Monday, October 31, 2011

Mahabharata - 08 - Three-stage development

Stage 1
It is believed that in this stage the various old battle songs of the Kuru and the Panchala heroes were reworked  into one narrative. This narrative talked about the fate of the Kauravas on one hand and the fate of the Pandavas on the other hand and had about ~24,000 verses. Since Brahma is regraded as the highest deity in this period, Stage 1 is believed to be pre-Buddhistic.

Stage 2
During this stage a lot of materials were added. Sectarian divisions were well established, and there are references to Yavanas, Phllavas, Shakas and Parthians.  Apart from Brahman, Shiva and Vishnu have gained prominence and Krishna is now considered a reincarnation of Vishnu.

Stage 3
Final redaction

Critique of the Three Stages Theory
As per Anukramanika Parvadhyaya of Sauti, the epic contains 100,000 verses and is known as great Bharata with legends.
The portion excluding legends or the core Bharata (Bharata Smahita) contains 24,000 verses.
The 8,800 verses refer to those which were exceedingly difficult and were known as Kutas.

No comments:

Post a Comment