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Books > > > The Rig Veda and The History of India (Rig Veda Bharata Itihas)
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The Rig Veda and The History of India (Rig Veda Bharata Itihas)
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There were two main Vedic cultures in ancient India. The first was a northern kingdom centered on the Sarasvati- Drishadvati river region dominated by the purus and the Ikshvakus the produced the existent Veda texts that we have. The second was a southern culture along the coast of the Arabian Sea and into the Vindhya Mountains, dominated by the Turvashas and Yadus and extending into groups yet further south. These northern and southern groups vied for supremacy and influenced each other in various wasys as the Vedas and Puranas indicate. The northern of Bharata culture ultimately prevailed, making India the land of Bharata or Bharatavarsha and its main ancient literary record the Vedas, though militarily the Yadus remained strong throughout history. The southern culture was the older of the two, with the Vedic people coming originally from the south, not the northwest. This was the basis of the maritime symbolism at the core of Vedic thought, which reflects an ancient heritage.

In addition, there was a third or northwest Vedic culture in Punjab and Afganistan, that of the Anus and Druhyus, which was at first part of the northern kingdom but gradually developed its own identity. It was partly assimilated by the Bharatas that became the dominant northern people. Another portion of it extended north and west outside of the Indian subcontinent. Its influence was secondary to that of the northern and southern kingdoms and much of it passed out of the Indic sphere of culture. However, it was the basis of most of the Indo-European and Iranian peoples and cultures that we find in Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East.

Therefore, we must look at the south and east connections to understand not only Indic civilization and Hinduism, but also to understand the Vedas themselves. The western connections to the Europeans and Iranians were more an outflow, while the southern connections were more original and enduring. Western scholars, dominated by a European mindset, only traced Indo- European culture from Europe and the Middle East to India as its eastern border. They failed to see that the boundary was only in their minds.

About the Author

Dr. David Frawley (Pandit Vamadeva Shastri) is one of the few westerners recognized in India as a Vedacharya or teacher of the ancient Vedic wisdom. His fields of study include Ayurvedic medicine, Vedic astrology, Yoga and Vedantic philosophy.

Foreword

In his book, Gods, Sages and Kings which appeared in 1991, David Frawley presented what was at that time a radical conclusion. The Rigveda, far from being a record of nomadic invaders from the steppes of Central Asia or Eurasia, is actually the poetry of a people who show great familiarity with the ocean and maritime activity. In his own words: "Woven into the entire fabric of the Vedas, from beginning to end, is an oceanic symbolism. The Rig Veda is a product of a maritime culture that undertook travel, trade, and colonization by sea. The ocean was known in the earliest period. If the Vedic people did migrate into India, it is likely that at least some of them came by sea or from a land that bordered on the ocean." This has had far-reaching consequences for the research that followed because accounting for the maritime background to the Rigveda holds one of the keys to understanding both the Vedas and the history of the period.

The present volume, The Rig Veda and the History of India, builds on this theme, and reaches a conclusion that is no less radical and Significant. It holds that while the Rigveda was composed for the most part in the Sarasvati heartland in the north, some of its sources, including much of its ancestry, its poetry and language, go back to a maritime civilization in the south of India and possibly beyond. While undoubtedly radical, it is a logical outcome of research in several disciplines in the past decade or so, in the wake of the collapse of the so-called Aryan Invasion Theory of India. Thus, to understand the origins of the Vedic Civilization, we need to look not west and northwest as scholars have been doing for well over a century, but south and southeast. Let me explain.

Throughout history, going back untold millennia, India's ties with East Asia and Southeast Asia have been much closer than those with Central Asia or Europe. This was interrupted by three centuries of European colonialism in the region, leading to a Eurocentric version of history being imposed upon it. (The Aryan Invasion Theory was a key part of this.) Following the end of colonialism, a more objective account of history and culture needs to be written. This has to begin with the recognition that Indian climate as well as flora and fauna are closely related to those of Southeast Asia. In particular, Indian cattle (Bos Indicus) are domesticated versions of the wild cattle of Southeast Asia known as the Banteng (Bas Banteng or Bosjavanicus, a close relative of the Indian bison or gaur). Similarly, the Indian horse is a different breed from the Central Asiatic, and related to the Southeast Asian variety. This appears to be the horse described in the Rigveda-and not the Central Asian or the Eurasian variety.

It is a similar story when we examine the human imprint on the region, especially the genetic evidence. As the one expert (Paul Kekai Manansala) recently pointed out: "Kenneth Kennedy, who has done extensive research on early Indian crania, has stated that the 'Aryan' is missing from the early skeletal record." By 'Aryan' is meant here a group that would cluster with Central Asians or Eurasians believed to be Indo-Europeans. The skeletal record shows that in most ways the Indian population is quite unique. As a result, one thing can safely be asserted: Indians are ancient inhabitants of India and Southeast Asia (or Greater India) and not recent immigrants. The idea that they are recent immigrants from the northwest due to an 'Aryan Invasion' or 'Aryan Migration' (now the preferred term) represents a theoretical fancy that is contradicted by scientific evidence.

Comparing cranial measures is a relatively crude technique; more refined genetic studies lead to a similar conclusion-that the Indian population is very ancient to which the contribution of Eurasian strains is negligible to non- existent. It is a different story when we compare Indian and Southeast Asian populations. "The overall genetic picture indicates a very old biological relationship, probably extending in part at least to the original migration out of Africa. " The current understanding is that Africa was the original home of the entire human population now distributed all over the world. The overall genetic picture of Indians is that they are closely related to the Southeast Asians, going back tens of thousands of years. In contrast, their links to Eurasia or Europe find no scientific support.

From all this, it is safe to conclude that to understand the origins of the Vedic Civilization, and its history, it is necessary first to drop the west-northwest bias that has dominated the study of India for nearly two centuries. Frawley was one of the first to do so a decade ago; by recognizing the maritime background of Vedic Civilization. This allowed him (and others) to break away from the shackles of the northwest, particularly the Aryan Invasion Theory, which has been a major obstacle to a rational study of India. In the present volume, he takes the next logical step by linking the Vedic Civilization to movements from the south, and the resulting exchanges of people and ideas between different regions. Ecological changes, notably the ending of the last Ice Age, contributed to it in a major way, in the form of two momentous developments. First, rising sea levels led the inhabitants of the coastal regions, and possibly also from now submerged islands, to move to the interior and the north seeking safer ground. Next, the melting of ice caps in the north resulted in the release of the rivers of the northern plains-making this formerly arid region fertile and inhabitable.

These two epochal events are encapsulated in the two most significant myths of ancient India-the Flood Myth of Manu and the Indra-Vritra Myth. I would suggest that the Rigveda is the product of the mix of two groups of people: ruling families that inhabited the north and the poets and sages from the coastal regions and the south-some possibly from beyond the seas-who brought with them their maritime memories and experiences. The two groups were also mixed at an earlier period and so the division is only general. This explains why the Rigveda, though composed in the Sarasvati heartland, abounds in oceanic symbolism and maritime activity. But soon the distinction between the northern rulers and the southern sages came to be blurred as the two groups became intermixed. There remained, however, their distinct contribution of a political and ruling system of rulers and sages that makes India uniquely a spiritual civilization. Frawley has explored the consequences of this in the final section of the book, with many lessons for present day India and the world.

