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Who were the Rig Vedic Indo Aryans - a hypothesis

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Venkytalks View Drop Down
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  Quote Venkytalks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Who were the Rig Vedic Indo Aryans - a hypothesis
    Posted: 16-Jan-2013 at 05:59
What I write below is derived from random readings over the decades and not from any systematic research.

Homo Sapiens from the middle east spread out to reach the corners of the world in the old stone age and this was probably from successive migrations occurring over 50,000 years and probably reached their final locations before 10,000 BC. In their local areas, they evolved to suit their local requirements. While it is difficult to be certain, probably the original homo sapiens of the middle east looked pretty much as the middle eastern people look today i.e dark hair and eyes, whitish skin colour. Any humans reaching close to the Equator whether in Africa, India or South East Asia would quickly evolve to get dark skin which protect against UV radiation and skin cancer.  Retention of white skin in areas without so much sun would be required for making Vitamin D – and would become a greater survival advantage the further north you go. So the original European population would have evolved  white skinned. The blond hair and blue hair either evolved due to random mutations which improved exposure to sun in cold climates requiring most of the skin to be covered except the face. Or as has been suggested

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/how-women-evolved-blond-hair-to-win-cavemens-hearts-467901.html

could have been a result of sexual selection. In any case, most of the European hunter gatherer settlements before 10,000 BC would have been white skinned and have variably light hair and eyes.

The spread of agriculture started from the middle east (again) in 7-6000 BC and resulted in a population explosion of those practicing agriculture when compared to hunter gatherers. A great survival advantage. Along with the spread of any survival advantage like agriculture or horse raising spread the various language groups.

Indo European language group spread out from the area around the Caspian (Azerbaijan to Ukraine) into Europe, Russia and Steppes of Khazakhstan.  This spread of technology and language could have occurred without much population transfer – i.e the hunter gatherer groups adopted agriculture and horse raising progressively as they encountered it – and the transfer of the technology occurred with transfer of the language as well.  More likely, the technological advantage gave rise to a population explosion which made migrations and new settlements in large numbers possible.

Agriculture in middle east developed in Mesopotamia   and Turkey (Catal Huyuk, Jericho etc) and also spread into Syria, Iraq and Egypt, carrying with it the language which was non Indo European. And hence the original local evolution of people according to climate remained intact. i.e The middle eastern people were white skinned with dark hair and the Europeans remained white skinned and light haired – probably the later people who migrated into Europe faced similar selection pressures for white skin and hair as the earlier migrations and hence after mixing with the local population the advantaged phenotype emerged dominant.

Agriculture developed independently in China and Indus Valley civilization (IVC) at the same time as Caspian Sea,Turkey and Mesopotamia. They also developed their own local language without infusion from an outside influence or migration – and hence the dissimilarity with the Indo Aryan language group. Other places like Gangetic and South India and South East Asia developed agriculture at a much later period and hence doesn’t figure in these early histories.

By 2000 BC, there were big agricultural settlements in Mesopotamia and Egypt with their own written scripts. IVC may or may not have had a written language (existing seal symbols notwithstanding), but definitely had big agricultural settlements and definitely show localized development of agriculture from Neolithic to chalcolithic development into Bronze age from 6000 BC to 1800 BC. There were no agricultural settlements in Gangetic India or South India and South East Asia where any people living would have been stone age/chalcolithic  hunter gatherers in 2000 BC.

 I believe that the BMAC complex of Bronze age civilization between 2300 BC and 1800 BC with Neolithic and chalcolithic beginnings going back to the 4000 BC is another example of localized development of agriculture and whose language is lost (like that of the IVC).

The Indo-European Aryans come from East of the Urals around the Chelyabinsk region of Russia bordering Khazakhstan, from a  group of tribal people who had settled down in the Eurasian Steppes before the Bronze Age. At this time, whole of Khazakhstan (and Ukraine) was peopled by light skinned Caucasian type of people with light hair and blue eyes, if we are to believe some of the genetic analysis. They spoke in Indo European languages and  herded animals (pretty much all you can do in the steppes). They  entered the Bronze Age around 2100 BC and formed the Sintashta culture, the earliest and  most developed of the larger group of the Andronovo culture, existing around 2100-1300 BC. The Petrovka-Sintashta culture was the most advanced  of these cultures with advanced  metallurgy of copper from 2000 to 1600 BC and centered around Arkaim in the Urals. Some of these early Sintashta people migrated eastwards into Khazakhstan to form the other Andronovo cultures, which regressed into animal herders given the nature of the steppes.

In the West, in the north Caspian and Ukraine area, people developed domestication of the horse from 4500 to 2500 BC, which then went East to the Sintashta region and into the Andronovo Kazakhstan. From there the domesticated horse reached the Mongols, who (like the Native Americans with their Mustangs) became expert riders

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andronovo_culture
http://www.csen.org/Koryakova/korya.andronovo.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arkaim
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sintashta_culture

East of the Khazakhstan Steppes, in Mongolia lived the mongoloid tribals. They domesticated the wild horses found in the region around 2500 BC and ever since then they started warfare against the Andronovo and Sintashta  tribals, as well as the Chinese. The Mongolians were ethnically different from the Andronovo cultures and of course their horsemanship is legendary. Their peculiar way of life meant continuous conflict of the Indo European speaking Andronovo people who were forced into continuous Westward migration along with the horse.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestication_of_the_horse

Within the various Andronovo Bronze Age  cultures, because of the improved metallurgy from the Ural mountain derived copper ores, the Sintashta culture became the most advanced among the Andronovo and other Caspean Sea Indo Aryan cultures. The most advanced city within the East Urals was Arkaim. This was an Aryan settlement where people spoke an Indo European  language, did fire sacrifice and buried their dead . With further development of this culture, these copper using people adopted the horse raising practices derived from the other Andronovo people, who had assimilated and intermixed with the Mongols.  Around 2000 BC, the Sintashta culture with large cities like Arkaim and other large urban settlements were the only large urban settlements ever formed by Indo Aryan people in this region (in 2000 BC). They not only practiced horse raising and copper smelting, they developed the use of horse drawn chariots and special bows and arrows for use in a specialized form of warfare based on horse drawn chariots.

In other words, they have almost every common attribute of the Rig Vedic people. It is reasonable to assume that the Rig Vedic people originated from the Sintashta culture.

The Sintashta people traded with the BMAC civilization and mainly exported copper ore. However the  new development of Chariot warfare made these Indo-Aryan people the most advanced warriors this side of the Mongols. Intitially, before the development of defensive methods against chariots (which came within 100 years in Egypt after the Hykso period) -  the Chariots were the ancient equivalents of tanks and the horse an unknown animal of tremendous power. Pressed continuously by Mongol raids, Khazakhstan was never at peace. Arkaim itself shows evidence of burning towards the end.

Please note that without the stirrup, using just a rope tied around the horse, it is difficult to have a cavalry. Only the Mongols, wedded to the horse, could use large scale cavalry warfare. Hence use of a narrow war chariot is a better way to conduct warfare using fast moving horses by more normal warriors than the Mongols. And stirrups are a much later development probably around 500 BC, when large scale cavalry warfare became possible.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stirrup

So it is likely that in from 1800 to 1500 BC the Sintashta people migrated using their superior chariot warfare, monopoly of the horse in these parts and their superior copper based weaponry. The first people whom they displaced or invaded were the BMAC cultures or Uzbek/Tajik/East Caspian sea), which is well established from archeological records.

We know that the Anatolian, Egyptian, Syrian and Iraqi regions had Hittite, Mitanni, Kassite and Hykso rule respectively for a five hundred year period from 1800 to 1300 BC and beyond. That these were horse raising people and practiced chariot warfare is evident from different types of pictures available.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Hittites

The Hittites themselves were probably derived from related Indo Aryan people closer to the West bank Caspian sea (Ukraine, Azerbaijan etc) but in direct continuity with the Kazakh people to the east.

 Mittanni is definitely Indo European speaking and prayed to Mitra Varuna and Indra  (roughly 90% of the Rig Veda is devoted to these same Gods). Any link between Rig Veda and Mitanni has to be umbilical to my mind. The Mitanni were a super class who ruled the Hurrians and probably the lingua franca of Mitanni would not have been Indo Aryan at all – it would just have been a language of the upper class in scriptures (like Latin or Sanskrit)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitanni

 Around the same time, Kassite rule in Iraq and Hykso rule in Egypt overthrowing the previous regimes also occurred. It would be easy to say that Hyksos and Kassites were also Indo-Aryan. However, most people currently believe that although Hyksos and Kassites used the horse chariots, they might not have been Indo-European speakers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kassites

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kassite_deities

The only recognizable Kassite deity is the Maruts. So perhaps these people learnt chariot warfare from the Hittites and were themselves non Indo Aryan in origin, language and religion. But they seem to fit well into a scheme of Mesopotamia being ruled by an elite speaking Indo Aryan but coming from the Steppes and practicing a different religion.

The earlier Hykso conquest and rule in Egypt in 1800 BC and their worship of a storm God Seth definitely harks to an Indo Aryan theme, although most people do not believe that the Hyksos were Indo Aryan in origin, despite their horse chariot warfare and use of the compound bow.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyksos

Continuing to be pressed from their homeland in the Urals and Khazakhstan, other Indo-Iranian tribals migrated at other later times. The most important of these is the Iranians who settled Persia around 1200 BC (Medes and Persians).  Scythians and Parthians are other big Indo Iranian Aryan migrations occurring much later. Most of these migrations must have been in stages – from Khazakhstan to Azerbaijan or Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan and then West  into Persia and East into Pakistan and Afghanistan.

  
So the homeland of the Indo Aryans is in the plains north of the Caspian Sea and into the Russian and Khazakh Steppes, from where they migrated to Turkey and Mesopotamia in 1800 to 1300 BC. Archeological evidence from Sintashta culture strongly suggests that it is closely linked to the Rig Veda. Linguistics also suggests the same. The Mitanni are definitely related to the Rig Vedic people based on names of Kings and people as well as their known deities and must have existed in close proximity by 1500 BC – since that is the time frame of the Mitanni. These Indo Aryan people are likely to have a  European phenotype initially, but would have quickly lost it because of intermixing with the native much larger population.

The next issue is – When, where and by whom was the Rig Veda Samhita written? If we don’t know who wrote it, dating it becomes difficult. But some features are worthy of note.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/rigveda/index.htm

1.  It is impossible that it was composed without writing. One look at it and it is evident  that a non literate people could not have composed it. There is no precedence or comparison to any other such vast composition

2. Vast majority of the hymns are devoted to Mitra, Varuna, Indra and Agni.

3. To me most of the internal evidence suggesting origin from only the Punjab area seems quite thin – it could have been composed anywhere from Sintashta to Syria to Iraq to Iran to Pakistan.

3. It is impossible that such a vast body of text could survive without writing and based only on oral transmission. Nobody has that good a memory and there is no other historic parallel of super human memory feats. My experience of the memory of Hindu priests in modern times for even very short pieces of text (1/10,000 of what is there in the Veda) doesn’t encourage this theory of super human memory feats.

4. Even more so – the other Vedic texts – the Brahmanas and Aranyakas are more voluminous and complex and again could not have been composed, compiled or transmitted without writing. Much of the Sutras are also of equal volume (despite the name Sutra) and any superhuman feats of composition and transmission of even a simple single text like the Apasthamba Sulba sutra is impossible without writing.

5. Even a superficial reading of Rig Veda Samhita in English translation gives a very alien sense from Hindu thought, description, geography and religion. But a similar superficial reading of the Satapatha  Brahmana is very much reassuringly Indian/Hindu in thought process and thinking. This was my main personal opinion each time I have read it.

6. Reading the Rig Veda Samhita in Sanskrit (by my father’s account) is very frustrating and it seems like an alien language and its meaning pure guess work. Brahmanas, Upanishads and Sutras are at least more familiar and comprehensible (or at least well commented upon). It might be useful to re-investigate the meaning of the Rig Vedic hymns again to get better sense out of it.

If writing is necessary for the Veda, who was writing in 2000 to 500 BC?

1. Sintashta people did not have writing.

2. BMAC people did not have writing

3. Mesopotamia and Egypt had a long tradition of writing.

4. Hittites, Mitanni, Kassites were writing based on the earlier local people who were literate and over whom they ruled.

5. IVC was writing (at least on seals) and exists from antiquity till 1800 BC. The people there have none of the attributes of the people written about in the Rig Veda. But since we know neither the language nor the script of IVC, we cannot say anything more. But question is – did their writing survive in the region? Was it adopted by its own descendents or by the Indo Aryans? Or did the depleted IVC people migrate east into the Ganges and carry their writing with them? We unfortunately have no evidence of either of these possibilities.

6. Painted greyware people were not writing. They were iron age settlements and most people believe that they represent the Rig Vedic people pushing into the Punjab region from 1200 BC to 600 BC. So the time is right but they are iron age, non chariot using pottery making people who have not left any written records.

http://books.google.co.in/books?id=pmAuAsi4ePIC&pg=PA239&lpg=PA239&dq=painted+gray+ware&source=bl&ots=8y2fyU-AJ-&sig=y6IZQ2lWK6x92SNzQwFqAWiaE5o&hl=en&sa=X&ei=qVz2UPGtE87_rAeKroCwCw&sqi=2&ved=0CFgQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=painted%20gray%20ware&f=false

7. By 500 BC we have neared the end of the Vedic period. Evidence for writing in Bihar at that time is quite absent in terms of surviving written material on pottery, seals or rock cuttings.

8. Brahmi script is from 300 BC only despite some remnants dated (doubtful in my mind) to 500 BC. So were they writing in any script in 500 BC in  Pataliputra?

9. Taxila is again dated around 300 BC and later and so does the Kharaoshti script.

So nobody was writing and yet the Rig Veda was written, arranged, compiled, Brahmanas were composed, Aranyakas, Upanishads and Sutras were written – probably a ten foot stack of literature – but nobody was writing.

Or were they writing on perishable materials like animal skin? What was their script? It’s a mystery still.

Let us look at it in another way. What are the other examples of a people who have fanatically preserved their religious scriptures through millennia?

1. Zend Avesta of Zorashtranism is the best example –

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avestan_language

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avesta

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achaemenid_dynasty

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Persian

The Avesta was written in its final form during the Achemenid empire (pre-500 BC). The actual hymns are  perhaps many centuries more ancient maybe from 1000 BC. But the final form was during the height of the  Acheminid empire which had writing  - and plenty of it - not only old Persian but Akkadian and  Aramaic. Avesta  is of course of Indo European language derivation, the Persians probably coming from the East Caspian region after the Medes who also came from the same area between 1200 and 600 BC in successive waves. However, after composition and inscription of the Avesta  into royal tablets (possibly written in old Persian and now lost – destroyed by Greek invasion according to fable) they were then committed to the memory of priests who preserved it by oral tradition for a few hundred centuries – without writing -  until they were again written down in Pehlavi and later after the Parsis came to India, in scripts derived from Brahmi.

Doesn’t it sound familiar? In fact, isn’t it likely that the Rig Veda had an identical history?

2. Old testament of the Jews was also passed on in script (which existed at inception) and really never went through oral tradition. But other features of Jewish people is similar – a memory of ancient glory, fierce adherence to the ancient texts which defined and dictated their existence and refusal to assimilate.

3. I cant think of a third.

Possibilities and Questions:

1.  Rig Veda could not have been composed without writing.

2. The Sintashta, Indo Aryan, most likely archeological site resembling Rig Veda, doesn’t have writing and existed from 2100BC to 1800 BC after which it moved West under Mongol invasions. Definite evidence of BMAC being replaced by Andronovo cultures around 1800 BC exists – proving the migration and its date.

3. Direct migration of the Sintashta people from Steppes into Pakistan is unlikely since no writing present and unlikely to compose or preserve Rig Veda or form such a large oral tradition in the absence of initial writing – and no evidence of any large urban settlements or empires between 1800 to 1200 AD in Pakistan.

4. Direct migration of Sintashta people into IVC and its destruction in 1800 BC and co-optation of their writing is possible but unlikely since no evidence of further writing using IVC script or the baked seal technology is present and no urban settlements.

5.  Rig Veda describes horse chariot and sacrifice. Hittites, Mitanni, Kassites and Hyksos from 1800 to 1500 BC over-ran large swathes of the middle east using horses and war chariots.

6. Mitanni were Indo Europeans who prayed to Indra, Varuna and Mitra. They had a large kingdom for a couple of centuries. Isnt it likely that they were derived from the Sintashta migrations rather than the Hittite migrations, given the differences between the Hitttites and the Mitanni?

