The subtitle of the post "The Epic" stops me from calling this post as a book review. I cannot post a review on the longest epic ever written in Sanskrit. I can only share my experiences with the epic.
I watched a lot of movies, in bits and pieces though, on Mahabharata. Having been born and brought up in India, I heard many a people mentioning about this epic at number of occasions since my childhood. I of course knew the over all story of it but never knew some of the important relationships among the characters. Without knowing that, the story that I knew always used to feel incomplete and used to create a lot of enthusiasm in me to read "Mahabharata" once. Some how I never could do that all this long and finally, and the recent Diwali vacation did give me a chance to fulfill my long pending wish. So I did. I read one of the books on Mahabharata my dad gave me from his collection. The book was in Telugu language, my mother tongue, so I enjoyed reading it more than I had expected it to be.
Since I knew a major portion of the story, I decided very strongly to read the epic by keeping the logics aside. My logical brain was all the time disappointed by suppressing it every time it popped up a question like "How?" while I was reading the book. And by doing that the emotions and the characterizations have been thoroughly understood and enjoyed. Since it's a vast story, the number of characters is huge as known. Remembering the significance of each and every small character was not possible for obvious reasons. However, going back the pages and referring to the related portion of the story helped a lot in maintaining the connection among the characters in my mind. What particularly I liked was the way the naming of the characters was done! Brilliant. Just great. I came to know a lot of new and beautiful names.
My dad said an interesting thing while I was discussing the story with mom and him. He referred to some of the names of 'Kauravas' and said which parent would name his or her son like "Dussasana, Dustha buddi etc"! Since it was the writer who named all those characters, the names were so chosen that they were near to their respective characterizations. I completely agree with what's said by my dad. This reminds me of yet another story that was read in childhood about three fishes named 'Sumati', 'Kumati', 'Mandamati', which would behave just according to their names as said in the story. It was the writer who named them and in Mahabharata as well, it was the writer who named all those characters and not the parents of the characters. The epic is written, just written, and I think it did not happen as most people believe.
If all that written was happened, then something great happened. And if all that written was just written, then some thing more than great was written. Either way, it's just awesome!
I will write in my later posts about the leanings from Mahabharata. This post is just about my experience with one of the greatest epics ever written in the history of mankind. I'm very happy to have read it, to have known about it, to have liked it, to have enjoyed reading it.