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Has anyone read the Mahabharata in its entirety?

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Old 13 July 2011, 03:12 PM
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Has anyone read the Mahabharata in its entirety?

Namaste all.

I've read a synopsis and I get the gist of it. I have two copies of the Bhagavad Gita, which I know is part of the Mahabharata. Yes, two copies. I bought a new one recently, thinking I lost my first one. Then I found it. Well, I guess one can never have too many copies of Scripture.

I recently received my copy of Canto X of the Srimad Bhagavatam. I'd like to read the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, but I'm afraid it may take me several more lives to get through all this reading.

I see there's a copy of the Rig Veda, which I'd also like to explore, but it looks like a abbreviated version with just selected hymns http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-...sri=rig%2bveda

What do you all think?
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Old 13 July 2011, 04:04 PM
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Re: Has anyone read the Mahabharata in its entirety?

Minotaur, not to hijack your topic and spin it into a completely different direction, but my first reaction when I saw your link was EEEK DON'T READ THAT, WENDY DONIGER BE CRAZY, YO! So let me try to explain that in actual comprehensible English. :P

It is indeed an abbreviated version with 108 hymns (see what she did there?) selected by the author. In the preface, she explains that she chose them based on varied criteria: some because of overall importance, some because of personal liking or leaning, some just because they were fascinating or unusual. So the 108 are interesting to read but don't give, in my opinion, a very clear picture of the RV as a whole, or of the individual Devatās or how they fit into the overall Vedic universe.

She has stated unequivocally that, "The Rig Veda is a book by men about male concerns in a world dominated by men; one of these concerns is women, who appear throughout the hymns as objects, though seldom as subjects." Her strongly feminist bias shows even in this work; it can be seen in some of the hymns she chooses and how she translates them, as well as her biases against certain Devas (Indra in particular, whom she characterizes as an amoral drunk in later writings, and sees as the representative of the overthrow of matriarchy - represented by Varuṇa - by conquering patriarchy).

I would suggest that if Griffith and Mller translated Rig Veda with a view towards promoting "white privilege", and Doniger translated it with the goal to exposing "male privilege," then all of them committed the same crime: subverting a sacred text to their own agendas instead of letting the hymns sing their own intent. And that's a shame, because some of her (English) word choices are clear and fascinating and do make for very readable hymns.

Alright! Now I have said my bit (which, because it's me, was three paragraphs worth of "bit"), and you are of course free to purchase whatever you wish!

Regarding Mahābhārata, I have not read the whole thing, not by far. No, you can never have too much scripture around, provided it's all read and loved at some point! Might I suggest to you William Buck's tellings of both Rāmāyaṇa and Mahābhārata? Both are vibrant, delightful, designed to interpret the stories and characters for English-speaking readers, and they kept me up 'til the early a.m. hours reading. Buck had such a gift for elegant, minimalist writing, conveying incredible grandeur and splendour with only a few well-chosen words. His works are abbreviated, but capture the spirit of two great epics remarkably well.

If nothing else, it's worth it just to read one of the characters looking incredulously at Duryodhana and exclaiming, "I knew you were a blockhead, but I never dreamed you were a king!"

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Old 13 July 2011, 06:46 PM
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Re: Has anyone read the Mahabharata in its entirety?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Indraneela View Post
Minotaur, not to hijack your topic and spin it into a completely different direction, but my first reaction when I saw your link was EEEK DON'T READ THAT, WENDY DONIGER BE CRAZY, YO! So let me try to explain that in actual comprehensible English. :P
That's why I asked! I was suspicious.

Quote:
It is indeed an abbreviated version with 108 hymns (see what she did there?) selected by the author. In the preface, she explains that she chose them based on varied criteria: some because of overall importance, some because of personal liking or leaning, some just because they were fascinating or unusual. So the 108 are interesting to read but don't give, in my opinion, a very clear picture of the RV as a whole, or of the individual Devatās or how they fit into the overall Vedic universe.


Me = afraid that is the case.