7. How did the Mitanni pray – isn’t it likely that they had a liturgy similar to the Avesta which was written down and compiled during their imperial reign, when writing was available at hand? And that it was compiled and committed to memory by a priesthood? The Avesta proves that this is possible.

8. What happened to the Mitanni after they lost their kingdom? We know that they never followed the Hurrian traditions within Mitanni and preserved their Indo Aryan traditions although genetic mixing probably diluted their Indo European origin to vanishing point. Would they have abandoned their traditions?

9. Isnt it likely that they migrated East to less inhabited and less fertile lands like Iran, Baluchistan and Pakistan as so many others have done before and after ? Would they not have held on to their priesthood and their hymns in this time of adversity – like the Jews and Avestans?

10. Could they have kept their sacred writings in perishable materials like animal skins and thus had a tradition of continuous writing and transcribing of their texts – similar to the Jews? Could they have continuously added to it in their centuries of exile? This would explain the multiple recensions, and compilations of the Vedic scriptures – and their enlargement – since without an empire to govern, what could they do but expand their only source of past identity? This activity is impossible without writing.

11. If the Sintashta (or similar Indo European) people came directly to Pakistan, why would they have such a big affinity to their past glory – since Sintashta is a very small  set of urban settlements? Would they have writing? Would they have such a complex collection of hymns and complex methods of prayer? Would they not have lost their identity as the Scythians, Parthians, Indo Greeks, Kushans and Huns have done – by assimilating locally?

12. The Satapatha Brahmana has very definite evidence of Mesopotamian influence including the story of a flood with a giant fish – That is Gilgamesh (and the much later Matsya avatara story of Puranic Hinduism)

13. The Upanishads give definite evidence of a forest life – quite like the Rig Veda but unlike the Satapatha Brahmana.

To me the simple conclusion would be most probably correct. The Rig Vedic people were from Sintashta culture, cousins to the Hittites in the north Caspian area, in 2100 BC. The early stories of the Rig Veda set in the mountains probably describe life of these people as they migrated from the Urals to the fringes of the BMAC (where some cousins probably settled) from 1800 to 1600 BC and then to Syria where they became the Mitanni with the help of copper metallurgy, horse raising, horse chariot fighting and composite bows. The Rig Veda Samhita was initially compiled in Mitanni in 1500 BC and also the Satapatha Brahmana and some of the Sutras, by a large Royal Priesthood with access to writing materials. Vashishta must have lived during this period. By 1200 BC they were a dispossessed people who migrated to Pakistan, now having iron age weapons and carrying the vestiges of writing, probably on animal skins, as well as strong oral traditions for preserving their hymns.  From 1200 to 600 BC they formed the Painted Gray Ware iron age people of Punjab and here composed the Aranyakas, Upanishads and other versions of the Brahmanas. The Rig Veda and the Yajur and Sama were probably rearranged with interpolations during this period (and later) and the Atharva Veda was composed. By 800 BC they were at their most advanced and the Jayam was probably written around this time. By 600 BC they had reached Bihar and there formed the first large urban settlements of Pataliputra. With the advent of Budha, the Royals gave up this tradition and converted to Budhism. But the Rig Vedic religion and scriptures were preserved by the Brahmins. By the 400 AD, the Royals were of local blood and not even Rig Vedic  in origin leave alone religion (Nandas).
With the re-invention of writing (the Brahmi script) the original Vedas were now open to much larger enlargements and additions, which mostly occurred in the Epics and Puranas (since change in the Vedas was always resisted by tradition). Despite this, I am sure the Brahmanas and Sutras were re-written in different versions and also enlarged from 300 BC to recent history.

 For a long while now, I have been holding on to this hypothesis.
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  Quote Centrix Vigilis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Jan-2013 at 09:03
Fine work. Keep it up and let us know if there are changes based on additonal evidences or peer review.
 
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  Quote Venkytalks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Jan-2013 at 23:52
Originally posted by Centrix Vigilis

Fine work. Keep it up and let us know if there are changes based on additonal evidences or peer review.
 
CV

Hi Centrix Vigillis. So far only the hypothesis has been framed, the evidence has not even been systematically examined to prove or disprove this theory. 

Evaluation would require

1. Go through the Veda (at two days per mandala needs 20 days just for reading the Rig once in English, followed by the Sama, Yajur, Atharva, at least Satapatha Brahmana because easily available online, and the complete Apasthamba sutras (Srauta, Sulba, Dharma et al). Just a read through in English would require about a year - since I did this about 20 years ago, these are factual estimates.

It is also exceptionally boring reading - especially the Brahmana and Sutras.

2. Go through the Avesta (closest example with oral transmission). This should take about a fortnight for a very superficial read through - again I had done this a while ago

3. Evaluate the population dynamics of a herding community described in Rig Veda. Guesstimates I can search online, but any real research based info would require some serious digging and anthropological research - I am sure somebody has done it, but not easily available online.

4. Evaluate the painted gray ware people for their population density, possibility of agriculture. This I know is not available online and would need library and museum visits - Although I can access this, it is a lifetimes work.

5. Try to correlate the Veda with the painted grayware - this would also need serious scholarship.

6. Try to correlate the Veda with the Mitanni artifacts - again this would need a major investigation. Since cuneiform texts of the Mitanni agreements with Egypt etc are available, I am sure this has already been done - but still - you never know. One needs to dig out manuscripts of such evaluations - and the Mitanni language as well.

7. Look for evidence of a serious large agricultural empire within the Veda - something similar to the Achemenid empire - which might indicate Mitanni origin

Obviously we are looking at about 20 PhDs worth of work here - clearly impossible.

Only the last is possible on a simple read through in English and so I will try to attempt this online over here - and we can see where we get.

But before starting on a fairly vast waste of time (cause thats what it is) - it would be useful to formulate a few alternate hypotheses which can be evaluated at the same time.

1. The Mitanni theory: Now this theory above is based on 4 flimsy grounds

a) That the Rig is ancient i.e 2000 BC
b) That it would not be so large without a big empire to start it
c) That writing is needed to start its seed - available to the Mitanni
d) That they mention Indra, Varuna, Mitra and other Gods.

2. Another similar empire theory: 

We can always reject the Mitra Varuna Indra mentions in Mitanni as coincidence - to my mind a pretty big coincidence, but still possible because Indo Aryan Gods are similar in nature - so why not in name. 

In that case we can move the story forward to 1200 BC and discard the Sintashta and the Mitanni.

So we just need to look for a somewhat big empire around 1200 BC possibly in Iran or Baluchistan (displaced there by the Assyrians?). So the timing would coincide with the movements of the Medes and the Persians. We can say these were the eastern cousins of the Persians, distantly related to the Mitanni (hence same Gods) and they came to Punjab. 

Alternatively, we can even look for the empire and major settlement in Punjab itself - i.e. the Painted Grayware people, . But this time we would look for

a) Bigger populations requiring agriculture

b) Writing. We know they didnt write on their pottery, but still possible. If old persian could exist, why not an old Rig Vedic script.

3. Painted Grayware as the Rig Vedic Aryans. Now this is the classical theory of every evaluation by Indologists. We need to critically evaluate it to find elements which disprove - rather than prove - the theory (since it is the accepted theory). 

A lot of Indian scholars have done this, but have had the agenda to prove an out of India hypothesis - a lot of which on even superficial reading is just ludicrous nonsense (Pushing the Rig Veda to 3000 BC and into the Indus valley civilization, Persians came from India and other such attempts). 

So we need a more sensible critical analysis looking for more subtle points which might indicate a mistake in the analysis. Other aspects of Vedic people also need to be looked for

a) Were they co-existing with local populations? We know local people other than Vedic people existed in India - but where and how were they living? What are the clues from the Veda and from other archeological digs?

b) Were the local people practicing a shifting agriculture similar to current tribals of India ? Did the Vedic people prey on these locals? This would greatly enlarge the possibility of big populations, since on herding alone, only a very thin population density can be achieved. Evidence for this might be present within the Veda.

c) Where did the IVC people go? It is clear from other places like the Incas of Peru that a big civilization can decline and the remnants can reach very low population densities and forget their identities. It is also likely that the IVC migrated east into India - but there are no remnants and none of the typical IVC artifacts. What is the evidence from archeological digs from later IVC sites regarding the way of life of the people after decline of IVC? What would be the points of contact between the painted grayware people and the IVC remnants? Or did the IVC just vanish?

d) When did the Rig Vedic people start their own agriculture? Did they even start it - or did the non-Vedic people start it in Bihar and expand their own population - which would greatly diminish the Vedic people (since herders can never compete with agriculture for population growth except to become overlords). Since Vedic religion basically ended in Royal patronage by 500 BC onwards, when large scale agriculture started - this is an important possibility which we can call  

5. The predator hypothesis.

In this hypothesis, the Vedic people lived in Punjab and preyed on the local people who did shifting agriculture. Vedic people only herded and raided. So this permitted a bigger population than possible with herding alone. People lived in separate villages - Vedic villages separate and local village separate. Locals were kept poor and could neither produce ceramic pottery not metal implements - over which the Vedic people kept their monopoly.

Because of this predation, despite Punjab being rich and fertile agricultural land, there was no large scale development of agriculture. The Vedic people refused to do agriculture. The local people were never allowed to do agriculture except on a small scale like shifting agriculture.

It is infact very strange that agriculture started in Bihar and not in Punjab. ALthough IVC has deminstrated that huge populations could be raised in Punjab, it did not happen again until Bihar. But after Bihar, it suddenly starts in a big way all over north India.

In this theory, the Vedic people maintained their superiority by horse breeding, chariots and use of iron weapons. Locals were not allowed animal husbandry, horse raising, ceramics, iron metallurgy or even large scale agriculture which can allow their population to increase. This explains why there are no artifacts left behind.

Because of this, it took 600 years and people reaching Bihar for large scale agriculture to start. Once it started, the Vedic people's life collapsed. However the Brahmins re-invented themselves and continued to flourish. This would explain a lot of the caste system which evolved when larger cities were created - and to this day the villages of India show many of these features, except that there is large scale agriculture.

4. The late compilation theory.

This is the most attractive of the alternative theories. Since writing came to India in 300 BC, why not push all its scriptures to compilation at this time. This would solve multiple problems

a) Writing problem is to some extent solved 

b) Since compilation is so late, there would be multiple versions of the same text which would have altered over a millenium of oral transmission. When compiled so late, each of these would have seemed like a different part and hence would have been collected together into a massive text - within which the same thing would be repeated multiple times. Since we know this is seen within the Rig, a serious evaluation of this possibility is needed

c) A compilation after 200 years of Budhism and when Hinduism is under serious attack (since Ashokan empire  was Budhist) would represent a clear and present threat to the Brahmins. So they would be bound to use the new technique of writing to their presumed advantage - not only documenting every version of Veda but demonstrating its importance in written text - and this would result in a greatly enlarged and complex Veda. Since Budhist texts in Prakrit were also being written at the same time, it would mean competitive writing - and use of Sanskrit as an esoteric language not available to normal people. 

d) This would also push the compilation of the Veda quite close to the period when the Epics and the Puranas were being written. So if all of these writing activities occurred from say 300 BC to 100 BC  it would explain multiple attributes of the epics and puranas.

i) Much of the Epics  Puranas were clearly written and enlarged when non-Aryan Hindu influences were predominant. Probably the Kings were not Aryan  - and we know this to be true in Nanda, Sunga and other periods

ii) Puranas keep on explaining inconsistencies in the Veda and the epics. If both were being compiled together, it would be necessary to explain the inconsistencies - which would become expressed in the Brahmanas and the Puranas.

iii) It would however not explain why the Vedas were still preserved in its original form - except that it was preserved as a esoteric practice to justify the Brahmin's existence. 

iv) Vedic religion was completely recast by 200 BC into a more recognisable form of modern  Hinduism.  But the Veda completely retain their original form - this is explainable if they were in any way being transmitted orally and faced resistance to change when being written down. 

v) The resistance to change would justify the importance of the Brahman - since if anyone could write anything they wanted, non-Brahmins could also write up a lot of new stuff. The Brahmins definitely wrote a lot of new stuff into the Epics and Puranas, but they preserved the original Veda because only they knew it - and kept it secret. So the secrecy part might also be a late event - and not central to the original Rig composition which could then be in writing.

vi) Despite the resistance to change, the daily and other rituals (Havans, ceremonies, marriage functions etc which we perform) - despite its predominantly Vedic nature - has many additions of later Hinduism like Krishna worship, Vinayakar worship etc - which are clear superimpositions. Examination of these ceremonies (mostly in the Taithiriya Brahmana with which I am familiar) might provide some insight into these alterations. Similarly, adaptation of the original Kriyas of the Veda for temple worship would also give insight into these changes (since every temple has these rituals and perform them regularly)

Proving the late compilation theory would require examination of the Epics and Brahmanas. Put together they are about 50 times the size of the Veda. This is not feasible.

What is feasible is examination of the Rig Veda Samhita for 

a) Multiple repetition. This would indicate that different versions have been incorporated again and again, unnecessarily enlarging it

b) Interpolations. This can be easily looked for. Anything smacking of 

i)Budhism, 
ii)Jainism, 
iii)Upanishadic thought 
iv) Later Hindu (Bhakti) thought which might be present around 200 BC when the Epics and Puranas were being written and the Bhagavad Gita was being written. 

That means any attributes of Vishnu other than the three all encompassing strides, any attributes of Rudra other than as father of the Maruts, any comments on Krishna which is positive (purging of some of the negative comments of Krishna - though not all have been purged I know - of course cannot be looked for now - you cannot look for what is not there !!)

Despite that, purging of a lot of hatred of locals from the Rig is possible if it were being written when the locals were ascendant. One needs to look for vestiges of purging.

c) Interpolations would need to be looked for in the 7th and 10th Mandala particularly since that is where the controversial stuff is.

d) Looking through the Brahmanas and Sutras for similar features is more difficult  - because of later interpolations being more likely. And the tediousness of the job.

Defining the problem explains why no Indologist after the British and the Germans have attempted any of it. Most Indians would regard the Veda, Epics and Puranas with veneration. Communist and Tamil historians would have anti Brahminical agendas and would be dictated by what their comments would achieve in politics rather than dispassionate evaluation.







Edited by Venkytalks - 17-Jan-2013 at 01:39
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  Quote Venkytalks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Jan-2013 at 04:00
On further reading, I find that more difficulties emerge. In addition to above, one also has to explain

1. The Ghandara Grave bronze age Indo Aryan culture of 1500 to 500 BC in the Swat valley
2. Cemetery H culture from 1700 to 1300 BC in Punjab and surrounding areas
3. Ochre coloured pottery (copper hoard) bronze age culture of 1900 to 1100 BC in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh
4. The black and red ware early iron age culture of 1200 to 900 BC in Punjab
5. Painted gray ware iron age culture of 1100 to 600 BC in Punjab and UP

Which brings us to recorded history of 500 BC. 

My readings into oral tradition were quite illuminating. 

http://www.folklore.ee/folklore/vol8/veda.htm

It is clear that when small children start chanting at a young age of 7 and keep it up all their lives, there is better transmission than with writing (with each copying of a text, errors get introduced).Since the children chant all their lives without understanding it, it is only a living book.  Writing down of Veda was perhaps not when writing was invented in 300 BC (or 250BC if Ashoka invened it) but much later in 500-700 AD. 

Some things are still not clear and we need to see the British accounts for this - how much text is committed to one group? How many groups of chanting people are needed to memorise the enormously voluminous Hindu literature? What is the total number of people we are talking about?

How does something like this even start? Nowhere else in the world except in Avesta do we see this.  How were the Rig Veda composed in the first place - did one Brahmin compose one poem at a time and make his student memorise it and then move on to the next poem - and each generation keeps on adding - and as population increases, more and more schools get formed - and they all spend their time chanting the rhymes daily, which keep getting more and more?

And what about recompilation - how do you recompile something in people's memory? Do they form a special school of new 7 year olds, put a group of teachers each of whom knows a chant in a certain way - and mix them up, so that the new group of children grow up knowing a completely new set of chants - which then gets passed on?

I am speechless - (pun intended). 

Although my ancestors did this, and I know since I have been told since birth that they did this, it is still not credible - especially when one sees the volumes (around 1/10th of the transmitted texts) in www.sacred-texts.org

What possible conditions would engender the start of something which sounds straight out of Star Trek?

For one, there would have to be peace for a very long time. 

