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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 35741 comments Mod
This is the ANCIENT SOUTH ASIA thread.

This thread deals with the following:

Vedic India · Maha Janapadas · Mauryan India · Chola India ·
Satavahana India · Gupta India

message 2: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 35741 comments Mod
The Ancient South Asian World

The Ancient South Asian World California Edition by Jonathan Mark Kenoyer by Jonathan Mark Kenoyer


Learn about the history and civilizations from ancient South Asia through the study of a variety of archaeological discoveries.

message 3: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) The Gupta Empire

The Gupta Empire by Radha Kumud Mookerji by Radha Kumud Mookerji (no photo)


The present work describes the material and moral progress which India had achieved during the paramount sovereignty of the Gupta emperors in the fourth fifth centuries A.D. It traces the origin and rise of the ruling family to Srigupta (240 - 280 A.D.) and concludes with the reign of Kumaragupta III (543 A.D.). It discusses the spirit of the age and the various trends in the sphere of Religion, Economy, Society, Education, Administration, Art and Architecture.

message 4: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) Isn't it the truth. I would love to know how many books there are in the world that we are missing......although I have certainly found a lot of them here in the HBC.

message 5: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 35741 comments Mod
Thank you gals.

message 6: by Katy (new)

Katy (Kathy_H) The Absent Traveller: Prākrit Love Poetry from the Gāthāsaptaśatī of Sātavāhana Hāla

The Absent Traveller Prakrit Love Poetry from the Gathasaptasati of Satavahana Hala by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra (no photo)


The Gathasaptasati is perhaps the oldest extant anthology of poetry from South Asia, containing our very earliest examples of secular verse. Reputed to have been compiled by the Satavahana king Hala in the second century CE, it is a celebrated collection of 700 verses in Maharashtri Prakrit, composed in the compact, distilled gatha form. The anthology has attracted several learned commentaries and now, through Arvind Krishna Mehrotra’s acclaimed translation of 207 verses from the anthology, readers of English at last have access to its poems. The speakers are mostly women and, whether young or old, married or single, they touch on the subject of sexuality with frankness, sensitivity and, every once in a while, humour, which never ceases to surprise.

The Absent Traveler includes an elegant and stimulating translator’s note and an afterword by Martha Ann Selby that provides an admirable introduction to Prakrit literature in general and the Gathasaptasati in particular.

message 7: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 35741 comments Mod
Thank you Kathy for the adds.

message 8: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) Great adds, Kathy.

message 9: by Lakshmi (new)

Lakshmi Hayagriva Kathy wrote: "This book looks interesting. A bit different approach.

Old Myths and New Approaches: Interpreting Ancient Religious Sites in Southeast Asia

[book:Old Myths and New Approaches: Interpreting Ancien..."

Very interesting, Kathy. has an excellent cover image and open access for those who are seriously interested in reading this book.

message 10: by Jerome (new)

Jerome | 3891 comments A History of Early Southeast Asia: Maritime Trade and Societal Development, 100-1500

A History of Early Southeast Asia Maritime Trade and Societal Development, 100-1500 by Kenneth R. Hall by Kenneth R. Hall (no photo)


This comprehensive history provides a fresh interpretation of Southeast Asia from 100 to 1500, when major social and economic developments foundational to modern societies took place on the mainland (Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam) and the island world (Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines). Incorporating the latest archeological evidence and international scholarship, Kenneth R. Hall enlarges upon prior histories of early Southeast Asia that did not venture beyond 1400, extending the study of the region to the Portuguese seizure of Melaka in 1511. Written for a wide audience of non-specialists, the book will be essential reading for all those interested in Asian and world history.

message 11: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 35741 comments Mod
Thank you Kathy and Jerome

message 12: by Katy (new)

Katy (Kathy_H) Mahavira: Prince of Peace

Mahavira Prince of Peace by Ranchor Prime by Ranchor Prime (no photo)


Mahavira is known as the founder of the Jain religion. His life was strikingly similar to the life of his contemporary, Gautama Buddha. Like him, Mahavira renounced his throne to seek enlightenment. His most celebrated doctrine, non-violence, was made famous in the 20th century by Gandhi, a student of Jainism. His travels and teachings are finely retold here, accompanied by original, full-color paintings. The Gentle Hero is a worthy addition to any library of the world's great faiths.

