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Some versions of the Mahabharata depict an incident where Draupadi gets to know that Karna is Kunti-putra and she regrets not allowing Karna to participate in her svayaṁvara.

Is this event mentioned in any scripture?


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    All these are seen in 2 folk stories 1.Maharashtra 2. Asharam (a bengal poet who made this story true. Factually, Karna and Draupadi hated each other – user4168 Nov 16 '15 at 16:16
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In Vyasa Mahabharata, there is nothing related to it. But in one folk tale story is there. This tale is known as Stains of Jambul, in which Draupadi confesses love for Karna.

Draupadi did not tell regret words to Karna, but she confessed during the exile in 13 year near some lake. She also asked Krishna why Krishna did not tell her as he knew everything, Krishna told her as it was destined for her. If she would not insult Karna, Karna would never insult her. Krishna also tells her that Karna's destiny was also decided based on his past life deeds so he become Sut Putra instead of Surya Putra.

Draupadi actually rejected Karna based on Krishna's gesture only. So she did not have any hate feelings for Karna. So she was not illegible to be blemished. So she said nothing to anybody. Yes she regretted in front of Pandavas as per tale(Not Mahabharata).

She said

"If I had married him, I would not have been gambled away, publicly humiliated and called a whore. For he has all the qualities possessed by my 5 husbands."

Reference: Jambul-akhyan - A folk tale Also known as : Stains of the jambul - A folk tale

Note: This story is not in Mahabharata written by Vyasa. But just a folk tale. The story of the Jambu fruit comes from a folk play from Maharashtra called Jambul-akhyan. It is said that the Jambu fruit stains the tongue purple to remind us of all the secrets that we keep from the world.

  • What are you talking about Jambul-akhyan? What Parva is it in? – Keshav Srinivasan Aug 17 '14 at 3:33
  • A folk tradition from Mahabharata facebook.com/OfficialMahabharat/posts/201941830002434 – Mr. P Aug 17 '14 at 3:49
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    OK, in that case your answer doesn't add anything to what was already mentioned in the question. The OP mentioned how the incident is described in some versions of the Mahabharata, and they wanted to know whether it has any scriptural basis. All you're saying in your answer is that it's in a certain folk version of the Mahabharata. – Keshav Srinivasan Aug 18 '14 at 1:22
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    Certainly folk versions of the Mahabharata are part of Hindu culture, just as the Mahabharata serial on Star Plus is part of Hindu culture, but they don't constitute the actual sacred texts of Hinduism. – Keshav Srinivasan Aug 18 '14 at 6:00
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The story you mentioned has no basis in scripture, at least not in Vyāsa Mahābhārata.

Moreover, according to Vyāsa Mahābhārata, the svayaṁvara was rigged. King Drupada was very keen on giving Draupadi away to only Arjuna and nobody else, even before the svayaṁvara began.

Yajnasena [Drupada] always cherished the desire of bestowing his daughter on Kiriti (Arjuna), the son of Pandu. But he never spoke of it to anybody. And, O Janamejaya, the king of Panchala thinking of Arjuna caused a very stiff bow to be made that was incapable of being bent by any except Arjuna. Causing some machinery to be erected in the sky, the king set up a mark attached to that machinery.

And Drupada said, 'He that will string this bow and with these well-adorned arrows shoot the mark above the machine shall obtain my daughter.'

As far as Karṇa's participation in the svayaṁvara goes, there are two different official stories.


Official Story 1

Draupadi announces that she cannot marry a sūta (charioteer) so Karṇa drops his bow and withdraws from the contest.

