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How S L Bhyrappa Transformed the Mahabharata into Parva: A Realistic and Rational Epic

S L Bhyrappa Parva Pdf Download: A Modern Retelling of the Mahabharata

If you are a fan of Indian mythology, you must have heard of the Mahabharata, the epic tale of the Kurukshetra war between the Pandavas and the Kauravas. But have you ever wondered how the story would look like if it was told from a realistic and humanistic perspective, without any divine intervention or supernatural elements? If yes, then you should read Parva, a novel by S L Bhyrappa that reimagines the Mahabharata as a historical fiction. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about Parva, including what it is, who wrote it, how to download it in PDF format for free, and why you should read it.

S L Bhyrappa Parva Pdf Download


What is Parva and why is it different from other versions of the Mahabharata?

Parva is a Kannada novel written by S L Bhyrappa in 1979. It is based on the Mahabharata, one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India. However, unlike other versions of the Mahabharata that are full of myths, miracles, gods, and magic, Parva presents a rational and realistic account of the events and characters. It removes all the supernatural elements and focuses on the human emotions, conflicts, motivations, and actions that drive the story. It also explores the social, political, cultural, and moral aspects of the ancient Indian society and how they influenced the outcome of the war.

Who is S L Bhyrappa and what inspired him to write Parva?

S L Bhyrappa is a renowned Kannada novelist, philosopher, and academician. He is one of the most widely read and translated authors in India. He has written more than 25 novels and several non-fiction books on various topics such as history, religion, ethics, art, literature, and culture. He has received many awards and honors for his works, including the Sahitya Akademi Award, the Padma Shri, and the Saraswati Samman.

Bhyrappa was inspired to write Parva after he visited the ruins of Hampi, the capital of the Vijayanagara empire that was destroyed by the Muslim invaders in the 16th century. He was fascinated by the history and culture of ancient India and decided to study the Mahabharata in depth. He spent more than 12 years researching various sources such as manuscripts, commentaries, translations, interpretations, folklores, archaeological findings, and historical records. He also traveled to various places mentioned in the epic such as Hastinapura, Kurukshetra, Indraprastha, Dwarka, Kashi, Gaya, and Prabhasa. He wanted to recreate the Mahabharata as a realistic and credible story that would appeal to the modern readers.

How to download Parva in PDF format for free?

If you are interested in reading Parva, you can download it in PDF format for free from the following link: This is an English translation of the novel by K Raghavendra Rao. You can also find other translations and editions of Parva online or in bookstores. However, we recommend you to read the original Kannada version if you can, as it is more authentic and nuanced.

Main Body

The plot and structure of Parva

The prologue and the frame story

The novel begins with a prologue that sets the stage for the main story. It describes how the Kuru clan, the descendants of King Bharata, split into two rival factions: the Pandavas, the sons of Pandu, and the Kauravas, the sons of Dhritarashtra. It also introduces the main characters such as Krishna, Duryodhana, Bhishma, Drona, Karna, Arjuna, Draupadi, and others. It then explains how the conflict between the Pandavas and the Kauravas escalated over the years due to various incidents such as the dice game, the exile, the disrobing, and the attempts to assassinate the Pandavas.

The novel then shifts to a frame story that narrates the events of the Kurukshetra war through the eyes of different characters. Each chapter is named after a character who tells his or her version of the story to another character. For example, in the first chapter, Bhishma tells his story to Yudhishthira on the tenth day of the war, when he is lying on a bed of arrows after being wounded by Arjuna. In the second chapter, Drona tells his story to Ashwatthama on the fifteenth day of the war, when he is about to be killed by Dhrishtadyumna. In this way, the novel covers all the 18 days of the war and also some events before and after it.

The 18 parvas or books

The novel follows the same structure as the original Mahabharata, which is divided into 18 parvas or books. Each parva covers a specific aspect or theme of the story. The names and summaries of the 18 parvas are as follows:



Adi Parva

It tells about the origin and history of the Kuru clan, the birth and childhood of the Pandavas and Kauravas, and their education under Drona.

Sabha Parva

It tells about the Rajasuya Yagna performed by Yudhishthira, the dice game that resulted in Draupadi's humiliation and Pandavas' exile, and their adventures during their exile.

