Timeline for the Vedas

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Timeline for the Vedas

Post by Seva Lamberdar on Fri Dec 07, 2012 10:18 am

About the origins of Vedas and Sanskrit (including Aryan Invasion Theory):

http://education.sulekha.com/about-the-origins-of-vedas-and-sanskrit-including-aryan-invasion-theory_591513_blog

Seva Lamberdar

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Re: Timeline for the Vedas

Post by Seva Lamberdar on Sat Dec 08, 2012 10:47 am

Here, in the below, is the detailed version if the above link does not work (as seemed to be happening a few times).

There is much debate about the origins of the Vedas (Hindu scriptural texts and records of early civilization) and the classical Vedic language Sanskrit. Some people think that the Vedas and Sanskrit, even though associated closely with the Hindus in India, might have had their origin outside India and were brought into that country by the foreigners. Others, mostly the locals and Hindus, think that Vedas and Sanskrit originated in India and their influences spread outwards long ago, either with native Indians (knowing the Vedas and Sanskrit) going abroad or the foreigners (who visited India for some time and acquired knowledge about Vedas and Sanskrit there) went back home and to other places carrying knowledge about Vedas and Sanskrit with them. Let us examine in the following various points and counterpoints on this issue.

As a number of European scholars in the recent past (since eighteenth century onwards) learnt Sanskrit and translated the ancient Vedas from Sanskrit into English etc., they and others realized that there were many words (such as for mother, father and horse etc.) and linguistic / grammatical features (case formations etc.) which had similarities in Sanskrit and various European languages. Among these, the word for horse “asva” in Sanskrit and “azwa” in a language spoken in Central Asia near Russia was of particular interest. The horse (azwa) at that time (a few centuries ago) was thought to have been tamed / domesticated first time in Central Asia more than 3500 years ago (between 1500 B.C. to 3000 B.C.), before supposedly being taken to other places (including India).

Arya (or Aryan) similarly was another word which appealed considerably to the Europeans, perhaps because in Vedic context (including the Rig Veda) Arya meant someone living in a community or tribe and having the qualities of nobility and civility. The Europeans, probably feeling a sense of superiority about themselves (especially a few centuries ago), thought that “Aryan” (signifying the qualities of nobility and civility) was meant for them (white Europeans), more than anyone else. The adoption and use of “Aryan” by white Europeans for themselves quickly transformed the essence of Aryan (or Arya, representing originally any member of society or tribe and possessing qualities of nobility and civility) into someone of a special ethnicity or race (especially a person of white or European origin).

Thus, based on similarities in several words etc. in Sanskrit and European languages (including the words for horse as asva and azwa) and the presumption that horse originated or was domesticated first in Europe before going to India long ago, people started thinking that Sanskrit and Vedas probably had also originated in Europe before going to India. In addition, keeping in mind perhaps the domestication of “azwa” in Central Asia (Europe) more than 3500 years ago (1500 B.C. or before), the entry of “asva” in the Vedic texts was postulated at around 1500 B.C., implying thus that Vedas had originated about 3500 years ago (in 1500 B.C.) in Europe before being supposedly taken to India by Sanskrit speaking and horse riding white Europeans (who acquired a new title Aryan a few centuries ago).

After arriving in north India (perhaps more than 3000 years ago), the white Europeans (labeled a few centuries ago as “Aryans” and supposedly riding the horses, knowing the Vedas and speaking in Sanskrit) were presumed to have expelled the original dark colored inhabitants (who they called Dravidians and considered different from their own white Aryan race) to the south of Vindhya range (into south India) thus taking over and occupying north India. Because of this, the newly arriving Europeans in India a few centuries ago considered the population in north India at that time as comprising mostly the (fair / white colored) descendents of the original white European Aryans arriving in India on horses long ago. Similarly, people then in south India were, according to them, the dark / brown descendents of original dark colored Indians, or Dravidians, who had been pushed from north India to the south of Vindhyas by incoming Aryans from Europe.

This color based and racially motivated demarcation of people in India, white “Aryans” in the North and dark “Dravidians” in the South, seemed to arise due to the limited contact of Europeans with locals in India initially (a few centuries ago). It appears when the British and others from Europe arrived in India a few hundreds years ago, most of their dealings and contacts in the beginning were with the privileged and well-to-do locals (Indian scholars, administrators, officials and military officers, etc.) who, due to their privileged backgrounds (shielding them from rugged tasks etc. in the hot tanning sun), were generally of light or fair complexion (at least in north India). Unfortunately, Europeans mistook the light color of their privileged acquaintances in north India as a general trend (in north India) and attributed it to the ancestry involving white Aryans arriving from Europe and taking over north India long ago.

