Sunday, 25 September 2011

Draupadi's Swayamvara -The competition...Visiting Mahaharata ..40

Freind Raghu dropped in and we had a chat about my blog. His view was that trying to draw lessons from a period so long ago and to apply them to present day situations is not going to be easy! He observed that human nature is the same, while conditions have changed. True enough.

Drishtadhyumna then turns to his sister and points out to each of the assembled kings by name and tells her 'They have come from different countries to win you in the contest and you will marry the one who is victorius'

The arrogant kings, so sure of themselves, have already begun to imagine that Draupadi is theirs. This rivalry has even converted friendships into enmities. As they keep attempting none of them are even able to string the bow. They fall down in their efforts, damage their attires and having lost face walk away in shame.

Now Arjuna gets up from the midst of brahmins and approaches the stage. The reactions of the brahmins are varied as expected. Some as they observe his physique feel confident, while others wonder how a mere brahmin can succeed while skilled archers like Shalya and Karna have failed. A few feel so embarrassed that they do not even bear to look! As the brahmins keep murmuring, Arjuna salutes respectfully to the bow and lifts it in a trice and shoots the five arrows and splits the target.

There is utter chaos in the surprised crowd. Flowers are showered from above and praises are heard. In the confusion that ensues, Yudhisthara along with Nakula and Sahadeva head back home. Meanwhile Draupadi having seen that Arjuna has succeeded garlands him and he beams with pleasure. As the happy brahmins surround him, Arjuna begins to move from there.

Now there is a sudden change in the mood of the kings as the ugly reality of loosing to an ordinary brahmin hits them. They are very upset and angry and see it as an affront to all the khsatriyas assembled there.

They declare 'Drupada is treating us like mere strands of straw and is neglecting us. He is now bent upon giving this jewel of a woman Draupadi to a brahmin. Let us kill him. There is no need to worry about tradition here. True, he invited us and gave us hospitality, but finally he is insulting us! It is not as if he cannot find a suitable king in this veritable pantheon of gods. How can a brahmin be allowed to contest?  He has no right and this contest was meant for us. If the girl does not want any of us, let us throw her in the fire and go back. Anyway, let us not kill the brahmin, he just acted in haste and was greedy. This way our dharma is upheld and will not affect future swayamvaras' and begin to converge on Drupada with an intent to kill. 

I guess Raghu is right. Human nature has not changed one bit. Just look at  our new kings!

1 comment:

Raghunath said...

You didn't comment on the aspect of varnashrama wherein a woman can marry into a different caste provide it is higher in order. Similar rule applied to the fisherwoman who married Bhishma(Devavrata)'s father