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High above the sky stands Swarga, paradise, abode of the gods. Still above is Vaikuntha, heaven, abode of God. One keeps you in Swarga; the other raises you into Vaikuntha. In Vaikuntha there is bliss forever, in Swarga there is pleasure for only as long as you deserve. What is the difference between Jaya and Vijaya? Solve this puzzle and you will solve the mystery of the Mahabharata. The whole Mahabharata is presented systematically in 18 sections and 9chapters, restructured to facilitate easy reading and comprehension of his grand and complex meditation of the human condition.
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Katerina Cee. Akul Munjal. Rishabh Jain. Kevin Brian Orge. Kanagu Ramasamy. Popular en Fiction. Hasni Saman. Mitchell Hughes. Gibbs Miguel. Some say, Pururava still weeps in the forest and scours the riverbanks in search of Urvashi. Others say, she has turned him into a Gandharva and he follows her wherever she goes as music maker to her dance. The obsessive passion of Pururava for Urvashi that led to his downfall would become manifest generations later in Shantanu, not once but twice, first in his love for Ganga and then his love for Satyavati, with the same disastrous consequences.
Because human memory is short, and history always repeats itself. Apsa means water and so Apsara means a water-nymph. Water comes to earth from the heavens in the form of rain and returns after a brief stay.
This water sustains life on earth. Thus the story symbolically refers to the craving of man Pururava for water Urvashi that comes from, and eventually returns to, the sky Indra. Urvashi lays down conditions that have to be met before she accepts any man as husband. It suggests a pre-patriarchal society where women were mistresses of their own sexuality.
In Vedic society, women were considered extremely valuable because only through them could a man father a child, repay his debt to his ancestors and keep rotating the cycle of rebirths. It is she who chases him; the gods allow her to stay with him provided he never sees the child she bears him.
Urvashi therefore secretly delivers the child while he is away attending a yagna, and requests the sage Chyavana to raise him in secret.
Years later, the inevitable happens: These kingdoms set the stage for the great war at Kuru-kshetra. So he gave up his material possessions, took the vow of celibacy and started performing ascetic practices known as tapasya.
If successful, he would become more powerful than any man, or god. Fearing that Kaushika intended to displace him, Indra sent an Apsara called Menaka to distract Kaushika. Of all the damsels in Amravati, Menaka was the most beautiful.
Kaushika lost all control of his senses when she danced before him. He abandoned his tapasya, forgot his vow of celibacy, and surrendered to passion. From that union of hermit and nymph was born a girl. The child was abandoned on the forest floor by both her parents; by her father because she represented his monumental failure and by her mother because she was nothing more than proof of her success.
A Rishi called Kanva found the abandoned girl under the wings of a flock of Shakun birds who had surrounded her. So he named her Shakuntala, she who was found sheltered by birds.
Kanva raised Shakuntala as his own daughter in his hermitage in the forest, and she grew up to be a very beautiful and cultured woman.
He was hunting in the forest and wanted to pay his respects to the sage, and maybe rest for a few days in the hermitage. Unfortunately, Kanva was away on a pilgrimage; he found himself being welcomed by Shakuntala. Dushyanta fell in love with Shakuntala instantly. The innocent Shakuntala, smitten by the handsome king, agreed.
So the two got married with the trees as their witness and spent days in the hermitage making love.
Finally, it was time for Dushyanta to return home. Kanva had still not returned and Dushyanta could not wait any longer. Many weeks later Kanva returned. He was overjoyed. Both celebrated the event and waited for Dushyanta to return.
Days turned into weeks. Weeks turned into months. There was no sign of Dushyanta. In due course, Shakuntala gave birth to a son who was named Bharata. Bharata grew up in the care of Kanva and Shakuntala. Rather than wait for Dushyanta to send an invitation, Kanva felt it was best that Shakuntala go to Dushyanta on her own and introduce the boy to his father. Shakuntala agreed and, with her son by her side, ventured out of the forest for the first time. As she left, the trees gifted her with cloth and flowers and fragrances so that she looked beautiful when she met her beloved again.
But when Shakuntala stood before Dushyanta and introduced herself and her son, Dushyanta showed no sign of recognizing her. Everyone including Dushyanta laughed. Shakuntala, a simple woman of the forest, uncontaminated by the politics of kings and kingdoms, was indignant. I have done so. I have raised him as a mother should. Now, I request you to raise him as a father should. Suddenly, a voice boomed from the sky admonishing Dushyanta for doubting Shakuntala.