It is no accident that two of the most important seer families of the Rigveda-the Vasishthas (with the brother Agastya) and the Bhrigus-should have strong maritime connections. The Angirasas also are connected to the sea by their association with Manu and the flood. It is important also to know that the south or the peninsular India and beyond was not unknown to the Vedic people, especially the seer families. But much information about it has been overlooked or misread in attempts to make data fit the northwestern orientation of scholars over the better part of two centuries. Even the so-called nationalistic scholars have not been able to escape its hold.

In reality, recognizing this southern contribution to the Vedas clarifies many literary, linguistic and historical issues in the ancient texts. It is inconceivable that these poets and sages, who brought with them the oceanic imagery and the maritime experiences that pervade the Rigveda, did not also bring linguistic elements and spiritual ideas that went into the Vedic language and literature. It is clear that many ancient peoples and even places have been grossly misidentified in attempts- to fit history and geography to the idea of an 'expansion of Aryans' from the northwest to the south and southeast. For example, the Ramayana has been misinterpreted as the expansion of Aryan civilization into the peninsula. In reality, what Rama found in the south, even in Lanka, was a Vedic Civilization. The Uttarakanda of the Ramayana is a goldmine of information about the southern people known as the Rakshasas. We know, for example, that they were a maritime people, but had close ties with some clans (Yakshas) in the Himalayan region as well as with the Yadus of the West Coast, another maritime people. The river Narmada appears to have served as the boundary between the 'spheres of influence' of the Rakshasas of the south and Ikshvaku-Bharatas of the north, with the Yadus somewhere in between. And the Rakshasa leaders often retreated to Rasatala-the 'netherlands' (or 'Down Under')-when threatened. This Rasatala was probably part of Indonesia or some other region of Monsoon Asia.

Therefore, what we have is not any 'expansion of Aryans from the northwest and the north', but a free exchange of peoples and ideas among different regions-much as it has existed throughout history including today. And this included lands beyond the oceans. It was interrupted, as previously noted, during the period of European domination of the region. Naturally enough, they looked at history and culture of the region through Eurocentric glasses. This is the 'history' that is followed by most establishment Indologists, though it is crumbling under the impact of archaeology and a more rational approach to the study of the primary literature.

Once we recognize this, it is not hard to see that myths and legends of India are linked to those of Southeast Asia. Compared to this, connections with West Asia and Europe are limited and are mainly from India going westwards. This is clear from archaeology and the spread of language and literature. It is time to discard Eurocentric models and begin a restudy of Indian records based on science and the primary sources, while keeping an eastern and southern orientation in perspective. This calls for a major research program across several disciplines. The present book makes a significant contribution to that end by providing a rational foundation for identifying the people of India from the Himalayas to the southern sea.

This is not to suggest that ancient India had no connection with the west and the northwest, but only that it was of a completely different character from what is presented in history books today. It may come as a surprise to learn that most movements were from India going north and west, the exact reverse of what is asserted by the Aryan Invasion Theory. There is ample archaeological data to demonstrate that there were repeated migrations out of India to West Asia, going as far as Europe. In contrast, in the nearly two hundred years since scholars-mainly comparative linguists-have been arguing for an 'Aryan Invasion' of India, they have not been able to provide a shred of technical data to support it. While there probably never was an 'Aryan Invasion of Europe', several ruling dynasties and priestly families migrated from India, leaving their imprint on Europe and West Asia in the form of languages, religion and culture. There is ample archaeological and literary evidence to support it. Frawley identifies many of these people also by linking them to Indian dynasties and seer families. All this calls for a fundamental reconstruction of the history of the ancient world, in which the basis should be primary records and a scientific approach.

This brings me to the field of comparative linguistics where Frawley has some fresh ideas that merit serious consideration. As there is now convincing evidence that the south made significant contributions to the Vedic language and literature from the earliest times, it is clear that the idea of dividing Indian languages into Aryan (northern) and Dravidian (southern) on geographical and/or racial lines is historically and methodologically unsound. As a native Dravidian speaker, who knows anskrit and several north Indian languages, I find no empirical support for this division. Geographical proximity seems to account for a significant part of the similarities between languages. (This of course is not limited to India.) While much is made of the connections between Kannada, Tamil and Telugu-all spoken in geographically contiguous regions-little note is taken of the deep linguistic, literary and cultural ties that bind the speakers of Kannada, Konkani and Marathi.

More fundamentally, the whole idea of creating language families and morphologies on the basis of an original 'proto- language' -like 'proto-Indo-European' -needs to be questioned. While the transformation of the structure and phonetics of languages may have some validity, the influence of history and culture can be at least as great. This is largely ignored by theorists. As Bloomfield pointed out long ago, the methodology used by Indo-European linguists assumes that languages evolve in historical isolation. In his words, "they accepted the uniform parent languages and their sudden clear-cut splitting as historical realities." Frawley offers a different and more realistic way of looking at language evolution.

Frawley, rightly in my opinion, does not devote much space to the refutation of the Aryan Invasion Theory. This is now redundant. While there is an ongoing debate of sorts about the Aryan Invasion vs. Indigenous Origin of the Vedas and Indian civilization, it is now little more than semantics and polemics. It has contributed little of substance. Recognizing this, the present book does not dwell on these polemics that are a holdover of colonial 'scholarship' that has little to offer per se to our understanding of the ancient world. It is no more than an appendix in the history of European colonialism. The two-century old record of Indology may be seen as nothing more than a collection of beliefs and interests presented as 'scholarly' research. This may have been acceptable in the nineteenth century but has no place in the present age.

In summary, ten years ago in his book Gods, Sages and Kings, David Frawley gave us a basis for clearing away the cobwebs of colonial and missionary biases that had accumulated as a result of European colonialism and provided a fresh look at the Vedas and the civilization that they gave birth to. I have no doubt that the present book will prove to be no less seminal in recovering the history and origins of the Vedic Civilization. 0 one-whether a serious researcher or interested reader-can afford to miss this book.

Preface

The following book attempts to clarify the historical aspects of the Rig Veda through an examination of its kings, rishis and peoples. Since the publication of my main book in the field-Gods, Sages and Kings (1991)-I have done much additional research, not all of which appeared in my various Vedic books that followed it. I decided it was time to bring this out, particularly in light of the extensive new work being done in the field. The book covers quite a bit of ground and makes many new points of literary interpretation not only of the Rig Veda but also of the other Vedas, Brahmanas, Puranas, Mahabharata and Ramayana. Therefore, it should be examined as a whole and not simply judged by one aspect alone.

Preparing this account of Vedic history has led me to important new ideas about the Vedic world, Vedic values and the place of the Rig Veda in the history of India. First, it has led me to a different view of the history and cultures of the region.

