Thursday, 12 January 2012

Duryodhana says he rather die, Mahabharata 82

 A very depressed Duryodhana halts on the way to Hastinapura. Karna arrives and mistakenly congratulates Duryodhana and says that he had to retreat as he was beaten very badly by the gandharvas. This depresses Duryodhana further and he tells Karna the story of his defeat and the insult to his injury he faced as it was  Arjuna  who rescued him. He decides to stay back and observe प्रायोपवेशन (fast until death!). Karna and Sakuni try to dissaude him and say that it was pandavas duty as his subjects.  But Duryodhana is adamant. They again argue that he can see the end of pandavas after thirteen years and Karna takes a oath that he would kill Arjuna in the war and take others as Duryodhanas' captive. This promise mollifies Duryodhana and they return to Hastinapura.

My mind goes back thier life in the forest. I have not seen the TV series Mahabharata and a few episodes I did see were not about Aranyaparava. As I wondered how aranyaprava was depicted by our movie makers, I chanced on a movie Apocalypto produced by Mel Gibson. In fact, I saw the last 40 dramatic minutes of the movie on cable. It was facinating! The Mayan aranya gave me a feel of what pandavas would have experienced. Then thanks to technology I saw the whole movie on my computer.

While the Mayan civilisation withered away more than 1000 years ago, we have done better. The two clips below are meant for people like me who have not seen the movie. The movie drew some heavy criticism for the pundits for not being true to known facts about Mayan history. (Though it gave rise to awe-inspiring architecture and surprisingly advanced science, the Maya civilization—which thrived in what are now Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras—began declining around A.D. 800 (map of Central and North America). Archaeological evidence points to a multitude of factors that could have led to this decline, including internecine warfare, the loss of trade routes, drought, and disease.

 While one can imagine that the brutality of a hand to hand combat would be no different, our civilisation has largely managed to eschew human sacrifice. At least there is no mention of these practises so far in Mahabharata. While the forest in the movie appears more dense, pandavas lived in  forests which were maintained, closer to other humans, except perhaps when they went on a Teerthayatra.

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