She was indeed his wife and Bharata was indeed his son. Dushyanta apologized for his behaviour and blamed it all on his fear of social disapproval. He then declared Shakuntala his queen and Bharata his heir.
Bharata was one of those unique kings who descended from the solar line of kings through his mother, Shakuntala, and from the lunar line of kings through his father, Dushyanta. Since his descendants ruled all of Jambudvipa, the rose-apple continent of India, the land itself was named Bharata-varsha, or simply Bharata, after him. Tapa means spiritual fire that is generated through ascetic practices known as tapasya.
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The conflict between a Tapasvin or fire-churning hermit and an Apsara or water-nymph is a recurring theme in the scriptures. It is the conflict between spirituality and sensuality. Spirituality earns merit and gives one access to the pleasures of the world, but indulgence in sensual pleasures causes loss of merit.
Hence, there is constantly a conflict between the hermit and the nymph. This perhaps is a reflection of change in social values over time. He had three wives. A time came when Bharata was old and had no heirs. So he performed a yagna. At the end of the yagna, the Devas gave him a son called Vitatha.
Vitatha was conceived when Brihaspati, in an uncharacteristic moment of lust, had forced himself on his sister-in-law, Mamata, wife of Utathya. Both Brihaspati and Mamata rejected this child, Brihaspati because the child reminded him of his moment of weakness and Mamata because this child was forced upon her. Vitatha was thus, like Shakuntala, a child abandoned by his parents. He was accepted by the Devas who passed him on to Bharata.
Vitatha grew up to be an extremely capable ruler and so despite being adopted, was crowned king by Bharata. For Bharata the criteria for kingship rested in worthiness, not bloodline. This made Bharata the noblest of kings in the eyes of the people. This was, perhaps, another reason why the rose-apple continent of Jambudvipa came to be known as Bharata-varsha, or simply Bharat, the land that was once ruled by one such as Bharata.
Dhritarashtra preferred his son, Duryodhana, over his nephew, Yudhishtira, even though the latter was clearly more worthy. The epic states that when Brihaspati came to Mamata she turned him away not because she was married to another man, his brother Utathya, but because she was already pregnant.
This perhaps reveals an ancient practice of sharing wives between brothers. So is born a sage called Dirghatamas. Dirghatamas has a wife called Pradweshi who tired of taking care of her blind husband has her sons throw him into the river. Dirghatamas survives by clinging to a tree trunk and is found by a childless king, Vali, who requests Dirghatamas to go to his wife Sudeshna and make her pregnant. So are born the kings who rule the eastern kingdoms of Anga, Vanga and Kalinga.
The story of Vitatha, which comes from a slip of a verse in the scriptures, draws attention to a question that bothered Vyasa: Who should be king? The son of a king or any worthy man? This theme recurs through the epic. They were both the best of friends.
But one day they had a fight. A livid Sarmishtha called Devayani a thief and her father a beggar. She then pushed Devayani into a well and walked away in a royal huff. When Devayani returned home late in the evening, she related the events to her father and raised a storm of tears and wailing until her father promised he would teach the Asura princess a lesson. Vishaparva begged Shukra to change his mind and restart the yagnas; without them he was powerless against his eternal enemies, the Devas.
The princess Sarmishtha was thus made to serve Devayani as her lady-in-waiting. This humiliation, however, turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It so happened that the man who had rescued Devayani from the well she had been pushed into by Sarmishtha was Yayati, a Chandra-vamsi. During the rescue, Yayati had held Devayani by her hand.
One day, Sarmishtha caught the eye of Yayati. It was love at first sight. Unlike Devayani, who had priestly blood in her veins, Sarmishtha had royal blood in her veins, and spirit to match. And this pleased Yayati greatly. The two got married secretly and even had children.
Devayani had no knowledge of this; Sarmishtha managed to convince her that her lover was a palace guard. Realizing she had been duped both by her husband and her maid, an enraged Devayani left the palace and ran back to her father and once again, at her behest, Shukra promised to teach her husband a lesson.
But it was soon clear that the one most to suffer from the curse was Devayani herself. An old and weak husband is of no value to anyone! Shukra, however, could not reverse his curse. All he could do was modify it. Yayati then turned to Puru, his youngest son, born of Sarmishtha.
