Draupadi is the most important female character in the Hindu epic, Mahabharata. According to .. Alf Hiltebeitel in his acclaimed research work, “The Cult of Draupadi” explores the source of this myth as he travels through the rural areas of. : The Cult of Draupadi, Volume 1: Mythologies: From Gingee to Kuruksetra (): Alf Hiltebeitel: Books. Draupadi Cult and the Osiris Story of Egypt V. Krishnakumar In this section, we discuss the evidences from Draupadi cult that support our.
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Daughter of Drupada is the most important female character in the Hindu epicMahabharata. Draupadi is considered as one of the Panchakanyas or Five Virgins. Like other epic characters, Draupadi is referred to by multiple names in the Mahabharata. Her names are as follows:. King Drupada of Panchala had been defeated by the Pandava prince Arjuna on behalf of Dronawho subsequently took half his kingdom.
From the sacrificial fire, Draupadi emerged as a beautiful dark-skinned young woman after her sibling Dhrishtadyumna. Drupada intended to wed his daughter to Arjuna. Upon hearing of the Pandavas’ supposed death at Varnavatahe set up a Swayamvara contest for Draupadi to choose her husband xraupadi the competitive contest.
There are three primary variations regarding Karna’s participation. The drupadi rendition shows Draupadi refusing to marry Karna on account of being a Suta, other versions describe him missing the target by the “breadth of a hair”, while some do not present his participation in the event clearly.
The Critical Edition of Mahabharat  compiled by Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute  has officially identified Draupadi’s rejection as a later insertion and omitted it from the text. It is ambiguous, however, whether Karna failed or didn’t participate at all.
Cult Of Draupadi Mythologies From Gingee To Kurukshetra Alf Hiltebeitel Vol 2
Mahabharata has multiple versions and recensions spread over the Indian subcontinent. As a cultt, Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute undertook the Mahabharata Project  in to publish what they intend as a clean Critical Edition to aid in having uniformity among scholars.
After 60 years of extensive and exhaustive research, the first Critical Edition was daupadi in Vishnu Sitaram SukthankarGeneral Editor of BORI published a comprehensive “Prolegomena to the Adi Parva”,  to lay bare the reasons behind removal of various such popular but spurious insertions from the Critical Edition, based on documented evidence and instrinsic probability. He disclosed Page 65 that Draupadi’s rejection was found only in six relatively newer manuscripts out of ,the insertion evidently being the work of a later Deaupadi.
Draupadi – Wikipedia
Mehendale published an article in journal drauladi of Bhardarkar Oriental Research Institute”,  named “Interpolations in the Mahabharata”, found in public domain,  where she shed more light into the matter. She explained the improbability of such blatant draupafi given the patriarchal era, when young girls had little choice in political alliances, especially in those Swayamvars or ‘self-choice ceremony’, where she was nothing more than “Viryasulka” or a prize to be offered to the cullt of the contest.
Mehendale concludes that despite the documentary evidence provided by an authoritative source like BORI  some of these incidents are “deeply impressed” on dtaupadi popular psyche and “still continue to haunt public mind”.
In the end, Arjun succeeds in the task, dressed as a Brahmin. As the other attendees, including the Kauravas, protest at a Brahmin winning the competition and attack, Arjuna and Bhima protect Draupadi and are able to retreat.
When Draupadi arrives with the five Pandavas to meet Kuntithey inform her that Arjuna won alms, to which Kunti says, “Share the alms equally”. This motherly command leads the five brothers to become the five husbands of Draupadi. With the Pandavas’ survival revealed, a succession culy was started.
Upon the news of Pandavas’ death at Varnavrat, the title of crown prince had fallen to Duryodhana. Dhritrashtra invites the Pandavas to Hastinapur and proposes that the kingdom be divided. The Pandavas are assigned the wasteland Khandavprasthareferred to as unreclaimed desert. With the help of KrishnaPandavas rebuilt Khandavprastha into the glorious Indraprastha. The crown jewel of the kingdom was built at the Khandava forest, where Draupadi resided in the “Palace of Illusions”.
Trained in economy, she took upon the responsibility of looking after the treasury of the Empire, and also ran a citizen liaison. Her duties as a busy Empress are mentioned in her famous conversation with Satyabhama, Krishna’s favourite wife, during their exile. There is a popular story that is believed to be the reason why Duryodhana hated Draupadi.
Duryodhana and his entourage were exploring the keep during their visit to Yudhishthira’s Rajasuya Yagna. While touring the grounds, an unsuspecting Duryodhana fell prey to one of the many illusions that could be seen all around the palace. When he stepped on the apparently solid part of the courtyard, there was a splash and Duryodhana found himself waist deep in water, drenched from head to foot by the hidden pool. Draupadi and her maids saw this from the balcony and were amused.
Duryodhana felt extremely insulted that Draupadi and her maids saw his embarrassing predicament. Draupadi joked Andhasya Putra Andhaha meaning ‘a blind man’s son is blind’. This famous story does not feature in Veda Vyasa’s Mahabharatha. The story of ‘blind man’s son is blind’ was the figment of imagination of much later playwright. It gained immense popularity gradually, and was repeatedly depicted in various adaptations of the epic across the length and breadth of the country.
The most popular depiction was by B. Chopra in his masterpiece Mahabharata series that aired on Doordarshan in We find several references to blindness of the characters by eminent playwright Dharmveer Bharti, in his famous play ‘Andha Yuga’.
