Available Volumes

1. Sufi Lyrics, by Bullhe Shah, edited and translated by Christopher Shackle, from Harvard University Press

Sufi Lyrics

Bullhe Shah, edited and translated by Christopher Shackle

The poetry of Bullhe Shah, which drew upon Sufi mysticism, is considered one of the glories of premodern Panjabi literature. His lyrics, famous for their vivid style and outspoken denunciation of artificial religious divisions, have been held in affection by Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs, and continue to win audiences today across national boundaries.

2. The History of Akbar, Volume 1, by Abu’l-Fazl, edited and translated by Wheeler M. Thackston, from Harvard University Press

The History of Akbar, Volume 1

Abu’l-Fazl, edited and translated by Wheeler M. Thackston

The History of Akbar, by Abu’l-Fazl, is one of the most important works of Indo-Persian history and a touchstone of prose artistry. It is at once a biography of the Mughal emperor Akbar that includes descriptions of his political and martial feats and cultural achievements, and a chronicle of sixteenth-century India.

3. Therigatha: Poems of the First Buddhist Women, translated by Charles Hallisey, from Harvard University Press

Therigatha: Poems of the First Buddhist Women

Translated by Charles Hallisey

Therīgāthā is a poetry anthology in the Pali language by and about the first Buddhist women. The poems they left behind are arguably among the most ancient examples of women’s writing in the world and are unmatched for their quality of personal expression and the extraordinary insight they offer into women’s lives in the ancient Indian past.

4. The Story of Manu, by Allasani Peddana, translated by Velcheru Narayana Rao and David Shulman, from Harvard University Press

The Story of Manu

Allasani Peddana, translated by Velcheru Narayana Rao and David Shulman

The Story of Manu, by sixteenth-century poet Allasani Peddana, is the definitive literary monument of Telugu civilization and a powerful embodiment of the culture of Vijayanagara, the last of the great premodern south Indian states. It describes kingship and its exigencies at the time of Krishnadevaraya, Peddana’s close friend and patron.

5. Sur’s Ocean: Poems from the Early Tradition, by Surdas, edited by Kenneth E. Bryant, translated by John Stratton Hawley, from Harvard University Press

Sur’s Ocean: Poems from the Early Tradition

Surdas, edited by Kenneth E. Bryant, translated by John Stratton Hawley

Surdas, regarded as the epitome of artistry in Old Hindi religious poetry from the end of the sixteenth century to the present, refashioned the narrative of Krishna and his lover Radha into elegant, approachable lyrics. His popularity led to the proliferation, through an energetic oral tradition, of poems ascribed to him, the Sūrsāgar.

6. The History of Akbar, Volume 2, by Abu’l-Fazl, edited and translated by Wheeler M. Thackston, from Harvard University Press

The History of Akbar, Volume 2

Abu’l-Fazl, edited and translated by Wheeler M. Thackston

The History of Akbar by Abu’l-Fazl is one of the most important works of Indo-Persian history and a touchstone of prose artistry. In this volume, Humayun’s turbulent reign ends, and Akbar ascends his father’s throne.

7. The Epic of Ram, Volume 1, by Tulsidas, translated by Philip Lutgendorf, from Harvard University Press

The Epic of Ram, Volume 1

Tulsidas, translated by Philip Lutgendorf

The Epic of Ram by Tulsidas has become the most beloved retelling of the ancient Ramayana story across northern India and an influential literary masterpiece. This volume presents the poet’s grand introduction to Ram, setting the stage for his advent and divine mission.

8. The Epic of Ram, Volume 2, by Tulsidas, translated by Philip Lutgendorf, from Harvard University Press

The Epic of Ram, Volume 2

Tulsidas, translated by Philip Lutgendorf

The Epic of Ram by Tulsidas has become the most beloved retelling of the ancient Ramayana story across northern India and an influential literary masterpiece. This volume recounts Ram’s birth on earth, his youthful adventures, and the celebration of his marriage to Sita.

9. Arjuna and the Hunter, by Bharavi, edited and translated by Indira Viswanathan Peterson, from Harvard University Press

Arjuna and the Hunter

Bharavi, edited and translated by Indira Viswanathan Peterson

Arjuna and the Hunter, by the sixth-century poet Bharavi, portrays Arjuna’s travels to the Himalayas, where Shiva tests the hero’s courage in combat and bestows upon him an invincible weapon. This is a masterful contemplation of ethical conduct, ascetic discipline, and religious devotion—enduring themes in Indian literature.

10. The History of Akbar, Volume 3, by Abu’l-Fazl, edited and translated by Wheeler M. Thackston, from Harvard University Press

The History of Akbar, Volume 3

Abu’l-Fazl, edited and translated by Wheeler M. Thackston

The History of Akbar by Abu’l-Fazl is one of the most important works of Indo-Persian history and a touchstone of prose artistry, and is both a biography and a chronicle of sixteenth-century India. In this volume, the Mughal Emperor Akbar quells a rebellion, conquers Malwa, and marries a Rajput princess.

11. The Killing of Shishupala, by Magha, edited and translated by Paul Dundas, from Harvard University Press

The Killing of Shishupala

Magha, edited and translated by Paul Dundas

Magha’s The Killing of Shishupala is a celebrated seventh-century Sanskrit poem that tells the story of Shishupala’s refusal to honor the divine Krishna at the coronation of Yudhishthira. Through this translation, the first into English, readers gain access to a sophisticated work that has dazzled Indian audiences for a thousand years.

12. In Praise of Annada, Volume 1, by Bharatchandra Ray, translated by France Bhattacharya, from Harvard University Press

In Praise of Annada, Volume 1

Bharatchandra Ray, translated by France Bhattacharya

In Praise of Annada, Bharatchandra Ray’s long narrative poem dedicated to the glory of Annada, translated here into English for the first time, is a major achievement and a treasure of Bengali literature. This volume describes the origins of the goddess, the building of her city and temple, and the spread of her worship.

13. The Life of Harishchandra, by Raghavanka, translated by Vanamala Viswanatha, from Harvard University Press

The Life of Harishchandra

Raghavanka, translated by Vanamala Viswanatha

In Raghavanka’s poetic masterpiece The Life of Harishchandra, a powerful sage tests King Harishchandra’s commitment to truth. He suffers utter deprivation but refuses to yield. This spirited translation, the first from Kannada into any language, brings one of ancient India’s most enduring legends to a global readership.

Beyond 2017, forthcoming works include other classical texts in such languages as Apabhramsha, Marathi, Prakrit, Sindhi, and Tamil.