Author:Koti Sreekrishna

Nearly 5,000 years ago in Kurukshetra in Northern India, the hundred sons of King Dhritarastra fought the famous Mahabharata war against the five sons of King Pandu, King Dhritarastra’s younger brother. The former group was called the Kauravas and the latter, the Pandavas. Almost all major kings from the Indian subcontinent took part in this great war that was fought for eighteen days. Although the Kaurava army was larger, the Pandava army finally won the war.

The Sanskrit Podcast hosted by Shoba Narayan and featuring Prof. B Mahadevan

The Nāṭyaśāstra is the world's oldest treatise on performing arts. It is more than 2,500 years old. This encyclopedic work on art by Bharata muni is divided into 36 chapters and contains more than 6,000 verses. The first chapter of the Nāṭyaśāstra gives a semi-historical and mostly fictional account of the creation of the work. This is how Bharata narrates it thus:

ಕಾವ್ಯ ಪ್ರಪ೦ಚದಲ್ಲಿ ಇರುವ ಮುಖ್ಯ ಪಾತ್ರಗಳು ಮೂರು. ೧. ಅದರ ಆತ್ಮವೇ ಆದ ಕಾವ್ಯ ೨. ಕಾವ್ಯದ ಸೃಷ್ಟಿಕರ್ತನಾದ ಕವಿ ೩. ಕಾವ್ಯಪ್ರಯೋಜಕನಾದ ಸಹೃದಯ (ಓದುಗ). ಪ್ರತಿಭಾಶಾಲಿಯಾದ ಕವಿಯಿ೦ದ ಸೃಷ್ಟಿಸಲ್ಪಟ್ಟ ಕಾವ್ಯವೃಕ್ಷ ಫಲನೀಡುವುದು ಸಹೃದಯನಿ೦ದಲೇ; ಸಹೃದಯನಲ್ಲಿಯೇ; ಒ೦ದು ಕಾವ್ಯಸೃಷ್ಟಿಗೆ ಸಾರ್ಥಕತೆ ದೊರಕುವುದು ಸಹೃದಯನು ಅದನ್ನು ಓದಿ ಮೆಚ್ಚಿ ರಸಪರವಶನಾದಾಗ. ಹಾಗಾದರೆ, ಸಹೃದಯನೆ೦ದರೆ ಯಾರು? ಸಾಮಾನ್ಯ ಓದುಗರಿಗೂ ಸಹೃದಯನಿಗೂ ಇರುವ ವ್ಯತ್ಯಾಸವೇನು? ಎ೦ಬ ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆಗಳು ಸಹಜವಾಗಿ ಏಳುತ್ತವೆ.

Of the many twists and turns in the Ramayana, the most troubling one is that of Rama abandoning Sita based on the public perception of her character.

An old farmer and his grandson lived on a farm. One day the grandson said, “I try to read the Bhagavad-Gita just like you but I don't understand it much. And whatever little I understand, I forget it very soon. What is the use of reading this book?”

The old farmer quietly turned from putting coal in the stove and said, “Take this coal basket down to the river and bring me back a basket of water.”

The sound of the single syllable ‘om’ (or ‘aum’) has been central to Indian culture for several millennia. Om is made up of four parts – ‘a’, ‘u’, ‘m’, and silence. It is also called 'pranava' since it pervades life and runs through our prana (breath, vital breath, life). The four parts of om can also mean to represent birth, growth, letting go, and immortality.

Sanatana dharma literally means eternal way of life or eternal ethic. This is not restricted by the constraints of space and time. However, in variegated applications of the same, specific spatiotemporal frames are adopted. Though the word 'dharma' has no proper equivalent in languages other than Sanskrit, its spirit can somehow be communicated through English words such as global ethic, righteousness, way of life, culture, etc. However, all these words put together may mean the sustained implications of dharma. The word 'sanatana' symbolizes eternity.

3-11 September 2009

Places visited – Ujjain, Dhar, Bagh caves, Maheshwar, Omkareshwar, Indore, Bhopal, Sanchi, Udaigiri caves, Vidisha, Udayapura, Beda Ghat, Khajuraho, Markhera, and Deogarh (in order of visiting).