Showing posts with label hindu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hindu. Show all posts

Is Tirupati Balaji Temple a Buddist Temple

So many scholars, from all sides of the spectrum have many theories on why there may be previous structure at the present Tirupati temple. Let us see ourselves the evidences.
We are not going to any religious discussion or philosophical discussion, we will stick to the main point, was there a Buddhist shrine at the site of Venkateshwara temple at Tirupati.     


Buddhist Temple
Indology scholar Romila Thapar told -Dig underneath every Hindu temple, there will be a buddhist temple. If we take example of Adil shah of Bhamani Dynasty, his court poet farishta tells the king demolished more than 300 major temples in karnataka and built mosques there, even in this case we cannot apply Romila Tapar and say dig underneath every moque that adil shah built, you will find a temple, because many mosque are there which were not built demolishing a temple. The Romilla Tapar comment is pure Indologist leftist leaning. Here she is not providing any proof's, but plain rhetoric.

karthikeya( Murugan) temple.
One more claim put forth by Dravidian scholars of tamil nadu. Originally it was a Karthikeya temple and was converted to a vishnu temple. Bala means young unmarried same as Kumar(sanskrit) and Kumaran(Tamil) , which denotes to karthikeya ,but in tamil version eventhough he is called kumaran, murugan is married to Devyani(deva army) and valli ( tribal girl). So this argument is defeated there , that the murugan can be called balaji. More than that In South he is called Venkateshwara (Lord of Venkata) and only in north India he is called Balaji and in recent times.

First they have to prove that there was a Murugan worship was prevalent in the first millienia in tamil nadu and temples are built for murugan, For this we dont have a answer.

second Pallava were ruling in Kanchi upto 9th century AD and tamil kings areas were below the pallava region.

Third Tirupathi came under Banas and Nolambas for most part in the first milliena. Both being Kannada Dynasties. So we dont see any murugan temple being built. Since the Kannada/ Tulu version of Karthikeya is Shanmuga. If it was a karthikeya temple, then the kannada kings might have called it shanmuga temple.

Fourth and most important Tamil literature right from Sangam works have always claimed that Tirupathi (Thiruvengadam)  lies north of Tamil Nadu boundary.

So Tamil Scholars dont see much credit in Dravidian scholars argument that Tirupati is a Karthikeya or Murugan temple. Indology and Dravidian scholars who have worked tirelessly to undermine authentic Indian history seems have shot themselves in their foot here.

Temple Structure
First temples in south India were built in 4th century AD in Karnataka and Andhra. Even in 6th century AD, most of the temples built were Rock cut temples, not standalone temples that we have today. All the early temples like Mamallapuram of Pallavas are also rock cut temples. So a hill temple Hindu or Buddhist standalone in Thirupathi is unthinkable.

When was Tirupati temple built.


Puranas
The Purana Accounts are legendary and is not helpful in finding the probable date of the temple. Puranas concentrate how Vishnu came voluntarily to take his place there. Varaha temple at the foothills of Tirupati predates venkateshwara temple at the top. The only account relavant here is Tondaman (pallava) started the worship of vishnu here. This Thondaman assisted his brother(Akasa Raja) in administration. Thondaiman had a foster daughter in Tirupati and she was married to venkatesa. After the death of Akasa Raja (left a young prince), he and his nephew fought and tondiaman felt very weak ,so got the weapons from venkateswara . The war ended Indecisively and the country was divided into two. The one closer to Vengadam (Tirupati) was given to thondaman and the other farther away given to his nephew. Tondaiman built the temple and started the festivals. This Tondaman lived in Kaliyuga. There is a separate Thondaiman dynasty post 12th century AD. But Dravidian scholars want to identify Thondaiman as Pallava.


 
Sangam Literature
We dont comes across any mention of temple in the vengadam (Tirupati) hills. Tirupati was on northside of the boundary of Tamil speaking region. Beyond this region vadukar lived with Thirayan as the chief and people spoke a language not understandable to tamils. So no help in determining when the temple was built.

Alwar (Bakti tradition)

One Alwar called poigai Alwar gives around 12 referrences to temple at Tirupati and Vishnu as presiding deity. Poigai Alwar wrote Naalayira Divyap Prabhandham on the vishnava places. In some places he refers to Ilam kumara koman (May Indicate Subramanya, but the reference here is young fellow). Alwar Bhutan refers to Tirupati and Presiding diety in around 8 references in his works. Pey Alwar also refers to Tirupati. These three alwars considered worshipping vishnu with Vedic rituals as the supreme form of worshp. Some refer to the diety as ardhanari, which refers to shiva. We have to come to the conclusion here, eventhough the diety is referred as ardhanari, it may not be peculiar to shiva alone at those times. And the same goes for Ilam kumaran , may not be peculiar to subhramanya. Even though we come across stray references , we are given solid references to prove the diety is vishnu, so we should not vacillate in our judgement that the diety is not vishnu. Ardhanari shows that the temple is equally important for Lakshmi. So all the early Alwars refer to Tirupati and Vishnu diety. Tirumalisai (Bhakti sara - Sanskrit) contemproary of these three alwars wrote that he has seen all faiths and only found vishnu as great. Now we have to date the Alwars ,which is again  controversial. That requires a whole article. But let us try. There is a reference to vairamegha in the early alwars work, that seemed to be identified as Rastrakuta Dantidurga, contemproary of Nandivarma pallava. But the identification needs to be proved. Commentator of Alangara kranta named Yapparungulam belonging to 11th to 12th century AD claims he is desciple of Poigaiyar (poigai alwar)and quotes two stanzas from the authors work. Tirumalisai is dated to 11th century AD. But one thing we can say is all the Alwars were born after the temple were built which was already famous.

Silapatikaram
Silapadigaram a buddhist work tells that Tirupati is Vishnu temple. In this story a Brahman of Mangadu in Malainadu goes to Tirupati and Srirangam and sings in praise of Vishnu.The Tirupati is said to be so famous that people from west coast also went to the temple. So this buddhist epic tells very clearly that presiding diety of Tirupati is Vishnu. Dating of cilapathikaram is controversial, we have already seen in a separate article.

So let us find who this thondaman is?
We find from Sangam literature sources that Vengadam changed hands from kalvar chieftain pulli to Tondaman before the time of pandyan king who won a great victory in Talaiyalanganam. The King who won in Talaiyalanganam is mentioned in Sinnamanur plates dated to 11th century AD and kings mentioned just before this date. The same source says Tondaman ruling from pavattirai (Nellore Dist, AP). We have one more Thondaman Ilam Thirayan ruling in Kanchi. Now the Foster Daugher born to the Tondaman is not legitimate and he is said to have found her on the hills and later finds out that she is his daughter. This has been equated with Naga princess story of karikala. But Karikala meets Naga princess in outskirts of Kaveripattanam, not in Tirupati hills. So we cannot identify Tondaman with karikalan. But there is a pallava story of Pallava marrying naga princess in an inscription in kanchi as well. Perumban Arupadai which gives specific details about Kanchi Vishnu temple of Thondaman Ilam Thiraiyan is silent on Tirupati or association of thiraiyan with Tirupati, so we cannot link these two stories. Thiraiyan had a brother and nephew. He fought with the Nephew and uncle for the throne. Alwars talking about war between southern king (pandya) and Northern ruler (pallava).

The Tirumangai Alwar says that the Thiraiyan kanchi was occupied by one vairamegan. The vairamegan is suposed to be Rastrakutas. Two Rastrakutas occupied the capital one is Dandidurga and other Govinda II. This story of fight between brother and Nephew looks similar to Kampavarman pallava(relative of Western Gangas) and his kid brother Nrptunga Pallava(relative of Pandyas and also Rastrakutas). This story can reveal the struggle between the last war of succession in Pallava Dynasty before Aditya Karikalan unsurped the throne.

