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1. Who was Draupadee, Her Birth and Her Marriage to Five Paandav
2. Why Draupadee had Five Husbands?
3. Draupadee as Queen-
4. Draupadee as Queen-2
5. Draupadee in Exile
6. Draupadee After the War

Why Draupadee Had Five Husbands?

From Maarkandeya Puraan
There is a story behind this, described in Maarkandeya Puraan. Twashtaa, one of the 12 Aaditya Devtaa and Devtaa's Purohit, had a son named Trishiraa. Once Trishiraa did a great Tap which shook Indra's throne. Indra killed him to protect his authority and power. But He could not escape from the sin of killing a Braahman. This sin took away his radiance.

When Twashtaa came to know about his son's killing, he became very furious and performed a Yagya to produce a killer of Indra. He plucked a strand of hair from his hair-lock and offered it in the sacrificial fire with the intention to kill Indra. This Aahuti produced a very powerful Asur named Vritraasur. When Indra came to know about this powerful Asur, he sent Sapt Rishi as his emissaries to him to work out a friendship pact between them. Sapt Rishi succeeded in doing so, but Indra still killed him.

This action of Indra enraged Asur community, so they increased their atrocities. Even Prithvi felt unable to bear the burden of their atrocities. So she approached Devtaa to relieve her from this burden. Devtaa in turn approached Naaraayan. Naaraayan consoled them saying that "I will incarnate soon and you should also go to Prithvi to help me." Thus Devtaa started incarnating on Prithvi.

In this context, Dharm with the radiance of Indra, produced Yudhishthir, Vaayu (Pavan) Devtaa with the radiance of Indra, produced Bheem, Indra himself produced Arjun from Kuntee and Ashwinee Kumaar with the radiance of Indra, produced Nakul and Sahadev from Maadree. Thus although they were five separate entities, they were still the same Indra. And Draupadee was no other than Indra's wife Shachee (Indraanee) herself.

From Mahaabhaarat
Another story, that why she should have five husbands, appears in MBH, 3/10, told by Ved Vaas Jee at the time of Draupadee's marriage when Drupad and Dhrishtdyumn were hesitating to marry her to five Paandav.

Vyaas Jee said to Drupad - "In olden days, the celestials performed a great sacrifice in Naimish Aranya. At that sacrifice Yam, the son of Vivaswaan, became the slayer of sacrificial animals. He had not killed even a single human being during that period, so the number of people on the earth increased a lot. Som, Sakra, Varun, Ashwinee Kumaar etc went to Brahmaa Jee and told about this increase. Brahmaa Jee said - "You need not to worry about this increase. You all are immortal." They said - "But the mortals have also become immortals. Now there is no difference between them and us." Brahmaa Jee said - "In fact even Yam is also engaged in sacrifice now a days that is why people are not dying. But when this sacrifice is over, people again will start dying - in thousands." So the celestials came back to the place of sacrifice.

Then Indra sitting near Bhaageerathee saw a golden lotus floating on her waters. Seeing it he wondered much and out of curiosity he proceeded up the course of Bhaageerathee to know its origin. There he saw a woman weeping and washing herself in the stream. Her tears were falling in the stream and were turning into golden lotus. Seeing this Indra was more surprised. He asked her - "Who are you? Why do you weep? I want to know, please tell me everything." The woman said - "O Sakra, You know me. It is unfortunate that I weep. Come with me and see for yourself." So Indra followed her. Soon they came to a young man sitting with a young woman on a throne on a peak of Himaalaya. They were playing dice.

Indra said to him - "This universe is under my control." But he was so engrossed in playing that he didn't listen to him. Indra repeated his statement with a little anger. Now the youth was Mahaadev. He smiled at him and cast a glance at him. That glance made Indra immediately paralyzed and he remained standing there only. When the dice game was over Mahaadev asked the weeping woman to bring Indra to him. As soon as that woman touched he fell down on the ground. Mahaadev said - "Never ever act in this way again. Remove this stone, because you are very powerful, and enter the hole, then you will see there are many like you." Indra did this and saw four like himself in that cave. He got very sad their plight and exclaimed - "Shall I be like these?" Shiv Jee said - "O Sakra, Enter this cave immediately because you have foolishly insulted me." Indra said - "You take care of the universe." Shiv Jee said - "People like you can never get my grace. These who are in the cave were also like you at one time. Therefore you enter the cave and lie down there for some time. All will have the same fate - to take birth in the human world where you will face many difficulties and slay a large number of people. You will then gain your meritorious position again." At this all the five Indra said - "There salvation is difficult. It will be better if five of us take birth there through Dharm, Pavan, Maghaavat, and Ashwinee Kumaar."

