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Actions Shares. Embeds 0 No embeds. No notes for slide. Description this book This book examines the historical and politico-economic context in which Chinese law has developed and transformed, focusing on the underlying factors and justifications for changes. If you want to download this book, click link in the last page 5. Margaret A. Mills, Peter J. Claus, and Sarah Dia- mond. New York and London: Routledge. Claus, and Sarah Diamond. In Encyclopedia of India, vol.
Stanley Wolpert. Detroit: Thomson Gale. Brills Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Knut A. University of Chicago Press. Co-author with Perundevi Srinivasan. Translator, alya and Sauptika Parvans. According to well known Indian popular traditions, Draupadthe heroine of the Mahbhratamade a vow that she would not bind up her hair until she could comb into it the blood of either Duryo- dhana or Duhsana.
She uttered this terrible oath after being insulted and molested by these two Kauravas at the epics dice match, and it required not only her own thirteen years of dishevelment during her exile with her five husbands, the Pndavas, but also the eventual killing of these two foes by them in battle. The theme has circulated long and widely. It was first clearly expressed by a north Indian dra- matist, Bhatta Nryana, who took it as the main theme of his play Ven sam hra, The Binding-Up of the Braid.
Bhatt a, who appar- ently hailed from Kanauj and settled in Bengal, probably lived around A. It is found in the Tamil rendition of the Mahbhrata by Villiputtr l vr ca. Gajendragadkar ed. Valam ; rev. Mylapore, Mohana Trust Pathippagam, , p.
Gender, Theology and Spirituality
The study of Draupads cult demands investigation of Draupad in the epic; and the epic heroine can be illumined by the study of her cult. Gajendragadkar, in whose edition of the Ven - sam hra one finds what seems to be the only major discussion of our theme, the vow is Bhatt a Nryanas innovation and the Mahbhrata knows nothing of it. But before examining the epic for its treat- ment of Draupads hair, we must see how the Ven sam hrawhich makes it its central themediffers in its handling from the epic.
Let it simply be noted that certain methodological working assumptions are involved in this study, which itself should be regarded as an explor- atory test of their explanatory value rather than a demonstration of their validity. These are, first, that certain themes connected with a number of the heroines of the Hindu epics can be illumined by look-. Vysa and Variations Madras, Higginbothams , p.
Martha Ashton has described the yaksagna episode to me orally. The kathakali play Duryodhana Vadha in which it is Duhsanas blood and the terukkttu drama mentioned below Duryodhanas blood I have seen myself. For an initial synthesis of my research on the Draupad cult, and for a companion piece to this article also exploring relations between cult and epic, see Hiltebeitel a and Fieldwork and on the Draupad cult was made possible by grants from the American Institute of Indian Studies and the National Endowment for the Humanities, for which I express my gratitude.
Devasthali ed. Bhatta Nryan as Ven sam hra Bombay, D. Tilak, , p. In addition to Bourgeois see n.
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Kale ed. After completing this article I learned of Daniel Dubuissons, La desse chevelue et la reine coiffeuse. Recherches sur un thme pique de lInde ancienne, Journal Asia- tique, , His attempt to interpret Draupads hairdresser disguise through Indo-European comparisonsstressing links between hair and vegetationis intended as a completion of the Wikander-Dumzil interpretation of the Pndavas disguises.
I am unconvinced by this article, which overlooks Dumzils equally signifi- cant insights into the relation between the Pndavas disguises and the caste structure, which confuses hair-pulling and baldness see p. While Gajendragadkar and others have noticed in the Ven sam hra numerous narrative and characteriological departures from the epic, the following have all been overlooked.
