Death of the Aryan Invasion Theory
By Stephen Knapp
With only a small amount of research, a person can discover that each area of the world has its own ancient culture that includes its own gods and legends about the origins of various cosmological realities, and that many of these are very similar. But where did all these stories and gods come from? Did they all spread around the world from one particular source, only to change according to differences in language and customs? If not, then why are some of these gods and goddesses of various areas of the world so alike?
Unfortunately, information about prehistoric religion is usually gathered through whatever remnants of earlier cultures we can find, such as bones in tombs and caves, or ancient sculptures, writings, engravings, wall paintings, and other relics. From these we are left to speculate about the rituals, ceremonies, and beliefs of the people and the purposes of the items found. Often we can only paint a crude picture of how simple and backwards these ancient people were while not thinking that more advanced civilizations may have left us next to nothing in terms of physical remains. They may have built houses out of wood or materials other than stone that have since faded with the seasons, or were simply replaced with other buildings over the years, rather than buried by the sands of time for archeologists to unearth. They also may have cremated their dead, as some societies did, leaving no bones to discover. Thus, without ancient museums or historical records from the past, there would be no way of really knowing what the prehistoric cultures were like.
If a few thousand years in the future people could uncover our own houses after being buried for so long and find television antennas on top of each house wired to a television inside, who knows what they would think. Without a recorded history of our times they might speculate that the antennas, being pointed toward the heavens, were used for us to commune with our gods who would appear, by mystic power, on the screen of the television box inside our homes. They might also think that we were very much devoted to our gods since some houses might have two, three, or more televisions, making it possible for us to never be without contact with our gods through the day. And since the television was usually found in a prominent area, with special couches and reclining chairs, this must surely be the prayer room where we would get the proper inspiration for living life. Or they might even think that the television was itself the god, the idol of our times. This, of course, would not be a very accurate picture, but it reflects the difficulty we have in understanding ancient religion by means of analyzing the remnants we find. However, when we begin comparing all the religions of the world, we can see how they are all interrelated and have a source from which most of them seem to have originated. And most of them can be traced to the East.
Most scholars agree that the earliest of religions seems to have arisen from the most ancient of organized cultures, which are either the Sumerians along the Euphrates, or the Aryans located in the region of the Indus Valley. In fact, these two cultures were related. C. L. Woolley, one of the world=s foremost archeologists, establishes in his book, The Sumerians, that the facial characteristics of the Sumerian people can be traced to Afghanistan, Baluchistan, and on to the Indus region. The early Indus civilization, which was remarkably developed, has many similarities with Sumer over 1500 miles away, especially in regard to the rectangular seals that have identical subjects on them, and are similar in the style of engraving and inscriptions. There are also similarities in the methods used in the ground plans and construction of buildings. Woolley suggests that, rather than concluding too quickly that the Sumerians and Indus civilization shared the same race or political culture, which may actually have been the case, or that such similarities were merely from trade connections, the evidence at least indicates that the two societies shared a common source.
The researcher and scholar L. A. Waddell offers more evidence to show the relation between the Aryans and the Sumerians. He states in his book, The Indo Sumerian Seals Deciphered, that the discovery and translation of the Sumerian seals along the Indus Valley give evidence that the Aryan society existed there from as long ago as 3100 B.C. Several Sumerian seals found along the Indus bore the names of famous Vedic Aryan seers and princes familiar in the Vedic hymns. Therefore, these Aryan personalities were not merely part of an elaborate myth, like some people seem to proclaim, but actually lived five thousand years ago as related in the Vedic epics and Puranas.
Waddell also says that the language and religion of the Indo‑Aryans were radically similar to that of the Sumerians and Phoenicians, and that the early Aryan kings of the Indian Vedas are identical with well‑known historical kings of the Sumerians. He believes that the decipherment of these seals from the Indus Valley confirms that the Sumerians were actually the early Aryans and authors of Indian civilization. He concludes that the Sumerians were Aryans in physique, culture, religion, language, and writing. He also feels that the early Sumerians on the Persian Gulf near 3100 B.C. were Phoenicians who were Aryans in race and speech, and were the introducers of Aryan civilization in ancient India. Thus, he concludes that it was the Aryans who were the bearers of high civilization and who spread throughout the Mediterranean, Northwest Europe, and Britain, as well as India. However, he states that the early Aryan Sumero‑Phoenicians did not become a part of the Aryan Invasion of India until the seventh century B.C. after their defeat by the Assyrian Sargon II in 718 B.C. at Carchemish in Upper Mesopotamia. Though the Sumerians indeed may have been Aryan people, some researchers feel that rather than being the originators of Vedic Aryan culture, or part of an invasion into India, they were an extension of the Vedic culture that originated in India and spread through Persia and into Europe.
THEORIES ON THE ARYAN ORIGINS
This brings us to the different theories that scholars have about the origins of the Aryan society. Though it seems evident that an Aryan society was in existence in the Indus Valley by 3100 B.C., not everyone agrees with the dates that Waddell has presented for the Aryan Invasion into India, and whether the Aryans were actually invaders is doubtful. Obviously, different views on the Aryanization of India are held by different historians. Some scholars say that it was about 1000 B.C. when Aryans entered Iran from the north and then occupied the Indus region by 800 B.C. In this scenario, the Aryans had to have entered India sometime after this. But others say that it was between 1500 and 1200 B.C. that the Aryans entered India and composed hymns that make up the Rig‑veda. So some people calculate that the Rig‑veda must have been composed around 1400 B.C.
Mr. Pargiter, another noted scholar, contends that Aryan influence in India was felt long before the composition of the Vedic hymns. He states that the Aryans entered India near 2000 B.C. over the Central Himalayas and later spread into the Punjab. Brunnhofer and others argue that the composition of the Rig‑veda took place not in the Punjab, but in Afghanistan or Iran. This theory assumes that Aryan entrance into India was much later.
Even Max Muller, the great orientalist and translator of Eastern texts, was also a great proponent of speculating on the dates of the compilations of the Vedas. He admitted that his ideas on the dates of the Vedas could not be dependable. He had originally estimated that the Rig-veda had been written around 1000 B.C. However, he was greatly criticized for that date, and he later wrote in his book, Physical Religion (p.91, 1891), AWhether the Vedic hymns were composed 1000, 1500 or 2000 BCE, no power on earth will ever determine.@
So, as we can see from the above examples, which are just a few of the many ideas on the Aryan origins, analyzing these theories can get rather confusing. In fact, so many theories on the location of the original Aryans or Indo‑Europeans have been presented by archeologists and researchers that for a time they felt the location could change from minute to minute, depending on the latest evidence that was presented. In many cases over the years, archeologists presumed they had located the home of the Sumerians or Aryans any time they found certain types of metal tools or painted pottery that resembled what had been found at the Sumerian or Indus Valley sites. Though such findings may have been of some significance, further study proved that they were of considerably less importance than had been originally thought, and, thus, the quest for locating the original Aryan home could not be concluded.
WAS THERE EVER AN ARYAN INVASION?
One of the major reasons why a consideration of the idea of an Aryan invasion into India is prevalent among some Western researchers is because of their misinterpretation of the Vedas, deliberate or otherwise, that suggests the Aryans were a nomadic people. One such misinterpretation is from the Rig‑veda, which describes the battle between Sudas and the ten kings. The battle of the ten kings included the Pakthas, Bhalanas, Alinas, Shivas, Vishanins, Shimyus, Bhrigus, Druhyas, Prithus, and Parshus, who fought against the Tritsus. The Prithus or Parthavas became the Parthians of latter-day Iran (247 B.C.B224 A.D.). The Parshus or Pashavas became the latter-day Persians. These kings, though some are described as Aryans, were actually fallen Aryans, or rebellious and materialistic kings who had given up the spiritual path and were conquered by Sudas. Occasionally, there was a degeneration of the spiritual kingdom in areas of India, and wars had to be fought in order to reestablish the spiritual Aryan culture in these areas. Western scholars could and did easily misinterpret this to mean an invasion of nomadic people called Aryans rather than simply a war in which the superior Aryan kings reestablished the spiritual values and the Vedic Aryan way of life.
