With only a small amount of research, a person can discover that each area of the world has its own ancient culture that includes its own gods and legends about the origins of various cosmological realities, and that many of these are very similar. But where did all these stories and gods come from? Did they all spread around the world from one particular source, only to change according to differences in language and customs? If not, then why are some of these gods and goddesses of various areas of the world so alike?
Unfortunately, information about prehistoric religion is usually gathered through whatever remnants of earlier cultures we can find, such as bones in tombs and caves, or ancient sculptures, writings, engravings, wall paintings, and other relics. From these we are left to speculate about the rituals, ceremonies, and beliefs of the people and the purposes of the items found. Often we can only paint a crude picture of how simple and backwards these ancient people were while not thinking that more advanced civilizations may have left us next to nothing in terms of physical remains. They may have built houses out of wood or materials other than stone that have since faded with the seasons, or were simply replaced with other buildings over the years, rather than buried by the sands of time for archeologists to unearth. They also may have cremated their dead, as some societies did, leaving no bones to discover. Thus, without ancient museums or historical records from the past, there would be no way of really knowing what the prehistoric cultures were like.
If a few thousand years in the future people could uncover our own houses after being buried for so long and find television antennas on top of each house wired to a television inside, who knows what they would think. Without a recorded history of our times they might speculate that the antennas, being pointed toward the heavens, were used for us to commune with our gods who would appear, by mystic power, on the screen of the television box inside our homes. They might also think that we were very much devoted to our gods since some houses might have two, three, or more televisions, making it possible for us to never be without contact with our gods through the day. And since the television was usually found in a prominent area, with special couches and reclining chairs, this must surely be the prayer room where we would get the proper inspiration for living life. Or they might even think that the television was itself the god, the idol of our times. This, of course, would not be a very accurate picture, but it reflects the difficulty we have in understanding ancient religion by means of analyzing the remnants we find. However, when we begin comparing all the religions of the world, we can see how they are all interrelated and have a source from which most of them seem to have originated. And most of them can be traced to the East.
Most scholars agree that the earliest of religions seems to have arisen from the most ancient of organized cultures, which are either the Sumerians along the Euphrates, or the Aryans located in the region of the Indus Valley. In fact, these two cultures were related. C. L. Woolley, one of the world’s foremost archeologists, establishes in his book, The Sumerians, that the facial characteristics of the Sumerian people can be traced to Afghanistan, Baluchistan, and on to the Indus region. The early Indus civilization, which was remarkably developed, has many similarities with Sumer over 1500 miles away, especially in regard to the rectangular seals that have identical subjects on them, and are similar in the style of engraving and inscriptions. There are also similarities in the methods used in the ground plans and construction of buildings. Woolley suggests that, rather than concluding too quickly that the Sumerians and Indus civilization shared the same race or political culture, which may actually have been the case, or that such similarities were merely from trade connections, the evidence at least indicates that the two societies shared a common source.
The researcher and scholar L. A. Waddell offers more evidence to show the relation between the Aryans and the Sumerians. He states in his book, The Indo Sumerian Seals Deciphered, that the discovery and translation of the Sumerian seals along the Indus Valley give evidence that the Aryan society existed there from as long ago as 3100 B.C. Several Sumerian seals found along the Indus bore the names of famous Vedic Aryan seers and princes familiar in the Vedic hymns. Therefore, these Aryan personalities were not merely part of an elaborate myth, like some people seem to proclaim, but actually lived five thousand years ago as related in the Vedic epics and Puranas.
Waddell also says that the language and religion of the Indo-Aryans were radically similar to that of the Sumerians and Phoenicians, and that the early Aryan kings of the Indian Vedas are identical with well-known historical kings of the Sumerians. He believes that the decipherment of these seals from the Indus Valley confirms that the Sumerians were actually the early Aryans and authors of Indian civilization. He concludes that the Sumerians were Aryans in physique, culture, religion, language, and writing. He also feels that the early Sumerians on the Persian Gulf near 3100 B.C. were Phoenicians who were Aryans in race and speech, and were the introducers of Aryan civilization in ancient India. Thus, he concludes that it was the Aryans who were the bearers of high civilization and who spread throughout the Mediterranean, Northwest Europe, and Britain, as well as India. However, he states that the early Aryan Sumero-Phoenicians did not become a part of the Aryan Invasion of India until the seventh century B.C. after their defeat by the Assyrian Sargon II in 718 B.C. at Carchemish in Upper Mesopotamia. Though the Sumerians indeed may have been Aryan people, some researchers feel that rather than being the originators of Vedic Aryan culture, or part of an invasion into India, they were an extension of the Vedic culture that originated in India and spread through Persia and into Europe.