There were two main Vedic cultures in ancient India. The first was a northern kingdom centered on the Sarasvati- Drishadvati river region dominated by the Purus and the Ikshvakus that produced the existent Veda texts that we have. The second was a southern culture along the coast of the Arabian Sea and into the Vindhya Mountains, dominated by the Turvashas and Yadus and extending into groups yet further south. These northern and southern groups vied for supremacy and influenced each other in various ways as the Vedas and Puranas indicate. The northern or Bharata culture ultimately prevailed, making India the land of Bharata or Bharatavarsha and its main ancient literary record the Vedas, though militarily the Yadus remained strong throughout history. The southern culture was the older of the two, with the Vedic people coming originally from the south, not the northwest. This was the basis of the maritime symbolism at the core of Vedic thought, which reflects an ancient heritage.

In addition, there was a third or northwest Vedic culture in Punjab and Afghanistan, that of the Anus and Druhyus, which was at first part of the northern kingdom but gradually developed its own identity. It was partly assimilated by the Bharatas that became the dominant northern people. Another portion of it extended north and west outside of the Indian subcontinent. Its influence was secondary to that of the northern and southern kingdoms and much of it passed out of the Indic sphere of culture. However, it was the basis of most of the Indo-European and Iranian peoples and cultures that we find in Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East.

Therefore, we must look at the south and east connections to understand not only Indic civilization and Hinduism, but also to understand the Vedas themselves. The western connections to the Europeans and Iranians were more an outflow, while the southern connections were more original and enduring. Western scholars, dominated by a European mindset, only traced Indo-European culture from Europe and the Middle East to India as its eastern border. They failed to see that the boundary was only in their minds.

We can also trace linguistic, cultural and religious influences east and south from India, not only during the classical Hindu-Buddhist period, but even in the Vedic period itself. Vedic India was a South Asian civilization and reflects its South Asian matrix. We must, therefore, look to the Rig Veda not only in terms of western connections but more so in terms of eastern connections and, primarily, in terms of the influences of the subcontinent itself both culturally and geographically.

This new view of ancient India has al 0 brought me to new conclusions about the nature of Vedic culture and the. meaning of the Vedas. I realized that the Rig Veda is not only a spiritual but also a political document-which conclusion I have added to the end of this book. I had long known that the rishis of the Rig Veda were mainly royal rishis, the purohits of the great kings of the Bharata dynasty. I knew that the Battle of the Ten Kings was a civil war like the Mahabharata conflict. Following this idea, I came to understand that the Rig Veda is itself the first bharata or epic of India and its culture. This is not to say that the events in the Rig Veda are the same as those of the Mahabharata, or that the texts are otherwise comparable. However, behind the religious and spiritual meaning of the Rig Veda are social and political implications like that of the Mahabharata.

The Rig Veda is the record of the Bharata rishis as they guided and shaped the Bharata dynasty into a dharmic kingdom that provided the foundation for the great spiritual culture which came to characterize India. The Bharata culture of the Rig Veda spread throughout India, giving the land its traditional name of Bharatavarsha. This did not occur only because the Rig Veda was the document of powerful kings, but because it reflected the rishi culture in which even the king had to bow to a higher spiritual power and work selflessly to unfold the rishi vision.

This explains how the Vedic literature could endure. It was a national literature, with important political and cultural as well as spiritual and religious significance. It was not only its spiritual force but also its national relevance that allowed Vedic literature to last throughout India's history and the changes of kings and peoples. The Vedas enjoyed a royal patronage through kings and dynasties over many centuries. Vedic literature developed organically along with the culture and civilization of the region. The people carried it on as their national heritage and treasure, as representing not only the deepest spiritual urges, but also the main cultural and historical trends of the land.

A careful examination of Vedic literature will show that the Vedas were from the beginning a cultural document for most of north India. The Vedas, whose cultural sphere included the southwest by the sea, also made their way into the south quite early and the south contributed significantly to the Vedic history and culture. This explains the unique character of the civilization of India, which has followed a Vedic imprint. Even Buddhism in India followed a Vedic model of the sage being emulated over the king and the king becoming an instrument of dharma.

The Indian or Bharatiya model turned kingship into a dharmic duty rather than a means of self-glorification. But it did afford great honor to kings, particularly kings that followed the sages or became sages themselves. It made the princely classes emulate both a personal and a spiritual nobility, a willingness to protect the spiritual interests of society over their own personal desires, both through courage in battle and through compassion in administering their kingdoms.

Linguistics

There is no archaeological evidence that supports the old textbook model of the Aryan invasion/ migration. All the hard evidence of ruins, skeletal remains and genetics is against it. As the current book shows, Vedic literature provides a very different account as well. Because of this lack of hard evidence, proponents of the invasion/migration theory have fallen back on linguistics which, as a soft or speculative form of evidence, is difficult to disprove. One of the criticisms of those who reject the invasion/migration theory is that the anti-invasionists have not explained the linguistic situation in India, in which Sanskritic or Indo-European dialects prevail in the north and Dravidian tongues in the south.

For this reason, I have included a major paper on linguistics in the present volume, though it can be taken independently of the rest of the book. This new model proposes a process of 'Sanskritization, which is a Hindu term referring to a model of 'cultural elite predominance', to explain the spread of Indo-European languages. It resembles how English has spread in the modern world, not so much by migration as by a dominant culture. Vedic and Harappan India provide such an ancient dominant culture that could have had a far reaching influence on different peoples and their dialects. The literary account of the Rig Veda as projecting a strong culture and country supports this linguistic theory. The Rigvedic language was probably a synthetic language, combining elements of the different languages of the region as well as upholding an older and sanctified terminology for general spiritual and religious purposes. Just as the Rig Veda politically established the Bharata nation, it also gave that nation a language or lingua franca. This was Vedic Sanskrit, called 'Cbbandas' or meter, a poetic language acceptable to the various peoples of the region at least on a religious level.

In addition, we must note that linguistic diversity was a characteristic feature of the entire ancient world. No region-whether Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Europe or the Mediterranean-had only one linguistic group. India would not have been different. The persistence of linguistic diversity in India may not be a sign of an Aryan invasion but of the existence of several old cultures in the region.

However, even if a migration or invasion is required to explain different language groups in India, it must have occurred well before 3000 BCE, before the beginnings of urban civilization in the region. The reasons for this are many, including the continuity of culture and the large population that inhabited the region. Besides the lack of evidence for any such intrusion, Vedic literature also knows of the geology of the region before 2000 BCE when the Sarasvati was the dominant river. All the river and place names of North India are Sanskritic as far back as can be traced, confirming this. Therefore, even if one is compelled to accept certain linguistic constraints, which remains debatable, there is no reason for an invasion of 1500 BCE. Indian or Bharatiya civilization, as reflected in the Vedic literature, is much older than that.

Introduction

As the book is long and many-sided I have first made a summary of its main themes. We start with an overview of the geography of the Vedic world. The Rig Veda is preeminently an Indian document that rarely refers to the lands beyond the Indus and the Himalayas. It knows no homeland but India. Its geographical description as the Sapta Sindhu or the land dominated by seven 'great rivers' (minor rivers are not called 'Sindhu') flowing to the ocean makes it impossible to place it in Afghanistan, Central Asia or Eurasia. The seven rivers were those of North India, with the Sarasvati as the most important. They were not simply the rivers of the Punjab but extended as far to the east as the Sarayu (Ayodhya).

