Science & Its Cyclic Apocalypse : In Vedic Continuity

A friend asked me to forward a feature I wrote here about use of atomic weapons in ancient India. At first, I couldn’t find it; then, I couldn’t access my PC and earned his wrath for non-response. Hence a fresh layout herebelow, but with a broader context.


First : Some quotes … and anecdotes.

You will find elsewhere more about distorted presentations of Indian History and the civilisational heritage of the land by early Indologists, prejudiced to colonial agenda, and by subsequent uncritical historians who found their doctorates under that spelled line of motivated thought.

Francois Voltaire : “… everything has come down to us from the banks of the Ganges.”


German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer : I “…encounter [in the Vedas] deep, original, lofty thoughts… suffused with a high and holy seriousness.”

American writer Ralph Waldo Emerson read the Vedas daily : “I owed a magnificent day to the Bhagavat-Gita

American thinker Henry David Thoreau : “In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita… in comparison with which… our modern world and its literature seems puny and trivial.”

So great were Emerson and Thoreau’s appreciation of Vedantic literatures that they became known as the American transcendentalists. Their writing is suffused with Vedic thought.

British mathematician, logician and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead : “Vedanta is the most impressive metaphysics the human mind has conceived.”

Julius Robert Oppenheimer, who led the US atomic bomb project : “The Vedas are the greatest privilege of this century.”

When, upon the first test detonation, Oppenheimer was asked if this is the first nuclear explosion, he significant reesponse was, “Yes, in modern times.”

Raised a Jew, Oppenheimer always gave the book – Bhagavad Gita – as a present to his friends and kept a copy on the shelf closest to his desk. At Franklin Roosevelt’s funeral he read a passage from the Gita chapter 17 verse 3 “Man is a creature whose substance is faith, what his faith is, he is”.

Lin Yutang, Chinese scholar and author : “India was China’s teacher in trigonometry, quadratic equations, grammar, phonetics… “.


In 1996 in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Italian mineralogist Vincenzo de Michele spotted an unusual yellow-green gem in the middle of one of Tutankhamun’s necklaces. The jewel was tested and found to be glass, but intriguingly it is older than the earliest Egyptian civilization. Geologists traced its origins to unexplained chunks of glass found scattered in the sand in a remote region of the Sahara Desert.  But the glass is itself a scientific enigma. Pieces of Libyan Desert Glass weighing as much as 16 pounds are found in an oval area measuring approximately 130 by 53 kilometers. The clear-to-yellowish-green pieces are concentrated in sand-free corridors between north-south dune ridges. How did it get to be there; and, who or what made it ?

An Austrian astrochemist Christian Koeberl established that the glass had been formed at a temperature so hot that there could be only one known natural cause : a meteorite impact on Earth. But there are no signs of such an impact even in satellite images.

The desert glass has another possible terrestrial explanation – one that includes atomic war or other high-tech process capable of melting the sand.

The first atomic bomb detonation by the United States in New Mexico at the Trinity test site in 1945 created so much heat that it formed a crater of radioactive green glass in the desert, about 10 feet deep and over 1,000 feet in width.

The same type of glass is found in India. In fact, it is found in Ireland, Scotland, France, Turkey and other places as well. There is no logical explanation for the vitrification of stone forts and cities, except from an atomic blast. Futhermore, at Mohenjo-Daro, a well planned city laid to a grid, with a plumbing system superior to those used in Pakistan and India today, the streets were littered with “black lumps of glass.” These globs of glass were identified to be clay pots that had melted under intense heat !

Incredible as it may seem, these vitrified lumps of clay or sand are likely evidence of atomic explosions. When excavations of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro reached the street level, archeologists discovered skeletons scattered about the cities, many still holding hands and sprawling in the streets as if an instant, horrible doom had occured. People were just lying, unburied, in the streets of the city from thousands of years ago, yet undecayed or eaten by wild animals, with no apparent cause to explain the apocalypse.

These skeletons are among the most radioactive ever found, on par with those at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. At one site, Soviet scholars found a skeleton which had a radioactive level 50 times greater than normal. While the skeletons have been carbon-dated to 2500 BC, we must keep in mind that carbon-dating involves measuring the amount of radiation left. When atomic explosions are involved, the tests make them seem much younger.

Other cities have been found in northern India that show indications of explosions of great magnitude. One such city, found between the Ganges and the mountains of Rajmahal, seems to have been subjected to intense heat. Huge masses of walls and foundations of the ancient city are fused together, literally vitrified ! And since there is no indication of a volcanic eruption or meteorite impact at this city, or at Mohenjo-Daro and other places revealing similar evidence, the intense heat to melt clay, stone or sand can only be explained by an atomic blast or some other unknown weapon.

A heavy layer of radioactive ash in Rajasthan, India, covers a three-mile-square area, ten miles west of Jodhpur. The radiation is still so intense that the area is highly dangerous. It was reported : “For some time it has been established that there is a very hight rate of birth defects and cancer affliction in the area, where levels of radiation registered are so high that the Indian government has cordoned off the region. One researcher estimates that the nuclear bomb used at the place sometime in antiquity was about the size of the ones dropped on Japan in 1945.”

Another curious sign of an ancient nuclear war in India is a giant crater near Bombay. The nearly circular 2,154-metre-diameter Lonar craterlocated 400 kilometers northeast of Bombay and age-tested to be less than 50,000 years old, could be related to nuclear warfare. No trace of any meteoric material, etc., has been found at the site or in the vicinity, and this is the world’s only known “impact” crater in basalt. Indications of great shock (from a pressure exceeding 600,000 atmospheres) and intense, abrupt heat (indicated by basalt glass spherules) can be ascertained from site conditions.

* * *

According to the magazine Free World, archaeologists digging in the ancient Euphrates Valley have uncovered a layer of agrarian culture 8,000 years old, a layer of herdsman culture much older, and a still older caveman culture. Recently, they reached another layer of fused green glass. It is well known that atomic detonations on or above a sandy desert will melt the silicon in the sand and turn the surface of the Earth into a sheet of glass. But if sheets of ancient desert glass can be found in various parts of the world, does it mean that atomic wars were fought in the ancient past or, at the very least, that atomic testing occurred in the dim ages of history ?

This is a startling theory but one that is not lacking in evidence, as such ancient sheets of desert glass are a geological fact. Lightning strikes can sometimes fuse the sand, meteorologists contend, but this is always in a distinctive root-like pattern. These strange geological oddities are called fulgurites and manifest as branched tubular forms rather than as flat sheets of fused sand.

Therefore, lightning is largely ruled out as the cause of such finds by geologists, who prefer to hold onto the theory of a meteor or comet strike as the cause. The problem with this theory is that there is usually no crater associated with these anomalous sheets of glass.

Brad Steiger and Ron Calais report in their book, Mysteries of Time and Space, that Albion W. Hart, one of the first engineers to graduate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was assigned an engineering project in the interior of Africa. While he and his men were travelling to an almost inaccessible region, they first had to cross a great expanse of desert.

“At the time he was puzzled and quite unable to explain a large expanse of greenish glass which covered the sands as far as he could see,” writes Margarethe Casson in an article on Hart’s life in the magazine Rocks and Minerals (no. 396, 1972).

She then goes on to mention: “Later on, during his life he passed by the White Sands area after the first atomic explosion there, and he recognized the same type of silica fusion which he had seen fifty years earlier in the African desert.”

The Vitrified Forts of Scotland

One of the great mysteries of classical archaeology is the existence of many vitrified forts in Scotland. Are they also evidence of some ancient atomic war ? Maybe, maybe not. There are said to be at least 60 such forts throughout Scotland. Among the most well-known are Tap o’Noth, Dunnideer, Craig Phadraig (near Inverness), Abernathy (near Perth), Dun Lagaidh (in Ross), Cromarty, Arka-Unskel, Eilean na Goar, and Bute-Dunagoil on the Sound of Bute off Arran Island. Another well-known vitrified fort is the Cauadale hill-fort in Argyll, West Scotland.

One of the best examples of a vitrified fort is Tap o’Noth, which is near the village of Rhynie in northeastern Scotland. This massive fort from prehistory is on the summit of a mountain of the same name which, being 1,859 feet (560 meters) high, commands an impressive view of the Aberdeenshire countryside. At first glance it seems that the walls are made of a rubble of stones, but on closer look it is apparent that they are made not of dry stones but of melted rocks !  What were once individual stones are now black and cindery masses, fused together by heat that must have been so intense that molten rivers of rock once ran down the walls.

Reports on vitrified forts were made as far back as 1880 when Edward Hamilton wrote an article entitled “Vitrified Forts on the West Coast of Scotland” in the Archaeological Journal (no. 37, 1880, pp. 227&endash;243). In his article, Hamilton describes several sites in detail, including Arka-Unskel :

At the point where Loch na Nuagh begins to narrow, where the opposite shore is about one-and-a-half to two miles distant, is a small promontory connected with the mainland by a narrow strip of sand and grass, which evidently at one time was submerged by the rising tide. On the flat summit of this promontory are the ruins of a vitrified fort, the proper name for which is Arka-Unskel.

The rocks on which this fort are placed are metamorphic gneiss, covered with grass and ferns, and rise on three sides almost perpendicular for about 110 feet from the sea level. The smooth surface on the top is divided by a slight depression into two portions. On the largest, with precipitous sides to the sea, the chief portion of the fort is situated, and occupies the whole of the flat surface. It is of somewhat oval form. The circumference is about 200 feet, and the vitrified walls can be traced in its entire length. We dug under the vitrified mass, and there found what was extremely interesting, as throwing some light on the manner in which the fire was applied for the purpose of vitrification. The internal part of the upper or vitrified wall for about a foot or a foot-and-a-half was untouched by the fire, except that some of the flat stones were slightly agglutinated together, and that the stones, all feldspatic, were placed in layers one upon another.

It was evident, therefore, that a rude foundation of boulder stones was first formed upon the original rock, and then a thick layer of loose, mostly flat stones of feldspatic sand, and of a different kind from those found in the immediate neighborhood, were placed on this foundation, and then vitrified by heat applied externally. This foundation of loose stones is found also in the vitrified fort of Dun Mac Snuichan, on Loch Etive.

Hamilton describes another vitrified fort that is much larger, situated on the island at the entrance of Loch Ailort.

This island, locally termed Eilean na Goar, is the most eastern and is bounded on all sides by precipitous gneiss rocks; it is the abode and nesting place of numerous sea birds. The flat surface on the top is 120 feet from the sea level, and the remains of the vitrified fort are situated on this, oblong in form, with a continuous rampart of vitrified wall five feet thick, attached at the SW end to a large upright rock of gneiss. The space enclosed by this wall is 420 feet in circumference and 70 feet in width. The rampart is continuous and about five feet in thickness. At the eastern end is a great mass of wall in situ, vitrified on both sides. In the centre of the enclosed space is a deep depression in which are masses of the vitrified wall strewed about, evidently detached from their original site.

Was the vitrification the result of design or accident ? How was the vitrification produced ? In this vitrification process, huge blocks of stones have been fused with smaller rubble to form a hard, glassy mass. Explanations for the vitrification are few and far between, and none of them is universally accepted.

One early theory was that these forts are located on ancient volcanoes (or the remains of them) and that the people used molten stone ejected from eruptions to build their settlements. This idea was replaced with the theory that the builders of the walls had designed the forts in such a way that the vitrification was purposeful in order to strengthen the walls. This theory postulated that fires had been lit and flammable material added to produce walls strong enough to resist the dampness of the local climate or the invading armies of the enemy. It is an interesting theory, but one that presents several problems. For starters, there is really no indication that such vitrification actually strengthens the walls of the fortress; rather, it seems to weaken them. In many cases, the walls of the forts seem to have collapsed because of the fires. Also, since the walls of many Scottish forts are only partially vitrified, this would hardly have proved an effective building method.

Janet and Colin Bord in their book, Mysterious Britain, speak of Maiden Castle to give an idea of the vast extent of this marvel of prehistoric engineering. It covers an area of 120 acres, with an average width of 1,500 feet and length of 3,000 feet, and it has been estimated… that it would require 250,000 men to defend it ! It is hard, therefore, to believe that this construction was intended to be a defensive position.

With 250,000 men defending a fort, we are talking about a huge army in a very organized society. This is not a bunch of fur-wearing Picts with spears defending a fort from marauding bands of hunter-gatherers. The questions remain, though. What huge army might have occupied these cliffside forts by the sea or lake entrances ? And what massive maritime power were these people unsuccessfully defending themselves against ?

The forts on the western coast of Scotland are reminiscent of the mysterious clifftop forts in the Aran Islands on the west coast of Ireland. Here we truly have shades of the Atlantis story, with a powerful naval fleet attacking and conquering its neighbors in a terrible war. It has been theorized that the terrible battles of the Atlantis story took place in Wales, Scotland, Ireland and England–however, in the case of the Scottish vitrified forts it looks as if these were the losers of a war, not the victors. And defeat can be seen across the land : the war dykes in Sussex, the vitrified forts of Scotland, the utter collapse and disappearance of the civilization that built these things. What long-ago Armageddon destroyed ancient Scotland ?

In ancient times there was a substance known through writings as Greek fire. This was some sort of ancient napalm bomb that was hurled by catapult and could not be put out. Some forms of Greek fire were even said to burn under water and were therefore used in naval battles. (The actual composition of Greek fire is unknown, but it must have contained chemicals such as phosphorus, pitch, sulphur or other flammable chemicals.)

Could a form of Greek fire have been responsible for the vitrification ? With siege machines, battleships and Greek fire, did a vast flotilla storm the huge forts and eventually burn them down in a hellish blaze ?

The evidence of the vitrified forts is clear : some hugely successful and organized civilization was living in Scotland, England and Wales in prehistoric times, circa 1000 BC or more, and was building gigantic structures including forts. This apparently was a maritime civilization that prepared itself for naval warfare as well as other forms of attack.


Vitrified Ruins in France, Turkey and the Middle East

Vitrified ruins can also be found in France, Turkey and some areas of the Middle East.

Vitrified forts in France are discussed in the American Journal of Science (vol. 3, no. 22, 1881, pp. 150-151) in an article entitled “On the Substances Obtained from Some ‘Forts Vitrifiés’ in France”, by M. Daubrée. The author mentions several forts in Brittany and northern France whose granite blocks have been vitrified. He cites the “partially fused granitic rocks from the forts of Château-vieux and of Puy de Gaudy (Creuse), also from the neighborhood of Saint Brieuc (Côtes-du-Nord)”. Daubrée, understandably, could not readily find an explanation for the vitrification.

Similarly, the ruins of Hattusas in central Turkey, an ancient Hittite city, are partially vitrified. The Hittites are said to be the inventors of the chariot, and horses were of great importance to them. It is on the ancient Hittite stelae that we first see a depiction of the chariot in use. However, it seems unlikely that horsemanship and wheeled chariots were invented by the Hittites; it is highly likely that chariots were in use in ancient China at the same time.

The Hittites were also linked to the world of ancient India. Proto-Indic writing has been found at Hattusas, and scholars now admit that the civilization of India, as the ancient Indian texts like the Ramayana have said, goes back many millennia.

In his 1965 book, The Bible as History, German historian Werner Keller cites some of the mysteries concerning the Hittites. According to Keller, the Hittites are first mentioned in the Bible (in Genesis 23) in connection with the biblical patriarch Abraham who acquired from the Hittites a burial place in Hebron for his wife Sarah. Conservative classical scholar Keller is confused by this, because the time period of Abraham was circa 2000-1800 BC, while the Hittites are traditionally said to have appeared in the 16th century BC.

Even more confusing to Keller is the biblical statement (in Numbers 13:29-30) that the Hittites were the founders of Jerusalem. This is a fascinating statement, as it would mean that the Hittites also occupied Ba’albek, which lies between their realm and Jerusalem. The Temple Mount at Jerusalem is built on a foundation of huge ashlars, as is Ba’albek. The Hittites definitely used the gigantic megalithic construction known as cyclopean–huge, odd-shaped polygonal blocks, perfectly fitted together. The massive walls and gates of Hattusas are eerily similar in construction to those in the high Andes and other megalithic sites around the world. The difference at Hattusas is that parts of the city are vitrified, and the walls of rock have been partly melted. If the Hittites were the builders of Jerusalem, it would mean that the ancient Hittite Empire existed for several thousand years and had frontiers with Egypt. Indeed, the Hittite hieroglyphic script is undeniably similar to Egyptian hieroglyphs, probably more so than any other language.

Just as Egypt goes back many thousands of years BC and is ultimately connected to Atlantis, so does the ancient Hittite Empire. Like the Egyptians, the Hittites carved massive granite sphinxes, built on a cyclopean scale and worshipped the Sun. The Hittites also used the common motif of a winged disc for their Sun god, just as the Egyptians did. The Hittites were well known in the ancient world because they were the main manufacturers of iron and bronze goods. The Hittites were metallurgists and seafarers. Their winged discs may in fact have been representations of vimanas — flying machines.

Some of the ancient ziggurats of Iran and Iraq also contain vitrified material, sometimes thought by archaeologists to be caused by the Greek fire. For instance, the vitrified remains of the ziggurat at Birs Nimrod (Borsippa), south of Hillah, were once confused with the Tower of Babel. The ruins are crowned by a mass of vitrified brickwork — actual clay bricks fused together by intense heat. This may be due to the horrific ancient wars described in the Ramayana and Mahabharata, although early archaeologists attributed the effect to lightning.

Vedic India

Several historical records claim that Indian culture has been around for literally tens of thousands of years. Yet, until 1920, all the “experts” agreed that the origins of the Indian civilization should be placed within a few hundred years of Alexander the Great’s expedition to the subcontinent in 327 BC. However, that was before several great cities like Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro (Mound of the Dead), Kot Diji, Kalibanga and Lothal were discovered and excavated. Lothal, a former port city now miles from the ocean, was discovered in Gujarat, western India, just in the late 20th century. These discoveries have forced archaeologists to push back the dates for the origin of Indian civilization by thousands of years — in line with what the Indians themselves have insisted all along.

A wonder to modern-day researchers, the cities were highly developed and advanced. The way that each city was laid out in regular blocks, with streets crossing each other at right angles and the entire city laid out in sections, gives archaeologists cause to believe that the cities were conceived as a whole before they were built–a remarkable early example of city planning. Even more remarkable is that the plumbing/sewage systems throughout the large cities were so sophisticated–superior to those found in Pakistan, India and many Asian countries today. Sewers were covered, and most homes had private toilets and running water. Furthermore, the water and sewage systems were kept well separated.

This advanced culture had its own writing, which has never been deciphered. The people used personalized clay seals, much as the Chinese still do today, to officialize documents and letters. Some of the seals found contain figures of animals that are unknown to us today, including an extinct form of the Brahman bull.

Archaeologists really have no idea who the builders were, but their attempts to date the ruins (which they ascribe to the “Indus Valley civilization”, also called “Harappan”) have come up with something like 2500 BC and older, but radiation from the wars apparently fought in the area may have thrown off the date.

The Rama Empire, described in the Mahabharata and Ramayana, was supposedly contemporaneous with the great cultures of Atlantis and Osiris in the West. Atlantis, well known from Plato’s writings and ancient Egyptian records, apparently existed in the mid-Atlantic and was a highly technological and patriarchal civilization. The Osirian civilization existed in the Mediterranean basin and northern Africa, according to esoteric doctrine and archaeological evidence, and is generally known as pre-dynastic Egypt. It was flooded when Atlantis sank and the Mediterranean began to fill up with water.

The Rama Empire flourished during the same period, according to esoteric tradition, fading out in the millennium after the destruction of the Atlantean continent. As noted above, the ancient Indian epics describe a series of horrific wars–wars which could have been fought between ancient India and Atlantis, or perhaps a third party in the Gobi region of western China. The Mahabharata and the Drona Parva speak of the war and of the weapons used: great fireballs that could destroy a whole city; “Kapila’s Glance”, which could burn 50,000 men to ashes in seconds; and flying spears that could ruin whole “cities full of forts”.

The Rama Empire was probably started by the Nagas (Naacals) who had come into India from Burma and ultimately from “the Motherland to the east”–or so Colonel James Churchward was told. After settling in the Deccan Plateau in northern India, they made their capital in the ancient city of Deccan, where the modern city of Nagpur stands today.

The empire of the Nagas apparently began to extend all over northern India to include the cities of Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro and Kot Diji (now in Pakistan), as well as Lothal, Kalibanga, Mathura and possibly other cities such as Benares, Ayodha and Pataliputra. These cities were led by “Great Teachers” or “Masters” who were the benevolent aristocracy of the Rama civilization. Today they are generally called “Priest-Kings” of the Indus Valley civilization, and a number of statues of these so-called gods have been discovered. In reality, these were apparently men whose mental and psychic powers were of a degree that seems incredible to most people of today. It was at the height of power for both the Rama Empire and Atlantis that the war allegedly broke out, seemingly because of Atlantis’s attempt to subjugate Rama.

According to the Lemurian Fellowship lesson materials, the populace surrounding Mu (Lemuria, which predated the other civilizations) eventually split into two opposing factions : those who prized practicality and those who prized spirituality. The citizenry, or educated elite, of Mu itself was balanced equally in these two qualities. The citizenry encouraged the other groups to emigrate to uninhabited lands. Those who prized practicality emigrated to the Poseid Island group (Atlantis), and those who prized spirituality eventually ended up in India. The Atlanteans, a patriarchal civilization with an extremely materialistic, technologically oriented culture, deemed themselves “Masters of the World” and eventually sent a well-equipped army to India in order to subjugate the Rama Empire and bring it under the suzerainty of Atlantis.

One account of the battle, related by the Lemurian Fellowship, tells how the Rama Empire Priest-Kings defeated the Atlanteans. Equipped with a formidable force and a “fantastic array of weapons”, the Atlanteans landed in their vailixi outside one of the Rama cities, got their troops in order and sent a message to the ruling Priest-King of the city that he should surrender. The Priest-King sent word back to the Atlantean General :

We of India have no quarrel with you of Atlantis.

We ask only that we be permitted to follow our own way of life.

Regarding the ruler’s mild request as a confession of weakness and expecting an easy victory — as the Rama Empire did not possess the technology of war or the aggressiveness of the Atlanteans — the Atlantean General sent another message :

We shall not destroy your land with the mighty weapons at our command, provided you pay sufficient tribute and accept the rulership of Atlantis.

The Priest-King of the city responded humbly again, seeking to avert war :

We of India do not believe in war and strife, peace being our ideal. Neither would we destroy you or your soldiers who but follow orders.

However, if you persist in your determination to attack us without cause and merely for the purpose of conquest, you will leave us no recourse but to destroy you and all of your leaders.

Depart, and leave us in peace.

Arrogantly, the Atlanteans did not believe that the Indians had the power to stop them, certainly not by technical means. At dawn, the Atlantean army began to march on the city. From a high viewpoint, the Priest-King sadly watched the army advance.

Then he raised his arms heavenward, and using a particular mental technique he caused the General and then each officer in order of rank to drop dead in his tracks, perhaps of some sort of heart failure. In a panic, and without leaders, the remaining Atlantean force fled to the waiting vailixi and retreated in terror to Atlantis.

Of the sieged Rama city, not one man was lost.

While this may be too fanciful to accept, the Indian epics go on to tell the rest of the horrible story, and things do not turn out well for Rama. Assuming the above story is true, Atlantis was not pleased at the humiliating defeat and therefore used its most powerful and destructive weapon — quite possibly an atomic-type weapon !

Consider these verses from the ancient Mahabharata :

…(it was) a single projectile
Charged with all the power of the Universe.
An incandescent column of smoke and flame
As bright as the thousand suns
Rose in all its splendor… was an unknown weapon,
An iron thunderbolt,
A gigantic messenger of death,
Which reduced to ashes
The entire race of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas.

..The corpses were so burned
As to be unrecognizable.
The hair and nails fell out;
Pottery broke without apparent cause,
And the birds turned white.

