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Life Is As Is - Teachings From The Mahabharata
Life Is As Is - Teachings From The Mahabharata
Life Is As Is - Teachings From The Mahabharata
Life Is As Is - Teachings From The Mahabharata
Life Is As Is - Teachings From The Mahabharata
Life Is As Is - Teachings From The Mahabharata
Life Is As Is - Teachings From The Mahabharata
Life Is As Is - Teachings From The Mahabharata
Life Is As Is - Teachings From The Mahabharata

Life Is As Is - Teachings From The Mahabharata



  • Dimensions:9.0 inch X 6.0 inch
  • Edition:2018
  • Author:Kavita A. Sharma & Indu Ramchandani
  • Publisher:Wisdom Tree Publications
  • ISBN:9788183284998
  • Cover Type:Paperback
  • Number of Pages:232
  • About The Book

    From the most knowledgeable and powerful to the very ordinary man and woman, we all have the vulnerablities resulting from uncontrolled desires, as we see with the players of the great epic of Mahabharta.

    What is the way out? Who are the role models?

    The ultimate goal of every human being is evolve, to touch the pinnacle of excellence but often the world overpowers the best of us and leads us to the trials and tribulations of life. Yet, it is amazing how the simplest of people are at times able to cope better than other who might have greater capacity.

    The authors explore the teachings of the Mahabharta as a commentary on 'life is as is', without any value judgements or complicated theories and hypotheses.

    About The Author

    Kavita A. Sharma. President of South Asia University, a Fulbright scholar, is a well published author, and has several books to her credit, including, Windmills of the Mind, Queens of Mahabharata, Brids Beasts, Men and Nature in Mahabharata, Internationalization of Higher Education, Sixty Years of the University Grants Commission, Hindu College, Delhi –A People's Movement, National University of Educational Planning and Administration, and Perspectives in India Educations.

    Indu Ramchandani is a freelance editorial consultant after having worked as the South Asia Editor –in- cheif for Encyclopedia Britannica. Indu produces and publishes the Understanding Vedanta lecture Series based on the study of the Scriptures with Pravajika Vivekaprana, and has published several articles on Hindu Philosophy.


    One of India's two great epics, the Mahabharta, is the longest epic poem ever written, consisting in its full version of overa hundred thousand verses of two lines each, making a total of 1.8 million words. It is four times the length of the Ramayana and ten times the length of the two great Greek, epics the Iliad and the Odyssey combined. This huge compendium in its eighteen chapters covers a wide spectrum of history, philosphy, mythology, sociology and numerous stories culminating in the cataclysmic fraticidal eighteen –day war between two branches of the Kuru Dynasty –the Pandavas and th Kauravas in which the entire martial races of North India were destroyed, marking the end of the Dwapara Yuga and the beginning of the present Kaliuga.

    Within the vast sweep of the Mahabharta there shines, of course, the 700 –verses Bhagavad Gita, the immortal dialogue between Sri Krishna & Arjuna, which is one of the world's great scriptures and the source of gems and treasures such as the Nal –Damyanti story which is the subject of a beautiful set of Pahari paintings in my museum in Jammu.

    To write a new book on the Mahabharta requires a combination of courage, audacity, ability and perseverance, all of which Prof. Kavita Sharma and her co –author, Indu Ramchandani, have displayed in full measure, 'They have gone to great lengths to present the Mahabharta in five chapters which cover the key philosphical and historical events of the great personalities whom we came across, such as Markandeya, Bhisma, Vidur, Sage Vyasa, among others, and of course Sri Krishna himself. I warmly congratulate the authors for having undertaken this risk which must have required several years of sustained work. Their book present this great epic with an interesting perspective to a whole new generation of readers in India and abroad in compact and coherent language.

    The authors have focused on Yudhishthira and the sages, who impact the teachings. Why Yudhisthira? Because he is the king –to –be. The entire epic of the family feud and the war are connected with the throne of Hastinapura, and Yudhisthira's physical, mental, and spiritual journey through it is the focus hers as he imbiles the teaching imparted to prepare him for the vital role he needs to play.

    I must here express my personal view on the Mahabharta which I have held for many years. Because of my name, I have, from childhood, been fascinated by the noble Karna, the tragic hero of the Mahabharta. By far the greatest warrior of his time, even supressing Arjuna, he faced rejection and humiliation from his very birth. Being born before wedlock, his mother Kunti placed him in a basket and floated him down the river where a charioteer couple Adhiratha and Radha found him and raised him as their son. Despite his extraordinary physical characterstic of a golden armour, he was never accepted because he ws looked down upon as belonging to a low caste. Draupadi refused to let him participate in her swayamvara because he was not a khatriya; Parshurama after tutoring him ultimately cursed him when he found that he was not a Brahmin; and the great Devraj Indra himself –Arjuna's putative father –himself and tricked the famously genrous Karna into giving away his golden armour.

