Thursday, 17 November 2016

Was Draupadi Really Fire Born?

One of the most important characters (and in my opinion the main character) in Mahabharatha is Draupadi. She was truly a phenomenal women, and one of her major accomplishments in the epic was tactfully evoking sympathy when dragged to the assembly by the Pratikamin and pressurizing Dhritarashtra to give the kingdom Indraprastha back to the Pandavas, after Yuddhistira had gambled and lost the kingdom. She was also responsible for the destruction of Jayadratha, the king of the Sindhus, thus reducing the political influence of Duryodhana when she was in exile with her husbands. She also was instrumental in the destruction of Kichaka, and without that happening, it would not be possible to use Virata as a base for the Kurukshetra war. She was indeed a glorious character! However, one myth that has stuck and is always associated with her is that she was born from fire and not from a womb. It is simply illogical and foolish to believe that one can be born from fire. There is just no biological basis to that claim. Yet, out of blind faith, many Hindus tend to gullibly believe the propaganda started by Drupada about the fire birth of Draupadi... Possibly because it ascribes some sort of divinity or supernaturalism to her. In this post, I will debunk the claim that Draupadi was born from fire, and instead will propose the true story of her birth! 


It is a big lie that Draupadi was born out of the fire. Think about it logically. Is it possible? Of course not. It was propaganda done by Drupada to elevate his daughter Draupadi and son Dhristadyumna to the status of gods. Similar propaganda was done by Kunti to elevate the Pandavas to the position of the sons of demi-gods. Adiratha did the same thing, to elevate his son, Karna to the position of the son of Surya dev. He went a step further and said that Karna’s kavach and kundal are capable of protecting him from death. We should be able to separate this propaganda from the actual reality, through logic and reasoning.
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:
Below are quotes that show that Draupadi was born as a baby, and from the womb:
"Hearing these words of his son, king Drupada became exceedingly glad, and he sent unto them his priest directing him to ascertain who they were and whether they were the sons of the illustrious Pandu. Thus directed, the king's priest went unto them and applauding them all, delivered the king's message duly, saying, 'Ye who are worthy of preference in everything, the boon-giving king of the earth--Drupada--is desirous of ascertaining who ye are. Beholding this one who hath shot down the mark, his joy knoweth no bounds. Giving us all particulars of your family and tribe, place ye your feet on the heads of your foes and gladden the hearts of the king of Panchala mid his men and mine also. King Pandu was the dear friend of Drupada and was regarded by him as his counterself. And Drupada had all along cherished the desire of bestowing this daughter of his upon Pandu as his daughter-in-law. Ye heroes of features perfectly faultless, king Drupada hath all along cherished this desire in his heart that Arjuna of strong and long arms might wed this daughter of his according to the ordinance. If that hath become possible, nothing could be better; nothing more beneficial; nothing more conducive to fame and virtue, so far as Drupada is concerned.'
Adi Parva: Vaivahika Parva: Section CLXLV
This text says that Pandu and Drupada were friends and that when Pandu was alive, Drupada wanted to give Draupadi to Pandu as his daughter in law. This means that when Pandu was alive, Draupadi was already born. Since Pandu died during the childhood of the pandavas, it means that Draupadi was already born when the Pandavas were in their childhood. Hence the story of fire birth after Arjuna defeats Drupada in war is propaganda by Drupada. Draupadi was probably born a long time ago, during the childhood of the Pandavas, but was only shown to the public when she was grown up. That is supported by this text from Sabha Parva of Mahabharatha:
Vaisampayana said,--"Dragged with greater force than before, the afflicted and helpless Draupadi, undeserving of such treatment, falling down upon the ground, thus wept in that assembly of the Kurus,-- 
"'Alas, only once before, on the occasion of the Swayamvara, I was beheld by the assembled kings in the amphitheatre, and never even once beheld afterwards. I am to-day brought before this assembly. She whom even the winds and the sun had seen never before in her palace is to-day before this assembly and exposed to the gaze of the crowd. Alas, she whom the sons of Pandu could not, while in her palace, suffer to be touched even by the wind, is to-day suffered by the Pandavas to be seized and dragged by this wretch. 
Sabha Parva: Sisupala-badha Parva: Section LXVIII
