Why Draupadi is Sachi-Indrani by Indrajit Bandyopadhyay SignUp
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Why Draupadi is Sachi-Indrani
by Indrajit Bandyopadhyay Bookmark and Share
 

In Mahabharata, Draupadi is famously known for her Shri-aspect. However, going by common sense logic, if the Pandavas are Indras, Draupadi should be Sachi-Indrani rather than Shri-Lakshmi. If we carefully consider Draupadi’s role in Mahabharata, her Sachi-aspect is equally prominent with her Shri-aspect, if not more. If we take BORI’s Critical Edition (CE), then there is no clear pronouncement that Draupadi is Sachi. However, that Draupadi is Sachi, is retained in many recensions.

The CE has it as –

zriyas.tu.bhaagah.samjajne.raty.artham.prthivii.tale./
drupadasya.kule.kanyaa.vedi.madhyaad.aninditaa
.// (1.61.95)

Here, Draupadi is Shri.

But what CE leaves out as interpolation are Slokas that change the incarnation matter. The Slokas occur in between the above CE sloka–

zriyas.tu.bhaagah.samjajne.raty.artham.prthivii.tale./ (CE)
Bhiishmakasya kule saadhvii rukmiNii naamatah (Recension)
Draupadi tv atha samjajne zachibhaagaad aninditaa (Recension)
drupadasya.kule.kanyaa.vedi.madhyaad.aninditaa
.// (CE)

And a portion of Shri herself became incarnate on earth, for the gratification of Narayana, in the line of Bhishmaka. And she was by name the chaste Rukmini. And the faultless Draupadi, slender-waisted like the wasp, was born of a portion of Sachi (the queen of the celestials), in the line of Drupada. (KMG.Adi.67)’

Even if it is interpolation, the interpolator has worked on logic. Rukmini being Krishna’s wife must be Shri, and Draupadi being Pandava's wife i.e. wife of Indras, must be Sachi. Draupadi is again compared to Sachi, when, after marriage she returns to Hastinapura with the Pandavas.

Paanchaaliim pratijagraaha draupadim shrim ivaaparaam
Puujayaam aasa puujaarhaam zaciim deviim ivaagataam

(Haridas Siddhantavagish – 1.200.26-27)

However, CE omits this Sloka too.

Only Markendaya Purana says clearly that Draupadi is Sachi’s incarnation.
‘Thus, to relieve Prithvi of her burden, the deities began to take incarnation on earth. Dharma and Vayu implanted Indra's radiance in the womb of Kunti. This resulted in the birth of Yudhishthir and Bheema. Then Indra himself produced Arjuna from Kunti. Nakul and Sahadev were born because of Indra's radiance implanted by Ashwini kumars in the womb of Madri. Thus all the five Pandavas originated from the same source even though they appeared as distinct entities, whereas Draupadi was none other than Shuchi, the wife of Indra, produced from the altar in Drupad's palace. In human incarnation, Draupadi got five Pandavas as her husband (5.23-26)       

The CE version has an inclination that Draupadi is Shri, while the recensions favour her Sachi-aspect. 

Mahabharata scholars most often take CE for discussion and research. Here, in full agreement with Prof. P. Lal, I would quote like to quote him:

 “I believe in the sanctity of an all-inclusive Mahabharata, and see no reason why such very Indian all-inclusiveness should not be respected by textual scholars who stress strict adherence to lexical principles, and pompously dismiss popular and folk passages and episodes as garrulous ‘interpolations.’” [1]

Even if we go by the BORI that the Sachi-Slokas are interpolations, there is no way denying that the composers of those Slokas did have reasons, which I suggest, are interpretations based on the Mahabharata they had before them. 

One important action of Sachi as narrated in Mahabharata is the destruction of Nahusha through use of her sexuality. 

In Mahabharata, in the Indra-Indrani-Nahusha Puranic narrative, Indrani uses her sexuality to aid Indra in vanquishing Nahusha. The Nahusha episode is found both in Udyoga Parvan and Shaanti Parvan. 