Let us also remember that the Aryan invasion theory was hypothesized in the nineteenth century to explain the similarities found in Sanskrit and the languages of Europe. One person who reported about this is Deen Chandora in his article, Distorted Historical Events and Discredited Hindu Chronology, as it appeared in Revisiting Indus-Sarasvati Age and Ancient India (p. 383). He explains that the idea of the Aryan invasion was certainly not a matter of misguided research, but was a conspiracy to distribute deliberate misinformation that was formulated on April 10, 1866 in London at a secret meeting held in the Royal Asiatic Society. This was Ato induct the theory of the Aryan invasion of India, so that no Indian may say that English are foreigners. . . India was ruled all along by outsiders and so the country must remain a slave under the benign Christian rule.@ This was a political move and this theory was put to solid use in all schools and colleges.
So it was basically a linguistic theory adopted by the British colonial authorities to keep themselves in power. This theory suggested, more or less, that there was a race of superior, white Aryans who came in from the Caucasus Mountains and invaded the Indus region, and then established their culture, compiled their literature, and then proceeded to invade the rest of India.
As can be expected, most of those who were great proponents of the Aryan invasion theory were often ardent English and German nationalists, or Christians, ready and willing to bring about the desecration of anything that was non-Christian or non-European. Even Max Muller believed in the Christian chronology, that the world was created at 9:00 AM on October 23, 4004 B.C. and the great flood occurred in 2500 B.C. Thus, it was impossible to give a date for the Aryan invasion earlier than 1500 B.C. After all, accepting the Christian time frame would force them to eliminate all other evidence and possibilities, so what else could they do? So, even this date for the Aryan invasion was based on speculation.
In this way, the Aryan invasion theory was created to make it appear that Indian culture and philosophy was dependent on the previous developments in Europe, thereby justifying the need for colonial rule and Christian expansion in India. This was also the purpose of the study of Sanskrit, such as at Oxford University in England, as indicated by Colonel Boden who sponsored the program. He stated that they should Apromote Sanskrit learning among the English, so as >to enable his countrymen to proceed in the conversion of the natives of India to the Christian religion.=@
Unfortunately, this was also Max Muller=s ultimate goal. In a letter to his wife in 1866, he wrote about his translation of the Rig-veda: AThis edition of mine and the translation of the Veda, will hereafter tell to a great extent on the fate of India and on the growth of millions of souls in that country. It is the root of their religion and to show them what the root is, I feel sure, is the only way of uprooting all that has sprung from it during the last three thousand years.@ (The Life and Letters of Right Honorable Friedrich Max Muller, Vol. I. p.346)
So, in essence, the British used the theory of the Aryan invasion to further their Adivide and conquer@ policy. With civil unrest and regional cultural tensions created by the British through designations and divisions among the Indian society, it gave a reason and purpose for the British to continue and increase their control over India.
However, under scrutiny, the Aryan invasion theory lacks justification. For example, Sir John Marshall, one of the chief excavators at Mohenjo‑Daro, offers evidence that India may have been following the Vedic religion long before any so‑called Ainvaders@ ever arrived. He points out that it is known that India possessed a highly advanced and organized urban civilization dating back to at least 2300 B.C., if not much earlier. In fact, some researchers suggest that evidence makes it clear that the Indus Valley civilization was quite developed by at least 3100 B.C. The known cities of this civilization cover an area along the Indus River and extend from the coast to Rajasthan and the Punjab over to the Yamuna and Upper Ganges. At its height, the Indus culture spread over 300,000 square miles, an area larger than Western Europe. Cities that were a part of the Indus culture include Mohenjo‑Daro, Kot Diji east of Mohenjo‑Daro, Amri on the lower Indus, Lothal south of Ahmedabad, Malwan farther south, Harappa 350 miles upstream from Mohenjo‑Daro, Kalibangan and Alamgirpur farther east, Rupar near the Himalayas, Sutkagen Dor to the west along the coast, Mehrgarh 150 miles north of Mohenjo‑Daro, and Mundigak much farther north. Evidence at Mehrgarh shows a civilization that dates back to 6500 B.C. It had been connected with the Indus culture but was deserted in the third millennium B.C. around the time the city of Mohenjo‑Daro became prominent.
The arrangement of these cities and the knowledge of the residents were much superior to that of any immigrating nomads, except for military abilities at the time. A lack of weapons, except for thin spears, at these cities indicates they were not very well equipped militarily. Thus, one theory is that if there were invaders, whoever they may have been, rather than encouraging the advancement of Vedic society when they came into the Indus Valley region, they may have helped stifle it or even caused its demise in certain areas. The Indus Valley locations may have been one area where the Vedic society disappeared after the arrival of these invaders. Many of these cities seemed to have been abandoned quickly, while others were not. However, some geologists suggest that the cities were left because of environmental changes. Evidence of floods in the plains is seen in the thick layers of silt which are now thirty‑nine feet above the river in the upper strata of Mohenjo‑Daro. Others say that the ecological needs of the community forced the people to move on, since research shows there was a great reduction in rainfall from that period to the present.
We also have to remember that many of the Indus sites, like Kalibangan, were close to the region of the old Sarasvati River. Some Hindu scholars are actually preferring to rename the Indus Valley culture as the Indus-Sarasvati culture because the Sarasvati was a prominent river and very important at the time. For example, the Sarasvati River is glowingly praised in the Rig-veda. However, the Sarasvati River stopped flowing and later dried up. Recent scientific studies calculate that the river stopped flowing as early as around 8000 B.C. It dried up near the end of the Indus Valley civilization, at least by 1900 B.C. This was no doubt one reason why these cities were abandoned. This also means that if the Vedic people came after the Indus Valley culture, they could not have known of the Sarasvati River. This is further evidence that the Vedas were from many years before the time of the Indus Valley society and were not brought into the region by some invasion.
As a result of the latest studies, evidence points in the direction that the Indus sites were wiped out not by acts of war or an invasion, but by the drought that is known to have taken place and continued for 300 years. Whatever skeletons that have been found in the region may indicate deaths not by war but by starvation or lack of water. Deaths of the weak by starvation are normal before the whole society finally moves away for better lands and more abundant resources. This is the same drought that wiped out the Akkadians of Sumeria, and caused a sudden abandonment of cities in Mesopotamia, such as at Tell Leilan and Tell Brock. The beginning of the end of these civilizations had to have been near 2500 B.C. This drought no doubt contributed to the final drying up of the Sarasvati River.
Regarding Mohenjo-Daro, archeologists have discovered no sign of attack, such as extensive burning, or remains of armor-clad warriors, and no foreign weapons. This leaves us to believe that the enemy of the people in this region was nature, such as earthquakes, flooding, or the severe drought, or even a change in the course of rivers, and not warrior invaders. So again, the invasion theory does not stand up to scrutiny from the anthropological point of view.
The best known archeological sites of the Indus cities are Mohenjo‑Daro and Harappa. Excavation work at Mohenjo‑Daro was done from 1922 to 1931 and 1935 to 1936. Excavation at Harappa took place from 1920 to 1921 and 1933 to 1934. Evidence has shown that temples played an important part in the life of the residents of these cities. The citadel at Mohenjo-Daro contains a 39‑by‑23 foot bath. This seems to have been used for ceremonial purposes similar in the manner that many large temple complexes in India also have central pools for bathing and rituals. Though deities have not been found in the ruins, no doubt because they were too important to abandon, images of a Mother goddess and a Male god similar to Lord Shiva sitting in a yoga posture have been found. Some of the Shiva seals show a man with three heads and an erect phallus, sitting in meditation and surrounded by animals. This would be Shiva as Pashupati, lord or friend of the animals. Representations of the lingam of Shiva and yoni of his spouse have also been easily located, as well as non‑phallic stones such as the shalagram‑shila stone of Lord Vishnu. Thus, the religions of Shiva and Vishnu, which are directly Vedic, had been very much a part of this society long ago and were not brought to the area by any invaders who may have arrived later.
Another point that helps convince that the Vedic religion and culture had to have been there in India and pre-Harappan times is the sacrificial altars that have been discovered at the Harappan sites. These are all of similar design and found from Baluchistan to Uttar Pradesh, and down into Gujarat. This shows that the whole of this area must have been a part of one specific culture, the Vedic culture, which had to have been there before these sites were abandoned.
