Showing posts with label Rig veda. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rig veda. Show all posts

Dating Vatsyayana's Kamasutra

Vatsyayana Kamasutra played a significant role in the history of Indian Literature, particularly Sanskrit Kavya literature in which Shringara rasa(Erotic sentiment) was one of the main rasas to be evoked by the poet. The tradition in erotics grew in association with esoteric religious practices in later Vedic period, but acquired an independent status by the the time of Babhravya of the panchala region, a pre vatsyayana authority on the subject, who traces his work to nandikeshava and Uddalaka shvetaketu. Similar to Babhravya , we have charayana, suvarnanabha, Ghotakamukha, Gonardiya, Gonikaputra,Dattaka and Kuchumara specialized in seven section namely sadharana, Samprayogika, kanyasamprayuktaka, bharyadhikarika, paradarika,vaishika and aupanishadika. Vatsyayana while condensing the individual contributions of Dattaka and others, retained the general scheme of Babhraya in his comprehensive work called kamasutra. Vatsyayana kamasutra became the standard and definitive work on the subject for years to come. It has eclipsed the previous writings on the subject and became the basis of later Kamashastras of 10th century AD.Learning of Kamasutra was mandatory in ancient and medieval India along with Dharmasastra and arthasastra. A Good poet were required to be proficient in knowledge of erotics as well as poetics, logic, grammer and other technical sciences. The work is Sanskrit Sutra Style.

Dated between 4th century BC to 4th century AD.
Vatsyayana mentions Grhya and Dharma Sutras , the Arthasastra of Kautilya and the Mahabhashya of Patanjali. Arthasastra is similar to Kamasutra and both cannot be separated by more than a century or so.They quote the same rare authorities like Charayana and Ghata(ka) mukha. Shamasastri quotes common passages in Arthasastra and Kamasastra. Kalidasa quotes Arthasastra in Sakuntala. Shamasastry also says that Kautilya did not know Panini. Varahamitra Brihatsanhita quotes Vatsyayana ,so the lowest limit can be 6th century AD. Shama Shastri says that Vatsyayana flourished between 137 AD to 209 AD, while Bhandarkar places him around 100 AD, and Keith before 4th century AD. A.K. Warder suggests that Kamasutra was probably produced in 3rd century AD. Doniger and Kakar (2003) almost agree with Warder by assuming that kamasutra must have been composed after 225 AD. Vatsyayana has referred king Satakarni by name. According to Puranas Kuntala Satakarni was 13th Andhra king in Satavahana dynasty. He was son of Mrgendra Svatikarna and he ruled in Kali era 2487-2481 (615-607 BC). The Satavahanas flourished till second century BC. So what is the date let us find out.

Two Vatsyayanas
One Vatsyayana also called Mallanaga, earlier than kalidasa wrote Kamasutra and belonging to Avanti to Banavasi. THe other Vatsyayana wrote Nyaya-Bhaya, a well known exposition on Nyayasutra. The latter is supposed by some scholars to have flourished about fourth century AD in Bihar, but not much is known. The Style of NYaya Bhasya resembles the Mahabhasya and is also comparable to Vartikas in the Astadhyayi. Subandhu, in his well-known prose-romance Vasavadatta refers to Mallanaga as the author of Kamasutra. Yasodhara, the author of Jayamangala, the most authentic commentary available in Sanskrit on this work, also says at the very outset of his commentary that the real name of the author of Kamasutra is Mallanaga, and , he again says that Vatsyayana is just the family name of the author of this text and the name given to him through Samskara (ritual for naming) is Mallanaga.

His name is sometimes confused with Mallanaga, the prophet of the Asuras, to whom the origin of erotic science is attributed. This is an error; as Danielou says -The attribution of the first name Mallanaga to Vatsyayana is due to the confusion of his role as editor of the Kama Sutra with that of the mythical creator of erotic science

Literary works

Babhravya of Panchala region
Babhravya of panchala region is pre vatsyayana authority who traces his works to uddalaka shvetaketu and Nandikeshavara. M M shastri identifies Savataketu Aryneya the highly cultured Philosopher of Upanishads. The Rig veda shows well organised family life with institution of Marriage fully developed in India, therefore the age of the institution of marriage developed should have preceded Rig veda by a very long period, since Rig veda does not discuss any development of the Institution. So the age of Svetaketu Aruneya - an age of of intense metaphysical speculation when the Upanishad literature grew, could certainly not be identical with it.

Vatsyayana quotes Auddalaki three places. One belongs to Samprayoga, another Paradarika and third Vaisika, the third is the longest quotation. Vatsyayana says Rig veda was called Dasatayi and he does not mention Auddalaki at all. Madhavavarman - II, a king of Ganga dynasty wrote a Vrtti on Datakasutras. He was the fifth ancestor of king Durvinita and lived around 380 AD. A fragment of his Vrtti has survived. So Auddalakai is prior to atleast 380AD. Besides these authors, Vatsyayana refers to the views of Babhravya, Ghotakamukha, Gonardiya, Gonikaputra, Carayana, refers to the views of Bharavya, Ghotakamukha, Gonardiya, Gonikaputra, Carayana, Ouddalaki and Suvarnanabha(All before 2nd century BC) very often in his text. He also cites the school of Babharavya or the followers of Babhravya. It seems that the texts of these Acaryas were available to Vatsyayana. But as time passed, these texts by his predecessors were made obsolete by his own work – Kamasutra.

