I was going through some old bookmarks I didn’t have the time to read properly and found another of those things that a couple of hours later leave me with too many browser tabs open as I follow the various branches. Here’s the two links:


I actually still have to read the first, as it lead directly to the second. So another Classic Epic, to put next to the other Chinese Epics. A few corrections, though. The article says:

we’re only talking about a single book a little less than half the length of the entire Wheel of Time series.

Well, not quite. The Jordan’s WoT is “merely” 3M 300k words. If you add up Sanderson you get 4M 279k, for an average of 10.700 pages. The Mahabharata is also quite huge: 2M 539k, for an average of 6.347 pages. So it’s a bit MORE than half of WoT, and only if you add up the million words that Sanderson added to it.

But that’s why I tried to look up on the wiki how “The Mahabharata” is connected to the rest. Because the whole Hindu mythology is huge. I got lost in the wikipedia within minutes. And I guess it can also count as one story, as the many “characters” cross over between these different “series”.

At some point I was really wondering “what’s the point”. Here’s just something at random:

To continue with the process of creation, Brahma gave birth to a man and a woman from his own body. The man was named Svayambhuva Manu and the woman was named Shatarupa. Humans are descended from Manu. That is the reason they are known as manava. Manu and Shatarupa had three sons named Vira, Priyavarata and Uttanapada.

Uttanapada’s son was the great Dhruva, Dhruva performed very difficult meditation (tapasya) for three thousand divine years.

So, let’s look up how long is a divine year?

In the explanations of the measurements of time, one cycle of the four yugas together is 12.000 years of the demigods, called divine years. Each of these years is composed of 365 days, and each of their days is equal to one human year.

So a divine year is the sum of 365 human years. And so the guy in the story above meditated for 3.000 * 365 = 1.068.000 human years!

Stuff that boggles the mind.

The Hindu cosmology and timeline is the closest to modern scientific timelines and even more which might indicate that the Big Bang is not the beginning of everything, but just the start of the present cycle preceded by an infinite number of universes and to be followed by another infinite number of universes.

And I thought religion was a way to translate things into relatable terms.

Beside the boggling nature of this mythology, the English translation of The Mahabharata is here (in 12 nice .pdf):


Since this is an ancient version, I’ve looked around for newer/better translations (non-abridged, of course). It seems there are only two that are now complete. One done by Chicago University, the other by Bibek Debroy, but both are rater hugely expensive for the casual reader. In particular there are a few samples of the Chicago University version, so I could compare it to the one available for free.

And I’m pleased. In the sense that the Chicago University version is full with notes and commentary, but the actual text is very, very close to the free version. It flows better overall, but the older flavor of the ancient translation is actually fancier and more pleasant. So even the free version seems rather good.

Fun fact: notice how the end of the first paragraph on this page points to “a” Wheel of Time.

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