International Conference on Revisiting Indus-Sarasvati Age & Ancient India

Abstracts of Papers Accepted for Presentation

October, 4 (Friday) -- 6 (Sunday), 1996

Atlanta (Georgia), U.S.A.

Keynote Address:

Language, Chronology and Cultural Continuity
in South Asian Archaeology

Jim G. Shaffer, Ph. D.
Department of Anthropology

Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, Ohio 44106-7125, U.S.A.

South Asian archaeology remains significantly influenced by ideas and interpretations proposed by the early prominent scholars (e.g., Marshall and Wheeler) that developed this area's archaeological record into one of international importance. However, seldom is it recognized these same ideas and interpretations significantly reflect eighteenth and nineteenth century European perceptions of history, language and ethnicity. At the same time these theoretical approaches continue to influence our understanding of even the most recent archaeological discoveries.

This paper will first discuss the historical background of South Asian archaeology as well as it's theoretical limitations that continue to dramatically influence recent interpretations. Finally, the focus shifts to recent developments in the archeological and chronological data and they argue for a basic restructuring, rather than just new designations, of South Asian archaeology.

Keynote Address:

India Adds New Dimensions to the Indus Civilization

B. B. Lal,
M. A. (Sans.), D.Litt. (Institute of Archaeology, St. Petersburg, Russia, honoris causa)
Vidya Varidhi (Nalanda Mahavihar), Mahamahopadhyaya Mithila Vishvavidyalaya, honoris causa
President, World Archaeological Congress
Former Director General
Archaeological Survey of India

History has to put up with many paradoxes. One such paradox is that the very river which gave its name to India, viz. the Indus, is no longer within its bounds. As a sequel to the partition of the country in 1947, not only did the Indus disappear from the map of present-day India but also the well-known civilization named after the river -- the Indus Civilization. Only two very small sites were left on the Indian side and even their Indus-character was debated.

Indian archaeologists, however, took up the challenge and by 1980 as many as 700 sites, associated with various phases, viz. Early, Mature, and Late, of the Indus Civilization were put on the map of the country, and the search is still on. This aforesaid number far exceeds that of such sites in Pakistan. It is now abundantly clear that this civilization was not confined to the Indus valley, but exceeded far beyond its limits -- to the upper Gan'ga-Yamuna doaab in the northeast and to as far southeast as the upper reaches of the Godaavari in Maharashtra. On account of this eastward extension, particularly because of the presence of a large number of the sites in the Ghaggar-Sarasvati valley, some scholars have already started calling it as the Indus-Sarasvati Civilization.

It may be stressed that it not just the number or extent that matters. What makes the Indian discoveries so important is that they have added new dimensions to the basics of this great civilization. For example, Lothal in Gujrat has brought to the light the earliest (ca. 2500 BC) dockyard known to humanity. Kalibangan in Rajasthan has given the evidence of the earliest (ca. 2800 BC) ploughed agricultural field ever revealed through an excavation. The same site has also shown that there occurred an earthquake around 2600 BC, which brought to an end the Early Indus settlement at the site. This is perhaps the earliest archaeologically recorded earthquake. Kalibangan has also thrown up evidence of a new kind of ritual associated with a cult of 'fire alters'. Dholavira in Kutch has shown that the city was divided into three parts, viz., a Citadel, a Middle Town, and a Lower Town, instead of the usual two. It has also brought to light stone pillars which are almost as highly polished as the well-known Ashokan pillars 2000 years later. The colossal copper figures recovered from Daimabad in Maharashtra are indeed unparalleled in the entire gamut of protohistoric art of the subcontinent.

The presentation, illustrated with slides, seeks to deal with these and many more discoveries relating to this grand civilization of South Asia. It will also analyze why this civilization cannot be regarded as an import from Western Asia, as held by some scholars in the past. It is now clear that it had an indigenous origin and development. The lecture will further deal with factors leading to the degeneration of this civilization, showing at the same time that it was not an Aryan invasion, as held by some, that brought about its end.