The work follows in the footsteps of Kautilya, the author of Arthasastra, It has seven Adhikaranas or books, 36 chapters, and 64 Prakaranas or topics. Its extent in slokas is a thousand and a quarter. But unlike Kautilya, it gives the tradition of the Sastra first, and then gives its contents. Kautilya does not give the tradition at all. They are to be inferred from his quotations.  Hemacandra's Abhidhanacintamani and Yadavaprakasa's Vaijayanti say that Vatsyayana, Mallanaga, Kautilya, Paksilasvami etc. are the names of one and the same person. Another name associated with the authorship of kamasutra is that of Kamandaka, the famous author of a work Kamandakiya on ethics. We can conclude that both these works stand close to each other in respect of their period of composition. M. Krishnamachariar therefore places Vatsyayana the author of Kamasutra in 4th or 3rd century BC.

Kamasutra Tradition
The tradition of the kamasutra is exceedingly interesting. It says that Prajapati after the creation, delivered a work in one hundred thousand chapters on the three aims of human life. These three aims are : — Dharma, Artha and Kama (Law, Economics and Erotics ) Manu separated the portion assigned to Law and Vrhaspati that to Economics ,Nandi the follower of Mahadeva separated Erotics in one thousand chapters. Auddalaki Svetaketu abridged Erotics in live hundred chapters. Babhravya abridged Svetaketu's work in one hundred and fifty chapters divided into seven Adhikaranas or books, namely, :- (i) Sadharana (preliminary), (ii) Samprayogika (union), (iii) Kanyasamprayuktaka (induc- ing of girls), (iv) Bharyyadhikaranika (section about a wife) (v) Paradarika (adultery) (vi) Vaisika (about public women) (vii) Aupaniadika (secrets).

Gonardiya and Gonikaputra have been referred in the Mahabhasya of Patanjali. Kancinatha, a later author on Kamasastra also quotes from Gonikaputra, so that the work of Gonikaputra might have existed during his times. Jyotirisa, another author in Karnasastra also knew of Gonikaputra.Natyasastra prof. Batuknath Bhattacharya says it is hard to believe that kamasutra was later than Natyasastra. He says considering the style in which it is composed- distinctly Aphoristic in nature and reminiscent of Sutra period(600-200BC). Vatsyayana divides men into sasa , vrsa , Asva and woman into Mrgi,Badava, Hastini from their different capacities of Samproyoga. While Bhrarta in Natyasastra divides women into 24 varieties based on Aestheic, intellectual and Moral Standards. Kamasutra does not mention Natyasastra.

On the request of Pataliputra courtesans, Acharya Dattaka wrote work on Courtesans is used by Vatsyayana for kamasutra. Now Dattaka work is not avaialable in complete gives the vivid details of Pataliputra courtesans. The way Dattaka is mentioned in Kamasutra, it can be safely assumed that Dattaka preceded Vatsyayana by a couple of centuries. But Bana of Harshacharita quotes Dattaka, so the book was still in existence during Bana Period.

The story of dattaka is very interesting. A Brahmin from Mathiira migrated to Pataliputra. A son was born to him at his old age. The mother died at child bed, and the father gave the child to a Brahmani, who named him Dattaka (because he was given to her). The boy grew up, acquired a knowledge of all the Sastras and all the fine arts. On account of his great skill in the exposition of the Sastras, he became famous as Dattakacaryya. Attaining maturity, he was anxious to learn the ways of the world, which, he thought, could be best learnt from public-women. So he went to their quarters every day and learned their ways. So thoroughly did he learn, that at last they used to come to him for advice in matters erotic. Then Virasena and other noted courtesans of Pataliputra requested him to write a treatise on the art of winning lovers.
Father of Dattaka came from Mathnra to Pataliputra and the Brahmana who came there seem to have been attracted by the fact that it was the capital of a big monarchy. Now why are we going so much into Dattaka, because it is during his time the pataliputra was capital, so who was the king at that time.According to Puranas Pataliputra became capital during Guptas.

Vatsyana date may be uncertain ,but it is earlier than Kalidasa. But kalidasa does not talk about vatsyayana, but we have very similar techniques in kalidasa works, this may be from a common source. Kalidasa reveals the knowledge of erotics in the description of Yaksha's wife's svapnasamgama(Union in Dream), in which he specifies the exact period of kamasastra and many other instances as well.


Avagosha the buddist poet makes daring ride into Amorous depictions. The Avagosha seems to well versed with topics in Kamasastra and in Buddhacarita he describes the courtesans of Nanda king and also love-dalliance with his wife Sundari before his conversion to Buddhism.

Historical People and Places.

Vatsyayana mentions Abhiras and Andhras ruling side by side. He Speaks of Abhira Kottaraja Jayatsena, king of kotta in Gujarat, who was killed by Washerman employed by his brother. Then Again in the chapter on conduct of Woman confined to Harems, he describes the sexual abuses practiced in the seraglio of the Abhira kings among others.

King Isvarasena, son of Abhira sivadatta is mentioned as the ruling soverign in on one of the inscriptions. Now we have to get the date for inscriptions. Isvaradatta coins have been found in Malwa, Gujarat and Kathiwad(Saurastra). So there are no kshatrapas during this period. In the Inscription Abhira king names Madhariputra Isvarasena found at Nashik, Madhariputra Isvarasena is described as the son of sivadatta. It records the gift of sakani visnudatta, daughter of saka Agnivarman, wife of the Ganapaka Rebhila and mother Ganapaka visvavarman, of three investments of 2000,1000 and 500 Karspanas in the trade guilds of Govardhana for the purpose of providing medicines for the sick buddhist monks living at the monestery on mount Trirasmi. Following things can be deduced from the inscription

1. Sivadatta is not given any royal Honorific, so Isvarasena is first king of his line.
2. Satavahana mode of dating
3. Satavahanas are living in western maharastra and Guajarat possibly in the service of the Abhira lord.

