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4.31  ·  Rating details ·  10,554 ratings  ·  552 reviews
Originally published in the year 1951, the huge popularity of the book has resulted in the book being re-printed several times. Centuries ago, it was proclaimed of the Mahabharata: "What is not in it, is nowhere." But even now, we can use the same words about it. He who knows it not, knows not the heights and depths of the soul; he misses the trials and tragedy and the bea ...more
Paperback, 483 pages
Published 1951 by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan
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Average rating 4.31  · 
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Nov 27, 2011 rated it did not like it
This is a very bad version of the magnificent epic. It's obvious that Rajaji was not a writer -- he was a politician, and he really has no way with words.
The writing is stilted, awkward, the narration dry and just boring. The Mahabharata is a simply magnificent story and this version does not do it justice. Apart from that, the author insists on giving little moral lectures here and there. This is one of the worst versions.
I still vividly remember the very first time I read Buck's translation of the Mahabharata. It was my first semester back to school after taking time off to have my son. We lived in a large room that was a sort of add-on to the side of my parent's church and doubled as the nursery on Sundays. My husband was working nights while going to school full time. I was trying to juggle a 21 hour semester at school while simultaneously only having my toddler in daycare for half days. Needless to say, I had ...more
Paul Haspel
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: india
“Maha” means “high” or “great” in Sanskrit; a “maharajah,” accordingly, is a great king, a high king. And the Bharatas are an ancient royal house, the descendants of the legendary emperor Bharata (“the cherished one”). Therefore, for readers from outside India, the title Mahabharata need not be mysterious; as The Iliad is “The Epic of Ilium” or “The Epic of Troy,” so The Mahabharata is “The Epic of the Great House of the Bharatas.” And it is good to have that information from the beginning, as a ...more
Justin Evans
If you ever start to feel like there's something special or unique about the Western literary tradition, here's a nice reminder that "our" background is kind of like the poor, illiterate, brutish cousin of a sophisticated, knowledgeable, emotionally wealthy woman. I'd read retellings of the M, but they conveyed nothing of the sheer joy of the whole; this, John D. Smith's translation/abridgement/retelling, manages to make clear just how amazing the whole thing must be, without actually giving you ...more
Nicholas Whyte
Mar 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Mahābhārata is much more accessible than, say, The Koran or Ta Hsüeh and Chung Yung, though also much much longer - the Penguin edition is 800 pages, and that is with two thirds of the text brutally summarized. Of course, it helps that there is a plot as well as profound philosophical, theological and moral discourse; perhaps the fairer comparison is with Homer (where I think the Mahābhārata still wins).

I did sometimes find it difficult to keep the names straight on my head; John D. Smith's
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, mythology
One of the greatest epics of human civilisation, and a masterpiece of myth and legend.

As a result of its almost absurd scope and sheer length, I must admit to have merely skimmed this work (twice), but I aim to fully read it one day.

In the meantime, I am fascinated by these absolutely wonderful artistic interpretations:




(More to be found here: )
Ashok Rao
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mahabharata needs no introduction. It is indeed greatest spiritual epic of all time and is a manual for living an idle life. It was first composed in Sanskrit about five thousand years ago by Vyasdeva, a mystic residing in Himalaya.
Some of my favorite quotes:
1. Scriptures clearly states that an individual can be abandoned for the sake of a family. Indeed a family can be abandoned for the sake of a village, a village for the sake of a city and the world itself can be abandoned for the sake of th
Biblio Curious
The Mahabharata is a philosophical epic that begins with the creation of the cosmos and brings us on a journey through the passage of all time. Time is the essential element or was it actually about Dharma? It's certainly not about the epic battle that was every bit as grinding to read about as the effect of war itself. Naturally, an epic that was crafted by an entire culture and passed down through a lineage of oral storytellers is going to develop many stories upon stories, occasionally go ont ...more
Sonya Dutta Choudhury

My first readings of this volume stretched into forbidden times, as a 12 year old , late into the night and in the unlikeliest of places- stretched out in the dry bathtub !! The book was a riveting read . Packed with intrigue , and the twists and turns of human nature, it is one saga that is unbeatable . What characters - from the sanctimonious Yuddhisthra to the unctuous Sakuni and the fiery Draupadi . Highly recommended .

Soon after I read K M Munshi's 'Krishnavatara' in 7 volumes - my early i
Apratim Tripathi
Jul 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a brilliant concise book for beginners for a basic understanding of Mahabharat. It stayed true to the theme of the story & explored various emotions of Mahabharat in crisp words. It serves to be a good package for people who can't find much time for an elaborate treatise on the same.

Wonderful work by C. Rajagopalachari !
4 Stars | Part of Around India in Books

It is impossible to want to read about Indian culture, and not read at least any one of the epics. I once read that the purāṇic way of story-telling is very different; building stories within stories, sub-plots and character building through karma of previous births is unique to India.

Mahabharata is a beautifully human story of politics and power; it is a story of obsolete laws and the dawn of a new age; it is a story of envy and jealousy; it is a story of
Dec 31, 2021 rated it did not like it
This review is of the translation by Chakravarti Rajagopalachari.

This is an abridged translation (under 500 pages) of the complete Mahabharata epic, translated by Chakravarti Rajagopalachari. This translation is decently readable, but not great; Rajaji was a politician, not a poet, and it really shows. I wouldn't recommend this version.

There are a lot of versions of the Mahabharata, unabridged or abridged or even more abridged, translated into various languages, in prose or in countless types of
Welwyn Wilton Katz
This is an easy to read translation (if any are truly easy) of the great epic tale from India about the terrible feud and resulting battle between the Pandavas and Kurus (really two branches of one family). In some ways it is not always absorbing because there are so many details a modern author might skip without realizing their future importance in another book such as the Ramayana, which Buck also translated and which I own, though I have not read it yet. However, in sum, Buck has made of the ...more
Harish Challapalli
This is considered as one of the TRIO-Epics of Indian culture.

