Mahabharata is a Sanskrit poem that is commonly referred to as an epic. However, Hindus think of it more as a history. It is one of the most important sources of the development of Hinduism between 400 BCE and 200 CE.
This text contains Hindu law and history – ‘Dharma’ and ‘Itihasa’. The poem is made of 100,000 couplets and full of mythological and moral references. Its didactic nature and several stories reflect the true nature of humans – full of flaws and yet having potential for good.
It revolves around a central storyline of struggle between two noble clans – Pandavas and Kauravas. Though it is improbable that one individual constructed the complex web of narratives that is Mahabharata, it’s authorship is generally attributed to Vyasa. Legend has it that Lord Ganesha penned down the entire tale as narrated by Ved Vyasa in almost a continuous flow. Vyasa is mentioned in the story too; he was the grandfather of the Kaurava brothers.
Mahabharata is a powerful text which provides an insight into traditional Hindu culture. It has remained popular and important over the year and has even been adapted in several forms – comic books, short novels, television shows and stage plays.