Five For Draupadi

Mahabharata 64 Comments

Published in Crest, Times of India, 6 March 2010

The idea of one woman having many husbands does make most men feel inadequate, not least her husbands. Little wonder then Draupadi is one of the most popular and controversial heroines of Hindu mythology. But she is not the only woman with many husbands. Her mother-in-law, Kunti, knew many men: four gods (Surya, Yama, Vayu and Indra) besides her husband, Pandu. But unlike Draupadi, her association with the gods was not public knowledge. It was whispered in corridors not announced in courts. And they did not really count as they were not husbands, just child-providers. The scriptures refer to other women who had many husbands: Marisha, who married the ten Prachetas brothers and Jatila who was the common wife of seven sages.

In early societies with high infant mortality rate and short lifespan, polygamy was preferred to polyandry. When a man had many wives, the family could have more children than a woman who had many husbands. This value for fertility is one of the reasons why women were usually kept away in seclusion and safety, a practice that eventually led to the throttling of women’s rights. But polyandry had benefits too – sharing a wife assured sharing of property and no division of the land.

In temples, one does see gods with many wives: Shiva with Gauri and Ganga; Vishnu with Bhoo-devi and Sri-devi; Muruga with Valli and Sena. This is either accepted matter-of-factly or simply explained away using metaphysics. But there are no images of the Goddess with multiple husbands. Usually her doorkeepers, such as Kala Bhairav and Gora Bhairava, are described as her sons or servants. The idea of the Goddess with more than one husband is unacceptable. Even suggesting it is blasphemous.

Draupadi with her five husbands and an entire epic revolving around her stirs the imagination – makes us think of things that we otherwise dare not think. Women writers who write on Draupadi flirt with the possibilities but only at a psychological level. Recently a male writer dared explore the physical aspect of Draupadi’s intimacy with her husbands. Not surprisingly this has led to outrage and protests and calls for the book to be banned.

One hears of co-wives fighting over their husband’s affection. Did the husbands fight over Draupadi? The epic does not explicitly discuss this, but the possibility of jealously tearing the brothers apart is alluded to repeatedly. The sage Narada warns the Pandava brothers of conflict that can destroy their fraternal bond. Narada suggests that they make careful bedroom arrangements to allow equal and exclusive access to each husband for a limited period of time. Any brother who enters her chamber when she is supposed to be with another husband will have to perform penance. Arjuna does stumble in once while she is in the arms of Yudhishtira and so has to go on a pilgrimage to atone for his crime. During this ‘pilgrimage’, he ends up with three more wives.

Every brother has exclusive rights to Draupadi’s chambers for a year, and then has to wait for four years for the next turn. Why one whole year? Perhaps because it gave Draupadi enough time to bear a child for that husband without any issues of paternity. As we know from the epic, she did bear each of her husbands a son, five in all.

Before she moved to the next husband, Draupadi walks through fire to regain her virginity and purity. Such rules were never placed before polygamous husbands. But Draupadi had a rule of her own for her husbands. She makes it very clear to her husbands that they cannot bring any other wife into the same house. Thus all the Pandavas have other wives but these wives stay with their parents and the Pandavas have to travel out of the city to visit their other wives in the four years that Draupadi is intimate with the other brothers. The only exception is made for Krishna’s sister, Subhadra, who marries Arjuna.

In a dialogue with Krishna’s wife, Satyabhama, Draupadi explains how she serves her husbands and satisfies all their needs and makes herself indispensable, hence very loved. Draupadi comes across as a very practical woman who knows she has to work to ensure all her husbands love her and do not feel she favors any one of them. But in the final chapter of the epic, it is made clear that of all the husbands, she favors Arjuna the most – a crime for which she is sent to hell!

Stories are often told of how Draupadi came to have five husbands. Explanations are needed for a culture desperate to explain such a discomforting practice. One story goes that in her past life she was a sage’s wife; her insatiable sexual appetite led him to curse her that in her next life she would have five husbands. Another story tells us that she asked Shiva for a husband who was noble and strong and skilled with the bow and handsome and wise. Since no single man possesses all five traits, Shiva gave her five husbands instead each with one trait.

