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Draupadi and Karna love story - If Mahabharata has two characters who have received the most humiliation for no fault whatsoever, one is Karna prevented the Cheer-Haran Arjuna, on the other hand, favored Subhadra. This article tries to understand an episode from it, on its own and in relation to Vyasa's epic. Draupadi is having her siesta one beautiful. fabula-fantasia.infodi's Vastraharan and oaths. Draupadi's reaction to Subhadra and Arjun's Marriage. Vrushali and Karna's fights to marriage.
Karna has won the test, Soorya acknowledges him, and the father and the son meet affectionately. Karna asks Soorya to give him his weapon so that he could teach the Pandavas a lesson and punish Arjuna for his insult. Soorya advises him patience and gives him an agan-katari, a fire dagger, asking him to keep it in the wax scabbard given to him by his mother and not to take it out except in dire necessity.
The dagger, says the sun god, is dangerous and if it is taken out without a real need, the earth would split, the nine hundred thousand stars would burn down to ashes, and so would the gods in heaven, the gods in the netherworlds, the forests with all their trees and bushes, and even the winds along with all the water on the earth. As a happy Karna returns towards Hastinapura with sprightly steps, Draupadi sees him from afar.
She tells him that Vasuki would be coming as soon as the sun reaches the west. That evening Vasuki comes as usual again. He ties up Arjuna as usual and hangs him up from the peg, from where he watches with unblinking eyes as the king of patala takes his pleasure by enjoying Draupadi all night.
Every limb of the horse is burnt. As Vasuki approaches, Karna places the agan-katar before him and Vasuki falls down on the ground.
Karna burns up eight of the nine hoods of Vasuki. As his body catches fire, Vasuki joins his hands in supplication and begs for his life, promising Karna never to come that way again. Karma is moved by the begging and lets off the now single-hooded Vasuki. Jayadratha abducts her once, too, with evil intentions on her, while the Pandavas were living in the jungle.
Another time Jatasura succeeds in carrying her off, with the idea of ravishing her. But in all those cases, the men were defeated, and in the case of Keechaka and Jatasura, killed, before they could succeed in their intentions. But what the Bheel Bharata describes in this episode is a case in which Vasuki succeeds in having sex with Draupadi for several consecutive nights. Looking at it from the standpoint of the Mahabharata, the first question that naturally arises in our mind is why this scandalous story has been added to the Bheel epic.
The story not only paints a very poor picture of Arjuna, it also depicts Draupadi as a woman subjected to sexual ravishing. She thus loses, by traditional Indian standards, the right to be called a sati or a pativrata, a chaste wife, since she has had sex outside marriage. Traditional Indian culture considers that a woman loses her chastity by merely thinking sexually about a man other than her husband.
Why do the Bheels then add this story to the epic? While no conclusive answer is possible, several could be speculated. One of them is that the purpose of the addition is to bring out the greatness of Karna. The Indian psyche has never felt comfortable with what happened to Karna and has always felt guilty about it. His abandonment, his lifelong humiliation in the name of his presumed lower caste birth by Draupadi, Bheema, Bheeshma, Drona, Kripa, Parashurama and several others, his betrayal by his own mother, the way Indra dealt with him by taking away from him his breastplate and earrings that protected his life magically, his heroic nature, his unsurpassed valour, his boundless charities, his repeated nobility in the great battle, the way he met with his death, all these have always created great sympathy for him in the hearts of the Indian masses as well as of scholars.
That he did not deserve his sad lot is a universal feeling.
This feeling of sympathy for Karna is stronger as we climb down the social ladder — the lower classes identify with him and suffer his sufferings with him more easily.
Folk literature invariably sees him as noble — frequently as the noblest of men in the Mahabharata. Perhaps this incident in which Karna comes out as the victor where Arjuna fails miserably is one of those attempts to bring out his greatness. What he does is exactly what a hero should do in heroic legends — save the damsel in distress by killing the monster that holds her captive. Draupadi, even in the Mahabharata, is the archetypal sexual woman.
There are those who argue that the entire Mahabharata war resulted from her powerful sexuality. Her five husbands are not enough for her. She requires someone like the mighty Vasuki, who can tie up Arjuna with a single whisker from his moustache. Beckoned by her sexuality, Vasuki leaves Patala immediately, breaking his twelve-year sleep, leaving all his beautiful queens behind.
