Is Bharat or One India Just A Big Dream?
And hence I am not calling this as an article (a well thought-of presentation of an idea). Also, I am limiting my opinions to my own observations & readings, hence there could be few statements which might be out of logic or context. Readers may please excuse me on this.
Now, the real question is that “Is Bharata or One India” and not a reality?
BHARATA IN PURANAS & ITIHASAS:
Mahesh says that the concept of India was not a concrete thought before 1947. There are certain documentary evidences to support this concept. Similarly, the concept of “One India”, pre-dated to 1947, is also having documentary evidences i.e. in the form of Hindu scriptures.
Bhagavata refers to the son of Rushabha (ఋషభ) as “Bharata” who, later, united the entire nation. As a fitting tribute to this greatest feet, this unified nation was named after him as “Bharata Varsha”. Before Bharata, this part of the world was called as “Ajanabha” (అజనాభ).
“అజనాభం నామైతద్ వర్షం భారతమితి యత ఆరభ్య వ్యపదిశంతి”
Its no wonder that, living up to this legend, even today India is also called as Bharat.
In Markandeya Purana, it is narrated that the King Rushabha (son of Nabhi Raja) had 100 sons of whom Bharata was the eldest. After an illustrious ruling, Rushabha decided to step down and made Bharata as his successor. Later Rushabha took to Vanaprastha and retired to the woods along with his wife. As the rule of Bharata was far more illustrious than any other kind of the lore, the wisemen started calling the land of Ajanabha as “Bhaarata.” Similar narrations are found in other Puranas such as Vayu Purana.
[NOTE: The story projecting Bharata, the son of Shakuntala and Dushyanta, as the founder of Bhaaratadesha is not tenable as per these Puranic narratives.]
BHARATA IN OUR TIMES:
In their daily prayer (సంధ్యావందనం) and also in any ritual (వ్రతం, పూజ మొ.) Indians do utter “Bharata varshe, Bharata khande” etc. (“భరతవర్షే, భరత ఖండే, జంబూద్వీపే, దండకారణ్యే, గోదావర్యాః, దక్షిణే తీరే”). As these Vedic hymns are in usage from times unknown, the concept of “One India” with unique name (Bharata) is in its right place.
In Gita, Lord Krishna addresses Arjuna as “Bharatarshabha”(భరతర్షభ), Bhaarata (భారత). These are in addition to calling him as “Kaunteya” (కౌంతేయ), “Mahaa baahu” (మహాబాహు) etc.
Arjuna has been referred to as “Bharata” by Lord Krishna is because Arjuna’s dynasty is drawn from the King Bharata. By calling Arjuna as “Bharata” implies that every human-being born in Bharata Varsha can be called as “Bharata”.
Unification of the country has, thus, started not from 1947 but for a long time ago.
Puranic verses like the ones quoted below refer to this sub-continent as “One India” only!
ఉత్తరం యస్సముద్రస్య | హిమాద్రేశ్చైవ దక్షిణం
వర్ష తద్భారతం నామ | భారతీ యత్ర సంతతి
హిమాలయం సమారభ్య | యావ దిందుసరోవరం
తం దేవనిర్మితం దేశం| పుణ్యభూమిం ప్రచక్షతే
తత్రాపి భారతం శ్రేష్ఠం | జంబూద్వీపే మహామునే
యతో హి కర్మభూరేషా | యతోన్యా భోగభూమయే
విశేషాత్ భారతే పుణ్యం చరేయుః పాపమప్యథ
తథైవ భగవధ్భక్తేం పృథివ్యాం నాన్యవర్షగాః
They also specify the boundaries so precisely that even today Indian students read about the same boundaries as part of their Geography.
Even assuming that these ancient scriptures are “superstitious” we cannot ignore what they teach or convey! It is interesting to observe the continuity of the thought about “One India.”
BHARATA IN INDIAN LITERATURE:
Sri Vadiraja Teertha, a Madhwa-Vaishnava pontiff, who lived in 15th century (1480-1600 AD) wrote a book on world geography titled “Bhugola Varnana” (భూగోళ వర్ణన). In this wonderful treatise, he says that:
తతస్తు భారతో వర్షః పూర్వ వర్ష ప్రమాణవాన్
ఆదక్షిణార్ణవాత్సోపి నరాణాం పుణ్యదః స్మృతః
Meaning: Bharata Varsha is all along with southern sea. This is the sacred land for human beings.
Thus, we can understand that the word “Bharata” has not only been used with consistency but also with a certain consciousness. Had it been just a “big dream” and not a “realised” one then how do we understand the statements made by many authors, scriptures from last many centuries?
I have a collection of pre-independence history books published by British for Indian students. (Thanks to my maternal grand parents for handing over such collection to me)
One such book, titled “India, Burma and Ceylon” (Published in 1904) authored by Henry. F. Blanford. This is just a reprint of the first edition, which has come in the year 1894.
First chapter starts by saying:
“We speak of India as of a single country, because it is under one supreme government; but it is really a collection of many countries, differing from each other in soil, climate, and productions, in the races that occupy them, in the languages, religious, and civilisation of their peoples, and in many other respects. Yet no country is more distinctly marked off by natural boundaries.”
I feel that British and other foreign authors have failed to understand the concept of “One India” (Bharata) by wrongly interpreting it. They have gone by the mere geographical & physical differences of the country but did not count the unified souls!
The concept of “One India” was strongly rooted, not from 1947, but from 3rd century BC. Chanakya proposed and achieved “One India” concept by installing his disciple Chandragupta Maurya as the Emperor of India.
Hence, I personally feel that the concept “Bharata” or “Akahnda Bharata” was not just a dream but had been there in proper shape as a realised ream.
I wish to conclude that by knowing the spiritual meaning of the word “Bharata” we can better understand the concept of One India (Eka Bharata).
“Bha” means righteous knowledge (భకారో జ్ఞాన వాచి)
“Rata” means who got indulged or involved (తస్య రతః) in attaining the right knowledge.
So, he/she who indulged in gaining the right knowledge is called as “Bharata”. Right from Nalanda, Takshashila to our present generation universities, Indians were always ahead of their times in possessing knowledge.
Can’t this be the common thread which has tied us as “One India”?