Yet, this woman with five husbands is dragged into court and disrobed in public. She wonders why this happened to her. A folklore states that Krishna had sent the perfect husband for her – one who would love and protect her all her life and be faithful to her. His name was Karna, but she rejected him because of his low caste. So, she ended up marrying a man who shared her with his brothers and failed to protect her when she needed him the most.

  • arzu

    i cant swallow the fact that Draupadi’s case was taken so normally by the elders in that age, whereas in this age it would have been the greatest crime and totally unacceptable in the society.

  • senthil

    Being a wife of five men, was the main reason cited by the Kauravas to molest Draupadi, tagging her as a prostitute. But God answers her prayer and protects her, showing that God doesn’t care about such relationships. It’s actually an irony, since in Rama avatar, He stressed on “eka pathni”- one man one woman and in Krishna avatar, He didn’t care about it. It’s Krishna who instructs Draupadi to marry Arjuna and reject Karna as a sudra.
    There is no reason for sharing Draupadi as each of them had their own wives like – Bhima – Hidimba, Arjuna – Subhadra. It proves that women were foolish even in those days.

    • Mr. Senthil, it’s a shame that u made this comment- It proves that women were foolish even in those days. Remember when u want money u go to Maa Laxmi and when u want success and education u pray to Ma Sarswati, so I guess this tells who is more foolish….God bless u.

      • aarthi raghavan

        shalini is absolutely right.he is so foolish.



    • sagar

      Senthil, That is the very right thought. At that time, every one following the Dharma through vedas. How can they Marry one women to five as it is against vedas. Hence they did not marry Draupadi, but just Yudistar married her.

  • Wonderful article. What’s the name of the ‘outrageous’ book about Draupadi?

    • vijay

      Its DRAUPADI by some famous author translated to many indian languages.

    • vijay

      Its DRAUPADI by Yarlagadda Lakshmi Prasad in telugu that won Sahitya academy award.

      • Thanks. Hope I can find some English / Bengali translation somewhere.

  • Keshav

    @senthil –
    I’m not sure Krishna ever told Draupadi what to do. Wasn’t Draupadi married to the Pandavas at the beginning of the story before they ever meet Lord Krishna?

    How would she even know who he was at that time?

    Plus, this whole silly about her being punished and thus “disrobed” is kind of silly seeing as its assumed that the blue man himself saved her from humiliation.

    • aarthi raghavan

      vasudev and drupad were family friends.so,krishna and draupadi were friends even before he meets the pandavas.

  • I just wanted to add the version mentioned in the Amar Chitra Katha on Draupadi’s marriage to the five pandavas,

    Draupadi was the daughter of a rishi. Thought beautiful, chaste and accomplished she was fated to remain unmarried. She decided to pray to Lord Shiva and seek his blessing to triumph over her fate. After years of penance, Shiva is said to appeared before her and asked her, “What favour do you seek from me?”
    In uncontrolled eagerness she repeats her request five times, “An accomplished husband…”
    Shiva smiles, “So be it. You shall have five husbands from the Bharata princes” Confounded, she exclaims, “Lord It was only one husband I wanted.” Since Shiva’s word could not be revoked, he postpones the event to another life.

    It is also said that this story was narrated to the Pandavas by sage Vyasa when they were on their way from Ekachakrapura to Panchala.

    • Charanyan

      I doubt Amar Chitra Katha (ACK) is a credible source to be even quoted in this context. ACK is known to be notorious to censure any ‘inappropriate’ and politically incorrect content lest they should find their way into the impressionable minds – the kids. No wonder it is so loved and history is so clear and stain-free from the scope of ACK.

      Hence the explanation you cite is hardly has any veracity.

  • kjram

    Applying concepts to today’s times would be meaningless. In ancient times, the concept of marriage was not known and women were common property of the tribe. Therefore it is possible women had many ‘husbands’ and the duty of the woman was to bear children. Seen in that context it was neither blasaphemous or sacrilege for Draupadi to have married five.

  • shwetha

    It was yudhistra who could not control his desire for draupadi.she was extremely beautiful that all the other brothers wanted to marry her.They did not want their fraternal bonds broken and so made up silly excuses for marrying her.however,the epic does not clearly portray draupadi’s anger at Arjuna failing to protect her at that point of time.She is the epitome of intelligence ,sacrifice and courage.Condemning such a noble and pure woman is very wrong.

