After a long eager wait, Bahubali 2 has finally hit the theatres and the response from audience is full of high praises for this film which has probably surpassed its own box office collections too. It seems the film has become an epic of its own kind.
The grandeur of the Mahishmati Kingdom and its hero Bahubali is spellbinding and sort of transports people to a different mystical, supernatural world. The sequences revolving around larger than life Mahishmati kingdom can simply leave you awestruck. May be, this is the way mythical epics were created and shaped in the minds of people merged into texts, traditions, society and cultures.
The Mahishmati kingdom and its hero Bahubali are so intriguing, that probably it will not occur to audiences to know if it’s fictional or indeed a part of History. But yes, most of us would know the entire concept of Bahubali is an art of fiction. It’s an amazing story, narrated in a style. However there are traces of Ramayana and Mahabharata in this movie as there is a certain kingdom named Mahishmati mentioned in both the epics.
It's a certain mythical kingdom and not specifically Mahishmati of the Bahubali film is referred in Ramayana and Mahabharata, as per Wikipedia, Mahishmati was an ancient city located in central India. It is mentioned in several ancient texts, and may have flourished as late as until 13th century.
Mahishmati was the most important city in the southern part of the Avanti Kingdom and later served as the capital of the Anupa Kingdom . It was located in present-day Madhya Pradesh, on the banks of Narmada River , although its exact location is uncertain. The Sanskrit epic Ramayana mentions the attack of Rakshasa king Ravana on Mahishmati. The Anushana Parva states that Ikshvaku's son Dashashva was a king of Mahishmati.
Mahabharata mentions Mahishmati as part of a kingdom distinct from the Avanti kingdom. The Sabha Parva states that the Pandava general Sahadeva attacked Mahishmati, and defeated its ruler Nila.
The legend of mythical kingdom Mahishmati :
In Mahabharata, there is description of an unusual tradition where in marriage as a civil institution was not universal in Mahishmati unlike in rest of Aryavarta,.
As per the legend, there was a Nishada king named Nila who ruled over Mahishmati. King Nila had a daughter who was exceedingly beautiful. So much so that Agni (lord of fire) fell in love with her which was reciprocated. The princess always used to stay near the sacred fire of her father, causing it to blaze up with vigour. And king Nila's sacred fire, even if fanned, would not blaze until agitated by the gentle breath of her lips. Agni, assuming the form of a Brahman starts courting with the princess for long. But, one day the couple was discovered by the king, who became furious. Nila thereupon ordered the Brahman to be punished according to law. At this the illustrious deity flamed up in wrath and beholding the terrible flame. The king felt terrified and bent his head low on the ground. King hails Lord Agni and says he cannot punish a god who is responsible for the origin of Vedas, source of all Knowledge and Dharma. Pacified Agni then grants a boon to Nishada, and the King requests for the protection of his kingdom from any invasions. Agni swears to protect his kingdom on the condition that the king should sanctify pleasure out of pure love, a legitimate action in his kingdom.
Years later, after the epic war the victorious Yudhisthra plans on conducting a Yagna by winning over everyone else on Earth. Sahadeva, the youngest of Pandavas knowing that Lord Agni was protecting the Nishada kingdom, prays to Lord Agni successfully and there upon moves to Saurashtra Kingdom.
So now we know that the mesmerizing kingdom of film Bahubali is apparently depicted basis some inspiration from Epics conjoined with the work of creative minds. This could make the film of Bahubali more appealing to its fans. However from the perspective of study of Indian mythology this is illustrative of another snippet from its vast free- flowing reservoir. Indian epics, Vedas and Puranas can never cease to astonish the modern population and it’s this eternal connection with them, the tales of undetermined time in past, which makes it a living mythology.