1) With great difficulty they stopped the citizens who wanted to accompany them and they entered the dense forest at night. There, they saw a Rakshasa called Kirmira.
2) Kirmira was the brother of Bakasura. Due to Shiva’s boon, he had become invincible. Desiring to kill Bhima along with his wife and brothers, he rushed towards them while hurling huge trees and boulders.
3) Bhima fought with him and brought him down on the ground quickly. In that battle akin to a Yajna, in which Sri Narayana was the Devata, he offered him as the sacrificial pashu.
4) After the killing of Kirmira, the Pandavas started living in the middle of that forest along with ten thousand saints and eighty eight thousand munis.
5) Thinking about the need to take care of them, Dharmaraja prayed nicely to Sri Narayana who was inside of Lord Surya and obtained an Akshaya Patra that could give unending supply of food every day, along with precious jewels and other things.
6) With that Akshaya Patra, Yudhisthira started feeding those Rishis and Munis, each of whom had thirty servants each. Earlier, they were all eating in golden plates in his palace, which had crores of servants.
7) Those groups of sages stayed back in the forest along with the Pandavas, desirous of the company of the noble. They stayed with them, listening to the ancient stories that espoused the supremacy of Sri Hari, and narrating to them similar stories.
8) In this way, giving up on crores of elephants, chariots, horses, jewels and people, the Pandavas stayed in that forest like how the Devatas stay in Swarga.
9) Dharmaraja used to donate a lakh cows every day along with a hundred measures of gold. Even after he went to the forest with his brothers, he remained very happy and spent his time there, just like Indra.
10) When the Pandavas left for the forest, Dhritharashtra asked Vidura – “What is our duty now?”. To this, Vidura replied – “Call them back and hand over the Kingdom”. Dhritharashtra got angry and said.
11) “I realize that you are an opponent of my sons. There is nothing I need from you here. If you wish you can stay. Otherwise you may leave”. When he said thus, Vidura went to the Pandavas.
12) As soon as Vidura left, Dhritharashtra became engulfed with the grief of separation and fell to the ground (became unconscious). Later he woke up and told Sanjaya – “If you wish to see me alive, bring back my brother at the earliest”.
13) When Dhritharashtra commanded thus, Sanjaya quickly went to the Pandavas and brought back Vidura. The clean-souled Vidura immediately got back and bowed to his brother, who gave him a deep hug.
14) Dhritharashtra placed him on his lap, smelt his forehead and felt great joy. Seeing Vidura return, Shakuni and the Kauravas boiled with intolerance. They held a conference and decided to kill at least one of the Pandavas. Along with Karna, they set out to do so.
15) Knowing their intentions, Sri Vyasa, the one who is omnipresent in the world, and the one who is the lord of even the most capable Devatas, arrived there and told Dhritharashtra – “Stop your son quickly”.
16) “He will oppose the Pandavas and get destroyed along with his family. There is no doubt about this” – when Sri Vyasa said thus, Dhritharashtra requested him – “Please stop them”. Sri Vyasa replied – “I will not speak to them”.
17) “Maitreya shall come here. He will advise your son about the ways of the world, keeping in mind his well being. If he listens to him, good shall take place. Otherwise, he will curse (your son)”.
18) Knowing that if Duryodhana and the others approach the Pandavas and get killed by them, the reduction of evil on the earth (through destruction of many others in the war) would not take place, Sri Vyasa, the lord who possesses infinite strength, spoke thus to Dhritharashtra and left.
19) All activities of all sentient and insentient beings is controlled by the supreme Bhagavan at all times. Yet, Sri Hari, in jest, sometimes stops certain activities while imposing other noble tasks at other times.
20) After that, Sage Maitreya arrived there. Dhritharashtra called his sons along with Karna and Shakuni. He served the sage very well. The sage praised the Pandavas a lot and advised them to hand over the Kingdom to them.
21) That excellent sage described the killing of Kirmira and others and especially praised the prowess of Bhima. Hearing that, Duryodhana became intolerant and mockingly patted his thigh.
22) At that moment, Sage Maitreya, that great tapasvi, cursed him. “A big war shall take place to break your thigh” – he said. Dhritharashtra bowed to him and pleaded. “If you do not hand over the Kingdom, this result cannot be avoided” – saying thus he went away.
23) When Dhritharashtra asked, Vidura narrated the incident of Kirmira’s killing, hearing which Duryodhana became scared. The Pandavas, while living in the forest, conveyed their doings to Sri Krishna.
24-25) Sri Krishna arrived there quickly along with Satyabhama. Along with that, Drupada and the other relatives also got there. When Sri Krishna got angry against Duryodhana, they pleaded with him to calm down after praising his auspicious qualities. Then, Draupadi held his feet even as she was crying. She fell at his feet and praised him, the one who is the lord of all and the one who is independent.
26-27) “One who is indescribable, one who is eternal, unchanged, complete, one who possesses the ocean of auspicious attributes itself as his body, one who is free from any defect, one who is always worshipped by Ramaa, Brahma, Vayu, Shiva, Indra and the others, one who is the motivator behind all, one who is the lord of all, one who is the resort for even those who are liberated, the most excellent one!” – praising him thus, Draupadi narrated all her sufferings to Sri Krishna, the lord of all. Draupadi was more dear to Sri Krishna than even Shesha, Shiva, Garuda and the others.
28) Listening to all of that, Bhagavan Sri Krishna made a vow – “I shall show all of you the scene where the wives of all of them will be hugging the bodies of their husbands, having been killed by Bhima, and having to leave their hair untied”. Consoling her with soft words, Sri Narayana spoke thus.
29) “If I were around there it wouldn’t have turned out like this. I was in battle with that evil souled King Salva. I killed that great sinner”.
30-31) Things may be near or far. There may be compulsions of time or of situations. There may be obstacles due to resources. Sri Hari, who is forever free from troubles, does not have any weaknesses whatsoever. Still, that most powerful one emulates the behavior of the mortal world.
32-33) In order to increase sins of the evil and to increase the auspiciousness of Bhima and the others, and in order to distribute the excess punya that Dharmaraja had accumulated, due to the Rajasuya, amongst Draupadi and his brothers as per their qualifications, Sri Vishnu acted thus out of his own accordance.
34) Isn’t Sri Vishnu known by the name ‘Edhamanadvit’ in the Vedas!
Note: In the sukta that starts with ‘shrunve veere’, Vishnu is known as Edhamanadvit, implying one who takes away any excess merit from people by making them do lowly things.
35) Sri Krishna did thus in order to also take away the excess merit from Bhishma, Drona, Dhritharashtra and others who were born with excess Dharma and knowledge, and to ensure the same is deposited with the Pandavas.
36) Sri Krishna also did thus to make sure Duryodhana and the others accumulate more sins. Sri Vyasa told Dhritharashtra – “The Pandavas are most dear to me. I am absolutely unhappy about them being sent to the forest”.
37) He too spoke in this manner to increase the sins of Duryodhana and the others. By saying that the Pandavas were dear to him, he increased their punya.
38) Since Bhima was the older one, the patience shown by Arjuna and others during the game of dice was not a pious thing for them. On the other hand, Dharma was a natural quality in Bhima, without any external dependencies.
39) The act of undergoing that unbearable trouble turned out to be a great means of gathering punya for Draupadi. She knew Bhima’s intent of not giving out a curse.
40) Therefore, Sri Krishna ensured the increase in punya for each of them in accordance with their inherent nature and qualification. However, he stated that all of that happened due to his absence (during the game of dice).