Keechaka was Queen Sudeshnas younger
brother, and a very strong man. Once he saw Draupadi. He was moved by her great beauty and
asked his sister, "Who is this very beautiful woman?"
Sudeshna could make out the evil thoughts of her brother. She was afraid. She replied,
"Brother, though she is a servant she is a very virtuous woman. She is the wife of
five Gandharavas, it seems."
Without the knowledge of the Queen, Keechaka begged Draupadi "enough of
this service. Come and be my queen."
Draupadi warned him "Leave such evil thoughts or else you will be like a
weak boy jumping into a folded river to cross it." She ran away from him. But
Keechaka followed her like an evil spirit.
Once he actually chased her. Draupadi ran away with fear. She entered the royal court.
There was King Virata. Kanka Bhatta and Valala were also there. Keechaka angrily pushed
her and walked away. His eyes were burning with anger.
Draupadi was now like a cobra whose hood had been touched. She thundered, "You are
all watching passively, when a man pushes about a woman ! Is this a Kings way?"
The cook Valala Who was Bheema in disguise was hissing in anger. He
stared at a tree as if he would wrench a branch and kill Keecaka with it. But
Yudhishthira clevery said, "Cook valala, why do you eye that tree thus? It should not
be felled now. There is still time." He also consoled Draupadi and sent her back.
But Draupadi could not control her anger and agony. That night she went to bed and wept
and wept. In the dead of the night she quietly went to Bheema and said tauntingly
"While Keechaka tortures me, are you meditating with closed eyes?"
"I wanted to finish him," Bheema said. "But brother Yudhishthira came in
the way. Wait for a few days."
Draupadi was enraged and said, "I came with some trust and confidence in you. With
five heroes as my husbands, there is none to protect my honour. Yudhishthira is always
bound by justice and morality. Arjuna is busy teaching dancing. Nakula and Sahadeva are
not strong enough. After you took to cooking, your arms also have become weak. Alas, what
could you do? You are not to blame. But it is not one or two insults I have suffered. I
only cause trouble to you people, and am a source of trouble. At least permit me to
Pity welled up in Bheemas heart at her condition "calm yourself," he
told her. "Make Keechaka come to the dancing hall I will finish his story."
The next day Keechaka came to the Queens apartment, and again he began to follow
and tease Draupadi. But what a surprise! She seemed to favour him. "Come tonight to
the dancing hall," she told him.
Keechakas joy knew no bounds. He went that night to the dancing hall. Bheema
pounced upon him. But Keechaka was also no ordinay man. He was a hero among heroes. There
was a terrific fight. And Bheema killed him.
The next day thee was commotion in Virata Nagara. The city was full of rumours. Queen
Sudeshna wept in sorrow. Keechakas brothers boiled with rage that because of her,
their eldest brother had been killed. They determined to burn her along with
Keechakas body and caught hold of her.
How could one helpless woman resist so may wicked persons? Bheema went quietly to the
cremation ground. He uprooted some trees, took them with him, and beat the wicked fellows
to their death with those trees.
Sudeshna called Draupadi and said to her with folded hands "Enough harm has
been done. Please go away."
"There are just a few days more," Draupadi said, "and then my husbands
will take me away.
Thus the year was over. The Pandavas and Draupadi gave up their disguises and appeared
in their true forms. King Virata was overjoyed. He celebrated the marriage of his daughter
Uttara with Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna and Subhadra.