Mahabharatha Volume two

Dr L.Prakash

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Review of Dr L.Prakash’s Mahabharatha

Reviewed by Dr Santosh Vishwanathan M.S., MCh.
Retired Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery

Book title        Mahabharatha in four volumes
Author            Dr L.Prakash
ISBN       978-81-906981-3-9, 978-81-906981-4-6, 978-81-906981-5-3, 978-81-906981-6-0
Publisher        Banana Books Madras India
Price               Rs 600 for four volumes ( approx 15$ US; 10 € )
Rating             ***** (five stars) [outstanding]

My first exposure to this wonderful epic was when I was seven or eight years old. We could not wait for our summer vacations, which we would spend in our ancestral village, and the chief attraction was the magnificent and awesome rendering of this timeless classic by my octogenarian grandmother. Each evening after dinner, we children; and some adults too, would gather around her, and she would narrate stories from Ramayana and Mahabharatha. I have never waited more anxiously for my summer holidays than in those times. Even today, I have to just close my eyes, and despite the passage of many decades, the intense face of my granny, with her hollow cheeks and thousand wrinkles, describing the emotional scene where Karna peels off his golden armor and rips off the sun-crested earrings from his body, unmindful of the dripping blood, and hands over the same to Indra, whose face bears features of victory admixtured with guilt; flashes before my eyes.
My next exposure to Mahabharatha was during my college days, when I had an opportunity of reading C. Rajagopalachari’s rendition in simple English. I was transported to Hastinapura, Indraprastha and Kurukshetra. Much later, I had an opportunity of reading the magnum opus by Kishori Mohan Ganguly, and a Tamil version by Cho Ramaswamy. Each time I marveled and wondered on the writing genius of Veda Vyasa who had penned such a magnificent story so long ago. What I had read and heard was reinforced by Peer Brook’s movie and the serialization of the epic by our own Doordarshan.
Around two months ago, I received an email from a friend waxing eloquently about a new version of Mahabharatha by Dr L.Prakash. He also sent me the URL ( www.bananabooks.in) of the web page, which I visited. Nevertheless I was shocked to find that the author was a convicted pornographer, currently spending time in prison. What would such a person know about Mahabharatha? This was the question in my mind, as I clicked the close window button and switched off the computer.
At that time I was reading a self help book, and by coincidence the chapter I read that night was about not being judgmental, and not trusting things unless I had access to both sides of the story. I felt a little guilty, and it was probably to assuage my own guilt that I decided to buy Mahabharatha by Dr L.Prakash. I could not find the book in the local Landmark bookstore, but a smaller bookshop in Anna Nagar had stocks. I shelled out six hundred rupees, and was not too disappointed, because the four volumes in a neat box, represented quite a lot of reading material. This set appeared to be almost four times in bulk as the Rajagopalachari Mahabharatha that I remembered reading.
Once I started reading, I had to revise my opinion both about the epic and its author.
Being a retired, non practicing surgeon gives me ample time and I started reading straightaway. The first two volumes took four days each to complete, the third, three days, and the last volume I devoured over a weekend. Having completed reading, I am beginning from the first volume once again, and this time I plan to read it slowly. In a single word, it is an awesome story, and I could not suppress my admiration at both Veda Vyasa the original author, and Dr L.Prakash who has done this wonderful rendition in modern simple English and contemporary idiom.
This is not exactly a translation of the Sanskrit original. The author has introduced many additional characters, twists, and sub plots. Though the original Vyasa skeleton remains intact, Dr Prakash has added his own muscle, sinew, and skin to tell a wonderful tale wonderfully. The language is simple; and we all know that it is difficult to write simple English! The narration is brisk and the author has rearranged the sequence of events in such a unique and gripping manner, that once you begin, it is almost impossible to put the book down. Shorn of religion, Hinduism, and preaching, Dr Prakash has presented the epic as an adventure, reminiscent of the narrative style of Alistair McLain or Desmond Bagley.
There are a couple of spelling and typographical errors, and I only wish that the editors had been a little more careful. The small errors jar the reader, and break his otherwise excellent narrative. Not a big problem and I am certain that the same can be corrected in the subsequent editions. However the story is narrated with such passion, that I completely forgave all these small errors.
It is indeed a pity that the current generation of children and youth, rather than enrich enlighten and enjoy themselves with such a wonderful epic, are seen intensely discussing the magic in Harry Potter books or the adventure in Twilight Series and vampire books! I pity their ignorance and lack of interest in the wonderful magic of our ancient stories, more thrilling than even the Hollywood movie Avtar! Buy the book, read it and make sure that all your children read it as well. I am certain that these volumes will find a pride of place in your home library and you will be reading these volumes again and again.

Rating: Five Stars

 

 

Contents of second volume

The story so far

009

Ekachakra

014

Bakasura

020

Kunti’s Promise

030

The Slaying Of Bakasura

039

Circling The Universe

047

The Mechanical Target

054

Draupadi’s Entry

062

The Stringing Of The Bow

070

Karnas Failure

078

Arjuna Wins Draupadi

085

Polyandry

093

Krishna’s Advice

102

Hanuman Setu

109

Kaurava Discussions

117

Indraprastha

124

The Saranga Birds

132

The Rulers Of Indraprastha

141

Ashwamegha Yagya

149

Krishna’s Suggestions

156

Jarasandha

165

Split Into Two Halves

172

Sage Vyasa’s Birth

180

Satyavati’s Request

188

The First Honour

196

Sishupala’s Death

203

Bhasmasura

212

Brighu’s Curse

222

Kamsa King Of Mathura

233

Birth Of Krishna

241

Adishesha

248

Krishna’s Childhood

258

Death Of Kamsa

267

Rukmani

275

Vyasa’s Advice

285

Shakuni’s Plan

293

Convincing Drithrashtra

300

The Curse Of Ganga

307

Ganga and Parthiban

316

Vidura's Mission

323

Suka the Son of Vyasa

331

Tara and Chandra

338

Brahma’s Intervention

345

Budhan and Sudyumna

355

Oorvashi’s Sorrow

362

Suka’s Birth

375

Sankhya Buddhi

382

Reaching Hastinapura

387

The Gaming Hall

395

Yudishtra Wins

401

Shakuni Enters

408

Yudhistra Trapped

414

Draupadi’s Dreams

418

The Final Wager

425

Draupadi’s Grief

432

Vikarna and Yuyutsu

439

Vanavasa and Agyatuasa

448

Sukracharya’s Penance

458

Jayanthi

465

Asura’s Banishments

471

To the Jungles

480

Kurujangala

489

The Writing Of This Book

493

Cast of Characters

495

 

Read the first five Chapters

Banana Books Home page

Dr L.Prakash's Home page

 

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Chennai 600107 India.

Phone: 044 29001193, 9791020615

bananabooks.chennai@gmail.com


www.bananabooks.in

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