Reaching Our Fullest Potential with Vedic Spirituality, by Stephen Knapp

These days fewer people are interested in taking up anything that they cannot immediately apply to their lives. The common question is: “What is this going to do for me?” Or “What am I going to get out of this?” So if we cannot relate the purpose of Vedic culture or its spirituality to people today, especially to the youth, then it is not likely they will take an interest. Yet, everyone is interested in gaining more out of life, or reaching their higher potential, which, actually, has been the purpose of the Vedic system from time immemorial. Yet we have either forgotten that, or have failed to present that purpose properly. So this is one angle we can use to impress the importance of Vedic culture and its spiritual philosophy to people today.

Everyone should want to reach their highest potential. But to do this we also need to focus on our spiritual potential, which is actually a way to become much more refined, developed and useful than merely focusing on our material possibilities, or only developing marketable skills for earning a big paycheck.

The Sri Isha Upanishad, Mantra 11, explains: “Only one who can learn the process of nescience (or material knowledge) and that of transcendental knowledge side by side can transcend the influence of repeated birth and death and enjoy the full blessing of immortality.”

One point here is that through the advancement of material knowledge we do not solve the problem of our reincarnation or being completely free from repeated birth and death through numerous situations in this material world. We have no idea how many lives we have lived, nor how many more we will go through unless we add the study and application of spiritual knowledge to our lives. What is the point of this human existence if all we do is find better ways to eat, sleep, have sex, produce children, and advance our economic development and living condition? And then we simply repeat this pattern life after life? For what? Animals work in the same way, and often times with fewer problems. So what is the difference?

The way to solve all of the problems of life and to perfect this existence is the prime opportunity of human life, which is to become advanced in spiritual knowledge as well as in our material occupation. One without the other is incomplete. This is the only way we can reach our highest potential and not merely work at attaining success in a temporary material profession.

Spiritual knowledge is also the means to attain real happiness, especially through realizing our true identity, and thus become fulfilled by our real mission in life. It is also the means to attain a permanent blissful life after we leave this body. If we forget our true identity as a spiritual being, we will think that this body and this life, and everything connected with it, is the all in all. We will think that the happiness of this mind, body and senses is the complete goal of everything we are meant to do here in this world. But this is like being caught in a dream, attached to clinging to a hologram, a false conception of life. No one is truly happy in such a fleeting situation since the happiness therein is always being interrupted by different forms of suffering, or stress, anxiety, worry, concern, and of course disease, old age and death. No one wants that because that is not our real nature, it is not our real identity, but it is forced on us from the beginning of simply having a material body. The human body is a wondrous machine, a means to accomplish the goal of life, but it is still a machine that we are situated inside. It is not who we really are, like a driver in a car. We may have a fabulous and beautiful car that we are proud of, or an old clunker we are ashamed to be seen in, but in either case we are only the driver. We are not the car itself. So we must realize who and what we are and regain our spiritual identity beyond the body we have, and also realize our connection with the Supreme.

Real happiness is possible to experience when we rise above the limitations of our material condition and misidentification as a temporary material being. The modern trend of material civilization is to increase our material pleasures, which has brought about the false aim of life and the goal to acquire more money, more facilities, more consumerism, more manipulation of nature, etc. Whatever it takes. This has also brought about more problems in politics, economics, international relations and intrigue, lack of cooperation, and increases in corruption, pollution, the constant threat of war, terrorism, new diseases, a decrease in natural foods, and so on. And people call this progress? Is this any way to live? Is this the trend into the future?

Therefore, it is best to use this body and mind to live simply with an honest career and then cultivate spiritual knowledge and help others do the same.

INDIVIDUAL BENEFITS

1. Everyone wants to find joy and happiness. For what other reason are you working or studying? We are working to acquire money, security, a better future for ourselves or our family, or to make improvements in our occupation. Yet, we need to clearly understand that spirituality is the key to real happiness. And by that I mean the happiness that reaches the soul, and not that which merely occupies the ever-changing demands of our mind and senses. It is through spiritualizing our lives that we can change our attitude to joy, and not look at things with the humdrum attitude of “Another day, another dollar” or something similar. This is not unusual because we often see that without spirituality life becomes empty and without real purpose or any deep meaning. By adding spirituality to our lives, it often improves our attitude and is reflected in every other area of our life, including job performance, relations with others, family cooperation, our flexibility, the way we handle problems or inconveniences, and the way we may even inspire others to do the same.

2. Spiritualizing our lives means to spiritualize our consciousness. It is through such spiritual awareness that we can recognize the transcendental essence of all beings. We are all spiritual in nature, but this remains invisible to us as long as we do not uplift the vibratory level of our consciousness. So if we want respect, and if we feel that people need to increase their appreciation and love for each other, this can easily be accomplished by recognizing the similarity we have with one another on the spiritual level. It is through spirituality that can most easily change the selfish interest we have toward ourselves and our clan to a broad or universal love.

Most problems between people or countries or ethnic groups reflect the lack of love, compassion and understanding we have for each other, which is the essence of the Dharmic principles we need to be follow.

3. Spirituality also offers an uplifting view of life. Once we are truly spiritualizing our lives, whatever troubles we have begin to appear as if they are only an interesting play of energy in which we are temporarily involved. We can see that such difficulties are not actually part of our real identity. They are only going on around us and we take them seriously only to the degree that we feel they are affecting us and our bodily or mental happiness. In other words, they affect us to the degree in which we are in the illusion.

Spirituality gives us the courage and lightheartedness to face the difficult situations in life, or the drama around us, and to realize we are different from such externals. By this I mean that we can perceive that we are spiritual beings that are interacting on the temporary material platform. Therein whatever joy or sorrow we experience comes and goes like the winter and summer seasons. It is temporary and that is all we can expect from it because that is all it can offer. But without spiritual understanding, we take these temporary ups and downs and the pursuit for material happiness very seriously. So if we want more than this, or something deeper, we need to reach our real identity through the spiritual path.

4. Spirituality teaches us the art of living, but also the art of dying. This is the means by which we recognize the temporary nature of life and that we must always be prepared for death and for attaining the best position in our next existence. It is considered that without such preparation our life is not complete and we have not used it properly, regardless of whatever else we may accomplish.

5. Spirituality means that you see the big picture. And what is the big picture? It is that this life is but a moment on our great path toward self-realization. That great path encompasses many lifetimes. Each one is like a flash of lightning in the span of eternity. So our progress through the big picture evolves around and depends on our spiritual development. That is all we carry with us from one life to the next. Whatever material assets we attain in this life ripens in this one existence only, whereas spiritual progress is viewed over many, many lifetimes. Whatever spiritual benefits we are experiencing now may have been developed many lifetimes ago. Similarly, our spiritual practice today may provide us with benefits in this life as well as many lifetimes that may follow.

The big picture is that all you have ever been through, including so many lives before this one, has brought you to this very moment. You are the son or daughter of the past, the product of all your experiences and actions. But you are also the father of your future, starting from this particular point in time. It is up to you to decide what to do and where you will take yourself from this point onward. Your possibilities are endless, and spiritual development only increases the possibilities that you have.

6. Genuine spirituality also means that we accept responsibility for ourselves, what we do, how we affect others and our environment, and how we have the power to change our situation. So if we want to improve such things, then we can find that the basis of Dharma and genuine spirituality is also the foundation for the improvement of everything in this world, starting with our own sphere of influence, however big or small that may be. However, we need to emphasize that such spirituality is above the conventional form of religions, which are often dogmatic and based on the emphasis of local traditions and ethnic recognition. This means that their foundations are not the Universal Spiritual Truths that are found in Sanatana-dharma that can be applied to everyone, at anytime and anywhere in this universe. Real Dharma means those spiritual principles that can be applied directly to the soul or real identity of the living being regardless of the temporary material condition or status in which he or she is presently found.

GLOBAL BENEFITS

Just as there are individual benefits to the practice of spirituality in one’s life, naturally there are also blessings that will manifest on a global level.

First of all we have to understand that lust is public enemy number one. Most of the crimes that are committed in the world stems from individual or collective lust. We see around us that many advertising campaigns are based on invoking the desire to acquire something. This desire is based on satisfying the mind and senses for one’s own selfish happiness, and this pleasure is called lust. And we must look within ourselves to see how much lust is there and how to be free of it.

If it is allowed to grow, this lust can develop into a covetousness over land, possessions and power. If we want something, we may work for it honestly, or we may make schemes involving corrupt activities to acquire it. If this sort of lust increases amongst people, the whole planet becomes chaotic. And when the rulers of the planet exhibit such tendencies, then there is no chance for peace in the world, as we can plainly see. Therefore, the collective practice of spirituality can help rid the world of such lust and its various damaging effects.

We must also understand that the two prime factors that keep the world from being united is the presumption of racial superiority and the desire to conquer and convert. These are the antithesis of Dharmic principles. But how many religious paths do we see that incorporate the idea of conquering regions of the world through religious conversions, or that even rejoice in the number of converts they have established? This is not the way of true spirituality.

So it is time for a new breed of humanity, a new species of human beings. This doesn’t mean a new genetic code. It means the appearance of a new level of consciousness, a new level of awareness in which the principle of Dharma is a natural part of life and a natural part of our respect toward each other. And the freedom to pick one’s own level of spiritual development that one needs in this lifetime. This is the world of Vedic Dharma.

Vedic Dharma is full of possibilities. It is open for the individual to develop as he or she needs to. It allows for a person to start at whatever level is best for him or her, and set the goal of one’s spiritual development that they find most suitable. Dharma does not involve teaching a dogma that must be adhered to in order to be saved, or suffer the threat of going to hell and eternal damnation if you don’t fit the mold. That is too limited for the Universal Spiritual Truths found in Vedic Dharma. We have to keep in mind the “big picture,” as previously mentioned. This means that spiritual progress is usually made over many lifetimes, and that this one life is only a small portion of the path we are on.

We also have to be a clear channel through which the unconditional love from God flows through us toward everyone else. To do that we also have to recognize the Divine in all species of life. That can be done only through the serious application of spiritual principles.

The point is that the more spiritual you become, the more you can perceive what is spiritual, and the more the spiritual strata becomes a reality to enter or experience rather than a mystery to solve. Plus, the more you spiritualize your consciousness, the less confused you will be about what is your true identity and, thus, the true purpose of life. It is an automatic process that the more spiritual you are, the more clear is everything else. If society could increase in the number of people who are evolving in this way, naturally the whole world will improve accordingly.

HOW DO WE DO THIS

So how do we manage our time to include the necessary spiritual practice? Spiritual practice means two things, the sadhana and the study. The sadhana itself can mean your meditation, your chanting of japa such as the Hare Krishna mantra, reciting your prayers, or doing your puja or worship. The value of this is often underestimated. What it does is incorporate the spiritual vibration into your consciousness. It raises the frequency level in which you perceive and operate. The next part is to do the study, reading the spiritual books to educate yourself in the tradition and your understanding of spiritual knowledge and of the importance of your Dharmic practice. Such books may include the Bhagavad-gita, Upanishads, Puranas, etc.

So as we do this on a daily basis, we will naturally carry that spiritual consciousness with us wherever we go. For example, you may have a special room where you do your spiritual activities, and if you are burning incense, you might carry the scent with you in your clothes. Then wherever you go and whenever you smell the aroma, it makes you think of the atmosphere in your special room. When that happens you may feel the same uplifting mood that you felt when doing your spiritual practice in your room. So we have to learn how to carry that special atmosphere in our consciousness throughout the day.

So if you are convinced as to why we should spiritualize our lives, then we have to make spirituality as one of the main foundations of our life. It must be viewed as a corner stone upon which we build everything else. So it must be one of the main ingredients in our daily schedule.

You have a life with only so much time, which means you must be careful with how you spend it. An example is that your life can be represented by a glass of water. The glass can only hold so much, and once it is filled, that is it. You can’t put any more into it. So how will you fill it? If you have an assortment of stones, sand and water, what will you begin to put into it first? If you fill it with small stuff, then you will not have any room for the big things, the important items. So first you put in the rocks, or those things which are the most important. These may include school, work, family, but also your spiritual practice. These are four stones. So put those in the glass before you put in anything else. Then in between the stones will fit the sand, the small stuff. And even in between the sand will fit the water, the smaller and less important things. But first always include and make time for the important items, the rocks or foundation of your life, and spiritual practice must be one of them.

So you should set aside a couple hours or more in your daily schedule to do your spiritual practice. If you take an hour, then you can divide it into a half-hour for your sadhana or meditation, and another half-hour for your study. Then as you develop, increase that. Spiritual life is like a train that runs on two tracks, and your sadhana and study together provide the necessary tracks for smooth progress for that train to keep on a rolling. The early morning is always the best time to do this. But some time in the evening also may be suitable for you. However, whatever time you choose, it is necessary to continue with it. Like a daily shower, you can’t stay clean unless you do it everyday. Similarly, you can’t stay spiritually purified or uplifted and enthused unless you are steady at it in your daily schedule.

Furthermore, you may never know when you will need your spirituality. You may need it when dealing with others, settling disputes, carrying out your family duties, and so on. But most importantly, you will never know when you will meet with the final test when you die. That certainly separates those who are prepared from those who are not. I had a friend who spent all of his time on his college studies. Then with only six months left to go before qualifying for his Ph.D., he died in a car crash. Of course, it was completely unexpected. So you never know when death may strike. So the point is that you continue to make your plans for this life and take care of your responsibilities, but also make time for your spiritual development, which prepares you for everything else, this life and beyond.

The final point to remember is that any path of accomplishment requires self-sacrifice, no matter whether you are attempting to acquire material benefits or spiritual advancement. We are always looking to develop our future, no matter whether it is with a better job, a nicer home, or financial security for our family, or other things. But if you can reach that strata where there is no more sacrifice, no more war, no more difficulties, but instead find universal love and understanding and cooperation, don’t you think that is a sacrifice worth doing? Don’t you think that is an endeavor worthy of attempting? Don’t you think the knowledge of this is worth spreading to let the whole world know of it or how to reach it?

There is no reason why we cannot bring an increasing amount of the spiritual atmosphere to this earth planet. We can indeed change things here and bring improvements in so many ways. But we need to start with ourselves first, and that depends on our spiritual practice and the spiritual principles we incorporate into our own lives, which can bring about deep and personal spiritual realizations and insights. From there it can spread through our sphere of influence, however big or small that may be. We all want peace and cooperation, but you will never get that as long as we see and operate according to our differences, which will always be there on the material platform. So we must rise above that to a higher level of reality, the higher dimension. And this dimension is all around us. All we have to do is train our mind and consciousness to be able to tune into it so that it opens up to us. Then through our continued spiritual development we can enter into it. That is the ultimate advantage of spiritualizing our lives and making time for it. And to do that most effectively is why the process of yoga has been provided and described by the great rishis and Vedic literature.

Plus, the easiest yoga to perform, especially in this age of Kali-yuga, is bhakti-yoga, the yoga of devotional love aimed at the Supreme Lord. This also includes the Yuga Dharma, which means the most effective path for this age, which is the chanting of the Lord’s holy names, especially as found in the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra. This is what should be studied, practiced and shared to provide the most practical level of spirituality for everyone. Then our higher potential in life can be attained and our superior purpose can be accomplished.

How the Essence of Religion Came From Vedic Culture, by Stephen Knapp

(An Excerpt from the book Mysteries of the Ancient Vedic Empire, by Stephen Knapp)

As we look over the various cultures and religions of the world, we may ask if all religious systems are divine. Though they seem to conflict with each other on various points, still there are many areas of truth in which they all agree. Or you could say that some of the same essential truths can be found within each of them. And by a careful comparison, we can trace the essence of that truth back to what was originally explained in the Vedas, the oldest of all written texts, and, more importantly, what was the most developed of all cultures and philosophies.

In this way, we can also trace these essential truths back from one religion to another, and how the Vedic culture influenced Zoroastrianism, which influenced Judaism, which influenced Christianity, which influenced Islam. However, each succeeding religion became more distant from the original spiritual teachings and understanding, until each one thought that, rather than offering truths and processes to be followed, they promoted the idea that they were also the only way, superior to all else. When, actually, they were becoming increasingly narrow in their views, and less able to give people true enlightenment by showing how to uplift their consciousness to perceive the spiritual dimension, but demanding merely blind faith to follow it or go to hell, or some other such thing. This strategy hardly offers any real improvement or social upliftment, other than offering what may be a few moral principles, but little of any genuine spiritual development. And this is the loss, and what becomes a complete misdirection of the actual purpose of a spiritual path.

One of the early religions that others are traced back to is Zoroastrianism. But even this can be traced further back to the Vedic culture and the Rig Veda. To help explain some of this, we will reference Suhotra Swami’s book Dimensions of Good and Evil, where he describes what he calls the “Zoroastrian Nexus.”

It starts with a person named Jarutha described in the Rig Veda in less than complimentary terms, wherein he is against the sage Vasistha. It is also said (RV 7.9.6) that Vasistha had later killed Jarutha, possibly with Agni, fire. In the Rig Veda (7.13.1) Agni is also called the demon (asura) slayer.

In the Vedic texts, Jarutha is also called Jarasabdha. The Bhavishya Purana (Chapters 139-140) describes the history of the Maga Jarasabdha. The word maga refers to a dynasty of priests whom Jarasabdha was a progenitor, born in the family line of vira aditya, the powerful Aditya, meaning the sun god. So worship of the sun was important in their line.

Mandala Seven of the Rig Veda talks about Vasistha’s devotion to Varuna. Varuna was a great god of the rivers and seas, and was also called Asura-maya in the Rig Veda. Asura-maya means lord of the demons, the non-Vedics, because Varuna had power over the demonic undersea creatures. (Asura comes from the Sanskrit asun-rati, meaning he who gives life or rejuvenates, and maya because he measured out the sky. The word asura later became connected with those who were against the Vedic standards.)

Vasistha was fathered by the demigods Varuna and Mitra. It seems that both Jarutha and Vasistha were priests of Varuna, but a rivalry broke out between the two. Because of this rivalry, Jarutha left the Vedic culture and preached something different. He did not accept the Vedic standards and began to promote a different view, which was not accepted by Varuna. Due to this disagreement, Varuna cursed Jarutha and rejected him from Brahminical culture. So Jarutha was expelled from the region of Bharatvarsha, and he went to Persia. There he was able to propagate his own religion and philosophy.

In the region of Persia, Jarutha became known as Zarathustra, and began what became known as Zoroastrianism, called after his other name Zoroaster, which is a Greek derivative from the name Zarathustra. But even historically it is known that his early teachings aroused great hostility towards him.

In ancient Iran, the hereditary priestly caste was called the Magi. So it appears that the lineage of Maga Jarasabdha (Jarutha, Zarathustra) began from Varuna, the chief of the solar deities. In the Zoroastrian Zend Avesta, the name of God is Ahura-mazda, which matches Varuna’s Vedic title of Asura-maya. So, Zarathustra changed what had been the Vedic view into a different philosophy. Ahura Mazda, which means Wise Lord, became the name of the Zoroastrian God.

Furthermore, the Vedic demigods are headed by Brihaspati, whose other name is Angirasa, from where we get the name of Angra Mainyu in Zoroastrianism, who is depicted as the devil or Satan. So the Satan of Zoroastrianism is the Vedic spiritual master of the demigods.

In this way, Jarutha took the side of the demons and, though accepting Varuna as the main god, he promoted the idea that the non-Vedics were superior in their position. Basically, his philosophy was a rejection of the Vedic view, and he refashioned it in his own way. So there were still many Vedic aspects that remained. Even the language in the Zend Avesta is very similar to Sanskrit, and contains much pre-Zoroastrian material that can be related to the Rig Veda.

Nonetheless, Jarutha/Zarathustra called the demons Ahuras, or the pious ones, opposite of the Vedic view of them being called asuras, the demons. He also called them the daivas, similar to the Sanskrit name devas for demigods. In this way, the whole philosophy of Zoroastrianism was to take the Vedic philosophy and turn it upside down. So in Zoroastrianism the power of darkness became the power of light because he agreed with the non-Vedic point of view.

The point is that now we had Angra Mainyu as the name of the devil and Ahura Mazda as the name of God in this new faith. This idea of a God and a counterpart known as the devil, who could threaten the plans of God and divert the good intentions of the pious, now appeared for the first time, and is what filtered down through other religions of that region, including Judaism, Christianity and then Islam. The basis of this whole idea was pure concoction. And this idea and lack of higher spiritual knowledge is what has negatively affected any of the philosophies that followed this premise. This was because Zoroaster had accepted one demigod in contrast to another, rather than accepting the purer form of Lord Vishnu or Krishna as the Supreme, who has no rival. However, even in the Vedic system there may be evil spirits, subtle beings who are misguided and malevolent, and who cause trouble, but they are not beings who can threaten the will of the Supreme Lord.

