Mahabharat: Myth Vs Reality
It has been believed by some historians and laymen that Mahabharat is just a fictitious fable emerged from the fantastic brain of the Sage Ved Vyas. It has been contended that such a 'war' could not have occured owing to the detailed description of various facets of the 'epic'. However, tradition as well as many Bharatiya scholars have all along maintained that Mahabharat did actually occur and is a complete reality.
Mahabharat is not just a story, but the detailed account of a event occured in the past. The few points are noted below that indicate a few differences in what is 'reality' and 'myth'.
1. It has been written in the epic from time to time that Mahabharat is a "itihas" which exclusively means "thus occured". The words "Puraan" and "Itihas" were specifically coined by the Arya people to catagorize the "ancient" and "recent" events. Both the words denote history that has occured at different times.
2. It is mentioned in Aadiparva, Adhyaya 62 that the annals of the Bharat-Dynasty are recorded in the work.
3. It has been clearly stated in the Aadiparva, Bheeshmaparva etc. that this is "itihas". If the intentions of the writer were to write a poem or a work of fiction, he would have stated it to be a "mahakavya" or "katha".
4. It would to absurd to say that the Mahabharat is not a "itihas" due to its poetic nature. It was a custom in those days to write everything in poetic form.
5. Ved Vyas had decided to write down the "itihas" even before the initiation of the Mahabharat War. Therefore during the course of the War, Vyas meticulously noted down all the possible details. If it were a work of fiction, why would a person like Vyas want to fill his work with such minute and unnecessary details ?
6. A number of dynasties with their lond lineage of kings have been presented in the work. More than 50 kings from King Barhi to the Pandava King have been recorded. Additional information about the King, his wife, his scions, his relations, etc. have been accounted in great detail. If it were just fiction, only 4-5 kings would have sufficed to build the story on. Then why such mind-boggling details ?
7. The dynasties recorded in the Ramayan and the Mahabharat concur without a difference. Even the relations between different kings and their dynasties in both the great "epics" match with each other. If both were mere "epics" written by two entirely different at two different times, why would everything match even upto minor details ?
Mahabharat is of a later date than the Ramayan. Why would the author of the Mahabharat borrow the same ideas and characters as those of the author of Ramayan ?
8. Usually, the story of any "Maha-Kaavya" circulates about one or two main characters. If this were the case with Mahabharat, who would then be considered the "hero" of the drama ?
9. Many events mentioned in the Ramayan and Mahabharat are the same. Eg.: The mother of (latter) King Sagar was poisoned by his step-mother so that her child would be aborted. But the child was born nevertheless, who was therefore named Sagar.
10. The cities established by certain kings has been noted in detail.