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Aryan Invasion/migration Theories & Debates -2
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->> > - What is the root of Aryan?
> By the Rg Vedic times, the Aryan has come to mean simply 'noble'.

No, that is a post-Vedic usage, attested in the Buddha's "four noble

<An Anarya
> simply denotes your enemy, not necessarily some one who is
> different from you - something like you are always 'truthful and
> whereas your enemy, whether he is your neighbour, brother or some
one across
> the seas is always ' dishonest and unfair"

No, that too is post-Vedic usage. As Shrikant Talageri has shown in
full detail, covering every single instance, in the Rg-Veda "Arya"
always means the members of the ethnic Paurava tribe, whether friends
or traitors, while Anarya means non-Pauravas (e.g. Aikshvakus,
Yadavas, Anavas), whether friend or enemy. Likewise in the Avesta,
Airiia denotes the Iranians, regardless of character or allegiance,
excluding the Pauravas and all other non-Iranians. An Arya may very
well be unfair, as long as he is a Paurava. Thus, the arch-Arya, king
Sudas who defeated the Ten Kings, was an imperialist who had invaded
their lands. Arya has no ethical connotation but simply means "us",
Anarya "them".

> The efforts on the part of Orientalists to read ethnic connotations
into the
> word have brought much falsifications into Indian Historiography.


KE, orientalist and proud to be one<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
About the discussions above (other than that on Arya):

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Portuguese-imported potatoes and tomatoes and chillis "Vedic cooking".<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->That is indeed funny.
For instance, potatoes are from native Americans (am very indebted to them).

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->So no, reincarnation was not part of Sanâtana ("eternal") Dharma, it was an innovation. (Or as a believer might put it, a "discovery": first the notion wasn't there, then some yogi saw the "truth" of reincarnation, then the idea spread, while more and more practitioners learnt the technique to "verify" the "fact" of reincarnation.)<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Umm, well, that's not it. The Vedas are neither the origin nor the sum of all that is Sanatana Dharma.

In S India, Shiva has a lot of avataras (see for instance how these avataras are displayed in the Meenakshi temple) - far more than MahaVishnu's famous 10. MahaVishnu also has many more than the major 10.
But now that I've said it, I'll doubtless be hearing from someone how "Shaivites would have got the idea from Vaishnavites who only came upon the idea sometime after X" and how this reminds them of something or other they encountered elsewhere.

Sigh. Never mind.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Worse, even in the Ramayana and Mahabharata, philological analysis has shown that Rama and Krishna were originally just humn beings, heroes
alright, but human mortals nonetheless. Only in the latest-added
parts do they start becoming divine incarnations. Vishnu's penchant
for incarnating among us humans, now a core belief of the majority of
Hindus, is a post-Vedic innovation.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->king Sudas who defeated the Ten Kings, was an imperialist who had invaded their lands.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Now that that's all been cleared up:
1. It is obvious that Parashurama was much more of an imperialist and far worse besides.
2. On with The Dredging.
3. Vedas are just bothersome ur-history sometimes centred around some crappy characters, but with the occasional pretty little ditty thrown in. (Wait, I'm sure someone famous said something along those lines a decent while back?)

Oh, if only I could be a cheap 'Hindu', how much money I should have then. Hey, that sounds like the catchy title of a song that will sell.
<!--QuoteBegin-Husky+Sep 17 2008, 03:54 PM-->QUOTE(Husky @ Sep 17 2008, 03:54 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->So no, reincarnation was not part of Sanâtana ("eternal") Dharma, it was an innovation. (Or as a believer might put it, a "discovery": first the notion wasn't there, then some yogi saw the "truth" of reincarnation, then the idea spread, while more and more practitioners learnt the technique to "verify" the "fact" of reincarnation.)<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

The point of that example was whether or not veda-s attest to the concept of avatAra (and punarjanma, karma etc). Not sure what in that argument caused you to react in this way. Concept of avatAra can stand on its own in sanAtana-dharma, in its own right, even without veda supporting it, as far as veda does not contradict it.

The point K. Elst was making was the tendency of many modern Hindu-s to add 'vedic' to every new knowledge created even in the last few centuries, or decades. (more examples: "Vedic astrology", "Vedic Mathematics", "Vedic Vastu"...), obviousely all being hoax. The tendency of getting everything pushed into the name of vedic should be at least recognized. Only shows even the educated modern Hindus to believe in such hoaxes and secondarily lack of historic sense.

Second tendency is to claim that everything that we understand today as sanAtana dharma existed since day-1. Why? Why can dharma not evolve just like other bodies of knowledge and experience? Why can religion/spirituality not be just like another science that evolves, learns new notions and rejects old notions, just as it gains new experiences?

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Umm, well, that's not it. The Vedas are neither the origin nor the sum of all that is Sanatana Dharma.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
what is then the place of veda-s in sanAtana-dharma, meaning by this term the Astika-matas of hindus? Certainly, going by the internal and external evidence in the texts, veda-s are the paramount and supreme authority even if neither the beginning nor the sum total. Anything contradicting shruti is unauthentic -- that has been the mantra of sanAtana dharma. (and a chief source of contention with nAstikamata-s)
<!--QuoteBegin-Bodhi+Sep 17 2008, 05:44 PM-->QUOTE(Bodhi @ Sep 17 2008, 05:44 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->veda-s are the paramount and supreme authority even if neither the beginning nor the sum total.[right][snapback]88124[/snapback][/right]<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Bodhi, <i>I</i>'m not the one arguing against this. (And I thought my opinion in the above post came through more obviously than in most other posts I've put up in this forum.)
<b>ADDED:</b> But why do I have to be put in a position where I have to choose between Rama/Krishna or the Vedas? Hindus were never cornered into that position before. And we never need to be. I'm free to disregard this.

Sorry, I actually have no time (in the literal sense) for discussing this. Life is too short to argue about things people are already in agreement with.
<!--QuoteBegin-Husky+Sep 17 2008, 06:03 PM-->QUOTE(Husky @ Sep 17 2008, 06:03 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->But why do I have to be put in a position where I have to choose between Rama/Krishna or the Vedas?

Again, not sure what promted this inference from you. Where did the whole argument mention about choosing between the devinity of rAma/kR^iShNa and authority of veda-s? <i>Even if</i> one does not beleive in the avatAra-concept, do rAma/kR^iShNa/parashurAma/vArAha/... become any less venerable to him? Besides, like I said, avatAra-concept should be <i>acceptable</i> even if it originated post-veda. There are many post-vedic concepts we today find as core-values of mainstream sanAtana-dharma (e.g. vegetarianism). Problem comes when we try to retrofit such concepts forcefully back into veda-s (extreme sanAtanI-strain) or rejecting almost everything post-vedic as unacceptable (Arya-samAja-strain)

<!--QuoteBegin-Husky+Sep 17 2008, 06:03 PM-->QUOTE(Husky @ Sep 17 2008, 06:03 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Life is too short to argue about things people are already in agreement with.
<!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo--> yes...
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The same tendency to reject historicity is in evidence in the debate
on the origins of Indo-European and Indo-Aryan. Though the
distinction between Vedic and Classical Sanskrit has been
acknowledged since Panini himself, numerous Hindus deny a history,
i.e. change, to the language of the gods. If at all they acknowledge
the existence of an Indo-European language family, they cannot
conceive of a pre-Sanskrit language as its origin, with Sanskrit
merely an evolute on the same footing as Greek or Hittite.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Good post Bodhi.

Just want to deal with this, this is a strong tendency among modern Hindus many of whom DON'T KNOW any Sanskrit themselves.

1) All languages change with time, perhaps Sanskrit after Panini has slowed down in change but I really doubt it has stopped changing since 400 BCE (or earlier since pANini hasn't been given a concrete date).

2) Sanskrit is one of the oldest languages but not the oldest of all as many Hindus ignorantly claim.

3) "Sanskrit is the mother of all languages", another ignorant statement I see very often.

Very often these claims are made by lay Hindus who themselves don't know any Sanskrit and have never made the effort to learn it (I am trying these days, taking a course in it, lets see where it goes).

My view of Sanskrit is that its the connective language of all Hindus and also the language which is key to unlocking a good chunk of our heritage, so it should be promoted as such.

I also want to bring up another thing, these claims are not much different from the DMK types who claim Tamizh to be the oldest language, all other Dravidian languages coming from Tamizh or making up crackpot theories about Tamizh-Sumerian connection. Often many of these are those who themselves can't read any Sangam text.

I think its important that all Hindus know their regional language well, Sanskrit, Old Tamizh at least (to read and understand the Sangam texts) and also English for the jobs that demand it.
I think that a precursor to the familiar avatAra concept was there is some form even amongst the Proto-Indoeuropeans. Or in the least it was there in the ancestor of all IE peoples after the branching off of Hittite. In the Greek world we see it as Herakles or Dionysus born of a deity on Earth and performing deeds similar to the gods on earth. This is closely paralleled by the "avatAra-s" of the mahAbhArata and rAmAyaNa like the pANDava and the vAnara-s. rAmachandra of the rAmAyaNa is seen as some kind of projection of the vR^itra-killing indra on earth, in a similar vein to the hero Herakles. In the avesta we have the 10 incarnations of verethraghna, some of which overlap with those of viShNu. In the Germanic world too we see the projection of the twin ashvin-like deities Horsa and Hengst as the Haddings who were founders of early northern Germanic dynasties. So we might say that these kinds of "avatAra-s" as indicating divine descent existed in the PIE world (see vedic term ardha-deva used to describe early ikShvAku king trasadasyu). Later with the rise of early vaikhAnasa and pA~ncharAtra vaiShNava traditions and the lAkulIsha shaiva tradition we saw the more familiar avatAra system take root. In fact in the core rAmAyaNa and mahAbhArata it is still not yet there.

