We have examined the general plan and idea of the Story of the Mahabharata; and here it would be convenient to give a brief account of all the eighteen Parvas or Sections of the Epic as a whole, and then proceed to examine the main Story in detail. We shall deal with the latter in the last Volume.
The Lunar Line: We have explained that the best way to construct a Story, as a picture of all the great systems of Hindu Philosophy, is to begin with the character of the Mind as a meeting place of all principal systems of thought. Corresponding to this we find that all the chief characters of the Epic, the Kauravas and Pandavas as well as Krshna, belong to the Lunar race, the family of the Moon, the presiding deity of the Mind.
The Court of Brahma: We have to begin at the very bottom of the scale, and show how we can rise from principal Sankhya (Sankhya-Nyaya-Vaiesika), or Jainism and Buddhism, to principal Vedanta (Vedanta-Yoga-Vaisesika) or Vaisnavism; and so the very first scene of the Mahabharata opens in the Court of Brahma, the deity of principal Sankhya or Buddhism and Jainism.
Uparicara: We have shown that in the three principal systems of Philosophy and Religion principal Yoga or Saivism (Yoga-Vaiesika-Nyaya) occupies the central place; and, starting from this system, we can either go up to Vaisnavism or principal Vedanta, or, if we deny the idea of Sacrifice, we can go down to principal Sankhya or Buddhism and Jainism. It is, therefore, convenient to make a beginning with Saivism, and that is personified by Uparichara, the king of Cedi. He refers in particular to Buddhi, the highest energy in this system, and so is said to be a devotee of Indra, the deity of Buddhi.
Girika: According to Saivism God and Nature, or Purusha and Prakrti, are regarded as joint creators of life; and so the king has Girika for his wife. But in the domain of Buddhi, specially associated with this system, Prakrti is a mere spectator of the work of Purusha, who alone creates and so Uparicara has no creative contact with his wife. He is filled with a desire to create, and his creative energy, or semen virile, comes out at the very thought. It is stored up in the world of manifest life or Prakrti, and that is an Apsara or Water-nymph, Water being regarded as a symbol of Prakti. As Saivism holds that Purusha and Prakrti, or Man and Woman, are joint creators of life, out of the creative energy of Uparicara arise a boy and a girl, Matsya and Satyavati, the former representing the Purusha, and the latter the Prakrti, of Saivism.
Santanu: We have now to examine the connection between principal Yoga and principal Sankhya, or Saivism on the one hand and Buddhism and Jainism on the other. The latter is personified by Santanu, the Purusha of principal Sankhya, (Sankhya-Nyaya-Vaisesika); but, as this system has no place for Purusha or God in its pure Sankhya aspect, Santanu refers more specially to Vaisesika and Nyaya, the basis of Buddhism. We have explained that Buddhism is connected with both principal Sankhya (Sankhya-Nyaya-Vaisesika) and principal Yoga (Yoga-Vaisesika-Nyaya), or Saivism, and so Santanu is a connecting link between these two systems.
Ganga and Santanu: Santanu personifies the Mind and the senses of Knowledge, or Vaiesika and Nyaya, as parts of Buddhism and Jainism (Sankhya-Nyaya-Vaisesika). Both these systems hold that Purusha is associated with Prakrti; but, according to Nyaya he is but a spectator of her work, and according to the Vaisesika the two are almost equal, but the share of Prakrti is a little larger than his. Santanu must, therefore, be associated with a wife or Prakrti in both these systems, but with a different share in the work of creation in each.
Let us begin at the bottom of the scale. Santanu, as the Purusha of Nyaya, must be associated with Prakrti, but he can only be a spectator of her work. This Prakrti of Nyaya is Ganga. She is the chief creator of life, and so she cannot brook any interference on the part of her "husband." If he claims a share in the work of creation, that is, if he interferes with anything she does, he ceases to be the Purusha of Nyaya, and she, as Prakrti of that system, must leave him. This is the condition of her marriage with Santanu; and, as he is the Purusha of Nyaya at this stage, he agrees.
The Eight Vasus: We are told that there are eight divisions of Prakrti Buddhi, Egoism, Mind, and the five elements ; and so Ganga is the mother of eight Vasus. They are born of her and she is Prakrti; and, as Water is a symbol of Prakrti, she throws them into water as soon as they take their birth, to show that they belong to Prakrti.
