Claudius Ptolemy was a Greco-Roman mathematician, astronomer and astrologer. He lived in the city of Alexandria in the Roman province of Egypt, wrote in Koine Greek, held Roman citizenship; the 14th-century astronomer Theodore Meliteniotes gave his birthplace as the prominent Greek city Ptolemais Hermiou in the Thebaid. This attestation is quite late, and, according to Gerald Toomer, the translator of his Almagest into English, there is no reason to suppose he lived anywhere other than Alexandria, he died there around AD 168. Ptolemy wrote several scientific treatises, three of which were of importance to Byzantine and Western European science; the first is the astronomical treatise now known as the Almagest, although it was entitled the Mathematical Treatise and known as the Great Treatise. The second is the Geography, a thorough discussion of the geographic knowledge of the Greco-Roman world; the third is the astrological treatise in which he attempted to adapt horoscopic astrology to the Aristotelian natural philosophy of his day.
This is sometimes known as the Apotelesmatika but more known as the Tetrabiblos from the Greek meaning "Four Books" or by the Latin Quadripartitum. Ptolemaeus is a Greek name, it occurs once in Greek mythology, is of Homeric form. It was common among the Macedonian upper class at the time of Alexander the Great, there were several of this name among Alexander's army, one of whom made himself pharaoh in 323 BC: Ptolemy I Soter, the first king of the Ptolemaic Kingdom. All male kings of Hellenistic Egypt, until Egypt became a Roman province in 30 BC ending the Macedonian family's rule, were Ptolemies; the name Claudius is a Roman nomen. It would have suited custom if the first of Ptolemy's family to become a citizen took the nomen from a Roman called Claudius, responsible for granting citizenship. If, as was common, this was the emperor, citizenship would have been granted between AD 41 and 68; the astronomer would have had a praenomen, which remains unknown. The ninth-century Persian astronomer Abu Maʿshar presents Ptolemy as a member of Egypt's royal lineage, stating that the descendants of Alexander's general Ptolemy I, who ruled Egypt, were wise "and included Ptolemy the Wise, who composed the book of the Almagest".
Abu Maʿshar recorded a belief that a different member of this royal line "composed the book on astrology and attributed it to Ptolemy". We can evidence historical confusion on this point from Abu Maʿshar's subsequent remark "It is sometimes said that the learned man who wrote the book of astrology wrote the book of the Almagest; the correct answer is not known." There is little evidence on the subject of Ptolemy's ancestry, apart from what can be drawn from the details of his name. Ptolemy can be shown to have utilized Babylonian astronomical data, he was a Roman citizen, but was ethnically either a Greek or a Hellenized Egyptian. He was known in Arabic sources as "the Upper Egyptian", suggesting he may have had origins in southern Egypt. Arabic astronomers and physicists referred to him by his name in Arabic: بَطْلُمْيوس Baṭlumyus. Ptolemy's Almagest is the only surviving comprehensive ancient treatise on astronomy. Babylonian astronomers had developed arithmetical techniques for calculating astronomical phenomena.
Ptolemy, claimed to have derived his geometrical models from selected astronomical observations by his predecessors spanning more than 800 years, though astronomers have for centuries suspected that his models' parameters were adopted independently of observations. Ptolemy presented his astronomical models in convenient tables, which could be used to compute the future or past position of the planets; the Almagest contains a star catalogue, a version of a catalogue created by Hipparchus. Its list of forty-eight constellations is ancestral to the modern system of constellations, but unlike the modern system they did not cover the whole sky. Across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa in the Medieval period, it was the authoritative text on astronomy, with its author becoming an mythical figure, called Ptolemy, King of Alexandria; the Almagest was preserved, in Arabic manuscripts. Because of its reputation, it was sought and was translated twice into Latin in the 12th century, once in Sicily and again in Spain.
