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Mahabharat

  • Date Submitted: 03/14/2010 08:14 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 57.5 
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Telugu Folk Additions to Maha Bharatha

Dr. 7'. V. SUBBA RAO Bangalore University

After the great war of RiIaha Bharatha, Vyasa composed a heroic ballad in eight thousand and eight hundred verses by name ' Jayam' (the victory). Later it was developed by his disciples into ' Bharatha ' (one lakh verses) and afterwards into ' Maha Bharatha ' consisting of 125,000 ' Slokas '. Vyasa's disciples, during their recitations to the common folk, added many ' Slokas ' and ' Upakhyanas ' in order to make the view point of their teacher clear to the illiterate audience. Thus this great epic reached the village folk throughout India and became popular. While finding out reasons for happenings, which is the principal characteristic of the folk, they have added some more tales and incidents to Maha Bharatha. These folk additions are very interesting. They reveal the psychology of the folk and to some extent fill up the gaps created by Vyasa. T h e poets in the regional languages followed some of these folk additions in their translations of Vyasa Bharatha. Harikathakas (scholarly musicians who individually tell devotional tales by singing and dancing with the accompaniments of ' violin ' and ' mridangam ') and Burrakathakas (minstrels who sing heroic ballads in groups of three playing folk instruments) popularised these folk additions in Andhra Pradesh. I am going to narrate a few popular 'I'elugu folk additions to Maha Bharatha: I. Intelligence and Irnmortality of Sri Krishna:

T h e folk created a peculiar story which gives the reason for the tremendous intelligence and immortality of Sri Krishna. Pandu Raja, when he was on his death bed, ordered his sons not to burn his body but to eat it away so that they would become immortal, intelligent and be able to know the future. As soon as he died Krishna arrived on the scene

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and stopped the Pandavas from eating the dead body. EIe ridiculed the horrible act of eating one's own father's corpse...

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