After a few hours
All foodstuffs were infected…
…to escape from this fire
The soldiers threw themselves in streams
To wash themselves and their equipment.

In the way we traditionally view ancient history, it seems absolutely incredible that there was an atomic war approximately 10,000 years ago or thereabout. And yet, of what else could the Mahabharata be speaking ? Or is this just a poetic way to describe cavemen clubbing each other to death; after all, that is what we are told the ancient past was like !

Until the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, modern mankind could not imagine any weapon as horrible and devastating as those described in the ancient Indian texts. Yet they very accurately described the effects of an atomic explosion : Radioactive poisoning will make hair and nails fall out. Immersing oneself in water gives some respite, though is not a cure.

The two great ancient epics of India — Ramayana and Mahabharata —  speak of immense wars and military formations, theories of warfare and esoteric weaponry (c. 10,000 – 3000 BC), among other subjects. Traditionally, the authorship of the Mahabharata is attributed to Vyasa. With about one hundred thousand verses, long prose passages, or about 1.8 million words in total, the Mahabharata is roughly ten times the length of the Iliad and Odyssey combined, or about four times the length of the Ramayana. — Source : Wikipedia

The Indian Epics,  especially the MAHABHARATA, pick up the thread of the tale of devastation and destruction. Atlantis, rather displeased at its humiliating defeat, feigned that they were no longer interested in subjugating the Rama Empire (An Indian  Empire), even while deciding to annihilate the major cities using weapons of mass destruction. Sanskrit scholars  could  not comprehend what was being described in the Epics until the dropping  of the first atomic bombs on Japan. There are AUTHENTIC VERSES from the Indian Epics :
Gurkha, flying a swift and powerful vimana (fast aircraft)
hurled a single projectile (rocket) charged with the power
of the Universe (nuclear device).
An incandescent column of smoke and flame,
as bright as ten thousand suns, rose with all its splendor.
It was an unknown weapon, an iron thunderbolt, a gigantic
messenger of death, which reduced to ashes the entire race
of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas.
The corpses were so burned as to be unrecognizable.
Hair and nails fell out;
Pottery broke without apparent cause,
and the birds turned white.
…After a few hours all foodstuffs were infected…
…to escape from this fire the soldiers threw
themselves in streams to wash themselves and their
equipment.” — The Mahabharata



Reference to ancient Indian flying vehicles comes from ancient Indian sources, many in the well known Epics; and there are literally hundreds of others, most not yet translated into English from the old sanskrit.

Few years ago, the Chinese discovered some sanskrit documents in Lhasa, Tibet, and sent them to the University of Chandigarh, India, to be translated. Dr. Ruth Reyna of the University said recently that the documents contain directions for building interstellar spaceships !

The Ramayana describes a Vimana as a double-deck, cylindrical aircraft with portholes and a dome. It flew with the speed of the wind and gave forth a humming noise. Ancient Indian texts on Vimanas are so numerous. The ancient Indians wrote entire flight manuals on the control of various types of Vimanas.

An ancient manuscript – Vimanas : The Secret Of Constructing Aeroplanes — describes Vimanas which will not break, cannot be cut, will not catch fire, and cannot be destroyed. Also the secret of making planes motionless, making planes invisible. hearing conversations and other sounds in enemy planes… The secret of receiving photographs of the interior of enemy planes… The secret of ascertaining the direction of enemy planes approach… The secret of making persons in enemy planes lose consciousness… The secret of destroying enemy planes…

“The pilot is one who knows the secrets.” Bodhaanada : Scientists say that there are 32 secrets of the working of the Vimaana. A pilot should acquaint himself thoroughly with them before he can be deemed competent to handle the aeroplane. He must know the structure of the aeroplane, know the means of its take off and ascent to the sky, know how to drive it and how to halt it when necessary, how to maneuver it and make it perform spectacular feats in the sky without crashing.

Those secrets given in Rahashya Lahari and other works by Lalla and other masters, are described thus :

“The pilot should have had training in maantrica and taantrica, kritaka and antaraalaka, goodha or hidden, drishya and adrishya or seen and unseen, paroksha and aparoksha, contraction and expansion, changing shape, look frightening, look pleasing, become luminous or enveloped in darkness, deluge or pralaya, vimukha, taara, stun by thunderstorm din, jump, move zig-zag like serpent, chaapala, face all sides, hear distant sounds, take pictures, know enemy maneuver, know direction of enemy approach, stabdhaka or paralyse, and karshana or exercise magnetic pull.



Sanskrit texts are filled with references to Gods who fought battles in the sky using Vimanas equipped with weapons as deadly as any we can deploy in our more enlightened times. There is a passage in the Ramayana which reads :
The Puspaka car that resembles the Sun and belongs to my brother was brought by the powerful Ravan;
that aerial and excellent car going everywhere at will…. that car resembling a bright cloud in the sky.
“.. and the King [Rama] got in, and the excellent car at the command of the Raghira,
rose up into the higher atmosphere.”

In the Mahabharatra, we learn that an individual named Asura Maya had a Vimana measuring twelve cubits in circumference, with four strong wheels. The poem is a veritable gold mine of information relating to conflicts between gods who settled their differences apparently using lethal weapons as lethal. Apart from ‘blazing missiles’, the poem records the use of other deadly weapons. ‘Indra’s Dart’ operated via a circular ‘reflector’; when switched on, it produced a ‘shaft of light’ which, when focused on any target, immediately ‘consumed it with its power’.

The Ramayana and  the  Mahabharata seem like science  fiction.   Not only did aircraft exist such as Vimanas and Vailxi (as the Atlantian craft are called),  they  had  nuclear  weapons.

“It was a weapon) so powerful that it could destroy the earth
in an instant  A great soaring sound in smoke and flames
And on it sits death…” – The Ramayana

This quotation comes from the translation by N. Dutt in 1891 : “At Rama’s behest the magnificent chariot rose up to a mountain of cloud with a tremendous din..” We cannot help notice that not only is a flying object mentioned again but also that the chronicler talks of a tremendous din.

Here is another passage from the Mahabharata : “Bhisma flew with his Vimana on an enormous ray which was as brilliant as the sun and made a noise like the thunder of a storm.” ( C.Roy 1899).

Even imagination needs something to start off. How can the chronicler give graphic and vivid descriptions that presuppose at least some basis for him to imagine rockets and the knowledge that such a vehicle can ride on a ray and cause a terrifying thunder ?

Certain numerical data in the Mahabharata are so precise that one gets the impression that the author was writing from first-hand knowledge. Though full of revulsion, he describes a weapon that could kill all warriors who wore metal on their bodies. If the warriors learned about the effect of this weapon in time, they tore off all the metal equipment they were wearing, jumped into a river and thoroughly washed everything they were wearing or had come in contact with. Not without reason, as the author explains, for the weapons made the hair and nails fall out.

Dense arrows of flame, like a great shower, issued forth upon creation, encompassing the enemy…

A thick gloom swiftly settled upon the Pandava hosts.
All points of the compass were lost in darkness.
Fierce wind began to blow upward, showering dust and gravel.

Birds croaked madly… the very elements seemed disturbed.
The earth  shook,  scorched  by the terrible violent heat of this weapon.
Elephants burst into flame and ran to and fro in a frenzy…
over a vast area, while other animals crumpled to the ground and died.
From all  points  of  the compass  the  arrows  of  flame  rained
continuously and fiercely. — The Mahabharata

In the Samarangana Sutradhara whole chapters are devoted to describing airships whose tails spout fire and quicksilver. A passage from the Mahabharata is bound to make us think :

It was as if the elements had been unleashed. The sun spun round. Scorched by the incandescent heat of the weapon, the world reeled in fever. Elephants were set on fire by the heat and ran to and fro in a frenzy to seek protection from the terrible violence. The water boiled, animals died, the enemy was mown down, and the raging of the blaze made the trees collapse in rows as in a forest fire.

The elephants trumpeted fearfully and sank dead to the ground over a vast area. Horses and war chariots were burnt up and the scene looked like the aftermath of a conflagration. Thousands of chariots were destroyed, then deep silence descended on the sea.

The winds began to blow and the earth grew bright. It was a terrible sight to see. The corpses of the fallen were mutilated by the terrible heat so that they no longer looked like human beings. Never before have we seen such a ghastly weapon and never before have we heard of such a weapon. (C. Roy 1889).

Subject Related : The Mahabharata, Book 8 : Karna Parva, Kisari Mohan Ganguli, tr. [1883-1896]

The quote “It was an unknown weapon, an iron thunderbolt, a gigantic messenger of death, which reduced
to ashes the entire race of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas.” is actually found in Section 1 of Mausala Parva.


The Indian Emperor Ashoka started a “Secret Society of the Nine Unknown Men” …
These great Indian scientists/king were supposed to catalogue the many sciences. Ashoka kept their work secret because he was afraid that the advanced science catalogued by these men, culled from ancient Indian sources, would be used for evil purposes and war, which Ashoka was strongly against, having been converted to Buddhism after defeating a rival army in a bloody battle.
The “Nine Unknown Men” wrote a total of nine books, presumably one each.
One of the books was “The Secrets of Gravitation !”
This book, known to historians, but not actually seen by them dealt chiefly with “gravity control.” It is presumably still around somewhere, kept in a secret library in India, Tibet or elsewhere (maybe in North America). One can understand Ashoka’s reasoning for wanting to keep such knowledge a secret : He must have been aware of the devastating wars using such advanced vehicles and other “futuristic weapons” that had destroyed the ancient Indian “Rama Empire” and during the Great Bharata War.

Dr. Reyna said that on board these machines, which were called “Astras”, the ancient Indians could have sent a detachment of men onto any planet, according to the document, which is thought to be thousands of years old. The manuscripts were also said to reveal the secret of “antima”, “the cap of invisibility”, and “garima” — “how to become as heavy as a mountain of lead.” Naturally, Indian scientists did not take the texts very seriously, but then became more positive about their value when the Chinese announced that they were including certain parts of the data for study in their space program ! This was one of the first instances of a government admitting to be researching anti-gravity.

The manuscripts did not say definitely that interplanetary travel was ever made but did mention, of all things, a planned trip to the Moon, though it is not clear whether this trip was actually carried out. However, one of the great Indian epics, the Ramayana, does have a highly detailed story in it of a trip to the moon in a Vimana (or “Astra”), and in fact details a battle on the moon with an “Asvin” (or Atlantean”) airship.

This is but a small bit of recent evidence of anti-gravity and aerospace technology used by Indians. To really understand the technology, we must go much further back in time. The so called “Rama Empire” of Northern India and Pakistan developed at least fifteen thousand years ago on the Indian subcontinent and was a nation of many large, sophisticated cities, many of which are still to be found in the deserts of Pakistan, northern, and western India. Rama cities existed, apparently, parallel to the Atlantean civilization in the mid- Atlantic Ocean, and were ruled by “enlightened Priest-Kings”. The seven greatest capital cities of Rama were known in classical Hindu texts as The Seven Rishi Cities. According to ancient Indian texts, people had flying machines called “Vimanas.” There seems to be no doubt that Vimanas were powered by some sort of “anti-gravity.” Vimanas took off vertically and were capable of hovering in the sky, like a modern helicopter. Bharadvaj – the Wise – refers to no less than seventy authorities and 10 experts of air travel in antiquity. These sources are now lost.

Vimanas were kept in a Vimana Griha, a kind of hanger, and were sometimes said to be propelled by a yellowish-white liquid, and sometimes by some sort of mercury compound, though writers seem confused in this matter. It is most likely that the later writers on Vimanas, wrote as observers and from earlier texts, and were understandably confused on the principle of their propulsion. The “yellowish- white liquid” sounds suspiciously like gasoline, and perhaps Vimanas had a number of different propulsion sources, including combustion engines and even “pulse-jet” engines. It is interesting to note, that the Nazis developed the first practical pulse-jet engines for their V-8 rocket “buzz bombs.” Hitler and the Nazi staff were exceptionally interested in ancient India and Tibet and sent expeditions to both these places yearly, starting in the 30′s, in order to gather esoteric evidence, and perhaps it was from these people that the Nazis gained some of their scientific information!

According to the Drona Parva, part of the Mahabarata, and the Ramayana, one Vimana described was shaped like a sphere and borne along at great speed on a mighty wind generated by mercury. It moved going up, down, backwards and forwards as the pilot desired. In another Indian source, the Samar, Vimanas were “iron machines, well-knit and smooth, with a charge of mercury that shot out of the back in the form of a roaring flame.” Another work called the Samarangana Sutradhara describes how the vehicles were constructed. It is possible that mercury did have something to do with the propulsion, or more possibly, with the guidance system. Curiously, Soviet scientists have discovered what they call “age old instruments used in navigating cosmic vehicles” in caves in Turkestan and the Gobi Desert. The “devices” are hemispherical objects of glass or porcelain, ending in a cone with a drop of mercury inside. Possibly, ancient Indians flew around in these vehicles, all over Asia, and to the Atlantis and South America.

Writing found at Mohenjodaro in Pakistan (presumed to be one of the “Seven Rishi Cities of the Rama Empire”) and still undeciphered, has also been found in one other place in the world : Easter Island ! Writing on Easter Island, called Rongo Rongo writing, is also undeciphered and uncannily similar to the Mohenjodaro script. Was Easter Island an air base for the Rama Empire’s Vimana route ? The Vedas, ancient Hindu poems, thought to be the oldest of all the Indian texts, describe Vimanas of various shapes and sizes : the ahnihotra vimana with two engines, the elephant-vimana with more engines, and other types named after the kingfisher, ibis and other animals. Unfortunately, Vimanas, like most scientific discoveries, were ultimately used for war. Atlanteans used their flying machines, Vailixi, a similar type of aircraft, to literally try and subjugate the world, if Indian texts are to be believed. The Atlanteans, known as “Asvins” in the Indian writings, were apparently even more advanced technologically than the Indians, and certainly of a more war-like temperament.

Although no ancient texts on Atlantean Vailixi are known to exist, some information has come down through esoteric, “occult” sources, which describe their flying machines. Similar, if not identical to Vimanas, Vailixi were generally “cigar shaped” and had the capability of manoeuvering underwater as well as in the atmosphere or even the outer space. Other vehicles, like Vimanas, were saucer shaped, and could apparently also be submerged. According to Eklal Kueshana, author of “The Ultimate Frontier,” in an article he wrote in 1966 : Vailixi were first developed in Atlantis 20,000 years ago, and the most common ones are “saucer shaped, of generally trapezoidal cross- section, with three hemispherical engine pods on the underside. They use a mechanical antigravity device driven by engines developing approximately 80,000 horse power.”


 Some  Reflections

From :

My previous article in The Canadian , in which I reflected upon my book Worlds Before Our Own, provoked dozens of inquiries from readers. LINK Some stated that one of the cable channels — some thought it was the History Channel; others, Discovery; still others, National Geographic — had presented “proof” that the “fused green glass” to be found in various areas had been created by meteoric air blasts rather than prehistoric nuclear wars.

I remain open to many theories of Earth‘s prehistory. One of those individuals prompted to write to me, who had the advantage of having actually read Worlds Before Our Own, stated that I present “in a clear and lucid style, information concerning anomalous archeological finds without the hyperbole usually associated with this type of material.”

While patches of “fused green glass” may in certain instances have been caused by air blasts from meteors, I wonder if such a natural phenomenon could have created all twenty-eight fields of blackened and shattered stones that cover as many as 7000 miles each in western Arabia. The stones are densely grouped, as if they might be the remains of cities, sharp-edged, and burned black. Experts have decreed that they are not volcanic in origin, but appear to date from the period when Arabia was thought to be a lush and fruitful land that suddenly became scorched into an instant desert.

What we know today as the Sahara Desert was once a tropical region of heavy vegetation, abundant rainfall, and several large rivers. Scientists have discovered areas of the desert in which soils which once knew the cultivated influence of plow and farmer are now covered by a thin layer of sand. Researchers have also found an enormous reservoir of water below the parched desert area. The source of such a large deposit of water could only have been the heavy rains from the period of time before a fiery devastation consumed the lush vegetation of the area.

On December 25, 2007, it was confirmed by a French scientist that excavations at the area of Khamis Bani Sa’ad in Tehema district of Hodeidah province have yielded over a thousand rare archaeological pieces dating back to 300,000 B.C.E. Before a dramatic climate change, the inhabitants at that time had been fishermen and had domesticated a number of animals no longer to be found in the region, including a species of horse currently found only in Middle Asia.

The Red Chinese have conducted atomic tests near Lob Nor Lake in the Gobi Desert, which have left large patches of the area covered with vitreous sand. But the Gobi has a number of other areas of glassy sand which have been known for thousands of years.

Albion W. Hart, one of the first engineers to graduate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was assigned a project in the interior of Africa. While he and his men were traveling to an almost inaccessible region, they had first to cross a great expanse of desert. At the time, he was puzzled and quite unable to explain a large area of greenish glass which covered the sands as far as he could see.

“Later on during his life,” wrote Margarethe Casson in Rocks and Minerals (No. 396, 1972), “he passed by the White Sands area after the first atomic explosion there, and he recognized the same type of silica fusion which he had seen fifty years earlier in the African desert.”

In 1947, in the Euphrates valley of southern Iraq, where certain traditions place the Garden of Eden and where the ancient inhabitants of Sumer encountered the man-god Ea, exploratory digging unearthed a layer of fused, green glass. Archaeologists could not restrain themselves from noting the resemblance that the several-thousand-year-old fused glass bore to the desert floor at White Sands, New Mexico, after the first nuclear blasts in modem times had melted sand and rock.

In the United States, the Mohave Desert has large circular or polygonal areas that are coated with a hard substance very much like opaque glass.

While exploring Death Valley in 1850, William Walker claimed to have come upon the ruins of an ancient city. An end of the large building within the rubble had had its stones melted and vitrified.

Walker went on to state that the entire region between the Gila and St. John rivers was spotted with ruins. In each of the ancient settlements he had found evidence that they had been burned out by fire intense enough to have liquefied rock. Paving blocks and stone houses had been split with huge cracks, as if seared by some gigantic cleaver of fire.

Perhaps even more than the large areas of fused green glass, I am intrigued by the evidence of vitrified cities and forts, such as those discovered by Walker.

There are ancient hill forts and towers in Scotland, Ireland, and England in which the stoneworks have become calcined because of the great heat that had been applied. There is no way that lightning could have caused such effects.

Other hill forts from the Lofoten Islands off northern Norway to the Canary Islands off northwest Africa have become “fused forts.” Erich A. von Fange comments that the “piled boulders of their circular walls have been turned to glass… by some intense heat.”

Catal Huyukin in north-central Turkey, thought to be one of the oldest cities in the world, appears, according to archaeological evidence, to have been fully civilized and then, suddenly, to have died out. Archaeologists were astonished to find thick layers of burned brick at one of the levels, called VIa. The blocks had been fused together by such intense heat that the effects had penetrated to a depth more than a meter below the level of the floors, where it carbonized the earth, the skeletal remains of the dead, and the burial gifts that had been interred with them. All bacterial decay had been halted by the tremendous heat.

When a large ziggurat in Babylonia was excavated, it presented the appearance of having been struck by a terrible fire that had split it down to its foundation. In other parts of the ruins, large sections of brickwork had been scorched into a vitrified state. Several masses of brickwork had been rendered into a completely molten state. Even large boulders found near the ruins had been vitrified.

The royal buildings at the north Syrian site known as Alalakh or Atchana had been so completely burned that the very core of the thick walls were filled with bright red, crumbling mud-bricks. The mud and lime wall plaster had been vitrified, and basalt wall slabs had, in some areas, actually melted.

Between India’s Ganges River and the Rajmahal Hills are scorched ruins which contain large masses of stone that have been fused and hollowed. Certain travelers who have ventured to the heart of the Indian forests have reported ruins of cities in which the walls have become huge slabs of crystal, due to some intense heat.

The ruins of the Seven Cities, located near the equator in the Province of Piaui, Brazil, appear to be the scene of a monstrous chaos. Since no geological explanation has yet been construed to fit the evidence before the archaeologists, certain of those who have investigated the site have said that the manner in which the stones have been dried out, destroyed, and melted provokes images of Sodom and Gomorrah.

French researchers discovered the evidence of prehistoric spontaneous nuclear reaction at the Oklo mine, Pierrelatte, in Gabon, Africa. Scientists found that the ore of this mine contained abnormally low proportions of U235 such as found only in depleted uranium fuel taken from atomic reactors. According to those who examined the mine, the ore also contained four rare elements in forms similar to those found in depleted uranium.

Although the modern world did not experience atomic power until the 1940s, there is an astonishing amount of evidence that nuclear effects may have occurred in prehistoric times leaving behind sand melted into glass in certain desert areas, hill forts with vitrified portions of stone walls, of the remains of ancient cities that had been destroyed by what appeared to have been extreme heat-far beyond that which could have been scorched by the torches of primitive armies. In each instance, the trained and experienced archaeologists who encountered such anomalous finds have stressed the point that none of these catastrophes had been caused by volcanoes, by lightning, by crashing comets, or by conflagrations set by humankind.

by Brad Steiger

Vedic Cosmology

Vedic Cosmology is yet another ancient Vedic science which can be confirmed by modern scientific findings and this is acknowledged by well known scientists and authors, such as Carl Sagan and Count Maurice Maeterlinck, who recognized that the cosmology of the Vedas closely parallels modern scientific findings.

Carl Sagan stated, “Vedic Cosmology is the only one in which the time scales correspond to those of modern scientific cosmology.”

Nobel laureate Count Maurice Maeterlinck wrote of: “a Cosmogony which no European conception has ever surpassed.”

French astronomer Jean-Claude Bailly corroborated the antiquity and accuracy of the Vedic astronomical measurements as “more ancient than those of the Greeks or Egyptians.” And that, “the movements of the stars calculated 4,500 years ago, does not differ by a minute from the tables of today.”

The ninety foot tall astronomical instrument known as Samrat Yantra, built by the learned King Suwai Jai Singh of Jaipur, measures time to within two seconds per day.

Cosmology and other scientific accomplishments of ancient India spread to other countries along with mercantile and cultural exchanges. There are almost one hundred references in the Rig Veda alone to the ocean and maritime activity. This is confirmed by Indian historian R. C. Majumdar, who stated that the people of the Indus-Sarasvata Civilization engaged in trade with Sooma and centers of culture in western Asia and Crete.

The Heliodorus Column and Cultural Links to India

An example of these exchanges is found in the inscriptions on the Heliodorus Column, erected in 113 B.C.E. by Heliodorus, a Greek ambassador to India, and convert to Vaisnavism, as well as the 2nd century B.C.E. Coins of Agathocles, showing images of Krishna and Balaram. These artifacts stand testimony that Sanatan Dharma predates Christianity.


This also confirms the link between India and other ancient civilizations such as Greece and shows that there was a continuous exchange of culture, philosophy and scientific knowledge between India & other countries. Indeed the Greeks learned many wonderful things from India.

Vedic Mathematics

Voltaire, the famous French writer and philosopher) stated that “Pythagoras went to the Ganges to learn geometry.” Abraham Seidenberg, author of the authoritative “History of Mathematics,” credits the Sulba Sutras as inspiring all mathematics of the ancient world from Babylonia to Egypt to Greece.

As Voltaire & Seidenberg have stated, many highly significant mathematical concepts have come from the Vedic culture, such as:

The theorem bearing the name of the Greek mathematician Pythagorus is found in theShatapatha Brahmana as well as the Sulba Sutra, the Indian mathematical treatise, written centuries before Pythagorus was born.

The Decimal system, based on powers of ten, where the remainder is carried over to the next column, first mentioned in the Taittiriya Samhita of the Black Yajurveda.

The Introduction of zero as both a numerical value and a place marker.

The Concept of infinity.

The Binary number system, essential for computers, was used in Vedic verse meters.

A hashing technique, similar to that used by modern search algorithms, such as Googles, was used in South Indian musicology. From the name of a raga one can determine the notes of the raga from this Kathapayadi system. (See Figure at left.)

