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Manuscript illustration of the Battle of Kurukshetra The Mahābhārata (Devanagari: महाभारत), /məɦaːbʱaːrət̪ə/ is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being the Ramayana. With more than 74,000 verses, long prose passages, and about 1.8 million words in total, the Mahābhārata is one of the longest epic poems in the world.[1] Including the Harivamsa, the Mahabharata has a total length of more than 90,000 verses. It is of immense importance to the culture of India and Nepal, and is a major text of Hinduism. Its discussion of human goals (artha or wealth, kama or pleasure, dharma or duty/harmony, and moksha or liberation) takes place in a long-standing tradition, attempting to explain the relationship of the individual to society and the world (the nature of the 'Self') and the workings of karma. The title may be translated as "the great tale of the Bharata Dynasty", according to the Mahābhārata's own testimony extended from a shorter version simply called Bhārata of 24,000 verses[2] The epic is part of the Hindu itihāsa, literally "that which happened", which includes the Ramayana and the Purāṇas. Traditionally, Hindus ascribe the Mahabharata to Vyasa. Because of its immense length, its philological study has a long history of attempts to unravel its historical growth and

composition layers. Its earliest layers date back to the late Vedic period (ca. 5th c. BCE) and it probably reached its final form in the early Gupta period (ca. 4th c. CE).

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1 Influence 2 Textual history and organization 3 Historicity 4 Structure and authorship 5 Synopsis o 5.1 The elder generations o 5.2 The Pandava and Kaurava princes o 5.3 Laakshagriha (The House of Wax) o 5.4 Marriage to Draupadi o 5.5 Indraprastha o 5.6 The dice game o 5.7 Exile and return o 5.8 The battle at Kurukshetra o 5.9 The end of the Pandavas 6 Versions, translations, and derivative works o 6.1 Critical Edition o 6.2 Modern Interpretations o 6.3 English Translations  6.3.1 Lal version  6.3.2 Clay Sanskrit Library version  6.3.3 Chicago version  6.3.4 Ganguli version 7 Kuru family tree 8 See also 9 Notes 10 References 11 External links

[edit] Influence
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In its scope, the Mahabharata is more than simply a story of kings and princes, sages and wise men, demons and gods. Vyasa, says that one of its aims is elucidating the four goals of life: dharma (duty),artha (wealth),kama (pleasure), and moksha (liberation). The narrative culminates in moksha, believed by Hindus to be the ultimate goal of human beings. Karma and dharma play an integral role in the Mahabharata. The Mahabharata includes aspects of Hinduism, stories of the gods and goddesses, and explanations of Hindu philosophy. Among the principal works and stories that are a part of the Mahabharata are the following (often considered isolated as works in their own right):
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Bhagavad Gita (Krishna advises and teaches Arjuna when he is ridden with doubt. Anushasanaparva.) Damayanti (or Nala and Damayanti, a love story. Aranyakaparva.)

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Krishnavatara (the story of Krishna, the Krishna Lila, which is woven through many chapters of the story) An abbreviated version of the Ramayana. Aranyakaparva. Rishyasringa (also written as Rshyashrnga, the horned boy and rishi. Aranyakaparva.) Vishnu sahasranama (a hymn to Vishnu, which describes his 1000 names; Anushasanaparva.)

The Mahabharata expresses an epic tendency towards all-inclusiveness at the beginning of its first parva (section): "What is found here, may be found elsewhere. What is not found here, will not be found elsewhere."

