Virata Parva contains 2590 verses and 5 upaparvas, or divisions. Out of the 18 Mahabharata Parva, or books, Virata Parva is the fourth. Given below are details of Virata Parva and the The Mahabharata synopsis of Chapter 4.
An overview of Virata Parva of Mahabharata
(1) Pandava Pravesaparva
This section has 12 chapters. Vaisampayana informed Janamejaya of the Pandavaas’ covert presence in the city of Virata in response to his question. The gift of not being recognised by the public, wherever they may reside, was given to Yudhishthira by Dharma. After returning the arani and the churning stick to the Brahmin, he returned to his hermitage and informed him what had transpired to the Brahmins. Then he informed his brothers that the previous twelve years had been spent in the woods and that the following year would be spent secretly.
He instructed them to choose the ideal location where they could stay incognito and away from their adversaries. Arjuna then offered several locations. From this list, Yudhishthira chose the city of Virata, and he then asked his brothers what tasks they should assign to Matsyaraja when they visited the city of Virata. He will join the royal assembly of Virata as a Brahmin under the name Kanka since he was an outstanding dice player. Bhima stated that he would enter the royal service as a cook and go by the name Ballava.
Arjuna said that he would change his name to Brihannala and become a eunuch. He would instruct the city’s women in music and dancing. When Yudhishthira inquired, Nakula said that he was an authority on equine science. Therefore, he would travel there and serve in the stables under the name Granthika. Sahadeva introduced himself as Tantipala and claimed that since he was skilled in caring for livestock and milking cows, he would take over management of the cattle-sheds.
Yudhishthira declared that she would go by the name Sairandhri when she began to worry about Draupadi. She was an expert in styling hair in a variety of ways. Thus, after agreeing on what they should do, the Pandavas requested Dhaumya’s consent.
The latter gave them advice about how to act within the royal home. Then Draupadi and the Pandavas departed towards the city of Virata.
Yudhishthira questioned Arjuna on where they should hide their weapons before approaching the city as they drew close the city. Arjuna claimed that it was challenging to climb a large Sami tree that was perched on a hilltop close to the graveyard. There would be little chance of anyone monitoring them while they hid the weapons because it was a deserted area. Yudhishthira then gave Nakula the command to retain the weapons atop the tree. Nakula scaled the tree and secured the weapons with sturdy ropes after keeping them in the tree’s hollow. Later, they brought a corpse and fastened it to the trees, keeping everyone away from it. Then, in order to remain undetected, they went into Virata.
Yudhishthira mentally thanked the Divine Durga as he entered. He received the grace of Mother Durga. After making a commitment to look after their safety, she left the area. Later, the Pandavas began working for the royal court while hiding their identities to fulfil their responsibilities.
(2) Samayapalana Parva
There are 13 chapters in this section. The Pandavas were working for the monarch of Virata during their time in hiding in the Matsyan capital. Vaisampayana had recounted the actions of the Pandavas while they were serving Virata at Janamejaya’s request.
The king and other players were compelled to play the game in the gambling hall by Yudhishthira, who threw the dice at his command. The money that the monarch gave the Pandavas as a reward for their accomplishments was divided among them. When she had the chance, Draupadi also cared for her husbands. The Pandavas lived in the city of Virata in seclusion, much as they did in their mother’s womb.
A significant feast in honour of Brahma was held in the kingdom of Matsya when the fourth month of their covert stay began. Thousands of wrestlers came from all directions to take part in it. One large wrestler among them issued a challenge to other wrestlers to engage in combat with him. But no one could confront him. The king of Matsya then gave his Chef-de-Cuisine Bhima the command to battle beside him when they had all fallen silent. Bhima followed his orders. He was murdered by Bhima in a bloody struggle. The slaying of renowned wrestler Jimuta made the monarch happy, and he gave Bhima a sizable gift. The king was pleased that the Pandavas kept their presence there secretive.
(3) Kichakavadha Parva
This section has 11 chapters. The Pandavas stayed in Virata for ten months after travelling there in secret. Serving the queen Sudheshna, Draupadi was residing in the royal quarters. There wasn’t much time left to finish the ajnatavasa, stay in disguise. Kichaka, the Virata king’s general, fell in love with Draupadi after seeing her one day. In order to express himself, he went to his sister Sudheshna, where he discovered that Draupadi was her maid.
