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Full text of "Rgvedic India"

DR. B.R AMBEDKAR OPEN UNIVERSITY 

UNIVERSITY - LIBRARY 



N08400 



Y S. C. KB**, 
fading iatWwMtf 
R. CAKMUY * Co. 
Ctlcutt*. 



Printed by D. C. Ke 
At the Vilmiki Pn 

3, Haider Lane, 
Bowbatar, Caloittt 



To 
The Hon'ble Sir ASUTOSH MOOKERJEE, Kt, 

CS.I., M.A., D.L., D.Sc., Ph.D* 
who has instilled new life and vigour 

into the University of Calcutta 
by stimulating, encouraging and promoting 

Original Research 

in the departments of Arts and Science, 
this volume is dedicated 

by the author 
in token of sincere admiration and esteem. 



PKEFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION. 

1 have called this work " Rgvedic India " ! with a view 
to limit my enquiry into the early history of the Aryans to 
the period during which the Rgvedic hymns were composed. 
Even this period is wide enough, consisting as it does of three 
ages, via., the Early age^ the Medieval age, and the Later age, 
during which the hymns were revealed (Rv. hi. 32, 13 & vi. 
21, 5).* The Rgveda is admittedly the oldest work extant 
of the Aryans, and with it may be classed the Sma-Veda. 
The former is a book of hymns or psalms offered to the 
different Gods, and the latter consists entirely of hymns 
(excepting only 75) taken from the Rgveda, and " arranged 
soley with reference to their place in the Soma sacrifice." 
The Yajur-Veda consists not only of hymns mostly borrowed 
from the Rgveda, but also of original prose formulas for 
the performance of sacrifice. Its matter lias come down to 

1 To put it briefly, this, work is an outline of the Early History of India 
as depicted in the Rgveda, examined in the light of the results of modern 
Geological, Archeological and Ethnological investigations, and drawn from a 
comparative study of the early civilisations ot the Deccan, ancient Aryana, 
Babylonia, Assyria, Phoenicia, Asia Minor, Egypt and Pre-histonc Europe. 
Rv. iii. 32 13. 



" The worshipper, by his conservatory sacrifice, hai> made Indra present. 
May I bring him to my presence to obtain new wealth, him who has been 
exalted by praises, whether ancient, mediaeval or recent. 

Rv. vi. 21, > f^T ft % tfWT, 3TTOT. WTCT *TO !J*i<iH: I ft 



11 ^O Indra), the performer of many feats, those (Rsis) who flourished in 
the early age became thy friends by performing the sacrifices as at present. 
Those (that flourished) in the medutval age, and those (that have flourished) 
in recent time* have similarly earned thy friendship. Therefore, (O Indra), 
worshipped as thou art by many, (condescend to) listen to this hymn offered by 
thy (present) humble (adorer)." 



*i PREFACE. 

us in two forms. In the one, the sacrificial formulas only 
arc given; in the other, these are to a certain extent inter- 
mingled with their explanations. The Yijui-Vt-iU resembles 
the SAnna-Veda in having its c > i tents arrange J in the order 
in which it was actually employs i in vmiou* sicnfic-s. It 
is, therefore, a book of sjicnli ial pr,iy rs \Yifus) l The 
Atharva-Veda is undoubtedly ol Idler oiigm, as can be 
judged not only by its language, hut also by other internal 
evidences, though it represents a much more pri nitive stage 
of thought than what we find in the Rgv-da. As Professor 
Macdonell observes, " while the R^vedd deils almost exclu- 
sively with the higher G J Is as co ic</ived by a comparatively 
advanced and refined sacerdotal class, the Athuva-Vecia is, 
in the main, a book of spells and incantitions appeiling to 
the demon-world, and teems with notims of witi h-craft 
current among the lower grades of the po ( )u! uion. and derived 
from an immemorial antiquity" H nee, tno i^h it was 
compiled in an evidently later aj% it p j-s *>s -s a valui of its 
own in so far as it helps us to u i lerstand ihe st ite of early 
popular culture in ancient Aryan ^ociety. 

But the language of the R.JV* lie hym is bein^ undoubted- 
ly more archaic excepting s uns hy nns of tne ffntli M indila 
than that of the Atharva-Veda, their composition is rightly 
regarded as belonging to an ear'ier period The Yajur-Veda 
and the Atharva-Veda contain in them distinct geographical 
references and other internal evidences which go to show that 
they were composed in a mudi later period than the Rgvedio, 
the two periods havingprobably been separated from each other 
by thousands of years, during which many physical and climatic 
changes had taken place. The Brahmana.>, the Upani?ads, and 
tbe Sdtras were composed in a still later age which extended 
down to what is ordinarily known as the Epic age. The 
Bribmapas explain the true import of the mantras in their 

* Vid* Profcttor A. A. Macdonell 's History of Sanskrit Littratut*, 



PREFACE. vH 

application to the performance of sacrifices, and their com- 
position beca ne necessary in view of the growing intricacies 
of rituals, which people, in a later age, found difficult to 
understand, The composition of the Upani^ads and the 
Sdtras marked the close of what is usually known as the Vedic 
period. But this period, com prising as it did, several thousand 
years in its compass is too vast and extensive to be treated 
as one period, as it contains distinct strata, one separated 
from another by historical and geographical fossil-remains 
that clearly mark the different stages of the evolution of 
Aryan culture and civilisation. It would, therefore, be un- 
scientific to treat the uhole a* one homogeneous period, as b 
usually done. The Rgveda, being admittedly the oldest 
record of the Aryans, furnishes, as it were, the datum line in 
historical stratigraphy, 1 and 1 have tried to decipher and 
read the fos^ls that have come to my notice in this stratum, 
to the best of my ability. I do not claim that all the fossils 
in this stratum havr been exhausted ; on the other hand, I have 
reasons to believe that there are a pood many of them, 
probably more eloquent and convincing, which only wait to 
be discovered by the diligent research of patient Vedic 
students, and are likely to throw additional light on hitherto 
daikand unsuspected corners. But what I do claim is an humble 
attempt to treat the subject of ancient Aryan history, strata by 
strata, consistently with and in the order and sequence of the 
most ancient records available. In my humble opinion, it 
would be a* absurd to treat the Rgveda and the other Vedas, 
the Rrdhmanas, the Upani?ads, and the Sctras as belonging 
to one and the same period, as it would be to treat the 
achievements of maturih, \\hen relating the freaks and 



x "The liymns of the 7?^r^/,j bi ing nmnly invocations of the Gods, their 
contents are !,<rg ly mythological Aerial interest attaches to this mythology, 
because it rr/ro< tifs an tarher tta^c </ thought than is to b* found in any 
other literature. It is Mifllciently i>i.mitive to enable us to see clearly the 
process of personification by which natural phenomena developed into Godt." 
Mac don ell's History of Sanskrit 1 itt ru furr t p. 67, 



Viii PREFACE. 

prattlings of childhood, or dealing with the follies and 
excesses of youth in a biographical sketch. It is no doubt 
true that the child is father of the man ; but manhood is, 
after all, the outcome of the gradual development, stage by 
stage, of the physical, mental, and moral faculties of the 
child, and the successful biographer, while dealing with each 
stage separately, co-ordinates the progress made in one stage 
with that of the next, and shows how one naturally leads to 
another, until the fully developed stage is reached. So far as 
the ancient history of the Aryans is concerned, no serious 
attempt seems hitherto to have been made to study and 
trace the gradual growth and development of the race, stage 
by stage, after distinctly marking each out by a study of the 
vast ancient materials available. As I have already remarked, 
the Vedic Literature is usually treated as belonging to one 
period, without any care being taken to discern that it 
consists of different strata, one separated from another by 
distinct marks, and to note that each deserves separate 
treatment in order to make it yield valuable historical truths. 
But this is too heavy and arduous a task for any single scholar 
to accomplish. It should, therefore, be taken up by a 
number of learned Vedic scholars, preferably Indians, well 
versed in the modern art of historical research on a truly 
scientific basis, who should form themselves into a Society 
for the Reconstruction of Ancient Indian History from Vedic 
literature which forms the only basis of research in this line. 
The task should be divided among scholars, each competent 
to take up a special stratum of the Literature for adequate 
treatment, who should place before the Society the results of 
their researches for discussion. After all the results of the 
researches made by them in the different strata will have 
been fully discussed and co-ordinated, it will be time to write 
a succinct history of the anoient Aryans. The study of 
Comparative Philology, Comparative Mythology, Comparative 
Religion, Comparative Culture, Geology, Archaeology, 
Ethnology) Ancient Geography, the Ancient Histories of 



PREFACE. i* 

Egypt, Babylonia and Western Asia, and the pre-historio 
picture of the European Races as outlined by competent 
scholars, should be brought to bear on the subject with a view 
to test the accuracy of the several results of investigation. 
In one sense, to an Indian Vedic scholar, the task would be far 
easier than that of compiling a history from the discoveries 
made in ancient ruins, the decipherment of writings on stones, 
clay-bricks, or papyrus, in languages that are dead and 
unintelligible, and the study of old coins of different dynasties 
that may have reigned in a particular country, or extended 
their conquest to another. These materials, though highly 
reliable, have not all been brought to light as yet, and such 
as have been, lie scattered and are not always and everywhere 
available. But in the Vedic Literature we have a sure amj 
easily accessible basis to go upon, and the materials furnished 
by it are all compact, whioh it only requires an adequate 
mental equipment to study for the discovery of historical 
truths. The task of reconstructing the history of the ancient 
Aryans on the basis of the researches made in Vedic Litera- 
ture should, therefore, prove far easier of accomplishment 
than that of writing the ancient history of any other people 
n the face of the Globe, and should be taken up by Vedic 
scholars in right earnest on the Hues suggested above. Such 
a history, if compiled, would moreover be a real history of the 
Aryan people* the people as they lived, moved, acted, 
struggled, hoped, thought and advanced, step by step, towards 
progress and enlightenment, thousands of years ago, until they 
were able to speculate on, and attempt satisfactory solutions of 
the highest problems of human life. It would be a unique history 
tn the world a truly democratic history of a most anoient 
people, in which the achievements of kings and rulers are 
discounted 9 and the people only loom large, and the gradual 
development of the human mind is traced, step by step, until 
we find the divinity in man fully discovered and realised. 
from thii point of view it would be a Universal History for 
All Mankind. 



* PREFACE. 

' The present small and unpretentious volume is a faint 
and feeble attempt at studying the ancient history of the 
Aryan race from the earliest record available, the Rgveda, 
on these lines. How far will this attempt be found successful 
it is not'for me to say. But I am fully conscious of my own 
shortcomings, inadequate equipment, and limited knowledge 
and power, and would fain leave the task to abler hands* 
My only excuse, however, in undertaking it is the necessity I 
strongly feel for drawing the attention of Vedic scholars to 
the line of research adopted by me, which, if properly worked- 
and found scientifically correct, may yield valuable historical 
truths. 

To quote an instance in point, I have tried to depict the 
physical features of the ancient Punjab from certain geogra- 
phical references in the Rgveda, which can only be clearly 
understood in the light of the results of modern Geological 
investigations. I have, therefore, had to draw on Geology 
for such help as would throw some light on the different 
distribution of land and water in the Punjab, in ancient times, 
of which clear indications are found in the Rgveda. I must 
admit that the coincidence of Rgvedic and Geological evidence 
is so startling and remarkable as to make me incline to the 
belief that some at least of the ancient hymns of the Rgveda 
were composed before the dawn of history. If the age 
assigned by Geologists to the different distribution of land 
and water in the Punjab be correct, the composition of these 
ancient hymns must also necessarily synchronise with that 
age. This is the only legitimate inference we can draw in 
the matter. 

The admission of the correctness of the above inference 
will naturally lead to the further inference that the Aryans 
were autochthonous to .the Punjab (or Sapta-Sindhu, as it* 
u^ed to be called in Vedic times), or at any rate, had been 
Hying in the country fronj time immemorial and had advanced 
to a high state o culture from the stage of nomadic hunters 
thing by the chase, before the Rgvedio hymns were composed 



t>feBFAC6. xi 

Their immigration, therefore, from Central Asia, Northerci 
Europe, or the Arctic region becomes very improbable. If 
we accept this as a conclusion, the appearance of Aryan 
language in Europe has to be accounted for, and this I have 
endeavoured to do with the help of the results of investigations 
made by European savants themselves in the domains of 
Ethnology and Archaeology. The Turanian type of the Celts, 
as established by Dr. Thurnam, has also been explained by 
me as satisfactorily as it has been possible for me to do with 
the help of available materials and the deductions drawn 
therefrom. 

The mention of a " black " people in the Rgveda, who 
were called Ddsas (slaves) and Dasyus (robbers), has led Vedic 
scholars to identify them with the Kolarians and the Dravi- 
dians, more particularly, the latter, who were supposed to 
have been the predecessors of the Aryan immigrants in, if 
not the original inhabkints of the Punjab, from which, it is 
said, they were driven by their Aryan invaders to the south 
aftt-r a long and sanguinary struggle. But there is absolutely 
no justification for this supposition. I have proved in this 
book that these races were the original inhabitants of the 
southern Peninsula which, in Rgvedic times, formed part 
of a huge continent which was entirely cut off from Ihc 
Punjab by intervening seas, and of which the Deccan is only 
a remnant. The DAsas and the Dasyus were either the 
Aryan nomads in a savage condition, or Aryan dissenters 
from the orthodox Vedic faith. There was absolutely no 
room in ancient Sapta-Sindhu for the Kolarians and the 
Dravidians. Their original home in Central Asia is also 
a myth. 

The Pants, mentioned in the Rgveda, were Ary*n 
merchants of Sapta-Sindhu, who traded both on land and 
sea, and probably on account of their cosmopolitan character, 
did not subscribe to the orthodox Vedic faith. Their money- 
grabbing spirit and avaricious nature made them highly 
unpopular in SapU-Sindhu, and after the upheaval of 



xii PREFACE. 

bed of the Rajputana Sea in post.Rgvcdic times, most of 
them were compelled to leave the shores of their mother* 
country in search of convenient sea-coasts. They must have 
i settled for sometime! among other places, in the Malabar 
' and the Coromondal coasts of Southern India, famous for 
timber (the Indian teak) that furnished excellent materials 
for ship-building, where they spread such Aryan culture as 
they possessed among the Pi^yas and the Cbolas. These 
aryanised Dravidian tribes emigrated to and settled in Egypt 
and Mesopotamia respectively under the guidance of the 
Pagis, and laid the foundations of the Egyptian and 
Babylonian civilisations. These Pa^is are known in Classical 
Literature as the Punic race, and latterly as Phoenicians after 
they had settled on the coast of Syria. I have dealt at some 
length in this book with Egyptian and Babylonian civilisations 
and traced in them the influence of Aryan (Vedio) culture. 
The Chaldeans, the Egyptians, the Phoenicians, and the pure 
Aryan immigrants like the Kossaeans, the Hittites, the 
Mitannians, the Phrygians and the Lydians, etc., who had 
settled in the various parts of Western Asia and Asia 
Minor in different stages of civilisation, were, in a later age, 
completely absorbed by the great Semitic race which, though 
influenced by Aryan culture as represented by the Chaldeans 
and the ancient Babylonians, grew into a powerful nation and 
played an important part in the early history of Western 
Asia. 