On an historical level, Vedic culture probably originated from South India by refugees from floods that occurred at the end of the Ice Age (the Manu flood motif). They sought safety in the Himalayan foothills and eventually returned to the plains, establishing their center on the Sarasvati River that the melting glaciers made suitable for habitation. Much of the confusion about Vedic India is removed when we shift the focus of pre-Vedic India from the northwest to south.

In addition, prior to the arising of the Puru-Bharatas of the Sarasvati region in the north was an earlier period of the ascendancy of southern and eastern peoples, the Turvashas and Yadus, that is only alluded to in the Rig Veda but discussed more in the Puranas. The Ikshvakus, allies of the Puru-Bharatas, also established themselves in the east on the Sarayu at an early period. The Vedic horizon, therefore, is not Central Asian but purely Indian, though as at many times historically, India extended into Afghanistan and into some Transhimalayan areas.

Main Points 1. The Rig Veda is the record of the great kings and rishis of the Bharata dynasty from its predecessors to the Panchalas as finally modified by a Kuru influence. The Rig Veda is primarily a Bharata-Panchala document.

2. The Bharatas were closely aligned with the Ikshvaku dynasty, particularly King Trasadasyu and his descendants, together with which they created a single culture. The Rig Veda in the broader sense is thus a Bharata- Ikshvaku or Panchala-Trasadasyu document. The Kurus also continued this long-standing alliance with the Ikshvakus.

3. Bharata and Ikshvaku kings can be harmonized with Puranic king lists by a few simple but major correlations. The Puranic scribes brought some confusion into the list, mainly owing to time changes and the shift of Vedic culture from the Sarasvati River to Ganga. This Vedic- Puranic concordance places most of the Rig Veda at an early to middle period of the Vedic age, not at the earliest era (the Manu-Yayati period), nor at the later phase of Kuru rule (though a few hymns were added down to the time of the Mahabharata War).

4. The main Bharata kingdom was located from the Parushni (Ravi) River in the west, where the Bharatas mixed with the Anus, to the Ganga in the east (down to Kashi or Benares), where they mixed with the Ikshvakus. The Bharata kingdom had the Sarasvati River as its central region down to the ocean, where the Sarasvati entered into the Arabian Sea. When the Sarasvati dried up in 1900 BCE, the Bharatas shifted their center east to the Ganga.

5. The greater Bharata Empire extended from Afghanistan (Kabul and Gandhara, or the Druhyus) in the west, which gave them access to Central Asia, and across the Sarayu River (Videha and Anga) in the east, which gave them access to the Bay of Bengal. It extended from the Himalayas in the north down to the Vindhyas and the Narmada River (Yadu country) in the south. These border regions were areas of conflict, expansion, colonization and trade.

6. The Rig Veda portrays both east-west conflicts (mainly Purus versus Anus and Druhyus) and north-south conflicts (mainly Bharata-Ikshvakus versus Yadus and Turvashas), with the two groups of enemies sometimes aligned together. The east-west split, which is reflected in Asura becoming a negative term in later Vedic texts, led eventually to the migration of the Persians out of India and their establishing of another Arya empire to the west in later ancient times.

7. The main and older Rigvedic struggle, however, was the north-south conflict, that of the Turvashas and Yadus (the people of interior India to the south) with the Vedic Purus of the Sarasvati River to the north. It continued long after the period of the Rig Veda as Puranic stories of Puru or Ikshvaku struggle with the Yadus reveal. The Turvashas and Yadus were also called Rakshasas and Yakshas.

8. This means that there were two large kingdoms in early ancient India. The first was a northern kingdom dominated by the Purus and represented by Vedic literature. It was located in the Indus, Sarasvati and Gangetic plains. The second was a southern kingdom dominated by the Yadus, located in the Vindhya mountains, the Narmada, Maharashtra and Orissa, that eventually adopted a Vedic culture. It extended as far as Sri Lanka. The lower Gangetic delta and eastern India were still too marshy and heavily forested and not well populated until cleared by the Ikshvakus, Purus and Anus from the west as well as perhaps by some Turvashas and Yadus from the south.

9. The Rig Veda notes an earlier period of Turvasha-Yadu predominance, which the Purus broke in order to become the dominant people in the region. This was followed by Puru conflicts with the Anus and Druhyus for supremacy among the northern peoples that resulted in a split between northern peoples.

10. Therefore, the battle between the Vedic people and the Iranians is not the main motif of the Rig Veda but only an important closing theme. These conflicts are reflected in the Puranic idea that the Purus were the youngest of the five Vedic peoples and inherited the central kingdom last.

11. Vedic culture, including the Sanskrit language and its relatives, was spread by various sages, kings and mer- chants from India, sometimes with migrating bands of people who followed the Vedic principle to make the entire world Arya (dharmic). There were expansions both by land and sea and in all directions, not only north and west but also east and south.

12. Ancient European Aryas like the Celts and the Greeks were part of a cultural diffusion and migration of peoples from the northwest of India and Afghanistan at . an early period. The Europeans called themselves 'Danavas', the sons of the Goddess Danu. Danava was originally a positive term reflected in the name of the Maruts and other Vedic Gods as Su-Danavas (good Danus). It became a negative term later, probably owing to conflicts between the Indic and Proto-European Aryas. In this case, it follows the same analogy as Asura and Deva. This conflict between the Vedic people and the Proto-Europeans was probably part of the struggles of the Purus with the Anus and Druhyus.

13. The main Rigvedic era ended no later than 2500 BCE by which time the Sarasvati River was already declining, with the terminal point of the river at 1900 BCE marking the end of the Vedic period proper.

Contents

Forewordvii
Prefacexv
Part I. Introduction
Summary of Conclusions3
1The Rig Veda as a Document of Both Rishis and Kings9
2The Early Era: Manu, Iia, Nahusha and Yayati 25
Part II. The Main Dynasties of the Rig Veda
3The Main Bharta Divodasa- Bharadvaja line of Kings47
4The Trasadasyu Dynasty and the Ikshvakus57
5The Srinjayas, the Main Dynasty of the Later Rig Veda72
6The Decline of the Srinjaya- Panchalas and the Rise of the kurus90
Part III. Implications
7Expansions of the Vedic People109
8Geographical Reference: The Ocean and Soma125
9Lineages of the Seers of the Rig Veda163
10The Kuru Dynasty and Krishna193
Part IV. Conclusions
11Related People 1: Iran, Mesopotamia and South India207
12Related People 2: The Europeans, The Children of Danu235
13Summary of Vedic-Puranic Concordance259
14Sanskritization: A New Model of Language Development284
15Establishing a Time Line304
16Conclusion: Cultural Implications311
Bibliography329
Index332

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The Rig Veda and The History of India (Rig Veda Bharata Itihas)

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2012
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About the Book

There were two main Vedic cultures in ancient India. The first was a northern kingdom centered on the Sarasvati- Drishadvati river region dominated by the purus and the Ikshvakus the produced the existent Veda texts that we have. The second was a southern culture along the coast of the Arabian Sea and into the Vindhya Mountains, dominated by the Turvashas and Yadus and extending into groups yet further south. These northern and southern groups vied for supremacy and influenced each other in various wasys as the Vedas and Puranas indicate. The northern of Bharata culture ultimately prevailed, making India the land of Bharata or Bharatavarsha and its main ancient literary record the Vedas, though militarily the Yadus remained strong throughout history. The southern culture was the older of the two, with the Vedic people coming originally from the south, not the northwest. This was the basis of the maritime symbolism at the core of Vedic thought, which reflects an ancient heritage.

