Book Reviews

The Mahabharata: The Grand Epic of Heroism, Divinity, and Identity of Vedic Urbanity


        In its present form, after an exquisite compilation of Sanskrit, this poem is a little over 200,000 lines of verse; it is the most extraordinary and divine appellation of Vedic as well as world literature available to the reader. Its aphoristic nature embellishes the spectator with an ocean of semantics and language that is mystically absorbed into the intellect of the converted devotee whose wings extend to stretch and touch the summit of eternity. This antique and lavish poem from India is an ocean of deep fascination, mythology, and divine instruction. The whole essence of this epic is the identity of an ancient people who practice, perhaps, the oldest religion on planet earth. The great wondrous language and color of the Indian continent is encapsulated in this enigma of mystery, fantasy, and ebullience of the inhabitants and their illuminated worship and habitude.

        However, seen through Western eyes, this vatic narrative may be aggrandized and addled upon first reading of the stanzas. Refulgent apothegms, clever tales of edification, and lavish hymns of praise are all set to stimulate and enlighten the reader into a complex but colorful narrative of spiritualism and divine imagination. The theme itself is prehistoric and masked with the riddled language of celestial beings and voluptuous goddesses. The Hindu religion is the most colorful in existence. Space, time, and eternity mark the heartbeat of each human soul, though cosmic thinking and mystical interaction is only to be obtained and not granted. Through the vast arrangements of its verses and the architectural preponderance of  its rebus, it captures the human experience of suffering, war, and victory like no other embroidered saga of glorification.

        Like the epics that surround it, The Mahabharata recites the deeds and the times of a civilization long past. It is the identity of the Indian people. It is primarily centered on the great war between the Pandavas and the Kauravas; there is a splendid comparison of many battles in the Hebrew bible or the Iliad, that the reader can relate and reflect upon; that is; the eternal struggle between good and evil. However, there is a distinction that is noteworthy to demonstrate; The Mahabharata is a ferris wheel of narratives, constantly swirling back and forth; it is a complex account of moral teaching, discipline, and honorable demeanor that renews itself not in any fashionable episodic sequences, but in sporadic waves of illumination and tightly woven verse. Narrators and characters are in plurals; the construction of each stanza is cosmopolitan and eternal. The sacredness and chanting of the gods are observed in the flowing of The Ganges and equally as sacred as its predecessors, such as The Jordan and The Nile. The Vedic institutes of code and humankind are reserved in the navel of the Hindu conscience, and the words of The Mahabharata are its children. No poem from hallowed antiquity radiates as brightly as this instrument of prophecy and destination of cosmic fortitude. It is the instruction manual for humanity. It is the law for kings and rulers; it is also a code of honor for children to grow into prosperous beings for creation. As one matures in his reading of this great epic, he feels the presence of the gods, or perhaps, his own god calling out to him.

        There is a wide and aggrandized collection of story and praise and charity within this Indian tale. Like its relatives in other epics, The Mahabharata is not without its inconsistencies and clutter. There are sporadic stories of heroism and vengeance as well as stories of devotion and bravery. It provides the reader with all the ingredients to articulate and improvise his or her perception of humanity and earthly condition; eternity is cast aside for those who are truly devoted to the secrets and mysteries of the divine. As is suggested in the Iliad of Homer, where the gods favor and influence the outcome of the Trojan War, the gods in the Mahabharata show no favor or perform acts of charity. More so than most ancient epics, this narrative can be handled with impressive historical accuracy is one wishes to treat it as such; it has already shaped Vedic cosmology and divine worship. It is one giant preservation of human experience and expansion that continues for every devotee up to the present time. Vedic and Hindu worship and philosophy is an ocean of long, extinct chanted voices of lamentation, celebration, suffrage and punishment and eternal continuance of sacred devotion. It is an algebraical interpretation of language and oracle that only superlative volunteers of sanctity can vilify. Idleness is absent; only duty, acceptance, boldness, disfigurement, ambition, and desire is consecrated without the arrival of a resounding ending. It is more obsessive to be human than to be divine.

        After one has journeyed through the imagery and transcendence of the cosmos, the shroud of doubt drapes over the soul. It has been arranged. No character in its entirety will escape it except Krishna himself as well as Draupadi and Duryodhana. The rest are filled with flaws and disconcerting grief. While the epic is replete with bliss and serenity, it transforms into an existential crisis. Gods clash and tremble over their own destinies, they seeme to have acquired the miserable attitudes of those they are obsessed over: humans. It is a personal struggle with divinity, but only a superficial appreciation by humanity.

        However, all is not lost. The greatest achievement of this tale is the birth that sprang from its stanzas: the Bhagavad Gita. This is the Hindu epic that will transform and save the human soul of consciousness that no other work in Vedic literature will claim. Suffering will be the theme of this such work; the journeys that one undertakes in this divine epic where truly invigorate all of humankind to preserve, prevail, and prevent the fall of man. He is indentured by the gods to labor and toil and create his world, through the eyes of divinity, to uphold and establish the physical relationship that man has with the universe and his creator. Later on in the ages to follow, this theme presents itself in the boundless and endless tragedies of Western literature. The Mahabharata is the parent of the dawn of poetry and the founder of lamentation and deceit in all its forms. It is an eternal lesson of perseverance and bravery to combat negativity and inflammation of fear and persuasion. It calls out sacredness and originality to the reader; it performs the ritual of confidence and contentment to the spiritually equipped. It is the eternal quest of the honorable and the audacious. It is the footprint of eternity travelling to the unknown. It is the King and Queen of classical verse.

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