Public Lecture:
Jnãna -- Hindu-India's Greatest Gift to the World
Klaus Klostermaier, Ph. D.
Professor of Hinduism
Department of Religion
University of Manitoba,
Winnipeg, Manitoba, CANADA R3T 5V5

The widespread discontent of Western intellectuals both with the scientific and the religious establishments can be understood as dissatisfaction with the Western Rational Tradition that has shaped the modern world for the past three-hundred years.

In this paper, it is suggested that jnana as understood by the Hindu tradition would provide the basis for a more adequate rationality and a truer religiosity with major implications on all levels.

Public Lecture:
Science and Astronomy of Vedic Age
Subhash C. Kak, Ph. D.
Departement of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge. LA 70803-5901

The Indian system of knowledge was (and still is) based on equivalencies between astronomical, the terrestrial, the physiological and the psychological. In particular, the psychological world was viewed in terms of inner landscape populated with its own luminaries in the image of the sun, the moon, and the planets. The calendar was based on a system attempting to reconcile the lunar and the solar years by various intercalary devices; yoga was a method to harmonize the lunar and the solar 'forces' in the inner landscape. The astronomical knowledge was represented in terms of elaborately designed brick altars. This recursive system of knowledge is valuable in understanding Indian art, architecture, social organization, and other categories.

A summary of the new findings in this field will be presented. This will include the author's discovery of an astronomical code in the organization of the Vedic books and the connections between myth and astronomy in the Indian context.

Invited and Contributed Papers

The Relevance of the Ramayana to Mankind as it Enters the 21st Century

Vidya Sagar Anand, Ph. D
Chair, European Council of Hindu Organizations, 51 South Molton St., LONDON W1Y 1HF, ENGLAND

The Ramayana, the famous epic written by the sage Valmiki, points troubled, tortured and spiritually disembodied Man, not just in the West, but also in the East, in the direction of Redemption. Here in the pages of the Ramayana are played out the great dramas that still haunt us when man made history by organizing government, administration, a taxation system and a body of laws, and the rule of law itself. A community came into being with a new morality. Men were compelled to be good by law. But laws in themselves cannot produce a responsible society. The natures of men, their complex characters, their economic and social circumstance, the level of their learning, wisdom and ignorance, their vices and virtues, their ambitions, their vanity and their altruism, are all portrayed with incomparable thoroughness and honesty in the Ramayana: heroes and villains, the weak and the strong, the courageous and the cowardly, the dilettante and the scholar, the mercenary and the patriot, the caring and the callous, and the conscientious and the frivolous.

This paper presents the Ramayana as a unique document which can unite the world and bring peace to all mankind. References are made mostly to the Valmiki version, but the Ram Charit Manas of Tulasi Das is also brought in to shape a very modern spiritual vision for the next century assisted by the thought of Swami Vivekananda.

The Vedic Sarasvati River: A Source of Indian Culture
Vedagya Arya, Ph. D.
(Former Head of Sanskrit Dept., St. Stephens College, Delhi), 40 Civil Lines, Roorkee, UP-247 667, INDIA

The living continuity of Indian Culture was rooted on the banks of Sarasvati River. This River was held in the highest veneration by the Vedic people. It was a living reality flowing from the Himalayas to the Arabian Sea. It was the river valley of the Sarasvati, where florished the magnificient and high culture in ancient India. The words 'Sarasvat' and 'Vedic' are synonimums. These people lived and cultivated the land. But some British scholars and modern historians of India are not prepared to admit that India had long-established a fine culture and advanced civilization before the period of so-called "Aryan Invasion". They try to establish that the Aryan people were nomadic invaders and barbarians who destroyed the Indus valley civilization around 2000 BC. The Sarasvati River has been described as the most important and highly sacred river in at least 89 hymns of Rigveda. The hymns of Goddess Sarasvati are different from that of River Sarasvati. The sarasvati River represents the dynamic force of life, fertility and irrigation.
The Harappan culture existed much prior to the Indus civilization. The word 'Harappa' is derived from 'Hariyupiya' and it is mentioed in the Rigveda. It was a city built by the Salvas who are described to be a sub-clan of Bharatas in the Vedic age. About more than eight hundered sites of the Harappan culture have been discovered by the Indian Archaeologists and all of them are found well connected with Indian culture. The Indus valley civilization has been a part of the Vedic culture.