Ptolemy's model, like those of his predecessors, was geocentric and was universally accepted until the appearance of simpler heliocentric models during the scientific revolution. His Planetary Hypotheses went beyond the mathematical model of the Almagest to present a physical realization of the universe as a set of nested spheres, in which he used the epicycles of his planetary model to compute the dimensions of the universe, he estimated the Sun was at an average dis
Planets in astrology
Planets in astrology have a meaning different from the modern astronomical understanding of what a planet is. Before the age of telescopes, the night sky was thought to consist of two similar components: fixed stars, which remained motionless in relation to each other, "wandering stars", which moved relative to the fixed stars over the course of the year. To the Greeks and the other earliest astronomers, this group consisted of the five planets visible to the naked eye and excluded Earth. Although the term planet applied only to those five objects, the term was latterly broadened in the Middle Ages, to include the Sun and the Moon, making a total of seven planets. Astrologers retain this definition today. To ancient astrologers, the planets represented the will of the gods and their direct influence upon human affairs. To modern astrologers, the planets represent basic drives or urges in the unconscious, or energy flow regulators representing dimensions of experience, they express themselves with different qualities in the twelve signs of the zodiac and in the twelve houses.
The planets are related to each other in the form of aspects. Modern astrologers differ on the source of the planets' influence. Hone writes. Others hold that the planets have no direct influence in themselves, but are mirrors of basic organizing principles in the universe. In other words, the basic patterns of the universe repeat themselves everywhere, in fractal-like fashion, "as above, so below". Therefore, the patterns that the planets make in the sky reflect the ebb and flow of basic human impulses; the planets are associated in the Chinese tradition, with the basic forces of nature. Listed below are the specific meanings and domains associated with the astrological planets since ancient times, with the main focus on the Western astrological tradition; the planets in Hindu astrology are known as the Navagraha or "nine realms". In Chinese astrology, the planets are associated with the life forces of yin and yang and the five elements, which play an important role in the Chinese form of geomancy known as Feng Shui.
Astrologers differ on the signs associated with each planet's exaltation. This table shows the Greek and Roman deities associated with them. In most cases, the English name for planets derives from the name of a Roman goddess. Of interest is the conflation of the Roman god with a similar Greek god. In some cases, it is the same deity with two different names. Treatises on the Ptolemaic planets and their influence on people born "under their reign" appear in block book form, so-called "planet books" or Planetenbücher; this genre is atteted in numerous manuscripts beginning in the mid 15th century in the Alemannic German areal. These books list a male and a female Titan with each planet and Rhea with Saturn and Themis with Jupiter Crius and Dione with Mars and Theia with Sun and Phoebe with Moon and Metis with Mercury, Oceanus and Tethys with Venus; the qualities inherited from the planets by their children are as follows: Saturn: industrious and tranquility Jupiter: charming and hunting Mars: soldiering and warfare Sun: music and athleticism Moon: shy and tenderness Mercury: prudent and commerce Venus: amorousness and passion.
The seven classical planets are those seen with the naked eye, were thus known to ancient astrologers. They are the Moon, Venus, Mars and Saturn. Sometimes, the Sun and Moon were referred to as "the lights" or the "luminaries". Vesta and Uranus can just be seen with the naked eye, though no ancient culture appears to have taken note of them; the astrological descriptions attached to the seven classical planets have been preserved since ancient times. Astrologers call the seven classical planets "the seven personal and social planets", because they are said to represent the basic human drives of every individual; the personal planets are the Sun, Mercury and Mars. The social or transpersonal planets are Saturn. Jupiter and Saturn are called the first of the "transpersonal" or "transcendent" planets as they represent a transition from the inner personal planets to the outer modern, impersonal planets; the outer modern planets Uranus and Pluto are called the collective or transcendental planets. The following is a list of their associated characteristics.
