Sanskrit Notes: Context

(This is the translation of a story which appeared in Sambhashana Sandesha magazine. The translation is mine) Once upon a time, a pundit went to the river to take a bath. While taking bath, he uttered a shlokam, which meant the following “The love of a mother is the greatest, so is the strength of […]

Turmeric Gets Popular in the West

That was an Ad from Peet’s Coffee. Who would have thought about adding turmeric to coffee? But looks like that is a thing now. Costco, a popular wholesale store, too is touting the benefits of turmeric in their magazine. After mentioning that it has been used in India for at least 6000 years as medicine, […]

Sanskrit Notes: Tenses

Like any language, Sanskrit has the three tenses: the present, past and future. They are called वर्तमानकालः, भूतकालः and  भविष्यत्कालः respectively. For the present tense, there is just one way of saying it. In Sanskrit grammar, it is called लट् लकार. When we look at the past and the future it gets interesting. There is […]

Why did the Renaissance occur in Italy?

Jonathan Körner One person responsible for making Florence a wealthy place was Cosimo de’ Medici who took over the family bank in 1430s. The Medici bank innovated in bookkeeping, debit-and-credit-accounting and by managing the fortunes of the wealthy, became wealthy themselves. Commercial development brought prosperity. Money and goods flowed into Italy from all around the […]

How George Washington became an American

There were three revolutions in the 18th century which followed one after the other in the Western world. The first one was the American revolution, resulting in the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The second one was the French revolution led by commoners against taxation and elite privileges. The final one — one which rarely […]

Mudrarakshasa by Vishakadatta

Mudrarakshasa, written by Vishakadatta (Translated by R S Pandit) in 6th century CE, is a political thriller set in an interesting period in Indian history. It is the time of Chanakya, Chandragupta Maurya, and the Nandas. By this time, in Kusumapura (Patna), the last of the Nanda kings has renounced the world and his kingdom taken […]

Was Buddhism a social reformation of Hinduism?

There is an academic notion that Buddha was not just a religious teacher, but a social critic and a revolutionary social theorist. He is also considered a social reformer who challenged the Brahmin orthodoxy. Buddha also reacted against the social structure made up of the four castes, which denied individual autonomy and human freedom. This […]

The brilliance of Panini

Long time back in Takshashila, there lived two students who were studying to be grammarians,  a popular topic. One of them was dull; the other very bright. Everyone used to make fun of the dull boy and drummed into his head that he would amount to nothing in this world. Despite all that negativity, he […]

Lessons from Panchatantra – Artha

In the first book of Panchatantra, the merchant Vardhamana sets off from the city of Mahilaropya and has to abandon his bull, Sañjīvaka in the forest. This triggers a set of events involving a lion, Pingalaka, and two jackals, Karataka and Damanaka. Vardhamana considered various career paths and settled on inter-regional trade. In Panchatantra, Vardhamana […]

Revisionist History

The above picture was taken in 1963, during a protest march for civil rights, in the United States. This was the time in history when Martin Luther King and his people were organizing sit-ins, boycotts, and marches to protest their oppression. They were looking for a means to turn public opinion in their favor by […]