Vyaas Jee continued - "Indra continued - "Instead of going myself on Prithvi, I will create a fifth one to accomplish your task." So Vishwabhook, Bhootdaman, Shibi, Shaanti and Tejaswee - it is said that these are five old Indra. Shiv Jee granted their desires and he appointed that weeping woman who was Shree Herself, to be their common wife of all. Then Shiv Jee went away along with those five Indra. Those Indra then were born on Prithvi. After that Hari took two hair strands from his body, one black and one white, and inserted them in the wombs of Devakee and Rohinee. The white hair became Baladev and the black hair became Keshav Himself. Thus these Paandav are none other than those five Indra and Draupadee is Shree Herself. That is why I permit for this marriage. See those old Indra in these Paandav." And Vyaas Jee gave Divine sight to Drupad to see all this in Paandav. And the King saw them possessing celestial bodies resembling Indra himself and Draupadee as Shree Herself. Drupad held Vyaas Jee's feet and said - "There is nothing miraculous for you."

Another Story from Mahaabhaarat
From the same MBH, G-3/10 - Then Rishi Vyaas Jee continued - "In a certain hermitage there was a Rishi's daughter, who, though handsome and chaste, could not obtain a husband. She gratified Shiv by severe ascetic penances. Shankar Jee told her himself. "Ask for any boon you desire." The maiden repeatedly said to the Lord, 'I desire to obtain a husband possessed of every accomplishment." Shankar gratified with her, gave her the boon she asked, saying - "You will have, five husbands." The maiden, said again, "O Shankar, I desire to have only one husband possessed of every virtue?" Shiv Jee well-pleased with her spoke again, - "You have, addressed me five full times, repeating, "Give me a husband Give me a husband." Therefore, you will have what you have asked for. Bless you. All this, however, will happen in your future life." Vyaas Jee continued - "O Drupad, Thus this your daughter is that maiden. Indeed, the faultless Krishnaa's birth in Prishat's race has been pre-ordained to become the common wife of five husbands. The celestial Shree has taken birth as thy daughter. It is for this that the Self-Creator had created her. Having listened to all this, now what do you desire."

This same story in MBH Serial has been told from Krishn with some alterations - read it below :--

From MBH Serial
When the five Paandav had brought Draupadee to their house,  Arjun told Kuntee that we have brought the alms. As usual Kuntee told them to distribute the alms among themselves. But when she saw the alms she repented for her saying, because it was not the usual alms, it was Draupadee. She felt very bad and repented for her words. The then Krishn an Balaraam came there and Krishn told them the following story to justify Kuntee's words of Draupadee's marriage to five brothers.

Krishn said - "In her previous life, Draupadee did a severe Tapasyaa and pleased Shiv Jee, and asked for a husband who should have five qualities - he should be the staunch follower of Dharm; he should be very mighty; he should be the best archer; he should be most beautiful and he should have the maximum tolerance." Bhagavaan said "So be it". But Bhagvaan Shiv couldn't find all the five qualities in one person so he gave her five husbands. There is nobody like Yudhishthir who is the follower of Dharm; there is nobody mightier than Bheem at this time; there is no archer like Arjun; there is nobody else as handsome as Nakul; and there is nobody else who has as much tolerance as Sahadev. All the five qualities were rather impossible to get in one person, so she has got five people as her husbands."

From Satya Chaitanya
Satya Chaitanya has kindly provided the translation of passages in the MBH appendix of BORI relating to the former births of Draupadee ----

"Understand, O King, this is the renowned ancient incident about the practice of sage-kings of old in the matter of wives. There was once a world famous king called Nitantu. He had five sons, all master warriors, all of whom became kings. These Kshatriya were all performers of Vaidik rites and were called Salveya, Shoorasen, the brave Shrutasen, Tindusaar and Atisaar. They never transgressed one another and always spoke what was good for one another. Shaibyaa Bhaumaashwee, who had a melodious voice as sweet as that of a Veenaa, attained these princes, the five brave sons of Nitantu, as her husbands in her Swayamvar. Thus Bhaumaashwee, who had for her husbands these five bulls among Kshatriya, these Nitantu kings, endowed with all qualities, became the best of women. O king, This Ausheenaree was the only wife of those five kings.

Bhaumaashwee then gave birth to five sons by the five husbands. O great King, They came to be known in the world by their five separate names received from those five Nitantus. O noble Lord, these [Matsya kings] came to be known in the world by five separate names. Please hear from me those renowned names. The descendants of these kings were known as Salveyas, Shoorasenas, Shrutasenas, Tindusaaras and Atisaaras. Thus the one common wife Bhaumaashwee became famous in the world.

It is she who became the incomparably beautiful Nalayaanee and attaining Maudgalya for a husband and attaining proximity with Shiv…

Listen to me, O King, carefully to what I say and trust my words – then you will see the Paandav [for what they truly are].

