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Archive for the ‘Sanskrit’ Category

Sanskrit Epics Animated in Stone – The Wall Street Journal

Posted: January 23, 2021 at 7:52 pm


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Stepping into the South Asian galleries of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (which reopened on Jan. 8 after being closed due to Covid-19), we walk between two large figures that artists in South India carved around 1560. They dont immediately register as pillars, so prominently do the sculptures protrude. One portrays a handsome young man sitting under a tree looking rather pleased with himself. He is Rama, god and hero of the Ramayana epic, flanked by his wife, Sita, and the ever-loyal monkey king, Hanuman, carved in relief on either side of the monolithic pillar. Opposite him stands a bearded man with the haunches of a beast, leaning forward, club raised to do battle. Yet this man-beast, or Purushamirukam, feels more theatrical than menacing with his mound of neatly coiffed hair, delicately arched eyebrows, and loads of jewelry. He isnt about to attack; hes enacting a story.

This feeling of performance intensifies as we take in the pillared temple hallor mandapathat fills the rest of the gallery. Rows of slender columns demarcate three sides of a rectangle within which 10 more life-size figures, bejeweled from headdress to anklet, face one another across a broad space. Above them, lions look down from the capitals and a partial frieze of reliefs illustrates scenes from the Ramayana while, on the slender columns and the sides and backs of the figural pillars, a plethora of mostly smaller reliefs beckon. They include baby Krishna dancing with delight, a ball of butter cupped in each hand; an architect-priest with his measuring stick; musicians, dancers, animals; and, twice, a pregnant woman sitting, head resting in her hand. She is likely Sita in a fraught scene from an addendum to the Ramayana. (Photographs and a video on the museums website cant capture the carvings impact but provide useful aids.)

To 16th-century South Indians, these reliefs and monumental figures conjured verses penned by revered saints and episodes from epics and local folk tales. To gather in a mandapa, then, was to take part in a festival, attend a performance or join a social gathering, all in the company of divine, literary and royal personages. But while the configuration in the museum follows basic conventions for mandapas, it does not replicate a structure that once existed. It cant. Its 60-plus blocks of carved granite were lying in a pile of rubble when Adeline Pepper Gibson, Philadelphia heiress and lover of art, purchased them from a trustee of the Madana Gopala Swamy Temple in Madurai in 1912.

There is no record of when the mandapa was dismantled (most likely to make way for new construction), nor any information about its original configuration. Darielle Mason, the museums curator for South Asian and Himalayan art, knows there was a logic to each element and thought-out relationships among figures, but holds little hope of ever re-creating what an architect-priest was thinking centuries ago. Her research has, however, convinced her that almost everything Pepper purchased was part of a single mandapa; that it was probably open on at least three sides, as suggested by the gallerys sky blue walls; and that Rama and Purushamirukam belong with the others who stand in the center, inviting us to come close.

Nothingno strip along the floor, no pane of glassgets in the way of our admiring the skill it took to carve into hard granite the delicate ridges of a robe, the smooth swell of a belly, the curl of a lip or each graduated bead of a necklace. There is a sense of incipient movement, whether it is a slightly bent knee or the start of a bow. We recognize Hanuman by the long, sinuous tail; a demigod by a small, sharp fang; and the bird-god Garuda by the broken-off quills and feathers of wings. Two of the figures hold gourds, marking them as sages, and four appear to be saints. Then there is the muscular, mustachioed warrior standing atop diminutive pachyderms who, like Purushamirukam, holds a mace poised midair. He is Bhima of the Mahabharata epic, a man with the strength of 10,000 elephants, emerging from stone into our world like a superhero.

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Sanskrit Epics Animated in Stone - The Wall Street Journal

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January 23rd, 2021 at 7:52 pm

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Switch off TV when Sanskrit news is read – The Hindu

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Disposing of a petition that challenged the telecast of Sanskrit news on Doordarshan channel, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court observed that there were matters of greater social concern which had to be addressed and such petty issues should not be looked into by it.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice M.M. Sundresh observed, For one, Doordarshan channel has limited viewership. Secondly, it is a matter for the government to decide. Thirdly, the news read in Sanskrit hardly takes up a fraction of the entire day.