THEORIES ON THE ARYAN ORIGINS
This brings us to the different theories that scholars have about the origins of the Aryan society. Though it seems evident that an Aryan society was in existence in the Indus Valley by 3100 B.C., not everyone agrees with the dates that Waddell has presented for the Aryan Invasion into India, and whether the Aryans were actually invaders is doubtful. Obviously, different views on the Aryanization of India are held by different historians. Some scholars say that it was about 1000 B.C. when Aryans entered Iran from the north and then occupied the Indus region by 800 B.C. In this scenario, the Aryans had to have entered India sometime after this. But others say that it was between 1500 and 1200 B.C. that the Aryans entered India and composed hymns that make up the Rig-veda. So some people calculate that the Rig-veda must have been composed around 1400 B.C.
Mr. Pargiter, another noted scholar, contends that Aryan influence in India was felt long before the composition of the Vedic hymns. He states that the Aryans entered India near 2000 B.C. over the Central Himalayas and later spread into the Punjab. Brunnhofer and others argue that the composition of the Rig-veda took place not in the Punjab, but in Afghanistan or Iran. This theory assumes that Aryan entrance into India was much later.
Even Max Muller, the great orientalist and translator of Eastern texts, was also a great proponent of speculating on the dates of the compilations of the Vedas. He admitted that his ideas on the dates of the Vedas could not be dependable. He had originally estimated that the Rig-veda had been written around 1000 B.C. However, he was greatly criticized for that date, and he later wrote in his book, Physical Religion (p.91, 1891), “Whether the Vedic hymns were composed 1000, 1500 or 2000 BCE, no power on earth will ever determine.”
So, as we can see from the above examples, which are just a few of the many ideas on the Aryan origins, analyzing these theories can get rather confusing. In fact, so many theories on the location of the original Aryans or Indo-Europeans have been presented by archeologists and researchers that for a time they felt the location could change from minute to minute, depending on the latest evidence that was presented. In many cases over the years, archeologists presumed they had located the home of the Sumerians or Aryans any time they found certain types of metal tools or painted pottery that resembled what had been found at the Sumerian or Indus Valley sites. Though such findings may have been of some significance, further study proved that they were of considerably less importance than had been originally thought, and, thus, the quest for locating the original Aryan home could not be concluded.
WAS THERE EVER AN ARYAN INVASION?
One of the major reasons why a consideration of the idea of an Aryan invasion into India is prevalent among some Western researchers is because of their misinterpretation of the Vedas, deliberate or otherwise, that suggests the Aryans were a nomadic people. One such misinterpretation is from the Rig-veda, which describes the battle between Sudas and the ten kings. The battle of the ten kings included the Pakthas, Bhalanas, Alinas, Shivas, Vishanins, Shimyus, Bhrigus, Druhyas, Prithus, and Parshus, who fought against the Tritsus. The Prithus or Parthavas became the Parthians of latter-day Iran (247 B.C.–224 A.D.). The Parshus or Pashavas became the latter-day Persians. These kings, though some are described as Aryans, were actually fallen Aryans, or rebellious and materialistic kings who had given up the spiritual path and were conquered by Sudas. Occasionally, there was a degeneration of the spiritual kingdom in areas of India, and wars had to be fought in order to reestablish the spiritual Aryan culture in these areas. Western scholars could and did easily misinterpret this to mean an invasion of nomadic people called Aryans rather than simply a war in which the superior Aryan kings reestablished the spiritual values and the Vedic Aryan way of life.
Let us also remember that the Aryan invasion theory was hypothesized in the nineteenth century to explain the similarities found in Sanskrit and the languages of Europe. One person who reported about this is Deen Chandora in his article, Distorted Historical Events and Discredited Hindu Chronology, as it appeared in Revisiting Indus-Sarasvati Age and Ancient India (p. 383). He explains that the idea of the Aryan invasion was certainly not a matter of misguided research, but was a conspiracy to distribute deliberate misinformation that was formulated on April 10, 1866 in London at a secret meeting held in the Royal Asiatic Society. This was “to induct the theory of the Aryan invasion of India, so that no Indian may say that English are foreigners. . . India was ruled all along by outsiders and so the country must remain a slave under the benign Christian rule.” This was a political move and this theory was put to solid use in all schools and colleges.
So it was basically a linguistic theory adopted by the British colonial authorities to keep themselves in power. This theory suggested, more or less, that there was a race of superior, white Aryans who came in from the Caucasus Mountains and invaded the Indus region, and then established their culture, compiled their literature, and then proceeded to invade the rest of India.
As can be expected, most of those who were great proponents of the Aryan invasion theory were often ardent English and German nationalists, or Christians, ready and willing to bring about the desecration of anything that was non-Christian or non-European. Even Max Muller believed in the Christian chronology, that the world was created at 9:00 AM on October 23, 4004 B.C. and the great flood occurred in 2500 B.C. Thus, it was impossible to give a date for the Aryan invasion earlier than 1500 B.C. After all, accepting the Christian time frame would force them to eliminate all other evidence and possibilities, so what else could they do? So, even this date for the Aryan invasion was based on speculation.