After becoming Indra, Nahusha thinks, ‘Everything that Indra used to enjoy is before me. Only, his spouse Sachi is not by.’ Then he goes to Sachi and tells her, ‘O blessed lady, I have become the lord of the deities. Do thou accept me.’

In Udyoga Parvan narrative Nahusha says-‘'O thou of sweet smiles, I am the Indra of all the three worlds. O thou of beautiful thighs and fair complexion, accept me as thy lord!'

Here Nahusha is lusty as indicated by Nahusha’s gaze at her thighs – varaarohe.

Sachi tries to dissuade him in the name of dharma by telling that it is adharma to covet other’s wife, but Nahusha has his own logic, ‘The position of Indra is now being occupied by me. I deserve to enjoy the dominions and all the precious possessions of Indra. In desiring to enjoy thee there can be no sin. Thou wert Indra's and, therefore, should be mine.’

Sachi then says, ‘I am observing a vow that has not yet been completed. After performing the final ablutions I shall come to thee within a few days.’

In Udyoga Parvan Sachi says-
 
‘'O lord of the deities, I desire to obtain time. It is not known what hath become of Indra, or where he is. Having enquired into the truth regarding him, if, O lord, I obtain no news of him, then I shall visit thee; this tell I thee for truth.'

Nahusha has another gaze at her hips and lets her go happy to have the sex-carrot hanging before his lusty eyes –
 
‘'Let it be so, O lady of lovely hips, even as thou art telling me. Thou wilt come, after having ascertained the news. I hope thou wilt remember thy plighted truth.'

Sachi does – what can be regarded – ‘delaying tactics’ with apparent consent. Nahusha thinks this to be a promise and leaves happily. 

Sachi’s ‘delaying tactics’, even if it is a lie, is not lie. It is a policy. Mahabharata approves such policy in none other than Krishna’s voice. Draupadi, in fact, implements such policy in her own life. Yet, till now, it is Sachi’s personal problem only. She only thinks of saving herself from disgrace.

Later Sachi gets information where Indra is hiding. Sachi finds him ‘residing within the fibres of a lotus stalk.’ 

Seeing Sachi ‘pale and emaciated,’ Indra becomes ‘exceedingly anxious.’ He laments, ‘Alas, great is the sorrow that has overtaken me. I have fallen off from the position that is mine. This, my spouse, afflicted with grief on my account, finds out my lost self and comes to me here.’

When he asks about Sachi’s condition, Sachi says everything and also about her false promise.

Then Indra says, ‘Go and say unto Nahusha that he should come to thee on a vehicle never used before, viz., one unto which some Rishis should be harnessed, and arriving at thine in that state he should wed thee. Indra has many kinds of vehicles that are all beautiful and charming. All these have borne thee. Nahusha, however, should come on such a vehicle that Indra himself had not possessed.’

In the Udyoga Parvan narrative, Indra tells Sachi, 'This is not the time for putting forth valour. Nahusha is stronger than I am. O beautiful lady, he hath been strengthened by the Rishis with the merits of offerings to the gods and the Pitris. I shall have recourse to policy now. Thou wilt have to carry it out, O goddess. O lady, thou must do it secretly and must not disclose it to any person. O lady of a beautiful waist, going to Nahusha in private, tell him, O lord of the Universe, thou must visit me mounted on a nice vehicle borne by Rishis. In that case I shall be pleased and shall place myself at thy disposal. This shouldst thou tell him.'

Indra is not only thinking of protecting Sachi, but by suggesting something with foresight, he is also launching a policy of ‘poitical’ subversion against Nahusha, and Sachi thus becomes a willing partner to that policy. Her ‘personal’ matter now blends with ‘political’ matter. Sachi’s love for her husband is unquestionable. She is not Shri, who always chooses a new lord abandoning the previous. 

In Mahabharata, in the aftermath of dice-game, when Draupadi is called to the sabha, she uses this ‘delaying tactics.’ She sends back the pratikamin thrice with questions. Obviously, this is ‘buying time.’

When Duryodhana et al tell her to abandon her husbands and choose new husband, she does not even stoop to respond. If Draupadi is Shri, why would she not abandon her husband?