The sentence, “She whom even the winds and the sun had seen never before in her palace is to-day before this assembly and exposed to the gaze of the crowd” implies that Draupadi was never ever before exposed to the gaze of the crowd (except for during her Swaymavara). This means she was hidden in her palace (by Drupada) ever since she was a child. Next, lets take a look at a passage from the conversation between Krishna and Draupadi/Pandavas in Vana Parva, during their exile:
And Krishna, the leader of the Dasarha tribe, accompanied by friends, likewise spoke to Krishna, the daughter of Yajnasena, saying, 'How fortunate that you are united, safe and secure, with Arjuna, the winner of riches!' And Krishna also said, 'O Krishna, O daughter of Yajnasena, those sons of yours, are devoted to the study of the science of arms, are well-behaved and conduct themselves on the pattern, O Krishna, of their righteous friends. Your father and your uterine brothers proffer them a kingdom and territories; but the boys find no joy in the house of Drupada, or in that of their maternal uncles. 
Vana Parva: Markandeya-Samasya Parva: Section CLXXXII
The fact that Krishna refers to Draupadi’s uterine brothers (Sikhandin) means that Draupadi was born from a womb, not from fire. Furthermore, Draupadi herself tells Bhima, after her molestation, at the hands of Kichaka, that she did have a childhood, thereby negating the popular theory of Draupadi having been born directly as an adult (from the fire):
Surrounded by numerous brothers and father-in-law and sons, what other woman having such cause for joy, save myself, would be afflicted with such woe? Surely, I must, in my childhood, have committed act highly offensive to Dhatri through whose displeasure, O bull of the Bharata race, I have been visited with such consequences.
Virata Parva: Kichaka-Badha Parva: Section XX
Hence, there are alternative narratives in the Mahabharatha that negate the theory of Draupadi having been born from fire, as an adult. Now let us analyze the direct narrative description of the yajna from which Draupadi was born, in order to gain some further insight on how Draupadi's birth was natural (i.e. she was born as a baby, not an adult), and through the womb (instead of through fire):
According to the story, after Drupada’s defeat by Arjuna, he was looking for a son that would kill Drona.
"The Brahmana continued, 'King Drupada (after this), distressed at heart, wandered among many asylums of Brahmanas in search of superior Brahmanas well-skilled in sacrificial rites. Overwhelmed with grief and eagerly yearning for children, the king always said, 'Oh, I have no offspring surpassing all in accomplishments.' And the monarch, from great despondency, always said 'Oh, fie on those children that I have and on my relatives!' And ever thinking of revenging himself on Drona, the monarch sighed incessantly. And that best of kings, O Bharata, even after much deliberation, saw no way of overcoming, by his Kshatriya might, the prowess and discipline and training and accomplishment of Drona. Wandering along the banks of the Yamuna and the Ganga, the monarch once came upon a sacred asylum of Brahmanas. There was in that asylum no Brahmana who was not a Snataka, no one who was not of rigid vows, and none who was not virtuous to a high degree. And the king saw there two Brahmana sages named Yaja and Upayaja, both of rigid vows and souls under complete control and belonging to the most superior order. They were both devoted to the study of the ancient institutes and sprung from the race of Kasyapa. And those best of Brahmanas were well-able to help the king in the attainment of his object. The king then, with great assiduity and singleness of purpose, began to court this pair of excellent Brahmanas.
Drupada began to serve the brahmins Yaja and Upayaja, hoping that through this service, he would be able to obtain a child that would kill Drona
Ascertaining the superior accomplishments of the younger of the two the king courted in private Upayaja of rigid vows, by the offer of every desirable acquisition. Employed in paying homage to the feet of Upayaja, always addressing in sweet words and offering him every object of human desire, Drupada, after worshipping that Brahmana, addressed him (one day), saying, 'O Upayaja, O Brahmana, if thou, performest those sacrificial rites by (virtue of) which I may obtain a son who may slay Drona, I promise thee ten thousand kine, or whatever else may be agreeable to thee, O first of Brahmanas, truly am I ready to make gifts to thee.' Thus addressed by the king, the Rishi replied, saying, 'I cannot (perform such rites).' But Drupada without accepting this reply as final, once more began to serve and pay homage unto that Brahmana. Then, after the expiration of a year, Upayaja, that first of Brahmanas, O monarch, addressing Drupada in sweet tone, said, 'My elder brother (Yaja), one day, while wandering through the deep woods, took up a fruit that had fallen upon a spot the purity of which he cared not to enquire about. I was following him (at the time) and observed this unworthy act of his. Indeed, he entertains no scruples in accepting things impure. In accepting that (particular) fruit he saw not any impropriety of sinful nature: Indeed, he who observeth not purity (in one instance) is not very likely to observe it in the other instances. When he lived in the house of his preceptor, employed in studying the institutes, he always used to eat (impure) remnants of other people's feasts. He always speaks approvingly of food and entertains no dislike for anything. Arguing from these, I believe that my brother covets earthy acquisitions. Therefore, O king, go unto him; he will perform spiritual offices for thee.'