Inscriptions
Uttaramallur by Nandivarman pallava II is the first inscription to refer to vengadam, there is no temple here still. The hill is just mentioned as Vengada ,not Thiruvengada(Sri Vengada).
In 8th and 9th centuries AD, Many Visnu temples near Tirupati received Grants from many kings, but none was given to Tirupati temple. But the same can be said about Buddhist or Murugan or Jain Temple , Kings at that time were secular, so there should be a grants even if it is any of the other holy places.
In TTD gives eleven inscription of pallavas. Earliest belong to Dandivikramadeva , which may correspond to period 833-34AD.

Even through many scholars claim many dates for Tirupathi temple construction, First Inscription in Tirupati temple is by Dandivarman pallava(830AD). So the Temple has to be built during that time.

Tirupati Debate
Point is the debate about Tirupati is not just today ,but it is there right from 11th century AD. Ramanuja made arguements to kings to establish the primacy of Vishnu in Tirupati. For this we have to establish the date of Ramanuja.

 Date of Ramanuja
There was a Vaishnavite Devotee called as Nadamuni. He belongs to Mannarkovil in south Arcot district. He spent most of the time in the village and sometimes in Kurukaikkavalappan Kovil, a nearby village, which was just mile after the chola capital Gangaikonda Cholapuram (Named so,After Western Ganga Territories were absorbed into chola empire in 1022AD). when he was in Kurukaikkavalappan Kovil village, he heard vaishnavite devotees singing a song in praise of Vishnu, which was Tiruvoimoli of Nammalvar. He asked the pilgrim to repeat the verses. But the pilgrim knew only ten lines of the 1000 lines poem. So he went in search of the work. He reached Kumbakonam, he got nothing. So he went to Tirunagari in Tirunelveli the native place of Nammalvar. His attempts were futile there also. So he sat under the tree of temple ,where Nammalvar is supposed to have practiced Yoga. He chanced on someone who was direct disciple of Nammalvar and got the full work. He brought the work to srirangam and revived the festival started by Thirmangai Alvar. Having done this, he went on pilgrimage to all the vaishnava shrines in the country. He went to Abhobilam and Tirupati. He went back to Tirupati as he welt the pooja arrangements were not proper. His grandson Alavandar Yamunait- turaivar or Yamunacharya. For the arrangements to become proper, he asked one of his disciples to volunteer to stay in the hill and conduct the worship in proper way. One of his grandsons Thirumalai Nambi volunteered to do the service. Thirumali Nambi settled down there and planted a garden and took upon himself to deliver water for the diety daily from a waterfall little distant from the temple. One of the young sisters that Thirumalai nambi took with him was married to one Kesava Somayaji of Sriperumbudur. The offspring of this marriage was Ramanuja. Ramanuja's date of birth, according to the traditional account of his life,is Kali 4118, A. D. 1017. The other date given of course is Saka 937 bya chronogram. Going by the story we have here ,the date has to be at the fag end of 11th century AD. The same sources give date of Nadamuni to 3684, which would mean A. D. 582-83. So these date cannot be trusted. Ramanuja visted the tirupati temple once in his chilhood. The temple after Thirumalai Nambi was managed well except during one time of Gopinath. The local ruler Yadavaraja found some dispute between Shaivas and Vaishnavas regarding the temple and called in court the warring parties to settle the matter. Ramanuja explained clearly that the temple is vaishnavite and the matter was settled that the temple was Vaishnavite. And the Vaishnavites were given more unoccupied land in the base of the hill for settlement. So through the discussion we have seen that the Ramanuja is in 11th and possibly extended to 12 century. So the earliest dispute seems to be between Shaivites and vaishnavites, which has been decided in favour of Thirupati being Vishnu temple.

Conclusion
The Conclusion is that the Tirupati is a Vishnu temple all along. Since the temple has been built in 9th century AD. It is after 9th century AD that the hill is said to be holy place. So any account which says that the hill is holy(sri or Thiru venkata) is after 9th century AD. This applies any work or devote singing on Tirupati. The dispute seems to be primarily between Shivite and Vaishnavite, because of the Shiva Temple at the base of Tirupati which predate the Tirupati temple. Indologist seems to have introduced some confusion here. There are no inscriptions about Tripati temple, before 9th century AD, because the temple did not exist then, not because it was a Buddhist Shrine.

References
Tirupati Balaji was a Buddhist Shrine
by K. Jamanadas
History of Holy Shrine of Sri venkatesa in Tirupati by Krishnaswamy Aiyangar

Photos
Tirupati Tirumala
Cauvery Crafts
Ramanuja
Divyadesam
TripAdvisor

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Date of Buddha
Origin of Buddha Image

Origin of Buddha Image

Today India is known for Idol Worship. All religions in India have in Form worship, either as symbols, letters, pictures or Idols. But this was not the case 2000Years ago. Any form of Form in Faith was not considered. In some places like Karnataka not even name of the dead Jain persons written on the Graves even until 400 AD. Hinduism , Jainism and Buddhism did not support gods in human form. So how did this extreme swing took place , from nothing everything in human forms. This explains the lack of Inscriptions, temples, Idols before 5th century BC. Classic study in this transformation is Buddhism. This was the religion at the prime when this transformation occurred. So Let us see how we got the Image of Buddha. Which will explain the transformation. Let us see if Image in Indian religion and the Origin of Buddha Image and associate controversies.

Vedic Hinduism.

Vedic religion says Absolute or Trancendental can be realized in diverse ways. Co-existence of Sakara(diety with Form) and Nirakara(Diety without Form) in the same household , with men with different Intellectual and moral denominations aspiring for spirituality in their respective ways. Kena Upanishad says man cannot comprehend God with his sense organs. That is God cannot be seen with Eyes. Svetasvatara upanishad says that Great one has not likeness to form. In Bhagavat Gita Arjuna asks Krishna in what forms and objects the Great one should be meditated. In response Krishna first Enumerated all phenomenal objects , all flora , all fauna and so on. Then Krishna gives Arjuna supernatural Eye , in which he sees entire universe, process of creation and process of destruction. Arjuna beholds God is identical with Cosmos. Later Supplements of Gita say God can be worshipped by Agni by Brahman, Devata(divinity) worshipped in the heart of Muni,Pratima(Image) is adored by men of Low intellect. While one whose sight is not limited can see God everywhere. Adi shankara preferred Formless and Ramanuja said he is prefers both Formless and With Form.

Jainism

Jainism says In the theist world the loftiest entity is The God. It has thousands of names like Paramatma (the ultimate soul), Bhagavan (the most glorious one), Siddha (the liberated), Buddha (the enlightened), The God, etc.

In the Jain tradition there are two forms of this entity-

(1) The formless God or Siddha (the liberated) and

(2) The God with a form or Tirthankar / Arihant.

The Tirthankar is a detached individual who is the ultimate altruist and benefactor of not only mankind but every living being. He propagates the religious path and preaches about it for their benefit. His benevolent voice promotes happiness, peace, and infinite bliss for every being.In the Jain tradition there have been twenty-four Tirthankars during the current descending cycle of time, Bhagavan Rishabhdev being the first and Bhagavan Mahavir being the last. For every Jain these Tirthankars are the entities to be worshipped and revered. The ultimate goal of Jainism is to tread the path shown by them and acquire infinite powers and virtues.

Buddhism

Thervada ban on Buddharupa( Buddha Image) is well known. An old Disciple of Buddha Vakali was eager to see Buddha before he died. One day buddha came and said to him “ O vakkali why do you crave to see this body of impure matter, one who perceives Dharma Perceives me. One who perceives me perceives Dharma” On different occasions through dialogues and sermons Buddha spoke against adoration of his Rupakaya or Buddha Rupa.

What does faith say?