The Sun is exalted in Aries. In classical Greek mythology, the Sun was represented by the Titans Helios; the Sun is the star at the center of our solar system, around which the Earth and other planets revolve and provides us with heat and light. The arc that the Sun travels in every year and setting in a different place each day, is therefore in reality a reflection of the Earth's own orbit around the Sun; this arc is larger the farther north or south from the equator latitude, giving a more extreme difference between day and night and between seasons during the year. The Sun travels through the twelve signs of the zodiac on its annual journey, spending about a month in each; the Sun's position on a person's birthday therefore determines what is called his or her "sun" sign. However, the sun sign allotment varies between Western and Hindu astrology (sign change arou
Hellenistic astrology is a tradition of horoscopic astrology, developed and practiced in the late Hellenistic period in and around the Mediterranean region in Egypt. The texts and technical terminology of this tradition of astrology were written in Greek; the tradition originated sometime around the late 2nd or early 1st century BCE, was practiced until the 6th or 7th century CE. This type of astrology is referred to as "Hellenistic astrology" because it was developed in the late Hellenistic period, although it continued to be practiced for several centuries after the end of what historians classify as the Hellenistic era; the origins of much of the astrology that would develop in Asia and the Middle East are found among the ancient Babylonians and their system of celestial omens that began to be compiled around the middle of the 2nd millennium BCE. This system spread either directly or indirectly through the Babylonians to other areas such as China and Greece where it merged with preexisting indigenous forms of astrology.
It came to Greece as early as the middle of the 4th century BCE, around the late 2nd or early 1st century BCE after the Alexandrian conquests this Babylonian astrology was mixed with the Egyptian tradition of Decanic astrology to create horoscopic astrology. This system is labeled as "horoscopic astrology" because, unlike the previous traditions, it employed the use of the ascendant, otherwise known as the horoskopos in Greek, the twelve celestial houses which are derived from it; the focus on the natal chart of the individual, as derived from the position of the planets and stars at the time of birth, represents the most significant contribution and shift of emphasis, made during the Hellenistic tradition of astrology. This new form of astrology spread across the ancient world into Europe, the Middle East. Additionally, some authors such as Vettius Valens and Paulus Alexandrinus took into account the Monomoiria, or individual degrees of a horoscope; this complex system of astrology was developed to such an extent that traditions made few fundamental changes to the core of the system, many of the same components of horoscopic astrology that were developed during the Hellenistic period are still in use by astrologers in modern times.
Several Hellenistic astrologers ascribe its creation to a mythical sage named Hermes Trismegistus. Hermes is said to have written several major texts which formed the basis of the art or its evolution from the system of astrology, inherited from the Babylonians and the Egyptians. Several authors cite Hermes as being the first to outline the houses and their meaning, thus the houses are thought to date back to the beginning of the Hellenistic tradition and indeed they are one of the major defining factors which separate Hellenistic astrology and other forms of horoscopic astrology from Babylonian astrology and other traditions in different parts of the world; this system of horoscopic astrology was passed to another mythical figure named Asclepius to whom some of the Hermetic writings are addressed. According to Firmicus Maternus, the system was subsequently handed down to an Egyptian pharaoh named Nechepso and his priest Petosiris, they are said to have written several major textbooks which explicated the system and it is from this text that many of the Hellenistic astrologers draw from and cite directly.
This system formed the basis of all forms of horoscopic astrology. In 525 BCE Egypt was conquered by the Persians so there is to have been some Mesopotamian influence on Egyptian astrology. Arguing in favour of this, Barton gives an example of what appears to be Mesopotamian influence on the zodiac, which included two signs – the Balance and the Scorpion, as evidenced in the Dendera Zodiac. After the occupation by Alexander the Great in 332 BCE, Egypt came under Greek influence; the city of Alexandria was founded by Alexander after the conquest and during the 3rd and 2nd centuries BCE, the scholars of Alexandria were prolific writers. It was in'Alexandrian Egypt' that Babylonian astrology was mixed with the Egyptian tradition of Decanic astrology to create Horoscopic astrology; this contained the Babylonian zodiac with its system of planetary exaltations, the triplicities of the signs and the importance of eclipses. Along with this it incorporated the Egyptian concept of dividing the zodiac into thirty-six decans of ten degrees each, with an emphasis on the rising decan, the Greek system of planetary Gods, sign rulership and four elements.