I have also tried to prove in this book that Northern or 
Central Europe was not, and could not have beeen the original 
cradle of the Aryan race. Nor was the Arctic region their 
cradle. Mr. B41 Gang&dbar Tilak has made a strenuous 
and sustained attempt to prove that there are indirect 
evidences in the Rgveda, and direct evidences in the Zend* 
Avesta of the original home of the Aryans in the Arctic 
rq^on. I have, therefore, examined in extcnso all his principal 
arguments, and proved their unreliabilky. I have devoted 
several chapters to an elaborate examination of the proofs 



PREFACE. 

tendered by him in support of his theory, but I have found 
them unconvincing. ' 

I have also thoroughly examined the hypothesis of tb** 
Cental Asiatic home of the Aryans, and found it to be 
untenable. In Rgvedic times there was a large Asiatic 
Mediterranean, extending from below ancient Bactriana to 
the heart of Siberia on the one hand, and from the confines 
of Mongolia to the Black Sea on the other, covering an 
immense area. This sea disappeared only in early historic 
times by the opening of the Bosphorus in consequence of 
volcanic action which caused a large portion of its waters 
to be drained off into the European Mediterranean, thereby 
leaving its shallow parts dry, which have since been converted 
into steppes, and its deeper parts as isolated lakes, ?*#., 
the Black Se*, the Caspian Sea, the Sea of Aral and Lake 
Balkash, There was also another large Asiatic Mediterranean 
to the east of Turkestan, which was dried up in comparative* 
ly recent times, and of which Lake Lobnor is the remnant 
The existence of these seas at a time when the Rgvedic 
hymns were composed in the Punjab precluded the possibility 
of Central Asia having ever been the cradle of the Aryans before 
their alleged immigrations to the south and the west Such 
portions of it as were habitable were occupied by the 
Turanian or Mongolian nomadic savages, leaving no room 
for the growth and expansion of the large Aryan tribes. 

The original cradle of the Aryans was, therefore, Sapta- 
Sindhu which included the beautiful valley of Kashmir on 
the north, and Gandhira on the west. Its southern boundary 
was the Rajputana Sea, and the eastern boundary the Eastern 
Sea covering the Gangetic trough. It was completely cut 
off from southern India by sea, but it was connected by land 

* It is a matter of deep personal regret to me that Mr. Tilmk died before 
this book could be got out of the Press. I had hoped to read his learned 
reply to my humble criticism of his theory of the Arctic Cradle of the Aryans, 
which undoubtedly would have furnished most interesting reading. His death 
has caused a gap in OrienUl scholarship, which it would be difficult to fill 



*d* PREFACE. 

with Western Asia in the direction of Gandhlra and 
Kabulistan, through which waves after waves of Aryan 
immigration advanced to the west, and to Europe across the 
province of Pontus (Sans. pantk<$ } highway) and .over the 
isthmus of Bosphorus from early neolithic times, the earliest 
Aryan tribes that had left Sapta-Sindhu having been pushed 
farthest into Europe by those thrit followed them at long 
intervals, and in different stages of civilisation. This subject 
has been elaborately dealt with in this book. 

These are some of the main conclusions I have arrived 
at; but there are also others no less interesting and startling 
which I l^ave my readers to find out in this work. I humbly 
bespeak their patience to go through it to the end before 
forming their judgment on the merits of these conclusions. 

As tuis book has necessarily dealt with controversial 
matters, I found no opportunity of dealing, except in a 
cursory and incidental manner, with the culture and civilisation 
pf the ancient Aryans as depicted in the Rgveda. I reserve 
a fuller and more detailed treatment of the subject for 
another volume. 

Frequent references have b^en made in the early 
chapters to the results of geological investigations. I have 
tried my best to explain some of the geologic il terms as 
clearly as possible. Bat I think that it will be necessary for 
the lay reader to remember the different epochs, through 
which the Earth hab passed and which are discernible in 
the fossil-remains of plants and animals found embedded in 
rocks and some of the upper strata of the Earth's surface, 
showing a gradual evolution of plant and animal life. The 
earliest is the Palaeozoic era when animal life on the Earth 
'was of the crudest kind. The next was the Mesozoic, when 
a farther evolution and development of animal life took place. 
Then foli r< ved the Cainozoic era which saw the appearance 
of mammals and their highest evolution in Man. Each era 
Js divided into certain periods or epochs which it is not quite 
necessary to understand for the purposes of this book. But 



PREFACE. 



as a table showing the different eras and epochs in the order 
of their sequence and succession from the earliest to the 
recent times wiH help the reader to understand the different 
phases through which the evolution of life has passed on 
our Globe, I give it below : 

Epochs. 

. Fundamental Gneiss. 
fCambrian 
| Silurian 

I Devonian and Old Red 
Standstone 

Carboniferous 

Permian. 
"Triassic 

Jurassic 

Cretaceon 

Eocene 

Oligocene 

Miocene 

Pliocene 

o 4. T -* r\ . Pleistocene (Glacial) 

Po,t-Tertu,v or Quaternary ..{ Recent (Pos Ulachl) 

In co'icliLsi >n, 1 invite in th-; .ia ne of Truth candid 
criticism of th* points urged by m in this work. Noiie will 
rejoice mor- th-in myself if they prove, on criticism, to be 
untenable. For, Truth alone triumpheth, and not Untruth, * 
as a Vedic R?i has declared. I have ventured to \vrite this 
book on the principle that one hypothesis is probably as 
good as another, if it can be supported by facts and arguments, 
ami afford some food for thinking to the learned. At this 
stage, therefore, it would be quite premature for me to 
predict the course that the ancient history of the Aryan race 
must take, if my hypothesis be found on examination to 
contain any elements of Truth. 

I have given references in the foot-notes to the authorities 
consulted by me when discussing a point. Yet, for the sake 
of convenience, I have given a short Bibliography elstwhere. 
An Index also has been appended, which, it is hoped, will be 
by the reader for making ready references.. It 



Eras. 
Archaean or Eozoic 



Primary or Palaeozoic 



Secondary or Mesozoic 



Tertiary or Cainozoic 



xvt PREFACE. 

is just possible that through hurry, inadvertence or printer's 
mistake, a passage here and there may have gone unacknow- 
ledged, which, when brought to my notice, will be thankfully 
acknowledged in subsequent editions. 

My indebtedness to those Archaeologists and Oriental 
scholars, European, American and Indian, whose works I 
have consulted and drawn freely from, is immense. But for 
the results of the investigations made by them in their 
respective subjects, it would have been quite impossible for 
me to collect materials for, and write this work. It is, 
however, fair to state here that having, unfortunately, no 
sufficient knowledge of any other European language than 
English, I have had, as a matter of course, to depend on the 
English translations of the works of French, German and 
other European savants, when available, or references made 
to their opinions on particular points by English authors, in 
order to draw therefrom my own conclusions. A few verses 
of the Rgveda have also been translated by me strictly on 
the basis of Syana's commentary. To the Encyclopaedia 
Britannica^ the Historians' History of the World^ Dr. 
Taylor's Origin of the Aryans, Mr. Tilak's Arctic Home in 
the Vedas> Professor Macdoneli's History of Sanskrit 
Literature^ Mr. Pavgee's Ary&vartic Home, and Mr. Scott- 
Elliot's Lost Lemur ia, to mention only a few of the many 
excellent works 1 have consulted, I owe a deep obligation 
which I hereby acknowledge, for writing some of the chapters 
of this book. Lastly, I owe a deep debt of gratitude to my 
Alma Mater, the University of Calcutta, and to the Hon'ble 
Sir Asutosh Mookerjee, Sarasvatl, C.S.I., M.A., D.L., D.Sc., 
Ph.D., the worthy President of the Council of Post-Graduate 
Teaching in Arts in this University, for encouraging me in 
my research-work and helping this humble volume to see 
the light. 

"CALCUTTA, \ 

The 1 7th December^ 1920. ) A* C. D, 



PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION. 

I have revised this book in the light of the results of 
more recent geological investigations, and estimated the age 
of the beginnings of Rgvedic civilisation in ancient Sapta- 
Sindhu at about 25,000 B.C. I have answered the criticisms 
of my theory made by some European savants in the First 
Chapter of my book Rgvedic Culture (1925), to which I beg 
my readers to refer. They will also find Professor Jacobi's 
objections and Professor Keith's criticism answered in this 
book (pp. 47-50). The recent discoveries of the relics of an 
ancient civilisation made at Harrapa in the Punjab, and 
Mahenjodaro in Sind, whose age, according to Sir John 
Marshall, goes back beyond 3,000 B.C., open out possibilities 
for testing the vast antiquity of Rgvedic civilisation. If the 
relics be proved to belong to the Sumerian or Dravidian civi- 
lisation, the latter may not necessarily be pre-Vedic, as is 
commonly surmised If Rgvedic civilisation be proved to 
have its beginnings in the Punjab about 25,000 B.C., the age 
of every other civilisation, Sumerian, Dravidian or Egyptian, 
must be post-Vedic, and not pre-Vedic. 

CALCUTTA, ^ 

The i6th April 1927. ) A. C. D. 



CONTENTS. 

CHAPIEK I. 

PAGE. 

The Antiquity of the Rgveda and the Physical 

Features and Climate of Ancient Sapta-Sindhu ... j 

CHAPTER II. 

Geological Evidence about the Physical Features of 

Ancient Sapta-Sindhu in Rgvedic times ... 19 

CHAPTER III. 

Rgvedic Evidence, supporting the Geological Evi- 
dence, and proving the vast Antiquity of Sapta- 
Sindhu ... ... ... ... 32 

CHAPIER IV. 

Further Rgvedic Evidence about the Antiquity of the 

Aryans of Sapta-Sindhu ... . ... 51 

CHAPTER V. 

Description of the Land and the Rivers of Sapta- 
Sindhu, and its Fauna, Flora and Minerals from 
the Rgveda ... .. ... ... 67 

CHAPIER VI. 
The Deccan or Southern India in Rgvedic Times ... 96 

CHAPTER VII. 

The Aryan Tribes of Ancient Sapta-Sindhu and the 

DAsas and the Da ay us of the Rgveda ia* 



xxii CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER XXV. PAGE. 

Examination of Mr. Tilak's Theory of the Arctic 

Cradle of the Aryans (concluded). The Avestic 

Evidence .. .. ... .. 571 

CHAPTER XXVI. 

Concluding Remarks ... ... . 575 

Bibliography ... ... ... ... 593 

General Index ... ... .. . . 599 

Prefaces and Contents ... ... ... i-xxii. 



RQVEDIC INDIA. 



CHAPTER I. 

THE ANTIQUITY OF TBE RGVEDA AND THE PHYSICAL FEATURES AND 
CLIMATE OF ANCIENT SAPTA-SINDHU. 

MODERN historians, before commencing to write the 
history of a people, usually devote a chapter to the description 
of the land and climate in which they live. For, it is generally 
acknowledged that land and climate exert a direct and no 
small influence on the growth and formation of a people's 
character, and the development of their social, religious, and 
political institutions. Any omission, therefore, to take note 
of this influence is surely to warp our judgment, and lead us 
to make a wrong estimate of the people whose history we 
write. The hanly and daring Afghan is as much the product 
of his rugged mountainous country and cold inhospitable 
climate, as the mild, intelligent and peace-loving Hindu is the 
product of the well-watered fertile plains of Northern India, 
and the hot enervating climate prevailing there. A careful 
study of a people's environments of the geographical and 
climatic conditions in \\hich they have thriven is, therefore, 
essential to the correct study of their history. 

Of course, this study should only be made with regard to 
a people who have been known to live in a country for a 
considerable length of time, extending over several thousand 
years, in fact, fiom time immemorial. It should be borne in 
mind that man \vas in days of yore, as he is even now, a 
migratory animal, and any recent migration of a people to a 
new country would not exhibit in them, to any appreciable 
extent or degree, the effects of climate and environments of 
the country of their adoption. It would take ages before these 



2 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

would tell on their character and temperament. The Boer, 
the Australian, the American, the Canadian and the English 
in India would retain the distinguishing characteristics of their 
race for yet several generations to come, before the lands and 
climates could mark them out as their own. 

This naturally leads us to the inference that the age of a 
people in a particular country is gaugt d by the proportion of 
the development of their character harmoniously with the 
climate and environments in which they live, move and have 
their being, and the greater this proportion, the longer is the 
age of the people in the country. If they art- autochthonous, 
and a different climate, and different environments are proved 
to have existed in geological times when man flourished in 
this planet, their present characteristics must be traced lurk 
to hoary antiquity which should l>< calculated not by hundreds 
but by thousands- of years, when this change took pla< ^ i . 

History, in the proper -rn> - of the word, docs not, in the 
piesent state of our knowledge, acquired by research and 
investigation, go beyond fifteen thousand years at the utmost. 
No reliable records or proofs have, so far, been available to 
antiquarians, which can justify them in pushing it back to 
more ancient times. The history of ancient Babylonia, 
Assyria or Egypt has been based and constructed on tangible 
and unmistakable proofs obtained by the exploration of 
ancient ruins and the decipherment of the relics of a by-gone 
age and by-gone civilisation. Dut no sucli tangible proofs 
have been available in the land of thr ancient Indo-Aryans. 
Not only have no ancient monuments bren *o far discovered, 
that can vie with Babylonian, Assyrian, or Egyptian monu- 
ments in antiquity, but there is no proof that such monuments 
do exist in any part of India, only waiting to be unearthed 
and laid bare to the gaze by the diligent research of patient 
antiquarians. The ancient monuments, hitheito discovered 
in India, do not go byond the Buddhistic era, i.e., the Sixth 
Century B, C, which, compared with Habylonian, Assyrian and 



I.] ANTIQUITY OF THE RGVEDA. 3 

Egyptian monuments, are but the products of yesterday. 1 
And yet, strange and absurd as it would seem, the Hindus 
claim to be the most ancient civilised people in the world, 
more ancient than even the pre-dynastic races of ancient 
Egypt, the Sum^rians of Chaldea, or the Ass\rians of Nineveh. 
Such a claim, based as it is on mere tradition, and probably 
kept alive by national \anity, and not founded on any tangible 
proofs, is rightly dismissed by lustori.ms as unworthy of any 
credence or serious consideration. The Indo-Aryans have 
been put down by them as a branch of the great " Indo- 
Germanic '' family, which immigrated to India either from 
Northern and Central Europe, or the Circum-Polar regions, 
through Western or Central Asia, and developed an independ- 
ent civilisation of their own in the land of the Five Waters 
long after ancient Babylonia, Assyria or Egypt had flourished, 
and probably commenced to decline. 

European historians are accustomed to call the civilisation of 
ancient Egypt 'and also of Babylonia) as "a world influence r 
and for it is claimed by them the honour of having laid the 
foundation of European civilisation. Referring to the civilisa- 
tion of ancient Egypt, Dr Adolf Erman observes : 

" It is an early blossom put forth bv the human race at a 
time when olh- r nations \\i*rv \\iapped up in their winter 
sleep In anrirnt I>al>yl ni.i alone, where conditions equally 
favourable piev.uled, the nation of the Sumerians reached a 
similar height " J Further on, he savs : *' In the future, as 
in the past, the feeling with \\hich the multitude regard;* the 

1 The recent discoveries made at Hartppa in the Punjab and at Mahenjo 
Daro in Sind, however, take back Inch in civilisation, if not the "very beginnings 
of it, to the Third or the Fourtn Millennium B C., according to Sir John 
Marshall, Director Oencr<il ot Anhijloijv > India It is believed th.tt 
Sumenan civilisation in Babylonia was planted there l>v a peopk* like the 
Dravidians of Southern India (vide Clnp XII'. These discoveries will 
necessarily change the outlook on ancien* Indian history, and help in proving 
the hoary antiquity of Rgvedic civilisation It is too eirly yet to bise any 
definite conclusions on them. 

