• 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Itihasa-purana - II
I give some quotes below from "Letters on Yoga".

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Sri Aurobindo in "Letters on Yoga"</b>:

<b>Avatarhood would have little meaning if it were not connected with the evolution. The Hindu procession of the ten Avatars is itself, as it were, a parable of evolution. First the Fish Avatar, then the amphibious animal between land and water, then the land animal, then the Man-Lion Avatar, bridging man and animal, then man as dwarf, small and undeveloped and physical but containing in himself the godhead and taking possession of existence, then the rajasic, sattwic, nirguna Avatars, leading the human development from the vital rajasic to the sattwic mental man and again the overmental superman. Krishna, Buddha and Kalki depict the last three stages, the stages of the spiritual development – Krishna opens the possibility of overmind, Buddha tries to shoot beyond to the supreme liberation but that liberation is still negative, not returning upon earth to complete positively the evolution; Kalki is to correct this by bringing the Kingdom of the Divine upon earth, destroying the opposing Asura forces. The progression is striking and unmistakable.</b>

As for the lives in between the Avatar lives, it must be remembered that Krishna speaks of many lives in the past, not only a few supreme ones, and secondly that while he speaks of himself as the Divine, in one passage he describes himself as a Vibhuti, vrishneenām vāsudevah. We may therefore fairly assume that in many lives he manifested as the Vibhuti veiling the fuller Divine Consciousness. If we admit that the object of Avatarhood is to lead the evolution, this is quite reasonable, the Divine appearing as Avatar in the great transitional stages and as Vibhutis to aid the lesser transitions.

The Avatar may descend as a great spiritual teacher and saviour, the Christ, the Buddha, but always his work leads, after he has finished his earthly manifestation, to a profound and powerful change not only in the ethical, but in the social and outward life and ideals of the race. He may on the other hand, descend as an incarnation of the divine life, the divine personality and power in its characteristic action, for a mission ostensibly social, ethical, and political, as is represented in the story of Rama or Krishna; but always then this descent becomes in the soul of the race a permanent power for the inner living and the spiritual rebirth.

It is indeed curious to note that the permanent, vital, universal effect of Buddhism and Christianity has been the force of their ethical, social and practical ideals and their influence even on the men and the ages which have rejected their religious and spiritual beliefs, forms and disciplines; later Hinduism which rejected Buddha, his sarigha, and his dharma, bears the ineffaceable imprint of the social and ethical influence of Buddhism and its effect on the ideas and the life of the race, while in modem Europe, Christian only in name, humanitarianism is the translation into the ethical and social sphere and the aspiration to liberty , equality and fraternity the translation into the social and political sphere of the spiritual truths of Christianity, the latter especially being effected by men who aggressively rejected the Christian religion and spiritual discipline and by an age which in its intellectual effort of emancipation tried to get rid of Christianity as a creed.

On the other hand, the life of Rama and Krishna belongs to the prehistoric past which has come down only in poetry and legend and may even be regarded as myths; but it is quite immaterial whether we regard them as myths or historical facts, because their permanent truth and value lie in their persistence as a spiritual form, presence, influence in the inner consciousness of the race and the life of the human soul.

Avatarhood is a fact of divine life and consciousness which may realise itself in an outward action, but must persist, when that action is over and has done its work, in a spiritual influence; or may realise itself in a spiritual influence and teaching, but must then it have its permanent effect, even when the new religion or discipline is exhausted, in the thought, temperament and outward life of mankind.

The inner fruit of the Avatar' s coming is gained by those who learn from it the true nature of the divine birth and the divine works and who, growing full of him in their I consciousness and taking refuge in him with their whole I being, man may ii miim upiisritii, purified by the realising force of their knowledge and delivered from the lower nature, attain to the divine being and divine nature, madbhiivam. The Avatar comes to reveal the divine nature in man above this lower nature and to show what are the divine works, free, unegoistic, disinterested, impersonal, universal, full of the divine light, the divine power and the divine love. He comes as the divine personality which shall fill the consciousness of the human being and replace the limited egoistic personality , so that it shall be liberated out of ego into infinity  and universality , out of birth into immortality .He comes as the divine power and love which calls men to itself, so that they may take refuge in that and no longer in the insufficiency of their human wills and the strife of their human fear, wrath and passion, and liberated from all this unquiet and suffering may live in the calm and bliss of the Divine.

