A Brief Abstract of The Mahabharata

Consisting of 18 books, or parvas, this story revolves around the conflict between two factions of cousins, the Kauravas and Pandavas, for the throne of Hastinapura. It includes the famous Bhagavad Gita, a sacred Hindu scripture and a philosophical conversation between Prince Arjuna and Lord Krishna. The epic explores various themes such as duty, righteousness, family, war, and the nature of reality. It contains many notable characters: Krishna, Arjuna, Yudhishthira, Bhima, Nakula, Sahadeva, Draupadi, Duryodhana, and Karna. Known for its narrative, the moral, and philosophical dilemmas presented; it has a profound influence on Indian culture, literature, and religious beliefs.

महाभारत, संक्षिप्त सार

Book 1 Adi Parva, The Beginning

The daughter of the river was named Girika and the king made her his wife. Once, the time for intercourse arrived and Vasu’s wife, Girika, having purified herself by bathing at the fertile time, informed her husband about her state. But on that very day, his ancestors came to him and asked the best of kings and wisest of men to kill some deer. Thinking that the command of his ancestors should be followed, he went out to hunt, thinking of Girika, who was exceedingly beautiful and like Shri herself. He was so excited that the semen was discharged in the beautiful forest and wishing to save it, the king of the earth collected it in the leaf of a tree. The lord thought that his semen should not be wasted in vain and that his wife’s fertile period should not pass barren. Then the king thought about this many times and the best of kings firmly decided that his semen would be productive, since the semen was issued when his queen’s time was right. Learned in the subtleties of dharma and artha, the king consecrated the semen, which was productive for producing progeny, and addressed a hawk that was seated nearby. ‘O amiable one! Please take this seed to my wife Girika. She is in her season now. The swift hawk took it from him and flew speedily through the sky.

The Adi Parva introduces the key characters and provides the background leading up to the great Kurukshetra War. It begins with the sage Vyasa narrating the story to the divine sage Narada. Vyasa, the author of the Mahabharata, is the son of the sage Parashara and Satyavati. He is requested by Brahma, the creator of the universe, to compose the epic to enlighten and guide humanity.

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The Final Roadside Circle of Picnic Paradise

Everything is now understandable. It’s odious, that I understand…. Better if I understood nothing, better if, upon regaining consciousness, I shrugged my shoulders and climbed out of the bath. Would it have been understandable to Strogoff and Einstein and Petrarch? Imagination is a priceless gift, but it must not be given an inward direction. Only outward, only outward… What a tasty worm some corrupter has dropped from his rod into this stagnant pool! And how accurately timed! Yes indeed, if I were commander of Wells’ Martians, I would not have bothered with fighter tripods, heat rays, and other such nonsense. Illusory existence … no, this is not a narcotic, a narcotic has a long way to go to approach it. In a way this is exactly appropriate. Here. Now. To each time its own. Poppy seeds and hemp, the kingdom of sweet blurred shadows and peace — for the beggar, the worn-out, the downtrodden… But here no one wants peace, here no one is dying of hunger, here is simply a bore. A well-fed, well-heated, drunken bore. It’s not that the world is bad, it’s just plain dreary. World without prospects, world without promise. But in the end man is not a carp, he still remains a man. Yes, it is no kingdom of shades, it is indeed the real existence, without detraction, without dreary confusion. Slug is moving on the world and the world will not mind subjecting itself to it.






Some strange and very new sensation was slowly filling him. He realized that this sensation wasn’t actually new, that it had long been hiding somewhere inside him, but he only now became aware of it, and everything fell into place. And an idea, which had previously seemed like nonsense, like the insane ravings of a senile old man, turned out to be his sole hope and his sole meaning of life. It was only now that he’d understood—the one thing that he still had left, the one thing that had kept him afloat in recent months, was the hope for a miracle. He, the idiot, the dummy, had been spurning this hope, trampling on it, mocking it, drinking it away—because that’s what he was used to and because his whole life, ever since his childhood, he had never relied on anyone but himself. And ever since his childhood, this self-reliance had always been measured by the amount of money he managed to wrench, wrestle, and wring out of the surrounding indifferent chaos. That’s how it had always been, and that’s how it would have continued, if he hadn’t found himself in a hole from which no amount of money could rescue him, in which self-reliance was utterly pointless. And now this hope—no longer the hope but the certainty of a miracle—was filling him to the brim, and he was already amazed that he’d managed to live in such a bleak, cheerless gloom …

