…. The ever playful Krishna remarked, I would have come sooner if you had trusted me fully. You hailed me but kept one hand on your saree. Lord Krishna saved Paanchali’s dignity by magically sending a stream of colourful sarees to cover her as Duriodhana tried to strip her.
I had the privilege to watch Kalaimamani Urmila Satyanarayanan perform her piece de resistance “Paanchali Sabatham” again.
All my life as an avid dance viewer, her performance of this very same piece in Chennai was the only performance that has moved me to tears – that’s how strong her portrayal of Paanchali is. She brought each character to life as she changed her expression and body movement effortlessly. With all that great knowledge and talent she remains such a humble person.
“Paanchali Sabatham” tells the story of how the Pandava queen ends up cursing the death of all the Gaurava’s after her dignity is saved by Lord Krishna when the Gaurava Prince Duriodhana tries to strip her in public. She vows to leave her hair unbound till she is avenged.
She was left to his predictment when her husband the Pandava king loses her in a game of dice in an attempt to win back his wealth, kingdom, brothers and his own self!
The Pandava’s went on to win the great war with the help of Lord Krishna and Paanchali’s vow was fulfilled. This is the core and driving force behind the epic Mahabharatha.