Yudhishtar and Draupadi

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Penguin Books India, 1996 - Indic poetry (English) - 104 pages
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Yudhishtar and Draupadi is a long poem in rhymed sonnets based on one of the most important episodes in the Mahabharata. In it, Pavan Varma gives us a new and challenging interpretation of the encounter between the Pandavas and the Yaksha of the Poisoned Pool. During their years of exile, the Pandavas happen upon a pool in the Dvaitvana forest. They thirst for the water, but its guardian will not allow them to drink until they have answered his questions. Four of the brothers die at the hands of the Yaksha after failing to solve the riddles, and then it is Yudhishtarıs turn. The narrative of Yudhishtar and Draupadi begins with the eldest Pandava facing the Yaksha. Determined to bring his brothers back to life, and protect the beautiful Draupadi, the eldest Pandava draws upon his fabled diplomacy and wisdom to answer every one of the Yakshaıs questions faultlessly. As he does so, the reader is given rare and beautifully couched insights into some of the most fundamental questions of life, love, death and benediction. Pavan Varma also uses the episode to look into the uneasy relationship between Yushishtar, and the alluring Draupadi. His austerity and straightforwardness come in the way of his passion for Draupadi, who loves Arjun above everyone else. The complex interplay between the two gives the poet the opportunity to meditate on key apsects of men and women in love.

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