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Chapter 8 - Varṇadharma in the Arthaśāstra

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 June 2019

Mark McClish
Affiliation:
Northwestern University, Illinois
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Summary

In this chapter, the political theology of varṇāśramadharma is reintroduced. It is demonstrated that nearly all references to varṇāśramadharma and all references to dharma as a power standing above the king were introduced during the redaction of the text in the third century BCE. The various aspects of varṇāśramadharma that are found in the extant Arthaśāstra are explored in detail. Nearly all are linked to the work of the redactor. The addition of varṇāśramadharma creates a disonnance in the extant text, and the curiously hybrid character of its resulting political theory is explored.

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The History of the Arthasastra
Sovereignty and Sacred Law in Ancient India
, pp. 174 - 207
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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