In this way, the Aryan invasion theory was created to make it appear that Indian culture and philosophy was dependent on the previous developments in Europe, thereby justifying the need for colonial rule and Christian expansion in India. This was also the purpose of the study of Sanskrit, such as at Oxford University in England, as indicated by Colonel Boden who sponsored the program. He stated that they should “promote Sanskrit learning among the English, so as ‘to enable his countrymen to proceed in the conversion of the natives of India to the Christian religion.’”
Unfortunately, this was also Max Muller’s ultimate goal. In a letter to his wife in 1866, he wrote about his translation of the Rig-veda: “This edition of mine and the translation of the Veda, will hereafter tell to a great extent on the fate of India and on the growth of millions of souls in that country. It is the root of their religion and to show them what the root is, I feel sure, is the only way of uprooting all that has sprung from it during the last three thousand years.” (The Life and Letters of Right Honorable Friedrich Max Muller, Vol. I. p.346)
So, in essence, the British used the theory of the Aryan invasion to further their “divide and conquer” policy. With civil unrest and regional cultural tensions created by the British through designations and divisions among the Indian society, it gave a reason and purpose for the British to continue and increase their control over India.
However, under scrutiny, the Aryan invasion theory lacks justification. For example, Sir John Marshall, one of the chief excavators at Mohenjo-Daro, offers evidence that India may have been following the Vedic religion long before any so-called “invaders” ever arrived. He points out that it is known that India possessed a highly advanced and organized urban civilization dating back to at least 2300 B.C., if not much earlier. In fact, some researchers suggest that evidence makes it clear that the Indus Valley civilization was quite developed by at least 3100 B.C. The known cities of this civilization cover an area along the Indus river and extend from the coast to Rajasthan and the Punjab over to the Yamuna and Upper Ganges. At its height, the Indus culture spread over 300,000 square miles, an area larger than Western Europe. Cities that were a part of the Indus culture include Mohenjo-Daro, Kot Diji east of Mohenjo-Daro, Amri on the lower Indus, Lothal south of Ahmedabad, Malwan farther south, Harappa 350 miles upstream from Mohenjo-Daro, Kalibangan and Alamgirpur farther east, Rupar near the Himalayas, Sutkagen Dor to the west along the coast, Mehrgarh 150 miles north of Mohenjo-Daro, and Mundigak much farther north. Evidence at Mehrgarh shows a civilization that dates back to 6500 B.C. It had been connected with the Indus culture but was deserted in the third millennium B.C. around the time the city of Mohenjo-Daro became prominent.
The arrangement of these cities and the knowledge of the residents was much superior to that of any immigrating nomads, except for military abilities at the time. A lack of weapons, except for thin spears, at these cities indicates they were not very well equipped militarily. Thus, one theory is that if there were invaders, whoever they may have been, rather than encouraging the advancement of Vedic society when they came into the Indus Valley region, they may have helped stifle it or even caused its demise in certain areas. The Indus Valley locations may have been one area where the Vedic society disappeared after the arrival of these invaders. Many of these cities seemed to have been abandoned quickly, while others were not. However, some geologists suggest that the cities were left because of environmental changes. Evidence of floods in the plains is seen in the thick layers of silt which are now thirty-nine feet above the river in the upper strata of Mohenjo-Daro. Others say that the ecological needs of the community forced the people to move on, since research shows there was a great reduction in rainfall from that period to the present.
We also have to remember that many of the Indus sites, like Kalibangan, were close to the region of the old Sarasvati River. Some Hindu scholars are actually preferring to rename the Indus Valley culture as the Indus-Sarasvati culture because the Sarasvati was a prominent river and very important at the time. For example, the Sarasvati River is glowingly praised in the Rig-veda. However, the Sarasvati River stopped flowing and later dried up. Recent scientific studies calculate that the river stopped flowing as early as around 8000 B.C. It dried up near the end of the Indus Valley civilization, at least by 1900 B.C. This was no doubt one reason why these cities were abandoned. This also means that if the Vedic people came after the Indus Valley culture, they could not have known of the Sarasvati River. This is further evidence that the Vedas were from many years before the time of the Indus Valley society and were not brought into the region by some invasion.
As a result of the latest studies, evidence points in the direction that the Indus sites were wiped out not by acts of war or an invasion, but by the drought that is known to have taken place and continued for 300 years. Whatever skeletons that have been found in the region may indicate deaths not by war but by starvation or lack of water. Deaths of the weak by starvation are normal before the whole society finally moves away for better lands and more abundant resources. This is the same drought that wiped out the Akkadians of Sumeria, and caused a sudden abandonment of cities in Mesopotamia, such as at Tell Leilan and Tell Brock. The beginning of the end of these civilizations had to have been near 2500 B.C. This drought no doubt contributed to the final drying up of the Sarasvati River.