Taking the departures in their narrative order, first the Ven sam hra gives the impression that Draupads hair was made loose initially by Duhsana. Thus Bhma, covered with Duryodhanas blood and unrecognized by Draupad who thinks he is dead, says to her: Pcl, not indeed while I am alive should your braid ven dishev- elled by Duhsana, be tied up by your own hand. One may. I continue to explore them, but especially the first and third, in Hiltebeitel forthcoming, chapter 8, which focuses not on Draupad but on the women who precede her in the Bhrata dynastic line, from Gang and Satyavat to Kunt, Mdr, and Gndhr.
All Vensam hra citations are from Gajendragadkar, part II. All Mahbhrata citations will be from the Poona Critical Edition. Translations, unless otherwise indi- cated are my own. Secondly, Bhatt a Nryana has Duryodhana order both Duhsanas pulling of Draupads hair and Duhsanas thwarted attempt to pull off her garments. Duryodhana recalls this himself, referring to Draupad as she whose garments and hair were both dishevelled, pulled by the hand of Duhsana at my command.
But in deepening the parallelism between the pulling of the hair and the pull- ing of the garments by attributing both commands to Duryodhana as well as both acts to Duhsana, Bhatta Nryana has evoked an impor- tant complementarity between the two violatory acts, and driven it home by reinforcing it over and over with a variety of compounds, the most memorable and basic being the kembarkarsan a, the pulling of the hair and the garments.
The third departure is not so clearly one from the epic as from the popular tradition. Nonetheless, as we shall see, there are certain indications that the epic is closer to the popular tradition than to the Ven sam hra. It is a question of whose vow it is: Bhmas or Draupads. The popular traditions are clear that it is essentially Draupads vow,. It is worth noting that one or another modification of this basic compound is found in every act of the play, with two appearances in the last act. It is thus an important leitmotif. According to Gajendragadkar, however, the vow is primar- ily Bhmas: with his hands smeared with the blood of Duryodhana [he vowed to] rearrange the dishevelled hair of Draupad, who was therefore to allow her hair to remain in that disordered condition till he fulfilled his vow.
He is certainly right that the Ven sam hra attributes the vow in the main to Bhma. In a passage that we shall return to later, Bhma tells Draupad that while he and his brother will officiate, she will be the wife whose vow is maintained grhtavrat for the sacrifice of battle 1. Again, evoking Draupads own motivations, her maid recalls ask- ing Duryodhanas wife: How will the hair of our queen be bound up when your [plural: i.
And similarly, when Bhma readies himself to kill Duryo- dhana, he says: Pcls fire of wrath is evidently well-nigh extin- guished now that the masses of hair have been confusedly loosened among the women of the Kaurava court, their husbands forcibly slain by me. In this case, as we will see, the theme that Bhatt a subordinates can be traced clearly to the Mahbhrata.
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It would also seem to have echoes in the popular traditions. The fourth divergence concerns the manner in which Draupad wears her hair. According to Gajendragadkar and G. Devasthali, in the Ven sam hra Draupad keeps her mass of hair tied in a single unornamented long braid known as an ekaven , literally a single. When the husband returned, the women untied the single mass and rearranged the hair properly with appropriate decorations. Separated from Rma, St wears an ekaven 5. Once Bhma is specifically referred to as shaking her ven ven m avadhya; 6.
Poona, Prasad Prakashan, , s. Du tamoul par Alain Danilou et R. Desikan Paris, Gallimard, ; London , pp. See also 5. Rvana has also seized her by the hair 3. However, see Mahbhrata 3. In an interesting context, Kaikey is an ekaven with a soiled garment malinmbar; Rm, 2, App. I, no. She thus takes on a symbolic estrangement from her husband. As Gajendragadkar puts it: the fact that she suffered that egregious insult at the hands of Duhsana even in the presence of the Pndavas meant that to Draupad they were as good as absent and continued to be so till the insult was avenged.
In popular traditions, Draupads hair is worn completely loose and free; it is not tied in back. Taken altogether, the discrepancies between the Ven sam hra and the epic thus indicate some consistent patterns. The action is primarily in the hands of the men. It is Duhsana who dishevels her hair; it is Bhma who makes her vow; and it is her husbands symbolic absence that dictates her hairstyle.
