Wednesday, July 30, 2014

ATHARVA VEDA AND ATHRAVAN’S OF AVESTA

 Athravan Priests

                                                     (Athravan Priests) 


 In Indian tradition Atharva Veda is considered to be fourth and last Veda. The mainstream Vedic cult did not admit this book as Veda in their fold till very late period. Only three Veda’s, i.e. Rig, Sam and Yajur Veda’s were recognized by them for their sacrificial rituals.

Also the tradition is to consider Atharva Veda to be younger and last in the Vedic compositions. Main reason behind this, it is postulated that the Atharva Veda is not meant for sacrificial purpose. Rather it is all about occultist practices, mostly followed by Atharvan priests for charms, omens or casting evil spells to cure from various deceases, victories over enemies, safeguarding people from epidemics etc. Atharva Veda also carries seeds of spiritual science that later have been expounded in 52 Upanisada’s. Other Veda’s too at some or other places have carried the occultist’s elements, but it is not main subject of them. In a way Atharva Veda is book of charms.

Atharva Veda is special. The priestly class (Atharvan) of Atharva Veda was also known as “Kshatra-Brahmin” (Warrior Priests) as they not only conducted various rituals for Kings and nobles but participated in the wars as well. In fact in ancient times Atharvan religion, based on Atharva Veda was treated independent of all other religions. The main reason behind this was the Atharva Veda’s verses are not at all meant for sacrificial rituals. Its purpose, context and application were far different than of Vedic religion. Interestingly Atharva Veda does not mention Varna system anywhere, which too makes it unique.

Originally this Veda was called “Atharvangirasa Veda” (Composed by Atharva and Angira) or “Bhrigvangirasa Veda (Composed by Bhrigu’s and Angirasa’s). Originally both the Atharva (Bhrugu) and Angirasa Veda’s might have been separate books those were assimilated together in the later times, to be called as “Atharva Veda”. What contained in them when they were separate we might never know or we even does not know whether Angiras Veda survived or not. However Atharva Veda as is available at the present is in polluted and interpolated form as some portion of Rig Veda is attached to the body of Atharva Veda. It was done in an order to secure a seat in Rig Vedic tradition.

WHO COMPOSED IT?

The credit of composition of Atharva Veda is given to the Bhrugu clan. Interestingly Bhrugu clan seems to have played a vital role in the Indo-Iranian religious system. Tarkateertha Laxman Shastri Joshi in his “Vaidik Sanskruticha Itihas” states that the Bhrigu’s were from non-Aryan stock. Dr. Padmanabhayya opines that Bhrigu’s were of Dravidian origin whereas Shrikant Talageri opines that Bhrigu’s were of Iranian origin. So there is no agreement among the scholars about origin of the Bhrigu’s.

Bhrigu’s are not mentioned in Avesta. However Shrikant Talageri thinks, since the Zoroastrian priests were called Athravans and Vedic Atharvans being of Bhrigu clan, Bhrigu’s might have associated with Avestan tradition, at the least in the beginning.

While Rig Veda was under construction, Bhrigu had become a distant memory, a pre-historical or mythical person or clan to the Vedic people. Rig Veda mentions Bhrigu’s 18 times out of which 17 times they are addressed in plural. Bhrigu’s and Angirasa’s are important families of Rig Veda.

The etymology of the both names is said to be related with fire, however from Gopath Brahmana (Only Brahmana scripture associated with Atharva Veda) it appears that “Angirasa” term evolved from “Angarasa”, which means he who born from sweat of Brahma. This etymology does not match with the fire origin of Angirasa’s.

Rig Veda respectfully mentions that Bhrigu’s introduced fire and Soma rituals to Vedic people. Aitareya Brahmana states a myth that Aditya, Bhrigu and Angira were together born of Prajapati’s semen. (3.34). This myth makes Bhrigu and Angira blood brothers. However it is a myth and not necessarily to be taken seriously.

There is no dispute that the Bhrigu and Angirasa were become historical when composition of Rig Veda had begun. The descendents of both the clans have participated in composition of Rig Veda as well; though Bhrigu’s entered composition of Rig Veda in the late period.

Atharvan’s are referred as sons of Bhrigu. However they might be distant descendents in the lineage of Bhrigu.

Though both the families, especially Angirasa’s, having two books of Rig Veda to their credit, they also have composed Angirasa Veda, which is not available at the present or it is incorporated in Atharva Veda as subject matter of both the books (Bhrigu and Angirasa Veda) were similar.

Though it is general opinion that Atharva Veda is younger, it is younger in the sense of when it got authenticity as Vedic scripture, not in the sense of its composing. According to Tarkateertha Laxmanshastri Joshi, some part of Atharva Veda predates even Rig Veda. We can surmise from this that the Atharva Veda was being composed separately but almost simultaneously along with Rig Veda, may be at different places and in different clans branched from original ones. This also can be supported by other proof that the Rig Vedic Gods like Indra, Varuna etc. are not depicted as glorious as they are in Rig Veda. It seems that to Atharvan people these gods had lost their importance.

Also a peculiar fact is Rig Veda is composed by almost 350 seers from ten Rig Vedic Seer families over generations whereas Atharva Veda is composed by the seers of only Bhrigu and Angirasa family. The names of the composers of verses do seldom appear in Atharva Veda and that too of mainly mythical persons.
So, to conclude in short, the Atharvan’s who composed Atharva Veda were together known by their family name. The priests of later times those performed Atharva Vedic charms and rituals too were called as Atharvan.

AVESTA AND ATHRAVANS

The role of Atharvan’s (Ave. Athravan) is highly important in the Zoroastrian religion which too is based on fire rites, though of different kind than of Vedic. Athravan means Fire-guardian; the attendant of the sacred fire in Persian temples; the proper word for a priest in the Avesta. His main religious duty is to perform Yasna (Sk. Yadnya, i.e. Fire sacrifice) and protect sacred fire.