Then in Vana Parvan, when Draupadi realizes that Jayadratha is ‘too much’ interested in her, she asks him about the state of affairs of Saivya, Sivi, Sindhu, how Jayadratha is governing them, and also says how her husbands would receive him as a guest (3.251.10-13). This not only shows her interest in Rashtriya administration, but is also a ‘delaying tactics’ with speech – in this case. The poet says this very clearly- ‘And that lady of irreproachable character anxiously expecting the return of her husband, began, with long speeches, to beguile him completely.’

Even Jayadratha, displaying some improvement on Nahusha, understands this –
 ‘Therefore, do thou, O daughter of Drupada, ride this elephant or this chariot quickly, for thou canst not baffle us with thy words alone; or, speaking less boastfully, seek thou the mercy of the king of the Sauviras!'

Unlike Indra, Bhima is certainly not ‘residing within the fibres of a lotus stalk’, but his disguise in Virata as a cook is also ‘hiding’ for a ‘political cause’ like Indra.

If Draupadi's going to Bhima to seek help for protecting her chastity is Sachi-like, Bhima’s suggesting her what to do – despite obvious differences - resembles the Nahusha-Indra-Sachi myth even more.

Bhima says, 'I will, O timid one, do even as thou sayest. I will presently slay Kichaka with all his friends. O Yajnaseni of sweet smiles, tomorrow evening, renouncing sorrow and grief, manage to have a meeting with Kichaka. The dancing-hall that the king of the Matsya hath caused to be erected is used by the girls for dancing during the day. They repair, however, to their homes at night. There in that hall, is an excellent and well-placed wooden bed-stead. Even there I will make him see the spirits of his deceased grandsires. But, O beautiful one, when thou holdest converse with him, thou must manage it so that others may not espy thee."

Like Indra-Sachi, it is now Bhima -Draupadi joint conspiracy. 

Draupadi now goes to Kichaka and tells him –
 
'O Kichaka, know even this is my condition. Neither thy friends nor thy brothers should know thy union with me. I am a terror of detection by those illustrious Gandharvas. Promise me this, and I yield to thee.' 

Ecstatic Kichaka wants to ‘alone repair to thy abode for union with thee –

ekas.bhadre.gamiSyaami.Suunyam.aavasatham.tava.//

In Udyoga Parvan narrative, Nahsha is also ecstatic-
 
‘I welcome thee, O lady of lovely thighs. What is thy pleasure, O thou of sweet smiles. Accept me, O lady of propitious looks, who am devoted to thee. What is thy will, O spirited dame. I shall do thy wish, O lady of propitious looks and slender waist. Nor needst thou be bashful, O thou of lovely hips. Have trust in me. In the name of truth I swear, O goddess, that I shall do thy bidding.'

Now Draupadi says-
 
'Do thou, when it is dark, go to the dancing-hall erected by the king of the Matsyas where the girls dance during the day, repairing to their respective homes at night. The Gandharvas do not know that place. We shall then without doubt, escape all censure.'

In Udyoga Parvan Sachi says-
 
‘O lord of Universe, I wanted the time that thou hast assigned to me. Thereafter, O lord of the gods, thou shalt be my husband. I have a wish. Attend and hear, O king of the gods. What it is I shall say, O king, so that thou mayst do what I like. This is an indulgence that I ask from thy love for me. If thou grantest it, I shall be at thy disposal. Indra had horses for carrying him, and elephants, and cars. I want thee to have, O king of the gods, a novel vehicle, such as never belonged to Vishnu, or Rudra, or the Asuras, or the Rakshasas, O lord. Let a number of highly dignified Rishis, united together, bear thee in a palanquin. This is what commends itself to me. Thou shouldst not liken thyself to the Asuras or the gods. Thou absorbest the strength of all by thy own strength as soon as they look at thee. There is none so strong as to be able to stand before thee.'

Sachi adds a eulogy to hoodwink Nahusha.