As Suhotra Swami explains further: “It is curious how Zoroastrianism amplified this dualism [of a devil against God]. In the Vedic version, Asura-maya, Varuna, lord of the waters, dwells in the depths of the cosmic Garbhodaka Ocean, far below the earth. Yama’s [Yamaraja, the lord of death] underworld heaven and hell are very near that ocean; in the matter of chastising the sinful, Yama and Varuna are closely allied. In the Zoroastrian version, Ahura-mazda (Varuna) is the lord of light who gave his servant Yima an underworld kingdom called Vara, a realm that, while dark to human eyes, is mystically illuminated. In the Vedic version, Mitra and Varuna are a pair of demigods who in ancient times served the Supreme Lord as a team by supervising the realms of light and darkness. In the Zoroastrian version, Varuna is the supreme lord. Mitra is his light. The mantle of darkness (evil) is worn by an unceasing enemy of Ahura-mazda named Angra Mainyu or Ahriman. It appears that Angra Mainyu is the Vedic Angirasa (Brihaspati), spiritual master of the devas and a great foe of Shukracharya, the spiritual master of the asuras. From Mahabharata 1.66.54-55 we learn that Varuna took the daughter of Shukracharya, named Varuni, as his first wife.

“In the Vedic version, the powers of light and darkness or good and evil are not ultimate. By taking them to be ultimate, and moreover by reversing them (portraying the asuras as good and the devas as evil), Zarathustra twisted the Supreme Lord’s purpose for the cosmos that is administered on His behalf by such agents as Varuna, Yama and Brihaspati. Zoroastrianism was a revolutionary departure from Vedic philosophy.” (Suhotra Swami, Dimensions of Good and Evil, pp. 120-121)

Professor Norman Cohn, who heads an influential school of thought among religious historians, feels that the teachings of Zarathustra are the source of the philosophy of the apocalypse, the end of times–the belief in a final war between God’s army of angels and the devil’s army of demons. It is this idea that has continued down through various religions today.

In Zoroastrianism, this apocalyptic war was expected to start with the appearance of a messiah or savior, named Saoshyant, who would prevail against the forces of evil, at which time the dead would be resurrected from their graves. Then there would be a great assembly which would be a final judgment of all souls, the wicked ones would be destroyed and the righteous would become immortal, and the kingdom of God would be established on earth, wherein the righteous would enjoy life forever. It was the first time this sort of idea was promoted.

This has paved the way for many believers who are waiting for the end of times, the end of days, and they see signs of its approach in every evil thing that happens around them, expecting that they will be delivered to eternity in a resurrected but purified material body on a new earth. All of this shows a lack of deeper spiritual understanding, which has also paved the way for what can be seen as a sense of religious superiority, the feeling that my religion is better than yours and is the only way to salvation in the eyes of God. And from this has spread humongous quarrels, torture, hatred, and war, from nothing more than what has been traced back to a product of someone’s imagination simply because he rejected the Vedic system.

This borrowing from one religion to another can be recognized in many other ways as well. So let us look at a few more. For example, the idea that Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden that we find in the Bible, and where they are tempted to eat of the forbidden fruit by Satan, is almost entirely taken from the Jewish scriptures. Also the description of angels, such as Gabriel, Michael, Azrael, and Israfil, who have particular positions and purposes as we find in the Jewish tradition, which took these from the Persians, was also borrowed by Mohammed, who was said to have been given what became the Islamic teachings from the angel Gabriel.

Another example is the bridge to heaven. This is called Al Sirat by Mohammed. This is said to go over the abyss of hell, and is said to be finer than a hair, and sharper than the edge of a sword. Being led by Mohammed, Muslims are supposed to easily cross over it, whereas the wicked will lose their footing and fall into hell beneath them. However, the Jews had previously spoken of the bridge of hell, which is also no wider than a thread. But going further back, both the Muslims and the Jews are equally indebted to the Zoroastrians who had taught that on the last day, all men will be forced to pass over such a bridge, in their language called Pul Chinavad. 1

Even the concept of heaven and hell can be traced back to Zoroastrianism. Of course, there were also descriptions of both the heavenly and hellish planets in the Puranic texts. This was adopted by Zarathushtra and explained in the Gathas that heaven, or Garo-de-mana (Garotman in Persian), is where the angels sing hymns to God. This is described in the Yas xxxviii, 10; xxxiv, 2, which agrees with a similar description in Isaiah VI and Revelation of St. John.

Another example is the idea of paradise. In the Islamic faith, after crossing the Al Sirat, the faithful will reach paradise, which is situated in the seventh heaven. In this paradise, there are beautiful gardens, furnished with springs, fountains, and rivers, along with milk, honey, and trees with trunks of gold which produce the most delicious fruits. And more attractive than that are the 70 or so ravishingly beautiful girls called hur-ul-ayun on account of their big black eyes. However, most of this description is indebted to the Jews, for which, unfortunately, many of the Muslims have a great dislike. In the Jewish texts, such as Gemar Tanith, f. 25; Biracoth, f.34; Nidrash Sabboth, f. 37, all relate the future mansion of heaven as being a delicious garden in the seventh heaven. And the Midrash, Yalkut Shewini also describes it as having three gates with four rivers flowing with milk, wine, balsam, and honey. Anyone can see the similarities, one religion inheriting or borrowing from the other.

However, the Zoroastrians also described paradise in a similar manner. Paradise was called Bihisht and Minum which indicates crystal, where the righteous will enjoy all manner of delights, especially the company of huran-i-Bihisht or black-eyed nymphs of paradise, the care of whom is under the angel Zamiyad. So this seems to be the roots of the nymphs of paradise that was borrowed by later religions. Also, in one of the later writings of the Parsis (a group of Zoroastrians), the Nama Mihabad (40 & 41) describes that the lowest order of heaven is where the residents will enjoy all the delights of this world; nymphs, male and female slaves, meat and drink, clothing and bedding, articles of furniture, and other things too many to describe. 2 Of course, this sounds like hardly anything spiritual, but merely a continuation of the comforts any materialist would dream of having. Surely an enticing picture for those who think they deserve it.

Even Satan or the principle of evil is often described as a serpent, first in the Zend Avesta in Zoroastrianism, which in turn gave this to Christianity, and then on to Islam. Thus, all these often depict the evil principle as a serpent. 3 The German philosopher Schopenhaur also recognized this, as he stated in his book Religion and Other Essays (p.III): “And this confirms the views which has been established on other grounds that Jehova is a transformation of Ormuzd [Ahura Mazda], and Satan of the Ahriman [Angra Mainyu] who must be taken in connection that Ormuzd himself is a transformation of Indra [the Vedic demigod of heaven].”

We must consider, in this example, that in the Vedic philosophy, heaven is still a part of the temporary material creation and is not a part of the spiritual world. Therefore, Indra is a demigod and not the Supreme Being of the spiritual domain, which is beyond and outside the material worlds.

Another idea was the resurrection of the body, which actually is not found in the Vedic principles, but started with the Zoroastrian doctrine. The whole idea that during the last judgment the body would be resurrected was then accepted by the Jews, who lent it further to the Christians, especially through the teachings of Paul who was previously a Jew anyway, and then it went to Islam. The seed of this idea can be found in the Zend Avesta where it states (Zamyad Yasht XIX, 89-90): “This splendour attaches itself to the hero (who is to rise out of the number) of prophets (called Saoshyant) and to his companions, in order to make life everlasting, undecaying, imperishable, imputriscible, incorruptible, for ever existing, for ever vigorous, full of power, (at the time) when the dead shall rise again, and imperishableness of life shall commence, making life lasting by itself (without further support). All the world will remain for eternity in a state of righteousness; the devil will disappear from all those places whence he used to attack the righteous man in order to kill (him), and all his brood and creatures will be doomed to destruction.”

Herein we can see the Vedic premise of the eternal nature of the soul within the body, which will continue after the death of the body, but it has been misinterpreted to be the idea that the body is what will rise again. That it will live without the influence of the illusory nature, which here is suggested as the freedom from the presence of the devil, the principle of evil or illusion. And once free in this way, the living being can reach his full potential, such as described here as being indestructible, vigorous, everlasting, etc. This is all but a misinterpretation of the Vedic spiritual concepts, but filtered through the idea that the body is still the permanent identity of the eternal soul. We could discuss this for a lengthy time, which I have already done in some of my other books, but here we will leave it at this.

Even the Islamic phrase from the Koran “La-Elah-illiullah” (there is no God but God) is nothing but a repeat of the Zoroastrian formula “Nest ezad Magar Yazdan.”

Also, as every chapter of the Koran (except the ninth) opens with the words “Bismillah uar Rahman er Rahim,” this merely corresponds to the same formula which begins the Zoroastrian books, namely “Banam Yazdan Bakhshish gar dadar,” both basically meaning “in the name of the most merciful God.” So one is not so unique from the other, though they do not realize this.

As the Vedic followers called themselves Aryas or Aryans, the Parsis also called themselves Aryas, as described in the Zend Avesta, in such places as, “To the glory of the Aryas,” (Sirozah I, 9); “We sacrifice unto the glory of the Aryas made by Mazda,” (Sirozah II, 9); “How shall the country of the Aryas grow fertile,” (VIII, Yast, 9); “Ahura Mazda said, If men sacrifice unto Vretreghna made by Ahura… never will a hostile horde enter the Aryan countries, nor any plague, nor leprosy, nor venomous plants, nor the chariot of a foe, nor the uplifted spear of a foe.” (Bahram Yast, 48)

The question should be: Is it not about time for the Muslims to realize how much of their doctrines, ideas and sayings were inherited from previous cultures and religions, like Judaism and also Zoroastrianism? It can hardly be called a new revelation or special message from God. Each religion professes that their God is merciful, kind and loving. Or that their prophet or savior is giving something new. But as we find by studying the Koran and the Old Testament of the Bible, the revengeful nature of the God of the Torah is very much the same as the threatening nature of Allah in the Koran, where there are certain passages that tell the followers to make war upon and slay the infidels. These are both far different than the love for your neighbor that was recommended by Jesus in the New Testament. 4

As explained by Ganga Prasad in his book The Fountain-Head of Religion: “As for Zoroastrianism, its theism is in no way inferior to that of either Judaism or Mohammedanism. ‘Ahurmazda’ says the Rev. L. H. Mills, ‘is one of the purest conceptions which had yet been produced, and–we might add–is undoubtedly the prototype of the God of the Koran as well as the God of the Bible… But however superior to the belief of his contemporaries, the theism of the Koran can hardly be said to be superior to that of Judaism. The claim of the Koran, therefore, to be an independent revelation of God, on the plea of teaching a better theism than Judaism and Zorastrianism, to which it can be traced, is untenable.’” 5 Plus, the conception of Ahura-mazda was but a carry-over from the basics of the Vedic understanding of God.

There are also many similarities between the parables of Buddhism and Christianity, and between the lives of Buddha and Christ. Both are said to have been miraculously born, at which time they were surrounded by great omens, with a star presiding over each, in which case for Buddha was the Pushya Nakshatra. Both were visited by wise men upon their birth, such as when the rishi Asita came to King Suddhodana to see the newborn Buddha, and wise men came to Jerusalem to worship Jesus, as explained in the book of Matthew. And as the evil spirit of Mara came to tempt Gautama before he became the Buddha, Satan also tempted Jesus. Furthermore, many of the teachings of Jesus in the area of compassion, mercy, kindness, and inward development were also the same as or similar to those of Buddha. We could go on with many more of these kinds of similarities, others of which I have described in my book Proof of Vedic Culture’s Global Existence.

Furthermore, just as in the Vedic traditions there was the spiritual river of the Ganges (considered to be descending from the spiritual Karana Ocean) or the Yamuna (considered spiritually purified because Lord Krishna played in it), and wherein devotees would take a dip to be spiritually purified, the Hebrews also accepted the Jordan River whose waters were used for the same purpose, especially for baptizing to be free from one’s past sins.

In regard to the similarities between Sanskrit and the language of the Zend Avesta, even Max Muller recognized this very clearly. He went on to explain in his Chips From a German Workshop (Volume I, pp. 82-3): “It is clear from his (Eugene Burnouf’s) works and from Bopp’s valuable remarks in his ‘Comparative Grammar’ that Zend in its Grammar and Dictionary is nearer to Sanskrit than any other Indo-European language; many Zend words can be retranslated into Sanskrit simply by changing the Zend letters into their corresponding forms in Sanskrit… It differs from Sanskrit principally in its sibilants, nasals and aspirates. The Sanskrit s, for instance, is represented by the Zend h… Where Sanskrit differs in words or grammatical peculiarities from the northern members of the Aryan family, it frequently coincides with Zend. The numerals are the same up to 100. The name thousand, however, sahasra, is peculiar to Sanskrit and does not occur in any of the Indo-European dialects except in Zend, where it becomes hazanra.” 6

Even the biblical rendition of the universal creation, as described in Genesis, was adopted from that given in the Parsi scriptures, which is but a summary of that given in the Vedic literature, which is practically the most elaborate version of the process of the universal creation found anywhere in any religious text.

One last example of similarities that we will look at is the premise for the next appearance of a savior, or a second coming, after which everyone will rise again to live in a world of peace and God consciousness, without evil, or when their tribe will triumph over their enemies. This gives any believer a great deal of faith and hope in the future that they will be saved or delivered, if they continue to follow that particular religion. However, the idea that God or His prophet will appear again is not new, but was first related in regard to the avataras of God in the Vedic tradition.

As Lord Krishna explains in Bhagavad-gita (4.7): “Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion–at that time I descend Myself.”

However, unlike other religions, Lord Krishna descends in regularly scheduled appearances for specific purposes. It is not that He will descend one last time and that is the end. That is incomplete information. But He will continue to appear in the material creation as the need arises, throughout the various time periods known as yugas. These avataras are fully described in the Puranas so we can understand when and how often They will appear. Therein we see that God regularly descends into the material worlds in His different forms at different times to give society the spiritual knowledge they need to know in order to attain the purpose of life.

The Vedic texts also describe the next appearance of God in the future, this time as Lord Kalki when He will appear at the end of Kali-yuga to bring in the next golden age known as Satya-yuga. Therein He will kill all the miscreant kings and rulers and relieve the world of this burden and bring back a time of peace, harmony, cooperation, and God-consciousness. And this schedule of avataras continues through Satya-yuga, Treta-yuga, Dvapara-yuga, and again into Kali-yuga, all of which continue to repeat as many as 1000 cycles, called a kalpa or day of Brahma. In any case, this is the basis of any religion’s idea for the next coming of God.

All of these various similarities would show that many of the world’s religions and their legends and traditions, and even their precepts are to a great extent derived from Vedic culture. They may not be directly the same, but it is easy to see upon careful study that Christianity owes much to Vedic Dharma. Or as Max Muller said in his book Chips From a German Workshop (Volume I, Introduction, p.11), “There has been no entirely new religion since the beginning of the world. If we once understand this clearly, the words of St. Augustine, which have seemed startling to many of his admirers, become perfectly clear and intelligible, when he says, ‘what is now called the Christian religion has existed among the ancients and was not absent from the beginning of the human race until Christ came in the flesh, from which time the true religion, which existed already, began to be called Christian.’” 7

In this way, we can understand that the earliest of spiritual knowledge, which can be accepted as that found in the most elaborate Vedic texts, has but filtered down through generations, and that each successive religion did little but adopt in its own way or interpretation of what was already there, and that the essential spiritual truths found in all religions are but inheritances of the more elaborate teachings found in the Vedic texts and traditions. Thus, Vedic Sanatana-Dharma is like the roots and trunk of the tree of the various religions, which are like the branches of the tree. Just as rivers ultimately meet at the sea with a common goal, in spite of coming from different areas and conditions, as if coming to their ultimate unity, similarly Vedic Dharma is like the parent authority and root of all other religions.

Unfortunately, the Parsi, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religions do not discuss in depth such things as the law of karma and reincarnation, even though these are mentioned in places or hinted at, but hardly described or analyzed very deeply. They do not discuss the nature or size of the soul, the soul’s transcendence beyond the body, nor do they mention the idea of a Supersoul. Nor do they describe much about the nature of God, His characteristics, personality, how He looks, or His numerous pastimes, except in only the briefest of ways. It seems, therefore, that the higher spiritual knowledge actually becomes reduced in succeeding religions as the information is passed down over the following generations of religious traditions. In Judaism, Christianity and then Islam, the true depth of spiritual knowledge was increasingly forgotten. Even the detailed descriptions of God and His real loving nature, as found in the Vedic literature, has similarly deteriorated in passing from the Vedas and Puranas into the Zend Avesta, the Old Testament, Bible, and further down the line. Therefore, to get back to the heart of the matter, we must get back to the roots, where it all began, with the Vedic tradition.

The evidence provided in this chapter concludes that at a very remote time, long before the dawn of history, the forefathers of all Aryan nations, such as India, Persia, Afghanistan, and even most if not all of Europe, lived under the banner of one common religion. Their common name was Arya, which they gave to Aryavarta (ancient India, the land of the Aryans), as well as to Iran (Persia), and other countries. In this way, Sanskrit was the mother of all Aryan languages, just as the Vedic religion is the parent of all religions which prevailed in all branches of the Aryan family, and we can recognize the remnants of this in many parts of the world today, if only we are educated in understanding what is the real Vedic Aryan culture.

It is this Vedic culture that gave humanity the deepest level of spirituality that has descended and circulated around the world in the various ways and into the religions that followed. The previous chapters of this book should have clearly illustrated this point.

Furthermore, there are three distinctions between any of the bone fide religions today, and that is: 1) The area in the world in which the religion was taught, 2) the time in history in which it appeared, and 3) the capacity of the people to understand it. In this way, only so much spiritual knowledge could be given if the people of the area were not able to comprehend deep spiritual knowledge. Saint Tukaram also saw these distinctions when he said, “the teaching is as per the capacity of the taught.” Because of this, in some cases the knowledge is given in a straightforward manner, such as we see in the Vedic literature in which so many questions are asked, and so many deep answers are provided, with the means by which the student can actually realize and perceive the spiritual truths that are described. In other religions we see the use of parables and stories, in which the followers can only understand the preliminary principles, which often go no farther than establishing the moral ethics by which to live. They often do not hold much in the way of higher spiritual principles. This means that to understand deeper spiritual truths, the person must go elsewhere.

This is like the difference between an abridged dictionary and an unabridged dictionary. They both hold the same knowledge, but one is more complete than the other. The unabridged dictionary will contain hundreds or thousands more words than the abridged dictionary. This is the same difference between the religions. The Vedic texts will contain much more spiritual knowledge and information on understanding God or the Absolute Truth. So the more complete religion or spiritual path will give you the deeper means of understanding who you are and your relationship with God and all other beings. It will also provide you the process by which you can spiritualize your consciousness to the degree in which you can begin to directly perceive this higher reality. It is much more mature and developed, over and above those that are simplified and elementary. A most developed religion will also facilitate one’s becoming free from attachment, selfishness, violence, malice and hatred, by which a person can more easily focus on the spiritual nature of oneself and God, and the unity we all share with each other in that light. Whereas a religion that is incomplete and allows followers to hold on to these negative characteristics, especially violence, hatred toward others, emphasis on our differences, etc., will keep one bound up to this earthly plane of duality, which is the exact opposite purpose of any genuine spiritual process.

Vedic Dharma, on the other hand, is defined as that which leads to glory, peace, prosperity, and elevates society to liberation from this earthly existence. It is the understanding that this world is not our real home, never was and never will be. But it is also the portal through which, by living the right way, can propel us into the spiritual dimension, far away from this temporary earthly existence. This is why Vedic Dharma is meant to help all of society, and not divide society into those who are “saved” and those who are not. It teaches society to discard hatred toward one another and attain mental peace and internal contentment. This is actually meant to be the fundamental principle of all religions, which then encourages right conduct for attaining realization of the Eternal Truth, the reality of who and what you really are, and your relation to the Supreme Lord.

