Draupadi Cult

Draupadi Cult and the Osiris Story of Egypt

V. Krishnakumar

In this section, we discuss the evidences from Draupadi cult that support our hypothesis of the origins of Mahabharata story in Egypt. We study the points in favor of our argument first; analysis follows.

Mahabharata of Draupadi cult as discussed in [13] is distinct from the Sanskrit version. As claimed in [13], Mahabharata story has several regional versions, each having the local folklore added to or modifying it, thus making it distinct. However, our views are contrary to this, at least in connection with the Draupadi cult. The Draupadi cult has several instances that make it even more close to the Egyptian story than the Sanskrit version’s proximity to the Egyptian story, as will be shown in this article. Thus, we conclude that the story of Egypt must have been brought to the Draupadi cult area possibly by migrants, traders, cult propagators or others; later it must have spread to the rest of India. The story might have got mixed with the local traditions of different parts of India and also provided an inspiring topic for the Sanskrit version.

There are some fundamental differences in the stories of Draupadi cult compared to the Sanskrit Mahabharata; they are the key issues where the Draupadi cult stories naturally fit as the intermediaries between the Egyptian stories and the Sanskrit Mahabharata. Following are those key issues:

1)   Arjuna’s penance

2)   Draupadi’s wanderings in the forest

3)   Draupadi’s relation to Krishna

4)   The additional characters: Potturaja and Muttala Ravuttan

5)   Evidence for marriage between siblings

6)   Additional points in the story of Ekachakra

7)   Additional points regarding Draupadi

8)   Additional points regarding Pandavas and Kauravas

9)   Banni tree

10)  Krishna versus Karna

We shall discuss each of them in detail.

1) Arjuna’s penance

One of the most important aspects of Draupadi cult that has an Egyptian counterpart in the Osiris story is Arjuna’s penance. In the Sanskrit version of Mahabharata, Arjuna’s penance and the bestowal of Pashupathastra are events that are not as prominent as they are in the Terukkuttu drama stories of Draupadi cult.  Also, the story in Terukkuttu tradition is quite different from the Sanskrit version. Following are the points that concern us, in the story of Arjuna’s penance in the Terukkuttu drama (all from [13]):

  1. The story begins with his wife Ellamma withdrawing from him. He climbs the “Tapas tree” and does penance there.
  2. Tapas tree is the trunk of a Palmyra palm resembling a pole of height 30-100 feet with horizontal wedged bars placed at 2.5 feet intervals that are used as steps.
  3. Interestingly, it is claimed that Arjuna could not have accomplished his penance without this pillar, signifying its immense importance.
  4. While Arjuna is on the tapas tree, Shiva and Parvathi disguised as rude hunters were chasing a wild boar sent by Duryodhana to disturb his penance. Further, Arjuna is troubled by Duryodhana, who puts fire around the tapas tree; the boar also tried to uproot the tapas tree. Ultimately, both Shiva and Arjuna throw arrows at the boar and kill it. Now the dispute starts as to who shot it first. They decide to resolve the dispute by keeping a challenge of who throws the other the farthest. Shiva throws Arjuna as far as the sky, and in doing so he mangles his body into a ball of flesh.
  5. The final outcome is quite varied: Arjuna wins in South Indian traditions.
  6. The role of Shiva in the above story was enacted by a hefty person with a nick name ‘Yaanai kutti’ meaning ‘small elephant’.
  7. Arjuna after penance goes to Kailasa where Lord Shiva bestows him with Pashupathastra (from, Pashupathi, Astra), which finally bring him the victory. In enacting Arjuna’s penance, there is a scene of heaven. Sanskrit version also mentions his visit to heaven.
  8. The rituals associated with enacting Arjuna’s penance are considered to be very auspicious.

