Draupadi, an ikon of a true Indian woman

Draupadi, the daughter of King Drupada, appears from the yagnyaagni as a full grown, in the bloom of her youth. One can observe that it is always Paramaatma who takes birth and avataaras (“Paritraanaaya sadhunam …”). However, always Yoga-Maaya (or Shakti) never takes birth, she just appears. It is the same case with Sita devi, Rukmini devi, Draupadi, Maatulungi etc. The following piece of story of draupadi shows the boundaries of following Dharma. May be none can be better!

Ashwatthaama, the chiranjeevi, does a daaruna krutyam after the Mahaabhaaratam. Unusual to his nature, He, without even little daya, beheads the sleeping babies of draupadi — the upa-paandavas. Draupadi realizes what happened. All her 10 sons, who were little baalakas, who were sleeping, who never did any kind of harm to Ashwatthaama and who cannot even react to the harm committed to them were lying in a pool of blood. Draupadi breaks down to tears and weeps in great sorrow. Arjuna very sad himself, consoles Her and says it does not look nice for a Veera maata to cry like this. He says that He will immediately avenge the act and kill Ashwatthaama. On killing him, she can take bath standing on his head. Immediately Lord Krishna and Arjuna set out on their Hanumadhdhvaja ratham to catch the fleeing Ashwatthaama.

Seeing that Arjuna is closing by his ratham and that his horses are a little exhausted, Aswaththaama sees Brahmaastra as the only way to save himself. Though not knowing the way of retrieving the astra, he immediately uses Brahmaastra on Arjuna, after stopping the ratham, doing aachamanam and purifying himself. Lord Krishna orders Arjuna to use Brahmaastra to counter Ashwatthaama’s. Arjuna also purifies himself, does achamanam, does a pradakshina to the Almighty and uses Brahmaastra. The two astras, one like Agni and the other like sun, fight each other and in no time the worlds start to burn under the influence of the astras. Krishna, the protector of the worlds, immediately orders Arjuna to take back both Astras, as only a Brahmachaari can take back a Brahmaastra!

Arjuna takes back both the Brahmaastras, showing clearly what a perfect Brahmachaari he was. Arjuna, who was the friend of the Askalita Brahmachaari Lord Krishna, obviously knows the shastras and the ways to maintain his Brahmacharyam, though married. Arjuna ties Ahswaththaama and takes him to Draupadi, like a Yagnya pashu is taken to the Yagnya shaala. The acts of Draupadi in this following episode make even Krishna praise Krishnaa (Draupadi) for her Dharma.

On seeing the killer of all her sons being brought by Arjuna, Draupadi, of the beauty of her nature out of compassion, does a namaskar to him and says as per the Vedas in the absence of the Guru, Guru-putra takes his place, so she is doing a namaskaar to Drona! It was unbearable for her having him brought being bound and she said: “Release him, for he is a brahmana, our Aacharya. Do not make his mother, Drona’s wife, cry the way I do in my chastity shedding tears constantly in distress over a lost child”. Yudhishtira, Arjuna, Nakula, Sahadeva, Saatyaki, Krishna and other queens supported the statements of Paanchaali as they were in accord with the principles of Sanaatana Dharma, of justice, merciful, without duplicity and glorious in equity. Krishna, amazed by the Dharmya vartana of Draupadi, praises her very much. However, Bhima also raised a valid point that a person who by nature has daya is a brahmana, is Ashwatthaama, who mercilessly killed the baalakas, worth being called one? Saying “surely death is the only punishment for such a person”, Bhima proceeds to kill Ashwatthaama, but the Lord, with His chaturbhuja’s stops Bhima and says the following with a smile:

Dhrmyam of Draupadi!

“The Guru-putra, a braahmana must not be killed – this both is by Me, certainly prescribed to be carried out abiding by the rules.” However, Arjuna has to keep to the truth as promised while pacifying his wife, and also act to the satisfaction of Bhima and Himself (by punishing the bad). So they remove the divya mani on the head of Ashwatthaama and remove his hair, as, for a veera, tonsuring is equivalent to killing him.

Morals in the story:

  1. The Dhramya vartana of Draupadi is well portrayed in the story. This shows us that, even at the time of great stress, sorrow, difficulty, one never must deviate from the path of truth, Dharma.
  2. Even though Ashwatthaama was great, in his momentary anger he committed an unpardonable crime. One must be very careful and need to think what is right and what is wrong before acting. This is what the pandavas do in the later part of the story, with the help of Krishna. They, though Kshattriyas, were not overwhelmed by revenge. They acted according to the words of Krishna, who is Dharma in human form.
  3. The importance given to keeping up one’s word is protrayed well. Arjuna promises Draupadi to kill Ashwatthaama, but according to Dharma is must not be killed. So they do an equivalent act of killing.
  4. The importance of cleanliness is also displayed. Both Ashwatthaama and Arjuna purify themselves, do aachamanam before chanting the mantras for Brahmaastra. They do this even when they were in such a great press for time.
  5. The power of Brahmacharyam is well shown through this story. Arjuna, who knew the Shatras, was a brahmachaari and hence could not only take back his, but Ashwatthaama’s astra too.
  6. The heart of a mother is well exposed when Draupadi comments “Do not make his mother, Drona’s wife, cry the way I do in my chastity shedding tears constantly in distress over a lost child“. She knows the pain of loosing children, so did not want another mother to experience it!

