Draupadi’s Swayamvara | Mahabharata Paintings

The disguised Pandava-s lived in many places and forests. Bhima found a wife, Hidimbi in forests. Sage Daumya advised them to proceed to Panchala. Swayamvara of Panchala princess Draupadi was scheduled to happen. Invitations had been sent to many kings across the Bharata khanda. Pandava-s disguised themselves as Brahman-s (priests) and entered the Swayamvara hall.

There was a competition. Drupada formed a finely architected machine, which was rotating in the top, in which a golden fish was rotating by itself. Under this machine there was a cauldron filled with oil. The archers were challenged to shoot at the eye of the fish by looking at the oil in the cauldron below. It was complex. It was supposed to be broken by the best archers of the world. Many lost the game.

Picture credit: bhaskar.com

Duryodhana did not participate as he promised not to take any other wives other than Bhanumati. As everyone believed that Pandava-s were no more, Karna joined the competition. He could do it flawlessly. But Draupadi rejected him by pointing at his birth in low caste.

As all the kings failed, Drupada asked Brahman-s to join the competition. Arjuna came forward, he solved the puzzle with focus. He strung the bow and shoot the eye of the fish correctly. Drupada was happy. People were also happy. But kshatriyas were not. They objected a brahman to overtake them. There was a brief melee between Pandava-s and some of the kings like Karna and Shalya. Finally Krishna need to step-in to solve the conflict.

Arjuna-at-Draupadi-Arjuna at Draupadi’s Swayamvar Folk art Painting Fabric Art Prints. Picture Credit: MPRO-TECH
Arjuna at Draupadi's Swayamvara. Kalamkari Painting on Cotton - Artist - M. Viswanath Reddy (Andhra Pradesh)
Arjuna at Draupadi’s Swayamvara. Kalamkari Painting on Cotton – Artist – M. Viswanath Reddy (Andhra Pradesh)

Who can fight with Radheya Karna in battle except Rama, Drona, Sharadvata Kripa?! Devaki’s son Krishna and Phalguni, the scorcher of enemies? Who can fight against Duryodhana and who can vanquish in battle the powerful Shalya, king of Madra and chief among warriors, except the brave Baladeva and Pandava Vrikodara? Therefore, let us desist from this fight against the Brahmanas. Let us find out who they are and then we will happily fight with them again.” ….. “This lady has been won according to dharma.”

ராதேய கர்ணனுடன் ராமர், துரோணர், சரத்வாத கிருபரைத் தவிர வேறு யாரால் போரிட முடியும்?! … துரியோதனனை எதிர்த்து யார் போரிட முடியும், வலிமைமிக்க பலராமரையும், பாண்டவ விருகோதரனையும் தவிர? மத்ராவின் அரசனும், போர்வீரர்களில் தலைவனுமான சல்யனை யார் போரில் வீழ்த்த முடியும்? எனவே, பிராமணர்களுக்கு எதிரான இந்தப் போராட்டத்தை கைவிடுவோம். அவர்கள் யார் என்று கண்டுபிடித்துவிட்டு மீண்டும் அவர்களுடன் மகிழ்ச்சியாக சண்டையிடுவோம். ….. “இந்தப் பெண் தர்மத்தின்படி வெல்லப்பெற்றாள்.”

Krishna to the assembled kings, The Mahabharata Set Of 10 Volumes
Picture credit: jaypore.com

Arjuna won Draupadi.

References / Gratitude:

  • The illustrated Mahabharata, Dorling Kindersley India, Penguin Random House, 1st Ed. 2017
  • The Mahabharata Set Of 10 Volumes, Bibek Debroy

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