Epics offer a large number of topics for people to discuss. Epic personages are extensively spoken about by the public. The characters of the epic both evil and noble become the topics of discussion in day to day life and are quoted for several purposes as per the arising needs. Often, some aspects, traits and acts of the epic characters are debated upon in forums and casual talks. One such popular topic regarding Draupadi, the consort of the Pandavas is whether Draupadi loved Karna. In fact, there is an interesting episode in The Mahabharata from which we need to draw some points to discuss this issue.
In the periphery, we need to understand who were Draupadi and Karna. Draupadi was the daughter of Dhurupada, the ruler of Panchala. In fact, he got her as his daughter having done a Yajna sacrifice to beget a child and finally Draupadi emanating from the fire of the Yajna. Draupadi also called as Panchali was growing in his palace as a very pious, knowledgeable and beautiful girl. Once Dhurupada wanted to perform her marriage, he organized a tough archery contest to select the suitable groom. During that time, Pandavas were in exile. In disguise they participated in the contest that was also attended by Duryodhana and Karna.
Karna was the son of Kunti (later the mother of the Pandavas) having got the son as a boon from Surya (Sun god) when Kunti as a virgin girl playfully tested the boon that was given to her by a sage. Once she used the divine uttering addressed to the sun god, the sun god blessed her with a male child born with armor and ear rings attached to his body on birth. Shocked to take this happening as her virginity might be questioned, Kunti floats the baby on the river waters. The boy was got by the charioteer of Duryodhana and later Duryodhana fostered him as his own brother.
When Duryodhana persuaded Karna to accept the challenge, Karna was not permitted by the hosts of the competition since his caste was unknown and apparently not being of a princely origin he cannot participate in the contest. Draupadi who was watching this had felt a soft corner for Karna who was denied of participation despite his talent and confidence. Later Arjuna, the third of the Pandavas won the contest and then as per the agreement made before venturing into the exile that they would share all the blessings and miseries together, all the five Pandavas married her.
Once during their exile, the Pandavas came across a tree with a sage doing penance under it and an attractive fruit hanging on top of his head. They struck the fruit and the fruit fell on the ground. Sri Krishana appeared at that point and warned the Pandavas that the fruit was the fruit of penance earned by the sage over years of austere life and if he should know that they had struck it down, he would burn them to ashes with a curse. Sri Krishna also told the way out that if they say five truths, the fruit will rise up and get struck to the tree once again. When it was Draupadi’s turn, she said once she had some liking for Karna, which was the truth emanating from her genuine heart. The fruit rose up waiting for four other truths. Finally with four other truths told by others, the fruit reached its original place and the Pandavas left the place silently. The point here is the genuine confession made by Draupadi though she had not moved any closer with Karna.