An Avatar or Vibhuti have the knowledge that is necessary for their work, they need not have more. There was absolutely no reason why Buddha should know what was going on in Rome. An Avatar even does not manifest all the Divine omniscience and omnipotence; he has not come for any such unnecessary display; all that is behind him but not in the front of his consciousness. As for the Vibhuti, the Vibhuti need not even know that he is a power of the Divine. Some Vibhutis like Julius Caesar for instance have been atheists. Buddha himself did not believe in a personal God, only in some impersonal and indescribable Permanent.

The Avatar is necessary when a special work is to be done and in crises of the evolution. The Avatar is a special manifestation while for the rest of the time it is the Divine working within the ordinary human limits as a Vibhuti.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->They are going to murder it. Remember Prithivraj? People singing songs in Urdu in 12th CE. Dancing around trees etc. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
I second that, I watched 2 clips of Prithviraj online and knew it was total crap.

I don't know about rAjasik and these sitcoms but one thing I do know is most of them are horrible, same saas-bahu story repeated a thousand times, used to piss me off big time in India when others in family watched them.

Most of them don't use proper special effects or have really cheesy acting, I watch movies and drama with any themes as long as they have good acting, my greatest drama rating goes to The Sopranos which was ultra violent and Goodfellas is up there in top 5 movies. But these Indian sitcoms really can't seem to get past the same old themes or Ekta Kapoor's ridiculous numerology (she has named it Kahani Mahabharat ki or somthing like all her other stuff which starts with k).

While I am not expecting much from this, hope that they at least approach the quality of the original Mahabharat.

While we are at this, I might as well mention that the overall story of Munnabhai MBBS seems to be a ripoff from Robin Williams "Patch Adams" from 1998 that I happened to catch on tv the other day:


Here is a trailer of this new Mahabharat:

Should we have a seprate thread

"Story, Symbolism and Science behind the story (in Puranas)" ?

I know people dont care much about these new pauranic tv serials but personally i liked Ekta's Mbh so far. Its been running for 2 days now and so far it has made a good impression on me. The Gadaa, Dhanush-Baan, bhalaa , talwaar are all awesome. A slideshow showing some of the characters - notice all the weapons in the photos..


BTW I heard this for the first time..

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Nakul is one of the brothers among the five Pandavas. He was said to be very good-looking, and was known for his horse-riding skills. <b>According to legend, he could ride through rain without water touching his body</b>. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
above all he was known for his swordsmanship. he was also expert in breeding/training horses.

How are the dialogues? Urdu-quotient?
BTW I have seen quite a few billboards now promoting NDTV's Ramayana - all of the billboards have a slogan -> ek achchi aadat. One of them had a 4-5 year old kid smoking cigarette and asking -> Kyaa sikhaa rahein hain apne bachchon ko ? Ramayana, ek achchi aadat.

I try not to get into that too much. Plus I have to answer about 500 questions from my 4 year old while watching this, so hardly even get that chance.. <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->

However I did notice that the Hastinapur palace architecture seems islamic to me. Not sure if it was palace or not, in the first episode they show the chausar + chirharan scene. Maharishi VedVyas is remembering that scene and crying - thats how that scene is shown. And that scene is shown in a public-hall/open-theater setting. The background palace architecture seemed like one of those Delhi buildings (fatehpur sikhri ?).
<!--QuoteBegin-rajesh_g+Jul 9 2008, 06:53 PM-->QUOTE(rajesh_g @ Jul 9 2008, 06:53 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->I know people dont care much about these new pauranic tv serials but personally i liked Ekta's Mbh so far. Its been running for 2 days now and so far it has made a good impression on me. The Gadaa, Dhanush-Baan, bhalaa , talwaar are all awesome. A slideshow showing some of the characters - notice all the weapons in the photos..
Interesting. May be Ekta kapoor can redeem herself.

