WHEN the Pandavas lost their empire to the Kauravas and were forced to wander in the forest, often they were forced to leave Draupadi alone in the hut while they went out in search of food.
One day, when she was alone, she noticed Jayadhrata, the king of Sindhu, standing at the mouth of the cave in which the Pandavas had set up their home. He had married Dusshala, the only sister of the Kauravas. She felt suspicious of his intentions but since he was her guest, she offered him fruits and water and told him to wait as her husbands were expected to return any time.
Jayadhrata replied cunningly, “No, I do not want to meet them. I have come to see you and brought these gifts for you. This is nothing at all. If you were to come with me to my palace, I shall offer the entire kingdom to you.” So saying, he placed all kinds of gifts in front of her to entice her.
Draupadi was riled at his impertinence and screamed at him, “How dare you speak to me like this? Wait till my husbands come to hear of this. They will not leave you alive.”
Jayadhrata, unable to make any headway with her, now became abusive and said, “What are you so proud of? After all you are only a whore to be the wife of five Pandavas, who did not even have the guts to protect you when you were being disrobed in public.” Then he began to pull her towards his chariot to carry her away to his kingdom. Despite resisting him as much as she could, he soon overpowered her and sped away with her in his chariot. She went screaming all the way in the hope of attracting attention. Some sages who were meditating in the forest had noticed this and went running to the Pandavas to warn them, who rushed back and following the trail left behind by Jayadhrata’s chariot, went rushing after him. Bhima and Arjuna caught up with him and Arjuna aimed his arrows at the wheels of Jayadhrata’s chariot and broke one of its wheels, sending the chariot collapsing. Bhima went and sat down on his chest and threatened to kill him. Jayadhrata began to beg, “Please leave me.” Meanwhile Yudhishtira reached the scene and entreated, “Do not kill him. He is the husband of my only sister and she will become a widow.”
The Pandavas realised that Yudhishtira was correct and they let him go. But Bhima was still fuming with rage and caught Jayadhrata by his hair and pulled them all out, leaving behind only five tufts to remind him that he had been spared his life by the five Pandavas.