One of the reasons why I do not participate much in the AIT etc threads on this forum is comparable to those outlined by K. Elst. I think there is much lack of clarity or insufficient effort at studying the sources by a subset of people getting excited about bashing the AIT straw man.
HH Post ^ more important

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Dear XXX,

It is because I have largely identified with the Hindu cause that I
think I can permit myself the freedom to speak of "Hindu polmeicists"
and disparage their idiosyncrasies a bit. They are right to question
the AIT, and therefore I am right in criticizing them for making the
anti-AIT position look ridiculous with their smug counterscientific
claims and their logical fallacies.

When you read in their posts things like "therefore...", "so now you
can't deny anymore...", "thus it is totally evident that...", "only a
fool can still deny...", or "this proves", you'd better reach for
your gun, for chances are that a fallacy is coming. On lists
pertaining to Indian history, Hindu religion, the AIT debate or Vedic
astrology/calendar, you can find hundreds of examples.

The background problem is a deeply defective sense of historicity,
i.e. of the fact that things have a history, as opposed to being
eternal ideas parachuted from heaven and now forming immutable
cornerstones of our world-view. Thus, the MBh has a history. Between
its first inspiration and its final edition, many centuries elapsed,
fifteen or so. Social and religious developments from the intervening
centuries found the place in the final version but stand out as
anachronisms when you read it as an account of the original events
inspiring the epic. There is nothing particularly anti-Hindu about
stating this, it merely extends to the Hindu world a phenomenon in
evidence everywhere else. Thus, in medieval paintings showing scenes
form the Gospel, we see Jesus and his audience in medieval-European
buildings wearing medieval-European clothes. Likewise, the final
editor of the MBh brought his story closer to his audience by
marginally including the Yavanas and other contemporaneous ethnic
groups of whom Krishna had never heard. Sometimes the anachronism was
deliberate and motivated, e.g. the insertion of the brutally casteist
Shambuka story at the end of the Ramayana, reflecting caste relations
of the editor's own time, totally unattested in the Ramayana core

Sometimes there is no anachronism but later readers created it by
taking a title too literally: the Manu Smrti is an unabashed account
of the sociology of Hindu society in the beginning of the Christian
age. there is no attempt to make it look mre ancient,-- except for
the name "Manu Smrti" implying the claim that the "laws" laid down in
the text date back to the ancient patriarch Manu. It is unclear how
literal anyone took that claim at the time of its editing. But the
sad fact is that list members do argue in all seriousness that the
Manu Smrti was literally composed by that Manu "long before the MBh
war". Applying the Puranic dynastic lists, which put the Vedic kings
well after Manu (actually as his descendents), they should have to
add that Manu lived "long before the Vedas", but there the logic is
overruled by another Hindu but non-Vedic belief, viz. that the Vedas
are as old as the universe. On that point, if only they'd read
scripture literally! Then they'd know that the Vedic huymns are self-
described human composition, set in space and time and addressed to
(as against dictated by) the gods. There, many Hindus sovereignly
overrule the testimony of their divine scriptures to follow a crassly
irrational notion of a scripture given at the time of creation.

Hindus do their own cherished historical theses, such as the Aryan
non-invasion, great harm by sticking to pre-critical attitudes such
as the literalist reading of scriptures. And I am not asking for a
total overhaul of anything, just read your own writings to notice the
contradictions. Thus, on the HinduCalendar, I see people attempt
to discuss astronomical facts and then interrupt theis scientific
effort with considerations of the Puranic yugas, uncritically
adopting the fairly late interpretation of yuga as being 432,000
years long (or something of that magnitude), an obviously unlikely
and certainly non-astronomical unit. The combination of pretending to
do science and yet sticking to a literal reading of scripture is
often quite comical. And that's the only thing that outsiders
remember after reading it: those Hindus are funny!

So, i think I am really doing Hindus a friend's service by breaking
ranks with the Hindutva society of self-praise.

As for those dinosaurs. I was interviewed last week by a young local
journalist, and some of his questions amounted to an insistent
comparison between Hindu and Protestant "fundamentalists", such as
what they think about abortion, about euthanasia, stem-cell research
etc., and of course about creationism. Some time ago, some Hindu
polemicists alleged that the AIT amounted to creationism and that
atheist Steve Farmer was a Biblical literalist and creationist. In
fact, their own rejection of IE linguistics amounted to a form of
creationism: just as Christian creationists reject the deduction of
dinosaurs from the existence of dinosaur bones, they reject the
deduction of a PIE language from the existence (now or in the known
past) of its daughter-languages.

But let us stick to the topic of creationism in its literal sense,
popular among Protestants and Muslims. Hindus usually pride
themselves on never having had a problem with evolution
theory: "Isn't the series of Vishnu's incarnation a preview of
evolution theory?" Yet, there is a kind of Hindu creation, though it
doesn't lock the world up in a narrow Biblical time-span of six
thousand years, preferring the Puranic mega-million-cycles instead.
Among Hare Krishnas, at least, I find a lot of rejection of
evolution, not in the sense of rejecting the dinosaurs, but in the
sense (after Michael Cremo: Forbidden Archaeology) of rejecting that
humans are descendents of, and later than, monkeys and dinosaurs. In
comic-strips you get to see humans co-existing with dinosaurs; those
Hindus take this literally.

Now, this is a peculiar belief of one Hindu sect, but it feeds upon
an attitude thart is far more widespread among Hindus, viz. a very
defective grasp of historicity. It's an important topic to which we
shall certainly return.

Kind regards,


<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->> . What is the root of Aryan?
> • What is the meaning of Aryan?

In the 19th century, it was thought that Arya was the common
denomination of all Indo-Europeans for themselves collectively,
i.e. "Indo-European". In this view, the Indians, Iranians and Irish
narrowed the meaning down to only their own tribe once they had lost
touch with the other Indo-Europeans and used it to distinguish
themselves from the non-Indo-Europeans they encountered. This view
was abondoned when the word only held up in Indo-Iranian and other
etymologies were found for "Eire" (Ireland) and also for another word
that had provisionally been linked to it, viz. German "Ehre"
(honour), which is a rhotacism from *aiz-, related to
Latin "aestimare", whence English "esteem".

This left the question of the ultimate etymology of "arya" wide open,
and various explanations started competing: (1) "agriculture",
cfr. "ar-able (land)", whence metaphorically "culture"; (2) "acquire,
possess", as proposed by Indian Marxist RS Sharma; (3) "skillful"
cfr. Greek "aretè" (courage, virtue); and (4) "kind to
others", "hospitable", "host", "owner of this land", causative
from "alios" (other); (5) linked with "rta" (order); and a few more.
But the mature meaning found in Veda and Avesta was limited to those,
not found in any other IE language.

However, it was later found that there is a cognate with the same
meaning in the Anatolian branch: Hittite "ara" (member of one's own
group, peer, friend), and Lycian "arus" (citizen). Old Irish "aire"
(freeman, i.e. non-slave, full tribe member) seems to fit the same
semantic cluster. So, a PIE form has been reconstructed (p.266,
Mallory & Adams: Oxford Introduction to PIE and the PIE World)
as "*h4eros" meaning "member of one's own group", which is exactly
the meaning it had for the Vedic Pauravas and for the Avestan

Maybe there remains something deeper and older to investigate here,
but I think this insight, that "arya" does have an ethnic meaning
after all, does help this debate forwards.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->> From Shrikant Taalagiris work , RigVedic History, it seems that it
> is only Pururavas who call themselves "Arya" and no one else. In the
> same way it is Persians who call themselves Arya, and none else. It
> seems that calling "Arya" implied to be some one having desirable
> attributes. And that may be why both the "Pururavas" and the
> Persians used this name only to themselves or may be occasionaly to
> some one who they really liked.

No, not even someone they liked. They kept the term "Arya" exclusively
for themselves, including fellow tribesmen whom they did not like (e.g.
traitors) and excluding foreigners they did like (e.g. military alllies
like Mandhatr). Only when non-Pauravas massively adopted thev Paurava
Vedic culture as their cultural standard did the meaning shift from
ethnic Paurava to cultural Vedic.

<b>Questioning the Aryan Invasion Theory and Revising Ancient Indian History1

Klaus Klostermaier

NB. The footnotes for this article are linked to a separate footnote page.

Tacitus, the classical Roman writer, claimed to have described past events and personalities in his works sine ira et studio, free from hostility and bias. This motto has guided serious historians through the ages, and it became their highest ambition to write history 'objectively', distancing themselves from opinions held by interested parties.

The ideal was not always followed, as we know. We have seen twentieth century governments commissioning re-writings of the histories of their countries from the standpoint of their own ideologies. Like the court-chroniclers of former times, some contemporary academic historians wrote unashamedly biased accounts of events and redesigned the past accordingly.

When, in the wake of World War II the nations of Asia and Africa gained independence, their intellectuals became aware of the fact that their histories had been written by representatives of the colonial powers which they had opposed. More often than not they discovered that all traditional accounts of their own past had been brushed aside by the 'official' historians as so much myth and fairytale. Often lacking their own academically trained historians-or worse, only possessing native historians who had taken over the views of the colonial masters-the discontent with existing histories of their countries expressed itself often in vernacular works that lacked the academic credentials necessary to make an impact on professional historians.

