Draupadi / Yajnaseni

I am in the process of reading Mahabharatha. What makes it interesting is that I am reading 'Mahabharatha' by Rajaji, 'The Second turn' by M.T.Vasudevan Nair which is a retelling of the same from Bhima's viewpoint and 'Yajnaseni' by Prathiba Roy which again is a retelling from Draupadi's view. Obviously, there is no doubt that Mahabharath is the 'greatest story ever told'. I've always liked it when I heard the stories and Krishna still holds a hold over my thoughts as the greatest romantic hero. But Mahabharath works not just as a story but it works at different levels (that’s why it’s called an Epic, anyway!). The joy of reading these three is the difference one can find in the way things are perceived by people. The same story takes different forms and the same events are retold and the evaluation of values happens to differ for everyone.

'The Second turn' is a book I bought sometime in 1998 and it has remained one of the favorites. Bhima is always depicted as a boy who grew in the kitchen with brutal strength. In 'Second turn' M.T.V explores the emotional side of Bhima and the soft nature he posses along with his love for Draupadi. Almost everything he does is only for Draupadi and he enjoys doing it also. Second turn alludes to the fact that Bhima takes the second turn in his marriage with Draupadi after Yudhister and comes out hating it (at least in this novel). Everyone is depicted as humane as they can be and even Krishna loses His divinity and become a mortal. Draupadi has an interesting taste in having sex with Bhima and in all the instances have wild sex with blood dripping from Bhima's body. Fetishy!!

'Yajnaseni' is Draupadi's story (a translation from Oriya) and tells of her spiritual love for Krishna and infatuation with Karna apart from the love for Arjun. It has its own deviations from the other two. But this probably is the best of the three. It flows emotionally and the prose is beautiful and Draupadi comes out as a Dvaryug feminist who broke rules consistently. And the novel treats her as a human with jealousy for Subhadra, longing for Arjun. Nevertheless, it is a brilliant take on Mahabharath. Her dilemma at having to marry five husbands or her feelings for Karna or the constant flirting with Krishna tells the story of a female who was at odds with herself. She loves Arjun but also starts loving Bhima at some point in the story. Overall this is a story I enjoyed reading every page of it and it is a fascinating read.

All of this reminded me of another great take on the story of Panchali by Bharathi ('Panchali sabatham'). Is there any other poem that packs the intensity of this one? ( Erithazhal kondu vaa, thambi!!). I still remember verbatim Bhima's words after Draupadi is brought to the court. Great poem!!

And I am becoming a big fan of the New York Times real estate section. Some really amazing articles are there to read.


manohar said...

can anybody tell me where this book
can be baught?
or the name of the publisher?

Bhuva said...

Sankars Books at http://www.sankarsbooks.com should be able to order all of these books for you and have it sent by courier to you within India or mailed to you outside. I get all my books from them--the website may not display the books, but they have an impressive stock in their office and matchless service.

If you are interested in alternate retellings of the Mahabharata, I would recommend also Irawati Karve's Yuganta. And Peter Brooks' play on the Mahabharata that is available on DVD through Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

debu said...

hi . i am reading yajnaseni right now. Yes. Draupadi does have a crush on Krishna, karna and Arjun. Bhim loves draupadi .. maybe for physical pleasure. but he shows longing for her presence. Arjuna does not value draupadi's love. I have read half. Still to read more.

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