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Sanskrit Text of Book 14
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The Mahabharata

Book 14: Aswamedha Parva

Kisari Mohan Ganguli, tr.


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This book, one of the concluding portions of the Mahabharata, is notable for several reasons.

The first is a long interposed section of Upanishadic material, known the as Anugita. This occupies a large part of this book; Arjuna asks Krishna to repeat his battlefield discourse (the Bhaghavad Gita in Book 6). What follows is a somewhat disjointed metaphysical treatise which was probably composed at a much later date than the main narrative. This has also been translated in the Sacred Books of the East by Telang.

Following the Anugita is the story of Utanka, a disciple of Krishna who undergoes a fairy-tale-like journey involving a cannibal king, magic earrings and a journey to the underworld.

Finally there is the story of the great Horse Sacrifice of Yudhishthira, which resumes the main narrative of the Mahabharata. The Horse Sacrifice was the premiere ceremony of the Yajur-Veda, a scapegoat-like expiatory ritual of unmatched extravagance. A magnificent wild black horse is set loose from Hastinapur, the Kuru capital. In hot pursuit is the Kuru army, let by Arjuna. They must follow this horse, wherever it may lead. They are required to engage in ritual combat with the Kshatria (military caste) of whatever territory it enters, without killing the leader of the opposing force. Then they invite the trespassed nation to the sacrifice. In the course of this journey they settle some old scores.

The horse returns to the capital city, and the ritual starts; amidst a pavilion of pure gold the horse is sacrificed. However, at the last moment, a mongoose with a gold head pops out of the ground and states that the Horse Sacrifice is of less meaning than a Brahman who sacrificed a handful of barley during a famine. With this bizarre anticlimax the book--and possibly the original narrative of the Mahabharata--ends.

--John Bruno Hare, January 16, 2004.

Title Page

Aswamedhika Parva

Section I
Section II
Section III
Section IV
Section V
Section VI
Section VII
Section VIII
Section IX
Section V
Section XI
Section XII
Section XIII
Section XIV
Section XV

Anugita Parva

Section XVI
Section XVII
Section XVIII
Section XIX
Section XX
Section XXI
Section XXII
Section XXIII
Section XXIV
Section XXV
Section XXVI
Section XXVII
Section XXVIII
Section XXIX
Section XXX
Section XXXI
Section XXXII
Section XXXIII
Section XXXIV
Section XXXV
Section XXXVI
Section XXXVII
Section XXXIX
Section XL
Section XLI
Section XLII
Section XLIII
Section XLIV
Section XLV
Section XLVI
Section XLVII
Section XLVIII
Section XLIX
Section L
Section LI
Section LII
Section LIII
Section LIV
Section LV
section LVI
Section LVII
Section LVIII
Section LIX
Section LX
Section LXI
Section LXII
Section LXIII
Section LXIV
Section LXV
Section LXVI
Section LXVII
Section LXVIII
Section LXIX
Section LXX
Section LXXI
Section LXXII
Section LXXIII
Section LXXIV
Section LXXV
Section LXXVI
Section LXXVII
Section LXXIX
Section LXXX
Section LXXXI
Section LXXXII
Section LXXXIV
Section LXXXV
Section LXXXVI
Section LXXXIX
Section XC
Section XCI
Section XCII