However, the attainment of moksha or liberation from material existence is unique in Vedic culture because most religions proclaim the ideal of merely reaching heaven, which is still considered part of the material creation. Yes, moksha also means rising above material suffering, ignorance, and the attainment of the Eternal Truth and bliss, right here and right now, in this life. It is not necessarily something that only can be attained after death. Whereas the non-Vedic religions often put emphasis on moral conduct, social behavior, ethics, etc., for reaching heaven in the next life, mainly with the idea of continuing the enjoyment of material facilities, yet give little emphasis on deeper spiritual philosophy. So in such religions there remains many philosophical questions for which there are limited answers. But it is up to the individual to choose which process he or she wants to accept in reaching a natural level of spiritual realization. That is why no Vedic or Hindu sect has tried to propagate or increase their followers through the use of the sword or by force, or through fear of torture, intimidation, or other such means. There is no history that shows the use of brutality for the propagation of Vedic culture. It is spread only through the purity of its teachings and the means by which people can use it for their own enlightenment. It is that means alone which is meant to attract people to investigate and then follow this spiritual way of life. It is meant to be a natural process, not forced.

This is why Dharmists, Hindus or devotees do not interfere in the religion of others and expect the same respect in return. This is also why anyone of any religion can easily live amongst those who follow Vedic Dharma.

Vedic culture contains a philosophy that goes back to a time beyond history, and has developed over millenniums. Even Sanskrit is considered to have descended from the Shabda-brahman, or the spiritual vibration that exists outside of the material creation, beyond time and space. Furthermore, we find that the insights given by the great rishis and sages are coming from a spiritually realized level of consciousness that is beyond mere faith or cultivated knowledge. Such insights and revelations come from a level of direct spiritual perception and experience, with the means and directions given to others so we can follow them to attain our own realizations.

The completeness of the Vedic spiritual philosophy can be seen with but a small analysis. This does not mean there are not great amounts of wisdom in all religions, but where else are you going to go to understand the roots of the knowledge of karma, or reincarnation, or the science of the nature or size and location of the soul, or the understanding of the Paramatma or Supersoul, and the means to unite with the Supreme? Where else are you going to find such detailed descriptions about God, or our relationship with God, or so many instructions given by God, or the means to acquire a direct connection with God? What other religion has such clear descriptions about the spiritual realm and how to reach that level of existence? We need to recognize the unique nature of the Vedic tradition and its philosophy.

Furthermore, the Vedic spiritual path offers the view that every creature is sacred. Spiritually we are all of the same quality. As explained in the Sri Ishopanishad: ishavasyam idam sarvam, yat kincha jagatyam jagat, which means that everything in this creation, both animate and inanimate, is part of the Lord’s energy, and that God’s energy is within all beings. Therefore, every creature has a spiritual significance. Plus, through the Vedic system of spiritual development, everyone can access that spiritual perception. It is not a matter of faith, but a process of realization. The Vedic process begins with faith, as all spiritual paths do, but if the path is practiced properly, it is expected to bring you to the level of having your own spiritual realizations and perception. And to do this there are so many means of assistance, such as the instructions from the Vedic texts, guidance from the realized gurus, and the association of other sadhus or devotees, all meant to help inspire and propel you forward to higher and higher levels of spiritual perception, realization and experience.

However, in Western religions, it is often presented that a follower can only attain such access through the approval of or connection with the church or religious institution. Without that, then you are finished, sometimes to eternal damnation, depending on the religion. In this way, the religion creates an air of exclusiveness, that the only way you can understand anything spiritual or have a connection with God is by accepting that particular church or denomination, or their specific savior or prophet. And, of course, the only people that are privileged to being “saved” are those who follow that same religion. Quite honestly, this is a very shallow level of understanding, like showing your allegiance to your religion by disliking, demeaning or even hating all others.

The Vedic or Dharmic approach to spiritual development is the antithesis of this. There is no restriction to spiritual knowledge, and all questions can be asked. The avenues of spiritual discovery are the guru (spiritual teacher), shastra (spiritual texts) and sadhus (other devotees or sages). This leads to the freedom of choice in the ways of understanding and ultimately experiencing the Divine. This is the real goal of human life. Everyone is coming from different backgrounds, and everyone has different lessons to learn. So personal investigations to find spiritual truth should be allowed and provided for everyone. It should not be controlled or limited by any certain religious persuasion.

This should especially be the case when we realize the premise of this chapter, that the essence and heart of all spiritual knowledge is descending from Vedic culture, Sanatana-Dharma, and that to get to the deepest level of spiritual understanding would be to take a deeper look at what it has to offer all of humanity, socially and individualistically, not only for peace, compassion, cooperation, harmony, etc., but to attain a closer link with the Divine. Nothing else offers a higher level of happiness, completeness or fulfillment, which is ultimately for what everyone is searching. This is the purpose of life.

CHAPTER NOTES

1. Prasad, Ganga, The Fountain-Head of Religion: A Comparative Study of the Principal Religions of the World and a Manifestation of Their Common Origin From the Vedas, The Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, U.P., 1927, p.5.

2. Ibid., p.6.

3. Prasad, Ganga, The Fountain-Head of Religion: A Comparative Study of the Principal Religions of the World and a Manifestation of Their Common Origin From the Vedas, The Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, U.P., 1927, p.59.

4. Ibid., pp.11-13.

5. Ibid., p.13.

6. Muller, Max, Chips From a German Workshop, Volume I, pp. 82-3.

7. Prasad, Ganga, The Fountain-Head of Religion: A Comparative Study of the Principal Religions of the World and a Manifestation of Their Common Origin From the Vedas, The Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, U.P., 1927, p.26.

A Look at India From the Views of Other Scholars

(Excerpt from Mysteries of the Ancient Vedic Empire by Stephen Knapp)

First of all, why should we consider that Ancient India was so important? What did it have to offer anyone? And what did others have to say about Vedic India? And what difference does it make if it did spread over such a wide area and into so many different countries? And even if it did, why would this make a difference today?

If we have not studied the ancient Vedic culture, then there may be more about it that we should understand. After all, it is still the oldest living indigenous culture on the planet. It is not dead yet, and never will be. That alone says something of its universal nature. And if we have studied it, then we should review some of the impressions that India made in the minds of other people to better understand its importance.

THE WIDE INFLUENCE OF VEDIC INDIA

First of all, as explained in The Ancient World by John Haywood, “India is the birthplace of two of the world’s great religions, Hinduism and Buddhism. Today, nearly half the world’s population live in countries whose cultural development has been influenced by one or both of these religions. Apart from India itself, these countries include China, Tibet, Nepal, Japan, Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and Indonesia. The influence of ancient India was not just limited to its religions. Indian mathematicians were the first in the Old World to discover the mathematical value of zero, and gave the world quadratic equations and the now universally used system of ‘Arabic’ numerals. The alphabets of Tibet, Mongolia and all of the Southeast Asian languages are of Indian origin. Yet despite their wide-ranging influence, the early civilizations of the Indian subcontinent are the least well known of any of the ancient civilizations.” 1

Let me add that how the influence of the Vedic culture of ancient India, Bharatvarsha, spread throughout the world is also hardly understood. This is why I have put together the present volume. And, as mentioned above, the advancements that were developed within and spread outside of India is also rarely recognized, which is why I have explained these ancient advancements, many of which the world now takes for granted, in my book Advancements of Ancient India’s Vedic Culture.

Many others also had complimentary things to say about the importance of India and its Vedic traditions, such as Mark Twain: “Let us remember,… That India was the motherland of our race, and Sanskrit, the mother of Europe’s languages; that she was the mother of our philosophy, mother, through the Arabs, of much of our mathematics, mother, through Buddha, of the ideals embodied in Christianity, mother, through the village community, of self-government and democracy. Mother India is in many ways the mother of us all.” 2

Mark Twain went on to say: “This is India! Cradle of the human race, birthplace of human speech, mother of history, grandmother of legend, great-grandmother of tradition, whose yesterdays bear date with the moldering antiquities of the rest of the nations,… one land that all men desire to see, and having seen once, by even a glimpse, would not give that glimpse for the shows of all the rest of the globe combined. India had the start of the whole world in the beginning of things. She had the first civilization; she had the first accumulation of material wealth; she was populous with deep thinkers and subtle intellects. India is the prime source of human development.” 3

William H Gilbert said in his Peoples of India: “In the history of human culture, the contribution of the Indian people in all fields has been of the greatest importance. From India we are said to have derived domestic poultry, shellac, lemons, cotton, jute, rice, sugar, indigo, the buffalo, cinnamon, ginger, pepper, sugar-cane, the games of chess, pachisi, and polo, the zero concept, the decimal system, the basis of certain philological concepts, a wealth of fables with moral import, an astonishing variety of artistic products, and innumerable ideas of philosophy and religion such as asceticism and monasticism.”

In this same regard, Rabindranatha Tagore also related, “I cannot but bring to your mind those days when the whole of Eastern Asia, from Burma to Japan was united with India in the closest ties of friendship.”

A. L. Basham also felt that India was extremely important, as he says in his Cultural History of India: “There are four main cradles of civilization, from which elements of culture have spread to other parts of the world. These are, moving from east to west, China, the Indian subcontinent, the ‘Fertile Crescent’, and the Mediterranean, especially Greece and Italy. Of these four areas, India deserves a larger share of the credit than she is usually given, because, on a minimum assessment, she has deeply affected the religious life of most of Asia, as well as extending her influence, directly or indirectly, to other parts of the world.”

Pierre Sonnerat also explained, “We find among the Indians the vestiges of the most remote antiquity… We know that all peoples came there to draw the elements of their knowledge… India, in her splendour, gave religions and laws to all the other peoples; Egypt and Greece owed to her both their fables and their wisdom.” 4

The German historian and novelist Friedrich Schlegel saw in Sanskrit the “original language,” or what is now called the Proto-Indo-European language, and declared in 1803 that, “Everything without exception is of Indian origin… ” 5 Also, “Whether directly or indirectly, all nations are originally nothing but Indian colonies… The oriental antiquity could, if we consented to deepen it, bring us back more safely towards the divine.” 6

Regardless of how much various religions in the past or even today have tried to wipe out or minimize the advanced nature of Vedic culture, they still could not do that, as explained as follows by Higgins: “The peninsula of India would be one of the first peopled countries, and its inhabitants would have all the habits of the progenitors of man before the flood in as much perfection or more than any other nation… In short, whatever learning man possessed before his dispersion may be expected to be found here, and of this, Hindustan affords innumerable traces… notwithstanding … the fruitless efforts of our priests to disguise it.” 7

Even Vedic culture’s deep spirituality is found to be the underlying basis of other religions, as explained by Maurice Maeterlinck: “Thanks to the labors of a science which is comparatively recent, and more especially to the researches of the students of Hindu and Egyptian antiquities, it is very much easier today than it was not so long ago to discover the source, to ascend the course and unravel the underground network of that great mysterious river which since the beginning of history has been flowing beneath all the religions, all the faiths, and all the philosophies: in a word, beneath all the visible and everyday manifestations of human thought. It is now hardly to be contested that this source is to be found in ancient India. Thence in all probability the sacred teaching spread into Egypt, found its way to ancient Persia and Chaldea, permeated the Hebrew race, and crept into Greece and the north of Europe, finally reaching China and even America.” 8

Professor James Traub, in India–The Challenge of Change, goes on to say: “Five thousand years ago, civilization of India was age-old. This civilization should be much older with many millennia of human endeavor behind it. Five thousand years ago, when the peoples of Europe were hauling stones across the face of the continent and grubbing out a meager existence, Indians throughout what is now western and southern Pakistan and Punjab, and even farther to the East, were living in elaborately designed cities, with sturdy houses, broad, straight roads, public baths, and drainage systems that were hardly equaled until the Roman era three thousand years later…. But five thousand years ago, according to archeologist John Marshal, the Indus Valley civilization was already age-old and stereotyped on Indian soil, with many millennia of human endeavor behind it. Usually we think of Mesopotamia as the cradle of civilization, but evidence suggests that the society of northwestern India, which has preserved its essential spirit over countless generations, deserve equal billing.”

Not only was the Vedic Indian influence recognized to the west of India, but also far to the east, as explained by Rene Grousset in Farther India and the Malay Archipelago (Volume II): “In the high plateau of eastern Iran, in the oases of Serindia, in the arid wastes of Tibet, Mongolia, and Manchuria, in the ancient civilized lands of China and Japan, in the lands of the primitive Mons and Khmers and other tribes of India-China, in the countries of the Malaya-Polynesians, in Indonesia and Malay, India left the indelible impress of her high culture, not only upon religion, but also upon art, and literature, in a word, all the higher things of spirit… There is an obstinate prejudice thanks to which India is constantly represented as having lived, as it were, hermetically sealed up in its age-old civilization, apart from the rest of Asia. Nothing could be more exaggerated. During the first eight centuries of our era, so far as religion and art are concerned, central Asia was a sort of Indian colony. It is often forgotten that in the early Middle Ages there existed a ‘Greater India,’ a vast Indian empire. A man coming from the Ganges or the Deccan to Southeast Asia felt as much at home there as in his own native land. In those days the Indian Ocean really deserved its name.”

Will Durant in his Story of Civilization: Our Oriental Heritage, goes on to say, “It is true that even across the Himalayan barrier India has sent to us such questionable gifts as grammar and logic, philosophy and fables, hypnotism and chess, and above all, our numerals and our decimal system. But these are not the essence of her spirit; they are trifles compared to what we may learn from her in the future. As invention, industry and trade bind the continents together, or as they fling us into conflict with Asia, we shall study its civilization more closely, and shall absorb, even in enmity, some of its ways and thoughts. Perhaps, in return for conquest, arrogance and spoliation, India will teach us the tolerance and gentleness of the mature mind, the quiet content of the unacquisitive soul, the calm of the understanding spirit and a unifying, pacifying love for all living things.”

However, that may depend on how much the people of India retain their culture. Otherwise, the more Westernized they become in their thinking and values, the more the above statement may be called into question. Nonetheless, to remain aware of its possibilities, we should not forget the well-known and glowing words that Max Muller had for India and its culture: “If I were to look over the whole world to find out the country most richly endowed with all the wealth, power and beauty that nature can bestow–in some parts a very paradise on earth–I should point to India. If I were asked under what sky the human mind most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions of some of them which well deserve the attention even of those who have studied Plato and Kant, I should point to India. If I were to ask myself from what literature we, here in Europe, may draw the corrective which is most wanted in order to make our inner life more perfect, more universal, in fact more truly human, again I should point to India.” 9

Lord Curzon, while Viceroy of India, in his address at the Great Delhi Durbar in 1901, expressed, “Powerful empires existed and flourished here (in India) while Englishmen were still wandering, painted, in the woods, and while the British Colonies were still a wilderness and a jungle. India has left a deeper mark upon the history, the philosophy, and the religion of mankind, than any other terrestrial unit in the universe.”

From a more political perspective, Lord Curzon, before he went to India as a Viceroy, two or three times emphasized the importance of India to the British Empire when he said: “India was the pivot of our Empire. If this Empire lost any other part of its dominion we could survive, but if we lost India, the sun of our Empire would be set.” (Times, 3/12/1898)

Lord Roberts, after retiring for good from India, also said a similar statement to the London Chamber of Commerce: “I rejoice to learn that you recognize how indissolubly the prosperity of the United Kingdom is bound with the retention of that vast Eastern Empire.” (Times, 25/5/1893)

“That retention of our Eastern Empire is essential to the greatness and prosperity of the United Kingdom.” (Times, 29/7/1893)

“However efficient and well-equipped the army of India may be, were it indeed absolute perfection, and were its numbers considerably more than they are at present, our greatest strength must ever rest on the firm base of a united and contented India.” 10

In this way, the Vedic empire was a different kind of empire and showed its influence by its qualities and beneficial nature to one and all, rather than by power and military dominance. In A History of India by Kulke and Rothermund (1986, p.152), they explain how the influence of ancient India traveled over many lands: “The transmission of Indian culture to distant parts of Central Asia, China, Japan, and especially Southeast Asia is certainly one of the greatest achievements of Indian history or even the history of mankind. None of the other great civilizations–not even Hellenic–had been able to achieve a similar success without military conquest.”

The attractive nature of the Vedic Aryan Culture is explained more completely by David Frawley: “In the beginning there was one culture–that of the Spirit–and one language–that of Truth. This culture was outwardly one of worship and inwardly one of meditation. The language was one of mantra and communication was from the heart. The outer life was simple. There were small cities and villages, mainly along the rivers. Agriculture was practiced with the use of domesticated animals. Boats and wagons were used for travel. The emphasis was on the inner life and the outer life was not considered important, nor was there any great effort or need to improve it. Nature was abundant. This culture did not come from the outside but came from within and was guided by the sages, who generally lived in retreat in the mountains, who visited the peoples periodically and gave them instruction. From it later cultures diversified, along with divisions of language and religion, as we gradually fell from truth and our connection to the Divine to pursue outward and sensate values.” 11

Some additional information of the peaceful and developed ways of the Harappan culture is described by Michel Danino in his book, The Invasion that Never Was. “Dancing, painting, sculpture and music (there is evidence of drums and stringed instruments) were part of Harappan culture. Probably drama and puppet shows too, as a number of masks were found. The Harappans may also have been the inventors of the game of chess, of which one terracotta set was found at Lothal. Other kinds of gaming board and pieces have come up at many sites, as well as cubical dice identical to those used today. Children do not seem to have been neglected, judging from the exquisite care with which craftsmen fashioned toy oxcarts and figurines, spinning tops, marbles, rattles and whistles. And they could also amuse themselves with pet dogs and monkeys, pet squirrels and birds, too.

“Naturally, with hundreds of rural settlements, agriculture was practiced on a wide scale, the result of a long tradition going back four millennia. There is evidence of networks of canals for irrigation, of carefully shaped ploughs and ingenious tilling methods: at Kalibangan, for instance, excavations revealed a field ploughed with two perpendicular networks of furrows, in which higher crops (such as mustard) were grown in spaced-out north-south furrows, thus casting shorter shadows, while shorter crops (such as gram) filled contiguous east-west furrows. In the Indus valley, wheat, barley, pulses, a number of vegetables, and cotton were some of the common crops, and were planted following the two-season pattern still in use today (rabi or winter, kharif or summer); in Gujarat, rice and various millets were grown, too.” 12

THE SPIRITUAL ASPECT–STILL ATTRACTIVE TODAY

One of the major factors of the Vedic society was their spiritual orientation, which many people seek out even today. Max Muller mentioned this in one of his books: “I wish to point out that there was another sphere of intellectual activity in which the Hindus excelled–the meditative and transcendent–and that here we might learn from them some lessons of life which we ourselves are but too apt to ignore or to despise.”13

It was the Vedic philosophy that charmed and attracted people. As the Britisher Sir Charles Elliot explains, more than military or economic power, Vedic India spread into the hearts of people because of her way of thinking, and through that process spread over the globe. “Scant justice is done to India’s position in the world by those European histories which recount the exploits of her invader and leave the impression that her own people were a feeble dreamy fold, sundered from the rest of mankind by their seas and mountain frontiers. Such a picture takes no account of the intellectual conquests of the Hindus. Even their political conquests were not contemptible, and are remarkable for the distance, if not the extent, of the territories occupied… But such military or commercial invasions are insignificant compared with the spread of Indian thought.”

Sir William Jones (1746-94) once said about his admiration for India: “I am in love with Gopia, charmed by Crishen (Krishna), an enthusiastic admirer of Ram and a devout adorer of Brihma (Brahma), Bishen (Vishnu), Mahisher (Maheshwara); not to mention that Judishteir, Arjen, Corno (Yudhishtira, Arjun and Karna) and the other warriors of the Mahabharata appear greater in my eyes than Agamemnon, Ajax and Achilles appeared when I first read the Iliad.” 14

Arthur Schopenhauer, the German scholar (1788-1860), as quoted by Nehru, 15 once said that he expected Vedic Dharma to become accepted by the majority of people: “From every sentence (of the Upanishads) deep, original and sublime thoughts arise, and the whole world is pervaded by a high and holy and earnest spirit… In the whole world there is no study … so beneficial and as elevating as that of the Upanishads… (They) are products of the highest wisdom … It is destined sooner or later to become the faith of the people.”

It was also Schopenhauer who said, “The truth was recognized by the sages of India.” 16

GREATNESS OF VEDAS

Much of the reason for the qualities of ancient India and its great sages are held and can be seen by the greatness of the Vedic texts. This has been recognized by numerous scholars over the years. Here are a few, such as Professor Paul William Roberts in Empire of the Soul: Some Journeys in India: “The Vedas still represent eternal truth in the purest form ever written.”

Of course, we know that Henry David Thoreau greatly admired the Vedic literature, as mentioned in Quotes of Henry David Thoreau: “What extracts from the Vedas I have read fall on me like the light of a higher and purer luminary, which describes a loftier course through a purer stratum. It rises on me like the full moon after the stars have come out, wading through some far stratum in the sky.”

