Dvaita Centre, MAHE – lecture on Mahabharata and kingship

Dvaita Philosophy Resource Centre of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, MAHE, Manipal is organising a seminar titled Two Destinies Without a Third: The Buddhist Agaññasutta and The ??ntiparva of Mah?bh?rata on Saturday April 7, 2018 at 3:30 pm tomorrow. The lecture will be delivered by Dr Aleix Ruiz Falqués, Spain. This lecture series is a part of the interdisciplinary research project on Mahabharata and Tatparyanirnaya being conducted by the Centre with the support of MAHE. This is the third lecture followed by the lectures on Mahabharata delivered by Dr Bannanje Govindacharya and Dr Nirmalya Guha earlier.

Abstract of the lecture

The national symbols of India today are the wheel of Dharma and the Ashokan pillar. Both represent the first historical unified imperial administration in the Indian subcontinent. As is well known, Ashoka was a self-professed follower the Bauddha Dharma. It is not clear, however, to what extent his imperial policies reflected the ideas of Buddhism. It has also been argued that Buddhist imperial ideals were shaped by the Mauryan experience. Be it as it may, Ashokan Inscriptions and the P?li Buddhist texts draw a distinct profile of the ideal world emperor (cakravartin). Indeed, imperial monarchy seems to be the political system par excellence in ancient India. Yet, the nature of this imperial monarchy varies according to religious affiliations. As it has been observed by many scholars, if we compare the Buddhist ideal with the doctrine defended by Bh??ma and others in the ??ntiparva (Mbh XII), the opposition of Buddhist and Brahmanical imperialism becomes conspicuous. The lecture will concentrate on two ideas that provide explanations for the cosmic origin of kingship. The first one is the Buddhist version found in the Agaññasutta of the D?gha Nik?ya. The second one is found in Mah?bh?rata, XII, 49. By dissecting these two ideas, it will juxtapose two different approaches to imperial administration. These two approaches were competing with each other in India approximately up to the decline of the Gupta Empire (ca. 7th century CE). We will also examine what was at stake and why these two models are irreconcilable. The lecture will end with a short reflection on the relevance of these two imperial models in contemporary India.

About the Speaker

Aleix Ruiz Falqués (Barcelona, 1982) has a BA in Classics from the University of Barcelona, MA Sanskrit from the Savitribai Phule Pune University, and a PhD in Indian Studies from the University of Cambridge, with a dissertation on Pali grammatical texts in Burma. He has been a postdoctoral fellow at the Dhammachai Institute, Bangkok. His research mainly focuses on Pali literature and Buddhism. He has also translated Pali and Sanskrit works into Spanish, Catalan and English.

Venue: LH2, Department of European Studies, Behind Post Office, Manipal 576104

Date and Time: Saturday, April 7, 2018 at 3:30-4:30 pm

All are welcome!

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