Chapter 17 How Draupadi Fulfilled Her Boon in Swayamvaram
News of the swayamvara of Draupadi, the daughter of Drupada, King of Panchala, reached the Pandavas when they were hiding out as brahmanas in Ekachakrapura. The intention of many brahmanas from Ekachakrapura was to go to Panchala in order to see the pomp and pageantry of a royal wedding as well as to receive the usual presents. With her maternal intuition, Kunti understood her sons’ ambition to visit Panchala and win Draupadi. She then said to Yudhishthira: “We have lived in this city for so long that it is time to consider moving. We’ve seen these hills and dales so many times that we’re sick of them. It is not a good idea to outstay your amusement because the handouts given to us are getting smaller. So let’s travel to the reputedly just and affluent Drupada’s realm.”
Because of her superior sagacity and worldly understanding, Kunti was able to delicately ascertain her boys’ sentiments without making them feel uncomfortable by having to articulate them.
To observe the swayamvara, the brahmanas travelled in groups, and the Pandavas mixed with them while posing as brahmanas. After an arduous march, the group arrived at the lovely city of Drupada, where they took up residence as unremarkable brahmanas in an inconspicuous potter’s home.
Despite appearing to be at peace on the outside, Drupada was never able to forget or forgive Drona for the humiliation he had inflicted on him.
Drupada’s only desire was to marry his daughter with brave Arjuna.
Drupada would be more powerful if there were a battle because he was Arjuna’s father-in-law because Drona loved Arjuna so much that he could scarcely imagine his pupil’s father-in-law as his deadly adversary. He was devastated to learn that the Pandavas had been killed at Varanavata, but he afterwards heard a rumour that they had managed to flee.
The marriage hall was elegantly furnished and constructed amidst a tastefully organised set of brand-new guesthouses intended to lodge the swayamvara suitors and visitors. The audience was entertained for fourteen days straight with beautiful events, attractive sights, and exciting sports.
The wedding hall was furnished with a powerful steel bow. The potential princess’s hand-winner had to rig the bow and use it to fire a steel arrow through the centre of a rotating disc at a high-up target.
Drupada decreed that this feat should be accomplished by the hero who would win his daughter since it needed almost superhuman strength and ability. There were several brave princes assembled from all around Bharatavarsha. There were also the sons of Dhritarashtra, Karna, Krishna, Sisupala, Jarasandha, and Salya.
There was a sizable concourse of spectators and guests in addition to the participants. The cacophony that came from there sounded like the ocean crashing, and over it all came the joyous sound of festive music played on countless instruments.
His sister Draupadi was sitting on an elephant while Dhrishtadyumna on horseback rode in front of them. Draupadi dismounted and entered the swayamvara hall dressed on flowing silk, fresh from her auspicious bridal bath, and appearing to fill the space with her sweetness and flawless beauty.
She approached the dais holding a garland while coyly staring at the brave princes, who on their part were silent in awe of her. The brahmanas offered oblations in the fire while reciting the customary mantras.
Dhrishtadyumna escorted Draupadi to the centre of the auditorium after the peace prayer was chanted and the music had ceased flourishing.
Then he said in a strong, distinct voice: “Princes seated in this assembly, pay attention: the bow is now in place. Here are the arrows, and there is the target. If he also has a decent family and presence, the person who shoots five arrows in a row through the wheel’s hole and consistently strikes the target will win my sister.”
The names, ancestries, and descriptions of each of the numerous suitors present there were then given to Draupadi.
Numerous illustrious princes stood up one after another and made fruitless attempts to draw the bow. They found it to be too stiff and heavy for them, and they fled shamefully back to their positions.
These failed candidates included Duryodhana, Sisupala, Jarasandha, Salya, and Sisupala. Everyone there anticipated that Karna would succeed when he moved forward, but he narrowly missed. The string slipped back blazing, and the powerful bow leaped out of his hands like a creature of life.
There was a lot of commotion and irate chatter; some even claimed that the exam was an impossibility set up to humiliate the monarchs. Then everyone became silent when a young man emerged from the brahmanas and made his way over to the bow.
It was Arjuna who had arrived in brahmana disguise. When he stood up, the audience erupted in a frenzied clamour once more. Even the brahmanas disagreed on several things. Some were quite happy that a young man with the courage to compete should be among them, while others who were more jealous or worldly wise reacted with outrage that this brahmacharin had the audacity to make the lists after heroes like Karna, Salya, and others had failed.
