My reactions as I read epics: Mahabharata by Kamala Subramaniam and Samhita Arni, Vachana Bharata by Krishna Shastri.
As a friend said, it is a Aam Admi view of epics
Sunday, 18 September 2011
Revisiting Mahabharata in 2011
Panadavas had a good time, an idyll.
Hidimbi took them all to to the sacred lake called Salivahana. She built a beautiful cottage for them, Bheema spent a very happy time with her. She took him to many beautiful spots in the forest. With her he saw many rivers, mountains and valleys.
I remember driving up the Vindhya ranges near Kanha national park and stopping in the midst of a forest stretching to the horizon all around. It was a humbling experience! Not surprising if there were demons hiding in them or even if we just imagined them. I looked for a few pictures of Kanha forest and could find only this.
I tried to imagine the place and coincidentally saw the BBC program about the rain forests of Borneo. A team of explorers were trying to map the area and take pictures of the fauna and flora for posterity. While the forest was beautiful, it was intimidating. They were bitten by leaches, had fever and upsets due to parasites, were injured and also in danger when wild elephants passed them too close for comfort. This was today when technology helped them in their project.
Compare this with what Samhita has to say about Hidimbi: 'She proved to be useful, knowing how to make tasty food out of roots and plants available for them, how to identify a poisonous plant and last but not least, how to treat snake and other bites.'
Here are a few pictures which might tell us how our own forests appeared in those times.
This is a satelite picture of Borneo. Possibly what the devatas could see!
Mt. Kinabalu. Imagine Pandavas in such a forest. They must have been happy that Hidimbi could carry all of them and fly!
Must have been daunting experience for them: walking and hunting.