Mahabharat For Beginners

Mahabharat For Beginners

Mahabharat For Beginners

A concise summary of the great epic

नारायणं नमस्कृत्य नरं चैव नरोत्तमम्

देवीं सरस्वतीं व्यासं ततो जयमुदीरयेत्

This is the first line you will read in the Mahabharata of Veda Vyasa. The epic starts with an invocation that means “Having saluted Narayana and Nara, the best of men, the Goddess Saraswati, and Vyasa, Jaya (Mahabharata) should be recited.”

The Vyasa Mahabharata is a timeless epic. It is the story of the victory of good over evil. It is the story of the supremacy of Dharma over Adharma. The epic is the story of the arrival of the Lord on earth in the form of Krishna to destroy evil, protect good, and uphold righteousness.

The story of the Mahabharata is one that every Indian should know. What most Indians know is abridged versions of the story that they read in different books or learn from TV shows and movies. There are also many novels that have stories from the Mahabharata. Many of them are retold from the perspective of a particular character and with creative liberties taken by authors.

This book is a tribute to the original story by Vyasa. It presents the story of the Mahabharata in a nutshell. The story of the Mahabharata is narrated as per the original text. It is impossible to sum up the entire epic of 1,00,000 verses in a few pages. There are so many details and so many sub-stories that summing it up is a challenge.

The aim of this summary is to let beginners (especially the younger generation) know the basic story of the Mahabharata and to understand the message it conveys. Each of the 18 Parvas or chapters of the epic has been summed up. The important elements of the epic have been presented ensuring that the core theme of the story is brought out.

The book is an authentic summary of the Mahabharata. The primary reference used to write this book is the Critical Edition of the Mahabharata prepared by the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI), English translation by Dr. Bibek Debroy. Reference has also been made to the English translation by K M Ganguli, though the BORI Critical Edition is the main source.

I hope that having read the ‘Mahabharata for Beginners’, readers would be motivated to know more about the great epic. If readers search for other books to read, including the unabridged versions then my objective is met.

Deepak M R


About the author

The author has written two books on the Mahabharata - Abhimanyu (published by Bloomsbury) and Mahabharata Tales (published by Subbu). Unsung Valour (published by Bloomsbury) is a collection of short stories where the author has written a story on King Bhagadatta.

The author has also written a book The Life & Music of Lata Mangeshkar. Presently, the author is working on a book featuring a great hero from the Mahabharata. More details about the author can be obtained by visiting