We now compare the Terukkuttu version of Arjuna’s penance to the story of Osiris locked in his coffin. Here are the points of comparison. Against each item we discussed above we have the corresponding comparison with the same index, that is 1. maps to 1. ; 2. to 2. and so on:

  1. The coffin of Osiris got trapped in a tamarisk tree that was made into a pillar by the king of Byblus [1]. That is, we are mapping Arjuna engrossed in penance on a tree to Osiris trapped in the tamarisk tree.
  2. The Djed pillars worshipped in Egypt have a structure similar to the tree of penance: they have a vertical column with horizontal cross bars. They are considered to be some form of Osiris or his backbone. Also, the Djed pillar is a symbol of resurrection of Osiris, which enabled him to become the lord of the netherworld, where the dead are evaluated [1]. We discuss Djed pillar in greater detail in a subsequent article.
  3. Interestingly, Therukkuttu dramas stress the importance of penance tree that Arjuna could not have done the penance without this tree; this possibly signifies the origin of this story from the Egyptian counterpart we discussed above.
  4. We have already compared Seth to Duryodhana; we will be showing his similarity to Shiva in subsequent articles. Now compare this incident with the Egyptian story which is so close to it and is as follows: Seth was hunting a boar in the moonlight while Osiris coffin was in the possession of Isis, who had just then recovered it. Seth notices the coffin and dismantles the body of Osiris and disperses it trying to prevent Osiris’ resurrection and eternal life [1], quite similar to Duryodhana disturbing the penance. Recall that Seth also threw Osiris at an earlier point of time at Gehesty soon after putting him in a coffin. It is now the second time Seth disperses Osiris’ body, which was torn into peices. Thus this maps to Shiva hunting the boar to begin with and finally throwing Arjuna to the sky with his body mangled into a ball of flesh. Thus the roots of the theme of Kiratarjuniyam may actually lie in this Egyptian story.
  5. Finally, Osiris becomes the lord of underworld and he begets his son Horus who will win Seth ultimately [1]. This corresponds to Arjuna’s victory.
  6. The role of Shiva acted by a hefty man may also have an Egyptian counterpart. Why should he be hefty and called a ‘baby elephant’? Here is the reason: Seth, being a gigantic person is represented by a hippopotamus in Egypt [1]; and his Indian counterpart is often represented by an elephant, as will be shown later.
  7. Osiris was recovered by Isis from his coffin, and he was resurrected with the help of Thoth. Osiris became the lord of the netherworld, which is the destination of the dead; this maps to Kailasa; thus one can claim that he reached an equivalent of Kailasa. Further Isis begets her son Horus with the assistance of Thoth [1]. Horus is equivalent to Bes [4], who is the god of animals [5]. In fact we will be showing that he is equivalent to Pashupathi. Thus, Osiris got as gift his son Horus, who is the ‘god of animals’ whom we map to Pashupathi. It is Horus, who ultimately wins Seth in the final battle, thus he was the ‘astra’ the instrument to win, thus justifying the comparison to Pashupathastra; that is, he is not from Pashupati but he is Pashupati himself!
  8. After removing Osiris’ coffin, Isis returned the Tamarisk tree to the king of Byblus. This tree was considered very sacred by the people of Byblus [1]. The other representation of Osiris resurrection, Djed pillar was also very sacred to the Egyptians [1].

In Ankalamma cult [13], enacting “Arjuna Thapas” involves “killing the boar Muka”; Seth is represented by a boar and his sons name is ‘Maga’, who is also represented by a crocodile [87], as is his father at times. The Indian version might have some confusion between father and son.

Analysis: The very concept of a penance tree without which Arjuna could not have done penance itself does not harmonize with Sanskrit Mahabharata. If we try to imagine introducing the penance tree to the Sanskrit version, it looks like a thorough misfit. The contest of ‘Shiva throwing Arjuna to the sky mangled’ also looks unnatural and is not in keeping with the style of the Sanskrit version. Whereas it has a smooth transition to the Egyptian version as we have shown above.

2) “Draupadi the Gypsy”

