Offers a fresh perspective on the Mahābhārata based on an exploration of its ending, the Svargārohaṇa parvan.
This book challenges two prevalent assumptions about the Mahābhārata: that its narrative is inherently incapable of achieving a conclusion and that its ending, the Svargārohaṇa parva, is an extraneous part of the text. While the exegetic traditions have largely tended to suppress, ignore, or overlook the importance of this final section, Shalom argues that the moment of the condemnation of dharma that occurs in the Svargārohaṇa parva, expressed by the epic protagonist, Yudhiṣṭhira, against his father, Dharma, is of crucial importance. It sheds light on the incessant preoccupation and intrinsic dismay towards the concept of dharma (the cardinal theme around which the epic revolves) expressed by Mahābhārata narrators throughout the epic, and is thus highly significant for understanding the Mahābhārata narrative as a whole.
Naama Shalom is Assistant Professor in the Humanities Department at Shalem College, Jerusalem.