Divine Slaughter: The Bible & The Mahabharata

Violent ScripturesWhen it comes to Iron Age bloody myths, the Hindu Mahabharata beats out the Jewish/Christian Bible hands down by two orders of magnitude. Steve Wells documents how the God of the Bible sanctioned almost 25 million deaths, while the Mahabharata itself (11.26) tells us that 1,660,020,000 died in the dharma-sanctified mutual family slaughter on the plain of Kurukshetra alone — even more die elsewhere.

Question to readers: Am I a bad father to read such bloody literature to my 11 year-old daughter — not the Bible, mind you, but the Mahabharata? Maybe I should instead read her the gory tales of how Yahweh cheers on the Jews to slaughter of Moabites, Ammonites and Philistines — that way she can at least grow up knowing the same sacred stories as her friends and perhaps fit in better. What do you think?


Note: See more of my posts on the Mahabharata here.


Filed under Philosophy & Religion

8 responses to “Divine Slaughter: The Bible & The Mahabharata

  1. No, of course you are not a bad father. I’m sure you are not reading these texts without discussing them with your daughter and I’m sure you are not presenting them to your daughter as god-given documents. You read them as epic works, I suppose, in the same way one would read the Iliad and the Odyssey. (The only difference is that the latter two refer to deities who are now retired…)

    By the way, is it not the case that the Mahabharata is much longer than the Bible? If so, it’s reasonable to have more deaths in the Mahabharata.

  2. It is not easy to comment and understand Hinduism. You are as naïve as rest of atheist and pegans are. Construction and destruction is part of universe, and one has to understand beyond “I” notion as you perceive. I could teach u some if you want to but u need to behave as KG1 student. All earthrly creatures are same , be is human or some other. Even solid thinks you perceive are gas.

  3. @ Takis,
    Thanx Takis. BTW, the story in the Mahabharata where all the murders took place were over a few days — so much more bloody. Yes the Mahabharata is about 2-3x as long as the Bible, I think. But not two orders of magnitude. So the Hindu violence wins hands down! 😉

    Fascinating Hindu comment — either a fundie, or a snobby progressive. “as naive as the rest” — got me laughing. Your jargon gives you away. Arghhh.

  4. I think there is another difference between the Mahabharata and the Bible. The latter is supposed to be read verbatim, but the former is more prone to interpretation. Is that correct?

  5. Paarsurrey says:

    The Truthful Religion in its origin does not mention that the One-True-God (Allah Yahweh Ahura-Mazda Parameshwara) ever commanded to kill a person except in self-defense: [25:69] And those who call not on any other God along with Allah, nor kill a person that Allah has forbidden except for just cause, nor commit adultery (or fornication), and he who does that shall meet with the punishment of sin.


    It is always the wrong-doer politicians who manipulate the word revealed and do killings “in the name of religion or in the name of the One-True-God” for their own evil ends; and the greedy clergy side with them.

  6. @paarsurrey,
    I see you are here to tell us the truth about yet another religions: Ahmadiyya Islam
    — founded by an Indian called Mirza Ahmad around 1889. I’m glad your religion calls for peace, but I won’t be getting into the details of all your doctrines and beliefs. Thank you for stopping by.

  7. Hai.wait.your mah and ram wer writen aftr a.d.but they claim dey r old.to tell simply your myth has incomplete events.whereas in scripture it is complete….mystery of creation of universe.generations.u ppl took our abram as ram.and etc.if i have time.i can explain about d the cpycat work in mh.if i had time.

  8. @ mailerz,
    Sorry, Lad. This is an English blog. Have someone help you with your English or I won’t be responding.

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