12 books like Mrityunjaya, The Death Conqueror

By Shivaji Sawant,

Here are 12 books that Mrityunjaya, The Death Conqueror fans have personally recommended if you like Mrityunjaya, The Death Conqueror. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Bhima Lone Warrior

Anand Neelakantan Author Of Asura: Tale of the Vanquished: The Story of Ravana and His People

From my list on Indian mythology.

Why am I passionate about this?

Anand Neelakantan is an Indian author, columnist, screenwriter, television personality, and motivational speaker. He has authored eight fiction books in English and one in Malayalam. His debut work Asura, The Tale of the Vanquished is based on the Indian epics of Ramayana. His next book series was Ajaya-Roll of the Dice, Ajaya – Rise of Kali based on the two books on the epic Mahabharata told from Kaurava perspective. Anand's books voice the suppressed party or the defeated party. In his fifth book Vanara, the legend of Baali, Sugreeva, and Tara also follow the same pattern of expressing the defeated side.

Anand's book list on Indian mythology

Anand Neelakantan Why did Anand love this book?

Originally written in Malayalam and published in 1984, this Mahabharata-based novel won the Jnanapith award, the highest literary award in India, for M.T. Vasudevan Nair. The greatness of Mahabharata is that every character in the epic has a story worth telling about. In the dextrous hands of M. T Vasudevan Nair, the poignant tale of the second Pandava, attains a different dimension, forcing us to see the ancient epic in a new light. The book is a classic in every sense and in Malayalam, every word and punctuation has a lyrical quality. The English translation is excellent enough to create a long-lasting impact on the reader’s mind. A beautiful and lyrical book.

By M.T. Vasudevan Nair,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bhima Lone Warrior as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the story of Bhima, the second son, always second in line - a story never adequately told until one of India's finest writers conjured him up from the silences in Vyasa's narrative.

M.T. Vasudevan Nair's Bhima is a revelation:lonely; eager to succeed; treated with a mixture of affection and contempt by his Pandava brothers,and with scorn and hatred by his Kaurava cousins.Bhima battlesincessantly with failure and disappointments. He is adept at disguising his feelings,but has an overwhelmingly intuitive understanding of everyone who crosses his path.A warrior without equal, he takes on the mighty Bakasura and Jarasandha, and ultimately…


Book cover of Parva: A tale of war, Peace, Love, Death, God, and Man

Anand Neelakantan Author Of Asura: Tale of the Vanquished: The Story of Ravana and His People

From my list on Indian mythology.

Why am I passionate about this?

Anand Neelakantan is an Indian author, columnist, screenwriter, television personality, and motivational speaker. He has authored eight fiction books in English and one in Malayalam. His debut work Asura, The Tale of the Vanquished is based on the Indian epics of Ramayana. His next book series was Ajaya-Roll of the Dice, Ajaya – Rise of Kali based on the two books on the epic Mahabharata told from Kaurava perspective. Anand's books voice the suppressed party or the defeated party. In his fifth book Vanara, the legend of Baali, Sugreeva, and Tara also follow the same pattern of expressing the defeated side.

Anand's book list on Indian mythology

Anand Neelakantan Why did Anand love this book?

This Kannada classic written by S L Byrappa humanises each character of Mahabharata and turns the ancient epic into a modern novel. The book won the Kendra Sahitya Academy Award and is one of the greatest Indian books written in any Indian language. There is no magic, gods, or superhumans in this novel and this makes it poignant, deep, and moving. This is Mahabharata as raw as it can get and reads like historical fiction. If Bhima is lyrical, Parva is powerful fiction. It grabs you from the first page and shakes up many of our beliefs.

By S.L. Bhyrappa,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Parva as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The novel narrates the story of the Hindu epic Mahabharata mostly using monologue as a literary technique. Several principal characters found in the original Mahabharata reminisce almost their entire lives. Both the setting and the context for the reminiscence is the onset of the Kurukshetra War. Parva is acknowledged to be S.L.Bhyrappa's greatest work.Non-Kannadigas who have read it in it's Hindi and Marathi translations consider it one of the masterpieces of modern Indian literature.It is a transformation of an ancient legend into a modern novel.In this process,it has gained rational credibility and a human perspective.The main incident,the Bharata war,symbolic of…


Book cover of Cuckold

Anand Neelakantan Author Of Asura: Tale of the Vanquished: The Story of Ravana and His People

From my list on Indian mythology.

