By KK Shanmukhan
Draupadi, King Drupada’s only daughter, whose real name was Krishna, for, she was bluish-black in colour, emerged out of the sacrificial fire. Although she was the wife of five mightiest husbands, the ordeals, and suffering she had undergone had no count. Once she was an empress as well. But destiny made her undergo torments and tortures. She withstood and suffered the insults and taunts of Duryodhana, Karna, Dussasana, Sakuni and all.
She had to suffer a great deal during the exile, in the forest. The empress who was once the centre of attraction of the entire world had to spend days in the forest wandering in poverty and in anguish. Even incognito at Virata’s capital she had to do menial work as an orderly of queen Sudeshna.
Draupadi’s friendship and devotion to Sri Krishna was remarkably unique. Whenever she was in agony or on test, she depended solely on Sri Krishna rather than her mighty husbands. When the evil Dusssana grabbed her clothes in the Kaurava assembly she meditated on Sri Krishna and implored to him to protect her honour. Sri Krishna did respond spontaneously and protected her honour and self respect. The more Dussasana pulled her apparel out, the more attire still appeared around her person until the prevert son of Dhritarashtra fell into a swoon, fatigued.
Once Saint Durvasa, the anger incarnate, persuaded by Duryodhana with ill-intent, visited the Pandavas in the forest along with his huge retinue. After receipt of the customary reception, the saint addressed the King: “Yudhishtira, we are hungry. We would return soon after our ablutions. Keep our meals ready.”
Draupadi was in panic. The never frugal divine vessel that Lord Surya gifted them with, would not deliver even a titbit of food had Draupadi partaken her share. And she had already had her lunch. Terrified of the consequences of Durvasa’s curse on the Pandavas, which alone was Duryodhana’s cherished wish, she contemplated on Sri Krishna. There appeared Sri Krishna before her. “Draupadi,” said Sri Krishna: “I am hungry. Give me something to eat.” Hearing this, she was totally broken down. Sri Krishna snatched the vessel from her and found an iota of granule stuck on the edge of the vessel and consumed it with happiness. Saint Durvasa had undergone the full satisfaction of having a delicious feast. He blessed Draupadi and the Pandavas.
When Sri Krishna was about to depart to Hastinapura with his self-imposed peace mission, Draupadi showing her unlocked hair reminded him of her pledge that she would only lock her hair with Dussasana’s blood after he is slain. Sri Krishna comforted her with that assurance.
A Kshatriya princess and queen of regale birth she never compromised her self-respect and commanding character. When Dussasana dragged her, holding her hair she took the uncommon oath that reflected her nobility and insurmountable character. And she did lock her hair only with the blood of the wretched Dussasana after her husband had slain him.
Her agony had still not been over. Immediately after her victory and retrieval of the kingdom all her five sons and her dear brother had been mercilessly butchered by Aswathama, the one day commander-in-chief of the Kaurava army. She categorically told Arjuna that she would be content only after the killing of Aswathama. Arjuna redeemed this responsibility as well.