01,178.017d*1827_07    dhanurdharā rāgakṛtapratijñam
01,178.017d*1827_08    atyagnisomārkam athārkaputram

01,178.017d*1827_09    dṛṣṭvā tu taṃ draupadī vākyam uccair
01,178.017d*1827_10     jagāda nāhaṃ varayāmi sūtam

01,178.017d*1827_11     sāmarṣahāsaṃ prasamīkṣya sūryaṃ
01,178.017d*1827_12     tatyāja karṇaḥ sphuritaṃ dhanus tat


And beholding the plight of those monarchs, Karna that foremost of all wielders of the bow went to where the bow was, and quickly raising it, strung it and placed the arrows on the string. And beholding the son of Surya--Karna of the Suta tribe--like unto fire, or Soma, or Surya himself, resolved to shoot the mark, those foremost of bowmen--the sons of Pandu--regarded the mark as already shot and brought down upon the ground. But seeing Karna, Draupadi loudly said, 'I will not select a Suta for my lord.'

Then Karna, laughing in vexation and casting glance at the Sun, threw aside the bow already drawn to a circle.


Official Story 2

The later verses however indicate that Karṇa attempted to string the bow but failed.

And that bow which Rukma, Sunitha, Vakra, Radha's son, Duryodhana, Salya, and many other kings accomplished in the science and practice of arms, could not even with great exertion, string, Arjuna, the son of Indra, that foremost of all persons endued with energy and like unto the younger brother of Indra (Vishnu) in might, strung in the twinkling of an eye.

Yudhiṣṭhira later says caste was no bar for participating in the svayaṁvara so neither Drupada nor Draupadi had any right to reject anyone merely on the basis of their caste or profession.

01,185.023a    pradiṣṭaśulkā drupadena rājñā; sānena vīreṇa tathānuvṛttā
01,185.023c    na tatra varṇeṣu kṛtā vivakṣā; na jīvaśilpe na kule na gotre

Then Yudhishthira addressed him and said, 'The king of the Panchalas hath, by fixing a special kind of dower, given away his daughter according to the practice of his order and not freely. This hero hath, by satisfying that demand, won the princess. King Drupada, therefore, hath nothing now to say in regard to the race, tribe, family and disposition of him who hath performed that feat. Indeed, all his queries have been answered by the stringing of the bow and the shooting down of the mark. It is by doing what he had directed that this illustrious hero hath brought away Krishna from among the assembled monarchs.


Given two different accounts of the same story, one of them has to be an interpolation.

In his report titled Interpolations In The Mahabharata, M. A. Mehendale of BORI says:

This stanza [drstvā tam draupadi vākyam uccair jagāda nāham varayāmi sūtam] does not occur at all in the entire Southern recension, and among the versions of the Northern recension, it does not occur in the Kashmiri, Maithili and Bengali versions. It is found only in four Devanagari mss. (out of a total fourteen used for the critical edition), and one (out of three) Nepali ms. It is therefore clearly a very late addition to the text.

If Official Story 1 did not take place in reality, the question of Draupadi regretting for not allowing Karṇa to participate in her svayaṁvara does not arise because Karṇa simply failed at the archery test.

  • This should have been the marked answer in my humble opinion :) – Prakash K Jan 15 at 11:03
  • @sv. * It is therefore clearly a very late addition to the text.* How it can be said? What proof that it was added later? – Vikas Jul 13 at 17:25
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    @Vikas To understand what the BORI scholar is saying, you need to look at this pic and have a general understanding of how the current Mahabharata was passed down to us. There must have been an original and several redactors over time added stuff to suit the needs of their time. If a story is not present in the parent manuscript in the tree but only found in subsequent versions that means it was added later. Suggest you also read Prolegomena written by V S Sukhtankar at this link. – sv. yesterday
  • @sv. thanks. Would you mind having a look at my comments on accepted answers here? hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/29588/… Those 2 questions say the thing was interpolation, but accepted answer somehow shows that Draupadi called him Suta Putra. – Vikas yesterday
  • Did you read my answer here? As I've argued here and the other answer that Draupadi did not call Karna 'suta putra' nor reject him. Read all answers and decide for yourself. @Vikas – sv. yesterday

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