Life seems too short to read such a gigantic poem as a whole, and various attempts have been made from time to time to reduce it to its original dimensions. The most promising was to follow the indications of an old Index or Anukramanika, incorporated in the poem itself. But if we add the number of couplets of each book, as stated in that preface, we are still left with a poem of no less than couplets. It is impossible to enjoy such a poem, however beautiful it may be in some of its stories; nor can we imagine that the original poet, or the original collector even, contemplated such a monstrous produc tion. The original subject was the war between two branches of the same royal family, the Bharata princes. These Bharatas are mentioned as an ancient and most powerful race in the north of India as early as the Brahmana period, for in the Satapathabrahmana, xiii. 5, 4, we read, The greatness of the Bharatas neither the men before nor those after them have ever attained; nor did the seven tribes of men, even as mortal man does not touch the sky with his ﬂanks.'