athato, the Mahabharata…
With prostrations to Narayana, to Nara the foremost of men, to Devi Saraswati, and to Vyasa, Mahabharata may be told.
Vyasa, at the very end of Mahabharata conveys the essence of Mahabharata, in a set of verses that are known as Bharata Savitri. Just as Gayatri is the essence of the Vedas, Savitri is of the Mahabharata.
Vyasa, who has elucidated Mahabharata to his son Suka, says:
मातापितृसहस्राणि पुत्रदारशतानि च
संसारेष्वनुभूतानि यान्ति यास्यन्ति चापरे |
हर्षस्थानसहस्राणि भयस्थानशतानि च
दिवसे दिवसे मूढमाविशन्ति न पण्डितम् |
ऊर्ध्वबाहुम्विरौम्येश न च कश्चित् शृणोति मे
धर्मादर्थश्च कामश्च स धर्म किं न सेव्यते|
न जातु कामान् न भयान् न लोभात्
धर्मं त्यजेज्जीवितस्यापि हेतो:|
नित्यो धर्म: सुखदुखो त्वनित्ये
जीवो नित्यो हेतुरस्य त्वनित्य: ||
I share my attempt, a free translation of the Bharata Savitri.
Mothers, fathers, in thousands
Children, wives, in hundreds
Arise for one in the world
and then depart from it,
and more of the same will happen.
Places of pleasure in thousands
Forums of fear in hundreds
Day by every day, these afflict fools,
Not the wise.
Hands aloft, I scream the truth,
But none listens to me!
From Dharma comes prosperity and pleasures,
so why does one not abide by Dharma?
Not for the sake of desires-pleasures,
Nor due to fear,
Nor out of greed,
Should Dharma be abandoned,
Not even for the sake of one’s life.
For Dharma is eternal, timeless, permanent,
whereas pleasures-pains are transitory!
The live-self is forever,
The cause-effect karma-body
Vyasa further adds, that whoever recites these verses after getting up at dawn, gets the fruit of having recited the whole of Mahabharata, and ultimately attains the highest state.