Friday

Q. So it's a Hindu myth. What else is there to know?

A. The myth itself.

Q. Right. Who was Arjuna? And why did he do a Great Penance?

A. Arjuna was one the five Pandavas, the five brothers who are the heroes of the epic, the "Mahabharat". He went to the Himalayas to the source of the river Ganga (Ganges) in order to do a Great Penance (really a meditation) because he wanted to ask the god, Shiva, for the Pasupata, the weapon of all weapons.

Q. Why?

A. To wipe out his cousins, the Kauravas. There was going to be a war.

Q. But a weapon like that could wipe out everything!

A. Yes. The god wanted to give it to someone sensible.

Q. But was it sensible in the first place to want such a weapon?

A. It's at this point, when you ask questions like that and answer them that you begin to make the myth your own and make it work for you, and perhaps make it work for other people. (Later, in the "Mahabharat," Arjuna himself asks a similar question.)

Q. Is any of this relevant?

A. Are you serious?

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