One of the greatest Indian epics, The Mahabharata is an important part of Indian history and mythology. It has been called the national epic of India, The Mahabharata is the story of a great war that ended one age or yoga and began another. The story has been passed down to us in the form of Sanskrit verses s-ire 100,000 stanzas long. The best scholarly evidence indicates that the earliest layers of the epic were composed between 2500 and 3000 years ago. The text had reached pretty much its present form by about 300-400 C.E.
Traditionally, the authorship of the Mahabharata is attributed to the great sage, Veda Vyasa. The Mahabharata is a discussion of human goals, dharma or duty, artha or purpose, karma, pleasure or desire and moksha or liberation and attempts to explain the relationship of the individual to society and the world and the working between the “self” and “karma”. The title may be translated as “the great tale of the Bharata dynasty”. According to the Mahabharata’s own testimony it is extended from a shorter version simply called Bharata of 24,000 verses.
Besides its epic narrative of the Kurukshetra War and the fate of the Kauravas and the Pandavas, the Mahabharata contains much philosophical and devotional material, including the great Shrimad Bhagavad Gita. Apart from being rich with philosophical and religious jewels, the epic also reveals the complexity of human relationships in various dimensions which are in context even today and likely to be relevant forever.