Q: Black Draupadi?

Dominique.Thillaud thillaud at unice.fr
Wed Aug 20 10:57:35 UTC 1997

At 11:22 +0200 20/08/97, John Smith wrote:
>On Tue, 19 Aug 1997, Dominique.Thillaud wrote:
>> Dear Indologists,
>> 	The true name of DraupadI (= daughter of Drupada) is KRSNA just
>> because she's born in the same fire's sacrifice as his brother
>> DhRSTadyumna; she's no more black than Arjuna is silver-made.
>MBh 1.155.41-2, 50 in van Buitenen's translation:
>    Thereupon a young maiden arose from the center of the altar, the
>    well-favored and beautiful Daughter of the Paa~ncaalas,
>    heart-fetching, with a waist shaped like an altar. She was dark
>    ["syaamaa], with eyes like lotus petals, her hair glossy black and
>    curling...Her they called K.r.s.naa, for she was dark of complexion
>    [k.r.s.nety evaabruvan k.r.s.naa.m k.r.s.naabhuut saa hi var.nata.h].
>John Smith

	Very clear: seeing the text, I was wrong. But are we sure this
passage is not an etymological play to explain his name ? There are many
other examples of such plays (BhISma, DroNa, KRpa, &c.) in the MBh.
	This is an old debat: is the MBh historical or mythical ? The same
thing arise in Greece with the Trojan War.

	I'm working about the links between the two epics and I believe
they are very near, hence mythical ones. For example, briefly:
Draupadi had five husbands, Helen had five husbands: the pious and just
Theseus, the brutal windrunner Achilleus, the loudvoiced Menelaus and the
two brothers Paris and Deiphobos (born in an other nation as the twins are
born from Madri, an other mother).
Draupadi had an ayonisambhava, Helen is born from an egg.
Draupadi is an incarnation of Sri, Helen is the gift of Aphrodite, both
Goddesses born in the Ocean, churned or foamy, from a lotus or a shell.
Draupadi and Helen married in a svayamvara, the first a son of Indra, the
second a direct descendant of Zeus, both Thunder's Gods.
Drupada made for revenge the sacrifice where Draubadi was born, in a
parallel version Helen is not the daughter of Leda but of Nemesis,
revenge's Goddess.

	Hence I suppose nor Draupadi, nor Helen, beeing historical or
ethnical characters, but that's just my opinion.

Dominique THILLAUD
Universite' de Nice Sophia-Antipolis, France

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list