How Mahabharata Got its Name

Why they call it Mahabharata–महाभारत

Well, if you ever wondered how and why the biggest epic of the world got its name, here’s something for you. I am into the second chapter of this great epic’s first part called “Pratham Khand (प्रथम खण्ड) and I have got at the end of the first chapter the reason why they call it “Mahabharata–महाभारत”.

There are many names that are given to this epic and there are many reasons also as to why this name is ascribed to it. However, one of them is just literally interesting and I wanted to share it with you when I read it.

It is recorded in the Sanskrit text of this epic that at one time in history, all the gods wanted to know the value of this epic in terms of weight against the 4 Vedas. This estimation was perhaps prompted due to the popularity and significance attached to this epic. As it happened, it was found out that the single epic outweighed all the 4 Vedas. Now, this weight has got its meaning in Sanskrit as “Bhaar–भार”. Because it was heavy than the Vedas, it was called “Very heavy”, which meant “महा-भार” in Sanskrit. This is how the epic itself explains it got its name.

Here is the Sanskrit Sloka or text that gives the indications to this great revelation:

पुरा किल सुरैः सर्वैः समेत्य तुलया धृतम्।
चतुर्भ्यः सरहस्येभ्यो वेदेभ्यो ह्यधिकं यदा।।

तदा प्रभृति लोकेऽस्मिन् महाभारतमुच्यते।
महत्त्वे च गुरुत्वे च ध्रियमाणं यतोऽधिकम्।।

Hindi Translation of this Sanskrit Sloka: प्राचीन काल में सब देवताओं ने इकट्ठे होकर तुला के एक पलड़े पर चारों वेदों को और दूसरे पलड़े पर इसे रखा। परन्तु जब यह रहस्यसहित चारों वेदों की अपेक्षा अधिक भारी निकला तभी से संसार में यह महाभारत के नाम से जाना जाने लगा।

English Translation of this Sanskrit Sloka: In the past, all the gods assembled and put all the 4 Vedas on one side of a balance and put it on the other side of the balance. When mysteriously, it weighed more than the 4 Vedas, it came to be known as “Mahabharata–महाभारत” in the world.

I am just amazed how lovely this revelation is! I have always been fascinated by this great epic and in the very first chapter, it has sort of astounded me by miles. Just keep doing it.

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