For further reading we refer you to this excellent article on Vedic Mathematics.

Vedic Sound and Mantras

The Vedas however are not as well known for presenting historical and scientific knowledge as they are for expounding subtle sciences, such as the power of mantras. We all recognize the power of sound itself by it’s effects, which can be quite dramatic. Perhaps we all have seen a high-pitched frequency shatter an ordinary drinking glass. Such a demonstration shows that Loud Sounds can produce substantial reactions

It is commonly believed that mantras can carry hidden power which can in turn produce certain effects. The ancient Vedic literatures are full of descriptions of weapons being called by mantra. For example, many weapons were invoked by mantra during the epic Kuruksetra War, wherein the Bhagavad-gita itself was spoken.

The ancient deployment of Brahmastra weapons, equivalent to modern day nuclear weapons are described throughout the Vedic literatures. Additionally, mantras carry hidden spiritual power, which can produce significant benefits when chanted properly. Indeed, the Vedas themselves are sound vibrations in literary form and carry a profound message. Spiritual disciplines recommend meditational practices such as silent meditation, silent recitation of mantras and also the verbal repetition of specific mantras out loud.

A Clinical Test of the Benefits of Mantra Chanting was performed on three groups of sixty-two subjects, males and females of average age 25. They chanted the Hare Krsna Maha Mantra twenty-five minutes each day under strict clinical supervision.

Results showed that regular chanting of the Hare Krsna Maha Mantra reduces Stress and depression and helps reduce bad habits & addictions. These results formed a PhD Thesis at Florida State University.

Spiritual practitioners claim many benefits from Mantra Meditation such as increased realization of spiritual wisdom, inner peace and a strong communion with God and the spiritual realm. These effects may be experienced by following the designated spiritual path.


Most of the evidence given in this presentation is for the apara vidya or material knowledge of the Vedic literatures. The Vedas however, are more renowned for their para vidya or spiritual knowledge. And even superior is therealized knowledge of the Vedic rsis or saints — that which is beyond the objective knowledge of modern science — knowledge of the eternal realm of sat, cit ananda, eternality, blissfullness and full knowledge. But that is another presentation.

The Iron Pillar of Delhi

The Vedic literatures contain descriptions of advanced scientific techniques, sometimes even more sophisticated than those used in our modern technological world.

Modern metallurgists have not been able to produce iron of comparable quality to the 22 foot high Iron Pillar of Delhi, which is the largest hand forged block of iron from antiquity.

This pillar stands at mute testimony to the highly advanced scientific knowledge of metallurgy that was known in ancient India. Cast in approximately the 3rd century B.C., the six and a half ton pillar, over two millennia has resisted all rust and even a direct hit by the artillary of the invading army of Nadir Shah during his sacking of Delhi in 1737.


Cataclysmic changes in the Earth’s crust.

by Brad Steiger

I find myself now in the seventh decade of life still asking two questions that in one way or another the great majority of my 165 published books have sought to answer: 1.) Who are we as a species? 2.) What is our destiny?

The basic reason that I wrote Worlds Before Our Own (G.P. Putnam‘s Sons, 1978; Anomalist Books, 2007) is that I have always found it incredible that such sophisticated people as we judge ourselves to be, do not really know who we are.

Archaeologists, anthropologists, and various academicians who play the “origins of Man” game, reluctantly and only occasionally acknowledge instances where unique skeletal and cultural evidence from the prehistoric record suddenly appear long before they should — and in places where they should not. These irritating artifacts destroy the orderly evolutionary line that academia has for so long presented to the public. Consequently, such data have been largely left buried in site reports, forgotten storage rooms, and dusty archives where one suspects that there is a great deal of suppressed, ignored, and misplaced pre-historical cultural evidence that would alter the established interpretations of human origins and provide us with a much clearer definition of what it means to be human.

There is now a basic academic consensus that the “homo” lineage goes back at least three million years, and that an ancestor of modern man evolved about one million years ago. Homo Sapiens, the “thinking man,” (our own species), became the dominant planetary life form on a worldwide basis, about 40,000 years ago.

It is difficult enough to explain the sudden appearance of Homo Sapiens at that time, but it is an even more complex question to ponder why Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon man correspondingly disappeared. And academic warfare rages unceasingly over whether or not Neanderthal and our ancestors were two separate species or whether they interbred.

And just as scientists are adding to a growing body of evidence that humankind developed in Africa, a Hungarian excavation surrenders a Homo Sapiens skull fragment in a context more than 600,000 years out of alignment with the accepted calendar of man’s migrations across the planet. Hominid fossils are unearthed in Dmanisi, Georgia, indicative of 1.77 million years old; and a homind tooth found in Niocene deposits near the Maritsa River in Bulgaria is dated at seven million years old.

What happens to Darwinian evolution when there are such sites as the one in Australia, which yielded Homo Sapiens (modern man), Homo erectus (our million-year-old ancestor), and Neanderthal (our Stone Age cousin) in what appears to be a contemporaneous environment? Then there is the Tabun site where Homo Sapiens fragments were found in strata below (which means older than) classic Neanderthal bones. In August 2007, scientists dating fossils found in Kenya challenged the conventional view that Homo Habilis (1.44 million years) and Homo erectus (1.55 million years) evolved one after the other. Dating of new fossil evidence revealed that the two species lived side by side in Africa for almost half a million years.

Somewhere, in what would appear to be a biological and cultural free-for-all, there must lie the answer to that most important question: Who are we?

But just as we are trying our best to fit skeletal fragments together in a manner that will be found acceptable to what we believe we know about our origins, footprints are being found in stone, which, if they are what they appear to be, will make a total shambles of our accepted evolutionary calendar. In Pershing County, Nevada, a shoe print was found in Triassic limestone, strata indicative of 400 million years, in which the fossilized evidence clearly revealed finely wrought double-stitching in the seams.

Early in 1975, Dr. Stanley Rhine of the University of New Mexico announced his discovery of human-like footprints in strata indicative of 40 million years old. A few months before, a similar find was made in Kenton, Oklahoma. At almost the same time, a discovery of a footprint in stone was revealed in north-central Wisconsin.

In Death Valley, there is ample fossil and skeletal evidence to indicate that the desolate area was once a tropical Garden of Eden where a race of giants lived and fed themselves with palatable foods taken from the local lakes and forests.

To speak of a race of prehistoric giants in what is now the desert sands of Death Valley is simultaneously to refute the doctrine which decrees that man is a relative newcomer to the North and South American continents. While on the one hand, new radiocarbon dates demonstrate that the Bering Land Bridge and Cordilleran Ice Corridor were not passable until 9000 years ago, an increasing amount of physical evidence indicates that man was surely in this hemisphere much earlier than that recent date.

For one thing, corn, an American contribution to the dinner tables of the world, is said to be, at 9000 years, our oldest domesticated seed crop. Some agriculturist had to be in the Americas more than 9000 years ago in order to domesticate the seed. Ancient squash seeds, peanuts, and cotton balls dated at 8,500 years old found in Peru’s Nanchoc Valley constitute additional evidence that New World farming was well established. Conclusive proof that such ancient farmers did exist in the Americas was offered when a Humble Oil Company drill brought up Mexican corn pollen that was more than 80,000 years old.

The anomalous Indian blood seration and dentition, and the geographic distribution of the American Indian, demands an impossible genetic time scale in which to transform Asiatic immigrants to distinctive New World inhabitants.

Even if we attempt to keep some kind of peace with the accepted theories of New World habitation, we must grant more evolution in 40,000 years in North America than that which took place in more than one million years in Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Skulls found in California, which are clearly those of American Indians, have been dated at 50,000 years old. But we are left with another mystery. A 140,000 year old American Indian type skull (via metric analysis) has been found at an Iranian excavation site.

What of the lost Amerindian civilization of Cahokia, complete with pyramids and a great wall? One site, near the present city of St. Louis, may have contained a metropolis of more than 250,000 North American Indians.

And who constructed the mysterious seven-mile walls of the Berkeley and Oakland, California, hills?

And which pre-Mayan peoples engineered an elaborate waterworks in Yucatan to irrigate crops over 2000 years ago?

The Caracol Tower at Chichen Itza is a remarkable Mesoamerican observatory that seems to have correlated its findings with similar sites in North America, including Mesa Verde, Wichita, and Chaco Canyon.

One of the most heretical theories that I suggest in Worlds Before Our Own is that the cradle of civilization might possibly have traveled from the so-called New World to the Old. Now, in December 2007, years after Ruth Shady Solis found the ancient city of Caral, Peru, scientists have accepted the carbon dating of 2,627 B.C.E., thereby establishing the civilization in South America to be much older than the Harappa Valley towns and the pyramids of Egypt. Caral must now be recognized as “the mother of all civilizations,” the missing link of archaeology, the Mother City.

Scientific knowledge has seemingly been prized by the inhabitants of every culture, known and unknown. Rock engravings, which may be as old as 60 million years, depict in step-by-step illustrations an entire heart-transplant operation and a Cesarean section. The ancient Egyptians used the equivalent of contraceptive jelly and had urine pregnancy tests. The cement used in filling Mayan dental cavities still holds after 1500 years.

No fabric is supposed to have been found until Egypt produced cloth material 5000 years ago. How, then, can we deal with the Russian site which provides spindle whorls and patterned fabric designs more than 80,000 years old?

Not only did the ancient Babylonians appear to use sulphur matches, but they had a technology sophisticated enough to employ complex electrochemical battery cells with wiring. There is also evidence of electric batteries and electrolysis in ancient Egypt, India, and Swahililand.

Remains of a metal-working factory of over 200 furnaces was found at what is now Medzamor in Russian Armenia. Although a temperature of over 1780 degrees is required to melt platinum, some pre-Incan peoples in Peru were making objects of the metal. Even today the process of extracting aluminium from bauxite is a complicated procedure, but Chou Chu, famous general of the Tsin era (265-316 A.D.), was interred with aluminium belt fasteners on his burial costume.

Carved bones, chalk, stones, together with what would appear to be greatly ornamented ”coins,” have been brought up from great depths during well-drilling operations. A strange, imprinted slab was found in a coal mine. The artefact was decorated with diamond-shaped squares with the face of an old man in each ”box.” In another coal-mine discovery, miners found smooth, polished concrete blocks which formed a solid wall. According to one miner’s testimony. he chipped one block open only to find the standard mixture of sand and cement that makes up most typical building blocks of today.

A gold necklace was found embedded in a lump of coal. A metal spike was discovered in a silver mine in Peru. An iron implement was found in a Scottish coal-bed. Estimated to be millions of years older than man is believed to have existed. A metal, bell-shaped vessel, inlaid with a silver floral design was blasted out of solid rock near Dorchester, Massachusetts.

Two hypotheses may explain the presence of these perplexing artifacts: 1) that they were manufactured by an advanced civilization on Earth which, due either to natural or technological catastrophe, was destroyed before our world’s own genesis; 2) that they are vestiges of a highly technological civilization of extraterrestrial origin, which visited this planet millions of years ago, leaving behind various artifacts.

Even if a highly advanced extraterrestrial race might have visited this planet in prehistoric times, it seems unlikely such common, everyday items as nails, necklaces, buckles and vases would have been carried aboard a spacecraft deposited in such widely separated areas; for such artifacts have been found in North and South America, Great Britain, the whole of Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Mid-East.

In spite of the general unpopularity of catastrophism, there does seem to be a number of recently discovered “proofs” of ancient cataclysmic changes in the Earth’s crust which may account for the nearly total disappearance of these prehistoric worlds. Geological evidence indicates that these changes were both sudden and drastic might have completely overwhelmed and destroyed the early inhabitants and their cultures.

Perhaps the most potentially mind-boggling evidence of an advanced prehistoric technology that might have blown its parent-culture away is to be found in those sites which ostensibly bear mute evidence of prehistoric nuclear warfare.

Large areas of fused green glass and vitrified cities have been found deep in the strata of archaeological digs at Pierrelatte in Gabon, Africa; the Euphrates Valley; the Sahara Desert; the Gobi Desert; Iraq; the Mojave Desert; Scotland; the Old and Middle Kingdoms of Egypt; and south-central Turkey. In contemporary times, such material as fused green glass has only been known at nuclear testing sites (where the sand had melted to form the substance). It is quite unsettling to some to consider it possible that these sites provide evidence of a prehistoric nuclear war. At the same time, scientists have found a number of uranium deposits that appear to have been mined or depleted in antiquity.

If it is possible that nuclear annihilation of a global civilization did occur in prehistoric times, it seems even more urgent to learn who we really are before we find ourselves doomed to repeat the lessons left to us, by a world before our own.

For the past three decades miners at the Wonderstone Silver Mine near Ottosdal in the Western Transvaal, South Africa, have been extracting out of deep rock several strange metallic spheroids. So far at least 200 have been found. In 1979, several were closely examined by J.R. McIver, professor of geology at the University of Witwaterstand in Johannesburg, and geologist professor Andries Bisschoff of Potsshefstroom University.

The metallic spheroids look like flattened globes, averaging 1 to 4 inches in diameter, and their exteriors usually are colored steel blue with a reddish reflection, and embedded in the metal are tiny flecks of white fibers. They are made of a nickel-steel alloy which does not occur naturally, and is of a composition that rules them out, being of meteoric origin. Some have only a thin shell about a quarter of an inch thick, and when broken open are found filled with a strange spongy material that disintegrated into dust on contact with the air.

What makes all this very remarkable is that the spheroids were mined out of a layer of pyrophyllite rock, dated both geologically and by the various radio-isotope dating techniques as being at least 2.8 to 3 billion years old.

Adding mystery to mystery, Roelf Marx, curator of the South African Klerksdorp Museum, has discovered that the spheroid he has on exhibit slowly rotates on its axis by its own power, while locked in its display case and free of outside vibrations.

There may thus be an energy extant within these spheroids still operating after three eons of time. (

Technological Discontinuity Explained

The lack evidence of ancient world technologies are explained by numerous great wars and apocalyptical disasters that practically wiped out civilisations and pushed humanity, perhaps more than once, back into “stone age.”

A well-researched hypothesis regarding Vedic India around Mahabharata War is presented in couple of books recently published by author Krishna Udayshankar, under the series Aryavarta Chronicles. She touches upon the five great lines of dynastic evolution and at length about two : Firewrights and Firstborns. The former descend from Agni Angiras, in which all great inventors and innovators arise from time to time to equip humanity with a whole range of science and technology to enable and ease, farm and illuminate, construct and transport, mine and irrigate, forge and create, weave and weaponise.

However, after millenia of such developments, almost magically empowering in the eye of the rest of mankind, the series inevitably reduced to applications concentrated in weapon-making, potions for targeted killing and psychological disorientation, power for mass destruction, mastery on earth and in air, and such immense multipliers. In time, even while the economy exploded and wealth concentrated with few, most of these weaponry skills went on sale to higher bidders among kings and chiefs aspiring to positions with greater overlordship and bigger dominions.

That manifest drive for greed and power at multiple centres in the Indian subcontinent, from about 3500 BC, was a departure from the Sanatan values and way of life laid out by the Firstborns. Even before the developments culminated in the Great War, about 3100 BC, in which an estimated 1.66 billion people died over 18-day period [Mahabharata, Book 11 (Stri Parva), Chapter 26, Verses 9 &10] … it is hypothesised, the Firstborn scion Sage Parasher had begun a massive and concerted program to destroy the Firewrights, one and all, systematically with no-holds barred. That pogrom was continued with unabated enthusiasm by his son, Krishna Dvaipayana — the Great Vyasa, who however also set in place an effective organisation to catalogue, encode and record all knowledge then available, even those with the Firewrights.

It is conjectured, the Firewrights were wiped out before the War broke out and their weapons expended and amazing technological creations destroyed during the 18-day strife : the land laid waste and cities deserted. One can imagine … a civilisational start from scratch, practically.

Relevant Links :—mahabharata.html

India and the West


vedic-mantras (Photo credit: drakoheart)

The Flow of Science and Mathematics

From India to Arabia and Europe

Dr Kenneth Chandler

Origins Of Vedic Civilisation

Summary and Conclusion

The Vedic heritage of India has been grossly miscalculated, misunderstood, and under-appreciated. The light of Vedic knowledge burned brilliantly in Vedic India long before is spread into Iran, the middle-east, and Europe. It appears that Rig Vedic civilisation originated in northern India, definitely before 1,900, and probably before 3,000 BC. The Vedic tradition may have originated before 6,500 BC. Passed on from father to son in unbroken tradition of pundits who recited the Vedic verses, it is still sung by pundits in India today.

Imagine if Homeric bards were found today who could still chant the Iliad and Odyssey according to the oral tradition handed down from Homeric times! This would be heralded as a monumental event. Yet the Vedic tradition was possibly as ancient to Homer when he lived as Homer is to us today.

The Vedic tradition lives in the songs softly chanted by pundits today that may have originated ten thousand or more year ago, or even further remote in time. The Rig Veda and the Vedic literature were preserved by a tradition of chanting, with self-correcting feedback methods, always involving two pundits reciting the verses together. Other methods of self-correction were used, so the authenticity of the tradition is well preserved. The written Veda did not emerge until the Devanagri script was invented, and that was post-Indus-Saraswati civilisation.

The Vedic civilisation, far more ancient than the Greek, spread from India to Europe, via Anatolia, Thrace, and Greece, and from there into Western Europe. The direction of the flow was from India into Arabia and then to Europe. Evidence shows that the Vedic tradition entered into Europe sometime before the early fourteenth century BC. The Rig Vedic tradition and its literature almost certainly came into existence sometime long before the earliest civilisations of Mesopotamia, Sumeria, and Egypt.

These were relatively late events in the history of civilisation and probably owe their existence to the earlier civilisation of Vedic India. It is necessary to reiterate that the origins of the Vedic tradition are still obscured in the fog of time, but it is necessary to shift it much further back than Muller’s contingent of scholars put it. A more balanced view of the Vedic tradition might place it as follows :

1. Before 6,500 to around 3,000 BC—early Rig Veda to Itihasa Period.

2. 2600-1900 BC, Mature Harappa civilisation.

3. 1900-1000 BC, late Vedic and Brahmana period.

4. 500 BC, Shankara’s revival.

Because we don’t know yet how ancient the earliest verses of the Rig Veda are, we have to abstain from any dogmatic pronouncements, but we have seen reason to think that they are far more ancient than Europeans scholars previously estimated. The ancient Vedic tradition was indigenous to the land of India, possibly overlapping the Indus and Saraswati valley civilisations and extending into the Himalayas, where the tradition continued unbroken for perhaps tens of thousands of years.

The Rig Veda extols the Indus rivers in the oft repeated refrain, “Flow Indus to Indra”—a metaphor for the flow of individual awareness into unbounded universal awareness. The whole tradition, as we see in the following chapters, is about the experience of awakened consciousness, or enlightenment. The refrain, “flow Indus to Indra” is also a reference to the Indus civilisation that lived along the banks of the Indus river since 6,500 BC.

It was this awakening of consciousness that cradled the ancient Vedic civilisation of Vedic India—long before civilisation emerged in Europe. As the river of civilization flowed from India westward, one of its main tributaries was the civilisation of ancient Greece and Asia

Minor. Greek civilisation possibly resulted from the spread of techniques that passed on the enlightenment tradition from India into the Eastern Mediterranean basin.

Mesopotamian, Sumerian, and Egyptian civilizations cannot, according to traditional archeology, extend much past 3,300 BC. Recent research has suggested that the pyramids were constructed as early as 12,500 BC.

One of the great puzzles of early history is to understand why sometime around 500 BC a great awakening of knowledge occurred simultaneously in India, China, and Greece. Lao Tzu and Confucius in China, Buddha in India, and Heraclitus and Parmenides in Greece all flourished around that time. Lao Tzu as well as several early Greeks, according to legend, made a journey to India. The possibility exists that the awakening came from India, where the Vedic tradition flourished from thousands of years before.

This was also the time of a great re-awakening of the Vedic tradition in India. Shankara’s teaching of transcendental meditation in India began, according to ancient records, contrary to what is currently taught in Western scholarship, sometime in the late sixth century BC. Shankara did not live in the ninth century where he was misplaced by modern scholars unfamiliar with the Vedic tradition. Modern scholars have traditionally placed Shankara in the ninth century AD. This results from a confusion of an illustrious successor of Shankara with the original Shankara who lived about 500 BC.

Shankara” had become a title, so in the long succession of Shankaracharyas, or masters of the Shankara tradition, there were many Shankaras. It was a natural confusion but the first Shankara lived in the mid to early sixth century BC. (See Maharishi’s discussion of this in his Bhagavad Gita, A New Translation and Commentary, Livingston Manor, NY: MIU Press, 1967, p. 186.) There are historical records of the Shankarcharya tradition that link it back to the original Shankara in the sixth century BC, mentioning each of the Shankaracharayas in the long succession.

The Vedic tradition gives a much deeper meaning to the word “tradition” than has been known before. Nothing in the West approximates it. For thousands of years, the Vedic tradition expanded, and grew richer in detail, commenting on itself and expanding by knowledge of itself. Each contributor built on what the previous had done, cumulating in a systematic exposition of the structure of pure consciousness. Techniques to gain enlightenment were developed, cultivated, and passed on generation after generation. The techniques sustained the tradition and gave it substance through making the experience available.

Vedic civilisation centered around the discovery of pure consciousness and the delineation of its structure. The Rig Veda and the Vedic literature gave a monumental depiction of this structure of eternal consciousness. These remarkable works give a prior to the battle of Troy, the event that marks the mythological beginning of the early Greek literary tradition, and 3,000 years before the earliest Pre-Socratic philosophers.

For a fuller discussion of this new wave of scholarship, see David Frawley and N.S. Rajaram Vedic “Aryans” and the Origins of Civilisation: A Literary and Scientific Perspective, 1995. See also George Feuresein, Subhash Kak, and David Frawley, In Search of the Cradle of Civilization: New Light on Ancient India, 1995. Also, David Frawley, Gods, Sages Kings, (Morson Publishing, 1991). See also, N.S. Rajaram The Hindustan Times (Nov. 28, 1993).

Rajaram writes, “It is now recognised by scholars that the Aryan invasion theory of India is a myth that owes more to European politics than anything in Indian records or archaeology.”

Frawley writes. “the rationale behind the late date for the Vedic culture given by Muller was totally speculative. Max Muller, like many of the Christian scholars of his era, believed in Biblical chronology. This placed the beginning of the world at 400 BC and the flood around 2500 BC. Assuming to those two dates, it became difficult to get the Aryans in India before 1500 BC.”

See also Colin Renfrew, Professor of Archeology at Cambridge University, in his famous work, Archeology and Language: The Puzzle of Indo-European Origins, (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1988). See also Mark Kenoyer, “Indus Valley: Secrets of a Civilization” in Wisconsin, Fall 1998 and Kenneth Kennedy, “Have Aryans Been Identified in the Prehistoric Skeletal Record from South Asia” appearing in The Indo-Aryans of South Asia (Walter de Gruyter, 1995)

Kennedy writes, “Assumptions that blondism, blue-grey eyes and light skin pigmentation are physical hallmarks of either ancient Aryans or of members of Brahmin and other social groups in modern south Asia, find their origins in the improper marriage of excerpts from Vedic texts with nineteenth century Germanic nationalistic writings.”

vedic mantra

vedic mantra (Photo credit: drakoheart)

Journal : A Timely Reminder

From : Dilip K Chakrabarti,

Emeritus professor of South Asian Archaeology, Cambridge University :

For more than two decades, the politics of the past has been an important part of the theoretical literature of archaeology and ancient studies, although, apart from two books by the present author and some papers both by him and others, India does not figure in this literature.

The purpose of the present paper is to outline how and why the study of ancient India  including  its  archaeology  has  come  to  be  related  to  different  power  structures  and  ideologies which  have dominated the Indian scene from the beginning of the British rule to the present period.

