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Books > Hindu > Mahabharata > The Mahabharata: An Inquiry In The Human Condition
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The Mahabharata: An Inquiry In The Human Condition
The Mahabharata: An Inquiry In The Human Condition
Description

About the Author

Chaturvedi Badrinath is a philosopher and was born in Mainpuri, Uttar Pradesh. He was a member of the Indian Administrative Service between 1957 and 1989 and spent thirty-one years serving in Tamil Nadu. Badrinath has been Homi Bhabha Fellow (1971-73) and Visiting Professor at Heidelberg University (1971), where he gave a series of seminars on dharma and its application to our times. Giving numerous lectures on Indian thought, he has also been an active participant in inter-religious an inter-Civilisational dialogue at various for across the world.

His other books include Dharma, India and the World Order: Twenty- one Essays (1993); Introduction to the Kamasutra (1999); finding Jesus in dharma: Christianity in India (2000); and Swami Vivekananda: the Living Vedanta (2006). Badrinath now lives near Pondicherry India.

Back of the Book

Chaturvedi Badrinath show that the Mahabharata is the most systematic inquiry into the human condition. Its principal concern is the relationship of the self with the self and with the other. This book not only proves the universality of the themes explored in the Mahabharata, but also how this great epic provides us with a method to understand the human condition itself.

Badrinath shows that the concerns of the Mahabharata are the concerns of everyday life- of dharma, artha, kama and moksha. It is through this everyday-ness, with its complexities as much as with its simplicity, that the Mahabharata still rings true. This book dispels several false claims about what is today known as 'Hinduism' to show us how individual liberty and knowledge, freedom, equality, and the celebration of love, friendship and relationship are integral to the philosophy of the Mahabharata, because they are integral to human life.

Using over 500 shlokas of the original text that he supports with his own lucid translations, chaturvedi Badrinath's The Mahabharata is an invaluable contribution to our understanding of this epic, not in the least, for his elegant scholarship and humanistic approach.

 

CONTENTS
Acknowledgements
ix
A Note on the Diacritical Marks and Translations
xiii
Dramatis Persona of the Mahabharata
xv
The eighteen Main Parva-s of the Mahabharata
xvii
CHAPTER ONE
 
Introduction to the Mahabharata
1
The subjects of the inquiry and their universality
3
The method in the inquiry
10
CHAPTER TWO
 
Food, Water and Life
23
Food and water in the Upanishad-s
24
Food and water in the Mahabharata
30
Giving and sharing not ritual 'acts'
35
The always-full cooking pot
37
A portion for the unknown guest
39
CHAPTER THREE
 
The Spiritual and the Material in the Mahabharata
41
Perceptions of the self
45
The manifest self: the unmanifest self.
57
Radical shift in the Mahabharata
67
Self, energy, and relationships
70
CHAPTER FOUR
 
Dharma-The Foundation of Life and Relationships
77
The radical shift in the Mahabharata: the universality of dharma
85
Dharma and the question of relativism
90
Another radical shift in the Mahabharata
95
Dharma as relationship of the self with the self and with the other
101
CHAPTER FIVE
 
Ahimsa-Not-violence, the Foundation of Life
113
Not-violence: The foundation of life and relationships
115
The opposite reality: 'Life lives upon life'
119
The rationality of not-violence
123
Justification of anger on being wronged
127
The rationality of forgiveness and its limits
142
The argument against enmity and war
148
Violence in speech and words
154
Violence to one's self
161
Freedom from fear: freedom from the violence of history
163
CHAPTER SIX
 
What is 'Death' ? The Origin of Mrityu
169
CHAPTER SEVEN
 
The Question of Truth
181
Truth and the problem of relativism
183
Truth is relational
192
CHAPTER EIGHT
 
Human Attributes-Neither Neglect, nor Idolatry
199
Svartha and niti, self-interest and prudence
216
CHAPTER NINE
 
Human Attributes-Sukha and Duhkha: Pleasure and Pain
225
'Pleasure' and 'pain': experienced facts
227
The reasons why there is more pain than pleasure
231
'Perhaps that is why you look pale and weak?' The psychosomatic link
239
From the same facts: three different paths to happiness
246
A radical shift in the 'because-therefore' reasoning
260
The Mahabharata's teachings of happiness
263
CHAPTER TEN
 
Material Prosperity and Wealth, Artha
271
Importance of wealth in the Mahabharata
273
The other truth concerning wealth
280
CHAPTER ELEVEN
 
Sexual Energy and Relationship, Kama and Saha-dharma
295
Conflicting attitudes towards woman
304
Comparative pleasure of man and woman
312
The question regarding the primacy of sexuality
313
Sexuality and relationship in the Mahabharata
317
Possession of the mind
327
Kama subject to dharma
331
CHAPTER TWELVE
 
