The Mahabharata: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic

Growing from an oral tradition of ballads based on historic events in India, the Mahabharata was passed down and extended through the centuries, becoming the longest poem ever written R K Narayan provides a superb rendition in an abbreviated and elegant retelling of this great epic.
The Mahabharata A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic Growing from an oral tradition of ballads based on historic events in India the Mahabharata was passed down and extended through the centuries becoming the longest poem ever written R K Narayan prov

  • Title: The Mahabharata: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic
  • Author: Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa R.K. Narayan
  • ISBN: 9780226568225
  • Page: 479
  • Format: Paperback
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      479 Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa R.K. Narayan
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      Posted by:Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa R.K. Narayan
      Published :2018-04-18T17:19:08+00:00

    About the Author

    Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa R.K. Narayan

    Krishna Dvaip yana Vy sa, also known as Vy sa or Veda Vy sa , the one who classified the Vedas into four parts is a central and revered figure in most Hindu traditions He is traditonally regarded as the author of the Mah bh rata, although it is also widely held that he only composed the core of the epic, the Bh rata A significant portion of the epic later was only added in later centuries, which then came to be known as the Mah bh rata The date of composition of this epic is not known It was definitvely part of the traditions in Indian subcontinent at the time Gautam Buddha 500 BCE which would suggest it having been already around for atleast a few centuries It was chiefy put down in the written form only somewhere between 300 BCE to 300 CE.As the name would suggest, Vy sa is believed to have categorised the primordial single Veda into its four canonical collections He is also considered to be the scribe of Pur n s, ancient Hindu texts eulogizing various deities, primarily the divine Trimurti God in Hinduism through divine stories.

    268 Comment

    • Corinne said:
      Jul 17, 2018 - 17:19 PM

      If any book, other than Victor Hugo's 'Les Miserables' and Tolstoy's 'Resurrection', has captured the acute human dilemmas and paradoxes, the powerful and unresolvable human conflicts between good versus good, it is this book, 'Mahabharata'. Written such a long time ago, it is a clear proof that the basic human nature has not changed much since, and will probably remain the same way as long as Man exists.The most tormenting part is when the warrior Arjuna is torn between two equally good causes [...]

    • miaaa said:
      Jul 17, 2018 - 17:19 PM

      Bagi seseorang dengan daya ingat yang pendek, terutama soal nama, awalnya membaca kisah epik Mahabarata ini merupakan sebuah tantangan. Untungnya sang penulis, mungkin penerjemah dan penyunting juga, paham mengenai kerumitan nama Sansekerta ini sehingga membuatkan daftar tokoh dan tempat serta glosarium. Tidak ketinggalan juga silsilah keluarga para Pandawa dan Kurawa yang dimulai dari Santanu. Bisa dibayangkan setiap bertemu dengan satu karakter akan kembali ke daftar tersebut untuk memastikan [...]

    • Terence said:
      Jul 17, 2018 - 17:19 PM

      R.K. Narayan’s abridged, prose version of India’s national epic, The Mahabharata, is concise, fast paced, well written, and – unfortunately – passionless. Narayan has excised nearly everything not directly related to the Pandavas (Yudhistira, Bhima, Arjuna, and Nakula and Sahadeva) and their wife, Draupadi. In the process, he’s also stripped the story of any emotional power. For the most part, it’s like reading a book summary rather than a proper story. For example, there’s the cha [...]

    • Omar Ali said:
      Jul 17, 2018 - 17:19 PM

      A great easy to read version of the story. Everything that is out there is in herewhat is not here, is nowhere.

    • Ajay said:
      Jul 17, 2018 - 17:19 PM

      Long while ago, while I was deputed back to a different city, I was so desperate to spend my time in contemplation after reading a book. I thought this particular effort will weed away the time. By then , several of my endeavour with various genres have never satisfied my appetite , even though I enjoyed reading them. As I have read almost the entire collection of R K NARAYAN, I have just kept the Indian epics away for a while to prepare my mind amidst the hectic work. Time just waned away and a [...]

    • Vanda said:
      Jul 17, 2018 - 17:19 PM

      many years ago, a friend of mine was trying to find a complete translation of mahabarata --the original proses by bagawan vyasa and later additionals-- with no luck!He persistently asked me to help out by (at the least) narrate him the storyline briefly from an indonesian adaptation (baratayuda) which was a great pain for meraid that his curiosity would kill himj/k duh, i lent him this copy, and it appeased his curiosity. So for us this book was a win-win situationi have read several indonesian [...]