On the most basic level, the controversy is about the position of India in the scheme of world civilizations. Has it ever been an original and innovative centre of technology and other material traits of  life  outside  the  domain  of  religion and  philosophy ? In the middle of the nineteenth century Max Muller provided the image of an inwardly turned India, and in the more modern times, A.L.Basham tried to perpetuate this  image  through  his  ” The Wonder that was India.”

This image of the other worldliness of India persists strongly even in the contemporary world. If anything related to India is a reasonably  popular  field of study  in  the Western universities,  that  is  Indian  religion and philosophy. The recent emphasis of a section of expatriate or non-Resident Indians on the hidden or unexplored depths of Indian wisdom in the Vedas, etc. is a part of this tradition. Similarly, the preoccupation of a large number of people with the various imagined mysteries of the  Sarasvati  river is a part of this tradition too.

But there are also people to whom the idea of a spiritually rich India is redolent of an unacceptably Hindu India. From this point of view, the Sarasvati has to be argued as a mythical river and Hinduism has to be interpreted as a phenomenon which developed only after the Aryans came to India.

From this perspective, Hinduism is as much native to the Indian soil as Islam and Christianity are. All of them came with the influx of new people, the Aryans in the case of the Hindus, the Muslims in the case of Islam and the Europeans in the case of Christianity. The idea of continuity of the Indian civilization does not suit the beliefs of this group of people.

Within this primary frame, there are various shades of opinions regarding various fields. The first is the unqualified acceptance of the idea of correlation between race, language and culture, of which the Aryans, Dravidians, etc. are logical offshoots. This led to the concept of the Aryan rule of India on the one hand and the genesis and persistence of the Dravidian movement on the other.

These concepts have many ramifications and deserve detailed discussions exposing their hollowness. If the Dravidian movement in Tamil Nadu has assumed a form in which scholars extolling the virtues of Tamil civilization are handsomely rewarded, the Aryanists in Tamil Nadu refuse to dissociate the origins of the Tamil civilization from the perceived migrations from the north. When a scholar of the stature of I.Mahadevan refuses to take the date of the earliest Brahmi inscriptions in Tamil Nadu earlier than the third century BC, even though in the neighbouring Sri Lanka they date from the mid-5 century BC and the archaeological sequence at sites like Kodumanal takes the Brahmi-inscribed sherds to c.500 BC, the most charitable explanation I can offer is that to Tamilians of higher castes, the idea of an early literate Tamil antiquity is not particularly acceptable.

The terms like the Aryans, Dravidians, etc. are still freely used in Indian archaeology with unhappy implications. B.B.Lal, for instance, puts the ‘Aryan  homeland’ in India whereas to those familiar with the concerned literature behind the Aryan idea, this Aryan idea is nothing but a racist myth and should be discarded forthwith. On the other hand, there is no lack of attempts in recent times to seek the Aryans in such places as Bactria or the southern part of Siberia.

The  second  sub-area of dispute is the extent to which the different technological elements like food-production, metallurgy, etc. are the results of diffusionary spreads or indigenous developments. At almost every stage of the Indus civilization we have encountered such disputes, including those about its chronology, and in a later context, still there are people unwilling to accept an early date for the beginning of iron in India.

A detailed item by item discussion on these and other issues is beyond the scope of the present paper, but it may be useful if we remember the contexts which have given rise to them.

Finally, it is worth remembering that the study of ancient India still suffers from certain basic infra-structural problems such as the absence of a national level laboratory devoted to various kinds of dating and other scientific and technical analyses of archaeological objects.

It would also be nice if the concerned archaeologists could publish their findings without waiting for their retirements.

Journal : Alternate History

 Presentation of evidence for Indo-European homeland continues …

after the researched linguistic evidence earlier placed before you.

Florentine merchant Filippo Sassetti travelled to the Indian subcontinent, and was among the first European observers to study the ancient Indian language, Sanskrit. Writing in 1585, he noted some word similarities between Sanskrit and Italian, e.g. deva/dio, “God”, sarpa/serpe, “snake”,sapta/sette, “seven”, ashta/otto, “eight”, nava/nove, “nine”. This observation is today credited to have foreshadowed the later discovery of the Indo-European language family.



We have already examined the evidence in the Rig Veda which proves that the original Indo-Iranian habitat was in India and that the Iranians migrated westward and north-westward from India. 

We will now examine further literary evidence regarding the location of the original Indo-European homeland in India, under the following heads : 

A. Tribes and Priests.
B. The Three Priestly Classes.
C. The Anu-Druhyu Migrations.


Tribes and Priests

The political history of the Vedic period involves various segregate communities who fall within its contemporary ambit. They are the five major tribal groups mentioned in Rig Veda : Yadus, TurvaSas, Anus, Druhyus and Purus. Tthe TRkSis are not included because they are referred to as people beyond the Vedic Aryan realm. 

It is emphasised however that the Rig Veda hymns are composed under the patronage of Purus, who alone among the five named above are Aryas or Aryans, as is meant in the text. Only the PUrus are addressed as “Arya” in the Rig Veda. The other four may or may not have been of the same racial stock but, to the Rigvedic people and the composers of Rig Veda hymns, they are considered and termed as non-Aryans or “an-Arya”. 

This brings us to the second division of people, of those whom the Rig Veda hymns include in mention and references : with Aryas – the Purus – on one part, and the other part comprising of Yadus, TurvaSas, Anus and Druhyus, 

But there are two distinct words by which the Rig Veda refers to these others :

a. DAsas 

b. Dasyus 

It is necessary to understand the distinction between the two words. 

The word DAsa is found in 54 hymns (63 verses) :

I.   32.11; 92.8; 103.3; 104.2; 158.5; 174.7; 

II.  11.2, 4; 12.4; 13.8; 20.6, 7; 

III.  12.6; 34.1; 

IV.  18.9; 28.4; 30.14, 15, 21; 32.10; 

V.  30.5, 7-9; 33.4; 34.6; 

VI.  20.6, 10; 22.10; 25.2; 26.5; 33.3;  47.21; 60.6; 

VII.  19.2; 83.1; 86.7; 99.4; 

VIII.  5.31; 24.27; 32.2; 40.6; 46.32; 51.9;  56.3, 70.10, 96.18; 

X.  22.8; 23.2; 38.3; 49.6, 7; 54.1; 62.10; 69.6;
73.7; 83.1; 86.19; 99.6; 102.3; 120.2;  138.3; 148.2.


The word Dasyu is found in 65 hymns (80 verses) :

I   33.4, 7, 9; 36.18; 51.5, 6, 8; 53.4; 59.6;
63.4; 78.4; 100.18; 101.5; 103.3, 4; 104.5;
117.3, 21; 175.3. 

II 11.18, 19; 12.10; 13.9: 15.9; 20.8;
III. 29.9; 34.6, 9; 49.2
IV. 16.9, 10, 12; 28.3, 4; 38.1;
V. 4.6; 7.10; 14.4; 29.10; 30.9; 31.5, 7; 70.3;
VI. 14.3; 16.15; 18.3; 23.2; 24.8; 29.6; 31.4; 45.24;
VII. 5.6; 6.3; 19.4;
VIII. 6.14; 14.14; 39.8; 50.8; 70.11; 76.11; 77.3;  98.6;
IX. 41.2; 47.2; 88.4; 92.5;
X. 22.8; 47.4; 48.2; 49.3; 55.8; 73.5; 83.3, 6;
95.7; 99.7, 8; 105.7, 11; 170.2.

There are two distinct aspects that differentiates the DAsas and Dasyus : 

  1. The term DAsa clearly refers to other tribes (ie. non-PUru tribes)

while the term Dasyu refers to their priestly classes (ie. non-Vedic priestly classes).

[This is apart from the fact that both the terms are freely used to refer to the atmospheric demons as much as to human enemies to whom they basically refer.]

a.  According to IV. 28.4, the Dasyus are a section among the DAsas.

b.  The Dasyus are referred to in terms which clearly show

      that the cause of hostility is religious in nature : 

ayajña (worshipless): VII.6.3.
ayajvan (worshipless): I.33.4; VIII.70.11.
avrata (riteless): I.51.8; 175.3; VI.14.3; IX.41.2.
akarmA (riteless): X.22.8.
adeva (godless): VIII.70.11.
aSraddha (faithless): VII.6.3.
amanyamAna (faithless): I.33.9; 11.22.10.
anyavrata (followers of different rites): VIII.70.11; X.22.8.
abrahma (prayerless): IV.16.9.

Not one of these abusive terms are used even once in reference to Dasas. 

c.  The family-wise pattern of references to them also shows

that the Dasyus are priestly rivals while the DAsas are secular rivals.

The Dasyus are referred to by all the nine priestly families of RSis,

but never by the non-priestly family of RSis (the Bharatas).

The DAsas are referred to by the Bharatas (X.69.6; 102.3) also but not by the most purely ritualistic family of RSis, the KaSyapas, nor in the purely ritualistic of MaNDalas, the MaNDala IX. 

d.  The Dasyus, being priestly entities, do not figure as powerful persons or persons to be feared, but the DAsas, being secular entities (tribes, tribal warriors, kings, etc.) do figure as powerful persons or persons to be feared:

In three references (VIII.5.31; 46.32; 51.9), the DAsas are rich patrons.

In seven references, the DAsas are powerful enemies from whose fury and powerful weapons the composers ask the Gods for protection (I.104.2; VIII.24.27; X.22.8; 54.1; 69.6; 102.3) or from whom the Gods rescue the RSis (I.158.5).

In three others, the word DAsa refers to powerful atmospheric demons who hold the celestial waters in their thrall (I.32.11; V.30.5; VIII.96.18).

In contrast, Dasyus never figure as rich or powerful enemies. They are depicted as sly enemies who incite others into acts of boldness (VI.24.8). 

e. While both DAsas and Dasyus are referred to as enemies of the Aryas, it is only the DAsas, and never the Dasyus, who are sometimes bracketed together with the Aryas.

Seven verses refer to both Aryas and DAsas as enemies (VI.22.10; 33.3; 60.6; VII.83.1; X.38.3; 69.6; 83.1; 102.3) and one verse refers to both Aryas and DAsas together in friendly terms (VIII.51.9).

This is because both, the word DAsa and the word Arya, refer to broad secular or tribal entities, while the word Dasyu refers to priestly entities : thus, one would generally say “both Christians and Muslims”, or “both padres and mullahs”, but not “both Christians and mullahs” or “both Muslims and padres”. 

2. The second difference is in the degree of hostility towards the two. 

     The Dasyus are clearly regarded with uncompromising hostility,

     while that towards the DAsas is relatively mild and tempered :

a.  The word Dasyu has a purely hostile connotation even when it occurs in the name or title of heroes :

Trasadasyu = “tormentor of the Dasyus”.
DasyavevRka = “a wolf towards the Dasyus”. 

On the other hand, the word DAsa has an etymological meaning beyond the identity of the DAsas.  When it occurs in the name or title of a hero, it has a benevolent connotation :

DivodAsa = “light of Heaven” or “slave of Heaven”. 

b.  All the 80 verses which refer to Dasyus are uncompromisingly hostile.

On the other hand, of the 63 verses which refer to DAsas, 3 are friendly references (VIII.5.31; 46.32; 51.9); and in one more, the word means “slave” in a benevolent sense (VII.86.7: “slave-like, may I do service to the Bounteous”, ie. to VaruNa). 

c.  Of the 80 verses which refer to Dasyus, 76 verses talk of direct, violent, physical action against them, ie. they talk of killing, subduing or driving away the Dasyus. On the other hand, of the 63 verses which refer to DAsas, only 38 talk of such direct physical action against them. 

The importance of this analysis is that it brings to the fore two basic points about the rivalries and hostilities in the Rigvedic period :

a. The rivalries or hostilities were on two levels: the secular level and the priestly level.

b. The rivalries on the priestly level were more sharp and uncompromising.

Hence, any analysis of the political history of the Rigvedic period must pay at least as much attention, if not more, to the priestly categories as to secular or tribal categories.

The Three Priestly Classes

The basic tribal spectrum of the Rigveda includes the five tribal groupings of Yadus, TurvaSas, Anus, Druhyus and PUrus, and of these the PUrus alone represent the Vedic Aryans, while the other four represent the Others

But among these four it is clear that the Yadus and TurvaSas represent more distant tribes (they are mostly referred to in tandem, and are also referred to as residing far away from the Vedic Aryans), while the Anus and Druhyus fall into a closer cultural spectrum with the Purus : 

a.  In the PurANas, the Yadus and TurvaSas are classified together as descendants of sons of DevayAnI, and the Anus, Druhyus and PUrus are classified together as descendants of sons of SarmiSThA. 

b.  The geographical descriptions of the five tribes, as described in the PurANas, place the Yadus and TurvaSas together in the more southern parts (of northern India), and the Anus, Druhyus and PUrus together in the more northern parts. 

c.  The Rigveda itself, where it refers to the five tribes together (I.108.8) refers to the Yadus and the TurvaSas in one breath, and the Druhyus, Anus and PUrus in another: “yad IndrAgni YaduSu TurvaSeSu, yad DruhyuSu AnuSu PUruSu sthaH”

But, the PUrus represent the various branches of the Vedic Aryans, and the Anus represent various branches of Iranians.  It is clear, therefore, that the Druhyus represent the third entity in this cultural spectrum, and that it is mainly the Druhyus who will take us beyond the Indo-Iranian arena onto the wider Indo-European context; and appropriately, while the PUrus are located in the heartland of North India (U.P.-Delhi-Haryana) and the Anus in the northwest (Punjab), the Druhyus are located beyond the Indian frontiers, in Afghanistan and beyond. 

The priestly categories, as we have seen, play a more important role in the rivalries and hostilities in the Rigvedic period than the secular categories. In the earliest period, the only two families of Rsis, from among the families who figure as composers in the Rig Veda, were the ANgiras and the BhRgus, who were the priests of PUrus and Anus respectively.  Logically, there must have been a priestly class among the Druhyus as well, but no such priestly class figures among the composers of Rigvedic hymns. 

The explanation for this is simple : the Druhyus were a rival and non-PUru (DAsa) tribe, hence their priests do not figure as composers in the Rigveda.  Of course, the BhRgus, who were also the priests of a rival and non-PUru tribe, do figure as composers in the Rigveda, but that is because a section of BhRgus (after Jamadagni) aligned themselves with Vedic Aryans and joined the Vedic mainstream where, in fact, they later superseded all the other priestly families in importance, and became the dominant priests of Vedic tradition. 

But since the Druhyus figure in the Rigveda, the name of their priestly class must also be found in the text, even if not as the name of a family of composers. Since no such name appears, it seems logical that the name Druhyu itself must originally have been the name of this third priestly class : since priestly categories were more important for the composers of the Rigveda than the secular categories; and since the tribes for whom the Druhyus functioned as priests were an amorphous lot located far out on the frontiers of India and beyond, the name of the priestly classes became a general appellation for the tribes themselves. 

Therefore, there were three tribal groupings with their three priestly classes:

PUrus  –  Angiras.
Anus  – BhRgus and AtharvaNas.
Druhyus – Druhyus.

This trinary situation tallies with the Indo-European situation : outside of the Vedic and Iranian cultures, the only other priestly class of a similar kind is found among the Celts and the related Italics.  While the Italics called their priests by the general name flAmen (cognate to Sanskrit brAhmaNa, “priest”), the priests of the Celts were called Drui (genitive Druad, hence Druids). 

Shan M.M. Winn notes that “India, Rome, Ireland and Iran” are the “areas in which priesthoods are known to have been significant”; and he describes this phenomenon as follows: “Long after the dispersion of Indo-Europeans, we find a priestly class in Britain in the west, in Italy to the South, and in India and Iran to the east.  Though these cultures are geographically distant from one another… they have striking similarities in priestly ritual, and even in religious terminology.  For example, taboos pertaining to the Roman flAmen (priest) closely correspond to the taboos observed by the Brahmans, the priests of India.” Like the Indian priesthood, the curriculum of the “Celtic Druids … involved years of instruction and memorization of innumerable verses, as the sacred tradition was an oral one”. 

After noting, in some detail, the similarities in their priestly systems, rituals, religious and legal terminology, Winn concludes that the “Celts, Romans and Indo-Iranians shared a religious heritage dating to an early Indo-European period…” 

While the three priesthoods flourished only in these areas, they must originally have been the priests of all the branches of Indo-Europeans in early Indo-European period.  Though they themselves did not survive elsewhere, the names of the three priesthoods did survive in different ways.  An examination of these words helps us to classify the various Indo-European branches into three groups : 

1. PURUS : Indo-Aryan.

In the Rigveda, hymn VII.18, the DASarAjña battle hymn, refers to the enemy confederation once in secular (tribal) terms as “Anus and Druhyus” (VII.18.14), and once in what is clearly priestly terms as “BhRgus and Druhyus” (VII.18.6: the only reference in the whole of the Rigveda which directly refers to the BhRgus as enemies).  Once, it may be noted, it also refers to the kings of the two tribal groupings as “KavaSa and the Druhyu” (VII. 1.8.12. Thus, even here, the general appellation “Druhyu” is used instead of the specific name of the king of the Druhyus). 

The words Druh/Drugh/Drogha occur throughout the Rigveda in the sense of “demon” or “enemy”. (The word BhRgu, for obvious reasons, does not suffer the same fate.) 

2. ANUS : Iranian, Thraco-Phrygian, Hellenic.

a.  Iranian : In the Avesta, in Fargard 19 of the VendidAd, it is an Angra (ANgiras) and a Druj (Druhyu) who try to tempt Zarathushtra away from the path of Ahura Mazda. 

The priests of the Iranians were the Athravans (AtharvaNas = BhRgus), and the words  Angra and  Druj occur throughout the Avesta as epithets for the demon enemies of Ahura Mazda and Zarathushtra. 

b.  Thraco-Phrygian : While the Armenians, the only surviving members of this branch, have not retained any tradition about any of these priestly classes, it is significant that one of the most prominent groups belonging to this branch were known as the Phryge (BhRgu). 

c.  Hellenic : The fire-.priests of the Greeks were known as the Phleguai (BhRgu).

What is more, Greek mythology retains memories of both the other priestly classes, though not in a hostile sense, as the names of mythical beings : Angelos (ANgiras) or divine messengers, and Dryad (Druhyu) or tree-nymphs. 

3. DRUHYUS: Baltic and Slavonic, Italic and Celtic, Germanic.

a.  Baltic and Slavonic: The word Druhyu occurs in the languages of these two branches in exactly the opposite sense of the Vedic Druh / Drugh / Drogha and the Iranian Druj. In Baltic (eg.  Lithuanan  Draugas) and Slavonic (eg. Russian Drug) the word means “friend”. 

b. Italic and Celtic: While the Italic people did not retain the name of the priestly class (and called their priests flAmen = BrAhmaNa), the Celtic priests, as we have seen, were called the Drui (genitive Druad, hence Druid). 

A significant factor, showing that the Celtic priests must have separated from the other priestly classes before the priestly hostilities became intense, is that the BhRgus appear to be indirectly remembered in Celtic mythology in a friendly sense

The Larousse Encyclopaedia of Mythology notes : “whereas the Celtic Gods were specifically Celtic… the goddesses were restatements of an age-old theme”. And two of the three Great Goddesses of the Celts were named Anu and Brigit (Anu and BhRgu?).  And while all the Goddesses in general were associated with fertility cults, “Brigit, however, had additional functions as a tutelary deity of learning, culture and skills”. 

The main activity of the Drui, as already stated, was to undergo “years of instruction and the memorization of innumerable verses, as the sacred tradition was an oral one”. The fact that the Goddess of learning was named Brigit would appear to suggest that the Drui remembered the ancient BhRgus in a mythical sense, as the persons who originally introduced various priestly rituals among them (a debt which is also remembered by the ANgiras in the MaNDalas of the Early Period of the Rig Veda.

The BhRgus, by joint testimony of Vedic and Celtic mythology, would thus appear to have been the oldest or most dominant and innovative of the three priestly classes.

c.  Germanic: The word Druhyu occurs in the Germanic branch as well.  However the meaning (although the words are cognate to the Russian Drug and Lithuanian Draugas) is more militant : Gothic driugan, “do military service” and ga-drauhts, “soldier”; and Old Norse (Icelandic) drOtt, Old English dryht and Old German truht, all meaning “multitude, people, army”. 

The meanings of the word Druhyu as it occurs in the Celtic branch (“priest”), the Germanic branch (“soldier”, etc. or “people”) and the Baltic-Slavonic branches (“friend”) clearly correspond with the word in the Rigveda and Avesta, where Druhyu / Druh / Drugh / Drogha and Druj represent enemy priests, soldiers or people. 

Thus, to sum up :

1. PUru (priests Angiras) : Indo-Aryan. 

2. Anu (priests BhRgus/AtharvaNas) : Iranian, Thraco-Phrygian, Hellenic. 

3. Druhyu (priests Druhyus): Celtic-Italic, Baltic-Slavonic, Germanic.

The Anu-Druhyu Migrations

The evidence of the Rig Veda, and Indian tradition, clearly shows that the Anus and Druhyus were Indian tribes. If they were also the ancestors of the Indo-European branches outside India, as is indicated by the evidence of the names of their priestly classes, then it is clear that the Rig Veda and Indian tradition should retain memories of the migrations of these two groups from India. 

Significantly, this is exactly the case: the Rig Veda and the PurANas, between them, record two great historical events which led to the emigration of precisely these two tribes from India : 

1. The first historical emigration recorded is that of the Druhyus.  This emigration is recorded in the PurANas, and it is so historically and geographically specific that no honest, student of the Puranic tradition has been able to ignore either this event or its implications for Indo-European history (even without arriving at the equation PUrus = Vedic Aryans). 

The PurANas (VAyu 99.11-12; BrahmANDa III.74.11-12; Matsya 48.9; ViSNu IV.17.5; BhAgavata IX.23.15-16) record: PracetasaH putra-Satam rAjAnAH sarva eva te, mleccha-rASTrAdhipAH sarve hyudIcIm diSam AsritAH.

As Pargiter points out : “Indian tradition knows nothing of any Aila or Aryan invasion of India from Afghanistan, nor of any gradual advance from thence eastwards.” On the contrary, “Indian tradition distinctly asserts that there was an Aila outflow of the Druhyus through the northwest into the countries beyond where they founded various kingdoms.” 

P.L. Bhargava also notes this reference to the Druhyu emigration: “Five PurANas add that Pracetas’ descendants spread out into the mleccha countries to the north beyond India and founded kingdoms there.”This incident is considered to be the earliest prominent historical event in traditional memory. The Druhyus, inhabitants of the Punjab, started conquering eastwards and southwards, and their conquest brought them into conflict with all the other tribes and people : the Anus, PUrus, Yadus.  TurvaSas, and even the IkSvAkus. 

This led to a concerted opposition by the other tribes against the Druhyus. AD Pusalker records : “As a result of the successful campaigns of SaSabindu, YuvanASva, MAndhAtRI and Sibi, the Druhyus were pushed back from RAjputAna and were cornered into the northwestern portion of the Punjab.  MAndhAtRI killed their king ANgAra, and the Druhyu settlements in the Punjab came to be known as GAndhAra after the name of one of ANgAra’s successors.  After a time, being overpopulated, the Druhyus crossed the borders of India and founded many principalities in the Mleccha territories in the north, and probably carried the Aryan culture beyond the frontiers of India.” 

This first historical emigration represents an outflow of the Druhyus into the areas to the north of Afghanistan (ie. into Central Asia and beyond). 

2. The second historical emigration recorded is that of the Anus and the residual Druhyus, which took place after the DASarAjña battle in the Early Period of the Rig Veda. 

