Draupadi’s Swayamvar

Draupadi was the daughter of Drupada, king of Panchala. Dhristadyumna was her brother. Drupada who had once been defeated by Aijun decided that a great warrior like him would be the best match for Draupadi. Drupada had earlier believed the Pandavas to be dead but had also heard rumours that they had escaped from the wax house. So, he hoped that Aijun would attend the Swayamvar.
Draupadi’s Swayamvar had been arranged in the city of Kampilaya. Many princes had often dreamt about marrying this world renowned beautiful princess. News of the Swayamvar also reached the Pandavas. They decided to witness the Swayamvar along with the Brahmins going in groups to Kampilya.
The entire city of Kampilya had been decorated for the occasion with arches and festoons. There was a joyous and festive atmosphere. People put on their best clo this and excitedly talking about the royal wedding.
The marriage hall wore a magnificent look. In the midst of the hall, a big platform had been built and a huge vessel of water was placed at the centre. Right above the vessel was a revolving disc with a fish hooked to it. The prince aspiring to marry Draupadi had to string his bow and with it, shoot an arrow to hit the eye of the fish and that too, by looking at its reflection in the water kept below.
Drupada had purposely set up such an extremely difficult test for the archer for he knew that only a hero like Arjun would be able to accomplish the feat.
Many valiant princes had gathered there to prove their skill and win the hand of Draupadi.
Duryodhana, Kama, Jarasandha the king of Magadh, Shishupala, Shalya and many, many more able kings and princes were there. The Pandavas stood in a corner amidst a group of Brahmins.
At the auspicious moment, Draupadi, looking all the more dazzling as a bride-to-be, entered the hall. All the suitors were anxious. “Will Draupadi be mine?” was their thought. But was it so easy? Didn’t they have to win the contest?
The kings and princes rose one after the other to string the bow. Some couldn’t even lift it. Even if they could, one look at the rapidly revolving disc made them cross-eyed. They all gave it up. Then Kama stood up and walked
towards the dais.- But Draupadi denied him the chance saying that she could not possibly marry the son of a charioteer. Feeling small, Kama returned to his seat. Finally, it looked as if Draupadi’s Swayamvar would not take place at all.
Amidst the murmur of disappointment, stood up Arjun, seeking permission to contest. “How, could a Brahmin succeed when valiant princes have failed?” ridiculed the Kshatriyas. But impressed by Arjun’s noble look, Drupada gave him the permission to contest. Arjun was delighted. He stringed the bow and concentrating on the reflection of the fish in the water, he aimed his arrow. The arrow directly hit the eye of the fish.
While the Brahmins and others shouted with joy and excitement, the defeated princes showed their anger on Drupada. “Why did you allow this? Can
a princess of Draupadi’s stature marry a poor Brahmin,” was their ridicule. Some threatened to kill Drupada. Some protested loudly about being insulted. Amidst this confusion, Bhima and Yudhistira were afraid that someone might recognise them. Meanwhile Draupadi with love shining in her eyes for the valiant Arjun, garlanded him. Lord Krishna and his brother Balaram who had also graced the occasion, tried to pacify the princes but in vam. As the uproar continued Aijun and his brothers along with Draupadi quietly slipped out of the marriage hall. Seeing them departing, Drupada asked his son to follow them to know their true identity.
It was Arjun who had gained the hand of Draupadi and only he should have wed her. But destiny willed otherwise. The Pandavas returning to their abode, called out to their mother, “Mother, come and see our alms for today.” And Kunthi also called out from inside the house, “Whatever you have got, please share it among yourselves.” But when Kunthi actually saw Draupadi, the enormity of what she said, struck her. But she extended a warm welcome to Draupadi.
Dhristadyumna who had followed the Pandavas, closely observed them and he was delighted at what he saw. He returned to his father and told him that the five Brahmins were none other than the Pandavas and that Kunthi was also with them. Drupada promptly invited the Pandavas and Kunti to Kampilya and on Kunthi’s instructions, gave his daughter in marriage to all the five brothers. Lord Krishna and Balaram witnessed the marriage.
Pandavas felt very happy at the outcome of events because they had the support of Drupada and most important of all, Krishna, the universal protector was with them.
When news about Draupadi’s Swayamvar reached Hastinapur, Duryodhana’s hatred and jealousy knew no bounds. His bitter enemies, who, he thought, were burnt to ashes in Varanavati, were very much alive. To add to this, they were married to Draupadi and also gained the friendship of Drupada and Krishna.
Duryodhana found the situation unbearable. When he consulted Kama, his friend advised him to wage a war against the Pandavas, a conduct befitting a warrior. Duryodhana after taking the consent of his blind father, broached the topic with Bhishma, Drona and other elders but they did not support him on this. Instead, they advised him “Don’t nurture any hatred towards your cousin brothers. It will only demean you. You will also lose the good-will of the people. Treat the Pandavas well. After all, they have not done any injustice to you. Give them half the kingdom and end this enemity.”
Neither Dhrithrashtra nor Duryodhana could go against the advice of Bhishma and Drona. So, reluctantly, they sent Vidura to the Pandavas to bring them back to Hastinapur.
Drupada had never liked Duryodhana. He knew of Duryodhana’s plots to kill the Pandavas. He therefore objected to the Pandavas going back to Hastinapur but on Krishna’s advice, agreed that they should claim their kingdom.
In the end, the Pandavas and Draupadi entered Hastinapur to a tumultuous welcome. People were < >verjoyed to see the Pandavas alive and .1 Iso to have them as their rulers. Only the Kauravas found it unpalatable and were biding their time to avenge the Pandavas.

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