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- Lotus Reads
- Book fiend,culture-vulture, world traveller, daughter of the tropics now living in the Great White North.
Friday, December 15, 2006
4:50 PM | Posted by Lotus Reads | Edit Post
Reading the "The Penelopiad" from the Myth Series recently made me realize how much I enjoy reading a condensed and modern version of the great epics. It also got me thinking about which epics I might like to see as part of Canon Gate's "myth series".. There are many I would like to read but the one I really,really would like to see is the "Mahabharata" (although, as motorama has reminded me in the comments, this great epic holds core philosophical and religious concepts that are central to the Vedic traditions and I would not like to refer to it as myth). For those of you who might not know, the Mahabharata is one of the world's longest epics, ten times the length of the Iliad and Odyssey combined!
Over the course of nearly a thousand years the story was told and elaborated, until between 300 and 500 C.E. the immense text was compiled in the sacred language of Sanskrit. The overarching narrative relates a battles between the army of the five Pandava brothers and the army of their 100 cousins, the Kauravas. The Kauravas resort to deeds of malicious trickery in order to defeat the Pandavas and possess their kingdom which leads to a war of near-total destruction.
One of Hinduism's most important texts, the Bhagavad Gita, is presented as the guidance Lord Krishna gives to the Pandava hero Arjuna just before the battle begins. The characters and events of the Mahabharata expose the conflicts between desire and righteousness that confront everyone human and superhuman, challenging even heroes with the difficult decisions that must be made.
(from a write up at the Peabody Essex Museum online)
If you would like to see eminent artist MF Hussain's splendid paintings of the Mahabaratha, please visit The Peabody Essex Museum site where they have created a wonderful slide show of the exhibition currently on display.