Thinking Back Through Our Mothers: Female Heroes of Mahabharata

Jasmine Sharma

Research Scholar, IIT Ropar


Volume 2, Number 2, 2017 I Full Text PDF

Article DOI:  10.21659/bp.v2n2.04


                                             Yada Yada Hi Dharmasya

                                             Ghanirva Bhavati Bharata,

                                             Abhuthanam Adharmasya

                                             Tadatmanam Srijami Aham.

   Bhagwat Gita, Ch- IV- 7

Lord Krishna lessoned Arjuna with the above lines when the latter faced a moral dilemma  while he stood in the battlefield of Kurukshetra as to whether take up arms against his  own kinsmen and gurus or not. However, it would be far way deceptive to assume that Sri Krishna was the only supernatural and strong-willed force behind the authentication of dharma for Kuru princes. In other words, this four line fragment is not just a factual information demarcating a rotten and unhealthy phallocentric world but a comparative manifesto which needs to be deciphered as a poem of female heroism, an age-old yet a postmodern saga of feminine articulation operating at the heart of mythological genesis. Therefore, the research attempts to construct the unwritten part of the poem with creative perceptions and acknowledgements that further enables a reader to accentuate the epic in a new light. In addition, the theological prerequisitation to this primary idea is the presence of female forces of power and assertion across the epic line. This insightful contemplation begins by questioning the one sidedness of the above mentioned lines.

Was it only the phallic inspiration at work in order to establish righteousness in the Dvapar yuga of irreligion? In both Indian and Western mythological traditions, binary forces existed together in order to procreate a new age. Eve was created for Adam both for terrestrial and sexual regeneration, Parvati both with respect to power and psychological perception were one with Shiva thereby forming a coalition of ardhnarishvara. Therefore, in Mahabharata too Sri Krishna was not alone in the task of cleansing unrighteousness but there was a presence of catalytic feminine Shakti which was constantly there at work.

One of the foremost character representative of this shakti was the demi – goddess Draupadi. From the womb of sacrificial fire, she emerged fully grown into the world of humans. This sensational womb was metaphoric of her physical, articulational and psychological nature which reverberated throughout the epic poem. Her supernatural birth was accompanied by a predestined oracle that emblematized her as a destructive force which will burn the Kshatriya race in her rage and vengeance.  She incarnated the aspects of goddess kali, who demanded the blood of her enemies in order to conquer her revengeful hatred. Lotus eyed Krsna glorified as Yasasvini; she was an “arc – kshatriya whose energy engenders her own self destruction” (McGarth, 2009, p. 117-135).  Such was her fiery nature which hailed her as a heroic princess, unattainable by the enemies and whoever aspired to grasp this fire was burnt down to ashes. This fire was subsequently cooled down when she was undertaking her last journey with the Pandavas. Her death on the icy Himalayas validates this fact.  All her rage got melted in ice when she was taking her last breathes…Full Text PDF>>