He also said in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, “In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagavad-gita, since whose composition years of the gods have elapsed, and in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial; and I doubt if that philosophy is not to be referred to a previous state of existence, so remote is its sublimity from our conceptions.”

Another famous quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson is, “I owed a magnificent day to the Bhagavad-gita. It was as if an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same questions which exercise us.”

Even Aldous Huxley once related, “The Bhagavad Gita is the most systematic statement of spiritual evolution of endowing value of mankind. The Gita is one of the clearest and most comprehensive summaries of the spiritual thoughts ever to have been made.” 17

Annie Besant brings up another idea, that even westerners who are now drawn to the rare teachings of the Vedic philosophy are experiencing an attraction that was attained in a previous life. In India: Essays and Lectures she says: “Among the priceless teachings that may be found in the great Indian epic Mahabharata, there is none so rare and priceless as the Gita… This is the India of which I speak–the India which, as I said, is to me the Holy Land. For those who, though born for this life in a Western land, and clad in a Western body, can yet look back to earlier incarnations in which they drank the milk of spiritual wisdom from the breast of their true mother–they must feel ever the magic of her immemorial past; must dwell ever under the spell of her deathless fascination; for they are bound to India by all the sacred memories of their past and with her, too, are bound up all the radiant hopes of their future, a future which they know they will share with her who is their true mother in the soul-life.” 18

CHAPTER NOTES

1. Haywood, John, The Ancient World, New York, Metro Books, 2013, p.54.

2. Twain, Mark, Following the Equator, 1897, p. 347.

3. Ibid.

4. Sonnerat, P., Voyage aux Indes orientales et a la Chine, Paris, 1782.

5. Schlegel, Friedrich von, Letter to Ludwig Tieck of 15 December, 1803, quoted by Leon Poliakov in The Aryan Myth.

6. Schlegel, Friedrich von, Essay on the Language and Wisdom of the Indians, quoted by Roger-Pol Droit in L’Oubli de I’Inde, Paris Presses Universitaires de France, 1989, p. 129.

7. Higgins, The Celtic Druids) (Niranjan Shah, India: The Birthplace of Human Speech, International Vedic Vision, Sands Point, N.Y., 2013, p. 66.

8. Maeterlink, Maurice, in The Great Secret) (Niranjan Shah, Indian Origins of Ancient Civilizations, International Vedic Vision Foundation, New York, 2011, p.4.

9. Muller, F. Max, India, What can it teach us? Published by Rupa & Co., New Delhi, reprint in 2002.

10. Quoted in “Dadabhai Naoroji: Poverty and un-British Rule in India,” 1901, http://www.archive.org/details/povertyunbritish00naoruoft .

11. Frawley, David, Gods, Sages and Kings: Vedic Secrets of Ancient Civilization, Passage Press, Salt Lake City, 1991, p.239.

12. Danino, Michel, & Sujata Nahar, The Invasion That Never Was, The Mother’s Institute of Research, Delhi, 2000, p.91.

13. Muller, Max, India: What Can it Teach Us?, Longmans, Funk & Wagnalls Company, London, 1999, p.138.

14. Mukharji, S.N., Sir William Jones: A Study in Eighteenth Century British Attitudes to India, Orient Longman, 1987.

15. The Discovery of India, Calcutta, Signet Press, 1946, pp. 92-93.

16. Schopenhauer, Arthur, The World as Will and Representation, Vol. 1, trans. E. Payne, New York: Dover Publishing Inc., 1969, p.3.

17. Galav, T. C. Philosophy of Hinduism–An Introduction, p.65.

18. Besant, Annie, India: Essays and Lectures, Vol. IV, The Theosophical Publishing Company, London, 1895, p.11.

Hindus, Dharmists, Devotees and Politics, by Stephen Knapp

Many Devotees, Dharmists and Hindus in general will say they are not interested in politics or getting involved with it or even in voting. It is a distraction from their normal activities or spiritual pursuits. Or they feel all politicians are crooked or corrupt anyway, so what makes the difference between one or the other. Or the voting system, especially with electronic voting machines, are rigged, so what difference will my one vote make. But actually it is indeed an aspect of our means of protecting, preserving and continuing the Vedic culture and its traditions. It is certainly a means of working to maintain the freedoms that we have that allow us to continue to observe our traditions. Other religions or other political parties will vote in large numbers for their favorite candidate, which is why the politicians will take those people and their vote seriously. But if Hindus and Devotees do not vote, then why should politicians be concerned with our vote, or with the issues that matter to us. Instead, they will place more importance on others and in doing what it takes to get their votes. In this way, whether we are in India or the United States, we watch as our opportunities, freedoms and privileges are taken away and given to others.

Once I was giving a lecture in a large hall in Mumbai, India. With the direction of the discussion, I asked the crowd of about 1500 how many had voted in the last election. Not one had went up. Of course, no one was satisfied with the political party that was in charge at the time. But how can we make a difference if we do not get involved? How can we have a say in what takes place? You must put your faith and the Vedic cause into practical use. Not merely sit back and watch what happens, or think someone else is going to do your part in all of this.

Vedic history in India shows so many fighters, warriors, or even rulers who stood up for the freedom of those who followed the Vedic traditions. So why would we not use their example? Why would we not help make their contribution remain relevant today by taking up some kind of action? The field of politics is one area in which we can make a difference. And here are some ideas in how we can do that.

First, we certainly need to be able to step up and learn which politician has our best interest at heart and then vote for that person. We need to understand which person will take our interests and work for those concerns? Who will most likely help to preserve our traditions? Who, for example, is most likely to work for better relations between the United States and India? Or, who is going to work to preserve the holy places and sacred rivers across India? We need to investigate these points in any person who is running for office that we can vote for. Then we should vote for that person. Therefore the most important duty is to vote for the right person. That is the first thing.

The next point is to share our database with other Vedic groups so we can help inform others of the best candidate and encourage them to also vote for the right person. There is force in numbers, and the more people who contribute their vote, the more possible it may be for that person to be elected. We have to work together. Other people from various religions work and vote as a block, and they get their way, too. Politicians will take them seriously if they want to get elected, or stay in office. Hindus and Devotees need to learn this and work in a similar way.

The third point is that we have to get behind the best candidate, show them our support. This also means to contribute in political rallies, or even fundraisers. This does not mean to merely work for the candidate in order to get your picture taken to hang on your office wall. Nothing much comes from that except a boost of ego. This is not what will contribute to our cause. What can make a difference is that Hindus and Dharmists can also volunteer in large numbers in political campaigns to show the force that we can have, so that politicians realize we are a great force that they will want on their side. But we should also vote as a block. We should look seriously at the issues any candidate is addressing, and then vote for the person who will be best for the interests of Hindus and Dharmists.

The fourth point is that the purpose of all this is not merely to show them that they should have us on their side, but once they are in office, if there are particular issues that we need help with, we can go to them and ask for favors. This is what many of us do not realize. After showing our support, and if they are elected, now is the time for them to show their support for us. Now is the time we can go to them as a group and discuss various issues that concern us. Naturally, if he or she is impressed with how we have helped them, they will want us to continue to be on their side. If he does not help us, he or she should know that we may also vote against them in the next election. This is where we can put our power and our culture to good use.

The fifth idea is to invite politicians to events at our temple. Get them involved, let them see what we do, especially things done for the benefit of society, such as free food distribution, medical camps, or educating others in cultural exchange, etc. We can also invite them for temples tours, or for dinner in their honor for something. They often like these kinds of things, and will gain a more favorable view toward us and our temple, organization, or our traditions if they are not Indian. Then they will be inclined to hear our concerns, or even politically or financially help us expand our temple facilities, or kitchens for free prasada distribution, or other programs.

The sixth point is to run for office ourselves. In the United States there are an increasing number of Indians who are running for public office. These may be high political positions, like a governor, or senator, etc, or run for other positions like city council, mayor, or for the board of education. All of these can be helpful to our cause, and will also bring notice to other people in the community of the presence of Hindus or Dharmists and the views that we hold, and that we are a growing presence in the community. There is no loss in this regard, except for maybe the funds needed to run for the office. Nonetheless, an increasing number of Indians and Hindus or Devotees are running for offices, and this can certainly be used to carry our influence and concerns forward. We should not be afraid to become more politically active.

I have a few friends who ran for public office. They did not win, but they used the platform to express their views and ideas based on the Vedic principles, which became very popular. So they lost by small percentages.

Of course, we now all know the example of Tulsi Gabbard who ran for office and is now holding an important position as a United States Representative for the state of Hawaii as the first Hindu congresswoman, being a devotee of Lord Krishna. She was also sworn into office using the Bhagavad-gita, and has so many opportunities to attend speaking engagements and promote her devotion to the Vedic cause and work to uphold the principles by which most Dharmists and Devotees live. So we should not think this is not possible.

The final point is: If we do not do it, someone else will. In other words, if Dharmists and Devotees are not willing to carry forward their cause and concerns, someone else from some other religion or political persuasion will do it. And it makes no sense to simply sit on the sidelines and watch things as they happen as mere spectators, or observe how politicians from other persuasions work to push their own cause forward. We need to be involved. We need to use whatever avenue we can to make a difference. That is how our force will gain momentum, and we can also then gain popularity as our views become more familiar to the rest of the community. And engaging in the political field in any of the above ways will help. We just have to know how to do it.

Another example of what can be done in the field of politics to increase an awareness of Vedic culture took place in America in the State of Michigan as described herein: The Michigan House Resolution no. 419 was adopted by the members of the Michigan House of Legislature in Lansing on September 24. The resolution “declares October 2014 as Hindu American Awareness and Appreciation Month.” Mr. Samir Singh, the representative from East Lansing was instrumental in spearheading this resolution. The full declaration reads as follows:

Reps. Slavens, Singh, Hovey-Wright, Geiss, Switalski, Barnett, Brown, Darany, Heise and Howrylak offered the following resolution:

House Resolution No. 419.

A resolution to declare October 2014 as Hindu American Awareness and Appreciation Month in the state of Michigan.

Whereas, There are 25 Hindu temples in Michigan, spread across the state from Grand Rapids to Detroit. Furthermore, Ganges, Michigan is the site of two prominent Hindu ashrams (retreats), including the Vivekananda Monastery and Retreat Center; and

Whereas, Michigan Hindu temples have been involved in numerous charity and community drives across the state, including, but not limited to, providing college scholarships for deserving students, serving Hindu refugee communities across the state, and providing free meals to all temple visitors; and

Whereas, Hindu Americans in Michigan are involved in the state’s interfaith leadership. Hindu Americans currently serving on major Michigan interfaith initiatives include: Chandru Acharya on the Interfaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit, Padma Kuppa on the Women’s Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue in Metro Detroit (WISDOM) and Board Member of Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion and Outreach, and Fred Stella as host of the NPR-syndicated radio show Common Threads and president of the Grand Rapids’ Interfaith Dialogue Association; and

Whereas, The Bharatiya Temple in Michigan hosted the World Sabbath of Religious Reconciliation in 2013. This marked the first time that the Sabbath has been hosted outside the Judeo-Christian community;

Whereas, There is an estimated one billion Hindus worldwide, and more than 2 million Hindu Americans live across the nation; and

Whereas, Michigan and our nation have greatly benefitted from Hindu Americans, especially through the Vedanta philosophy, Ayurvedic medicine, classical Indian art, dance, music, meditation, literature, and community service; and

Whereas, The United States was officially introduced to Hinduism by Swami Vivekananda in 1893 at the World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago: and

Whereas, Hindu Americans promote the ideals of tolerance, pluralism, and religious freedom, which are inherent to their beliefs and respect the diversity of all faiths; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives, That the members of this legislative body declare October 2014 as Hindu American Awareness and Appreciation Month in the state of Michigan.

So let this be an example of things that can happen if Hindus, Dharmists and Devotees take an active role in various ways in the field of politics and public office, or in interacting with those who hold such positions.

The Aryan Invasion Theory: The Final Nail in its Coffin, by Stephen Knapp

(From a Chapter in “Advancements of Ancient India’s Vedic Culture’)

        The Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT) is the idea that the Vedic people were not indigenous to the area of northern India, but were invaders from the Caucasus Mountain region that descended on India around 1500 BCE, and then wrote the Vedic literature and forced the natives to accept their culture. In writing this chapter I want to emphasize that this book is not about the Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT), but we should at least include one chapter on it to show its place in discovering the real history of the development of ancient India and the origins of Vedic culture. In doing so, I acknowledge there have already been volumes written on this controversial topic, and on where the original homeland of the Indo Aryans might be. So anyone can read any of those books until one is nauseated with various viewpoints, but that is not what we are going to do here. Going into a long dissertation about how all the theories were developed and what evidence they found is the last thing I want to do. For all but the specialist researchers and readers, it would make for an extremely tedious book, at least more so than some may feel it is already. So, we are only going to summarize some of the most recent and concluding research that is available today.

Let us remember that the idea that the Vedic Aryans came from outside of ancient India and entered the region to start what became the Vedic civilization is a foreign idea. There was never any record, either historical, textual or archeological, that supports this premise for an Aryan invasion. There also is no record of who would have been the invaders. The fact is that it is a theory that came from mere linguistic speculation which happened during the nineteenth century when very little archeological excavation had yet been done around India.

There have been many researchers who have tried to study the linguistics of the people to gather an indication of where the original homeland of the Vedic Aryans was actually located. This was done to either try to uphold or refute the idea of the Aryan Invasion Theory. In my book, Proof of Vedic Culture’s Global Existence, I dealt with linguistics and word similarities to a degree, but this topic, in spite of all the research, study, and books written on whatever findings were made, has done little to absolutely establish with clarity the original home of the Vedic Aryans.

Some scholars have always felt that the linguistic evidence is not sufficient to draw definite conclusions where the homeland of the Vedic Aryans was located.

Linguistics amongst some scholars have always been a speculative process, at best arriving at various conjectures about the origins of particular cultures and languages. Others have been even more dismissive of the idea of reconstructing a hypothetical language based on words that remain present in spoken languages thousands of years later. Thus, in trying to understand the Vedic Aryans and where their homeland may have been by analyzing some hypothetical Proto-Indo-European language that still has not been identified seems rather doubtful. At best, it may provide some basic hypothesis, which in reality may be most misleading. This also seems to say that there is little reason to hold the field of linguistics in such a high degree of respect, considering all the books that have been written that seem to use this process to determine so many conclusions, or conjectures, on the homeland of the Vedic Aryans.

As a further comment to this issue, G. P. Singh relates, “They (proponents of the Aryan Invasion Theory) are divided in their opinion regarding the exact location of the said common home, the reason for which is not far to discover. The speakers of Aryan languages have been clubbed together as an Aryan race which never existed as such. The philological and ethnological explanations regarding the identification of an Aryan language with an Aryan race are conflicting. The similarities of a few words do not necessarily constitute a proof of common origin of their speakers, rather they indicate commingling and sociocultural contacts and fellowship. The theory of a common home of members of a so-called Aryan family whether in Asia or Europe cannot be accepted merely on the evidence of linguistic paleontology… The Aryan invasion of India is a myth and not the truth. The Aryans were neither invaders nor conquerors. They were not the destroyers of the Harappan civilization but one of its authors.” 1

This does not mean, however, that we cannot still use linguistics to help recognize the many similarities of cultures by the closeness of words, in both spelling and meaning, that are used in the languages of various traditions, or where and how far the Vedic and Sanskrit influence has traveled, and how various cultures may have shared traditions with each other. But to supply proof of where the Vedic people originated, that is not possible. Plus, today we have so much more research and archeological evidence that tells far more than the study of linguistics, which will certainly lead us to the correct conclusion about this matter.

Up till today, there is still no culture from the time of ancient India that can be said to have originated outside and then invaded or brought the Vedic culture to the interior of India. More evidence will be given as we discuss this topic. But for now, what this means is that if we look at the ancient ruins, or agricultural practices, artifacts, or social activities, it can be recognized that they were all based on indigenous techniques and traditions. They are not linked to anything that would have come from outside of India, although just the opposite is the case. Moreover, we can see a migration from India to the west or even eastward.

Traditionally, as we find in the Manu-samhita (2.17-18), Vedic culture was founded by the sage Manu between the banks of the Sarasvati and Drishadvati Rivers. And the Sarasvati River was the main river in the Rig Veda, which, according to modern land studies, was a massive and important river at the time (before 1900 BCE). Only after this did the emphasis shift to the sacred Ganga (Ganges) River. This would indicate that the Vedic tradition is indeed a product of the area of ancient India.

There was also no real divide between north and south India in terms of the so-called invading Aryans in the north and the Dravidians of the south. As explained by David Frawley, “Dravidian history does not contradict Vedic history either. It credits the invention of the Tamil language, the oldest Dravidian tongue, to the rishi Agastya, one of the most prominent sages in the Rig Veda. Dravidian kings historically have called themselves Aryans and trace their descent through Manu (who in the Matsya Purana is regarded as originally a south Indian king). Apart from language, moreover, both north and south India share a common religion and culture.” 2

A recent landmark global study in population genetics by a team of internationally reputed scientists (as reported in The History and Geography of Human Genes, by Luca Cavalli-Sforza, Paolo Menozzi and Alberta Piazzo, Princeton University Press) reveals that the people who inhabited the Indian subcontinent, including Europe, concludes that all belong to one single race of Caucasian type. This confirms once again that there really is no racial difference between north Indians and south Indian Dravidians.

Other scholars and researchers are also giving up the idea of the Aryan Invasion Theory. As further explained in the book Origin of Indian Civilization, based on the results of the conference of the same name, it was described that, “While not in complete agreement, yet for Professor Witzel and Eltsov to acknowledge that the Harappan and Vedic civilizations were concurrent, is an important landmark in the debate on the Indic civilization. Prof. Witzel also stated for the first time to many in the audience that he and his colleagues no longer subscribe to the Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT). Prof. Witzel of Harvard agreed with the scholars present that the Aryan invasion theory is a nineteenth-century concept and a spent force today. He said, ‘nobody in the right mind believes in something like Aryan Invasion Theory.’” 3

THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE ARYAN INVASION THEORY

        Before the 1857 uprising it was recognized that British rule in India could not be sustained without a large number of supporters and collaborators from within the Indian population. Recognizing this, it was influential men like Thomas Babbington Macaulay, who, as Chairman of the Education Board, sought to set up an educational system modeled after the British system, which, in the case of India, would serve to undermine the Hindu tradition. While not a missionary himself, Macaulay came from a deeply religious family steeped in the Protestant Christian faith. His father was a Presbyterian minister and his mother a Quaker. He believed that the conversion of Hindus to Christianity held the answer to the problems of administering India. His idea was to create a class of English educated elite that would repudiate its tradition and become British collaborators. In 1836, while serving as chairman of the Education Board in India, he enthusiastically wrote his father about his idea and how it was proceeding:

“Our English schools are flourishing wonderfully. The effect of this education on the Hindus is prodigious… It is my belief that if our plans of education are followed up, there will not be a single idolator among the respectable classes in Bengal thirty years hence. And this will be effected without any efforts to proselytise, without the smallest interference with religious liberty, by natural operation of knowledge and reflection. I heartily rejoice in the project.”

So the point was that religious conversion and colonialism were to go hand in hand. European Christian missions were an appendage of the colonial government, with missionaries working side by side with the government. In this case, we could ask if over the years much has really changed in the purpose of the Christian missions in India.

The key point here is Macaulay’s belief that “knowledge and reflection” on the part of the Hindus, especially the Brahmanas, would cause them to give up their age-old belief in anything Vedic in favor of Christianity. The purpose was to turn the strength of Hindu intellectuals against their own kind by utilizing their commitment to scholarship in uprooting their own tradition, which Macaulay viewed as nothing more than superstitions. His plan was to educate the Hindus to become Christians and turn them into collaborators. He persisted with this idea for fifteen years until he found the money and the right man for turning his utopian idea into reality.

He needed someone who would translate and interpret the Vedic texts in such a way that the newly educated Indian elite would see the superiority of the Bible and choose that over everything else. Upon his return to England, after a good deal of effort he found a talented but impoverished young German Vedic scholar by name Friedrich Max Muller who was willing to take on the arduous job. Macaulay used his influence with the East India Company to find funds for Max Muller’s translation of the Rig Veda. Though an ardent German nationalist, Max Muller agreed for the sake of Christianity to work for the East India Company, which in reality meant the British Government of India. He also badly needed a major sponsor for his ambitious plans, which he felt he had at last found.

