Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Found: User guide for weapons used in the Mahabharata

Shyam PV TNN 

Thiruvananthapuram: Ever wondered how our mythological superheroes operated deadly weapons such as the brahmastra, agneyastra, varunastra and the nagpash? 
    A manuscript found from the collections of an ayurvedic practitioner, Ashtavaidyan Vaidyamadham Cheriya Narayanan Namboodiri, who passed away recently, clearly mentions the mantras to use these weapons and many more. The 63-folio manuscript in palm leaves, believed to be rewritten about 120 years ago, is the only manuscript retrieved so far in the country that explains the use of the weapons mentioned in the Mahabharata with around 48 well-described mantras. 
    “It was Cheriya Narayanan Naboodiri’s wish to digitize all his manuscript collections – 1,300 bundles – for the benefit of researchers, students and future generations. The particular manuscript 
was noticed while we were digitizing the collections using the most reliable method, reprography,” said A R Krishnakumar, project manager at Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences. 
    Krishnakumar is part of a team from the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts , New Delhi, that has been given the responsibility of digitizing all the manuscripts available with public and private parties in the country. 
    “People may wonder why the manuscripts should be digitized. It is because they would throw light on our history, culture, customs and ancient religions besides giving information on the environment, health and science of ancient times,” said Krishnakumar.

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