Puru agreed. So it came to pass that Puru suffered old age while his father enjoyed his youth. He coughed and stammered and stooped on a stick while Yayati embraced his wives and went on hunts and fought wars. Years later, realizing that youth and virility do not bring contentment, Yayati relieved Puru from the effects of his curse. When the time came to announce a successor, Yayati declared Puru, though youngest, as his heir.
There his beauty and mannerisms impressed a Naga called Dhumravarna. Be my son-in-law. Yadu agreed because the Nagas of Mathura had no king; they were ruled by a council of elders through the system of consensus. This suited him well. Cursed, he could not be king. Still, in Mathura, he could be ruler. Collectively, these descendants of Yadu were called the Yadavas.
Krishna would be born in the Yadava clan. Like other Yadavas, he would never be king, only a kingmaker. Puru became the patriarch of the illustrious Kuru clan. From him descended the Kauravas and the Pandavas. The curse of Yayati sowed the seeds of the war that would take place much later in Kuru-kshetra: Inspired by this event, Bhishma would sacrifice his own conjugal life to enable his old father to remarry. The alternating fortunes of Devayani and Sarmishtha draw attention to the nature of karma—what seems like bad luck Devayani being pushed into a well, Sarmishtha being reduced to a maid ends up as good luck Devayani finds a husband, Sarmishtha finds love.
Thus no one on earth can foretell the consequences of any action, however wise he may be. The son always triumphs over the father and is consequently consumed by guilt. Indian psychoanalysts believe that this concept is inadequate in the Indian context, where the tendency is for the son to submit to the father and be revered for it.
They have proposed the theory of the Yayati complex instead where the father demands and secures a sacrifice from the son. In the Greek worldview, dominated by the Oedipus complex, it is the next generation which inherits society, while in the Indian worldview, dominated by the Yayati complex, it is the older generation which always dominates society, explaining the stranglehold of tradition over modernity in Indian society.
Janamejaya, who performed a sacrifice to kill the Nagas, was actually killing a race of people related to his ancestors by marriage. In Vedic times, men were allowed to marry women who belonged to their station in life or to those who belonged to lower stations. This was a pratiloma marriage—inappropriate according to the scriptures. His association with Sarmishtha, a princess-maid, was an anuloma marriage and was deemed more appropriate as it was with a woman of inferior rank.
Puru, the child of Sarmishtha, is therefore projected as a more suitable son than Yadu, son of Devayani. Historians believe that the ruling council of Mathura indicates that the Nagas were a tribe that followed an early form of democracy. Perhaps they were descendants of or related to Indo-Greeks who settled in India following the invasion of Alexander. The story of the descendants of Yadu through Naga women comes from Karavir Mahatmya that narrates the local legends of Kolhapur, the temple town of Maharashtra.
It is narrated to Krishna by a Yadava elder called Vikadru. One day, a sage called Galava came to Yayati and asked for eight hundred white horses with one black ear, which he wished to give to his guru, Vishwamitra. Yayati did not have these horses. Not wanting to turn the sage away empty-handed, he offered the sage his daughter, Madhavi. Accordingly, Galava offered Madhavi to the kings of the earth. Three kings accepted the offer: You can beget a son on this maiden, Madhavi, daughter of Yayati, and that will be equal to the remaining two hundred horses.
After bearing four sons, Madhavi returned to her father. He offered to get her married. But she chose to become an ascetic. After passing on the crown to Puru, Yayati renounced the world and ascended to Swarga.
He enjoyed the pleasures of paradise for a very short while. Then the gods cast him out. Feeling sorry for her father, she went to her four sons, who were now illustrious kings, and requested them to give a quarter of their merits to their grandfather.
At first the sons refused. Nothing will change what he did. And because I realize the futility of rage and know the power of forgiveness. They gave their grandfather a portion of their merits. Yayati, once again the bearer of merit, thanked his daughter and returned to the paradise of the gods. The wisdom of Madhavi was forgotten as the years passed. And neither the Pandavas nor the Kauravas learnt the value of forgiveness, something that ultimately cost the Kuru clan dearly.
Merit and demerit can pass through generations. Likewise, a father can benefit from the punya of his children. Yayati exploits his sons and daughters. Puru benefits from his suffering; he becomes king. Madhavi, however, retires to the forest and is able to shed her rage over time. She even forgives her father and helps him ascend to heaven.
