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Epics

Mahabharata

The Mahabharata, in its original version in Sanskrit, consists of 100,000 verses and is the longest epic in the world. The author is the sage Vyasa and it is said that Ganesha (the elephant-headed God) wrote it down as dictated by the sage. It narrates the captivating story of the five Pandava brothers: How the oldest brother Yudhisthira, the embodiment of Dharma or righteousness, loses his kingdom in a game of chance and has to go into exile for 12 years with his brothers, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva, and their queen, Draupadi. Over the years they experience many exciting adventures – alongside their cousin, Lord Krishna – and prepare themselves for the upcoming battle against their enemy, Duryodhana. The heart of the epic is the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna’s teachings to Arjuna on the battlefield, which symbolises the struggle between the higher mind and the lower mind.
The Mahabharata fascinates with its countless colourful sub-plots and its unforgettable cast of characters, in whom the vast diversity of human experience is reflected.

Ramayana

Ramayana literally means ‘Rama’s story’. It is one of the most ancient epics of Sanskrit literature and was composed by the sage Valmiki. The epic recounts the lives of Rama and Sita, incarnations of Lord Narayana and his consort Lakshmi. Rama stands for Dharma, the virtue of righteousness. He is the personification of the ideal son, husband and statesman.
The Ramayana tells of Prince Rama's 14 years in exile as the result of intrigue at the court of his father, King Dasaratha. Rama’s faithful wife, Sita, and his brother Lakshmana join him in the wilderness. One day Sita is kidnapped by the demon Ravana. The monkey-god Hanuman and an army of monkeys and bears help Rama to defeat Ravana’s army and rescue Sita. The highly dramatic adventures and outstanding characters make the Ramayana – apart from the Mahabharata – the most important piece of literature in Indian culture.

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