Mahaabhaarat | Notes
[by BGY Sastry. on Aug 22, 2010, in Om Namah Shivaya Group]
Kuntee personifies mother Earth Science tells us that planet earth is a living being. But an imminent ecological cessation due to the reckless plundering of earth’s assets finds humanity facing the challenge of saving the planet. To put the earth we inhabit in true perspective, Ved Vyaas personified the earth as Kuntee in the epic Mahaabhaarat. As a young girl Kuntee was granted a boon by sage Durvaasaa that she could invoke any God or celestial being by chanting a sacred Mantra. The God so summoned shall beget her child equal to him in glory.
Kuntee was fascinated by the rising Sun. In the aura of the Sun she saw a handsome man adorned with divine armor and brilliant earrings. Remembering Durvaasaa’s sacred Mantra, she addressed it to the Sun God Surya Dev who at once appeared in his glowing celestial robes. The Sun God touched her navel and by the power of anima, entered her body. She gave birth to a son called Karn. The child was also born with armor (Kavach) and earrings (Kundal).
In Sanskrit, Kun-tee means the earth. Kuntee’s other name is Prithaa, meaning Prithvi or the earth. Life originated on earth with the help of the Sun’s rays vegetation was born. Karn literally means grain with chaff. He represents seed, the essence of the vegetable kingdom. But a seed cannot sprout without water. Kuntee placed the child in a basket in the waters of the river Ashwa. Karn was found and brought up by Adhirath, Shaantanu's charioteer, who lived by the banks of the river. Adhi-rath literally means ‘anxiety for body’.
Karn grew up as a great warrior later to be known as Ang Raaj, meaning ruler of body, because it is food that sustains the body. The significance of Karn’s golden protective armor and earrings can be comprehended from the Sanskrit words, Kavach and Kundal. The entire vegetable kingdom has a protective skin or peel, hide or shell, husk or crust. Kavach in Sanskrit means protective covering and also rind or bark. And fruits hanging from trees look just like earrings or Kundal.
Kuntee invoked other celestials using the sacred charm and gave birth to the five Paandav - Yudhishthir from Dharm, Bheem from Vaayu, Arjun from Indra, Nakul and Sahadev from the Ashwinee Kumaar. If Kuntee’s first-born conceived through the energy of the Sun represents the vegetable kingdom, all the five Paandav brothers may be considered to constitute different parts that go to the making of man, the highest manifestation of the animal kingdom.
Yudhishthir represents Buddhi; Bheem represents mind; Arjun represents Praan or breath; and the twins Nakul and Sahadev represent arms and legs respectively. They were born one after the other. As the child emerges from the womb, head foremost, first appeared head, the place of Buddhi (Yudhishthir); then the brow, the place of mind (Bheem); then the organs of the senses from the ears downwards through which breath can pass through openings (Arjun), completing the principal parts of man. Then we have arms (Nakul), followed by legs (Sahadev), which are like in every part and lie together in the womb; and so they are twins represented by Nakul and Sahadev.
The above interpretation merely seeks to draw attention to the importance of all aspects of the environment for as human beings we have within us elements of all that exists outside of us. The earth (environment) and its inhabitants therefore need to live in mutual harmony.
Created by Sushma Gupta On 5/27/04
Modified on 04/14/12