Draupadi's Swayamvara

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Mythological Stories Main Birth of Srikrishna Kalia Kansa Krihsna and Indra Gopal
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Draupadi was the beautiful daughter of Drupada, the king of Panchala. Drupada arranged a swayamvara for Draupadi's marriage in the Panchala court. At the centre of the court a pole was erected over which there was a revolving wheel. On the wheel was a wooden fish. At the bottom of the pole there was a pan of water. The one, who could shoot an arrow at the eye of revolving fish while looking at its reflection in the water below, would marry Draupadi. This was the condition for the swayamvara. Princes from all over assembled for the swayamvara. The Pandavas who were at that time living as Brahmins were also present. Duryodhana, Karna, and Shri Krishna were also present. As the Swayamvara began, many brave princes tried to win the hand of Draupadi, but failed to perform the difficult task of shooting the fish's eye. When Karna came forward to show his skill, Draupadi stopped him and said, "I will not marry a charioteer's son." Insulted, Karna left the court.

When all the princes were unsuccessful in performing the feat, Drupada became worried about the marriage of his daughter. Suddenly, Arjuna dressed as a Brahmin rose to try the feat. Nobody was able to recognise him. All the princes objected to the participation of a Brahmin in a competition that was meant for them. But looking at the build and confidence of the Brahmin, no one dared to say anything. Arjuna easily shot the fish's eye. Draupadi was very happy and she put the wedding garland around Arjuna's neck.

All the princes felt humiliated and were jealous of Arjuna. They attacked him. Bhima came to his rescue. The mighty Pandavas easily defeated all the princes and took Draupadi with them. Drishtdyumna, Draupadi's brother, followed them to find out who the Brahmin was. When they reached their hut, the Pandavas called out to their mother, Kunti, "Look, Mother, what we have brought." Kunti replied from inside the hut, "Share it among yourselves," thinking that they had brought food. Kunti, Draupadi and PandavasWhen she saw the bride and was told that she was Arjuna's wife, Kunti was very unhappy at what she had said. As a custom, the Pandavas would have to obey every word that she had said - Draupadi would have to become the wife of all five brothers. Just then Krishna came to their hut. He told Kunti, "in her previous life Draupadi had worshipped Shiva to get a husband with five qualities. But Shiva had given her a boon that in her next life she would marry five men each having one quality." On hearing this Kunti felt satisfied and Draupadi became the wife of all five Pandavas.

Dhrishtadyumna who had followed them, heard all this. He went back to his father Drupada and said, "I have good news for you. The brave Brahmin who married Draupadi was none other than the great Arjuna." Drupada was delighted to hear this. But when he came to know that Draupadi was to be the wife of all the five Pandavas, he was sad, because this was against the law. At that time, Sage Vyasa came there. He told Drupada, "Though such a marriage is not permitted in the Holy Scriptures, this particular marriage is a result of a boon by Shiva himself, so it is not against the law." Satisfied Drupada arranged for a reception at the palace. The Pandavas were invited and the wedding between the Pandavas and Draupadi was performed with great splendour.

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