Others, however, continued to speak in a different manner as they saw the young man’s noble and attractive proportions. It was said: “His look gives us the impression that he will prevail. He exudes self-assurance and appears to be well aware of his objectives. Although the brahmana may be physically inferior, is it really only a matter of strength? How effective are austerity measures? Why not give it a shot?” They also wished him well.
Can a brahman try to bend the bow? Arjuna inquired of Dhrishtadyumna as he neared the location where the bow was lying.
Answered Dhrishtadyumna: “O greatest of brahmanas, my sister would marry any person of excellent family and presence who can bend the bow and hit the target. There will be no turning back from what I said.”
Then Arjuna grabbed the bow in his hands and skillfully strung it after meditating on Narayana, the Supreme God. While the crowd became silent in stunned stillness, he put an arrow on the string and smiled as he gazed around.
The target then dropped to the ground as he fired five arrows in rapid succession through the rotating mechanism without pausing or thinking. There was a clamour of musical instruments, and the audience was in uproar.
Numerous brahmanas who were sat in the audience shouted with excitement and raised their deer skins in celebration as though their entire community had just gained Draupadi. The commotion that ensued is indescribable.
Draupadi radiated a youthful beauty. As she turned to face Arjuna, she was beaming with joy, which poured from her eyes. She walked over to him and put the wreath around his neck. Sahadeva, Nakula, and Yudhishthira hastily made their way back to the potter’s home to tell their mother the happy news.
Only Bhima stayed in the gathering because he thought Arjuna would be in danger from the kshatriyas. Bhima had expected the princes’ fierce fury. It was said: “The choice of a bridegroom, or swayamvara, is not a common practise among brahmanas. If this young lady doesn’t want to wed a prince, she should stay a virgin and commit herself by setting herself ablaze. How could a brahmana propose to her? To defend virtue and safeguard the swayamvara practise from the danger it faces, we should resist and prohibit this marriage.” It looked like a free fight was coming.
Bhima grabbed a tree by the roots, stripped it of its leaves, and then stood ready for anything with this powerful bludgeon by Arjuna’s side.
Draupadi remained still, clutching onto the deer-skin skirts that Arjuna was wearing while standing.
Balarama, Krishna, and others tried to make peace with the agitators. Arjuna and Draupadi made their way to the potter’s home.
Dhrishtadyumna accompanied Bhima and Arjuna as they carried Draupadi to their temporary home, where he secretly kept a careful eye on all that happened. He was astounded and thrilled by what he saw, and when he got back, he whispered to King
Drupada: “They appear to be the Pandavas, Father. Draupadi followed them while clinging to that youth’s deer-skin skirts and she wasn’t at all embarrassed. Following them, I came upon the entire group of five as well as an aged and dignified woman who I am confident is Kunti.”
Drupada had invited Kunti and the Pandavas, who arrived at the palace.
The monarch was informed by Dharmaputra that they were the Pandavas. Additionally, he told him of their shared intention to wed Draupadi.
Knowing that they were the Pandavas made Drupada ecstatic and all his worries about Drona’s animosity were put to rest. But when he learned that they were going to wed Draupadi together, he was shocked and repulsed.
Drupada disagreed and stated: “How wrong-headed! How did this morally repugnant notion that contradicts conventional use enter your mind?”
Yudhishthira responded: “King, please pardon us. We made the commitment to share everything in common during a time of grave danger, and we are unable to breach that promise now. Our mum has told us to do this.”
Drupada eventually gave in, and the wedding was celebrated.
Keep Mahabharat Book at Home and Read Daily – DO NOT FALL TO FAKE PROPAGANDA and Allow Enemies to Weaken our Dharma and Bharat
This historical epic Mahabharat is known as fifth Veda. It is a common misconception spread by mlecchas; muslims and christian missionaries, and secular Hindus that reading Mahabharat or keeping it at home will likely lead to arguments and fighting. All of this misinformation was spread by illiterate mlecchas and anti-Hindus, and it is completely incorrect. It is done to mentally weaken Hindus so that they avoid reading Mahabharat. Because Mahabharat invokes bravery, pride and sense of confidence in Hindus.
Keep a copy of Mahabharat at home and read it online at the HariBhakt website. Mahabharat is rightly called the fifth Veda for Kaliyuga people because it is a tool and guidance to invoke confidence and bravery in Sanatan Dharmi Hindus.
You can read complete Mahabharat by following Chapter links given below. You can check Glossary of Mahabharat here.