“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”
― Dr. Seuss
The title of this post-“Mahabharata – a mere story?”, is exactly the opposite to what one of Dr Seuss’s quotes have to say. I am not here to answer that question but to know what you think about the epics Mahabharata and Ramayana.
The question asked is very simple, but the answer to it is worth endless debates and controversies. Adding more fire to these heated debate is what Swami Sandeepananda Giri of the School of Bhagavad Gita told about Mahabharata. He says that the Mahabharata war was never fought “in real”, instead its in the human mind where the war really happened. (You can read the Malayalam news article about what he told here). He says, even the author of Mahabharata, Vyasa has made it clear that the book is a result of his imagination and all the stories in the book is written in a way to amuse the readers. Swami Sandeepananda Giri has started writing an article series in Mathrubhumi News paper starting from Jan 21-2012 explaining in detail his views and explanations on why he believe Mahabharata is just a story. (You can read the first part of his article series here).
I remember a talk by Dr N Gopalakrishnan of Indian Institute of Scientific Heritage a few months back at a temple near my home, and a few points he talked that day comes to my mind here. According to him, Mahabharata and Ramayana are the “Vedas and Upanishads for Dummies”. The Vedas and Upanishads are so tough and so vast to be understood by the average person and hence, Ramayana and Mahabharata were born, which is a compact version written in a way to suit the common man. Dr N Gopalakrishnan also says that there are thousands of versions of Ramayana each evolving itself in content over all these years and hence to know the “true story” we need to go the root which is the original Vedas and Upanishads.
I haven’t read the Vedas or the Upanishads and hence I do not know what the real story is. All I know about these epics is what i have seen on TV and read from Books. There are a lot more people out there who has read the Vedas and Upanishads in detail. Hopefully they will come forward and explain to us, what these epics are all about. After all the answer may be simple and it’s just the question which looks complicated.