A-AS Level (CIE) Hinduism: Specimen Questions with Answers 48 - 48 of 51

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Question 48

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The concept of Bharat in Hindu puranas.

Explanation

“Uthharam yad samudrasya, himadreschaiva dakshinam, varsham tat Bharatam nama, Bharati yatra santati,” which means- the land which lies to the south of Himalayas and north of ocean is called Bharata and its people is known as Bharatiyas.

According to puranas, the land- Bharat is also mentions as Bharatvarsha. It was named after the great king Bharata, who later went to forest as an ascetic.

In Mahabharata, Bharat is referred as the land of descendents of King Bharat. Bharat is known as sacred land in purana. It is said that even god men (Devas) in heaven (swarga loka) seeing Bharat as a pilgrimage center (thirtha sthal) and they are very eager to visit the land. That is why Swami Vivekananda said- even devas must take birth in Bharat to attain the liberation.

Ancient sages claim always used to claim that- ‘durlabham bharate janmam.’ It means that- it is very rare to take birth in Bharat.

As per the Vishnupurana- devas always sings that those people are luckiest- who took birth in Bharat, the land which has the path towards realization (moksha) .

The famous Bharatavarsha clearly states that- Utharam yat samydrasya, himadreschaiva dakshinam, tam deva nirmitam desham, Hindustanam prachakshate, that is- “starting from Himalayas up to the Indus river, thus god created land is called Hindustan.” Here we can see that the mentioning of Hindustan, instead of Bharat. It means that both terms, which is- Bharat and Hindustan are same.

From all these above mentioned statements, we can conclude that- even in puranas, the concept of Bharat is not just a geographical area, but the cradle of all culture and civilization that which introduced the idea of both universal acceptance and ‘vasudaiva kutumbakam’ (the world is like a family) as well, to the whole world.

Indian Ocean

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