Interestingly, in Avesta too Athravans are associated with Asura’s. Shrikant Talageri suggests “Angra” in Avesta are none but Angirasa’s of Vedic tradition. In Avesta “Angra Mainue” is head of the demons or evil spirits (Ave. Daeva’s). If Talageri is correct then it would mean that the Bhrigu’s and Angirasa’s of Avestan Asura culture were rivals, unlike what they have been depicted in Indian tradition. In Indian tradition, as we have seen above, Bhrigu and Angira’s were blood brothers and in their clan a whole Veda was composed along with their active participation in composing of Rig Veda as well!

Also we must note here that the Atharvan’s in Indian tradition, though some have attempted to associate them with fire, their Veda is not meant for fire sacrificial rituals at all. Rather in structure, practice and content it stands contrary to other Veda’s. This was the very reason why Atharva Veda till late times did not receive recognition as forth “Veda”.

Etymology of Avestan “Athravan” still is uncertain. However its origin could be traced to Avestan “Atar”, which means holy fire. Since duty of the Athravan’s was to protect fire, the term Athravan might have evolved from Atar…. Athravan…who protects the holy fire!

According to K. Hoffmann, (Avestische Laut- und Flexionslehre, 2nd ed., 2004) Atar got associated with Athravan by folk etymology. There also are claims that the Vedic Atharvan is a loan word from Iranians. The social status of Athravan’s was as priestly servant of the kings and Magnates, which does not speak for their high status or spiritual authority. (The Broken World of sacrifices: An essay in Ancient Indian Ritual by J. C. Heesterman)

Whatsoever may be the case, Athravan’s of Avesta were mere fire priests. There are no Gathic or Avestan compositions to their credit as we have to Atharvan’s of Vedic tradition. Athravan’s were not blood related but a group selected carefully as priests from different families. In later times Magu’s (Magi or Magavan) replaced Athravan’s as priests, thus putting an end to Athravan tradition.

It does mean that the Atharvan’s of Indian tradition has no relation whatsoever with the Athravan’s of Avestan tradition except the similarity in the title they bear. This also may be evident from the fact that the Athravan’s in Avestan tradition is collective name of the priests; it does not refer to any particular clan. The duties of Athravan’s as fire priests are well defined in Vendidad.

Or it may mean that the Athravan tradition of Avesta predated Vedic tradition and that a rival clan from Avestan Athravan tradition split to form entirely new religion that did not require fire rites at all! The myth of Atharva being Bhrigu’s son was fabricated in later times to authenticate independent Atharvan tradition of India.

Angirasa and Angra Mainyu

Shrikant Talageri suggests Angirasa’s and Angra mainyu of Avesta being same. We have seen that etymology of Angirasa too is uncertain. Either the word evolved from “Angara” which means blazing coal or “Anga Rasa” which means fluid (Sweat) from the body. Looking at the style of Indian mythologies, the persons of unknown origin but those are revered by tradition are considered to be born from Brahma or Shiva’s some body part or fluid. Angirasa, according to Gopath Brahmana, is born from Brahma’s sweat. This makes this etymology even unbelievable. Angirasa’s clan was also involved in composing of Rig Veda, almost two books to their credit and Rig Veda being related with fire ritual, making Angirasa’s connected with fire could have been the reason behind this vague etymology.

But how it can be connected with Avestan Angra? Zoroaster in the Gatha’s composed by himself does not use Angra Mainyu term for the person or persons but to the evil, destructive spirits or minds. For good spirits Zoroaster uses the term “Spenta Mainyu”. There is eternal conflict between good and bad spirits that is depicted in Avesta. Hence considering Angra of Avesta and Angirasa of Veda’s one and the same would be a fatal mistake, such as made by Shrikant Talageri.

BHRIGU

We have seen few Indian traditional myths surrounding Bhrigu’s. We also have seen that before Rig Veda came to being composed Bhrigu’s had been a distant memory. From Indian tradition it appears that the Bhrigu’s were closely connected with Asura culture and that they introduced fire to the mankind along with the Soma ritual. The seers from this clan also participated in composing of the Rig Veda. Bhrigu’s son Shukracharya was Guru of Asura’s. In previous chapter we also have seen that Rig Veda too in the beginning revered Asura tradition by respectfully addressing their God’s with epithet “Asura”.

“Bhrigu” name derives from the root bhrk, meaning the blazing of the fire’ professed immense reverence towards the elements of fire on earth viz the life and warmth-giving Sun and the Fire. However some Sanskrit Scholars believe that the root bhrk or bhraj and word Bhrigu may not be of Sanskrit origin.
Bhrigu tradition is peculiar in their possessing different faiths and representing rival sides. Shukracharya was Guru of Asura’s. Vishvamitra had taken part in composing Rig Vedic hymns and later deserted Vedic people to gather a team of rival kings to fight against his earlier patron. Jamadagni was an Atharvan priest who in later times turned out to be enemy of his patron king Sahastrarjuna. His son Parashuram annihilated the family of Sahastrarjuna by attacking his capital several times. Interestingly Parshuram was devotee of Lord Shiva, a Non-Vedic God.

From Rig Veda it would mean that the original Bhrigu, Atharva or Angira were not the humans but fire element personified and in later ages came in to the use as noun. Whereas the Athravans of Avesta are directly associated with fire rituals as priests, and have no mythical origin as Vedic tradition has for Atharvans.

How can Athravan and Atharvan be said to be same then? Atharvan is the name of the family members/descendents of Atharva, but Athravan is a mere title of the fire priest. Again it must be remembered that the Atharvan’s as composers and followers of Atharva Vedic tradition of charms were not fire priests.
From above we can sum up as follows;

1. Athravans of Avesta and Atharvans of Atharva Veda were different entities, not related in any way with each other.Though the words are similar, meaning of the both in two traditions is entirely different.

2.Bhrigu clan was independent of Avestan and Vedic tradition. They had mastered over the art of charms and had earned a special reputation in the larger geographical area maintaining independent identity.

3. Some people of this clan might have joined Vedic tradition composing some hymns of Rig Veda. The word Atharvan appearing in the Rig Veda might be the deed of those Bhrigu’s.

4. Angirasa’s of Rig Veda and Angirasa’s as composers of Angirasa Veda can be different group that branched from the same family.

