From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Draupadī)
Jump to: navigation, search
Raja Ravi Varma, Pleasing.jpg
Draupadi, painting by Raja Ravi Varma
Spouse(s) Yudhisthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula, Sahadeva
Children Prativindhya, Sutasoma, Srutasena, Satanika, Srutakarma: collectively called Upapandavas
Parent(s) Drupada (father)

Draupadi (Sanskrit: द्रौपदी, draupadī, Sanskrit pronunciation: [d̪rəʊpəd̪i]) is described as the chief female protagonist or heroine in the Hindu epic, Mahabharata.[1] According to the epic, she is the "fire born" daughter of Drupada, King of Panchala and also became the common wife of the five Pandavas.

Draupadi had five sons; one by each of the Pandavas: Prativindhya from Yudhishthira, Sutasoma from Bheema, Srutakarma from Arjuna, Satanika from Nakula, and Srutasena from Sahadeva.

Draupadi is considered as one of the Panch-Kanyas or Five Virgins.[2] She is also venerated as a village goddess Draupadi Amman.


Like other epic characters, Draupadi too is referred by multiple names in the Mahabharata. She is referred to by names like Draupadi (daughter of Drupada), Krishna (one who has dark complexion), Panchali (one from the land of Panchala), Yajnaseni (one born from a Yajna or fire-sacrifice) and Sairandhri (literally: an expert maid, her assumed name during her second exile in which she worked as Virat kingdom's queen Sudeshna's hair-stylist). Indian Novelist Chitra Chaturvedi referred to her as Mahabhaarati (great wife of the five descendents of Bharata) in her book by the same name.[3] The name Prashati indicated her being the granddaughter of Prishata.


Raja Drupada begs Shiva to grant him a boon

King Drupada of Panchala had been defeated by the Pandava prince Arjuna on behalf of Drona, who subsequently took half his kingdom. To gain revenge on Drona, he performed a fire-sacrifice (yajña) to obtain a means of besting him. Draupadi emerged as a beautiful dark-skinned young woman together after her sibling Dhrishtadyumna from the sacrificial fire.[4] When she emerged from the fire, a heavenly voice said that she would bring about the destruction of the Kuru line.[5]

Draupadi's description[edit]

Draupadi is described in the Mahabharata as being extraordinarily beautiful, one of the most beautiful women of her time. "Of eyes like lotus-petals and of faultless features endued with youth and intelligence, she is extremely beautiful. And the slender-waisted Draupadi of every feature perfectly faultless, and whose body emitteth a fragrance like unto that of the blue lotus for two full miles around who's existence could take away people's breath, she was the most beautiful woman ever born.".[6]

PURANAS: Draupadi is described as radiant and graceful as if she had descended from the city of Gods. As per The Garuda Purana Draupadi is the incarnation of Bharati-Devi, The Consort of Lord Vayu. As per Narada and Vayu Puranas, Draupadi was composite Avatar of Goddesses Shyamala (wife of Dharma), Bharati (Wife of Vayu), Sachi (wife of Indra), Usha (wife of Ashwinis) and hence married their earthly counterparts in the form of the five Pandavas, most of the people believe that she was Sanchi, wife of Indra . Enraged at a jest by Shyamala, Sachi and Usha, Brahma cursed them to human birth. Draupadi's characteristic fight against injustice reflects Parvati or her Shakti, Kali inhabiting Draupadi's mortal flesh at times. At other times, Draupadi was docile and even waited to be rescued (as in case of Jayadratha and Jatasura) showing the qualities of other goddesses like Sachi and Usha. Other times, she showed astuteness in hiding their true identity and asking Bhima to kill Keechaka like Goddess Bharati would.[citation needed]


Vyasa telling the secret of birth of Draupadi to Draupada

Draupadi's service to her husbands, she had said that she rises before anyone else, tolerates hunger and thirst, and goes to bed after the others. She also gave birth to five sons, all of her sons were killed by Ashwatthama. But since he was the son of the family guru, and she had such respect for their gurus, She forgave him. When the Pandavas had reached the end of their lives and were setting out to ascend to heaven by climbing up into the mountains, she was the last in line. But she was the first to fall and thus rise to heaven after her death. Her dedication and devotion make her one of the great personalities of Vedic culture.[7] she was a multifaceted personality: she could be fiery and angry when the situation called for it, but she still had a compassionate nature. She encouraged people to face life with the same inner strength that she did. After the war, Draupadi looked after Gandhari and Dhritarashtra with respect and affection, even though their sons had wronged her in so many ways.

Perceptions of Draupadi[edit]

Draupadi is eulogized as the epitome of chastity and truth by Hindus. She is praised for her extreme devotion to her husbands, mother-in-law and Sri Krishna.She is worshiped as a goddess in certain communities in South India. She is also considered as a feminist symbol by certain writers. The epic portrays her Draupadi as a brave woman who demanded justice directly from the King Dhritarashtra in Hastinapur kingdom when she was insulted by his sons. She as Sairandhri (literally: an expert maid, her assumed name during her exile in which she worked as Virat kingdom's queen Sudeshna's hair-stylist) again demanded justice directly from the king Virata when she was insulted by Kichaka(the brother of Queen Sudeshna, and the commander of king Virata’s forces). She criticised those kings(Virata and Dhritarashtra) for failing to give Justice to her and failing to protect a woman. She even criticised great warriors such as Bhishma, Drona, Kripacharya and even her five husbands for not saving her from the humiliation in Hastinapura.

Incarnation of Kali[edit]

[citation needed]

Certain section of Hindu communities in South India believe that Draupadi was also an incarnation of Maha Kali, who was born to assist Lord Krishna (who is an avatar of Lord Vishnu, who is the brother of Goddess Parvati) to destroy all the arrogant Kings of India. That is why they are considered brother and sister although Draupadi was born from fire.

