All posts tagged: Mahabharata

Lessons From Mahabharata – Stri Parva and Gandhari’s Curse

How do you curse God, and do it justifiably so? What is the arc of the geometry of rage? Does it rise up into a crescendo and then subside after it has found an outlet? Or does it ebb and flow, crest and trough? How does one react to being cursed? How would God react to such a curse? As curses go, there are many instances in the Puranas of gods being cursed. Indra is perhaps in the unfortunate position of being the recipient of the most curses. Even Vishnu was cursed by Narada to be born as a human. Dharma was cursed, and was born as Vidura. The Vasus were cursed and had to be born as the sons of Ganga. But a god being cursed? Gandhari cursing Krishna is possibly one without parallel. Not only did Gandhari curse Krishna, she cursed his entire tribe, the race of the Yadavas. In it, there are several lessons to be learned. Mahabharata, Volume 5, Gorakhpur Gita Press Gandhari’s rage rose when she met Bhima after the …

Lessons From Mahabharata – Reclaiming The Epic For The 21st Century

As India continues on its journey from a $3 trillion to $10 trillion economy, as it reorients its political pendulum from permissions and entitlements to development and prosperity, as it resets its strategic stance from apologetic-defensive to confident-expansive, and redefines its cultural arc from being moored in a timid crust to one that carries international hues, it needs not merely the modern tools of engagement and technology to negotiate the world’s constantly-changing landscape but a stronger civilisational base upon which it can stand with knowledge, dynamism, force and stability; it needs to re-imagine itself and re-identify with its own ethos and its own experiences. Amongst its experiential kaleidoscope evolved over millennia, there are four important civilisational legs that have sustained India for more than five millenniums – the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Puranas and the Epics (the Ramayana and the Mahabharata). The Vedas captured the insights of rishis and eternalised them into words and three notes, a combination of language and sounds that resonates with our deepest parts even today as truth, a living entity …

Mahabharata Immersion Workshop

Our personal energy is immense and can act in heroic ways, however, it is often locked up in our subconscious self. The Mahabharata Immersion is an invitation to experiment with oneself, delve unto the depths of the invisible, the in-articulated and the disowned parts of ones self by donning the traditional masks from the Koothu tradition. The Mahabharata Immersion Workshop is intended to enable the participant to engage with inner work and the Purana fron an “inside -out” location. One wears the masks of the Heroes and in playing out the archetypal drama that occurs at various turning points, views oneself in the mirror of the emerging “here and now re-play” of the eternal motifs of life and relationships with significant others. This programme offers participants the opportunity to: Discover and foster one’s hidden heroic potential Introspect upon the relationship between outer and inner process Develop a personal foundation of Role effectiveness, interpersonal ethics and interpersonal discipline Introspect upon the way one holds and gives meaning to one’s mission in life The Learning Theatre An …

The Pseudoscience of Indology: An Interview with Joydeep Bagchee

With The Nay Science: A History of German Indology, Professor Vishwa Adluri emerged as one of the most powerful critics of Indology, the nineteenth-century field established to study India. Professor Adluri has called Indology “scientized racism,” a “club,” and a “court.” He has been interviewed by Open, Swarajya, News18, Social Research, and IndiaFacts. Mukunda Raghavan of Meru.Media interviewed Professor Adluri’s student Dr. Joydeep Bagchee on the occasion of the completion of their second book, Philology and Criticism: A Guide to Mahābhārata Textual Criticism. Dr. Bagchee spoke on behalf of his teacher, and explained how they became interested in Indology and why historicizing the Mahābhārata was crucial to colonizing India intellectually. The following transcript was edited for clarity and length. The complete interview will appear soon as a podcast and a video from Meru.Media. MR: What are your backstories? I have a PhD in philosophy from the NSSR, New York. It is one the most prestigious schools for continental philosophy in the US. Hannah Arendt and Reiner Schürmann taught there. I met my teacher Vish there. …

Women And Politics In The Epics – A Conversation

Were women empowered in ancient India? It is a big ‘Yes’! The phrase ‘women empowerment’ will transport you to a terrain of mixed views; the weight will shift more to what we perceive with our eyes and what the media infuses us with! And there is no dearth of literature in the digital world. Just a click or a touch with your fingertip and there you are, surrounded by an ocean of both positive and negative news and information. In this conversation blogger and author Manoshi Sinha interviews well known author of women centric books Kavita Kane on women and politics in Indic Epics. Women in ancient India enjoyed equal status with men. They were educated by choice. They were trained in the art of warfare by choice. The Rigveda finds mention about a warrior queen Vishpala, who was trained in the art of warfare. She lost a leg in battle; an iron leg revived her spirit and she resumed her battlefield exploits. Look at the world around you – that women is empowered is …