* Hist. Hist, of the Wurid, Vol. I, p. 59, 



4 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAIN 

remains of Egyptian antiquity will be one of awe-struck 
reverence. Nevertheless, another feeling would be more 
appropriate, a feeling of grateful acknowledgment and venera- 
tion, such as one of a later generation might feel for the 
ancestor who had founded his family, and endowed it with a 
large part of its wealth. In all the implements which are 
about us now-a-days, in every art and craft which we practise 
now, a large and important element has descended to us from 
the Egyptians. And it is no less certain that we owe to them 
many ideas and opinions, of which we can no longer trace the 
origin and which have long come to seem to us the natural 
property of our own mind. 1 ' 1 

This feeling of grateful acknowledgment would appear to 
be most appropriate and natural, when it is remembered that 
it is admitted by European savants themselves that the age 
of the oldest neolithic lake-dwellings in Switzerland is 3,000 
to 4,000 years 2 , or at best 6,000 to 7,000 years, and the epoch 
of bronze in that country is as old as 1000 B.C. According 
to M. Arcelin, as late as 1 150 B.C., stone implements were still 
exclusively used in Central Gaul, and about 400 B.C., bronze 
had not yet been replaced by iron " It would thus appear that 
when the peoples of Europe were " wrapped up in their winter 
sleep," or more correctly speaking, grovelling in darkness, 
Egypt and Babylonia had developed a civilisation which, after 
having reached its zenith, was on the decline, and whose 
remnants still command the admiration of the world. No 
wonder, therefore, that the Indo-Aryans, being regarded as 
the cousins of the Neolithic Aryan race of Europe, the age of 
their civilisation could not logically be pushed beyond 3,000 
to 4,000 years, and must necessarily be held to be posterior 
to the civilisations of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. 

The study of ancient monuments undoubtedly furnishes 
more or less reliable data for the construction of ancient 

1 Hist. Hist, of the World, Vol. I, p. 63. 

Keller, Lak* Dwellings, pp. 526-528. 

* Taylor, Tht Origin of the Aryans, p. 59. 



J.] ANTIQUITY Of THE RGVEDA. 5 

history ; but ancient records, either on stone or papyrus, or 
hymns committed to memory and handed down from generation 
to generation without the loss of even a single syllable, if such 
really exist, would, without doubt, be a better and surer source 
of reliable history. The ancient Egyptians had their records 
in hieroglyphic writing, as found on the famous Rosetta stone, 
and on walls and monuments, and in papyrus scrolls, inscribed 
in the hieratic character which was " a much modified cursive 
form of hieroglyphic simplified in the interest of rapid writing." 
These records have furnished antiquarians with abundant 
materials for writing a correct history of ancient Egypt. In 
Babylonia and Assyria, the records were inscribed either on 
stones or clay-bricks that were afterwards baked. These 
brick-tablets which once formed the library of the Assyrian 
King Asshurbanapal at Nineveh have been found in large 
numbers, and carefully assorted and interpreted by Assyrio- 
logists. They have furnished reliable materials for writing a 
succinct history of ancient Mesopotamia. In India, no records 
either on stones, clay-bricks, or papyrus, of the same age as 
the Egyptian and Mesopotamian records, have anywhere been 
discovered. But the most ancient record of Indo-Aryan cul- 
ture is to be found in the sacred Scripture, called the Hgveda 
$amhita< a collection of hymns addressed to the various bright 
deities ot the sky, as well as to other deities, in language and 
sentiments, at once beautiful and simple, which bespeak a cul- 
ture higher than, and in far advance of that of either the 
civilised Egyptians, or the Babylonians and Assyrians, not to 
speak of the savage neolithic lake-dwellers of Switzerland, or 
the Teutonic savages of kitchen-midden fame. These hymns, 
however, were not committed to writing on papyrus, palm- 
leaves, or baked clay-bricks, but to human memory carefully 
cultivated for the purpose, and were handed down from gene- 
ration to generation without the loss of even a single word or 
syllable. The ancient Indo-Aryans probably thought this to 
be the surer and better method of preserving them from 
perishing in a world where everything, either stone, brick, or 



6 &GVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP S 

papyrus perishes, excepting the human mind and soul. And 
herein probably lies the fundamental difference, unfortunately 
overlooked by European scholars, between the spirits of pure 
Aryan and pare Semitic or Turanian civilisations. This 
intuition, on the part of the ancient Indo-Aryans, of the 
superiority of mind and spirit over matter very probably 
accounts for the absence of any material proofs, of their 
antiquity, which can directly appeal to an ordinary observer 
or antiquarian. The proofs they have left are altogether of 
a different kind, which can only be correctly read by those 
who are endowed with a far greater amount of patience, dili- 
gence, perseverance, and capacity for taking pains than is 
required in deciphering a clay, tablet or a stone-slab, and in 
fixing the age of a broken statue, or a stone monument. It 
is because these proofs do not appeal to the senses that they 
have not hitherto received that amount of attention which 
they eminently deserve. And the difficulty has been a thou- 
sand-fold enhanced by the dead and archaic language in which 
the hymns of the Rgveda are found to be clothed. Even 
those who, by dint of their wonderful diligence and persever- 
ance, were able to master it, could not always get at the real 
spirit underlying the hymns, probably through bias, prejudice 
and pre-conceived ideas, with which they started their study 
and enquiry. These have, in many instances, blinded them 
to the real import of passages which, read in the light of 
modern scientific knowledge in the domains of Geology, 
Archaeology and Ethnology, could have put them on the right 
track, and led them to the discovery of great historical truths. 
For example, I have not seen the attention of any Vedic 
scholar, either European, American or Indian, strongly 
arrested by the perusal of verse 2, Sukta 95 of the Seventh 
Magdala of the Rgveda, which runs as follows: 

" Ekd cetat Sarasvaft nadlnam Suciryati giribhyah 
dsamudrdt."* 



Rv. vii. 95, 2: r^rr 



I.] ANTIQUITY OF THE RGVEDA. 7 

This passage, rendered into English, would stand thus : 
" Of the rivers, the Sarasvatl alone knows (this), the 
sacred stream that flows from the mountains into the sea" 1 

This verse clearly indicates that, at the time of its com- 
position, the river Sarasvatl used to flow from the Himalaya 
directly into the sea. This river, however, at the present 
time, never reaches the sea, but loses itself in the sands of 
the desert of R&jputana, the sea having receded a long dis- 
tance, some hundreds of miles from its mouth. The evident 
inference is that since the composition of the verse, a different 
distribution of land and water has taken place, probably 
caused by a cataclysm or a series of cataclysms, resulting in a 
sudden or gradual upheaval of the bed of a sea that had once 
rxistrd there Tho result of geological investigation shows 
that, in a remote nge, a sea actually covered a very large 
portion of modern Rajputand, extending as far south and east 
as the Aravalli mountains, \\hich Geologists have designated 
by the name of the Ra*jputa"na Sea. 2 When did this sea 
fin illy disappear, it is very difficult to ascertain. But from' 
the fact that "Tertiary and Secondary strata stretch across 

1 Professor Macdonell understands by the word bamudra not the sea or 
ocean, but the lower course of the Indus, which is a ' collection of waters," 
i.e., of the tributaries. But this interpretation is wrong as we have pointed 
out later on (see Chapter III) Ragozin also labours under the same 
wrong impression, for she says that Samudra means " gathering of waters." 
She thinks that the word in the Rgveda means " not the sea or ocean, but 
the broad expanse formed by the re-union with the Indus of the ' five rivers, ' 
whose waters are brought to it by the Pantchanada " < Vedic India, p. 268, 
foot-note). The Sarasvatl, however, never flowed into the Indus, but directly 
into the sea, like the Indus. It was an independent river, and the marks of 
the old bed, still discernible in the sands, do not point to its conjunction with 
the Indus. The above passage of the Rgveda has so much puzzled Ragozin 
as to make her observe. *' This passage has led to the positive identification 
of the Sardsvati as the Indus ! " ip 208). This shows the length one is apt to 
go by overlooking the plain meaning of a word 

1 " The A ra vail is are but the depressed and degraded relics of a far more 
prominent mountain system which stood in Palaeozoic times on the edge of the 
RdjputdndSca " Imp Gag. of the Ind. Emp., Vol. I, pp. 1-3 (1907^ 



8 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP, 

from Sind, beneath the sands of the desert, towards the 
flank of the Aravalli," 1 it can be safely surmised that it 
lasted, at all events, down to the end of the Tertiary epoch. 
Even after this sea had disappeared, the low-lying flat 
regions of Rajputana were occasionally encroached upon 
by the Arabian Sea. " Such encroachments of the sea on 
land " says Mr. Wadia in his Geology of India (P. 168), 
" known as ( marine transgressions,' are of comparatively 
short duration, and invade only low level areas, converting 
them for the time into epi-continental seas." Though the 
duration of these seas invading Rajputdna" from time to timt* 
was comparatively short, speaking geologically, it is to be 
computated by at least thousands of years. It is very 
probable that during the period of one such " marine trans- 
gression " in pre-historic times, the Sarasvatl was observed 
to flow right into the sea, and the verse above referred to 
was composed. The well-known antiquarian scholar, Mr. V. 
B. Ketkar of Poona has recently " proved on astronomical 
evidence and Pauranic account that the RAjputana and the 
Gang^tic seas, nearly separating the Jambudvlpa (Southern 
India) from the Punjab and the Himalayas, disappeared after 
7,500 B. C. by the upheaval, partly volcanic and partly seismic, 
of their beds. 11 - If this calculation be correct, then the verse 
regarding the Sarasvatl flowing into the sea must have been 
composed long before this date. 

Does not this furnish a datum, as strong and reliable as a 
Mesopotamian brick-tablet, or an Egyptian stone to go upon 
for proving the hoary antiquity of the Rgveda, or for the 
matter of that, of Vedic civilisation ? 

And yet the above verse is not the only solitary evidence 
of the high antiquity of the Rgveda, and of a different distri- 
bution of land and water at the time of its composition. The 

Ency. Brit., Vol. XXII, p 866 (Eleventh Edition). 

* Paper read at the First Oriental Conference held at Poona in 19x9. 
Th above extracts are made from a letter addressed by Mr Ketkar to the 
author on May 14, 9 21 - 



L] ANTIQUITY OF THE RGVEDA. g 

land In which the Vedic Aryans lived is called in the Rgveda 
by the name of Sapta-Sindhavah or the Land of the Seven 
Rivers, which included the Indus or Sindhu with its principal 
tributaries, on the west, and the Sarasvatl on the east. The 
Ganga and the Yamund have certainly been mentioned only 
once or twice, but they have not at all been included in the com- 
putation of the Seven Rivers that gave the country its name. 
As we shall find later on, they were, in those days, comparatively 
insignificant rivers with only very short courses to run. Beyond 
the Gangd and the Yamnna, no other rivers of Northern India, 
nor any provinces like Pancala, Kosala, Magadha, 1 Anga andi 
Vanga find any mention in the Rgveda. Towards the south, 
neither the Deccan, nor the Vindhya mountains nor any 
of the large and famous rivers flowing through the Peninsula 
have been mentioned. The land, inhabited by the Aryans, 
appears to have extended as far to the north-west as 
Gandhara, which is identified with modern Kandaharand Cabul, 
and as far to the north as Bactria and Eastern Turkestan across 
the Himalaya. Within these bounds was shunted the ancient 
Sapta-Sindhu, or more correctly speaking, the Greater Sapta- 
Sindhu, the sacred land that witnessed the composition of the 
most ancient hymns extant of the Aryan race and the early 
growth and development of their most wonderful civilisation. 
But if this land wer- their original home, is it not very strange 

1 Kikata was the ancient name of South Behar As the word occurs in 
Rv "> 53. *4 '* * s supposed by European scholars like Wilson and Weber to 
refer to Magadha or South Behar. Say ana explains the word to mean "the 
country inhrtbited by the non- Aryans." As the Vedic Aryans never knew of the 
existence of any land to the east of Sapta-Sindhu, it would be absurd to suppose 
that they knew South Behar or Magadha, without knowing Panchala, Kosala, 
etc. Kikata in the Rgveda, therefore, does not, and cannot mean Magadha or 
South Behar. It was probably a barren hilly region in Sapta-Sindhu where the 
people did not offer Soma juice to Indra by mixing milk with it. Hillebrandt 
locates it in Sapta-Sindhu in a mountainous region. This name must have 
been transferred from Sapta-Sindhu to South Behar by Aryan immigrants in 
a later age, like the word Sarayu which was transferred from Gandhftra to 
Kosala. (For a fuller discussion of the subject, read ftgvedic Culture Ch. Ill, 
pp. 161-162.) 



io RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP 

thtt, daring a long stretch of time, which was necessary to the 
growth and development of the Rgvedic literature and civilisa- 
tion, the Aryans were not at all acquainted with the neighbour- 
ing provinces like Pancftla, Kosala and Magadha which were 
not separated from Sapta-Sindhu by any insurmountable 
mountain-barriers, and formed parts, as it were, of the same 
plain as their own mother-country ? The same query holdsgood 
with regard to the Deccan also. The Vindhya Ranges could 
not be said to have presented any serious obstacle to those 
who were accustomed to cross the Himalaya and the Sulaiman 
Ranges through narrow, steep and difficult passes. How- 
can, then, the total absence of any mention in the Rgveda 
of these neighbouring and accessible countries be satisfactori- 
ly explained ? European scholars have broached the theory 
that the Vedic Aryans came to the province of Sapta-Sindhu 
as invaders ; and they settled there after carrying on a 
sanguinary and protracted warfare with the aboriginal 
inhabitants of the country, who were a black race, and far 
inferior to the Aryans in culture and civilisation, and vvh^m 
the latter ultimately vanquished and drove to the Southern 
Peninsula. It has been argued, with some force, that this 
long period of pre-occupation of the Aryans in the struggle 
prevented them from penetrating either to the east or the 
south of Sapta-Sindhu, and that it was only in later and more 
peaceful times that they thought of gradually expanding and 
migrating farther and farther to the east and the south. This 
theory, it need hardly be said, is quite in keeping with the 
other tluory of Aryan immigration to India irom Northern 
and Central Europe, through Western or Central Asia, which 
is now generally accepted by European and Indian scholars 
alike. But it is passing strange that it did not strike any 
of them that the Rgvedic Aryans were not acquainted with 
the Eastern Provinces for no other reason than because 
they did not really exist di^ring Jlgvedic times)* long 
stretch of sea having been in existence in the Pleistocene 
and the beginning of the modern Epoch from the eastern 



I.] ANTIQUITY OF THE RGVEDA. u 

shores of Sapta-Sindhu down to the confines of Assam, ii\to 
which the Gang and the Yamuni, after running their short 
courses, poured their waters ; and that the Deccan, having 
been completely cut off and separated from Sapta-Sindhu 
by the Rdjputdna sea and the sea lying between the Central 
and Eastern Himalaya and the Vindhya Ranges, it was not 
at ali easily accessible to them. ] The existence of these 
seas is a geological fact, as we shall see later on, which also 
finds an unexpected corroboration in the Rgveda itself. 
Verse 5 in Sukta 136 of the Tenth Mandala distinctly 
mentions the existence of the Eastern and the Western 
Seas : 

VdtasydSvo vdyoh sakhdtha deve$itomunih } ubhau 
samudravd kseti yasca purva utdparah - 

This verse, rendered into English, would read thus . 
" The Muni is the aerial steed and friend of Vayu, 
whom all the Devas feel an eagerness to behold, and who 
dwells in ooth the seas that which is in the east, and that 
which is in the west." 

A word of explanation seems to be necessary here. The 
Muni is the God KeSi (lit. hairy) who is identified with the 
Sun whose ray* ate like the auburn (golden) hair of a Muni 
or ascetic, The Sun is usually also compared to the hor^e 
in the Rg\eda. The bard, therefore, bays that the Sun is 
the aerial btecd, and friend of V4yu (wind), whom all the 
Devas feel an eagerness to behold, in as much as they are 
all Godh of light, and darkness is against their very nature. 
This God, Kesl, or the Sun, says the poet, dwells both in 
the Eastern and Western Seas, because he is seen to rise 
from the Eastern Sea and to *ink down to rest in tlir 
Western. Now this Eastern Sea could have been no other 

1 Mr. H. G. Wells in his Outline of //w/^ry, (pp. 39 & 45) points out 
the existence of this sea between 50,000 and 25,000 years ago. (See Infra}. 

j RV. x. 130, 5 ^rersfrfr *r*ft: **iw ^rfWtafo i w 

j 

l Compare also Kv. vn. 55, 7 and x. 72, 7. 



