Sunday, January 9, 2011

Episode 39 - The Markandeya Sessions Pt. 3

Episode 39 - Two more stories from the Sage Markandeya.  The first is a rousing fight story, where the king of Ayodhya gets super powers from the god Vishnu and defeats a dragon.

I find the second story more interesting.  Yuddistira wants to know about the specific problems that women and servants must have in following their dharma.  Markandeya replies with a story about a short-tempered Brahmin Kaushika, who encounters a particularly wise peasant woman, whose devotion to her husband grants her great wisdom and insight.  Noticing that the brahmin could use some advice on dharma, she sends him to the local butcher, who, it turns out, knows even more about dharma than the woman.

We are nearly through with Markandeya.  Next episode we'll get back to the main protagonists, with a tete-a-tete between Draupadi and Krishna's wife Satyabhama.


  1. Hi.
    Very interesting podcast and I am thoroughly enjoying it. Also, unlike tv-show thanks for being truthful to the text and not omitting section, which can be not so pleasant. I am intrigued by your comment in this episode that kaliyuga has passed centuries ago. But if you consider that 1000 years referred by Markandaya as 1000 Brahma years then kaliyuga has not yet passed and there are still around 427,000 years to go. Refer to the link below and let me know what you think

    1. That's an interesting question. The numbers of years provided by Markandeya (and also found in Manu) are given in "years". Somehow, these years were later interpreted as Brahma years, and the Yugas became extremely long in earth years. But, if you treat the number of years given by Manu and Markandeya as equal to plain old earth-years, they add up to exactly one-half of the earth's precessional cycle, which is appr. 26,000 years. Thus, the four Yugas add up to 13,000 years.
      SriYukteshwar famously wrote a book (Holy Science) about how the Yugas match the precession of the equinoxes, and he posits that this is deliberate-- that each Yuga matches a certain point along the precessional journey, but he adds a second set of Yugas that move in reverse. Thus, we start with a golden age about 13,000 years ago, and it declined progressively through Dwapara & Kali Yuga, but at the end of the Kali Yuga (around 500 AD), the decline switched directions, starting with Kali Yuga again, and moving up towards Satya Yuga. By this calculation, the ascending Kali Yuga ended around 1790, and we are now well into the ascending Dwapara Yuga.
      I think this is a much simpler use of the numbers we get from the old scriptures, and it actually follows the course of human history pretty well. It is promising that we are now moving out of the the darkest periods, and I think I can perceive that in the types of people we see today, compared to in the past.
      I recommend you look into this, and I hope you find it helpful. Take care.