The fact is that Max Muller was paid by the East India Company to further its colonial aims, and worked in cooperation with others who were motivated by the superiority of the German race through the white Aryan race theory.

This was the genesis of his great enterprise, translating the Rig Veda with Sayana’s commentary and the editing of the fifty-volume Sacred Books of the East. In this way, there can be no doubt regarding Max Muller’s initial aim and commitment to converting Indians to Christianity. Writing to his wife in 1866 he observed:

“It [the Rig Veda] is the root of their religion and to show them what the root is, I feel sure, is the only way of uprooting all that has sprung from it during the last three thousand years.”

Two years later he also wrote the Duke of Argyle, then acting Secretary of State for India: “The ancient religion of India is doomed. And if Christianity does not take its place, whose fault will it be?” This makes it very clear that Max Muller was an agent of the British government paid to advance its colonial interests. Nonetheless, he still remained an ardent German nationalist even while working in England. This helps explain why he used his position as a recognized Vedic and Sanskrit scholar to promote the idea of the “Aryan race” and the “Aryan nation,” a theory amongst a certain class of so-called scholars, which has maintained its influence even until today.

MAX MULLER DENIES HIS OWN THEORY

        It was in the nineteenth century when Max Muller tried to date the Vedas to 1200 BCE. Then he accepted the Sutra literature to the sixth century BCE and assigned a duration of just 200 years to each of the periods of Vedic literature, namely the Aranyakas, Brahmanas and Vedas. But when his contemporary scholars, like Goldstucker, Whitney and Wilson, raised a fuss about this, he had to regress and stated (in his Preface to the Rgveda): “I have repeatedly dwelt on the merely hypothetical character of the dates, which I have ventured to assign to the first periods of Vedic literature. All I have claimed for them has been that they are minimum dates, and that the literary productions of each period which either still exist or which formerly existed could hardly be accounted for within shorter limits of time than those suggested.” 4

This indicates his admission that he really did not know and he was expressing nothing but conjecture. This is not exactly a scholarly action. But still being pressed by his contemporaries, he finally admitted it in a publication in 1890 (Physical Religion) and reflected the responsibility by saying no one can figure it out: “If now we ask how we can fix the dates of these periods, it is quite clear that we cannot hope to fix a terminum a qua. Whether the Vedic hymns were composed [in] 1000 or 1500 or 2000 or 3000 BC, no power on earth will ever determine.” 5

Although Max Muller was the one who cleverly came up with the Aryan Invasion Theory, he later worked to bring out the Sacred Books of the East series, which helped promote the spiritual wisdom of the East to the general public in Europe. Later, though a German by birth, he was living comfortably in England when in 1872, after the German nationalists finally achieved unification, he marched into a university in German occupied France (Strasbourg) and denounced the German doctrine of the superior Aryan race. It was at this time that he began to clarify that by Aryan he meant language and not a race. This was in stark contrast with his previous views, which had all been well documented, and which kept following him since politicians and propagandists kept using his conclusions as authority for their own race ideas. At last, he stated clearly in 1888:

“I have declared again and again that if I say Aryan, I mean neither blood nor bones, nor skull nor hair; I mean simply those who speak the Aryan language… To me an ethnologist who speaks of Aryan blood, Aryan race, Aryan eyes and hair is as great a sinner as a linguist who speaks of a dolicocephalic dictionary or of brachycephalic grammar.” 6

Just as he had previously been a proponent of the Aryan race theory for the first 20 years of his life, he remained an opponent of it for the remaining 30 years of his life. However, in spite of this fact, we still find Indian scholars who still hold onto Muller’s previous views, however inaccurate they may have been, in their own conclusions on India’s history.

THE DAMAGE DONE BY THE ARYAN INVASION THEORY

        The premise of the Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT) was used as a perfect tool, especially by the British, to divide the Hindu society and the state of India. The North Indian “Aryans” were then pit against the South Indian “Dravidians,” along with high-caste against low-caste, mainstream Hindus against tribals, Vedic orthodoxy against the indigenous orthodox sects, and later to neutralize Hindu criticism of the forced Islamic occupation of India, since “Hindus themselves entered India in the same way as Muslims did.” Even today, the theory has still been used as the basis for the growth of secularist and even Marxist forces.

The problem with all of this is that people of Indian descent, especially the youth, when they hear all of this Aryan Invasion theory nonsense, they begin to lose faith in their own country, culture and history, and especially in the Vedic tradition and epics. They think it is all just stories, fiction, or even a lie. But that is not the case at all, which is why it is important to show where this theory came from, what its purpose was, and why we should throw it away and take a second and much deeper look at what the Vedic tradition has to offer, and how it was actually the source of much of the world’s advancement in so many areas.

Even in India today it is often the case that schools teach the Western views of Indian history and even use European translations of the great Vedic texts. Children are taught that their culture is inherently inferior to the Western developments, and that Hinduism is archaic, outdated, with nothing to offer people today. Therefore, in this view, Indian students should no longer value their own culture and instead look toward the West for everything they need. But this notion is absolutely false. They do not known how much the Western youth looks toward India for its spiritual inspiration, and are using the ancient Indian and Vedic traditions, such as yoga, Jyotish, Vastu, Ayurveda, and the Vedic philosophy to reach their highest potential and well-being. They would not do that if they were not experiencing the benefits of it. In fact, it is all becoming increasingly popular because there is more curiosity, inquiry, and need to find something of substance rather than being content with the shallow nature of Western society and its values.

Part of the problem today is in the educational system of India, and everywhere for that matter, that still often projects the idea that the native Indians were undeveloped and pushed out of the area that was taken over by the invading Aryans, who then pushed their language, culture, and religion onto the people who remained. Those who went south to avoid the invading Aryans were called the Dravidians. The British missionaries, even as early as 1840, went on to use this theory as a means to persuade people of South India to reject the Vedic tradition, since it had been forced on them by invaders, and accept Christianity. By using the typical “divide and rule” policy that the British were known for, they helped create a schism in the people of India which gave them better means to control and manipulate them under the guise of giving them back the respect they had always deserved. Of course, if they became Christian they would deserve even more respect, as portrayed by the missionaries. So, the Aryan Invasion Theory, which had originally been developed by a Christian certainly continued to serve the Christian interests well, unbeknownst to the people who falsely accepted the Dravidian identity. In this regard, Chandrasekharendra Saraswati summed it up very nicely: “Their conclusions would permit them to regard the ancient rishis as primitive men inferior to the moderns… their analysis of our religious texts was motivated by the desire to show Christianity as a better religion.” 7

Thus, the real truth was kept hidden so their agenda could be served. But was not that the whole purpose behind the Aryan Invasion Theory from the start? After all, as N. S. Rajaram has succinctly related, “English translations of the Rigveda… represent a massive misinterpretation built on the preconception that the Vedas are the primitive poetry of the nomadic barbarians. Nothing could be further from the truth.” 8

Even of late, there have been leaders in Tamil Nadu who have promoted this Dravidian identity, and gave reasons why they should reject Hinduism, which is but an imposition on the natives. Of course, now, through the use of genetics, it has been proven that there never was any division, except in name only, between the Vedic Aryans and the native Dravidians. They were all part of the same native and indigenous fabric of ancient Indian civilization. Any other divisions were all but hypothetical and theory only. But this was part of the damage that such mental speculation had caused. And it still goes on. That is why books and information such as this needs to be spread, so that the truth of the matter can finally be displayed for all to see, and the unity to help preserve and protect the truth of the depth and profound nature of the Vedic civilization can be properly understood.

OBJECTIONS TO THE ARYAN INVASION THEORY

        As archeologists B. B. Lal explains, it was Mortimer Wheeler who, after reporting a few skeletons being found at Mohenjodaro, said that the people of Mohenjodaro had been massacred in the invasion of the region. However, the skeletons had been found at different stratigraphic levels of the site–some from intermediate levels, late levels, and also from the deposits that had accumulated at the site after its desertion. This showed that Wheeler was wrong in his assessment. Recent skeletons would have been no where but the uppermost levels.

Thus, the conclusion would have to be that no evidence whatsoever of an invasion has been found at any of the hundreds of Harappan sites. Furthermore, at most of these sites, there is ample proof of continuity of habitation. An outside invasion also means the presence and entry of a new people, but no such evidence exists. A detailed study of human skeletal remains by Hemphill and his colleagues (1991) showed that no new people arrived between 4500–800 BCE, during which the “Aryan invasion” was said to have happened (around 1500 BCE). Therefore, no evidence for an invasion exists, and certainly not by any Aryans.

Furthermore, when new invaders arrive, place names of some towns and rivers remain from the previous people who occupied the area. But no Dravidian names exists for any such objects in the entire area once occupied by the Harappans. 9

Another point is that before the Vedas were written, it had been an oral tradition. However, an oral tradition of this kind of philosophy and culture cannot be maintained by a people in constant movement for decades if not centuries over many thousands of miles, which is what the Aryan Invasion Theory proposes. Such a tradition as the Vedic culture could be preserved only by a sedentary people where the older generation would have the necessary time to pass the communal lore to the younger generation. 10

In fact, as we have established in Proof of Vedic Culture’s Global Existence, the Vedic texts make no mention of any migration at all. Surely, if that had happened there would have been some narration of it, or history of a previous location. But nothing exists like that, nor any language previous to the Vedic culture that existed in the Gangetic plains as would be expected.

There are many reasons why common sense can tell you that there could not have been any invasion into Aryavrata (India) by Vedic Aryans from outside. The question is that if the Aryans were supposed to be rambling barbarians, as viewed by some, yet were able to develop such a sophisticated language (Sanskrit) and compositions (the Vedas), then how did they not leave in the countries they left behind a rich culture that shows their previous developments? What happened to their descendants who should have kept the remnants of their culture and language? Why were not similar developments made by those who remained in Eastern Europe? And what happened to the pre-Sanskrit language and culture of the area that the Aryans invaded, if that is what happened? No answers have been found regarding these points.

Furthermore, as Dr. B. B. Lal relates, “Let it be squarely stated that the earliest book of the Aryans, the Rig Veda, does not mention any of the species of cold-climate trees enumerated. On the other hand, all the trees mentioned in the Rig Veda, such as the Ashvatha (Ficus religiosa L.), Khadira (Acadia catechu Wild), Nigrodhas (Ficus benghalenis L.), do not belong to a cold climate but to a tropical one. Likewise, the Rig Vedic fauna, comprising such species as the lion, elephant, peacock, also belong to a tropical climate. Further, during the Rig Vedic period the Sarasvati was a mighty river, but it gradually dried up. The evidence of archeology, hydrology and radiocarbon dates shows that the Sarasvati dried up around 2000 BCE. All this proves that the Rig Veda antedated the magic figure. Again, the Rig Vedic geography covers the area from the Ganga-Yamuna on the east to the west of the Indus. Likewise, the archeological evidence shows that prior to 2,000 BCE it was the Harappan Civilization that flourished in this region. Thus, the textual and archeological data combine to establish a perfect spatial-cum-chronological oneness between the Rig Vedic and Harappan cultures. And since, as demonstrated in this book, the Harappans were ‘the sons of the soil’, it squarely follows that the Rig Vedic people were indigenous.” 11

We also need to understand from what frivolous basis came the term ” Aryan race.” The people who created this term, and the Aryan Invasion Theory itself, were not biologists, archeologists, or scientists, though some of them later adopted this. But they were only linguists of questionable qualifications. Even in 1929, Sir Julian Huxley, one of the great natural scientists of the twentieth century related (in Oxford Pamphlet, No. 5, OUP: p.9):

“In 1848, the young German scholar Friederich Max Muller (1823-1900) settled in Oxford… About 1853 he introduced into the English language the unlucky term Aryan as applied to a large group of languages.

“Moreover, Max Muller threw another apple of discord. He introduced a proposition that is demonstrably false. He spoke not only of a definite Aryan language and its descendants, but also of a corresponding ‘Aryan race.’ The idea was rapidly taken up both in Germany and in England.” 12

Part of the problem was a misinterpretation of the word aryan. With the AIT, it was meaning a race of people, or even a separate language. But the word arya was always meant to be used as an honorific title for someone who lead a pure life, who was on the path for attaining a pure and spiritual consciousness. Arya actually means clear as in light consciousness, not as a light-skinned person of another separate race. An Aryan in this case meant an ethical, social and spiritual ideal of a well-governed life, for someone who was noble, straightforward in his dealings, was courageous, gentle, kind, compassionate, protector of the weak, eager for knowledge, and displayed respect for the wise and learned. Thus, everything that was opposite of this, such as mean, cruel, rude, false, ignoble, was considered non-aryan.

Huxley, regarding the scientific view at the time (1939), said the following: “In England and America the phrase ‘Aryan race’ has quite ceased to be used by writers with scientific knowledge, though it appears occasionally in political and propagandist literature… In Germany, the idea of the ‘Aryan race’ received no more scientific support than in England. Nevertheless, it found able and very persistent literary advocates who made it appear very flattering to local vanity. It therefore steadily spread, fostered by special interests.”

In this regard, N. S. Rajaram explains: “Those ‘special conditions’ were the rise of Nazism in Germany and British imperial interests in India. While both Germany and Britain took to the idea of the Aryan race, the courses taken by this racial theory in the two countries were quite different. Its perversion in Germany leading eventually to Nazism and its horrors is too well known to be repeated here. The British, however, put it to more creative use for imperial purposes, especially as a tool in making their rule acceptable to Indians. A BBC report admitted (6 October, 2005):

“It [AIT] gave a historical precedent to justify the role and status of the British Raj, who could argue that they were transforming India for the better in the same way that the Aryans had done thousands of years earlier.” 13

This was the way the British could justify their presence in India as a new and improved brand of Aryans that were doing the same thing that the present Indians who were the previous invading Aryans had done in the past. Thus, the Aryan Invasion Theory was perpetuated by special interests rather than by true historical evidence. In such a case, when the truth finally becomes apparent, such false notions have to dwindle and fade. That is why I have written about how those who believe in the false history of India are but a dying breed. The modern archeologists simply do not believe or see enough evidence to accept the Aryan Invasion Theory. Thus, it becomes self-evident that the Vedic culture was part of the indigenous tradition of India all along, and not brought to India by any outside invaders.

MISLEADING DATES OF THE ARYAN INVASION THEORY

        When the idea for the Aryan invasion was developed by Max Muller, he was formulating dates based on his familiarity and loyalty to the Biblical tradition, which tries to establish that the world was created in 4004 BCE. Therefore, whatever dates he came up with had to fit into this scheme of things. So, as we know, he decided that the Aryans had to have invaded India in 1500 BCE, and then developed the Rig Veda thereafter in 1200 BCE. This means that such calculations are based on faith in the Bible, and, accordingly, a group of linguistically unified people must have been existing around the Caspian Sea before invading India. It is this Biblical reference that formed the foundation of these dates of Max Muller’s for the Aryan Invasion Theory and when the Rig Veda may have been written. These were merely assumptions, many of which have been left uncontested, especially outside of India, up until a few decades ago.

Furthermore, Dr. Narahari Achar, a physicist from the University of Memphis clearly showed with astronomical analysis that the Mahabharata War took place in 3067 BCE, seriously challenging the outside “Aryan” origin of Vedic people. 14 Therefore, if we accept the year 3102 BCE as the date for the beginning of Kali-yuga, and 3067 BCE as the time for the Mahabharata war, this surely means that human society itself had been in existence for many, many years before the Christian date of 4004 BCE as the date for the creation of the world. This would make the 4004 BCE date of creation and the stories that go with it complete fiction.

The real problem with this is that these dates of 1500 BCE for the invasion of the Aryan forces and 1200 BCE for the creation of the Rig Veda have been propagated in both school and college books for many years as if they are the substantiated truth. However, even Muller admitted many times later in his life that these dates were arbitrary in nature, or merely guesses grounded on his own view of things, which were precarious opinions based on his allegiance to the Bible. He had written in admission, “I need hardly say that I agree with everyone of my critics. I have repeatedly dwelt on the entirely hypothetical character of the dates that I venture to assign [to the Vedic literature]. … Whether the Vedic hymns were composed 1000, 1500 or 2000 or 3000 BC, no power on earth will ever determine.”

As we have seen, it is the findings in archeology and the statements and history within the Rig Veda that have contradicted the dates of the fictional Aryan Invasion and the idea of an invasion itself. For example, the Rig Veda has described the ancient and glorious Sarasvati River, which is known to have dried up around 1900 BCE, and was probably already in the process of drying up back in 3000 BCE. This could not have been written by any invaders who entered India around 1500 BCE. How could they have described worshiping a river that had already ceased to exist 500 hundred years earlier? This is impossible. It would be like a haunting ghost story, still talking about things that had disappeared many generations ago.

This indicates that the Rig Veda had to have been in existence while the Sarasvati River was in her prime. This also means that the dates that many Western scholars have assigned for the formation of the Rig Veda are also in error by probably 2000 years or more. Of course, it was Max Muller who was paid by the British Government to write a negative interpretation of the Vedas to undermine the view Hindus themselves had for their own scripture, so he may have also been under pressure for his employment if he did not provide such viewpoints. Nonetheless, he had his own ambitions, as was outlined in a letter to his wife in 1866 about his edition of the Rig Veda having “a great extent on the fate of India and the growth of millions of souls in that country. It is the root of their religion and to show them what that root is, I feel sure, is the only way of uprooting all that has sprung from it in the last three thousand years.”

Well, his purpose did not work, but certainly created a major distraction in finding the truth of the matter, which, fortunately, there have been many scholars that have now shown the inaccuracy of the views that had originated from Max Muller’s hypothesis and guesswork.

THE SARASVATI RIVER IN THE RIG VEDA

        The Sarasvati River is mentioned in the Rig Veda over 60 times, with three hymns that make Sarasvati the subject, namely in book 6, hymn 61, and book 7, hymns 95 & 96. The most noted verse from the Rig Veda that refers to the mighty Sarasvati river and its civilization is 7.95.1.1-2, which states:

pra kshodasa dhayada sasra

esha sarasvati dharunamayasi puh

prababadhana rathyeva yati

vishva apo mahina sindhuranyaha

        “Pure in her course from the mountains to the ocean, alone of streams Sarasvati hath listened.”

Thus, it stands to reason that the Sarasvati acquired this state of reverence during its prime and not after it started drying up. In other verses that describe her, we find it said in the Rig Veda (7.36.6) she is the holiest and greatest of all rivers, the best of the seven rivers, and Mother of the rivers and the Sindhu River. Then again she is the best of the seven rivers (6.61.9-10), and is fed by three, five or seven streams (6.61.12), and nourishes all of the Vedic people, and flows through the mountains and crushes boulders like the stems of lotus flowers (6.61.2), and that Sarasvati was the best of mothers, the best river and best goddess (6.41.16).

For further insight into this, we can see how the Rig Veda described the Sarasvati River. Some of the Sanskrit words used to describe the Sarasvati in the Rig Veda are naditama, ambitama, and devitama, which mean best river, best mother and best goddess (2.41.16); it is swollen and fed by three or more rivers pinvamana sindhubhih (6.52.6); it is endless, swift moving, roaring, most dear among her sister rivers; together with her divine aspect, it nourishes the tribes (6.61.8-13). In 7.95.2 it is said giribhyah a samudrat, it flows in a pure course from the mountains to the ocean. Then 7.96.2 and 10.177 mentions to pray to the river goddess for sustenance and good fortune, and 10.64.9 calls upon her (and Sarayu and Indus) as great and nourishing. Thus, the descriptions indicate a live and flowing river of great importance, flowing from the Himalayas to the ocean. 15

The Rig Veda (10.75.5) also indicates where the Sarasvati was located by listing the main northern rivers in order from the east, in which case places the Sarasvati between the Yamuna and the Shutudri (modern Sutlej), as found in the verse:

imam me gange yamune sarasvati shutudri stomam parushnya

asiknya marudvridhe vitastya arjikiye shrinuhya sushomaya

        “Ganga, Yamuna, Sarasvati, Shutudri (Sutlej) Parushni (Ravi) Asikni, Manuvridha, Vitasta, Arjikiye, Shrinuhya, and Sushomaya.”

