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Ancient Indian History
Very true. A thought provoking article.
Comman man hardly know wether he follows Vedic or Buddha religion
If asked to exactly pinpoint wether hindu or buddh hardly any one can answer.
true answer would be dharma
I'm a member of an organisation called "students for the exploration and development of space".
I'm planning to write an article on "Ancient Indian Astronomy" and ahve faced problems in getting information as regards this topic. I have found very little online information on this topic and would request your help in performing the same. I'm also simultaneously interested in ancient indian mathematics.

Thanks for your help.
Check this thread on Astronomy
<!--QuoteBegin-pradeepnair+Jan 22 2006, 09:36 AM-->QUOTE(pradeepnair @ Jan 22 2006, 09:36 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->I'm also simultaneously interested in ancient indian mathematics.

Thanks for your help.

Pradeep, try this thread too:
I found this at boloji.com site.
New Light on Ancient India The Historical Vision of K.D. Sethna

Older civilisation than Indus found

Vadodara, Jan 21: Recent excavations in parts of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Pakistan have made the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) believe that a developed civilization possibly existed in the region in the 6th millennium BC, assumed to be older than the Indus valley civilisation.

<b>According to ASI Director Dr B R Mani, the civilisation, believed to be much older than the Indus civilisation of the second and third millennium BC, stretched from Iran in the west to North Bengal in the east.</b>

Dr Mani, who is here to attend a two-day international seminar on 'Magan (the present Oman) and Indus civilisation,' said till now the Indus and Harappan were considered to be amongst the world's earliest civilizations, but the relicts found during the recent excavations provided some evidence regarding existance of about 7,000-year-old civilization.

''Excavations at Lahuradeva site in Uttar Pradesh, Mehergadh in Pakistan and Haryana have led to recovery of pottery, cultivated rice and other artefacts dating back to that period,'' the ASI director said, adding that further research and excavations were on not only by the ASI but also by concerned state agencies and different universities. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>Millions year old tools found in Singhbhum</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->
   By Girija Shankar Ojha Posted on 13 Feb 2006 # ANI
Ranchi: A huge stock of pre-historic stone  tools has been recovered from the dense forest of Dalma Hills in East Singhbhum district near Basdera, 175 kilometres away from Ranchi during excavations being carried out by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Experts claim it is a first-ever discovery of its kind.

   The discovery holds significance due to the fact that the recovered  stone tools are estimated to be 70 million years old. An elephant-shaped stone with a large trunk along with other engravings were also recovered during the excavation among other things.

   According to Omkar Chauhan, Superintending Archaeologist, ASI, Ranchi Circle," There might had some colonies here. Stone tools of  pre-historic time have been recovered from here. This the first time that such tools have been recovered from the State. Recovery of the elephant-shaped stone assumes significance. Such type of materials have not been recovered from anywhere in world so far."

   Stressing the need for more such excavations in the area, T.R. Tewary, Assistant Superintending Archaeologist, ASI, Ranchi Circle said, "New things will emerge if we excavate the entire area here. It is a great achievement."

   Encouraged with the latest discoveries the ASI also has plans to excavate a cave near the site in days to come.

   Situated at the extreme corner of the southeast of Bihar East Singhbhum District now falls under the newly formed Jharkhand State.

   Legend has it that in the past large number of lions were found in this area. Subsequently this geographical area has been named as Singhbhum (or, the Land of Lions). Before Independence the same area of this district was a part of old Manbhum District and Old Dhalbhum Estate. After independence it has been merged with the Greater Singhbhum.

   The total geographical area of the district is 3533 square kilometre which forms about 2.03 per cent of the entire State. About 53 per cent of the total area Singhbum district is covered by residual mountains and hills consisting granite, gneiss, schist and basalt rocks.
i read somewhere that there was some sort of a not too advanced culture centred around the ganges valley, which is older than the swaraswati valle civilization. does anyone have more info on this?
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Harappan city ruins found
Special Correspondent, The Hindu, Feb. 21, 2006 

CHANDIGARH: Archaeologists have discovered the ruins of a city dating back to the Harappan civilisation at Farmana Khas, about 12 km from Meham on the Julana road in Haryana.

Terming the discovery as significant, a spokesman of the Haryana Archaeology and Museums Department said here on Monday that it was the first city of the Harappan civilisation found buried in Haryana. It was evident from the nature of settlements and richness of antiquities found at the site that the city belonged to the Harappan era. So far, towns dating back to this civilisation — Banawali, Bhirdana — and the village of Kunal have been unearthed in Haryana but this is the first time that the ruins of a city have been discovered.

The spokesperson said the discovery, known as Daksh Khera, was spread over an area of 32 acres and the ruins were under a three-metre hillock. Keeping in view the size of Daksh Khera, it appeared that it would have been a city of the <b>Indus-Saraswati or Harappan civilization.</b> The city would have been located on the banks of the Yamuna, which is believed to have passed through the area in ancient times.

http://www.hindu.com/2006/02/21/stories/...711400.htm  <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Ruins of Harrappan city found in Haryana
Chandigarh, Feb. 20 (PTI): The ruins of a city believed to date back to Harrappan civilisation have been discovered near Meham in Haryana, the State Archaeology and Museums Department said here today.

A department spokesman termed the discovery at Farmana Khas, about 12 kilometers from Meham on Julana road, as very significant.

He said that till now urban settlements of the civilisation -- Banawali, Bhirdana and Rakhigarhi -- had come to light in the state, but this was the first discovery of the ruins of a city.

He said the site of the discovery, popularly known as Daksh Khera, was spread over 32 acres and the ruins were under a three-metre high hillock.

He said the city would have been located on the banks of the river Yamuna, that could have been flowing through the area in ancient times.

<b>Ruins from the Harappan era have also been found at Sanoli in Uttar Pradesh along the ancient course of river Yamuna, he said. </b>

Retired Kurukshetra University professor Suraj Bhan, had observed that in ancient times, <b>river Yamuna used to pass through the state at Indri, Karnal, south-west of western Jamuna canal, Mittathal, Tigrana, Tosham and then towards Nohar Bhadra.

