Dr. Lakshmi Bandlamudi - Dialogic Consciousness, Answerability & Dharmic Validity

Updated: Jan 23, 2021

After sharing her thoughts upon the openness of the epic and dismissing Western demarcations, Dr. Bandlamudi spoke about the intervention of the self which is paramount in this engagement of the dialogue. Through our lived experience located in the cultural space and time we are encountering the text. Dr. Bandlamudi then also shed light on the bewildering complexities of the texts and it is in this reference she explained the conception of Dharma, Individual and actions in the Mahābhārata.

While talking about ethical validity, she says that it is not the absolute ethics that matters as in the Mahābhārata the absolute sense of Dharma, i.e., the absolute knowledge of right and wrong does not matter as the text does not yield to that kind of interpretation rather it makes us understand the subtlety of every situation and how they must be conceived and acted upon.

Dr. Bandlamudi then spoke briefly about the characters of the Mahābhārata and also certain tales of the text in order to talk about the conception of moral dilemmas. She says that every point in the Mahābhārata leads you to a moral dilemma. These dilemmas are important, Dr. Bandlamudi says, as they help one to understand the complexities one faces when asked to decide the right and the wrong. She further says that Mahābhārata travels between the intellectual galaxy of its time. She also explained about inner consciousness and briefly explained the conception of inner consciousness to the audience. While explaining she said that what is important to note is that the body is finite, but this inner consciousness is infinite.

Dr. Bandlamudi also spoke about the Sukṣma of the Dharma and while explaining this she gave an account of various stories from Mahābhārata. From this explanation she derived the role of ethical validity and explains that the ethical validity therefore comes from what is right at the moment, what are the repercussions and the background of the action and the thought is also taken into consideration. Thus Dr. Bandlamudi says that the ethical validity does not come from a simple definition of what is right and what is wrong.

She gave a number of examples from the Mahābhārata to explain answerability and dharmic Validity. Towards the end of her talk, she explained the role of agency in the Mahābhārata and said that we all (god, individuals) are accountable for our actions and therefore when an agency is given, one has to lead and perform actions according to ethics though not the absolute ethics.

Tune into our YouTube channel, to hear her entire talk!

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