Gunda inscription, shows the Abhira general Rudrabhuti referring to Rudrasimha as Ksatrapa, ignoring the existence of any Mahasatrapa altogether. This shows that though not assuming any higher title, the Abhira general was the de facto ruler in the state. Gerneral Rudrabhuti is described as the son of general Bapaka.
We have Inscription of Abhira Vasusena of the year 30 at NagarjunaKonda. We dont have any knowledge of Abhira ruling Guntur region, but the Inscripion is not about Pilgirmage. Kadamba King Mayurasarma (340-360AD) refers to a fight with Abhiras and Trikutakas (We dont know if Trikutakas are subordinates or overlords of Abhiras). But we don't have any evidence in inscriptions or Puranas of Abhiras and Andhras ruling side by side. In the Chapter Isvarakamita or the The Lust of the Rulers. Abhiras had been found from Mahabharata days. Abhiras had been found along with Alexander. Abhiras has been mentioned by Ptolemy. So dating Vatsyayana using Abhiras is not possible. And we have to find a period when Sakas were not there. Only Satavahanas and Abhiras were there. And Malwa is different from Abhira. So we can't date Vatsyayana to Gunda Inscription 180AD, when Abhira rule was in Malwa.

Saka, Bhoja, Gupta

Vatsyayana refers to Abhiras and Andhras lived side by side. And no mention of Sakas Vatsyayana refers to the scandal by Dandakya , the Bhoja who must have lived many centuries prior to him.  Guptas are not mentioned in Kamasutra. We have seen Bhoja's and Mahabhoja are just the titles of kings like Raja and Maharaja. Guptas are not mentinoed but the capital is mentioned as Pataliputra.

Vatsyayana mentions southern countries to be south of Karnata visaya and Vanavaso visya was east of Gokarna and Vaijayanti(Modern Banavasi) is place of his composition.

R. G . Bhandarkar points out that Kuntala Satkarni. According to Puranic list of Andhra's, Kuntala Svati or Svatikarna is the thirteenth in the descent from Simuka founder of the family. Vatsyayana has to be nearer to Kuntala satkarni because the sex scandal seems to be very fresh in presenatioan. K P Jayaswal points out Sri Malla Satakarni, the third monarch from the list with Hathigumpha inscription of Khravela. The difference between Kuntala and Malla is 168 Years from puranas. Again from Puranas Gautamiputra Satakarni is separated from him by 133years.

Vatsyayana mentions how Satakarni of Kuntala killed his queen Malayaevati with an instrument called kartari by striking her in the passion of love and vatsyayana quotes this case to warn people of the danger arising from some old customs of striking women when under influence of passion.. Vatsyayana mentions kuntala as tht country with Vaijayanti(Banavasi) as the capital. According to Puranas Kuntala Satakarni was 13th Andhra king. He was son of Mrgendra Svatikarna and he ruled in Kali era 2487-2481 (615-607 BC). The Satavahanas flourished till 3rd century BC.

Countries Mentioned
The tribes and tribal countries mentioned by him are Andhras, Vatsagulmakas, Vaidarbhas, Apaiantakas, Saurastrikas, Abhirakas, Strairajyakas, Gaudas, Saindhavas, Haimavatas, Pracyas, Vangas, Angas, Kalingas, Xagarakas, Madhyadesa- kas Valhikas, Avantikas, Malavas, Abhiras, the land en- closed by six rivers (with the Sindhu as the sixth). Lata, Kosala, Saketa, Ahicchatra, Saurasena Mahaiastra, Dravida, Vaaavasika and Cola. The commentator gives some accurate directions for finding out these countries or the habitations of these tribes. Vatsyayana describes various forms of sexual abuse practised by the kings. The Kings are Aparantakas, Vaidarbhas, Saurashtrakas, Vatsagulmakas and Andhras. The Andhras mentioned here is not the Imperial Andhras ,but Andhrabhrtyas or servants of Andhra dynasty. Among them Vastsyayana mentions Abhiras, Gardabinas,sakas.

Literary works
Prof Bhattacharya remarks that all the predecessors like Bhabharvya are before 4th century BC, while vatsyayana is pushed back to 3rd or 4th century AD. As Prof Bhattacharya says all the works that Vatsyayana quotes are in 4th century to 3rd Century BC. Vatsyayana does not quote Natyasastra. Varahamihira mentions Kamasutra, Virahamihira dated around 6th century AD.

Saka's are mentioned in Kamasutra, the period of sakas we know is between 6nd century BC(Darius) to 1st century AD(Saka Era). So Kamasutra can be any period between these dates, as it does not mention any Huns.