Ahead of Tosham, the course of the river is covered by sand ruins. </b>

<!--QuoteBegin-ramana+Jan 24 2006, 09:28 AM-->QUOTE(ramana @ Jan 24 2006, 09:28 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->I found this at boloji.com site.
New Light on Ancient India The Historical Vision of K.D. Sethna

New Light on Ancient India
The Historical Vision of K.D. Sethna

Sri Aurobindo, the seer of modern India, blamed new trails in several worlds of human enterprise and had followers of signal eminence in many of them. Some made their mark in more than one sphere of activity. Integral Yoga and Overhead Poetry are two such areas in which a number of luminaries have left their mark. No follower of Sri Aurobindo, however, has not only penetrated these areas but also ventured into territories such as science and history. Here is where K.D. Sethna, or Amal Kiran as he was named by his Master, stands distinctly apart. This remarkable mind has taken virtually all knowledge for its domain and the clear ray of his piercing insight has probed not only profound issues of philosophy, such as the question of free-will or the spirituality of the future, but has investigated Einsteinian physics, detected Shakespeare's mysterious Dark Lady, Mr. W.H. and the Rival Poet, published 750 pages of poetry and followed the approach of Sri Aurobindo in plumbing the riches of European literature and the practice of Integral Yoga. However, that which is unique is his signal contribution to historiography. Here I shall not go into his remarkable investigations into Jewish history to fix the date of the Exodus, or into the question of the Immaculate Conception which patiently awaits a publisher of vision and courage. My attempt will be to highlight Amal Kiran's deep-delving reconstruction of ancient Indian history.

It is Sethna's characteristic that even in this most intellectual pursuit, the dissection of the vexed questions concerning the Harappa Culture, his inspiration is drawn from Sri Aurobindo. Repeatedly he returns to this fountain-head for sustaining his arguments, building firmly on his faith in the infallibility of the seer-vision of the Avatar of the Supramental.

An implacable honesty is what places Sethna head-and-shoulders above scholars setting out to prove a preconceived thesis. Despite having ready to hand so useful an opinion as Pusalkar's that the Sanskrit sindhu occurring in Assurbanipal's library refers to Indian cotton and is the source for the Arabic satin, Greek sindon and Hebrew sadin, which becomes evidence for trade between Harappa and Mesopotamia and of an Aryan element in the Harappan Culture, Sethna was not satisfied. It struck him as peculiar that where the Sanskrit karpasa, cotton, produced Hebrew and Greek analogues, that same product should be given a different name in Assyrian, Hebrew and Greek. So he wrote to the world's foremost Assyriologist, S.N. Kramer1 who informed him that the Akkadian word was not sindhu at all but sintu, referring to woolen garments and having no relationship at all with India or the Indus! Kramer also denied that the Greek sindon and the Hebrew sadin could be equated with sintu or sindhu. Thus, what had seemed to be a sure linguistic proof of Aryanism in Harappan Culture was exposed through Sethna's relentless quest after truth to be a misreading of the Akkadian text by Pusalkar, although thereby Sethna lost a major support for his thesis. In the process, he also corrected a major misconception prevailing among our scholars regarding this word.

When Sethna approached H.D. Sankalia with the first draft of his The Harappa Culture and the Rigveda, that doyen of Indian archaeologists pointed out the single weak point in the thesis:2 The lack of any evidence of Vedic Aryan culture from Sind and Punjab belonging to the 4000-2000 B.C. bracket. That was in 1963. Sethna did not rush into print ignoring this solitary flaw. He waited patiently for well over a decade-and-a-half till the necessary archaeological evidence surfaced from excavations to substantiate his intellectually flawless arguments.

This relentless dedication in the pursuit of truth and the uncompromising sincerity are features intrinsic to Sri Aurobindo's Integral Yoga which shine forth so radiantly in Amal Kiran.

In Karpasa in Prehistoric India3 Sethna investigated the use of cotton in prehistoric India for arriving along a different route with additional evidence at the same conclusion that he had put forward in The Problem of Aryan Origins:4 The Rigvedic Culture precedes the Harappan; the Indus Valley Civilization contains Aryan elements. A clinching argument is evolved by Sethna from the fact of cotton being first mentioned in the oldest Sutras. If the Rigvedic Aryans flourished in the Indus Valley after the cotton-cultivating Harappans, how is it that all the Vedas, Brahmans, Aranyakas and early Upanishads do not know karpasa. Cotton is even found at sites deeper inland in Gujarat, Maharashtra and near Delhi dated c. 1330-1000 B.C. This is very much after the alleged incursion around 1500 B.C. of Rigvedic Aryans. Such a continuous absence of the mention of a product argues for dating the Vedas before the cotton-knowing Harappa Culture. Here he also suggested that clues to the Indus script might be found in potters' marks found in pre-Harappan and Aryan sites, proved that Mulukha of Sumerian records is Harappa and that the Biblical Ophir is Sopara. Each of these warrants serious follow-up by historians not only of Indian prehistory, but of Mesopotamian and Jewish history as well.

The second edition of the important work on Aryan Origins5 became necessary because in 1987 there was a recrudescence from within India and from Finland of the pernicious Aryan invasion theory which is at the root of the north-south, Aryan-Dravidian divide that raises its ugly head time and again in India.

The most important examination in this new edition relates to the question of the presence of the horse and the spoked wheel in the Harappa culture. The circle with six radials within seen on several Harappan seals is not found in Sumerian tablets or Egyptian hieroglyphics as a sun-symbol (which is what I. Maha-devan et. al. argue it represents). The damaged seal showing a man standing astraddle on spoked wheels suggests the presence of a spoked-wheel chariot. Moreover, S.R. Rao's finding at Lothal of a drawing on a potsherd of a figure standing on two wheels resembling the paintings of Assyrian charioteers is a clinching piece of evidence. Even more conclusive is the fact that the C-14 date for this damaged seal is 1960 B.C., long before the alleged invasion of Aryan cavalry that supposedly occurred around 1500 B.C.

Sethna shows that Asko Parpola, the Finnish scholar, is wrong6 in stating that no evidence of horse-bones is available in the Harappa Culture. At Rana Ghundai's pre-Harappan stratum horse's teeth have been found much before 2000 B.C. The same Rana Ghundai IIIc Culture exists at low levels of Harappa and Mohenjodaro. From the opposite angle, no evidence of the horse has been discovered in the excavations in Punjab and Haryana in post-Harappan sites - which should have been die case if the Aryans brought the horse and the Rigveda into India around 1500 B.C. - while equine bones have been found of that date from both Mohenjodaro and Harappa. Sethna quotes the 1980 report from G.R. Sharma on excavations in the valley of the Belan and Son revealing evidence at the Neolithic sites of the domesticated horse as well as the wild horse dated between 8080 B.C. and 5540 B.C. at Koldihwa and Mahagara. Moreover, there is the 1990 report of K.R. Alur identifying horse bones dated to c. 1800-1500 B.C. in repeated excavation at Hallur in Karnataka, before the supposed Aryan invasion. Alur has pointed out that the metacarpals allegedly of the domestic ass found in Mohenjodaro and Harappa are definitely not of the ass and are possibly of the smaller size horse. Therefore, the Aryans whom Parpola would like to immigrate into India around 1600-1400 B.C. cannot possibly have introduced the horse in the Deccan several centuries before their arrival. Sethna clinches his point by quoting the ardent invasionist, Mortimer Wheeler himself: "It is likely enough that camel, horse and ass were in fact all a familiar feature of the Indus caravans." Thus, lack of representation of the horse, like that of the camel, on the seals does not rule out their being in use in the Indus Civilization, particularly when their bones have been found much before the horse is supposed to have been introduced by the invading Aryans around 2000 B.C. If the horse is a conclusive sign of Aryan presence, men the report from Sharma proves that the Aryan was in India long before even the Harappan Civilization. Actually, even where picturisation is concerned, Sethna cites7 S.P. Shukla's account of a terracotta horse-like animal figurine with a saddle on its back from Balu in the Harappan urban phase.

