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Story of Gandharva Chitrasena Capturing Duryodhana And Pandavas Rescuing Him

There is a story in the Mahabharata which informs us about Duryodhana being captured by a Gandharva named Chitrasena. Pandavas who were in their exile period rescued Duryodhana. The story is found in the Ghosha Yatra Parva in Aranyaka Kanda of the Mahabharata. The story extols that one who protects dharma will be protected by dharma.

Once Duryodhana made a trip in the name of Ghosha Yatra to Dwaitavana (where pandavas were residing during vanavasa (exile period)) with his family and friends along with is army.

Duryodana, Karna, Dushasan and Shakuni wanted to humiliate the pandavas by showing their power and status. They spent there with a lot of amusement – making lot of noises.
Near Dwaitavana there was a lake of freshwater. Duryodhana wanted to take bath in that lake with his wife.

But before the arrival of Duryodhana and his wife, a Gandharva king by name Chitrasena had occupied that lake.

Seeing the lake occupied by others, the soldiers of Duryodhana asked them to vacate that place for their king. Chitrasena laughed at them and told the soldiers that they consider only Indra as their king. Thus a conflict arise between the two groups.

In the battle between them Duryodhana was defeated by Chitrasena and caught as prisoner.

Bhima heard the news of Duryodhana’s defeat and capture with delight and amusement.
He said to Yudhisthira “these Gandharvas have done our job for us”.

But Yudhisthira said,” dear brother, this is not time for you to rejoice. The Kauravas were our kin and kith and their humiliation in the hands of others is ours. You must go and rescue them. 

As per his brother’ order Bhima and Arjuna went to Chitrasena and asked him to release Duryodhana.

Chitrasena did not want to fight with Pandavas.

On their request he released Duryodhana.

Duryodhana felt insulted in presence of Pandavas.

The main moral from this story is that evil may gain short term victory but in the end good always win.

“Dharmeva Hato Hanti/Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitah". One who destroys dharma is destroyed by dharma and who protects dharma is protected by dharma.

Paropakaram Vahanti Nadya
Paropakaram Dhuhanti Gaaya
Paropakaram Falanti Vriksha
Paropakaram Idam Shareeram

Rivers flow for paropakaram (helping others), cow gives milk for paropakaram, trees give fruits for paropakaram. In the same way the human body is also meant for paropakaram.

Source excerpts from an article published in Sapthagiri Magazine June 2018 – the article was titled Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitah and was written by Dr. C. V. Sulochana