The Trinity Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism say that God is formless ,but it does not go against worship of forms , saying that is done by lower intellectuals. So the form is also present in Indian Dharma along with Formless, which is the basic or ultimate. Now let us see how Buddha Image developed.

Origin of Buddha Image

Buddhist followers remained faithful to Buddha teaching of non-worship of buddha Image. The first to break the rule King Udyana of Vatsa or Kausambi, who was very devoted, The story goes that he was worried that Buddha would not return. Buddha's disciple Maudgalyayana used magic to send an artist (some say 32 of them) up to heaven to capture the likeness of the Buddha in a 5-foot figure carved out of sandalwood. This image was so accurate and imbued with devotion, that when Shakyamuni returned, it rose up to greet him. The Buddha acknowledged then, the power of the rupa to inspire and to teach the dharma to future generations. This story is not accepted by most Buddhists. For Five centuries after Buddha until 1st century BC , Buddha was represented by Symbols. Until 1st century AD he was never represented in Human Form. Immediately following this period the Graeco-Buddhist or Indo-Hellenistic or Ghandara period presents us with enormous anthromorphic images. Immediately we have suggestions from western world that the images were introduction from west , particularly from Greece. The present Image developed after the 5th century AD. Our main debate of the article comes here, Was the Concept of Image of God came from West (Persia, Middle east , Greece, Rome , etc).

Image or Icon in Indian Religions – History Debate.

In the First two decades of this 20th century Western scholars like Albert Foucher and John Marshall has concluded that Image or Icon was not the characteristic of Indian religions till the advent of Persians , West Asians and Greek. This Western Idea was supported by Arya Samaj, Brahmo Samaj and Prarthana Samaj. They maintained that Worship of Image was un - Vedic, Un - Brahminical and was the later development in Puranic age. Thervada buddhist also accepted this theory.

Other Hindus who held Pratima(Likeness = Image) was an Indigenous element nothing was foreign. Kashiprasad Jaiswal and Anand Coomaraswamy contended that Rupa (form) is integral part of the Vedic religion. At this time Indus Valley civilzation was unearthed, Archeologist R.P chanda found earliest representation of Siva Pasupathi and Yogi in the Indus valley. Also scholars pointed to Tibetans traditions and showed that Image was used before Mauryas. Also aborignals(Not Aryan and Dravidian) like Veddas and Nagas have their dieties and symbols of worship. So the worship of symbols and dieties is not totally absent.

Image worship in India

  • Image worship as we have seen in the Formless debate was accepted and prevalent.

  • Images of Shiva, mother Goddess,Yogi and wide variety of Terrocotta statues representing Human and Animal like forms. in Indus valley have proved beyond doubt that Image worship was prevalent.

  • Aboriginal like Yaksha and Naga have dieties. We find numerous dieties in their settlements since earliest times. Which show that Idol worship was prevalent before vedic times(7000BC)

  • Sakya, the clan Buddha was born in, had its own Yaksha deity, the Yaksha Sakyavardhana, the benevolent guardian of Sakyas. As prevailed the custom, soon after his birth, the child Buddha was presented to Yaksha Sakyavardhana for child's long life and glory.

So from the above points the worshipping of Forms and images was widely prevalent and the Idea is not Import from west. Let us move to the next point. Was the Buddha image creation due to influence of the west.

Foreign Influence.

Foucher argued that the Buddha Image is a eurasian one or Greek one. Let us analyse the facts.Before the Gandhara buddhist images there were Mathura Buddhist Images which were Indian in look and Indigenous. So there is no question of Gandhara images being the first buddhist images. Infact Gandhara images are continuation of mathura Images. Let us see the if there is any influence of Greek or western on the Gandhara images. Let us see one by one

Image

  • The Asanas are all Indian. The early art shows five sitting postions with hands showing mudras (Dharmachakra Mudra, Dhyna Mudra, Bhumisparsa Mudra, Varada mudra, Abhaya Mudra)

  • The Dress worn by Boddhisattvas are Indian.

  • Physical attributes: Protuberance(usnisa) on the crown is evident, urna or turf in the fine hair between the brows is evident, Fingers are webbed, The Ears are elongated by wearing the ear rings before monastic robes.

  • The Boddhisattvas represented in less rigid position holding attributes in the hands(vajra pani in Vajra, Padmapani by roselotus , Avalokitesvara by blue lotus, Maitreya Amrta Flask) These attributes can be held in any hand, but they are always held in Right hand by Indian Tradition.

  • The Dieties are either seated or Standing on traditional Indian lotus Flower.

Symbols

All the Symbols used in the Art are indian such as bull, Sacred Tree,Mountain, River , many Solar ,Nandipada, Trishul, Swastik, Lotus , Bow and Arrow Etc. These are Hindu, Jain and Buddhist or Indian.

Art form

In Indian art (abstract) the emphasis is laid on the significance of the object not the appearance. In Greek art (naturalistic) the emphasis is laid on the object and its looks. Every art is a compromise between the abstract and naturalistic, but what we see in Gandhara and other Indian art is continuos concept of Abstract(whether one finds a sacred tree or Buddha Figure) , no swing from one style to another as seen during 19th century when there were wild swings to European art. The Gandhara artforms are infact reproduction of early mathura artforms.

Technology

The Technology , Craftsman were already present , when the need for buddha arise and they had no problem in making the images.

Conclusion

So we cannot say that the Buddha got the Image due to Western Influence. The Gandhara art shows lot of Influence of Hellenistic artform, but the Image is originally Indian. Hinduism , Jainism and Buddhism embodied accomodation of non-believers into their fold as they are , without losing anything. Unlike in Europe when pre-christian gods were banished once christianity took hold, Indian faith accepted aboriginal Yaksha and Naga dieties and symbols and absorbed them. This process continued and Buddhist and Jain elements were absorbed into Hindu fold. So the Image and Deity worship are essentially Indian , though they were not part of Hindu, Jain or Buddhist Dharma initially.

Ref:

The origin of Buddha Image by Ananda K Coomaraswamy

Controversies of Kural by valluvar

Let us see some of the controversies sorrounding Kural.
Last 25 chapters
The last 25 chapters are split into two parts, premarital and marital love, separately, yet because of their different style there is controversy whether these chapters were part of the original work because many of principles in this chapters are contrary to what is discussed in previous chapters.
Author
Very little is known conclusively about the life of Tiruvalluvar.As per Tamil tradition, he is believed to have lived some time before Tholkappiar .His wife name is vasuki.
Textile weaver
He is said to have been a textile weaver by profession, who led an austere life. His devoted wife was named Vasuki. The name Valluvan is ambiguous as well: it may have referred to his caste/occupation and may not have been his real name. There is a distinct caste to this day with this name, among the Tamils whose traditional occupation used to be textile weaving who trace their ancestry to valluvar. However, the question of whether the author was named after his community or vice versa, has never been satisfactorily answered.
Untouchable
Pope begins his introduction by discussing the issue of Thiruvalluvars caste. While Thiruvalluvar's biography was generally acknowledged to be legend, certain aspects of the legend were seen by most scholars as based upon historical fact. One of these was his low-caste origin. As Pope explains, the name Valluvar was an honorific, meaning teacher or priest, traditionally given by the paraiyar (the untouchables of the Tamil country) to the learned men of their community.
Truth is nothing is known about the author other than his name is valluvan.
Place
Legends abound about the birthplace of Thiruvalluvar.
Mylapore (chennai)
According to one legend he is supposed to have been born and lived in Mylapore,an ancient part of present day Chennai city. Author lived in Pallava times,who also patronised jainism.
Madurai
Another legend associates him to Madurai,the ancient capital of the Pandya rulers. This second legend probably has its origins due to the fact that Pandya rulers promoted Tamil by patronising a lot of Tamil poets and Thiruvalluvar is supposed to be one of them. In fact, some folklore cite that Tirukkural was introduced to the world by Tiruvalluvar in Madurai’s Tamil Sangam.
Valluvanadu
During the 9th century A.D. a Valluvanadu existed in Kerala. But exact location of valluvanadu is disputed.
Valluvanadu-palaghat
The Valluvanadu of the Palaghat district was ruled by Valluvakon in the ancient times. In the laterdays Nairs who entered Kerala annihilated or assimilated the Valluvars of Palaghat and occupied the land. The king of Valluvanadu was called Valluvakonathiri Moopil Nair.The Valluvanad is associated with bravery as most of the Chavers or the suicidal army of Kerala was derived from the Valluvanad area. The Valluvanad Chavers participated in the Mamankam a festival held every twelve years in which, the Chavers tried to kill the Samudhiri the king of neighbouring kingdom even though they were quite aware impossibility and the possibility definite death.
Valluvandu- Wayanad
At Wayanad district the Valluvans are believed to have their kingdom at Valluvady near the Kerala Karnataka border. At Valluvady many artifacts of Valluvars including golden artifacts are believed to be found.
Valluvandu- Kanyakumari
There are also recent claims by Kanyakumari Historical and Cultural Research Centre (KHCRC) that Valluvar was a king who ruled Valluvanadu in the hilly tracts of Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu. Though this recent claim comes through research, many questions remain unanswered.

