Episode 21 - The First Dice Game
Episode 21 - This is a big one; this episode covers the tangled details of the incident that sets off the rest of the story.  At the heart of it, it is about Duryodhana and Shakuni cheating at dice to win from the Pandavas all their possessions and even their freedom.  That much is clear, and the match culminates in the deliberate humiliation of Draupadi before the court.  Bhima swears oaths to kill both Duryodhana and his younger brother Dushasan, and the future conflict all arises from the fears and hatred born from this moment.

In detail however, many facts are quite confounding.  For instance, Shakuni says Yuddistira is addicted to dicing but is not good at it.  Where did this come from?  There is no detail either before or after this story that would lead anyone to believe this about Yuddistira.   Then there is the question of Yuddistira's determination to lose everything in the match.  While he may be excused for going forward with the dice game ("for that is the eternal oath I have sworn"), but who really made him gamble away his kingdom, his brothers and his own freedom?   These stakes were his decision and no one else's.

Finally, everyone loves Bhisma and considers him a good man, but on this day he is strangely impotent and brain-addled.  What explains the odd reticence among the Kuru elders?  How is it that the entire court stood by and allowed the maltreatment of one of their own women? 

There is something oddly somnambulistic about this whole scene, where it seems the events had to work themselves out in a certain way, and therefore a spell was cast over the players to ensure things had their proper outcome...

One thing is certain, and that is relations between the Pandavas and the Kauravas will never be the same from here on, and are trending for the worst!
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