Writings of the land’s philosophers and scholars in
Sanskrit and Prakrit dating back to ancient times scripted on palm leaf that
are stored in the many archives such as the Mysuru-based Oriental Research
Institute (ORI) provide an insight into the ways of the life of people far
different from the ways of current generation. While the stock of palm leaf
writings that has been saved to present times for the research teams to unravel
the information and knowledge generated by the land’s people in ancient times
is considered to be a fraction of their creation, and the paintings on the
interiors of many caves such as Ajanta and Ellora have faded, innumerable
sculptures of centuries vintage are testimony to the refinement the land’s
people of a distant past brought to bear in their society. One of the highly
rated works of the land’s luminaries in various fields such as mathematics,
healthcare, art, statecraft and so on, discovered more than 100 years ago by a
scholar in the Mysuru Institute is the Arthashastra by Vishnu Gupta, also known
as Koutilya of the Court of Chandragupta Mourya about 2,500 years ago.

The script of the four Vedas (Rigveda, Yajurveda,
Saamaveda and Atharvaveda), according to scholars, was passed on from one generation
to the next verbally for many centuries long before the text was written on
palm leaf, due to which practice the Vedas were called shruthi (hearing). We
are currently thick in the digital era witnessing the search engine Google to
access information in the unfathomable ocean called the Internet instantly.

Thanks to the rapidly rising pace of life driven by
advances in technology, material science and boundless use of energy resources
including fossil fuels and electricity, people at large seem to be in no frame
of mind to make time for learning from whatever the ancient scripts and
sculptures portray about the society of a distant past. The
not-much-appreciated expression Simple Living, High Thinking, life’s guiding
principle of past generations merits to be debated in the circles of scholars
aimed at enlightening the present generation, particularly the urban
millennials experiencing restlessness and feeling lost, barring exceptions.

Archaeologists are learnt to have embarked upon the
project of unearthing unprotected artefacts in the nature of monuments and
sculptures containing scripts including dialects, many of which have become
defunct in Karnataka. The project’s participants have their task cut out in
inducing contemporary society to steady its rocking ship as it were.

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