Posted: 28 April 2014 at 11:27am | IP Logged
Well, it is not in Mahabharata, but Draupadi has a LONG backstory.
Here it is, with Part 1 by me, and Part 2 by Varaali from the Previous Births thread:
Nalayani was the daughter of King Nala and Damayanti. She was a very virtuous woman who knew many shastras. So no one was learned enough to marry her. TO test her, once Rishi Maudgalya went to her as a handsome prince and asked her to marry him. She immediately asked various questions from different shastras, to which the rishi answered satisfactorily. So she agreed to marry him. They married and went to his ashrama, where she served him very well. The Rishi wanted to test her further and so disappeared from the ashrama in the early morning. Nalayani searched for him, just then a hunter came there and said, "Your husband has been killed by a tiger."
She replied, my husband cannot die so easily. But the hunter said, "Leave him and marry me."
She got so angry that she cursed him with leprosy.
Later, Maudgalya Rishi returned, covered with all the signs of leprosy and Nalayani realised she had cursed her husband. To repent for this, she offered to carry him on her head wherever he wished to go. WHile going like this, they came across a house of a devadasi called Padma. To even more test Nalayani, Maudgalya Munivar said, "Nalayani, I wish to visit that devadasi. Inform her that."
So Nalayani informed Padma about this, and she too decorated herself and welcomed Maudgalya. He told Nalayani to get out of the house. When Padma came near him, he said, "Don't touch me, or you shall become ashes. That woman you see outside, she is a goddess of virtue. She has served me faithfully for so many years. I cannot betray her. But I can grant you any boon you want."
Padma then said, "O Munivar! I am cursed to have been born in the devadasi caste! No one respects me! Please grant me the boon that: In my next birth, I should be born as a royal princess, with a royal brother, marry a great warrior, and give an even greater warrior to this world."
Maudgalya smiled and said, "Oh Padma! I bless you! In the next birth, you shall be born in theYadava dynasty, with Lord Krishna and Lord Balarama as your brothers. You shall marry the great Arjuna and shall give to the world the formidable Abhimanyu." Thus, this devadasi Padma in her next birth became Subhadra.