The Mahabharata
Epic of the Bharatas

Condensed into English Verse
Romesh C. Dutt

An Abbreviated Translation of the Indian Classic, the Mahabharata by Romesh Chundar Dutt in 2,000 verses




Html Table of Contents

A Note on the Late Romesh C. Dutt


I. The Tournament

II. The Bride’s Choice

III. The Imperial Sacrifice

IV: The Fatal Dice

V. Woman’s Love

VI. Cattle-Lifting

VII: The Council of War

VIII. Fall of Bhishma

IX. Fall of Drona

X. Fall of Karna

XI. Funeral Rites

XII. Sacrifice of the Horse





A Note on the Late Romesh C. Dutt

[ix] Romesh Chunder Dutt, to whom English readers are indebted for the condensed metrical versions of the ancient Indian epics given in this volume, was one of the most distinguished sons of modem India. He came of a Hindu family standing high among the Kayasths, second of the great castes in Bengal, was born in 1848, and grew to manhood amid influences of deep spiritual disturbance. In those days an Indian youth who had felt the call of the West encountered the sternest opposition, from both his own family and the community, if he avowed his ambition of making the voyage to Europe.

Romesh Dutt, having passed through the Presidency College, Calcutta, took his fate into his own hands. Accompanied by two friends, both of whom afterwards rose to eminence in Bengal, he secretly took ship, came to London, entered for the Indian Civil Service, and took third place in the open examination of 1869. He was the first of his race to attain the rank of divisional commissioner, and long before his retirement in 1897, at the end of twenty-five years’ service, had made a high reputation as an administrator. He sat for a time in the Bengal Legislative Council, and, in recognition of his official work, received the Companionship of the Indian Empire. He died on November 30, 1909, at Baroda, the capital of the important Native State which he had served with brilliant success as revenue minister and dewan.

The influences which determined his literary activity were [x] primarily European. As a student in Calcutta he had made acquaintance with the English classics, and later, while at University College, had read the poets insatiably. Nevertheless his first successes were achieved in his mother tongue. He wrote in Bengali poems and plays, historical and social novels, and aroused a storm of protest within the orthodox community of his province by publishing a Bengali translation of the Rig Veda.

In English, of which he had complete mastery, his first considerable essay was a history of Civilisation in Ancient India, which, though not a work of original research, fulfilled a useful purpose in its day. When freedom from Government service gave him the opportunity he set himself to writing the Economic History of India and India in the Victorian Age, the two together forming his chief contribution to the subject which he, more than any other Indian of his time, had made his own. In these books, as in others of kindred theme and purpose, there is much criticism of British administration, strongly felt if temperately expressed. Apart from this, its more controversial side, the work of Romesh Dutt is valuable mainly in that it has helped to reveal, to his own people no less than to ours, the spiritual riches of ancient India.

S. K. Ratcliffe



[xi] The following is a list of the various editions of “The Mahabharata”:

“The Mahabharata,” edited by S. Goressio (with Italian translation). 10 vols. 1843-58, 1859-60 (Calcutta), 1888 (Bombay).

English translations: by Kirtee Bass. 5 vols. Serampore, 1802. “The Ramayuna of Valmeeki, in the original Sungscrit, with a Prose Translation and Explanatory Notes.” W. Carey and J. Marshman. 1806-10.

An English translation for “Nirvachanothara Ramayanum” (i.e. the “Uttara Mahabharata” attributed to Vúlmíki, with Commentary). Madras. 1880.

Free English translation by R. T. H. Griffith. 5 vols. 1870-75.

Translation into English Prose. Edited by Manmatha Nath Dutt. 1889. 1892-94.

Condensed into English Verse by Romesh Dutt. 1899 (Temple Classics). 1900.

Works on:

Sir M. Williams, “Indian Epic Poetry. with full Analysis of the Mahabharata and Mahabharata.” 1863.

J. T. Wheeler, “History of India.” 1867, &c.

J. C. Oman, “Struggles of the Dawn. the Stories of the Great Indian Epics, Mahabharata,” &c. 1893. “The Great Indian Epics,” &c. 1894, 1899 (Bohn).

The following is a list of the various editions of “The Maha-Bharata”:

Complete edition, Calcutta, 1834-39, 4 vols.; Bombay, 1863: re-edited, with commentary by Nitakantha Govinda, 1890.

[xii] Translations into English Prose, by Protap Chandra Roy, 1883: (Sanscrit text of Maharshi Vyas, with complete English and Hindi translations, 1902. &c.).

“Virtue’s Triumph; or, The Mahâ-Bhârata.” By Rai Bahadur, P. Anunda Charlu. 1894.

Prose literal translation, by Manmatha Nath Dutt. 1895.

Condensed into English verse by Romesh Dutt (Temple Classics). 1898. The same, with Introduction by W. Max-Muller. 1899.

(Many English translations of portions of the whole epic have
been published.)

Works on:

H. H. Wilson, “Essays on the Religion of the Hindoos.” 1862.

Sir M. Williams, “Indian Epic Poetry,” &c. 1863.

Wheeler, “The Vedic Period and the Mahabharata.” 1867.

Buehler and Kirste, “Indian Studies, Contributions to the History of the Mahabharata.” 1892.

J. C. Oman (see above).

V. Fausboll, “Indian Mythology, according to the Mahabharata in Outline” (Oriental Religions Series, Luzac, vol. i.). 1903.

“Rāgānāma Ramkrishna Bhāguvata.” an attempt to analyse the Mahabharata from the higher Brahminical standpoint. 1905.

Chintāmani Vināyaka Vaidya, “The Mahabharata; a Criticism.” 1905. “Epic India; or, India as described in the Mahabharata and Mahabharata.” 1907.

Ānandajoti Bhikkhu
February, 2018