The situation is slowly changing. A new generation of scholars who grew up in post-colonial times and who do not share the former biases, scholars in command of the tools of the trade-intimacy with the languages involved, familiarity with the culture of their countries, respect for the indigenous traditions-are rewriting the histories of their countries.

Nowhere is this more evident than in India. India had a tradition of learning and scholarship much older and vaster than the European countries that, from the sixteenth century onwards, became its political masters. Indian scholars are rewriting the history of India today.

The Aryan Invasion Theory and the Old Chronology
One of the major points of revision concerns the so called 'Aryan invasion theory', often referred to as 'colonial-missionary', implying that it was the brainchild of conquerors of foreign colonies who could not but imagine that all higher culture had to come from outside 'backward' India, and who likewise assumed that a religion could only spread through a politically supported missionary effort.

While not buying into the more sinister version of this revision, which accuses the inventors of the Aryan invasion theory of malice and cynicism, there is no doubt that early European attempts to explain the presence of Indians in India had much to with the commonly held Biblical belief that humankind originated from one pair of humans- Adam and Eve to be precise (their common birth date was believed to be c.4005 BCE)-and that all peoples on earth descended from one of the sons of Noah, the only human to survive the Great Flood (dated at 2500 BCE). The only problem seemed to be to connect peoples not mentioned in Chapter 10 of Genesis ['The Peopling of the Earth'] with one of the Biblical genealogical lists.

One such example of a Christian historian attempting to explain the presence of Indians in India is the famous Abbé Dubois (1770-1848), whose long sojourn in India (1792-1823) enabled him to collect a large amount of interesting materials concerning the customs and traditions of the Hindus. His (French) manuscript was bought by the British East India Company and appeared in an English translation under the title Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies in 1897 with a Prefatory Note by the Right Hon. F. Max Müller.2 Abbé Dubois, loath 'to oppose [his] conjectures to [the Indians'] absurd fables' categorically stated:

It is practically admitted that India was inhabited very soon after the Deluge, which made a desert of the whole world. The fact that it was so close to the plains of Sennaar, where Noah's descendants remained stationary so long, as well as its good climate and the fertility of the country, soon led to its settlement.

Rejecting other scholars' opinions which linked the Indians to Egyptian or Arabic origins, he ventured to suggest them 'to be descendents not of Shem, as many argue, but of Japhet'. He explains: 'According to my theory they reached India from the north, and I should place the first abode of their ancestors in the neighbourhood of the Caucasus.'3 The reasons he provides to substantiate his theory are utterly unconvincing-but he goes on to build the rest of his migration theory (not yet an 'Aryan' migration theory) on this shaky foundation.

Max Müller (1823-1903), who was largely responsible for the 'Aryan invasion theory' and the 'old chronology', was too close in spirit and time to this kind of thinking, not to have adopted it fairly unquestioningly. In his Prefatory Note he praises the work of Abbé Dubois as a 'trustworthy authority. . .which will always retain its value.'

That a great deal of early British Indology was motivated by Christian missionary considerations, is no secret. The famous and important Boden Chair for Sanskrit at the University of Oxford was founded by Colonel Boden in 1811 with the explicit object 'to promote the translation of the Scriptures into Sanskrit, so as to enable his countrymen to proceed in the conversion of the natives of India to the Christian Religion'.4 Max Müller, in a letter to his wife wrote in 1886: '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 3 000 years.'5

When the affinity between many European languages and Sanskrit became a commonly accepted notion, scholars almost automatically concluded that the Sanskrit speaking ancestors of the present day Indians were to be found somewhere halfway between India and the Western borders of Europe-Northern Germany, Scandinavia, Southern Russia, the Pamir-from which they invaded the Punjab. (It is also worth noting that the early armchair scholars who conceived these grandiose migration theories, had no actual knowledge of the terrain their 'Aryan invaders' were supposed to have transversed, the passes they were supposed to have crossed, or the various climates they were believed to have been living in). Assuming that the Vedic Indians were semi-nomadic warriors and cattle-breeders, it fitted the picture, when Mohenjo Daro and Harappa were discovered, to also assume that these were the cities the Aryan invaders destroyed under the leadership of their god Indra, the 'city-destroyer', and that the dark-skinned indigenous people were the ones on whom they imposed their religion and their caste system.

Western scholars decided to apply their own methodologies and, in the absence of reliable evidence, postulated a timeframe for Indian history on the basis of conjectures. Considering the traditional dates for the life of Gautama, the Buddha, as fairly well established in the sixth century BCE, supposedly pre-Buddhist Indian records were placed in a sequence that seemed plausible to philologists. Accepting on linguistic grounds the traditional claims that the Rigveda was the oldest Indian literary document, Max Müller allowing a time-span of two hundred years each for the formation of every class of Vedic literature, and assuming that the Vedic period had come to an end by the time of the Buddha, established the following sequence that was widely accepted:

Rigveda c. 1200 BCE
Yajurveda,Samaveda,Atharvaveda, c. 1000 BCE
Brahmanas, c. 800 BCE
Aranyakas,Upanishads, c. 600 BCE

Max Müller himself conceded the purely conjectural nature of the Vedic chronology, and in the last work published shortly before his death, The Six Systems of Indian Philosophy, admitted: 'Whatever may be the date of the Vedic hymns, whether 1500 or 15 000 BCE, they have their own unique place and stand by themselves in the literature of the world' (p.35). There were, even in Max Müller's time, Western and Indian scholars, such as Moriz Winternitz and Bal Gangadhar Tilak, who disagreed with his chronology and postulated a much higher age for the Rigveda.

Indian scholars pointed out all along that there was no reference in the Veda of a migration from outside India, that all the geographical features mentioned in the Rigveda are those of north-western India and that there was no archaeological evidence whatsoever for the Aryan invasion theory. On the other side there were references to constellations in Vedic works whose timeframe could be calculated. The dates arrived at, however, 4500 BCE for one observation in the Rigveda, 3200 BCE for a date in the Shatapatha Brahmana, seemed far too remote to be acceptable, especially if one assumed-as many nineteenth century scholars did, that the world was only about 6 000 years old and that the flood had taken place only 4 500 years ago.

Debunking the Aryan Invasion Theory: The New Chronology
Contemporary Indian scholars, admittedly motivated not only by academic interests, vehemently reject what they call the 'colonial-missionary Aryan invasion theory'. They accuse its originators of superimposing-for a reason-the purpose and process of the colonial conquest of India by the Western powers in modern times onto the beginnings of Indian civilisation: as the Europeans came to India as bearers of a supposedly superior civilisation and a higher religion, so the original Aryans were assumed to have invaded a country on which they imposed their culture and their religion.

A recent major work offers 'seventeen arguments: why the Aryan invasion never happened'.6 It may be worthwhile summarising and analysing them briefly:

1. The Aryan invasion model is largely based on linguistic conjectures which are unjustified (and wrong). Languages develop much more slowly than assumed by nineteenth century scholars. According to Renfrew speakers of Indo-European languages may have lived in Anatolia as early as 7000 BCE
2. The supposed large-scale migrations of Aryan people in the second millennium BCE first into Western Asia and then into northern India (by 1500 BCE) cannot be maintained in view of the fact that the Hittites were in Anatolia already by 2200 BCE and the Kassites and Mitanni had kings and dynasties by 1600 BCE
3. There is no memory of an invasion or of large-scale migration in the records of Ancient India-neither in the Vedas, Buddhist or Jain writings, nor in Tamil literature. The fauna and flora, the geography and the climate described in the Rigveda are that of Northern India.
4. There is a striking cultural continuity between the archaeological artefacts of the Indus-Saraswati civilisation and subsequent Indian society and culture: a continuity of religious ideas, arts, crafts, architecture, system of weights and measures.
5. The archaeological finds of Mehrgarh (copper, cattle, barley) reveal a culture similar to that of the Vedic Indians. Contrary to former interpretations, the Rigveda shows not a nomadic but an urban culture (purusa as derived from pur vasa = town-dweller).
6. The Aryan invasion theory was based on the assumption that a nomadic people in possession of horses and chariots defeated an urban civilisation that did not know horses, and that horses are depicted only from the middle of the second millennium onwards. Meanwhile archaeological evidence for horses has been found in Harappan and pre-Harappan sites; drawings of horses have been found in paleolithic caves in India; drawings of riders on horses dated c. 4300 BCE have been found in Ukraina. Horsedrawn war chariots are not typical for nomadic breeders but for urban civilisations.
7. The racial diversity found in skeletons in the cities of the Indus civilisation is the same as in India today; there is no evidence of the coming of a new race.
8. The Rigveda describes a river system in North India that is pre-1900 BCE in the case of the Saraswati river, and pre-2600 BCE in the case of the Drishadvati river. Vedic literature shows a population shift from the Saraswati (Rigveda) to the Ganges (Brahmanas and Puranas), also evidenced by archaeological finds.
9. The astronomical references in the Rigveda are based on a Pleiades-Krittika (Taurean) calendar of c. 2500 BCE when Vedic astronomy and mathematics were well-developed sciences (again, not a feature of a nomadic people).
10. The Indus cities were not destroyed by invaders but deserted by their inhabitants because of desertification of the area. Strabo (Geography XV.1.19) reports that Aristobulos had seen thousands of villages and towns deserted because the Indus had changed its course.
11. The battles described in the Rigveda were not fought between invaders and natives but between people belonging to the same culture.
12. Excavations in Dwaraka have lead to the discovery of a site larger than Mohenjodaro, dated c. 1500 BCE with architectural structures, use of iron, a script halfway between Harappan and Brahmi. Dwarka has been associated with Krishna and the end of the Vedic period.
13. A continuity in the morphology of scripts: Harappan, Brahmi, Devanagari.
14. Vedic ayas, formerly translated as 'iron,' probably meant copper or bronze. Iron was found in India before 1500 BCE in Kashmir and Dwaraka.
15. The Puranic dynastic lists with over 120 kings in one Vedic dynasty alone, fit well into the 'new chronology'. They date back to the third millennium BCE Greek accounts tell of Indian royal lists going back to the seventh millennium BCE.
16. The Rigveda itself shows an advanced and sophisticated culture, the product of a long development, 'a civilisation that could not have been delivered to India on horseback' (p.160).
17. Painted Gray Ware culture in the western Gangetic plains, dated ca 1100 BCE has been found connected to (earlier) Black and Red Ware etc.