In this paper, the origin and the course of the Sarasvati will be presented quoting from hymns of Vedas.

The Dilemma of the Aryan Oecumene: Sapta-Sindhu &
The Sarasvati in Ancient India

Shiva G. Bajpai, Ph. D.
Professor of History & Director of Asian Studies
California State University at North Ridge, North Ridge, CA 91330-8250

The problem of identification of the earliest region of the Aryan oecumene or homeland, and its frontiers, in Bharat-India has been virtually an intractable one despite the endeavors of the international scholarship for over a century. The main reasons of this intractability have to do with the global albeit Eurasian dimensions of the Aryan question, and its corollary: the theory of Aryan invasion of India on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the presumptive non-aryan characterization of the "Harappan Culture" or the Indus-Sarasvati civilization, first discovered by the archaeologists in the 1920s. The resultant mythic reconstruction of historical processes accorded an amazing role to the exploits of alien Aryan people, thus accounting for the demise of the splendid urban Harappan culture as well as the beginning of a new rural Vedic culture in c.1500 BCE in northwestern India. Although recent archaeological discoveries have chipped away the very foundations of such a reconstruction of the historical processes by the establishment indologists both in South Asia and abroad, they nevertheless cling to their quixotic theories by drawing on puzzling features out of the pandora's box of Eurasian Aryan archaeology, thereby preventing a meaningful and correct reconstruction of India's proto-history.

The dilemma of the Aryan oecumene in India stems from the larger Aryan phenomenon but centers on the identification of the Sapta-Sindhu region, the Rigvedic homeland and in it the place of the Sarasvati Plain, the epicenter of the Rigvedic culture. According to the Vedic testimony confirmed by the cumulative archaeological evidence both the Indus (Sindhu) and the Sarasvati were independent rivers that separately flowed into the western ocean. Thus, the interpretation of the term Sapta-Sindhu by most scholars as the Indus and its seven tributaries is definitely wrong when it includes the Sarasvati as there is no basis for treating it as the eastern affluent of the Indus. Further, gratuitous statements as to the Sarasvati forming the eastern frontier of the Sapta-Sindhu Region are misleading because these avoid confronting the fact that the Sindhu of Sapta-Sindhu does not stand for the Indus river, rather denotes "river" in a generic sense. Thus a proper identification and correct interpretation of the term Sapta-Sindhu ought to be "the Land of Seven Rivers", extending from the Sindhu (Indus) in the west to the Ganga in the east with the Sarasvati, the epicenter of the Rigvedic culture, in the middle. There could be a difference of views as to the names of the other four rivers of the Sapta-Sindhu region and probably such was the case in ancient times as it certainly will be the case in modern scholarship.

My interpretation eliminates the rampant confusion in the extant scholarship, accords the proper and accurate place to the Sarasvati in the Sapta-Sindhu region, and defines the western and eastern frontiers of the Aryan oecumene. Additionally, it is consistent with the post-Vedic definitions of Aryavarta (The Aryan Country), the western frontier of which was never extended beyond the Indus regions despite the fact that the Rig Veda mentions the Valhika, the area of northwestern Afghanistan. We have now defined clearly for the first time the frontiers of the Vedic Aryan homeland with its epicenter in the Sarasvati valley in India, which incidentally coincides with the mainland of the Indus-Sarasvati culture as well.

Ancient Nepalese Astro-Science
Khila Nath Bastakoty
Mahendra Sanskrit University
G.P.O. Box 6660, Kathmandu, NEPAL

Astro-science in Nepal has been of great importance because of its unique culture, tradition, and belief. Its use has traditionally been recognized, and is enhanced in the recent days as the predictions of the astrologers have been found, in most cases, relevant.

