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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin. 

The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India. It is of immense importance to the culture of the Indian subcontinent and is a major text of Hinduism. Its discussion of human goals (artha or 'purpose', kama or 'pleasure', dharma or 'duty' and moksha or 'liberation') takes place in a long-standing tradition, attempting to explain the relationship of the individual to society and the world (the nature of the 'self') and the workings of karma.

©2009 John D. Smith (P)2021 Penguin Audio

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  • R.B.
  • 26-03-2021

Confusing arrangement ruins it

I was looking forward to this. After listening to the only other semi-complete version on Audible, written by Krishna Dharma and narrated atrociously by Sarvabhavana Das, I expected the same wonderful epic story but with better narration and production.
Unfortunately, while the narration and audio production of this version is indeed better, the weird arrangement of the whole thing is completely confusing and off-putting. The Mahabarata by itself is already very complex but it can absolutely be told in a linear, fairly simple manner. The author somehow managed to make it more complicated, inserting bizarre "commenting" at seemingly random places (don't rely on that belll chime that supposedly tells you when a comment is coming) , and those comments are sometimes just pointless repeats of what was just said, or sometimes slightly different wording. There is no interpretation or explanation, just some weird re-hashing. And it's mixed in so oddly that you can't tell sometimes if you're hearing the actually Mahabarata story or the author's version.
Maybe the editor got confused too and rearranged parts incorrectly. I can't find another explanation of why this audiobook turned out so confusing.
If you insist on getting this audiobook, do yourself a favor and ignore the author's bizarre choice of putting the Introduction at the end. listen to it FIRST. It's beautifully narrated by the amazing Sagar Arya and puts the production a little more in perspective.
The author states that he puts the Intro at the end because it contains spoilers. Well, so what? It's actually a necessary intro to what the Mahabarata is, and how much of it can and should be interpreted. It also gives a bit of a background on the mythology behind some of the characters and beliefs. Again, listen to it first. Or don't listen at all, it's really a letdown and probably not the ideal way to enjoy the Mahabarata.

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  • Chris Carl
  • 22-06-2021

Great story, great production, boring translation.

I been debating about this version or Krishna Dharma's version for audible since the Bibek Debroy is incomplete. Krishna Dharma's Ramayana has been one of my favorite books since it came out in the early 2000s I think. But his Mahabharata I could never get too far due to its complexity so I feel I wanted to tackle it on audible.

After reading some of Ramesh Menon masterpiece I knew I was getting shorted on Krishna Dharma in regard to details of the story but after listening to this version it was very detailed but put together in a very boring fashion and none of the beginning scenes were intense or dramatic compare to other versions.

The narrator was great but she basically had to read a text book. The Krishna Dharma though lacking in content focused on a real story. So I rather stomach through the bad production value of that one which I feel is tolerable than listening to this high production value textbook.

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