Bhishma: But Nyaya does not deny the existence of God. It holds that he exists, only either as a spectator of the work of Prakrti, or with but a small share in its creation; and so even in this system all things are not of Prakrti. Rather in each form of life there is a Purusha, something that does not belong to Prakrti and so out of each Vasu or child of Prakrti there must remain something that does not belong to her, that belongs to Purusha and so survives . Hence we are told that Bhima was allowed to survive, and he contained the energy of each of the eight Vasus. He personifies, therefore, the Purusha of Nyaya; and as Purusha in this system is either a spectator of Prakrti or has but a small share in the work of creation, Bhishma remains a celibate through life, and cannot have an issue.
Santanu's Interference and Ganga's Departure: We have seen Santanu as the Purusha of Nyaya; but he is the Purusha of Vaisesika too. We have seen how creation takes place in the light of Nyaya, and it is time we saw how it does in the Vaiesika too and so Santanu now becomes the Purusha of the Vaisesika almost an equal creator of life with Prakrti and so he must "interfere" with the actions of Ganga. But she cannot admit his claim without changing her own character and becoming the Prakrti of the Vaisesika; and, as she is unable to do so, she has to leave him when he ceases to be the Purusha of Nyaya and so we are told that Ganga left her husband as soon as he interfered with what she did, and disappeared.
The Birth of Vyasa: Let us now return to Satyavati, the Prakrti of Saivism. As we have explained, the range of this system extends from Yoga to Vaisesika and Nyaya; and in the first Prakrti has but a small share in the work of creation; in the second she has an equal part with Purusha; while in the third Purusha has but a small share in the work of creation, and it is mostly she who creates.
We have dealt with Ganga, the Prakrti of Nyaya. Let us now examine the idea of Satyavati as Prakrti of Saivism (Yoga-Vaisesika Nyaya). She has to act as Prakrti of Yoga, Vaiesika and Nyaya separately; and as Prakrti of Yoga she can have only a small and casual creative contact with Purusha; and that is Parasara the sage, the Purusha of Yoga. As she has little creative contact with him, she remains a virgin after it; and the child of this union is Vyasa who personifies Buddhi or the Yoga system of thought out of which he is born, for parent and child are often identified in sacred literature.
We have explained that Buddhi may be considered in itself as characterized by certainty of judgment and peace, or else as identified, for all practical purposes, with the Soul. Both these aspects of Buddhi are personified by Vyasa. He is said to have been given to Tapas (heat, austerities), characteristic of Buddhi; and, like consciousness or memory, characteristic of the Soul, makes his appearance whenever he is remembered.
Vyasa the Author of the Mahabharata and Other Sacred Books: It is in this light that we have to understand the idea of Vyasa as not only the author of the Mahabharata, but also a number of Upanishads and Puranas, and the compiler of the four Vedas too. He personifies Buddhi as we have explained; and the idea of his authorship of the Sacred Books is that they are to be understood in the light of the character of Buddhi, both in itself and as identical with the Soul. We begin from the known to the unknown, and see around us that life is created out of the union of the male and the female; and, starting from this, we may rise to the idea of God as the chief creator of the universe, and Prakrti as either a spectator, or with but a small share in the work of creation. This is the idea of Yoga, personified by Vyasa, and we shall see that this is exactly the literal meaning of the word.
Santanu and Satyavati: Santanu is the Purusha of Vaisesika and Nyaya, and Satyavati the Prakrti of Yoga, Vaiesika and Nyaya. She has played the part of the Prakrti of Yoga, and now the two other systems remain. Both she and Santanu are Purusha and Prakrti of the same systems of thought, and so eminently suited to each other. But Santanu belongs to Buddhism and Jainism (Sankhya-Nyaya Vaisesika), while she to Saivism (Yoga-Vaisesika-Nyaya); and though both of them meet in the region of Vaisesika and Nyaya, Satyavati belongs to a higher system than Santanu and so it is Santanu who goes out to seek her, and she agrees to marry him on her own terms.
Vicitravirya and Citrangada: Satyavati, the Prakrti of Yoga-Vaiesika-Nyaya, is associated with Purusha in all the three systems, and in each of them she must have an issue. She has Vyasa to personify Yoga; and now she has two more sons, Vicitravirya and Citrangada by Santanu, to personify Vaisesika and Nyaya respectively.
The Death of Santanu: Santanu is the Purusha of Vaisesika and Nyaya; and both these systems are now personified by his sons; and so he goes out of the picture and is said to have passed away.
The Death of Citrangada: Citrangada personifies the Nyaya system of thought; but that is personified by Bhishma, and with a complete idea of what it implies and so Citrangada goes out of the picture too and is said to have been slain.
Amba, Ambika, and Ambalika: We have had some idea of Prakrti. Satyavati is the Prakrti of Saivism (Yoga-Vaisesika-Nyaya) while Ganga of Nyaya. Let us now examine the idea of Prakrti more completely.