Andhra and Andhrabritya
The Only known king mentioned is Satakarni.. Shatakarni as such seems to be important position like commander of battalion in Andhra dyansty hierarchy. Now who is is this satakarni. Let us go to the basic identities. According to Puranas there are Andhra's and Andhrabritya's. However for Indology both are same. The puranas mention Andhras ruled Magadha before Guptas and dating is before 300BC. After start of Gupta rule, they Andhras lost power but Andhrabritya's (Servants of Andhra's) that is commanders, feudatories and Generals continue to rule as separate entities. Andhrabritya's are Ikshvakus, Abhiras, Chutu Nagas etc. While Andhras ruled from Magadha with Girivraja (Rajgir) as the capital. Andhrabritya's were confined to south of Vindhyas and Malwa. Without going any further let us treat Andhrabritya as different from Andhras. Now we have Satakarni, one of the Andhrabritya ruling in kuntala region. Also we have a Satakarni mentioned in Hathimgumpha inscription by Kharvela. Remember Kharvela when invading Magadha ransacks Capital Rajgir, not Pataliputra. So during Andhra shatakarni time the Magadha capital was still Rajgir.

One line of Andhrabritya Chutu Nagas have marital relation with Andhras. So we can see Andhra names in this Naga line as well. Megasthanes discusses about Andhras in south. So by time of Megasthanes the Andhra dynasty in Magadha is finished and already Andhrabritya's are ruling. As per Puranas Chutu Nagas are ruling in most parts of central and southern India. But shatakarni was ruling from kuntala. So we defintely speaking about one from kuntala or karnataka region. This Shatakarni is not before 300BC, but later. The Ashoka rock edict mention about satyaputo. We have already seen in Satavahana article, shatakarni means son of Sata, Satyaputo also means the same. Since both are same, we can come to a conclusion that Satyoputo in Edict means Andhrabritya. The chutus Nagas, who had marital relations with Andhras can be called satyoputo's. We know Saka rule ended in 78AD Saka era. So From these accounts we can say that Shatakarni of kamasutra can have ruled between 4th century BC to 1st century AD.

Kamasutra as inferred from literary sources to be after 3rd century BC as it quotes Arthasastra. Kamasutra is slightly ahead in literary style  than Kalidasa. We have already put kalidasa to be around 50BC. Now the Saka's are ruling upto 1st century AD. Our identification of Shatakarni or Abhira has hit a dead end. The Pataliputra became capital during Guptas. Now Guptas are dated to 4th and 5th century AD. So we have to date Dattaka to be that period. Then when do you date Kamasutra. This is now Indology dates ties us up in knots. We can very clearly see Guptas to be dated to 4th and 3rd century BC. So the dating of Vatsyayana Kamasutra will be century later that Dattaka (3rd Century BC) and Century Earlier than Kalidasa(1st century BC), that is 2nd century BC.

Social life in ancient India: studies in Vatsyayana's Kama Sutra By Haran Chandra Chakladar
The Positive Background of Hindu Sociology : 'Introduction to Hindu Positivism By Benoy Kumar Sarkar
Some early dynasties of South India  By S. Chattopadhyaya
Foreign influence on ancient India  By Krishna Chandra Sagar
The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland  1911
Kamasutra Of Vatsyayana by Radhavallabh Tripathi
The Encyclopaedia Of Indian Literature  By Amaresh Datta

Related Links
Date of Kalidasa
Origin of Satavahana
Did Megasthanes Meet Chandragupta

Myth of Invasion Rig veda Aryans

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

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

Let us see the counter arguements.

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

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

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

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

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

Let us see the rig veda terms and Meanings

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

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

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

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

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

Let us see the disputed rivers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Early MaNDala I

Middle MaNDala I
SarasvatI, Sindhu

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

MaNDala II

VipAS, SutudrI, SarasvatI, DRSadvatI, ApayA, JahnAvI

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

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

MaNDala VI
SarasvatI, HariyUpIyA, YavyAvatI, GaNgA

AsiknI, ParuSNI, SarasvatI, YamunA

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

MaNDala IX
Sindhu, ArjIkIyA, SarasvatI, RasA.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Myth of Pythogores theorem

Pythagoras is Ionian philosopher and Mathematician of 6th century BC , who is also called father of numbers by greek, He established a religion called Pythagoreanism. He is best known for pythagoras theorem. Let us analyze the facts behind Pythagoras theorem.

Pythagoras Legend
Pythagoras was born on Samos, a Greek island in the eastern Aegean, off the coast of Asia Minor. He was born to Pythais (his mother, a native of Samos) and Mnesarchus (his father, a Phoenician merchant from Tyre). As a young man, he left his native city for Croton, Calabria, in Southern Italy, to escape the tyrannical government of Polycrates. According to Iamblichus, Thales, impressed with his abilities, advised Pythagoras to head to Memphis in Egypt and study with the priests there who were renowned for their wisdom. He also was discipled in the temples of Tyre and Byblos in Phoenicia. It may have been in Egypt where he learned some geometric principles which eventually inspired his formulation of the theorem that is now called by his name.

Pythagoras theorem
Pythagoras is commonly given credit for discovering the Pythagorean theorem, a theorem in trigonometry that states that in a right-angled triangle the square of the hypotenuse (the side opposite the right angle), c, is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides, b and a—that is, a² + b² = c².

