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Swami Adi Sankaracharya's Philosophy of Life : 1.

Man does not live by bread alone; he lives by the Spirit within. Spiritual hunger continues even if this physical body is cast off. Unless this innate hunger for knowledge and perfection is appeased, one cannot hope to have any rest. The saints, sages and Avataras purvey to man, now and then, the required spiritual food. Sankara is one such great feeder of mankind. It was Sankara who finally and satisfactorily answered the perplexing questions of life – questions concerning the inward, the outward, the above, and their mutual relations, questions which embrace the entire existence itself in their scope. There is the seer, the seen and also something which cannot be either the seer or the seen, as corroborated by a necessity felt for a reality which must be other than the individual who is the seer and the world which is the seen, both of which are known to be appearances due to their inherent character of changing, passing away, and giving rise to something else.



Man exists, and he fee…

The Great Epic Mahabharatam :17.

A discourse of Swami Vivekananda on Mahabharata :


 (Delivered at the Shakespeare Club, Pasadena, California, February 1, 1900)


So the five brothers and their wife clad themselves in robes of bark, and set out on their journey. On the way, they were followed by a dog. On and on they went, and they turned their weary feet northward to where the Himalayas lifts his lofty peaks, and they saw the mighty Mount Meru in front of them. Silently they walked on in the snow, until suddenly the queen fell, to rise no more. To Yudhishthira who was leading the way, Bhima, one of the brothers, said, "Behold, O King, the queen has fallen." The king shed tears, but he did not look back. "We are going to meet Krishna," he says. "No time to look back. March on." After a while, again Bhima said, "Behold, our brother, Sahadeva has fallen." The king shed tears; but paused not. "March on," he cried. 



One after the other, in the cold and snow, all the four brothe…

The Great Epic Mahabharatam :16.

A discourse of Swami Vivekananda on Mahabharata :


 (Delivered at the Shakespeare Club, Pasadena, California, February 1, 1900)




After the conclusion of the Kurukshetra War, the great warrior and venerable grandsire, Bhishma, who fought ten days out of the eighteen days' battle, still lay on his deathbed and gave instructions to Yudhishthira on various subjects, such as the duties of the king, the duties of the four castes, the four stages of life, the laws of marriage, the bestowing of gifts, etc., basing them on the teachings of the ancient sages. He explained Sânkhya philosophy and Yoga philosophy and narrated numerous tales and traditions about saints and gods and kings. These teachings occupy nearly one-fourth of the entire work and form an invaluable storehouse of Hindu laws and moral codes. Yudhishthira had in the meantime been crowned king. But the awful bloodshed and extinction of superiors and relatives weighed heavily on his mind; and then, under the advice of Vyasa, he per…

The Great Epic Mahabharatam :15.

A discourse of Swami Vivekananda on Mahabharata :


 (Delivered at the Shakespeare Club, Pasadena, California, February 1, 1900)



The central figure of the Gita is Krishna. As you worship Jesus of Nazareth as God come down as man so the Hindus worship many Incarnations of God. They believe in not one or two only, but in many, who have come down from time to time, according to the needs of the world, for the preservation of Dharma and destruction of wickedness. Each sect has one, and Krishna is one of them. Krishna, perhaps, has a larger number of followers in India than any other Incarnation of God. His followers hold that he was the most perfect of those Incarnations. Why? "Because," they say, "look at Buddha and other Incarnations: they were only monks, and they had no sympathy for married people. How could they have? But look at Krishna: he was great as a son, as a king, as a father, and all through his life he practiced the marvellous teachings which he preached." &…

The Great Epic Mahabharatam :14.

A discourse of Swami Vivekananda on Mahabharata :

 (Delivered at the Shakespeare Club, Pasadena, California, February 1, 1900)




So in those old days, they used to fight with magic arrows. One man would be able to fight millions of others. They had their military arrangements and tactics: there were the foot soldiers, termed the Pâda; then the cavalry, Turaga; and two other divisions which the moderns have lost and given up — there was the elephant corps — hundreds and hundreds of elephants, with men on their backs, formed into regiments and protected with huge sheets of iron mail; and these elephants would bear down upon a mass of the enemy — then, there were the chariots, of course (you have all seen pictures of those old chariots, they were used in every country). These were the four divisions of the army in those old days.


Now, both parties alike wished to secure the alliance of Krishna. But he declined to take an active part and fight in this war, but offered himself as charioteer to…

The Great Epic Mahabharatam :13.

A discourse of Swami Vivekananda on Mahabharata :


(Delivered at the Shakespeare Club, Pasadena, California, February 1, 1900)



The old Indian customs of the Kshatriyas were observed in it. Duryodhana took one side, Yudhishthira the other. From Yudhishthira messengers were at once sent to all the surrounding kings, entreating their alliance, since honourable men would grant the request that first reached them. So, warriors from all parts assembled to espouse the cause of either the Pandavas or the Kurus according to the precedence of their requests; and thus one brother joined this side, and the other that side, the father on one side, and the son on the other. The most curious thing was the code of war of those days; as soon as the battle for the day ceased and evening came, the opposing parties were good friends, even going to each other's tents; however, when the morning came, again they proceeded to fight each other. That was the strange trait that the Hindus carried down to the t…

The Great Epic Mahabharatam :12.

A discourse of Swami Vivekananda on Mahabharata :


(Delivered at the Shakespeare Club, Pasadena, California, February 1, 1900)



Here is a glimpse of the nature of King Yudhishthira. We find by his answers that he was more of a philosopher, more of a Yogi, than a king. 


Now, as the thirteenth year of the exile was drawing nigh, the Yaksha bade them go to Virâta's kingdom and live there in such disguises as they would think best. 



So, after the term of the twelve years' exile had expired, they went to the kingdom of Virata in different disguises to spend the remaining one year in concealment, and entered into menial service in the king's household. Thus Yudhishthira became a Brâhmana courtier of the king, as one skilled in dice; Bhima was appointed a cook; Arjuna, dressed as a eunuch, was made a teacher of dancing and music to Uttarâ, the princess, and remained in the inner apartments of the king; Nakula became the keeper of the king's horses; and Sahadeva got the charge of th…

The Great Epic Mahabharatam :11.

A discourse of Swami Vivekananda on Mahabharata :


(Delivered at the Shakespeare Club, Pasadena, California, February 1, 1900)



This is the story of Savitri, and every girl in India must aspire to be like Savitri, whose love could not be conquered by death, and who through this tremendous love snatched back from even Yama, the soul of her husband.



The book is full of hundreds of beautiful episodes like this. I began by telling you that the Mahabharata is one of the greatest books in the world and consists of about a hundred thousand verses in eighteen Parvans, or volumes.



To return to our main story. We left the Pandava brothers in exile. Even there they were not allowed to remain unmolested from the evil plots of Duryodhana; but all of them were futile.



A story of their forest life, I shall tell you here. One day the brothers became thirsty in the forest. Yudhishthira bade his brother, Nakula, go and fetch water. He quickly proceeded towards the place where there was water and soon came to …