  1. In the Terukkuttu dramas of Draupadi cult of Tamilnadu, India, Arjuna’s penance covers the entire twelve years of the forest stay of Pandavas with no account of Draupadi spending her time in the forest. The story jumps directly from his penance to the stay incognito in the court of Virata [13] with a drama enacted in the interval called “Draupadi the gypsy”. The gypsy drama is very important for the cult. Similarly, Osiris story jumps from Osiris’ coffin caught in the Tamarisk tree to Isis searching for him and entering the palace of Byblos for her incognito stay there [1]. Note that Isis wandering, searching for Osiris occurs exactly between the events of Osiris coffin getting caught in the tree and Isis stay incognito in Byblos. Draupadi’s forest transformations are unique to the cult and it is not alluded to in the Sanskrit and Tamil versions [13]. Thus the wanderings of Draupadi maps to that of Isis, which is unique to the Draupadi cult making the story closer to the Egyptian one.
  2. According to [13], Meyer in his study of Ankalamma cult has mentioned that the cult has links with forest and crematorium, which reminds one of the classical Tamil convention of ‘Paalai tinai’, “The landscape of the desert or the mountain and forest region during the heat of summer has, as its love theme, the separation of lovers”. Draupadi’s forest transformations have themes common with Ankalamma myths [13]. The most striking part of the above account is the links of Ankalamma cult with forest as well as crematorium especially in the context of Draupadi’s forest transformations as gypsy. This not only substantiates the mapping of Arjuna’s tapas to Osiris death, but also adds to our observation of death associated with rituals in India, in particular the association of Puri temple to crematorium, as will be discussed in detail in a subsequent article. Further, the allusion to desert in Meyer’s analysis may map to Osiris coffin thrown in the desert of Gehesty, and the ‘separation of lovers’ refers to the two pairs Osiris-Isis and Arjuna-Draupadi.

Analysis: The key issue which makes the Draupadi cult story unique and very distinct from the Sanskrit version is the thirteen year of Pandava-Draupadi stay condensed in the cult version to just one of the Pandavas, Arjuna doing penance. This very well matches the Egyptian version, which revolves around just one person, Osiris. After this there is the characteristic wanderings of Draupadi in the form of a Gypsy, which suggests she is in a sense “uncared for”, which is not found in the Sanskrit Mahabharata, but in complete synchrony with the Egyptian story.

3) Draupadi and Krishna

  1. Both Draupadi cult [13] and Egyptians [87] had a belief that ‘impossible becomes possible’ if ‘one reveals a certain truth that is normally hidden’. The example of our concern is, Draupadi and Pandavas cut a Nelli fruit from a tree in an ashram, which they were not supposed to do. Draupadi intends to put it back; then Krishna tells her that if she reveals a ‘set of truths’, the fruit will rejoin the tree. The secret Draupadi reveals is that she longs for a great husband, although she had the five Pandavas; the person she sought was Karna or Krishna himself [13]. Now we consider the Egyptian example: Isis intentionally makes a snake bite the sun god Re; then she advices him to tell his true (possibly secret) name so that the poison will not kill him; it was not done with any ill intention [87]. On another occasion, Horus advices Seth to tell his secret true name, so that he can be saved from some sting [87]. Also, Draupadi’s statement has an Egyptian counterpart: Her love for Karna maps to the love of Isis for Seth.
  2. In Telugu folklore, Draupadi marries Krishna in a future birth as Lord Jagannath of Puri [13]. We will be showing in a subsequent article that Lord Jagannath maps to Osiris. Since Draupadi is mapped to Isis, Draupadi-Krishna pair maps to Isis-Osiris. This may map Subhadra in Puri to Draupadi, and hence to Isis as well. It may be noted that marriage between a brother and a sister was considered auspicious in Egypt, thus suggesting an Egyptian link to the Telugu folklore.

Analysis: These stories have no Sanskrit counterpart at all. Whereas they are studded with Egyptian signatures: one is the concept of ‘revealing of truths for an impossible event to happen’; the second being the marital love between siblings. Relation between siblings is not permissible in the Sanskrit civilization.

