Indus-Sarasvati Age &
Abstracts of Papers Accepted for
October, 4 (Friday) -- 6 (Sunday), 1996
Atlanta (Georgia), U.S.A.
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.
India Adds New Dimensions to the
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
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
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.
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.
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
Invited and Contributed
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
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:
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,
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
Regarding the Nature of Ancient Indian Music"
Guy Beck, Ph. D.
Department of Religion, Loyola University, New Orleans,
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
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
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
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
Community and Power in Kautalya's
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
Elective Affinities: The Influence of "Ramayan"
on Mizo Religion & Culyure
Sujit K. Ghosh, Ph. D.
2 Sonali Complex, Ambicapatty, Silchar, Assam 788004,
The Mizos (previously known as Lushais), are believed to have migrated
from the Chin-hill area of Burma. The story of Ramayan is not an influence
on their religion and culture after their migration to India. The Mizo
story of Rama -- this major folktale is called 'Khena Leh Manate Unau
Thawnthu' -- does not seem to have Valmiki origin. However, its impact
is not marginal, Rama and Lakshman (Rama and Khena) are accorded divine
status, and before planting rice, their blessings are invoked, for good
Recent Discoveries Relating to Ancient India & the Vedic Aryans
Harry H. Hicks , SPMJ Director,
Foundation for Cultural Preservation,P. O. Box 111, Menlo Park, CA 94026
and Robert N. Anderson, Ph. D.
Emeritus Professor, San Jose State University
A number of scientific discoveries indicate a need to correct some misconceptions
that have been held for over 100 years concerning the time and events relating
to the Vedic-Aryans and the extent of their early cosmic and mathematical
knowledge. Some of these discoveries are:
(i) Scientific tests on an ancient Vedic Aryan head
that was cast nearly 6,000 years ago;
(ii) Research and related astronomical and scientific
(iii) Ongoing archaeological work, the use of recent
technologies such as satellite photography;
(iv) Research relating to the Sulba-Sutras; and
(v) Discoveries such as astronomical code in Rigveda.
In fact, these scientific discoveries strongly support
ancient Indian traditions and belief about their antiquity, and drastically
change the prevalent perception of ancient Indian science.
The paper presents details of some of the findings of
the authors and suggests that this new knowledge determines a more accurate
time frame and indicates an earlier flux, merging and some reflux of proto
Indo-Europeans, Kurganians, Indo-Aryans, and Vedic-Aryans concomitant with
their movements and migrations. Hopefully this will clarify, and help to
sort out some of the cross cultural contracts, descendent sub-cultures
and other inter-relationships, and the confusion arising from racial miscegenation
and the many evolved names and destinations.
Dr. Pallan R. Ichaporia
253 Adams Dr., Wonelsdorf, PA 19567
The Ancient Proto-Iranian culture is very similar to Proto Indo-Aryan culture
and this should be because both are derived from the same common Indo-Iranian
stock. The undivided Indo-Iranians have passed a considerable time in their
central Asia common home, growing up with common religious thoughts and
customs, that need to be reconstructed by comparing the Veda and Avesta.
The Indo-Iranians worshipped many gods and abstract
deities. This lasted till their migration to South moving separately from
each other, one group occupied the Iranian plateau (later on called Iranians)
while other continuing towards the Indus plains (later on known as Indo-Aryans).
It is possible that they turned their backs upon each other and developed
their distinctive civilizations.
This paper will examine this split and separation and
how different religious thoughts came into vogue, together with similarities
so profound in the post-Zarathushtra development in Zoroastrian Iran with
reference to so many common words found in the Avesta and the Vedas.
In the field of religion, prophet Zarathustra of Iran
was more successful in his reformation, but the similarities in the Later
Avestan religion and Vedas are so prominent to prove the same previous
identity vis-a-vis the civilization of the Gathas which in a way, became
the reformed civilization of Iran
The Space-time and Quantum Physics
with respect to the Ancient Hindu Wisdom of Maya
Ashok Jain, Ph. D.
Professor of Physics, Pennsylvania State Uni., Lahmen, PA &
Certified hypno-therapist and meditation instructor
RR4 Box 293 B, Dallas, PA 18612
The Indian Rishis called this universe as an illusion or maya.
It was their real experience, not just a philosophical statement. The fact
is that what we know about this world through our senses is not the reality
or the truth. The new physics of the atom, space-time, quantum,
non-locality, universe supports this ancient Hindu wisdom of maya.
In this paper we first formulate these ideas of new physics in a simple
language. Then these are employed to explain the experience of yoga, meditation,
samadhi, and other Hindu topics such as reincarnation, karma, and
Indus-Sarasvati Age's Place in Indian History
Dharma Jit Jigyasu, Vedic Scholar
43-49 Smart Street, Flushing, NY 11355
It has been established that Indus-Sarasvati culture covered not only Punjab,
Sindh and Baluchistan but also Gujrat, Rajasthan, Haryana and western Uttar
Pradesh. This culture extended from Jammu in the north to Narmada in the
south and from Makran sea-shore in the west to Meerut in Uttar Pradesh.
Indian history, what is generally read anywhere in the modern world, began
to be written during the period of British colonialism. There are many
highly colored, twisted presentations and wrong perceptions. In this paper
I shall focus on two basic perceptions that have been very wrongly presented
in the modern history. One is about the period of the Vedas, and the other
is the meaning of the word 'arya'.
Tough Steel of the Ancient India
Narayan R. Joshi, Ph.D.
