Dhritarashtra, the blind king
Dhritarashtra, the blind king of Hastinapur was also blind in for the love of his son Duryodhana. This is the incident from Mahabharata just after the Draupadi swayamvara. In this event, Duryodhana and all kauravas brother participated. Pandavas were not to be part of the swayamvara, as they were supposedly killed by fire in lakshagriha.
Pandavas escape from Lakshagriha
As per the designs of Duryodhana, Pandavas were subjected to extreme fire in Lakshagriha. At the last minute, Pandavas escaped, thanks to the foresight of Vidura, who could see through the evil designs of Duryodhana and Shakuni.
Vidura sent a tunnel digger and he worked tirelessly to create an escape route which connected to the river with the palace where Pandavas were staying alongwith their mother, Kunti. Also, Vidura made adequate arrangements and a boat was available, which took Pandavas to safety.
Swayamvara of Draupadi
When Drupad announced Draupadi’s swayamwar, Pandavas participated as Brahmins. All princes including Sisupala, Jarasandha, Salya, and Duryodhana have tried the competition, but they could not pierce the mark.
Karna successfully strung the bow, and when he was about to shoot the mark, Draupadi announced that she would not be married to a suta. Thus Karna, being the eldest of Pandavas, and equitable to the skills of Arjuna, had to resign.
Then Arjuna, taking permission from Dhristadyumnya, clad as a brahmin, tried his skills. Very serenely, he strung the bow, loaded the arrow and as others watched, drew the cord, and the arrow flew upwards with a hissing sound; it hit the target eye, and the golden fish fell over and clashed upon the ground.
There was a fight after the swayamvara and thanks to Bhima, Arjuna could take the bride home. It is a different matter that his bride was shared by all pandavas.
Dhritrashtra and Vidura
Soon, details of above events reached Hastinapura and Vidura, duly reported this to Dhritrashtra. He said: “O King, our family has become stronger because the daughter of Drupada has become our daughter-in-law. We are lucky.” Dhritarashtra, blind for his son, immediately thought that Duryodhana had won the hand of Draupadi and was ecstatic.
He replied – to go and make grand preparations for welcome of Draupadi. At this point of time, Vidura interjected and broke the surprises to Dhritarashtra.
The two surprises of Dhritarashtra
1. Pandavas are not dead and they also have participated in the swayamwara.
2. It was Arjuna, and not Duryodhana, who won the hand of Draupadi.
Thus, Dhritarashtra, who was thinking that his son had married the daughter of Drupad, was deeply shaken that it was Pandavas, who not only survived but excelled where Duryodhana failed.