Aruna Sharan first read and fell in love with the Mahabharata in the early 1970’s while staying at the ashram of Ramana Maharshi in South India, her spiritual home. She says: “Reading this magnificent epic had a powerful effect on me; it would not let me go. I read it over and over again over the years, in every version I could find; yet though I “felt” the grandeur and power of the story itself, I was inevitably disappointed in its execution. The single-volume Mahabharatas I read were either clumsily written; or they were reduced to the bare bones of the story and were thus bland and boring; or they neglected what to my mind were powerful scenes or characters – something always seemed wrong.”
And so, about 30 years ago, she began to write her own Mahabharata; as a hobby, as a labour of love, for her own satisfaction. Back then she didn’t have the slightest goal of ever publishing it. To her it was simply a magnificent story with a powerful spiritual message hidden between the lines, a story she needed to bring to life. She wrote it on and off over the decades. Sometimes she put it away for years as she dealt with the nuts and bolts of raising a family and making a living. “As I matured so did the story; with every rewrite I felt I had come to a deeper understanding of the characters and their motives, and of the underlying theme behind the epic. Finally, it’s ready to be born, to face the world.”
Aruna Sharan is a pen name of the HarperCollins novelist Sharon Maas of Guyana, author of Of Marriageable Age and two other novels.
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