The theme of asceticism as a practice to rid oneself of rage is a recurring theme in the Mahabharata. There he enjoyed the dance of the Apsaras and the music of the Gandharvas in the company of the Devas. He was allowed to drink Sura, the drink which fills one with joy. He was even given access to the tree called Kalpataru, to the cow called Kamadhenu and to the gem called Chintamani, each of which had the power to fulfil any wish and grant every desire.
While she was there, a gentle breeze caused her upper garment to fall exposing her breasts. This display of unbridled passion so angered Indra that he cursed Mahabhisha to return to the earth.
Pratipa, a descendant of Puru, renounced the world as soon as he felt his children were old enough to rule the kingdom in his stead. The crown should have gone to his eldest son, Devapi, but Devapi had a skin disease, and the law clearly stated that a man with a physical defect could not be king. So Shantanu, the younger son, became king instead. One day, while Pratipa was meditating on a river bank, Ganga came and sat on his right lap.
Had you sat on my left, it would mean you want to be my wife. That you sit on my right means you wish to be my daughter. What is it that you desire? Fulfil her desire. That is my wish.
He fell in love with her instantly. But there was little to cheer for as soon as the child slipped out of her womb, Ganga took the newborn to the river and drowned him. Though horrified by her action, Shantanu said nothing.
He did not want to lose his beautiful wife. She drowned him too. Even this time Shantanu did not voice his protest. In this way Ganga gave birth to, and drowned, seven children. Each time Shantanu said nothing. Let him live.
On their request, I became their mother and tried to keep their stay on earth as brief as possible to spare them the misery of earthly existence. But alas, I could not save the last one. This eighth Vasu, who you have saved, Shantanu, will live. But a terrible life it shall be! Though man, he will neither marry nor inherit your throne. He will have no family, yet will be obliged to live as a householder.
And finally, he will die a death of shame at the hands of a man who will actually be a woman.
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He shall be trained by the martial sage, Parashurama. I shall send him to you when he is ready to marry and be king. Then we shall see. The Mahabharata gives great importance to the law of karma. According to this law, nothing in this world is spontaneous. Everything is a reaction to the past. Shantanu falls in love with Ganga and has his heart broken because of events in his past life.
Ganga kills her own children because of events in their past life. By interfering with the course of karma, as Shantanu does when he stops Ganga from killing his eighth son, one ends up causing more harm than good.
The epic constantly reminds us that what is apparently a good deed need not really be a good deed, for every moment is governed by factors that are often beyond human comprehension. The eight Vasus are ancient Vedic deities associated with the elements. The leader of the eight, Prabhas, who stole it for his wife, suffers more than the other seven and lives a longer and more miserable life as Devavrata. Vyasa draws attention to the dangers of lust and blind obedience to the father when Shantanu agrees to the conditions laid down by Ganga.
At the root of all human tragedy is human folly. Hastina-puri, or the city of elephants, is named after Hastin, a little-known ancestor of the Pandavas. Some say Hastin was another name for Puru. Scholars speculate that the city name suggests that in the era of the Mahabharata, herds of elephants roamed in and around what is now known as Punjab and Haryana.
In Jain chronicles, Hastina-puri was an ancient city, built by the gods themselves. Three of the twenty-four great Tirthankaras of Jainism—Shanti-nath, Kuntha-nath and Ara-nath—were born in this city.
When his mother sent him back to his father, the people of Hastina-puri loved him and looked forward to the day when he would be king. But this never happened. Shantanu had fallen in love again. And the object of his desire was Satyavati, a fisherwoman, who ferried men across the Ganga. He longed to make her his wife. Shantanu did not know how to satisfy this condition for Devavrata was already the crown prince of Hastina-puri. How will you ensure that this does not happen?
I shall never be with a woman. I shall never father children. So impressed were the Devas that they descended from the skies and showered him with flowers. They gave him a new name, Bhishma, the one who took the most terrible of vows.
For a terrible vow it was. Since Devavrata would father no children, there would be no one left on earth after his death to facilitate his rebirth. He would be doomed to live forever in the land of the dead across the river Vaitarni.
The Devas in fact felt so sorry for Devavrata that they decreed Bhishma would have the power to choose the time of his own death. With Devavrata taking the vow of celibacy, there was nothing to stop Shantanu from marrying Satyavati.
