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Tales of the Mahabharata


The Mahabharata is India's greatest epic. 'Mahabharata' means 'Great India,' India the Sublime. This unparalleled epic is six times the size of the Iliad and the Odyssey combined. Surprising in size and amazing in thought is the Mahabharata. The main story revolves around a giant rivalry between two parties of cousins. Their ancestral kingdom was the apple of discord. This rivalry came to its close at the end of a great battle called the Battle of Kurukshetra.

Once, the great sage Vyasa was deeply inspired to write an epic, but he found that it was impossible for him to write down the whole epic. So he prayed to Brahma, the Creator, and Brahma descended in human form. The sage said to Brahma, "Please send me someone who can write down what I say." Brahma said, "Well, there is only one person on earth who can do that, and that is Ganapati. He can take down your dictation." So Vyasa invoked Ganapati, the son of Lord Shiva.

Ganapati came and agreed to write on one condition. The condition was that Vyasa could not pause; he had to dictate continuously, without interruption. If he hesitated or if he paused, then Ganapati would leave him. Vyasa consented and said, "Now, I also want to dictate to you on one condition, and that condition is, that unless and until you know the meaning of what I dictate you will not write. You have to wait and ask me if there is anything that you do not comprehend."

Thus, India's unparalleled epic, the Mahabharata, was composed.

From India, my India. Mother India's summit-prides, Agni Press, 1997.