Today, in the MBH episode, Draupadi Swayamvara likely to take place. In the critical edition, and several NI recensions, this incident has undergone several edits. Almost made bland. The southern recensions are superb on this. The kumbhakonam and udupi recensions are consistent/1
While the challenge was to pierce the fish, none of the so-called great warriors could even manage to string the bow. And the margin by which they failed to string it was in a way an indication of their place in the relative hierarchy of strength! /2
When Shishupala tried, the distance between the string and the end of the bow was that of a blackgram. At that point, he couldn't handle the tension of the bow which hit him back and he fell. /3
Jarasandha got a little closer. The distance between the string and the bow was that of a sesame seed. The bow struck back due to tension and he failed. /4
Shalya's attempt failed when the gap between the string and bow was the size of a green gram. /5
Duryodhana tried and failed. A gap measuring the size of a finger was how close he could get. /6
Karna got the closest. The gap was only that of a hair's width. But only the person who would cause Bhishma's death could marry yajnaseni. Hence Arjuna it had to be. So Karna failed. /7
The critical edition and the NI recensions do not record Duryodhana's attempt at all. With respect to Karna there is a different story all together. /end
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