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Patricia Greer: Snakes in the Mahābhārata
"When all this was without light and unillumined, and on all its sides covered by darkness, there arose one large Egg, the inexhaustible seed of all creatures. They say that this was the great divine cause, in the beginning of the Eon..." (1(1)26-27)
So begins the bard who will recite the entire Mahābhārata as he himself heard it recited at a twelve-year Snake Sacrifice in which black-garbed brahmins chanted hymns to lure all snakes into the flames of their sacrificial fire. Thus the world’s longest poem in the starts with the enigma of a great egg that lies below the cosmic waters in the kingdom of divine/demonic oviparous Snakes.
This talk is about those snakes and their role in the Mahābhārata.
Graduate Institute Summer Lectures are held live across both campuses and also live-streamed, except for the Snakes in the Mahābhārata lecture on July 26, which will be live only. This event will be in person only but was also presented earlier this summer, and recorded. Once available, it can be found on the college's lecture playlist on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/@stjohnscollege/videos