Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Episode 87 - Rama's Famous Genocide

Episode 87 - Yuddistira is finally convinced that he should remain king, and he gets down to business.  He marches straight to the palace and has himself anointed and consecrated.  He appoints his council and gets his kingdom in order.  As soon as he has a chance to catch his breath, Krishna suggests that they hurry over to uncle Bhisma, who isn't long for this world.

Along the way, Krishna tells the story of Battleaxe Rama, who wiped out the race of Kshatriyas 21 times in succession.

The podcast may be taking something of a hiatus after this episode.  We are now entering the section of the Mahabharata that is dedicated to Bhisma's teaching on Dharma.  This constitutes nearly one-third of the entire text, and from what I've seen so far, is extremely legalistic and detailed.  This means I will need to pour over a lot of text to extract enough information to make a full episode.  That may take a while.

On the positive side, once we are through this section of Bhisma's teachings, we are almost at the end of the story!

Thanks for sticking with me on this long journey.  I'll be sure to keep you posted as things develop.  Just keep watching this blog!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Holiday Message - Is Kubera Santa Claus?

Merry Christmas to all you Christians (and folks who just like getting gifts)!  It struck me last night that the myth of Santa Claus is awfully similar to the story of Kubera that we get from the Mahbarata.  Both live in the far north, both are famous for their wealth & generosity, and both are surrounded by halflings-- they are called Elves in the case of Santa Claus, and Yakshas in the Mahabharata.  Kubera is King of the Yakshas.

I recall that it was Kubera who donated wealth for the construction of the palace at Indraprastha.

Is it possible that the legend of Kubera made it all the way to Northern Europe and survived the arrival of Christianity?  

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Episode 86 - To be (king), or not to be...

Episode 86 - It seems like Yuddistira always had a secret desire to give up the world and live like a sadhu.  But now he has a pretty good justification-- after all, he even killed his elder brother.  Crimes like this demand extreme penance, and Yuddistira would like nothing better than to embrace that lifestyle.

No one else agrees with the new king however, and his brothers, Krishna, and the Rishis all take turns trying to convince him that the best use of his life would be to take up the crown and rule, according to his dharma.

They never quite seem to convince him, but Krishna and Narada at least manage to distract him with a story of a boy who crapped gold nuggets (Suvarnashthivin).  Also, Yuddistira has learned to always obey Krishna, and Krishna is adamant that he take up the throne and rule.  

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Episode 85 - Remembering Karna

Episode 85 - We begin the Book of Peace, the Shanti Parva.  After boasting to his uncle about his special clairvoyant powers, Yuddistira is blindsided by the news that he & Karna shared the same mother.  Now the Dharma Raja has learned that he killed his own brother-- aside from killing one's parents, perhaps one of the worst things a person could do.

The brothers spend a month outside in the city walls as a sort of penance, and are joined by the great sages of the ancient world.  Narada comforts the brothers by telling stories of Karna's past.  The sage argues that Karna's life & circumstances were custom-designed to spark this war and ensure its completion.

We finally learn of Karna's tutelage under Rama Jamadagnya (Parasurama), and we get the story of how he was cursed for killing a Brahmin's cow.  

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Episode 84 - The Book of the Women

Episode 84 - Vidur & Vyasa tell a few parables to help Dhrtarastra pull himself together.  When the king is finally pacified, he leads all the bereaved women of Hastinapur in a great procession to deal with their fallen men.  They march along the banks of the Ganga to Kurukshetra, where they encounter Ashwatthaman, Krpa & Krtavarman, who are still on the run after killing the Pandava's sons & allies.

Ashwatthaman heads of to Vyasa's ashram, Krpa goes home to Hastinapur, and Krtavarman also heads for home.

The procession later meets up with the Pandavas, fresh from Ashwatthaman's downfall, and together they proceed to the battlefield.  Following the great cremation, a memorial is conducted on the banks of the Ganga.  Kunti joins in and tells her sons to honor their fallen brother-- this is the first time the Pandavas were told they had a brother!