Indrasena is the daughter of Nala and Damayanti. SECTION LVII of Nalopakhyana Parva of Vana Parva of the Mahabharata contains it

"Vrihadaswa continued, 'Then at the sacred hour of the holy lunar day of the auspicious season, king Bhima summoned the kings to the Swayamvara......................................... ............................................................................................................................................... And like unto a very god, Nala sported with Damayanti in romantic woods and groves. And the high-minded king begat upon Damayanti a son named Indrasena, and a daughter named Indrasena. And celebrating sacrifice, and sporting (with Damayanti) thus, the king ruled the earth abounding in wealth.'"

The following paragraphs from AADI PARVA SAPTAMAASAASVAASA (CHAPTER SEVEN) of Andhra Mahabharatham says that Indrasena born as Draupadi in her next life.

Vyasa heard the arguments of Drupadaand and Dharmaja. He thought for a while. “Drupada, as per the request of Dharmaja,you perform the marriage of Droupadi with all the five brothers. This is according to Dharma. How I arrived at this decision, if you want to know, let us go inside.I will tell you in detail face to face.” Both Vyasa and Drupada went inside and sat in a lonely place. Vyasa told Drupada the details of previous births of Pandavas and Droupadi. “In the ancient past, there was a saint called Moudgalya. His wife was Indrasena. Moudgalya was suffering from Leprosy. The entire body was afflicted with disease and his skin and limbs were deteriorating day by day. But his wife Indrasena,was serving her husband faithfully, like a true wife.

............................... ............................... ............................... ...............................

“Are you so powerful. If so, open that cave in that hill. I will see” asked Siva. Indra went to the hill,and forcibly opened the cave of the bill. There was a huge dazzling shining in the cave.Four mighty personalities as replicas of Indra, appeared in front of Indra. Indra amazingly looked at them. Maheswara appeared before Indra in his original form.“Indra, you, in these five forms, will take birth on earth. Indra sena, you marry thesefive forms of Indra and fulfil your lust”. Maheswara disappeared. King Drupada,Indra, in his five forms, was born to Kunti, through the Amsas of Yama, Indra,Vayu and Asvins. Indrasena (daughter of King of Kasi) was born to you asYaajnaseni (Droupadi) in the sacred fire. I am giving you Divya Dhrushti (DivineVision).Now you can see the previous five forms of Indra and also Indrasena in her original form. Drupada could see the five forms of Indra shining like midday sun and also Droupadi in her previous form as Indrasena.

Along with the above, it is also mentioned that the Draupadi was daughter of Nala and wife of Mudgal in her previous life as Indrasena(Page: 838)

తాత్పర్యం: ఈమె పూర్వం నలుని కుమార్తెఐన ఇంద్రసేన అనే పరమపతివ్రత. ఈమె మౌద్గల్యుడు అనే మహామునికి భార్య అయింది. అతడు ముసలివాడు; కుష్ఠరోగ పీడితుడై చర్మం ఎముకలు మాత్రమే మిగిలినవాడు. బాధతో కూడిన శరీరం కలవాడు. కడుపు మీద చర్మపుముడుతలు కలవాడు, నెరసిన వెండ్రుకలు ఉన్నవాడు. దుర్వాసనతో కూడినముఖం కలవాడు. దుఃఖంతో జీవించేవాడు, మిక్కిలికోపం కలవాడు, ఊడిపోతున్న గోళ్లు, చర్మం కలవాడు, అటువంటి ఆ మునిని ఆమె కర్మవశంతో, పరమభక్తితో సేవించింది. ఒకనాడు అతడు తిని విడిచినయెంగిలిఅన్నం తింటూ ఉండగా-ఒకరోజు

Along with them, the Wikipedia page about the Rishi Mudgal has the following paragraph

Rishi Mudgal was also been cited for the infamous curse on his wife when she tried to stop him from becoming a saint at the later part of his life. He cursed his wife that in next birth she will have five husbands. In next life, his wife was born as Draupadi, the daughter of King Drupada. Draupadi's husbands were the five Pandavas from Mahabharata.


Is it true that the Indrasena, daughter of Nala, born in her next life as Draupadi according to the Vyasa Mahabharata or any other authentic scripture?

  • 2
    How did you concluded this? I means how is the quoted part related to Draupadi? Jan 23, 2019 at 16:33
  • @TriyugiNarayanMani No, I heard that Draupadi's name is Indrasena in her previous life. Hence I quoted that to ask whether she is same or not.
    – hanugm
    Jan 23, 2019 at 16:37
  • You answered your question itself. The edit from Andhra Mahabharatam should have been the answer. Andhra Mahabharatam itself is an authentic scripture. What is page no where it is mentioned Nala's daughter is Indra Sena? You quoted only some part in Telugu. Jan 28, 2019 at 8:04
  • @Sarvabhouma Andhra Mahabharatam is a translated version of Vyasa Mahabharata. How to take it as authentic text?
    – hanugm
    Jan 28, 2019 at 8:09
  • You answered it yourself. It's translation of Vyasa Mahabharata and not some regional version. The trio of poets read the Vyasa mahabharata and rewrote in Telugu with proper prosody. There is not much difference between the both. Andhra Bharatam contains more explanation which Vyasa missed. It's an authentic text. Jan 28, 2019 at 8:18

2 Answers 2


Is it true that, Indrasenā, daughter of Nala, is born in her next life as Draupadī according to the Vyāsa Mahābhārata or any other authentic scripture?

