Showing posts with label saraswathi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label saraswathi. Show all posts

Origin of Indo - Europeans

The whole theory of Indo-European is based on the premise that if Latin, Greek and Sanskrit were similar, it should be branched out of earlier single Language. So next question comes , what is the original home of Indo – European people who spoke this language. Let us see the likeliest candidates.

First we have to see the characteristics of Indo – Europeans. Are they?

  1. Hunter gatherers, Pastoral Nomads, Agriculturists etc

  2. Vocabulary : Animals, Plants, Agriculture etc

  3. Technical sophistication

  4. Culture Level

  5. Geography

Anatolia

Collin Renfrew says Indo-European homeland as Anatolia and they practiced agriculture around 7000BC. one of their groups moved westward to Europe, crossing the Bosporus and another -group, moving eastward, via the region south of the Caucasus mountains and the Caspian Sea, into Iran from where it must have subsequently entered Afghanistan and India. In an alternative scenario, Renfrew thinks that the Indo-Europeans split up after entering Europe and then the eastern branch went to south-central Asia, via north of the Black and Caspian Seas, whence it moved on to northeastern Iran, Afghanistan and India.

Theory fails on two counts

  1. If Indians and Europeans lived together as farmers ,their vocabulary should have common words or words originating from common words. But there are none.

  2. Secondly Hittite language from which the commonness is perceived is a minority language of Elite and basal language is non-European.

Caucasus

Gamkrelidze and Ivanov say Indo-European homeland between Black Sea and Caspian sea. This theory is based on linguistic paleontology. Since there is mountains , rivers, Lakes in the vacabulary. They also added that the Indo-European has lot of semitic loan words.

This theory fails because.

  1. Many scholars have shown semitic loan words as misplaced theory.

  2. Armenian language spoken in the area has large number of non Indo-European words, meaning there is another native language spoken. Which suggest that Indo-Europeans are not from that area.

Kurgan

Kurgan is steppes north of Black and Caspian Sea. There archaeological remains of Burial barrows (Kurgan in Slavic language) have been found. Maria Gimbutas says Indo- Europeans are essentially horse riding warriors who can thrust the weapons and can easily overrun the area. By 4000BC they reached central Europe.

This theory fails because

  1. On the technology and cultural level kurgan were essentially pastrol nomads.

  2. Mounted warriors were seen in Europe around 1000BC only says Renfrew

  3. Linguistically there is no relation between pastrol Kurgan and Farming Indo – European says Kathrin Krell, Mallory and Schmitt

Sogdiana

Johanna Nichols says Sogodiana was their homeland, from there they spread to Aral sea and they split into two.

This theory fails on the basis

  1. There seems to be only language spread with no people movement. It is unlikely to have happened when there was No TV , Radio or Internet.

  2. There is no centre to periphery spread, there is no eastern spread of the language which is baffling.

Indian Subcontinent

According to this theory India is the home of Indo- European languages. This theory was put forward in 18th century but has no takers then. Why now? Because new findings have come which has resurrected the theory. They are

  1. Mehrgarh neolithic are farming in wheat , domesticated animals in contrast to pastrol sheep and goat. So the Mehrgarh are Indigenous.

  2. Journey from Early charcolithic to Indus valley civilization is continuous. After studying the skulls there was a Biological continuity as well right up to the present day from early charcolithic days.

  3. Most Important one is finding the Indus valley and Rig veda people are same Mentioning of the River saraswathi which is cradle of Indus valley Civilization.

  4. Geographical evidence of confirms to Rivers , Mountains , Lakes etc.

  5. Boghaz Kuei inscription(1400BC), refers to Indra, Mitra, Nasatya and Varuna as witnesses to a treaty between the Mitanni king Matiwaza and the Hittite king Suppiluliuma.

  6. T. Burrow came to the conclusion: “The Indo- Europeans appear in Mitanni from 1500 BC as the ruling dynasty, which means that they must have entered the country as conquerors from no where else but from India.

Conclusion

Indo- Europeans are from India. Whether the Greek , Latin and Sanskrit (Vedic) are related we will see in another article.