Let us consider some of these arguments in some detail. As often remarked, there is no hint in the Veda of a migration of the people that considered it its own sacred tradition. It would be strange indeed if the Vedic Indians had lost all recollection of such a momentous event in supposedly relatively recent times- much more recent, for instance, than the migration of Abraham and his people which is well attested and frequently referred to in the Bible. In addition, as has been established recently through satellite photography and geological investigations, the Saraswati, the mightiest river known to the Rigvedic Indians, along whose banks they established numerous major settlements, had dried out completely by 1900 BCE-four centuries before the Aryans were supposed to have invaded India. One can hardly argue for the establishment of Aryan villages along a dry river bed.

When the first remnants of the ruins of the so-called Indus civilisation came to light in the early part of our century, the proponents of the Aryan invasion theory believed they had found the missing archaeological evidence: here were the 'mighty forts' and the 'great cities' which the war-like Indra of the Rigveda was said to have conquered and destroyed. Then it emerged that nobody had destroyed these cities and no evidence of wars of conquest came to light: floods and droughts had made it impossible to sustain large populations in the area and the people of Mohenjo Daro, Harappa and other places had migrated to more hospitable areas. Ongoing archaeological research has not only extended the area of the Indus-civilisation but has also shown a transition of its later phases to the Gangetic culture. Archeo-geographers have established that a drought lasting two to three hundred years devastated a wide belt of land from Anatolia through Mesopotamia to Northern India around 2300 BCE to 2000 BCE.

Based on this type of evidence and extrapolating from the Vedic texts, a new story of the origins of Hinduism is emerging that reflects the self-consciousness of Hindus and which attempts to replace the 'colonial-missionary Aryan invasion theory' by a vision of 'India as the Cradle of Civilisation.' This new theory considers the Indus-civilisation as a late Vedic phenomenon and pushes the (inner-Indian) beginnings of the Vedic age back by several thousands of years. One of the reasons for considering the Indus civilisation 'Vedic' is the evidence of town-planning and architectural design that required a fairly advanced algebraic geometry-of the type preserved in the Vedic Shulvasutras. The widely respected historian of mathematics A. Seidenberg came to the conclusion, after studying the geometry used in building the Egyptian pyramids and the Mesopotamian citadels, that it reflected a derivative geometry-a geometry derived from the Vedic Shulva-sutras. If that is so, then the knowledge ('Veda') on which the construction of Harappa and Mohenjo Daro is based, cannot be later than that civilisation itself.7

While the Rigveda has always been held to be the oldest literary document of India and was considered to have preserved the oldest form of Sanskrit, Indians have not taken it to be the source for their early history. The Itihasa-Purana served that purpose. The language of these works is more recent than that of the Vedas and the time of their final redaction is much later than the fixation of the Vedic canon. However, they contain detailed information about ancient events and personalities that form part of Indian history. The Ancients, like Herodotus, the father of Greek histo-riography, did not separate story from history. Nor did they question their sources but tended to juxtapose various pieces of evidence without critically sifting it. Thus we cannot read Itihasa-Purana as the equivalent of a modern textbook of Indian history but rather as a storybook containing information with interpretation, facts and fiction. Indians, however, always took genealogies quite seriously and we can presume that the Puranic lists of dynasties, like the lists of paramparas in the Upanishads relate the names of real rulers in the correct sequence. On these assumptions we can tentatively reconstruct Indian history to a time around 4500 BCE.

A key element in the revision of Ancient Indian History was the recent discovery of Mehrgarh, a settlement in the Hindukush area, that was continuously inhabited for several thousand years from c. 7000 BCE onwards. This discovery has extended Indian history for several thousands of years before the fairly well dateable Indus civilisation.8

New Chronologies
Pulling together available archaeological evidence as it is available today, the American anthropologist James G. Schaffer developed the following chronology of early Indian civilisation:

1. Early food-producing era (c. 6500-5000 BCE): no pottery.
2. Regionalisation era (5000-2600 BCE): distinct regional styles of pottery and other artefacts.
3. Integration era (2600-1900 BCE) : cultural homogeneity and emergence of urban centres like Mohenjo daro and Harappa.
4. Localisation era (1900-1300 BCE ) blending of patterns from the integration era with regional ceramic styles.

The Indian archaeologist S.P. Gupta proposed this cultural sequencing:

1. Pre-ceramic Neolithic (8000-600 BCE)
2. Ceramic Neolithic (6000-5000 BCE)
3. Chalcolithic (5000-3000 BCE )
4. Early Bronze Age (3000-1900 BCE)
5. Late Bronze Age ( 1900-1200 BCE)
6. Early Iron Age (1200-800 BCE)
7. Late Iron cultures

According to these specialists, there is no break in the cultural development from 8000 BCE onwards, no indication of a major change, as an invasion from outside would certainly be.

A more detailed 'New Chronology' of Ancient India, locating names of kings and tribes mentioned in the Vedas and Puranas, according to Rajarama9 looks somewhat like this:

4500 BCE: Mandhatri's victory over the Drohyus, alluded to in the Puranas.
4000 BCE Rigveda (excepting books 1 and 10)
3700 BCE Battle of Ten Kings (referred to in the Rigveda) Beginning of Puranic dynastic lists: Agastya, the messenger of Vedic religion in the Dravida country. Vasistha, his younger brother, author of Vedic works. Rama and Ramayana.
3600 BCEYajur-, Sama-, Atharvaveda: Completion of Vedic Canon.
3100 BCE Age of Krishna and Vyasa. Mahabharata War. Early Mahabharata.
3000 BCEShatapathabrahmana, Shulvasutras, Yajnavalkyasutra, Panini, author of the Ashtadhyayi, Yaska, author of the Nirukta.
2900 BCE Rise of the civilisations of Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and the Indus-Sarasvati doab.
2200 BCE beginning of large-scale drought: decline of Harappa.
2000 BCE End of Vedic age.
1900 BCE Saraswati completely dried out: end of Harappa.

Texts like the Rigveda, the Shatapathabrahmana and others contain references to eclipses as well as to sidereal markers of the beginning of seasons, which allow us by backward calculation, to determine the time of their composition. Experts assure us that to falsify these dates would have been impossible before the computer age.

Old verses new? Or scientists verses philologists?
We are left, at present, with two widely differing versions of Ancient Indian History, with two radically divergent sets of chronology and with a great deal of polemic from both sides. Those who defend the Aryan invasion theory and the chronology associated with it accuse the proponents of the 'New Chronology' of indulging in Hindu chauvinism. The latter suspect the former of entertaining 'colonial-missionary' prejudices and denying originality to the indigenous Indians. The new element that has entered the debate is scientific investigations. While the older theory rested on exclusively philological arguments, the new theory includes astronomical, geological, mathematical and archaeological evidence. On the whole, the latter seems to rest on better foundations. Not only were the philological arguments from the very beginning based more on strong assertions and bold guesses, civilisations both ancient and contemporary comprise more than literature alone. In addition, purely philologically trained scholars-namely grammarians-are not able to make sense of technical language and of scientific information contained even in the texts they study.

Consider today's scientific literature. It abounds with Greek and Latin technical terms, it contains an abundance of formulae composed of Greek and Hebrew letters. If scholars with a background in the classical languages were to read such works, they might be able to come up with some acceptable translations of technical terms into modern English but they would hardly be able to really make sense of most of what they read and they certainly would not extract the information which the authors of these works wished to convey to people trained in their specialities. The situation is not too different with regard to ancient Indian texts. The admission of some of the best scholars (like Geldner, who in his translation of the Rigveda, considered the best so far, declares many passages 'darker than the darkest oracle' or Gonda, who considered the Rigveda basically untranslatable) of being unable to make sense of a great many texts-and the refusal of most to go beyond a grammatical and etymological analysis of these-indicates a deeper problem. The Ancients were not only poets and litterateurs, but they also had their sciences and their technical skills, their secrets and their conventions that are not self-evident to someone not sharing their world. Some progress has been made in deciphering medical and astronomical literature of a later age, in reading architectural and arts-related materials. However, much of the technical meaning of the oldest Vedic literature still eludes us.

The Rigveda-a code?
The computer scientist and Indologist Subhash Kak believes he has rediscovered the 'Vedic Code' which allows him to extract from the structure, as well as the words and sentences of the Rigveda, and the considerable astronomical information which its authors supposedly embedded in it.10 The assumption of such encoded scientific knowledge would make it understandable why there was such insistence on the preservation of every letter of the text in precisely the sequence the original author had set down. One can take certain liberties with a story, or even a poem, changing words, transposing lines, adding explanatory matter, shortening it, if necessary, and still communicate the intentions and ideas of the author. However, one has to remember and reproduce a scientific formula in precisely the same way it has been set down by the scientist or it would not make sense at all. While the scientific community can arbitrarily adopt certain letter equivalents for physical units or processes, once it has agreed on their use, one must obey the conventions for the sake of meaningful communication.