    • Draupadi married Arjuna over Karna. She didnt married five husband at the ceremony. It was her saas “kunti” who mistakely told Pandavas to distribute the gift between them equally.

      Since It was ancient time and words could nit be taken back as we see in present. So she ended up with five husband’s.

  • Sud

    I have also heard about another story that one of the brothers got draupadi to show to Kunti and she without seeing what it was told to share it among all the 5 brothers. hence she got married to all 5 of them

  • Sud

    I have also heard about another story that one of the brothers got draupadi to show to Kunti and she without seeing what it was, told them to share it among all the 5 brothers. hence she got married to all 5 of them

  • Medha

    “But in the final chapter of the epic, it is made clear that of all the husbands, she favors Arjuna the most – a crime for which she is sent to hell! ”

    Draupadi doesn’t go to hell because she preferred Arjuna over others but its just that she falls down dead and doesn’t enter the ‘swarga’ alive like Yudhisthira does.
    This should be corrected :)

    • Chandra

      You may be wrong. The falling down has a reason which Yudhishtir explains to his brothers. He explains the fall of each one of them.

  • Jayesh

    Mahabharat is an epic poem. It did not really happen.

    Draupadi represents Laxmi. The 5 Pandav’s represent the 5 virtues in a human and the kauravs represent 100 bad virtues in a human.

    The 5 virtues are:
    Religion = Yudhistir
    Stength = Bhim
    Skill/Action = Arjun
    Knowledge = Nakul
    Politeness/Humbleness = Sahdev

    So this means that Laxmi goes to one who has all these 5 virtues.

    How wrongly we have all understood Mahabhart. There are several other arguements to support the above view point.

    • Ravi Jain

      Thanks for this Interesting view. Kind of put a lot of things in perspective. Please explain the Karna anthology in details. Thanks.

      • bharath

        wow isnt that a amazing point…

        i always wondered how can godess lakshmi be compared to Money which is virtual..

        anyways the point made by jayesh so interesting.. Lakshmi always refers to GOAL, we need to have all the 5 qualities to achieve a goal… correct me if i my understanding is wrong…do you guys think our ancestors put it that way :)

      • Jayesh Ashar

        Hi Ravi,
        Karna was born to Kunti before her marriage and hence she abandoned him. He depicts that such mistakes (the abandoning of a child) will always come back to haunt you.

        Karna was considered as a generous giver – the 6th virtue that a human being should have. However, this virtue never goes along well with the other 5 virtues and is at a logger head with them, as shown in Mahabharat.

    • Fireinmybelly

      Sahadev stands for knowledge and Nakul for beauty!

    • Sonali Harisse

      Please reply to me on Fb
      Sonali Harisse.

    • Sameer

      When Draupadi was born she was unwanted by her father, Dhrupad. She was born with a curse that she will have to face all the negative things but will still be worshipped through the ages. What my perception is:

      Draupadi represents Life. The most extreme hardships that can be faced by anybody is considered here so as to set a benchmark for reference.

      The 5 qualities are:
      Yudhistir = Sthir even in a war. Mental and emotional balance of the mind.
      Bhim = Physical strength
      Arjun = Focus
      Nakul = The quality to look at appreciate all the beuatiful things we have, even in a small mouse (ref. Lakshagraha)
      Sahadev = Foresight

      So Life, however hammered it is, can be supported and nurtured by a person if he/she has these 5 qualities. One should also remember to give equal preference (often) to these five qualities and not incline towards a single one, for a fulfilling and satisfied life.

  • Dhananjay

    The anthology to karna at the end is a masterstroke! He’s my favorite character in the Mahabharata….come to think of it…in each of us resides a karna…to express him or not is one’s own preference!

    kewl article :D

    • Akanksha N.

      Karna is my character too! He is the perfect example of true human behavior. He was a devoted man, wonderful king and was willing to give up anything to achieve his goal. At the same time he had a dark side -he aided Duryodhan with all his evil plans.
      At last a character who is depicted like a God.

    • Narayanan Kailasanathan


      Mahabharath did not explain in detail the reasons for Draupadi marrying five husbands against the established social practice. But perhaps kunti could have arranged it to avoid infighting among pandavas who all might have loved Draupadi. Further since Pandavas were powerful and helped by Sri Krishna no body seemed to question their act at that time. Any how it is their personal matter and they have the liberty to decide their way of life subject to the willingness of Draupadi. Draupadi also had little choice since she had been won by Arjun and if she does not agree she may end up the fate of Princess Amba who could not get any male to marry her and became Shikandi to avenge Bhishma.

