Thursday, 15 October 2015

Shanti Parva – Not So Popular Chapter of Mahabharata

When it comes to Mahabharata, most of the people would have studied or heard about the epic up until the end of the Great War at Kurushetra resulting in extinction of Kauravas and victory for Pandavas. But there is a great deal of story after the end of the war, Shanti Parva is one of the Parva (chapter) that deals with post war scenario. In fact it is the longest parva of all the 18 parvas of the epic.

Bheeshma falls to Arjuna’s arrows on the 10th day of the war; although deeply stuck by arrows throughout his body, Bheeshma decides to prolong his life for some more days by virtue of a boon he has received from his father which gave him the power to choose his time of death.
Once the war is over, Lord Krishna advises Yudhishthira, the eldest of the Pandavas to get enlightenment from their wise grandsire Bheeshma before he passes out. Yudhishthira and his brothers meet Bheeshma and reverentially request him to guide them. Bheeshma always loved the Pandavas because of their righteousness and eagerly started his discourse to Yudhisthira on subjects covering duties and responsibilities of a king, dharma, good governance, philosophy and political science. The entire Shanti Parva contains lot of fables to illustrate the principles.

This chapter has three major subdivisions namely
  1. Rajadharma anusasana Parva – dealing with duties of kings and leaders, among other things
  2. Apaddharma anusasana Parva – dealing with the rules of conduct when one faces adversity.
  3. Moksha dharma Parva – dealing with behavior and rules to achieve moksha (emancipation, release, freedom).
Although it is a difficult chapter to read through, it is worth reading considering the treasure of knowledge it contains.

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