Department of Civil Engineering, Prairie View A &
M University, Prairie View, TX 77446
The role of iron and steel in the development of human civilization from
500 BC till this day in indisputable. The applications of low carbon steels
are numerous. Those of ultra-high carbon steels, however, are less common.
The Ultra-high carbon steels have interesting history because of their
use in making the famous swords in middle ages. Although the swords were
hammered in many towns of Asia, steel bars were imported from India. High
carbon content makes steel brittle. The ancient Indian steel had high carbon
content but it was not brittle. On the contrary, it was tough. For that
reason Indian swords never broke in wars while European swords used to
bend and break. The secret of this special steel resided in the proper
thermo-mechanical heat treatment.
This paper will present the technical details of this
ancient art using the modern discipline of Material Science.
The Evolution of Sanskrit Language and Literature
and its Impact on Modern Languages
Rasik Vihari Joshi, Ph. D.
Professor of Sanskrit, El Colegio de Mexico, MEXICO
There is an enormous range of Sanskrit literature in Indian history. The
paper is devoted to give a brief critical analysis of Vedic and Classical
Sanskrit Literature, with reference to the study of early Western indologists
and the spreading of Sanskrit culture in South East Asia. It also speaks
of the impact of Sanskrit on North Indian Languages as well as South Indian.
It has been noted that there is a continuity of Sanskrit writing in prose
and poetry and there are hundreds and thousands of scholars who fluently
speak Sanskrit in India today as a proof of the strength of Ancient Indian
Women in Ancient India
H.H. Brahmavadini Krishan Kanta, M.A., B.T.
Parivrajika, Brahmarishi Mission, 1246 North Mantine St., Kent,
Vedas, Upanishads and the epics give numerous examples showing the great
position of women in ancient India. They were respected for being great
philosophers, politicians, psychologists, teachers, administrators, law
makers and successful house holders, etc. Many hymns were composed by them.
Vaak Abharni composed 'Devi-Sukta', Shraddha Kamayani the 'shraddha sukta',
Yami Vaivasvati mandal tenth in the Hymn 154, etc.
This paper will present, from Rig-Veda, the contributions of the women
of the Vedic age.
The Scientific Aspects of Vedic Dharma
Kamlesh Kapur, M. A.
Educationist, Board of Education, State of New York,
Flushing, NY 11354
This paper overviews Vedic Dharma and vast literature related to it. Vedic
Dharma gives a total view of the individual in this vast cosmic reality
-- its relation to the natural phenomena, root world, living organism,
cosmic world and the intelligence/energy permeating through all these.
It further analyzes the individual, his goal, his evolution through life
and his self fulfillment. Since his consciousness is superior to all else
in the material world, his responsibility towards the continuation, preservation
and progress is also greater. His actions assume a new significance. Vedic
Dharma analyzes the fundamentals of actions, the modes of action, the motivators
of actions which ultimately end up shaping and reshaping social dialectics.
In the various fields of western sciences -- Physics,
Chemistry, Biology, Psychology, Bio-chemistry, and now Quantum Physics
-- some of these subjects are dealt with rather exhaustively. The most
wonderful (awesome it might be added) part of the Vedic Dharma is, that
all of this is described exhaustively and in an integrated way. It was
done by the sages and the thinkers millenniums ago when people of the colder
climates were still dealing with problems of survival. Vedic Dharma has
been and still is the citadel of vast knowledge guiding the confused bewildered
humanity torn by their inner enemies (five doshas -- lust, anger, greed,
ego, and attachment) and oppressed by hypocritical systems of violence
and power struggle.
With the help of appropriate and direct references to
the excerpts from Vedic literature, these scientific facts are analyzed,
important beliefs are linked with modern thinking and the basics of Vedic
Dharma are explained in language, terminology and logic of modern sciences.
The purpose of this unique approach is that people who are the product
of western educational system should acquire proper understanding of Vedic
Dharma, enabling them to continue it, preserve it, and hopefully improve
their own life styles !
Ancient India and the Concept of Ashram
Gobardhan Bahadur Karki
Chairman, Brahmacharya Ashram, Kathmandu, NEPAL
The Indian subcontinent which is recognized as Bharat-Varsha, has immeasurable
attachment with Vedic scriptures and science. To liberate an individual
from the cycle of birth and death and to promote peace and prosperity for
the human being, the Vedic scholars devised the ashram system.
The rishis assumed 100 years expectancy of life, as
is characterized in jeeved sharadah shatam. For the assumed period,
they arranged four ashrams, each of twenty-five years --
(i) Brahmacharya ashram, up to the age of twenty-five.
(ii) Grihastha ashram, the twenty five years
of a house holder.
(iii) Vanaprastha ashram, up to the age of seventy
five, used for the practice of social service.
(iv) Sanyaas ashram, after the age of seventy
five up to death. This is the period of complete renunciation from the
world and dedication to Self or God realization.
The ashram system helped society in many ways. A youth
developed grew under well defined discipline and developed necessary confidence,
understood and took the responsibilities of raising a family at appropriate
time, its members were ready to sacrifice personal interests for the benefit
of the society in its aspirant. On the whole a code of conduct emerged
which lead towards the importance of modes in human life and highlighted
Ashram system enabled Vedic people to realize the latent
force hidden in the practice of detachment. It was a method to give skill
to live and enjoy the bliss.
