Draupadi is ‘Krishna Sakhee’. ‘Sakhee’ means friend. Krishna’s special name for Draupadi was ‘sakhee’. She was married to one of Krishna’s best friends, Arjun. Draupadi was a courageous queen with a dynamic personality. Even Duryodhan (a Kaurava) grudgingly admitted to her greatness. She was in a way, the revolving kingpin of the Mahabharata war. Draupadi was married to the five brothers (Pandavas) at the same time. The above proves that it was acceptable, during those days for a woman to marry more than one man. She lived as a wife to each brother for a year in rotation. She was a beloved of all her husbands. Krishna’ s wife Satyabhama wondered how Draupadi could please all her five husbands while Krishna’s numerous wives together could not always keep him satisfied?
The Kauravas (jealous cousins of the Pandavas) had been rankled by a remark uttered by Draupadi in a moment of weakness. They invited the Pandavas for a game of dice where the Kauravas cheated and the Pandavas lost Draupadi in a gamble. The Kauravas tried to disrobe Draupadi in public.
Indignant Draupadi proved that hell hath no fury like a wkman scorned. Draupadi questioned her husband Yudhishtra, if he had pledged her before or after he had lost himself in the gamble. She argued that if he had pledged himself first, he had no right over her as he was already a slave.
She later challenged the game as illegal as she argued that Duryodhan, a Kaurava, had not placed his brothers and wife as a matching stake.
Because of evil omens that started to manifest, the old king Dhritrashtra tried to appease Draupadi by asking her to ask for any boons of her choice.
Draupadi asked for the freedom of her husbands. The old king begged her to ask for the kingdom.
Draupadi vehemently refused and proudly proclaimed that her husbands would win back their kingdom and that she did not want the gift of a kingdom which was theirs by right.
Draupadi took a vow that she would not oil or tie her hair until the Kaurava Dushyaasan was killed. The latter was responsible for dragging her to court to humiliate her.
It is believed that the queen eventually oiled her hair with the blood of Dushyaasan.
Much later when her husband Yudhishtra wanted to renounce the world, Draupadi rebuked him. She held him responsible for bringing sorrow to the family. She reminded him that she had suffered intensely. Not only had she been deeply humiliated, but she had unfairly lost her 5 sons in the war. Yet she opted to live on.
Her ‘Sakha’ Krishna recognised Draupadi’s qualities. He was aware of her deep devotion and faith to him. He never let her down. He appeared whenever she summoned. The most dramatic instance is when Dushyaasan tried to pull her saree off her. She turned to Krishna as her husbands bowed their heads in shame. He came to her aid yet once again. The saree became endless. Metres and metres were added miraculously, ujtil Dushyaasan gave up defeated.
Krishna’s and Draupadi’s friendship had withstood the supreme test.