Is Mahabharata Logical?
“The more I read about Hinduism and Sanatan Dharma, the more I get confused. There are lot of complexities, illogical and irrational errors. I have come to you to clear some doubts…”
“I would be happy to share whatever little I have learnt,” I said.
“In your article, ‘Are Puranas Real’,( http://udaypai.in/are-puranas-real/ ), you said that Rama and Krishna were historical characters who were elevated to the position of Avatar, for they had followed Dharma. You also said Trimurti’s are just concepts of three forces in the cosmic (Secret of Trimurtis http://udaypai.in/the-secret-of-trimurti-and-its-application-in-daily-life/) and not in the popular forms as they were picturised.”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“So Mahabharata and Ramayana are historical texts”
“I would prefer to say historical epics…Yes, those are true stories”
“If those are historical texts or true stories, how come there are lots of exaggerations, unbelievable and unexplainable things appear? You also claim in all your articles that everything in our Dharma can be explained in terms of science or in accordance with reason or logic.”
“Yes…The exaggerations could be poet’s freedom to explain a character…But I don’t see any illogical thing in the story.”
“How’s it possible for Kunti, Pandavas mother, in Mahabharat to get a child Karna from the Sun god? Sun god is a concept and not real.”
“Bala, have you read original Mahabharata?”
“I read abridged version, saw serials and read Amar Chita Katha (picture stories)…”
“As part of my profession I have been translating Amar Chita Katha for nearly four years. So I can say that picture stories are for kids. The original Mahabharata (Jaya) is written by Ved Vyas. It has multiple dimensions and deep meanings. You can read it just as a superficial story. You can read it as a devotee. You can also read it as a scientist, atheist, non-Hindu, pious man or sex maniac or whatever. Whoever reads the original Mahabharata carefully, would definitely say, “Vyasochishtam jagat sarvam,” (whatever you find said in the universe, Vyas has said it before). You would understand Mahabharata entirely depending upon your mental age – you will see different meaning at different age…”
“Udayji, but I asked you a specific question on Kunti…” he reminded.
“Bala, you said your son is 3 years old and your wife has just delivered a baby girl.”
“If your three year old boy asks you, ‘father where did the new born little sister come from, how will you explain?”
“Hmmm. In fact he did ask that question. I said on that night (of delivery) god has come in person and gifted her”.
“And, when your son grows up and gets marry, (without going near to his wife) if he sings bhajans and waits for the god to come with a child, will it happen?”
Balashankar laughed aloud. “No, of course. He has to try for that…”
“Mahabharata and Ramayana are not adults only literature. It should be read out loud in a family – every member from child to the oldest should understand based on their mental age capacity. For small children, Karna is son of Sun. But if you read Mahabharata in depth, Vyasa gives enough hints and clues to understand who was father of each Pandav. If you believe Karna is son of Sun even at the age of 40, please have your IQ tested.” I said.
“So, Kunti did a wrong move…”
“Yes. The purpose of that story is to provide warning for a teen-age girl and to make her understand how much miseries and hardship that she would face in the future. Those who understand Kunti’s story would never dare such adventures. Each and every character in those epics reveals a lot of lessons that should be learned in human life,” I told him. “Bala, let me ask you who is the hero of Mahabharat?”
“Of course, Krishna. Or was it Arjuna?” he was bit confused.
“Krishna was son of Kunti’s brother (Vasudeva), hence first cousin of Pandavas (Five Sons of Pandu, Kunti’s husband). He had a great Cameo role, but not as the hero. To know who is hero, you should know who the villain is…”
“There were 100 villains – Kauravas (100 sons of Dhritarashtra, elder brother of Pandu) who were also first cousins of Pandavas”
“According to conventional wisdom of ‘good guys versus bad guys’ in kiddish stories, the hero should be he who finishes the villains. It was Bhim who kills all 100 Kauravas single-handedly. So isn’t he the real hero? The ‘good guys Vs bad guys’ is a childish concept. There is NO absolute good or bad guy in Mahabharata. It is about Dharma and Adharma…”
“So, it is difficult for a layman to understand things in correct perspective.”
“On the contrary, it would be easy, if you understand the basic concept. Everything in our Vedas, Puranas and Epics explain about Dharma that is based upon Kalam (time), Desam (location), Varna (profession) and Ashram (Age). It is NOT a precribed good or bad or about a single god as domineering ruler or control with absolute power to punish or presnt you. You have to understand our literature with bit broad-mind and multiple dimensions.”
