The Mahabharata (A Modern Rendering) (A Set of 2 Volumes)

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Item Code: NAF168
Publisher: Rupa Publication Pvt. Ltd.
Author: Ramesh Menon
Language: English
Edition: 2019
ISBN: 9788129114921
Pages: 1594
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.5 inch X 5.5 inch
Weight 1.59 kg
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Book Description
About the Book

The Mahabharata is the more recent of India two great epics and by far the longer one: first composed by Maharishi Vyasa in verse it has come to us down the centuries in the timeless oral tradition of guru and sishya profoundly influencing the history culture and art of not only the Indian subcontinent but most of Southeast Asia. At 100,000 couples it is seven times as long as the Iliad and the odyssey combined far and away the greatest recorded epic know to man.

The Mahabharata is the very Book of Life in its variety majesty and also its violence and tragedy. It has been said that nothing exists that cannot be found within the pages of this awesome legend. The epic describes a great war of some 5,000 years ago and the events that led to it. The war on Kurukshetra sees ten million Kshatriyas slain and brings the Dwapara Yuga to an end and uhers in a new ans sinister age this present Kali Yuga or modern times.

At the heart of the Mahabharata nestles the Bhagavad Gita the song of god. Senay or ubhayor madh ye between two teeming arise Krishna expound the eternal dharma to his warrior of light Arjuna AT one level all the restless action of the Mahabharata is a quest for the gita and its sacred stillness. After the carnage it the gita that survives immortal lotus floating upon the dark waters of desolation the final secret.

With its magnificent cast of characters human demonic and divine and its riveting narrative the Mahabharata continues to enchant readers and scholars the world over this new rendering bring the epic to the contemporary redder in sparkling modern prose. It brings alive all the excitement magic and grandeur of the original for our times.

About the Author

Ramesh menon was born in 1951in New Delhi. He has lived and worked in Delhi Hong Kong Bengaluru and Jakarta and now lives in Kodaikanal. He has recently published a modern translation of the Ramayana.


Three hundred and sixty five human years make one year of the Devas and the pitrs the Gods and the ancestors.

Four are the ages in the land of Bharata: the krita, treat, dwapara and kali. The krita yuga lasts for 4800 divine years the treat for 3600 the dwapara for 2400 and the Kali for 1200; and then another krita begins.

The krita or satya yuga is an age of purity it is stnless. Dharama righteousness is perfect and walks on four feet in the krita. However from the treta yuga adhrma evil comes to the world and the very febric of time begins to decay. Finally the kali yuga the fourth age is almost entirely corrupt with dharma barely surviving hobbling on one foot.

A chaturyuga a cycle of four ages is 12,000 divine years or 365 x 12,000 humab years long. Seventy one chaturyugas make a manuvantara fourteen manutaras a kalpa. A kalpa of a thousand chturyuga 12 million divine years is one day of Brhama life is 3003 savanas long one day of mahavishnu is the lifetime of brahma.

The great war the Mahabharata is fought at the very end of a dwapara yuga the third age just before the sinister kali yuga begins once in time out of mind the gods created the kshatriyas to establish dharma justice in an anarchic world most royal kashtriya bloodlines can be traced back to the devas themselves in most ancient days the Gods came freely to the earth. But in time generations the noble race of warrior kings has grown arrogant and greedy. By the end of the dwapara yuga have become tyrant and they are still practically invincible.

Krishna the Avatara and his cousins the Pandavas are born to destroy the power of the kshatriyas of Bharatavarsha (India) forever this is what the Mahabharata yudddha the war on the crack of the ages accomplishes; and thus ushers in the Kali yuga modern times. By this Hindu calendar the Great war was fought some five thousand Years ago.

The house of Kuru is one of the oldest and noblest Houses it traces its origins to some Deva the Moon God. Timeless hastinapura the city of elephants is the capital of the Kuru Kingdom and one great king after another has ruled from here. The legend of the Mahabharata begins with king shantanu of the Kurus and how a son is born to him but this prince Devavrata will never sit upon his father through instead shantanu blind grandson Dhritarashtra will become king.

The main them of the Mahabharata is the story of Dhritarashtra sone the Kauravas ans his brother Pandu sons the pandavas and the enmity between them. Dhritarastra hundred boys are evill prnces led by the eldest of them the ruthless Duryodhana who is a demon Pandu five princes are devaputras Devas sons born to fight for dharma in the world.