5. Angra of Avesta and Angirasa of Veda’s cannot be same as thought by Mr. Talageri.

6. Similarity between Athravan and Atharvan is though obvious the etymologies does not match with each other. Athravan word is ancient and has been used in Avestan tradition for short period, it is possible that Vedic’s loaned it to use this word in different manner or it is a co-incidence that the terms evolved independently, sounding similar but having different meanings.

So what does it mean?

First of all above discussion does not support OIT, AMT or AIT theory. It clearly suggests that the Avestan tradition is anterior to Vedic tradition.

It also suggests though there are some sorts of exchange of ideas in both the religions, both the groups ethnically had independent traits.

The third religion of Bhrigu’s i.e. Atharvan’s and Angirasa’s, been also anterior to Vedic religion and had sprouted at entirely different and distant region. This clarifies why Rig Vedic most revered Gods become secondary and demigods to Atharvan’s.

When and how did Atharvan religion of Atharva Veda and the religion of Rig Veda came together to form one with making adjustments in their scriptures, are the vital questions….

And most important question is how this Rig Vedic religion traveled to present India and who spread it with missionary zeal is the most important question to which we need to find the answers.

We shall deal with these questions in next installment.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Hindu Religion: A bitter truth!

The present Hinduism is a kind of association of two different alien religions. Deliberate attempts to hide this fact, for the social benefits, by the Vedic priestly class have created many socio-cultural problems promoting ongoing conflict within these two religions. At the present the Brahmin-Non-Brahmin clashes are in fact outcome of the Vedic and Non Vedic hegemonic conflict. The struggle between two faiths has been recorded from ancient times that still are continued. In India ancient faith was Shavik idol worshiper’s religion having original roots in Indus culture that still remains dominant even now. The other religion is the Vedic religion, introduced to India sometime before 1000 BC.

What make a religion different from other? Those are faiths, rituals, philosophy, and set of customs that makes a religion distinct from the other. First, let us have a look at how two religions are entirely different on every ground.

First let us have look at the ingredients of the Vedic Religion.
  1. Vedic religion is based on the four Veda’s having different kinds of fire sacrifice’s including animal sacrifices as the main religious ritual.
  2. There are about 645 abstract God’s those are worshiped through sacrificial fire. Vedic Gods are the personification of the natural elements, such as Rains, Lightening, rivers, space etc.
  3. Indra, Varuna, Prajapati, Aditya’s are the principle God’s of the Vedic religion, while other pantheon of the Gods are mentioned in different contexts in the Veda’s in prayers.
  4. Vedic social order is divided in Varna system. The system classifies Vedic society in four classes in descending order. The Varna is totally based on the birth, not virtues, though in later literature the futile attempts were made to connect the Varna of a person based on virtues. Birth based Varna system remained prominent all the time in Vedic religion.
  5. Originally there were only three Varna’s in Vedic system. However they added fourth Shudra Varna in later times. The slaves, servants, those were needed to serve Vedics, hailing from non-Vedic stratum, were named as Shudras…and as their number grew, forth class was assigned to them, without giving any religious right, such as learn and recite Veda’s, in Vedic fold.
  6. Vedic religious does not acknowledge idol worshiping. Idolatry is strictly prohibited in their religion. The battle of Ten Kings prominently mentioned in Rig Veda appears to have taken place mainly because of the religious differences. Phallic worship has been ridiculed in Rig Veda. Yajur Vveda implicitly states, “They are enveloped in darkness, in other words, are steeped in ignorance and sunk in the greatest depths of misery who worship the uncreated, eternal prakrti—the material cause of the world—in place of the All-pervading God, but those who worship visible things born of the Prakrti, such as the earth, trees, bodies (human and the like) in place of God are enveloped in still greater darkness, in other words, they are extremely foolish, fall into an awful hell of pain and sorrow, and suffer terribly for a long time.””Yajur Veda 40:9) and “The Formless Supreme Spirit that pervades the universe can have no material representation, likeness or image.”—Yajur Veda 32:3.
  7. Vedic people follow “Gotra” (ancestry) system, claiming their bloodline to one or other Vedic or Gotrakarta seer.
  8. Four Veda’s, Aranyaka’s, Brahmana’s form the main body of the Vedic religious scriptures accompanied with the Smriti’s those mainly defines and controls the social conduct and ethics of the four Varna’s.
  9. Women has secondary status in Vedic religion.
From above it clearly appears that the foundation of the Vedic religion is the fire sacrifices and birth based unequal social order. Exactly when and where this religion came into the existence is still is an enigma. The scholars have divided opinion on this, such as some believe that the Vedic religion was founded by the invading or migrating Aryans whereas some are of the opinion that the religion is indigenous. However Vedic and Avestan religion of south-east Iran find close similarities.

Fire sacrifices of the Vedic religion became more and more complex and expensive as the religion evolved and received heavy patronage till fifth century BC. However, in later course, due to the religious revolutions like Jainists and Buddhists taking in the India the religion shrunk to the negligible level. As patronage was lost the fire sacrifices too became extinct. Still the religion survived and flourished. It adopted some modifications in their religion by promoting a minor Vedic God like Vishnu and accepting idolatry. Though this was out of the tenets of the Vedic religion, the adaptation helped them to revive.

Before discussing the import of revival of the Vedic religion, let us have a cursory look at the Shavait religion.

Shaivait religion 

Since the time immemorial Indian people were following idolatry religion, Shiva being their principle God. The Indus civilization excavations have provided abundant proofs of Shiva being worshipped in phallic form in unification with Shakti, his consort.

Phallic worship is considered to be most ancient throughout the world. Phallus and female organ have been the symbol of fertility, creation and preserver of the life. The religion though became extinct from rest of the world it kept evolving in India and has become the main practiced religion today.

