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Nala as Nara, Raja, & Yudhisthira: Masculinity, Kingship, & Dharmic Suffering in the Nalopakhyana

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

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abstract
In this thesis, I examine the character of King Nala in Book 3 of the Mahabharata by analyzing how his characterizations fit into the epic's overall sociopolitical context. Specifically, I argue that Nala's depictions as a supremely idealized man and king place him squarely within the political strategies of the Mahabharata's composers, drawing heavily upon earlier, Vedic texts, to reassert a system of gendered social ethics in response to the rise and popularity of contemporary, heterodox ascetic movements such as Buddhism. I further argue that Nala provides valuable insights into how such strategies were used to invert and redeploy ascetic ideals of suffering and salvation, most notably in the character of Yudhisthira. To support such arguments, I draw from translations (my own, unless otherwise cited) and scholarly analysis of the Mahabharata itself, as well as scholarly examinations of gendered ideologies in ancient India, roughly covering a period from 1500 BCE to the turn of the Common Era.
subject
Damayanti
kingship
Mahabharata
masculinity
Nala
contributor
Taylor, John McGraw (author)
Whitaker, Jarrod L (committee chair)
Ramachandran, Tanisha (committee member)
Hamilton, William S (committee member)
date
2014-07-10T08:35:36Z (accessioned)
2014-07-10T08:35:36Z (available)
2014 (issued)
degree
Religion (discipline)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/39296 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
title
Nala as Nara, Raja, & Yudhisthira: Masculinity, Kingship, & Dharmic Suffering in the Nalopakhyana
type
Thesis

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