How well do we really know 'The Mahabharata'? Well to write upon that i consider myself to even a thousand times smaller than a bacteria in comparison to the people who have spent their lives in just understanding 'The Mahabharata'.
Recently in our SLA (Science and Liberal Arts) class we had 'The Arshia Satar' to interact with ur on Indian Narratives. And what else can be more examplery than the 2 great epics 'the ramayana n the mahabharata'? well i gotta lot to say about ramayana .. but will keep that for later.. but about mahabharata no matter how much i write will always b as neglisible as ... well theres no word for that. Arshia is the one who translated 'The Ramayana' for Penguine publishing. And many many great translations. well to mention her she is the coolest sanskrit scholar i can ever imagin.
The Peter Brook 's Mahabharata, which is his interpretation in a very theatrical way .. which tries to do justice to the great epic in 6 hours, touching upon the important events and charecters, was screened for us. and guess what ... I loved it. never imagined Mahabharata ... I mean OUR MAHABHARATA in such an universal image, with all the people as those characters from all over the world. Mallika Sarabhai being the only Indian character to play Draupadi.
I truely loved the beginning where a little boy asks Vyasa ... What is Mahabharat all about? and the feeling of goosebumps follow with Vyasa'a answer ... "Its about YOU. Its about your race."
Its the story of man.
Here i want to write a few of the many many things that were discussed with Arshia. She gave us a totally new way of looking at it. I never considered it as a story that belongs to each one of us but only to the Kauravas and the Pandavas. And not to forget Krishna. Girish Karnard spoke about Mahabharat once as ' it s the story of every war that is being fought'. How true I wonder. It is the story of all the human emotions if we look at it. Its the story of envy, jealousy, politics, fair and unfair games, betrayals, legitimacy and illegitimacy, love, fury, anger and what not .. and also how to deal with it. By how, I do not mean that it shows ways to deal with these but its an encyclopedia of possibilities, where we have to place ourselves and figure out where we belong and what we really are? Its the war happening next door, or any door. The war thats outside and also thats continuously happening withing us.
I was just wondering why is it so important to know where you stand? why is it so important to plot ourselves? Can life still go on without doing that? Actually I realized ... it is indeed important. And Mahabharata with its enormous span, the characters, the events, the mistakes, the consequences, it actually plays a vital role in understanding and finding ourselves.
And the funniest part, in the Mahabharat, which was all about Dharma and Karma, all the characters were torn between what is right and what is not, and people today are still in the same position. So what good did Mahabharata did to us? Or if i just rephrase, what was the requirement of it at all? But its just there, telling tales, showing ways, teaching Dharma, and yet doing nothing.
And the not so fair games played by our very own Lord Krishna.. with every legitimate reason. Now every time I think about all the events it just makes me go deeper and deeper. i dont know what to understand. because after all these year out of the blue I suddenly discover that all these years that i was believing, the Bad guys, are actually not so bad, and the Good guys, God spare me, are not so good at all. As we go into the characters .. they just aw me over n over again. they have so so so many ways to be interpreted and they have so many dimensions to be looked upon. And to be reconsidered upon.
I guess i have to stop somewhere .. but i just dont want to stop and go on and on with my newly gained knowlwdge of 'tThe Mahabharata' ... Our Mahabharata.