Discerning Dharma: Debating Universal vs Contextual Morality in The Mahabharata

On April 6th, 2023, the philosophical society at PGGCG-11 Chandigarh organized a student seminar on the topic “Discerning Dharma: Debating Universal vs Contextual Morality in The Mahabharata” as part of their ongoing seminar series ‘Dialogue.’ The speaker for the day was Dr Pankaj Srivastava from the Department of Philosophy at Panjab University. Dr Ambuj Sharma coordinated the session, which was chaired by Vanisha, a BA1 student.

The seminar began with Dr Ambuj introducing the philosophical society and its department, followed by Vanisha’s brief introduction to the topic and the speaker. Dr Pankaj Srivastava shared his views on the topic, including discussions on the traditions of Epics, the objectives of Dharma, and Homo sapiens. He also delved into the conflict between universal and contextual Dharma in the Mahabharata.

After his speech, students asked questions, with Tanu (BA1) inquiring about the speaker’s opinion on which morality was superior – universal or contextual, and Vanisha (BA1) asking about his personal dilemmas regarding the two moralities. The seminar concluded with a vote of thanks by Dr Ambuj Sharma and the office bearers of the philosophical society, who presented Dr Pankaj with flowers and took photographs with the students.