[edit] Textual history and organization
It is undisputed that the full length of the Mahabharata has accreted over a long period. The Mahabharata itself (1.1.61) distinguishes a core portion of 24,000 verses, the Bharata proper, as opposed to additional secondary material, while the Ashvalayana Grhyasutra (3.4.4) makes a similar distinction. According to the Adi-parva of the Mahabharata (shlokas 81, 101-102), the text was originally 8,800 verses when it was composed by Vyasa and was known as the Jaya (Victory), which later became 24,000 verses in the Bharata recited by Vaisampayana, and finally over 90,000 verses in the Mahabharata recited by Ugrasravas.[3] As with the field of Homeric studies, research on the Mahabharata has put an enormous effort into recognizing and dating various layers within the text. The complex structure had caused some early Western Indologists to refer to it as chaotic.[4] The earliest known references to the Mahabharata and its core Bharata date back to the 6th-5th century BC, in the Ashtadhyayi (sutra 6.2.38) of Pāṇini (c. 520-460 BC), and in the Ashvalayana Grhyasutra (3.4.4), while various characters from the epic are also mentioned in earlier Vedic literature.[3] This indicates that the core 24,000 verses, known as the Bharata, as well as an early version of the extended Mahabharata, were composed by the 6th-5th century BC, with parts of the Jaya's original 8,800 verses possibly dating back as far as the 9th-8th century BC.[5] The Greek writer Dio Chrysostom (ca. 40-ca. 120) reported, "it is said that Homer's poetry is sung even in India, where they have translated it into their own speech and tongue. The result is that...the people of India...are not unacquainted with the sufferings of Priam, the laments and wailings of Andromache and Hecuba, and the valor of both Achilles and Hector: so remarkable has been the spell of one man's poetry!"[6] Despite the passage's evident face-value meaning—that the Iliad had been translated into Sanskrit— some scholars have supposed that the report reflects the existence of a Mahabharata at this date, whose episodes Dio or his sources syncretistically identify with the story of the Iliad. Christian Lassen, in his Indische Alterthumskunde, supposed that the reference is ultimately to Dhritarashtra's sorrows, the laments of Gandhari and Draupadi, and the valor of Arjuna and Suyodhana(or aka Dhuryodhana) and Karna.[7] This interpretation,

endorsed in such standard references as Albrecht Weber's History of Indian Literature, has often been repeated without specific reference to what Dio's text says.[8] Later, the copper-plate inscription of the Maharaja Sharvanatha (533-534) from Khoh (Satna District, Madhya Pradesh) describes the Mahabharata as a "collection of 100,000 verses" (shatasahasri samhita). The redaction of this large body of text was carried out after formal principles, emphasizing the numbers 18[9] and 12. The addition of the latest parts may be dated by the absence of the Anushasana-parva from MS Spitzer, the oldest surviving Sanskrit philosophical manuscript dated to the first century, that contains among other things a list of the books in the Mahabharata. From this evidence, it is likely that the redaction into 18 books took place in the first century. An alternative division into 20 parvas appears to have co-existed for some time. The division into 100 sub-parvas (mentioned in Mbh. 1.2.70) is older, and most parvas are named after one of their constituent sub-parvas. The Harivamsa consists of the final two of the 100 sub-parvas, and was considered an appendix (khila) to the Mahabharata proper by the redactors of the 18 parvas. The division into 18 parvas is as follows: parv title a subcontents parvas Introduction, birth and upbringing of the princes. Life at the court, the game of dice, and the exile of the Pandavas. Maya Danava erects the palace and court (sabha), at Indraprastha.








Aranyaka-parva (also 29-44 Vanaparva, Aranyaparva) Virata-parva Udyoga-parva 45-48 49-59

The twelve years in exile in the forest (aranya).

4 5

The year in exile spent at the court of Virata. Preparations for war. The first part of the great battle, with Bhishma as commander for the Kauravas.







The battle continues, with Drona as commander. The battle again, with Karna as commander. The last part of the battle, with Shalya as commander. How Ashvattama and the remaining Kauravas killed the Pandava army in their sleep (Sauptika). Gandhari and the other women (stri) lament the dead. The crowning of Yudhisthira, and his instructions from Bhishma The final instructions (anusasana) from Bhishma. The royal ceremony of the ashvamedha conducted by Yudhisthira. Dhritarashtra, Gandhari and Kunti leave for an ashram, and eventual death in the forest. The infighting between the Yadavas with maces (mausala). The first part of the path to death (mahaprasthana "great journey") of Yudhisthira and his brothers.


































The Pandavas return to the spiritual world (svarga).

khila Harivamsa-parva

99-100 Life of Krishna.

The Adi-parva is dedicated to the snake sacrifice (sarpasattra) of Janamejaya, explaining its motivation, detailing why all snakes in existence were intended to be destroyed, and why in spite of this, there are still snakes in existence. This sarpasattra material was often considered an independent tale added to a version of the Mahabharata by "thematic attraction" (Minkowski 1991), and considered to have particularly close connection to Vedic (Brahmana literature), in particular the Panchavimsha Brahmana which describes the Sarpasattra as originally performed by snakes, among which are snakes named Dhrtarashtra and Janamejaya, two main characters of the Mahabharata's sarpasattra, and Takshaka, the name of a snake also in the Mahabharata. The Shatapatha Brahmana gives an account of an Ashvamedha performed by Janamejaya Parikshita. According to Mbh. 1.1.50, there were three versions of the epic, beginning with Manu (1.1.27), Astika (1.3, sub-parva 5) or Vasu (1.57), respectively. These versions probably correspond to the addition of one and then another 'frame' settings of dialogues. The Vasu version corresponds to the oldest, without frame settings, beginning with the account of the birth of Vyasa. The Astika version adds the Sarpasattra and Ashvamedha material from Brahmanical literature, and introduces the name Mahabharata and identifies Vyasa as the work's author. The redactors of these additions were probably Pancharatrin scholars who according to Oberlies (1998) likely retained control over the text until its final redaction. Mention of the Huna in the Bhishma-parva however appears to imply that this parva may have been edited around the 4th century.

