The very title “Mahābhārata” conjures up images of a great war in which 18 armies were annihilated. Using divine weaponry, mystical war formations and with Kṛṣṇa Vāsudeva on their side, the Pāṇḍavas triumphed over the Kauravas. Who were these combatants and what does their heroism signify? What dilemmas of dharma arise as part of the battle?
This course introduces the Mahābhārata through its central war books, the five parvans named Bhīṣma, Droṇa, Karṇa, Śalya, and Sauptika. We will examine the various historical, literary, philosophical, and textual issues involved in reading this complex text. In the first of these books, we find Kṛṣṇa giving the Bhagavadgītā to Arjuna, revealing himself as Brahman. In the final book for this course, Sauptika, Śiva empowers Aśvatthāman to annihilate the sleeping sons of the heroes. Such theological threads prevent a simplistic reading of the Mahābhārata as just another war story. It presents a deep understanding of time, the nature of the universe, and ultimate reality.
Areas of Study: Text and Traditions
Required/ Elective: Elective
Prerequisites: Must have completed Orientation to Hindu Studies or Concurrently enrolled into Orientation to Hindu Studies
Instructor: Dr. Joydeep Bagchee Dr. Vishwa Adluri
Start Date:-24th September 2020
End Date:- 10th December 2020
Time:- 10:00 am EST – 01:00 pm EST
Quarter: Fall 2020