Monday, 4 August 2014

Aswaththama-The owl's message

Mahabharath is India's history.

The British and the Moslems considered it as a mere story,deftly woven and imaginatively described,but devoid of historical authenticity.They could not digest the fact that their subjects have a very ancient past spanning thousands of years in time.

As our fate would have it,most of us started believing this wrong notion entertained and propagated by our rulers.Thereupon started our cultural downfall.The day we started believing that Alexander's raid of India was the beginning of Indian History,the same day our cultural backbone began to degenerate.This is precisely what our rulers wanted to happen,because,a race that is devoid of self respect and faith in its history could be easily subjugated to slavery and plunder.

Another strong reason for our downfall is the disappearance of Sanskrit,the language of gods,from our memory and curriculum.I will discuss this point at appropriate time.

Through the modern education perpetuated upon us,and through the pitiable lack of scriptural study,we gradually degenerated to a state where we started doubting the historical authenticity of our great scriptural/historical records like Ramayana and Mahabharatha.Added to this,many Indian authors toeing the line of their European masters,started criticizing our ancient scriptures creating doubts in the minds of all of us.

Take my word.

There is no need to disbelieve in our scriptures like Ramayana and Mahabharatha.They are historical documents.

Mahabharath happened.

Ramayana happened.

Sri Rama and Sri Krishna and the other heroes of these two scriptures are not figments of our imagination but historical figures. There should not be any doubt on this point.

Of late,many startling facts have been seeing light of the day during the excavations of the Archaeological Survey of India.Many more hidden truths will come to light,if the ASI continues its search with more vigor and sincerity.

One of the strongest evidences for the historical authenticity of Mahabharath is finding the submerged city of Dwaraka in the Arabian Sea.All the places of Mahabharath times like Kurukshetra, Indraprashtha,Dwaraka,Mathura,Brindavan etc. are very much visible before our eyes.If we cannot believe them even now,it would be the height of idiocy on our part.

The Moslems and the British are gone long back.If we still continue to stick to their false theories on our history,nothing could be more harmful and insulting than this.

Coming to the subject,there are umpteen number of incidents that I like in Mahabharath.One of them is the revenge of Ashwaththama.

Let me explain this incident from an angle slightly different from what is commonly believed.

We have seven Chiranjeevis (the immortals) in our scriptures.

According to a sloka,they are:

Aswaththama,Emperor Bali,Maharshi Vyasa,Hanuman, Vibhishana, Krupacharya and Lord Parashurama.

They have no death till this kalpantha(end of the present time cycle) and are still alive,even today.

Now this is not digestible to many.

'How can a person live for 5000 years or more?Can any one believe in such trash?'-they may ask.

Whether one likes it or not,such things do exist.There are many things in Nature,that are well beyond our wildest imagination.On our part,we never believe in such things easily. Astrology, Yoga, Tantra, Vedanta,Ayurveda,the science of Omens-everything appears as trash to our minds.

There is no wonder,after sometime,if we start disbelieving in our own parents.The simple fact is that without them we cannot exist.Similarly,without our age old Dharma and tradition,we as a society cannot exist.Tradition is the foundation of our society.

Among the seven immortals of our culture,Emperor Bali is the oldest one.Lord Parashurama,Hanuman and Vibhishana belong to the age of Ramayana.The remaining three viz., Aswathhama, Maharshi Vyasa and Kripacharya belong to the age fo Mahabharatha.

Thousands of years passed since their times,but all these people are alive,even today.There are many people in India who were fortunate to see them at different times and in different places.Among them,Aswathhama is seen even today in North India quite frequently.I personally know a sage who saw Lord Parashurama in the western ghats a few years back and talked to him for quite sometime.

We cannot believe in physical immortality because we see people dying everyday.We conclude that everybody dies before reaching the age of 100.But we see some people crossing that limit and living upto the ripe old age of 150.Such people may be rarities but they do exist and their existence proves that death need not necessarily swallow a human being before he reaches his 100th year.

Be that as it may,among the seven immortals,Maharshi Vyasa is the great guru of our tradition.He divided the mass of Vedas into four parts and composed 18 Puranas and 18 sub puranas for the welface of the world.He is still alive and is seen even today by some fortunte few in and around Varanasi.He is the person to be worshipped on the auspicious day of Guru Purnima.People may worship other gurus,but Maharshi Vyasa is not to be forgotten.