Marriage with Pandavas[edit]

Arjuna wins Draupadi in her Swayamvara.
Arjun and bheema fights with princes

Drupada intended to wed his daughter to Arjuna. Upon hearing of the Pandavas' supposed death at Varnavata, he set up a swayamvara contest for Draupadi and declared her as Veerya Shulka or the prize of the victor in the contest. Drupada said "He that will string this bow and with these well-adorned arrows shoot the mark above the machine shall obtain my daughter.' [8]

The princes vying for Draupadi's hand had to string a bow made of metal which was extremely heavy to lift and shoot only one arrow at the eye of a revolving fish, while looking only at its reflection in a bowl of water. Drupada and Draupadi believed that only Arjuna could accomplish this task. Karna, king of Anga, was also one of the invitees for the event. Unlike other contenders, Karna was easily able to wield and string the bow, but Draupadi refused to allow him to shoot at the target at the final moment. Draupadi loudly said, 'I will not select a Suta for my lord.' She rejected him for being the son of a charioteer and a man of mixed caste, flouting the rules of the event. Duryodhana angrily got up to his friend's defense pointing out that this was against the rules of the competition as she was a veerashulka(prize of the victor). But Dhristadyumna stated that Panchal practiced equal primogeniture and Draupadi "had every right to choose her own husband-the Swayamvara was only designed so that the suitors could get the king's permission". During a later period, writers as well as popular culture created a story according to which Draupadi's refused Karna according to Krishna's advise. But Mahabharata researchers and mythologists state that this part was later added in order to hide the Draupadi's casteist behaviour from the reading mass and her words or reaction were painted white to hide her casteism. They went on to point out that she had no problem in marrying a poor man who belonged to the caste of Brahmins/priests (Arjuna in Brahmin disguise).

Arriving with his brothers while disguised as brahmins, Arjuna successfully tackled the target. He was able to shoot an arrow into a revolving fish's eye.

Upon returning home with Draupadi, Arjuna introduced Draupadi as the alms they had obtained that day. Assuming it was simply alms, Kunti said : 'Enjoy ye all (what ye have obtained).' Kunti asks Yudhishtira to find a solution and he tells Arjuna to wed her as he won her in the competition but the latter refuses stating :

'O king, do not make me a participator in sin. Thy behest is not conformable to virtue. That is the path followed by the sinful. Thou shouldst wed first, then the strong-armed Bhima of inconceivable feats, then myself, then Nakula, and last of all, Sahadeva endued with great activity. Both Vrikodara and myself, and the twins and this maiden also, all await, O monarch, thy commands. When such is the state of things, do that, after reflection, which would be proper, and conformable virtue, and productive of fame, and beneficial unto the king of Panchala. All of us are obedient to thee. O, command us as thou likest.


At the moment all five brothers looked at Draupadi with lust and fearing division amongst the brothers, Yudhishtira declared that they should all be wed to her.

Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of Jishnu, so full of respect and affection, the Pandavas all cast their eyes upon the princess of Panchala. And the princess of Panchala also looked at them all. And casting their glances on the illustrious Krishna, those princes looked at one another. And taking their seats, they began to think of Draupadi alone. Indeed, after those princes of immeasurable energy had looked at Draupadi, the God of Desire invaded their hearts and continued to crush all their senses...... And Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, beholding his younger brothers, understood what was passing in their minds. And that bull among men immediately recollected the words of Krishna-Dwaipayana. And the king, then, from fear of a division amongst the brothers, addressing all of them, said, 'The auspicious Draupadi shall be the common wife of us all.


When Draupada comes to know of Pandavas decision to make Draupadi their common wife, he initially opposes it. But Vyasa/Krishna visit the King and explained to Drupada that her unique situation resulted from a certain incident in her previous birth. In her previous birth, Draupadi desired a husband with all qualities and Lord Siva granted her this boon by saying she will be married to five men as she repeated her prayer five times. Draupadi thus became the common wife of the Pandavas and continued to live with them. Some times after the creation of Indraprastha, celestial sage Narada visits Pandavas and tell them to create and follow a set of laws so as to prevent disunion amongst them. They established a rule amongst themselves that when one of them would be sitting with Draupadi, any of the other four who would see that one thus must retire into the forest for twelve years, passing his days as a Brahmacharin(ascetic celibate).[9] At a later time period, the writers feeling uncomfortable with polyandry created a story where it said that, in taking turns to live with each of the five husbands, Draupadi got a boon to be a virgin every year by walking through the fire to regain her purity. Thus, she gets to be called the eternal virgin. The experts state similar interpolations were made in Ramayana as well.

Draupadi with her five husbands - the Pandavas. The central figure is Yudhishthira; the two to his left are Bhima and Arjuna. Nakula and Sahadeva, the twins, are to his right. Their wife, at far right, is Draupadi. Deogarh, Dasavatar temple.

Living in Indraprastha[edit]

Drupadi and her attendants

With the Pandavas' survival revealed, a succession crisis was started. Upon the news of Dharma's death, the title of crown prince had fallen to Duryodhana. Dhritrashtra invites Pandavas to Hasthinapur and proposes division of Kingdom to Yudhishtira which he accepts. Pandavas are assigned Khandavprastha, referred to as unreclaimed desert in Mahabharata, and should rule there. With the help of Krishna, Pandavas rebuilt Khandavprastha into Indraprastha. The crown jewel of the country was the main palace, built in a valley. It was filled with books, art, mounted creatures, and with Mayasura's sorcery, there were awe-inspiring illusions everywhere.[10] Yudhisthira performed the Rajasuya Yagna, the Pandavas gained lordship over many regions.[11]

Duryodhana's insult[edit]

Duryodhana falling into water

Indraprastha was built at the site of the Khandava forest. The pride of buildings was the "Palace of Illusions", and this was where Duryodhana and his entourage explored during Hastinapur's attending of the Rajasuya Yagna.

