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Draupadi / द्रौपदी

Patronymic of the daughter of king Drupad of Panchal and wife of the Pandavas. She, together with her brother Dhrishtadyumna, was born out of a sacrifice performed by king Drupad and was the incarnation of Shad. She was dark-complexioned, but a damsel of great beauty and hence was named Krishna. Draupadi was won by Arjun at her Svayamvar. When the Pandavs returned home with Draupadi after the Svayamvar, and tried to surprise Kunti with their acquisition, she said that whatever it was they should divide it equally among themselves. Since they could not disobey their mother, Yudhishthir went himself to Drupad and asked for permission so that all the brothers could marry Draupadi.Draupadi in her former life, was the beautiful daughter of a Brahman, but in spite of her beauty could not secure a husband. She then prayed to Shiv and asked him five times for a husband, upon which Shiv said that she would have five husbands in her next birth.

On the advice of sage Narad, an arrangement was made that Draupadi should dwell in turn with the five brothers, in the separate house of each and none of the other brothers but the master of the house should enter while Draupadi was staying in it. If any of the other brothers did enter the house, he would have to be exiled for twelve years. Draupadi was a chaste woman and a good wife and mother. During their short stay in Indraprasth, she used to give daily alms to the Brahmans. Satyabhama, Krishna's wife, once asked her for advice on the duties of a good wife. Draupadi had five sons from the Pandavs - Prativindhya from Yudhishthir, Sutsom from Bhim, Shrutkirti from Arjun, Shatanik from Nakula and Shrutsen from Sahdeva. When Yudhishthir lost at the game of dice, Duryodhan sent a messenger named Pratikami to Draupadi, asking her to come to the court as she was no longer a queen, but their maid now. Draupadi, furious, asked Pratikami to return and ask he who had played the game, wether he had first lost himself or his wife. This Pratikami had to ask in the open assembly and only after he had brought an answer, could he take her back with him. Duryodhan then bade Pratikami to bring Draupadi to the court so that she could herself ask her husband. When Pratikami returned without her, Duryodhan furious sent Duhshasan to drag her to the court if need be. Duhshasan caught her by the hair and dragged her to the court.

Draupadi was not one to keep quiet and in a voice filled with agony, shame and anger asked the king Dhritrashtra, Bhishma, Dron and the other elders wether Yudhishthir had had any right to stake her after he had already lost himself and become a slave. No one could answer her. When Duhshasan tried to pull away the only garment she had on herself in the open assembly, she prayed to Krishna and the lord came to her help. As Duhshasan pulled of each garment there was another one in its place. He kept pulling, but in vain, till he finally gave up due to sheer fatigue. Draupadi then took a vow, to tie her hair only after this insult had been avenged. During their twelve years of exile, the Pandavs were also accompanied by certain sages who were living with them. Draupadi would first feed the Brahmans and other guests, then her husbands and finally after everyone was fed would herself eat from the Akshaypatra (the vessel given to the Pandavs by the sun-god), after which the vessel would become empty for the day. One day, when Duryodhan received a boon from sage Durvasa, knowing the sage's temper, Duryodhan asked him to visit the Pandavs at a time when he knew there would be no food left over to feed Durvasa and his disciples. Durvasa went to the Pandavs and informed Yudhishthir that after they had taken a bath at the river, they would be ready to eat their meals. The Akshaypatra was already empty and had used up its power for the day, which put Draupadi and the Pandavs in a great dilemma. Draupadi again prayed to Krishna for help, who arrived on the scene and asked for something to eat. Draupadi became absolutely confused and when she brought the empty vessel to show Krishna, he saw a small grain of rice which had stuck to the bottom, grabbed it and ate it with satisfaction. The guests felt suddenly full as if they had just feasted. When Bhim, on Krishna's instructions, went to call the sages, they said that they were full and left. While they were still staying in the forest, Draupadi was once kidnapped by Jayadratha, the king of Sindhu, but was rescued by Arjun and Bhim.

Draupadi continuously reminded her husbands of the great indignities she had suffered at the hands of the Kauravs and Karna. During the thirteenth year of exile, which had to be spent incognito, the Pandavs too up employment in the palace of king Virat. Draupadi assumed the name of Malini and served queen Sushobhna. After the war, when Ashvatthama had killed all her sons, she insisted on revenge and finally on the insistence of Krishna, settled for the jewel in the forehead of Ashvatthama, which she herself set in Yudhishthir's crown. Draupadi retired to the forest with her husbands, when they gave up the kingdom.


Abhimanyu · Arjuna · Ashvatthama · Eklavya · Karna · Kunti · · Keechak · Krishna · Ghatotkacha · Jayadratha · Duryodhana · Dushasan · Dronacharya · Drupad · · Draupadi · Nakula · · Bhim · Bhishma · · Shantanu · Yudhisthira · Vidur · Ved Vyas · Shakuni · Parikshit · · Kaurav · · Shishupal · Subhadra · · Sanjay · Sahdeva · · Shikhandi · · Shalva · · Shalya · · Dhritrashtra · · Pandu · · Adhirath · · Amba · · Ambika · · Ambalika · · Dhrishtadyumna · · Gandhari · · Lakshagrah · · Maadri · · Virat · · Uttara · · Hidimba · · Jarasandh · · Krapacharya