4) Potturaja as Horus/Osiris and Muttala Ravuttan as Seth

  1. Potturaja is the chief guardian and protector of Draupadi [13]. Horus being the protector of Isis, may map to Potturaja.
  2. Potturaja’s birth is extraordinary as his mother Draupadi was ‘having only one husband’ [13]. The interesting part of this statement is, what is the meaning of ‘extraordinary’ here. It may mean that her husband was possibly dead, and she still conceived Potturaja.  This fits well with Horus born to Isis after Osiris death.
  3. Potturaja avenges injustice [13], as does Horus, who avenges injustice to Osiris [1].
  4. We can split ‘Potturaja’ as ‘Pottu+raja’ meaning ‘king-’ or ‘hero-’ or ‘beloved-’ of ‘Buto’, the place where Horus was born and brought up.
  5. Potturaja, the buffalo king holds the head of the ultimate protector of goats [13]; this may resemble Osiris or Horus, subduing Seth, since Horus is the son of Osiris who is viewed as bull; while Seth is represented by goat. Likewise, Achampalam, another of the characters in the cult, is the protector of goats, he after being killed by Draupadi, becomes her devotee, may map to Seth.
  6. Potturaja and Muttala Ravuttan combat [13], this supports their respective mapping to Horus and Seth.
  7. Muttala’s manthras fail before Draupadi, Potturaja and their five implements, thus he seeks her refuge. He was advised to guard the northern side of Draupadi’s residence [13]. Seth guarded the door of Osiris in the Netherworld after his defeat in the war.
  8. The word ‘Pottu’ has two meanings: ‘sprout’ and ‘bull’ [13]; both map to Osiris, as Osiris is the lord of sprouts and is represented by a bull [1].
  9. Muttala Ravuttan draws Potturaja’s chariot in the Mahabharata war [13]. One of the meanings of the word ‘Muttala’ in Tamil is ‘image that appears to support a vehicle’ [137]. Seth animals draw the barque of Re (or Ra), the sun god. Therefore, it can be “Ra udan Muttalan” in Tamil meaning “a cart-pulling Seth-animal of the Sun god”.
  10. Muttala cannot be killed by any one born of womb, hence only Draupadi can defeat him. Krishna indeed mentions that she along with Potturaja can defeat him because she is born of fire [13]. This story somewhat resembles the story of Narakasura. We will be showing in a subsequent article, the resemblance of Narakasura story to Horus-Seth war.
  11. Muttala Ravuttan worked under Muttala Maharaja, the latter’s daughter married Yudhishtira, Muttala went with her to serve her. He is the gatekeeper at the northern gate of Pandava palace [13]. Thus Muttala maps to Seth, because Seth desired Isis, who was the wife of Osiris who is already mapped to Yudhishtira.
  12. Being advised by Dharma, Pandavas along with Allimuttu went to subdue Muttala Ravuttan; however the latter captures them with the help of his mantras [13]. Thus, Allimuttu can be Abhimanyu, mapping to Horus. Seth tricking Osiris to a coffin may map to Muttala imprisoning Pandavas.
  13. Muttala ravuttan means ‘banyan king’, his pregnant sister was called ‘Pal-varisai’ meaning ‘row of teeth’, she had no husband [13], Strangely, there is one Egyptian goddess similar to his sister: Tawaret is depicted with a grimace like row of teeth; she is pregnant [5]. Tawaret has no consort.

Analysis: There are two additional characters, which are not found at all in the Sanskrit version. Potturaja as the soul protector of Draupadi, he killing the ultimate protector of goats, Muttala guarding the northern gate of Pandavas bring the Egyptian flavor.

5) Evidence for marriage between siblings

  1. Potturaja marries Pandava’s sister according to [13]: This has the key to understanding. So far Potturaja was a Pandava, since he is caretaker of Draupadi. Now he marries Pandava’s sister. The confusion gets resolved once we accept that Potturaja marries his sister, again mapping this to Osiris marrying Isis. However, it is not explicitly mentioned who that sister was.
  2. Arjuna marries the sister of Potturaja [13]. We mapped Potturaja to Horus and Osiris: thus this marriage maps to the marriage between Osiris-Isis or Horus-Horit [87].
  3. Allimuttu’s meternal uncles are Pandavas, he marries a daughter of one of them [13]. We have a simplistic mapping! Allimuttu may map to Horus because Osiris mapped to Pandavas, is the brother of his mother, Isis that is maternal uncle; further, Horus marries his sister Horit who is also the daughter of Osiris [87]. Thus, Horus married his uncles daughter!
  4. Draupadi’s mother is confused with her mother-in-law [13], this is very natural when siblings marry, that is Isis married her brother Osiris.
  5. Viraata’s wife Sudheshna says that she will be a widow if her brother Kichaka dies, because, Kichaka has taken over the ruling from Virata, who was claimed to be weak [13]. This statement of Sudheshna suggests the marriage between brother and sister as in Egypt.
  6. We have already discussed Draupadi’s desire for Krishna in the cult versions (Tamil and Telugu).

Analysis: Marriage between siblings is completely Egyptian and not a feature of the Sanskrit Mahabharata as is common in Draupadi cult version.