Source

The Homeland of Indo-European Languages And Culture: Some Thoughts

Author: Prof. B. B. Lal

Myth of Invasion Rig veda Aryans

The geography of the Rigveda has been the most misrepresented aspect of the text in the hands of the scholars: the geographical information in the Rigveda, to put it in a nutshell, more or less pertains to the area from Uttar Pradesh in the east to Afghanistan in the west, the easternmost river mentioned in the text being the GaNgA, and the westernmost being the western tributaries of the Indus.


However many western scholars have maintained that Rig veda people moved from west to India, Let us see the common most evidence rivers


Let us see the counter arguements.


Rivers
There are three rivers named in the Rigveda to which this applies: the SarasvatI, GomatI and Sarayu. The SarasvatI in the Rigveda is the river to the east of the Punjab (flowing through Haryana) and the GomatI and Sarayu in the Rigveda are rivers to the west of the Punjab (western tributaries of the Indus). This is the general consensus, and it is confirmed by an examination of the references in the Rigveda.


Afghanisthan
But a SarasvatI (HaraxvaitI) and a Sarayu (Haroiiu) are also found in Afghanistan; and a GomatI and a Sarayu are found in northeastern Uttar Pradesh.


Some say GaNgA and YamunA of the Rigveda are rivers in Afghanistan. A political “scholar”, Rajesh Kochhar, say the events in the RAmAyaNa took place in Afghanistan, transfers the entire locale of the epic to Afghanistan: “Ravana’s Lanka can be a small island in the midst of river Indus… by Vindhyas is meant Baluch hills, and by sea the Lower Indus. SarasvatI is identified with Helmand and GaNgA and YamunA as its tributaries in the hilly areas of Afghanistan. He makes this revolutionary discovery on the basis of a verse in the VAlmIki RAmAyaNa where “YamunA is described as surrounded by mountains”


Rhipaean mountains
An extreme attempt is to suggest that a root word rip- in the Rigveda indicates a subdued memory of the Rhipaean mountains: the Urals.


Central Asia
Saptasindhu, it is suggested by some, refers to seven rivers in Central Asia, and the SarasvatI in the Rigveda is not the river of Haryana, but the river of Afghanistan


Let us see the rig veda terms and Meanings


Rivers
1. The Northwestern Rivers (western tributaries of the Indus, flowing through Afghanistan and the north): TRSTAmA (Gilgit) , Susartu, AnitabhA, RasA, SvetI, KubhA (Kabul), Krumu (Kurrum) GomatI (Gomal), Sarayu (Siritoi), Mehatnu, SvetyAvarI, Prayiyu (Bara), Vayiyu, SuvAstu(Swat), GaurI (Panjkora), KuSavA (Kunar).

2. The Indus and eastern tributaries: Sindhu (Indus), SuSomA (Sohan), ArjIkIyA (Haro)

3. The Central Rivers( rivers of the Punjab): VitastA (Jhelum), AsiknI (Chenab), ParuSNI (Ravi), VipAS (Beas), SuturI (Satlaj), MarudvRdhA (Maruvardhvan).

4. The East-central Rivers ( rivers of Haryana):SarasvatI, DRSadvatI/HariyUpIyA/YavyAvatI ApayA

5. The Eastern Rivers: ASmanvatI (Assan, a tributary of the YamunA), YamunA/AMSumatI , GaNgA/JahnAvI.



Let us see the disputed rivers

1. HariyUpIyA/YavyAvatI: HariyUpIyA is another name of the DRSadvatI: the river is known as RaupyA in the MahAbhArata, and the name is clearly a derivative of HariyUpIyA.
The YavyAvatI is named in the same hymn and context as the HariyUpIyA, and almost all the scholars agree that both the names refers to the same river.

It is also possible that YavyAvatI may be another name of the YamunA. M.L. Bhargava, in his study of Rigvedic Geography, incidentally (i.e. without making such an identification) makes the following remarks: “The old beds of the ancient DRSadvatI and the YamunA… ran very close to each other… the two rivers appear to have come close at a place about three miles southwest of ChacharaulI town, but diverged again immediately after… the YamunA… then again ran southwestwards almost parallel to the DRSadvatI, the two again coming about two miles close to each other near old Srughna……”

The battle described on the HariyUpIyA -YavyAvatI may therefore have taken place in the area between these rivers


2.JahnAvI: JahnAvI, which is clearly another name of the GaNgA, is named in two hymns; and in both of them, it is translated by the scholars as something other than the name of a river: Griffith translates it as “Jahnu’s children” and “the house of Jahnu” .