In addition, there was a third or northwest Vedic culture in Punjab and Afganistan, that of the Anus and Druhyus, which was at first part of the northern kingdom but gradually developed its own identity. It was partly assimilated by the Bharatas that became the dominant northern people. Another portion of it extended north and west outside of the Indian subcontinent. Its influence was secondary to that of the northern and southern kingdoms and much of it passed out of the Indic sphere of culture. However, it was the basis of most of the Indo-European and Iranian peoples and cultures that we find in Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East.

Therefore, we must look at the south and east connections to understand not only Indic civilization and Hinduism, but also to understand the Vedas themselves. The western connections to the Europeans and Iranians were more an outflow, while the southern connections were more original and enduring. Western scholars, dominated by a European mindset, only traced Indo- European culture from Europe and the Middle East to India as its eastern border. They failed to see that the boundary was only in their minds.

About the Author

Dr. David Frawley (Pandit Vamadeva Shastri) is one of the few westerners recognized in India as a Vedacharya or teacher of the ancient Vedic wisdom. His fields of study include Ayurvedic medicine, Vedic astrology, Yoga and Vedantic philosophy.

Foreword

In his book, Gods, Sages and Kings which appeared in 1991, David Frawley presented what was at that time a radical conclusion. The Rigveda, far from being a record of nomadic invaders from the steppes of Central Asia or Eurasia, is actually the poetry of a people who show great familiarity with the ocean and maritime activity. In his own words: "Woven into the entire fabric of the Vedas, from beginning to end, is an oceanic symbolism. The Rig Veda is a product of a maritime culture that undertook travel, trade, and colonization by sea. The ocean was known in the earliest period. If the Vedic people did migrate into India, it is likely that at least some of them came by sea or from a land that bordered on the ocean." This has had far-reaching consequences for the research that followed because accounting for the maritime background to the Rigveda holds one of the keys to understanding both the Vedas and the history of the period.

The present volume, The Rig Veda and the History of India, builds on this theme, and reaches a conclusion that is no less radical and Significant. It holds that while the Rigveda was composed for the most part in the Sarasvati heartland in the north, some of its sources, including much of its ancestry, its poetry and language, go back to a maritime civilization in the south of India and possibly beyond. While undoubtedly radical, it is a logical outcome of research in several disciplines in the past decade or so, in the wake of the collapse of the so-called Aryan Invasion Theory of India. Thus, to understand the origins of the Vedic Civilization, we need to look not west and northwest as scholars have been doing for well over a century, but south and southeast. Let me explain.

Throughout history, going back untold millennia, India's ties with East Asia and Southeast Asia have been much closer than those with Central Asia or Europe. This was interrupted by three centuries of European colonialism in the region, leading to a Eurocentric version of history being imposed upon it. (The Aryan Invasion Theory was a key part of this.) Following the end of colonialism, a more objective account of history and culture needs to be written. This has to begin with the recognition that Indian climate as well as flora and fauna are closely related to those of Southeast Asia. In particular, Indian cattle (Bos Indicus) are domesticated versions of the wild cattle of Southeast Asia known as the Banteng (Bas Banteng or Bosjavanicus, a close relative of the Indian bison or gaur). Similarly, the Indian horse is a different breed from the Central Asiatic, and related to the Southeast Asian variety. This appears to be the horse described in the Rigveda-and not the Central Asian or the Eurasian variety.

It is a similar story when we examine the human imprint on the region, especially the genetic evidence. As the one expert (Paul Kekai Manansala) recently pointed out: "Kenneth Kennedy, who has done extensive research on early Indian crania, has stated that the 'Aryan' is missing from the early skeletal record." By 'Aryan' is meant here a group that would cluster with Central Asians or Eurasians believed to be Indo-Europeans. The skeletal record shows that in most ways the Indian population is quite unique. As a result, one thing can safely be asserted: Indians are ancient inhabitants of India and Southeast Asia (or Greater India) and not recent immigrants. The idea that they are recent immigrants from the northwest due to an 'Aryan Invasion' or 'Aryan Migration' (now the preferred term) represents a theoretical fancy that is contradicted by scientific evidence.

Comparing cranial measures is a relatively crude technique; more refined genetic studies lead to a similar conclusion-that the Indian population is very ancient to which the contribution of Eurasian strains is negligible to non- existent. It is a different story when we compare Indian and Southeast Asian populations. "The overall genetic picture indicates a very old biological relationship, probably extending in part at least to the original migration out of Africa. " The current understanding is that Africa was the original home of the entire human population now distributed all over the world. The overall genetic picture of Indians is that they are closely related to the Southeast Asians, going back tens of thousands of years. In contrast, their links to Eurasia or Europe find no scientific support.

From all this, it is safe to conclude that to understand the origins of the Vedic Civilization, and its history, it is necessary first to drop the west-northwest bias that has dominated the study of India for nearly two centuries. Frawley was one of the first to do so a decade ago; by recognizing the maritime background of Vedic Civilization. This allowed him (and others) to break away from the shackles of the northwest, particularly the Aryan Invasion Theory, which has been a major obstacle to a rational study of India. In the present volume, he takes the next logical step by linking the Vedic Civilization to movements from the south, and the resulting exchanges of people and ideas between different regions. Ecological changes, notably the ending of the last Ice Age, contributed to it in a major way, in the form of two momentous developments. First, rising sea levels led the inhabitants of the coastal regions, and possibly also from now submerged islands, to move to the interior and the north seeking safer ground. Next, the melting of ice caps in the north resulted in the release of the rivers of the northern plains-making this formerly arid region fertile and inhabitable.

These two epochal events are encapsulated in the two most significant myths of ancient India-the Flood Myth of Manu and the Indra-Vritra Myth. I would suggest that the Rigveda is the product of the mix of two groups of people: ruling families that inhabited the north and the poets and sages from the coastal regions and the south-some possibly from beyond the seas-who brought with them their maritime memories and experiences. The two groups were also mixed at an earlier period and so the division is only general. This explains why the Rigveda, though composed in the Sarasvati heartland, abounds in oceanic symbolism and maritime activity. But soon the distinction between the northern rulers and the southern sages came to be blurred as the two groups became intermixed. There remained, however, their distinct contribution of a political and ruling system of rulers and sages that makes India uniquely a spiritual civilization. Frawley has explored the consequences of this in the final section of the book, with many lessons for present day India and the world.

It is no accident that two of the most important seer families of the Rigveda-the Vasishthas (with the brother Agastya) and the Bhrigus-should have strong maritime connections. The Angirasas also are connected to the sea by their association with Manu and the flood. It is important also to know that the south or the peninsular India and beyond was not unknown to the Vedic people, especially the seer families. But much information about it has been overlooked or misread in attempts to make data fit the northwestern orientation of scholars over the better part of two centuries. Even the so-called nationalistic scholars have not been able to escape its hold.