The moment Duryodhana entered the palace he encountered an atmosphere of mystery. A retinue of maidservants appeared through a wall and lined up before the guests. The courtyard was divided in two parts. The surface of one part appeared to ripple like the surface of a lake. The surface of the other part appeared solid as granite flooring and when Duryodhana stepped on the apparently solid part of the courtyard, there was a splash and Duryodhana found himself waist deep in water, drenched from head to foot. When Draupadi saw this from the balcony they were amused. Duryodhana felt extremely insulted that Draupadi and her maids saw his embarrassing predicament. Draupadi joked "Andhasya Putra Andhaha" meaning "a blind man's (referring to Dhritrashtra) son is blind",

further infuriating Duryodhana because he thought that Draupadi called him with those words.

In some versions of the Mahabharatha, Bhima, Arjuna and the twin brothers alongside their retinue witness Duryodhana's fall and laughed with their servants. Some say the popular insult of a "blindman's son" is believed to b a later addition. Duryodhana felt insulted by the behavious of the four Pandavas and asked his uncle Shakuni to propose a plan to subjugate and exact revenge upon the Pandavas. [12]

The game of dice[edit]

Draupadi is presented in a parcheesi game where Yudhisthira has gambled away all his material wealth.

This key incident is often considered to mark a definitive moment in the story of Mahabharata. It is one of the driving reasons that ultimately led to the Kurukshetra war. The catalyst of the incident was believed to be Duryodhana's desire to reunite Hastinapur, wrestle power from the Pandavas, and avenge the insults made against him by the Pandavas and Draupadi.

Together with his his maternal uncle Shakuni and Dhritrashtra, Duryodhana conspired to call on the Pandavas to Hastinapur and win their kingdoms in a game of gambling. The plan's architect, Shakuni was blessed with dice that would never disobey his will. The idea was that Shakuni would play against Yudhishthira and win at the gambling table what was impossible to win on the battlefield.As the game proceeded, Yudhishthira lost everything one-by-one. Having lost all material wealth, he went on to put his brothers at stake, and lost them too. Ultimately he put himself at stake, and lost again. All the Pandavas were now the servants of the Kauravas. But for Duryodhana, the humiliation of the Pandavas was not complete. He prods Yudhishthira that he has not lost everything yet; Yudhishthira still has Draupadi with him and if he wishes he can win everything back by putting Draupadi at stake. Inebriated by the game, Yudhishthira, to the horror of everybody present, puts Draupadi up as a bet for the next round. Playing the next round, Shakuni wins. Draupadi was horrified after hearing that she was staked in the game and now is a slave for Duryodhana. Draupadi questions Yudhishtira's right on her as he had lost himself first and she was still the queen. She refuses to present herself in court. Duryodhana, angry with Draupadi's behaviour, commands his younger brother Dushasana to bring her into the court, forcefully if he must. Dushasana grabs her by the hair and brings her into the court, dragging her by the hair.[13]

Draupadi and Bhima, as depicted in yakshagana.

She is dragged to the court by the hair. Now in an emotional appeal to the elders present in the forum, Draupadi repeatedly questions the legality of the right of Yudhishthira to place her at stake; in Panchal, such a move would be unheard of. Everybody remains dumbfounded.

“The course of morality is subtle and even the illustrious wise in this world fail to always understand it.”

Bhishma, the patriarch of the Kaurava family and a formidable warrior, has only this explanation to offer to Draupadi

In order to provoke the Pandavas further, Duryodhana bares and pats his thigh looking into Draupadi's eyes, implying that she should sit on his thigh. In rage Bhima vows in front of the entire assembly that he would break that thigh of Duryodhana, or accept being Duryodhana's slave for seven lifetimes. At this time Vikarna, a brother of Duryodhan asks the kings assembled in the court to answer the question of Draupadi. He gives his opinion that Draupadi is not won rightfully as Yudhishthira lost himself first before staking her. Besides Draupadi is the common wife of all Pandavas. Hearing these words, Karna gets angry and says that when Yudhishthira lost all his possession he also lost Draupadi as she includes his possession. Draupadi had been mentioned by Shakuni and approved as a stake by the Pandavas that is why she is rightfully won. Besides the gods have ordained a maximum of three husband for a woman but as Draupadi has many husbands and according to shastras of the age, she can be considered a characterless woman. Bringing her in a court of men is not an surprising act whether she be attired or naked. Duryodhana orders Dushasana to disrobe Draupadi.[14][15][16] Seeing her husbands' passivity, Draupadi prays to Krishna to protect her. A miracle occurs henceforward, which is popularly attributed to Krishna but in Vyasa's Mahabharata, Draupadi's saviour is named as Dharma (who could be just morality, the god Dharma, Krishna as the Lord of Dharma, or even Vidura or Yudhishthira, or even a logical paradox of Draupadi's question – did Yudhishthira have the right to stake her when he had already lost himself?). As the Pandavas and the court looks away, Dushasana unwraps layers and layers of her sari. But as her sari keeps getting extended, everyone looks upon in awe, and Dushasana himself is forced to stop due to exhaustion. At this point, a furious Bhima vows to remove Dushasana's arm (that had held her hair) and to drink the blood from his chest, at the pain of not seeing his ancestors/entering heaven. This vow unsettles the entire court.Draupadi vows not to tie her hair until she has decorated it with the blood of Dushasana.