They are Yudhishtira, Bheema, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva. Almost every king in Bharatavarsha takes one side or the other in the Great war and ten million Kshatriyas are killed. Dharma is established again on earth but an age has ended and another has begun.

The maharishi vyasa the poet of the Mahabharata himself wanders in and out of the story. Unearthly beings Devas yakshas gansharvas nagas and apsaras find their way into the story as do demonic ones asuras and rakshasas. The Mahabharata is set in a pristine and magical time of the earth. Its heroes and villains are all larger than life. The war itself is fought with occult weapons; the astras of the Gods.

Just before the war begins the third Pandava Arjuna the greates archer in the world loses his nerve on the field of Kurukshetra. That perfect warrior cannot bear the thought of killing his cousin. Krishna who is Arjuna charioteer expounds the etrnal dharma to him. This exposition is the Bhagavad Gita the song of God the gita is the heart of the Mahabharata its real treasure. At one level all the rest of the restless action of the epic is a quest for the precious Gita and its stillness. The Gita is the Hindu new testament.

Senayor Ubbayor Madhye.. between two immense armies on the brink of a savage war the Avtara singh his wisdom. To this day Kurushetra is holy ground for the Hindu because it was here that Krishna sang his immortal Gita and here that he revealed his vishwarupa his cosmic form to Arjuna.

The original Mahabharata in Sanskrit is an epic poem of 100,000 couplets; seven times s long as the Iliad and the Odyssey combined. To record his epic for posterity is such a daunting task that Vyasa begs the elephant headed God, Ganesha to be his scribe. Ganesha has one stipulation: Vyasa must never keep him waiting for even a moment during the narration. The poet agrees and manages to keep ahead of his quicksilver writer often with long digressions from his main story. Ganesha writes down Vyasa legend with a tusk he breaks from his own face.

This is modern prose version timeless epic the legend of the sons of Pandu.


Once, in more Gracious times when the kshatriyas of the earth were like gods, there was a devout sovereign of Chedi called Uparichara. Indra of the Devas gave him a marvelous vimana, a crystal ship that flew anywhere at his very thought. That king became known as Uparichara Vasu; for like the Vasus, he ranged the sky in his vimana.

Uparichara's wife was Girika, and she bore him five excellent princes. One morning, when she was in her fertile time, Queen Girika came to her husband and asked him to make love because she wanted another son. But he had to go into the forest to hunt some meat for a sacrifice to his fathers in heaven. Uparichara set out with his bow in his hand.

Earlier, his queen had come to him wearing the sheerest robe; the king did not realize how much she had aroused him, until he missed two red stags with his arrows. Uparichara came to a lotus-laden pool in the depths of the forest and, with Girika's lush body before his mind's eye, ejaculated onto a banyan leaf.

He folded the leaf, chanted a potent mantra over it and called his hunting falcon down from the sky. 'Fly friend, take this to my queen as swiftly as you can.'

As the falcon sped towards Chedi, a fishing eagle perched in a tree on the banks of the Yamuna saw him. The eagle mistook the banyan leaf for a shred of meat and flew at the falcon. The birds fought briefly in the air and the leaf fell out of the falcon's beak, down into the river.

Now, a year ago the apsara Adrika had flown down from Devaloka to swim in the Yamuna. It was the twilight hour, and when the nymph had been in the water for a while she saw a sage at the river's edge, at his sandhya vandana his evening worship. The austere on sat motionless his eyes shut first. Adrika saw how radiant he was and lusted after him.

She swam close to where the rishi sat and playfully seized his ankles. Adrika thought that on seeing her beauty and naked body he would make love to her. She could not have been more mistaken.

The hermit eyes flew open and he cursed Adrika you dare disturb my dhyana? Be a fish from now!

At once the apsara had golden scales and a fish body. The rishi rose and strode away. Neither of them realize that fate had a deep purpose to fulfil by their encounter. Adrika stayed in the river devouring smaller fish when she felt hunger she grew bigger and bigger. Soon she forgot she was an apsara and though of herself as just a fish.

When the eagle set on Uparichara falcon the banyan leaf plunged down into the midnight blue Yamuna adrika swan lazily in the river she saw the leaf strike the water and the king seed being washes off. As it sank shimmering with a flick of her tail the fish darted forward and swallowed that seed. At once she became pregnant.