He approached Draupadi and declared his passion before promising to leave behind all of his previous lovers. They would work for her as her slaves. He would also start acting like a servant in front of her. Draupadi reprimanded him after hearing those comments, noting that it was improper for someone of his status to plead with a humble servant. Furthermore, it was improper to covet her because she was the wife of someone else. She made this attempt to persuade him, but he was unmoved. He also began to speak lustfully. Then Draupadi forewarned him, explaining that she was constantly safeguarded by the five horrible Gandharvas. Her spouses were those men. They threatened to murder him if he interacted poorly with her. Thus, Draupadi, the lovesick, was spurned. In front of Sudheshna, Kichaka expressed his emotions. The latter also made an unsuccessful attempt to persuade him. But out of love for her brother, she devised a scheme to send Draupadi to him and instructed him to provide food and brew alcohol for any festive occasion. Additionally, she would pretend to be bringing alcohol when sending Sairandhri to his castle. As his sister had promised, Kichaaka left.
Kichaka contacted Sudheshna on a special day, having prepared food and other things, and requested her to send Sairandhri to him. Upon his swift return, Sudheshna gave Draupadi the assignment to carry some alcohol to Kichaka’s home. Draupadi grabbed a tumbler and travelled to Kichaka’s home while mentally pleading to the sun to protect her and sobbing with uncertainty. Upon seeing her, the latter was overjoyed. He attempted to draw her toward him by touching her right hand. He was knocked to the ground by Draupadi, who then sprinted in the direction of Yudhishthira who was in the royal court. Kichaka stood up and grabbed Draupadi’s hair after chasing her. He tossed her to the ground and kicked her even while the king watched.
Kichaka was raised and thrown away by the Rakshasa who had been chosen by the sun to guard her. Kichaka collapsed senseless to the ground. At that moment, Bhima was also present in the court. Yudhishthira restrained Bhima from losing his cool out of concern that their secret may be discovered. To be saved, Draupadi pleaded to the ruler of Matsya. The monarch was unable to punish Kichaka, though. So he made an effort to placate her. However, Draupadi criticised the king in her speech. She alleged that Kichaka was ignorant of the dharma. The king also lacked dharma knowledge. Everyone who stayed with him lacked dharma knowledge as well. After hearing what she had to say, the monarch declared that the two had a disagreement, but not in his presence. Therefore, without knowing the facts, he could not render justice.
The assembly members began to glorify Draupadi and criticise Kichaka. According to Yudhishthira’s advice, Draupadi hastily travelled to Sudheshna’s palace. She then made a vow for Kichaka’s demise. As Draupadi considered her role in Kichaka’s murder, she went to Bhima’s chambers and roused him from his nap. In order to prevent anybody from learning of her visit, Bhima requested her to swiftly explain her motive for coming and then return to her sleeping room.
Draupadi expressed her sorrow about their situation and took responsibility for all of their bad luck. It was preferable for her to take poison to end her life than to fall into Kichaka’s hands. She said as she put her head on Bhima’s chest and began to sob pitifully. Bhima comforted her by giving her a heart-to-heart embrace and promising to murder Kichaka and his family that same day. He encouraged her to go to Kichaka early the next night and invite him to the dance hall in order to get through her grief.
Kichaka would be taken care of by Bhima once he entered the dancing hall. At that point, Draupadi left the area.
After the night was through, Kichaka awoke and went to the palace to inform Draupadi that he was the army’s general. She was beyond saving. They should be in a relationship with one another. Draupadi stipulated that no one should be aware that he came to meet her in light of what Bhima had previously informed her. She was his property if he consented to it. Kichaka agreed to her terms and informed her that he would be meeting her alone that evening at the dance club. That moron was unaware that Death, appearing as Sairandhri, was pursuing him.
Bhima was informed by Draupadi about Kichaka’s coming to the dancing hall. First, the latter walked there and sat down on a bed. When Kichaka arrived to see Draupadi, he touched him, mistaking him for Sairandhri. Bhima, who was furious over the insult to Draupadi, got to his feet right away. Between the two, there was a tremendous altercation. Finally, Bhima murdered Kichaka in order to appease himself. After saying goodbye to Draupadi, he left. Draupadi rejoiced at Kichaka’s passing as well. She hurried to the royal guards and said that her Gandharva husbands had murdered the amorous Kichaka in the dancing hall. When Kichaka’s family learned about this, they travelled to the location and wept over his condition.
