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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Panchasati / panchakanya: some serious research

As a Sanskrit shlok (which, given my limited memory, I obviously do not recall word-by-word) goes:
Remembering the five satis destroys the greatest of sins.

The Panchasati have also been referred to as Panchakanya; they basically stand for The Five Virgins, and are typically called so because, er, they were not virgins at all, and had multiple coital partners in their lives. This is probably akin to calling Fardeen Khan an actor because he cannot act, but then, we have seen stranger things in life.

The Panchasati were cool people. They apparently slept with multiple people because the society had decreed them to, not out of their own will. What the epics do not lay stress on is the fact that they had not explicitly refused to sleep with the illustrious males, and presumably found the pleasure women typically find out of the acts.

It's quite amazing how they got to sleep with multiple men and then got credited for doing so. How things have changed since then!

Let us have a look at the Quintet, then, one by one:

The word ahalya literally means one who has not been ploughed. Alas, she did not live up to her name. as the ploughs did come along her way. Brahma, creator of the Universe of the famous lotus-seat fame, complete with four heads, gifted this perfect beauty to a sage called Gautam to keep her safe (!).

Gautam, the incredible celibate hero that he was, "protected" the most attractive women of the era from the eyes (and other organs) of the world. Brahma was so astonished by Gautam's amazing self-control that at the end of the testing phase he gifted him with Ahalya herself as his spouse. Go figure.

What was going through Ahalya's mind at this point of time?

Damn, won't he do it, just this once? Once? Tonight? Not even tonight? What do I do - smear goat-milk-butter on my skin? What turns him on? Does he even freaking realise he is turning down Miss Universe?

Good - so now I'm being handed back. The Nerd will be getting a prize of some sort and I will finally finally be assigned to someone who will want to perform. Hang on - nooooooooooooooooooooooo!

However, Ahalya herself was not the only one who was crestfallen at this handover. Indra, the king of Gods, the powerful Indra, the one who would probably penetrate his way through the entire female population of the living world, had set his eye on this perfect lady. Even after the wedding, Indra did not give up on this woman of desires.

The incredible string of events that followed was more or less like this: once, when Gautam was out, Indra came disguised as Gautam. There are two versions of what followed:
1. Ahalya saw through the disguise; she still asked Indra to get over with it quickly and leave at the earliest.
2. Ahalya did not see through the disguise; however, she did not show surprise of any kind at her otherwise reluctant husband coming back to have a rubbing-of-privates hour during office hours and accepted that it was, indeed, Gautam himself.

Whatever happened was anybody's guess, but Gautam, given the powerful sage that he was, got to know everything. After he was through with his telepathic voyeurism, he walked into his cottage and cursed Ahalya (he also cursed Indra and apparently to have him castrated temporarily).

Ahalya turned into a rock. Some say that she lived a life of celibacy and penance (what was she doing differently anyway?). She lay there and rocked for many, many years. It was only after Ram came along and touched her with his foot that she got back to normal; and promptly resumed a conjugal life with Gautam.

Character name: Ahalya
Partners: 2 (Gautam and Indra; Ram's footjob doesn't count)
Desirability quotients as partner:
Coitus timeline:
Draupaudi was another story altogether. Unlike the contemporary appeal of Ahalya, Draupadi remains possibly the most desired woman of all time. One look at her and any man could have gone weak in his knees. Men have killed for her. The fiercest war of all time was waged over her. Despite her sharing of five husbands, she remained desirable to each and every of them for an entire lifetime.

Draupadi fell during the mahaprasthan because she had desired Arjun more than his brothers (though she was supposed to love all of them equally, for whatever reason). True, Arjun was the one who had won her over at her swayamvar. However, Kunti and Krishna's diplomatic brains soon realised that the unity of the five brothers depended a lot on Draupadi; she was, after all, neighbour's envy and owner's pride.

So they decided to marry her off to all five. They will have to take turns to remain her bed-partner. In the first year (which was Yudhishthir's), Arjun was famously exiled for twelve years as he stepped inside when Yudhishthir and Draupadi were, well, not fully covered, thereby failing to adhere to the existing conditions.

Take a moment to look at the entire incident from Arjun's point of view: you win the most sensuous, most desired maiden of all times; you have to forego her for two years before you get a chance (that too, after Bheem's year, after which she would have required months to recover). I would not be surprised if Arjun had actually chosen exile.

