Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Objectivity - A lesson from Yuganta!

Irawati Karve offers a wonderful lesson in Yuganta, through an imaginative conversation between Gandhari and Dhritarashtra. The scene is one from the last few days of the lives of Kunti, Dhritarashtra, Vidura and Gandhari, as they live together in the forest, awaiting their death. Dhritarashtra says to Gandhari -

'Every person gets entangled in a mesh of injustices. I wronged you. Pandu wronged Kunti. And whose wrong doing was it that Pandu and i should lead such fruitless lives? Can we say that wrongs done to our mothers, the misery they suffered brought this curse on us? Poor Vidura was the only one completely sound in mind and body. But because his mother was a servant, he could not become a king. He did not try to take revenge on anyone for his life's disappointments. Kunti and Vidura were the only two people in our whole clan who were consciously watchful. You feel, Gandhari, that you have been cheated and deceived, but think for a moment: in the three generations of our family every person has been cheated and deceived. I am pleading with you to not merely ask for forgiveness, but to persuade you to give up your fight against life. Give up your anger, not only against me, but against life itself. My injustice to you does not give you the right to do an injustice to your children, to your whole life. How can one wrong compensate another, Gandhari? At least now take off that blindfold. Learn to look at world, at human beings, and at your own past life objectively. Our life is nearly over. At least do not die with your eyes bound'.
I understand philosophy very less, but i was amazed and amused, at the same time, by this conversation. I almost burst out laughing at the line 'in three generations of our family every person has been cheated and deceived'. How ironical!

It is very difficult to digest such learnings ,irrespective of the whether you believe in Karma, luck, fate and other such things. But maybe, just by knowing this point of view, you can be little a closer to implementing it.

Learn to look at life objectively!

Yuganta is a small but beautiful collection of essays on the characters of the great epic Mahabharata. It is an anthropologist's take on their lives, looking beyond the myths associated with them. She takes the critical edition of Mahabharata as a base and mercilessly dissects these characters exploring their motives, weaknesses and strengths.

A good review of the book can be found at

An online edition of the book is available at

Cross posted on Facebook.

1 Voices:

Abhishek Upadhyay said...

I will read this book.
Very well written post. Please share details of more books that you find interesting.

Right now I am reading Scion of Ishvaku. I have not read Meluha series and was curious to try out this one.