Approaches to the Ur-Mahabharata


  • Zdenko Zlatar


1 The·   problem of the Vr-Mahabharata There is a sloka in The Mahabharata which can   be translated like this: 'Whatever is found here can be found elsewhere; what   is not found here cannot be found anywhere else'. 1 This illustrates very   well the variety of approaches to, and interpretations of, the epic for over   a hundred and fifty years. Yet, when all of them are taken into account, it   can be seen that they fall into a combination of one or two of four   categories: 1) The Mahabharata as a unitary epic; 2) The Mahabharata as a   composite epic; 3) The Mahabharata as a symbolic representation; 4) The   Mahabharata as a real event.