Vana Parva

It tells about the life of Pandavas in forest, their meeting with various sages, kings, and gods, their visit to heaven, and their preparation for war.

Virata Parva

It tells about the last year of Pandavas' exile, when they lived incognito in Virata's kingdom, their involvement in Virata's war with Kichaka and Susharma, and their revelation of their identity.

Udyoga Parva

It tells about the efforts made by both sides to avoid war through negotiations and diplomacy, Krishna's peace mission to Hastinapura, and his advice to Arjuna at Upaplavya.

Bhishma Parva

It tells about the first ten days of Kurukshetra war, when Bhishma was the commander-in-chief of Kaurava army, his fall by Arjuna's arrows, and his teachings to Yudhishthira.

Drona Parva

It tells about the next five days of Kurukshetra war, The epilogue and the conclusion

The novel ends with an epilogue that narrates the aftermath of the war and the fate of the surviving characters. It describes how Yudhishthira performed the Ashwamedha Yagna and the Shanti Yagna to atone for the sins of the war and to establish peace and justice in his kingdom. It also describes how Krishna left Dwarka and met his death at the hands of a hunter, how the Pandavas renounced their throne and embarked on their final journey to the Himalayas, and how they attained heaven or liberation.

The novel concludes with a brief note by the author, who expresses his gratitude to his sources, his readers, and his critics. He also explains his purpose and vision behind writing Parva. He says that he wanted to present the Mahabharata as a human story, not a divine one. He wanted to show that the characters were not black and white, but shades of grey. He wanted to explore the moral dilemmas and ethical questions that arise in a war situation. He wanted to create a realistic and credible picture of ancient India, based on historical evidence and logical reasoning. He wanted to make the Mahabharata relevant and meaningful for the modern readers.


Summary of the main points

In this article, we have discussed Parva, a novel by S L Bhyrappa that retells the Mahabharata as a historical fiction. We have seen what Parva is and how it differs from other versions of the Mahabharata. We have learned about S L Bhyrappa and what inspired him to write Parva. We have also seen how to download Parva in PDF format for free. We have summarized the plot and structure of Parva, covering all the 18 parvas or books. We have analyzed the characters and themes of Parva, highlighting their complexity and depth. We have also reviewed the reception and impact of Parva, acknowledging its acclaim and controversy.

Recommendations for further reading

If you enjoyed reading Parva, you might also like to read some other works by S L Bhyrappa or related to the Mahabharata. Here are some recommendations for further reading:

  • Sartha: The Quest by S L Bhyrappa: A novel that follows the journey of a young man who seeks to learn the true meaning of life from various teachers and traditions.

  • Aavarana: The Veil by S L Bhyrappa: A novel that exposes the distortion and suppression of history by vested interests.

  • Yajnaseni: The Story of Draupadi by Pratibha Ray: A novel that tells the story of Draupadi from her own perspective.

  • The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni: A novel that retells the Mahabharata from Draupadi's point of view.

  • Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata by Devdutt Pattanaik: A book that simplifies and illustrates the Mahabharata for modern readers.

Final thoughts and opinions

Parva is a masterpiece of Indian literature that deserves to be read by everyone who loves mythology, history, or fiction. It is a novel that challenges and enriches our understanding of the Mahabharata and its characters. It is a novel that makes us think and feel deeply about war, peace, love, death, god, and man. It is a novel that transcends time and culture and speaks to our universal human condition.


Here are some frequently asked questions about Parva and their answers:

Q: Is Parva a faithful adaptation of the Mahabharata or a creative reinterpretation?

  • A: Parva is both a faithful adaptation and a creative reinterpretation of the Mahabharata. It is faithful in the sense that it follows the same plot and structure as the original epic. It is creative in the sense that it adds new details, perspectives, and interpretations to the story.

Q: How does Parva compare to other modern retellings of the Mahabharata?

  • A: Parva is different from other modern retellings of the Mahabharata in several ways. First, it is written in Kannada, not in English or Hindi. Second, it is based on extensive research and historical evidence, not on imagination or fantasy. Third, it is realistic and rational, not mythical or magical. Fourth, it is humanistic and secular, not religious or spiritual.

Q: What are some of the controversies and criticisms of Parva?

A: Parva has faced some controversies and cri