Early Ancient India

Our modern notions of history, progress and evolution, have provided us with faulty standards for the vigour and growth of nations. We are taught to measure by short scales of time; by the testimony of
evanescent material prosperity; by the test of a temporary mastery of the art of human destruction. But when we look beyond this limited measure and glance through the corridors of time the need for revising our shortsighted criterion of vigour and youth becomes imperative.

The greatness of Iran, of Greece, of Rome and of Byzantium faded within a very few centuries. The world-importance of modern France lasted from the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, to 1942, a matter of three hundred years; that of Britain began with the Seven Years' War. The world record of China and India is one of millenniums. The world-importance of nations cannot be measured in the long run in terms of the men it butchers in battle, of the wealth of which it robs others, or of the destruction it brings to civilisation.

It has to be reckoned in terms of the knowledge, beauty and culture which it contributes to man's possessions in his journey towards self-realization; in the strength, tenacity, and resilience it develops in defeating the forces of disruption and annihilation and in the vitality it conserves in order to enrich man for a higher destiny.

India's world importance cannot be judged from her political setbacks, from her apparent helplessness in this period or that. As with man, so it is with nations. He alone lives who is overborne and yet yields not; who is enchained, yet remains his own master; who would die rather than submit his spirit. Such an one is the conqueror, for he has chosen not to surrender, yet survives.

As we look at the long career of India through the historic period we see it fall into three distinct stages. The first is to be traced from the chalcolithic civilisation of the Indus Valley, when the country worshiped Shiva, the Pashupati in the Yoga pose, five thousand years ago, through the fresh young life during the age of the Rig Vedic Mantras, the vigorous youth of the times of Janamejaya Parikshita, through the unbroken continuity of the Age of Imperial Unity (c. 700 B.C.- 320 A.D.), the Classical Age of the Guptas (A.D. 320-750), the Age of Imperial Kanauja (750-1000 A.D.) and the Age of Imperial Disintegration (1000 to 1300 A.D.) at the end of which the Sultanate of Delhi became an imperial power in India.

During this period of about three millenniums, barbarian inroads time and again disturbed the even tenor of its life. But the breach was healed no sooner than it was made. Foreigners and foreign influences were absorbed. Adjustments were rapidly made. India continued throughout as a living unit, created and sustained by tradition, culture and the collective will which was forged by the generations. During this period Dharma was. indissolubly related to Aryavarta. Wherever Dharma prevailed, there too, without any frontier, geographical or political, was Aryavarta.


Gita and Modern Life: Bharat,