An Index To The Names In The Mahabharata


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From the Jacket

This unique work is the result of a sustained and patient endeavour of Professor S. Sorensen, for over two decades. It records almost all the available names of persons, places and episodes that occur in the Mahabharata. The details of the exploits and episodes pertaining to particular persons are given as a summary with references to the exact location in the text. Summaries of Parvans, minor Parvans, Upakhyanas - like Anusasanika, Moksadharma, Narayaniya, Nalopakhyana etc. are given. All the names listed in different stotras find their place here. Thus the Index is virtually a thesaurus of the great epic, enabling the readers to find all information about several events scattered all over the great work. Apart from being a mere Index, it gives an interesting and meaningful reading for even a casual reader.

Professor Sorensen (1849-1902) of the Copenhagen University was the student of Professors J. N. Madvig and N. L. Westergaard. He took his Ph. D. on the 'Mahabharata and its place in Indian Literature'. It is significant that Professor Sten Konow and Sir George A. Grierson were associated with the printing of the work. The revision and final preparation were done by Mr. D. Andersen and Mr. E. Olesen.


The present work consists of two portions - the Index proper and the Concordance. The Index deals mainly with the proper names occurring in the Mahabharata. The student should therefore first look for information under such headings as are names, and not under narrative headings such as Indravijaya and the like.

The paragraph references found under the names in the Index are given sometimes alone [e.g., 547], and sometimes with the addition of small italic letters [e.g. 201b]. If there is no such addition, the paragraphs (viz. abstracts or paraphrases of the text) are themselves sections of the narrative, and given under the name in question, because the bearer of the name is the principal actor. Such paragraph references, without small italic letters, are often followed by a parenthesis. Thus, under the heading Agni, we find the quotation "254-260 (Khandavadah.)." Here the references are suggestive of a narrative which will be found in full under the heading given within parenthesis, viz. Khandavadahanaparvan, and the name in question, in this case Agni, is the name of one among several principal actors, so that it would seem arbitrary to refer the narrative to him alone.

A smell italic letter after a paragraph reference and followed by a word within parenthesis is used when the name to which it is added does not connote the principal actor or the chief item of the narrative, but is only incidentally mentioned, though the reference is of interest for, and solely, or at least chiefly, concerned with it. If further information is wanted it will have to be looked for under the heading given within parenthesis, where the name in question is mentioned, the small italic letter being added within parenthesis as a kind of cross-reference.

Under Mahishmati we thus find the quotation "282b (Sahadeva)"followed by a remark concerning Mahishmati. Further particulars must then be looked for under Sahadeva, where we read, "282: From Kishkindha Shd. marched towards Mahishmati (b)."

Take, for instance, the reference given under Duhcasana, "83 (Adivamcav.) a: I, 63, 2447" (or, I, 63a, 2447). Similarly, we find under Duhsaha, "83 (Adivamcav.) a: I, 63,2448" These references show that Duhcasana and Duhsaha are mentioned under the heading Adivamcavatarana, and that no immediate interest attaches to their being referred to in that place. The statement made under Adivamcavatarana runs, "83: the 101 sons of Dhrtarashtra…of whom 11 (a)… are enumerated as maharathas." Here the a indicates that I have not thought it worth while to enumerate those 11 names (they must accordingly be looked for in the Sanskrit texts), but the passage in question has been referred to under the headings of each of them.

To return to the quotation under Duhcasana, "83 (Adivamcav) a : I, 63, 2447." The figures 63, 2447 refer to a passage where Duhcasana is actually mentioned. The small a shows that the mention of his name presumably is of little or no general importance, and may be practically neglected from a mythological or legendary point of view.

If the reader nevertheless wishes to know the purport of the reference, the word given within parenthesis shows that information will be found under Adivamcavatarana, and one inspection under that heading will show that Duhcasana is there only mentioned, among eleven of Dhrtarashtra's sons, as a maharatha.

The heading Adivamcavatarana, with or without one additional inspection of the Concordance under 83, will at once show the reader who in his memory has a general idea o the contents of the Mahabharata that the quotation has been taken from a kind of Preface or introduction to the principal narrative of the Epos, which is placed after the sections where, not Vaicampayana, but Sauti is the speaker. According to his critical disposition he will, or will not, draw conclusions from this fact.

Mere comparisons have been marked by the addition of (iva) or the like. The signs, and have a critical value. I have not, of course, allowed the book to be influenced by critical theories. I have only intended to draw attention to such facts as seem to be of critical importance. According to his disposition, the reader may or may not draw conclusions from those signs. The danger is that they may sometimes have been omitted through inadvertence.

