In a famous episode of the Mahābhārata often referred to as the Yakṣapraśna, the Pāṇḍavas are put to trial by a lake – with Yudhiṣṭhira being the sole brother to satisfactorily complete the exacting challenge. Indeed, it is due to his efforts that the others eventually win reprieve from death. What then empowers Yudhiṣṭhira to do that which the others were unable? How exactly does Yudhiṣṭhira respond to the metaphysical and ethical questions posed, and what can we glean from this – to understand not just the teachings demonstrated in this specific tale, but also the human attributes endorsed as normative by the timeless epic? This talk will consider in some detail a few of the questions posed and answered in the Sanskrit text of the Mahābhārata (in light also of Nīlakaṇṭha’s commentary Bhāratabhāvadīpa), and thereby help interested listeners understand the methodology and importance of the study of original texts within their respective eclectic philosophical contexts.
About the Speaker: Shishir Saxena is a scholar of Indian Philosophy and Sanskrit. He was pursuing his post-doctoral research (2018-19) at the Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia (IKGA) in Vienna prior to joining Ahmedabad University. He received his PhD (2019) and MPhil (2014) from the University of Cambridge, prior to which he studied for an MA (2013) at the Banaras Hindu University. His earlier education includes a bachelor’s degree in Physics and an MBA in finance, subsequent to which he spent five years in consulting in Mumbai before beginning his studies in Indian Philosophy.
Date: 12 January 2022
Time: 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm IST
1. Library Print Collection: Sanskrit Books for Yuva Divas 2022
2. Library Print Collection: Books on & by Swami Vivekananda (for Display)
3. Library Print Collection: Books on Philosophy and Religion
5. ProQuest: E-books on Philosophy and Religion