The Mahabharata Essay

The Mahabharata is the longest epic in the world literature and is one of the greatest works of Indian literature, which incorporated philosophical, religious, and social basic ideas of the traditional Indian society. Nonetheless, despite the variety of subjects and themes for analysis, this paper will be basically focused on the women depicted in the Mahabharata. Notably their actions will be analyse3d in the context of their influence on the family unity for to a certain extent they seem to be undermining traditional Indian moral and social norms and family unity. Obviously this episode is very dramatic and probably one of the most shocking for traditional Indian society, as well as for many other world cultures. At the same time, it should be pointed out that traditionally Indian society respected a lot numerous gods and goddesses and their actions were rarely severely criticized. Nonetheless what Ganga did could not and still can hardly be done by any human being in Indian society without serious consequences. What is meant here is the bunch of actions that are absolutely unacceptable for Indian society.

First of all, Ganga killed her own children that was a very serious crime from both moral and legal point of view. Naturally a mother killing her own children cannot contribute to the family unity and traditionally is rejected if not punished by the society in India as well as in other societies throughout the world. Furthermore, she left her husband and her last son that is also reprimanded in Indian society. In fact, she ruined her family completely, by firstly killing her children and eventually leaving her husband and her last child. The only thing that can somehow justify her actions is the deal made before the marriage when Snatany agreed not to question her. Nonetheless this argument is too weak to make Gangas actions less terrible. Another female character of the Mahabharata, Amba, seems to be also quite tragic. She is a sister of Bhishma who has chosen a suitor despite the fact that her brother fights off all of them. Bhishma allows her to leave but Amba is eventually abandoned by her husband and returns to Bhishma and asks to marry her.

In a way this story is similar to the story of Ganga, though this time the woman is abandoned by her husband, but she is abandoned by Bhishma as well because he refuses to marry her. Probably in such a way the social protest against destruction of family is expressed. In fact, the story of Amba didactically indicates that women have to obey to men, otherwise they will be punished and their life will be ruined. At the same time, it would be a mistake to think that all female characters either ruin or cause the ruin of their families in a way in the Mahabharata. Unlike Ganga and Amba, Gandhari may serve as an example of a woman who is ready to sacrifice herself for the family unitys sake. In order to be closer to her husband and like her husband, Dhritarashtra who is blind, Gandhari covers her eyes with a blindfold which she will never remove. In such a way she rejoins him in his world of darkness.

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