But Bhatta Nryana is alive to much more, as his reiteration of the hair and garments theme already suggests. In discussing the Mahbhratas treatment of Draupads hair and the fuller symbolic meanings that it evokes, his Ven sam hra will not be forgotten. The Mahbhrata seems to know more about Draupads hair than it ever makes explicit. And what it does tell us seems to rely on an understanding of Draupadsand Bhmasbehaviour that is in cer- tain respects different from the Ven sam hras. The pertinent epic pas- sages, discussed in sequence, are the following.
Pulling the hair When Duhsana, at Duryodhanas command, drags Draupad into the Kaurava mens hall sabh by the hair, two things are most. Gajendragadkar part III: Problematic verses include Draupad being described as muktake, loose haired 6. On the latter, Gajendragadkar, part III: 34 cf. Would this not suggest that Duhsana pulled hair that Draupad had already loosened? First, as the text indicates here several times and reiter- ates elsewhere, she is menstruating rajasvalsmi; 2.
Secondly, when Duhsana seizes her, the hair is described as long blue and flowing drghesu nlesvatha cormimatsu [. These two facts are not unrelated. Draupads hair is dishevelled because she is menstruating. The Mahbhrata draws here on a well known prohibition on wearing the hair braided during menstruation, and not binding it up until the ritual bath that ends the period of impurity. More particularly, during her menses a woman should not arrange her hair with a comb,27 a prohibition which provides back- ground to a further detail of certain popular versions of Draupads vow that she would wait to braid her hair not only with Duryodhanas blood but with a comb made from his ribs.
Hershman: [. It is highly significant that in the ritual bath which brings to an end these periods of pollution, it is absolutely crucial that she washes her hair, grooms it and binds it in a proper fashion. Poona, Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, , vol. II, part 2, pp. Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass, , vol. The hair-braiding prohibition is obviously related to similar prohibitions in the texts against spinning and making ropes.
Duncan M. Derrett, Reli- gious Hair. Departure for the forest In the interim between the preceding and present scenes, much of importance has happened. Draupad has raised the moot and never resolved question of whether Yudhisth ira could have bet her after he bet himself; she has withstood Duhsanas attempts to disrobe her; she has accepted the offer of boons from Dhrtarst ra and chosen her husbands freedom and the return of their weapons; and, having set out with her husbands toward their kingdom at Indraprastha, she has come back with them to the Kaurava sabh at Hstinapura.
There Yudhisth ira loses the second invitation of the dice match, the winner-take-all throw that sends the Pndavas and Draupad into exile, and Draupad and the Pndavas prepare for their departure. Our first verse finds her bidding adieu to Kunt, promising to look after the youngest Pndava Sahadeva: So be it, said that lady.
Stained with flowing tears, her single garment smeared with blood, her hair loose, she went out. But unlike the vows pratijh ; 2. It is a word that commits her husbands and their allies to a course of action, but with. Yet if it does not men- tion any such commitment, she does predict that among the reversals that will take place, the Kaurava women will have to wear their hair dishevelled. As we have seen, Bhatt a Nryana also plays upon this reversal in a context where it has clear reference to Draupads i. The most striking fact indicated by these two epic passages, how- ever, is that Draupad has not changed her garment or her hair since she was dragged into the sabh by Duhsana.
It is difficult to know just how long the poets took this interval to be. On the one hand, it is twice indicated that the Pndavas had gone far on their way vyadhvagata; 2. How long it would take a royal procession to cover what would thus seem to be at least half the roughly seventy crow-flown miles between these two cities, and then cover the same ground in return for the rematch, is perhaps best left to the poetic imagina- tion.