Further, the judges observed that when the writ petitioner did not find Sanskrit to be tasteful or useful, there was no compulsion for him to tune in and it was open to him to switch off the TV when Sanskrit news was read and get some other form of entertainment.

The judges hoped that the petitioner would keep up his public spirit and bring matters involving public interest to the court. The writ petition was disposed of with liberty to the petitioner to make an appropriate representation to authorities concerned.

The court was hearing the petition filed by advocate S. Muthukumar of Madurai who had sought a direction to forbear the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Prasar Bharati and Doordarshan from telecasting Sanskrit news in Doordarshans Tamil language regional channel Podhigai.

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Switch off TV when Sanskrit news is read - The Hindu

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January 23rd, 2021 at 7:52 pm

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Sanskrit emerges as 5th most widely used language in Rajya Sabha – The Tribune

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New Delhi, January 17

The use of regional languages during Rajya Sabha proceedings has increased more than five times and parliamentarians spoke in 10 of the 22 scheduled languages for the first time during 2018-20 with Sanskrit emerging as the fifth most widely used Indian language in the Upper House.

With 12 interventions in Sanskrit, all during 2019-20, it has emerged as the fifth most widely used language in the Rajya Sabha among the 22 scheduled languages after Hindi, Telugu, Urdu and Tamil.

During 2018-20 with 163 sittings, regional languages were used 135 times, including 66 interventions in debates, 62 Zero Hour and seven Special Mentions. Four of the 22 scheduled languages such as Dogri, Kashmiri, Konkani and Santhali were used for the first time in the Upper House since 1952, further to the introduction of Simultaneous Interpretation Service in these four languages and Sindhi language at the behest of Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu in 2018.

Besides, six languages like Assamese, Bodo, Gujarati, Maithili, Manipuri and Nepali have been used after a long gap, a Rajya Sabha document reveals.

Rajya Sabha Chairman Naidu's efforts yield results with more diversified use of regional languages since he took charge in August 2017 and has been urging the members of the House to speak in their respective mother tongues since then in the spirit of the federal nature of the House.

While announcing the availability of Simultaneous Interpretation Facilities in all the 22 scheduled languages in July 2018, the RS Chairman spoke in 10 languages in the House.

While Hindi and English are the widely used languages during the proceedings of the House, the use of 21 other scheduled Indian languages (other than Hindi) has increased more than five times (512 per cent) per sitting in 2020 over that of the 14-year period between 2004-17.

Rajya Sabha members spoke in 10 scheduled languages (other than Hindi) in the House on 269 occasions during 923 sittings between 2004 and 2017 at the rate of 0.291 per sitting. IANS

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Sanskrit emerges as 5th most widely used language in Rajya Sabha - The Tribune

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January 23rd, 2021 at 7:52 pm

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Audrey Truschkes new book to analyse Sanskrit texts of Indo-Muslim history – The Indian Express

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Historian-author Audrey Truschkes new book will analyse a hitherto overlooked group of histories on Indo-Muslim or Indo-Persian political events through a few dozen Sanskrit texts that date from the 1190s until 1721.

Published by Penguin India, the book, The Language of History: Sanskrit Narratives of Muslim Pasts, seeks to collect, analyse, and theorize Sanskrit histories of Muslim-led and, later, as Muslims became an integral part of Indian cultural and political worlds, Indo-Muslim rule as a body of historical materials.

Writing The Language of History was an opportunity for me to return to my first love in the study of premodern Indian history: Sanskrit literature. In the book I survey about 3 dozen Sanskrit histories, most of them versified poetry, that discuss Indo-Muslim political figures, Truschke told PTI.

After the Ghurids overthrew the Chauhan kingdom under Prithvi Raj Chauhan and established themselves as the Muslim political figures in northern India, Indian men (and at least one woman) produced dozens of Sanskrit texts on Muslim-initiated political events.

The texts were written between the 1190s and the 1720s. I was surprised again and again while reading these texts, some of which have never been translated. This project cemented, for me, the importance of primary source research for enhancing our understanding of premodern Indian history, said the author of Aurangzeb: The Life and Legacy of Indias Most Controversial King.

Indias premodern learned elite only ceased to write on Indo-Muslim political power in Sanskrit when the Mughal Empire began to fracture beyond repair in the early eighteenth century.