As this is the contentious topic. Let us find out the truth.
  1. Pythagores school- It is not clear whether he, or his students, have constructed the first proof. Because of the secretive nature of his school and the custom of its students to attribute everything to their teacher, there is no evidence that Pythagoras himself worked on or proved this theorem. For that matter, there is no evidence that he worked on any mathematical or meta-mathematical problems.
  2. Five centuries after death - Some attribute it as a carefully constructed myth by followers of Plato over two centuries after the death of Pythagoras, mainly to bolster the case for Platonic meta-physics, which resonate well with the ideas they attributed to Pythagoras. This attribution has stuck, down the centuries up to modern times. The earliest known mention of Pythagoras's name in connection with the theorem occurred five centuries after his death, in the writings of Cicero and Plutarch.
  3. Biography after seven centuries- Biography of Pythagoras (written seven centuries after Pythagoras's time).
  4. Pythagoras mathematicians who had an influence on the beginning of axiomatic geometry devlopment two hundred years later was written down by Euclid in The Elements not during pythagoras time.
  5. None of his works exists- Many times it is reference from secondary sources. Thales and Pythagoras brought knowledge of Egyptian and Babylonian mathematics to Greece.
  6. Classical era of Greek did not produce any mathematical lore , only after alexander 323BC and Hellenistic period and contact with Babylon and Egypt did mathematicians emerge from greek.
  7. Pioneers Thales and pythogores studied in Egypt before any contribution, raising doubts about their contribution.
  8. Rig veda(1900BC) has all the details of pythores theorem and applications, so no longer can pythagores claim authorship of the theorem.
  9. Sulbh sutras(800BC) all the details of geometric , numerals , square roots, pythagores theorem.
  10. From the Hellenistic period, Greek replaced Egyptian as the written language of Egyptian scholars, and from this point Egyptian mathematics merged with Greek and Babylonian mathematics to give rise to Hellenistic mathematics. Egyptian mathematics also built pyramids , which is proof where these theorems originated. It is not greece, it is Egypt.
From the above points we can see that pythagoras is just a legend, who was made a mathematician to suit greek superiority , which is proved by the gap between the existence and commentry on them much later. The mathematical theories like geometry , numbers , pythagoras theorem was borrowed from Indian, Babylonian and Egypt sources and has been claimed as greek own, eventhough we can say much work was done later by greeks.

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Date of Rig Veda

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iron Age
There is no mention of Iron in Rig veda , As the iron age starts before 12th century BC. The dates have to much earlier than that. Vedic term "ayas", interpreted as iron. 'Ayas' in other Indo- European languages like Latin or German usually means copper, bronze or ore generally, not specially iron. There is no reason to insist that in such earlier Vedic times, 'ayas' meant iron, particularly since other metals are not mentioned in the 'Rig Veda' (except gold that is much more commonly referred to than ayas). Moreover, the 'Atharva Veda' and 'Yajur Veda' speak of different colors of 'ayas'(such as red & black), showing that it was a generic term. Hence it is clear that 'ayas' generally meant metal and not specifically iron. Moreover, the enemies of the Vedic people in the 'Rig Veda' also use ayas, even for making their cities, as do the Vedic people themselves. Hence there is nothing in Vedic literture to show that either the Vedic culture was an ironbased culture or that there enemies were not.

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

Where is Dakshinapatha

There is various places referred to as Dakshinapatha. There is no argument on the definition that road leading to south India is Dakshinapatha later on whole of south called Dakshinapatha, it is based on who says it and in what context.

Ancient Buddhist and Brahmanical texts use the term Dakshinapatha as a name for both the southern high road of the Indian subcontinent, and for the region lying south of Majjhimdesa or middle India. It is derived from the two Sanskrit roots dakshina for south, and patha for road.

The first reference to Dakshinapatha occurs in the Rig-Veda where it refers to the region of exile. In the opinion of several scholars, this means the South beyond the limits of the Saptasindhu-- the region of the culture of the Rig Veda.

Dakshinapatha is referred to by Panini. Baudhyana mentions Dakshinapatha or Dakshinatya in association with Saurashtra.

Jataka and Vinaya Pitaka use the name Dakshinapatha coupled with Avanti as in Avantidakshinapatha where it seems to refer to the janapada of Avanti, and implies its location in Dakshinapatha. The Sutta Nipata commentary seems to explain Dakshinapatha as the road leading to the Dakshinajanapada, the latter name referring to a Janapada located to south of the Ganges. In the same Sutta Nipata, the name Dakshinapatha also refers to a remote settlement located on the banks of the upper Godavari.A Kosala Brahmin named Bavari had left Savathi (capital of Kosala) to set up his hermitage at the junction of river Mula and Godavari, midway between the kingdoms of Assaka and Mulaka (in modern Maharashtra), which place has been noted as lying in Dakshinapatha.

In the Mahabharata, Dakshinapatha is placed beyond Avanti and the Vindhyas, and to south of the kingdom of Vidarbha and southern Kosala, the latter being located on the banks of Wardha and Mahanadi. In Dighvijayaparva of Mahabharata, Dakshinpatha is distinguished from the Pandya country to the south.

RamayanaWhen Rama set out from Ayodhya into his voluntary exile, he took a route which extended from Ayodhya into Dakshinapatha or the southern direction.

Kautilya's of Dakshinpatha mentions southern part of the mauryan empire as dakshinapatha (Karnataka)

According to Puranic accounts, the janapadas of Asmaka, Mulaka, Vaidarbha, Kalinga, Andhra, Pundra, Pulinda, Dandaka, Kuntala, Kerala, Pandya, Chola and others lay in the Dakshinapatha.
Southern SourcesIn the Petavatthu commentary, the Damila i.e Dravida country is included in the Dakhinápatha.
On their way to Rajagriha, the pupils of the ascetic Bavari from Dakshinapatha (Godavari) had followed a route which led them through Pratishthana (modern Paithan), Mahesvar, Ujjaini, Gonaddha (Gond country), Bhilsa (Bhil country), Kosam, Saketa (Faizabad), Savathi, Setavya, Kapilavastu, Kusinara, Pava, Bhoganagar, Vaisali and then to Rajagriha (in Magadha).

