Friday, 26 October 2012

In conclusion. Mahabharata 208

 It has been an extraordinary journey. I have reacted to situations in the story as I narrated them. It is not easy to sum it up! Many friends when they heard that I was writing blogs on Mahabharata reacted differently. The most direct and honest one was, ‘I read Mahabharata years ago and I know the story. Why do I need to read one more version?’. Others said ‘you should read this or that author; they have done a great job’. I chose not to read them, as I had already begun and did not want my blog colored by their style or treatment. I am sure many of my observations would be seen in them as well and more!
The three books I used for my blog have treated the story differently and reflect the differences in their approach. I have sometimes repeated the story again as I liked the way it was treated by other! There are so many characters and situations which could be viewed differently and in depth; each could justify a book!
While there are many characters which fascinate you, the one that engages me the most is the author. There is no Mahabharata without Vyasa! The son of a Brahmin and a fisherwoman, black and an intellectual. While his father Parasara surely gave him the IQ, it is not clear who brought him up. It is said that he grew up amongst the rishis. He obviously had special powers; he appeared when his mother thought of him and many more times throughout the narrative. His visits always had a purpose and he influenced events and steered them the way he wanted to.

My earlier belief that the story is about feuding cousins changed and it is the story of anhiliation of the khsatriya clan, who had become a burden on mother earth. The feud was just a reason, ‘Nimittha!’ It is not once, but twice that Krishna was instrumental in destroying them  in a span of 36 years. First it is the Kurus and their allies and later it is his own clan, the Yadavas. It is not the only time khsatriyas had to face the wrath of gods, Parasurama , another avatar went round the earth twentyone times to eliminate Khsatriyas! Obvioulsy khsatriyas were a hardy lot! 
 Curiously, in Mahabharata, three dark or black people are the main actors! They are Vyasa, Krishna and Krishnaa! None of them had normal human upbringing! Vyasa could be called an abandoned child. Krishna, Bhagavata says he was conceived without sex, was brought up by a cowherd. Draupadi was the result of a yagna. She had no mother! Other important people also had unusual lives. Bheeshma grew up with a goddess in heaven. Add to this the genesis of both Pandavas and the Kauravas. Pandavas were children of gods and Kauravas came as a huge lump of flesh and Vyasa in fact, gave them life by cutting the flesh into a hundred pieces and putting them in a jar full of ghee and the pieces took life and grew! Even their parents, Dhritharashtra and Pandu were born in abnormal human situations!
The women, Satyavati, Amba, Kunti and Draupadi all had extraordianary experiences. Even Gandhaari's life was unusual and for that matter all the other women Pandavas married had to contend with brief stays with their husbands. I am sure my grandchildren would call these stories weird and they are!

The war and the happenings at Dwaraka must have had a salutary effect on the people of the times. Human nature being what it is, the benefits of the destruction of the khsatriyas would have only lasted for a while till nature again took over. We do not see any long term benefit from these wars. It is no surprise that Krishna said that he would appear often to cleanse the world of its ills!
Raghu was right when he said that Mahabharata was too ancient to give any insights into today’s world, except to prove that human nature has not changed much. We have seen the body of our knowledge has grown and more so in the last 300 years. Science and Technology have made it possible to see the complexities of creation on earth and the universe, in my opinion, much better.
But as it was in the ancient times, not many are privy to this knowledge and the ignorant continue to rule and create problems. We cannot even blame them as it is nature which has made them this way. Be it karma or nature’s way, both are created; the strong and the selfish and the meek and obedient. And so are the many in the middle of the spectrum. But the belief is that if the ratios go haywire and threaten human survival, god or the supreme intelligence would step in to restore balance. But we cannot get too complacent as there are numerous examples when nature has also let  go of many species!
 There is a conviction among many that this 'all intelligence' is partial to us and that they have created heaven and hell, given us the opportunity for rebirth, so on so forth. I hope they are right! But when I read that we are created so that we could speak and sing in his praise, I do not laugh anymore, I cringe!
 It is true, that is how we are, we not only sing in his praise; shout ‘victory to god’, we also kill in his name!’ In Mahabharata times, cleansing the earth seems to be the objective. Times must have been really bad! Khsatriyas had become unbearable as a group and had to be destroyed. It was not time for compassion, giving them a second chance to change for the better.
Recently we had two world wars and it did have salutory effect on our species. One can see that the effect was not all across the world!  We do not know whether we have reached another period of cleansing! Only Vyasa will know! He is probably scripting it! He is also said to be cheeranjeevi!


Jayashree Mani said...

Dear Nidhi uncle,
It was an extraordinary journey you took us all through.
Very well written.
I have to say I missed reading a few posts here and there
but followed for the most part
and learned many new aspects and nuances of this great epic.
Thank you!

srinidhi said...

Dear Jayashree
Nice to receive your comments.
I am glad you enjoyed the blogs.
I appreciate your reading them.
All the best

srinidhi said...

Dear Nidhi,
Congratulations a job well done and with persistence.
The entire story is obviously a figment of Vyasa's imagination.

That is why he needed Ganesha as his stenographer!
While each major character is a mixture of qualities,
I would add two to your list: Bhishma and Karna -
both steadfast in their unquestioning devotion.

What about cleansing the present Kshatriya class
- our politicians?
Aside from Mahabharata what is the current
feeling in amchi Pune regarding Nitin Gadkari?

Hope you are enjoying the grand children!

All the best for the present,

srinidhi said...

Dear Raghu
I guess you are right about Vyasa.
The poetic license he took to shape the story says it all.
As you had commented earlier,
one Krishna may not suffice to take care of today's

Have not met a true Puneri to ask him about Gadkari!

Enjoying the company of grandkids. That is about all.
Began reading the book you gave me!
It is interersting. Hopefully it develops well!
I suppose I must think of another blog to keep me busy.
Will be back tomorrow evening!
All the best

Arunabha Ghosh said...

Now looking forward to your series on the Ramayana.