About the Series
The grand epic of Mahabharata is the greatest repository of our Bharateeya Parampara. It is at once philosophy, history, literature as well as an encyclopedia. It engages with people of all orientations in ways most fulfilling to each. Tradition says “Everything that is there in life is in Mahabharata. What is not there in Mahabharata is not to be found outside.”
This is true from the standpoint of the perspective of life. In its metaphors, Mahabharata presents all aspects of life in a fascinating composition and integrity through its fascinating metaphors. Our ancestors engaged with Mahabharata with great intensity. In the last 100 years, this engagement has weakened for a variety of reasons including the fact that school education has cast it aside in the name of secularization.
At Indic Today, we begin a series of conversations on the Mahabharata. Fortunately, there are enough Bharateeyas who continue to study Mahabharata in its entirety by referring to original unabridged accounts. Each is exploring an aspect of the multi-dimensional facets of Mahabharata. In each episode, we invite an expert and explore facets of their study and research. We hope that this will create an interest in many more to further study and research Mahabharata and unearth many more pearls.
Episode One: Civilizational History in the Mahabharata
In this episode, we focus on the Civilizational History gems in Mahabharata. In our tradition, Mahabharata is Itihasa and Purana in the form of a Mahakavya. Mahabharata presents us with an Itihasa, not in the purely historical sense of the west. It is with the sense of Purana – that which is old but relevant for today and tomorrow.
It takes deep study and our own methodology to carefully extract Historical elements from Mahabharata. Metaphors ought not to be disturbed. At the same time, Historical information should not be lost. For long, historical information in Mahabharata has been ignored. Only a few with absolute faith have indulged in it. After proofs have emerged for River Saraswati’s existence and other discoveries in the past, there is a renewed interest in leveraging Mahabharata to rebuild our Civilizational history. In this conversation, we explore our current understanding and the way forward.
About the Host
Shivakumar GV is an IT professional with a deep interest in Bharateeya Samskriti. He is especially passionate about the Rigveda and the Mahabharata, about which he writes regularly for Indic Today. As a research scholar from the Indic Academy, he is currently working on his thesis about “History of Creative Liberty in Bharateeya Parampara. His other interests include classical and modern Kannada literature, Bharateeya Itihasa, Purana, Tattva-shastra, and the civilizational challenges faced by Bharateeya Parampara. Shivakumar GV cites the rivers of India as his inspiration, as they represent the unstoppable flow of the Sanatana Dharma. Professionally, Shivakumarji has been working in IT in the field of learning and development for over 20 years and is passionate about technical learning and algorithms.
About this episode’s Guest Speaker
Jijith Nadumuri Ravi, a former scientist at ISRO, is a researcher of Veda Itihasa and Puranas, with a focus on Mahabharata geography. He has authored six research papers on this topic and others and has presented them at international conferences. He is the creator of AncientVoice, Naalanda, Takshasila, Bharatavarsha Maps, and Recentvoice Wiki, the world’s largest collection of Sanskrit texts (like the Vedas, Ramayana, Mahabharata), Tamil texts, Greek works, and even Avestan texts (like the Vendidad). He has authored articles for Swarajya, DNA, IndiaFacts, and many more. Jijithji is also an artist who specializes in Mahabharata art.
Having a technical background as a scientist with ISRO, where he has worked on several projects including Chandrayaan, Jijithji is currently working on Dharma Digital, a platform that will make use of futuristic technology like AR and VR to spread knowledge about Bharateeya Itihasa and Aitihasic personalities.
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