Take another moment to note the number of years of exile: twelve. It had to be a number divisible by 1, 2, 3 and 4 to stop the calculations getting messed up, right?

Draupadi had two additional men in her life as well. Karna, whom she had apparently desired but could never gain access to (well, perhaps after they had all reached heaven); and Krishna, with whom she was "just friends" in true Bollywood fashion. We will not include them in this research, though.

So, after the twelve years of Arjun's exile, Draupadi continued to have his partners in the order YBANS, once every pentade. The agyatvas year in the Matsya Kingdom probably resulted in Droppy going through a one-year celibacy, but there were bigger things at stake.

Character name: Draupadi
Partners: 5 (Yudhishthir, Bheem, Arjun, Nakul, Sahadeb)
Desirability quotients as partner:
Coitus timeline (during Arjun's exile):
Coitus timeline (after Arjun's exile):
Kunti continues to remain one of the shrewdest characters The Greatest Epic that has ever been. Volumes have been written on the role she had played to shape the politics of Hastinapur (I intend to do a write-up some day). However, this is merely a tribute to her satiism and her achievements in turning one of the most unexpected boons to her benefits.

You normally do not associate Durvasa with boons, but on that one occasion Kunti had managed to satisfy (how?) the great sage to such an extent that he showered his blessings on the virgin: she should be able to call any God whenever she felt like.

Kunti did not take Durvasa at face value. As soon as the sage left, Kunti took one look at the sky above her and called Surya. The Sun God appeared in a dazzling display of light; even Gods could not keep away from showing off those days, you see. It's for a reason that Surya went on to become a brand of tubelights and bulbs.

Kunti could have asked for anything - anything - something like a set of golden bangles or a Whateveram sari or the latest in apsara fashion; instead, she decided to keep quiet. Surya told her that he was in a hurry, so a quick steamy session was the best he could offer. Kunti (poor girl, she was so, so unwilling to have coitus with a God and yet had to; my heart goes out to her) kept quiet.

It was over quickly. The presence of Surya meant that things were heated up already, so it didn't take a while. Karna was conceived, and duly put in a basket and disposed off.

Meanwhile, Pandu, in the merry joy of adolescence, had killed a pair of mating deer; it turned out that it was a sage and his wife at it, fulfilling their fantasies of cervine (not canine) sex. The sage, before dying, told an utterly perplexed Pandu that he would die the moment he attempted coitus.

Pandu still got married. Twice. Beat that.

After years of celibacy, Pandu was petrified of dying without a son; he confided his fear in Kunti. He told her to go ahead and try one of the sages. She pretended horror in the beginning, but then, after a lot of pleading, she realised that she would have to do it. She must have heard stories of Vyas from her mother-in-law Ambalika, and did not have a choice.

She had to tell Pandu about her boon, but obviously did not tell him about the Karna bit. Pandu heard about the boon, completely believed the fact that she did not sleep with any of the Gods despite the fact that he had to lead a life of celibacy and she had every chance to break hers - that too with a God.

He asked her to call Dharma. It was all done very religiously. It was possibly missionary as well.

He asked for Paban next. It was a whirlwind thing involving a lot of airy incidents. I just hope that not a lot of gas was passed.

When Pandu asked Kunti a third time, she made her own choice. Perhaps she had read of Ahalya and Indra and had fantasies all along: Indra was invoked, and what followed was truly regal. Which is possibly why Arjun remained Kunti's favourite son, and is the only one repeatedly referred to as Partha.

Character name: Kunti
Partners: 4 (Surya, Dharma, Paban, Indra) with a special reference to Pandu
Desirability quotients as partner:
Coitus timeline:

Tara, unlike the other four, was always referred to as Tara the Wise. It's remarkably interesting - the roles Indra (and sometimes Surya) had to play in the lives of the satis. Tara had two partners in her life - Baali (the son of Indra) and Sugrib (the son of Surya).

Tara's chronology was simple: she was married to Baali. They made a fine couple - Baali the invincible and Tara the wise. She often helped her husband in administrative matters. Sugrib, meanwhile, was married to Ruma.

Then, one fine morning, Baali and Sugrib went out to fight a demon called Mayabi. They struck a deal as Mayabi entered a cave: Sugrib would remain in guard outside the cave while Baali would chase Mayabi inside.