“When you say Mahabharata sanctions drinking alcohol, you should check who drunk it, when, where, at what age, what was his profession etc. A soldier (Kshatriya) might have killed an animal and ate it. He might have sacrificed an animal and ate it. Based on this action, if you say the Mahabharata sanctions killing animals or you can also sacrifice animals to please god, then you are misquoting it.”
“Hmmm, yes, everything is relative…” he said.
“Every human being is a unique expression. Everybody is perfect with all his/her imperfections. Hence our ancestors promoted different schools of thoughts. They believed in diversity even in worshiping – presenting 33 crore gods. (Read ‘We Hindus Have 330 Million+ Gods’: http://udaypai.in/we-hindus-have-330-million-gods-seriously/). They encouraged multi language and muti culture – there was no unification anywhere. That’s freedom. That’s democracy. Ethics, discipline and morality should come from freedom, not from fear. All they wanted us to do is focus on our Dharma (which is based on Kala, Desa, Varna and Ashram), do our Karma accordingly so the entire multi-cultured world can live in peace and happiness!”
“So, we have to read Mahabharat and all our scriptures only after understanding this background…”Balashankar said. “But don’t you think the caste system in the name of Varna always had made a black mark in it…”
“There was no caste system or birth based Varna system in India. Mahabharata doesn’t mention any caste system. Veda Vyas is son of Satyavati (Matsyagandhi) who was a fisherwoman. He went for learning, hence converted into the profession known as Brahmin. Satyavati then married to Kuru king Shantanu. They had two sons – Chitrangada and Vichitravirya. When both her sons died childless, hence Satyavati arranged for her first son Vyasa to father the children of the two widows. Thus two children -Dhritarashtra and Pandu – were born. Dhristarashtra had his first son (Yuyutsu) from a Vaishya woman Sughada. He also married to an Afghanistan girl, Gandhari. They didn’t have children hence by ‘blessings’ they have got 100 children (Kauravas). Since Dhristarashtra was blind, he gave up his blood right to the crown to his younger brother Pandu. Later, when Pandu had been cursed with celibacy-or-death, he allowed his wife Kunti to get sons from ‘gods’. Vyasa gives enough hints to reveal that who were these ‘gods’. In short, the entire clan of Mahabharata didn’t have any genealogy, Varna or castes. It was a mix of all. So how can there be any caste system or rigid Varna system? You can even see people like Drona, who born to a Brahmin, getting converted to Kshatriya. It was a casteless soceity.”
In short there are no logical errors or mistakes in any of Hindu epics. There is nothing that cannot be explained by logic or reasoning. Those who projects errors in epics are either didn’t read it or they have a hidden agenda.
“One more question – you said there are no good guys and bad guys in Mahabharata. Then whats the message of the epic?”
“Dharma is the real hero. Bad guy according to the popular belief is Duryodhan, the eldest of Kauravas. In fact, he had lot of good qualities. His right and demand to be the King of Hastinapura as the eldest son of Dhritarashtra is 100% justified. Meanwhile, the eldest of Pandava, Yudhisthira (epitome of Dharma, hence called Dharmaputra) who is supposed to be the good guy was addicted to gambling, a vice that can drive the sainest of men to insanity, and put his wife Draupadi as a pawn.”
“You told me to read original Mahabharata to know who were real fathers of Pandavas. But I am very curious. Can you at least tell me who was father of Yudhishtira?”
“Mahabharata gives enough clues about Yudhishtira’s fatherhood. And the entire pointers finger towards a person born in Shudra class, the wisest man in the whole epic, who is Vidura!”
The epic Mahabharata is not a moral science book nor is any character in the story an epitome of morals. It is a true story of human life were one finds every character true, to human nature. Ved Vyas was the most honest man ever lived in the earth. He describes himself in Mahabharata as black, ugly looking and having dirty skin. He could have pictured himself as the most handsome man on the earth. This one example is more than enough to reveal the integrity of the epic.
Mahabharata is a story from which one can infer and learn as to what kind of actions bring what kind of results. It’s only about Dharma. If you have not read it, I suspect, is there any worth living in this world.
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