The attire etc are rather contrived. The armor worn only on the shoulders and the belt doesn't make any sense.

There are many ways in which Indian historical/paurANik serials/movies fail to do their research on attire, appearance etc appropriate for the times. But this is not a major flaw.

Clothing was supposed to be not stitched in those times. I see in some pictures some vests etc. Even the dhoti seems to be stitched!

In the above picture, I see gAyatrI mantra tattooed on yudhiShThira's arm which is very incongruous for a kshatriya king. Also the script in those days couldn't have appeared as the present day devanAgarI, but that is a minor point.

shakuni is dressed as a cross between a tAntrik-mAntrik and a brahmin, although he was supposed to be a prince.

I also wonder what men used to use in those ancient times to remove all their chest-hair. <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<!--QuoteBegin-rajesh_g+Jul 9 2008, 07:08 PM-->QUOTE(rajesh_g @ Jul 9 2008, 07:08 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Plus I have to answer about 500 questions from my 4 year old while watching this, so hardly even get that chance.. <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->[right][snapback]83979[/snapback][/right]
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--> <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->

<!--QuoteBegin-rajesh_g+Jul 9 2008, 07:08 PM-->QUOTE(rajesh_g @ Jul 9 2008, 07:08 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->However I did notice that the Hastinapur palace architecture seems islamic to me. Not sure if it was palace or not, in the first episode they show the chausar + chirharan scene. Maharishi VedVyas is remembering that scene and crying - thats how that scene is shown. And that scene is shown in a public-hall/open-theater setting. The background palace architecture seemed like one of those Delhi buildings (fatehpur sikhri ?).
Rajeshji, actually looking at the images you posted, the costume makes them look like some cartoon characters. armour is not at all looking like armour but ugly decoration. which at least shows no serious research work went into it unlike the BR Chopra's Mbht.

Veda Vyasa crying: trying to imagine ... all one can say about Ekta Kapur...chor chori se jaye seenajori se na jaaye.

<!--QuoteBegin-Ashok Kumar+Jul 9 2008, 09:29 PM-->QUOTE(Ashok Kumar @ Jul 9 2008, 09:29 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->I also wonder what men used to use in those ancient times to remove all their chest-hair. <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Someone ask Ekata Kapur or her fiance!
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The background palace architecture seemed like one of those Delhi buildings (fatehpur sikhri ?).<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

This is what I mentioned before. These useless scum can't even replicate minor historical details. They might as well wear salwar and speak in Urdu. What trash.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Rajeshji, actually looking at the images you posted, the costume makes them look like some cartoon characters. armour is not at all looking like armour but ugly decoration. which at least shows no serious research work went into it unlike the BR Chopra's Mbht. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Have to agree, also why does she keep casting the same people from her other crap into Mahabharatam roles, i was reading the profiles on that rediff link, half of them seem to have appeared in her other drama's.

I just don't understand why the people making Indian movies and dramas cannot spend a fraction of their money on proper special effects and research that they spend on dances in switzerland peaks.

Out of all of them, Nakula & Sahadeva look the worst.

For anyone who wants to watch the disgrace.
Come on people. We complain why we dont have comic books, animation movies and what not from our pauranic tales and when we see some action you guys start complaining. Would you rather see the characters in Mbh in Saas-Bahu serials ?

Anyhow talking about originality, here is Ektaji's take on originality. Take that you purists.. <!--emo&Tongue--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/tongue.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='tongue.gif' /><!--endemo-->


<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Ekta Kapoor is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that her mythological, Kahaani Hamaaray Mahabharat Ki, has perfect cast. <b>To play the role Lord Krishna, Ekta ordered that only those kids born on Janmashthami last year could apply for baby Krishna's role.</b>

<b>Not only that, Ekta even ordered seven pundits from different parts of India to match the kundlis (horoscopes) of those kids with Lord Krishna's. The kundli that matched the most with Lord Krishna's kundli bagged the role.</b>

The pundits have been put up in Mumbai and Ekta's company Balaji Telefilms is bearing the cost of their lodging and boarding.

