And, O Yudhisthira, the Selfcreate Grandsire, Almighty God, spreading illusion, slayeth the creatures by the instrumentality of his creatures, as one may break a piece of inert and senseless wood with wood, or stone with stone, or iron with iron! And the Supreme Lord, according to his pleasure, sporteth with his creatures, creating and destroying them, like a child with his toy. O King, it doth seem to me that God behaveth towards his creatures like a father or mother unto them. Like a vicious person, He seemeth to bear himself towards them in anger! Beholding superior and well-behaved and modest persons persecuted, while the sinful are happy, I am sorely troubled.

— from The Mahabharata (trans. Pratrap Chandra Roy), 3.30.

The Mahabharata (circa 400 B.C.) is one of the oldest — and longest — epic poems in history, clocking in at over 90,000 lines. The title is best translated as “the great tale of the Bhārata dynasty” and refers to the epic battles that took place between warring dynastic families in the kingdom of Kuru. Because of its philosophical and theological disquisitions, the Mahabharata is also one of the primary texts of Hinduism.

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