message 13: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 35741 comments Mod
Thanks Kathy

message 14: by José Luís (last edited Mar 01, 2015 10:25AM) (new)

José Luís  Fernandes | 1016 comments Buddha

Buddha by Karen Armstrong by Karen Armstrong Karen Armstrong


Books on Buddhism may overflow the shelves, but the life story of the Buddha himself has remained obscure despite over 2,500 years of influence on millions of people around the world. In an attempt to rectify this, and to make the Buddha and Buddhism accessible to Westerners, the beloved scholar and author of such sweeping religious studies as A History of God has written a readable, sophisticated, and somewhat unconventional biography of one of the most influential people of all time. Buddha himself fought against the cult of personality, and the Buddhist scriptures were faithful, giving few details of his life and personality. Karen Armstrong mines these early scriptures, as well as later biographies, then fleshes the story out with an explanation of the cultural landscape of the 6th century B.C., creating a deft blend of biography, history, philosophy, and mythology.
At the age of 29, Siddhartha Gautama walked away from the insulated pleasure palace that had been his home and joined a growing force of wandering monks searching for spiritual enlightenment during an age of upheaval. Armstrong traces Gautama's journey through yoga and asceticism and grounds it in the varied religious teachings of the time. In many parts of the world during this so-called axial age, new religions were developing as a response to growing urbanization and market forces. Yet each shared a common impulse--they placed faith increasingly on the individual who was to seek inner depth rather than magical control. Taoism and Confucianism, Hinduism, monotheism in the Middle East and Iran, and Greek rationalism were all emerging as Gautama made his determined way towards enlightenment under the boddhi tree and during the next 45 years that he spent teaching along the banks of the Ganges. Armstrong, in her intelligent and clarifying style, is quick to point out the Buddha's relevance to our own time of transition, struggle, and spiritual void in both his approach--which was based on skepticism and empiricism--and his teachings.

Despite the lack of typical historical documentation, Armstrong has written a rich and revealing description of both a unique time in history and an unusual man. Buddha is a terrific primer for those interested in the origins and fundamentals of Buddhism.

message 15: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 35741 comments Mod
You may want to add the above book in the History of Religions folder and the Buddhism thread.

message 16: by José Luís (last edited Apr 01, 2015 10:34AM) (new)

José Luís  Fernandes | 1016 comments Ancient Cities of the Indus Valley Civilization

Ancient Cities of the Indus Valley Civilization by Jonathan Mark Kenoyer by Jonathan Mark Kenoyer (no photo)


This text presents and synthesizes recent archaeological information on the Indus Valley civilization that has emerged over the last two decades.

message 17: by Samanta (new)

Samanta   (Almacubana) Art Of Ancient India

Art Of Ancient India by Susan L. Huntington by Susan L. Huntington (no photo)


To scholars in the field, the need for an up-to-date overview of the art of South Asia has been apparent for decades. Although many regional and dynastic genres of Indic art are fairly well understood, the broad, overall representation of India's centuries of splendor has been lacking. The Art of Ancient India is the result of the authors' aim to provide such a synthesis. Noted expert Sherman E. Lee has commented: "Not since Coomaraswamy's History of Indian and Indonesian Art (1927) has there been a survey of such completeness." Indeed, this work restudies and reevaluates every frontier of ancient Indic art from its prehistoric roots up to the period of Muslim rule, from the Himalayan north to the tropical south, and from the earliest extant writings through the most modern scholarship on the subject.

This dynamic survey—generously complemented with 775 illustrations, including 48 in full color and numerous architectural ground plans, and detailed maps and fine drawings, and further enhanced by its guide to Sanskrit, copious notes, extensive bibliography, and glossary of South Asian art terms—is the most comprehensive and most fully illustrated study of South Asian art available. The works and monuments included in this volume have been selected not only for their artistic merit but also in order to both provide general coverage and include transitional works that furnish the key to an all-encompassing view of the art.

