Dispute over land and kingdom may lie at the heart of this story of war between cousins the Pandavas and the Kouravas but the Mahabharata is about conflicts of dharma. These conflicts are immense and various, singular and commonplace. Throughout the epic, characters face them with no clear indications of what is right and what is wrong; there are no absolute answers. Thus every possible human emotion features in the Mahabharata, the reason the epic continues to hold sway over our imagination. In this translation of the complete Mahabharata (Penguin, 2015), Bibek Debroy takes on a great journey with incredible ease.
Raj Balkaran is a scholar, educator, consultant, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com.