We are told that there are three forms of Prakrti associated with the physical energy of the Heart, the Mind, and the Senses; and these are personified as ha, Mahi, and Bharati in the Vedas. Corresponding to these we have Amba, Ambika, and Ambalika in the Mahabharata, and these names occur in the Vedas too.
Now the Prakrti of the physical energy of the Heart is the Prakrti of the pure Sankhya; and, as this system has no place for Purusha or God in its scheme of life, Amba the Prakrti of the Heart, can get no husband in the whole world.
Ambika is the Prakrti of the Mind, and she can have a Purusha or husband in Vicitravirya who personifies the same energy and so the two are married together.
Ambalika is the Prakrti of the senses (of Knowledge) or Nyaya. Who can be her Purusha or husband? Now we are told that the Mind itself may be included under the senses and is called the sixth sense; and so Vicitravirya, the Purusha of the Mind, can be an appropriate husband or Purusha of Ambalika too.
The Death of Vicitravirya: Vicitravirya personifies the Vaisesika as the upper limit of principal Sankhya (Sankhya-Nyaya-Vaisesika), and according to this system creation belongs more to Prakrti than Purusha and so Vicitravirya cannot create. He marries because the Vaisesika requires that Purusha and Prakrti should be united together for purposes of creation, and he dies without issue because the Purusha in this system does not really create.
The Niyoga of Vyasa: We see that we have only two more Purushas left Bhishma and Vyasa. Of these the former personifies Nyaya, and so cannot create. Vyasa alone, the Purusha of Yoga, is able to create; and so he is called by Satyavati to do so. But the Purusha of Yoga should be united with the Prakrti of Yoga. Here we have only the Prakrti of Vaisesika (Ambika) and Nyaya (Ambalika) Vyasa, the Purusha of Yoga, by uniting himself with Prakrti of lower systems, declines from the Yoga system himself; and that is the literal meaning of Niyoga (Ni, yoga), "decline of Yoga," which he is said to have done in connection with Ambika and Ambalika.
We have explained that we rise from a lower to a higher system of thought by means of Sacrifice; but when Sacrifice is destroyed or denied, we fall from a higher to a lower system of thought. The word "Niyoga" means "the opposite or negation of Yoga," and in the "Niyoga" of Vyasa we see how we can fall from Yoga to lower systems of thought by denying the idea of Sacrifice but when Sacrifice is destroyed or denied, we fall from a higher to a lower system of thought. The word "Niyoga" means "Niyoga" of Vyasa we see how we can fall from Yoga to lower systems of thought by denying the idea of Sacrifice.
All Sacrifice is creative and selfless action, characterized by self-control and meant for the benefit of all. It embodies the idea of God, and gives joy to all. The union of man and woman, for creative purposes, is such an act of Sacrifice; but where it is characterized by violence or pain, it is a denial of Sacrifice; and in such a union we sink from a higher to a lower state.
The union of Vyasa with both Ambika and Ambalika was characterized by fear and pain; and so in this case there was a fall from Yoga to lower systems of thought.
The Birth of Dhritarashtra: Ambika closed her eyes in fear at the approach of Vyasa, and the idea of Sacrifice was destroyed thereby. She represents the Mind and so her son, the child of this union, by falling to a lower stage, would represent the senses of Knowledge or Nyaya. But it is not the mother alone who sinks; the father too shares the same fate. Vyasa represents Buddhi, and his son, born of this negation of Sacrifice, must represent one energy lower than he; and that is Mind or the Vaisesika. Dhritarashtra, the son of Vyasa and Ambika represents, therefore, the Mind or the Vaisesika on his father's side, and the senses of Knowledge or Nyaya on his mother's side. He personifies Nyaya-Vaisesika or the two schools of Buddhism.
The Birth of Pandu: Ambalika grew pale at the sight of Vyasa, and once again the idea of Sacrifice was destroyed. She personifies the senses of Knowledge or Nyaya and so her son, Pandu, represents the senses of Action or the pure Sankhya at the bottom of the scale. On his father's side, however, he represents the Mind, like Dhritarashtra; and so he may be said to personify the whole range of principal Sankhya, from Mind to the senses of Action, that is, Buddhism and Jainism both. But, inasmuch as Buddhism is personified by Dhritarashtra, Pandu is more specially associated with Jainism or Sankhya-Nyaya.
A Resume: Let us now recapitulate. We begin with life as it is before us and see that it is created out of the union of the male and the female; and proceeding from this we have to find out whether it is the Male or the Female, God or Nature, that is the chief creator of the universe.