In her cloud palace, from his external actions it appears that Vasuki is the master and he is taking Draupadi by force, but in reality he is her slave, he cannot live without her, he is alive only in the moments when he is with her, his existence has only one meaning from the moment that golden hair falls on his chest — to be with her, to have sex with her.
Draupadi reduces even the mighty king of Patala to her sexual slave. She is the fire into which the king of Patala flings himself ecstatically, only to be consumed by her as fire devours the moth that flings itself into it. Popular tradition speaks repeatedly of this fiery, powerful sexuality of the fire-born Draupadi. In many popular tales, it is Krishna and Karna that satisfy her sexually because the Pandavas are no match for her. A third possibility is Vasuki-centred. Except in the last moment when he is punished by Karna, Vasuki is portrayed in glorious terms throughout the narration.
His queens attend on him continuously even when he is in a twelve-year sleep. And when he leaves in search of the woman with the golden hair, there is nothing they can do, except to beg him not to, which he ignores completely. When he comes back after spending a night with another woman, there is again nothing they could do — they do not even dare raise their voice at him.
They humbly serve him a meal, which he finds fault with. A dust storm rises up as he travels to the earth on his horse. He orders Draupadi to heat water for him to have a bath and she has to do his bidding. Such is his commanding presence, that she dares not say no to him. Apart from heating water for his bath, she bathes him, then cooks a thirty-two course meal for him and feeds him with her own hands as he reclines on her bed. He is in no hurry to have his pleasure with her, though he has come from another world for it.
It is not a hurried sexual act he has in mind with this queen of the powerful Pandavas but night-long sports and he will have it his own way and he will allow nothing to spoil it. After the meal he plays a game of dice with Draupadi in her bed, and it is only after that he takes her. Just as there are heated, breathless climbing ups and slow climbing downs in the dice game, in his post-dice sport with her too, they soar to heady heights and then come down, to soar up again. Vasuki ties up the great hero Arjuna with a single hair of his moustache.
But his ultimate audacity, the expression of his total lack of respect for Arjuna and regard for the mighty power of the Pandavas is that he hangs him up right there — from a peg on the wall, to witness the sexual violation of his wife, a violation that does not sound very unwilling at all on the part of Draupadi. It is possible that this episode is an attempt to portray the might of a serpent.
As in several other parts of India, serpent legends abound in areas where Doongri Bheel is spoken and in the neighbouring areas of mainstream Rajasthani culture.
The Rape of Draupadi
The tenth volume alone has ten such stories, including two in which serpents assume human form and have sexual relations with women.
They are endowed with enormous powers and own immense wealth — their pits are underground palaces paved with precious stones, where diamonds and pearls are stored in quantities that dwarf the treasures of mighty emperors. It is possible that this tale is at least partly a creation of a culture that venerates snakes and is in awe of their might. In the Mahabharata we find humour when the mighty Bheema is reduced to nothing by Hanuman — popular narrations of the Mahabharata celebrate the narration of this story which thrills audiences everywhere.
There is something very titillating in seeing the discomfiture of the powerful reduced to humility. The high and mighty then come down to our world, to our life, where humiliation and defeat are everyday realities. He hangs from that peg, hands and legs tied by a single whisker, and is forced to watch his wife having sex with another man, where the wife appears to be no less eager a participant than the man is.
And in the morning, as Vasuki leaves after nightlong revelry before his eyes, the whisker is cut and Arjuna falls down on the ground — with a thud, says the narration. And it is not the rape of his wife that worries him, but the physical pain of hanging from the peg and the fall. No doubt this is coarse human, but it is humour that the Bheel audiences would enjoy uproariously.
Interestingly, apart from the coarseness of the forced voyeurism, the whole affair between Draupadi and Vasuki is described in glowing terms. As Vasuki first sights the cloud palace of Draupadi in Hastinapura, the bird of good omens speaks — it is as though the composer of the text fully approves of the adultery that is going to happen. Draupadi is sitting in her cloud palace, swinging gently on a swing.
The ecstatic joy of the experience raises goosebumps all over Vasuki.
