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Chapter Summary

This chapter provides some concluding remarks on the book Dharma, Disorder and the Political in Ancient India: The Āpaddharmaparvan of the Mahābhārata. A tendency to concentrate on the Mahābhārata (Mbh) as 'epos', and concomitantly relegate the didactic corpora to ancillary status at best, or to completely exclude them at worst, has resulted in a skewed focus in Mbh studies. In all but a few cases - and with the Bhagavad Gītā (BhG) being a notable exception - there has been a failure to appreciate the distinctive contributions that the didactic corpora make to the Mbh, as well as the distinctive qualities of the didactic corpora as units in themselves. Without attempting to move beyond the methods and conclusions of an analytical technique, whose interpretive framework equates 'early' with 'original' and 'unity' with 'uniformity' and inevitably historicises contradiction and juxtaposition, the object of Mbh scholarship will always be something other than the Mbh.

Keywords: Āpaddharmaparvan; Bhagavad Gītā (BhG); didactic corpora; Mahābhārata



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