Sethna could have rested content here. However, with the integrity that is so typical of him, he raises the question of what evidence there is of any trace of chariots in Neolithic times where remains of the domesticated horse have been found? Pointing out that in the Rigveda the chariot is not invariably horse-drawn, he draws attention to a pot from Susa showing an ox-drawn chariot similar to the Kulli ware of South Baluchistan with which trading existed. The Rigveda seems familiar with Baluchistan, as Parpola notes. Therefore, with the horse already present much before the Rigvedic time, and this illustration of a chariot, the probability of horse-drawn chariots becomes acceptable even in pre-Harappan times.

Sethna also takes on the eminent academician, Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya, and points out the contradictions in his assigning to Indra the role of the destroyer of the Indus Valley Civilization.8 Archaeologists have found overwhelming evidence, going back to much before the second millennium B.C., of heavy flooding of Harappan settlements. In Mohenjodaro itself there is evidence for at least five such floods, each lasting for several decades, even up to a century. Evidence has also been found of considerable rise in the coast-line of the Arabian Sea. Hence, there is no need at all to posit a horde of invading Aryans for demolishing imaginary dams where natural forces are found to be responsible. Chattopadhyaya also fails to notice that whatever weapons Indra is mentioned as using are described clearly in the same hymns as being of symbolic nature. Similarly, the material objects demolished are also symbolic. Firstly, the Rigveda gives mighty forts not only to the enemies but also to the Aryans, and these forts surpass anything that has been found in archaeology of that time (ninety-nine or hundred in number, made of stone or metal). Secondly, if the invasion came from the north, how is it that instead of the northern Harappan sites it is the southern Mohenjodaro which shows a noticeable decline in material prosperity? Moreover, even here there is no settlement at all over its ruins, which is peculiar if the Aryans destroyed it.

The coup de grace is administered with evidence from the undersea excavations at Dwaraka, where the submergence has been dated to about 1400 B.C., tallying with what the Mahabharata and the Harivamsa state regarding this event following Krishna's death. If the Kurukshetra war took place around this time, surely the period of the Rigveda will have to be considerably anterior to it and can by no means be around 1500 B.C. as the invasionists would like to have it! Hence, there is no question of invading Aryans destroying the Harappa Culture a mere hundred years before the Kurukshetra war. The Rigveda, therefore, necessarily precedes the Harappa Culture which ended around the middle of the second millennium B.C. Thus, Sethna shows conclusively that all available evidence sets the end of the Indus Civilization quite apart from any violent destruction by Rigvedic Aryans.

In 1988 came another major paper from Asko Parpola on the coming of the Aryans to India and the cultural-ethnic identity of the Dasas. Parpola based his hypothesis of Rigvedic Aryan movement from Swat to Punjab around 1600-1400 B.C. on the Mitanni treaty and the Kikkuli chariot-horse training manual. However, neither document has the word "Arya", nor does the recitation of the names of deities conform to the Rigvedic turn of phrase, as Sethna perceptively notes. Linguistic study shows that there is a large gap between the Rigvedic epoch and the time of the Mitanni document whose language is found to be middle-Indie and not Indo-Iranian or Old Indo-Aryan as supposed initially.

Sethna's eagle eye spots the inner contradiction in Parpola's hypothesis. Parpola feels that the Harappans spoke proto-Dravidian and not Indo-European because the horse is absent from the seats and figurines. Yet, he characterizes the chalcolithic cultures of the Banas Valley and Malawa (Navdatoli) as Aryan although there too the horse is conspicuously absent. Further, when Parpola asserts that Pirak horsemen first brought the horse into use into India he forgets that no horse-bones have been found at Pirak at all! He also makes the mistake of equating a possible Aryan presence in Swat with Rigvedic Aryanism in arguing that there was a horse-knowing culture's incursion from Swat into India which was a Rigvedic invasion. Sethna shows that while the brick-built nature of the fire-altars found in Swat equates them with those in Kalibangan and the Harappa Culture, this sets them apart from the Rigvedic which is innocent of brick. Use of silver is mentioned by Parpola as a feature of the Namazga V culture which he claims to be Aryan and from where Rigvedic Aryanism was brought into India. But, points out Sethna, the Rigvedic period does not know silver at all. He shows that Parpola is wrong in his understanding of what black metal, shywmayas of the Atharvaveda is. It is certainly not iron, but an alloy of copper and tin, while ayas of the Rigveda is copper. Even in the later Shatapatha Brahmana, there is no knowledge of iron, lohayas or red metal being copper, ayas resembling gold being brass. Hence the Rigveda is considerably anterior to die iron age which Parpola fixes for it in Pirak c, 1100 B.C.

Parpola next uses the cultivation of rice for the first time in the Indus Valley as a sign of Rigvedic Aryanism invading India in the post-Harappan period. However, rice is already present in several Harappan sites within and outside the Indus Valley, while it is unknown to both the Rigveda and the Avesta. Therefore, Sethna is quite right in claiming that the Rigveda precedes the Harappa Culture and definitely the post-Harappan Pirak phase off. 1800 B.C. Even the PGW type of pottery, with its traits of rice cultivation, is absent along the route supposedly taken by immigrating Aryans. The latest excavations (1976-1982) by J.P. Joshi indicate that PGW culture is an indigenous development without any break from the local proto-historic culture and is not associated with invading Aryans from the west.

