MAHABHARATA — C. Rajagopalachari in English: Malayalam translation by A.K. Balakrishna Nair; Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, K.M. Marg, Mumbai-400001. Rs. 150.

AS CAN be expected from the pen of C.Rajagopalachari (C.R.), this is a publication which one cannot stop reading till completing it. The magnum opus of Sage Vyasa, which comprises more than one lakh verses, has been admirably and interestingly summarised without omitting any important episode by C.R. in his work.

The translator has done full justice in lucid and fine Malayalam. There are gripping descriptions such as Yudhishthira approaching Bhishma, Drona and Kripa to pay obeisance giving a dramatic twist to the situation, after the armies have lined up to fight and the conches have been blown, signalling the start of the war.

There are comparisons between present-day warfare and what was practised during the Mahabharata times, such as battle formations, use of arms and military stratagems like attrition, which are quite revealing.

The book has an additional feature over normal publications in that wherever there is a lesson to be drawn from the episodes in the epic, the author has emphasised them bringing out its dharma. This serves as a practical guide book for human beings to follow.

The descriptions of the characters of Yudhishthira, Arjuna, Bhima, Panchali, Duryodhana, Dhritarashtra and Vidura among others clearly mirror what the original wants the reader to take note of.

Without any doubt, a publication that has to be read by everyone wanting to know the right way to tread in one’s life.