Dating
Caldwell and Pope dated the text to the 8th—10th centuries C.E., while the majority of Tamil scholars placed it in the late Sangam period whose period is disputed. Modern scholars like Zvelebil favour a date earlier than that of Caldwell and Pope to 7th century.
Cladwell
Caldwell argued that of Tamil was both the oldest and the least dependent upon Sankrit. But even while granting the antiquity of the language, he dismissed the antiquity of Tamil literature. The oldest of it could not be older than the 8th — 9th century C.E. Caldwell further questioned ancient Tamil society's exposure to the higher forms of civilization, such as art, science or religion, prior to the arrival of Brahmins; Dravidian religion, for instance, prior to their advent, had been a sort of demonolatry or primitive Shamanism.
Silapathikaram
If X mentions Y then Y is earlier, probably a hundred years earlier than X. This works well in some caes. Kural is mentioned in Silapathikaram and manimekalai.So kural is before that but silapthikaram date is also disputed. So how do you date kural.
Grammer
Thirukkural does not adhere to the rules of Tholkappiyam, the Grammar book. This shows that this book has preceded Tholkappiyam which is not the widely held view.
Faith
Tiruvalluvar’s faith is disputed. There are claims he is Hindu, Jain, Buddhist and even christian , let us see.
Jain
  • The phrase `malar misai Ekinaan'that appears in the first chapter. Roughly translated:malar misai Ekinaan = one who went towards or reached the flower. If the meaning for the verb Ekuthal'is given . scholars say `malar misai Ekinaan' is Mahavira. It seems the iLangO adikaL in his work `silappadhikaaram' uses the same phrase to refer to Mahavira.
  • The third kural, in the first chapter is translated by Prof. P.S.Sundaran as: Long life on earth is theirs who clasp. The glorious flower-embedded feet In his notes he writes: "Flower-embedded feet may refer either specifically to Aruhan, the Jain God who is usually represented as standing on a flower, or to God in general whose seat is not only in haven, but also in the flower-shaped-heart of his devotees." "Aruhan" (Arhant) can be any one of the 24 Jinas.
  • Comparing the kural verse with a verse in Bhaktaamar Stotra, composed by Mantungacharya. The 44 verses of Bhaktaamar praise the first Jina (just like the first chapter of Thirukkural), as mentioned in the last quarter of second verse: ... stoshye kilaahamapi tam prathamam jinendram .. I will also praise the first Jina. The second half of the 32nd shloka is: paadau padani tava yatra Jinendra dhatth, padmani tatra vibudha parikalpayanti.. wherever you put your feet, gods create lotus flowers. mostof the verses of the first chaper can also apply to Gautama Buddha, since he is also "one who has conquered his five senses",however the mention of Aadi Bhagavan make it clear that it is the first Jina being praised.
  • Professor A Chakravarty identifies the author of the Tirukkural text as the same Kundakunda Acarya and identifies places in the South with him. He offer the opinion that the Kural was of his authorship, the only one he wrote in the local language of the Tamils among whom he lived and which he sent through a friend, or disciple of his to Madurai to get approval from the Tamil Sangam. But this theory of present date and has no basis.
  • Tamil tradition identifies an Eladhi Nayanar in close proximity to Valluvar, Under these somewhat negative proofs,Kundakunda might have fathered the work and might have underscored the relationship of Eladhi Nayanar with the Valluvar of the Kural for among his own many names Elacarya is given as one. But this is a legend of 13th century making in supporting antiquity of another lengend avvaiyar.
  • Section devoted to vegetarian food, the author distinctly condemns the Buddhist principle of purchasing meat from the butcher. Buddhists Say that they are not to kill with their own hands but may purchase meat from slaughter house. The author of the Kural in unmistakable terms points out that the butcher's trade thrives only because of the demand for meat. Butcher's interest is merely to make money and hence he adopts a particular trade determined by the principle of 'supply and demand'. Therefore the responsibility of killing animals for food is mainly on your head and not upon the butcher's. This is clear jain mind working against buddhist.
  • The Jaina commentator of the Tamil work called Neelakesi freely quotes from this Kural, and whenever he quotes, he introduces the quotation with the words "as is mentioned in our scripture". From this it is clear that the commentator considered this work as an important Jaina scripture.
  • Non Jaina Tamil work called "Prabodha Chandrodaya". This Tamil work is evidently modelled after the Sanskrit drama Prabodha Chandrodaya. This tamil work is in Viruttam metre, consist of four lines. It is also in the form of a drama where the representatives of the various religions are introduced on the stage. Each one is introduced while reciting a characteristic verse containing the essence of his religion. When the Jaina sanyasi appears on the stage, heis made to recite that particular verse from the Kural which praises the Ahimsa doctrine that "not killing a single life for the purpose of eating is far better than performing 1000 yagas". Kural was characteristically a Jaina work. Otherwise he would not have put this verse in the mouth of 'Niganthavadi' ( a Jaina).
Hindu
  • The very arrangement of the book into 3 divisions (muppaal)is a vedic concept of Purusharthas, dharma, artha and kaama. He left out the 4 th division, Moksha, because adherence to the principles of the first 3 will automatically elevate one to Moksha or Liberation from the cycle of life and death.
  • The compartmentalization of the ‘adhikaras’ into the mystic number 108 for Dharma (aram) and Artha (poruL) also is indicative of a definite plan to present his bookon the vedic notion of spirituality. The choice of the term, ‘Adhikaram’ itself for the chapters is indicative of the vedic practice of Yatho-desa paksham – which means the spread of control / influence by itself and its own sake, that is, the message of Kural will spread by itself the message of Purusharthas.
  • The positioning of adhikaram, ‘voozh’ (destiny) after dharma (aratthu-p-paal)is also demonstrative of a Vedic influence. How-much-ever dharmic one may be, one can not stop or escape from the interference of ‘oozh’ or destiny is the message given at all ages, from Gita onwards (one has control over one’s actions only, not on the results) to Silappadhikaaram (oozh vinai urutthu vandhu ootttum)and this has been aptly given as a finale for Aratthu-p-paal.
  • The only source book he quotes for all rules is the ‘nool’The ‘nool’ that he often speaks in kural is the Vedas and he has repeatedly glorified the ways the ‘Saandror’ or Aryans.
    “kadan enba nallavai ellaam kadan aRindhu
    saandraaNmai mEr koLbhavarkku.”
    “saman seidhu seer thookkum kOl pOl amaindhoru paal
    kOdaamai saandrOrkku aNi”
  • Brahmins (anthanar) and Vyakarana sastras (725)are the respected ones he looks at, for any reference to acts of dharma.
  • Devas and their habit of receiving Havis from humans are often mentioned by him.
  • He disapproves animal sacrifice in yajnas but not yajnas themselves,giving indication of his leanings towards vedic practices and his willingness to usher in modifications – which is what sages too had said for kali yuga.
  • The Vamana avatara is clearly mentioned in kural 610 where he tells that the king must be like “ulagu aLandhaan”,Vamana in conquering worlds.
  • He makes a veiled mention of Rama’s valour in kural 773 for showing mercy to the enemy in the war field when he is down in spirits. Most important of these is his veiled reference to Rama in his opening verse.These ancient norms of poetry were aimed at spreading and preserving the greatness of the Lord or God who had been praised by the poet. The praise of the Lord to live long can not just be empty words but it also must incorporate certain features that help in making the Lord and his name immortal.We come across such norms in Choodamani nigandu, given as sutras and Thirukkaural had followed these ancient norms and had indicated his Lord, his Ishta devatha as Rama!! One will be surprised to know that these norms were in tandem with certain rules of astrology, meant for longevity and greatness!
  • Thiruvalluvar begins his book with a worship of god.The Akaara Brahman is indicated in his very first verse as also the Bhagam (6 qualities) of Bhagavan – a vedic concept.Akaara Brahmam is equated to Vishnu in Bhagavad Gita.
  • He has indicated his God – ishta devatha in this verse – ‘agara mudala..’
    It has been a practice in ancient times for the poets to reveal their God or Lord or the Lord of the song (paattudai-th-thlaivan)in their first verse as a puzzle. Thirvalluvar too had done that.
  • Vaiyapuri Pillai has said:"There are many couplets of the Kural that are either translations or
    adaptations of Manusmriti”, such as:
    - Kural 57 and Manusmriti IX:12
    - Kural 41 and Manusmriti III:78. This verse of smriti, Pillai points
    out, has been reiterated by Tiruvalluvar more than once.
    - Kural 396 and Manusmriti II:218 "
  • He talks about "destroying the five senses", which you can see in upanishads and bhagavat gita. Concept of multiple birth is a hall mark of Hindu dharma. Undoubtadly, TiruValluvar endorse future birth. Destruction of ego: this is another characteristic aspect of Vedic religion.
    Kural - 346
    Who kills conceit that utters 'I' and 'mine',Shall enter realms above the powers divine.
    He who destroys the pride which says "I", "mine" will enter a world which is difficult even to the Gods to attain.
    Kural - 348
    Who thoroughly 'renounce' on highest height are set;The rest bewildered, lie entangled in the net.Those who have entirely renounced (all things and all desire) have obtained (absorption into God); all others wander in confusion, entangled in the net of (many) births.
    Kural - 349
    When that which clings falls off, severed is being's tie;All else will then be seen as instability.
    At the moment in which desire has been abandoned, (other) births will be cut off; when that has not been done, instability will be seen.
    Kural - 350
    Cling thou to that which He, to Whom nought clings, hath bid thee cling, Cling to that bond, to get thee free from every clinging thing.
    Yama, the god of death, a Hindu entity
    Kural-269
    E'en over death the victory he may gain,If power by penance won his soul obtain.Those who have attained the power which religious discipline confers, will be able also to pass the limit of Yama, (the God of death).
  • Kural-24 to Kural-27 is without any doubt part of the Upanishadic, Yogic and Tantric traditions.
    Kural-24
    He, who with firmness, curbs the five restrains,
    Is seed for soil of yonder happy plains.
    Kural-25
    Their might who have destroyed 'the five', shall soothly tell
    Indra, the lord of those in heaven's wide realms that dwell.
    Kural-26
    Things hard in the doing will great men do;
    Things hard in the doing the mean eschew.
    Kural-27
    Taste, light, touch, sound, and smell: who knows the way
    Of all the five,- the world submissive owns his sway.
Christian
  •  Deivanayagam, has claimed ' Porivaayil Aintavittan' has reference to Jesus Christ, who sacrificed himself in human form with the five senses complete, on the symbol of the cross, so that humanity may be redeemed and ennobled towards an eternal life.

