Draupadi and Karna are two of the major characters in the epic Mahabharata. The significance of Draupadi and Karna is more than just a story. The unparallel story is somehow connected inside the vastness of Indian scriptures. It’s not just about Mahabharata but other major Puranas too. The common points in their stories are reincarnation and curses. Draupadi and Karna were both cursed by the time. Draupadi got the most miserable life and Karna too got the same. However, there is more to it, they were cursed in their previous births too. Surprised?
Here is the list for Draupadi’s previous birth.
Let’s explore the mystery of Draupadi and Karna and their unparalled previous birth stories .
In Indian scriptures, reincarnation plays a great role. Draupadi’s previous birth is somewhat mysterious, before that let’s understand Karna’s previous birth. There are two epics in India, one is Ramayana and the other, Mahabharata. These two epics are connected with stories of reincarnations. Many of these incarnations are not mentioned directly in the scriptures. However, a proper inference is needed in order to decode these. In Ananda Ramayana Sara Khanda Sarga 8, Rama had said to the monkey King Bali that.
“I have slain you after seeing your ill conduct. Still, you will become a hunter at the end of Dwapara Yuga and remember your previous enmity and pierce my foot in the place Prabhasa. Then you will get a better lokas being free from the cycle of birth and death”.
In Dvapar Yuga, Bali reincarnated as this hunter and killed Krishna who was the reincarnation of Rama. The main reason for reincarnation was Karma. This reference is made just to show a complex relationship, which you will learn at the end of this Article.
In physics, the law of Motion is stated as ‘In an action, there is an equal and opposite reaction’. Indian philosophy is majorly about Karma which is similar to the third law of motion in life. It is basically, whatever you give, it comes back to you. Rama in previous birth killed Bali, the monkey king. In the next birth, the same Bali reincarnated as Jara and killed Shri Krishna who was the reincarnation of Lord Rama.
In the case of Draupadi, her reincarnation is directly not mentioned in Ramayana. However, as per inferences, she is definitely the ‘Chhaya Sita’ of Ananda Ramayana. Before, this let’s explore what is directly written of Draupadi’s previous birth demystifying the complex Karma and unparalleled Draupadi and Karna.
It is directly mentioned in the Kumbhakonam Edition of the Mahabharata that in one of the previous births. Draupadi was a woman named Nalayani, wife of sage Maudgalya. He is the same sage who is the founder of Indian caste system. His sons became Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras, the four major castes in India.
Nalayani was an ideal wife dedicated to family virtues. However, destiny played something unwanted for her. It was probably because the future was being written by Nature for Draupadi.
The mind of human beings when understands the truth and reality, the pleasures of life becomes unnecessary. This happened to the sage Maudgalya. He lost all interest in sexual pleasures. Although, Nalayani was seeking more pleasures in life. She said to the sage
“Do not abandon me, great sage. I have been enjoying pleasures as my heart desired, and I am still not satisfied with the enjoyment.”
This happened to be a misfortune for her. The sage cursed her that she would be born again in the Earth to the house in Panchala. During this time only she will get enjoy all sexual pleasures unless everything perishes. Eventually, the sage left for the heavenly abode. She did penance of Lord Shiva to get her husband. The Lord appeared before him but instead of asking boon once, she asked five times. Shiva told that in one of her next births she will get five husbands.
Probably, the link to Chhaya Sita/Maya Sita developed from here only. In upcoming births, she was going to see lots of ups and downs in life.
As per the Devi Bhagawat Purana. Draupadi’s previous birth was ‘Chhaya Sita/ Maya Sita. However, before analyzing the linkage let’s see the story of Karna to find a parallel connection.
Let’s explore about Karna.
Now, in the case of Karna. He, in one of the previous birth, was King Dambhodabhava. His misdeeds lead him to become a demon named Sahasrakavacha. The demon meditated on Sun God to get a perfect boon. Sahasrakavacha asked Lord Surya to give him 1000 shields so that he would become like an immortal.
