The gap between the Pandavas and the Kauravas is symptomatic of an even more important gap: between humans and the gods (and in another track, between humans and other animals).
Widening the gap. What I like about the Jaya is that there's only a small gap separating the heroes from the villains. Don't believe me? Consider two pairs: Duryodhana and Bhima; Karna and Arjuna.
Descartes was worried that the devil might prevent him from seeing the world as it is: making him see a snake when there's nothing more than a rope. Or worse: substitute a rope for a snake. So he retreated inward to the certainties of perceptual experience, to be replaced later by the certainties of logic.
We know the standard version of the serpent and the rope: let's say you're walking down a dimly lit path in Hosur while talking to a friend and almost stumble upon a serpentine object. Do you run away or keep walking?
The Serpent and the Rope. First, the serpent.
Idea Five: Stability
Idea Four: Fragility
Idea Four: Itihasm
Idea Two: Writing
Idea One: Speech. Why does the Jaya have to be (re)told? Why can't it be written?
December 1st. I am tired. It's been an exhausting trip through the Jaya. The daily discipline is both freeing and severely restrictive. Reading everyday is hard; writing everyday makes it that much harder.
I could go on and on about the subtleties of causation and inference, but what's the point? Is there a relationship with the Jaya? Or more narrowly, is there a relationship with the four archetypal figures: Jaratkaru, Garuda, Damayanti and Agastya?
So why does causation here make me perceive there? How do I end up seeing smoke on top of the hill when all the photons are right here in my retina?
Let's recap for a moment: fire causing smoke is a physical event. The perception of smoke causing the perception of fire is a causal event. The perception of smoke being the perception of smoke isn't a causal event.
Clearly an inference isn't a causal event - for causality always proceeds from the past to the future. Wait! Isn't it the case that perceiving smoke causes the cognition of fire?
Story time, as we know is not the same as real time. In the Adi Parva Jaratkaru is forced by his beleaguered ancestors to bear a child and continue their lineage. Two thousands pages later, Agastya becomes a householder after running into his beleaguered ancestors.
It's actually a great relief to know that the Jaya is a tortoise, not a hare.
The rising sea isn't my metaphor. It comes from unpublished writings of the great French mathematician, Alexander Grothendieck.
While the war between the Pandavas and the Kauravas is at the heart of the epic, the first few parvas have much else in them.
So there you go: it's taken me almost a year to have an idea that should have been obvious from the beginning. Or rather, it's two ideas that feed off each other. Wait, it gets better: it's two ideas, both of which are two ideas that feed off each other.