Strangely, this seems to be true - despite the fact that India has been repeatedly invaded multiple times from 300 BC onwards, from 1900 BC to 300 BC there has been no record of any invasion except by the Rig Vedic people themselves.

Second, The Brahmins would have to be left alone. 

We know that the main activity of the Vedic people was to wage war against each other but by common consent, they would leave the Brahmins alone. Strangely again, we know this was the prevailing practice - not just till 300 BC but probably for much after that as well - until the Muslim invasion when we know that the universities were destroyed.

What would be the nucleus of starting this - did the earliest priests chant a few verses telling of the earliest of their memories - their students learnt this blindly - and then it just got out of hand and grew by addition until it reached this massive size over a 1000 years?

From age 7 to 17 a person chants, then he gets married and has his own children. That means 6 generations per century and 60 generations per millenium.

Let us assume a million lines in the whole of the Veda, Brahmana, Upanishads, Aranyaka, Sutras and early versions of the Jayam and Ramayana. That means 16000 lines of verse per generation has to be added. Assuming we have 100 schools, that means each teacher has to compose about 160 lines of verse.

Thats not impossible. But I would have to see how many lines are actually there.

Bhagavad Gita has about 700 slokas. That is tough enough to memorize. Rig Veda has 10500 slokas, Mahabharata has 80,000 slokas. Sama veda 1875, Satapatha brahmana is prose and fills 5 volumes - Say 50,000 lines.  Ramayana has 24000 verses. Including all the 19 brahmanas, 18+18 puranas and 36 sutras, we would be well in excess of a million lines.

Even if only the Vedas (15000), 10 of the Brahmanas (100,000), 10 Upanishads, 5 of the 8 Aranyakas (50,000) and 10 of the sutras (100,000) and early versions of the Jayam and Ramayana (20,000) were composed and transmitted orally and the rest had the benefit of writing for composition, we are still talking about some 300,000 lines.

Thats about 50 slokas per teacher per school needs composition assuming 100 schools.

Would every teacher be able to compose? Would every child have memory and ability to memorise? If an extra-ordinary and creative teacher arises, how quickly would he be able to transmit his composition to a school of Brahmin boys - what are his limits with only oral transmission and without writing? Were there big universities where the composition and special arrangements for large scale transmisison available?

We need data on population - how much population was there in Punjab and UP between 1200 and 600 BC? How many villages - how many schools per 100 villages? What percentage of population was Brahmin, what percentage could be teachable, what percentage capable of composition (since blind chanting and composition are very different skills). What about effects of disease, famine, war, floods and other disruption - we need to calculate attrition rates also.

In the meantime, we still havent worked out the need for such schools to start in the absence of empire like Achemenid empire - so that a greater memory impels this sort of oral transmission. Is there was a great past, then it is not recorded in the writings or the memory of these people. There is no story of an Atlantis or a paradise lost, no memory of exile.

Possible sites of past empire are

1. Sintashta: Driven out by Mongols
2. BMAC: Driven out by Andronovo
3. Mitanni: Driven out by Assyrians
4. Swat valley: no driving out needed - they just come down and conquer the Cemetery H people.

Now the BMAC is an urban culture. They are not pastoral. They show long development from neolithic to chalcolithic to Bronze age. If they were driven out, then why would they not make fresh cities in Punjab? And why would they change their way of life to pastoralism? From where would they get their iron? Sintashta, Mitanni and Swat at least are Indo European language speaking and are likely to be pastoral tribals.

Iron use is also a particularly difficult problem. From 1200 BC, almost simultaneously, everybody started using iron - from Europe to Africa to south India - including the Black and red and painted gray ware people. It is just like agriculture in 4000 BC - it just started at the same time everywhere. Diffusion theory for iron is particularly weak because iron working began in UP and Karnataka by 1600 to 1200 BC, much before the Vedic period. But there are no cities, or population centers and no good archeological records. So do we assume that the Cemetry H and copper hoard people were more advanced and started iron usage - and the Vedic people adopted it from them? Were there connections between these 2 people?

If there are connections, then the "peace for 1000 years" theory breaks down. It is inconceivable that such a people would not get mentioned in Rig Veda. It is not conceivable that they live in peace for 1000 years. It is not conceivable that the Vedic people won every conflict. At some time, they have to face defeat - it doesnt happen otherwise. And if they face defeat, I doubt that their peaceful Brahmin schools would remain undisturbed.

Either we have to doubt the dating system. Or we have some very major pieces missing in our puzzle. 

Again, we need population estimates of the local and Vedic populations to get anywhere.


Edited by Venkytalks - 18-Jan-2013 at 05:53
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  Quote Venkytalks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Jan-2013 at 23:50
On reading up about the newer thought process regarding Indus Valey civilization from Harappa.com and the papers posted online by Kenoyer, Farmer and others, not too much emerges. I have never had any doubt in my mind that modern Hinduism is derived most prodominantly from IVC. The intervening decades have only fleshed out the details.

1. There is no doubt now that the Saraswati is the Ghaggar Hakra which carried most of the Sutlej and other small tributaries from Himachal into the Arabian sea and that much of the Yamuna water also wandered in the same direction via the Drishtadvati channels went into the Rann. And that the shifting monsoon, reduced water flow and other geological events caused a drying up of the Saraswati system. Whether this is the rig vedic saraswati system is an entirely different thing - all we can say is that Ghaggar Hakra was the center of IVC.

2. Evidence of Post Harappan continuum in the same direction as Harappan culture without writing or a complex mercantile class is accumulating. Cemetery H, Copper hoard and other Deccan cultures and possibly even the Red/black and painted gray ware could have been remnants of the IVC.

3. The lack of any evidence of standing army, large scale weapons manufacture or history of conflict with mesopotamia is puzzling as it was earlier. A recent paper of cranial injuries in skulls in excess of what is found in other cultures notwithstanding, the culture of these people is still peculiar. Most peculiar of all is the absence of temple building. DEspite the ability of these people to make large brick structures, there are no temples - unless the Kushan stupa hides a temple and the great bath was a temple tank. There are also no large baked clay statues, which goes againt temple. 

4. Most likely, these people worshipped in a way similar to many North Indian communities - the household puja. Small clay images of dieties are worshipped and sometimes thrown away after the ritual. Lighting of diyas to these images, common with most households all over India, is likely. 

5. The seals, writing and their function remains mysterious. Linguistic writing seems to have been ruled out by now. Heraldry of important families, seals of ownership or numerical writing system seem to be still being considered.

6. Linkage to fertility cult like religious system are still proliferating. Mother godesses, linga like objects, possibility of ritual sex, including around the Great bath like Mesopotamian cultures and South Indian temple traditions seem to be most preponderant.

7. The linkage of seal imagery with religion is still tenuous. Numerous animals, proto shiva like images, Zebu and Unicorn images might all be explainable with heraldry and not religion. The fish symbols on the seals and their linkage to female and male images is also a little fanciful. Simple explanations are more likely to be true than complex ones - these ancient people are not likely to think with the same complexity as modern humans - most papers on the Mittanni Hittite treaty, IVC seals etc seem too complex for a simple evolution. Until we know that the seals were used for, we cannot guess the meaning of the images. SInce most of them seem reated to merchant trading activities, and the export of these items - trade related symbols i.e. haraldry of merchant class people and numerical systems of describing the item and their numbers seems most likely. So a typical seal might say - Unicorn seal (commones) =  largest trader of the IVC, Item of expost = whatever it is, and quantity = numerical system. It is also quite possible that the IVC was a slave society where people were also owned by big families. So the same family might put its seal on an urn and also tie the same it around their own slave - with some description of status. In all probablity, some such explanation is what will come out ultimately.

8. THe IVC people were very populous. This characteristic makes them similar to the modern Indian and is at variance with the 1800 to 600 BC period and requires explanation. Population of cities like Harappa and MD is around 30,000 to 50,000 and if we add the smaller cities, numbering in the hundreds it must have been huge. Say 5 cities with 30,000 = 150,000, 100 cities with 10,000 = 1 million, 500 cities with 5000 = 2.5 million and then small agricultural villages = 2.5 million.
 
9. So a total of 5 million people. That is really huge, much more than what I expected and this requires explanation as to just how much they could have dwindled. If we look at agriculture, India is fertile and most villages are rain fed and can generate crops without irrigation.  Even if the big mercantile cities collapsed for whatever reason, the village agriculturist can continue to survive. It is silly to say you cannot clear forest with copper tools because normally slash and burn method is used to create extra land for cultivation even now, no woodcutter goes to chop down the forest in tribal India.  In India fertile land is abundant. So if people faced water scarcity - and as demonstrated, moved upstream into the Punjab as demonstrated on archeological records, - then they can continue to move into UP if the land became drier and water was a problem. UP and Bihar are still fertile rainfed lands even today. IVC people had wells. In UP if you dig 10 feet you hit water. Why would their population numbering so large a number dwindle so much? And why are larger urbal settlements so few in the north - if so many people lived, they must have some larger settlements. This is inexplicable and perhaps we need to look for such evidence in UP - beneath the alluvial deposits, other cities are bound to be there. And most likely they lie beneath he same towns which exist today.

10. We need population estimates from 1800 to 600 BC. How many lived in the painted gray/black-red/copper hoard and cemetrty H? And why did the population remain less in this period? One possibility is small pox. Nobody knows where it originated. Earliest small pox victim is around 1000 BC in an Egyptian mummy. Was it circulating before 1000 BC in Asia or Africa? Maybe in 1900 BC, one of the IVC merchants brought back small pox and since people in IVC would be encountering it for the first time, it would decimate the population. It can explain the person lying dead in the Mohenjodaro alley - and the room full of bodies - even the last of the people would have died as the survivors run away scared totouch the body. It can explain three fourths of a population dying within a few years of first contact. Now the other possibility that small pox arose in India I dont like so much - because it would create a resistant pool and less of devastation than a new arrival. Still - a sudden introduction from anywhere in the world - South India, Arabia, Africa, Mesopotamia, Egypt - anywhere would be enough to devastate IVC. With the added problem of drying up, population would dwindle to vanishing point, some 5-10% of what it was before. It happened in Machu Pichu to the Incas. Happened in Japan, happened in Europe. Why not IVC. It can also explain the low populations since. We know India was an endemic country for small pox. Maybe it killed a lot and prevented urbanization - because wherever population increases, small pox visits its devastation. So isolated communities can survive small pox better - an example of how a disease can influence population settlement. Small pox will strike one village and kill half the children, but next village survives intact because of isolation. Then in another round, another village is visited. And so on. Most villages would pray to Sheetal Mata - the Godess of small pox. Maybe thats what prevented urbanization in India.

11. Contrary to what I expected, iron smelting seems to have developed in non Aryan India among diverse settlements in Bengal, Mysore, Bihar and Deccan from 1200 to 800BC. So the Aryans did not have a technological edge - it might have been the reverse. The IVC were more advanced, the locals during Vedic times are more advanced - but these superior people, technologically more advanced, are never described in the Vedas and Brahmanas. We need to look for them there because if the Vedic people met them, they would be there in the later Vedic literature.


12. About the Vedic people, their first contact with urbanised life in Pataliputra and Rajagriha has proved fatal - as soon a cities form again in India, the Vedic people go into terminal decline. New religions emerge, the Kings change their religion. This shows that prior contact with large cities would also have been quite difficult for these people, but not impossible to withstand. 

13. If we look at the Acheminids, they were able to build their own empire and after its decline, they continue to live in Iran and pursue their religion with oral traditions. Iran of course has never been a populous country - its existing large population is also of recent birth in the last 50 years. Still, the Avesta was preserved and transmitted even during persecution by the Muslims, by escaping to India. So Avesta oral tradition continued despite the presence of urbanisation, contact with other religions, and the presence of writing.

14. The Mitanni during their contact with urbanisation and writing, seem to have preserved their identity, if the Hittite Mittanni treaty is anything to go by. We dont know if they had an oral tradition. We dont know if they survived their overthrow by Assyrians.

The last I read on these subjects about 20 years ago, there was no internet. There were a few books in libraries - and finding Griffith's translation in the public library was a rare finding. Now it has become so much easier - and every question from a wandering mind finds serious answers even from simple sources like the first hit - Wikepedia.

From Wikepedea on Mitanni

Wasashatta

Despite Assyrian strength, Shattuara's son Wasashatta attempted to rebel. He sought Hittite help, but that kingdom was preoccupied with internal struggles, possibly connected with the usurpation of Hattusili III, who had driven his nephew Urhi-Teshup into exile. The Hittites took Wasashatta's money but did not help, as Adad-nirari's inscriptions gleefully note.

The Assyrians expanded further, and conquered the royal city of Taidu, and took WashshukannuAmasakkuKahatShuru[disambiguation needed]NabulaHurra[disambiguation needed]and Shuduhu as well. They conquered Irridu, destroyed it utterly and sowed salt over it. The wife, sons and daughters of Wasashatta were taken to Ashur, together with much booty and other prisoners. As Wasashatta himself is not mentioned, he must have escaped capture. There are letters of Wasashatta in the Hittite archives. Some scholars think he became ruler of a reduced Mitanni state called Shubria.

While Adad-nirari I conquered the Mitanni heartland between the Balikh and the Khabur from the Hittites, he does not seem to have crossed the Euphrates, and Carchemishremained part of the Hittite kingdom. With his victory over Mitanni, Adad-nirari claimed the title of Great King (sharru rabû) in letters to the Hittite rulers.


Shupria (Shubria) or Arme-Shupria (AkkadianArmani-Subartu from the 3rd millennium BC) was a Proto-Armeniankingdom, known from Assyrian sources beginning in the 13th century BC, located in the Armenian Highland, to the southwest ofLake Van, bordering on Ararat proper. Scholars have linked the district in the area called Arme or Armani, to the nameArmenia.[1][2]

Weidner interpreted textual evidence to indicate that after the Proto-Armenian (Hurrian) king Shattuara of Mitanni was defeated by Adad-nirari I of Assyria in the early 13th century BC, he then became ruler of a reduced vassal state known as Shubria orSubartu.[3] The name Subartu (SumerianShubur) for the region is attested much earlier, from the time of the earliest Mesopotamian records (mid 3rd millennium BC).

Together with Armani-Subartu (Hurri-Mitanni), Hayasa-Azzi and other Indo-European populations of the region such as the Nairifell under Kingdom of Ararat rule in the 9th century BC, and their descendants (according to the Great Soviet Encyclopedia) later contributed to the ethnogenesis of the early Armenians.[4]

Shupria is mentioned in the letter of Esarhaddon to the god Assur. Esarhaddon undertook an expedition against Shupria in 674, subjugating it.

Shattuara II

In the reign of Shalmaneser I (1270s–1240s) King Shattuara of Mitanni, a son or nephew of Wasahatta, rebelled against the Assyrian yoke with the help of the Hittites and the nomadic Ahlamu (Arameans) around 1250 BC. His army was well prepared; they had occupied all the mountain passes and waterholes, so that the Assyrian army suffered from thirst during their advance.

Nevertheless, Shalmaneser I won a crushing victory for Assyria over the Hittites and Mitanni. He claims to have slain 14,400 men; the rest were blinded and carried away. His inscriptions mention the conquest of nine fortified temples; 180 Hurrian cities were "turned into rubble mounds", and Shalmaneser "…slaughtered like sheep the armies of the Hittites and the Ahlamu his allies…". The cities from Taidu to Irridu were captured, as well as all of mount Kashiar to Eluhat and the fortresses of Sudu and Harranu to Carchemish on the Euphrates. Another inscription mentions the construction of a temple to the Assyrian god Adad/Hadad in Kahat, a city of Mitanni that must have been occupied as well.


So if some of the Mitanni became the Armenians and the rest were butchered large scale, the possibility of them being the Vedic people is virtually ruled out. It is unlikely that their priesthood would survive such a catastrophy. So we have to look elsewhere for the origin of the Vedic people and the initial hypothesis is incorrect.


15. If we look at the Vedic people in 500 to 200 BC, the start of writing has coincided with an amazing enlargement of the literature. The oral tradition prior to Brahmi has mainly Vedic themes whereas after Brahmi, the local Indian Gods are predominant. Vedic Gods are specifically denigrated and the primacy of every local God is attested by some passage in a Purana saying that he defeated Indra and Brahma and both of them are subjected to severe humiliation in the stories.


