ThinkOlio Presents: Dharma in a Crumbling Democracy: Ancient Wisdom for Troubling Times

Friday March 24: 7:00PM 8:00PM

The Sanskrit 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). Sound familiar?

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.

Vishwa Adluri teaches Philosophy and Religion at Hunter College NY. He specializes in Ancient Greek Philosophy, Ancient Indian Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion, and Myth.

The presenting beer sponsor is Sixpoint Brewery. Wine is generously provided by Maison Cubi.

Buy a ticket HERE or at the door to attend. This event will take place in the Rare Book Room on the Strand's 3rd floor, accessible via the store elevator or at 826 Broadway.