In ten months she was so big she could hardly swim and only lay on the bed of the river. One day she was snared by a fisherman in his net. He drew her from the water and she lay heaving in his boat. The fisherman cut the golden fish open with his knife. There was a flash of light and he saw the spirit of a nymph fly into the sky.

The man was blinded for a moment but when he looked into the fish belly he saw two human infants a boy and a girl lay there and gazed serenely back at him. The next day the fisherman arrived in the king palace and told Uparichara vasu how he had discovered the children the man begged to keep one of them.

The king guessed how those twins had been conceived and his queen still wanted another son. Uparischara vasu kept the little boy and allowed the fisherman to take the girl. The prince born from a fish belly was named Matsyaraja; in time he would rule his father kingdom as ably as Uparichara had, the fisherman raised the little girl in the wilderness as his daughter. A fortune teller who read the lines on her palm said that one day she would become the queen of a great kingdom the fisherman lived with that prophecy clasped close to his heart.

That dusky child body always smelled of fish and her father called her Matsyagandhi.

Some years later. The celibate Parashara another immortal rishi on his pilgrimage arrived on the banks of the Yamuna. It was a crisp winter morning. The sun shone pale and ethereal and the river sparkled a if hut sat at his morning. The sun shone place and ethereal and the river sparkled as if a million jewels had been strewn across her water. The fisherman in his hut sat at his morning meal of least night fish and rice when the austere figure loomed suddenly in his door.

Take me across the river I am in a hurry said Prashara ungraciously.

If was not the first time the profound one had passed this way and the fisherman recognized him. He called out to his daughter.

Matsyagandhi take our Muni Prashara across.

She appeared at the corner of the hut sixteen and bright as bit of winter sun. breast buds strained like young lotuses against her green Parashara. Without a word matsyagandhi led the illustrious one to the wooden boat tethered to the riverbank.

As he followed the girl smell of her body invaded him the raw smell of fish with which she was bogn but instead of being repulsed Parashara lost his heart to her he was had felt no twinge of desire in the company f fawning apsaras in Devaloka was overcome by the earthy whiff of the fisher girl.

When she helped him into the boat he held her hand longer than he needed to she freed herself quietly and cast off. But he would not be so easily denied. As they moved out at which she rowed. She smiled at him again and clasped it one the oar at which she rowed. She smiled at him her huge eyes twinkling she stopped rowing though they were in midstream and drifting. But she did not withdraw her hand.

Parashars presence and his dignity which now suffered not a little for his visible excitement attracted her. His hand quivered on hers. He leant forward awkwardly to try to kiss her. She smiled dazzling him and stroked his gnarled hand without inhibition.

In her husky voice she said holy one why do you want to do this?

You a lofty brahmana descended from brahma and I the daughter of a nishada between us this isn’t proper.

Then she trembled remembering suppose he cursed her at that moment her father hailed them faintly form the bank. He stood washing his hands outside the but and wanted to know why they had stopped.

Parashara released the girl's hand. She rowed again while the rishi kept a watch on the fisherman, who stood staring after them, his eyes shaded. Again, the sage took Matsyagandhi's hand.

She said, "Brahmana, aren't you repelled by my smell? Muni, don't you know the Vedas say one should never have sexual intercourse during the day? And besides, my father can see us."

When Parashara was near enough to kiss her, she was reminded sharply of his great age, and both excited and dismayed by it. But he waved a slender arm over his head, his hand curled in an occult mudra. Instantly they were shrouded in mist and the fisherman could not see them anymore. Then it began to snow!

It was dark on the boat on the river.

"Is that night enough?"

Little Matsyagandhi gave a cry of wonder. But being a virgin and still afraid, she said, "Yogin, you will enjoy me and go your way, but I will become pregnant. I will be ruined, the laughing stock of the world. And what will I tell my father?"

He cried hoarsely, "Give me your love and you will be famous forever among Devas and rishis. You will be known as Satyavati in heaven. Look."

Again a wizardly mudra from him, and she saw her body glow with a new beauty. Her limbs were lambent, her features finer, and the smell of her transformed so now she smelt of wild jasmine, lotus and other unearthly fragrances. In a moment they spread from her for a yojana. Her original, fishy musk had not vanished either; it became a sublimely erotic perfume, which fuelled his ardour!

