Draupadī

The insulting of Draupadī.

The most chaste daughter of Mahārāja Drupada and partly an incarnation of goddess Śacī, the wife of Indra. Mahārāja Drupada performed a great sacrifice under the superintendence of the sage Yaja. By his first offering, Dhṛṣṭadyumna was born, and by the second offering, Draupadī was born. She is therefore the sister of Dhṛṣṭadyumna, and she is also named Pāñcālī. The five Pāṇḍavas married her as a common wife, and each of them begot a son in her. Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira begot a son named Pratibhit, Bhīmasena begot a son named Sutasoma, Arjuna begot Śrutakīrti, Nakula begot Śatānīka, and Sahadeva begot Śrutakarmā. She is described as a most beautiful lady, equal to her mother-in-law, Kuntī. During her birth there was an aeromessage that she should be called Kṛṣṇā. The same message also declared that she was born to kill many a kṣatriya. By dint of her blessings from Śaṅkara, she was awarded five husbands, equally qualified. When she preferred to select her own husband, princes and kings were invited from all the countries of the world. She was married with the Pāṇḍavas during their exile in the forest, but when they went back home Mahārāja Drupada gave them immense wealth as a dowry. She was well received by all the daughters-in-law of Dhṛtarāṣṭra. When she was lost in a gambling game, she was forcibly dragged into the assembly hall, and an attempt was made by Duḥśāsana to see her naked beauty, even though there were elderly persons like Bhīṣma and Droṇa present. She was a great devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa, and by her praying, the Lord Himself became an unlimited garment to save her from the insult. A demon of the name Jaṭāsura kidnapped her, but her second husband, Bhīmasena, killed the demon and saved her. She saved the Pāṇḍavas from the curse of Maharṣi Durvāsā by the grace of Lord Kṛṣṇa. When the Pāṇḍavas lived incognito in the palace of Virāṭa, Kīcaka was attracted by her exquisite beauty, and by arrangement with Bhīma the devil was killed and she was saved. She was very much aggrieved when her five sons were killed by Aśvatthāmā. At the last stage, she accompanied her husband Yudhiṣṭhira and others and fell on the way. The cause of her falling was explained by Yudhiṣṭhira, but when Yudhiṣṭhira entered the heavenly planet he saw Draupadī gloriously present there as the goddess of fortune in the heavenly planet. @SB 1.13.3-4

Draupadī was the most beautiful daughter of King Drupada, and when she was a young girl almost all the princes desired her hand. But Drupada Mahārāja decided to hand over his daughter to Arjuna only and therefore contrived a peculiar way. There was a fish hanging on the inner roof of the house under the protection of a wheel. The condition was that out of the princely order, one must be able to pierce the fish’s eyes through the wheel of protection, and no one would be allowed to look up at the target. On the ground there was a waterpot in which the target and wheel were reflected, and one had to fix his aim towards the target by looking at the trembling water in the pot. Mahārāja Drupada well knew that only Arjuna or alternately Karṇa could successfully carry out the plan. But still he wanted to hand his daughter to Arjuna. And in the assembly of the princely order, when Dhṛṣṭadyumna, the brother of Draupadī, introduced all the princes to his grown-up sister, Karṇa was also present in the game. But Draupadī tactfully avoided Karṇa as the rival of Arjuna, and she expressed her desires through her brother Dhṛṣṭadyumna that she was unable to accept anyone who was less than a kṣatriya. The vaiśyas and the śūdras are less important than the kṣatriyas. Karṇa was known as the son of a carpenter, a śūdra. So Draupadī avoided Karṇa by this plea. When Arjuna, in the dress of a poor brāhmaṇa, pierced the difficult target, everyone was astonished, and all of them, especially Karṇa, offered a stiff fight to Arjuna, but as usual by the grace of Lord Kṛṣṇa he was able to emerge very successful in the princely fight and thus gain the valuable hand of Kṛṣṇā, or Draupadī. Arjuna was lamentingly remembering the incident in the absence of the Lord, by whose strength only he was so powerful. @SB 1.15.7

Queen Draupadī had a beautiful bunch of hair which was sanctified in the ceremonial function of Rājasūya-yajña. But when she was lost in a bet, Duḥśāsana touched her glorified hair to insult her. Draupadī then fell down at the lotus feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa, and Lord Kṛṣṇa decided that all the wives of Duḥśāsana and company should have their hair loosened as a result of the Battle of Kurukṣetra. Thus after the Battle of Kurukṣetra, after all the sons and grandsons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra died in battle, all the wives of the family were obliged to loosen their hair as widows. In other words, all the wives of the Kuru family became widows because of Duḥśāsana’s insulting a great devotee of the Lord. The Lord can tolerate insults upon Himself by any miscreant because the father tolerates even insults from the son. But He never tolerates insults upon His devotees. By insulting a great soul, one has to forego all the results of pious acts and benedictions also. @SB 1.15.10