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The Hindu Epics

The Mahabharata and Ramayana are the national epics of India. They are probably the longest poems in any language.


Attributed to the sage Vyasa, was written down from 540 to 300 B.C. tells the legends of the Bharatas, a Vedic Aryan group.

The Mahabharata
Unabridged translation by Kisari Mohan Ganguli (1883-1896).  A joint venture to digitize it, between Sacred-Texts and Project Gutenberg. 

The Mahabharata in Sanskrit

The text with parallel Devanagari and Romanization Unicode.


Attributed to the poet Valmiki, was written down during the first century A.D., although it is based on oral traditions that go back six or seven centuries earlier.  The Ramayana is a love story with moral and spiritual themes.

Ramayan Of Valmiki
The first complete translation in public domain online, translated by Ralph T.H. Griffith (1870-1874).

The Ramayana in Sanskrit
The text with parallel Devanagari and Romanization Unicode.

Abridged Versions

The Ramayana and Mahabharata
The abridged version of these Epics, translated by R. Dutt (1899).

Indian Idylls
The stories from the Mahabharata, rendered in poetry, translated by Sir Edwin Arnold (1883).

Love and Death
The popular story of Ruru and Priyumvada from the Mahabharata, by Sri Arobindo (1921).

Bhagavad Gita

Considered part of the sixth book of the Mahabharata (dating from about 400 or 300 B.C.), it is a central text of Hinduism, a philosophical dialog between the god Krishna and the warrior Arjuna.

This is one of the most popular and accessible of all Hindu scriptures, required reading for anyone interested in Hinduism. The Gita discusses selflessness, duty, devotion, and meditation, integrating many different threads of Hindu philosophy.

The Bhagavad Gita (SBE 8)
The scholarly prose translation with two other similar, less well known works from the Mahabharata, with the Sanatsugatiya and the Anugita, translated by Kashinath Trimbak Telang, Sacred Books of the East, Vol 8, (1882).

The Bhagavad Gita in Sanskrit

Translation in modern English prose with commentary, by Swami Swarupananda (1909).

Bhagavad Gita
The modern prose translation sanctioned by the International Gita Society.

Bhagavad Gita
The classic poetic version, translated by Sir Edwin Arnold (1885).

Related Recommended Reading:





Other Primary Hindu Texts

Later Hindu Texts

Modern Hindu Books

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