Many great Vedic rishis were also mentioned in the Rig Veda as having a connection with the Sarasvati River, such as Vasistha and Jamadagni (7.96.3), Gritsamada (2.41.16), and Bharadvaj (6.61). Also kings like Divodas (6.61) and Bharatas such as Devavat and Devashravas (3.23) are mentioned in connection with the Sarasvati. Also of the Rig Veda are the clan of the Purus who resided along the Sarasvati, in which it says, “Sarasvati, on both whose plant-laden banks the Purus dwell.” (7.96.2) 16

The importance of the Sarasvati, as herein demonstrated, cannot go unnoticed. Besides references to the Sarasvati River in the Rig Veda, we can find some in the Atharva Veda as well. One reference (6.30.1) refers to Indra ploughing the banks of the Sarasvati to cultivate barley, which was not only one of the items for offering into the fire during the yajna ritual, but was also one of the earliest staple foods.

During sacrifices, we find (AV 5.27.9) Sarasvati as the goddess was invoked along with goddesses Ida, Mahi and Bharathi. Then in hymns (AV 7.68 and 18.1.41) she is called to accept oblations during the ritual. We also find (AV 7.57.1) where Vamadeva was shaken due to the apathy and derogatory words of the people, and invokes Sarasvati to reduce tension and cleanse the mind. In a similar way, we find (AV 19.40.1) where Sarasvati is praised in order to overcome frailties of the mind.

PROOF OF THE SARASVATI RIVER

        While surveying the course of the Sarasvati River, geologist Sir Auriel Stein (1862-1943) concluded that there was indeed such a river that had dried up when the course of the Sutlej changed, and discontinued being the main contributory of the Sarasvati River. Thus, as the Sarasvati began to dry, the cities and residents that depended on the river also had to move. With the satellite images made through earth sensing satellites from 1978 by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and the ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) that revealed the ancient river courses, these show that the Sarasvati was a channel that ranged from six to eight kilometers wide, and up to 14 kilometers in some parts. Thus, the greatness of the Sarasvati River, as described in the Rig Veda, was verified.

This was further confirmed by an aerial survey conducted by the American Landsat satellite in 1990 that showed a dried tract of 1000 miles where the Sarasvati would have flowed from the Himalayas to the Sourashtrian coast. This changed the way many researchers viewed this issue. This was later followed up in 1996 by the Indian remote sensing satellite of the Indian Space Research Organization, the color images of which also clearly showed marks of a palaeochannel as wide as 3 km to 12 km in the same stretch.

Furthermore, in 1998, there were 24 wells dug by the Central Ground Water Commission along the dry bed, all of which produced potable water but one. Also in 1998, after the Pokhran atomic test, the Baba Atomic Research Center (BARC) drilled down 70 meters for sub-soil water to confirm that the aquifers had not been affected by radioactive material and found that the water was of Himalayan origin from as far back as 14,000 years.

This discovery of the Sarasvati also solved the reason why there were alluvial deposits in the Gulf of Cambay, discovered in 1869 by archeologist Alex Rogue. It was odd because there was no known river that flowed from the Himalayas at the time. 17

THE DEMISE OF THE SARASVATI

        The Rig Veda describes the Sarasvati River as a mighty flowing river. So if we know that it dried up completely around 2000 BCE, and had to have been in the process of drying by 3000 BCE or before, then the Rig Veda had to have been written before it started to dry up. There is nothing in the Rig Veda about the Sarasvati diminishing in any way. However, we do find in the Mahabharata where the Sarasvati was decreasing to a shorter course, such as in 3.130.3; 6.7.47; 6.37.1-4; 9.34.81; and 9.36.1-2.

The Mahabharata (Shalya Parva, 36-55) also describes the Sarasvati in relation to Balarama’s pilgrimage, which He took to occupy Himself rather than participate in the war at Kurukshetra with His brother Lord Krishna. It states that the Sarasvati was still significant in its holiness, but from its origin it flowed only for a forty-day journey by horse into the desert where it disappeared. All that was left were the holy places that used to be on its banks (as also mentioned in 3.80.84; 3.88.2; & 9.34.15-8). The Mahabharata also describes the geographical location of the river, saying that it flows near Kurukshetra (3.81.125). Similar information along with the place where the Sarasvati disappears, Vinashana, is found in the Manu-samhita (2.21).

All of this also indicates that the Rig Veda had to have existed well before 2000 BCE because it is described therein that the Sarasvati was a mighty flowing river during the Rig Vedic times, before it finally dried in 2000 BCE. According to the Rig Veda (10.75.5-6), the Vedic people occupied the area from the Ganga in the east to the Indus in the west. And as we have established in Proof of Vedic Culture’s Global Existence, the Harappan civilization was a part of the Vedic culture in the form of its continuance and diversity, or regional variations. In fact, the Rig Veda was already in existence before the Harappan Civilization came into its prime.

From other research we have found that the whole of the Sarasvati River had dried by about 2000 to 1800 BCE, and was at best a few small lakes. But the site of the Harappan Civilization called Kalibangan, that sits along the bank of the Sarasvati, after hydrological investigations (Raikes 1968), reveals that it was abandoned because of the drying up of the river. And this happened because of the rise of the Bata-Markanda Terrace in the Himalayas (Puri and Verma 1998). Even the Panchavimsha Brahmana (15.10.16) mentions the drying up of the Sarasvati. Radiocarbon dates also show that Kalibangan was abandoned around 2000 BCE. 18

Research explains that the demise of the Sarasvati River was caused by the lack of water it had previously received from the Yamuna, which had changed its course to flow eastward into the Ganga. Then the Sutlej also turned southwest, while the glacial melt also decreased, all of which greatly weakened the flow of the Sarasvati. This resulted in the Sarasvati disappearing into the desert at a place called Vinashana, or Samanta-panchaka in the Mahabharata, before it reached the sea. 19

This, along with the world drought that was known to have happened around 2200 to 1900 BCE, contributed to drying up the Sarasvati and Drishavati rivers and to the disappearance of the Harappan or Indus Valley Civilization. It also created the Thar desert. After this many people were forced to abandon this area and whatever towns and cities flourished there at that time. This massive worldwide drought not only impacted the Harappan civilization, but is also known to have affected or ended the civilizations of not only Egypt, but also of the Sumer-Akkad regions in Mesopotamia. All of this caused a deterioration of the Vedic bond in this area, and a rise in small political groups known as Janapadas, which is described in the Buddhist and Jain literature. Sanskrit also lost influence while Prakrits, regional languages, like Pali and Ardhamagadhi were used, as we find in the Buddhist and Jain texts of that era.

As further explained by N.S. Rajaram, it was sometime around 3000 BCE when the Yamuna River changed its course and started its flow into the Ganga River. This may have been due to earthquakes or something similar. That, of course, weakened the flow of the Sarasvati River, wherein it soon disappeared into the desert at a place called Vinashana. Some archeologists have identified this place as Kalibangan in Rajasthan, which is also where Harappan and pre-Harappan settlements have been found, as well as signs of possible earthquakes in the area. This corresponds to descriptions found in the Jaiminiya Brahmana and the Mahabharata.

The lower part of the Sarasvati River was still fed by the Sutlej and other rivers for some time, which continued to flow through the Thar desert and support some of the Harappan settlements in Rajasthan, Sindh and Cholistan to the Rann of Kutch. However, the Sutlej later also changed course, so this stretch of the river also dried up in stages from 2200 to 1900, when it is known to have disappeared completely, putting an end to whatever was left of the Harappan society in that area. This means that the Harappan civilization came to an end by natural causes, not any invaders, and then moved farther east into the Gangetic plains. Some Harappan people may have also moved westward into West Asia where the contributed to the growing tribes there. Some of the Kassite rulers seemed to have been of Indian origin who established an empire there.

Since Mohenjodaro and Harappa were first discovered in 1922, numerous other settlements have been uncovered, which now number over 2500, which stretches from Baluchistan to the Ganga and beyond, and down to the Tapti Valley. All of this covers nearly a million and a half square miles, all of which have been researched by archeologists. And 75% of all of these are concentrated around the dried up Sarasvati River bed. However, this also means that it was not an invasion that forced the abandonment of these towns and cities, but it was the drying up of the Sarasvati River, which was a catastrophe that lead to an outflow of people going in different directions from here to resettle elsewhere, especially into the Gangetic plain, but also including westward into Iran, Mesopotamia and other areas.

Even a most recent study, as reported in The Daily Mail in London, combining the latest archaeological evidence with state-of-the-art geoscience technologies provides evidence that climate change was a key ingredient in the collapse of the great Indus or Harappan Civilization almost 4000 years ago.

Liviu Giosan, a geologist with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and lead author of the study published the week of May 28, 2012, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “We reconstructed the dynamic landscape of the plain where the Indus civilization developed 5200 years ago, built its cities, and slowly disintegrated between 3900 and 3000 years ago. Until now, speculations abounded about the links between this mysterious ancient culture and its life-giving mighty rivers… We considered that it is high time for a team of interdisciplinary scientists to contribute to the debate about the enigmatic fate of these people,” Giosan explained.

As the report related, the research was conducted between 2003 and 2008 in Pakistan, from the coast of the Arabian Sea into the fertile irrigated valleys of Punjab and the northern Thar Desert. The international team included scientists from the U.S., U.K., Pakistan, India, and Romania with specialties in geology, geomorphology, archaeology, and mathematics. By combining satellite photos and topographic data collected by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM), the researchers prepared and analyzed digital maps of landforms constructed by the Indus and neighboring rivers, which were then probed in the field by drilling, coring, and even manually-dug trenches. Collected samples were used to determine the sediments’ origins, whether brought in and shaped by rivers or wind, and their age, in order to develop a chronology of landscape changes.

The new study suggests the same conclusions as had previously been arrived at by other researchers, that the decline in monsoon rains led to weakened river dynamics, and played a critical role both in the development and the collapse of the Harappan culture, which relied on river floods to fuel their agricultural surpluses.

From the new research, a compelling picture of 10,000 years of changing landscapes emerges. Before the plain was massively settled, the wild and forceful Indus and its tributaries flowing from the Himalaya cut valleys into their own deposits and left high “interfluvial” stretches of land between them. In the east, reliable monsoon rains sustained perennial rivers that crisscrossed the desert leaving behind their sedimentary deposits across a broad region.

The new research argues that the Sarasvati (Ghaggar-Hakra) was primarily a perennial monsoon-supported watercourse, and that aridification reduced it to short seasonal flows. Therefore, the conclusion of their research, in this regard, is that the slow drying of the Sarasvati River was the primary reason for the movement of the Indus Valley Civilization from the region, not invaders who took over the area. By 3900 years ago, their rivers drying, the Harappans had an escape route to the east toward the Ganges basin, where monsoon rains remained reliable. 20

LOCATION OF VINASHANA

        It is said that the place of Vinashana is where the Sarasvati River stopped flowing. However, not everyone is sure of exactly where it was located. Some historians and archaeologists locate it near Bharner, others near Kalibanga, and others in Rajasthan. But the popular convention of the lists of holy places in the Puranas locates it in the Kurukshetra region, Samanta-panchaka. Whereas the Padma Purana (18.247) seems to locate the site of Vinashana as far downstream as Pushkaranya. The Skanda Purana (Nagara Khanda, 164.39) appears to say that the flow of the Sarasvati went underground after it reached Pushkararanya in her westward flow.

As related in New Discoveries About Vedic Sarasvati, “Pushkararanya of Kurukshetra was the forest area located close to present Jind or Jayantika. Still this place is famous as Pokharan. There is a pond, which is known even today as a pond where Duryodhana hid himself after being defeated by Bhima in mace fighting. So it is crystal clear from this reference that Vinashana is located in Haryana itself and not Rajasthan.”

“Sridharasvani (c1400 AD) cited by C. Rayachaudhuri 21 in his gloss on Bhagavata Purana (1.9.1) locates Vinashana in Kurukshetra itself. The fact is that during the age of composition of the Brahmanas and Sutras, when the sacrificial cult was at its climax, the name of Vinashana stuck to one particular locality, which almost constantly remained humming with all sorts of sacrificial activity. As we have already described, Beri, close to Bisan, being such a holy place, the geographical identification of Vinashana of the Kurukshetra region with the area of Bisan near Beri of Rohtak will not be a farfetched one.” 22

The Bhagavata Purana (10.79.23) further describes Vinashana as the place where Balarama went to forestall the mace duel between Bhima and Durodhana, which gives more credence to the whereabouts of Vinashana, since the mace duel took place in the region of Kurukshetra. Plus, modern Bisan in Rohtak is a place close to Pokaran in Jind where Duryodhana, according to tradition, is said to have hid himself after his defeat in the duel. This is also in the region where Bhisma fell after the 18 days of battle in the war of Kurukshetra, which is a famous place near Kurukshetra.

THE ARGUMENT OF NO HORSE IN HARAPPA

        In analyzing the culture of the Harappans, one of the arguments has been that there was no horse, and that no horse bones have been found there. This is to justify the idea that the horse was not indigenous to the region and was brought into the area by invading Aryans. However, when we research the Harappan seals, we find what is called the Horse Seal, which means the horse had been a part of the Harappan culture. Furthermore, horse bones have been found at all levels at several Harappan sites. Furthermore, when deciphering the seals, the word ashva (a Sanskrit word for horse) is a commonly occurring word on the seals. Therefore, the idea of a horseless Harappan culture is a fallacy that has been proved wrong by evidence. 23 Horse remains have also been found in places like Koldihwa and Mahagara in the interior of India dating back to 6500 BCE.

As further elaborated by B. B. Lal: “A study of the horse anatomy shows that there were two types of horses in the ancient world that we still find today. There is an Indian type that has seventeen ribs and a West and Central Asian horse that has eighteen ribs. The Rig Vedic horse, as described in the Ashwamedha or horse offering of the Rig Veda, has thirty-four ribs (seventeen times two for the right and left side). (Rig Veda 1.162.18) This shows that the Rig Vedic horse did not come from Central Asia but was the South Asian breed. The Rig Vedic horse is born of the ocean, which indicates southern connections. (Rig Veda 1.163.1)”

As further explained, “Relative to the idea some people have that there are no horse remains at Harappa, Sir John Marshall who excavated Harappa and Mohenjodaro gave measurements of the horse remains he had found at Mohenjodaro (see his Mohenjodaro Indus Civilization, Vol.II, pages 653-4). Clay horse figurines, like the terracotta horse, have also been found from Lothal. In this regard, noted archeologist B. B. Lal states 24 :

“Even the much touted argument about the absence of the horse from the Harappan Civilization has no validity in the light of the new evidence regarding its presence. The noted international authority on the palaeontology of the horse, Sandor Bokonyi of the Archaeological Institute, Budapest, after duly examining the faunal remains concerned, had declared as far back as 1993 that ‘the domestic nature of Surkotada horse (a Harappan site in Kachchh) is undoubtful’” 25

Furthermore, Sir John Marshall, Director General of the Archaeological Survey, when excavating Harappa and Mohenjodaro, recorded the presence of what he called the “Mohenjodaro horse”:

“It will be seen that there is a considerable degree of similarity between these various examples, and it is probable the Anau horse, the Mohenjo-daro horse, and the example of Equus caballus of the Zoological Survery of India, are all of the type of the ‘Indian country bred,’ a small breed of a horse, the Anau horse being slightly smaller than the others.” 26

This is quite prominent evidence for the existence of the horse. However, the idea that if the horse was not already present in the Harappan area, that it was brought into ancient India by invading Aryans, then it would have to be proved, which is not actually possible because the Rig Veda (1.162.18) also describes the horse as having 34 ribs, with a similar description in the Yajur Veda, while the Central Asian horse as 36 ribs. This shows that the native Indian horse has been in India for many hundreds of years. This should clearly nullify the whole argument of no horse in the Harappa region, along with another factor used to try to justify the Aryan Invasion Theory.

The thing about the horse is that it was a greatly prized and valuable animal. So, there may not be many circumstances that would allow for horse bones to be found. However, the Sanskrit word for horse, ashva, is found 215 times in the Rig Veda. Also, many personalities had names connected with the word as well. Thus, the horse was highly valued.

The conclusions of whether the inhabitants of Harappa were Vedic Aryans or not were based on excavations in 1930-40 when they were not so complete, and when they found few remains of horses at the Harappan Indus sites, which gave way for the argument of no horse in Harappa. However, now that numerous sites along the Indus and the dried Sarasvati River have been excavated more thoroughly, bones of domesticated horses have been found at various locations. Dr. S. R. Rao, the renown archeologist, informs us that horse bones have been found from the “Mature Harappan” and “Late Harappan” levels of these sites. Many other scholars have also unearthed numerous bones of horses of both domesticated and combatant types. Thus, if any scholar still clings to the idea that the Indus Valley inhabitants can not be connected to or were not a part of the Vedic Aryan culture because of no horse remains, then they have not updated their research. This also clarifies the fact that this civilization was indeed a part of the Vedic culture.

Besides the evidence for horse bones being found at places already mentioned, Edwin Bryant describes additional places where the bones of horses have been found. “The report claiming the earliest date for the domesticated horse in India, ca. 4500 BCE, comes from a find from Bagor, Rajasthan, at the base of the Aravalli Hills (Ghosh, 1989). In Rana Ghundai, Baluchistan, excavated by E. J. Ross, equine teeth were reported from a pre-Harappan level (Guha and Chatterjee 1946, 315-316). Interestingly, equine bones have been reported from Mahagara, near Allahabad, where six sample absolute carbon 14 tests have given dates ranging from 2265 BCE to 1480 BCE. (Sharma et al. 1980, 220-221). Even more significantly, horse bones from the Neolithic site Hallur in Karnataka (1500-1300 BCE) have also been identified by the archaeozoologist K. R. Alur (1971, 123). These findings of the domestic horse from Mahagara in the east, and Hallur in the south, are significant because they would seem inconsistent with the axiom that the Aryans introduced the domesticated horse into the Northwest of the subcontinent in the later part of the second millennium BCE…

“In the Indus Valley and its environs, Sewell and Guha, as early as 1931, had reported the existence of the true horse, Equua caballus Linn from Mohenjo-Daro itself, and Bholanath (1963) reported the same from Harappa, Ropar, and Lothal. Even Mortimer Wheeler (1953) identified a horse figurine and accepted that ‘it is likely enough that camel, horse and ass were in fact all a familiar feature of the Indus caravan.’ Another early evidence of the horse in the Indus Valley was reported by Mackay, in 1938, who identified a clay model of the animal at Mohenjo-Daro, Piggott (1952, 126, 130) reports a horse figurine from Periano Ghundai in the Indus Valley, dated somewhere between Early Dynastic and Akkadian times. Bones from Harappa, previously thought to have belonged to the domestic ass, have been reportedly critically reexamined and attributed to a small horse (Sharma 1992-93, 31). Additional evidence of the horse in the form of bones, teeth, or figurines has been reported in other Indus sites such as Kalibangan (Sharma 1992-93, 31); Lothal (Rao 1979), Surkotada (Sharma 1974), and Malvan (Sharma 1992-93, 32). Other later sites include the Swat Valley (Stacul 1969); Gumla (Sankalia 1974, 330); Pirak (Jarrige 1985); Kuntasi (Sharma 1995, 24); and Rangpur (Rao 1979, 219).” 27

In spite of these considerable findings of the horse in ancient India, many archeologists ignored them and kept pointing back to the idea that the true domesticated horse was never known to the Harappans. This only kept the confusion of the real date for the Harappans and history of the Indus Valley Civilization in circulation, when actually it was something that would help show that it was an indigenous society.

THE URBAN OR RURAL ARGUMENT

        Another argument had been that the Harappan society was not part of the Aryan Civilization because Harappa was urban while the Aryans were rural pastoralists. Therefore, they had to be two separate societies. However, B. B. Lal explains: “Just as there were cities, towns and villages in the Harappan ensemble (as there are even today in any society) there were both rural and urban components in the Vedic times.” 28

S. P. Gupta also shares a similar thought on this that helps make it more clear that the Harappan or Indus Civilization was merely an outgrowth and a part of the Vedic culture: “Once it becomes reasonably clear that the Vedas do contain enough material which shows that the authors of the hymns were fully aware of the cities, city life, long-distance overseas and overland trade, etc… it becomes easier for us to appreciate the theory that the Indus-Sarasvati and Vedic civilizations may have been just the two complementary elements of one and the same civilization. And this, it is important to note, is not a presupposition against the cattle-keeping image of the Vedic Aryans. After all, ancient civilizations had both the components, the village and the city, and numerically villages were many times more than the cities. In India presently there are around 6.5 lakhs of villages but hardly 600 towns and cities put together…. Plainly, if the Vedic literature reflects primarily the village life and not the urban life, it does not at all surprise us.” 29

DECIPHERING THE INDUS SEALS

        Many scholars have suggested that the final clue in understanding the location of the Indo-Aryans would be if and when the Indus Seals could be deciphered. With the book of N. Jha and N. S. Rajaram, The Deciphered Indus Script: Methodology, Readings, Interpretations, it would seem that a big step in that direction has been made, if not completed.