The play was published inin Hindi weekly magazine, Dharma Yuga. In Vyasa’s Sanskrit epic, the scene is quite different. In the Sanskrit epic, Draupadi is not mentioned in the scene at all, either laughing or insulting Duryodhana. Nonetheless, Duryodhana felt insulted by the behavior of the four Pandavas, stoking his hatred of them. Later on, he went back drapuadi Hastinapur, and expressed his immense agony on witnessing the riches of the Pandavas to his blind father, which was the root cause for inviting his cousins for the dice-game.
Cullt main wish was to usurp the wealth of his cousins which they had accumulated on account of the Rajasuya Yajna. Known to few, during this conversation, Duryodhan mentions how he had observed Draupadi serving food to everyone, including physically challenged citizens as the Empress.
He says to his father, “And, O king, Yajnaseni, without having eaten herself, daily seeth whether everybody, including even cukt deformed and the dwarfs, hath eaten or not.
Draupati Amman – Wikipedia
He also expressed his wrath at having drxupadi into a pool of water, and being laughed at mockingly, mainly by Bhima, followed by Arjun, Nakul, Sahadeva and other menials in the palace. It is here, where he fleetingly mentioned Draupadi’s name, who accordingly to Duryodhan, had “joined in the laughter with other females. This laughter of Draupadi’s was later on singled out and romanticized by various poets and bards for years as a symbolic cause for the dice-game, and eventually the war.
In Vyasa’s Sanskrit epic, Draupadi’s role in insulting Duryodhana is trivial compared to the exaggerated treatment it has received in popular adaptations. This key incident is often considered to mark a definitive moment in the story of Mahabharata.
It is one of the driving reasons that ultimately led to the Kurukshetra war. Together with his maternal uncle ShakuniDuryodhana conspired to call on the Pandavas to Hastinapur and win their kingdoms in a game of gambling.
There is a famous folklore that the plan’s architect, Shakuni had magic dice that would never disobey his draupadj, as they were made from the bones of Shakuni’s father. This story however is non-existent in the Sanskrit epic.
As the game proceeds, Yudhishthira loses drahpadi at first. In the second round, Yudhishthira’s brother Nakula is stake, and Yudhishthira loses him. Yudhisthira subsequently gambles away Sahdev, Arjuna and Bheem. Finally, Yudhishthira puts himself at stake, and loses again. For Duryodhana, the humiliation of the Pandavas was not complete. He prods Yudhishthira that he has not lost everything yet; Yudhishthira still has Draupadi with him and if he wishes he can win everything back by putting Draupadi at stake.
Inebriated by the game, Yudhishthira, to the horror of everybody present, puts Draupadi up as a bet for the next round. Playing the next round, Shakuni wins.
Draupadi was horrified after hearing that she was staked in the game and now is a slave for Duryodhana. Draupadi questions Yudhishthira’s right on her as he had lost himself first and she was still the queen. Duryodhana, angry with Draupadi’s questions, commands his younger brother Dushasana to bring her into the court, forcefully if he must.
Dushasana drags Draupadi to the court by the hair. Seeing this, Bheem pledges to remove Dushasana’s hands, as they touched Draupadi’s hair. Now in an emotional appeal to the elders present in the forum, Draupadi repeatedly questions draupdai legality of the right of Yudhishthira to place her at stake. In order to provoke the Pandavas further, Duryodhana bares and pats his thigh looking into Draupadi’s eyes, implying that she should sit on his thigh.
The Cult of Draupadi, Volume 1
In rage Bhima vows in front of the entire assembly that he would break that thigh of Duryodhana, or accept being Duryodhana’s slave for seven lifetimes. At this time Vikarnaa brother of Duryodhana asks the kings assembled in the court to answer the question of Draupadi. He gives his opinion that Draupadi is not won rightfully as Yudhishthira lost himself first before staking her.
Besides, no one has right to put a woman on bet according to shastras; not a husband, father, or even the gods. Hearing these words, Karna gets angry and says that when Yudhishthira lost all his possession he also lost Draupadi, even specifically staking her. He orders Dushasana to take away the rich garments of Pandavas and Draupadi. A miracle occurs henceforward, which is popularly attributed to Krishna.
Dushasana unwraps layers and layers of her sari. As her sari keeps getting extended, everyone looks upon in awe, and Dushasana himself is forced to stop due to exhaustion.
This vow unsettles the entire court. The only Kauravas who object to the disrobing of Draupadi in the court are Vikarna and Vidura. Vidura openly calls Duryodhana a snake and a demon, but after finding no support even from his own brother, Vidura is helpless.
Karna further orders Dushasana to take Draupadi to the servants’ quarters and derisively asks her to choose another husband who unlike Yudhistira would not gamble her away. Just then, jackals call out as a mark of ddraupadi omen. Queen mother Gandhari enters the scene and counsels Dhritarashtra drau;adi undo her sons’ misdeeds.
Fearing the ill-omens, Dhritarashtra intervenes and grants Draupadi a boon. Draupadi asks that her husband Yudisthir be freed from bondage so her son Prativindhya would not be called a slave. In order to pacify her further, Dhritarashtra offers a second boon.
Calmly, she asks for the freedom of the Pandavas along with their weapons. When Dhritarashtra asks her for her third wish, she reminds him that a kshatriya woman can seek only two wishes, three would be a sign of greed. Dhristarashtra gives them back their wealth, and grants them permission to go home. Amused by the sudden turn of events, Karna remarks that they “have never heard of such an act, performed by any of the women noted in this world for their beauty.