Draupadi in Distress – written by V. Suryanarayan (1991)

  1. Introduction to “Draupadi in Distress” (10/1/2018) - Draupadi constitutes the most unique example of a dame in distress  – the kind of distress probably unknown to any other heroine or female  character in a story, legend or epic like the Mahabharata. She would perhaps have willingly subjected herself to any severe punishment coupled with dignity but was destined to stake all her... Continue Reading →
  2. Yudhishtira loses all in the game of dice (10/1/2018) - The game of dice and the crescendo of Kaurava’s delight in a stormy and tempestuous atmosphere continued unabated as Yudhishtira suffered successive defeats.  Victory appeared to be unknown to him.  Addressing the losing Yudhishtira, Shakuni said, “Yudhishtira You have staked and lost  all the wealth belonging to Pandavas.  Is there anything valuable which has not... Continue Reading →
  3. Draupadi as stake (10/1/2018) - In the midst of this confusion and total disillusionment in Yudhishtira’s camp, the cunning Shakuni had a brain wave. “You made a mistake”, he said to Yudhishtira, “by staking yourself.  However you are left with one more valuable item of wealth.  In spite of it, it is unfortunate on your part to have offered yourself... Continue Reading →
  4. Vidura pulls up Duryodhana (10/1/2018) - Duryodhana, rendered indiscreet by the flush of victory lost even the modicum of mental balance and commanded Vidura to undertake an unpleasant task. “Vidura!” he said to him, “Go at once and bring Draupadi, the love of Pandavas.  Let her sweep the floor of the house and keep it clean.  That unfortunate one shall live... Continue Reading →
  5. Draupadi dragged to court (10/2/2018) - Stung by the bug of arrogance, Duryodhana scoffed at Vidura and protesting against his words, called a messenger.   He asked him to bring Draupadi to the court and said, “You need not be afraid of the sons of Pandu.  The only one who fears is Vidura.  He, however, is not interested in our progress.” Duryodhana... Continue Reading →
  6. Draupadi disgraced (10/2/2018) - Vikarna’s observations were, however, absolutely unpalatable to one among the wicked gang of four (Duryodhana, Dusshaasana, Shakuni and Karna) namely Karna.  Karna was provoked by the praise showered by the respectable ones and by the criticism leveled against his colleague Shakuni.  Overcoming by his anger, he admonished Vikarna, raising his handsome hand in the process.... Continue Reading →
  7. Bhima’s revenge (10/2/2018) - “Rulers from far and near!” he said to them. “Please hear these words patiently and my vow.  You would not have heard these in the past. There is no likelihood of your hearing it in the future also.  If I do not fulfil the vow I am undertaking, let me not get the fortune of... Continue Reading →
  8. Vidura on Prahlada (10/2/2018) - The well-known asura king Hiranyakashipu, killed by Vishnu in the avatar of Narasimha, had a famous son Prahlada, who succeeded his father to the throne. “Prahlada” recounted Vidura, “had a son called Virochana. There ensured a conflict between Virochana and Sudhanva, son of Angirasa, over a damsel each wanted to marry. In order to resolve... Continue Reading →
  9. Draupadi’s fame and shame (10/2/2018) - After narrating Prahlada’s episode in which he gave an answer fearlessly even at the risk of staking his son’s life, Vidura returned to Draupadi’s vital question. “Hey, Kings!” he said,  “At least after hearing this episode, I hope you will break your silence and provide an answer to Draupadi’s question as per tenets of dharma.... Continue Reading →
  10. Bhima’s wrath (10/2/2018) - Some of the members present welcomed Duryodhana’s words. Their token of acceptance was indicated by weird utterances and movements of their lips and eyes. Some others could know the innate innuendo in Duryodhana’s words and expressed shock. For those on Duryodhana’s side, his speech was very sweet. All the Kauravas were very happy. Some of... Continue Reading →
  11. Vidura’s fears (10/3/2018) - The moment Vidura heard Bhima’s vow, he hastened to address the assembly again as he apprehended there would be total destruction: “Noble ones!” he said, “Ponder over the threat from Bhima to the very survival of the Bharata clan. It is definitely a matter of divine dispensation that this unfortunate happening should manifest as a... Continue Reading →
