Mahabharata: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic

Mahabharata: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic

by R. K. Narayan
4.0 3
Pub. Date:
University of Chicago Press

Paperback - Rent for

Select a Purchase Option (1)
  • purchase options

Temporarily Out of Stock Online


Mahabharata: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic

The Mahabharata tells a story of such violence and tragedy that many people in India refuse to keep the full text in their homes, fearing that if they do, they will invite a disastrous fate upon their house. Covering everything from creation to destruction, this ancient poem remains an indelible part of Hindu culture and a landmark in ancient literature.

Centuries of listeners and readers have been drawn to The Mahabharata, which began as disparate oral ballads and grew into a sprawling epic. The modern version is famously long, and at more than 1.8 million words—seven times the combined lengths of the Iliad and Odyssey—it can be incredibly daunting.

Contemporary readers have a much more accessible entry point to this important work, thanks to R. K. Narayan’s masterful translation and abridgement of the poem. Now with a new foreword by Wendy Doniger, as well as a concise character and place guide and a family tree, The Mahabharata is ready for a new generation of readers. As Wendy Doniger explains in the foreword, “Narayan tells the stories so well because they’re all his stories.” He grew up hearing them, internalizing their mythology, which gave him an innate ability to choose the right passages and their best translations.

In this elegant translation, Narayan ably distills a tale that is both traditional and constantly changing. He draws from both scholarly analysis and creative interpretation and vividly fuses the spiritual with the secular. Through this balance he has produced a translation that is not only clear, but graceful, one that stands as its own story as much as an adaptation of a larger work.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780226568225
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 10/28/2000
Edition description: 1
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents

Foreword Wendy Doniger vii

Introduction xiii

List of Characters and Places of Action in the Story xxi

Generation Tree xxv

1 The Eighth Baby 1

2 Enter-the Players 11

3 House of Joy-and Ashes 21

4 Bride for Five 27

5 Uncle's Gift 41

6 City of Splendour 47

7 Stakes Unmatched 55

8 Wanderings 71

9 Hundred Questions 85

10 Servitude 99

11 Warning Shots 113

12 War or Peace? 121

13 Action 133

14 Hesitant Hero 145

15 Delirium of Destruction 151

16 Victory and Sorrow 167

17 Epilogue 177

Glossary 181

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Mahabharata: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Have read and seen the Mahabharata as a young kid, I picked this up to get a refresher on this wonderful epic. I was surprised by the quality of the translation. It allowed for the reader to imagine the scenes in their mind. The drawbacks of the book were that they use language that is not easy to follow at times and I think they missed a couple key events. I wouldn't recommend it to be a first read of the Mahabharata, but I definitely recommend it if you need a refresher like me.