The Indian Conception of History

Do Indians have a sense of history? No is pretty much the received wisdom even today in major sections of the academia, media and the rest. If you as much as question the sources, the roots of this received wisdom, you are branded but that’s the least of our concerns. Before looking at a “sense of history” or “historical sense,” we need to look at how history is defined. Commonly accepted definitions include:

  • A study of the human past.
  • A field of research which uses a narrative to examine and analyse the sequence of events, and… attempts to investigate objectively the patterns of cause and effect that determine events.
  • Historians debate the nature of history and its usefulness. This includes discussing the study of the discipline as an end in itself and as a way of providing “perspective” on the problems of the present.

Digging a little deeper, we find the following information related to how history is commonly understood today:

  • The stories common to a particular culture, but not supported by external sources….are usually classified as cultural heritage rather than the “disinterested investigation” needed by the discipline of history.
  • Events of the past prior to written record are considered prehistory.

Based on these, we can arrive at these:

  • The advent of writing plays a major role in our definition of history.
  • The oral tradition, however authentic, however well-preserved is kept beyond the definition of history.
  • All oral traditions occurring even after the advent of writing aren’t considered as historical evidence.
  • History and/or history-writing is essentially a disinterested, academic discipline.

This conception of history is laudable for its scientific approach to studying the past destinies of civilizations, nations, and indeed, the whole world. And this conception is a product of a mind that has a linear view of time. Thus, today’s newspaper is tomorrow’s history, which fifteen years later, finds its way into textbooks. History then is a little more than a diary without a last page, populated with names, dates, and places and how the three play out with one another.

While this precise, factual approach to history has yielded us worthy insights it has made history largely a boring subject. It is the one subject uniformly hated by most starting from primary school up to educated adults who dismiss history in terms of “who wants to know what Julius Caesar did in 62 BC?” You can blame our education system or whatever but it’s undeniable that reading this sort of chronicle is boring however factual it may be.

But then the same people who despise reading history enjoy reading historical fiction, which continues to command a great deal of popularity. The reason isn’t difficult to fathom: entertainment naturally appeals to the human psyche. And people, when they buy historical fiction, are motivated primarily by the fiction element in it. Julius Caesar becomes a character in a novel first; that he was a powerful Roman emperor who actually existed is secondary. In the end, what the novel accomplishes–like most good literature–is that it entertains the reader, who without his knowledge has also learnt a lot of history about Julius Caesar, the Roman Empire, the geography of 1st Century BC Europe , military equipment, battle styles, and architecture among others.

In other words, history from being a mere fact has been transformed into a value, to recall the words of the venerable M. Hiriyanna. To draw from Hiriyanna’s example, water is a fact as is thirst. When you elevate the act of quenching the thirst of a person to a virtue, the two facts are transformed into value. In much the same way, when a dry set of facts–dates, people, places, circumstances, and situations–are woven into a narrative richly intermixed with fundamental human impulses, fact becomes value.

In the Indian parlance, this is called Itihasa. The common Indian-language equivalent of the word “history” is Itihasa, which, though accurate, is also incomplete. The Sanskrit Itihasa can be split as Iti+ha+aasa, roughly translated as “This is how it happened.” The key word is “how.” The exact date of the events is insignificant. The immediate emphasis is on the “value” rather than the “fact” aspect as we shall see.

In India, only the Ramayana and the Mahabharata are termed Itihasa. No chronicle of any royal lineage or descriptions of great battles, charitable and public works and suchlike, which came after these two epics were given this title.

What’s more interesting is how these two epics (synonymous with Itihasa) are typically “read” in India. They’re recited, not read, mostly on a regular basis with commentaries and explanations accompanying the recital. It is not uncommon even today to find a speaker well-versed in these epics to recite them–musically on numerous occasions–verse by verse, stopping after each verse to explain and elaborate its meaning, significance and so on. As far as I know, no other country reads and/or recites its history in this fashion. Even if these epics are stripped of the much-derided “religious” aspects, they’re still recited exactly the same way I described. The reason again, is because Ramayana and Mahabharata are not mere chronicles of royal dynasties and events but something far beyond and far elevating.