16. It is possible that the Vedic Brahmins were chanting away in their oral tradition - this being their main characteristic separating them from the locals. And then when the Kings become Budhist, they lose power.  When writing emerges, they take advantage of it and use their chanting techniques in a new way - now they are no longer restricted in their powers of composition - they can use writing to compose new stories in profusion, and then quickly train up their chanting armies and pass them on to their oral tradition. So they can write the Mahabharata by enlarging the previous Bharata by orders of magnitude - not possible before writing developed. And the same with the Puranas and Ramayana. This would help them to gain favour with the people and new Kings who were no more praying to the Vedic Gods because the local religion and people had triumphed as soon as cities came into being again.


17. Another possibility is that the people were already praying to the non Vedic Gods, but the oral tradition could not catch up with these changes because there was no writing. Hence the Vedic literature still predominated over the literature of the local Gods. Local legends in proto form would have been already circulating. So once writing became available, what little had been composed in the epics and puranas which had been increasing for a while could be subjected to a more massive ramp up of capacity of composition. Hence the explosion in the 200 BC period.


18.The Brahmins would have wanted to keep their relevance after the Kings became Budhist. Being already learned and having their chanting armies, they were better placed than the Budhists who were dependent on writing - the Brahmins could outpace them in writing up stories and committing them to memory and mass producing priests who could fan out and spread their religion. Since they were essentially more interested in maintaining control than spreading their own religion, they could adopt every local diety and make it heir own. Hence if locals in Bengal preferred Durga, they could chant up the Devi Mahatmyam. If the locals in South India preferred Murugan, they could chant up the Skanda puranam. If the locals of Mathura preferred Krishna, they could change the Vedic character of the Krishna of the Jayam into another person entirely and write up the Vishnu Purana and numerous passages in the Epics. If people wanted Linga worship, they could write up a Shiva puranam. Whereas the Budhists and Jainists were forced to make people change their religion - not so easy if your King is not a Budhist. In which case, it is inescapable that most of the people of India were Hindu and it remained strong enough to withstand Muslim invasion and forced conversions.


19. The next question is - if the Brahmins used their abilities in this predatory fashion to capture the local religions, was it an organised conspiracy or did it just happen? Was it a local decision of a Brahmin to cater to the needs of his local population or was it a major policy change in the large Brahminical centers to chant up a few massive Puranas and Epics? Taxila and Nalanda had become Budhist. To my mind, the activity of large scale story manufacturing has to have royal sanction and support of a large group of priests with one mind. Only if the King supports is such an enterprise possible. The current Ramayana is having one metre, composed in a same style as a much older story, and yet the interpolations of local Gods occurs systematically. This does not have the sense of slow changes occurring over centuries, it seems like an organised activity. Similarly, the Bhagavad Gita is a mish mash of three different texts, occurring with systematic interpolations of two different philosophies over a more ancient core - of KArma Yoga and then Bhakti philosophies (at least following AL Basham). This indicates an interpolation occurring initially as an Upanishad, and then a more systematic Bhakti interpolation coinciding with turning the Krishna of the MB into the local God Krishna. And this is done in an organised way all over the whole of the MB. Once the Ramayana and Jayam are transformed, the other Puranas follow suit, to dot the i and cross the t left undone initially - and they follow very quickly as well, over maybe 400 years and being mostly ready by 500 AD. 


20. And the Sunga dynasty was just such a dynasty as to support this type of sctivity. Coming after the Ashokan empire, the original Kingly religion of praying to Vedic Gods was largely dead except in the priests who were still keeping up the chants. So any non-Budhist King who prayed to any of the local Gods would find it easy to coopt the Brahmins into composing such stories as to glorify his own God. Pushyamitra Shunga is reviled for the persecution of Budhists, although many scholars doubt the level of persecution - lack of suport can have a more disastrous consequence than active persecution and royal patronage to Hindu local practices can more effectively destroy Budhism than persecution which only encourages a more determined resistance - especially if active genocides like what the Muslims undertook is ruled out as a form of persecution (Pushyamitra being accused of genocide notwithstanding). The northern borders were also under turmoil after Greek, Kushan, Parthian and other invasions. Hence the Brahmins of the north and Punjab are likely to have migrated east and having large bodies of new Brahmins coming in would help in Epic composition. The sculptures are however restricted to the Stupas and Yakshinis seem predominant. Temple worship doesnt seem to have started. Since the Mathura temples are not yet excavated, we dont know if temples to Krishna existed in this early times in Mathura. If the Sanchi Stupa can be built in Madhya Pradesh so early, there is no technological limit against a temple in Mathura. If so, the temple priests of Mathura definitely could have been the ones to compose the Vaishnavite interpolations of the MB and Ramayana and most of the other Vishnu and Krishna related Puranas. They might have migrated east under the Greek and other central asian tribes to the Sunga empire and flourished there propagating a non Vedic version of Hinduism. However the absence of temple building activity and the fact that Pushyamitra Sunga himself was a Brahmin means that he is likely to have persisted in the fire worship traditions of the Vedas. The progress of the Mathura School of art in Sunga period is also related to Budhist sculpture than Hindu art.

So while the setting is possible, the need is there - but likelihood is still 50-50.

21. Thus, either the Vaishnavite interpolations came later on and so the dates of the MB and Ramayana have to move further to after 50BC in the post Sunga period. Or the Mathura hypothesis above might be true. If we move down the line to Vasudeva Kanva who succeded the Sungas, we are reaching the right name at least! Again a Brahmin, there is not much detail available. Certainly made no changes to the Sunga rule. And after him come the Satavahanas of the South, which completely changes the equation and also pushes up right up to the 25 AD period. Since all we know of Kanvas is from the Puranas, we need not assume any change from Sungas in this period. Which means 225 to 25 BC is ruled by a single line of similar Kings. In architecture we have only Buddhist advances. What about in the literature? That is the question. 


22. After them the Satavahanas ruled for 200 years of peace in the north, while the northwest was in great turmoil under the Shaka, Yavana and Pehlava invasions. They were non-iconic and patronised both Hindus and the Budhists, (like the Sunga and the Kanvas). Did any of the local Southern religions migrate north during this time? That would have caused a lot of churning and might be the catalyst needed to write the Epics in enlarged version.


23. This recast of the Epics also could not have come from the north/west. The Afghan and surrounding Pakistan was under the Greeks, then the Parthians and then Shakas (Scythians displaced by the Yuezhei (Kushans) who in turn were displaced by the Xiongnu in 200 BC. Shakas and Kushans were both Indo European speaking from the Andronovo culture, ruling Rajasthan and Punjab resp. But all were Buddhist. The Kambojas were Iranians of Avestan type, supposedly mentioned in Brahmana literature also - which would require examination of the Vedas.


24. So the Sunga period remains the most likely time for the recast of the Epics, unless we push it all the way up into Gupta period. Either the current dating of the Epics and Puranas to be between 200 BC and 200 AD is correct - or it is wrong and we have to think of them as being written as late as Gupta period. This would require that we evaluate the Epics and the Puranas also along with the Veda. 


25. If we reach as late as Gupta period, we need to look no further. They were Vaishya or at least not Brahmins like Sungas and Kanvas (who might object to large scale recast of their scriptures). They are devotees of Vishnu. They are undoubted temple builders and built Deogir which is not just a Vishnu temple but also has dashavatara carved on it. They were patrons of art and all forms of scholarly activity. If we say that the Epics were enlarged in their time and Vaishnavite bhakti philosophy was interpolated, nobody will disbelieve it. Everyone anyway believes that Puranas were written in Gupta period. Only problem is that it makes for a very late enlargement and recast - from 250 to 500 AD. And by 750 AD we already have so many commentaries on it including Shankara's on Gita. So unless we nuance it and say one enlargement in 200 BC and another in 300 AD - which leads to its own problems of commentaries and commentaries on commentaries in the case of Gita. 


26. So the evidence for large scale expansion is definite for Puranas being written in Gupta period. But for the Epics and Gita, there is doubt - it could be 200 BC or 300 AD. So if we are going to look for evidence within the Rigveda, the Brahmanas, the Upanishads and the Sutras, we need to look for interpolations which are post Buddha, from Sunga period and then of Gupta period. That would help us date the different parts of the Veda.


27. So to summarise, we need to look for

a. Whether the earliest memories of Rig Veda are from Sintashta period. Since they were an innovative people who invented light weight horse chariots, horse domestication, copper working and compound bow - why not that they invented chanting as a method of text transmission as well?


b. Whether the Dasyus forts could have been the BMAC? Mittanni is ruled out. So is IVC because it died of natural causes. Only other possibility is the Cemetery H culture people - who didnt have much of a fort anyway since it left no archeological remains.

c. Where the long period of isolation, predicated by no change for millenia in the oral tradition - either from 2000 to 600 BC or 1200 to 600 BC depending on the dating - was spent. Is there evidence for multiple way stations i.e. in the BMAC then Oxus then Helmand then Swat valley and then north India.

d. Connections between the Avestans of 1100 BC and the Rig Vedic people - are they of similar origin who split? Any way station in Iran/Baluchistan is possible or not for Vedic people?

e. A late arrival into North India around 800 BC. If so, where were they before - from Afghanistan or from Iran/Baluchistan?


f. Any descriptions of the locals. Since we are thinking that the IVC had degenerated and that there was an extra-ordinary time period between 1900 BC and 500 AD when the local deities have become fully evolved, what was happening to the locals in the meantime? Were they Budhist, converted by the Indo-Greeks, Parthians and Kushans? If so how did their local religions survive? Or was their survival a late import from South India during Satavahana rule - that these Indus deities evolved in South India and then migrated north. That means evaluating the Sangam literature from 100 BC to 500 AD.

g. Is the post Budhist interpolations small or large in Vedas? While these could have happened any time, postulating a large interval between Budhism and the emergence of epic hinduism of 700 to 800 years means the Vedas evolved on their own without a support of the Brahmins finding other means of support from the local religions. Except for the Nanda, Sunga and Kanva periods, Vedic religion would have found a hostile audience among Ashoka, Indo Greeks, Shaka, Kushan as well as the locals who would have been following some forms of the IVC religion. This might find evidence in the form of describing periods of hardship, especially in the Brahmana literature. On the other hand, if the change happened by 200 AD then there would be less evidence of hardship. 


h. Local descriptions of geography. While we know that Ghaggar Hakra and Drishtadvita had flow in IVC, there is not flow post 1700 BC at the latest. So what and where are the Sarasvati and Sindu? Are they Amu Daria? Helmand? What kind of animals find mention? There are tigers, gharials  and rhinos in the IVC. Where are they appearing in the Vedas. In the Srauta sutras, rhino sacrifice is described. But we need to see if the Srautas are uniformly Indian or have a core which is from outside India.


i. Any evidence of small pox. I am beginning to consider this more and more important in Indian history.

j. The evidence from the Epics and earlier Puranas also need to be seen - that is if I am able to finish the Vedas in the first place!!!

I think that is enough preparation. Having gone through 2 textbooks, 5 papers on Harappa, my recollections from my previous reading and Wikepedia updates on those recollections, the more obvious things to look for are already in place. 


Including ruling out the main hypothesis and the possibility that the predator theory could actually be small pox rather than human predators. 


Onwards!


 



Edited by Venkytalks - 19-Jan-2013 at 07:39
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Having finished a read of Book 1, I have the following observations to make:

Most hymns are to Indra and Agni who carries the prayers to the Gods. Varuna, whom I thought would be quite important, is not important in the first book except in one part. He seems to be considered the older and wiser God, keeping things in order and one whom you would fear if you break the laws. Mitra is similar but less ofter addressed. Mitra, Varuna and any of the Gods being addressed as the most important and ancient - are called Asura. So in this period of the Rig Veda, the important Gods are called the Asura, same as the Ahura of the Iranian people.

Mostly the Gods are almost never addressed as Devas. The term Viswedevas (all Gods) is there in the title of the hymn, but not in the hymn themselves. So perhaps the Viswedevas bit came later while arranging and compiling the Veda.

Rig Veda 1.1.1 Simple prayer to Agni as priest, bestower of wealth. Nothing special. These prayers type of prayers are repetitive and with the same theme - praise for the God being addressed and request for health or wealth or might in battle.

1.2 More to Vayu and Mitra Varuna. 

1.3 Asvins, Nasatyas,Indra,Vishvedevas - addressed in sequence like in any mantra sequence. Last three lines mention Saraswati

10 Wealthy in spoil, enriched with hymns, may bright Sarasvatī desire,
With eager love, our sacrifice.
11 Inciter of all pleasant songs, inspirer of all gracious thought,
Sarasvatī accept our rite
12 Sarasvatī, the mighty flood,—she with her light illuminates,
She brightens every pious thought.

So Saraswati the river which floods is important and repeatedly addressed. Flooding is important - only Amy Darya, Helmand, Kabul river and Indus can flood in these regions and which have open area good for animal grazing. Of these, the Kabul river seems more probable given absence of more severe cold of Uzbekistan and Hazara regions. The winters are pretty cold in Afghanistan and Uzbekistan and goes sub zero. Pakistan i.e Punjab and NWFP has much better temperatures which doesnt dip much below zero except for a few days. Peshawar on the Kabul river has much better weather than the other side of the Khyber pass in Kabul. So the flooding river could just be Kabul river and Indus would be the Sindu. The area would be good for animal husbandry especially for cows and horses.

Across the Indus the dense forests start - and in  2000 BC and for millenia afterwards, the other side of the Indus was densely forested. But the Peshawar area has gentler climate than Afghanistan and could be a good climate to settle in - and if there are no people on either side, the Kabul river would be a better place to settle than in Helmand river basin or the high mountains where the Hazara graze goats.

1.4 General prayer to Indra, called Satakratu and Vritra slayer

1.5 to 1.1.11:   General prayers to Indra. Called Sakra wealth giver and son of Kusika, rider of chariot drawn by bay horses and who burst the mountain to bring the kine, crusher of forts, who overthru the wily Susna.

Now the crusher of forts doesnt seem to be any ancient memory of actual fort crushing. Either it is allegory towards the clouds and rain. Or it has a sense of general " powerful God" and the destroyer of forts is just a description of his power.

1.12-1.1.13: General prayer to agni. Called Narasamsa, appointed by Manu as priest

7 I call the lovely Night and Dawn to seat them on the holy grass
At this our solemn sacrifice.
8 The two Invokers I invite, the wise, divine and sweet of tongue,
To celebrate this our sacrifice.
9 Iḷā, Sarasvatī, Mahī, three Goddesses who bring delight,
Be seated, peaceful, on the grass.
10 Tvaṣṭar I call, the earliest born, the wearer of all forms at will:
May he be ours and ours alone.
11 God, Sovran of the Wood, present this our oblation to the Gods,
And let the giver be renowned.
12 With Svāhā pay the sacrifice to Indra in the offerer's house:
Thither I call the Deities.

Calling a lot of Gods and Godesses, more Godesses than I expected.  In the usual Western commentaries are right in that Indra and Agni are the main Gods, but Godesses are also frequently addressed and are not unimportant.

1.14
2 The Kaṇvas have invoked thee; they, O Singer, sing thee songs of praise
Agni, come hither with the Gods;
3 Indra, Vāyu, Bṛhaspati, Mitra, Agni, Pūṣan, Bhaga,
Ādityas, and the Marut host.

Arranged by the Kanvas: calling all Gods, more of the same. This group of hymns are simple and straight forward, and are obviously composed by the Kanva group of priests.

1.15 prayer to Rtu along same lines, 

1.16, 17: for Indra and Indra Varuna

1.18: For Brahmanaspati (Narasamsa)

1.19: Agni marut

1.20 Nasatyas,  Rbhus

1.21Indragni

1.22:

8 Come hither, friends, and seat yourselves Savitar, to be praised by us,
Giving good gifts, is beautiful.
9 O Agni, hither bring to us the willing Spouses of the Gods,
And Tvaṣṭar, to the Soma draught.
10 Most youthful Agni, hither bring their Spouses, Hotrā, Bhāratī,
Varūtrī, Dhiṣaṇā, for aid.
11 Spouses of Heroes, Goddesses, with whole wings may they come to us
With great protection and with aid.
12 Indrāṇī, Varuṇānī, and Agnāyī hither I invite,
For weal, to drink the Soma juice.
13 May Heaven and Earth, the Mighty Pair, bedew for us our sacrifice,
And feed us full with nourishments.
14 Their water rich with fatness, there in the Gandharva's steadfast place,
The singers taste through sacred songs.
15 Thornless be thou, O Earth, spread wide before us for a dwelling-place:
Vouchsafe us shelter broad and sure.
16 The Gods be gracious unto us even from the place whence Viṣṇu strode
Through the seven regions of the earth!
17 Through all this world strode Viṣṇu; thrice his foot he planted, and the whole
Was gathered in his footstep's dust.
18 Viṣṇu, the Guardian, he whom none deceiveth, made three steps; thenceforth
Establishing his high decrees.
19 Look ye on Viṣṇu's works, whereby the Friend of Indra, close-allied,
Hath let his holy ways be seen.
20 The princes evermore behold that loftiest place where Viṣṇu is,
Laid as it were an eye in heaven.
21 This, Viṣṇu's station most sublime, the singers, ever vigilant,
Lovers of holy song, light u

Vishnu makes first appearance as usual as the strider - who made the three strides. Clearly the later Epics and Puranas invented the Dasavatara Vamana avatara stories to fit around this legend which is of the most ancient and has nothing to do with the Avatara stories.