Upayaja refused to give Drupada such a child, but he referred Drupada to his elder brother Yaja, who would probably give Drupada such a child.
Hearing these words of Upayaja, king Drupada, though entertaining a low opinion of Yaja, nevertheless went to his abode. Worshipping Yaja who was (still) worthy of homage, Drupada said unto him, 'O master, perform thou spiritual offices for me and I will give thee eighty thousand kine! Enmity with Drona burneth my heart; it behoveth thee therefore to cool that heart of mine. Foremost of those conversant with the Vedas, Drona is also skilled in the Brahma weapon and for this, Drona hath overcome me in a contest arising from (impaired) friendship. Gifted with great intelligence, the son of Bharadwaja is (now) the chief preceptor of the Kurus. There is no Kshatriya in this world superior to him. His bow is full six cubits long and looks formidable, and his shafts are capable of slaying every living being. That great bowman, the high-souled son of Bharadwaja, habited as a Brahmana, is destroying the Kshatriya power all over the earth. Indeed, he is like a second Jamadagnya intended for the extermination of the Kshatriya race. There is no man on earth who can overcome the terrible force of his weapons. Like a blazing fire fed with clarified butter, Drona, possessed of Brahma might and uniting it with Kshatriya might, consumeth every antagonist in battle. But (thy) Brahma force is greater in itself than (Drona's) Brahma force united with Kshatriya might. Therefore, as I am inferior (to Drona) in consequence of my possession of Kshatriya might alone, I solicit the aid of thy Brahma force, having obtained thee so superior to Drona in knowledge of Brahma. O Yaja, perform that sacrifice by means of which I may obtain a son invincible in battle and capable of slaying Drona. Ready am I to give thee ten thousand kine.' Hearing these words of Drupada, Yaja said, 'So be it.' Yaja then began to recollect the various ceremonies appertaining to the particular sacrifice. And knowing the affair to be a very grave one, he asked the assistance of Upayaja who coveted nothing. Then Yaja promised to perform the sacrifice for the destruction of Drona. Then the great ascetic Upayaja spoke unto king Drupada of everything required for the grand sacrifice (by aid of fire) from which the king was to obtain offspring. And he said, 'O king, a child shall be born unto thee, endued, as thou desirest, with great prowess, great energy, and great strength.'
Yaja agrees to perform the sacrifice for Drupada, so that Drupada may obtain a child that would kill Drona
"The Brahmana continued, 'Then king Drupada, impelled by the desire of obtaining a son who was to slay Drona, began, for the success of his wish, to make the necessary preparations. (And when everything was complete) Yaja, after having poured libations of clarified butter on the sacrificial fire, commanded Drupada's queen, saying, 'Come hither, O queen, O daughter-in-law of Prishata! A son and a daughter have arrived for thee!' Hearing this, the queen said, 'O Brahmana, my mouth is yet filled with saffron and other perfumed things. My body also beareth many sweet scents; I am hardly fit for accepting (the sanctified butter which is to give me offspring). Wait for me a little, O Yaja! Wait for that happy consummation.' Yaja, however, replied, 'O lady, whether thou comest or waitest, why should not the object of this sacrifice be accomplished when the oblation hath already been prepared by me and sanctified by Upayaja's invocations?'
Yaja makes preparations for the sacrifice (such as pouring oblations into a sacrifical fire)... However, Drupada’s wife says she is not ready to accept the oblation that Yaja would be giving her. The reason she gives for this is as follows: "my mouth is yet filled with saffron and other perfumed things". Now to sit in any yajna, removal of scent is not necessary. It is anyways, a habit for royalty to apply scent and move around with scent to give the feel of royalty. Hence, the speech of Drupada's wife suggests that there is something more to what she means. She then goes on to say "wait for that happy consummation". Consummation is a term that refers to sexual intercourse, and hence Drupada's wife's speech seems to suggest that the yajna Yaja was conducting was sexual intercourse. This would be a Niyoga-type of event, where Draupada's wife would be impregnated by Yaja, just like how Kunti was impregnated by the demigods. In Niyoga, the female had to remove bodily scents so that the sperm donor would have sex with the female, considering it as a duty that had to be performed instead of being motivated by lust, which the scents would fuel...