Sethna marshals powerfully persuasive arguments in favor of the Rigveda being, for all practical purposes, autochthonous to India, using recent statements from Colin Renfrew pointing out that nothing in the Veda hints at any intrusion. The Rigveda repeatedly alludes to ancient seers of hoary antiquity but never speaks of any immigration nor mentions any previous habitat. Sethna's incisive intellect fastens upon every possible objection that might be raised against the great antiquity proposed for the Rigveda. As a particular verse carries a reference to camels, he points out that there has to be some evidence of adequate antiquity of the domesticated camel for his hypothesis to be proven. He locates such archaeological evidence going back to the third millennium B.C. To this he adds the negative argument that silver has been known from 4000 B.C. but is not known to the Rigveda, which, therefore, must precede this date. Again, the earliest occurrence of cultivated rice is dated to Neolithic Mahagara and Koldihwa c. 6810-5780 B.C. Sethna prefers to deduct 240 — this is the solitary ad hoc element in his otherwise sound argumentation besides the gratuitous identification of Talmena with tala-mina for proposing the tribe of Minas from Talmena colonizing Sumeria - and come to 5300 which fits in with his proposition that the Rigveda would begin c. 5500 B.C. and be ignorant of rice while knowing the horse well as the Neolithic sites have the horse-bones whose C-14 dating is 6700 B.C.

The most important contribution in the midst of all this analysis of archaeological evidence is Sethna's bringing home to the reader how the naturalistic interpretations of western scholars fail to hang together if the Rigveda is studied as a whole and that the only approach which makes total sense is the mystic or spiritual one shown by Sri Aurobindo in The Secret of the Veda. The Rigvedic verse is most telling: "He who knows only the outward sense is one who seeing sees not, hearing hears not. (10.71.4)" The foes of the Rigvedics arc neither non-Aryans nor, as Parpola would have it, an earlier band of immigrated Aryans. They are anti-divine forces opposing the spiritual inspiration sought after by the "Aryan'", that is, "the striver", the aspirant. The forts arc symbols of occult centers of resistance to this quest after die "cows", that is streams of enlightenment flowing from the Sun of Truth and the Dawn of inner revelation. Sethna presents an excellent explication of the famous Battle of Ten Kings passage to demolish Parpola's hypothesis of two waves of Aryans disrupting the Indus Civilization and also shows how utterly wrong Parpola is in setting in opposition the Asura and the Deva, for in the Rigveda the Deva does not cease to be the Asura, except in some very late compositions. Sethna's acute perception points out basic errors in Parpola's data such as Indra never being referred to as Asura except in the late Book Ten.

Sethna finds such references existing in Books 1, 4, 6, 7 and 8. He also disproves Parpola's idea that Varuna entered the Pantheon at a later date than Indra and is originally foreign to the Rigveda, and demolishes E.W. Hales's thesis that the Asuras were human lords.

Having proved that the Rigveda is indigenous to India, that there is no justification for interpreting it as a war between invading Aryans and autochthonous Dravidians, the former enslaving the latter — a concept fostered by the foreign scholars which has bred so much bitterness in south India — Sethna ventures into what can only be described as high adventure in his radical reconstruction of ancient Indian chronology in Ancient India in a New Light? To summaries his findings in brief, Sethna marshals evidence from the Puranas and archaeology to argue that the Sandrocottus of Megasthenes could not have been the Mauryan king, but was the founder of the Gupta Dynasty. I had pointed out to him after he had completed the first part of the work that unless the Asokan epigraphs could be tackled convincingly, his new chronology would break down. Sethna proceeded to do this also over 300 pages of a closely argued thesis pushing Asoka back to 950 B.C. and allocating to the Gupta Empire the period 315 B.C. - A.D. 320.

Sethna's 606 page tome, with a 15 page bibliography and a 23 page index, is an outstanding instance of ratiocination proceeding inexorably from a chronological absurdity fastened upon unerringly by the clear ray of his perception. Pulakesin IPs Aihole inscription of 634 A.D. shows Indian chronology in vogue fixing 3102 B.C. as the date of the start of the Kaliyuga, while also referring to the Saka Era of 78 A.D. According to modern historians, this is the time of the Gupta Empire, when this system of chronology was made up by the Puranic writers. Now, according to the Puranas the Guptas come around the last quarter of the 4th century B.C. If the modern dating of the Guptas is accepted, it means that the Puranics, face to face with the Gupta kings, placed them in antiquity six hundred years in the past! It is peculiar that so obvious an absurdity should have escaped our own historians. Can we help concluding that we are still unable to rid our minds of the overpowering influence of the dismissal by western scholars of our own ancient records: The Puranas? They believe in the historicity of Homer and excavate Troy, but will not allow that same probability to the Puranas simply because they speak of a civilized antiquity in a colonized country when the western man was living in caves, and that is unacceptable from a subject race. On the grounds of the reductio ad absurdum of the Puranics placing their contemporary monarchs six centuries in the past, Sethna proposes that the Guptas referred to in the Puranas are the descendants of that Chandragupta whom Megastlienes refers to as Sandrocottus, contemporaneous with Alexander. Consequently, the Mauryan Chandragupta and his grandson Asoka needs must recede considerably farther into die past.

The rest of the book is a thrilling venture as Sethna daringly steers his slender craft through uncharted seas crossing one insuperable barrier-reef after another to reach a destination in whose existence he firmly believes. The most important of these is the supposed linking of the Greeks with Asoka. Sethna's penetrating insight reveals that the Asokan "yona raja" Amtiyoka of Rock Edict XIII cannot refer to a Greek king and that the dating of this edict proposed by Bhandarkar is quite mistaken even on the basis of the current chronology. Next the Asokan inscription in Greek and Aramaic at Kandahar is analyzed and the conclusion arrived at that the two inscriptions are not contemporaneous; that the Greek comes much after the Aramaic and, indeed, explicates it: That the "Yavanani" script referred to by Panini is this Aramaic script going back to the pre-9th century B.C. period. The Kandahar II and Laghlman Aramaic inscriptions are then taken up and proven to be much before the 3rd century B.C. as theorized at present. Finally, examining the evidence for the reigns of the Sungas, Kanvas and Satvahanas, Sethna arrives at 950 B.C. as the date of Asoka's accession.

The next challenge is harmonizing this with the wide-spread variety in traditions regarding Buddhist chronology (Ceylonese, Chinese, Tibetan, Arab, Puranic and the Milinda-panha and Rajatamngini). Sethna infallibly locates a sure guiding light to steer clear of this welter of confusion: Buddha's death has to be determined in terms of Asoka's accession and not the other way about. Thus, with the latter being fixed in 950 B.C., the nirvana is 218 years before that in 1168 B.C. and the death of Mahavira would be in 1165 B.C.

The argument of Ceylon being referred to in Asoka's inscriptions is demolished by Sethna who points out that this identification flouts all the literary and epigraphic data. "Tarnbapamni" and "Tambapamniya" are references to the far south in India. Coming to the Asokan monuments, he shows that the affinities are with Mesopotamia not with Achaemenid art, and that they carry on in the tradition of the realistic treatment of the Indus seals, the assembly hall of Mohenjodaro and the high polish of Harappan jewellery. From the other end of the spectrum, Megasthenes is analyzed to reveal that the references point to the Bhagavata Vaishnavite cult practiced by the Gupta Dynasty, certainly not to what is known of the Mauryas.