Perhaps the man who challenges the high and mighty has full Bheel sympathies with him. There are other possible reasons for the addition of this episode to the Bheel Bharata but leaving them apart, let us move on to some other areas. As in most other episodes of the Bheel Bharata, here too the folktale quality of the story dominates over its epic quality.
All meals are thirty-two course meals. And Draupadi cooks them personally, serves them to Vasuki personally, for the maids are no more needed and they have disappeared from the tale, only to appear when they are needed again.
People follow the same routine, day after day, night after night. First Draupadi makes Vasuki believe that she truly loves him and makes him reveal part of the secret. Then, as he sleeps at night, she creeps into his belly and learns the rest of the secret from here — for it is in peoples bellies that secrets are held in fairytales, not in their heads. This folk nature of the story is found in the magical powers of the fire dagger and its scabbard too.
The fire dagger the flames emanating from which can devour the universe with its mountains and oceans and the nine hundred thousand stars in the sky is protected by a scabbard made of wax! In the Mahabharata, we do not know when exactly Karna learns who his parents are.
As long back as in the arena where the Kuru princes display their skills at the end of their studies, there is an incident in which Karna looks at Soorya when he is humiliated on the basis caste as the son of a Soota.
Again, when Draupadi declares during her swayamvara that she will not marry a Soota, he looks at Soorya. But on both these occasions, we cannot be sure whether he looks at the sun because he knows the sun god is his father or because he is a devotee of the sun god. In the Bheel Bharata, we have a very clear occasion when he learns who his parents are. Humiliated by Arjuna, he rushes to his mother, who directs him to Kunti.
It is from Kunti that he learns that she is his mother and that Soorya is his father. No doubt she gets him punished through Karna and Vasuki loses eight of his nine hoods. He is described as a forceful and highly accomplished lover, a true match for the fire-born woman.
It is not as a raped woman that Draupadi comes across, but as a very willing partner. The Bheel Draupadi is an awe-inspiring woman. She is a dain with unbelievable powers and in the celestial hierarchy, has a position higher than that of God himself. In the nights when the nine hundred thousand gods hold their assembly in her honour, God sits on a silver throne and waits for her arrival. She comes, riding a lion, holding a lamp in one hand and swinging a sword in the other.
As she comes near, God gets up from his silver throne to receive her and she sits on her golden throne. It is then that celebrations begin. This mighty Draupadi does not use any of her magical powers against Vasuki. Perhaps the reason is that she does not want to. As we have seen, she does not even offer token resistance, except for that initial attempt to run away at the approach of the stranger.
The truly pathetic person in the whole episode is Arjuna. Except that one battle he offers Vasuki at the beginning, his heroism is entirely missing in the story. There is no mention of his offering any resistance to Vasuki on the subsequent days he visits Draupadi. He is routinely tied up every day, more like a pet animal who is a nuisance in the bedroom where the couple make love than as the great hero of the Mahabharata, and released in the morning.
After he falls on the ground when Vasuki releases him, he behaves as though he is the more wronged one, not Draupadi, as though what was done to her does not really count, what counts is not that his wife was raped but that he was beaten in a battle and tied up. Mahabharata translated by Kisari Mohan Ganguli in: He never revealed his wish to any man, but ere he proclaimed the swayamvara of Draupadi, he thought of the great Pandava archer, and caused to be made a powerful bow which only a strong man could bend and string He issued the proclamation: Their hearts were filled with love for the maiden and with hate for one another.
Rivals frowned upon rivals. Those who had been close friends became of a sudden angry enemies because that Draupadi was so beautiful. Soon many rajahs strained their arms in vain.
Draupadi intervened when Karna strode forward; he took the bow and bent it and fixed the bowstring, quoted in: The heart of Draupadi was filled with joyand, smiling coyly, she advanced towards Arjuna and flung the golden bridal garland over his shoulders. Celestial blossoms fluttered, descending through the air, and the sound of celestial music was heard. So ended the swayamvara, and Krishna declared that the bride had been fairly won.
Said Pritha [Kunti] said "Then share the gift between you, as becomes brethren. The gift is the Princess Draupadi whom Arjuna hath won at the swayamvara. The Pandavas married Draupadi, the Pancala princess, daughter of Drupadaand the Pancalas were the staunch supporters of the Pandavas. Hearing of the success of the Pandavas, Dhritarashtra called them back to Hastinapura and gave them the Khandava-Prasthawhere Mayasura erected for them a wonderful assembly hall.
