The Noble Prince
The Birth of Karna
The Pandava Princes
The Great Archer
The Charioteer's Son
The Shellac Palace
The Slaying of Bakasura
Draupadi's Swayamvara
The Rajasuya Sacrifice
The Game of Dice
In Exile
The Year in Hiding
The Defence of Matsya
The Exile Ends
Envoys and Missions
Preparing for the War
Kurukshetra and After
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In Exile

When the news of the Pandavas banishment reached Drupada, he hurried to meet them. Krishna too came quickly to their side, full of concern at the events that had taken place.

Draupadi related to her father, the great humiliation she had suffered at the hands of the sons of Dhritarashtra. Krishna consoled the weeping Draupadi. Drupada and Dhrishtadyumna returned to Panchala, taking the young sons of Draupadi with them. Krishna returned to Dwarka with his sister Subhadra, the wife of Arjuna, and her infant son Abhimanyu.

The exiled Pandavas made their way into the forest where they were to spend the days of their banishment. They were under no illusion that Duryodhana would return their Kingdom at the end of their exile. So they started preparing themselves for the impending conflict. On the advice of Sage Vyasa, Arjuna was sent to the Himalayas to obtain divine weapons from the Gods. In the Himalayas Arjuna fasted and prayed to Lord Shiva.

One day, a wild boar charged Arjuna and he shot it with an arrow. At the same moment a hunter's arrow also hit the boar. Arjuna shouted, "Who are you, and how dare you shoot at the game I am hunting?"

The hunter replied, "It is for me instead, to ask what YOU are doing in our forest. Besides, it was MY arrow that killed the boar. You are welcome to fight it out with me."

Arjuna lifted his Gandiva bow and shot arrows at the hunter but was amazed that they had no more effect than a shower of rain against a rock. At this point Arjuna sought divine aid and meditated on Shiva. As he did so, he realized that the hunter was Lord Shiva himself. Throwing himself at his feet, Arjuna prayed for forgiveness. Shiva smiled and blessed Arjuna, saying, "Go to heaven and pay your respects to your father Indra," before disappearing. Just then Indra's charioteer Matali came with his chariot and took Arjuna to heaven. Arjuna lived there for five years, learning the use of the weapons he had won and many other sciences and arts, including music and dance from Chitrasena. When he felt he had learnt all the things that had to be learned, Indra sent him back to the earth with his blessings and many divine weapons.

The twelve-year period of exile was drawing to a close. One day the Pandava brothers, in pursuit of a deer in the forest, wandered far from their dwelling place. The sun was hot overhead and they grew thirsty. The deer were out of sight, and they sat down under a tree to rest.

Yudhishthira was feeling very thirsty and said, "Nakula, climb a tree and see if there is any river or pond nearby." Nakula climbed up and saw a pond at some distance. He went to fetch water for his brothers. On reaching the pond, Nakula decided to quench his thirst before taking some water for his brothers. As he dipped his hand in the water he heard a voice, "Beware! This pond belongs to me. Before you drink, you must answer my questions." Nakula did not pause and drank the water. At once he fell dead.