More information in this regard is found in an article by J. F. Jarrige and R. H. Meadow in the August, 1980 issue of Scientific American called AThe Antecedents of Civilization in the Indus Valley.@ In the article they mention that recent excavations at Mehrgarh show that the antecedents of the Indus Valley culture go back earlier than 6000 B.C. in India. An outside influence did not affect its development. Astronomical references established in the Vedas do indeed concur with the date of Mehrgarh. Therefore, sites such as Mehrgarh reflect the earlier Vedic age of India. Thus, we have a theory of an Aryan invasion which is not remembered by the people of the area that were supposed to have been conquered by the Aryans.
Furthermore, Dr. S. R. Rao has deciphered the Harappan script to be of an Indo-Aryan base. In fact, he has shown how the South Arabic, Old Aramic, and the ancient Indian Brahmi scripts are all derivatives of the Indus Valley script. This new evidence confirms that the Harappan civilization could not have been Dravidians that were overwhelmed by an Aryan invasion, but they were followers of the Vedic religion. The irony is that the invasion theory suggests that the Vedic Aryans destroyed the Dravidian Indus townships which had to have been previously built according to the mathematical instructions that are found in the Vedic literature of the Aryans, such as the Shulbasutras. This point helps void the invasion theory. After all, if the people of these cities used the Vedic styles of religious altars and town planning, it would mean they were already Aryans.
In a similar line of thought in another recent book, Vedic Glossary on Indus Seals, Dr. Natwar Jha has provided an interpretation of the ancient script of the numerous recovered seals of the Indus Valley civilization. He has concluded that the Indus Valley seals, which are small soapstone, one‑inch squares, exhibit a relation to the ancient form of Brahmi. He found words on the seals that come from the ancient Nighantu text, which is a glossary of Sanskrit compiled by the sage Yaksa that deals with words of subordinate Vedic texts. An account of Yaksa=s search for older Sanskrit words is found in the Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata. This may have been in relation to the Indus Valley seals and certainly shows its ancient Vedic connection.
The point of all this is that the entire Rig‑veda had to have been existing for thousands of years by the time the Indus Valley seals were produced. Therefore, the seals were of Vedic Sanskrit origin or a derivative of it, and the Indus Valley sites were part of the Vedic culture. This is further evidence that there was no Aryan invasion. No Aryan invasion means that the area and its residents were already a part of the Vedic empire. This also means that the so‑called Indo‑Aryan or Indo‑European civilization was nothing but the worldwide Vedic culture. From this we can also conclude, therefore, that the so‑called Indo‑Aryan group of languages is nothing but the various local mispronunciations of Sanskrit which has pervaded the civilized world for thousands of years.
Another interesting point is that skeletal remains found in the Harappan sites that date back to 4000 years ago show the same basic racial types in the Punjab and Gujarat as found today. This verifies that no outside race invaded and took over the area. The only west to east movement that took place was after the Sarasvati went dry, and that was involving the people who were already there. In this regard, Sir John Marshall, in charge of the excavations at the Harappan sites, said that the Indus civilization was the oldest to be unearthed, even older than the Sumerian culture, which is believed to be but a branch of the former, and, thus, an outgrowth of the Vedic society.
One more point about skeletal remains at the Harappan sites is that bones of horses are found at all levels of these locations. Thus, the horse was well known to these people. The horse was mentioned in the Rig-veda, and was one of the main animals of Vedic culture in India. However, according to records in Mesopotamia, the horse was unknown to that region until only about 2100 B.C. So this provides further proof that the direction of movement by the people was from India to the west, not the other way around as the invasion theory suggests.
Professor Lal has written a book, The Earliest Civilization of South Asia, in which he also has concluded that the theory of an Aryan invasion has no basis. An invasion is not the reason for the destruction of the Harappan civilization. It was caused by climactic changes. He says the Harappan society was a melting pot made up of people from the Mediterranean, Armenia, the Alpine area, and even China. They engaged in typical Vedic fire worship, ashwamedha rituals. Such fire altars have been found in the Indus Valley cities of Banawali, Lothal, and Kalibangan.
He also explains that the city of Kalibangan came to ruin when the Saraswati River dried up, caused by severe climactic changes around 1900 B.C. Thus, the mention of the Sarasvati River also helps date the Vedas, which had to have existed before this. This would put the origin of Sanskrit writing and the earliest portions of Vedic literature at least sometime before 4000 B.C., 6000 years ago.
In conclusion, V. Gordon Childe states in his book, The Aryans, that though the idea of an Asiatic origin of the Aryans, who then migrated into India, is the most widely accepted idea, it is still the least well documented. And this idea is only one of the unfounded generalizations with which for over seventy years anthropology and archeology have been in conflict. In fact, today the northern Asiatic origin of the Aryans is a hypothesis which has been abandoned by most linguists and archeologists.
THE INDUS VALLEY CIVILIZATION
WAS A PART OF THE ADVANCED VEDIC CULTURE
Besides what we have already discussed, more light is shed on the advanced civilization of the Indus Valley and how it influenced areas beyond its region when we consider the subject of Vedic mathematics. E. J. H. Mackay explains in his book, Further Excavations at Mohenjo‑Daro, that the whole basis of Vedic mathematics is geometry, and geometrical instruments have been found in the Indus Valley which date back to at least 2800 B.C. The Vedic form of mathematics was much more advanced than that found in early Greek and Egyptian societies. This can be seen in the Shulbasutras, supplements of the Kalpasutras, which also show the earliest forms of algebra which were used by the Vedic priests in their geometry for the construction of altars and arenas for religious purposes. In fact, the geometrical formula known as the Pythagorean theorem can be traced to the Baudhayans, the earliest forms of the Shulbasutras dated prior to the eighth century B.C.
The Shulbasutras are the earliest forms of mathematical knowledge, and certainly the earliest for any religious purpose. They basically appear as a supplement to the ritual (Shrauta) aspect of the Kalpasutras. They essentially contain the mathematical formulas for the design of various altars for the Vedic rituals of worship, which are evident in the Indus Valley sites.
The date of the Shulbasutras, after comparing the Baudhayana, Apastamba and Katyayana Shulbas with the early mathematics of ancient Egypt and Babylonia, as described by N. S. Rajaram in Vedic Aryans and The Origins of Civilization (p.139), is near 2000 B.C. However, after including astronomical data from the Ashvalayana Grihyasutra, Shatapantha Brahmana, etc., the date can be brought farther back to near 3000 B.C., near the time of the Mahabharata War and the compilation of the other Vedic texts by Srila Vyasadeva.
With this view in mind, Vedic mathematics can no longer be considered as a derivative from ancient Babylon, which dates to 1700 B.C., but must be the source of it as well as the Greek or Pythagorean mathematics. Therefore, the advanced nature of the geometry found in the Shulbasutras indicates that it provided the knowledge that had to have been known during the construction of the Indus sites, such as Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, as well as that used in ancient Greece and Babylon.
It is Vedic mathematics that originated the decimal system of tens, hundreds, thousands, and so on, and in which the remainder of one column of numbers is carried over to the next column. The Indian number system was used in Arabia after 700 A.D. and was called Al‑Arqan‑Al‑Hindu. This spread into Europe and became known as the Arabic numerals. This, of course, has developed into the number system we use today, which is significantly easier than the Egyptian, Roman, or Chinese symbols for numbers that made mathematics much more difficult. It was the Indians who devised the methods of dividing fractions and the use of equations and letters to signify unknown factors. They also made discoveries in calculus and other systems of math several hundred years before these same principles were understood in Europe. Thus, it becomes obvious that if the Europeans had not changed from the Roman numeral system to the form of mathematics that originated in India, many of the developments that took place in Europe would not have been possible. In this way, all evidence indicates that it was not any northern invaders into India who brought or originated this advanced form of mathematics, but it was from the Vedic Aryan civilization that had already been existing in India and the Indus Valley region. Thus, we can see that such intellectual influence did not descend from the north into India, but rather traveled from India up into Europe.
