The Mahabharata has existed in various forms for well over two thousand years:
The Mahabharata was one of the two most important factors that created the 'Hindu' culture of India (the other was the other all-India epic, the Ramayana), and the Mahabharata and Ramayana still exert tremendous cultural influence throughout India and Southeast Asia.
The Mahabharata s the story of the war for the throne between the virtuous Pandavas and their wicked cousins, the Kauravas. It is probably the longest of all the world’s epics. The original ‘Prakrit’ ballad was later on elaborated into a larger work in Sanskrit consisting of a number of shlokas. According to legend, its author was the sage Vyasa. Modern scholars believe that the great war of Mahabharata was actually fought.
But the historical importance of the Mahabharata is not the main reason to read the Mahabharata Quite simply, the Mahabharata is a powerful and amazing text that inspires awe and wonder. It presents sweeping visions of the cosmos and humanity and intriguing and frightening glimpses of divinity in an ancient narrative that is accessible, interesting, and compelling for anyone willing to learn the basic themes of India’s culture. The Mahabharata definitely is one of those creations of human language and spirit that has traveled far beyond the place of its original creation and will eventually take its rightful place on the highest shelf of world literature beside Homer’s epics, the Greek tragedies, the Bible, Shakespeare, and similarly transcendent works.