[2014] erielle247: Belief System Glogster

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[2014] erielle247: Belief System Glogster

This is the “Creation Hymn”it speculates about how the world was created and it is a scripture from the Rig Veda.There was neither non-existence nor existence then;there was neither the realm of space nor the skywhich is beyond. What stirred? Where? In whoseprotection? Was there water, bottomlessly deep?There was neither death nor immortality then.There was no distinguishing sign of night nor ofday. That one breathed, windless, by its ownimpulse. Other than that there was nothing beyond.Darkness was hidden by darkness in the beginning;with no distinguishing sign, all this was water. The life force that was covered with emptiness, that onearose through the power of heat.Desire came upon that one in the beginning; thatwas the first seed of mind. Poets seeking in their heart with wisdom found the bond of existence innon-existence.Their cord was extended across. Was there below?Was there above? There were seed-placers; therewere powers. There was impulse beneath; there wasgiving-forth above.Who really knows? Who will here proclaim it?Whence was it produced? Whence is this creation?The gods came afterwards, with the creation of thisuniverse. Who then knows whence it has arisen?Whence this creation has arisen—perhaps it formeditself, or perhaps it did not—the one who looksdown on it, in the highest heaven, only he knows—or perhaps he does not know.



RIG VEDA The Rigveda a compound of "praise, verse" and veda "knowledge", a sacred Indo-Aryan collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns still being used in India. It is counted among the four canonical sacred texts of Hinduism known as the Vedas.