  • M Deivanayagam says Thiruvalluvar was a Christian and a disciple of St.Thomas and most of the Saiva Sidhantha and the vivid knowledge found in Thiruklural were nothing but the sayings of The Bible.
This is just attempt to spread christianity and there is no basis of this claim.
Translation
It is maintained by a well known Tamil scholar that the work is a faithful translation of the Dharmasastra by Bodhayana. Many Sanskrit words are found in this Kural and from among the traditional doctrines some are also treated therein. Let us see.

This Bodhayana Dharma Sastra, since it is based upon the traditional Varnasrama, keeps to the traditional four castes and their duties. According to this conception of Dharma, cultivation of the land is left to the last class of Sudras and would certainly be infra dig for the upper class to have anything to do with agriculture. The author of Kural, on the other hand placed agriculture first among the professions. For he says, "living par excellence is living by tilling the land and every other mode of life is parasitical and hence next to that of the tiller of the soil".
 
Another interesting fact mentioned in Dharma Sastras is the mode of entertaining guests by the householders. Such an entertainment is always associated with killing a fat calf; the chapter on guests in Bodhayana Dharmasastra gives a list of animals that ought to be killed for the purpose of entertaining guests. This is necessary part of Dharma and violation of it will entail curse from the guests in the firm belief of those who accept Vedic ritualism as religion. A cursory glance at the corresponding chapter in the Kural will convince any reader that Dharma here means quite a different thing from what it means in the Dharma Sastras of the Hindus. Hence we have to reject this suggestion that the work represents merely a translation of the Dharma Sastras for the benefit of the Tamil reading people

What scholars opine about Tirukkural.
  • There is a distinct intellectual relationship of  the Arathupal of Kural with  the Ramayana, Mahabharata, Parasara Samhitha, Srimad Bhagavatham, Rg Veda and 
  • Porutpal has very many similarities with Kamanthaka Neeti, Artha Sastra of Kautilya, Sukra Neeti, Bodayana Smrithi 
  • Kamathupal reflects many a thoughts from Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana. (Sri V.R. Ramachandra Dikshidhar)
  • More than twenty five pure Sanskrit words have been borrowed from the Sanskrit Language and incorporated  in the body of the Kural by Valluvan as well as according to Mr.Vyapuri  Pillai  time it was written in the 6th century AD.  (S. Vyapuri Pillai)
  • Aran, Iyalbu, Ottrar, Duthar Adhikarams in Kural reflects the thinking of Kautilya's Artha Sasthra (S. Vayapuri Pillai) 
  • Valluvan did codify the Kural in the present format and there has not been much of any differentiation in presentation from its time of origin. 
  • What Kural says in Tamil has been told by various rishis in Sanskrit which can be found in the very many ancient philosophical literature available in India.  
  • One of the most important points to note is, in Kural Valluvan has never discussed the Tamils, by name, nor has he referred to the various Tamil  kings of the Chera, Chozha and Pandiyan dynasties and their histories.  In contrast, they are available in plenty in the Sangam Literature.
  • Valluvan has never used the word Tamil or Tamizhan in the Kural. 
  • Neither does Valluvan talk about the life and times of Tamilians in Tamilnadu, in his Kural.
Sources
Non Random Thoughts
S. N. Srirama Desikan, Research Scholar - Tirukkural published by Ganghai Puthaga Nilayam, Chennai 1991

Origin of Yoga

The popularization of yoga in the West by yoga schools influenced by the Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali (2nd century BC), have almost led to the origins yoga of yoga being linked with Patanjali in the Western mind.

But there are evidences against it.

