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Greatness Of Mahabharata – There Is Nothing Like The Mahabharata

There is nothing like the Mahabharata. It is relevant to all ages and reigns. It challenges each generation. There is nothing in human existence which does not have a place in the Mahabharata. Here is a look at the greatness of Mahabharata.

Article source - Decoding the Metaphor Mahabharata by Diwaker Ikshit Srivastava – Introduction : What Is The Mahabharata?

Mahabharata - Pinnacle Of Human Thought - Understanding

All the strengths and weaknesses of human nature – valor and chivalry, cunning and deceit, daring and romance, lust and greed, righteousness and depravity – are woven into this intricate and fast moving panoramic tale that has enthralled listeners for well over five millennia.

The Mahabharata is no fable; it is the pinnacle of human thought and understanding.

The word Mahabharata comprises the syllables ‘maha’, ‘bha’, ‘ra’ and ‘ta.’ ‘Maha,’ of course, means great; ‘bha’, ‘ra’ and ‘ta’ stand for, respectively, ‘bhava’, ‘rasa’, and ‘tala’, the three attributes of dance. Mahabharata, the word, is thus an expression of the great dance – the Cosmic Dance of Shiva – and as personification, the Great Dancer, Lord Shiva Himself.

Touches Every Aspect Of Human Life

The Mahabharata is a treatise on the realization of our own divinity – ‘I am Brahman’ (which realization is the goal of human existence) – in his life itself, even as we go about performing our daily chores. To that end, it embodies all knowledge (cosmology, medicine, mathematics, economics, philosophy, management and more) and covers every aspect of human life.

The Mahabharata is the story of life. The purpose of life is to experience the divine mystery that is life: the majesty and glory expressed in the infinite forms of creation, our position in this cosmic order and the eventual realization of our own divinity. Life is God’s bounty, a gift that must be lived and enjoyed – with gratitude.

The Mahabharata is about life and living, the here and now, and covers the five stage of human life: Bal Avastha (living with our parents – experiencing God in our parents), Brahmacharya (living with a Guru – experiencing God in our guru), Grihastha Ashram (living with society at large – experiencing God in every human being), Vanaprastha (living with nature – experiencing God in all nature) and Vairagya (living with self – experiencing God in oneself).

Exploring Human Condition

The Mahabharata is the most exhaustive exploration ever of the human condition. It thus covers passion (Kama) and its exhaustion (Moksha) and the in-between, the wealth of happiness (Artha) and balance or order (Dharma) – the means of its achievement.

The Mahabharata details the principles of dharma upon which to base our lives for lasting peace and happiness. However, these are not laid out in the form of commandments, for life does not follow societal rules and regulation. Consequently numerous discussions where beliefs and practices are challenged, assumptions questioned and doubts raised and, of course, clarifications or answers provided.

Human Problems - Solutions

What emerges is that the root cause of all human problems is attachment (I and mine). Form ‘I and mine’ emerge envy, desire and expectation (I want – for all things material), which leads to himsa (violence or the imposition of one’s will) for the fulfillment of that want. ‘I’ is the ego and is the cause of our insecurity, fear and sorrow.

And the solution? Moksha (liberation, salvation) lies in the subjugation of the ego ‘I,’ through ahimsa, the non-imposition of one’s will and the elimination of ‘I want.’ Moksha life in proactively spreading love to one and all, through acts of dharma, where every act is carried out diligently and is born out of love, truth, righteousness and compassion. In life there are no right and wrong – just karma (repercussions) and dharma (without repercussions). One binds, the other liberates – and we choose. We have the freedom of choice to create our own destiny.

Mahabharata Explores Hindu Way Of Life

The Mahabharata, a text of massive proportions – more than 100,000 verses – is the most comprehensive treatise on day-to-day living, and contains within it the Bhagavad Gita, which, by itself, is undoubtedly the most definitive compendium of the Vedic Hindu way of life. Of course, what the Gita expounds in a discourse, the rest of the Mahabharata does through metaphors.

The Mahabharata is the story of the journey through this life of the soul every individual (any seeker) as it endeavors to rediscover its identity – who am I? Thought throughout our lives we remain engrossed in establishing an identity (what am I?) for ourselves, ultimately, whether we appreciate it or not, we shall embark upon this journey of rediscovery. The Mahabharata describes how the seeker (referred to, for convenience, as ‘he’), a spiritual aspirant (any one of us), covers his journey, the pitfalls and travails encountered during his journey of life and how the aspirant can, should and will overcome them.

This journey also takes place within us – in our hearts. Consequently, all the characters in the story also exist within our hearts. As it takes place within our hearts, we actually experience the Mahabharata, too. The Mahabharata is the story of our war within, our war with our own tendencies, which prevent us from moving up to higher level of existence. This is the story of the constant war that keeps raging within us, the struggle between our divine tendencies, represented by Pandu and his children on the one hand, and our demonic tendencies, represented by Dhritarashtra and his children on the other.

Mahabharata Has To Be Experienced

The Mahabharata does not propound a theory or hypothesis; it recounts, in words the experience of a realized sage. And the experience of the sage has been that man is but a fragment of the unmanifest absolute, Brahman, the all-pervasive, ever-existing, attribute-less, sat-chit-ananda (truth-consciousness-bliss). That Brahman is enveloped in maya (illusion) and thus appears as Prakriti (nature) – the infinite forms that we experience as the universe. And in this illusionary universe (world) man seemingly acquires, endlessly, form after form (birth and rebirth) in surroundings and situations that are dictated by his past karmas (acts). However, by placing his senses (and sense organs) under control and severing all his attachments (desires) and thereafter by performing his ordained tasks with faith and devotion, without aspiring for the outcome, he can draw upon himself the grace of the Guru. The Guru’s grace destroys maya and sets man free of the bondage imposed by karma and grants him moksha, the realization of his true divine self.

Mahabharata teaches at various levels and ways. It teaches through parables, through the dialogues and discussions between various characters, through straightforward direct discourse and not least as metaphors: every episode, every incident, every name, character, place, weapon, object, thing, every boon, every curse, everything, just everything, is a metaphor.

Mahabharata, life our other scriptures, expresses the truth. Truth cannot be put in words; it can only be experience. The Mahabharata has to be experienced.

Article source - Decoding the Metaphor Mahabharata by Diwaker Ikshit Srivastava – Introduction : What Is The Mahabharata?