It is the longest and, in some ways, the greatest epic poem in any language. Intended to be a treatise on life itself, it embraces religion and ethics, polity and government, philosophy and the pursuit of salvation. The shortest recension of the Sanskrit version consists of some 88,000 verses. The main narrative, however, is the story of the rivalry between the cousins, the Pandavas and the Kauravas, which culminates in the great battle of Kuruksetra. Chakravarthi V. Narasimhan here introduces and presents the portions dealing with this story and its central theme of the universal destruction and evil of war. His prose translation of approximately 4000 verses is supplemented by a glossary, genealogical tables, and an index correlating the verses with the original Sanskrit text.
About the Author:
Mr. Narasimhan has authored several books, including `United Nations: An inside view, and has had a large number of articles published. A vocalist himself, he had a deep interest in Carnatic music and was closely associated with the Music Academy. His moving tribute to the late Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer appeared in this newspaper on Sunday. He was also patron of the Sri Vedanta Desika Siddhantha Abivardhini Sabha in Srirangam, which was founded in 1917.