Episode # 25 – “Phalah-Stuthi ” of the Mahabharata Preface – Sage Vyaasa details it out!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Sanjaya and King Dhirdiraashtra engaged in an important conversation post the Kurukshetra war, wherein King Dhiridraashtra is fretting and lamenting the loss of his Kaurava sons. The entire Kaurava clan was destroyed in the war, courtesy Duryodhana’s arrogance, fuelled by King Dhirdiraashtra’s ignorance. As the war comes to a close, King Dhirdiraashtra mourns the loss of his sons, including Duryodhana, but it is too late now! He quickly tries to “pass the buck” and put the blame on Bhagawan Krishna for the entire debacle, however, Sanjaya was quick enough to counter King Dhirdiraashtra’s useless “Blame game”. After this, King Dhirdiraashtra tries to blame “Kaala” (Time) for everything, and laments that it is all his fate that things have happened this way. Even for this, Sanjaya bluntly responds that there’s no use of putting the blame on time! There was ample time for King Dhirdiraashtra to respond and correct things. However, at those times when Duryodhana was enjoying his life with uncle Shahuni, King Dhirdiraashtra never blamed “Kaala”. Now when everything was over, what is the use of blaming time for all that has happened? In this regard, Sanjaya blasts King Dhirdiraashtra left right and center and asks him to own it up atleast now. 

Saying thus, Sage Vyaasa finishes the “Preface”, and towards the end, he also lists down the “Phalah Stuthi”. In other words, Sage Vyaasa explains the benefits that one would obtain by reading through this preface section of the Mahabharata text. He explains thus: “Those who are taking time to read through this preface would be devoid of all types of sins. He / she would be able to defeat “Kaala” (Time or Yama-Dharma-Raja’s wrath) easily during the right moment. Moreover, Bhagawan Vasudeva’s (Krishna) divine grace would always be showered on this person, whoever reads this chapter. We should remember here that in this entire text called “Mahabharata”, Bhagawan Krishna is solely spoken about in almost all contexts. Hence, those who are taking time to read this “Anukramanika Parva” of the “Aadhi Parva” would be protected by Bhagawan Krishna directly and no sin would be able to touch this person. There would be nothing called “fear” in the reader’s dictionary. All kinds of fears including the fear of death would be taken care of by Bhagawan Krishna Himself directly. This “Anukramanika Parva” should be recited either in the dawn timing (Sunrise) or the dusk timing (Sunset). If one recites at these times of the day, he / she would be totally devoid of any sort of sins. All his / her past “Karma” would be washed away rapidly!” 

Saying thus, Sage Vyaasa explains an important point here towards the end: 

“Ithihaasa puraanaabhyaam vedam soupa brahmayeth!

Vibeh kalpashruthaa vedaha maamayam praharshati!!” 

We’ve witnessed this sloka before too during our previous projects. Our regular readers might be remembering this, but this sloka comes only in this context. This sloka is of Sage Vyaasa and it comes in the “Anukramanika Parva” of the Mahabharata text. We’re currently witnessing the preface of the entire text, which is part of the “Anukramanika Parva” only. This is the introductory part. Here, Sage Vyaasa explains an important point as part of the introduction itself – Why should one read the Ithihasas and Puraanas? Why can’t a spiritual seeker read the Vedas directly? He himself gives the answer here. If one reads the Vedas directly, the meanings would be hidden somewhere, which would require extreme expertise to dig out and understand. However, Ithihasas and Puraanas are not like that. They are simpler texts, which summarize the content of the Vedas, for normal people like us to understand. Of course, we do not have the requisite knowledge and expertise in Sanskrit language to read through, understand and interpret the meanings that are hidden in the Vedas. For people like us, Bhagawan Himself has taken the effort to simplify the content and give it to us. 

This is like taking a medicine when we fall sick – If we go to a doctor with some medical complication, what would the doctor do? He would give a medicine that might be bitter in taste. Most of the food items that are good for our health, would be bitter in taste only. Similarly, Vedic knowledge that tries to impart the significance of “Dharma” would always be a hard pill for us to chew and digest. Whereas, if the same medicine is coated with a flavor of chocolate or strawberry or any other flavor, we would immediately like to consume that medicine, isn’t it? Similarly here also, the “Dharma” which is like a bitter medicine is quoted with a flavor called “Storyline”. If the “Dharma” is explained alongside a story, it would be easier for all of us to grasp and comprehend, isn’t it? This is why, Sage Vyaasa explains here that before we go and explore the Vedas for its content on “Dharma” and its aspects, we should first explore the “Ithihasas” and the “Puraanas”. It is only because of this, we spent so much time on the Shrimad Ramayana, Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana and Shri Vishnu Puraana as part of our previous projects. Now we’re having this golden opportunity of exploring the Mahabharata text given by Bhagawan Krishna, isn’t it? So let us make the best use of this opportunity to understand “Dharma”, which, many times in this text, is narrated by Bhagawan Himself! If Bhagawan Krishna Himself is saying that such and such things are “Dharma”, what more proof do we require beyond this? All we need to do is to read and follow whatever Bhagawan has said, isn’t it? 

So for today, let us understand this important point and let us wait till the next episode to continue further! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at International School of Business & Media, Pune, India. A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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