Gullapalli Buuchiraamayya Shaasthry spoke about the
Mahaabhaaratha so well and with so much scholarship, as he has
been specialising in its exposition for years. The Mahaabhaaratha
is considered by many as not so conductive to Bhakthi as the
Bhaagavatha for instance, or as the Raamaayana; but, if once you
know the taste, no one will give it up or consider it as of lower
value. It is called the Fifth Vedha, not without reason. The
Vedhas reveal things that are beyond the reach of the intellect.
The truths declared by the Vedhas are made practicable and simple,
interesting and instructive, by means of stories and homilies in
The Puurva Meemaamsa (analysis of Vedhic statements concerning
rituals) deals with the Pravritthi maarga (path of worldly desire)
and the Utthara Meemaamsa with the Nivriththi maarga (path of
renunciation). Puurva Meemaamsa deals with the Kaarana (reason)
and the Utthara Meemaamsa, with the Kaaryam (duty), which is
Jnaanam. In the Mahaabhaaratha, both the paths are fully
explained. So, it is called the Fifth Vedha. It is the Vedhasaara
(essence of Vedha) itself. In Thelugu there is a proverb. "If it
is a question of listening, listen to Bhaaratham; if it is a
question of eating, eat Gaarlu." That is because the Bhaaratham
gives in sweet simple style all the inspiration that a man needs
for this world and for the next.
Where there is Dharma, Victory is assured
The Vedha saadhana has four pillars on which it stands -
Sathya, Dharma, Shaanthi and Prema. They have to be practised,
experienced and their combined result, namely, Aanandha has to be
enjoyed. Krishna told the Paandavas that He did not know anything
about the fateful dice game, which started the succession of
calamities. "I was in Dwaaraka at the time," He said. Dwaaraka
means the citadel with the nine gates or Dwaaras, the Body itself.
Krishna is the witness of everything; anything done without His
approval or without being dedicated to Him will be a failure.
The five Paandava brothers are the Five Praanas (vital
energies), symbolised in story, and with the help of the Lord,
they won the battle against the forces of evil. Where there is
Dharma, victory is assured. The Mahaabhaaratha teaches that truth.
The Pandavaas had many temptations placed before them to slide
back into A-dharma; but, they held on to the difficult path of
Dharma and won. The status of manhood has been won after aeons of
arduous struggle and to waste it in vain pursuits forgetting the
Dhivyathvam (divinity) which has to be manifested is indeed
God weighs only the Feeling behind Prayer
Dhroupadhi praying in distress from the Assembly Hall of the
Kauravas is an instance in point. The Mahaabhaaratha proves times
out of number that the Lord answers prayers that come out of faith
and agony in yearning. There was a cowherd called Maaladhaasa who
was determined to see the Lord, as He was described in the sacred
texts he had heard expounded in the village temple by a Pandith.
So he prayed and prayed to the "black Lord riding on the White
bird" all the time his cows were pasturing in the fields. Eleven
days passed; but, there was no sign of the "black Lord riding the
white bird. He had forgotten to take food and drink during all
those days and so, had become weak, too weak to walk or talk. At
last, the Lord melted at his entreaties and presented Himself
before him as an old Brahmin; but the Brahmin was not riding a
white bird, nor was he black, beautifully black, as the Pandith
had described. So, he asked the Brahmin to come the next day at
seven in the morning, so that he may bring the Pandith and verify
whether He was the Lord Himself. The Pandith laughed at the whole
affair and refused to take part in it; but Maaladhaasa was so
importunate that he agreed.
The entire village turned out on the river bank the next day,
long before seven o'clock. The Brahmin was there, exactly as he
had promised and Maaladhaasa showed Him to all. But, they could
not see him! They began to laugh at the cowherd's antics and
threatened him with a severe beating for bringing them along as
butts for his joke. Maaladhaasa could see the Brahmin clearly but
no one else could. At last, he got so enraged that he walked up to
the old Brahmin and gave him a whacking blow on the cheek, saying,
"Why don't you show yourself to all?"
That blow changed the entire scene. Krishna appeared in
resplendent robes, smiling face, captivating form and the white
bird. As the astounded villagers were recovering from the
amazement, the Vimaana (heavenly chariot), floated down from the
sky and Krishna asked Maaladhaasa to sit inside it. Then, with the
Lord by his side Maaladhaasa rose up and soon was out of sight.
Mahaabharaatha is an Inspiration for all Time
The Lord always weighs only the feeling behind the prayer to
satisfy and please; the Saguna form visible to the eye and
cognisable by the senses, but something unapproachable by the
senses (Indhriya-atheetha), has to be offered. In this way, Karma
itself becomes Upaasana, by the addition to saturation point, of
dedication. Rathi (attachment) is the seed; Bhaava (feeling) is
the sapling; Prema (love) is the tree; Sath-Chith-Aanandha (being,
awareness, bliss) is the fruit. The Vedhas have Karma, Upaasana
and Jnaana (action, devotion and knowledge) sections. The
Mahaabhaaratha teaches all three and so, for the Vedhavriksha
(Vedha tree), the Bhaaratha can be said to be the fruit.
You have heard that the Lord comes down when Dharmaglaani (the
decline of Dharma) happens; well, Vedhaglaani (the decline of the
Vedhas) is equivalent to the decline of Dharma, for Vedha is the
very root of Dharma. There are five treasures which the good
always try to guard, and which you should endeavour to foster -
the Cow, the Brahmin, the Vedhas, the Shaasthras, and Chastity. If
these are lost, then, life is lost; everything that adds value to
life is lost.
You are your own Foe and Friend
Where there is Dharma, there Krishna is; so, think for
yourself, each one of you! How far have you deserved the grace of
the Lord? You draw Him near; you keep Him far. You entangle
yourself, bind yourself, and get caught in the trap. No one is
your foe except yourself. No one else is your friend; you are your
only friend. The Guru shows you the road; you have to trudge
alone, without fear or hesitation.
The Mahaabhaaratha clearly explains the bunds which Sanaathana
Dharma has constructed to direct the wild floods of the senses and
the emotions, into the sea, without harming the banks.
Brahmacharya (student celibate), Grihastha (householder).
Vaanaprastha (recluse in the forest), Sanyaasa (ascetic) - these
stages of life with the restrictions and regulations prescribed
for each are such bunds to guard the individual and society from
the upsurge of the beast in man. Even today, the Mahaabhaaratha
can be of great help; it is an inspiration for all time, for all
humanity. The battle between Dharmakshethra (the camp of
virtue-bound noble Paandavas) and Kurukshethra (the camp of the
egoistic wicked Kauravas) is ever on and however strong the
Kurukshethra might appear to be, even if it has the Yaadhavas on
its side, so long as the Lord is the charioteer, victory is
certain for the champions of Dharma. Even now, when the Chinese
are pressing on the frontier, the best armour for the country is
Dharma, which will win the grace of God. What is not possible for
a people who has won that?