The princess Draupadi who, if fate had been less cruel, should herself
have been served by many maids, had now to pass her days 'in serving Sudeshna, Virata's
queen. She lived in the inner apartments of the palace as maid and companion, engaging
herself in uncongenial tasks.
Kichaka, the brother of Sudeshna, was the commander-in chief of
Virata's army and it was to him that the old king Virata owed his power and prestige.
Kichaka wielded such vast influence that people used to say that Kichaka was the real king
of the Matsya country and old Virata king only in name.
Kichaka was inordinately vain of his strength and his influence over
the king. He was so smitten with Draupadi's beauty that he conceived an uncontrollable
passion for her and he was so sure of his own attractions and power that it never occurred
to him that she, though a mere maid-servant, could resist his will. He made amorous
overtures to her, which greatly vexed her.
Draupadi was too shy to speak of this to Sudeshna or to others. She
gave out that her husbands were gandharvas who would mysteriously kill those who tried to