The Indian approach of viewing history as a value is rooted in the Indian conception of time as cyclic. And thus it doesn’t matter whether Krishna lived exactly 5016 years ago or 5 minutes ago. Indians can summon their history at will. The past, present, and future all exist now. All it needs to bring Krishna alive is to stage an impromptu streetplay on say, the episode of Sudama to show how he valued friendship. Or the wealthier of the lot can simply build a temple with carvings that depict his life. Or we can simply announce that we’re celebrating the wedding of Rama and Sita. Each time you read/hear that someone slept like Kumbhakarna, you are recollecting a tidbit of Itihasa. The Rama Navami and Krishna Janmashtami are not mere festivals: they’re also how we recall our history. In other words, India has universalized history by personalizing it, by making it dear to every person who reads it. And this is exactly why and how we’ve managed to preserve our history intact over thousands of years.

One outcome of a cyclic view of time is the hope that it gives. When human (and animal) life is impermanent, ancient India embarked on a quest to seek the permanent, which eventually led to the flowering of Vedanta, which in turn branched out to give rise to various knowledge streams including the arts. Because it’s impossible for anyone to actually “see” the “end” of time, Indians were able to perfect the concept of Sanatana or Eternal. Prosperity, happiness, wars, destruction, and death became mere punctuations in an ever-turning wheel of prose. The Ramayana and the Mahabharata are enduring because they contain this underlying concept. And they offer whatever the seeker seeks. If a Rajaji gives us a wonderfully abridged version of the Mahabharata, a Mallika Sarabhai seeks to “deliver” justice to a patently evil Shurpanakha. They will continue to survive and inspire because they not only embody eternal values but strum the strings of the most fundamental human impulses. Why else would a barely-educated villager know the Ramayana and the Mahabharata by heart when it doesn’t earn him bread but doesn’t mind not knowing what happened in 802 A.D?

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36 comments for “The Indian Conception of History

  1. S S
    September 1, 2011 at 8:27 PM

    Very perceptive article. Should be read by all history students in our colleges and universities.

    Regarding the poitns in the last three paragraphs, I strongly recommend three eassys written by by the great Hindi poet S H Vatsyayan, published as ‘A Sense of Time’ (Oxford University Press). Hindi original as ‘Samvatsar’ (National Publishing House, Delhi, 2005). These are gem of essays on the subject.

  2. S S
    September 1, 2011 at 7:48 PM

    Is Iti+ha+aasa “This is how it happened” or “??? ???? ??? ??” (Such continue to happen)? Please check. I doubt if ‘how’ is the key word in the meaning of Itihasa.

    ?????? ?? ??????? ?? ???? ?? ?????? ??? ?? ?????? ???? ??? ?????? ??????-??? ?? ??????? ?? ????? ?? ?????? ?? ?? ??? ?? ?? ?????????? ???? ?? ?? ????? ??? ?? ????? ?????? ???-??????? ?? ?????? ?? ??????? ?? ??? ?? ???, ???? ?? ?????? ?? ??? ??? ?? ???? ??? ?????? ?????? ??? ??? ?? ?? ?????? ????? ?? ??, ??? ?? ????????, ??????? ?? ???????? ????? ???? ?? ??? ??? ?????? ?? ??? ?? ?????? ???? ??? ???? ?? ???? “???????, ????????, ‘????????’ ?? ???????? ?? ?????? ??? ???? ?? ????? ?? ??????? ???? ????? ??? ????? ?????? ???? ?? ??? ???? ???? ?? ?????????? ?? ???? ?? ?? ???? ?? ???????????? ?? ???? ??, ?? ?? ??? ?? ??????? ???? ??? ???? ??? ???? ?? ????, ?????? ??? ???? ??????? ?? ?????????? ???? ??? ??? ??? ???????? ???? ??, ???? ?? ?? ??? ???? ?? ?? ??????? ??????? ?? ?? ?? ?????? ??????????? ??????? ?? ???? ?? ?? ??????? ?? ???????? ??? ???????? ??? ?? ???? ???” ???? ????? ?? ???, ????? ?? ?????? ?? ??????? ?? ??????? ???? ??? ‘??????????’ ?? ?????? ?? ?????? ???? ????? ??????????? ???? ???