The evidence, however, admits of only one interpretation: JahnAvI is clearly the earlier Rigvedic form of the later word GaNgA: the former word is not found after the Rigveda, and the latter word is not found in the Rigveda. And the word JAhnavI (and therefore also JahnAvI as well) has only one connotation in the entire length and breadth of Sanskrit literature: it is a name of the GaNgA. JahndvI is associated with the SiMSumAra or the Gangetic dolphin. The dolphin is not referred to anywhere else in the Rigveda.



Mandalas and Rivers
Let us see manadala wise distribution of rivers and so the location of rig veda composition in each place.

Early MaNDala I
Sarasvat

Middle MaNDala I
SarasvatI, Sindhu

General and Late MaNDala I
GaurI, RasA , Sindhu, SarasvatI, JahnAvI


MaNDala II
SarasvatI


MaNDala III
VipAS, SutudrI, SarasvatI, DRSadvatI, ApayA, JahnAvI


MaNDala IV
Sarayu, KuSavA, Sindhu, ParuSNI, VipAS, RasA


MaNDala V
Sarayu, KubhA, Krumu, AnitabhA, RasA, Sindhu, ParuSNI, SarasvatI, YamunA


MaNDala VI
SarasvatI, HariyUpIyA, YavyAvatI, GaNgA


MaNDala VII
AsiknI, ParuSNI, SarasvatI, YamunA


MaNDala VIII
GomatI, SvetyAvarI, SuvAstu, Prayiyu, Vayiyu, Sindhu, ArjIkIyA, SuSomA, , ParuSNI, SarasvatI, AMSumatI, RasA


MaNDala IX
Sindhu, ArjIkIyA, SarasvatI, RasA.


MaNDala X
Sarayu, GomatI, Mehatnu, KubhA, Krumu, Sveti, RasA, Susartu, TRSTAmA, , ArjIkIyA, SuSomA, VitastA, MarudvRdhA, AsiknI, ParuSNI, SutudrI, SarasvatI, ASmanvatI, YamunA, GaNgA


Mandalas and movement
1. In the pre-Rigvedic period and the early part of the Early Period (MaNDala VI), the Vedic Aryans were inhabitants of an area to the east of the SarasvatI.

2. In the course of the Early Period (MaNDalas III and VII), and the early part of the Middle Period (MaNDala IV and the middle upa-maNDalas), there was a steady expansion westwards.

3. Though there was an expansion westwards, the basic area of the Vedic Aryans was still restricted to the east in the Middle Period (MaNDala II), and even in the early parts of the Late Period: MaNDala V knows the western rivers from the KubhA (Kabul) in the north to the Sarayu (Siritoi) in the south, but its base is still in the east. SarasvatI is still the most important river in the MaNDala: it is referred to by the eponymous RSi Atri, who also refers to the RasA. All the other references to the western rivers (Sarayu, KubhA, Krumu, AnitabhA, RasA, Sindhu) occur in a single verse by a single RSi SyAvASva, obviously a very mobile RSi who also refers elsewhere to the ParuSNI and even the YamunA .

4. In the later part of the Late Period (MaNDalas VIII, IX, X, and the general and late upa-maNDalas) the Vedic Aryans were spread out over the entire geographical horizon of the Rigveda.


Thus, we have a clear picture of the westward movement of the Vedic Aryans from their homeland in the east of the SarasvatI to the area to the west of the Indus, towards the end of the Early Period of the Rigveda: what is clearly the westermnost point in this movement, a battle fought in southern Afghanistan “on yonder side of Sarayu”.


So the rig veda people are home to India not from outside

Source

Date of Rig Veda

Date of Rig veda has always been controversial as it is the oldest surviving literary work. Generally it is put at 1900BC. Let us see how it came to that date and how experts differ on that date.

