“Dharma is always victorious and Adharma will always be vanquished- this is the essences of the Mahabharata”. It took the author, S.K.Chaudhri, Several years of research into the Sanskrit version of the epic (with Hindi translation), pages and pages of meticulous notes, to arrive at the above statement.
“The description of the events and personae were so vivid that I could see events unfold before my eyes. Finance, literature, medicine, all branches of knowledge was in the Epic, true to the centuries of proclamation that what is not in it is nowhere. I wanted more people to realise this truth, and thus I began to take notes, at first alphabetically, and then arranged them chronologically, of the personae and events”.
S.K. Chaudhri graduated from Allahabad University and was selected for the Indian Administrative Service in 1954. Married to Subrata Mullick, the grand niece of the poet Rabindranath Tagore, his affinity for literature is an integral part of his life, and the meticulous scholarship of his manuscript is proof of that. In this exemplary years of service, he personally assisted in the excavation and restoration of Naimisharanya, where, several centuries ago, the famous katha narrator, Ugrashrava narrator, for over 12 years, the story of the Mahabharata, to an assemble of 88,000 rishis and munis.
Gods, Angels and Demons embodies the author’s wish that the short selection contained in it will create an interest to delve into the Epic. Only then can one get on understanding of the greatness of India’s heritage.
(Formerly Head, Clinical Psychology, NIMHANS. Currently Senior Associate, National Institute of Advanced Studies and Visiting Professor, CEDT, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore)
Mahabharata is an inexhaustible mine of valuable lessons for good living Its Characters reflect he immense variety of men and women that have peopled the earth from then till now; and its episodes illustrate the d human life in all ages. The conflicts and compromises, the emotions and their expressions, the morals and their vagaries that we find Narrated in this great epic are truly remarkable. The eternal confrontation evil, of the divine and the demonic, of restraint and violence constitute the very theme of the epic. It is not only a story of mankind in trouble and turmoil, but also a story of individual human life in stress and Storm. The terrible battle at Kurukshetra may indeed have been a historical fact: but its everlasting significance lies in that it is symbolic of the great fight that range in the heart of every sensitive man or woman. The Pändavas represent the persons inclined towards mind and wisdom (panda is self I_—L.J, and those who have it are pandavas): and the Kauravas are those who in sense - pleasures and violent action (kuru, karmavächi). Both are passions and predilections within every individual. Krishna, who is the hidden hand in the great drama, is the Buddhi, which guides the the onslaught of the sense — organa
The present book by Shri S.K.Chaudhri, lAS (Retd) deals principally with the prominent personae of the immortal epic : rulers, sages, heroes, teachers and, of course, the divine incarnations. There are angels and there are demons among the human personae Vishnu assumed several forms to secure goodness and prevent evil from overtaking the world. The author has brought to life the epic’s message through several characters whose hr, parentage, accomplishments and differentiating qualities are lucidly provided.. The book, giving as it does a bird’s eye view of the entire epic, serves as an excellent introduction to the main characters and situations of the epic. They stand out in bold relief, and help the interested reader to wade through the great mass of details, which often seem like “wheels within wheel” (in a literal sense) with ease and understanding. There is also a helpful glossary at the end.
After my retirement from the Indian Administrative Service in 1974, I shifted residence from Lucknow to Kanpur. On May 10, 1978, I was appointed as Commissioner by the Delhi High Court in a dispute between the Govt. of India and the Swadeshi Cotton Mills Co. Ltd., Kanpur, and was directed to take charge of the Company’s records. The case was decided by the Delhi High Court in April 1979, but due to an appeal to the Supreme Court by the two parties, the case remained pending for almost nine years. A copy of the Mahabharata in several volumes in the Company’s Iibrary attracted my attention and curiosity and I began reading it and making short notes of the events and personae which interested me most. These short notes helped me in compiling this book, which I am sure will be of great interest to readers of all ages.
I would like to acknowledge the following persons and institutions without whose assistance “Gods, Angels and Demons” would have been an impossible task
Prof S K Ramachandra Rao for having written the forward.
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, particularly its Director— General, Sri S Ramakrishnan, for undertaking to publish 11w hook.
Sri P.S. Phadnis for editing the Book.
Sri Yusuf Arakkal for taking time off to design the cover page.
Karnataka Chitrakala Parishad for granting permission to photograph leather puppets used as illustrations in the hook.
Sri Ranga Printers for printing the book.
My grandson, Anando Chatterji, for typing the first draft and for many useful suggestions.
My daughters Surashri Chatterjee, Sumita Chatterji and Sunanda Tagore for typing the final draft and finalising all arrangements for publication.
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