An outstanding portrayal of ancient India's highest intellectual and technical achievements, this volume is written for many audiences: scholars, for whom it provides an up-to-date background against which to examine their own areas of study; teachers and students of college level, for whom it supplies a complete summary of and a resource for their own deeper investigations into Indic art; and curious readers, for whom it gives a broad-based introduction to this fascinating area of world art. An immensely important contribution to the scholarship on South Asian art, this fresh and enlightening survey is surely destined to become the standard reference in the field.

message 18: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 35741 comments Mod
Thank you Samanta

message 19: by José Luís (new)

José Luís  Fernandes | 1016 comments The Greeks in Bactria and India

The Greeks In Bactria & India by W.W. Tarn by W.W. Tarn (no photo)


Written by a highly regarded scholar in the field, this is the first published study on the Greek kingdoms of Bactria and India that treats them as Hellenistic states. The book begins with an overview of the Seleucid settlement, providing a background to the relations between Greeks and Asiatics after the death of Alexander the Great. Covering the period from 206 to 145 BCE, the book analyses the reigns of Euthydemus I, Demetrius I and Menander I, and explains how they accomplished Alexander's dream of co-operation instead of domination in the eastern provinces. Tarn's work examines this little-discussed topic and presents it to the reader in a clear and accessible style, making this a great scholarly contribution that remains unsurpassed in breadth and depth. The second edition from 1966 (reissued here) includes an Addendum explaining the further discoveries since the work was first published in 1951.

message 20: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 35741 comments Mod
Great Jose

message 21: by José Luís (new)

José Luís  Fernandes | 1016 comments Ashoka: India's Lost Emperor

Ashoka India's Lost Emperor by Charles Allen by Charles Allen Charles Allen


India's lost emperor Ashoka Maurya has a special place in history. In his quest to govern India by moral force alone Ashoka turned Buddhism from a minor sect into a world religion and set up a new yardstick for government which had huge implications for Asia. But his brave experiment ended in tragedy and his name was cleansed from the record so effectively that he was forgotten for almost two thousand years. But a few mysterious stone monuments and inscriptions survived, and the story of how these keystones to the past were discovered by British Orientalists and their mysterious lettering deciphered is every bit as remarkable as their author himself. Bit by bit, fragments of the Ashokan story were found and in the process India's ancient history was itself recovered. In a wide-ranging, multi-layered journey of discovery that is as much about Britain's entanglement with India as it as about India's distant past, Charles Allen tells the story of the man who was arguably the greatest ruler India has ever known.

message 22: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 35741 comments Mod
Thank you Jose

message 23: by José Luís (new)

José Luís  Fernandes | 1016 comments The Indo-Aryan Controversy: Evidence and Inference in Indian History

The Indo-Aryan Controversy Evidence and Inference in Indian History by Edwin Bryant by Edwin Bryant (no photo)


For the first time in a single volume, this book presents the various arguments in the Indo-Aryan controversy. It also provides a template for the basic issues addressing four major areas: archaeological research, linguistic issues, the interpretation of Vedic texts in their historical contexts, and ideological roots. The volume ends with a plea for a return to civility in the debates which have become increasingly, and unproductively, politicized, and suggests a program of research and inquiry upon which scholars from all sides of the debate might embark.

message 24: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 35741 comments Mod
Thank you Jose for the adds - you have been busy at school but glad to see progress and these are good.

message 25: by Samanta (new)

Samanta   (Almacubana) Frog Hymns and Rain Babies: Monsoon Culture and the Art of Ancient South Asia

Frog Hymns and Rain Babies Monsoon Culture and the Art of Ancient South Asia by Guatama V. Vajracharya by Guatama V. Vajracharya (no photo)