  • Hi Devdutt,

    “Recently a male writer dared explore the physical aspect of Draupadi’s intimacy with her husbands. Not surprisingly this has led to outrage and protests and calls for the book to be banned.”

    Are you refering to the Kannada novel ‘Parva’ by S.L. Bhyrappa which is also been translated in English and all major languages of India?

    So, how are you doing? I cannot watch Business Sutra on CNBC but catching it up in here on your website. Thanks for uploading them. You look suave as always.

    Gyani says ‘Hi’


  • Gaurav

    I cannot believe how deep is the judgemental approach in talking about Draupadi. I just want to put myself in her shoes and go through Fire Birth,Swayamvar, Vastrapaharan, Vanavaas, Agyatavaas,The war,death of her 5 sons,The final journey on foot in the Himalyan mountains.

  • Draupadi, symbolizes, the ‘male’ Ego of a MAN for a woman. We all wish we have the five qualities for the ‘woman’ we wish to imagine or fantasize, or spend our entire life with. The game of dice actually symbolizes the fate of a MAN, when he is just Helpless even when his prestige is dragged and almost……, the unthinkable. To give all this a human shade and an emotional quagmire, the characters are bursting with words. But come to think of it We as MALE are always confronted with such situations and are supposed to keep quiet. How many times have we read about a case of rape and gone to the police station or a hospital to help such women? the VASTRAHARAN, still continues.

  • Akanksha N.

    Well when we talk about Panchali why do many of us decide to overlook the fact whether she really had a choice. Well when Arjun won her hand it was Kunti who told him to share whatever he had got with is brothers (some say that Kunti knew that draupadi was going to be the reason of division in the family) but did Draupadi have an option? Could she have said NO? If she did Arjun would have left her. And in those times (and even now) a single woman, moreover a divorcee, have no reputation at all. Could she have possibly had a choice?

    • Devdutt

      She did choose to reject Karna

      • Akanksha N.

        Well her decision to reject Karna was to remain “true” to her kshatriya blood. (right or wrong im not gonna argue about that) But it still doesn’t answer if she could have chosen to leave her marriage behind and live with her father “disgraced”.

    • Aarthi Raghavan

      Yes! She did have a choice! Krishna tells her about her previous birth when she had asked Mahadev for a husband with five different characteristics – a person who should be a embodiment of dharma, strong, a skilled archer, handsome, and smart. However, it was impossible to have all these qualities in one person. But she insists Mahadev to give this boon & he gives it. So Krishna tells Draupadi that she had the choice to accept Mahadev’s boon or reject it & insult him. So it was her choice to marry all five of them.

      Remember, the society could have disrespected women, but not Krishna!

  • Supriya

    Actually, I read somewhere that it was Krishna who influenced Draupadi to reject Karna? Is that not true?
    Of course, with mythology, we can never be sure, I suppose all we can do is decide which version we like best.

    • vini

      hi supriya..
      ur rite.krishna told her to reject karna.its also said dat draupadi n karna loved each other secretly though unexpressed.n at d ent she fell down bcoz she had karna deep in her heart.yudhistir was aware of the fact but hid it for d sake of her reputation.

      • vini

        this is told by chitra divakaruni in her book “palace of illusions”.

  • KW

    Why is that during the Ramayana, we see more of Monogamy (in Ram, Laxman; except for Ram’s father), while in the Mahabharta there are relationships of multiple wives and husbands?

    • Devdutt

      Ramayana is Treta Yuga and Mahabharata is Dvapara Yuga ….different yugas, different rules

      • Abhishek Goel

        What are the rules for Kalyug?
        and Who will decide them?

        • aruna

          kalyug has no rules – each for his own

  • some points to notice, we are living in our time and trying to be the master of our past.

    mahabharata is not myth or simply poem, we have no evidence to prove it is myth.

    draupadi is not stupid or crazy. please study her wisdom when she spoke to her husband yudhishtira after their banishment. She was tough with the wrong doers and at the same time she was very kind to ashwatthama who was the brutal killer of her sons, she was feeling sorry for his mother who was widow and would become shelterless.

