Mahabharata

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What is dharma? Hinduism – India

By |2017-07-21T08:23:46+00:00July 21st, 2017|India, Religion|

Arjuna fights Shiva (in a story from the Mahabharata) Dharma is a Sanskrit word originally meaning order or solidity or normality. It comes from an earlier Indo-European (Yamnaya) word meaning firm, solid, like wood or a tree. Hindus later on used it to mean something like "law" or "duty" - it's the laws of nature that keep order [...]

Friendship in ancient India

By |2017-07-20T18:26:38+00:00July 20th, 2017|History|

Duryodhana (Cambodia, ca. 900s AD) We don't know very much about friendships among poor people in ancient India, or among women. But the stories that Indian people told had examples of strong friendships between powerful men. In the Mahabharata, which was first written down about 300 BC, Karna and Duryodhana are famous for their friendship. Early Indian [...]

The Mahabharata – Ancient India

By |2018-11-20T10:47:55+00:00July 20th, 2017|India, Literature|

Pandava brothers from the Mahabharata What is the Mahabharata? The Mahabharata, like the Jewish Bible, is a collection of many different stories around one central story. The central story is this: Main plot of the Mahabharata The five good Pandava brothers fight with their cousins, the hundred bad Kaurava brothers, to see who [...]

Duryodhana and Karna – India’s Mahabharata

By |2018-10-26T08:01:07+00:00July 20th, 2017|India, Literature|

Duryodhana (Cambodia, ca. 900s AD) Who was Duryodhana? Duryodhana was the enemy of the Pandavas in the story of the Mahabharata. He's forced out of power when the Pandavas defeat him. His friend Karna fights for him, defeating many kings, but eventually Arjuna kills Karna in a great battle. More about the Mahabharata Lots of India [...]

Stories of ancient India

By |2017-07-20T17:16:54+00:00July 20th, 2017|India, Literature|

Harappan Seal One of the earliest known writing systems came from India, probably around 2500 BC. Unfortunately, nobody can read the Harappan writing yet. But we know people were using this writing to mark their property, so other people couldn't steal it, and to keep track of things. The writing was in pictographs, like Egyptian hieroglyphs. [...]

Cinderella in India – Mahabharata

By |2017-07-20T15:50:26+00:00July 20th, 2017|India, Literature|

Indian woman from the Mauryan period (ca. 200 BC) This story comes from the Sanskrit epic poem the Mahabharata. Story-tellers were probably telling this story at least by 500 BC, during the Vedic period, and somebody wrote it down by 300 BC or so. This is the earliest version of the Cinderella story that anybody knows. In this story, [...]

Mauryan India – history of India

By |2017-09-13T08:21:08+00:00July 20th, 2017|History, India|

These punch-marked silver coins might be from the time of Chandragupta I Alexander went back to Babylon in 324 BC. Then a man named Chandragupta overthrew the old Vedic kingdom of Nanda and formed a big new empire. He ruled all of northern India and into Afghanistan. Greek historians said that Chandragupta got the idea from Alexander. But it [...]

Vedic expansion – history of India

By |2018-04-23T15:14:47+00:00July 20th, 2017|History, India|

Ganges river - wider and slower than the Indus After the Vedic people moved into the Ganges valley about 800 BC, they were further from West Asia and Central Asia and had less contact with their relatives there. They mixed more with the Indian people. Indian gods mixed with the Indo-European gods and became Hinduism. The  Mahabharata, first told about this [...]

What games did people play in ancient India?

By |2017-07-20T09:49:31+00:00July 20th, 2017|Games, India|

A die found in excavations at a Harappan period site. Note that the six is not opposite the one. People brought the idea of throwing the knucklebones of sheep or pigs to tell the future, or to play a game of skill like jacks, when they first came from Africa to India about 40,000 BC. But people in India may have been [...]

History of cats – Where did cats come from?

By |2018-10-29T10:58:40+00:00June 12th, 2017|Egypt|

History of cats: Sumerian clay head of a cat (Iraq, ca. 3000-2000 BC) Evolution of cats Wildcats first evolved from earlier mammals in Europe during the late Tertiary period, about four million years ago. By around 50,000 years ago, wildcats had spread into West Asia, and by around 40,000 BC, there were cats [...]