Sunday, August 21, 2011

The other side of Mahabharata

101 Kauravas - good figure; but only one female child: Dhushala - not fair. This thought triggered me to think about the great Indian epic when I was travelling for work. Out of 101 Kauravas, I remembered my mother sharing her bit of knowledge, most of their names start with "Dhu". Well she is not fully correct on this but,  its really surprising to know Saint Vyaasa was able to think 101 names in a family! If you are interested to know the names, here is the list: Kauravas

During my childhood, I used to listen to the stories of Pandavas. I came to know about their bravery, their self respect and respect to humanity, and all other characteristics about each one of them. When I read the the epic few months ago, I was unhappy with some characters being portrayed. For example, take Shantanu - the great grandfather of Pandavas & Kauravas. Despite his great qualities of honesty, bravery and capability to rule a huge kingdom, he was a womanizer.  He was not even satisfied when he and Ganga gave birth to his eighth son - Bhishma. He in turn falls in love with Satyavathi, a daughter of a fisherman, marries her and has two more children. God! this is the limit. And yet, this character is of great importance. Its a fact that some attributes of parents are inherited by children, but by what measure? Arjuna broke all the records set by Shantanu. He got married four times and had at least one kid with each of his wives. He may be having noble qualities, but having such a list of marital relationships raises questions on his character! On a funny side of the matter, I appreciate Bheema, who had only one extramarital affair with Hidimbi, They produced a warrior - Ghatotkacha. Among the five Pandavas, I believe in Yudhistir - a noble man; honest, obedient and a strict follower of Dharma. Marital affairs of Arjuna

Shakuni - The bad guy of bad guys! But, I believe he is the good guy. I know he is the master mind behind war of Kurukshetra. I don't know how many of you know, but as a matter of fact, he was against Kauravas. He could not digest the bitter truth that his sister - Gandhari is married to a blind man. Dhritarashtra, on the other hand, destroyed Gandhari's family when he learned he is her second husband. This enraged Shakuni and he came up with a clever plan. He knew well in advance that Pandavas will be victorious. So, he added more fuel to fire to make the war happen. Read more

During the war, I suppose everyone knows the live feed by Vidur(Sanjay) to Dhritarashtra. Vidur was most respected as an advisor by the Pandavas whom he forewarned on various occasions of Duryodhana's plots to exterminate them. Krishna respected him for his devotion to the people's welfare and his proficiency in every sphere of knowledge. Now, how could Saint Vyaasa imagined the live telecast ages before existence of TVs, video cameras and satellite communication? All these techno stuff came into being only in the late 1900s. This is what I call incredible foresight!

What I most liked about the epic is, at the end of it, no one is spared if he has committed crimes. No escape from sins - not even the great politician Krishna is forgiven. He might have played smart in political games against Kauravas or even exploited their weakness, but all are sins according to Dharma. The only verdict is death - whoever he may be!

The stories in it are so peculiar that I believe each of instances described in it happen in everyone's lives in one form or the other. And it also teaches how to face difficult situations and solve them. I also believe all  the situations covered in this epic take place from a man's birth till his death in one form or the other. Its not only an epic, but a lesson of life. Haa, that's all I have to say about this eternal epic. What are your thoughts about this which made you feel different?