TEXT 42
tathahrtam pasuvat pasa-baddham
avan-mukham karma-jugupsitena
niriksya krsnapakrtam guroh sutam
vama-svabhava krpaya nanama ca
SYNONYMS
tatha—thus; ahrtam—brought in; pasu-vat—like an animal; pasa-baddham—tied with ropes; avak-mukham—without a word in his mouth; karma—activities; jugupsitena—being heinous; niriksya—by seeing; krsnaDraupadi; apakrtam—the doer of the degrading; guroh—the teacher; sutam—son; vama—beautiful; svabhava—nature; krpaya—out of compassion; nanama—offered obeisances; ca—and.
TRANSLATION
Sri Suta Gosvami said: Draupadi then saw Asvatthama, who was bound with ropes like an animal and silent for having enacted the most inglorious murder. Due to her female nature, and due to her being naturally good and well-behaved, she showed him due respects as a brahmana.
PURPORT
Asvatthama was condemned by the Lord Himself, and he was treated by Arjuna just like a culprit, not like the son of a brahmana or teacher. But when he was brought before Srimati Draupadi, she, although begrieved for the murder of her sons, and although the murderer was present before her, could not withdraw the due respect generally offered to a brahmana or to the son of a brahmana. This is due to her mild nature as a woman. Women as a class are no better than boys, and therefore they have no discriminatory power like that of a man. Asvatthama proved himself to be an unworthy son of Dronacarya or of a brahmana, and for this reason he was condemned by the greatest authority, Lord Sri Krsna, and yet a mild woman could not withdraw her natural courtesy for a brahmana.
Even to date, in a Hindu family a woman shows proper respect to the brahmana caste, however fallen and heinous a brahma-bandhu may be. But the men have begun to protest against brahma-bandhus who are born in families of good brahmanas but by action are less than sudras.
The specific words used in this sloka are vama-svabhava, "mild and gentle by nature." A good man or woman accepts anything very easily, but a man of average intelligence does not do so. But, anyway, we should not give up our reason and discriminatory power just to be gentle. One must have good discriminatory power to judge a thing on its merit. We should not follow the mild nature of a woman and thereby accept that which is not genuine. Asvatthama may be respected by a good-natured woman, but that does not mean that he is as good as a genuine brahmana.

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