- Religion and Philosophy
Rape of Draupadi and the Bheel Mahabharta
Draupadi and sex with the Snake God Visaku
The paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, the painter from Kerala show Draupadi the canter piece of the Mahabharata as a very beautiful woman. The epic written by the poet Vyasa in 4000 BC paints a very alluring picture of Draupadi. She was reported to have a flawless milk-white complexion with golden hair and a tiny waist that accentuated her loveliness. Her beauty was extolled by bards and seers and in modern parlance, she could be termed sexy and voluptuous. Draupadi had married 5 brothers known as the Pandva’s. These 5 brothers also had other wives, but Draupadi was a common wife to all of them. This had taken place as the mother of the Pandva’s, Kunte had made her sons promise that they would share everything in life and so when Arjuna won Draupadi in a swayamwara, she perforce had to marry all the brothers namely Yudhistra, Arjuna, Bhima, Nakula, and Shedeva.
How Draupadi felt about marrying 5 men is not discussed in the Mahabharata. The epic by Vyasa, however, has an added chapter in a version of the book available with the tribal Bheels, who reside in Central India and the state of Rajasthan. This fact has emerged only in the 19th century as the Bheels were a secluded community. The Bheels are part of Hinduism but have their own set of Gods as well. The foremost among them is Visaku, the snake god who rules the Patal or the netherworld. The snake god is greatly revered among the Bheels and the version of the Mahabharata of the Bheels known as the Bheel Mahabharata describes in detail the sexual encounter of the snake god with Draupadi.
As per the Bheel Mahabharata, the Pandva’s were away in a conference, sammelan when this episode started. It appears that Visaku was infatuated with the beauty of Draupadi and for long he pined for her. Despite her being married did not deter the snake god, who decided that come what may he would mate with her. He confided this to his wives and told them that he would return soon. He chose a time when the Pandva’s been away in the sammelan and rode his steed furiously to the palace of Draupadi.
On seeing him Draupadi asked him why he had come. The snake god replied that he was infatuated with her and come what may; he would have sex with her. Draupadi admonished the snake god saying that she feared for his life as surely Arjuna would kill him. The snake god, however, enveloped Draupadi in his arms and strongly kissed her.
Arjuna the bravest warrior of the Pandava brothers now returned and confronted Visaku. A furious battle enveloped and Arjuna was defeated. Visaku tied up Arjuna and hung him in the bedroom. He now accosted Draupadi and after repeatedly kissing she asked her to prepare a sumptuous meal for him. While Visaku reclined on the bed, Draupadi prepared a 32-course meal for the snake god. After the snake god had partaken of the meal he approached Draupadi. The Bheel Mahabharata mentions that Draupadi acquiesced and allowed Visaku to remove her sari and inner garments. He followed up with celestial sex as he repeatedly mated with Draupadi. He spent the entire night in rare transports of love, sex, and joy. The snake god left in the morning and Draupadi untied Arjuna. From the account in the Bheel Mahabharata, the amorous encounter took place right in front of Arjuna who could not do anything but witness the spectacle.
The Amorous encounter
This continued for many nights and finally, Arjuna asked Draupadi to find out how Visaku could be killed. Draupadi decided that she would do this job and one night while Visaku was inside her asked him his weakness. She came to know that Visaku only feared Karna the illegitimate son of Kunte who had a special weapon gifted to him by the Sun God. The Bheel Mahabharata records that Karna destroyed 7 heads of Visaku and then Visaku begged for his life. Karna spared him but banished him to the netherworld.
These chapters in the Bheel Mahabharata defy tradition and are not part of the original epic. Perhaps they are an interpolation later, but one cannot be sure. One reason could be that the Bheels worship the snake god Visaku and seek to glorify him.