Episode # 70 – The “AMSA-AVATARANA PARVA” – Setting up the grand Mahabharata story!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the concluding touches given to the “Aasthika Parva”, wherein we had witnessed a brief “Phala-Stuthi” for it. As the snakes were protected by Sage Aasthika from falling into the “Sarpa-Yaaga” of King Janame-Jaya, the snakes were extremely happy and grateful to him. They collectively declare to Sage Aasthika that all those who are stakeholders to this incident, including readers and listeners like us today, would never be gripped by the fear of snakes! All sorts of “Naaga-Dosha” would be wiped off if one listens or reads through this particular “Aasthika Parva”. With this, we also concluded the discussion of Sage Bruhu’s family lineage (Bruhu-Vamsa). Readers should recollect that it is only part of this Bruhu-Vamsa, we witnessed all these sub-stories for all these past many episodes. Thus, as the “Aasthika Parva” comes to an end with this note, we move into the next “Parva” called “Amsaavatarana Parva”, which is the next important “Upa-Parva”. 

So here in this “Amsaavatarana Parva”, we are going to get into the main part of the Mahabharata story. We’re going to witness who are going to take birth in this world as who. For example, Sage Vyaasa took birth. Similarly, Duryodhana, Jaraasandha, Sishupaala, etc. also took birth in this world. Kamsa took birth, and also, Bhagawan Krishna Himself took His divine incarnation. Similarly, the Paandava brothers took birth. Thus, all these people took birth for a “Deva-Kaarya” (A divine purpose) to be fulfilled collectively in this world. It is this “Deva-Kaarya” that is going to be described at length in this “Hamsaavatarana Parva”. Every person in the above-mentioned list, including the Kauravas, the Paandavas, Bhagawan Krishna Himself, Kamsa, etc. were born to fulfill an individual, yet important purpose. If we pose this as a question here – Why did all these people take birth? Obviously if we understand the purpose behind Bhagawan Krishna’s incarnation, we would be able to understand the purpose behind all the other people’s births. 

Bhagawan Krishna had to incarnate because the burden of all the “Adharma” on this world was becoming too much to handle! Goddess Bhoomadevi was over-burdened and tortured by all the evil people and the “Raakshasas” constantly. In fact, their population increased to such an extent that she literally broke down crying in front of Bhagawan Brahma. Upon hearing this from Goddess Bhoomadevi, Bhagawan Brahma too was deeply concerned. Hence, both of them approach Bhagawan Vishnu at Vaikunta and request Him to intervene in this regard. As Bhagawan Vishnu was requested thus, He replies to Bhagawan Brahma thus, “Oh Brahma and Bhoomadevi! You do not need to worry! I shall take care of this from now on. From my head, one of my white hair strands and one of my black hair strands would fall on the earth’s surface. The white hair strand would become Balarama and the black hair strand would incarnate into Bhagawan Krishna.All the Devas would take birth as normal human beings around me! We would together achieve this task of re-establishing “Dharma” in the world!” 

We had witnessed a similar accord during our Ramayana project as well – When Bhagawan Rama incarnated, all the Devas were born as monkeys, isn’t it? Bhagawan Surya was born as Sugriva, Bhagawan Vaayu was born as Hanuman, Indra was born as Vaali, and so on. Here too, we’re going to witness the Devas taking birth along with Bhagawan, and they are going to be of immense help to Him in re-establishing the “Dharma” in this world. If we look at the name of this important “Upa-Parva”, it says “Amsa-Avatarana Parva”. “Amsam” means the original source. “Avatarana” means the original source being born and taking the form of something else. Thus, the “Amsa-Avatarana” Parva talks about who all are going to incarnate in this world, and what were their major roles in establishing “Dharma” at various stages. 

“Tasmin parama dushpaare sarpa satre mahaatmanaam!

Karmaantareshu yagnyasya tatasyaanaam kathaadhvare!!

Yaa bhabhoova kathaaschitthaa yashwartheshu yathaa tatham!!”

In continuation of what we’ve discussed till the previous “Aasthika Parva”, Sage Shounaka is asking the gathering there thus, “Oh Sage! You had detailed about the “Sarpa-Yaaga” in a grand style. We have understood all what happened as part of it and how Sage Aasthika had come and stopped it from proceeding further. However, there’s an important thing that you’ve missed to explain – If there’s a grand event of this sort happening, there would be hundreds or thousands of people gathered there, isn’t it? There might be many conversations, many stories, many experiences being shared amidst all of them, isn’t it? So what are they? What were the important discussions that took place during the “Sarpa-Yaaga”, apart from the technical aspects of it?” 

In today’s times too, for instance, if we go for a marriage or an “Upanayana” event, there would be many of our relatives, friends, etc. gathered there. When we see all of them, we would recollect all our past memories, experiences, some key incidents in our past lives, etc. with them, isn’t it? Of course, greeting the couple getting married is important. But apart from that, all these “side-stories”, experiences, etc. too are important, isn’t it? This is exactly what Sage Shounaka is also asking here. As a part of the “Sarpa-Yaaga”, what were the other items that were discussed? 

As the sages are eagerly awaiting for an answer on this, let us also eagerly await along with them for today! We shall witness the important set of answers for this question in the next episode! 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 Bharatidhasan Institute of Management (BIM) Trichy, 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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