Mahābhārata (including Harivaṃśa) and Rāmāyaṇa, the two great Sanskrit Epics central to the whole of Indian Culture, form the subject of this new work.
The book begins by examining the relationship of the epics to the Vedas and the role of the bards who produced them. The core of the work, a study of the linguistic and stylistic features of the epics, precedes the examination of the material culture, the social, economic and political aspects, and the religious aspects. The final chapter presents the wider picture and in conclusion even looks into the future of epic studies.
In this long overdue survey work the author synthesizes the results of previous scholarship in the field. Herewith a coherent view is built up of the nature and the significance of these two central epics, both in themselves, and in relation to Indian culture as a whole.
John Brockington, D.Phil. (1968), Oxford, is Reader and Head of the Department of Sanskrit at the University of Edinburgh. He has published widely on the epics and on the history of Hinduism (The Sacred Thread, Hinduism and Christianity).
'This most welcome volume presents not only a staggering compendium of research on the Sanskrit epics done over the past two hundred years, but also the judicious, modestly argued evaluations of that research by a scholar whose intimacy with the Mahābhārata and Rāmāyaṇa appears to be nearly matchless.'
David L. Gitomer, The Journal of Asian Studies.
‘This volume will be of great value to graduate students and others seeking a convenient reference book on the Sanskrit epics.’
Frederick M. Smith, Religious Studies Review, 2002.
‘Das umfassende Handbuch […]wird auf lange Zeit die Grundlage für alle weiteren Forschungen zum altindischen Epos bilden und jedem, der sich mit diesen Texten in irgendeiner Weise Beschäftigt, ein sicherer und zuverlässiger Führer sein.’
Oskar von Hinüber, Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde Südasiens, 2002.
Indologists and others professionally involved in South Asian Studies, also scholars interested in the history of religions or in comparative literature.