Patras Note

The Notes of Avinash Patra, Sr.

                                                          Draupadi A Woman of Rare Love

The Society of Arts,  & Oxofrd University Press, United Kingdom ; 1 edition (February 4, 2012)

      From the Inside Flap

To love five men together, to play wife to them at the same time is a great and arduous task. This needs to be understood rightly. Love does not have much to do with persons; it is a state of mind. And love that is confined to a single person is a poor love. Let us go into this question of love in depth.

We all insist that one's love should be confined to a single person - a man or a woman. If someone loves you, you want that he should love you and you alone, that he not share his love with another person. You would like to possess that person, to monopolize him or her. We not only want to possess things, we also want to possess men and women. And if we had our way we would possess even the sun and the moon and the stars. So we crave to monopolize love. Because we do not know what love is, we are prone to think that if it is shared with many it will disperse and dwindle and die. But the truth is that the more love is shared, the more it grows. And when we try to restrict it, to control it - which is utterly unnatural and arbitrary - it dries up and eventually dies.

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 have our own ideas of what love is and should be, and that is why we misunderstand Draupadi. Despite our best efforts to understand her rightly, there is a lurking suspicion in our minds that there is an element of prostitution in Draupadi: our very definition of a sati, a faithful and loyal wife, turns Draupadi into a prostitute.

It is amazing that the tradition of this country like India respects Draupadi as one of the five most virtuous women of the past. The people who included her among the five great women of history must have been extraordinarily intelligent. 


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