1.24 Varuna addressed as the Asura (Great God) 

7 Varuṇa, King, of hallowed might, sustaineth erect the Tree's stem in the baseless region.
Its rays, whose root is high above, stream downward. Deep may they sink within us, and be hidden.
8 King Varuṇa hath made a spacious pathway, a pathway for the Sun wherein to travel.
Where no way was he made him set his footstep, and warned afar whate’er afflicts the spirit.
9 A hundred balms are thine, O King, a thousand; deep and wide-reaching also be thy favours.
Far from us, far away drive thou Destruction. Put from us e’en the sin we have committed.
10 Whither by day depart the constellations that shine at night, set high in heaven above us?
Varuṇa's holy laws remain unweakened, and through the night the Moon moves on in splendor
11 I ask this of thee with my prayer adoring; thy worshipper craves this with his oblation.
Varuṇa, stay thou here and be not angry; steal not our life from us, O thou Wide-Ruler.
12 Nightly and daily this one thing they tell me, this too the thought of mine own heart repeateth.
May he to whom prayed fettered Śunaḥśepa, may he the Sovran Varuṇa release us.
13 Bound to three pillars captured Śunaḥśepa thus to the Āditya made his supplication.
Him may the Sovran Varuṇa deliver, wise, ne’er deceived, loosen the bonds that bind him.
14 With bending down, oblations, sacrifices, O Varuṇa, we deprecate thine anger:
Wise Asura, thou King of wide dominion, loosen the bonds of sins by us committed.
15 Loosen the bonds, O Varuṇa, that hold me, loosen the bonds above, between, and under.
So in thy holy law may we made sinless belong to Aditi, O thou Āditya.

तत तवा यामि बरह्मणा वन्दमानस्तदा शास्ते यजमानो हविर्भिः | 
अहेळमानो वरुणेह बोध्युरुशंस मा न आयुःप्र मोषीः || 

Sloka 11 comes in the sandhya vandanam which most of would have memorised after thread ceremony.

1.25 More prayers to Varuna. Prayer order is different from what is found in the daily use Sandhya vandana - probably these same are rearranged in the Yajur Veda. Varuna is described as wearing golden mail.

यच्चिद धि ते विशो यथा पर देव वरुण वरतम | 
मिनीमसिद्यवि-दयवि ||

इमं मे वरुण शरुधी हवमद्या च मर्ळय | 
तवामवस्युरा चके || 

The intervening hymns are usual as addressed to most Gods


1.32 Here we have the main Indra legend about the slaying of Vritra. Clearly the fort are the clouds and Indra is the God of thunder and Vajra is his lightning splitting the clouds. These dont mean actual forts. And the demon is called a snake. 

HYMN XXXII. Indra.

1 I WILL declare the manly deeds of Indra, the first that he achieved, the Thunder-wielder.
He slew the Dragon, then disclosed the waters, and cleft the channels of the mountain torrents.
2 He slew the Dragon lying on the mountain: his heavenly bolt of thunder Tvaṣṭar fashioned.
Like lowing kine in rapid flow descending the waters glided downward to the ocean.
3 Impetuous as a bull, he chose the Soma and in three sacred beakers drank the juices.
Maghavan grasped the thunder for his weapon, and smote to death this firstborn of the dragons.
4 When, Indra, thou hadst slain the dragon's firstborn, and overcome the charms of the enchanters,
Then, giving life to Sun and Dawn and Heaven, thou foundest not one foe to stand against thee.
5 Indra with his own great and deadly thunder smote into pieces Vṛtra, worst of Vṛtras.
As trunks of trees, what time the axe hath felled them, low on the earth so lies the prostrate Dragon.
6 He, like a mad weak warrior, challenged Indra, the great impetuous many-slaying Hero.
He, brooking not the clashing of the weapons, crushed—Indra's foe—the shattered forts in falling.
7 Footless and handless still he challenged Indra, who smote him with his bolt between the shoulders.
Emasculate yet claiming manly vigour, thus Vṛtra lay with scattered limbs dissevered.
8 There as he lies like a bank-bursting river, the waters taking courage flow above him.
The Dragon lies beneath the feet of torrents which Vṛtra with his greatness had encompassed.
9 Then humbled was the strength of Vṛtra's mother: Indra hath cast his deadly bolt against her.
The mother was above, the son was under and like a cow beside her calf lay Danu.
10 Rolled in the midst of never-ceasing currents flowing without a rest for ever onward.
The waters bear off Vṛtra's nameless body: the foe of Indra sank to during darkness.
11 Guarded by Ahi stood the thralls of Dāsas, the waters stayed like kine held by the robber.
But he, when he had smitten Vṛtra, opened the cave wherein the floods had been imprisoned.
12 A horse's tail wast thou when he, O Indra, smote on thy bolt; thou, God without a second,
Thou hast won back the kine, hast won the Soma; thou hast let loose to flow the Seven Rivers.
13 Nothing availed him lightning, nothing thunder, hailstorm or mist which had spread around him:
When Indra and the Dragon strove in battle, Maghavan gained the victory for ever.
14 Whom sawest thou to avenge the Dragon, Indra, that fear possessed thy heart when thou hadst slain him;
That, like a hawk affrighted through the regions, thou crossedst nine-and-ninety flowing rivers?
15 Indra is King of all that moves and moves not, of creatures tame and horned, the Thunder-wielder.
Over all living men he rules as Sovran, containing all as spokes within the felly.


1.33

HYMN XXXIII. Indra.

1 Come, fain for booty let us seek to Indra: yet more shall he increase his care that guides us.
Will not the Indestructible endow us with perfect knowledge of this wealth, of cattle?
2 I fly to him invisible Wealth-giver as flies the falcon to his cherished eyrie,
With fairest hymns of praise adoring Indra, whom those who laud him must invoke in battle.
3 Mid all his host, he bindeth on the quiver: he driveth cattle from what foe he pleaseth:
Gathering up great store of riches, Indra. be thou no trafficker with us, most mighty.
4 Thou slewest with thy bolt the wealthy Dasyu, alone, yet going with thy helpers, Indra!
Far from the floor of heaven in all directions, the ancient riteless ones fled to destruction.
5 Fighting with pious worshippers, the riteless turned and fled, Indra! with averted faces.
When thou, fierce Lord of the Bay Steeds, the Stayer, blewest from earth and heaven and sky the godless.
6 They met in fight the army of the blameless: then the Navagvas put forth all their power.
They, like emasculates with men contending, fled, conscious, by steep paths from Indra, scattered.
7 Whether they weep or laugh, thou hast o’erthrown them, O Indra, on the sky's extremest limit.
The Dasyu thou hast burned from heaven, and welcomed the prayer of him who pours the juice and lauds thee.
8 Adorned with their array of gold and jewels, they o’er the earth a covering veil extended.
Although they hastened, they o’ercame not Indra: their spies he compassed with the Sun of morning.
9 As thou enjoyest heaven and earth, O Indra, on every side surrounded with thy greatness,
So thou with priests hast blown away the Dasyu, and those who worship not with those who worship.
10 They who pervaded earth's extremest limit subdued not with their charms the Wealth-bestower:
Indra, the Bull, made his ally the thunder, and with its light milked cows from out the darkness.
11 The waters flowed according to their nature; he raid the navigable streams waxed mighty.
Then Indra, with his spirit concentrated, smote him for ever with his strongest weapon.
12 Indra broke through Ilībiśa's strong castles, and Śuṣṇa with his horn he cut to pieces:
Thou, Maghavan, for all his might and swiftness, slewest thy fighting foeman with thy thunder
13 Fierce on his enemies fell Indra's weapon: with. his sharp bull he rent their forts in pieces.
He with his thunderbolt dealt blows on Vṛtra; and conquered, executing all his purpose.
14 Indra, thou helpest Kutsa whom thou lovedst, and guardedst brave Daśadyu when he battled,
The dust of trampling horses rose to heaven, and Śvitrā's son stood up again for conquest.
15 Śvitrā's mild steer, O Maghavan thou helpest in combat for the land, mid Tugra's houses.
Long stood they there before the task was ended: thou wast the master of the foemen's treasure.

The Dasyu seems to stand for the unGodly enemies, whom Indra helps the Arya to kill. The forts here seem more like real forts. Clearly the Arya were a fighting people and looted the forts they won. 

1.35

9 The golden-handed Savitar, far-seeing, goes on his way between the earth and heaven,
Drives away sickness, bids the Sun approach us, and spreads the bright sky through the darksome region.
10 May he, gold-handed Asura, kind Leader, come hither to us with his help and favour.
Driving off Rākṣasas and Yātudhānas, the God is present, praised in hymns at evening.

Here Savitar is also called Asura. So Mitra, Varuna and Savitar and a few others would be the more ancient great Gods from an ancestral memory and Indra, Agni, Maruts and Aswins would be the newer and younger Gods more closely identified with these specific people

1.36.

Whom Kaṇva, whom Medhyātithi made the source of wealth, and Vṛṣan and Upastuta.

18 We call on Ugradeva, Yadu, Turvaśa, by means of Agni, from afar;
Agni, bring Navavāstva and Bṛhadratha, Turvīti, to subdue the foe.

People are named. Perhaps these hymns are composed after every fight and Indra is said to help the returning fighters - a sensible explanation.

1.38.

4 If, O ye Maruts, ye the Sons whom Pṛśni bore, were mortal, and
Immortal he who sings your praise.
5 Then never were your praiser loathed like a wild beast in pasture-land,
Nor should he go on Yama's path.
6 Let not destructive plague on plague hard to be conquered, strike its down:
Let each, with drought, depart from us.
7 Truly, they the fierce and mighty Sons of Rudra send their windless
Rain e’en on the desert places.


1.41 intriguing wording.of prayers to Varuna. Some of the hymns are quite difficult to understand even in English and might indicate a more mystic hymn, whose significance would need commentary from a teacher or senior priest.

1.42

2 Drive, Pūṣan, from our road the wolf, the wicked inauspicious wolf,
Who lies in wait to injure us.
3 Who lurks about the path we take, the robber with a guileful heart:
Far from the road chase him away.

1.45 to 1.47 Agni, Asvin Nasatyas as chariot riders of the day sky. Now somewhere I had read that they also rotate around the north star but seem unable to find it cut and pasted here. Will have to hunt - but perhaps the Ursa major and minor might have been identified with the Aswins.

1.48, 1,49

1 DAWN on us with prosperity, O Uṣas, Daughter of the Sky,

1.50 One of the composers of the Veda must have had jaundice to compose this hymn - perhaps with much drinking.

8 Seven Bay Steeds harnessed to thy car bear thee, O thou farseeing One,
God, Sūrya, with the radiant hair.

11 Rising this day, O rich in friends, ascending to the loftier heaven,

Sūrya remove my heart's disease, take from me this my yellow hue.
12 To parrots and to starlings let us give away my yellowness,
Or this my yellowness let us transfer to Haritāla trees.

1.51

Indra

3 Thou hast disclosed the kine's stall for the Aṅgirases, and made a way for Atri by a hundred doors.
On Vimada thou hast bestowed both food and wealth, making thy bolt dance in the sacrificer's fight.

6 Thou savedst Kutsa when Śuṣṇa was smitten down; to Atithigva gavest Śambara for a prey.
E’en mighty Arbuda thou troddest under foot: thou from of old wast born to strike the Dasyus dead.

8 Discern thou well Āryas and Dasyus; punishing the lawless give them up to him whose grass is strewn.

10 The might which Uśanā hath formed for thee with might rends in its greatness and with strength both worlds apart.
O Hero-souled, the steeds of Vāta, yoked by thought, have carried thee to fame while thou art filled with power.
11 When Indra hath rejoiced with Kāvya Uśanā, he mounts his steeds who swerve wider and wider yet.
The Strong hath loosed his bolt with the swift rush of rain, and he hath rent in pieces Śuṣṇa's firm-built forts.
12 Thou mountest on thy car amid strong Soma draughts: Śāryāta brought thee those in which thou hast delight.
Indra, when thou art pleased with men whose Soma flows thou risest to unchallenged glory in the sky.
13 To old Kakṣīvān, Soma-presser, skilled in song, O Indra, thou didst give the youthful Vṛcayā.
Thou, very wise, wast Menā, Vrsanśva's child: those deeds of thine must all be told at Soma feasts.

Dasyu is always the non-follower. But no further description

1.52 So many of the hymns repeat the same Vrtra slaying in the same way:

When Indra, joying in the draughts of Soma juice, forced the clouds, slaying Vṛtra stayer of their flow.

1.53

HYMN LIII. Indra.

1 WE will present fair praise unto the Mighty One, our hymns to Indra in Vivasvān's dwelling-place;
For he hath ne’er found wealth in those who seem to sleep: those who give wealth to men accept no paltry praise.
2 Giver of horses, Indra, giver, thou, of kine, giver of barley, thou art Lord and guard of wealth:
Man's helper from of old, not disappointing hope, Friend of our friends, to thee as such we sing this praise.
3 Indra, most splendid, powerful, rich in mighty deeds, this treasure spread around is known to be thine own.
Gather therefrom, O Conqueror, and bring to us: fail not the hope of him who loves and sings to thee.
4 Well pleased with these bright flames and with these Soma drops, take thou away our poverty with seeds and kine.
With Indra scattering the Dasyu through these drops, freed from their hate may we obtain abundant food.
5 Let us obtain, O Indra, plenteous wealth and food, with strength exceeding glorious, shining to the sky:
May we obtain the Goddess Providence, the strength of heroes, special source of cattle, rich in steeds.
6 These our libations strength-inspiring, Soma draughts, gladdened thee in the fight with Vṛtra, Hero Lord,
What time thou slewest for the singer with trimmed grass ten thousand Vṛtras, thou resistless in thy might.
7 Thou goest on from fight to fight intrepidly, destroying castle after castle here with strength.
Thou, Indra, with thy friend who makes the foe bow down, slewest from far away the guileful Namuci.
8 Thou hast struck down in death Karañja, Parṇaya, in Atithigva's very glorious going forth.
Unyielding, when Ṛjiśvan compassed them with siege, thou hast destroyed the hundred forts of Vaṅgṛida.
9 With all-outstripping chariot-wheel, O Indra, thou far-famed, hast overthrown the twice ten Kings of men,
With sixty thousand nine-and-ninety followers, who came in arms to fight with friendless Suśravas.
10 Thou hast protected Suśravas with succour, and Tūrvayāṇa with thine aid, O Indra.
Thou madest Kutsa, Atithigva, Āyu, subject unto this King, the young, the mighty.
11 May we protected by the Gods hereafter remain thy very prosperous friends, O Indra.
Thee we extol, enjoying through thy favour life long and joyful and with store of heroes.

This seems to be following the same plan - first praise Indra for the battle in the sky and then for helping win a battle on earth. Many of these hymns seem to be composed after the war is over.

1.54.

HYMN LIV. Indra.

