Why Mahabharata and Ramayana when we have eternal thoughts compiled in form of Upanishads and Vedas?
Srimad Bhagavatam talks about one of many purposes of Mahabharata @ 1.4.25
त्रयी न श्रुतिगोचरा । कर्मश्रेयसि मूढानां श्रेय एवं भवेदिह ।
इति भारतमाख्यानं कृपया मुनिना कृतम् ॥ १५॥
Those minds for whom Vedas and Upanishads are not easy tools for self-realization, let them attain benefit through the epics like Mahabharata. Having analyzed thus, the great epic Mahabharata was composed out of mercy by Vyasa.
Further it says @ 1.3.35:
एवं जन्मानि कर्माणि ह्यकर्तुरजनस्य च ।
वर्णयन्ति स्म कवयो वेदगुह्यानि हृत्पते: ॥
कविगण describes अजन्मा & अकर्ता by their stories of ascension on Earth so that humans can realize God by more human-friendly perceptions i.e. actions of Avatar.
Reading Mahabharata does not only provide vital hints for living physical life. It is not mere historical account of dharmic civilizations. It is not mere collection of Sanatana Dharma experiments. The epic poets do not rest with staging for us this tremendous drama and letting us watch the performance merely as spectators. They lead us behind the scenes, so to say, tinker our psyche and align it with Sanatana Dharma. Without any traces, all impurities of mind are being cured by eternal words (and waves of imagination created in mind space). River of living wisdom flowing in vivid scenes of epics is potent enough to help your soul to find rightly configured path of self-realization.
Mahabharata are living tales. You can relate your life with it effortlessly. Living tales live out their lives symbiotically within human beings, preserved through regular infusions of human life force, feeding on our powers of attention as they nourish our spiritual marrow. It is perfect metaphysical food which nourishes our life continuously, unlike dead bookish knowledge which can accumulate within you forever without any purpose.
Let us once again open ourselves to healthy, life-enhancing tradition of story-telling. Let us keep aside our intellectual over-analysis. Stories cannot work in barren environment.Over-use of Intellect may develop barren mind-space. Analyzing Mahakaavyas can give you, new experiences and insights but they will be transitory. Only when we dare to immerse self in story’s reality, story can help us to cure mental disorders (Don’t tell me that you are perfectly alright. 🙂). Sense stories. When we lower our intellectual self and shut it for time being, like a newborn, reality of story will enter in our psyche and start damage control work. And so, surrender, daily. Listen Mahabharat/Ramayana from motherly figures(mother or anyone who loves you very much) and/or narrate it to family and friends.
I know, this note might sound like lunatic share. I cannot explain much in detail due to my limitations. I suggest, do experiment if you want, but with genuine seeker attitude, devoid of any judgmental and critical mindset. Create space and time, where and when you can regularly (if not daily) enter in reality of Mahabharata/Ramayana. Indulge yourself in daily reading of and contemplation on Mahabharata. Let these eternal characters do their job.
I will share my experiences as and when I realize them.
I would prefer to introduce Ramayana and Mahabharata stories to children below age 10 ,before Upanayan Samskara and Veda-Shiksha initiation , so to prepare their mind (क्षेत्र) for God-realization. Mahabharata and Ramayana can work best as natural fertilizers for growing minds. In fact, it should start as early as presence of गर्भ is detected in mother’s womb.