The decans were a system of time measurement according to the constellations. They were led by the constellation Sothis or Sirius; the risings of the decans in the night were used to divide the night into ‘hours’. The rising of a constellation just before sunrise was considered the last hour of the night. Over the course of the year, each constellation rose just before sunrise for ten days; when they became part of the astrology of the Hellenistic Age, each decan was associated with ten degrees of the zodiac. Texts from the 2nd century BCE list predictions relating to the positions of planets in zodiac signs at the time of the rising of certain decans Sothis. Important in the development of horoscopic astrology was the astrologer and astronomer Ptolemy, who lived in Alexandria in Egypt. Ptolemy's work; the earliest Zodiac found in Egypt dates to the Dendera Zodiac. According to Firmicus Maternus, the system of horoscopic astrology was given early on to an Egyptian pharao
The tiger is the largest species among the Felidae and classified in the genus Panthera. It is most recognizable for its dark vertical stripes on reddish-orange fur with a lighter underside, it is an apex predator preying on ungulates such as deer and bovids. It is territorial and a solitary but social predator, requiring large contiguous areas of habitat, which support its requirements for prey and rearing of its offspring. Tiger cubs stay with their mother for about two years, before they become independent and leave their mother's home range to establish their own; the tiger once ranged from Eastern Anatolia Region in the west to the Amur River basin, in the south from the foothills of the Himalayas to Bali in the Sunda islands. Since the early 20th century, tiger populations have lost at least 93% of their historic range and have been extirpated in Western and Central Asia, from the islands of Java and Bali, in large areas of Southeast and South Asia and China. Today's tiger range is fragmented, stretching from Siberian temperate forests to subtropical and tropical forests on the Indian subcontinent and Sumatra.
The tiger is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List since 1986. As of 2015, the global wild tiger population was estimated to number between 3,062 and 3,948 mature individuals, down from around 100,000 at the start of the 20th century, with most remaining populations occurring in small pockets isolated from each other. Major reasons for population decline include habitat destruction, habitat fragmentation and poaching. This, coupled with the fact that it lives in some of the more densely populated places on Earth, has caused significant conflicts with humans; the tiger is among the most popular of the world's charismatic megafauna. It featured prominently in ancient mythology and folklore and continues to be depicted in modern films and literature, appearing on many flags, coats of arms and as mascots for sporting teams; the tiger is the national animal of India, Bangladesh and South Korea. The Middle English tigre and Old English tigras derive from Latin tigris; this was a borrowing of Classical Greek τίγρις'tigris', a foreign borrowing of unknown origin meaning'tiger' as well as the river Tigris.
The origin may have been the Persian word tigra meaning'pointed or sharp', the Avestan word tigrhi'arrow' referring to the speed of the tiger's leap, although these words are not known to have any meanings associated with tigers. The generic name Panthera is traceable to the Old French word'pantère', the Latin word panthera, the Ancient Greek word πάνθηρ'panther'; the Sanskrit word पाण्डर pând-ara means'pale yellow, white'. In 1758, Carl Linnaeus described the tiger in his work Systema Naturae and gave it the scientific name Felis tigris. In 1929, the British taxonomist Reginald Innes Pocock subordinated the species under the genus Panthera using the scientific name Panthera tigris; the tiger's closest living relatives were thought to be the Panthera species lion and jaguar. Results of genetic analysis indicate that about 2.88 million years ago, the tiger and the snow leopard lineages diverged from the other Panthera species, that both may be more related to each other than to the lion and jaguar.