    Draupadi has the choice not to marry some one whom she did not like, give her space it was her life and she needs to stay with some one whom she is comfortable with.

    In vedic time it was allowed for girls to choose their husband, therefore it is called as “svayam vara” means girls chooses the boy. Of course it was parents duty to give consent to her proper choice and help her marry, not that the parents in the name of being superiors use her as a sacrificial lamb of for their selfish purpose.

    It is very strange for we hindus to have take it easy approach in regards to our holy books. It is better to approach some one who has studied it carefully and applied in his life the teaching of this holy books, they are not only stories but there are many wonderful lessons to be learned and implemented in our life.

    We can emulate so much from Draupadi

    • Chandra

      Can’t agree with you more, brother. One more point that needs to be highlighted here is that Draupadi is no ordinary person. She came from Yajnakunda(ayonija, same as Sitamma) with a specific purpose to marry Arjuna which was her father’s wish. So there is absolutely nothing wrong in having a soft corner(special attention) to Arjuna.
      Of course, it is only appropriate that Yudhishtira alone goes to the heaven alive. So there are reasons attributed to the fall of each character. This is to highlight the importance of Dharma(duty).

  • I have heard a different version on Draupadi…. She represents society…and Pandavas & Kauravas also represent different kinds of people in the society.. One believes that he is the best in Darma Sastras, Another believes he is great with his MIGHT; yet other 2 thinks they know everything in the sastras…..like so on.. But Arjuna was a common man – confused, street smart, yet trainable – probably why the leader ( krishna) chose Arjuna to be mentored. When the society ( Draupadi) is misused by the kauravas ( generally bad ones), even the educated, mighty, powerful, learned ones couldn’t do anything……. Yet there is lots of scope of those good people in distress….. Krishna is there. When one doesn’t find any way of escape from the bad ones, this teaches us Surrender…complete surrender to the ultimate.

  • vini

    hi supriya..
    ur rite.krishna told her to reject karna.its also said dat draupadi n karna loved each other secretly though unexpressed.n at d ent she fell down bcoz she had karna deep in her heart.yudhistir was aware of the fact but hid it for d sake of her reputation.(as told in palace of illusions.)

  • Bhanu Prasad Jaiswal

    I also think that Draupadi has soft corner in Her heart for the Mighty Karna…an absolute personality.. imagine What might happens if Ekalavya the Nishad-Raj did not lost his Thumb and present at The Swam-bara of Draupadi…

  • Ashish

    Drapadi loved Arjuna most..quit acceptable eventually he had won the swayamvara..and was considered as “Nara” in that era..!!Although arjuna was never crassly loved any particular woman in his life..

    But was Draupadi sent to hell for that crime?
    I think she could’nt reach swarga alive (“sadeha”) like Yudhisthira did?
    Also I think we need to think about this epics in accordance with its social aspect and try to learn from it as we do from history..what could be the laws and social implications of particular practices may differ with time..but one can not question Draupadi’s stature as respected woman and being Sati(loyal to her husbands)…she is one of those “Prathahsmaraniya kanyas”.

    Stories associating Draupadi and Karna I think are baseless and creations of human minds in search of some kind of “masala” to add to the story..

    Krishna sending Karana again I think is such false story..Krishna has never admired Karna..he only reached him when war was announced and story goes like this that krishna wanted him on pandwa’s side and offered him every thing including draupadi may be true but again the question is did he really wanted karna to be on pandavas side?.. given the fact that krishan was great politician of that era he already knew Karana wont come and wanted to hit the weaken link of karna’s mind ..

    No doubt karna was loyal and danvir. But was he really worthy of praise some time some novelist gave him ?In my opinion he was rather in “AytmaVanchana” as Mr.Pattanik said in his other article that Sri Ram didnt complain abt his exile unlike pandavas..on the same line we can say Karna was complaining and cursing his fortune for he being Soota!!he sat next to people like bhisma,vidur and company no other soota got that opportunity….for what perpose Karna challenged Arjuna? Why he wanted to kill Arjuna at Rangasabha?
    why didn’t he learned some Niti from people like Bhishma and mahatma Vidur..He had respect for them ..often he seems to showcase it while his disagreement with shakuni’s method..but all that seems rather show-off..he was with Duryodhana in search of opportunity to prove that he is great and not Arjuna..what would hav he got after killing arjunas and pandavas..who would have then led foundations of new society that has Dharama as its soul(Krishnas dream of “Dharmashtapana” in bharat varsha …we find Karna always in company of Shakuni ..Other question of What did karna do for Sootas? and were sootas the worst caste considered at time? there were many examples Kshatriya marring soota’s daughters..vis a versa was not true..but certainly they were close to Kshatriya..

