The Downfall of Glory of India from Its Magnificient Past


In modern times, the Glory of India from its glorious past of ancient times seem to be lost today. What could be the cause of its such deterioration?

Have we been punished for our most liberal, most secular and selfless philosophies?  We preached “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakammeaning ‘the world is one family’ and we also said, सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनःसर्वे सन्तु निरामयाः। सर्वे भद्राणि पश्यन्तु। मा कश्चित् दुःख भाग्भवेत्॥” meaning ‘May All become Happy, May All be Free from Illness. May All See what is Auspicious, May no one Suffer. Om Peace, Peace, Peace.’

People attacked us, took away our belongings and our most precious possessions, yet we continued to preach goodness and the above-said verses. They made us slaves and we merely said that God will punish you for your follies. Has it all lead to a surrendering and timid mindset of Hindus?

Is it a fact that immense goodness of Hindus was the cause of the Downfall of Glory of India from Its Magnificent Past? Let us ponder today over this subject and try out to find out the truth.

It is not only the human beings who are governed by their destinies or fates. A society and a piece of land too have their own fates.

Human history is full of stories of rise and fall of individuals as well as societies and countries. We know of many lands that existed once, but now are lost – some submerged under the great oceans on earth and some entered the womb of earth.

India, or Bharatvarsha as it was known in the ancient times, too has seen its glorious past and is presently seeing its fallen status, indeed it is the Downfall of Glory of India.

Once it was known as “Golden Bird” and today it is among the poorest of the nations. It was also called “Jagadguru” (Guru of the world) and today its status is for everyone to see.

The Glory of India can be counted from many facts and developmental works. It was India that discovered zero, without which advancement in modern mathematics would not have been possible.

It was India, whose system of medicine “Ayurveda” was followed by the whole world. It was in India that taught the system of Yoga, for physical, psychological and spiritual well-being,

We developed. “Dhyana”, which became Zen in Japan and it was indeed India’s contribution to the world to seek the peace of mind through such practices.

The concept of “moksha” or liberation or enlightenment originated in this country only.

Astronomers who accurately measured heavenly distances like that between Sun and the Earth belonged to India. It was here that the game of chess was invented. It was here that the concept of the atom was first conceived. It was here that the law of inertia, which was rediscovered by the greatest scientist Sir Isaac Newton and is known as First Law of Motion, was first propounded. It was here that Architecture was developed into a system. The measurement-system of time was developed here. Much before Aristotle, who is called the father of modern logic, a whole system of logic called “Nyaya-Darshan” was developed in India.

But what caused us to fall? What caused the Glory of India to fall from its glorious past?

The list of our developmental works is endless. In short, if it could be said, we can easily pronounce that almost everything that was known to the ancient world was discovered, developed and validated in India. But then what laid for the downfall of the Glory of India?

Downfall of Glory of India

India or the Bharatvarsha has lost the status that once it enjoyed in the world? How this fall came about? The questions are not very easy to answer. It will take volumes to satisfactorily answer these questions. In this article, we are going to present only a few aspects of the factual truths.
The first world war, that this earth has witnessed, was not fought in the twentieth century. What we refer to as the first world war was, in fact, the second one. The first world war was fought in India, more than five thousand years ago. It is known as The Mahabharata war.

This war changed the course of Indian History. It was a catastrophic war not only for India but the whole world. The story of Mahabharata war has been described, in a great detail in the book of Maharshi Ved Vyasa named as ‘Mahabharata’. Due to the space constraint, let us not talk about the war itself but only about its ramifications.

In ancient India, the society was classified into four distinct classes. The most respected class was that of Brahmins. The people belonging to this class were engaged in studies, teaching, and research work. The next class was that of Kshatriyas. They were the warriors. Most of the kings of that era belonged to this class. Next, in the social order were Vaishyas or the businessmen. And the last category of people were Shudras, who did all the lowly and menial jobs of the society.

(Note: This division of the society has been much maligned in the present times. It is one of the main themes around which the modern politics of India revolves. However, in spite of the distortion this system acquired after Mahabharata war, it is not very difficult to see that originally this system was a very scientific one. In fact,  these divisions exist even in modern times. Professors, teachers, scientists, research scholars, reformers, thinkers, philosophers, psychologists etc can be called Modern Brahmins. The policemen and the soldiers can be said to be the Kshatriyas. The next two classes are not very difficult to identify.)

