Scriptural basis for Draupadi’s decision of denying Karna


According to the scriptures, the Pratiloma marriage, where the Varna of the wife is higher than that of the husband, is not considered as good.

See the following passage from Agni Purana:

An anuloma marriage is a marriage where the husband is from a higher class than the wife. The offspring of such a marriage belong to the mother’s class. A pratiloma marriage is a marriage where the wife is from a higher class than the husband. Chandalas were born this way from brahmana women, Sutas from kshatriya women, Devalas from vaishya women, Pukkashas from kshatriya women and Magadhas from vaishya women. Chandalas are executioners, Sutas charioteers, Devalas guards, Pukkashas hunters and Magadhas bards. Chandalas should live outside the villages and should not touch those belonging to any other class.

So, a Suta, who is born of such a proscribed marriage, is basically considered as out of the 4-caste system.

Similar verses from Manu Smriti:

10.11. From a Kshatriya by the daughter of a Brahmana is born (a son called) according to his caste (gati) a Suta; from a Vaisya by females of the royal and the Brahmana (castes) spring a Magadha and a Vaideha.

10.26. The Suta, the Vaidehaka, the Kandala, that lowest of mortals, the Magadha, he of the Kshattri caste (gati), and the Ayogava,

10.27. These six (Pratilomas) beget similar races (varna) on women of their own (caste), they (also) produce (the like) with females of their mother’s caste (gati), and with females (of) higher ones.

So, basically a Suta, a Chandala etc are not considered as persons of pure origin according to the scriptures.

As you can see that the Purana even states to consider the Suta as an outcaste and that he should live outside the village.

So, in a society, where people were strictly following such rules of Varnas, we can not blame a Kshatriya woman for not accepting a Suta man as her husband. It is quite natural and in accordance with scriptural rules as well.

Also note that Draupadi was not aware of the true story of Karna's birth and she knew him to be a Suta Putra only.

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