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By Barbara Gombach

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He urges his father to exile them so that consolidate DUiyodhana can kingdom. Dh~tarastra under~tand that he his hesitates, wants them but to influence soon leave. over the the Pandavas They depart. Meanwhile, Ouryodhana executes a secret plan to kill them on their journey. Vidura cleverly warns them of the plot. and they escape a fire set to kill them. Allowing Duryodhana to think them dead. they travel disguised as ascetics and begin to perform the good deeds that will forge their characters as just and virtuous kings.

Is of course absurd from the poi nt of vi ew of a si ngl e l i terary work. as It makes sense when we look upon the text not so much one opus but as a l i brary of opera .... 31 Clearly van Buitenen concluded, as many had before him. that the epic is at best a loosely structured. eclectic assortment of volumes. Hi stori an Romi 1 a Thapar a1 so accepts the basi c premi se of narrative and didactic layers. that is, that the bardic epic was converted into sacred literature, at wh i ch time discussions about ethical norms and definitions of sacred and temporal authority were interpolated into it.

I n s t r u c t i n g king Y u d h i s t h i r a tn a n c i ent 1ore. The aSvamedhfka parvan c o n t a i ns only e l even anci 11a r y tales, a very small number by comparison w i t h t h e previous two parvans. Here t h e Pgndavas make t h e necessary p r e p a r a t i arts t o . conduct an aSvamedha r i t e (horse s a c r i f i c e ) turns to t h e work s t o r i es are of r u l i n g h i s kingdom- p r i n c i p a l 1y concerned with . as Yudhi s. t h i ra the The a n c i l l a r y relationship I4sanskrit i s t Dan4 e l I n g a l 1s regards t h i s o r a l - f o r m u l a i c expression as a Mbh c l icheI t h a t is a formula t h a t is frozen.

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Ancillary Stories in the Sanskrit Mahabharata by Barbara Gombach

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