and Mahabharata, the great Hindu epics, too have been interpreted in
The reference to the continuity of
our tradition has long been a commonplace. At the level of
formulation, it can be traced back to the eighteenth century when
Western scholars began to discover and translate Sanskrit
manuscripts. The reference is legitimate on two counts. First, the
continuity from the time of the Indus Valley civilization is evident
in matters such as dress, means of transport, and even sculpture.
The dancing girl from Mohenjodaro could, for instance, have been
sculpted at any point in Indian history. Secondly, thanks to its
faithful preservation, above all by Brahmins, we have access to an
unbelievable amount of ancient knowledge in a wide variety of
fields. Much of what must have been produced has doubtless perished;
but what is left is enormous.