Story of Draupadi: The Epitome of Femininity, Suffering, and Divinity

Draupadi, also known as Panchali, was the most beautiful and heroic princess in the Mahabharata. She was the daughter of Panchala King Drupad and the common wife of the Pandavas. Draupadi was one of the panch kanyas, or five virgins, of Hindu mythology who helped Lord Krishna establish dharma. She was the woman of unbending will, pride, anger, knowledge of dharma, and utmost devotion towards Krishna in the Vedic story. Draupadi suffered a lot in the great epic Mahabharata and remained an enigmatic woman of true substance. Thus the story of Draupadi began.

The Birth Story of Draupadi: Nemesis of the Kauravas

Draupadi was the queen of Hastinapura, and Indraprastha was the daughter of King Drupada. Drupada performed a great sacrificial fire, or yagna, to obtain a son to avenge Drona for his humiliation.

However, a divine voice announced that a beautiful daughter would be given to him to establish dharma after the birth of Dristadyumna from the Yagna.

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Previous Birth Story of Draupadi

Draupadi, the heroine of the Mahabharata, has many different stories about her previous life. Sage Ved Vyasa narrated Draupadi’s previous birth story to the Pandavas before they met her.


Once, an illustrious sage had a graceful and charming daughter. However, her past actions turned her life into a misfortune. She was beautiful and chaste, but she could not get a husband. Therefore, she devoted her time to worshiping Lord Shiva, began to practice ascetic penances, and desired to obtain a husband. She gratified Lord Shiva with her devotion and severe asceticism.

Lord Shiva asked, “Ask for a boon you desire the most!”

She repeatedly said, “O Lord, please give me a husband with all the qualities. Lord Shiva replied to her, “O blessed one, you shall have five husbands from the Bharata lineage.”

She was shocked to hear the boon and asked, “O Lord, I desire only one husband.”

Lord Shiva again addressed her, saying, “O girl, you asked me for five husbands and shall obtain them in another life.”


According to Indian folklore, the story of Draupadi is divine. She was a beautiful princess in her previous life. She went to roam and play sports in a forest with her friends. In the forest, she saw a woman with five husbands. The princess found it weird and laughed at the woman; therefore, she cursed her to have the same in the next birth.

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In another account of the Mahabharata, Draupadi’s name was Nalayani, or Indrasenaa, daughter of Nala and Damayanti and wife of Sage Maudgalya, or Mudgala. She was a chaste woman and was devoted to him. Therefore, Sage Mudgala asked her for a boon.

Nalayani asked her husband to take five different forms and have sex with her until she was satisfied.

Sage Mudgala granted her wish and did exactly as she asked for many years. However, Nalayani was not satisfied with her conjugal love for her husband and wanted more.

The demand for more sex and dissatisfaction angered the sage. Therefore, he cursed her wife to have five husbands in her next life and confronted the consequences.

Characteristics of Draupadi

  1. Draupadi in Dwapara Yuga is considered the most beautiful woman in Bharat Rashtra.
  2. She had black and large eyes, like lotus petals.
  3. She had a dark complexion, like Krishna; therefore, her birth name was Krishna.
  4. She had blue and curly locks.
  5. Her nails were as beautiful and bright as copper.
  6. She had fair eyebrows.
  7. Her bosoms were large, and she had a slim waist.
  8. Thus, she was indeed as divine as the celestial beings.
  9. Draupadi’s body fragrance was like a blue lotus and could be perceivable from a distance of 2 miles.

Therefore, her beauty had no equal on earth.

Draupadi: Wife of the Pandavas

Kunti, wife of King Pandu and mother of the Pandavas, had asked his sons to share everything equally. When Arjuna won Draupadi as an alms from the Swayamvara and brought her home, he asked his mother to see her. Kunti, without knowing what he brought, asked Arjuna to share her equally with his brothers.

This was how Panchali, the daughter of King Drupad of Panchal, became the common wife of the Pandavas.

Sage Vyasa narrated another story of Draupadi’s marriage with the Pandavas. He told her that her marriage with the five Pandavas was the result of her former life’s penance.

Draupadi had prayed to Shiva to have a husband with five qualities.

Lord Shiva told her that it was hard to get a husband with the five qualities that Draupadi in her former life wanted.

However, she insisted on Lord Shiva, and finally, he granted her the boon.

