I shall be short on this theme: either you write volumes on the subject or you restrict yourself to a couple of heroic epics. I selected the latter possibility. You can find exhausting essays on the religious literature, on the Vedic and Puranic verses in any of the great Western or general Indian sites.

I was able to enjoy only comparatively short translations of two of the most significant epics of India (in English and partly in Hungarian as well), the Mahabharata and Ramajana. I can tell you without exaggeration that I found both shockingly rich and interesting. Both are expressions of the unbelievable rich fantasy of Indian brain, full of beautiful descriptions of nature and events, personalities. The level of fantasy that is radiating from both makes it difficult to believe that both are based on historic events. It is also impossible to imagine that these epics have not been recorded in written for centuries, but memorised by priests from generation to generation. We are talking about thousands of pages, library-size epics.

You cannot have any doubt regarding the historical background of Mahabharata. The title means Great India, which would not have been awarded to something false, and the site of the battle, described in it exists today as well: Kurukshetra is an existing place of touristic value.

It is more important to learn some interesting facts from Mahabharata, a few, selected by me, follow.

The society at that time, thousands of years ago was matriarchal and polyandrian. Hm, a long way to sati.

The relatives (!), forming adversary groups and fighting later cruel war at Kurukshetra, abided themselves to strict rules of war. Lessons: nothing has changed for times of historical longitude, relatives are the worst enemies and everything has changed as far as the rules of fighting wars are concerned.

The bible of Hindus is a chapter of Mahabharata: Bhagavad Gita, which is a philosophical essay, teaching us that the fulfilment of one’s obligations is the supreme duty of human beings (a very rough simplification).

Ramajana is as interesting a reading as Mahabharata. The love-story of Rama and Sita, the war against the devil force of Ravanna, king of Sri Lanka, the ways and means of fighting this war – the flying carrier, Garuda, the monkey soldiers for example – are of tremendous interest.

One of the stories of Ramajana, about a golden deer, distracting the attention of Rama’s brother from guarding Sita is exactly, almost word by word the same as our legend of golden deer that is known by heart by every pupil in Hungary. The similarity is more than surprising.

It is a must to read these two exciting works.