Nalayani: Past Life of Draupadi

Draupadi longed for a husband with 14 qualities. Lord Shiva told her that what she is demanding is impossible, all these qualities cannot co-exist in one man. If at all he sends someone with all these qualities, he will be a huge threat to humanity. So Shiva pleaded Draupadi to lower her standards.

Draupadi was adamant. She wanted all of those qualities in her husband. She said – I have done my tapasya and now it is upto you to grant me the fruit.

Shiva said – So be it. But be prepared to face the  consequences.

Draupadi’s Previous birth – the connect with Nalayani

When Drupad grief’s over her daughter’s future and how she will be perceived in the society, Vedavyasa consoles Drupad

O great king, don’t be sad.

In another lifetime, your daugther was called Nalayani, a woman of impeccable virtue. She served her husband Maudgalya with great devotion. The man, who had the power to do as he wished, was pleased with her devotion. He asked her to ask for a boon.

So Nalayani of blameless beauty told her husband:

“O lord, May you attain great fame in the world by dividing yourself into five and pleasuring me in all those five forms! And after that I want you to become one again and continue to pleasure me.”

“Let it be so!”

The great seer Maudgalya told Nalayani of beautiful hair and alluring smile. He then turned himself into five and pleasured her in those five forms in every imaginable way.

This, oh great king, is the truth and for that reason, never think of it in other ways. It is this Nalayani who is born as your daughter Draupadi from the sacrificial pit, as some divine plan would have it.

Drupada said:

Tell me the reason why the auspicious Nalayani took birth in my sacrifice.

Vyasa said:

Listen to me, King, of how Lord Rudra gave her a boon and why the glorious one was born in your house.

Nalayani travelled around with her husband Maudgalya, no worries in her mind. And then one day, after years of enjoying them, the sage lost interest in pleasures. Desiring the highest dharma, his mind was now turned towards brahma-yoga.

The great sage, now keen on austerities, abandoned her.

Nalayani fell to the earth. As she fell, addressing Maudgalya, she said:

Do not abandon me, great sage. I have been enjoying pleasures as my heart desired, and I am still not content.

And Maudgalya told her:

You are causing obstacles on my path of tapas. So listen to what I say. You shall be born on the earth as a princess and will attain great repute. You shall be the daughter of the noble-hearted king of Panchala. You shall then have five renowned men for your husbands. With those handsome men, you shall long enjoy the pleasures of marital life.

The glorious Nalayani became miserable and went to a forest. Still discontented with the enjoyment of pleasures, she worshipped the Lord of the Gods through tapas.

Rudra, was pleased with her severe penance and gave her a boon.

“You will be reborn again and in that birth you shall be a lustrous woman; and you shall have five renowned men for your husbands.

Hearing this, the woman said:

“I requested you for one husband. Why have you given me these five husbands? A woman shall have one man. How can a woman belong to many men?”It has been decided long ago that it is the dharma of a woman to have only one husband, whereas it is the dharma of a man, as practiced by many, to have several wives. This is the dharma for women that the sages decided in the past. And it has also been said that a single woman would be the partner of man in religious rituals. And we also see in the world that a woman has a single husband, just as she has a single virginhood – once ended, it never comes back. The smritis allow a second husband to a woman for the purpose of conceiving through niyoga in an exigency.

If she goes to a third man, that is considered a sin and when she has a fourth man, she falls and becomes a prostitute. This is the path of dharma and for that reason I cannot accept many husbands. That is something not seen practiced in the world and how could I be absolved from the sin of corruption if that happens?”

The Great Lord said:

“In the past women lived a free life sexually and were considered pure after their monthly periods. But having many husbands shall not be against dharma for you.”

She replied:

If I am to have many husbands, I request you to grant me that I shall remain a virgin after my unions with each of my husbands. In the past I attained spiritual merit through service to my husband. I also attained desire for sexual pleasures through that service. Grant me that I attain both in my coming birth too.”

The Great Lord said:

Listen to me, auspicious woman. Rati (the goddess of sexual pleasure) and Siddhi (spiritual progress) do not enjoy each other’s company.

In your next birth too, endowed with great beauty and good fortune, enjoying with your five husbands after regaining your virginity repeatedly, you shall attain great glory.

 

 
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