Quote:
Alright! Now I have said my bit (which, because it's me, was three paragraphs worth of "bit"), and you are of course free to purchase whatever you wish!
Quote:

Regarding Mahābhārata, I have not read the whole thing, not by far. No, you can never have too much scripture around, provided it's all read and loved at some point! Might I suggest to you William Buck's tellings of both Rāmāyaṇa and Mahābhārata? Both are vibrant, delightful, designed to interpret the stories and characters for English-speaking readers, and they kept me up 'til the early a.m. hours reading. Buck had such a gift for elegant, minimalist writing, conveying incredible grandeur and splendour with only a few well-chosen words. His works are abbreviated, but capture the spirit of two great epics remarkably well.
No, no, as I said, that's why I asked. The worst thing to do is go off like buckshot buying something that turns out to be garbage. Thanks for the heads-up.
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Old 19 February 2012, 10:15 PM
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Re: Has anyone read the Mahabharata in its entirety?

Namaste,

I read these condensed versions many, many years ago.

http://www.gita-society.com/pdf2011/mahabharata.pdf
http://www.gita-society.com/pdf2011/ramayana.pdf

Indraneela, have you ever come across these versions? If so, how did you find the quality of narrative in terms of understanding the scriptures from a Westerner's perspective?

Pranam.
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Old 19 February 2012, 10:35 PM
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Re: Has anyone read the Mahabharata in its entirety?

Namast,

I seem to recall coming across those versions quite a while back, but did not read them. I shall do so, and report back to the thread about my (probably lengthy and rambling) opinions.

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Old 20 February 2012, 11:11 AM
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Re: Has anyone read the Mahabharata in its entirety?

hari o
~~~~~~

namasté

Quote:
Originally Posted by TouchedbytheLord View Post
Namaste all.

I recently received my copy of Canto X of the Srimad Bhagavatam. I'd like to read the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, but I'm afraid it may take me several more lives to get through all this reading.
Well begun is half done they say... I started the full copy of the mahābhārata some years ago. I still have a few chapters remaining. Yet the reading part ( it seems) is straight forward , it is all about comprehension. What is really being offered, the values that are within. That is the gold as I see it.

praṇām
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Old 20 February 2012, 10:52 PM
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Re: Has anyone read the Mahabharata in its entirety?

Namaste,

I have in fact just read the entire K.M. ganguli translation of the Mahabharata as of a few days ago, it is immensely rewarding in my eyes to do so.
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Old 20 February 2012, 10:56 PM
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Re: Has anyone read the Mahabharata in its entirety?

I shall probably be going for a second read through in the near enough future as there is never enough to be gleaned from it.
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Old 09 March 2012, 11:55 PM
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Re: Has anyone read the Mahabharata in its entirety?

I have not read the whole Mahabharata but I do think there is a free version you can get on kindle, the Ganduli one, which I also have physically.
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Old 10 March 2012, 08:58 AM
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Re: Has anyone read the Mahabharata in its entirety?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Indraneela View Post
She has stated unequivocally that, "The Rig Veda is a book by men about male concerns in a world dominated by men; one of these concerns is women, who appear throughout the hymns as objects, though seldom as subjects." Her strongly feminist bias shows even in this work; it can be seen in some of the hymns she chooses and how she translates them, as well as her biases against certain Devas (Indra in particular, whom she characterizes as an amoral drunk in later writings, and sees as the representative of the overthrow of matriarchy - represented by Varuṇa - by conquering patriarchy).
Ironically enough, some of the hymns of the Rig Veda were written by female rishis. From Hindupedia:
Quote:
(one or more mantra was revealed to each rshika)
Verse Rishika
4.18 Aditi
10.72 Aditirdakshayani
8.91 Apala atreyi
10.86 Indrani
10.85 Urvashi
10.134 Godha
10.39, 10.40 Gosha Kakshivati
10.109 Juhurbramhajaya
10.184 Tvashta Garbhakarta
10.107 Dakshina Prajapatya
10.154 Yami
10.10 Yami Vaivasvati
10.127 Ratrirbharadvaji
1.171 Lopamudra
10.28 Vasukrapatni
10.125 Vagambhrni
5.28 Vishvavara Atreyi
8.1 Sashvatyangirasi
10.151 Shradhda Kamayani
10.159 Shachi Paulomi
10.189 Sarparajni
9.86 Sikata Nivavari
10.85 Surya Savitri
1.126 Romasha
10.108 Sarama Devashuni
9.104 Shikhandinyava Psarasau Kashyapan
10.142 Jarita Sharngah
8.71 Suditirangirasah
10.153 Indra Mataro
(The list is not exhaustive)
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