Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Concept of Mahabharata

The Concept of Mahabharata (300 words)

Kalidas Sawkar

The boy's father asked the teacher "In the end everybody dies in Mahabharata. Coming to my obsession with eternal truth, who was right and who was wrong? What does all this mean when hundreds of thousands die, families devastated and nobody benefits"
The teacher says “Just as with truth there could be different perceptions of epics such as Mahabharata.

“However, first, you have to realize this epic is based on a historical war between princely cousins in north India over three to four thousand years ago. Even the idea of a nation was quite flexible then. Those days vocal recitation was popular rather than systematic documentation, which paved way for changes, insertions, dramatizations and addition of miracles to the original story. But above all, Mahabharata has one strong point and that is these changes also incorporate the changing societal structure, climactic phenomena and demographic patterns in north India over at least two thousand years if not more. The changes in social customs such as marriages, paternity concepts, class divides and human frailties such as greed, revenge and opportunism are beautifully portrayed; along with this you find friendship, promises, integrity and valour being honed and inspired into people. Another great gift of Mahabharata is it outlines the introduction of and changes in spiritual concepts in India some of which are prevalent even today.

Truly, nobody benefitted at the end of that war. Even great Arjuna, was looted post war by petty thieves; but, this is the natural end to every big war even today and that is the reason Krisn does his best to avoid it. However, once the war starts it imposes its own rules and regulations; and, at the end, wrongs are defended as aberrations or transgressions, as was done by Lord Krisn himself. That is Karma-Yog for you.”

From: Kaliyug ki kahania

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Truths and half- truths

Truth and the half-truths (295 words)

By Kalidas Sawkar

The boy came this time with his father. When the teacher welcomed them father said “I am still confused with truth. I am not at peace with the meanings you have told my son”
The teacher said “Since you do not comprehend truth and its characteristics, I shall endeavour by telling you about its opposite, the lies. The essence of this world is subjectivity of our mind. Sometimes we are subjective intentionally as well.

“In Mahabharata war when Guru Dronacharya told his enemies, the Pandavas, that the only time he would keep his bow down is if he has to hear the news of the death of his son Ashwatthama. The Pandavas immediately christened an elephant as Ashwatthama and then killed him. Their king Dharma-raja then declared that one Ashwatthama has died, however it could be a man or an animal. Hearing this Dronacharya with sadness kept his bow down and was thus killed by Arjuna.

“For telling this half-truth, Dharmaraja is punished later after his death by having had to spend some time in hell. However, tell me wasn’t what the King declared a lie even though they had named an elephant as Ashwatthama to escape being accused of telling a lie? A half-truth is as much a lie as lie itself could be. Dronacharya thought full truth was being told by Dharma-Raja and therefore died.

“Mahabharata is an epic for us to learn that perceptions of truth depend on the time that flows and perceptions that are held by people; teaching us that a war that started righteously, ended in all tricks and deceptions being used on the battle field; once, even Krishn broke his oath of not using any lethal instrument himself. At the base of this immoral massacre of armies is greed to rule and dominate the politics of that time and continues till this time.”

Source: Kaliyug ki kahania