"Slender lady, I came out with you to gather fruit. I got a pain in my head and fell asleep in your lap. Then I saw a terrible darkness and a mighty person. If you know, then tell me - was it my dream? Or was what I saw real?”
So speaks Satyavat, newly rescued from the god of death by Savitri, his faithful wife, at the heart of one of the best loved stories in Indian literature. This, and other well known narratives, including a version of Rama's story, bring the Forest Book of the great Sanskrit epic, the Maha·bhárata, to its compelling conclusion. Woven into the main narrative of the Pandavas' exile, these disparate episodes indicate the range and poetic power of the Maha·bhárata as a whole—a power that has the potential to speak to common human concerns across cultures and centuries.
"The Forest” is Book Three of the Maha·bhárata, "The Great Book of India.” This final quarter of the account of the Pándavas' twelve-year exile in the forest contains four stirring stories that are among the best known in Indian literature. From a hero overcoming great odds, to a virtuous wife who rescues her family, and Indra tricking Karna, and Yudhi·shthira's victory in the verbal contest with the tree spirit, these stories speak to common human concerns across cultures and centuries.
Co-published by New York University Press and the JJC Foundation
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