We begin, therefore, with Saivism (Yoga-Vaisesika-Nyaya) which is based on this idea, and it is personified by Uparicara, with special reference to Buddhi, the highest energy of this system. His two children, Matsya and Satyavati, personify Purusha and Prakrti in Saivism.
After Saivism (Yoga-Vaisesika-Nyaya) we have to get down to Buddhism and Jainism (Sankhya-Nyaya-Vaiesika), for we have to proceed from the known to the unknown in our quest of Truth; and the known is Nature or the world of life around us, on which these systems are based. That is personified by Santanu. But, as the pure Sankhya part of these systems has no place for Purusha or God in the creation of life, Santanu is more particularly the Purusha of Nyaya and Vaisesika or Buddhism.
Ganga is the Prakrti of Nyaya. She is united with Santanu as the Purusha of Nyaya, and out of their union is born Bhishma who is the Purusha of this system.
Satyavati as Prakrti of Yoga is united with Parasara, the Purusha of that system: and out of their union is born Vyasa who represents the same system of thought.
Then Satyavati as Prakti of Vaisesika and Nyaya is united with Santanu the Purusha of these systems, and out of their union are born Vicitravirya and Citrangada who personify these systems too.
As Bhishma, the Purusha of Nyaya, is already there, Citrangada, the second Purusha of this system, goes out of the picture.
The Mind is always associated with the senses, and so Vichitravirya, the Purusha of the Mind on which the Vaisesika is based, is united with two forms of Prakti, of Mind as well as the senses of Knowledge. They are Ambika and Ambalika.
But Vicitravirya is the Purusha of the Vaisesika in the principal Sankhya (Sankhya-Nyaya-Vaisesika) where the chief creative energy is said to be Prakti and not Purusha and so he cannot create and dies without issue.
Two Purushas alone remain Bhishma and Vyasa. Out of these Bhishma, the Purusha of Nyaya, cannot create; and so Vyasa alone remains.
Vyasa, the Purusha of Yoga, now associates himself with the Prakrti of the Vaisesika and Nyaya, Ambika and Ambalika; and since they belong to lower systems of thought, and the idea of Sacrifice is denied in their union, the result is a fall from Yoga to a lower system of thought. That is Niyoga.
Dhritarashtra, the son of Vyasa and Ambika, drops down by one degree lower than both his father and mother, and personifies Vaisesika-Nyaya or Buddhism.
In the same manner Pandu, the son of Vyasa and Ambalika, personifies the whole range of principal Sankhya or both Buddhism and Jainism. But, as Dhritarashtra represents Buddhism too, Pandu is more specially associated with Jainism.
Vyasa is also united with a slave maiden; and, as there is a lapse only on his side, Vidura, the issue of this union personifies the Vaisesika which is only one degree lower than Yoga personified by Vyasa.The whole idea of Purusha may now be represented as follows:
|Creative Energies||Soul||Buddhi||Mind||Senses of Knowledge||Senses of Action|
|Systems of Philosophy||Vedanta||Yoga||Vaisesika||Nyaya||Sankhya|
|Principal Yoga (Saivism)||Vedanta||Yoga
|Principal Sankhya (Buddhism & Jainism)||Yoga||Vaisesika
* Those who drop out of the picture are marked with an asterisk.
It will be noticed that the survivors, Vyasa, Vidura, Bhishma, Dhritarashtra, and Pandu personify Yoga, Vaisesika, and Nyaya, and Buddhism and Jainism respectively. Of these the first three correspond to the range of Saivism or principal Yoga, and the last two of principal Sankhya.
The different forms of Prakrti may also be represented in the same manner as follows:
|Creative Energies||Soul||Buddhi||Mind||Senses of Knowledge||Senses of Action|
|Systems of Philosophy||Vedanta||Yoga||Vaisesika||Nyaya||Sankhya|
The Plan and the Problem: Thus we see that the two principal systems, Yoga and Sankhya (Yoga-Vaisesika-Nyaya and Sankhya-Nyaya-Vaisesika), have been properly personified, both as a whole and in part; and it is possible now to proceed with the Story.
We have to place Man at the bottom of the scale, that is, Sankhya-Nyaya or Jainism, while those around him are to belong to Buddhism; and this gives us the two halves of principal Sankhya. Then we have to see how Man can rise from Jainism to higher systems of thought.
We notice that Jainism is personified by Pandu, while Buddhism by Dhritarashtra; and so Man should be born of Pandu, while his opponents should be the children of Dhritarashtra. We shall see now how the Story proceeds.
Dhritarashtra and Gandhari: Dhritarashtra represents the Nyaya-Vaisesika or Buddhism, and in this system Purusha is associated with Prakrti. She is Gandhari.
