The rajahs then descended from their gorgeous thrones and gathered around Draupadi as the bright gods gather around Párvati, the mountain bride of Shiva.
- Their hearts were filled with love for the maiden and with hate for one another. Rivals frowned upon rivals.
- Those who had been close friends became of a sudden angry enemies because that Draupadi was so beautiful.
while rajah opposed rajah like to angry elephants.
- Each of the love-sick monarchs gazed upon the mighty bow and upon the whirling target on high, and
- for a time no man sought to lift the bow lest he should be unable to bend it and then be put to shame.
- At length a rajah, more bold than the others, picked it up and tried his strength without avail; another followed and another, but failed to string it.
- Soon many rajahs strained their arms in vain, and some fell upon the ground and groaned, while the laughter of the people pealed around the barriers. . . .
Krishna and Balarama alone remained aloof; calmly and self-restrained they stood apart,The gods had assembled in mid-air and looked down with steadfast eyes.
At length proud Karna strode forward; he took the bow and bent it and fixed the bowstring. Then he seized an arrow.
- Drupada and his son were alarmed, fearing he might succeed and claim the bride.
- Suddenly Draupadi intervened, for she would not have the son of a charioteer for her lord.
She said, speaking loudly: "I am a king's daughter, and will not wed with the base-born. . . ."
Karna smiled bitterly, his face aflame. He cast down the bow and walked away, gazing towards the sun. He said: "O sun! be my witness that I cast aside the bow, not because I am unable to hit the mark, but because Draupadi scorns me."