Mohenjodaro seals
In fact, the earliest illustration we have of yoga is from the Mohenjo-daro seals. Mohenjo-Daro is the remains of an ancient city located in Pakistan, part of the Indus Valley civilization which yoga yoga existed along the Indus river and Ghaggar-Hakra river in north-west India and what is now Pakistan. Mohenjo-Daro’s parent city was Harrapa in India. These civilizations have been dated from 3300 BC to 1300 BC. The Mohenjo-daro seals yoga show a figure standing on its head, and another sitting cross yoga legged.

Vedic Shastra
Some see yoga’s origins as being from the Vedic shastras, or vedic religious texts, which are the foundation of Indian Hinduism. The Vedic texts were created from 2500 BC, and the Rigveda is believed to have been completed by 1500 BC yoga. The Rigveda is one of several principle early vedic texts. A lot of these texts were concerned with sacrificial rituals. There are sacrificial prayers, incantations, and elements related to magic, to name a few aspects of the subject matter. These are now viewed symbolically, or philosophically, although they were presumably intended more literally at the time. But the word “yoga” was discussed in the RigVeda. In it, there is mention of ‘yoking’ our mind and insight to the ‘Sun Of Truth’ (David yoga Frawley, a Vedic scholar).

Bhagavad Gita
Yoga is also discussed in the Bhagavad Gita, where Krishna describes 4 types of yoga: * selfless action - in following one’s soul path, one’s dharma, first and foremost, and without thinking of the outcome, the end result, or being motivated by self gain (Karma Yoga) * self transcending knowledge (Jnana yoga) * psycho-physical meditation (Raja yoga) * devotion - loving service to the Divine Essence (Bhakti yoga) (Source - Wikipedia) The Bhagavad Gita is believed to have been written between the 5th and 2nd century BC.

So the Yoga is as old as Hinduism.

THE MYTH OF THE ARYAN INVASION OF INDIA

By David Frawley.

One of the main ideas used to interpret - and generally devalue - the ancient history of India is the theory of the Aryan invasion. According to this account, India was invaded and conquered by nomadic light-skinned Indo-European tribes from Central Asia around 1500-1000BC, who overthrew an earlier and more advanced dark-skinned Dravidian civilization from which they took most of what later became Hindu culture. This so-called pre-Aryan civilization is said to be evidenced by the large urban ruins of what has been called the "Indus valley culture" (as most of its initial sites were on the Indus river). The war between the powers of light and darkness, a prevalent idea in ancient Aryan Vedic scriptures, was thus interpreted to refer to this war between light and dark- skinned peoples. The Aryan invasion theory thus turned the "Vedas", the original scriptures of ancient India and the Indo-Aryans, into little more than primitive poems of uncivilized plunderers.

This idea - totally foreign to the history of India, whether north or south - has become almost an unquestioned truth in the interpretation of ancient history Today, after nearly all the reasons for its supposed validity have been refuted, even major Western scholars are at last beginning to call it in question.

In this article we will summarize the main points that have arisen. This is a complex subject that I have dealt with in depth in my book "Gods, Sages and Kings: Vedic Secrets of Ancient Civilization", for those interested in further examination of the subject.

The Indus valley culture was pronounced pre-Aryans for several reasons that were largely part of the cultural milieu of nineteenth century European thinking As scholars following Max Mullar had decided that the Aryans came into India around 1500 BC, since the Indus valley culture was earlier than this, they concluded that it had to be pre-Aryan. Yet the rationale behind the late date for the Vedic culture given by Muller was totally speculative. Max Muller, like many of the Christian scholars of his era, believed in Biblical chronology. This placed the beginning of the world at 400 BC and the flood around 2500 BC. Assuming to those two dates, it became difficult to get the Aryans in India before 1500 BC.

Muller therefore assumed that the five layers of the four 'Vedas' & 'Upanishads' were each composed in 200 year periods before the Buddha at 500 BC. However, there are more changes of language in Vedic Sanskrit itself than there are in classical Sanskrit since Panini, also regarded as a figure of around 500 BC, or a period of 2500 years. Hence it is clear that each of these periods could have existed for any number of centuries and that the 200 year figure is totally arbitrary and is likely too short a figure.

It was assumed by these scholars - many of whom were also Christian missionaries unsympathetic to the 'Vedas' - that the Vedic culture was that of primitive nomads from Central Asia. Hence they could not have founded any urban culture like that of the Indus valley. The only basis for this was a rather questionable interpretation of the 'Rig Veda' that they made, ignoring the sophisticated nature of the culture presented within it.

Meanwhile, it was also pointed out that in the middle of the second millennium BC, a number of Indo-European invasions apparently occured in the Middle East, wherein Indo-European peoples - the Hittites, Mittani and Kassites - conquered and ruled Mesopotamia for some centuries. An Aryan invasion of India would have been another version of this same movement of Indo-European peoples. On top of this, excavators of the Indus valley culture, like Wheeler, thought they found evidence of destruction of the culture by an outside invasion confirming this.

The Vedic culture was thus said to be that of primitive nomads who came out of Central Asia with their horse-drawn chariots and iron weapons and overthrew the cities of the more advanced Indus valley culture, with their superior battle tactics. It was pointed out that no horses, chariots or iron was discovered in Indus valley sites.

This was how the Aryan invasion theory formed and has remained since then. Though little has been discovered that confirms this theory, there has been much hesitancy to question it, much less to give it up.


Further excavations discovered horses not only in Indus Valley sites but also in pre-Indus sites. The use of the horse has thus been proven for the whole range of ancient Indian history. Evidence of the wheel, and an Indus seal showing a spoked wheel as used in chariots, has also been found, suggesting the usage of chariots.

Moreover, the whole idea of nomads with chariots has been challenged. Chariots are not the vehicles of nomads. Their usage occured only in ancient urban cultures with much flat land, of which the river plain of north India was the most suitable. Chariots are totally unsuitable for crossing mountains and deserts, as the so-called Aryan invasion required.

That the Vedic culture used iron - & must hence date later than the introduction of iron around 1500 BC - revolves around the meaning of the Vedic term "ayas", interpreted as iron. 'Ayas' in other Indo - European languages like Latin or German usually means copper, bronze or ore generally, not specially iron. There is no reason to insist that in such earlier Vedic times, 'ayas' meant iron, particularly since other metals are not mentioned in the 'Rig Veda' (except gold that is much more commonly referred to than ayas). Moreover, the 'Atharva Veda' and 'Yajur Veda' speak of different colors of 'ayas'(such as red & black), showing that it was a generic term. Hence
it is clear that 'ayas' generally meant metal and not specifically iron.

Moreover, the enemies of the Vedic people in the 'Rig Veda' also use ayas, even for making their cities, as do the Vedic people themselves. Hence there is nothing in Vedic literture to show that either the Vedic culture was an iron- based culture or that there enemies were not.

The 'Rig Veda' describes its Gods as 'destroyers of cities'. This was used also to regard the Vedic as a primitive non-urban culture that destroys cities and urban civilization. However, there are also many verses in the 'Rig Veda' that speak of the Aryans as having having cities of their own and being protected by cities upto a hundred in number. Aryan Gods like Indra, Agni, Saraswati and the Adityas are praised as being like a city. Many ancient kings, including those of Egypt and Mesopotamia, had titles like destroyer or conquerer of cities. This does not turn them into nomads. Destruction of cities also happens in modern wars; this does not make those who do this
nomads. Hence the idea of Vedic culture as destroying but not building the cities is based upon ignoring what the Vedas actually say about their own cities.

Further excavation revealed that the Indus Valley culture was not destroyed by outside invasion, but according to internal causes and, most likely, floods. Most recently a new set of cities has been found in India (like the Dwaraka and Bet Dwaraka sites by S.R. Rao and the National Institute of Oceanography in India) which are intermidiate between those of the Indus culture and later ancient India as visited by the Greeks. This may eliminate the so-called dark age following the presumed Aryan invasion and shows a continuous urban occupation in India back to the beginning of the Indus culture.

