Subtle shades of dharma

Draupadi raised a legal point that had to be settled when she heard that Yudhishtira had lost her in the wager and that she was henceforth a slave to the Kauravas. Throughout, Draupadi maintains that she has not been won legally by the Kauravas and that she is not bound by the outcome of the game of dice, pointed out Sri B. Damodhara Dikshitar in a discourse. First of all, the entire game was not valid on many counts. It was a plot to entice Yudhishtira to play against the veteran Sakuni, instead of Duryodhana. Everyone knew that Yudhishtira had no chance of winning. She could not understand how anyone could have pledged his wife in the game. So she wanted to know if Yudhishtira had lost himself first and then offered her or whether he pledged her first and then offered himself as the bet. But before she could get an answer, she was dragged to the court. Even in that desperate situation, Draupadi put forth her arguments to the entire assembly fearlessly and appealed for basic justice. How can the assembly allow such a dishonour to be perpetrated against women who are to be treated with respect? Is there no one present to put a stop to this atrocious act that forebodes disaster for all?

She proclaimed that when the elders in the assembly, who are the custodians of truth and righteousness, fail to uphold justice, they lose their right to be honoured and venerated. She then asked Bhishma, well known for his wisdom and learning, to clarify whether she was a slave. Bhishma said that he was at a loss to give a proper answer to her question since the subtle shades of dharma are difficult to analyse. One cannot gamble someone after he has already lost himself. But there is also the fact that a man has right over his wife.

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Printable version | Jun 18, 2021 12:04:10 AM |

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