Their Hundred Sons and One Daughter: We have seen that it is Prakrti that is creative in principal Sankhya, and not Purusha and so Dhritarashtra cannot create by himself. But the real truth is that Prakrti, even in the Sankhya, cannot create. It is God who is the real author of life and so Gandhari gives birth to an unformed lump, which by the grace of Vyasa is transformed into a hundred sons and one daughter; and we have seen that Vyasa personifies Buddhi which, for practical purposes, is identified with the Soul, the energy of God. As the number hundred represents something large and indefinite in sacred literature, the hundred sons of Gandhari and Dhritarashtra personify innumerable forms of Nyaya-Vaisesika or Buddhist thought; and of these Duryodhana, the eldest, represents the chief idea of Buddhism himself. The daughter is the Prakti of principal Sankhya or Buddhism and Jainism to which the mother belongs; and we have explained that a woman always personifies Prakrti.
Duryodhana: We have observed that Duryodhana, the eldest of the hundred sons of Dhritarashtra, personifies Nyaya-Vaisesika or Buddhism.
Pandu, Kunti and Madri: Pandu, as we have explained, represents Sankhya-Nyaya or Jainism. We may examine Sankhya-Nyaya from two points of view in connection with Sankhya and with Nyaya and this gives us the two divisions of Jainism the Digambara and Svetambara school respectively. Pandu has therefore to be associated with two forms of Prakrti, representing Sankhya and Nyaya, and they are Kunti and Madri.
The Birth of Kunti: Kunti represents Prakrti of the pure Sankhya, that is, as the sole creator of the universe. But the real truth is that it is God who creates Prakrti itself; and when, with his power, she creates, the people imagine that it is Prakrti that does so. Kunti, therefore, belongs to the family of Krshna, the supreme Purusha of Vedanta, the sole Creator of the universe; but she is given away to another prince, Kuntibhoja, and is brought up by him as his own daughter.
Kunti and the Brahmana's Boon: As Kunti is the Prakrti of the pure Sankhya, regarded as creative in itself; she has power of invoking any deity she likes with intent to create.
Kunti and Karna: As we have explained, the creative energy of Prakrti in the Sankhya is identified with vital energy or semen virile, transformed out of blood, into which Food is changed. Hence Prakrti may be said to give birth to Food which creates. That is Karna, representing the Vegetable kingdom, seed, grain, or corn, which constitutes ultimately the food of all living creatures, whether herbivorous or carnivorous.
Prtha - We have observed that our planet Earth may be identified with the Prakrti of the Sankhya; and so Kunti is also called Prtha, which is akin to Prthvi or our planet Earth. The birth of Karna or grain further implies that the Vegetable kingdom or Food is created out of the Earth; and in the Upanishads the Earth itself is identified with Food.
Karna and the Sun: The father of Karna is said to be the Sun, and as soon as Karna is born, Kunti places him in Water. This means that when the Earth (Kunti) is heated by the Sun, and water is present too, grain or seed (Karna) is created in the Earth. It germinates when it is placed in water.
The Five Pandava Brothers: We have seen the birth of the Vegetable kingdom in Karna; and now we must deal with the birth of Man as personifying the Animal kingdom in its highest form.
The body of an animal may be divided into two parts, namely, the head and the trunk on the one hand, and legs on the other. In Man the forelegs of an animal correspond to arms. These two divisions may be said to belong to the two mothers, Kunti and Madri; and their three and two sons personify the head and trunk, and arms and legs of Man respectively. Yudhisthira is Buddhi, centred in the crown of the head; Bhima Mind, centred in the brow; Arjuna Prana or self-conscious Breath, moving through all the organs of sense from the ears to the organ of excretion, thus completing the whole trunk. There remain the fore and hind legs of animals, or arms and legs of Man; and they are personified by Nakula and Sahadeva respectively.
The birth of the five Pandava brothers corresponds to the birth of a child, head foremost. First of all the crown of the head appears, and that is Yudhisthira; then the brow, and that is Bhima; then the organs of the senses ears, eyes, etc., through which Breath or Prana passes, and that is Arjuna; then the arms and then the legs appear, and they are Nakula and Sahadeva. Again, the arms and legs are similar in form and lie together, and may be spoken of as twins. So are Nakula and Sahadeva.
The Birth of Man: The five Pandava brothers are, therefore, five different parts of one Man. They are born in the pure Sankhya or Sankhya-Nyaya, personified by Kunti, Madri and Pandu; and we have to see how Man, born in this way, can rise from the surroundings of his birth to pure belief in God as the sole supreme Creator of the universe.