Additional evidence that it was not any invaders who originated the highly advanced Vedic culture in the Indus Valley is the fact that various seals that Waddell calls Sumerian and dates back to 2800 B.C. have been found bearing the image of the water buffalo or Brahma bull. Modern zoologists believe that the water buffalo was known only to the Ganges and Brahmaputra valleys and did not exist in Western India or the Indus Valley. This would suggest a few possibilities. One is that the Sumerians had traveled to Central and Eastern India for reasons of trade and for finding precious stones since Harappa was a trading center connected by way of the Indus River with the gold and turquoise industry of Tibet. Thus, they learned about the water buffalo and used images of them on their seals. The second and most likely possibility is that the Aryan civilization at the time extended from Eastern India to the Indus region and farther west to Mesopotamia and beyond, and included the Sumerians as a branch. So, trade and its Vedic connections with India naturally brought the image of the water buffalo to the Indus Valley region and beyond.
Further evidence showing the Vedic influence on the region of Mohenjo-Daro is a tablet dating back to 2600 B.C. It depicts an image of Lord Krishna as a child. This positively shows that the Indus Valley culture was connected with the ancient Vedic system, which was prevalent along the banks of the Rivers Sarasvati and Sindhu thousands of years ago.
THE VEDIC LITERATURE SUPPLIES NO EVIDENCE
OF AN ARYAN INVASION
As we can see from the above information, the presence of the Vedic Aryans in the Indus region is undeniable, but the evidence indicates they had been there long before any invaders or immigrating nomads ever arrived, and, thus, the Vedic texts must have been in existence there for quite some time as well. In fact, the Vedic literature establishes that they were written many years before the above mentioned date of 1400 B.C. The age of Kali is said to have begun in 3102 B.C. with the disappearance of Lord Krishna, which is the time when Srila Vyasadeva is said to have begun composing the Vedic knowledge into written form. Thus, the Rig‑veda could not have been written or brought into the area by the so‑called Ainvaders@ because they are not supposed to have come through the area until 1600 years later.
One of the problems with dating the Vedic literature has been the use of linguistic analysis, which has not been dependable. It can be safe to say, as pointed out by K. C. Verma in his Mahabharata: Myth and RealityBDiffering Views (p.99), AAll attempts to date the Vedic literature on linguistic grounds have failed miserably for the simple reason that (a) the conclusions of comparative philology are often speculative and (b) no one has yet succeeded in showing how much change should take place in a language in a given period. The only safe method is astronomical.@
With this suggestion, instead of using the error prone method of linguistics, we can look at the conclusion a few others have drawn by using astronomical records for dating the Vedas. With the use of astronomical calculations, some scholars date the earliest hymns of the Rig-veda to before 4500 B.C. Others, such as Lokmanya Tilak and Hermann Jacobi, agree that the major portion of the hymns of the Rig-veda were composed from 4500 to 3500 B.C., when the vernal equinox was in the Orion constellation. These calculations had to have been actual sightings, according to K. C. Verma, who states, Ait has been proved beyond doubt that before the discoveries of Newton, Liebnitz, La Place, La Grange, etc., back calculations could not have been made; they are based on observational astronomy.@ (Mahabharata: Myth and RealityBDiffering Views, p.124)
In his book called The Celestial Key to the Vedas: Discovering the Origins of the World=s Oldest Civilization, B. G. Sidharth provides astronomical evidence that the earliest portions of the Rig-veda can be dated to 10,000 B.C. He is the director of the B. M. Birla Science Center and has 30 years of experience in astronomy and science. He also confirms that India had a thriving civilization capable of sophisticated astronomy long before Greece, Egypt, or any other culture in the world.
In his commentary on Srimad‑Bhagavatam (1.7.8), A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, one of the most distinguished Vedic scholars of modern times, also discusses the estimated date of when the Vedic literature was written based on astronomical evidence. He writes that there is some diversity amongst mundane scholars as to the date when Srimad‑Bhagavatam was compiled, the latest of Vedic scriptures. But from the text it is certain that it was compiled after Lord Krishna disappeared from the planet and before the disappearance of King Pariksit. We are presently in the five thousandth year of the age of Kali according to astronomical calculation and evidence in the revealed scriptures. Therefore, he concludes, Srimad‑Bhagavatam had to have been compiled at least five thousand years ago. The Mahabharata was compiled before Srimad‑Bhagavatam, and the major Puranas were compiled before Mahabharata.
Furthermore, we know that the Upanishads and the four primary Vedas, including the Rig‑veda, were compiled years before Mahabharata, at least in the oral tradition. This would indicate that the Vedic literature was already existing before any so‑called invasion, which is said to have happened around 1400 B.C. In fact, this indicates that the real Aryans were the Vedic kings and sages who were already prevalent in this region, and not any uncertain tribe of nomadic people that some historians inappropriately call Ainvading Aryans@ who came into India and then wrote their Vedic texts after their arrival. So this confirms the Vedic version.
Another point of consideration is the Sarasvati River. Some people feel that the Sarasvati is simply a mythical river, but through research and the use of aerial photography they have rediscovered parts of what once was its river bed. As the Vedas describe, and as research has shown, it had once been a very prominent river. Many hundreds of years ago it flowed from the Himalayan mountains southwest to the Arabian Sea at the Rann of Kutch, which is north of Mumbai (Bombay) in the area of Dwaraka. However, it is known to have changed course several times, flowing in a more westerly direction, and dried up near 1900 B.C.
Since the Rig-veda (7.95.1) describes the course of the river from the mountains to the sea, as well as (10.75.5) locates the river between the Yamuna and the Shutudri (Sutlej), it becomes obvious that the Vedic Aryans had to have been in India before this river dried up, or long before 2000 B.C. The Atharva-veda (6.30.1) also mentions growing barley along the Sarasvati. And the Vajasaneya Samhita of the Yajur-veda (Shuklayajur-veda 34.11) relates that five rivers flow into the Sarasvati, after which she becomes a vast river. This is confirmed by satellite photography, archeology, and hydrological surveys that the Sarasvati was a huge river, up to five miles wide. Not only does this verify the antiquity of the Aryan civilization in India, but also of the Vedic literature, which had to have been in existence many hundreds of years before 1900 B.C. So this helps confirm the above date of 3102 B.C. when the Vedic texts were compiled.
Furthermore, the ancient Rig‑veda (10.75.5; 6.45.31; 3.59.6) mentions the Ganges, sometimes called the Jahnavi, along with the Yamuna, Sarasvati, and Sindhu (Indus) rivers (Rig‑veda, 10.75.1‑9). So the rivers and settlements in the Ganges region did have significance in the Vedic literature, which shows that the Vedas were written in India and not brought into the Ganges area after they had been written at some other location.
The Manu‑samhita (2.21‑22) also describes Madhyadesa, the central region of India, as being where the Aryans were located between the Himavat and Vindhya mountains, east of Prayaga and west of Vinasana where the Sarasvati River disappears. It also says the land that extends as far as the eastern and western oceans is called Aryavata (place of the Aryans) by the wise. This means that the center of Vedic civilization at the time was near the Sarasvati River.
The point of this is that here is more evidence that the Vedic Aryans could not have invaded India or written the Rig‑veda after 1800 B.C. and known about the Sarasvati River. In fact, for the river to have been as great as it is described in the Vedas and Puranas, the Aryans had to have been existing in the area for several thousand years, at least before the river began to dry up. And if the Aryans were not the first people in this area, then why are there no pre‑Aryan names for these rivers? Or why has no one discovered the pre‑Indus Valley language if it had been inhabited by a different people before the Aryans arrived? And why is there no record of any Aryan invasion in any of the Vedic literature?
In this regard, Mr. K. D. Sethna points out on page 67 of his book, The Problem of Aryan Origins From an Indian Point of View, that even scholars who believe in an Aryan invasion of India around 1500 B.C. admit that the Rig-veda supplies no sign of an entry into the Indian subcontinent from anywhere. There is no mention of any such invasion. From our research and evidence, the Rig-veda can be dated to at least around 3000 B.C. or much earlier. Thus, for all practical purposes, there is little reason to discuss any other origination of the Vedic Aryans than the area of Northern India.
This is corroborated in The Cultural Heritage of India (pp. 182-3) wherein it explains that Indian tradition knows nothing of any Aryan invasion from the northwest or outside of India. In fact, the Rig-veda (Book Ten, Chapter 75) lists the rivers in the order from the east to the northwest, in accordance with the expansion of the Aryan outflow from India to the northwest. This would concur with the history in the Puranas that India was the home of the Aryans, from where they expanded to outside countries in various directions, spreading the Vedic culture. The Manu-samhita (2.17-18) specifically points out that the region of the Vedic Aryans is between the Sarasvati and the Drishadvati Rivers, as similarly found in the Rig-veda (3.24.4).
