While the Pandavas were growing up there are several instances cited to show how the Kauravas tried to endanger them. One of the oft cited ones is the gift of “house of lac” by Kauravas to their cousins. Lac as we know is highly inflammable substance made of wax, the intention certainly was to burn the house as soon as the Pandavas moved in. However with the fortunate intervention of their Great Uncle- Vidur, the Pandavas were able to build an escape route from the house and live under disguise as Brahmans. At this stage the Kauravas believed that they had finally succeeded in eliminating their brothers and thus went on with their ways.
As time passed the Pandavas in disguise ran into unexpected trouble and feared discovery by their cousins. To counter this they had to strengthen themselves and the best opportunity at the moment came through the Swayamvar of Draupadi organized by the rich king of Panchal- Draupad. The deal was whoever shot the revolving eye of the fish with Shiva’s bow looking through the water would win the his daughters hand and also have access to his lands and wealth. Hearing this declaration brought several men ( warriors) from across the kingdoms including the Kauravas from Hastinapur and the Pandavas disguised as Brahmans. The motivation was not just the prize of wealth but this was also an opportunity for several contenders to show their prowess and might in front of the other thus reaffirming their power in their eyes.
On the day of the tournament- Several men came, several attempts were made but none were able to shoot the mark. Karna was also part of this tournament and was considered to be a leading contender as he was an exceptional marksmen. However when his turn came Draupadi refused to let him participate citing that since he’s a charioteers son he cannot be eligible to enter. As per the caste hierarchical rules this was correct and superseded Karna’s abilities, He was thus disqualified. And Another seed of hatred and revenge was planted- this time between Karna and Draupadi. Finally when none of the Kshtiryas were able to complete the task the Brahmans were called forth and among them was Arjuna- the other great marksmen in the epic. Arjuna was successful in completing the challenge and thus Draupadi was given away to him.
Now the twist- While Arjun was bringing his new wife home with his brothers just before entering the house, he announced to his mother to see who he has “won”. His mother without looking or realizing that it’s his bride says that if he has won something then he must equally share with this brothers. This of course is shocking right? But what can you do? A word once said cannot be undone and so Draupadi came to be the common wife of all the Pandavas.
The next part of the story continues with the division of Hastinapur. Dhritarashtra after the persuasion from the elders decides to give the Pandavas a small part of his kingdom so they can go on live their lives away from the main city. Pandavas happily accept the offer and start their journey to a new destination they would later call as Indraprastha.