Showcases pioneering methodology using the influence of the monsoon on early Indian culture and its resulting influence on Indian art The book depicts a new framework for examining the Vedic assimilation of indigenous Indian culture Frog Hymns and Rain Babies is a repertoire of monsoonal animal and plant imagery Peculiar to the Indian subcontinent are the six seasons, the monsoon or rainy season being one of them. In this pioneering and analytical study of the monsoon culture of pre-Vedic and Vedic times, the author draws on literary and visual sources to understand the pre-Vedic concept of atmospheric gestation and cloud forms, astrological texts, Ajanta ceiling paintings, as well as the unusual Newar festival of baby showers in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. Contents: Part I: New Methodology 1. The Rigvedic Frog Hymn, Shaving of Hair and the Adaptation of Monsoonal Culture 2. The Concept of Prana, Monsoon Culture and Visual Art Part II: Artistic Expressions of Estivation/Monsoon Culture 3. Pipal Tree, Tonsured Monks, Ushnisha and Monsoon Culture 4. Chakravartin, the Rainmaker 5. Symbolism of Ashokan Pillars and Monsoon Culture 6. Atmospheric Gestation: Deciphering Ajanta Ceiling Paintings and Other Related Works in Light of Monsoon Culture Part III: Continuity of Monsoon Culture: A Case Study in Nepal 7. The Creatures of the Rain Rivers, Cloud Lakes Newars Saw Them, So Did Ancient Peoples 8. Dance of Conception and Baby Shower: Tracing a Latent Aspect of Durgapuja in Light of the "Rain-baby" Kumara's Cult 9. Shri and Lakshmi and Monsoon Culture List of Sanskrit Words Index.

message 26: by Samanta (new)

Samanta   (Almacubana) 489 coins dating back to Mauryan era found in Bhiwani village

TNN | May 30, 2015

CHANDIGARH: As many as 489 old coins of copper have been found in Naurgangabad village of Bhiwani district which are believed to be linked to the Mauryan dynasty. The Archaeological Survey of India on Friday deputed an official to visit the site where the coins were found on May 27. Superintending archaeologist of ASI's Chandigarh circle, G N Srivastava, told TOI that they would collect details about the recoveries as the land where coins were found belonged to a villager.

A portion of the village land has already been declared as protected site by the ASI. Earlier, the surface explorations had yielded a large number of coins, coin-moulds, seals and sealing of different Kings of historical period including those of Yaudheya, Indo-Greek, Kushana and Gupta periods.

The villagers feel that the latest coins belong to Maurya dynasty stating that the pictures on the currency resemble features of Mauryan king Ashoka. The archaeologists are yet to examine the coins but Srivastava said that they have previously recovered remains of pre-Maurya era also from the village. According to archaeologists, they have already found some remains related to king Ashoka in neighbouring areas like Hisar and Fatehabad. A Buddhist Stupa at village of Chaneti in Yamunanagar district also belongs to the Mauryan king.

The latest coins have been found by a villager during digging of fields for brick kiln. The coins were kept in utensil made of an earthen which was found broken. The investigating officer of the police, Wazir Singh said that the coins appear very old and they have informed the senior officials of administration about the recoveries. The land belongs to a villager Pramod who had given it on rent to a contractor for brick kiln.

According to government record, one of the terracotta seals found from this village confirms that this city was known as Nakanagar during 1st to 3rd century AD and was an important town of Yaudheya Republic of ancient India. Few days back 77 old coins of silver were found in the field of Hondh Chillar village of Rewari district which belong to 1901 to 1920.

Source: The Times of India and Wikipedia (photo)

message 27: by Samanta (new)

Samanta   (Almacubana) Chola: Sacred Bronzed of Southern India

Chola Sacred Bronzed of Southern India by Vidya Dehejia by Vidya Dehejia (no photo)


Between the ninth and the thirteenth centuries, the Chola dynasty was the dominant cultural, artistic, religious, and political force in southern India. Though relatively unknown in the West, Chola bronzes are widely considered to be not only among the very finest works of Indian sculptural art, but the finest examples of bronze casting ever created. Among the exquisite examples here are the Hindu gods Shiva, Vishnu, and Ganesh, and a portrayal of Krishna dancing on the serpent Kaliyaone of only two in existence. This sumptuous book includes essays exploring how and why these objects came to be made, and the role they played within Hinduism and Chola culture.

message 28: by Samanta (new)

Samanta   (Almacubana) A Journey Through India's Past:From Earliest Times to the Last Emperor

A Journey through India's Past by Chandra Mauili Mani by Chandra Mauili Mani (no photo)