The interpretation of the religion of the Indus Valley culture -made incidentlly by scholars such as Wheeler who were not religious scholars much less students of Hinduism - was that its religion was different than the Vedic and more likely the later Shaivite religion. However, further excavations - both in Indus Valley site in Gujarat, like Lothal, and those in Rajsthan, like Kalibangan - show large number of fire altars like those used in the Vedic religion, along with bones of oxen, potsherds, shell jewelry and other items used in the rituals described in the 'Vedic Brahmanas'. Hence the Indus Valley culture evidences many Vedic practices that can not be merely coincidental. That some of its practices appeared non-Vedic to its excavators may also be attributed to their misunderstanding or lack of knowledge of Vedic and Hindu culture generally, wherein Vedism and Shaivism are the same basic tradition.

We must remember that ruins do not necessarily have one interpretation. Nor does the ability to discover ruins necessarily gives the ability to interpret them correctly.

The Vedic people were thought to have been a fair-skinned race like the Europeans owing to the Vedic idea of a war between light and darkness, and the Vedic people being presented as children of light or children of the sun. Yet this idea of a war between light and darkness exists in most ancient cultures, including the Persian and the Egyptian. Why don't we interpret their scriptures as a war between light and dark-skinned people? It is purely a poetic metaphor, not a
cultural statement. Moreover, no real traces of such a race are found in India.

The Vedic people were thought to have been a fair-skinned race like the Europeans owing to the Vedic idea of a war between light and darkness, and the Vedic people being presented as children of light or children of the sun. Yet this idea of a war between light and darkness exists in most ancient cultures, including the Persian and the Egyptian. Why don't we interpret their scriptures as a war between light and dark-skinned people? It is purely a poetic metaphor, not a
cultural statement. Moreover, no real traces of such a race are found in India.

Anthropologists have observed that the present population of Gujarat is composed of more or less the same ethnic groups as are noticed at Lothal in 2000 BC. Similarly, the present population of the Punjab is said to be ethnically the same as the population of Harappa and Rupar 4000 years ago. Linguistically the present day population of Gujrat and Punjab belongs to the Indo-Aryan language speaking group. The only inference that can be drawn from the anthropological and linguistic evidences adduced above is that the Harappan population in the Indus Valley and Gujrat in 2000 BC was composed of two or more groups, the more dominent among them having very close ethnic affinities with the present day Indo-Aryan speaking population of India.

In other words there is no racial evidence of any such Indo-Aryan invasion of India but only of a continuity of the same group of people who traditionally considered themselves to be Aryans.

There are many points in fact that prove the Vedic nature of the Indus Valley culture. Further excavation has shown that the great majority of the sites of the Indus Valley culture were east, not west of Indus. In fact, the largest concentration of sites appears in an area of Punjab and Rajsthan near the dry banks of ancient Saraswati and Drishadvati rivers. The Vedic culture was said to have been founded by the sage Manu between the banks of Saraswati and Drishadvati rivers. The Saraswati is lauded as the main river (naditama) in the 'Rig Veda' & is the most frequently mentioned in the text. It is said to be a great flood and to be wide, even endless in size. Saraswati is said to be "pure in course from the mountains to the sea". Hence the Vedic people were well acquainted with this river and regarded it as their immemorial homeland.

The Saraswati, as modern land studies now reveal, was indeed one of the largest, if not the largest river in India. In early ancient and pre-historic times, it once drained the Sutlej, Yamuna and the Ganges, whose courses were much different than they are today. However, the Saraswati river went dry at the end of the Indus Valley culture and before the so-called Aryan invasion or before 1500 BC. In fact this may have caused the ending of the Indus culture. How could the Vedic Aryans know of this river and establish their culture on its banks if it dried up before they arrived? Indeed the Saraswati as described in the 'Rig Veda' appears to more accurately show it as it was prior to the Indus Valley culture as in the Indus era it was already in decline.

Vedic and late Vedic texts also contain interesting astronomical lore. The Vedic calender was based upon astronomical sightings of the equinoxes and solstices. Such texts as 'Vedanga Jyotish' speak of a time when the vernal equinox was in the middle of the Nakshtra Aslesha (or about 23 degrees 20 minutes Cancer). This gives a date of 1300 BC. The 'Yajur Veda' and 'Atharva Veda' speak of the vernal equinox in the Krittikas (Pleiades; early Taurus) and the summer solstice (ayana) in Magha (early Leo). This gives a date about 2400 BC. Yet earlier eras
are mentioned but these two have numerous references to substantiate them. They prove that the Vedic culture existed at these periods and already had a sophisticated system of astronomy. Such references were merely ignored or pronounced unintelligible by Western scholars because they yielded too early a date for the 'Vedas' than what they presumed, not because such references did not exist.

Vedic texts like 'Shatapatha Brahmana' and 'Aitereya Brahmana' that mention these astronomical references list a group of 11 Vedic Kings, including a number of figures of the 'Rig Veda', said to have conquered the region of India from 'sea to sea'. Lands of the Aryans are mentioned in them from Gandhara (Afganistan) in the west to Videha (Nepal) in the east, and south to Vidarbha (Maharashtra). Hence the Vedic people were in these regions by the Krittika equinox or before 2400 BC. These passages were also ignored by Western scholars and it was said by them that the 'Vedas' had no evidence of large empires in India in Vedic times. Hence a pattern of ignoring literary evidence or misinterpreting them to suit the Aryan invasion idea became prevalent, even to the point of changing the meaning of Vedic words to suit this theory.

According to this theory, the Vedic people were nomads in the Punjab, comming down from Central Asia. However, the 'Rig Veda' itself has nearly 100 references to ocean (samudra), as well as dozens of references to ships, and to rivers flowing in to the sea. Vedic ancestors like Manu, Turvasha, Yadu and Bhujyu are flood figures, saved from across the sea. The Vedic God of the sea, Varuna, is the father of many Vedic seers and seer families like Vasishta, Agastya and the Bhrigu seers. To preserve the Aryan invasion idea it was assumed that the Vedic (and later sanskrit) term for ocean, samudra, originally did not mean the ocean but any large body of water, especially the Indus river in Punjab. Here the clear meaning of a term in 'Rig Veda' and later times - verified by rivers like Saraswati mentioned by name as flowing into the sea - was altered to make the Aryan invasion theory fit. Yet if we look at the index to translation of the 'Rig Veda' by Griffith for example, who held to this idea that samudra didn't really mean the ocean, we find over 70 references to ocean or sea. If samudra does not mean ocean why was it traslated as such? It is therefore without basis to locate Vedic kings in Central Asia far from any ocean or from the massive Saraswati river, which form the background of their land and the symbolism of their hymns.

One of the latest archeological ideas is that the Vedic culture is evidenced by Painted Grey Ware pottery in north India, which apears to date around 1000 BC and comes from the same region between the Ganges and Yamuna as later Vedic culture is related to. It is thought to be an inferior grade of pottery and to be associated with the use of iron that the 'Vedas' are thought to mention. However it is associated with a pig and rice culture, not the cow and barley culture of the 'Vedas'. Moreover it is now found to be an organic development of indegenous pottery, not an introduction of invaders.

Painted Grey Ware culture represents an indigenous cultural development and does not reflect any cultural intrusion from the West i.e. an Indo-Aryan invasion. Therefore, there is no archeological evidence corroborating the fact of an Indo-Aryan invasion.

In addition, the Aryans in the Middle East, most notably the Hittites, have now been found to have been in that region atleast as early as 2200 BC, wherein they are already mentioned. Hence the idea of an Aryan invasion into the Middle East has been pushed back some centuries, though the evidence so far is that the people of the moun- tain regions of the Middle East were Indo-Europeans as far as recorded history can prove.

