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Friday, November 19, 2010

Oral Mahabharatas and Varnashrama Discourse -Part 2

(2)  Janapada Bharatha Kathegalu:  (Folk-tales of the Bharatha) 5

          The singers of these narrative songs belong to the Gauda, Jogi, and Kunabi communities, living in the northern part of Karnataka.  They sing these songs that narrate the various parts of the Bharatha-story independently during the harvest season and festivals.  The main function of these performances appears to be entertainment.

     The  27 parts,  sung by  different individuals,  are as follows:  
(1) Baava monk falls in love with a boatman’s daughter and she gives birth to  four children.  The first one flies to the sky as soon as he is born; the other three grow up as Aadashi, Gantashi, and Dantashi.  The latter two once suspect their own mother’s behaviour with Aadashi and in remorse commit self immolation; out of the  fire four people emerge: they are Pandoraja, Kailoraja, Kunti and Gandori.  

(2)  Pandoraja kills the male deer while it is making love to a female; the female deer curses the king. 

(3)  the birth of Pandavas and Kauravas  

(4)   Pandu’s death – his sons begin to eat the flesh of his dead body – Krishna’s  advice to cremate the dead.      

(5)  Bhima wins always in games and harasses the Kauravas.  

(6)  The ‘Lakshagriha’ episode.  

(7) In the belief that the Pandavas are dead, the Kauravas perform post-death ceremonies; Bhima comes there disguised as a cook, and eats up the entire food.  

(8)  Bhima’s gluttony 

(9-10) Bhima kills the demons Bakasura and Shambarasura.   

(11) Siriyamma declares that among all gods and humans, the Pandavas are the noblest.  

(12-13-14) Bhima gets the rare ‘ Kamandala’ flower; Arjuna gets the ‘Janna Chattari’flower; and they together get ‘Kendali’ flower.  

(15-16)  Because Rupata Devi, Krishna’s sister, reaches adulthood before marriage, she is abandoned in a forest; the Pandavas see her and bring her home; as per the mistaken advice of Kunti, all the five  marry her.  

(17)  Bhima’s devotion cannot be measured.  

(18) Arjuna, disguised as a monk, woos and marries Subhadra, Krishna’s sister.  

(19)  Coming to know that the foetus in Subhadra’s womb is really a demon, his enemy, Krishna plans to kill it.  

(20)  This popular story is found in many oral narratives.  After the defeat of Dharmaraja in the dice game, Draupadi invites Duryodhana to play a game with her, distracts him with her charms, and wins back everything; Bhanumati becomes her maid.  

(21)   Dushaasana attempts in vain to disrobe Draupadi in the court.  

(22)  Bhima kills Kichaka who covets Draupadi, in the palace of king Virata.  

(23)  Krishna’s attempts at arranging a treaty between the warring cousins fails.  

(24)  Krishna persuades Duryodhana to wear a loin cloth before meeting his mother performing a ritual and thus Duryodhana’s body below waist remains vulnerable.  

(25-26) Both Duryodhana and Abhimanyu are killed.  

(27)  Among the Panadavas, only Dharmaraya reaches the world of gods, alive.


Dr. C.N. Ramachandran

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