By now the period of twelve years which
they had to spend in a forest was over. Next the Pandavas had to spend a year incognito.
How could five famous heroes, with a very beautiful wife, remain unknown for one full year
anywhere? Would the Kauravas keep quiet?
And it would be most difficult for Draupadi, because she was a woman.
The Pandavas thought for long. And then they took secret decision. Yudhishthira
disguised himself as a pious Brahmin. He assumed the name of Kanka Bhatta and entered the
place of Virata, the King of the Mathsya country. Bheema joined service in the kitchen of
Virata, taking the name of Valala. Arjuna, to be known as Brihannala, taught dancing to
the princesses. Nakula joined the royal stables as a supervisor and Sahadeva began to look
after the palace dairy.
Draupadi went to Queen Sudeshna and begged to be taken as one of her attendants. The
Queen was more than surprised at the great beauty of Draupadi. So she asked, "who are
you? Where you do you come from?"
"I am wife to five Gandharas who are divine musicians. I am expert at doing the
hair. I shall stay with you for one year and then go away."
Queen Sudeshna was pleased and engaged her.
Draupadi, daughter of the powerful King Draupada, wife of the Pamdavas who could
conquer the whole world, she who sat on the throne as an empress and was accepted by Lord
Krishna himself as his sister, was now a servant to Queen Sudeshna.
Yet she could at least see her husbands who were in the same palace; and this was a
But trouble was ahead !