A sacrificial fire was ignited and the oblations were performed by Yaja, as one would normally see in a yajna. Inside this sacrificial fire, Yaja poured the libations of clarified butter. Of course, this would not give rise to an actual child. This sacrificial fire was ignited to show the world that a sacrifice where oblations are offered in a fire was performed to give birth to Drupada's children. It would serve as a tool of political propaganda/manipulation. If people would believe that Draupadi was literally born from fire, wouldn't she (and by extension her father Drupada) be revered as a divine figures? However, this yajna would not actually give rise to the child. How can a child be born from the literal fire? This yajna was therefore just a mock yajna, with its purpose as political propaganda and to manipulate the masses into believing that Draupadi was divine...

This mock yajna would be performed when an adult Draupadi and Dhristadyumna were going to be introduced as fire-born adults to the commoners of Panchala. In addition to this mock yajna, the actual yajna that would give rise to offspring was performed. This actual yajna was sexual intercourse, and was therefore performed at the time when Drupada's wife was impregnated with Draupadi and Dhristadyumna in her womb. In other words, this actual yajna was a Niyoga-type event, where Yaja would offer his oblation of sperm into the vagina of Drupada's wife, which represented the sacrificial altar of the yajna. This symbolism is supported by the Rig Veda. For example, in Rig Veda 1.104.1, the yoni (vagina) is used to represent the sacrificial altar:
yoniṣ ṭa indra niṣade akāri tamā ni ṣīda svāno nārvā |
vimucya vayo.avasāyāśvān doṣā vastorvahīyasaḥ prapitve ||
THE altar hath been made for thee to rest on: come like a panting courser and be seated. Loosen thy flying Steeds, set free thy Horses who bear thee swiftly nigh at eve and morning.
Furthermore, in Brhadaranyaka Upanishad 6.4.3, the author likens yajna to sexual intercourse, where the man pours the oblations of his sperm into the vagina of the female, with the vagina representing the sacrificial altar of the yajna:
Her lap is the sacrificial altar, her hair the sacrificial grass, her skin within the organ the lighted fire; the two labia of the vulva are the two stones of the soma—press. He who, knowing this, practises sexual intercourse wins as great a world as is won through the Vijapeya sacrifice; he acquires for himself the fruit of the good deeds of the woman. But he who, without knowing this, practises sexual intercourse turns over to the woman his own good deeds.
https://www.consciouslivingfoundation.org/ebooks/13/CLF-brihadaranyaka_upanishad.pdf
Hence, it is quite likely that the actual yajna performed by Yaja, that gave rise to Draupadi and Dhrishtadyumna was sexual intercourse, where the sperm is the oblation that Yaja poured into the sacrificial altar (the vagina of Drupada's wife). To further support this argument of the actual yajna referring to sexual intercourse, let us consult the sanskrit verse of a specific sentence in the Mahabharatha passage posted above:
yājas tu havanasyānte devīm āhvāpayat tadā
praihi māṃ rājñi pṛṣati mithunaṃ tvām upasthitam
Yaja, after having poured libations of clarified butter on the sacrificial fire, commanded Drupada's queen, saying, 'Come hither, O queen, O daughter-in-law of Prishata! A son and a daughter have arrived for thee!'
Note the phrase in sanskrit: "pṛṣati mithunaṃ tvām upasthitam". Kisari Mohan Ganguly translates it as "O daughter-in-law of Prishata! A son and a daughter have arrived for thee!". However, according to Bibek Debroy, this translation is incorrect. In his footnotes of the translation of the Critical Edition of the Mahabharatha, Bibek Debroy writes "
A qualification is needed for this translation. The word used is mithuna, and what seems to be suggested is an act of intercourse between the queen and Yaja. One can also translate this sentence as, ‘The time for the twins has arrived’, meaning the births of Droupadi and Dhrishtadyumna, but this doesn’t seem to be very natural as a translation.
As mentioned by Bibek Debroy, there are flaws in this translation by Bibek Debroy. The use of the word mithuna in the above verse suggests that the correct and more natural translation ought to be:
Yaja, after having poured libations of clarified butter on the sacrificial fire, commanded Drupada's queen, saying, 'Come hither, O queen, O daughter-in-law of Prishata! The time for sexual intercourse has arrived!'
Bibek Debroy translated the verse in a similar manner, using the word "unite" to refer to the sexual intercourse:
Yaja poured offerings into the sacrificial fire and instructed the queen, “O queen Prishati! Come here. The time for uniting has arrived.”
