(Swayamvara Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus addressed by the Brahmanas, the Pandavas, O Janamejaya, proceeded towards the country of the southern Panchalas ruled over by the king Drupada. And on their way those heroes beheld the illustrious Dwaipayana--that Muni of pure soul, and perfectly sinless. And duly saluting the Rishi and saluted by him, after their conversation was over, commanded by him they proceeded to Drupada's abode. And those mighty chariot-fighters proceeded by slow stages staying for some time within those beautiful woods and by fine lakes that they beheld along their way. Devoted to study, pure in their practices, amiable, and sweet-speeched, the Pandavas at last entered the country of the Panchalas. And beholding the capital, as also the fort, they took up their quarters in the house of a potter, Adopting the Brahmanical profession, they began to lead an eleemosynary life. And no men recognised those heroes during their stay in Drupada's capital.
"Yajnasena always cherished the desire of bestowing his daughter on Kiriti (Arjuna), the son of Pandu. But he never spoke of it to anybody. And, O Janamejaya, the king of Panchala thinking of Arjuna caused a very stiff bow to be made that was incapable of being bent by any except Arjuna. Causing some machinery to be erected in the sky, the king set up a mark
attached to that machinery. And Drupada said, 'He that will string this bow and with these well-adorned arrows shoot the mark above the machine shall obtain my daughter.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'With these words king Drupada proclaimed the Swayamvara. On hearing of them, O Bharata, the kings of other lands came to his capital. And there came also many illustrious Rishis desirous of beholding the Swayamvara. And there came also, O king, Duryodhana and the Kurus accompanied by Kama. There also came many superior Brahmanas from every country. And the monarchs who came there were all received with reverence by the illustrious Drupada. Desirous of beholding the Swayamvara, the citizens, roaring like the sea, all took their seats on the platforms that were erected around the amphitheatre. The monarch entered the grand amphitheatre by the north-eastern gate. And the amphitheatre which itself had been erected on an auspicious and level plain to the north-east of Drupada's capital, was surrounded by beautiful mansions. And it was enclosed on all sides with high walls and a moat with arched doorways here and there. The vast amphitheatre was also shaded by a canopy of various colours. And resounding with the notes of thousands of trumpets, it was scented with black aloes and sprinkled all over with water mixed with sandal-paste and decorated with garlands of flowers. It was surrounded with high mansions perfectly white and resembling the cloud-kissing peaks of Kailasa. The windows of those mansions were covered with net works of gold; the walls were set with diamonds and precious costly carpets and cloths. All those mansions adorned with wreaths and garlands of flowers and rendered fragrant with excellent aloes, were all white and spotless, like unto the necks of swans. And the fragrance therefrom could be perceived from the distance of a Yojana (eight miles). And they were each furnished with a hundred doors wide enough to admit a crowd of persons; they were adorned with costly beds and carpets, and beautified with various metals; they resembled the peaks of the Himavat. And in those seven-storied houses of various sizes dwelt the monarchs invited by Drupada whose persons were adorned with every ornament and who were possessed with the desire of excelling one another. And the inhabitants of the city and the country who had come to behold Krishna and taken their seats on the excellent platforms erected around, beheld seated within those mansions those lions among kings who were all endued with the energy of great souls. And those exalted sovereigns were all adorned with the fragrant paste of the black aloe. Of great liberality, they were all devoted to Brahma and they protected their kingdoms against all foes. And for their own good deeds they were loved by the whole world.
"The Pandavas, too, entering that amphitheatre, sat with the Brahmanas and beheld the unequalled affluence of the king of the Panchalas. And that concourse of princes, Brahmanas, and others, looking gay at the performances
of actors and dancers (large presents of every kind of wealth being constantly made), began to swell day by day. And it lasted, O king, several days, till on the sixteenth day when it was at its full, the daughter of Drupada, O thou bull of the Bharata race, having washed herself clean entered the amphitheatre, richly attired and adorned with every ornament and bearing in her hand a dish of gold (whereon were the usual offerings of Arghya) and a garland of flowers. Then the priest of the lunar race--a holy Brahmana conversant with all mantras--ignited the sacrificial fire and poured on it with due rites libations of clarified butter. And gratifying Agni by these libations and making the Brahmanas utter the auspicious formula of benediction, stopped the musical instruments that were playing all around. And when that vast amphitheatre, O monarch, became perfectly still, Dhrishtadyumna possessed of a voice deep as the sound of the kettledrum or the clouds, taking hold of his sister's arm, stood in the midst of that concourse, and said, with a voice loud and deep as the roar of the clouds, these charming words of excellent import, 'Hear ye assembled kings, this is the bow, that is the mark, and these are the arrows. Shoot the mark through the orifice of the machine with these five sharpened arrows. Truly do I say that, possessed of lineage, beauty of persons, and strength whoever achieveth this great feat shall obtain today this my sister, Krishna for his wife.' Having thus spoken unto the assembled monarchs Drupada's son then addressed his sister, reciting unto her the names and lineages and achievements of those assembled lords of the earth.'"