There is a tendency to play down Mahabharata as a "squabble of cousins"

There is also a tendency to focus exclusively on Bhagavad Gita, and suggest that there is not much worthy in the epic besides Gita

But to give in to these tendencies is to do gross injustice to the epic
First of all, Mahabharata is an itihAsa as per tradition. It is definitely valuable as a source of historical information

But it is also a text that is central to Hindu religion

And no I am not just referring to the Gita
The Bhagavad Gita is no doubt the most widely read portion of Mahabharata.

But several other parts of the epic do have doctrinal significance in modern Hinduism
The epic includes -

Shanti Parva - a book that by itself includes over 350 chapters. This parva is very central to understanding "Dharma"

With three sections on -

Raja dharma - conduct of kings
Apad Dharma - conduct in adversity
Moksha Dharma - on how to achieve Moksha
Then you have the Anushasana Parva

A sub-book with over 150 chapters much of which is again dedicated to politics and conduct of the state.
Towards the end of this parva, you also have the Vishnu Sahasranama, the 1000 names of Vishnu - which have attracted numerous commentaries over the ages

Vishnu Sahasranama is likely the most widely recited Sanskrit text in India today. Hundreds of thousands listen to it everyday
The Mahabharata also includes Harivamsha Parva - which is viewed as an appendix to the epic.

Harivamsha is the earliest account of Vasudeva Krishna that has come down to us. An invaluable religious text containing much information on Yadava lineage and Krishna's life
Besides these the Mahabharata also includes several classics in their own right like Sanatsujatiya, Anugita, and even Yaksha Prashna

Among these Sanatsujatiya is widely regarded as a philosophical classic - it was commented upon by Adi Sankara himself in the 8th century
Sanatsujatiya features in Udyoga Parva, and takes the form of a dialogue between Dhritarashtra and Vidura to begin with, but ends up as a discourse from the sage Sanatsujatiya - who answers Dhritarashtra's questions on life and death

Here's Van Buitenen on Sanatsujatiya -
Another less well known part of the Mahabharata is the Anugita.

A text that features in the Ashwamedhika Parva, following the Kurukshetra war, and the coronation of Yudhishtira

Like the Gita, the Anugita also takes the form of a dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna
Anugita contains many important musings on the justness of war, the use of violence, a debate on animal sacrifice, among other things.

Here's a blog on the same…
Then there is the better known "Yaksha Prashna" in Vana Parva, which is a dialogue between Yaksha and Yudhishtira - containing many philosophical nuggets
Then there is the Narayaniya section of the Mahabharata found in one of the later Parvas (Shanti Parva if I am not wrong).

A very important section that contains much insight on pravritti dharma and nivritti Dharma (the path of action and the path of inward contemplation)
The Narayaniya is also important to later development of Vaishnavism, as it contains references to the reconciliation of Pancharatra theology with Vedic religion

pancharAtrasya vaktA tu nArAyaNaM svayaM

A reconciliation central to development of Sri Vaishnavism in later times
The Mahabharata also contains an abridged version of Ramayana itself, narrated by Sage Markandeya to Yudhishtira during the exile years

Here's a v useful post on Ramopakhyana…
The Mahabharata also has numerous episodes and tales that have formed the raw material for much of later Sanskrit literature -

Kalidasa's Abhjnana Shakuntaklam
Bhasa's Urubhanga, Duta Ghattotkacha, and Madhyama vyayoga
Magha's Shishupala Vadha
Bharavi's Kiratarjuniya
All of these texts composed in the classical period (sometime b/w 2nd and 8th centuries CE) are inspired by episodes in the Mahabharata Itihaasa. None of them are entirely original fictional works

So Mahabharata's impact on the evolution of Sanskrit literature has been immense
Mahabharata has also inspired Indian art over the ages

Just a couple of examples -

Arjuna's penance relief in Mahabalipuram in 7th century
Raja Ravi Varma's paintaing on Shantanu and Shakuntala in 19th century
So to summarize, Mahabharata is more than just a battle of cousins

Though that battle alone is sufficient to make it an immortal classic
Nor is its significance to Hinduism limited to Bhagavad Gita - undoubtedly a pivotal text in the history of Indian thought.

There is much more to it.
Its contributions to Indian philosophy are immense, even if you fully discount the Gita.

So is its influence on later Sanskrit literature, later folklore, and also Indian art
Lastly the Mahabharata is best remembered as a history. Albeit not a "history" in a modern sense.

A history of the Kuru dynasty - the first Indian state in many ways, as acknowledged by even Michael Witzel below -…
So to study Mahabharata in some ways is to get closer to the genesis of the Indian state and organized Hindu religion in India.

After all we live in Bharatavarsha - the land of the Kuru kings
Post script : A correction. The Ravi Varma painting was mislabeled by me as concerning Shantanu and Shakuntala. A typo - I meant to write Satyavati
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