Indian History

Nama Ramayana – Song, lyrics, meaning

Nama Ramayana is a beautiful poem composition of 108 names of Rama composed based on Valmiki Ramayan.

Valmiki Ramayan is written in 24000 verses. Nama Ramayana condenses that into 108 verses.

It follows the life story of Rama in 7 chapters (called Kaanda).

Baala Kaanda – Childhood chapter (He is born in the Kosala kingdom to Dasaratha and Kousalya. As a young adult he is sent to the Tataka vana to protect the sages)

Ayodhya Kaanda – Ayodhya chapter (After his return, he weds Seeta from the neighboring kingdom of Videha. When his father is about to coronate him, his step mother calls in an old favor and gets him exiled for 14 years so that her son and Rama’s stepbrother could be the king. Rama happily agrees and goes to the forest.)

Aranya Kaanda – Forest chapter (He is exiled for 14 years to the forest. He spends most of this time traveling, and meeting sages and fighting the rakshasas who disturb the peace. However at around 12.5yrs into his exile, an asura and the king of Lanka abducts Seeta. Rama sets out in search for her and travels south.)

Kishkinda Kaanda – (He passes through Kishkinda forest where he meets Hanuman and the monkey kingdom who agree to support him. Along with them he reaches the shores of Rameshwaram.)

Sundara Kaanda – (To find out if Seeta is in Lanka, he sends Hanuman to cross the sea. Hanuman goes there and find Seeta in Sundara mountain. He comes back and informs Rama about her being imprisoned there)

Yuddha Kaanda – (Rama prepares to fight Ravana. He builds a bridge and crosses over to Lanka and fights Ravana and kills him. He makes Ravana’s brother Vibhishana as the new king and returns to Ayodhya having completed his 14 years of exile. He is coronated

Uttara Kaanda – (After Rama becomes king, he is forced to exile Seeta because of her previous abduction. Seeta lives in the forest, gives birth to twins Lava and Kusha. Rama does Ashwamedha sacrifice where he lets a horse free to wander to establish his control on the kingdom. He meets Lava and Kusha then, brings them back to the kingdom)

In this rendition, M S Subbalakshmi sings this poem in 7 different raagas – Each Kaanda has a different raaga. Credit for the sanksrit version and images:


Ganesha Pancharatna – History, Song, Lyrics, Meaning

Ganesha Pancharatna (Ganesha’s 5 jewels) is a short but beautiful composition by Adi Shankaracharya in 8th century. In this episode, we cover the history of Ganesha, history of this song, and a sing along version with lyrics in sanskrit and english and its meaning as well. We use the M S Subbalakshmi’s rendition of this song. It is a very melodic song and even if you don’t understand any sanskrit, even if you are religious, it is a soothing song that you can enjoy. Hopefully you will pick up the words to sing along as well.

I hope you enjoy it!



Indian Ocean – Why is it strategic to India?

India has the unique credit of having an ocean being named after her.

  • How important is Indian ocean for the world?
  • Why is it strategic to India?
  • How can India leverage its geographical position?

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Sulbha Sutras – Geometry in Ancient India (Part 2)

Vedic scholars documented the value of √2 with 4th decimal accuracy in 800 BC – that means they knew this few 100 years before that orally. They also knew Pythagorean theorem before Pythagoras. They listed many Pythagorean triplets and gave a general rule for generating many more. They knew the value of π. They were familiar with recursion, infinite series and irrational numbers.

In this 2nd part of 2 part series on geometry in ancient India, we will go through few “Sulbha Sutras” like finding east, pythagoream theorem, pythagorean triplets, adding squares, substracting squares, converting square into a circle and more..

Visit: for more such videos

Credits: NPTEL video on Sulbha Sutra


Sulbha Sutras – Geometry in Ancient India (Part 1)

Vedic scholars documented the value of √2 with 4th decimal accuracy in 800 BC – that means they knew this few 100 years before that orally. They also knew Pythagorean theorem before Pythagoras. They listed many Pythagorean triplets and gave a general rule for generating many more. They knew the value of π. They were familiar with recursion, infinite series and irrational numbers.

This is fascinating. But more so, an interesting question is, what did they use this theorems and values for? What tools did they use to compute these values? How are they documented? What techniques and methods did they use? What can we learn from their knowledge that is relevant today?

In this 1st of 2 part series on geometry in ancient India, we learn about the magical science of “Sulbha Sutras”.

Credits: NPTEL video on Sulbha Sutra


Why focus on Indian History and Culture?

For the past two months, I have embarked on an experiment to create videos on Indian History and Culture on YouTube. Many viewers asked my motivation to do this, so I thought I’d write about it.

I grew up listening to my grandparents tell wonderful stories of our rich mythology. Being a Telugu, I also grew up on the fascinating historical period movies that brought so much to the screen and popular discourse.

