Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Did Yuddhistira Really Gamble His Brothers and Wife?

One of the major events in Mahabharata without which the epic is unimaginable is the game of dice, where Yuddhistira staked and lost his kingdom, brothers, and even his own wife - as the popular belief goes. This action of Yuddhistira has often received, and is still receiving much criticism in the present time, leading to his portrayal as a person who treated his brothers and wife with no respect, and considered them as mere objects... However, this is far from the truth. In reality, Yuddhistira had neither staked his brothers, nor his wife Draupadi. This post will debunk the claim that Yuddhistira staked and lost his brothers and wife in the game of dice.

All textual evidence provided in this post is from the Mahabharatha, translated into English by Kisari Mohan Ganguly. This 18-parva long epic can be accessed by the link below:

Yuddhistira did not gamble draupadi or his four brothers. What likely happened is that yuddhistira gambled his kingdom, and once that was won, duryodhana reasoned that since pandavas and draupadi are citizens of indraprastha and since indraprastha is now his kingdom, the pandavas and draupadi are his subjects. So, he decided to (forcibly) make the pandavas and draupadi his servants. Yuddhistira realized that duryodhana was going to call draupadi to the assembly, so he sent a messanger to draupadi and told her that she should come down to the assembly and weep bitterly so that they get some sympathy from the kings around and so that dhritarashtra is forced to give back the kingdom to yuddhistira:
"Yudhishthira, however, O bull of the Bharata race, hearing of Duryodhana's intentions, sent a trusted messenger unto Draupadi, directing that although she was attired in one piece of cloth with her navel itself exposed, in consequence of her season having come, she should come before her father-in-law weeping bitterly. And that intelligent messenger, O king, having gone to Draupadi's abode with speed, informed her of the intentions of Yudhishthira.
So then duryodhana orders the pratikamin to bring draupadi to the court. Eventually, draupadi is dragged to court. While in court, she is verbally abused by karna, who then asks the pandavas and draupadi to remove their clothes. Pandavas remove their tops and so does draupadi. This was not an insult as common women went around topless. When draupadi was in her 13th year of exile (and therefore living like a commoner), kichaka describes her in a way it is clear that she is not covering the upper part of her body:
Endued with unrivalled beauty and celestial grace of the most attractive kind, that face of thine is even like the full moon, its celestial effulgence resembling his radiant face, its smile resembling his soft-light, and its eye-lashes looking like the spokes on his disc? Both thy bosoms, so beautiful and well-developed and endued with unrivalled gracefulness and deep and well-rounded and without any space between them, are certainly worthy of being decked with garlands of gold. Resembling in shape the beautiful buds of the lotus, these thy breast, O thou of fair eye-brows, are even as the whips of Kama that are urging me forward, O thou of sweet smiles, O damsel of slender waist, beholding that waist of thine marked with four wrinkles and measuring but a span, and slightly stooping forward because of the weight of thy breasts, and also looking on those graceful hips of thine broad as the banks of a river, the incurable fever of desire, O beauteous lady, afflicteth me sore.
[So removing the upper cloth just signified that the pandavas and draupadi were commoners and not royalty any more. It was not really an insult. After they removed their tops, draupadi weeped bitterly as planned by yuddhistira and her, and eventually dhritarashtra was “forced” to give back the kingdom to the pandavas]
So that was my proposal of the entire incident. But most people won’t believe me as Sabha Parva itself mentions yuddhistira staking draupadi and his brothers. So I will provide some textual evidence to counter the claim that yuddhistira staked his brothers and wife...
The game of dice in sabha parva has been tampered with and a casual read of the text exposes that. For example, at times, shakuni is addressed as suvala (suvala is actually shakuni’s father, not shakuni) and also draupadi at times is addressed as sister of prishata’s son (prishata is drupada’s father, so draupadi is actually prishata’s granddaughter):
And the king, having first lost himself offered her as a stake. And Suvala himself desirous of a stake, indeed prevailed upon the king to stake this Krishna.
Draupadi had been mentioned (by Suvala) and approved of as a stake by the Pandavas. For what reason then dost thou yet regard her as not won?
Alas, that eternal usage hath disappeared from among the Kauravas. Else, how is it that the chaste wife of the Pandavas, the sister of Prishata's son, the friend of Vasudeva, is brought before this assembly?
