Sexual Harassment in the Mahābhārata

Sexual harassment is an unfortunate reality in many societies, and this fact is also reflected in literature too. In the story of Śakuntalā, originally in the Mahābhārata, Śakuntalā becomes pregnant by Duryodhana who then initially refuses to acknowledge that he is the father. In the Rāmāyaṇa, too, Sītā chooses to accompany her husband Rāma into exile and her vulnerability leads to her being kidnapped by Rāvaṇa who attempts to seduce her.

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Śakuntalā’s poem

Dushyanta and Shakuntala in a Landscape — LACMA The play Abhijnāna-Śakuntalam is one of the most well-known and frequently-performed works by the renowned Indian poet Kālidāsa. The play is based on the famous story found in the Mahābhārata about the romance of Śakuntalā and Duṣyanta. However, Kālidāsa uses his own creative imagination to add some additional twists […]

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Spirituality and the Himalayas

Our emotional response to mountain landscapes Since ancient times the Himālayas have loomed large in the consciousness of the Indian people, geographically, politically and most of all in the context of religious belief and practice.  This was perhaps in part because the ritual drink of Soma was fetched down from Mount Munjavant in the Himālayas […]

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The Battle of Ten Kings

Ahi-Kshetra – the ancient capital of Northern Panchala — Wikimedia Commons The account in the Ṛg Veda and the legacy for modern India The seventh maṇḍala of the Ṛg Veda was largely composed by the Rṣi Vasiṣṭha Maitrāvaruṇi, well-known from later literature too, especially for the mutual antagonism between him and Viśvamitra. It commemorates some events leading […]

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The Wheel and the Dharmacakra

Dholavira Signboard — Wikimedia Commons From the Rig Veda to independent India Starting from maybe the mid-fourth millennium B.C., the proto-Indo-European people seem to have been constantly on the move, spreading out to the West and to the East. The full motivation for such rapid and multi-directional waves of migration is not well-understood, but the availability of […]

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