Dr. Gaya Charan Tripathi - Political Well-Being & State Administration as Reflected in Mahābhārata

Updated: Jan 23, 2021

The lecture by Dr. Tripathi, Director of the Bhogilal Leherchand Institute of Indology focused on Raj Dharma. He began by speculating that the main motive of Mahaṛṣi Vyāsa behind composing the Mahābhārata was to explain the meaning and relevance of the Dharma. Bringing in the relevance of understanding Dharma and Adhrma Dr. Tripathi talked about the four the goals of life i.e. Purusartha.

He further listed out the different types of Dharmas which are Universal such Non-violence, Truth, compassion and so on but there are also Sva Dharma (the Dharma of the Individuals) which comprises of every individual duties towards family, society, and country. Dr. Tripathi defined cosmic principle in the lead of Manu, "Dharanat Dharma mityahu dharmo dhara-yate prajaha"

Unlike in western tradition, said Dr. Trpathi there is only one word for Rights and Duties, called adhikāra, in Sanskrit . In the same virtue of explaining the terminologies from Mahābhārata which is often miss understood by people Dr. Tripathi through a brief but comprehensive manner explained to the audience the radical difference between the king and people living in his Kingdom. He gave a subtle understanding of terms like Prajā and Prajāpālana. In this context he explained to the audience, how western political thought was different from the Indian, as in Indian thought the term Prajā literally means offspring/children/progeny and the king who is Prajāpālana, Pālana means to nurture and nourish which explicate the thought that it was the duty of the king to take care of the people living in his kingdom i.e., his Prajā.

Contrasting this from the western perspective Dr. Tripathi mentioned how the people of kingdom in western societies were labelled as subjects. He thus by explaining the etymology of words and thus many examples from Indian poetry, texts and scriptures showedus how in the Indian context the duties of king were built upon strong moral ground.

In order to explain the Political Well-Being & State Administration, Dr Tripathi explicitly focuses on the Shanti Parva part of Mahābhārata. Deducing many examples from Shanti Parva such as the Dilemma of Yudhishthira for his own coronation after the great war, the dialogues of Arjuna, Bhīma, Nakul, Sahadeva, Draupadi and Kṛṣṇa with Yudhishthira to help him overcome his sorrow and most importantly he explained to us the dialogue between Yudhishthira and Bhisma. Through many more such instances from Shanti Parva Dr. Tripathi explained about science of the state craft, the duties of the king, the role of moral dilemmas, the ethical virtues embedded in the Mahābhārata, the moral duty, the path of Dharma, the duties of the King and many more.

To listen to his proufund insights, tune into the full lecture available on our YouTube channel!

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