Kathmandu -- the capital of Nepal contains over 25 thousands of scrolls in two libraries, dating back to some 1500 years. Nepal is believed to have the greatest hidden treasure of palm-leaf manuscripts. It is also exemplified by frequent visits of foreign scholars in its research. Contributions of Sidda Purush and Kaptad Baba have been the inspiration for working and finding more about the creative epoch of Nepal's history. |

The paper will document the present the status of, and will critically examine the implications of the ancient astro-science, in Nepalese perspective, and its contribution to it beliefs. Literature review of various documents, in particular the Santati Shastra, Karmakanda Vidhi, Sumati Tantra, Yegnavalkya Smriti, Bhrigu Samhita, Durga Saptashati, Kal-Chakra, Ratna Karandika, Yavan Jatakam, and Hara Mekhala will be made in the paper with supports of recent research findings. The paper will highlight the elements contained in the Sumati Tantra, as it is one of the important books written in Kathmandu valley, some 1400 years ago. The paper will also include recommendations to expand the scope of astro-science in the modern society.

"Long Ago and Far Away : Issues and Debates
Regarding the Nature of Ancient Indian Music"

Guy Beck, Ph. D.
Department of Religion, Loyola University, New Orleans, LA

Ancient Indian music has been studied by Western scholars for over two hundred years, going back to Sir William Jones of the Asiatic Society. Debates have centered around the character of Vedic scales, the earliest ragas, which kind of instruments were used in the Vedic yagnas, the use of elementary notation, gender roles in performance, the dating of the earliest musical treatises, the music of the so-called Gandharvas whether human or celestial, and the possibility of borrowing from the ancient Greeks and other civilizations.

This paper will attempt to reconstruct parameters, based on the most reliable evidence, for a description of what the original music may have been like. Though many scholars agree that the present classical music of India does not resemble the ancient music, the author's work in the area of sacred sound in the Vedic literature, along with his recent research into North Indian temple music and dhrupad, will shape the discussion and hopefully shed some light on what are normally dark corners of historical studies and ethnographic studies.

The Origin of the Aryans: Some Linguistic Considerations
Edwin F. Bryant, (Ph.D.)
Columbia University, New York
(560 Riverside Dr. #2Q, New York, NY 10027)

There has been considerable and increasing controversy, of late, about the origins of the Indo-Aryan speakers. A significant body of scholarship has developed, in India, which can be termed 'Indigenous Aryan' school, which claims that the Indo-Aryans were autochthonous to the subcontinent and not invaders or immigrants as is generally held. This group, which consists predominantly of philologists, historians and archaeologists, draws particular attention to the impossibility of definitively identifying Aryan speakers with any intrusive element in the archaeological record.

The external origin of the Aryans, however, was a theory predicated on linguistic evidence. Irrespective of the status of the archaeological debate surrounding the Aryan presence on the subcontinent, most detractors of the Indigenous Aryan school ultimately refer to the linguistic evidence as conclusive in this regard. The Indigenous Aryan school has not critiqued the linguistic dimension of this problem with the same gusto as it reconsidered the archaeological and philological evidence.

This paper, which is a section of a dissertation examining the whole 'Aryan-Invasion' debate, examines the most compelling feature of the linguistic evidence, namely, the evidence of a linguistic substractum in Sanskrit texts. The bulk of the paper consists of an overview of most of the research published in the area that I am aware of. As a historian, I felt compelled to undertake this overview in order to examine the linguistic evidence commonly used to support the theory of Indo-Aryan migrations into the subcontinent. In the paper, however, I conclude that the opinions of the principal linguists in this area have differed quite considerably with regard to this linguistic substratum, thereby problematizing the value of this method as a significant determinant in this debate. I suggest, therefore, that the evidence of a linguistic substratum cannot be used as definitive evidence to support the theory of Aryan migration.

Women in Ancient Indian Civilization

Maya A. Chainani, Ph. D.
6185 Hidden Canyon Rd.,
Centreville, VA 22020

A critical study of Vedic literature reveals that women of all strata of society were held in high esteem in the Vedic Age. They were variously designated and addressed as mother, owner of the house, and wife, etc.. The woman in her role as wife enjoyed the position as owner of the house. She even wielded her authority over her father-in-law and her mother-in-law, like a queen in the house. They were entitled to wear the sacred thread and to study the Veda.

