This book presents a close reading of four Indian narratives from different time periods (epic, Upaniṣadic, pre-modern and contemporary): Ekalavya's story from the Mahābhārata (MBh 1.123.1-39), the story of Prajāpati, Indra and Virochana from the Chāndogya Upanisad (CU 8.7.1-8.12.5), the story of Śankara in the King's body from the Śankaradigvijaya, and A.R. Murugadoss's Hindi film Ghajini (2008), respectively. These stories are thematically juxtaposed with Pātañjala-yoga, namely Patañjali's Yogasūtra and its vast commentarial body. The sūtras reveal hidden philosophical layers. The stories, on the other hand, contribute to the clarification of "philosophical junctions" in the Yogasūtra. Through sūtras and stories, the author explores the question of self-identity, with emphasis on the role of memory and the place of body in identity-formation. Each of the stories diagnoses the connection between self-identity and (at least a sense of) freedom.
Employing cutting-edge methodology, crossing the boundaries of literary theory, story-telling, and philosophical reflection, this book presents fresh interpretations of Indian thought. It is useful to specialists in Asian philosophy and culture.
Introduction: Stories and Sūtras
1. Truth versus Truthfulness in the Mahābhārata Story of Ekalavya
2. Is Mokṣa Pleasant? An Alternative Discourse on Freedom in the 8th chapter of the Chāndogya-Upaniṣad
3. Shankara in the King's Body: Knowing by Living Through
4. Memory, Forgetting, Self-identity: Philosophical Inscriptions in A.R. Murugadoss' Ghajini