Rig Vedic Semantics: Study of all the Verses with the Word Gau
R. L. Kashyap, Ph. D.
Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Purdue University,
Lafayette, IN 47907-1285
Gau is a key word in the Rig Veda Samhita occurring in about 900 verses
out of 10,600 in the whole text. We have studied all these verses in great
detail as well as those having its synonyms like dhenu, usra, etc., and
arrived at a comprehensive meaning of the word based only on Rig Veda.
We uncovered the meanings of the recurring metaphorical phrases in RV like
loss of gau, recovery of the gau, smashing the hill using gau and the potent
Word, the unslayable gau, aditi, the infinite, as a gau, raising of the
sun, release of the Waters by Indra by Killing vrtra, etc. Figuring out
the meaning of all these important words like gau, adri, etc., is like
solving a multi-dimensional puzzle using the many hints provided by the
Rig Veda itself.
In this paper we will focus primarily on understanding
the symbolic meaning of the verses in the Veda having the word gau or its
synonyms. We realize that there are verses which allow more than one meaning
of gau, but there is a large subset which allows for only one meaning for
gau namely a ray of spiritual light, or a quantum of spiritual knowledge.
After this, we will take up the word adri (hill), and then apah (water).
The conclusion is reached that the Rig Veda not only celebrates the release
of the hidden spiritual knowledge and the associated dynamical energies,
the waters through these various metaphors, but also describes in its ten
thousand verses the methods of utilizing this knowledge and the energies
in our daily life.
Glimpses of Vedic Civilization:
Avanindra Kumar, Ph. D.
Professor of Sanskrit, University of Delhi, Delhi -
There is an enormous divergence of opinion among historians, anthropologists,
archaeologists, geomorphologists, geologists, literateurs, linguists and
the like in regard to the origin and evolution of a civilization in any
part of the world let alone India. The crux of the problem is whether or
not India is, in verity, the cradle of the most primeval civilization in
the world. There is no gainsaying the fact that Western scholars have,
by and large, given a biased view of the early beginnings of Indian civilization.
If one wants to trace the origin of Indian civilization than the Vedas
are the best and only authentic documentary evidence. It has been established
beyond doubt that Vedic civilization flourished in the land of seven rivers
- Sapta-Sindhu. A majority of Vedic hymns were composed on the banks of
Sarasvati, the Drihadvati, the Apaya, the Sindhu and other rivers of Punjab.
In this paper a candid attempt has been made to remove
the cobweb of confusion, ambiguity and distortion that has shrouded the
true spirit of the history of Indian civilization. For quite some time
the views and interpretations of Western scholars have been in focus. However,
profound studies have been made by Indian scholars as well as by some Western
scholars, which go to show that Indian civilization is the oldest civilization
in the world. Several issues have been handled in this paper based on Rig
Antiquity of the Vedic River Sarasvati
V. Prabhu Kumari, M. A., M. Phil. (Ph.D.)
Department of History, The Ethiraj College for Women
Ethiraj Salai, Egmore, Chennai (Madras) - 600 105, INDIA
The purpose of this paper is to reassess the existing views on Indian antiquity.
Due to the ancient Indian literary compliance with the archeological and
latest scientific discoveries such as Landsat Imagery Reports, equivalent
importance is laid in corroborating the authenticity of the Vedas and the
then existing river Sarasvati. Besides examining the historicity, origin
and the expanse of the Sarasvati and its civilization, this article highlights
how Sarasvati acts as a main source in reconstructing the chronological
history of the earlier eras. Issues that are discussed in paper are:
1. Hypothesis gleaned from the hymns of the Vedas assays
the historicity of the river Sarasvati;
2. The indications and the identifications inferred
from the puranas, and epics acquiescing with the scientific
investigations elicits the Origin, Date, Diversified Streams and the
Desertification of the river Sarasvati.
3. Archeological investigations, modern geomorphological
discoveries along with the now existing historical race, i.e., Sarasvatas
enumerates the Espanse of the Sarasvata Sites and the Sindhu (Indus)
4 Chronological catalogue of the astronomically observed
historical epochs with a reference to the rishies who flourished
near the Sarasvati banks establishes, the association between the Vedic
Sarasvati and the Chronology of Ancient India.
5. Ultimately, emphasis is laid on the Limitations.
Illuminating the limitations of modern western medicine and psychology
in understanding Ancient Indian Thought
Kevin Lee, D. O.
Osteopathic Physician and Ayurvedic Practitioner, Lansing,
The presentation will bring out the lack of insight of the modern medicinal
system and physical discipline to go to those deeper aspects which are
fond in Ayurvedic medicinal system, and the ancient Hindu spiritual traditions
that led to the establishment of the martial arts traditions.
India-Hindu History: Examining the Time-Line in a Broad setting
(17714 Arvida Dr., Granada Hills, CA 91344)
There is a general talk that the ancient Hindus had poor sense of history
and that they have left no historical records and written history. This
is however not true. The Hindu itihas (history) is found in Ramayan,
Mahabharata and other Puranas. For constructing a right modern account
of ancient Hindu history there is need to intelligently and diligently
use these accounts. The willful misrepresentation of Hindu history by Christian
missionaries and the British who conquered India and wrote Indian History
, introduced 'Aryan Race' and 'Aryan Invasion' theory with clear designs
to malign Hindus and reduce their self esteem to convert them to Christianity
and secure British colonial rule. Macauley, Max Mueller, Monier Williams
were some of the Europeans "scholars" involved in this. Their
personal letters that recently surfaced from the British Archives, clearly
expose their bias. Though the modern scholars have denounced the imperialists
and their designs, they have not succeeded in removing the harm the imperialists
and religious chauvinists have done to oppressed nations, such as India.
