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The Historical Approach to the Mahabharata

July 8, 2021 Authored by: Dr. Ankur Kakkar

Prof. Vishwa Adluri and Dr. Joydeep Bagchee will conduct a special live session with students on Sukthankar’s On the Meaning of the Mahabharata. In an interactive and dynamic session, they will construct how the so-called historical approach came about stepwise.


Abstract

For centuries, Hindus have relied on the Mahabharata as a source of ethics (dharma) and a guide to action (karma). But how do we interpret this work? For the past 200 years, the dominant historicist paradigm in the West insisted that the epic narrative was either historical or it was nothing. Thus, scholars set out to extract a core Aryans versus Dravidians battle from the Mahabharata, while discarding its philosophical portions as “Brahmanic” interpolations. Does this approach hold up today? In light of the Mahabharata critical edition, we shall critically examine these prejudices, and show how they have interrupted a centuries-old tradition of thoughtful reflection and practice.


About the Speakers

Vishwa P. Adluri is a Professor in the Philosophy Department at Hunter College, New York, and the author of over a dozen articles and essays on the Mahābhārata. His work mainly focuses on the reception of ancient thought—both Greek and Indian—in modernity. He is the author of Parmenides, Plato and Mortal Philosophy: Return from Transcendence (Bloomsbury), The Nay Science: A History of German Indology (OUP)and Philology and Criticism: A Guide to Mahābhārata Textual Criticism (Anthem) and has edited numerous volumes on the Mahābhārata, including Argument and Design: The Unity of the Mahābhārata (Brill)Vishwa has a PhD in Philosophy from the New School for Social Research, New York, a PhD in Indology from Philipps University, Marburg, and a PhD in Sanskrit from Deccan College, Pune.  Prof. Adluri’s papers on the Mahābhārata are available here: https://hunter-cuny.academia.edu/VishwaAdluri

Prof. Bagchee is Prof. Adluri’s student and a Berlin-based researcher and intellectual historian. He has a PhD from the New School for Social Research, New York in Philosophy. He has studied Indian and Western philosophy and completed a PhD in German philosophy under Dr. Adluri’s guidance. He is a co-author of The Nay Science: A History of German Indology (OUP)and Philology and Criticism: A Guide to Mahābhārata Textual Criticism (Anthem)He has also co-edited the volume Argument and Design: The Unity of the Mahābhārata (Brill)Prof. Bagchee serves as core doctoral faculty at the Hindu University of America. Prof. Bagchee’s work may be downloaded here: https://independent.academia.


How to Attend this Talk

Topic: The Historical Approach to the Mahabharata

Time: Jul 9, 2021, 07:30 PM IST

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us06web.zoom.us/j/84463714361?pwd=R3FJdHlMTmVCNWdBZDVlcEpxOTJuUT09


Download Sukthankar’s On the Meaning of the Mahabharata


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