In reality, recognizing this southern contribution to the Vedas clarifies many literary, linguistic and historical issues in the ancient texts. It is inconceivable that these poets and sages, who brought with them the oceanic imagery and the maritime experiences that pervade the Rigveda, did not also bring linguistic elements and spiritual ideas that went into the Vedic language and literature. It is clear that many ancient peoples and even places have been grossly misidentified in attempts- to fit history and geography to the idea of an 'expansion of Aryans' from the northwest to the south and southeast. For example, the Ramayana has been misinterpreted as the expansion of Aryan civilization into the peninsula. In reality, what Rama found in the south, even in Lanka, was a Vedic Civilization. The Uttarakanda of the Ramayana is a goldmine of information about the southern people known as the Rakshasas. We know, for example, that they were a maritime people, but had close ties with some clans (Yakshas) in the Himalayan region as well as with the Yadus of the West Coast, another maritime people. The river Narmada appears to have served as the boundary between the 'spheres of influence' of the Rakshasas of the south and Ikshvaku-Bharatas of the north, with the Yadus somewhere in between. And the Rakshasa leaders often retreated to Rasatala-the 'netherlands' (or 'Down Under')-when threatened. This Rasatala was probably part of Indonesia or some other region of Monsoon Asia.

Therefore, what we have is not any 'expansion of Aryans from the northwest and the north', but a free exchange of peoples and ideas among different regions-much as it has existed throughout history including today. And this included lands beyond the oceans. It was interrupted, as previously noted, during the period of European domination of the region. Naturally enough, they looked at history and culture of the region through Eurocentric glasses. This is the 'history' that is followed by most establishment Indologists, though it is crumbling under the impact of archaeology and a more rational approach to the study of the primary literature.

Once we recognize this, it is not hard to see that myths and legends of India are linked to those of Southeast Asia. Compared to this, connections with West Asia and Europe are limited and are mainly from India going westwards. This is clear from archaeology and the spread of language and literature. It is time to discard Eurocentric models and begin a restudy of Indian records based on science and the primary sources, while keeping an eastern and southern orientation in perspective. This calls for a major research program across several disciplines. The present book makes a significant contribution to that end by providing a rational foundation for identifying the people of India from the Himalayas to the southern sea.

This is not to suggest that ancient India had no connection with the west and the northwest, but only that it was of a completely different character from what is presented in history books today. It may come as a surprise to learn that most movements were from India going north and west, the exact reverse of what is asserted by the Aryan Invasion Theory. There is ample archaeological data to demonstrate that there were repeated migrations out of India to West Asia, going as far as Europe. In contrast, in the nearly two hundred years since scholars-mainly comparative linguists-have been arguing for an 'Aryan Invasion' of India, they have not been able to provide a shred of technical data to support it. While there probably never was an 'Aryan Invasion of Europe', several ruling dynasties and priestly families migrated from India, leaving their imprint on Europe and West Asia in the form of languages, religion and culture. There is ample archaeological and literary evidence to support it. Frawley identifies many of these people also by linking them to Indian dynasties and seer families. All this calls for a fundamental reconstruction of the history of the ancient world, in which the basis should be primary records and a scientific approach.

This brings me to the field of comparative linguistics where Frawley has some fresh ideas that merit serious consideration. As there is now convincing evidence that the south made significant contributions to the Vedic language and literature from the earliest times, it is clear that the idea of dividing Indian languages into Aryan (northern) and Dravidian (southern) on geographical and/or racial lines is historically and methodologically unsound. As a native Dravidian speaker, who knows anskrit and several north Indian languages, I find no empirical support for this division. Geographical proximity seems to account for a significant part of the similarities between languages. (This of course is not limited to India.) While much is made of the connections between Kannada, Tamil and Telugu-all spoken in geographically contiguous regions-little note is taken of the deep linguistic, literary and cultural ties that bind the speakers of Kannada, Konkani and Marathi.

More fundamentally, the whole idea of creating language families and morphologies on the basis of an original 'proto- language' -like 'proto-Indo-European' -needs to be questioned. While the transformation of the structure and phonetics of languages may have some validity, the influence of history and culture can be at least as great. This is largely ignored by theorists. As Bloomfield pointed out long ago, the methodology used by Indo-European linguists assumes that languages evolve in historical isolation. In his words, "they accepted the uniform parent languages and their sudden clear-cut splitting as historical realities." Frawley offers a different and more realistic way of looking at language evolution.

Frawley, rightly in my opinion, does not devote much space to the refutation of the Aryan Invasion Theory. This is now redundant. While there is an ongoing debate of sorts about the Aryan Invasion vs. Indigenous Origin of the Vedas and Indian civilization, it is now little more than semantics and polemics. It has contributed little of substance. Recognizing this, the present book does not dwell on these polemics that are a holdover of colonial 'scholarship' that has little to offer per se to our understanding of the ancient world. It is no more than an appendix in the history of European colonialism. The two-century old record of Indology may be seen as nothing more than a collection of beliefs and interests presented as 'scholarly' research. This may have been acceptable in the nineteenth century but has no place in the present age.

In summary, ten years ago in his book Gods, Sages and Kings, David Frawley gave us a basis for clearing away the cobwebs of colonial and missionary biases that had accumulated as a result of European colonialism and provided a fresh look at the Vedas and the civilization that they gave birth to. I have no doubt that the present book will prove to be no less seminal in recovering the history and origins of the Vedic Civilization. 0 one-whether a serious researcher or interested reader-can afford to miss this book.

Preface

The following book attempts to clarify the historical aspects of the Rig Veda through an examination of its kings, rishis and peoples. Since the publication of my main book in the field-Gods, Sages and Kings (1991)-I have done much additional research, not all of which appeared in my various Vedic books that followed it. I decided it was time to bring this out, particularly in light of the extensive new work being done in the field. The book covers quite a bit of ground and makes many new points of literary interpretation not only of the Rig Veda but also of the other Vedas, Brahmanas, Puranas, Mahabharata and Ramayana. Therefore, it should be examined as a whole and not simply judged by one aspect alone.

Preparing this account of Vedic history has led me to important new ideas about the Vedic world, Vedic values and the place of the Rig Veda in the history of India. First, it has led me to a different view of the history and cultures of the region.

There were two main Vedic cultures in ancient India. The first was a northern kingdom centered on the Sarasvati- Drishadvati river region dominated by the Purus and the Ikshvakus that produced the existent Veda texts that we have. The second was a southern culture along the coast of the Arabian Sea and into the Vindhya Mountains, dominated by the Turvashas and Yadus and extending into groups yet further south. These northern and southern groups vied for supremacy and influenced each other in various ways as the Vedas and Puranas indicate. The northern or Bharata culture ultimately prevailed, making India the land of Bharata or Bharatavarsha and its main ancient literary record the Vedas, though militarily the Yadus remained strong throughout history. The southern culture was the older of the two, with the Vedic people coming originally from the south, not the northwest. This was the basis of the maritime symbolism at the core of Vedic thought, which reflects an ancient heritage.

