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The Mahabharata is one of the greatest stories ever told. Though the basic plot is widely known, there is much more to the epic than the dispute between the Kouravas and Pandavas that led to the battle in Kurukshetra. It has innumerable sub-plots that accommodate fascinating meanderings and digressions, and it has rarely been translated in full, given its formidable length of 80,000 shlokas or couplets. This magnificent 10- volume unabridged translation of the epic is based on the Critical Edition compiled at the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute. Volume 1 consists of most of Adi Parva, in which much happens before the Kouravas and the Pandavas actually arrive on the scene. This volume covers the origins of the Kuru clan; the stories of Poushya, Poulama and Astika; the births of the Kouravas and the Pandavas; the house of lac; the slaying of Hidimba and Baka; Droupadi’s marriage; and ends with the Pandavas obtaining their share of the kingdom. Every conceivable human emotion figures in the Mahabharata, the reason why the epic continues to hold sway over our imagination. In this lucid, nuanced and confident translation, Bibek Debroy makes the Mahabharata marvellouly accessible to contemporary readers.

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