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Norstrilia, the story is simple …




But he didn’t want girls. He wanted postage stamps …

“You may not know it, my darling,” spieked the great bird-man, “but long before these people build cities, there were others in the Earth – the ones who came after the Ancient World fell. They went far beyond the limitations of the human form. They conquered death. They did not have sickness. They did not need love. They sought to be abstractions lying outside of time. And they died, E’lamelanie – they died terribly. Some became monsters, preying on the remnants of true men for reasons which ordinary men could not even begin to understand. Others were like oysters, wrapped up in their own sainthood. They had all forgotten that humanness is itself imperfection and corruption, that what is perfect is no longer understandable. We have the fragments of the Word, and we are truer to the deep traditions of people than people themselves are, but we must never be foolish enough to look for perfection in this life or to count on our own powers to make us really different from what we are. You and I are animals, darling, not even real people, but people do not understand the teaching of Joan, that whatever seems human is human. It is the word which quickens, not the shape or the blood or the texture of flesh or hair or feathers. And there is that power which you and I do not name, but which we love and cherish because we need it more than do the people on the surface. Great beliefs always come out of the sewers of cities, not out of the towers of the ziggurats. Furthermore, we are discarded animals, not used ones. All of us down here are the rubbish which mankind has thrown away and has forgotten. We have a great advantage in this because we know from the very beginning of our lives that we are worthless. And why are we worthless? Because a higher standard and a higher truth says that we are – the conventional law and the unwritten customs of mankind. But I feel love for you, my daughter, and you have love for me. We know that everything which loves has a value in itself, and that therefore this worthlessness of underpeople is wrong. We are forced to look beyond the minute and the hour to the place where no clocks work and no day dawns. There is a world outside of time, and it is to that which we appeal. I know that you have a love for the devotional life, my child, and I commend you for it, but it would be a sorry faith which waited for passing travelers or which believed that a miracle or two could set the nature of things right and whole. The people on the surface think they have gone beyond the old problems, because they do not have buildings which they call churches or temples, and they do not have professional religious men within their communities. But the higher power and the large problems still wait for all men, whether men like it or not. Today, Believing among mankind is a ridiculous hobby, tolerated by the Instrumentality because the Believers are unimportant and weak, but mankind has moments of enormous passion which will come again and in which we will share. So don’t you wait for your hero beyond the stars. If you have a good devotional life within you, it is already here, waiting to be watered by your tears and ploughed up by your hard, clear thoughts. And if you don’t have a devotional life, there are good lives outside.

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The Country Boy

Soy el tigre.
Te acecho entre las hojas anchas como lingotes
de mineral mojado.
El río blanco crece bajo la niebla. Llegas.
Desnuda te sumerges. Espero.


Under the volcanoes, beside the snow-capped mountains, among the huge lakes, the fragrant, the silent, the tangled Chilean forest … My feet sink down into the dead leaves, a fragile twig crackles, the giant rauli trees rise in all their bristling height, a bird from the cold jungle passes over, flaps its wings, and stops in the sunless branches. And then, from its hideaway, it sings like an oboe … The wild scent of the laurel, the dark scent of the boldo herb enter my nostrils and flood my whole being … The cypress of the Guaitecas blocks my way … This is a vertical world: a nation of birds, a plenitude of leaves … I stumble over a rock, dig up the uncovered hollow, an enormous spider covered with red hair stares up at me, motionless, as huge as a crab … A golden carabus beetle blows its mephitic breath at me, as its brilliant rainbow disappears like lightning … Going on, I pass through a forest of ferns much taller than I am: from their cold green eyes sixty tears splash down on my face and, behind me, their fans go on quivering for a long time … A decaying tree trunk: what a treasure!… Black and blue mushrooms have given it ears, red parasite plants have covered it with rubies, other lazy plants have let it borrow their beards, and a snake springs out of the rotted body like a sudden breath, as if the spirit of the dead trunk were slipping away from it … Farther along, each tree stands away from its fellows … They soar up over the carpet of the secretive forest, and the foliage of each has its own style, linear, bristling, ramulose, lanceolate, as if cut by shears moving in infinite ways … A gorge; below, the crystal water slides over granite and jasper … A butterfly goes past, bright as a lemon, dancing between the water and the sunlight … Close by, innumerable calceolarias nod their little yellow heads in greeting … High up, red copihues (Lapageria rosea) dangle like drops from the magic forest’s arteries … The red copihue is the blood flower, the white copihue is the snow flower … A fox cuts through the silence like a flash, sending a shiver through the leaves, but silence is the law of the plant kingdom … The barely audible cry of some bewildered animal far off … The piercing interruption of a hidden bird … The vegetable world keeps up its low rustle until a storm churns up all the music of the earth.

