Thursday, August 18, 2005

Mahabarata and Amar Chithra Katha


For the past 3 months, I am trying desperately to get hold of the copy of the Amar Chithra Katha's Mahabarata (entire 42 volumes). Amar Chithra Katha has released the Mahabharata as a 3-volume hard bound set each containing 13 volumes and its priced at Rs 835/-. Unfortunately, when I tried to buy the set from http://www.amarchitrakatha.com/, its out of stock! Its a treasure I would cherish, and I shall make sure that I get it!

I was introduced to the great Mahabarata through my mother's divine voice who used to tell me those fascinating stories of the Kuru princes. My mother was instrumental in getting me the first copy of Amar Chithra Katha's Mahabarata. I grew up reading all the 42 volumes which strengthened my knowledge in the greatest epic of all time. The story of Mahabarata was always a fascination to me unlike the Ramayana. For me Ramayana did not have any spice in it!It was like our tamil mega serials with loads of family sentiments. But Mahabarata was a thriller! Maybe its because of the presence of the Superstar Lord Krishna which made it so interesting. To draw an analogy, personally for me Lord Rama was like Shivaji Ganesan, a very good performer but lacked that necessary charm which Lord Krishna (who was like our MGR) had in abundance. The way he romanced, the way he fought the evil, his friendly nature are completely unparalleled. He was of magnificient splendour. He fought against the evil in the society for the welfare of the people. Thus he became the leader of the masses. Maybe its due to the fact that Lord Krishna was a Poorna Avatar unlike Lord Rama who was more like us. This leads us to an interesting discussion. Why did I claim that Lord Krishna was a Poorna Avatar whereas Lord Rama was more like us..I shall be writing about it in my next blog which would be dedicated to the role of the Avatars..In the mean time, put in your thoughts :)

20 Comments:

At August 18, 2005 9:21 PM, Blogger Kasthuri Srinivasan said...

I think Treta Yuga was closer to us than Kali Yuga which makes the prevalant Krishna charm. But, who can deny the beauty of both avatars.
Is not Krishna who said "among warriors, I am Rama" and the great Siva who vouched "Sri Rama Rama Raameti Rame Raame Manorame; Sahasra Nama Thathvalyam Rama Nama Varanane".

 
At August 19, 2005 4:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At August 19, 2005 4:42 AM, Blogger krishna said...

Am sure how bad Sri Tyagarajha would have felt if some one had talked to him about his Ishtadeivam like this..

Personally, I feel both of the avatars have equal charm..

I totally agree with Srini on this..

Please Check out what Sri Valmiki had to say about the qualities of Sri Rama

"Rama is self-restrained, majestic, firm, wise, well behaved, eloquent, charming, able to
destroy opponents, with broad shoulders, long arms, expansive chest, a skillful archer,
with beautiful head and forehead and attractive stride. He has an agreeable blue color,
large eyes, prosperity and is replete with auspicious signs. He is righteous, true to his
promises, beloved, concerned for the welfare of his people, reknowned, endowed with
wisdom, having a holy radiance, dutiful, profound in his meditation. He is the guardian
of the worldsoul, endowed with Dharma’s protection, knower of the truth of the Vedas
and branches of Vedic knowledge, having the meaning of the Shastras, having the
tradition (smriti). Beloved of all the world he has an undepressed spirit, is good, wise,
bright. Good people approach him as the bestower of blessings, as the ocean is
approached by the rivers. Honorable, treating all fairly, he is the one whose darshan is
always beloved. He is endowed with all good qualities, multiplies his mother’s joy, he is
deep like the sea, and calm like a snow-crested mountain. His firmness is like Vishnu’s,
his anger is like Kalagni’s (the fire at the end of the world), in endurance he is like the
earth. He is as great in his renunciation as Dhanada, in truth he is like the highest
Dharma, he is full of all the best virtues, and has the strength of Truth.42 Rama has all
the martial and ethical virtues a prince needs, knowledge of weapons, law, truth and
beauty, benevolence and honor. He always knows what he must do and is ready and
able to do it. He always puts the wishes of others before his own, he is loved by all who
know him, and only he can break the bow and win Sita, which enables the marriage of
heaven and earth. Rama linked to greatness and glory, vibhutis, he is divinely noble,
the epitome of masculine ideals, as Sita is the feminine idea"