Regarding Mohenjo-Daro, archeologists have discovered no sign of attack, such as extensive burning, or remains of armor-clad warriors, and no foreign weapons. This leaves us to believe that the enemy of the people in this region was nature, such as earthquakes, flooding, or the severe drought, or even a change in the course of rivers, and not warrior invaders. So again, the invasion theory does not stand up to scrutiny from the anthropological point of view.
The best known archeological sites of the Indus cities are Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa. Excavation work at Mohenjo-Daro was done from 1922 to 1931 and 1935 to 1936. Excavation at Harappa took place from 1920 to 1921 and 1933 to 1934. Evidence has shown that temples played an important part in the life of the residents of these cities. The citadel at Mohenjo-Daro contains a 39-by-23 foot bath. This seems to have been used for ceremonial purposes similar in the manner that many large temple complexes in India also have central pools for bathing and rituals. Though deities have not been found in the ruins, no doubt because they were too important to abandon, images of a Mother goddess and a Male god similar to Lord Shiva sitting in a yoga posture have been found. Some of the Shiva seals show a man with three heads and an erect phallus, sitting in meditation and surrounded by animals. This would be Shiva as Pashupati, lord or friend of the animals. Representations of the lingam of Shiva and yoni of his spouse have also been easily located, as well as non-phallic stones such as the shalagram-shila stone of Lord Vishnu. Thus, the religions of Shiva and Vishnu, which are directly Vedic, had been very much a part of this society long ago and were not brought to the area by any invaders who may have arrived later.
Another point that helps convince that the Vedic religion and culture had to have been there in India and pre-Harappan times is the sacrificial altars that have been discovered at the Harappan sites. These are all of similar design and found from Baluchistan to Uttar Pradesh, and down into Gujarat. This shows that the whole of this area must have been a part of one specific culture, the Vedic culture, which had to have been there before these sites were abandoned.
More information in this regard is found in an article by J. F. Jarrige and R. H. Meadow in the August, 1980 issue of Scientific American called “The Antecedents of Civilization in the Indus Valley.” In the article they mention that recent excavations at Mehrgarh show that the antecedents of the Indus Valley culture go back earlier than 6000 B.C. in India. An outside influence did not affect its development. Astronomical references established in the Vedas do indeed concur with the date of Mehrgarh. Therefore, sites such as Mehrgarh reflect the earlier Vedic age of India. Thus, we have a theory of an Aryan invasion which is not remembered by the people of the area that were supposed to have been conquered by the Aryans.
Furthermore, Dr. S. R. Rao has deciphered the Harappan script to be of an Indo-Aryan base. In fact, he has shown how the South Arabic, Old Aramic, and the ancient Indian Brahmi scripts are all derivatives of the Indus Valley script. This new evidence confirms that the Harappan civilization could not have been Dravidians that were overwhelmed by an Aryan invasion, but they were followers of the Vedic religion. The irony is that the invasion theory suggests that the Vedic Aryans destroyed the Dravidian Indus townships which had to have been previously built according to the mathematical instructions that are found in the Vedic literature of the Aryans, such as the Shulbasutras. This point helps void the invasion theory. After all, if the people of these cities used the Vedic styles of religious altars and town planning, it would mean they were already Aryans.
In a similar line of thought in another recent book, Vedic Glossary on Indus Seals, Dr. Natwar Jha has provided an interpretation of the ancient script of the numerous recovered seals of the Indus Valley civilization. He has concluded that the Indus Valley seals, which are small soapstone, one-inch squares, exhibit a relation to the ancient form of Brahmi. He found words on the seals that come from the ancient Nighantu text, which is a glossary of Sanskrit compiled by the sage Yaksa that deals with words of subordinate Vedic texts. An account of Yaksa’s search for older Sanskrit words is found in the Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata. This may have been in relation to the Indus Valley seals and certainly shows its ancient Vedic connection.
The point of all this is that the entire Rig-veda had to have been existing for thousands of years by the time the Indus Valley seals were produced. Therefore, the seals were of Vedic Sanskrit origin or a derivative of it, and the Indus Valley sites were part of the Vedic culture. This is further evidence that there was no Aryan invasion. No Aryan invasion means that the area and its residents were already a part of the Vedic empire. This also means that the so-called Indo-Aryan or Indo-European civilization was nothing but the worldwide Vedic culture. From this we can also conclude, therefore, that the so-called Indo-Aryan group of languages is nothing but the various local mispronunciations of Sanskrit which has pervaded the civilized world for thousands of years.