\2 RGVED1C INDIA. [CHAP. 

than the sea that washed the eastern shores of Sapta-Sindhu, 
in as much as the Rgvedic Aryans did not know of the 
existence of any land to the east of their country. It was> 
over this sea that the A-vins, the twin deities that preceded 
and heralded the Dawn, used to come to Sapta-Sindhu, 
sailing in their boats which they left moored in the harbour 
onhe sea-coast (Rv. i. 46, 8), and it was from this sea that 
their car turned up (Rv. iv. 43, 5). It was from this sea again 
thai the Dawn appeared on the horizon of the eastern sky, 
looking bright and beautiful like a young damsel, after her 
nwrntng ablutions (Rv. v. So, 5). Further, it was from the 
depth of these waters that the Sun was seen from the shores 
of Sapta-Sindhu to emerge and ascend the sky (Kv. lii. 55, ; 
v/45, 10 ; vii. 55,7; x. 136, 5), and this fact is still further 
confirmed by the following passage : " The Gods lifted Surya. 
out of the sea (samudra) wherein he lay hidden " (Rv. x. 
72, 7). These waters were, therefore, rightly regarded as 
" the birth-place of the Sun' 1 and " the mother of the A' vins " 
who have been described as bindhumatarah (Rv i 46, 2). 
The Western Sea into \\hich the God Ke^i sank down to 
rest was undoubtedly an arm of the Arabian Sea which, in 
those days, ran up the present lower valley of the Indus 
along the foot of the Western Ringe, ,ml covered a Urge 
poition of the present province of Sine, prob.tbly up to Lat. 
30 North. Does not this internal evidence of the Rgveda 
support the geological evidence, and unmibUk ibly prove 
its hoary antiquity ? 

There is yet another internal evidence furnished by 
the Rgveda to prove its high antiquity. In some verses 
mention has been made of four different seas with which 
the ancient In do- Aryans seemed to have been familiarly 
acquainted l (Rv. ix. 33, 6 and x. 47, 2). But Vedic 



Rv. ix. 33, 6 : 

47, 

4ra far' 



I.] AD FIQUI TY OF THE RGVEDA. 13 

scholars, both European and Indian, have passed them by, 
and not cared to ascertain the existence of the four seas 
mentioned therein, probably for the simple reason that there 
is only one sea to the south-west of Sapta-Sindhu at the 
present time, viz.. the Arabian Sea, and it is difficult to 
identify the other three with any m odern seas. The Bay of 
Bengal to the east, and the* Indian Ocean to the south, of 
India are quite out of the question, as it has been admitted 
that the Rgvedic Aryans did not go beyond the limits of 
Sapta-Sindhu, and were not acquainted with any land 
eastward or southward during Rgvedic times. In these 
circumstances, the four seas mentioned in the Rgveda, 
which were navigated by Aryan merchants in quest of 
wealth, l have probibly been regarded as more mythical 
than real. But geological evidence goes to show that there 
were actually three seas on the three sides of Sapta-Sindhu, 
viz , the Eastern, the Western, and the Southern, and it 
now only remains for us to identify the fourth sea. It must 
have been situated somewhere on the north, beyond the 
Himalaya, on the confines of the land inhabited by the 
Aryans. And Geology proves that such a sea did actually 
exist in ancient times, stretching from below the highlands 
of modern Turkestan toward* Siberia on onr >ide, and from 
the confine-, of Mongolia to the Black Sea, on the other, 
covering an immense area. This sea disappeared in 
comparatively recent geological times, leaving the Black Sea, 
the Sea of Aral, Lake Balkash, and an extensive depression 
now dry and converted into steppes, as its remnants. The 
Black Sea was not at that time connected with the 
Mediterranean, and its webtern shores formed the Isthmus 
of Bosphorus linking Europe with Asia. On the confines 
of East Turkestan also there was in ancient times another 
immense Asiatic Mediterranean Sea, of which Lake Lobnor 
is the remnant. These are stern geological facts which 

Hv. i, 48, 3 ; 56, J , 1 16, 3 , iv. 55, 6 , also v 85, 6 ; vii. 88, 3. 



14 SiGVEDlC INDIA, [CHAP. 

will be dealt with in greater details in the next chapter, 
but which find a startling corroboration in the Rgveda. 
Does not this again prove its vast antiquity ? 

Lastly, the climate and the seasons, as prevailed in 
ancient Sapta-Sindhu, have also undergone a complete 
change in comparatively recent times, probably through a 
change of her physical environments. There is Rgvedic 
and Avestic evidence to prove that in ancient times a cold 
climate prevailed in the land for a greater part of the year, 
which was highly conducive to the development of the 
physical and mental activities of the Aryans. The year has 
been called in the Rgveda by the names of Sarad (autumn) 
(Rv. vii. 66, 16) or Hima or Hemanta (winter, Rv. i. 64, 14 ; 
ii. iiii; 33,2; v. 54, 15 ; vi, 10, 7; 48, 8), probably on 
account of the predominance of the characteristics of a 
particular season, during a greater part of the year, in 
particular areas. But the very use of the above words to 
denote a year clearly indicates the existence of either a cold 
or temperate climate in Sapta-Sindhu. The Avesta says 
that Sapta-Sindhu or Hapta Hendu possessed a delightfully 
cold climate in ancient times, which was changed into a 
hot climate by Angra Mainyu^ the Evil one. Mr. Medlicott 
also says : " There are some curious indications of a low 
temperature having prevailed in the Indian area at ancient 
epochs." l In this conjecture he is supported by Mr. H. F. 
Blanford who says : " In the early Permian, as in the Post- 
Pliocene age, a cold climate prevailed clown to low latitudes, 
and I am inclined to believe in both hemispheres simul- 
taneously." * The Encyclopedia Britannica also says : 
" Evidence exists of a former far greater extension of glaciers 
in the Himalaya, possibly at the period during which the 
great glacial phenomena of Europe occurred ; but too little 
is known to enable us to affirm that this indicates any general 

* Manual of the Geology of India, (Preface, p. xxij . 

* Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, Vo!. XXXI, 1875, PP- 
534,540. 



I.] AUTIQUITY OF THE RGVEDA. 15 

period of cold that affected the Northern hemisphere as far 
south as the Himalaya, though the facts are sufficiently 
striking to suggest such a conclusion." l The Post-Pliocene 
epoch being conterminous with the Pleistocene epoch 
when man undoubtedly flourished on our globe, the 
designation of the year by the word Hima or winter in the 
Rgveda clearly points to the prevalence of low temperature 
in that country down to the commencement of the modern 
epoch, and also to the great antiquity of the sacred Scripture 
itself. The present climate of the Punjab or Sapta-Sindhu 
is excessively hot, except during the winter months, when 
the cold becomes intense. \Ve will presently see what 
brought about this change of climate. 

We find evidence in the IjLgveda of heavy showers of 
rain falling in Sapta-Sindhu during the rainy season which 
lasted for three or four months, covering the sky all the 
time with a thick pali of sombre* clouds, behind which the 
Sun and the Dawn remained hidden, making the days look 
like nights and considerably adding to the misery and 
discomfort of men and beasts. The rivers were in high 
flood, and the spill-water covered an extensive area. All 
these characteristics of the rainy season have now disappeared 
from Sapta-Sindhu where the rain-fall is scanty and the 
climate dry. This change is due to the disappearance of 
three out of the four seas round about Sapta-Sindhu, and 
the upheaval of a vast tract of arid desert in the south. 
The immense volumes of watery vapours, which were 
generated in and carried from the seas in ancient times, 
used to be precipitated as snow over the high and low 
altitudes of the Himalaya, and as showers of ram in the 
plains. Ihe rain-water in the rainy season, and the melting 
snow in summer kept up a perennial supply of water in the 
rivers, and the Sarasvati and the Dr?advatl which probably 
took their rise from glaciers on the southern slopes of the 

1 Ency, Bnt., Vol. II, p. 68 (Ninth Edition) ; Read also Wadia's 



16 *GVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

Himalaya in ancient times, were mighty streams whose 
praises have been sung in the Rgveda. With the dis- 
appearance of the ocean-area, the glaciers also* disappeared 
and the rivers gradually dwindled into insignificant and 
straggling streams. ] The Encyclopedia Britannica says : 
" An explanation of the decrease of Himalayan glaciers is 
that it was a consequence of the diminution of the fall of 
snow, consequent on the gradual change of climate which 
must have followed a gradual transformation of an ocean- 
area into one of dry land. The last-named circumstance 
would also account for the great changes in the quantity 
of rain-fall, and in the flow of the rivers, of which there are 
many indications in Western India, in Persia, and the region 
east of the Caspian." 2 

It would thus appear that there have been vast changes 
in the land, water and climate of ancient Sapta-Sindhu since 
the Rgvedic hymns were composed. Do not these internal 
evidences of the Rgveda, supported as they are by the 
results of modern geological investigations, go to prove its 
vast antiquity, stretching hack to time immemorial ? And 
are they not as reliable as the Egyptian hieroglyphic writings 
and inscriptions, and Mesopotamian brick-tablets, and 
writings on clay-cylinders ? But it is a thousand pities 

1 Mr. Wadia in his Geology of India (1919) writes as follows "Many 
parts of the Himalayas bear the records of an Ice-age in comparatively recent 
times. Immense accumulations of moraine debris are seen on the tops and 
sides of many of the ranges of the middle Himalayas! which do not support 
any glaciers at the present time. Terminal moraines, often covered by grass, 
are to be seen before the snouts of existing glaciers at surh low elevations as 
6,000 feet or even 5,000 feet. Sometimes there are grassy meadows, pointing 
to the remains of old silted-up glacial lakes. These facts, together with the 
more doubtful occurrences of what may be termed fluvio-glacial drift at much 
lower levels in the hills of the Punjab, lead to the inference that this part of 
India at least, if not the Peninsular highlands, experienced a Glacial Age in 
the Pleistocene period/ 1 (pp 15-16) Elsewhere he says: "The ice-transported 
blocks of the Patwar plains in Rawalpindi also furnish corroborative evidence 
to the same effect." (P. 245). 

* Ency. Brit n Vol. II, p. 688 l^jfyji Editjpn). 



I.] ANTIQUITY OF THE RGVEDA. 17 

that Vedic scholars and Indologists have not brought even 
a tithe of that careful and diligent research to bear on the 
study of ancient Indian history, that has been bestowed on 
the study of Egyptian and Mesopotamian history by Egypto- 
logists and Assyriologists, probably through a pre-conceived 
idea that Indo-Aryan civilisation could not be older th$q 
the civilisation of the neolithic lake-dwellers of Europe, 
and an omission to study ancient Indian history in the light 
of the results of modern geological investigations. The 
time, however, has come when a fresh study should be com- 
menced on these lines, and a re-examination of the already 
accepted theories made, regardless of the conclusions they 
may lead us to. 

I hope, I have been able to demonstrate in this chapter 
the absolute necessity of studying, with the help of Geology, 
the old distribution of land and water of a country in which 
a very ancient people have lived from time immemorial in 
order to read aright their ancient history. I have also given 
occasional glimpses to my readers, so far as it has been 
possible for me to do in a preliminary chapter, of the hoary 
antiquity of the Rgveda, containing as it does unmistakable 
geological proofs of a different distribution of land and 
water, and the existence of a different climate in Sapta- 
Sindhu in ancient times. These geological proofs will be 
more closely examined and more elaborately discussed in 
the next chapter. 



CHAPTER II. 



GEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE ABOUT THE PHYSICAL FEATURES OF ANCIENT 
SAPTA SINDHU IN RGVEDIC TIMES. 

Physical changes, constant though often silent and 
imperceptible, have been going on in our globe. Sometimes 
in the past the changes were extremely violent and sudden, 
due to fearful volcanic action and extensive seismic disturb- 
ances of great intensity, resulting in the sudden upheaval or 
subsidence of vast tracts of land. But such disturbances and 
changes were more frequent in very ancient than in recent 
geological epochs The upheaval of the Middle and Northern 
Himalaya had taken place before man flourished on our globe. 
The magnitude and intensity of the throes through which 
Mother Earth passed when giving birth, though after lorg 
intervals, to the different parts of this gigantic child surpass 
even the keenest and most comprehensive human imagination. 
With the elevation of the Middle Himfilaya was produced a 
deep trough at its foot on the southern side. How was it 
produced is a matter of conjecture and controversy among 
Geologists, with which we are not here concerned. Sir Sidney 
Burrard's hypothesis is that " the depression of the trough was 
produced by a withdrawal of material towards the Himalaya," 
and he considers " the range to have been produced by the 
invasion of the material so withdrawn. 1 ' 1 The great Geologist, 
Edward Suess, " has suggested that it is * fore-deep ' in front 
of the high crust-waves of the Himalayas as they were checked 
in their southward advance by the inflexible solid land-mass 
of the Peninsula." 2 These are the latest explanations of its 
origin, which are more or less accepted But whatever may 
be the causes of this upheaval and depression, there is no 

^Memoirs of the Geological Survey of India, Vol. XLII, Part 2 (Oldham, 
On the Structure of the Himalaya), p. 137. Read also " On the Origin of the 
Himalaya Mountains." Survey of India, Prof. Paper No. 12, Calcutta, 1912. 

* Wadia'e Geology of India. P. 248. 



1L] GEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE. i0 

question that a deep trough did exist at the foot of the 
Himalayan range in ancient geological times. 1 This 
trough or sea lasted through long ages during which 
it was gradually filled up with alluvium, into which were 
embedded the remains of a rich varied fauna "of herbivores 
carnivores, rodents and of primates, the highest order of the 
mammals," brought down by the rivers and streams. Their 
inter-stratification with marine fossiliferous beds took a long 
period of time, at the end of which another seismic disturb- 
ance of great intensity caused an upheaval of these beds, 
which formed the outer or sub-Himalayan Zone, " correspond 
ing to the Siwalik Ranges, and composed entirely of Tertiary, 
and principally of upper Tertiary sedimentary river-deposits. 11 " 2 
With the upheaval of the Siwalik Range was again produced 
a deep trough at its foot which also began to be filled up 
with alluvium until the present plains of Northern India were 
formed. Mr. R. D. Oldham says that " the depth of the 
alluvium along the outer edge of the Himalaya is great, 
amounting to about 15,000 to 20,000 feet towards the northern 
boundary of the alluvial plain/* 3 As regards the underground 
form of the floor of the trough, it lias been found that " it has 
deepened steadily from south to north at about 130 feet to the 
mile, and that this slope is continuous for over 100 miles from 
the southern edge, so that in this way we reach an estimated 
drpth of over 13,000 and probably about 15,000 feet/' 4 This 
trough end* up on the east where the Assam Range impinges 
on the Him&laya and terminates on the west as the Salt Range 
of the Punjab is reached. It is "a fairly symmetrical trough, 
ranged along the whole of that part of the Himalaya, which is 
not complicated by the junction or contact of other ranges."-'* 
It has been described by Mr. Oldham as ** the Gangetic 

1 "The northern frontier of this (the Southern) continent was approxi- 
mately co-extensive with the central chain ot the Himalayas, and was washed 
by the water of the Tethys " (Wadia's Geology of India, pp. 109-1 to.) 

Wadia's Gtology of India P. 10. 

s Memoirs of the Ceo. Surv. of India, Vol. XL11, Part 2, p 119- 

* 7*tf, p.66. 

