*   The Puranas
     There are 18 Puranas. They contain myths and stories of gods and goddesses, cosmology and spiritual philosophy. Initially, they were passed on as oral tradition and written down much later. Some of the important ones are the Vishnu Purana and the           Shiv  Purana. The Puranas serve as guide books for life. They have many interesting stories

*    Works of Kalidasa
     Kalidasa wrote many poems in Sanskrit. Two of his lyric poems are Meghaduta and Ritusamhara. Meghaduta is one of the finest works of Kalidasa. Raghuvamsa and Kumarasambhava are epic poems. He also wrote plays like Malavikagnimitra and               Shakuntalam. The play Shakuntalam has been translated in many languages and is considered a masterpiece. These are a few lines translated from this play.

*    Jataka Tales
    These are collections of short stories written in the 3rd century BC. They teach values and morals in an interesting manner. These stores have been passed down many generation. They are about the previous lives of the Buddha and each stories teaches      some important lesson of life. They inspire honesty, truthfulness, kindness and self-respect. These were  originally written in Pali but they have been translated. Scenes from the Jataka tales have been carved on stupas and painted on the walls of the               Ajanta Caves.

*   Panchatantra (five treatises)
    These are also a collection of short stories each of which teaches a moral. The stories are presented and narrated by a sage called Vishnu Shanna. He wrote these stories to teach values of life to a king's sons. Most of the stories are amusing and                  animals  play an important role in them. One famous short story is The lion and the hare.

*   Tamil Literature
    Tamil literature dates back almost 2,000 years. The history of Tamil literature is closely related to the history of Tamil Nadu. Jain and Buddhist monks also contributed to Tamil literature. The five great Tamil epics are Silappatikaram, Manimegalai, Civaka         Cintamani, Kundalakesi and Valayapathi.

    Silappatikaram was written by Ilango Adigal, a Buddhist monk. It dates back to 5th century BC and involves three ancient Tamil kingdoms – Chera, Chola, and Pandya. The epic also vividly describes the Tamil society of the period, its cities, the people's          religious and folk traditions and their gods.

*    Natya Shastra
    This is regarded as the oldest surviving text on stagecraft in the world. It consists of 6,000 verse stanzas and the whole text is written in Sanskrit. It is also known as the fifth Veda owing to its huge importance. The text tells us that the Natya Shastra was          passed on from Brahma to a sage named Bharata. It also tells that natya or drama was created to give pleasure to tired minds. It deals with all aspects of dramatic performances like acting, speech, expressions etc. It also discusses plots of plays,                   dialogues and characters. It gives details about the music and instruments of that period. Thus Natya Shastra can be considered as the foundation of the fine arts.

*    Science and Mathematics
    The earliest known historical astronomer is Aryabhata. He described in his writings that the planets moved around the Sun in circular epicycles. He explained why eclipses were caused. He was the first to discover that the earth rotates on its axis daily. He     also worked out the correct equation for calculating the orbit of a planet and knew the length of a year. He also described the properties of a circle and gave an accurate value for pi . He also described the decimal system and how to calculate square root       and cube root. He is regarded as the 'Father of Algebra'.

   Varahamihira was an astronomer and mathematician of the 6th century. He wrote the Britatsamhita which tells how to ascertain the value of metals and stones, to distinguish good breeds of animals and to make trees bear fruit out of season. It also gives      explanation of seasons and the relation between clouds, rain and wind. Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita are the earliest texts on medicine.

 The Charaka Samhita is dated to around 2nd century BC. It is the work of several authors and is a comprehensive text on Ayurveda. It is divided into 120 chapters dealing with food, certain diseases and their treatment and phannacology, pathology, nutrition   and the diagnosis of diseases. It even gives details of how a hospital should be equipped.

  The Sushruta Samhita deals with doctor's training, surgery, the treatment of wounds, symptoms of diseases children's care and anatomy.

*   Key Words
1.    India's rich cultural heritage is the crowning glory of the Indian civilisation.

2.    The Mauryas contributed greatly to Indian art and architecture. Ashoka used stone extensively and  constructed many palaces, rock-cut caves, monasteries, stupas and pillars.

3.     The Ajanta Caves exhibit excellent architectural skill and are exquisitely carved.

4.    The Ellora Caves are 34 rock-cut caves of which a few are Buddhist caves and the rest are Jain and Hindu caves.

5.    Beside the rock-cut temples, many stone temples were also built in India. An outstanding, example is the Shore Temple at Mahabalipuram.

6.    Our heritage includes many great literary works which serve as important sources of study of ancient India. The Mahabharat and the Ramayana and some examples.

7.    Panchatantra and Jataka tales are collections of short stories with moral lessons from everyday life.

8.    Jain and Buddhist monks also contributed to Tamil literature. There are five great Tamil epics.

9.    The earliest known historical astronomer is Aryabhata. He was also a mathematician and is called the 'Father of Algebra'.

10.    Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita are ancient texts on medicine.

Monarchy       :    Where the head of the government is .a hereditary king.
Republic        :    Where the head of the government is not hereditary but an elected one.
Vegetarian     :    A person who does not eat meat or fish.
Joint family    :    A family where a person lives together with his parents, brothers and children.
Metallurgy     :    The science of metals.