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Among the principal works and stories in the Mahābhārata are the Bhagavad Gita, the story of Damayanti, an abbreviated version of the Rāmāyaṇa, and the story of Ṛṣyasringa, often considered as works in their own right.
The oldest preserved parts of the text are thought to be not much older than around 400 BCE, though the origins of the epic probably fall between the 8th and 9th centuries BCE.
It was also distilled into dance and drama, which is how most Indians first come across its stories.
In the 1980s, BR Chopra made a bombastic Bollywood version for Indian television; while at the same time British audiences were shown Peter Brook's pared-down Parisian rendering.
First, she spurns marriage with Vyasa's brother; then avenges herself on the patriarch who has marred her life, bringing the war to an end.
Amba's rebellion – and her subversion of Vyasa's plot – exemplifies the epic's strength.