Let us have a look at key points of the Shaivait religion.
  1. Aagama’s, many Upanisada’s and Sankhya darshana’s are the religious scriptures that form the basic philosophy of the Shavait Religion.
  2. Advaita (non-duality) is the supreme philosophy of the Shaivait religion.
  3. Idol worshiping is a simplest form of this religion. Shiva is mainly worshipped in Lingam form that shows his divine unification with Shakti. Shakti is also worshipped independently under many regional names in the country. There are hundreds of many minor gods that too are worshiped in idol form those are finally associated with Lord Shiva, either as his incarnation or his associate.
  4. “Puja” (oblation) is the only ritual conducted to please the Shavait Gods. In some places animal sacrifice also is common practice among Shavaits.
  5. Shaivait believes in rebirth, salvation and soul, unlike the Vedics.
  6. Shaivait religion is mostly founded on Tantras (occultist rituals and practices, practical sciences.) Yoga is invention of the Shaivaits and is being practiced since Indus times. \Lord Shiva is believed to have it gifted to the mankind.
  7. Social order of the Shaivait’s is caste based. Caste is based on the profession of the person. As professions grew from the ancient times, castes too grew. There was flexibility, one could change profession and so the caste without any social restrictions till 10th century AD. The social equality of all castes was practiced while giving equal, sometime prime status to the women.
  8. There have been hundreds of Shaivait cults in India. It has been people’s religion throughout the history. Not a single settlement, village or town in India will be found where Shiva shrine is absent.
Principally it is clear that both the religions are different in nature. The faiths are different, rituals are different and Gods too are different. And yet both religions together are called as Hindu, which is not a fact.
It is a fact that a religion named Hindu never did exist. Hindu indicates geographical identity, not the religious identity. The word does not find any mention as a synonym to religion either in Vedic or Shavait literature. Respective religions, knowing their individual identities had named their religions and cults separately.
Vedic’s were modifying their religion too by introducing Vishnu, a minor God of Rig Veda as a supreme God to entice the people in their religious fold. As described above, any way fire sacrifices had come to the abrupt stop because of the strong opposition from the Buddhists. It had also had lost charm. People practiced their ancient Shaivait faith which was wider in perspective and based on the equality.

To elevate Vishnu, Vedics did start to assimilate Shaivait hero’s of the ancient past providing them new characters, declaring them incarnations of the Lord Vishnu, mostly false though. Though the instant acceptance to this idea was almost impossible, Vedic’s with sheer persistence continued the campaign for centuries, sometimes by getting royal patronages. The most of the Purana’s were composed or re-written with heavy interpolations during Gupta era. Main purpose was to establish divinity of the Veda’s, Vedic rituals and the Smriti’s.

After tenth century AD, the socio-economic system declined drastically. This was due to the series of severe famines and constant aggressions by the Muslim invaders. From 10th to 16th century AD there are over 400 famines are recorded in almost all regions of India. Because of the Muslim invasions foreign trade was taken over by the Muslims, as they already had established their rule in even other countries with whom Indians would trade. Thus assaulted by bad economy and foreign rule the previously established social order was entirely disrupted. The production got limited to meet the local needs only. To stop competition, the social norms got changed. Entry or exit was banned to the individuals in or from all the professions. That made the caste system rigid and closed one as the castes were based on the professions. This provided a greater opportunity to Vedic people. The cultural invasion in Shaivait religion thus began gradually tightening the clutches over the entire society.

During this period, because of constant Vedic hegemonic campaign, Shaivait’s gradually fell prey to the glorification of the Vedic Varna system, mostly out of fascination in the begining to fall victim of it. The birth based inequality got gradually absorbed in all the castes. Though they never were got assimilated in the Vedic fold, still they were labeled as Shudra’s, the lowest class of the Vedic Varna system. Thus the social order got drastically changed creating a chaotic social condition that persists even today.

During this period,the term “Hindu” for their religion was gradually accepted by the people. Vedic and Shaivait religions though remained distinct, Vedic scholars started to link every non-Vedic deity with obscure Vedic deities. Lord Shiva was identified with a minor Vedic God Rudra. Why they would do so?
They certainly knew they were committing sacrilege by becoming priests of the deities those not belonged to their own religion. They needed to find a solace by somehow connecting non-Vedic gods with the Vedic Gods. It helped them because people too didn’t mind Vedic’s being their priests in the course of the time. The process has been gradual but helped Vedic people to retain their own religion while commanding religious supremacy over Shaivait people. With creation of the several mythical stories, religious history got corrupted. Under the name of the “tradition” many Vedic elements were retained while performing the Puja of non-Vedic gods. This was sacrilege from point of the both, Vedic and Shaivait.

Assimilation of the two religions on equal footing would have been welcomed. In a way it would be a unique event where two religions assimilate rather than separating like others. But the motive was not honest. Vedics tried to enter the pigeonhole of Shaivait religion to earn livelihood maintaining their supremacy. Thus, not only religion got heavily corrupted, but the cultural history of India too became Vedic oriented making Shaivait’s almost non-participant in building of the national culture. Even foreign scholars too looked at the Indian past through the glasses of Vedicism and its past glory. Shaivait religion, though far widely spread, practiced and honored was considered as mere a cult!

Scholars now have to look at the Indian cultural history from unbiased point of view, or they will err in their findings, as has happened in the past. Religious history of the country begins with Shiva whereas Vedic cult has very later origin, which none shall forget.

The Non-Vedic’s should also learn from this and try to find their own history of equality throwing away the yoke of Varna system to reestablish equality among all castes.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Who corrupted Hindu religion? Why?


When some group of the people does not have any history to boast of, they tend to corrupt the history to get credits of the great events of the past as soon they get the opportunity in course of the time. We find such instances in Nationalist history of every country. Religions too are not exception to this happening. False superiority complex normally is behind such occurrences. However while corrupting or recreating the history; unknowingly many loopholes are left behind so that one can analytically trace back what could have been the original and what is corruption.

This also happens with the kind of the people those don’t want to keep history as it is because it endangers their supremacy. Islam attempted heavily to wipe out pre-Islam history and existence of Pagan Arabia because it could become a great hurdle in spreading Islam. Christianity did it in different way. They created almost a false history of their religion, which now is being questioned by some scholars. Indo-Europen group of the languages theory too is a product of such false notions.

