Cover: The Kannada Mahabharata, Volume 1, from Harvard University PressCover: The Kannada Mahabharata, Volume 1 in HARDCOVER

Murty Classical Library of India 37

The Kannada Mahabharata, Volume 1

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$35.00 • £29.95 • €31.95

ISBN 9780674292543

Publication Date: 01/02/2024


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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 Kumarayvyasa. 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.

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