Narach Philosophy

THE ESSENCE OF THE EPIC: SAUPTIKA PARVA


We have seen that Vedanta has come out victorious in this great debate with Buddhism and its allies; but there are a few points which require to be elucidated. We have pointed out that the essential idea of Vedanta is based on Action as a Sacrifice; and it is by means of the Sacrifice of the Mind and the senses that we rise from Jainism and Buddhism to higher systems of thought. But Sacrifice, to be truly such, must express the idea of God, without which it is a Sacrifice but in name, and so must be renounced. This is the idea of the scheme of Asvatthaman. He desires to prove that when the idea of God, or the Soul believing in God, is absent, a Sacrifice is not a Sacrifice at all; and this is expressed in terms of his slaying Dhrstadyumna and the Pancalas in the absence of Krshna and Arjuna.

The Survivors of the Pandavas: After this the idea of Vedanta is complete, and Man, imbued with the true spirit of Sacrifice and believing in God as the sole supreme Creator of the universe, remains. And so of the Pandava hosts only the five brothers (Man), with Draupadi (Sacrifice), Krshna (God) and Satyaki (Truth), survive.

The Gem of Asvatthaman: Asvatthaman represents the idea of the association of the Mind with the senses of Action, and this may be said to be the gem that he wears. But according to Vedanta it is the Soul that directs and controls the senses through the Mind; and so it is the Soul and not the Mind that must be regarded as the sovereign of the senses. Hence, if Vedanta be true, Asvatthaman must part with the gem of the idea that he wears. This is exactly what happens, and he hands it over to Bhima (Mind) supported Yudhisthira (Buddhi), Arjuna (Soul) and Krshna (God).

The Weapon of Asvatthaman; Uttara and Pariksit: But if Vedanta is established, we must regard God alone as the sole Creator of the universe, and Nature or Prakti must in itself be held to be non-creative or sterile. Hence, as Woman represents Nature or Prakrti; the weapon (argument) of Asvatthaman falls on the womb of Pandava women and renders them sterile, and the same happens to Uttara too, for she personifies Nature or Prakrti wedded to Egoism or Abhimana (Abhimanyu).

But according to Vedanta it is God who creates Prakrti and fills if with his own creative power, and then the two united together create and so, by the grace of Krshna (God), the still-born child of Uttara (Prakrti) is revived; and he is Pariksit or the manifest world that spreads around. This is the literal meaning of the word Pariksit.

A SUMMARY OF SAUPTIKA PARVA:
  1. The essential idea of Vedanta, which has succeeded in this debate, is based on Sacrifice; and Sacrifice implies selfless action, characterized by self-control, performed for the benefit of all, and in the name of God.
  2. If the idea of God, or the Soul imbued with faith in God, is absent, an action, ostensibly regarded as a Sacrifice, ceases to be so and must be renounced.
  3. The next point that emerges out of this debate is that, if God is the sole supreme Creator of the universe, Nature should be regarded as sterile and devoid of all creative energy.
  4. This is held to be an erroneous view; for the real idea of Vedanta is that God creates Nature or Prakti and gives to it his own creative power; so that Nature, through his grace, becomes creative too.