The philosophical essense of the Mahabharat is only one interpreta- tion. Ludwig called it an analogy of cycle of seasons - Pandu, Dhru- tarashtra, Krishna etc. being different shades of the Sun. One another scholar, Ho, considers it to be a tussle between the Vaishnav and Shaivite sects. Maxmuller addressed the Mahabharat to be a reflection of Greek civilization as it contains customs and practices prevelant among Greek people. Buhler considers the Mahabharat to be a 'Dharma- Shastra'. Wrangler Chandratreya interprets the volumnous treatise as the ocean of ethical principles spread out over a vast expanse...
Yet another scholar, Dr.Prema, views the treatise from a medical per- spective, 100 diseases (Kaurav) being treated by 5 medicines (Pandav). He refers to the allegorical equations of Teriyar - a 'Siddha', a mystic-cum-medical man, which are quite fascinating :
Some believe that it is long poem and contains mythical characters and events. How could a source of cultural-spiritual-political-ethical- art- literature-etc. been a reality ? How could 'one book' incorporate the faculties of ethics-polity-statecraft-economics-therapeutics at the same time ? Therefore the 'book' must have evovled over centuries with all the knowledge added slowly. The 'poetic idealism' is too good to be a reality ! And how is that such a 'primitive' civilization, when computers were not developed, even ponder about nuclear missiles and biological weapons ? It cannot be true...However, " There is more suspense in the Truth and only the Truth delivers more thrill than the imaginative will" !
Mahabharat is not just a story, but the detailed account of a event occured in the past. It has been written in the epic from time to time that Mahabharat is a "itihas" which exclusively means "thus occured". The words "Puraan" and "Itihas" were specifically coined by the Arya people to catagorize the "ancient" and "recent" events. Both the words denote history that has occured at different times. A number of dynas- ties with their long lineage of kings have been presented in the work. More than 50 kings from King Barhi to the Pandava King have been recorded. Additional information about the King, his wife, his scions, his relations, etc. have been accounted in great detail. If it were just fiction, only 4-5 kings would have sufficed to build the story on. Then why such mind-boggling details ?
Mahabharat is of a later date than the Ramayan. Why would the author of the Mahabharat borrow the same ideas and characters as those of the author of Ramayan ? Archaeological excations has discovered the sub- merged city of Dwaraka. This is the same Dwaraka as mentioned in the Mahabharat. The astronomical recordings in the Mahabharat "epic" and other scriptures (Bhagwat), given the correct positions of the planets and stars during that time. How could a work of fiction be proved using mathematical tools ?
A historian, however, percieves it as a historical reality that occured about 5000 years ago! The Mahabharat represents a reference to dileanate a continuous record of events, before and after the War, and to trace back the antiquity of human civilization, in Bharat as well as in the rest of the world.
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