Things did not, however, go according to plan. Sugrib was petrified by a continuous flow of mysterious, gory sounds that came his way from inside the cave. When the sounds did not stop, he played monkey business, and placed a few heavy, apparently immovable boulders at the entrance of the cave and fled.

He came back, announced Baali's death, and married Tara and led an enviable bigamous life. Needless to mention, Baali was not happy when he ultimately killed Mayabi, removed the heavy boulders and returned to find the proceedings.

Sugrib actually tried to explain things, but given the circumstances, it was as uphill a task as Himmesh Reshammiya's attempts to prove that he can sing. So he fled. Baali not only re-acquired Tara, but also took possession of Ruma.

Sugrib, after some time, came back aided with the assurance of Ram and got Baali killed. Once again Tara changed hands (along with Ruma), and this time the transfer was permanent. Sugrib was accused of being "too much into Tara" when Lakshman came to remind him of his duty; a tipsy Tara stepped into the scene to cool Lakshman using her charms, but that is another story.

Character name: Tara
Partners: 2 (Baali, Sugrib)
Desirability quotients as partner:
Coitus timeline:
Of the quintet, Mandodari had perhaps the least spectacular of careers. She led a simple life. She got married to Raavan (and was well-reputed for being the only one to live up to the great man's carnal desires), did her level best to stop Raavan in her pursuit of Sita and, well, with the death of Raavan, had to marry Vibhishan, had the greatest career drop in the two epics combined.

Curiously enough, Indra had a role to play in her life as well. Raavan was a long-time adversary of Indra, and their son Meghnad was renamed Indrajit after he vanquished Indra.

Like Tara, Mandodari's husband was also slain by Ram, and she too ended up marrying her husband's younger brother. She had one installment of each brother, though, unlike Tara's two.

Character name: Mandodari
Partners: 2 (Raavan, Vibhishan)
Desirability quotients as partner:
Coitus timeline:
Disclaimer: Please ignore the bits where the graphs intersect. They should not have. I am aware of this. Pardon my limited knowledge of Microsoft Excel.


  1. this was such an awesome way for me to spend my time on the bus today! erokom roj eakta hole bhalo hoy. or at least monday to thursday! :D

  2. Wow, very well researched and brilliantly written again. Really enjoyed reading it. Loved the graphs. :D

  3. Nothing more to say, except 'Brilliant!'

  4. completely brilliant,hilarious read,Coitus Graph?(groan).Genius piece

  5. In the coitus timelines, what's happening at the time point when the curves cross each other?

    1. It simply displays my lack of ability to handle Microsoft Excel.

  6. Oh god, the humour of Whatevaram saris and Himesh trying to sing! Hilarious and quite liberating, I say! Who knew we had such illustrious precedents in multiple partners?


  7. Now which version of Ramayana and Mahabharata did you read and when did you first and last read them.

    1. I have read many, many versions, especially of the Mahabharat. We Bengalis are blessed to have multiple versions of the epic translated in our language.

  8. Seriously bojha jae je tumi Mahabharat aar Ramayan ghete guke gile digest kore nutrients gulo use o kore phele chho.


  9. Innovative, interesting and intriguing. And outrageously humourous in parts.

  10. What an irreverent, cheeky piece!!

    Given that this was a "systematic statistical analysis", I couldn't help but have a few comments:

    (1) I thought it was Indra's testicles which were cursed to fall off? And then he replaced them with the analogues from a goat. Too baa-d. (Or was it that his whole skin was supposed to be covered with goat-T's?)

    (2) Draupadi's l.c.m.=12 calculation was actually cool. But what is more astonishing/interesting is to ask if Vyas (or the "author") actually thought of this?

    (3) If you include Tara, why not include Ruma as well? (Or maybe not you, why did the creators of the shloka / labellers of the "pancha satis" not...)

    1. 1. Yes, Indra's testicles were cursed to fall off. But that was not the only version that I have heard.
      2. Of course. Isn't it too much of a coincidence otherwise?
      3. Ruma was not one of the quintet. She was the first of the quartet who married Kishore Kumar, though.

  11. Rama's footjob!hilarious!! mind blowing stuff!! Waiting for the day you convert all this into a book.

  12. Jaataa! Mane simply jaataa!

    ~ Krishanu

  13. Oh, just one correction:

    Character name: Ahalya
    Partners: 2 (Gautam and Ahalya; Ram's footjob doesn't count)

    Shouldn't it be Gautam and Indra?