So it is clear that the game of dice in sabha parva has been tampered with. This becomes even more clear as after every stake is won, shakuni repeats this same line:
Hearing these words, Sakuni ready with the dice, and adopting unfair means, said unto Yudhishthira, 'Lo, I have won!
This gives a hint at some sort of interpolation. Take a read at shakuni’s response after winning a lot of the stakes at dice:
"Yudhishthira said,--These princes here, O king, who look resplendent in their ornaments and their ear-rings and Nishkas and all the royal ornaments on their persons are now my wealth. With this wealth, O king, I play with thee.
Vaisampayana said,--"Hearing this, Sakuni, ready with his dice, adopting foul means, said unto Yudhishthira, 'Lo! I have won them.'
"Yudhishthira said,--'This Nakula here, of mighty arms and leonine neck, of red eyes and endued with youth, is now my one stake. Know that he is my wealth.'
p. 123
Sakuni said,--'O king Yudhishthira, prince Nakula is dear to thee. He is already under our subjection. With whom (as stake) wilt thou now play?"
Vaisampayana said,--"Saying this, Sakuni cast those dice, and said unto Yudhishthira, 'Lo! He hath been won by us.'
Yudhishthira said,--"This Sahadeva administereth justice. He hath also acquired a reputation for learning in this world. However undeserving he may be to be staked in play, with him as stake I will play, with such a dear object as it, indeed, he were not so!"
Vaisampayana said,--"Hearing this, Sakuni, ready with the dice, adopting foul means, said unto Yudhishthira, 'Lo! I have won.'
"Sakuni continued,--'O king, the sons of Madri, dear unto thee, have both been won by me. It would seem, however, that Bhimasena and Dhananjaya are regarded very much by thee.'
"Yudhishthira said,--'Wretch! thou actest sinfully in thus seeking to create disunion amongst us who are all of one heart, disregarding morality.'
"Sakuni said,--'One that is intoxicated falleth into a pit (hell) and stayeth there deprived of the power of motion. Thou art, O king, senior to us in age, and possessed of the highest accomplishments. O bull of the Bharata race, I (beg my pardon and) bow to thee. Thou knowest, O Yudhishthira, that gamesters, while excited with play, utter such ravings that they never indulge in the like of them in their waking moments nor even in dream.'
"Yudhishthira said,--He that taketh us like a boat to the other shore of the sea of battle, he that is ever victorious over foes, the prince who is endued with great activity, he who is the one hero in this world, (is here). With that Falguna as stake, however, undeserving of being made so, I will now play with thee.'"
Vaisampayana said,--"Hearing this, Sakuni, ready with the dice, adopting foul means, said unto Yudhishthira, 'Lo! I have won.'
"Sakuni continued,--'This foremost of all wielders of the bow, this son of Pandu capable of using both his hands with equal activity hath now been won by me. O play now with the wealth that is still left unto thee, even with Bhima thy dear brother, as thy stake, O son of Pandu.
"Yudhishthira said,--'O king, however, undeserving he may be of being made a stake, I will now play with thee by staking Bhimasena, that prince who is our leader, who is the foremost in fight,--even like the wielder of the thunder-bolt--the one enemy of the Danavas,--the high-souled one with leonine neck and arched eye-brows and eyes looking askance, who is incapable of putting up with an insult, who hath no equal in might in the world, who is the foremost of all wielders of the mace, and who grindeth all foes,'"
p. 124
"Vaisampayana said,--"Hearing this, Sakuni, ready with the dice adopting foul means, said unto Yudhishthira. 'Lo! I have won.'
Sakuni continued,--Thou hast, O son of Kunti, lost much wealth, horses and elephants and thy brothers as well. Say, if thou hast anything which thou hast not lost.'
Yudhishthira, said--'I alone, the eldest of all my brothers and dear unto them, am still unwon. Won by thee, I will do what he that is won will have to do.'"
Vaisampayana said,--"Hearing this Sakuni, ready with the dice, adopting foul means, said unto Yudhishthira, 'Lo! I have won.'
[It is very unlikely for one person to repeat the same line over and over again after every stake has been won in a gambling match. Also, there is no evidence that there was cheating on shakuni’s part. So why would Vyasa mention that shakuni has won by cheating? These are clear signs of interpolations in the text.]
Hence, it becomes very clear that some sort of tampering has been done with the game of dice text in Sabha Parva. So I think we should look at other parvas in mahabharatha to find references to this game of dice. If some sections in other parvas of mahabharatha mention yuddhistira gambling his brothers and wife, it could be possible that yuddhistira gambled his brothers and wife.
So first lets take a look at what duryodhana says when krishna comes for peace to hastinapura. Krishna blames duryodhana for the miseries of the pandavas. This is duryodhana’s response to krishna’s accusations:
