After two years of wanting to write on the Mahabharata, it is finally time!!! The source of knowledge for this series, are the talks by Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati on this epic.
Mahabharata, an epic, is called a mahakavya (a form of Sanskrit poetry consisting of a number of verses and set to a particular meter of reciting. It contains description of people, cities, oceans, battles, games, triumphs and defeats). Mahabharata written by Sage Vedavyasa has one hundred thousand verses.
One plot and many stories within that plot… stories linked to one another.. many many characters.. but the main characters are a few. Like every poem, this too brings with it a certain amount of exaggeration – of situations of emotions, of sentiments, of manipulation and many more.. One can draw parallels of many an emotion, people, situations, manipulations, battles, triumphs and defeats to real life situations.
Be it a Krishna or a Duryodhana or a Dhritirashtra or a Gandhari or an Arjuna or a Yudhishtira, or a Bhishma or a Karna or a Kunti or a Draupadi or many others, each one of them have a story or many attached to them.. Each of their stories and / or what the character stands for, evokes the pleased self or the unpleased self within us. There is always the question that arises within us of, “Why did they do what they did?” and immediately the answer also pops up, “If they didn’t do what they did, Mahabharata wouldn’t have been written.”
It is always a debate on whether the situations in Mahabharata are actual happenings that have been woven in a story format, and whether these characters existed; or these are stories that have been told to us, to send certain messages to us. There are people who support either school of thought; and there are some who don’t support either. However this wouldn’t be focus of the blogs in this series 🙂
- So many centuries this epic has been spoken about and we still find many aspects relevant?
- Does this mean we haven’t yet learnt much from it?
- Why is it so? We haven’t read much of the epic or we haven’t assimilated the learnings from it?
- Or is there much more to it that what we know and see?
Elders would say, “Don’t read the Mahabharata at home because it is a story of battles and wars that take place within families which spills over to the battleground. When you read it at home, it will happen really in this family too.” Well!!! What the elders said seems to have given some answers to the questions above.
Pujya Swamiji would say, “Every battle happens first in the mind and then outside.”
The battle that happens in the mind could happen due to varied reasons; which the person may or may not be aware of.. And when they are aware of it but do not want to own up to it, the battle no longer stays inside the mind, it spills over. The weapons used, are not always physical and tangible weapons..
So how will this series pan out? Each blog will be a chapter, with this one being the introduction. The chapters will be on what I understand from the various situations that happen in this epic, raising my own questions and thoughts, while drawing a parallel to day to day living.
To complete this series on this epic requires the grace of Iswara and the grace of this epic. As I end this blog, I can’t but visualise each one of the characters in this epic walking alongside every blog as though saying “I have your back.”
Excited to travel in this ‘epic’ journey, with everyone who journeys along..