/bid, p. 96. 



do ftGVEDlC INDIA. [CHAP. 

trougn," in as much as " three quarters of its length and more 
than that proportion of its area He within the drainage of the 
Granges. 1 ... There is some reason to suppose that a deep trough 
filled with alluvium similar to that which has been dealt with, 
though smaller in size, runs along the foot of the hill ranges 
of the Western frontiers of India proper, which might be 
called the Indus trough, as that river traverses it from end to 
en 4.... But thare is no reason to suppose that the two troughs 
are Connected. Apart from the observations which have been 
dealt with, the outcrops of old rocks in the Chiniot and other 
hills which rise from the alluvium, point to the presence of a 
rock-barrier, stretching under the plains of the Punjab to the 
Salt Range, and separating the two troughs." 2 

It would thus appear that a large portion at It- ast of the 
Punjab, or Sapta Sindhu as the Vedic bards called it, was 
older than the alluvial plains now occupying the Gangetic 
and the Indus troughs which were undoubtedly large stretches 
of inland seas at the beginning. Even now, the valley of the 
Indus or the Sindhu is known by the name of " Sindhu-SAgara," 
or the Sindhu Sea. But this sea, not having been so wide, 
long and deep as the sea that occupied the Gangetic trough, 
the period of time taken to fill it up with alluvium was 
necessarily shorter, though certainly computed by thousands 
of years, than that taken to fill up the Gangetic trough. In 
other words, when the Punjab was firm land, bounded on the 
north by the Kashmir valley and the Himalaya and on the 
west by the Sulaiman Range, with the Indus and its tributaries 
arid the SarasvatI flowing through the plains into the arm of 
the Arabian Sea covering a part of Rajputana and the lower 
regions of Sind, the Gangetic trough was still an inland sea, 
stretching from the confines of Sapta-Sindhu to those of 
Assam, which was certainly not so deep at that time as it had 
been at its origin, but yet deep enough to be called a sea for 
several thousand years more, during which it was gradually 
silted up with alluvium. 

* Ibid, p .98 



H.] GEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE. *i 

* 
With regard to the Gangetic trough, Mr. Wadiathus 

observes in his Geology of India, (P. 248) : " In the Pleistocene 
period, the most dominant features of the geography of Ifftfta 
had come into existence, and the country had then acquired 
almost its present form and its leading features of topography, 
except that the lands in front of the newly upheaved 
mountain 1 : formed a depression which was being rapidly 
filled by the waste of the highlands. Th^ origin of this 
depression or trough, lying at the foot of the (Himalaya) 
mountains, is doubtless intimately connected with the origin 
of the latter, though the exact nature of the connexion is not 
known and is a matter of discussion/' It would thus appear 
that in the Pleistocene period and even still later, there was 
a sea over the Gangetic trough which was being rapidly filled 
up with alluvium, and became firm land only after Rgvedic 
times, as I have already pointed out in the preceding chapter. 

In this connexion it would not be out of place and 
uninteresting to refer to two maps sketched by Mr. H. G. 
Wells and printed on pages 39 and 45 respectively of his 
excellent book, 'I he Outline of History (1920). The first 
map shows " the possible outline of Europe and Western 
Asia at the maximum of the Fourth Ice Age about 50,000 
years ago" corresponding to the " Neanderthaler Age," and 
the second map shows their possible outline " in the later 
Palaeolithic age (35,000 to 25,000 years ago)." So far 
as Ancient India is concerned, we find it outlined very much 
in the same manner as I have outlined it in my map from 
"a geological study in the light of Rgvedic evidence." The 
whole of Northern India and Rajputana and the greater 
part of the Punjab are shown in Mr. Wells' first map as 
covered by a vast and continuous sea which was connected 
with the Arabian Sea on the west and the Bay of Bengal on 
the east. Though my map of Rgvedic India or Sapta* 
Sindhavah does not coincide in all its details with Mr. Wells' 
map, yet their general agreement in the broad outlines is 
certainly very remarkable. Mr. Wells' second map which 
represents a possible outline of Europe and Western Asia 



22 AGVEDIC INDIA. 

v* 

about 35,000 to 25,000 years ago shows the uninterrupted 
continuity of the sea that separated the Punjab and the 
Himalayas from Southern India broken only by the formation 
of land in Eastern Rajputana, and points to the existence 
of a sea over a large portion of the Gangetic trough (which 
was undoubtedly " the Eastern Sea " of the Rgveda), and 
of another sea or gulf over Western Rajputana and the whole 
of. the province of Lower Smd. Both the maps generally 
agree with the different distribution of land and water in the 
Punjab, as ir was in Rgvedic times, and this indirectly proves 
the hoary antiquity of the Rgvedic hymns which must have 
been composed during a period extending from about 25,000 
to 7500 B. C. Let us now return to a discussion of the 
geological evidence regarding the Punjab. 

Mr. Oldham thus distinguishes the features of the Gangetic 
plains from those of the plains of the Punjab: " From the 
Yamuna eastwards to the junction with the Brahmaputra 
Valley is the great tract of the typical Gangetic alluvium 
which bears all the characters of a plain of deposit, and across 
which the rivers flow in courses determined by their own 
action and inter-action. In the plain of the Punjab these 
features are largely absent, and the surfaces suggest a much 
smaller thickness of alluvial deposit, a suggestion which is 
strengthened by the occurrence of inliers of older rocks, rbing 
as hills in the centre of the alluvial plain.'* 1 

Mr. Oldham further says elsewhere : " The general facie s 
of the fauna (found in the beds of the Salt Range of the 
Punjab) are of Cambrian age and consequently the oldest in 
India, whose age can be determined with any approach to 
certainty." 2 The Cambrian age, it should be remembered, 
is the first of the Palaeozoic Era. As the beds of the Salt 
Range have been proved to belong to that age, the land of 
Sapta-Sindhu must have been in existence from very early 
times, and is certainly older than the northern Himalaya 
which probably was elevated at the end of the Palaeozoic or 

* /<*, P. 3. 

* Manual of the Geology of India, p. 109, Edn,, 1893. 



H.] GEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE. 23 

the beginning of the Mesozoic Era, as is evidenced by its 
Carboniferous and Triassic formations. 1 The ancient age 
of the Punjab will be further proved by the following extracts 
from the Imperial Gazetteer of India : 2 

" The datum line in stratigraphy is the base of the 
Cambrian system, the so-called Olenellus zone, characterised 
in various parts of the world by remains of this genus, or its 
near relations belonging to the extinct order of Crustacea 
known as Trilobites. Below this line, there are many thousand 
(eet of strata without determinable fcssil remains, and generally 
quite unfossiliferous ; above it are piled the great fossil- 
bearing systems preserving the records of evolution among 
animals and plants through the Palaeozoic, Mesozoic and 
Cainozoic eras to the present day. 

"Fortunately, in India, we have a trace of this datum 
line preserved in the Salt Range of the Punjab, where, 
although the Trilobites preserved are not exactly like the 
well-known Olenellus, there are forms which must have been 
closr relations of it, and we can safely assume that these beds 
arc equivalent to the lower Cambrian of the European scale" 

It is thus clear that the Punjab or Sapta-Sindhu is the 
oldest life-producing region in the whole of the Indian 
continent ; and it is equally certain that here the evolution 
among animals continued uninterruptedly, until man was 
evolved or created, and appeared on the scene. 

It may be mentioned here in passing that the Indo-Aryans 
believe themselves to be autochthonous to the Punjab, and 
the Rgveda to be as old as the creation of man, in other 
words, to have emanated from BrahmA, the Creator himself; 
and it is regarded as Apauruseya, i.e., not ascribable to any 
human agency, though the Rsis or seers might have clothed 
the revealed truths and eternal verities in languages of their 
own, from time to time. This, bereft of all exaggerations, 
would mean that the Rgveda has existed from time immemorial. 



i H. F. Blanford in the Quarterly fournat of tk* Geological Society 

Vol. XXXI, 1875, PR- 54-4. 

Imp. Ga*. of India, Vol. I, p S3. B dn - *97* 



24 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

To this belief of the Indo-Aryans, however absurd it might 
seem, the results of geological investigations, as quoted 
above, undoubtedly lend some strong colour. It may also be 
stated here that the ancient Aryans did not believe, like Darwin, 
in the evolution of man from anthropoid apes; but they be- 
lieved, like Agassiz of the Creationist School, that man was 
created independently as such. As Agassiz says, " there is a 
manifest progress in the succession of beings on the surface 
of the earth. This progress consists in an increasing similarity 
of the living fauna, and among the vertebrates especially, in 
their increasing resemblance to man. . . But this connection 
is not t he consequence of a direct lineage between the faunas 
of different ages. There is nothing like parental descent 
connecting them. The fishes of the Palaeozoic age are in no 
respect the ancestors of the reptiles of the Secondary age, 
nor does man descend fro'ii the mammals which preceded 
him in the Tertiary age. The link by which they are 
connected is of a higher and immaterial nature ; ami their 
connection is to be sought in the view of the On ator 
Himself, whose aim in forming the earth in allowing it to 
undergo the successive changes which geology has pointed 
out, and in creating successively all the different types of 
animals which have passed away, was to introduce man upon 
the surface of our globe. Man is the end towards which all 
the animal creation has tended from the first appearance of 
the Palaeozoic fishes." l This exactly represents ihe view 
of man's appearance on the globe held by the ancient 
Indo-Aryans also, of which we shall have occasion to writr 
hereafter. 

Be that as it may, if the composition of the Rgvedic 
hymns be ascribed to a period computed from about 25,000 
to 7500 B. C, there can be no doubt that man, particularly 
Aryan man in India, was in a comparatively civilised state 
in this period. The Pleistocene is ordinarily known as the 
" human epoch/' and there is evidence of Pleistocene man 
having made some progress towards rudimentary civilisation 

Princifl** <tf Zoology, pp. 005-306. 



II.] GEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE. 25 

in some parts of the world. Thus Dr. Keith writes about 
the culture of Neanderthal roan in Europe: "In mid- 
Pleistocene times, the brain of Neanderthal man, in point 
of size, was equal to that of contemporary forms of modern 
man. His culture, that of the Mousterian age, was not a 
low one/' l Rev. Mr. E. O. James says in his Introduction 
to Anthropology (1919) that " the Palaeolithic period of 
archaeology corresponds roughly to the Pleistocene of the 
geologist, while the pre-PalaeoIithic or Eolithic period 
extended far back into the Tertiary era.' 9 (P. 18). Further 
on he says : " It may be reasonably supposed that clothing, 
like cave-dwelling, was one of the arts of life learnt by man 
in the Pleistocene, probably early in the Mousterian phase, " 
and that " in the early Pleistocene, there is evidence of the 
existence of fires, as for example, in the hearths discovered 
in Moasterian sites " (P. 98). From all these extracts, 
we get some idea of the predecessors of modern man in the 
Pleistocene epoch, and also glimpses of the state of their 
culture, which " was not a low one." 

As the Punjab was the oldest life -producing region 
in the whole of the Indian continent, and admittedly one 
of the principal foci of civilisation in the ancient world, we 
may take it for granted that, in the Pleistocene epoch, the 
primitive Aryans of Sapta-Sindhu or the Punjab developed 
a culture not only not inferior to that of Pleistocene man in 
Europe, but, in many respects, probably even far superior 
to it, as its gradual and continuous development and final 
culmination in Rgvedic civilisation would lead one to suppose. 
If the Indo-Aryans were autochthones in Sapta-Sindhu, 
they must have passed through the eolithic, the palaeolithic 
and the neolithic stages of their development, though, in the 
Rgveda, we do not find any mention of stone or bone 
weapons, excepting Indra 1 **jra % as the Rgvedic Aryans 
had long ago passed through those stages and were 
well acquainted vuth the use of iron, from which weapons 
and implements were made. The mortar and pestle which 

Keith's Tkt Antiquity of Man (1916), p. 503. 
4 



a6 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

probably were made of stone, as also of wood, the flat 

stone slab and the round stone hammer, used for the 

purpose of crushing and pounding hard substances (Dfsad- 

(fpald), all of which were requisitioned at the time of the 

Soma sacrifice, and the horn-tipped arrow-head mentioned 

in the Rgveda (vi. 75, n) might, however, be some of the 

relics of the early stages of civilisation, through which the 

ancient Aryans had passed. 1 They seem to have been a 

highly gifted people, endowed with a superior genius which 

enabled them to effect their material, moral and spiritual 

evolution more rapidly than their contemporaries in Southern 

India, some of whom are still in the same savage condition 

of the Stone Age as they were in, hundreds of thousands of 

years ago. Writing about them Ragozin observes: "We 

seem to listen to the grotesque fancies of a dream, wild even 

for a dream, when we are told of people who live, or at least 

huddle together for shelter in kennel hut*, six feet by eight, 

wear no clothes but bunches of leaves fastened to a string of 

beads that encircles the waist, and use flint weapons, not 

having even words for any metals in their language, thus 

affording us a startling glimpse of the Stone Age, a survival 

not even of the highest type of that Age's civilisation." - 

Thus it would appear that while palaeolithic men, belonging 

to the Dravidian and the Kolarian races, roamed as savages 

in the hills and forests of Southern India, the ancient Aryans 

of Sapta-Sindhu, completely cut off from them by sea, 

developed a high state of civilisation, obliterating all relics 

of the primitive stages of their progress. 

Let us now turn back from this digression to the other 
geological evidences proving the antiquity of Sapta-Sindhu. 
The existence of the R4jputftn& Sea to the south of this region 
down to the seventh or eight millennium B. C. has already 
/been referred to. The large admixture of salt in the sandy 
soil of the deserts of Rajput&na, the salt beds from which 

1 For a fuller treatment of this subject, read author's ftpvtdic Culture 
Ctiap. II. 

* Vedic India, p. 399. Read also Chap. 



II.] GEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE. 27 

even now an abundant supply of salt is drawn, and the exist* 
ence of the Sambhar and other lakes whose waters still retain 
much of the salinity of the sea, all point to the extension of 
the Arabian Sea up to the confines of Sapta-Sindhu on the 
one hand, and of the Aravalli Hills on the other. It is further 
certain that the Arabian Sea also sent up an arm towards the 
Indus trough and covered a lar^e part of the province of Sind, 
which is now occupied by desert a nd the lower course of 
the Indus. 

As regards the existence of a sea in the northern direction 
of Sapta-Sindhu beyond the HimAlaya, the following geological 
evidence collected from the Encyclopaedia Britannica is 
adduced here : 

u There can be no reasonable doubt (l) that the area of 
the Caspian mu-t have formerly been much more extensive 
than at present ; (2) and that it must at some time have had 
free communication with the Ocean. It was long since 
pointed out by Pallas that the presence of salt lakes, dry 
saline deposits, and sea-shells of the same species as those 
no\v inhabiting the Caspian, over a very large extent of the 
steppes to the east, north and west of the present basin, can 
only be accounted for on such a hypothesis, and he traced 
out what may probably be regarded as a northern shore-line, 
along the base of the Mongodjar Hills. Further, the fauna 
of the Caspian corresponds so remarkably with that of the 
Black Sea on the one side, and with that of the Sea of Aral 
on the other, that it can scarcely be doubted that they were 
formerly in free communication with one another, and the 
line of this communication can be pretty certainly traced out 
by the peculiar lowness of the level. Thus between the 
Caspian and the Black Sea, or rather the Sea of Azoff, it 
would have lain across the low-lying portion of the steppe 
which is at present a receptacle for the drainage of the 
surrounding area, forming the long and shallow Lake 
Manytsch. And between the Caspian and the Aral Sea, it 
probably followed both the northern and the southern borders' 
of Ust-Urt, which would thus form an isolated platform. If 



8 RGVEDIC INDIA. 

the elevation of level were sufficiently great to raise the 
water of Lake Aral to the height which it had in former 
times, (as is shown by various clearly discernible landmarks), 
it would have overflowed a large area to the south also, and 
of this again, some parts of the coast-line are traceable. A 
very slight elevation would bring it into communication with 
the Arctic Sea." ' 

The writer then goes on . "There is much to support 
this view not only in the writings of ancient geographers and 
in the incidental notices which have been gleaned from the 
records of early travel, but also in the physical relation of 

the three basins, now forming separate seas It is a fact 

qf no little interest that the exigence of a communication 
between the Aralo-Caspian basin and the Northern Ocean 
was most distinctly affirmed by Strabo and other ancient 
geographers." 2 

" Now as there is strong reason to suspect, from the evi- 
dence of recent volcanic change in that locality, that the 
opening of the Bosphorus took place within a period which 
geologically speaking was very recent, it does not at all seem 
improbable that this event (which some writers identify with 
the deluge of Deucalion) was the commencement of a series 
of changes by which the * Asiatic Mediterranean ' came to be 
divided into three separate basins which now constitute its 
' survivals/" 3 

The writer means to say that the level of the European 
Mediterranean Sea having been lower than that of the Asiatic 
Mediterranean y the opening of the Bosphorus caused the 
water of the latter to be drained off into the former, until both 
attained the same level. This draining off of the water from 
the Asiatic Mediterranean left its shallow portions dry, and 
converted the sea into isolated lakes, and its dry basins into 
extensive steppes. The writer then arrives at the following 
conclusion : " Thus it would appear that the condition of the 

* Enty BrU n Vol. V, pp. 179-180 (Ninth Edition). 

