Symbolism Of Mahabharata

Though there are lives of  thousands of kings , why was Mahabharta, a great epic which was composed on the kings of Kuru , Pandu and Yadava dynasty?. This is because their lives still continue to inspire lives of not only ruling class but down to every human being on Earth. Mahabharata is the biggest book ever written which includes all branches of life.      

                Mahabharata is a powerful and amazing text that inspires awe and wonder about  cosmos and humanity. The Mahabharata and the war is not a fictional story but a historical event. But the author of the epic used the real incident and weaved  symbolic images to reflect our own inner conflicts. Using these images if we dive deep into our inner self, we will be able to appreciate the mystery of our own mind and life. Through this epic we will be left with no unanswered question.

The 100 sons

    We already discussed that the eldest son of the blind son Drita-rashtra is Dur-yodhana, who symbolize the Ego. To the blind king who symbolize the blind mind marries Gandhari. She out of emotionally love  to her blind husband , ties a bandage on her  eyes. Thus Gandhari symbolize the blind intellect  following the  blind mind. This blind mind and blind intellect breeds many desires through ten sense organs. Five are senses of knowledge or perception the eyes, nose, ears, tongue and skin (Gnanendriyas). The other five are the senses of action-mouth, hands, feet, genital organ and anus (Karmendriyas). There are 10 directions north, south, west, east, north east, south east, south west and northwest and up and down.

           When the mind and intellect run blindly in all 10 directions and functions through 10 sense organs , give rise to hundred (10 x 10 = 100) propensities, desires, thoughts, ambitions, expectations and dreams. These are the children of the mind and symbolized as the 100 sons in Mahabharata. The eldest of these thought is Dur-yodhana which means the one whom it is difficult to fight. "Duh" means difficulty, "yodh" means to fight and represents the Ego , which is difficult to fight or indomitable. The second son and brother to Dur-yodha is Dus-asana , the name means one who is difficult to control.

Pandavas - The Five

      Pandu was the younger brother of the blind king Drita-rastra. Pandu represents wisdom (represented by white color). But this wisdom matures with experience and hence gives the ruling power to the blind mind, until the children of wisdom are ready. Pandu's wife is kunti, which means to invoke. She invokes powerful inspiration of nature and bears children. The first child is Yudhi-stra. Yudhi means in the battle, sthira means tranquil or undisturbed. Yudhi-stra is the symbol of peace and the  sky element of Pancha Bhootas. Sky is the bridge of transcendence to the conscious state and  represented as throat chakra.

        Peace should be the ruler of us. But the Ego demands that it should be the take control over. This fight for the throne is Mahabharata war. In the war, Bhima the second son of the Pandavas who  killed all 99 sons of Drita-rastra. Bhima represents the life force or breath, the Air element in Pancha Bhoota.  Bhima is the breath that brings the awareness of "Oneness". The ignorance of duality dissolves in the purity of  "Love" and is represented as heart chakra.

       Arjuna the third represents fire element. Rajju means rope or bondage and na means no. This represents that we are really not bonded, but free. Arjuna represents the liberating thoughts in us and brings peace. Arjuna is the enquiring mind. The enquiring mind burns like fire and destroys the darkness of ignorance. This burning fire is what needs to be given direction and that is why out of the five brothers Arjuna was taught Bhagavad Gita. Arjuna represents the mastering the "Heat or Power" of senses symbolized as the navel chakra.

       Na-kula , na means no and kula is bank of a river or shore. Nakula means boundless or endless flow of water. He represents the flowing energy of desires, the energy to reproduce. Water is the element of nature that sustains life and reproduction. This sexual energy should be directed for our higher evolution towards peace.

      Sahadeva is the youngest of the Pandavas. He represents the Earth element, the solidness (reality)  of manifestation. Earth is the discriminating element, the food factor. It is through enquiry of real and unreal that drives us to seek wisdom. Earth is the foundation of "enquiry".

Nakula and Sahadeva are twins and is interesting to know their symbolism. Nakula represents the sexual energy that produce life and Sahadeva represents the enquiring attitude. According to Vedas,  life began when the cosmic consciousness wanted to know itself. Hence Life (Nakula) and knowing (Sahadeva) are twins.

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For more details
 Source of this symbolism of Mahabharata and chakras is from

1. "Discourses on Bhagavad Gita" by Paramahamsa Prajnanananda  

2.  "Pranab Gita" by Swami Pranabananda Paramahamsa.

3. "Journey to the Source" by Pradheep Chhalliyil .


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