As we all know, the Lord of the gods fell from heaven after killing Vritra, affected by Brahm Hatyaa and devoid of [his qualities such as] Dharm and so on. Indra’s Dharm went to Yam, his strength entered Vaayu, his superior Veerya and knowledge and beauty went to the Nasatyas; Hree, Lakshmee, Keerti, Sannati and Mati also left Indra and took refuge in the goddess of speech [Saraswatee]. Oh king, because of an earlier boon by/to Indra and because of the order of Mahaadev, understand the Paandav as Dharm etc. and Draupadee as Hree etc. Because of that, all these Paandav are, no doubt, but the one Indra and your [daughter] Draupadee is Paulomee herself.

Now listen to another great secret of the gods, hearing which your doubts will be totally destroyed. Mahesh's five faces such as Sadyojaat are those who are Paandav now and Paarvatee herself is this Draupadee.

Here is yet another great secret, eternal and known only to the gods, for your knowledge, knowing which you will be clear of all your doubts and hesitations. Vishnu has four arms, endowed with the wheel and so on. Yudhishthir, Bheem and the twins are these and as for Arjun, he is Vishnu Himself and Paanchaalee is Lakshmee. O King, understand the four Moorti of Vishnu and Vishnu himself as the four Paandav and Arjun, and Draupadee as the ocean-born Lakshmee. Vishnu who has four Moorti and four Vyooh is incarnated on the Earth along with Vaasudev and so on and Paanchaalee is Kamalaa herself.

Sadaashiv, who is called Panchayatana and has five Moorti [is the five Paandav] and the five Laya such as Nivritta is Paanchaalee herself – understand, O King.

For this reason, let there be no hesitation about it. Give your daughter Draupadee to the five Paandav since she has ancient associations with them. Paandav are the five sacred fires and Krishnaa is renowned as Swaahaa.

The Second Passage
Vyaas : "Let the worry in your mind that “my daughter shall be the wife of five”, cease, O King. For, her mother, O King, had prayed that her daughter should be the wife of five men and Yaaj and Upayaaj, constantly engaged in Dharm, with their Tapas, achieved for her five husbands. And Krishnaa was attained by the five Paandav as their wife through righteous means – let therefore your family be happy. There is no Lord greater than you in the world, you are undefeatable by all enemies. Hear more from me about how she happened to attain five husbands – so that you shall become free from sorrow.

This Draupadee was earlier Nalayaanee and the blameless one worshipped her old, leper husband Maudgalya. He was just skin and bones, impetuous, lustful, jealous, and prone to furious anger. His body stank, his skin was wrinkled, his head was bald. His body was distorted, his nails and skin had begun to wear off. But she served him closely, and ate his left over food. Then once it so happened that while he was eating, one of his fingers fell off into the food. Picking up and throwing that finger out, she ate the remaining food without any hesitation. Maudgalya was pleased by this. And he, who had the power to do anything he wished, then asked her to ask for a boon – when he asked her again and again, she asked for a boon.

Sage : "I am not old, I am not bitter, nor jealous O hot lady, tell me how I can delight you, and where you wish to live and enjoy your life. I shall do all that you wish. Tell me whatever is in your mind."

Vyaas : "She of blameless beauty told her husband, whose actions were pure, who was a giver of boons, who gave all one wished, and was now pleased with her [the following]:

Nalayaanee : “Oh great one, I am badly wounded by the five arrows of the lord of love. Pleasure me, O Lord, world-renowned one, whose glory is beyond understanding, dividing yourself into five, and then again by becoming one again."

Vyaas : "The wise sage of great austerities, the Brahmarshi, told her "let it be so". And then Mudgal, becoming five, pleasured Nalayaanee of beautiful hair and lovely smile thoroughly. Worshipped by the sages he wandered long in the Aashram as he pleased, assuming any form he desired. And he went to Heaven, where he lived in the house of Indra, and worshipped by Shachee, roamed there feasting on ambrosia. He moved around with Mahendrasenaa [Nalayaanee], urged by the desire to sport with her. He, the great lord, boarded the divine chariot of the Sun and then reaching Mount Meru, enjoyed his stay there. With her he, whose treasure was Tapas, swam and enjoyed in the celestial Gangaa and stayed in webs of moon-rays as the wind does.

And then when the great sage took on the shape of a mountain range, because of his power she became a great river in the middle of the mountains. When the Lord sage made himself a Shaal tree full of flowers, she took the form of a creeper and wound herself around him. Whatever body he assumed, assuming a similar body, she traveled with him all along. And so living, her love for him and his love for her increased in equal measure… "

Draupadee's Past Life Story-Nalayaanee from Kumbakonam edition of the MBH
Draupadee's Past Life Story-Ketukaa from Sarala (pronounced as Sharalaa) Mahabharata



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Created by Sushma Gupta On 5/27/04
Modified on 05/22/13