Mahabharata Workshop – Echoing The Warning Of Vyasa

Mahabharata has been the Itihasa that defined a part of my identity. It has defined and continues to define my consciousness. Whenever I read the Itihasa, take any episode of it, a kinship is formed between me and those immortal people within. I feel invested, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. From wanting to knock some sense into Shantanu, feeling like bursting into the Kuru Sabha and defying the Adharmis and feeling the exhilaration of speeding through the bloodied battlefield of Kurukshetra with none other than Krishna Vasudeva as my charioteer, I feel one with the epic. I am sure I echo the sentiments of crores people who consider themselves as the spiritual inheritors of this legacy, The Bharata. I don’t have to remind anyone who is aware of the epic even at a superfluous level, of the multitude of emotions that overwhelm us when the ill-fated dice game takes place. Falling prey to the crafty abuse of tenets of Kshatra Dharma, Yudhishtira gambles away the empire, the sweat and blood of his valiant and loyal …

India’s Great Epic – Workshops On The Mahabharata

The Mahabharata has had a profound influence over Indians for millenia. This epic ties together discourses on niti, yoga, dharma and philosophy in a unifying tale about the fracas of the Bharata clan. Its episodes have inspired poets, and served as moral guides for laymen. The Bhagavad Gita has become one of the most important guides for both philosophy and yoga. The Mahabharata continues to exert its sway over the Indian psyche. But when Western scholars discovered the text in the nineteenth century, they approached it in a peculiar manner. Rather than understanding what the Mahabharata has to say about itself, Western scholars, especially German Indologists, read their own racial and religious prejudices into the text. They dismissed the Indian tradition as fanciful and irrational, while applying a haphazard pseudoscientific method that they presented as “objective, scientific and historical.” Dr. Adluri and Dr. Bagchee’s summary of the legacy of Indological scholarship can be found here.  Dr. Vishwa Adluri is Adjunct Assistant Professor in Religion and Philosophy at Hunter College, City University of New York, USA, where he …

In Search Of India’s Lost Epic

The beginnings of Western scholarship on the Sanskrit epic, the Mahābhārata, are marked by a great puzzlement at the work. The text does not fit Western canons of literature—too heterogeneous its contents, too abstract its ideas that Western scholars can make sense of it.1 The “confusion” of fact and fantasy—a cosmological narrative that begins with Brahmā, the Creator, and descends through the repeated names of obscure dynastic kings to connect with present-day “history”—violates all Western expectations of narrative consistency and reality. In contrast to the Vedas, considered the earliest documents of “Indo-European” civilization, the Mahābhārata appears a corrupted work, and German scholars are quick to identify the culprits: the “aboriginal” population of India, those from “the darker side” (Garbe). In the German scholars’ view, the aboriginal influence can be seen in features such as the emphasis on gift-giving to the Brahmans, the belief in karma and rebirth, and the “repugnant” cults of Viṣṇu, Śiva, and the Devī—features they consider inimical to the “Aryan” inheritance of ancient India.2 The task of scholarship can only be to …

Veda Vyasa Endowment for Mahabharata Studies

Agnyaana Timiraandhasya Gnyaana Anjana Shalaakayaa Chakshuhu Unmeelitam Yenam Tasmai Sri Gurave Namaha. A Guru can save us from the pangs of ignorance (darkness) by applying to us the balm of knowledge or awareness of the Supreme, I salute such a Guru. Guru Poornima , the full moon day of month of Ashadh,  has a special auspicious significance in Indic culture. Particularly disciples on this day worship their Guru with an unconditional devotion, love and surrender. Guru Poornima holds a special place in the heart of the disciple as they are able to express their full gratitude towards their Guru who dispels darkness and ignorance and creates the path to being a realised soul for the disciple.  Lord Bhagvan Shri Krishna in 34th verse of 4th chapter of Bhagawad Gita says “attain this knowledge by all means, if you prostate yourself at the feet of wise, render them all forms of services and question then a guileless heart again and again, those wise souls of truth will unfold that wisdom to you.” Sri Aurobindo says ” The Teacher of the …

Krishna – The First Coach

(Editor’s Note: This essay is one of the submissions received for the Mahabharata Immersion Workshop Essay Competition conducted by Indic Academy and Indic Today.  The essay was submitted by Kavita Krishna and it received a honourable mention from the judges. )  Be it in exhibiting childish pranks natural to every child like stealing butter, or in expressing sensuality as an adolescent, or reveling in beauty and music as a young adult, or transforming into a super duper king with an undefeatable army and a dashing diplomat who could not swing events to his favour, yet could not help earning everyone’s respect and adoration, to finally closing the grand act as a world teacher who shows us all how to live up to our highest potential via the Bhagavad Geeta, this is Krishna; World’s First Life-Coach. The word Krishna etymologically means ‘that which attracts’. What can attract a human more than moksha? After all each one of us is in the process of finding happiness – either through artha or kaama or dharma – not appreciating …