The two epics of India and Hinduism especially, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, have been point of my study recently. They are considered to be holy books by many and lot of stories have been a part of the religious beliefs. There are a lot of important learning from both the Epics and the understanding increases when both of them are read in parallel. However today I am not going to talk about the Heroes or any stories in the Epics. I am going to take a upside down view, pick few of the underdogs and discuss about them.
The Epics are very long and each one has a part in the story, a previous life and an after life. Lot of stories are inter-tangled and lot of connections between the events. But there are a few who get mentioned here and there. That is all that we get to know about them. There isn’t detailed explanation about their life, events or characteristics. May be I didn’t dwell deeper into either of them yet, however naturally my understanding is that every other kid in India knows on a higher level about the Epics and they can explain almost clearly the events that happen and the Heroes involved.
So given that I have never heard much of the following characters in the Epics and hence I call them UnderDogs. I don’t mean to de-signify their importance or intend to say that they didn’t do anything, probably you can add to my knowledge by commenting on your information about them. I just feel like talking about them and see what is the reason behind it. Here are those in no special order –
Bharat – The brother of Ram, the Hero of Epic Ramayana, named after him. Bharat is the key to the entire episode, where his mother feels insecure about the position of her son in the kingdom, after being influenced by Manthara. So she asks King Dashrath to send Ram to exile and make Bharat the king. Bharat rules the kingdom in the absence of his brother, however he is devoted to Ram as much as Laxman. He uses footwear of Ram on his throne, as symbol of Ram’s presence. Bharat comes to give Ram the control of kingdom. But I don’t know of any other mention of Bharat in the entire epic, about the wars he fought or any other events that is spoken of him. During 13 years of Ram’s exile and what does he do. I understand it is Ramayana the story of Ram, but hey what does Bharat do ?
Shatrughna – A lot of people even fail to recover his name properly and mix him to be a Pandav or from Mahabharat. Sad 😦 Anyway so I know he is the less spoken brother of Ram. I don’t remember what his skill set is and what is his character. Does he do anything in the entire course of Ram’s exile or after the return. What is he doing in the entire life ? Please feel free to share your views and knowledge.
Nakul & Sahadev – Well since they are often spoken of together, I will keep them together as well. They are 2 of the 5 Pandavas, sons of King Pandav and his wife Madri. There might be mention about their skills once in a while. But what they do during childhood, during the adolescent, during the schooling, during the game of dice, during the exile, epic Mahabharata war, after the war anything ? Am I being very abrupt here ! I don’t know. I believe as much as the information flows about Arjun, Bhima and even Yudhistira, I don’t see enough events or information associated with Nakul & Sahadev. Again feel free to share your views and inputs in comment.
Were they of less significant in the entire story or was it really so uneventful I am not sure. I believe the scholars who composed the Epic, didn’t want to make it big, but hey it is already so big. What does it mean of having them less spoken of ? Were they not at par with the other brothers ? As always I will be revisiting these episodes and the people mentioned above over and over again in various phase of my life and try to see what sense does it make to me. What do you feel !