Still, she hesitated. She restrained his wandering hand, so he cried, "Say whatever you want and it shall be yours. Quickly, you are driving me mad!"

After a moment's thought, she said, "If neither my father nor anyone else comes to know of this, if my virginity is not broken, if the son born of our love is a magician like you, and if I always smell as sweetly as I do now, then take me, O Rishi, and gladly!"

Parashara, famed across the three worlds, laughed aloud. He said, "This is God's will, Satyavati, All your conditions will be fulfilled, and your son shall be the greatest poet the world has ever known. JJ

He took her in his arms in that boat rocking softly on the Yamuna while his magical snowstorm held up its opaque curtain around them. Impatient for him now that her fears had been allayed she rowed to an island in the stream and moored there and they lay together unlikeliest lovers heating the pale sand dry.

At last after he drank deeply of her youth and she of his age parashara rose to bathe in the Yamuna. While a last kiss on top of her head he walked upon the water and out of her life.

And in the mystic dimension no sooner had she conceived than she was in labour.

Her delivery was miraculous and quite painless. As soon as he was born her lustrous boy as handsome as Kamadeva became a full grown rishi with a Kamadalu in one hand a smooth staff in the other and his matted tawny hair lit in a halo. That newborn and exceptional hermit said to his mother we must go our separate ways. But if you ever want t see me just think of me and I will appear before you and he also walked away from her.

Since he was born on the dwipa in the Yamuna Satyavati son was called Dwaipayana. But later he was to divide the holy veda and to compose the sacred Puranas from ancient revelations. He was to become renowned as Veda Vyasa.

Vyasa composed the immortal Mahabharata and his disciple Vaisamapayana narrated the epic for king Janamejaya of the Kurus during his sarpa yagna his snack sacrifice.

Volume 1

Book One: Adi Parva 1
On the banks of the Ganga3
A tale of two curses7
The river's son12
A scent of heaven15
A solemn vow18
Two princes26
Three princesses of Kasi29
Bheeshma and Amba33
The solemn oath48
Satyavati's other son52
The blind night and the pale one55
In the dark60
The three princes of Hastinapura62
Kuntibhoja's daughter64
The blazing Deva67
A curse in the forest72
Pandu's yearning76
Kunti's unworldly lovers80
The sons of Pandu84
The sinister night90
Sweet, deadly spring96
The Pandavas come home101
The seeds of envy108
At Pramanakoti112
Under the river117
A master for the Kuru princes125
Drona's story130
The brilliant pupil136
At the river143
A young man's dreams154
Kama finds a master157
The exhibition166
The golden warrior177
Drona's revenge183
A father and his son190
To Varanasi199
The palace of lac205
The tragic news216
Flight through the jungle220
A change of heart223
A sleepy town234
A strange story245
Encounter in the night251
The spinning fish258
'Share the alms you've brought'268
The unusual wedding276
Anxiety in Hastinapura281
The council at Hastinapura286
Vidura in Kampilya292
A desolate gift295
Miracle in the wilderness301
Narada visits Indraprastha307
Ulupi and Chitrangadaa313
The crocodiles320
The Raivataka hill325
The holy yati329
The yati and the princess335
Cure for an illness340
Balarama's anger345
Draupadi's anger349
The Yadavas come to Indraprastha354
The hungry brahmana357
The burning of the Khandava vana365
Book Two: Sabha Parva 373
Mayaa's sabha380
Narada, the messenger388
Yudhishtira's quandary392
Krishna arrives in Indraprastha398
The blade of grass411
The four quarters418
The Rajasuya yagna427
A cousin's anger434
Dark omens440
The green monster445
Shakuni's plan450
An anxious messenger457
The game of dice459
'Am I a free woman?'472
The miracle and the oaths476
Dhritarashtra's fickleness485
The second game of dice488
Book Three: Vana Parva 497
The Sun's gift499
The king's brother504
The rishis' warning509
Krishna swears an oath516
The trials of Yudhishtira525
Vyasa's advice534
Arjuna's quest539
The vetala543
The Lords of light548
The weapons of Indra560
The apsara Urvashi562
The curse569
The Muni Brihadaswa577
Tirtha yarra"586
To Badarikasrama594
An old monkey603
Where the saugandhika grows612
Arjuna returns618
Arjuna's story622
The wondrous city627
Bheema's adventure641
The riddles of Nahusha649
Markandeya's lore"655
The four yugas661
The foolish brahmana670
Duryodhana's ghosha-yatra676
The shaming of Duryodhana683
The powers of darkness691
The Rishi Durvasa698
The lake of death711
Yaksha prasna: the yaksha's riddles716
Book Four: Virata Parva 723
The thirteenth year725
Kunka, the gambler730
The cook and the wrestler742
Kama's dream746
The brahmana at noon750
The queen's sairandhri754
The besotted Keechaka759
Ballava's night visitor764
The long day768
The angry gandharvas770
Duryodhana's spies776
Virata's battle782
The prince and the eunuch786
Uttara Kumara790
Unearthly weapons795
The Kuru army802
A gambler's blood810
The Pandavas816
A wedding in Upaplavya819
Volume 2

