The literal meaning of Itihas is history in the Sanskrit language. The Itihasa is a collection of beautiful stories of absorbing interest and importance, through which the central theme and lessons of Hinduism were spread. The Itihasa consists of Indian epics that tell us the stories of the laws of Smritis and the principle of the Vedas are stamped firmly on the minds of the Hindus through marvellous characters and heroes. There are unmistakable thoughts and stories of remark with the Itihasa of our Ancient Indian Mythology Stories.
Let us discuss Indian mythology and certain facts of the whole mythological stories included in Itihasas.
Mahabharata And Its Itihasa
The Mahabharata is an epic of old with 18 books in all called parvas. There are 100 upa-parvas or sections. Adi Parva is the first part of the Mahabharata. With around 19 sections in the first books, let us discuss briefly the first book of Mahabharata
Sage Vyasa once was in deep contemplation and had visualized the whole Mahabharta as if it had occurred right in front of his eyes. He could see the creation, the Vedas, the dharma and artha, etc like versus right through the conduct of mankind as well. With a deep understanding of the same, Vyasa formed the ratio precisely. But, when Vyasa decided to impart his knowledge of the vision to his disciples, the creator, Lord Brahma presented himself in front of him and said that he should request Lord Ganesha to take the dictation and write this epic saga into a book.
Later Vyasa mentally invited Ganesha to help him write the Indian Epic which came to be known as Mahabharta. When Ganesha presented himself, he put a condition that Vyasa should dictate in such a way that he doesn’t stop even for a moment. Vyasa replied that Ganesha should only write if he understood the verses Vyasa dictated. Thus, Vyasa recited around 8000 verses that were incomprehensible.
According to this Indian mythology, the story goes like this. King Pandu after conquering the whole world, was living in the forest with the sages for his love for hunting. One day on his hunting trip he killed an ascetic couple in amorous acts, thinking there were deers in the woods. From then onwards he kept on living in the forest. There King Pandu and Kunti had five sons namely Yama, Vayu, Indra and the Ashwini twins. However, he died while indulging in intercourse with his second wife Madri. This happened because of the curse of the sage. When Pandu died, Madri followed her husband on the pyre and Kunti led back to Hastinapur with her sons.
The Pandavas grew up at Hastinapur and thus became experts in using weapons and married Draupadi in the course. Dharmaraja, Yudhisthir performed the Rajasuya and became very famous and well respected. To this prosperity of the Pandavas, The Kauravas became jealous and war broke out between the Pandavas and the Kauravas. And after this, Dhristrashastra showed his grief when he lost all his sons in the war. Vyasa narrated the meritorious Mahabharata, which is now a part of Indian Itihasa. It is one of the best among Itihasas.
The above description is a brief one, if you read the whole detailed description of Mahabharat you will know how deeply knowledgeable and informative it is. No doubt, it is one-stop scripture with all the drama and intuitive knowledge of the old lifestyle.
Some Of The Important Characters Of Mahabharata
Let us discuss some of the important characters of Mahabharata.
Mahabharata and Dronacharya
Dronacharya or guru Drona was the teacher who taught the arts of war and politics to both the Pandavas and Kauravas. He had a mastery of divine weapons. Arjuna is his favourite disciple and student. He loved him more than his own son Ashwathama. He represents the experience of being the oldest in the Kaurava clan when they went to war with the Pandavas. He is also a very powerful and valuable leader. The one flaw the man believed he had, was that he would easily believe everyone is around him.
Mahabharata and Ashwathama
Ashwathama is the son of Guru Drona and Kripa. According to Shiva Purana, it is said that Ashwathama is an incarnation of Lord Shiva himself. In the Itihasa, In the Mahabharata epic, Ashwathama was a warrior who fought alongside the Kauravas against the Pandavas in the Kurukshetra War. He became immortal because of the curse given to him by Lord Krishna, In addition to this, in the Mahabharata, Ashwathama is a sacred sound associated with the sound of a horse.
Mahabharata as described earlier is one other epic classified under itihasa of Sanskrit Literature. Draupadi is the heroic princess of Mahabharat who was the daughter of King Draupad of Panchal and wife of the Pandavas. Draupadi was very brave and extraordinarily beautiful. She was equally intelligent.
Kunti was originally known as Pritha. She was the daughter of Yadava Prince Sura. She is the consort of King Pandu of Hastinapur. She was the sister of Vasudeva and mother of Karna and the first three Pandavas. She is one of the central characters of the great epic Mahabharata.
Arjuna was the second son of Kunti. Mahabharata is actually a tale of complex characters and human emotions in Indian History, thus, the reactions that shape the story are different. Some believe that Arjuna was an ideal person who believed in Dharma and Kstariya rule. But, he did have his flaws. But, Lord Krishna through his meddling and warm gestures always brought out the best of his and blessed Arjuna with the victory that the Pandavas rightfully deserved at the end of the war at Kurukshetra. Arjuna was actually the most skilful archer, loved by all his gurus and wife Draupadi till the end of his life.
Like Mahabharata, Ramayana is also one of the greatest epics of Indian Itihasa. Let us discuss it further to understand why it has been given such an exquisite position in the list of Indian Scriptures of the old.
Itihasa And Ramayana
Ramayana is the famous epic in Hinduism, which is loved and respected by all age groups of people around the globe. It is renowned for its character, the love sagas between Lord Rama and Sita, morals, values and dharma. The relevance of the story of Ramayana the old can still be felt. Ramayan is one of the greatest epics which is actually a compilation of 24,000 verses and has widely travelled and transformed throughout eternity. It was originally composed by sage Valmiki. It is also believed that Lord Rama was the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu on the earth.
Ramayana is best known for its ideal characters devoted to Lord Shiva. They are worshipped to date. Apart from the male characters like Lakshmana, Hanuman and Ravana around whom the story revolves, there are also female characters that show the strength of femininity since that era.
Summary Of Itihasa
Itihasa actually means – “This has happened”. It means This itiha- aasa means – has happened in reality; Itihasas are stories that really happened once in the past. They are not myths. Ramayana and Mahabharata are called itihasas as they really happened many years ago. Sometimes Puranas are considered as itihasas because many believe that stories and incidents in the Puranas are true and even there are people who think Puranas are misinterpretations. So, here we discussed the Itihasas of the old Ramayan and Mahabharat in brief but you can always go through the various characters and their stories and how convulsing all of the mythologies are with each other.
While the stories of Indian mythology bring out the rules, traditions and morals of the old, you will see in Hinduism, such characters are still praised and looked upon as warriors and the morals are still preached to this day.