As we have seen so far, Sri Vidyaranya’s contributions towards nation building, politics, jurisprudence, agriculture and commerce were in no small measure. However, what people remember to this day are his monumental and lasting contributions in the cultural arena.
Krishna led a simple life, possibly due to his humble beginnings. While much has been made of his expensive clothes by latter day scholars, the texts don’t give any indication of it. His clothes were yellow in color (पीताम्बर) – perhaps he wore that as a contrast to his dark skin. His ornaments were minimal; he adorned himself with a garland of wild flowers and a peacock feather on his diadem.
The Sanskrit Podcast hosted by Shoba Narayan and featuring Hari Ravikumar, where he discusses the songs of creation in the Vedas and in the tradition of Sanatana Dharma.
The Vijayanagara Empire attained great success from an agricultural perspective under the reign of Chikka Kampana. The Vijayanagara administration gave great importance to efficient schemes of irrigation that form the bedrock of any successful agricultural enterprise. A record number of tanks and bunds were built during this era – several of which are being used to this day.
After briefly referring to some commentators on the Gita—including Shankara, Ramanuja, Jnaneshvar, Tilak, Aurobindo, and Gandhi—Kosambi again raises the question as to how the same text could appeal to different people in different ways. He concludes his rant with these ridiculous lines:
It appears the concept of rta is multifold:
Subramanya 'Bharathi' (1882-1921) or 'Mahakavi Bharathiar' was among the foremost of modern Tamil poets. He was not only a poet but also a journalist, social activist, and freedom fighter. His poems covered a wide variety of topics and many of them are even sung as classical compositions.
The first poem of Bharathiar that I learnt was one that he wrote during the freedom struggle. It is a stirring poem that exhorts his compatriots to fearlessly face the British. The poem in Tamil goes:
Those familiar with Sanskrit–even an introductory course is sufficient–are sure to know Bhartrhari mainly via reading several shubashitas (noble sayings in verse form). Indeed, almost every other verse by Bhartrhari is a shubashita.
A king of Ujjain, Bhartrhari was the elder step brother of his more renowned sibling, Vikramaditya. His life presents to us a living account of a person’s transformation from a pleasure-loving emperor who had everything at his disposal to a sage who gave us the immortal Shataka trilogy.
Krishna grew up in Gokula with cowherds and was a true ‘son of the soil.’ From his earliest days, he developed a close connection with nature. He learnt to respect the environment even as a child. There is an episode in the Bhagavata Purana where he paid respect to the great Banyan tree (BP 10.22). He respected a tree, a cow, a human being. He respected the whole of creation. Even when he fought against the great snake Kaliya, Krishna didn’t kill him; instead he rehabilitated him (BP 10.16-17). He played the flute with great virtuosity.
In the राजनीति (politics) and युद्धनीति (warfare) sections of the Atharva Veda, there is a prayer –
“O deities! Ensure that we don’t have any enemies at all. Inspire us to greatness in kshaatra and in prosperity.”
From this we understand how courage was regarded and taught in Vedic times. While performing the पट्टाभिषेक for the king, the purohita says,