Chapter 11: Draupadi: A Rare Woman
The nun was distressed to see that while her own Buddha was deprived of the perfume, others had it in plenty. So she devised a funnel through which the smoke would ascend to her statue only. But this device, although successful, blackened the face of her Buddha and made it especially ugly. Of course the nun was exceedingly miserable, because it was a rare statue of sandalwood, and she loved it. She went to the chief priest of the temple and said, “My statue of Buddha has been ruined. What am I to do?”
The priest said, “Such an accident, such an ugliness is bound to happen whenever someone tries to block the movement of truth and possess it for oneself. Truth by its nature has to be everywhere, it cannot be personalized and possessed.”
Up to now, mankind has thought of love in terms of petty relationship - relationship between two persons. We have yet to know love that is a state of mind, and not just relationship. And this is what comes in our way of understanding Draupadi
If I am loving, if love is the state of my being, then it is not possible to confine my love to a single person, or even a few persons. When love enters my life and becomes my nature, then I am capable of loving any number of people. Then it is not even a question of one or many; then I am loving, and my love reaches everywhere. If I am loving to one and unloving to all others, even my love for the one will wither away. It is impossible to be loving to one and unloving to the rest. If someone is loving just for an hour every day and remains unloving for the rest of the time, his lovelessness will eventually smother his small love and turn his life into a wasteland of hate and hostility.
It is unfortunate that people all around the world are trying to capture love and keep it caged in their relationships. But it is not possible to make a captive of love, the moment you try to capture it, it ceases to be love. Love is like air; you cannot hold it in your fist. It is possible to have a little air on your open palm, but if you try to enclose it in your fist, the air escapes. It is a paradox of life that when you try to imprison love, to put it in bondage, love degenerates and dies. And we have all killed love in our foolish attempts to possess it. Really we don’t know what love is.
We find it hard to understand how Draupadi could love five persons together. Not only we, even the five Pandava brothers had difficulty in understanding Draupadi. The trouble is understandable, even the Pandavas thought that Draupadi was more loving to one of them. Four of them believed that she favored Arjuna in particular, and they felt envious of him. So they had a kind of division of her time and attention. When one of the Pandava brothers was with her, others were debarred from visiting her.
Like us, they believed that it is impossible for someone to love more than one person at a time. We cannot think of love as anything different from a relationship between two persons - a man and a woman. We cannot conceive that love is a state of being, it is not directed to individuals. Love, like air, sunshine and rain, is available to all without any distinctions.