While they make for good stories, I felt that our cultural identity is quite distorted. We have immense pride in our civilizational history but total ignorance of our real achievements in science, maths, engineering, arts, and literature. These are commendable scientific achievements by real people in our past.

The problem is, mostly we see our past from the lens of history and mythology that does not have currency in modern times. We do not see it from the lens of science and arts that is relevant and applicable to our lives today. We don’t learn our ancient temple and building architecture principles from Vastu shastra in our engineering education. We do not learn Shilpa shastras in our fine arts class. We do not learn Aryabhatta, Pingala, Hemchandra in our math class, Shushruta in our medicine, and the list goes on.

Because, if we did, we wouldn’t be locking up our history in a closet. We’d be living it, we’d be celebrating it, we’d be propagating it. And it would become part of our identity that we’d happily and proudly carry with us.

Our past defines our future!

But what happens today? We stop with a shallow statement like “Look we invented zero!” and don’t go beyond it. We don’t even know that Hemchandra documented what we now call as “Fibonacci” series 50 years before. We do not know that he did it in the context of literary prosody (at least I didn’t until now!). Indian approach to mathematics was very different from the west which has technical merit even today. When we can speak so many languages, eat different cuisines, why can’t our schools include ancient mathematics along side the western methods?

Our history books over emphasize the colonial period – we know even the dietary preferences of every Mughal ruler and British officer – who spanned just 200 years each. Granted that during this tiny period of our history, we went from 25% of world’ GDP to 3%. But we end up relegating kingdoms like Chola (over 1000 years), Vijayanagara (300 years) to a few paragraphs. A trip to Hampi (in Karnataka) will prove to anyone that they were not some minor kingdoms. They had legendary vision and administrative prowess. Similarly, a trip to Bali will show that India’s influence reached beyond our shores.

If we really want to be respected in the world, we need to learn and respect our own cultural identity. If we aspire to become a super power, we need to revive our and live it ourselves. There is a responsibility for each of us to understand our past for oneself and then for the world.

We need to that that step. I need to take that step for myself.

Hence this journey – to go beyond our glorious myths to understanding our fascinating accomplishments of science/arts/literature in India – so that it can show us our path to our destiny.

As I read and learn, I want to document it in the form of YouTube videos for three reasons – a) retelling reinforces my own understanding, b) by sharing it with others, they don’t have to go through the pain of reading and researching and c) I will get challenged and people will add to my knowledge and keep me balanced.

So, if you are interested in learning about India’s heritage (you don’t have to be an Indian to be interested :-)), join me in this journey – subscribe to my channel on YouTube. If you prefer getting notifications by email, you can head to my website and signup through email. I plan to post a video each week – about 25 – 30 min each (sometimes I cheat and post longer videos) – with lots of visual aids, where we’ll chat about interesting topics like poets, literature, prosody, maths, temples, treatises etc – a curation of interesting and pivotal events, personalities and works from Indian History and Culture that is relevant to our modern lives.

I am not a researcher – just a curator. I do not have political or a religious bent. My videos will not be comprehensive and I might gloss over few things – its hard to cover a lot of ground in 25 min. So, I break up the topics into digestible parts, ignore few details, paint a broad brush on few angles. But the goal is to develop more appreciation of our history that is relevant to our lives today.

Thanks for reading this post!


History of Indian Temples – Part 2

How did the temple architecture evolve? what are the design principles used in building them? Some of the temples built 1500 years ago are still standing! What is the secret of their survival? How to differentiate between temples of north India and south India?


India China Series (Part 2) How did the relationship develop? LAC, life of soldier, our future..

In this second part, we have two special guests – Former Colonel Dinny from the Indian Army who commanded a battalion at Pangong Tso and Former Commander Jagannath from the Indian Navy. We cover the following topics:

  • How did our relationship develop?
  • What is China’s mindset and how is it different from India?
  • What barriers prevented our countries to grow close to each other?
  • How are we similar and how are we different?
  • What is LAC. How is it different from LoC?
  • What is the life of a soldier at the border look like?
  • How do we manage border conflicts today?
  • What does this mean going forward between India and China?

India China Series (Part 1): What can we learn from China’s history?

In this video, we cover the following topics:

  • How did independent India and China view each other and how that hurt India in 1962?
  • Why did communist China move away from communist USSR?
  • How did the secret Kissinger meeting change the fate of China and Taiwan?
  • How the world misread China?


Tirukkural (Part 2)

Why should you learn Tirukkural? and how can it help you in your daily life? your work, home? Watch this episode on select 35 chosen verses that has relevance to our daily life. These select kurals relate to

  • Generosity and Gratitude
  • Friends and Adversaries
  • Perceptiveness
  • Strengths and Clarity
  • Handling Success and Failures
  • Action with Wisdom
  • Humility

This episode follows the previous one on Tiruvalluvar (here).

The English translation of the kurals were from this website