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Re: Antiquity and Continuity of Indian History (Part 3)




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           Antiquity and Continuity of Indian History : Part 3
                (From Swayambhuva Manu to Gupta Dynasty)
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Index
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7. Dasharadnya War
8. Vedics World-wide
9. The Saraswati-Sindhu Culture


7. Dasharadnya War
------------------

The Dasharadnya war (War of ten kings) took place between
Chayamana, king of Abhivarta - identified in south-eastern Iran -
and King Sudas, son of Divodasa, who presided over a kingdom to the
east of Sindhu. As far as the Vedic evidence goes, after his
victory over Chayamana, Sudas founded an empire on the banks of the
Ganga along with Vashistha, Vishwamitra and others, whose impact
later spread eastwards and southwards. The influence of these
triumphant Bharatas (Sudas) over the Iranian (Chayamana)
counterparts subsequently weakened in course of time. Thereafter,
the Iranians appear to have developed a particular way of life
under the advise of Sage Zarathustra, improving on the Vedic
sacrificial religion and yet retaining fire worship. The Vedics in
Afghanistan however maintained their relations with those to their
east, until a recent past, till the advent of Islam in these
regions. 

The Dasyus were then the residents of some mountainous regions in
Iran, a very respectable people, who appear to have become
Zarathustra's followers, since the latter is referred to as
Dakhyuma (the temporal Lord) and Dakhyuma Suro (in Avesta,
Fr.Yashta.90). It is notable that he is called Suro (Sur) - the
learned - as opposed to Asur. This 'Asur'ians however were in turn
the residents of Mesopotamia (Assyria) situated on the banks of
river Euphrates. According to the Rgved, the Dasyus were believing
in false gods and were inhuman (7-59-11) and it is that
Zarathustra, the pious and learned one, was trying to bring these
people into the aryan way of life.

Spencer gives details from Malcom's "History of Ancient Persia" and
states that for 2598 years some four dynasties ruled over Persia
from Yama Vivanghao (Yama Vaivaswat in Sanskrit) in whose time the
Deluge commenced, i.e., in 9844 B.C. The rule of these four
dynasties ended therefore in approximately 7200 B.C. By this time,
Kai Vishtaspa became ruler of Persia. Sage Kaksivan (RV 1-122-13)
speaks of one Istasva who is identified with Vishtaspa by
E.S.Bharuca (quoted by Hodivala). This king is supposed to have
ruled for 120 years, and so his period can be fixed to about 7100
B.C. Iranian Zarathustra  was a contemporary of king Vishtaspa, and
therefore his date can be worked out to be around 7100 B.C. On the
basis of astronomy, Spencer determines Zarathustra's date to be in
between 7388 to 7052 B.C., coinciding with the dates determined
above.  This apparently is also the approximate date for the
occurrence of the Dasharadnya War. This War also appears to have
set the Vedics living in the Sapta-Sindhu homeland towards the
North, South, East and West directions.

Therefore, based on the internal evidence from the RgVed and
Avesta, the boundaries of Chayamana's kingdom were: on the west,
the Caspian Sea and the river Oxus - one of the sapta-sindhu rivers
now named as Amu-darya (as the Greeks Herodotus and Strabo lay
down, that this sea and the nearby mountain Caucasus got their
names from Sage Kaspios, obviously a reference to Sage Kashyapa of
the Rgved) and on the North the mountain ranges Pamir; on the east
spreading over an area a little beyond Hindukush and the eastern
most tributary of the Sindhu - the Shatudri (Sutlej) and the Ganga
and on the south, the Arabian sea.


8. Vedics World-Wide
--------------------

>From the foregoing discussion, it is now realized that the Vedics,
after leaving their original habitat in the North, spread downwards
settling down in various parts of the earth. Right from Turkey and
Egypt, the Vedics covered the region between the Caucasian
mountains and Caspian Sea down to Syria, Palestine and the ancient
Persian kingdoms of Babylon, Sumer, Ur, Kassite and towards
Afghanistan, Azerbaizan and then crossing the Hindukush mountains
towards east into the present day India. An impetus to the spread
and severance between the sapta-sindhu homeland of Vedics then came
about after the Dasharadnya War - the spread towards Greece and
northwards. Renfrew allows a date as early as 6000 B.C. for the
migration of Vedic aryans into Europe ("The Origins of Indo-
European Languages, Sc.Amer, Oct, 1989).