The Death of Pandu, Madri, Satyavati, and Ambalika: The place of Pandu is now taken by his five sons, and so he himself passes away. The pure Sankhya idea of Prakrti is the most important of all and contains almost everything that is associated with Prakrti in the other systems and so Kunti, the Prakrti of the pure Sankhya survives, while Madri, Satyavati, and Ambalika, for whom we have no further need, pass away.
Ambika, Gandhari, Kunti: We see that the principal Sankhya refers to Prakrti as the chief creative energy of life, and it is associated with three systems, Sankhya, Nyaya, and Vaiesika. Corresponding to this we have only three survivors among women Ambika, the Prakrti of the Vaisesika, Gandhari of Nyaya, and Kunti of the pure Sankhya. All the rest pass away.
The Story of Krpa: Having personified Purusha and Prakrti in the different systems of Philosophy, we might now personify the Teachers of these systems. of these Krpa personifies Sankhya or Sankhya-Nyaya, that is, the Jaina system of religion.
The Story of Drona: Similarly, Drona professes the Vaisesika-Nyaya or the Buddhist system of religion. He personifies the Mind as associated with the senses of Knowledge, to which these two systems correspond.
Asvatthaman: Asvatthaman represents almost the same idea as his father. He refers to the Mind as associated with the senses of Action, while his father to the Mind as associated with the senses of Knowledge only.
Drupada: We have now to personify the idea of Sacrifice, by means of which we rise from a lower to a higher system of thought. That is Drupada, also known as Yajnasena or "Lord of Sacrifice." He personifies the idea of Sacrifice in the whole range of principal Sankhya or Buddhism and Jainism, that is, the Sacrifice of the Mind, and the senses of Knowledge and Action.
Draupadi and Dhrstadyumna: We have now to distinguish between the creative and non-creative idea of Sacrifice a Sacrifice is truly so if the action is performed in the name of God, if it is characterized by selflessness and self-control, if it is meant for the benefit of all and makes for happiness all around a Sacrifice that is devoid of all these is a Sacrifice only in name. These two ideas of Sacrifice are personified by Draupadi and Dhrstadyumna respectively. The former always represents true Sacrifice; the latter does so only when associated with the idea of God.
Sikhandin: There is a further idea associated with Sacrifice. Whenever an act of Sacrifice is performed, even though we make use of material forces of Nature, it is always ascribed to God and attributed to him. In other words Sacrifice has power to transform what belongs to Nature or Prakrti into what belongs to God. That is, Sikhandin, the third child of Drupada, who was born as a girl (Prakrti), but, by means of Sacrifice and austerities, was transformed into a man (Purusha).
Krpa as Teacher of the Princes: We have to begin always at the bottom of the scale; and so Krpa, the teacher of Sankhya-Nyaya or Jainism is appointed to teach the sons of Pandu (Man) and of Dhritarashtra. In other words, they all understand the principles of Jainism.
Drona as Preceptor: After Jainism comes Buddhism, based on Nyaya-Vaisesika, and its preceptor is Drona and so he is appointed a teacher of the princes after Krpa. This means that they all understand the fundamental principles of Buddhism too.
Rivalry between Karna and Arjuna: Man has now grasped the full range of principal Sankhya, or Buddhism and Jainism, and he finds that he cannot accept the pure Sankhya, or the Digambara school of Jainism in any form. That system holds that all life is created by Nature or Prakrti, and its creative energy consists in semen virile, created out of Food. Now Food is personified by Karna; and, as Man has rejected the pure Sankhya, based on the energy of Food, we have here the first cause of hostility between Karna and the Pandavas (Man).
Again Arjuna represents Breath or Prana, and it is that which swallows Food. Hence Arjuna claims superiority to Karna. But it is by means of Food that a creature lives; and so Karna claims that he is greater than Arjuna. The hostility between Karna and Arjuna corresponds to that between Food and the Eater of Food, and continues to the very end. At this stage, however, viz., of principal Sankhya or Buddhism and Jainism, Man admits that the Vegetable kingdom possesses the same essence of life as the Animal kingdom , and so Arjuna and Karna are able to perform the same feats of strength in the Tournament.
Yudhisthira as Heir-Apparent: Man, born in the Sankhya or Sankhya-Nyaya (Jainism), has rejected that system and accepted Nyaya-Vaisesika or Buddhism instead. He is, therefore, a more fit advocate of that system than those who have been born in it, for his conversion is a matter of conviction and not due to the accident of birth as in the latter case. Hence Yudhisthira, representing Buddhi or the power of reason in Man, is appointed heir- apparent to the kingdom of Buddhist thought in preference to the hundred sons of Dhritarashtra who are born in that religion, implying that this system owes its supremacy to the power of Man's reason alone.