Any wars mentioned in the Vedic literature are those that have taken place between people of the same culture, or between the demigods and demons, or the forces of light and darkness. The idea that the term AAryan@ or AArya@ refers to those of a particular race is misleading. It is a term that means anyone of any race that is noble and of righteous and gentle conduct. To instill the idea of an Aryan invasion into the Vedic texts is merely an exercise of taking isolated verses out of context and changing the meaning of the terms. Even the oldest written Vedic book, the Rig-veda, contains no mention of a wandering tribe of people coming from some original holy land or any mountainous regions from outside India. In fact, it describes the Indian subcontinent in recognizable terms of rivers and climate. The Sarasvati River is often mentioned in the Rig-veda, which makes it clear that the region of the Sarasvati was a prime area of the Vedic people. Furthermore, it describes no wars with outsiders, no capturing of cities, and no incoming culture of any kind that would indicate an invasion from a foreign tribe. Only much later after the Vedic period do we have the invasion of India by the Muslims and the British, for which there is so much recorded evidence.
The Vedic literature is massive, and no other culture has produced anything like it in regard to ancient history. Not the Egyptians, Sumerians, Babylonians, or Chinese. So if it was produced outside of India, how could there not be some reference to its land of origination? For that matter, how could these so-called primitive nomads who came invading the Indus region invent such a sophisticated language and produce such a distinguished record of their customs in spite of their migrations and numerous battles? This is hardly likely. Only a people who are well established and advanced in their knowledge and culture can do such a thing. In this way, we can see that the Vedic texts give every indication that the Vedic Aryans originated in India.
Therefore, we are left with much evidence in literary records and archeological findings, as we shall see, that flies in the face of the Aryan invasion theory. It shows how the Vedic Aryans went from India to Iran, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, and on toward Europe in a westward direction rather than toward the east. The invasion theory is but a product of the imagination.
MORE EVIDENCE FOR THE ORIGINAL HOME
OF THE VEDIC ARYANS
The Brahmin priests and Indian scholars believe that the Sarasvati and Ganges valley region are the origin of Indian civilization and the Aryan society. This can be given some credence when we look at the cities in this region. For example, North of Delhi is the town of Kuruksetra where the great battle of the Mahabharata took place when Sri Krishna was still on the planet over 5,000 years ago. There is also the old city of Hastinapura that was once situated along the Ganges until the river changed its course and swept the city away in 800 B.C. This is the old capital of the Kuru dynasty in the Mahabharata. Pottery remains have been found near this location that are traced back to at least 1200 B.C. In New Delhi we find the Purana Qila site, which is known to have been part of the ancient city of Indraprastha. An interesting quote can be found in the ancient Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.72.13) which can give us some idea of how prominent Indraprastha had been. It states that during the time when Sri Krishna was on this planet 5,000 years ago, King Yudhisthira sent his brothers, the Pandavas, to conquer the world in all directions. This was for bringing all countries to participate in the great Rajasuya ceremony that was being held in ancient Indraprastha. All countries were to pay a tax to help the performance of the ceremony, and to send representatives to participate. If they did not wish to cooperate, then they would have to engage in battle with the Pandavas. Thus, the whole world came under the jurisdiction of the Vedic Aryan administration.
South of New Delhi are the holy towns of Vrindavan and Mathura along the Yamuna River. Both of these towns are known for being places of Krishna=s pastimes and Vedic legends that go back thousands of years, which are also described in the Vedic literature. Farther south, located on the Yamuna, is the ancient city of Kaushambi. This city still has the remains of massive defense structures from the tenth century B.C. that are very similar to buildings in Harrappa and the Indus region that use baked brick for construction. The Yajur‑veda (Vajasaneyi Samhita 23.18) also mentions the town of Kampila, which is located about halfway between Hastinapur and Kaushambi. The next city is Allahabad (Prayag) where we find the confluence of the Yamuna and Ganges. This location abounds with importance and Vedic legends that are so remote in antiquity that no one can say when they originated. Then there is Varanasi along the Ganges that is another city filled with ancient Vedic legends of importance. A short distance north of Varanasi is Sarnath, where Buddha gave his first sermon after being enlightened. A four-hour train ride north of Varanasi is the town of Ayodhya, where Lord Ramachandra had His capital, as fully described in the ancient Ramayana. And, of course, there are the Himalayan mountains that have many Vedic stories connected with them. Furthermore, there are numerous other places that could be mentioned that are connected with the Vedic legends throughout the area. (Most of these have already been described in the Seeing Spiritual India sections in my previous books.)
Though some archeologists claim they have discovered no evidence for the ancient existence of the Vedic Aryan culture in this Gangetic region, even a casual tour through this area, as mentioned above, makes it obvious that these towns and holy sites did not gain importance overnight, nor simply by an immigration of people who are said to have brought the Vedas with them. These places could not have become incorporated into the Vedic legends so quickly if the Vedic culture came from another location. Therefore, the argument that the early Vedic literature was brought from another region or describes a geographical location other than India cannot so easily be accepted. The fact is that the whole of India and up through the Indus region was the original home of the Vedic Aryan culture from which it spread its influence over much of the rest of the world.
THE VEDIC EXPLANATION OF THE ORIGINAL ARYANS
AND HOW THEIR INFLUENCE SPREAD
THROUGHOUT THE WORLD
How the Aryan name was given to those who are said to have invaded the Indus region is regarded as uncertain, and, as I have shown, whether there really was any invasion is no longer a legitimate consideration. Nonetheless, the term aryan has been applied to those people who occupied the plains between the Caspian and Black Seas. The hypothesis is that they began to migrate around the beginning of the second millennium B.C. Some went north and northwest, some went westward settling in parts of the Middle East, while others traveled to India through the Indus Valley. Those that are said to have come into India were the Ainvading Aryans.@
The Vedic literature establishes a different scenario. They present evidence that ancient, pre‑historical India covered a much broader area, and that the real Aryans were not invaders from the north into the Indus region, but were the original residents who were descendants of Vedic society that had spread over the world from the area of India. Let us remember that the term aryan has been confused with meaning light or light complexion. However, Aryan refers to Arya, or a clear consciousness toward God, not white or white people. In the Vedic sutras, the word aryan is used to refer to those who are spiritually oriented and of noble character. The Sanskrit word aryan is linguistically related to the word harijana (pronounced hariyana), meaning one related to God, Hari. Therefore, the real meaning of the name aryan refers to those people related to the spiritual Vedic culture. It has little to do with those immigrants that some researchers have speculated to be the so‑called Ainvading Aryans.@ Aryan refers to those who practice the Vedic teachings and does not mean a particular race of people. Therefore, anyone can be an Aryan by following the clear, light, Vedic philosophy, while those who do not follow it are non‑Aryan. Thus, the name Aryan, as is generally accepted today, has been misapplied to a group of people who are said to have migrated from the north into India.
Some call these people Sumerians, but L. A. Waddell, even though he uses the name, explains that the name Sumerian does not exist as an ethnic title and was fabricated by the modern Assyriologists and used to label the Aryan people. And Dr. Hall, in his book Ancient History of the Near East, says that there is an anthropological resemblance between the Dravidians of India and the Sumerians of Mesopotamia, which suggests that the group of people called the Sumerians actually were of Indian descendants. With this information in mind, it is clear that the real Aryans were the Vedic followers who were already existing throughout India and to the north beyond the Indus region.
To help understand how the Aryan influence spread through the world, L. A. Waddell explains that the Aryans established the pre‑historic trade routes over land and sea from at least the beginning of the third millennium B.C., if not much earlier. Wherever the Aryans went, whether in Egypt, France, England, or elsewhere, they imposed their authority and culture, much to the betterment of the previous culture of the area. They brought together scattered tribes and clans into national unity that became increasingly bright in their systems of social organization, trade, and art. In seeking new sources of metal, such as tin, copper, gold, and lead, the Aryans established ports and colonies among the local tribes that later developed into separate nations which took many of their traditions and cultural traits from the ruling Aryans. Of course, as trade with the Aryans diminished, especially after the Mahabharata War in India, variations in the legends and cultures became prominent. This accounts for the many similarities between the different ancient civilizations of the world, as well as those resemblances that still exist today.