Grihastha and grihini, the householder; Grihastha-ashrama, life-in-family
335
Family as a stage in life
340
The highest place for the Householder and the family
347
Obligations and duties, and 'the three debts'
350
Not obligations and duties alone, also feelings
351
the place of the wife in the life-in-family
354
The place of the mother in the life-in-family
360
Conversations between husband and wife as part of family life
365
Life-in-family in the larger context of life
367
CHAPTER THIRTEEN
 
Varna-dharma, Social Arrangements; Loka-samgraha, towards Social Wealth
369
The origin of varna
372
Varna-a function, not a person
375
By birth, not by conduct alone
379
The humbling of arrogance
386
Antagonism among social functions: its psychology
394
Harmony among social callings: the way to social wealth
410
CHAPTER FOURTEEN
 
Dharma-The Foundation of Raja-Dharma, Law and Governance
417
The purpose of governance, danda
422
The discipline of dharma is the discipline of the king
428
Self-discipline of the king
430
Impartiality, truth, and trust in governance
435
Trust as the foundation of republics
440
Public wealth under the control of dharma
441
Fear as the basis of the social order
444
Reconciliation or force?
448
The law of abnormal times: apad-dharma
453
An argument against capital punishment
455
The king creates historical conditions, not they him
458
CHAPTER FIFTEEN
 
Sage Narada's Question to King Yudhishthira
465
Concerning Yudhishthira's relation with his self
466
Concerning the principles of sound statecraft
468
Concerning the principles of sound administration
470
Questions concerning the security of the realm
474
Above all, questions concerning the foundations of good governance
475
CHAPTER SIXTEEN
 
Fate or Human Endeavour? The Question of Causality
477
Daiva, fate
479
Purushartha: human endeavour
483
Endeavour and providence together
487
Kala, Time
491
Svabhava, innate disposition
503
The question of accountability in what happens
508
The question of causality unresolved
523
Beyond 'causality'
527
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN
 
Form Ritual Acts to Relationships
529
What is true shaucha, 'purity'?
530
What is true Tirtha, pilgrimage?
534
What is true tyaga, 'renunciation'?
539
What is sadachara, 'good conduct'? What is shishtachara, 'cultured conduct'?
547
Who is truly a pandita, 'wise'? Who is a fool?
552
Who is truly a santa, 'saint'?
556
CHAPTER EIGHTEEN
 
Moksha-Liberation from the Human Condition
559
The rationality of moksha
560
The radical shift in the Mahabharata
567
The attributes of a free person
570
Moksha as freedom from
577
The paths to moksha
580
Moksha as freedom into
588
Notes
593
Index and Concordance
631

The Mahabharata: An Inquiry In The Human Condition

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Edition:
2006
ISBN:
8125028463
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693
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About the Author

Chaturvedi Badrinath is a philosopher and was born in Mainpuri, Uttar Pradesh. He was a member of the Indian Administrative Service between 1957 and 1989 and spent thirty-one years serving in Tamil Nadu. Badrinath has been Homi Bhabha Fellow (1971-73) and Visiting Professor at Heidelberg University (1971), where he gave a series of seminars on dharma and its application to our times. Giving numerous lectures on Indian thought, he has also been an active participant in inter-religious an inter-Civilisational dialogue at various for across the world.

His other books include Dharma, India and the World Order: Twenty- one Essays (1993); Introduction to the Kamasutra (1999); finding Jesus in dharma: Christianity in India (2000); and Swami Vivekananda: the Living Vedanta (2006). Badrinath now lives near Pondicherry India.

Back of the Book

Chaturvedi Badrinath show that the Mahabharata is the most systematic inquiry into the human condition. Its principal concern is the relationship of the self with the self and with the other. This book not only proves the universality of the themes explored in the Mahabharata, but also how this great epic provides us with a method to understand the human condition itself.

Badrinath shows that the concerns of the Mahabharata are the concerns of everyday life- of dharma, artha, kama and moksha. It is through this everyday-ness, with its complexities as much as with its simplicity, that the Mahabharata still rings true. This book dispels several false claims about what is today known as 'Hinduism' to show us how individual liberty and knowledge, freedom, equality, and the celebration of love, friendship and relationship are integral to the philosophy of the Mahabharata, because they are integral to human life.

Using over 500 shlokas of the original text that he supports with his own lucid translations, chaturvedi Badrinath's The Mahabharata is an invaluable contribution to our understanding of this epic, not in the least, for his elegant scholarship and humanistic approach.

