Prema Nandakumar

As part of his exertions in guiding his flock, Madhvacharya chose select storylines from the Mahabharata as aids to teaching his disciples about dharma in everyday life. His explications are never cerebral, and his philosophy is subsumed in the storyline. Sriman Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnayam , being an amazing work of intuitive interpretation, defies translation. But a pen dipped in pure devotion can perform the impossible. Sridharan has done his best and the Guru's grace does the rest.

The present volume, sixth in the series, deals with the 19th and 20th chapters of the Nirnayam . In the former, we get to draw close to the ‘Lacquer Palace' episode, marriage with Hidimba, the killing of Bakasura and the swayamvara of Draupadi. There is never a dull moment even as we begin with Duryodhana's association with the evil Kalinga to despoil his cousins. A blind love for one's progeny will inevitably end in disaster. That is what happens.

The choice of these episodes is appropriate since the Madhva sampradaya considers Hanuman and Bhima as incarnations of Vayu. Madhvacharya himself is hailed as the third incarnation of Vayu. His exposition teaches us the path of Dharma in clear terms. Duryodhana and his henchmen are sons of darkness, while the Pandavas become the darlings of Sri Krishna on account of their adherence to Dharma.

Wielding four languages (Sanskrit, Tamil, Kannada and English), Sridharan draws our attention to several interesting facets of the received text. Draupadi's rejection of Karna as the son of a charioteer is not tenable since the BORI edition does not mention it; the practice of giving wedding presents perhaps started with Krishna bestowing gifts upon Draupadi and the Pandavas on their marriage; the noteworthy comparison Prabhanjanachar makes between Draupadi's marriage with the Pandavas and the five senses of a human being with the centre in the brain; Krishna's life with his eight principal queens.

Each and every page has something interesting to tell and it is staggering to watch Madhvacharya and the commentators walking on razor's edge when dealing with the polyandry of Draupadi and polygamy of Krishna.

Sastraic injunctions

Throughout his work, the Acharya is intent on explaining the Shastraic injunctions so that his listeners would not misinterpret the Mahabharata . He has a good deal to say on administration. The important comments are made contemporaneous by the translator's notes.

Prosperity was the result of judicious governance by the Pandavas. Unfortunately all this was destroyed, showing how it is the common man who suffers if the leaders are driven by jealousy and indulge in corrupt and naasthikya ways rejecting the Divine. The book is an important addition to the Mahabharata library in Tamil.