The website sacred-texts.com has two versions of Mahabharata:

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Now if I want to see the original Sanskrit shlokha corresponding to a single line from Ganguli's translation, how can I easily do that without spending a whole day? I tried once before and gave up because the Sanskrit text is not as well organized as the English translation on that website. Has anyone else attempted the same before and succeeded?

E.g., I want to get to the Sanskrit shlokha that was translated as:

"Sanjaya continued, 'Govinda then said, "Fie, fie," unto Partha


1 Answer 1


Yeah I sucessfully do it all the time, though I admit it's not easy. The issue is that the English translation and the Sanskrit texts are from different recessions of the Mahabharata. Plus sometimes where the chapters begin and end are also different. In any case, here's the chapter you're looking for: http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/mbs/mbs08049.htm The verse starting with "idānīṃ pātha jānāmi" corresponds to Krishna saying "I know now..."

Here's the general procedure I follow (in this case it took me 5-10 minutes):

  1. Estimate roughly where the chapter would be in the Sanskrit version. In this case, the English chapter given is chapter 69 out of 90-something total chapters in the Parva, so roughly 2/3 of the way into the Parva. Now the Sanskrit version has 60-something chapters, so the chapter we're looking for will probably be in the 40's somewhere.

  2. Choose any Sanskrit chapter in the estimated range, and find a distinctive proper noun, like a name of a person, a place, etc. that's not likely to be in that many other chapters. Then search the English version of the Parva for that name. In this case, after a couple false starts I chose the Sanskrit chapter 46 where [y], which means Yudhishthira, says devakīputra in verse 3. Devaki seems pretty distinctive, so I searched site:www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m08 Devaki on Google.

  3. Compare each English chapter in the search results with the Sanskrit chapter you chose. (There shouldn't be that many search results if you found a very distinctive proper noun.) You can quickly see whether the chapter is the same or different by seeing whether the same speaker utters the proper name you identified. In this case, I found that the English chapter 66 has Yudhishtira saying both "son of Devaki" and "Dhananjaya" in the first sentence he speaks, just like in the Sanskrit version.

  4. Now that you have a Rosetta stone, i.e. an English chapter and a corresponding Sanskrit chapter, use that as a starting point to get to the chapter you desire. In this case, I started in the English chapter 66, and traveled to chapter 69, while simultaneously trying to follow along in the Sanskrit. The beginnings and ends of different characters' speeches are a good way to compare landmarks. So by doing that, I found the right Sanskrit chapter, namely chapter 49

  5. Now just try to find the desired quote in the Sanskrit chapter, by finding the meanings of different Sanskrit words through a Sanskrit-English dictionary and identifying what place in the chapter it corresponds to. In this case I found Krishna saying "idanim" and "janami" in verse 14, which corresponds to Krishna saying "Now I know" in English.

Or alternatively, you can just ask me for help!

  • Yeah, this is similar to what I tried earlier. Those [y]'s, [k]'s you mentioned are definitely useful to navigate. However, not sure if it's verse 14 that also translates to 'fie, fie' (or shame on you! shame on you!). I could not find धिक् अस्तु (dhik astu). May 1, 2016 at 2:17
  • 2
    @sv. I just checked the Debroy translation, which is based on the BORI critical edition of the Mahabharata, and right after Arjuna says “I will do whatever you ask me to.", it immediately says "Krishna replied, ‘O Partha! I now know that you have never attended to those who are old. O tiger among men! You have fallen prey to wrath at the wrong time. O Dhananjaya!” So the "fie, fie" line is not there. Perhaps that line is only found in some recessions of the Mahabharata. May 1, 2016 at 3:33
  • @sv. By the way, it occurs to me that the Debroy translation, since it is based on the BORI critical edition, will have chapter numbers that are quite close or identical with the Sanskrit version given in sacred-texts. So rather than going through all the rigmarole described in my answer, you can just search the Debroy translation and find the chapter corresponding to a given Ganguli chapter (assuming you have the Debroy translation in ebook form as I do). And then from there it should quite easy to find the Sanskrit chapter based on the Debroy chapter. May 1, 2016 at 3:37
  • @sv. This page has complete English translation of Mahabharata of Sacred texts (Ganguli's) in PDF and here for Sanskrit Verses (BORI Critical Edition). Now, you may need to find another method to navigate when you are offline..
    – The Destroyer Mod
    May 1, 2016 at 4:40
  • @KeshavSrinivasan No, I don't have the Debroy translation with me. But thanks for checking that one for me. May 1, 2016 at 23:46
  • @TheDestroyer The issue seems to be with the English translation at sacred-texts.com is not based on the BORI critical edition so difficult to navigate from English to Sanskrit - some trial and error involved. May 1, 2016 at 23:54
  • @sv. Yeah. You can try indianscriptures but you told me that you didn't like UI of that site. Other alternative is Indianscriptures.com which have both Sanskrit verses and English translation.
    – The Destroyer Mod
    May 2, 2016 at 11:02

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