As in his work on the Aryan Origins, Sethna corrects major historical errors here too. One is regarding Fa-Hien who is widely accepted as having visited India during the reign of Chandragupta II. Sethna bluntly points out how generations of historians have simply assumed Fleet's chronology despite the pilgrim's records mentioning no king at all and the social conditions not tallying with whatever is known of the Gupta regime. Another such major twisting of chronology which has been unquestioningly accepted by modern historians is exposed when Sethna examines Al-beruni's travelogue to show that Fleet misrepresented the Arab visitor's categorical description of the Gupta Era as celebrating die end of a dynasty that had come to be hated and not the beginning of the dynasty! A third misconception is that the earliest Roman dinarius (whence the Gupta dinam is dated) in India is of the last quarter of the first century B.C. Sethna shows that the earliest denarii go back to 268 B.C. and it is around 264 B.C. that Ptolemy II sent an emissary from Egypt to India. Therefore, the reference to dinam in the Gadhwa Stone inscription of the Gupta Era 88 can certainly be in 277 B.C. A fourth error corrected is that of identifying the Malawa Era of the Mandasor Inscription with the Vikrama Era. Sethna shows that all epigraphic evidence points to the identity of the Malawa Era with the Krita Era, and that the Vikrama Era has been gratuitously brought in just because it is convenient for the modern chronology of the Guptas. He shows that the Kumaragupta referred to here cannot chronologically be the Gupta monarch even following Fleet's calculations. By bringing in the other Mandasor inscription of Dattabhatta which refers to Chandra-gupta's son Govindagupta as alive in the Malawa year 535, Sethna shows that dating it by the Vikrama Era of 57 B.C. creates an impossible situation. He fixes the beginning of the Malawa Era at 711 B.C. This leads to two fascinating discoveries when linked with other Mandasor inscriptions: that the Malawa ruler Yaso-dharman (Malawa 589, i.e. 122 B.C.) might be the source of the legend of Vikramaditya; and that Mihirakula whom he defeated was a Saka and not, as supposed by historians without adequate evidence, a Huna. Sethna exposes yet another Fleetian conjecture regarding Skandagupta battling the Hunas by contacting the epigraphist D.C. Sircar10 and getting the astonishing admission that there is no such reference in the Junagarh inscription!

Some of the more remarkable findings in this work which need mention are: Devanampiyatissa of Ceylon dealt not with Asoka but with Samudragupta; the Kushana Dynasty imitated features of the Guptas on their coins instead of the other way about as historians argue: Al-beruni testifies to two Saka Eras, one of 57 B.C. probably commemorating Yasodharman's victory, and the other of 78 A.D. by Salivahana who was possibly of the Satavahana Dynasty; the Mehrauli Iron Pillar inscription is by Sandrocottus-Chandragupta-I whose term for the invading Greeks is shown to be "Vahlika" (outsiders from Bactria) which fills in the puzzling gap in Indian records of mention of the incursions by Alexander and Seleucus. It is the founder of the Guptas and not of the Mauryan Dynasty who stands firmly identified as Megasthenes's Sandrocottus.

Sethna provides an extremely valuable Supplement" in which he uses the revised chronology posited by him for fixing the dates of the Kurukshetra War and the beginning of the Kaliyuga, traditionally dated to Krishna's death, at 1452/1482 B.C. and 1416/1446 B.C. respectively working back 8 or 9 generations of preceptors from Ashvalayana, a contemporary of Buddha, to Parikshit who was enthroned after Krishna's death. In another discussion,12 Sethna examines the Arthashastra and shows it as not having anything in common with Mauryan times as evidenced from the Asokan inscriptions, and being much closer to the royal titles and functionaries, use of Sanskrit and of terms like pmtyanta and Prajjunikas of the Gupta epigraphs and Megasthenes. He assigns to this work the period close to the pre-Gupta Junagarh Inscription of Rudradaman I in 479 B.C. A further examination of the religious date shows that Kautilya's work is in the interval between Panini and Patanjali, but closer to the former on account of the reference to the prevalence of worship of the Nasatya and the bracketing of an evil spirit Krishna with Kamsa recalling the asura Krishna of the Veda, which indicates a period prior to that of the Vasudeva cult recorded by Megasthenes. On this basis, the original Arthashastra is assigned by Sethna to c. 500 B.C., having clearly distinguished Kautilya the author of the work from Chanakya, the preceptor of the Maurya monarch. Here, too, Sethna corrects a widely prevalent mistake among our historians who have blindly followed Jacobi who compared Chanakya to Bismarck as Chancellor of the Empire. Sethna points out the facts: Chankya was instrumental in installing the Prime Minister of the Nandas, Rakshasa, to assume the same post with the Maurya king. Thus, if anyone, it is Rakshasa who is the Chancellor and not Chanakya.

This short survey cannot do justice to the magnitude of the contribution K.D. Sethna has made to the basic approach to Indian Pre-and-Proto-History as well as later historical periods. However, if it succeeds in giving some idea of how remarkable this effort has been in illuminating the dark backward and abysm of a critical portion of our antique time, and motivates those who are interested in our history to think afresh, untrammeled by preconceptions foisted by western scholars and their Indian counterparts over the last hundred years, it will be a consummation devoutly to be wished. That will also be a fitting tribute to the master-seer who has inspired such a phenomenal deep-delving, wide-ranging inquiry into the foundations of our past: Sri Aurobindo.

– Pradip Bhattacharya
August 14, 2005

1. Sethna, K.D.: Karpasa in Prehistoric India: a chronological and cultural clue, Biblia Impex, New Delhi, 1984.
2. Scthna, K.D.: The Problem of Aryan Origins: from an Indian point of vien\ second enlarged edition, Aditya Prakashan, New Delhi, 1992, p. 57.
3. Cf. 1 above.
4. Cf. 2 above, first edition, S & S Enterprises, Calcutta 1980.
5. Cf. 2 above.
6. Ibid., pp. 214-222.
7. Ibid., pp. 419-20.
8. Ibid., pp. 187-93.
9. Sethna, K.D.: Ancient India in a New Light, Aditya Prakashan, New Delhi, 1989.
10. Ibid., pp. 513.
11. Ibid., pp. 543-5.
12. Ibid., pp. 546-589.
Excavations at Myos Hormos and Berenike two ancient ports on the Red Sea have yielded fragments of Indian-made pottery. At one of these sites, a large vessel found intact even contained 7.5 kg of black pepper; the variety grown along the Malabar coast.

