Showing posts with label Indus civilization. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Indus civilization. Show all posts

Hinduism - What Is Vrtra?


(“obstruction”) In one of the hymns from the Rig Veda (1.32), the earliest Hindu holy literature, the name of the demon slain by the storm-god Indra.

Vrtra is characterized in this hymn as a snake who obstructs the free flow of water, thus his name.

The action in this hymn is one of Indra's defining acts, in which he kills the snake, slices it up, and lets the rivers flow freely.

Some interpreters who view the Vedas as historical records have perceived in this song the approaching Aryans bursting the dams built by the Indus Valley civilization, however there is scant evidence that such an episode really occurred.

Kiran Atma

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Hinduism - What Are The Seals Of The Indus Valley?


Small square or rectangular-shaped slabs of soapstone, considered to have been official seals for merchants and other persons, are the most perplexing items from the Indus Valley civilization.

More than two thousand of these seals, which typically combine a graphic picture with an inscription, have been discovered by archaeologists.

The majority of the seal pictures depict normal household animals, mainly the bull, although a few depict mythological species like unicorns or even stranger human beings.

One well-known example of the latter depicts a human person strangling a tiger with each hand, maybe a fabled hero.

A horned guy appears in two different poses, one standing in front of a table and the other seated in a yoga-like stance.

He is often recognized as an early version of the god Shiva and offered as proof that Shiva's religion originated in the towns of the Indus Valley.

Much less is known about the seal inscriptions since the writing system for these inscriptions has never been decoded, despite several ideas.

One of the reasons for the dispute is a difference of opinion on the Indus Valley culture.

Those who think that the Indus Valley civilization existed before the Aryans arrived and was separate from them search for proof in the Dravidian language family, which is linguistically distinct from the Indo-Aryan language family.

Those who believe in the Indigenous Aryan theory, which links the Indus Valley civilization to that of the Aryans, look for proof in the Vedas, the oldest Sanskrit literature.

None of these explanations have been proven conclusive, and the inscriptions themselves add to the difficulties of understanding this writing.

Linguists have discovered 419 distinct symbols, which seems to be too numerous for the script to be alphabetical yet too few for each sign to stand for a single word, as in Chinese.

Because of the modest size of the seals, the inscriptions are usually quite brief.

Because the text is so short, it is difficult to grasp because it lacks the contextual patterns that a lengthier text would provide.

Linguists are working with a succession of brief and unconnected textual pieces in order to decipher these inscriptions.

The writing could most likely be read conclusively if a bilingual inscription was discovered, but in the absence of such a key, the issues may prove intractable.

F. Raymond Allchin's The Archaeology of Early Historic South Asia was published in 1995, while Romila Thapar's Interpreting Early India was published in 1992.

See David Frawley's The Myth of the Aryan Invasion of India (1994) and Vedic Aryans and the Origins of Civilization (1997) for the Indigenous Aryan perspective.


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Hinduism - What Are The Artifacts And Art Found From The Indus Valley?


Despite the abundance of artifacts discovered in Indus Valley civilization towns, things that may be considered as works of art are surprisingly few.

There are no signs of decorating within or outside the structures, and no monumental architecture has been uncovered.

Several stone statues of:

  • Male torsos, 
  • The head and torso of a bearded man, 
  • A copper statue of a young woman naked except for bangles and jewelry (said to be a "dancer" because her arms and legs are lifted), 
  • Statues of women with elaborate headdresses believed to be icons for a Mother Goddess cult, 
  • And images of plants, animals, and humans carved into the walls of Harappa, a city on the Ravi River.

The latter exhibit delicate and fairly realistic work, demonstrating both a high level of skill in stone working and the ability to create realistic figural figures.

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A Revolutionary New Perspective on the Vedic Aryans Yoga as we know it now is the result of millennia of practice. 

In the darkness of ancient Indian prehistory, the origins are forgotten. 

