The Concept of 'Daiva' in the Mahabharata

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The present work describes in seven chapters the full fledged view of the concept of Daiva in the Mahabharata. The derivations for the synonyms of Daiva are explained for the clear grasp of the significance of the word. The references regarding the concept of Daiva and its glorification throughout the epic have been classified under two main heads Daiva as destiny and action fructified and Daiva as the driving force. Daiva, Prusakara and the concept of free will the grace of God and ultimately the philosophy of the concept of Daiva have been critically commented in this maiden attempt.

The Mahabharata has stirred the Indian imagination for centuries for its deeply deterministic undertones. Providence haunts the protagonists pathway of life as it did in Homer's Iliad of Greek classical antiquity.

The heavily text oriented texture of the book would be of immense to the serious student of the great Indian epic.

Preface

The Mahabharata can be approached in different ways: as a religious scripture, as a philosophical treatise and purely as a literary epic. The religious and the philosophical aspects of this work are, in fact, the determining constituents of the Mahabharata as a great epic poem of heroic Proportions. What has fascinated me the most in this masterpiece of classical poetry is its deterministic nature as reflected in the constant co-relation between human endeavour on one hand and the inscrutable divine ways on the other. This conflict in the very soul of this epic and is all pervasive.

Moreover, the epic is a great treasure-house of Philosophical truths and ethical utterances which heighten the individual's awareness of human life and enables him to comprehend the complexities of human existence.

In this present work, an attempt has been made to assibilate such invaluable gems found scattered throughout the epic. The importance of each action performed by the individuals, the theory of transmigration and the glory of the divine grace-all fascinate the heart of every individual, who is endowed with an inner awakening and whose heart finds some solace in contemplating on the inherent powers of man.

I sincerely offer my sense of gratitude to Prof. B.M. Chaturvedi of University of Delhi, whose timely guidance and encouragement has solved most of the problems that arose during the completion of this work.

My husband Dr. R.K. Bharadwaj has always been very kind and helpful. Without his constant assistance this book would not have seen the light of the day.

My thanks are also due to my publisher, Shri Nag Sharan Singh, for his interest in getting this volume published within a limited time-span.

Any suggestions regarding the improvement of the textual content of this book will be gratefully acknowledged and incorporated in the forthcoming editions.

Saroj Bharadwaj

August 25, 1991

About the Author

Dr. Saroj born at Lucknow in 1945 and received her Master's degree in Sanskrit from Miranda House, University of Delhi, in 1966. Since then she has been teaching Sanskrit at Lady Shri Ram College for Women, New Delhi. She has deep religious bent of mind and her interest in ancient Indian Epics inspired her to study these epics, especially the Mahabharata in great detail. This eventually enabled her to obtain a PhD degree from the University of Delhi in 1987.

She is very devoted teacher and has been a good debator in her college days. She has directed Sanskrit plays, organized debates and conducted seminars. A great believer in the doctrine of divinity and destiny she is at heart a sincere devotee of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Pondicherry and cherishes the deeply ethical and spiritual values of human life. She is presently editing a volume concerning Vedic studies.

CONTENTS
1 Introduction 1
2 Derivation and Synonyms of the term Daiva 14
3 References to Daiva in the Mahabharta 28
4 References regarding Daiva as the Driving force 62
5 Daiva dn Purusakara and the concept of free will 78
6 The Trinity of Daiva, Karma and the Doctrine of Transmigration 97
7 Philosophy of the Concept of Daiva 117
Bibliography 159