  12. Inauspicious indications (10/3/2018) - Exactly at that time, the cries of a fox were audible from the place of sacrificial fires (homas) in Dhrutharashtra’s palace. Following this inauspicious sound, donkeys started braying. The birds made weird and awkward sounds in response. Both Vidura and Gandhari were able to understand the shape of things to come from the inauspicious indications.... Continue Reading →
  13. Draupadi’s prayers (10/3/2018) - “Head of the Bharata clan!” said Draupadi, “If it is true you have decided to grant me a boon, I would ask for the redemption from slavery of this rich Yudhishtira, who is the knower of all dharma.  Let not ignorant boys call my bosom one Prativindhya, the son of a slave. It is never... Continue Reading →
  14. Karna’s innuendo (10/3/2018) - Karna was bent upon indulging in further provocation of the Pandavas. “Among the beautiful women in the world,” he said with his tongue in the cheek, “I have not seen one like Draupadi. When the Pandavas and the sons of Dhrutharashtra were overcome by anger and got excited, it fell to Draupadi’s lot to bring... Continue Reading →
  15. Dhrutharashtra acts! (10/3/2018) - “Blessings to you!” said Dhrutharashtra addressing Dharmaraja, with the qualifying appellation of “ajaatashatru” one bereft of enemies, “commanded by me, all of you build a rich and prosperous state and rule it. Old as I am, heed my advice and act accordingly. Yudhishtira! You are fully aware of the subtlety and manifestation of dharma. You... Continue Reading →
  16. The gang of four again (10/3/2018) - The moment the Pandavas left Hastinapur for Indraprastha after seeking permission from Dhrutharashtra, Dusshaasana met his elder brother Duryodhana and said to him in a low tone, “This old man has in a minute lost all the huge wealth we had amassed with very great difficulty. Even the laurels of the game of dice were... Continue Reading →
  17. Gandhari’s counsel (10/3/2018) - It is natural to expect a mother to be more attached to children than a father. Being an embodiment of tolerance, the mother forgets a son’s mistakes or lapses and forgives him. It is often said – and very correctly too – that when a mother goes to a temple or when she offers prayers... Continue Reading →
  18. Draupadi, the target again! (10/4/2018) - When both the Pandavas and Kauravas sat for the game, Shakuni, sporting a mischievous smile said to Yudhishtira, “Dharmaraja, the King has returned all your wealth which you lost last time. It is quite appropriate to see something which belonged to you being restored to you. Now, we are no longer interested in staking wealth... Continue Reading →
  19. Bhima’s vow (10/4/2018) - Bhima’s anger knew no bounds. He openly declared and took a vow to kill Dhrutharashtra’s children to quench the bloody thirst and anger. Duryodhana added fuel to the fire by making highly indecorous and indecent gestures aimed at Pandava’s humiliation. But his awkward demeanor delighted the other members of the “gang of four”, namely Dusshaasana,... Continue Reading →
  20. Draupadi’s parting pangs (10/4/2018) - 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... Continue Reading →
  21. Recollections of distress (10/4/2018) - Vidura felt very unhappy with the circumstances leading to Pandavas’s bad time. But recovering his balance, he led Kunti to his house, with words of wisdom he was known for.   Women’s protest in Kauravas’s camp The news from the women’s camp in the Kauravas’s palace was also one of great sorrow. They had known... Continue Reading →
  22. Draupadi’s farewell (10/4/2018) - How did Draupadi leave for the forest?  How did Yudhishtira and his brothers migrate to the forest and what was their frame of mind? These were the questions that confronted Dhrutharashtra, son of Ambika, and for which he sought an answer from Vidura. “Maharaja!” answered Vidura, “Yudhishtira had his face covered at the time of... Continue Reading →
