Welcomed a new emperor did kings and people with hearts joyful. But not all welcomed a first among equals; they turned resentful.
Yudhishthira conducted the Rajasuya resplendent with pomp and pageantry. Bhishma suggested, Yudhishthira agreed that Krishna receive first honorary.
First honour to a cowherd whom Jarasandha bested. Many kings were outraged by the choice but remained worsted.
Sisupala, King of Chedi, a lone voice spoke the minds of many. He taunted Yudhishthira for a choice that will live in infamy.
The Chedi blamed Bhishma’s poor advice and Krishna as unworthy for he was no king. Sisupala stomped out of the sabha followed by several kings who thought like him.
Yudhishthira rushed to Sisupala and spoke words to mollify the anger. Sisupala continued to pour scorn on Krishna; he did not see the danger.
Krishna spoke words of peace; turned to advice; and finally, to caution. Sisupala remained defiant and Krishna set fate in motion.
Krishna invoked the Sudarshana Chakra; the celestial weapon felled Sisupala.
The kings and nobles recognised the god-immortal; incarnated among men as more than a mortal.
Yudhishthira fulfilled the Rajasuya and attained emperorship. The Kauravas smouldered for there was no joy in their mutual kinship.
Duryodhana and the Kauravas grew envious; bid their time to usurp Pandava success. Sakuni, Queen Gandhari’s brother and uncle to the Kauravas came to relieve their distress.
Duryodhana bemoaned the loss of half his land, his misfortune. From the forested land, the Pandavas had extracted great fortune.
“You cannot defeat the Pandavas in war,” said Sakuni. “Take that open route and you will surely reap ignominy.”
Duryodhana refused to live in the Pandava clan’s long shadow. Sakuni proposed pushing the Pandavas into a deep hollow.
The emperor harboured a weakness for a game of dice. “Send the emperor an invitation that will entice.”
Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2020
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