It is for this, O best of Brahmanas, that I regard the proposed act [of marriage of all five brothers with Draupadi] as virtuous. My tongue never uttereth an untruth and my heart never inclineth to what is [sin]ful.
When my heart approveth of it, it can never be sinful. I have heard in the Purana that a lady of name Jatila, the foremost of all virtuous women belonging to the race of Gotama had married seven Rishis. So also an ascetic 's daughter, born of a tree, had in former times united herself in marriage with ten brothers all bearing the same name of Prachetas and who were all of souls exalted by asceticism. O foremost of all that are acquainted with the rules of moralityit is said that obedience to superior is ever meritorious.
Amongst all superiors, it is well-known that the mother is the foremost. Even she hath commanded us to enjoy Draupadi as we do anything obtained as alms. Expressing his justification on Draupadi marrying him and his brothers 'O SankaraI desire to have from thee only one husband possessed of every virtue? Draupadi's request to Shankara quoted in: All this, however, will happen in a future life of thine! Indeed, the faultless Krishna sprung from Prishata 's race hath been pre-ordained to become the common wife of five husbands.
The celestial Sri, having undergone severe ascetic penances, hath, for the sake of the Pandavashad her birth as thy daughter, in the course of thy grand sacrifice. That handsome goddesswaited upon by all the celestials, as a consequence of her own acts becomes the common wife of five husbands. It is for this that the self-create had created her. Having listened to all this, O king Drupada, do what thou desirest.
Pandava brethren were five incarnations of [[w: Indra Indra, and thus were but as one. Vyasa to Drupad who had objections to his daughter marrying five people, quoted in "Sacred Texts in: During their exile the five jointly marry Draupadi who is born out of a sacrificial fire and whom Arjuna wins by shooting an arrow through a row of targets and meet their cousin Krishnawho remains their friend and companion thereafter Although the Pandavas return to the kingdom, they are again exiled to the forestthis time for 12 years, when Yudhishthira loses everything in a game of dice with Duryodhanathe eldest of the Kauravas.
MahabharataEncyclopedia Britannica The denuding of Draupadi occurred after the game [dice], but the honour of Draupadi was saved by the grace of Krishna. Dhritarastrahowever, returned everything to the Pandavas. Soon afterwards the second game of dice was played in which the stake was that the loser should spend twelve years in the forest and the thirteenth year incognito.
This time also Pandavas were defeated and they had to leave for the forestwhen Draupadi accompanied them. Duryodhanathe winner of the bet, insists that Draupadi is indeed his to do with as he pleases and orders that she be disrobed Draupadi, heroine of the Mahabharata epic, is bold and forthright even in adversity.
Her husband Yudhisthira succumbing to his weakness for gamblingstakes and loses all in a rigged gameincluding his wife. Draupadi challenges the assembly and demands to know how it is possible for one who has staked and lost his own self to retain the right to wager her. Devi DraupadiSmithsonian Institution asia. Furious at this insult to her honor, Draupadi loosens her coifed hair and vows that she will not knot it again until she has washed it in Duryodhana's blood.
As she is disrobed, the more her sari is pulled away the longer it becomes. It is this event which turns Draupadi from a contented, but strong willed wife into a vengeful goddess. The Pandavas passed the thirteenth year with great caution, as otherwise they had to repeat a further year exile.
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Kichaka Kicaka, the commander-in-chief and brother-in-law of the king falls in love with the pretty chamber-maid and waylays her. But even at the time when she was appointed by the queen, Draupadi had given out that she was the wife of five Gandharvas who would protect her in difficulties.
But he has no charioteer. Draupadi then mediates through the princess to make Uttara take Arjuna as charioteer. A grim battle ensues. They must go with me. Without them by me I do not wish to go to HeavenO 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. The Mahabharata, Book She was born in the race of Drupada and was enjoyed by you all. Indra told Yudhishtira when he found Draupadi in the heaven decked in a garland of lotuses quoted in: King Yudhishthirasays in the Epicshe [Draupadi] was the incarnation his possessions, his kingdom and everything, were lost.