  14. Oh.My.God.!!! This is a piece of literature that belongs to a museum dedicated to cheekiness!! Needless to say, loved it! And congeats on the Spicy Saturday - well deserved.
    Hahahaha....still can't get over the footjob and the brand of tubelights - superb!

  15. Well, what was the source of research and that time line ??

    Wikipedia or the Bong's cool style to bash someone just for the sake of bashing...

    I am sure when Draupadi has five sons clearly mentioned in one ever said these women were virgins..

    just for your information.. the virgin term was not used to denote their virginity but their sad stature of life where their husbands neglected their existence and sacrificing them for fulfilling their moral duties and yet these women were devoted to their husband and passed on the blessings of satitva....

    Draupadi- Was married to Arjun ..yet the son followed her mother's command to let each on of his brother to get married to her

    Ahalya- The one who was never ploughed.. yet she was raped by Indra and cursed by her husband even when she was not at fault( Yes !! she didn't question why Gautam wants to have sex because at that era, women were not supposed to question their husband..

    Tara- She was Bali's wife...Bali was thought Sugriva following Bali's instruction married her..and then Sugriva was overthrown by Bali...buttara was used by both brothers in their greed for woman and power

    Sita- She followed Ram, preserved her integrity..yet she was thrown off when a dhobi asked a question then just like you are asking now to Bhagwan Ram.. and to fulfill his duty to be Maryada purhottam..he threw her off...

    Mandodari- She was Ravana's wife..and one of the most beautiful women on earth.. yet Ravan ignored her plight ..and the vanar sena raped her after Ravan's death and Ram suggested Vibhishan to marry her...

    Kunti-- Her husband was sterile (cursed by a sage) ...yet she was forced to have sex with gods to move Pandu's lineage and to prove his feritlity... even with this sacrifice...Pandu chose to bang Madri to chose his and her demise leaving the whole responsibility of kids on her shoulder....

    The reason we worship these five kanyas because they were the greatest women who actually made those sacrifices and let their husband shine...and this is the moral tribute to these women that Puran made them pure...

    Read Wikipedia only for your assignments..they are not good source of information when it comes to our cultural heritage and it is not cool to abuse your religion without having any understanding of it..just to sound cool...

    God bless you....

    1. You've got it all wrong. This piece was not written to defame the great ladies. This was just a light-hearted study of their somewhat colourful lives.

      I really do not need Wikipedia for research on Panchakanya. They are quite popular people, and my knowledge of The Mahabharat is sufficient to write on these people without looking up the internet.

      I have never, in this article or anywhere else on this blog, hurt anyone's religious belief or cultural heritage. If I have, it has been purely unintentional, and I apologise if I have hurt you.

      I do, however, take my Mahabharat rather seriously, and refuse to mix it with religion. It is probably the greatest book ever written; it is literature of the highest quality. Where does religion come into all this?

      Please, please acquire some sense of humour. Please. A light-hearted take on an epic does not demean it; if anything, I am immensely respectful towards The Mahabharat and am proud of being born in the country that has been responsible for the epic of all epics.

    2. Panchkanya is not part of is part of who Hindu religious scriptures.. it includes Ramayana written by Valmiki and Mahabharata written by ved vyas... I know you must be knowing mahabharata and I know you must be knowing that bhagwad gita a sacred book followed by Hindus is part of that book only...

      Seeta was reincarnation of Ma Lakshmi.. just throwing dirt and portraying them as colorful ladies ( in short hookers) is not acceptable...

      But you know... I wouldn't have commented on it..but the way you and the supposedly cool comments on it undermined the sacrifices of these great women and made them sound like sirens craving for sex... made me little sad.. because u and me both share the same ethnicity..being atheist is good but being abusive hiding behind the expression of humor is not funny.. These women are worshiped like mothers by our Hindu religion...and this is the sense of humor we all hate when politicians in haryana says..the girls who got raped actually wanted to have some fun but then the things get escalated to gangrape...using words like coitus and ploting sexgraph of ladies of religious importance is not funny ..

      take care...

    3. My dear daydreamer - your pseudo name serves you right - when the illustrious men in these very epics or religious books - as you would call them, crave lustfully after women then you find nothing wrong with it. When the women feel liberated and take matters into their own hands, you don't accept it.
      Look into yourself - you'll find the answers why women are gangraped.... Don't pick your brains trying to criticise something you are not capable of understanding.

