When Vidura came to know
that Dhritharashtra and his children had planned to send the Pandavas and their mother
from Hastinapura to Varanavatha, he suspected that there was some deception. That was why
he cautioned the Pandavas in words which others could not understand.
In Varanavatha a new palace had been built for the
Pandavas. It was named Mangala Mandira. Duryodhana the son of Dhritharashtra,
had ordered that the palace should be built; it was spledidly furnished for a life of
When the Pandavas occupied Mangala Mandira they did not
forget Viduras warning. They examined the new palace closely. The examined the new
palace closely. The building was no doubt beautiful. But the materials used were such as
to burn easily, like wood, coir and lacquer. The meaning of Viduras warning was
clear to them. They realized the cruel plan hatched by the Kauravas to set fire to their
house and burn them.
Vidura had expected that Duryodhana would think of setting
fire to Mangala Mandira after the Pandavas had stayed there for some time and settled down
comfortably. He wished to arrange for the escape of Pandavas from the palace if such a
misfortune befell them. He sent an architect to the Pandavas. Unknown to anybody the
architect dug a tunnel leading out of Mangala Mandira.
One night Bhima himself set fire to the palace. The
Pandavas escaped by the tunnel. The palace began to burn fiercely. The citizens saw this
and ran to the palace. But it was impossible to put out the fire. Within a few minutes
Mangala Mandira was burnt down.
People thought that the Pandavas and their mother had
perished in the fire. They informed Dhritharashtra in Hastinapura accordingly. On hearing
this news Dhritharashtra and his children were happy that the Pandavas were dead. But
outwardly they pretended grief and wept bitterly.
Vidura believed that the Pandavas had not perished in the
fire but had escaped through the tunnel. But he did -not know where they were and what
they were doing. He was therefore anxious and worried.