In addition, there was a third or northwest Vedic culture in Punjab and Afghanistan, that of the Anus and Druhyus, which was at first part of the northern kingdom but gradually developed its own identity. It was partly assimilated by the Bharatas that became the dominant northern people. Another portion of it extended north and west outside of the Indian subcontinent. Its influence was secondary to that of the northern and southern kingdoms and much of it passed out of the Indic sphere of culture. However, it was the basis of most of the Indo-European and Iranian peoples and cultures that we find in Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East.

Therefore, we must look at the south and east connections to understand not only Indic civilization and Hinduism, but also to understand the Vedas themselves. The western connections to the Europeans and Iranians were more an outflow, while the southern connections were more original and enduring. Western scholars, dominated by a European mindset, only traced Indo-European culture from Europe and the Middle East to India as its eastern border. They failed to see that the boundary was only in their minds.

We can also trace linguistic, cultural and religious influences east and south from India, not only during the classical Hindu-Buddhist period, but even in the Vedic period itself. Vedic India was a South Asian civilization and reflects its South Asian matrix. We must, therefore, look to the Rig Veda not only in terms of western connections but more so in terms of eastern connections and, primarily, in terms of the influences of the subcontinent itself both culturally and geographically.

This new view of ancient India has al 0 brought me to new conclusions about the nature of Vedic culture and the. meaning of the Vedas. I realized that the Rig Veda is not only a spiritual but also a political document-which conclusion I have added to the end of this book. I had long known that the rishis of the Rig Veda were mainly royal rishis, the purohits of the great kings of the Bharata dynasty. I knew that the Battle of the Ten Kings was a civil war like the Mahabharata conflict. Following this idea, I came to understand that the Rig Veda is itself the first bharata or epic of India and its culture. This is not to say that the events in the Rig Veda are the same as those of the Mahabharata, or that the texts are otherwise comparable. However, behind the religious and spiritual meaning of the Rig Veda are social and political implications like that of the Mahabharata.

The Rig Veda is the record of the Bharata rishis as they guided and shaped the Bharata dynasty into a dharmic kingdom that provided the foundation for the great spiritual culture which came to characterize India. The Bharata culture of the Rig Veda spread throughout India, giving the land its traditional name of Bharatavarsha. This did not occur only because the Rig Veda was the document of powerful kings, but because it reflected the rishi culture in which even the king had to bow to a higher spiritual power and work selflessly to unfold the rishi vision.

This explains how the Vedic literature could endure. It was a national literature, with important political and cultural as well as spiritual and religious significance. It was not only its spiritual force but also its national relevance that allowed Vedic literature to last throughout India's history and the changes of kings and peoples. The Vedas enjoyed a royal patronage through kings and dynasties over many centuries. Vedic literature developed organically along with the culture and civilization of the region. The people carried it on as their national heritage and treasure, as representing not only the deepest spiritual urges, but also the main cultural and historical trends of the land.

A careful examination of Vedic literature will show that the Vedas were from the beginning a cultural document for most of north India. The Vedas, whose cultural sphere included the southwest by the sea, also made their way into the south quite early and the south contributed significantly to the Vedic history and culture. This explains the unique character of the civilization of India, which has followed a Vedic imprint. Even Buddhism in India followed a Vedic model of the sage being emulated over the king and the king becoming an instrument of dharma.

The Indian or Bharatiya model turned kingship into a dharmic duty rather than a means of self-glorification. But it did afford great honor to kings, particularly kings that followed the sages or became sages themselves. It made the princely classes emulate both a personal and a spiritual nobility, a willingness to protect the spiritual interests of society over their own personal desires, both through courage in battle and through compassion in administering their kingdoms.

Linguistics

There is no archaeological evidence that supports the old textbook model of the Aryan invasion/ migration. All the hard evidence of ruins, skeletal remains and genetics is against it. As the current book shows, Vedic literature provides a very different account as well. Because of this lack of hard evidence, proponents of the invasion/migration theory have fallen back on linguistics which, as a soft or speculative form of evidence, is difficult to disprove. One of the criticisms of those who reject the invasion/migration theory is that the anti-invasionists have not explained the linguistic situation in India, in which Sanskritic or Indo-European dialects prevail in the north and Dravidian tongues in the south.

For this reason, I have included a major paper on linguistics in the present volume, though it can be taken independently of the rest of the book. This new model proposes a process of 'Sanskritization, which is a Hindu term referring to a model of 'cultural elite predominance', to explain the spread of Indo-European languages. It resembles how English has spread in the modern world, not so much by migration as by a dominant culture. Vedic and Harappan India provide such an ancient dominant culture that could have had a far reaching influence on different peoples and their dialects. The literary account of the Rig Veda as projecting a strong culture and country supports this linguistic theory. The Rigvedic language was probably a synthetic language, combining elements of the different languages of the region as well as upholding an older and sanctified terminology for general spiritual and religious purposes. Just as the Rig Veda politically established the Bharata nation, it also gave that nation a language or lingua franca. This was Vedic Sanskrit, called 'Cbbandas' or meter, a poetic language acceptable to the various peoples of the region at least on a religious level.

In addition, we must note that linguistic diversity was a characteristic feature of the entire ancient world. No region-whether Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Europe or the Mediterranean-had only one linguistic group. India would not have been different. The persistence of linguistic diversity in India may not be a sign of an Aryan invasion but of the existence of several old cultures in the region.

However, even if a migration or invasion is required to explain different language groups in India, it must have occurred well before 3000 BCE, before the beginnings of urban civilization in the region. The reasons for this are many, including the continuity of culture and the large population that inhabited the region. Besides the lack of evidence for any such intrusion, Vedic literature also knows of the geology of the region before 2000 BCE when the Sarasvati was the dominant river. All the river and place names of North India are Sanskritic as far back as can be traced, confirming this. Therefore, even if one is compelled to accept certain linguistic constraints, which remains debatable, there is no reason for an invasion of 1500 BCE. Indian or Bharatiya civilization, as reflected in the Vedic literature, is much older than that.

Introduction

As the book is long and many-sided I have first made a summary of its main themes. We start with an overview of the geography of the Vedic world. The Rig Veda is preeminently an Indian document that rarely refers to the lands beyond the Indus and the Himalayas. It knows no homeland but India. Its geographical description as the Sapta Sindhu or the land dominated by seven 'great rivers' (minor rivers are not called 'Sindhu') flowing to the ocean makes it impossible to place it in Afghanistan, Central Asia or Eurasia. The seven rivers were those of North India, with the Sarasvati as the most important. They were not simply the rivers of the Punjab but extended as far to the east as the Sarayu (Ayodhya).

On an historical level, Vedic culture probably originated from South India by refugees from floods that occurred at the end of the Ice Age (the Manu flood motif). They sought safety in the Himalayan foothills and eventually returned to the plains, establishing their center on the Sarasvati River that the melting glaciers made suitable for habitation. Much of the confusion about Vedic India is removed when we shift the focus of pre-Vedic India from the northwest to south.

In addition, prior to the arising of the Puru-Bharatas of the Sarasvati region in the north was an earlier period of the ascendancy of southern and eastern peoples, the Turvashas and Yadus, that is only alluded to in the Rig Veda but discussed more in the Puranas. The Ikshvakus, allies of the Puru-Bharatas, also established themselves in the east on the Sarayu at an early period. The Vedic horizon, therefore, is not Central Asian but purely Indian, though as at many times historically, India extended into Afghanistan and into some Transhimalayan areas.

