Narach Philosophy

THE ESSENCE OF THE EPIC: ASRAMAVASIKA PARVA


We have seen how Man has been established in Vedanta which includes and is a culmination of all systems of Philosophy. We have also seen that Dhritarashtra, who personifies Buddhism, has been converted to Vedanta; but he still retains his own character and so for some time the Pandavas (Man) and the blind old King rule together in this world of life.

King Dhritarashtra Retires into a Forest: But the essential idea of Buddhism is different to that of Vedanta, and the two cannot live together in peace forever. Besides, having understood the Ascending Scale of thought, it is necessary for us to understand the Descending Scale as well. We have seen that we rise from a lower to a higher system through the idea of Sacrifice; and when this is denied, we fall from a higher to a lower system and so, when Bhima fends of the blind old king, the idea of Sacrifice is denied, and so we descend from principal Vedanta or Vaisnavism to principal Yoga or Saivism. Then Dhritarashtra and all those who are specially associated with him, viz., Gandhari, Kuntz, Vidura and Sanjaya, retire into a forest, knowing that their end is near.

The Death of Vidura: Vidura personifies the Mind as the centre of all principal systems of thought. Now we are told that at dissolution each lower energy is absorbed in the next higher one; and so Vidura (Mind) enters the body of Yudhisthira (Buddhi), limb by limb and passes away.

The Death of Dhritarashtra and Others: We have seen that with the offence given by Bhima to the king, all have descended from Vedanta to Yoga, whose deity is Agni, the god of Buddhi. As Yoga holds to Action as a Sacrifice, they cause a sacrificial Fire (Agni) to be lighted, which spreads and dissolves them all. This is their end. Only Sanjaya, who has been converted to the Vaiesika as the centre of all systems of thought, escapes to tell the tale of what has happened. This takes place eighteen years after the battle of Kurukshetra to indicate that we have come down by one stage in the Descending Scale of thought.

A SUMMARY OF ASRAMAVASIKA PARVA:
  1. We have seen how we rise from a lower to a higher system of thought by means of the idea of Sacrifice; and now it is necessary for us to understand how, when sacrifice is denied, we can sink from a higher to a lower system.
  2. The number eighteen represents the conflict of three great systems of thought Yoga as identical, for all practical purposes, with Vedanta, and Vaiesika and Nyaya. Man is now established in Vaisnavism or principal Vedanta; and in one cycle of thought or eighteen years he descends to the next lower system, viz., Saivism or principal Yoga by disregarding the idea of Sacrifice.