As we have already seen in our chapter on the Indo-Iranian homeland, the hymns record the names of ten tribes (from among the two main tribal groupings of Anus and Druhyus) who took part in the confederacy against SudAs. Six of these are clearly purely Iranian people :

a. PRthus or PArthavas (VII.83.1): Parthians.
b. ParSus or ParSavas (VII.83.1): Persians.
c. Pakthas (VII.18.7): Pakhtoons.
d. BhalAnas (VII.18.7): Baluchis.
e. Sivas (VII.18.7): Khivas.
f. ViSANins (VII.18.7): Pishachas (Dards). 

One more Anu tribe, not named in the Rig Veda, is that of the Madras : Medes. 

All these Iranian people are found in later historical times in the historical Iranian areas proper : Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia. Two of the other tribes named in the hymns are Iranian people who are found in later historical times on the northwestern periphery of the Iranian areas, ie. in the Caucasus area :

a.  Simyus (VII.18.5) : Sarmatians (Avesta = Sairimas).

b.  Alinas (VII.18.7) : Alans.

And the name of one more tribe is clearly the name of another branch of Indo-Europeans … non-Iranians, but closely associated with the Iranians … found in later historical times in the area to the west of the Iranians, ie. in Anatolia or Turkey : the BhRgus (VII.18.6) – Phrygians. 

Significantly, the names of the two tribes found on the northwestern periphery of the Iranian area are also identifiable with the names of two other branches of Indo-Europeans, found to the west of Anatolia or Turkey.

a. Simyus (VII.18.5) : Sirmios (ancient Albanians).
b. Alinas (VII.18.7) : Hellenes (ancient Greeks). 

The DASarAjña battle ( of Ten Kings ) hymns record the emigration of these tribes westward from the Punjab after their defeat in the battle. 

Taken together, the two emigrations provide us with a very logical and plausible scenario of the expansions and migrations of the Indo-European family of languages from an original homeland in India : 

  1. The two tribal groupings of Anus and Druhyus were located more or less in the Punjab and Afghanistan respectively after the Druhyu versus non-Druhyu wars in the earliest pre-Rigvedic period. 
  1. The first series of migrations, of the Druhyus, took place shortly afterwards, with major sections of Druhyus migrating northwards from Afghanistan into Central Asia in different waves.  From Central Asia many Druhyu tribes, in the course of time, migrated westwards, reaching as far as western Europe. 

These migrations must have included the ancestors of the following branches (which are not mentioned in the DASarAjña battle hymns) :

a. Hittite. 

b. Tocharian. 

c. Italic. 

d. Celtic. 

e. Germanic. 

f. Baltic. 

g. Slavonic. 

3. The second series of migrations of Anus and Druhyus, took place much later, in the Early Period of the Rig Veda, with various tribes migrating westwards from the Punjab into Afghanistan, many later on migrating further westwards as far as West Asia and southwestern Europe.

These migrations must have included the ancestors of the following branches (which are mentioned in the DASrAjña battle hymns):

a. Iranian.
b. Thraco-Phrygian (Armenian).
c. Illyrian (Albanian).
d. Hellenic. 

The whole process gives a clear picture of the ebb-and-flow of migratory movements, where remnants of migrating groups, which remain behind, get slowly absorbed into the linguistic and cultural mainstream of the other groups among whom they continue to live, retaining only, at the most, their separate names and distinctive identities : 

1. The Druhyus, by and large, spread out northwards from northwestern Punjab and Afghanistan into Central Asia (and beyond) in the first Great Migration. A few sections of them, who remained behind, retained their distinctive names and identities (as Druhyus), but were linguistically and culturally absorbed into the Anu mainstream. 

2. The Anus (including the remnants of the Druhyus), by and large, spread out westwards from the Punjab into Afghanistan in the second Great Migration after the DASarAjña battle. A few sections of them, who remained behind, retained their distinctive names and identities (as Anus), but linguistically and culturally, they were absorbed into the PUru mainstream and they remained on the northwestern periphery of the Indo-Aryan cultural world as the Madras (remnants of the Madas or Medes), Kekayas, etc. 

3. Further migrations took place from among the Anus in Afghanistan, with non-Iranian Anu groups, such as the BhRgus (Phryges, Thraco-Phrygians), Alinas (Hellenes, Greeks) and Simyus (Sirmios, Illyrians or Albanians) migrating westwards from Afghanistan, as far as Anatolia and south-eastern Europe. A few sections of these non-Iranian Anus who remained behind, retained their distinctive names and identities but, linguistically and culturally, they were absorbed into the Iranian mainstream, and could be found on the north-western periphery of the Iranian cultural world among Armenians (who, though greatly influenced by the Iranian, retained much of their original language), the Alans (remnant of the Hellenes or Greeks) and Sarmations (remnant of the Sirmios or Albanians). 

The literary evidence of Rig Veda thus provides us with a very logical and plausible scenario of the schedule and process of migrations of various Indo-European branches from India. 

At this point, we may recall the archaeological evidence in respect of Europe, already noted by us.  As we have seen, the Corded Ware culture (Kurgan Wave # 3) expanded from the east into northern and central Europe, and the “territory inhabited by the Corded Ware/Battle Axe culture, after its expansion, qualifies it to be the ancestor of Western or European language branches : Germanic, Baltic, Slavic, Celtic and Italic”. 

The origins of the Kurgan culture have been traced as far east as Turkmenistan in 4500 BC. This fits in perfectly with our theory that the seven branches of Indo-Europeans, not specifically mentioned in the DASarAjña hymns, migrated northwards into Central Asia during the first Great Migration.  Five of these, the five European branches mentioned above, later migrated westwards into Europe while the other two, Hittite and Tocharian, remained behind in parts of Central Asia till the Hittites, at a much later date, migrated southwestwards into Anatolia. 

These two branches that remained behind in Central Asia, possibly retained contact with Indo-Aryans and the Iranians further south. The fact that Hittite mythology is the only mythology outside the Indo-Iranian cultural world which mentions Indra (as Inar) may be evidence of that connect. Even more significant, from the viewpoint of literary evidence, is the fact that Indian tradition remembers two important people located to the north of the Himalayas who are called the Uttara Kurus and the Uttara Madras : “The Uttara Kurus along with the Uttara Madras are located beyond the HimAlayas.  Though regarded as mythical in the epic and later literature, the Uttara Kurus still appear as a historical community in the Aitareya BrAhmaNa (VII.23).” 

It is possible that the Uttarakurus and the Uttaramadras were the Tocharian (Uttara Kuru = Tokhri) and Hittite branch of Indo-Europeans located to the north of the Himalayas. The scenario we have reconstructed from the literary evidence in the Rigveda fits in perfectly with the linguistic scenario of the migration schedule of the various Indo-European branches, as reconstructed by the linguists from the evidence of isoglosses, which we will now be examining. 



A linguistic isogloss is a linguistic feature found in some branches of the family, and not in the others. Their study is of great help to linguists in chalking out the likely migration schedule of the various Indo-European branches from their original homeland.

This feature may, of course, be either an original feature of the Proto-Indo-European language that has been lost in some of the daughter branches but retained in others, or a linguistic innovation not found in the parent language and developed only in some of the daughter branches. But this feature is useful in establishing early historico-geographical links between branches which share the same isogloss. We will examine the evidence of the isoglosses as follows : 

A. The Isoglosses …
B. The Homeland Indicated by the Isoglosses …

The Isoglosses

There are, as Winn points out, “ten ‘living branches’… Two branches, Indic (Indo-Aryan) and Iranian, dominate the eastern cluster.  Because of the close links between their classical forms – Sanskrit and Avestan respectively – these languages are often grouped together as a single Indo-Iranian branch.”But Meillet notes : “It remains quite clear, however, that Indic and Iranian evolved from different Indo-European dialects whose period of common development was not long enough to effect total fusion.” 

Besides these ten living branches, there are two extinct branches : Anatolian (Hittite) and Tocharian. 

Of these twelve branches, one branch, Illyrian (Albanian), is of little use in this study of isoglosses : “Albanian… has undergone so many influences that it is difficult to be certain of its relationships to the other Indo-European languages.” 

An examination of the isoglosses which cover the other eleven branches (living and extinct) gives a more or less clear picture of the schedule of migrations of the different Indo-European branches from the original homeland. 

Whatever the dispute about the exact order in which the different branches migrated away from the homeland, the linguists are generally agreed on two important points : 

  1. Anatolian (Hittite) was the first branch to leave the homeland : “The Anatolian languages, of which Hittite is the best known, display many archaic features that distinguish them from other Indo-European languages.  They apparently represent an earlier stage of Indo-European, and are regarded by many as the first group to break away from the proto-language.” 
  1. Four branches, Indic, Iranian, Hellenic (Greek) and Thraco-Phrygian (Armenian) were the last branches remaining behind in the original homeland after the other branches had dispersed : “After the dispersals of the early PIE dialects,… there were still those who remained… Among them were the ancestors of the Greeks and Indo-Iranians… 

Greek and Sanskrit share many complex grammatical features; this is why many earlier linguists were misled into regarding them as examples of the most archaic stage of Proto-Indo-European. However, the similarities between the two languages are now regarded as innovations that took place during a late period of PIE, which we call stage III.  One of these Indo-Greek innovations was also shared by Armenian and all these (three) languages, it seems, existed in an area of mutual interaction.” 

Thus we get : “Greek Armenian, Phrygian, Thracian and Indo-Iranian.  These languages may represent a comparatively late form of Indo-European, including linguistic innovations not present in earlier stages.  In particular, Greek and Indic share a number of distinctive grammatical features……”

The following are some of the innovations shared only by Indic, Iranian, Greek and Armenian (Thraco-Phrygian) … features which distinguish them from the other branches, especially the living ones : 

a. “The prohibitive negation *mE is attested only in Indo-Iranian (mA), Greek (mE) and Armenian (mi); elsewhere, it is totally lacking… and there is no difference in this respect between the ancient and modern stages of Greek, Armenian or Persian” or, for that matter, sections of Indic (e.g. the prohibitive negation mat in Hindi). 

b. “In the formation of the Perfect also, there is a clear ‘distinction’ between Indo-Iranian and Armenian and Greek, on the one hand, and all the other languages, on the other.” 

c. The “Indo-European voiceless aspirated stops are completely attested only in Indo-Iranian and Armenian… Greek… clearly preserves two of the three voiceless aspirated stops whose existence is established by the correspondence of Indo-Iranian and Armenian.” All the other branches show “complete fusion” of these voiceless aspirated stops. 

d. “The suffix *-tero-, *-toro-, *-tro- serves in bell Indo-European languages to mark the opposition of two qualities, but only in two languages, Greek and Indo-Iranian, is the use of the suffix extended to include the formation of secondary adjectival comparatives… This development, by its very difference, points to the significance of the Greek and Indo-Iranian convergence… Armenian, which has a completely new formation, is not instructive in this regard.” But, “Latin, Irish, Germanic, Lithuanian and Slavic, on the other hand, borrow their secondary comparative from the original primary type.” 

e. “The augment is attested only in Indo-Iranian, Armenian and Greek; it is found nowhere else.” And it is “significant that the augment is not found in any of the other Indo-European languages… The total absence of the augment in even the earliest texts, and in all the dialects of Italic, Celtic, Germanic, Baltic and Slavic, is characteristic.”

Hence, “the manner in which Italic, Celtic, Germanic, Baltic and Slavic eliminated the imperfect, and came to express the preterite, presupposes an original Indo-European absence of the augment throughout this group of languages.  We thus have grounds for positing two distinct Indo-European dialect groups.” 

f. The division of the Indo-European branches into two distinct groups is confirmed by what Meillet calls the Vocabulary of the Northwest : “There is quite a large group of words that appear in the dialects of the North and West (Slavic, Baltic, Germanic, Celtic and Italic) but are not found in the others (Indic, Iranian, Armenian and Greek)… their occurrence in the dialects of the North and West would indicate a cultural development peculiar to the peoples who spread these dialects.” 

While Anatolian (Hittite) was “the first group to break away from the proto-language”, and Indic, Iranian, Armenian and Greek were “those who remained” after “the dispersals of the early PIE dialects”, the other branches share isoglosses which can help in placing them between these two extremes : 

  1. Hittite, the first to separate itself, shares many isoglosses with Germanic and Tocharian.” 
  1. Celtic, Italic, Hittite, Tocharian and (probably) Phrygian share an interesting isogloss : the use of ‘r’ to indicate the passive forms of verbs.  This feature… does not occur in any other Indo-European language.” 
  1. Italic, Celtic, Germanic, Baltic and Slavonic constitute one distinct group, in contra-distinction to the other distinct group consisting of Indic, Iranian, Armenian and Greek. 

However, within themselves, these five branches link together as follows :

a. Italic and Celtic : “Comparative linguists have long been aware of the links between Italic and Celtic, which share a number of archaic features.  These links suggest that the two branches developed together.” Among other things: “Vocabulary is identical in parts; this is true of some very important words, particularly prepositions and preverbs.”

b. Baltic and Slavonic : “The general resemblance of Baltic and Slavic is so apparent that no-one challenges the notion of a period of common development… Baltic and Slavic are the descendants of almost identical Indo-European dialects.  No important isogloss divides Baltic from Slavic… the vocabularies of Slavic and Baltic show numerous cognates – more precisely, cognates that are found nowhere else or cognates that in Baltic and Slavic have a form different from their form in other languages.”

c. Italic, Celtic and Germanic : “The Germanic, Celtic and Italic idioms present… certain common innovational tendencies.” But, Italic apparently separated from the other two earlier: “Germanic, Celtic and Italic underwent similar influences.  After the Italic-Celtic period, Italic ceased undergoing these influences and underwent others… Germanic and Celtic, remaining in adjacent regions, developed in part along parallel lines.”

d. Germanic, Baltic and Slavonic : “Because Germanic shares certain important features with Baltic and Slavic, we may speculate that the history of the three groups is linked in some way.” 

To go into more precise detail… “The difference between a dative plural with *-bh-, eg.  Skr.-bhyah, Av. -byO, Lat. -bus, O.Osc. -fs, O.Ir.-ib, Gr. -fi(n), and one with *-m-, eg.  Goth. -m, O.Lith. -mus, Ol.Sl. -mU, is one of the first things to have drawn attention to the problem of Indo-European dialectology.  Since it has been established, principally by A. Leskien, that there was no unity of Germanic, Baltic and Slavic postdating the period of Indo-European unity, the very striking similarity of Germanic, Baltic and Slavic which we observe here cannot… be explained except by a dialectical variation within common Indo-European.” It is, therefore, clear “that these three languages arose from Indo-European dialects exhibiting certain common features.” 

To sum up, we get two distinct groups of branches :

Group A: Hittite, Tocharian, Italic, Celtic, Germanic, Baltic, Slavonic.

Group B: Indic, Iranian, Thraco-Phrygian (Armenian), Hellenic (Greek). 

No major isogloss cuts across the dividing line between the two groups to suggest any alternative grouping : the phenomenon of palatalization appears to do so, but it is now recognized as “a late phenomenon” which took place in “a post-PIE era in which whatever unity that once existed had broken down and most of the dialect groups had dispersed”, and we will examine the importance of this phenomenon later on. 

Other similarities between languages or branches which lie on opposite sides of the above dividing line are recognizable as phenomena which took place after the concerned branches had reached their historical habitats, and do not therefore throw any light on the location of the original homeland or the migration-schedule of the branches. 

The following are two examples of such similarities :  

  1. The Phrygian language appears to share the “r-isogloss” which is found only in the Hittite, Tocharian, Italic and Celtic branches.  However : 

a. The Phrygian language is known only from fragments, and many of the linguistic features attributed to it are speculative.  About the “r-isogloss”, it may be noted, Winn points out that it is shared by “Celtic, Italic, Hittite, Tocharian and (probably) Phrygian”.

b. Armenian, the only living member of the Thraco-Phrygian branch, does not share the “r-isogloss”, and nor did the ancient Thracian language.

c. The seeming presence of this isogloss in Phrygian is clearly due to the influence of Hittite, with which it shared its historical habitat : “Phrygian later replaced Hittite as the dominant language of Central Anatolia.” 

  1. Greek and Italic alone share the change of Proto-Indo-European voiced aspirated stops (bh, dh, gh) into voiceless aspirated stops (ph, th, kh).  Sanskrit is the only language to have retained the original voiced aspirated stops, while all the other branches, except Greek and Italic, converted them into unaspirated stops (b, d, g). 

But this similarity between Greek and Italic is because “when Indo-European languages were brought to Mediterranean people unfamiliar with voiced aspirated stops, this element brought about the process of unvoicing”, and this change took place in the two branches “both independently and along parallel lines”. Hence, this is not an isogloss linking the two branches. 

Therefore, it is clear that the two groups represent two distinct divisions of the Indo-European family.

The Homeland Indicated by the Isoglosses

The pattern of isoglosses shows the following order of migration of the branches of Group A:

1. Hittite.
2. Tocharian.
3. Italic-Celtic.
4. Germanic.
5. Baltic-Slavonic.

Some of these branches share certain isoglosses among themselves that represent innovations which they must have developed in common after their departure from the original homeland, since the remaining branches (Indic, Iranian, Armenian and Greek) do not share these isoglosses. 

This clearly indicates the presence of a secondary homeland, outside the exit-point from the original homeland, which must have functioned as an area of settlement and common development for the migrating branches. 

The only homeland theory which fits in with the evidence of the isoglosses is the Indian homeland theory : 

The exit-point for the migrating branches was Afghanistan, and these branches migrated towards the north from Afghanistan into Central Asia, which clearly functioned as the secondary homeland for emigrating branches. 

As Winn points out : “Evidence from isoglosses… shows that the dispersal cannot be traced to one particular event; rather it seems to have occured in bursts or stages.” 

Hittite was the first to emigrate from Afghanistan into Central Asia, followed by Tocharian. 

Italic-Celtic represented the next stage of emigration. The four branches developed the “r-isogloss” in common. 

Germanic was the next branch to enter the secondary homeland, and it developed some isoglosses in common with Hittite and Tocharian.

The Baltic-Slavonic movement apparently represented the last major emigration.  And its sojourn in the secondary homeland was apparently not long enough for it to develop any isoglosses in common with Hittite or Tocharian. 

The five branches (Italic, Celtic, Germanic, Baltic and Slavonic, in that order) later moved further off, north-westwards, into the area to the north of the Caspian Sea, and subsequently formed part of the Kurgan III migrations into Europe.  The Slavonic and Baltic branches settled down in the eastern parts of Europe, while the other three proceeded further into Europe.  Later, the Italic branch moved towards the south, while the Germanic and Celtic branches moved to the north and west. 

Meanwhile the other branches barring Indic… the Greek, Armenian and Iranian, as also perhaps the one branch (Illyrian or Albanian) which we have not taken into consideration so far, migrated westwards from India by a different and southern route.

Scholars now generally accept the evidence of the isoglosses so far as it concerns the schedule of migrations of the different Indo-European branches from the original homeland or the inter-relationships between different branches.  However, when it comes to determining the actual location of the original homeland, on the basis of this evidence, they abandon their objective approach and try to make it appear as if the evidence fits in with the particular homeland theory advocated by them, even when it is as clear as daylight that they are trying to fit a round peg into a square hole.

The homeland theory generally advocated by the scholars is the South Russian homeland theory.  Shan M.M. Winn advocates the “Pontic-Caspian area” within this region as the particular location of the homeland. 

An examination shows that the South Russian homeland theory (“Pontic-Caspian” or otherwise) is totally incompatible with the evidence of the isoglosses :

  1. To begin with, it is clear that we have two distinct groups of branches, which we have already classified as Group A and Group B. 

As per the evidence of the isoglosses, the branches in Group A are the branches which migrated away from the original homeland, and those in Group B are the branches which remained behind in the homeland after the other branches had departed. 

At the same time, all the branches in Group A are found to the north of the Eurasian mountain chain (except for Hittite in Anatolia, but this branch is known to have migrated into Anatolia from the north-east), while all the branches in Group B are found to the south of the Eurasian mountain chain (the northernmost, Greek, is known to have migrated into southeastern Europe from the south-east). 

The logical corollary should have been that the original homeland is also to the south of the Eurasian mountain chain, and that it is located in the historical habitat of one of the branches in Group B. 

However, the scholars regularly advocate homeland theories which place the homeland in the area of one or the other of the branches in Group A. 

  1. The branches in Group A developed certain isoglosses in common after they had migrated away from the homeland.  As we have pointed out, this makes it likely that there was a secondary homeland where they must have developed these isoglosses. 

However, any homeland theory which locates the homeland in a central area, like South Russia or any area around it, makes the location of this secondary homeland a problem : the Tocharian branch is historically located well to the east of South Russia, the Hittite branch is located well to the south of South Russia, and the Germanic and Italic-Celtic branches are located well to the west of South Russia.  It is difficult to think of a way in which all these branches could have moved together in one direction from South Russia before parting from each other and moving off in totally opposite directions. 

It is perhaps to avoid this problem that Winn suggests that the isoglosses shared in common by these branches are not innovations developed by these branches in common, but archaic features which have been retained by otherwise separately migrating branches. 

In respect of the r-isogloss, for example, Winn puts it as follows : “Celtic, Italic, Hittite, Tocharian, and (probably) Phrygian share an interesting isogloss : the use of ‘r’ to indicate the passive forms of verbs.  This feature, which does not occur in any other Indo-European language, is probably an example of the ‘archaism of the fringe’ phenomenon.  When a language is spread over a large territory, speakers at the fringe of that territory are likely to be detached from what goes on at the core.  Linguistic innovations that take place at the core may never find their way out to peripheral areas; hence dialects spoken on the fringe tend to preserve archaic features that have long since disappeared from the mainstream… Tocharian… was so remote from the center that it could hardly have taken part in any innovations.” 

However, it is more logical to treat this isogloss as an innovation developed in common by a few branches after their departure from the homeland, than to postulate that all the other otherwise disparate branches eliminated an original “use of ‘r’ to indicate the passive forms of verbs”. 

  1. What is indeed an example of the “archaism of the fringe” phenomenon is the phenomenon of palatalization. 

Winn describes it as follows : “Palatalization must have been a late phenomenon; that is, we date it to a post-PIE era, in which whatever unity that once existed had now broken down, and most of the dialect groups had dispersed : looking at the geographical distribution of this isogloss, we may note its absence from the peripheral languages : Germanic (at the northwest limit of Indo-European language distribution); Celtic (western limit); Italic, Greek and Hittite (southern limit); and Tocharian (eastern limit).  It is the languages at the center that have changed.  Here, at the core, a trend towards palatalization started; then gradually spread outward.  It never reached far enough to have any effect on the outlying languages.” 

Note that Winn calls it a “post-PIE era, in which whatever unity that once existed had now broken down, and most of the dialect groups had dispersed”, and that he locates every single other branch (except Indic and Iranian), including Greek, in its historical habitat.  He does not specifically name Baltic-Slavonic and Armenian, but it is understood that they are also located in their historical habitats, since he implies that they are “the languages at the centre” (I.e. languages in and around South Russia, which is anyway the historical habitat of these branches). 

Indic and Iranian alone are not located by him in their historical habitats, since that would clearly characterize them as the most “peripheral” or “outlying” branches of all, being located at the extreme southern as well as extreme eastern limit of the Indo-European language distribution.  And this would completely upset his pretty picture of an evolving “center” with archaic “outlying languages”, since the most outlying of the branches would turn out to be the most palatalized of them all.  Hence Winn, without being explicit but implicit in his argument, locates all the other branches, including Greek, in their historical habitats with only the Indic and Iranian branches well outside their historical habitats and still in South Russia, and keeps his fingers crossed over the possibility of the anomaly being noticed. 

Here we see, once again, how the manipulation required to locate the Indo-European homeland in South Russia compels the scholars, again and again, to postulate weird and unnatural schedules of migrations which make the Indo-Iranians the last to leave South Russia, and which locate them in South Russia long after all the other branches, including Greek, are already settled in their historical habitats : a picture which clashes sharply with, among other things, the extremely representative nature of the Rigvedic language and mythology, the purely Indian geographical milieu of the Rig Veda and the movement depicted in it from east to west, and the evidence of the names of places and rivers in northern India right from the period of Rig Veda itself. 