    So Krishna considered him as very noble and perfect man is wrong concept…All krishna wanted was peace and Dharma in society ..and to achieve that it was ok for him even if he himself had to reach Krana and see if he can weaken him emotionally just before the war which I think krishna did successfully ..

  • veena

    I admire the character of karna teh most in mahabharata.He gave his kavacha and kundala to Indra knowing fully well that he would become weak.He was in lovewith draupadi.I wonder if he had married draupadi mahabharata would have been very different.

  • Mahabharata is so complex and subject to so many interpretations.

  • Kalyan Majumdar

    I am inclined to think Draupadi dealt with five brothers differently. Her dealing with Yudhisthir cannot be same with Bhim or Sahadev. May be there were five Draupadis within her. Can anyone enlighten me on this aspect? Is there any book or article available? I assume there were five faces of Draupadi. How to find them or describe?

    • Chandra

      Yes, she had to deal with each of them differently depending on the likes and dislikes of each. She explains these traits to Satyabhama. Satyabhama is said to be possessive about Krishna and asks how to keep him in her control. In that context their discussion would be quite relevant even today. I am sure you can get relevant literature on this. Approach your local Dharmic Guru.

  • Sharat

    I am sure all this is just a user manual to guide the society, please dont worry there was nothing called draupadi, mahabharata of arjuna, all are just a character in the thematic user manual

  • Chandra

    Dear Sir,
    How sure are you about ‘sent to hell’ business?

  • Sneha

    Ganga is not Shiva’s wife. Shiva was married only to Sati and Parvati.

  • Deep Biswas

    “A folklore states that Krishna had sent the perfect husband for her – one who would love and protect her all her life and be faithful to her. His name was Karna, but she rejected him because of his low caste. So, she ended up marrying a man who shared her with his brothers and failed to protect her when she needed him the most.” – good enough explanation for me niggas!

  • hiteshi

    its too dirty , do not know how could to do that with draupadi , one woman and five husband, its a disgusting , in mahabharat all were nonsense persons, and all woman were atrocious , no one man born from his father ,they all were born from different different person …i hate this type volume

  • Anshul Singhal

    Is this story true??? Can anyone give me source of this one? I read this story and want to check its validity.

