Draupadi’s parting pangs

Draupadi sought mother-in-law Kunti’s permission to accompany the Pandavas to forest. She informed all the ladies about her readiness to leave and they were very sad about it. She offered salutations to the elders and embraced those equal to her. Some of the ladies could not help shedding tears and embraced her and gave a warm hug in Draupadi’s distressing situation.  Draupadi herself covered the feet of old ladies there with her tears. Their encounter with her was full of emotions and moving. In every nook and corner of the palace, sounds of loud fits of cry were audible. Kunti who was equally overcome by emotion could hardly open her lips and talk. She lifted grief-stricken Draupadi’s head from her feet and tried to pacify her.

“Darling!” Kunti said to Draupadi, “Do not grieve over the great misfortune that has come about. You are perfectly aware of what constitutes feminine righteousness. You have been pursuing the path assiduously. You are gifted with an exemplary character and conduct worthy of emulation. It is therefore not proper that I should give you sermons on how you should look after your husbands. You are great yourself and equally virtuous. With your qualities, you have brought inestimable glory and fame to the family of your birth and the family you joined. But ironical though it may seem, the Kaurvas who brought you to this miserable state must consider themselves distinctly lucky. Because, amazingly enough, they did not become victims of the fire of your ire, as you have remained unruffled like a paragon of peace and virtue. Let my prayers keep your path free from obstacles and positively fine. Women like you born in noble families will not lament over anything that follows as a divinely ordained dispensation. The exalted line of righteousness you are following will itself protect you. With the kind of protection with which you are armed, you will attain fame and prosperity. Although it is not necessary for me to tell you anything about the code of women’s righteous path, out of natural and feminine curiosity, I would appeal to you to have an eye on Sahadeva, my last son; let not his tender heart, which has been caught in this whirlpool of sorrow, not sink and get lost, Panchali.”

Kunti herself could not bear the parting pangs. She offered prayers to the Lord; “Krishna! Dwarakanatha! Sankarshanaanuja!” she said, “where are you?  Devoted you are to your devotees but why have you not saved my sons and me from this great misfortune? The jnanis say that whoever remembers you – bereft as you are of beginning or end – will have the problems solved by you. Whither their saintly saying? My sons are followers of dharma. Fame is their fort. They are strong and truthful. Such people certainly do not deserve this treatment in life. Madhava! Have mercy on them. How could such misfortune befall them when great stalwarts like Bhishma, Drona, Kripa and the like were present?”

The Pandavas pacified Kunti with appropriate words of comfort and reasoning and left for the forest.

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