In this paper, we present an account of Indian-Hindu history time-line
based on Hindu books of history. This has a very wide canvas, starting
with creation of the earth, accounts of the eras, manvantras, etc., as
is presented in these books. We present evidence from Vedas, Purans, Ramayan,
and Mahabharata and work of some of the modern scholars in establishing
the age of crucial matters -- Vedas, Rama, Krishna, and others -- without
whose history the Hindu history is of limited value, and largely irrelevant.
Kapila and the Samkhya Philosophy
Bijoy Misra, Ph. D.
Department of Astronomy, Harvard University,
Boston, MA 02138
Apart from the Vedas, the Samkhya theory of cosmology has had the most
profound influence on Indian culture and civilization. The date of Samkhya
development is around the date of Gautama Buddha and possibly both Samkhya
and Buddhistic cosmologies were developed as rational inquiries as opposed
to mystical speculations of the Vedic literature. Very little is known
about the life and works of Kapila, who is recognized as the originator
of the Samkhya line of thought. On closer examination, the material appears
to be the product of a school of inquires rather than that of a single
Kapila has been considered as a "teacher"
in Hindu scriptures and possibly he headed an organized place of learning
during the time. The identification of space (AkAs'a) as the first element
in nature and the subsequent evolution of air, fire, water and earth presents
the theory as a systematic development rather than the ad hoc assumption
in Aristotelian cosmology.
The paper compares the Samkhya view with the Aristotelian view and provides
indications on the completeness of the ancient cosmological models.
The Concept of Cosmology in Vedas
Vidya Niwas Misra, Ph. D.
M-3 Badshah Bagh,
Varanasi, U.P. 221002, INDIA
The concept of cosmology is very basic for philosophy and science. It has
been dealt in Vedas and other ancient literature of India. Surprisingly,
it has come for a very comprehensive study there.
The paper presents this very fundamental concept the way it has been presented
in Hindu scriptures. This highlights the scientic search of the ancient
Vedic people, that parallels the modern searches in science. Here is man's
search in a perspective for deeper further analysis.
Ancient History of Bharat and Hindu Identity
Jagat K. Motwani, Ph. D.
Bharatiya Cultural & Business Research Center
2 Langhans Court, Dix Hills, NY 11746
This paper is a product of a library-based research. Its main hypothesis
is that much of the ancient history of Bharat is false and illbased. It
has adversely affected Indian identity in general and Hindu identity in
The paper addresses itself to the following issues:
(a). The importance of ancient history and its impact
on the cultural identity of its people;
(b). Wrong history is being taught in schools and colleges,
For example -- Aryans from outside invaded India; Bharat is not the original
home of Aryans; Invading Aryans brought to Bharat Sanskrit, horse and iron
(John Osborne, 1988, p.59); Invading Aryans had their own literature. Their
early books are called Vedas (John Gunther, 1939, p. 373); Invading Aryans
very early developed an exceedingly complicated form of worship which became
Hinduism (Gunther, 1939) -- meaning thereby that Hinduism/Sanatana Dharma
didn't exist prior to the alleged Aryan invasion; Prior to Aryan invasion
of Bharat in 1500 BC, the natives of Bharat were barbarous; Chronology
of the important Hindu epics and Vedas has been advanced to period after
1500 BC to fit into the so called Aryan invasion theory; Indus civilization
is considered different from Vedic civilization; Different scholars have
suggested different original homes of Aryans, as Asia Minor, Greece, Arctic
My primary approach is to expose contradictions, implicit
and explicit, within the one and the same author/book. I shall present
some interpretations that show ignorance and clear bias. Distortions and
misinterpretations are scientifically exposed with the support of documented
Hindu Dharma and Human Rights
S. S. Rama Rao Pappu, Ph. D.
Department of Philosophy, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056
Human rights are an important matter for any human society . They are a
part of dharma in Hindu line of thoughts. We seem to have moved
away from a dharmic society to a Right-bases society. A document
'Hindu Declaration of Human Rights' has recently been drafted by G.C. Pande
and Arvind Sharma. I propose to discuss things in this document. My presentation
is divided in three parts.
In Part I, In order to put this document in perspective, I shall discuss
(a) the nature of human rights,
(b) the reasons why Hinduism is criticized for not recognizing
(c) the status of human rights in Hinduism before India
accepted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948.
In Part II, I shall discuss the 'Hindu Declaration of
Human Rights'. In Part III, I shall discuss the justification for the above
document. Specifically I shall discuss here:
(a) The need for a Hindu Declaration of Human
Rights when we have accepted the Universal Declaration of the Human
(b) Why the Hindu Declaration is grounded in
the Hindu tradition not in some abstract conceptions of human rights, and
therefore is more "realistic" and acceptable to the Hindu society;
(c) Why this document avoids the pitfalls of the Universal
declaration of human rights.
Also, there is need to draft, at a future time, a secondary
declaration of non-human rights, i.e., the rights of animals, environment,
etc., that were included in the Hindu dharmic tradition but seem
to have been forgotten in contemporary India.