The only Kauravas who object to the disrobing of Draupadi in the court are Vikarna and Vidura. Vikarna appeals the assembly to answer the questions raised by Draupadi, but in vain. Vidura openly calls Duryodhana a snake and a demon, but after finding no support, even from his own brother, Vidura is helpless. Draupadi herself verbally eviscerates the entire court, threatening that once Drupada heard of his daughter's insult, he would tear Hastinapur to the ground. Just as she is about to curse the Kuru dynasty, she is interrupted by the queen mother Gandhari. Gandhari counsels Dhritarashtra to action. Also fearing retribution from Panchal, Dhritarashtra intervenes and grants Draupadi three boons. Draupadi in her first boon asks her husbands to be freed from bondage so her sons would not be caalled Dasas. In her second boon she asks for all the wealth Pandavas lost in the game of dice to be restored to them. When Dhritarashtra asks her to wish for the third boon she refuses by saying that it would be greedy to ask for more. Shakuni and Duryodhana later convince Dhritarashtra to invite Pandavas for a new game of dice, with modified rules. The loser here, would go for 12 years in exile and another one year of anonymity. Yudhisthira agrees and loses again. It was following the defeat in this new game that Pandavas were sent into exile for 13 years.

Insult by Karna[edit]

Karna's insult of Draupadi is regarded by experts and researchers, as the only unrighteous act done by him in his entire life. During the self choice or Swayamvara of Draupadi, until the arrival of Arjuna, Karna was the only king of all the kings and princes, who was successful in picking the bow up and aiming it at the fish. But Draupadi rejects him by saying, 'I will not select a Suta for my lord.' thus rejecting and insulting him publically of his mixed caste and unknown origin. Indian mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik says this about Draupadi's rejection of Karna: "Draupadi refused to let Karna contest for her hand in marriage because he was raised by charioteers and did not know his true origins. Could this be the reason why Krishna voluntarily kept out of the swayamvara? Symbolically speaking, the kingdom (Draupadi) prefers men of high birth (either kings or priests) over men of high merit (Karna). She ends up marrying five priests, who are really not priests, but princes in disguise, all of them imperfect, all of them of questionable birth – their father could not make his wives pregnant and so the wives invoked gods who gave them children. That choice seals her fate."[17] Karna's insult at the hand of Draupadi earlier creates a deep wound in his mind, resulting in him retaliating by gravely insulting Draupadi during the game of dice.[18]

When Vikarna defends Draupadi, Karna is described as deprived of his senses by anger and goes on to insult her citing shastras in Mahabharata.

And at that sound, the son of Radha, deprived of his senses by anger, waving his well-shaped arms, said these words,--'O Vikarna, many opposite and inconsistent conditions are noticeable in this assembly. Like fire produced from a faggot, consuming the faggot itself, this thy ire will consume thee. These personages here, though urged by Krishna, have not uttered a word. They all regard the daughter of Drupada to have been properly won. Thou alone, O son of Dhritarashtra in consequence of thy immature years, art bursting with wrath, for though but a boy thou speakest in the assembly as if thou wert old. O younger brother of Duryodhana, thou dost not know what morality truly is, for thou sayest like a fool that this Krishna who hath been (justly) won as not won at all. O son of Dhritarashtra, how dost thou regard Krishna as not won, when the eldest of the Pandavas before this assembly staked all his possessions? O bull of the Bharata race, Draupadi is included in all the possessions (of Yudhishthira). Therefore, why regardest thou Krishna who hath been justly won as not won? Draupadi had been mentioned (by Suvala) and approved of as a stake by the Pandavas. For what reason then dost thou yet regard her as not won? Or, if thou thinkest that bringing her hither attired in a single piece of cloth, is an action of impropriety, listen to certain excellent reasons I will give. O son of the Kuru race, the gods have ordained only one husband for one woman. This Draupadi, however, hath many husbands. Therefore, certain it is that she is an unchaste woman. To bring her, therefore, into this assembly attired though she be in one piece of cloth--even to uncover her is not at all an act that may cause surprise. Whatever wealth the Pandavas had--she herself and these Pandavas themselves,--have all been justly won by the son of Suvala. O Dussasana, this Vikarna speaking words of (apparent) wisdom is but a boy. Take off the robes of the Pandavas as also the attire of Draupadi. Hearing these words the Pandavas, O Bharata, took of their upper garments and throwing them down sat in that assembly. Then Dussasana, O king, forcibly seizing Draupadi's attire before the eyes of all, began to drag it off her person.


[19] After witnessing Draupadi's conduct following the game, when she did not take full advantage of Dhritarasthra's boons by Dhritrashtra, Karna says she saved her husband who were like sinking which enrages Bhima further, as he felt slighted by the fact that their wife had to save them.

Karna said -- We have never heard of such an act (as this one of Draupadi), performed by any of the women noted in this world for their beauty. When the sons of both Pandu and Dhritarashtra were excited with wrath, this Draupadi became unto the sons of Pandu as their salvation. Indeed the princess of Panchala, becoming as a boat unto the sons of Pandu who were sinking in a boatless ocean of distress, hath brought them in safety to the shore. Vaisampayana continued, "Hearing these words of Karna in the midst of the Kurus,--viz., that the sons of Pandu were saved by their wife,--the angry Bhimasena in great affliction said (unto Arjuna),--'O Dhananjaya, it hath been said by Devala three lights reside in every person, viz., offspring, acts and learning, for from these three hath sprung creation. When life becometh extinct and the body becometh impure and is cast off by relatives, these three become of service to every person. But the light that is in us hath been dimmed by this act of insult to our wife. How, O Arjuna, can a son born from this insulted wife of ours prove serviceable to us?




