Episode # 238 – The “Draupati – Vastra – Apaharanam” – Mahabharata’s most disastrous event!!!

In the previous episode, we had continued with the introductory note of the “Sabhaa Parva”, wherein we’re at an important juncture of the gambling game taking place at Hastinaupra. Duryodhana and Sahuni had arranged a “friendly” game of gambling with the Paandavas, but the malicious intention behind it was to abduct all the wealth from the Paandavas through the game. This was a cowardly act to insult and demean the Paandavas. Yudishtra, being interested in the game, but not knowing how to play it smartly, started losing item after item to Duryodhana. Sahuni, being the fulcrum behind Duryodhana’s “success” in the dice, made sure that Yudishtra did not win even for a single time. Whatever Sahuni rolled out, came in Duryodhana’s favor and after every move, Yudishtra lost something or the other. At the final stages of the game, Yudishtra had to stake his four brothers in order to continue the game further. In Spite of warnings from his brothers, Yudishtra continued the game, only to lose his brothers to Duryodhana as slaves! 

Now it was time for the final move and the rule for the final move was to stake Draupati and play. Yudishtra wasn’t ready for this, but because of repeated insults and teasing from Karna and Duryodhana, Yudishtra was pushed to a corner. He had no other option but to stake Draupati and play. As usual – Sahuni rolled the dice and the numbers again were in favor of Duryodhana! Now Yudishtra had lost all his wealth, along with his four brothers and his wife Draupati! He did not have anything else with him to stake and continue the play. Finally, it was declared that Duryodhana was the winner and the owner of all of Yudishtra’s wealth, kingdom, his brothers and Draupati as well! Buoyed by this, Duryodhana and Karna went a step forward to insult Draupati with all sorts of unparliamentary words. Karna went on to make fun of Draupati by saying thus, “Oh wow! Look at Draupati! She is a shameless woman who had a desire to “sleep” with five useless men! If she can shamelessly do so, why can’t she sleep with the sixth and the seventh men? She can very well sit on Duryodhana’s lap now, since she is his “Daasi” (Servant who should do anything and everything whatever the master asks for)!” 

As Karna said thus, the entire courtroom was stunned! King Dhridiraashtra couldn’t understand what was going on! What started as a “friendly” game, has now taken a turn for the worst! The real plan of Sahuni and Duryodhana were achieved without even the knowledge of King Dhridiraashtra! Bhishmaachaarya, Guru Dhronaachaarya were also stunned and could not open his mouth to condemn the open crime that was happening in front of their eyes! Now it was time for Duryodhana to take a giant leap forward. As nobody objected to what was going on, Duryodhana felt that he had all the powers in the world to do whatever he wanted! He immediately saw a chance to pile on the Paandavas’ misery further and ordered his servants to drag Draupati to the middle of the courtroom! At that time, Draupati was in her menstrual periods time, and she objected to being called in front of people. However, the servants held her hands and dragged her to the courtroom! 

Upon seeing this, even though nobody opened their mouth to speak anything against Duryodhana, Vidura stood up and blasted King Dhridiraashtra for being a mute spectator to what is happening! This was an unprecedented event where a woman was being publicly insulted in front of the entire courtroom filled with men. Vidura tried to educate King Dhridiraashtra and urged Bhishmaachaarya and Guru Dhronaachaarya to open their mouth and stop this “Adharma” that was blatantly happening in front of their eyes. However, Vidura’s advice went into deaf ears of people, as all of them were scared of facing Duryodhana’s wrath. Thus, as Draupati was dragged on, she was insulted left, right and center by Duryodhana and Co. on her face. As part of the final assault, Duryodhana’s brother, Duchaasana got up immediately and saw an opportunity to inflict more pain – He started undressing Draupati in public! 

Upon seeing this, the entire courtroom was stunned beyond words! Nobody knew how to react any further! Bhishmaachaarya was stunned! He did not expect such a thing to happen! This was really unprecedented and a blatant “Adharma” that was happening! Vidura’s heart pained immensely as Duchaasana started removing Draupati’s saree. Draupati cried profusely and helplessly and nobody came to her rescue! Even Yudishtra or the other Paandava brothers couldn’t come to her rescue and protect her chastity. Finally, Draupati realized that there’s no use of trusting any human being here – The only solace is Bhagawan Krishna! She quickly remembered Bhagawan Krishna’s promise to her that He would come to her rescue whenever she wanted! Draupati immediately folded her hands and prayed immensely to Bhagawan Krishna! With this, Bhagawan Krishna’s heart melted and tears flowed through His eyes! In fact, Bhagawan Krishna was not physically present at Hastinapura at that moment, however, He decided to intervene! How can Bhagawan let His ardent devotee suffer such an immense insult and torture in public? How can Bhagawan allow such a blatant “Adharma” to go unchecked? 

Thus, as Draupati surrendered herself to Bhagawan, He stepped in. Bhagawan Krishna ensured that the length of Draupati’s saree kept on increasing as Duchaasana was pulling it! In other words, Duchhasana wasn’t able to undress Draupati completely as Bhagawan Krishna protected her with an infinite length of her saree. 

This event is referred to as “Draupati-Vastra-Apaharnam” and is the turning point of the entire Mahabharata story! For today, let us understand until this point, and we shall continue in the next episode as to what happened further! Stay tuned! 

Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Bharatidhasan Institute of Management (BIM) Trichy, India A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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