INTRODUCTION: ARJUNA'S DESPONDENCY
1. At The Heart Of The Mahabharata
1. Dear brothers, from today I shall be talking to you about Shrimad Bhagavad- Gita. The bond between the Gita and me transcends reason. I have received more nourishment from the Gita than my body has from my mother’s milk. There is little place for ratiocination in a relationship of loving tenderness. Moving beyond the intellect, I therefore soar high in the vast expanse of the Gita on the twin wings of faith and experimentation. Most of the times I live in the ambience of the Gita. The Gita is my life-breath. I am as if afloat on the surface of this ocean of nectar when I am talking about the Gita with others, and when alone, I dive deep into this ocean and rest there. Henceforth, every Sunday, I shall be giving a talk on the teaching of the Gita, who is verily our mother .
2. The Gita has been set in the Mahabharata. Standing in the middle of the great epic like a lighthouse, it illuminates the whole of the epic. Placed between six parvas (sections of the text) of the epic on one side and twelve on the other, its message is being unfolded in the middle of the battlefield with seven divisions of the Pandava army on one side and eleven divisions of the Kaurava army on the other.
3. The Mahabharata and the Ramayana are our national epics. The characters depicted therein have become an inseparable part of our lives. Since time immemorial, life in India has remained under the spell of the characters like Rama, Sita, Dharmaraj, Draupadi, Bhishma, Hanuman etc. The characters in other epics of the world have not become one with the lives of the people in this way. The Mahabharata and the Ramayana are thus undoubtedly unique and wonderful works. The Ramayana is an endearing and enchanting ethical poem, while the Mahabharata is a comprehensive treatise on the working of society. In the Mahabharata Vyasa has, in one hundred thousand verses, sketched the lives, personalities and characters of innumerable individuals with consummate skill. The Mahabharata vividly brings out the fact that none but God is completely faultless and good, and also that none can be said to be evil personified. For instance, it points out faults even of moral giants like Bhishma and Dharmaraj, and virtues in the characters like Karna and Duryodhana, who had strayed from the path of righteousness. The Mahabharata tells us that human life is like a fabric woven with black and white threads—threads of good and evil. With perfect detachment Vyasa, the great sage, graphically depicts before us the complex reality of the vast web of worldly life. Because of Vyasa’s great literary skill in depicting life with detachment and high moral purpose the Mahabharata has become a veritable gold-mine. Everybody is free to explore it and take freely as much as he wants.
References and Context
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