Ramayana

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Love stories and the history of love

By |2017-08-16T11:56:26+00:00August 16th, 2017|People|

Hades and Persephone in the underworld People have been falling in love for hundreds of thousands of years, since they were monkeys and not really even people yet. And they have been telling stories about famous lovers for probably almost that long. Our earliest love stories go back to about 2500 BC, when [...]

Beowulf and Grendel – Medieval Epic

By |2018-04-07T00:08:38+00:00August 3rd, 2017|Literature, Medieval|

The only surviving manuscript of Beowulf Date of Beowulf Beowulf is a long poem that somebody wrote down around 1000 AD. The poem is in Old English, so whoever wrote it probably lived in England. It's one of the oldest poems written in English (but not the oldest). Only one copy of the poem [...]

Who is Vishnu? – Hinduism – India

By |2017-07-21T13:35:30+00:00July 21st, 2017|India, Religion|

Vishnu and Lakshmi (Kashmir, 1000s AD now in Los Angeles) Vishnu was one of the Hindu gods. He was mentioned in the Rig Veda as a god of light and the sun. But people first began to worship Vishnu as a really important god around 300 BC. About this time, people began to think about Vishnu as being like the sun's energy, everywhere, [...]

Vessantara Jataka – Buddhism – India

By |2017-08-03T21:58:55+00:00July 21st, 2017|India, Religion|

Vessantara and Maddi and their two children (Sanchi stupa, Northern Gateway, ca. 50 BC) This Buddhist story is a Jataka tale from about 400 BC. In the story, the Indian boddhisatva Vessantara wanted to give up everything for Buddhism. He gave up his kingdom and all his money and lived with his wife and children in the forest. Jujaka and his young wife [...]

Diwali – the Festival of Lights – Hinduism – India

By |2017-07-21T08:36:06+00:00July 21st, 2017|India, Religion|

Flowers and Diwali lamps Diwali is a Sanskrit word originally meaning "a row of lights" - "dipa" is the Sanskrit word for "light". Diwali is an Indian harvest festival celebrating the end of the hard work of harvesting food. People celebrate that now there is plenty of food to last through the winter. Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains all celebrated Diwali [...]

The Ramayana – A Hindu story – India

By |2018-11-20T11:21:06+00:00July 20th, 2017|India, Literature|

A scene from the Ramayana: Rama in the forest (a Gupta carving of the 400s AD, now in New Delhi) What is the Ramayana? The Ramayana is a story from ancient India that is a very important part of the Hindu religion. More about Hinduism All our ancient India articles When was the [...]

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. [...]

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 [...]