With this new information, it would seem to corroborate the notion that in reality the Vedic Age was developed before the Indus Valley Civilization. Many scholars previously have tried to separate the two completely, saying that the Indus Valley Civilization, such as places like Harappa and Mohenjodaro were not a part of the Vedic culture, but that is not accurate. They indeed were a part of it, and their seals represented a form of the Vedic language. This would also indicate that a largely indigenous civilization must have been flourishing a thousand years before what became the development of Dynastic Egypt and Mesopotamia.

The Sarasvati-Indus Valley Civilization was probably in its prime about 3100 to 1900 BCE. But if we accept the dates that were given by Muller and his followers, that Vedic culture did not start until 1500 BCE, then that is why many are those that say Harappa and Mohenjodaro could not have been part of the Vedic Aryans. This brings us to what is called ” Frawley’s Paradox”, for as David Frawley points out, it gives us a history without a literature for the Harappans, and a literature without history, archeology or geography for the Aryans. This makes no sense. How can there be one without the other for any developed civilization?

Therefore, it becomes more apparent that the Vedic literature is far older than most thought, and the Harappans were a part of the Vedic culture. And the Indus seals help make that clear. It is generally accepted that the year 3067 is when the war at Kurukshetra took place. The Vedic Aryans were already well established and were a part of that war. This means that most if not all of the Rig Veda hymns had already been developed by 3500 BCE, not later, though they may have been written or compiled later. The Harappans had to have participated to some degree in that war. This was also about the time when the Indus seals had been formed. In fact, as N. S. Rajaram explains, “the Mahabharata, in the Shanti Parva, contains a description of the etymological texts whose contents are recorded on the seals, as well as the Vedic symbolism relating to the images on them… This is what holds the key not only to the decipherment [of the seals], but also to an understanding of the culture and civilization of the Harappans.” 30

In the deciphering of the Indus script, it was found that there are close connections between the structure of the Indus script and the rules of grammar and phonetics described in such primary works on Vedic Sanskrit as the Rik-Pratishakhya of Shaunaka, and the Nighantu by Yaska. This helped pave the way for understanding the seals. Many of the words on the seals can be traced back to the Nighantu.

Actually, several investigators before the publication of the work of N. Jha in 1996 recognized that the language on the Indus script had to be Vedic Sanskrit. N. S. Rajaram himself had concluded the writings were connected with the Sutras, based on short statements or meanings. In this way, the Indus seals have provided further insights into the original location and time period of the Vedic culture.

GENETICS SHOW AN EAST TO WEST MOVEMENT

        From the scientific perspective, Dr. Chandrakant Panse presented a paper that explained that the tissue antigens of the north and south Indians were completely distinct from those of the Europeans. “The stark lack of similarities in the gene pools of the Indian subcontinent and Europe, vividly evident in the mtDNA and the MHC complex, destroys any Aryan invasion notions, and confirms the genetic uniformity of people of the Indian subcontinent.” 31

Another aspect for the dismissal of the Aryan Invasion Theory based on genetics was reported in The Hindu newspaper on June 24, 2006. The report was that Chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research, D. N. Tripathi, in Bangalore explained that geneticists from Pakistan had collected samples for genetics analysis of the people of the Indian subcontinent and sent them to cellular and molecular biology laboratories in the U.S. From the DNA tests of the blood samples from the people in the Indian subcontinent, the scientists concluded that the human race spread out of Africa 60,000 years before Christ. They had settled in the subcontinent region. However, from these tests, the geneticists concluded that people living in both the northern and southern regions of India, and those in the West Asian region were from the same gene pool. This indicated that the human race had its origins in Africa and not Europe or Central Asia, as claimed by a few historians, and then went primarily to and spread out from ancient India. 32

When asked about the argument of many historians that the lineage of people in north India is traced to the Aryans outside of India who later entered or invaded India, Professor Tripathi said that test results had proved this wrong. “We have the results of studies. The conclusion of some historians that Aryans came here 1500 years before Christ does not hold water.”

As further explained in this regard by N. S. Rajaram, “A particular trait that we choose as characterizing a population group is called a genetic marker. One such marker that has proven useful is the M17 genetic marker. It is common in India and in adjacent regions, but becomes increasingly rare as we move westward into Europe. This, combined with the fact that Indian carriers of M17 are genetically more diverse than European carriers shows that the Indian population is older than the European.” 33

“Noting that the mtDNA is carried by the female line, while Y-chromosome is passed on through the male line, what this means is that the Indian population is largely indigenous in origin and has received negligible external input (gene flow) since the end of the last Ice Age (Holocene). This means that various migration theories like the Aryan invasion in 1500 BCE simply cannot be true.” 34

Furthermore, the Oxford geneticist Stephen Oppenheimer is quite clear on this and, while focusing on the M17 marker, explains: “… South Asia is logically the ultimate origin of M17 and his ancestors; and sure enough we find highest rates and greatest diversity of the M17 line in Pakistan, India and eastern Iran, and low rates in the Caucasus. M17 is not only more diverse in South Asia than in Central Asia, but diversity characterizes its presence in isolated tribal groups in the south, thus undermining any theory of M17 as a marker of a ‘male Aryan invasion’ of India.”

“One age estimate for the origin of this line in India is as much as 51,000 years. All this suggests that M17 could have found his way initially from India or Pakistan, through Kashmir, then via Central Asia and Russia, before finally coming to Europe.” 35

He also explains that the eastward movement of those people with the M17 marker traveled from India westward through Kashmir, Central Asia, up into Russia and then into Europe after 40,000 BP (38,000 BCE). Thus, as we have been saying, all migration in this regard has been from the east westward. 36

So the conclusion is that there could have been no thing called the Aryan Invasion as some propose, and that the tribal people of India are ancestrally no different than the rest of the Indian population. Therefore, anyone saying something different is only proposing such for some special interest or divisive purpose, and, thus, they should not be trusted. There are many of us who have known this, but it can take a long time to continue gathering enough evidence to present it in a way that establishes the truth. Furthermore, the divisions in India known as the northern Aryans and the southern Dravidians is also a fallacy based on conjecture, used now only to facilitate “special interests” that need to divide people for political, financial or other reasons.

In this way, we can understand that the idea that the Vedic culture and people of the area now called India have not developed out of invaders who are said to have brought the culture to the region. The idea that the Vedic and Dharmic culture was brought out of the Caucasus and into ancient India cannot be taken seriously without losing one’s credibility. If anything, it is the Europeans who are descendants of the migrants from India, going back as far as 40,000 years, making them a younger population than the much older Indian population.

All of this also pushes the dates back much farther by several thousand years than the foolishly proposed guestimate of 1500 BCE.

CONCLUSION:

THERE NEVER WAS ANY ARYAN INVASION

        Though there have been many scholars and researchers who have written and provided evidence that establishes that there never was an Aryan invasion, and that the Vedic people and its culture were indeed originally from the area of India, Nicholas Kazanas, the Greek professor, was the most recent to provide evidence and articles that were published in academic journals, thus forcing the academics to take another look at this issue. The theory of the Aryan invasion still has held much influence, if not bias and prejudice, at the way academics view the history of India, which is something that should have changed and been corrected years ago. Thus, after years of promoting the Aryan Invasion Theory, and then rejecting it after having done his own research, Kazanas concludes:

“The Aryan Invasion Theory, despite its 150-year-long life, has no real support anywhere except continued prejudice. It has now been substituted in a similar shameless frame of mind, by ‘migration’ of an alleged complex and, to the archaeologist or anthropologist, incomprehensible nature; this is a deception, since the aryanisation of North India on so an enormous a scale could not possibly have been effected without conquest and coercion–for which there is no testimony of any sort. Why this preposterous proposition should have acquired the status of historical fact among serious Indologists is for me a mystery. There may have been racist prejudice as many writers aver (Shaffer 1984; Leach 1990; Frawley 1991, 1994; Feuerstein 1995; Trautman 1997; Bryant chs 1-2, 13; many Indian writers like Talageri 2000, and Indian-American Kak 2000); this was perpetuated by mechanical repetition rather than logical consideration. Renfrew too was right perhaps in seeing nothing in the Rig Veda demonstrating that the Indoaryans ‘were intrusive to the area: this comes rather from a historical assumption about the ‘coming of the Indoeuropeans’ (1989: 182)…

“In sharp contrast, all the primary materials of a historian agree in showing no evidence at all for any entry. On the contrary, such testimony as had been preserved, early historical documentation and later traditions testify that Indoaryans are indigenous to Saptasindhu [land of seven rivers in Northern India]. These traditions (corroborated by foreign writers of the 4th cent BC) affirm that the Indoaryans have been in Saptasindhu since at least the 4th millennium [BCE]; this is now fully supported by Archaeoastronomy which places the great Bharata war at 3067, a Brahmana text c 3000 – 2900 and the Vedanga Jyotish c 1800. Given that archaeologists, anthropologists et all, specializing in the prehistory of that area, affirm unequivocally since 1980 that the local culture has an uninterrupted continuity since c 7000 (except for a break in the skeletal record c 4500), we can say that the Indoaryans have been in North India since that time. There is also the fact that the Rig Veda knows nothing of elements in the Indus-Sarasvati-Civilization whereas the later texts have these elements; moreover even in very late hymns the Sarasvati is a large river supporting the Aryans on its banks: therefore the Rig Veda must belong to a period before 3000.” 37

This is an important point, that the Vedic texts make no mention of any entry into the region by outside invaders, or that they were a part of a culture of invaders. Plus, due to their content, it can be discerned that they had to have been existing before 3000 BCE.

In the Rig Veda (and later Indic texts) there is no hint of any invading Aryas coming into the Sarasvati or Saptasindhu, the area of the seven rivers in North India and Pakistan. A. B. Keith 38 wrote, “It is certain… that the Rig Veda offers no assistance in determining the mode in which the Vedic Aryans entered India… the bulk at least [of the Rig Veda] seems to have been composed rather in the country round the Sarasvati River.” 39

The Vedic texts further refer to people being exiled or driven away from the area of northern India, such as in the Aitareya Brahmana (8.33.6 or 8.18) which tells of how the sage Vishvamitra exiled his 50 disobedient sons so that, in later periods, most of those people called the Dasyus are known as the descendants of Vishvamitra. Therefore, the Rig Veda provides no reference for an Aryan entry or displacement of the natives, but points out how Aryans and Dasyus went westward from the area of Northern India. 40

Therefore, the idea that the Indoaryans migrated into the vast area of the Sarasvati region, including the Punjab, Gujarat, Haryana, and so on, back in 1700 to 1500 BCE at which time the local natives learned the complicated language of the Vedic Aryans, after which numerous mountains, rivers, etc., suddenly had Sanskrit names is something you might find in a fairy tale rather than real history. There is no real explanation for this to have happened [except that they were an indigenous people]. 41

Because of these factors, there have been those who always spoke against the idea of an Aryan Invasion. Vivekananda was one such strong opponent of the Aryan Invasion Theory. He boldly challenged in this way (5:534-535): “And what your European pundits say about the Aryans swooping down from some foreign land, snatching away the lands of the aborigines and settling in India by exterminating them, is all pure nonsense, foolish talk! In what Veda, in what Sukta do you find that the Aryans came into India from a foreign country? Where do you get the idea that they slaughtered the wild aborigines? What do you gain by talking such nonsense? Strange that our Indian scholars, too, say amen to them; and all these monstrous lies are being taught to our boys!… Whenever the Europeans find an opportunity, they exterminate the aborigines and settle down with ease and comfort on their lands; and therefore they think the Aryans must have done the same!… But where is your proof? Guess work? Then keep your fanciful ideas to yourself. I strongly protested against these ideas at the Paris Congress. I have been talking with the Indian and European savants on the subject, and hope to raise many objections to this theory in detail, when time permits. And this I say to you–to our pundits–also, ‘You are learned men, hunt up your old books and scriptures, please, and draw your own conclusions.’”

Dayananda Sarasvati (February 12, 1824 to September 26, 1883), the founder of the Arya Samaj (1875), was another who had strong words against it: “No Sanskrit book or history records that the Aryas came here from Iran… How then can the writings of foreigners be worth believing in the teeth of this testimony.”

We cannot forget Aurobindo who had voiced his opinion about this many times, such as: “The indications in the Veda on which this theory of a recent Aryan invasion is built are very scanty in quantity and uncertain in significance. There is no actual mention of any such invasion.” 42

Jim Shaffer, a western archeologist, was another to strongly protest the idea of an Aryan invasion. In his article, The Indo-Aryan Invasions: Cultural Myth and Archaeological Reality, he explains how he thinks after all of his work and research: “Current archaeological data do not support the existence of an Indo-Aryan or European invasion into South Asia at any time in the pre- or protohistoric periods. Instead, it is possible to document archaeologically a series of cultural changes reflecting indigenous cultural development from prehistoric or historic periods… The Indo-Aryan invasion as an academic concept in 18th– and 19th-century Europe reflected the cultural milieu of that period. Linguistic data were used to validate the concept that in turn was used to interpret archaeological and anthropological data. What was theory became unquestioned fact that was used to interpret and organize all subsequent data. It is time to end the ‘linguistic tyranny’ that has prescribed interpretive frameworks of pre- and protohistoric cultural development in South Asia.” 43

After having done extensive research into the issue at hand, Nicholas Kazanas explains how he came to his own conclusions: “Having held and taught for more than 18 years, but without investigating, the received doctrine that the Indo-European branches dispersed from the South Russian or Pontic Steppe (as per Mallory 1997, 1989; Gimbutas 1985, 1970; and others), and that the Indo Aryans had entered Saptasindhu c1500 [BCE], I began to examine these mainstream notions thoroughly and in c1997 abandoned them. I decided that no evidence of any kind supported them; on the contrary, the evidence showed that by 1500 [BCE] the Indo Aryans were wholly indigenous and that the elusive Indo-European homeland was very probably Saptasindhu and the adjacent area–the Land of Seven Rivers in what is today N-W India and Pakistan; this area could well have extended as far northwest as the Steppe.

“Apart from the recent genetic studies, which at the time were not so well-known nor so secure, the decisive evidence for me now is the antiquity of Sanskrit, indicated by its inner coherence and its preservation of apparently original PIE [Proto-Indo-European] linguistic features (like the dhatu, five families of phonemes, etc) and cultural elements. The Vedic language as seen in the RV alone, despite much obvious attrition and several innovations, has preserved many more features from the putative PIE [Proto-Indo-European] language and wider culture. This was due to its well attested and incomparable system of oral tradition which preserved the ancient texts fairly intact and continued even into the 20th century. An oral tradition of this kind cannot be maintained by a people on the move for decades if not centuries over many thousands of miles, as the AIT proproses. Such a tradition could be preserved only by a sedentary people where the older generation would have the necessary leisure to pass the communal lore to the younger one.” 44

Kazanas also brings up the argument that even if the Vedic Aryans had been maintaining their language and literacy during an invasion or migration into the Saptasindhu region, why then is there no mention of it in any of the Vedic literature? Why was there no mention of their travels, mishaps, dangers in meeting alien people, etc? The reason is simple: they did not migrate, but were the original inhabitants of the area.

The only reason that has kept this defective and deformed doctrine alive is the personal and political interests that had an agenda to fulfill for their own purposes. There have been those, as there still are, who have a purpose in demeaning and belittling the Indian Vedic tradition and its early history. Even, as odd as it may seem, many Indian scholars also dumb-down the profound history and nature and the early advanced developments that came out of ancient India. Hopefully they will stop doing this and actually take a deep interest and research into their own culture to see what it really had to offer, and still does offer the world of today. Why not? What do they have to lose? That is the telltale question.

Therefore, as Nicholas Kazanas summarizes, which I quote because I could not say it better than he does, “Let us hope that the noxious AIT and all notions rooted in it will sooner than later end up in the only place they should be–the dustbin of history.” 45

SCHOLARS WHO BELIEVE IN THE FALSE HISTORY OF INDIA ARE A DYING BREED

        Now that India has been free for a number of decades from British rule, researchers, historians, and archeologists can all begin to take a new look at the true history of India. We can have a more unbiased view of the numerous new findings that keep cropping up that give an increasingly accurate understanding of how ancient and how advanced was the Indian Vedic civilization. Now more than ever there is a serious lack of support and opposing evidence for the theories that were made popular by the British, such as the Aryan Invasion Theory, or that it was the invading Muslims who gave India the great contributions to Indian art, music, or even architecture. With the newer and more accurate historical findings, many of these ideas are falling apart like a house of cards.

These days there is much more evidence being presented by newer, younger and bolder researchers that show the falsity of these antiquated ideas. Furthermore, there are also more questions that are no longer answered by the old beliefs about India’s history and the Aryan Invasion Theory. The theories of the old scholars are being overturned.

We also see that new students of archeology and history are hesitant to accept these ideas in the face of the newer findings and evidence that keep being discovered, such as the latest discovery (January, 2002) that ancient Indian civilization could date back to 9,000 years ago.

I have even talked to some students who are informed about the truth of Indian history and archeology who confronted their professors about the outdated inaccuracies and overtly misleading information that they were teaching in schools and universities. One professor admitted that it was wrong, but she had to teach it because it was in the book the college was using and that is what she had to teach.

I have even had friends discuss with educated Muslims the idea that many ancient buildings of India were not built by the Muslim invaders who have been given the credit, but were only captured them, and they readily agreed that anyone who really knew their history would admit this was the case. There was no argument with this. India had the mathematics (Shulba Shastras) and architectural treatises and abilities, along with knowledgeable craftsmen, to have built such structures, while the invading Muslims did not bring such knowledge and facility. In fact, the chronicle of Al Biruni, who accompanied Mahmoud Ghazni, relates the surprise and awe of the Muslim invaders to see such buildings. Thus, such structures had to have already been in existence.

It is interesting that the common laypersons are quicker to see the logic in the new research findings and in considering these new architectural discoveries than the academic scholars. The academicians who cling to such old ideas tend not to write more books justifying what they teach, but seem to spend more time on trying to debunk, criticize or discredit the new findings or theories that seem more relevant and able to answer or put to rest the age-old questions. Just a few of these questions include: Where is the pre-Aryan language that existed if the people of India were not part of the Vedic culture? What existed in India before the Vedic culture, if it was brought by invaders? If the Vedic Aryans invaded the Indus region after 1500 BCE, then how is it that the Vedas glorify the greatness of the Sarasvati River which is known to have dried up no later than 1800 BCE? How did the Vedic Aryans know of the Sarasvati River at all, unless they were already there and a part of the advanced Vedic culture from thousands of years ago? How is it that Arabic and European countries were able to make advancements in mathematics only after they learned the numeric system that originated in India, now called the Arabic numerals, with its unique symbol of zero? Why, when we seriously look at the way the area of India, the Middle East and Europe developed, it appears that the advanced nature of society came from India rather than from outside? When we read in the Puranas of the advanced organizational nature of the Vedic cities and their fabulous palaces and buildings such as in Dwaraka as found in the Bhagavata Purana, why should we think that India had no amazing structures before the Muslim invaders entered the country? Should we think that ancient Indians only lived in forests and tents? That is what it seems many academicians would have us believe. Anyway, these and other questions have not and can not be answered by the old ideas on India’s history such as the Aryan Invasion Theory.

So it is unfortunate that many of these academics still hold on to these ideas as the basis of their views. The reason why some of these academics take this so personally is that they have the most to lose. The basis of their job, or their own identity, and their value to society and the whole basis of everything they thought they knew about history becomes threatened if it is proved that what they have been teaching is false.

The fact of the matter is, unfortunately, and as we can plainly see, much historical analysis is but a big ego trip; theories and opinions meant to do little more than support the premise of the superiority of one culture over another. There is a need to take a new look at reason and cultural development without this sort of interference of ego.

Now more than ever before truth is prevailing, and the corruption of the British and Muslim theories and stories that have been put forth to demean India and the Indian race and its Vedic culture is being recognized on an increasing scale. For this reason, the academics that still cling to such theories as the Aryan invasion are a dying breed. Maybe then we can be free from their closed-minded prejudice that came from the theories and attempted validations meant to do nothing but support the premise of the superiority of the European and Caucasian races over the darker skinned Indian people.

Eventually, truth prevails. And after a few hundred years of ideas that were purposely contrived to demean the culture and history of India, we are now learning that the truth is quite different, and India was more advanced than the old British theories give it credit. And we can see that these old theories are falling by the way side.