The “late phenomenon” of a “trend towards palatalization” which started “at the core” and “then gradually -spread outward” … and “never reached far enough to have any effect on the outlying languages” … can be explained naturally only on the basis of the Indian homeland theory : the trend started in the “core area”, in north and northwest India, and spread outwards as far as the innermost of the branches in Group A : Baltic and Slavonic, but not as far as the outermost of the branches in Group B : Greek. 

Incidentally, here is how Meillet depicts the interrelationships between the various extant branches … he does not include Hittite and Tocharian in the picture, but it is clear that they will fall in the same group as Germanic, Celtic and Italic … 

While the north-south axis clearly divides the non-palatalized branches in the west from the palatalized branches in the east, where we must locate the “core” area where palatalization started, the northeast-southwest axes neatly divides the branches into the three tribal groupings testified by Indian literary records, (click on links).

Click Here

Click Here 

  1. More than anything else, the one aspect of the evidence of isoglosses that disproves the South Russian theory is the close relationship between Indic or Indo-Iranian and the Greek, which is not satisfactorily explained by any homeland theory other than the Indian homeland theory. 

In dismissing Colin Renfrew’s Anatolian homeland theory, Winn cites this as the single most important factor in disproving the theory : “All the migrations postulated by Renfrew ultimately stem from a single catalyst : the crossing of Anatolian farmers into Greece… For all practical purposes, Renfrew’s hypothesis disregards Tocharian and Indo-Iranian.” 

Supporters of Renfrew’s theory, Winn points out, “have tried to render the Indo-Iranian problem moot. They argue that the Indo-Iranian branch was somehow divided from the main body of Proto-Indo-European before the colonists brought agriculture to the Balkans.  Greek and Indic are thus separated by millenniums of linguistic change – despite the close grammatical correspondences between them (as we saw, these correspondences probably represent shared innovations from the last stage of PIE).” 

Winn’s very valid argument against the Anatolian theory is just as applicable to the South Russian homeland theory, or any other theory which seeks to bring Indic and Iranian into their historical habitats through Central Asia : this involves an extremely long period of separation from Greek which does not fit into the evidence of the isoglosses that shows that Indic and Greek have many “shared innovations from the last stage of PIE”. 

Archaeology, for one, completely rules out any links between the alleged Proto-Indo-Iranians located by these scholars in Central Asia, and the Greeks. Winn tries to identify the Andronovo culture which “covers much of the Central Asian steppe east of the Ural river and Caspian Sea”, with the “Proto-Indo-Iranians” during their alleged sojourn in Central Asia. 

However, not only does he admit that “it is still a hazardous task to connect (this) archaeological evidence of Indo-Iranians in the Central Asian steppe with the appearance of Iranian (Aryan) and Indic (Indo-Aryan) tribes in Iran, Afghanistan and India,” but he also accepts that these so-called Proto-Indo-Iranians in Central Asia have “no links with… south-eastern Europe”, I.e. with the Greeks. 

It is only the Indian homeland theory which fits in with the evidence of the isoglosses. 

It may be noted again that :

a. The evidence of the isoglosses suggests that the Indic, Iranian, Armenian and Greek branches, as well as the Albanian branch, were the last to remain behind in the original homeland after the departure of the other branches.

b. These (naturally, barring Indic) are also the same branches which show connections with the BhRgus/ AtharvaNas, while those which departed show connections with the Druhyus.

c. Again, all these branches form a long belt to the south of the Eurasian mountain chain, while the other (departed) branches are found to its north.

d. And, finally, these are the only branches which are actually recorded in the DASarAjña hymns as being present in the Punjab area during the time of SudAs.

 *  *  *

We shall next present the “Inter-Familial Literary Evidence” …

Please refer and links therein for previous adaptations from the most brilliant, insightful analysis ever undertaken …

by Shrikant G. Talageri available @


Journal : Alternate History

The Indo-European Homeland

Presentation of evidence for Indo-European homeland continues …


Erdosy speaks of the “disciplinary divide” between linguistics and archaeology. And it is Michael Witzel whom Erdosy pits against the archaeologists whose papers are included in the volume : “Placed against Witzel’s contribution, the paper by J.Shaffer and D. Lichtenstein will illustrate the gulf still separating archaeology and linguistics.”

Witzel’s papers in this particular volume might not represent the entire linguistic evidence but, since they do take on the archaeologist’s argument, let us examine what he presents. According to Erdosy, “M.  Witzel begins by stressing the quality of linguistic (and historical) data obtainable from the Rgveda, along with the potential of a study of linguistic stratification, contact and convergence.  Next, the evidence of place-names, above all hydronomy, is scrutinised, followed by an evaluation of some of the most frequently invoked models of language change in light of this analysis.”

We have already examined Witzel’s “models of language change” by which he seeks to explain away the lack of archaeological evidence.  We will now examine “the evidence of place-names, above all hydronomy”, on the basis of which Witzel apparently contests the claims of the archaeologists and proves the Aryan invasion.

Witzel does not have much to say about place-names.  He points out that most of the place-names in England (all names ending in -don, -chester, -ton, -ham, -ey, -wick, etc., like London, Winchester, Uppington, Downham, Westrey, Lerwick, etc.) and in America (like Massachussetts, Wachussetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Chicago, etc) are remnants of older languages which were spoken in these areas. But, far from finding similar evidence in respect of India, Witzel is compelled to admit : “In South Asia, relatively few pre-Indo-Aryan place-names survive in the North; however, many more in central and southern India.  Indo-Aryan place-names are generally not very old, since the towns themselves are relatively late.”

Witzel clearly evades the issue : he refers to “relatively few pre-Indo-Aryan place names” in the North, but judiciously refrains from actually naming them or specifying their count. He insinuates that there are “many more” pre-Indo-Aryan place-names in Central and South India, but this is clearly a misleading statement : by Central India, he obviously means the Austric-language speaking areas, and by South India, he definitely means the Dravidian-language speaking areas, and perhaps other areas close to these.  So, if these areas have Austric or Dravidian place-names respectively, does it prove anything ?

And, finally, he suggests that the paucity (or rather absence) of any “pre-Indo-Aryan” place-names in the North is because the towns concerned “are relatively late” (ie. came into being after the Aryan influx).  This excuse is rather strange : the Indus people, alleged to be “pre-Indo-Aryans” did have towns and cities, but no alleged earlier place-names have survived, while the American Indians (in the U.S.A.) did not have large towns and cities, but their place-names have survived in large numbers.

Witzel goes into more detail in respect of the hydronomes (i.e. names of rivers), but the results of his investigation, and even his own comments on them, are intriguing. According to Witzel : “A better case for the early linguistic and ethnic history of South Asia can be made by investigating the names of rivers.  In Europe river-names were found to reflect the languages spoken before the influx of Indo-European speaking populations.  They are thus older than c. 4500-2500 BC (depending on the date of the spread of Indo-European languages in various parts of Europe).  It would be fascinating to gain a similar vantage point for the prehistory of South Asia.”

It is indeed fascinating.  Witzel finds to his chagrin, that “in northern India, rivers in general have early Sanskrit names from the Vedic period, and names derived from the daughter languages of Sanskrit later on.”Witzel tries to introduce the non-Aryan element into the picture : “River names in northern India are thus principally Sanskrit, with few indications of Dravidian, MuNDa or Tibeto-Burmese names.  However, Kosala, with its uncharacteristic –s– after –o– may be Tibeto-Burmese (Sanskrit rules would demand KoSala or KoSala, a corrected form that is indeed adopted in the Epics).” Likewise, “there has been an almost complete Indo-Aryanisation in northern India; this has progressed much less in southern India and in the often inaccessible parts of central India.  In the northwest there are only a few exceptions, such as the names of the rivers GangA, SutudrI and perhaps KubhA (Mayrhofer, 1956-1976).”

Thus, there are four river-names which he tries to connect with “pre-Indo-Aryan” languages.  But three of them, Kosala, SutudrI and KubhA are clearly Indo-European names (the hairsplitting about the letter –s– in Kosala is a typical “linguistic” ploy), and only GaNgA is generally accepted as a possible non-Indo-European name.

But the answer to this is given by Witzel himself : “Rivers often carry different names, sometimes more than two, along their courses.  Even in a homogenous, monolingual country, such as Japan, this can be the case as names change as soon as the river passes through a major mountain range.  In South Asia, to quote one well-known example, the BhAgIrathI and AlaknandA become the GaNgA.  This increases the probability of multiple names from various languages for one and the same river of which only one may have survived in our sources.”It may be noted that the Rig Veda itself refers to the river as both GaNgA and JahnAvI.

Witzel cannot escape the “evidence of hydronomy” as he calls it, and he tries to explain it away by suggesting that “there has been an almost complete Indo-Aryanisation” of the river-names in northern India. But his explanation rings hollow : “The Indo-Aryan influence, whether due to actual settlement, acculturation, or, if one prefers, the substitution of Indo-Aryan names for local ones, was powerful enough from early on to replace local names, in spite of the well-known conservatism of river-names. This is especially surprising in the area once occupied by the Indus civilization, where one would have expected the survival of earlier names, as has been the case in Europe and the Near East.  At the least, one would expect a palimpsest, as found in New England, with the name of the State of Massachussetts next to the Charles River, formerly called the Massachussetts River, and such new adaptations as Stony Brook, Muddy Creek, Red River, etc. next to the adaptations of Indian names such as the Mississippi and the Missouri.  The failure to preserve old hydronomes even in the Indus Valley (with a few exceptions noted above) indicates the extent of the social and political collapse experienced by the local population.”

Apart from anything else, does this last bit at all harmonize with the claim made elsewhere in the same volume to explain the lack of archaeological-anthropological evidence of any invasion, that the “Indo-Aryanisation” of the northwest was a “gradual and complex” rather than a “cataclysmic” event ?

Witzel starts out with the intention of pitting the linguistic evidence of place-names and river-names against the evidence of archaeology; and he ends up having to try and argue against, or explain away, this linguistic evidence, since it only confirms the archaeological evidence.

The long and short of the evidence of place-names and river-names is as follows :

The place-names and river-names in Europe, to this day, represent pre-Indo-European languages spoken in Europe before 2500 BC.  The same is the case with Armenia : “among the numerous personal and place-names handed down to us from Armenia up to the end of the Assyrian age, there is absolutely nothing Indo-European.” And with Greece and Anatolia : “numerous place-names… show that Indo-Europeans did not originate in Greece. The same can be said for Italy and Anatolia.”

On the other hand, northern India is the only place where place-names and river-names are Indo-European right from the period of the Rigveda (a text which Max Müller refers to as “the first word spoken by the Aryan man”) with no traces of any alleged earlier non-Indo-European names.

Witzel’s cavalier attitude towards this evidence is typically how Western scholars react to inconvenient facts in respect of the original homeland of Indo-European : he notes that the evidence is negative, finds it “surprising” that it should be so, makes an offhand effort to explain it away, and then moves on.

And later on, in his second paper included in the volume, he actually refers complacently to the whole matter : “in view of the discussion of hydronomy and place-names in the previous paper, it is also interesting that the Indo-Aryans could not, apparently, pronounce local names.But, like it or not, the evidence of place-names and river-names is a very important factor in locating the Indo-European homeland in any particular area.  And India alone, meets the criteria to test any hypothesis in this regard.  

We shall next present the “Literary Evidence” …

through the next few posts in the series !

Please refer and links therein for previous adaptations from the most brilliant, insightful analysis ever undertaken …

by Shrikant G. Talageri available @

Journal : Alternate History

The Indo-European Homeland


The discredited Aryan Invasion hypothesis (AIT), which we observed about in much detail in previous “Alternate History” blog posts, was essentially motivated by a concern for loss of European primacy in world heritage, linguistic and cultural. The next few tranche in this series shall deal with alternate facts in that regard.

We discussed the curious case of Victor H Mair to underscore the present academic environment, monopolised as it is by the backers of AIT though without a shred of evidence … which makes it well nigh impossible for any scholar, Indian or Western, to gain acceptance of facts pointing to an Indian homeland of Proto Indo-Europeans, The strong tide of prejudice in Western academic circles tests his ardour, and the deeply entrenched leftist lobby in India’s academe renders the task of establishing the truth steeply uphill.

The primary foundation of the widely held belief regarding Indo-European homeland is derived from the purported ‘science’ of LINGUISTICS… that is said to have proved conclusively their original location in and around South Russia; and, equally without doubt, that their homeland could not have been located in India. This belief, rests as it does on misinterpretation of Rigvedic history, is so indelibly etched in scholar community, who examine the problem, that it appears to overshadow and nullify the value of all other evidence to the contrary.

We will examine the case of Indo-European homeland in the light of facts in following areas :

I.    Archaeology and Linguistics.
II.  The Literary Evidence.
III. The Evidence of Linguistic Isoglosses.
IV. Inter-Familial Linguistics.
V.  Indo-Aryan Linguistic Substrata.
VI. Proto-Linguistic Studies.  


The archaeological evidence has always been against the theory that there was an Aryan influx into India in the second millennium BC, an influx so significant that it was able to completely transform the linguistic character and ethos of almost the entire country.

Well known historian, D.D. Kosambi, admits : “Archaeologically, this period is still blank… There is no special Aryan pottery… no particular Aryan or Indo-Aryan technique identified by the archaeologists even at the close of the second millennium.” But the eminent historian still waxes eloquently in support of the Aryan invasion Theory.

This is in sharp contrast to the situation so far as Europe is concerned. Shan M.M. Winn, for example, points out that “a ‘common European horizon’ developed after 3000 BC, at about the time of the Pit Grave expansion (Kurgan Wave #3). Because of the particular style of ceramics produced, it is usually known as the Corded Ware horizon. However, some authors call it the Battle Axe culture because stone battle axes were frequently placed in burials… The expansion of the Corded Ware cultural variants throughout central, eastern and northern Europe has been construed as the most likely scenario for the origin and dispersal of PIE (Proto-Indo-European) language and culture.”

After a detailed description of this archaeological phenomenon, Winn notes: “Only one conclusion seems reasonably certain : the territory inhabited by the Corded Ware / Battle Axe culture, after its expansions, geographically qualifies it to be the ancestor of the Western or European language branches : Germanic, Baltic, Slavic, Celtic and Italic.”

However, this archaeological phenomenon “does not… explain the presence of Indo-Europeans in Asia, Greece and Anatolia”.This Corded Ware/Battle Axe culture represented the third wave of “the Pit Grave expansion (Kurgan Wave #3)” in the westward direction.  Winn suggests that “an eastern expansion from the Caspian Steppe also occured at this time”, connects the Tocharians with “the culture… known as Afanasievo… located in the Altai region… across the expanse of the Central Asian steppe to its ragged eastern boundary”, and links the Indo-Iranians with the Andronovo culture which “covers much of the Central Asian steppe east of the Ural river and Caspian Sea”.

However, he admits that these identifications are purely hypothetical, and that, even in hypothesis and assuming the Andronovo culture to be Indo-Iranian, “it is still a hazardous task to connect the archaeological evidence… in the Central Asian steppe with the appearance of Iranian (Aryan) and Indic (Indo-Aryan) tribes in Iran, Afghanistan and India”.

He consequently describes Indo-Iranian, archaeologically, as an “Indo-European branch which all homeland theories we have reviewed so far have failed to explain”.The archaeological evidence for any Indo-European (Aryan) influx into India is missing in every respect :

a. There is no archaeological link with any other Indo European culture outside India.

b. There is no archaeological trail leading from outside into India.

c. There is no internal evidence in respect of any notable change in the anthropological or material-cultural situation in the northwestern parts of India, in the second millennium BC, which could be attributed to an Aryan influx.

In fact, the situation is so clear that a majority of archaeologists, both in India and in the West, today summarily reject the idea that there was any Aryan influx into India from outside in the second millennium BC.  They, in fact, go so far as to reject even the very validity of ‘Linguistics’ itself as an academic discipline, which could be qualified to have any say in the matter.

This has created quite a piquant situation in Western academic circles.  In his preface to a published volume (1995) of the papers presented during a conference on Archaeological and Linguistic Approaches to Ethnicity in Ancient South Asia, held in Toronto on 4th-6th October 1991, George Erdosy notes that the Aryan invasion theory “has recently been challenged by archaeologists who – along with linguists – are best qualified to evaluate its validity.  Lack of convincing material (or osteological) traces left behind by the incoming Indo-Aryan speakers, the possibility of explaining cultural change without reference to external factors and – above all – an altered world view (Shaffer 1984) have all contributed to a questioning of assumptions long taken for granted and buttressed by the accumulated weight of two centuries of scholarship.”

However, Erdosy points out, the perspective offered by archaeology, “that of material culture… is in direct conflict with the findings of the other discipline claiming a key to the solution of the ‘Aryan problem’, linguistics… In the face of such conflict, it may be difficult to find avenues of cooperation, yet a satisfactory resolution of the puzzles set by the distribution of Indo-Aryan languages in South Asia demands it. The present volume aims for the first step in that direction, by removing mutual misconceptions regarding the subject matter, aims, methods and limitations of linguistics and archaeology which have greatly contributed to the confusion currently surrounding ‘Aryans’.  Given the debates raging on these issues within as well as between the two disciplines, a guide to the range of contemporary opinion should be particularly valuable for anyone wishing to bridge the disciplinary divide… indeed, the volume neatly encapsulates the relationship between two disciplines intimately involved in a study of the past.”

The archaeologists and anthropologists whose papers feature in the volume include : Jim G. Shaffer and Diane A. Lichtenstein, who “stress the indigenous development of South Asian civilization from the Neolithic onwards, and downplay the role of language in the formation of (pre-modern) ethnic identities”; J. Mark Kenoyer, who “stresses that the cultural history of South Asia in the 2nd millennium BC may be explained without reference to external agents”; and Kenneth A.R. Kennedy, who concludes “that while discontinuities in physical types have certainly been found in South Asia, they are dated to the 5th/4th and to the 1st millennium BC respectively, too early and too late to have any connection with ‘Aryans’.”

Erdosy and Michael Witzel (a co-editor of the volume) seek to counter the archaeologists in two ways :

1. By dismissing the negative archaeological evidence.
2. By stressing the alleged linguistic evidence.

We will examine their efforts under the following heads :

A. The Archaeological Evidence.
B. The Linguistic Evidence.


According to Erdosy, “archaeology offers only one perspective, that of material culture”. This limit renders the archaeologists unable to understand the basis of the linguistic theory.

Erdosy stresses that the theory of the spread of the Indo-European languages cannot be dispensed with : “The membership of Indic dialects in the Indo-European family, based not only on lexical but structural criteria, their particularly close relationship to the Iranian branch, and continuing satisfaction with a family-tree model to express these links (Baldi, 1988) all support migrations as the principal (albeit not sole) means of language dispersal.”

But, according to him, the archaeologists fail to understand the nature of these migrations : they think that these migrations are alleged to be mass migrations which led to cataclysmic invasions, all of which would indeed have left behind archaeological evidence.

But, these “images of mass migration… (which) originated with 19th century linguists… exist today principally in the minds of archaeologists and polemicists”. Likewise, “the concept of cataclysmic invasions, for which there is little evidence indeed… are principally held by archaeologists nowadays, not by linguists who postulate more gradual and complex phenomena”.

It is this failure to realize that the “outmoded models of language change” popular among 19th Century linguists have now been replaced by more refined linguistic models, that leads to “overreactions to them (by denying the validity of any migrationist model) by both archaeologists and Hindu fundamentalists”. Thus, in one stroke, Erdosy attributes the opposition of archaeologists to linguistic theory to their ignorance of the subject and clubs them together with “polemicists” and “Hindu fundamentalists” in one broad category of ignoramuses.

But, it is not as easy to dismiss the views of the archaeologists as it is to dismiss those of “Hindu fundamentalists”. It must be noted that the opposition of archaeologists is to the specific aspect of the Aryan theory which states that there was an Aryan influx into India in the second millennium BC, and not to the general theory that the Indo-European language family (whose existence they do not dispute) must have spread through migrations of its speakers : obviously the languages could not have spread through air as pollen does !

But Erdosy puts it as if the archaeologists are irrationally opposed to the very idea of “the membership of the Indic dialects in Indo-European family” or to the “family-tree model”.  It is as if a scientist were to reject the prescriptions of a quack doctor, and the quack doctor were to retaliate by accusing the scientist of rejecting the very science of medicine itself.

The linguists’ answer to the total lack of archaeological evidence of any Aryan influx into India in the second millennium BC, is to “postulate more gradual and complex phenomena”. But, apart from the fact that this sounds very sophisticated and scientific, not to mention superior and patronising, what does the phrase really mean ?  What “gradual and complex phenomena” could account for linguistic transformation of an entire subcontinent without leaving any perceptible archaeological traces behind ?

And it is not just linguistic transformation.  Witzel admits that while “there have been cases where dominant languages succeeded in replacing (almost) all the local languages… what is relatively rare is the adoption of complete systems of belief, mythology and language… yet in South Asia we are dealing precisely with the absorption of not only new languages but also an entire complex of material and spiritual culture ranging from chariotry and horsemanship to Indo-Iranian poetry whose complicated conventions are still used in the Rig Veda.  The old Indo-Iranian religion… was also adopted, along with the Indo-European systems of ancestor worship.”

In keeping with a pattern which will be familiar to anyone studying the writings of supporters of the Aryan invasion theory, such unnatural or anomalous phenomena do not make these scholars rethink their theory; it only makes them try to think of ways to maintain their theory in the face of inconvenient facts. Let’s see how …

Witzel suggests an explanation which he hopes will explain away the lack of archaeological-anthropological evidence. According to him, the original Indic racial stock had settled down in Central Asia, and had “even before their immigration into South Asia, completely ‘Aryanised’ a local population, for example, in the highly developed Turkmenian-Bactrian area… involving both their language and culture.  This is only imaginable as the result of the complete acculturation of both groups… the local Bactrians would have appeared as a typically ‘Vedic’ people with a Vedic civilization.”

Witzel explains that these new “Vedic people” (the Bactrians) later on… moved into the Panjab, Aryanising and assimilating the local population.By the time they reached the Subcontinent… they may have had the typical somatic characteristics of the ancient population of the Turanian/Iranian/Afghan areas, and may not have looked very different from the modem inhabitants of the Indo-Iranian Borderlands.  Their genetic impact would have been negligible, and… would have been ‘lost’ in a few generations in the much larger gene pool of the Indus people.  One should not, therefore, be surprised that ‘Aryan bones’ have not been found so far.”

Witzel, like other scholars who present similar scenarios, is suggesting that the Aryans who migrated into India were not the original Indo-Aryans settled in Central Asia or Southern Russia; they were groups of people native to the areas further south-east, who were “completely Aryanised” in “language and culture”, and that they were so few in number that “their genetic impact would have been negligible” and “would have been ‘lost’ in a few generations in the much larger gene pool of the Indus people”.

The scholars thus try to explain away the lack of archaeological-anthropological evidence by postulating a fantastic scenario which is totally incompatible with the one piece of solid evidence which is available to us today : THE RIG VEDA.

The Rig Veda represents a language, religion and culture, which is the most archaic in the Indo-European world.  As Griffith puts it in his preface to his translation : “As in its original language, we see the roots and shoots of the languages of Greek and Latin, of Celt, Teuton and Slavonian, so the deities, the myths and the religious beliefs and practices of the Veda throw a flood of light upon the religions of all European countries before the introduction of Christianity.  As the science of comparative philology could hardly have existed without the study of Sanskrit, so the comparative history of the religions of the world would have been impossible without the study of the Veda.”

Vedic mythology represents the most primitive form of Indo-European mythology : as MacDonell puts it, the Vedic Gods “are nearer to the physical phenomena which they represent, than the gods of any other Indo-European mythology”. Vedic mythology not only bears links with every single other Indo-European mythology, but is often the only link between any two of them.

