The Mahabharata – Penguin Classics

The Mahabharata Penguin Classics

A new selection from the national epic of India

Originally composed in Sanskrit sometime between 400 BC and 400 AD, The Mahabharata-with one hundred thousand stanzas of verse-is one of the longest poems in existence. At the heart of the saga is a conflict between two branches of a royal family whose feud culminates in a titanic eighteen-day battle. Exploring such timeless subjects as dharma (duty), artha (purpose), and kama (pleasure) in a mythic world of warfare, magic, and beauty, this is a magnificent and legendary Hindu text of immense importance to the culture of the Indian subcontinent.

User Ratings and Reviews

5 Stars Very helpful to understand this text
The Mahabharata is not an easy text to understand. This book helps a great deal and is a size that can fit into a large handbag.

5 Stars true to sanskrit
I did a translation of Bhagavad Gita which I published under the title of Bhagavad Gita English. I also did three commentaries.These can be seen here:

I mentioned this because the Sanskrit (Devanagari) text was taken from an online source which is supervised by the author of this Mahabharata translation. At the time of his allowing the use of that part of the Mahabharata Sanskrit text, I was unaware that he was to publish this book.

This is an exceptional translation and in a way it is on par with the work which was began by J.A.B. van Buitenen for the University of Chicago, except that this is not as extensive.

This is a good primer for the Mahabharata published by University of Chicago. The English is a true rendering and is practically flawless.

5 Stars Good as you will find
This version of the Mahabharata is mostly a paraphrase in English. I have not been able to find more than that without great expense, however it is very good for someone who wants the narrative with the details of the story but also wants to get the feeling of the text. The paraphrase is interspersed with fairly lengthy sections of text. All the things you might get in an English retelling are reproduced in really beautiful prose. The battle scenes are harrowing. Anyone who might be sqeamish at the Illiad (I have not met such a person, but I am told they exist)would be wise to steer clear. I am not a scholar of Indian Literature and have only the most basic grasp of Hindu pantheon and tradition, but I found this accessible and really compelling. The characters are really unforgetable. The enduring message of the work about faith and dharma has not lost any beauty and relevance today. It would be wise to get a good version of the Bhagavad Gita and read that in its entirety when you arrive at the relevant passages, for that really would complete the experience. For the price of a penguin book you could not get better.

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