Draupadi not only promises Kichaka to yield herself to her, she also actively ‘acts’. She pretends to be terrified of her gandharva husbands. Pretending to be terrified yet willing for sexual union, Draupadi would naturally further fuel Kama-struck Kichaka’s ‘protective instinct’ with the excitement of adventure, other than making him completely overwhelmed with the immense power of seductive paradox and enigma. Here she outdoes Sachi, but her setting up conditions resembles Sachi’s conditions to Nahusha.

In Udyoga Parvan, ecstatic Nahusha says-
 
‘'O lady of the fairest complexion, thou hast spoken of a vehicle never heard of before. I like it exceedingly, O goddess. I am in thy power, O thou of lovely face. He cannot be a feeble person who employeth Rishis for bearing him. I have practised austerities, and am mighty. I am the lord of the past, the present, and the future. The Universe would be no more if I were in rage. The whole Universe is established in me. O thou of sweet smiles, the gods, the Asuras and Gandharvas, and snakes, and Rakshasas are together unable to cope with me when I am in rage. Whomsoever I gaze upon I divest him of his energy. Therefore, thy request I shall no doubt fulfil, O goddess. The seven Rishis, and also the regenerate Rishis, shall carry me. See our greatness and splendour, O lady of lovely complexion.'

Like Nahusha, Kichaka trusts Draupadi absolutely and fails to detect any ploy in it. 

If Draupadi is Sachi then she must be everything that Sachi represents. Indeed, Draupadi bears much resemblance with Sachi of Rig Veda. 

The Rig Vedic hymn 10.86 is a unique ‘dramatic monologue’ in Sachi’s persona. 

Let us see some select Rks from it in Griffith’s translation-
 
6. No Dame hath ampler charms than 1, or greater wealth of love's delights.
None with more ardour offers all her beauty to her lord's embrace. Supreme is Indra over all.
7. Mother whose love is quickly wibn, I say what verily will be.
My, breast, O Mother, and my head and both my hips seem quivering. Supreme is Indra over all.
8. Dame with the lovely hands and arms, with broad hair-plaits add ample hips,
Why, O thou Hero's wife, art thou angry with our Vrsakapi? Supreme is Indra over all.
10. From olden time the matron goes to feast and general sacrifice.
Mother of Heroes, Indra's Queen, the rite's ordainer is extolled. Supreme is Indra over all.
11. So have I heard Indrani called most fortunate among these Dames,
For never shall her Consort die in future time through length of days. Supreme is Indra overall.

The imagery – ‘breast…and my head and both my hips seem quivering’- is a very sexually explicit one. Some words - - subaaho -‘having strong or handsome arms’; svangure -‘handsome-fingered’; prthush?o -‘having a broad tuft of hair’; prthujaaghane -‘broad hips’- apply to any beautiful woman no doubt, but in the present context of discussion, they apply more to Draupadi, other than Sachi’s pride. Even in the part of the Rk – ‘never shall her Consort die in future time through length of days’- we can see Yudhishthira’s image, who never ‘dies’, but goes to Svarga alive!

Other than these, the Rks 16 and 17 are so sexually explicit that even Griffith was perhaps ‘ashamed’ to translate them. Sayana-Wilson translates them very ‘safely’ –
 
10.086.16 The man who is impotent begets not progeny, but he who is endowed with vigour; Indra is above all (the world).
10.086.17 [Indra speaks]: He who is endowed with vigour begets not progeny, but he who is impotent; Indra is above all (the world).

However, these two Rks – Sachi’s discourse to Indra on ‘manliness’ – would actually render in translation something like this –
 
‘O Indra ! One whose penis hangs down between his thighs, does not have the ability to copulate. The one whose penis is capable of opening the hairy vagina, he alone is good for intercourse. My Indra is better than the entire world.’ (Also found in Ramesh Dutta’s Bengali translation)

Sayana in his commentary ‘has tried to polish the above straightforward word-for-word meaning as best as he could, but not able to avoid everything and arriving at a somewhat different meaning, as under:
 
O Indra ! One whose satisfaction of desire (pleasure) depends only on the centre of the thighs of women, is not fit for performing actions like yaga and tapas. One, whose pleasure increases constantly by ruminating on the hairy vagina, also is unfit to perform yagas and tapas. My Indra is not like these; he is fit for performing yagas and tapas; he is above the entire world.’ (Source)

However, like, and superior to the English metaphysical poets, and Baul singers, every RigVedic hymn have at least four layers of imagery and meaning– sexuality, war, everyday ritual (like Soma pressing), and poetic composition – working together, and together these produce an effect that goes beyond words – that Anandavardhana calls ‘Dhvani’. Together with these four layers, the additional dimension of spirituality emerges, just like four squares if placed together (two above two) creates another square as a whole. 

