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21st-Mar-2007 04:07 pm - Mahabharata Sanskrit Text
avatar krishna default

Does anyone know where I can find a Sanskrit text of the Mahabharata on the net? Preferably in PDF? One that does not need unicode enabling?

talk to the hand
After the long aside regarding the war between the Gods and the Asuras, we return to Kadru and Vinata, who are on their way to look at Uchchaihsravas (the Unpronounceable Horse) to resolve a wager about what colour his tail is.

The Story
Kadru and Vinata go to look at the Unpronounceable Horse. On the way, they happen to walk past the OCEAN. Our narrator Sauti describes the OCEAN for several paragraphs. In fact, he describes it for all of parts 21-22. (In summary, it's very deep and has lots of things in it.)

When Kadru and Vinata get to the Unpronounceable Horse, they see that its tail is black, which means that Vinata loses the wager. (If you recall, its tail is black because Kadru's 1000 sons have been transformed into black hairs and are hanging off it.) My favourite line of this section, "And thus Vinata having lost the wager, entered into a state of slavery and became exceedingly sorry."

In the meantime, Garuda, lord of the birds, is born, and all the deities join his fanclub.

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16th-Sep-2006 02:54 pm - Clearing something up...
I was going through previous posts in this community, and something that I noticed was a confusion between Krishna (of Dwaraka) and Krishna (as another name of Draupadi). That quote about Narada helping the Pandavas "arrange" their connubial relations with Krishna, was talking about Draupadi, as was the quote about Arjuna winning the virgin Krishna (which is why, my friends, diacritical marks are our best friends when it comes to the big M).

Just thought to clear that up.

Apologies for another potential off-topic discussion starter, but I just joined this group and can't help but ask if anyone else has watched the 90+ hour television series of the Mahabharata that was made in the 1980s. And if so, has there been any discussion of that?

Or am I committing a total faux pas in this community by straying off the story posts? If so... Sorry!!
4th-Jun-2006 07:28 pm - Grief in the Iliad and Mahabharata
Apologies if this is a bit off-topic for this forum (and also ahead of the current readings), but I thought I'd try posting it and just see if anyone's interested.

Grief and Separation: The Mahabharata and the Iliad: the death Abhimanyu and the death of Patroclus.

Um, spoilers, if that term means anything in millennia-old texts...

Disconnection within grieving couplesCollapse )
Aishwarya Rai
The Story
The Astika Parva continues, largely because Saunaka isn't that chuffed with Sauti's abbreviated version and requests 'Thy sire was ever ready to please us. Tell us now the story as thy father had related it'. I'm increasingly reading Sauti's dialogue with his audience as rather back-handed. He retorts 'O thou that art blest with longevity' (sure, old dudes...) and beings Astika Parva Take Two.

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take the cannoli
The allegedly long story of Astika, the saviour of the snakes.

The Story
"But WHY did Janamejaya kill the snakes?" asks Saunaka, who is possibly not as zen about the circular narrative style as we are. Unfortunately, he also adds, "And also tell the story of Astika." Lotus-eyed Sauti, who as we know will do anything to avoid explaining why Janamejaya killed the snakes, immediately launches into the story of Astika, stating that it is very long and that he intends to tell it in full. In fact, it's the shortest story so far. And it doesn't have a lot to do with Astika. (Sauti's deadpan sarcasm?)

It starts with Astika's father Jaratkaru, an ascetic who has renounced all worldly pleasures including sex and eating. Jaratkaru's ancestors are unimpressed with this sacrifice, and shout at him from beyond the grave to please take up sex again because they want him to produce an heir to continue their line. Jaratkaru agrees to marry a woman on the eccentric condition that she bears the same name that he does. Since there is not an abundance of women named Jaratkaru in the world, he has some difficulty finding a wife. Until one day the snake Vasuki offers him a wife with the magic words, "Oh Jaratkaru, this my younger sister is called Jaratkaru." Jaratkaru marries Jaratkaru. They have a son called Astika* who, because he parented by both a snake and a devout ascetic, is able to save the snakes after Janamejaya's sacrifice. It transpires that this was the snake Vasuki's intention all along. Those sneaky snakes!