This archive lends insight into formulations and expressions of premodern political, social, cultural and religious identities. Given the current political climate in India, where nationalist claims are often grounded on fabricated visions of Indias premodernity, this book also contributes to ongoing debates in the Indian public sphere, the publisher said in a statement. The book will hit the stands on January 18.

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Audrey Truschkes new book to analyse Sanskrit texts of Indo-Muslim history - The Indian Express

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January 23rd, 2021 at 7:52 pm

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Explained: Why has Gujarat given dragon fruit the Sanskrit name Kamalam? – The Indian Express

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Written by Gopal B Kateshiya , Pooja Pillai , Edited by Explained Desk | Ahmedabad, New Delhi | Updated: January 22, 2021 2:29:18 pm

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has said that the state proposes to rename dragon fruit as Kamalam. Dragon fruit does not sound appropriate, Rupani said; Kamalam was apt because the characteristic fuchsia spikes or petals of the fruit recall a lotus in bloom.

Dragon fruit is the fruit of a species of wild cactus indigenous to South and Central America, where it is called pitaya or pitahaya. The fruits flesh is usually white or red although there is a less common yellow pitaya too and is studded with tiny seeds rather like the kiwifruit.

The worlds largest producer and exporter of dragon fruit is Vietnam, where the plant was brought by the French in the 19th century. The Vietnamese call it thanh long, which translates to dragons eyes, believed to be the origin of its common English name.

Dragon fruit is also cultivated in apart from its native Latin America Thailand, Taiwan, China, Australia, Israel, and Sri Lanka. It was brought to India in the 1990s, and is grown in Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It grows in all kinds of soil, and does not require much water.

Eating the dragon fruit

To eat directly, halve the fruit and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Or, cut the ends, pull off the leathery skin, and chop up the egg-shaped white flesh to eat.

Dragon fruit can be made into smoothies or shakes. Despite its spectacular good looks, it has a mild, almost bland flavour, which makes it adaptable for a variety of sweet and savoury dishes from salads and relishes to cakes and tacos.

In Latin America, pitaya juice is popular. Last year, a Ho Chi Minh City bakery made bread with dragon fruit that couldnt be sold due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The idea of renaming

In his Mann Ki Baat broadcast on July 26 last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had lauded the farmers of Kutch for taking up cultivation of dragon fruit and adopting innovative practices, calling it the very spirit of self-reliance.

On August 6, Ram Kumar, additional principal chief conservator of forests (social forestry) in the Gujarat forest department, forwarded to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) a proposal on renaming the fruit Kamalam. This, Kumar wrote, would boost awareness and expansion, and contribute to reducing our import dependence in line with Atmanirbhar Bharat.

Kamalam is also the name of the BJP headquarters in Koba in Gandhinagar, and the kamal lotus is the BJPs election symbol. Rupani, however, said no politics was involved in the renaming. Gujarat government has decided that dragon fruit is not a suitable word. Across the world it is known as dragon fruit and one thinks of China. So we have given the name Kamalam. It is a fruit like the lotus, he said.

Where the proposal stands

ICAR sources said the Gujarat governments proposal had been forwarded to the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. ICAR does not do everything in this respect. ICAR is the recommending body. Whatever nomenclature, release of varieties, production, it is all done by the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, the other wing, and not the research wing, Dr A K Singh, ICARs deputy director general (agricultural extension), to whom Kumars proposal was addressed, said.

ICAR officers said such a proposal would need approval from the Botanical Survey of India and the National Biodiversity Authority under the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. Dragon fruit is not a species native to India and any change in its nomenclature in official annals can lead to international litigation. Hence, the opinion of BSI and NBA matters, an ICAR official said.

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Explained: Why has Gujarat given dragon fruit the Sanskrit name Kamalam? - The Indian Express

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January 23rd, 2021 at 7:52 pm

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CBSE to Offer Two-level English and Sanskrit Exams from 2021-22 Session – India.com

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New Delhi: In a bid to reduce the stress levels of the students, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has announced that from the upcoming academic session of 2021-22, the board will be introducing two levels of English and Sanskrit in addition to the existent Mathematics and Hindi. The announcement was made by the education ministry earlier on Monday. Also Read - CBSE to Introduce Biometric System to Stop Cheating in Board Exams? Latest Update Students Should Know