1 URGE us not, Maghavan, to this distressful fight, for none may comprehend the limit of thy strength.
Thou with fierce shout hast made the woods and rivers roar: did not men run in crowds together in their fear?
2 Sing hymns of praise to Śakra, Lord of power and might; laud thou and magnify Indra who heareth thee,
Who with his daring might, a Bull exceeding strong in strength, maketh him master of the heaven and earth.
3 Sing forth to lofty Dyaus a strength-bestowing song, the Bold, whose resolute mind hath independent sway.
High glory hath the Asura, compact of strength, drawn on by two Bay Steeds: a Bull, a Car is he.
4 The ridges of the lofty heaven thou madest shake; thou, daring, of thyself smotest through Śambara,
When bold with gladdening juice, thou warredst with thy bolt, sharp and two-edged, against the banded sorcerers.
5 When with a roar that fills the woods, thou forcest down on wind's head the stores which Śuṣṇa kept confined,
Who shall have power to stay thee firm and eager-souled from doing still this day what thou of old hast done?
6 Thou helpest Narya, Turvaśa, and Yadu, and Vayya's son Turvīti, Śatakratu!
Thou helpest horse and car in final battle thou breakest down the nine-and-ninety castles.
7 A hero-lord is he, King of a mighty folk, who offers free oblations and promotes the Law,
Who with a bounteous guerdon welcomes hymns of praise: for him flows down the abundant stream below the sky.
8 His power is matchless, matchless is his wisdom; chief, through their work, be some who drink the Soma,
Those, Indra, who increase the lordly power, the firm heroic strength of thee the Giver.
9 Therefore for thee are these abundant beakers Indra's drink, stone-pressed juices held in ladles.
Quaff them and satisfy therewith thy longing; then fix thy mind upon bestowing treasure.
10 There darkness stood, the vault that stayed the waters’ flow: in Vṛtra's hollow side the rain-cloud lay concealed.
But Indra smote the rivers which the obstructer stayed, flood following after flood, down steep declivities.
11 So give us, Indra, bliss-increasing glory give us great sway and strength that conquers people.
Preserve our wealthy patrons, save our princes; vouchsafe us wealth and food with noble offspring.

1.55 to 57 more Indra. These are all clearly battle cry hymns for the warriors. Question is - were the Vedic tribes fighting each other or fighting others? The Dasyu description as not following the laws of the Arya seems to indicate they are not other clans. These could be either other more distant Iranian tribals who pray to different Gods or could be non Aryan people.

1.58 59 Agni

6 Now will I tell the greatness of the Hero whom Pūru's sons follow as Vṛtra's slayer:
Agni Vaiśvānara struck down the Dasyu, cleave Śambara through and shattered down his fences.
7 Vaiśvānara, dwelling by his might with all men, far-shining, holy mid the Bharadvājas,
Is lauded, excellent, with hundred praises by Purūṇītha, son of Śatavani.

1.60 more agni prayers by gotamas This section composed by the Gotamas is also simple like the Kanvas, although prayers to Agni are more fanciful and quite elegantly descriptive of how the fire spreads and dances.

1.61

7 As soon as, at libations of his mother, great Viṣṇu had drunk up the draught, he plundered.
The dainty cates, the cooked mess; but One stronger transfixed the wild boar, shooting through the mountain.

The boar demon is also repeated many times.

1.62

3 When Indra and the Aṅgirases desired it, Saramā found provision for her offspring.
Bṛhaspati cleft the mountain, found the cattle: the heroes shouted with the kine in triumph.
4 Mid shout, loud shout, and roar, with the Navagvas, seven singers, hast thou, heavenly, rent the mountain;
Thou hast, with speeders, with Daśagvas, Indra, Śakra, with thunder rent obstructive Vala.
5 Praised by Aṅgirases, thou, foe-destroyer, hast, with the Dawn, Sun, rays, dispelled the darkness.
Thou Indra, hast spread out the earth's high ridges, and firmly fixed the region under heaven.

13 O mighty Indra, Gotama's son Nodhas hath fashioned this new prayer to thee Eternal,


1.65 Agni

2 The Gods approached the ways of holy Law; there was a gathering vast as heaven itself.

1.66 to 76 agni

3 Burn thou up all the Rākṣasas, O Agni; ward thou off curses from our sacrifices.

Clearly the Rakshasas were the demons and not the Asuras in the ancient period.

1.84

13 With bones of Dadhyach for his arms, Indra, resistless in attack,
Struck nine-and-ninety Vṛtras dead.
14 He, searching for the horse's head, removed among the mountains, found
At Śaryaṇāvān what he sought.
15 Then verily they recognized the essential form of Tvaṣṭar's Bull,
Here in the mansion of the Moon.

1.85

9 When Tvaṣṭar deft of hand had turned the thunderbolt, golden, with thousand edges, fashioned more skilfully,
Indra received it to perform heroic deeds. Vṛtra he slew, and forced the flood of water forth.
10 They with their vigorous strength pushed the well up on high, and clove the cloud in twain though it was passing strong.
The Maruts, bounteous Givers, sending forth their voice, in the wild joy of Soma wrought their glorious deeds.
11 They drave the cloud transverse directed hitherward, and poured the fountain forth for thirsting Gotama.
Shining with varied light they come to him with help: they with their might fulfilled the longing of the sage.

This seems to tell of the rains bringing water to a parched land. Now both Oxus and Indus are fed by glaciers. So it is likely the Kabul river they are speaking of and the valley slopes on which the cattle would need to graze.


1.90-94. More prayers. Fairly good poetry - at least Griffith's rendering of it - describing the early dawn, spread of fire in the kindling and the like


1.95

16 Such, Agni, thou who knowest all good fortune, God, lengthen here the days of our existence.
This prayer of ours may Varuṇa grant, and Mitra, and Aditi and Sindhu, Earth and Heaven.

The last line is repeated in this group of hymns. The sense of Sindu is more of generic for river than for one specific river


1.100

17 The Vārṣāgiras unto thee, O Indra, the Mighty One, sing forth this laud to please thee,
Ṛjrāśva with his fellows, Ambarīṣa, Surādhas, Sahadeva, Bhayamāna.
18 He, much invoked, hath slain Dasyus and Śimyus, after his wont, and laid them low with arrows.
The mighty Thunderer with his fair-complexioned friends won the land, the sunlight, and the waters.

It is difficult to say who are the fair complexioned friends but probably referring to themselves.

1.101

2 Indra, who with triumphant wrath smote Vyaṁsa down, and Śambara, and Pipru the unrighteous one;
Who extirpated Śuṣṇa the insatiate,—him girt by Maruts we invoke to be our Friend.

5 He who is Lord of all the world that moves and breathes, who for the Brahman first before all found the Cows;
Indra who cast the Dasyus down beneath his feet,—him girt by Maruts we invoke to be our Friend.


1.103

2 He spread the wide earth out and firmly fixed it, smote with his thunderbolt and loosed the waters.
Maghavan with his puissance struck down Ahi, rent Rauhiṇa to death and slaughtered Vyaṁsa.
3 Armed with his bolt and trusting in his prowess he wandered shattering the forts of Dāsas.
Cast thy dart, knowing, Thunderer, at the Dasyu; increase the Ārya's might and glory, Indra.
4 For him who thus hath taught these human races, Maghavan, bearing a fame-worthy title,
Thunderer, drawing nigh to slay the Dasyus, hath given himself the name of Son for glory.

8 As thou hast smitten Śuṣṇa, Pipru, Vṛtra and Kuyava, and Śambara's forts, O Indra.
This prayer of ours may Varuṇa grant, and Mitra, and Aditi and Sindhu, Earth and Heaven.

This definitely harks of forts in the region and being striken down. A list of people and how Indra helped to shatter their forts

1.104

2 These men have come to Indra for assistance: shall he not quickly come upon these pathways?
May the Gods quell the fury of the Dāsa, and may they lead our folk to happy fortune.
4 This hath his kinship checked who lives beside us: with ancient streams forth speeds and rules the Hero,
Añjasī, Kuliśī, and Virapatnī, delighting him, bear milk upon their waters.
5 Soon as this Dasyu's traces were discovered, as she who knows her home, he sought the dwelling.
Now think thou of us, Maghavan, nor cast us away as doth a profligate his treasure.

It is almost as if the Aryas were seeking out the forts where these people lived and striking them down. Now we know that after 1900 and definitely after 1700 BC, there were few or no brick forts of the Indus people. Perhaps they had lost the ability to bake brick but made more ramshackle earther embankments in Sind and perhaps along the Indus. Or perhaps simple wooden forts. These could be the forts being broken. Even in the times of the IVC, there was a probable absence of large standing army. Arms were also very few recovered - other wise the most valuable use of Bronze is making weapons, but the IVC made very dew of these. The Cemerery H or other descendents might have been a more primitive people by 1200 BC living in small villages with just mud brick juggis, just like you have in the villages of India even now. These might be the people who were sought out and destroyed by the Aryans.

Definitely these descriptions cannot be for the other Indo Aryan tribes, since they wouldnt live in forts. BMAC is also unlikely to be the place because the reference seems better suited for the NWFP rather than Uzbekistan

1.105
Yet torturing cares consume me as the wolf assails the thirsty deer. 

17 Tṛta, when buried in the well, calls on the Gods to succour him.
That call of his Bṛhaspati heard and released him from distress. Mark this my woe, ye Earth and Heaven.

18 A ruddy wolf beheld me once, as I was faring on my path.

The wold if the main predator. That means Afghanistan and maximum NWFP. Leopard, snow leopards and persian leopards are well known in the entire region. So not a discriminator.
 

1.108
6 As first I said when choosing you, in battle we must contend with Asuras for this Soma.
So came ye unto this my true conviction, and drank libations of the flowing Soma.

8 If with, the Yadus, Turvaśas, ye sojourn, with Druhyus, Anus, Pūrus, Indra-Agni!
Even from thence, ye mighty Lords, come hither, and drink libations of the flowing Soma.

1.109
2 For I have heard that ye give wealth more freely than worthless son-in-law or spouse's brother.
So offering to you this draught of Soma, I make you this new hymn, Indra and Agni,

Even in those days, people had pretty similar views about the shiftless brother in law and the suspicion of a son in law!!

1.110

HYMN CX. Ṛbhus.

1. THE holy work I wrought before is wrought again: my sweetest hymn is sung to celebrate your praise.
Here, O ye Ṛbhus, is this sea for all the Gods: sate you with Soma offered with the hallowing word.
2 When, seeking your enjoyment onward from afar, ye, certain of my kinsmen, wandered on your way,
Sons of Sudhanvan, after your long journeying, ye came unto the home of liberal Savitar.
3 Savitar therefore gave you immortality, because ye came proclaiming him whom naught can hide;
And this the drinking-chalice of the Asura, which till that time was one, ye made to be fourfold.
4 When they had served with zeal at sacrifice as priests, they, mortal as they were, gained immortality.
The Ṛbhus, children of Sudhanvan, bright as suns, were in a year's course made associate with prayers.
5 The Ṛbhus, with a rod measured, as ’twere a field, the single sacrificial chalice. wide of mouth,
Lauded of all who saw, praying for what is best, desiring glorious fame among Immortal Gods.
6 As oil in ladles, we through knowledge will present unto the Heroes of the firmament our hymn,—
The Ṛbhus who came near with this great Father's speed, and rose to heaven's high sphere to eat the strengthening food.
7 Ṛbhu to us is Indra freshest in his might, Ṛbhu with powers and wealth is giver of rich gifts.
Gods, through your favour may we on the happy day quell the attacks of those who pour no offerings forth.
8 Out of a skin, O Ṛbhus, once ye formed a cow, and brought the mother close unto her calf again.
Sons of Sudhanvan, Heroes, with surpassing skill ye made your aged Parents youthful as before.
9 Help us with strength where spoil is won, O Indra: joined with the Ṛbhus give us varied bounty.
This prayer of ours may Varuṇa grant, and Mitra, and Aditi and Sindhu, Earth and Heaven.

HYMN CXII. Aśvins.

1 To give first thought to them, I worship Heaven and Earth, and Agni, fair bright glow, to hasten their approach.
Come hither unto us, O Aśvins, with those aids wherewith in fight ye speed the war-cry to the spoil.
2 Ample, unfailing, they have mounted as it were an eloquent car that ye may think of us and give.
Come hither unto us, O Aśvins, with those aids wherewith ye help our thoughts to further holy acts.
3 Ye by the might which heavenly nectar giveth you are in supreme dominion Lords of all these folk.
Come hither unto us, O Aśvins, with those aids wherewith ye, Heroes, made the barren cow give milk.
4 The aids wherewith the Wanderer through his offspring's might, or the Two-Mothered Son shows swiftest mid the swift;
Wherewith the sapient one acquired his triple lore,—Come hither unto us, O Aśvins, with those aids.
5 Wherewith ye raised from waters, prisoned and fast bound, Rebha, and Vandana to look upon the light;
Wherewith ye succoured Kaṇva as he strove to win,—Come hither unto us, O Aśvins, with those aids.
6 Wherewith ye rescued Antaka when languishing deep in the pit, and Bhujyu with unfailing help.
And comforted Karkandhu, Vayya, in their woe,—Come hither unto us, O Aśvins, with those aids.
7 Wherewith ye gave Śucanti wealth and happy home, and made the fiery pit friendly for Atri's sake;
Wherewith ye guarded Purukutsa, Pṛśnigu,—Come hither unto us, O Aśvin;, with those aids.
8 Mighty Ones, with what powers ye gave Parāvṛj aid what time ye made the blind and lame to see and walk;
Wherewith ye set at liberty the swallowed quail,—Come hither unto us, O Aśvins, with those aids.
9 Wherewith ye quickened the most sweet exhaustless flood, and comforted Vasiṣṭha, ye who ne’er decay;
And to Śrutarya, Kutsa, Narya gave your help,—Come hither unto us, O Aśvins, with those aids.
10 Wherewith ye helped, in battle of a thousand spoils, Viśpalā seeking booty, powerless to move.
Wherewith ye guarded friendly Vaśa, Aśva's son,—Come hither unto us, O Aśvins, with those aids.
11 Whereby the cloud, ye Bounteous Givers, shed sweet rain for Dīrghaśravas, for the merchant Auśija,
Wherewith ye helped Kakṣīvān, singer of your praise,—Come hither unto us, O Aśvins, with those aids.
12 Wherewith ye made Rasā swell full with water-floods, and urged to victory the car without a horse;
Wherewith Triśoka drove forth his recovered cows,—Come hither unto us, O Aśvins, with those aids.
13 Wherewith ye, compass round the Sun when far away, strengthened Mandhātar in his tasks as lord of lands,
And to sage Bharadvāja gave protecting help,—Come hither unto us, O Aśvins, with those aids.
14 Wherewith, when Śambara was slain, ye guarded well great Atithigva, Divodāsa, Kaśoju,
And Trasadasyu when the forts were shattered down,—Come hither unto us, O Aśvins, with those aids.
15 Wherewith ye honoured the great drinker Vamra, and Upastuta and Kali when he gained his wife,
And lent to Vyaśva and to Pṛthi favouring help,—Come hither unto us, O Aśvins, with those aids.
16 Wherewith, O Heroes, ye vouchsafed deliverance to Śayu, Atri, and to Manu long ago;
Wherewith ye shot your shafts in Syūmaraśmi's cause.—Come hither unto us, O Aśvins, with those aids.
17 Wherewith Paṭharvā, in his majesty of form, shone in his course like to a gathered kindled fire;
Wherewith ye helped Śāryāta in the mighty fray,—Come hither unto us, O Aśvins, with those aids.
18 Wherewith, Aṅgirases! ye triumphed in your heart, and onward went to liberate the flood of milk;
Wherewith ye helped the hero Manu with new strength,—Come hither unto us, O Aśvins, with those aids.
19 Wherewith ye brought a wife for Vimada to wed, wherewith ye freely gave the ruddy cows away;
Wherewith ye brought the host of kind Gods to Sudās—Come hither unto us, O Aśvins, with those aids.
20 Wherewith ye bring great bliss to him who offers gifts, wherewith ye have protected Bhujyu, Adhrigu,
And good and gracious Subharā and Ṛtastup,—Come hither unto us, O Aśvins, with those aids.
21 Wherewith ye served Kṛśānu where the shafts were shot, and helped the young man's horse to swiftness in the race;
Wherewith ye bring delicious honey to the bees,—Come hither unto us, O Aśvins, with those aids.
22 Wherewith ye speed the hero as he fights for kine in hero battle, in the strife for land and sons,
Wherewith ye safely guard his horses and his car,—Come hither unto us, O Aśvins with those aids.
23 Wherewith ye, Lords of Hundred Powers, helped Kutsa, son of Ārjuni, gave Turvīti and Dabhīti strength,
Favoured Dhvasanti and lent Puruṣanti help,—Come hither unto us, O Aśvins, with those aids.
24 Make ye our speech effectual, O ye Aśvins, and this our hymn, ye mighty Wonder-Workers.
In luckless game I call on you for succour: strengthen us also on the field of battle.
25 With, undiminished blessings, O ye Aśvins, for evermore both night and day protect us.
This prayer of ours may Varuṇa grant, and Mitra, and Aditi and Sindhu, Earth and Heaven.


HYMN CXVI. Aśvins.

