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Debating Gender and Body in the Epic Mahabharata

Lancaster University
Professor Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad

Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad is professor of comparative religion and philosophy at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom.

In this talk, Ram-Prasad examines an excerpt from the Mahabharata, a Sanskrit epic poem. In the poem, a female who has renounced the world in order to attain spiritual enlightenment challenges a king, who argues that real spiritual enlightenment is achieved only while still engaged in the normal duties of life.

But, Ram-Prasad said this argument is as much about gender as spirituality, and the ancient text provides, “interesting contributions to contemporary debates about gender and feminist philosophy.”

Entitled, "Gender and Body-Talk: A Philosophical Debate from Classical India" Ram-Prasad’s lecture was recorded on April 13th, 2017 at Amherst College.