Monday, May 16, 2022

The Mahabharata

THE MAHABHARATA (Vyasa?, Indian, before 200 CE)

The Mahabharata (meaning, perhaps, "The Great [Epic of] India") is one of the country's two great epics, the other being the Ramayana. The Mahabharata tells of a dynastic struggle between two groups of cousins, with a gambling game as the MacGuffin that gets the struggle going. The five Pandavas (our heroes) and their wife (it's complicated) lose to their Kaurava cousins (whom some believe cheated) and undergo 12 + 1 years of exile. Many folktales are incorporated into their years of wandering. The struggle at last comes to a head in the great 18-day Kurukshetra War (occupying 1/4 of the book), which the five Pandavas win (all surviving) though the moral complexity of slaughtering kin makes the victory somewhat hollow, a point we'll discuss when we reach the Bhagavad Gita, which is imbedded in this much larger work.


Please leave a comment - I can't WAIT to hear from you!