The most important aspect of this system was the working relationship between Brahmins and Kshatriyas. Brahmins did not do any job or business for their living. They lived very frugally. The sources of their livelihood were two. First, almost all of them used to teach. There were no fixed tuition fees for teaching. Each student paid as per his own means. There used to be no demand of any money or kind from the teachers for teaching. The students paid, what was called “Guru-Dakshina”, only after their studies were complete. For day to day expenses of the school (called Ashram), which were meager in any case, the students, including princes and the progenies of rich people, used to beg. Begging was not considered unrespectable in those days since even the sages and saints (Buddha and Mahavira also used to beg for their living) used to beg for their living. Begging was not the refuge of those who were the lowliest of the society. For them, there were the menial jobs. The students were asked to beg mainly to teach them humility. Arrogance and egoistic behavior were considered the nature of uncivilized and anti-social people. Scholars or Brahmins begged because they did not take up any jobs or business. Their time was spent in contemplation, Sadhana and studies. Other people, considered it a virtue to give alms to these people.

The second source of their livelihood was the grants given by the king. It was the duty of the king to provide for the Brahmins. The king could not shirk his responsibility towards the Brahmins of his kingdom. Though the power to rule was vested with the king, he used to rule in accordance with the directives given by the Brahmins. Those directives were binding upon the king. In case of any confusion regarding his duties, the king used to take guidance from those scholars. In matters of Dharma too, Brahmins used to guide the king. They use to stress upon to enhance the glory of India. Since the king had no choice in providing for those wise men, and also because they did not depend on the king for their livelihood, the king could not influence those learned men. As Brahmins had no vested interests in the affairs of the kingdom and as they had no greed or ambitions for themselves, they used to guide the king selflessly. They were so respected by the people that if any king dared to stray from the path of Dharma, these Brahmins successfully led the people against the king to overthrow him. So, the king knew that the real power lied with them. As long as he ruled according to the laid down rules, Brahmins never interfered with the affairs of the state. In this way, the society was governed as per the rules laid down by selfless people, who were great scholars. The king could never become a tyrant.

During the Mahabharata war, most of the kings were killed. The soldiers, who returned home alive, established their reign over small areas they could control. The whole social system got disturbed. While earlier kings used to take care of the Brahmins, the soldiers, who became kings by virtue of their martial skills only and had no formal training in Raj-Dharma (Code of the Rulers), stopped the state patronage of Brahmins. People started finding it difficult to make both ends meet due to the collapse of the system of properly ruled states. They stopped sending their wards to ashrams for studies. Instead, they preferred to train their kids in their own profession themselves. Due to the greatly reduced levels of income, people became reluctant to give alms. This situation created a sort of crisis for Brahmins. They could not take up any jobs, nor could they set up any business. For their survival, they started inventing numerous rituals. They started charging for imparting education and misinterpreted Shastras (the sacred texts) to their own benefit. General public saw these developments and thought that Brahmins were becoming greedy. The respect for Brahmins started diminishing. This created a sort of vicious circle. One may summarize this whole episode as the moral Downfall of Glory of India.

Earlier the caste system was based on profession. A Kshatriya’s child, if inclined towards intellectual pursuits, could become a Brahman. Similarly, if a Brahmin’s son wanted to become a businessman, he was free to do so. The caste system was fluid. People chose their professions as per their interests, talents, and temperaments. Since people took up the labor of love they excelled in their profession. The society was prosperous and peaceful. After Mahabharata war, things began to change. Education system started to change for the worse. The process of its commercialization started taking root. While earlier everyone interested in studies could simply go to an ashram and study there for free, now the question of affordability could not be ignored. Naturally, it became much more prudent for parents to train their children in their own vocation. From here, parentage based caste system took root which hastened the fall of India and caused fall of glory of India.

The most affected people, by this loss of royalty due to the war, were Brahmins. As mentioned earlier, since they had no other means left for their livelihood, they started distorting the meanings of Shastras in such a way that it suited them. They tightened their grip on the sacred texts making them unavailable for the general populace. Since it became difficult for people to change their profession, the intellectual class started losing talent pool from other classes. As it is not necessary that a son will inherit all of his father’s talents, the Brahmins’ intellect, as a class, started losing its sheen. Many people, who were not interested in their family profession, were forced to remain in the same profession wasting their talents. A businessman’s son, who could have become a great warrior, became a businessman. A Kshatriya’s son, in spite of having the intellect of a great scholar, was forced to train in martial arts making a poor warrior. In this way, the rot slowly set in. With so much of talent being wasted all around it was only a matter of time before Indian society lost its strength, knowledge, and heritage. It proved finally the loss of Glory of India.

