The other day, a friend had read about the cause of Mahabharata war and he shared it with me and wanted to know about my view.
Pandavas were five brothers who were righteous and had a common beautiful wife named Draupadi. Duryodhana was eldest among the Kaurava cousins who used trickery and deceit to get what belonged to Pandavas and also humiliated Draupadi because of a deep grudge. The story briefly goes like this: though Kauravas were jealous of Pandavas since very beginning, they became even more inimical after Draupadi humiliated Duryodhana before many people. A special palace was created by the chief artisan of demigods Vishwakarma for Pandavas. It had floors which shined like water bodies and water bodies inside it seemed like plane surfaces. This caused Duryodhana’s fall who was unaware of the design. Draupadi took advantage of the opportunity and mocked Duryodhana and his parents together. Dhritarashtra was blind by birth and his wife had taken a vow to not use her sight after marriage, thus both parents of Duryodhana were practically blind but since they were king and queen they sailed through. Draupadi had previous grudges against Duryodhana and his brothers and she used the opportunity to mock and taunt him.
This, according to my friend caused the epic war of Mahabharata.
I had read about this and I feel this is reasonable to suggest. But I feel this line of reasoning is for a certain purpose. It’s to give a morale that we should use our words cautiously. This is one of the infinite possible angles. I feel there is no particular cause for any event because anything becomes possible only when everything else allows it to be. The mind takes a fragment apart and analyses it for specific purposes such as the one given above. Thus Mahabharata war happened because there was no particular reason because universe has no particular reason and it’s based on something which is completely independent.
Even then as I was asked a particular cause I chose one which looks like a subtler cause. The subtler causes include gross ones and help you calm your mind. For example–wars are caused because someone gets hurt but they coincide with some astronomical events like solar flares as per Jyotisha which aren’t really correlated substantially until now with mundane events and studies are needed to do so. The study of cosmic events draws our attention towards the bigger picture. The play between light and darkness is without any beginning and end as war as manifested universe is concerned. This play is the cause of all wars however small or big they seem. The intellectual exegesis seldom gives peace but until you’re fond–better choose subtler causes and bigger pictures!
Lord Krishna gives the most subtle reason himself. He tells Arjuna in the battlefield that he incarnates in every age to restore Dharma. Whenever darkness is beyond a certain extent and the balance between light and darkness is heavily disturbed an incarnation of God manifests and works for the restoration of Dharma. It must be noted that this is merely a temporary patch-up and there’s no permanent Dharma or Adharma ages.
There might be a long period of harmony followed by a small period of chaos or a long period of darkness followed by a small period of harmony or various other combinations where darkness and light keep following each other in an endless succession. Darkness never vanishes completely in the manifestation because then universe will be impossible. Thus you observe that Krishna incarnated when earth was burdened by various kings who were demonic and tortured people and sages. But even when great avatars like Krishna came and did what they needed to do the Dharma was restored only for a while. Buddha came after Krishna and then Shankaracharya and then many more for the same purpose.
Mahabharata war killed a great chunk of human population and obviously many innocent lives were taken. When we clean our houses and remove pests many insects which we don’t intend to kill are killed. It’s bound to happen. We consider ourselves more intelligent than spiders and pests and don’t stop to think that our day to day cleaning is often like tsunamis and great wars of survival for them. Similarly infinite human beings come and walk on the face of earth in the life time of Bramha the Creator. Intelligence which looks after the affairs on this planet doesn’t mind taking many innocent lives along with the huge portion of demonic and barbaric kings in the wars like Mahabharata.
Before anything else Mahabharata was the war Krishna wanted to happen. It seems that he acted as a messenger of peace for a while but it was only an act and he knew all along that cancerous outgrowth of human population was needed to be controlled. That is what he told Arjuna. And if there was no fight between Kauravas and Pandavas he would have chosen some other excuse to lighten the burden on earth. Had Arjuna denied to be the hero he would have chosen another protege. After all he let all his relatives kill each other even when Mahabharata war was over fearing that they would cause the same damage in future which other demonic kings had caused.