Another interesting point is that skeletal remains found in the Harappan sites that date back to 4000 years ago show the same basic racial types in the Punjab and Gujarat as found today. This verifies that no outside race invaded and took over the area. The only west to east movement that took place was after the Sarasvati went dry, and that was involving the people who were already there. In this regard, Sir John Marshall, in charge of the excavations at the Harappan sites, said that the Indus civilization was the oldest to be unearthed, even older than the Sumerian culture, which is believed to be but a branch of the former, and, thus, an outgrowth of the Vedic society.
One more point about skeletal remains at the Harappan sites is that bones of horses are found at all levels of these locations. Thus, the horse was well known to these people. The horse was mentioned in the Rig-veda, and was one of the main animals of Vedic culture in India. However, according to records in Mesopotamia, the horse was unknown to that region until only about 2100 B.C. So this provides further proof that the direction of movement by the people was from India to the west, not the other way around as the invasion theory suggests.
Professor Lal has written a book, The Earliest Civilization of South Asia, in which he also has concluded that the theory of an Aryan invasion has no basis. An invasion is not the reason for the destruction of the Harappan civilization. It was caused by climactic changes. He says the Harappan society was a melting pot made up of people from the Mediterranean, Armenia, the Alpine area, and even China. They engaged in typical Vedic fire worship, ashwamedha rituals. Such fire altars have been found in the Indus Valley cities of Banawali, Lothal, and Kalibangan.
He also explains that the city of Kalibangan came to ruin when the Saraswati River dried up, caused by severe climactic changes around 1900 B.C. Thus, the mention of the Sarasvati River also helps date the Vedas, which had to have existed before this. This would put the origin of Sanskrit writing and the earliest portions of Vedic literature at least sometime before 4000 B.C., 6000 years ago.
In conclusion, V. Gordon Childe states in his book, The Aryans, that though the idea of an Asiatic origin of the Aryans, who then migrated into India, is the most widely accepted idea, it is still the least well documented. And this idea is only one of the unfounded generalizations with which for over seventy years anthropology and archeology have been in conflict. In fact, today the northern Asiatic origin of the Aryans is a hypothesis which has been abandoned by most linguists and archeologists.
THE INDUS VALLEY CIVILIZATION
WAS A PART OF THE ADVANCED VEDIC CULTURE
Besides what we have already discussed, more light is shed on the advanced civilization of the Indus Valley and how it influenced areas beyond its region when we consider the subject of Vedic mathematics. E. J. H. Mackay explains in his book, Further Excavations at Mohenjo-Daro, that the whole basis of Vedic mathematics is geometry, and geometrical instruments have been found in the Indus Valley which date back to at least 2800 B.C. The Vedic form of mathematics was much more advanced than that found in early Greek and Egyptian societies. This can be seen in the Shulbasutras, supplements of the Kalpasutras, which also show the earliest forms of algebra which were used by the Vedic priests in their geometry for the construction of altars and arenas for religious purposes. In fact, the geometrical formula known as the Pythagorean theorem can be traced to the Baudhayans, the earliest forms of the Shulbasutras dated prior to the eighth century B.C.
The Shulbasutras are the earliest forms of mathematical knowledge, and certainly the earliest for any religious purpose. They basically appear as a supplement to the ritual (Shrauta) aspect of the Kalpasutras. They essentially contain the mathematical formulas for the design of various altars for the Vedic rituals of worship, which are evident in the Indus Valley sites.
The date of the Shulbasutras, after comparing the Baudhayana, Apastamba and Katyayana Shulbas with the early mathematics of ancient Egypt and Babylonia, as described by N. S. Rajaram in Vedic Aryans and The Origins of Civilization (p.139), is near 2000 B.C. However, after including astronomical data from the Ashvalayana Grihyasutra, Shatapantha Brahmana, etc., the date can be brought farther back to near 3000 B.C., near the time of the Mahabharata War and the compilation of the other Vedic texts by Srila Vyasadeva.
With this view in mind, Vedic mathematics can no longer be considered as a derivative from ancient Babylon, which dates to 1700 B.C., but must be the source of it as well as the Greek or Pythagorean mathematics. Therefore, the advanced nature of the geometry found in the Shulbasutras indicates that it provided the knowledge that had to have been known during the construction of the Indus sites, such as Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, as well as that used in ancient Greece and Babylon.
It is Vedic mathematics that originated the decimal system of tens, hundreds, thousands, and so on, and in which the remainder of one column of numbers is carried over to the next column. The Indian number system was used in Arabia after 700 A.D. and was called Al-Arqan-Al-Hindu. This spread into Europe and became known as the Arabic numerals. This, of course, has developed into the number system we use today, which is significantly easier than the Egyptian, Roman, or Chinese symbols for numbers that made mathematics much more difficult. It was the Indians who devised the methods of dividing fractions and the use of equations and letters to signify unknown factors. They also made discoveries in calculus and other systems of math several hundred years before these same principles were understood in Europe. Thus, it becomes obvious that if the Europeans had not changed from the Roman numeral system to the form of mathematics that originated in India, many of the developments that took place in Europe would not have been possible. In this way, all evidence indicates that it was not any northern invaders into India who brought or originated this advanced form of mathematics, but it was from the Vedic Aryan civilization that had already been existing in India and the Indus Valley region. Thus, we can see that such intellectual influence did not descend from the north into India, but rather traveled from India up into Europe.