Hindu religion could not be an exception. Till invention of Indus culture it was a common understanding that Veda’s were original source of Hindu religion and that all the philosophy that is found in ancient Sanskrit was Vedic. They used to tell cult of Shiva and Vishnu began in later Puranik times which extends from second century AD till tenth century AD.

There was no question of challenging this theory as people trusted Brahmin’s being so-called head of the Hindu society and the religious texts written or polluted by them in the first part of the first millennium, as they got such opportunity in Gupta period. No one thought that there could be a malicious scheme behind these corruptions.

Let’s have a look at how and why the interpolations were made:

1. Epic poetry and Purana’s were translated to Sanskrit from original Prakrit. Sanskrit never was mother of all languages, but a branch of language that evolved from Prakrit to Sanskrit for religious purpose. There are no proof that even Vedic Sanskrit existed before first century AD. Even so the Sanskrit was labeled and revered as the "Language of Gods". This was first serious cultural corruption.

To stress the supremacy of Veda’s and Brahmana’s many mythical stories were created, no matter how irrelevant they were to the original body of their own scriptures.

This was done with an obvious reason that Vedic’s wanted to establish that Veda’s had final authority over any social issue, as Veda's are none but the creation of the God! This created an aura of divine auspiciousness around Veda’s. Also this helped elevating Vedic Brahmins as a head of the Hindu society. Brahmin’s got spared of any cruel punishments, no matter what degree of heinous crime they commit. Also they were spared of paying taxes and were eligible to receive heavy donations in form of the gold and lands from the Kings.

2. Now everyone knows that there is no social code of conduct or laws mentioned in any Veda’s, still authority of Veda’s was propagated through entire religious literature.

This was purposely done because whatever laws were made by the Brahmins couldn’t be turned down by the rulers for fear of wrath of the Brahmins that could destroy their fortune! The influence of the campaign of centuries had so deeply rooted in the minds of the rulers and public in general that challenging Vedic authority became a crime and sacrilege.

3. Most of the deities being worshiped by the non-Vedic’s since time immemorial, those never find a single mention in the Vedic literature, were propagated as if having Vedic roots, which was never a fact. Vedic pantheon of the Gods include Indra, Mitra, Varuna etc., about 645 deities, but none is worshiped by non-Vedic masses. non-Vedic deities like Shiva and Shakti (with their various forms) find no mention in any Veda;s. The religious rituals of the Vedic people are far different than non-Vedic people.

But they tried to connect Vedic God like Rudra with Shiva, Aditi with Shakti...though their is not present the slightest iota of resemblance in Vedic and non-Vedic gods.

4. It is crystal clear that Vedic is an independent religion and have no connection with idol worshipers Non-Vedic Hindu religion. Vedic philosophy, rituals, Gods and social order is distinctly different than of the non-Vedic Hindu religion. Still ironically Vedic people consider themselves as a part of Hindu religion which is not correct!

Then why should they do so?

They did it because the Vedic ritual, fire sacrifice, was almost seized to being performed by the kings and nobles by fifth century BC. Rise of Buddhism was a fatal setback to the Vedic people. As Fire sacrifices stopped their source of income too diminished. Hence they had to find new job opportunities.
They needed to find other source of income which they could see in the being priests of non-Vedic Gods. Hence gradually they started becoming priests on Non-Vedic God’s those were being worshiped by Non-Vedic people from Indus period. A very hard to digest situation to start praising other God’s those never belonged to them! But as we are aware of the human life facts, that is financials, those forced Vedic's to change their faith.

This is why they started a mission…to justify the change in the faiths, they started connecting almost every non-Vedic God to Veda’s creating false mythical stories around them through Purana literature. Where it became impossible to connect highly worshiped God by the masses like Shiva with Veda’s, the explanation was created that Vedic Rudra and non-Vedic Shiva were one and the same…as there is some similarity in their attributes. In modern times scholars started stating that Vedic Rudra and non-Vedic Shiva, though different God’s, were unified after complete defeat of the non-Aryans, in an order to assimilate them in Vedic culture! Both the stories were naturally false because Vedic Rudra is an independent God as evidenced from Rig Veda itself. Defeat of non-Aryans is another blunder as there is no proof of it!

4. Ramayana was interpolated especially by adding two parts (Balkanda and Uttarakanda) to original body of Ramayana to make Rama biological son of a Vedic seer Rishyashringa. The legacy continued till recently as James Lain in his book published a street joke that Shivaji was biological son of Dadoji Kondadev, a Brahmin administrator of Adil Shaha (a Muslim ruler of south India).

Why this? As stated in the beginning, those who cannot create the history tend to corrupt the history! They did this with numerous historical great personalities. Either they made Brahmin their biological father (such as great epic Poet Vyasa) or Guru (master) such as Arya Chanakya to Emperor Chandragupta Maurya.
5. Rama and Krishna were non-Vedic personalities in the history. They too were hijacked and were declared as incarnations of Vedic God Vishnu. This apart, they did not stopped at declaring Lord Buddha, a staunch enemy of Vedicism, as incarnation of Lord Vishnu!

Such corruptions are ample. Such corruptions corrupted Indian mind set, making them forget their own religion and origins. Without authorizing non-Vedics to read, recite or even hear Veda's they could manage to establish its supremacy over the masses.

Now a days a big scheme is brewing up. They are calling Indus civilization being "Saraswati Civilization." They have started a mission to grab the credit of Indus civilization, though not a single Vedic element has been ever found at any ruins of Indus settlements. This attempt now is being challenged by the global scholars.

However now the buried facts have started surfacing and non-Vedic people are awakening. Difference between Vedic and Shaivait (Idol Worshiping) religion is so obvious that none can miss it with slightest knowledge of Veda’s and the religion that is being practiced by the masses. We now know that Hindu religion is as ancient as Indus culture where Shiva Lingams have been found abundantly, as same as can be seen in every Shiva Temple and household in India, whereas Vedic religion is later development.
Hindu religion has been corrupted by Vedic religion and time has come to cleanse Hindu religion by separating Vedic elements from Shaiva Hindu religion!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Vedic Homeland!

