Prologue: The Mahabharata Project

Updated: Oct 31, 2021

I spoke to my mother the morning of Jan 31st, 2021 and an idea was born from our conversation- The Mahabharata Project. With her blessings and encouragement, I decided to start a blog. My brother Shekhar has joined me in this project and will write a few blogs and focus on the analytics too.


THE MAHABHARATA IS A WAR WITHIN THE HUMAN MIND


Null Hypothesis: Most experts what to argue that the Mahabharata is history and not mythology. They point to numerous physical locations and landmarks within India to affirm that it is history, not myth. Our perspective is different. For us, the Mahabharata saga is really a metaphor for the human mind and the battles it wages daily within itself. The word of God allegedly may be the Bhagavad Gita but the Mahabharata epic itself offers plenty of contextual learnings that we can benefit from. The majestic epic has detailed personas and attributes of hundreds of characters who all are involved in the vigorous debate about what is right and what is wrong.


We all have a little of each of these characters within us and our personality is a unique combination of all of them together. The war is within us- good vs evil, Pandavas vs Kauravas, etc. There is perhaps more contextual learning here in the Mahabharata in lieu of or better than parroting the the eighteen chapters of the Gita itself. For example what % of me is like Yudhistira and what % of my mind is like Gandhari? Is there some Shakuni in me? What does that make me in totality? This is my Vishwaroopam and do I like my reflection now? What can i do to better my Vishwaroopam?


Let us then lay out the metaphor behind the Mahabharata Project. It does not matter how old the epic is or whether it is still part of a mythology or may indeed be actual history. Yes, for the record, a city called Kurukshetra exists and is indeed a city in Northern India. Kurukshetra is where the battlefield where the war took place thousands of years ago between the two sides. And yes, there is a search on for the sunken city of Dwaraka and some swear it has been found too as a sunken city in the seas off the west coast of Gujarat.


The Mahabharata from our perspective is also not about five brothers on the side of Dharma and a hundred evil brothers on the other side fighting against Dharma. The contrarian view is that the human mind itself has only five core virtues and the abundance of hundred flaws within it. Even the numbers five and hundred are metaphors. The principle behind them being that our flaws far exceed our strengths so this realization keeps us humble. The five virtues epitomized are honesty, physical strength, fighting spirit, wisdom and beauty. We have a hundred flaws including naked ambition, lust, selfishness, cruelty, misplaced loyalty, etc. The fight within us is to let the minority good virtues win over the plentiful weaknesses of the soul everyday. Who in you winning this fight today? Duryodhana or Karna?


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