Even a non-specialist reader of ancient Indian literature will notice the effort to link macrocosm and microcosm, astronomical and physiological processes, to find correspondences between the various realms of beings and to order the universe by establishing broad classifications. Vedic sacrifices-the central act of Vedic culture- were to be offered on precisely built geometrically constructed altars and to be performed at astronomically exactly established times. It sounds plausible to expect a correlation between the numbers of bricks prescribed for a particular altar and the distances between stars observed whose movement determined the time of the offerings to be made. Subhash Kak has advanced a great deal of fascinating detail in that connection in his essays on the 'Astronomy of the Vedic Altar'. He believes that while the Vedic Indians possessed extensive astronomical knowledge, which they encoded in the text of the Rigveda, the code was lost in later times and the Vedic tradition was interrupted.11

India, the cradle of (world-) civilisation?
Based on the early dating of the Rigveda (c. 4000 BCE) and on the strength of the argument that Vedic astronomy and geometry predates that of the other known Ancient civilisations, some scholars, like N.S. Rajaram, George Feuerstein, Subhash Kak and David Frawley, have made the daring suggestion that India was the 'cradle of civilisation'. They link the recently discovered early European civilisation (which predates Ancient Sumeria and Ancient Egypt by over a millennium) to waves of populations moving out or driven out from north-west India. Later migrations, caused either by climatic changes or by military events, would have brought the Hittites to Western Asia, the Iranians to Afghanistan and Iran and many others to other parts of Eurasia. Such a scenario would require a complete rewriting of Ancient World History-especially if we add the claims, apparently substantiated by some material evidence, that Vedic Indians had established trade links with Central America and Eastern Africa before 2500 BCE. It is no wonder that the 'New Chronology' arouses not only scholarly controversy but emotional excitement as well. Much more hard evidence will be required to fully establish it, and many claims may have to be withdrawn. But there is no doubt that the 'old chronology' has been discredited and that much surprise is in store for the students not only of Ancient India, but also of the Ancient World as a whole.

Sorting out the questions:
The 'Revision of Ancient Indian History' responds to several separate, but interlocking questions that are often confused.

1. The (emotionally) most important question is that of the original home of Vedic civilisation, identified with the question: where was the (Rig-)Veda composed? India's indigenous answer to that question had always been 'India', more precisely 'the Punjab'. The European, 'colonial missionary' assumption, was 'outside India'.
2. The next question, not often explicitly asked, is: where did the pre-Vedic people, the 'Aryans' come from? This is a problem for archeo-anthropologists rather than for historians. The racial history of India shows influences from many quarters.
3. A related, but separate question concerns the 'cradle of civilisation', to which several ancient cultures have laid claim: Sumeria, Egypt, India (possibly also China could be mentioned, which considered itself for a long time the only truly civilised country). Depending on what answer we receive, the major expansion of population/civilisation would be from west to east, or from east to west. The famous lux ex oriente has often been applied to the spread of culture in the ancient world. India was as far as the 'Orient' would go.
4. It is rather strange that the defenders of the 'Aryan invasion theory', who have neither archaeological nor literary documents to prove their assumption, demand detailed proof for the non-invasion and refuse to admit the evidence available. Similarly, they feel entitled to declare 'mythical' whatever the sources (Rigveda, Puranas) say that does not agree with their preconceived notions of Vedic India.

Some conclusions:
If I were to judge the strength of the arguments for revising Ancient Indian History in the direction of 'India as Cradle of Civilisation' I would rate Seidenberg's findings concerning the Shulvasutra geometry (applied in the Indus civilisation; Babylonian and Egyptian geometry derivative to it) highest. Next would be the archeo-astronomical determination of astronomical data in Vedic and post-Vedic texts. Third is the satellite photography based dating of the drying out of the Saraswati and the archeo-geographical finding of a centuries long drought in the belt reaching from Anatolia through Mesopotamia and Northern India. Geological research has uncovered major tectonic changes in the Punjab and the foothills of the Himalayas. At one point a section rose about sixty metres within the past 2 000 years.

'Vasishta's Head', a bronze head found near Delhi, was dated through radio-carbon testing to around 3700 BCE- the time when, according to Hicks and Anderson, the Battle of the Ten Kings took place (Vasishta, mentioned in the Rigveda, was the advisor to King Sudas). A further factor speaking for the 'Vedic' character of the Indus civilisation is the occurrence of (Vedic) altars in many sites. Fairly important is also the absence of a memory of a migration from outside India in all of ancient Indian literature: the Veda, the Brahmanas, the Epics and the Puranas. Granting that the Vedic Samhitas were ritual manuals rather than historic records, further progress in revising Ancient Indian History could be expected from a study of Itihasa-Purana, rather than from an analysis of the Rigveda (by way of parallel, what kind of reconstruction of Ancient Israel's History could be done on the basis of a study of the Psalms, leaving out Genesis and Kings? Or what reconstruction of European History could be based on a study of the earliest Rituale Romanum?)

An afterword:
Hinduism today is not just a development of Vedic religion and culture but a synthesis of many diverse elements. There is no doubt a Vedic basis. It is evident in the caste-structure of Hindu society, in the rituals which almost every Hindu still undergoes (especially initiation, marriage and last rites), in traditional notions of ritual purity and pollution, and in the respect which the Veda still commands. There is a large area of Hindu worship and religious practice for which the Veda provides little or no basis: temple-building, image worship, pilgrimages, vows and prayers to gods and goddesses not mentioned in the Veda, beliefs like transmigration, world-pictures containing numerous heavens and hells and much more which appear to have been taken over from non-Vedic indigenous cultures. There have been historic developments that led to the developments of numerous schools of thought, sects and communities differing from each other in scriptures, interpretations, customs, beliefs.

Apart from its Vedic origins Hinduism was never one in either administration, doctrine or practice. It does not possess a commonly accepted authority, does not have a single centre and does not have a common history. Unlike the histories of other religions, which rely on one founder and one scripture, the history of Hinduism is a bundle of parallel histories of traditions that were loosely defined from the very beginning, that went through a number of fissions and fusions, and that do not feel any need to seek their identity in conforming to a specific historic realisation. While incredibly conservative in some of its expressions, Hinduism is very open to change and development under the influence of charismatic personalities. From early times great latitude was given to Hindus to interpret their traditional scriptures in a great many different ways. The ease with which Hindus have always identified persons that impressed them with manifestations of God has led to many parallel traditions within Hinduism, making it impossible to chronicle a development of Hinduism along one line. The presentation of a history of Hinduism will be a record of several mainstream Hindu traditions that developed along individual lines; only very rarely do these lines meet in conflict or merge to generate new branches of the still vigorously growing banyan tree to which Hinduism has been often compared.

Back to Vol. 6, No. 1 Contents

<b>The Indus is not Aryan</b>
The idea that the Aryans are an indigenous lot is absurd as the theory that the Indus is Aryan. It is all plain for everyone to see despite the hundreds of books , articles and internet reports, that the Aryans are an intrusive people into India.
For sometime now I have been reading several articles of the case for and against AIT/AMT versus OIT. Although the Indian historians and certain archaeologists have more or less proven that there was no invasion per se of India, by Indo-Aryans , the fact still remain that India was and still is occupied by the descendants of the Vedic Aryans whose culture and history make up what is India today and including those from the Indus civilization.</b> A detailed reading and study of the various opinions by those historians and archaeologists on this website, especially from India still maintain and doubt that the horse and chariot came from outside the country and who insist that horses and chariots are indigenous to the land. I have perceived that there are three major points which mostly the Indian historians are stubbornly refusing to concede and that is :

(A) They continue to hang on to the dead theory that the Indus
civilization is Aryan and indigenous.

(B) Despite the mountain of official documented and textual
evidence from various sources eg: Andronovan proven Indo-
Iranian sites, evidence from the Vedas itself, lack of evidence of
horses and chariots in ancient India before the advent of the
Aryans etc, Indian officials and historians still attempt to castigate
the authors and doubt the veracity of the documented and
archaeological evidence.

© The clear absence of archaeological and attestation of horse trade
between the Indus Civilization and its neighbors in the time period
of supposed finds of horse remains.

