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The greatest epic of India. The text was probably written 400BC. The final changes were made AD400. It consists of 18 Parvans Books or Cantos), 12 000 chapters. The epic is 8 times longer than Iliad and Odyssey, 3.5 times longer than The Bible. Mahabharata Should be understood as a moral, philosophical and historical text; a history of manhood.

A list of books: 1.The Book of the Beginning, 2.The Book of the Assembly Hall, 3.The Book of the Forrest, 4.The Book of the Virata, 5.The Book of the Effort, 6.The Book of the Bhisma, 7.The Book of the Drona, 8.The Book of the Karna, 9.The Book of the Salya, 10.The Book of the Sleeping Warriors, 11. The Book of the Women, 12.The Book of the Peace, 13.The Book of the Instructions, 14.The Book of the Horse Sacrifice, 15.The Book of the Hermitage, 16.The Book of the Clubs, 17.The Book of the Great Journey, 18.The Book of the Ascent to Heaven.

The authorship of the text is not clear. Indian tradition attributes the authorship to Krsna Duaipayana, an immortal brahmin who appears at the Snake Sacrifice. The epic has been created by 3 generations of reciters, transmitted orally and then put down on loose leaves held together by 2 boards. The text is written in Sanskrit which comprises of many scripts hence the difficulty with the translation. The first complete translation into another language, Persian, was in 16th c. In Europe, it was partially translated into French by Hippolyte Fauche, into Russian, also incomplete, and into English. J.A.B. van Buitenen translated 5 Books into English. The translated text was published in 1970s by the University of Chicago Press. There is also an abbreviated version made by William Buck published in 1973 by the University of Calgary Press.

Mahabharata is a dynastic struggle for the wealthy land near Delhi by two Indian families, cousins: the Kauravas and the Pandavas. The Pandavas are 5 brothers: Yudhisthira, Bhima and Arjuna born from mother Kunti and Nakula and Sahadeva born from mother Madri. They marry one princess Draupadi. Pandavas brothers symbolise one man: Yudhisthira stands for wisdom, morality, judgement - head, Bhima strands for strength ? arms, Arjuna stands for bravery ? arms, Nakula stands for beauty- legs, Sahadeva stands for encyclopaedia type of knowledge ? legs. Pandavas stand for 5 virtues of man.

Mahabharata is first told during the Snake Sacrifice by Vyasa, actually it is his student Vasampanaya who tells the real story. Among the listeners there sits Sauti, one of the initial characters in the epic, who then goes to the forest and tells the story to brahmin. That?s how the epic begins.

Correct pronunciation: The title of the epic has a stress on a 3rd syllable Ma-hab-ha-ra-ta.


Also called The Song of the Lord is often interpreted as the heart of Mahabharata. Nothing happens here in terms of action. During a battle, Arjuna rides on a chariot and Krsna is a coachman. They stop to look at the battlefield. Arjuna does not want to fight anymore and they start talking. The text is mainly Krsna?s monologue with few questions posed by Arjuna.

Bhagavad-Gita is also compared to Evangely. It consist of 18 songs. The text is a symbolic battle within a man between goodness and evil. It is a conversation with one?s self during a crisis in order to reach the core of knowledge. (Horse ? senses, reins ? mind, coachman, Krsna ? spirit, warrior, Arjuna ? a man)


There are 4 categories of Wedas, songs to different Gods created 2000BC

1. Sanhita:
Rig-veda ? knowledge of deeds,1028 hymns,
Yaju-veda ? magical prayers,
Sama-veda ? songs,
Ahatva-veda ? magical books.
2. Brahmanana (1100BC-800BC) ? texts in prose with comments on theological issues. These texts were created for a limited number of people.
3. Aranyaka ? texts for meditation, hymns, (aranya ? forest)
4. Upanishadah ? philosophical texts. The tittle means to sit by the Master?s feet as a listener. (sad- to sit)

Wedas: vid ? to know, veda ? knowledge

Upanishadas are often interpreted as the wisdom of Wedas. They touch the problem how to reach the final aim, the true freedom, how to cease the chain of births and deaths. The Masters concentrate on approaching the real condition of a man, and the way out from sansara. The condition of the soul in sansara is determined by its deeds. Upanishdas are last texts of Wedas, believed to be created by Gods therefore they are treated as sacred texts. The text generates different levels of knowledge. And each reader can find inspiration and answers for a given moment of his/her life. It offers multiple interpretations.

W.B. Yeats together with Shree Purohit Swami translated some texts into English: The Ten Principal Upanishads in 1937 published by Faber and Faber Limited in London.


The Wanderer -- Reminiscencias épicas en este poema elegíaco anglosajón

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What Makes a Hero? An Analysis of Characters in Beowulf and Macbeth. -- In Beowulf and Macbeth, Beowulf is the only true hero, for he has both courage and an unfailing allegiance to the higher good, while both Macduff and Macbeth fall short of being heroes because they lack one of these qualities.

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