Accordingly, these Rks may also mean –
 
“He is not the master, whose pleasure increases with sound that reaches almost (i.e. who obtains pleasure without having reached signified with signifier sound). He is the master who is capable of unfolding despite faulty pronunciation of vowels. My Indra is greater than him with his superior intellectual faculty.” (My humble Translation)

If my translation is also correct – a matter I leave to Sanskrit scholars, who I am not – then, that too points at Sachi’s ‘intellectual’ qualities and naturally reminds of Draupadi.

The RigVeda Vedic hymn 10.159 is another dramatic monologue in Sachi’s persona. Griffith’s translation is enough to show the Sachi-Draupadi resemblance.
 
1. YON Sun hath mounted up, and this my happy fate hate mounted high.
I knowing this, as conqueror have won my husband for mine own.
2 I am the banner and the head, a mighty arbitress am I:
I am victorious, and my Lord shall be submissive to my will.
3 My Sons are slayers of the foe, my Daughter is a ruling Queen:
I am victorious: o'er my Lord my song of triumph is supreme.
4 Oblation, that which Indra gave and thus grew glorious and most high,-
This have I offered, O ye Gods, and rid me of each rival wife.
5 Destroyer of the rival wife, Sole Spouse, victorious, conqueror,
The others' glory have I seized as 'twere the wealth of weaker Dames.
6 I have subdued as conqueror these rivals, these my fellow-wives,
That I may hold imperial sway over this Hero and the folk.

Sachi’s strong ego, self-confidence, royal attitude, yet the feminine charm and feminine desire of absolute possession over husband, the beauty of an ambiguous and paradoxical nature reminds none other than Draupadi. 

The myth of Draupadi being Sachi is therefore a rational and logical indicator that she indeed could use her sexuality for political ends. (For further on the Sachi-Draupadi link, see my "Fall of Draupadi and the Pandavas: Upanishadic Significance”)

Most scholars of Mahabharata, ‘see’ the dominance of Shri-aspect in Draupadi. Draupadi might be so in her beauty and in her ability to bring prosperity to her husbands – and going by ‘modern’ interpretation of Shri-Lakshmi as a loyal and ‘domesticated’ wife – (‘Lakshmi-bahu’ being a frequently used term) – Draupadi is indeed Shri-Lakshmi; however, as we have seen above, the personality of Sachi suits more with Draupadi, not only because her husbands are Indras, but also by virtue of her own strength and vitality.

(Note: In my article titled ‘Mahabharata: Rational Reading in the light of Kautilya’s Arthasastra’, I made a reference that Draupadi is Sachi. Dr. Pradip Bhattacharya has suggested that I should explain it further for the readers. This article may be read with that article.)    
 
References:
[1] P. Lal, Preface. Book-1. The Mahabharata of Vyasa.
 

24-Apr-2011
More by :  Indrajit Bandyopadhyay
 
Views: 6109
Article Comment Indra of RigVeda & Indra of Puranas are two quite different personalities. So is Sachi-Indrani . Puranic writers used Indra as a stock character , a ruler getting in problems , just to increase the importance of their own perticular deity.
MahaBh , the version as we know , was written at around the same time Purannas were being compelled. But Mahabharat happened at much earlier times .

So it will be more probable that writers of Nahus-Indrani episode has Draupadi-Kichaka episode as their model.

Sachi-Indrani is based on Draupadi , not otherway.

