Legions of Slave Women in the Mahabharata

Awakening to the Bhagavad Gita (series) - 1

For, taking refuge in Me, they also, who, O Arjuna, may be of sinful birth—
women, Vaisyas as well as Sudras—attain the Supreme Goal!

How much more easily then the holy Brahmins and devoted royal saints (attain the goal);
having obtained this impermanent and unhappy world, do thou worship Me.
The Bhagavad Gita, Chap 9, Ver 32, 33

So women are of sinful birth! As well as all kinds of workers, business men, entrepreneurs, most of the general population. The only people of virtuous births are priests — Brahmins — and royal saints, meaning saintly royals, meaning noble Kshatriyas.

No wonder then that Yudhishthira — to reinstate whom this whole Mahabharata war has been fought — maintained hundreds of thousands of slave women! Take that number again: hundreds of thousands! He had so much gold, he could afford to. He had so much virtue, but he wanted more! Let's find the facts and figures from Draupadi's own words. Here Draupadi is recollecting the past glories of Yudhishthira before their exile:
Alas, that Yudhishthira, who was daily waited upon by a thousand sages of ascetic merit, versed in the Vedas and having every desire gratified, as his courtiers, —that Yudhishthira who maintained eighty-eight thousands of domestic Snatakas with thirty maid-servants assigned unto each, as also ten thousand yatis not accepting anything in gift and with vital seed drawn up, —alas, even that mighty king now liveth in such guise.
Okay, normally the characters of the Mahabharata exaggerate figures heavily, impelled as they are by Veda Vyasa's delirious imagination. For instance they would say, 'hundreds of thousands' for 'hundreds'. But here Draupadi is giving precise numbers, so there is a greater likelihood of them to being true. Yudhishthira and his brothers plundered the wealth of the country in blitzkrieg looting and pillaging campaigns, and what they were doing with all that wealth is this. Earning virtue by feeding everyday nearly a hundred thousand Brahmins, gratifying their every desire, and allotting thirty maid servants to a majority of them! This is a huge number of enslaved women! Women, after all, are of sinful birth, the only occupation they seem to fit is that of servant maid or bonded labor!

Elsewhere in the epic, Draupadi corroborates the numbers. Notice that there is little deviation.
Formerly, eight thousand Brahmanas were daily fed in the palace of Yudhishthira from off plates of gold. And eighty thousand Brahmanas also of the Snataka sect leading domestic lives were entertained by Yudhishthira with thirty serving-maids assigned to each. Besides these, ten thousand yatis with the vital seed drawn up, had their pure food carried unto them in plates of gold. All these Brahamanas that were the utterers of the Veda, I used to worship duly with food, drink, and raiment taken from stores only after a portion thereof had been dedicated to the Viswadeva.
Continuing her description, Draupadi comes to the female slaves personally attending on Yudhishthira. The number of them is not ten, not twenty nor thirty, not hundred, not two hundred, not a thousand, not two thousand, not ten thousand, not twenty thousand, but a hundred thousand, or more likely two hundred thousand!
The illustrious son of Kunti had a hundred thousand well-dressed serving-maids with bracelets on arms and golden ornaments on necks, and decked with costly garlands and wreaths and gold in profusion, and sprinkled with sandal paste. And adorned with jewels and gold they were all skilled in singing and dancing. ...I knew the names and features of all those girls, as also what they are and what they were, and what they did not. Kunti's son of great intelligence had also a hundred thousand maid-servants who daily used to feed guests, with plates of gold in their hands.
A hundred thousand for singing and dancing, and a hundred thousand more for serving the guests!

We get further corroboration of Draupadi's figures from a speech of Duryodhana addressed to his father after he had witnessed Yudhishthira's new-found wealth for himself.
And amongst men of all orders I beheld not a single one in the mansion of Yudhishthira that had not food and drink and ornaments. And eighty-eight thousands of Snataka Brahmanas leading domestic lives, all supported by Yudhishthira, with thirty serving-girls given unto each, gratified by the king, always pray with complacent hearts for the destruction of his foes. And ten thousands of other ascetics with vital seed drawn up, daily eat of golden plates in Yudhishthira's palace. And, O king, Yajnaseni (Draupadi), without having eaten herself, daily seeth whether everybody, including even the deformed and the dwarfs, hath eaten or not. And, O Bharata, only two do not pay tribute unto the son of Kunti, viz., the Panchalas in consequence of their relationship by marriage, and the Andhakas and Vrishnis in consequence of their friendship.
88,000 X 30 is by the way over 26 lakhs or 2.6 millions — of slave women, of sinful birth, all at one place. And all in the service of utterly useless holy Brahmins, who knew nothing but eating and enjoying the services of their slave women besides the usual chanting of gibberish mantras, people who didn't generate one ounce of wealth. These are the people, Krishna says, would attain to Him most easily! I think they have already attained Him, the Supreme Goal!
All these holy Brahmins were being looked after by the plundered gold and regular tributes collected from all over the country. Ah those golden times, but thank God they didn’t last for ever! This unhappy and impermanent world, deplores Krishna. If it were up to Krishna I think he would have allotted hundred slave women to each Brahmin, lakhs of them, and made the girls serve the holy men for all eternity.
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