Re-writing of the Mahabharat

February 1, 2008

Article Link: Re-writing of the Mahabharat…

Did you know that the Mahabharat was re-written in the past at least twice? That’s what this article (and many others by scholars and historians) claim. True or not, the concept of re-positioning the eternal values presented in the Mahabharat are worth a second look and some forethought.

After reading the article, post your thoughts on whether you think it’s a good idea to re-position stories to fit today’s examples, realities, and generational nuances? Is it right or wrong? If the original values are kept in tact while the stories are changed, does that alter your judgment?


One Response to “Re-writing of the Mahabharat”

  1. Anonymous said

    In my opinion ….
    Whether re-writing of an ancient scripture is right or wrong – depends on how I connect/relate to it.

    If I use the information as a general guideline on how I should live my life – then as long as the overall teachings do not alter – I am Ok with such a re-write. Maybe if the re-write simplifies the lessons to tune to modern times, it may even be easier for me to get the message compared to figuring it out for myself. (Even for the older versions, we rely on some ‘commentary’ either from a scholar’s book or from a spiritual leader’s sermons)

    On the other hand, if I use the stories as-is, drawing literal similarities with events in my own life – then how this re-write affects me will vary. From reading the article cited, it seems that the general intent is to ‘remove malicious content’ from ‘The Mahabharata’ and if so maybe such a rewrite is commendable.
    We will have to wait to read the actual re-write to pass this judgement however 🙂

    Some may oppose the idea of ‘modifying’ an original work as it may indicate tampering or distorting sacred work. Who is to say what was really ‘original’ though? As the article cites, ‘The Mahabharata’ is the 3rd revision (cant comment if its a true claim or not). Same goes for the Old and the New testament (for those interested the documentary “The Gospel of Judas” is worth watching).

    Perhaps it is prudent to read ancient scriptures with a grain of salt. Personally speaking, any scripture, original or rewritten, that promotes the thought of compassion, morality, positive outlook etc. is sacred in my books.

    From a younger generation’s perspective, I can imagine how a 10 year old may raise his/her eyebrow when reading about Draupadi having 5 husbands. From that perspective, a non-controversial re-write that exhudes more confidence than doubt in new (young) readers is probably a good thing !

    The skepticism for such a re-write is but natural. Few years (centuries?) from now, I hope that when someone picks up this re-written Mahabharata, they are aware that previous versions also exist and they take the time to read those as well. That is, I hope the older versions do not disappear. Who believes in what version, would then be a matter of personal connection 🙂

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