1. I TRIM like grass my song for the Nāsatyas and send their lauds forth as the wind drives rain-clouds,
Who, in a chariot rapid as an arrow, brought to the youthful Vimada a consort.
2 Borne on by rapid steeds of mighty pinion, or proudly trusting in the Gods’ incitements.
That stallion ass of yours won, O Nāsatyas, that thousand in the race, in Yama's contest.
3 Yea, Aśvins, as a dead man leaves his riches, Tugra left Bhujyu in the cloud of waters.
Ye brought him back in animated vessels, traversing air, unwetted by the billows.
4 Bhujyu ye bore with winged things, Nāsatyas, which for three nights, three days full swiftly travelled,
To the sea's farther shore, the strand of ocean, in three cars, hundred-footed, with six horses.
5 Ye wrought that hero exploit in the ocean which giveth no support, or hold or station,
What time ye carried Bhujyu to his dwelling, borne in a ship with hundred oars, O Aśvins.
6 The white horse which of old ye gave Aghāśva, Aśvins, a gift to be his wealth for ever,—
Still to be praised is that your glorious present, still to be famed is the brave horse of Pedu.
7 O Heroes, ye gave wisdom to Kakṣīvān who sprang from Pajra's line, who sang your praises.
Ye poured forth from the hoof of your strong charger a hundred jars of wine as from a strainer.
8 Ye warded off with cold the fire's fierce burning; food very rich in nourishment ye furnished.
Atri, cast downward in the cavern, Aśvins ye brought, with all his people, forth to comfort.
9 Ye lifted up the well, O ye Nāsatyas, and set the base on high to open downward.
Streams flowed for folk of Gotama who thirsted, like rain to bring forth thousandfold abundance.
10 Ye from the old Cyavāna, O Nāsatyas, stripped, as ’twere mail, the skin upon
his body,
Lengthened his life when all had left him helpless, Dasras! and made him lord of youthful maidens.
11 Worthy of praise and worth the winning, Heroes, is that your favouring succour O Nāsatyas,
What time ye, knowing well his case, delivered Vandana from the pit like hidden treasure.
12 That mighty deed of yours, for gain, O Heroes, as thunder heraldeth the rain, I publish,
When, by the horse's head, Atharvan's offspring Dadhyac made known to you the Soma's sweetness.
13 In the great rite the wise dame called, Nāsatyas, you, Lords of many treasures, to assist her.
Ye heard the weakling's wife, as ’twere an order, and gave to her a son Hiraṇyahasta.
14 Ye from the wolf's jaws, as ye stood together, set free the quail, O Heroes, O Nāsatyas.
Ye, Lords of many treasures, gave the poet his perfect vision as he mourned his trouble.
15 When in the time of night, in Khela's battle, a leg was severed like a wild bird's pinion,
Straight ye gave Viśpalā a leg of iron that she might move what time the conflict opened.
16 His father robbed Ṛjrāśva of his eyesight who for the she-wolf slew a hundred wethers.
Ye gave him eyes, Nāsatyas, Wonder-Workers, Physicians, that he saw with sight uninjured.
17 The Daughter of the Sun your car ascended, first reaching as it were the goal with coursers.
All Deities within their hearts assented, and ye, Nāsatyas, are close linked with glory.
18 When to his house ye came, to Divodāsa, hasting to Bharadvāja, O ye Aśvins,
The car that came with you brought splendid riches: a porpoise and a bull were yoked together.
19 Ye, bringing wealth with rule, and life with offspring, life rich in noble heroes; O Nāsatyas,
Accordant came with strength to Jahnu's children who offered you thrice every day your portion.
20 Ye bore away at night by easy pathways Jāhuṣa compassed round on every quarter,
And, with your car that cleaves the toe asunder, Nāsatyas never decaying! rent the mountains.
21 One morn ye strengthened Vaśa for the battle, to gather spoils that might be told in thousands.
With Indra joined ye drove away misfortunes, yea foes of Pṛthuśravas, O ye mighty.
22 From the deep well ye raised on high the water, so that Ṛcatka's son, Sara, should drink it;
And with your might, to help the weary Śayu, ye made the barren cow yield milk, Nāsatyas.
23 To Viśvaka, Nāsatyas! son of Kṛṣṇa, the righteous man who sought your aid and praised you,
Ye with your powers restored, like some lost creature, his son Viṣṇāpū for his eyes to look on.
24 Aśvins, ye raised, like Soma in a ladle Rebha, who for ten days and ten nights, fettered.
Had lain in cruel bonds, immersed and wounded, suffering sore affliction, in the waters.
25 1 have declared your wondrous deeds, O Aśvins: may this be mine, and many kine and heroes.
May I, enjoying lengthened life, still seeing, enter old age as ’twere the house I live in.


HYMN CXVII. Aśvins.

1. AŚVINS, your ancient priest invites you hither to gladden you with draughts of meath of Soma.
Our gift is on the grass, our song apportioned: with food and strength come hither, O Nāsatyas.
2 That car of yours, swifter than thought, O Aśvins, which drawn by brave steeds cometh to the people,
Whereon ye seek the dwelling of the pious,—come ye thereon to our abode, O Heroes.
3 Ye freed sage Atri, whom the Five Tribes honoured, from the strait pit, ye Heroes with his people,
Baffling the guiles of the malignant Dasyu, repelling them, ye Mighty in succession.
4 Rebha the sage, ye mighty Heroes, Aśvins! whom, like a horse, vile men had sunk in water,—
Him, wounded, with your wondrous power ye rescued: your exploits of old time endure for ever.
5 Ye brought forth Vandana, ye Wonder-Workers, for triumph, like fair gold that hath been buried,
Like one who slumbered in destruction's bosom, or like the Sun when dwelling in the darkness.
6 Kakṣīvān, Pajra's son, must laud that exploit of yours, Nāsatyas, Heroes, ye who wander!
When from the hoof of your strong horse ye showered a hundred jars of honey for the people.
7 To Kṛṣṇa's son, to Viśvaka who praised you, O Heroes, ye restored his son Viṣṇāpū.
To Ghoṣā, living in her father's dwelling, stricken in years, ye gave a husband, Aśvins.
8 Ruṣatī, of the mighty people, Aśvins, ye gave to Śyāva of the line of Kaṇva.
This deed of yours, ye Strong Ones should be published, that ye gave glory to the son of Nṛṣad.
9 O Aśvins, wearing many forms at pleasure, on Pedu ye bestowed a fleet-foot courser,
Strong, winner of a thousand spoils, resistless the serpent slayer, glorious, triumphant.
10 These glorious things are yours, ye Bounteous Givers; prayer, praise in both worlds are your habitation.
O Aśvins, when the sons of Pajra call you, send strength with nourishment to him who knoweth.
11 Hymned with the reverence of a son, O Aśvins ye Swift Ones giving booty to the singer,
Glorified by Agastya with devotion, established Viśpalā again, Nāsatyas.
12 Ye Sons of Heaven, ye Mighty, whither went ye, sought ye, for his fair praise the home of Kāvya.
When, like a pitcher full of gold, O Aśvins, on the tenth day ye lifted up the buried?
13 Ye with the aid of your great powers, O Aśvins, restored to youth the ancient man Cyavāna.
The Daughter of the Sun with all her glory, O ye Nāsatyas, chose your car to bear her.
14 Ye, ever-youthful Ones, again remembered Tugra, according to your ancient manner:
With horses brown of hue that flew with swift wings ye brought back Bhujyu from the sea of billows.
15 The son of Tugra had invoked you, Aśvins; borne on he went uninjured through the ocean.
Ye with your chariot swift as thought, well-harnessed, carried him off, O Mighty Ones, to safety.
16 The quail had invocated you, O Aśvins, when from the wolf's devouring jaws ye freed her.
With conquering car ye cleft the mountain's ridges: the offspring of Viśvāc ye killed with poison.
17 He whom for furnishing a hundred wethers to the she-wolf, his wicked father blinded,—
To him, Ṛjrāśva, gave ye eyes, O Aśvins; light to the blind ye sent for perfect vision.
18 To bring the blind man joy thus cried the she-wolf: O Aśvins, O ye Mighty Ones, O Heroes,
For me Ṛjrāśva, like a youthful lover, hath. cut piecemeal one and a hundred wethers.
19 Great and weal-giving is your aid, O Aśvins, ye, objects of all thought, made whole the cripple.
Purandhi also for this cause invoked you, and ye, O mighty, came to her with succours.
20 Ye, Wonder-Workers, filled with milk for Śayu the milkless cow, emaciated, barren;
And by your powers the child of Purumitra ye brought to Vimada to be his consort.
21 Ploughing and sowing barley, O ye Aśvins, milking out food for men, ye Wonder-Workers,
Blasting away the Dasyu with your trumpet, ye gave far-spreading light unto the Ārya.
22 Ye brought the horse's head, Aśvins, and gave it unto Dadhyac the offspring of Atharvan.
True, he revealed to you, O Wonder-Workers, sweet Soma, Tvaṣṭar's secret, as your girdle.
23 O Sages, evermore I crave your favour: be gracious unto all my prayers, O Aśvins.
Grant me, Nāsatyas, riches in abundance, wealth famous and accompanied with children.
24 With liberal bounty to the weakling's consorts ye, Heroes, gave a son Hiraṇyahasta;
And Śyāva, cut into three several pieces, ye brought to life again, O bounteous Aśvins.
25 These your heroic exploits, O ye Aśvins, done in the days. of old, have men related.
May we, addressing prayer to you, ye Mighty, speak with brave sons about us to the synod.


There are clearly stories associated with the hymns with which the people would be well associated. These stories are now lost. The five tribes seems to be their own apellation for the Aryas, perhaps they were originally 5 tribes.

1.119
4 Ye came to Bhujyu while he struggled in the flood, with flying birds, self-yoked, ye bore him to his sires.

The flood again


1.122

14 The sea and all the Deities shall give us him with the golden ear and neck bejewelled.

The sea is referred to many times. So these people would perhaps go down Sind to the Sea. Quite a fair distance. 

1.126

1. WITH wisdom I present these lively praises of Bhāvya dweller on the bank of Sindhu;

For he, unconquered King, desiring glory, hath furnished me a thousand sacrifices.

2 A hundred necklets from the King, beseeching, a hundred gift-steeds I at once accepted;
Of the lord's cows a thousand, I Kakṣīvān. His deathless glory hath he spread to heaven.

Clearly a big gift means composition of special hymns to mark the occasion. Hence the origin of the hymns - recycling these hymns would make life easier for the priests to perform their yagnya.

HYMN CXXXI. Indra.

1. To Indra Dyaus the Asura hath bowed him down, to Indra mighty Earth with wide-extending tracts, to win the light, with wide-spread tracts.

3 Couples desirous of thine aid are storming thee, pouring their presents forth to win a stall of kine, pouring gifts, Indra, seeking thee.

Thou hast chastised, O Indra, Lord of Strength, the man who worships not,
And made thine own this great earth and these water-floods; with joyous heart these water-floods

1.132

Their battle-cry thou madest sound victorious in the shocks of war.
One stream after another have they gained from thee, eager for glory have they gained.

6 Indra and Parvata, our champions in the fight, drive ye away each man who fain would war with us, drive him far from us with the bolt.


HYMN CXXXIII. Indra.

1. WITH sacrifice I purge both earth and heaven: I burn up great she-fiends who serve not Indra,
Where throttled by thy hand the foes were slaughtered, and in the pit of death lay pierced and mangled.
2 O thou who castest forth the stones crushing the sorceresses’ heads,
Break them with thy wide-spreading foot, with thy wide-spreading mighty foot.
3 Do thou, O Maghavan, beat off these sorceresses' daring strength.
Cast them within the narrow pit. within the deep and narrow pit.

I wonder what these sorcerors and sorceresses are. Maybe just mythical superstition. Or they believed in possesions as do many Indians today.

1.136

Praise Indra, praise thou Agni, praise Bhaga and heavenly Aryaman.
Long may we live and have attendant progeny, have progeny with Soma's help.

HYMN CLI. Mitra and Varuṇa

4 The people prospers, Asuras! whom ye dearly love: ye, Righteous Ones, proclaim aloud the Holy Law.
That efficacious power that comes from lofty heaven, ye bind unto the work, as to the pole an ox.

HYMN CLIV. Viṣṇu

1. I WILL declare the mighty deeds of Viṣṇu, of him who measured out the earthly regions,
Who propped the highest place of congregation, thrice setting down his footstep, widely striding.
2 For this his mighty deed is Viṣṇu lauded, like some wild beast, dread, prowling, mountain-roaming;
He within whose three wide-extended paces all living creatures have their habitation.


1.155

That which hath been directed well at mortal man, bow-armed Kṛśānu's arrow, ye turn far aside.

1.156

2 He who brings gifts to him the Ancient and the Last, to Viṣṇu who ordains, together with his Spouse,

1.158

5 The most maternal streams, wherein the Dāsas cast me securely bound, have not devoured me.
When Traitana would cleave my head asunder, the Dāsa wounded his own breast and shoulders.

Krishna in an earlier hymn was just a name for one of the Aryans. Krishanu another now.

HYMN CLXI. Ṛbhus.

1 WHY hath the Best, why hath the Youngest come to us? Upon what embassy comes he? What have we said?
We have not blamed the chalice of illustrious birth. We, Brother Agni, praised the goodness of the wood.
2 The chalice that is single make ye into four: thus have the Gods commanded; therefore am I come.
If, O Sudhanvan's Children, ye will do this thing ye shall participate in sacrifice with Gods.
3 What to the envoy Agni in reply ye spake, A courser must be made, a chariot fashioned here,
A cow must be created, and the Twain made young. When we have done these things, Brother, we turn to you.
4 When thus, O Ṛbhus, ye had done ye questioned thus, Whither went he who came to us a messenger?
Then Tvaṣṭar, when he viewed the four wrought chalices, concealed himself among the Consorts of the Gods.
5 As Tvaṣṭar thus had spoken, Let us slay these men who have reviled the chalice, drinking-cup of Gods,
They gave themselves new names when Soma juice was shed, and under these new names the Maiden welcomed them.
6 Indra hath yoked his Bays, the Aśvins' car is horsed, Bṛhaspati hath brought the Cow of every hue.
Ye went as Ṛbhus, Vibhvan, Vāja to the Gods, and skilled in war, obtained your share in sacrifice.
7 Ye by your wisdom brought a cow from out a hide; unto that ancient Pair ye gave again their youth.
Out of a horse, Sudhanvan's Sons, ye formed a horse: a chariot ye equipped, and went unto the Gods.

HYMN CLXII. The Horse.

1. SLIGHT us not Varuṇa, Aryaman, or Mitra, Ṛbhukṣan, Indra, Āyu, or the Maruts,
When we declare amid the congregation the virtues of the strong Steed, God-descended.
2 What time they bear before the Courser, covered with trappings and with wealth, the grasped oblation,
The dappled goat goeth straightforward, bleating, to the place dear to Indra and to Pūṣan.
3 Dear to all Gods, this goat, the share of Pūṣan, is first led forward with the vigorous Courser,
While Tvaṣṭar sends him forward with the Charger, acceptable for sacrifice, to glory.


1.164: 

Very complex hymn with obscure meaning. Speaks of how the world was created and what it means. Very different from all the preceeding and describes how the important things in their life came about. Similar to other creation stories

15 Of the co-born they call the seventh single-born; the six twin pairs are called Ṛṣis, Children of Gods.

3 How on the Gāyatrī the Gāyatrī was based, how from the Triṣṭup they fashioned the Triṣṭup forth,
How on the Jagatī was based the Jagatī,—they who know this have won themselves immortal life.
24 With Gāyatrī he measures out the praise-song, Sāma with praise-song, triplet with the Triṣṭup.
The triplet with the two or four-foot measure, and with the syllable they form seven metres.

45 Speech hath been measured out in four divisions, the Brahmans who have understanding know them.
Three kept in close concealment cause no motion; of speech, men speak only the fourth division.

49 That breast of thine exhaustless, spring of pleasure, wherewith thou feedest all things that are choicest,
Wealth-giver, treasure. finder, free bestower,—bring that, Sarasvatī, that we may drain it.

1.165

5 Therefore together with our strong companions, having adorned our bodies, now we harness,
Our spotted deer with might, for thou, O Indra, hast learnt and understood our Godlike nature.

 

1.166

Deer-skins are on their shoulders, on their fellies knives: they spread their glory out as birds spread out their wings.