6) Stories of Ekachakra

  1. In Ekachakra, Pandavas were tricked into a lac house by Duryodhana, which was set fire when they were asleep. However, Bhima carried them through a tunnel that was dug from that house. In the cult story of Mahabharata, Pandavas move from Ekachakra to the ‘place of reeds’ [13].  Isis moves to the place of reeds during her wanderings [1]; this happens after Osiris was tricked into an elaborately carved coffin made and sealed with lac by Seth [1]. These two events look similar.
  2. In the Tamil version of Mahabharata, Pandavas symbolize weak kings, and it is claimed that they stay in a city called ‘the home of the place of reeds’ [13]. This maps to Horus being weak, rised amidst reeds [1]. We map Horus to Pandavas here.
  3. Draupadi laments the apparent death of Pandavas in the lac house [13]. Note that she was not yet married according to the Sanskrit version, therefore she might not have lamented. But if we suspect Egyptian origin for this story then, it maps to Isis lamenting for the missing Osiris who was tricked into a coffin and discarded by Seth [1]; thus explaining why she lamented; also supporting Draupadi cult version’s proximity to Egyptian rather the Sanskrit one.
  4. After the death of Baka, Bhima warns Baka’s kinsmen to stop cannibalism. Here, Bhima is dark and like Yama, as described in [13]. Bhima maps to Osiris. Seth is associated with desert crane [87], hence can be compared to ‘Baka’ which means crane. Also, Osiris stopped cannibalism in his country [1].

Analysis: Pandavas moving to the place of reeds post their Ekachakra stay, Pandavas putting an end to cannibalism in Baka’s place and Draupadi lamenting their apparent death in the lac house, have Egyptian counterparts.

7) Additional points supporting mapping Draupadi to Isis:

  1. Draupadi’s second birth is at Gingee, India according to [13]. This may mean her first birth was in Egypt as Isis.
  2. Ankalamma cult is a sister cult of Draupadi cult. She, in the disguise of an evil-minded midwife, rips open the belly of a pregnant queen in a forest, in a hut. This story Ankalamma killing a child has two Egyptian counterparts [13]: Isis kills, and later revives, the son of a woman in the forest who refuses to offer shelter for her. Isis also kills/plans to kill the son of the Byblos king during her stay incognito, while searching for the body of Osiris [1].
  3. Draupadi untied her hair, which was believed to have a predictive capability; that is that the war will end only when she ties it again [13]. Further, she would tie it after smearing it with Duryodhana’s blood. Similarly, Egyptians have an amulet called ‘Isis knot’ that has predictive power, and it is carved from red stone to symbolize the power of her menstrual blood [87].
  4. Though Seth killed Osiris, Isis withheld the weapon directed at Seth out of her affection for him [87]. The Draupadi cult version of Mahabharata has a similar theme, according to which “Draupadi played dice with Duryodhana and enjoyed it” [13].
  5. Keechaka seduces Draupadi according to one of the versions mentioned in [13]. Seth tried to seduce Isis [104].
  6. Isis, with her son born, possibly by assault of Seth, was denied by the followers all through. Thus, Egyptians said she got the help of Thoth to resurrect Osiris and then conceived. Whereas, Draupadi cult said that she was menstruating at the time therefore could not be assaulted at all, while Christians made Mary a virgin with divine intervention for Jesus birth.
  7. Draupadi defeats Arakkan, till then there was cannibalism, until sages raised Draupadi from a sacrificial fire in the Melaccheri forest [13]. Isis showed corn to Osiris, later Osiris develops agriculture of corn, thus bringing an end to cannibalism in Egypt [1].
  8. Draupadi, though had five children, was viewed as a virgin [13]. Similarly Isis is compared to and considered as the origin of Virgin Mary concept [17].
  9. Draupadi is goddess of earth [13] as is Isis the daughter of earth god Geb [1].
  10. Draupadi’s Sairandhri disguise may etymologically and symbolically be related to fish [13], Isis is related to Abtu fish. In Shahabad, a fish represents the Yoni supporting the Lingam [13], we can map this fish to Isis, since she is represented by the Abtu fish [134]. Infact this maps Isis to Shakti as well.

Analyis: Draupadi’s second birth at Gingee is one of the very interesting points carrying the seed of history, that is the story has the second advent in Gingee implying the first is elsewhere. Draupadi’s subtle affection for Duryodhana is contrary to Sanskrit version while closer to the Egyptian counterpart. The other points such as her hair knot, her name Sairandhri and other allusions to fish and she being a virgin, are themes that make the cult version closer to the Egyptian story.