    • aba said:
      Jul 17, 2018 - 17:19 PM

      This shortened version must have taken all the juice out of the original. It gave me very little except for a family tree of over 20 names who apart from Bhisma, Krishna and Arjuna left few impressions of themselves apart from their names. I'd try the longer version (for which this could serve as a summary if you want to prepare) or don't try it at all

    • Andina Widya said:
      Jul 17, 2018 - 17:19 PM

      a short and general brief to get to know Mahabharata. I get to read this in order to fully understand the next book I wanna read: Bilangan Fu by Ayu Utami & Centhini: Kekasih yang Tersembunyi by Elizabeth D. Inandiak.And so I started my journey.

    • Anish said:
      Jul 17, 2018 - 17:19 PM

      This is definitely more of a broad overview than an exact translation, but it's a good primer if you don't want to read the complete Mahabharata.

    • Amalia Dillin said:
      Jul 17, 2018 - 17:19 PM

      Now I want to read a more extended versionthough even the shortened version felt very reminiscent of the kinds of digressions which are in the Iliad.

    • Panchalissecrets said:
      Jul 17, 2018 - 17:19 PM

      A useful introduction to the epic before reading the full version!

    • Kristi said:
      Jul 17, 2018 - 17:19 PM

      I read this for my Myth & Culture class and found it very enjoyable. There are some very important life lessons to be learned from this epic.

    • Sankar Kolla said:
      Jul 17, 2018 - 17:19 PM

      Its an epic rewritten in a lucid waye depth of it is covered nicely but not the width.This book is for who want know the abstract view of the original mahabharata

    • Sahil Raina said:
      Jul 17, 2018 - 17:19 PM

      I watched the show about the Mahabharata on Doordarshan as a kid. In hindsight, it was cheesy, but I was totally enthralled. Later, my brother had an illustrated version of the Mahabharata that I read along with him as a young teenager. Since then, I've often tried to get a proper, non-child-oriented, introduction to the epic. This book turned out to be exactly that.Narayan condensed and translated the epic into a 200-page novel back in the 1980s. He retained many of the stories I remembered fro [...]

    • Rudolfo Hartanto said:
      Jul 17, 2018 - 17:19 PM

      Saya penyuka kisah pewayangan sejak kecil, maka plot utama epos ini cukup saya kenal. Saya bisa katakan, untuk buku setipis ini, Narayan tidak meninggalkan satu pun titik penting dalam plot. Semua rangkaian aksi-reaksi-konsekuensi yang membentuk wajah epos ini dijalin dengan terampil. Sebagai seorang penerus tradisi tuturan populer Kamban, Narayan bertutur dengan lugas tapi mendalam, intelek sekaligus magis, serta anggun. Epos ini tidak kehilangan keagungannya dalam tata penuturan populer Naraya [...]

    • John said:
      Jul 17, 2018 - 17:19 PM

      I was excited to read this shortened version of the Mahabharata after reading the excellent abbreviated version of the Ramayana by R.K. Narayan. To be fair--I was a lot more familiar with the Mahabharata due to reading Grant Morrison's 18 Days (which is currently incomplete) and God Talks with Arjuna (an analysis of The Bhagavad Gita). With those being much more nuanced and flourishing, this adaptation seemed very paint by numbers.The Ramayana had a lot of flair--with the author adding colorful [...]

    • Kevin said:
      Jul 17, 2018 - 17:19 PM

      This was an interesting charity shop find which piqued my interest since I have very patchy knowledge of Indian culture and the Hindu religion which are encompassed in this sprawling poem.Maha (a prefix indicating greatness) Jaya/Bharata (Great victory) is primarily an epic tale of the conflict between factions of a royal family (The (Good) Pandavas and the (Bad) Kauravas) who are at war with each other on a supernatural, mystical and godly scale. Intertwined with this basic plot are philosophic [...]

    • Asim Dagar said:
      Jul 17, 2018 - 17:19 PM

      A classic for all ages past, present and to comeR. K. Narayan's version self admittedly comprises of the essential story that forms the hundred thousand verse epic of the Mahabharata. Though the epic is colossal abounding in details on all topics, the core of the story which is essentially a story of war, is nevertheless brilliantly condensed by the author in the form of a gripping narrative. A timeless classic.

    • Mark Beeman said:
      Jul 17, 2018 - 17:19 PM

      I found this in a used book store and understand it is a greatly condensed version of an epic historical text. With that understanding I am using it as an introduction for other readings later on. I am very pleased with the accessibility in this version and am developing an overall understanding of the tales hoping to explore in more depth at later time. Well done!

