“My dear Krishna, Your Lordship has protected us from a poisoned cake, from a great fire, from cannibals, from the vicious assembly, from sufferings during our exile in the forest and from the battle where great generals fought. And now You have saved us from the weapon of Ashvatthama.” (Queen Kunti, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.8.24)
विषान् महाग्नेः पुरुषाद-दर्शनाद्
मृधे मृधे ऽनेक-महारथास्त्रतो
द्रौण्य्-अस्त्रतश् चास्म हरे ऽभिरक्षिताः
viṣān mahāgneḥ puruṣāda-darśanād
mṛdhe mṛdhe ‘neka-mahārathāstrato
drauṇy-astrataś cāsma hare ‘bhirakṣitāḥ
“In life I try to maintain proper perspective. When I hear about incidents well-known to the public, I try to consider what each side is thinking. I guess it is a mental exercise of sorts, to prepare myself for possibly facing similar situations in the future.
“I carry this mentality over to reading shastra. When I reach the incident of Draupadi being disrobed in the assembly by the Kauravas, I cannot possibly fathom the intent from the perpetrators. I understand there was a rivalry. The Kauravas illegally took land that belonged to the Pandavas. Thieves never like it when you call them out on their crimes. The burglar scampers away if the spotlight shines on them.
“In the modern day, one response is to apply censorship. Make sure the public doesn’t find out. Shut down social media accounts. Remove apps from the store for the popular smartphone devices. Control the news media.
“With the Pandavas, there was unthinkable torture. Duryodhana and clan tried to kill the five brothers several times. I guess that is wicked enough, but disrobing a chaste princess in front of respectable people? That crosses the line. Did the Kauravas not feel any shame? How would they justify the incident?”
When someone is caught in a crime, the easiest defense is to simply deny. Even if you are caught in the act, by eyewitnesses or camera recording, just continue to deny:
“That’s not me. You are crazy. You are still talking about that video? It’s been widely debunked. We weren’t taking off her robe. We were just spinning Draupadi around a few times. She was enjoying it. You could actually hear her cries of jubilation. You think we would actually go through with making her naked? You really believe these crackpot conspiracy theories, don’t you?”
We see the same spinning in the form of entertainment from televised professional wrestling. You typically have the main announcer, who is the straight man. Then the commentator alongside him is the villain, or bad-guy. He always tries to defend the heel, even if they should cheat out in the open, such as by using a steel chair while the referee isn’t looking.
“What kind of accusation are you making here? I didn’t see anything wrong. Draupadi was being overly dramatic, as women tend to do. The Kauravas didn’t do anything wrong. They were saving the honor of the Pandavas, who lost a wager in the game of dice. You should be thanking the Kauravas. They went through with the terms of the wager, even though they didn’t have to. Draupadi was faking the entire time, anyway. You see how long her sari turned out to be. She was prepared for it. She played all of us.”
In truth, when someone turns towards evil, they are trapped in a giant web of lies. One illegal act after another. Anything to satisfy the desires, which in this case was ruling over a kingdom unobstructed. The Kauravas were something like foreign occupiers of a land illegally obtained.
As dharma came to the rescue for Draupadi as the unending garment, so the rightful leaders of Hastinapura, and by extension the world, would soon assume the seat of power. The Pandavas were aligned with pure goodness, through their devotion to Shri Krishna. Despite their hardships, they patiently awaited the day of judgment, which occurred on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.
Brothers of Pandava fame,
On battlefield justice came.
The many wrongs correcting,
With arrows proper directing.
Like after against wager to win,
And princess Draupadi to spin.
So that sari eventually to fall,
But saved when Krishna to call.