In the Jain retelling of the Mahabharata, there is a suggestion that Devavrata castrated himself to reassure Satyavati that he would never father a child. Ideally, as per ashrama-dharma, that advises men to behave in keeping with their stage in life, Shantanu should have retired, like his father Pratipa before him, and allowed Devavrata to become a householder.
Her father was a king called Uparichara who during the course of a hunt had rested under a tree, thought of his wife and ejected a joyful spurt of semen. Not wanting to waste this semen, he wrapped it in a leaf and gave it to a parrot and requested it to carry it to his wife so that she could bear a child with it.
On its way, the parrot was attacked by a falcon and the packet containing the semen fell into a river where it was eaten by a fish. This fish was once an Apsara called Girika, cursed by Brahma to be a fish until she gave birth to human children. A few days later, some fishermen caught this fish and found in its belly twin children: They presented the twins to Uparichara, who accepted the male child but let the female child be raised by the fisherfolk. The chief of the fisherfolk adopted the girl and raised her as his own daughter.
She was called Satyavati but teased as Matsya-gandha for she smelt dreadfully of fish. Matsya-gandha ferried people across the river Ganga. One day, she found herself ferrying a sage called Parasara. Midstream, near a river island, the sage expressed his desire to make love to Matsya-gandha and have a child by her. And you will never ever smell of fish again. Your body will give out a fragrance that men will find irresistible.
The child born of this union was raised by Parasara. He was named Krishna Dwaipayana, the dark child delivered on a river island. Eventually, he became known as Vyasa, he who compiled the sacred scriptures. As the story continues, Vyasa draws attention to the desperate and sometimes brutal steps taken by Satyavati to change her destiny. The tale of Parasara and Matsya-gandha can be seen as a tale of sexual exploitation of a young girl by a powerful elderly sage, or it can be seen as a tale of sex hospitality that was prevalent in the epic age when fathers and husbands offered their daughters and wives to guests, sages and kings.
Or it can be seen as an attempt by Matsya-gandha to manipulate a sage by offering him sexual favours. Chitrangada and Vichitravirya.
Soon after, Shantanu died leaving his wife and her sons in the care of Bhishma. Satyavati wanted her sons to grow up fast, marry and produce children for she was determined to be the mother of a great line of kings. Unfortunately, Chitrangada died before marriage. An arrogant man, he was challenged to a duel by a Gandharva of the same name who killed him after a prolonged fight.
Vichitravirya was a weakling, unable to find a wife for himself. So it was left to Bhishma to find a wife for him. The king of Kashi had organized a swayamvara where his three daughters—Amba, Ambika and Ambalika—could select a husband from among the guests. No invitation had been extended to Vichitravirya. Some said this was because it was known that Vichitravirya was an unfit groom for any woman.
Others said this was to get back at Bhishma who, while taking the vow of celibacy, conveniently overlooked the consequences of his decision on the woman he was engaged to marry, the sister of the king of Kashi. Bhishma took the absence of an invitation as an affront to the dignity of his household. He rode into Kashi and abducted the three princesses. The assembled guests tried but failed to stop him.
Bhishma then gave the three princesses to his younger brother. Amba, eldest daughter of the king of Kashi, was in love with Shalva and she had planned to select him as a groom from among those invited by her father to her swayamvara. Why do you need three? But Shalva refused to take Amba back. If you had not abducted me, I would not be in this situation. I am therefore your responsibility.
Besides, by taking us on your chariot you, and not your half-brother, are our true husband. He dismissed her with a wave of his hand.
Since neither Shalva nor Vichitravirya shall accept you, you are free to go wherever you wish. But all Kshatriyas feared Bhishma. Parashurama was a Brahman who feared no Kshatriya. In fact he hated them. Kshatriyas had killed his father and stolen his cows. To teach them a lesson, he had picked up an axe and massacred five great Kshatriya clans, filling five lakes with their blood. These five lakes were knownas Samanta Panchaka and were located at Kuru-kshetra. He had sworn to kill any Kshatriya who crossed his path.
A terrible fight ensued which lasted for several days. Finally, Parashurama gave up. And no one can kill him unless he wants to die. If this fight continues, both of us will release weapons that will destroy the world. In despair, Amba then took a vow. She would not eat or sleep until the Devas revealed to her the means of killing Bhishma. She stood on one foot on top of a hill for days until Shiva, the destructive form of God, appeared before her.
