MAHABHARATA IS NOT ONLY ITIHASA BUT ITIHASA PURANA AND SO THE POSSIBILITY OF METAPHORS NEVER ENDS.

 

Draupadi is the most important female character of the epic Mahabharata. She was the daughter of King Drupad, the king of Panchala. She was married to all the five Pandava brothers, Yudhistira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva. She also gave birth to five sons: Prativindhya, Sutasoma, Srutakarma, Satanika and Srutasena.

King Drupada and Acharya Drona were daggers drawn as king Drupada had refused to acknowledge his childhood friend Drona after he became king as Drona was poor. Then a war between King Drupada and Arjuna on behalf of Acharya Drona happened. King Drupada lost the war and as a result he had to give away half of his kingdom to the Pandavas. Drupada plot revenge against them. He performed the Putrekameshti yajna for a son who would defeat Drona and kill him.

The Putrekameshti sacrifice is usually done for a son. Dhitarashtra, in Ramayana, performed this sacrifice under the guidance of Rishi Shringa Muni, an expert in Yajur Veda at the end of which Agni dev arrived and gave payesam to the three queens of Dhitarashtra.

From the fire of the sacrifice or yajna, a beautiful coffee skinned, doe eyed girl came up after Drishtadyumna her warrior brother.

Her beauty could be equated with no mortal being. She was named Draupadi after her father Drupada. She was also called Panchali after her birthplace, her kingdom. Both Draupadi and her brother were born adults. As she emerged from the fire, there was akashvani that is the divine voices announced from the sky that this woman would bring the end of Kuru lineage.

But the languages of the epics are metaphorical. They are kavyas. They do not always appeal to our common senses. There is a huge involvement of the supernatural; the willing suspension of our disbelief is evident for us to read the kavyas. The Mahabharata is not just itihasa but itihasa purana kavya, giving us freedom to interpret it. Thus we see the rishis or the saints living for hundreds of years and meditating alone for at least a hundred years.

No human can be born out of fire. It has to be a biological process. Plus, the birth of Draupadi and her brother not as children but as adults were equally abrupt.

The Bhagavat Purana says, king Drupada of Pnchala had a daughter named Draupadi and many sons aswell. Among his sons the eldest was Dhristadyumna. Dhristadyumna gave birth to a son named Dhrshtaketu who carried on the royal dynasty of Panchala. Therefore, a ration story is also present among our myths. Mahabharata itself has pieces were Draupadi sits on her father Drupada’s lap. It is not possible for a grown up daughter who has just sprung from fire to do this but only a child.

Monier Williams says in ancient India, the vedi was often compared to a woman’s waist. Hence, there is a possibility that Vyasa is metaphorically referring to the womb of a woman. Agni meaning fire may refer to sexual energy implying her birth not to be unnatural.

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