As per reports, the suggestion to conduct the two-level exam for English and Sanskrit was taken as part of the National Curriculum Framework under the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, and the NEP has also suggested making the board examination low stake, as a reason of which, last year, CBSE introduced Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) or application-based questions. Also Read - CBSE Class 10, 12 Board Exams 2021: Students Wait For Date Sheet as State Boards Release Time Table

According to the Education Ministry, competency-based questions have been already introduced in the Board exams for Class 10 and 12 in a phased manner and the board has decided to increase the number of questions by 10 per cent every year. Also Read - CBSE Board Exam 2021: Students Need Only 23% to Pass This Year? What Govt Said

Apart from this, the central education board is also planning to introduce improvement exams under National Education Policy (NEP) implementation from next academic year, said an official note from the Ministry of Education.

The major portions of NEP will be covered under the new National Curriculum Framework (NCF) and centrally sponsored schemes. The groundwork for NCF is initiated and it is likely to be developed in the next academic session, that is 2021-22, read the ministrys official statement.

Earlier on December 31, 2020, the Education Ministry has released the date of commencement of the CBSE Board Exams 2021, but, the Board has not released the datasheet till now. The CBSE Board Exams 2021 would begin on May 4 and end on June 10. And the practical exams would begin on March 1, giving students enough time to prepare

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CBSE to Offer Two-level English and Sanskrit Exams from 2021-22 Session - India.com

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U”khand govt gives more authority to Kumbh officials to speed up preparations – Outlook India

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Dehradun, Jan 22 (PTI) The Uttarakhand government on Friday authorised the Garhwal Commissioner and the Kumbh Mela official to allocate works up to worth Rs 5 crore and Rs 2 crore respectively to speed up preparations for the forthcoming Kumbh Mela in Haridwar.

The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat here on Friday evening, Cabinet minister Madan Kaushik told reporters.

The mela official has also been authorised to increase the amount to be spent over sanctioned works by 50 per cent if necessary and split works of lengthy nature into two parts, he said.

To promote the Sanskrit language, the cabinet also decided to pay a monthly salary of Rs 15,000 to contractual teachers of the language teaching for more than five years, Rs 25,000 to those teaching for 10 years and Rs 30,000 to those teaching for more than 10 years, Kaushik said.

Contractual teachers of Sanskrit with an M.Phil or PHD degreee will be paid an additional sum of Rs 5,000 per month as per the UGC norms, he said.

As many as 155 contractual teachers of Sanskrit will benefit from the decision, the minister said.

The cabinet also gave its nod to release Rs 3.79 crore for payment of scholarship dues to scheduled caste students of Class 9 and 10 of 2017-18 and 2018-19 sessions.

It also decided to allocate 4.384 hectares of land in Haridwar free of cost to the governing bodies of saints and seers for bhu-samadhi (land burial) of sadhus when they leave for heavenly abode, Kaushik said. PTI ALM AQS AQS

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U''khand govt gives more authority to Kumbh officials to speed up preparations - Outlook India

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Letter to the Editor: Invocation in Commission Meeting – Lincoln County Record

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Dear Editor,

As a recent edition of the Lincoln County Record announced, meetings of the County Commissioners typically begin with an invocation and local faith leaders are often invited to offer it. But according to the Records article, the January 4, 2021, meeting would be quite different.

On January 4, 2021, Rajan Zed, President of the alleged Universal Society of Hinduism, would telephonically open the meeting with Hindu Mantras (a sacred utterance or spiritual sound in Hindu considered to possess mystical or spiritual results). He would then deliver the invocation from ancient Sanskrit scriptures, (an ancient Indo-European language of India, in which the Hindu scriptures are written and Indian languages are derived). After his Sanskrit delivery to the Commissioners, he would then read the English interpretation of his presentation.

Because an invocation is usually defined as a prayer invoking Gods presence, especially one said at the beginning of a religious service or public ceremony, questions surfaced by readers of Zeds article to the Record, as to exactly what Rajan Zed was going to deliver as an invocation.

The Founding Fathers of this Country were Judeo-Christian thinkers and believers and their intention for prayers was to one God revealed in the Holy Bible and not to any other god. Our Pledge of Allegiance which recites we are One Nation Under God and our U.S. Currency bearing the phrase, In God We Trust, are two examples of One God that was held by our Nations Founders to be our One True God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We are a Christian Nation.

God tells us in Exodus 20:3 You shall have no other gods before me.