We begin from the beginning by placing the Aryans outside of India rather than being an indigenous people living thousands of years in India as so many Indian scholars believe. It is a fact that the Avesta places a home for the Aryans who sojourned outside India, which they called Airyana Vaejah or Aryan Homeland. The Aryans came through the Northwest of what is now today the state of Pakistan. That old natural pass called the Khyber. This same pass was used by different conquerors to conquer India in later times. This is a northwest route , not an east or west or south route and you can see from the geographical map where the Aryans forded and settled for a time calling it the Saptasindhu of which Five Rivers of the area were Shutudri called the Sutlej, the Vipasha or Vipash now called the Beas, the Parushini now called the Ravi, the Vitasta now called the Jhelum. Two main rivers were added called the Indus or Sindhu and the Sarasvati making it the Seven Rivers. The following points shows why the Aryans are intruders to India.

a) Despite, the writings and articles of Indian historians, archaeologists and Internet writers, these are the only rivers other than the Ganga and Yamuna mentioned in the Vedas. If the Aryans were indigenous people, why didn’t they mention the Kaveri, the Krishna, the Bhima, the Godavari, the Narmada, the Chambal and the others?

b) Why didn’t they mention all the other civilizations such as the Indus, and those of Southern India etc?

c) Some may have noticed that the Vedas descriptions of their life and society only is confined to the northwest of India. There is no mention of areas of Bengal, Tamil Nadu or Maharastra and other areas.
d) Do the historical departments of India and other such cultural organizations have the names of the original rivers , because these are mostly Rigvedic names. If the Harappans occupied the Indus civilizations for so long, surely they must have names for these rivers.</b>

Comment by Neville Ramdeholl | March 20, 2007

This guy is talking like a illiterate
The Aryan-Dravidian Controversy
By David Frawley

The British ruled India, as they did other lands, by a divide-and-conquer strategy. They promoted religious, ethnic and cultural divisions among their colonies to keep them under control. Unfortunately some of these policies also entered into the intellectual realm. The same simplistic and divisive ideas were used for interpreting the culture and history of India. Regrettably many Hindus have come to believe these ideas, even though a deeper examination reveals they may have no real objective or scientific basis.

One of these ideas is that India is a land of two races - the lighter-skinned Aryans and the darker-skinned Dravidians - and that the Dravidians were the original inhabitants of India whom the invading Aryans conquered and dominated. From this came the additional idea that much of what we call Hindu culture was in fact Dravidian, and later borrowed by Aryans who, however, never gave the Dravidians proper credit for it. This idea has been used to turn the people of south India against the people of north India, as if the southerners were a different race.

Racial Theories
The Nineteenth century was the era of Europeans imperialism. Many Europeans did in fact believe that they belonged to a superior race and that their religion, Christianity, was a superior religion and all other religions were barbaric, particularly a religion like Hinduism which uses many idols. The Europeans felt that it was their duty to convert non-Christians, sometimes even if it required intimidation, force or bribery.

Europeans thinkers of the era were dominated by a racial theory of man, which was interpreted primarily in terms of color. They saw themselves as belonging to a superior ‘white’ or Caucasian race. They had enslaved the Negroid or ‘black’ race. As Hindus were also dark or ‘colored’, they were similarly deemed inferior. The British thus, not surprisingly, looked upon the culture of India in a similar way as having been a land of a light-skinned or Aryan race (the north Indians), ruling a dark or Dravidian race (the south Indians).

About this time in history the similarities betweeen Indo-European languages also became evident. Sanskrit and the languages of North India were found to be relatives of the languages of Europe, while the Dravidian languages of south India were found to be another language family. By the racial theory, Europeans natuarally felt that the original speakers of any root Indo-European language must have been ‘white’, as they were not prepared to recognize that their languages could have been derived from the darker-skinned Hindus. As all Hindus were dark compared to the Europeans, it was assumed that the original white Indo-European invadors of India must have been assimilated by the dark indigenous population, though they left their mark more on north India where people have a lighter complexion.

Though the Nazis later took this idea of a white Aryan superior race to its extreme of brutality, they did not invent the idea, nor were they the only ones to use it for purposes of exploitation. They took what was a common idea of nineteenth and early twentieth century Europe, which many other Europeans shared. They perverted this idea further, but the distortion of it was already the basis of much exploitation and misunderstanding.

Racial Interpretation of Vedas
Europeans Vedic interpreters used this same racial idea to explain the Vedas. The Vedas speak of a battle between light and darkness. This was turned into a war between light skinned Aryans and dark skinned Dravidians. Such so-called scholars did not bother to examine the fact that most religions and mythologies including those of the ancient American Indians, Egyptians, Greeks and Persians have the idea of such a battle between light and darkness (which is the symbolic conflict between truth and falsehood), but we do not interpret their statements racially. In short, the Europeans projected racism into the history of India, and accused the Hindus of the very racism that they themselves were using to dominate the Hindus.

European scholars also pointed out that caste in India was originally defined by color. Brahmins were said to be white, Kshatriyas red, Vaishyas yellow, and Shudras black. Hence the Brahmins were said to have been originally the white Aryans and the Dravidians the dark Shudras. However, what these colors refer to is the gunas or qualities of each class. White is the color of purity (sattvaguna), dark that of impurity (tamoguna), red the color of action (rajoguna), and yellow the color of trade (also rajoguna). To turn this into races is simplistic and incorrect. Where is the red race and where is the yellow race in India? And when have the Kshatriyas been a red race and the Vaishyas as yellow race?

The racial idea reached yet more ridiculous proportions. Vedic passages speaking of their enemies (mainly demons) as without nose (a-nasa), were interpreted as a racial slur against the snub-nosed Dravidians. Now Dravidians are not snub-nosed or low nosed people, as anyone can see by examining their facial features. And the Vedic demons are also described as footless (a-pada). Where is such a footless and noseless race and what does this have to do with the Dravidians? Moreover Vedic gods like Agni (fire) are described as footless and headless. Where are such headless and footless Aryans? Yet such ’scholar- ship’ can be found in prominent Western books on the history of India, some published in India and used in schools in India to the present day.

This idea was taken further and Hindu gods like Krishna, whose name means dark, or Shiva who is portrayed as dark, were said to have originally been Dravidian gods taken over by the invading Aryans (under the simplistic idea that Dravidians as dark-skinned people must have worshipped dark colored gods). Yet Krishna and Shiva are not black but dark blue. Where is such a dark blue race? Moreover the different Hindu gods, like the classes of Manu, have different colors relative to their qualities. Lakshmi is portrayed as pink, Saraswati as white, Kali as blue-black, or Yama, the God of death, as green. Where have such races been in India or elsewhere?

In a similar light, some scholars pointed out that Vedic gods like Savitar have golden hair and golden skin, thus showing blond and fair-skinned people living in ancient India. However, Savitar is a sun-god and sun-god are usually gold in color, as has been the case of the ancient Egyptian, Mayan, and Inca and other sun-gods. Who has a black or blue sun-god? This is from the simple fact that the sun has a golden color. What does this have to do with race? And why should it be racial statement in the Vedas but not elsewhere?



Vedic Culture?

Mr. David Frawley stated that the Indus Culture is a Vedic culture, but I think this is wrong. Vedic civilization according to the Vedas has the horse as the central point around which the culture existed. Without the horse, the Vedic people could not have reached India. Horse sacrifices would not have been possible, there would not have been a religious pantheon consisting of horses. If nothing else , the worshipping and grooming of horses was the central point of Aryan life as illustrated in other IE religion and culture in different parts of the world. Would Dr. Frawley kindly explain why Vedic astrology has the symbol of the horse and the Indus astrology do not have it?<b> The horse and chariot are so far the strongest symbols of Vedic civilization which distinguishes its difference from the indigenous Indus civilization, which he and others are trying to paint over as Vedic. This is absurd. However, others may not like it , there are TWO Indias, one fair and white skinned and the other dark skinned. If supposing for one moment, all the people of India are indigenous, then all of them should be dark skinned , being thousands of years exposed to the sun in a tropical climate. How come half is white skinned and the other is dark skinned? It surely seems that genetics have played a part in determining the skin color of the people of India as every country in the world. </b>There seems to have been an infusion of foreign genetics sometime in its past. According to the geneticist and anthropologist Spencer Wells, there has been in the past the influx of European genes into India and this has been traced to Southern Russia. I guess this is the stuff that proponents of ‘Aryan India’ like Dr. Frawley and others do not like to read or hear about.

Comment by Juven Bachan | June 19, 2008



Shantanu you nailed it spot on with your summation - there is actually no dichotomy between the so called Aryan or Dravidian civilisations which has become a pet topic for several self confessed historians.<b>
The more rabid and shriller the comment the more these historians shoot into limelight.
The focus seems to be the same. Run down and defame anything that might point to a glorious Hindu Rashtra in the past.
I am reminded of a docuumentary which i watched on BBC a couple of years back. It went on to say India was dominated by warrior tribes and uncivilised nomads who had no sense of culture or arts till the Mughal invasion. The documentary went on to add that the culture we have in India today is only because of the Mughal Invasion and without the Mughals India wudnt have had the Taj Mahal and we would have been a rotting landd of beggars and snake charmers.</b>
Such myopic versions of history might sound very worthy for people in the paylist of Saudi paymasters or Evangelical Historians based outside India. But anyone with a slight modicum of History Knowledge would not even stoop to reply to such fanciful assumptions, let alone credit it by indulging in a meaningful debate.
Maybe people in BBC thi9nk Taj Mahal is the only building of architectural value. But they fail to understand that the Brihadeeshwarar Temple of Tanjavoor and Chidambaram Natarajar Temple were built several hundreds of years before the mughal set foot on India and they still remain architectural marvels.

Nevilles biased historical assesment is yet another “politically correct” study which seems to know all about India and its past. The less said about his work thew better.

And given the fact how hostile people are to differing views on the Aryan Civilisation and its several facets, I think Shantanu has been more than accomodating regarding Nevilles viewpoint. If he feels he wudnt be contributing to this website because Shantanu called his bluff then the website would actually be better off.

We have read several concocted versions of Aryan history none of all can claim they are right and the others are wrong. Thats the funny part of history isnt it? Poeple want to beleive what they think is right.

Good job Shantanu and keep the good stuff rolling….