7***,P< 8o. 

Ibid,?. 180. 



II.] GEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE. *> 

Aralo-Caspian area must have undergone very considerable 
alterations within the historic period" l The same writer 
elesewhere says : " The saltness, not only of the water of the 
Caspian and Aral Seas, but of that of the numerous lakes still 
remaining in the most depressed spots formerly covered by 
the Asiatic Mediterranean, together with the large admixture 
of salt in the sand that covers what is now its dried-up bed, 
can only be accounted for on the supposition that this Asiatic 
Mediterranean was itself a ' sutvira/' of the extension of the 
oceanic area properly so-called^ retaining not only much of 
its salinity, but a portion of its characteristic fauna. And this 
conclusion derives confirmation from the fact (ascertained by 
the researches of the Russian naturalist Bogdanoff) that the 
polar fauna may be traced through the succession of salt lakes 
lying to the north ot the Aral Sea, and that its proportion 
increases as we approach the Polar Ocean/' * 2 

From the above excerpts, it is clear (a) that at an early 
geological epoch, a large sea connected with the Arctic Ocean 
had existed in Central Asia ; (b) that at a later period, this sea 
was converted into an inland sea, covering a large area of 
Central Asia, and extending as far west as the Black Sea, and 
it continued to exist as an Asiatic Mediterranean down to the 
dawn of historical times ; and (c) that a volcanic action having 
opened up the Bosphorus, and joined the Abiatic with the 
European Mediterranean, a vast quantity of water of the 
former was drained off into the latter, leaving the shallow 
parts of the former dry, and the deeper parts as disconnected 
and isolated lakes. Thus, the existence of a large sea to the 
northwest of Sapta-Sindhu and of the region inhabited by 
branches of the ancient Aryans is an undoubted geological 
fact, and proves the hoary antiquity of the land and of the 
Rgveda. 

That this Asiatic Mediterranean extended as far south-east 
as Turkestan will appear from the following extracts : 

11 Representatives of all the Tertiary formations are met 
with in Turkestan ; but while in the highlands the strata are 
1 /***, p. 181. * /Wrf, p. 180. 



30 ,%GVEDtC INDIA. [CHAP, 

coast-deposits, they assume an open-sea character in the low 
lands, and their rich fossil fauna furnishes evidence of the 
gradual shallowing of that sea, until at last, after the Sarma- 
thian period, it became a close Mediterranean During the 
Post-Pliocene period, the sea broke up into several parts 
united by narrow straits. The connexion of Lake Balkash 
with the Sea of Aral can hardly be doubted ; but this portion 
of the great sea was the first to be <livi<ied While the Sea of 
Aral remained in connexion with the Caspian, the desiccation 
of the Lake Balkash basin, and its break-up into smaller 
separate basins were already going on. The Quaternary 
Epoch is represented in vast morainic deposits in the valley 

of the Tianshan In the low lands, the Aral-Caspian 

deposits which it is difficult to separate sharply from the later 
Tertiary, cover the whole area. They contain shells of 
molluscs now inhabiting the Sea of Aral and in their petro- 
graphical features are exactly like those of the lower Volga. 
The limits of the Post-Pliocene Aral-Caspian Sea have not 
yet been fully traced, it extended some 200 miles north, 
and more than 90 miles east of the present Aral shores. A 
narrow strait connected it with Lake Balkash. The Ust-Urt 
Plateau and the Mugdjar (Mongodjar) mountains prevented 
it from spreading north-westward, and a narrow channel 
connected it along the Uzboi with the Caspian, which sent a 
broad gulf to the east, spread up to the Volga, and was 
connected by the Manytsch with the Black Sea basin. Great 
interest, geological and historical, thus attaches to the recent 
changes undergone by the basin." l 

As regards Eastern Turkestan, the following extends will 
be found interesting in connection with the existence of 
another large sea in Central Asia : 

14 Lob-nor now consists of two basins, but the largest of 
them, although it has an area four times as large as that of 
the Lake of Geneva, can hardly be called a lake, since its 
greatest depth is less than 20 feet, while reeds rise 20 feet 
above the thin film of water, and extend far beyond its shores. 
* Scy. BrU. t Vol XXIII, p. 634 (Ninth, Edit ion). ~ 



II.] GEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE. & 

In fact, the whole of the region, notwithstanding its consider- 
able altitude above the ocean, has but recently emerged from 
under water. During the later portion of the Tertiary period, 
it was covered with one immense Mediterranean sea, and even 
during the Post-Pliocene period, was occupied by a lake. ..The 
desiccation of East Turkestan must have gone on, within 
historical time, at a much more rapid rate than geologists 
seem prepared to admit." ] 

The existence of vast inland seas in Central Asia down 
to recent geological times is thus undoubted. The question 
now is whether the region, inhabited by the ancient Aryans, 
extended as far as East Turkestan, close to the confines of 
the Central Asian seas. On this question, the following 
observations made by Lassen will throw some light: 

" It appears very probable that at the dawn of history, 
East Turkestan was inhabited by an Aryan population, the 
ancestors of the present Slavonic and Teutonic races, and 
a civilisation, not inferior to that of Bactriana, had already 
developed at that time in the region of the Tarim." 2 
Whether these Aryan people were the ancestors of the 
Slavonic and the Teutonic races is quite another matter with 
which we are not here concerned. All that we need note 
here is that a scholar like Lassen holds that at the dawn of 
history, East 1 urkestan was inhabited by an Aryan population. 

1 shall not, therefore, be wrong, if I conclude that the 
region inhabited by the ancient Aryans extended as far north 
as Bactriana and Eastern Turkestan in recent geological 
times that saw the early dawn of hijtory. 

From an examination and discussion of the above 
geological evidences is clearly proved the existence of the 
four seas, mentioned in the Rgveda, round about the region, 
inhabited by the ancient Aryans, which included Sapta-Sindu 
on the south, Bactriana and Eastern Turkestan on the north, 
Gandhftra on the west, and the upper valleys of the Ganga* 
and llie YamunA on the east. The age of the Rgveda, 
therefore, must be as old as the existence of these four seas 
in ancient limes. ^^ 

/bid., p. 638. 

* Laura's Indiacke AlttYthums-Kunda. 



CHAPTER in. 



BOYEDIC EVIDENCE SUPPORTING THE GEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE AND 
PROVING TOE VAST ANTIQUITY OF SAPTA-S1NDHU. 

It is a pity that well-known Sanskrit scholars, both Euro- 
pean and Indian, have sometimes studied the Rgveda in a 
most superficial and perfunctory manner, and drawn conclu- 
sions which are not at ail warranted by the evidences found 
in the sacred Scripture. For instance, Professor A A. 
Macdonell in his History of Sanskrit Literature has observed 
that the Indo-Aryans were not directly familiar with the 
ocean. I will quote his very words below : 

" The southward migration of the Aryan invaders does 
not appear to have extended at the time when the hymns of 
the Rgveda were composed, much beyond the point where 
the united waters of the Punjab flow into the Indus. The 
ocean was probably known only from hearsay \ for no mention 
is made of the numerous mouths of the Indus, and fishing, 
one of the main occupations on the banks of the Lower Indus 
at the present day, is quite ignon d. The word for fish 
(matsya) indeed only occurs once, though various kinds of 
animals, birds, and insects are so frequently mentioned. 
This accords with the character of the rivers of the Punjab 
and Eastern Kabul 1st an, which are poor in fish, while it 
contrasts with the intimate knowledge of fishing betrayed by 
the Yajur-veda, which was composed when the Aryans had 
spread much farther to the east, and doubtless also to the 
south. The word which later is the regular name for 
* Ocean' (Sam-udra) seems, therefore, in agreement with the 
etymological sense ( 4 collection of waters'), to mean in the 
'Rgveda only the lower course of the Indus, which, after 
receiving the waters of the Punjab, is so wide that a boat in 
mid-stream is invisible from the bank, it has been noted 
in recent times that the natives in this region speak of the 



ill.] THE SEA OR SAMUDRA. ' 33 

river as the ' Sea of Sindhu, ' and indeed the word Sindhu 
(river) in several passages of the Rgveda has practically the 
sense of the ' sea/ Metaphors such as would be used by a 
people familiar with the ocean are lacking in the Rgveda. 
All references to navigation point only to the crossing of 
rivers in boats, impelled by oars, the main object being to 
reach the other bank (pdra). This action suggested a 
favourite figure, which remained familiar throughout Sanskrit 
Literature. Thus one of the poets of the Rgveda invokes 
Agni with the words ' Take us across all woes and dangers 
as across the river (Sindhu) in a boat ' ; and in the later 
Sanskrit Literature one who has accomplished his purpose 
or mastered his subject is very frequently described as 
' having crossed the farther shore ' (p&raga). The Atharra- 
veda, on the other hand, contains some passages showing 
that its composers were acquainted with the ocean." 1 

I must candidly confess here that I was never more sur- 
prised in my life than when I first read the above paragraph. 
For, I have come across innumerable passages in the Rgveda, 
in which the word Samudra, meaning the Sea, occurs. 
Professor Macdonell contends, from the so-called etymological 
meaning of the word Samudra (collection of waters), that 
the lower course of the Indus, united by its several tributaries, 
was denoted by that name ; but if that were so, what would 
be the meaning of the " Eastern and the Western Samudras," 
in both of which the deity named Ke& } or the Sun, used to 
dwell? (Rv. x. 136, 5). If the Indus be identified with the 
Western Samudra^ what was the Purva Samudra ? There 
was no large river like the Indus in the eastern part of the 
Punjab; and the Sarasvatl, and the Gangd and the Yamuni 
in their upper courses near Sapta-Sindhu, were only small 
streams in comparison with the Indus. What would again 
be the meaning of " the four Samudras " mentioned in Rv. 
ix. 33, 6 and Rv. x 47, 2 ? The Sin dims (or rivers) were 

1 History of Sanskrit Literature, pp. 1 43* 1 4 4- Prof. E. W, Hopkin* is 
also of the *ame opinion. Vide Appendix to this Chapter. 



34 %GVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

enumerated as seven in the Rgveda, and not four ; and M the 
four Samudrafe," if they were simply rivers, would be quite 
meaningless. The distinction between the words Sindhu 
and Samudra has been most clearly drawn in Rv. viii. 6, 4 
(Samudrayeva Sindhavah) 1 , where it has been said that all 
mankind bow before Indra through fear, as the Sindhus i.e. 
the rivers, (or the mouths of the Indus, if you please), do 
their obeisance to the Samudra i.e. the Ocean ; as also in 
Rv. viii. 92, 22, where it has been said that all offerings of 
Soma reach Indra, just as all the Sindhus enter into the 
Samudra. Further in Rv. iii. 36, 7, it has been said that the 
Sindhus or rivers fill the Samudra or ocean with their 
waters. The word Sindhu has also been used in the Rgveda 
to denote the sea, as, for instance, when the Avins have 
been called Sindhu -m&tar ah (Rv. i. 46, 2), 'sons whose 
mother is Sindhu' or the Ocean, because they, being the 
precursors of the Dawn, 2 were seen to come out, as it were, 
from the womb of the Eastern Sea. Here Sindhu cannot 
mean " the Indus,' 9 because the ASvins do not rise from the 
western horizon ; nor does it mean " river/' because there 
was no river of wide expanse like the Indus in the east, from 
whose bosom they might be said to rise. But it is just 
possible that the idea of the sea was first obtained by the 
ancient Aryans of the Pleistocene Epoch from the sea 
that occupied the Indus trough, which was called Sindhu, 
and that afterwards when that sea was filled up with alluvium, 
and the present river Sindhu occupied its place, it was called 
by the old name, and the term Sindhu came to denote a river 
as well as a sea To avoid this confusion, however, the word 
Samudra was probably afterwards coined to mean the ocean. 
Bat the etymological meaning of the word is not " a collec- 
tion of waters " but a vast expanse of water that wets and 
floods the dry land by the rising and swelling tides. And 

Rv. viii. 6, 4:-9TOlprt fWt 
Cf. also he 86, 8 ; x f 65, 13 ; 66, n. 
Rv. 1^4, 10 ; 46, I i and*. 39, 



111.] f HE SA ktf OWN T& ARYANS. 3* 

this is the chief characteristic feature of an ocean or sea. 
It is in this sense that the word is used in the verse, in which 
the river Sarasvatl has been described to flow from the 
mountains into the sea (Samudra)) meaning an arm of the 
Rljputini Sea; as also in the verse where all rivers 
(Sindhus) are said to be flowing into the Samudra. A Rji 
expresses his wonder that all the flowing rivers cannot fill 
up the one Ocean. (Rv. v. 85, 6 ; cf. i. 13, 2). The sea or 
Samudra was supposed by the ancient Aryans not only to 
extend over the earth, but also over the vast expanse of the 
sky in the form of watery vapours, from which water 
descended on the earth in torrents of rain. (Rv. x. 98, 5. 12). 
This gives us a pretty good idea that the Aryans formed 
of the wide extent of the ocean, which was certainly larger 
than the width of the largest river in Sapta-Sindhu. The 
unfathomable depth of the sea was also used as a simile 
to denote the magnitude of one's greatness (Rv. vii. 33, 8). 
As regards fishing, there is a whole Sokta (viii. 67) that 
describes the plaintive prayer of fishes, caught in a net 
It might be a figurative description of the pitiful cry of 
men caught in the meshes of sin and worldliness. But 
such a figure of speech would never have been used, if 
fishing with nets was not a familiar scene in ancient Sapta- 
Sindhu. Fish is also mentioned in Rv. x. 68,8. Professor 
MacdonelPs assumption, therefore, that the ancient Aryans 
were not directly acquainted with the ocean is simply 
gratuitous and not warranted by evidence. The very numerous 
mention of the word Samudra in the Rgveda quite accords 
with their perfect knowledge of the four seas that surrounded 
the land of Sapta-Sindhu. That the Aryans navigated the 
seas and were acquainted with the art of navigation would 
appear from the fact that they had sea-going vessels, propelled 
by one hundred oars (Rv. i. 116,5), and also furnished with 
wings, f.*., sails (Rv. x. 143,5). The dimension of a vessel 
that is propelled by one hundred oars would be very much 
larger than that of an ordinary river-craft intended and used 



3* &SVED1C INDIA. 