[edit] Historicity
For historical context of the tale, see Kingdoms of Ancient India

Map of "Bharatvarsha" (Kingdom of India) during the time of Mahabharata and Ramayana. (Title and location names are in English.) Some people believe that "The epic's setting certainly has a historical precedent in Vedic India, where the Kuru kingdom was the center of political power in the late 2nd and early 1st millennia BCE. A dynastic conflict of the period could very well have been the inspiration for the Jaya, the core on which the Mahabharata corpus was built, and eventually the climactic battle came to be viewed as an epochal event. Dating this conflict relies almost exclusively on textual materials in the Mahabaharata itself and associated genealogical lists in the later Puranic literature." [citation needed] The evidence of the Puranas is of two kinds. Of the first kind, there is the direct statement that there were 1015 (or 1050) years between the birth of Parikshit (Arjuna's grandson) and the accession of Mahapadma Nanda, commonly dated to 382 BCE, which would lead to an estimate of about 1400 BCE for the Bharata battle.[11] F.E. Pargiter rejected this because it would imply improbably long reigns on average for the kings listed in the genealogies.[12] Of the second kind are analyses of parallel genealogies in the Puranas between the times of Adhisimakrishna (Parikshit's great-grandson) and Mahapadma Nanda. Pargiter accordingly estimated 26 generations by averaging the lists of ten different dynasties, and assumed 18 years for the average duration of a reign to arrive at an estimate of 850 BCE for Adhisimakrishna, and thus approximately 950 BCE for the Bharata battle.[13] B. B. Lal used the same approach with a more conservative assumption of the average reign to estimate a date of 836 BCE, and correlated this with archaeological evidence from Painted Grey Ware sites, the association being strong between PGW artifacts and places mentioned in the epic.[14]

Attempts to date the events using methods of archaeoastronomy have produced, depending on which passages are chosen and how they are interpreted, estimates ranging from the late 4th to the mid 2nd millennium BCE.[15] The late 4th millennium date has a precedent in the calculation of Aryabhata (6th century), based on planetary conjunctions. His date of February 18th 3102 BCE has become widespread in Indian tradition (for example, the Aihole inscription of Pulikeshi II, dated to Saka 556 = 634 CE, claims that 3735 years have elapsed since the Bharata battle.[16]) Another traditional school of astronomers and historians, represented by Vriddha-Garga, Varahamihira (author of the Brhatsamhita) and Kalhana (author of the Rajatarangini), place the Bharata war 653 years after the Kaliyuga epoch, corresponding to 2449 BCE.[17] In discussing the dating questions historian A. L. Basham says:
"According to the most popular later tradition the Mahabharata War took place in 3102 B.C., which in the light of all evidence, is quite impossible. More reasonable is another tradition, placing it in the 15th century B.C., but this is also several centuries too early in the light of our archaeological knowledge. Probably the war took place around the beginning of the 9th century B.C.; such a date seems to fit well with the scanty archaeological remains of the period, and there is some evidence in the Brahmana literature itself to show that it cannot have been much earlier."[18]

[edit] Structure and authorship
The epic employs the story within a story structure, otherwise known as frametales, popular in many Indian religious and secular works. It is recited to the King Janamejaya by Vaisampayana, a disciple of Vyasa. The epic is traditionally ascribed to Vyasa, who is also one of the major dynastic characters within the epic. The first section of the Mahabharata states that it was Ganesha who, at the behest of Vyasa, wrote down the text to Vyasa's dictation. Ganesha is said to have agreed to write it only on condition that Vyasa never pause in his recitation. Vyasa agreed, providing that Ganesha took the time to understand what was said before writing it down. This also serves as a popular variation on the stories of how Ganesha's right tusk was broken (a traditional part of Ganesha imagery). This version attributes it to the fact that, in the rush of writing, his pen failed, and he snapped off his tusk as a replacement in order that the transcription not be interrupted.

