Show MoreDharma in the Mahabharta
The concept of dharma is the most central and core concept of Hindu philosophy, “all the other principles and values flow from the beautiful fountain of Dharma” (Srinivasan n.d., 1). Consequently, the Hindu scriptures present many examples of its importance in a variety of ways. The two epics Mahabharata and Ramayana are particularly interesting in their presentation of dharma.
Dharma is Sanskrit word with many different connotations that are mostly of ethical nature. Thus far, there has not been a parallel word found for it in English or any language that truly signifies the essence of it. It comes from the root word, dhr, which literally means to uphold, sustain, and…show more content…
“According to the epic itself, the Mahabharata War is the expression of a state of tension between two ideal orders of beings, a moral (dharmic) where in gods become incarnate as heroic individuals, and an immoral (adharmic)-or rather unmoral-type which it is the object of the former to destroy” (Sukthankar 1998, 62). It is also more evident by now that the Pandavas represent dharma and the Kauravas adharma. Therefore, Pandavas are said to be incarnations of gods; and it is very obvious in the case of the five brothers. Yudhisthira, the eldest of five, is the son of Dharma and, therefore, is said to be Dharma incarnate. Bhima is the son of Vayu; Arjuna, the son of Indra; Nakula and Sahdeva, sons of the Asvins. The Kauravas are likewise incarnations of Asuras or Anti-gods. There are many other characters in the epic that are said to be incarnations of the other gods. One of the most important that is worth mentioning is Krsna who is seen to be the incarnation of the Supreme God, Visnu himself. Since, Krsna gives the Pandavas support throughout the epic and is said to be incarnation of Visnu who has come down to earth for the purpose of restoring dharma; the Pandavas are regarded as to be the ones representing dharma in the battle. From the epic, one of the points that becomes evident is that dharma must be of universal importance for it led the Supreme God himself to incarnate as a lowly human. The epic does treat the
The Mahabharata is one of the two great Indian epics, the other being the Ramayana. Composed in Sanskrit, it embodies the quintessential definition of the word epic with length of roughly 90,000 verses and a clearly defined hero upon whom his tribe depends. The hero of the Mahabharata is Yudhishthira, the son of Dharma and leader of the Pandavas. This hero, as is true of many epics, must fight heroic battles against an anti-hero, the role of which in the Mahabharata is played by Duryodhana, the leader of the Kurus. Complicating this struggle between good and evil is the fact that these two sides do not begin as sworn enemies but are rather kinsmen. While the conventions used are traditionally epic, the work takes on a uniquely Indian tone as the struggle between the Pandavas and the Kurus is further muddled by issues of destiny and dharma. These two themes surface repeatedly throughout the Mahabharata culminating in an exchange between King Dhritarashtra and his subjects as he requests that they allow him to resign from the kingship to live out his days in the forest. In William Buck’s retelling of the epic, his subjects accept his resignation and stand in agreement that his sons died not because he was a poor ruler, but...
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