Bhima and Balarama: Man is now established in Nyaya-Vaiesika, based on the character of the Mind and the senses of Knowledge. He therefore feels that he must understand the character of the Mind more clearly. Now we are told that the Mind is fastened to Prana or vital Breath hence the two must be brought together. Bhima, as we have seen, represents the Mind in Man; and Balarama, the brother of Krshna, personifies Mind as associated with Prana or Breath; and so we are told that Bhima received instruction from Balarama.
The House of Lac: By understanding the true character of the Mind, which is a connecting link between all principal systems of thought, Man will soon be in a position to transcend the limits of Jainism and Buddhism to which he still belongs. This rouses the jealousy of Duryodhana, and he wishes to confine Man to Sankhya-Nyaya, or Jainism, for the latter's association with Nyaya-Vaisesika or Buddhism is dangerous to the safety of that prince. This attempt to confine Man to Sankhya-Nyaya or Jainism is described in the House of Lac.
The Escape: But Man, having understood the true character of the Mind, cannot be restricted to Sankhya-Nyaya or Jainism, based on the senses of Knowledge and Action. As Vidura represents the idea of the Mind in all principal systems of Philosophy, Man is able to escape from the House of Lac or Sankhya-Nyaya through his assistance: The "Bila" or "hole" through which the Pandavas (Man) escape from the House of Lac, refers to the true relation subsisting between the Mind and the ten senses; and Man, having known this, cannot be imprisoned in the Jaina system of thought.
Bhima and Hidimba; Ghatotkaca: Man needs to understand the connection between the Mind and the material things of life yet more clearly. He has understood its connection with the senses so far; and now he has to know that it is connected with all material things, composed of the elements, of which Ether is the first and most important. This is represented by the marriage of Bhima or the Mind of Man with Hidimba or the material things of life; and out of their union is born Ghatotkaca or Ether, associated with the Mind.
Death of Vaka: Man now realizes that Prakrti or Nature is not the first or sole creative energy of life, and that is the idea of his slaying Vaka, the demon, who personifies Prakrti as the chief creator of the universe.
The Pandavas and Draupadi; the Appearance of Krshna: Man has risen from Sankhya or Sankhya-Nyaya (Jainism) to Nyaya-Vaisesika or Buddhism; and has, moreover, understood the true character of the Mind as linked with Prana, the vehicle of the Soul. Now we have explained that we rise from a lower to a higher system of thought by means of Sacrifice, which embodies the idea of God as inherent in it. Man may therefore be said to be married to or united with Sacrifice, and at the same time to have an inkling of God. This is the idea of the wedding of Draupadi who personifies creative Sacrifice of the Mind and the senses, and so is called Yajnaseni, with the five Pandava brothers or Man. It is at this time that Krshna, the supreme Creator of the universe, makes his first acquaintance with the Pandavas. As Sacrifice is characterized by the idea of God, Draupadi is called Krshna too.
The Wife of Five: Each of the great energies of life of which Man consists, viz., Breath or Prana, the vehicle of the Soul, Buddhi, Mind, and motion of legs and the action of hands is capable of a separate activity conceived as a Sacrifice. Hence all the five Pandava brothers, who personify these energies in Man, are wedded to Draupadi. But all action is really performed by Prana or Breath. It partakes of Air, the element of all action and it is the vehicle of the self-conscious Soul, which directs all action. This is personified by Arjuna; and so it is he who wins Draupadi or action conceived as a Sacrifice. But, since all energies of Man can be regarded as acting separately too, though still under the control of the Soul, she is wedded to all of them.
Division of the Kingdom; Indraprastha and Hastinapura: Man has now understood the whole range of principal Sankhya Sankhya-Nyaya and Nyaya-Vaisesika or Jainism and Buddhism. He has also understood the true character of the Mind, which enables him to pass on to higher systems of thought; and now he has grasped the significance of Sacrifice too. His opponents, the Kauravas, adhere to Nyaya-Vaisesika or Buddhism; and, as Man has accepted this system with all its implications, the kingdom of thought is divided between them.
But Man has understood the character of the Mind as fastened to Prana, the vehicle of the Soul; and he is also wedded to Sacrifice, with its idea of God and so he can easily pass on to the next higher scheme of thought, viz., Saivism (Yoga-Vaisesika-Nyaya) through the idea of the Sacrifice of the Mind. This would take him one stage higher than the Kauravas. But Buddhism, the latter's creed, is included in principal Yoga or Saivism; and so, while the two are different, there can be no hostility between them. Hence it is thought wise that Man should have his own separate kingdom of thought, friendly, but different to that of the Kauravas. That is Indraprastha, the city of Indra, the deity of Buddhi, the highest energy of Saivism. The Kauravas remain where they were, that is in Hastinapura, the city of Nyaya.
