[Advaita-l] On the need to counter false narratives about Ramayana and Mahabharata by Sheldon Pollock et al

Raghav Kumar Dwivedula raghavkumar00 at gmail.com
Tue Mar 20 11:48:26 EDT 2018

   1. Sheldon Pollock, a supposedly great scholar of sanskrit has this to
   say - “The Mahabharata is a really dangerous mythic formation where the
   political other is your brother. War becomes civil war. The Mahabharata
   is the most dangerous political story in the world because its a deep
   meditation on the fratricide of civil war.”

   *Implication:*: The Mahabharata legitimizes war and is the most
   dangerous book ever written. Of course, the central lessons of Mahabharata
   that one’s actions generate good or bad *karma* (and not just being born
   in the same family), the umpteen attempts made by various actors to avoid
   war, the complex sub-plots which show the angst of various characters as
   they try to determine the right course of action…all this is irrelevant.
   3. Sheldon Pollock claims that “The Ramayana is a story of othering. The
   struggle for the political is displaced on the other – the strange
   *rakshasa* people, who are inversions of us, who are outsiders. The
   Ramayana was a language of othering, which somehow we need to (I wouldnt
   say unmask) understand so that we can neutralize its power.”

   *Implication:*: The Ramayana is just a political text which teaches us
   to hate the ‘other’. We should ignore the fact that *rakshasa *does not
   denote any physical attributes, but is a term used to describe normal
   people with bad qualities – excess of arrogance, lust for power etc.

The link is given below.


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