Max Muller
Max Muller assigned the period 1500 BCE to 500 BCE for Rigveda Samhita. One of the reasons given is that beginnings of human kind cannot be earlier to 4000 B.C.E. Muller took particular care to ensure that the hypothetical Aryan invasion took place after the Biblical flood and he arbitrarily assigned a date of 1200 B.C to the Rig Veda, which is considered as the oldest among the four Vedas. Since the evidence was flimsy, he recanted his earlier assignment near the end of his life

Aryan Invasion theory
This Aryan invasion theory was proposed by the British archaeologist Wheeler around the early part of the twentieth century. According to this theory, all the Vedas were not composed in India. They were composed by members of tribes, the so called Aryans, who invaded India from the Northwest, destroyed the old civilisation in the Indus Valley, supposedly Dravidian, and drove out these original inhabitants to the south of India and other parts. The ruins of this early Indus Valley civilisation dated 3000 BCE to 7000BCE or earlier. By this theory the date of Rig Veda is before 3000BC. All the modern archaeologists like Shaffer declare that there is no archaeological evidence for such an invasion; the invasion is a myth propagated by historians.

Avesta and Rig Veda
It lookslike avestan and vedas are not related , unnecesarily told they are related to create confusion.
According to Thapar, the date of Avesta has been controversial, but a mid-second millennium date is now being accepted. Thapar considers the the Hittite-Mittani treaty as more archaic than the Sanskrit of Rig-Veda and hence dates Rig-Veda to be of a date closer to the language and concept of Avesta.
Georg Fuerstein, Subhash Kak and David Frawley dismiss the dates suggested by Thapar, A. L. Basham and Max Muller. According to them, the Rig Veda mentions the river Saraswati which disappeared in 1900 BCE and so it has to be at least eight centuries older than the Max Muller's arbitrary date of 1200 BC. Vedic literature is considered older than Avestan literature by 500 - 1000 years though the dating of both is speculative.
The Mittani Indo-Aryan language is considered older than Vedic or Avestan because it has aika instead of eka. Vedic is supposed to to have merged ai to e and hence is considered younger. But if you take the word for seven in Mittani - satta, it is considered to be much later than Vedic. So some folks believe that this dating based on selectively chosen words cannot be trusted fully.
If you look at the Avestan and Vedic language you see that 'h' in one language has been renamed as 's' in another. There are people like Rajesh Kochchar and Romila Thapar who believe that the Vedic people migrated from the Haraxvati (Saraswati) region in Afghanistan and not the mythical Saraswati flowing underground through Rajasthan. It seems this replacing 's' with 'h' is prevalent in some parts of Rajasthan and Assam even today. One point of view is that it is not possible to find which one came first based on language traits.

Saraswati
The Sarasvati described in Rigveda is a massive river, located between Yamuna and Shutadrī (Sutlej) flowing into the ocean. The satellite studies indicate this river as completely dried up by the date 1750 BCE. The Satellite study cannot refer to the Sarasvati (Haraquiti) river in Afghanistan since it is a small river that dries up in the desert. Thus the lower bound for the Vedic civilisation is 1750 BCE. It is more ancient than this date because Rigveda does not mention any desert; it is mentioned in the Brāhmaņa books - Shatapatha Brāhmaņa - which is at least 500-1000 years later than Rigveda Samhita.

