Gaṇa sangha

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Gana-Sangha [1] (Sanskrit: गणसङ्घ) or Gana-Rajya [2] (Sanskrit: गणराज्य), refers to a type of republic or oligarchy in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent.

Sanskrit language of ancient India

Sanskrit is a language of ancient India with a 3,500 year history. It is the primary liturgical language of Hinduism and the predominant language of most works of Hindu philosophy as well as some of the principal texts of Buddhism and Jainism. Sanskrit, in its variants and numerous dialects, was the lingua franca of ancient and medieval India. In the early 1st millennium CE, along with Buddhism and Hinduism, Sanskrit migrated to Southeast Asia, parts of East Asia and Central Asia, emerging as a language of high culture and of local ruling elites in these regions.

A republic is a form of government in which the country is considered a “public matter”, not the private concern or property of the rulers. The primary positions of power within a republic are not inherited, but are attained through democracy, oligarchy or autocracy. It is a form of government under which the head of state is not a hereditary monarch.

Oligarchy is a form of power structure in which power rests with a small number of people. These people may be distinguished by nobility, wealth, family ties, education or corporate, religious, political, or military control. Such states are often controlled by families who typically pass their influence from one generation to the next, but inheritance is not a necessary condition for the application of this term.

The gana sanghas were generally found on the periphery of the Indian kingdoms, and tended to occupy the higher ground. [1]

Their general make-up was either that of a single clan (e.g. Shakya), or a confederacy of clans (e.g. Koli).

Shakya former country in present day India and Nepal

The Shakya were a clan of late Vedic India and the later so-called second urbanisation period in the Indian subcontinent.

The Koli people are an ethnic Indian group in Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Karnataka and Jammu and Kashmir states.

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Shloka Sanskrit verse in Anustubh meter

Shloka is a category of verse line developed from the Vedic Anustubh poetic meter. It is the basis for Indian epic verse, and may be considered the Indian verse form par excellence, occurring, as it does, far more frequently than any other meter in classical Sanskrit poetry. The Mahabharata and Ramayana, for example, are written almost exclusively in shlokas. The traditional view is that this form of verse was involuntarily composed by Valmiki in grief, the author of the Ramayana, on seeing a hunter shoot down one of two birds in love. The shloka is treated as a couplet. Each hemistich (half-verse) of 16 syllables, composed of two Pādas of eight syllables, can take either a pathyā ("normal") form or one of several vipulā ("extended") forms. The form of the second foot of the first Pāda (II) limits the possible patterns the first foot (I) may assume, as in the scheme below. Alternatively, a shloka is four quarter-verses, each with eight syllables.

Natya Shastra an ancient Sanskrit text on dance, music and dramatic arts

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Gana attendants of Shiva or councils or assemblies

The word gaṇa in Sanskrit and Pali means "flock, troop, multitude, number, tribe, series or class". It can also be used to refer to a "body of attendants" and can refer to "a company, any assemblage or association of men formed for the attainment of the same aims". The word "gana" can also refer to councils or assemblies convened to discuss matters of religion or other topics.

Dance in India classical to folk dance arts of India

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The Vedanga' are six auxiliary disciplines in Vedic culture that developed in ancient times, and have been connected with the study of the Vedas. These are:

  1. Shiksha : phonetics, phonology, pronunciation. This auxiliary discipline has focussed on the letters of the Sanskrit alphabet, accent, quantity, stress, melody and rules of euphonic combination of words during a Vedic recitation.
  2. Chandas : prosody. This auxiliary discipline has focussed on the poetic meters, including those based on fixed number of syllables per verse, and those based on fixed number of morae per verse.
  3. Vyakarana : grammar and linguistic analysis. This auxiliary discipline has focussed on the rules of grammar and linguistic analysis to establish the exact form of words and sentences to properly express ideas.
  4. Nirukta : etymology, explanation of words, particularly those that are archaic and have ancient uses with unclear meaning. This auxiliary discipline has focussed on linguistic analysis to help establish the proper meaning of the words, given the context they are used in.
  5. Kalpa : ritual instructions. This field focussed on standardizing procedures for Vedic rituals, rites of passage rituals associated with major life events such as birth, wedding and death in family, as well as discussing the personal conduct and proper duties of an individual in different stages of his life.
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Yadava Ancient Indian tribes

The Yadavas were an ancient Indian people who believed themselves to be descended from Yadu, a mythical king. The community was probably formed of four clans, being the Abhira, Andhaka, Vrishni, and Satvatas, who all worshipped Krishna. They are listed in ancient Indian literature as the segments of the lineage of Yadu (Yaduvamsha). At various times there have been a number of communities and royal dynasties of the Indian subcontinent that have claimed descent from the ancient Yadava clans and mythical Yadava personalities, thus describing themselves as the Yadavas. Since the 20th century, the modern Yadav community have claimed Kshatriya status as part of this claimed descent.

