Of course the Mahabharata doesn’t end with Yudhisthira's welcome to heaven, any more than it began with King Pandu’s killing of the stag. The story resonates. It is not that it never ends, but that it is always ending, always beginning. It is an easy story to step into; when Peter Brook staged his nine-hour dramatic realization of the Mahabharata in New York several years ago, the New Yorker faulted him for making the story an allegory about the dangers of life in a nuclear age. But Brook didn’t work that allegory in; Jean-Claude Carriere’s script is actually very straight and faithful to the original epic story in its structure and its details. What the New Yorker critic felt was the story’s resonance. It has always been a current story.

There are a number of versions of the Mahabharata currently available in English, although there is still no complete modern translation. The bibliography that follows is very subjectively annotated, and will help anyone who wants to learn the story better.

The Mahabharata itself promises that those who learn the story earn merit thereby and will have an easier road to the end, when they may rest. And by retelling the story, we strengthen dharma, and so benefit all men.

Thank you for your attention.