fot crossing tbe Indus even at the time of her highest flood. 
The A*vins are *said to have rescued Bhujyu who was ship- 
wrecked in the sea, and brought him to the shore in their 
hundred-oared boat after voyaging for three days and nights. 
(Rv. i. 1 164). This sea (Samudra) has been described as 
without support, without any land or shores, and without 
any object that can be grasped for protection. 1 It was, in 
fact, a shoreless and limitless ocean, with nothing but water 
and water on every side. Islands (Dv\pas) have also been 
mentioned in the Rgveda (i. 169, 3). The Aryan merchants 
used to " plough " the seas with their vessels in quest of 
wealth (Rv. i. 56, 2), and they offered prayers to the Ocean 
before undertaking a voyage ( Rv. iv. 55, 6). Merchants 
possessed fleets of merchantmen which they sent across the 
seas for the purposes of trade. (Rv. i. 48, 3). It is said that 
Bhujyu, at the direction of his father, King Tugra, organized 
an expedition to punish some recalcitrant islanders, and it 
was during this voyage that he was shipwrecked and rescued 
by the Avins (Sdyana). Indra is said to have crossed the 
ocean and brought back to the shores of Sapta-Sindhu Yadu 
and TurvaS who had left their country and lived on the 
farther shores of the ocean as unanointed kings, probably in 
a nsw colony of their own. (Rv. iv. 30, 17 ; and vi. 20, 12). 
They were thus rescued from barbarism, into which they had 
pr6bably been relapsing, cut off as they were from their own 
kith and kin by the intervening sea (Rv. i. 54, 6). Vasisfha 
is said to have made a sea-voyage with Varuna, and he himself 
has described bow the voyage was enjoyed, and the vessel 
rocked and rolled over the waves. (Rv. vii. 88, 3.). Varuna 

1 The verse (Rv. i. i i6 f 5) is as follows : 



The literal translation of the above verse is as follows : 
* This exploit you achieved, AaVins, in the ocean where there is nothing 
to give support, nothing to rest upon, nothing to cling to t that you brought 
Bbuj/tt, sailing in a hundred-oared ship to his father's house." 



lit.] df HgR VIt>ENCtfS OF ANTIQUtTV, 3# 

was the Lord of the Ocean, living below the waters (Rv. vti. 
49, 4), in a palace with a thousand doors or entrances (Rv. viL 
88, 5) which probably mean the thousand rivers that fall into 
it. He is said to have stretched the ocean (Rv. vii. 87, 6), 
and known the different routes or lines, along which ships 
were navigated. (Rv. i. 25, 7). As Varu^a was identified 
with the wide ocean below, so he was also identified with the 
expanded sky of the night, with his thousand eyes glittering 
and sparkling in the darkness in the shape of the stars. From 
the above references, it would be quite clear to our readers 
that the ocean was an object familiar to the Rgvedic Aryans, 
and this is quite consistent, as I have said, with the existence 
of the four seas round about ancient Sapta-Sindhu. Do not the 
above evidences thoroughly contradict Professor MacdonelPs 
assumption that the ancient Aryans knew the ocean only from 
hearsay and had no direct knowledge of it ? This is a glaring 
instance and proof positive of the way in which wrong judg- 
ments are sometimes formed through bias and pre-conceived 
ideas. * 

Besides the mention of the four seas, there are many 
other evidences in the Rgveda to prove the antiquity of the 
Aryans of Sapta-Sindlm. That they regarded the land as 
their original home would appear from the fact that the region 
between the SarasvatI and the Sindhu (the Indus) was called 
the God-fashioned region, or source of life and production/ 1 
(Devakrta Yoni).- The descriptive phrase occurs in Rv. Hi. 

* In this connection, it will not be out of place to mention here Professor 
Wilson's views on the subject . " They (the $gvedic Aryans) were a mari- 

time and mercantile people Not only are the Sdktas familiar with the ocean 

and its phenomena, but we have merchants described as pressing earnestly on 
board ship for the sake of gain, and we have a naval expedition against a 
foreign island or continent (dvlpa) frustrated by a ship-wreck," i Wilson's 
Translation of the JJgveda. Intro : p. xli, Second Ed. 1860). 

Yoni here means grha or abode (vide Yaska's Nighant* Hi, 4)- Yoni 
also means " water," and Devakrta Yoni may mean " water made by the Gods," 
in other words, the ocean." But the meaning that the rivers are advancing 
towards the * God-made home or region " of the Aryans seems more appro- 
priate, as it is supported by Manu who describes the original home of the 
Aryans as " Dnanirmita De f a "or God-fashioned region. All regions have 
been made by God, but the region specially made for the Aryans to live in has 
been described as 0w*f to Yoni or D****irmita D*$*. 



3* *GVD1C MDtA. [CHAP. 

33* 4. where the two rivers Bipdt and the Sutudri (the Beas 
and the Sutlej) have been made to say that, swollen with 
water, they are advancing towards the "God-fashioned 
region/ 11 This sentiment about the sacredness of the region 
was in a later age echoed by Manu in his celebrated Saqihitl, 
in which the region between the Sarasvatl and the Dftadvatl 
has been described as the " God-fashioned country " (Deia- 
nirmita deia).* Further, in Rv. ii. 41, 1 6, the Sarasvatl has 
been described as " the best of mothers, the best of rivers, 
and the best of Goddesses," 3 and in verse 17 of the same 
Sakta, this sacred river has been described to be the support 
of all (life), which probably means that all animals were 
evolved in the region of the Sarasvatl. 4 This certainly 
accords with the geological fact that the Punjab was the most 
ancient life-producing region in India. It will be in the 
recollection of our readers that in the famous Siwalik beds 
within the sub-Himilayan range have been found the vast 
stores of extinct mammalia, and it is significant that the 
Sarasvatl has her source in the Himalaya in that region. The 
Rgvedic Aryans must have been aware of the existence of 
these vast stores of extinct mammalia to justify them in saying 
that the Sarasvatl was the source and support of all life. 

Another evidence (though of a negative kind) of the 
antiquity of the Rgveda and of the In do- Aryans is the total 
absence of any mention in it of the great Deluge which is 
referred to in the Atharva-veda and related in the $a tap at ha 
Brdhmana and later Sanskrit Literature, such as the Maha- 
bharata and the Puri^as. A Deluge is also mentioned in the 

Rv. Hi. 33,4 :- 

WT TO w 



* Iviq-n H^C) H 

(Manu ii, 17 J 
Rv.ii.4i. 16: 



* Rv. it. 41. 17 : 

w fm wuft frur 



Ill;] MANU'S FLOOD. 35 

Gilgamesh Epic of Babylonia, in another Babylonian account 
of it left by Berossus, in the ancient flood-legend of Egypt, 
with which the name of Tern, " the father of human beings " is 
associated, in the classical accounts of Greece, and lastly in the 
Biblical account of the Great Flood from which Noah saved 
himself along with the seeds of all floras and faunas. Whether 
all these different accounts refer and point to the one and 
same event, it is very difficult to ascertain ; but there can be 
no doubt that the occurrence was a real event, at any rate, in 
India. Whatever may have been the time of its happening, 
one thing stands out clear and certain, that the Deluge as 
mentioned in the Sa tap at ha Brdhmana, occurred long after 
the hymns of the Rgveda Samhita had been composed; for 
if it had happened before or during the period of their 
composition, there was every likelihood of its being mentioned 
or referred to somewhere in the Rgveda. The accounts of 
the flood as found in the Satapatha Brdhmana, and in the 
Babylonian story of Berossus and the Gilgamesh Epic differ 
in one material aspect, which is worth mentioning here. 
While Manu's Flood seems to have been caused by the 
swelling of the sea, situated to the south of the land in which 
he lived, and carried his ship northward to the " Northern 
Mountain " (Uttara Giri) } meaning of course the Himalaya, 
the Babylonian account of Berossus speaks of " a deluge of 
rain " which continued for " three days," and the Epic of 
Gilgamesh also mentions of " heavy rains " pouring down from 
14 black clouds/ 1 which made the earth look like the sea. The 
Biblical account of the flood similarly mentions that it was 
caused by heavy down-pourings for " forty days and forty 
nights " (Genesis, vii. 12). The Indian Flood, not having been 
caused by heavy rainfall, must therefore have been caused by 
violent seismic action which seems to have some connection 
with the partial disappearance of the R&jput&ni Sea, situated 
to the south of Sapta-Sindhu. A portion of the bed of this sea 
was probably suddenly upheaved, displacing and scattering 
the vast .volume of water, which caused a flood in Sapta* 



*o *GVED9C INDIA. 

Sindhu, and covered the lower regions of the HimAlaya for 
sometime. Manu's ship was carried inland by the flood and 
i$ said to have been stranded on a low peak of the Himilaya 
on the north of Kashmir, which is known as Manor avata ray a i, 
or the place where Manu disembarked from his ship. Though 
much of the flood-water returned to the sea through the 
river-channels, some of it must have oeen left in the 
hollows and low lands of the plains, where it stagnated. 
The rapid desiccation of this sea-water very likely gene* 
rated vast volumes of watery vapours, which, having partly 
been carried westward, might have been precipitated in 
Babylonia in a deluge of rain, causing a flood in that 
country. The rest, having been carried northward, was 
probably precipitated in Airyana Vaejo and Bactriana as snow, 
causing those regions to be invaded by ice. But there is 
reason to suppose that the flood in Sapta-Sindhu, and the 
Deluge in Babylonia were not simultaneous events. The flood 
in Sapta-Sindhu, if caused by the partial upheaval of the bed 
of the R&jputn& Sea, and the displacement of its waters, must 
have occurred long before the Deluge took place in Babylo- 
nia, as the existence of Tertiary and Secondary strata across 
the desert of RAjputAnA from Sind towards the flank of the 
Aravalli mountains would seem to indicate. The Deluge in 
Babylonia must therefore be traced to some other cause, which, 
I believe, was the desiccation of the Central Asiatic Mediterra- 
nean Sea in Eastern Turkestan, of which Lake Lob Nor is the 
remnant. The vast volumes of watery vapours, thus generated, 
probably passed southward and caused a deluge of rain in 
Babylonia, of which mention is made in the Gilgamesh Epic 
and the account of Berossus. Noah's flood which also was 
caused by heavy downpours of rains may have been a simul- 
taneous event with the Babylonian and the Egyptian floods. 
In Ancient Greece, according to Xenophon, there were no less 
than five deluges, and the last that happened in the reign of 
Deucalion " was produced by the inundation of the water of 
the river Peneus whose regular course was stopped by an 



IIL] NOAH'S FLOOD AND OTHER FLOODS. 4| 

earthquake near Mount Ossa and Olympus." and " is supposed 
to have happened 1503 years B.C." l The opening of the 
Bosphorus, which caused the water of the Aralo-Caspian Sea 
to flow into the European Mediterranean, must also have 
occasioned an inundation of the low-lying coasts of Asia 
Minor, Africa, and Greece, facing the Mediterranean. If, as 
is supposed by some European savants, the opening of the 
Bosphorus took place in the reign of Deucalion about 1503 
B.C., the disappearance of the undivided Aralo-Caspian Sea 
which extended as far as the Black Sea must have occurred 
in historical times, and the theory of Professor MaxMuller 
and others about the Central Asiatic home of the Aryans 
would thus fall to the ground, in as much as Central Asia 
would not afford sufficient pasturage to the cattle of a large 
pastoral people as the ancient Aryans are supposed to have 
been, and especially because we find them already settled in 
Sapta-Sindhu long before that event. As Dr. Isaac Taylor 
remarks : " A semi-nomadic pastoral people, such as the 
primitive Aryans doubtless were, must have required a vast 
space to nurture the cattle necessary for their support. A 
Tartar family in Central Asia requires three hundred heads 
of cattle, and occupies rather more than three thousand acres. 
Hence a tribe consisting of 10,000 people would occupy from 
4,000 to 6,000 square miles."- North-Western Asia and 
Central Asia, having been in ancient times covered by large 
seas, would not afford the pastoral Aryans sufficient space 
for themselves and their cattle, but the level plains of the 
Punjab, intersected as they are by broad rivers, would afford 
them such space. 

It may be urged that to prove the antiquity of the Rgveda 
from the absence of any mention of the Deluge in that sacred 
work would be an instance of argumentum ex silentio ; for 
the event may have occurred within the long period during 

. l Lempriere's Classical Dictionary, p. aoo. 
' JJ Taylor's Or fin of tht Aryans, p. 15. 

6 



41 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

% * 

which the hymns were composed, though there was no neces- 
sity for mentioning it in any hymn, simply because the Rgveda 
was not a chronicle of the principal events of the age. There 
is undoubtedly some force in this argument, especially as 
the event has been referred to in the Atharva-veda, which, 
however, is admittedly a later work than the Rgveda, * 
though it is undoubtedly older than the Taittinya Brdhmana 
and the Sat ap at ha Brdhmana, in which it has been referred 
to more than once. It is indeed extremely difficult to try to 
fix the period of time in which the flood took place or the 
R&jputanS, sea disappeared. But it may be safely surmised 
that it took place long after some of the most ancient hymns 
of the Rgveda had been composed, for we find mention made 
in the latter of the Sarasvatl and the Sutudri (Rv. iii. 33, 2) 
flowing into the sea, which could be no other than the Raj. 
put in ft Sea. These two rivers must have changed their 
courses after the upheaval of the sea-bed, the one meander- 
ing alongside of the newly thrown-up sand-banks in a chan- 
nel running parallel to the Indus-bed until it was finally 
choked up by gradually drifting sand, while the other swerv- 
ing towards the west and joining the Indus at the confluence 
of her tributaries. If the partial disappearance of the Raj- 
putana Sea was synchronous with the flood, and the sea be 
proved to have existed down to the Quaternary Era, the flood 
must have occured sometime in that Era, long long before 
Noah's Deluge or the flood in Babylonia took place. 

Another evidence of the antiquity of the Rgveda and of 
the Aryans of Sapta-Sindhu is the reference in some of the 
hymns to extensive seismic disturbances, causing upheaval? and 
depressions of land and frequent earthquakes of great intensity. 
In Rv. ii. 12, 2, we read that the great Indra made the agitated 
and troubled earth firm, and controlled the angry mountains 
that also must have shown sin? of agitation and volcanic 

1 The Athanm-vfda mentions the Ma^dhas a .d the Angas (v. 22), the 
inhabitants of the countries which were under the sea when the Rgved* 
was composed. 



III.] SEISMIC DISTURBANCES. 4 r 

action. 1 In Rv. ii. 17, 5, it has been stated that Indra made. 
the shifting mountains immovable by his prowess. 2 The worcr 
for mountains in the original is parvatdn, which has also been 
used in the Rgveda to mean ' clouds/ in as much as they 
look like mountains. The above verse may, therefore, be also 
interpreted to mean that Indra made the shifting clouds 
immovable before pouring down rain. But read the following 
translation of Rv. i. 63, i : " All created objects and animals, 
the mountains, and all other hard and large objects that exist, 
trembled through fear of thee (Indra) like the rays of the sun 
in the sky." 3 In this hymn the word girayah does not mean 
" clouds " but really hard and solid mountains. Read again 
the following translation of Rv. i. 62, 5 : " O Indra, thou 
hast levelled down the high grounds of the earth." 4 These 

1 Rv, ii. 12. 2 is as follows 



The English translation ot the above is a* follow* * 

" He who fixed firm the moving earth , who tranquilized the incensed 
mountains ; who spread the spacious firmament ; who consolidated the 
heaven ; he, men, is Indra." 

1 Rv. ii. 17, 5 is as follow* - 



The English translation ii> a-> follows 

" By his strength he fixed the wandering mountains he directed the 
downward course of the waters ; he upheld the earth, the nur*e (of all creatures) 
and by his craft he stayed the heaven from falling.' 

s Rv. i. 63, i . 



q&ft finrr firof^wT finre^fr^i ftr^^T'rar'i n 

" Indra, thou art the mighty one, who becoming manifest in (the hour of) 
alarm, didst sustain by energies heaven and earth ; then through (fear of 
thee) all creatures and the mountains, and all other vast and solid things, 
tremble4, like the (tremulous^ rays of the Sun." 

* Rv. i. 62, 5. 

M 



WTO 

' Thou hast made straight the elevations of the earth." 
Head also $g. tiu 30, 9. 