Does it appear that the Rig Veda could be the end-product of a long process of migration in which the Indo-Aryans not only lost contact with the other Indo-European branches countless generations earlier in extremely distant regions, and then migrated over long periods through different areas, and finally settled down for so long a period in the area of composition of the Rigveda that even Witzel admits that “in contrast to its close relatives in Iran (Avestan, Old Persian), Vedic Sanskrit is already an Indian language”; but in which the people who composed the Rigveda were in fact not the original Indo-Aryans at all, but a completely new set of people who bore no racial connections at all with the original Indo-Aryans, and were merely the last in a long line of racial groups in a “gradual and complex” process in which the Vedic language and culture was passed from one completely different racial group to another completely different racial-cultural group like a baton in an “Aryanising” relay race from South Russia to India ? !

Clearly, the explanation offered by Witzel is totally inadequate, and untenable as an argument against the negative archaeological evidence.

We shall next present the “Linguistic Evidence” …

through the next few posts in the series !

Please refer and links therein for previous adaptations from the most brilliant, insightful analysis ever undertaken …

by Shrikant G. Talageri available @

Journal : Alternate History

In a previous tranca, , we left off with the promise of taking up the evidence in the Avesta in order to arrive at the true picture of facts about Proto-Aryan homeland, whence the Indo-Iranian and Indo-Aryan streams supposedly branched some 4000 – 6000 years ago.

And in the last one, , a detailed intervention was presented on ” Horses And The Aryan Debate ” … a much ado for nothing, as it is, but a cornerstone in the Aryan Invasion hypothesis perpetuated by scholars and historians with European pedigree.

Adapted From The Most Brilliant, Insightful Analysis Ever

by Shrikant G. Talageri


II  The Avesta Evidence … as per Western scholars

” The early form of Avestan is so similar to Vedic Sanskrit that the main difference between them is the alphabet in which they are written, and the shift of s to h in Avestan.”

Scientists, historians, and archaeologists can tend to have tunnel vision when it comes to their respective fields, and will too quickly dismiss as ridiculous anything other than what is accepted within academia. I only wonder what marvels we may miss if politics and power becomes more important than the truth.”

The official theory about Indo-Iranians is that they migrated into Central Asia from the West, from their original Indo-European homeland in South Russia, and then split into two : the Iranians moving southwestwards into Iran, and the Indo-Aryans moving southeastwards into India.

According to another version, now generally discarded by the scholars, but which still forms the basis for off-hand remarks and assumptions, the Indo-Iranians first migrated into the Caucasus region, from where they moved southwards into western Iran.  From there, they moved eastwards, with the Indo-Aryans separating from the Iranians somewhere in eastern Iran and continuing eastwards into India.

It will therefore be necessary to examine what exactly are the facts and the evidence about the early history of Indo-Iranians, as per general consensus among Western scholars.

This is all the more important because an examination shows that there is a sharp contradiction between the facts of the case, as presented and admitted, and the conclusions they reached on the basis of those facts.

The Iranians are historically known to have been in three contiguous areas : Central Asia, Iran and Afghanistan.  But which of these was historically their earliest habitat ?

Michael Witzel, a western scholar with intimate understanding, dismisses the theory of India being the original homeland of Indo-Europeans. But even he is compelled to admit that “it is not entirely clear where the combined Indo-Iranians lived together before they left for Iran and India, when they went on their separate ways… by what routes and in what order”.13

Witzel’s take is typical of how most scholars in west, or with western scholarship, opine : There’s no evidence of where the proto Indo-Iranians lived but, of course, it cannot have been either India or Iran itself. That foregone conclusion requires no evidence !

There is thus an in-built bias in favour of proto Indo-Iranian movement into Iran and India from Central Asia, however much shorn of evidence the proposition is. Even the theory which locates the original Indo-European homeland in South Russia is readily accepted, making Central Asia a convenient stopping point on their way to Iran and India.

However another scholar, P. Oktor Skjærvø, in his paper published in the same volume as Witzel’s papers, gives us a summary of evidence that does exist on the subject.  According to him: “Evidence either for the history of the Iranian tribes, or their languages, from the period following the separation of the Indian and Iranian tribes down to the early 1st millennium BC is sadly lacking.  There are no written sources, and archaeologists are still working to fill out the picture.”14

Thus, there is neither literary nor archaeological evidence for Iranians before the early first millennium BC. And when literary evidence does turn up, what does it indicate ?

The earliest mention of Iranians in historical sources is, paradoxically, of those settled on the Iranian plateau, not those still in Central Asia, their ancestral homeland.  ‘Persians’ are first mentioned in the 9th Century BC Assyrian annals :

On one campaign, in 835 BC, Shalmaneser (858-824 BC) is said to have received tributes from 27 kings of Parsuwas;

The Medes are mentioned under Tiglath-Pileser III (744-727 BC);

At the battle of Halulê on the Tigris in 691 BC, the Assyrian king Sennacherib (704-681 BC) faced an army of troops from Elam, Parsumas, Anzan, and others; and

In the Vassal Treaties of Esarhaddon (680-669 BC), and elsewhere, numerous ‘kings’ of the Medes are mentioned (see also, for example, Boyce 1975-82: 5-13). …

There are no literary sources for Iranians in Central Asia before the Old Persian inscriptions (Darius’s Bisotun inscription, 521-519 BC, ed. Schmitt) and Herodotus’ Histories(ca. 470 BC). These show that by the mid-Ist millennium BC tribes called Sakas (by the Persians) and Scythians (by the Greeks) were spread throughout Central Asia, from the westernmost edges (north and northwest of Black Sea) to its easternmost borders.”15

Thus, while Witzel indicates his bias towards Central Asia as the earliest habitat of the Iranians while admitting to absence of specific data to that effect, Skjærvø indicates the same bias while admitting to specific data to the opposite effect.

The sum of specifically date-able inscriptional evidence for the presence of Iranians is therefore 835 BC in the case of Iran and 521 BC in the case of Central Asia.  This may not be clinching evidence (indicating that Iranians were not present in these areas before these dates), but, such as it is, this is the evidence.

There is, however, an older source of evidence : the Avesta.

As Skjærvø puts it, “the only sources for the early (pre-Achaemenid) history of the eastern Iranian peoples are the Avesta, the Old Persian inscriptions, and Herodotus. … In view of the dearth of historical sources, it is of paramount importance that one should evaluate the evidence of the Avesta, the holy book of the Zoroastrians, parts of which at least antedates the Old Persian inscriptions by several centuries.”16

The Avesta is the oldest valid source for earliest history and geography of the Iranians, and Skjærvø therefore examines the “internal evidence of the Avestan texts” in respect of geographical names, about which he says : “Very few geographical names appear to be inherited from Indo-Iranian times.  For instance, OPers. Haraiva-, Av. (acc.) HarOiium, and OPers. HarauvatI, Av. HaraxvaitI- … both of which are located in historical times in southern Afghanistan (Herat and Kandahar), corresponding to the two Vedic rivers Sarayu and SarasvatI.  These correspondences are interesting, but tell us nothing about the early geography of the Indo-Iranian tribes.”17

Interesting, but nothing…” Indeed. But why nothing, when the evidence is admitted ? Because it does not accord with the “Theory” already accepted.  Hence, Skjærvø concludes, it was interesting, whatever that means, but nothing !

There’s more : “Two Young Avestan texts contain lists of countries known to their authors, Yast 10 and Videvdad Chapter 1. The two lists differ considerably in terms of composition and are therefore most probably independent of one another. Both lists contain only countries in northeastern Iran.”18  Skjærvø clarifies on the same page that when he says “northeastern Iran”, he means “Central Asia, Afghanistan and north-eastern modem Iran”.19All these places are “located to the east of the Caspian Ocean, with the possible exception of Raga”.20  But, again, he clarifies later that this is only if Raga is identified with “Median Raga … modern Ray, south of Tehran. In the Videvdad, however, it is listed between the Helmand river and Caxra (assumed to be modern Carx near Ghazna in southeast Afghanistan) and is therefore most probably different from Median Raga and modern Ray.”21

While Skjærvø accepts that western Iran was unknown to the early Iranians, he deliberately omits to mention the Hapta-Handu or the Punjab in his list of names “inherited from Indo-Iranian times” … of the period common to both Rigveda and the Avesta. The name of this important area is known to the Avesta and finds mention in it !

Skjærvø does mention the Hapta-Handu when he details the list of names given in the Videvdad; but he merely translates it as “the Seven Rivers”,22 pointedly avoids mentioning anywhere that this refers to the Punjab, and generally treats it as just another piece of information which is “interesting” but “tells us nothing” about anything, since it runs counter to the Theory.

What the scholars deemed “nothing” are facts that are very revealing of Iranian geography :

  1. Pre-Avestan Period : Punjab, southern Afghanistan.
  2. Avestan Periods : Punjab, Afghanistan, Central Asia, north-east Iran.
  3. Post-Avestan Period : Afghanistan, Central Asia, Iran.

To deviate slightly from the evidence of the Western scholars, we may compare this with the following picture of Rig Vedic geography derived by us in this book on the basis of the evidence in the Rigveda :

1. Pre-Rigvedic Period : Haryana and areas east.

2. Early Rigvedic Period : Haryana and areas east, eastern and central Punjab.

3. Middle Rigvedic Period : Haryana and areas east, Punjab.

4. Late Rigvedic Period : Haryana and areas east, Punjab, southern Afghanistan.

The habitat origin and direction of movement of the Rig Vedic and Avestan people over time could be combined in tally and stated without hesitation :

  1. Originally, the Vedic Aryans were in Haryana and areas to the east, while the Iranians were in Punjab and southern Afghanistan. The two regions are in close proximity.
  1. Towards the end of the Early Period of Rigveda, the Vedic Aryans had started moving westwards and penetrating into the Punjab, entering into direct conflict with the Iranians.
  1. In the Middle and Late Periods of the Rigveda, the Vedic Aryans were now together with the Iranians in Punjab and southern Afghanistan, and the Iranians had also spread out further north and west.

The Western scholars, P. Oktor Skjærvø and Michael Witzel, did not fail to spot the facts but denied their importance and hence the information about this movement from east to west. The relative chronology suggested by the two scholars themselves is clearly revealing : movement of Indo-Aryans from the heart of the subcontinental plains towards the north-west.

Skjærvø admits that the earliest evidence for the Iranians is 835 BC in the case of Iran, and 521 BC in the case of Central Asia. In respect of the Avesta, which is the earliest source for the Iranians (and whose earliest geographical names pertain to southern Afghanistan and the Punjab), Skjærvø notes that “the most common estimates range between 1000-600 BC”.23However, he opines that “the … ‘early date’ for the older Avesta would be the 14th-11th centuries BC, close to the middle of the second millennium … and the extreme ‘late date’ to be 8th-7th centuries BC”.24

[ This playing around with “common,” “early” and “late” estimates reminds one more of statistical projections – optimistic, expected and pessimistic – than reasoned history ! ]

In respect of the Rigveda, Witzel himself goes far beyond these dates.  As he puts it : “Since the SarasvatI, which dries up progressively after the mid 2nd millennium BC (Erdosy 1989), is still described as a mighty river in the Rigveda, the earliest hymns in the latter must have been composed by C.1500 BC”25

He repeats this point in respect of a specific historical incident : the SarasvatI is “prominent in Book 7 : it flows from the mountains to the sea (7.95.2) – which would put the battle of 10 kings prior to 1500 BC or so, due to the now well-documented dessication of the SarasvatI (Yash Pal et al, 1984)”.26

Witzel states that “the earliest hymns” in the Rigveda “must have been composed by 1500 BC”.  But the specific incident he quotes suggests that, by his reckoning, even very late hymns were already in existence by 1500 BC : the hymn he quotes is VII.95. According to him, elsewhere, Mandala VII is “the latest of the family books”27; even within this Mandala, hymn 95 must, by his reckoning, be “a comparatively late hymn”28, which is how he describes hymn 96, a companion hymn.

The historical incident he refers to, which he places far earlier than Skjærvø’s earliest dating for the earliest parts of the Avesta (whose earliest references are to areas in southern Afghanistan and the Punjab), is Sudas’ Battle of The Ten Kings fought on the Parusni (modern River Ravi) in central Punjab.

This battle was, moreover, preceded by other battles fought by Sudas.  Sudas’s priest in the Battle of The Ten Kings was Vasishta. Vasishta’s predecessor was Vishvamitra, under whose priesthood Sudas had fought a battle considerably to the east of the Punjab, with the Kikatas of Bihar.

Witzel, of course, refuses to accept the location of Mata in Bihar.  But, even so, he places Kikata at least as far east of the Punjab as the area to “the south of Kurukshetra, in eastern Rajasthan or western Madhya Pradesh.”29

In sum, the facts and the evidence of the Indo-Iranian case, as detailed by the Western scholars themselves, notwithstandingthecontrary “conclusions” reached by them, show beyond any doubt that the only area of Indo-Iranian contact was in the Punjab-Haryana region and southern and eastern Afghanistan.

To get a final and complete perspective on the geography of the Avesta, let us examine what perhaps the most eminent Western scholar on the subject, Gherardo Gnoli, has to say.  Gnoli is not a scholar who is out to challenge the standard version of an Indo-Iranian movement from Central Asia into Iran and India, and, indeed, he probably does not even doubt that version.

But the geographical facts of the Avesta, as set out by Gnoli in great detail in his book Zoroaster’s Time and Homeland, show very clearly that the oldest regions known to the Iranians were Afghanistan and areas to its east.  They also show, and he says so specifically in no uncertain terms, that areas to the west, and also to the north, were either totally unknown to the Iranians, or else they were areas newly known to them and did not form a part of their traditional ethos.  Any references to migrations, in his analysis, are always to migrations from east to west or from south to north.

The Avesta, incidentally, contains five groups of texts :

1. The Yasna (Y), containing 72 chapters divided into two groups:
a. The Gathas of Zarathushtra (Y.28-34, 43-51, 53).
b. The Yasna (proper) (Y.1-27, 35-42, 52, 54-72). 

2. The Yashts (Yt.), 24 in number. 

3. The Videvdat or Vendidad (Vd), containing 22 chapters. 

4. The Visprat or Vispered

5. The Khordah Avesta or Lesser Avesta, containing the SIrozas, Nyishish, Afrin, etc.

Only the first three, because of their size, antiquity and nature, are of importance in any historical study : of these, the Gathas and some of the Yashts form the chronologically oldest portions.  In terms of language, the dialect of the Gathas and some of the other chapters of the Yasna, i.e. Y.19-21, 27, 3541, 54, called Gathic, is older than the Zend dialect of the rest of the Avesta.

We will examine the geography of the Avesta, as detailed by Gnoli as follows:

A. The West and the East.
B. The North and the South.
C. The Punjab.

A. The West and the East

Gnoli repeatedly stresses “the fact that Avestan geography, particularly the list in Vd. I, is confined to the east,”30 and points out that this list is “remarkably important in reconstructing the early history of Zoroastrianism”.31Elsewhere, he again refers to “the entirely eastern character of the countries listed in the first chapter of the Vendidad, including Zoroastrian Raya, and the historical and geographical importance of that list”.32

The horizon of the Avesta, Gnoli notes, “is according to Burrow, wholly eastern and therefore certainly earlier than the westward migrations of the Iranian tribes.”33In great detail, he rejects theories which seek to connect up some of the places named in the Avesta (such as Airyana Vaejah and Raya) with areas in the west, and concludes that this attempt to transpose the geography of the Avesta from Afghanistan to western Iran “was doubtless due to different attempts made by the most powerful religious centres of western Iran and the influential order of the Magi to appropriate the traditions of Zoroastrianism that had flourished in the eastern territories of the plateau in far-off times. Without a doubt, the identification of Raya with Adurbadagan, more or less parallel with its identification with Ray, should be fitted into the vaster picture of the late location of Airyana Vaejah in Adarbayjan.”34

The crucial geographical list of sixteen Iranian lands, in the first chapter of the Vendidad, is fully identified : “From the second to the sixteenth country, we have quite a compact and consistent picture.  The order goes roughly from north to south and then towards the east: Sogdiana (Gava), Margiana (Mourv), Bactria (Bax?I, Nisaya between Margiana and Bactria, Areia (Haroiva), Kabulistan (Vaekarata), the GaznI region (Urva), Xnanta, Arachosia (HaraxvaitI), Drangiana (Haetumant), a territory between Zamin-davar and Qal‘at-i-Gilzay (Raya), the Lugar valley (Caxra), Buner (Varana), Pañjab (Hapta Handu), Ranha … between the Kabul and the Kurram, in the region where it seems likely the Vedic river Rasa flowed.”35

Gnoli notes that India is very much a part of the geographical picture: “With Varana and Ranha, as of course with Hapta Handu, which comes between them in the Vd. I list, we find ourselves straight away in Indian territory, or, at any rate, in territory that, from the very earliest times, was certainly deeply permeated by Indo-Aryans or Proto Indo-Aryans.”36

Although the scholars are careful to include “northeastern modem Iran” in their descriptions, the areas covered by the Vendidad list only touch the easternmost borders of Iran : but they cover the whole of Afghanistan, the northern half of present-day Pakistan (NWFP, Punjab), and the southern parts of Central Asia to the north of Afghanistan, and, again, in the east, they enter the northwestern borders of present-day (post-1947) India.

Gnoli identifies fifteen of the sixteen Iranian lands named in the Vendidad list.  But he feels that “the first of the countries created by Ahura Mazda, Airyana Vaejah, should be left out” of the discussion, since “this country is characterized, in the Vd. I context, by an advanced state of mythicization”.37

While this is a possibility, that Airyana Vaejah is a mythical land and a purely imaginary Paradise, there is another alternate possibility : the other fifteen lands, from Gava (Sogdiana) to Ranha (the region between the Kabul and Kurrum rivers in the NWFP) are clearly named in geographical order proceeding from north to south, turning east, and again proceeding northwards.

That the list of names leads back to the starting point is clear also from the fact that the accompanying list of the evil counter-creations of Angra Mainyu, in the sixteen lands created by Ahura Mazda, starts with “severe winter” in the first land, Airyana Vaejah, moves through a variety of other evils (including various sinful proclivities, obnoxious insects, evil spirits and physical ailments), and comes back again to “severe winter” in the sixteenth land, Ranha.

A logical conclusion would be that the first land, Airyana Vaejah, lies close to the sixteenth land (Ranha). The lands to the north (VarAna), west (VaEkArAta, Caxra, UrvA), and south (Hapta-HAndu) of RaNhA are named, so Airyana Vaejah must be in Kashmir to the east of Ranha.  Ranha itself leads Gnoli “to think of an eastern mountainous area, Indian or Indo-Iranian, hit by intense cold in winter”.38

In sum, the geography of the Avesta almost totally excludes present-day Iran and areas to its north and west, and consists exclusively of Afghanistan and areas to its north and east, including parts of Rigvedic India.

Indo-Iranian.Southern Russia

B. The North and the South

The geographical horizon of the Avesta (excluding for the moment the Punjab in the east) extends from Central Asia in the north to the borders of Baluchistan in the south.

This region, from north to south, can be divided as follows: 

1. Northern Central Asia (XvAirizAm).

2. Southern Central Asia (Gava, Mourv, Bax?I, Nisaya), including the northern parts of Afghanistan to the north of the HindUkuS.

3. Central Afghanistan (HarOiva, VaEkArAta, UrvA, XnAnta, Caxra) to the south of the HindUkuS

4. Southern Afghanistan (HaraxvaitI, HaEtumant, RaYa) to the borders of Baluchistan in the south. 

Let us examine the position of each of these four areas in the geography of the Avesta :

  1. The Avesta does not know any area to the north or west of the Aral Sea.  The northern-most area, the only place in northern Central Asia, named in the Avesta is Chorasmia or Khwarizm, to the south of the Aral Sea. The compulsion to demonstrate an Iranian (and consequently Indo-Iranian) migration from the north into Afghanistan has led many scholars to identify Chorasmia with Airyana Vaejah, and to trace the origins of both Zoroastrianism and (Indo-)Iranians to this area.However, Gnoli points out that Chorasmia “is mentioned only once”39 in the whole of the Avesta.  Moreover, it is not mentioned among the sixteen lands created by Ahura Mazda and listed in the first chapter of the Vendidad.  It is mentioned among the lands named in the Mihr Yasht (Yt.10.14) in a description of the God Mi?ra standing on the mountains and surveying the lands to his south and north.

    Gnoli emphasizes the significance of this distinction: “the countries in Vd.I and Yt.X are of a quite different nature : the aim of the first list is evidently to give a fairly complete description of the space occupied by the Aryan tribes in a remote period in their history.”40 Clearly, Chorasmia is not part of this space. As a matter of fact, Chorasmia is named as “practically the very furthest horizon reached by Mi?ra’s gaze”41 and Gnoli suggests that “the inclusion of the name of Chorasmia in this Yasht … could in fact be a mention or an interpolation whose purpose, conscious or unconscious, was to continue in a south-north direction the list of lands over which Mi?ra’s gaze passed, indicating a country on the outskirts such as Chorasmia, which must have been very little known at the time the Yasht was composed”.42

    The suggestion that the inclusion of Chorasmia in the Yasht is an interpolation is based on a solid linguistic fact : the name, XvAirizAm, as it occurs in the reference, is “in a late, clearly Middle Persian nominal form”.43Hence Gnoli rejects as “groundless” any theory which attempts “to show that AiryanAm VaEjO in the VendidAd is equivalent to XvAirizAm in the Mihr YaSt44, and which tries to reconstruct “from a comparison of the geographical data in the Mihr YaSt and the ZamyAd YaSt the route followed by the Iranian tribes in their migration southwards, or the expansion in the same direction of the Zoroastrian community”.45

    As a matter of fact, even though it contradicts the Theory, there have been a great many scholars who have claimed a movement in the opposite direction in the case of Chorasmia: “It has been said that the Chorasmians moved from the south (territory immediately to the east of Parthians and Hyrcanians) towards the north (to XwArizm).”46The scholars who make this claim suggest that “the probable ancient seat of the Chorasmians was a country with both mountainous areas and plains, much further south than XIva, whereas the oasis of XIva was a more recent seat which they may have moved to precisely in consequence of the growing power of the Achaemenians by which, as Herodotus says, they were deprived of a considerable part of their land”.47

While Gnoli does not agree with the late chronology suggested for this south-to-north movement, and gives evidence to show that “Chorasmia corresponded more or less to historical XwArizm even before Darius I’s reign (521-486 BC)”48, he nevertheless agrees with the suggested direction of migration, which is, moreover, backed by the opinion of archaeologists :

As a matter of fact, we are able to reconstruct a south-north migration of the Chorasmians on a smaller scale only, as it is a well known fact that the delta of the Oxus moved in the same direction between the end of the second millennium and the 6th century BC and ended up flowing into the Aral Sea.”49 Therefore, “we cannot rule out the possibility that the Chorasmians, as pointed out, moved in this same direction and that at the beginning of the Achaemenian empire there were still settlements of them further south.  At all events, this is the explanation that archaeologists give for the proto-historic settlement of Chorasmia, without taking into account precise ethnic identifications.”50

In short, far from being the early homeland from which the (Indo-)Iranians migrated southwards, “XwArizm … appears upon an unprejudiced examination, as a remote, outlying province which never played a really central part in the political and cultural history of Iran before the Middle Ages”.51And the region was so unknown that there was, among the Iranians, “absence of any sure knowledge of the very existence of the Aral Sea as a separate body of water with a name of its own, even as late as the time of Alexander”.52

2. The countries in southern Central Asia and northern Afghanistan (Sogdiana, Margiana and Bactria), particularly southern Bactria or Balkh which falls in northern Afghanistan, are very much a part of Iranian territory as per the evidence of the Avesta. However, this evidence also makes it clear that these territories were, in the words of Gnoli, “peripheral”, and the traditions to this effect persisted as late as the period of the Macedonian conquest of these areas.