  3. February 7, 2011 at 10:05 PM

    @Sandeep, Very interesting! Your claims including, “In India, only the Ramayana and the Mahabharata are termed Itihasa.”, “In the Indian parlance, this is called Itihasa.” are not sourced and sound like massively generalised personal opinion. Any `Claim` without a `Warrant` does not call for all the “trouble” you ask me to go through. Come up with that; I do not have any issue accepting your pov provided you offer a credible one! Refusing to source something even when disputed deepens suspicions and it is hard to follow the standards we set for others. There are many tutorials online if you want to read on Research Methods!

  4. Archpagan
    February 2, 2011 at 9:04 PM

    @ Sandeep
    Ignore cranks, pal. Ours is a continuous civilization, so, archaeological evidence as insisted by ‘secular Historians’, should not be there. Archaeological evidence can be found only when there is sudden and complete destruction of a civilization. But such things did not happen in India. The ruins of Indus-Saraswati civilization could be found because the area was abandoned for around 300 years due to ecological disaster caused by drying up of the river Saraswati. Astrology is more scientific than linguistic evidence paraded by western Historians and their Indian chelas. If they are so enamored of scientific evidence why do they ignore astronomical evidence put forward by scholars like Koenraad Elst, Dr Subhas Kak, N S Rajaram, Pushkar Bhatnagar etc?
    Once my Maths teacher narrated to me a History of the ‘future’. Suppose the modern human civilization is suddenly destroyed today by a massive meteorite strike. Just a few people survive the strike. Those few people could not recapture the civilization and human society slips back 5000 years. After 5000 years the civilization has come back to the modern stage. Now a scholar has excavated a statue of some YASAGAR from a spot where the present city of Kolkata is located. He submits a thesis : YASAGAR was a Japanese holy man, who traveled to India, and lived around Kolkata for some time; he perhaps came to propagate Shintoism in India. And the scholar wins instant fame and wide recognition. But, alas, it was our very own VIDYASAGAR, the first three letters of which was completely obliterated in the catastrophe.

  5. Sandeep
    February 2, 2011 at 12:25 PM

    Ragu,

    Aren’t you getting a little ahead here? *You* are the one who characterized my piece as bluff so the onus is on *you* to show–with facts, evidence, etc–how it constitutes a bluff. We’ll talk about the rest later.

  6. madhusudan
    February 2, 2011 at 10:44 AM

    If one were to relate the places mentioned in the itihaasas with the real places in India, it will become obvious that these are history. and there appears no reason to reject it as fiction, in the first place.

  7. February 1, 2011 at 9:11 PM

    @Sandeep,
    Your name, as you like it. But you have an obligation to substantiate your bluff. Reading, I do sir, not because you insist more often. You can not make wild assertions and run away when asked to clarify. That is no different from #mediamafia.

  8. Sandeep
    February 1, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    Ragu,

    I recommend you read up some stuff on the subject about which you have questions. And I do NOT appreciate being addressed Sandeepa.

    Thank you.

  9. January 31, 2011 at 9:12 PM

    @sandeepa,
    I see, you were just bluffing.

  10. Gorki
    January 27, 2011 at 7:01 AM

    I believe that the Indian epics; especially the Mahabharata are among the greatest stories ever told and encompass rare wisdom applicable in everyday life even today. Having said that, I find the above article strange, to say the least.

