Written by london swaminathan


Date: 7 JUNE 2018


Time uploaded in London –  17-40  (British Summer Time)


Post No. 5084


Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks. Pictures may be subject to copyright laws.




Bana in his Harsha Charita says, “To them the earth appeared as a platform in the courtyard and the sea as a mere channel. The high mountain of the north and the wide coastline of the seas of the south offered no impediments but served as bridges for adventurous travellers’.


According to Bana of sixth century CE, Lakshmi is self drawn by sea voyage.

Mricakatika of Sudraka (second century CE) describes the eight courtyard building of courtesan Vasantasena. There is a beautiful description of each section. This was the building owned by a courtesan 2000 years ago! Now we can imagine how the palaces of those days looked. At the instance of Charudatta, hero of the story, the jester went to  Vasanta sena’s palace to return her jewels. Seeing the grandeur of her palace with eight courtyards, he was surprised and made a comment to her servant whether her mistress was interested in shipping business so that she had such riches.

Kalidasa also made references to wealth earned by shipping and the laws governing the shipwrecked wealth. This shows the massive maritime trade of India .

Tamil proverb also says the same ‘Go across the sea and look for treasure’ is the Tamil proverb (Tirai Kadal odiyum Diraviyam thedu)


Sangam Tamil literature has full details of foreign imports and exports through the Tamil Nadu harbours. Lot of details correlated with the discovery of thousands of Roman coins of the first few centuries of our era.


Sabhaa parvan of Mahabharata mention Antaakhi, Romaa and Yavanapur which are identified with Rome (Italy), Antioch (Turkey) and Alexandria (Egypt). Indian sailors frequented these harbours.


Aranyaka parvam of Mahabharata has the following details about sarthavaha:

The big caravan was crowded with elephants, horses, chariots and the number of oxen, donkeys, camels and men on foot were overwhelming that the caravan appeared as ocean of moving men. It included not only merchants but also Brahmins well versed in the Vedas, young and old, and women with children. Damayanti in search of Nala also joined this caravan under the Saarthavaha leader. When some mischievous youths approached Damayanti with evil intentions, the elders supported Damayanti and showed her kindness.

But the caravan camped at the wrong place during the night. It was the route of wild animals and particularly elephants going to waterholes. In the night, herds of elephants trampled upon some campers and there was utter confusion. Some were crushed to death by the elephants and others ran helter skelter. Damayanti was one of the lucky persons to escape. The caravan continued its journey next morning.


Though Mahabharata is an epic dealing with religion it is an encyclopaedia of ancient Hindu life. It gives very minute details like this on various subjects.


We have details about inter galactic travel of Arjuna, Concept of Time, Acupuncture, Bird Migration, flora and fauna of India, military formations, warfare and a lot in the epic.



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