In reality there was no reason to justify the color difference of people (white or fair in north India and dark or black in south India) in terms of different races. Considering south India is hotter than north India because of being closer to the equator, the accumulated effect of hot climate in south India over the millennia would make people in south India darker than in north India where people lived in relatively less hot climate. Anyway, due to the oversight about environmental effects on color, people (especially the recently arrived Europeans a few centuries ago) kept on looking at north Indians racially as “white” Aryan (even though Arya or Aryan had originally meant a person belonging to a tribe and being noble and civil) and south Indians racially as “dark” Dravidian (even though the original application of Dravidian was for someone hailing from a particular area, usually adjacent to the water, e.g. near lake or river etc., Ref. 1).

As explained earlier, the idea of Aryan invasion (Aryan Invasion Theory or AIT), white people from Europe arriving in India long ago and taking over north India while pushing the original dark inhabitants into south India, was mostly the result of a few similar words and features in Sanskrit and European languages and the differences in color of north Indians (light or fair) and south Indians (dark). Anyway, people thought that AIT made a lot of sense in establishing the roots of Vedas and Sanskrit in Europe, before them being brought to India by the Europeans.

Although the ideas behind AIT seemed initially strong, they broke down gradually with time. For example, as the contact of Europeans in India increased with the locals in the past few centuries, they realized, in violation of the AIT, that most of the people in north India were not fair or white (like European / “Aryans”) and not all the south Indians were homogeneously dark “Dravidians”. This meant that Indian population was quite diverse (including in terms of skin color) and therefore could not be split geographically into two racially distinct groups (as white Aryans in north India and dark Dravidians in south India). This was naturally a big jolt to the supporters of Aryan Invasion Theory, because they had expected the present north Indians to be fair (as the direct descendents of original white colored Aryans / Europeans taking over north India long ago) and south Indians to be dark (as the descendents of original dark colored Dravidians who were driven south of Vindhyas by the incoming Aryans / Europeans in north).

There were a number of other logistical improbabilities in the AIT, which seemed difficult to explain. For example, how did a limited number of people / groups of invading Aryans from Europe manage to uproot most of the original dark colored inhabitants from a very vast, remote and rugged north India to create exclusive place (area) for themselves and their descendents (white Aryans and their descendents occupying and living in north India according to the AIT)? Moreover, if the white Aryans from Europe (Central Asia etc.), according to the AIT, were able to walk and take over north India after crossing the extremely high, rugged and difficult Himalayan mountains, why did they suddenly stop at the puny Vindhya range without venturing any further into south India and taking over that area? The inability to answer these questions reasonably, along with the realization that there is a vast variation in color etc. of people in north India and south India, has dealt a serious (perhaps fatal) blow to the AIT.

Unfortunately, the issue of origins of the Vedas and Sanskrit (whether in India or Europe) still lingers on, considering especially that there are many words and features common to Sanskrit and European languages. Thus, to override the above concerns / limitations related to the AIT (including about the color of people in north India and south India), there is now a new theory (Aryan Migration Theory or AMT) in the place of Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT). According to the AMT, “Aryans” from Europe migrated to India in several waves bringing with them Vedas, Sanskrit and horses. In addition, rather than getting into major fights with the locals and uprooting them from their original territories (in north India for example), the European “migrants”, according to the AMT, settled down in India peacefully and intermingled and intermarried with the locals. AMT is seen as a reasonable explanation for varying colors / complexions of people in India, while also answering the question about certain common words etc. in Sanskrit and European languages by supporting the origins of Sanskrit and Vedas as European (outside India).

To add weight to AMT, some researchers are now using genetics. They claim that genetic testing on people living currently in India and Europe can confirm their common ancestry in Europe, if certain genetic markers in two cases (current specimens in India and Europe) are found to match. Unfortunately, the same genetic test results (showing the match in genetic markers in current specimens from India and Europe) can be considered as the proof for common Indian ancestry. Genetic testing on people in two places currently does not seem as a reliable tool to precisely determine the direction of travel (migration) of their ancestors even if there is a match in genetic markers of descendents. In addition, the evidence based on genetic testing on a small / insignificant number of people in Europe and India currently is of little use in trying to validate and support a major theory like AMT which needs to account for hundreds of millions of people living currently in India and Europe and their ancestors traveling long ago between Europe and India.