Why am I passionate about this?

Anand Neelakantan is an Indian author, columnist, screenwriter, television personality, and motivational speaker. He has authored eight fiction books in English and one in Malayalam. His debut work Asura, The Tale of the Vanquished is based on the Indian epics of Ramayana. His next book series was Ajaya-Roll of the Dice, Ajaya – Rise of Kali based on the two books on the epic Mahabharata told from Kaurava perspective. Anand's books voice the suppressed party or the defeated party. In his fifth book Vanara, the legend of Baali, Sugreeva, and Tara also follow the same pattern of expressing the defeated side.

Anand's book list on Indian mythology

Anand Neelakantan Why did Anand love this book?

This historical fiction is on the life of a quasi-mythical figure, the bhakti era saint, Meera. Narrated by Bhoj Raj, the husband of Meera Bhai, it is the poignant tale of India itself at the cusp of a historical event. The political and social questions Nagarkar raises in the book are relevant in every era and culture. The story of Meera, the princess who fell in love with Lord Krishna and her hapless husband who is forced to compete with God for his wife’s love. The beauty of Nagarkar’s English is bewitching. The loneliness of Rajkumar, the protagonist, throbs through every line. How difficult it would have been to be married to a saint, who is revered even after five hundred years of her death and whose compositions are still sung in temples, weddings, and homes? In my opinion, this is perhaps the best Indian English novel written so far,…

By Kiran Nagarkar,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cuckold as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Cuckold is set in the historic 16th century, in the rajput kingdom of mewar the region is ruled by rana sangha, who has been trying to establish peace with the sultans of malwa, delhi, and gujarat his eldest son is maharaj kumar bhoj raj, who is the crown prince of mewar this fictional character is based on the real life rajpur prince, thakur bhojrajmaharaj kumar is the narrator of cuckold, and he is married to meera bai, the princess of mewar meera claims that she cannot cohabitat with the prince because she is already married to the hindu god, lord…


Book cover of Thirteen Plays of Bhasa

Anand Neelakantan Author Of Asura: Tale of the Vanquished: The Story of Ravana and His People

From my list on Indian mythology.

Why am I passionate about this?

Anand Neelakantan is an Indian author, columnist, screenwriter, television personality, and motivational speaker. He has authored eight fiction books in English and one in Malayalam. His debut work Asura, The Tale of the Vanquished is based on the Indian epics of Ramayana. His next book series was Ajaya-Roll of the Dice, Ajaya – Rise of Kali based on the two books on the epic Mahabharata told from Kaurava perspective. Anand's books voice the suppressed party or the defeated party. In his fifth book Vanara, the legend of Baali, Sugreeva, and Tara also follow the same pattern of expressing the defeated side.

Anand's book list on Indian mythology

Anand Neelakantan Why did Anand love this book?

Bhasa, the ancient Indian poet and dramatist, who lived two thousand two hundred years ago, was perhaps the first one to think of an alternative ending to Mahabharata in his play, Pancharatra. His Oorubhanga was the first play to be sympathetic to Duryodhana, the antagonist of Mahabharata. In Pratihna- Yaugandharayanam, one of the classical Sanskrit plays in this collection, a wooden elephant in which soldiers hide is used, making us wonder whether the Trojan horse was inspired by this ancient play or vice versa. No one has reimagined Mahabharata more boldly than this dramatist of antiquity.

By A.C. Woolner (translator), Lakshman Sarup (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Thirteen Plays of Bhasa as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This translation is of thirteen Sanskrit plays discovered in South India by the late Pandit Ganapati Sastri and edited by him in the Trivandrum Sanskrit Series. It comprises the following titles: 1.Pratijnayaugandharayana, 2.Svapnavasavadatta, 3.Carudatta, 4.Pancaratra, 5.Madhyamavyayoga, 6.Pratima-nataka, 7.Dutavakya, 8.Dutaghatotkaca, 9.Karnabhara, 10.Urubhanga, 11.Avimaraka, 12.Balacarita, and 13.Abhiseka. Sastri attributed all the thirteen plays to Bhasa and the prevailing opinion of the scholars is in agreement with him, though the available evidence is not conclusive and so the question still remains open. The translation was done by two eminent Sanskrit scholars. It was published s early as 1930 and a reprint is now…