This suggests very strongly that the actual yajna that was going to give birth to Draupadi and Dhrishtadyumna was sexual intercourse between Drupada's wife and Yaja, as is done in Niyoga. The above passage suggests that Drupada's wife was not too willingly to have sex with Yaja, and hence tried to buy some time by making an excuse that she did not remove her scents and hence was not in a ready state to perform the yajna/Niyoga. However, Yaja replies by saying "O lady, whether thou comest or waitest, why should not the object of this sacrifice be accomplished when the oblation hath already been prepared by me and sanctified by Upayaja's invocations?" This suggests that Yaja was not willing to wait for Drupada's wife. He said he would perform the oblation (of his sperm) into the fire of the sacrificial altar (Drupada's wife's vagina) whether or not she was eager to come to him at that moment or not. As shown in the subsequent text, Yaja then poured this oblation into the sacrificial fire (Drupada's wife's vagina). This suggests that Yaja had raped an unwilling Drupada's wife, and from this union, Yaja's oblation of sperm was poured in Drupada's wife's vagina (sacrificial altar of the yajna). The result of this yajna were the twins, Draupadi and Dhristhadyumna, as shown by the text below. Let us continue reading the narrative of Draupadi and Dhristadyumna's birth:
"The Brahmana continued, 'Having said this, Yaja poured the sanctified libation on the fire, whereupon arose from those flames a child resembling a celestial who possessing the effulgence of fire, was terrible to behold. With a crown on this head and his body encased in excellent armour, sword in hand, and bearing a bow and arrows, he frequently sent forth loud roars. And immediately after his birth, he ascended an excellent chariot and went about in it for some time. Then the Panchalas in great joy shouted, 'Excellent, Excellent.' The very earth seemed at that time unable to bear the weight of the Panchalas mad with joy. Then, marvellous to say, the voice of some invisible spirit in the skies said, 'This prince hath been born for the destruction of Drona. He shall dispel all the fears of the Panchalas and spread their fame. He shall also remove the sorrow of the king.' And there arose, after this from the centre of the sacrificial platform, a daughter also, called Panchali, who, blest with great good fortune, was exceedingly handsome. Her eyes were black, and large as lotus-petals, her complexion was dark, and her locks were blue and curly. Her nails were beautifully convex, and bright as burnished copper; her eye-brows were fair, and bosom was deep. Indeed, she resembled the veritable daughter of a celestial born among men. Her body gave out fragrance like that of a blue lotus, perceivable from a distance of full two miles. Her beauty was such that she had no equal on earth. Like a celestial herself, she could be desired (in marriage) by a celestial, a Danava, or a: Yaksha. When this girl of fair hips was born an incorporeal voice said, 'This dark-complexioned girl will be the first of all women, and she will be the cause of the destruction of many Kshatriyas. This slender-waisted one will, in time, accomplish the purpose of the gods, and along with her many a danger will overtake the Kauravas.' On hearing these words, the Panchalas uttered a loud leonine roar, and the earth was unable to bear the weight of that joyous concourse.
The result of this yajna (sexual intercourse) was the birth of Draupadi and Dhristadyumna. After the birth of these children, they were then named:
Then beholding the boy and the girl, the daughter-in-law of Prishata, desiring to have them, approached Yaja and said, 'Let not these know any one else except myself as their mother.' Yaja, desiring to do good unto the king said, 'So be it!' Then the Brahmanas (present there), their expectations fully gratified, bestowed names upon the new-born pair, 'Let this son of king Drupada, they said, be called Dhrishtadyumna, because of his excessive audacity and because of his being born like Dyumna with a natural mail and weapon.' And they also said, 'Because this daughter is so dark in complexion, she should be called Krishna (the dark).'
Note that Drupada’s wife asks Yaja to ensure that Draupadi and Dhristadyumna consider only her as their mother. By this time, Draupadi and Dhristadyumna were described to be adults. In the previous passage, the beauty of Draupadi and might of Dhristadyumna were described. Unless they were adults, such a description would not be possible. Which "baby" can have might and beauty described in the manner that was done above? Such a description is only characteristic for grown-up adults.

