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Mahabharata - The Great Epic

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The Mahabharata is one among the two great Sanskrit epics of ancient India. Ramayana is the other epic. The main aim of Mahabharata is to explain the four goals of life: dharma, artha, Kama, and moksha. Mahabharata is considered as the longest epic in the world. Mahabharata has more than 74,000 verses, lengthy passages, and about 1.8 million words. It was written in Sanskrit language. The oldest preserved parts of the text were believed to be written in around 400 BCE.

GANAPATI, THE SCRIBE: Veda Vyasa, the renowned compiler of the Vedas, was the son of the great sage Parasara Muni. Vyasa presented the divine epic of Mahabharata to the world.

Having visualized the Mahabharata he decided to present this sacred story to the world. So he meditated on Brahma, who is considered as the Creator. Brahma appeared in front of him and asked about his reason for meditation. Vyasa saluted the god and he folded his hands and prayed. He said to Brahma that “Lord, I have conceived an excellent work called “Mahabharata”, but I need a writer to note down my dictation. Brahma told him to invoke Lord Ganapati and beg him to become your amanuensis. Vyasa meditated on Ganapati, who appeared before him and with all respect he sought his help. Lord Ganapati agreed to dictate the story with a condition that, Vyasa should not take a pause or hesitation during dictation. Vyasa agreed the condition by guarding himself that Ganapati should grasp the meaning of lines before writing.  Ganapati smiled and agreed to the condition. Vyasa then started to sing the stanzas of story of the Mahabharata step by step. Occasionally, Ganapati took the pause to grasp the complex stanzas. Vyasa thus got the interval to compose many stanzas in his mind. Thus the Great Mahabharata came to be scripted by Vyasa with Lord Ganapati as scribe. After the completion of writing, Ganapati blessed Vyasa and disappeared. It is believed that the dictation of Mahabharata was done in Akshaya Tritiya, the third day of the waxing moon in the month of Vaishaka.
About the Book: Mahabharata is separated into eighteen books. They are Adi-parva, Sabha-parva, Vana-parva, Virata-parva, Udyoga-parva, Bhishma-parva, Drona-parva, Karna-parva, Shalya-parva, Sauptika-parva, Stri-parva, Shanti-parva, Anusasana-parva, Ashvamedhika-parva, Ashramavasika-parva, Mausala-parva, Mahaprasthanika-parva and Svargarohana-parva.

Adi-parva: Adi Parva has 19 upa-parvas (sub-books) and 236 adhyayas (chapters) in original book. Adi Parva is the first book and it is regarded as the Book of Beginning.In this Parva, it is described how the Mahabharata was narrated by Ugrashrava to the assembly of sages gathered in Naimisha Forest. He begins the story by giving an introduction to brahmin warrior, Parasurama (Sixth avatar of Lord Vishnu), the son of a great saint Jamadagni who waged war against all the Kshatriya communities 21 times in vengeance of father's death. He killed all the kings for this Adharma which happened in the end of later Treta Yuga. The blood flown out of their bodies formed into five lakes. Those five lakes of blood are called “Samanta-panchaka”. At that place later, Mahabharata war took place and the name of that place is Kurukshetra. Parshurama’s massacre of kings only stopped when he met Lord Rama (seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu) from Ikshvaku dynasty, who was so perfect king that he restored Parasurama’s faith in kings and ended his slaughter. He then threw his bloodstained axe into the sea, but the sea withdrew in horror and a new coast was formed. It marked the beginning of Dwapara Yuga.

The wives of all Kshatriyas remained as widows without having a son to become the next heir. They approached virtuous Brahmins and with their blessings, they begot male children. Again, the Kshatriya community began to grow. ILA and Ikshvaku dynasties are the only two prime and real Kshatriya dynasties survived from Parasurama Massacre. It was from ILA, the kuru dynasty later descended. All those kings started to rule the people without violating Dharma. The wet land slowly started to get rain and the foodgrains went abundance. Slowly adharma begun to rose in Dwapara Yuga. It later resulted in the Kurushetra War. At last, Dharma wins over Adharma. After giving the introduction by Ugrashrava, he started the tale with the story of King Janamejaya and the incidents that led him to hear about his forefather's ancestry. Here is the tale taken from Adi Parva of Mahabharata is as follows.

Chapter 1: The Spread of Mahabharata
Chapter 2:

To be Contd...


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