The Mahabharata: A Modern Rendering, Vol. 2 by Ramesh Menon *****

Reading dates: 25 June – 16 October 2016

Although the narrative does not quite reach the excitement of the first volume, I came to read this second volume completely hooked to the story. This part deals with the war and its aftermaths and I really got into the descriptions of battle formations, into the drudgery of these 18 days of blood shedding and cleansing. Volume 2 also contains the Bhagavad Gita, one of the most mysterious and beautiful texts I have ever read (and which hopefully I will understand better by the time I finish my yoga teacher training). I read the Gita on a beach in Crete and I know I will always remember that reading experience, what it said to me, what I felt and where I was. It was one of those deeply spiritual moments which shift something inside, a subtle change of direction, only of a millimetre to start with, but which set me of on a different path altogether, as I now realise.

The Mahabharata is still one of the most incredible stories I have read: well crafted, dramatic, with interesting characters and a coherent message. Even the very end is fitting. Not a single line has disappointed me and Ramesh Menon’s rendition just made it accessible and fun. I am not sure what a more ancient version would have been like but Menon was certainly not hard work. I hope to read it again, all of it, for I miss the Pandavas and Krishna’s smile, already.