But one question arises...

Why did Drupada's wife ask Yaja that the children consider her as their mother? She would only say this if they were brought up, from their birth to the period of the mock yajna (remember that the actual yajna is when the birth occurred, and the mock yajna happened several years later, when Drupada proclaimed that his daughter Draupadi had divine birth from the yajna fire), as commoners, not associated with Drupada or his wife. Considering the immense amount of riches and respect Drupada gave Yaja, which I have described earlier, it is likely that after Draupadi's birth she lived with Yaja (and his family) in the royal palace, as his daughter, and that is why, during the mock yajna, when Drupada's wife wanted to put an end to this drama of Draupadi being a commoner (and wanted her daughter to live with her from then onwards), she had to take permission from Yaja that Draupadi would now consider her as a mother. For the masses watching the yajna, they would take this request of Drupada's wife as simply a plea that fire-born child consider her a mother. However, from the perspective of Yaja, who knew that Draupadi was not actually born from the fire, this request of Drupada's wife would be interpreted as an order that he now let go of Draupadi and that that Draupadi now consider her (Drupada's wife) as a mother, instead of anyone else that may have earlier performed the role of a mother (Yaja's wife?). Since the request/order came from the Queen of Panchala, Yaja promptly agreed and said "So be it!".
Now let us combine what was written above to arrive at a plausible sequence of events...
What likely happened is that Drupada was not able to make his wife pregnant for a long period of time. This happened just after the birth of the Pandavas... In order to obtain a child, Drupada went to  a brahmin named Upayaja for help. Unfortunately, this brahmin declined the offer as he found it immoral. Instead, he told Drupada to go to his brother, Yaja. So Drupada went to the brahmin YajaYaja performed a yajna where he had sex with Drupada’s wife, and twins were born from that union, Draupadi and Drishtadyumna. Draupada rewarded Yaja for his help very greatly, and gave his twins to Yaja to raise, in the royal palace of Panchala. These children were kept and brought up within the palace, thinking that they were the offspring of Yaja and his wife. They were not told that they belonged to the royalty of Panchala. Since these children were confined (for the most part) to the royal palace, the public did not even know of their existence... However, Drupada knew that they were his children, and gave a promise to his close friend Pandu that he would give his daughter Draupadi to him, as a daughter-in-law (presumably, Pandu knew about the birth of the twins, but not many others as Drupada kept it a secret for the most part)... Time went by... and after some time, Drupada and his wife had sexual union, through which Sikhandin was born.
Then, one day, after Drupada lost half of his kingdom to Arjuna, he wanted Arjuna to marry his daughter Draupadi, so that his political position could increase greatly, under the protection of the mighty Arjuna. Hence, he decided to reveal to the masses that his two children were born from the fire. The reason for doing so is that this would act as political propaganda, and urge Arjuna (and the other Pandavas) to make an alliance with him, by marrying his "divine" daughter Drupada. In addition, when Drona would learn that Dhrishtadyumna had divine origin and was born just to kill him, he (Drona) would be psychologically broken making it easier for his (Drupada) son to eliminate his arch enemy, Drona...

In order to accomplish this, Drupada called Yaja, and asked him to create an altar with fire, and perform the mock yajna described above. Yaja agreed and then, in the presence of the commoners, offered oblations as described in the passages above.
What is different about this mock yajna is that at the very center of the altar, there was no fire. There was mock fire along the border of the yajna altar, but no fire at the center of the altar. This area (with no fire) was connected to a passageway that led underground. Draupadi and Dhrishtadyumna (who were adults by this time) would enter, from underground to the middle of the altar, through this passageway, thereby making it appear as if they were born from sacrificial fire, right after Yaja adds the oblation to the fire. Then after this (mock) fire would be extinguished, the adult Draupadi and Dhristadyumna would emerge from the altar and meet their parents. This would make it appear to the commoners that Draupadi and Dhrishtadyumna were born from the fire of the yajna that Drupada had performed and that these twins had divine origin... After Draupadi and Dhristadyumna emerged from the altar, Drupada's wife asked Yaja that the twins consider nobody but her as their mother. The commoners who heard this would interpret this as a plea that Drupada's wife be the mother of the children even though biologically, the fire-born children had no actual mother. However, Yaja knew the true story of the birth of the twins, and hence would have interpreted this as an order from the Queen of Panchala that he and his family move away from the twins, and that from now onwards she (Drupada's wife) is now their mother and caregiver instead of Yaja and his family... It was therefore an order by the Queen of Panchala that she wishes to end the drama and reclaim her daughter and son...
Since Krishna had a close relationship with Draupadi and the Pandavas, he probably was aware of this story of Draupadi’s birth, and hence addressed Dhristadyumna as her "uterine brother"!