"Vaisampayana said, 'Hearing in that assembly of the Kurus these words that were disagreeable to him, Duryodhana replied unto the mighty-armed Kesava of great fame, saying. 'It behoveth thee, O Kesava, to speak after reflecting on all circumstances. Indeed, uttering such harsh words, thou, without any reason, findest fault with me alone, addressed regardfully as thou always art by the sons of Pritha, O slayer of Madhu. But dost thou censure me, having surveyed the strength and weakness (of both sides)? Indeed, thyself and Kshattri, the King, the Preceptor, and the Grandsire, all reproach me alone and not any other monarch. I, however, do not find the least fault in myself. Yet all of you, including the (old) king himself, hate me. O repressor of foes, I do not, even after reflection, behold any grave fault in me, or even O Kesava, any fault however minute. In the game at dice, O slayer of Madhu, that was joyfully accepted by them, the Pandavas were vanquished and their kingdom was won by Sakuni. What blame can be mine as regards that? On the other hand, O slayer of Madhu, the wealth that was won from the Pandavas then, was ordered by me, to be returned unto them. It cannot, again, O foremost of victors, be any fault of ours that the invincible Pandavas, were defeated once again at dice and had to go to the Woods. Imputing what fault to us, do they regard us as their enemies? And, O Krishna, though (really) weak, why do the Pandavas yet so cheerfully seek a quarrel with us, as if they were strong? What have we done to them? For what injury (done to them) do the sons of Pandu, along with the Srinjayas, seek to slaughter the sons of Dhritarashtra? We shall not in consequence of any fierce deed, or (alarming) word (of theirs), bow down to them in fear, deprived of our senses. We cannot bow down to Indra himself, let alone the sons of Pandu. I do not, O Krishna, see the man, observant of Kshatriya virtues, who can, O slayer of foes, venture to conquer us in battle. Let alone the Pandavas, O slayer of Madhu, the very gods are not competent to vanquish Bhishma, Kripa, Drona and Karna, in battle. If, O Madhava, we are, in the observance of the practices of our order, cut off with weapons in battle, when our end comes, even that will lead us to heaven. Even this, O Janardana, is
p. 245
our highest duty as Kshatriyas, viz., that we should lay ourselves down on the field of battle on a bed of arrows. If, without bowing to our enemies, ours be the bed of arrows in battle, that, O Madhava, will never grieve us. Who is there, born in a noble race and conforming to Kshatriya practices, that would from fear bow to an enemy, desirous only of saving his life? Those Kshatriyas that desire their own good, accept regardfully this saying of Matanga, viz., that (as regards a Kshatriya), one should always keep himself erect, and never bow down, for exertion alone is manliness; one should rather break at the knots than bend. A person like me should only bow down to the Brahmanas for the sake of piety, without regarding anybody else. (As regards persons other than Brahmanas), one should, as long as one lives, act according to Matanga's saying. Even this is the duty of Kshatriyas; even this is ever my opinion. That share in the kingdom which was formerly given them by my father shall never again, O Kesava, be obtainable by them as long as I live. As long, O Janardana, as king Dhritarashtra liveth, both ourselves and they, sheathing our weapons, O Madhava, should live in dependence on him. Given away formerly from ignorance or fear, when I was a child and dependent on others, the kingdom, O Janardana, incapable of being given away again, shall not, O delighter of Vrishni's race, be obtainable by the Pandavas. At present, O Kesava of mighty arms, as long as I live, even that much of our land which may be covered by the point of a sharp needle shall not, O Madhava, be given by us unto the Pandavas.'"
[Note that duryodhana mentions the gambling incident and how yuddhistira staked and lost his kingdom, but does not mention yuddhistira staking his brothers or his wife. If he really wanted to tell krishna how innocent he was and how adharmic yuddhistira was, he would have definitely mentioned that yuddhistira staked his brothers and wife]
Now lets look at another time the game of dice is mentioned. This occurred at the beginning of the exile when krishna comes to meet the pandavas. When draupadi meets krishna (during exile) this is what she says:
Krishna, how could one like me, the wife of Pritha's sons, the sister of Dhrishtadyumna, and the friend of thee, be dragged to the assembly! Alas, during my season, stained with blood, with but a single cloth on, trembling all over, and weeping, I was dragged to the court of the Kurus! Beholding me, stained with blood in the presence of those kings in the assembly, the wicked sons of Dhritarashtra laughed at me! O slayer of Madhu, while the sons of Pandu and the Panchalas and the Vrishnis lived, they dared express the desire of using me as their slave! O Krishna, I am according to the ordinance, the daughter in-law of both Dhritarashtra and Bhishma! Yet, O slayer of Madhu, they wished to make of me a slave by force!