    • Michael Bee said:
      Jul 17, 2018 - 17:19 PM

      A Master TouchExcellent telling - Narayan has a master eye for details and balance. The ability to encapsulate the action of a story or dialog and then the ability to draw all together.

    • Octavia Ambarwati said:
      Jul 17, 2018 - 17:19 PM

      Sebuah folklore yang menarik dengan cerita yang sangat imajinatif

    • Greg said:
      Jul 17, 2018 - 17:19 PM

      The original version of The Mahabharata is a massive and ancient work, rendered inaccessible to all but dedicated readers due to its size and complexity. Narayan, in this short summarized version, provides an opportunity for anyone with as much as a passing interest to learn and understand the major points of this classic religious text of the Bhakti Hindu religious tradition. Narayan’s prose is incredibly well organized, and indeed reads like a modern text…quite a feet summarizing a 3,500 y [...]

    • Esther said:
      Jul 17, 2018 - 17:19 PM

      What I read here is just the "shortened modern prose version of the Indian epic". The Original is some 3'500 years old and is the longest poem in existence, eight times longer than The Iliad and The Odyssey put together. Actually, the Bhagavad-Gita, which I had a hard time following and understanding, is part of this epic and was summarized here in about one page For my review of this book, I can best quote a paragraph from the introduction "Although this epic is a treasure house of varied inter [...]

    • Daljit said:
      Jul 17, 2018 - 17:19 PM

      Considering the Mahabharata is the lengthiest epic poem in existence it was quite surprising to see the size of this book. And when this book says it's a shortened modern prose, it really means its shortened. Almost all important events in this epic tale are rushed through, omitted or merely mentioned, which was quite disappointing. If I weren't familiar with the story, I wouldn't have been able to keep track of everything that was going on. I wasn't sure what to expect before reading the book b [...]

    • Heather said:
      Jul 17, 2018 - 17:19 PM

      This book is my first introduction to the Mahabharata, and I do like it. I found that it was a simple, fast-paced read. Which of course was what I was looking for. Since the original Mahabharata is super long, I was grateful to find a short prose version that would give me the information quickly in story form. However, since I'm not familiar with Indian culture, religion, or mythology, I'm sure a lot of the significance of this work was lost on me. Also, I did have difficulty keeping characters [...]

    • RC said:
      Jul 17, 2018 - 17:19 PM

      Having never read the unabridged Mahabharata (which runs to about 100,000 stanzas or roughly 8x the length of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey combined - making it one of the longest written compositions in the world, not to mention making it unlikely that i'll ever get around to reading it) it is difficult to adequately review an abridged version. However, I can make a few comments.Narayan renders this extensive work into a brief 179 pages, an amazing feat, and produces a very well written and enterta [...]

    • Imran said:
      Jul 17, 2018 - 17:19 PM

      Epic in true sense. One of best pieces of literature our part of world produced.Having a little knowledge of Abrahamic religions, there were many similarities in the events mentioned in Mahabharata and Abrahamic scriptures.There are incidents of throwing children in river (Moses and Karana). Draupadi's incident has a far fetched similarity with Abraham's wife Sarah.Moses exodus and Pandava's exile (vanvas) got same feel. Even Pandavas got a permanent source of their food from heaven like Israeli [...]

    • Varsha Dhankani said:
      Jul 17, 2018 - 17:19 PM

      I wanted to read The Mahabharata because I was ashamed of my ignorance of Indian mythology. I chose to read R.K. Narayan's version because he is a great story-teller. I was not disappointed at all. This abridged version is just what I was looking for to gain knowledge without making it cumbersome as such epics can get for a modern reader. He even managed to make it funny! Like the fact that the original author of the epic, Vyasa, chose to cast himself in the story as a sage so he could warn the [...]

    • Lauren Huibregtse said:
      Jul 17, 2018 - 17:19 PM

      A very classic tale from the Bhakti hindu religion, and a wonderful read. This tale was written over a long period by many authors, but the characters of the sons of Pandu and the Kauvara brothers are fantastic guides for moral behavior, and also provide interesting dialogues with the gods. I was not super impressed with how they treated their wife which they shared amongst them, but what can you do?

    • Rebecca Hecking said:
      Jul 17, 2018 - 17:19 PM

      This was my second go-round with ancient Indian epics. The translation was a good one for an amateur. The translator shortened some of the lengthy, redundant passages in the original, which was helpful. I recognized a few stories within the larger whole that I had encountered previously, and while I was reading it, I even ran across an Indian commercial that referenced it with humor. It was great fun to be in on the joke, so to speak.

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