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Mahabharata: The Greatest Spiritual Epic of All Time Hardcover – July 13, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-1887089173 ISBN-10: 1887089179

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 941 pages
  • Publisher: Torchlight Publishing (July 13, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1887089179
  • ISBN-13: 978-1887089173
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #327,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Dharma successfully captures the mood and majesty of a rich and ancient epic and, in the process, does full justice to the critical elements of the complex story? A well-wrought saga that will be appreciated by Western readers and admirably serve to introduce a new generation to the rich spiritual, cultural, and historic legacy of India. Highly recommended." -- The Midwest Book Review, October 1999

"Rarely, if ever, has an ancient epic received such modern Blockbuster treatment? The narrative moves effortlessly, often as racily as a thriller, without compromising the elevated style and diction. The visual imagery is every bit as impressive as anything achieved in the cinematic editions." -- Mahesh Nair , IndiaToday, October 1999

"When I dove into the Mahabharata, I expected something along the lines of a dry Arabian Knights, but what I got was something else! Once I began to read, I just could not tear my mind away from the book. Even as I write this, my mind lingers on the glorious spiritual Indian mythology captured on its pages. If you are looking for a cross between Arthurian legends and cultural epic spiked with romance, and overarching spiritual guidance, Mahabharata is for you. Aside from the wonderful magical tales, the novel is an ancient authority on karma, reincarnation, and yoga." -- Rachel Styer, Magical Blend Magazine, January 2000

From the Publisher

One of the oldest and most cherished of all Indian classics, filled with deep spiritual wisdom, it is the story of five heroic brothers who were destined to rule a vast kingdom.

More About the Author

Born in 1955 in London in a Christian family, I have been undergoing training in the monotheistic Vaishnava tradition of Hinduism since 1979. Although I am sometimes referred to as a Hindu priest, there is in fact no defined hierarchical priesthood within Hinduism, or, as I prefer to call it, the Vedic tradition, based as it is upon the scriptures known as the Vedas. There is a class known as the brahmins, whose business is to provide priestly services to society, such as rites of passage and spiritual instruction, and I would put myself in this category. If not a fully qualified brahmin, I am certainly aspiring to become one, in the line of my eternally liberated teacher Srila A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

I do not see my acceptance of the Vaishnava tradition as a departure from Christianity, but rather as a natural continuance of Christ's teachings. For me the instructions of all the great teachers, such as Prabhupada, Christ, Buddha, Mohammed, and many others, contain the same essential thread of spirituality, which culminates in surrender to the Personality of Godhead, who I know as Lord Krishna, but who may also be known by many other names such as Jehovah, Allah, Jahweh and Buddha.

My goal is to bring the wisdom of the East to Western audiences in an easily understandable style that can be accessed by anyone. For me spiritual life, in whatever tradition or faith we choose, should be an enjoyable experience that enables us to transcend the trials and tribulations of present-day materialism, and eventually realise our loving relationship with God.

Customer Reviews

After reading several translations of Mahabharata and diligent research, I realized this is the best translation.
Indeed, a good five-star acquisition for your library (and not that expensive, if you consider the size, hardcover and color illustrations).
The casual tone helps a casual reader like me to understand the story, the people and the events without having to read too much detail.
Mona Chitnis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

115 of 125 people found the following review helpful By Duryodhana on January 15, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is pretty much the best English version of the epic. The sole reason for this is that it's pretty much the most complete version that's readily available. It's definitely enjoyable to read... The battles are described in a manner that will keep your attention. There are lots of moral dilemmas that keep you thinking. This is great especially if you're unfamiliar with the Mahabharata.
However, Dharma himself admits that this is no scholarly translation. I recommend that you also read other abridgements as well to get a full scope of the story. While the action in this version is well articulated, some of the inbetween discussions and descriptions seem to be a bit drawn-out. I say this in comparison with other versions. For instance, absolutely way too much forshadowing is given. The entire plot of the story is blatantly given away repeatedly. "This will happen." And it does. In actuality other versions also have this, as I'm sure it's part of the story. However, it seems as though it wasn't repeated as much in the other versions. For instance, reading another version you might hear Bhima make his threat that he will "drink Dushashana's blood." This might be repeated once or twice throughout the remainder of the story. But in this version, it seems like every page says something like "Arjuna will surely slay Karna, Bhima will surely kill Dhritarashtra's sons, Krishna ordains it, it will happen, yes it will happen." There's absolutely no surprise when it happens at all. In fact it makes reading the otherwise thrilling action sequences annoying because you know the inevitable outcome. Yes, Bhima will strike Duryodhana's thigh. Yes, where Krishna is there is victory...And so on. This is a lot of what makes it drawn-out.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover
It was very refreshing to find such a readable and exciting rendition of this classic. For the most part, translations of India's spiritual writings are quite heavy going, usually stilted and hard to follow. Not so this one. Written in highly accessible modern prose, it is a fluid narrative that grips the reader like a modern day bestselling novel. This is no mean feat. Having read the original text I know it is a complex tale with many interwoven strands that span vast periods of time. Every character has his or her own fascinating story that ties in with overall theme of the epic, and Dharma has managed to incorporate them all into a tight narrative that never loses the reader. He plainly knows the story inside out, and has cleverly structured his book so that it all fits together into a coherent whole. When I read the original I found myself constantly turning backwards and forwards in order to follow the story, and I was grateful to have it clearly spelled out by Dharma in his book.
This treatment of the epic is perhaps unique. Other writers have tried something similar, I know, but in my view none have been quite as successful. And from what I have seen, none of them have shown so lucidly the spiritual import of the Mahabharata. I would say that this is Dharma's greatest contribution to the epic. He brings out the spiritual meaning intended by the original author Vyasa. Being himself a spiritual disciple in the line that comes from Vyasa, he is well positioned to understand its sublime and uplifting message. I found the passages of spiritual instruction, such as the text of the Bhagavad Gita (which forms one chapter of the Mahabharata) particularly enjoyable and very moving.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 14, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Sacred text of Hinduism gets blockbuster treatment
By James Meek
LONDON: Salman Rushdie was threatened with murder for it. William Tyndale was strangled and burned for it. Altering,challenging or even translating sacred texts can be dangerous. But a British Hindu priest expects only praise, high sales and converts from an epic effort of literary digestion launched next week: the 100,000-verse Mahabharata, turned by him into a 1,000-page blockbuster novel.
The novelization of one of Hinduism's holiest texts by the Manchester-based priest, Krishna Dharma - once Ken Anderson, a merchant navy officer - is already on sale in the US, where it has sold more than 5,000 copies.
"I suppose I didn't expect it to be so successful. It's unique, in the sense that there aren't any other English versions like it," said Dharma.
The Mahabharata, which contains the core text of Hinduism, the Bhagavad-gita, has been rendered in English before. But previous attempts have been immense verse-for-verse translations by Sanskrit scholars, or slim, super-abridged paperbacks.
"I want it to become the definitive English version," said Dharma. "I'm pretty confident it will. There's nothing around to compete."
Like the Holy Quran and the Bible, the Mahabharata is believed by Hindus to be largely the work of God (or gods, as some Hindus consider).
Five thousand years ago, the half-divine visionary Vyasadeva is said to have dictated the verses to the elephant-headed being Ganesh. The book's divine origins have not stopped the hard sell. Under the title, the bookjacket proclaims "The Greatest Spiritual Epic of All Time".
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