But it would not be amiss to suggest that it would have been long enough for Draupad to change her garments and her hair if she had wanted to do so. On the other hand, both passages seem to affirm that upon returning to Hstinapura, Draupad is still menstruating. But one may wonder at this. In at least one of its contexts, the term rajasvalh suggests a more general condition of impurity, as in the meaning covered with dust.
Otherwise we have the implausibility of Draupad predicting that when the Kaurava widows return from per- forming their husbands and kinsmens funerary rites, they will all be menstruating at the same time. The fact that Draupads prediction is uttered in the form of a parallelism to her own and her husbands con- dition after the dice rematch suggests that Draupad now may also be rajasvalh in this more general dust-covered sense.
Rajasvalh may thus in these instances simply mean impure, in a state of defilement. As the Kaurava women after the war will enter the city covered with dust or in an impure condition, so Draupad and the Pndavas leave the cityDraupad being described just after Nakula, who is literally covered with dust pm spacita; We cannot, of course, be any more precise than this on the physi- ological and temporal specifics of Draupads menstrual cycle. But cer- tain symbolic connotations now seem unmistakable. That is, she enters the forest in an extended condition of defilement.
And though, as we shall see, she will change her garments during the thirteen years of exile, if she does not change her hair it is because it is the primary symbol of that defilement which cannot be cleansed until her condition has been reversed by the deaths of her tormentors. And that reversal will occur, as she says, when the Kaurava women mourn their dead as rajasvalh s, with dishevelled hair.
In exile On just their third night 3. Draupad faints and is caught by her five husbands: With her hair widely dishevelled and ruffled by Duhsanas hand, she looked like a river run wild amidst five mountains. And it would seem that she keeps it so throughout the twelve years of forest wanderings. Nowhere else is it so described, but the pulling of her hair is sev- eral times alluded to as if it were an ever-present source of outrage 3. Ksyavasana are brownish-red or yellowish-red robes used by monks, and also in sam nysa-entry and tantric dks rites; see Jan Gonda, Change and Continuity in Indian Religion The Hague, Mou- ton, , pp.
Van Buitenen ed. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, , , , vol. II, p. Concealment The thirteenth year of exile, which the Pndavas and Draupad must spend incognito ajta , is rich in its surprising twists and complex symbolism. For the present, we must limit ourselves to a discussion of Draupads disguise alone, though it should be emphasized that its full eludication would require a discussion of her husbands disguises as well, and of the Virtaparvan as a whole.
Van Buitenen has remarked, there is a Hol-like inver- sion of roles in the disguises which the three oldest Pndavas assume before entering Virtas capital in the kingdom of Matsya. The same principle, he notes, also applies to Draupad, but he mentions only the lesser of two inversions: In Draupads case the skewness lies not so much in the choice of occupation, but in the self-imposed isolation from her husbands [.
Of the many crucial pas- sages in this Parvan concerning Draupad, two put this paradox into the clearest relief. First, donning her disguise, Draupad prepares to enter the capital: Then, having tossed back her curly-ended faultless soft hair, that dark-eyed one concealed it on her right side. And hav- ing wrapped herself in a single large black garment that was very dirty, having assumed the dress of a Sairandhr, Krsn [Draupad] wandered about distressfully.
This is a transparent pun. As a Sairandhr Draupads primary task will be to serve Sudesn as hairdresser. III: quote from p. In her job interview with Sudesn, she mentions hairdressing first, followed by skills in pounding unguents and weaving garlands 4. Actually, the Southern Recension of the Mahbhrata leaves little doubt of a connection between Draupads vow and her disguise. There, when she tells Yudhisth ira how she will conceal her identity, she says: I will be a Sairandhr, belonging to that caste, by the name of Vratacrin sairandhr jtisam pann namnham vratacrin ; 4.
