Lust is the thorn on the flower of love. Lust is to the other passions, what the nervous fluid is to life; it supports them all, lends strength to desire, avarice, cruelty, and revenge, and brings in its wake destruction, either of the one who lusts or the object of his desire.
This is a tale from the Mahabharata, of the time during the 13 year wrongful exile of the Pandavas, and during the last year of their Agyatvasa, when they lived disguised as servants in the kingdom of Virata. A tale of Draupadi, who in her disguise as Sairaindri, unwittingly fell prey to Keechaka’s lust.
Keechaka looked at the maiden plucking flowers from the palace garden. She looked like a dream. Her eyes danced, as they flitted like a butterfly, from one flower to another. The veil over her head fluttered as the wind tried to tug it off her head. She laughed as she draped it around her head again, and the sound of her laughter gave him goose bumps. He looked at her lips, slightly parted, luscious and inviting. He could almost taste the nectar in her lips, and he was possessed with the thought of locking his own into them.
As the wind flirted with her veil, he saw her bare shoulders. He sighed.
How he longed to bite into her flesh and leave his mark on her pristine skin!
His gaze lingered on her body, moving to her bosom and then to her slender waist, and as he undressed her with his eyes, he felt the burning desire in his loins, like he had felt every day since he had laid his eyes on her. He couldn’t bear to look at her anymore. The heat consumed him and he thought the fire would engulf him right then. He needed to own her tonight, or risk being burnt to cinders. He looked away, and walked to the royal bath, drowning himself in a pool of cold water.
“Sudeshna,” he thundered, entering his sister’s chamber that evening. “Who is that new maid of yours?”
“Send her to my chamber tonight.”
“Brother, stay away from her, she is guarded by five Gandharva husbands,” cautioned the queen of Virata.
“Do as I say,” he commanded.
No one had dared disobey Keechaka, for, the power he wielded in the kingdom was frightening.
“Sairaindri,” she called Draupadi, after supper was over, “Keechaka, my brother has asked for some wine. Go over to his chamber and supply him some wine.”
“Maharani Sudeshna, I don’t think it is appropriate for me to do so,” said Draupadi, quite aware of Keechaka’s roving eye.
But no amount of pleading helped. Bowing in to the queen's command, Sairaindri covered her head with a veil and carrying the tray of wine walked to Keechaka’s chamber.
Seeing Sairaindri in his chamber, Keechaka tried hard to conceal his palpable excitement, “Come my love,” he said, pulling her towards him, “Come and please your master. I will weigh you in gold. A beautiful nymph like you does not deserve to be a mere maid.”
As he forced his lips onto hers, she screamed and struggled to break free. He dragged her by her hair and pulled her veil off her head in one swift action. Using all her strength, she pushed him away and ran, with Keechaka pursuing her hotly. Finally, he lost her as she escaped and hid in her room.
“Paanchali,” said Bheem, as he entered the room and saw her shivering in a corner, her eyes red and swollen with incessant crying, her lips bleeding, her hair a mess, and clothes in disarray. “Who dared to do this to you?” he thundered.
Draupadi clung to him like a child to her mother, crying copiously, narrating the lustful attack by Keechaka.
And despite the request by Yudhistir, despite knowing that their Agyatvas if broken, could sentence them to further thirteen years of exile, Bheem’s anger erupted like a volcano waiting to spew its molten magma. And the lava did spill, taking the lustful Keechaka in its wake, reducing him into an unrecognizable pulp.
This day....last year...L for Letting go