2) "In what one thing is all dharma summed up? What single thing constitutes all fame? What sole means takes one to heaven?" "Skill in the discharge of one's duties sums up all dharma; giving sums up all fame; truthfulness is the sole road to heaven and good conduct is the one means to happiness".
3) "What is the foremost wealth?" "Learning".
4) "What is the best gain?" "Health".
5) "What is the supreme happiness?" "Contentment".
6) "What is superior to all other dharmas in the world?" "Benevolence"
7) "Whose control leads to absence of sorrow?" "The control of mind".
8) "Which friendship ages not?" "That with good souls".
9) "By abandoning what thing does man become rich?" "Desire".
10) "By giving up what, does one become happy?" "Avarice".
11) "What is penance?" "Penance is the observance of one's own obtained duty."
12) "What is self -control?" "Control of the mind".
13) "What is forbearance?" "Putting up with opposites". (pleasure and pain, profit and loss)
14) "What is shame?" "Aversion to do reprehensible act is shame".
15) "What is straight forwardness?" "Equanimity".
16) "Who is the enemy hard to be won?" "Anger".
17) "What is the endless disease?" "Avarice".
18) "Who is said to be a good man?" "He who is benevolent to all things".
19) "Who is a bad man?" "He who is barren of sympathy".
20) "What is the best path?" "To cast away all mental dirt".
21) "What is gift?" "Protection of life".
22) "What is the wonder of the world?" "Every day live beings enter the abode of death; those who remain think that they will survive; what greater wonder is there than this?"
23) "What is the news of the world?" "With Earth as the pot, the firmament as the covering lid, the sun as the fire, day and nights as faggots and the seasons and months as the stirring ladle. Time cooks all beings; this is the great news".
Extract from Mahabharata
Romayana (adventures of Rama) is the earliest of the two great Sanscrit epics, the incidents of which precede the Mahabharata by about 150 years. Rama was a king before he became translated into a deity. In course of time, his story and epic became sacred and the belief became established that spiritual and other blessings would be conferred on its knowers ramayana became popular in India in every Hindy home. The story is told in 7 books (96 000 lines).
At instigation of his second queen Dasaratha sends Rama, his eldest son, into exile for 14 years. He is accompanied by Sita, his young Wife and Lakshmana, his younger brother, when they are living happily in the forest, Sita is abduced by Ravana (King of Lanka) Rama and Lakshmana go through many adventures, battles, etc in their pursuit of Ravana, in which they're assisted by Sugriva, the monkey king and his general, Hanuman. Eventually, Lanka is stormed and set fire to by Hanuman; Ravana is killed; Sita is rescued and victorious party returns to Ayodhya, their capital city. Later because her chastity is suspected (because she stayed in Ravana's house), Sita proves her innocence voluntarily undergoing an ordeal by fire.
Rama accepts her but for the same reason banishes her (again) the next time. She goes away to Valmiki's ashram, where her twin sons are born and brought up. She prays to the earth goddess to take her away if she is innocent who seated on her throne appears out of the earth and seating Sita on her lap takes her away for good.
The epics Ramayana and Mahabharrata arose to supplement and reinforce the teaching of the Vedas, particularly in respect of the moral, religious and spiritual ideas of men and women. Since remote times, the two epics have been the two eyes of the nation guiding it and holding up before it the ideas of the truth and righteousness of Rama and Yudhishthira and of chastity and wifely devotion of Sita, as also of the negative example of Ravana and other characters who came to grief because of their lust, avarice and wickedness.
These epics were expected to fulfil the mission of placing before the people examples of how virtue triumphed and vicefell.
This was also an age of advance in mathematics, science, and medicine. Our so called Arabic numerals originally came from India. Indian mathematicians were among the first to use negative numbers, the decimal, and the zero. Centuries before Isaac Newton, Indian Scientist developed their own theories of gravity. Indian astronomers knew that the earth was round and that it rotated on its axis. If in need of medical attention, the people of the Gupta Empire could go to free hospitals where Indian physicians were able to perform many surgical procedures and mention 300 different operations and 20 instruments.
Customs in India
India has many customs. The practice of self-information by fire has a strange and terrible place in the lore of India, and it brings to mind the practice of suttee, widow burning. This barbaric survival of ancient customs lasted in India to a late day.
In 1817 there were 706 cases of suttee in Bengal alone. This was at a time when the British authorities were making efforts to stop the practice. They were afraid to prohibit window burning entirely in the face of fanatical.
Hindu addiction to tradition, and resorted to intensive persuasion. No suttee was permitted until the prospective, victim had been examined by a magistrate, who made sure that she was proceeding of her own free will and urged her to give up her ghastly intention.
The great source of information in that period is a massive volume "Hindu Manners, Customs and ceremonies" by the Abbe Dubois, a French missionary who spent years in India at the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth. He writes:
The last king of Tanjore, who died in 1801, left behind him four lawful wives. The Brahmins decided that two of these should be burnt with the body of their husband, and selected the couple that should have the preference. It would have been the everlasting shame to them and the grossest insult to the memory of the deceased had they hesitated to accept this singular, honor, so they seemed perfectly ready to yield to the terrible lot which awaited them. The necessary preparations for the obsequies were completed in a single day.
Three or four leagues from the royal residence a square pit of no great depth, and about twelve tofifteen feet square, was excavated
Within it was erected a pyramid of sandalwood, resting on a kind of scaffolding of the same wood. The posts which supported it were so arranged that they could easily be removed and would thereby cause the whole structure to collapse suddenly. At the four courners of the pit were placed huge brass jars filled with ghee, to be thrown on the wood in order to hasten combustion .
The following was the order of the procession as it wended its way to the pyre. It was headed by a large force of armed soldiers. Then followed a crowd of musicians chiefly trumpeters, who made the air ring with the dismal sound of