P. T. palaeosinensis from the Early Pleistocene of northern China is the most primitive known tiger to date. Fossil remains of Panthera zdanskyi were excavated in Gansu province of northwestern China; this species lived at the beginning of the Pleistocene about two million years ago, is considered to be a sister taxon of the modern tiger. It was about the size of a jaguar and had a different coat pattern. Despite being considered more "primitive", it was functionally and also ecologically similar to the modern tiger. Northwestern China is thought to be the origin of the tiger lineage. Tigers grew in size in response to adaptive radiations of prey species like deer and bovids, which may have occurred in Southeast Asia during the early Pleistocene. Panthera tigris trinilensis lived about 1.2 million years ago and is known from fossils excavated near Trinil in Java. The Wanhsien, Ngandong and Japanese tigers became extinct in prehistoric times. Tigers reached India and northern Asia in the late Pleistocene, reaching eastern Beringia and Sakhalin.
Some fossil skulls are morphologically distinct from lion skulls, which could indicate tiger presence in Alaska during the last glacial period, about 100,000 years ago. Tiger fossils found in the island of Palawan were smaller than mainland tiger fossils due to insular dwarfism. Fossil remains of tigers were excavated in Sri Lanka, Japan, Sarawak dating to the late Pliocene and Early Holocene; the Bornean tiger was present in Borneo between the Late Pleistocene and the Holocene, but may have gone extinct in prehistoric times. The potential tiger range during the Late Pleistocene and Holocene was predicted applying ecological niche modelling based on more than 500 tiger locality records combined with bioclimatic data; the resulting model shows a contiguous tiger range from southern India to Siberia at the Last Glacial Maximum, indicating an unobstructed gene flow between tiger populations in mainland Asia throughout the Late Pleistocene and Holocene. The tiger populations on the Sunda Islands and mainland Asia were separated during interglacial periods.
Results of a phylogeographic study indicate that all living tigers had a common ancestor 72,000–108,000 years ago. The tiger's full genome sequence was published in 2013, it was found to have similar repeat composition to other cat genomes and an appreciably conserved synteny. Following Linnaeus's first descriptions of t
Sanskrit is a language of ancient India with a history going back about 3,500 years. 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. Sanskrit is an Old Indo-Aryan language; as one of the oldest documented members of the Indo-European family of languages, Sanskrit holds a prominent position in Indo-European studies. It is related to Greek and Latin, as well as Hittite, Old Avestan and many other extinct languages with historical significance to Europe, West Asia, Central Asia, South Asia, it traces its linguistic ancestry to the Proto-Indo-Aryan language, Proto-Indo-Iranian and the Proto-Indo-European languages.
Sanskrit is traceable to the 2nd millennium BCE in a form known as the Vedic Sanskrit, with the Rigveda as the earliest known composition. A more refined and standardized grammatical form called the Classical Sanskrit emerged in mid-1st millennium BCE with the Aṣṭādhyāyī treatise of Pāṇini. Sanskrit, though not Classical Sanskrit, is the root language of many Prakrit languages. Examples include numerous modern daughter Northern Indian subcontinental languages such as Hindi, Bengali and Nepali; the body of Sanskrit literature encompasses a rich tradition of philosophical and religious texts, as well as poetry, drama, scientific and other texts. In the ancient era, Sanskrit compositions were orally transmitted by methods of memorisation of exceptional complexity and fidelity; the earliest known inscriptions in Sanskrit are from the 1st-century BCE, such as the few discovered in Ayodhya and Ghosundi-Hathibada. Sanskrit texts dated to the 1st millennium CE were written in the Brahmi script, the Nāgarī script, the historic South Indian scripts and their derivative scripts.
