The Names of the Mahabharata

While reading the Upanishads and Vedas, the thing that strikes you first are the names of Rishis and the Seekers of Knowledge. Vamadeva, Viswamitra, Angirasa, Bhrigu and more. Leave alone understanding of mantras, the very mention of these names seem to wake some primordial impulse to Truth and Godhood. So it should be, since to the Rishi every God, every named power, could be invoked and meditated upon until they manifested in him in all their power. So it is my idea to dwell on these ancient names to perhaps draw something, worth the try I would think.

So it struck me, what of works that I seem to know, what names lurk in there, what powers or qualities do other names hold for the eager seeker? So I picked the Mahabharata, specifically the version available at Project Gutenberg, translated by Sri Kisari Mohan Ganguli from the original Sanskrit of Krishna Dwaipanya Vyasa. With some help from Python, NLTK and writing a basic entity recognition algo I managed to extract all the names from the english text of Ganguli. That done, I fed them into the excellent WordCloud in Python tutorial code by Andreas Mueller. And just like that they came out..the heroes, villains, gods, demi-gods..all of them 🙂

So without further ado, let me humbly offer this tiny fruit of my labour for your curiosity and pleasure. Note that each image links to high resolution versions (1200 x 900).

Adi Parva

Mahabharata Adiparva

Sabha Parva

Mahabharata Sabhaparva

Vana Parva 1

Mahabharata Vanaparva1

Vana Parva 2

Mahabharata Vanaparva 2

Virata Parva

Mahabharata Virataparva

 

Go ahead download and see how many names are familiar to you. It is interesting how mentions of characters varies as the plot progresses. Vaisampayana is the narrator, hence the number of mentions. Arjuna establishes himself as key at the start and the end. In the middle sections Yudhisthira plays a bigger role and so on.

If there is interest I can release my code that did the basic entity recognition with some help from NLTK. In addition I also plan to put out a clickable version of this word cloud, so that curious folks can head to Wikipedia directly.

Let me know if this sort of analysis and visualization on Hindu scriptures and epics seems interesting to you.

Technical Notes:

The size of the image is based on the frequency of mentions in the text and normalized for overall word count. The top 200 names have been pulled out. As you can see the entity recognition could be a lot better. The list of left out names are much larger, I need to try another route to present all of them.

Credits to Python community, the awesome natural language processing library NLTK and Andreas Mueller for enabling this, would not have been possible otherwise.

Appeal: History Repeats in Assam

What happened to Bharath many times before is happening again.

Another country or thought system or religion is after us once more. Over 2,00,000 of our citizens have been displaced.

Imagine if it were to happen in our location; say Karnataka or Tamil Nadu or Gujarath or Maharashtra or Uttar Pradesh or Andhra Pradesh.

If foreigners had kicked me from my home then I could not have blogged and you could not have read this. Our families would have no home, no belongings, no money…nothing. Our children would have no future.

We would be like political refugees that we have read about in papers. We would know what Kashmiri Pandits felt like, what Red Indians felt like, or Incas felt when decimated, or thrown out, from their own land.

For now, for just a little while let us forget our differences. You and I can still hate each other eternally, for now let us lend a hand to our brothers and sisters.

You will have the eternal gratitude of all who love Bharath. If nothing you will have done the right thing for another human being, that should help for now and hereafter.

Param Foundation, associated with Seva Bharathi, is lending a hand on our behalf in Assam. I donated some money and got update below from them:

Present Activities by Seva Bharathi and condition in Assam:

  • Seva Bharathi has set up 3 base camps for medical relief exercise.
  • 2 in Kokrajhar and 1 in Gossaigaon.
  • They have pressed 2 ambulances and two teams of doctors and helpers at these camps
  • Medicines are being given at these camps for contagious and water borne diseases.
  • Relief materials which are of immediate importance are being provided in these camps now.
  • Mosquito coils, bread, biscuits, bed sheets were distributed.
  • They expect that people will stay in relief camps for at least 20 days to a month as many areas are still under grip of violence
  • Curfew has been lifted only in few parts of Kokrajhar and Gossaigaon where violence has abated.
  • There are other areas and districts where violence is still happening and curfew is still in vogue. (Seva activities cannot reach them now)

You can make a difference now by donating any amount to Param Foundation or similar organizations. Details of Param Foundation is below:

Savings Account name:        Param Foundation

Account number:                  910010021117832

Bank:                                     Axis bank, Chamarajpet branch, Bangalore

IFSC Code:                           UTIB0000558

Note: 80G receipts are available for the donors. Please send an email to info@paramfoundation.org with the address, email and telephone number of the donor. Receipts will be sent through the courier.

Contact: Radhakrishna Holla 09731264009

 

 

How did Prosperous Bharath Come to this?

Famine during colonial rule of Bharath. Province of Madras.

During colonial rule there were at least some record as pictures. The 800 years before colonials were captured only in books, which have been forgotten or washed over by our ‘secular’ brethren.

On a positive note, Bharath has come a long way since. But poverty remains rooted, leaving way for charlatans with food and money on one hand, and dubious ideas on another. This nation is ours only in name, acidic ideas and people, both domestic and foreign, continue to tear us apart.

What you and I do today and after, however small and insignificant, will have bearing on what Bharath turns out to be.

Vande Mataram!