Mahabharata is one of the greatest epics of the Hindus classified under “Itihasa” in Sanskrit literature. It is an epic history of the Kurukshetra war and the outcomes of the Kaurava and the Pandava princes. There is a lot of story in this epic that is still a mystery for many. One such story was of Draupadi, the female character that needs no introduction.

Draupadi, heroic princess of Mahabharata, was the daughter of King Drupada of Panchal, and wife of the Pandavas – the five brothers. She had five sons; Prativindhya, Sutasoma, Srutakarma, Satanika, and Srutasena. 

1. Draupadi’s birth

Draupadi

It is said that Draupadi was born out of revenge. King Drupada of Panchala was defeated by the Pandava prince Arjuna on behalf of Drona, who then took half of his kingdom. By burning the fire of revenge, king Draupada performed tapas followed by a Yajna to obtain a means of blessing him. Draupadi appeared as a beautiful dark-skinned young woman from the sacrificial fire after her sibling Dhrishtadyumna. When she appeared from the fire, a heavenly voice said that she would bring about a great variation in the future of the dharma of Bharat Varsha.

Draupadi was an unwanted child born to him. She was not born from her mother’s womb. Instead, she was born from the fire as an adult, with no appreciation of childhood or parenting.

2. Various names of Draupadi

Sairandhri - Draupadi
Draupadi as Sairandhri – Painting by Raja Ravi Varma

Draupadi is one of the leading characters of Mahabharata. Like other epic characters, She is known by several names and every name of her defines one of her different qualities.

  • Drupadi – daughter of king Drupad
  • Panchali – Princess of the kingdom of Panchala
  • Parshati – Granddaughter of Prishata
  • Yagnaseni – Born from the sacrificial fire
  • Sairandhri – An expert maid
  • Nityayuvani – One who remains young forever and never becomes old.
  • Malini – One who makes garlands.
  • Krishnaa – Represent for her dark complexion and pure skin, radiating purity, honor, and principality.

3. Marriage of Draupadi

Draupadi was very brave and extraordinarily beautiful. She was equally intelligent. King Dhrupada organized a swayamvar for his daughter where he put a condition for marriage. She would wed the prince who would pierce the eye of the rotating fish by looking at its reflection in the water. Arjuna was among the many princes who involved in the Swayamvar. The Pandava Prince was in disguise of a Brahmin along with his brothers Yudhisthira and Bhima.

Arjuna was only one besides Karna who was capable of winning Draupadi’s hand. Draupadi had already rejected Karna because of his background (he was the son of a charioteer).  After winning the contest the disguised Arjuna along with his brothers Yudhisthir and Bhima move towards the ut where mother Kunti is waiting for them. He tells his mother Kunti that they get a special Bhiksha. Without looking at what exactly it is, Mata Kunti instructed the five Pandava brothers to share among them.

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The five brothers had obeyed their mother’s words. So Draupadi had to marry each of the Pandavas brothers.

4. Krishna consoles Kunti

It was Draupadi’s destiny to marry all five Pandavas and not Kunti’s fault. Even though this makes Kunti sorrowful but Lord Krishna comes at the spot and consoles Kunti. He says her about Draupadi’s Tapasya in her previous life in front of Lord Shiva. Draupadi had wished for a husband who was an epitome of righteousness, best archer, strongest, charming, patience, and determinant. She had indeed wished for one man with these qualities. But since it was impossible to find someone with all those qualities. At last, she was blessed with five husbands in her next birth.

5. Draupadi condition for Pandavas

Draupadi agreed to become the wife of five Pandavas on one condition, i.e. she would never share her household with any other women, which means the Pandavas had no right to bring their other wives to Indraprastha.

6. Draupadi cursed the Dogs

Draupadi mentioned a condition in front of Pandavas that only one brother was allowed to enter her chamber at a time. The Pandava who will enter her chamber will keep his shoes outside the chamber. The one who will violate this condition will be sent to long-term exile.

But one day, one-day when Yudhisthar was in her chamber, the dog stole his shoes. Unaware of the fact Arjun entered the chamber of Draupadi seeing no shoes outside and saw his brother Yudhisthir with Draupadi. Arjun was sent to exile as per the condition of Draupadi. Embarrassed Draupadi cursed dogs by saying: “All the world will see you copulate in public, stripped of all shame.”

7. Incarnation of Kali

There is a common belief in South India that Draupadi was also an incarnation of Maha Kali. She was born to assist Lord Krishna to destroy all the arrogant Kings. That is why they are considered brothers and sisters although Draupadi was born from fire.

Draupadi

8. Avatars of Draupadi

As per Narada Purana and Vayu Purana, she is the combined avatar of;

  • Goddess Shyamala (wife of Dharma)
  • Bharati (wife of Vayu)
  • Shachi (wife of Indra)
  • Usha (wife of Ashwin)
  • Parvati (wife of Shiva)

9. Draupadi blessed to be a virgin

Pancha Kanya

Draupadi is one of Panchakanyas, known as five virgins. She used to walk through fire to regain her virginity and purity before she moved to the next Husband.  Such rules were never perceived before this. Pandavas have other wives but these wives used to stay with their parents and they used to travel to them to visit their wives in four years.

10. Draupadi’s death

After Shri Krishna left his mortal body, the Pandavas lost interest in the world. Yudhisthira, Draupadi and the Pandavas decided to go to heaven with their alive body along with a dog. They started their journey towards heaven and walks continuously and reached near the Himalayas. After they have passed this mountain, they saw the ‘Sumeru Parvat’. When they were crossing the Sumeru Parvat the feet of Draupadi stunned and she fell from the mountain and died.

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Draupadi's death

Bhima asks Yudhishthira why did Draupadi die early and couldn’t continue with them on their journey to heaven. Yudhishthira replied that “She loves Arjuna more than four of us”.

(Last Updated On: July 20, 2020)
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