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Letter to Veda Vyasa
Respected Veda Vyasa,
writing this letter to you on my behalf and on behalf of
many of your admirers over many centuries. Even when I was a
very little kid, I have wondered about you and what type of
a person you were growing up. What influenced you to write
Mahabharat? Was there any influence in your life that
triggered you to think of writing this great epic?
believe that you were mostly documenting what you saw
happening around you. Some even think that you may only
started writing. They believe that other poets added many
more verses to your original work. Did you have many of your
disciples helping you in writing, with you as the editor? Do
you think many others after your life have added to your
original verse, to bring it to this size of the worlds
longest verse? I know it is a stupid question. How could you
know what happened after your death? You can at least tell
us what you wrote and what was your actual contribution.
many areas of the epic that concerns many of us. I will tell
you one at a time. I will ask you about the characters in
your epic. I will also ask you about some of the events.
know, there are many inconsistencies in your characters. The
moral and human values in your story are below the standard
of our expectations. If the royal families and the leaders
of the society during those times had questionable value
system, ordinary citizens, who need to look up to them as
idols, would have been suffering from much worse cultural
life quality. Sometimes, we wonder about the societal values
and the social infrastructure during your time, with the
assumption that your writing reflects the society. You also
justify many wrong things through your characters.
One of our
serious concerns is to do with women in your epic. Starting
from Mother Ganga, you have misrepresented women and their
attitude to marriage, motherhood and basic humanness of
women. Mother is the most sensitive person for any child
compared to all others, including the father. As we all know
mother will give up anything for the good of the child.
Mothers are never selfish and temperamental especially when
it comes to her children. Our culture regards Mother Ganga
with the highest regard. What made you think of the way you
have characterized her? Do you realize that you have set a
very bad example of motherhood just at the beginning of your
Let us talk
about your mother, Matsyagandha. Was it common for Rishis,
who are revered for their knowledge, maturity and
self-control to take advantage of women out of wedlock? You
have narrated similar questionable practices throughout
Mahabharat in case of Kunthi, Draupadi and Gandhari. The
situations and instances are different, but the underlying
impression you give is not to be proud of our women in those
days. Let us also agree that it takes two hands to clap. Men
were worse in this regard. Arjuna, Bheema and other leading
characters had many women in their life. The children they
fathered were "legitimate" from the point of view
of social structure depicted in your epic. Both Pandavas and
Kauravas let Draupadi be stripped in the royal court. Was
this a practice in the culture that you had witnessed in
real life? What kind of impression does it give if people
from other religions read about this? I have serious
problems in this particular case whether it is a true story
that you documented, or it was just your wild imagination. I
get a bad impression about you especially if it is your
imagination. How could Ganesha write this type of narrations
and incidents when you were depicting? Bear in mind that he
was expected to understand this scene before writing. Do you
remember that Ganesha is believed by us not to be thinking
of topics like this? I do not really get as much of a bad
impression on Dushyasana or Duryodhana about this event as I
would get of you and Ganesha. I strongly feel that this
event is all your imagination. You probably needed some
worldly emotional outlet away from your position as a sage.
You were dreaming of many things forbidden for a sage,
taking the excuse of being a poet.
you are answering that it is all just your reporting of a
real story. Please think seriously before you take that
escape. I will catch you in other parts of the epic that
could never have happened. You can only run, but can't hide
from me. I will use your own techniques back to you to pull
you out of hiding. Do you remember of the scene you wrote
when Duryodhana hides submerged in water away from Bheema?
Do you remember that Bheema used severe accusation
techniques to pull Duryodhana out? You know that Duryodhana
got so upset hearing the taunting accusations so much so
that Duryodhana started to profusely sweat even while
submerged in water!
character of Draupadi creates a big question mark on the
marriage laws and practice of your time. Was it really
common to have a woman share many brothers? Did it not look
stupid to the citizens in that kingdom? Yudhistira probably
did not mind this part of your story, even though he was
called Dharmaraja! I am sure Draupadi had a smile on her
face all the time!