[Note that here draupadi mentions that dhritarashtra’s sons tried to make her a slave by force. If she was staked and lost by yuddhistira, then she would have blamed yuddhistira for making her a slave, and not duryodhana. Also, if she was staked and lost, she would have automatically become a slave of duryodhana and no force would be required to make her a slave. 
What likely happened is that duryodhana reasoned that since indraprastha was lost and since pandavas and draupadi are citizens of indraprastha, they are his subjects and hence he can treat them however he wants to. So he forcibly made them slaves].
Now lets look at another incident where the game of dice is mentioned. On they 17th day of the kurukshetra war, yuddhistira is nearly killed by karna. So he is taken to his tent and is treated by surgeons. Once arjuna finds out what happened to yuddhistira, he gets worried and proceeds directly to meet yuddhistira (before fighting and killing karna). When yuddhistira sees arjuna, he assumes that arjuna had already killed karna and gets happy. But when arjuna reveals that he has not yet fought karna, yuddhistira gets angry and in anger tells arjuna to give his gandiva to someone else as he is not capable of killing karna. Arjuna gets angry at this and remembers some of his previous vows. He had vowed that if anybody asks him to drop his gandiva, he will kill that person, and that he will kill the person who kills yuddhistira. So, arjuna proceeded to kill yuddhistira to fulfill his vow. Krishna stopped arjuna and told him that insulting one is equal to killing them and praising yourself is equal to killing yourself. So arjuna begins to kill yuddhistira by insulting him. Here is some of the text of arjuna insulting yuddhistira (from Karna Parva section 70):
Thou, O Bharata, art strong in words and very unfeeling. Thou thinkest me to be like thyself. I always strive to do thee good with my soul, life, sons and wives. Since, not withstanding all this, thou still piercest me with such wordy darts, it is evident that we cannot expect any happiness from thee. Lying on Draupadi's bed thou insultest me, though for thy sake I slay the mightiest of car-warriors. Thou art without any anxiety, O Bharata, and thou art cruel. I have never obtained any happiness from thee. It was for thy good, O chief of men, that Bhishma, firmly devoted to truth, himself told thee the means of his death in battle, and was slain by the heroic and high-souled Shikhandi, the son of Drupada, protected by me. I do not derive any pleasure from the thought of thy restoration to sovereignty, since thou art addicted to the evil practice of gambling. Having thyself committed a wicked act to which they only are addicted that are low, thou desirest now to vanquish thy foes through our aid. Thou hadst heard of the numerous faults and the great sinfulness of dice that Sahadeva spoke about. Yet dice, which are worshipped by the wicked, thou couldst not abandon. It was for this that all of us have fallen into hell. We have never derived any happiness from thee since thou wert engaged in gambling with dice. Having, O son of Pandu, thyself caused all this calamity, thou art, again, addressing these harsh words to me. Slain by us, hostile troops are lying on the field, with mangled bodies and uttering loud wails. It was thou that didst that cruel act in consequence of which the Kauravas have become offenders and are being destroyed. Nations from the North, the West, the East, and the South, are being struck, wounded and slain, after the performance of incomparable feats in battle by great warriors of both sides. It was thou that hadst gambled. It was for thee that we lost our kingdom. Our calamity arose from thee, O king! Striking us, again, with the cruel goad of thy speeches, O king, do not provoke our wrath.'"
[So if arjuna wanted to talk about the bad habits of yuddhi (to insult him), he would have definitely mentioned the staking of the brothers and draupadi to get his point across. But he only mentioned that yuddhistira lost the kingdom. That gives a big hint that the pandavas and draupadi were not staked]
Now lets look at another such incident. In the beginning of Udyoga Parva, after abhimanyu’s marriage is finished, krishna, in the presence of other kings talks about how duryodhana was adharmic in sending the pandavas for exile and how the pandavas should now take their kingdom back. Below is balarama’s response to krishna’s statements:
"Baladeva said, 'You have all listened to the speech of him who is the elder brother of Gada, characterised as it is by a sense of virtue and prudence, and salutary alike to Yudhishthira and king Duryodhana. These valiant sons of Kunti are ready to give up half their kingdom, and they make this sacrifice for the sake of Duryodhana. The sons of Dhritarashtra, therefore, should give up half of the kingdom, and should rejoice and be exceedingly happy with us that the quarrel can be so satisfactorily settled. These mighty persons having obtained the kingdom would, no doubt, be pacified and happy, provided the opposite party behave well. For them to be pacified will redound to the welfare of men. And I should be well-pleased if somebody from here, with the view of pacifying both the Kurus and the Pandavas, should undertake a journey and ascertain what is the mind of Duryodhana and explain the views of Yudhishthira. Let him respectfully salute Bhishma the heroic scion of Kuru's race, and the magnanimous son of Vichitravirya, and Drona along with his son, and Vidura and Kripa, and the king of Gandhara, along with the Suta's son. Let him also pay his respects to all the other sons of Dhritarashtra, to all who are renowned for strength and learning, devoted to their proper