Nay, she did not accept the injunction to five husbands. There was naught else she could do. She had come to a door, having wished for one man and having followed him into unprincely realms, and was received by Law with an injunction to dissolve the identity of Krishna.
The loss of identity is often the lot of desirability, but where beauty bred from power should entail rules of its own, it was in this instance given over to the wilderness of dharma. Not to the beast, mind you, for this forest was the outcast realm of the purest social order so radical that it could not be tolerated. She was given over to common law-fulness. Not granted, but given over, unasked. Was this consent?
The gods, they said, had decided her fate. Accordingly, she was shown her place, then, and each year through her lifetime. From Prishata to Draupadi to Panchali to Sairindhri.
She had wanted the one who had captivated her by his concentration on the eye of prowess. Aptly, ironically, she wanted the one who could exile himself from her unto another because he had simply never wanted her with the same singleness of desire. I count her brave who went to his bed every third year, I count her brave who waited to love him, I count her a fool in love. A brave fool she was, in a certain breed of love.
What discipline does it take to forget the eyes of last year over the daily meal?
She found that her singleness of purpose was asked not in fulfilling her individual aim but in the collective aims of an Imaginary social order. For her husbands, the Order was synonymous with personal desires. Indeed, the eldest, the slenderest thread of morality, was rewarded unto heaven for that.
But she was not whore because she was shared property, she was Queen, belonging to all who would be king, reduced to the body of the people.
But Draupadi, Draupadi, divided among men, Panchami, divided to preserve a familial unity, Nitayauvani, pawned and preserved as the highest receptacle, Yagnaseni, born of fire, sign of overarching passion, what else could she have done?
Was this consent?