    The author states the obvious that serious history is dull compared to historical fiction; no surprise there. Then he goes on to make the following statement:

    “In India, only the Ramayana and the Mahabharata are termed Itihasa. No chronicle of any royal lineage or descriptions of great battles, charitable and public works and suchlike, which came after these two epics were given this title….”

    I am not sure I agree with that. Maybe in common parlance among the uneducated millions history and epics may be the same thing but for those attending any kind of schooling the ‘Itihaas’ class meant the history class complete with dynasties, dates and such.

    Further, I am not sure if the author is calling the great epics actual history. If so, I am afraid that without any corroborating proof like ancient ruins, coins, quotations from texts outside the epics themselves etc. these epics cannot be called history and will have to remain in the realm of epics like other such texts from other cultures like the Iliad and the Odyssey etc.

    Finally someone made a comment implying that these Epics contain all history there is since history is circular anyway. It reminds me of an apocryphal story (probably false and spread by the crusaders ;-) ) that was told after the fall of Alexandria to the conquering Arabs in 642 AD.

    Apparently the unlettered Arabs had no use for the thousands of rare books collected in its library over centuries and they set fire to all of them saying that since all the wisdom was already present in the Koran, why else do we need them adding that if the books said anything else other than the Koran then that must be blasphemous and then the books deserve to burnt anyway!!

    Hopefully the modern day Indians are a little wiser than that. Of course the great Epics are a rare treasure however they cannot replace real history of mankind and the great civilization that is India.

    Regards.

  11. Gorki
    January 27, 2011 at 4:43 AM

    I believe that the Indian epics; especially the Mahabharata are among the greatest stories ever told and encompass rare wisdom applicable in everyday life even today. Having said that, I find the above article strange, to say the least.

    The author states the obvious that serious history is dull compared to historical fiction; no surprise there but then goes on to make the following statement:

    “In India, only the Ramayana and the Mahabharata are termed Itihasa. No chronicle of any royal lineage or descriptions of great battles, charitable and public works and suchlike, which came after these two epics were given this title….”

    I am not sure I agree with that. Maybe in common parlance among the uneducated millions history and epics may be the same thing but for those attending any kind of schooling the ‘Itihaas’ class meant the history class complete with dynasties, dates and such.
    Further, I am not sure if the author is calling the great epics actual history. If so, I am afraid that without any corroborating proof like ancient ruins, coins, quotations from texts outside the epics themselves etc. these epics cannot be called history and will have to remain in the realm of epics like other such texts from other cultures like the Iliad and the Odyssey etc.

    Finally someone made a comment implying that these Epics contain all history there is since history is circular anyway.
    It reminds me of an apocryphal story (probably false and spread by the crusaders ;-) ) that was told after the fall of Alexandria to the conquering Arabs in 642 AD.
    Apparently the unlettered Arabs had no use for the thousands of rare books collected in its library over centuries and they set fire to all of them saying that since all the wisdom was already present in the Koran, why else do we need them adding that if the books said anything else other than the Koran then that must be blasphemous and then the books deserve to burnt anyway!!

    Hopefully the modern day Indians are a little wiser than that. Of course the great Epics are a rare treasure however they cannot replace real history of mankind and the great civilization that is India.
    Lets not get carried away.

    Regards.

  12. ganapathy
    January 26, 2011 at 6:57 PM

    dear seadog
    why should i weep.1 out of 1.5crore creating a cinematic scene makes a good news for media and cynics.freebies are anyday better to patriotic flag/song comedies.the dignity and thought process jayakumar has acheived is courtesy dravidian movement and i am all for jayakumars to become the gorbachevs of dravidian movement with their perestoroikas.
    what will jayakumar say about flag dramas when lakhs of farmers commit suicides and women are killed in dozens evry day for some stupid interpretation of gothras and marrying outside caste.
    1 ambedkar singlehandedly made hinduism lose all its stripes and fangs and i hope we get another to take us to the next stage of social justice.

