Mahabharata: Relevance and Application in Contemporary Thought
Thought provoking book that explores the Mahabharata and draws guidance on issues relevant to our lives:
Kula, Sanskar and Parampara – one generation to the next.
Choosing a life partner for yourself or your child?
Mother-in-laws do not do what was done to you!
Promises and vows—when in conflict with our obligations and duty?
OK to pursue emotional needs and material desires?
Sacrifice, charity, penance—their relevance?
Heaven and Hell: Are they real?
Self-learn the Hindu way of life.
Validate your beliefs with rationale.
Use Conviction, not Fear.
Act based on Conviction to achieve Peace of Mind.
The book captures the principles of intellectual property, contracts, pre-nuptial agreements, divorce, succession laws, etc.
Fresh n up
Interesting and exploring
A thought provoking read from an insightful author!
Intent of this Book
Introduction to the MAHABHARATA
Hindu Way of Life, Modern Religion and Rituals
Gods and the Hindu Way of Life
Dharma and the Hindu Way of Life
Hinduism and the Caste System
Mahabharata and the Bhagwad Gita
The Mahabharata’s Unique Construct and Characters
Mahabharata: The Great Epic
Early History of the Kuru Dynasty
King Shantanu’s Marriage and Bhishma’s Birth
King Shantanu Marries Satyawati
Succession Vacuum in Hastinapur
Ved Vyas Invited to Perform Niyoga
Young Princes Grow up
Marriage of Dhritarashtra
Pandu Crowned King Marries Kunti and Madri
Pandu along with his Wives Goes into Exile
Dhritarashtra, the Blind King and his 100 Sons
Kunti Returns with the Five Pandava Sons
The Young Princes Growing Up
Dronacharya, the Royal Tutor
Karna Seeks out Parashuram as his Guru
Passing Out Parade and Entry of Karna
Dronacharya Seeks Dhrupad’s Humiliation
Outcomes from the Passing Out Parade
Power Struggle and the Assassination Attempt
Pandavas Escape and Bhima Marries Hidimbi
The Killing of Bakasura
The Stage is Set for King Drupad’s Revenge
Arjun Wins at the Swayamwar
Pandavas take Draupadi Home to Meet Kunti
Draupadi Marries the Five Pandavas
Pandavas Return to Hastinapur
The Great Partition
Pandavas Take Charge of Khandavprastha
Mayasura and the Building of the Capital – Indraprastha
Life in Indraprastha – the Tragedy Begins
Arjun’s Year of Celibate Exile
Arjun Returns to Indraprastha with Wife Subhadra
Krishna Returns to Exert His Influence over the Pandavas
The Assassination of Jarasandha
Rajsuya Yagna and the Seeds of Discord
Honouring of Krishna and Assassination of Sisupala
Emperor Yudhisthir and Duryodhana’s Humiliation
Shakuni and His Plan
The Game of Dice
Abduction of Draupadi
Arjun Rescues Duryodhana
Pandavas brought Back to Life
Pandavas and their Final Year of Exile in Disguise
Kichaka and Bhima and the Fight to Finish
Kauravas Wage War on Virata
Kauravas: A Divided Camp
The Claim for Return of Kingdom
Krishna Arrives at Hastinapur as a Pandava Emissary
Krishna Presents the Pandava Claim
The Preparation for War
Kunti meets Karna
The Conduct for War
Ved Vyas Grants Sanjay Distance Vision
Final Act before the Start of the Battle
The Great War
Pandavas Discover their Relationship with Karna
Pandavas Return to Hastinapur
Yudhisthir is Now King
Dhritarashtra Leaves Hastinapur
The Curse of Gandhari Takes Effect
Parikshit is the New King of Hastinapur
The Pandavas’ Last Journey
Rewards and Punishment versus Heaven and Hell
The Concept of Second Chance
Mahabharata—Study of Relationships
Pandavas—Were They Five or One
Spousal Relationship in the Mahabharata
A Look at the Life Stories of the Departed Souls
Friendship in the Mahabharata
Yudhisthir Moment in our Lives
Relationships and Hurt in the Mahabharata
Bhima – The Ideal Husband
Krishna in the Mahabharata
The Objectives of Our Epics – A Perspective
About the Author
Introduction to the MAHABHARATA
The Epic is based around a pan-India settlement, focusing on the so-called Indo-Aryans, their culture and society. It details how kings govern their subjects and how they influence culture. It acknowledges the diversity of race, colour and cultures and their inter-action with other communities, often referred to as serpents or nagas, demons or rakshas or as vanars.
Every event in the Epic comes with a comprehensive background. The characterization is detailed, often originating in a past life. The story of an individual may begin from his previous birth and may end upon this death or may continue even beyond. Some episodes involve many characters in a single event, adding to its complexity, together with a narrative of their pain, love, suffering and attachment. It unravels their financial conditions, upbringing and social background and how these influence their behaviour.
The purpose of the Epic is to help us follow the rules of Dharma, a set of moral and social laws by which a person is bound. The author wrote the Mahabharata to bring out the significance of the Vedas, necessitating their dramatization, projecting larger-than-life characters, to convey its wisdom in the form of plays or folklore.
The Epic aimed to educate even those who could not study the Vedas, basing Dharma on examples. This has helped sustain interest in the Mahabharata until the present day. The authors dramatized the core message with the sudden materialization of a god or a celestial being. The divine intervention facilitated the move between acts.
Characters may have a divine or an undivine aura to help convey the teachings of the Vedas and of Dharma. Together they create a single reference book of what is right or wrong in the individual context and situation. Good guys are not always good, nor are the bad guys always bad. This is often perplexing as it introduces us to grey shades.
In the Indic Way of Life, we do not judge an individual; we judge his actions, because he is not always regarded as evil. His actions may be right or wrong, depending on several factors. The authors of the Mahabharata have conveyed this reality through several episodes. They have described the motivations and the circumstances of characters which predispose them to act in certain ways, through which they explain the concept of Dharma.
The Epic initially comprised 8,400 verses, but expanded to 100,000 verses, resulting from later additions. Many individuals memorized the epic down the ages, adding their own interpretations of events and episodes, which helped reinforce or elaborate its central theme to connect with the listener/reader. These nuances also reflect the social customs, culture and folklore specific to a region. These also represent the prevailing views of society when the additions were made during successive phases ever since the Epic was first composed centuries ago. Although several versions exist, the basic story remained unchanged.
There are several versions of the Mahabharata. One version does not include the Bhagwad Gita. Bards carried these versions orally over many centuries, but now they are available in written form. The Pune-based Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute undertook an examination of the different versions and published a unified narrative, known as the critical edition. Their study showed that reciters/enactors added many local nuances to existing versions to help preserve the interest in the Epic. Lately, the Epic has also been appropriated by the entertainment channels. A number of authors have narrated the story in their own style, highlighting certain perspectives to connect with the readers.
The Epic incorporates the Bhagwad Gita comprising some 700 verses, rich in meaning and content with multiple layers. The discourses of thinkers and preachers have mesmerised listeners. Fathom then the power that must be there in the 100,000 verses that make up the entire Mahabharata.