This is an interview with a historian and a field archaeologist who is also well versed in Sanskrit. Ravindra, Singh Bisht is one of them. The interviewer met him at the Red Fort, in the Institute of Archaeology. He grew up in the hills of Kumaon and studied ancient Indian history at Nainital and Lucknow and was trained as an archaeologist in the very same institute at the Red Fort. He then joined the Department of Archaeology and Museums of the Punjab government. Quite early in his career (1968-71) he was involved in excavations at Sanghol that led to the discovery of a site extended from the Harappan period to the modern. In 1971 he joined the new state of Haryana where he was involved with the important excavations at Banawali. Later he joined the ArchaeologicalSurvey of India and led the team that excavated at Dholavira, Kutch. He has written a large number of research papers on his findings. He is also one of the archaeologists who dismiss the theory of the Aryan invasion of India and in fact sees Rigvedic Aryans as belonging to the late-mature Harappan period. Today any conversation with him is sprinkled with generous quotations from the vast Sanskrit literature. Shivanand spoke to him about the mystery of Harappan culture, a sophisticated civilisation with no known literature on the one hand, and that of the vast Vedic literature with no archaeological evidence to locate its chronology and evolution.Dr Bisht, welcome to Peepul keNeeche. We are conversing inthe midst of this awe-inspiringstructure of the Red Fort andI hope we will discuss manymysteries of ancient Indian history.Thank you. I am pleased to participatein this discussion. As forRed Fort, I am an alumnus of thisvery School of Archaeology where Ilearnt the elements of my trade inthe sixties.Tell us briefly about Harappancivilisation.The history of this region startsfrom excavations in Mehrgarh,Baluchistan which have given usa continuous chronology of eventsof the last 9500 years. The Harappansites which today number morethan a thousand lie in a large area:starting from the Makran coast ofBaluchistan, in the West, Haryanain the East, Manda (Akhnoor)in J'K to the North to Lothal inGujarat in the South. This areaencompasses Sindh, both Punjabs,North Rajasthan, Haryana, Kutch,Saurashtra. Thus it extends intoupper Ganga-Yamuna doab, theTapti valley and the upper Godavarivalley as well. The Harappanscrossed the Hindu Kush and establishedtrading posts at Shor Taghaiin north Afghanistan as well. Thisis a vast area, which covers morethan twice the size of the ancientcivilisations of Egypt or Mesopotamia.Based on its level of development,this culture can be classifiedas Early Harappan (3200-2500BCE), Mature Harappan (2500-1900 BCE) and late Harappan(1900-1500 BCE). Mature Harappanis the most advanced and onecan see town planning, elegant architectureand seals. We also seea number of Harappan items inCentral Asia, Mesopotamia, Iran,Oman, the Gulf and Afghanistan,indicating that mature Harappanculture had extensive contactsand trade with surrounding areas.Clearly they had overland and maritimetrade. In the late Harappanculture you see the absence of citiesand more village like settlements,indicating a retrogression.The great mystery in Indianhistory is the existence on theone hand of Harappan civilisationwith no philosophy and decipherableliterature, leavingaside seals with a few characters,which are yet to be read,and on the other hand this vastVedic literature which does notseem to have any archaeologyassociated with it, if you acceptthe dating (1200 BCE) of the RigVeda, arrived at by scholarslike Max Muller and some historians.What is your view?Max Muller was not an archaeologistand gave an ad hoc dating of1200 BCE-600 BCE for Vedic literaturebased on some linguistic considerations.However that seemedto have stuck as a dogma eventhough he himself tried to disown it!My own estimation is that Rig Vedabelongs to mature Harappan period2500-1900 BCE. The geography describedin Rig Veda does belong tothe Saraswati-Indus valley. Thereare strong reasons to believe that thelost Saraswati is the Ghaggar-Hakrasystem, which presently flows fromHimachal into Rajasthan and thendisappears in the sands of Cholistanin Pakistan without joining the ArabianSea. Satellite imagery has confirmedthat this river system usedto merge with the Arabian Sea. Tectonicmovements resulting in earthquakesand the onset of a long phaseof aridity sometime after 2000 BCEin addition to some anthropogenicfactors might have led to change inhydrography and finally the rivergetting lost in Rajasthan. This couldhave happened sometime after 2000BCE. Many Harappan sites of thelater periods have been found in thedried up Saraswati valley. To call RigVedic Aryans as pastoral herdsmenis a total misinterpretation. In factthere are many verses in Rig Vedadescribing agriculture and trade includingmaritime trade. There aredetailed descriptions of three mastedsailing ships; there are descriptionsof fortified cities with threedifferent parts which can be calledthe citadel, middle town and lowertown, (also found in Dholavira).There are hints of city life with itsvirtues and vices in the text. Thereare many linguistic and conceptualconnections between Rig Veda andAhura Mazda of Zarathushtra ofPersia, the former however havingchronological priority.Harappan civilisation, with itsuniformity in weights and commonarchitectural and townplanning features, indicates theexistence of an ancient empireof some sorts. Whereas Rig Vedastill talks of sabhas and samitisand an elected Raja. How doyou reconcile the two?It appears to me that Harappawould have been a socio-economicempire at best held together by astrong social ethos, economic orderand community pride. Even if wethink of a political entity, we knowthat in Indian history no empirecould survive for more than 150-200 years. Thus even if it came underone ruler, it would have beenfor a very short period of time. Infact all empires in India have notlasted more than that. Look at theMauryas, Guptas, Mughals etc.That is, centrifugal tendanciestake over after some time. But westill see so many features of cultureand arts and economy whichare geographically widespread inIndia. So it is not necessary to bein a single political empire for certaincommon features to exist. Asfor the Rig Vedic political system,the sabha was perhaps a house ofelders, whereas the samiti had artisans,farmers and the elite, that isdifferent classes and professions, init. Thus stratification had alreadycome into being. It would be romanticto call it republican and democratic.At best it was an oligarchyassisted by a set of diverse group ofprofessionals in a samiti. However,Rig Veda remembers a lot of thingsfrom the past and retains some ofthe forms whereas the actual stateof affairs had moved on.There is no single mode of disposalof the dead in Rig Veda andthat corresponds to what we seein Harappan culture as well. Theweights system of dividing everythinginto sixteen parts is commonto both. But after that the decimalstake over so we have dasha (ten),shata (hundred), sahasra (thousand),ayuta (lakh), niyuta (crore)and so on taking over.In the Rig Veda we find varioustypes of settlements as well as individualstructures, both hinting atthe existence of a kind of a pluralityof types of settlements as wellas a hierarchical order as we expectin an urban system to exist. In architecturethere is mention of constructionshaving six pillars, hundredor thousand pillars, similarlyhundred doors and thousand doorsetc. So is the fort with seven gates,three divisions and three defences.One of the problems discussedin the literature is the “Horse” notbeing Indian and an import fromthe steppes, whereas Vedic literaturementions the horse.Significantly there are referencesin Rig Veda to the fact that Indrafought successful wars even withoutthe horse, anashvan or anarvan, andbroke many forts asunder. Is it notpointing to a stage when there wereno horses in the early Rig Vedic life?Moreover, the Harappans like theMesopotamians of the third millenniumBCE, had harnessed onagers(wild asses) into chariots. Rig Vedawas composed after the horse cameto India. Moreover there were differenttypes of wild asses in India.Rhinos and elephants, were thereand they have also been describedin Vedic literature and picturisedin seals. Similarly there are questionsraised about rath-chariot. Butwe have found terracotta toy wheelsbearing spokes painted in black orwhite pigment or by way of embossing.Thus both Harappans and earlyAryans had spoked wheels.The Saraswati seems to haveflowed strongly, roughly from 8000BCE to 3000 BCE, when a largepart of Asia was experiencing a verystrong monsoonal regime. Around3000 BCE, the monsoon stabilised tothe phenomenon we see at presentand therefore the Saraswati wasstill flowing. It was only after 2000BCE that it might have come underprogressive desiccation-a phenomenonnoticed by the people of the laterVedic period. It was an importantriver and hence revered in Rig Veda.Hence in Yajurveda and Atharvavedaand the later compositions, Saraswatihad already been deified as agoddess, while its riverine aspect isonly rarely indicated.What led to the downfall anddisappearance of Harappans?Was it an Aryan invasion asmentioned in history texts?Aridity seems to have led to retrogressionand later migration ofHarappans. There is no evidenceof any invasion. In fact, the Aryaninvasion theory is pretty untenabletoday. There are basically two periodswhich are significant archeologically:the Neolithic culture of Mehrgarhthat is 8th millennium BCE,and the chalcolithic (copper age)period in the fifth millennium BCE,when a new socio-economic orderemerged in the North-Western partof the subcontinent. Continuity inchange may be seen all throughoutthe Harappan and post-Harappanperiods. Only a few people trickledin from Central Asia in the secondmillennium BCE. They remainedlocalised in the Gandhara region orthe Kachi plain and some valleysin Baluchistan. They then disappearedwithout bringing about anysocial, economic, religious or culturalchange in India.It is possible that some peoplemigrated in small numbers over along period, but then by and largethey remained marginal all through.Cultures of Gandhar and Pirakwhich represent alien influencesare therefore from a later period butthey were highly localised and didnot influence any course of Indianhistory. There are many commonalitiesin the area of Central Asia,Iran and India before the Iron Age.Why not look for Aryans during theCopper-Bronze Age!Dr Bisht, you have given us afascinating view of ancient Indiaand that too one contraryto what most of us learnt inschools. It has been a pleasuretalking to you.It is my pleasure. One couldtalk endlessly about reconstructingancient India. Unfortunately theatmosphere in India has been vitiatedby charges that anyone whodisputes the Aryan invasion theoryis a communalist, right reactionaryor a chauvinist. And similarly thecharges from the other side that allthose who stick to theories of MaxMuller, of an imported Vedic culturethrough invading Aryans, areEurocentrics and ‘Macaulay’s children’.This precludes any dispassionatediscussion. I do not thinkthat there would be dispassionatereconsideration at least in my lifetime!