 

CONTENTS
Acknowledgements
ix
A Note on the Diacritical Marks and Translations
xiii
Dramatis Persona of the Mahabharata
xv
The eighteen Main Parva-s of the Mahabharata
xvii
CHAPTER ONE
 
Introduction to the Mahabharata
1
The subjects of the inquiry and their universality
3
The method in the inquiry
10
CHAPTER TWO
 
Food, Water and Life
23
Food and water in the Upanishad-s
24
Food and water in the Mahabharata
30
Giving and sharing not ritual 'acts'
35
The always-full cooking pot
37
A portion for the unknown guest
39
CHAPTER THREE
 
The Spiritual and the Material in the Mahabharata
41
Perceptions of the self
45
The manifest self: the unmanifest self.
57
Radical shift in the Mahabharata
67
Self, energy, and relationships
70
CHAPTER FOUR
 
Dharma-The Foundation of Life and Relationships
77
The radical shift in the Mahabharata: the universality of dharma
85
Dharma and the question of relativism
90
Another radical shift in the Mahabharata
95
Dharma as relationship of the self with the self and with the other
101
CHAPTER FIVE
 
Ahimsa-Not-violence, the Foundation of Life
113
Not-violence: The foundation of life and relationships
115
The opposite reality: 'Life lives upon life'
119
The rationality of not-violence
123
Justification of anger on being wronged
127
The rationality of forgiveness and its limits
142
The argument against enmity and war
148
Violence in speech and words
154
Violence to one's self
161
Freedom from fear: freedom from the violence of history
163
CHAPTER SIX
 
What is 'Death' ? The Origin of Mrityu
169
CHAPTER SEVEN
 
The Question of Truth
181
Truth and the problem of relativism
183
Truth is relational
192
CHAPTER EIGHT
 
Human Attributes-Neither Neglect, nor Idolatry
199
Svartha and niti, self-interest and prudence
216
CHAPTER NINE
 
Human Attributes-Sukha and Duhkha: Pleasure and Pain
225
'Pleasure' and 'pain': experienced facts
227
The reasons why there is more pain than pleasure
231
'Perhaps that is why you look pale and weak?' The psychosomatic link
239
From the same facts: three different paths to happiness
246
A radical shift in the 'because-therefore' reasoning
260
The Mahabharata's teachings of happiness
263
CHAPTER TEN
 
Material Prosperity and Wealth, Artha
271
Importance of wealth in the Mahabharata
273
The other truth concerning wealth
280
CHAPTER ELEVEN
 
Sexual Energy and Relationship, Kama and Saha-dharma
295
Conflicting attitudes towards woman
304
Comparative pleasure of man and woman
312
The question regarding the primacy of sexuality
313
Sexuality and relationship in the Mahabharata
317
Possession of the mind
327
Kama subject to dharma
331
CHAPTER TWELVE
 
Grihastha and grihini, the householder; Grihastha-ashrama, life-in-family
335
Family as a stage in life
340
The highest place for the Householder and the family
347
Obligations and duties, and 'the three debts'
350
Not obligations and duties alone, also feelings
351
the place of the wife in the life-in-family
354
The place of the mother in the life-in-family
360
Conversations between husband and wife as part of family life
365
Life-in-family in the larger context of life
367
CHAPTER THIRTEEN
 
Varna-dharma, Social Arrangements; Loka-samgraha, towards Social Wealth
369
The origin of varna
372
Varna-a function, not a person
375
By birth, not by conduct alone
379
The humbling of arrogance
386
Antagonism among social functions: its psychology
394
Harmony among social callings: the way to social wealth
410
CHAPTER FOURTEEN
 
Dharma-The Foundation of Raja-Dharma, Law and Governance
417
The purpose of governance, danda
422
The discipline of dharma is the discipline of the king
428
Self-discipline of the king
430
Impartiality, truth, and trust in governance
435
Trust as the foundation of republics
440
Public wealth under the control of dharma
441
Fear as the basis of the social order
444
Reconciliation or force?
448
The law of abnormal times: apad-dharma
453
An argument against capital punishment
455
The king creates historical conditions, not they him
458
CHAPTER FIFTEEN
 
Sage Narada's Question to King Yudhishthira
465
Concerning Yudhishthira's relation with his self
466
Concerning the principles of sound statecraft
468
Concerning the principles of sound administration
470
Questions concerning the security of the realm
474
Above all, questions concerning the foundations of good governance
475
CHAPTER SIXTEEN
 
Fate or Human Endeavour? The Question of Causality
477
Daiva, fate
479
Purushartha: human endeavour
483
Endeavour and providence together
487
Kala, Time
491
Svabhava, innate disposition
503
The question of accountability in what happens
508
The question of causality unresolved
523
Beyond 'causality'
527
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN
 
Form Ritual Acts to Relationships
529
What is true shaucha, 'purity'?
530
What is true Tirtha, pilgrimage?
534
What is true tyaga, 'renunciation'?
539
What is sadachara, 'good conduct'? What is shishtachara, 'cultured conduct'?
547
Who is truly a pandita, 'wise'? Who is a fool?
552
Who is truly a santa, 'saint'?
556
CHAPTER EIGHTEEN
 
Moksha-Liberation from the Human Condition
559
The rationality of moksha
560
The radical shift in the Mahabharata
567
The attributes of a free person
570
Moksha as freedom from
577
The paths to moksha
580
Moksha as freedom into
588
Notes
593
Index and Concordance
631
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