Vice in the Mahabharata College

Gambling, envy, pride--each represents a specific anti-thesis to one’s general concept of virtue. However, each of these vices dwell within the pages of the Mahabharata. If the Mahabharata serves as a teaching mechanism for its readers, then the vices located within can be presumed to exist as a lessons. Throughout the Mahabharata, vice functions as an underlying accomplice to excess. Therefore through examining the inset story of “Savitri and Satyavan” along with “Death’s Reluctance,” one formulates the definition of excess to be the surplus or immoderation of personal vices that ultimately leads to one’s undoing.

Chapter eight of William Buck’s Mahabharata holds the interpolated narrative of Savitri’s selfless love for her husband, Satyavan. Vyasa recounts the short love story around a campfire to lift the spirits of the Pandavas, specifically Draupadi, during their exile. Although the story’s overarching themes focus on love and loyalty, the parable-esque tale also illustrates the value the Mahabharata places on the lack of excess.

In the beginning of “Savitri and Satyavan,” Savitri learns that Satyavan has only one year left to live. Savitri refuses to change her mind stating that “whether his life be long or short, [she...

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