The answer depends on what you consider as authentic. If you believe the BORI Critical Edition of Mahābhārata to be the most authentic, then the story connecting Indrasenā, the daughter of Nala, with Draupadī is not present in it. This is how that Vyāsa-Drupada dialogue legitimizing Draupadī's wedding to 5 men ends in the BORI CE (Bibek Debroy's translation):

Chapter 189


Then the pure Brahmana Vyasa, performer of extremely generous deeds, gave divine sight to the king through his ascetic powers. The king saw them in their earlier forms.

He saw them divine and young, broad-chested and 5 cubits tall, adorned with golden garlands, crowns and jewels, with complexions as radiant as that of the fire or the sun, each resembling Shakra, dressed in divine garments that were beautiful and golden, resplendent with fragrant garlands that were the best, the equals of the three-eyed god, the vasus and the celestial adityas, with every quality. On seeing the earlier Indras, King Drupada was surprised and pleased. With the power of divine maya that is beyond measure, he saw that supreme of women, Shri personified. In beauty, splendour and fame, he saw her to be the right wife for those Indras on earth. On seeing this wonderful sight, he touched the feet of Satyavati's son and said, with a tranquil mind, "O supreme rishi! For you, this is no wonder."

Vyasa replied, "In a hermitage in a forest, there was once the daughter of a great-souled rishi, who was beautiful and pure, but could not get a husband. It is said that through her austerities, she pleased the god Shankara. Pleased with her, the god himself spoke to her, 'Tell me what you want.' Thus addressed, she repeatedly told the boon-granting supreme god, 'I wish to have a husband who is accomplished in every way.' Then the god Shankara happily granted her the boon and said, 'O fortunate one! You will have five excellent husbands.' The one who had pleased the god said, 'O Shankara! I wish to have only one husband who possesses all the qualities.' The god of gods, extremely pleased with her, again uttered these holy words. 'You have addressed me five times, asking for a husband. O fortunate one! It shall be as you have asked. You will have good fortune and all this will happen in one of your future births.' O Drupada! So this daughter, with the form of a goddess, was born to you. Krishna Parshati was preordained to be the wife of five and remain unblemished. The divine Shri was born out of the great sacrifice to be the wife of the Pandavas. After performing severe austerities, she was born as your daughter. O King Drupada! That resplendent goddess, sought after by the gods themselves, was ordained to be the wife of five through her own actions. She was created by the self-creating one to be the wife of these gods. On hearing this, act as you wish."

Chapter 190

Drupada said, "O maharshi! I sought to act in the way that I had said only when I had not heard these words from you. I cannot act against what has been ordained. I wish to act as you have said. The knot tied by destiny cannot be untied. There is nothing that results from our own actions. The rites set out for one husband must now become the rites for this rule. Since Krishna herself repeatedly asked for many husbands in ancient times, the great god accordingly granted her the boon. The god himself knows what is best. Since Shankara has ordained it to be thus, dharma or adharma, I will commit no sin. Therefore, since Krishna is ordained to them, let them take her hand as they wish, according to the prescribed rites."


The Ganguli translation also recounts the story in a similar manner.

Now the story about Nālāyaṇī (Indrasenā), the wife of ṛṣi Maudgalya is narrated in Ādi-parva ch. 212 of the Kumbhakoṇam Edition so it's likely an invention of the Southern Recension of the Mahābhārata.

Mahabharata - Adiparva - adhyAya 212

Chapter Topics

indrasenAparanAmnyA nAlAyanyA upAkhyAnArambhaH-nAlAyanyA sthavirasya patyurmaudgalyasya ArAdhanam ||1||

tuShTena maudgalyena nAlAyanIprArthanayA.a.atmanaH pa~ncharUpasvIkAreNa tasyAM ramaNam ||2||

tayoH svargAdilokeShu nAnArUpeNa ramaNam ||3||

saiva nAlAyanI tava duhitA jAteti drupadaM prati vyAsasyoktiH ||4||


  • The book you link to argues the opposite, namely that the Southern recension is more reliable, and that it’s the the North Indian recensions that are problematic. Mar 8, 2019 at 23:48
  • 1
    Yes it does, but it also says "not much room was left that for Southern redactors to have their free play after that date" which I interpret as the author admitting there were free additions until it reached the 100K mark. Mar 9, 2019 at 1:51

Maharishi Vyasa said that a chaste daughter of an illustrious Rishi had performed tapasya (austerities) to appease God Shiva. When God Shiva had appeared before her, she had asked for a husband. He said she would have 5 husbands in her next life since she had repeated her request 5 times. Draupadi was thus born in King Drupada’s home to fulfil God Shiva’s earlier boon [Ref: Mahabharata 1.171 translated by KM Ganguli].

The 5 primary manifestations of Prakriti (Adi-Shakti) are Goddesses Radha, Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati and Savitri. All women in this universe have emerged from a part of Prakriti [Ref: Devi Bhagavatam 9.1.1, 9.1.96-143].

When there is a birth of a girl child in the house, don't we say Goddess Lakshmi has taken birth in our family?

So, in her previous birth Draupadi was a Rishi's daughter and of course, she is a part of Goddess Lakshmi too [Ref: Mahabharata 1.199 translated by KM Ganguli].

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