Sairandhri was there, hiding behind a pillar, when they arrived. They dragged Draupadi to the burial place with the king’s approval in order to burn her alive beside the corpse. When Bhima heard her screams, he went there dressed as someone else and killed the 155 Upakichakas to free Draupadi and console her. When the monarch heard the news from the people, he was quite terrified. Queen Sudheshna gave the order for Draupadi to travel somewhere else. Draupadi asked her to extend her stay for an additional 13 days. When she asked how long she could remain, Sudheshna said, “As long as you want,” adding that she wanted her husband and kids to be properly safeguarded.
(4) The Goharana Parva
There are 45 chapters in this part. When the spies who had been despatched to track down the Pandavas during their covert stay in Hastinapura arrived, they found Duryodhana seated in the royal court alongside Drona, Karna, Kripacharya, Bhishma, and others.
They claimed to have looked in all the right places for the Pandavas. But we failed to locate them. They may have been misplaced.
Even in Dwaraka, they were not there. The fact that certain Gandharvas killed Kichaka and his siblings while remaining anonymous was fantastic news for him. After saying thus, they awaited the king’s next commands. According to Duryodhana, the thirteenth year marked the majority of the Pandavas’ covert stay. There were not many days left. They must have cloaked themselves. So he told them to try and locate their address as soon as possible. Then Karna advised that another skilled spy be assigned the task. Karna was also helped by Dussasana.
The legendary warrior Drona later said that the Pandavas must be holding out for the right moment. They were unable to get lost. Therefore, whatever has to be done at that moment must be done promptly and thoughtfully. There should be no delay. It was necessary to send those who could accurately identify the Pandavas. Bhishma thanked Dharmaraja and stated that the Pandavas’ dharm and exceptional valour had done a great job of protecting them. He probably believed that the Pandavas could never be lost. Then he listed all the encouraging omens that would be present where Yudhishthira was residing and asserted that, if such omens were discovered anyplace, the Pandavas would undoubtedly be hiding there.
He therefore pushed Duryodhana to decide what needed to be done right now. Then Kripa, the sage Saradvan’s son, stood behind Bhishma and gave Duryodhana advice on what to do.
Duryodhana questioned whether Bhima had killed the powerful Kichaka at night in the name of a Gandharva for Draupadi. The majority of the indications provided by Bhishma correlated with the information his spies gave him about the Matsyan nation. They should thus attack that nation. Later, the Trigarta monarch Susarman offered the same counsel, and Karna backed him. After accepting his advice and receiving the elders’ approval, Duryodhana gave his younger brother Dussasana the authority to organise an attack against the Matsyan nation with the army. He instructed Susarman to launch his army’s initial assault from a certain location. A day later, they would travel there and assemble before attacking the Virata city.
They would first approach the livestock sheds and steal the cattle from there. On the seventh day of the dark fortnight, Susarman would launch an attack from the south-east to seize the livestock. The animals would be taken from one side the following day, which would be the ninth day. The Pandavas’ twelfth year of exile went without incident since they continued to work for the king of Virata in secret. Along with the ministers and Pandavas, the monarch was present at the court. The Trigartha warriors had just vanquished them when the herders entered to inform that the animals were being taken away.
The four Pandava brothers and the king Virata assembled their armies and marched into battle after hearing this. Susarman’s two forces engaged the king of Matsya in a bloody conflict. The king of the Matsyas was captured alive by Susarman on the second day after his army had successfully infiltrated the monarch’s defences. Yudhishthira gave Bhima the order to obtain the release of the monarch of Virata when the inhabitants and troops of the Matsya nation fled wildly and the king was apprehended.
As a result, Bhima showed off his skills in front of King Susarman. Sahadeva, Nakula, and Yudhishthira also slaughtered a great number of Trigartas. The Virata’s son Swetha fought valiantly as well.
When Bhima arrived to Susarman, he slaughtered his chariot’s horses and pulled the driver out. Susarman then jumped out of his chariot. Then Bhima grabbed him and tied chains around him. To Yudhishthira he brought him. But when he told him to, he let him go.
Susarman submitted to Virata and left for his native land.