Says our well-placed source from the TV industry, "Of course, we have kept the looks of the baby also in mind. The child who has been selected for the role resembles the one-year-old Krishna. Krishna's janam-din is going to be shown in a grand style."

When contacted, Ekta confirmed the story. She said, "Yes, it is true. I have assigned my staff to call for pundits who would have to look into the kundlis of all those who applied for baby Krishna's role. We received 150 entries and it was not an easy job."

But why look at the kundlis? <b>Ekta explained, "It was necessary that the kid's kundli matched Lord Krishna's kundli. We are talking about God and we can't be anything but authentic. </b>

In fact, I am taking special care to see that the kid's attire and accessories like the mor pankh (peacock feather) and sudarshan chakra are also sent by pujaris from various temples of India."So who is the lucky kid? Ekta revealed, "Well, his name is Krrish. He is from Mumbai. We selected him yesterday."


Another insight into the concept of authenticity..


<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> I know some people hated it. I was prepared for it. On Tuesday Mukesh Khanna went on television to blast our 'sets' for Mahabharat. He didn't realize we shot at the <b>Amer fort in Jaipur</b>. He said, "Yeh to bilkul authentic set nahin hai.' My response, 'Yeh to asli location hai, Sir.' We shot the first two episodes there and it took me seven days  .

About the Amer fort, from wiki

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Amber Fort (Hindi: अमेर किला, also known as Amer Fort) is located in Amber, 11 km from Jaipur, Rajasthan state, India. It was the ancient citadel of the ruling Kachhawa clan of Amber, before the capital was shifted to present day Jaipur. Amber Fort is known for its unique artistic style, <b>blending both Hindu and Muslim (Mughal) elements</b>, and its ornate and breathtaking artistic mastery.[1] The fort borders the Maota Lake, and is a major tourist attraction in Rajasthan.[2]<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

In other words, if it exists, it is authentic ?

Moral of the story : Authenticity is in the eye of the beholder onlee.. <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->
How is that authentic? Would have been better served if they had looked for an actor that could portray the character of Krishna accurately rather than focus on inanities and superstition like matching horoscopes. If this isn't a saas-bahu serial, then I don't know what is. Excessively cheesy and hyper-dramatic. Authenticity isn't absolute, but I'm pretty sure that people didn't wear capes back then and that Yudhisthira didn't have gayatri mantra tattooed on his arm. Acting is horrible. Disgraceful, belongs in a trash can.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->NDTV Imagine Launches ‘Mahima Shani Dev Ki’
Our Special Correspondent
July 18th, 2008
Starting this July, NDTV Imagine presents Mahima Shani Dev Ki… a mythological series that traces the story of Lord Shani, the planet God of the Hindu’s. Produced by Sagar Arts, this mega show aims to bring to light the greatness of Lord Shani, tackling the myths that surround this deity and the powerful effects of his planet. The character of Lord Shani will be essayed by Daya Shankar Pandey. Mahima Shani Dev Ki will launch with a special one-hour episode on Saturday, July 26, 2008 at 8:00 p.m. only on NDTV Imagine.  From the following week, the show will air every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 8:00 p.m.

Lord Shani is depicted dark in color, clothed in black, holding a sword, arrows and two daggers and mounted on a black vulture or a raven.  This God who presides over 'Shani-war' or Saturday is the son of the Sun-God Surya and Chhaya. It is said that when Lord Shani opened his eyes as a child for the very first time, the sun went into an eclipse, which clearly denotes the impact of Shani on astrological charts. This may be the reason why he occupies a place of fear in the minds of the common man. This mega serial will highlight planet Shani’s contribution to lift man to great heights of humility, patience and nobility and portray him as the greatest teacher and the greatest destroyer of ego and pride. NDTV Imagine’s Mahima Shani Dev Ki will present a series of short stories that will seek to demystify this god and also highlight the importance of the planet. The stories will be from mythology right from the birth of Maha Shani – mingled with stories of lessons taught to the Great Emperor Vikramaditya!

