Draupati's surrender ?

I have a question and request someone to enlighten me with it.

When the Kauravas tried to disrobe Draupati first she asked help from her husbands, then the king Dhritrashtra, then great personalities like Bhishma, Drona etc but all failed. Finally when she was just being disrobed she was so helpless that she called out to Krishna and got saved. It is said that our surrender should be like Draupadi where we should call out to Krishna in a helpless mood.

Now our acharyas have said that when Draupati asked others for help Krishna did not save her because it meant that she was more dependent on others than Krishna. Therefore our acharyas have said that we should learn from this pastime and not ask material people for help rather ask Krishna for help directly in a mood of surrender like Draupati.

However I am seeing something much positive in this pastime which may go against what our acharyas have said so I ask for forgiveness for any offenses. Actually we can learn from this pastime that like Draupati we should try our best not to harass Lord Krishna for our material problems. Therefore like Draupati first we should try our best to solve our problems and if everything fails then it is natural that one will become helpless and call out to Krishna in the mood of surrender. If it is said that Draupati should have called out to Krishna from the beginning without asking help from someone else then she could have asked for Krishna's help right in the beginning when she was being pulled out by her hair (first she was pulled out by the hair in the assembly where the Kauravas were then an attempt to disrobe her was made). However won't it mean that the moment a material problem starts and if we harass Krishna for help then it is more like we are chanting for the fulfillment of our material desires rather than love of God. Therefore I request someone to let me know that why is Draupati criticized for asking help from her husbands ?

Chant Hare Krishna and Fight

Hare Krishna.

This pastime of Draupadi has been used to illustrate total surrender to Krishna. I am not sure what exactly our acharyas said about this.

Does this mean when we are put into a crisis we should simply call out to Krishna and not do anything ourselves? Is that is what meant by atma-nivedana or total surrender? I dont think our acharyas say that.

For instance when the devotees were facing difficulty preaching, Prabhupada did not simply say 'Chant Hare Krishna', he said 'Chant Hare Krishna and fight'. This is the title of one of the chapters in Lilamrta. It is not that we dont take any efforts but simply wish Krishna would rush to our rescue. Draupadi's pastime illustrates we cannot take shelter of any material formula or think we can win our fight independent of the will of Krishna. When there is a crisis, we call out to Krishna to save us indicating without His will we cannot be saved. Then depending on Krishna, we fight to the best of our ability finding out various ways of overcoming the crisis. Not for a moment can we think that independent of the will of the Lord, we can find some means to be saved. That is total surrender. Draupadi holding onto the sari (the Bhagavatam only says that she was handled roughly by her hair and never mentions about her being disrobed) simply indicates our holding onto our material dreams but does not indicate that we make no effort to save ourselves.

Radhikesh das

What if Draupati remembered Krishna and tried her best ?

Thank you for your reply Prabhuji. You said that Draupati had a material formula as she only asked material people for help but did not ask Krishna for help. However let's say if Draupati did as you said. If she called out to Krishna for help and at the same time she would try her best to fight by asking her husbands for help. Still Krishna would have not helped her as it would mean that she had yet not totally surrendered(because it would mean that she was still dependent on her husbands though she would remember Lord Krishna also). For example even when she caught the saree Lord Krishna did not help as she had not totally surrendered(because she still depended on her power of holding her saree) therefore He did not come. This proves that even if we ask for His help and try out best to fight (like Draupati did by holding her saree) still Krishna will not help as we have not totally surrendered. In such a case wouldn't it be better that Draupati instead of trying her best by asking her husbands for help and holding her saree would have directly surrendered to Lord Krishna and thus would have become saved much faster ?

A pure devotee

Draupadi is a pure devotee and this story is instructive for people like us. It looks odd to say Draupadi had a material formula, but for the purposes of discussion we can consider these things from an external point of view putting aside the fact she is a pure devotee.

A pure devotee has no separate interest from the will of the Lord. To say that holding onto a sari is not full surrender is not correct. Of course, in this incident holding onto sari is instructive for us to indicate holding onto our attachments and thus indicate lack of full surrender. For example if I suffer a misery and say I am a devotee. I call out to Krishna for help but at the same time, I hear about this particular person who can cure our maladies simply by hugging people. So I go to this person to seek a remedy. This is holding onto the sari, not fully surrendering to Krsna. When Prabhupada was ill, he took ayur vedic medicines or sometimes on the insistence of his disciples he went to doctor though he was indifferent to his health. That does not mean he was not a fully surrendered devotee.

There was some material attachment in Draupadi holding onto the sari and thus Krsna did not come at first. The point I am trying to make is it is not enough to sit around and expect Krsna to come running to help us. And it is not our works alone that is going to solve the problem. It is ultimately Krsna's will and our service to Him that Krsna reciprocates. Just like when you are fallen into a well and cry for help. And a person throws a rope at you. You should make the effort to catch the rope so that he can pull you out. But if you simply expect that the person will pull you out without any effort on your part, that will not save you.

Then of course you will argue that calling to Krsna for help itself is a material thing. That also is not true, since we see pure devotees like Nanda and others in Bhagavatam calling out to their beloved son/friend to save them.

Radhikesh das

Spiritual or Material boat ?

Thank you for your reply Prabhuji. Shrila Prabhupada said that we cannot put our leg in both the material and spiritual boat. This means that we should either approach Krishna for Prema or for the fulfillment of our material goals but if we do both then it is not recommended. Now as you said that even pure devotees like Nanda called to Krishna for help. This means that even those who are on the path of Prema call out to Krishna for help and even those who are on the path to fulfill their material goals call out to Krishna for help. Can you please tell me that how can a devotee calling to Krishna for help know whether he is on a spiritual path or material path ?


When he has no other desire than to serve the Lord he is on spiritual path.