8) Additional points that map to Osiris/Horus and Seth:

  1. Yudhishtira during incognito stay takes the name “in the womb of the kingdom of Matsya” [13]. Note that Osiris’s genitals were eaten by fishes while Isis was incognito in Byblos, thus ‘Osiris in the womb or belly of fish’ is apt.
  2. Yudhishtira was bestowed after his tapas with a bowl that gave infinite food eternally [13]. This is similar to Osiris becoming the ‘corn god’ after his death [1]. We are again mapping tapas in Indian story to death in Egyptian story as we did in the case of Arjuna.
  3. Arjunas bow Gandhiva has the head of a snake at the top and snake tail at the lower end [13]. This resembles the most important depiction of Horus in which he is holding snakes in his hands.
  4. Seth is compared to red unfertile land because his sexual desire was purely physical but never intended either bondage or progeny [87]. This quality is quite similar to Duryodhana and Kichaka of Mahabharata.
  5. Bhima, in the guise of Draupadi, meets Kichaka; the latter tries to seduce him [13]. Seth tries to seduce Horus, but Horus somehow escapes [1]. This maps Bhima to Horus. Further, this and the previous points map Kichaka to Seth.
  6. Horus killing Seth was commemorated by the king’s ritual hunting of a hippopotamus in Egypt [5]. According to [13] on the 45th of “sports of Shiva” at Madhurai, Pandya king kills a boar. Since Seth is represented by both, hippopotamus and boar, this ritual may have Egyptian origin.
  7. Carp fish is the symbol of Madhurai and its Pandian monarchs [13]. Seth represents Nile carp as the latter ate Osiris genitals [133]. Pandyas can be followers of Seth.

Analysis: These are the additional supportive points to our claims.

9) Banni tree

Pandavas while staying in king Virata’s palace incognito, hid their weapons on a Banni or Shami tree. They covered the weapons by the dead body of a woman. The tree was in a cemetery where there were snakes around (see p.9 in [72]). King of Mysore, India cuts a branch of Banni tree on the day of Vijayadashmi in Navarathri festival commemorating the Pandavas keeping weapons on Banni tree. It is claimed in [13] that, the Banni tree on which Pandavas kept their weapons was in a ‘latent state’ and will transform into snakes if disturbed.


Pandavas hiding their weapons on a tree while they were incognito, should not command such a huge celebration. The reason should be stronger and possibly forgotten. We suspect that this is remotely connected to Osiris in some way, may be it resembles Osiris body while in coffin being enclosed by Tamarisk tree near the delta of Nile. That is, in it’s Egyptian counterpart, it is not the weapons, but the Pandava’s counterpart himself, that is concealed in the tree. This is further substantiated by the observation that these weapons were claimed to be in a ‘latent state’ in [13] and will transform into snakes if disturbed. This may symbolically refer to the dead Osiris inside the Tamarisk tree, who would give rise to Horus in future, who is not only instrumental in the victory over Seth, but also is the son of the cobra goddess, with him ruling that part of Egypt which has snake as its symbol.

10) Krishna versus Karna

There seems to be a certain level of confusion between Krishna and Karna in Mahabharata. This arises from the following facts:

  1. Draupadi, when asked to reveal her inner truth, says she loves a great person who is either Karna or Krishna, apart from the Pandavas, according to the Tamil versions of Draupadi cult [13].
  2. The two names Krishna and Karna sound quite similar.
  3. Both are of very high ethics and values that is Dharma.
  4. The Egyptian sun god Re was with Seth to begin with, but then helped Horus as charioteer, in the final battle [87]. It may be noted that Karna who was the son of the Sun god supported the Kauravas, while Lord Krishna was the charioteer of the Pandavas.


The role of Sun god as the charioteer of Horus maps him to Lord Krishna. The initial support of Sun god to Seth maps him to Karna. Thus we suspect that, to begin with, there must have been just one character that is equivalent to the Egyptian Sun god in the Mahabharata who helped Kauravas initially and Pandavas later. However, the later versions might have created two characters in order to avoid the unpleasant issue of the greatest god supporting the evil Kauravas. That is, a new character called Karna, as the son of Sun god and Kunthi, was created and passed on to the Kaurava side, while a new god Krishna was created as a clear and consistent supporter of the Pandavas. Our suspicion of such a duplication of characters is supported by the fact that, one does not see any active role of Lord Krishna in Mahabharata until Karna is honored by the Kauravas.