That the Vedics had migrated to Egypt is also suggested from the
geographical references in the Puraan. S.M.Ali in his "Geography of
the Puranas" writes that "they (Vedics) had knowledge of the
geography of the then known world. It is clear from the reference
to Nile in the Vayu Purana". Also, Prof. Brugsch Bey writes about
the Egyptian civilization in "History of Egypt" (quoted by
K.Venkatachalam in "Age of Buddha", p.76) that "We have a right to
more than suspect that India, eight thousand years ago, sent a
colony of emigrants who carried their arts and high civilization
into what is now known to us as Egypt. The Egyptians came,
according to their records, from a mysterious land (now known to
lie on the shores of the Indian ocean) ... led by Amen, Hor, Hathor
(Brahma, Hari, Rudra)..." These statements justify the "Aryam
Krunwanto Vishwam" (We will spread the Arya culture through out the
world) slogan of the Vedic people.

Tilak in "Orion" mentions that the Greeks, who were worshippers of
the Sun (Mitra), separated from their Vedic brethren about 3500
B.C. These perhaps were the people who moved westwards from the
Caspian sea (as the Greeks Herodotus and Strabo lay down, that this
sea and the nearby mountain Caucasus got their names from Sage
Kaspios, obviously a reference to Sage Kashyapa of the Rgved).
Pococke writes in "India in Greece" (quoted in Age of Buddha, by
K.Venkatachalam, p.75) , "The early civilization, the early arts,
the indubitably early literature of India are equally the
civilization of, the arts, and literature of Egypt and of Greece;
for geographical references conjoined to historical facts and
religious practices, now prove beyond all dispute than the latter
countries are the colonies of the former". The Greeks (and
Egyptians) derived their cosmogony from the Hindus is apparent from
their respective literature (Deshpandey, "Bharat: As seen and known
by foreigners").

An assessment of the spread of the Vedic culture in conjunction
with the study of the ancient literature, history, arts,
philosophy, cosmogony, etc. of peoples worldwide inculcates
sufficient doubt, and perhaps an cogent argument, to the pervasive
influence of the Vedic aryan thought. Count Bjornstierna in his
book "The Theogony of the Hindus" (p.168) rightly judges and
summarizes, "No nation on earth can vie with the Hindus in respect
of the antiquity of their religion. It is there (i.e. Aryavarta) we
must seek the cradle for the brahmin religion but for the cradle of
high civilization of the Hindus, which gradually extended itself in
the west to Ethiopia, to Egypt, to Phoenicia, in the eat to Siam,
to China and to Japan, in the south to Ceylon, to Java and to
Sumatra, and in the north to Persia, to Chaldia and to Colchis,
whence it came to Greece and to Rome and at length to the remote
abode of the Hyperboreans".

Charles Vallency quotes Sir William Jones as saying "It has been
proved by clear evidence and plain reasoning that a powerful
monarchy was established in Iran, long before the Assyrian or
Pishdadi government; that it was in truth a Hindu monarchy ... that
is subsisted many centuries.." (Collectania De Rebus Hibernicus,
p.465). Pococke observes, "that a system of Hinduism pervaded the
whole Babylonian and Assyrian empires" (India in Greece, p.178). It
is obvious that west asia, as was observed earlier, was very much
a part of the massive Vedic empire.

There are a number of references and admittances to the antiquity
of the Vedic culture, that the Hindus were the parent of the
literature and theogony of the world (W.D.Brown quoted in Bharat:
As seen and known by foreigners", p.13), that the world thought was
influenced by Hindu philosophy, and finally, according to Maxmuller
(in "History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature") the Veda is the
oldest book in existence ... and it carries us back to times of
which we have no records anywhere". The expanse and pervasiveness
of the Vedic thought is simply amazing and remarkable. P.N.Oak in
his celebrated book "World Vedic Heritage" provides an exhaustive
account of the vedics worldwide.

The Vedics seem to have settled in northern (and even in the South)
India long before the Dasharadnya War (7000 B.C.). Divodasa, father
of Sudas, had an empire in the regions of Punjab. The mountains of
Himalayas and the land of Kashmir are praised in the Rgved. The
Vedic settlements on the fertile banks of the Saraswati-Sindhu
rivers, and their influence has reached to the far-east and south
of India as well.


9. The Saraswati-Sindhu Culture (SSC) 
-------------------------------------

A flourishing civilization along the banks of Indus (Sindhu) river,
called the Indus-valley civilization, has been an enigma after its
excavation in the early 20th century. In spite of the intensive
research conducted, many questions about this civilization yet
remain to be answered. However, it has been maintained that this
advanced culture had a non-aryan identity, destroyed by the
invading aryans. However, an examination of the artifacts located
at the unearthed sites present an different opinion.

