What Plan did Duryodhana Make Against the Pandavas and Draupadi After Their Wedding?

Duryodhana as depicted in Javanese Wayang

Duryodhana hated the Pandavas from the very moment they arrived in Hastinapur unannounced after their father, Pandu’s, death. They were bright, noble, and loved by everyone in the royal court and the kingdom. This not only made Duryodhana jealous but also made him insecure because the Pandavas made more worthy contenders to the Kuru throne.

He started plotting against the Pandavas right from when he and the Pandavas were all children. He attempted to kill Bhima but, due to his plot, Bhima became stronger.

Later, he tried to burn them, along with their mother Kunti, in the house of lac. But the Pandavas and their mother escaped that too. Eventually, while they were still in hiding, the Pandavas married Draupadi (the princess of Panchala) and bounced back with greater strength and allies.

Since they were disguised as brahmanas in Draupadi’s swayamavara, nobody knew the Pandavas had escaped, so when Duryodhana heard about their marriage with Draupadi, he was shocked and alarmed. Shocked because he wasn’t expecting them to be alive, and alarmed, because the Pandavas were now stronger with King Drupada and his relatives as their allies.

Duryodhana feared that he would lose the throne of Hastinapur if they returned, so, once again, his devious mind started hatching plots against his cousins. This time, Duryodhana, along with his co-conspirator, Karna, approached Dritharashtra soon after Vidura informed the king about the Pandavas safe escape from the burning house and their marriage to Draupadi.

Duryodhana’s agitated mind had come up with a few scattered ideas to eliminate the Pandavas, or at least, reduce their threat to him. He lay down his ideas to Dhritarashtra and Karna for their opinion.

Duryodhana began his speech by impressing upon Dhritharashtra the importance of acting quickly against the Pandavas.

Following his warning for quick action, Duryodhana proposed these ideas to eliminate or weaken the Pandavas. These ideas give us a clear glimpse into his desperation and deviousness.

Duryodhana’s seemed to have a preference for creating dissent among the Pandavas and Draupadi because he proposed five ideas to this effect.

(Above) Duryodhana’s proposal to use skillful brahmanas to create enmity between the sons of Kunti (Yudhishthira, Bhima, and Arjuna) and the sons of Madri (Nakula and Sahadev)
Proposal to employ spies to create dissent among all the Pandavas.
Proposal to use spies to incite Draupadi against her five Pandava husbands.
Duryodhana’s proposal to somehow turn the Pandavas against Draupadi.
Proposal to tempt the Pandavas with beautiful maidens to turn Draupadi against them.

However, the scheming did not stop here. Duryodhana had a bagful of tricks. One of his big concerns was the Pandavas’ alliance with King Drupada which increased their military might. He made one proposal to prevent King Drupada from supporting the Pandavas in their claim to Hastinapura’s throne.

Duryodhana’s proposal to bribe King Drupada and his ministers.

In this bag of devious tricks were two proposals that were slightly less devious. One was to convince the Pandavas to settle in the land of their father-in-law, thereby removing any threat from them to Hastinapura’s throne. The other was to use politics to keep the Pandavas under control if they appeared to be obedient to the Kuru elders upon returning to Hastinapura.

Proposal to convince the Pandavas to settle in Panchala (away from Hastinapura).
Duryodhana’s proposal to control the obedient Pandavas using politics.

However, last but not the least, Duryodhana’s final two proposals were the most sinister. The first among them was to slay Bhima and, thereby, weaken the Pandavas while the second was to slay all the Pandavas before they reached Hastinapura.

Duryodhana’s proposal to weaken the Pandavas by slaying Bhima.
Duryodhana’s proposal to slay all the Pandavas.