The last stage came when, under further challenge, he had no other resources left but to stake his brothers, and then himself, and last of all, the fair Draupadi, and lost all When all those princes failed in hitting the mark, then the son of King Drupada rose up in the midst of the court and said: Let a Brahmanaeven a Shudratake part in it; whosoever hits the mark, marries Draupadi.
He lifted the bow in his hand, strung it without any effort, and drawing it, sent the arrow right through the wheel and hit the eye of the fish. Then there was great jubilation.
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Draupadi, the princess, approached Arjuna and threw the beautiful garland of flowers over his head. The five brothers now returned home to Kunti with the princess They shouted out to her joyously, "Mother, we have brought home a most wonderful alms today.
It is a girl! The mother's word was spoken once for all. It must not be disregarded. The mother's words must be fulfilled.
She could not be made to utter an untruth, as she never had done so. So Draupadi became the common wife of all the five brothers. In ancient India, if a man of the military caste was challenged to fight, he must at any price accept the challenge to uphold his honour.
And if he was challenged to play dice, it was a point of honour to play, and dishonourable to decline the challenge. King Yudhishthirasays in the Epicshe [Draupadi] was the incarnation of all virtues. Even he, the great sage-king, had to accept the challenge. Shakuni and his party had made false dice. So Yudhishthira lost game after game, and stung with his losses, he went on with the fatal game, staking everything he had, and losing all, until all his possessions, his kingdom and everything, were lost.
The last stage came when, under further challenge, he had no other resources left but to stake his brothers, and then himself, and last of all, the fair Draupadi, and lost all. Now they were completely at the mercy of the Kauravaswho cast all sorts of insults upon them, and subjected Draupadi to most inhuman treatment.
At last through the intervention of the blind king, they got their libertyand were asked to return home and rule their kingdom. But Duryodhana saw the danger and forced his father to allow one more throw of the dice in which the party which would lose, should retire to the forests for twelve years, and then live unrecognised in a city for one year; but if they were found out, the same term of exile should have to be undergone once again and then only the kingdom was to be restored to the exiled.
This last game also Yudhishthira lost, and the five Pandava brothers retired to the forests with Draupadi, as homeless exiles. The woman from Panchala went before her father-in-law Dhritarastra. Draupadi, is often aggressive and outspoken. In one episode, in [Mahabharata] she throws her would-be assailant, Kicikathe brother-in-law of King Viratato the ground and then proceeds violently to castigate one of her husbands, Bhimasenafor his failure to protect her virtue.
The contest and the wedding delineates the character of the hero more than that of the heroine. She was dark, had eyes like lotus leaves, and dark, wavy hair, She was a goddesswho had taken on a human form.
Her scent, like that of a blue lotus, perfumed the air for the distance of a mile. During the famous, yet fateful, dicing match between Yudhisthira and Duryodhana, the impact of the dicing episode is somewhat dissipated at its conclusion. The Pandavas are set free, rather than remaining slaves of their cousins, the events not only set in motion the action of the remainder of the epic, but establish important information for the audience about the characters of the epic and their interrelationships From the outset of the Mahabharata the physical appearance of Draupadi is known than the majority of Indian epic heroines.
Draupadi, how do you behave with these respected Pandavas, young heroes similar to the world guardians? Was it a religious vowausterities, ablutions, mantrasor magical herbs, the power of secret spells, or the power of roots, or repetition of sacred words, or offerings or drugs? Tell me, lady of Panchala, the lucky secret that brings you [matrimonial] good fortune. Satyabhamawife of Vasudeva Krsna asks, Draupadi Draupadi denies employment of any such devices to retain the devotion of her husbands, but rather attributes their love to her exemplary behavior.
I avoid excessive mirth [arrogance] or excessive vexation and anger and am always, Satya, engaged in serving my husbands. Draupadi begs not to be brought before the assembly in her condition. Angered, she looks over to her husbands who sit in front of the gathered nobles and watch her humiliation: The loss of the kingdom, wealthor the most valuable jewels, did not cause the pain that was caused by the infuriated glare of that tormented Krsna.
He Dhristadhyumna has a sister, Draupadi. She has a beautiful body and a slender waist.
Yudhisthirain his frenzied desire to win back the kingdom, has staked her as his last possession. She is not too short, nor is she too large; nor is she too dark nor is her complexion red. She has eyes reddened from passion. I will stake her—whose eyes and fragrance are like autumnal lotuses.