Having Two Or More Husbands: Mahabharat & Fraternal Polyandry

Arjuna won Draupadi at the Swayamvara

and returned home with her and his four brothers

and shouted, “Look, mother, what we have brought.”

Kunti, without knowing what Arjuna was referring to,

unassumingly shouted back to her son

Whatever it is, share it amongst all five of you.”

So Draupadi had to marry not just Arjun,

but the rest of his four brothers

and thus all five brothers accepted

Draupadi as their wife.


The other day while talking on the phone with an old friend, the subject came up with “husbands”. And when I say husbands I mean it in the plural sense of more than one. Well anyway, this friend of mine had never married and so asked me what it’s like to have a husband. So I shared my thoughts and views and the next thing she said was “Imagine if you had two husbands instead of one.” So I asked her if she wanted two husbands. She laughed and said she would only if her luck changes in finding the first one and if he would agree to allow her to have the second one. I laughed and laughed.

So that conversation led my mind to think about a past incident and the reason I remember it so well is because it happened around the same time when my husband and I were newlyweds.

What happened is my husband’s close friend was very flirtatious with me behind my husband’s back and asked me to marry him in which I felt was kind of odd being that he knew I was already married. His desire for this to happen led him to openly ask my husband about doing it. Well to make a long story short, I didn’t feel I could handle something like that with being a newlywed and my husband and I were so deeply in love. Plus the fact that I had old fashioned traditional Christian values and views about marriage relationships. It was my belief that I could only have and marry one man for life.

After our conversation a few days ago I began to do some research on the topic and found the definition of a woman having one or more husbands is called polyandry. I never heard of that word in my life. So that lets you know where my head is. LOL!

Polyandry is mostly forbidden by Judaism and Christianity, religious faiths but was once widely practiced by Mormons. Polyandrous behavior is found in a vast amount of the animal kingdom.

I read that the practice of Fraternal Polyandry existed all over the world at different times and is still going on in some remote regions of the world. To name a few places, it’s been practiced in Europe, Tibet, North America by the Aleut people during the 19th century, South America by the Amazonian, the Baroros and the Tupi-Kiwahib peoples, Oceania, Africa and also among Asian peoples in the Southern and Northern part of India like Punjab, Keralam, Northern Nepal and in Sri Lanka and other various parts of the high Himalayas of India.

The custom of bringing home one wife to marry and be shared by several or up to five brothers was the norm. Some of the reasons it was practiced were for the purpose of maintaining and keeping family estates intact over generations and to compensate for gender imbalance because the men were outnumbered due to the practice of forced abortions of girls and the murder of baby girls.

In the Hindu religion polyandrous relations, are not common nor accepted and the only time it seems to be mentioned is regarding the Indian mythology surrounding the famous Hindu epic of Mahabharata.

I watched and thoroughly enjoyed the movie “Mahabharat” the latest version that aired on TV last year. Whose character I enjoyed the most was the woman named Draupadi.

In the story, Draupadi was forced but destined to marry five brothers.

Arjuna who was the third son of the five Pandavas brothers won Draupadi as a prized possession at a Swayamvara (the old Indian practice of choosing a husband amongst a list of other male suitors by a girl) and so he returned home with her along with his four brothers and shouted out to his mother Kunti who was inside the hut “Look mother, what we have brought.” Kunti had no idea as to what Arjuna was referring to when he said this and so she shouted back to her son “Whatever it is, share it amongst all five of you.”

And thus the story goes like this, Draupadi had to marry not just Arjuna, but she had to be shared with all the rest of the four brothers. In their obedience to their mother’s words (all five brothers were the sons of King Pandu of Hastinapur), they went on and accepted Draupadi as their wife.

All five sons were born as a result of boons granted by several different gods to Kunti and Princess Madri (King Pandu’s wives) because King Pandu was forbidden to ever make love to either one of his wives for he was under a curse to die if he so much as touched them.

So it wasn’t until later that Kunti realized her son Arjuna wasn’t talking about a food item or alms but instead he’d brought home a daughter-in-law for her. Therefore by the time, it was realized it was too late because the words had already been spoken by Kunti. So she was sorrowful to have let the wrong words leave her lips and it was due to their age-old customs, the Pandavas (the five brothers) had to obey their mother’s words. Kunti also had another son previously before her marriage to King Pandu and his name was Karna but his existence was kept secret for many years and was later revealed after the famous Kurukshetra war between the Pandavas brothers against their wicked cousins.

English: Draupadi and Pandavas

English: Draupadi and Pandavas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Later on in the story, Lord Krishna consoles Kunti and reveals to her that it was already part of Draupadi’s destiny to marry the five brothers and it’s not because of some words she mistakenly blurted out.

So I guess knowing this made her feel better in that she wasn’t the cause of what happened.

Lord Krishna further explained that Draupadi was being granted her desire’s from her past life as she requested of Lord Shiva to be blessed with a husband who possessed five of the best qualities a man could offer.

Qualities such as great physical strength, piousness and swordsmanship, perfect archery skills, patience, and good looks are what she asked for, all of which the Pandavas possessed.

Now actually Draupadi was doing nothing more then following in the footsteps of her mothers-in-law who was married to seven brothers and her great-grandmother who was married to ten. So Fraternal Polyandry was common and practiced among the women of her Vedic family clan.

I tell you I cannot wrap my mind around trying to spend quality time with seven to ten husband’s who also happen to be royalty? But I have to admit that it was a lot of fun learning so much about this subject just by reading from a few articles online and by watching a few documentaries available on YouTube. I feel so enlightened.



I watched on YouTube “Brother Husbands on BLT”


This was by far the most comical of the videos I watched on Youtube. I could not stop laughing while watching this one woman and her four husbands all sitting on a couch being interviewed and questioned about their lifestyle.

Otherwise, I hope you enjoyed reading this post and thank you, dear friends, for stopping by my blog today!


and here more interesting youtube video’s I found on the subject:






Draupadi (Pooja Sharma)

Mother Kunti (Shafaq Naaz)

Kunti’s Sons (The Five Pandavas)

1. Arjuna (Shaheer Sheikh)

2. Yudhisthir (Rohit Bharadwaj)

3. Bheem (Saurav Gurjar)

4. Nakul (Vin Rana)

5. Sahadeva (Lavanya Bhardwaj)

Shri Krishna (Saurabh Raj Jain)

Karn (Aham Sharma)

(Karn is Kunti’s son before marriage to King Pandu)


About lovelyseasonscomeandgo.wordpress.com

I like to call my self a happy soul, a daydreamer and have a heart of a gypsy. Love to use my imagination. And trying out new things. Life can be so wonderful and enjoyable when I am being positive and releasing.
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2 Responses to Having Two Or More Husbands: Mahabharat & Fraternal Polyandry

  1. aikifox85 says:

    I’m not aware that Mormons practice polyandry (multiple husbands – think “many Andys”)- I’ve only been aware they allow polygyny (multiple wives – think “many Jennys”).
    If learning about polyandry blew your mind, you should comb through some Anthropology textbooks sometime – marriage, family, and kinship patterns/ models are one of those basic topics all anthro students cover. There are many different ways to work it.

    • It sounds like a great idea! Thanks and I will give them a look. I always thought the same that Mormons were into more Jenny’s, LOL! But it’s true at least so I read. Many people remain unaware of Polyandry’s existence in LDS’s history. There is so much information on it online as far as blogs and wikipedia too. So glad you dropped by. I enjoyed listening to your recent video too. Have a good day!

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