The threat to the Aryan Invasion Theory is coming as a surprise only to those who have not kept up with, or outrightly rejected, all the new evidence that is continually being uncovered, and all the new questions that cannot be substantiated by such concepts as the Aryan Invasion Theory. Thus, it is a revolution that is going in like a needle and out like a plow to propose that the Aryan Invasion is but a fictional account, and that the Muslims who invaded India merely captured the major monuments of India without really building them.

As time goes on, more and more evidence will accumulate to show the truth of India’s Vedic history. As the evidence mounts, the old theories will slip away and anyone still clinging to such ideas as the Aryan invasion or the false history of India’s architectural wonders will only look foolish. It is taking some time to reveal this truth, but out of all the cultures of the world, it is India that has best withstood the tests of time and remains the oldest living culture in the world. And this is not due to remaining dependent on the views of outsiders who think they know India’s culture and history better than Indians, or those who still are influenced by the stories of India from invaders and dominators who disliked or even despised India and its people.

Now is the time for those of us connected with, or who appreciate India’s historical and Vedic culture to unite and work to reveal the true and advanced nature of India’s timeless Dharmic tradition, and its advancements, which were already in existence before the credits of its wonders were attempted to be taken by outsiders.

NOTES

1. G. P. Singh, Facets of Ancient Indian History and Culture.

2. David Frawley, The Myth of the Aryan Invasion of India, Voice of India, New Delhi, 2002, p. 43.

3. Bal Ram Singh, Editor, Origin of Indian Civilization, Center for Indic Studies, Dartmouth, USA, 2010, p. 15.

4. B. B. Lal, Origin of Indian Civilization, Edited by Bal Ram Singh, Center for Indic Studies, Dartmouth, USA, 2010. p. 23-24.

5. Ibid., p. 24.

6. Max Muller, Biographies of Words and the Home of the Aryas, by London, 1888, p. 120.

7. Chandrasekharendra Saraswati, The Vedas, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bombay, 1988, p. 16.

8. N. S. Rajaram, The Politics of History, Voice of India, New Delhi, 1995, p. xvi.

9. B. B. Lal, Origin of Indian Civilization, Edited by Bal Ram Singh, Center for Indic Studies, Dartmouth, USA, 2010. p. 26.

10. Kazanas, Origin of Indian Civilization, Edited by Bal Ram Singh, Center for Indic Studies, Dartmouth, USA, 2010, p. 57.

11. B. B. Lal, The Home land of the Aryans, Evidence of Rig Vedic Flora and Fauna and Archeology, Aryan Books International, Delhi, pp. 85-88.

12. N. S. Rajaram, Origin of Indian Civilization, Edited by Bal Ram Singh, Center for Indic Studies, Dartmouth, USA, 2010, p. 166-67.

13. Ibid., p. 167.

14. Origin of Indian Civilization, Edited by Bal Ram Singh, Center for Indic Studies, Dartmouth, USA, 2010, p. 17.

15. Kazanas, Origin of Indian Civilization, Edited by Bal Ram Singh, Center for Indic Studies, Dartmouth, USA, 2010, p. 54.

16. Dr. David Frawley and Dr. Navaratna S. Rajaram, Hidden Horizons, Unearthing 10,000 Years of Indian Culture, Swaminarayan Aksharpith, Ahmedabad, India, 2006, p. 64-65.

17. Pride of India: A Glimpse into India’s Scientific Heritage, Samskriti Bharati, New Delhi, 2006, p. 78-79.

18. B. B. Lal, Origin of Indian Civilization, Edited by Bal Ram Singh, Center for Indic Studies, Dartmouth, USA, 2010, p. 34.

19. Dr. David Frawley and Dr. Navaratna S. Rajaram, Hidden Horizons, Unearthing 10,000 Years of Indian Culture, Swaminarayan Aksharpith, Ahmedabad, India, 2006, p70-71)

20. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2151143/Climate-change-wiped-worlds-great-civilisations-4-000-years-ago.html.

21. C. Rayachaudhuri, Studies in Indian Antiquities, Calcutta, 1958, p. 134.

22. Dr. Ravi Prakash Arya, New Discoveries About Vedic Sarasvati, Indian Foundation for Vedic Science, Rohtak, Haryana, India, 2005, p. 26.

23. N. Jha and N. S. Rajaram, The Deciphered Indus Script, Aditya Prakashan, New Delhi, 2000, p. 162.

24. Dr. David Frawley and Dr. Navaratna S. Rajaram, Hidden Horizons, Unearthing 10,000 Years of Indian Culture, Swaminarayan Aksharpith, Ahmedabad, India, 2006, p.106.

25. B. B. Lal, Homeland of the Aryans: Evidence of Rig Vedic Flora and Fauna and Archaeology, pp. 80-81.

26. Sir John Marshall, Mohenjo-Daro and the Indus Civilization, Vol. II, p. 654.

27. Edwin Bryant, The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture, Oxford University Press, 2001, p. 170-171.

28. B. B. Lal, Colonialism, Nationalism, Ethnicity, and Archaeology, Parts 1 and 2, Review of Archaeology 18, no. 2:1-14 and 35-47, 1997, p. 285.

29. S. P. Gupta, The Indus Sarasvati Civilization, Pratibha Prakashan, 1996, p. 147.

30. N. Jha and N. S. Rajaram, The Deciphered Indus Script, Aditya Prakashan, New Delhi, 2000, p. 31.

31. Chandrakant Panse, DNA, Genetics and Population Dynamics: Debunking the Aryan Invasion Propaganda, Professor of Biotechnology, Newton, Massachusetts. Paper presented at the Third Annual Human Empowerment Conference at Houston, Texas, September, 2005.

32. http://www.thehindu.com/2006/06/24/stories/2006062412870400.htm.

33. N. S. Rajaram, Origin of Indian Civilization, Edited by Bal Ram Singh, Center for Indic Studies, Dartmouth, USA, 2010, p. 171.

34. Ibid., p. 173.

35. Stephen Oppenheimer, Out of Eden: The Peopling of the World, Constable, London, 2003, p. 152.

36. Stephen Oppenheimer, The Real Eve: Modern Man’s Journey Out of Africa, Carroll & Graf, 2003, p. 152.

37. Nicholas Kazanas, Indo-Aryan Origins and Other Vedic Issues, Aditya Prakashan, New Delhi, 2009, p. 62-3.

38. A. B. Keith, The Age of the Rigveda, Cambridge History of India, Vol. I, 1922, pp. 77-113.

39. Nicholas Kazanas, Indo-Aryan Origins and Other Vedic Issues, Aditya Prakashan, New Delhi, 2009. p. 9.

40. Nicholas Kazanas, Indo-Aryan Origins and Other Vedic Issues, Aditya Prakashan, New Delhi, 2009, p. 10-11.

41. Ibid., p. 243.

42. Shri Aurobindo, The Secret of the Veda, Shri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, 1971, p. 24.

43. Jim Shaffer, The Indo-Aryan Invasions: Cultural Myth and Archaeological Reality (in The People of South Asia, 77-90. Ed. John Lukacs, Plenum Press, New York, 1984, p. 88.

44. Nicholas Kazanas, Indo-Aryan Origins and Other Vedic Issues, by Aditya Prakashan, New Delhi, 2009, p. 302.

45. Ibid., p. 328.

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Yoga and Meditation: Their Origins and Real Purpose, by Stephen Knapp

 

Yoga and Meditation: Their Origins and Real Purpose

By Stephen Knapp

            First of all, yoga is not a religion, it is a spiritual science that has been practiced and developed over thousands of years. Archeological evidence shows figures in yogic positions from the Indus Valley region that date as far back as 3000 BCE. Yoga is also mentioned in various Vedic literature, such as some of the Upanishads, including the Katha, Svetashvatara, Taittiriya, and Maitrayani, as well as the Bhagavad-gita, the Bhagavata Purana, and others, all of which date back thousands of years. Therefore, yoga, which is essentially theistic, was known many years before Patanjali. Although he is often given the credit for it, he merely codified it in his Yoga Sutras, which is the text many people are aware of, and which is said to have been written somewhere between the fourth century BCE and the fourth century CE. In this way, it should be clear to anyone that yoga and meditation have their origins in the Vedic system, which some call Hinduism.

            Furthermore, hatha yoga is described in such early texts as the Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Yogi Swatmarama, the Gheranda Samhita by the sage Gherand, and the Shiva Samhita. Lord Shiva is said to be the originator of the system found in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. This is highly regarded by the Nath tradition founded by Gorakshnath and his teacher Matyendranath, who was accepted to be a disciple of Lord Shiva. Yogi Gorakshnath wrote the Goraksha Samhita. A later text on yoga is known as the Hatharatnavali by Srinivasabhatta Mahayogindra. Thus, without this ancient culture, there would be no yoga process as we know it today.

            In the Vedic tradition, yoga is the system which is the application of the Sankhya system. The Sankhya philosophy is another of the Vedic systems. The original Sankhya system, as explained in Srimad-Bhagavatam by Lord Kapila, acknowledges matter and spirit as two separate principles of reality. Sankhya analyzed such factors as purusha and prakriti (spirit and matter), the creation and development of matter through excitation of the purusha, how the world evolved, how the modes of nature operate and affect us, how ahankara (false ego) causes our identification with matter and bondage to the material world, the five organs of action and five senses of perception, the subtle elements, the gross elements, etc. The goal of this system is to understand that the real self is eternal and free, but because of ignorance the soul identifies with what is temporary and, therefore, suffers. Through this kind of analysis of the material world it is expected that one will realize the difference between matter and spirit and attain freedom from false identification. After this stage is attained, release from existence in the material world is reached through spiritual training, meditation on the real self and Superself, and the practice of yoga.

            In this way, Sankhya is the theory, while yoga is the practice. The complete system of yoga is very complex and has many steps to it, each of which must be perfected before one can go on to the next step.

            Hatha yoga is one of the first types of yoga with which people become acquainted. However, it is not a separate system of yoga as many people seem to think. It is one of the eight steps of raja or astanga yoga. Nonetheless, it can be used separately if only for helping keep the body and mind fit and in shape.

            The word hatha consists of two bija or seed mantras, namely ha (prana) and tha (the mind or mental energy). Ha means the prana or energy flowing within the body and that associated with the sun, while tha means the mind or mental energy, or that associated with the moon. Thus, hatha means to bring in balance the energies of the sun and moon, or unify the vital energy of the body with the mental. This opens the door to higher consciousness, which culminates in samadhi during meditation, if one continues to develop it to that stage. With the use of hatha yoga, the body can become more subtle, or what is called a yoga body.

The purpose of yoga is to suspend the flickering nature and internal dictations of the mind. Being free of the dictates and influence of the mind would allow one at least a glimpse into the spiritual reality that was discussed in the Sankhya system. Yoga is also to attain relief from the pain that exists from such things as ignorance, which brings attachment, which then leads the way to fear and hatred, as well as the fear of death. The practice of yoga and renunciation is for bringing freedom from such pains and suffering, and allowing us to enter our natural state of never-ending happiness and bliss, which is the normal condition of the soul, our real identity. Although the basis of the yoga system may be quite popular, few people can actually reach the higher levels of self-realization through this process in this day and age.

The Sanskrit root of the word yoga is yuj, which means to bind, link, or unite with the object of our meditation. Thus, it is to unite the mind, intellect, the will, body, and soul to God, or the jivatma to the Paramatma, the individual soul to the Supersoul, through the discipline of yoga. Furthermore, the word religion comes from the Latin word religio, which also means to bring back or bind to God. Thus, there is no difference between the goal of yoga and the deeper goal of religion.

Religion as we know it today, however, often deals with externals, such as how we act, what we do, and customs and rituals. Spirituality, on the other hand, may also use rituals and practices, but is focused on our internal changes and development, and is, thus, more personal and individualistic. It does not depend on a church or our connection with an institution, though that may help and is recommended in particular situations. Neither does it depend on a strict dogma, but it goes beyond all that. This is the Vedic system. The goal of religion may be to reach heaven, but the goal of Vedic spirituality, from which originates the yoga system, is moksha, or liberation from all forms of materialistic limitations, a reawakening of our real spiritual identity, and even entrance into the spiritual dimension.

The purpose of any true spiritual path is to raise our consciousness to the point of allowing us to directly perceive the spiritual strata. Being spiritual means to recognize one’s spiritual identity and practically see the transcendental essence of all others. It also means to see that we are all parts and parcels of God and to respect each other in that light. That is one of the higher goals of yoga.

To proceed in this way, we need to understand that all things that are spiritual function on a higher plane of existence, one that is hardly perceptible by our mind, intelligence, or senses. The spiritual dimension can only be detected when our consciousness reaches a higher level of awareness, beyond the influence of the mind and senses. It is similar to radio and television waves. These are not perceptible by our mind or senses. They remain invisible, yet they are all around us. In our base level of awareness, or unawareness, we may think that such things as radio waves and television frequencies are not real. Of course, we may be viewed as quite uneducated by those who are familiar with their existence. So the thing is, even if you cannot perceive them, if you have a receiver that can detect or even utilize such subtle waves or frequencies, then you will know that radio and television waves are not only a fact, but can be used for many practical purposes.

The same thing goes for yoga, or a genuine spiritual path. It is meant to bring our consciousness up to a higher level of awareness, to fine tune it so that we can receive or perceive the higher vibrations of the spiritual strata. As we practice such a genuine spiritual tradition, our consciousness can become refined and focused enough so we can receive the subtle frequencies and perceive the reality of the spiritual domain. Then we can have our own spiritual experiences. The point is that the more spiritual we become, the more we can perceive that which is spiritual. As we develop and grow in this way, the questions about spiritual life no longer remain a mystery to solve, but become a reality to experience. It becomes a practical part of our lives. And how to reach that level of perception is supplied in the Vedic methodologies that have been preserved and handed to us by the previous sages who have also used them for their own development and spiritual experience. And that is what the Vedic process has been giving to humanity for thousands of years.

The Vedic system is practically non-denominational. It is not for any one culture or ethnic group. It is for all of humanity and is called Sanatana-dharma. Sanatana-dharma is both a path and a state of being. It means, essentially, the eternal nature of the soul, that which always exists, and our eternal duty, which is to attain that spiritual perception. We are all spiritual beings within material bodies, so the goal and our main duty in human existence is to regain that spiritual identity. This is attained by a reawakening of our higher consciousness and the direct perception of our spiritual identity. It is through the process of yoga and the path of Sanatana-dharma that we can reach this higher awareness and perceive exactly who we are. This is precisely the ultimate purpose of yoga.

            Nowadays people often practice yoga merely for improving their physical fitness, or for their mental and overall well-being. There is nothing wrong with that, and yoga can do that most efficiently. But there is also a higher aspect of yoga, which for some has been forgotten. The great rishis of old in India gave it for our preparation to reach higher states of consciousness. And such training was performed for years to attain more developed states of being. Thus, the process of hatha yoga was given to prepare one for entering the elevated stages of meditation. Hatha yoga is a beginning process for preparing the body and mind for spiritual awakening through the practice of raja or astanga yoga. Thus, it is also quite effective in reducing any diseases, physical defects, or mental disturbances. And this is why some people use it as a preventative medical therapy. It is the imbalance in the energy system that contributes much of the psychic or mental diseases that people suffer. Hatha yoga, along with breathing exercises, pranayama, can eliminate many such problems. However, it is not enough to use only particular asanas or yoga postures to remedy certain problems. It must be used holistically to treat the whole person so the student, or the sadhaka, can rise to a higher level of being. The person’s character, thought processes, mind, senses, and physical nature, must all rise to a more refined level of existence. That is what is needed, otherwise the goal of yoga remains incomplete. This, it seems, is what has been forgotten by many modern yoga teachers.

In order for the mind to be purified, the body also has to be purified, or prepared spiritually. Hatha yoga is that preliminary process by which we prepare the body, nervous system, mind, lungs or breathing, and nadi channels so the energy within can flow most efficiently for states of deep meditation. This is the objective of hatha yoga.

The benefits of yoga are various and numerous. On the mental level it strengthens concentration, determination, and builds a stronger character that can more easily sustain various tensions in the materialistic world. The assortment of asanas or postures also provide stronger health and keeps ills such as diabetes, high and low blood pressure, etc., away or in check. It improves physical strength, endurance, flexibility, back pain, digestive disorders, and arthritis. It promotes detoxification of the body, toning of muscles, and relief from stress and anxiety. Certain diseases can be prevented or improved by performing yoga on a daily basis.

Students also use yoga to find relief from the stress of study, tests, homework, and pressure to keep up good grades. Yoga has been shown to provide an increase of energy, so students can use that toward school work and improve their academic performance.

With the practice of pranayama and asanas, the glands and muscles also increase in capability, which helps cure or prevent various diseases caused by bad food habits and irregular lifestyle. Problems such as constipation, cardiovascular and respiratory difficulties are examples of this. Yoga also strengthens the heart and keeps the veins healthy. It improves the entire digestion process, making every part of the body healthy, light, and active. Yogic exercises also work to dissolve fat, which makes the body light, healthy, fit, and attractive.

It is understood that physical growth or the anabolic process continues to the age of 18. From 18 to 35 there is a balance or neutral stage between the anabolic and catabolic or degenerative processes. But from 35 onward the catabolic or deteriorating process sets in. Yoga and meditation can significantly reduce that decline caused by the catabolic process. That is because our body’s cells, organs, and nerves are affected by the attitude or energy we send through the body. They have their own consciousness and are influenced by the collective consciousness we create, that we live in by our thoughts, desires, words, and deeds. Thus, positive thoughts and spiritual practices bring uplifting results to the body. Since yoga and meditation can help establish a prolonged state of mind and body that is positive and progressive, it naturally helps rejuvenate the body and sustains life and good health, besides leads us to spiritual consciousness.

            In the changes that the body undergoes through a serious practice of hatha yoga, the body can become more subtle, flexible, and balanced so that the affects of old age are greatly reduced. However, those who practice yoga seriously and not merely for outer beautification and health reasons can progress to the higher forms of yoga. They can develop or feel the superior indwelling pleasure and peace that is attainable through the full progression of yoga, which leads to self-realization, the real goal of yoga. Nonetheless, a person will still feel benefits from whatever practice they make. Even on an elementary level, a higher state of peace, tranquility, and even meditation can be attained.

            Even if yoga is performed only for good health, the higher brain centers are still activated to varying degrees and can become further opened with steady practice in preparation for higher consciousness.

            As one progresses through hatha yoga and engages in meditation, a person can taste a mental calm that is experienced when the mind becomes stable and steady, and more closely connected with our real spiritual identity. Thus, a person becomes attracted to the meditation sessions, and other outer or sensual forms of pleasure or happiness become less significant. As one’s self-fulfillment increases, it becomes easier to naturally avoid those activities that are not conducive to peaceful living and healthy well-being.

In the preliminary stages, yoga is, essentially, for controlling the flickering nature of the mind, and for developing one’s finer qualities and expanding one’s consciousness from material to spiritual awareness. It is explained that yoga is the process of completely calming the movements of the mind, which include perceived knowledge, misconception, imagination, sleep, and memory. When these are stabilized, then it can be called yoga, which offers the opportunity for the seer to become established in his own essential and fundamental nature, full of bliss and light. Further than this, yoga is the attempt and the process to realign our selves with the Supreme Self, God.

When you progress in yoga in this way, you can feel the unwanted burdens of the mind fall away, such as anxiety, anger, greed, envy, hate, discontent, etc. Then other qualities like peacefulness, tranquility, contentment, and blissfulness will be felt. These are the natural qualities of the soul which everyone is trying to find and are some of the many things that can be accomplished with yoga.

            As we continue to develop in yoga, we separate ourselves from the general vibrations of selfishness, greed, and anger that often pervade this planet. But we also contribute to the uplifting vibrations in the social or mass consciousness that this world so much needs these days. If we all can continue to work in this way, there could be a major shift in planetary consciousness for the upliftment of humanity for the greater good. Thus, our own spiritual progress becomes a positive influence on the whole planet.

            As you make further progress, you may enter into the deeper levels of understanding and transcending the mind and gradually go so far as to attain realizations as to what your own spiritual identity is and what your relationship is with the Absolute. Becoming free from material life and regaining one’s spiritual identity is the superior goal of all yoga.

            The process for attaining a closer attunement or relationship with God is further introduced in my article “The Secrets of Bhakti Yoga”, and a more full explanation of the yoga processes is provided in my book, Yoga and Meditation: Their Real Purpose and How to Get Started,” both of which can be found on my website at: www.stephen-knapp.com, or at my blog at https://stephenknapp.wordpress.com.