The Greatest Epic Known to man ...

Finally, the time has come for the announcement, and Boy !! Ain't I proud ?

The 18 days war is complete. Mahabharata !!! What a story !!!

Wikipedia quotes,
With about one hundred thousand verses, long prose passages, or about 1.8 million words in total, the Mahabharata is roughly ten times the length of the Iliad and Odyssey combined, or about four times the length of the Rāmāyana

It was a work that started out of a casual discussion between G and Myself on the glories of Bheeshma and that was when we realized that we both shared the same passion.

Mahabharata !!!

When G was initially introducing his Ram Ram thread with pictures of Gods, he did not have the idea of doing it big. Ram Ram was entirely his brainchild. It just grew rapidly. Everybody pulled in friends and finally it became the big circle that it is today. Later, when G was doing it with content from Wikipedia, was when I realized that I could actually contribute to it. I personally believed that content in Wikipedia could be exhaustive. While taking up this discussion with G, we realized that we were doing a good job after-all, all that this ‘movement’ actually needed was a gentle push. And thus came my first big contribution to Ram Ram – The Yaksha Prashna. It was a four part series in late November 2009.

After that, G continued to scour Wikipedia for content, and that was when my fetish for Astras began. There was a brief lull, but it helped rekindle the fire. We started the Astras Series. An 8 part series on 4 different astras. (Narayanastra, Pashupatastra, Brahmastra and Vaishnavastra). I am not sure how popular it was within the circle, but if you googled for Pashupatastra, the fifth link was my external blog. So that actually gave me a lot of confidence that such kind of material was lacking. Nobody had them, and if you provided it, people devoured them.

As G started running out of material (:P), we decided to do something about it. And that was precisely when we were toying around with the idea of pushing in Mahabharata and Ramayana. If not the whole story, atleast bits and pieces of it. But who would bell the cat ? And it turned out to be me.

But why Mahabharata ? My point, Why not ?

After all it’s the best story ever told. Every single emotion is present in this epic. Consisting of 1,00,000 verses, Vyaasa talks of love- (not just the romantic one, but maternal, paternal and fraternal), hatred, jealousy, mirth, anger, horror, disgust, heroism among many other emotions. While there is Sringara Rasa in the way Draupadi dresses up for Arjuna, there is also Raudram when Arjuna hunts the Kauravas on the Kurukshetra. Bheema is Bhayanak on the battlefield, while Karna exhibits Veer Ras. The killing of Dushasana is Bibhatsam, Ghatotkacha is Bhayanakam. Yudhishtra displays Karunyam on his enemies while the antics of Bheema as Kanka evoke Hasyam. The exploits of Satyaki on the battlefield are Adbhutam while at the same time, Kunti is Vatsalyam personified. More than the emotions, I have always been amazed at the way, Vyaasa depicted people. People are shown threadbare, stripped. For what they were. For what they stood for in their lives. The psychological impact that Vyaasa creates by his description of people, makes you realize that Vyaasa was perhaps the best screenplay writer ever. We have innumerable stories, both in theatre & art and in Cinema using the story of Mahabharata.

Though, I would like to state that this work of mine has been highly inspired from Ramesh Menon’s Mahabharata (I do acknowledge that at times I have un-gracefully ripped lines straight out of his version, mainly because I felt the words were too good and compelling). In my opinion, his Mahabharata has been one of the best versions that I have read till date, though I do sometimes feel that I should have also had access to Kamala Subramanian’s version too.

I have also referred to other sources as well. The second major reference that I depended on was Kisari Mohan Ganguli’s translation. His translations are legendary, for the simple fact that he has not overlooked a single detail. Every single incident and dialogue has been documented meticulously by Ganguli and it is here that I would like to commend his work. Apart from this, The Asiatica Libraries of have also done an awesome job in getting a good translation done. The difficulty here was to get a proper translation which was neither too long nor too short and yet was succinct in its own sense.

It took me 50,000 odd words to describe mere 18 days of Mahabharata war. I’ve typed out the whole story, and it was not a cut-copy-paste as most of you would like to think. The whole story has been typed out on Notepad and Editplus and I’ve refrained from using spell checks and automated grammatical error corrections. I personally felt that the errors should be there, only to remind me that errors are human and that my work is not perfect. It has taken me almost 6 months to complete this mammoth task though I haven’t been at it continuously. I wrote whenever I found time. I also wrote whenever I had the compulsive desire to write the story. And the result is for you to see.

The satisfaction that I have derived out of this work is enormous. When I first started, I was actually perplexed by the magnitude of the task ahead of me. But then thanks to G, this work grew, both in magnitude and quality and finally we have come to that day, when this has been completed. If I, a mere mortal, who just plays around with words, feel so much pride and pleasure in completing mere 18 days of war, in a language that is exceedingly simple, I can really understand the magnitude of work that Vyaasa has put in, to describe a story that has been changing lives, in the subcontinent.

Once again,

Thanks to one and all, for their support and encouragement.

Please keep the momentum going.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010 by Hari
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