Thus, initially, Dakshinapatha, as high road, ran between Rajgriha and Pratishthana. Later, it also extended further into the south running parallel to west-coast and following probably through Bijapur, Bangalore and Madura to either Rameshwaram or to Kanyakumari, the southern tip of India.

Gupta period
Dakshinaptha as a region extended from the land of the Kosalas to the kingdom of Kanchi. In later times however, it had embraced the whole of Trans-Vindhya India from Setu (Rama's Bridge) to the Narmada.

Ancient Dakshinapatha later gave its name to modern Deccan or Dekkan. From the above, it is clear that, in the earlier literature at any rate, the word Dakshinapatha did not mean it initially comprised the whole country in the modern word Dekkhan or Deccan.Dakshinapatha should be understood in relation to Uttarapatha the northern high road and later the northern division of Puranic Jambudvipa.

Origin of Democracy and Republic - Greek Myth

Almost all historians have been saying Democracy & Republic originated in West(in greece), the bastion of Free people. Let us see the facts in detail.

  1. India has democracy from early days earlier than Greece
  2. India has democracy at all levels right from village level to state, Not just State level.
  3. It is entirely possible that Democracy travelled from India to Greece.
  4. Teachings of Buddhism and jainism inspire democracy and republicanism , what inspired Greece.

Let us see evidences

First democracy and Republics

Early Sumerian period is said to be democratic between 2900BC to 2300BC , but we have no solid evidence to support the theory, we have only pointers

Next comes the Indian reference Rig Veda between 4000BC to 2000BC. Which talk of Sabha , samiti to elect the ruler. Ramayana(500BC) also mentions samiti. Vaishali was the capital of the vibrant Republican Licchavi state since before the birth of Mahavira(founder of Jainism- 599 BC), which suggests that it was perhaps the first republic in the world.

The most useful Greek account of India is Arrian's Anabasis of Alexander , which describes the Macedonian conqueror's campaigns in great detail. The Anabasis, which is derived from the eyewitness accounts of Alexander's companions, portrays him as meeting "free and independent" Indian communities at every turn. What "free and independent" meant is illustrated from the case of Nysa, a city on the border of modern Afghanistan and Pakistan that was ruled by a president named Aculphis and a council of 300. After surrendering to Alexander(327BC), Aculphis used the city's supposed connection with the god Dionysus to seek lenient terms from the king

The first-hand description of India by a Greek traveler named Megasthenes. After Alexander's invasion, Megasthenes served as ambassador of the Greek king Seleucus Nicator to the Indian emperor Chandragupta Maurya, and in the course of his duties crossed northern India to the eastern city of Patna, where he lived for a while. If this statement is drawn from Megasthenes, then the picture of a northwestern India dominated by republics must be extended to the entire northern half of the subcontinent.

The most useful sources for mapping north India are three: The Pali Canon, which shows us northeastern India between the Himalayas and the Ganges in the sixth and fifth centuries B.C.; the grammar of Panini, which discusses all of North India, with a focus on the northwest, during the fifth century; and Kautilya's Arthasastra, which is a product of the fourth century, roughly contemporaneous with Megasthenes. All three sources enable us to identify numerous sanghas and ganas, some very minor, others large and powerful.

According to Panini, all the states and Republics (janapadas ) of northern India during his time were based on the settlement or conquest of a given area by an identifiable warrior people who still dominated the political life of that area. Some of these peoples (in Panini's terms janapadins ) were subject to a king, who was at least in theory of their own blood and was perhaps dependent on their special support. Elsewhere, the janapadins ran their affairs in a republican manner. Thus in both kinds of state, the government was dominated by people classified as ksatriyas, or, as later ages would put it, members of the warrior caste.

Kautilya: according to him, there were two kinds of janapadas, ayudhiya-praya, those made up mostly of soldiers, and sreni-praya , those comprising guilds of craftsmen, traders, and agriculturalists. The first were political entities where military tradition alone defined those worthy of power, while the second would seem to be communities where wealth derived from peaceful economic activity gave some access to the political process. This interpretation is supported by the fact that sreni or guilds based on an economic interest were often both part of the armed force of a state and recognized as having jurisdiction over their own members.

The numerous members of a sovereign gana or sangha interacted with each other as members of an assembly. Details of the working of such assemblies can be found both in Brahmanical and Buddhist literature. By the time of Panini (fifth century B.C.), there was a terminology for the process of corporate decision-making. Panini gives us the terms for vote, decisions reached by voting, and the completion of a quorum. Another cluster of words indicates that the division of assemblies into political parties was well known. Further, Panini and his commentators show that sometimes a smaller select group within a sangha had special functions -- acting as an executive, or perhaps as a committees for defined purposes

The rules for conducting the Buddhist sangha were, according to the first chapter of the Maha-parinibbana-suttanta, based in principle on those commonly found in political sanghas or ganas. In the case of the Buddhist sangha, the key organizational virtue was the full participation of all the monks in the ritual and disciplinary acts of their group. To assure that this would be remembered, detailed rules concerning the voting in monastic assemblies, their membership, and their quorums, were set down in the Mahavagga and the Kullavagga . Business could only be transacted legitimately in a full assembly, by a vote of all the members. If, for example, a candidate wanted the upasampada ordination, the question (ñatti) was put to the sangha by a learned and competent member, and the other members asked three times to indicate dissent. If there was none, the sangha was taken to be in agreement with the ñatti. The decision was finalized by the proclamation of the decision of the sangha.

