Dharma in a Crumbling Democracy: Ancient Wisdom for Troubling Times

Presented with Strand Bookstore


The epic, Mahabharata, was composed around ~600 BC. The ancient text addresses a time when the existing world order appears to be crumbling. Not only has the traditional political order been swept away; meritocracy, values and ethics no longer hold sway. Society is in a process of dissolution; and a powerful king asserts his absolute power, exceeding even the eternal law (dharma). 

And yet the epic undertakes to restate the concept of ethics in a time of upheaval. Containing a critique of technology, rampant materialism and self-serving individualism, the epic appears surprisingly contemporary. It offers philosophical insight into how humans can flourish in a troubled time.

In this Olio we will attempt to understand and analyze our situation as Americans and humans in light of the Mahabharata. We will analyze contemporary democratic society which is based on the virtues of freedom and prestige rather than obligation, tradition and merit and see if we can find contemporary relevance in this ancient text.




Location: Strand Bookstore

828 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

The Rare Book Room at Strand Bookstore boasts an elegant venue, the walls lined with leather-bound treasures from a book hand printed in 1480 to a limited edition Ulysses signed by Henri Matisse, the illustrator, and by James Joyce. 


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Other upcoming Olios


Aug 25

*Olio House Party* // Art as Activism or Art for Art's Sake?

Taught by Two Olio Professors
7:30 p.m. at Tompkins Ave Apartment

Sign Up - $10

Aug 26

1950s & Nostalgia: In Search of Greatness in the "Golden Age"

Taught by Lawrence Cappello
7 p.m. at Atlas Studios // Newburgh, NY

Sign Up - $20

Sep 8

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Taught by Ward Regan
7:30 p.m. at Tompkins Ave Apartment

Sign Up - $10

Sep 10

Meditations: A Wisdom of the Everyday

Taught by Michael Prettyman
4 p.m. at IDIO Gallery

Sign Up - $10

Sep 15

Urban Inspiration & Suburban Sprawl in the Lyrics of the Talking Heads

Taught by Jessica Rogers
8:15 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Sep 17

Sep 29

Ban This Book (If You Can)

Taught by Charles Riley
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20


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