Narach Philosophy

THE ESSENCE OF THE EPIC: VIRATA PARVA


Man has now to understand the character of the Soul, the unmanifest in the midst of the manifest; and so the Pandava brothers, now at the Soul stage, must remain unmanifest or unrecognized in this world of life; and that is the kingdom of Virata.

In the King's Service: The essential idea of Vedanta arises out of Sacrifice, and Service is one of its principal forms. Hence Man must undertake to do service in this world or the kingdom of Virata. As each energy comprising Man is capable of service, all the five Pandava brothers as well as Draupadi, the symbol of Sacrifice, undertake to serve in the way they can.

Kicaka and Draupadi; the Death of Kicaka: People have often an erroneous idea of Sacrifice, and yet believe that they alone are correct. Kicaka, who personifies this idea, seeks, therefore, to possess Draupadi, the Woman of Sacrifice. But they must understand what is true and what is false Sacrifice and know that they cannot grasp its essence so easily. This is expressed by the death of Kichaka and his followers at the hands of Bhima.

The Capture of the Cows: The opponents of Man, established in Buddhism, viz., the Kauravas and their allies, hold that they alone possess all knowledge that can be grasped by the senses; and so they come out to capture the Cows of Virata; for the Cow, as we have explained, refers to the senses of Knowledge. But Man, established in Vedanta, convinces them that his Knowledge too can bear scrutiny in the light of the senses and so Arjuna, who is Prana, the Vehicle of the Soul, basis of Vedanta, succeeds in routing the Kauravas, and brings back the Cows of Virata.

The Marriage of Uttara and Abhimanyu: Man is now established in Vedanta and understands the true character of the Soul. But the Soul in Vedanta is characterized by unceasing action, which must take place in the world of manifest life. What, then, is the connection between the Soul and the world? Man understands that when the Soul acts and associates itself with the world, it is transformed into Egoism or Abhimana; and that, as we have explained, is the idea of Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna and so, while the Soul, in the purity of its essence, has no contact with the world, it associates itself with the objects of life as Abhimana. Hence Arjuna (Soul) cannot marry Uttara, the daughter of Virata himself; but she is wedded to his son, Abhimanyu.

A SUMMARY OF VIRATA PARVA:
  1. Man has now to understand the essential character of the Soul, the basis of Vedanta, the unmanifest in the midst of the manifest.
  2. He understands that the essential idea of Vedanta is based on Service and Sacrifice; and he teaches it to those who have erroneous ideas on the subject.
  3. He holds that the true character of the Soul can be established by means of proof that the senses of Knowledge would accept as satisfactory.
  4. He agrees, however, that, while the Soul in the purity of its essence is contactless, it must associate itself with the world of life, when it is transformed into Egoism or Abhimana.