A scripture from the rig veda in sanskript

Saraswati holding a copy of the vedas in her left. Saraswati is a Hindu Godess of knowledge, music, arts, wisdom and nature.


As early as 1500 BC, the Rig Veda is the oldest of the four Vedic collections and one of the oldest surviving sacred texts in the world. The Rig Veda consists of 10,552 verses of hymns and mantras used by the hotri priests.

worship of the elements like fire and rivers, worship of heroic gods like Indra, chanting of hymns and performance of sacrifices. The priests performed the rituals for the noblemen and wealthy commoners. People prayed for abundance of children, rain, cattle (wealth), long life and an afterlife in the heavenly world of the ancestors.

cultural diffusion

The Vedic culture was centered in the northern Punjab. During the Later Vedic Period (800-500 BCE) the Vedic culture started to extend into the western Ganges Plain centering around Kuru and Panchala, it also influenced the central Ganges Plain.


Missionary work

Rig Veda is dominated by hymns praising the Aryan gods. Numerous hymns refer to the use of horses and chariots. Spears, bows, arrows, and iron weapons are also mentioned. As a nomadic and pastoral culture glorifying war, they established a new structure of families dominated by warriors. Eventually by priests also.


Just as the sun's rays in the sky are extended to the mundane vision, so in the same way the wise and learned devotees always see the abode of Lord Vishnu.-V.I.22.20Alone, he supports threefold the earth and the sky — all creatures.-V.1.154.4–5

Big Rituals

The Vedas consisted of four collections of mantras , each associated with a particular priest or aspect of ritual: Rig Veda , Sama Veda ,Yajur Veda ,and Atharva Veda. The main ritual activity referred to in the Rigveda is the soma sacrifice. Soma was a beverage prepared from a now-unknown plant



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