Draupadi is a figure who is known to all Hindus who grew up on stories about the Mahabharata. This epic tale traces the story of two rival clans hailing from the same family – the Pandavas and the Kauravas. The offspring of two brothers, Dhritarashtra and Pandu, the cousins grew up together. However, the Kauravas, children of Dhritarashtra, harbored resentment towards their cousins, as they did not want to share the kingdom with the Pandavas, whose father, Pandu, had been ruling the kingdom before he abdicated. Draupadi was the five Pandava princes’ common wife. As Sage Vyasa wrote the Mahabharata, she is sometimes referred to as Vyasa Draupadi. Vyasa Draupadi is one of the most fascinating female characters in Hindu mythology. She was born of fire, and this fiery nature colors her personality and dictates her actions, perhaps contributing to some of the situations that the Pandavas had to deal with.
Here are 10 mind-boggling facts about Draupadi that you may not have heard before.
1. Draupadi had a strong personality
Draupadi was an outspoken person who raised her voice against oppression and injustice. When the Kauravas humiliated her by disrobing her in the royal court before her 5 Pandava husbands, she lashed out at the venerable elders like Bhishma, Drona, and Kripa for not condemning the act. Also called Yajnaseni, she was born from the fire as a mature adult.
2. Draupadi could restore her virginity
Draupadi became the wife of the 5 Pandavas because of Kunti’s inadvertent command to her sons after Arjuna won her hand in the swayamvara, asking him to share his winnings equally with his brothers. So she took turns to be with each brother as his wife. Before she moved on to her next husband, she recovered her virginity by walking through fire, thanks to a boon.
3. Draupadi was a feminist
It is rare for a woman to submit to 5 husbands. But Draupadi extracted her due by laying down the condition that she would not let another woman into her household.
4. Draupadi was a black beauty
Fairness has always been a criterion for beauty in women. But Draupadi was dark-complexioned, and her beauty was in no doubt. She was proof that skin color has nothing to do with beauty. And it also says much about the ancients who did not consider fairness as a marker for beauty, especially when matrimonial sites and ads for skin creams keep harping about the need for fair skin in women in this time and age.
5. Draupadi did not trust her husbands
Draupadi lost her trust in her Pandava husbands first when they refused to fight for her during her disrobing by Dushasana, the Kaurava prince. Also, during the final year of their exile, when they lived in disguise, they did not take timely action against Keechaka, who tried to molest Draupadi, as they feared that it would reveal their identities.
6. Draupadi was an incarnation of Goddess Kali
South Indians worship Draupadi as Amman because they think that she is Kali incarnate, who was on a mission to help Krishna teach a lesson to the arrogant Kauravas. There are many Draupadi Amman temples in Tamilnadu.
7. Krishna was Draupadi’s trouble-shooter
To Draupadi, Krishna was her ‘sakha’, friend, and protector, who always turned up to rescue her whenever she was in distress. Not a boyfriend in the sense of lover, but a true companion whose gender was irrelevant, and who had her back at all times.
8. Hidimba’s curse on Draupadi
There was no love lost between Draupadi and Hidimba, the demoness who was also the wife of Bhima. She despised their son, Ghatotkacha, and this led Hidimba to curse her. The curse was responsible for the destruction of the Pandava race.
9. Draupadi was Indraprastha’s treasurer
Draupadi was in charge of Indraprastha’s treasury. Her intelligence was envied by everyone.
10. Draupadi was conflicted in love
Though Draupadi loved Arjuna the most, she was more devoted to the eldest brother, Yudhishtira. She used her boon to save him and not Arjuna. She also served him more than she served Arjuna.
Draupadi was no meek and docile woman who did what she was told without question. She was beautiful, intelligent, and fought for her rights. She was the equal of Bheema or Arjuna when it came to strength and valor. Despite suffering many trials and tribulations, she lived to have the last laugh on those who wronged her, despite suffering many grave losses herself. If feminism had a prototype in the ancient age, she was probably it.