Draupadi’s Saree

Draupadi’s Saree

The epic Mahabharata has myriad incidents in it that provide us with food for thought. The game of dice was being played between the Kauravas and the Pandavas. One by one, Yudhistara, the eldest Pandava, lost everything that he put at stake in the game of dice. He lost even his kingdom, his throne, his brothers and himself! The wicked Shakuni rolled the dice on behalf of the Kauravas and unscrupulously cheated the Pandavas each time. Finally Yudhistra put Draupadi at stake and lost her too! At that time Draupadi, the wife of the five Pandava princes was resting in her chamber. Dushasana, the brother of Duryodhana (the eldest Kaurava), unceremoniously entered Draupadi’s chamber and dragged her by the hair, to the hall where the game was going on. He wanted to disrobe her in the presence of everyone. All the family elders were present. Bheeshama, Dronacharya, Dhritrashtara, all hung their heads in shame at what Dushasana was about to do. But no one had the courage to defy the wishes of the evil Duryodhana.

It is said that when Dushasana tugged at Draupadi’s saree she pleaded for help to all the elders one by one. No one dared to come to her rescue. She beseeched each of her five husbands Yudhistara, Arjuna, Bheema, Nakula and Sehdeva. But they had already been lost in the game of dice, to the Kauravas. They were now the slaves of the Kauravas. In our Indian society especially so in the ancient times, the husband has been considered as the provider of protection for a woman. Here was a woman, having not one, but five husbands, but not a single one could save her from being disgraced. When nobody came to her rescue, she tightened her grip on her saree trying her utmost to save her modesty from being outraged. But she was no match for the mighty Dushasana. He yanked the edge of her saree. At that time, Draupadi cried out piteously, “Oh Dwarakavasi Krishna! Oh Nandanandan Krishna! Oh Atmanivasi Krishna! Protect me my Lord!”

The moment she uttered the words ‘Atmanivasi Krishna’ a miracle unfolded. The saree that was being pulled off her body, started becoming longer and longer. Each layer that Dushasana pulled off revealed another layer inside it. It is said that Dushasana kept on and on unraveling the saree from Draupadi’s body, until he fell down exhausted! The saree was unending! Draupadi with folded hands and closed eyes kept repeating the name of her saviour ‘Krishna’.

Till the time she kept beseeching the elders and her husband’s for help; till the time she relied on her own capability to fend for herself, she did not turn to God. When she turned to God, she remembered him as the king of Dwarika, or the son of Nand Baba. It is only when she addressed Him as ‘Atmanivasi’ i.e. indweller of her heart; He came to her rescue! It was at this point of time that she let go of her saree and surrendered herself to Krishna completely.

When she stopped thinking about her saree and her body and started thinking of God that is when He took over. This is what complete surrender is. This is the Lesson. Whenever you have a problem, concentrate not on the problem, instead concentrate on God. He will find a solution to it! Howsoever big a problem may be; it is not bigger than God!