Sanskrit is one of the 22 languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India. It continues to be used as a ceremonial and ritual language in Hinduism and some Buddhist practices such as hymns and chants; the Sanskrit verbal adjective sáṃskṛta- is a compound word consisting of sam and krta-. It connotes a work, "well prepared and perfect, sacred". According to Biderman, the perfection contextually being referred to in the etymological origins of the word is its tonal qualities, rather than semantic. Sound and oral transmission were valued quality in ancient India, its sages refined the alphabet, the structure of words and its exacting grammar into a "collection of sounds, a kind of sublime musical mold", states Biderman, as an integral language they called Sanskrit. From late Vedic period onwards, state Annette Wilke and Oliver Moebus, resonating sound and its musical foundations attracted an "exceptionally large amount of linguistic and religious literature" in India; the sound was visualized as "pervading all creation", another representation of the world itself, the "mysterious magnum" of the Hindu thought.
The search for perfection in thought and of salvation was one of the dimensions of sacred sound, the common thread to weave all ideas and inspirations became the quest for what the ancient Indians believed to be a perfect language, the "phonocentric episteme" of Sanskrit. Sanskrit as a language competed with numerous less exact vernacular Indian languages called Prakritic languages; the term prakrta means "original, normal, artless", states Franklin Southworth. The relationship between Prakrit and Sanskrit is found in the Indian texts dated to the 1st millennium CE. Patanjali acknowledged that Prakrit is the first language, one instinctively adopted by every child with all its imperfections and leads to the problems of interpretation and misunderstanding; the purifying structure of the Sanskrit language removes these imperfections. The early Sanskrit grammarian Dandin states, for example, that much in the Prakrit languages is etymologically rooted in Sanskrit but involve "loss of sounds" and corruptions that result from a "disregard of the grammar".
Dandin acknowledged that there are words and confusing structures in Prakrit that thrive independent of Sanskrit. This view is found in the writing of the author of the ancient Natyasastra text; the early Jain scholar Namisadhu acknowledged the difference, but disagreed that the Prakrit language was a corruption of Sanskrit. Namisadhu stated that the Prakrit language was the purvam and they came to women and children, that Sanskrit was a refinement of the Prakrit through a "purification by grammar". Sanskrit belongs to the Indo-European family of languages, it is one of the three ancient documented languages that arose from a common root language now referred to as the Proto-Indo-European language: Vedic Sanskrit. Mycenaean Greek and Ancient Greek. Mycenaean Greek is the older recorded form of Greek, but the limited material that has survived has a ambiguous writing system. More important to Indo-European studies is Ancient Greek, documented extensively beginning with the two Homeric poems. Hittite.
This is the earliest-recorded of all Indo-European languages, distinguishable into Old Hittite, Middle Hittite and Neo-Hittite. I
Dharma is a key concept with multiple meanings in Indian religions like Hinduism, Jainism and others. There is no single-word translation for dharma in Western languages. In Hinduism, dharma signifies behaviors that are considered to be in accord with Ṛta, the order that makes life and universe possible, includes duties, laws, virtues and "right way of living". In Buddhism, dharma means "cosmic law and order", is applied to the teachings of Buddha. In Buddhist philosophy, dhamma/dharma is the term for "phenomena". Dharma in Jainism refers to the teachings of tirthankara and the body of doctrine pertaining to the purification and moral transformation of human beings. For Sikhs, the word dharm means the path of proper religious practice; the word dharma was in use in the historical Vedic religion, its meaning and conceptual scope has evolved over several millennia. The ancient Tamil moral text of Tirukkural is based on aṟam, the Tamil term for dharma; the antonym of dharma is adharma. The Classical Sanskrit noun dharma or the Prakrit Dhaṃma are a derivation from the root dhṛ, which means "to hold, keep", takes the meaning of "what is established or firm", hence "law".
