Mahabharata is a very complicated Hindu literature. The main reason for this complexity is due to its characters who are very difficult to understand. One such complex character is that of Draupadi. This character from Mahabharata is so complex that we planned to describe some incidents and facts about Draupadi.
Facts About Draupadi
Draupadi’s father Drupada, king of Panchala, creates her with the sole purpose of destroying the Kuru household that patronized Drona, who used his students, the Pandavas, and the Kauravas, to conquer and then divide Panchala. Draupadi is born an adult, with no appreciation of childhood or parenting. Draupadi is raised in hatred, designed for destroying a family.
Every father wants to see Sita in his daughter and every husband wants to see Sita in his wife. Why did Draupadi not become a role model? A better question might be if Draupadi should be the role model for modern women?
Why Draupadi Did Not Become The Role Model?
Draupadi is an interesting story but she never really becomes a role model. People in India, especially men, have always been uncomfortable with Draupadi.
Draupadi does not give the same comfort zone. She is married to five brothers. She takes a stand when she is threatened. She declares a one-sided war. She is not so predictable. How can she really be a role model? She is truly an epitome of beauty and brains all in one.
But Mahabharata gives us the harsh truth of life. diThe truth that no one is black or white. Everyone is grey. Draupadi too had some grey shades to her personality
Draupadi pays disproportionately for her own actions. She insults her husbands’ cousin, Duryodhana, the eldest Kaurava, when he falls in a pool of water calling him the blind son of a blind man, not realizing how oversensitive he was. As a result, Duryodhana goes out of her way to publicly humiliate her, getting her husband to wage her in a gambling match, and having lost her, watch helplessly while he gets her dragged in front of in full of the court and proceeds to disrobe her.
In order to take revenge on her humiliation; she declared war. Hence the epic war of Kurukshetra is the result of Draupadi’s infamous revenge. Her elders let her down. Her own men let her down. But this incident is not the only case where she suffered.
Draupadi was living not only in a polyandrous relationship but a polygamous one as well because the Pandava brothers had other wives. Bhima was already married to the demoness Hidimba. Arjun married several princesses after his marriage to Draupadi, including Lord Krishna’s sister Subhadra. Whereas the other princesses stayed in their fathers’ kingdoms, Subhadra came to Indraprastha to live with him. After the deaths of Shishupala and Jarasandha, Nakul and Sahadev married their daughters as a token of friendship. Draupadi managed this delicate relationship harmoniously. But she had not forgotten the reason of her birth and was biding her time.
Draupadi’s unparalleled beauty and intelligence becomes the cause of her misery. She is charmed by Arjuna, the winner of the archery contest, set for her hand but she is bundled off by her father as the bride of all the five Pandavas on the advice of sage Vyasa. Her cruel fate divides her as a possession among five husbands and cuts up her personality.
Draupadi maintained the reputation of her husband, her parents, and parents-in-law. She wanted her parents to be proud of her, she wanted her children to feel that they are the children of a great mother, she wanted her husbands to feel that they were married to a great woman and she wanted her parents-in-law to be proud of her and she wanted to please them. Draupadi herself was always behaving in a manner in which she maintained the reputation of her family and her kingdom.
This remarkable “virgin” never asked anything for herself. Born unwanted, thrust abruptly into a polyandrous marriage, she seems to have had a profound awareness of being an instrument in bringing about the extinction of an effete epoch so that a new age could take birth. And being so aware, Draupadi offered her entire being as a flaming sacrifice in that holocaust of which Krishna was the presiding deity. Draupadi is the most complex and controversial female character in Hindu literature. On one hand, she could be womanly, compassionate and generous and on the other, she could wreak havoc on those who did her wrong.
She was never ready to compromise on either her rights as a daughter-in-law or even on the rights of the Pandavas and remained ever ready to fight back or avenge high-handedness and injustice meted out to her modesty. She secretly vowed that one day she would definitely seek vendetta on the injustice meted out to her. She did it by igniting the spark of revenge in the hearts of the Pandavas. If the Mahabharata is an intricately woven saga of hatred and love, bloodshed and noble thoughts, courage and cowardice, beauty and gentleness, victory and defeat, then Draupadi is its shining jewel, casting the shadow of her towering personality over the epic poem and the all-destroying war it describes.