Announcing the launch of the show, Shailja Kejriwal, EVP- Content, NDTV Imagine said, “Mahima Shani Dev Ki presents a new approach to storytelling.  The show has a collection of interesting stories which open your eyes to new thoughts and learning’s.  A key aspect of this show is that it seeks to remove the tag of negativity and superstition attached to this god.  It also looks to highlight an important yet often misunderstood facet about Lord Shani, which is to follow the path of righteousness, for he rewards those who follow this path and severely punishes only those who do wrong.”

In Hindu mythology, God himself has been incarnated in the form of planets, which are responsible for the existence of this whole universe and who deliver us the results of our own actions.  Lord Shani is the signifier of our actions which include our present as well as the past.  He is the chief Justice and punishes or rewards the human beings according to their misdeeds or good deeds. A favorable Shani bestows wealth and fame but at the same time, an unfavorable Shani gives endless miseries. Lord Shani punishes only those who are involved in ill deeds. However, he becomes happy and favorable to people performing good deeds and rewards them with lots of progress in their life. He forces people to be disciplined, and to understand that one needs to be humble, focused, patient, and hardworking to achieve success. Since most Hindus fear Lord Shani, they prefer not to approach him alone directly; rather they turn to God, in his various forms, for relief.

Ekta kapoor's version a mockery of Mahabharata


<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Mahabharata in Telugu Literature

By Dr.Sonti Venkata Suryanarayana Rao

The very first literary work in Telugu literature, Andhra Mahabharata which appeared in the mid 11th century, forms the best introduction to classical Telugu poetry. Since it is the earliest version of the great Epic in modern Indian languages, it has helped in the publication of the standard edition of Mahabharata by the Bhandarkar Institute in Poona’. Kannada has two earlier versions but they are adaptations making Arjuna or Bhima the central figure. A still older Tamil version is said to be unavailable today. The Andhra Mahabharata is not merely the earliest but the best work in the language by literary standards. Moreover, this large early literary work serves as an authority for grammar and usage even today and the three member team who could bring it into chaste and polished Telugu diction that could be easily understood by the average reader, are called the ‘Trinity of Telugu literature (Kavitrayam). The first poet Nannaya Bhattu left it abruptly in the middle of the Aranya Parva, probably due to death or political reasons. His patron, Raja Raja Narendra (1019-1061)’ of the Eastern Chalukya dynasty, was, by a strange coincidence, engaged in fighting for his throne with his half-brother throughout his life and Nannaya was his ‘Kulabrahmana’ or spiritual advisor. They had to seek the help of his maternal uncle, Rajendra Chola in the South. The great literary undertaking was therefore, of topical interest. Even otherwise, herioc tales appeal to the Andhras and Udyotana (ca. 892), a prakrit poet mentions them in his work, Kuvalayamala as being constantly engaged in warfare. Tikkana Somayaji resumed the work in the 13th century from Virata parva onwards and completed the Telugu version. The unfinished portion in Aranya parva stands in the name of Errapragada (early 14th century) who was an equally eminent poet.

In their Telugu version these poets have not attempted a literal translation. Instead of being a chronicle as in the hands of Vyasa in Sanskrit, they adopted the kavya or poetic style and by skillful abridgement reduced its size to nearly one half of the original by omitting repetitive passages and for brevity in expression. Nannaya for instance, performed a major poetic surgery by omitting Bhishma’s long eulogy and enumeration of Krishna’s earlier Avataras in the Rajasuya-Sisupala Vadha episode and made it quite crisp and dramatic. Tikkana required only 70 verses to convey the message of Bhagavadgita in Bhishma Parva. Anomalies in characterization were also ‘rectified’ in the Telugu version. Some modern critics have however, questioned such freedom in the translation of the national epic. Since they had to rely on contemporary manuscripts it is difficult to criticise their work.