Vajji former country

Vajji or Vrijji was a confederacy of neighbouring clans including the Licchavis and one of the principal mahājanapadas of Ancient India. The area they ruled constitutes the region of Mithila in northern Bihar and their capital was the city of Vaishali.

Malla (Ancient India) Former republic in ancient India

Malla was an ancient Indian republic that constituted one of the sixteen Mahajanapadas of ancient India. The republic is notable for being the chosen death place of Mahavira and Gautama Buddha.

Licchavi (clan) Indian clan

The Licchavis were a clan amongst the Vajji Mahajanapada of ancient India. Vaishali the capital and homeland of the Licchavis, was the capital of the Vajji mahajanapada also. It was later occupied by Ajatashatru, who annexed the Vajji territory into his kingdom.

A Pattavali, Sthaviravali or Theravali, is a record of a spiritual lineage of heads of monastic orders. They are thus spiritual genealogies. It is generally presumed that two successive names are teacher and pupil. The term is applicable for all Indian religions, but is generally used for Jain monastic orders.

Family of Gautama Buddha Family of the founder of Buddhism

The Buddha was born into a noble family of the kshatriya varna in Lumbini, Nepal in 563 BCE. He was called Siddhartha Gautama in his childhood. His father was king Suddhodana, leader of the Shakya clan in what was the growing state of Kosala, and his mother was queen Maya Devi. According to Buddhist legend, the baby exhibited the marks of a great man. A prophecy indicated that if the child stayed at home he was destined to become a world ruler. If the child left home, however, he would become a universal spiritual leader. To make sure the boy would be a great king and world ruler, his father isolated him in his palace and he was raised by his mother's younger sister, Maha Pajapati, after his mother died just seven days after childbirth.

Shitole is a Maratha clan found largely in Maharashtra, Karnataka and nearby regions of India.

Sanskrit prosody or Chandas refers to one of the six Vedangas, or limbs of Vedic studies. It is the study of poetic metres and verse in Sanskrit. This field of study was central to the composition of the Vedas, the scriptural canons of Hinduism, so central that some later Hindu and Buddhist texts refer to the Vedas as Chandas.

Santhagaracommonly known as Santhwar is a pali word derived from combination of Santha or Sanstha in Sanskrit (group) and Agara and was used for the general assembly hall of a particular Gaṇa sangha solar dynasty kshatriya clan of ancient northern India where the old and younger of the same clan meets to decide on the general and state affairs. Santhagara was associated with republican states and its history traces back to 600 B.C. The republican states were known as Gana or Sangha. Buddhist literatures show that Santhagara of republic states used to control foreign affairs, entertaining foreign Ambassadors and princes, and deciding on peace and war proposals. The history of democracy in India is believed to be starting from Santhagara and India derives its official name Bharat Ganarajya, the Republic of India, from the Gana.

Digambara one of the two main sects of Jainism

Digambara is one of the two major schools of Jainism, the other being Śvētāmbara (white-clad). The word Digambara (Sanskrit) is a combination of two words: dig (directions) and ambara (dress), referring to those whose garments are of the element that fills the four quarters of space. Digambara monks do not wear any clothes. The monks carry picchi, a broom made up of fallen peacock feathers, kamandalu, and shastra (scripture). One of the most important scholar-monks of Digambara tradition was Kundakunda. He authored Prakrit texts such as the Samayasāra and the Pravacanasāra. Other prominent Acharyas of this tradition were, Virasena, Samantabhadra and Siddhasena Divakara. The Satkhandagama and Kasayapahuda have major significance in the Digambara tradition.

Rajeshwar Shastri Dravid was an Indian writer, scholar, grammarian and translator of Sanskrit literature. Born in 1899 in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, he was the author several books in Sanskrit language]] which included Sāṅkhyakārikā, Bhāratīya-rājanīti-prakaśah and R̥ṣikalpanyāsaḥ. His brother, Raja Ram Dravid, was the author of The Problem of Universals in Indian Philosophy, a critique of ancient Indian philosophy. The Government of India awarded him Padma Bhushan, the third highest Indian civilian award, in 1960.

References

  1. 1 2 Thapar, Romila (2002). "Early India: From the Origins to AD 1300". Google Books. University of California. pp. 146–150. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  2. Majumdar, Asoke Kumar (1977), Concise History of Ancient India: Political theory, administration and economic life, Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, p. 140

Further reading

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