“The Teachings of the Epic Mahabharata”

Before the Mahabharata War, India was at its pinnacle of opulence and glory. However, with the advent of circumstances leading to the Mahabharata War, there was an unprecedented decline in righteousness, morality, ethics and brotherhood of humanity which had such an adverse effect that humanity could never recovered from the disaster of the war. It was the mother of all wars: never again war had been fought on such a large scale. It was the first time that a nuclear weapon (bhramashtra) had been used in a war.

The Battle of Kurukshetra will never be forgotten by us though it is more than 5000 years the war had been fought between armies of Pandavas and Kauravas. The impact of the war can still be felt in the psyche of Indians.

There are many lessons which we can learn from Mahabharata. These lessons are relevant and of utmost importance in the present times for a world characterised by hatred, revenge and lack of morality.

1. Performance of our duties is of foremost importance
Krishna taught Arjuna that Dharma was not an institutional religion but our natural and binding duty. It was ethical and innate in everyone. Dharma held the cosmos together. Krishna taught us how to be dutiful in challenging times.

2. The purpose of our action is more important than the action itself
Lord Krishna adopted all possible means to defeat Kauravas because he wanted to save Dharma (righteousness). The intention behind our actions is very important. If the end is right then the means to achieve that desired end is justified.

3. Single-minded focus can help achieve one’s goals
When you want something in life, you must be as focused on it as Arjuna. Only this focus can make you a winner, an accomplished person respected by all.

4. An instinct of revenge can only lead to catastrophe
Mahabharata may revolve around the war of duty. But we cannot escape the fact that the major reason behind the destruction of all was revenge. The Kauravas lost everything to their blinded desire to ruin the Pandavas. The war did not even spare the children, including Draupadi’s five sons and Abhimanyu.

5. We should contemplate before we speak.
Draupadi taunted Karna about his caste and place during her Swayamvar. Later, she incensed Duryodhan with her harsh words when he visited their palace. Consequently,Duryodhan swore revenge on the Pandavas. Draupadi’s harsh words, in a way, led to the battle. This teaches us that one must know what to speak and when to speak.

6. Half knowledge can be dangerous
Although he bravely volunteered to enter the Chakravyuh, Abhimanyu could not break out of it. His example shows us how half knowledge can have dangerous results.

7. Righteousness comes before love.
Gandhari, a mother of a hundred sons, and a lady who died every moment she lived, is in the Mahabharta, a lady of immense natural power who always favoured “Dharma.” When the time for the battle came, she refused to bless her own sons knowing that they were wrong.

8. The eternal bond of friendship
The friendship between Krishna and Arjuna is something all of us look up to. It is perhaps because of Krishna’s unconditional support and motivation that the Pandavas managed to survive the war. None of us can forget the epic dice scene where it was Krishna who came to Draupadi’s rescue while her husbands gambled her away to disgrace. The friendship between Karna and Duryodhan, on the other hand, is no less inspiring.

9. Use all means to avoid war
Fighting a war should always be the last option. that’s why lord Krishna went to Kauravas camp as Pandavas ambassador. He tried his best to convince Duryodhana to avoid the war. but Duryodhana was not ready to give even one inch of land to Pandavas. Pandavas tried all possible options before choosing the war.

10. Strategy is more important than weapons
Although Lord Krishna didn’t participate in the war directly. but he played the most important role in the Pandavas victory. the Kauravas army was much bigger and stronger than Pandavas army but they were defeated because of lord Krishna tactics. Lord Krishna knew the weakness of each warrior of Kauravas and he used their weakness to kill them. Knowledge about your enemy’s weakness is more important than having a big army.

The epic narrative of Mahabharata had been written ages ago. Yet the legendary tale continues to find prominence in every form of art, and continues to overwhelm us even today. The fact that the epic is still revered is not only because of its poetic grandeur. The stories that almost all of us have grown up with hold relevance even during present times. The deeply philosophical ideas that perpetuate throughout the epic have a lot to teach us about the art of living.

Rajiv Kaicker- New Delhi

One Comment Add yours

  1. Rono says:

    A wonderful read; thank you

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