Dharma in a Crumbling Democracy: Ancient Wisdom for Troubling Times

Vishwa Adluri at Strand Bookstore

Fri, Mar 24 at 7 p.m.   |   90 minutes

Containing a critique of technology, rampant materialism and self-serving individualism, the Mahabharata appears surprisingly contemporary.

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.

Teacher: Vishwa Adluri

Vishwa holds PhDs from the New School and University of Marburg, Germany. He recently published 'The Nay Science' and is the author of many books and articles. Dr. Adluri teaches courses on: Approaches to Religion, Indian Philosophy, Christian Theology, Mysticism, Hinduism, art history and The Religious Meaning of Death. He has been thinking about Space, Time, and Death since he was 5.


Venue: Strand Bookstore

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Think Olio is here to put the liberation back into the liberal arts.

Classically, the liberal arts, were the education considered essential for a free person to take an active part in civic life. To counter a humanities that has been institutionalized and dehumanized we infuse critical thinking, openness, playfulness, and compassion into our learning experience.

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Liaisons Host an Olio

Olio: A miscellaneous collection of art and literature.