  • Yoga is referred to be "archaic" (puratana) in the Bhagavad-Gita (4.3), which was basically written in its current form about 500-600 B.C.E. 
  • Western academics have usually underestimated Yoga's antiquity, and until recently, the common wisdom was to associate it with the esotericism of the Upanishads, which have been dated to the sixth or seventh century B.C.E. but are considerably older. 
  • Recent research have convincingly shown the existence of Yoga during the period of the Rig-Veda, as a loose framework of concepts and practices (which we may term "Proto-Yoga"). 
  • More crucially, the Vedic canon's antiquity has been pushed back significantly. 

Long before 1900 B.C.E., the majority of the Rig-Veda, the most significant of the four Vedic hymnodies, was written. 

In a moment, I'll go through the importance of this day. The so-called Aryan invasion concept, which has since been debunked by fresh evidence, has been embraced by many generations of Western academics. 

  • The Sanskrit-speaking Vedic tribes entered India between 1500 and 1200 B.C.E., inflicting death and devastation among the local (allegedly Dravidian) people, according to this out-of-date concept. 
  • This theory, which was championed by renowned academic Max Muller, soon became a popular orthodoxy that has stood the test of time despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. 
  • Archaeologists discovered the ancient towns of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro on the banks of the Indus River in Pakistan in 1921, posing the first challenge to the Aryan invasion hypothesis. 
  • Instead of challenging their beliefs about the Vedic Aryans' origins, most scholars merely pushed back the date of the purported invasion by several hundred years to accommodate for the archaeological evidence. 

They misinterpreted some archaeological discoveries, particularly the apparent signs of violence in certain Mohenjo-Daro layers, since they were influenced by the invasion concept. 

In the meanwhile, although most archaeologists have abandoned this theory, many Indologists continue to cling to outdated interpretations. 

  • The reason for this is because the alternative, which is strongly indicated by the evidence, necessitates a complete revision of our understanding of India's early civilization history: the Vedic Aryan invasion of India never happened! Rather, they have a long history in India. 
  • The book In Search of the Cradle of Civilization presents and discusses the substantial evidence that refutes the Aryan invasion theory. 
  • As a result, there will be no need to go over all of the details again, and a general picture should suffice. 

The Vedic Aryans belonged to the Indo­ European language family, which shared many ethnic characteristics among its various members. 

The Vedic Aryans are linked to the Celts, Persians, Goths, and a number of other extinct language and cultural groups. 

  • They are also distant relatives of those of us who speak English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, and a variety of other Eurasia-derived languages. 
  • All Indo-European speakers are believed to be descended from the Proto-Indo-Europeans, who date back to the seventh millennium B.C.E. 
  • Scholars disagree on where they came from, although it is thought to be either in Central Asia or Eastern Europe. 

According to Colin Renfrew, a well-known linguist, the Proto-Indo­ Europeans originated in Anatolia (now Turkey) and expanded from there to the IJ north, west, and east. 

  • In any case, it's currently thought that the Proto-lndo-European groups were firmly established in Eurasia by 4500 B.C.E., if not before. 
  • Following that, the different dialects separated into their own languages, including Vedic Sanskrit. 

According to Renfrew and others, Indo-European languages and dialects were spoken across Europe by at least 3000 B.C.E., and a significant Indo-European presence remained in Anatolia, as shown by the Hittite state of 2200 B.C.E. 

  • We may confidently dismiss the notion that the Vedic Aryans came in India as late as 1 500 B.C.E., based on this and other evidence. 
  • They may have lived there for millennia, having descended from a branch of the Proto-Indo-European society that already existed on the subcontinent. 
  • The archaeological evidence, as well as the internal evidence of the Rig Veda, also point to this conclusion. 

Significantly, aerial photos have shown that the Sarasvati, the Rig-most Veda's famous river, which was located to the east of the Indus, began to exist about 1 900 B.C.E. 

The devastating drying up of this massive river, which may have been triggered by a large tectonic earthquake followed by climatic and environmental changes, took millennia. 

  • It resulted in the abandonment of many cities and villages, as well as the transfer of the Vedic civilization's heartland to the Ganges (Ganga) River. 
  • To put it another way, the Rig-Veda had to have been written before the Sarasvati vanished. 

In reality, astronomical allusions in this ancient hymnody date from the third, fourth, and even fifth millennia B.C.E., but they have been dismissed as later creations. 

