Dr. Gangeya Mukherji - Yakshaprasna and Yudhishthira: A Conversation on Dharma and Ethics
Updated: Jan 23
Dr. Gangeya Mukherji, Associate Professor of Mahamati Prannath Mahavidyalaya, Mau - Chitrakoot, started with an explanation of why he has taken to talk about Yakshaprasna and specifically why he has focused on Yakshaprasna and Yudhishthira. He explained to the audience that though Mahābhārata is filled with instances and stories explaining the right course of action, but it is this conversation between Yakshaprasna and Yudhishthira which strongly addresses the question of moral agency in adverse circumstances. He said that significant virtues are dealt in this section as it explores the question of values, questions related to the irreparable losses, cosmic Ṛta, and also the temporal Alaukika Dharma. It here he explained to us that his argument will be looking in the moral agency of human beings and will be explaining that the ultimate aim of the agency is to render itself unnecessary and in its own cessation.
Further moving on Dr. Mukherji explained what this Agency is, and how it works towards its own cessation. He explained this to us in reference to the dialogue from the Vna Parva of Mahābhārata. Dr. Mukherji thus in explaining this gave a brief description of the Pandava’s time in Exile and their conversations with each other where in some instances one can see discussions where the four brother and Draupadi are blaming Yudhishthira for his actions in the court.
Quoting from the earliest translation of Mahābhārata by Kishori Mohan Ganguly, Dr. Mukherji, explains the scenario under which Draupadi is perceived blaming God as well claiming that he is Capricious rather than Just. She also claims that virtues are meaningless as enablers of agency as they act as an obstructions for the agency, furthermore in continuation she also says that forgiveness is not a virtue rather it is a weakness. Taking many more quotes from Mahābhārata Dr. Mukherji explained how Yudhishthira rebukes and explains to Draupadi that it is natural to the virtues acts to have beneficent questions and consequences and that she should in no account question the quality of divine justice.
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