Kunti and Draupadi … amazingly similar upbringing, but leading to such different personalities. Both of them grew up without mothers. In Kunti it resulted in a secretive and stoic personality. Her father Shura, a Vrishi leader in a spirit of generosity ‘gifts’ his daughter Pritha, later known as Kunti, to his childless friend Kuntibhoja. She grows up lonely, and when just a teenager, she is ordered by her foster father to “sewa karo” the eccentric and irascible Durvasa. In fact her foster father tells her that if she slips up, both the clans would be dishonored. Durvasa was much feared, unreasonable and prone to curse people at the drop of a hat. In these days it would be called child abuse! ….
I also wonder why neither Shura nor Kuntibhoj invited her back after Pandu died. She bought her sons up in a hostile court. Wonder how it impacted her already reserved personality?
She was lovely, Pritha means buxom (the ancient parameter of beauty). Also four gods and one mortal did not turn down her invitation … so one can safely assume that she was irresistible.
Is it just me or has it occurred to others how she managed to keep Karna’s birth a secret? The courts of both Shura and Kuntibhoj, the maids, the waiting women all blissfully slept through Karna’s birth and abandonment. Well! Parental neglect of colossal order.
Like Ahalya, she is curious and invites Surya. He comes, and though she is hesitant, he cajoles her, browbeats her, and threatens to consume/burn the kingdom if he is not satisfied. Rather like Indra who browbeats Ahalya when she tells him she can see though his disguise. She gives in, only after she obtains two boons – that she would be virgo intacta and her son would have special powers. She was intelligent, did not sacrifice all for a tumble in the hay, even if it was a God she was tumbling in said hay with.
Smart woman our Kunti was, when Durvasa tells her to ask for a boon, she says : Grant me a boon that will be of use to me in my future. I can’t see the future, you can.
She is faced with a strange situation. Her husband is impotent, and he exhorts her to give him sons from other men. Wonder what went on in her mind at that time? Granted she already had an illegitimate son – but being virgo intacto, she would have dismissed that, brushed it under the carpet.
Pandu first commands her to do this – give him sons from other men, she refuses. He cites scriptures, she refuses. Finally when he grovels at her feet, she agrees. To add insult to injury he also begs her to give Madri the mantra.
The description of hers that sticks to my mind is “nathavati anathavat “ Husbanded yet unprotected.
She is the dark one, also known as Krishnaa. Born from fire and as fiery as they come. She’s born full grown, and poets wax eloquent on her seductive beauty, her temper and her pride. Snob she definitely was – and was definitely not humbled by her strange polyandrous marriage. She wore it like a badge of honour.
Five husbands … and yet none rose to rescue her during her disrobing.
Brilliant mind – she questioned the court on how could Yudhisthir have wagered her when he had lost himself. She screamed at the elders in the court for witnessing and allowing her disrobing.
Something that I was not aware of, but found in my reading: She was given three boons Dhritrashtra, she asked for her husbands’ freedom, their weapons and then refused the third. She could have asked for anything, including her palace which she loved, but did not. Proud lady, I admire her.
May be she did not need her husbands’ protection; she was a force to reckon with on her own.
Something about Draupadi that one wonders about:
She had a lonely girlhood, with just her brother as a companion. Her father’s wives and other women of the court envied her beauty and feared her fiery nature.
She was attracted to Karna – but insulted him to protect her twin brother, who would have gone to war to avenge the perceived insult of his sister being married to a charioteer’s son.
Won by Arjuna, but shared by him and his brothers
Wagered in a game of dice
Had children but was never a mother to them.
This would have broken a lesser woman. Not her. She was very strong
One a side note, one wonders what she thought of her husbands, renowned warriors, sons of Gods and yet … so weak in comparison to her.
And what her relationship with Kunti was … Kunti stayed back with Gandhari rather than live with her sons and Draupadi.
A similar post with much more scholarship and deeper understanding of them than mine by Pradip Bhattacharya. Thank you Sanjana Iyer for the link.