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A painting of the Mahabharata War

The history of the world has been separated from mythology for many years now. Archaeological surveys have been conducted with various purposes in mind, some of which have been to prove certain beliefs that people have carried with them over the years. The validity of the Mahabharata is highly debated among many cultures who seek its relevance. Since it was written thousands of years ago, Indians claim that it is not just a myth. They have found historical evidence of it having actually happened.

The heart of this argument is that the Mahabharata is an epic of world literature, and in fact one of the longest. It has been found to hold ideals and practices that have dominated Hinduism across the world for years. The Bhagavad-Gita, which is within the Mahabharata, is filled with lessons about life and death, material and immaterial, and the various tenets of living. This is read widely in most Hindu households for the wealth of information it holds in it.

Mahabharata holds its place among the Greek epics of Homer, and the Scriptures of other world religions. Krishna giving the Gita to Arjuna Image source: wikimediawikimedia

The Mahabharata has been ascribed the longest written history, that it has been written between 400 B.C to 400 A.D, but scholars also ascribe 150 years from the year 1 A.D. to it. It has also been passed down from oral tradition, as many illiterate families are able to recite many stanzas of it from memory, thus, making it an epic that is culturally permeated into religion so much that it put to the rest the social question of ignorance.

These days, the epic has been made into stories for children, and artists have rendered it into many masterpieces. Plays, novels, poetry, and paintings have been staged and exhibited many times. Archaeology surveys continue to be held, and despite findings being attributed to the ancient epic, there is more local history to associate it with. It is said that even during the colonial raj, the archaeologists were given the task of attributing buildings and locations with cultural value to preserve the Indian essence.

The place of Ram's birth in Ayodhya, and the river Saraswati in Haryana An illustration from the Mahabharata Image source. wikimedia

There are more intellectual pursuits behind proving the validity of the Mahabharata. Rivers and cities have been identified as mentioned in the epic. The place of Ram's birth in Ayodhya, and the river Saraswati in Haryana are examples of this. Scientific locations, estimates, and technologies that have come to pass in the present generation have been mentioned in the epic, as instruments being used on a daily basis. This gives one a great deal to think about in terms of how the authors of the epic written so many thousands of years ago, could have accurately prophesied the descriptions of present-day technology.

Yet, the Mahabharata holds its place among the Greek epics of Homer, and the Scriptures of other world religions. It has a place between the worlds of faith and literature. In both, it has renditions of classic tradition and undisputable history. Perhaps finding proof of its existence outside of what has been found out is not as easy as it documents a time when humans and gods walked the same earth. The time period is so far removed from our current war-stricken world that evidence cannot be conclusive enough without causing controversy. It is fair to state then, that it is an epic inspired by real history, and a narrative of true events.

Keywords: Mahabharata, Epic, History, Myth


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Books that you can read in 2022.

Reading allows you to gain a deeper understanding of the world around you, stimulating your creativity and keeping your mind engaged.

A list of new releases published by Aleph:

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What the Heck Do I Do With My Life? is a book on figuring out what you want to do with your life. Ravi Venkatesan argues that effective adaptation in the twenty-first century necessitates a "paradigm shift," a new attitude, new talents, and new techniques. Ravi also considers how, rather than drifting along like a piece of driftwood, we will need to live life more consciously, making deliberate decisions about who we are, what we do, and how we live.

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