 
What was original homeland of the Vedic people or Aryans? This has been a matter of great controversy since nineteenth century. Various theories have been vehemently proposed to prove Vedic homeland either being in India or outside of India. First of all what is the special about Vedic people to get engaged in the search of their original habitat? Let us not forget “Original Habitat” in itself a misguiding concept. There is nothing original about any human race. If people are hyped about Vedic Aryans because they were founders of an oldest known religion codified in Veda’s, again the assumption is wrong. Because Vedic, as we have observed, is neither oldest religion nor Veda’s are the oldest scriptures.

Did Vedic’s came to India from abroad? Eurasia? Did Vedic’s have migrated from India to the west to spread language and culture? Answers to both the questions have been attempted to propose in variety of ways. How can be either answer true when the very foundation of hypothesis in itself is wrong?

It is broadly assumed that for the spread of Vedic religion and so-called Indo-Aryan languages the migration of the people belonging to that certain ethnic stock is a first requirement. No matter where was their original habitat, as per the migration theorists, migration is the precondition for the spread of cultural and linguistic elements.

For migration theorists we can raise few simple questions:

    Why do migrations in unison or in batches take place?
    Are migrates are superior over the local populace where they migrate or the things might be otherwise?
    Is origin of languages owed to the people living in particular region or it is owed to the peculiarities of the region they live in?
    Is the migration essential for the spread of culture, languages or religion?

There are so many questions those can be raised on this issue. However in this article let’s deal with the above questions. Migrations in not a new phenomena occurring in the human world. From the ancient times human being has been moving from one place to other in  search of the food. Many a times he has abandoned his habitats because of drastic climatic changes or epidemics. Some migrations has been taken place in the quest of expanding empires or because they were forcibly driven out by the enemy.

The basic principle behind spread of so-called Indo-Aryan languages was attributed to the migrations of the Aryans. The 19th century scholars believed that the language of Rig Veda was most archaic and that date could be placed back to the Bronze Age. The similarities between European and Indian languages made them believe that some time in the ancient past the group of Proto Indo-European languages speaking people must have been settled at some place from where they took different directions to move on for unknown reasons.

However to decide the original homeland of the Aryan’s the lack of any archeological proof was a great hurdle. Still the Migration theorists proposed various homelands of Aryans, right from Russia, Central Asia to India (Punjab). Some of the theories are listed bellow;

    It is proposed, from Russia, people of Andronovo culture migrated to Anatolia, Iran and South Asia. The theorists claim that the Indo-Iranian people were grouping of ethnic groups, such as Indo-Aryan, Iranian, Dardic and Nuristani people. Sistashta culture is supposed to be predecessor of Andronovo culture inherited by proto Indo-Europeans. The migrations from the Andronovo culture have been thought to be in two waves.

    First wave consisted of migration into Anatolia, founding Hittite Empire and Mittani kingdom and a migration south-eastward over Hindu Kush into north India.

    Second wave per Parpola is Iranian wave. According to the scholars Iranian’s first reached Black Sea in 8th century BC to finally settle down into the Iranian plateau.

    According to Dr. Rajesh Kocchar, there have been three waves;

a. The "Murghamu" (BAMC) related people who entered Baluchistan at Pirak, Mehrgarh south cemetery, etc. and later merged with the post-urban Harappans during the late Harappans Jhukar phase (2000-1800 BCE);

b. The Swat IV that co-founded the Harappan Cemetery H phase in Punjab (2000-1800 BCE);

c. And the Rigvedic Indo-Aryans of Swat V that later absorbed the Cemetery H people and gave rise to the Painted Grey Ware culture (to 1400 BCE).

5. Shrikant Talageri vehemently argues the opposite. According to him original habitat of Aryans was east Punjab, beyond Sarasvati (Ghaggar) River from where the clan of Sudasa (Puru) migrated towards west and from Afghanistan Indo-Aryans spread to Europe.

6. From linguistic point of view many mainstream scholars propose the Proto Indo-European homeland in the vicinity of the Black Sea.

From above brief we get a general picture of the various migration theories. The basic assumption here is no matter from where but unless there was migration there wouldn’t have been spread of so-called Indo-European languages. But, as we have raised couple of question above, what made Indo-Europeans to migrate from their original habitat? What was their population? What culture or language existed wherever they migrated? If they migrated in various batches taking independent directions, how many people consisted of every batch? Can there be such a great ethnic diversity in a region where IE language speaking people were situated?

The first fact should be noted that the geographical spread of the Andronovo culture so far was limited. There have been no archeological evidences indication sever draughts, epidemic or any violent war forcing out Indo-Europeans from their habitat.

The only indicative evidence is the existence of chariots. Rig Veda describes of spoked chariots and so the Mittani, Iranians and so on. It has been assumed that the invention of the chariots was done by Andronovo people. Even so, is it required migration to have an art of making chariot to spread? Were Andronovo people were cut off from rest of the neighboring world for not to have come into the contact with them?

If so, then it would be a funny and illogical assumption. Aryans used chariots doesn’t necessarily make them inventors of the chariot. The useful inventions are adapted and spread. Looking at the Russian Steppes to Anatolia, we can find it has been the populated region since ancient times engaged in variety of the trade with each other.

Indus people traded with Mesopotamia, Turkmenistan, Iran and other regions by sea rout and land rout as well. There are ample of proofs available of such trade and trade routes. It does mean that the regions were already populated and were flourishing. If Indus people were not from Indo-European speaking stock, as the migrations had yet not taken place, what was the languages of the people residing in that vast regions?

The Indio-European migration period is roughly estimated at about 2000 BC from Andronovo culture. Period of mature Indus culture is estimated 3200 BC till 1750 BC. Indus culture predates so-called Aryan culture by 1100 years. If Indo-Europeans were still settled in their homeland, with whom Indus people were trading and in which language they exchanged their thoughts?

Same applies to the Talageri’s Indian Origin Theory. As we have seen the migrations are not the unforeseen phenomenon in the history of the human race. But the mass exodus, without leaving any footprints of the culture or language at the original homeland is something implausible.