Another consideration is that since the Aryans were centralized in the Gangetic plains and the Himalayan mountains, from there they could have spread east along the Brahmaputra River and over the plain of Tibet. The Chinese, in the form of the Cina tribe, also are likely to have originated here since they have the legend of the sacred mountain in the west with four rivers. The ancient Puranas explain that Manu and his sons ruled over the area, over as many lands north of Mount Meru and Kailas as south. Other Aryans could have easily gone down the Sarasvati and Sarayu into north India. Others went from the Indus into Kashmir and Afghanistan, and into Central Asia. Others went into the areas of Gujarat and Sind, and over through Persia and the Gulf region. This is how the Sumerian civilization was founded, along with Babylonia. From there they went farther into Turkey and Europe.
After spreading throughout South India, they continued down the Ganges by sea east into Malaysia and Indonesia, founding the ancient Vedic cultures there. By sea they continued to China, meeting the Aryans that were probably already there. From China and the orient, they sailed over the Pacific Ocean and finally reached and colonized the Americas. Plenty of evidence of this is presented in the following chapters.
We can see some of the affect of this spread out of India in regard to the term aryan. The name Harijana or Aryan evolved into Syriana or Syrians in Syria, and Hurrians in Hurri, and Arianna or Iranians in Iran. This shows that they were once part of Vedic society. A similar case is the name Parthians in Partha, another old country in Persia. Partha was the name of Krishna=s friend Arjuna, a Vedic Aryan, and means the son of King Prithu. So the name Parthian indicates those who are the descendants of King Prithu. Parthians also had a good relationship with the early Jews since the Jews used to buy grains from the Parthians. The Greeks referred to the Jews as Judeos, or Jah deos or Yadavas, meaning people of Ya or descendants of Yadu, one of the sons of Yayati. It is also regarded that the basis of the Kabbalah, the book of Jewish mystical concepts, as described in The Holy Kabbalah by Arthur Edward Waite, is linked with Kapila Muni, the Indian sage and incarnation of Krishna who established the analytical sankhya‑yoga philosophy. Therefore, a connection between the early Jews and ancient Vedic culture is evident.
Another aspect of the connection between these various regions and the Vedic culture is explained in the Vedic literature. In the Rig-veda (10.63.1) Manu is the foremost of kings and seers. Manu and his family were survivors of the world flood, as mentioned in the Shatapatha Brahmana (1.8.1). Thus, a new beginning for the human race came from him, and all of humanity are descendants from Manu. The Atharva-veda (19.39.8) mentions where his ship descended in the Himalayas. One temple that signifies the location of where the ship of Manu first touched land after the flood is in Northern India in the hills of Manali. His important descendants are the Pauravas, Ayu, Nahusha, and Yayati. From Yayati came the five Vedic clans; the Purus, Anus, Druhyus, Turvashas, and Yadus. The Turvashas are related to India=s southeast, Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa, and are the ancestors of the Dravidians and the Yavanas. Yadu is related to the south or southwest, Gujarat and Rajasthan, from Mathura to Dwaraka and Somnath. The Anus are related to the north, to Punjab, as well as Bengal and Bihar. The Druhyus are related to the west and northwest, such as Gandhara and Afghanistan. Puru is connected with the central Yamuna/Ganges region. All but Puru were known for having intermittently fallen from the Vedic dharma, and various wars in the Puranas were with these groups.
As explained by Shrikant Talageri in his book, The Aryan Invasion Theory: A Reappraisal (pp. 304-5, 315, 367-368), from these descendants, the Purus were the Rigvedic people and developed Vedic culture in north central India and the Punjab along the Sarasvati (Rig-veda 7.96.2). The Anus of southern Kashmir along the Parushni or modern Ravi River (Rig-veda 7.18.13) spread over western Asia and developed the various Iranian cultures. The Druhyus northwest of the area of the Punjab and Kashmir spread into Europe and became the western Indo-Europeans, or the Druids and ancient Celts. A first group went northwest and developed the proto-Germanic dialect, and another group traveled farther south and developed the proto-Hellenic and Itallic-Celtic dialects. Other tribes included the Pramshus in western Bihar, and Ikshvakus of northern Uttar Pradesh.
Incidentally, according to legend, thousands of years ago Kashmir was a large lake surrounded by beautiful mountain peaks. It was here where the goddess Parvati stayed in her boat. One day she went to see Lord Shiva in the mountains. Then a great demon took possession of the lake. Kashyapa Muni, who was present at the time, called for the goddess to return. Together they chased the demon away and created an immense valley. It was called Kashyapa-Mira, and later shortened to Kashmir. This again shows the Vedic connection of this region.
Other tribes mentioned in the Vedic texts include the Kiratas, who are the mountain people of Tibet and Nepal, often considered impure for not practicing the Vedic dharma. The Vishnu Purana (4.3.18-21) also mentions the Shakas who are the Scythians of ancient Central Asia, the Pahlavas who are the Persians, and the Cinas who are the Chinese. They are all considered as fallen nobility or Kshatriyas who had been driven out of India during the reign of King Sagara.
To explain further, Yadu was the eldest of the five sons of Yayati. Yayati was a great emperor of the world and one of the original forefathers of those of Aryan and Indo‑European heritage. Yayati divided his kingdom amongst his sons, who then started their own dynasties. Yayati had two wives, Devayani and Sharmistha. Yayati had two sons from Devayani: Yadu and Turvasu. Yadu was the originator of the Yadu dynasty called the Yadavas, later known as the Lunar Dynasty. From Turvasu came the Yavana or Turk dynasty. From Sharmistha, Yayati had three sons: Druhya, who started the Bhoja dynasty; Anu, who began the Mleccha or Greek dynasty; and Puru who started the Paurava dynasty, which is said to have settled along the Ravi River and later along the Sarasvati. Some say that this clan later went on to Egypt who became the Pharaohs and rulers of the area. These Aryan tribes, originating in India by King Yayati and mentioned in the Rig‑veda and Vishnu and Bhagavat Puranas, spread all over the world.
The Yadava kingdom later became divided among the four sons of Bhima Satvata. From Vrishni, the youngest, descended Vasudeva, the father of Krishna and Balarama. Queen Kunti married the Yadava prince Pandu, whose descendants became the Pandavas. Kunti became the mother of Yudhisthira, Bhima, and Arjuna (Partha), the three elder Pandavas. The younger Pandavas were Nakula and Sahadeva, born from Pandu=s second wife Madri. After moving to the west coast of India, they lived at Dwaraka under the protection of Lord Krishna. Near the time of Krishna=s disappearance from earth, a fratricidal war broke out and most of the Pandavas were killed, who had grown to become a huge clan. Those that survived may have gone on to the Indus Valley where they joined or started another part of the advanced Vedic society. Others may have continued farther west into Egypt and some on to Europe, as previously explained.
This is further substantiated in the Mahabharata which mentions several provinces of southern Europe and Persia that were once connected with the Vedic culture. The Adi‑parva (174.38) of the Mahabharata describes the province of Pulinda (Greece) as having been conquered by Bhimasena and Sahadeva, two of the Pandava brothers. Thus, the ancient Greeks were once a part of Bharata‑varsa (India) and the Vedic civilization. But later the people gave up their affiliation with Vedic society and were, therefore, classified as Mlecchas. However, in the Vana‑parva section of the Mahabharata it is predicted that this non‑Vedic society would one day rule much of the world, including India. Alexander the Great conquered India for the Pulinda or Greek civilization in 326 B.C., fulfilling the prophecy.
The Sabha‑parva and Bhisma‑parva sections of the Mahabharata mention the province of Abhira, situated near what once was the Sarasvati River in ancient Sind. The Abhiras are said to have been warriors who had left India out of fear of Lord Parashurama and hid themselves in the Caucasion hills between the Black and Caspian Seas. Later, for a period of time, they were ruled by Maharaja Yudhisthira. However, the sage Markandaya predicted that these Abhiras, after they gave up their link with Vedic society, would one day rule India.