  23. Draupadi’s distress, crime & punishment (10/4/2018) - While Dhrutharashtra and Vidura were still in conversation with each other, Narada Maharshi heading a team of Rishis entered the royal auditorium and confirmed Draupadi’s prophecy and disappeared soon: “In the fourteenth year from now,” said the resplendent Narada, “as a result of Duryodhana’s sin against Draupadi and the Pandavas, all the Kauravas will be destroyed at... Continue Reading →
  24. Draupadi’s distress in the forest (10/4/2018) - What was the factor that brought distress to Draupadi and the Pandavas? The people who found it difficult to part company with them had a unique answer. They had gone into the fundamentals of the problems.  They had known that the Kauravas and Pandavas were poles apart in principles and qualities.   Satsang “Dharmaraja!” said... Continue Reading →
  25. Dusshasana should beg Draupadi’s pardon (10/4/2018) - The scene at Hastinapur was somewhat different as tensions in Dhrutharashtra’s mind were mounting. Vidura gave a three-point formula for the King to follow to set matters right. The first was that Dusshaasana should, in an open court-hall filled with members, offer unconditional apology and seek the pardon of Draupadi and Bhimasena for the heinous... Continue Reading →
  26. Draupadi cries before Krishna (10/4/2018) - There used to be many visitors to Pandavas in the forest. Draupadi and Arjuna once offered long prayers to Krishna. The Lord came to offer words of comfort. “Krishna!” said Draupadi shedding tears, “you are aware of the shame and distress caused to me in the august assembly the other day. In an inhuman way,... Continue Reading →
  27. Four causes of distress (10/4/2018) - That Yudhishtira would recover his lost kingdom (after the forest life) from the Kauravas was also asserted by Markandaya Maharshi. Sri Krishna sought to assure Yudhishtira that the Pandavas would not have been lured into playing the accursed game of dice if he had been in Dwaravathi. He said he would have personally intervened and... Continue Reading →
  28. Brahma Thejas & Kshaatra Thejas (10/9/2018) - The distress of Draupadi and of the Pandavas in the forest had a silver lining. The best among the Brahmins who were Vedic scholars had joined the Pandavas’s camp in the forest and were patronized by Yudhishtira and the entire clan of Kshatriyas. The forest which was reverberating with the soothing sound of Vedic hymns reminded... Continue Reading →
  29. Anatomy of anger (10/9/2018) - Yudhishtira Uvaacha: “Enlightened one! Anger kills men: Conquest of ire Bales them out of fire! Flame is cause of all Men’s rise or fall!   Whoever subdues anger Verily is bound to prosper! For one unable to zoom Ire spells the doom!   The irritable one In a veritable sinner! Sans Introspection, ‘Speaks’ many a... Continue Reading →
  30. Quality of mercy (10/9/2018) - Yudhishtira continued his sermon to Draupadi:   Kashyapa spells out Mercy’s “marma” Quality of mercy is man’s “dharma” Displaying the attribute is “dharana” Mercy personified is Vedic scripture One knowing this rises to ancient culture!   Mercy is Brahman and verily the truth, Foundation for future and present path, In world’s operations aftermath! Mercy is... Continue Reading →
  31. Draupadi’s dig at dharma (10/9/2018) - Yudhishtira’s sermon on the qualities of kindness and mercy were not acceptable to Draupadi.  She said: “I offer my salutations to Parameswara who has caused unrealistic attachments to your intellect, and to the inexorable fate (Prarabdha) responsible for your present unfortunate state. Although your intellect had to toe the line of your forefathers, it has... Continue Reading →
  32. Yudhishtira’s reply (10/9/2018) - “Draupadi! I have followed the path of righteousness not with any expectation of fruits. I have chosen the Vedic path. I have adopted the righteous path in the same way as other righteous ones have followed. By nature, my mind is fixed on the pursuit of dharma. Do not have doubts about dharma which is... Continue Reading →
  33. Conclusion (10/9/2018) - The tragic tale of Draupadi’s distress must have a silver lining. Born of fire, she was endowed with the fiery power to reduce Duryodhana, Dusshaasana, Karna and Shakuni (besides whomsoever she wanted) to ashes in a second. But she willed otherwise! Those armed with divine power refrain from exhibiting their talent and resources. So did... Continue Reading →

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