Another interesting feature easily discernible even to the average reader is the basic difference between the earlier portions of Nannaya and the latter work of Tikkana. Nannaya adopted the narrative style and his diction is more Sanskritised than Tikkana's. But Nannaya's verses run smoothly and sound more pleasing to the ear with internal rhyme and rhythm obtained by the happy choice of the consonants (Consonance) unsurpassed by any other poet. Moreover his Sanskritised version is sometimes more easily understood than Tikkana's poetry in a more colloquial diction, many times due to deceptive style and syntax. Not withstanding the general admiration for Nannaya who commenced the exercise, Tikkana who completed the work is ranked higher by the later poets and critics for his dramatic and more vigorous style and skill in characterisation. He scores over his predecessor in imagination, versatility and spirited expression. In Stree parva for instance, he employed forty five metres probably to vivify the ghastly scene after the horrendous Armageddon. His translation is quite realistic even in other portions since he came from a family of administrators, warriors and poets. He was himself the Prime Minister of a small Chola kingdom at Nellore ruled by Manuma Siddhi (1248-1263). He is generally known as Tikkana Somayaji, probably for performing a great Yagjna. His military prowess is not known but his father was a 'Dandanatha' (Warrior). His military background helped him to clear the confusion regarding the 'Vyuhas' (battle formations) of Kurukshetra in the Sanskrit original. He completed the translation of Mahabharata, like Milton, after retiring from public life after his patron's death. Like the first poet, Nannaya's patron Raja Raja Narendra, Manumasiddhi was also at war with his cousins and on one occasion Tikkana had to lead a large embassy to the great Kakatiya Emperor, Ganapati Deva (1198-1262) at Warangal to seek his help in recovering the kingdom. Like Dante's confident use of the regional dialect and idiom, Tikkana's preference of colloquial Telugu helped in the growth of its language and literature. Errapragada, the third poet who took up the left-over portion of Aranya parva was also a gifted poet who bridged the gulf between the styles of his predecessors quite successfully, He lived under the patronage of the Reddi kings in the early 14th century and he had other notable works to his credit like Harivamsam which is considered an addendum to the Mahabharata. The well known story of king Nala and Damayanthi is a good example of Nannaya's style in translation while Tikkana took special interest in Virata parva which is more elaborate in his hands compared to the original. The famous story of Savitri can be read in Errapragada's translation.

In addition to the well known translation of Telugu Mahabharata, a critical edition of which was published by the Osmania University, Hyderabad, giving reference to the Bhandarkar text of the national epic, there is some evidence of another early translation probably in the 11th century itself by one Atharvanacharya. Only a handful of verses are extant from his work today even upto the Karnaparva, there being no plausible reason for the loss of this version. Nannaya and Atharvana are said to be bitter rivals and two grammar texts discovered later are ascribed to them.

A fresh translation of the Mahabharata was undertaken around 1600A.D., again by a team of three poets, Battepati Thimmayya, Bala Saraswati and Atamakuri Somana. These poets adopted the 'Dwipada' metre (rhymed couplets in tetrametre). This later translation has also been preserved carefully; and, the Andhra University, Waltair took up its publication. Scholars and critics have not found any literary value in it, although at times, it is more elaborate and reads well. A more recent study shows that it is not totally devoid of literary elegance. A prose translation by Kaluve Veera Raju which appeared hundred years later (ca 1700) had better success. He was the army chief under Chikka Deva Raya (1672-1704) of the Mysore Kingdom. Jaimini Bharata which is also popular all over India for the Aswamedha parva, is also available in Telugu. Pillalamarri Pinaveerabhadra Kavi, one of the eminent classical poets (ca 1485) rendered it into Telugu during the heydays of the Vijayanagara empire. The prose version of Jaimini Bharata is by Samukham Venkatakrishnappa, court poet of the Naik Kings at Madura in the early days of the 18th century.