Let us get
to your role in the story. You were born out of wedlock. You
come back and "sanction" your stepbrothers' wives
with pregnancy. I know what you might say now! You were
requested by your mother to do so. You were respecting her
wishes as a “good” son! The family tree needed to
continue. Give me a brake, or explain! It was never a royal
family tree in the first place. Bheeshma became the
step-grandfather and guardian to your family tree. You go
back to your meditation and writing. The Pandavas and the
Kauravas really belong to your lineage, which is mixed
already. Your father was an ascetic and a sage, while your
mother was a fisher woman. How could the Pandavas and
Kauravas be of royal lineage? Kunthi bears four children by
the magic of divine gift, and decides to abandon her first
son. Does Kunthi’s character not look suspicious to your
readers? She served a great sage in “respect”. The sage
“granted” a good looking, well endowed virgin with “boons”
to have children by invoking great mythological nature gods.
She delivers Karna through Immaculate Conception. What was
the role of Pandu when the Pandavas were born, if it is all
a “gift” granted by the great sage in the name of
powerful nature Gods like Sun, Yama (the God of death /
time), Indra (the King of the heavens), and Ashvini twin
Let us take
the role of Krishna. Before we begin, please tell me if he
is a God or a human being with all the human weaknesses! You
make him do so many things throughout the epic, and you even
try to provide divine justification to most of his
the basic question directly posed to you as a straight arrow
from me. Try to defend if you can! Was it all imagination,
and a poetic expression of your inner desires?
still forced to believe by our parents, teachers and
religious leaders that good always wins, and scores victory
over evil. You even call the Mahabharat war as "Dharma
Yudhdha". Are you preaching us through your great
writing that manipulation is really necessary to win a war,
and mostly everything in our life? History has taught us
that good does not always win. By the predominance of major
events in history, good does not win all the time. Many
times, both sides are not completely good anyway. One has to
really start taking a balance and start weighing good and
bad on both sides. The conclusion really is:
good and bad on all sides and all aspects of life. Good and
bad are really in the eyes of the beholder.
I am not
arguing against goodness. I am not favoring badness either.
I am only trying to bring a perspective.
war was really a mess that you created. The rules of the war
were not followed by either side. Krishna's manipulative
mind, many times unfair and cunning, had only one goal: His
side has to win, at any cost. He did not care who died on
either side. It was like a chess game. It does not matter
what you sacrifice on your side, as long as you protect the
king. Your only aim is to make the king on the other side
immobile. Indeed, you achieved it. You had Duryodhana left
alone to defend at the end. By advising Bheema to ignore the
rules of the dual, you really broke the thighs of Duryodhana
and made him immobile, and left him to die. Another trick
you played as the author is making the king on your side,
Yudhistrira (Dharmaraja), an idealist, but one who lacks
martial skills. He did not have to fight. He only had to
have two brothers, Krishna as the manipulator and lie as
realize that I am not attacking your characters, but only
the poet who created and developed them? You are no doubt
the most skilled poet ever born on this earth. I am only
questioning your contorted morality that may have influenced
you characters and their development.
another serious doubt about you and your claims. Tell me now
who was the real scribe for you when you wrote Mahabharat?
You want us to believe you that Ganesha came down from the
heaven (or wherever it is!) to be your scribe. Are you
trying to imply that you wrote it really non-stop? By making
such claims your story becomes unbelievable. You were a
human being, even though a very creative poet, with all the
human desires, dreams and weaknesses. You wanted an outlet
to your humanness. It does not matter to me if you took
breaks and had one or more disciples scribing when you
dictated. My complaint is about how your mind worked.
your story, only people of royal lineage get to win. What
kind of a day did you have when you wrote about Ekalavya?
Did you not toss and turn in your sleep that night after you
wrote of his thumb being sacrificed? Who did you pattern the
character of the royal military teacher Drona? Did you know
of a teacher so cruel and a teacher who realized that pupil
with no teacher can master archery better than his best
I do not have Ganesha as my scribe. I am a human being. I
need to take a break. Don't you dare sneak out on me or go
back to your meditation, Oh great sage! I will be back with
my questions on Karna. You really need to meditate with a
true concentration to answer my questions on Karna!
now. I will back soon. Don't go away too far! Take a good
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