The Mahabharata in its present form is equal to about eight times as much as the Illiad and Odyssey put together. The nucleus of the Mahabharata is the great war of eighteen days fought between the, Kauravas, the hundred sons of Dhritarashtra and Pandavas, the five sons of Pandu. The epic entails all the circumstances leading upto the war. In this great Kurukshetra battle were involved almost all the kings of India joining either of the two parties. The result of this war was the total annihilation of Kauravas and their party, and Yudhishthira, the head of the Pandavas, became the sovereign monarch of Hastinapura, symbolizing the victory of good over evil. But the progress of the years new matters and episodes relating to the various aspects of hanuman life, social, economic, political, moral and religious as also fragments of other heroic legends came to be added to the aforesaid nucleus and this phenomenon continued for centuries until it acquired the present shape.
This very fact that the Mahabharata represents a whole literature rather than one single and unified work, and contains so many and so multifarious things, makes it more suited than any other book of afford us an insight into the deepest depths of the soul of Indian people.