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The Mahābhārata is an Sanskrit epic poem written over an extended period from the 4th century BC to the 2nd century AD. The fullest form of The Mahābhārata contains about 2,000,000 words, and is sometimes said to be the longest poem in world literature. Quotations are cited from the translation by J. A. B. van Buitenen et al. (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1980–), to which page numbers also refer.

Sabha Parva[edit]

Vana Parva[edit]

  • With gentleness one defeats the gentle as well as the hard; there is nothing impossible to the gentle; therefore the gentle is the more severe.
    • Sub-parva 31, sect. 29; vol. 2, p. 277.
  • A gray head does not make an elder. The Gods know him to be an elder who knows, be he a child. Not by years, not by gray hairs, not by riches or many relations did the seers make the Law: "He is great to us who has learning."
    • Sub-parva 33, sect. 133; vol. 2, p. 476.
  • Be he ever so wise and strong, wealth confounds a man. In my view, anyone living in comfort fails to reason.
    • Sub-parva 36, sect. 178; vol. 2, p. 566.

Udyoga Parva[edit]

  • The poor always eat better: hunger sweetens their dishes, and that is rare among the rich. It is generally found in the world that the rich have no appetite, but the poor, O Indra of kings, digest even wood.
    • Sub-parva 51, sect. 34; vol. 3, pp. 263-4.
  • The intoxication with power is worse than drunkenness with liquor and such, for he who is drunk with power does not come to his senses before he falls.
    • Sub-parva 51, sect. 34; vol. 3, p. 264.
  • Do not do to another what is disagreeable to yourself: this is the summary Law.
    • Sub-parva 51, sect. 39; vol. 3, pp. 281-2.
    • Similar formulations appear elsewhere in The Mahābhārata.
  • Once war has been undertaken, no peace is made by pretending there is no war.
    • Sub-parva 54, sect. 86; vol. 3, p. 365.

Peter Brook's the Mahabharata (1989 film)[edit]

  • "What is quicker than the wind?" "Thought." "What can cover the Earth?" "Darkness." "Who are more numerous? The living or the dead?" "The living, because the dead are no longer." "Give me an example of space." "My two hands as one." "An example of grief?" "Ignorance." "Of poison?" "Desire." "An example of defeat." "Victory." "Which came first, day or night?" "Day, but it was only a day ahead." "What is the cause of the world?" "Love." "What is your opposite?" "Myself." "What is madness?" "A forgotten way." "And revolt? Why do men revolt?" "To find beauty, either in life or in death." "And what for each of us is inevitable?" "Happiness." "And what is the greatest wonder?" "Each day death strikes, and we live as though we were immortal. This is the greatest wonder."

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