[edit] Synopsis
The core story of the work is that of a dynastic struggle for the throne of Hastinapura, the kingdom ruled by the Kuru clan. The two collateral branches of the family that participate in the struggle are the Kaurava and the Pandava. Although the Kaurava is the senior branch of the family, Duryodhana, the eldest Kaurava, is younger than Yudhisthir, the eldest Pandava. As a result, both Duryodhan and Yudhisthir claim to the first in line to inherit the throne.

The struggle culminates in the great battle of Kurukshetra, in which the Pandavas are ultimately victorious. The battle produces complex conflicts of kinship and friendship, instances of family loyalty and duty taking precedence over what is right, as well as the converse. The Mahabharata itself ends with the death of Krishna, and the subsequent end of his dynasty, and ascent of the Pandava brothers to heaven. It also marks the beginning of the Hindu age of Kali (Kali Yuga), the fourth and final age of mankind, where the great values and noble ideas have crumbled, and man is heading toward the complete dissolution of right action, morality and virtue.

[edit] The elder generations
Janamejaya's ancestor Shantanu, the king of Hastinapura has a short-lived marriage with the goddess Ganga and has a son, Devavrata (later to be called Bhishma), who becomes the heir apparent. Satyavati is the daughter of a fisherman in the kingdom, and she already has a son, Vyasa. Many years later, when the king goes hunting, he sees her and asks to marry her. Her father refuses to consent to the marriage unless Shantanu promises to make any future son of Satyavati the king upon his death. To solve the king's dilemma, Devavrata agrees not to take the throne. As the fisherman is not sure about the prince's children honouring the promise, Devavrata also takes a vow of lifelong celibacy to guarantee his father's promise. Shantanu has two sons by Satyavati, Chitrangada and Vichitravirya. Upon Shantanu's death, Chitrangada becomes king. After his death Vichitravirya rules Hastinapura. In order to arrange the marriage of the young Vichitravirya, Bhishma goes to Kashi for a swayamvara of the three princesses Amba, Ambika and Ambalika. He wins them, and Ambika and Ambalika are married to Vichtravirya.

[edit] The Pandava and Kaurava princes

A motif depicting Bhima in the battle ready posture at Hampi, Karnataka Vichitravirya died young without any heirs. Satyavati then asked her first son Vyasa to go to Vichitravirya's widows and give them the divine vision of giving birth to sons without losing their chastity. Vyasa fathered the royal children Dhritarashtra, who is born blind, and Pandu, who is born pale. Through a maid of the widows, he also fathers their commoner half-brother Vidura. Pandu marries twice, to Kunti and Madri. Dhritarashtra is married to Gandhari, who blindfolds herself when she finds she has been married to a blind man. Pandu takes the throne because of Dhritarashtra's blindness. Pandu while out hunting deer, is however cursed that if he engages in a sexual act, he will die. He then retires to the forest along with his two wives, and his brother rules thereafter, despite his blindness. Pandu's elder queen Kunti however, asks the gods Dharma, Vayu, and Indra for sons, by using a boon granted by Durvasa. She gives birth to three sons Yudhishtira, Bhima, and Arjuna through these gods. Kunti shares her boon with the younger queen Madri, who bears the twins Nakula and Sahadeva through the Ashwini twins. However Pandu and Madri, unable to resist temptation, indulge in sex and die in the forest, and Kunti returns to Hastinapura to raise her sons, who are then usually referred to as the Pandava brothers. Dhritarashtra has a hundred sons through Gandhari, the Kaurava brothers, the eldest being Duryodhana, and the second Dushasana. There is rivalry between the sets of cousins, from their youth and into manhood.

[edit] Laakshagriha (The House of Wax)
Duryodhana plots to get rid of the Pandavas and tries to kill the Pandavas secretly by setting fire to their palace which he had made of lac. However, the Pandavas are warned by their uncle, Vidura, who sends them a miner to dig a tunnel. They are able to escape to safety and go into hiding, but after leaving others behind, whose bodies are mistaken for them. Bhishma goes to the river Ganga to perform the last rites of the people found dead in the burned palace, understood to be Pandavas. Vidura then informs him that the Pandavas are alive and to keep the secret to himself.

[edit] Marriage to Draupadi
In course of this exile the Pandavas learn of a swayamvara which is taking place for the hand of the Panchala princess Draupadi. The Pandavas enter the competition in disguise as Brahmins. The task is to string a mighty steel bow and shoot a target on the ceiling while looking at its reflection in oil below. Most of the princes fail, being unable to lift the bow. Arjuna succeeds, and all five brothers marry her. At this juncture they also meet Krishna, who would become their lifelong ally and guide.

