The Mahabharata

A showcase for the oldest and longest epic in the world. A resource for the better understanding of all aspects ofSanatana Dharma, Vedanta and Yoga.A place for West to meet and embrace East beyond cliché, presumption and prejudice.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Myths of Mankind: The Mahabharata

"Young officers or civil servants arriving for the first time  at their new home among the palm frond  and rice fields, or the dust and heat of a desert cantonment, would commonly be told by an some well-meaning old India hand that if they wish to grasp the essence of the place and its people they should read one book: the Mahabharata, the world's oldest epic by far and, with 90,000 verses exceeding the Bible and all of Shakespeare's poems bundled together, by far the world longest epic poem."
-- Paul Roberts Author

"We are brought up with the Mahabharata as our popular heritage, as our heroes and heroines, as our popular stories, bedtime stores, as our parables on morality on values. The greatest success story of every comic strip is something based entirely on the Mahabharata or Ramayana. It's difficult to understand this in the Western context, where religion is something you go to church to practice. For us it is not like that. Children in school for instance:  if there is a child at school who is very strong or very fat, they will say he is just like Bhima. And that is the kind of total livability and contemprary-ness of the Mahabharata today."

-- Mallika Sarabhai  actress, playing Draupadi

"The last age, Kali Yuga, is the one in which we now live, when people are at their most degenerate, the most wicked. But it began according to the Vedas 14000 years ago when the great battle of Kurukshetra was fought, the battle around which the Mahabharata revolves.

Was there ever such an era or such battle? If there was one, when was it, and how preposterous are Brahmin students who place it way before recorded history began?

It's customary to view ancient Egypt as the world's longest continuous civilisation . It's a view we inherited from the Greeks and the Romans, who really knew nothing beyond the Mediterranean. The first to see it was Alexander the Great; and something he encountered there dissuaded him from adding India to his  empire. Instead, he turned his vast army around and returned West, by all accounts a changed man.

But our ignorance of the vast age of India's civilisation was due even more to a tendency to view Europe, our world, as the heart of  life of earth; an expedient which was self-serving during the heady days of Empire."

--Paul Roberts, author.

"We still think that all other civilisations were of minor quality, and this is why we still have difficulties in accepting that in the Indian subcontinent something developed that was more important that all the other ancient civilisations."

-- Michael Jansen; Professor of Architectural History 

1 comment: