Draupadi – dishonored yet honorable

Draupadi – dishonored yet honorable

By Chaitanya Charan das

Draupadi. Her admirable character is revealed in the most humiliating incident of her life – her disrobing by the wicked Dushasana. Though victimized in body, she refuses to be victimized in her heart. Her exceptional character transforms the lowest point in her life into the highest point. The incident in which she is the most dishonored, she emerges as the most honorable.

On that dark day, her period has just ended and she has emerged after bathing, wearing a single cloth before she puts on her royal dress as the chief queen of the reigning monarch. Unknown to her, the monarch Yudhisthira has, in a rigged gambling match, lost everything, including all his property, his brothers, himself and finally her.

The jeering Karna suggests that Draupadi be brought into the assembly and be disrobed publicly for she was now the Kauravas’ slave. If the Kauravas had succeeded in disrobing her, whether they would have physically violated her in the public assembly is doubtful. The atrocious idea was not just driven by lust but by power play – the Kauravas saw Draupadi not as a person, but as a tool to demean the Pandavas. Objectification of women runs through and through in the Kauravas’ attitude. They order a court messenger to summon Draupadi to the palace.

When the messenger informs her that she has been summoned to the assembly and tells her all that has transpired there, she is aghast. But pulling herself together with amazing speed, she comes up with a strategy to buy time. She tells the messenger to ask the assembly whether she had been rightly gambled and lost when Yudhishtira had already gambled and lost himself – when he was not his own master, was he her master to have gambled her?

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Arjuna and Karna in the Battle of Kurukshetra

Arjuna and Karna in the Battle of Kurukshetra

While the Battle of Kurukshetra was at its peak, Arjuna and Karna were fighting each other. It was a battle to witness, a flurry of arrows was being exchanged, and even Gods were witnessing this epic battle between the 2 warriors. 

Arjuna would shoot his arrows and the impact of these arrows would be so much that Karna’s chariot would go back by 25-30 feet. People who witnessed this were amazed by the skills of Arjuna.

Karna was no less. When he shot arrows, Arjuna’s chariot would also shake and go back by 3-4 feet. More than everyone, Krishna would applaud Karna every time his arrow hit Arjuna’s chariot. But not once did He applaud Arjuna’s skills!

At the end of the day, Arjuna asked Krishna: “Oh Lord, I have shot so many arrows at Karna’s chariot, it was being displaced like a feather in wind, but not once did you appreciate me. Rather, you would appreciate his skill despite his arrows just displacing my chariot a little”.

Krishna smiled and replied, “Oh, Arjuna, remember, your chariot is protected by Hanuman at the top on your flag, Me as your charioteer in the front and by Sheshnag at its wheels, yet the whole chariot would still sway and displace whenever the valiant Karna hit us with his arrows”.

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Ravana refused Rama’s invitation and met with annihilation

Ravana refused Rama’s invitation and met with annihilation

 

By Purushottam Nitai Das

With just his tail, Hanuman effortlessly burned the entire city of Lanka. But he too wasn’t successful in burning the lust and ego of Ravana, the powerful king of Lanka. In fact Ravana’s real well wishers such as his brother Vibhishana and his chaste wife Mandodari had tried their best to counsel him several times against kidnapping Sita, wife of Lord Rama. Ravana not just refused to listen to them but he even humiliated them. Upon being reminded by Vibhishana that kidnapping someone else’s wife is an immoral act and he would suffer the consequences for this nefarious deed Ravana became mad with anger at his brother and threatened to kill him. He finally forced Vibhishana to leave his kingdom. Ravana thought he would succeed in killing Rama and would then forcibly enjoy with Sita.

Hanuman was just one of the soldiers of Lord Rama and had almost decimated the entire Lanka. Any sensible person would have easily gauged the strength of his opponent seeing the power of just one of the soldiers of his opponent. But lust and ego had created such a thick covering over Ravana’s intelligence that he was not able to see his imminent disaster. Just like Ravana we too want to enjoy the property of the Lord claiming to be ours. And when reminded that everything moving and non -moving in this world belongs to Lord we refuse to accept it and we start making plans to defeat the plans of the Lord. The material energy of the Lord keeps on demonstrating as how helpless we are in front of her. We see devastation everywhere in the form of flood, famine, earthquake, tsunami, war, deadly diseases and death. But like Ravana we refuse to learn from it and always think that with my efforts and prowess we will be able to subjugate the material world and will enjoy it by becoming the controller.

Lord Rama is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and for him to kill Ravana wasn’t difficult. He is the creator and maintainer of all and when required he destroys everything. But just like a father who always hope that one day his disobedient son would get reformed and will finally return to home, similarly Lord Rama the Supreme father was hoping that may be Ravana would give up his demoniac mentality and would come back to him. And this is why, he waited and through Hanuman and Angad sent him messages that he should act righteously else his end is certain.

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