The Exile of Arjuna; His Three Wives: We have seen that while each of the great energies of Man may be regarded as functioning separately, it is really Prana, or Breath that causes them all to act. Thus Draupadi (Sacrifice) has five Pandava brothers for her "husbands," and each of them may be conceived as associated with her separately. But Arjuna or Prana is also present there. This is the idea of Arjuna's presence when Yudhisthira is in Draupadi's company.
This renders it necessary for Man to understand the true character of Prana or Breath; and that is the idea of Arjuna's twelve years of exile to a forest to practise Brahmacharya or asceticism.
While examining the character of Praia we see that it functions in connection with the senses of Knowledge and Action; and that is the marriage of Arjuna with Ulupi. Then we see that it functions in connection with the Mind, as a result of which Imagination is born. In other words, when Prana, or Breath is centred in the brow, the seat of the Mind, we get Imagination; and we actually see that all images of the Mind are centred there. This is the marriage of Arjuna with Citrangada, and out of their union is born. Babhruvahana, who personifies Imagination centred in the brow. Finally we see that Prana functions in connection with the whole world of Nature; and when it does so, the Soul whose vehicle it is, is transformed into Egoism or Abhimana. That is the marriage of Arjuna with Subhadra, the sister of Krshna, and out of their union is born Abhimanyu, Abhimana, or Egoism.
The Burning of Khandava Forest: Man, having understood the idea of the Sacrifice of the Mind, and also of Prana or self-conscious Breath, is now established in principal Yoga or Saivism; and as this system is closely allied to principal Vedanta or Vaisnavism, he is on the threshold of this system too. This is indicated by the burning of the Khandava. Forest by Arjuna, supported by Krshna., and at the instance of Agni, the deity of Buddhi, the highest energy of Saivism.
A SUMMARY OF ADI PARVA: The substance of Adi Parva may now be summarized as follows:-
- All knowledge is from the known to the unknown. We must begin, therefore, with the most well-known facts about the creation of life. We see that, in its higher forms at least, life is created out of the union of the Male and the Female. Starting from this, we have to see whether it is the supreme Male or God alone, or the supreme Female or Prakrti alone, that is the one Creator of the universe.
- We begin, therefore, with the system of Philosophy which holds that all life is created jointly by Purusha and Prakrti; the supreme Male and the supreme Female, and that is Saivism (Yoga-Vaisesika-Nyaya).
- There is also another way of examining the problem. We may start at the bottom of the scale, and rise from thence to the top. We have seen that there are three principal systems of Religion, Vaisnavism, Saivism, and Buddhism and Jainism.. We might begin with the last, and then see how we can rise to Buddhism and then to Saivism and Vaisnavism.
- We have now to see how Man, placed in Jainism, can rise to Buddhism; thence to Saivism; and finally to Vaisnavism.
- We can rise from a lower to a higher system of thought through Sacrifice, which embodies the idea of God. When Sacrifice is denied, we fall from a higher to a lower system of thought.
- All systems of Philosophy can be rendered in terms of the creative energy of Purusha and Prakrti. As these are spoken of as Man and Woman, we can personify these. systems in terms of Man and Woman too.
- Our problem is that we must begin with Saivism which holds that all life is created out of the union of the Male and Female or Purusha and Prakrti. Then again we have to start with Jainism, and show how we can rise from thence to Vedanta. In other words, we have to begin with Saivism and then drop down to Buddhism and Jainism. This can be done by doing violence to the idea of Sacrifice.
- Let us personify different systems of thought; then by denying the idea of Sacrifice, let us get down to Jainism. Let us place Man in this system, and his opponents for without a conflict there can be no story and no plot in Buddhism, and then let us see how Man can rise from the system of his birth to higher forms of thought.
- As Man is placed in the Jaina system of thought and his opponents in Buddhism, it is easy for him to master the latter system and be converted to it. He finds, however, that he can do so only by means of Sacrifice, which contains the essence of the idea of God.
- Jainism is based on the character of the senses of Knowledge and Action; and by understanding the idea of their Sacrifice, Man ascends to Buddhism, based on the character of the senses of Knowledge and the Mind.
- Man now understands the idea of the Sacrifice of the Mind and the senses of Knowledge as well; and so he comprehends the idea of God better still. He has now risen from Buddhism to Saivism through the Sacrifice of the Mind and the senses.
- As Buddhism is included in Saivism, there can be no hostility between Man and his opponents; and so the Kingdom of Thought is divided between them, and for some time they live in friendship and peace.