duties, heroic, and conversant with signs of the times. When all these persons are gathered together and when also the elderly citizens are assembled, let him speak words full of humility and likely to serve the interests of Yudhishthira, At all events, let them not be provoked, for they have taken possession of the kingdom with a strong hand. When Yudhishthira had his throne, he forgot himself by being engaged in gambling and was dispossessed by them of his kingdom. This valiant Kuru, this descendant of Ajamida, Yudhishthira, though not skilled in dice and though dissuaded by all his friends, challenged the son of the king of Gandhara, an adept at dice, to the match. There were then at that place thousands of dice-players whom Yudhishthira could defeat in a match. Taking however, no notice of any of them, he challenged Suvala's son of all men to the game, and so he lost. And although the dice constantly went against him, he would still have Sakuni alone for his opponent. Competing with Sakuni in the play, he sustained a crushing defeat. For this, no blame can attach to Sakuni. Let the messenger make use of words characterised by humility, words intended to conciliate Vichitravirya's son. The messenger may thus bring round Dhritarashtra's son to his own views. Do not seek war with the Kurus; address Duryodhana in only a conciliatory tone, The object may possibly fail to be gained by war, but it may be gained by conciliation, and by this means also it may be gained enduringly.'
[So notice again how when balrama is putting the blame all on yuddhistira he mentions that yuddhistira staked the kingdom. But he makes no mention of the other four pandavas or their wife being staked. If he really wanted to show how the fault was all yuddhistira's he would have definitely mentioned that yuddhistira staked his brothers and wife. The fact that he does not mention this is another hint that only the kingdom was staked.]
In the exile, one day bhima gets angry at yuddhistira and this is what he tells yuddhistira:
'Vaisampayana said, "Hearing these words of Yajnaseni, Bhimasena, sighing in wrath, approached the king and addressed him, saying, 'Walk, O monarch, in the customary path trodden by good men, (before thee) in respect of kingdoms. What do we gain by living in the asylum of ascetics, thus deprived of virtue, pleasure, and profit? It is not by virtue, nor by honesty, nor by might, but by unfair dice, that our kingdom hath been snatched by Duryodhana. Like a weak offal-eating jackal snatching the prey from mighty lions, he hath snatched away our kingdom. Why, O monarch, in obedience to the trite merit of sticking to a promise, dost thou suffer such distress, abandoning that wealth which is the source of both virtue and enjoyments? It was for thy carelessness, O king, that our kingdom protected by the wielder of the Gandiva and therefore, incapable of being wrested by Indra himself, was snatched from us in our very sight. It was for thee, O monarch, that, ourselves living, our prosperity was snatched away from us like a fruit from one unable to use his arms,or like kine from one incapable of using his legs. Thou art faithful in the acquisition of virtue. It was to please thee, O Bharata, that we have suffered ourselves to be overwhelmed with such dire calamity.
[A mention of duryodhana winning the kingdom is mentioned. But again there is no mention of the stake of the pandavas or of draupadi. If they were also staked, bhima would have definitely mentioned this to yuddhistira, out of anger, right?]
Now see yuddhistira’s response to bhima’s statement:
Vaisampayana said, "Thus addressed by Bhimasena, the high-souled king Ajatasatru firmly devoted to truth, mustering his patience, after a few moments said these words, 'No doubt, O Bharata, all this is true. I cannot reproach thee for thy torturing me thus by piercing me with thy arrowy words. From my folly alone hath this calamity come against you. I sought to cast the dice desiring to snatch from Dhritarashtra's son his kingdom with the sovereignty. It was therefore that, that cunning gambler--Suvala's son--played against me on behalf of Suyodhana. Sakuni, a native of the hilly country, is exceedingly artful. Casting the dice in the presence of the assembly, unacquainted as I am with artifices of any kind, he vanquished me artfully. It is, therefore, O Bhimasena, that we have been overwhelmed with this calamity. Beholding the dice favourable to the wishes of Sakuni in odds and evens, I could have controlled my mind. Anger, however, driveth off a person's patience. O child, the mind cannot be kept under control when it is influenced by hauteur, vanity, or pride. I do not reproach thee, O Bhimasena, for the words thou usest. I only regard that what hath befallen us was pre-ordained. When king Duryodhana, the son of Dhritarashtra, coveting our kingdom, plunged us into misery and even slavery, then, O Bhima, it was Draupadi that rescued us.
[Yuddhistira makes it clear that duryodhana (won the kingdom in the game of dice and then) plunged the pandavas into slavery. If yuddhi had staked his brothers he would have mentioned “I (yuddhistira) plunged my brothers into slavery”, as it would then be his own fault, not duryodhana’s fault. It is evident from this text above that after winning the kingdom, duryodhana forcefully made the pandavas his slaves. Yuddhistira maintained that duryodhana was the reason why they all were made slaves, not himself (yuddhistira).]
From all these examples, it is clear that the pandavas and draupadi were not staked, but forcefully made slaves by duryodhana after he won indraprastha from yuddhistira. So it is utterly wrong to frame yuddhistira as a person who did not respect his brothers nor his wife...