The Dakshinagograhana was the name of this. Duryodhana, supported by Bhishma, Karna, Drona, and others, arrived from the north side to invade the city of Virata and took the latter’s herds while the latter was fighting with the Trigartas to free his animals. The terrified herders then fled to Virata’s palace to tell Bhuminjaya the news (Uttara). After making the decision to battle, Uttara requested a good charioteer for his chariot. In a prior fight, his charioteer was killed. The Pandavas’ covert stay was coming to an end. Arjuna then made a call to Draupadi and instructed her to inform Uttara that Brihannala was his preferred chauffeur. Brihannala could drive Uttara’s chariot if he so chose. Draupadi thereupon went to Uttara and instructed him to choose Brihannala as his driver. And Uttara begged Uttaraa, his sister, to bring Brihannala to him. Prince Uttara and his charioteer Brihannala afterwards armed themselves with a stunning bow and arrows and engaged in combat. Princess Uttara and her companions then requested Brihannala to send beautiful clothing for their dolls after successfully battling legendary warriors like Bhishma, Drona, etc. Brihannala then made a vow that if the prince won the fight, he would unquestionably bring those magnificent soldiers’ armour. Brihannala was given the directive by Uttara to approach the Kauravas’ army with the chariot.
As the large army was being guarded by Karna, Duryodhana, Kripacharya, Bhishma, Aswatthama, Drona, and others, Arjuna steered the chariot in their direction. Uttara trembled in terror at the sight of the massive army. He declared that he would not fight, even if someone made fun of him or stole some of his livestock. As soon as Uttara finished speaking, he leaped off the chariot, fled in terror, and left the bow and arrows behind. Arjuna chased him down and grabbed him by the hair to stop him. He boosted his confidence by promising to take on the Kauravas and by asking him to serve as his charioteer. So he persuaded him. He forced Uttara to ride in the chariot as he drove him to the Sami tree where he obtained his Gandiva bow.
When Bhishma, Drona, and others saw Brihannala, they began to laud him and questioned whether he was Arjuna. When Karna attempted to stop them, Duryodhana said that it was excellent if the person wearing Brihannala’s clothing was in fact Arjuna. After being discovered, the Pandavas would spend another twelve years in the woods. And if he were someone else wearing such outfit, he would shoot piercing arrows at him to bring him to the ground. As he continued, Bhishma, Drona, and others began to commend his bravery. Arjuna informed Uttara that the Pandavas’ bows were stored on the Sami tree while guiding him to it. Gandiva, Arjuna’s most potent bow, was one of them. He then requested Uttara to pull the weapons down from the tree by saying as much.
The latter voiced scepticism regarding the presence of a corpse there. He enquired as to how, as a prince, he may touch it. He should not have touched anything unclean. Arjuna removed his uncertainty. When Uttara followed his instructions, she was shocked to behold the holy weapons. Arjuna disclosed himself and his brothers’ real identity in response to his question. Uttara then bowed before Arjuna and expressed gratitude for the opportunity to meet him. He begged him to accept all of his ignorant remarks. His terror had vanished. He’d also start serving as Arjuna’s chauffeur. Uttara gathered the swords at Arjuna’s order and hurriedly down the tree. As their vow’s duration came to an end, Arjuna was freed from his eunuch-hood. After making a full circle around the Sami tree, Arjuna mounted Uttara as his charioteer and prepared for war.
He made a horrible noise with his large conch, which caused the Kaurava army to tremble. Drona predicted that Arjuna would be the one approaching. He declared that the omens pointed to their annihilation in his address to Duryodhana. It seems that all of the warriors had lost their zeal. He therefore instructed Duryodhana to dispatch the cattle and prepare for combat. The latter responded by arguing that the thirteenth year of the predetermined period of residence in the woods had not yet passed. They would have to endure another twelve years of vanavasa if Arjuna was discovered during the covert stay. He questioned whether their covert stay was still in effect. That could only be explained by Bhishma. But regardless of whether the approaching person was Arjuna, they should engage in combat with him. Karna backed him up as well and bragged that he was the only one capable of defeating Arjuna. Karna’s hasty actions were criticised by Kripa, who recommended that they fight Arjuna jointly. Aswatthama likewise denounced the actions of Karna and Duryodhana and vowed not to engage Arjuna in combat.
