The Mahabharata may have been written centuries ago but it has relevance even in today’s world. Let’s have a look beyond the story.
The Mahabharata was written between 400 BC to 400 CE but what the text teaches us is relevant even today. The story is an epic because of its complex and long structure but it talks about issues present in the present as well as the past and future. Critics don’t call the Kurukshetra war a fight of good and evil for nothing, it is believed that the Pandavas were incarnations of their fathers who were all Gods and the Kauravas were incarnations of Asuras or demons. Draupadi, wife of the five Pandavas was born an adult woman from the fire of the Earth itself.
The Pandavas are considered to be the five elements of nature which nourish the land or the Earth, Draupadi. She was meant to marry the five elements and not Karna who is an incarnation of the Sun God. The land needs nourishment from all the five elements and cannot stay close to the Sun.
The disrobing of Draupadi is one of the longest episodes in the 18 chapters of the Mahabharata and has a meaning on the ecological plane. Draupadi’s disrobing is symbolic of mankind exploiting the land’s resources excessively. Duryodhana is a representative of humanity and all mankind. His greed and jealously leads to humanity’s fight against nature.
When after losing at the game of dice, the Pandavas and Draupadi are exiled for 12-13 years, it is symbolic of a calamity like drought or famine because the elements of nature are distanced from mankind.
Yudhishtra is the symbol of death, Bhim of wind and Arjun of water. The grotesque war of Kurukshetra is the result of excessive exploitation of nature by humanity for which they pay with their deaths. Only a handful of humans survive to repopulate the Earth.
Dharma and Karma are concepts entwined in a symbiotic relationship in the Mahabharata epic. Death comes to all because what takes birth has to die but your deeds decide your death.
Many critics believe the Mahabharata is only a story and they have evidences to prove their statement. It is a story which has anything and everything that happens in the current world. Devastation and death come to those who take nature for granted. All of us are heading to the very same doom because of our actions. Earth has started rebelling and indicating that we have exploited it to the brim. It is time we realize that our actions will have dire consequences. The latest one was the Delhi smog.
Feature Image Credits: MensXP