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Ongoing Segment: The Mahabharata (5)

What is The Mahabharata? Read about this tale that the Hindu religion is based around (also the Ramayana) and learn more about the origins of the beauty and vibrance you can see in India.



The Hindu religion is one of the very many cultures represented in India. Every culture has its origins, and this religion is no different. I myself, being of Indian descent, find this topic especially intriguing. I hope you will too. Now, I will begin.


After the Wax Palace and Now Draupadi


When the wax palace burnt down, the Pandavas ran far away, into a jungle. I'm not going to get too into what they did in the jungle, but I will tell you that while there, Bheema killed a demon. Now, they took advice from a sage and disguised themselves as brahmins and went about doing brahmin-like things. One day, they heard great news: the princess Draupadi was going to be getting married in a Swayamvar. A Swayamvar was an ancient Indian event where a girl would choose a husband from a group of suitors who performed tasks.


But of course, the task was hard, as would be expected when competing to marry a princess. What was it? The challenge was that the suitor had to shoot an arrow at a levitating fish by looking at its reflection in the water. All royalty was invited, including the evil Duryodhana. And get this! Some of the competing princes couldn’t even lift the bow! And oh, I forgot to mention this, but remember, the Pandavas were in disguise. Anyway, back to the Swayamvar. And remember how I mentioned Duryodhana was there? Well, he was having Karna (Kunti's other son, remember?) compete for him! Of course, Karna was an amazing archer, and there was a big chance he could win. But just then, Draupadi called out, “I'm not having a sutra do this challenge!” A sutra is another name for a suputra, and you should remember what a suputra is from the first article in this segment. Anyway, that meant Karna was kicked out, which basically meant that Arjuna had already won because aside from Karna (who was pretty much his equal), Arjuna was the best archer by far!


So yes, Arjuna had totally won the challenge, and therefore got to marry Draupadi. But there were a few complications. First of all, most people didn’t know (though some did) that the Pandavas were undercover, so they were kind of disappointed that a princess was marrying a “brahmin.” Here was the other confusing part: Draupadi married all five of the Pandavas. Why? Well, when they brought Draupadi home, Arjuna said, “Look what we brought home, Mother!” Without looking up, Kunti said, “Whatever it is, divide it up amongst yourselves evenly,” but when she turned around, she was startled to see that they had brought home Draupadi, but since she told them, they had to each marry her. Kunti didn’t think that was right, but when asking others for advice, realized that in her past life, Draupadi had asked for five husbands, so there was no stopping destiny. This answer pleased Draupadi's father too, so in the end, everything got sorted out.

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