Mahabharata and the significance of teamwork
Mahabharata is roughly 10 times the length of the Greek epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey combined or about four times the length of the Ramayana
The greatest achievements in the world are often made through teamwork. The Mahabharata is one such example. It is a gigantic book; the longest epic poem ever written. Mahabharata is roughly 10 times the length of the Greek epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey combined or about four times the length of the Ramayana. It is not just the size but also the richness of the story that makes Mahabharata great. It has been called ‘the greatest story ever told.’ Mahabharata covers such a huge variety of situations and emotions that it is able to boldly claim in the epilogue, ‘Whatever is here, may be found elsewhere; what is not, cannot be found anywhere else.’
Such a great epic was written through teamwork. It was a two-member team. The first member of the team was Maharishi Krishna Dvaipayana, popularly known as Veda Vyasa. His birth name was Krishna; given to him because he was extremely dark in complexion. It is said that with his fierce face and matted hair, he looked so frightening that women and children used to shut their eyes in fear when they saw him.
When Vyasa decided to compose Mahabharata, he wisely concluded that it was too big an endeavour for a single person to try to pen down such a huge epic. He decided that teamwork was needed. He chose as his partner Ganesha who had an elephant head on a human body. He had short and stubby legs beneath a huge tummy. The two formed a unique team. The terms of their partnership were also unique. It was agreed that Vyasa would not stop while dictating verses, else Ganesha would quit writing. Vyasa put a counter-condition that Ganesha would have to understand every verse before writing it and that Ganesha could not stop writing for any reason.
The task of writing was never going to be easy but writing continuously was even more difficult. Sometimes, when Vyasa needed time to arrange his thoughts, he would compose a difficult verse and it would take Ganesha time to understand it. One day while writing, Ganesha’s pen broke. This could have caused his writing to stop, thus putting the entire effort in danger. Without any delay, Ganesha broke off a tusk from his elephant head and continued writing.
Vyasa and Ganesha have presented a remarkable example of teamwork before the world. To be called a team member, it is not enough to merely join the team. We must share the team’s vision and goals and be ready to strive our utmost to achieve them. Only when this happens, can masterpieces like Mahabharata be created. Like the famous writer, Louisa Alcott May said, “It takes two flints to make a fire.”