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The end of the Pāṇḍavas’ year in disguise

Brodbeck, Simon ORCID: 2020. The end of the Pāṇḍavas’ year in disguise. Journal of Hindu Studies 13 (3) , pp. 320-346. 10.1093/jhs/hiaa019

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This article discusses an ambiguity in the Sanskrit Mahābhārata concerning whether or not the Pāṇḍavas maintained their disguises for a full year. It argues that the text uses this ambiguity in order to provide a psychologically realistic explanation for the war – the war which is mandated in advance as part of a divine plan to address the Earth’s reported afflictions, and which is ensured in real time by the actions of divinities in the form of human beings. The ambiguity at the end of the year in disguise makes a success of the text’s strategy of presenting a divine plan simultaneous with the human action. The article shows that both human sides – Duryodhana and Yudhiṣṭhira – adhere closely to the dharma of the covenant made at the second dicing match. Discussion focuses on the recognition of Arjuna by the Kauravas in the Virāṭaparvan, and its narrative effects. Various characters’ perspectives on this recognition event are presented and examined. Bhīṣma says the year was already over, so the Pāṇḍavas are not accused of breaching the covenant. The second half of the article explores the implications of this as they unfold in the Udyogaparvan.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
P Language and Literature > PI Oriental languages and literatures
Publisher: Oxford University Press (OUP)
ISSN: 1756-4255
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 20 January 2021
Date of Acceptance: 19 November 2020
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2023 04:34

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