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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Hindus should first learn Panchatantra & Mahabharat thoroughly: Swami Prakasanandendra Saraswati

Hindu society is going through a churn at the present moment and requires the right guidance. Swami Prakasanandendra Saraswati says Panchatantra and Mahabharat should be the starting points to learning Hindu granthas.

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It is important to recognize one’s friends as well as enemies and formulate strategies to deal with them. Swamiji says Panchtantra and Mahabharat show us how to identify our friends and enemies while Bhagavad Gita, Tulasi Ramayana, and Bhagavat teach one to blur the difference between a friend and an enemy.

“Let us learn the first books first, after mastering them and conquering the enemies, we can learn and practise the second set of books”, Swamiji says. Swamiji adds that the present condition of Hindus is because we have skipped the first set of books and started concentrating on the second set. Additionally, he asks us to study nitishastras along with modern books. In his statement, Swamiji also highlighted from whom Hindus should learn which set of books.

The importance of Mahabharat, which is one of the most popular Hindu granthas, lies in the fact that it is deeply connected with the Bharatiya culture. This grantha has everything inherent to the Hindu Dharma and it wouldn’t be wrong to call it a compendium of Hindu Dharma. Mahabharat is a grantha that essentially sums up the Vedas in general and Upanishads in particular (read parts 1234 & here) along with teaching us Dharma.

It also tells us what is right and what is wrong. It is a mirror of the society reflecting the society’s character and not only of the period in which it is set but of the human society at all times. In other words, one will find even today’s society reflected in it in some form or the other. It presents a factual representation of good and evil as it carries the grey shades too. It deals with the struggle between choosing the self and the society in addition to that between greed & sacrifice and virtue & vice.

“Storytelling is an ancient Indian art and animal fables have appeared in many of our ancient Vedic literature. Panchatantra was written around the 3rd century or before by Vishnusharman to impart knowledge of governance on princes and was but the product of the same millennia-old legacy”, notes OpIndia.

Panchatantra is based on five principles – Mitra labha (stories on winning friends), Mitra bheda (stories about losing friends), Apariksitakarakam (stories about planning one’s actions and how acting without thinking leads to losses), Labdhapranasam (stories highlighting how one can come out of difficult situations without incurring losses), and Kakolukiyam (stories about rules and strategies of war and peace).

The subjects and underlying principles of Mahabharat and Panchatantra rendered in the form of stories make both these granthas ideal starting points for Hindus.

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