Translated by Adam Bowles


The Book of “Karna” of India’s great epic the Maha·bhárata tells the events that occurred during the mighty hero Karna’s two days as general of the Káurava army. The second volume of the Clay Sanskrit Library’s edition and translation of “Karna” resumes on the war’s seventeenth and penultimate day. This will be a momentous day for the Bhárata clans and especially for a number of their most distinguished heroes, with some of the epic’s most telegraphed events reaching their climax. Not only will the epic’s most anticipated duel between its greatest champions Árjuna and Karna be played out to its cruel and tragic end, but one of the more gruesome episodes in the epic will also take place with Duhshásana meeting the fate that has long waited him since his brazen maltreatment of Dráupadi in the assembly hall:

Tearing open his chest as he lay on the ground he then drank his warm blood. Lopping off your son’s head with his sword and tossing it away, king, Bhima drank his warm blood with conviction, eager to make good his vow. Quaffing it again and again, he looked about in rage and uttered these astounding words: “Better than a draft of mother’s milk, honey or ghee, well made mead or divine water, than milk, curds or buttermilk! This liquor is better than all other drinks in this world which have the sweet taste of the gods’ nectar! That’s what I reckon, bloody as I am from my enemy!”

684 pp.  |  ISBN-13: 978-0-8147-9995-6  |  ISBN-10: 0-8147-9995-7  |  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 one) for the CSL.