Book cover of The Palace of Illusions

Sohini Sarah Pillai Author Of Many Mahābhāratas

From my list on Mahabharata poems, plays, and novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m Assistant Professor of Religion at Kalamazoo College and my research focuses on the Mahabharata, an epic narrative tradition from South Asia. As an Indian-American kid growing up in suburban Boston, my first introduction to the Mahabharata tradition was from the stories my grandmother told me when she would visit from Chennai and from the Mahabharata comics that she would bring me. Many years later, my friend and colleague Nell Shapiro Hawley (Preceptor of Sanskrit at Harvard University) and I began to work on a project that would eventually become our edited volume, Many Mahābhāratas. I’m excited to share some of my own personal favorite Mahabharatas with you here.

Sohini's book list on Mahabharata poems, plays, and novels

Sohini Sarah Pillai Why did Sohini love this book?

I first read this novel the summer before I started college and nearly fourteen years later, The Palace of Illusions remains one of my favorite Mahabharatas. This book is narrated by Draupadi, the shared wife of the five Pandava brothers. In the Sanskrit Mahabharata, Draupadi is an eloquent, headstrong, and intelligent heroine. While Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s Draupadi is just as compelling as her epic counterpart, Divakaruni shows us aspects of Draupadi’s life that are absent from the Sanskrit Mahabharata, such as her childhood in her father’s palace and her relationships with her siblings Dhristadyumna and Sikhandi. Also, although The Palace of Illusions is set in ancient India, this novel sensitively addresses pertinent social issues in contemporary South Asia including transphobia and colorism.

By Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Palace of Illusions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Palace of Illusions takes us back to a time that is half-history, half-myth, and wholly magical; narrated by Panchaali, the wife of the five Pandava brothers, we are -- finally -- given a woman's take on the timeless tale that is the Mahabharata

Tracing Panchaali's life -- from fiery birth and lonely childhood, where her beloved brother is her only true companion; through her complicated friendship with the enigmatic Krishna; to marriage, motherhood and Panchaali's secret attraction to the mysterious man who is her husbands' most dangerous enemy -- The Palace of Illusions is a deeply human novel about…


Book cover of How the Nagas Were Pleased & The Shattered Thighs

Sohini Sarah Pillai Author Of Many Mahābhāratas

From my list on Mahabharata poems, plays, and novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m Assistant Professor of Religion at Kalamazoo College and my research focuses on the Mahabharata, an epic narrative tradition from South Asia. As an Indian-American kid growing up in suburban Boston, my first introduction to the Mahabharata tradition was from the stories my grandmother told me when she would visit from Chennai and from the Mahabharata comics that she would bring me. Many years later, my friend and colleague Nell Shapiro Hawley (Preceptor of Sanskrit at Harvard University) and I began to work on a project that would eventually become our edited volume, Many Mahābhāratas. I’m excited to share some of my own personal favorite Mahabharatas with you here.

Sohini's book list on Mahabharata poems, plays, and novels

Sohini Sarah Pillai Why did Sohini love this book?

The Urubhanga or the Shattered Thighs is one of six Sanskrit Mahabharata dramas that are attributed to the playwright Bhasa (ca. 200 CE). There are two things about the Shattered Thighs that I find particularly fascinating. The first is that the hero of the play is Duryodhana, the leader of the one hundred Kauravas who is usually seen as the villain of the Mahabharata tradition. The second is that the Shattered Thighs violates one of the central rules of Sanskrit dramas by (spoiler alert!) depicting the central hero of the play physically dying on stage. There are multiple English translations of the Shattered Thighs, but I recommend the one by Andrew Skilton because it includes detailed endnotes that are helpful for non-specialist readers. 