This paper, based upon citations from ancient Indian literature, will highlight the rights of women, the duties of women, and the status of women in the Brahmanas, smrtis, Ramayana, and the Mahabharata to show that women had a very special place in ancient India, and that her position has become lessened due to the onslaughts of history.

Vaishnava Thought-System (Vaishnavism) Since Antiquity

A. N. Chatterjee, Ph. D.
Reader in History, University of Delhi,
Delhi 110007, INDIA,
(E-4/21A, Model Town, Delhi 110009)

Vaishvanism represents an ancient Hindu religion. The word 'Vaishnavism' is derived from 'vaishnava' meaning worshipper of Vishnu or His numerous manifestations. Early beginnings may be traced in the Rig Veda where we see the reference of Vishnu. Thereafter, Vishnu occupies a more prominent place. Some of the Upanishads have developed this theme. In the Puranas, Vishnu has a leading place. The subsequent development can also be traced in the Bhagvat Gita and Srimad Bhagavata.

This paper will trace how Vaishnavism blossomed under the Alvaras and the Acharyas. The process under which it reached its climax during the period of Sri Chaitanya, the founder of Gaudiya School will be highlighted. The entire Vaishnava thought-system, when taken as a whole, is complex, extensive and unlimited.

The paper also goes into some of the universally accepted and fundamentally important Vaishnava ideas. These ideals and concepts will be enumerated. In this regard, there shall also be elaboration of the path of devotion or 'bhakti'; the doctrine of Incarnation, Vaishnava ethical outlook.

The Sarasvati River: Textual and Physical Ecidence
Beatrice Reusch
Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies
University of California, Berkeley, CA

In the Rg-veda, the Sarasvati is a mighty river that runs from the mountains all the way to the sea (RV 7.95.2). It is also a major protogonist in the confrontations between aryas and non-aryas, always on the side of aryas. It is praised in several hymns as a powerful deity and a secure refuge for her devotees. From a list of rivers given in RV 10.75.5-7, we can gather that the Sarasvati River was to be found west of Yamuna and east of the Sindhu.

Yet nowadays nowhere in the Panjab such a powerful and lengthy river is not to be found. Are we to conclude that the Sarasvati River is merely a mythological entity with no geographical reality.

In this paper, I review some of the pertinent passages in the Rg-veda and Mahabharata, after bringing in some modern archaeological and geological findings. I can thus define three ages in Sarasvati's life span: her young Rg-vedic age; her middle age characterized by her disappearance spoken in Mahabharata; and her current traces in a desert area. I rely on textual analysis to describe and contextualize some of the features of Sarasvati's first and second ages. And I wrap up the discussion with a tentative explanation for the river changes that reconcile the textual and the achaeological/geological views.

Community and Power in Kautalya's Arthasastra
Joyotpaul Chaudhuri, Ph. D.
Political Science Department, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85257-2001

Kautilaya's Arthasastra, after its rediscovery over 50 years ago, has become an integral part of the history of Indian ideas. Some early western commentators did not regard it as impressive political theory, but useful as a window on ancient India. Another line of thought was anxious to show that Kautilya anticipated Machiavelli and is as impressive as Aristotle. Yet another section of literature primarily concentrates on Kautilya's balance of power model.

The current paper approaches the Arthasastra from the perspective of political theory. This involves some understanding of the epistemological and normative foundations of Kautilya's analysis. Then Kautilya's major positions are seen through some key, cross cultural and perennially important conceptual categories of how meaning is given to "community" and "power". This approach avoids, in large part, the rancours of colonialism and colonialism in scholarship and also bypasses the purely temporarily and spatially historical details of the Mauryan dynasty.

The Rita of the Vedas and its Presence
in 20th Century U.S. Social Sciences, Humanities and Sciences

Deborah A. Davis (Ph. D.)
Department of Family and Child Ecology, College of Human Ecology
Michigan State University, Lansing, MI

One of the fundamental principles in Vedas is that of Rta. It means "the setting in motion" and is the principle of the Universe that regulates the matrix patterns and processes of all manifest things.

