1. The MahaBharat is the longest epic poem known to man. The MahaBharat has been regarded as the supreme work of philosophy on morals and manners. It was composed by the Aryan Vedas sometime between 3150 B.C.- 3120 B.C. and contains about 200,000 verses in Sanskrit. It serves as a guide for those who wish to seek bondage from the birth-death cycle. The MahaBharat period was the turning point for a new Yuga. (The universe is made up of four periods termed Yugas. The MahaBharat was the coming of the Kali Yuga, a time of corruption and sin). The essence of the MahaBharat is captured during the Bhagavad Gita, (The Lords Song) when Arjun sees many of his friends in the opposing army, and he becomes overwhelmed with compassion.
drstvemam sva-janam krsna
yuyutsum mama gatrani
sidanti ca parisusyati
mukham ca parisusyati
Arjun said: My dear Krishna, seeing my friends and relatives present before me in such a fighting spirit, I feel the limbs of my body quivering and my mouth drying up.
It is then that Lord Krishna (Arjuns charioteer) shows Arjun his universal cosmic god form. Through this, the truth of the universe is explained to Arjun, and he realizes that he must perform his duties as a Kshatriya (warrior). After this, Arjun bowed down to the Lord, picked up his bow and struck it with determination.
drstvedam manusam rupam
tava saumyam janardana
idanim asmi samvrttah
sacetah prakrtim gatah
Arjun said: O chastiser of the enemies, seeing this humanlike form, so very beautiful, I am now composed in mind, and I am restored to my original nature.
This story takes place in the Mahrashtra region of India. According to scientists and historians, the ancestors of the Bharat Dynasty have been in existence for over 10,000 years. These periods belonged to Kings and Gods, so there was much war and unbelievable acts that seem unrealistic in today s present age.
2. This epic poem is based on the Bharat Dynasty. It tells of the struggles for power between two families, (the Pandavas and the Kauravs) and the reason for God (Krishna) descending to the earth and having to take the form of a human. Dhrtarashtra and Pandu were two brothers born to the Bharat Dynasty. Since Dhrtarashtra was blind, the thrown was passed down to his younger brother Pandu. When Pandu died, his 5 children came under the care of Dhrtarashtra. Of Dhrtarashtras 100 sons, his eldest son Duryodhan despised the Pandavas. With the consent of Dhrtarashtra, Duryodhan plotted to kill the Pandavas. Fortunately, the Pandavas survived the many attempts against their lives. The clever Duryodhan challenged the Pandavas to a gambling match. Duryodhan and his comrades took possession of Draupadi, (spouse of Pandavas) cheated the Pandavas of their kingdom, and forced them into twelve years of exile. After returning from their exile, the Pandavas requested their kingdom from Duryodhan, who refused. The Pandavas declared war. This brings us to the point at which the Bhagavad Gita begins.
3. There were many conflicts in this story. The events of the MahaBharat took place because, over the course of time, the knowledge of the Bhagavad Gita had deminished. The events of the MahaBharat were all apart of the lords purpose to bestow the lost knowledge of the Bhagavad Gita to Arjun, his friend and devotee. The final battle at the Kurukshetra field between the Pandavas and Kauravs was in essence the final fight between good and evil. This fight brought about the end of the Bharat dynasty. There would never be such a battle on earth again.
One of the most significant events in the story was the gambling match at the Pandavas kingdom Indraprast (Dhrtarashtra built a great kingdom for the Pandavas. Duryodhan knew that the oldest of Pandu s sons, Yudhistir would be crowned ruler when his father died. This worried him very much. He went to seek aid from his cunning evil uncle Shahkuni. Together, Duryodhan and Shahkuni came up with the ultimate scheme to ruin the Pandavas. They decided to lure the Pandavas into a gambling match , in which the Kauravs would rob them of their kingdom and honor. The Pandavas lost their kingdom, all their wealth and almost Draupadi. The fate of Hastinapur was now in Duryodhans hands. To show the Pandavas how much he despised them, he summoned his younger brother Dusashan to drag Draupadi by the hair. Dusashan brought Draupadi to the gambling room and slowly removed her clothes. Draupadi cried out to the lord. No matter how hard or fast Dusashan pulled on Draupadi s sari, new layers of sheet would form. Lord Krishna saved Draupadi by his grace. After hours of pulling, Dusashan fell to the floor. Bheem then rose and vowed that he would kill Dusashan in the war by pulling out his limbs. Duryodhan sentenced the Pandavas to 12 years in the forest. It was this incident that opened the Pandavas eyes. This was their primary reason for the war.
