285 chapter (overall). Ch 60 of Sabha Parva
Reading of Chapter 285 (overall), chapter 60 (within the Sabha Parva)
(Dyuta Parva: 27th Parva as per the 100-Parva classification; Sabha Parva: 2nd parva as per the 18-Parva classification)
(read from Mahabharata Volume 2 (The complete, unabridged Mahabharata), translated by Bibek Debroy)
Direct YouTube link to Ch 285: http://www.youtube.com/embed/6aPJSV1cCcM
The act that sealed a clan's fate.
Since Vidura refused, and also made the case that Droupadi had not been won, Pratikamin, the attendant, was dispatched by Duryodhana to fetch Droupadi. Droupadi asks Pratikamin to "Go back to the assembly hall and ask that gambler from the Bharata lineage whether he first lost himself or me."
The Critical Edition ties itself into knots here, as explained in the chapter's footnote - "There seems to be a break in the text." Yudhishtra sends his trusted servant to have Droupadi come to the sabha. On the other hand, Duryodhana sends Duhshasana to bring Droupadi. Both cannot be true. Probably the editors got excited by the story and left both versions in.
Anyway, Duhshasana, without any sense of irony, asks Droupadi to "Look upon Duryodhana without any shame." He grabs her hair and drags her into the sabha.
"She had protectors, but was without a protector."When confronted by Droupadi, Bhishma prevaricates, or perhaps he was genuinely in a quandary, and ignored the normative response that he should have uttered.
"I cannot properly resolve the question you have posed. One without property cannot stake the property of others. But women are always the property of their husbands."
I have read this chapter from Vol.2 of Bibek Debroy's translation of the unabridged Mahabharata. You can find my review of the volume here.
Mahabharata Volume 2 (The complete, unabridged Mahabharata) (Amazon.com, Kindle, Flipkart)
Kindle ebook Excerpt: