David Frawley, Author of the Month for December 2008
The Vedic Literature of Ancient India and Its Many Secrets (cont.)
By David Frawley
Moreover, the so-called Indus Valley civilization is not located on the banks of the Indus River. The great majority of ancient urban ruins in ancient India have been discovered on the dried banks of river traditionally called the Sarasvati, which flowed to the east of the Indus, which Landsat satellite photography has revealed as having been a huge river system, up to five miles wide, in northwest India, east of the Yamuna River that dried up around 2000 BCE.
Vedic literature is also placed on the Sarasvati River, the most revered of all the Vedic rivers and the great mother of the Vedic people. The Sarasvati, not only in the Vedas but in later literature is located east of the Yamuna as the Vedic River hymn that starts with the rivers as Ganga, Yamuna, Sarasvati and then other rivers to the West. The sacred land of the Vedic people in Vedic literature (Rig Veda III.23.4) and Manu Samhita is placed between the two Divine rivers Sarasvati and Drishadvati in the Kurukshetra region west of Delhi where the Mahabharata War was fought at the time of Krishna. Both Sarasvati and Drishadvati were great rivers in ancient times before largely disappearing around four thousand years ago except as occasional run off streams. That the Vedas speak of these rivers as their immemorial homeland is a strong evidence of their antiquity.
Moreover, the Rig Veda speaks of the Sarasvati as the largest river of the region, pure in its course from the mountains to the sea (Rig Veda VII.95.2). Later texts like the Mahabharata speak of the Sarasvati as a broken stream drying up in a series of lakes in what are now Rajasthan and Haryana.[xv] In other words, the stages of the drying up of the river are mentioned. Disasters along nearby rivers like the Shutudri (Sutlej) are mentioned in the Mahabharata, with the river breaking into a hundred streams, reflecting such changing of rivers in the region.
The Vedas as a lost civilization rest upon these lost rivers. After the Ice Age ended, the melting of glaciers kept the river flows in north India much higher, until the bulk of the glaciers melted.
Most notably, to date there is no archaeological evidence of any Aryan invasion or migration into India. No one has ever been able to locate the so-called Aryans in the archaeological records. The attempts to do so, like that of Mortimer Wheeler and his proposed massacre at Mohenjodaro, have proven erroneous and are no longer accepted. There are no Aryan skeletons, no Aryan horses or chariot remains, no Aryan encampments or any identifiable special Aryan artifacts, no cities found destroyed by the Aryans, and no memory or literary records of any such invasion in the history of India, whether in the Vedas, Puranas or Buddhist and Jain literature. In other words, apart from linguistic speculation, which itself has many variant opinions, there is nothing in the archaeological record to show any incoming Aryans at all.[xvi]
The whole idea of an Aryan race has been discredited, along with most nineteenth century views it was connected to. The Aryan race idea was a product of European nationalism anyway, not of Vedic thought for which Aryan was a term of nobility only, not ethnicity. It is much like the swastika, which is a Hindu and Buddhist symbol of the wheel of dharma, which was perverted into a Nazi symbol by German Nazis.
The Indus or Harappan culture came to an end owing to geological and climate changes along with the drying up of the Sarasvati River. The decline of the river began by 3000 BCE before ending around 1700 BCE. But the same peoples remained and continued the same types of arts, crafts and customs until the next urban phase began on the Ganga a few centuries later.
Relative to natural history and genetics, it is now known that the people of India are more than fifty thousand years old in their own country. They have endured there with its subtropical climate throughout the Ice Ages, unlike Europe and Central Asia, which became largely uninhabitable through the Ice Age glaciations. There is to date no genetic record of any incoming Aryans. The main genetic markers are of a movement of peoples outside of Southeast Asia after the Ice Age ended and displaced the populations there. The so-called incoming Aryans have failed to turn up in the genetic record as well. Rather we see the continuity of the same peoples in India going back into the Ice Age period.[xvii]
Curiously the Vedic and Puranic view is that the Vedic people hailed from the south of India after a great flood. The Puranas relate Vedic Manu as great yogi as having come from Kerala (Malaya) in the south (Matsya Purana I.13-14). Vedic rishis and sages like Vasishta and Agastya are connected to the south. In fact the Bhrigus, one of the two main families of Vedic rishis, are descendants of Varuna, the God of the ocean. The Rig Veda itself has over 150 references to the ocean (samudra) as well as to ocean travel and crossing oceans and rivers, though western scholars claim it is a product of land locked nomads from Central Asia! The Vedic people likely came from the south of India, perhaps connected to the fabled Kanya Kumari continent that was once said to have existed before the waters rose at the end of the Ice Age submerging it.
If the Vedas do contain such spiritual and yogic secrets, this affirms the idea found not only in Vedic literature but that throughout the ancient world that in early ancient times people were more spiritually evolved than today. We find such a myth of a primordial spiritual Golden Age in the Taoist literature of China, Greek and Babylonian ideas of earlier ages, Hopi literature, Maya literature and so on. What this would mean is that the Vedas could preserve for us a direct record from such sages.
If Vedic civilization is indigenous to India, then we would need to rewrite world history, particularly the history of the Europeans. We would find that the Indo-European groups of Europe, which includes, Greeks, Romans, Celts, Germans, Slavs and others, must have had a great cultural affinity with India prior to their connections to the Near East or their dispersal throughout Europe.[xviii] This would be just one aspect of connecting ancient cultures with yet older cultures extending perhaps back into the Ice Ages.
[xv] Frawley book, Gods, Sages and Kings, Part I. Chapter 2 for a discussion of the Sarasvati River and Vedic references to it.
[xvi] Note Frawley book, Myth of the Aryan Invasion of India.
[xvii]Rajaram article, History in Our Genes: the Situation in Ancient India.
[xviii]Frawley article, Vedic Origins of the Europeans: The Children of Danu.