Greatest epic of world literature: 'Mahabharata' or 'Journey to the West'? | The Tylt

Greatest epic of world literature: 'Mahabharata' or 'Journey to the West'?

The word epic refers to both a story of adventure and danger and also a story full of grandeur and meaning. In this series, we’re looking at some of the greatest epics of world literature. Some you’ll know and some you might not, but they’re all crucial works. In the semi-finals, we’re facing off the "Mahabharata," one of the most beloved works of Indian literature, and the crazy monkey mayhem of "Journey to the West." Which is the greatest epic?

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Greatest epic of world literature: 'Mahabharata' or 'Journey to the West'?
#ReadMahabharata
A festive crown for the winner
#ReadJourneyToWest
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Greatest epic of world literature: 'Mahabharata' or 'Journey to the West'?
#ReadMahabharata
#ReadJourneyToWest

In the semi-finals we’re facing off one of India's most beloved stories, the "Mahabharata," and the crazy monkey adventure of "Journey to the West." Which is the greatest epic?

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Cast your vote in our other "greatest epic of world literature" matchup below.

#ReadMahabharata

One of the most well-loved epics in the history of the world, the "Mahabharata" began as oral tradition before becoming a massive Sanskrit poem. It’s equal parts fantasy and generational tale of love and conquest, gods, demons, and magic. It is revered by Hindus and Jains for beauty and moral truths, and loved beyond that for the scope of its storytelling. Historically, the "Mahabharata" was performed in a lavish festival style, but was also popular as a source for song and dance performances. It has been filmed numerous times, from the 1930s to present day.

Listen to a super adorable and sharp kid recite a portion of the "Mahabharata" below. 

#ReadMahabharata
#ReadJourneyToWest

Though not as well known outside of Asia, “Journey to the West” is one of the most popular epics in Chinese history, and is beloved in many adaptations in other Asian countries. Author Wu Cheng’en adapted the real-life account of Chinese Buddhist monk Xuanzang’s perilous trip to India and mixed in heavily metaphoric fantastical tales and characters. The most famous of these is the chaotic and comedic monkey king, Sun Wukong. Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian elements fuse in what is both a reverent and satirical way that has delighted readers for centuries. It’s also the basis for what became "Dragon Ball Z."

Check out an animation from a couple of the people behind the Gorillaz.

#ReadJourneyToWest
FINAL RESULTS
Entertainment
Greatest epic of world literature: 'Mahabharata' or 'Journey to the West'?
#ReadMahabharata
A festive crown for the winner
#ReadJourneyToWest