The thirteenth year had now commenced; and when Yudhisthira informed his brothers and Draupadi of the boon he had received from Dharma, they all decided to spend the last days of their exile in the service of Virata, the king of Matsya, and to do his work. Each of them thought of a suitable disguise: Yudhisthira as an expert in dice, and called by the name of Kanka; Bhima as Ballava, the cook; Arjuna as Vrhannala, of the neuter sex; Nakula as Granthika, a keeper of horses; Sahadeva as Tantipala, the counter of cows; while Draupadi was to be Sairandhri, a maid-servant to the queen of Virata, Sudesna.
To Virata's Kingdom: They sent back their priest Dhaumya and all those who accompanied them; and with Draupadi at the head of all, they proceeded in the direction of Matsya's dominion.
The Disposal of Weapons: Arriving there, they deposited their weapons on a great Sami tree, standing in the midst of a forest on a mountain peak, close by a cremation ground; and having fastened a corpse to scare away people from thence, they gave out that it was their mother. Then they entered the capital in their respective disguises to seek service under the king.
In the King's Service: Yudhisthira appeared as an expert in dice, and Virata, who was a lover of the game, welcomed him as a counsellor and friend. Then Bhima took service under the king as a cook; Draupadi was engaged by the queen as her maid; Sahadeva became the keeper of the king's cows; Arjuna, as Vsannala of the neuter sex, took employment as a dancing and music master to the king's daughter Uttara; while Nakula was put in charge of the horses of the king.
Kicaka and Draupadi: In this way the Pandavas lived. One day, when the year was coming to a close, Kicaka of the Suta caste, brother to the queen and commander of the king's forces, happened to see Draupadi and desired to obtain her. He sought the assistance of his sister, the queen; and taking advantage of Draupadi's situation, sought to seize her; and when Draupadi ran away to seek the protection of Virata, kicked her in the very presence of the king.
Bhima and Kicaka: Failing to get justice from either the king or the queen, and unable to bear her grief, Draupadi thought of Bhima; and rousing him from his sleep, described to him the agony of her heart and bade him avenge her insult. Bhima promised to slay Kicaka and all his friends. At the suggestion of Bhima, Draupadi beguiled Kicaka to come alone at night to an empty dancing hall, where Bhima was lying in wait for him; and the Pandava hero seized him by the hair and crushed him to death, reducing him to a ball of flesh, without head or legs or arms. In the morning when the people saw him, they were filled with wonder and Fear, and concluded that he had been slain by the Gandharvas. When king Virata came to know of this, he ordered that, inasmuch as Kicaka had come to this end on account of Draupadi, she too should be burnt to death. Then, as she was being taken to the cremation ground, Bhima, disguising himself, fell upon the people and put them all to death. The king was both angry and afraid when he heard this, and bade his queen send away Sairandhri when she returned. But Draupadi begged Sudesna to permit her to stay for thirteen days more, and to this the queen agreed.
The Capture of the Cows: In the meanwhile Duryodhana and his allies had sent spies in all directions to discover the Pandavas, but in vain; and now the thirteenth year of their exile was nearly at an end. Then it chanced that Susarman, one of the allies of the Kurus, who had often been defeated by Virata when Kichaka was alive, persuaded Duryodhana to send an expedition against the king of Matsya to carry away his herds of kine; and, advised by Karna, Duryodhana readily agreed.
The Fight: The thirteenth year had just expired when Susarman seized by force the cows of Virata. The herdsmen hastened to report to the king; and the lord of Matsya, accompanied by the Pandava heroes and followed by a large army, issued forth to fight the invaders: Arjuna, as Vrhannala, alone remained behind. They came upon Susarman; but in the fight which ensued, Virata was taken prisoner. Bhima rushed out to help him, and scattering the forces of the enemy, set him free.
Uttara and Arjuna: While Virata had gone out in pursuit of the enemy, Duryodhana and his friends attacked his kingdom, and seized sixty thousand kine of the king. The cowherds complained to Uttara, the son of the king; and when that prince found himself in a difficulty for a suitable charioteer, Arjuna, representing himself as having done that service under Partha (Arjuna), took charge of Uttara's horses, and drove him to the battle-field. Seeing the Kauravas protected by Karna, Duryodhana, Bhishma (Krpa), Drona and his son (Asvatthaman), the heart of Uttara was filled with fear, and, alighting from his car, he fled from the field. But Arjuna jumped down and caught him, and all the Kauravas saw him with his long braid of flowing hair, as partly man and partly woman; and though he appeared like Arjuna, they wondered if it really was he. Arjuna brought back the prince, and making him his own charioteer, took the field against the Kaurava hosts. Seeing him in the guise of a person of the neuter sex, the Kauravas thought that he was surely Arjuna, and their hearts were filled with fear. But Duryodhana thought that if that was so his task was done: for, believing that their thirteenth year of exile was not yet ended, he thought that, if Arjuna was thus recognized, the Pandavas should have to begin their wanderings once more.
Arjuna in Arms: Arjuna, with Uttara for his charioteer, went to the Sami tree, where the Pandavas had deposited their arms, and asked him to bring down his weapons. Uttara seeing the arms of the Pandava heroes, was filled with amazement, and inquired from Arjuna about them and their owners. Then Arjuna revealed himself, and told him that his brothers were in the service of his father the king, while Draupadi was the maidservant Sairandhri. Hearing this, Uttara's heart was filled with joy. Then Arjuna put on his arms and stringing his bow, Gandiva, and hoisting on his chariot the golden flag bearing the emblem of a Monkey, a celestial illusion (Maya) created by Visvakarman, blew his conch, making the earth and sky and hills and mountains shake, and the hearts of Kuru heroes to tremble.
The End of Exile: Then Duryodhana inquired from Bhima if the thirteenth year of the Pandavas' exile was over. The grandsire replied that on account of the excess of time and the motions of the constellations, there was an increase of two months in every five years, and, calculating in that way, the Pandavas had completed their thirteen years and acted up to their promise. Hearing this, the Kauravas felt that it was surely Arjuna who was coming out to fight with them.
The Defeat of Kauravas: And now a great battle ensued in which Arjuna struck terror in the hearts of the Kauravas. He fought with Krpa and Drona, Asvatthaman, Karna and Bhishma; and then with all collectively, and made them fly from the field. Then, having defeated the Kurus, he brought back the wealth of Virata which they had taken away; and they, routed, defeated and with numbers slain, returned to Hastinapura in dejected mood.
Arjuna bade Uttara declare, on returning to his father's city, that the Kurus had been defeated and the kine rescued by him (Uttara); and depositing his arms again on the Sami tree, and assuming the guise of Vrihannala once more, returned to the capital as Uttara's charioteer.
Virata, too, after defeating Susarman and rescuing the kine, returned with the four Pandava brothers, and all his subjects and soldiers came out to welcome him.
Uttara and Abhimanyu: The king of Matsya then came to know that his five servants were the great Pai4ava brothers, and Sairandhri their queen Draupadi; and, anxious to propitiate them, he offered his kingdom to Yudhisthira, and his daughter Uttara to Arjuna as wife. But Arjuna accepted her as his daughter-in-law, the wife of the mighty-armed Abhimanyu instead; and, with Yudhisthira's assent, the alliance was duly made. Then Krsna and all the friends and relations of the Pandavas were invited to the wedding, and the nuptials of Abhimanyu and Uttara were celebrated in the presence of all.
The Pandavas in Upaplavya: The Pandavas then took up their abode in Virata's town called Upaplavya.