Mathematics
The knowledge of mathematics in Rigveda and related texts is another important evidence. Rigveda not only mentions the decimal number system for integers but also the infinity. It mentions in detail the spoked wheel with arbitrary number of spokes (1.164.13,14,48). Clearly such verses would imply that these authors knew the associated mathematical properties of circle and square. The algorithm for circling the square needed for making the spoked wheel is given in the Baudhāyana Shulba Sūtra which is the oldest of the Shulba Sūtrās, ancient mathematical texts dealing with the methods for the construction of altars needed in Vedic rituals and other related mathematical topics. These books are later than the Rigveda Samhita. Even though Dutta made a detailed study of these books around 1930 and showed that the theorem attributed to Pythogoras is contained in these books in a more general form, the western indologists like Keith (or Whitney earlier) did not pay much attention since they were convinced, without any proof, that all the sciences in ancient India - mathematics, astronomy etc., were borrowed from Greeks or Egyptians. It was in 1962 that the American mathematician Seidenberg showed that, “the elements of ancient geometry found in Egypt and Babylonia stem from a ritual system of the kind found in Shulba Sūtrās.” The Shulba Sūtrās contain the algorithm for building the pyramid shaped funeral altar (smashāņa chit). Recall that the Egyptian pyramids are used as tombs for the dead. There is no ancient Egyptian literature for the detailed construction of these pyramids. Hence it is more than likely that their source is the Shulba Sūtrās. This piece of evidence fixes the date for the Baudhāyana Shulba Sūtra which gives a lower bound date for Rigveda.

Astronomy
Rigveda and all other ancient books contain several statements of astronomical significance like the position of Sun in the Zodiac on the two equinoxes, vernal or spring equinox and autumn equinox. Indian Astronomy is based on sidereal Zodiac. The Zodiac is divided into 27 roughly equal segments, all are measuring 130 20' of arc. The seventh mandala of the Rigveda records the vernal equinox in Mrigashira Constellation pointing to a date around 4000 BCE - a fact noted by Jacobi and Tilak. Again several Shulba Sūtrās declare that a pole star is visible. Since a visible pole star occurs only at certain epochs, such a citation gives a normal range of dates for that event. The astronomical dates put the dates before 4000BC.

Silver & Cotton
Again Rigveda does not mention either silver or cotton. Since the date of cotton is well established, again we get a lower bound on the Rig Vedic date.

Sages
Rigveda repeatedly refers to ancient sages and modern sages. The age associated with these ancient sages can be called as the high Rig Vedic period which is declared to be 3100 BCE or early. This period 3700-3800 BCE is the closing of the Rig Vedic age, especially the Mandalas seven and third associated with the sages Vasişhţa and Vishvāmitra. The Shulba Sūtrā texts of Baudhāyana, Ashvalāyana etc., can be dated 3100-2000 BCE; 1900 BCE is the drying up of Sarasvati and the end of Vedic age.

Iron Age
There is no mention of Iron in Rig veda , As the iron age starts before 12th century BC. The dates have to much earlier than that. 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 ironbased culture or that there enemies were not.


Indus Valley Civilization.
Bhagwan Singh, an avid writer on the Indus Valley civilisation, sees the entire Harappan ecology in the Rig Veda. He chides those who have been "using both their brains and chair to save the Vedic Aryans from the Harappan authorship". "Now we have a continuous history of the Indian continent from 7000 BC. But isn't it ironical that we couldn't identify any of the archaeological cultures with literary cultures?" asks an archaeologist who does not want to be identified. He has no doubt that the Rig Vedic Aryans were the authors of the Harappan civilisation.

Saraswathi River Myth and Reality

Haryana government recently built a lake park near Pipli, in district Kurukashetra, where the legendary river Sarasvati would have crossed the Grand Trunk road. The statue of goddess Sarasvati installed in the newly built park bears the inscription of the Rigveda phrase: Ambitame, Naditame, Devitame, in praise of the mighty river of the past. This monument is as much a tribute to the legendary river as it is in recognition of the efforts of numerous Indian scholars, historians, archaeologists, hydro-geologists and the new breed of scientists - the satellite imagery experts- diligently pursuing research on the Sarasvati legend. Combined effort of these scholar-scientists is daily turning over new evidence in support of the Sarasvati legend. In fact, we are witnessing a great event, which promises to move the legend of Sarasvati into the realm of history. This event will pave the way for pushing back the recorded history of the Indian sub-continent by a few thousand years. Even more important is the fact that this is the first effort, at this scale, undertaken by the scholars and scientists from this sub-continent.

