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 I have sat the last few days, reading the Mahabharata. I see the Tungabhadra, dried up and dying because of the drought.

I see the Virupaksha temple, and the entire region called Kishkinda. Sight is a very important thing, especially to a blind man. So, when Krishna Dvaipayana, the twenty-eighth of those called Vyaasa, offered Dhritarashtra sight to see the war and its aftermath, how did he refuse it? How indeed did Sanjaya accept that burden, and how did he bear it, having to recite the events as they happened?

It makes sense then, that the first thing Sanjaya does after receiving this divine gift is to exclaim in awe at the death of Bhishma of the terrible oath. It makes sense that hindsight is indeed perfect.

Today, I went to read the Mahabharata by the Tungabhadra, and I did. Atop the Anjanadri mountain, where Anjana devi is supposed to have meditated for centuries, birthing a son who would make the very mountains his playground. And like his fluttering likeness on Dhananjeya’s chariot, the monkey God must surely be listening as I read out the story that contains all stories.