Additional evidence that it was not any invaders who originated the highly advanced Vedic culture in the Indus Valley is the fact that various seals that Waddell calls Sumerian and dates back to 2800 B.C. have been found bearing the image of the water buffalo or Brahma bull. Modern zoologists believe that the water buffalo was known only to the Ganges and Brahmaputra valleys and did not exist in Western India or the Indus Valley. This would suggest a few possibilities. One is that the Sumerians had traveled to Central and Eastern India for reasons of trade and for finding precious stones since Harappa was a trading center connected by way of the Indus river with the gold and turquoise industry of Tibet. Thus, they learned about the water buffalo and used images of them on their seals. The second and most likely possibility is that the Aryan civilization at the time extended from Eastern India to the Indus region and farther west to Mesopotamia and beyond, and included the Sumerians as a branch. So, trade and its Vedic connections with India naturally brought the image of the water buffalo to the Indus Valley region and beyond.
Further evidence showing the Vedic influence on the region of Mohenjo-Daro is a tablet dating back to 2600 B.C. It depicts an image of Lord Krishna as a child. This positively shows that the Indus Valley culture was connected with the ancient Vedic system, which was prevalent along the banks of the Rivers Sarasvati and Sindhu thousands of years ago.
THE VEDIC LITERATURE SUPPLIES NO EVIDENCE
OF AN ARYAN INVASION
As we can see from the above information, the presence of the Vedic Aryans in the Indus region is undeniable, but the evidence indicates they had been there long before any invaders or immigrating nomads ever arrived, and, thus, the Vedic texts must have been in existence there for quite some time as well. In fact, the Vedic literature establishes that they were written many years before the above mentioned date of 1400 B.C. The age of Kali is said to have begun in 3102 B.C. with the disappearance of Lord Krishna, which is the time when Srila Vyasadeva is said to have begun composing the Vedic knowledge into written form. Thus, the Rig-veda could not have been written or brought into the area by the so-called “invaders” because they are not supposed to have come through the area until 1600 years later.
One of the problems with dating the Vedic literature has been the use of linguistic analysis, which has not been dependable. It can be safe to say, as pointed out by K. C. Verma in his Mahabharata: Myth and Reality–Differing Views (p.99), “All attempts to date the Vedic literature on linguistic grounds have failed miserably for the simple reason that (a) the conclusions of comparative philology are often speculative and (b) no one has yet succeeded in showing how much change should take place in a language in a given period. The only safe method is astronomical.”
With this suggestion, instead of using the error prone method of linguistics, we can look at the conclusion a few others have drawn by using astronomical records for dating the Vedas. With the use of astronomical calculations, some scholars date the earliest hymns of the Rig-veda to before 4500 B.C. Others, such as Lokmanya Tilak and Hermann Jacobi, agree that the major portion of the hymns of the Rig-veda were composed from 4500 to 3500 B.C., when the vernal equinox was in the Orion constellation. These calculations had to have been actual sightings, according to K. C. Verma, who states, “it has been proved beyond doubt that before the discoveries of Newton, Liebnitz, La Place, La Grange, etc., back calculations could not have been made; they are based on observational astronomy.” (Mahabharata: Myth and Reality–Differing Views, p.124)
In his book called The Celestial Key to the Vedas: Discovering the Origins of the World’s Oldest Civilization, B. G. Sidharth provides astronomical evidence that the earliest portions of the Rig-veda can be dated to 10,000 B.C. He is the director of the B. M. Birla Science Center and has 30 years of experience in astronomy and science. He also confirms that India had a thriving civilization capable of sophisticated astronomy long before Greece, Egypt, or any other culture in the world.
In his commentary on Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.7.8), A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, one of the most distinguished Vedic scholars of modern times, also discusses the estimated date of when the Vedic literature was written based on astronomical evidence. He writes that there is some diversity amongst mundane scholars as to the date when Srimad-Bhagavatam was compiled, the latest of Vedic scriptures. But from the text it is certain that it was compiled after Lord Krishna disappeared from the planet and before the disappearance of King Pariksit. We are presently in the five thousandth year of the age of Kali according to astronomical calculation and evidence in the revealed scriptures. Therefore, he concludes, Srimad-Bhagavatam had to have been compiled at least five thousand years ago. The Mahabharata was compiled before Srimad-Bhagavatam, and the major Puranas were compiled before Mahabharata.