This paper briefly discusses early 19th century Western European Intellectual history and the 20th century U. S. Family Systems Theory, as expressions of the rta. I am identifying Hegel's dialectic and Family System's Theory's multi-paradigmatic framework with the Vedic principle of rrta, and suggesting, furthermore that rta could integrate social sciences, humanities, and sciences.

I also consider many more examples of rta's presence in our other academic disciplines.

Scientific Significance of the Philosophy of Vedanta

Suhrit K. Dey, Ph. D.
Department of Mathematics, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL 61920, U. S. A.

Vedas are the book of knowledge, more than 4000 years old. Vedanta is a philosophy which emerged from these books. Vedanta enunciates that there exists an ultimate operator who makes all changes, being detached from everything He changes. He is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. He is pure consciousness. In every object, visible or invisible He exits in a very subtle form and causes it to change although He remains unchanged. He is the Absolute Existence, Absolute Knowledge, and Absolute Bliss. The aim of our life is to experience His presence within us.

In this article, the scientific significance of this profound philosophy has been explored through rigorous mathematical analysis.

The Vedic Heritage for Environmental Stewardship
Onkar Prasad Dwivedi, Ph. D.
Professor of Public Environmental Administration

Department of Political Studies, University of Guleph, Guelph, CANADA

The concern for nature conservation and protection is ingrained in all world cultures and spiritual traditions. They, each in their own way, offer a unique set of moral values and norms to guide humanity in its relationship with nature. In each culture and spiritual tradition, human being were given a stewardship role for conservation and protection of the Creation. Nevertheless, people everywhere exploited and manipulated natural forces in the name of development with an intensity unsurpassed by any other species on earth. This manipulation, guided by the current culture of materialism and consumerism, has given rise to the view that we as human beings have the right to use the natural environment solely for our design and purpose without consideration for the consequences of our actions on the eco-system or on our own future generations. For our selfish ends, we the people have disregarded and to some extent misinterpreted our spiritual heritage and values concerning nature.

This paper examines the concept of environmental stewardship and the respect for Devi Vasundhara as depicted in the Prithivi-Sukta of Atharva-Veda , as well as in other Vedic literature. In conclusion there are suggestions for building of an ecological paradigm and strategy based on the concept of vasudhaiv kutumbakam, and an ethic of environmental stewardship which draws on the exhortations of our Vedic seers.

Linguistics and the Aryan Invasion Debate

Koenraad Elst, (Ph.D.)
Catholic University, Leuven, BELGIUM, (Van Pulstraat 7, 2960 Brecht, Belgium)

Many linguists believe that at some point in the past, the question of the Original Homeland (or Urheimat) of the Indo-European (IE) language family has been investigated and settled on the basis of linguistic evidence, and this to the detriment of the original idea of India as the Urheimat. Even scholars who have presented literary evidence in favor of India as the Urheimat (e.g. Rargiter), have ended up swallowing their own conclusions in deference to "the well-known linguistic evidence".

But what is this linguist evidence ? In the 19th century, the Indian Urheimat theory was gradually abandoned because a new linguistic insight, known as linguistic paleontology (though political fashions, especially nationalism and Eurocentric colonialism, may have contributed). But many assumptions at the basis of linguistic paleontology have been questioned and are not taken seriously any more. Furthermore, the type of lexical exchange between IE and Dravidian do not fit the "Aryan Barbarians conquered Dravidian Harappa" scenario (the way Latin/Germanic or English/Hindi patterns of lexical exchange testify to socio-cultural inequality), nor do they necessitate any other invasion scenario. Wherever we look, we cannot find the clinching "linguistic evidence" for a European Urheimat and an Aryan invasion into India. An Indian Urheimat has not been firmly proven either, but at any rate, linguistics has not disproven it, so that other types of evidence (such as literary indications of migrations from rather than into India) must now be given a fair and serious hearing.