Thanks for your efforts in writing this blog . it is good food for thought !
All the best for your future articles!
Milind
04/09/2012
Article Comment Thank you for your firm-minded elucidation and gentle rebuttal of the points I raised. I am satisfied that your purpose is good- not an attempt to 'sex up' the Itihasas as some tendentious scholars have done. From the point of view of Scholarship- as available in English and other European languages- I fully admit that the historical arguments you have advanced are considered orthodox and irreproachable. Indeed, the onus would be on the one who seeks to controvert that scholarship. However, to seek to do so, for a simple Hindu, is to first grapple with the highest idealism and most spiritual way of conceiving of all human relationships with respect to our infinite potential for mutual advancement towards perfect Truth and Love. Thus, one prefers to take instruction from a Guru rather than take up scholarly arms to go and uncover the hidden proofs of genuine historiography.
The main point you make, on which I have no hesitation agreeing with you is as regards absence of 'double standards' w.r.t men and women as being an integral part of Hinduism. Furthermore, sexual attractiveness is the very basis of all life! Lord Ram himself is referred to as one being so attractive as to even to appeal to men!
My own belief- contra Witzel, Sheldon Pollock and so on- is that Sanskrit itself, let alone vernacular devotional literature, was not in the main a purely elite 'hegemonic' activity. It occurred in the context of clearing of land for village settlement, apportionment of land, setting of shares in the harvest for service providers, provision of conflict resolution and facilities for basic education, communal worship and so on. Dynasties rose and fell, droughts and floods occurred but this was the essential backdrop to a religion and culture which remained rooted in non-coersive relationships. Unfortunately, for reasons that Game Theory and Economics can shed light on, imperfect monetization of traditional socio-economic relationships arising from the establishment of 'extractive' Imperiums (not least the East India Company) caused the degradation both of the relative economic position as well as the relationship with 'scription' (literary culture) for the vast mass of people- including those of sacerdotal lineages.
To correct that 'epistemic violence' - not fashionable 'gesture politics' is required but the 'eye of faith' which can restore Meaningfulness and a sense of a shared patrimony to Indic culture- including our ancient Epics.
I have had the opportunity to profit by some of your other writing posted here and look forward to reading more.
BTW if you have time, perhaps you could comment on this http://socioproctology.blogspot.com/2010/09/why-everybody-is-wrong-about-bhagvad.html
Regards
Vivek
vivek
04/29/2011
Article Comment Thank you Sir for your comments. I have got many new points from your thought, which I will certainly write on. For now, some discusion -

"Though European scholars hold Vishnu to have been subordinate to Indra in Rk Veda, this is not our own view. Rather the Nar-Narayan relationship is weighted in favor of Vishnu."
-- I agree. However, conceiving Indra-Vishnu as Nara-Narayana is a much later development.

"Reason that Shri is associated with this woman showing impartiality to different husbands is because Prosperity comes to the village when people show indifference to their land allotment maintaining a cheerful disposition."
- That interpretation is valid only if the only purpose of dice was to allot land. Your point is in the line of Kosambi's thought. Whatever be the purpose of dice in RigVedic age, things changed much in Mahabharata age. See the Nala-Damayanti episode. Dice was played as subsitute of war. Even Yudhishthira admits he played dice coveting Duryodhana's kingdom. So, the question of land allotment does not rise here. After Rajasuya, war was imminent. Vyasa-Narada predicted that. So, Yudhishthira agreed to play dice to thwart war.
Shri is one aspect of Draupadi. That does not preclude her other Goddess aspects.

"There is no question of her ever having had sex with any other than her one sole lord- or that such a possibility could be tolerated by Sastric law."
- The Shashtric law you refer, evolved at a much later age. Mbh mentions ancient custom in the name of 'dharma sanatana' (see, Uddalaka-Svetaketu dialogue in Pandu-Kunti dialogue) when women enjoyed free sex even from within family structure.