The Pali Canon gives us our earliest, and perhaps our best, detailed look at Indian republicanism, its workings, and its political philosophy. About no other republics do we know as much as we do about the Buddhist sangha and the Licchavis in the time of Buddha even though we do know that republics survived and were a significant factor until perhaps the fourth century A.D., a period of over 800 years. Scattered inscriptions, a great number of coins, and the occasional notice in Greek sources, the Jatakas or other Indian literature give us a few facts.

Four centuries before the beginning of this millennium, Plato indicted the city-state of Athens for handing over power to the people, for they had neither the inclination nor the training to run their lives. From the 5th century BCE (BC), Athenian democracy gave citizens equal rights to participate in decision making and to hold public office; it was based on the ideal of equality among citizens. One small caveat though - not everyone was a citizen. Only native Athenian men over the age of twenty were eligible for active citizenship. Not the 60 per cent of the Athenian population who were slaves, certainly not women, and not the so-called "immigrants" whose families had settled in Athens several generations earlier. But Plato looked on even this highly restricted citizenship with dismay.

Historian Jack Weatherford asserts that Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and others, got their ideas on democracy not from any Greek or Roman influence, but from the Iroquois and other indigenous peoples of the Americas, who practiced the type of democracy found in the United States Constitution, through self-governing territories that were part of a larger whole. This democracy was founded between the years 1000-1450, and lasted several hundred years. He also states that American democracy was continually changed and improved by the influence of Native Americans throughout North America. For example, the right of women to vote started on the American frontier, and moved eastward. In other words, Americans learned democracy from the indigenous peoples of the North America.

Levels of Democracy
Democracy and Republicanism are not same everywhere, Some places we had Rulers being elected, some places councils were elected, some places some regions also have democracies. The next most important thing is levels of participation. We cannot compare todays democracies and republics with yesteryears. But India had mature level of democracy ,which shows deep rooted democratic institutions.

Democracy travelled from East to West.

It is entirely possible that democracy and republicanism travelled from East to west. Since religions in east contemplated renouncing all desires. And also we have suddenly democracy arriving in west. That means import from some where else. All along Greek and Roman intelligentsia are aware of eastern thoughts.

Religious Role
Teachings of Rig veda , Buddhism and jainism created sabhas, samitis and sanghas which were primarily democratic institutions. The monarchy is always weak in India , because of democratic institutions. Empowering of the monarchy happened with Brahminical text Manu and Kautilya arthasastra. For which ruling caste was created and subsequently other castes. Later religious texts like puranas also maintained the primacy of kings until 10th century when both buddhism and jainism were active.

We can see from the above article democracy and Republicanism originated in India and travelled to west.


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Origin of Yoga

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

But there are evidences against it.

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

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

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

So the Yoga is as old as Hinduism.

Saraswathi River Myth and Reality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life and Time controversies of Zarathushtra

Let us see some of the controversies associated with Zarathushtra

Date of Zarathushtra

No one knows where or when the Prophet was born. Some legends place his birth in western Iran, perhaps near Tehran; others, which are somewhat more likely due to the eastern Iranian language of his poetry, place his birthplace in the east. As for the date of his birth, it has been since ancient times a matter of controversy. Greek sources placed him as early as 6000 B.C., a reckoning derived from poorly transmitted Zoroastrian legends; few if any scholars take that date seriously. The traditional Zoroastrian date for Zarathushtra's birth and ministry is around 600 B.C. This is derived from a Greek source that places him "300 years before Alexander" which would give that date; other rationales for the 600 BC date identify the King Vishtaspa of Zarathushtra's Gathas with the father of the Persian King Darius, who lived around that time.

As the linguists of both Europe and India worked on the Gathas, however, it became clear that the language of the Gathas attributed to Zarathushtra was far older than the language spoken in Iran at the time of King Darius' father. Gathic Avestan was very close to the Sanskrit of the Indian Rig-Vedas, which can be dated from the period 1500-1200 BC. This would mean that Zarathushtra lived far earlier than the "traditional" date. Some scholars have said that the 600 BC date is still plausible if Gathic Avestan was actually an artificially preserved sacred language, somewhat like Latin, which continued in literature and rituals thousands of years after it had ceased to be spoken.

Recent work by Martin Schwartz and Almut Hintze tends to discount this theory, as the linguists show that the Gathas are not the work of an academic writing in a dead language; they show all the signs of poetry composed and recited in an oral tradition, similar to the heroic poetry of Homer or the Rig-Vedas. These studies would confirm the earlier date for Zarathushtra.

The problem of Zarathushtra's time will never be solved, unless some improbable archaeological find turns up. Most scholars agree on a time-frame for Zarathushtra which could be as early as 1700 B.C. or as late as 1000 B.C.

Zoroaster's Name

The name Zarathustra is a Bahuvrihi compound in the Avestan language, of zarata- "feeble, old" and usatra "camel", translating to "having old camels, the one who owns old camels". The first part of the name was formerly commonly translated as "yellow" or "golden", from the Avestan "zaray", giving the meaning "having yellow camels".

A more romantic, but inaccurate, translation of the name in the past has been Bringer of the Golden Dawn, based on the mistaken assumption that the second part of the name is a variant of the Vedic word "Ushas" meaning "dawn".