[edit] Indraprastha

After the wedding, the Pandava brothers are invited back to Hastinapura. The Kuru family elders and relatives negotiate and broker a split of the kingdom, with the Pandavas obtaining a new territory. Yudhishtira has a new capital built for this territory at Indraprastha. Neither the Pandava nor Kaurava sides are happy with the arrangement however. Shortly after this, Arjuna marries Subhadra. Yudhishtira wishes to establish his position; he seeks Krishna's advice. Krishna advises him, and after due preparation and the elimination of some opposition, Yudhishthira carries out a Rajasuya Yagna ceremony; he is thus recognised as pre-eminent among kings. The Pandavas have a new palace built for them, by Maya the Danava. They invite their Kaurava cousins to Indraprastha. Duryodhana walks round the palace, and mistakes a glossy floor for water, and will not step in. After being told of his error, he then sees a pond, and assumes it is not water and falls in. Draupadi laughs at him, and he is humiliated.

[edit] The dice game
Sakuni, Duryodhana's uncle, now arranges a dice game, playing against Yudhishtira with loaded dice. Yudhishtira loses all his wealth, then his kingdom. He then even gambles his brothers, himself, and finally his wife into servitude. The jubilant Kauravas insult the Pandavas in their helpless state and even try to disrobe Draupadi in front of the entire court. Dhritarashtra, Bhishma, and the other elders are aghast at the situation, and negotiate a compromise. The Pandavas are required to go into exile for 13 years, and for the 13th year must remain hidden. If discovered by the Kauravas, they will be forced into exile for another 12 years.

[edit] Exile and return
The Pandavas spend twelve years in exile. Many adventures occur during this time. They also prepare alliances for a possible future conflict. They spend their final year in disguise in the court of Virata, and are discovered at or after the end of the year. At the end of their exile, they try to negotiate a return to Indraprastha. However, this fails, as Duryodhana objects that they were discovered while in hiding, and that no return of their kingdom was agreed. War becomes inevitable.

[edit] The battle at Kurukshetra
Main article: Kurukshetra war The two sides summon vast armies to their help, and line up at Kurukshetra for a war. The Kingdoms of Panchala, Dwaraka, Kasi, Kekaya, Magadha, Matsya, Chedi, Pandya

and the Yadus of Mathura and some other clans like the Parama Kambojas were allied with the Pandavas. The allies of the Kauravas included the kings of Pragjyotisha, Anga, Kekaya, Sindhudesa (including Sindhus, Sauviras and Sivis), Mahishmati, Avanti in Madhyadesa, Madra, Gandhara, Bahlikas, Kambojas and many others. Prior to war being declared, Balarama, had expressed his unhappiness at the developing conflict, and left to go on pilgrimage, thus he does not take part in the battle itself. Krishna takes part in a non-combatant role, as charioteer for Arjuna. Before the battle, Arjuna, seeing himself facing great-uncle Bhishma and his teacher Drona on the other side, has doubts about the battle and he fails to lift his Gandiva bow. Krishna wakes him up to his call of duty in the famous Bhagavad Gita section of the epic. Though initially sticking to chivalrous notions of warfare, both sides soon adopt into dishonourable tactics. At the end of the 18-day battle, only the Pandavas, Satyaki, Ashwathama and Krishna survive.

[edit] The end of the Pandavas
After seeing the carnage, Gandhari who had lost all her sons, curses Krishna to be a witness to a similar annihilation of his family, for though divine and capable of stopping the war, he had not done so. Krishna accepts the curse, which bears fruit 36 years later. The Pandavas who had ruled their kingdom meanwhile, decide to renounce everything. Clad in skins and rags they retire to the Himalaya and climb towards heaven in their bodily form. A stray dog travels with them. One by one the brothers and Draupadi fall on their way. As each one stumbles, Yudhishitra gives the rest the reason for their fall (Draupadi was partial to Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva were vain and proud of their looks, Bhima and Arjuna were proud of their strength and archery skills, respectively). Only the virtuous Yudhisthira who had tried everything to prevent the carnage and the dog remain. The dog reveals himself to be the god Dharma, who reveals the nature of the test and assures Yudhishtra that his fallen siblings and wife are in heaven. Yudhisthira alone reaches heaven in his bodily form for being just and humble. Arjuna's grandson Parikshita rules after them and dies bitten by a snake. His furious son, Janamejaya, decides to perform a snake sacrifice (sarpasattra) in order to destroy the snakes. It is at this sacrifice that the tale of his ancestors is narrated to him.