"On Our Vedic Origin" - Women Speaking for Themselves
Senior Lecturer, Mahatma Gandhi Institute, Moka, MAURITIUS
The Rg Vedic conception of womanhood will comprise symbolical figures :
Saraswati, Laxmi, Usha, Shakti, Apsarars etc. to whom may also be given
modern interpretation. Reference will be made to Upanishadic rituals recommended
for ensuring the birth of scholarly daughters to women scholars in the
Vedas, matrimonial regimes, divorce, incest, pregnancy, niyoga, widowhood
and other socio-religious customs. The position of women in Saraswati Age
can be illustrated with the help of examples : information can thus be
derived concerning their duties, morals, manners, status in family and
social contexts, also interesting facts about their looks, fashion trends,
habits, marriage, education and legal status.
Attempts will be made to situate the Indo-Mauritian woman par rapport to
her Vedic counterpart - as a transformed woman who has been largely fed
upon the Vedic models but who is often confused as she is emerging from
the traditional structures and negotiating the transition between tradition
and modernity in very real terms. The picture of a rare specimen will be
presented, a beautiful mixture of the Indian, the French and the African
who has luckily conserved precious ethnic traits to make an impact on the
life and style of the society to which she belongs, One can round up with
the contribution of these insular women hailing from the Indo-Gangetic
plains who still consider themselves Aryan in essence and who have been
drawing upon the bewildering complexity of their mixed heritage to make
history in the Indian Ocean.
Consciousness in Ancient Indian Thought: A New Dimension for Modern
Robert Ranger, M. A., C. C. H.
Director of Transformational Hypnotherapy, Lansing, MI
The presentation will dwell on the concepts of consciousness and experience
as formulated in ancient traditions and practiced by masters of Indian
spiritualism. The concepts of various states of consciousness will illustrated
to help in modern clinical applications.
Astronomy: Observations and Speculations in Ancient India
P. Venugopala Rao, Ph. D.
Department of Physics, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322
We come across a variety of speculations on the origin of our universe
and the ontology of our world when we survey the philosophical traditions
we follow. While it is possible to extract from this variety a set of core
ideas that could be attributed to the results of the observation of the
concrete phenomena, it is not unreasonable to conclude that open mindedness
rather than unquestionable faith remains the underlying attitude in all
these exercises of model building. In particular, observation of the motions
of stars and planets were cleverly incorporated into the models of the
universe we encounter in Ancient Hindu mythology and philosophical systems.
Astrology: An Eye of the Society
Dharma Raj Regmi
President, National Astro-Science Committee, Prabhu
Nivas, Dilli Bazar, Kathmandu, NEPAL
Astrology presents evidence of advanced scientific achievements and its
use for the welfare of man. We have found a lots of evidences, proofs,
as well as records on ancient astrology of India. This developed from the
works and observations of sages, who existed in all different eras and
times. The ideas are presented in terms of heavenly bodies and forces as
living entities. There is need to properly understand the notions and descriptions.
Goddess Saraswati is considered the source of this knowledge. The Mercury,
son of the Moon, is called the prognosticatorer. He is the store of nedic
knowledge. During treta-yuga, the supreme power holder, king Ravana,
was an expert in the science of astrology. His father-in-law, Maya Daanava,
instructed by Surya Dev, was a great authority on astro-science.
The great names of the ancient India, who could read
and predict past, present and future are Bhrigu, Vashishta, Parasara, Garga,
and Shiva etc.
In this paper, after outlining the place and tradition
of astro-science, we propose to discuss the division of time given in terms
of 18 yugas and 14 Manus, explaining the following:
(a) Ananta Yuga 51,960,000
(b) Avarta Yuga 4,086,000
(b) Tamangha Yuga 3,250,000
We would explain the position of Astro-science, as a
shastra in the scheme of Vedas, Up-Vedas, and Shastras.
Ancient Hindu Theory of 'Creation': A Modern Scientific
Bhu Dev Sharma, Ph. D.
Professor and Chairman, Department of Mathematics
Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans, LA 70125,
Man's earliest search must have started by trying to comprehend the nature
of his universe. It came for intensive study. Several sutras of the Vedas,
sections and portions of Upanishads, Smirities, Purans and other Hindu
literature address to shristi, the emergence of universe.
In this presentation, first a review of the current
scientific theories of creation of the earth will be outlined. Then material
from various ancient Vedic sources, starting from Rig-Veda will be presented.
Some modern scientific missing links will be pointed out and it will be
argued, with deeper analysis, that the present scientific findings, on
creation of the universe, support and seem to be leading to the Hindu understanding
Women in Vedic Rituals
Ramanath Sharma, Ph. D. Professor of Sanskrit
University of Hawaii, 2540 Maile Way, Spalding 459,
Honolulu, HI 96822
This paper attempts to study the status of women as it is reflected in
the rituals using Vedic hymns. It is very difficult to establish whether
rituals which use Vedic hymns were rituals practiced by the Vedic society.
Most likely, Vedic hymns were used in rituals subsequently. The social
structure to which rituals relate to, via Vedic hymns, are post Vedic.
Most rituals relate to a society which was fully classified on the basis
of the four-tier varna system. The Vedic society was more like a society
which perhaps was classified on the basis of 'varna' and 'ashrama'. What
was the role and status of women in the society which so classified itself
? What happened to this role and status subsequently when the social classification
changed to a caste based system. The Puranic period added a new dimension
to rituals, and thus to the status of women. The 'mantras' were still predominantly
Vedic, in so far as the basics of rituals were concerned.
This paper will try to examine the role and status of
women via rituals through two basic periods: Vedic, pre-Upanishadic, and
post-Upanishadic, It will be shown that role and status of women were much
more different in the pre-Upanishadic period than subsequently. Ritual
respects to women grew steadily through, but social status and role of
women gradually became subservient to men. This was mostly due to attitudes
of the Puranic society towards women.