For those that find my ending of Draupadi and Dhristadyumna emerging from the Yajna fire as really far-fetched, I would recommend they read the passage below, from Kautilya's Arthashastra, which is heavily influenced from the Mahabharatha.

In Arthashastra (Book XIII, "Strategic Means to Capture a Fortress", Chapter I. Sowing the Seeds of Dissension), Kautilya says:

“When the conqueror is desirous of seizing an enemy's village, he should infuse enthusiastic spirit among his own men and frighten his enemy's people by giving publicity to his power of omniscience and close association with gods. Proclamation of his omniscience is as follows:--rejection of his chief officers when their secret, domestic and other private affairs are known; revealing the names of traitors after receiving information from spies specially employed to find out such men; pointing out the impolitic aspect of any course of action suggested to him; and pretensions to the knowledge of foreign affairs by means of his power to read omens and signs invisible to others when information about foreign affairs is just received through a domestic pigeon which has brought a sealed letter. Proclamation of his association with gods is as follows:--Holding conversation with, and worshipping, the spies who pretend to be the gods of fire or altar when through a tunnel they come to stand in the midst of fire, altar, or in the interior of a hollow image.”


http://www.boloji.com/index.cfm?md=Content&sd=Articles&ArticleID=16034

Read the last sentence of that passage from Arthashastra twice. The use of such political propaganda was not uncommon in Ancient India.

12 comments:

  1. Am more inclined to believe Draupadi was an Angirasa, given the frequent assertions in the text that Angirasa was Agni. Perhaps adopted as a teen, given the kumaari-chaapi bit made famous by the Star Plus show.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Going by that logic, everyone that was born from a yajna would be an Angirasa. That would also mean Rama, Bharatha, Lakshmana, and Shatrugana were also Angirasa. I don't find that too convincing because Agni has meanings other than Angirasa...

      If Draupadi was adopted, then how could you explain the Yajna performed by the brahmin Yaja?

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  2. I think Draupadi and Dristadyumna were possibly son and daughter of a bramhin rishi family or from wife from other caste of Drupada. What ever they were not known as Khstriya. Later when he needed a Khstriya son and daughter he first trained them with Khsatriya practices and possibly trained Dristadyumna with war technique. After that he arranged an Yajna - fire sacrifice to convert them Khstariya through sacrifice ritual - thus they become officially Khsatriya. You must accept there is some Dwija rituals for higher caste people the scared thread ceremony which they calls as twice born. Some thing similar to that but here there caste might be downgraded from Bramhin to Khstriya and that's why through sacrifice they were born again!!!

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    1. Arnab,

      That is an interesting perspective... But the critical edition clearly mentions that Drupada's wife had sex (mithuna) with the brahmin Yaja in the sacred yajna... Even in KMG, Draupada's wife is unwilling to consummate the union with the brahmin Yaja, but Yaja forces himself on her (in sex)...

      I think what your explanation lacks is the connection of Yaja and Upayaja to the Drupada's wife in the yajna... But nevertheless, an interesting perspective!

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  3. I checked out Gutenberg to see if there were any "new" Galdos translations and there were a few that had been posted in the last couple of years
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  5. मिथुन (Mithuna) is Geimini in English which means twins and not SEX. Its instead मैथून (Maithoon, intercourse in English) which means SEX.

    Nevertheless, I agree that Draupadi was not born out of Fire

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    1. Thanks for your comment Vardaan, and welcome to this blog... From the sanskrit dictionary, it seems that मिथुन means sex, as well as twins...

      http://spokensanskrit.org/index.php?mode=3&script=hk&tran_input=mithuna&direct=au

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    2. How were pandavas born. Make a post on that topic.

