Many Healthy Greetings! Pure Motivation
Some call Mahabharat an intense Sci-Fi story of heroism and human nature. Grant Morrison’s 18 Days, a mini-series about Hindu mythology’s greatest epic, portrays that best.
What is so Sci-Fi about Mahabharat?
Stem cells (how do you think the 100 Kauravas were born?).
Temperature-controlled armor (with first-aid healing technology).
Vimanas (flying craft and spaceships).
Astras (basically weapons of mass-destruction).
Bheem’s mace (said to be 100x stronger than Thor’s hammer, with said calculations).
Arjun’s “Gandiva” Bow (it recognized him).
Alien-like creatures (dinosaurs, giants, monsters, etc.).
Rishi Markandeya (he was basically a human computer who could tell past, present, and future).
There are many more examples within the story.
Historians, Hindu and non-Hindu, are trying to figure out whether or not Mahabharat was derived from ancient Indian records of extraterrestrial activities.
you have ravaged my self honor…now I will see your destruction.
her tears breathe fire.
Aaaaaahhh Draupadi. Let’s talk about Draupadi. I just adore her character, she is one of the coolest, most complex, and complicated figures in Indian mythology.
Draupadi is pure fire- and in fact, she was born from one, emerging unexpectedly from the yajna fire her father had created to bring her brother Dhrishtadyumna to life. Dark skinned (she is also known as Krishnaa) and slender waisted with lotus shaped eyes, Draupadi was desired by many, but she would only marry the one who could win the archery challenge her father set out for her suitors at her swayamvara, which was to shoot five arrows at a revolving target, while looking only at its reflection in a bowl.
Arjuna, the Pandava Prince and second oldest of five brothers, was the only person who could do it. When he and his brothers took her home to his mother, Yudishthira, the oldest brother, said “Ma, look at what I have brought home for you”- and without looking at him, she responded, “Whatever it is, share it equally,”- and that is how Draupadi ended up with five husbands, the result of a boon she received from Shiva in her previous life.
This is the first element of what makes Draupadi unique amongst other female figures in Indian mythology. But it just starts there. Draupadi is also special because she’s fierce, selfish, loyal, expressive, angry, vengeful, determined, and very, very, human. She rejects Karna at her swayamvara because she believes his caste is below hers (Karna, by the way, is another one of my favorite characters in the Mahabharata, a true victim of fate and circumstance and misplaced loyalty- but that’s a story for another time), she sends Bhima on expeditions far far away just to bring her a special lotus, and she swears revenge on everyone who has humiliated her and her husbands.
In short, she is no wilting flower who is willing to compromise everything to save face or to save her husbands. When her dignity and self-respect are violated by Dushasana, she vows that she will not tie her hair until she has washed it with the blood from Dushasana’s chest.
She is so complex and so interesting and I have almost never seen any portrayals of her out there, whereas there are multiple retellings of the Ramayana and of Sita. Now, Sita’s an important character and she does ultimately gain agency in the end of the story after her humiliation by returning to the earth where she came from instead of suffering further humiliation, but the fact is that she is forced to go through these tests of chastity before she ultimately says no more.
Draupadi isn’t like that. She is dangerously combative and spits in the face of anyone who questions her worth as a woman. She defies all boxes and labels and I really think that’s one of the reasons people are afraid to show her in all her glory. And I really hope that this new Mahabharat series does her justice, because she is one hell of a character who continues to resonate, thousands of years after she was originally brought to the page.