About the book: The Mahabharata is some 3,500 years old and is the longest poem in any language. It is one of the founding epics of Indian culture and, with its mixture of cosmic drama and profound philosophy (one small section forms the BHAGHAVAD GITA) it holds aunique place in world literature. In this drastically shortened prose rendering, Narayan uses all his extraordinary talents to convey to a modern reader why this is such a great story. Filled with vivid characters, obsessed with the rise and fall of gods, empires and heroes, Narayan's MAHABHARATA is an enormously enjoyable experience and the perfect introduction to the otherwise bewildering Indian cosmology.
by William Buck
About the book: William Buck has condensed the story. The old translation from which he worked covers 5800 pages of print, while his own book is less than a tenth of that length. But by and large, Buck's rendition reflects the sequence of events in the Sanskrit epic, and he uses the traditional techniques for instance, of stories within stories, flashbacks, moral lessons laid in the mouths of principal characters.
by Devdutt Pattanaik
About the book: High above the sky stands Swarga, paradise, abode of the gods. Still above is Vaikuntha, heaven, abode of God. The doorkeepers of Vaikuntha are the twins, Jaya and Vijaya, both whose names mean 'victory'. One keeps you in Swarga; the other raises you into Vaikuntha. In Vaikuntha there is bliss forever, in Swarga there is pleasure for only as long as you deserve. What is the difference between Jaya and Vijaya? Solve this puzzle and you will solve the mystery of the Mahabharata. In this enthralling retelling of India's greatest epic, the Mahabharata, originally known as Jaya, Devdutt Pattanaik seamlessly weaves into a single narrative plots from the Sanskrit classic as well as its many folk and regional variants, including the Pandavani of Chattisgarh, Gondhal of Maharashtra, Terukkuttu of Tamil Nadu, and Yakshagana of Kamataka. Richly illustrated with over 250 line drawings by the author, the 108 chapters abound with little-known details such as the names of the hundred Kauravas, the worship of Draupadi as a goddess in Tamil Nadu, the stories of Astika, Madhavi, Jamini, Aravan and Barnareek, the Mahabharata version of the Shakuntaiam and the Ramayana, and the dating of the war based on astronomical data. With clarity and simplicity, the tales in the elegant volume reveal the eternal relevance of the Mahabharata, the complex and disturbing meditation on the human condition that has shaped Indian thought for over 3000 years.
by J. A. B. van Buitenen
About the book: The Mahabharata, an ancient and vast Sanskrit poem, is a remarkable collection of epics, legends, romances, theology, and ethical and metaphysical doctrine. The core of this great work is the epic struggle between five heroic brothers, the Pandavas, and their one hundred contentious cousins for rule of the land. This is the first volume in what will ultimately become a multi volume edition encompassing all eighteen books.
by Ramesh Menon
About the book: The Mahabharata is the more recent of India's two great epics, and by far the longer. First composed by the Maharishi Vyasa in verse, it has come down the centuries in the timeless oral tradition of guru and sishya, profoundly influencing the history, culture, and art of not only the Indian subcontinent but most of south-east Asia. At 100,000 couplets, it is seven times as long as the Iliad and the Odyssey combined: far and away the greatest recorded epic known to man. The Mahabharata is the very Book of Life: in its variety, majesty and, also, in its violence and tragedy. It has been said that nothing exists that cannot be found within the pages of this awesome legend. The epic describes a great war of some 5000 years ago, and the events that led to it. The war on Kurukshetra sees ten million warriors slain, brings the dwapara yuga to an end, and ushers in a new and sinister age: this present kali yuga, modern times. At the heart of the Mahabharata nestles the Bhagavad Gita, the Song of God. Senayor ubhayor madhye, between two teeming armies, Krishna expounds the eternal dharma to his warrior of light, Arjuna. At one level, all the restless action of the Mahabharata is a quest for the Gita and its sacred stillness. After the carnage, it is the Gita that survives, immortal lotus floating upon the dark waters of desolation: the final secret! With its magnificent cast of characters, human, demonic, and divine, and its riveting narrative, the Mahabharata continues to enchant readers and scholars the world over. This new rendering brings the epic to the contemporary reader in sparkling modern prose. It brings alive all the excitement, magic, and grandeur of the original-for our times.
by Bibek Debroy
About the book: Though the basic plot is widely known, there is much more to the epic than the dispute between Kouravas and Pandavas that led to the battle in Kurukshetra. It has innumerable sub-plots that accommodate fascinating meanderings and digressions, and it has rarely been translated in full, given its formidable length of 80,000 shlokas or couplets. This magnificent ten-volume unabridged translation of the epic is based on the Critical Edition compiled at the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute. Volume 3 completes the Vana Parva, the account of the Pandavas' sojourn in the forest. It details the dharma obtained from, and descriptions of, places of pilgrimage. It recounts the stories of Agastya, Rishyashringa, Kartavirya, Sukanya and Chyavana, Mandhata, Jantu, Shibi, Ashtavakra, Yavakrita, Jatasura, and Markandeya. The narrative covers Arjuna's slaying of the Nivatakavacha demons; the Kouravas' defeat at the hands of the gandharvas and their subsequent release by the Pandavas; Droupadi's abduction by Jayadratha and rescue by the Pandavas; and Indra's visit to Karna to rob him of his earrings and armour.