Another province mentioned in Mahabharata (Adi‑parva 85.34) is that of the Yavanas (Turks) who were so named for being descendants of Maharaja Yavana (Turvasu), one of the sons of Maharaja Yayati, as previously explained. They also gave up Vedic culture and became Mlecchas. They fought in the battle of Kuruksetra against the Pandavas on behalf of Duryodhana and lost. However, it was predicted that they would one day return to conquer Bharata‑varsa (India) and, indeed, this came to pass. Muhammad Ghori later attacked and conquered parts of India on behalf of Islam from the Abhira and Yavana or Turkish countries. Thus, we can see that these provinces in the area of Greece and Turkey (and the countries in between there and India) were once part of the Vedic civilization and had at one time not only political and cultural ties, but also ancestral connections. This is the Vedic version of the origin of Aryan civilization and how its influence spread in various degrees throughout the world.
THE CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS
IN THE SPREAD OF VEDIC CULTURE
Now I will piece together the basic chronological order of the spread of Vedic culture from India. According to the Vedic tradition, the original spiritual and Vedic knowledge was given to mankind by God at the beginning of creation. Thus, there would have been a highly advanced Vedic and spiritual civilization in the world. However, through various earth changes, such as ice ages, earthquakes, droughts, etc., the structure of the global cultures changed. Some of these events, such as the great flood, are recorded by most cultures throughout the world.
Many scholars feel that the global deluge happened around 13,000 years ago. Some think that it could have been a meteorite impact that triggered the end of the Ice Age and caused a giant meltdown that produced the water that flooded the planet. Much land disappeared, and the global flood swept away most of the world=s population. Great lakes were formed, all lowlands disappeared, and lands like Egypt became moist with water. This means that the advanced civilization that had once populated the earth was now gone, and would be replaced by the survivors. It was the mariners, such as the Vedic Manu and his family, who survived the flood and colonized other parts of the world.
Further information of the last ice age and global deluge is briefly explained by Dr. Venu Gopalacharya. In a personal letter to me (July 22, 1998), he explained that, AThere are eighteen Puranas and sub-Puranas in Sanskrit. According to them, only those who settled on the high mountains of Central Asia and around the Caspian Sea, after the end of the fourth ice age, survived from the glaciers and deluge. During the period from the end of the fourth ice age and the great deluge, there were 12 great wars for the mastery over the globe. They divided the global regions into two parts. The worshipers of the beneficial forces of nature, or Devas, settled from the Caspian Sea to the eastern ocean, and the worshipers of the evil forces of nature occupied the land to the west of the Caspian Sea. These became known as the Assyrians (Asuras), Daityas (Dutch), Daiteyas (Deutch or German), Danavas (Danes), and Danutusahs (Celts). Some of them migrated to the American continent. The Mayans, Toltecs, and the rulers of Palanque (Patalalanke), are considered to be the Asuras who migrated to the Patala (land below), or the land of immortals, Amaraka. [This is the original Sanskrit from which the name of America is derived. Mara in Sanskrit means death, amara means no death or beyond it.] In the deluge, most of these lands were submerged. Noah (Manu) and his subjects became known as Manavas, ruled by the monarchs of the globe. They were successors of his [Manu=s] nine sons and one daughter.@
Dr. Venu Gopalacharya continues this line of thought in his book, World-Wide Hindu Culture and Vaishnava Bhakti (pages 117-18). He explains further how this Vedic culture continued to spread after the great deluge. It was under the leadership of the Solar dynasty princes that a branch of Indians marched west of the Indus River and occupied the area of Abyssinia and its surrounding regions around the rivers Nile, Gambia, and Senagal. The names of Abyssinia and Ethiopia are derived from words that mean colonies of the people of the Sindhu and the Aditya or Solar dynasty. You can recognize many names of places in and around Ethiopia that are derived from the original Sanskrit. So after the great deluge, Vaivasvata Manu=s nine sons [some references say ten sons] were ruling over the various parts of the globe. They and their successors were very concerned about establishing the Vedic principles of Sanatana-dharma, the uplifting way of life for regaining and maintaining one=s spiritual identity and connection with the Supreme. This was the essence of Vaivasvata Manu=s teachings. This was especially taught and strictly followed by the great rulers of the Solar dynasty who governed from Ayodhya. These principles included the practice of truth, nonviolence, celibacy, cleanliness, non-covetousness, firmness of mind, peace, righteousness, and self-control as exemplified by Lord Sri Rama and His ancestors like Sagara, Ambarisha, Dilipa, Raghu, and Dasaratha. This is explained in Kalidasa=s Raghuvamsha as well as other Puranas and Itihasas. This standard became more popular with the ancient Indians than people in other parts of the world, and, thus, India became the center of this Vedic way of life since time immemorial.
The unfortunate thing is that many of the most ancient records, in which we may very well have been able to find more exact information about this sort of early history, were destroyed by the revolutionary fanatics at places like Alexandria, Pusa, Takshashila, and others in Central Asia, and Central and South America. They did so while declaring that such knowledge and records were unnecessary if they contained what was already in their own religious books, but should be destroyed if they contained anything different. This is why the mythologies of Egypt, Babylonia, the Jews, the Old Testament, and the holy Koran contain only brief accounts of the pre-historical facts beyond 2500 years ago, unlike those histories that hold much greater detail as found in the ancient Vedic and Puranic literature.
In any case, we can begin to see that the Vedic Aryans had been living in the region of India since the last deluge, from about 13,000 to 10,000 B.C. Thus, there could not have been any pre-Aryan civilization in this area that had been conquered by so-called Ainvading Aryans@ in 1500 B.C.
Using the many types of evidence previously provided in this chapter, it is clear that the height of the Vedic Age was certainly long before 3100 B.C., even as early as 4000 to 5000 B.C. as some scholars feel. Bal Gangadhar Tilak estimates that the Vedas were in existence as early as 6000 B.C., based on historical data, while others say it was as far back as 7000-8000 B.C. Since the Vedic culture during this time was practicing an oral tradition, and the literature had still not been put into written form, the basic hymns of the Rig-veda, and even the Atharva-veda and others, could have been in existence for many thousands of years. These Vedas were used in everyday life for society=s philosophy, worship, and rituals. Therefore, they were a highly sophisticated product of a greatly developed society, and must date back to the remotest antiquity. Or, as the tradition itself explains, the essence of Vedic knowledge had been given to humanity by God at the time of the universal creation and has always been in existence.
By 3700, all of the principal books of the Rig-veda were in place and known. Of course, this was still an oral tradition and additional books could still have been added. One point in this regard is that the father of the great Bishma was Shantanu whose brother, Devapi, is credited with several hymns of the Rig-veda. This could not have been much earlier than 3200 B.C. since Bishma played a prominent role in the Mahabharata War at Kuruksetra, which is calculated to have been around 3137 B.C. Further calculations can be accorded with the dynastic list as found in the Adi Parva of the Mahabharata. With the help of the list, from 3100 B.C. we get nearly an additional 630 years or longer going back to Sudas and the Battle of the Ten Kings, as described in the Rig-veda. This takes us back to about 3730 B.C. Therefore, the height of the Vedic Age can be dated no later than 3700 B.C.
From the Vedic literature, we can also see that the Sarasvati River had to have been at its prime around 4000 to 5000 B.C. or earlier. This is when it was recorded in the Rig and Atharva-vedas. This was also when the Vedic culture was spreading throughout the world, either because of reasons of trade, migration, or because some of the degenerated tribes were driven out of the Indian region. Some of the first tribes to have left India may include the Prithu-Parthavas (who later became the Parthians), the Druhyus (who became the Druids), the Alinas (Hellenes or ancient Greeks), the Simyus (Sirmios or ancient Albanians), the Cinas (Chinese), and others. This could have been around 4500 B.C., as explained by N. S. Rajaram in The Vedic Aryans and the Origins of Civilization (p. 210). These were some of the earliest of Aryans who created the most ancient form of Indo-European society. They took with them their Vedic customs, language, rituals, etc., all of which gradually changed with time due to their lack of seriously following the Vedic traditions, or because of their loss of close contact with the orthodox homeland. This would certainly help explain the many similarities in languages and culture that we find today between numerous regions of the world, many of which we will explain later in this book.