Aryavarta--- The Original Homeland of Aryans
Ram Swarup Sharma, Ph.D.
Reader, Dept. of Hindi, Deshbandhu College (Delhi University),
Kalkaji, New Delhi, INDIA
For the last two centuries, the Western scholars have been busy in establishing
a theory that Aryans were the invaders of Pre-Historic ages from Central
Asia to Indian soil. A good number of unthoughtful Indian historians have
also fallen in line with them. The net result is that the theory finds
place in the curriculum of Indian educational system at all levels and
this misinformation is being passed along through generation after generation
among Indian masses. Efforts have also been made to substantiate the hypothesis
through archeological and linguistic material. It is high time to analyze
the whole doctrine on an objective platform and prove that ARYAVARTA--
India is the original homeland of the Aryan race. The present paper is
an effort in this direction through linguistic methods. Following are the
prime features of the paper :
(1) With the full respect to the school of Historical
Linguistics it is submitted that the operative part of the 'Comparative
Method and Reconstruction' (including Phonetic Laws of Grimme and Wherner)
is not based on the sound footings, because in these theories Sanskrit,
Greek and Roman have been treated as contemporary languages, which is far
from being true.
(2) The whole dogma of a Pre-Historic language (Hittite)
is uncalled for. It is deliberate attempt to establish that Vedic Sanskrit
is not the oldest language on earth.
(3) The idea that North Indian languages and European
languages are constituents of the same family i.e. Indo-European languages
and South Indian languages belong to separate family (Dravidian languages)
is totally misconceived according to syntactic structures and semantic
shades of these languages. Structural Analysis of Indian languages and
their socio-cultural frames prove beyond doubt that India is One linguistic
area all along.
With examples from a number of ancient languages, it
may be proved that whole of the Indian people belong to Aryans and that
the so-called Arya-Dravid conflict tale is a creation of vested interests
to cause unnecessary tension between North and South India. It is about
time to reject this age old fiction.
The Lord Buddha, His Great Thoughts: A Connection with Ancient India
K. N. Shrestha
Chair, World Confederation of Buddhists Nepal, Kathmandu,
After describing the miraculous life of the Buddha, this paper will present
his most salient contributions to humanity in general. These include the
following: (1) Buddha was the first man to proclaim the sovereignty of
man, (2) Buddha was the first person to conduct research into the human
psyche and its functions, (3) Buddha is the first thinker to declare that
man needs the freedom of thinking, the freedom of conscience, the freedom
from ignorance, and the freedom from casteism, (4) He declared that man
attains the status of Brahmin not by birth, nor does he become a low status
by birth, but becomes either of these through his accomplishments or shallowness.
This paper then presents the basic teachings of the Buddha in a nutshell,
including the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path, etc. This is
followed by a discussion of the contributions of the great Buddhist philosopher
Nagarjuna, the great emperor Ashoka, and finally the Tibetan founder of
the Gelugpa lineage, Tschonkhapa. The conclusions reached are strong in
their advocacy of Buddhism as the only philosophy that can uplift the world
and its fallen condition and at the same time prevent wars and hypocrisy.
Legal Status of Women in Ancient India
Sudha Rani Shrivastava, M.A., LL.B., Advocate
208/2 Garha Phatak, Jabalpur, MP - 482 002, INDIA
The Hindus believe their Law to be of divine origin. This belief is different
from what Austin calls 'The Laws of God'. They instead believe it to be
a positive Law that has emanated from Deity. The idea of sovereign, in
the sense of modern Juridical sense, seems to be unknown to them. There
were kings but their functions were defined by the divine Law. The historic
fact, often unnoticed, according to which women were treated in many respects
almost with divine respect in ancient India was a unique feature. Perhaps
no other country or civilization equated women with power of wealth (Lakshmi),
power of learning (Sarasvati), and with the power to punish (Durga). This
concept brought them at least equal if not superior to men.
Over a long period of history starting from the ancient,
many countries were born and perished, but India not only survived, but
flourished on the map of universe. The divine Law was based on Shruti (literally
means 'that heard'). The sutras of shruti fall into three classes
-- Shrut, Gribai, and Dharam. Of these dharam-sutras alone are to
be considered as the Hindu Law called Smiriti, that is, what is remembered.
The ancient sources are Vedas and Upanishads that are elaborated Purnas.
The ancient law-givers are Manu, Gautam, Vasishtha, etc. The age of Shruti
and Smriti may be called the age of myth.
The period of 'Ancient India' started from Manu, who
unequivocally placed women at a high pedestal when he said -- yatra
naaryaastu poojayante, ramante tatra devataa (Divinity resides there
where women are treated with respect.). This position declined to striyo
nirindriyaa aadaayaadee (women are destitute of strength and of a share),
and this decline advanced due to Muslim culture. Thus there exist a vast
gap in the legal status of women and the women of the Manu age.
Upanishads: The Pinnacle of the Religion of Man
Shyam Narayan Shukla, Ph. D., Project Manager
Lawarance Livermore National Lab, Fremont, CA, USA
Religions created the concept of heaven and hell. Heaven is projected as
the reward for their followers who abided by their dictates. According
to these religions, the ultimate goal of human being is to acquire a place
in the heaven, after this life. Hindu religion is not an exception to this
frame of thinking either. However, there is a difference. The Hindu sages
did not stop there. They continued, like scientists, their search further.