CULTUR

If migration theory is considered true the following questions arise:

    Hittites, Mittani’s those are thought to be the part of Indo-European migrants used cuneiform script exclusively. Indo-Aryans were unaware of any kind of script. They even didn’t have cognate for writing and script. Had they been migrating from one stock, would there be such difference?
    Except Persians and Indo-Aryans the religious practices seem to be far different in the rest of the assumed Indo-European world. Mostly pagan religion was practiced by the people of those times. Why there would be such a big difference in religious ideas of the people belonging to single original habitat?
    How come that the religious ideas, though many superficial similarities, fundamentally differ between Persians and Indo-Aryans?
    The Greeks too were pagan, worshiping variety of the gods with independent cosmogony. Had they all been from same stock of the people, cosmogonies wouldn’t have been that different.
    Fire sacrifice is the main religious ritual of the Zoroastrian and Vedic people. Why there has been no spread of this religious practice in rest of the Indo-European world?

If we carefully probe into the above questions, we can come to the conclusion that the Indo-European migration theory in itself is faulty. There was no migration in India or out of India. The people largely lived in the regions from pre-historical times as they are mostly living there. The spread of languages has not coursed from one to other but there has been constant exchange, modifications and alterations. One language cannot claim the origin or mother of other languages as the language is an innate need of human mind and the geographical conditions determine how it develops and is pronounced. One should not search for the origin, but the dialectic science that evolves the language with the materialistic need of any society.

Religious ideas and mythologies too as well travel from places to places amusing people. They are adapted, modified or altered to suit the local cultures. We can see from the instance of Pancha Tantra, how the stories have traveled to the far west adorning local textures.

Migration theories are outcome of superiority complex. Indo-Europeans have carefully nourished it to prove their superiority.

One must not forget that before agriculture was invented human being was nomadic, having no emotional attachment with the land. Still his nomadic life was limited to the certain known periphery. After the agriculture was known to him, he settled almost permanently in the fertile regions. In case of sever draughts or famines people have deserted the original settlements but have come back when the situation was right. If enemy had driven them out, we have so many instances that after regaining power people have come back to win back their lands.

This does not mean that there have not been migrations. The migrations have been in troops, batches or individual for variety of reasons such as to test destiny or expansion of the kingdoms. For example Scythians had migrated to India establishing their kingdoms. They were of Iranian descend. But did all the Scythians migrate to India? The answer is no. Even if some of the migrate Scythians stayed back here, they got absorbed in local culture in the course of the time without leaving any major cultural or linguistic impact. The migrants normally do tend to adopt local culture, no matter even if they are victorious. However as far as migration theories of so-called Indo-European can be dismissed as an fanciful imagination of the scholars to amuse modern mankind.

Then main question will arise, who were the Vedic people to whom mostly scholars refer as “Aryan’s” and what was their original habitat? Since we have dismissed migration theory, we need to explore how Vedic religion would have entered into India. Migration of Vedic people cannot be the reason for spread of the Vedic religion in India.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Zoroastrian religion predates Rig Veda?

Expanse of Asura culture in ancient times was astounding. The spread of Asura culture can be tracked right from India, Iran like so called Indic language speaking regions to the Semitic language speaking Assyrian empire. The Asura culture shaped in variety of forms in the different regions; still its "Asura" soul remained thriving for millenniums.

The Asura culture had rooted in the psyche of the people of those times long before the Vedic religion even had emerged on the earth which is evidenced from the archeological remains and various inscriptions from various regions. Assyria was a Semitic kingdom that lasted for almost 1900 years, right from 2500 BC till 605 BC, located at present Iraq and surrounding regions had flourished with Asura culture. The culture was spread to Sumerians, Mittani and Hittites of those times as well.

Asura culture finds its dominance over almost all the tribes/societies of those times, no matter what languages they spoke or to which stock of human race they belonged. There were several religious practices spread all over, still the ethos of Asurism echoes from the history. India too was a great center of Asura culture long before the Vedic religion was even introduced to its people. Where this culture originated may be a matter of dispute, but despite linguistic and ethnic differences its spread over the vast territory is astounding. We cannot attribute the credit of such a vast expanse of a culture to either Aryan Migration Theory or Out of India Theory. Expansions, migrations or even invasions do not leave such imperishable impact on any society. Culture is always decided by the general psyche of the people.

Bogazkoy treaty (14th Century BC) between Hittites and Mittani's invokes Gods like Indra, Varuna and Nasatya's. Based on this Prof. B. B. Lal and some other scholars infer that this is a proof of Vedic Aryan expansion in the west. Needless to say this is a farfetched idea, because even before Vedic people adapted to these Gods mentioned above, they were known almost everywhere in the world of Asura culture. Hence finding their names in Bogazkoy Treaty does not prove anyway that Vedic people existed in those regions.

Before Zoroaster founded his religion, Mazdayasni, religion of Asura was already in place practiced by the people. Though, may be on small scale, it appears from Avesta that the culture of Daeva (Sk. Deva) too co-existed in opposition to Asura culture. From Indian mythologies too it appears that in the beginning Asura culture dominated Deva culture and there was constant struggle between the both over the supremacy. Asura’s in India have been treated as elder brothers to Deva’s and not otherwise. This does mean that the Asura culture was far anterior to Deva culture.

Zoroaster is often called as reformer of the religion, which means he gave new dimensions and meaning to the existing religion and promoted it in monotheist order. He divided his theological world between Asura as good and Daeva as bad and depicted the eternal conflict between them.

It is a general understanding that the Rig Vedic religion predates Zoroastrian religion in itself is a false myth that has deliberately been built by the European and Indian scholars. The fact surfaces from the available proofs that the Vedic people too originally belonged to the ancient Asura culture and revered Asura element as a supreme principle in Rig Veda. The ancient traits of Asura reverence can be seen trickled almost in every book of the Rig Veda. Many religious elements and deities seem to have been borrowed by the Vedic people from Gatha's of Zoroaster. Needless to say they might also have borrowed from other religious practices prevailing in Asura culture.

