The Mahabharata, Book 11: Stri Parva
Kisari Mohan Ganguli, tr.
Om! Having bowed down to Narayana, and Nara the foremost of male beings, and the goddess Saraswati also, must the word Jaya be uttered.
It is of immense importance to the culture of the Indian subcontinent, and is a major text of Hinduism. Its discussion of human goals (artha or purpose, 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 object of a translator should ever be to hold the mirror upto his author. That being so, his chief duty is to represent so far as practicable the manner in which his author's ideas have been expressed, retaining if possible at the sacrifice of idiom and taste all the peculiarities of his author's imagery and of language as well. In regard to translations from the Sanskrit, nothing is easier than to dish up Hindu ideas, so as to make them agreeable to English taste. But the endeavour of the present translator has been to give in the following pages as literal a rendering as possible of the great work of Vyasa. To the purely English reader there is much in the following pages that will strike as ridiculous. Those unacquainted with any language but their own are generally very exclusive in matters of taste. Having no knowledge of models other than what they meet with in their own tongue, the standard they have formed of purity and taste in composition must necessarily be a narrow one. The translator, however, would ill-discharge his duty, if for the sake of avoiding ridicule, he sacrificed fidelity to the original. He must represent his author as he is, not as he should be to please the narrow taste of those entirely unacquainted with him. Mr. Pickford, in the preface to his English translation of the Mahavira Charita, ably defends a close adherence to the original even at the sacrifice of idiom and taste against the claims of what has been called 'Free Translation,' which means dressing the author in an outlandish garb to please those to whom he is introduced.
Janamejaya said, "After Duryodhana had fallen and after all the warriors also had fallen, what, O sage, did king Dhritarashtra do on receipt of the intelligence? What also did the high-souled Kuru king Yudhishthira, the son of Dharma, do? What did the three survivors (of the Kuru army) viz. Kripa and the others do? I have heard everything about the feats of Ashvatthama. Tell me what happened after that mutual denunciation of curses. Tell me all that Sanjaya said unto the blind old king."
Vaishampayana said, "After he had lost his century of sons, king Dhritarashtra, afflicted with grief on that account, cheerless, and looking like a tree shorn of its branches, became overwhelmed with anxiety and lost his power of speech. Possessed of great wisdom, Sanjaya, approaching the monarch, addressed him, saying, ‘Why dost thou grieve, O monarch? Grief does not serve any purpose. Eight and ten Akshauhinis of combatants, O king, have been slain! The earth hath become desolate, and is almost empty now! Kings of diverse realms, hailing from diverse quarters, united with thy son (for aiding him in battle) have all laid down their lives. Let now the obsequial rites of thy sires and sons and grandsons and kinsmen and friends and preceptors be performed in due order."
Vaishampayana continued, "Destitute of sons and counsellors and all his friends, king Dhritarashtra of great energy suddenly fell down on the earth like a tree uprooted by the wind.
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