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From Indus to Mekong: Between Brahma and Buddha

  • Jaroslav Krejčí

Abstract

Of all the areas of high civilization in the Old World, India is perhaps the least accessible to historical examination. It has been a unique feature of her people — peculiar and barely explicable genius loci — that the attention of her ‘literati’ has been directed not to the sequence of historical events and their causal relationships, but to other problems. The interest of Indian intellectuals focused mainly on ideas, on the secrets of human existence, on contacts with the supernatural, on the depths of the human psyche and its relationship with the cosmos. Instead of history as we understand it, Indian thinkers developed various theories of cosmic cycles with periods of hundreds of thousands or millions of years. At the same time, however, Indian intellectuals did not neglect the practical aspects of everyday life with its economic and organizational needs and with its quest for beauty. It was especially the aesthetic urge that the Indian spirit developed, imbuing it with an unprecedented buoyancy and passion. Religion, understood not as a ready-made revealed message, but as an experience, an unceasing personal quest, and art, which is not satisfied with the representation of external appearance but aims at giving form to an inner, spiritual reality, obliterating any border between description and imagination, are the strongest features of the Indian achievement. In religion and in art the Indian spirit found its unique and most telling expression.

Keywords

Middle East Caste System Indian Thought Indian Religion Temple Community 
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Notes and References

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Copyright information

© Jaroslav Krejčí 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jaroslav Krejčí
    • 1
  1. 1.Professor EmeritusUniversity of LancasterUK

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