A great Indian
Epic from somewhere around 3000 BCE
, a mystic
in the Himalayas
. It is the story of five brothers, the pandavas
, the five
sons of Pandu
. It should be noted that Vyasadeva is also known for having compiled the Vedas
. A possible decendant of the main characters of the epic, as with many stories, much of it is probably based (possibly loosly) on real past events.
The, possibly more well known, bhagavad gita is actually part of this epic, and only a small part at that.
In the 1999 edition of the epic, as assembled by Krishna Dharma (a vaishnava priest), the introduction contains a most interesting quote
"In the realm of dharma, artha, kama, and moksha, (ethics, economic development, pleasure, and liberation), whatever is found in this epic may be found elsewhere, but what is not found here will be impossible to find" (Mahabharata, Adi Parva 56.33)
Whether this is a profound statement about the spiritual nature of the epic and of life, or is just a reference to the fact that the epic is very long (said edition, which is addmittedly abridged to make it easier for new readers, is over 900 pages of a full size hardcover book) is hard to say. Perhaps it means both.