The Pandavas lived in the house of a Brahmana and studied the Vedas with him; and he told them of the wonderful Svayamvara (choice of a husband) of the daughter of Yajnasena (Drupada), the princess of Panchala, and the story of the birth of Dhrstadyumna and Sikhandin and Draupadai, born, not of a woman, but from the sacrifice of king Drupada.
The Birth of Dhrstadyumna: King Drupada, desirous of wreaking vengeance on Drona, wished to have children, and performed a great sacrifice. Then out of the flames of the sacrificial fire rose a boy, bright like a celestial, and a voice from the sky cried, "This prince has been born for the destruction of Drona." He was called Dhrstadyumna, and the illustrious Drona brought him to his own house, and taught him the use of all weapons even though he knew what was to happen to him.
The Birth of Draupadi or Krshna: Then from the flames rose a daughter, called Panchali. She was beautiful, her complexion was dark, and a sweet fragrance of the blue lotus was emitted from her body; and at her birth a celestial voice cried, "This best of women will be the cause of the destruction of the Ksatriya." She was called Krshna, because her complexion was dark.
Dhaumya: Having heard this story of the Brahmana, the sons of Kunti were filled with a desire to see Panchala: Placing their mother at their head, they proceeded in a northerly direction; and, after visiting a number of shrines, came to the hermitage of Dhaumya, a Brahmana acquainted with the mystery of the Vedas.
The Potter's House: They then installed Dhaumya as their priest; and, disguised as Brahmanas, proceeded to southern Panchala to see Draupadi. They joined a band of Brahmanas going there to witness the Svayamvara of the princess; and, arriving in the city, they stayed in a potter's house and lived on alms as befitted poor Brahmanas.
The Test: Yajnasena, the father of Draupadi, always cherished the desire of bestowing his daughter Krsna on Arjuna; and so he caused a very stiff bow to be made, which was incapable of being bent by any one save Arjuna. He caused some machinery to be erected in the sky, and set up a mark above it, declaring that whoso would string the bow and shoot the mark with ornamented arrows, would obtain his daughter Draupadi for wife.
Krsna recognizes the Pandavas: Many illustrious princes came to the Svayamvara, and among them were Duryodhana and Karna. Krshna also came there with Balarama a large concourse of people had gathered to witness the scene, and the Pandavas sat in the arena with the Brahmanas; and, as they sat there, Krsna recognized them. Then Draupadi, attired in princely robes and adorned with ornaments entered there, carrying in her hand a golden dish, on which were placed a garland of flowers and other offerings. Then, in the midst of the assembly, Dhrstadyumna, taking hold of his sister's arm, declared, "Hear, O ye assembled kings! This is the bow, this the mark, and these the arrows. Shoot the mark through the orifice of the machine; and he who, possessing noble birth, beauty, and strength, will perform this feat, will obtain today for wife my sister Krsna." He then recited to his sister the names, the lineage and achievements of the assembled princes, saying, "These, O blessed maiden, have come for your hand, and will try to shoot the mark. Choose from among them for your husband him who is able to do so."
Shooting the Mark; Karna's Attempt: Then many princes and heroes attempted to shoot the mark but in vain. When, however, the great kings and princes had failed, Karna went up and quickly raised the bow and, stringing it, placed an arrow on the string; but Draupadi cried out, "I shall not choose a Suta for my husband." and so Karna retired in shame.
When all the kings had failed in their attempt to string the bow, Arjuna rose from among the Brahmanas, and walking round the bow in due form, and bowing to Mahadeva and remembering Krsna in his mind, he raised the bow, and, stringing it in the twinkling of an eye, took up the five arrows, and shot the mark through the orifice and brought it to the ground. King Drupada was delighted at the deed, and the heart of Krsna (Draupadi) was filled with joy; and so she came to the son of Kunti with a white robe and a garland of flowers; and among those who rejoiced was the great Krshna, the son of Vasudeva, who was present on that day. He greeted Arjuna, and offered him all assistance in case of need.
The Wife of Five: After the event was over, Bhima and Arjuna, accompanied by Draupadi, returned to the potter's house, and came to their mother, and represented Yajnaseni (Draupadi) to her as the alms they had received that day. Kunti, not knowing what they meant, replied, Enjoy all of you what you have obtained; but when she understood, her words were beyond recall; and so Draupadi was to be the wife of all her five sons.
Drupada, when he came to know who the princes were, was greatly pleased; but when he heard that Draupadi was to become the wife of all the five brothers, he felt sad at heart, and thought that it would be a sinful act, opposed to both custom and the Vedas. But, as he was doubting and debating in his mind, the illustrious Vyasa appeared before him; and, taking him aside, told him of the mysterious significance of Draupadi's marriage with the five brothers, informing him that, as Arjuna was a portion of Indra, Draupadi was celestial Laksmi herself and so the king was satisfied and consented. Then was Draupadi married to all the five Pandava brothers; but the high-souled lady still regained her virginity day after day.
The Pandavas At Home: When king Dhritarashtra came to know that the Pandavas still lived and were now married to Draupadi, he, following the advice of Bhishma and Drona and Vidura, sent Ksatta (Vidura) to bring them with Kunti and Draupadi, to Hastinapura. Vidura, at the command of the king, went to Yajnasena (Drupada) and the Pandavas, carrying with him many presents for Draupadi. He was received by Drupada in proper form; and there he saw the Pandavas and Vasudeva (Krshna), and embraced them with affection. Then, at the request of Vidura, the Panchala king allowed the princes to depart; and, accompanied by Draupadi, Kunti, and Krshna, they came to the city of Hastinapura.
Division of the Kingdom: They were given on arrival a hearty welcome by all; and Dhritarashtra, anxious that no difference might arise again between them and his sons, gave them half of his kingdom, and asked them to go and live in happiness and peace at Khandava-prastha, also called Indra-prastha and so, receiving half of the kingdom, the Pandavas entered Khandava-prastha, with Krshna at their head. It was a delightful place; and after settling them there, the heroic Krshna and his brother Rama returned to Dvaravati (Dwarka).