  13. seadog4227
    January 26, 2011 at 2:25 PM

    @ Ganapati:
    You asked for a free TV and MK gave it to you.
    Read and weep:

    Jayakumar, a humble farmer of Kothamangalam village in the Pudukottai district of Tamil Nadu, has shamed the intellectuals of the state who dare not speak openly about the freebie culture unleashed by Karunanidhi’s regime to corner the votes.

    He was one of the ‘beneficiaries’ listed to get a free colour television set on December 23. When his name was called, he went to the stage, took the set, then immediately returned it to the VIP — a local DMK politician along with a letter. The letter hit like a bombshell.

    The letter said television was a luxury that should come only after attaining self-sufficiency in food, shelter, clothing and electricity. With various problems surrounding him — power shortage, rising prices, water shortage, corruption, et al, he had become a walking corpse. How can I peacefully watch TV, Jayakumar asked.

    He said the government should have used the money spent on free TV sets to provide proper infrastructure and power and once that was done the citizens would be able to achieve their own purchasing power to buy everything from television sets to cars.

    Finally, he said, he was returning the television set to the chief minister. The VIPs on stage were dumbstruck on reading the letter but managed to get Jayakumar out of the scene without further flutter.

  14. Archpagan
    January 26, 2011 at 10:23 AM

    It is impossible to write objective History acceptable to all. If one follows the news being published in left-leaning newspapers e.g. Ajkaal regarding political clashes in West Bengal, a completely different picture will emerge from those reported by other newspapers e. g. Bartaman and Anandabazar. Similarly, Jehadis have a completely different perception of the ‘war against terror’ being pursued by the western world. So, the ancient Indians wrote mythology instead of History where natural seamlessly mix with supernatural. History can be churned out of them by reading between the lines. For example if one can exclude the character of Rishi Durvasha from the story of Dushmanta – Shakuntala, the History will easily appear.

  15. Chl
    January 25, 2011 at 2:20 PM

    Those who forget their history are doomed, period. If we can’t remember the sacrifices and the bravery of our ancestors who fought hard to keep our culture from going the way of the Persians or the Mesopotamians or even the Afghan Buddhists, then they died in vain. The brave daughters of Rajah Dahar of Sindh ought to be as inspirational to us as Joan D’Arc is to the French, but because our history remains bound to ancient myth we are unable to recall historical events that were momentous in shaping our destiny. And thus doomed to eventual extinction.

  16. January 24, 2011 at 11:45 AM

    My two-bit views here regarding a Hindi writer, who is all but forgotten.
    Acharya Chatursen, he did a great deal to bring History alive. Nobody forgets the film ‘Amrapali’, but forget that it was loosely based on his novel ‘Vaisali Ki Nagarvadhu’ – an excellent Novel about glorious period around the time Gautama Buddha was around. The book brings about the entire environment in such a beautiful way, that it has not been paralleled by any other writer. He is not remembered much now, I do not know why?
    He also wrote a novel on “Somnath” with the same name, which is worth reading.
    It is worth mentioning, that though Nehru was a good friend of Acharya Chatursen, but after the publication of “Somnath”, he got angry with him!

  17. Jooske
    January 23, 2011 at 4:37 PM

    @ ramgun
    while thier economics has been discredited their other nonsense in terms of psuedo secularism , history , education etc continues.