It is derived from an older Vedic Sanskrit n-stem dharman-, with a literal meaning of "bearer, supporter", in a religious sense conceived as an aspect of Rta. In the Rigveda, the word appears as an n-stem, dhárman-, with a range of meanings encompassing "something established or firm". Figuratively, it means "sustainer" and "supporter", it is semantically similar to the Greek Themis. In Classical Sanskrit, the noun becomes thematic: dharma-; the word dharma derives from Proto-Indo-European root *dʰer-, which in Sanskrit is reflected as class-1 root dhṛ. Etymologically it is related to Avestan dar-, Latin firmus, Lithuanian derė́ti, Lithuanian dermė and darna and Old Church Slavonic drъžati. Classical Sanskrit word dharmas would formally match with Latin o-stem firmus from Proto-Indo-European dʰer-mo-s "holding", were it not for its historical development from earlier Rigvedic n-stem. In Classical Sanskrit, in the Vedic Sanskrit of the Atharvaveda, the stem is thematic: dhárma-. In Prakrit and Pāli, it is rendered dhamma.
In some contemporary Indian languages and dialects it alternatively occurs as dharm. Ancient translationsWhen the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka wanted in the 3rd century BCE to translate the word "Dharma" into Greek and Aramaic, he used the Greek word Eusebeia in the Kandahar Bilingual Rock Inscription and the Kandahar Greek Edicts, the Aramaic word Qsyt in the Kandahar Bilingual Rock Inscription. Dharma is a concept of central importance in Indian religion, it has multiple meanings in Hinduism and Jainism. It is difficult to provide a single concise definition for dharma, as the word has a long and varied history and straddles a complex set of meanings and interpretations. There is no equivalent single-word synonym for dharma in western languages. There have been numerous, conflicting attempts to translate ancient Sanskrit literature with the word dharma into German and French; the concept, claims Paul Horsch, has caused exceptional difficulties for modern commentators and translators. For example, while Grassmann's translation of Rig-veda identifies seven different meanings of dharma, Karl Friedrich Geldner in his translation of the Rig-veda employs 20 different translations for dharma, including meanings such as "law", "order", "duty", "custom", "quality", "model", among others.
However, the word dharma has become a accepted loanword in English, is included in all modern unabridged English dictionaries. The root of the word dharma is "dhri", which means "to support, hold, or bear", it is the thing that regulates the course of change by not participating in change, but that principle which remains constant. Monier-Williams, the cited resource for definitions and explanation of Sanskrit words and concepts of Hinduism, offers numerous definitions of the word dharma, such as that, established or firm, steadfast decree, law, custom, right, virtue, ethics, religious merit, good works, character, property. Yet, each of these definitions is incomplete, while the combination of these translations does not convey the total sense of the word. In common parlance, dharma means "right way of living" and "path of rightness"; the meaning of the word dharma depends on the context, its meaning has evolved as ideas of Hinduism have developed through history. In the earliest texts and ancient myths of Hinduism, dharma meant cosmic law, the rules that created the universe from chaos, as well as rituals.
In certain contexts, dharma designates human behaviours considered necessary for order of things in the universe, principles that prevent chaos and action necessary to all life in nature, family as well as at the individual level. Dharma encompasses ideas such as duty, character, religion and all behaviour considered appropriate, correct or morally upright; the antonym of dharma is adharma, meaning that, "not dharma"
The Mahābhārata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being the Rāmāyaṇa. It narrates the struggle between two groups of cousins in the Kurukshetra War and the fates of the Kaurava and the Pāṇḍava princes and their succession. Along with the Rāmāyaṇa, it forms the Hindu Itihasa; the Mahābhārata is an epic legendary narrative of the Kurukṣetra War and the fates of the Kaurava and the Pāṇḍava princes. It contains philosophical and devotional material, such as a discussion of the four "goals of life" or puruṣārtha. Among the principal works and stories in the Mahābhārata are the Bhagavad Gita, the story of Damayanti, an abbreviated version of the Rāmāyaṇa, the story of Ṛṣyasringa considered as works in their own right. Traditionally, the authorship of the Mahābhārata is attributed to Vyāsa. There have been many attempts to unravel compositional layers; the oldest preserved parts of the text are thought to be not much older than around 400 BCE, though the origins of the epic fall between the 8th and 9th centuries BCE.