Comment by drsurya | April 29, 2007




Thanks for your reply. Until a few months ago I used to look at OIT (as against AIT) as an hindutva fantasy and was casually dismissive of the claims without going through the evidence. So when I looked at how claims were built and on both sides of the argument - I could not escape the fact that there was a lot of obfucscation, unsatisfactory evidence , shoddy scholariship , ideological pretense etc that was passing off for mainstream theory ie AIT, AMT etc. Stripping of the political positions of the OIT theorists - thier positions seems very reasonable, quite deeply researched and entirely plausible. What is more it would seem to explain some very plausible contradictions in the narrations of modern history
* dismissal of puranas as mythology while using bible as having some historicity.
* great gaps in pre Maurya history
* no great empires existing in india - yet there being cultural unity
* AIT and the lack of genetic / archeological proof for it.
* lack of context for indus valley civilization etc. (where did they come from, where did they dissappear ? who were they ?)
* lack of context for the ancient vedas (where were they composed? how could Aryan nomads have propounded such deep philosophies?)
* lack of context for the epics ( with AIT scholars placing them in Afghanistan and Turkistan when the mentioned geography is claerly indian)

Anyway here is a response to points raised by Neville. unfortunate but they seem mostly petulant (sadly In response I have been somewhat petulant too) . All the points he raised are lucidly explained in books by various leading OIT theorists.

(btw please feel free to format my mails )

Reply : The Indus is not Aryan
QUOTE : The idea that the Aryans are an indigenous lot is absurd as the theory that the Indus is Aryan.</b>
RESPONSE : Only if you consider ‘original race’ based theories by Europeans. Otherwise it is not only possible but more plausible. Remains of humans dug up suggest there was no difference between indus-valley people and current people of india.
QUOTE “It is all plain for everyone to see despite the hundreds of books , articles and internet reports, that the Aryans are an intrusive people into India. For sometime now I have been reading several articles of the case for and against AIT/AMT versus OIT. Although the Indian historians and certain archaeologists have more or less proven that there was no invasion per se of India, by Indo-Aryans , the fact still remain that India was and still is occupied by the descendants of the Vedic Aryans whose culture and history make up what is India today and including those from the Indus civilization. ”</b>
RESPONSE : How does this prove that the so-called Aryans were invaders/migrants ? If it has been proven that there had been no invasion how is it possible that the descendants of the alleged invaders occupy the land ? This can only be true if there was no invasion - which actually seems to be the case.
QUOTE : A detailed reading and study of the various opinions by those historians and archaeologists on this website, especially from India still maintain and doubt that the horse and chariot came from outside the country and who insist that horses and chariots are indigenous to the land. I have perceived that there are three major points which mostly the Indian historians are stubbornly refusing to concede and that is :</b>
RESPONSE : There has been shoddy scholarship from mainstream academia - from whom detailed study is still awaited - and that is the real question.
Horse and chariot mentioned in the Vedas are a in the context of Indian geography and fauna. Chariots - please remember are urban weapons not that of nomads - which aryans are purported to be according to AIT.
QUOTE : (A) They continue to hang on to the dead theory that the Indus
civilization is Aryan and indigenous.</b>
RESPONSE : No proof. In fact OIT seems more and more plausible by the day. Recent studies have shownt that IVC was definitely indian having many so-called Aryan features. In fact most indian academia/researchers accept this as a fact except marxist scholars who have a vested interest in keeping AIT alive.
QUOTE <!--emo&Sad--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/sad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='sad.gif' /><!--endemo-->B) Despite the mountain of official documented and textual
evidence from various sources eg: Andronovan proven Indo-
Iranian sites, evidence from the Vedas itself, lack of evidence of
horses and chariots in ancient India before the advent of the
Aryans etc, Indian officials and historians still attempt to castigate
the authors and doubt the veracity of the documented and
archaeological evidence.</b>
RESPONSE : how does this prove movement into India but not movement out of india. Emic readings of vedas seem to suggest a movement out of India.. There is no archeological evidence suggesting movement into India. Avestan seems to imply movement out of India. Indian officials and historians attempt to pin down western authors and thier evidence because they are decidedly shoddy and utterly lacking in standards they seem to expect out of others. There is actually no horse evidence leading into india either.
QUOTE :© The clear absence of archaeological and attestation of horse trade
between the Indus Civilization and its neighbors in the time period
of supposed finds of horse remains.</b>
RESPONSE : Possible that the horse was a valuable strategic commodity not traded with outsiders. Also all horse references in the Vedas suggest it is the Indian horse rather than ‘Steppe horses’ or Middle Eastern ones. if Aryans were outsiders thier horse-lore would reflect this fact. Please note that there is also no horse evidence to support an Aryan Invasion. What is sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander.
QUOTE : We begin from the beginning by placing the Aryans outside of India rather than being an indigenous people living thousands of years in India as so many Indian scholars believe. It is a fact that the Avesta places a home for the Aryans who sojourned outside India, which they called Airyana Vaejah or Aryan Homeland.</b>
RESPONSE : Pray why ? Careful understanding of avestan texts would seem to imply that Airyanam Vaejoh - could have been Kashmir/South Afghanistan. One of the Avestan ancestral lands mentioned is the Hapta Hendu - Saptha Sindhu. in India. Mainstream scholarship is coming around to the view that the original homelands of the Avestans was east and not west of modern Iran. And where else in the east was a major population center from where people could have migrated ?
QUOTE : “The Aryans came through the Northwest of what is now today the state of Pakistan. That old natural pass called the Khyber. This same pass was used by different conquerors to conquer India in later times. This is a northwest route , not an east or west or south route and you can see from the geographical map where the Aryans forded and settled for a time calling it the Saptasindhu of which Five Rivers of the area were Shutudri called the Sutlej, the Vipasha or Vipash now called the Beas, the Parushini now called the Ravi, the Vitasta now called the Jhelum. Two main rivers were added called the Indus or Sindhu and the Sarasvati making it the Seven Rivers. The following points shows why the Aryans are intruders to India.”</b>

RESPONSE : “There is nothing in Vedas that suggest arrival from a norwestern ancestral land to Sapta sindhu - infact this is a reading of western scholars who have consistently misread the vedas and have had to resort to all sorts of sophistry to arrive at that conclusion. The fact that there is no mention of Aryans as invaders is what all great scholars of the vedas state without exception. Amongst great scholars are not included poeple like Max Muller - whose understandng of the vedas has been derided by many indegenious scholars. If at all - there is a mention of the Indo-Aryans moving in from the east. If avestan with comparably older antiquity (according to ATI) remembers ancestral lands - why not the vedas ? The only plausible answer is becuase the vedas were composed in the homeland”
QUOTE : a) Despite, the writings and articles of Indian historians, archaeologists and Internet writers, these are the only rivers other than the Ganga and Yamuna mentioned in the Vedas. If the Aryans were indigenous people, why didn�t they mention the Kaveri, the Krishna, the Bhima, the Godavari, the Narmada, the Chambal and the others?</b>
RESPONSE : vedas are composed by a very limited subgroup of people who are otherwise mentioned in the vedas. Thier homeland (and thier salutations hymns etc) would have only encompassed the lands they belonged to and which they thought of was sacred. There are mentions of lands of other people - but not necessarily thier rivers . Also it is possible that the rivers described as excluded were not considered sufficiently holy to deserve a mention. It is possible that settlements by the rivers exempted were minor population centers. Remember the Vedas were sacred hymns rather than geography and political texts. Indegenious scholars have always resented Western scholars reading the vedas and not the itihasa puranas as history.
QUOTE : b) Why didn�t they mention all the other civilizations such as the Indus, and those of Southern India etc?</b>
RESPONSE : Because vedic could have preceded the Indus civilization (according to indegenious origin theories) - a civilization which thier descendents would form many years later. Another plausibility is that it was not excluded at all - this is just how western scholars read it.(For example the vedic people are described as pastoral by western scholars which is not necessarily the case. The vedas are replete with mention of cities and towns.)
Just how many civilizations flourished in southern india circa 6000bc - 3000 bc to deserve a mention (we are not speaking 1500bc here) ? how can we comprehensively establish that there was no mention - when we do not have all the oral traditions at our disposal.
QUOTE : c) Some may have noticed that the Vedas descriptions of their life and society only is confined to the northwest of India. There is no mention of areas of Bengal, Tamil Nadu or Maharastra and other areas.</b>
RESPONSE : Wrong - there are ample references to the plains, oceans, rivers of non-northwestern geographies to suggest that the vedics were acquainted with north india from kashmir to the vindhyas and from sindh to bihar. Event today these areas are the main population centers of India. It is also dubious why there should be any mention of geographies other than the ones the composers of the vedas are able to relate themselves with.
QUOTE : d) Do the historical departments of India and other such cultural organizations have the names of the original rivers , because these are mostly Rigvedic names. If the Harappans occupied the Indus civilizations for so long, surely they must have names for these rivers.</b>
RESPONSE : There seem to be absolutely no allegedly non-vedic names for indian rivers. why ? the simple explanation is that they never existed. The Vedics were the first to name them

I personally prefer the word Vedics to Aryans. Vedics would encompass an entire people of this era whereas ‘Arya’ was a very limiting designation even during the vedic times.

Comment by Rajiv Chandran | August 15, 2007



David Frawley is correct in assessing that the Aryan- Dravidian divide was used by the British to explain apparent (though not real) racial differences between northern and Southern Indians. But let us not blame the British alone for the perpetuation of this two race theory. A closer examination of Tamil history as understood and studied in Tamil Nadu, along with the official government position on this history will help us understand many of the unique positions and decisions this government has often taken.

