|[ Excerpt from The Science of Yoga, page 322 ]
Known as the "great Indian epic," the MAHABHARATA (maha means "great" and Bharata refers to "India") was written by Sage Ved Vyasa, and remains as the longest epic poem in the world.
This extensive saga describes the events before, during and after the historical war (which the PURANAS place in 3102 BC) between the Kauravas and the Pandavas, two estranged sides of the same ruling family. It deals on many occasions with questions of morality, duty and spirituality, including the meaning of life, salvation and the modes of achieving it. It is the classic tale of the struggle of good over evil -- the story of the efforts of every human soul to overcome their animalistic passions, which are symbolized by the Kauravas, and the triumph of the divine qualities of their highest nature, symbolized by the Pandavas. This great battle signalled the start of the present dark age of kali yuga.
But the historical and spiritual importance of the MAHABHARATA is not the only reason to read it. Quite simply, the MAHABHARATA is a powerful and amazing text that inspires awe and wonder. It presents sweeping visions of the cosmos and humanity and intriguing and frightening glimpses of divinity in an ancient narrative that is accessible, fascinating, and compelling for anyone willing to learn the basic themes of India's culture.
The MAHABHARATA definitely is one of those creations of human language and spirit that has travelled far beyond the place of its original creation and takes its rightful place on the highest shelf of world literature.
The MAHABHARATA is also the story of Lord Krishna, who, it is believed, lived in dwapara yuga, about 5,000 years ago. Embedded within the Mahabharata is the world famous scripture of Hinduism, the BHAGAVAD GITA, which is the ultimate text-book of yoga.
NOTE: This yoga article is an excerpt from The Science of Yoga, an online yoga training program with streaming yoga videos and 600 pages of step-by-step yoga instruction.
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