Mahabharata and Ramayana Critical in a World Spiralling into Decline
APARNA: The concerns addressed in the Mahabharata are the concerns of humanity. How does the concept of Dharma, as outlined in the Mahabharata, address these concerns?
ANDY: You say, “The concerns addressed in the Mahabharata are the concerns of humanity.” This is a very profound statement. This applies to both East and West. I would say that most people want to live a peaceful and principled and meaningful life. But they are often confused. They don’t know how to do it. Even in the beginning of Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna is confused. And like Arjuna, we have to ask the right questions from Krishna or His devotees, and then we can do the right thing. Otherwise, all over the world, ideals, morals and values are being diminished. We live in a time characterized by rampant greed, fear, and untruthfulness.
College professors here in the USA tell me that many students arrive in college ill prepared. Many students can’t write a decent essay. They are not critical thinkers. The educational system is failing the students. And when they get out of college students are under mounds of debt. Again, there is a lack of leadership to address these issues. This was very important for me in writing the Mahabharata – to convey the principles of Dharma and give examples of good leadership. It’s all there in the Mahabharata.
So our Krishna Consciousness Movement is an educational movement, to help people get trained in the Dharma, to develop good character, good leadership qualities, and to understand what the real goal of life is. It’s like the sun. The sun is not for Indians, Chinese or Americans. The sun is shining everywhere for all people. So the Mahabharata and Ramayana are classic literatures for all the people of the world.
Vedic literatures offer a holistic solution: to live a simple, uncomplicated, peaceful life, based on the principles of Dharma. Then, just like Hanuman, we can be of service to the Lord and to the wellbeing of the Earth through our efforts, our intelligence and our individual propensities.
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