 
At August 19, 2005 4:50 AM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Kasthuri and Krishna - :) - I am in no way trying to pull Lord Rama down since I know that Lord Krishna and Lord Rama are one! :)..What I pointed out here is - personally for me the character of Lord Krishna appeals to me more than Lord Rama! Because as I pointed out in the previous blog - Lord Krishna knew how to root out the evil by following both the paths of dharma and adharma whereas Lord Rama always stuck with dharma - which is certainly not my path :)..Sticking to the path of dharma in Kali yuga will never root out the evil! :)

 
At August 19, 2005 4:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At August 19, 2005 4:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At August 19, 2005 5:00 AM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Kasthuri - I guess u meant to say dwapra yuga was close to us then Treta yuga - yes that's true as well..To me where Lord Rama scores less than Lord Krishna is in the way he treated Sita!

Kasthuri and Krishna -
Any inner significance on why Lord Rama did that to Sita? Dont you think that he did not do his duty by looking after her and his kids?

 
At August 19, 2005 5:18 AM, Blogger Sriram C S said...

@Arjuna - There can be many inner significances purported to that act of Rama. It is said that before Ravana abducted Sita away, the actual Sita was deposited into the custody of Agni and only a Maya Sita was abducted. This Maya Sita was once again consumed by Agni and the actual Sita restored when She entered the Agni Pravesham. (You will find this in Rama Katha Rasa Vahini). Sending Sita to the forest was in a sense good as it is expected that wives stay away from their husbands in their parent's house during pregnancy and Valmiki was Sita's father in a sense as he gave life to Her character in Ramayana! Rama did his duty as a father after Sita went into the lap of Bhumi Devi by educating them and them crowning them before His own departure. And yes, Lord Krishna does not score more than Rama because of the way Rama treated Sita. Krishna not only desrted Radha but went on to marry Rukmini and Satyabama not to mention his other flings!! ;) And once again, Krishna did not conquer evil by the path of adharma. Can you substantiate that staement? Krishna might have been playful and a bit wily in dealing with people, but He never took the path of adharma to my knowledge. And perhaps you found Ramayam lacking in spice because you could not get your hands on Kamba Ramayanam. That will definitely change your opinion (annalum nOkkinAn avaLum nOkkinAL - romance doesn't get better than this!!). I've heard of arguements between iyers and iyengars over perumal and paramasivan, but an arguement between Krishna and Rama...pesAma Krishna Ramannu ukkara vendiyathu thaan!! :)

 
At August 19, 2005 5:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is that u delete anonymous comments?

I am sure u delete this too

 
At August 19, 2005 5:48 AM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

anonymous - I deleted those comments since those comments were SPAMs like urs!

 
At August 19, 2005 5:52 AM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

agnibharathi - wow, that's a good explanation about Lord Rama's act..

"Sending Sita to the forest was in a sense good as it is expected that wives stay away from their husbands in their parent's house during pregnancy and Valmiki was Sita's father in a sense as he gave life to Her character in Ramayana!"

Mind blowing explanation :) - Hats off to you..

Now you will know why I started this war between Lord Rama and Lord Krishna :) - Now people get to know the Inner Significances between the great Avatars!! That's what my great religion Hinduism is about! People like you have to come forward to give proper explanations - then only people will know why our religion is Great!

Btw - Lord Krishna's romance has so much inner significance too! I shall write about that in a seperate blog..

 
At August 19, 2005 5:54 AM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

"Krishna not only desrted Radha but went on to marry Rukmini and Satyabama not to mention his other flings!! ;)"

That is why I like Lord Krishna - LOL

 
At August 19, 2005 6:51 AM, Blogger Sriram C S said...

Arjuna - Guess you are doing a Naradar kalagam here!! And my explanations or anybody else's explanations will not help people understand the greatness of our so-called religion! As Tagore says, he who is thirsty will come to the river. :)

 
At August 19, 2005 7:20 AM, Blogger Anand Ramamoorthy said...

