The five sons of Draupadi

In the Mahabharata, Draupadi has five sons – one from each of the five Pandavas. They are Prativindhya, Sutasoma, Srutakarma, Sataneek, and Srutasen. They were the sons of Yudhisthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula, and Sahdeva, respectively. They were all great warriors and fought in the Mahabharata war. Ashwathama had killed them in their sleep, believing them to be the sleeping Pandavas. All students who work towards awakening their consciousness follow and practice certain techniques or methods. These methods result in the awakening of certain powers or ‘siddhis’ within the student. Truth has nothing to do with these siddhis and at the time of experiencing the truth, these siddhis, (like everything else) have to be renounced. Thus, the children born out Draupadi’s marriage to the five Pandavas had to die at the end of the war.

We have previously seen that the five Pandavas symbolise the five lower chakras and Draupadi the sex energy within us. This sex energy can follow either of two paths - (1) that of excitement, where we lose and waste this energy or (2) that of sensitivity, where the energy starts rising up the backbone and on its journey moves through the five chakras, marrying them. When this energy invigorates a chakra, the student experiences new energies and powers rising – these powers are the sons of Draupadi. Each son, born out of Draupadi’s marriage to the Pandavas, is thus the fruit of the rising energy. Let us see what each one represents and how in this beautiful analogy the great rishi Vyasa has hidden the secrets of kundalini yoga.

Let us begin with Srutasen. He is the son of Sahdeva (represents Muladhara) and Draupadi. ‘Sruta’ means to hear and understand. ‘Senah’ means to bind, or fasten, and use in the right way. We walk through the events of life doing either of two things, evolving or involving (falling) in consciousness. For instance, we have an appointment and the person we are due to meet does not turn up in time. Some of us start getting irritated, some fidget, some start walking, and some call out names, while others keep reaching for their phone. Here, we have reacted, become hypnotised by the event, and instead of extracting consciousness from the event have lost it and involved. If only within us a power of discrimination is born, then we can be calm and use the same event to elevate the level of awakening. As the kundalini energy rises, it gives us a feeling of tremendous power and instead of dissolving our ego, it may lead to a newer and more powerful one. At this time we must have the discriminating capacity or the viveka to see that the very energy we attained to increase our levels of consciousness does not lead to deeper hypnosis of life. Srutasen, Sahadeva’s son, is that power of discrimination which guides us in our actions towards evolution in consciousness.

Through Nakula, Draupadi has the son Sataneek. ‘Sat’ means a hundred or a large number and ‘aneek’ means to array them, or put in the right sequence. Every moment millions of bits of data flow into the brain. They follow certain fixed pathways which have been formed through our upbringing and ways of life. We can call the deepest pathways as attitudes and the other pathways as habits. Say, someone throws a stone at an image (of many) that I have of myself. This data flows through a set pathway in the brain which interprets it as an insult. As a result, I feel hurt, get angry, react, lose my energy, and fall deeper into the sleep of life. Sataneek means to change the order or allow the data to flow on a different pathway in the brain. Now, this new pathway will interpret the data in a completely different manner. A voice might now say ‘The insult is to the ego and my path is to dissolve the ego, so, I will not be angry but rather be happy that I got a chance to observe the workings of my ego and be free from it’ – the birth of Sataneek.

The next son of Draupadi is from Arjuna and is called Srutakarma. Srutakarma represents the right action that comes from right hearing and right arrangement. Our actions are generally reactive and lead to more sleep and misery. In doing so, we also hurt others all the time. When Srutakarma is born within us we are free from the pattern, that if, someone hurts us, we must hurt them back. This brings conscious and right action. Right action leads to harmony and love in all our relationships.

From Bhima and Draupadi was born Sutasoma. ‘Suta’ means pouring out and ‘somah’, combination of ‘su’ and ‘mana’ means in the right mind. When we are free of reaction and experience a rise in consciousness, a new energy of creativity starts pouring out of us. Then we are able to give an artistic and aesthetic touch to every situation in life. This brings great joy and life becomes a dance of creative energies. ‘Somah’ also means sublimation – that is the creative sex energy has sublimated into art. Quite often during conversations, we immediately oppose what the other person has said leading to an argument and reactions. If during every conversation we can move along with what the other has said, we start creating a work of art as if on canvas, and experience the joy of creating a fine painting through conversation.

Prativindhya was born of Draupadi’s marriage to Yudhisthira. ‘Prati’ means towards, ‘vi’ means extraordinary and ‘dha’ means to distribute. Prativindhya is the one whose life energies flow towards the divine or the one who helps distribute extraordinarily, that is the qualities that help us to channelize our energies in the direction of the divine (or towards our own personal evolution). When the inner creative energy starts pouring out, the disciple learns to live it in every relationship. Even when he shakes hands with someone he allows this divine energy to flow from him to the other person, which is extraordinary sharing. Now all his actions are aimed at sharing this energy which is pouring out through him.

These are the five siddhis or powers that come from the rising of the kundalini. It is important for the student to live each of these stages in his normal life, a concept that most students fail to understand. Many students of yoga work to awaken the kundalini but do not live it in their daily life. Then, the very energy which was to lead to awakening becomes a disease and a cause for a fall.