Mahabharata is considered by many to be the greatest epic ever written, for some Hindus it narrates historical events. However, it remains one of the most complex narrative in history. Draupady the wife of five Pandava brothers is the heroine princess and one of the central characters in the epic.
She was the daughter of King Drupada of Pancha and had five sons; Prativindhya, Sutasoma, Srutakarma, Satanika, and Srutasena.
Draupadi’s story has been an inspiration for various arts and performances. There are many books based on her life. In Hinduism, she is celebrated as one of the Panchakanya (five women), prime examples of female chastity whose names are believed to dispel sin when recited.
In some parts of the sub-continent, a sect of Draupadi exists, where she is worshipped as a goddess
Here’s a list of some of the most amazing facts about Draupadi.
1. Birth of Draupadi
Most Hindu texts state that Draupadi was not born of a woman and thus, she is often described as an Ayonija (not born from a woman’s womb).
It is stated that Draupadi was born out of revenge. King Drupada of Panchala was defeated by the Pandava prince Arjuna on the behest of Drona, who then took half of his kingdom.
Drupada, son of King Prishata, and Drona had studied together under the guardianship of Rishi Bhardwaj, Drona’s father.
They soon become great friends and Drupada assures Drona that once he becomes king, he will share half of his kingdom with Drona.
While Drupada became a king after the death of his father, Drona lived a life of extreme poverty. Drona approaches Drupada for help — who now conscious of the difference of status between them, refuses to acknowledge Drona’s friendship and ignores Drona, calling him a beggar.
Drona is later employed by Bhishma to train the Kuru princes. After the military education of the Kauravas and the Pandavas ends, as his Guru Dakshina (pay the debt of his teachings), Drona asks the princes to defeat and capture Drupada.
Humiliated, Drupada performed tapas by burning the fire of revenge, followed by a Yajna to obtain a means of blessing him. Draupadi emerged as a beautiful dark-skinned young woman from the sacrificial fire after her sibling Dhrishtadyumna.
After she appeared from the sacrificial fire, a heavenly voice announced that she would bring about a great shift 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 a fully grown adult, with no grasp of childhood or parenting.
2. Multiple names of Draupadi
Draupadi is one of the leading characters of Mahabharata. Similar to many other central characters in Mahabharata, she is also known by various names and each name has a context and signifies special 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 extremely beautiful while also being very brave and intelligent. King Dhrupada organized a Swayamvar for his deserving 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 were witnesses to the Swayamvar. However, the Pandava Prince was in disguise as a Brahmin along with his brothers Yudhisthira and Bhima.
Arguably Arjuna was the only one apart from Karna among those present in the Swayamvar. Sadly, Draupadi disqualified Karna because of his background (he was the son of a charioteer and thus a lower caste).
After winning the contest the disguised Arjuna along with his brothers Yudhisthir and Bhima move towards the hut where mother Kunti is waiting for brothers. He tells his mother Kunti that they get a special Bhiksha (alms). Without looking at what exactly it is, Mata Kunti directed the five Pandava brothers to share among them.
The five brothers had obeyed their mother’s words. So Draupadi had to marry each of the Pandavas brothers.
4. Lord Krishna visits to consoles Kunti and Draupadi
As per the epic Draupadi was destined to marry all five Pandavas and it wasn’t Kunti’s fault. However, Draupadi is not happy about the arrangement but Lord Krishna comes to their place and consoles both.
He mentions Draupadi’s Tapasya in her previous life in front of Lord Shiva, where she 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 marriage with 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 introduced 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, when eldest brother 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. Krishna saved Draupadi during attempted Cheerharan incident in Mahabharata- his gift for a past gesture
The Vastraharan or Cheerharan of Draupadi attempted by Duryodhan and his brother Dushashan in Mahabharat is a very shameful incident and would have been worse, had the Kauravas succeeded in disrobing the Pandavas’ wife. Only one Kaurava Vikarna stood against the heinous act.
But Lord Krishna, the brother, the Sakha (friend) and protector saved the Pancha princess in time.
Once when Krishna suffered a nick to his finger after wielding the all-powerful Sudarshan Chakra, it is said that his own sister Subhadra began searching for a piece of cotton cloth that she could tear off and create a bandage therefrom for him.
However, Draupadi quickly tore off a section of her expensive brocaded saree pallu and quickly sealed the bleeding. This deed remained etched in Krishna’s mind. The Yadava prince of Mathura returned the favor during the Cheerharan (Chirharan) episode.
It is said that when Duryodhana and Dushasana subjected the Pandava princes’ wife Draupadi to an attempt at disrobing her, she prayed to her Sakha, her brother.
8. 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.
9. 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)
10. Draupadi blessed to be a virgin
Draupadi is one of Panchakanyas, known as the 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 for four years.
11. 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 mortal body seeking penance.
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They started their journey towards heaven and walks continuously and reached near the Himalayas. After they have passed this mountain, they saw the ‘Sumeru Parvati. When they were crossing the Sumeru Parvat the feet of Draupadi stunned and she fell from the mountain and died.
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”.