The epic Mahabharata was composed by the great sage Vyasa.Mahabharata is over 100,000 lines long in its original poetic form.The legend has it that Lord Ganesha himself had to write down since it was extremely lengthy.
Basically, Mahabharata illustrates the victory of good over evil through the story of Pandavas,who were five brothers.The Pandavas were embodiment of good and their cousins symbolized all that was evil in human nature.The Pandavas and their wife Draupadi, were put through various ordeals which were a direct consequence of the malice the Kauravas,their cousins, bore towards them. Finally,in the end,the Pandavas who were ably aided by Lord Krishna defeat the Kauravas in an eighteen-day long battle.
Although the main story is quite simple,it is written in such graphic detail that the story becomes quite large. And then consider the innumerable fables and short stories which are interwoven into the various parts of the main story.Thus, the epic is easily one of the longest poems in its category surpassing the Illiad and Ramayana.
Well,you may wonder about the authenticity of the events described in the Mahabharata. But in a larger perspective ,this story is very much an integral part of Indian culture.Even the Bhagavad Gita forms a part of the narrative. Bhagavad Gita is the discourse of Lord Krishna,the eighth avatar of Vishnu,to Arjuna on various aspects of human life.
Even today the story of Mahabharata has its relevance in our lives.Since the very emotions conveyed in the story are actually similar to those experienced by us during different phases of our life–Anger,Lust,Hatred,Love,Kindness.(to name a few)
Hence,I would consider it a masterpiece on Indian society and culture.
Note:This is a complete,abridged and free version of Mahabharata.It is one of the few sites which offer an abridged and online version of Mahabharata.Have fun guys!