Mahabharata

one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India

The Mahābhārata is an Sanskrit epic poem written over an extended period from the 4th century BC to the 2nd century AD. The fullest form of The Mahābhārata contains about 2,000,000 words, more than the totals of both the King James version of the Bible and the works of Shakespeare. It is sometimes said to be the longest poem in world literature. Quotations are cited from the translation by J. A. B. van Buitenen et al. (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1980–), to which page numbers also refer.

A manuscript illustration (18th c.?) of the Battle of Kurukshetra, fought between the Kauravas and the Pandavas, recorded in the Mahabharata Epic.
Sauti recites the slokas of the Mahabharata.

QuotesEdit

  • निर्वनो वध्यते व्याघ्रो निर्व्याघ्रं छिद्यते वनम् ।
    तस्माद्व्याघ्रो वनं रक्षेद्वनं व्याघ्रं च पालयेत् ॥
  • nirvanō vadhyatē vyāghrō nirvyāghraṁ chidyatē vanam
    tasmādvyāghrō vanaṁ rakṣēdvanaṁ vyāghraṁ ca pālayēt.
    • The tiger dies without the forest, and similarly the forest is cut down without the tiger. The tiger should protect the forest, and the forest should defend the tiger.
  • अक्रोधेन जयेत्क्रोधमसाधुं साधुना जयेत् ।
    जयेत्कदर्यं दानेन जयेत्सत्येन चानृतम् ॥
  • akrōdhēna jayētkrōdha-masādhuṁ sādhunā jayēt
    jayētkadaryaṁ dānēna jayētsatyēna cānṛtam.
    • Anger must be conquered by forgiveness; and the wicked must be conquered by honesty; the miser must be conquered by liberality, and falsehood must be conquered by truth.
  • यथा च स्वगृहस्थः श्वा व्याघ्रं वनगतं भषेत् ।
    तथा त्वं भषसे कर्ण नरव्याघ्रं धनंजयम् ॥
  • yathā ca svagṛhasthaḥ śvā vyāghraṁ vanagataṁ bhaṣēt
    tathā tvaṁ bhaṣasē Karṇa naravyāghraṁ Dhanañjayam.
    • As a dog from within the precincts of the house of his master barks at a forest-roaming tiger, even so, O Karna, thou barkest at Dhananjaya, that tiger among men.
  • सृगालोऽपि वने कर्ण शशैः परिवृतो वसन् ।
    मन्यते सिंहमात्मानं यावत्सिंहन पश्यति ॥
  • sṛgālōpi vanē Karṇa śaśaiḥ parivṛtō vasan
    manyatē sinhamātmānaṁ yāvatsinhana paśyati.
    • A jackal, O Karna, residing in the forest in the midst of hares regardeth himself a lion till he actually sees a lion.
  • धर्मादर्थश्च कामश्च स किमर्थं न सेव्यते
  • dharmādarthaśca kāmaśca sa kimarthaṁ na sēvyatē
    • From Righteousness is Wealth as also Pleasure. Why should not Righteousness, therefore, be courted?
  • Non-violence is the highest ethics/righteousness, and righteous violence. (Ahiṁsa paramo dharma, dharma hiṁsa tathaiva ca)
    • Quoted from Elst, Koenraad. Hindu Dharma and the Culture Wars. (2019). New Delhi : Rupa. Chapter 9. Pluralism in Ila's city
 
People will become atheists and thieves... the kings of the earth, with hearts wedded to sin without knowledge and always boastful of their wisdom, will challenge one another... ~Mahabharata, Book 3, Vana Parva

Sabha ParvaEdit

Vana ParvaEdit

  • With gentleness one defeats the gentle as well as the hard; there is nothing impossible to the gentle; therefore the gentle is the more severe.
    • Sub-parva 31, sect. 29; vol. 2, p. 277.
  • A gray head does not make an elder. The Gods know him to be an elder who knows, be he a child. Not by years, not by gray hairs, not by riches or many relations did the seers make the Law: "He is great to us who has learning."
    • Sub-parva 33, sect. 133; vol. 2, p. 476.
  • Be he ever so wise and strong, wealth confounds a man. In my view, anyone living in comfort fails to reason.
    • Sub-parva 36, sect. 178; vol. 2, p. 566.



Udyoga ParvaEdit

as translated by J. A. B. van Buitenen

  • The poor always eat better: hunger sweetens their dishes, and that is rare among the rich. It is generally found in the world that the rich have no appetite, but the poor, O Indra of kings, digest even wood.
    • Sub-parva 51, sect. 34; vol. 3, pp. 263-4.
  • The intoxication with power is worse than drunkenness with liquor and such, for he who is drunk with power does not come to his senses before he falls.
    • Sub-parva 51, sect. 34; vol. 3, p. 264.
  • People are plagued by their senses if they act without restraint to attain their desires. ... If one is dragged along as the victim of his natural five senses, his adversities wax like the moon in the bright fortnight.
    • 5(51)34:53, p. 264
  • A chariot, king, is a person's body:
    The soul is the driver, the senses his horses;
    Undistracted by his fine horses a driver
    Who is skilled rides happily, if they are trained.
    • 5(51)34:57, p. 264
  • Senses out of control suffice to bring one to grief, as untrained and disobedient horses bring a driver to grief on the road. A fool who, guided by his senses, sees profit arising from the unprofitable and the unprofitable from profit mistakes misery for happiness.
    • 5(51)34:58, p. 264
  • Do not do to another what is disagreeable to yourself: this is the summary Law.
    • Sub-parva 51, sect. 39; vol. 3, pp. 281-2.
    • See also Golden Rule.
  • Once war has been undertaken, no peace is made by pretending there is no war.
    • Sub-parva 54, sect. 86; vol. 3, p. 365.

About the MahabharataEdit

  • A Hindu scholar has rated the Mahabharata as “the greatest work of imagination that Asia has produced”; and Sir Charles Eliot has called it “a greater poem than the Iliad”. ... Upon this theme of love and battle a thousand interpolations have been hung. The god Krishna interrupts the slaughter for a canto to discourse on the nobility of war and Krishna; the dying Bhishma postpones his death to expound the laws of caste, bequest, marriage, gifts and funeral rites, to explain the philosophy of the Sankhya and the Upanishads, to narrate a mass of legends, traditions and myths, and to lecture Yudishthira at great length on the duties of a king; dusty stretches of genealogy and geography, of theology and metaphysics, separate the oases of drama and action; fables and fairy-tales, love-stories and lives of the saints contribute to give the Mahabharata a formlessness worse, and a body of thought richer, than can be found in either the Iliad or the Odyssey.
    • Will Durant, Our Oriental Heritage : India and Her Neighbors.
  • In the Mahabharata, the ceremony for the oath of a new king includes the admonition: 'Be like a garland-maker, O king, and not like a charcoal burner.' The garland symbolizes social coherence; it is a metaphor for dharmic diversity in which flowers of many colors and forms are strung harmoniously for the most pleasing effect. In contrast, the charcoal burner is a metaphor for the brute-force reduction of diversity into homogeneity, where diverse living substances are transformed into uniformly lifeless ashes.
  • It is precisely due to the lack of the knowledge of cultural subtleties on the part of the mere textual scholars…that their analyses sound worthless and useless to us. A profound literature like the Mahābhārata must essentially be understood by being firmly grounded in the Sanātana-dharma of Bhārata.
    • The Distilled Essence of the Mahabharata: Dr. S.R. Ramaswamy: Kāntaśakti, the Commemorative Volume on Umakanth Bhat (pp. 91–104). Translated by Sandeep Balakrishna [1]

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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