Within its 200,000 verse lines in Sanskrit the "e;Mahabharata "e;takes on many roles: epic poem, foundational text of Hinduism, and, more broadly, the engaging story of a dynastic struggle and the passing of an age when man and gods intermingled. David R. Slavitt s sparkling new edition condenses the epic for the general reader.
At its core, the "e;Mahabharata "e;is the story of the rivalry between the Pandavas and the Kauravas, two related noble families who are struggling for control of a kingdom in ancient northern India. Slavitt s readable, plot-driven, single-volume account describes an arc from the conception and birth of Bhishma to that hero's death, while also introducing the four goals of life at the center of Hinduism: "e;dharma "e;(righteousness, morality, duty), "e;artha "e;(purpose), "e;k ma "e;(pleasure), and "e;moksa "e;(spiritual liberation). The "e;Mahabharata "e;is engaging, thrilling, funny, charming, and finally awesome, with a range in timbre from the impish naivete of fairy tales to the solemnity of our greatest epics, and this single-volume edition is the best introduction available."e;