Anyone who hasn’t been in the Chilean forest doesn’t know this planet.

I have come out of that landscape, that mud, that silence, to roam, to go singing through the world.

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A Man in Love, … next year I shall plant some Tomatoes

Walking down a narrow street one evening, I stole a melon. The fruit seller, who was lurking behind his fruit, caught me by the arm.

Miss, I’ve been waiting for a chance like this for forty years. For forty years I’ve hidden behind this pile of oranges in the hope that somebody might pinch some fruit. And the reason for that is this: I want to talk, I want to tell my story. If you don’t listen, I’ll hand you over to the police.

I’m listening, I told him.

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The topographical and anatomical information in particular is lost on me … I see nothing. It’s because there is nothing.

I see nothing. It’s because there is nothing. Or it’s because I have no eyes. Or both. (That makes three possibilities, to choose from.) But do I really see nothing? It’s not the moment to tell a lie. But how can you not tell a lie? What an idea!

A voice like this, who can check it? It tries everything. It’s blind, it seeks me blindly, in the dark. It seeks a mouth, to enter into. Who can query it? There is no other. (You’d need a head? you’d need things? I don’t know. I look too often as if I knew. It’s the voice does that: it goes all knowing, to make me think I know, to make me think it’s mine.)

It has no interest in eyes. It says I have none, or that they are no use to me. Then it speaks of tears. Then it speaks of gleams. It is truly at a loss. Gleams? Yes: far or near. (Distances: you know, measurements. Enough said?) Gleams, as at dawn. Then dying, as at evening. Or flaring up – they do that too: blaze up more dazzling than snow, for a second (that’s short!), then fizzle out.

That’s true enough?

If you like: one forgets, I forget. I say I see nothing, or I say it’s all in my head (as if I felt a head on me!). That’s all hypotheses, lies. These gleams too: they were to save me, they were to devour me. That came to nothing. I see nothing (either because of this or else on account of that). And these images at which they watered me, like a camel, before the desert? I don’t know. More lies, just for the fun of it? (Fun! What fun we’ve had! What fun of it!) All lies? (That’s soon said – you must say soon, it’s the regulations.)

The place. I’ll make it all the same. I’ll make it in my head, I’ll draw it out of my memory, I’ll gather it all about me. (I’ll make myself a head, I’ll make myself a memory.) I have only to listen: the voice will tell me everything (tell it to me again), everything I need – in dribs and drabs, breathless.

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To dream burnished surfaces are a figuration and promise of the infinite … how little we know

The Library of Babel

The Universe, which others call the Library, is composed of an indefinite, perhaps infinite number of hexagonal galleries. In the center of each gallery is a ventilation shaft, bounded by a low railing. From any hexagon one can see the floors above and below—one after another, endlessly. The arrangement of the galleries is always the same: Twenty bookshelves, five to each side, line four of the hexagon’s six sides; the height of the bookshelves, floor to ceiling, is hardly greater than the height of a normal librarian.

One of the hexagon’s free sides opens onto a narrow sort of vestibule, which in turn opens onto another gallery, identical to the first— identical in fact to all. To the left and right of the vestibule are two tiny compartments. One is for sleeping, upright; the other, for satisfying one’s physical necessities (otro, satisfacer las necesidades fecales). Through this space, too, there passes a spiral staircase, which winds upward and downward into the remotest distance. In the vestibule there is a mirror, which faithfully duplicates appearances. Men often infer from this mirror that the Library is not infinite—if it were, what need would there be for that illusory replication? I prefer to dream that burnished surfaces are a figuration and promise of the infinite…. Light is provided by certain spherical fruits that bear the name “bulbs.” There are two of these bulbs in each hexagon, set crosswise. The light they give is insufficient, and unceasing.

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