It matters little anyway whether or not AMT is valid, because AMT is not really a proper choice for deciding the origin of Vedas and Sanskrit. The very idea of Vedas and Sanskrit originating in Europe seems absurd, even without first needing to justify the AMT (or AIT before). Note, if Vedas and Sanskrit had really originated in Europe long ago, then they would still be there in existence / use in some place in Europe today. But that is not the case. Barring a few common words and linguistic / grammatical features in Sanskrit and European languages, there is no other evidence of Vedas and Sanskrit ever existing in Europe. Only recently (during last few centuries), Sanskrit and new translations of Vedas (in European languages) have made their way into Europe from India. This indicates that the presence of relatively small number of similar words and linguistic features in Sanskrit and European languages originally was probably the result of knowledge about Sanskrit and Vedas flowing outside India, either with the Indians going abroad or the foreigners returning home after living and learning Sanskrit and Vedas in India.

Incidentally, some people think that ancient Persian language Avestan and the Persian holy text Avesta (ancient scriptures of Zoroastrianism) had a considerable influence on Sanskrit and Vedas, because there are many similar words and names (including the names for deities and sages) in Vedas and Avesta. But that makes little sense considering the word Avesta (and Avestan therefore) seems to be rooted in Sanskrit, avesta (or avestha) meaning “offering to the deity” in Sanskrit. This indicates that the influence in the beginning might be from the Vedas and Sanskrit and not from Avesta and Avestan.

In addition, Yajurveda in Sanskrit means “the sacrificial Veda” or the Veda dedicated specifically to yajnas (including sacrifices and offerings). Yajurveda thus has the same type of emphasis in relation to offerings and sacrifices during worship as does Avesta (which in Sanskrit means “the offering to the deity”). This indicates that the timeline and connection involving Avesta and Vedas (including the influence of Vedas and Sanskrit on Avesta and Avestan) is Yajurvedic rather than Rigvedic, because Yajurveda came after and evolved from the older and more general Rigveda to concentrate on yajnas (including sacrifices and offerings). Thus it is clear that the influence of Vedas and Sanskrit spread outwards from India, perhaps when some Sanskrit speaking Yajurvedi brahmins in India, specializing in the Yajurveda, ended up going abroad (Persia and beyond) either on their own or after being pushed out by others (who might have wanted a change, reduction perhaps, in emphasis on sacrifices and offerings etc. during worship).

Note a number of ancient Vedic rituals and cultural practices followed by Hindus currently in India and elsewhere, such as the custom of circumambulating around the deity in a temple or yajna by the devotees while wearing loose white dress during worship, closely resemble the rituals and customs of non-Hindus currently in Arabia etc. Similarly, the ancient names of Brahma (Prajapati or guide of people in the Vedic texts, colloquially perhaps brahmin) and Abraham (patriarch / prophet in the Bible) seem amazingly close, considering also that there is a great emphasis on sacrifice (holy offering) during worship by both Brahma and Abraham (whose family even had eastern roots, in the direction of India). Furthermore, the dedication of worship to the deity both as god (male) and goddess (female) in the Vedas is also noticed in ancient Persian texts (Avesta) and the Egyptian Book of the Dead. In addition, the Book of the Dead has some words in its title (e.g. “rw” and “nw” in the original language) which seem quite similar to words in Sanskrit (“rv” or “rava” and “nv” or “nava”, meaning word or text and new, respectively).

Furthermore, the Egyptian Book of the Dead refers to the great scribe (deity) Ani, which is similar to a number of Vedic references to the great scribe (deity) Agni. Considering both Ani (in the Book of the Dead) and Agni (in the Vedas) are closely associated with fire, the similarity in their names (notwithstanding the slight difference in pronunciations of Ani and Agni) is more than a mere coincidence. There are other names too used for the deity in the Book of the Dead which look and sound similar to the names for deity in the Vedas. Most importantly, the Egyptian Book of the Dead makes several references to Manu and the land of Manu across / beyond horizon which immediately reminds of the famous sage Manu in the Vedas and India as the far off land (of Manu), and that perhaps could be considered as explicit acknowledgement (sign) of contact with India long ago and the influence of Sanskrit and the Vedas.

In conclusion, notwithstanding the limited scope of genetic studies and tests involving small samples of people living currently in India and other places (basically to uphold the AMT), the overwhelming circumstantial evidence from many ancient religious texts and current religious and cultural practices in many places favors the origins of Vedas and Sanskrit in India. Moreover, Vedas, after originating in India or the land of six seasons (Ref. 2) about 7000 years ago (Ref. 3), were taken to other places probably by Indians themselves or foreigners visiting India for some time and then returning home with the knowledge about Vedas and Sanskrit. In addition, Sanskrit did not arise accidentally due to a bunch of semi-literate and different languages speaking people coming and living together for some time in a certain place or area; but the creation of Sanskrit long ago by highly learned and knowledgeable brahmins was very deliberate and systematic, basically to store and transmit the knowledge (veda or sruti) accurately and efficiently (Ref. 4).

