Three Symbolic Aspects To The Draupadi Sari Incident

[Draupadi sari]“The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself to be the doer of activities, which are in actuality carried out by nature.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.27)

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प्रकृतेः क्रियमाणानि
गुणैः कर्माणि सर्वशः
अहङ्कार-विमूढात्मा
कर्ताहम् इति मन्यते

prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni
guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ
ahaṅkāra-vimūḍhātmā
kartāham iti manyate

1. Man is ultimately helpless

This is a lesson I never seem to remember. After all, without some effort no result will manifest. Though it is easy for Him, Bhagavan still had to do something in order to create the universes. As Vishnu, He rests comfortably on the bed created by Anantadeva, His number one servant. While exhaling, the universes manifest, and when subsequently inhaling, everything returns into Him. The time in between is where we find ourselves at present.

There is illusion created from success. The trip to my parents’ house took place through my effort. I got in the car, turned it on, and drove it on the highway. There wasn’t some higher force guiding the way. I landed the job I wanted because of studying and preparing for the interview. I can alter my health for the better through proper diet and exercise.

[diet]The underlying factor is that someone must give sanction. Not every person who gets into a car successfully reaches their destination. Many people could be applying for that position, but only one will get it. Some people will never get a slimmed down waistline, no matter how much they exercise.

2. Krishna is Ananta

Life is limited, which means that everything within that experience has the same restriction. If I can only keep the body for so long a time, it means that my money, my car, my clothes, and all of my other possessions will only stay around for a fixed duration. In Sanskrit this is known as anta, or the end.

Shri Krishna is Ananta. He is also without beginning, anadi. No one can trace out His origin, as He is the beginning of the entire universe. He is also the end and beyond it. Try to accurately measure His properties and you will fail. There is no fixed height or weight. His strength is unlimited, as is His mercy towards the devotees.

3. Asuras can never remove His influence

Freedom is nice, but it can be exercised in a host of directions. While a particular nation may boast of having a democratic-style government, the issue remains that the bad guys have the potential for ascending to power. Those who openly violate life and property, who have no compassion towards a child just born, who do not respect the laws involving entry into the country, can get elected to power through verbal manipulation of the innocent voting public.

In the same way, not every person will choose the Divine way of life. Those going strongly in the other direction are known as asuras, and one of their goals is to remove God entirely from this world. They try their best to stop any type of worship, even if it should occur within the same family. They create such a dangerous environment that the saintly class is too afraid to speak the truth. They go into hiding.

Yet God is at the center. He is within the heart of the sinner as well as the saint. He can no more be removed from this world than the existence itself. The asuras can try as much as they want, but they are still subject to the aforementioned rule pertaining to the doer.

The case of Draupadi and her sari is illustrative in these areas. Though a factual historical event documented in the Sanskrit work known as the Mahabharata, since the Supreme Lord is directly involved there is always accompanying symbolism of significance.

Draupadi is an innocent princess who unfortunately gets caught up in a rivalry between two families that are related as cousins. She is the collateral to a lost wager, and the winning side, who cheated, wants to strip her naked in front of an assembly of dignitaries.

At first the princess tries to prevent the calamity herself. Yet she is no match for the strong warriors on the other side. She is losing the tug-of-war match, and fast. Realizing that she has no other way, she surrenders to the Supreme Lord, who is also known as Govinda.

[Draupadi sari]Shri Krishna takes the form of the sari and transfers the ananta property to it. Thus no matter how much the fiends try, they cannot fully remove the garment from the wife of the Pandavas. Draupadi is saved, and the asuras get further proof that they cannot do any harm to the Supreme Lord. Unfortunately, they require more lessons on the same.

In Closing:

Kauravas pulling more and more,

Stripping Draupadi naked for.

To prevent calamity herself trying,

Futile effort against force applying.

Finally when to Shri Krishna to turn,

The desired result to earn.

Without end like Him sari extended,

Interests of devotees always defended.

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