* But I wish they had named him Jaratkaru.

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The Characters
Jaratkaru - an ascetic
Jaratkaru - his wife
Astika - son of Jaratkaru and Jaratkaru, a snake-saviour

Since we have dispensed so quickly with the story of Astika, how come there are 35 more parts in the Astika Parva?!

Mental State
Still zen. Om!
Aishwarya lantern
The Story
Ruru retires into a wood and bewails in melodramatic fashion the death of his beloved Pramadvara. He indulges in a piteous appeal to have his beloved restored to life. A messenger from heaven arrives and tells Ruru that 'The words thou utterest, O Ruru, in thy affliction are certainly ineffectual.' It transpires that it is not Ruru's wish for Pramadvara's resurrection that is pitiful, but just his method of acquiring said resurrection--apparently he needs to give up part of his own life. Or, as the translator puts it 'a moiety' of his life. Ruru gratefully agrees to the tip-off and Pramadvara is restored to life.
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The Characters
(Rishi) Ruru--snake-smiter and lover of Pramadvara
(ex-Rishi) Sahasrapat--appears in the form of a Dundubha snake and is restored to human life by Ruru.

Best bits
- The repetition of the word 'moiety' four times in two short paragraphs.
- The evocative description of Ruru's vindictiveness: 'whenever he saw a serpent he became filled with great wrath and always killed it with a weapon'
- The poetic but non-specific description of Dundubhas 'subject like other serpents to the same calamities but not sharing their good fortune, in woe the same but in joy different' (what is their joy? one wonders)
- Ruru working himself into a state of exhaustion searching for the vanished Sahasrapat--'having failed to find him in all the woods, fell down on the ground, fatigued'. He passes out then revives himself and trots off home to discover that his dad can (conveniently!) tell him the story anyway.

So are Dundubhas always humans in snake form?
Why did Sahasrapat vanish? I'm intrigued...

Mental state
Zen-like. Om!

ETA: supacat reflects on the Pauloma Parva as a whole in the comments below.
party like its 1478 BCE
The story of the death of Ruru's fiancee.

The Story

Who's Ruru? I'm glad you asked. This parva opens with begatting, but happily only a paragraph-worth. Rather than summarising, here's a helpful family tree.

helpful family tree behind lj cut to preserve bandwidthCollapse )

Ruru's fiancee the beautiful Pramadvara dies from a snake bite on the day she was due to marry Ruru, which is also the day she gives birth to their child Sunaka. (It's not clear if this make Sunaka a bastard or stigmatises him in any way.) At the event of her death, there is a lot of mourning, but Ruru is silent in his grief and simply walks off.

Because of the circuitous narrative style, long before we know who Pramadvara is or how she relates to the story, we hear about her beauty and her parents and the story of her being abandoned at birth by the river and found by a friendly old sage.

The characters

Ruru - I lived in Japan for five years so I can't help thinking of him as Lulu.
Pramadvara - Ruru's fiancee. Beautiful with the requisite slender waist. She's dead now.

Best bits

Describing Pramadvara's dead body: All saw her lying motionless upon the ground with the splendour of a lotus.


Mental state

Quite zen post hiatus. I'm slowly warming to the circuitous narrative style. Now when something completely random happens, I can sit back and think, "Ah yes, all this will be explained in time . . . probably."
16th-Jan-2006 08:24 pm - Adi parva, sections 5-7
The story of Puloma, a demon, and Bhrigu's curse on Agni, the god of fire, who appears to be a complete fraidy cat.

Saunaka (head holy guy) turns up and, having missed Sauti (our narrator)’s impressive start, expresses some doubt as to whether Sauti knows as much as his dad did. Saunaka challenges Sauti to tell the story of the Bhrigu race, beginning with why Bhrigu’s son was called Chyavana.

The storyCollapse )

CharactersCollapse )

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