Episode # 32 – The Mahabharata – Fulcrum of all Sanaatana Dharma literature!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the contents of the Mahabharata in brief till the final Svarga-Aarohini Parva, wherein the Paandavas along with Draupati walk towards the “Svarga Lokha” from the Himalayas. By this time, the Upa-Paandavas have taken over the Hastinapura kingdom, and subsequently, King Parikshit and King Janame-Jaya take over from there on. As this happens, the Paandavas think that they should retire from their “Kshatriya” life, and eventually with Bhagawan Krishna leaving for Vaikunta, the Paandavas feel totally powerless. Thus, they decide to “walk” their way towards “Svarga Lokha”. We’ve witnessed this place called “Satopanth” near to the Bhadrinatha Kshetra amidst the Himalayas. It is this place wherein Yudishtra attained “Moksha”. We’re in the process of witnessing how he gets to this place. 

Eventually as they cross over various small places like “Bhimpur”, etc. on the way, each of the other four Paandava brothers along with Draupathi fall over from the mountain and end their lives. After a certain point, it was only Yudishtra who was walking all along till the end. There was a dog that was following him all the way. This dog was none other than Yama-Dharma-Raja himself, who is the epitome of “Dharma”. He wanted to give one final test to Yudishtra to find out his strict adherence to Dharma. There were so many flies amidst the dog’s fur and Yudishtra was given the task to decide whether to kill or not kill the flies and alleviate the dog’s pain. If Yudishtra kills the flies, it would be a sin straightaway, because nobody has the right to kill any living being without a reason. That would account to one of the greatest sins, and with this, he has to again take a re-birth to wash off this “Karma”.

At the same time, the dog is also suffering from pain, because of the constant biting of these flies. Now how does Yudishtra save the dog, as well as not kill these flies? This is the test of “Dharma” that Yudishtra had, even during his last journey! However, Yudishtra being an epitome of “Dharma” too, found out an amicable solution by transferring all the flies on to his body and alleviating the dog from the pain of bites. In that way, he made sure that the flies aren’t killed, and at the same time,  the dog is also free of pain. As Yudishtra does thus, Yama-Dharma-Raja had enough! He immediately appears in front of Yudishtra and reveals the truth that it was he who was in the form of this dog to give a test. As Yudishtra passes the test with flying colours, he now attains the “Svarga Lokha”, from where, he directly transcends to Vaikunta, amidst the divine lotus feet of Bhagawan Vishnu! 

With this, the Mahabharata story comes to an end. So till now, Sage Pouranika had explained the contents of this great text in terms of the “Parvas” and “Upa-Parvas”that are there as part of the text. Finally after telling all this, Sage Pouranika says to the Maharishis thus, “Oh great Sages! If at all there is a story that talks about Bhagawan Vishnu and His significances, it cannot be without invoking this Mahabharata text in some place or the other!” In other words, Sage Pouranika explains that there cannot be a “Vishnu story” in this world without referencing the Mahabharata text somewhere or the other. Thus, the Mahabharata text is extremely significant and bulky in this way, just like how the “Grihasta-Aashrama” is the most significant of all the four “Varnaashrama Dharmas”. We’ve seen that the Brahmacharyas cannot earn money, and they should be supported and fed by the Grihastas. Similar is the case for those who are in their “Vaanaprastha-Aashrama” and “Sanyaasa-Aashrama” too. It has been a traditional practice that Sanyaasas should only survive on the food and water that the “Grihastas” provide through donation. Thus, just like how the Grihasta-Aashrama is fundamental to the entire “Varnaashrama Dharma”, the Mahabharata is the fundamental for all our Sanaatana Dharma scriptural texts. In every text of our Sanaatana Dharma literature, there would be some aspects that would take us to this Mahabharata story at some point. 

Hence, it becomes significant for all of us too to understand in detail as to what this Mahabharata text is trying to convey. So for today, let us understand this point very clearly and let us wait till the next episode to witness 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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