Monday, February 13, 2017

Solving the Vedic riddle!

To solve the riddle of Sarasvati River and original geography of the Vedic people we have to pay sufficient attention towards Zoroaster and Avesta. As Vedic period is based on many hypotheses ranging from 6000 BC to 1500 BC, the same has happened with Zoroaster and Avesta. There is no certainty of the period of composition of both the religious scripts. We too will skip for a while the issue of the period and try to look into the matter of similarities and dissimilarities in both the religions and the reasons thereof.

Zoroastrian religion is centered on “Ahur Mazda” concept, a supreme power that governs the universe with its moral code.   Ahur is equivalent to Vedic “Asura” as “S” turns to “H” in Avestan language. When Ahur is the supreme power in Avestan religion, Daeva (Div or Deva) represents an evil power or vices.

Let us focus first on these concepts around which two religions are centered. Ahur (Asura) is a praiseworthy concept to the Avesta whereas Vedic people seem to have given it an opposite meaning. Asura’s are evil, vicious and greedy element for the Vedic people. Indra, for example, a God to the Vedic’s whereas his equivalent counterpart of Avesta is “Angra Mainyu” who represents destructive or evil mind. Angra Mainyu is an enemy of Zoroaster himself. Angra here means destructive whereas Mainue represents mind, i.e. destructive mind.

From above brief it seems that both the religions had similar deities with opposite attributes.  Daeva’s are bad in Avestan terminology whereas they are praised in Vedic texts. Ahura is a supreme power to the Zoroaster whereas Asuras are bad, evil and destructive elements to the Vedic people.

It may appear from the above that both the religions held tremendous enmity, taking an opposite path of each other, though the basics didn't change.  Considering the similarity in religious rituals, such as “Yadnya” and “Yasna”, threading ceremony etc., we also cannot be in the position to state that both the religions evolved independently in different regions.

Were they really sworn enemies from very beginning?  It doesn’t seem so from the available proofs.  At the least in the beginning of Vedic religion, both the societies seem to follow almost the same idea about Ahur (Asura) concept.  It appears that there must be the close affinity between both the religions and its adherers because of the following:

1.     The word “Asur” appears in Rig Veda for 105 times. 90 times it has been used as synonym of Gods. Most of the time it is main epithet of Vedic God Varuna, Indra, Agni and even Mitra’s.
2.     Both the religions worship their divinities through fire sacrifice, though the nature of the both is slightly different.
3.     It is claimed in the Vedic literature that Asuras were elder brothers of Devas and that Devas stole fire sacrifice from Asuras.
4.     We find mention of many Avestan personalities and tribes in Rig Veda, including Zoroaster.
5.     Linguistic affinity is so much so that both languages are almost twin languages. Vedic language was modified in the later course of the time, but it safely can be stated that the original language of Rig Veda was as similar as of Avesta.

And example can be cited here how the language of the Avesta can easily be rendered in to Sanskrit-

tem amavantem yazatem
surem d
amohu seviytem
mithrem yaz
ai zaothrabyo
'Mithra that strong mighty angel, most beneficent to all creatures, I will worship with libations'.

Becomes when rendered word for word in Sanskrit:
tam amavantam yajatam
yuram dhamasu yavistham
am yajai hotrabhyah

6.     The geography mentioned in the Avesta too is similar with the geography of Rig Veda, including river names like Rasa (Raha), Sarasvati (Harahvati) etc. and their descriptions.

There are many similarities that indicate the Vedic religion was originally the offshoot of Asura (Ahura) centered religion that gradually formed the sense of enmity against Zoroastrians that resulted in distorting the characters of enemy deities. In the beginning saga we find the both regions fighting together with common enemies, however, the battle of ten kings indicate that the cordial relations had come to an end.

It clearly seems that the enmity in both the groups grew over religious or political supremacy. It went to such an extent that the Vedic religion finally was routed out of the land of its origin. Under the leadership of Videgh Mathava (see Shatpath Brahman) handful of the Vedics had to find refuge in the Indus valley and then spread their religion elsewhere by missionary practice. The later Vedic mythologies do clearly indicate the long lasted struggle between Devas and Asuras. It is clear that the Asuras (Zoroastrians) subjugated the Vedics and forced the staunch adherents out, while forcibly converting the rest. In the later course of the time, Zoroastrians too had to meet with same fate. They too had to desert their land of origin.

It would appear from above that trying to find the River Sarasvati in Indian lands will be like trying to find Volga in India. May it be that the Vedics had tremendous affection towards that river and that in an attempt to prove Vedics being indigenous they are trying hard to twist the proofs to declare Ghaggar River as Sarasvati.

It may satiate the false egos of the few but the facts cannot change. The idea of being indigenous or outsider in itself is bad. Buddhas religion spread in the world only by missionary practice whereas it had become extinct in its land of the origin. Zoroastrians and Vedics met with the same fate in the remote times.

Hence, we can conclude that the time of the Rig Veda and the Avesta is same, whatever it may be. Both were rival religions though both had same root. Linguistically also we find close affinity in both the religious script. Geography of the Avesta and Rig Veda cannot be distant and hence finding river Sarasvati elsewhere is of no use. 

1 comment:

  1. Sir linking veda to western region is futile, through LIDAR technic Sydney and New zealand professors have already discovered Mahendra Parvat and geographies mentioned in Vedas. Veda might be written / translated considering context in and around Combodia or Thailand.
    Unless we look South East Asia for tracing Brahmanical religion origin, we cannot get the answers.