Threads of The Mahābhārata

Threads of The Mahābhārata displayed beautifully handbound volumes of the epic Indian poem The Mahābhārata, held by UNSW Library Special Collections.


19 March - 26 June 2024


Level 3 Main Library

UNSW Library Special Collections houses a collection of 150 handbound volumes of the epic Indian poem The Mahābhārata. These volumes were translated verse-by-verse from Sanskrit to English by P. Lāl, a celebrated poet, essayist, professor, and publisher. The task of single-handedly translating The Mahābhārata spanned a period of 42 years (1968-2010), becoming Lāl’s life’s work.

The Mahābhārata is a revered epic of ancient India and is largely considered the longest poem ever written. Within its 100,000 slokas (verses) is a comprehensive exposition of dharma (code of conduct or duty), a moral concept common to many Eastern philosophies and religions. The Mahābhārata is still an often quoted and cherished classic.

The display showed a selection of these beautifully handbound books, with handloomed sari cloth in a variety of textures, patterns, and colours.

Accessibility: UNSW Main Library is wheelchair accessible. Large-text artwork labels are available.

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