Political Aspects of the Aryan Invasion Debate

Koenraad Elst, (Ph.D.)
Catholic University, Leuven, BELGIUM, (Van Pulstraat 7, 2960 Brecht, Belgium)

Indian Scholars often get excited about supposed imperialist motives behind the Western scholars' acceptance of the Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT). They point to the Christian missionary commitment of early sanskritists (F. Max Mullar, M. Monier-Williams) and dravidologists (bishop R. Caldwell, Rev. G. U. Pope). They quote Lord Curzon as saying that history rewriting is "the furniture of Empire". Indeed, the British could justify their conquest by claiming that India had never been anything but booty for foreign invaders, and that the Indians (or at least the upper-caste Hindus who led the freedom movement) were as much foreigners as their fellow-Aryans from Britain. As Winston Churchill said in 1935: "We have as much right to be in India as anyone there, except perhaps for the Depressed Classes, who are the native stock." For this political reason, patriotic Indians tend to reject the AIT.

The political use of the AIT continues till today, especially in order to:

1. Mobilize lower-caste people, supposedly the 'subdued natives', against the upper-caste people, supposedly the "Aryan invaders", as argued ad nauseam by the Christian-supported Banglore fortnightly Dalit Voice, even while low-caste leader Dr. Ambedkar had rejected the AIT and the notion that caste status has an ethnic origin;

2. Mobilize Dravidian-speakers against speakers of IE languages, especially in the course of the Dravidian separatist movement which was at its strongest in the 1950s, and in the sabotage of the implementation of the constitutional provision that Hindi replace English as official by 1965;

3. Mobilize the tribals, who have given the AIT-based name "aboriginals" (adivasi), against the non-tribals, who are to be treated on a par with the European invaders of America;

4. Mobilize world opinion against "racist Aryans", i.e., the Hindus, since they are the "Aryan invaders who imposed the caste system as a kind of Apartheid to preserve their racial purity and dominance", never mind the fact that the association of "Aryan" with "race" is a European invention to Hindu tradition; now that "idolater" and "heathen" have lost their force as swearwords, "racist" is a brilliant new way of demonizing Hinduism.

That the AIT has been and still is being used for political purposes, is a plain fact. However, contrary to what Indian/Hindu nationalists often allege, this does not imply that the AIT was deliberately concocted for the said purposes. Nor does it have any implication for the question whether the AIT is right or wrong; after all, someone may be right in spite of his wrong motives. If they themselves want to receive a fair hearing even after expressing their patriotic reasons for opposing the AIT, they themselves ought to address the AIT on its own merits, rather than to keep on wailing over the motives of those who have thought up the AIT and of those who now wield it as a weapon against India.

Adhyatmic (Spiritual-Psychological) View of the Vedas

David Frawley
American Institute of Vedic Studies, P.O. Box 8357, Santa Fe, NM 8357

Modern Western scholars have seen the Vedas only as a kind of primitive nature worship. Most traditional Indian scholarship, particularly of the Sayana line, regards the Vedic Samhitas as a kind of ritual worship or Karma-kanda. However the idea that there is a spiritual or psychological, adhyatmic, meaning in the Vedic mantras is also very old, being mentioned in the Brahmanas and Upanishads, and in traditional Vedic exegis like the Nighantu and Nirukta. Medieval commentators like Madhvacharya also took it up. Important modern Hindu teachers like Swami Dayanand Saraswati of Arya Samaj and Sri Aurobindo have championed it in modern times and used it as the basis of their Yogas.

In this presentation, we will explore the adhyatmic interpretation of Vedic mantras and deities and see how the mantras apply on many inner levels. Relevance of Vedic mantras to Yoga and Vedanta will be examined, along with their relationship with Vedangas and Upvedas, like Ayurveda. The contention is that all the later developments of Hindu thought and culture can be found, at least in their essential form, in the original mantras of the Rig Veda itself. The Vedic Samhitas contain both jnana (spiritual knowledge) and karma (ritual), depending upon how they are viewed. Spiritual knowledge is not limited to the Upanishads only but is the very essence of the Veda which is crucial for any real understanding of ancient India or the spiritual legacy of humanity.

Elective Affinities: The Influence of "Ramayan" on Mizo Religion & Culture

Sujit K. Ghosh, Ph. D.120

1 comment:

Wayne Horkan said...


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