    4. For that matter, why in the world you need to do so called humerous analysis of these mythological characters? Why is your humour not standing on it's won, why it needs base of these characters from epic for that matter? It is just because you could gain a cheap popularity by mocking the beliefs of mass population. Instead I would love to see the similar analogy of your parents and siblings indulging in such acts which are not known to world. Who knows it may be hit story or may be epic...???? Take it in the same spirit you wrote this so called coool stuff on religious epic. It sucks to see drenching humour from other's religious values. Come out with clean humour on any topic like lustful comedy bu make sure you create those characters. If not, post-martem has many vacancies for spot boys...:)

  16. This sucks. What gives you the right to defame a religion and its teachings? Would any other religion permit that? Just because Hindus are more tolerant and internet is available for all, doesn't mean that you can insult people and their beliefs. I recommend you understand the teachings of Hinduism which makes more sense in today's world when compared to cheap toilet humor that you are so influenced by.

    1. I want to make this very clear: I am immensely respectful towards the epic, especially Mahabharat. Being humorous does not imply that I do not have respect.

  17. People commenting negatively on this blog post seriously need a life. The incidents described by Abhishek are all from the books you claim as strictly "religious". These books have great literary values and the plot, characters, events, dialogues...are immensely interesting. What's wrong if someone wants to look at these texts as literary creations and not just scriptures? Has Abhishek commented on the Bhagwad Geeta anywhere? Stop being silly. If your religious beliefs were really strong you wouldn't be affected by this.

    1. Wow. Thanks. I really could do with some support. I was beginning to wonder what was wrong with the world.

  18. If I had a gun, I would have shot you in head and in between your legs Abhishek Mukherjee. Would have taken a knife and chopped off your organ. Have you joked the same way about your own biological mother/sister about how you were conceived? If you are not a decent human beings and your mind cannot work normal without wasting time in writing such stuff, seek professional help and take balanced nutritious diet. Go for Ayurveda. It has cures for notorious minds like you. Go to any temple and apologise to yourself to be this bad.

    1. A few questions:
      1. Why would you need the knife after shooting me twice?
      2. Can you, for once, send me the contact details of a really good Ayurveda doctor? I'm terribly afraid of amateurs.
      3. What temple should I go to for committing this heinous sin?

      PS: A joke is always a joke. Don't take things seriously. I mean, seriously.

  19. Dear Abhishek, No doubt you writing is a critical analysis, but for the people who has complete and depth of knowledge on the text. Lets not present it as a sense of humor.

    Abhishek's writing may be unintentional and to show-off the analytical/research skill, but it may have far reaching consequences.
    I am supporting your reaction as a reaction only, with a view that this kind of write up used to give a scope to all anti-hindu group to defame our mythology and religion. There are politically motivated people and community to prove their act on conversion and superiority with incomplete knowledge on hinduism.

    1. Soumendu, do you really think I didn't have a right to publish this?

  20. The word ahalya literally means one who has not been ploughed. - disagree
    Ahalya - literally means without "Hal" - defects - Brahma created another superwoman, but he already had Saraswati, so he left her with Gautam. Gautam was too scared to touch her so she remained frustrated. Unfortunately Brahma - upon his return found Ahalya "intact" and was pleased with Gautam, so He married her off to the old man!!! No wonder when Indra came in guise she did not complain.

    1. Uff, 'hal' means plough. In this case, obviously, it need not be taken literally.

      But in any case we agree on the topic.

  21. Get a life and write about something that u really know, please. this is 'disgusting'.
    and if u want to pick topics which hav a lot more depth, more than your 'sex starved mind', atleast research enough and then call yourself a 'BLOGGER'. Sense of humor is appreciated but forced penetrative humor is not!

    1. Would you please point out where my facts went wrong?

  22. Sita is the other maha-sati and not Kunti, though I am sure there are many versions of the original sholka and Kunti may have been mentioned in the one you know.
    I have a slightly different take than yours on the topic -

  23. Namaste. These ladies whom you mentioned as leading colorful lives are the great panchakanyas revered, prayed to for their strength, sacrifice and forgiving attitudes. In the current world scenario where people are ready to kill anyone questioning their religions. It is saddening to see how you have made fun of these great women. The times that they lived in, the sufferings that they underwent even when they posessed beauty, spiritual strengths has to be magnified and the good in them written and sung about instead of trying to defame them for humour.