"Mohini, Vishnu's avatar, can be said to use such methods. Indrani is innocent of this. After all, she is a Queen. How can our Itihasas show a Queen, that too of Indralok, behaving in such a sluttish fashion?"
- If Vishnu acted as Mohini, he had to take a woman's form. So, it is actually a woman using her sexuality. In Brahmanda Purana, Shiva and Vishnu have sex - again Vishnu being in that female form, i.e. Vishnu was not in woman's guise like Bhima, but actually transformed into one. If male gods are permitted that freedom, what's the problem with godesses? In Rig Veda, goddess Vak has no fixed lord. Goddess earth is enjoyed by many in Mbh and Purana. I think we need to change the very concept of 'slut'.

"the spiritual greatness of the work as well as some positive and progressive aspects of Vedic society come to be appreciated"
- Undoubtedly. But spirituality does not exclude sexuality. See the hymn- where Kama is said to be born first -

[10-129] HYMN CXXIX. Creation.
1. THEN was not non-existent nor existent: there was no realm of air, no sky beyond it.
What covered in, and where? and what gave shelter? Was water there, unfathomed depth of water?
2 Death was not then, nor was there aught immortal: no sign was there, the day's and night's divider.
That One Thing, breathless, breathed by its own nature: apart from it was nothing whatsoever.
3 Darkness there was: at first concealed in darknew this All was indiscriminated chaos.
All that existed then was void and form less: by the great power of Warmth was born that Unit.
4 Thereafter rose Desire in the beginning, Desire, the primal seed and germ of Spirit.
Sages who searched with their heart's thought discovered the existent's kinship in the non-existent.

EN{012917041} kAmastadagre samavartatAdhi manaso retaH prathamaM yadAsIt |\
EN{012917042} sato bandhumasati niravindan hRdi pratISyAkavayo manISA ||

Regards
Indrajit
Indrajit
04/27/2011
Article Comment I'm afraid there was a good reason for MhB to have chosen Shri not Indrani for the incarnation as Draupati.
Though European scholars hold Vishnu to have been subordinate to Indra in Rk Veda, this is not our own view. Rather the Nar-Narayan relationship is weighted in favor of Vishnu. Just as Krishna is the support of his aunt Kunti and the Pandavas, in male role, so is the other Krishnaa Draupati their support from the female angle. Please also note that in R.V, the context being the dice game for allotment of land- with the 'losing throw' getting the worst land but for shortest duration- it is said that just as difficult for a woman to show equal favor to different husbands so difficult (but praiseworthy) to accept the sequence of land allotment without complaint. Reason that Shri is associated with this woman showing impartiality to different husbands is because Prosperity comes to the village when people show indifference to their land allotment maintaining a cheerful disposition. In the gambler's lament, in R.V, where the stripping of wife is mentioned, immediately thereafter invocation of Krishi (agriculture) occurs.
There is a reason for all this.
The Nahusha episode you mention- where the most interesting aspect is the prayer to Night such that upashruti rises up to set things right- is not germane because Draupati would have had to submit to Karna of her free-will or loose the title of chaste wife, if only Karna made his parentage known. Indrani was in no such position. There is no question of her ever having had sex with any other than her one sole lord- or that such a possibility could be tolerated by Sastric law. It is a moot point if land, let alone Kingdom can be alienated. Women and stree dhan never. Whether Indrani used 'delaying tactics' or not has nothing to do with the issue.
You speak of Indrani as bringing about Nauhusha's downfall thru use of her sexuality. This is incorrect. Mohini, Vishnu's avatar, can be said to use such methods. Indrani is innocent of this. After all, she is a Queen. How can our Itihasas show a Queen, that too of Indralok, behaving in such a sluttish fashion? If, from consideration of propriety, the desire is that human incarnations should match up with their Divine counterparts- okay, that is not a reprehensible motive- however all Pandavas are partial incarnations.
Incidentally, the Kichika episode is generally seen as role-reversal comedy with Bhima being molested and having his saree stripped from him.
Mahabharata is built up of closely observed symmetries. If C.E has rejected something, there will generally be a good reason. If one notices the small details- e.g. mention of Kashyap gotra, hence link to the Sikhandani hymn in Rk Veda, etc- of the fire sacrifice from which Draupati was born, much is illuminated, the spiritual greatness of the work as well as some positive and progressive aspects of Vedic society come to be appreciated.
vivek
04/27/2011
 
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