In this episode, we speak with Dr. Arti Dhand about her research, teaching, and podcasting on India's great epic, the Mahābhārata. We discuss her background and training in Religious Studies, comparing the Mahābhārata with Game of Thrones, the nature of an "epic," the textual history of the Mahābhārata, its major themes and narrative, gender and the role of women, the nature and teachings of yoga, the Mahābhārata's powerful influence over Indian and South Asian culture. We conclude with a preview of her upcoming online course, YS 209 | The Mahābhārata.
Arti Dhand is an Associate Professor of South Asian Religions at the University of Toronto. Her specializations include the great Sanskrit epics, the Rāmāyaṇa and the Mahābhārata. Her 2009 book Woman as Fire, Woman as Sage explored ideologies of sexuality in the Mahābhārata. Her current work is The Twin Epics, a comparative analysis of the architecture of thought in the Sanskrit epics. She is also the host of the The Mahabharata Podcast, in which she aims to recount the text in its entirety!