Conflict with Drona
Drupada and Drona (द्रोणाचार्य) studied together in the Gurukul of Rishi Bhardwaja, Drona's father. They became great friends and Drupada assured Drona that once he became a king, he would share half of his kingdom with him. While Drupada became a king after the death of his father, Drona lived a life of poverty. Unable to feed his son, Drona approached Drupada for help. Drupada, now conscious of the difference of status between them, refused to acknowledge Drona's friendship and shunned Drona calling him a beggar. Drona was later employed by Bhisma to train the sons of Pandu and Dhritarashtra. After the military education of the [[Kauravas and the Pandavas ended, as his gurudakshina (honorarium), Drona asked the princes to defeat and capture Drupada. The Pandavas, led by Arjuna, defeated Drupada, bound him in ropes and brought him to Drona. Drona set Drupada free, but retained half of the kingdom that had been promised to him. Humiliated, Drupada sought vengeance against Drona, but he realized that he could not match Drona's might.
According to pourtanic version of the story, Drupada performed a great yajna, to beget a son who could slay Drona. From the fire of the yajna, twins Dhrishtadyumna and Draupadi were born. Years later, in the Mahabharata war, Dhrishtadyumna beheaded Drona.
Svayamvara of Draupadi
Drupada arranged a svayamvara (public self-choice of husband) for his daughter Draupadi. To win Draupadi's hand, the princes invited had to bend an enormous bow and shoot five arrows simultaneously through a revolving ring onto a target far away. After Karna being refused by Draupadi, Arjuna succeeded in the event and Drupada accepted him as his son-in-law. When Draupadi was taken back to Kunti, she asked her sons to accept whatever had been won as common property. The imperative of acting on their mother's words and the propriety of marriage to five husbands was discussed at Drupada's palace.
Scholars, however, differ on the marriage controversy. They argue that Draupadi was ultimately married to Yudhisthira, because he was the eldest son of Kunti. Yudhisthira was unmarried at that time. So, after consulting Kunti (mother of Pandavas) and Krishna, marriage knot was tied with Yudhisthira, despite Arjuna having won the Swayamvara. The marriage ceremony was performed by Rishi Dhaumya.
Drupada had eleven sons along with Dhrishtadyumna. Their names were: Satyajit, Shikhandi (Shikhandi was originally born as a girl, and used to be the princess of Kashi, who wanted to take revenge on Bhishma), Uttamauja, Kumar, Yudhamanyu, Vrika,Panchalya, Suratha, Shatrunjaya and Janamejaya. Most of them died in the Mahabharata war. Dhrishtadyumna,Shikandi,Yudhamanyu and Uttamauja were killed by Ashwatthama on the last day of the war.
Role in Kurukshetra War
Drupada fought on the side of the Pandava's in the Kurukshetra War. He was a Maharathi (commander of the armed forces). He, along with Virata fought Drona on the 15th day of the war, but both of them were killed by Drona.
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