How The Akshaya Patra Exemplified Draupadi-Krishna's Bond
Image Credit: Krishna eats from the Akshaya Patra.

AMONGST the lore associated with the celebration of Raksha Bandhan is the widely known story of how Draupadi ripped her own clothing to make a tourniquet for Krishna, when he wounded his hand on the Sudarshan Chakra whilst punishing Shishupala. As she stanched the flow of blood, Krishna vowed that he would always protect Draupadi. While he would fulfil his promise on more occasions than one, there is one particular instance that is of interest to us here at Slurrp. 

This event dates to the Pandava’s exile in the forest. As they embarked on their 12-year hiatus, Yudhisthir prayed to the Sun God and was granted a magical copper platter known as the “Akshaya Patra”: it would be an inexhaustible source of food, and the servings would halt only once Draupadi had finished her meal. This proved to be invaluable to the Pandavas during their exile, and they could feed the many sages who visited them or were part of their entourage without any lowering in the level of hospitality. 

When Duryodhana got wind of this, he plotted a way to bring misfortune to his cousins. He first hosted the powerful, quick-tempered sage Durvasa at his palace. Then, he convinced the sage to visit Yudhisthir in the forest, along with a retinue of 100 disciples. However, Duryodhana added that Durvasa should time his visit just after Draupadi had finished her meal. 

Consequently, when Durvasa made his way to the Pandava’s humble abode in the forest, the Akshaya Patra was empty. As Yudhisthir invited the sage to refresh himself in the nearby river, Draupadi fretted over what she would serve Durvasa and his retinue. If enraged at the lack of food — and what he would undoubtedly view as an insult — the sage was quite likely to curse the already beleaguered Pandavas. In desperation, she prayed to Krishna for help. 

When Krishna arrived, he asked Draupadi to bring him the Akshaya Patra. There, stuck to the bottom of the platter was a solitary grain of rice and a small piece of vegetable. Krishna ate these scraps, and declared that all the souls in the universe would be satiated. 

At this declaration, Durvasa and his disciples, still bathing in the river, felt full. Even the thought of eating a morsel felt like an impossible task. Of course, if they returned to the hermitage and refused the refreshments Yudhisthir offered, it would be seen as an affront. So they decided to make their way back home from the river itself and avoid such a slight. A crisis was thus averted.

As we observe Raksha Bandhan with our siblings and celebrate the protective bond between Draupadi and Krishna, wouldn’t it be marvellous to have an Akshaya Patra that multiplied our happiness and sweet memories?