 

1.167

11 May this your laud, may this your song, O Maruts, sung by the poet, Māna's son, Māndārya,

These set of hymns are quite philosophical and complex. A good teacher can use these and wax eloquent. So not every hymn is practical and simple, some of the poets have made quite thoughtful and very deep hymns

1.174

 1. THOU art the King of all the Gods, O Indra: protect the men, O Asura, preserve us.

Thou Lord of Heroes, Maghavan, our saver, art faithful, very rich, the victory-giver.

With them guard lion-like wasting active Agni to dwell in our tilled fields and in our homestead.

7 Indra, the bard sang forth in inspiration: thou madest earth a covering for the Dāsa.

Like castles thou hast crushed the godless races, and bowed the godless scorner's deadly weapon.

9 A Stormer thou hast made the stormy waters flow down, O Indra, like the running rivers.
When o’er the flood thou broughtest them, O Hero, thou keptest Turvaśa and Yadu safely.

1.175

3 Thou, Hero, winner of the spoil, urgest to speed the car of man.
Burn, like a vessel with the flame, the lawless Dasyu, Conqueror!

4 Empowered by thine own might, O Sage, thou stolest Sūrya's chariot wheel.
Thou barest Kutsa with the steeds of Wind to Śuṣṇa as his death.

1.176

3 Within whose hands deposited all the Five Peoples’ treasures rest.

The lion and the spotted deer figure frequently, including one which I seem to have missed in cut pasting. Here again the five people are referred to.

1.182

6 Four ships most welcome in the midst of ocean, urged by the Aśvins, save the son of Tugra,
Him who was cast down headlong in the waters, plunged in the thick inevitable darkness.
7 What tree was that which stood fixed in surrounding sea to which the son of Tugra supplicating clung?
Like twigs, of which some winged creature may take hold, ye, Aśvins, bore him off safely to your renown.

There are a few ocean stories of how the Gods helped some lost sailor. Could be the Aral/Caspian fishermen. I fail to see how and why these people would try to sail the Arabian sea - it is just not in their nature as described. Perhaps these are Indus river boatmen who are swept out to the sea and somehow saved. In which case, there might be many others not saved. Since fishing is not described so far, maybe this is for crossing the Indus to the other bank or sailing for navigation - even for fighting.


1.83

4 Let not the wolf, let not the she-wolf harm you. Forsake me not, nor pass me by or others.


1.84

3 Nāsatyas, Pūṣans, ye as Gods for glory arranged and set in order Sūrya's bridal.
Your giant steeds move on, sprung from the waters, like ancient times of Varuṇa the Mighty.


The first book ends - and the story os of a simple pastoral people who fight, live near one or two rivers and  sometimes get lost at sea. With wolves nearby - which would bring doen larger cattle unlike a leopard which would only take a dog or calf. They build stalls and barter with cattle. Wear deer skin. No rhinos or tigers so far. They shatter someone's fort but not sure who - could be the remnants of the IVC or Cemetry H people who might be living in small mud hut villages.



Edited by Venkytalks - 21-Jan-2013 at 14:17
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  Quote benzin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Jan-2013 at 17:50
Andronovo culture you mention up there is tought to be ancient hungarian's culture. Also our language is very ancient.

Professor Grover S. Krantz, anthropologist at Washington State University, studied the history and origin of the various European languages and published his findings in the book, Geographical Development of European Languages (Peter Lang, 1988). Professor Krantz set up certain guidelines, which he used diligently in his analysis, applying them uniformly to all European languages. He structured and based these guidelines on human behaviors and life-sustaining requirements such as climate, the length of the growing season, and the quality of land for herding or agriculture, etc. Regarding the Hungarian language, he arrived at the following conclusion; on page 11 he writes:

"It is usually stated that the Uralic Magyars moved into Hungary from an eastern source in the 9th Century A.D. I find instead that all the other Uralic speakers expanded out of Hungary in the opposite direction, and at a much earlier date."

Furthermore, on page 72, we find the following observation:

"Given these objections the actual Uralic-speaking distributions would allow only one alternative explanation - that the family originated in Hungary and spread out in the opposite direction. This poses no serious problem if the time for this origin and dispersion is put at the earliest Neolithic. If this is true it means that Hungarian (Magyar) is actually the oldest in-place language in all of Europe."

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  Quote Venkytalks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jan-2013 at 02:02
Originally posted by benzin

Andronovo culture you mention up there is tought to be ancient hungarian's culture. Also our language is very ancient.

Professor Grover S. Krantz, anthropologist at Washington State University, studied the history and origin of the various European languages and published his findings in the book, Geographical Development of European Languages (Peter Lang, 1988). Professor Krantz set up certain guidelines, which he used diligently in his analysis, applying them uniformly to all European languages. He structured and based these guidelines on human behaviors and life-sustaining requirements such as climate, the length of the growing season, and the quality of land for herding or agriculture, etc. Regarding the Hungarian language, he arrived at the following conclusion; on page 11 he writes:

"It is usually stated that the Uralic Magyars moved into Hungary from an eastern source in the 9th Century A.D. I find instead that all the other Uralic speakers expanded out of Hungary in the opposite direction, and at a much earlier date."

Furthermore, on page 72, we find the following observation:

"Given these objections the actual Uralic-speaking distributions would allow only one alternative explanation - that the family originated in Hungary and spread out in the opposite direction. This poses no serious problem if the time for this origin and dispersion is put at the earliest Neolithic. If this is true it means that Hungarian (Magyar) is actually the oldest in-place language in all of Europe."


You are probably correct that the Andronovo people arrived in Khazakhstan in neolithic times prior to 4000 BC from the Hungarian, Ukrainian and north Caspian regions - especially if we assume that the language groups spread along with the spread of agriculture in 6000 BC - but very hotly debated I find. 

So from Hungary, the language would spread west into Germany and east into Romania, Ukraine, Byelorussia, Russia, Khazakhstan and then south into the Caspian sea.

I know little of linguistics, but most people seem to feel that this is approximately the way the Indo European languages spread.
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  Quote benzin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jan-2013 at 05:52
The main question is was there an improved central asian population, wich carried governing structures, religions around it many thousand years ago. I truely believe there was.
Balkh for example is one of the most ancient cities in the world, if not the oldest.
From Balkh to modern Türkey there are 8-10k thousand year old improved cultures we dont know much about.
I think there was some kind of changes in weather in central asia, wich made its populations spread all over the world.
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  Quote Venkytalks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jan-2013 at 09:36
"Improved culture" is a little judgemental.

It is also wrong to mix linguistic group with ethnic group - Most Indians speak languages derived from Sanskrit which is Indo Aryan - but ethnicity is predominantly South Asian.

Almost all of Europe speaks languages derived from Indo Aryan language - and yet each place has different ethnic groups.

The reason for migration from the steppes is two fold - it is a dry and semi arid land which means not much agriculture is possible. So any prosperity causing increased population means the people have to displace others to gain land - and so they are always seeking to expand into other areas.

And the other reason is displacement - as one group becomes strong and expands territory, it displaces the adjacent group - which has no option except to displace their neighbour on the other side - so it sets off a domino effect.

Other reason is that any such effort at taking control of other's more fertile land needs a technological edge - since in numbers the steppe people can never be as numerous as the fertile plains. 

1. So steppe people in Urals first had improved copper mining - which they supplied to the BMAC, making them rich enough to build Arkaim

2. They had horse domestication with the use of horse chariots - light narrow and manouverable - without stirrups it is easier to wage war from such mobile platforms.

3. They made compound bows - very small but still powerful, so it could be carried on chariot or horseback.

4. Parthians (Indo Aryan speakers from East Caspian area) were armoured cavalry riders carrying compound bow and used the "Parthian shot" - they would ride away, but while retreating, shoot the enemy while looking back - and they did this without stirrup.

5. Shakas (Eastern Scythians), Kushans and Hephthalites (Eastern Huns) were also Indo Aryan speaking and used similar techniques - but lightly armoured and fast moving. While the Shakas and the Kushans were probably of Caucasoid or mixed lightly with Mongoloid ethnicity, Huns were probably not - more of Mongoloid or mixed Caucasoid Mongoloid ethnicity.

6.Mongols (Xiongnu in 200 BC and the Mongol hordes under Ghengis) were non Aryan speaking, of Mongoloid Ethnicity and yet used the same tactics as the Scythians in horse riding - again without stirrup - and carved out the largest empire ever seen

While the early Indo Aryans (Medes, Persians, Parthians) can be seen as "improved" in the sense that they created great empires and stable kingdoms - none of the others can ever be seen as "improved"

One important thing in the psyche of the Indo Iranian branch of the Indo Europeans is a policy of tolerance. Darius the Great (Acheminids) and  the Parthians left other people alone despite being great conquerors - leaving local administration under Satraps. The British (Also Indo European) did the same 2000 years later. Germans (also Indo European speaking) were famously not tolerant.

In north west India, the Kushans and Shakas (Like the Indo Greeks like Menander ) were generally tolerant and absorbed the local religion - Budhism and some elements of Brahminism. Taxila contunued to flourish despite the disruptions from 500 BC (When Darius the great occupied a small part of Pakistan) through the Alexandrine wars, the Parthian invasions, Kushan invasions, Shaka invasions - until the White Hun invasion around 500 AD when it was utterly and completely destroyed. 
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  Quote Venkytalks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jan-2013 at 10:56
General comments from RV 1.1 to 1.174

Being on iPad and proper editing being difficult, let me write here the general sense of the first chapter. Later I will go over the pasted extracts.

There is little doubt that these are the hymns of a pastoral animal raising people. Horse, cows and goats are the main cattle it seems. There are groups of hymns which are composed by different poets in groups. All have so far a generaL sense and don't seem to have interpolations from later addition.

The general geography seems to have two rivers called the saraswati and the sindu unless sindu is not a river. In which case so far there is only one river. So far there is no mention of agriculture. The wolf figures prominently and only deer, spotted deer and lion are mentioned so far. Lion of course is a general term and it has to be seen if it could be tiger.

The mention of wolves is interesting. Although wolves are present in India, the more likely cattle thief is tiger. Also leopard for calves. If the main predator for the cattle is wolves, then this is either at north west frontier of Pakistan or further West.

The mention of sea is also of note. Excluding the Arabian sea only other possibility is either the Aral sea or Caspian sea. And if only two Rivers were present, they could be the Oxus and the Syr darya.  However this region gets quite cold in winter and so far there is no mention of the cold. The area is quite dry though which can explain the obsession with rain falling. If it were this far north, at least a few hymns saying protect me from the cold as I huddle in the chill of the night would be in order. So far there is none. Wolf however would be right at home and Lions were there in east Caspian Parthian and Iranian lands at these times.

An entirely Afghan locus is also unlikely being landlocked. So while the Helmand could be the fast flowing Saraswati river as described , the other sindu is not possible unless the people occupied the whole area from Helmand to the Indus. That would explain two rivers. And as the people shifter east later on, leaving the Helmand behind, the river Saraswati would have become either vanished or reidentified with the much smaller Ghaggar. Being again less fertile than Punjab proper, in west bank of Indus there would be more rain dependence. Also, describing the clouds as forts or as home of a serpent with whom Indra does battle would be more befitting a Monsoon cloud than a rain in Uzbekistan. Though I have no idea how it rains there in the steppes, it might be less impressive than Monsoon. Indian monsoon is of course a very close comparison to what is described repeated about Indra slaying Vritra. The sea and the boat journeys are also possible here. 

Floods are possible in Oxus and Indus. But if the Vedic people were forced into migration from Oxus to Indus, it doesn't find mention so far. In fact, so far, there no sense of lost empire or previous glory or being forced to move by an invasion

The sense of the Indra descriptions seem to be general prayer and not descriptive of actual battle. So dasyu seems more a perpetual enemy of the Arya. There is no telling who it could be. Might be the next neighbouring tribe. It is unlikely to be the Indus people because there is no absorption of their culture so far. But it could be if later we find such evidence. It could be the neighbouring similar tribe. So Dasyu could be the Persians or Medes or Parthians in their ancient times. So it could be from 1500 BC to 500 BC at any time. Rescuing the cattle does seem to be metaphorical reference to rescuing from thirst, but it cannot be ruled out that There was actual cattle raiding. It would be the main reason for warfare, since the cattle were the main wealth required for marriage and for the King who would have a lot.

The reason for composition of the Veda is also clear. The King would ask for a big sacrifice before any battle and the priests would prepare in advance for this by composing the hymns. Any one group is only about 100 to 200 slokas and most have the same set of similar hymns to the same group so Gods, almost in sequence. And for this the Brahmin would get a lot of cows, so with taking the effort. And having once got some hymns composed, it would make sense to remember it for next time. Until another major occasion comes around and fresh hymns get composed, perhaps by a fresh group of priests. The tribe leader might keep getting shifter between different clans who would get their own priests in resulting in collection of more hymn groups.

Presence of a King means this was a bigger tribe now and in conflict with others. 
Although there might be exaggeration of cattle numbers, it might still be that the King could call on thousands of warriors when needed. They might band together when faced with a common enemy or when unified by a common leader. Other times the clans might clash, or raid cattle. Especially if there was a bride price system of having your own stall of cattle, in which case the neighbouring clan would get raided by a group of young warriors. This also means each clan having its own group of priests who would chant the hymns before battle when bull would be sacrificed and after the battle the victors would sacrifice one of the raided cattle. That would explain multiple sets of similar groups of hymns which under any one King would get unified into a whole Rig Veda. With about three or four groups of hymns only until now, there is no need to worry that there are too many hymns.

The method of sacrifice at this early stage could be just a simple fire alter, chanting of hymns and poring of ghee. Even today, the homam is chanting from Veda only, nothing else is memorised. Method is passes on by instructions from one teacher to a younger priest. That would be enough.


Edited by Venkytalks - 20-Jan-2013 at 12:09
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  Quote benzin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Jan-2013 at 11:15
Are these symbols familiar ?




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  Quote red clay Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Jan-2013 at 12:09
Venkytalks, the images didn't show up.
 
A request, please use links to any long documents rather than post them directly.  It uses up space with our host, and we are very close to the limit now.
Hopefully, we soon won't have that problem, but for now it would be appreciated.
"Arguing with someone who hates you or your ideas, is like playing chess with a pigeon. No matter what move you make, your opponent will walk all over the board and scramble the pieces".
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  Quote benzin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Jan-2013 at 13:52
http://www.csinyalohaz.hu/images/stories/cser%C3%A9pt%C3%A1l%20az%20%C5%91riszentp%C3%A9teri%20m%C3%BAzeumb%C3%B3l%20kiv%C3%A1gva%20pici.jpg

plate with the eye of Og symbol around, and a corner (mountain) symbol in the middle.

http://www.csinyalohaz.hu/images/stories/n%C3%A9pi%20hieroglif%C3%A1k%20t%C3%A1bl%C3%A1zatok-1%20pici(1).jpg

commony symbols of hettita and sekler (magyar runes)
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  Quote Venkytalks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Jan-2013 at 14:23
Originally posted by red clay

Venkytalks, the images didn't show up.
 
A request, please use links to any long documents rather than post them directly.  It uses up space with our host, and we are very close to the limit now.
Hopefully, we soon won't have that problem, but for now it would be appreciated.

I am reading the Veda and posting here only some 1% of it - passages which might have historical interest. Others reading to research might be finding it useful in analysys - and focus on hymns of interest rather than read the whole Veda. I will restrict the posting to the minumum possible. Now that the general sense part is over, quotes need to be few lines only. I have posted the main link for more detail
Venky
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  Quote balochii Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Jan-2013 at 13:56
I think what are you saying seems correct for the most part. In ancient times the lands between Indus and Caspian had a lot of shared history. Though present day India doesn't have much to do with it
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Knight
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  Quote Venkytalks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Jan-2013 at 08:02
Originally posted by balochii

I think what are you saying seems correct for the most part. In ancient times the lands between Indus and Caspian had a lot of shared history. Though present day India doesn't have much to do with it

What I had to say in the first post, (based on 20 year old memory of old historical books I had read), and what I am saying in the newer post is quite different - because as I read, within a couple of weeks so much more information is coming out.

Because with internet, so much more detail is available.

If I had to find out about Mitanni 20 years ago, it was impossible before internet. There would be a half paragraph in the biggest text book I could find. 

Now it is there in Wikepedia itself, in exquisite detail - leave alone more detailed web sites I found.

History is likely to be revolutionised with this much ready information. 

All our old dogmas - from extreme leftist communist and Hindu extreme right wing historians - both of whom distorted history - and inserted whatever was politically correct for themselves - we can eliminate all of this with the power of the internet.

It is amazing that this has not happened before with Indian history - especially post independence history of the Nehru and Indira era - which is still not properly taught in our schools.


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