This talk offers a rereading of the Vālmīki Rāmayāṇa, a text considered to be not only the first work of sophisticated literary art (kāvya) in the Indian tradition but also a source of inspiration for all subsequent literary compositions. Utilizing the concept of dhvani (meaning-without-saying), taken from the 9th century literary theorist Ānandavardhana, this talk will call into question the general assessment of Euro-American scholars that the text functions as an exemplary narrative. The questions to be addressed are how are we to read the Sanskrit epics as works of literature and how does reading them as such help us understand what they are telling us about the most ubiquitous and important concept in the history South Asian religious traditions: dharma?
All SARC events are free admission and open to all, snacks and refreshments will also be provided. We look forward to seeing you soon!