This last translation seems to have derived from a desire to give a more fitting meaning to the prophet's name than "owner of feeble camels."

An alternate reading is "old camel." Animals such as camels and horses were essential and even sacred to the people of Zarathushtra's age, and thus a name containing one of these animals marks a person as important. A similar naming practice occurred among the ancient Greeks where names containing "-ippos" or horse denoted high birth - such as Philippos (lover of horses), Aristippos (best horse), or Xanthippos (yellow horse).

The later Zoroastrians, perhaps embarrassed by their prophet's primitive-sounding name, said that the name meant "Golden Light," deriving their meaning from the word zara and the word ushas, light or dawn. There is no doubt about Zarathushtra's clan name, which is Spitama - perhaps meaning "white." Zarathushtra's father was named Pouruchaspa (many horses) and his mother was named Dughdova (milkmaid). His birthday is celebrated on March 26, as part of the Iranian New Year Festival.

Life if Zarathushtra

Zarathushtra is said to have had six children, three boys and three girls. This is not exact information, since the number and gender equals that of the six Amesha Spentas and may be only symbolic. But the last Gatha is composed for the marriage of Zarathushtra's daughter Pouruchista (Full of Wisdom) so he is known to have had at least one child. Zarathushtra, in the legends, had three wives (in sequence) of whom the last was Hvovi (Good Cattle) the daughter of King Vishtaspa's prime minister. Thus Zarathushtra married into the king's court; Pouruchista, in turn, married the prime minister.

There is no exact or provable information about Zarathushtra's life at court, though it may be assumed that it was here that he composed the Gathas, and the names of king and court appear in the poetry as if, in oral recitation, they were there listening to him. The prophet may have spent almost three decades there, before his death at age 77.

Again, no one knows how Zarathushtra died. Many legends, and Zoroastrian tradition, say that he was killed, while praying in the sanctuary, by a foreign enemy of the king. But there is no holiday commemorating the martyrdom of the Prophet, as there would be in other religions (Christianity, for instance) and other Zoroastrian traditions, and scholars, say that Zarathushtra died peacefully.

One of the controversies about Zarathushtra concerns whether he was a priest. He did not live in a religious vacuum, but was born into a society that practiced the polytheistic rites of ancient Indo-Iranian religion. This religion already had a well-developed system of priesthood and service. In one verse of the Gathas (Y,33, 6) Zarathushtra calls himself a "zaota" which in later Zoroastrian usage is the word for officiating priest. The word, though, literally means "invoker" and both Taraporewala and Jafarey translate it simply, claiming that Zarathushtra never meant to call himself a priest. It is very possible that Zarathushtra, if not a priest, had priestly training (how else would he know the highly technical spiritual language found in the Gathas, as well as the ability to compose philosophical/religious poetry?). Other Zoroastrians, including more traditionally minded ones, say that Zarathushtra was indeed a priest and the first of the millennia-old tradition of Zoroastrian ritualizing priesthood.

In the later Avesta, Zarathushtra is used as a character in dialogue with Ahura Mazda; he is featured in ritual texts and in law- texts, and great amounts of ritual and doctrine are thus attributed to him, whether he was their originator or not. In much later Zoroastrian traditions, some of which were not recorded until centuries after the Arab conquest, the life of the Prophet abounds with miracles and divine interventions.

His mother glowed with the divine Glory usually reserved for kings; the soul of the prophet was placed by God in the sacred Haoma plant (which Z. condemned in the Gathas) and the prophet was conceived through the essence of Haoma in milk (though the birth is not a virgin birth, but the natural product of two special, but earthly parents.). The child laughed at his birth instead of crying, and he glowed so brightly that the villagers around him were frightened and tried to destroy him. All attempts to destroy young Zarathushtra failed; fire would not burn him nor would animals crush him in stampedes; he was cared for by a mother wolf in the wilderness.

He spent years in the wilderness communing with God before his first vision, in which Vohu Manah came to him in the form of a huge Angel. All the heavenly entities, the Amesha Spentas, instructed Zarathushtra in heaven, and he received perfect knowledge of past, present, and future. Zarathushtra's preaching to King Vishtaspa was enhanced by miracles, especially the healing of a paralyzed horse that convinced the king to accept the new religion.

Most of these motifs are familiar from the lives of other culture heroes such as Romulus, Moses, and Jesus. Whether any of this literally happened is a matter for belief, not scholarship. Tradition-minded Zoroastrians do accept these legends as truth about Zarathushtra. Other, more modern Zoroastrians, who rely more on the Gathas as a scriptural source, discount the legends as pious fantasies, noting that there are no miracles or supernatural interventions in the Gathas.

Unlike Mohammed's recitation of the Koran, the Gathas of Zarathushtra are not "channeled" - that is, the Gathas are regarded as the inspired composition of a poet-prophet rather than a text dictated by a heavenly being. Zarathushtra was inspired by God, through the Bounteous Immortals of Vohu Manah, Asha, and the others - but he was not a passive recipient of the divine wisdom. In accordance with Zoroastrian philosophy, he reached God through his own effort simultaneously with God's communication to him.

Zarathushtra was never divine, not even in the most extravagant legends. He remained a man like all others, though divinely gifted with inspiration and closeness to Ahura Mazda. His life is an inspiration for Zoroastrians of all persuasions, traditionalist and modern - in his innovation, loving relationship with God, and spiritual courage he is a model for all his followers. After his death. Zarathushtra's great soul attains almost the level of a Bounteous Immortal, but still is not merged in the divinity.