When Lord Krishna came to know of what had transpired in Hastinapura,he made haste to the ashram where the Pandavas were residing.He promised Draupadi that at the end of 13 years ,they would regain all that they had lost and she would once again become an empress.
On the advice of the Vyasa,Arjuna set forth to Himalayas to acquire powerful weapons.There he meditated upon Lord Shiva.Lord Shiva,on the other hand,decided to test Arjuna.Therefore,Lord Shiva appeared in the form of a hunter, along with his wife Parvati.Lord Shiva then shot an arrow at a game at the same as Arjuna.Soon Lord Shiva,disguised as a hunter,started fighting with Arjuna on who had actually killed the boar.Undoubtedly,Arjuna was battered at the hands of the hunter.Soon,it occurred to Arjuna that this extraordinary individual was none other than Lord Shiva.So he immediately asked Lord Shiva for forgiveness and Arjuna was then blessed with Pasupata,a divine weapon of Lord Shiva.
While,Arjuna was gone on his quest for weapons.The others embarked on a pilgrimage to Himalayas visiting en route the various ashrams.And when they neared the attractive Narayanasrama forest,Draupadi was mesmerized by the smell of the Saugandhika plant and requested Bhima to bring some of its flowers.While in search of these flowers,Bhima was tested and then blessed by his half-brother Hanuman,the monkey-god of strength.
As the twelve years drew to a close,Pandavas,along with Arjuna, decided that they should spend the last year in disguise at King Virata’s court.Virata was the King of Matsya.
The following are the Pandavas listed along-side their new roles in the court of Virata.
Name of the Pandava Role(In the court) Modified Name
Yudhisthira Sanyasin(Counsellor) Kanka
Bhima Cook Valala
Arjuna Eunuch Brihannala
Sahadeva Cattle-Herder Dharmagranthi
Nakula Stable-Keeper Tantripala
*Draupadi served as a maid,Sairandhiri, to the queen.
Although Bhima had to kill Kichaka,the general of Virata, for making sexual advances towards Draupadi,the Pandavas spent much of the last year uneventfully and unrecognised by anyone.Hearing of Kichaka’s Death,Duryodhana concluded it was Bhima’s work and decided to invade Virata’s kingdom.As he had hoped,Arjuna,awkwardly dressed as an eunuch, confronted them on the battlefield and defeated them easily.Thinking he had exposed the Pandavas before the stipulated period of 13 years,Duryodhana was overjoyed.But to his dismay later,astrologers told him that the 13 years of exile including the last year in hiding had finished before Arjuna stepped on to the battlefield.Thereafter,Duryodhana started to prepare for the eventuality of a war.
The Pandavas were further strengthened by the marriage of Uttara,daughter of Virata,to Abhimanyu who was the son of Arjuna.