They were meant to battle Matsya’s monarch. Then, Grandfather Bhishma calmed everyone down. He pleaded with Kripacharya for pardon. A fantastic assignment awaited. This was not the time for internal conflicts. There, everyone should confront Arjuna at once. Then, Duryodhana begged Drona’s pardon on behalf of himself, Karna, Bhishma, and Kripa. Bhishma was questioned by Drona about the conclusion of the Pandavas’ covert stay.
Bhishma clarified that the divisions of Kala, Kashtha, Muhurta, etc. determine how the wheel of Time spins. In a five-year cycle, two extra months should be included due to the growth and contraction of these sub-divisions as well as the motions of the planets and stars. Thus, throughout the course of thirteen years, the Pandavas expended five months and twelve days.
He then presented Duryodhana with the notion of peace with the Pandavas after removing any remaining reservations. But the latter flatly rejected the idea and gave the order to begin making attack plans.
He requested that he march toward Hastinapura with one-fourth of his forces, and Bhishma complied. A further quarter would follow the herds. With half of their force, they would assault Arjuna. After saying this, Bhishma despatched Duryodhana first, followed by the animals, and then he began to organise the warriors. In order to confront Duryodhana and win back the cattle, Arjuna intended to avoid the honourable chariot-warriors. So he instructed Uttara to lead the chariot in the direction of Duryodhana. Uttara did this. Thousands of arrows were fired by Arjuna upon the Kaurava army.
He took the animals and headed to battle beside Duryodhana. Arjuna and Karna engaged in a bloody fight while travelling. Karna fled the battle after being tormented by Arjuna’s arrows. Even Kripacharya was unable to face Arjuna.
Then Drona started attacking Arjuna. The latter knelt before him and requested that he let go of the arrow first. Drona launched 21 arrows at him. Arjuna, however, split them in half. The two got into a heated argument. Drona eventually became hurt and left the area. Similar circumstances befell Dussasana and others. Arjuna and Bhisma engaged in a deadly combat. Bhishma’s charioteer led him away from the combat as he fell unconscious. Duryodhana followed suit. As they approached Hastinapura, the beaten Kaurava army moved. Arjuna, who had prevailed, travelled to the city of Virata with Uttara. Following the seizure of his herds, King Virata entered the city alongside the four Pandavas.
Everybody was happy. But when the monarch learned that his son Uttara had ridden into battle against the Kauravas in the uttara-gograhana with Brihannala serving as his charioteer, he became concerned (seizure of the cattle in the north). He was comforted by Yudhishthira. Messengers arrived just in time to deliver the good news that Uttara had won the war. The king was happy. He requested that Yudhishthir begin a game of dice.
He was told by Yudhishthira to quit gambling since it is wrong. However, the match had already begun. Yudhishthira said in the midst of the play that whomever possessed Brihannala as his charioteer would undoubtedly win the war. That infuriated the king, who then condemned Yudhishthira. Then Uttara, his older son, arrived and told his father everything. He claimed that while he deserves no credit, a divine figure assisted him. And the following day or the day after that, that individual would come forward. The cloth that Brihannala removed from the powerful warriors was given to Uttara.
This part consists of three chapters. After taking a bath on the third day, the Pandavas approached the royal court with Yudhishthira in the lead, having maintained their pledge for the allotted amount of time. The Pandavas were introduced by Prince Uttara, who also complimented Arjuna for his bravery. King Virata begged Yudhishthira’s pardon and extended the gift of his throne. He urged that Uttara be taken as Arjuna’s wife. However, Arjuna welcomed her as his wife’s daughter. It took place for Abhimanyu and Uttara to get married. Vasudeva and others attended the wedding at Yudhishthira’s invitation.
You can read other chapters from the table below. Click on the respective link to understand about the summary of that book/section of Mahabharata.
Mahabharat All Chapters Summary Guide
|1) Adi Parva||10) Sauptika Parva|
|2) Sabha Parva||11) Stri Parva|
|3) Vana Parva||12) Shanti Parva|
|4) Virata Parva||13) Anushasana Parva|
|5) Udhyoga Parva||14) Ashvamedha Parva|
|6) Bhishma Parva||15) Ashramavasika Parva|
|7) Drona Parva||16) Mausala Parva|
|8) Karna Parva||17) Mahaprasthanika Parva|
|9) Shalya Parva||18) Swaraga Arohana Parva|