In the previous episode, we had witnessed the concluding remarks that Sage Vyaasa is giving, with regards to the “Preface” section of the huge Mahabharata text. All of this comes as part of the “Aadhi Parva” and under the first “Upa-Parva” called “Anukramanika Parva”. Sage Vyaasa clearly explained in brief, how King Dhirdiraashtra fell down because of his “Putra-Vatsalya” towards his son, Duryodhana and how King Dhirdiraashtra lamented that even though he knew that Duryodhana was adamant and arrogant, he was still unable to have any sort of control over him. This ultimately led to not only his downfall, but the end result was the mass destruction of the entire “Kaurava” clan, without even a single person remaining. This is a great lesson for all of us too – If we have excessive attachment towards anybody or anything, this would precisely be the same result that we might encounter too, sooner or later. Of course, this is not to scare anyone of us, but there are certain harsh realities of life in this world, which are tough and bitter pills to chew. However, we do not have an option but to. This is why at the end of the “Preface”, Sage Vyaasa himself explains why he had composed the “Ithihasa” text called “Mahabharata”. This is just a summary and a sort-of “commentary” for the Vedas. This is done, keeping in mind people like us, who cannot chew the “bitter pills” that the Vedas and Upanishads give us in terms of various aspects of “Dharma”.
Thus with this, Sage Vyaasa concludes the “Preface” section and from now onwards, we shall enter into the main text. I shall try and describe whatever best I can, and we shall primarily focus on the important messages and the aspects of “Dharma” that are behind each instance in the Mahabharata text. Of course, just like in the Ramayana project, many of us might be knowing the outline story here too, but what is more important is the “Dharma” and the important life and management principles behind each section of the story. Moreover, unlike the Ramayana text, the storyline of the Mahabharata text is itself quite complex. Hence, for easy understanding and continuity, I request readers to take down notes periodically and store it. It would be very useful at critical times during this project itself, because at this instance, we might not find the continuity, but after several episodes, we might have to go back to what we’re discussing today. At that point, we might tend to forget things, and it is for this purpose, I urge all our readers to take down notes as we read through.
Having said thus, we now make a move into the next “Upa-Parva”. Readers should recollect that we’re still inside the main “Aadhi Parva” only. The first “Upa-Parva” that we had witnessed till now was the “Anukramanika Parva”. This is where the entire “Preface” for the text lies. Now we’re moving into the next “Upa-Parva” which is called “Parva-Sangraha Parva”. Here, Sage Vyaasa is going to give the “Contents” for the entire text. In other words, Sage Vyaasa is going to explain the details of what would be the key contents that would be talked about in detail in each of the main “Parvas” and the corresponding “Upa-Parvas”. For this, we shall now go back to the conversation between Sage Pouranika and the various Sages who had assembled at Naimishaaranya. There is an important question that these sages are asking Sage Pouranika here. Initially, we had witnessed that Sage Pouranika had gone to a place called “Samantha-Panchakam”. The sages who had gathered there are very eager to understand the significance of this “Samantha-Panchakam”. As the sages ask thus, Sage Pouranika is starting to describe the significance of this place, and with this, he’s going to kick-start the entire story. Let us see how the narration goes by.
Thus, Sage Pouranika starts with the interesting description of this place. The word “Samantham” means a place wherein a huge population of people gathered and finally all of them were killed there itself. This is the very place wherein around twenty-one generations of people were killed within just 18 days of war. This very place that we’re talking about here and which Sage Pouranika is also intending to describe about here is none other than “Kurukshetra”. It is this place where the Mahabharata war happened, and at the end of the war, only huge puddles of blood and flesh remained! Upon seeing this from the “Aakaasha” (Sky), Bhagawan Parasurama was satisfied! We’ve witnessed who Bhagawan Parasurama was, in our earlier projects too. He is the one who killed twenty-one generations of “Kshatriya” kings and princes and drank the blood of all of them! Such was the greatness of Bhagawan Parasurama, who was an epitome of anger. Upon seeing this Kurukshetra battlefield full of blood everywhere, Sage Parasurama was extremely satisfied and prays to all those who had died here, that with this, all the “Adharma” in this world should be washed away completely, leaving no scars behind. From that point onwards, whatever happens should only be “Dharma”.
Impressed with BhagawanParasurama’s prayers, the “Pithrus” (Ancestors who had died in this war) request him to ask for a boon. Upon this, Bhagawan Parasurama asks thus, “Oh Pithrus! Here you see five huge puddles of blood that are stagnant on the ground! Let these five big puddles get converted into five “Punya-Theerthas”! Let the entire world benefit from this “Punya-Kshetra” called “Kurukshetra”!” As Bhagawan Parasurama prays thus, the “Pithrus” grant the boon and till today, we worship this place called Kurukshetra with great reverence and respect. Such is the importance of this very place where the entire Mahabharata war took place.
We might wonder here as to what is the connection with this story to the main Mahabharata text, isn’t it? We might be asking within ourselves thus, “Oh! Suddenly from where did Sage Pouranika come from? Where did Bhagawan Parasurama come from, without any context? Till now, we’ve been witnessing how Sage Vyaasa composed this text and its allied details as part of the “Preface”, isn’t it? Then how come we get into a story that is entirely different from what we’re discussing currently?” This is how the Mahabharata text gets built up. This is the reason why I insist that readers should take down notes. We would get this connection after several hundreds of episodes, and by the time we go into it, we might have well forgotten what we discussed today! So for today, let us keep guessing the connection between the contexts! We shall add more to this confusion in the next episode as well! 🙂 Stay tuned! 🙂