सनातन धर्म भूमिका

Meaning of "Mahabharata"







In General

Mahabharata, is one of the two prominent Itihasa (history) of India, the other being the Ramayana. The Mahabharata is a narration of the Great war fought between the Pandavas , the forces of the noble people (virtue) and Kauravas , the forces of wicked people (vice). Itihasa and Purana are meant to spread dharma among the masses; following the tradition, Mahabharata have lots of dharmic lessons, philosophical treatises and devotional material. Bhagavadgita, questions and answers between Dharma Raja and Yudhistira, story of Dushyanta, advise to Yudhistira by Bhishma, the stories about the brilliance of Sri Krishna makes this text a legendary cultural treasure.

MB is a voluminous text of more than one lakh couplets. It was authored by Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa. The traditional belief is that Vayasa spend 7 years to write the story of Kurukshetra War and lord Ganapati helped him by writing down the text while he dictates. Although Vyasa authored the text we can find two occasions in which his disciples publishing the text. The first is Vysampayana telling the MB to King Janamejaya and another is Sage Ugrasrava Sauta publishing it in the assemblage of rishis in Nimisharanya forest.

There are other versions of Kurukshetra war. The one in 8800 versus is called ‘ Jaya ‘ and that with 24000 verses is called ‘ Bharata ‘. The traditional view is that Mahabharata War took place before 3000 BCE, but the western scholars and their Indian followers are not ready to accept the traditional view, by citing the archeological evidences. They are of the opinion that the war was around 9 centuries before Common Era and the text is composed 4 century after the incidence. And also the original text was ‘Jaya’ and it gradually grow into the present form during the Vikramadithya period. The latest studies by planetarium software, comparing the data on stellar formation and the corresponding celestial occurrences said in Mahabharata prove the traditional view of the Date of war is more probable.

Whatever be the historical validity, Mahabarata had nurtured the feeling of dharma in the Indians of all ages. The Mahabharata story has been retold in Sanskrit and vernacular versions throughout Indian continent and Southeast Asia. Its various incidents have been painted and sculptured on many temples. Mahabharata is very lively literature to present day generation. The various abridged versions of the text and its T V Serials and Cartoon versions confirm the versatile attraction of the text.


The MB division into 18 parvas or books is as follows:

1 Adi Parva

2 Sabha Parva

3 Vana Parva

4 Virata Parva

5 Udyoga Parva

6 Bhishma Parva

7 Drona Parva

8 Karna Parva

9 Shalya Parva

10 Sauptika Parva

11 Stri Parva

12 Shanti Parva

13 Anushasana Parva

14 Ashvamedha Parva

15 Ashramavasika Parva

16 Mausala Parva

17 Mahaprasthanika Parva

18 Svargarohana Parva

khila Harivamsa Parva

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Word Sanskrit IAST In General Veda Purana