They experimented beyond things relative in nature -- freedom from the
effect of space and time. And, in their ultimate analysis, they realized
that once they caught hold of 'THAT', which is not relative but is full
and absolute, they could eternally live in that experience. The main theme
of the Upanishads is to impart knowledge of that state in which all shackles
are destroyed, i.e., jnaan.
In this presentation, the teachings and message of Upanishads,
which are latent in the Samhitas, would be brought out. Their nature, as
confidential personalized instructions, that were taught only to those
who were fit to receive them, will be elaborated. How they later found
their formulation in the Bhagwadgita, and in the aphorisms of Brahmasutra,
will be pointed. The four mahavakyas, major thought provoking sentences
from four Vedas, will be highlighted. In conclusion, it shall be argued
that Upanishadic philosophy forms the pinnacle of human religion unparalleled
in the world history.
Immigration of Aryans to India: A Fact or Fiction
Mahatam Singh, M. A.
President Mata Gauri Foundation, Surinam
There are different sources -- astronomical, linguistic, literary and tradition
-- which have to be kept in mind while addressing to the question on 'immigration
of Aryans' to India. Evolution of prominent civilizations of the world
have been noticed on the bank of some famous river. Nile, Dajlafarat, Whang,
and Sindhu have given birth to great civilizations. But to the Vedic Aryans,
holiest river was Sarasvati. In Rig Veda, Ganga is mentioned seldom, while
Sarasvati is lauded on several occasions and it has been praised as the
mother, the goddess, and as the holy river. Supporting the foreign origin
of Vedic Aryans, evidence of horse is also brought forward. This argument
has lost ground as a full skeletons of horse has been found in the Harappan
excavation and also in the Neolithic sites in the interior of India, going
back to 6500 BC, and evidence of both wild and domesticated variety have
The paper argues that the Harappan civilization of the Indus valley really
came at the end of the Vedic age and was part of it.
Mathematical & Scientific Contributions of Hindus From the Ancient
Rajendra Singh, Ph. D.
D. Houser Banks Professor
Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering,
Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634-0915
The contributions of Hindus in the field of philosophy and spirituality
are rather well known. However, few people (including many Hindus) recognize
that the modern science and technology also rests on the foundation laid
by Hindus, way back. The numbers 1, 2, 3, were invented by Hindus in India
(refer the book, 'How Did We Find Out About Numbers' by Issac Asimov) and
the place-value system of representing any number using 10 (das - the decimal
system) symbols 1, 2, ... , 9, and 0 were developed by Hindus. Since the
Europeans learned about the number system from Arab traders, the numerals
are wrongly called Arab or Arab-Hindu nemerals.
In this paper, we will mention the work and contributions
of ancient Hindu mathematicians and scientists. Some key work of Hindus
in the modern times will also be presented.
The Caste Consciousness in Ancient India and the Distortions of Hindu
University of The West Indies, St. Augustine,
(522 Riverside Dr., Lange Park, Chaguanas)
TRINIDAD (West Indies)
This paper examines the existence of social ranking in Ancient India which
eventually led to the development of a society divided according to the
varnasrama social system. This system involved the four divisions
of social and occupational castes. Evidence of caste restrictions in Ancient
religious literature such as the Mahabharata also added to the caste consciousness
which was practiced in Ancient India.
Fallacies such as the Aryan-Dravidian clash in 1500
BC, the origin of the Aryans and the use of warped models of Hindu chronology
and its negative impact on the study of ancient caste relations are also
The possible existence of an earlier simple ranking
in society before the varnasrama social system is also considered.
Other possible factors leading to the entrenchment and justification of
caste groupings are also included.
New evidence by revisionist historians and scholars is also incorporated
to confirm their correction of Ancient Hindu history and show its positive
impact on revolutionizing the existing knowledge of the caste system.
Anomalous Textual Artifacts in Archeo-Astronomy
Richard Thompson, Ph. D.
P.O. Box 1920,
Alachua, FL 32616
It is well understood that ancient artifacts can survive within written
texts, as well as within the strata of the earth. Also, an old manuscript
or diagram may be datable to a recent historical period, but it may contain
material that is much older.
One type of textual artifact consists of knowledge that
seems too advanced for the historical period of the text. In cases where
comparable knowledge was acquired only in modern times through extensive
scientific efforts, it can be argued that the knowledge may be a remnant
from an earlier, advanced civilization that is lost to historical memory.
In this paper, I discuss two examples of anomalous textual
artifacts. They are:
(i) Accurate values of the diameters of the planets,
Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, as found in the Indian astronomical
text, Surya-Siddhanta. This information can be found in a manuscript dating
to A.D. 1431, long before modern knowledge of planetary distances and diameters
was acquired using telescopic observation.
(ii) The geocentric ring system described in the cosmological
section of the Bhagavata Purana correlates closely with the distance of
the Sun from the Earth and with the geocentric distances of Mercury, Venus,
Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. The traditional date of the Bhagvata Purana
is about 3,000 B.C., and some scholars date it to the 10th century A.D.
Either way, this is long before the development of modern astronomy.
The patterns of correlation found in (i) and (ii) can
be shown to be statistically significant. I discuss these correlations
in relation to the controversial claim that there existed an ancient civilization
with advanced astronomical knowledge.
The Status of Women in the Rigveda
Shashi Tiwari, Ph. D.