Vratacrin , meaning she who is undergoing a vow, can hardly be anything but a paradoxical reference to her vow of dishev- elment. At the outset of battle in the Ven sam hra, she asks about the sound of drums and is told by Bhma that a sacrifice is beginning. What is this sacrifice? And Bhma answers: The Sacrifice of war ran ayaja. So indeed. We four [the younger Pndavas] are the officiating priests; Lord Hari is the director of rites; the king [Yudhist hira] is the one consecrated dksitah for this sacri- fice of war; [our] wife is the one whose vow is maintained. One of Arjunas names is Kirtin, evoking his connections not only with Draupad but with kingship; see Biardeau On Draupad and r, see Hiltebeitel  , , , , The name Vratacrin is exceptional.
Draupad tells Sudesn her name as a Sairandhr, when formerly employed by Draupad, was Mlin garland girl: 4. She is never called this, however, but only Sairandhr. As Gajendragadkar indicates the wife of the sacrificer [. In the present case the vow refers to the vow observed by Draupad of wearing her hair loose. Although she is relying on a textual vari- ant, Madeleine Biardeau has called attention to an epic recognition of the Pndavas as dksitas. As they embark on their period in the forest, during which, as we have seen, they and Draupad will undertake vari- ous forms of tapas, they are prophetically described in some manu- scripts as dksitas.
Indeed, impurity taken in the sense of tasks inappropriate to ones caste, is a common denominator of all the disguises. Says Bhma in the Ven sam hra, the Pndavas. The Critical Edition supplies the more regular parjith , defeated. III, p. On correlations between dks, tapas, and vrata vow , see Walter O. Caland and V. Henry, LAgnisto ma: Description complte de la forme normale du sacrifice du soma dans le culte vdique Paris, Ernest Leroux, , p. But it is Draupad whose occupation is most deeply bound up with impurity.
But it is also to be perceived in her tasks as a Sairandhr. The term Sairandhr, following van Buitenens insightful discus- sion, is the feminine form of the name of a low caste people, vari- ously sanskritized. The Southern Recension amends this verse to specify that the low caste is the fourth caturtha , that is, the dra caste notes to 4. This would present a deep irony, as the Pndavas are of course hidden in the kingdom of Matsya, Fish.
III: 8: other forms include sairam dhra, sarim dha, sairidya, sairitya, sairidya, sairim dhya, and sarim dhra; van Buitenen sensibly rejects the etymology siram-dhra. III: 9. Nambiar ed. II, part V-B, series Ethnographic Notes. Cutting and dressing hair are, of course, low caste occupations. To take a modern instance, the hairdresser for women at Punjabi mar- riages and funerals is the barbers wife.
As already indicated, ritual washing and dressing of womens hair occurs after times of pol- lution, including sexual intercourse and menstruation. According to Hershman, in such womens rituals female hair becomes in abstract terms a symbol of female sexuality or more concretely of vaginal men- strual blood, a correlation made explicit when Punjabi women refer to the regular pollution of menstruation [.
It is surely the only one with dra and even outcaste connotations. For example, while Arjuna in this same parvan sees to the marriage of Abhimanyu and. The Nizams Dominions, vol. I Bombay igo , pp. Madras, Government Press, , vol. IV, p. Choosing to be a Sairandhr, however, gives her certain options beyond those of a sweeper, for, as she says, Sairandhrs, though unprotected in the world araksit loke; 4. Biardeau , n. Stig Wikander and Georges Dumzil have perceived that the brothers disguises are differentiated according to the three twice- born castes; see Wikander, La lgende des Pndava et la substructure mythique du Mahbhrata trans.
Uttar, which will eventually lead to the rebirth of the Pndava line, Draupad concerns herself with impurities that affect the rebirth of the Pndavas themselves. One will thus note that whereas Arjuna brings Uttar multicolored garments with which to dress her dolls 4. If the former garments represent the amnion and chorion as auspicious dks-related symbols of rebirth,59 Draupads black garment would represent the necessary taking-on of impurity and death as the pre- condition for that rebirth.