Summary and Conclusions:

In the previous article we showed that the stories of Mahabharata and Osiris are related and that their commonality is beyond coincidence. Draupadi cult stories take the argument much farther. The cult stories capture more deep and convincing links to the Egyptian story and also stand as a conduit between the Egyptian story and the Sanskrit Mahabharata, by its relative closeness to the Egyptian story. Thus, we draw the following conclusions based on the evidences in the present and the previous articles:

  1. The origin of Mahabharata story lies in the Osiris story of Egypt.
  2. The stories of Draupadi cult of South India preceded and contributed to the substance of the Sanskrit version.
  3. The Draupadi cult stories are closer to the Egyptian story than the Sanskrit version of Mahabharata.
  4. Thus the Draupadi cult must have interacted with Egypt in some way, the interaction can be through trade, cult propagators or migrants.

Finally, we shall list the mapping of characters between the Osiris story and Mahabharata:

  1. Osiris maps in general to Pandavas, in particular to Yudhishtira and at time to Arjuna and Bhima.
  2. Horus maps to Arjuna, and occasionally to Bhima and Abhimanyu.
  3. Isis maps to Draupadi.
  4. Seth maps to Duryodhana and Kichaka.
  5. Sun god maps to Lord Krishna and Karna.

It should be noted that Osiris is mapped to several of the Pandavas. This is valid since, it is not necessary that the story should have got carried as is to india. For that matter, even the different versions of Mahabharata within India do not have all the attribute of all the characters comparable. What is important is, the essence of the story and not the particulars. We have discussed this issue in a wider perspective in a later article.

Egyptian gods Indian gods
Osiris YudhishtiraArjunaBhima


Horus ArjunaBhimaKrishna


Seth DuryodhanaKichaka
Isis Draupadi
Thoth BhishmaKrishna
Ra KrishnaKarna


Consider the “facts” from Draupadi cult that we have compared and found to be very close to the Egyptian story. It is hard to have -that many facts, which are so close and quite intricate- two such stories developing independently at two different places without talking to each other. Therefore, the two stories must have had a common origin, or one followed the other. Thus, the stories might have travelled to India from Egypt long back, though the present versions might be the one that have suffered modification relentlessly, some of the inclusions can be quite naïve and inappropriate to the theme, for example some characters in the cult drama wear sun glasses! However, one cannot dismiss the cult story based on this observation, as a recent one. Thus one should see “through” the drama and pick those “facts” that stand out as the possible witnesses for their common origin.

The following example will illustrate how myths can change: The character Muttala Ravuttan is considered as a Muslim [13]. We do not know whether he existed in the cult before. It is possible that he might have enjoyed the status of a “ variable in the mathematical sense”! He was called a Muslim when the context was the invasions from Delhi to South India, while he would have been called say an Aryan earlier if their invasion from the North was a threat and so on. Such modifications are always possible in local dramas. For example in Egypt, Seth who was the opponent of Horus later got associated with the Assyrians whose invasion threatened Egypt. Thus it is apt to take the gist that goes beyond “local” while analyzing myths that have evolved over millennia.


[1] J.G. Frazer, The Golden Bough, A study in Magic and Religion, 3rd Edition, Macmillan and Co. London, 1914

[4] Muata Ashby, The African origins of Civilization, Religion, Yoga Mysticism, and Ethics Philosophy, 2nd Edition, ISBN 1-884564-50-X, 2005

[5] Richard H Wilkinson, The Complete gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt, Thames and Hudson, London, 2003

[13] Alf Hiltebeitel, The Cult of Draupadi, MLBD, New Delhi, 1991

[17] http://maat.sofiatopia.org/wenis2.htm

[72] Mahabharata, Vol. 4, English translation by Kisari Mohan Ganguly, MLBD, India

[87] http://henadology.wordpress.com/theology/netjeru/

[104] http://www.reocities.com/athens/3548/Isis_and_Osiris.html

[133] http://ancientegyptonline.co.uk/set.html

[134] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abtu

[137] Lipco Tamil Dictionary, Chennai, 1978

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One Response to Draupadi Cult

  1. Narasimha says:

    Hi I like this

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