The book presents the history of our great nation from the earliest times to the 7th century AD when the last of the Hindu emperors, Harshavardhana, ruled over a major part of India. The author has presented the chequered history in a brief manner, and with meticulous regard to authenticity of facts. He has deftly touched upon differing views on controversial matters pinpointing the most likely scenario in an objective manner. The book meets the long-felt need of a nationalist, yet independent, appraisal of our past in a concise manner. It avoids the preconceived notions of foreign historians and their blind followers, at the same time without attempting undue glorification of the past.

message 29: by Samanta (new)

Samanta   (Almacubana) Bhagvad Gita As It Is

Bhagvad Gita As It Is by Anonymous by Anonymous (no photo) and A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami PrabhupādaA.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda


“The most important, the most influential, and the most luminous of all the Hindu scriptures.” —R.C. ZAEHNER

Vivid literature, lofty philosophy — the Bhagavad Gita distills the finest in India’s vast and varied culture. • On the morning of battle, facing Armageddon, prince Arjuna loses his nerve and refuses to fight. Krishna knows better: “Your very nature will drive you to fight. Your only choice is what to fight against.” His advice gives an inspiring model of the man or woman of action — the person who aims at goodness in a world of conflict and change. • In this translation, the Gita stands out as a book of choices—direct, practical, universal. The introduction sketches the background of the poem and gives clear, contemporary explanations of the basic ideas of Indian philosophy, karma, reincarnation, yoga, freedom. Separate chapter introductions outline the drama as it unfolds.

“The translation . . . is smooth, eloquent, and reliable . . . (1)would unhesitatingly recommend Easwaran to someone searching for the spirituality of the Gita.” —CHOICE
• Eknath Easwaran, writer, Fulbright scholar, and former professor of English literature, is at home in both English and Sanskrit. He brings to this translation 25 years’ experience of teaching the Gita to an American audience.

message 30: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 35741 comments Mod
Thank you Samanta

message 31: by Samanta (new)

Samanta   (Almacubana) Indian food

The earliest Indians, the Harappans, probably ate mainly wheat and rice and chickpeas and lentils, and occasionally cows, pigs, sheep, and goats, and chicken. Rice and chicken and citron fruit seem to have come from Thailand, and wheat and chickpeas, lentils and sheep from West Asia. Some of the wheat was made into stews or soups, and some into flat breads called chapatis or yeast breads called naan. Indian people also ate sugar cane, which grew naturally in India.

But by around 300 BC, under the Mauryans, a lot of Hindus felt that animal sacrifices added to your karma and kept you from getting free of the wheel of reincarnation. Animal sacrifices became less popular, and although people didn't give up eating meat entirely, they ate much less of it. A lot of people became vegetarians. Mauryan food scientists expanded fruit choices for these new vegetarians by breeding two different kinds of citrus fruit together to get oranges.

In the Gupta period, around 650 AD, Hindus began to worship a Mother Goddess. Cows were sacred to her, and so Hindus stopped eating beef pretty much completely. About the same time, Indian scientists invented a way to make sugar cane juice into sugar cubes, so more people began to eat more sugar and sugary desserts. By 900 AD, new Central Asian fruits and vegetables, lemons and purple carrots, reached India too.

And then around 1100 AD, with the Islamic conquests in northern India, most people in India stopped eating pork as well, because it is forbidden by the Quran. People could still eat sheep or goats or chicken, but most of the people in India became vegetarians, and only ate meat very rarely or not at all.

The vegetarian food that Indians ate was mainly wheat flatbreads or a kind of flatbread made out of chickpeas, with a spicy vegetarian sauce with lentils, and yogurt. Or people ate rice, with yogurt and vegetables. A lot of spicy peppers grew in India.

But if the Indian people gave up pork because of Islam, they also got a new drink: coffee, which Arab traders brought originally from East Africa. Coffee became popular in India, but it was very expensive because they had to buy it from the Arab traders and couldn't grow it themselves.


