Draupadi explains her life as the queen and wife of the Pāndavas
One day, when the Pāndavas with Draupadi was serving the time in vanvās, Krishna came to pay a visit along with his wife Satyabhāmā. While the men got busy with their discussions, Satyabhāmā and Draupadi caught up with each other. They hadn’t seen each other in a while. Draupadi was keen to know about the well-being of her sons who were growing up in Dwārkā as well as Kāmpilya. Satyabhāmā comforted her, saying that all the boys were well taken care of and grew up to be great warriors.
Over the course of the conversation, Satyabhāmā asked Draupadi a rather teasing but intimate question. ‘What have you done to rule the hearts of the five Pāndavas as you do? They are ever ready to do your bidding. Their love for you manifests even in the way they look at you. Please share your secret with me! Is it some medicine or herb or is it some vashikaran practice that I can use to ensure Krishna always listens to me and stays interested in me like the Pāndavas are in you?’ Let me rather tell you how I behave with them and treat them.’ Draupadi goes on to explain her life as the queen and wife of the Pāndavas.
Let me rather tell you how I behave with them and treat them.’ Draupadi goes on to explain her life as the queen and wife of the Pāndavas.
Draupadi responded with poise. ‘There is no magic recipe Satyā,’ she said. ‘And neither do any vashikaran practices that claim to bring the husbands in control of the wife ever work. Instead, such attempts, if known to the husband, are more likely to destroy the marriage. Do not even think about these things. Let me rather tell you how I behave with them and treat them.’ Draupadi goes on to explain her life as the queen and wife of the Pāndavas.
‘My foremost concern is the well-being of my husbands and I do everything in my capacity to ensure their comfort, convenience, and joy. As for my husbands, so with their other wives as well as my mother-in-law, I do not let ego come in the way of my behavior with anyone and look after everyone without bias. I am always truthful and humble in my speech.
‘I wake up early every morning and keep ready all the ingredients my husbands need for their yajna and other Nitya karmas. I keep the house in order and ensure everyone, including our helpers, is well fed. I eat only after everybody else has eaten. I maintain a reserve of food for emergencies. I attend to my mother-in-law, taking care of all her needs. I strive to live up to the norms and traditions of the family.
‘When we lived in Indraprastha, every day 8,000 Brāhmins, 88,000 graduates and 10,000 ascetics were fed, given due charities and entertained. To take care of these and the other guests, over 1,00,000 women helpers were employed. I ensured that the helpers were well-trained, and all guests were well taken care of. I knew every helper personally by name and was always fully aware of who did what work and what was yet to be done and whether they had eaten or not. Apart from these, there were other helpers and cowherds whom I managed.
‘When Yudhishthira traveled as the king of Indraprastha, a large number of horses and elephants would accompany him. I would keep a count of the animals and preside over important arrangements of the travel. I would also keep a detailed account of all the earnings and expenditures of the Pāndavas. No one had the transparency of the accounts and the treasury as I did. This way, I shouldered the entire responsibility of the palace and household with complete dedication.
‘O Satyabhāmā, hard work, and devotion are the mantras that have kept the Pāndavas interested in me,’ concluded Draupadi, giving Satyabhāmā a peep into her life as the queen of Indraprastha and wife of the Pāndavas.
While describing the grandeur of Yudhishthira’s Rājasuya Yajna, Vaishampāyana corroborates Draupadi’s words by telling Janamejaya how Draupadi looked after the needs of every single guest, including the differently-abled ones, and ate only after everyone was fed.
Yudhishthira had once said of Draupadi, ‘She is the kind of spouse a man desires for a fruitful and rewarding life.’
(Excerpt with permission from Mahabharata Unravelled: Lesser-Known Facets of A Well-Known History by Ami Ganatra, Bloomsbury India. The book can be purchased here.
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