Message to present society:

Being Kshatriyas, people with lot of Shauryam, Paandavas thought so much (analyzing what is Dharmam, what is adharmam) before avenging their son’s death. Now-a-days even films show people mercilessly killing each other in the name of revenge.

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Published in: on May 15, 2006 at 7:47 pm  Comments (35)  

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35 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. this story illustrates how low human behaviour can reach, aswattama an otherwise great soul without slightest thought committed a ghastly act.individuals are resposible for acts committed by them even though they may b under the orders of superiors, in fact during the nuremberg trials of nazis, many of them testified that they did those horrendous things under orders and were not directly responsible.the same goes for the indiscriminate bombings in iraq, afghanistan by US and also ofcourse the terrorists.

  2. I found this website quite accidentally, today, and am extremely delighted. I have just started reading the short stories, one by one. The organization is excellent and the statement of morals quite revealing.

    However, please permit me to point out an important discrepancy between the presentation here and the original story as found in The Shreemad Bhagavatam.
    After Aswatthaama is captured (by Arjuna), Lord Krishna, orders Arjuna to kill him immediately. Draupadi objects to this on the grounds that he is a Brahmana, the son of their guru, and that killing Aswatthaama would cause a great deal of sorrow to his mother (as narrated above). So, against the objections of The Lord, it is then decided that the greatest punishment (and insult) that can be inflicted on Aswatthaama was to cut off the tuft of his hair (shikhaa) – not complete tonsuring.
    I have always wondered why the Pandavas and Draupadi chose to disobey Lord Krishna’s command. The arguments here to spare Aswatthaama’s life are eerily similar to the (twisted) code of conduct invoked by Arjuna when he refuses to fight and lays down his arms. The Lord then convinces Arjuna that his logic is twisted and flawed and exhorts him to fight. Can anyone comment on this topic?

    • hey bro…..pandavaas didn’t disobey krishna at all
      they asked him dat why is krishna tellin to kill a brahmin so lord clarified that he himself has told in the shastras dat it’s denied to kill abrahmin, however insulting a brahmin is considered similar to the punishment of death for d latter.
      hence parth, i order u to cut off his tuft and take out that diamond from his forehead.
      hence it was the lord who gave the orders and pandavas did exactly what d supreme soul of godhead ordered them to do

  3. great work, ashwasthama for the rest of his life remains bleeding.


  5. The underlying message of the epic incident narrated is that great lineage, great birth and great valour will be useless with out noble thoughts and humanitarian values.

  6. i am doing a classial dance on drupadi

  7. I am a small girl of 10 years.I am great impressed of the stories and morals.these stories will guide Indian children towards their culture.

    • Sanjukta, is that you, my classmate?

      • Great to see you kids reading thingss like this !! Read more !! Question more !! There is whole lot of logic and science beyond faith in Hiindu religion !you should read and tell others !You should also read about other religionss and see what is in common for the religions and what differes May god bless you with wisdom and good health ! :) Theeban -Germany

  8. draupadi was the disciple of Bhagwan Valmiki. One day Bhagwan valmiki was bathing in the lake.He was about to get out and put on his robe but it flew away.Bhagwan valmiki then asked Draupadi to catch this and giv it to his almightyness.She managed to do this and bowed down to Bhagwan valmiki nd gave him the robe.Because Draupadi had helped him Bhagwan Valmiki granted her a boon.Bhagwan valmiki said “tu meri pat takthi mein pat takdu lakh vaar”.What Bhagwan valmiki meant by this was that today you have covered me,i will cover you a 100,000 times.
    When Draupadi was lost by the pandvas in a bet and won by the kauravas they tried to disrobe her but every time they would try to disrobe her a new set of clothes would come her.The kaurava king tried again and again but no matter how many times he did his he was not able to disrobe Draupadi therefore Draupadi’s dignity was saved by The almighty,creator of the universe and all life forms, Bhagwan valmiki.This history is recorded in much more detail In the Holy book of all holy books The Shri Ramayan Ad Dharm Granth which was composed By the late Sant satguru Gurdev Singh within 14 years
    Jo Bole so Nirbhai Bhagwan Valmik maharaj ki jai
    Dhan Dhan Sant satguru Gurdev Singh maharaj ki jai

  9. namaskar,
    lucky to visit this site courtsey google. I love reading and writing on indian philosophy and I found the alst para in your blog written on the relevance of the story today which I appriciate.
    this is what I am trying to do in my blog http://www.gia-today.blogspot.com.
    thanks for your endeavor.
    brotherly yours brij mohan

  10. This site is very informative and i plan to do all my research works on Hinduism on this site….

  11. I just chanced upon this site today to know about guggula nayanar. This site is very very informative and i am getting to know more about hinduism and its culture through well crafted stories.

