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Devadattīyam

Johannes Bronkhorst Felicitation Volume

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Edited By François Voegeli, Vincent Eltschinger, Danielle Feller, Maria Piera Candotti, Bogdan Diaconescu and Malhar Kulkarni

Johannes Bronkhorst, professor of Sanskrit and Indian Studies at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, from 1987 to 2011, undoubtedly belongs to the most talented and significant indologists of the last three decades. His abundant work testifies to an unparalleled range of interests from early Buddhism to grammar, mathematics to asceticism, philosophy to archaeology, and is characterized by the determination to challenge preconceived ideas, clichés and traditional (mis)constructs.
The present felicitation volume includes thirty-two essays by some of the finest scholars in the field of indology, which reflect Johannes Bronkhorst’s main scholarly contributions: Grammar, Philosophy, Vedic Studies, Buddhism and Jainism, Dharmaśāstra and Arthaśāstra, Epics and Purāṇas. It presents an almost complete spectrum of the intellectual and spiritual pursuits and speculations in Ancient India, and will be of inestimable value to the specialists of all fields of Indology. The volume also includes a presentation of Johannes Bronkhorst’s academic career and contribution to Indian Studies by Jan E.M. Houben, and an ongoing bibliography of his work.

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EPICS AND PURĀṆAS

Extract

GREGORY BAILEY Sthavirabuddhayaḥ in the Mārkaṇḍeyasamāsyaparvan of the Mahābhārata Problems in Locating Critiques of Buddhism in the Mahābhārata∗ Chapters 186–189 of the third book of the Mahābhārata (MBh) com- municate the vision of the sage Mārkaṇḍeya to the Pāṇḍavas who have met him on their wanderings in the forest during their thirteen years of exile from Hastināpura. Because it deals with the decline of standards of behaviour in the yugas within the frame of Vaiṣṇava cosmogonic myths it has sometimes been described as apocalyptic.1 Typical of the disas- trous – from the perspective of the brahmins – situations applying to the kaliyuga are the descriptions in the one hundred and eighty-eighth chap- ter, epitomized by extravagant references to reversed status positions amongst the four classes, a symptom of the collapse in dharmic obser- vance, and especially an abrogation by kings of their normative duties; of the rise in importance of śūdras as role models; of general social break-down involving the removal of all prescribed social boundaries; and of the occasional mention of the activities of heretical groups. Technical terms found here occur nowhere else in the MBh and there is a strong sense of individuality about this piece. What is not unique to it is the acerbity with which it asserts the problem of the ob- servance of dharma in times of a complete reversal of normal/normative order.2 But it does not treat the problem of dharma...

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