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Draupadi’s Plate

This story is from the period during which the Pandavas were in exile. King Drutarashtra was ruling Hastinapur. In fact, it would not be wrong to say that the reins of kingdom were in possession of Drutarashtra’s son, Duryodhana. One day, Maharshi Durvas arrived in the court of the Kauravas. Even though he had arrived unexpectedly, Duryodhana welcomed him with honour and respect. He made luxurious arrangements of food and stay for Maharshi Durvas in his palace. Extremely satisfied with the arrangements, Sage Durvas said to Duryodhana, “I am very pleased with you. You can ask for whatever boon you desire.” Duryodhana was very happy on hearing this. He decided to utilise this opportunity to humiliate the Pandavas. Feigning innocence, he said, “Respected Sage, I promptly welcomed you with honour and respect. That you were pleased with this is a matter of great pleasure for me. Also, I am happy that this will help me acquire merit. I strongly desire that my brothers, the Pandavas, should also get an opportunity to acquire merits by serving you. You should spend the rest of your stay with the Pandavas who are staying in the jungle. Along with all your disciples, you should take the benefit of having food with the Pandavas. Please satisfy this desire of mine.” Granting him his wishes, Maharshi Durvas said “Tathastu!” and left.

In his mind, Duryodhana was deriving vicious pleasure from this incident. He knew that the poor Pandavas staying in the forest would not be able to make arrangements to welcome such a large contingent of people and offer them food; and they would receive such a blow from Sage Durvas’s short temper, that they will lose all pride. Duryodhana was mightily pleased with himself.

The next day when Maharshi Durvas and his disciples reached Parnakuti, the place where the Pandavas were residing, it was well past lunchtime. As soon as they reached Parnakuti, Durvas said to Draupadi, “Daughter, lunch time has already elapsed. By the time we perform our bathing rituals at the river and return, kindly make arrangements for our lunch.” Saying this he left along with his disciples for a bath. Draupadi could not utter a single word, but she was totally helpless. There was not a grain left in Parnakuti. She was worried and could not understand how to make arrangements for Sage Durvas and his disciples’ lunch. Finally, she reverently prayed to Shrikrushna. She knew that only Shrikrushna could save her from this troublesome situation. Shrikrushna appeared before her and asked Draupadi to serve him lunch. Hearing this, the helpless Draupadi explained the entire situation to Him. Hearing her, Krushna said, “Go and get whatever is there in the house.” Draupadi searched the entire house, but did not find anything. She saw a small leaf of a vegetable stuck on a plate. She offered that to Shrikrushna. Krushna ate it and was satisfied. He was so filled with satisfaction that he gave a burp of satisfaction. At that very moment, Sage Durvas and his disciples who had gone to the river realised that their hunger had been satiated and they too started burping. Hence, they cancelled their plan to visit the Pandavas for lunch and proceeded on their onward journey. In this way, with the help of Shrikrushna, Draupadi overcame the problem.

Even to this day, whenever a housewife with meagre resources happily welcomes her guests with respect and satisfies them with delicious food; she is then said to possess Draupadi’s plate.