Dharma: Its Early History in Law, Religion, and Narrative
Between 300 BCE and 200 CE, concepts and practices of dharma attained literary prominence throughout India. Both Buddhist and Brahmanical authors sought to clarify and classify their central concerns, and dharma proved a means of thinking through and articulating those concerns.Alf Hiltebeitel shows the different ways in which dharma was interpreted during that formative period: from the grand cosmic chronometries of kalpas and yugas to narratives about divine plans, gendered nuances of genealogical time, royal biography (even autobiography, in the case of the emperor Asoka), and guidelines for daily life, including meditation. He reveals the vital role dharma has played across political, religious, legal, literary, ethical, and philosophical domains and discourses about what holds life together. Through dharma, these traditions have articulated their distinct visions of the good and well-rewarded life.This insightful study explores the diverse and changing significance of dharma in classical India in nine major dharma texts, as well some shorter ones. Dharma proves to be a term by which to make a fresh cut through these texts, and to reconsider their own chronology, their import, and their relation to each other.
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Arjuna asks Aśoka aśrama Aśvaghosa Aśvamedha beginning bhakti Bhīsma Biardeau Brahmins Brereton Buddha Buddhacarita Buddhist Buitenen called chapter cited Critical Edition dhaṃma dharma dhárman dharmaśastra dharmasutras Dhatr Dhrtarasṭra discussion divine Draupadī Drona Duryodhana epic epic’s father forest four frame Ganga Gīta gods Gombrich González-Reimann Harivaṃśa Hiltebeitel 2001a Indra Janamejaya kalpa Karna Kauravas Kauśambī killing king king’s Krsna Ksatriya Kuntī Mahabharata Mahayana Manu Manu’s means mentioned Mitchiner moksa moksadharma monks mother Narayanīya narrative Nattier Nikaya noncruelty Olivelle one’s Pali Pañcala Pandavas Pandu passage Purana question Rama Rama’s Ramayana Ravana reference ritual royal Rsis rule sacrifice Śaṃtanu Sanskrit Sarvastivadins Satyavatī says seems Sīta Sīta’s Śiva Soma speaks story subtales Śudra Sutra Sutta svadharma tells term texts trans translation True Dharma truth Upanisad usages Valmīki varna Varuna Vasisṭha Veda Vedic verse Vinaya Visnu Vyasa words Yaksa Yudhisṭhira yuga