Unlike Urvashi, Ganga and Satyavati who could make demands of the men who sought to marry them, Amba and her sisters were chattels—to be claimed as trophies in tournaments. Then she went to Bhishma and told him to make his widowed daughters-in-law pregnant. I request you to do what my sons could not do. By then everyone referred to him as Vyasa, the compiler, because he had successfully organized the Veda into four books.
But give me a year to prepare myself. For fourteen years I have lived in the forest as an ascetic. My hair is matted and my skin coarse. My gaunt features will scare the two women. They will welcome you. And I cannot wait. She was so disgusted by his looks that she shut her eyes when he touched her.
The child that Vyasa conceived in her womb was therefore born blind. He was named Dhritarashtra. Next, Vyasa went to Ambalika. She grew pale on seeing Vyasa. The child thus conceived in her womb would be a pale weakling called Pandu. Vyasa did as he was told. But on the bed lay not Ambika but her maid who made love to him fearlessly. The child she conceived would be healthy and wise. He would be named Vidura.
Though fit to be king, he would never be allowed to wear the crown as he was born of a maid. Vidura was none other than Yama, the god of death, living out a curse. This is how it happened. Once, a group of thieves took refuge in the hermitage of sage Mandavya who was at that time lost in meditation, totally unaware of their presence.
When he appeared before Yama, ruler of the dead, he demanded an explanation for his suffering for he had hurt no living creature in his life. A furious Mandavya then cursed Yama that he would take birth as a man and suffer the fate of never being a king despite having all the qualities of the perfect ruler. And so was born Vidura. Dhritarashtra, Pandu and Vidura were raised by Bhishma as if they were his own sons.
The irony of the situation was evident to all. Bhishma, who had sworn never to beget a family of his own, was entrapped by the family of his father, which included a stepmother, two widowed sisters-in-law, their maid and three nephews.
Bhishma is the last of the Kuru bloodline.
The sons his father bears on Satyavati die childless. Children of the royal family thereafter are not true Kurus; they are children of the daughters-in-law of the household by other men.
Vyasa draws attention to the frailties of human laws that try to correct what nature has ordained. The laws say that only children of the lawfully wedded wife are the true sons, not the children of concubines. Thus only Pandu and Dhritarashtra can be kings, not Vidura, even though Vidura is the most worthy. In a further elaboration of the law of karma, it informs that even acts performed in ignorance or innocence have repercussions that one is obliged to experience either in this life or the next.
Yama, god of death, is also known as Dharma, god of order. A dispassionate god who oversees death and destiny, he ensures that the law of karma is followed meticulously. One of the members of the Yadava council, Surasena, had a daughter called Pritha who was adopted by his cousin, Kuntibhoja, who renamed her Kunti.
When Kunti was of marriageable age, a swayamvara was organized where, from among the assembled guests, she chose Pandu as her husband. Around the same time, the princess of Gandhara, Gandhari, was brought to Hastina-puri and given in marriage to Dhritarashtra. She did not know at the time of her wedding that she was marrying a blind man.
Still above is Vaikuntha, heaven, abode of God. One keeps you in Swarga; the other raises you into Vaikuntha. In Vaikuntha there is bliss forever, in Swarga there is pleasure for only as long as you deserve.
What is the difference between Jaya and Vijaya? Solve this puzzle and you will solve the mystery of the Mahabharata. The whole Mahabharata is presented systematically in 18 sections and 9chapters, restructured to facilitate easy reading and comprehension of his grand and complex meditation of the human condition. The stories are embellished with line illustrations; the style is unique, a break from standard visual formats Amar Chitra Katha or DC comics 3.
It includes tales not just from the classical Sanskrit but also from regional and folk variants from across India and even South East Asia. The story of Krishna is part of the great epic, from his birth to his death;even his song, the Bhagavad Gita, is retold in simple prose. Every chapter has comments that draws attention to variations of the story, the intention of the story, the rituals and customs that may have emerged from the story and practiced even today.
It explains why the epic is part of the grand Vedic cosmos and how it cannot be understood without appreciating Ramayana, Vishnu Purana, Shiva Purana and Devi Purana 7. This book has an ending that has never ever been told in any retelling of the Mahabharata. This ending is the reason the book was originally called Jaya by Vyasa. Devdutt Pattanaik is a master story-teller, as his several books on Indian mythology testify.
However, why the Mahabharata? There are several translations and retellings floating around. What value addition can a new one offer? Where is the USP? There are four excellent reasons to read this book.