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Culture & Civilization

The Cooking Hypothesis

In this passage, Michael Pollan mentions how cooking has been central to human evolution. While scientists have proposed many hypotheses which postulate the reason for the quick development of human brain, Pollan shows how cooking could have been the process which fast forwarded the evolution of human brain. Read this brilliant excerpt from the introduction of his book ‘Cooked’, on the same subject.

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Bagan: The Land of a Thousand Pagodas

Myanmar is a hidden beauty. It is one of the most important Buddhist cultures in the world, preserving the Thervada Buddhist tradition like no other country has. Accompanying its robust culture of monks and meditation, it also has some of the greatest cultural monuments in the world, most prominently displayed at Bagan, the ancient capital of Burma. In this travelogue, Ami Ganatra tells us not only about the art, culture and architecture of Burma, but also its unique tradition of widespread monkhood for a few years in life. Read on to know more about this great cultural cousin of India.

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Dealing With the Gandhi Within

Gandhi arouses strong reactions in Indians. Some love him, declaring him to be the greatest man who ever lived, next only to Buddha. Others hate him too much, calling him the person who deluded India with promises of pseudo-secularism. What is the truth? And was Gandhi the only one to be blamed. Was Hindu society also a culprit? Read this article to know the answers and solutions to these problems.

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KYC – Know Your Civilization: Recognizing the Distinctive Soul of India

In this brilliant and searing piece, Sargun Kaur combines personal experience and penetrative insight into civilizational problems. She explores her own journey of de-colonization of the Hindu psyche, through four defining works. Through these works and her understanding of them, she affirms how India should be imagined or looked at by our younger generation.

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The Making of Ramayana – Mark Tully on Ramanand Sagar’s Epic Creation

Ramayana is the dearest story to Hindus. Almost everyone knows it by heart. In modern times, Ramanand Sagar made a serial on it which was aired on Doordarshan. It was a hit like no other in the history of television. Traffic would stop. Shops would shut. Offices would halt, when the serial was going on. People would cry watching it. In hundreds. And yet, the 'secular intellectuals' of that period called it the most heinous production of fascist, Nazi, rightist, mass-murdering Hindus. That is how vicious, anti-people, anti-human left-liberal criticism can get. In this piece, Mark Tully, in his wonderfully pacifying style, tells us how important the serial was to India. How it connected to the very soul of India. As the serial is once again aired in these hard times, let us read what Mark Tully had to say about the audio-visual rendering of the greatest story ever told.

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The Traditional and the Secular Festival

This article compares the traditional and the secular festival and stresses the need to preserve and propagate the traditional festivals. While the traditional festival exhorts the individual to take part in the wider celebration of Nature, Culture and Cosmos, the secular festival drags him deeper into the mire of individualistic ego bolstering. This article discusses the distinction between the two.

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Karma is Not Fate

In this excerpt, Will Durant, the world famous historian discusses the ideas of Karma and rebirth in Hindu philosophy. He also compares it with the notion of fate in the West and tells us how it is different from fate. This is an excerpt from “Our Oriental Heritage”, the first volume of the monumental history of the world by Will Durant.

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Examination of Advaita Spirituality – Dharma vs. Religion – Part 2

Sita Ram Goel in this brief excerpt discusses the principle of Advaita and the concept of spirituality according to Indic culture. He analyzes seven aspects of Advaita and Indian spirituality and also compares it with the Prophetic Monotheistic mindset.

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The Islamic Conquest of India

The Mohammedan Conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history. It is a discouraging tale, for its evident moral is that civilization is a precarious thing, whose delicate complex of order and liberty, culture and peace may at any time be overthrown by barbarians invading from without or multiplying within.

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The Fifth Veda

This is an excerpt from the book “Veda Mimansa – Volume 1” by Shri Anirvan. The Vedanta in reality is the culmination of the Vedic philosophy. It is the exposition of the meaning of the Veda from the standpoint of ‘Knowledge’ (Vijnana). Therefore, it may be said that in order to discover the meaning of the mantras, we have to have a foundation of comprehensive knowledge of the Upanisad, an intimate acquaintance with the Trantra, the Purana and a direct experience of the methods of the Yogic and Tantrik spiritual praxis.

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Centre For Indic studies
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