As Gnoli puts it: “in the denomination of Ariana, which became known to the Greeks after the Macedonian conquest of the eastern territories of the old Persian empire, there was obviously reflected a tradition that located the Aryan region in the central-southern part of eastern Iran, roughly from the HindUkuS southwards, and that considered some of the Medes and the Persians in the west and some of the Bactrians and Sogdians in the north as further extensions of those people who were henceforth known by the name of Ariani.  And this, to tell the truth, fits nicely into the picture we have been trying to piece so far.  Here too, as in the passages of the Avesta we have studied from the Mihr YaSt and the ZamyAd YaSt, the geographical horizon is central-eastern and southeastern; the northern lands are also completely peripheral, and Chorasmia, which is present only in the very peculiar position of which we have spoken in the Mihr YaSt, is not included.”53 (Note: by “eastern Iran”, Gnoli refers to Afghanistan, which forms the eastern part of the Iranian plateau.)

Balkh or southern Bactria does play a prominent role in later Iranian and Zoroastrian tradition “which would have ViStAspa linked with Balx and SIstAn”54 (i.e. with both the northern-most and southern-most parts of Afghanistan). However, referring to “the tradition that links Kavi ViStAspa with Bactria”, Gnoli notes that “the explanation of ViStAspa being Bactrian and not Drangian is a feeble one”.55He attributes the tradition to “the period of Bactrian hegemony which Djakonov dates between 650 and 540 BC”, during which “the old … tradition of Kavi ViStAspa, who was originally linked with Drangiana, could have taken on, so to speak, a new, Bactrian guise”.56

The Avesta itself is clear in identifying ViStAspa with the southern regions only.

In sum, the more northern regions of Sogdiana and Margiana were “completely peripheral”, and, in the words of Gnoli, “we may consider that the northernmost regions where Zoroaster carried out his work were Bactria and Areia”.57

  1. When we come to the areas to the south of the HindUkuS, we are clearly in the mainland of the Avestan territory. Gnoli repeatedly stresses throughout his book that the airyo-Sayana or Land of the Aryans described in the Avesta refers to “the vast region that stretches southward from the HindUkuS,”58 that is, “from the southern slopes of the great mountain chains towards the valleys of the rivers that flow south, like the Hilmand…”59 In this respect he notes that “there is a substantial uniformity in the geographical horizon between Yt.XIX and Yt.X … and the same can be said for Vd.I … these Avestan texts which contain in different forms, and for different purposes, items of information that are useful for historical geography give a fairly uniform picture : eastern Iran, with a certain prevalence of the countries reaching upto the southern slopes of the HindUkuS.”60

Likewise, in later Greek tradition, ArianE “is the Greek name which doubtless reflects an older Iranian tradition that designated with an equivalent form the regions of eastern Iran lying mostly south, and not north, of the HindUkuS.  It is clear how important this information is in our research as a whole.”61

Again, it must be noted that Gnoli uses the term “eastern Iran” to designate Afghanistan, which forms the eastern part of the Iranian plateau.

  1. But it is the southern part of this “vast region that stretches southward from the HindUkuS,” which clearly constitutes the very core and heart of the Avesta: SIstAn or Drangiana, the region of HaEtumant (Hilmand) and the HAmUn-i Hilmand basin which forms its western boundary (separating Afghanistan from present-day Iran).

Gnoli notes that “the Hilmand region and the HAmUn-i Hilmand are beyond all doubt the most minutely described countries in Avestan geography.  The ZamyAd YaSt, as we have seen, names the Kasaoya, i.e. the HAmUn-i Hilmand, Usi?am mountain, the KUh-i XwAja, the HaEtumant, the Hilmand, and the rivers XvAstrA, HvaspA, Frada?A, XvarAnahvaitI, UStavaitI, Urva?a, ?rAzi, ZarAnumaiti, which have a number of parallels both in the Pahlavi texts, and especially in the list in the TArIx-i SIstAn.  Elsewhere, in the AbAn YaSt, there is mention of Lake FrazdAnu, the Gawd-i Zira.”62

He notes the significance of “the identification of the VourukaSa in Yt.XIX with the HAmUn-i Hilmand … of the NAydAg with the SilA, the branch connecting the HAmUn to the Gawd-i Zira, of the FrazdAnu with the Gawd-i Zira … and above all, the peculiar relationship pointed out by Markwart, between VaNuhI DAityA and the HaEtumant…”63

Gnoli points out that “a large part of the mythical and legendary heritage can be easily located in the land watered by the great SIstanic river and especially in the HamUn”64, including the “important place that Yima/ JamSId, too, has in the SIstanic traditions in the guise of the beneficient author of a great land reclamation in the Hilmand delta”.65ViStAspa is identified with Drangiana, ZarathuStra with RaYa to its northeast.  But, “the part played by the Hilmand delta region in Zoroastrian eschatology … (is) important not only and not so much for the location of a number of figures and events of the traditional inheritance – we can also call to mind DaSt-i HAmOn, the scene of the struggle between WiStAsp and ArjAsp – as for the eschatology itself.  The natural seat of the XvarAnah – of the Kavis and of the XvarAnah that is called axvarAta – and of the glory of the Aryan peoples, past, present and future, the waters of the Kasaoya also receive the implantation of the seed of Zara?uStra, giving birth to the three saoSyant- fraSO- CarAtar-”.66

This region is subject to “a process of spiritualization of Avestan geography … in the famous celebration of the Hilmand in the ZamyAd YaSt…”67, and “this pre-eminent position of SIstAn in Iranian religious history and especially in the Zoroastrian tradition is a very archaic one that most likely marks the first stages of the new religion … the sacredness of the HAmUn-i Hilmand goes back to pre-Zoroastrian times…”68

Clearly, the position of the four areas, from north to south, into which the geographical horizon of the Avesta can be divided, shows the older and more important regions to be the more southern ones; and any movement indicated is from the south to the north.

Before turning to the Punjab, one more crucial aspect of Avestan geography must be noted. According to Gnoli: “the importance of cattle in various aspects of the Gathic doctrine can be taken as certain.  This importance can be explained as a reflection in religious practice and myth of a socioeconomic set-up in which cattle-raising was a basic factor.”69Therefore, in identifying the original milieu of the Iranians, since “none of the countries belonging to present-day Iran or Afghanistan was recognised as being a land where men could live by cattle-raising, the conclusion was reached once again that the land must be Chorasmia, and Oxus the river of Airyana VaEjah”.70

However, this conclusion was reached “on the basis of evidence that turned out to be unreliable, perhaps because it was supplied too hastily”.  As a matter of fact, a “recent study … and, in general, the results obtained by the Italian Archaeological Mission in SIstAn, with regard to the proto-historic period as well, have given ample proof that SIstAn, especially the HAmUn-i Hilmand region, is a land where cattle-raising was widely practised.  And it still is today, though a mere shadow of what it once was, by that part of the population settled in the swampy areas, that are called by the very name of GAwdAr. 

From the bronze age to the Achaemenian period, from Sahr-i Suxta to Dahana-i-GulAmAn, the archaeological evidence of cattle-raising speaks for itself: a study of zoomorphic sculpture in proto-historic SIstAn, documented by about 1500 figurines that can be dated between 3200 and 2000 BC leads us to attribute a special ideological importance to cattle in the Sahr-i Suxta culture, and this is fully justified by the place this animal has in the settlement’s economy and food supply throughout the time of its existence.”71

We may now turn to the Punjab, an area in which there can be no doubt whatsoever about cattle-raising always having been an important occupation.

C. The Punjab

The easternmost regions named in the Avesta cover a large part of present-day Pakistan, and include western Kashmir and the Indian Punjab: VarAna, RaNhA and Hapta-HAndu, and, as we have suggested, Airyana VaEjah itself.

Gnoli’s descriptions of Avestan geography, whether or not such is his intention, indicate that the Iranians ultimately originated either in southern Afghanistan itself or in areas further east.  Neither of these possibilities is suggested, or even hinted at, by Gnoli, since, as we have pointed out, Gnoli is not out to challenge the standard version of Indo-European history, nor perhaps does he even doubt that version.

However, his analysis and description of Avestan geography clearly suggest that the antecedents of the Iranians lie further east :

  1. Gnoli repeatedly stresses the fact that the evidence of the Avesta must be understood in the background of a close presence of Indo-Aryans (or Proto Indo-Aryans, as he prefers to call them) in the areas to the east of the Iranian area : “With VarAna and RaNhA, as of course with Hapta-HAndu, which comes between them in the Vd.I list, we find ourselves straightaway in Indian territory or, at any rate, in territory that, from the very earliest times, was certainly deeply permeated by Indo-Aryans or Proto Indo-Aryans.”72

In the Avestan descriptions of VarAna (in the VendidAd), Gnoli sees “a country, where the ‘Airyas’ (Iranians) were not rulers and where there was probably a hegemony of Indo-Aryan or proto Indo-Aryan peoples.”73

Gnoli is also clear about the broader aspects of a historico-geographical study of the Avesta: “This research will in fact help to reconstruct, in all its manifold parts, a historical situation in which Iranian elements exist side by side with others that are not necessarily non-Aryan (i.e. not necessarily non-Indo-European) but also, which is more probable, Aryan or Proto Indo-Aryan.”74

The point of all this is as follows: Gnoli’s analysis, alongwith specific statements made by him in his conclusions with regard to the evidence, makes it clear that the areas to the west (i.e. Iran) were as yet totally unknown to the Avesta; and areas to the north, beyond the “completely peripheral” areas of Margiana and Sogdiana, were also (apart from an interpolated reference to Chorasmia in the Mihr YaSt) totally unknown.

On the other hand, the areas to the east were certainly occupied by the Indo-Aryans : the eastern areas known to the Avesta were already areas in which Iranians existed “side by side” with Indo-Aryans, and “where there was probably a hegemony” of Indo-Aryans.  Logically, therefore, areas even further east must have been full-fledged Indo-Aryan areas. The earlier, or “Indo-Iranian”, ethos of the Iranians cannot therefore, on the evidence of the Avesta at any rate, be located towards the west or the north, but must be located towards the east.

  1. Gnoli, as we saw, describes the eastern areas as “Indian territory”, which is quite correct. However, he goes on to modify this description as “at any rate … territory that, from the very earliest times was certainly deeply permeated by Indo-Aryans or Proto Indo-Aryans”.75

Here Gnoli falls into an error into which all analysts of Iranian or Vedic geography inevitably fall : he blindly assumes that the Sapta-Sindhu or Punjab is the home of the Vedic Aryans. This assumption, however, is supported neither by evidence in Rig Veda nor by that in the Avesta : The evidence in Rigveda shows that the home of the Vedic Aryans lay to the east of the Punjab, and the Sapta-Sindhu became familiar to them only after the period of SudAs’ conquests westwards; the evidence in Avesta shows that the home of the Iranians at least included the Punjab, long before most of the present-day land known as “Iran” became even known to them.

The point of all this is as follows: Gnoli’s analysis shows that most of the historical Iranian areas (even present-day Iran and northern Central Asia, let alone the distant areas to the west of the Caspian Sea) were not part of the Iranian homeland in Avestan times. On the other hand, an area which has not been an Iranian area in any known historical period, the Punjab, was a part of the Iranian homeland in Avestan times. So any comparison of Avestan geography with latter-day and present Iranian geography shows Iranian migration only in the northward and westward directions from points as far east as the Punjab.

The Avesta can give us no further information on this subject. But, as Gnoli himself puts it, “Vedic-Avestan comparison is of considerable importance for the reconstruction of the ‘Proto Indo-Aryan’ and early Iranian historical and geographical milieu.”76

Hence, we must now turn to the Rig Veda.


Journal : Atharva Veda – Part II


[ Part I @ ]

Source :Hymns of the Atharva Veda [ 1895 ] by Ralph T.H. Griffith

Vedas, Vedic Age and Vedic People : A Brief contd

Vedas do not advocate any religion. It is a body of truth and practice, with a knowledge and belief system in accord, that projects the ” Sanatan ” way of life. It does not have a God apart from ourself, a Prophet for our exclusive salvation, an organised administrative structure headquartered in a particular place, a specific Book for veneration, and a plethora of rules with manned mechanism for watch and control over the laity.

The Vedas are panentheistic, the perspective concomiting with monism, which blows away the seeming idolatory in Vedic practice oft apparent to Western eyes. Even the proverbial ” beam in the eyes ” of the followers of both Christianity and Islam, when they actually worship the idols prominent in churches or the Black Stone in Ka’ba, is acceptable to a Sanatan practioner who sees all deistic, monotheistic or pantheistic, observations as so many means to arrive and subsume in the monistic unity.

No one can be converted into Hindu or Sanatan Dharma. One can only grow into it, through a long period of imbibing and internalisation : Sareeramadyam Khalu Dharmasadhanam. However, once the Vedic truths are instated in one’s reason and understanding, it is easy to subscribe to the way in practice, without having to obtain any approval or formal initiation.

*   *   *

Contrary to what laymen, religious spokesmen and pundits in the West believe, Dharma does not translate into religion as Christianity or Islam conveys.  It refers to a righteousness, of what is right and wrong, derived from perceived ” Eternal Living Principle ” converging on every heavenly system in the universe, each terrestial entity, body or life, and upon our very self. Dharma is everything that promotes life, beauty, balance, sustainability, harmony, abundance, growth and happiness. It is evident in nature, its natural functions and empowering processes, of which all being is manifest.

Dharma, to the Vedic people and Sanatan followers, means a codified art of living as individuals and being as a community. It purported to build upon nature, its beauty and wealth, a human order that would be in accord, that would institute a way of life which allowed animal fulfilments in civilised ways and constantly point to ways and means to excel at that, both personally and collectively. It raised the perspective and values system oriented towards ” Liberation for Self and Welfare of All,” ” The World is One Family,” … very dictums that guide the informed Hindu even today.

Dharma endeavours to mould and form human beings who would not sink into animal attitudes and behaviour in personal life or take to socially destructive conduct upon assuming power or authority of sorts, who would instead become, contribute and continue to tread the path of excellence all his life. Every feature and practice of the Vedic order was instituted with that purpose in context, especially the Gurukul education and internship system that fostered such values as respect for truth, justice, love, friendship, liberty, forgiveness, uprightness, honesty, sincerity, humility and self restraint.

               *   *   *

(9)        A Charm To Accompany The Shaving Of Beard


( Lo ! ) Savitr is here with the razor

O Vāyu ! Come thou with hot water.

Let the one-minded Ādityas

Rudras and Vasus moisten the hair.

Shave ye, who know King Soma !

Let Aditi shave the beard

And let the Waters bathe it with their strength.

Let Prajāpati restore his health, good sight

And days extended over a long life !

This razor used by Savitr for shaving

The one who knows Varuna and the royal Soma

Even with this shave ye, O Brāhman

Let this man, the one who shaves

Be rich in horses, kine, and children.

(10)       A Priest’s Benediction Upon Food


O Agni, the Hotr !

        Make all that I eat

        As sacrifice well-offered …

        All food, of varied form and nature

        Whether bought with gold

        Or received as a gift …

        Horse, sheep, goat or bullock.

        Whatever … sacrificed or not

        Bestowed by men

        And sanctioned by the Fathers

        That comes to me

        Pleases and delights …

        May Agni, the Hotr

        Render as sacrifice well-offered.

        O Gods !

        Whatever I eat unjustly

        Of food bestowed and received

        With a measure of doubt

        Whether to accept or refuse

        That I now swallow…

        May the greatness of Universal Being

        – Vaisvaanara, the mighty

        Make it sweet and blessed

        To me.

(11)       A Charm To Restore Or Increase Virile Power


As the black snake spreads himself at pleasure

Making wondrous forms …

So, with Asura’s potent consecration

Let the potion promptly make thy member

Vigorously correspond, limb to limb.

As the member of the tayadara inflates with the wind

Becoming as big as the member of the wild ass

So too, let thy member grow and become.

As much of a limb as is that of the wild ass

That of the elephant

And that of the domestic ass …

As great and vigorous as that of the horse

So too, let thy member grow and become.

(12)       A Nuptial Benediction


Let this man be again bedewed

With this benedictory sacrifice we now offer

And comfort with the sap of life

The bride, whom is to marry him.

With life’s sap let him comfort her

And raise her high with princely sway

In wealth that has a thousand powers …

That, the couple be inexhaustible !

Tvashtr formed her to be thy dame

Tvashtr has made thee to be her lord.

Let Tvashtr give you both a long life.

Let Tvashtr give to you a thousand lives.

(13)       A Prayer For Pardon For Cheating In Game


If we have sinned with both our hands

Desiring to take the host of dice

To regain our loss …

May both Apsaras today forgive us that debt –

Ye, the one who brutally conquers

And ye, the one who is fierce to look at.

Ye, the stern viewers of sins !

Ye, who rule the people !

Forgive us for what happened as we gambled

And not urge us to pay the debt we owe to him

( nor leave us saddled with that burden upon us ).

For he was with a cord

To Yama’s kingdom.

My creditor, the man whose wife I visit

He, O Gods, whom I supplicated before …

Let not such men dominate me in speech.

O ye Apsaras duo, the gods’ consorts !

Mind this : let not the burden be upon us

Let not such men dominate me in speech.

(14)      A Charm To Be Pronounced By Bride and Groom


Sweet are the glances of our eyes

Our faces are as smooth as balm

Within thy bosom harbour me

For one spirit dwelleth in both of us !

(15)       A Charm For Success And Happiness


With fortune of the Sisu tree

With Indra as my friend to aid

I give myself a happy fate.

Fly and begone, ye Malignities !

That splendour and felicity

Wherewith thou hast excelled the trees

Give me therewith a happy fate.

Fly and begone, ye Malignities !

Blind fortune

With new leaves

Then deposited within the trees —

Give me therewith a happy fate.

Fly and begone, ye Malignities.

(16)       A Woman’s Love Charm


This is the Apsaras’ love-spell

Conquering and irresistible.

Send the spell forth, ye Deities !

Let him be consumed

With his love for me.

I pray, may he remember me

Think of me as loving

And his beloved.

Send forth the spell, ye Deities !

Let him be consumed

With his love for me.

That he may think of me

That I may never, never think of him.

Send forth the spell, ye Deities !

Let him be consumed

With his love for me.

Madden him, O Maruts, madden him !

Madden him, madden him, O Vayu !

Madden him, O Agni, madden him !

Let him be consumed

With his love for me.

(17)       A Young Man’s Love Charm


From honey sprang this plant to life;

with honey now we dig thee up.

Make us as sweet as honey

For, from honey hast thou been produced.

My tongue hath honey at the tip

And sweetest honey at its root :

Thou yieldest to my wish and will

And shalt be mine and only mine.

My coming in is honey-sweet

And honey-sweet, my going forth.

My voice and words are sweet.

I fain would be like honey, in my look.

Sweeter am I than honey

Yet more full of sweets than licorice :

So mayst thou love me, and only me

As a branch full of all the sweets.

Around thee have I girt

A zone of sugarcane

To banish hate.

That, thou mayst be in love with me

My darling, never to depart.

(18)       A Woman’s Love Charm


Down upon thee, from head to foot

I draw the pangs of love longing.

Send forth the charm, ye Deities !

Let him be consumed

With his love for me.

Assent to this, O Heavenly Grace !

Celestial Purpose, guide it well !

Send forth the charm, ye Deities !

Let him be consumed

With his love for me.

If thou shouldst run three leagues away

Five leagues, a horse’s daily stage

Thence shalt thou come to me again

And be the father of our children.

(19)       A Man’s Love Charm


As the wind shake this tuft of grass

Hither and thither on the ground

So do I stir and shake thy mind

That, thou mayst be in love with me

My darling, never to depart.

Ye, Asvins ! Lead together and unitedly work

To bring us loving couple close, body and heart.

Now let us have the fortunes of you twain

The vows ye have for other

And your spirit when we meet.

When eagles, calling aloud, are screaming

With the joy of good health

Then let her come to my calling

As does the shaft

Attached to the arrow’s neck.

Let what is within me

Reach out to her

Let what reaches enter her within :

O Plant ! Seize and possess the mind

Of the maiden rich in every charm.

Seeking a husband she has come !

And I came longing for wife :

Even as a steed neighing loud

May I meet the fortune and good fate.

(20)       A Woman’s Charm


The philter that gods have poured

Within the bosom of the floods …

I heat the spell for thee

By Varuna’s decree

Burning with pangs

Of my love yearning for thee.

The charm which the gods have poured

Within the bosom of the floods

Burning with the pangs of my love …

That spell for thee I heat

By Varuna’s decree.

The philter which Indrāni has effused

Within the waters’ depth

Burning with the pangs of my longing …

That spell for thee I heat

By Varuna’s decree.

The charm, aglow with my longing

Which Indra and Agni have effused

Within the bosom of the floods …

That spell for thee I heat

By Varuna’s decree.

The charm aglow with my longing

Which Mitra and Varuna have poured

Within the bosom of the floods …

That spell for thee I heat

By Varuna’s decree.

(21)       A Man’s Love Charm


Let the Impeller goad thee on

May thou rest not in peace upon thy bed.

Terrible is the shaft of Love …

Therewith I pierce thee

Unto thy very heart.

That arrow winged with longing and my thought

… its stem, Desire; its neck, Resolve.

Let Kāma truly aim and shoot forth

And pierce thee

Into thy very heart.

The shaft of Kāma, pointed well

That withers and consumes the spleen.

With hasty feathers, all aglow …

Therewith I pierce thee

Unto thy very heart.

Pierced through

With fiercely burning heat

I steal to me

Gentle and humble

With thy parching lips

All mine own, devoted …

With sweet words of love.

I drive thee hither with a whip

Away from thy mother and sire

That thou mayst be at my command

And yield to every wish of mine.

O Mitra ! O Varuna !

Expel all thought and purpose

From her heart.

Deprive her of her own free will

And make her subject unto me.

(22)       A Charm To Secure A Match For A Girl Of Age


O Agni ! Let her soon be happy

With a husband who, to please us

May show up

And be approved by wooers

Be respected in assemblies

And shines in congregations.

May such a suitor arrive

Seeking this maid

And bringing good fortune to us.

I work the bridal oracle

With God Dhātar’s truthfulness …

For bliss, beloved of Soma

Bliss, dear to Prayer

And bliss, gathered by Aryaman.

O Agni ! May this woman find a husband.

Then, verily, may King Soma make her happy.

May she bear sons

Be the chief lady of her household

Be blessed and bearing

And rule beside her consort.

As this lair, O Maghavan

That is now fair to look on

Was dear to wild things once

As a pleasant dwelling they owned …

So too, may this maiden here

Be a darling to Bhaga

Be loved by her lord

And be the prize

Of his coveting affection.

O Girl ! Mount up

Embark on Bhaga’s ship

The full, the inexhaustible …

And thereon bring hitherward to us

The lover whom thou would wed.

Call out to him, O Lord of Wealth !

Make thou the lover well inclined.

Set each on thy right hand

And send the one lover

Who is a worthy of her choice.

Here is the Bdellium and the gold

The Auksha and the bliss …

Bring these thee, O Girl

To the suitors assembled here

To find the man whom thou would have.

May Savitr lead and bring to thee

The husband whom thy heart desires.

O Plant, be this thy gift to her !

(23)       A Woman’s Imprecation On Her Unfaithful Lover


O Plant, thy fame is spread abroad

As best of all the herbs that grow !

Emasculate for me today this man

That he may wear the horn of hair.

Make him an eunuch with a horn

And set thou the crest mark

Upon his head.

Let Indra with two pressing stones

Deprive him of his manhood.

I have unmanned thee, eunuch !

Yea, impotent !

Made thee impotent

And robbed thee, o weakling !

Of thy strength.

Upon his head we set the horn

And we set the branching ornament.

Two of thy veins the gods have made

In which lie the vigor of a man.

I pierce those testicles of yours

With wooden studs

And take away their life

For that woman

Who has taken charge of you.

As a reed or cane is split

To make a mat

So do I split your wooden penis

Down to your testicles

For that woman to have.


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