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The Mahabharata (which can be translated as 'The Poetical History of Humanity') is a 100,000-stanza Sanskrit poem, more than 10 times longer than the Bible. It is one of the oldest and most sacred works of Indian literature, and one of the world's longest written works. The Bhagavad Gita forms a part of this great work. Related by Vyasa and said to have been written down by the god of writing and beginnings, Ganesha (the elephant-headed god), it is a fascinating story of a feud between two parts of a single Indian ruling family (the Bharata), featuring a gambling contest in which one set of cousins is tricked out of their kingdom. This culminates in a vast, cataclysmic battle, told in a heroic and moral context. Krishna teaches the warrior that the ultimate battle is not about land and riches and worldly power.
This 1989 version by Peter Brook is 5 hours 20 mins. It is in three parts with an international cast, to emphasize the nature of the epic as a universal story of all humanity. It is an astonishing, compelling rendering, based as it is on their earlier theatre production. They have managed to capture the whole essence of the what is said to be the greatest epic ever told.
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