In the previous episode, we had witnessed Sage Veda-Vyaasa sitting on the top of Badrinath Kshetra amidst a tunnel and writing the Mahabharata text. As Sage Vyaasa was writing the text, the River Saraswati which was running with a lot of fury was causing a sort of a disturbance to him. Annoyed by this, Sage Vyaasa cursed River Saraswati that it would no longer be visible over the ground. Thus, even today, this River Saraswati is an invisible river that comes up to the ground only at the place called “Prayagraj” or “Allahabad” in the North-Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. This place is also revered as “Triveni Sangamam” where three important rivers of our “Bhaarata Desha” join hands with each other – River Ganga, River Yamuna and River Saraswati. This is an extremely important place even today and people who perform the “Shraadha” for their ancestors perform rituals at this place.
Moving on thus, we shall now gradually enter into the Mahabharata text, wherein we should first understand who is the main focal person that the entire story revolves around. Unlike the Ramayana text which revolves around one person called Bhagawan Rama, the Mahabharata revolves around various people at various stages. It all starts with how King Janame-Jaya heard the entire text from Sage Vaishampayana, then divulges into the Gaangeya-Charitra wherein Bhishmachaarya is predominantly talked about. Subsequently it goes into King Dhirdiraashtra and King Paandu and how both of them had their respective sons called Kauravas and Paandavas respectively. Subsequently we would witness a lot on how the Paandava brothers were insulted and humiliated at various stages by Duryodhana and his Kaurava brothers, and how Bhagawan Krishna would protect the Paandavas at different stages, until the final Kurukshetra war. In the midst of all this, there would be innumerable sub-stories wherein different characters would appear and disappear. Thus, the Mahabharata text should be followed very keenly at each and every stage, so that we wouldn’t miss any event or any character. If we miss something in the middle, that same missed event would come and haunt us at some later stage, wherein we would struggle to have the continuity of understanding. This is the reason why I’m repeatedly urging readers to go through each of our episodes very carefully and take down notes then and there for the sake of remembering. If required, readers may feel free to read and re-read our episodes more than once for better understanding.
With this, we shall bow down to Sage Vyaasa and gradually enter into the Mahabharata text. We shall give an entry into the first “Parva” of the Mahabharata now. As mentioned earlier too, the Mahabharata comprises of various “Parvas”, “Upa-Parvas”, “Adhyaayas” and many slokas under each. As we go into the first “Parva”, Sage Vyaasa himself has described in detail, the various “Parvas” that he has composed. All these details in fact come under a separate “Upa-Parva” called “Parva-Sangraha Parva”. We shall witness that a bit later when the context comes. But now, let us enter into the “Aadhi Parva”. Inside this “Aadhi Parva” , we have various “Upa-Parvas. I’ve mentioned earlier as well – The entire Mahabharata text comprises of 95 “Upa-Parvas”. Some people say that there are 99 “Upa-Parvas”. This discrepancy has a reason. The last 3 “Parvas”, namely “Mousala Parva”, “Maha-Prasthaanika Parva” and the “Svarga-Arohini Parva” have only one “Upa-Parva” under each of them. Thus, they are not taken as separate “Upa-Parvas” for the basis of counting. Similarly, if we look at the “Karna Parva”, there is only one “Upa-Parva” inside it. Hence, this would also be separately taken into account, and wouldn’t feature into the regular “Upa-Parva” arithmetic. Readers should understand this very carefully here. We shall of course detail all these at a later stage, but now, for the sake of understanding the arithmetic behind the “Parva” and “Upa-Parva” calculation, I’m explaining this in a bit of a detail. Thus, if we subtract these four from 99, we would get 95, isn’t it? Hence we say that the Mahabharata text comprises of 95 “Upa-Parvas” and the slokas are packed into 2108 “Adhyaayas”.
Moving on thus, we shall now witness the details that Sage Vyaasa has described under each of the “Parvas” and the corresponding “Upa-Parvas” as we progress into our further episodes, but now, let us make a beginning. We shall start with the “Aadhi Parva”, then navigate into the “Sabhaa Parva”, then into “Udyoga Parva”, “Vana Parva”, etc. If I start detailing the names of each of the “Parvas”, all of us would start feeling sleepy then and there! 🙂 Hence, now let us get into the “Aadhi Parva”. The first “Upa-Parva” that we’re going to witness is the “Anukramanika Parva”. So for today, let us understand these important points, and let us wait for the next episode to commence the contents of this “Anukramanika Parva” in detail. Stay tuned! 🙂