Painting by Raja Ravi Varma
|Consort||Yudhisthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula, Sahadeva .|
|Parents||Drupada father, Prashati mother|
|Children||Prativindhya, Satanika, Sutasoma, Srutasena, Srutakarma|
Draupadi (Sanskrit: द्रौपदी, draupadī, Sanskrit pronunciation: [d̪rəʊpəd̪i]) is described as the Tritagonist in the Hindu epic, Mahabharata. 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. She was the most beautiful woman of her time.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 Birth
- 3 Draupadi's description
- 4 Marriage with Pandavas
- 5 Living in Indraprastha
- 6 Duryodhana's insult
- 7 The game of dice
- 8 Abduction by Jayadratha
- 9 Kichaka's death
- 10 Friendship with Krishna
- 11 Ashwathama
- 12 Death and to heaven
- 13 Appearance and Character
- 14 Children
- 15 Polyandry
- 16 Draupadi as a village god
- 17 In media and television
- 18 References
- 19 Sources
- 20 External links
Like other epic characters, Draupadi too is referred by multiple names in the Mahabharata. Her names are as follows:
- She is referred to by names like Draupadi (daughter of Drupada).
- Krishnaa (कृष्णा, one who has dark complexion).
- Panchali (पांचाली, one from the land of Panchala).
- Yajnaseni (याज्ञसेनी, one born from a Yajna or fire-sacrifice).
- Sairandhri (सैरन्ध्री, 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 (महाभारती, great wife of the five descendents of Bharata) in her book by the same name.
- Parshati (पर्षती, indicated her being the granddaughter of Prishata).
- Nitayuvani (नित्ययुवनी, one who never become old).
- Malini (मालिनी, a beautiful girl with a beautiful smile and eyes that could light up the world).
- Yojanagandha (योजनगन्धा, she whose fragrance can be felt for miles).
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. When she emerged from the fire, a heavenly voice said that she would bring about the destruction of the Kuru line.
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.".
Marriage with Pandavas
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.'
Living in Indraprastha
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. Yudhisthira performed the Rajasuya Yagna, the Pandavas gained lordship over many regions.
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"
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 be a later addition. Duryodhana felt insulted by the behavious of the four Pandavas and even tried to kill himself but later he asked his uncle Shakuni to propose a plan to subjugate and exact revenge upon the Pandavas. 
The game of dice
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 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 had a dice that was made from his father-king subala's bone and it 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. Before the game Bhishma was told to frame the rules as he was the oldest, wisest, and strongest of all men in that court. He ordered all women to go away from the court, when the game was played (except some maid, who Occasionally bring refreshments to the people at the court). He told that the loser is the one who loses all of the wealth and one can stake only the wealth to which he has right. 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.
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.
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. Karna publicly called Draupadi a whore for being the wife of 5 men. As per Hindu scriptures, a women who have sexual relations with more than 3 men is called a whore. Earlier 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 Sutaputra (son of charioteer) for my lord' thus rejecting and insulting him publically of his mixed caste and unknown origin. 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.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. 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.
Abduction by Jayadratha
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
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."—quote
(Book 3: Vana Parva, Section 268)
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)
Friendship with Krishna
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.
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 invoked Lord Shiva for this purpose and with the help of Lord Shiva, Ashwathama killed Dhrishtadyumna, Shikhandi,Upapandavas, the remaining Pandava and Panchala army. 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 fasting till death. Yudhishthira tries to console her and says stating he is their Guru's son, they can't kill him and Ashwathama is unslayable by any kind of weapons but Draupadi says,"I have heard that Drona's son hath a gem on his head, born with him, I want that gem and placing that gem on thy head, O king, I shall endure to live. Even this is my resolve." 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 destructive 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 Pandavas and thus Draupadi is pacified.
Death and to heaven
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."
Appearance and Character
Draupadi is often considered to be a manipulative,sensual lady which is expressive in the colloquial slang Panchali.But she is worshipped as an incarnation of both Kali and Sachi,the wife of Indra.
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 attacked the camping tents of the Pandavas at night with the help of lord Shiva, but unable to find the Pandavas (who were staying in the conquered Kaurava camp), he killed the Upapandavas to make Pandavas childless.
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).
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.]
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
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.
There are over 400 temples dedicated to Draupadi in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka. In these communities, Draupadi is worshiped mainly by people of the Vanniyar caste. 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.
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 and temple in Dharmaraja Kothapalli it is near to Hosur, namely Draupadhiamman Thirukovil and they celebrating festival every year for Lord Draupathi Amman.
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
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