Remaining two are Aswathhama and Kripacharya.They are closely related to each other,Kripacharya being the maternal uncle of Aswathhama.Both are Brahmins but adopted the Kshatriya lifestyle,mastering the art of weaponry.They are masters in the usage of ordinary weapons as well as the usage of celestial weapons that are invoked with the help of Mantras.

Kripacharya was the first guru of the Kouravas and the Pandavas.In fact he was instrumental in bringing the celebrated guru Drona to Hastinapur to teach the art of warfare to the Kouravas and the Pandavas.

He was a great sage by birth.He was not born out of a human womb.Like the god Kumara,he too was born without residing in a human womb.He was the son of a great rishi and inherited saintly qualities right from the time of his birth.

Aswathhama is the son of Dronacharya and the grandson of Sage Bharadwaja.Rishi Bharadwaja has a leneage in his name even today.He was not only a master of the art of warfare with mundane as well as celestial weapons but also an expert in making airplanes of those days.In fact,he is the true father of aeronautics.

Aswathhama and Kripacharya attacked the Pandava camp during that night.In that dreadful night,thousands of warriors sleeping over there,except Lord Krishna,the five Pandava brothers and Satyaki, were killed mercilessly by these two.This chapter in Mahabharatha is one of my favorite chapters for many reasons.

1.Aswathhama and Kripa are born Brahmins but adopted the dharma of Kshatriyas and became masters of weaponry.

2.Kripacharya was a follower of Dharma and a great soul.He fought from the side of Duryodhana because of his gratitude to him.It was Duryodhana who supported his family line and granted them everything duly venerating them as his gurus.

Many warriors of those days were well aware of what dharma was.Being bound by the feeling of gratitude,they were forced by their conscience to fight on the side of the Kouravas.It was their Dharma to do so.Kripacharya too followed suit.

3.Aswathhama,being the son of a rishi,was well aware of what Dharma was all about,but could do nothing except supporting Duryodhana as he was bound by the duty of gratefulness to his patron king.

4.Aswathhama was a great warrior and an adept in the usage of weapons.Such was his might that he could fight with 60,000 warriors all alone.Among all the warriors of those days,he was the only one,except Arjuna,who could invoke the deadly celestial weapon called Brahma Shira.

4.Kripacharya and Aswathhama are quite alive even today.This is a fact,though many of us may not be able to digest it.

That night, which had witnessed the mental turmoil of two immortals is worth remembering.A little meditation will show us what had transpired in the middle of the forest, in the dead of that dreadful night.

That night had dared to question Dharma itself.

That night defined Dharma in a very revolutionary new way.

That night stood witness to the carnage perpetuated by a fearless and desperate warrior.

On that night were sown the seeds that are responsible for the timeless curse that has been haunting Aswathhama down the line for thousands of years.

Let me cut across the pages of history and peep directly into the darkness to see face to face,what transpired on that night.

Duryodhana lay in the battle field all alone,with broken legs,awaiting death,which has been avoiding him.The battle of Kurukshetra was over.The Pandava camp was jubilant with song and dance.

Only two persons were awake in that night.

One is Duryodhana who was writhing with pain and awaiting death in the battle field.

The other was Aswathhama sitting under a tree in the forest looking hopelessly into the veil of darkness that surrounded him.

Kripacharya and Kritavarma are in deep slumber beside him,but sleep is avoiding Aswathhama.He was haunted by the murder of his father as well as by the pitiable state in which his friend and King,Duryodhana was in.

He was helpless.Despite having many unimaginable skills he had to witness the cruel murder of his father Dronacharya in the battle field.Now,again,he is witness to the cruel end of King Duryodhana in the battlefield.He was boiling with anger and helplessness.

Then he saw an incident.An owl was moving around on the trees and killing the baby crows by entering into the crow nests stealthily.It was a message for him.He felt the hand of providence in what he saw.He felt that his prayers were answered.His plan took shape.

Crows,unlike Owls, cannot see during nights.So they retire during nights.The Owl's business is quite opposite.Its field of activity is the dead of night as it could see through the dark conveniently.

This sight was a revelation to Aswathhama.He instantly understood his mission.He had to hurry up and finish his task before the break of dawn.Every minute is valuable and no time should be wasted.

He was beside himself with excitement and woke up Kripacharya and Kritavarma.He explained them about the revelation he had and told them what he was planning to do.He was ready to go,all said and done,with or without their help.He was ready to kill the Pandavas before daybreak.

The conversation that ensued between Kripacharya and Aswathhama on that night was invaluable in content and unsurpassing in its depth.It contains the answers to most of the questions that keep haunting us every day.

(to be continued)

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