The Mahabha-what-now? Although you may not be as familiar with this epic text as you are with the Bible, it's just as famous in other parts of the world. And, when we say "epic," we mean that it's actually an epic. 200,000 individual verse lines!
|Author||Vyasa - Vyasa|
...in an eentsy-weentsy, itty-bitty video.
Okay, ready? Here we go... All right, so there are these two families...
the Kauravas (Kah-rah-vas) and the Pandavas...(Pon-da-vas)
...and they're fighting for the throne of Hastinapura. (Has-teen-a-poo-rah)
It's like when you and your sister are fighting over bathroom time, except...
...this throne had a little more at stake. The Kauravas' only hope for the throne, Dhritarashtra
(Dri-tah-rash-tra), is born blind, so he's out. No way he can be India's next ruler.
Yeah, there weren't a lot of discrimination lawsuits being filed in those days.
So, because the Kauravas couldn't provide a suitable candidate, the throne fell to Pandu
of the Pandavas.
Things go well for the family for a while...
...until a couple generations later, when this Yudhishtira (You-deesh-tee-rah) guy sits
on the throne.
He loses his entire kingdom...in a dice game.
And you thought your uncle with the weekly poker game had a problem.
The Pandavas are exiled for thirteen years.
But they eventually decide they've had enough of this exile business.
They return so they can try to take back their kingdom, but... the Kauravas aren't having
it. So naturally, the two families start a big
ol' military conflict to settle matters... the great battle of Kurukshetra. (Koo-rook-shet-rah)
It's here that we are introduced to the character of Krishna, who drives a chariot in the battle...
and we'll soon find out he has a secret or two in his back pocket...
The Pandavas ultimately win the battle, so they swoop in and announce that they're in
charge. However, once the family is back in power,
they begin examining their spirituality more than ever before...
...and they experience some pretty serious revelations...
They ultimately decide they're going to renounce everything and retire up to the Himalayas.
Sort of their "Palm Beach." Things draw to a close with the death of Krishna...
...whom we learn is an incarnation of the Lord Vishnu.
After they become aware of Krishna's divinity, the Pandava brothers all head up to Heaven.
But things aren't looking so hot for everyone still on planet Earth.
As the epic poem ends, humankind enters its final "age"...
...and, in typical epic fashion, once the hero is out of the picture, everything pretty
much goes down the toilet.
Okay, that's the Mahabharata in a nutshell.
If you plan to read the entire thing...
...hope you're hungry for a very large nut.