History is nothing but the history of wars. Our children complain, what is there to study in history, it is nothing but a history of wars, constantly people conquer and quarrel and they become victorious and defeated, this is all. Even the story of Mahabharata is what? The story for domination, the story of conquest, the means by which you can influence a large number of people, this is what domination wanted. So a large chunk of human history was the manifestation of the vital energy. If you study history much more carefully you will find that even there were subtle designs, because the vital has many aspects. I told you just now, acquisition, possession, domination, enjoyment and so on. Some wanted domination, some wanted enjoyment, some wanted acquisition, some wanted possession, and some wanted just to enjoy the quarrel for the sake of quarrel. There was a long period given to mankind to work out this vital and then to learn out of it and then ask oneself, so what if I do all this and today mankind is asking this question whereas even children also ask this question, so what if you conquer this or conquer that. This is a learning from human history and today humanity has learnt what war is and why should there be war? This questioning of war, at one time there was no questioning, people thought that war is the normal way of life and there should be wars. But today we ask the question why should there be wars at all? So you might say that mankind has progressed from that point to this point.
Third is the development of the mind. If mankind has made any progress in the field of the mind, then we can say that mankind has really made a progress because man is fundamentally distinguished from the others by his rationality, by his mentality. So let us look at the history from the point of view of the mental development. As far as mental development is concerned, one of the best examples is the Greek civilisation, the Greek culture. One of the earliest mental developments in human history is illustrated in the Greek History. India also is a very great example in this respect; China also is a great example, these three particularly as far as the mental development.
As far as early history is concerned we can examine them and see what they did, what they achieved. In India intellectuality was given a tremendous place. Even if you read the Mahabharata, there may be a dispute as to who wrote Mahabharata, whether there was one writer who wrote Mahabharata, and all that. But the fact is we have got this book before us, whoever might have written it, there are one lakh of verses there, to produce this gigantic work of one lakh verses is a tremendous intellectual feat by any standards. It is a tremendous feat because it contains as it is said, that what is not in the Mahabharata is not anywhere else and all that is there, is in the Mahabharata. This is what is said and not also without basis. Every possible subject is discussed in the Mahabharata, not only discussed cursorily but in detail. Even the Bhagavad Gita, which is a part of the Mahabharata, you can see that it is a detailed exposition of karma, what is not karma, what is gyana, what is bhakti, what is the highest activity you might say all that has been discussed profusely. Even in the battlefield, discussions of such long questions and at length. Whether it happened or not is a different question. But the fact is we have the Bhagavad Gita in our hands which is sufficiently long and sufficiently detailed. The production of this book and this little episode is a tremendous achievement from the intellectual point of view. Apart from the spiritual point of view, intellectually even it’s a tremendous feat to produce seven hundred verses and to put into them so many subjects and so mush clarity, so much precision that even today when you try to understand we take so much time to understand it. But this is only one episode but look at the dialogues that we have of Vidura. Vidura–Niti of how to govern, it’s a great long discussion as to how to govern. Even dialogues between Bhishma and Yudhishtara as how to govern the state even when he was on the death–bed, he discusses how to govern the state properly and even to question why it should be done, and how it should be done. In what proper manner it should be done, it is like a Shastra. A scientific inquiry into every possible subject is in the Mahabharata. Mahabharata itself is a great example of robust intellectuality and not merely that the Mahabharata is only one example, what about the Ramayana. And what about the Shastras of various kinds that developed. There are the six Vedangas, after the Vedas, and then there are the four Upavedas in the early times. All of them are so well defined and so well intellectually chiselled that it’s an amazing feat and then if you look into the development of metallurgy, astronomy, astrology, medicine and all kinds of sciences, it is said India developed sixty–four sciences and sixty–four arts. This is ancient India, in other words human history emphasises the development of the mind very intensely.
In Greece there was a tremendous emphasis on aesthetics, the science and art of beauty. That is why art especially sculpture in Greece, even today we regard Greek sculpture as something supreme. That developed before 4th century B.C. development of philosophy, Socrates and Plato, it is said Plato wrote so greatly that the entire history of Western Philosophy is foot–notes to Plato. How much he wrote, if you look at the dialogues of Plato and their intellectual heights, supreme heights of intellect, you find in Plato.
China invented so many things in earliest times. In fact most of the inventions of ancient times came to us from China all over the world. In other words even when physical was being developed, vital was being developed, mind was not left behind. Human history ensured that even mental development was greatly developed. In the field of spirituality that there was progress, who wrote the Upanishads and the Vedas must have been spiritually very great. But the attention was not on spirituality, it was not on intellectuality, it was largely on the physical and the vital. Unless they are sufficiently developed, greatly cultivated, greatly established; the other edifices cannot remain for long therefore they collapsed. So why did they collapse? They collapsed because the attention of history is first to build up the physical and the vital. That is why intellectuality and spirituality that was being developed from time to time, they collapsed from time to time.