Similarly, when Virta strikes the disguised Yudhisth ira, and Draupad catches the blood from his nosebleed in a golden bowl 4. Says Yudhisth ira to Virta: Surely, if that blood from my nose had fallen on the earth, you and your kingdom, O king, would undoubtedly have perished. Like Kl or other representatives of the Goddess who prevent disaster by drinking up drops of blood before they touch the ground,61 Draupad prevents disaster by catching them in a bowl.
But also, by implication, in preventing the destruction of Matsya, she prevents the Pndavas from revealing their identities too soon, which would terminate the possibility of their rebirth. Both as hairdresser and blood-catcher, Draupad thus turns her contact with impurities to her own and her husbands advantage. But the scene which gives such themes their fullest play is the killing of Kcaka. This tormentor, although Queen Sudesns brother, is a sta by caste, and thus there is a resonance of association with Karna, a figure whom Draupad already holds in high enmity for his role in ordering her disrobing, and whom, at least according to the Northern Recension, she rejected as a suitor on the very grounds that he was a low caste sta see 1.
Frustrated by his efforts to seduce Sairandhr-Draupad in his own quarters, Kcaka chases her into King Virtas mens hall. There, in front of Bhma and Yudhisth ira, who are incapacitated by their dis- guises, he seizes her by her mass of hair keapaksa; 4. Her eyes blood red with wrath, having loosed her hair ken muktv; Ken muktv, having loosed her hair, is problematic. The South- ern Recension supports this inference with an alternative line: having held together her loose hair which was sprinkled with blood ken pramuktn sam yam ya rudhiren a samuksitn; 4.
One is reminded here of the sexual connotations of blood in the hair discussed by Hershman: foiled rape in this instance turns into hair sprinkled with oral blood. But if there is not precise and evident consistency in every epic reference to Draupads hair, one can at least find it in her actions. When she goes back to her quarters, eagerly wishing for Kcakas death, she purifies herself by washing her limbs and garments gtrn i vsas caiva prakslya salilena s; 4. And again, after Bhma has slain Kcaka, Draupadfreed moksit by Bhma 4.
The striking thing in these precisely repeated verses is that her two purificatory baths do not involve any reference to the washing of her hair. In Bhma and Draupads collaboration to bring about the death of Kcaka, there are also further echoes of the mythology of the Hindu Goddess. As Biardeau puts it, when he slays Kcaka, Bhma is.
In the epic, Mrtyu is a goddess, a form evoking Kl and Durg as they break into the Hindu literary tradition. Draupads call for war Having emerged from exile and concealment and found the Kauravas unwilling to return to them their share of the kingdom, the Pndavas about to send Krsn a to negotiate with Duryodhanameet with their allies and debate strategy.
A surprisingly conciliatory speech by Bhma, urging Krsn a to appease Duryodhana, sets off a chain of reactions that concludes and culminates with Draupads call for war and revenge. Rebuking her husbands, she urges Krsn a to turn his full wrath on the Kauravas, and continues with the following words and gestures:. Bhma also dresses as Draupad in the terukkttu of Tamilnadu. Having said this, the dark-eyed, large-hipped one took with her left hand her mass of hairsoftly gathered back and curled at the ends, very beau- tiful, deep black, perfumed with fine scents, endowed with every good mark, glossy like a great cobra.
And the lotus-eyed one of elephant gait, having approached the lotus-eyed one, her eyes filled with tears, Krsn to Krsn a, said this word: This [hair] pulled by the hand of Duhsana is to be remembered by you at all times, O lotus-eyed one, when seeking peace with the foe. But most interesting, this is the closest the epic comes to attributing to Draupad one of her popular vows.
As with the vow demanding the blood from Duryodhanas thigh to anoint her hair, the condition of her hair is directly connected with a call for revenge concerning one.