By Harsha, Bhasa, Andrew Skilton (translator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How the Nagas Were Pleased & The Shattered Thighs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Two tragic plays that break the rules: both show the hero dying on stage, a scenario forbidden in Sanskrit dramaturgy. King Harsha's play, composed in the seventh century, re-examines the Buddhist tale of a magician prince who makes the ultimate sacrifice to save a hostage snake (naga). The Shattered Thighs, attributed to Bhasa, the illustrious predecessor to ancient Kali*dasa, transforms a crucial episode of the Maha*bharata war. As he dies from a foul blow to the legs delivered in his duel with Bhima, Duryodhana's character is inverted, depicted as a noble and gracious exemplar amidst the wreckage of the fearsome…


Book cover of Panchali's Pledge

Sohini Sarah Pillai Author Of Many Mahābhāratas

From my list on Mahabharata poems, plays, and novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m Assistant Professor of Religion at Kalamazoo College and my research focuses on the Mahabharata, an epic narrative tradition from South Asia. As an Indian-American kid growing up in suburban Boston, my first introduction to the Mahabharata tradition was from the stories my grandmother told me when she would visit from Chennai and from the Mahabharata comics that she would bring me. Many years later, my friend and colleague Nell Shapiro Hawley (Preceptor of Sanskrit at Harvard University) and I began to work on a project that would eventually become our edited volume, Many Mahābhāratas. I’m excited to share some of my own personal favorite Mahabharatas with you here.

Sohini's book list on Mahabharata poems, plays, and novels

Sohini Sarah Pillai Why did Sohini love this book?

As you may have been able to tell from this list, I have a special fondness for Mahabharatas that revolve around women, especially Draupadi. One of these Mahabharatas is Subramania Bharati’s magnificent Tamil poem, Pancali Sapatam or Panchali's Pledge. Subramania Bharati was a poet and Indian independence activist and he began to write Panchali's Pledge in 1912 while he was living in hiding from the British. Thus, it is unsurprising that Panchali's Pledge is a powerful allegory for the anti-colonial struggle against the British Raj in twentieth-century South Asia with Draupadi being depicted as the personification of the Indian nation. Like Andrew Skilton’s translation of the Shattered Thighs, Usha Rajagopalan’s translation of Panchali's Pledge contains a number of useful endnotes for readers who may be unfamiliar with the Mahabharata tradition. 

By Subramania Bharati, Usha Rajagopalan (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Panchali's Pledge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Honoured at a public function when he was a mere boy of eleven with the title 'Bharati' (one blessed by Saraswati, the Goddess of Learning), C. Subramania Bharati (1882-1921) is renowned as the herald of the renaissance in Tamil literature. The simplicity and lyricism that marked his poetry reflect a clear shift in sensibility and craft from the classical tradition, which had adhered to strictures of style, imagery and language for over 2000 years. Panchali's Pledge is the English translation of Bharati's seminal work, Panchali Sabadham, which reimagines the pivotal Game of Dice incident in the Mahabharata, where coerced into…


Book cover of Until the Lions: Echoes from the Mahabharata

Gita Ralleigh Author Of Siren

From my list on myths beyond the Greco-Roman Canon.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a poet and fiction writer who enjoys popular feminist retellings of Greco-Roman mythology. But I want to draw attention to the rich and powerful myths beyond that canon, myths used by contemporary writers to make sense of our world, our brief mortal lives, and what lies beyond. Scholar Karen Armstrong writes in A Short History of Myth, "Myth is about the unknown; it is about that for which we initially have no words. Myth therefore looks into the heart of a great silence." My poetry book A Terrible Thing reinterprets goddess myths and Siren does the same with myths of hybrid women, half-fish and half-bird and more.

Gita's book list on myths beyond the Greco-Roman Canon

Gita Ralleigh Why did Gita love this book?

As a writer of feminist myths, Kartika Nair’s exquisite poetic retelling of the Mahabharata from the women’s perspective felt like it was written for me. The title is from the African writer Chinua Achebe’s words, "Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter." Using formal poetry, free verse, and prose, Nair has created a palimpsest of the great Indian epic of kingship and warring dynasties which is several times the length of The Iliad and The Odyssey combined. Here the mothers, wives, sisters, and lovers of the protagonists tell their stories, providing a counterpoint to the much-quoted verse from the epic: "All that is found here can be found elsewhere, but what is not here can be found nowhere."

By Karthika Naïr,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Until the Lions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The title of this book comes from the African proverb - "until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter". In this poetic reimagining, Nair writes, for the first time, the history of the women in the Mahabharata, the longest poem ever written and one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India.


