Professor Patrick Olivelle will deliver the third Inspire lecture. Professor Olivelle is a distinguished scholar of Sanskrit texts, Indian religion, asceticism and law. He served as Chair of the Department of Asian Studies at the University of Texas at Austin (1994-2007), where he is currently Professor Emeritus of Sanskrit and Indian Religions. He was elected Vice President of the American Oriental Society in 2004 and President in 2005, and has received many prestigious awards and fellowships. His path-breaking work, marked by extraordinary range and rigour, has had a major impact on the understanding of ancient India’s intellectual traditions and history. Professor Olivelle has written extensively on themes such as dharma, the ashrama system and asceticism, and has published authoritative translations of the Upanishads, Manava Dharmashastra, Arthashastra, Buddhacharita and Panchatantra. His most recent book is Ashoka: Portrait of a Philosopher King.
Professor Olivelle will speak on ‘Ashoka’s Journey: From Devotee of Buddhism to Apostle of Ecumenism.’
The Maurya emperor Ashoka embarked on a program of religious ecumenism, where members of different religions would meet with each other to establish both harmony and dialogue, to learn from each other. Ashoka’s message goes beyond simple religious harmony. It calls for active inter-religious cooperation that would enhance the spiritual life of all religions. The lecture will delve into this aspect of Ashoka’s messages to the various religious organizations of his time, especially the Buddhist, Brahmanical, Jain, and Ajivika, a message of harmony within diversity that has relevance to modern times.
The lecture will be chaired by Professor Rudrangshu Mukherjee, Chancellor of Ashoka University.
Date: 18th October, 2023
Time: 3 pm
Venue: Ashoka University