Let us have a brief look at the proofs from Rig Veda that clearly indicates original Asura origin of their religion.

Varuna

We are aware that the Varuna was the supreme God of Rig Veda till he was displaced by Indra in the later course. Varuna finds its mention in Avesta as Varena among the 101 Gods to be worshiped. Varuna is often mentioned in Rig Veda twinned with Mitra (Ave. Mithra). Sometimes he is associated with Indra as well in duality. Mithra was also an important deity in Zoroastrian religion whereas Indra is mentioned only once and that too in the demonic form.

In Rig Veda the main epithet of Varuna is “Asura”! (RV 1.35, 7.2, 7.10, 7.65.9, 8.42.1) Though the epithet “Asura” also is addressed to Mitra, Indra, Agni etc. “Asura” epithet has prominently been used for Varuna. Varuna in Gatha's is a minor deity amongst other hundred. Indra too is mentioned once in Avesta as an insignificant demon (Daeva), However Vedic cult picked both up to elevate to the supreme deities.

Interestingly, though a minor deity from Avesta, Varuna was first chosen as a supreme lord, the later choice of Indra as a supreme deity is from the demons. In Avesta Asur represents God whereas Daeva represents Demon. Choice from obscure Gods like of Varuna to elevate him from obscure God to supreme God only suggests that the Vedic’s represented a very obscure Varuna cult of Asura culture. However the surprising fact is the later choice of Indra is from demons. The original demon character of Indra has been changed in Rig Veda to the God. This startling fact may suggest that the Vedic cult was made of at the least two different faiths, i.e. Asura and Daeva (God and demon) with some modifications after internal conflicts. The Rig Vedic account gives the traces of such conflicts in the form of vicious rivalries amongst seer families.

This is evident also from the fact that we surprisingly find in the later course of Rig Veda the epithet “Asura” is suddenly dropped; its meaning is drastically changed, from Lord to the Demon. As we have discussed in previous articles, the sudden shift of meaning of deity names can be attributed to the imminent rivalry between both the opposite religious groups.

In Zoroastrian tradition we do not find such change in the meaning of their supreme deity. Ahura Mazda (Sk. Asura-Medha) remains as the supreme Lord throughout. In the Gatha’s Zoroaster is ambiguous about the position of Daeva’s, still they are outsider to his religion and later on treated as demons or evil spirits. Also in Avesta there is no change in the supreme entity of the religion, whereas in Rig Vedic religion we find the supreme entities being changed from time to time. For example Varuna is replaced by Indra and again Varuna is surfacing as a supreme deity in a family book of later times.

Laxman Shastri Joshi, a noted Maharashtrian Scholar, clearly states that the “Asura” word is original which is formed by connecting root “Asu” with “R”, which means “He, who possess power.” Or simply it means "The Lord". Also he states that the word “Sur” (for God) was invented in later times to stand it opposite to “Asura” and is an artificial word as it does not linguistically fit into the Sanskrit structure. (Bharatiya Sanskriti Kosha, Vol. 1)

A fact must be noted here that the term "Asur" is used in Rig Veda 90 times as equivalent to God.
What does this mean? It simply means that the Asura culture predates the Deva culture of later Rig Vedic texts and that the early Rig Vedic texts follow the Asura cultural elements and it also implies that the Asura culture predates Rig Vedic culture, no matter where it was originated. Most importantly most of the deities of Rig Veda are borrowed from the Asura culture to give them new dimensions and meanings in later times.

Zoroaster in Rig Veda

Zoroaster is spelled differently in various languages. His Avestan spelling is “Zarathustra”. The etymology of his name “Zarath + Ushtra” is "old camel or who manages the camels". Bharatiya Sanskriti Kosha gives another etymology, “He, who has golden aura”, means Zarathustra. May it be anything, but we find his mention in Rig Veda along with his near ones.

Rig Veda mentions not only Zarathustra but his death as well.

“Burn up all malice with those flames, O Agni, wherewith of old thou burntest up Jarutha,And drive away in silence pain and sickness.” (RV 7.1.7 Trans. By Griffith)

“Vasiṣṭha, when enkindling thee, O Agni, hath slain Jarutha. Give us wealth in plenty. Sing praise in choral song, O Jātavedas. Ye Gods, preserve us evermore with blessings.” (RV 7.9.6 Trans. By Griffith)

Agni rejoiced the car of him who praised lim, and from the waters burnt away Jarutha. Agni saved Atri in the fiery cavem, and made Nrmedha rich with troops of children.” (RV 10.80.3, Trans. By Griffith.)

Above all hymns explicitly mentions Jarutha” i.e. Zarathustra. Zoroastrian tradition matches with the Rig Vedic legend that Zoroaster was killed (or died) in a fire while he was offering prayers in a fire temple. According to Bharatiya Sanskriti Kosh (Vol. 1, page 305) the legend of Zoroaster’s death in fire is acknowledged by Zoroastrian scriptures, such as, Denkard, Behram Yast and Dahestan.

Also similarly Avestan King and Zoroaster’s disciple Vistaspa finds his mention in Rig Veda as Ishtashva (RV 1.122.13) and Arjapspa as Rijashva. Apart from these we find many other Avestan historical names mentioned in Rig Veda along with deities, cosmological concepts and rituals.

This will indicate two important things that the Avestan Geography was close to the Rig Vedic geography, no matter some scholars attempt to prove the migration from either direction. Out of India theory becomes weaker in the light of these proofs. Rig Veda knows the Jarutha (Zarathushtra) along with his companions and of his death as well.

This does mean that the Rig Vedic history is younger than of the Avesta. Actual composition of the Rig Veda might have began slightly after the death of Zoroaster. This makes clear that the foundation of the Zoroastrian religion was already been laid before the composition of the Rig Veda had began and that in the beginning Vedic people adhered to the Asura element of the existing culture of those times though the Vedic religious practices differed from the Zoroastrians and other various minor religions.

The myth that the Rig Veda predates Avesta cannot be true in the light of the above. In next installments we shall go through other vital proofs and also try to solve the very problem of original homeland of the Vedic people.

(To be contd.)