We all grow up listening to the stories of Ramayan and Mahabharat and eventually we invariably ask the question. Is this all true ?
It is a fair question and any one who has half the brain would wonder this. The vedas to begin with skepticism. After all can a woman give birth to 100 sons ? Can one man have strength of 100 elephants ?
Like most other things in Hinduism, Mahabharat appears to be a mixture of reality, timeless values and poetic imagination. Our rishis called it “itihasa” for a reason. The point is not whether Bhima had strength of 100 elephants or of 99 elephants. In grand scheme of things that question is completely irrelevant. What the story of Mahabharat actually codifies is the values we want to pass to our children, the poetic description is to make sure the story is interesting.
There is plenty of astronomical evidence that the writers of Mahabharata did not write fiction but truth. Various astronomical events mentioned in mahabharata can be seen to have happened 4000 to 10,000 years ago and it is possible what we call mahabharata to day is actually a far ancient tale.
One important aspect of Mahabharata is the use to chariot warfare and horses. It is believed that horse were not from India originally and came much later, so if the war had horses it should have happened after the horses arrived in Bharatvarsha.
Mahabharata not just mentions horses but horses are supremerly important. The Ashwamedha yagnya involves horses. Bhishma travels to modern day Pakistan to find the finest horses for his army and observes the lifestyle of people who breed horses and so on.
Recent archeological evidence has suggested that Indians have had chariots since around 5000 BC. this is an important find.