Skip to main content
Harvard University Press - home

The Kannada Mahabharata, Volume 1


Edited by S. N. Sridhar
Translated by C. N. Ramachandran and Narayan Hegde

ISBN 9780674292543

Publication date: 01/02/2024

The classic Kannada version of the Mahabharata, a jewel of world literature, translated into English.

The Mahabharata, a cornerstone of ancient Indian literature, recounts the rivalry between branches of a royal family, the Pandavas and the Kauravas, culminating in a cataclysmic war. It has inspired numerous adaptations across languages and artistic media.

The Kannada Mahabharata, known as Kumāravyāsa Bhārata, is an innovative retelling where Krishna occupies center stage, composed by the fifteenth-century poet Kumaravyasa. His powerful verses critique kingship and caste and remain popular in musical performances and improvisational folk theatre today.

Volume 1 comprises “The Book of Beginnings” and “The Book of the Assembly,” including Pandu’s tragic death, the marriage of the Pandavas to Draupadi, Arjuna’s fiery destruction of the Khandava forest, the slaying of King Shishupala, and the dice game plotted by the Kauravas leading to the Pandavas’s exile.

This edition, which abridges the Kannada classic, presents a new English translation and the most reliable text of the original in the Kannada script.


  • S. N. Sridhar is SUNY Distinguished Service Professor of Linguistics and India Studies and Director of the Mattoo Center for India Studies at Stony Brook University.
  • C. N. Ramachandran is Professor of English, Emeritus, at Mangalore University.
  • Narayan Hegde is Professor of English, Emeritus, at the State University of New York at Old Westbury.

Book Details

  • 736 pages
  • 5-1/4 x 8 inches
  • Harvard University Press