Friendship is a bond that is far more sacred than any other bond that a human makes.
It is a bond that we make on our own terms, all the friends that we make are the people we choose to be with, the people we are always comfortable with; thus it is regarded as the most special and sacred bond.
Our mythology has many friendships that people speak about but one is regarded as the most special one of all time, the one people still talk about and that is of Krishna and Draupadi. People have given various tags to their relationship like the bond of a God and devotee; a brother and sister but it wasn’t anything like that, they shared a simple relationship which was called friendship.
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Our society is such that it can never accept a boy and a girl being friends it believes that if two of them are together it means there is a different relationship between them something far more than friendship but isn’t that something judgemental even after we call ourselves modern and highly educated and it isn’t new it has been happening for ages even during the time of Krishna and Draupadi.
There is now clear information about how Draupadi and Krishna had first met but it is said that he was a frequent visitor at Panchaal, the kingdom of King Dhrupad who was the father of Draupadi, it is well known Draupadi and her twin brother Dhristhadyumn were born from the sacrificial fire in order to avenge Dhrupad who had been humiliated by his childhood best friend Drona.
Since Dhrupad only wanted a son he was not too fond of his daughter and considered her as a burden and Draupadi had no one to share her feelings with that is when she was introduced to the young King of Dwarka, Krishna; the two developed a very strong friendship within a short span of time and Draupadi finally had a confidante.
Soon Dhrupad decided to marry her off to a respectable royal family considering the prophecy that was made at her birth, “This girl will lead to the destruction of the kuru line and change the course of Aryavarta”. He decided to hold a swayamvaar for her, though Dhrupad wanted Krishna to marry his daughter.
Krishna refused this proposal saying he considered Draupadi as his sakhi and she was born for a reason and by getting married to him she would not be able to fulfill her destiny thus he refuses to participate in her swayamvaar.
Many mythologists and historians also believe that the Krishna refused to participate in Draupadi’s swayamvaar because even though he was the King of Dwarka, he was a gwala and she was a kshatriya princess and thus this could be a questionable alliance as a kshatriya princess could not get married to a person belonging to the cowherd caste, also when Draupadi refuses to allow Karna, the son of a charioteer, to participate in her swaymvaar because even though he was a king he was a suta putra, thus she could have rejected Krishna on the same grounds and that is the reason why he refuses to participate in the swayamvaar, but this is only a theory as Draupadi would never insult a man who she called her best friend.
Krishna was a man who had stood by Draupadi her entire lifetime, no matter what she had faced he was the one who never gave up on her, even when her own family left her.
Their relationship was questioned by many, people even taunted them being in a relationship which was far more than friendship but it never affected the two of them, even on Yudhisthira’s Rajsuya Yagya Shishupal had accused them of having an affair and he even called her characterless even after that nobody, not even her own husbands spoke for her and Krishna was the one who stood up for her and punished Shishupal.
When Kunti unknowingly asked her sons to share Draupadi, it was again Krishna who had come to her rescue made her aware of the fact that it was her destiny and this would give her a place in history as never before something like this had happened with a women and he would always stand by her no matter what.
Not many are aware of this incident but Krishna’s wives were jealous of Draupadi as he always had her on his mind and he would frequently visit her thus they decided to confront him and find out why he always had Draupadi on his mind. Krishan asked them to visit Draupadi as she may answer better, to this Draupadi, simply said, she always believed that she belonged to Krishna; not once did she ever think that he belonged to her. But his wives’ possessiveness made them feel that Krishna belongs to them. If they truly knew him they would have known that, he did not belong to anyone - he belonged to everyone and everyone belonged to him, and that this is why she is so close to him and he is always thinking about her.
During Draupadi’s disrobing in the royal court of Hastinapur, while her husbands watched with their heads bowed, helpless; it was Krishna who had come to her rescue. In spite of not being physically present he still saved her from the most humiliating incident of her life.
Draupadi is regarded as Shree who is the consort of Lord Vishnu. In the Mahabharata, Draupadi and Rukmini were both two incarnations of Goddess Shree. Goddess Shree had first come out during the samudra manthan or the great ocean churning that was done to bring the “Amrit” out or the drink of immortality but before that came the beautiful Goddess Shree draped in a red sari decked up with precious ornaments when she came out of the Kshir Sagar. The Gods and asuras were mesmerised by her beauty and all lusted for her as she not only had beauty but also wealth.
Lord Vishnu had come to her rescue yet again and she chose him as her consort as he had accepted her for what she truly was, and not for what she had. Thus when Lord Vishnu took the human form of Lord Ram, it was Goddess Shree who was born as Sita. And when Lord Vishnu was born as Krishna, Goddess Shree took the form of Draupadi and Rukmini.
Thus Lord Vishnu and Goddess Shree have been companions for eternity even on her deathbed Draupadi had realised that all her life the friend she had taken for granted was the one who never gave up on her and stood by her when she was completely alone.
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Draupadi and Krishna set an example of a friendship where one can love a person, as a friend, just as much as you would love your lover and still maintain a platonic relationship. They both were two strong individuals who shared the same dreams and ambitions. Both wanted to establish a “Dharma Rajya”, and thus like any best friends would do, they shared their hopes, dreams and fear with each other, their relationship was an unconditional one which did not fit into the stereotypical age old companionship standards that have been set by the society.
Their bond just showcases one thing; it was a friendship of equals, an understanding which does not occur in marriages too, thus we all deserve a friend like Krishna and Draupadi in our life who is willing to stand with you no matter how edgy your journey gets, who will never give up on you even when the whole world stands up against you. It must be a friend you consider as a blessing of a lifetime.
Edited by Diya Mathew