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Models of royal piety in the Mahābhārata: the case of Vidura, Sanatsujāta and Vidurā

Hegarty, James ORCID: 2019. Models of royal piety in the Mahābhārata: the case of Vidura, Sanatsujāta and Vidurā. Black, Brian and Chakravarthi, Ram-Prasad, eds. In Dialogue with Classical Indian Traditions: Encounter, Transformation and Interpretation, London, England: Taylor and Francis, (10.4324/9781351011136-13)

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James Hegarty explores the theme of dialogue and tradition, by looking at how the Mahābhārata engages with multiple traditions in setting out a political ideology in dialogues that feature Vidura. Vidura is, in the Mahābhārata story, the paradigmatic advisor. He is the product of a union between a great sage, Kṛṣṇa Dvaipāyana Vyāsa, and a serving woman. His karmic backstory makes of him a punitive incarnation of Dharma, the god of law, on earth. He stands thus at the intersection of social and divine hierarchies and is a recurrently liminal figure. The perception of his importance in the Mahābhārata has never waned. His perennial appeal is reflected in the persistence of the genre of ‘Vidur Neeti’, the compilation of, and commentary on, Vidura’s teachings in contemporary South Asia. In this Chapter, Hegarty examines the character of Vidura, and his role in the Sanskrit Mahābhārata’s textual tradition. He will explore, in particular, Vidura’s participation in a number of dialogue-driven encounters, considering what these can tell us about the relationship between religion and politics in, and beyond, the text. Hegarty’s argument will be that the examination of Vidura, in full, across the stemma of the Sanskrit Mahābhārata can help us to connect, albeit imperfectly, the content of the text to some of its various contexts of transmission and adaptation.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
D History General and Old World > DS Asia
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PI Oriental languages and literatures
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
ISBN: 9781351011136
Funders: AHRC
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2022 10:37

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