Although this plan was adopted, yet before a fourth of the task had been accomplished, an influential Indian journal came down upon poor Pratapa Chandra Roy and accused him openly of being a party to a great literary imposture, viz., of posing before the world as the translator of Vyasa’s work when, in fact, he was only the publisher. The charge came upon my friend as a surprise, especially as he had never made a secret of the authorship in his correspondence with Oriental scholars in every part of the world. He promptly wrote to the journal in question, explaining the reasons there were for anonymity, and pointing to the two prefaces with which the first fasciculus had been given to the world. The editor readily admitted his mistake and made a satisfactory apology.
Now that the translation has been completed, there can no longer be any reason for withholding the name of the translator. The entire translation is practically the work of one hand. In portions of the Adi and the Sabha Parvas, I was assisted by Babu Charu Charan Mookerjee. About four forms of the Sabha Parva were done by Professor Krishna Kamal Bhattacharya, and about half a fasciculus during my illness, was done by another hand. I should however state that before passing to the printer the copy received from these gentlemen I carefully compared every sentence with the original, making such alterations as were needed for securing a uniformity of style with the rest of the work.
I should here observe that in rendering the Mahabharata into English I have derived very little aid from the three Bengali versions that are supposed to have been executed with care. Every one of these is full of inaccuracies and blunders of every description. The Santi in particular which is by far the most difficult of the eighteen Parvas, has been made a mess of by the Pundits that attacked it. Hundreds of ridiculous blunders can be pointed out in both the Rajadharma and the Mokshadharma sections. Some of these I have pointed out in footnotes.
I cannot lay claim to infallibility. There are verses in the Mahabharata that are exceedingly difficult to construe. I have derived much aid from the great commentator Nilakantha. I know that Nilakantha’s authority is not incapable of being challenged. But when it is remembered that the interpretations given by Nilakantha came down to him from preceptors of olden days, one should think twice before rejecting Nilakantha as a guide.
About the readings I have adopted, I should say that as regards the first half of the work, I have generally adhered to the Bengal texts; as regards the latter half, to the printed Bombay edition. Sometimes individual sections, as occurring in the Bengal editions, differ widely, in respect of the order of the verses, from the corresponding ones in the Bombay edition. In such cases I have adhered to the Bengal texts, convinced that the sequence of ideas has been better preserved in the Bengal editions than the Bombay one.