pandavas and that he wanted to make sure that the Pandavas faced no further injury.
Khandavaprastha was originally a desert. Arjuna and Krishna helped Lord Agni in burning the dangerous forest of Khandava which was home to many asuras and nagas.
In doing so, Arjuna and Krishna won the friendship of one of the most brilliant architects of an era long gone – Maya, the architect of the asuras.
When Arjuna spared the life of Maya, who resided in the Khandaprastha, Maya insisted on doing something in return to the Pandavas. Wanting nothing for himself, Arjuna asked Maya to obey the wishes of Krishna. Krishna asked Maya to build a ‘sabha’ (Meeting Hall) in Khandavaprastha, of such grandeur that no one would be able to imitate the sabha even a after examining the same again and again. Krishna asked Maya to build the sabha combining the architecture of the Devas, Asuras and the humans.
And thus in the place of the barren Khandavaprastha came the exquisite Indraprastha. It is said that Indraprastha rivaled the beauty of the Bhogvathi, the prosperous city in the netherworld and Amaravathi, the city of Indra, in the heavens.
Such a beautiful place was one of the root causes for the ultimate war between the Pandavas and the Kauravas….
Subsequently with the help of Krishna, the Pandavas killed Jarasandha, a powerful king of Magadha. After the death of Jarasandha, Yudhishtara performed the Rajasuya yagna which was for proclaiming himself as the emperor of the country.
Yudhishtara invited Dhiradarashtra and the other elders of Hastinapur for the Rajasuya. It was during the Rajasuya yagna, Duryodhana was given the job of handling the wealth which came in from the various kings of the country. The collected wealth was enormous and given generously. The ‘Sabha’ was probably built using optic illusions because in some places it looked like a stream was running through the palace and some places looked like the place was closed, though the door was open wide.
Duryodhana saw all this and he burned with jealousy. Already he felt insecure of his cousins, now their prosperity almost drove him insane.
He along with Karna, Dusshasana and Shakuni hatched a plot to take everything away from the Pandavas without any unnecessary bloodshed. And so with Dhirdarashtra’s blessings came the dice game…A simple game which went so much out of control that it changed the very essence of the enmity between the Pandavas and the Kauravas….
During the dice game, Duryodhana, Dusshasana and Karna misbehaved with Draupadi so badly that it was said that unholy signs which signified the end of the entire Kaurava race was heard and seen by all the people in the Kuru assembly. And in the name of the dice game being considered proper, the Pandavas were also quiet and did not question the atrocities of Duryodhana, Dusshasana and Karna.
And strangely enough, the great teacher – Dronacharya, the man who had taught the Kauravas and the Pandavas, kept quiet when Drauapdi came asking him about the rightness of Duryodhana’s act. Not just him, Bhishma and Kripacharya also chose to remain silent…..