Nehru Centre talk: What the Mahabharata and Bhagavad-gita Reveal about the History and Religious Culture of India
A talk by Dr Nick Sutton of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies
In this talk Dr Sutton will discuss the interaction between religion, philosophy and politics in ancient India and focus in particular on the rise of the Buddhist and Jain traditions in the subcontinent. These and other newer forms of religion represented a direct challenge to the hegemony of the Vedic elite and received extensive patronage from the rulers of India, but it would be a mistake to simplistically represent this as being a confrontation between Buddhism and Jainism on the one hand and Hinduism on the other. Rather what we can detect is a much broader social and cultural movement that can observed in the Mahabharata and Bhagavad-gita as well. In this talk we will consider the nature of these changes that have had a profound effect on Indian society and history, observable down to the present day.