Besides its epic narrative of the Kurukshetra War and the fates of the Kauravas and the Pandavas, the Mahabharata contains much philosophical and devotional material, such as a discussion of the four "goals of life" or purusharthas.

This is considered as the grandhas which guides people to live a sociable life.

The division was into 18 parvas

Personally, I feel i have no words to describe these Trio-epics!!
Neelam Gehlot
Dec 31, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a concise edition of Mahabharata, recommended to first-time readers of this great epic.

What I liked about this edition, there are dedicated chapters about some characters explaining their backstories before introducing them in the overall story that made it easy to keep track of the timeline.

What I didn't like about this edition, there were spoilers in the book where the author tells the ending of the storyline in advance before introducing the story.

At some places in the book, it felt
Mar 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh sweet goodness - I finished it. All 909 pages of it. I feel a strangely satisfying sense of accomplishment.

After reading that this epic adventure was as important to Indian civilization as the Iliad & Odyssey were to western audiences, I felt I owed it to myself to read it. The library only had Krishna Dharma's prose adaptation, and I have to say that I wasn't disappointed.

This particular book has retained the feel of an ancient epic while being very readable. The same repetitious phrasing th
Paul Reeder
Nov 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality
The back story to the Bhagavad Gita - the history of family feuding, political intrique, principles of virtue and much spiritual edification can be found in this epic text!
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
Imp: This is Review about this particular retelling of Mahabharata and not of the great epic itself.
The Mahabharata in it's totality is Best epic that has ever happened.

This was a concise edition of Mahabharata.

There were many lapses by author in the story. Anyone reading this for the first time will be confused.

What I didn't like was that, many incidents like killing of Shishupal and Killing of Jaydrath were downplayed. There was just a passing mention of Gita, which forms an important part of
Neha Oberoi
Sep 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The Mahabharata is one of those epics that needs to be constantly re-read. Its been an all time favourite with me since I was a little brat and now that I understand more of the spirituality of the book. From rage, blood lust, fraticide, passion, betrayal this epic has it all.

What I enjoy most about the epic is that even through all the angst, hatred and betrayal each character is shrouded in humanity. Maybe a smaller measure than some but each character has been depicted to the depths with and
Raakhee Venugopal
Oct 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I first read this book when I was aged 8.And have read it close to 23 times from cover to cover since then.I have been absolutely in love with much so that I even know the pages and words used by heart!The best part of this book, which is one of the best books about India, is that you get way more than what you bargained for.The number of sub stories within this book is just mind-blowing!It touches almost every cultural aspect of India and also touches on certain major scientific proce ...more
Swathi Kiranmayee Manchili
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: epics, favourites
MAHABHARATA is the greatest story ever told!

This book is undoubtedly my first choice for someone who is a beginner. Simple language and undiluted translation of the epic saga what makes this book a master piece. It starts with Adiparva and ends with Swargarohanparva. The best thing about this book is it is left to the readers to analyse and evaluate the events happening. Other versions of Mahabharata which I have come across, it more of reading the author's perspective into the events happening.
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
2-star rating is for the way the book has been proof-read. Having read Mahabharata since childhood, I felt this was a very weak book, even if for beginners.
Robert Sheppard

"Man is a slave to power..." says the Mahabharata,"...but power is a slave to no one." The puzzle of power in its acquisition, intrinsic contradictions, disillusionments and disappointments, transience, arbitrariness, loss and questionable legitimacy is one of the principal themes of this monumental epic
Jul 07, 2021 rated it it was ok
No. Bhagavad Gita is beautiful though.
Mohit Misra
Jan 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book every human should read.Krishna shares the highest philosophy with his friend Arjuna the great warrior.A masterpiece of the highest order the knowledge one receives through this book is astounding.
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very vivid description, rich literature interesting tales from our Hindu itihasa(history). Very well written and truthful to the original.
May 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Indian hero-epics, The Ramayana being the other one. Mahabharata is usually attributed to the poet Vyasa. Mahabharata is nearly 3.000 years old and in size, it is more than ten times larger than the Iliad and the Odyssey combined.

Find the public domain PDF e-book here:
Nishant Sharma
Oct 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites

Right from my childhood, I had been listening to my grandmother telling us tales of Shri Krishna, or sometimes of Pandavas and Kauravas. And I had always been thrilled when I heard of 100 sons of Gandhari and crooked Duryodhana. But not much beyond that. Reading this book was like going back to childhood and listening to my grandmother again orating us the stories that she has always had in abundance. This book apart from being a great epic, is immensely morally enriching too. Many Hindus believ
Mar 24, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spiritual
Anyone wondering why I moved so many books to my "on hold" shelf, this is why!

I'm reading this in preparation to read Shashi Tharoor's "The Great Indian Novel," which is supposedly based on this in some way. Tharoor's book is about the Indian fight for independence from I'm thinking he uses the metaphor of the warring cousins as the stage-setter.

The Maha is a B-I-G book for sure. But as always, Penguin delivers. They are my go-to publishers for translations. This edition is abridg
Ridhika Khanna
Jun 13, 2016 rated it did not like it
Before starting this review, I want to say that I absolutely love this epic story of Mahabharata. I have followed the TV Shows and short stories quite passionately.

It's an epic saga and having a fair amount of knowledge about the tidings of this story, I wanted to read it too. I asked a couple of my friends and researched online to find the best book in English and I stumbled upon this one.
Mr. Rajagopalachari has written this book just for the sake of it. It is as if he has done a great favor
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