The numbers of verses, in ordinary type, refer to the Calcutta edition; the number of chapters, in clarendon type, to the Bombay text. By using the Concordance it will be possible, with very little uncertainty, to calculate what verse in the Bombay edition corresponds to a given one in the Calcutta Mahabharata.

The books are quoted in Roman numbers. The enumeration of verses is, except where the heading is marked by an asterisk, intended to be complete, and I hope that it is so, at least with regard to all instances where there cannot be any doubt that the heading occurs as a name. In such cases, on the other hand, where it may have been a matter of subjective feeling during the reading whether a word should be considered as a proper name or as a mere laudatory epithet, I fear that there may be some incompleteness and inconsistency. Thus some synonyms of Agni and Arjuna, which will be found in Mr. Holtazmann's lists, have not been registered.

There are also some other inconsistencies, sometimes voluntary, for the sake of convenience, sometimes involuntary, due to the fact that my work has extended over a very great span of time. These latter ones are faults for which I must ask indulgence, but I hope that they will not cause any serious misunderstanding or inconvenience. I do not now venture to correct them, lest the numerous cross-references should be imperiled.

The numerous synonyms, such as Kiritin for Arjuna, have, as a rule, been put together under the principal name; e g. Kiritin, etc., under Arjuna. Such denominations as Kaurava, Kurucreshtha, etc., have, however, been given separately in their proper places, the principal aim to be held in view with regard to them clearly being to be able to know easily what person is meant in each instance.

In the case of such synonyms, and of articles the contents of which are unimportant, I have only quoted book and verse. In other cases I have usually also added reference to paragraph and chapter. Take, for instance, under the heading Arjuna, the quotation 613 (Gadayuddh.), the heading Gadayuddhaparvan, were a summary of the narrative in question will be found under Book ix, chapters 32-33. The quotation 33, 1890, 1921 indicates the places where the name Arjuna actually occurs.

In some cases the summary of the narrative has also, for the sake of convenience, been repeated, in a more or less abridged form, under the special heading; thus, in our present case, under Arjuna.

In these, probably not very numerous, cases the reference to the paragraph is only necessary in order to get an idea of the wider connection in which the quotation occurs. In Other instances the exposition must almost entirely be looked for in the paragraph quoted. Thus in the case of the quotation 254-260 (Khandavadah.), I, 222-234, under the heading Arjuna. Here the narrative will be found in 254-260 under the heading Khandavadahanaparvan. By referring to the Concordance, under the same paragraphs, the place which the narrative occupies in the epic as a whole will immediately be seen.< By arranging in numerical order, i. e. in the order of the Concordance, the paragraphs as given in the Index, we should obtain a synopsis of the contents of the whole epic, in the order of the original. Essentially the same result may be obtained from the article Arjuna, where I have introduced more repetitions (i. e statements which are also found under other headings) than in any other article.

With regard to repetitions, I have thought it more important to enable the reader to use the Index conveniently and without unnecessary waste of time, than to save space. I have not, therefore, strictly avoided them in the principal article, though I have done so in most cases by referring to paragraph articles and to the headings under which the quotations concerned are first given.

The text on which the Index is based is, on the whole, the Calcutta edition. Readings from other sources (i. e. almost exclusively the Bombay edition) have only been noticed for special reasons.

In transliterating the Sanskrit words, it will be noticed that I have followed the order of the Latin alphabet, without paying any attention to diacritical marks. I have adopted the usual system of transliteration, with some modifications. Thus the palatal mute is given as being reserved for the corresponding aspirate; j is the palatal media, and y the corresponding semivowel. The palatal and cerebral 3-sounds have been transliterated and respectively.

The only exception from the strict adherence to the arrangement in accordance with the Latin alphabet is that the letters c and r have been treated as separate letters and placed after c and r respectively. This has been done because these sounds are often transliterated as s and ri respectively.

In the CONCORDANCE it will be noticed that the mutual relationship between the two divisions in paragraphs and chapters has been indicated in various ways. My principal aim has here been to save space and trouble.

My sincere thanks are due to those who have helped me with their advice or have in other ways shown their interest in my work. In this connection I beg to mention Professor V. Fausboll, Professor K. F. Geldner, Professor Ch. R. Lanman, Dr. Sten Konow, and Dr. G. A. Grierson. The valuable suggestions made by Professor Lanman have, in many respects, left material traces in the arrangement of the Index, and certainly rendered it much more convenient and useful to the student than would otherwise have been the case. My young friend Mr. Elof Olesen deserves my warmest thanks for the care and sagacity with which he has assisted me in the revision of the manuscript.

Finally, I tender my respectful thanks for the pecuniary assistance, which has rendered the compilation of this work possible, viz., the very liberal support which I have received from the Carlsberg Fond at Copenhagen, and from the Danish Government and the Danish Parliament.