Did you know the Pandava brothers were told about Draupadi’s destiny to marry all of them even before they went to her swayamvara? Did you know that all the five Pandava brothers were smitten by Draupadi when they heard about her the first time?

These stories are not commonly narrated, so there is a good chance you haven’t heard of these events.

Let’s backtrack to the unabridged Mahabharata, translated by Kisari Mohan Ganguli, to find out what the Pandava brothers knew before they went to Panchala to participate in Draupadi’s swayamvara.

What a Learned Brahmana Tells the Pandavas About Draupadi

The location in Ekachakra village (West Bengal) where the Pandavas are said to have stayed after escaping from the house of lac

After escaping unhurt from the highly-inflammable house of lac at Varanavata, the Pandavas were convinced that Duryodhana and his supporters would go to any length to remove the Pandavas from their path and ensure that Duryodhan ascends the throne of Hastinapura — even if it meant slaying the Pandavas.

Duryodhana not only had powerful supporters but also had an army at his disposal. The Pandavas, on the other hand, had only each other. In such a situation, they had no option but to remain undercover until a solution presented itself. Therefore, the Pandavas and their mother, Kunti, disguised themselves as brahmanas and took up residence as guests at a brahmana’s house in a village called Ekachakra.

It was while they were in Ekachakra that another wise brahmana came to stay with their host for a few days. As was the custom, everyone worshipped the learned guest and requested him to narrate stories of his experiences while wandering in different lands. After telling them stories about various countries, kings, rivers, and shrines, the brahmana told them about Draupadi, the princess of Panchala. He told them the story of her birth — how she was born from the fire during a great sacrifice conducted by her father, Drupada. He then went on to describe her beauty and told the Pandavas that Draupadi’s father, King Drupada, was hosting a swayamvara (self-choice ceremony) in the coming days for his daughter to choose a husband.

According to Kisari Mohan Ganguli’s translation of the epic, the Pandava brothers went into a daze after hearing about Draupadi and her beauty. Here are the exact words used by Kisari Mohan Ganguli in the Adi Parva (Chaitraratha Parva subsection):

Quote from Kisari Mohan Ganguli’s translation describing how the Pandavas reacted after hearing the brahmana speak about Draupadi.

This quote shows that all five brothers were smitten by Draupadi. But there’s more.

What Ved Vyasa Tells the Pandavas About Draupadi’s Destiny

Soon after the learned brahmana left, Ved Vyasa visited the Pandavas in Ekachakra.

Ved Vyasa also spoke to them about Draupadi. He told them the story of how a maiden had received a boon from Lord Shiva that she would have five husbands in a future life. Ved Vyasa went on to tell the Pandavas that the maiden had been born as King Drupada’s daughter, Draupadi, and she was destined to have all the five Pandava brothers as her husbands.

Quoting Kisari Mohan Ganguli from the Adi Parva (Chaitraratha Parva subsection) verse CLXXI:

Ved Yasa’s words to the Pandavas at the brahmana’s house in Ekachakra

The Pandavas left for Panchala after hearing Ved Vyasa’s counsel.

The unabridged Mahabharata makes it clear that not only were all the Pandavas smitten by Draupadi, but were also informed by Ved Vyasa about their destiny to marry her, and that the marriage would bring them great happiness.

I find these stories interesting because they show us how the threads of destiny come together. They show us how the marriage was fated and how two brahmanas arrived as messengers of destiny to ensure that the Pandavas were in the right place at the right time for the fated event to occur.