The Aryan Kassites of the ancient Middle East worshipped Vedic Gods like Surya and the Maruts, as well as one named Himalaya. The Aryan Hittites and Mittani signed a treaty with the name of the Vedic Gods Indra, Mitra, Varuna and Nasatyas around 1400 BC. The Hittites have a treatise on chariot racing written in almost pure Sanskrit. The Indo - Europeans of the ancient Middle East thus spoke Indo-Aryan, not Indo-Iranian languages and thereby show a Vedic culture in that region of the world as well.

The Indus Valley culture had a form of writing, as evidenced by numerous seals found in the ruins. It was also assumed to be non-Vedic and probably Dravidian, though this was never proved. Now it has been shown that the majority of the late Indus signs are identical with those of later Hindu Brahmi and that there is an organic development between the two scripts. Prevalent models now suggest an Indo-European base for that language.

It was also assumed that the Indus Valley culture derived its civilization from the Middle East, probably Sumeria, as antecedents for it were not found in India. Recent French excavations at Mehrgarh have shown that all the antecedents of the Indus Valley culture can be found within the subcontinent and going back before 6000 BC.

In short, some Western scholars are beginning to reject the Aryan invasion or any outside origin for Hindu civilization.

Current archeological data do not support the existence of an Indo- Aryan or European invasion into South Asia at any time in the pre- or protohistoric periods. Instead, it is possible to document archeologically a series of cultural changes reflecting indigenous cultural development from prehistoric to historic periods. The early Vedic literature describes not a human invasion into the area, but a fundamental restructuring of indigenous society. The Indo-Aryan invasion as an academic concept in 18th and 19th century Europe reflected the cultural milieu of the period. Linguistic data were used to validate the concept that in turn was used to interpret archeological and anthropological data.

In other words, Vedic literature was interpreted on the assumption that there was an Aryan invasion. Then archeological evidence was interpreted by the same assumption. And both interpretations were then used to justify each other. It is nothing but a tautology, an exercise in circular thinking that only proves that if assuming something is true, it is found to be true!

Another modern Western scholar, Colin Renfrew, places the Indo- Europeans in Greece as early as 6000 BC. He also suggests such a possible early date for their entry into India.

As far as I can see there is nothing in the Hymns of the 'Rig Veda' which demonstrates that the Vedic-speaking population was intrusive to the area: this comes rather from a historical assumption of the 'comming of the Indo-Europeans.

When Wheeler speaks of 'the Aryan invasion of the land of the 7 rivers, the Punjab', he has no warrenty at all, so far as I can see. If one checks the dozen references in the 'Rig Veda' to the 7 rivers, there is nothing in them that to me implies invasion: the land of the 7 rivers is the land of the 'Rig Veda', the scene of action. Nor is it implied that the inhabitants of the walled cities (including the Dasyus) were any more aboriginal than the Aryans themselves.

Despite Wheeler's comments, it is difficult to see what is particularly non-Aryan about the Indus Valley civilization. Hence Renfrew suggests that the Indus Valley civilization was in fact Indo-Aryan even prior to the Indus Valley era:

This hypothesis that early Indo-European languages were spoken in North India with Pakistan and on the Iranian plateau at the 6th millennium BC has the merit of harmonizing symmetrically with the theory for the origin of the Indo- European languages in Europe. It also emphasizes the continuity in the Indus Valley and adjacent areas from the early neolithic through to the floruit of the Indus Valley civilization.

This is not to say that such scholars appreciate or understand the 'Vedas' - their work leaves much to be desired in this respect - but that it is clear that the whole edifice built around the Aryan invasion is beginning to tumble on all sides. In addition, it does not mean that the 'Rig Veda' dates from the Indus Valley era. The Indus Valley culture resembles that of the 'Yajur Veda' and the reflect the pre-Indus period in India, when the Saraswati river was more prominent.

The acceptance of such views would create a revolution in our view of history as shattering as that in science caused by Einstein's theory of relativity. It would make ancient India perhaps the oldest, largest and most central of ancient cultures. It would mean that the Vedic literary record - already the largest and oldest of the ancient world even at a 1500 BC date - would be the record of teachings some centuries or thousands of years before that. It would mean that the 'Vedas' are our most authentic record of the ancient world. It would also tend to validate the Vedic view that the Indo-Europeans and other Aryan peoples were migrants from India, not that the Indo-Aryans were invaders into India. Moreover, it would affirm the Hindu tradition that the Dravidians were early offshoots of the Vedic people through the seer Agastya, and not unaryan peoples.

In closing, it is important to examine the social and political implications of the Aryan invasion idea:

First, it served to divide India into a northern Aryan and southern Dravidian culture which were made hostile to each other. This kept the Hindus divided and is still a source of social tension.

Second, it gave the British an excuse in their conquest of India. They could claim to be doing only what the Aryan ancestors of the Hindus had previously done millennia ago.

Third, it served to make Vedic culture later than and possibly derived from Middle Eastern cultures. With the proximity and relationship of the latter with the Bible and Christianity, this kept the Hindu religion as a sidelight to the development of religion and civilization to the West.

Fourth, it allowed the sciences of India to be given a Greek basis, as any Vedic basis was largely disqualified by the primitive nature of the Vedic culture.

This discredited not only the 'Vedas' but the genealogies of the 'Puranas' and their long list of the kings before the Buddha or Krishna were left without any historical basis. The 'Mahabharata', instead of a civil war in which all the main kings of India participated as it is described, became a local skirmish among petty princes that was later exaggerated by poets. In short, it discredited the most of the Hindu tradition and almost all its ancient literature. It turned its scriptures and sages into fantacies and exaggerations.

This served a social, political and economical purpose of domination, proving the superiority of Western culture and religion. It made the Hindus feel that their culture was not the great thing that their sages and ancestors had said it was. It made Hindus feel ashamed of their culture - that its basis was neither historical nor scientific. It made them feel that the main line of civilization was developed first in the Middle East and then in Europe and that the culture of India was peripheral and secondary to the real development of world culture.

Such a view is not good scholarship or archeology but merely cultural imperialism. The Western Vedic scholars did in the intellectual spehere what the British army did in the political realm - discredit, divide and conquer the Hindus.

In short, the compelling reasons for the Aryan invasion theory were neither literary nor archeological but political and religious - that is to say, not scholarship but prejudice. Such prejudice may not have been intentional but deep-seated political and religious views easily cloud and blur our thinking.

It is unfortunate that this this approach has not been questioned more, particularly by Hindus. Even though Indian Vedic scholars like Dayananda saraswati, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Arobindo rejected it, most Hindus today passively accept it. They allow Western, generally Christian, scholars to interpret their history for them and quite naturally Hinduism is kept in a reduced role. Many Hindus still accept, read or even honor the translations of the 'Vedas' done by such Christian missionary scholars as Max Muller, Griffith, Monier- Williams and H. H. Wilson. Would modern Christians accept an interpretation of the Bible or Biblical history done by Hindus aimed
at converting them to Hinduism? Universities in India also use the Western history books and Western Vedic translations that propound such views that denigrate their own culture and country.

The modern Western academic world is sensitive to critisms of cultural and social biases. For scholars to take a stand against this biased interpretation of the 'Vedas' would indeed cause a reexamination of many of these historical ideas that can not stand objective scrutiny. But if Hindu scholars are silent or passively accept the misinterpretation of their own culture, it will undoubtly continue, but they will have no one to blame but themselves. It is not an issue to be taken lightly, because how a culture is defined historically creates the perspective from which it is viewed in the modern social and intellectual context.
Tolerance is not in allowing a false view of one's own culture and religion to be propagated without question. That is merely self-betrayal.