The text reached its final form by the early Gupta period. According to the Mahābhārata itself, the tale is extended from a shorter version of 24,000 verses called Bhārata; the Mahābhārata is the longest epic poem known and has been described as "the longest poem written". Its longest version consists of over 100,000 śloka or over 200,000 individual verse lines, long prose passages. At about 1.8 million words in total, the Mahābhārata is ten times the length of the Iliad and the Odyssey combined, or about four times the length of the Rāmāyaṇa. W. J. Johnson has compared the importance of the Mahābhārata in the context of world civilization to that of the Bible, the works of William Shakespeare, the works of Homer, Greek drama, or the Quran. Within the Indian tradition it is sometimes called the Fifth Veda; the epic is traditionally ascribed to the sage Vyāsa, a major character in the epic. Vyāsa described it as being itihāsa, he describes the Guru-shishya parampara, which traces all great teachers and their students of the Vedic times.
The first section of the Mahābhārata states that it was Gaṇeśa who wrote down the text to Vyasa's dictation. The epic employs the story within a story structure, otherwise known as frametales, popular in many Indian religious and non-religious works, it is first recited at Takshashila by the sage Vaiśampāyana, a disciple of Vyāsa, to the King Janamejaya, the great-grandson of the Pāṇḍava prince Arjuna. The story is recited again by a professional storyteller named Ugraśrava Sauti, many years to an assemblage of sages performing the 12-year sacrifice for the king Saunaka Kulapati in the Naimiśa Forest; the text was described by some early 20th-century western Indologists as chaotic. Hermann Oldenberg supposed that the original poem must once have carried an immense "tragic force" but dismissed the full text as a "horrible chaos." Moritz Winternitz considered that "only unpoetical theologists and clumsy scribes" could have lumped the parts of disparate origin into an unordered whole. Research on the Mahābhārata has put an enormous effort into recognizing and dating layers within the text.
Some elements of the present Mahābhārata can be traced back to Vedic times. The background to the Mahābhārata suggests the origin of the epic occurs "after the early Vedic period" and before "the first Indian'empire' was to rise in the third century B. C." That this is "a date not too far removed from the 8th or 9th century B. C." is likely. Mahābhārata started as an orally-transmitted tale of the charioteer bards, it is agreed that "Unlike the Vedas, which have to be preserved letter-perfect, the epic was a popular work whose reciters would conform to changes in language and style," so the earliest'surviving' components of this dynamic text are believed to be no older than the earliest'external' references we have to the epic, which may include an allusion in Panini's 4th century BCE grammar Aṣṭādhyāyī 4:2:56. It is estimated that the Sanskrit text reached something of a "final form" by the early Gupta period. Vishnu Sukthankar, editor of the first great critical edition of the Mahābhārata, commented: "It is useless to think of reconstructing a fluid text in a original shape, on the basis of an archetype and a stemma codicum.
What is possible? Our objective can only be to reconstruct the oldest form of the text which it is possible to reach on the basis of the manuscript material available." That manuscript evidence is somewhat late, given its material composition and the climate of India, but it is extensive. The Mahābhārata itself distinguishes a core portion of 24,000 verses: the Bhārata proper, as opposed to additional secondary material, while the Aśvalāyana Gṛhyasūtra makes a similar distinction. At least three redactions of the text are recognized: Jaya with 8,800 verses attributed to Vyāsa, Bhārata with 24,000 verses as recited by Vaiśampāyana, the Mahābhārata as recited by Ugraśrava Sauti with over 100,000 verses. However, some scholars, such as John Brockington, argue that Jaya and Bharata refer to the same text, ascribe the theory of Jaya with 8,800 verses to a misreading of a verse in Ādiparvan; the redaction of this large body of text was carried out after formal principles, emphasizing the numbers 18 and 12.
The addition of the latest parts may be dated by the absence of the Anuśāsana-parva and the Virāta parva from the "Spitzer manuscript". The oldest surviving