Manmatha Nath Dutt trans. Calcutta, H. Dass, , Udyoga Parva, p. Kisari Mohan Ganguli trans. IV, Udyoga Parva, p. It is noteworthy, however, that the Chitrashala Press artist like his Critical Edition counterpart; see n. Van Buitenen , translates it simply as soft. Softly gathered back seems reasonably neutral; sam hra does not require Nlakant has interpretation of a ven. It is unlikely that the well known popular vows concerning the blood from Duryodhanas thigh or from Duhsanas chest could derive from this speech. But the epic poets give expression to much the same tone, and to a parallel, probably sexual symbolism.
The rebraiding The war over, Yudhisth iras self-recriminations begun, Bhma consoles him: By good luck, the sinful Duryodhana has been slain with all his followers in battle.
By good luck, you have gone the way of Draupads mass of hair. The Ganguli-Roy and Dutt translations of the epic both seem to recognize this, with Ganguli mak- ing it explicit in a footnote. Yet these two translators have missed some of the verses simple precision. Ganguli takes keapaksasya [. Draupad had kept her locks dishevelled since the day they had been seized by Duhsana.
After the slaughter of the Kurus, those locks were bound up as before, or restored to their normal condition. And Draupads keapaksa is not simply her locks but, as we have seen, the mass of hair that has been seized by Duhsana and Kcaka and brandished at Krsn a. Thus, while the pas- sage certainly alludes to Draupads vow, it does so more pointedly than Ganguli has realized. In following the way of Draupads mass of hair, the Pndavas have moved from the depths of defilement to rebirth, from rebirth to revenge, and from revenge to coronation.
For in the rebinding and anointing of Draupads hair the latter is implicit: she is Royal Prosperity or SovereigntyRjarincarnate, and. See also below, n. VIII: 31, n. Nlakanth a is silent. Again, one can only wonder how deeply, and with what other themes in mind, the poets mean to connect the death of Duryodhana with the binding up of Draupads hair. It is plain that Draupads hair, as a powerful symbol, is not exhausted by either of the two literary contexts so far discussed.
One must reach deeper into Indian culture to appreciate what the Mahbhrata and the Ven sam hra are themselves evoking through the use of this theme.
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The closing scene of the Ven sam hra opens some surprising vis- tas. Having just recognized Bhma, begored after killing Duryodhana, Yudhisth ira asks him, What else remains? A very great remainder, says Bhma; I will just bind together Pcls mass of hair, dragged down by Duhsana, with this hand moistened with the blood of Duryodhana. May you go, replies Yudhithira; let the tapasvin experience the great festival of the tying of the hair.
But why a great festival mahotsava? One does well to recall the south Indian village ceremonies in which the festive tying up of the goddess Draupads hair not only marks the end of the war with Duryodhanas sacrificial death , but is a necessary precondition for the firewalk.
In both cases, the festive aspect is related ritually to the consecration and coronation of Yudhisth ira. But why is it so especially festive to her? And why the blood? One must go back to the matter of impurity. As we have already seen, it is the Mahbhrata itself which indicates that Draupads thir- teen year dishevelment represents a condition of extended menstrual defilement. Ethnographic evidence has also been cited to the effect that washing of the hair is an absolutely crucial part of the ritual bath that ends the period of menstrual confinement.
One must, however, under- stand here that conventional notions of menstrual blood as defiling are somewhat one-sided. To the woman, at least, menstrual blood is also purifying. There are numerous statements in the Dharmstra Sam hits to the effect that women are cleansed by the menstrual flow. As Punjabi women say: the dirty must be bled out so that we can become clean again. I thank David Knipe for bringing this scenario to my attention.
These gestures are omitted in the texts from the White Yajur Veda school, which Paul mile Dumont treats synoptically in the main body of his LAvamedha: Description du sacrifice solennel du cheval dans le culte vdique daprs les textes du Yajurveda blanc Vjasaneyi-sam hit Paris, Paul Geuthner, ; see pp. Parara Sam hit A case could be made that all these entities are feminine, or at least connected with femininity. Now, when Duhsana drags Draupad by the hair into the sabh, this natural course is interrupted, and Duhsanas act is a molestation in probably more senses than one.
