Ath Shri Mahabharat Katha

For those who don’t understand Hindi, the title translates to – This is The Great Story of Mahabharata.

Mahabharat, undoubtedly is the greatest epic which Lord himself gave to the mankind. It’s the greatest fable, its most comprehensive book of human psychology, it’s a book which maps human behaviour completely, it’s a book which clearly distinguishes between good and bad or evil and divine, it’s a book which, if read with complete non-attachment will let you know what you stand for.

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It actually is not a book, it is said, Mahabharat happened some 5000 years or more ago, but in reality, Mahabharat is fought all around us every day. At times, we play the Pandavas (representing truth and justice) and at other we play Kauravas (senseless evil doers). At times, we become the Lord himself, Krishna, and at others, we become the eternal evil Ashwat-thama.

We ourselves are the disciples of Lord and act as Arjun and we only play the role of unflinching ego and become Bhisama. Unending desires make us Duryoudhana and to fulfil such desires we become undiscriminating intelligence Dhritrashtra.

We are The Mahabharta and we play it daily.

The plot of the story in Mahabharta is that the evil becomes stronger and stronger with the passage of time. Once it reaches the peak good forces come together and destroy the evil. In this story the princes who represented Dharma were subject to many atrocities, many unsuccessful attempts were made to kill them. The crown princess Draupadi was striped at the seat of justice. The ones aligning with good were exiled and after exile they were denied their well-deserved right to the throne. This was the tipping point and the Good fought back against the evil and won, sadly enough the evil Ashwat-thama was cursed to live till eternity.

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Here we are, the evil lives on and thus does the good. Every day when we do something bad to succeed we become the evil, the Kaurvas, a step closer to self-destruction, losing out on the favour of God. Every time we endure something bad and refuse to leave the path of justice we become closer to God.

Beware of the side you choose, Mahabharta is not a text, its ensconced in our minds.

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DID THE GOD ERR?

I was stumped, as I was concluding the final stories of Great War of Mahabhart, and my 6-year-old daughter asked a seemingly simple question. She questioned why Lord Krishna allowed Ashwathama to live till the end of time? While he was most sinful of all.

The story from this epic goes like this. Ashwathama was the only survivor amongst those who allied with Duryodhan. Pandavs had won the battle. Still, with revenge in mind, Ashwathama killed all sons of Pandavas who were deep asleep. He tried to kill the embryo growing in the womb of Uttara. Lord Krishna himself stepped in to protect Uttaras foetus. Lord then cursed Ashwathama to live till the end of time, thus making the evil doer eternal.

Entire epic of Mahabharat is metaphorical, and Ashwathama metaphorically represents evil. Mahabharat concludes with an end of tyrants and thus represents beginning of a new era where expectedly truth shall prevail. A pertinent question is why did Krishna not kill Ashwathama and thus end the eternal struggle of good and evil to prevail upon each another. Is evil so important that the Lord himself had to ensure its existence till eternity? Or was He wrong in his judgement and He made an erroneous choice?

Just imagine a perfect world where everyone strives for his and others wellbeing. No one is backstabbing, none steals, kills or hurts anyone. What a blessed life it would be. Life would be a perfect song everyone dancing to its tunes happily. No opposing forces struggling against each another. No misery no suffering.

The world is full of duality and dichotomy, in this essay I will use the two words interchangeably though the words are not fungible. Plants grow with branches branching out in pairs, periods of darkness and light follow each another, seasons interchange and we have all sensory organs in pairs, representative of duality within us and around us. Pair of eyes, ears semi forked tongue (having a line in middle), limbs in pairs and so on represent Duality.

Duality is representative of the existence of good and evil within us. Krishna and Ashwathama residing in this duality. Its for Krishna within to bless Ashwathama with eternity or to kill him now. If Krishna inside kills Ashwathama within, soul merges in God and if Krishna blesses Ashwathama soul has to be reborn. Thus once we kill vices within our soul achieves salvation. But the question remains why did the God create evil (read Ashwathama) at all?

Maybe He did so to make our life more meaningful. Imagine life without internal conflicts, monotonous and boring life it would have been. Imagine no one disagreeing with you, none resisting you, thus pronouncing the end of dichotomy. No duality would mean everyone is you and you are everyone (aham brahmasmi), thus salvation is granted to everyone who takes birth.

Is it that to achieve salvation one should take the test named life? Is it that one has to decidedly team with Krishna and not Ashwathama in an internal conflict? Even if the answer is yes, why at all God created system of suffering, agony and five sins. He could have chosen something else.

A Pertinent question still remains, did the God err?

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