(The reasons presented above are certainly not the only reasons for this fall of the great Indian society, its values and the glory of India. What is indisputable is that the rot set in only after Mahabharata War. Any war, of such magnitude, brings about an all-around destruction that it becomes extremely difficult to pin point a single reason or two for the  resultant changes in the affected society. All the aspects are so inextricably interlinked that it is not possible to isolate a particular factor. So, the matter presented here is only one aspect of the whole story that laid to the downfall of the glory of India).


1 Comment
  1. chelvapilla v says

    It is pathetic conclusion to blame Mahabharat war for down fall of India. Devastating it might have been but it was not responsible for making India an impoverished slum.

    The credit for that should go to uninvited scums who gained upper hand through sheer quirk of fate. Uncouth with no personal morals or integrity, yet rising to be masters to determine the fate of a highly advanced civilization, they in charge impoverished India while they themselves rolled in looted luxury.

    Two instances may be noted . And both of them were no exceptions but rule in each case. Even worse things were done to people and country of India by one or other invader whose warfare was entirely different from Mahabharat.

    Mahabharat war was fought on a predetermined site -Kurukhshetra. Soldiers of both sides did not veer from battle field to loot, rob , dishonor civilians .

    In contrast there are even now temples , temple sites in India what were ruined, looted by one Sultan or another or by one Mughal or another. Scars still present on our temples alone tell us our history much better , thus observed Swami Vivekananda.

    A famine hit Gujarat during the reign of Shah Je han , hailed as great art lover. Starvation and emaciation were the fate of people of Gujarat , Hindus. The emperor is praised in history book for opening a free kitchen to feed. Remember hundreds of thousands were victims of famine, this art lover earned fame for just one kitchen. Yet at the same time , he spent hundreds of thousands of golden dinars for his harem.
    Jehangir his dad, enjoyed a sport, he used to send his soldiers to randomly selected villages of Hindus, round them up and sell them as slaves or on a full moon day go up his fort and had soldiers sink a boat carrying Hindus in near by river. When they were struggling for the lives , he found it amusing.
    How can such people subjected to such harsh treatment can contribute to economy or prosperity.
    And such reigns under various sundry clans , from Turks, Arab , Mongol or Mughal invaders continued for about 800 years to account for India’s poverty.

    But the best was yet to come , that came with British- who opened trading ‘factories’ which were only some ware houses, nothing to do with any manufacturing. They were allowed to keep armed guards for their warehouses. The fate favored them to grab kingdom after kingdom which were still very rich in many places. British were more thorough than the Islamists when it came to looting. They took every thing that was not nailed down, leaving nothing for starving masses who were forced to pay taxes to the ‘collector’ their agent to squeeze money out of Indians and India.

    India before these colonial forces arrived was a major economic powerhouse producing 30% of world GDP while Britain was credited for only 3% or less. British ships carried all that was worth taking to London while coming back they brought salt which Indian was forced to buy because manufacturing salt by Indian was banned. By the time colonial rule ended, the roles were reversed, India became poorest in the world with growth rate of 2 or 3 percent while economy in England grew to become 30% of the world.

    The role of such colonialism completed the process of impoverishing India which started with earlier invasions mentioned above .

    Not Mahabharath war .

    Long and long after Mahabharat war great wealth remained in India , with people of India not just those who ruled like in instances mentioned above.

    Maurya Chandragupta ruled long and long after Mahabharath war, His empire extended to present day Syria.
    “Megasthenes was the ambassador of the Greek general Seleucus Nicator, at the court of Emperor Chandragupta Maurya, in 4th century B.C. He put his stay to good use by travelling widely and minutely documenting one of the most prosperous and enlightened periods of Indian history.”
    This was long after Mahabharat war.

    And much much later Marco Polo visited Vijayanagar, he wrote that an average street vendor selling betel leaves could purchase a country like Portugal with her jewels she was wearing.

    So it is best to identify the blame for poverty of India on major players who were all unwanted imports rather than self flagellating. It is a different story even ‘granting of independence’ was not without tragedy. Be that as it may.
    Any way despite suffering such brutal regimes and reigns, in short span of about 70 years despite many draw backs, India to day ranks 5th largest economy of the world.
    “India is now the world’s 5th largest economy, leapfrogging …
    Data from the IMF shows India has risen to become the world’s fifth largest economy, when ranked by nominal GDP. India, in this ranking, has leapfrogged France and the UK. Despite its growth, challenges remain, from sustainability to infrastructure.”

    For this to happen, the culture and civilization, Samskruthi and Dharma , displayed in history of Mahabharat that were preserved at a great cost by our people are certainly responsible.

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