The Shalya Parva (Sanskrit: शल्य पर्व), or the Book of Shalya, is the ninth of eighteen books of the Indian epic Mahabharata. Shalya Parva traditionally has 4 parts and 65 chapters.[1][2] The critical edition of Shalya Parva has 4 parts and 64 chapters.[3][4]

Shalya Parva describes the appointment of Shalya as the fourth commander-in-chief of the Kaurava alliance, on the 18th day of the Kurukshetra War.[2] The parva recites Salya's death, how Duryodhana becomes mortally wounded and out of the entire Kaurava army, only 3 survive. Shalya parva also describes how Pandavas and Krishna are victorious in the war, but lament the enormous toll of the 18-day war on human lives on both sides. The book mentions the anger and hatred among survivors on the Kauravas side, particularly Duryodhana, Aswatthama, Kritavarman and Kripa.[5]

Structure and chapters

This Parva (book) traditionally has 4 sub-parvas (parts or little books) and 65 adhyayas (sections, chapters).[1][6] The following are the sub-parvas:[7]

1. Shalya-vadha Parva (Chapters: 1–22)
2. Shalya Parva (Chapters: 23–27)
3. Hrada-praveca Parva (Chapters: 28–29)
4. Gadayuddha Parva (Chapters: 30–65)

After three commander-in-chiefs of Kauravas army slain, Shalya is appointed the leader. He too is killed, as is Shakuni. Millions more soldiers die on the last day of war. Duryodhana in anguish leaves the battlefield, and goes to a lake. Bhima meets him there, challenges him to a battle. Bhima mortally wounds Duryodhana by crushing his thighs and later, Duryodhana dies.

Out of 11 Akshauhinis of the Kauravas, only survivors are mortally injured Duryodhana along with Aswatthama, Kritavarman and Kripa.[8] From Pandavas army, all five brothers, Krishna, 2000 chariots, 700 elephants, 5,000 horsemen and 10,000 foot soldiers survive. Shalya parva describes the war as over with a heavy toll on human lives, Pandavas are victorious, yet a desire for revenge is brewing in Duryodhana, Aswatthama, Kritavarman and Kripa.[2]

English translations

Shalya Parva was composed in Sanskrit. Several translations of the book in English are available. Two translations from 19th century, now in public domain, are those by Kisari Mohan Ganguli[1] and Manmatha Nath Dutt.[2] The translations vary with each translator's interpretations.

Clay Sanskrit Library has published a 15 volume set of the Mahabharata which includes Shalya Parva. This translation is modern, by multiple authors and uses an old manuscript of the epic. The translation does not remove verses and chapters now widely believed to be spurious and smuggled into the epic in 1st or 2nd millennium AD.[9]

Debroy, in 2011, notes that updated critical edition of Shalya Parva, after removing verses and chapters generally accepted so far as spurious and inserted into the original, has 4 parts, 64 adhyayas (chapters) and 3,541 shlokas (verses).[10] Debroy has published a translated version of the critical edition of Shalya Parva in Volume 7 of his series.[8]

The entire parva has been "transcreated" and translated in verse by the poet Dr. Purushottama Lal published by Writers Workshop.

Quotes and teachings

This section is a candidate for copying over to Wikiquote using the Transwiki process.

Shalya-vadha Parva, Chapter 1:

Shalya has been killed, as also Shakuni and his son Uluka,
The Samsaptakas, the Kambhojas, the Shakas, the Mlechas, the Mountaineers and the Yavanas have all been killed;
The Easterners, the Southerners, the Northerners and the Westerners, O king, have all been killed,
All the kings and princes have been killed; Duryodhana too have been killed by Pandu's son Bhima,
All the men collected have been destroyed, as also the elephants; all chariot warriors and horsemen have been slain in battle.
Amongst the Pandavas seven are alive, amongst your people just three.

— Sanjaya, Shalya Parva, Mahabharata Book ix.1.22-32[11]

Gadayuddha Parva, Chapter 32:

In difficulty, every one forgets considerations of virtue.

— Yudhishthira, Shalya Parva, Mahabharata Book ix.32.59[12]

Gadayuddha Parva, Chapter 60:

Morality is always followed by the good.
Morality is always followed for two motives:
the desire for Profit, or the desire for Pleasure

Whoever without making distinction between Morality and Profit,
or Morality and Pleasure, or Pleasure and Profit,
follows all three together - Morality, Profit and Pleasure,
always succeeds in obtaining great happiness.

— Balarama, Shalya Parva, Mahabharata Book ix.60.17-19[13]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Ganguli, K.M. (1883-1896) "Shalya Parva" in The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa (12 Volumes). Calcutta
  2. ^ a b c d Dutt, M.N. (1901) The Mahabharata (Volume 9): Shalya Parva. Calcutta: Elysium Press
  3. ^ van Buitenen, J.A.B. (1973) The Mahabharata: Book 1: The Book of the Beginning. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, p 477
  4. ^ Debroy, B. (2010) The Mahabharata, Volume 1. Gurgaon: Penguin Books India, pp xxiii - xxvi
  5. ^ John Murdoch (1898) The Mahabharata - An English Abridgment. London: Christian Literature Society for India, pp 96-101
  6. ^ Shalya Parva The Mahabharata, Translated by Manmatha Nath Dutt (1897)
  7. ^ "Mahābhārata (Table of Contents)". The Titi Tudorancea Bulletin. Retrieved 2021-03-01.
  8. ^ a b Bibek Debroy (2013), The Mahabharata, Volume 7, Penguin, ISBN 978-0-143-10019-5, Section 74 - Shalya Parva
  9. ^ Justin Meiland, Book IX - Vol 1 & 2, The Clay Sanskrit Library, Mahabharata: 15-volume Set, ISBN 978-0-8147-5706-2, New York University Press, Bilingual Edition
  10. ^ Bibek Debroy, The Mahabharata : Volume 3, ISBN 978-0143100157, Penguin Books, page xxiii - xxiv of Introduction
  11. ^ Shalya Parva The Mahabharata, Translated by Manmatha Nath Dutt (1901), page 2 Abridged
  12. ^ Shalya Parva The Mahabharata, Translated by Manmatha Nath Dutt (1901), page 64
  13. ^ Shalya Parva The Mahabharata, Translated by Manmatha Nath Dutt (1901), page 114