             Image result for yudhisthira


  1. So how did Yudhishthira have the power to send a messenger when he was a slave? What about the text that says he gambled Nakula of red eyes?

    1. First of all, I posted that text of the gambling from Sabha Parva to show how Shakuni says the same line again and again after every Pandava is won. It seems highly unlikely that one character would say the exact same line again and again like that. That entire staking text is an interpolation for the reasons mentioned in this post.

      At the time Duryodhana wanted to call Draupadi to the assembly, he was not made a slave. He was formally made a slave later when asked to remove his clothes in the assembly. So, Yuddhistira sent a messenger to Draupadi when he was not a slave. It was later that he along with his brothers and Draupadi were forcibly made slaves...

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    1. Although I don't really consider puranas authentic, what you said from Devi Bhagvatam may have some truth attached to it. You said that Devi Bhagvatam mentions dharsita (meaning violated/raped/overpowered) with respect to what Kichaka did to Draupadi. This may be correct.

      When Bhima goes in the dancing hall (where Draupadi calls Kichaka for Bhima to kill him at nigh), he sees Kichaka and them remembers how Kichaka raped Draupadi and then attacks Kichaka.

      From the BORI Critical Edition Virata Parva Section 21:

      The infinitely energetic Bhima had already arrived there earlier and was stationed alone. The extremely evil-minded one went up to him, reclining on the divan and blazing in anger because of the molestation caused to Krishna, like death.

      Bibek debroy uses the word molestation instead of rape. But lets look at the sanskrit verse:

      śayānaṃ śayane tatra mṛtyuṃ sūtaḥ parāmṛśat
      jājvalyamānaṃ kopena kṛṣṇā dharṣaṇajena ha

      The translator translated dharsana as molestation. However, dharsana means copulation/rape/violation:

      So, Bhima was angered at Kichaka because he raped his beloved wife Draupadi. Bhima vented this anger in the final fight and deformed Kichaka into a ball of flesh.

      Now where does this fit into the storyline? Well... When Sudeshna sends Draupadi to Kichaka's apartments to get wine, Kichaka starts flirting with Draupadi. Draupadi then dashes him to the ground and runs to the sabha. In the sabha, Kichaka kicks Draupadi... Then the text says that a Rakshasa appointed by Surya kicks Kichaka, thus making him unconscious. However that is clearly an interpolation because even after Kichaka was made unconscious, Bhima looks at him with anger, and is eager to destroy Kichaka there and then:

      And both Yudhishthira and Bhimasena who were seated there, beheld with wrathful eyes that outrage on Krishna by Kichaka. And desirous of compassing the destruction of the wicked Kichaka, the illustrious Bhima gnashed his teeth in rage.

      If Kichaka was made unconscious, why would Bhima be angry at the moment? He should instead have been satisfied that Kichaka was made unconscious...

      To Be Continued...

    2. Continued From Part 1...

      Furthermore, later on in Virata's sabha, Draupadi evokes compassion among the members of the sabha, and they all censure Kichaka for his act:

      Then the courtiers, having learnt every thing, applauded Krishna, and they all exclaimed, 'Well done!' 'Well done!' and censured Kichaka. And the courtiers said, 'That person who owneth this large-eyed lady having every limb of hers endued with beauty for his wife, possesseth what is of exceeding value and hath no occasion to indulge in any grief. Surely, such a damsel of transcendent beauty and limbs perfectly faultless is rare among men. Indeed, it seems to us that she is a goddess.'