In addition to the translations of the whole work, several kavyas have been written by eminent poets on different episodes like Draupadi Swayamvara or Subhadraharanam. Leaving these learned works apart, the real impact of the Mahabharata on the cultural life of the common people in Andhra can be judged by the host of ballads and songs in vogue as folk literature like Nala Charitra, Devayani Charitra, Dharma Raja's game of dice, Keechakavadha, Savitri Charitra Padmavyuha, Matsyagandhi-Parasara episode etc. In addition to Subhadraparinayam, the most popular Mahabharata theme in Andhra is Sasirekha Parinayam. According to legend, Balarama had a daughter, Sasirekha (called Surekha in northern India) on whom Abhimanyu had a strong claim since crosscousin marriage is quit frequent in Andhra and even obligatory in olden days. When Blarama arranges for her marriage with his disciple Duryodhana's son, Krishna plays a trick with the help of Ghatothkacha to unite the lovelorn cousins.

The story of Mahabharata translation into Telugu is incomplete without mentioning a fresh modern translation, single handed by a very eminent poet, Sripada Krishnamurthy Sastry (1866-1960) of Rajahmundry, the very city where Nannaya took up the task in the 11th century. It was a laudable attempt since he wanted to offer a verbatim translation of the whole epic to the Telugu people. Unfortunately the new version is yet to gain acceptance for two reasons. Traditionalists are guided by outmoded literary standards and younger poets like neither old themes nor long poems.


A more successful experiment in modern age was recasting the whole of the Mahabharata story into six plays by Tirupati Venkata Kavulu (Postea). Their Pandava Udyogam dealing with Krishna's embassy to the Kaurava court before the battle, contains verses in traditional metres which are known to every Andhra throughout the length and breadth of Telugu Nadu. In this latest and original version, these poets took a lot of liberties in characterisation unpalatable to the traditionalists. lEverybody will surely be liberated. But one should follow the instructions of the guru; if one follows a devious path, one will suffer in trying to retrace one’s steps. It takes a long time to achieve liberation. A man may fail to obtain it in this life. Perhaps he will realize God only after many births.

- Sri Ramakrishna

Vedavyasa was a title or a name?

Mahabharat was composed by sage Krishna Dvaipayana Vedavyasa or Vyasadeva. Vedavysa is actually a title, it means someone who has divided the Vedas. This is one of the things that Vedavyasa is supposed to have done, he divided the Vedas into four - Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharva Veda. After that, he composed the Mahabharat.
Quote:A Study In Folk "Mahabharata": How Balarama Became Abhimanyu's Father-in-law

Indrajit Bandyopadhyay

29 October 2008, 17:28

Abhimanyu’s marriage with Balarama’s daughter Sashirekha or Vatsala is a unique story. This story is not to be found in the main Mahabharata narrative or in any Sanskrit literature or scriptures. It is a folk-myth developed by oral tradition.

Balarama and Revati have a daughter – Shashirekha or Vatsala. Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna and Subhadra falls in love with her. Elders agree that Vatsala and Abhimanyu would get married. The beginning is thus very happy. There is romance in the air, and what’s more, it has also the sanction of parents.

Then comes the jolt. Irony of fate changes things. The Pandavas lose their kingdom in the game of dice and are exiled. The new ruler is Duryodhana and the future ruler is prince Lakshmana. Balarama and Revati rethink. How can they give their daughter in marriage to a stateless prince, even if he is a nephew? Balarama prioritises his daughter’s happiness over his own promises and decides to rescind his promises.

When Duryodhana, Balarama’s favourite disciple, asks Balarama to give Shashirekha in marriage to Lakshmankumara, Balarama agrees on Revati’s insistence.

Subhadra has been living in Dwarka with her son after the Pandavas left for exile. Now she is miserable at her own brother’s change in heart. She confides her sorrow in Krishna. Krishna advises Balarama not to take any hasty decision, but Dau won’t listen.

