From MBH appendix of BORI relating to the former births of Draupadi

Translation of passages
by Satya Chaitanya

Understand, oh king, this is the renowned ancient incident about the practice of sage-kings of old in the matter of wives. There was once a world famous king called Nitantu. He had five sons, all master warriors, all of whom became kings. These kshatriyas were all performers of Vedic rites and were called Salveya, Shoorasena, the brave Shrutasena, Tindusara and Atisara, They never transgressed one another and always spoke what was good for one another. Shaibya Bhaumashwee, who had a melodious voice as sweet as that of a veena, attained these princes, the five brave sons of Nitantu, as her husbands in her swayamvara. Thus Bhaumashwee, who had for her husbands these five bulls among Kshatriyas, these Nitantu kings, endowed with all qualities, became the best of women. Oh king, this Ausheenari was the only wife of those five kings.

Bhaumashwee then gave birth to five sons by the five husbands. Oh great king, they came to be known in the world by their five separate names received from those five Nitantus. Oh noble Lord, these [Matsya kings] came to be known in the world by five separate names. Please hear from me those renowned names. The descendants of these kings were known as Salveyas, Shoorasenas, Shrutasenas, Tindusaras and Atisaras. Thus the one common wife Bhaumashwee became famous in the world.

It is she who became the incomparably beautiful Nalayani and attaining Maudgalya for a husband and attaining proximity with Shiva.

Listen to me, oh king, carefully to what I say and trust my words -- then you will see the Pandavas [for what they truly are].

As we all know, the lord of the gods fell from heaven after killing Vritra, affected by brahmahatya and devoid of [his qualities such as] dharma and so on. Indra’s dharma went to Yama, strength entered Vayu, his superior veerya and knowledge and beauty went to the Nasatyas; Hree, Lakshmi, Keerti, Sannati and Mati left Indra and took refuge in the goddess of speech. Oh king, because of an earlier boon by/to Indra and because of the order of Mahadeva, understand the Pandavas as Dharma etc. and Draupadi as Hree etc. Because of that, all these Pandavas are, no doubt, but the one Indra and your [daughter] Draupadi is Paulomi herself.

Now listen to another great secret of the gods, hearing which your doubts will be totally destroyed. Mahesha’s five faces such as Sadyojata are those who are Pandavas now and Parvati herself is this Draupadi.

Here is yet another great secret, eternal and known only to the gods, for your knowledge, knowing which you will be clear of all your doubts and hesitations. Vishnu has four arms, endowed with the wheel and so on. Yudhishthira, Bheema and the twins are these and as for Arjuna, he is Vishnu himself and Panchali is Lakshmi. Oh king, understand the four moortis of Vishnu and Vishnu himself as the four Pandavas and Arjuna, and Draupadi as the ocean-born Lakshmi. Vishnu who has four moortis and four vyoohas is incarnated on the earth along with Vasudeva and so on and Panchali is Kamala herself.

Sadashiva, who is called Panchayatana and has five moortis [is the five Pandavas] and the five layas such as Nivrtta is Panchali herself -- understand, oh king.

For this reason, let there be no hesitation about it. Give your daughter Draupadi to the five Pandavas since she has ancient associations with them. Pandavas are the five sacred fires and Krishna is renowned as Swaha.

[The second passage]


Let the worry in your mind that “my daughter shall be the wife of five”, cease, oh king. For, her mother, oh king, had prayed that her daughter should be the wife of five men and Yaja and Upayaja, constantly engaged in dharma, with their tapas, achieved for her five husbands. And Krishna was attained by the five Pandavas as their wife through righteous means – let therefore your family be happy. There is no lord greater than you in the world, you are undefeatable by all enemies. Hear more from me about how she happened to attain five husbands – so that you shall become free from sorrow.

This Draupadi was earlier Nalayani and the blameless one worshipped her old, leper husband Maudgalya. He was just skin and bones, impetuous, lustful, jealous, and prone to furious anger. His body stank, his skin was wrinkled, his head was bald. His body was distorted, his nails and skin had begun to wear off. But she served him closely, and ate his left over food. Then once it so happened that while he was eating, one of his fingers fell off into the food. Picking up and throwing that finger out, she ate the remaining food without any hesitation. Maudgalya was pleased by this. And he, who had the power to do anything he wished, then asked her to ask for a boon -- when he asked her again and again, she asked for a boon.


I am not old, I am not bitter, nor jealous or hot lady, tell me how I can delight you, and where you wish to live and enjoy your life. I shall do all that you wish. Tell me whatever is in your mind.


She of blameless beauty told her husband, whose actions were pure, who was a giver of boons, who gave all one wished, and was now pleased with her [the following]:


Oh great one, I am badly wounded by the five arrows of the lord of love. Pleasure me, oh lord, world-renowned one, whose glory is beyond understanding, dividing yourself into five, and then again by becoming one again.


The wise sage of great austerities, the brahmarshi, told her let it be so. And then Mudgala, becoming five, pleasured Nalayani of beautiful hair and lovely smile thoroughly.

Worshipped by the sages he wandered long in the ashrams as he pleased, assuming any form he desired. And he went to heaven, where he lived in the house of Indra, and worshipped by Shachi, roamed there feasting on ambrosia. He moved around with Mahendrasena [Nalayani], urged by the desire to sport with her. He, the great lord, boarded the divine chariot of the sun and then reaching Mt. Meru, enjoyed his stay there. With her he, whose treasure was tapas, swam and enjoyed in the celestial Ganga and stayed in webs of moon-rays as the wind does.

And then when the great sage took on the shape of a mountain range, because of his power she because a great river in the middle of the mountains. When the lord sage made himself a sala tree full of flowers, she took the form of a creeper and wound herself around him. Whatever body he assumed, assuming a similar body, she traveled with him all along.

And so living, her love for him and his love for her increased in equal measure --