Teak planks that could have been part of ships, pieces of Indian-made cotton that could have been part of a sail and even pieces of embroidered cloth were found at these sites. Moreover, the excavations also yielded coins -- one of King Rudrasena the third, that has been dated to the fourth century -- and pots with Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions, she said.

<b>The import and significance of Artha Sastra</b>
Prof. Lallanji Gopal,
Professor of Ancient Indian History, and
Dean of Arts, Benares Hindu University.

From his book Cultural Values in Ancient Indian Economic and Political thoughts.

Arthasastra of Kautilya was discovered in the early years of 20th century, and then commenced an impetus to the study of ancient Indian polity.

The scope of Arthasastra, was much more extensive than usually assumed as political science. According to Kautilya, the treatises of this science
were composed for the acquisition and protection of the territory ( I.1.1. Prithivyaalabhe Paalane cha). Also brings into being and preserves; spiritual good,
material well-being and pleasures and; destroys spiritual evil, material loss and hatred. Artha itself (XV. 1.1) is described as the the source of the livelihood
of men (manushyaanam vittihi), and implies land inhabited by men. (manushyavathi Bhumih) Hence according to Kautilya, Artha sastra is the science,
which is the attainment and protection of that Earth.( tasyaaha Prithivyaah laabha palanopaayah Sastram).

There existed separated treatises on Artha sastra from very early times. It was regarded as an upaveda of Rigveda. Sarvasiddhantasangraha (I.13), mentions
it as arthaveda; which brings about the acquisition of food, drink and other articles of comfort; and by their enjoyment facilitates the realization of the fourfold
ideals of life (Purushaarthas). All the earlier texts are clear that Arthasastra was not vartha (applied economics and commece, and includes Krishi, Vanijya
and Pasupalana and later Kusida), or Dandanithi (polity,-- According to Kautilya, administration of Danda constitutes the science of Danda nithi ),; and
clearly is distinct and different. A few chapters of Arthasastra deal with agriculture, cattle and trade and commerce and mines.

Dandanithi's purpose is the acquisition of things not possessed, the preservation of things possessed, the maintenance of things preserved and the bestowal
of things augmented on a worthy recipient. (I.4.3.) On account of the importance of Danda for ensuring the pursuit of Anvikhaki, trayi and vaartha, and for the
orderly maintenance of worldly life, Kautilya gave to dandanithi the largest coverage in his treatment of Arthasastra. ( The prime requirement of the rule of the king became ensuring conditions in the kingdom, where law and order, calm and security; and creation of conditions of infrastructure and enlarging the
scope of the same, which will provide livelihood and good living wherewithal , to everyone in the society.) A few authors chose to designate their
compositions on Dandanithi; as Arthasastra.

Tantraakhyaayika, mentioning Chanakya as an author on Nripasaastra, and rajanithi, nithisara. And even, just nithi. Further, Somadeva's nithivakyaamrita, Hemachandra's Laghvarhanniti and Brihaspathiniti, and Chandesvaraa's Rajanitiratnakara; Rajasastra, rajavidya are other names designated., as well as Kshatravidya, occuring in Chandogyopanishad, Khattavijja and Khattadhamma - in Buddhist tradition.

Also Vyavahaara, an important part of Dharmasastras, also got mixed up, and some aspects of polity creeped into the Smritis. And later with the increase in
number of Vyavahaara Dharmaas , Rajadharma as a separate Dharma, illustrative of the category of gunadharma, developed. It covered the scope of
Dandanithi and rajanithi, but with avowed emphasis of approach. The subject was the Dharma of the king and had to be viewed from that point of view.

The fall-out of impact of Dandanithi had to be faced. The details of the administrative measures for implementing the policies had to be worked out. As was to be expected, the darker aspects overshadowed the brighter ones. Though the composite nature of arthasastra was, for Kautilya, a legacy of his predecessors, somehow the characteristic features of arthasastra, as presented in his text, came to stick to his name, giving him an indelible notoriety. The apparent advocacy of immoral practices brought disrepute to Kautilya and his work. Like kutilamati in Mudrarakshasa, and in Bana's Kadambari, etc.

Conflicts between the dictates of Dharmasastra and Arthasastra were being discussed. Certain basic facts tend to be lost sight of by the modern scholar's general approach, of the common man in ancient India towards economic pursuits has been overcast by layers of idealism and ascetism. In ancient India, a healthy and pragmatic view towards worldly life was the normal feature, which is confirmed by the development of economic activities, agriculture, trade, and industry, and is reflected in the richness of material culture and achievements in refinement and culture of life.

Perhaps Nasthika darshanas, like Charvaka,( and Lokayatikas- supposed to be a very pragmatic system, and meaning popular perception-, and a belief that existence ends with death, and give oneself up to earthly enjoyments) encouraged the involvement of man more in material pursuits and achievements. The system advocated a life devoted to the attainment of maximum possible immediate pleasure. This was projcted as pleading for a shocking hedonism and an unbridled sex indulgence. But there is enough evidence to indicate that this was only caricaturing the views of the system. and reference is made of two groups of Charvakas -- Dhurtha and Susikshita, implying that some of the Charvakas were cultured people, who did not indulge in gross forms of enjoyment.

Some ancient sources record , in fragments, of the thought of the people, who unbothered by considerations of life hereafter, aimed at making their life a sucess from an economic standpoint .Believing that existence ends with death, they give themselves upto earthly enjoyments. Bound by innumerable desires, anger, attac, etc., they busy themselves in collecting materials of earthly enjoyments even through wrong means. They always think of their riches they earn daily, which they accumalate, and with which they fulfill their desires in the present, or wish to fulfill in the future.

In later times the system became disreputed and its influence declined. The gross immorality of some of its adherents could have been an important factor. and by the indications of the state of the society being remarkably non-creative and steriotype, shows that the system had ceased to be a living force. <b>The apathy of Sankara and his followers towards its tenets suggest that it was a spent force.</b>

Popular stories current in the society, like those contained in Panchatantra, other popular fables and tales as in epics, puranas, Brihathkatha -as could be
made out from translations in Sanskrit from original Paisachi, in Somadeva's Kathasarithsagara and in,Brihatkathamanjari, Gaatha Sapthasathi, Bhetaala
Panchavimsati, Simhasana Dwaathrimsika or vikrmarka charita, Suka sapthathi, Vethala Panchavimsati, Dasakumara charitha, Mudrarakshasa, Sahasra sirachheda chintamani, etc., represent society as being in a state of undeclared war of one class with another. The spheres of economics and ethics were considered to be mutually exclusive. In the pursuit of economic ends a man is not to be inhibited by any moral restraint. He should gain his ends by
suppressing all obstacles relentlessly and ruthlessly.

