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Mahabharat Chapter 11- The escape of the Pandavs

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With the utmost difficulty, the Pandavas crossed through the tunnel and entered the dense forest. With the exception of the powerful Bhima, all the others were exhausted by their nightly vigils as well as by fear and anxiety. He therefore carried his mother on his shoulders and took Nakula and Sahadeva on his hips, supporting Yudhishthira and Arjuna with his two hands and reached the Ganges. There was a boat ready for them in charge of a boatman who knew their secret. Vidura had arranged a boat for them. They crossed the river in the darkness, and entering a mighty forest they went on at night in darkness that wrapped them like a shroud and in a silence broken hideously by the frightful noises of wild animals.

At last, they sat down unable to bear the pangs of thirst and overcome by the drowsiness of sheer fatigue. Kuntidevi said: "I do not care even if the sons of Dhritarashtra are here to seize me, but I must stretch my legs." She forthwith laid herself down and was sunk in sleep. Bhima forced his way about the tangled forest in search of water in the darkness. And finding a pool, he wetted his upper garment, made cups of lotus leaves and brought water to his mother and brothers who were perishing with thirst.
 
Then, while the others slept in merciful forgetfulness of their woes, Bhima alone sat thinking how wicked  Dhritarashtra and Duryodhana tried to injure them in these ways.  Sinless himself, Bhima could not understand the springs of sinfulness in others.
The Pandavas marched on, suffering many hardships and overcoming many dangers, eating the forest produce and sleeping by turns. They were ever vigilant and ever confident that justice would be theirs sooner or later.
They met Bhagavan Vyasa on the way. All of them bowed before him and received encouragement and wise counsel from him.
When Kunti told him of the sorrows that had befallen them, Vyasa consoled her with his kind words: "No virtuous man is strong enough to live in virtue at all times, nor is any sinner bad enough to exist in one welter of sin. Life is a tangled web and there is no one in the world who has not done both good and evil. Each and everyone has to bear the consequence of his actions. Do not give way to sorrow.”
Hidimbi, a domoness, ruled over the forest where Pandavas had sought refuge. Hidimbi's brother, Hidimba, an alleged cannibal, had sent her to bring him manflesh, but when she saw the handsome prince Bhima sitting in the glade she fell in love with him and could not bring herself to kill him. She transformed into a tall, dark-skinned and immensely beautiful woman dressed in ornaments and garlands and approached him. When Hidimbi was late, Hidimba came to kill Bhima himself. He tried to attack Hidimbi but she was protected by Bhima, who killed Hidimba after a good fight. Hidimbi then asked Bhima to marry her, at which he was reluctant initially but finally ensued after being repeatedly insisted. He agreed to spend the time from dawn to dusk with her on the condition that during the dark hours he would remain with his brothers, and this would continue till they had a son. She eventually bore Bhima a son, Ghatotkacha. When the Pandavas left the forest, Bhima had to leave her as they were on a war campaign.

Meanwhile, the Pandavas reached the city of Ekachakra. Then they put on the garb of Brahmans, as advised by Vyasa, went to the city of Ekachakra and stayed there in a Brahman's house, waiting for better days. They brought home food and Kunti always divided it into two poetions- one portion for Bhima alone and the other portion for the rest of them. None could imagine or recognize them as the princes of Hastinapur!

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