Book Review - The Mahabharata: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic

The Mahabharata: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian EpicThe Mahabharata: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic by R.K. Narayan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Mahabharata is one of the most complex stories I have ever read. I read this book following The Ramayana by R.K.Narayan. The ethical dilemmas presented in this story is at a whole different level than Ramayana. While in Ramayana, there are good guys and bad guys in Mahabharata there is nothing like that.

No one is entirely good or no one is entirely bad. The Pandavas and Kauravas are brothers, just competing against each other, but their quarrel reaches to a level for war.

Coming to the war, which is an important topic of this story, the book has 3 chapters dedicated to the avoidance of war and only one chapter for the war.

In spite of suffering all the atrocities presented by Duryodhana, Pandavas realize that war is not good for anyone, and try for multiple attempts to prevent the war. Duryodhana plays politics and chooses to listen, and highlight points only which could give a chance for war.

And when it comes to war, Pandavas understands that a deterministic outcome is achieved by eliminating everyone in the enemy camp, even babies. So, after trying to avoid war, when the war becomes inevitable, Krisha proposes and leads a _genocide_ against the Kaurava clan.

To me, the most complex characters in this story were that of Karna and Krishna.
Karna has chances to prevent war, he understands his background well but still chooses to side with Duryodhana. Krishna is one who leads the Pandavas to war and gives guidance "on duties" in ambiguous times.

There is no good or a bad person in this entire story.

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