Sharing your loved one with another is impossible. And when you know that the object of your affection has been nursing emotions for another, jealousy and anger are inevitable. Jealousy is born out of love and the feeling that your loved one prefers someone else over you.
This tale from the Mahabharata talks about the protagonist and what led to her feeling jealous and bitter.
Draupadi sat before the huge mirror in her chamber and let her maids dress her up. Komala had dried her hair and was holding a clay bowl of the most fragrant sambrani (resin of benzoin) to perfume her hair. Anagha was putting on the ornaments, and as Draupadi saw her reflection in the mirror, she blushed. She looked like a bride; the girls had done a good job indeed. Parth would be so pleased to see her. Swara draped the beautiful red saree around her slender waist and pleated the end so that it fell neatly around Draupadi’s right arm.
Draupadi raised an eyebrow, and her eyes spoke, questioning Swara about her appearance.
“You look very beautiful Maharani. Rajkumar Arjuna will not be able to take his eyes off you today,” she teased.
Draupadi smiled, her cheeks flushed pink with embarrassment.
She had waited for this day for the past 12 years. She had married Parth, but by a quirky twist of fate, had been married to his brothers too. To prevent any bitterness amongst them, it was suggested that Draupadi would stay a year with each of her husbands. Unfortunately, Arjuna had interrupted Draupadi and Yudistir during their time together and had been sent into exile for 12 years. He was coming back today, and her heart was full of excitement. The husband she had loved the most would finally be united with her.
Her body shook in anticipation of their union and she bit her lips to control her overflowing emotions. The sound of the horses’ hooves could be heard as they galloped towards the palace and as they drew nearer, and the sounds became louder, she could hear her own heart beating wildly. The chariots screeched to a halt and the drummers who had been beating a soft tune, increased their pace, reaching a crescendo, before slowing down again to a rhythmic beat.
Parth must have gotten down from his chariot she surmised.
Just then, Chaitali, another maid, entered her chamber, her face devoid of any emotion.
Draupadi could immediately sense something was amiss.
“What’s the matter, Chaitali? Did Parth not come?” She was suddenly worried.
“No, Maharani, he has come.”
“Why the sad face, then?”
“He has brought his new bride with him.”
New bride? Who was she? Why had he brought her here? She had agreed to her husbands marrying other women, but did they not promise her, that she would be the only wife who would live with them in their palace? Why then, had Parth brought his bride home? Did he not know that she would be waiting for him?
She dropped to her seat, tears beginning to form at the cusp of her eyes. Did it mean that Parth loved this new girl more than he loved her? It must be so, or why else would he break the promise given to her?
She turned to Chaitali, “Is this new bride more beautiful than me?”
“No, Maharani…” Chaitali hesitated, “But she is younger to you.”
“Is she fair?”
Draupadi looked at her reflection in the mirror. She had been named Krishnaa because of her golden skin. But did she not look resplendent in it.
“Is she dressed more beautifully than me?” Jealousy had begun to creep into her heart. She could not bear the thought of relinquishing her place to another.
“No Maharani, she is dressed quite plainly. Not a piece of jewelry on her.”
“Oh…” Whom had Parth married? Why wasn’t she dressed as befitting a queen?
As she sat immersed in her thoughts, Ranjini, came rushing in.
“Maharani Draupadi, the new bride has arrived, everyone is awaiting your presence to welcome her,” she announced.
“Hmmm…” Draupadi waved her off with a flick of her wrist and the maid made an exit with her head bowed.
How could Parth do this to me? she thought. I loved him more than I loved any of my other husbands, and this is how he decides to reward me? Who is this girl who has snatched my Parth away from me? I will never forgive her.
Jealousy was slowly giving rise to anger and in a fit of rage she removed the kamarbandh from around her waist and threw it away, breathing heavily, eyes moist with tears.
Mother Kunti, came to call her and sensed Draupadi’s restlessness.
“Putri, come and welcome your sister,” she said simply, not wanting to rouse ruffled feathers at this time.
“Yea Maate….” bowed Draupadi politely.
With a heavy heart, she dragged her feet outside to welcome the woman who would take her place in her beloved Parth’s heart. Or maybe that place was already taken.
As she reached the door, she saw Parth, smiling at her. She did not smile back. She then looked at the bride.
“Putri, this is your sister, Subhadra,” said Kunti.
She was beautiful and young and very fair. No wonder Parth was so taken by her. But like her maid had informed, the girl was dressed very plainly. Seeing Draupadi, the girl walked up to her and touched her feet.
“Didi….” she said, “Give me your blessings and a little place in your home and heart,” she said innocently. “You shall always remain my elder sister and it will be my duty to do as you say. Consider me to be one of your many maids.”
Draupadi’s jealousy suddenly turned to love. What a sweet little thing she was. How wrong she had been about her.
Draupadi blessed her and picked her up. “No, my dear sister, you will enjoy the same place in Parth’s life that I do.” They both smiled and hugged each other.
Arjuna and Lord Krishna looked at each other and sighed with relief.
This day...last Year...J for Being Judgemental