As Hershman points out, there are close symbolic connections between womens head hair and female genitals. In this connection, it is instructive to see how the Atri Sam hit covers the case of a woman raped by a Mleccha barbarian : A woman, once she has been possessed by a Mleccha or an evil-doer, may purify herself by the Prjaptya and the menstrual flow. If she is taken by force, or else is herself imposed on by another, a woman, once she has been possessed, purifies by the Prjaptya. It is most curious that the puri- fication for such an assault is not only the completion of a menstrual cycle, but the Prjaptya vow, a most difficult penance which lasts for twelve days.
But this puts her dishevelment into a new light. If her vow responds to a rape-like defilement, then it represents not simply an extension of menstrual impurity, but an extended condition of interrupted menstrual purifi-. I Calcutta, Elysium Press, , pp. See Kane , vol. II, part I: , taking the passage in the sense of rape. IV, pp. Manu This is not to say that there arent other correspondences, e. The interruption of female menstruation is purified by a ritual hair bath not with water, but with the strong flow of male blood; blood, moreover, which comes from her chief tormentors right thigh, a seat of virility and of phallic associations.
If the twelve years of Draupads exile thus disclose the purifica- tory, tapasic dimension of her vow, it is, however, still the thirteenth yearspent incognitothat reveals her most hidden nature. Though she is r incarnate, and thus directly affiliated with Visnu normally regarded as rs husband , she is also Krsn the Dark Woman , a name which in the Mahbhrata certainly connects her with Krsn a- Vsudeva, but also with Mrtyu, Death, whom we have recognized in the epic as a prefiguration of Durg and Kl. The name Krsn , in fact, comes to be a common epithet for these latter two goddesses, as in the Mahbhratas two apparently interpolated Durgstavas 4, App.
I, 4, D, line II; 6, App. I, I, line 17 and in the Purnas. When she emerges, dark ym; 1. Thus, while ostensibly it is because of her complexion varn atah , it is also implicitly because of her destructive role that she given at birth the name Krsn This dark and destructive side of Draupad is further compounded by certain affiliations with iva. More than one motive is likely. On Indian traditions concerning the male thigh, see O Flaherty , , and especially the notions about Duryodhanas thigh being his vital spot in south Indian vernacular traditions of the Mahbhrata, on which see Subramaniam in Villiputtr , and T.
Dev Mhtmyam 5. To Kcaka, as we have seen, she is Death Mrtyu in the form of a Sairandhr, and thus an epic intimationor to be on the safe side, prefigurationof Kl herself. Kl is, of course, the exemplary goddess of the dishevelled hair. The dying warriors thus envision her: Black, with bloody mouth and eyes, with red garlands and unguents, wearing a single red garment, noose in hand, [in the form of] ikhandin, standing there smiling. Nowhere is this more explicit than in the Draupad firewalking cult. It is understood that on the night of her vengeance against Duryodhana, Draupad takes on Klrp, the form of Kl, appearing not only with dishevelled hair but in some cases with eighteen arms.
I must correct an earlier minimization of the importance of this passage in Hiltebeitel  Thesis, , p. But there are connections. Klartri appears directly after Avatthman has killed Draupads five sons and four brothers, one of whomikhandinis then immediately evoked in Klartris epithet ikhandin. But it is the Ven sam hra that ties all such themes together, through the words of Bhma, at the very point where he rebraids Draupads hair Honored lady, dishevelled by Duhsana, let this braidthe Night of Time of the family of Dhrtarstr anow be tied up.
This theme of dissolution brings our discussion to a close. Dishev- elled hair connotes dissolution in several metaphoric senses. In poems to Krsn a, the unbraiding of Rdhs hair connotes dissolution in love.
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