Land of Milk and Honey Travels in the History of Indian Food by Chitrita Banerji by Chitrita Banerji (no photo)

message 32: by Samanta (new)

Samanta   (Almacubana) The Story of Vedic India

The Story of Vedic India by Zenaide A. Ragozin by Zenaide A. Ragozin (no photo)


The Story of Vedic India is a history of the Vedas and India during their writing.

message 33: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 06, 2016 09:20PM) (new)

Bentley | 35741 comments Mod
You are welcome Talha - are you from India or Southeast Asia. We are quite a large global group and you seem to be interested in these subject areas. A big welcome from all of us here.

message 34: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 35741 comments Mod
Talha we are delighted to have you with us Pakistan. And you are very welcome and if there is anything that you need help on - let us know please.

message 35: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 35741 comments Mod
Well somebody else might be able to help you out more - but I did find this:

List of the Oldest Mosques:

List of First Mosques by Country:

10 Oldest in World:

A video on youtube on oldest mosques in world


Also this:



But this thread probably is not the right one to get some help on that.

There is an Islamic Religion thread and here is the link:

You might find some folks on that thread that might be able to help you - some Islamic scholars possibly.

We also have another thread where you might be able to ask folks for some help - here is that thread: (this is a thread where you can look for a certain book or for information on a certain subject and folks can help you out)

I hope this helps you but I will place this on the Islamic religion thread where it probably belongs the most. However check out the other threads as well.

message 36: by Samanta (new)

Samanta   (Almacubana) Talha wrote: "Samanta wrote: "Indian food

The earliest Indians, the Harappans, probably ate mainly wheat and rice and chickpeas and lentils, and occasionally cows, pigs, sheep, and goats, and chicken. Rice and ..."

Thank you, Talha. I can only take credit for searching for existing articles, though. :)

message 37: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 35741 comments Mod
Talha wrote: "Bentley wrote: "Well somebody else might be able to help you out more - but I did find this:

List of the Oldest Mosques:


I understand - they are still looking for what they consider to be the oldest. Possibly a scholar might be able to give you more information on how that search is going or what they have found to date or even the extent of what they know at this point in time. Also if you find out more information - please let us know too.

Everyday historians, archeologists, geologists are able to find things that we never knew existed and date it exactly. It is fascinating.

message 38: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 35741 comments Mod
Well - I did see this - but like the article says - before you get too excited - remember this unicorn looked more like a rhinoceros.

message 39: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 35741 comments Mod
Thank you very much Talha - away from my desk but when I get back to it - I will read it and post.

message 40: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 35741 comments Mod
Who knows Talha - folks are finding new sites every day - the wall engraving looked more like a horse:

But it would be interesting if Pakistan and India could cooperate more - then those real sites can be excavated to see if they can find the remains of some of these species if there are remains - and if they actually existed outside of the minds of the wall engravers or looked more like the Siberian species.

Unfortunately the remains that have been found resemble this species:


message 41: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 35741 comments Mod
Very true Talha but we are not sure if the beautiful species of unicorns ever existed or are just the figments of imaginations everywhere. It might be tough finding out they were not pretty animals.

message 42: by Samanta (new)

Samanta   (Almacubana) Ka: Stories of the Mind and Gods of India

Ka Stories of the Mind and Gods of India by Roberto Calasso by Roberto Calasso Roberto Calasso


With the same narrative fecundity and imaginative sympathy he brought to his acclaimed retelling of the Greek myths, Roberto Calasso plunges Western readers into the mind of ancient India. He begins with a mystery: Why is the most important god in the Rg Veda, the oldest of India's sacred texts, known by a secret name--"Ka," or Who?

What ensues is not an explanation, but an unveiling. Here are the stories of the creation of mind and matter; of the origin of Death, of the first sexual union and the first parricide. We learn why Siva must carry his father's skull, why snakes have forked tongues, and why, as part of a certain sacrifice, the king's wife must copulate with a dead horse. A tour de force of scholarship and seduction, Ka is irresistible.

message 43: by Samanta (new)

Samanta   (Almacubana) The Penguin History of Early India: From the Origins to Ad 1300: Volume 1

The Penguin History of Early India From the Origins to Ad 1300 Volume 1 by Romila Thapar by Romila Thapar (no photo)


