The Institute takes immense Pleasure to bring out again the book “The Mahabharata” condensed in the Poet’s own words with the Eng. Translation by Dr. V. Raghavan.
Mr. G. A. Natesan had the ambition to publish the three great sacred texts of India, viz., the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Bhagavata. Sri. A.M. Srinivasachariar helped him in this venture by condensing the texts and Prof. P. P. S. Sastri rendered the English translation for the Ramayana and Dr. V. Raghavan translated the Bharata and the Bhagavata. The epics in condensed form were brought out in 1935 followed by the publication of Bhagavata in 1937. They all had seen many editions by 1953.
After a long gap, in 1997 the Ramayana was published by the Institute to commemorate the Birth-Centenary of Prof. P. P. S. Sastri; and in 2008 the Bharata and the Bhagavata have been brought out as ‘Dr. V. Raghavan Centenary Publication;
Dr. V. Raghavan, a renowned scholar of international repute was the founder secretary of the Kuppuswami Sastri Research Institute and remained as its mainstay for more than 35 years. With great zeal and dedication he developed the Institute and stabilized its growth.
In his translation of this condensed Version of the Mahabharata, Dr. V. Raghavan as is his practice, has added a note describing the methodology he has adopted in translating the text. The edition of the text and the English translation of the same stand as models to scholars interested in the field
The foreword by Dr. S. Radhakrishnan is by itself a brief essay on the influence of the Mahabharata on the influence of the Mahabharata on the Indian mind.
To meet the demand for these classics arising out of the renewed interest in the public to Know about our culture and heritage, all the three books are brought together and at a subsidized rate. It is hoped that these great Indian literature would find their way all round the world.
WHAT is man? What is his place in the universe? What is his ultimate? Questions like these have been raised from the beginning of thought. Though the dignity of man is not affected by his inability to answer these questions, it is affected by his indifference to them.
Man does not live by bread alone. He desires not only to live but to understand and behave well. To live in a world that makes no sense is intolerable to him. He feels an over-whelming need to explain the universe, to reduce the bewildering diversity of phenomena to some order. Hunger and thirst after righteousness is as much a characteristic of a human mind as hunger and thirst after rationality. Codes of conduct and systems of philosophy which give abstract rules and definitions cannot satisfy these vital needs as art and literature do through their creations which embody high ideals of life and conduct.
Our moral nature owes a great deal of its growth and education to the work of artists. Even illiterate people are influenced by it far more profoundly than they know for art exercises it power over us with or without our consent. When Shelley remarked that “poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world”, he meant that by their works they stir the imagination, move the mind, mould the imagination, move the mind, mould the will, in a world, change our life. Great poets are life changers.
The literature of each generation reflects the turbulence of its time. It often echoes the stress in which it has been conceived. The Mahabharata takes up the original saga of the struggle between the Kauravas and the Pandavas and weaves round it a mass of legendary lore and tradition as well as ethical and philosophical material. It describes to us an interesting period of Indian History when the country was parceled out into little states under warlike kings, rivaling each other in the arts of peace and of war. It gives a just and illuminating account of the Indian genius both in its nobility and greatness and greatness and in its tragic weakness and insufficiencies. A strange slavery to ideas, hero worshipping and legend creating tendencies, which are still at work with us, are found there in plenty.
It was the ambition of the author to take men and women as he found them and give a higher purpose to their lives. He describes the strong passions in the human breast, greed, jealousy, sensuality, addiction to drink, love of gambling, with great truth and terrible power. He yet shows that in the midst of the betrayal of ideals and the pursuit of shams, faith and purpose had not wholly gone out of life. Apart from the consuming interest of the story for the Indian mind, the imperishable truths contained in it make it valuable for us to-day. Without some Knowledge of the old, our knowledge of the new would remain imperfect. Whether we realize it or not, we ourselves are inescapably part of tradition. If we do not know what our tradition is, how can we know what our part in it is? A renaissance is possible only if it means a looking back at and renewal of the ancient spirit and not turning backwards and restoring an epoch already lived and over. We must recapture the creative principles of past epochs and apply them in new and complex surroundings. Their results to-day would be wholly strange to any forms they might have taken in ancient times.
One or two illustrations of the valuable lessons which the Mahabharata has burnt into the Indian soul may here be given. Though the characters of Draupadi and Yudhishthira, Nala and Damayanti, Savitri and Satyavan, it emphasises the ancient tradition that the goal of perfection is through is through the discipline of suffering. The human instinct for justice naturally associates the thought of pain like the inevitability of death with the fact of justice and wickedness. Pain is the shadow thrown by the dark form of evil. Not always. Pain is the means through which we fashion a better world. It is the inevitable accompaniment of the fuller triumph of the ethical order. The mystery of life is a creative sacrifice. To take another example. Though the Mahabharata describes a society distracted by deceit and intrigue and though the story is reeking with war and the spirit of war, the author clearly declares himself against the politics of power and looks upon the state not as an organization of force but as a partnership in dharma. The modern apostles of the doctrine that the state is an end in itself with no higher duty than to maintain itself will not find support for their views in it. The view that the end of the state is to orgainse and establish Dharma, that its powers are strictly limited by the unalterable laws which it can only enforce, has a greater appeal to the cultivated conscience of our times. Yatodharmas tatojayah, Victoy waits on righteousness. The author refuses to be stampeded by the transient moods and agitations of the time but approves of the principle that righteousness exalteth a nation.
Brahma Sutras (81)
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