Another significant event in the story was when Krishna revealed to Arjun his universal form. During the beginning of the war, Arjun asked Krishna to draw his chariot between the two armies, so that he may see those who desire to fight. Arjun saw before him the greatest of warriors. Within the midst of the two armies he could see his friends and teachers and cousins. Arjun became overwhelmed with passion. He felt compassion for the soldiers of the opposing party, because he could foresee their death.
Na ca saknomy avasthatum
bhramativa ca me manah
nimittani ca pasyami
Arjun said: I am now unable to stand here any longer. I am forgetting myself, and my mind is reeling. I see only causes of misfortune, O Krishna, killer of the demons.
At this point, the lord could now reveal himself to Arjun. The purpose for the lord s presence in the war and on earth would be answered. Krishna, the all mighty would soon bestow the forgotten knowledge of the Bhagavad Gita to Arjun. After saying a powerful proverb, the lord presented to Arjun his true form.
Krishna said: My dear Arjun, see now my opulence, hundreds of thousands of varied divine and multicolored forms. What ever you wish to see, behold at once in this body of mine! This universal form can show you whatever you now desire to see and whatever you want to see in the future. Everything moving and non-moving is here completely, in one place.
Within this form, Arjun could see the cycle of reincarnation. He saw the many faces and forms of the lord, the spiritual, cosmic and physical. He saw the creation of the universe, and foresaw the destruction of the universe. Arjun could see who would be killed during the war and who would live to see the end. All the questions of the universe were present before him. This frightened Arjun very much. He praised the lord asking for forgiveness. Only Arjun was able to see the lord. The others who were present on the battle field did not possess the purity to view the lord. Arjun was restored to his original nature. His purpose on earth was now clear. He knew that he would not die with Krishna on his side. This incident is the most significant moment in the story. The lord was ensured that Arjun was focused. Krishna knew that this war would bring about the end of the Bharat Dynasty. All the lessons of the Bhagavad Gita would be passed down from generation to generation. The truth would conquer victorious.
The conflict of this story is overcome when the Pandavas defeat the Kauravs. The Bharat Dynasty does not continue because all the children die in the war. There is still apart of each of the five brothers in all of us.
The theme of this story compares life to the lives of the Pandavas and all the events involving them. Throughout the story there are many lessons being taught. Love, honor, justice, loyalty, discipline and devotion are a few of the morals being taught in this story. These morals are all explained in detail during the Bhagavad Gita. Krishna shows Arjun the way of attaining liberation from the material world. Krishna describes that this material world which human beings live is an illusion. He explains that there are three components of existence. They are the body, the soul and the supreme lord. Krishna compares the body to clothes. He explains that in this material world, the soul is the only one thing you are born with, and you leave with when you die. He explains that the soul is a indestructible. The lord says that just as one discards old clothes and wears new clothes, so does the soul discard an old body and enter a new one. No weapon can pierce it, no fire can burn it and water cannot dissolve it. He explains that the only thing that determines liberation is karma (actions). Within the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna explains that good actions will progress the soul to a higher level known as heaven, and that sinful karma leads to the cycle of reincarnation again. He tells Arjun that one who is born is certain to die, and that one who dies is certain to be born. There is nothing to grieve over. He explains that the soul will benefit from good actions such as love, devotion and honesty, and suffer from sinful karma such as killing, stealing and lying. Since Arjun is his devotee, he guarantees Arjun that he will go to heaven.