[edit] Versions, translations, and derivative works
Many regional versions of the work developed over time, mostly differing only in minor details, or with verses or subsidiary stories being added. These include some versions from outside the Indian subcontinent, such as the Kakawin Bharatayuddha from Java.

[edit] Critical Edition

Between 1919 and 1966, the scholars at the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune, compared the various manuscripts of the epic from India and abroad and produced the Critical Edition of the Mahabharata, on 13,000 pages in 19 volumes, followed by the Harivamsha in another 2 volumes and 6 index volumes. This is the text that is usually used in current Mahabharata studies for reference.[19] This work is sometimes called the 'Pune' or 'Poona' edition of the Mahabharata.

[edit] Modern Interpretations

Krishna as depicted in Yakshagana from Karnataka which is based largely on stories of Mahabharata The acclaimed Kannada novelist S.L. Bhyrappa wrote a novel in Kannada (Translated to most of the Indian languages and English) titled Parva, giving new interpretation to the story of Mahabharata. He carried years of research where Mahabharata happened, in the plains of North India, Uttarakhand and Garwal region in particular. He tried to understand the social and ethical practices in these regions and correlating with the story of Mahabharata. He gave a realistic, rational explanation of the characters and events of Mahabharata. In the late 1980s, the Mahabharata TV series [20] was televised and shown on India's national television (Doordarshan). The series was written by Dr. Rahi Masoom Reza and directed by B. R. Chopra and his son Ravi Chopra. The concept was by Pt. Narendra Sharma - a well-known poet and lyricist. It became the most popular Indian TV series in history. It entered the Guinness Book of World Records as having been watched by a majority of Indians around the world at the time.[21] It was also shown in the UK by the BBC, where it achieved audience figures of 5 million, unheard of for a subtitled series being aired in the afternoon.[22]

In the West, the most acclaimed and well known presentation of the epic is Peter Brook’s nine hour play premiered in Avignon in 1985 and its five hour movie version The Mahabharata (1989) [23], which was shown on other TV networks, including PBS (through the "Great Performances" show) and Danmarks Radio (credited in the movie's credits). However, there have been film versions of the Mahabharata long before these two versions, the earliest of which was shown in 1920.[24]. Another upcoming Indian film version The Mahabharata is currently in production. Among literary reinterpretations of the Mahabharata the most famous is arguably Sashi Tharoor's major work entitled "The Great Indian Novel", an involved literary, philosophical, and political novel which superimposes the major moments of postIndependence India in the 20th century onto the driving events of the Mahabharata epic. An acclaimed book, "The Great Indian Novel" also contemporized well-known characters of the epic into equally well-known politicians of the modern era (e.g. Indira Gandhi as the villainous Duryodhana). Mahabharata was also reinterpreted by Shyam Benegal in Kalyug. Kalyug is a modernday replaying of the Mahabharat, with the Pandava industrial family being locked in a titanic battle with their Kaurav rivals. But the times are different from the original Mahabharat's, and external forces impinge on feudal values causing disconcerting results.[25] Western interpretations of the Mahabharata include William Buck's Mahabharata and Elizabeth Seeger's Five Sons of King Pandu.

[edit] English Translations
[edit] Lal version A poetic translation of the full epic into English, done by the poet P. Lal is complete, and in 2005 began being published by Writers Workshop, Calcutta. The P. Lal translation is a non-rhyming verse-by-verse rendering, and is the only edition in any language to include all slokas in all recensions of the work (not just those in the Critical Edition). It is both poetic and swift to read, and is oriented to the oral/musical tradition in which the work was originally created. The completion of the publishing project is scheduled for 2008. Six of the eighteen volumes are now available: Vol 1: Adi Parva, 1232 pages, 2005, ISBN 81-8157-370-6 Vol 2: Sabha Parva, 520 pages, 2005, ISBN 81-8157-382-X Vol 3: Vana Parva, 1580 pages, 2005, ISBN 81-8157-448-6 Vol 4: Virata Parva, 400 pages, 2006 Vol 5: Udyoga Parva, 970 pages, 2006, ISBN 81-8157-530-X Vol 17: Mahaprasthana Parva, 30 pages, 2006 ISBN 81-8157-552-0

