Friday, August 19, 2016

Overview: Balakrishnan. Mahabharata in a Nutshell


Title: The Complete Mahabharata in a Nutshell
Author: V. K. Balakrishnan
Year: 2011

Comments: This is a very readable, user-friendly summary of the Mahahbarata... of the whole Mahabharata! You can compare this to the summary by Macfie: the Macfie book is free online, but this one by Balakrishnan is written in contemporary language which makes it much easier to read. Because this is a summary, it is written in a very abbreviated style, but it also includes some episodes that will be new to you because it is more complete than the selection version of the Mahabharata that you read earlier.

Kindle: You can buy your own Kindle copy from Amazon for $1 (checked price August 19 2016).

Length: four weeks. I've divided the reading into eight parts: Part A - Part B (one week of reading), Part C - Part D (another week of reading), Part E - Part F (a third week), and Part G - Part H (final week of reading).

Reading Part A
Chapter 1 The Book of the Beginning 
1.1 Vyasa and Ganesha
1.2 Vyasa and Satyavati
1.3 Janamejaya's Snake Sacrifice
1.4 The Prajapatis
1.5 Kadru, Vinata, and Garuda
1.6 The Churning of the Ocean
1.7 The Lunar and Solar Races
1.8 Yayati and his Wives
1.9 Dushyanta and Shakuntala
1.10 Parashurama and the Kshatriyas
1.11 Shantanu, Ganga, and their Son
1.12 Bhishma, Satyavati and her Sons
1.13 Dhritarashtra, Pandu, and Vidura
1.14 Kunti and Karna
1.15 The Kauravas and the Pandavas


Reading Part B
1.16 The Strife Starts
1.17 Kripa and Drona
1.18 Ekalavya
1.19 The Royal Tournament (Karna)
1.20 Drona's Revenge on Drupada
1.21 Lord Krishna's Envoy
1.22 The Story of Kamsa
1.23 The Lac Palace Inferno
1.24 Hidimba, Hidimbi, and Ghatotkacha
1.25 The Ogre Bakasura
1.26 Dhaumya, the Priest of the Pandavas
1.27 Vashishtha and Vishvamitra
1.28 The Quality of Mercy
1.29 Draupadi and her Five Husbands
1.30 Sunda and Upasunda
1.31 Draupadi's Previous Life
1.32 The Five Indras
1.33 Khandavaprastha and Indraprastha
1.34 Arjuna's Pilgrimage
1.35 Arjuna and Subhadra
1.36 The Khandava Conflagration
1.37 The Sarngaka Birds


Reading Part C
Chapter 2 The Book of the Assembly Hall 
2.1 The Hall that Maya Built
2.2 The Rajasuya
2.3 Jarasandha
2.4 Shishupala
2.5 Shakuni
2.6 The Dice Game
Chapter 3 The Book of the Forest 
3.1 Akshayapatra: Draupadi's Cornucopia
3.2 Dhritarashtra in Distress
3.3 Kirmira
3.4 Lord Krishna Visits the Pandavas
3.5 Markandeya and Vyasa
3.6 Arjuna and the Pashupata
3.7 Urvashi and Arjuna3.8 Nala and Damayanti
3.9 The Sage Agastya
3.10 King Bhagiratha
3.11 Sage Rishyashringa
3.12 Chyavana and Sukanya
3.13 King Mandhata and King Somaka
3.14 The Dove and the Hawk
3.15 Ashtavakra, The Prodigy
3.16 Yavakrida, Arvavasu, and Paravasu
3.17 Hanuman and Bhima


Reading Part D
3.18 Jatasura and Narakasura's Bones
3.19 Arjuna's Return and Bhima's Boa
3.20 Sage Markandeya
3.21 The Avatars of Vishnu
3.22 The Frog Princess
3.23 Shibi, The Virtuous King
3.24 Dhundhumara and Indradyumna
3.25 Lord Shanmugha, The God of Six Faces
3.26 The Four Yugas
3.27 The Perfect Wife
3.28 Ghoshayatra: Duryodhana's Misadventure
3.29 Sage Mugdala and Sage Durvasas
3.30 The Abduction of Draupadi


