Janamejaya's last question

Journal of Indian Philosophy 37 (6):597-625 (2009)
Abstract
This article examines closely an important passage at the conclusion of the Mahābhārata wherein the final state of the epic heroes after death is defined. The Critical Edition’s phrasing of what precisely became of the characters once they arrived in heaven is unclear, and manuscript variants offer two apparently contradictory readings. In this article I present evidence in support of one of these readings, and respond to the Mahābhārata ’s seventeenth century commentator Nīlakaṇṭha Caturdhara, who champions the other. Underlying and prompting this debate is a much broader issue of the epic narrative: the complex nature of the Mahābhārata heroes as both agents in a universe governed by karma , and their identities as “portions” of divine figures acting within a broader dramatic structure of eschatological myth.
Keywords Mahābhārata   Svargārohaṇaparvan  Nīlakaṇṭha Caturdhara   Bhāratabhāvadīpa   karma  Afterlife  aṁśa   aṁśāvataraṇa
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Tamar C. Reich (2011). Ends and Closures in the Mahābhārata. International Journal of Hindu Studies 15 (1):9-53.
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