Book Five: Udyoga Parva 1
The council in Upaplavya3
A choice for two kshatriyas10
'Everyone seems to know me'16
The two armies20
The messengers25
The Pandavas' reply36
A blind king's terror42
Sanjaya delivers a message52
'Not land to cover the point of a needle'59
A second council in Upaplavya66
Krishna arrives in Hastinapura74
In Vidura's house79
In the court of Hastinapura83
Duryodhana and Krishna88
'I am not alone'96
Krishna and Kama102
The Pandava Senapati110
The Kaurava Senapati115
On the banks of Yamuna118
'Come away to your brothers'122
For love of his friend124
Balarama and Rukmi128
Uluka's embassy132
Book Six"': Bheeshma Parva 137
Sanjaya's gift139
A moment of crisis149
The Bhagavad Gita155
The: Song of God161
The Bhagavad Gita165
The Bhagavad Gita170
The Song of God174
The Bhaguvad Gita178
The ghastly war184
The second day: two kraunchas189
The third day: the eagle and the crescent196
The fourth day: Bheema and his son202
The fifth and sixth days209
The seventh day: many duels216
The eighth day: the field of death223
Duryodhana's despair230
The ninth day: the terrible patriarch234
The last night of an age242
The tenth morning251
The bed of arrows256
'I never hated you'263
Book Seven : Drona Parva 269
Drona, Senapati271
The eleventh day275
Bhagadatta's elephant282
An ancient and his beast289
Drona's vow293
The chakra vyuha297
Jayadratha 's moment300
Arjunas vow309
Jayadhratha’s terror317
Arjuna's dream323
The three vyuhas327
Arjuna the magnificent331
At the rim of the red lotus336
Deep into the enemy's army341
The sound of Krishna's conch347
T errible Satyaki352
Yudhishtira's anxiety355
Bheema arrives360
Kama and Bheema365
Satyaki and Bhoorisravas370
The setting sun374
The war at night378
Kama, Kripa and Aswatthama386
Awesome Kama389
Ghatotkacha rules the night397
Indra's Shakti403
One white lie416
Book Eight: Kama Parva 439
Senapati Kama441
Many duels446
The lucid night449
The two brothers457
In Yudhishtira's tent463
The tastiest drink467
Kama and Arjuna471
The mired wheel476
The sorrowing sun483
Out under the moon487
Book Nine: Shalya Parva 491
Kripa and his sishya493
Tameless Shalya497
The last men502
The Dwaipayana lake505
Magnificent Duryodhana509
The two cousins513
At Samantapanchaka517
The clarity of Krishna522
Book Ten: Sauptika Parva 529
In Hastinapura531
The white owl’s lesson536
The savage camp542
Aswatthama’s jewel549
Book Eleven: Stree Parva 555
With Dhritarashtra and Gandhari557
Gandhari’s Curse562
Tarpana for a Kshatriya567
Book Twelve and Thirteen: Shanti Parva and Anusasana Parva 573
Yudhishitra’s Grief575
A new king in Hastinapura581
The dying Patriarch585
Bheeshma wisdom589
The passing of a Patriarch607
Book Fourteen: Aswamedha Parva 611
Krishna says farewell613
The Aswamedhya yagna616
Book Fifteen: Asramavasika Parva 629
The Passing of the elers631
Book Sixteen: Mausala Parva 643
Ritual at Prabhasa645
Arjuna’s anguish655
Book Seventeen: Mahaprastanika Parva 659
The final Journey661
Book Eighteen: Swargarohanika Parva 667
The law of heaven669
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