very happy (& a tad relieved) to have finished & submitted my lent term papers!! it’s been fun – i wrote about:
- the myth of religious violence
- the particularities of purity, impurity & pollution in the context of non-dual philosophy
- the western commodification of spirituality.
my favourite essay to work on has been: “The Question of Religious Violence in the Mahābhārata“, in which i explored Mahābhārata‘s cosmological rationalisation of violence through the concept of mahāpralaya (great dissolution) and through beloved Kṛṣṇa’s actions, addressed in the light of his self-identification with the destructive function of the divine: the all-consuming Time (Kāla). i juxtaposed this with the more secular stances the epic extolls, such as ahiṃsā (non-violence) & ānṛśaṁsya (non-cruelty) in the context of dharma-yuddha (just war). the overarching argument has been ~ it is simplistic to claim that the thematic preoccupation with conflict of an ample spiritual text such as the Mahābhārata instigates violence, as the epic’s fascination with conflict stems from its attempt to understand & unravel (& often regulate!) violence.
anyway, the personal conclusion i have reached is that, if i could spend my life writing about Kṛṣṇa, Draupadī and the Mahābhārata, i would – i certainly aim to!
pictured: my favourite sequence of the Kurukṣetra War & one of my favourite paintings – beloved Kṛṣṇa attacking Bhīṣma, while Arjuna pleads. the epic’s verses are hauntingly beautiful:
Filled with wrath, the great lord of Yoga jumped from the chariot. The mighty Kṛṣṇa of immeasurable splendour, the Lord of the Universe, roared like a lion. With eyes red as copper from rage and with his bare arms alone as weapons, he rushed towards Bhīṣma, desirous of slaying him. Now, with a whip in hand, Kṛṣṇa splits the universe itself with his tread. Robed in yellow silk, and himself dark as the lapis lazuli, Janārdana looked as beautiful as a mass of clouds charged with lightning. With a loud roar, the bull of Madhu’s race impetuously darted towards Bhīṣma. Beholding him of eyes like lotus petals, Bhīṣma addressed Govinda: “Come, come, O thou of eyes of lotus. I am yours.”