    Thanx once again

  12. great website.i only thank god for leading me here.

  13. This site is extremely good for knowledge about hindu epics.

    I would like you to elaborate the statement “…..always Yoga-Maaya (or Shakti) never takes birth, she just appears. It is the same case with Sita devi, Rukmini devi, Draupadi, Maatulungi etc. ”

    i know the story of sita-devi but rukmini and draupadi – i thought they were born.. I’ve tried to ask ppl about this and search the web also.. and im not satisfied with the answer. pls elaborate this for me

    • hey sandhya,
      Draupadi was born as a result of a fire-sacrifice performed by King Drupada.she emerged from the fire as a fully grown young woman with light-brown skin,wavy beautiful,long hair and a body which had the aromatic smell of a blue lotus.She was one of the most beautiful princesses and almost every king wanted to marry her.Drupada wanted to revenge against Drona,when he was defeated by Arjuna ;his disciple.Drishtadyuma also emerged from the fire along with draupadi who later kills drona in the war.

  14. rukmini was born of earthly parents to king bhishmaka.she is believed to hav been born on vaishaka 12.Althogh an avatar of SriLakshmi,rukmini had a normal birth unlike her previous births as Sita,Andaal or sripadmavathi at tirupathi.

  15. Such a great story!!! Must for everyone especially all hindus should read and inculcate the morals in them. our Hindu religion is supreme. it requires a very high level thinking to understand our relgion and our epics.
    i think our education system should make it compulsory to indtroduce our religious teachings right from the class 1. our religion should be spread through out the world. LONG LIVE HINDUS, LONG LIVE BHARAT. BHARAT MAATAA KI JAI HO.

  16. I was just searching for some bhakti websites when I found this one and now I’m extremely happy that I did!

  17. so very good

  18. draupadiand ikon of true indian women moral sto

  19. Draupadi was really a greatest women.

  20. wonderful story!


  21. you little foollllllllllllllllllllll!!! i know this story very well

  22. jai draupadi

  23. you know when draupadi told kechaka to come to the dancing hall bheema jumped behind him and killed kechaka and the other brothers put the dead body in fire with draupadi but when bheema saw this he took a tree and killed the other brothers and draupadi was saved.

  24. if i die my soul will go to the pandavas only

  25. It’s so nice that I came across this site. Each story has kept me engrossed with the moral lesson at the end of it. Thanks a lot for posting them.

  26. Spirituality and way of dharma just starts from avayadan , Draupadi”s sacrifice of her emotion shows truthfulness of the humanity and life.This website will boost the upcoming generation to through self in the way of salvation.

  27. …and thus Ashwatthama remained Forever Alone.

  28. Pls mention how Arjuna is a BRAHMACHARI even though he is married and had sons with Draupadi? It is true that he is a Brahmachari and revoked Brahmastra. But how is this possible?

  29. […] of veera Abhimanyu and Viraata’s daughter, Uttara and was the only successor of Pandavas (see Aswatthaama killing Upa-Paandavas story). He, while in maatru-garbham itself, used to examine carefully all directions (paritaH […]

  30. […] Duryodhana ordered to put tents around the Sarovaram (that was near by). Immediately Gandharva-veeras appeared and said like this “O muurkha-maanavas! This area in currently under the control of the Gandharva-Raaja Chitrasena (Chitrasena was the Gandharva who taught Arjuna Naatyam, when he went to Indra-lokam). No one must(can) enter this. Please go away. Else we will kill you”. The ahankaari, Duryodhana, didnt like these words. He ordered his sainyam to occupy by force. Immediately many many Gandharva-veeras came there and a big Yuddham started between Gandharvas and Duryodhana, Dushshaasana, Karna aadi Kaurava-veeras. In no time Chitrasena defeated the Kaurava sena. Kaurava Naayakas like Duryodhana, Dushshaasana and Karna were lying unconscious. Kaurava Raanis, with Bhayam, ordered the sainikas to go and request Paandavas, the Dharma-vartis, for help. Listening to the aartanaadam of the Kaurava-sainikas, one of the first to respond was Draupadi. […]

  31. Mahabharata is the best and classical story that everyone should read and understand in-depth. When Duriyodan and Dukshasan removing Draupadhyis saree Lord Krishna came for rescue. The end result was that all kauravas were killed in the battle field.
    S Raghavan

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