Mahabharata is one of my all time favourite ‘experience’. I term it an experience because, quite often when I get to read/hear/watch retellings of the great epic, a thought process occurs, which gives rise to new perspectives, new vistas, new ideas, which are experiences that need to be savoured deeply!
I had grown up listening to Mahabharata stories from my grandma, watching the B.R.Chopra teleseries (the re-telecast actually! i’m not that old 😉 ) – Mahabharat (1988 TV Series), reading the English translation of Mahabharata by Rajaji – Mahabharata and an illustrated modern retelling by Devdutt Pattanaik – Jaya. In an earlier post, I had written about this modern retelling – Perspectives. There are various anecdotes associated with Mahabharata, which also provide varied insights and knowledge on it. Take off the religious angle, and it can beat a story of any genre, hands down!
It is generally said that, if something isn’t mentioned in the Mahabharata, then it doesn’t exist at all! And that’s because there are numerous retellings, abridgements, expansions, addition of ideas, commentaries, exclusion of ideas, folklores, corrosions, misunderstandings, etc on this already grand epic!
There are episodes in this narration that tease the logical part of our mind, and then there are portions that tease our illogical parts. And it is up to us to judge if a character in this epic is good or bad, or neutral, and that depends on how we view the scenario. This is the reason that there are many flows in the Mahabharata. Now this should explain the title – Changing Perspectives.
In my younger days, I preferred the action and grandeur of the narration, to the philosophical arguments. The fighting sequences, the grand palaces were more fascinating than the Bhagavad Gita and the other tenets. But now, I yearn for more of philosophical tenets, the varied perspectives that they provide, the various commentaries that have been written pondering over the realms known and unknown. The action and grandeur just seem normal and do not excite me anymore. This gives another meaning to the title – Changing Perspectives.
Mahabharata was nothing more than a religious story, for me in childhood. Only to realize later, that it is a lesson on how to lead life, and also how not to lead life. Probably I might realize something else, in future. Changing perspectives again!