  18. Indian
    January 23, 2011 at 10:44 AM

    @Ganapathy, you also have something to say against anything even if it is truth… Good for the society… But please read the book “Tao of Physics” where the author has drawn parallel between eastern philosophy and modern science… First empty your cup and then read.. What I mean is that take out all your pre-conceived notions about hinduism and then study…

  19. Raj
    January 22, 2011 at 11:26 PM

    and @Rajesh I completely agree with you, they even arrogantly admit in hushed voices that yes they control opinion and opinion makers but say that what they do is in the interest of the nation and its people. That prick vir sanghvi has the audacity to write on his blog that we (the indians who’re surfing the internet and making use of social media and blogs to voice our dissent with the excesses of India left wingednes) are in fact the ones who’ve done well out of the prevailing political system. As you point out, the left wingers had no choice but to welcome market reforms in 91 and suddenly the good that has come out of it is now all thanks to them. They want everything to go on as it went for the first 40 odd years viz that we continue to be the subjects of our country’s royal family of gandhis while they carry on robbing the nation both of its rich culture which our dear Sandeep has written about here and also of our wealth.

  20. Raj
    January 22, 2011 at 11:13 PM

    Amitabh Bachchan once said all of the major recurring themes in civilization or if you prefer human interaction are covered in the mahabharata and the ramayana. Basically saying the same thing as you have said above while observing the cyclic nature of iti-ha-aasa

  21. Archpagan
    January 22, 2011 at 9:33 PM

    Yes Sandeep, Knowledge of History had done more harm than good to the Jewish people. The unending Shia- Sunni discord is a gift of History. Ramayana and Mahabharata may not be History, but definitely those are Historical novels. Whatever our pundits say, perhaps we learnt the art of writing pure fiction only in the 19th century.

  22. vijayashankar
    January 22, 2011 at 12:16 PM

    As always another interesting article. please read EDI CHARITRA in telugu or its tranlation in kannada YAAVUDU CHARITRE. that is an interesting book well researched.

  23. Sid
    January 21, 2011 at 10:25 PM

    Sandeep,
    Good article. However, dates are required to connect historical events to architectural evidence so that we can know more than what is there in Itihasa. The only problem is that required connection is not made by the clique of leftist historians hell bent on destroying the history. Where are people like Dashrath Sharma who placed the entire Rajpuatana history (before him Rajputapana’s history meant Todd’s collection of Rajastahni folk tales) on the firm ground? Folk tales about Itihasa are important to convey the values they provided and propagated, but it is not without it’s pitfalls. The folk tales about Prithviraj-Jaichand provided a completely false description of the events. The true sequence of events hold important clues about the behavior of the Hindu elites and why we should distrust them in making right decisions.

  24. Rajesh
    January 21, 2011 at 7:18 PM

    @ramgun The leftists did not have any choice after what happened to the economy in 1991. So they had to contend with capitalism. But History and other socio-cultural concepts are still held by their influence. Media, Courts, the so called Civil society etc. are all under their control and anyone trying to question them is being quashed as a fundamentalist.

    Thanks to Internet, democratization of opinion is taking place for the first time in the country. That is giving jitters to the established lefties.. hence they have started whining and screaming nowadays.. just look at the twitter timelines of the media pundits nowadays..

  25. ramgun
    January 21, 2011 at 5:06 PM

    @joosoke and Manas and others: I think you guys overstate the importance and influence Leftists have, and have had, in India. After all, we are today one of the most capitalist economies – so much so that entrepreneurs and bureaucrats are free to plunder the rest of the nation. Any attempt to limit their power and nexus is deemed investor unfriendly. We even invite inflation in our quest for higher growth (that benefits mostly the rich)

  26. January 21, 2011 at 4:29 PM

    Sandeep,

    Well written as usual.

    Please do note however, that only itihAsa is not History for the Hindus. The Hindu historiography does have, besides ‘itihAsa’, the other independent and ancient formats of recorded history. These include AkhyAna / upAkyAna, purANa, vaMshAvalI, shaMsI (and charitra), and lately evolved genre of chronicle-proper (like rAjataraMgiNI). AkhyAna / upAkyAna / AkhyAyikA = deal with a particular important historical event or episode, with particular focus on details (like the episode of shakuntalA, or the dasha-rAjana war). purANa = periodic redactions of miscellanuous orally transmitted subjects (therefore uvAcha-s). vaMshAvalI = carefully preserved genealogies with attention to succession and also dates; include not only regal but also gurukula genealogies. shaMsI and charitra = trace the sketch of the life of a person (including hagiography). Then the chronicle proper, already evolving by 8th century or so, with harShacharita, rAjataraMgiNI, and pR^ithvIrAjarAso etc. in large sense answer the demands of modern historiography too. So, whoever says Hindus did not have a very evolved sense of History, is himself not having any sense of History!!

