Then Lakṣmaṇā said, “My dear Queen, many times I heard the great sage Nārada glorifying the pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa. I became attracted to the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa when I heard Nārada say that the goddess of fortune, Lakṣmī, was also attracted to His lotus feet. Since then I have always been thinking of Him, and thus my attraction for Him has increased. My dear Queen, my father was very affectionate toward me. When he understood that I was attracted to Kṛṣṇa, he devised a plan like that devised by your father: during the svayaṁvara, the prospective bridegrooms had to pierce the eyes of a fish with their arrows. The difference between the competition in your svayaṁvara and mine was that in yours the fish was hanging openly on the ceiling, in clear view, but in mine the fish was covered and could be seen only by its reflection in a pot of water. That was the special feature of my svayaṁvara.
“The news of this device spread all over the world, and when the princes heard of it they arrived at my father’s capital city from all directions, fully equipped with armor and guided by their military instructors. Each of them desired to win me as his wife, and one after another they raised the bow and arrow left there for piercing the fish. Many could not even join the bowstring to the two ends of the bow, and without attempting to pierce the fish, they simply left the bow as it was and went away. Some with great difficulty drew the string from one end to the other, but being unable to tie the other end, they were suddenly knocked down by the springlike bow. My dear Queen, you will be surprised to know that at my svayaṁvara meeting there were many famous kings and heroes present. Heroes like Jarāsandha, Ambaṣṭha, Śiśupāla, Bhīmasena, Duryodhana and Karṇa were, of course, able to string the bow, but they could not pierce the fish, because it was covered, and they could not trace it out from the reflection. The celebrated hero of the Pāṇḍavas, Arjuna, was able to see the reflection of the fish on the water, but although with great care he traced out the location of the fish and shot an arrow, he did not pierce the fish in the right spot. But his arrow at least touched the fish, and so he proved himself better than all the other princes.
“All the princes who tried to pierce the target were disappointed, being baffled in their attempts, and some candidates even left the place without making an attempt, but when at last Lord Kṛṣṇa took up the bow, He was able to tie the bowstring very easily, just as a child plays with a toy. He placed the arrow, and looking only once at the reflection of the fish in the water, He shot the arrow, and the pierced fish immediately fell down. This victory of Lord Kṛṣṇa was accomplished at noon, during the moment called abhijit, which is astronomically calculated as auspicious. At that time the vibration of ‘Jaya! Jaya!’ was heard all over the world, and from the sky came sounds of drums beaten by the denizens of heaven. Great demigods were overwhelmed with joy and showered flowers on the earth.
“At that time, I entered the arena of competition, and the ankle bells on my legs sounded very melodious as I walked. I was nicely dressed with new silken garments, flowers decorated my hair, and because of Lord Kṛṣṇa’s victory I was in ecstatic joy and smiling very pleasingly. I carried in my hands a golden necklace bedecked with jewels, which glittered at intervals. My curling hair encircled my face, which shone with a bright luster due to the reflection of my various earrings. My eyes blinking, I first observed all the princes present, and when I reached my Lord I very slowly placed the golden necklace on His neck. As I have already informed you, from the very beginning my mind was attracted by Lord Kṛṣṇa, and thus I considered the garlanding of the Lord my great victory. As soon as I placed my garland on the neck of the Lord, there sounded immediately the combined vibration of mṛdaṅgas, paṭaha and ānaka drums, conchshells, kettledrums and other instruments, causing a tumultuous sound, and while the music played, expert male and female dancers began to dance, and singers began to sing sweetly.
“My dear Draupadī, when I accepted Lord Kṛṣṇa as my worshipable husband and He accepted me as His maidservant, there was a tumultuous roaring among the disappointed princes. All of them were very agitated because of their lusty desires, but without caring for them, my husband, in His form as the four-handed Nārāyaṇa, immediately took me on His chariot, which was drawn by four excellent horses. Expecting opposition from the princes, He armored Himself and took up His bow, named Śārṅga, and then our celebrated driver, Dāruka, drove the beautiful chariot, without a moment’s delay, toward the city of Dvārakā. Thus, in the presence of all the princes, I was carried away very quickly, exactly as a deer is carried away from the flock by a lion. Some of the princes, however, wanted to check our progress, and thus, equipped with proper weapons, they opposed us, just as dogs try to oppose the progressive march of a lion. At that time, due to the arrows released by the Śārṅga bow of Lord Kṛṣṇa, some of the princes lost their hands, some of them lost their legs, some lost their heads and their lives, and others fled from the battlefield.