Department of Sanskrit,
Maitaiye Colleage (University of Delhi), Chanakya Puri,
New Delhi - 110020, INDIA
The condition and status of women in Indian society changed substantially
from the early period to the beginning of the present century. Vedic literature
depicts an ideal society, where women enjoyed an honorable and high status.
Like every patriarchal society here also the father is the commanding authority,
but in the household affairs the mother is considered to be supreme. Though
limited in numbers, Vedic goddesses were as powerful as the gods. In the
Rigveda, there is no reference to an instance where the birth of a girl
was considered inauspicious. That the girl received education is evident
from the composition of hymns by the female seers. The daughter of the
Rigvedic times was bold, strong and free. The maiden seems to have been
free to make her choice of husband as appears in the verse (RV. X-27-12),
and was supported in her choice by her parents. Probably a maiden having
no brother had her legal right to inherit the paternal property. The wife
was a partner in the performance of sacrifices. She was the empress in
her home. In the Rigveda we get few references to polygamy because monogamy
was the rule. On the basis of some verses it can be said that the custom
of widow remarriage existed. Other social evils relating to women, such
as burning of widows, purdah system and child marriage were not found in
the Rigvedic society. Hence, this Rigvedic picture of womanhood is the
real heritage of India.
114 South Oxford Ave, #103, Los Angeles, CA 90004
According to tradition, Veda is one book with four main divisions: Rig,
Yajur, Sama, and Atharva. Again each of these has four subdivisions: Samhita,
Brahmana, Aranyaka, and Upanishat. Also, the book appeared on the intellectual
horizon at one time. This view was held, without exception, by all the
earlier commentators such as Uvvata, Mahidhara, Vishnu Suri, Bhatta Bhaskara,
and Sayana, to name a few of the long list.
The Western scholars expressed a different view, stating
the Samhita portions belong to an earlier age and Brahmanas to a later
one. Rig-Veda was the earliest and the others followed much later. They
pointed out, Sanskrit language of Samhita is different from that of Brahmana
both in style and use of words, thus indicating different periods of origin.
It is, therefore important to identify the Vedic language
for critical analysis of the above two divergent views.
This paper gives some thought on the subject, based on Vedic statements
only, and the conclusions drawn are:
1. Vedic language is different and older than any other
2. It is the only language suitable to express the underlying
thought, common in all volumes of the book;
3. No single volume is complete and it is the Vedic
language that binds all the volumes together into a cohesive, complete,
self contained book;
4. All volumes are of the same language and could not
have been of different authors at different times.
Status of Women in Ancient India
Savita Varma, Ph. D.
Department of Pre-School & Elementary Education,
NCERT, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi - 110016, INDIA
In this paper, in evaluating the women's status in ancient India, two points
have been taken into consideration:
(i) Not to apply the modern norms, concepts and values
to judge women of the past, though willy-nilly the modern values do come
in as the reference point for any objective evaluation. Instead a holistic
approach is considered more appropriate.
(ii) India is too large a country to lend itself for
any one interpretation or one evaluatory statement on the status of women.
It is not possible to make one definite comment on India which has about
60 socio-cultural regions. At times, it seems that variety and diversity
are more predominant than the common features. In such a situation, both
'yes' and 'no' are correct in answer to a general question -- Was the status
of women in ancient India high ?
If we dwelt upon point (ii), we were led into a whole
range of interpretations, often contradictory into each other, for example:
Woman as Goddess - an object of worship, and woman as an animal to be tamed
through force and violence, woman as mother to be respected, loved and
honored (Mother India - a popular concept throughout the country) and woman
as wife whose duty in only to serve and sacrifice, woman as a scholar and
a great warrior/crusader, and woman as an illiterate fool to be ignored.
Further, we examine women's position also from angles:
(i) Fair and equal treatment, and
(ii) Empowerment of women.
For this, it should be remembered that the concept of
a welfare state/society is relatively modern. Ancient states/societies
performed largely law and order and defense functions. When we talk about
ancient societies, we talk about the way women were treated by individuals,
not be the state/society.
In Indian philosophy and in conceptual terms, Indian
women occupied a high position. All good values like woman as a symbol
of divine affection and love, as a symbol of power (Shakti), faithfulness,
devotion and sacrifice. In reality, whether she was treated that way is
any body's guess -- or difficult to believe.
Ramayan: A Great Ancient Indian Ideal
Lallan Prasad Vyas, International Chairman
International Ramayan Conference
C-13 Press Enclave Saket, New Delhi - 110017, INDIA
Ramayan is truly the heart and soul of the age old culture of India. Besides
it has been acknowledged as an important world classics, and has been translated
into many languages of the world. The total human idealism supported by
great philosophy and culture of India translated into practice is the personality
In this presentation, the great ideals of Ramyan, that have guided persons,
the societies, and the governments to right conduct will be expounded.
How this great work has influenced great men of our times will be elaborated.
Its journey through the world will also be briefly outlined.
Freeing the modern mind to see Ancient light of India
Joseph A. Warren, Ph. D., J. S.
Director, The Center for Inner Awareness
Professor of Humanities & History, Lansing Community College
1012 N. Washington, Lansing, MI 48906-4839
The ancient Indian spiritual and philosophical traditions have not been
properly understood by their western exponents. This has created a barrier
for the modern mind in properly understanding.
The talk will articulate the conceptual nature of modern
thought process and will illuminate the limitations of modern thought in
comprehending real message. The emphasis will on freeing modern mind to
see the Truth in a new dimension.
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