Furthermore, we know that the Upanishads and the four primary Vedas, including the Rig-veda, were compiled years before Mahabharata. This would indicate that the Vedic literature was already existing before any so-called invasion, which is said to have happened around 1400 B.C. In fact, this indicates that the real Aryans were the Vedic kings and sages who were already prevalent in this region, and not any uncertain tribe of nomadic people that some historians inappropriately call “invading Aryans” who came into India and then wrote their Vedic texts after their arrival. So this confirms the Vedic version.
Another point of consideration is the Sarasvati River. Some people feel that the Sarasvati is simply a mythical river, but through research and the use of aerial photography they have rediscovered parts of what once was its river bed. As the Vedas describe, and as research has shown, it had once been a very prominent river. Many hundreds of years ago it flowed from the Himalayan mountains southwest to the Arabian Sea at the Rann of Kutch, which is north of Mumbai (Bombay) in the area of Dwaraka. However, it is known to have changed course several times, flowing in a more westerly direction, and dried up near 1900 B.C.
Since the Rig-veda (7.95.1) describes the course of the river from the mountains to the sea, as well as (10.75.5) locates the river between the Yamuna and the Shutudri (Sutlej), it becomes obvious that the Vedic Aryans had to have been in India before this river dried up, or long before 2000 B.C. The Atharva-veda (6.30.1) also mentions growing barley along the Sarasvati. And the Vajasaneya Samhita of the Yajur-veda (Shuklayajur-veda 34.11) relates that five rivers flow into the Sarasvati, after which she becomes a vast river. This is confirmed by satellite photography, archeology, and hydrological surveys that the Sarasvati was a huge river, up to five miles wide. Not only does this verify the antiquity of the Aryan civilization in India, but also of the Vedic literature, which had to have been in existence many hundreds of years before 1900 B.C. So this helps confirm the above date of 3102 B.C. when the Vedic texts were compiled.
Furthermore, the ancient Rig-veda (10.75.5; 6.45.31; 3.59.6) mentions the Ganges, sometimes called the Jahnavi, along with the Yamuna, Sarasvati, and Sindhu (Indus) rivers (Rig-veda, 10.75.1-9). So the rivers and settlements in the Ganges region did have significance in the Vedic literature, which shows that the Vedas were written in India and not brought into the Ganges area after they had been written at some other location.
The Manu-samhita (2.21-22) also describes Madhyadesa, the central region of India, as being where the Aryans were located between the Himavat and Vindhya mountains, east of Prayaga and west of Vinasana where the Sarasvati River disappears. It also says the land that extends as far as the eastern and western oceans is called Aryavata (place of the Aryans) by the wise. This means that the center of Vedic civilization at the time was near the Sarasvati River.
The point of this is that here is more evidence that the Vedic Aryans could not have invaded India or written the Rig-veda after 1800 B.C. and known about the Sarasvati River. In fact, for the river to have been as great as it is described in the Vedas and Puranas, the Aryans had to have been existing in the area for several thousand years, at least before the river began to dry up. And if the Aryans were not the first people in this area, then why are there no pre-Aryan names for these rivers? Or why has no one discovered the pre-Indus Valley language if it had been inhabited by a different people before the Aryans arrived? And why is there no record of any Aryan invasion in any of the Vedic literature?
In this regard, Mr. K. D. Sethna points out on page 67 of his book, The Problem of Aryan Origins From an Indian Point of View, that even scholars who believe in an Aryan invasion of India around 1500 B.C. admit that the Rig-veda supplies no sign of an entry into the Indian subcontinent from anywhere. There is no mention of any such invasion. From our research and evidence, the Rig-veda can be dated to at least around 3000 B.C. or much earlier. Thus, for all practical purposes, there is little reason to discuss any other origination of the Vedic Aryans than the area of Northern India.
This is corroborated in The Cultural Heritage of India (pp. 182-3) wherein it explains that Indian tradition knows nothing of any Aryan invasion from the northwest or outside of India. In fact, the Rig-veda (Book Ten, Chapter 75) lists the rivers in the order from the east to the northwest, in accordance with the expansion of the Aryan outflow from India to the northwest. This would concur with the history in the Puranas that India was the home of the Aryans, from where they expanded to outside countries in various directions, spreading the Vedic culture. The Manu-samhita (2.17-18) specifically points out that the region of the Vedic Aryans is between the Sarasvati and the Drishadvati Rivers, as similarly found in the Rig-veda (3.24.4).