A full account of Indian history from the establishment of Aryan culture to the coming of the Mughals in 1526 A.D. This work brings to life thousands of years of history, tracing India's evolution before contact with modern Europe was established: its prehistoric beginnings; the great cities of the Indus civilization; the emergence of mighty dynasties such as the Mauryas, Guptas, and Cholas; the teachings of the Buddha; the creation of heroic epics such as the Mahabharata and the Ramayana; and the creation of regional cultures. Thapar introduces figures from the remarkable visionary ruler Ashoka to other less exemplary figures. In exploring subjects as diverse as marriage, class, art, erotica, and astronomy, Thapar provides an incomparably vivid and nuanced picture of India. Above all, she shows the rich mosaic of diverse kingdoms, landscapes, languages, and beliefs.

message 44: by Samanta (new)

Samanta   (Almacubana) Bhatti's Poem: The Death of Ravana

Bhatti's Poem The Death of Ravana by Bhatti by Bhatti (no photo)


To the dry bones of grammar Bhatti gave juicy flesh in his poem, telling the greatest Indian story in elegant Sanskrit. Composed in the fourth century CE, in South India, Bhatti s Poem: The Death of Ravana is both a poetic retelling of Rama s adventures, and a compendium of grammatical and rhetorical examples for students. Bhatti s study aid to Panini s groundbreaking grammatical treatise, the Eight Books, gives examples disguised as the gripping, morally improving Ramayana story. In Bhatti s own words: This composition is a lamp to those whose eyes have language as their goal. Tradition has it that an elephant ambled between Bhatti and his pupils, interrupting their outdoors grammar class. By Hindu law this intrusion canceled class for a year. Lest time be lost, Bhatti composed his poem to teach grammar without textbooks. Ever since, The Death of Ravana has been one of the most popular poems in Sanskrit literature."

message 45: by Samanta (new)

Samanta   (Almacubana) The Pillars of Ashoka

Ashokan pillar, c. 279 B.C.E. - 232 B.C.E, Vaishali, India

The pillars were raised throughout the Magadha region in the North of India that had emerged as the center of the first Indian empire, the Mauryan Dynasty (322-185 B.C.E). Written on these pillars, intertwined in the message of Buddhist compassion, were the merits of King Ashoka.

The third emperor of the Mauryan dynasty, Ashoka (pronounced Ashoke), who ruled from c. 279 B.C.E. – 232 B.C.E., is widely believed to be the first leader to accept Buddhism and thus the first major patron of Buddhist art. Ashoka made a dramatic conversion to Buddhism after witnessing the carnage that resulted from his conquest of the village of Kalinga. He adopted the teachings of the Buddha known as the Four Noble Truths, referred to as the dharma (the law).

King Ashoka

One of Ashoka’s first artistic programs was to erect the pillars that are now scattered throughout what was the Mauryan empire. The pillars vary from 40 to 50 feet in height. They are cut from two different types of stone—one for the shaft and another for the capital. The shaft was almost always cut from a single piece of stone. Laborers cut and dragged the stone from quarries in Mathura and Chunar, located in the northern part of India within Ashoka’s empire. The pillars weigh about 50 tons each. Only 19 of the original pillars survive and many are in fragments. The first pillar was discovered in the 16th century.

The physical appearance of the pillars underscores the Buddhist doctrine. Most of the pillars were topped by sculptures of animals. Each pillar is also topped by an inverted lotus flower, which is the most pervasive symbol of Buddhism (a lotus flower rises from the muddy water to bloom unblemished on the surface—thus the lotus became an analogy for the Buddhist practitioner as he or she, living with the challenges of everyday life and the endless cycle of birth and rebirth, was able to achieve Enlightenment, or the knowledge of how to be released from samsara, through following the Four Noble Truths). This flower, and the animal that surmount it, form the capital, the topmost part of a column. Most pillars are topped with a single lion or a bull in either seated or standing positions. The Buddha was born into the Shakya or lion clan. The lion, in many cultures, also indicates royalty or leadership. The animals are always in the round and carved from a single piece of stone.

Asokan pillar capital at Vaishali, Bihar, India,
c. 250 B.C.E.


