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Mahabharata: A Modern Retelling

Mahabharata: A Modern Retelling

“Astonishing. . . . [Satyamurti’s Mahabharata] brings [the] past alive . . . as though it were a novel in finely crafted verse.”―Vinay Dharwadker

Originally composed approximately two thousand years ago, the Mahabharata tells the story of a royal dynasty, descended from gods, whose feud over their kingdom results in a devastating war. But it contains much more than conflict. An epic masterpiece of huge sweep and magisterial power, “a hundred times more interesting” than the Iliad and the Odyssey, writes Wendy Doniger in the introduction, the Mahabharata is a timeless work that evokes a world of myth, passion, and warfare while exploring eternal questions of duty, love, and spiritual freedom. A seminal Hindu text, which includes the Bhagavad Gita, it is also one of the most important and influential works in the history of world civilization.

Innovatively composed in blank verse rather than prose, Carole Satyamurti’s English retelling covers all eighteen books of the Mahabharata. This new version masterfully captures the beauty, excitement, and profundity of the original Sanskrit poem as well as its magnificent architecture and extraordinary scope.

Foreword

Preface

Prologue

I • THE BOOK OF THE BEGINNING

Chapter 1. The ancestors

Chapter 2. Dhritarashtra and Pandu

Chapter 3. Cousins

Chapter 4. Learning the arts of war

Chapter 5. Karna

Chapter 6. The tournament

Chapter 7. Revenge

Chapter 8. The lacquer house

Chapter 9. Flight

Chapter 10. Draupadi’s bridegroom choice

Chapter 11. Acquiring a kingdom

Chapter 12. Arjuna’s exile

Chapter 13. The burning of the Khandava Forest

II • THE BOOK OF THE ASSEMBLY HALL

Chapter 14. The decision

Chapter 15. King of kings

Chapter 16. Duryodhana’s despair

Chapter 17. The dice game

Chapter 18. The dice game resumes

III • THE BOOK OF THE FOREST

Chapter 19. Exile begins

Chapter 20. Discord

Chapter 21. Quest

Chapter 22. Pilgrimage

Chapter 23. Duryodhana’s mistake

Chapter 24. The end in sight

IV • THE BOOK OF VIRATA

Chapter 25. Virata’s court

Chapter 26. The cattle raid

V • THE BOOK OF PERSEVERENCE

Chapter 27. Suing for peace, preparing for war

Chapter 28. Diplomacy continues

Chapter 29. Krishna’s mission

Chapter 30. The temptation of Karna

Chapter 31. Marshaling the armies

VI • THE BOOK OF BHISHMA

Chapter 32. The song of the Lord

Chapter 33. The war begins

Chapter 34. Bhishma in command

Chapter 35. Bhishma implacable

Chapter 36. The fall of Bhishma

VII • THE BOOK OF DRONA

Chapter 37. Drona leads the Kauravas

Chapter 38. The death of Abhimanyu

Chapter 39. In pursuit of Jayadratha

Chapter 40. Battle at night

Chapter 41. Drona and Ashvatthaman

VIII • THE BOOK OF KARNA

Chapter 42. Karna in command

Chapter 43. Tragic Karna

IX • THE BOOK OF SHALYA

Chapter 44. Defeat for Duryodhana

X • THE BOOK OF THE NIGHT ATTACK

Chapter 45. Massacre by night

XI • THE BOOK OF THE WOMEN

Chapter 46. Dhritarashtra’s grief

Chapter 47. Gandhari’s lament

XII • THE BOOK OF PEACE

Chapter 48. Yudhishthira, reluctant ruler

Chapter 49. Yudhishthira listens to the seers

Chapter 50. The education of the Dharma King (1)

Chapter 51. The education of the Dharma King (2)

Chapter 52. Dharma in difficult times

Chapter 53. The path to absolute freedom

XIII • THE BOOK OF INSTRUCTION

Chapter 54. The teaching continues

Chapter 55. The death of Bhishma

XIV • THE BOOK OF THE HORSE SACRIFICE

Chapter 56. King Yudhishthira turns to the future

Chapter 57. The horse sacrifice

XV • THE BOOK OF THE HERMITAGE

Chapter 58. The retreat of the elders

XVI • THE BOOK OF THE CLUBS

Chapter 59. Krishna’s people

XVII AND XVIII • THE BOOKS OF THE FINAL JOURNEY AND THE ASCENT TO HEAVEN

Chapter 60. The final journey

Epilogue

Afterword: The Poetry of the Mahabharata

Genealogies

Suggestions for Further Reading

Glossary