During the fourth millennium, near 3800 B.C., North India had plenty of water, with such great rivers as the Indus to the north, the Ganga to the east, and the central Sarasvati-Drishadvati river system, which was fed by the Sutlej and the Yamuna. The great Thar desert did not yet create a division between North India and the western areas. So it was all one cultural entity. Thus, the central Vedic society covered a much wider area and had greater influence than the mere country of India today.
However, before the time of the Mahabharata War, the Yamuna had changed its course and was no longer flowing into the Sarasvati, but emptied into the Ganga. By the time of the Mahabharata, around 3100 B.C., the Sarasvati is described in relation to Balarama=s pilgrimage (Shalya Parva, 36-55) as still being significant in its holiness, but from its origin it flowed only for a forty-day journey by horse into the desert where it disappeared. All that was left were the holy places that used to be on its banks (as also mentioned in 3.80.84; 3.88.2; & 9.34.15-8). The Mahabharata also describes the geographical location of the river, saying that it flows near Kurukshetra (3.81.125). Similar information along with the place where the Sarasvati disappears, Vinasana, is found in the Manu-samhita (2.21). Gradually, the desert expanded and the people of the western region continued to migrate farther west, losing touch with their Vedic roots. This is what helped further the development of the Sumerian and Egyptian communities.
The next major time period of 3100 B.C. or earlier not only marks the era of the Mahabharata War, the disappearance of Lord Krishna, and the beginning of the Kali-yuga, but it also marks the beginning of the end of the Vedic Age. The war at Kurukshetra was the beginning of the breakdown of the Vedic culture and its global contacts. It is also the time when the remaining major portions of the Vedic literature were compiled, which was accomplished by Srila Vyasadeva, for which He had appeared in this world. And since there were no Aryan invasions coming into India or the Indus Sarasvati region, as we have already established, then this is also the time when the Harappan civilization began to form, or reach its prime if it was already in existence. Furthermore, this was also the time of the first and second dynasties of Egypt, which is corroborated by the fact that many scholars feel that the pyramids of Egypt were built at this time. Some scholars feel that the Step pyramid in Sakkara, 30 miles south of Giza, was built about 5,000 years ago (around 3000 B.C.), while others consider it dates back to 2650 B.C. This also suggests that the Sumerian civilization was entering its prime during this period as well. It was also when the Egyptians and Sumerians were depending on the mathematical systems and formulas of the Shulbasutras from India for their own architecture, altars, and town planning, as were the sites of the Harappan civilization.
From 3000 to 2000 B.C., as the people continued to spread out from India to the west, there was still much contact between India and such areas as Egypt, Sumeria, Mesopotamia, and others. However, the great 300 year drought in the area created intense difficulties for all of these civilizations. Many agree that the Harappan civilization ended around 2500-2200 B.C. This 300 year drought, not any invaders, caused the beginning of the end of the Harappan sites, as well as that of the Akkadian society. The ancient Egyptian civilization also could have met its end because of this drought, leaving us only with the remnants of its monuments and writings that we are still trying to fully understand today. Its people probably migrated in the search for better resources. Furthermore, 3000 to 2500 B.C. is also the period, according to British archeological estimates, that is believed to be when the Druids and their priests arrived in Britain. However, the English Druids claim their origin is from the east from as far back as 3900 B.C., which follows more closely to the Vedic version.
By 2000 B.C. the Sutlej had also changed its course and flowed into the Indus, while the desert relentlessly grew. This left the Sarasvati with few resources to continue being the great river it once was. Near 1900 B.C., the Sarasvati River finally ceased to flow altogether and completely dried up, contributing to the disbanding of the people of northwestern India to other places, and making the Gangetic region the most important for the remaining Vedic society. Once the Sarasvati disappeared, the Ganga replaced it as the holiest of rivers.
After 2000 B.C. was a time of much migration of the Indian Aryans into West Asia, Mesopotamia, Iran, and further. There was the founding of the Kassites, Hittites, and Mittani, along with the Celts, Scythians, etc., who all participated in their own migrations.
The reason why the populace of Europe gradually forgot their connection with India was because contacts between India were reduced to the Greeks and Romans. Then when Alexander and the Greeks invaded India, contacts were reduced to almost nothing for centuries. Thereafter, the Romans became Christians, forcing the rest of Europe to follow. This left the Arabs as the primary traders between India and Europe, until the wars developed between the Christians and the growing Muslims. Once the Muslims captured Constantinople in Turkey, they controlled all trade routes between Europe and India, and forced Europeans to find a sea route to India. This lead to the Adiscovery@ of America, Australia, and parts of Africa. Later, as the trade routes with India were opened, missionaries, new invaders, and so-called scholars became the new conquerors. With them also came the new versions of history brought about to diminish the real heritage and legacy of India.
This chapter provides evidence of the real origination of the Vedic Aryans. It also makes it clear that it is to the East, specifically the area of India, where the origins of advanced civilization and the essence of religion and spiritual philosophy can be traced. From there, the Aryan influence had spread to many other regions and can still be recognized in numerous cultures. Only a few open‑minded people who look at the whole picture of this kind of religious development will understand the inherent unity the world and its history contains. Such unity is disturbed only by mankind=s immature, dogmatic, and self‑centered feelings for regional and cultural superiority. We have seen this in the propaganda that was effectively used by the Nazis and is presently used by neo‑Nazis and white supremacist groups who now employ the modern myth that the original location of the Aryan race was in northern Europe. Thus, they imply that members of this race are superior over all other races in physique, language, mental capabilities, and culture. This myth must be seen for what it is because there is no doubt that the real Aryan people originated and spread from the region of India and the Indus Valley, not Europe.
As N. S. Rajaram so nicely explains in Vedic Aryans and The Origins of Civilization (pp. 247-8), "To conclude: on the basis of archeology, satellite photography, metallurgy and ancient mathematics, it is now clear that there existed a great civilization--a mainly spiritual civilization perhaps--before the rise of Egypt, Sumeria and the Indus Valley. The heartland of this ancient world was the region from the Indus to the Ganga--the land of the Vedic Aryans.
"This conclusion, stemming from scientific findings of the past three decades, demolishes the theory that nomadic Aryans from Central Asia swooped down on the plains of India in the second millennium BCE and established their civilization and composed the Rig-veda. The picture presented by science therefore is far removed from the one found in history books that place the >Cradle of Civilization= in the river valleys of Mesopotamia. Modern science and ancient records provide us also a clue to a long standing historical puzzle: why since time immemorial, people from India and Sri Lanka, to England and Ireland have spoken languages clearly related to one another, and possess mythologies and beliefs that are so strikingly similar.
"The simple answer is: they were part of a great civilization that flourished before the rise of Egypt, Sumeria and the Indus Valley. This was a civilization before the dawn of civilizations."
May I also say that this corroborates the history as we find it in the Vedic literature, especially the Rig-veda and the Puranas. It therefore helps prove the authenticity of the Vedic culture and our premise that it was the original ancient civilization, a spiritual society, using the knowledge as had been given by God since the time of creation, and established further by the sages that followed. According to a recent racial study (The History and Geography of Human Genes), it has been confirmed that all people of Europe, the Middle East, and India belong to a single Caucasian type race. This means that they had to have come from the same source. Thus, we are all descendants of this great Vedic culture, the center of which is India. As more evidence comes forth, it will only prove how the testimony of the Rig-veda and the Puranas is confirmed, and will point to the area of northern India as the original homeland of the Vedic Aryans.
The point of all this is that even if Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, etc., all keep their own ideology, legends, and traditions, we should realize that all of these legends and conceptions of God and forms of worship ultimately refer to the same Supreme God and lesser demigods, although they may be called by different names according to present day variations in region and culture. In other words, all these doctrines and faiths are simply outgrowths of the original religion and worship of the one Supreme Deity that spread throughout the world many thousands of years ago from the same basic source, and which is now expressed through the many various cultural differences in the world. Therefore, no matter what religion we may consider ourselves, we are all a part of the same family. We are merely another branch of the same tree which can be traced to the original pre‑historic roots of spiritual thought that are found in the Vedic culture, the oldest and most developed philosophical and spiritual tradition in the world.
[More information at www.stephen-knapp.com]