Ashoka The Great by Wytze Keuning by Ashoka The Great (no photo)
Ashoka the Search for India's Lost Emperor by Charles Allen by Charles Allen (no photo)
Ashoka by Mohanachand Keerangi by Mohanachand Keerangi (no photo)
Ashoka in Ancient India by Nayanjot Lahiri by Nayanjot Lahiri (no photo)
Ashoka (Amar Chitra Katha) by Anant Pai by Anant Pai Anant Pai

message 46: by Samanta (new)

Samanta   (Almacubana) Myth = Mithya: A Handbook of Hindu Mythology

Myth = Mithya A Handbook of Hindu Mythology by Devdutt Pattanaik by Devdutt Pattanaik Devdutt Pattanaik


A decoding of Hindu mythology, Hindus have one God. They also have 330 million gods: male gods, female gods, personal gods, family gods, household gods, village gods, gods of space and time, gods for specific castes and particular professions, gods who reside in trees, in animals, in minerals, in geometrical patterns and in man-made objects. Then there are a whole host of demons. But no Devil. In this groundbreaking book Dr Devdutt Pattanaik, one of India’s most popular mythologists, seeks an answer to these apparent paradoxes and unravels an inherited truth about life and death, nature and culture, perfection and possibility. He retells sacred Hindu stories and decodes Hindu symbols and rituals, using a unique style of commentary, illustrations and diagrams. We discover why the villainous Kauravas went to heaven and the virtuous Pandavas (all except Yudhishtira) were sent to hell; why Rama despite abandoning the innocent Sita remains the model king; why the blood-drinking Kali is another form of the milk-giving Gauri and why Shiva wrenched off the fifth head of Brahma. Constructed over generations, Hindu myths serve as windows to the soul, and provide an understanding of the world around us. The aim is not to outgrow myth, but to be enriched and empowered by its ancient, potent and still relevant language.

message 47: by Samanta (new)

Samanta   (Almacubana) A Political History of the Imperial Guptas: From Gupta to Skandagupta

A Political History of the Imperial Guptas From Gupta to Skandagupta by T. R. Sharma by T. R. Sharma (no photo) Synopsis:

At present the scholarly world finds a catch on the socio economic history leaving the political history in cold storage. The Gupta period of Indian History is a rich mine of information with dark and glittering segments, requiring a review of the literature every decade. The present work is a sincere attempt in that direction. It is a product of a reconsideration of all the printed works available in English and Hindi throwing light on the most glorious period of Indian History. Apart from thematic approach on the various facets of the political history of the Gupta period, the author has made a penetrating analysis of the rise and decline of the Gupta empire in great detail.

message 48: by Samanta (new)

Samanta   (Almacubana) The Discovery of India

The Discovery of India by Jawaharlal Nehru by Jawaharlal Nehru Jawaharlal Nehru


In conjunction with the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund in New Delhi, Oxford proudly announces the reissue of Glimpses of World History and The Discovery of India, two famous works by Jawaharlal Nehru. One of modern day's most articulate statesmen, Jawaharlal Nehru wrote a on a wide variety of subjects. Describing himself as "a dabbler in many things," he committed his life not only to politics but also to nature and wild life, drama, poetry, history, and science, as well as many other fields. These two volumes help to illuminate the depth of his interests and knowledge and the skill and elegance with which he treated the written word!!

message 49: by Samanta (new)

Samanta   (Almacubana) Ancient India: In Historical Outline

Ancient India In Historical Outline by D.N. Jha by D.N. Jha (no photo)


This book is a substantially modified and enlarged version of the 1977 original. It surveys the major developments in Indias social, economic and cultural history up to the end of the ancient period and the beginning of the early middle ages and explains the rise and growth of states with reference to their material basis. Special attention has been paid to the elements of change and continuity in society, economy and culture, and to the changing forms of exploitation and consequent social tensions as well as to the role of religion and superstition in society.

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Books mentioned in this topic

The Ancient South Asian World: California Edition (other topics)
The Gupta Empire (other topics)
The Absent Traveller: Prakrit Love Poetry from the Gathasaptasati of Satavahana Hala (other topics)
A History of Early Southeast Asia: Maritime Trade and Societal Development, 100-1500 (other topics)
Mahavira: Prince of Peace (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Jonathan Mark Kenoyer (other topics)
Radha Kumud Mookerji (other topics)
Arvind Krishna Mehrotra (other topics)
Kenneth R. Hall (other topics)
Ranchor Prime (other topics)