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    3. the day you made this comemnt is the same day a shooting occurred in Florida

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    4. Kedar,

      The Pandavas had a very natural birth, via sex. For example, this is clear if we look at the narration of Yuddhistira's birth. It talks about Kunti having sex with Dharma:

      "Vaisampayana said, 'O Janamejaya, when Gandhari's conception had been a full year old, it was then that Kunti summoned the eternal god of justice to obtain offspring from him. And she offered without loss of time, sacrifices unto the god and began to duly repeat the formula that Durvasa had imparted to her some time before. Then the god, overpowered by her incantations, arrived at the spot where Kunti was seated in his car resplendent as the Sun. Smiling, he asked, 'O Kunti, what am I to give thee?' And Kunti too smiling in her turn, replied, 'Thou must even give me offspring.' Then the handsome Kunti was united (in intercourse) with the god of justice in his spiritual form and obtained from him a son devoted to the good of all creatures. And she brought his excellent child, who lived to acquire a great fame, at the eighth Muhurta called Abhijit, of the hour of noon of that very auspicious day of the seventh month (Kartika), viz., the fifth of the lighted fortnight, when the star Jyeshtha in conjunction with the moon was ascendant. And as soon as the child was born, an incorporeal voice (from the skies) said, 'This child shall be the best of men, the foremost of those that are virtuous. Endued with great prowess and truthful in speech, he shall certainly be the ruler of the earth. And this first child of Pandu shall be known by the name of Yudhishthira. Possessed of prowess and honesty of disposition, he shall be a famous king, known throughout the three worlds.'

      http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m01/m01124.htm

      Now about the real identity of the gods, Indrajit Bandyopadhyay had written an article saying the Vidura was Dharma, Rshi Kindama was Vayu, Pandu was Indra, and Dhaumya was the Aswins, thereby making them the fathers of Yuddhistira, Bhima, Arjuna, and Nakula/Sahadeva respectively. He later changed his theory and suggested that perhaps Pandu was the father of all 5 children.

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    5. I have not reached a conclusion on the true identity of the fathers. It is possible that the fathers of the Pandavas were the actual devas from the Uttara Kuru Kingdom located around modern-day Southern Russia (the location of Swarga in the Mahabharatha). In that region, free sex was practiced, and perhaps that is why they readily agreed to give children to Kunti. Also, Surya Dev's speech seems like that of one who has his sexuality unrestrained (when he tries to convince Kunti to have sex with him... this sex later results in Karna). For example, Surya Dev tells Kunti:

      Hearing these words of hers, Surya replied, 'O thou of sweet smiles, neither thy father, nor thy mother, nor any other superior of thine, is competent to give thee away! May good betide thee, O beauteous damsel! Do thou listen to my words! It is because a virgin desireth the company of every one, that she hath received the appellation of Kanya, from the root kama meaning to desire. Therefore, O thou of excellent hips and the fairest complexion, a virgin is, by nature, free in this world. Thou shalt not, O lady, by any means, be guilty of any sin by complying with my request. And how can I, who am desirous of the welfare of all creatures, commit an unrighteous act? That all men and women should be bound by no restraints, is the law of nature. The opposite condition is the perversion of the natural state. Thou shalt remain a virgin after having gratified me. And thy son shall also be mighty-armed and illustrious.'

      http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m03/m03305.htm

      Note how Surya Dev defines kanya to mean one who is free and can have sex with anyone she wishes. He also uses kama-filled epithets for Kunti like "thou of excellent hips and the fairest complexion" and "beauteous damsel". Such views on sexuality suggest that Surya Dev believed in the concept of free sex for females. One's beliefs are shaped by their environment, and since Uttara Kuru practiced free sex it is possible that Surya Dev was belonged to this kingdom. Since Uttara Kuru was the Swarga of the Mahabharatha, it seems likely that Surya Dev, being one of the Devas (and therefore ought to be living in Swarga), may have belonged to the kingdom of Uttara Kuru.

      If Surya Dev was the actual father of Karna, then it seems likely that the Pandavas were also fathered by the Devas in the Uttara Kuru region... because the way Karna was fathered (i.e. using Surya Deva) gave Kunti the idea of invoking the Devas to father the Pandavas.

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