Translated by Adam Bowles


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.