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Mahabharata Hardcover – January 1, 2007
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Rating: Excellent I have read the book 6 times & am still reading it & everytime I read it I feel as if I am reading it for the first time. The style of writing is so simple & lucid & you can feel as if the scenes are taking place in front of you. It really is a great book & everybody must read it. --Arpita Chowdhury
Rating: Good I enjoyed every moment of this book. I felt that the characters came alive and that the story was riveting. I could hardly put it down. It made me wish that I could read Sanskrit and enjoy the full poem. --Simon Perry
The Mahabharata is not a mere epic;it is a romance,telling the tale of heroic men and women and of some who are divine;it is a whole literature itself,containing a code of life,a philosophy of social and ethical relations,and spectacular thought on human problems that is hard to rival;but,above all,it has for it's core with Gita,which is,as the world is beginning to find out,the noblest of scriptures and the grandest of sagas the climax of which is reached in the wondrous Apocalypse in the Eleventh Canto.Through such books alone,the harmonies underlying true culture,I am convinced,will one day reconcile the disorders of modern life. To the English reader,this volume will bring home the validity of the comment made by generations of Indian authors that "what is not there is nowhere to be found." --Dr.K.M.Munshi
About the Author
Smt kamala Subramaniam is known to amazonians for her two excellent works "Saundarya Lahari" and "Srimad Bhagavatam" both well known classics in Indian scriptures.She has devoted the best part of her life in translating the best of Hindu scriptures.
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Top customer reviews
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I think this a must reading, especially the Bhagavad Gita, which to me is condensed in the book, thus must be read by itself.
I spent time on some Hindu websites reading the synopsis and this greatly assisted my understanding.
It is worth the time and effort to understand the book.
This abridged translation is highly readable and most applauded by scholars who know the unabridged version. In fact, I chose it based on recommendations made by readers here at Amazon. I was not disappointed. It is beautifully done, a compliment to the translator compiler and it is definitely a page-turner, could hardly put it down kind of epic.
Many of the stories are very famous and will be familiar to readers such as me. Others are not so and for me, I did not realize that this war story (except for its chapters that became the famous Gita) was so laden with spiritual and ethical instruction. It is the spiritual and ethical instruction of the vedic Aryans whose society was one of kings and warriors and noble principles, ethics, rules about honor. A society where the warrior class dominates is called kshattriyan (pronounce caw-tree-an with emphasis on first syllable) and this extended war story brings two ages to a close, the descending dwapara yuga that was transitioning to the descending kali yuga, such dark times, similar to our dark age that followed the collapse of the Roman Empire, and the end of the kshattriyan era in India.
The great teachings of the story, this version keeps and for me, it is spell-binding. While the "good guys" get themselves into various losses in the material realm by their adhering to their noble codes, they also set themselves up for losses by falling short of their own spiritual intentions and wisdom.
One of the most famous stories is the death of the revered grandfather warrior Bhishma who was bound to fight for the wrong side by having accepted food from the dark king . . . those kind of ethical precepts had sway as the aryans migrated south and overran northern India . . . Bhishma's death is extremely poignant as he is admired and beloved by warriors on both sides and as a man of great spiritual attainment, he chooses a propitious time to leave his body . . .
The story has been interpreted by spiritual teachers to be the struggle within each and every human between good and evil, that the battlefield is life and we have within us the five Pandava brothers as we are all composed of earth, water, luminosity/fire, air and ether. We all have the 100 propensities pulling us into the battles of life this way and that, pulling for the common good and pulling for the selfish or mean.
Reading this finally, as one who loves the Gita chapters, has inspired me to learn more about the deeper meanings of the great spiritual teachings of India. Some of the best commentaries are available in the works of P.R. Sarkar, Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, the guru and founder of the Ananda Marga spiritual organization. Sarkar's works are not easy to find so one has to search them out through Ananda Marga and as Sarkar only left this earth in 1990, many devotees are available here who knew him personally. I have got his collected works in an electronic format and they are brilliant, glorious, well worth having. Sarkar was a great Sanskrit scholar among other things and his discourses and writings are luminous with friendship for all beings.
Mahabharata is the family-generation story of the "royal house of Kuru" of India:
The story starts with king Santanu that marries Ganga, of his broken promise and his son Bheeshma. Bheeshma is tested many times by his oat (to help getting his father's heart wish), he is upholding the kingdom for his half brothers and there "children" (the blind Dhritarashtra and Pandu).. and there children, because of faits twists. Finally there is a Great War of the five Pandhavas brothers (Yudhishthira, Bheemasena, Arjuna, Bakula and Sahadeva = divine Incarnations) that have the help of Krishna and other relatives and friends: against the sons of the blind Dhritarashtra, other relatives, friends and teachers.
It is a great and immense story about being carful what we want, justice and right behaviors.