Bharatavarsha: A nation of "Seekers of Divine Wisdom"
by Bharat Bhushan Padmadeo on 07 Dec 2008 3 Comments

"Bharatavarsha" as a nation, carries a very rich legacy in terms of philosophy, culture and lingua-franca. Even the language, ancient India subscribed to – "Sanskrita" – which happens to be the mother of most of the Indian languages in current circulation, is really unique in its grammar, semantics and diction. It is the most evolved language, complete in all respects, leaving no scope for further modification. 

It is such a well defined language, that while even naming a person, object or a place, a well-set guiding principle is laid down. In accordance with that system, the name assigned should reveal the true character of the person, object or the place it would be identified with.  

In this context, it will be interesting to know what the word "Bharatavarsha" actually implies.  In Sanskrita, one has to get to the root of the word formed to understand its true import.  The word 'Bharatavarsha' is primarily made of co-joint words: 'Bharata' and 'Varsha'. 

'Varsha' in Sanskrita means a continent. The word 'Bharata' when dissected further reveals another dimension of the people forming this nation. "Bharata" is made out of two syllables: "Bha" and "Rata".  "Bha" means light, wisdom; "Rata" means dedicated to / immersed into

"Bharata", therefore means, a nation dedicated to acquiring wisdom – getting to the eternal truths – as would be necessary for qualitative human existence. 

Bharatavarsha has had the privilege of having three such personifications of 'Bharata', one each during Satayuga, Tretayuga, and Dwaparyuga. 

The first Bharata was the son of "Rishabhadeva", the first amongst the acknowledged ancient Indian saints. In fact, Rishabhadeva is believed to be the first Tirthankara by those subscribing to Jaina dharma. The next Bharata belongs to the Tretayuga. He was the son of King Dasaratha of Ayodhya, and the younger brother of Shri Rama. The third Bharata belongs to the Dwapara Yuga, born to Dushyanta-Shakuntala. These three Bharatas are regarded as the fore-bearers of the traditional Indian value-system.

Each Bharata has respectively been a personification of three individual and exemplary values. Rishabhadeva's son Bharata stood for Compassion (daya), Divine-wisdom (Brahma-gyana) and Penance (tapas). 

Shri Ram's brother stood for Love (prema), Devotion (bhakti), and Brotherhood (bandhutva). 

Dushyanta-Shakuntala's son symbolized Service (seva), Valour (shaurya), and Charity (dana). 

All the nine values put together form the core elements of the Indian value system.

All these nine values are imparted to the individual as a matter of routine, during the sacred-thread ceremony – one of the sixteen sacraments (Samskaras) – as subscribed to by the Sanatana tradition. The thread (jneyu) ceremony is timed when a youngster is in the twilight of childhood, stepping into youth. The idea is to instill the value system well before a person gets ready to take on life in one's own right. During the thread ceremony, the beneficiary is made to take nine pledges conforming to the nine values the three Bharatas stood for. 

For every pledge, one knot is made tying the three separate strands forming the sacred-thread.  So, the three strands are tied together through nine knots symbolizing the nine core elements of the Indian value system. The three individual strands symbolize the three Bharatas to whom we owe the nine values.       

This therefore implies that the word "Bharatavarsha" transcends the commonly understood connotation signifying geographies. It holistically personifies the value, ethos and culture in every spirit connected with this great land. 

Bharat Bhushan Padmadeo an astrologer, vaastu consultant, and spiritual guide. His email is

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