So, before I begin – the 30 day challenge that I had kept for myself vanished and it went into the drain. Nevertheless, I do not regret as I solely rely on my flow of words to begin my blog for the day.
As of today, being the “Women’s day” – though not a great fan of it myself, since we women do not need a day to celebrate, but we are forever empowered to do great things. Being born a woman is a blessing by itself, the youthfulness, charm and grace is inherent to us. You do not have to try to look beautiful because to me, you already are! However, there might be oceans of people who might differ from me and hence penning about Panchali today is a pure coincidence. Probably, it is meant to be? Well – I think so!
Draupadi – the daughter of the king drupada was no ordinary child and was born out of fire from a yaga, since the king was without a child. Drupada was blessed with a son and a daughter, and there walking out of the fire were two young children, Dhristadhyumna and Draupadi. Draupadi, the little one was a dusky beauty. Well, some call her dark too. But right from childhood, the little princess was ravishing. She grew up to be the dark skinned beauty and was beyond heavenly charm!
It is said that this ravishing beauty is the cause of the great war – the war of kurukshetra and so why should we be skimpy with one blog post for her? I will span this across two posts, one for Draupadi and the other as to how Draupadi becomes ‘Princess Panchali’.
Draupadi’s swamyvar was bound to be held in the kingdom of Panchala since the king Drupada wanted her to wed the mighty Arjuna as he eyed that with Arjuna as his son in law – defeating the great master Dronacharya would become evidently simple. Yes, there was an enemity between the king and the teacher who apparently were thick friends in their gurukula days! Lord Krishna actually gets introduced in the Swayamvar but that can be taken up as a part of the upcoming episodes since the lord and his game plan will need utmost dedication. The enemity between Drupada and Dronacharya would also be told as a flashback in the upcoming episodes to create a subtle change in this journey of mine.
So, now back to the Swayamvar. It has been arranged on a grandscale and the fliers and notices are being circulated all through the country with countless kings dying to wed the mesmerizing beauty. Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder is a saying which has been truly forgotten back then too! This information reaches the pandavas disguised as brahmanas as well and noticing the urge and interest of the brothers to take Draupadi’s hand, Kunti gives a big nod and off the princes go to participate in the swayamvar. There was a condition in the swayamvar and only if that is met by somebody, would Draupadi become the wife of that fortunate individual. The test was to lift and string a bow, and fire arrows to pierce the eye of a golden fish only by looking at its reflection in the water.
Many valiant princes rose up and tried in vain to string the bow. Jarasandha, Sisupala and Duryodhana were among the unsuccessful candidates. While Karna rose up from the seat there was a spontaneous applause and jubiliation from the crowd. All thought that only Karna had the potential prowess to pierce the fish’s eye with arrows. He effortlessly stringed the bow and while was about to shoot the arrow, Draupadi snapped and conveyed that she would not be willing to marry one who lacks pedigree. There was an instant pandemonium in the hall when all of a sudden a young and a smart brahmin requests Dhristadhyumna if he can try a hand at the bow. The brahmin is given an affirmative answer and Arjuna walks to the podium to string the bow. Draupadi loses her heart to the brahmin and fervently prays that he strings the bow so that she could be his forever.
Meanwhile, Arjuna bowed to the bow out of inherent respect to the weapon, stringed it with such efficiency and took five arrows and in quick succession shot through the revolving disc on to the fish’s eye! The crowd cheered madly. People could not believe that a Brahmin had mastered archery better the assembled princes. The princes felt insulted and came forward to harm Arjuna. Immediately the rest of the Pandavas grouped together to defend Arjuna. For a moment the kings paused, pondering at the daring of the priestly band, but impatient Karna and angry Shalya, King of Madra, dashed forward like two infuriated elephants against Arjuna and Bheema.
The brothers sustained the attack, and soon Karna was struck by Arjuna. Karna was amazed with the skills of the Brahmin, and enquired that who was he to possess the great skill of an archer. He said “There is no man who can thwart me with defiance as you have done even now, save Arjuna alone.”
Arjuna politely replied that I am a humble Brahmin who wants to protect himself. Soon Karna withdrew, realizing that this was no ordinary Brahmin, but Bheema and Shalya fought valiantly. Fighting furious like two elephants, they continued for a while, before Bheema defeated him.
Soon enough, all the people realized the strength and skill of the five brothers, the Pandavas. Finally, Krishna stepped in and asked the frustrated princes to take their failure gracefully and the fighting stopped.
Meanwhile Duryodhana, who was also present, guessed that the winner must be Arjuna, and the four other Brahmins must be the Pandava brothers he had planned to kill! He was amazed as to how they had escaped the fire at Varnavat.
The heart of Draupadi was filled with joy, and, smiling coyly, she advanced towards Arjuna and flung the golden bridal garland over his shoulders. Celestial blossoms fluttered, descending through the air, and the sound of celestial music was heard. Drupada was also visibly pleased.
Finally, the objective of having Draupadi from swayamvara was fulfilled.
What do we learn here?
Isn’t Mahabharatha actually indicating to us that the heart wants what the heart wants? I felt that the Itihaasa is trying to teach the fellow human beings that, for an individual’s desire to fulfill, the preparations and the effort that one needs to put is humungous.
The competition that Arjuna had to face, the trials and tribulations that the pandava clan had to undergo to approach the arena, the challenge he had to accomplish to win draupadi’s hand all equates to the underlying battle that a human faces inside when there is a desparate want of something.
Assuming that I am vying to reach a position in life, I just cannot wish for it to happen the next day. For me to even be nominated by nature as a deserving candidate, I will be bound by a lot of rules and I will have to face umpteen number of challenges, which i am expected to survive and emerge victorious to finally get up on stage. On stage, I end up facing a lot of stifling competion and only after the true victory, do I get the much deserved reward. Well, this is one way of looking at it.
But to take it one step further is when, after deserving a reward – nature also plans one to face a lot of consequences owing to the prize won. Those consequences here came in the form of Duryodhana, Karna and the other Kauravas and the ultimatum was the War of Kurukshetra. In your life – you will not stop just with remaining happy once you get what you have dreamt of. The all powerful nature, ensures that things are evened out by giving you the valuable consequences that you will have to put up with. The internal war, the raging dissatisfaction even with great wealth is the war that you have inside of you against the mounting greed.
No matter what the outcome is, nothing comes to you for free. Good or Bad, it comes to you based on the effort that you put for it. “What you sow is what you reap!” No itihaasa can teach you life better than this.
Having said that, I am signing off and would continue with Draupadi turning to Panchali in the next episode. With the entire world talking about the respect, equality and inclusion – My job is just to stick to the itihaasa and not preach anything beyond that. But to me – personally – You are gifted, if you are born a woman. Be Proud!