According to the Tamil people and government, their history starts on the banks of the Indus. The Indus valley civilization and people with their unique achievements were the original inhabitants of India. They were a peaceful, civilized group who had organized their society on truly egalitarian principles.

Around 3000-5000 years BCE or later (depending on your source of information), successive bands of invading barbarians called the Aryans pushed the Indus valley people south until they all relocated to Southern India, specifically present day Tamil Nadu. The Aryan society was a far inferior civilization for various reasons: namely, it was polytheistic (too many Gods) and ritualistic (fire sacrifices). In addition, it was not an egalitarian society (caste system). Thus the Indus valley people, who are the ancestors of present day Dravidians, were robbed of their original homeland.

After settling in Tamil Nadu or thereabouts, the great Dravidian/Tamil civilization continued and flourished. It made great strides in all fields including architecture (temples), literature (sang am literature, Kambar Ramayanam etc.), music (carnatic), dance (bharata natyam). Unfortunately, because of the Aryan influence, the caste system became a part of Tamil civilization, and the Brahmins, who are actually the minions of northern Aryans, were responsible for upholding and perpetuating the caste system. In fact the Brahmins are also foreigners who have no right to be a part of Tamil culture (Brahmins are often referred to a s �Paapan��a derogatory term and even called �Arya Paapan� specifying their origin).

So, is any of this history actually true? Who knows? But this is the official position and understanding of Tamil history, and it is definitely the one used to shape public discourse. Thus, many of the socio-political events can be understood when one understands the Tamils � own version of history.

A case in point would be the anti-Hindi agitations of the past. Most non-Tamil indians, for whom Hindi was also not their mother-tongue (e.g. Bengalis, Telugu , etc.), saw Hindi merely as a link language to be learned as a second or third language in school. Not so in Tamil Nadu. Here, learning Hindi became a North Indian (read Aryan) imposition on a South Indian (Dravidian) civilization. So in Tamil Nadu, you have people who don�t learn Hindi (which is North Indian) , but don�t mind learning English. Here, English is not seen as the language of colonial masters .

We can also understand the reservation policies of the Tamil Nadu government using this paradigm. In most parts of India, the Forward castes refers to those groups of people who have had greater privileges or access to education and economic resources and opportunities. In Tamil Nadu the forward community refers only to Brahmins. Although, initially other groups who were economically prosperous, groups such as the Chettiars, were included in the forward classes, they now have been reclassified (which, I understand from Chettiar friends , can be done voluntarily�i.e. you can get yourself reclassified) as backward. So the reservation policy of Tamil Nadu is not only implicitly anti- Brahmin, it is expressly so. This actually makes perfect sense if one understands how Tamils interpret their history. Thus, Brahmins are not thought of as Tamils who also constitute the priestly classes, but rather, local Aryan residents who have no right to be here.

Since so many of the leaders in Tamil Nadu have been atheists (They call themselves �rationalists�), Tamil pride in its architecture, literature etc. is often combined with discomfiture. The problem is that most of Tamil literature, arts, music, architecture ( as is most Indian literature of the past,) is religious in nature, specifically Hindu. So, while one can feel pride at the great temples at Tanjore and Srirangam, one can�t get over the fact that these are Hindu temples. This �problem� pervades Tamil discussion on all their cultural and historic artifacts. So while Bharata Natyam and Carnatic music are praised, there are various attempts to �Tamilize� these arts and perhaps even �secularize� them. Thus, in Government music colleges most of the songs taught will be Tamil songs, although when the great composers of the past lived and composed in Tamil Nadu, many did so in the Sanskrit and Telugu languages.

This problem of trying to de-Hinduize Tamil culture (separate Tamil identity from the larger Hindu one which is pan �Indian) is one that apparently occupies the thoughts of the government officials. So there is great fan-fare accorded to placing Periyar�s statue in front of the Srirangam temple etc. This act is considered as both an affront on the Brahmanical hegemony which exists in the temples, and at the same time resurgence and reestablishment of Tamil pride.

The arrest of Kanchi Shankaracharya, and the muted Tamil response puzzled many of those who are not from Tamil Nadu. The arrest was portrayed by some in the mainstream media as an attack on Hinduism and an attempt of the then chief-minister, Jayalalitha, to establish her secular credentials. Maybe that was part of it. However, the reason for the muted response is that this particular religious figure is not considered merely a Hindu leader, but an elitist Brahmin one. Thus the majority of the people did not respond. In addition, we can perhaps also conclude that Jayalalitha might have actually wanted to establish her Dravidian credentials since she is a Brahmin person born in Mysore herself.

The Aryan Invasion debate can also be understood using this paradigm. Some of the most virulent opposition to any research or reinterpretation of original data from the Indus valley civilization comes from those who consider themselves Dravidian �the original inhabitants of this land. The Aryan invasion theory is what validates decades of public policy in Tamil Nadu. Now , suppose we find out that there was no invasion. What if DNA evidence were to suggest that all people of India are from the same gene pool and the last incursions into India were between 40,000 to 60,000 years back. What would this do to the Tamils� understanding of their history. Would they then have to accept that their culture, though wonderful, is really a regional expression of pan-Indian civilization , and they should take pride in all its civilizational achievements, including its religions.

Comment by Subadra Venkatesh | August 18, 2007

<b>AIT and a sneak attack</b>

Many of you must be familiar with how the Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT) is now all but dead������

We probably don�t need another nail in its coffin but here is one that I came across late last year (buried deep under my �TO DO� list): �India Acquired Language, Not Genes, From West, Study Says�

What is really interesting about the article though is not its mention of AIT being disputed but the surreptitious (and easily overlooked) mention of �technology� amongst things that do not appear to be indigenous and may have come from outside the region (excerpt: �If steppe-dwelling Central Asians did lend language and technology, but not many genes��)

Oddly though, nowehere�in the article is there any evidence of �technology� being borrowed from Central Asia.

I wonder if this is just a bad copy or a subtle attempt at undermining the�scientific and technological achievements in ancient India? (Please read: “Does no one remember the Indian contribution to Technology?“)

Brief Excerpts:

�Most modern Indians descended from South Asians, not invading Central Asian steppe dwellers, a new genetic study reports.

�The finding disputes a long-held theory that a large invasion of central Asians, traveling through a northwest Indian corridor, shaped the language, culture, and gene pool of many modern Indians within the past 10,000 years.

� Vijendra Kashyap�s (Director of India’s National Institute of Biologicals in Noida)�findings, published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, stand at odds with those results.

�The data reveal that the large majority of modern Indians descended from South Asian ancestors who lived on the Indian subcontinent before an influx of agricultural techniques from the north and west arrived some 10,000 years ago.”

So whats the name for Khyber Pass in the ancient literature?

Also this is page 10. Please consider locking it and starting a new thread.

Thanks, ramana
We want the thread for longer time

ITP’s World Wide Learning Exchange (WWLE) & the Stanford Hindu Council Presents:

Vedic Psychology: Reviving the Vedic Aryan
A Seminar with Dr. Anuradha Choudry, PhD
5:00pm to 6:30pm on Monday, November 3, 2008
Gaia Room at ITP

From the time of India’s colonization by the British till date there has been a lot of debate about the concept of ‘Aryan’ that has its origin in the RigVeda. The interpretation that gained most popularity among the Western scholars and that has been blindly accepted as a fact by the average Bharatiya is that the Aryans were a certain race with characteristic features resembling those of the tall, fair-skinned Europeans. During World War II, Hitler used the term for his own benefit and gave it such a negative connotation that it is almost impossible to talk about being an ‘Aryan’ without being considered a radical. In his book The Secret of the Veda Sri Aurobindo goes back to the etymology of the word which is ‘ar’, meaning to cultivate. According the his psycho-spiritual interpretation of the Veda, Sri Aurobindo shows that the concept of Aryan in the Vedas originally signified an individual who constantly strove to cultivate his/her inner-being in quest of an integral perfection of his/ her being. Moreover the fact that the term Arya never signified a race has been scientifically substantiated by Michel Danino in his book The Invasion That Never Was. Today, in an age overshadowed by materialism, where technology has made the world into a global village and people everywhere are seeking to establish their cultural identity, it is worth restoring the true sense of the term ‘Arya’ so that the young generations of Bharatiyas can look up once more to their ancients forefathers as role models and aspire for a better and higher life in the pursuit of Truth which is the essence of Aryahood.

Dr. Anuradha Choudry is a graduate from Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, Puducherry. She completed her PhD in Sanskrit on Vedic Psychology under Dr. K.E Dharaneedharan from Pondicherry University attempting to show the practical application of this new kind of psychology in our daily lives. As a volunteer with Samskrita Bharati, she is an active advocate of Spoken Sanskrit and has conducted many 10 day Spoken Sanskrit camps in Bharatam and abroad. She has also participated in several workshops that encourage peace and harmony within various international youth groups. Presently she is a recipient of the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship of the European Union and is doing her MLitt in ‘Crossways in European Humanities’ from the University of St-Andrews in Scotland, and the UniversityofBergamoinItaly.

A FREE Event; All are welcome.

For more information contact: Lauren Bracciodieta, wwle@itp.edu (wwle AT itp DOT edu)
Institute of Transpersonal Psychology
1069 East Meadow Circle
Palo Alto, CA 94303

<!--QuoteBegin-acharya+Oct 27 2008, 07:16 PM-->QUOTE(acharya @ Oct 27 2008, 07:16 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->We want the thread for longer time

After 10 pages it will be difficult to save as single page format. May be can split it at ten pages for starting the next thread.

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