The Mahabharata: A Modern Rendering, Volume 1

Front Cover
iUniverse, Jul 20, 2006 - Fiction - 732 pages
The Mahabharata is the more recent of India's two great epics, and by far the longer. First composed by the Maharishi Vyasa in verse, it has come 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 south-east Asia. At 100,000 couplets, it is seven times as long as the Iliad and the Odyssey combined: far and away the greatest recorded epic known to man.

The Mahabharata is the very Book of Life: in its variety, majesty and, also, in 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 5000 years ago, and the events that led to it. The war on Kurukshetra sees ten million warriors slain, brings the dwapara yuga to an end, and ushers in a new and sinister age: this present kali yuga, modern times.

At the heart of the Mahabharata nestles the Bhagavad Gita, the Song of God. Senayor ubhayor madhye, between two teeming armies, Krishna expounds 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 is 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 brings the epic to the contemporary reader in sparkling modern prose. It brings alive all the excitement, magic, and grandeur of the original-for our times.


What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - RRHowell - LibraryThing

I was quite impressed with the readability of this one. I cannot attest to its verbal accuracy, but it does a good job of allowing you to get through, enjoy, and understand this massive epic. Read full review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Both volumes of The Mahabharata are exceptionally written; the moment you begin to read the book, you are likely to embark an exhilarating journey. Ramesh Menon has retold the epic saga in beautiful simplicity without indulging in the literary complexities. He has ensured that the intricacies of the saga are brilliantly blended. A brilliant read!  

Selected pages


BOOK TWO Sabha Parva
BOOK FOUR Virata Parva
A p p e n d i x
About the Author

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 49 - He did not speak much, but when he did his voice was...
Page 4 - Before he could roar the searing protest that rose in him, she ran to him and flung her arms around his neck. Her eyes raged at him, 'Remember your oath!
Page 31 - He wanted to take her in his arms and keep her there forever.
Page 68 - Yudhishtira birth is given as the eighth muhurta, called abhijit, noon, of the fifth day of the waxing moon, in the month of Kartika, when the moon was rising in the nakshatra Jyeshta.
Page 60 - Yet, his fame will live in the world as long as the sun and the moon are in the sky.

About the author (2006)

Ramesh Menon was born in 1951 in New Delhi. He has lived and worked in Delhi, Hong Kong, Bangalore, and Jakarta, and now lives in Kodaikanal. He is also the author of The Ramayana, A Modern Retelling of the Great Indian Epic (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2003).

Bibliographic information