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Alf Hiltebeitel

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780824834661

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824834661.001.0001

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Two Dharma Biographies?

Two Dharma Biographies?

Rāma and Yudhiṣṭhira

(p.74) Chapter 6 Two Dharma Biographies?

Alf Hiltebeitel

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter discusses Rāma and Yudhiṣṭhira's dharma biographies, concentrating on their parts in killings in the two scenes where the morality of their doing so comes most into question: Rāma's killing the monkey king Vālin from ambush, and Yudhiṣṭhira's lying to enable the killing of the Brahmin Droṇa. Unlike Yudhiṣṭhira, Rāma feels called upon to defend himself. Only Yudhiṣṭhira admits guilt, that is, admits himself accountable as a sinner; to do something with difficulty is to do so having considered the consequences and been willing to suffer them. Unlike Rāma's, and like the Buddha's, Yudhiṣṭhira's dharma biography is one of moral and spiritual reflection.

Keywords:   Rāma, Yudhiṣṭhira, dharma biographies, Vālin, Droṇa, morality

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