The Mahabharat is the ‘adikavyam’ — the world's first poem. Its timeless messages have moved and moulded, engrossed and enlightened, intrigued and inspired mankind for thousands of years.
It provides genuine answers to our world’s conflicts and problems through the ideals portrayed by Dashrath”s love for Ram, Sita’s fidelity, Lakshman’s dedication, Bharat’s respect, Sugriv’s friendship, Hanuman’s servitude, and Ram’s obedience to his father, love for his citizens, courage to destroy evil and fine statesmanship in establishing Ram Rajya.
Mahabharat is a superbly illustrated, clear and concise narration that will appeal to youngsters and their parents eager to learn the essential elements of one of India’s greatest epics.
The epics never age. Their appeal grows with every generation. In the history of India the Mahabharat is an epic par—excellence. The martial skills of its warriors, stunning battle logistics and the whole range of human and divine interactions produce a moving, thrilling true story of adventure, courage, skill, love, hate, tragedy and victory. In the panorama of the Mahabharat War, Bhagwan Shri Krishna is the master sculptor of destiny, who destroys adharma and reinstates dharma.
This illustrated edition of the Mahabharat, inspired by His Divine Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, is a presentation for youths in a capsule form. Though it is impossible to describe the entire Mahabharat in a mere 100 pages, the riveting story is captured in 41 marvellous paintings and stories. Every page will allow you to conjure up a ringside view of the epic. You will discover that it was not only a story of war and death, but, one of victory of good over evil. The epic speaks to all of mankind to discard their lower self for peace and happiness in life. In a single reading you may only grasp the tragedies, defeats and victories in the epic. However on several readings, you will hear its voice of wisdom and realise it to be a master teacher of life.
We hope the colourful paintings by Vasudeo Kamath, script by Sadhu Vivekjivandas and book layout by Sadhu Shrijiswarupdas will enable you to learn, appreciate and enjoy the depth of the classic epic that has captivated and shaped the culture of the Indian masses for thousands of years.
The Vedas, Upanishads, Ramayan, Mahabharat, eighteen Purans and the Dharma Shastras form the magnificent edifice of Hindu religion, ethics, thought, culture and literature. In early times the Vedas were confined to the priestly class and the Upanishads to the intellectuals and philosophers. It was the Itihas and the Purans that became the real Vedas for the masses, moulding their lives and character for thousands of years. The Mahabharat is regarded as the fifth Veda by the Hindus. There are few other works whose influence on all aspects of life in India has been so profound, lasting and perpetual as that of the Ramayan and Mahabharat. They unite the people of India, despite the diversity in language, culture and philosophical beliefs.
The Mahabharat is a true epic story of the people of greater Bharat ingeniously weaved by Sage Ved Vyas into 100,000 Sanskrit shloks; which is eight times the size of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey combined. The Mahabharat is a story of the triumph of good over evil and righteousness over unrighteousness, that is, dharma over adharma. Sage Ved Vyas has brilliantly illustrated all the shades of human nature - good and bad — and Shri Krishna’s divine role in protecting and preserving dharma.
The popular epic is centered on a feud between the cousin brothers — Kauravs and Pandavs. Duryodhan, the eldest son of King Dhritrashtra and leader of the Kauravs, plots with his uncle, Shakuni, to deceptively win the kingdom of the Pandavs in a game of dice. Yudhishthir, the eldest of the Pandavs, loses the game and he and his brothers are exiled to the forest for thirteen years. After the Pandavs return from the exile, Duryodhan refuses to give them their share of the kingdom. Consequently, a devastating 18-day war follows, leading to the defeat and destruction of the Kauravs, including Duryodhan, Bhishma, Dronacharya, Karna and many other great warriors. Yudhishthir is then crowned the king of Hastinapur.
On the worldly plane, the Mahabharat was a fierce conflict between cousins. On the ethical plane, it was a war between good and evil, justice and injustice; in which the two sides pitted against one another were considered to be devas and demons. The war ended in the victory of dharma. On the transcendental plane, the war was not only fought on the field of Kurukshetra devas and demons. The war ended in the victory of dharma. On the transcendental plane, the war was not only fought on the field of Kurukshetra but is also fought in our own minds. It is a battle between the higher and the lower self of man. Arjun (the super man) with the help of Shri Krishna (Super—Self) emerged successful in the conflict against the lower self in man in the form of the Kauravs.
The Mahabharat reflects the fundamental lesson of what faith and refuge in God can achieve. Despite great odds, the Pandavs were victorious because of Shri Krishna’s grace and divine intervention. It also teaches the message of 'Yato dharmastato jayaha’ — where there is dharma, there is victory.
The essence of Mahabharat lies in the Shrimad Bhagvad Gita, the teachings of Shri Krishna to Arjun on the battlefield. It is a perennial source of social, moral and spiritual inspiration for mankind. The essence of the Shrimad Bhagvad Gita lies in its last shlok, ‘Yatra Yogeshwarah Krishna…’ where there is Krishna and Arjun (God and His choicest devotee) there will certainly be wealth, victory, power and morality.”
The Mahabharat is more than just a history or itihas scripted as a poem. It is an authoritative book of law, morality, social and political philosophy, laying down rules for the attainment of dharma, arth, kam and moksha. It embraces everything in life. Hence it is popularly believed that whatever there is in the Mahabharat one will find elsewhere; and what is not in it cannot be found anywhere else.
The Mahabharat contains a galaxy of ideal men and women who shine as beacons of moral conduct and spirituality for humanity. Its heroes have been sung uninterruptedly for 5,000 years by theologians, political thinkers, poets, dramatists and devotees throughout the world. A Greek envoy quoted its precepts in 2 BCE. The Mahabharat was recited in temples even as far off as Cambodia during 6 CE.
India’s glorious culture and civilization has survived and advanced because of its scriptures, mandirs, divine incarnations, sages, festivals, social customs and leaders. The ideals of the Ramayan and Mahabharat have for millennia been the soul of India’s people, sustaining them in painful and challenging times.
Brahma Sutras (81)
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