      As you can see, the courtiers censure Kichaka. Why would they censure an unconscious Kichaka? Clearly they would be censuring a conscious person that can hear their words. That implies that Kichaka was never made unconscious by the Rakshasa appointed by Surya. Furthermore, in that section or in the subsequent sections where Draupadi laments to Bhima, there is no mention of a Rakshasa saving Draupadi by making Kichaka unconscious.

      So, the verses of the Rakshasa appointed by Surya, making Kichaka unconscious are interpolations. After Kichaka kicked Draupadi, he would have raped her in the presence of the king, the courtiers, Yuddhistira, and Bhima. If we remove the verses where the Rakshasa makes Kichaka unconscious, this is how the KMG mahabharatha text flows:

      And while she was running with all her speed, Kichaka (who followed her), seizing her by the hair, and bringing her down on the ground, kicked her in the very presence of the king. And both Yudhishthira and Bhimasena who were seated there, beheld with wrathful eyes that outrage on Krishna by Kichaka. And desirous of compassing the destruction of the wicked Kichaka, the illustrious Bhima gnashed his teeth in rage.

      The actual text of the rape is missing, but the text says that Yuddhistira and Bhima beheld the outrage on Draupadi by Kichaka. I don't have the bombay edition/bengal edition sanskrit texts that KMG translated in his version, so I cannot double check the sanskrit word that was translated as outrage, but both dharsita and dharshana (which refer to violation/rape) can also be translated as outrage, suggesting that outrage could possibly refer to Draupadi being raped.

      So, just to summarize, after Draupadi goes to Kichaka to collect wine, he flirts with her and grabs her arm. She then dashes him to the ground and he then gets up and chases her to the sabha. In the sabha, he kicks her and then rapes her, in the sight of Bhima, Yuddhistira, the courtiers, and king Virata.

      So I agree with Devi Bhagvatam on this. However, I don't agree that Dushasana dragged Draupadi twice. As I will show in later posts, it was Karna (the pratikamin) that dragged Draupadi to the sabha. Once in the sabha, Karna orders Dushasana to drag Draupadi to the inner apartments. So Dushasana drags Draupadi then!

  3. Great Article also Draupadi was never been disrobed or no attempt to disrobing her was made in Kuru Sabha. This is also an interpolation. She was only dragged into the court and Duryodhan thumped his thigh. Read the post of Dr. Pradip Bhattacharya and Indrajit Bandyopadhyay etc . What happened after the game of dice is mentioned several time in Mahabharata apart from when it actually happened in text . And nowhere there is mentioned that Draupadi was disrobed.
    A most well known incident in the epic Mahabharata is The twelfth chapter of the Vanaparva is an unusually long one, with one hundred and thirty-six verses in it. Among other things, Draupadi tells Krishna about her suffering in the Dice Hall.. Draupadi speaks of what happened on that day in very moving, unforgettable words. She suggests female matters that women normally do not talk about, especially with men – but such is the burden of woe she carries in her heart that Draupadi tells Krishna how heavily she was bleeding at the time and how, seeing her extreme discomfiture, the Dhartarashtras heartily laughed at her humiliation in that assembly …
    But she does not speak of any attempt to strip her, or of her being saved by the miracle.
    In – Vana 12.67 Drauapdi rejects Bheema’s strength and Arjuna’s Gandiva … [Dhig balam bheemasenasya, dhik parthasya cha gandeevam –
    … for neither could protect her on that day. An inconsolably wailing Draupadi tells Krishna : “I have no husbands, no sons, no relations. I have no brothers, no father. And I do not have even you, Krishna.”
    she implies that Krishna too failed her – he did not do anything to save her, just as Bheema or Arjuna or her other husbands did nothing to save her.
    Draupadi does not thank Krishna for saving her honour in the Dice Hall through the miracle

    1. Thanks. However, ever since I wrote this article a couple months back, my opinion has changed slightly. Yuddhistira staked the kingdom and then he staked himself. Since his brothers and wife considered Yudhistira their Lord, they were automatically lost with Yuddhistira staking and losing himself in dice. But Yuddhistira never actually staked his brothers or wife...

