On monarchy in literature and life

Monarchy has been a feature of human societies since time immemorial, and is ensconced in our literary traditions.  The two passages above are both taken from the funerals of famous leaders depicted in literature, and remind us of recent scenes following the death of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.  That is to say, they both display two profound elements that must come into play on any such occasion, namely, solemn ritual and sorrowful emotion.

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Adam & Eve & the Egyptian serpent

Ancient Egypt had an immense influence on the world, through trade links and cultural contacts, so it should be no surprise to see ancient Egyptian ideas being propagated into later civilizations.  Many Biblical figures in particular had very significant links with ancient Egypt, spending important and formative years there imbibing Egyptian ideas.  In the Book of Genesis, we read about Abraham and Sarah going to Egypt and staying with the royal court, presumably becoming steeped in Egyptian knowledge and culture.

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Family and society in the Vedic period

On the occasion of Guru Pūrṇimā, our thoughts may turn to the venerable lineages of successive teachers and students in India.  As we will see, the need to record and preserve genealogical details of family and pedagogical lineages was already recognized in India in the earliest times.  Indeed, this is very likely a continuation of the concerns of proto-Indo-European people.  For many ancient peoples, family would perhaps be the main source of personal identity, and the basis of all religious life.

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Ethics in the Upanishads

Literature from across the world engages with ethical questions and moral quandaries, and plays a role in cultivating our moral sensibilities.  Religious literatures often present ethical teachings indirectly, such as in the form of parables, or more directly, such as moral commandments.  In the Upanishads of late Vedic India, we find both ethical and metaphysical teachings set out in contexts of lineages of teachers and students. 

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