Mahabharat : A Myth or a Reality

     Mahabharat : A reality or a myth ?
     It has been believed by some historians and laymen that Mahabharat
     is just a fictitious fable emerged from the fantastic brain of the
     Sage Ved Vyas. It has been contended that such a 'war' could not
     have occured owing to the detailed description of various facets
     of the 'epic'. However, tradition as well as many Bharatiya scholars
     have all along maintained that Mahabharat did actually occur and is
     a complete reality.

     Mahabharat is not just a story, but the detailed account of a 
     event occured in the past. The few points are noted below that
     indicate a few differences in what is 'reality' and 'myth'. 

      1. 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.

      2. It is mentioned in Aadiparva, Adhyaya 62 that the annals of the
         Bharat-Dynasty are recorded in the work.

      3. It has been clearly stated in the Aadiparva, Bheeshmaparva etc. 
         that this is "itihas". If the intentions of the writer were to
         write a poem or a work of fiction, he would have stated it to be
         a "mahakavya" or "katha". 

      4. It would to absurd to say that the Mahabharat is not a "itihas"
         due to its poetic nature. It was a custom in those days to write
         everything in poetic form.                                    

      5. Ved Vyas had decided to write down the "itihas" even before the
         initiation of the Mahabharat War. Therefore during the course of
         the War, Vyas meticulously noted down all the possible details.
         If it were a work of fiction, why would a person like Vyas want
         to fill his work with such minute and unnecessary details ?

      6. A number of dynasties with their lond 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 ?

      7. The dynasties recorded in the Ramayan and the Mahabharat concur
         without a difference. Even the relations between different kings
         and their dynasties in both the great "epics" match with each other.
         If both were mere "epics" written by two entirely different at two
         different times, why would everything match even upto minor details ?

         Mahabharat is of a later date than the Mahabharat. Why would the 
         author of the Mahabharat borrow the same ideas and characters as    
         those of the author of Ramayan ?

      8. Usually, the story of any "Maha-Kaavya" circulates about one or
         two main characters. If this were the case with Mahabharat, who
         would then be considered the "hero" of the drama ?

      9. Many events mentioned in the Ramayan and Mahabharat are the same.
         Eg.: The mother of (latter) King Sagar was poisoned by his step-mother
         so that her child would be aborted. But the child was born
         nevertheless, who was therefore named Sagar.

     10. The cities established by certain kings has been noted in detail.

     11. All the characters in the "epic" are well-portrayed. Even single
         facet of their character and important events in their life have
         been recorded. Are such detailed accounts important in a "Maha-kavya"?

     12. The weapons mentioned in the Ramayan and the Mahabharat are somewhat
         same. Infact, some weapons in the Ramayan are not mentioned in the
         latter "epic". (eg. Soorya'stra, Yamya'stra, Shoolva'stra..etc.)
         [ Considering the true occurance of the two great events, the above
           mentioned weapons might have disappreared in the era in-between
           the two events took place].

     13. If it were a poetic fiction, such comprehensive account of the 
         events on the battle-field would'nt have been given. For a poem,
         it is far-fetched. It will only serve the purpose of boring the
         reader to death!

     14. The description of such myriad of characters is astonishing. It is
         impossible for one single-mind to be the genesis of that number
         of personality-types. It could only be true if the Mahabharat is
         the recording of a real-life drama.

     15. The time and place of events have been accurately recorded. All such
         recordings are redudant for a "Maha-kavya".

     16. Not much poetic description of the flora-and-fauna is given. Such
         description in ornate language is only used in fictional works and not
         while recording history.

     17. Vyas mentions to have written this "itihas" after the death of King
         Dhrutarashtra. Why would he write so ? Did Shakespeare say that he
         wrote "Hamlet" after the death of Hamlet himself ?     

     18. The Greek historian Megasthenes has stated that Chandragupta Maurya
         was the 138 King in the lineage of Shri Krishna. This means that 
         Shri Krishna did exist in the bygone era and that Mahabharat did
         really occur.

     19. It was a custom to keep a track of the Kings lineage. The Chinese 
         traveller confirms the above. Mahahbharat being a true account
         of a occured War, such lineages are seen to be recorded.

     20. Archaeological excations has discovered the submerged city of
         Dwaraka. This is the same Dwaraka as mentioned in the Mahabharat.
         [ The city of Dwaraka has been reckoned to have drowned in between
          5000-6000 B.C.]

     21. 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 ?  
    Prasad Gokhale
    University of New Brunswick,     f0g1@jupiter.sun.csd.unb.ca
    Fredericton, N.B. CANADA.        f0g1@unbmvs1, f0g1@unb.ca

       "Truth can wait, it is used to it". - Anonymous.