Main Points 1. The Rig Veda is the record of the great kings and rishis of the Bharata dynasty from its predecessors to the Panchalas as finally modified by a Kuru influence. The Rig Veda is primarily a Bharata-Panchala document.

2. The Bharatas were closely aligned with the Ikshvaku dynasty, particularly King Trasadasyu and his descendants, together with which they created a single culture. The Rig Veda in the broader sense is thus a Bharata- Ikshvaku or Panchala-Trasadasyu document. The Kurus also continued this long-standing alliance with the Ikshvakus.

3. Bharata and Ikshvaku kings can be harmonized with Puranic king lists by a few simple but major correlations. The Puranic scribes brought some confusion into the list, mainly owing to time changes and the shift of Vedic culture from the Sarasvati River to Ganga. This Vedic- Puranic concordance places most of the Rig Veda at an early to middle period of the Vedic age, not at the earliest era (the Manu-Yayati period), nor at the later phase of Kuru rule (though a few hymns were added down to the time of the Mahabharata War).

4. The main Bharata kingdom was located from the Parushni (Ravi) River in the west, where the Bharatas mixed with the Anus, to the Ganga in the east (down to Kashi or Benares), where they mixed with the Ikshvakus. The Bharata kingdom had the Sarasvati River as its central region down to the ocean, where the Sarasvati entered into the Arabian Sea. When the Sarasvati dried up in 1900 BCE, the Bharatas shifted their center east to the Ganga.

5. The greater Bharata Empire extended from Afghanistan (Kabul and Gandhara, or the Druhyus) in the west, which gave them access to Central Asia, and across the Sarayu River (Videha and Anga) in the east, which gave them access to the Bay of Bengal. It extended from the Himalayas in the north down to the Vindhyas and the Narmada River (Yadu country) in the south. These border regions were areas of conflict, expansion, colonization and trade.

6. The Rig Veda portrays both east-west conflicts (mainly Purus versus Anus and Druhyus) and north-south conflicts (mainly Bharata-Ikshvakus versus Yadus and Turvashas), with the two groups of enemies sometimes aligned together. The east-west split, which is reflected in Asura becoming a negative term in later Vedic texts, led eventually to the migration of the Persians out of India and their establishing of another Arya empire to the west in later ancient times.

7. The main and older Rigvedic struggle, however, was the north-south conflict, that of the Turvashas and Yadus (the people of interior India to the south) with the Vedic Purus of the Sarasvati River to the north. It continued long after the period of the Rig Veda as Puranic stories of Puru or Ikshvaku struggle with the Yadus reveal. The Turvashas and Yadus were also called Rakshasas and Yakshas.

8. This means that there were two large kingdoms in early ancient India. The first was a northern kingdom dominated by the Purus and represented by Vedic literature. It was located in the Indus, Sarasvati and Gangetic plains. The second was a southern kingdom dominated by the Yadus, located in the Vindhya mountains, the Narmada, Maharashtra and Orissa, that eventually adopted a Vedic culture. It extended as far as Sri Lanka. The lower Gangetic delta and eastern India were still too marshy and heavily forested and not well populated until cleared by the Ikshvakus, Purus and Anus from the west as well as perhaps by some Turvashas and Yadus from the south.

9. The Rig Veda notes an earlier period of Turvasha-Yadu predominance, which the Purus broke in order to become the dominant people in the region. This was followed by Puru conflicts with the Anus and Druhyus for supremacy among the northern peoples that resulted in a split between northern peoples.

10. Therefore, the battle between the Vedic people and the Iranians is not the main motif of the Rig Veda but only an important closing theme. These conflicts are reflected in the Puranic idea that the Purus were the youngest of the five Vedic peoples and inherited the central kingdom last.

11. Vedic culture, including the Sanskrit language and its relatives, was spread by various sages, kings and mer- chants from India, sometimes with migrating bands of people who followed the Vedic principle to make the entire world Arya (dharmic). There were expansions both by land and sea and in all directions, not only north and west but also east and south.

12. Ancient European Aryas like the Celts and the Greeks were part of a cultural diffusion and migration of peoples from the northwest of India and Afghanistan at . an early period. The Europeans called themselves 'Danavas', the sons of the Goddess Danu. Danava was originally a positive term reflected in the name of the Maruts and other Vedic Gods as Su-Danavas (good Danus). It became a negative term later, probably owing to conflicts between the Indic and Proto-European Aryas. In this case, it follows the same analogy as Asura and Deva. This conflict between the Vedic people and the Proto-Europeans was probably part of the struggles of the Purus with the Anus and Druhyus.

13. The main Rigvedic era ended no later than 2500 BCE by which time the Sarasvati River was already declining, with the terminal point of the river at 1900 BCE marking the end of the Vedic period proper.

Contents

Forewordvii
Prefacexv
Part I. Introduction
Summary of Conclusions3
1The Rig Veda as a Document of Both Rishis and Kings9
2The Early Era: Manu, Iia, Nahusha and Yayati 25
Part II. The Main Dynasties of the Rig Veda
3The Main Bharta Divodasa- Bharadvaja line of Kings47
4The Trasadasyu Dynasty and the Ikshvakus57
5The Srinjayas, the Main Dynasty of the Later Rig Veda72
6The Decline of the Srinjaya- Panchalas and the Rise of the kurus90
Part III. Implications
7Expansions of the Vedic People109
8Geographical Reference: The Ocean and Soma125
9Lineages of the Seers of the Rig Veda163
10The Kuru Dynasty and Krishna193
Part IV. Conclusions
11Related People 1: Iran, Mesopotamia and South India207
12Related People 2: The Europeans, The Children of Danu235
13Summary of Vedic-Puranic Concordance259
14Sanskritization: A New Model of Language Development284
15Establishing a Time Line304
16Conclusion: Cultural Implications311
Bibliography329
Index332

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Arsh Sahitya Prachar Trust
Item Code: NAK542
$175.00
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Modern English Translation of The Rig Veda Samhitaa (Set of 4 Volumes)
by Prasanna Chandra Gautam
Paperback (Edition: 2014)
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan
Item Code: NAJ474
$255.00
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A Study of Deities of Rig Veda (With the help of Science)
by S. S. Gupta
Hardcover (Edition: 2006)
Abhinav Publications
Item Code: IDF537
$30.00
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A History of Indian Literature – Introduction, Veda, Epics, Puranas and Tantras (Volume I)
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Item Code: NAC704
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Vedic View of the Earth (A Geological Insight Into The Vedas)
by S. R. N. Murthy
Hardcover (Edition: 1997)
D. K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd.
Item Code: NAD882
$32.50
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Veda-Laksana Vedic Ancillary Literature
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Item Code: IDD403
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Anthology of Vedic Hymns (A Collection of Hymns from Four Vedas)
by Svami Bhumanand Sarasvati
Hardcover (Edition: 1984)
Ram Lal Kapoor Trust
Item Code: NAJ370
$35.00
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