In your next life, you will get married to five brothers with the qualities you want in each of them.

Why Did Draupadi Have Five Souls in Her Body?

Draupadi is the most celebrated and uncommon figure and character in the epic Mahabharata and the entire Indian scriptures and their Vedic story.

Before the marriage of Draupadi, Drupad’s father was confused due to polyandry, or the marriage of her daughter to more than one husband. Polyandry was considered sinful. Veda Vyasa, an avatar of Lord Vishnu, gave him divine vision to see the presence of five goddesses inside Draupadi.

Bhaarati Devi was the carrier soul of Shyamala Devi, Usha, Shachi, and Parvati. Their eternal husbands were Vayu, husband of Bharati Devi; Yamaraj, husband of Shyamala Devi; Indra, husband of Shachi; and Shiva, husband of Parvati.

Therefore, Bheema, Yudhishthira, Arjuna, Nakula, Sahadeva, the five Pandavas, and Ashwatthaama were the moola amshas of the male gods.

How Did Draupadi Bear and Channel the Five Souls of Goddesses Inside Her Body?

Once in the divine world, Shyamala Devi, Shachi, Usha, and Parvati, wives of Yama, Indra, Ashwini Kumaras, and Lord Shiva, flirted with their husbands intentionally in front of Brahma.

Lord Brahma was the father figure to all the gods and goddesses, and this act was considered against shastras and indiscipline.

Brahma, upon seeing such disgrace and excessive flirting by the goddesses with their husbands, cursed all four ladies to be born as humans under the protection of other men.

Gods and goddesses enjoy the company of their niyata pati, or patni; however, humans do not have the same partner at every birth. Therefore, the other men in this scenario were indigestible to the goddess.

Goddesses Prayed to Bharati Devi to Remain Unblemished

Marrying other men in their births as humans terrorized the goddesses They went on to perform penance for Bharati Devi as she and her husband, Vayu, bore the boons to stay blemish-free.

However, the pain of suffering and the curse would remain the same, but through the contact of Bharati Devi, the goddesses would be unblemished.

Due to the severe penance, Bharati Devi appeared, and the goddesses narrated the whole story and the curse.

In another account, the goddesses unified their souls together in Parvati and tricked Brahma to see if he could recognize them or not. This incident, too, made them earn the curse of being born as humans three times in one body.

Due to this curse, they had to be born four times.

They prayed to Bharati Devi and expressed their wish to be present within her and to stay unblemished.

If Goddess Bharati Devi was born as a human, she would unify with Vayu, and that was the eternal law of Lord Vishnu.

Bharati Devi was pleased with the penance of the goddess and accepted their request.

Four Goddesses: First Birth as a Brahmana Girl

The four goddesses took their first birth as Brahmana girls. She performed penance for Lord Rudra. Bharati Devi’s part of the soul prayed to Lord Vishnu, present in Lord Rudra.

However, the other four parts of the souls of the goddesses, Shyamala, Shachi, Usha, and Parvati, prayed to Lord Rudra.

They earned boons to be united with their niyata husbands in human births and serve Lord Vishnu.

Four Goddesses: Second Birth as an Indrasena

The four goddesses took their second birth as Indrasena or Nalanandini, daughter of Nala and Damayanti. The goddesses were married to Sage Mudgala. Sage Mudgala has the presence of Vayu due to the penance he did for Brahma.

However, sometime later, Sage Mudgala went for sannyasa to perform penance. Thereafter, Indrasena performed penance for Lord Shiva.

Again, the soul of Bharati Devi did penance to Lord Vishnu, present in Lord Shiva.

Shiva appeared before Indrasena as a child and asked the four goddesses what boon they desired. Lord Vishnu, present within him, asked Goddess Bharati Devi for the same.

Strangely, five voices came out from Indrasena: Bharati, Shyamala, Parvati, Usha, and Shachi, and they said, “Patim Dehi.”

Five Boons of the Goddesses

Thereafter, Shri Hari, present in Lord Rudra, gave Bharati Devi the boon of unifying with her Niyata Pati, Vayu. Lord Rudra granted boons to get husbands for the other four goddesses.

All four goddesses forgot the curse and mistook the boon that they would be married to five different husbands as different women, except Bharati Devi.