When Abhimanyu comes to know of his mother’s grief, he is furious at the insult to his mother, father and to himself. He is not ready to make any compromises with honour. He decides to leave Dwarka and join the Pandavas in exile.

Abhimanyu is learning the lessons of life. His days of innocence are over. The idealism and romance of childhood love is inadequate in the face of an adult world. He is learning the complexities of life. Without a state a prince is more ordinary than a commoner.

Perhaps he understands that his father’s loss of Kingdom and exile has lead to a fall in his social status. His days of blissful security are over.

The world of ‘heart’ is pitted against the mighty world of ‘cold materialism.’ No hope for the heart, it seems.

Subhadra and Abhimanyu leave Dwarka and in the course of their journey reach the state of Hidimbavana. Ghatothkacha is the king of Hidimbavana. His mother is Hidimba, Bhima’s first wife.

Subhadra and Abhimanyu have no knowledge of this. As they set foot in Hidimbavana, Ghatothkacha blocks their way.

Abhimanyu being Arjuna’s son does not have the word ‘fear’ in his dictionary. A fight ensues. At first Ghatothkacha, thinking Abhimanyu to be a kid, does not take him seriously. Subhadra shivers with fear seeing the gigantic and fierce Ghatothkacha fighting his young boy.

Finally Abhimanyu’s showers of arrows enter Ghatothkacha’s body. Unable to bear the pain, Ghatotkacha cries aloud in agony, and falls down. Hearing his cry of pain Hidimba rushes to find her valiant son lying like dead. She takes his head on her lap. Calling him Bhima’s son she laments.

Subhadra and Abhimanyu are shocked. They are utterly bewildered. With tearful eyes, Hidimba narrates the story of her love with Bhima. Subhadra and Abhimanyu are full of grief. Subhadra identifies herself and her son, and consoles her. Abhimanyu brings water and revives Ghatotkacha.

As Ghatotkacha regains consciousness, Hirimba tells him everything. Ghatotkacha is delighted to find his own younger brother! He takes Subhadra and Abhimanyu home and look after them with great honour and affection.

As Ghatothkacha learns the reason of Subhadra-Abhimanyu’s quitting Dwarka, he is angry with Balarama. He cannot accept that Balarama wants his daughter to marry the son of Duryodhana who is responsible for the plight of the Pandavas.

Ghatothkacha decides to intervene and act against injustice. He makes it his mission to have Abhimanyu wedded to Vatsala. He takes Subhadra and Abhimanyu to Dwarka. After quite an adventure he brings Shashirekha to Abhimanyu and Subhadra. Shashirekha and Abhimanyu are very happy.

In the meantime Duryodhana and Lakshmana come to Dwaraka. Ghatothkacha takes the guise of Vatsala. With his magical power he frightens Lakshmana. Lakshmana cannot see Vatsala, but different fearful shapes and runs away.

Thus Ghatothkacha’s tricks drive away Lakshmana. The end is the defeat and humiliation of the ‘mismatch-bridegroom’. The happy ending of the protagonists is intensified by the inglorious exit of the opponents.

Balarama finally agrees to Shashirekha’s marriage with Abhimanyu. It is a grand wedding. And then there is Krishna, under whose auspices all have happened. He has the last smile as usual over his elder brother.


The theme of Abhimanyu’s marriage to Shashirekha is particularly popular in South India. Ballads and stories abound on the theme in Telugu and Kannada. The exponents of the art of Harikatha count this story as the most popular one in their repertoire. In fact, it is the most popular Mahabharata theme in Andhra. (Mahabharata in Telugu Literature by Dr.Sonti Venkata Suryanarayana Rao – )

It is difficult to pinpoint the exact source of the story or the exact location where it originated. However, Folk picture story-tellers particularly Chitrakathis in the rural areas of Southern India are one possible source....


More at the link, seemed too long to paste here.

The famous Telugu & Tamizh movies titled Mayabazaar are based on this folk story.

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)