Swayamvara Parva is the twelfth upa parva in the first maha parva, named as Adi parva, in the epic Mahabharata. Vyshampayana had narrated the historical events to Janamejaya, on his queries:

Where did the Pandavas halt for Draupadi swayamvara?

The five Pandava brothers with their mother Kunti had stayed in the house of a potter, in the capital of Panchala. They had dressed like Brahmin priests. On the day of the Draupadi swayamvara, all the five Pandava brothers, Yudhishtira, Bheema, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva had moved to the palace of Drupada, disguised as Brahmin priests and walked along with other Brahmin priests and seated among working Brahmins.When they had left Kunti from the house of the potter, they told her to bring alms for her to eat that day’s food.

Arjuna aiming the eye of the hung fish by looking at its reflection on the oil in a vessel kept below it, with God Krishna watching it
Arjuna aiming the eye of the fish

Who had the leading role in the Draupadi swayamvara?

Drishtadyumna was the elder brother of Draupadi and had lead the leading role of her swayamvara. The town of Panchala had been decorated to give a gorgeous look.The roads were readied with proper arrangements for the movement of any troops, which enters the Panchala kingdom with elephants or chariots. For housing the royal guests according to their status, new tents had been built by Drishtadyumna with his kinsmen. The venue of the swayamvara had been arranged by expert architects so that the spectators would not be hurt at any cost. They expected different types of royal families, to assemble with their weapons since some of the kings always used to bear weapons attached to their body. Drupada advised his son Drishtadyumna to make every effort to preserve peace in the premises for the smooth finishing of the swayamvara of Draupadi.  

What was the main puzzle or challenge in Draupadi swayamvara?

A disc was hung over a wide vessel containing oil. The disc was like a big vehicle tyre, and it had a hole in the middle. Exactly over the middle hole, one fish was hanged. The prince could woo Draupadi only if he arrowed the eye of the fish by looking into the image, reflected in the oil below. After few days, almost all seats were full, and the time to begin the challenge had been announced by Drishtadyumna. He had elaborated the procedure to get selected in the swayamvara. Many kings tried but failed. From Hastinapur, Duryodhana with his brothers had attended the Draupadi swayamvara. Duryodhana also failed. At noon, all the assembled kings proved failure and nobody could get success. Then Drupada found very much grieved. Drishtadyumna had called for any willing one to try the bow.

Then, Arjuna from the middle of the Brahmins, stood up and marched to the spot. He prayed to his mother mentally and tried the arrows looking into the oil aimed to the eye of the fish and showed the proof of the victory. Then there was a great cheer and the Brahmins apploaded the young boy. Draupadi was very happy to see the strong armed handsome boy and put on his neck, the garland that her maid was holding since morning.

Suddenly, there were great oppositions and few kings felt ashamed due to their failure. They argued the swayamvara was not open for Brahmin boys as it was only allowed for the royal family members. Bheema whad expected such protests and by plucking the trees from the nearby area, he started to fight with his opponents. Arjuna also started to fight the rebels. Yudhishtira had started towards the house of the potter in order to serve food for his mother. Nakula and Sahadeva also followed Yudhishtira.

After driving away the kings who opposed Arjuna, Bheema and Arjuna also started to the potter’s house. When Draupadi followed them, the assembled kings started disbursing to their palaces. The royal guests were treated with due honor by Drishtadyumna and his father, Drupada. Drupada had requested with Shalya, Jayadratha and others to keep peaceful atmosphere in Panchala town.   

Who recognized the Pandavas in disguise in Draupadi swayamvara?

Krishna with Balarama had come from Dwaraka for the swayamvara. They were sitting together in an elevated position to have a wide look of all. Krishna had recognized Pandavas, particularly Arjuna and mentioned to Balrama regarding their identities.

Who fought with Bheema and Arjuna?

Shalya and Karna had started fighting with Bhema and Arjuna. Duryodhana had driven away the other Brahmins. Bheema had plucked some trees and fought against the furious kings. Arjuna had defeated Karna. When the other kings gathered to start a war against Arjuna,  Krishna had advised them to leave the battle and allowed them to go out. Krishna had convinced them and the swayamvara had ended peacefully in the afternoon.

Where did Arjuna take Draupadi after swayamvara?

With great difficulty, Bheema and Arjuna had left the swayamvara venue and Draupadi had followed them. They had moved towards the house of the potter where Kunti was waiting inside that house.

Why Draupadi had to be the wife of five Pandava brothers?

Yudhishtira with Nakul and Sahadev had arrived at the potter’s house with their collections of alms.Then Bheema and Arjuna had also reached there.Yudhishtira had announced loudly as Arjuna had arrived after that day’s gain. As they had arrived after the day’s collection works, without looking towards the children mother Kunti told them to share their collection equally among themselves. Yudhistira and his brothers agreed and replied positively for that proposal.

Then, all the five Pandava brothers had entered house and Draupadi followed them. The Pandava brothers spoke with their mother explaining the success of swayamvara. Yudhistira had decided with Arjuna to make Draupadi as common wife to all the five brothers to make their mother’s wish to be true. Initially, Draupadi protested the idea but later she had been convinced by the Pandava brothers.Yudhishtira had convinced all and Kunti. Thus Draupadi had to be the wife of the five Pandava brothers.

Who visited the Pandava brothers?

Krishna and Balarama had visited the potter’s house. They visited aunt Kunti and her sons, the five Pandava brothers. They discussed about the burning of lacquer palace and life later. Krishna and Balarama felt happy to see Pandavas but they had left the place to keep their identity under secrecy.   

What happened to Drupada after swayamvara?

After leaving the swayamvara venue, Draupadi had followed Arjuna. They slept in the house of the potter. Drishtadyumna secretly followed their path and hiding himself found out their secrets. When they had slept, Drishtadyumna had gone to his father, Drupada and reported him about Pandava brothers and their heroism. 

What was the main discussion after Draupadi swayamvara?

People discussed regarding the marriage of Draupadi. She was born by the ritual fire and her marriage was also strange. Drupada was happy to know his sons in law would be the Pandava brothers.

What is the moral lesson in Swayamvara parva?

कन्या वरयते रूपं माता वित्तं  पिता श्रुतम् ।
 बान्धवाः कुलमिच्छन्ति मिष्टान्ने इतरेजनाः ॥

Meaning: The bride desires for facial beauty of the bridegroom. Her mother wishes for his wealth. Her father desires his educational status. The relatives long for her lineage to be well reputed. All others require good feast to eat.

Drupada with his son Drishtadyumna had arranged the swayamvara of Draupadi in such manner as described in the wedding plot of Sri Rama. But the plot was different in certain items. There was a fish to aim the arrow. Arjuna had to look into the oil for its image. Druing the previous war with Arjuna, Drupada had understood the skills of the young boy and desired him to be the bride groom for his daughter. He prayed to God and got his desires fulfilled.   

Next post, Mahabharata: Vaivahika parva would be more interesting.

Mahabharata: Viduragamana Parva would be presented separately in another article.

It is humbly prayed for the blessings of God Krishna upon us.

Readers may share this story with children, friends and family. 

Share this article: