Reading the Mahabharata by the Tungabhadra - Day 18

In the aftermath of the battle and after all the funerals, Krishna instructs Dharmaraja to go and seek Bhishma’s teachings. On his deathbed, Gangeya recites the hundred names of Vishnu, and begins revealing the nature of Dharma. He teaches Yudhishtira how to be a just king, and how to rule... Continue reading...

Reading the Mahabharata by the Tungabhadra - Day 17

The empty temples scare me. They stand here, stripped of their purpose by the invaders from Golkonda, Bijapur and Delhi. The idols are destroyed, nothing remains except the stories. Some temples don’t even have the stories. Guides make stuff up, they tell unsuspecting travellers that there’s some story here. There... Continue reading...

Reading the Mahabharata by the Tungabhadra - Day 16

Karna. Oh Karna! My aunt tells me that her favourite character from the Mahabharata is Vaikartana Karna. The son of the Sun, the unwanted Kounteya. Dhaana, Veera, Soora Karna. When Indra asked for your Kavacha and Kundalas, you gave them up, knowing full well that he was doing it to... Continue reading...

Reading the Mahabharata by the Tungabhadra - Day 15

My skin feels good against cold stone. I love the feeling in my toes as the cold air and the heat of the sun combine to give me shivers. In the three weeks that I have been in Hampi, I haven’t just read the Mahabharata. I have also been looking... Continue reading...

Reading the Mahabharata by the Tungabhadra - Day 14

My very first introduction to the Mahabharata was one of two comics, from Amar Chitra Katha, bought at the railway station in Mumbai, over twenty years ago. It was either the story of Karna or the story of Abhimanyu, I cannot recall which one it was. I remember reading both... Continue reading...

Reading the Mahabharata by the Tungabhadra - Day 13

It begins. Struck by doubt, Kounteya Dhananjeya casts away his bows and arrows, refusing to strike down his relatives. His charioteer, the Lord of the Gopis, Krishna Achyuta, then tells him about Dharma and reveals that in assuming that it is his hand in the act of killing, Arjuna is... Continue reading...

Reading the Mahabharata by the Tungabhadra - Day 12

Bhishma Parva. Here it all begins. The story of the downfall of the Kuru Dynasty, the downfall of the sons of Dhritarashtra. As I sit atop the mountain where Hanuman, the Lord of the Vanaras is supposed to have been born, I see. I see the mound of rock where... Continue reading...

Reading the Mahabharata by the Tungabhadra - Day 11

Oh Suyodhana! Oh, Suyodhana! Why won’t you listen to them? When Sanjaya gave you the message sent by DharmaRaja, why did you mock him? When Krishna Vasudeva himself descended with mighty Rishis, why did you ridicule his offer of peace? When even the mighty Bhimasena sent you word of reconciliation,... Continue reading...

Reading the Mahabharata by the Tungabhadra - Day 10

I am not reading these books at my usual speed. I could take the shorter way, read at full speed from the comforts of my home, or I could do it this way. From the top of a hill where the rishi Matanga meditated for centuries, where he cursed the... Continue reading...

Reading the Mahabharata by the Tungabhadra - Day 9

This rock that I sit on is a picnic spot, and it suits the purpose really. Many locals come here, and their kids are curious about what I’m doing here. They try to talk to me in broken English, and I smile and reply in Kannada. They are shocked. Somehow,... Continue reading...

Reading the Mahabharata by the Tungabhadra - Day 8

There is some justice in reading Markandeya’s rendition of the Ramayana, recited to the Pandavas, as I sit in Hampi. A large part of the Kishkinda Kanda is supposed to have occurred here, and I remember the stories that my grandfather told me about how Hanuman was born on Anjanadri... Continue reading...

Reading the Mahabharata by the Tungabhadra - Day 7

As I read the Mahabharata today, a British lady came up to me to ask me about Hampi. She was wondering if the heat had something to do with global warming. I assured her that it has always been this hot here. It’s why Krishnadevaraya built so many pushkarinis, and... Continue reading...

Reading the Mahabharata by the Tungabhadra - Day 6

Wherever I sit down in Hampi, I can’t help but ask myself if once, a long time ago, Krishnadevaraya walked past this very spot. I wonder if I have walked along paths he liked to walk through, I wonder if he could appreciate the poetry of sitting under a tree... Continue reading...

Reading the Mahabharata by the Tungabhadra - Day 5

I do not believe in religion, I despise the organized rituals that exist today. That is not Sanathana Dharma. Dharma is subtle, it is imbued into the blood of people such as Prahalada and Bali. It runs through the veins of Markandeya, and it is in the pillars of the... Continue reading...

Reading the Mahabharata by the Tungabhadra - Day 4

How we ruin ourselves. Mankind has always fallen flat on its face when faced with the questions of Dharma. Dharma isn’t difficult to comprehend, adharma is just easier. Then, did the maharathas of the Mahabharata know Dharma? As I stand at the edge of the temple, I read out the... Continue reading...

Reading the Mahabharata by the Tungabhadra - Day 3

This land belongs to the monkeys. It is theirs to frolic in, it is theirs to own. We have somehow faltered here, and they know it far better than we. The wind blows my hair into my eyes, it cries out, howling like a dog in the distance. Perhaps it... Continue reading...

Reading the Mahabharata by the Tungabhadra - Day 2

It is unbelievably calm atop a hill. I was right when I chose this spot to read the Mahabharata. Reading of Shakuntala and Dushyantha, I lost myself in her pain as he denied loving her. Reading about Yayati and how he beseeched his sons to share with him their youth,... Continue reading...

Reading the Mahabharata by the Tungabhadra - Day 1

Where would you read the Mahabharata? I chose to go to Hampi, the land where I was born. Continue reading...