[edit] Clay Sanskrit Library version A project to translate the full epic into English prose, translated by various hands, began to appear in 2005 from the Clay Sanskrit Library, published by New York University Press. The translation is based not on the Critical Edition but on the version known to the commentator Nīlakaṇṭha. Currently available are portions of Parvas two, three, four, seven, eight, and nine. [edit] Chicago version Another English prose translation of the full epic, based on the Critical Edition, is also in progress, published by University Of Chicago Press, initiated by Chicago Indologist J. A. B. van Buitenen (Parvas 1-5) and, following a 20-year hiatus caused by the death of van Buitenen, is being continued by D. Gitomer of DePaul University (Parvas 6-10), J. L. Fitzgerald of The University of Tennessee (Parvas 11-13) and W. Doniger of Chicago University (Parvas 14-18): Vol. 1: Parva 1, 545 pages, 1980, ISBN 0-226-84663-6 Vol. 2: Parvas 2-3, 871 pages, 1981, ISBN 0-226-84664-4 Vol. 3: Parvas 4-5, 582 pages, 1983, ISBN 0-226-84665-2 Vol. 4: Parva 6 (forthcoming) Vol. 7: Parva 11, first half of parva 12, 848 pages, 2003, ISBN 0-226-25250-7 Vol. 8: Second half of Parva 12 (forthcoming) [edit] Ganguli version Until these three projects are available in full, the only available complete English translations remain the Victorian prose versions by Kisari Mohan Ganguli,[26] published between 1883 and 1896 (Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers) and by M. N. Dutt (Motilal Banarasidoss Publishers). Most critics consider the translation by Ganguli to be faithful to the original text. The complete text of Ganguli's translation is available online (see External Links).

[edit] Kuru family tree
Kurua Parashara Satyavati Santanua Ganga

Vyasa Ambika Vichitraviry a

Bhishma Ambalika

Dhritaras htrab

Gandh ari


Ku nti

Pand ub



Yudhishti rad



Nakul ad

Sahade vad


Duss ala


(98 sons)

Key to Symbols
• • • •

Male: blue border Female: red border Pandavas: green box Kauravas: red box


• • •

a: Santanu was a king of the Kuru dynasty or kingdom, and was some generations removed from any ancestor called Kuru. His marriage to Ganga preceded his marriage to Satyavati. b: Pandu and Dhritarashtra were fathered by Vyasa after Vichitravirya's death. c: Karna was born to Kunti through her invocation of Surya, before her marriage to Pandu. d: The Pandavas were acknowledged sons of Pandu but were begotten by Kunti's invocation of various deities. In particular: o Yama or Dharma (Dharmadeva), for Yudhishtira o Vayu, for Bhima o Indra, for Arjuna o The twins, Nakula and Sahadeva were born to Madri through her invocation of the The Ashvins e:Duryodhana and his siblings were born at the same time, and they were of the same generation as their Pandava cousins.

The birth order of siblings is correctly shown in the family tree (from left to right), except for Vichitravirya who was born after Vyasa and Bhishma. Some siblings of the characters shown here have been left out for clarity; these include Chitrangada, the younger halfbrother of Vichitravirya, and Vidura, half-brother to Dhritarashtra and Pandu. The family tree continues through the descendants Arjuna, and these have also not been shown here.

[edit] See also
• • • • •

Bhagavad Gita Kakawin Bhāratayuddha Kingdoms of Ancient India Kurukshetra war Ramayana