<b>Here, thus , was a frank admission that economic pursuits of different sections in society do not necessarily harmonize. Society is not a brotherhood in which the interests of all are cooperative and mutually recocileable. The inference is suggested that, in the absence of restraints and regulations, society in the pursuit of its material ends, will be torn asunder by the conflicting interests of its component elements.</b>

<b>The Dharmasastra regulations were framed to remove the possibility of such a state of affairs. The Dharmasastrakaras realized the baneful effects of class conflict. To minimise the rigours of competition, they advocated social cooperation. The idea of a competitive society is foreign to the ideal propogated by the Dharma sastras. The modern idea of "sarvodaya" will be a correct interpretation of this ideal. </b>The Dharmasastras envisage a society in which the interests of different economic classes and groups are ordered with eference to harmony of the whole, an ultimate moral and spiritual purpose informing the functioning of each social element. They plan that, in the pursuit of economi motives one class may not be unnecessarily exploited by the other.----- they cannot be brandedas being inmical to any particular economic activity and hence discouraging it. -- all such activities have their own importance in the overall set-up of society.. They also recognise, that in any economic activity there is a possibility of one class exploiting the other groups and aim at minimising the chances of competition and conflict, by framing regulations to cover all possible aspects of that matter.

<b>Even morally retrograde groups were not without protection of the Smritis, wherever their interests were likely to suffer. -- this can be seen in the rules about debt, labour and trade.</b>
Google Cache of a good book discussing the Indian historians: Contemporary Interpreters of Ancient India/Shankar Goyal
Could this be related to the Saraswathi-Sindhu Civilization?

Iran: Prehistoric Fashion Center?

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Stylish clothing, jewelry, makeup and textiles, all dating to 5,000 years ago, have been unearthed in Iran, according to recent reports issued by the Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies and the Cultural Heritage News Agency of Iran. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Many related artifacts were found in women's graves located at a site called Burnt City, in the <b>Sistan va Baluchistan province of southeastern Iran</b>. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The dresses resemble the draped <b>cloth saris </b>worn by modern-day Indian and Pakistani women, according to the scientists.
Two links on Andhras:
1) Indus script and Telugu

2) Ancient Histroy of Andhras

Has interesting side details on Satavahanas and Pallavas and Andhras.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Many related artifacts were found in women's graves located at a site called Burnt City, in the <b>Sistan va Baluchistan province of southeastern Iran</b>.

.... The dresses resemble the draped <b>cloth saris </b>worn by modern-day Indian and Pakistani women, according to the scientists.

There is also the evidence of the indian zebu being transferred all the way up the caspian regions of iran. I would think this would be a strong case to qualify for an indian archeological complex being transferred out-of-india.
<!--QuoteBegin-ramana+Mar 18 2006, 01:53 AM-->QUOTE(ramana @ Mar 18 2006, 01:53 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Two links on Andhras:
1) Indus script and Telugu


<b>thats one fantastic site !!!

here are some choice quotes - </b>

It is more or less certain that the Indus seals (hieroglyphic or not) found in the remains of Mohenjodaro and Harappa represent the proto-dravidian language.

But it is certain that dozens of languages of south India belong to the Dravidian family. This root family has most likely descended from the Saraswati-Sindhu civilization. Thus, the ancient predecessor to Telugu and other Dravidian languages had a script as depicted in the Indus seals.

For some inexplicable reason, later Indian languages that succeeded the saraswati-siMdhu proto-dravidian language seem to have suspended the use of formal script for a long time -perhaps more than fifteen centuries. The arrival of Aryan tribes into the sub-continent might have triggered this in some fashion.

It is said that the tradition of writing (IN INDIA) had been revived sometime after the death of Buddha although early European researchers tended to believe that this revival might have been around the eighth century before Christ. The catalyst for this revival seems to be the increased contact with central Asia. Perhaps the big factor in this is the so-called invasion (of parts of Indus valley) by Alexander of Macedonia in 326 BCE. He brought with him a large army as well as a large entourage of courtiers which included scribes of various hues. The preferred script used by these scribes seems to be Aramaic. Incidentally, Aramaic became the international script of that time and even Jesus of Nazareth made use of Aramaic more than his native Hebrew. These scribes were prized for their skills and they spread out over a vast area of Asia. They were employed in large numbers by most of the kingdoms in the middle-east including the powerful Achaemenid empire. They introduced the Aramaic script to Indians. This was adopted by the peoples of the northwestern India in the form of KharOSThee. The Nanda kings (and Mauryan emperors who succeeded them) at Pataliputra adopted a script inspired by it for all their official communications.


so the AIT and dravidian origion of indus valley are true afterall !!

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->CIS indologists to coordinate

Vladimir Radyuhin

MOSCOW: Meeting for the first time since the break-up of the Soviet Union, indologists from the former Soviet States have decided to set up a coordinating council in studying the modern day India.

Prof. Rostislav Rybakov, head of the Moscow Institute of Oriental Studies, which hosted the meeting, said it was a historic decision. "Indologists have always been a close-knit family and today they are facing the task of rebuilding a single scientific environment that had been fragmented after the collapse of the Soviet Union," Prof. Rybakov said opening a two-day seminar that has drawn over 60 students from India, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

Indology centres in the Confederation of Independent States (CIS) have survived despite heavy financial crunch but interaction among them had been weak, he pointed out. Counsellor Abhai Thakur, head of the Jawaharlal Nehru Cultural Centre at the Indian Embassy here, lauded the "enormous and abiding" contribution made by the CIS indologists to further their nations' relations with India.

The Indian Embassy here, which supports the event financially and organisationally, would welcome any suggestions to promote Indian studies in the CIS countries, he said, adding that the coordinating council would sponsor joint research projects by CIS indologists.

Head of the Russian Centre for Indian Studies Tatyana Shaumyan invited colleagues from other former Soviet States to take part in preparing a five-volume encyclopaedia of India that Russian indologists plan to bring out in the next few years.

More evidence of colonization of Egypt

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->More evidence of colonization of Egypt

My dear Nikita and Sanjna: Niranjan Shah,---------------

So far we saw that people from India using Indus Valley area and coasting along Mekran, Oman, Yemen and Ethiopia migrated to land now known as Nubia and Egypt. They carried their culture and named this new country, rivers, and mountains in Sanskrit. We also saw that these people had developed shipbuilding and navigation since very remote period for ocean travel so that they can carry their culture to new lands.
Here we have more evidence of this cultural colonization of Egypt by ancient India. Author Paul William Roberts states in “Empire of The Soul: Some Journeys in India.” “Recent research and scholarship make it increasingly possible to believe that the Vedic era was the lost civilization whose legacy the Egyptians and the Indians inherited. There must have been one. There are too many similarities between hieroglyphic texts and Vedic ones, these in turn echoed in somewhat diluted form and a confused fashion by the authors of Babylonian texts and the Old Testament.” Max Muller had also observed that the mythology of Egyptians is wholly founded on Vedic traditions. Eusebius, a Greek writer, has also recorded that the early Ethiopians emigrated from the Indus river and first settled in the vicinity of Egypt.

