Author:A R Krishna Sastri

Half of the extant Mahābhārata is dedicated to dharma and ethics. In the other half, the main story and the upākhyānas are present. Even if we consider the latter alone, without doubt, it qualifies for a matchless poem.

This is a translation of the author’s original Kannada essay titled “ಭಾಷಾಬೋಧಕಗಳ ನೆಲೆ-ಬೆಲೆಗಳು” published in his work, Bhashabhrungada Benneri.

Translated by Sandeep Balakrishna.

I had averred earlier that one of the tragedies of today is the fact of not prescribing evocative literature at the level of primary school instruction.

Verbs alone are the lifeline of language; this is the opinion of Indian grammarians. But for our logicians (i.e. the proponents of the Nyāya [epistemology] and Vaiśeṣika [ontology] schools of philosophy), the subject indicated by the nominative case (prathamā vibhakti) alone is the lifeline of a language – i.e. the doer alone is the soul of language. The reason for this difference is crystal clear. Grammarians are śabdādvaitis (i.e.


"I offer a hundred thousand salutations to the donor who extended his hands to guard the flame of pure traditional classical music, fluttering under the assault of the tornado of Western music," says a visibly moved Shankara Sastri, moments before he can begin the final classical music concert of his life.

Dharma and Nīti (ethics) in the Mahābhārata

All the historians of the world have unanimously hailed Aśoka. That Aśoka was an ideal king has been widely circulated. In ancient times, no other king, in no other part of the world undertook the establishment of so many dharma-śāsanas (rock edicts pertaining to law and dharma) like Aśoka. About two thousand three hundred years back, no other king had an empire of such expanse, to this extent, or this sort of reign. Nobody has recorded their acts with such extreme introspection or self-proclamation.

Shiva holds the Ḍamaru in one of his hands. This master of laya (dissolution) plays a laya-vadya (percussion instrument). It is said that from the beating of his ḍamaru, the fourteen Māheśvara-sūtras emerged, which form the basis of Sanskrit. There is also a charming legend in the Tamil country that when Shiva beat his drum, Sanskrit appeared from one side and Tamil from the other. The ḍamaru also represents a strange paradox of Shiva – on the outside, he speaks and makes music but within, he is utterly silent.

Critics of Indian—particularly Kannada—literature find monotony and boredom in the rhythm of classical poetic meters[1] of Kannada and Sanskrit. They accuse our poets of the yesteryear for neither having the capacity nor showing the intent to break away from this so-called boredom.

A paper titled “A Study of the Significance of Travel in Classical Sanskrit Epics with Parallels in Greco-Roman Epics” was presented by Arjun Bharadwaj at the international seminar on “Sanskrit and Cultural Studies: New Perspectives” organized by the Sree Shankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady on 5th June 2017. The current article contains excerpts from the paper.


Travel in later epic poetry

The Timeline of the Composition of Mahābhārata