BHARAT The Constitution of India begins with this sentence: "India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States." Written in English and adopted in 1950, the Constitution uses the name "India" throughout, but nevertheless provides the Sanskrit alternative to a name that is essentially foreign. Persian kings had named the eastern province of their large empire Hindu after the river Indus (Sanskrit Sindhu, Iranian Hindu); then, in the mouth of Greek-dialect speakers, the initial consonant was lost, and the people were called Indoi and their land India. These foreign forms were introduced as Hindostan (Land of the Indians) by the Muslims and India by the Europeans. In the oldest Indian texts, the country was simply called "the Earth," later also Jambū-dvīpa (continent of the rose-apple tree). After the emergence of a powerful tribe, the Bharatas, in the Punjab toward the end of the second millennium b.c., the name Bhārata Varsha (the continent belonging to the Bharatas), or simply Bhārata, appears first in the great epic Mahābhārata, where it denotes more or less the Indian subcontinent, that is, the world region south of the mythical Mount Meru, which was ideally (but never in reality) ruled by an Indian "world ruler" (cakravartin). Later the name appears also as a compound, Bhārata-varsha.
India's great epic, the Mahābhārata (The Great Tale of the Bharatas), deals with the dynastic conflict within the ruling family, which resulted in a gigantic battle and ultimate unification under the model king Yudhishthira. Though many of the events in this epic may be fictional, Indians have always regarded them as part of their early history, a time of great conflict but also of glory and the triumph of good over evil. It is often claimed that karma "matures" only in Bhārata-varsha, meaning that a man's soul can only be cleansed and achieve spiritual liberation there. The people living in this land were supposed to observe the four social orders or classes (varna) and the four stages of life (ashramas), following thus the code of inherited customs and ethics. Outsiders were considered mlecchas (barbarians), and contact with them was to be avoided. Historical events, however, resulted in many compromises, such as the acceptance of foreign rulers and extensive political and commercial interactions. But the ideal of Bhārata-varsha ruled by a righteous king like Rāma was never forgotten, and the mythology held out the hope that at the end of this decadent aeon Vishnu, in the form of Kalkin, born in a Brahman family, will arrive on a white horse and restore the world to its proper order.
Hartmut E. Scharfe
Basham, A. L. The Wonder That Was India. 3rd rev. ed. New York: Taplinger, 1968.
Rocher, Ludo. The Purānas. Wiesbaden, Germany: Otto Harrassowitz, 1986.
"Bharat." Encyclopedia of India. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 21, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/international/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/bharat
"Bharat." Encyclopedia of India. . Retrieved September 21, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/international/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/bharat
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.