References

(1) Subhash C. Sharma, “The roots of the word Dravid,” Sept. 29, 2006, http://www.geocities.ws/lamberdar/dravid.html


(2) Subhash C. Sharma, “Where did the Vedas originate?” Apr. 21, 2009,
http://www.geocities.ws/lamberdar/vedas-origin.html


(3) Subhash C. Sharma, “How old are the Vedas and who can read them?” Aug. 23, 2006, http://www.geocities.ws/lamberdar/vedas.html

(4) Subhash C. Sharma, “Sanskrit and the Sruti,” May 31, 2005, http://www.geocities.ws/lamberdar/sanskrit_sruti.html

(contd. with Appendices)

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Re: Timeline for the Vedas

Post by rawemotions on Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:28 am

The Aryan Invasion theory has been resoundingly debunked with the proof of River Saraswati, which was considered a myth. The theory itself had no shred of proof in the first place anyway and was constructed based on some circumstantial co-incidences. It is still going around in school textbooks, because the original folks who put it in were not challenged in any serious manner.

But sir, it is not in this forum that you need to write these. There are folks in important positions in India, who are going around saying things like "India is a land of Immigrants" comparing India to fully immigrant populated America (populated in the last three hundred years). The ideology there is to whitewash the sins of Political Islamic Invaders.


So if you have deep knowledge of these issues, please go to one of those press conferences where such idiotic things are being said, and challenge those morons.


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Re: Timeline for the Vedas

Post by Seva Lamberdar on Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:51 am

rawemotions wrote:

So if you have deep knowledge of these issues, please go to one of those press conferences where such idiotic things are being said, and challenge those morons.


LOL.

Anyway, here is more on the river Saraswati etc. in the context of origin and age of the Vedas.



(1) There are several Vedic hymns (as the following) which talk about six seasons, and no place in Russia has six seasons to talk about. In fact, there is hardly any place / area in Europe and Russia which has more than four seasons.

"'O Agni, strength and fame are thine', (with these words) he scatters sand; that is the hymn of Agni Vaicvanara; verily with the hymn he wins (Agni) Vaicvanara. With six (verses) he scatters; the year has six seasons, ..." Yajur Veda (Kanda V, Prapathaka II,hymn v.2.6.1)

Thus it seems that the original home of the Vedas is India which has many areas (including in Himachal etc.) where people still talk about six seasons and for good reason.

Ref.: http://www.geocities.ws/lamberdar/vedas-origin.htm

(2) In several Vedic hymns dedicated to river Sarasvati, she is described to be actually flowing and existent. But in reality river Sarasvati does not exist anymore, because, according to archaeological research, it dried up and disappeared in north Indian sands several thousand years ago, around 5000 BC (or earlier).

In any case, Vedas (and the corresponding Hindu religion) must at least be as old as the last time river Sarasvati actually existed (flowed) in India because that is how it was described in the Vedas - alive and active.

Therefore, considering the following hymns on river Sarasvati (which show it still very alive and active -- 5000 BC according to archaeological findings), Vedas and Hinduism may be assumed to exist at least since 5000 BC (7000 years ago).

“He set thee in the earth's most lovely station, in Ila's place, in days of fair bright weather.

On man, on Apaya, Agni! on the rivers Drsadvati, Sarasvati, shine richly.” Rig Veda (Book 3 , Hymn 23.4)

“This stream Sarasvati with fostering current comes forth, our sure defence, our fort of iron.

As on a car, the flood flows on, surpassing in majesty and might all other waters.” Rig Veda (Book 7, Hymn 95.1)

“I SING a lofty song, for she is mightiest, most divine of Streams.

Sarasvati will I exalt with hymns and lauds, and, O Vasistha, Heaven and Earth.” Rig Veda (Book 7, Hymn 96.1)

“When in the fullness of their strength the Purus dwell, Beauteous One, on thy two grassy banks,

Favor us thou who hast the Maruts for thy friends: stir up the bounty of our chiefs.” Rig Veda (Book 7, Hymn 96.2)

Ref.: http://www.geocities.ws/lamberdar/vedas.html

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Re: Timeline for the Vedas

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