Soon, they realized that they had to face the curse of Brahma and live in one body. The human bodies of the five goddesses had to marry five husbands, contacting another man and risking blemishes on their souls.

Indra Cursed Lord Shiva

They realized what the boons truly meant and started crying. Lord Indra appeared before them within Indrasena and asked the reason for the sorrow. Indrasena pointed her finger at the boy, a form of Lord Shiva.

Unknowingly, Indra scolded the boy form of Shiva. Lord Shiva appeared before Indra as Rudra and cursed him to take birth as a human and be married as one of Indrasena’s husbands in the next life.

He told Indra that those who scolded or insulted him without knowing him were waiting under a mountain for their next birth, pointing at Vayu, Yama, and the Ashwini Twins.

Why Could Parvati Amsha Inside Draupadi Not Be United with Rudra Inside Ashwatthaama?

Lord Brahma witnessed the incident and realized that Rudra was lying to Indra about Vayu. He knew Vayu was an unblemished soul who never spoke harshly to anyone. Rudra was secretly discussing the next birth with the other gods under the mountain.

Lord Brahma Cursed Rudra

Lord Brahma cursed Shiva to be born as a Brahmana and to suffer defeat at the hands of Arjuna, the human incarnation of Indra. He would never be united with his wife Parvati’s soul at that birth.

Lord Brahma cursed Shiva to become immortal and wait for his unification with Parvati. Thus, the story of Draupadi took place.

Four Goddesses: Third Birth as a Draupadi

The four goddesses and Bharati Devi were born as Draupad and became the common wives of:

  • Yudhishthira, the moola avatar of Yamaraj, is the husband of Shyamala.
  • Bheema, the moola avatar of Vayu, is the husband of Bharati Devi.
  • Arjuna, the moola avatar of Indra, is the husband of Shachi.
  • Nakula-Sahadev is the moola avatar of the Ashwini Twins, Drasu, and Nasatya, husbands of Usha.

Ashwathama, the moola avatar of Rudra, remained unmarried and immortal due to the curse of Brahma and was defeated by Arjuna in the Mahabharata.

Four Goddesses: Fourth Birth as Chandraa

According to the puranic sense, Draupadi’s marriage with the five Pandavas was not polyandrous. It was a divine union of the goddesses with their respective husbands.

However, Draupadi, in her next birth, was born as Chandra(a), the final incarnation of the four goddesses.

Special Rules and the Life of Draupadi

After the marriage of Draupadi with the five Pandavas, certain rules were made.

  • Every Pandava brother was allowed to share special time and a bed with Draupadi for one year. The other four brothers had to wait for the next four years to remain with her.
  • After one year, Draupadi had to do penance to purify herself so that she could be with her other husbands.
  • The Pandavas were allowed to marry other princesses but could not be part of Draupadi’s palace and family.
  • She had to be queen of the empire wherever and whenever the Pandavas ruled.
  • If Draupadi was with one Pandava, the other four would not enter her chamber for any reason, and if that happened, she would have to retire for 12 years in exile, living as a celibate.

Sons of Draupadi

Draupadi bears five sons from each Pandava brother. They were called Pandavaputras, Panchakumaras, Draupadeyas, UpaPandavas, and so on.

  • Prativindhya, from Yudhishthira
  • Sutasoma, from Bheema
  • Shrutakarma from Arjuna
  • Shatanika, from Nakula
  • Shrutasena from Sahadeva

They all died at the hands of Ashwatthama on the last night of the Kurukshetra War, while they were asleep.

Death of Draupadi

After the Mahabharata war, Draupadi became the queen of Hastinapur and ruled for 36 years. Lord Krishna died after 36 years and went to Vaikuntha.

Sage Vyasa advised the Pandavas to retire from the kingdom, as they had fulfilled the purpose of their lives.

Yudhishthira crowned Parikshit as the king of Hastinapura, son of Abhimanyu, grandson of Arjuna and Subhadra, sister of Krishna, and Balaram.

Thereafter, he left for Mount Meru. Draupadi joined the Pandavas. While crossing the Himalayas, Draupadi fell and died. She was the first to die.

Draupadi Died First

When Bheema asked Yudhishthira why Draupadi died first, Yudhishthira told him that Draupadi was biased. She loved Arjuna the most, and thus she got the fruit of her karma.

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Archana Das
Archana Das
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