There are numerous references to river Sarasvati in the ancient Indian literature of the Vedic and post- vedic period. Rigveda, the largest and the most ancient of the four Vedas, describes Sarasvati as a mighty river with many individually recognised tributaries. The sacred book calls Sarasvati as the seventh river of the Sindhu-Sarasvati river system, hence the name Saptsindhu for the region bounded by rivers Sarasvati in the east and Sindhu (modern Indus) in the west. Rigveda hymns also describe life and times of the people residing in the Sarasvati river valley. Indian literature also contains references to the existence of many centers of learning on the banks of this river and its tributaries. Some of the tributaries of the lost river like Markanda and Tangri still bear the names of the Vedic sages. The awe and esteem the river inspired during the vedic period is best summed by the three-word tribute to the river in the Rigveda: ambitame – the best of the mothers, naditame – the best of the rivers, and devitame – the best of the goddesses. These words have been appropriately inscribed on the statue of Sarasvati at the Haryana monument.

In other words, during the Vedic period, Sarasvati was recognised as greatest of the rivers that nurtured the people living on its banks like a loving mother, and supported a number of learning centers and their resident scholars, ascetics, sages and seers (rishies and munis) like a benevolent deity. In view of this, it may be safe to assume that the ancient Vedic literature was itself written on the banks of this river. By nurturing such a pursuit of divine knowledge, Sarasvati appropriately assumes the status of the goddess of language, learning, arts and sciences - the best of the goddesses. If this is true, what a great scholarly heritage the Vedic Saptsindhu – the later Punjab spread from Peshawar to Delhi - is endowed with!

Post- vedic literature, most prominently the Mahabharata, has references to the drying river Sarasvati. Mahabharta describes Balrama’s pilgrimage from Dawarka to Mathura along the drying bed of this river. There are also references to Balrama’s visits to a number of centers of learning (rishi Ashrams) during this journey completing the picture of a mighty drying river that supported great centers of learning in its heyday. Later, during the middle ages, there are references to fissures and faults in the ground on the dry bed of river Sarasvati. Invading armies of Islam marching from Sindh province to Delhi are reported to have taken longer mountain route instead of the shorter route of the dry Sarasvati bed because of the difficulties in crossing the fissure in the river bed. Recently, Landsat (USA launched series of remote sensing satellites) imagery has also confirmed the existence of a large number of ground faults in the earthquake prone northwest India, that constituted the Sarasvati –Sindhu valley. Such ground faults have caused the seepage of Sarasvati water to underground channels, contributing to the legend of the Vedic Sarasvati disappearing underground.

Chance discovery of Harappa and Mohenjodaro in 1920s, as a result of the railroad building activity, revealed a lost but mature civilisation. Sir John Marshall, leading the excavations at that time, named it as the Indus Valley Civilization because these two ruined cities were located on the banks of the Indus river and its tributary, Ravi. Discovery of Harappa type ruins at Ropar in the Indian side of Punjab, soon after partition, proved that the Indus Valley Civilasation was more extensive than originally thought. This, and some similar finds in quick succession, started a competition, perhaps the only healthy one, between the Indian and Pakistani archaeologists for the search for Indus valley civilisation sites.

In the process, more than 1400 sites containing the Harappa like artifacts have been discovered and more are still being revealed. Two third of these sites are located on the Indian side the remaining one third are located on the Pakistani side of the border. Prominent among these sites are Guneriwala in Pakistan, Manda in Jammu and Kashmir, Ropar in Punjab, Banawali and Rakhigarhi in Haryana, Alamgirpur near Meerut, Kalibangan in Rajasthan, Lothal, Dholavira and Surkotada in Gujarat and Daimabad in Maharashtra. When plotted on the map, these sites seem to crowd around the dry bed of river Ghaggar in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, and rivers Hakra and Nara in Bahawalpur and Sind in Pakisstan, and ending in the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat. Ghaggar is called Hakra when it enters Bahawalpur in Pakistan and continues as Nara in the Sindh province.

The artifacts recovered from these Harappan sites confirm the description of the professions followed by the Sarasvati valley people of the vedic times. Their professions included agriculture, weaving, animal husbandry and pasturing, metalworking, pottery, beads manufacturing and gold and silver working. At the Lothal site, a huge dock capable of handling ocean going and river navigation ships has been excavated. Some donut shaped stone anchors have also been found at Lothal and other sites indicating internal and external maritime trade. A visitor to the photo exhibition of the Harappan sites, held at Chandigarh recently, was visibly impressed with the evidence of town planning, brick structures, water management and drainage. He wondered loudly as to how much more time is needed for the modern Indian cities to achieve the sophistication of these ancient sites.