    Best Regards

  27. trueq
    January 21, 2011 at 4:19 PM
  28. trueq
    January 21, 2011 at 3:10 PM

    Sandeep, please read the debate between Hartosh Singh Bal vs William Daar-ample
    http://www.openthemagazine.com/

    I have changed the name to Daarample , because , first time William ko kisine moh thod jawab diya.
    Looks like Hartosh SB is the reincarnation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

  29. January 21, 2011 at 1:24 PM

    There is a reason why only the rAmAyaNa and mahAbhArata are classified as itihAsa. Sadly, Macaulayization of Indian education system coupled with more recent insidious Marxist engineering has led to itihAsa being reductively trivialized as mythology.

  30. Jooske
    January 21, 2011 at 11:51 AM

    Modern Indian history – Nehru style

    At least two full generations have been brainwashed by leftists in India. Their logical and moral sense has been destroyed. When one’s mind has been sealed with all kinds of delusions, it is virtually impossible to use reason. That is how many religions function, and that is how socialism functions.

    http://sabhlokcity.com/2011/01/why-social-justice-is-a-meaningless-concept/

  31. ganapathy
    January 21, 2011 at 9:22 AM

    good article but the main purpose of history is missing.history is the motivating factor for revenge(to avenge the loss to communities),aids discoveries(columbus travels around the world in search of india becos of the knowledge of wealth and quiet a bit of people search for the herbs which hanuman brought to wake back lakshmana),pride(evry group now claims a glorious past for them).
    unfortunately these three has led to the falsification of history where unwanted history is deliberately hidden and attempts are made to create heroes and villains.prithviraj or jaichand or aurangzeb or robert clive where leaders who had their merits and demerits but the 19th and 20th century historians make someone great characters and others villains.
    we may get an impartial history after another 100 years when individual detached from group mentalities rise in number and truth is told directly without worrying for the consequences

  32. brandis
    January 21, 2011 at 7:22 AM

    Indian History, thus, from 1947 to 1964 should be called Iti-haasya(ha) :D

  33. psecular
    January 21, 2011 at 6:02 AM

    Very nicely put. Kudos to you. Your articles do strum our strings in the right way to bring out coherence in our thought and understanding.

  34. Incognito
    January 21, 2011 at 6:00 AM

    Time, in terms of a physical body, is linear.
    in terms of prakriti is cyclic.
    in terms of atman or brahman, is sanatana, eternally in the now.

    History is actually memory.
    written, oral or intuited is immaterial.

    Memory is what you recall as of value.
    Ultimately it is value that is important, like it is the atman that enlivens a body.
    Purpose of body is as a vehicle for the atman, history is likewise a vehicle for value.

    Mere statement of fact, such as what Mr X did in 802 CE, is like a physical body without atman. So, unappealing to one interested in value. However, such is appealing to the valueless, who are unaware, lacking consciousness, who have eschewed conscious inquiry, who have made themselves subservient to a dogma, who are un-conscious of atman and consider themselves in terms of physical body and narrow sense of self-identity, who find value a burden.

    a very good article.

    namaste

  35. January 21, 2011 at 4:45 AM

    Sandeepa,
    Good point of view. Very interesting. But why are other incidents not valued so much?

    “No chronicle of any royal lineage or descriptions of great battles, charitable and public works and suchlike, which came after these two epics were given this title.”

    Is there no value in them?
    Or is it because we do not have Gods in these recent incidents ?
    This is a genuine confusion.

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