Many researchers and scholars who have studied the epic has gone on to prove that the very emotional disrobing scene never took place in the original work and that it was a later addition to vilify Kurus further also possibly due to the rise of Bhakthi Movement related to Krishna. Scholars like Dr. Pradip Bhattacharya, Prof. Satya Chaithanya, Bardwell L. Smith, J. L. Brockington etc. point out with proof that Draupadi was indeed dragged by hair but never disrobed; neither did Krishna miraculaously saved Draupadi. Dr. Indrajit Bhattacharya states the following :

when they meet for the first time in exile, Draupadi specifically mentions being dragged by her hair, but does not mention any pulling at her garment (III.12.61-63, 121). Krishna responds that had he been present he would have prevented the fraudulent dice game. There is no mention of any appeal from Draupadi regarding the stripping reaching him—telepathically or otherwise. Whenever Yudhishthira recounts the sufferings they have undergone, it is always Draupadi being pulled by her hair that he mentions, never any attempt to strip her. When Krishna and Yudhishthira mention to Sanjaya the atrocities suffered, it is not mentioned (V.29.40 and 31.16), nor when Krishna speaks to Yudhishthira before the peace-embassy (V.73.18-19). Even when Draupadi herself, furious at everyone favouring peace, lists her sufferings, she does not mention what should have been the climactic outrage of stripping (V.82.25-26). Kunti, listing her sorrows to Krishna, mentions five times Draupadi being dragged into the court in a single garment, but does not mention any stripping (V.90.50-51, 57, 82, 86 and V.137). Krishna, in his embassy to the Kauravas, mentions Draupadi being dragged into court, but there is no reference to disrobing (V.95.59). When Duhsasana boastfully displays to Bhima the arm by which he dragged Draupadi by the hair, neither he nor Bhima, who rips it off, refers to the grosser offence by far. When Krishna criticises Karna, facing death for his misdeeds, he refers to menstruating, single-cloth-clad Draupadi being summoned to the assembly hall, but does not refer to any stripping and his instigating it, which ought to have been counted as the most heinous offence he had to answer for. Even at the end, when Yudhishthira provokes Duryodhana to emerge from Dvaipayana lake, he refers to Draupadi being verbally abused and dragged (karshanena), but says not a word about her being stripped (IX.30.187*).


Prof. Satya Chaitanya points out that :

in the Sabha Parva, Dhritarashtra tells Sañjaya that the Brahmins did not perform the sandhya rituals on the day of the dice game, furious at Draupadi being pulled about (parikarshane). Later, in the Vana parva, Sañjaya repeats his master’s word parikarsha to describe the outrage suffered by Draupadi with no reference to disrobing.


Abduction by Jayadratha[edit]

Draupardi taken to forest by Simhika, who plans to kill her

While the Pandavas were in the Kamyaka forest, they often went hunting, leaving Draupadi in the care of Dhaumya, their priest. At this time Jayadratha, the son of Vriddhakshatra, the husband of Duryodhana’s sister Dussala, passed through Kamyaka forest on the way to Salwa Desa. There he saw Draupadi. Jayadratha then started beseeching her to go away with him and desert her husbands who had fallen upon bad times. Draupadi pointed out that it was wrong to desert one’s spouses when they were in difficulty and then gave him a rather long and deliberately delaying speech on exactly the sort of bad time her husbands would give him on their return. Jayadratha then said “thou canst not frighten us(he was with several other Kings when he saw and abducted Draupadi) now with these threats. We, too, O Draupadi, belong by birth to the seventeen high clans, and are endowed with the six royal qualities.” and was sure that he could beat the Pandavas in battle. Draupadi said “Even Indra himself cannot abduct her for whose protection Krishna and Arjuna would together follow, riding in the same chariot.” And she spoke of the way in which Jishnu (Arjuna) would rout Jayadratha and his armies. She also said, “The warring princes of the Andhaka and the Vrishni races, with Janardana at their head, and the mighty bowmen of the Kaikeya tribe, will all follow in my wake with great ardour”. Failing with words Jayadratha tried violence and she called for Dhaumya’s help. Though she pushed him to the ground, he overpowered her and forced her onto his chariot. Meanwhile the Pandavas had finished their hunt and Yudhisthira observed that all the animals were disturbed in one direction and was suddenly overcome by premonitions. So he and his brother climbed their chariots pulled by horses of Saindhava breed and gave chase in the direction of the disturbance. And on learning of their wife's abduction by Jayadratha they rushed towards that host with great fury( like hawks swooping down on their prey. And possessed of the prowess of Indra, they had been filled with fury at the insult offered to Draupadi. But at sight of Jayadratha and of their beloved wife seated on his car, their fury knew no bounds). Then follows the exciting description of a battle in which the five pandavas routed the Sauviras, Ikshwakus, Sivis, and Saindhavas and their armies. Jayadratha in fear ran away, leaving Draupadi behind in all this confusion and she was taken back by Arjun. Dharmaraj urged Bhima to spare Jayadratha’s life for the sake of Dussala and Gandhari, much to the indignation of Draupadi. And that highly intelligent lady said to her two husbands, Bhima and Arjuna with indignation mixed with modesty, 'If you care to do what is agreeable to me, you must slay the chief of the Saindhava clan! That foe who forcibly carries away a wife, and he that wrests a kingdom, should never be forgiven on the battle-field, even though he should supplicate for mercy!'.Thus admonished, it was decided to make him humiliated. Then the two valiant warriors went in search of the Saindhava chief. Bhima and Arjuna caught up with Jayadratha and Arjuna asked him how an unmanly fellow like himself had the guts to take a woman away by force. Thereafter there was more running away than actual fighting and Bhima caught Jayadratha and wanted to kill him. Arjuna reminded him of Dharmaraj(Yudhisthira)’s words, so they brought Jayadratha to their hermitage.After bringing the chained Jayadratha back to the hermitage where he was to declare to be slave of Pandavas and was hence, shaved on his head at five places and then freed.(Book 3: Vana Parva-Draupadi-harana Parva)