Harappan sites match the Vedic description of the Sarasvati valley people, and these sites are concentrated around the dry bed of Ghaggar river, which is also being recognised as the dry bed of the river Sarasvati. The combination of archaeological evidence on the ground, and satellite imagery from space would place the extent of this civilisation at approximately one and a half million square kilometers – the largest among the contemporary civilisations like Sumer and Egyptian. Considering the evidence gathered so far, it is more appropriate to rename the Indus Valley Civilisation as Sarasvati – Sindhu Civilisation. This civilisation was so much dependent upon the river Sarasvati that it was ill prepared to survive its loss. Losing their means of subsisdence as the river started drying, the population started migrating to east and south to settle on the banks of rivers Ganges, Yamuna, Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri. This fact truly justifies the Rigveda title of Ambitame – the best of the mothers – for the river Sarasvati.

In 1980, Professor Yashpal and others recognised the palaeo-channels of the erstwhile Sarasvati using Landsat imagery. In 1996, Professor Valdiya traced the course of river Sarasvati from West Garhwal in the Himalayas to the Gulf of Khambat in Gujarat using hydro-geological studies. There is remarkable similarity in the course of the river Sarasvati identified from these two different sources. According to this, the Vedic Sarasvati followed the course of modern rivers Ghaggar, Hakra and Nara where most of the Indus Valley sites are also located. In 1997, Drs. S.M. Rao and K.M. Kulkarni of the Bhaba Atomic Research Center tracked the old course of river Sarasvati from its source in Himalayas and its flow through Rajasthan, Bhawalpur and Sindh to the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, again using Landsat imagery. Using low levels of tritium, a naturally occurring radioactive isotope, they also collected evidence to prove that waters trapped in the underground channels below the ancient course of the river Sarasvati belonged to that river. Other scientists have used Indian Remote Sensing (IRS – 1 series) satellites to track the bed of the lost river Sarasvati, confirming the results reached by the scientists mentioned above.

Dr. S. Kalynaraman, who took premature retirement from the Asian Development Bank to work on the Sarasvati river project, has set up the Sarasvati-Sindhu Research Center at Chennai. At this center, he has compiled a 200-page monogram reviewing the Sarasvati related research. This book is available for downloading from the internet site http://www.probys.com/sarasvati. The map on this page shows the history of the river system in northwest India with the course of river Sarasvati and its tributaries in the vedic period superimposed on the current river system of the Indo-Gangetic plain. The map is the result of research collated from all sources by Dr. Kalyanaraman’s team. Incidentally, Dr. Kalyanaraman’s work also inspired the Haryana’s Sarasvati Park project.



River Sarasvati originates from the Har-ki-dhun glacier in West Garhwal, Bandarpunch massif in the Himalayas alongwith river Yamuna. The two rivers flowed parallel for some distance and later joined together, proceeding south as the Vedic Sarasvati. More seasonal rivers and rivulets, including Ghaggar, joined Sarasvati as it followed the course of the present river Ghaggar through modern Punjab, and Haryana. River Sutlej, the Vedic Shatdru, joined the river Sarasvati as a tributary at Shatrana, approximately 25 kilometers south of Patiala. Sarasvati then followed the course of Ghaggar through Rajasthan and Hakra in Bhawalpur before emptying into the Rann of Kutch via Nara in Sindh province, running parallel to the Indus river. There is no doubt that the river Sarasvati, carrying the waters of three perennial and numerous seasonal rivers, was a mighty river in the vedic times and well deserved the Rigveda title of naditame – greatest of the rivers.

How and when was this mighty river lost? Evidence collected so far shows that the river disappeared due to a combination of reasons spread over a few hundred years possibly between 2000 to 1500 BC. Main reasons contributing to the drying of the river Sarasvati appear to be the loss of its important tributaries due to changes in river course, climate changes like long periods of draught and water seepage through earth faults and fissures combined with the obstruction of river flow by shifting of sand due to high winds. Whole of northwest India, upto the Rann of Kutch, was subject to earth quake activity resulting in raising of the ground, and creation of earth faults which contributed to the loss of water of this river.

