Faith

Tree of jnana

The Mahabharata begins with a group of sages meeting in Naimisaranya to perform a yaga, said Kidambi Narayanan in a discourse. The bard (Suta Pauranika) Ugrasrava also comes to the yaga. The sages pay their respects to him, and say to him, “You would have visited many places. Tell us some interesting stories.” Ugrasrava then begins to narrate the Mahabharata to them.

He says that Vyasa was the author of the epic. Vyasa worshipped Brahma, and told him about the Itihasa he was going to write. Brahma told Vyasa that he (Vyasa) had knowledge of dharma. Vyasa had jnana, and his work would be pleasing like the moon. And just as the moon gives light, and gets rid of darkness, so would the Mahabharata get rid of the darkness of ignorance and impart jnana to those who read it. Brahma said that the Mahabharata was like a tree. But what does this comparison of a literary work to a tree mean? Observe a tree. Old leaves turn yellow and all off, while new ones come up. Flowers appear and so do fruits, and in time, they too drop off. The tree is witness to all this. But it just goes on doing its duty, which is to sprout new leaves, bear flowers and fruits.

Likewise should we be in life. A lot happens in our lives, but we must not allow anything to affect us. If we allow ups and downs to affect us, our lives will be miserable. It is not easy, but this detachment is necessary for an individual. Such detached individuals sustain a family and thereby society itself. We must just go on doing our duty. This is what the Mahabharata shows us. This emphasis on duty is what makes it similar to a tree. If a tree adheres to its dharma, how much more should we as human beings keep to dharma? That is the lesson we draw from the Mahabharata.


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Printable version | Jan 19, 2022 1:53:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/tree-of-jnana/article37526671.ece

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