      I am aware of what Dr. Pradip Bhattacharya and Indrajit Bandyopadhyay wrote regarding the Vastraharan. I agree with them that the Vastraharan is an interpolation. In the BORI critical edition, it becomes very obvious that it is an interpolation. Pradip Bhattacharya and Indrajit Bandyopadhyay refer to parvas outside of Sabha Parva and claim that since there are no references to Vastraharan there (barring 2-3 references in Shalya Parva), the Vastraharan is an interpolation. I agree with them, but I feel an analysis of the Sabha Parva text itself is very necessary as well, to show that the Vastraharan is an interpolation (which both of them don't include). Right now I am writing a 3 post series on how Bhima (not Arjuna) killed Karna and quaffed his blood (not the blood of Dushasana). You can see the first post in the series below:

      After that, I will do a post on Seetha's agnipariksha and what it really means. Then I plan on doing a detailed series of posts on what actually happened in the game of dice. I plan to debunk the Vastraharan in that series as well (using references from Sabha Parva as well).

      Also, you are right about Krishna not coming to Hastinapura to save Draupadi. In fact, Krishna himself says in Vana Parva that he was fighting with Salva when the game of dice happened and he only found about the game of dice much later, from Satyaki. He says that if he knew the game of dice was going to be played, he would have rushed to Hastinapura and convinced the kurus to not gamble. If they refused to listen to his words, he said that he would have then used force to stop the game of dice. So you are right in what you wrote above!

    2. Agree .Krishna was a great spiritual leader, philosopher, politicians, charioteer and probably a most influential character in epic Mahabharatha . But scientifically he was just a human being like you and i . He didn't have any supernatural power.

    3. Yes, he did not have any supernatural powers!

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  5. Hi Milin - I read this blog article just now. Very interesting. I have some questions -

    1) I too feel that Lord Krishna did not save Draupadi by performing any miraculous act. Would you be able to elaborate more on the supposed disrobing of Draupadi? I too feel that there was no disrobing attempt. Why Would Duryodhan do so? If the Pandavas and their wife were his slaves, he can enjoy her later in private.

    2) In your opinion, what is or are the reasons for such falsified modifications to the Mahabharata (interpolations)? Draupadi's disrobing seems to be a famous interpolation that is widely accepted in society? What was the intent for such a false narrative?

    3) I had always thought and been told that when Arjun visited Swarg lok, the apsara Urvashi came at night to his chamber to make love to him. He declined with the argument that Urvashi is Indra's wife, so she is like her mother. But, is it true that Arjun later made love to another apsara Tillotama during this trip? She is also considered Indra's wife, so shouldn't Arjun have considered her as her mother too? I really feel that this is interpolation again. My guess is, Arjun made love to all the women in heaven. But, stupid puritans wanted to force a narrative down our throats that you can't make love to your mother.

    Thanks. Would appreciate your feedback.

    1. Rohit,

      1) The disrobing of Draupadi barely has any mentions in any of the other Parvas of the Mahabharatha. There is just one mention in Shalya Parva, but reading the context of that quote, it seems that the mention of the Vastraharan there may possibly be an interpolation. That should put a doubt on whether the disrobing actually happened. When Draupadi talks about her abuse, she always mentions her being dragged, but never her being disrobed. Even if we look at the Sabha Parva text, after the so-called Vastraharan, she never lashes out at the Kurus for trying to disrobe her, neither do any of the Kurus (not even Vidura and Vikarna who were most vocal in protesting her abuse) make mention of the act of trying to disrobe her.

      According to KMG Mahabharatha (Bombay/Bengal editions), it was Dharma that saved Draupadi. However, according to the Critical Edition, there is no mention of the person who saved Draupadi. It just says that clothes replaced the one that Dushasana pulled off. But if you pay close attention to the text in the critical edition, you could see that the Vastraharan attempt is clearly a later addition. Maybe, I will create a post on that in the future, if you are interested.

      2) Perhaps the Vastraharan was added to demonize the Kauravas, just like how the pro-Kaurava poets added Yuddhistira staking his wife Draupadi to demonize Draupadi.

      You might want to read some of Indrajit Bandyopadhyay's articles on the topic:

      3) There is no Arjuna-Tilottama story as far as I know. Tilottama was an apsara who was the cause for the wedge between the two brothers Sunda/Upsunda, leading to their death. Narada recites this story in Adi Parva. I can give you the links if you are interested.

  6. Thanks Milin for your reply and the links from sulekha.

    Yes, I'd be interested in reading your blog on vastraharan when you find time.

    there is another blogger named Rohit Patel, hope no confusion, if you want I can change my display name.


    1. Rohit,

      Yeah, I know Rohit Patel is someone else. I have interacted with him earlier as well.

    2. Thanks. Looking forward to your blog articles on Seetha-Lakshman relationship and vastraharan !