Any wars mentioned in the Vedic literature are those that have taken place between people of the same culture, or between the demigods and demons, or the forces of light and darkness. The idea that the term “Aryan” or “Arya” refers to those of a particular race is misleading. It is a term that means anyone of any race that is noble and of righteous and gentle conduct. To instill the idea of an Aryan invasion into the Vedic texts is merely an exercise of taking isolated verses out of context and changing the meaning of the terms. Even the oldest written Vedic book, the Rig-veda, contains no mention of a wandering tribe of people coming from some original holy land or any mountainous regions from outside India. In fact, it describes the Indian subcontinent in recognizable terms of rivers and climate. The Sarasvati River is often mentioned in the Rig-veda, which makes it clear that the region of the Sarasvati was a prime area of the Vedic people. Furthermore, it describes no wars with outsiders, no capturing of cities, and no incoming culture of any kind that would indicate an invasion from a foreign tribe. Only much later after the Vedic period do we have the invasion of India by the Muslims and the British, for which there is so much recorded evidence.
The Vedic literature is massive, and no other culture has produced anything like it in regard to ancient history. Not the Egyptians, Sumerians, Babylonians, or Chinese. So if it was produced outside of India, how could there not be some reference to its land of origination? For that matter, how could these so-called primitive nomads who came invading the Indus region invent such a sophisticated language and produce such a distinguished record of their customs in spite of their migrations and numerous battles? This is hardly likely. Only a people who are well established and advanced in their knowledge and culture can do such a thing. In this way, we can see that the Vedic texts give every indication that the Vedic Aryans originated in India.
Therefore, we are left with much evidence in literary records and archeological findings, as we shall see, that flies in the face of the Aryan invasion theory. It shows how the Vedic Aryans went from India to Iran, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, and on toward Europe in a westward direction rather than toward the east. The invasion theory is but a product of the imagination.
MORE EVIDENCE FOR THE ORIGINAL HOME
OF THE VEDIC ARYANS
The Brahmin priests and Indian scholars believe that the Sarasvati and Ganges valley region are the origin of Indian civilization and the Aryan society. This can be given some credence when we look at the cities in this region. For example, North of Delhi is the town of Kuruksetra where the great battle of the Mahabharata took place when Sri Krishna was still on the planet over 5,000 years ago. There is also the old city of Hastinapura that was once situated along the Ganges until the river changed its course and swept the city away in 800 B.C. This is the old capital of the Kuru dynasty in the Mahabharata. Pottery remains have been found near this location that are traced back to at least 1200 B.C. In New Delhi we find the Purana Qila site, which is known to have been part of the ancient city of Indraprastha. An interesting quote can be found in the ancient Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.72.13) which can give us some idea of how prominent Indraprastha had been. It states that during the time when Sri Krishna was on this planet 5,000 years ago, King Yudhisthira sent his brothers, the Pandavas, to conquer the world in all directions. This was for bringing all countries to participate in the great Rajasuya ceremony that was being held in ancient Indraprastha. All countries were to pay a tax to help the performance of the ceremony, and to send representatives to participate. If they did not wish to cooperate, then they would have to engage in battle with the Pandavas. Thus, the whole world came under the jurisdiction of the Vedic Aryan administration.
South of New Delhi are the holy towns of Vrindavan and Mathura along the Yamuna River. Both of these towns are known for being places of Krishna’s pastimes and Vedic legends that go back thousands of years, which are also described in the Vedic literature. Farther south, located on the Yamuna, is the ancient city of Kaushambi. This city still has the remains of massive defense structures from the tenth century B.C. that are very similar to buildings in Harrappa and the Indus region that use baked brick for construction. The Yajur-veda (Vajasaneyi Samhita 23.18) also mentions the town of Kampila, which is located about halfway between Hastinapur and Kaushambi. The next city is Allahabad (Prayag) where we find the confluence of the Yamuna and Ganges. This location abounds with importance and Vedic legends that are so remote in antiquity that no one can say when they originated. Then there is Varanasi along the Ganges that is another city filled with ancient Vedic legends of importance. A short distance north of Varanasi is Sarnath, where Buddha gave his first sermon after being enlightened. A four-hour train ride north of Varanasi is the town of Ayodhya, where Lord Ramachandra had His capital, as fully described in the ancient Ramayana. And, of course, there are the Himalayan mountains that have many Vedic stories connected with them. Furthermore, there are numerous other places that could be mentioned that are connected with the Vedic legends throughout the area. (Most of these have already been described in the Seeing Spiritual India sections in my previous books.)
Though some archeologists claim they have discovered no evidence for the ancient existence of the Vedic Aryan culture in this Gangetic region, even a casual tour through this area, as mentioned above, makes it obvious that these towns and holy sites did not gain importance overnight, nor simply by an immigration of people who are said to have brought the Vedas with them. These places could not have become incorporated into the Vedic legends so quickly if the Vedic culture came from another location. Therefore, the argument that the early Vedic literature was brought from another region or describes a geographical location other than India cannot so easily be accepted. The fact is that the whole of India and up through the Indus region was the original home of the Vedic Aryan culture from which it spread its influence over much of the rest of the world.