Reading Part E
3.31 The Ramayana: Ravana's Lineage
3.32 The Ramayana: Rama and Sita
3.33 Savitri and Satyavan
3.34 Karna's Divine Armor
3.35 The Yaksha Episode
Chapter 4 The Book of Virata 
4.1 The Final Year of the Pandavas' Exile
4.2 Bhima and Kichaka
4.3 Another Misadventure of Duryodhana
Chapter 5 The Book of War Preparations 
5.1 Discussion in Virata's Court
5.2 Seeking Lord Krishna as an Ally
5.3 King Shalya, Duryodhana's Ally
4.5 Indra, Vritra, and Nahusha
4.6 Sanjaya's Mission to the Pandavas
5.6 Teachings of Vidura and Sanatsujata
5.7 Krishna's Peace Mission
5.8 Krishna's Divine Form
5.9 Dandobhava, Garuda, and Galava
5.10 Muchukunda and Vidula


Reading Part F
5.11 Krishna and Kunti Attempt to Influence Karna
5.12 Rukmi and Uluka
5.13 Preparations of War
5.14 Amba, Shikhandini, and Shikhandin
Chapter 6 The Book of Bhishma 
6.1 Vyasa's Visit to Dhritarashtra
6.2 Terms of the War and the Armies' Disposition
6.3 Bhagavad-Gita
6.4 Yudhishthira Visits the Enemy
6.5 Nine Days of Battle under Bhishma's Command
6.6 Tenth Day of Battle
Chapter 7 The Book of the Drona 
7.1 Eleventh Day of Battle: Drona in Command
7.2 Twelfth Day of the Battle
7.3 Thirteenth Day of Battle: Death of Abhimanyu
7.4 Fourteenth Day: End of Jayadratha
7.5 End of Ghatotkacha
7.6 Fifteenth Day: Drona's Fall


Reading Part G
Chapter 8 The Book of the Karna 
8.1 Sixteenth Day of Battle: Karna in Command
8.2 Seventeenth Day: Shalya, Karna's Charioteer
8.3 Balaka and Kaushika
8.4 Bhima Slaughters Dushasana
8.5 End of Karna
Chapter 9 The Book of Shalya 
9.1 Eighteenth Day of Battle: The Last Day
9.2 Bhima Slays Duryodhana
Chapter 10 The Book of the Nocturnal Raid 
10.1 Ashwathama's Vengeance
10.2 Ashwathama's Surrender
10.3 Daksha's Sacrifice
10.4 Vaishampayana and Sanjaya
Chapter 11 The Book of the Women 
11.1 Dhritarashtra Comforted
11.2 Gandhari's Grief
11.3 Karna's Identity Revealed
Chapter 12 The Book of Harmony 
12.1 Yudhishthira's Remorse: King Sudyumna
12.2 Coronation of Yudhishthira
12.3 Charvaka
12.4 Bhishma on the Bed of Arrows
12.5 The Origin of the Universe
12.6 Bhishma's Teachings
Chapter 13 The Book of Guidance 
13.1 King Shibi
13.2 Vishvamitra and Jamadagni
13.3 Selected Teachings of Bhishma
13.4 The 1000 Names of Vishnu
13.5 The Creation of Bhishma


Reading Part H
Chapter 14 The Book of the Horse Sacrifice 
14.1 Horse Sacrifice: Marutta's Gold
14.2 The Anugita
14.3 Udanka
14.4 Birth of Parikshit
14.5 Roaming of the Royal Horse
14.6 Babruvahana
14.7 The Horse Sacrifice
14.8 The Mongoose with Gold Skin
Chapter 15 The Book of Residence in the Hermitage 
15.1 Dhritarashtra Moves to a Hermitage
15.2 Yudhishthira Visits Dhritarashtra
15.3 Dhritarashtra's Last day
Chapter 16 The Book of Iron Clubs 
16.1 Son of Lord Krishna
16.2 Decline and Fall of the Yadavas
16.3 Balarama and Lord Krishna Leave the Earth
16.4 Fall of Dwaraka
Chapter 17 The Book of the Great Departure 
17.1 Pandavas and Draupadi Leave Hastinapura
17.2 Yudhishthira and His Dog
17.3 Yudhishthira and Indra
Chapter 18 The Book of Ascent to Heaven 
18.1 Illusion of Hell (Naraka)
18.2 Yudhishthira in Heaven (Swarga)
18.3 Conclusion



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