Time and space, continued

Grasping the intricacies of time and space continues to be one of the most interesting aspects of the natural world.

Ancient Indians had pondered for long how the interplay of desha (time) and kaala (space) takes place.

It is interesting to note the sanskrit word varsha which can a year (as in time) or a country (as in Bharatavarsha, or the land of Bharata).


In the classic Sanskrit play, Shakuntala, poet Kalidasa achieved one of the peaks of human achievement.

The play is structured from beginning to end in symmetry. As a whole, it is harmonious.

One observes such minute details such as how the stem of a flower appears when plucked. This serves as a plot device to help the lovelorn King Dushyanta to locate Shakuntala, the object of his desire.

Urban and rural

In history, the development of the urban settlements was a momentous achievement. Urban life can be contrasted to rural life with the lack of dependence on agriculture and pastoralism. The word “urban” is derived from a root meaning refined or cultured.

The development of urban centers in India can be observed to be an ancient phenomenon. Buddha developed and spread his philosophy mainly in the urban centers of his day in around 500 BC. Varanasi (or Kashi), one of the most ancient cities in the world, was one such center where the Buddha taught.

The word “Sanskrit” means refined or cultured. One can thus infer a close correlation between the development of Indian urban centers and the growth of Sanskrit.

Literary greatness

In the history of literature, there have been a few achievements which deserve special notice.

The works of William Shakespeare for example are acknowledged as an ideal.

In Sanskrit, the works of Kalidasa are similarly significant. His play, Shakuntala, is acknowledged as a world classic.

In this work, Kalidasa displays the best elements of the Sanskrit drama tradition. It is said that it is so well crafted that not even a word appears out of place.