When the Aravallis range is traced north to the Himalayas there is evidence of rise in the ground level on the line of Aravallis. This change in the ground level appears to have caused the turning of the river Yamuna eastwards at Paontasahib to join the Ganges at Allahabad. This river capturing denied the waters of Yamuna to Sarasvati. Another blow to the river Sarasvati was struck when Sutlej took a sharp U-turn at Ropar moving to flow parallel to the river Beas, the Vedic Vipasa. Having lost both of its perennial tributaries, i.e., rivers Yamuna and Sutlej, river Sarasvati would have been a drying river in around 2000 BC It is probable that desertification of Rajasthan would have taken place at that time. As supported by the hydro-geological evidence, the ground faults and sand movement would have caused the seepage of the remaining waters of river Sarasvati to underground channels, leaving a dry riverbed.
Last part of the legend is that the Sarasvati meets the Ganges and Yamuna at the confluence (sangam) at Allahabad (Paryag). Neither archaeological finds nor satellite images support any evidence of the river Sarasvati ever flowing east towards Allahabd, either over the ground or underground. Some modern scholars interpret the capture of Sarasvati waters by Yamuna also to mean the confluence of Yamuna and Sarasvati jointly with Ganges at Allahabad. If this is accepted, meeting of Sutlej with Beas has equal claim to the confluence of three rivers, i.e., Sutlej, Beas and Sarasvati. When, however, the Rigveda tribute to the river Sarasvati as devitame – best of the goddesses - is considered, an entirely new perspective to the legend emerges.

There is enough evidence in the ancient Indian literature to prove that there were numerous centers of learning (rishi asharams) on the banks of river Sarasvati and its tributaries. These learning centers supported a large number of scholars (gurus) and students (shishyas), mostly Brahmins. Considering the ancient Indian scholarly traditions, the composition, recording, preservation and dissemination of the vedic knowledge was purely an oral process and no written medium was used for the purpose. Thus, goddess Sarasvati resided with the ascetics and scholars who were repository to the divine knowledge. Authors of the ancient Indian philosophy were, therefore, rightly conscious of the need for periodic meetings between the Vedic scholars spread over the country for improvement, preservation and spread of this knowledge. With these aims in view, and knowing the 12 year cycle of the solar eclipses to last to eternity, they smartly prescribed meeting of the scholars every 12 years at Paryag (Allahabad) before a dip at the confluence of rivers Ganges and Yamuna at the onset of the solar eclipse. Allahabad is located at the geographic center of the country and, as such, is an ideal location for the scholars from the whole of the country to meet, specially when they had to travel on foot. This is like setting up a timetable for the annual Indian Science Congress conferences for eternity.
The saints and scholars would set on their journey to Allahabad from all parts of the country sufficiently in advance of the coming solar eclipse. They would walk from village to village on the way, disseminating their knowledge of the scriptures to the local population through evening discourses. Some enterprising individuals would pack up and travel with them to earn the merit of the goddess Sarasvati. There would be continuous conferences of these saints at Allahabad debating the most current interpretation of the scriptures. These conferences would concluded just before the onset of the solar eclipse. The saints would then go in a triumphant procession to take a collective dip at the sangam, at the onset of solar eclipse. Since goddess Sarasvati resides with these scholars, the collective dip in the river amounts to the ceremonial visit of goddess Sarsvati to the goddesses Ganges and Yamuuna. It is at this moment that the confluence of three rivers has taken place. The general public would then take the dip in the confluence of three rivers/goddesses including Sarasvati, the goddess of learning, and the vedic amitame – the best of the goddesses. Thus, earning the merit of the three goddesses.

It is only the beginning of the multi-disciplinary research in the Sarasvati legend. Many questions like the languages, scripts and administrative set up of the Sarasvati-Sindhu Civilasation still need to be answered. It may be worth waiting for these answers.

ambitame, nadi_tame, devitameDr. Naresh K. Gupta article in Tribune

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.