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Mahabharata—A Multidimensional Exploration

Offered by:

1. School of Ethics, Governance, Culture & Social Systems




45 hours over 15 weeks

Eligibility :

* 18 years and above * Sound knowledge of written and spoken English. * Familiarity with the devanagari script. * Knowledge of the Mahabharata story. * Rudimentary appreciation of or interest in the Sanskrit language.

For More Information and to apply:


Admissions Toll-free:
1800-270-4888 or 75588 96000


The Mahabharata has been held in high esteem not only as a literary work but also for its philosophical content. Also, several art forms have drawn inspiration from the Mahabharata. It is not much of an exaggeration to say that the Mahabharata is an encyclopedia of Indian culture. This course offers an opportunity to explore the various facets of the Mahabharata in general. However, we will focus on the ethical dimension of the text by exploring its relevance to the study of puruṣārtha-s (the ends of human life). The Mahabharata recognises itself as the ultimate guide to purusharthas - धर्मे च अर्थे च कामे च मोक्षे च भरतर्षभ । यदिहास्ति तदन्यत्र यन्नेहास्ति न तत्क्वचित् ।।

Every human being has several needs and desires and adopts suitable means to attain them. The set of all such needs and desires may be called the ppurusharthas. These have been classified into four sub-groups: dharma, artha, kama and moksha. These include both the ends and the means to achieve the ends. In this course we shall try to understand the ethical framework of purushartha and see how it offers us a way to ‘Live and let live’. Moreover, it is often observed that these needs and desires conflict with each other. We shall use the guiding light of the Mahabharata to see how such conflicts can be resolved.

Course Structure


Classes will be held twice a week for 1.5 hours for 15 weeks (45 hours in total)
Start Week: 28 Sep – 03 Oct 2020
Session Timing: 

  • Tuesday: 3.30 – 5.00 pm
  • Saturday: 2.00 – 3.30 pm

Workshop Objectives


  • To understand the significance of the Mahabharata in Indian culture.
  • To understand the concept of puruṣārtha and explore it as an ethical framework for our lives to resolve conflicts between different types of needs and desires.
  • To examine, in some detail, the major characters and events of the Mahabharata and explore their relevance to contemporary times. 


  • Students will have a sound knowledge of the structure and organization of the Mahabharata.
  • Students will be able to appreciate the influence this text has on various aspects of Indian life.
  • Students will gain access to a new ethical framework, that of the puruṣārtha, and get an opportunity to explore how they can incorporate it in their life.
  • Students will develop a more nuanced understanding of certain characters and events of the Mahabharata. 
  • Students will possess certain prototypes, in the form of the various characters and events of the Mahabharata, against which they can try and relate their day-to-day life and events around them.

Workshop Structure

Pedagogy: The teaching will consist of lectures based on the reading material. The student is expected to participate actively in the class discussion especially during the character analysis part of the course. The classes will be a mix of synchronous live sessions at least once a week and asynchronous sessions (in which videos or reading material will be uploaded on to the course’s Moodle page and students can study it at their own pace).


  • Sound knowledge of written and spoken English.
  • Familiarity with the devanāgari script.
  • Knowledge of the Mahabharata story. 
  • Rudimentary appreciation of or interest in the Sanskrit language.

Evaluation Pattern:

  • Class Quizzes: 30%
  • Assignments: 40%
  • Term Paper: 30%


A Certificate of Participation will be awarded to those who meet the completion requirements pertaining to all the segments of the workshop.


INR 6000/- (inclusive of GST)

Faculty Refund Policy

Timeline for cancellation

Refund Status*

3 days before the workshop begins

100% of the registration fee (less administrative fee)

1 week into the workshop

50% of the registration fee (less administrative fee)

10 days into the workshop

No refund

*All refunds are subject to an administrative fee (10% of the registration fee).

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