The ethnic identity of the SS folks, whether they were aryans or
non-aryans has been addressed. It is assumed that these cities
succumbed to the invasions of the so-called aryans and that the
Vedic god Indra carried out all the destruction. Archaeologist
Dales points that there is no destruction level covering the latest
period of Mohenjodaro, no sign of extensive burning, no armour-clad
warriors and no weapons are conspicuously absent. He states, "Enemy
of the Harappans was nature and abetted by Harappans themselves,
who accelerated the spoliation of the landscape - Thus ended one of
the three civilizations of antiquity. Indra and the barbarian
hordes are exonerated" (quoted by Possehl in "Ancient Cities of the
Indus", 1979). The invasion theory does not stand an
anthropological scrutiny, since studies of the SS population prove
the genetic and somatic homogeneity of all. The Vedic literature
even though details many other things, does not speak of any
"formidable civilization" presenting an extensive fortified front
to the aryan invaders. There was no aryan invasion and therefore no
massacre of the population at Mohenjodaro.

In Mohenjodaro, a tablet dated 2600 B.C. is found which depicts
Lord Krishna in his childhood days (Agrawal, V.S., "India in the
days of Panini", 1953). This shows that Lord Krishna was popular at
least prior to this date, and also that the Indus Valley culture
was not destroyed by any outsiders. This culture was in continuity
with the Vedic culture prevalent on the banks of river Saraswati
and Sindhu from ancient times. The disappearance of these
settlements seems to have caused by natural calamities, by
earthquakes, flooding and perhaps, change in course of rivers.

The picture of the SSC that emerges is a huge dimensions, a superb
religious-cultural and trade empire spanning area of continental
sizes. Small settlements and a few city-centers of enormous are
also seen. These sites have been marked by a presence of planned
township, typical pottery and other artifacts. At Mehrgrah, charred
remains of wheat, barley and oats have been found along with
milling stones. Among floral remains, the finding of cotton seeds
forming part of cultivated crops is notable. 

The motifs like Pipal  leaf, which attained deification in the
later stages of the Veda, and Swastika which are supposed to be
religious are found in some pre-SS sites, suggesting a continuity
of from the Vedic culture. Sacrificial fire-alters and geometric
designs are found in most sites suggesting a Vedic religio-
ritualistic lifestyle of the people. A full set of terracotta
figures in Yogic and greeting postures in the Indian posture are
found at Mohenjo-daro and Harapppa. One famous seal found at the
sites is that of Pashupati, a human figure with headgear of horns
in seated in a contemplative yogic posture and surrounded by
animals. He has been identified as Rudra, the later Mahadeva. An
Atharvavedic hymn (2-34), attributed to Pashupati himself, exactly
describes this seal. Due to mutual cultural and trade contacts,
these SS seals, weights and beads have been found in Ur, Kish and
some parts of Sumeria.

The most enigmatic and baffling aspect of the Saraswati-Sindhu
culture has been their script. Due to a belief in aryans overriding
the "dravida" culture, attempts have been made to decipher SS
symbols into some form of a dravidian script. Recently, Dr.Rao has
convincingly deciphered the script and is a form of Sanskrit beyond
any doubt, perhaps, a form of Brahmi from which the current
devanagari script has evolved. This view is being accepted by many
scholars. The conclusion appears to fit in the logic since the
Harappa culture is only in continuance with the earlier Vedic
culture. However, since there was continuous contact between the
Vedic folks and Sumerians, Phoenicians, etc. is possible that the
SS script contains alphabetics from the semitic scripts. The
migration of indo-europeans along with the Indians from their
common habitat explains the close relationship between different
scripts.

The SS culture was anything but a part and parcel of the earlier
Vedic civilization, and also, an antecedent to the Hindu culture
that followed. The Saraswati-Sindhu phase represents a stage of
development, gathered from C-14 dating techniques of various
objects at different sites, during the period between 3000 B.C. to
about 2100 B.C. (Possehl, Ed., Ancient Cities of the Indus, 1979),
a little later than the Mahabharat civilization.

The datelines for the Mahabharat age have been well researched by
numerous scholars. For events prior to Mahabharat, only estimated
dates are available and those like Ramayan, at least for now, can
only be estimated from the Mahabharat epoch. It is with this
consideration that the time for the Mahabharat era is established,
even though Ramayanic era is known to have occurred prior to
Mahabharat.

[ Continued in Part 4 ]
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