Why was Sister Nivedita fascinated by Mahabharata?
Sister Nivedita’s historical book Cradle Tales of Hinduism was published in 1907. Though many think the stories are more like folklores that children tend to listen to from their grandparents and parents while in the nursery, the stories in reality have a deeper essence. And that being Sister Nivedita’s fascination for Hindu mythology.
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But why was she fascinated by Hindu mythology? In fact, this fascination drew her towards Tagore, who also had a common point of interest in Indian mythology. Rabindranath Tagore was fascinated by the good and evil dimensions of human nature in Ramayana and Mahabharata. And Nivedita was bowled over by the liberal and ahead-of-its-time details of adoption, paternity and motherhood as described in various tales of Mahabharata. She thus went on to introduce readers to Hindu mythology through her book Cradle Tales of Hinduism. Tales of Mahabharata actually in many instances celebrate feminism in complete contrast to a patriarchal Indian society of recent times.
Sister Nivedita was highly influenced by such open minded philosophy of the epic and believed it to be a foundation stone for India’s ethnic diversity. Any threat to it was a cause for grave concern.