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The three gems of Mahabharatha - Deccan Herald
The three gems of Mahabharatha
MALATHIRAO March 17, 2017
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I want to speak here of the three imperishable gems in the Mahabharatha that can be considered as the creative peaks of the human imagination. These three moments form the intellectual and spiritual summit of Vyasa's epic masterpiece. The first is of course the Bhagavad Gita and Lord Krishna's message to Arjuna. Arjuna is dejected on the battlefield and being certain of defeat, he refuses to pick up his bow to fight.

At the moment of Arjuna's despair, Lord Krishna advises him to act and not to think of the fruit of action, defeat or victory. He teaches him the essence of the philosophy of action; to perform one's duty is to be noble and indeed if one is noble one will perform one's duty. The second moment of epiphany comes from Bhishma as he lies on the bed of arrows awaiting death. He is visited by Lord Krishna himself and Bhishma is inspired to chant the Vishnu Sahasra Nama which is not only a definition of God, but also a recognition of God's supremacy. The chant of the thousand names of the Lord is meant to bring man solace at moments of trial upon earth and to offer him the benefits of peace.

The third imperishable gem embedded in the epic is the Parable of Man, ascribed to Vidura, the Wise One. At the end of the holocaust, when most of the Kurus are dead and the offspring of the Pandavas are not spared either, it is given to Vidura to sum up the human condition as essentially tragic and renunciation as the panacea for all the ills of life including death.

In a haunting metaphor, Vidura visualises man as rushing through a dense forest of darkness (Samsara) and falling into a broken well. In a moment of life giving hope, he is caught upside down on the branch of a tree inside the well. But any moment the branch might break causing him to fall inside the well infested with serpents and horrible creatures. Pitiable indeed is his condition, but this does not restrain him from attempting to catch a few drops of honey (sensual or earthly pleasures) which trickle down from a beehive above.

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