Louis Jacolliot (1837-1890), who worked in French India as a government official and was at one time President of the Court in Chandranagar, translated numerous Vedic hymns, the Manusmriti, and the Tamil work, Kural. This French savant and author of La Bible Dans L’Inde says: “With such congruence before us, no one, I imagine, will appear to contest the purely Hindu origin of Egypt.... Friedrich Wilhelm, Freiherr von Bissing (1873-1956) wrote in Prehistoricsche Topfen aus Indien and Aegypten: “The land of Punt in the Egyptian ethnological traditions has been identified by the scholars with the Malabar coast of Deccan. From this land ebony, and other rich woods, incense, balsam, precious metals, etc. used to be imported into Egypt.”

As mentioned in W.H. Schoff writes in “Periplus of The Erythreans” by W.H. Schoff, Colonel Speake says: “All our previous information, concerning the hydrography of these regions, originated with the ancient Hindus, who told it to the priests of the Nile; and all these busy Egyptian geographers, who disseminated their knowledge with a view to be famous for their long-sightedness, in solving the mystery which enshrouded the source of their holy river, were so many hypothetical humbugs. The Hindu traders had a firm basis to stand upon through their intercourse with the Abyssinians. Colonel Rigby now gave me a most interesting paper, with a map attached to it, about the Nile and the Mountains of the Moon. Lieutenant Wilford wrote it, from the “Purans” of the Ancient Hindus. As it exemplifies, to a certain extent, the supposition I formerly arrived at concerning the Mounta-ins of the Moon being associated with the country of the Moon, I would fain draw the attention of the reader of my travels to the volume of the Asiatic Researches in which it was published. It is remarkable that the Hindus have christened the source of the Nile Amara, which is the name of a country at the north-east corner of the Victoria N’yanza. This, I think, shows clearly, that the ancient Hindus must have had some kind of communication with both the northern and southern ends of the Victoria N’yanza.” Let pioneer Indologist and Sanskri-tist Sir William Jones conclude in Asiatic Researches, Volume I: “Of the cursory observations on the Hindus, which it would require volumes to expand and illustrate, this is the result, that they had an immemorial affinity with the old Persians, Ethiopians and Egyptians, the Phoenicians, Greeks, and Tuscans, the Scythians, or Goths, and Celts, the Chinese, Japanese, and Peruvians.” — Grandpa’s blessings.


Extraordinary similarity between Indian, Egyptian cultural symbols

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Extraordinary similarity between Indian, Egyptian cultural symbols
By Niranjan Shah------ My dear Sanjna and Aryan, So far we have seen, how India had developed shipping and navigation in a very remote period, how they went from Dwarika or Sindh to Oman, Yemen, Ethiopia, Nubia and established kingdom of Egypt. Scholars have confirmed and provided evidence to support colonization of Egypt in India more than eight thousand years ago. We also saw that these people gave Sanskrit names to the new countries, rivers and mountain.

Sudha and Rashmi Chokshi of Detroit want to know about any cultural similarity between ancient India and Egypt. There is a striking similarity in use of lotus both in India and Egypt in relation to rivers. The flower so prolific in the imagery of both India and Egypt, grows out of the waters and opens its petals to be warmed by the sun: to be fertilized. From the earliest imagery in stone at Sanchi, of the first century BC in India, the lotus is associated with Sri, the Goddess of Fertility, who is later invoked as Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth and Abundance - being worshipped by Buddhists, Jains, and Hindus alike. Surya, signifying the fertilizing powers of the sun as he travels through the universe, holds the lotus in each hand.

In Egypt, the blue lotus appears in the earliest wall paintings of the VI Dynasty at the pyramids of Saqqara and in all funerary stelae. They are offered to the deceased, and held in the hand as thought they possess the power to revitalize them: to bring the deceased back to life. Carved out of blue lapis, along with the golden falcon and the sun that are the symbols of the God Horus, the lotus appears among the funerary treasures from the tomb of Tutankhamen. The lotus then, becomes a leitmotiv, a symbol most apt since its links the waters with the sun, the earth to sky - signifying fertility and regeneration in both Egypt and India. For, it is the seed of the plant which spells out the cycle of birth-decay-death and rebirth that forms the essential pattern of belief in these two riverine and agricultural societies.

In India and Egypt, the rivers Saraswati and Ganga and the Nile have brought sustenance to the land and nourished these civilizations which have survived more than five millennia. Both these rivers, the Ganga and the Nile, are personified and worshipped. They provide the dramatic backdrop against which myths and indeed created, to explain the topographic conditions of the land. From its source in the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal, the Ganga flows some 2,500 kilometers, through the rich deltaic region which is known as Aryavarta, in the most densely populated area of India. Puranic myths recount the divine origins of the the Ganga, as she fell from heaven to earth in response to penance performed by the sage Bhagiratha: to bring the powers of water to an earth parched for over a thousand years.

At the seventh century seaport of Mahabalipuram in south India, this epic theme is entirely carved out of a granite rock spanning almost 50 feet. A natural cleft in the rock allows the rainwater to pour down in great torrents - as though this were the descent of a mighty river. Besides this cleft are carved the serpentine forms of the naga devatas (snake divinities), the sun and the moon, the gandharvas and kinnaras (celestial beings), the hunters and animals of the forest - all of them re-joicing in this great event where the divine rive is celebrated as the savior of all mankind. Here is a spectacular instance of the way in which myth is used to relate man to the environment. In this myth one senses an acute awareness of the ecological balance which needs to be maintained: of the vapors of the sea rising to the sky through heat, described in the myth as tapas, and then falling back to earth as the divine river, to flow down through the matted locks of Lord Shiva, on to the Himalayas, to flow back into the ocean. A

s in India, so in Egypt, the river is personified in human form. A sandstone relief from the temple of Rameses II at Abydos depicts Hapi, god of the Nile, holding a pair of blue lotus stalks in his hands; suspended from the God’s right arm is the ankh, the symbol of life. Unlike the Ganga, the blue god of the Nile is male, but with one female breast to symbolize his role as nourisher - releasing the waters each year to provide sustenance to mankind. Grandpa’s Blessing<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

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