TAMIL NADU

`Propagate Mahabharata teachings for world peace'

Sri Jayendra Saraswati of the Kanchi Mutt inaugurating an international conference on Mahabharatha in Chennai on Tuesday. Looking on (from left) are Sri Vidyasagara Madhava Tirtha of Madhavapura, Dayananda Saraswathi, S.K. Somaiya of the Bharatiya Sanskrit Peet, Mumbai; Maheswaran, Sri Lanka Minister for Hindu Religious Affairs, Sonsoubert from Cambodia, Chirapat Prabanda Vidya of the Silpakorn University, Thailand; and Darmayasa, president, International Divine Love Society, Indonesia. — Photo: N. Balaji

Sri Jayendra Saraswati of the Kanchi Mutt inaugurating an international conference on Mahabharatha in Chennai on Tuesday. Looking on (from left) are Sri Vidyasagara Madhava Tirtha of Madhavapura, Dayananda Saraswathi, S.K. Somaiya of the Bharatiya Sanskrit Peet, Mumbai; Maheswaran, Sri Lanka Minister for Hindu Religious Affairs, Sonsoubert from Cambodia, Chirapat Prabanda Vidya of the Silpakorn University, Thailand; and Darmayasa, president, International Divine Love Society, Indonesia. — Photo: N. Balaji  

CHENNAI Dec. 24. An international conference on the Mahabharata began here yesterday with an appeal for propagation of the teachings of this and another great epic, Ramayana, throughout the world for universal peace.

The six-day conference, being attended by delegates from South-East Asian countries, was inaugurated by Sri Jayendra Saraswati of the Kanchi Mutt. He appealed for revival of the age-old practice of organising Mahabharata discourses in rural areas. The giving up of the practice over the years might perhaps have been one of the reasons for misery and poverty and irregular monsoon in the country. By reviving the practice, it would be possible to eradicate poverty.

The Acharya released a book on the papers to be presented at the conference. Sri Dayananda Saraswathi said the Mahabharata not only preached "Dharma" but also explained what was "Adharma," which should not be practised. The effective message of the epic was that "you will perish if you fail to follow dharmic values."

Sri Vidyasagara Madhava Tirtha of Madhavapura said the Mahabharata was relevant even today. There were many nuggets of information which were not known to people and it was the duty of Mahabharata exponents to explain them to the people.

The Sri Lankan Minister for Hindu Religious Affairs, T. Maheswaran, said the history of his country's relations with India dated back to the Mahabharata and Ramayana times.

S.K. Somaiya of the Bharatiya Sanskrit Peet, Mumbai, said the conference should not end with seminars and paper presentation. It should take steps to propagate the message of the great epics throughout South-East Asia.

Chirapat Prabandha Vidya of the Silpakorn University, Thailand, said the country had inscriptions depicting Mahabharata characters. Also, it had a legend, which was similar to the Ramayana.

Darmayasa, president, International Divine Love Society, Indonesia, said even now puppet shows on the Mahabharata were being conducted in his country. Many in his country had the names of Mahabharata characters, though they were all Muslim.

The convener of the conference, R. Nagaswamy, said there was evidence of uninterrupted recitation of the Mahabharata and Ramayana outside India, including in Cambodia, Indonesia and Thailand, which dated back to the sixth century AD.

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