In the previous episode, we had witnessed some important and interesting arithmetics with regards to how the Mahabharata text is structured. We’ve also witnessed that unlike the Ramayana and other texts, there is no one focal person about whom the entire storyline revolves. The Mahabharata consists of innumerable characters, many of whom might be in the limelight at different stages of the epic. With all this in mind, we shall commence the “Aadhi Parva”, which is the first main “Parva” of the Mahabharata text. Under the “Aadhi Parva”, the first “Upa-Parva” is “Anukramanika Parva”, and we shall formally begin the Mahabharata text with this. Let us begin with the first sloka. Sage Vyaasa begins thus:
“Naaraayanam namaskritya naranchaiva narotthamam!
Devim saraswathim vyaasam tatho jayam udheerayeth!!”
This sloka describes where exactly Sage Vyaasa sat and wrote down the Mahabharata text. The sloka has an important phrase – “Naranchaiva narotthamam”. We’ve to understand an important point here. In the Mahabharata text, we would often come across this phrase – The “Nara-Narayana” combination. This phrase refers to Arjuna and Bhagawan Krishna being together always. “Nara” means human being and “Narayana” refers to Bhagawan Vishnu. This “Nara-Narayana” combination can be worshipped at Bhadrikaashrama at the sacred Badrinatha Kshetra amidst the Himalayas. It is in this same place wherein Sage Vyaasa is sitting down and writing the Mahabharata text. Even today, we can witness two tall mountains on either side of the Badrinaatha Kshetra – The “Nara Parvath” and “Naraayana Parvath”. The River Alakananda flows in between these two important mountains with a great sound and pressure. Initially the River Alakananda wasn’t able to flow through because these two mountains were together and were blocking its way. However, Indra’s elephant by name “Airavatha” dealt a blow with its strong tusks and trunk and made a gap in between the two great mountains. It is through this gap the river started to flow with great speed. Thus, the single mountain got split into the “Nara Parvath” and the “Narayana Parvath”, which we’re worshipping even today.
It is this “Nara-Narayana” combination that took birth in the human forms of Arjuna and Bhagawan Krishna during the Dwaapara Yuga, and it is this combo that would be widely spoken about at length during the entire Mahabharata text at various points. It is believed that “Narayana” at Badrikaashrama inculcated the “8-Alphabet sacred Mantra” of Bhagawan Vishnu to “Nara”. Thus, both “Nara” and “Narayana” share a “Guru-Sishya” relationship with each other. In simpler terms, Nara was the disciple of Narayana, because Narayana performed the “Mantra-Updaesha” to Nara. Thus when both of them took their respective human forms, Bhagawan Krishna (Narayana) became the “Guru” of Arjuna (Nara) and dedicated the 700-sloka-Bhagawad Gita text. We can witness how this relationship between Arjuna and Bhagawan Krishna pre-existed even before they incarnated in this world during the end of the Dwaapara Yuga. It is precisely for the same reason that Bhagawan Krishna had a special affinity towards Arjuna, more than any of the other four Paandava brothers.
Moving further thus, the sloka sings in praise of Devi Saraswati. All of us know that Goddess Saraswati is responsible for knowledge, wisdom and education. She is also referred to as “Vaak-Devi”. It is only because Devi Saraswati was dancing on Sage Vyaasa’s tongue, he was able to author this great Mahabharata text with ease. Thus, as we commence the Mahabharata text, we should bow down to the “Nara-Narayana” combo, along with Devi Saraswati, who was solely responsible for the Mahabharata text to be composed. Of course, all of us know that Devi Saraswati is the divine consortium of Bhagawan Brahma. It is thus, with the divine grace and blessings of Bhagawan Brahma did Sage Vyaasa compose this text. We’ve already witnessed during our Ramayana project that Valmiki Bhagawan was blessed by Bhagawan Brahma before he started composing the Ramayana text. Here too, we’re witnessing that Sage Vyaasa is composing the Mahabharata text with the divine grace of Bhagawan Brahma and Devi Saraswati.
So for today, let us understand this point clearly and let us wait till the next episode to continue further! Stay tuned! 🙂