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At the Feet of The Mother

Reflections on the Mahabharata 9: The Aftermath

With the end of the great war mankind entered the age of “Kali” where the clash of forces will be played out at the most material level. The ideational clash will also be between a materialistic vision of life and the spiritual. This clash will end up both embracing each other and enriching life. That is what we are witnessing today. It is the age when man will explore matter and one who finds its forces and uses them rightly for the good of all will advance, whereas one who refuses matter and material existence will suffer a fall. This is where India made a mistake post-Buddha. But now, we see a new wave occupying young India, with a stress of unifying material knowledge with the spiritual. It will also open doors to a new form of collectivity that we call as “internationalism “and a new religion which can be called as the “spiritual religion of humanity”. Initially, this will enter the field of human thought as a sentiment and an intellectual creed, but as mankind advances, its real truth will begin to appear which will support a larger spiritual evolution of the race. Sri Aurobindo foresaw all this post the two “Mahabharata of a Mahabharata” wars of the previous century, where not just clans but nations were put to test in the hearth of purification. Of course, there is so much more that we can write about the Mahabharata but this is its brief essence. The characters are at once real and symbolic. To reduce them only to symbolic forces is to do great injustice to the great epic. Of course they are archetypes, each character is something that we can find distributed in humanity ranging from the most barbaric, crude and rakshasic to the various shades of humanity moving towards the godlike. Today all these shades are being taken up and summed to create a yet higher and new type of superhumanity of the future, the divine man.

Sri Aurobindo reveals beautifully the work of Sri Krishna through the Mahabharata war:

In the age of the Mahabharata the earth was groaning under the load of titanic power. Neither before nor after, was there in India such an outbreak of strong and powerful and violent Kshatriya power, but there was little chance of that terrible power being turned to good purpose. Those who were the vehicles of this power were all of them of an asuric nature, vanity and pride, selfishness and selfwill were in their very bones. If Sri Krishna had not established the rule of law by destroying this power, then one or the other of the three types of results described above would certainly have happened. India would have fallen prematurely into the hands of the barbarian. It should be remembered, that the Kurukshetra war took place five thousand years ago,1 it was after two thousand five hundred years had elapsed that the first successful invasion of barbarians could reach up to the other side of the Indus. The rule of law founded by Arjuna was therefore able to protect the country under the influence of a Kshatriya power inspired by that of the Brahmin. Even at that time there was in the country such an accumulation of Kshatriya power that a fraction of itself has kept the country alive for two thousand years. On the strength of that Kshatriya power great men like Chandragupta, Pushyamitra, Samudragupta, Vikrama, Sangramasingha, Pratap, Rajasingha, Pratapaditya and Sivaji fought against the country’s misfortunes. Only the other day in the battle of Gujarat and on the funeral pyre of Lakshmibai was the last spark of that power extinguished; with that ended the good fruit and the virtue of Sri Krishna’s political work, there came necessity of another full Incarnation for the saving of India and the world. That Incarnation has rekindled the vanished power of the Brahmin, that power will create the Kshatriya power. Sri Krishna did not extinguish the Kshatriya power of India in the blood-bath of Kurukshetra; on the contrary by destroying the titanic power he saved both the power of the Brahmin and the Kshatriya. It is true that by the slaughter of Kshatriya families drunk with the strength of the titan, he reduced to tatters the violence of rajasic strength…. India too was saved in that manner by the war of Kurukshetra.

That India has undergone a downfall in the Kali age no one can deny. But God never descended on earth to bring about a downfall. The Incarnation is for saving the Law, the world and men. Particularly in the Kali age does God incarnate Himself in full. The reason is that in Kali there is the greatest danger of man’s downfall, there is a natural increase of unrighteousness. Therefore, in order to save mankind, destroy unrighteousness and establish the Right by barring the way of Kali, there are incarnations again and again in this age. When Sri Krishna incarnated, it was already time for the beginning of Kali’s reign. It was through fear of His advent that Kali could not set his feet on his own kingdom. It was through His grace that Parikshit could hold up the exercise of Kali’s sovereignty in his own age, by granting him five villages. From the beginning to the end of this Kali age, a fierce battle has been raging and will continue to rage between man and Kali. As helpers or leaders in that battle, the emanations and incarnations of God come down frequently during this period. God took on a human form at the opening of Kali in order to maintain the power of the Brahmin, the knowledge, devotion and desireless works, and teach these things that they might be of use in that battle. On the safety of India rest the hope and foundation of man’s well-being. God saved India in Kurukshetra. In that ocean of blood, the Great Being in the form of Time the Destroyer began to take his delight in the sporting Lotus of a new world.

Sri Aurobindo: Writings in Bengali, 148-150

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