|Winning A Bride
Wandering from one wood to another, they came to Ekachakrapura. There they found
shelter in the house of a poor Brahmin. They were now forced to beg for their daily food.
As days passed, a Brahmin traveler called at the house where the Pandavas were
staying, and remained there as a guest. He gave the news that Drupada, the king of
Panchala, was holding a swayamvara at which his daughter would choose her husband. The
Pandavas went to the swayamvara in the guise of Brahmins.
Kings of many states attended Draupadi's swayamvara. The Pandavas-in the guise of
Brahmins - sat in the midst of Brahmins in the swayamvara hall. Any one who aspired to
Draupadi's hand had to prove his skill in archery by hitting a fish-shaped target. None of
the Kshathriyas (the warriors) was able to wield the bow. Arjuna walked ups to the bow,
and hit the target. Draupadi garlanded Arjuna.
The Pandavas returned home with Draupadi. They stood at the door and cried out -
"Mother, we have brought our collection of alms." "Share it equally among
you as usual," replied Kunthi from inside the house. The Pandavas stared at one
another and began to laugh. Kunthi came out. And she was amazed to see that the alms they
had brought were a young woman!
Kunthi said in wonder, "What a thing did I say!" She then asked her sons,
"Who is this girl? How does she happen to be with you?"
Yudhishtira narrated to Kunthi the swayamvara episode.
My son, I thought you had brought rice as usual, and said those words. It is not proper,
it is adharma, for five of you to marry the same girl. Yudhishtira, you have to solve this
Yudhishtira: A mother's word is law, it cannot be disobeyed. But yet, Arjuna should marry
her, because he won her. That is just.
Arjuna: What you say is ordinary law. But it is not Dharma.Do you wish that Icommitted an
act of adharma? There is no greater act of Dharma than carrying out the wishes of one's
mother. Whatever our mother said came from a pure heart. Therefore, we must abide by her
Yudhishtira: you have told us what you think. Draupadi is to be your wife. We should know
what she has to say.
With these words, Yudhishtira turned towards Draupadi with a questioning look. She did not
speak; she merely glanced at the Pandavas and smiled; and shyly she bent down her head.
Her silence meant consent.
So she became the wife of the Pandavas.