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Some answers on this site say that Draupadi did agni-pravesha before meeting each husband. Those answers don't provide any citations from the Mahabharata.

The first answer says he "heard in an upanyasam", and the second answer doesn't even provide a source.

Regardless, this is contrary to what is normally said of Draupadi being an exceptional case of polyandry. For example, in this section of the Mahabharata, Yudhishthira justifies his marriage of Draupadi by citing previous examples of polyandry, as well as following polyandry on the order of his mother:

"Yudhishthira then spoke, saying, 'My tongue never uttereth an untruth and my heart never inclineth to what is sinful. When my heart approveth of it, it can never be sinful. I have heard in the Purana that a lady of name Jatila, the foremost of all virtuous women belonging to the race of Gotama had married seven Rishis. So also an ascetic's daughter, born of a tree, had in former times united herself in marriage with ten brothers all bearing the same name of Prachetas and who were all of souls exalted by asceticism. O foremost of all that are acquainted with the rules of morality, it is said that obedience to superior is ever meritorious. Amongst all superiors, it is well-known that the mother is the foremost. Even she hath commanded us to enjoy Draupadi as we do anything obtained as alms. It is for this, O best of Brahmanas, that I regard the (proposed) act as virtuous.'

Pandu in the Mahabharata even says that polyandry was permitted at one time.

Does the Mahabharata actually say that she did agni-pravesha before meeting each husband every year?

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  • Yes, I heard it in Tamil Upanyasam from a revered scholar. They are the only reliable source of info on shastras, English sources/translations are only for cursory introduction. There is also a commentary about "marriage" to sapta rishis (in case of constellation and an accompanying star, if u attend any vedic marriage, purohit will tell the bride to look at that nakshatra) - it doesn't mean wife, it just means service. Just as a woman married to a husband who has 2 brothers, cooks for all 3, washes all 3's clothes etc., in that sense it is one family.
    – mar
    May 8 at 17:33
  • @mar Did the Swami mention where he got this information from? I want to know if this is mentioned in the MB itself or a purana at least. Because why would Draupadi need to do agni-pravesha when she is already married to the 5 pandavas? Did she also do the marriage ritual ever year with each of them?
    – Ikshvaku
    May 8 at 19:11
  • It was in Mahabharat upanyasam - they get their source from either Vyasa Bharatam, or Villiputtur Bharatam (Tamil version with equal footing, just as Kamba Ramayan has equal footing with Valmiki's), or Divya Prabandha Pasurams. They are available for purchase/download online, but have to understand Tamil to get their sources. Agni Pravesh purifies the body, so it's like getting a new body each time, hence no blemish about a different husband. She could do that without dying cos she herself was born from fire as a 16-year old.
    – mar
    May 8 at 19:20
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    @mar Kumarila Bhatta cited this verse from the MB to show that Draupadi is superhuman, and hence, not tainted by sex with many men: "Draupadi appeared, in full bloom of youth, out of the sacrificial altar, and as such she is Lakshmi herself, consequently, she does not become tainted by her intercourse with many owners." - it doesn't say anything about her entering the fire each time. It seems to be a myth based on this verse. Also, I'm sorry to say but Valmiki's ramayana is more authoritative than any other ramayana. Same from Vyasa's MB.
    – Ikshvaku
    May 8 at 20:04
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    the scholars of ancient times accepted that his version was divine because his manuscript floated on kaveri. they had the same doubts whether Tamil version of Prabandhas could equal the divinity of Sanskrit Vedas, and their doubts were cleared by supernatural events, just as supernatural voices foretold Kamsa's death by Krishna.
    – mar
    May 10 at 1:17

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