Growing up as a child in India, I often overheard conversations between my parents where they were discussing certain events and happenings in the lives of their friends. These friends were so close they were like family, we got to know the entire intimate goings-on and other details. In fact, they were like family but friends, so they were called “family friends.” Since my parents conversed in a code language, I really did not grasp too much. It seemed to me that the same story was being played out in every family. Now, these were very wealthy families, with the kind of wealth that could provide for generations. Wealth that included landed property, which till today appreciates more than gold. The family structure consisted of a head patriarch, with the sons, their wives, and children all living together under the same roof as one single unit. The eldest son of this unit was given a lion’s share of all assets. It was his responsibility to take care of his siblings in a fair and just manner, which invariably was not fulfilled. Dominated by greed, ego, envy, jealousy, control, and pride, the eldest caused dissension among the brothers which resulted in separation and conflict. Wealth became the cause of evil. Brothers, wives, parents, and close relatives so dear to one another, bonded in love and family ties, living together as if they were in one body, becoming bitter enemies for the sake of a few coins or a few acres of land. A dispute over a trifle thing was enough to inflame them and make them fight amongst themselves, forgetting all loving relationships and instead intent on mutual destruction.
This was the pattern that recurred in most wealthy families.
One day I heard my dad say “Mahabharata has begun” referring to events in a certain family. Bingo! That was my cue to unearth this secret storyline. The word “maha” means great and “bharat” is the name of India. Literally translated, it means the great story of India. My dad was an engineer by trade and he had a library filled with books on art, philosophy, metaphysics etc. I was at this time old enough to look up this long title “Mahabharata” among the plethora of books. As I digested the basic plot, I was quite shocked to see the similarity being played out in front of our very own eyes in real time. What fascinated me was how this very ancient epic was still so present at the time. This had a profound impact on my mind, and I filed this impression in the hard drive of my mind to revisit at a later date.
Fast forward to two years ago. I was in a doctor’s office after a routine exam, when she came in and announced that I had an aggressive cancer that required immediate surgery, to be followed by an eighteen month long treatment. As a person, I was stunned, as an actor, I thought production had screwed up this set. I guess I was still trying to overcome the stark reality of the shocking moment. Having done several commercials and industrials where I play the doctor telling someone else they had cancer, this seemed like a cruel joke! This was not a make believe production where I rattled off some really hard to pronounce medical terminology that meant nothing to me. This was the reality of having to learn what this terminology meant in reference to my own body, to develop the patience necessary to undergo each and every phase of the treatment.
A couple of days after I digested the shocking news, as I was going through the surgeries, I had a divine inspiration to unlock the data stored in my memory bank and re-create it in a new format. Yes, it was time to put my impressions to work and create something new and different. A lot of interpretations, adaptations, versions, films, television serials, soap operas, etc., based on the Mahabharata were already done. What could I do that would be fresh and new, something novel and unique? As a long-time tarot reader, I always had a yearning to create my own deck. But a great epic like the Mahabharata deserved more reverence. Something that could connect us to the higher powers with their wisdom and counsel. An oracle deck seemed the perfect answer.
All through the creative process, as I was still undergoing cancer treatment, I had some really bad days where I had to rush to the emergency room. Somewhat naturally, I began to practice what Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita, (a treatise within the Mahabharata) which is to become merely an observer. I don’t even know how I did it all during this rough journey, but I was looking at myself as if it was someone else, not me. Things became so much more tolerable with this practice. I, the observer, was involved with the creation of a divine inspiration, while my body was getting the treatment needed for recovery. This marriage had to have been created by divine powers.
During the creative process, while I was describing the characters in the Kurukshetra war, I was myself engaged in an inner battle.
With so many colorful, lustrous, magnificent characters in the Mahabharata to choose from, it was somewhat of a dilemma. Since there was plenty of action and drama, conflict and love, jealousy and grace, greed and kindness, along with science fiction galore, there was a myriad of choices available. Often times, the path becomes easier when there is only one. However, it can also be fun to have a spectrum of choices, to indulge in many fantasies, and let your imagination wander. Therefore, I chose those characters who spoke to me with a powerful message. There are still other characters and I do hope to add them on. Just like the character of Draupadi in the Mahabharata, who desired a husband with five powerful qualities in a prior lifetime. In her next lifetime she is married to five husbands who each possess one of those five qualities.
THE PROPHETIC DREAM
I received a heads up from the marketing team that my book would be released a month later than scheduled due to the pandemic. A little disappointed, I was nevertheless counting the days. On a physical calendar, I started the countdown. 42, 41, 40… and that night I had a dream. Ganesha the elephant God, came to me in his full elephant form and told me that my book was already being shipped out. Now all this happens in symbols in the dream world. This was mind-boggling to me since it is said that this epic called The Mahabharata was actually dictated to the author Ved Vyas by Ganesha himself, almost like a download. This was surely a message with meaning. Could this herald Divine Grace? Sure enough, the next day, I received a message from some of the people who had pre-ordered my deck, that they had already received it! I couldn’t ask for a more divine finale on a journey that, in a way, was also only the beginning.
I write this in gratitude to Red Feather and the Schiffer team for translating my vision in such a spectacular manner.
Gita Rash is a visual and performing artist, fitness instructor, author, blogger and psychic medium whose passion is to help motivate people to find and recognize their path to happiness. Her IMDB credits include Mirror Game, Bombay to New York, A Happy Divorce and many others. She holds a Master’s degree in History and an MBA in finance.
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