Surya granted him the boon. He got those 1000 armors. He would be only killed after these armors would get destroyed. The great sages of that time Nara and Narayana had to fight with Sahasrakavacha to destroy all the Kavachas or the armors. However, they destroyed only 999, the remaining one was destined to remain for the future. Sahasrakavacha became vulnerable and lord Surya picked him up and gave him to Kunti who abandoned him so that he could be adopted by drivers of Bheesma. Later on, he faced Draupadi but there is no parallel reincarnation story of Draupadi and Karna like Nara and Narayana, in the Scriptures.
Nara and Narayana took reincarnation as Arjuna and Krishna and removed the Armour with the help of Lord Indra and killed Karna. However, the good deeds of Dambhodabhava probably remained in Karna and he is still respected.
Coming back to Draupadi. As per the Ananda Ramayana, Sita was not kidnapped, you can read the story of Sita from Scientific Monk. It was Maya Sita. The one who was kidnapped was in previous birth named Vedavati. Once Vedavati was doing penance to achieve Lord Narayana as a husband. However, Ravana the demon king the ardent enemy of Narayana knew her intentions. He went to her and tried molesting Vedavati by holding her hair. Instantly, Vedavati cursed him that she will be the reason for his destruction. Vedavati left the body with Yogic Powers.
She took birth as Chhaya/Maya Sita and replaced the original Sita just before she was about to be Kidnapped. Sita went to Agni Loka ( Realm of Agni God) so that she could come back to Rama after the Agni Pariksha. In the Agni Pariksha, Rama had told Chhaya Sita to prove her Chasity. It was done so that Chhaya Sita would go back and Sita would return from Agni Loka.
Although, Sita requested Rama to marry her. Rama was a man of commitment. He told her that it is not possible because he loved only the original Sita. He gave her a boon that in Kali Yuga when he will be born as Kalki/Balaji/Venkateshwara he would marry her. Meanwhile, Chhaya Sita was requested to do penance in the Himalayas by Rama so that she could be born as Swarga Lakshmi, the Lakshmi of heavens. It was the grace of Rama to bless her as Swarga Lakshmi.
The Devi Bhagavatam says Draupadi to be Trihayani. She took birth to destroy the evildoers. In Satya Yuga, she was Vedavati, in Treta Yuga she was Chhaya/Maya Sita. Also, as Nalayani in Satya yuga itself. In Dvapara Yuga she is Draupadi herself. In the book Venkatachala Mahatyam, it is mentioned that Vedavati will be born as Padmavati and Lord Kalki/Balaji/Venkateshwar will marry her. However, his major consort Sita will remain always in his heart. Original Sita took birth as Rukmini in Dvapara yuga and will be born with the name ‘Ramaa’ in Kali Yuga. Here is a shloka to justify it.
राघवात्वे अभावात सीता रुक्मिणी कृष्ण जन्मनी| अन्येषु चावातारेशु विष्णो: श्री अनपायनी||
Till now there are no references that suggest a direct relation between Draupadi and Karna. However, they were planned by nature itself towards a better future of the Society. Karna founded the root for ending the caste system which was created by sons of Maudgalya, husband of Draupadi in one of the previous birth. In Kali Yuga also, these people will play a great role in helping the Lord to establish righteousness. Draupadi and Karna will always be destined to change if nature plays the game of Reality.
Not making it further confusing here is the sequence for births for Draupadi and Karna.
Here is the list of sequence for previous births of Draupadi and Karna followed by the others.
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Disclaimer: Most of the Articles in the Scientific Monk, like Draupadi and Karna, are based on inferences based on Indian philosophy and follows the system of Pramanas. You can contact the authors directly from the contact page to know more about the Scientific Monk.
Here is an excerpt of another Article on Hiranyagarbha Yoga Darshana.
It was only the authoritative principles of Yoga before Patanjali. Just like the article on Draupadi and Karna, you will get information on the ‘Holistic’ philosophical principle of Yoga.