Book cover of Mahabharata: A Modern Retelling

Sohini Sarah Pillai Author Of Many Mahābhāratas

From my list on Mahabharata poems, plays, and novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m Assistant Professor of Religion at Kalamazoo College and my research focuses on the Mahabharata, an epic narrative tradition from South Asia. As an Indian-American kid growing up in suburban Boston, my first introduction to the Mahabharata tradition was from the stories my grandmother told me when she would visit from Chennai and from the Mahabharata comics that she would bring me. Many years later, my friend and colleague Nell Shapiro Hawley (Preceptor of Sanskrit at Harvard University) and I began to work on a project that would eventually become our edited volume, Many Mahābhāratas. I’m excited to share some of my own personal favorite Mahabharatas with you here.

Sohini's book list on Mahabharata poems, plays, and novels

Sohini Sarah Pillai Why did Sohini love this book?

Considered to be the longest poem in the world, the Sanskrit Mahabharata is comprised of around 1.8 million words (for comparison: the combined length of the seven Harry Potter books is barely 1.1 million words). At 928 pages, Mahabharata: A Modern Retelling is by no means a short book, but it does make the massive Sanskrit epic very accessible for general readers. While the Sanskrit Mahabharata is primarily composed in couplets called shlokas, Carole Satyamurti’s masterful retelling is in blank verse, which is the meter of my two favorite English epics: John Milton’s Paradise Lost and Jack Mitchell’s The Odyssey of Star Wars. I also especially love the way Satyamurti presents Karna, the secret elder brother of Pandavas and one of the greatest tragic heroes in world literature. 

By Carole Satyamurti,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mahabharata as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Mahabharata, originally composed some two thousand years ago is an epic masterpiece, "a hundred times more interesting" than the Iliad and the Odyssey (Wendy Doniger), it is a timeless work that evokes a world of myth, passion and warfare while exploring eternal questions of duty, love and spiritual freedom. A seminal Hindu text, it is one of the most important and influential works in the history of world civilisation.

This new English retelling, innovatively composed in blank verse, covers all the books of the Mahabharata. It masterfully captures the beauty, excitement and profundity of the original Sanskrit poem as…


Book cover of Labels of Empire: Textile Trademarks - Windows Into India in the Time of the Raj

Peter Koepke Author Of Patterns, Inside the Design Library

From my list on textile for your design library.

Why am I passionate about this?

Nearly 50 years ago I was completely taken with the patterns drawn, woven, or embroidered by the Indigenous Peoples of the Upper Amazon of Peru. This was my first experience with the power of pattern and led to a career in collecting and curating the pottery and textiles from that area. By the end of the 1980s, I was ready to start a family and a more settled job. The Design Library was the perfect segue. The patterns created in Europe, Africa, and Asia over the past 250 years are also important cultural statements and are continually re-interpreted by our clients for today's market.

Peter's book list on textile for your design library

Peter Koepke Why did Peter love this book?

I am immediately drawn to this magnificent book for the many textile designs it contains and then, a new discovery for me, the vitality of the label imagery. The labels are sensual and sensational, devotional and secular. Most were created by British artists inspired by earlier Indian paintings and engravings just as so many textile designs are descendants of earlier patterns.

I learned how the stories told by these labels provide a rich view into an important period of British textile history and trade as well as Indian culture – from the heavenly realm of the Hindu Gods to the earthly palaces of Maharajas – from the mill workers of Lancashire to the khadi-clad followers of Mahatma Gandhi.   

This book will be released in February/March 2023, but advance orders are being taken. Just take a peek and brace yourself for a wild, wonderful trip. Over 1000 period labels illustrate the…

By Susan Meller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Labels of Empire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At one time Great Britain clothed the world. In the 1880s, when the British textile industry was at its height, 85 percent of the world's population wore clothing made from fabric produced in the mills of Lancashire. From 1910 to 1913 alone, seven billion yards of cloth were folded, stamped, labeled, and baled. Most of this output was for export, and 30 percent of it went to India.

British textile manufacturers selling into the competitive Indian market were dealing with a largely illiterate population. In order to differentiate their goods, they stamped their cloth with distinctive images-a crouching tiger or…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Sanskrit, India, and the British Raj?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Sanskrit, India, and the British Raj.

Sanskrit Explore 21 books about Sanskrit
India Explore 448 books about India
The British Raj Explore 25 books about the British Raj