[edit] Notes
1. ^ It is roughly ten times the size of the Iliad and Odyssey combined, and about four times
the size of the Ramayana. The only epics claimed to be longer are the Tibetan Epic of King Gesar and the Kyrgyz Epic of Manas .[citation needed] 2. ^ bhārata means the progeny of Bharata, the legendary king who founded the Bhāratavarsha Empire. 3. ^ a b Subhash Kak. The Mahabharata and the Sindhu-Sarasvati Tradition (pg. 4-5). 4. ^ Oldenberg (1922) stipulated that the supposed original poem once carried an immense "tragic force", but dismissed the full text as a "horrible chaos." The judgement of other early 20th century Indologists was even more condemning, Winternitz (Geschichte der indischen Literatur 1909) opted that "only unpoetical theologists and clumsy scribes" could have lumped the various parts of disparate origin into an unordered whole. 5. ^ Brockington (1998, p. 26) 6. ^ Dio Chrysostom, 53.6-7, trans. H. Lamar Crosby, Loeb Classical Library, 1946, vol. 4, p. 363. 7. ^ Cited approvingly in Max Duncker, The History of Antiquity (trans. Evelyn Abbott, London 1880), vol. 4, p. 81. 8. ^ For example, John Campbell Oman, The Great Indian Epics (London 1895), p. 215. 9. ^ 18 books, 18 chapters of the Bhagavadgita and the Narayaniya each, corresponding to the 18 days of the battle and the 18 armies (Mbh. 5.152.23) 10. ^ The Ashvamedhika-parva is also preserved in a separate version, the Jaimini-Bharata (Jaiminiya-ashvamedha) where the frame dialogue is replaced, the narration being attributed to Jaimini, another disciple of Vyasa. This version contains far more devotional material (related to Krishna) than the standard epic and probably dates to the 12th century. It has some regional versions, the most popular being the Kannada one by Devapurada Annama Lakshmisha (16th century).The Mahabharata [citation needed] 11. ^ AD Pusalker, History and Culture of the Indian People, Vol I, Chapter XIV, p.273 12. ^ FE Pargiter, Ancient Indian Historical Tradition, p.180. He shows estimates of the average as 47, 50, 31 and 35 for various versions of the lists. 13. ^ Pargiter, op.cit. p.180-182 14. ^ B. B. Lal, Mahabharata and Archaeology in Gupta and Ramachandran, Mahabharata: myth and reality, p.57-58 15. ^ Gupta and Ramachandran, op.cit., p.246, who summarize as follows: "Astronomical calculations favor 15th century B.C. as the date of the war while the Puranic data place it in the 10th/9th century B.C. Archaeological evidence points towards the latter." (p.254) 16. ^ Gupta and Ramachandran, p.55; AD Pusalker, HCIP, Vol I, p.272 17. ^ Ad Pusalker, op.cit. p.272 18. ^ Basham, p. 40, citing HC Raychaudhuri, Political History of Ancient India, pp.27ff.

19. ^ Bhandarkar Institute, Pune—Virtual Pune 20. ^ Mahabharat at the Internet Movie Database (1988-1990 TV series) 21. ^ Trivia for "Mahabharat". IMDB. 22. ^ Epic Hindi Language Series Mahabharat Launches Exclusively on Rogers OMNI
Television Channels In Ontario and British Columbia

23. ^ The Mahabharata at the Internet Movie Database (1989 mini-series) 24. ^ Mahabharat at the Internet Movie Database (1920 film) 25. ^
What makes Shyam special... 26. ^ Several editions of the Kisari Mohan Ganguli translation of the Mahabharata incorrectly cite Pratap Chandra Roy as translator and this error has been perpetuated into secondary citations. See the publishers preface to the current Munshiram Manoharlal edition for an explanation.

[edit] References
• •

• • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Chaturvedi Badrinath, The Mahabharata : An Inquiry in the Human Condition, New Delhi, Orient Longman (2006) Basham, A. L. (1954). The Wonder That Was India: A Survey of the Culture of the Indian Sub-Continent Before The Coming of the Muslims. New York: Grove Press. J. Brockington, The Sanskrit Epics, Leiden (1998). Alf Hildebeitel, The Ritual of Battle, Krishna in the Mahabharata, SUNY Press, New York 1990. E. W. Hopkins, The Great Epic of India, New York (1901). Keay, John (2000). India: A History. Grove Press. ISBN 0-8021-3797-0. H. Oldenberg, Zur Geschichte der Altindischen Prosa, Berlin (1917) Jyotirmayananda Swami, Mysticism of the Mahabharata, Yoga Research Foundation, Miami 1993. Paule Lerner, Astrological Key in Mahabharata, David White (trans.) Motilal Banarsidass, New Delhi 1988. Ruth Cecily Katz, Arjuna in the Mahabharata, University of South Carolina Press, Columbia 1989. Majumdar, R. C. (general editor) (1951). The History and Culture of the Indian People: (Volume 1) The Vedic Age. London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd.. Krishna Chaitanya (K.K. Nair), The Mahabharata, A Literary Study, Clarion Books, New Delhi 1985. Th. Oberlies, 'Ritual an und unter der Oberfläche des Mahabharata', in: Neue Methoden der Epenforschung (ed. H. L. C. Tristram), Freiburg (1998). H. Oldenberg, Das Mahabharata, Göttingen (1922). M. Mehta, The problem of the double introduction to the Mahabharata, JAOS 93 (1973), 547-550. C. Z. Minkowski, Janamehayas Sattra and Ritual

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