Friday, November 25, 2016

Four Excerpts from my Mahabharata: The Eternal Quest

Bhima Fights Baka:
Bhima, however, grabbed the Rakshasa’s throat with one hand and held him at bay while he reached for yet another tasty item. Baka was incensed. With his face contorted and his red eyes bulging and his black, matted hair flying and showing his four rows of teeth, he raised a blood-curdling scream. Bhima threw him to the ground.  Baka quickly rebounded and uprooted a nearby tree and hurled it at Bhima. Bhima dodged it, and in an instant, they both ripped trees out of the ground and charged at each other, smashing one another relentlessly.  After those trees were shredded, they uprooted more trees, hurling them at one another.  The forest around them became decimated and the Rakshasa turned to find another tree. But he did not get far. Bhima jumped and rammed his knee into Baka’s back and broke his spine. Baka fell flat on his face. As he tried to get up, Bhima quickly twisted his neck. The Rakshasa’s eyes bulged out. He vomited blood and fell dead.

The Pandavas Enter The Himalayas
The way was steep and treacherous. All around them the skies darkened. Fierce winds were suddenly upon them and enveloped them in a dust storm. They lost sight of one another.  The winds howled so fiercely that the Pandavas were nearly swept off the mountainside. The group held on tightly to boulders and scraggly trees as the winds ripped at their faces and took their breath away.  Angry winds lashed at them from one direction and then another. But soon the winds ceased as suddenly as they had come.
The Pandavas felt relief only momentarily.  Pounding rains came fast upon them as thunder flashed against distant clouds. The group scurried higher, frustrated and in tears and not knowing where to turn.  Out of nowhere, or perhaps as if the Celestials had placed it right in their path, they came upon a cave. There they took shelter from the storm, which continued to rage throughout the night. 

From Gita
Arjuna asked, “What are the qualities of one who is in divine consciousness? How does he act?”
 Krishna spoke, his voice serene and majestic. “Such a person is not disturbed by the constant changes of this world. He is beyond the dualities of success and failure. Beyond profits and losses. Beyond pleasures and pains. Beyond the constant flow of desires which come and go like the waves of an ocean.  He is forever free from fear and anger.  His senses are restrained.  He eats, speaks, sleeps and works in moderation. He is not attached to the results of his work, but neither does he try to avoid work. He sees that all worldly pleasures, which first appear sweet and alluring, ultimately sour. They have a beginning and an end, and he does not strive for such things.
“Rather, he is situated in the pursuit of transcendence. He is happy from within. He rejoices and is illumined from within. Gradually his heart opens.  He sees all beings with equal vision and acts for their welfare. And he sees Me dwelling patiently in the hearts of all as the Companion. He is centered in knowledge, peace  and compassion. A person in this consciousness remains fixed, even at the moment of death. Such a rare soul readily attains Vaikuntha, My supreme spiritual abode, free from fears and anxieties, and above heaven itself.

The Battle Begins
In the heavens, Siddhas, Gandharvas, and Charanas gathered to watch the battle below. A moment of silent anticipation descended upon Kurukshetra, a moment which hung heavy, a moment of waiting, of postponing death a little while longer, and then drums and bugles sounded and warriors blew their conch shells, and Time once again ground forward as battle cries arose from the ranks of the armies and rolled across the valley, and like a great beast stirring from its slumber, the warriors shook their weapons and rushed at one another and collided together with a thunderous force. 

Copyright, 2013, Andy Fraenkel 

To see acclaim by scholars, another excerpt and to order go to