Friday, 20 January 2012

A map of Epic India. Mahabharata 87

 It is nice to see the forests of  Dwaita and Kamyaka in a map of  the epic periods. I see no mention of  lake Dwaita in a current map. Worth investigating how many of the lakes mentioned in the epics, are still existing!

It is also interesting to estimate the distances people travelled, walking or on horses and chariots  those days and the time they needed to cover the distances.  Krishna for instance, who lived in Dwaraka,  had to travel about 900 or more kilometres to visit the pandavas.

 It is said that a man used to walking could cover 50 km per day, depending on the terrain. Man on a horse would probably cover about 100 kms. It is more complex when horses were used as they needed to be fed, groomed and so on. Probably a courier would go faster, especially if he changed horses, but it meant that horses were available at certain locations for a rider. Use of Chariots meant that there were level roads or paths which were made and maintained. Amazing that civilisation managed in this manner till the steam engines began a new era in human existence less than 300 years ago.

 Pandavas survived the many tests of living in a forest. They managed to stay as a family. There is mention of many loyal people from Indraprastha joining  and living with them. So they must have made themselves comfortable as they settled down. On an individual level they managed to acquire various astras and boons from their god-fathers! Many stories are incredible. But you start expecting them and even try to accept them.

If you see a program called man,woman, wild on discovery channel, you will appreciate why Savithri and her husband were so worried to be alone in the forest in the night . The couple in the movie who brave the forest find it really hard. Even the lowly mosquitoes become unbearable and it is just the beginning of their problems and the terror they face.

 In the story, by the time Savithri manages to get her husband's life back  from  Yama, it is almost night and they discuss seriously whether to  get back in the night or wait till the morning. Both decisions are fraught with dangers. Then Satyavanta gets seriously worried about how their parents would react if they do not return. They decide to brave the dark.

Then there is the story of a brahmin who requests the pandavas to recover the spindles used to kindle fire from the deer which runs away with the spindles, accidentally stuck to its horns. We  understood why the brahmin becomes so desperate. It was not easy for the man and the woman in the movie to find the right kind of wood and in the right shape for it to work. It took them three hours before they could really get a fire started. Without which they could not, boil the water to purify it or cook the small bird they had killed for their lunch.

 We obviously see an extreme situation, but it did highlight how difficult life was when our technology was primitive and  how lucky we are at present.  It is also time to get worried as we can so easily mess up our world beyond repair. We all know how unforgiving nature really is!

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