    At the time of her marriage to the five Pandavas, she had declared that she would spend one year with each of the brothers and during that year, no other brother would enter the chambers that she and her husband-of-the-year shared.
    During one of the years that Draupadi was with Yudhishtir, Bheem took a wrong turn in the palace and entered their chamber. There he saw Yudhishtir kneeling on the floor, washing Draupadi’s feet and worshipping her. This scene disturbed Bheem who thought that his brother had become a slave to Draupadi, something he thought was unbecoming of a kshatriya. Bheem did not know then that Draupadi was an avatar of Goddess Durga and Yudhishtir – who was well aware of the impending deaths in the yet-undeclared Kurukshetra war – was appeasing the Goddess of death and destruction.
    Lost in thought Bheem wandered about the palace till he came across Krishna. He described what he had seen to Krishna and announced that he would confront Draupadi and ask her to explain why she had degraded his brother’s kshatriya status. Krishna became serious and asked Bheem not to say anything to Draupadi. Instead, he took Bheem to the very middle of the nearby forest. He asked Bheem to climb to the top of the tallest tree and stay there till the next morning. Krishna warned Bheem to remain extremely silent and ensured that no one noticed he was there.
    Bheem was confused but he stayed there on Krishna’s instructions. Bheem stayed on the tree all day without food and water. Bheem was getting hungry and thought that this must have been Krishna’s idea of some joke. The moon was high in the sky and Bheem thought he should go back to the palace for his meal. He looked down to start his descent but what he saw amazed him. Down below on the forest floor, thrones had been laid out like it was the court of the Gods. One by one, he saw the Devas arrive and take their seats in the court. Finally he noticed that two large thrones had been set down just below his tree. These seemed like the thrones for the persons presiding the court. Curious, Bheem decided to stay in his position at the top of the tree and witness the court of heaven.
    Suddenly, all the murmuring of the Devas below stopped and all that he could hear was Krishna begging for forgiveness. What Bheem saw next sent a jolt through him. Had he not been afraid of being noticed, his teeth would have surely chattered in fear. There below him, Draupadi rose from the throne next to Krishna’s. But this was a Draupadi Bheem had never seen before. Her hair was loose, there was a fire in her eyes and rage had taken over her person. There she was, in her true avatar of Goddess Durga with a ‘ghada’ (loosely translated as a bowl) in her hands looking at Krishna. In a voice that echoed throughout the forest, she asked “Why is my cup empty? It should be filled with the blood of Bheem who broke his vow.”
    Bheem didn’t hear anything that followed because he had fainted with fear. The next morning he woke up in the tree and slowly climbed down and went back to the palace. The scene he had witnessed had disturbed him so much that he ate less than half the breakfast that Kunti had sent for him. Kunti was worried because Bheem had never returned food on his plate before. She went to him and asked him if he was alright. Bheem was worried and told her what he had seen and heard the night before. Kunti understood the gravity of what Bheem had witnessed and decided that she would do something to save him.
    Later that day Kunti sent for Draupadi. Draupadi went to her mother-in-law’s chambers and touched her feet. Before blessing her, Kunti asked Draupadi to promise that she would spare Bheem’s life in the war. Draupadi looked up and understood what must have happened. Draupadi knew that in this human avatar she had to obey the instructions of her mother-in-law. She bit her lip and nodded her assent. Blood trickled down her bitten lip and worried, Kunti tore the edge of her clothes and wiped off the blood. Kunti then told her that her cup would not remain empty and Bheem would fill it for her.
    Unknowingly Kunti had made the Kurukshetra war even more certain. Draupadi’s act of biting her lip had made Kunti tear a part of her clothes. This would be repeated for Draupadi when Duhshaasan would try and disrobe her in front of the entire Kuru courtroom. Bheem would then vow to avenge her humiliation with the blood of Duhshaasan’s chest, thus filling her empty cup with blood.

  • Devika Mishra

    this article seems to be an over embellished version of Draupadi. So much feminist bias.

  • Anup Nair

    Yes i too read the same…mentioned by Twinkle

  • Anup Nair

    In one of the stories i read, Drauapadi was Sati Sheelavati in her previous birth , she was a wife of debauched leper who harassed her a lot. Sheelavati was the most beautiful loyal and humble woman, who despite of all the atrocities remained with him despite of his torture. Once her leper husband asked Sheelavati to take him to the brothel where he can quench his carnal desire while she watches it, as a humble wife , she carried him over her head placing him in a round big Tokri. After reaching the brothe, the woman had pity over the young and beautiful woman, whose husband troubled her so much. Once while having her lunch , down in the floor , Sheelavatis husband deliberately dropped the puss of his leper body in her plate which Sheelavati without any complain, keeping it aside went out to throw. In this way her husband troubled and harassed her a lot. Then one day miracle happened for sheelavatis surprise, when she woke up, she found a handsome man with good phisique, smiling toward s her. She asked him who was he, re responded I am ur husband. She was not ready to accept ,then he explained, it was the test of ur virginity, i am a Gandharva from Swarga lok and god wanted to Test u. Infact you are passed and accept me as ur husband. Sheelavati understood and they both made love, as husband and wife, over the mountains and rivers, her husband used to take the form of five men at a time being a gandharva, and then again one, he made love with h er, the way she desired and longed for, Sheelavati was very happy in his company. Then one day Gandharva asked Sheelavatai leave as it was his time to go to the heavenly abode, Sheelavati stood near the door, resisting him to go. But he had no option,, she said him my desire is still incomplete. Gandharva explained desires are always incomplte especially the bodily.At last she asked him to stand as five men which he had taken form as, and he did as her last wish towards him. she was enchanted to see his five forms. and he left. But before going he asked her to sit for penance and ask Lord Shiva for a good life . And hence she sat for penance lord shiva was happy with her penance and asked her the boon and rest of the story as mentioned…This I had read in Malayalam Mahabharata