ARJUNA

AND OTHER FRIENDS

A FEW CLARIFICATIONS :

1. the episode with Lava and Kusa has been considered a later addition to the Raamayana by none other than Rajaji who retold the Ramayana in tamil and english. I concur with this view as the character of Sita throughout the epic is that of a woman who speaks her mind. the uttara kanda seems to reflect the trials of Indian womanhood.
2. the romance between Krishna and Radha is not mentioned in the BHAGAVATHAM which is the authoritative text on Krishna's life. besides Krishna's sport with the gopis of Vraj have a deeper significance than mere human love.
3. according to the Vaishnava concept of Vaikuntha or the transcendental abode of Vishnu we find that both adharma and dharma, asatya and sathya fan the lord with chaamarams. what more do you expect of the lord who reclines on a magnificent serpent and travels on Garuda the sworn enemy of serpents. He is the foremost of and an eternal dvandvaatitaa, one who is beyond opposites.
4. Krishna's charm lies in the fact that he is a lover, a master straegist, a friend, a philosopher, a prank loving child, a remarkable statesman all rolled into one. Rama was an ideal for man to folow
5. in the 4000 DIVYA PRABANDHAM it is subtly advised
be like RAMA
listen to Krishna
not vice versa,
we can try to be like RAMA but none can equal KRISHNA who is most complete of all avatars. Krishna is yogeshwara, KRISHNA is the absolute , therefore his methods work for him but we human beings can only enjoy his life and activities as rasikas and loving bhaktas. as we are not yogeshwaras we cannot do what he did and remain untouched by the actions.
therefore
we better admit the KRISHNA is the coolest and say : KRISHNAM VANDE JAGADGURUM!
SARVAM SRIKRISHNAARPANAMASTHU! ,

 
At August 19, 2005 8:21 AM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Agnibharathi - "Guess you are doing a Naradar kalagam here!! "

- Narayana,Narayana! ;)

"And once again, Krishna did not conquer evil by the path of adharma. Can you substantiate that staement?"

- Dronacharya and Bheeshma's Slaying by Draupada's son and Arjuna respectively..masterminded by our thalaivar ;)

"As Tagore says, he who is thirsty will come to the river. :) "

Unfortunately in India, some show a mirage and claim there is water and the poor people living in slums are running behind them! I guess you understand what I am trying to say!!

 
At August 19, 2005 8:24 AM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Anand - beautiful explanations - awesome - I want people to read these things :)..

I am so eager to post about Krishna and Rama..

 
At August 19, 2005 12:27 PM, Blogger Chakra Sampath said...

Ramayana is a straight track story.. one hero, one heroince, one villain & his gangsters, dishum-dishum and subham.

Mahabharatha has lot of sub-stories and hidden characters, who'll play a part somewhere at the end.

So, the latter is always interesting.

 
At August 19, 2005 12:42 PM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Chakra - Yes that's a good point..:)

 
At August 19, 2005 5:12 PM, Blogger Saravana Kumar said...

Arjuna, Rama and Krishna both of them have been called as Purna Avatars. The reason they differ in their way of action is the timeline and the mentality of people during those times. He has thought Dharma which is appropriate to the times. During his advent as Krishna, he has lived the life following Dharma fit for that age.

I'm just wondering what will GOD do if he decides to come to Earth in today's situation. Probably thats what they call the Kalki Avatara, Probably killing all the evil doers is the Dharma for today.

I'm just trying to say "If krishna were to be born today, he would not act the same way, because the mindset of people has changed.

btw if you are interested in Krishna Philosophy, read Srimad Bhagavatam along with Mahabharatam. bhagavatam is the mainstream of Krishna Philosophy. I suggest you buy it from Gita Press, I didn't like the ISKCON version as it was a biased interpretation. The 2 volume book from Gita Press will cost you only 250 Rs. I don't know how much will it translate in UK.

cross reference: I recently read Sundara Kandam, The story was mindblowing. Rama's character was equalant to Krishna's character. Before that I also had the same notion as yours ... that Rama avatar was not purna as compared to Krishna avatar.

 
At August 20, 2005 5:52 AM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Saravana Kumar - thanks for leaving your comments :)..

"I'm just wondering what will GOD do if he decides to come to Earth in today's situation. Probably thats what they call the Kalki Avatara, Probably killing all the evil doers is the Dharma for today."

As I am associated with an Avatar - I know the answer to it :)..But the avatar will never kill anybody in this age since if he wants to kill the evil - then he will end up killing everybody since all of us have evil attitudes! :)

Yes, ISKCON is so biased..I shall read the book you have mentioned..I need to cultivate patience first :)..I have read these books when I was a kid..I shall do it..

 

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