A Short History Of Indian Literature PDF

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History of Indian Literature

THERE is no want of excellent manuals on Indian Literature, but, as a rule, they are not elementary enough to appeal to the popular taste.

The following pages address them- selves to the general reader who knows nothing or little of Eastern thought.

The subject is far too much ignored outside the ranks of Oriental scholars.

And yet, no educated Englishman who feels the respon- sibility of Empire, and wants to think imperially, can afford to disregard the voice of India any longer.

Her ancient ideals throw a flood of light on the present needs of her teeming millions.

But the intellectual achievements of the Hindus well deserve to be studied on their own merits.

The casket of Sanskrit literature is old-fashioned, but precious, and of exquisite workmanship, like handsome old family plate.

The Sanskrit language has, at all times, been the recog- nised medium of the Indian mind, and numbers of poems and philosophical treatises are still composed in that venerable tongue.

The royal psalms of Israel are no more sublime than the sacred poetry of Hindu- stan, and the battle music of the Mahâ- Bharata is as stirring as the heroic lays of Greece.

Even a slight acquaintance with the lofty tenets of the Vedanta teachers will amply repay the student, since the mission of Vedanta seems to be twofold in the West -first to spiritualise the narrow materialism into which Physical Science, despite the marvellous discoveries of this busy age of research, has allowed itself to drift, and secondly, to rationalise religious thought, even as the revival of Greek learning, four hundred years ago, was destined to breathe new life into the dead bones of medieval theology.

The Aryan Migration

SEVERAL thousand years ago, when the Caspian Waters still flowed in the same bed as the Black and Aral Seas, the Scythian flats and prairies which bordered on the north of that vast inland lake were inhabited by pastoral tribes of kindred blood and speech.

At length, as the floods subsided, and the Caucasus emerged between the shrunken waters, and further east salt marshes and desert land appeared, the unsettled shepherd clans descended from the barren Kirghiz Steppe, and entered the fair valleys of the Oxus and Jaxartes. called each other âryas or friends.

A They But the broad pastures could not bear them all, for their flocks were considerable, and strife and bloodshed broke out among the unruly herdsmen.

The unhappy division was the cause of further wanderings.

Conjointly or separately the large families trekked on with their cattle, tents, and ox-carts; the dusky uplands of the Pamirs and the snow- clad summits of the Hindu Kush towering before them in the distance.

The track of the emigrants imperceptibly led them into tangled woodland.

With rude stone axes they cleared the primeval forest, and with crooked branches torn off the aged trees they turned the virgin soil into arable land, thus changing from graziers and drovers to agriculturists.

But for a long time tillage was looked upon as an ignoble labour fit only for domesticated slaves, and unworthy of a free-born rover.

It was only gradually that the Aryas settled down as husband- men, and that their name denoted a peasant aristocracy proud rulers of native races.

The Asiatic word leaped into still wider bounds since the re-discovery of Sanskrit, more than a hundred years ago.

Language English
No. of Pages224
PDF Size11 MB

A Short History Of Indian Literature PDF Free Download

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