Hindus worship many gods and goddesses in addition to Brahman, who is believed to be the supreme god force present in all things.

Americas religious freedom is based on true Christian values, not on any contradictory religious value system.

Because of all the uncertainty behind the motives and agenda of Zed, two local Lincoln County Churches, the Berean Baptist Church Pastor and the leader of the Bible Talk Ministries, along with several church members, attended the Commissioners meeting on January 4, 2021, and were also given the opportunity to offer their invocation and to devote their prayers to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob after the invocation delivered by Rajan Zed. We are a Christian Nation and we are ONE NATION UNDER GOD who have enjoyed a multitude of blessings from God.

America will always need Gods blessings and assistance. He, and only He, must be made a vital part of everything we do then He will guide us because we will be working to accomplish HIS purpose.

Diane Bradshaw Panaca, Nevada

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Letter to the Editor: Invocation in Commission Meeting - Lincoln County Record

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January 23rd, 2021 at 7:52 pm

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Textbooks in Indian Sign Language, CBSE to bring in two levels for English and Sanskrit, as part of NEP – EdexLive

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Image for representational purpose only |Pic: Google Images

The Union Ministry of Education on Monday released an implementation plan for school education to achieve the goals and objectives laid down by the new National Education Policy 2020. It stated that the department has already initiated implementation of the NEP by undertaking a few activities in accordance with the recommendations of the policy. One of the most salient features includes the signing of an MoU between Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC) and NCERT to develop an Indian Sign Language Dictionary for school education. This will ensure the availability of textbooks and other educational material for hearing-impaired children in sign language in all schools across the country.

The NEP entails that students acquire skills at a young age for effective development and thus it is essential to provide them with the suitable educational material as per their learning requirements. Until now, hearing-impaired children studied through the verbal or written medium in schools. With the MoU signed, these kids will now be able to study through a single medium Indian Sign Language which will, in turn, enhance their vocabulary at a tender age and capabilities to understand concepts better.

The Ministry's release also stated that as a part of the Central Board of Secondary Education's examination reforms, the board is set to "introduce an improvement examination from the year 2021 and will also introduce English and Sanskrit in two levels from the session 2021-22 (it already offers Mathematics and Hindi at two levels). Competency-based questions have been introduced in the Board exams for Class X and XII in a phased manner, increasing by 10 per cent every year." The CBSE board was already offering two levels of Mathematics and Hindi one comparatively easy and one advanced to reduce the stress levels of students. READ ALSO:Pokhriyal reviews work done under NEP 2020, recommends task force for proper implementation The release also spoke on E-learning being expanded through the DIKSHA platform. "DIKSHA provides access to a large number of curriculum-linked e-content through several solutions such as QR coded energised textbooks (ETBs), courses for teachers, quizzes etc. Till date, DIKSHA houses over 3600 QR coded textbooks (tagged with e-content) from 29 states, 1.44 lakh e contents and more than 300 courses," it read.

Since the policy has been designed for the next two decades, various recommendations stated in it have different timelines for implementation. This is why the policy would be implemented in a phased manner, the ministry said while announcing the next course of action regarding the NEP 2020 in its release.

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Textbooks in Indian Sign Language, CBSE to bring in two levels for English and Sanskrit, as part of NEP - EdexLive

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January 23rd, 2021 at 7:52 pm

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Karma, Akarma And Us – Outlook India

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Bibek Debroy has translated the Bhagavad Gita and is well aware that most people have not read it thoroughly. Through the book he explains the text, dispelling myths along the way and taking the tone of a mentora tone which translates between the pages with the requisite personalisation.

He points out that the Gita is part of the Mahabharata and belongs to the smriti tradition of Sanskrit texts; a smriti text, he explains, is one that is handed down in writing and as a result may vary from generation to generation. Thus, nothing in the Bhagavad Gita is cast in stone.

Chapter by chapter, Debroy takes the reader on a voyage of exploration that includes Sanskrit grammar and the nuances of words and metre, covering the anustubh chhanda that became the seminal form of the shloka, though other variations also followed as poets found themselves requiring some creative liberty. He explains the shlokas that most people know, punctiliously setting them in their context and putting out that meanings can depend on whether the text is divorced from the main body of...

To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.

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Karma, Akarma And Us - Outlook India

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