Draupadi's description of the Pandavas[edit]

Draupadi's description of Pandavas to Jayadratha when he abducts her in Vana Parva :

"With a complexion like that of pure gold, possessed of a prominent nose and large eyes, and endued with a slender make, that husband of mine is known among people by the name of Yudhishthira, the son of Dharma and the foremost of the Kuru race. That virtuous prince of men granteth life to even a foe that yields. Therefore, O fool, throwing down thy arms and joining thy hands, run to him for thy good, to seek his protection. And that other man whom thou seest with long arms and tall as the full-grown Sala tree, seated on his chariot, biting his lips, and contracting his forehead so as to bring the two eye-brows together, is he,--my husband Vrikodara! Steeds of the noblest breed, plump and strong, well-trained and endued with great might, draw the cars of that warrior! His achievements are superhuman. He is known, therefore, by the name of Bhima on earth. They that offend him are never suffered to live. He never forgetteth a foe. On some pretext or other he wrecketh his vengeance. Nor is he pacified even after he has wrecked a signal vengeance. And there, that foremost of bowmen, endued with intelligence and renown, with senses under complete control and reverence for the old—that brother and disciple of Yudhishthira—is my husband Dhananjaya, known to the world as Arjun! Virtue he never forsaketh, from lust or fear or anger! Nor doth he ever commit a deed that is cruel. Endued with the energy of fire and capable of withstanding every foe, that grinder of enemies is the son of Kunti. And that other youth, versed in every question of morality and profit, who ever dispelleth the fears of the affrighted, who is endued with high wisdom, who is considered as the handsomest person in the whole world and who is protected by all the sons of Pandu, being regarded by them as dearer to them than their own lives for his unflinching devotion to them, is my husband Nakula possessed of great prowess. Endued with high wisdom and having Sahadeva for his second, possessed of exceeding lightness of hand, he fighteth with the sword, making dexterous passes therewith. Thou, foolish man, shall witness today his performances on the field of battle, like unto those of Indra amid the ranks of Daityas! And that hero skilled in weapons and possessed of intelligence and wisdom, and intent on doing what is agreeable to the son of Dharma, that favourite and youngest born of the Pandavas, is my husband Sahadeva! Heroic, intelligent, wise and ever wrathful there is not another man equal unto him in intelligence or in eloquence amid assemblies of the wise. Dearer to Kunti than her own soul, he is always mindful of the duties of Kshatriyas, and would much sooner rush into fire or sacrifice his own life than say anything that is opposed to religion and morals."


(Book 3: Vana Parva, Section 268)

Kichaka's death[edit]

Draupadi in Virata's palace, by Raja Ravi Varma

While the Pandavas were leading their normal life in their own disguised form, one day Kichaka, the brother of Sudeshna, and the commander of king Virata’s forces, happened to see the Draupadi. He was filled with lust by looking at her. He asked her to marry him, but Draupadi refused him saying that she was already married to Gandharvas. She warned Kichaka that her husbands were very strong and that he would not be able to escape death at their hands. Later, he forced his sister, the queen, to help him win Draupadi. Sudeshana ordered Draupadi to fetch wine from Kichaka's house. Draupadi tried to dissuade the queen, but fails. When Draupadi went to get wine, Kichaka tried to molest her. Draupadi escaped and runs into the court of Virata. Kichaka kicked her in front of all the courtiers, including Yudhisthira. Fearful of losing his most powerful warrior, even Virat did not take any action. Bhima is present, and only a look from Yudhishthira prevents him from attacking Kichaka. Furious, Draupadi asked about the duties of a king and dharma. Draupadi then cursed Kichaka with death by her husband's hand. Laughing it off, Kichaka only doubted their whereabouts and asked those present where are the Ghandaravas were. Yudhisthira then told Sairandhri to go to the temple, as Kichaka would not do anything to her there (in some versions, he recommends she seeks refuge with the queen). With this, the king asked Kichaka to leave and praised Yudhistira's reply as he himself could not think of anything.

Later that night, Arjuna consoled Draupadi, and with Bhima, they hatched a plan to kill Kichaka. Draupadi meets with Kichaka, pretending to actually love him and agreeing to marry him on the condition that none of his friends or brothers would know about their relationship. Kichaka accepted her condition. Draupadi asked Kichaka to come to the dancing hall at night. Bhima(in the guise of Draupadi), fights with Kichaka and kills him, with Arjuna playing the mridangam in order to mask the sounds of battle. (Book 4: Virata Parva, Kichaka-badha Parva)

Death of Kichaka

Friendship with Krishna[edit]

Krishna and Draupadi's friendship is quite unique and modern, according to experts. To her Krishna is a close confidant, protector and a lot of times, a guide. After the rise of Vaishnavism, this unique friendship has been tuned into that of a deity and devotee. Well known Indian mythologist, Devdutt Pattanaik says the following about their relationship in his article The Clothes of Draupadi :

When Vishnu descends as Krishna, logic dictates that he should marry Draupadi. But it is not so. Draupadi has many husbands but not Krishna. Krishna has many wives but not Draupadi. It seems a mismatch. A dissonance. An indication that all is not well with the world.....Ethics and morality of Krishna’s world lack clarity. Krishna is present at the swayamvara of Draupadi. But the author never explains why Krishna does not participate in the archery contest. Krishna is not Rama. He is not of a royal family. His upbringing is amongst people of the lower social orders. He has many wives and lovers. He is not king. Draupadi refused to let Karna contest for her hand in marriage because he was raised by charioteers and did not know his true origins. Could this be the reason why Krishna voluntarily kept out of the swayamvara? Symbolically speaking, the kingdom (Draupadi) prefers men of high birth (either kings or priests) over men of high merit (Karna). She ends up marrying five priests, who are really not priests, but princes in disguise, all of them imperfect, all of them of questionable birth – their father could not make his wives pregnant and so the wives invoked gods who gave them children. That choice seals her fate.




