Common era dating system
Common era dating system
There was a Greek translation from the Syrian at the end of the eleventh century, and a little later a Hebrew translation.
Goethe is reported to have condemned those who said that the old Roman stories of heroism, of Lucretia and others, were spurious and false.Anything, he said, that was essentially false and spurious could only be absurd and unfruitful and never beautiful and inspiring, and that ‘if the Romans were great enough to invent things like that, we at least should be great enough to believe them.’ Thus this imagined history, mixture of fact and fiction, or sometimes only fiction, becomes symbolically true and tells us of the minds and hearts and purposes of the people of that particular epoch.It is true also in the sense that it becomes the basis for thought and action, for future history.Unlike the Greeks, and unlike the Chinese and the Arabs, Indians in the past were not historians.This was very unfortunate and it has made it difficult for us now to fix dates or make up an accurate chronology.Among the earliest memories of my childhood are the stories from these epics told to me by my mother or the older ladies of the house, just as a child in Europe or America might listen to fairy tales or stories of adventure.
There was for me both adventure and the fairy element in them.We read of the adventures of Kama, the god of love, and his wife, Rati (or rapture), with their friend Vasanta, the god of spring.Greatly daring, Kama shoots his flowery arrow at Shiva himself and is reduced to ashes by the fire that flashed out of Shiva’s third eye. Most of the myths and stories are heroic in conception and teach adherence to truth and the pledged word, whatever the consequences, faithfulness unto death and even beyond, courage, good works and sacrifice for the common good.What those people were more concerned with was the effect and influence of human events and actions on human conduct.Like the Greeks, they were strongly imaginative and artistic and they gave rein to this artistry and imagination in dealing with past events, intent as they were on drawing some moral and lesson from them for future behaviour.Following is an excerpt from Jawaharlal Nehru’s book ‘ The Discovery of India’: The Epics, History, Tradition, and Myth The two great epics of ancient India — the Ramayana and the Mahabharata—probably took shape in the course of several hundred years, and even subsequently additions were made to them.