    When the war was about to begin, Sri Krishna realized that without neutralizing Karna the Pandavas could never win. Karna, thus, becomes a pivotal figure in the whole epic. Krishna takes him aside and reveals his true identity as Kunti's eldest son, and beseeches him to accept his birthright and become king which would have been accepted both by the Pandavas and Kauravas. However, such was his nobility of character that he declined, saying that Duryodhan had honoured him when he was humilited by anointing as King of Anga, and that whatever comes he would not let down his friend. Even Kunti, after remaining silent for all these years, met Karna on the eve of the final battle and tried to play on his emotions. Karna replied by saying that he will spare the four other sons of Kunti and would only fight one –on –one, with Arjuna. Despite all this, when his chariot got struck's in the mud and he climbed down to pull up the wheel that, at Sri Krishna's insistence, a relucant Arjuna killed him against all canons of warfare and dharma. Indeed, although Kurukshetra is known as the dharmakshetra, the field of righteousness, all the main Kaurva warriors were killed by treachary and deceit –Bhisma Dronacharya, Jaidrath, Durodhana and Karna himself. In the story of Karna we have a combination of social prejudice, moral, ambiguity and treachery that pervades the entire epic.

    This epic remains a massive memory in our cultural tradition and has impacted not only India but many countries in South and South East Asia. In the Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia for example, the largest religious structure in the world, the stories of the Ramayana and the Mahabharta are beautifully engraved on the walls. This immortal epic will always remain a major element in our colective memory, and I commend this work to all those interested in Indian culture in the country and around the world.


    Foreword ix
    Life Is As Is xiii
    Prologue xix
    Chapter 1: Introduction and Basic Concept 1
    Values, Disciplines and Stages of Life 5
    The Enemies Within 11
    Anger, Desire, Lust, and Greed 12
    Self -control and Self -denial 15
    Death and the Fear of Death 19
    Death and Thereafter 20
    Time, Destiny and Karma 25
    Virtue, Righteousness, and Happiness 27
    Chapter 2: The Sages of the Mahabharta 31
    The Mind -born Sons of Brahma 33
    The Glow of Angrias 34
    The Righteousnes of Mudgals 35
    Markandeya 36
    The Demand for Complete Obedience 38
    Tests of Disciplies 40
    Anger and Curses 44
    Sages Versus Kshatriyas 45
    The Teachings of a Wife 47
    Power, Status and Lack of Self -Control 48
    Assertion of Power 49
    Wrath and Revenge 53
    Loss of Control 59
    The Importance of Being Veda Vyasa 62
    Vyasa, the Wielder of Crises 65
    The Nature of Kaliyuga 67
    Chapter 3: Lessons from the Forest 73
    A Distraught State of Mind 73
    The Eithical Debates 75
    Counsel of the Sages 77
    The Plight of Nala and Damyanti 78
    Tirtha -A Journey Within 80
    Significant Tirthas in the Mahabharta 81
    Merit of a Tirtha - Bhishma's Enquiry 83
    Sagacious Advice to Yudhishthira 87
    Conservation With Sage Lomasha 88
    Pertinence of Yudhishthira's Questions 90
    Purity, Right Conduct, and Fearlessness 96
    Yudhishthira's Final Test 97
    The Story of Ashtavakra 97
    The Story of Nahusha 98
    The Story of Savitri 100
    The Learning From the Crane 102
    Aspects of Dharma and Adharma 107
    The Shrewd Warrior 108
    Chapter 4: Lessons in Kingship 113
    Vidura's Sagacious Counsel 114
    The Dominance of Death 117
    The Aftermath of Remorse 118
    Life Must Go On 120
    The Post -War Education 121
    Accunulated Karma is the Essence of Cause and Effect 124
    The Unmanifested and the Manifested 125
    Dharma is the Primary Concern 130
    Kingship Needs Statesmanship 132
    Kingship Cannot Sustain Uncontrolled Desires 134
    Austerities and Philanthropy 137
    Discipline in Good Governance 137
    Providence or Endeavour? 140
    Time is All Powerful 141
    The Final Yajna 144
    The Mahaprasthna 146
    Chapter 5: Krishna, the World Teacher 155
    The Mythology and Background of the Epic 155
    Significance of the Rajasuya Yajna 160
    The Politics of Governance 161
    Shishupala as an Adversary 164
    War Through Dicing 166
    The Clouds of War 167
    Sri Krishna as the Mediator and Messenger of Peace 170
    Karna, Pivotal Figure 174
    Sri Krishna of the Bhagvad Gita 176
    Krishna, the Strategist and Charioteer 183
    The Adharam in War 184
    Gandhari's Curse 185
    Divnity and Human Morality 185
    Sage Utanka Questions Sri Krishna 187
    Biblography and Select Readings 193
    Index 197

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