Ashwathama in order to avenge his father's as well as other Kuru warriors' deceitful killing by Pandavas, attack the camp of the Pandavas' with his uncle Kripa and Kritavarma. He kill Dhrishtadyumna, Shikhandi and Upapandavas who were in deep sleep. Many critics say that he mistook Upapandavas for Pandavas. At morning Yudhishthira hears the news and asks Nakula to bring Draupadi from Matsya kingdom. Draupadi blacks out reaching there and vows that if the Pandavas don't kill Ashwathama, she will kill herself by prayopaveshan( fasting till death ). Yudhishthira tries to console her and says stating he is their Guru's son, they can't kill him; but Draupadi says,"I have heard that Drona's son hath a gem on his head, born with him. I shall see that gem brought to me after the slaughter of that wretch in battle, Placing that gem on thy head, O king, I shall endure to live. Even this is my resolve."[22] Then she says to Bhima,

"Remembering the duties of a kshatriya, O Bhima, it behoveth thee to come to my rescue. Slay that man of sinful deeds like Maghavat slaying Samvara. There is no one in this world who is equal to thee in prowess. It is known throughout the world how on an occasion of great calamity thou becamest at the town Varanavata the refuge of all the Parthas. When again we were seen by Hidimba, it was thou that becamest our refuge in the same way. Like Maghavat rescuing (his spouse) the daughter of Puloma, thou didst rescue my afflicted self, in Virata's city, from a great calamity. Like those great feats, O Partha, that thou didst achieve in former days, slay now, O slayer of foes, the son of Drona and be thou happy!"


[22] Ashwathama gives his gem to Arjuna and gets cursed by Krishna and Draupadi is thus pacified. When Bhima rushes in to attack a weaponless Ashwathama, the latter invokes Bramhashira weapon which had the ability to destroy the world but is countered by Arjuna. Then Vyasa intervenes and asks the 2 warriors to withdraw the destrcutive weapon. Ashwathama is unable to withdraw his so he points it to the womb of Pandava women, specifically to Uttara's womb. Krishna curse him for this act; upon Vyasa's intervention Ashwathama gives his gem to Arjuna and thus Draupadi is pacified.[23]

Death and to heaven[edit]

Draupadi falls as the Pandavas proceed.

When her husbands retired from the world and went on their journey towards the Himalayas and Indra's heaven, she accompanied them, and was the first to fall on the journey. When Bhima asked Yudhisthira, "This princess never did any sinful act. Then why is she fallen on Earth?" to this Yudhisthir replied that, "Although the princess has always been faithful to all of us, yet she loved Arjun the most and hence the reason for her fall.".

"Beholding his brothers fallen on the Earth, King Yudhishthira the just said unto that deity of a 1,000 eyes these words: ‘My brothers have all dropped down here. They must go with me. Without them by me I do not wish to go to Heaven, O lord of all the deities. The delicate princess (Draupadi) deserving of every comfort, O Purandara, should go with us. It behoveth thee to permit this."

"He also beheld the princess of Panchala, decked in garlands of lotuses. Having attained to Heaven, she was sitting there, endued with a form possessed of solar splendour. King Yudhishthira suddenly wished to question her. Then the illustrious Indra, the chief of the gods, spoke to him, ‘This one is Sree herself. It was for destroying the evil , that she took birth, as the daughter of Drupada, among human beings, issuing not from any mother’s womb, O Yudhishthira, endued with agreeable perfume and capable of delighting the whole world. She was born in the race of Drupada and was married to and liked by you all."


Draupadi had five sons one from her husbands. There names were Prativindhya (Yudhisthira's son), Sutasoma (Bheema's son), Shrutakarma (Arjuna's son), Satanika (Nakula's son), and Shrutasena (Sahadeva's son). Together they were called as Upapandavas. None of Draupadi's children survived the end of the epic. Ashwatthama went to torch the camping tents of the Pandavas at night, but he got confused with the Upapandavas. So instead of torching the camps of Pandavas, he ended up torching the camps of Draupadi's children. In some versions of the story, Ashwatthama, unable to find the Pandavas (who were staying in the conquered Kaurava camp), decides to kill the Upapandavas out of spite.

Parikshit, the son of Abhimanyu, and his wife Uttarā(grandson of Subhadra and Arjuna), is the sole Pandava descendant who survives at the end of the Mahabharat battle.


The marriage of Draupadi with five Pandava men, i.e., polyandry, was not regarded without censure by the society spoken of in the epic. The Indo-Aryan texts almost never mention or allow polyandry, although polygamy was common among men of higher social ranks. Her marriage to five men was controversial. However, when questioned by Kunti to give an example of polyandry, Yudhisthira cites Gautam-clan Jatila (married to seven Saptarishis) and Hiranyaksha's sister Pracheti (married to ten brothers).[24]

Draupadī's polyandrous marriage seems to have been a historic event; otherwise the author of the Mahābhārata, who is at his wit's end to justify it, would have quietly kept silence about it. ... The Mahābhārata proceeds to give several fantastic reasons in justification of Draupadī's marriage; only one of them may be given by way of illustration. Draupadī got five husbands in this life because in one of her previous existences she had five times uttered the prayer to God, 'Give me a husband' (Mbh 1:213). [See also Mbh 1:206:2,27; 1:210:29 for contemporary cultural responses to polyandry.][25]

In the Svargarohana Parva of Mahabharat, during their final journey to heaven, Draupadi and all Pandavas but Yudhisthira fall on their way. The reason for the fall of Draupadi is quoted by Yudhishtira as she being more doting towards Arjuna than the rest of the brothers. Scholars state this was probably more due to Yudhishtira's jealousy as the epic does not give any proof to this accusation by him.