  • However, because astronomical back calculations are notoriously difficult, there is no reason to dismiss references to solstices in the Rig-Veda and other early scrip­tures as subsequent interpolations, especially given that virtually all scholars marvel at the fidelity with which the Vedic hymnodies have been transmitted over millennia. 
  • Another significant discovery is that Babylonian mathematics (around 1 700 B.C.E.) was heavily impacted by India's intellectual geniuses. 
  • A. Seidenberg, a history of mathematics with no special allegiance to India, came to this conclusion. 
  • The building of complex altars that were symbolically linked to the structure of the macrocosm seems to have spawned Indic mathematics from the brahmins' ritual culture. 

The Brahmanas were the first to introduce mathematical concepts here, which were later developed and formalized in the Shulba-Sutras. 

The earliest Brahmanas are said to have lived about the year 2000 B.C.E. 

  • Some scholars date them to 3000 B.C.E., while others date the Vedas to 4000-5 000 B.C.E. or even earlier. For the oldest Brahmanas, I've used a preliminary date of 2500 B.C.E. 
  • These findings re-ignite the debate about the connection between Sanskrit-speaking Aryan tribes and the Indus civilization, which existed from approximately 2800 B.C.E. to 1 900 B.C.E. 
  • It should also be emphasized that the 2800 B.C.E. date is just a guess, since the oldest layers of Mohenjo-Daro have yet to be excavated due to constant floods. 

The city's foundations, which are buried under twenty-four feet of muck, may be hundreds of years old. 

  • The more than two thousand additional sites along the Indus and Sarasvati rivers have also not been excavated. 
  • Some of these settlements, which are mostly located along the banks of the former Sarasvati (rather than the Indus), may be much older. 
  • The city of Mehrgarh, in India's far northwest, has been dated to 6500 B.C.E., marking the beginning of a remarkable continuity of cultural expression. 

More and more researchers are beginning to believe that the magnificent civilization was built by the Vedic Aryans themselves. 

  • There is nothing in the Vedas themselves that contradicts such a conclusion. 
  • Those passages that have traditionally been regarded as evidence for the violent invasion of India by earlier generations of academics may readily and more rationally be construed in different ways. 
  • Some of the Rig-Vedic hymns describe wars that are either mythical or, if historical, plainly recall intertribal Aryan warfare, rather than the alleged subjugation of the local population by Vedic Aryans as alien aggressors. 

Scholars have often remarked on the striking similarity in symbolic and cultural themes between the Indus-Sarasvati civilization and later Hinduism. 

This continuity becomes completely understandable when we associate the Vedic Aryans with the people who lived in the cities and villages around the Indus and Sarasvati rivers. 

  • When the Aryan invasion model's bias is eliminated, the Vedic oral/scriptural tradition easily fits the archaeological data. 
  • We no longer have to contend with the enigma of magnificent cities devoid of literature, or a rich literary legacy devoid of a material foundation. 

These new discoveries have also revolutionized our view of Yoga's history. 

  • The majority of modern academics believe that evidence of early Yoga may be found in the Indus towns. 
  • This has long been seen as proof of the Yoga tradition's non-Vedic origins, although this notion was only feasible due of a total misunderstanding of the Vedic Aryans' spirituality. 
  • The Vedas include as many proto-yogic concepts as the lndus-Sarasvati artifacts. 
  • This Proto-nature Yoga's will be explored soon.

As far as we can tell, the archaeological discoveries and literary evidence of the Vedas, especially the Rig-Veda, are completely complementary. 

They provide us a good idea of what seems to be the world's oldest continuous civilization, beginning with the early Neolithic culture represented by the town of Mehrgarh in the seventh millennium B.C.E. and continuing with modern Hinduism. 

  • However, the Vedic/Indus/Sarasvati civilization was not only the oldest on Earth, but it was also the biggest early antiquity society, much larger than Sumer, Assyria, and Egypt combined. 
  • According to what we know (and archaeology has just scratched the surface so far), this massive civiliza­tion spanned an estimated 300,000 square miles by the end of the third century B.C.E., an area bigger than Texas, the second-largest state in the United States of America.

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