Translated by Adam Bowles

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The Maha·bhárata’s ‘Book of Karna’ relates the events of the two dramatic days after the defeat of the great warriors and generals Bhishma and Drona, in which Karna — great hero and the eldest Pándava — leads the Káurava army into combat. This first volume of ‘The Book of Karna’ depicts mighty battles in gory detail, sets the scene for Karna’s tragic death, and includes a remarkable verbal duel between Karna and his reluctant charioteer Shalya, the king of the Madras, as they hurl abuse at each other before entering the fray.


Why do you — a friend who’s become an enemy — menace me with the two Krishnas? Either those two will kill me today, or I’ll kill them. I know my own strength and do not fear the two Krishnas. Alone I could kill a thousand Vasu·devas and hundreds of Phálgunas. Shut up! You’re from an evil country!

604 pp.  |  ISBN-13: 978-0-8147-9981-9  |  ISBN-10: 0-8147-9981-7  |  Co-published by New York University Press and JJC Foundation

About the Translator

Adam Bowles is Honorary Research Fellow, La Trobe University, Melbourne. He has also translated Maha·bhárata VIII: Karna (volume two) for the CSL.