Draupadi as a village god[edit]

The Draupadi Amman cult (or Draupadi cult) is a tradition that binds together a community of people in worshipping Draupadi Amman as a village goddess with unique rituals and mythologies. Fire walking or theemithi is a popular ritual enacted at Draupadi Amman temples.[26]

Reclining Draupadi's head - near Auroville.
Draupati Amman idol in Udappu, Sri Lanka

There are over 400 temples dedicated to Draupadi in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka.[27] In these communities, Draupadi is worshiped mainly by people of the Vanniyar caste.[28] There are a few processions and festivals which are conducted for about 3 weeks a year. The most famous festival is in the village Durgasamudram, Tirupati of Chittoor district.[29]

Added to the Above

Draupadi Amman Temple in Aalangudi near GuruSthalam is very Powerful and Ancient Temple located on the way to Kumbakonnam and also in Chennai located in Chindhadhiripet and Kilpauk with the name of Dharmaraja Thirukovil.

Now at Aalangudi process of reconstructing the temple started due to the huge damage in the walls of temple. People who are the devotees of Draupathi or trusting the information may reach the dharmagartha and sthabathi over there and kindly donate something for the reconstructions of the temple.

In media and television[edit]

In B.R.Chopra's Mahabharat, Draupadi was portrayed by Roopa Ganguly. In 2013 Mahabharat TV Series, Draupadi was played by Pooja Sharma.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Bhattacharya, Pradip. Five Holy Virgins, Five Sacred Myths. Manushi. 
  3. ^ "Mahabharti - A Hindi Book by - Chitra Chaturvedi - महाभारती - चित्रा चतुर्वेदी". Pustak.org. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  4. ^ Jones, Constance (2007). Encyclopedia of Hinduism. New York: Infobase Publishing. p. 136. ISBN 0-8160-5458-4. 
  5. ^ Doninger, Wendy (2009). The Hindus: An Alternative History. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 301. 
  6. ^ Ganguli, Kisari Mohan. "Section CLXXXVI: Swayamvara Parva". The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa: English Translation. Munshirm Manoharlal Pub Pvt Ltd. Retrieved 16 January 2013. 
  7. ^ http://mahabhar.blogspot.in/2013/05/draupadi-and-amba.html
  8. ^ GANGULI, KM. MAHABHARATA : Swayamwara Parva. 
  9. ^ Ganguli, KM. MAHABHARTA :Adi Parva. Archived from the original on 18 February 2015. Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  10. ^ Dalal, Roshen (2010). Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin Books. p. 166. 
  11. ^ Parmeshwarananad, Swami (2001). Encylopaedic Dictionary of Puranas. New Delhi: Sarup and Sons. p. 524. 
  12. ^ a b "The Mahabharata, Book 2: Sabha Parva: Sisupala-badha Parva: Section XLVI". Sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  13. ^ "The Mahabharata, Book 2: Sabha Parva: Sisupala-badha Parva: Section LXVI". Sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  14. ^ http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m02/m02067.htm |title=The Mahabharata, Book 2: Sabha Parva: Section LXII |publisher=Sacred-texts.com
  15. ^ http://nyktrivedi.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/mahabharata-sanskrit-hindi-02-gitapress.pdf
  16. ^ https://archive.org/stream/mahabharata_nk/mahabharata_nilakanthas_commentary#page/n403/mode/2up
  17. ^ a b Pattanaik, Devdutt. "The Clothes of Draupadi". Devdutt. Archived from the original on 20 February 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  18. ^ http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m01/m01190.htm
  19. ^ Ganguli, KM. MAHABHARATA : BOOK II - Sabha Parva. sacredteaxts.com. Archived from the original on 20 February 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  20. ^ Ganguli, KM. MAHABHARATA : SABHA PARVA. sacredtexts.com. Archived from the original on 20 February 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  21. ^ Bhattacharya, Dr.Pradip. "Was Draupadi Ever Disrobed?". Archived from the original on 18 February 2015. Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  22. ^ a b http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m10/m10011.htm
  23. ^ Ganguli, KM. MAHABHARATA : BOOK X : SAUPTIKA PARVA. sacredtexts.com. Archived from the original on 20 February 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  24. ^ "The Mahabharata, Book 1: Adi Parva: Vaivahika Parva: Section CLXLVIII". Sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  25. ^ Anant Sadashiv Altekar, The position of women in Hindu civilization, from prehistoric times to the present day, 2nd revised and illustrated edition, (Motilal Banarsidass, 1959), p. 112–113.
  26. ^ DraupadiHiltebeitel, Alf (1991). The Cult Of Draupadi Mythologies:From Gingee To Kuruksetra 1. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-81-208-1000-6. 
  27. ^ Hiltebeitel, Alf (1991). The Cult of Draupadi: Mythologies: From Gingee to Kurukshetra. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 25. 
  28. ^ Madhusudhan, N.R. (2012). "Ancient tradition comes alive". New Indian Express. 
  29. ^ "Drowpathi Sametha Dharmaraja Swamy Temple". Desibantu. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 


External links[edit]