*4 |LGVE*nfc INDIA. [CHAP. 

acts of the great Indra undoubtedly refer to violent earth- 
quakes and volcanic actions. It can thus be inferred that the 
ancient Aryans were pretty familiar with frequent earthquakes 
of great intensity, that caused marked alterations in the 
tondscape and the physical features of the country by depres- 
sing high grounds, uplifting hills or shifting them to other 
places. The following extracts from the Encyclopedia Britan- 
nic* will be found interesting in this connection : " The great 
disturbance which has resulted in the formation of the existing 
chain of the Himalayas took place after the deposition of the 
Eocene beds. Disturbances even greater in amount occurred 
after the deposition of the Pliocene beds. The eocenes of 
the sub-Himalayan range were deposited upon uncontorted 
Palaeozoic rocks, but the whole has since been violenty disturb- 
ed. There are some indications that the disturbing forces 
were more severe to the eastward during middle Tertiary 
times, and that the main action to the westward was of later 
date. It seems highly probable that the elevation of the 
mountain ranges and the depression of the Indo-Gangetic plains 

were closely related Probably both are due to almost con- 

temporary movements of the earth's crust. The alluvial deposits 
prove depression in quite recent geological times ; and within 
the Himalayan region, earthquakes are still common, while in 
the Peninsular India, they are rare." 1 The recent violent 
earthquake in the Kangra valley, that caused very widespread 
destruction, corroborates this view. 

We can therefore safely conclude that if the Aryans lived 
in Sapta-Sindhu even in Pleistocene times, they witnessed 
violent seismic disturbances, resulting in the elevation of 
mountains and the depression of high grounds, all of which 
they attributed to the prowess of the dreaded Indra. The 
ancient Vedic bards also attributed to Indra the acts of 
causing the Indus in her upper course to flow northward 
(Rv. ii. 15, 6) and of cutting with his thunderbolt paths 

* Bncy. Brit vol. xii, p. 726 (Ninth Edition). 



1IL] HOPKINS' INTERPRETATION. 4$ 

through rocky barriers for fill the rivers of Sapta-Sindhu 
to flow into the ocean. (Rv. ii. 15, 3.) The Indus now flow 
in a north-western direction on the north of Kashmir ; but 
probably in ancient times, she had a direct southward course 
which must have been obstructed by rocks falling into her bad 
or new rocks or hills rising across it, thereby changing her 
course northward. 

There are many other Rgvedic evidences to prove its anti- 
quity, which will be dealt with in the next chapter. 



APPENDIX TO CHAPTER III. 

Professor, E. W. Hopkins in his work entitled The Religions of India 
(1895), thus comments on the Rgvedic Aryans' knowledge of the ocean (p. 34): 

14 Some scholars believe that this people had already heard of the two 
oceans, (i.e., the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea). This point again is 
doubtful in the extreme. No descriptions imply a knowledge of ocean, and the 
word for ocean means merely a 'confluence* of waters, or in general a great 
oceanic body of water like the air. As the Indus is too wide to be seen across, 
the name may apply in most cases to this river." The holiowness of this 
view, entertained by Prof. Macdonell also, has been exposed in this chapter. 

With regard to the Eastern and the Western Samudras, mentioned in 
Rv. I. 136, 5, in which the God Keti, (ie. t the Sun) is said to dwell, Prof. 
Hopkins says r p. 34): *' An allusion to ' eastern and western floods/ which is 
held by some to be conclusive evidence for a knowledge of the two seas, is 
taken by others to apply to the air-oceans." But the air-ocean is really one 
and not two, extending over the antariksa or the sky from the east to the 
west uninterruptedly, and there is no reason why the Vedic bard should divide 
it into two, when the Sun may be said to dwell in it all along in his journey 
from east to west. Prof, Hopkins, probably realising the absurdity of this 
interpretation, proceeds to explain the passage in his own way : " The 
expression may apply simply to rivers, f jr it is sud that the Vipas and 
Sutudri empty into the * ocean ' i.e., the Indus, or the Sutudari's continuation. 
(Rv iii. 33, 2)." The word in the verse is Samudra, and it is quite probable that 
in those days the Sutudri like the Sindhu and the Sarasvati flowed directly into 
the arm of the Arabian Sea that ran up the modern provice of Sind, and was 
called Samudra. The Sutudri, as has already been pointed out, must have 
deflected her couse towards the west and joined the Sindhu after the upheaval 
of the bed of the Rajputana Sea. If the Sindhu was the Western Samudra or 
14 flood" as translated by Prof. Hopkins, what was the Eastern Samudra or 



46 &GVEDICJNDIA. [APP. TO CHAP. 

% 

" flood/ 1 for there was no Urge river like the Indus on the east ? This question 
rejpains unanswered. The Professor says : "One late verse alone speaks of 
the Sarasvati pouring into the ocean, and this would indicate the Arabian Sea." 
But in the foot-note, he says: " Here the Sarasvati can be only the Indus " a 
view followed also by Ragozin. If the Sarasvati was the Sindhu, how is it that 
they have been mentioned in the same verse (Rv. x. 64, 9) along with the 
Sarayu as different rivers ? This only goes to show the extreme length scholars 
are apt to go in order to prove their pet theory. If they made an effort to 
understand the meaning of the passage in the light of the results ot geological 
investigations, they would never have identified the sea into which the 
Sarasvati flowed with the Arabian Sea, or the Sarasvati with the Indus The 
Sea, as we have seen, was no other than the RAiputn Sea, and the Sarasvati 
was the same river as she is at present, though she is now merely a skeleton of 
her former greatness in consequence of a different distribution of land and 
water, and great climatic changes in recent times. The Western scholars 
have proceeded on the assumption that the distribution of land and water 
and the condition of the rivers in the Punjab are nearly the same now as 
they were in Rgvedic times, and not being able to harmonize the Rgvedic 
description of the Sarasvati with her present attenuated condition, have 
sometimes identified her with the Indus, and sometimes with the Avestic 
Harahvati, the name of a river in ancient Arachosia. " The Sarasvati river ' 
says Prof. Hopkins, " may have been originally one with the Arghandab 
(on which is Kandahar), for the Persian name of this river (s becomes h) ib 
Harahvati, and it is possible that it was really this river, and not the Indus 
which was first lauded as the S<trasvati." (p. 31). This again shows a hopeless 
confusion of ideas. If the Indus was the Samudra into which the Harahvati 
flowed, then it could not possibly be the Western Samudra into which the 
God Ke& sank down to rest; for admittedly the Rgvedic Aryans knew of 
lands, mountains and rivers, situated in Arachosia to the west of the Indus, 
over which the Sun shone. The rising and the setting of the Sun can only 
be connected with seas or wide expanses of water, whose farther shores were 
unknown and invisible, and which presented a boundless appearance. This 
condition could not be fulfilled in the case of the Indus in the west or any 
river in the east of Sapta-Sindhu. The irresistible conclusion, therefore, is 
that the Eastern and the Western Samudras really refer to seas to the 
immediate east and west of Sapta-Sindhu. The Rgvedic Sarasvati was the 
same as the present attenuated river of that name in the Punjab, as would 
appear from her joint mention with the Drsadvati and the Apaya in Rv. iii, 
43 4- The Sarasvati having been the most sacred river of the early Aryans, 
made famous in sacred songs, it .is not improbable that the Iranian branch 
of the Aryans, after their expulsion from Sapta-Sindhu, named a river of 
Arachosia into which they had migrated, after the most sacred river of the 
mother-country. As regards the two seas, the Eastern and the Western, 
Prof. Hopkins has fallen into an error by identifying them respectively with 



HI.] JACOBI'S OBJECTIONS. % 

the Bay of Bengal and the present Arabian Sea, whose knowledge on the wt 
of Rgvedic Aryans cannot be supported by any internal evidence of tne 
Rgveda. If he could only identify them with the Eastern Sea over the 
Gangetic trough, and an arm of the Arabian Sea running up the present 
province of Sind, he would have found the Rgvedic description of the seas 
quite consistent. He is probably right in saying that " as a body, the Aryans 
of the Rgveda were certainly not acquainted with either ocean/' namely, the 
Arabian Sea or the Bay of Bengal. But his interpretation of the words, 
Samudra and Sarasvati, like that of Prof. Macdonell and other Vedir scholars, 
is undoubtedly wrong and misleading. 

I think that it will not be out of place to refer here to Professor Hermann 
Jacobi's objections against the geological evidence that I have made use of to 
prove the antiquity of the Rgveda. In a communication, dated 26th February 
1926, to the author, he has been pleased to observe: " I cannot agree with 
you in your opinions about the antiquity of the Rgveda, even from geological 
considerations. For the upheaval of the country which caused the retreat of 
the Rajputana Sea, has certainly greatly altered the previous level of the land, 
and caused a new drainage of it. It is therefore not to be imagined that 
before that catastrophe the same rivers should already have existed in the 
Punjab as afterwards." I have already given a reply to this frank criticism of 
the learned Professor, which may be thus summarized* (i) The country 
(vf'jr., the Punjab) was not upheaved, but only a portion of the bed of the Raj- 
putana Sea, which merely affected the lower courses of certain Punjab rivers, 
trf*., the Sarasvati, the Drsadvatl, and the Sutudri 'or the Sutlej) in the Southern 
part of the country, which bordered upon th*t Sea. The Rgveda mentions the 
Sarasvati and the Sutudri as flowing directly into the Sea (Rv. vu. 95, 2 ; iii. 
33, 2). The upheaval of the sea-bed in post-Rgvedic times must have caused 
an obstruction to the lower channels of these rivers which had, therefore, to 
deflect their courses towards the west. The Sarasvati at first meandered along- 
side of the newly thrown-up sand-banks, and pursued a course which was 
almost parallel to that of the Sindhu or the Indus, until she reached the 
Arabian Sea. The drifting sands, however, gradually choked up this newly 
formed channel, and the rain-fall having become scanty in consequence of the 
disappearance of the Sea in the south, the Sarasvati gradually became attenuat- 
ed, and her current was not sufficiently strong to cut a way through the sand- 
choked channel which has since then remained abandoned. Traces of this 
abandoned channel are still discernible in the sands The Sutudri which had 
used to flow right into the Kajputana Sea in Rgvedic times, having also met 
with obstructions caused by the upheaval of the sea-bed, subsequently deflect- 
ed her course towards the west and joined the Indus at the confluence of her 
tributaries (2) The upptr courses of these rivers or any other river of the 
Punjab were not at all affected by the seismic forces that caused a partial 
upheaval of the bed of the Rajputana Sea, and remained very much the same 
as in Rgvedic times. The alluvial deposit over the plain of the Punjab is not v 



4 RGVEDie INDIA. [APP. TO CHAP. 

very thick, compared with that of the Gangotic plain, and below this deposit 
occur " inliers of older rocks, rising as hills in the centre of the alluvial plain. 1 " 
Mr. Oldham says that " the general facies of the fauna (found in the beds of 
the Salt Range of the Punjab) are of Cambrian age, and consequently the 
oldest in India, whose age can be determined with any approach to certainty."* 
(vide Ch, II p. 22). It would thus appeaffthat the plain of the Punjab has 
remained much the some ever since the Cambrian age when life in its lowest 
form appeared in it, and has not been appreciably disturbed anywhere, except- 
ing probably in some parts of the Himalayan region where seismic forces are 
still at work, as was evidenced by the recent great earthquake in the Kingra 
Valley. The Rgvedic Aryans were also acquainted with such disturbances in 
the mountain-regions, which occasionally caused a change in the landscape 
and sometimes in the upper courses of some rivers in the mountainous 
valleys, reference to which has been made in the Rgveda. The courses of the 
rivers in the plain, however, remained unaffected, excepting the lower courses 
of the Sarasvat! and the Sutudri, as already stated. (3) Though a portion of 
the bed of the Rajputana Sea was upheaved in post- Rgvedic times, evidences 
are not wanting to prove that upheavals and subsidences are going on in the 
borders of Rajputana and Cutch facing the Arabian Sea, even in recent times. 
Mr. Wadia, in his Geology of India, (pp. 30-31) writes "The recent subsi- 
dence in 1819 of the Western border of the Rann of Cutch under the Sea, 
accompanied with the elevation of a large tract of land (the Allah Bund), is 
the most striking event of its kind recorded in India and was witnessed by the 
whole population of the country. Here an extent of the country, some 2,000 
square miles in area, was suddenly depressed to a depth of from 12 to 15 feet, 
and the whole tract converted into an inland sea. The Fort of Sindres, 
which stood on the shores, the scene of many a battle recorded in history, was 
also submerged underneath the waters, and only a single turret of that fort 
remained for many years, exposed above the Sea. As an accompaniment of the 
same movement, another area, about 600 square miles, was simultaneously 
elevated several feet above the plains into a mound which was appropriately 
described by the people ' the Allah Bund ' (built of Godj. 

"Even within historic times, the Rann of Cutch w is a gulf of the sea, 
with surrounding coast-towns, a few recognisable relks of which yet exist. The 
gulf was gradually silted up, a process aided no doubt by a slow elevation of its 
floor, and eventually converted into a low-lying tract of land, which at the 
present day is alternately a dry saline desert for a part of the year, and a 
shallow swamp for the other part." 

Mr. Wadia further says . " Rajputana affords a noteworthy example of the 
evolution of desert topography within comparatively recent geological times. 

1 Memoirs of Geo. Survey of Jndia, Vol. xlii, Part 2, p. 6. 
Manual of the Geology of India, p. 109. Read also The Imperial 
Gazetteer of India, Vol. i, p. 53. 



III.] KEITH'S CRITICISM. 49 

This change had been brought about by the great dryness that has overconie 
this region since Pleistocene times, leading to the intensity of aeolian action on 
the surface.' 1 (pp. 33-34). 

It is hoped that the above facts and evidences would throw a flood of light 
on the point raised by Professor Hermann Jacob!, and convince him that the 
upheaval of the bed of the RajpUtana sea in post-Rgvedic times, whether 
gradual or sudden at places, did not, t8 any appreciable extent, alter the level of 
the plain of the Punjab excepting near the sea-coast, or affect the courses of the 
Punjab rivers as they had been in Rgvedic times, excepting the lower courses of 
the Saras vat i, the Drsadvati and the Sutudri. The rocky and inflexible solid 
land-mass of the plain, below the thin layer of alluvium, does not appear to have 
been affected or disturbed in any way by seismic or volcanic actions and has 
remained very much the same as in ancient geological epochs. 

Professor A. Berriedale Keith of Edinburgh University also does not attach 
any importance to the geographical evidence that I have cited in this book and 
in Rgvedic Culture. In a communication to the author, dated 27th January 1926, 
he has been pleased to observe : 

" I am afraid your speculations on the age of the Rgveda do not convince. 
I do not think your geographical evidence needs or perhaps even admits the 
explanation which you give ; the fact that for many generations no one has felt 
the difficulties you have raised and that most of us now do not appreciate them 
is an argument of considerable weight against their validity." I must frankly 
confess that I did not expect an observation like the above from the learned and 
renowned Professor. His words, I am afraid, savour of the doctrine of infalli- 
bility, and seem to indicate that simply because for many generations, no Vedic 
scholar has felt the difficulties I have raised, and most of the Western scholars 
now do not appreciate them, therefore the new facts and evidences that I have 
discussed can nut bj valid ! This is indeed " an argument of great weight 
against their validity." But has not the theory of the original cradle of the 
Aryans changed from generation to generation in the light of the discovery of 
fresh facts and evidences ? And has not what was valid in one generation 
become invalid in another ? The recent discovery of archaeological finds at 
Harappa in the Punjab and at Mahenjo Daro in Sind will presently make the 
current theory about the age of ancient Indian architecture invalid, and necessi- 
tate the re-writing of ancient Indian history, if Sir John Marshall is to be 
credited. Similarly, the geological and ancient geographical evidences that I 
have cited in explanation of certain geographical facts mentioned in the Rgveda, 
have to be very carefully examined in the interests of historical truth, before 
they can be summarily dismissed. It is indeed very hard to have to change 
one's opinion which one has held and clung to during a whole life-time, but 
still one should be prepared to face and consider new facts and evidences, how- 
ever belated may be their discovery, with an open mind. As I have elsewhere 
said : There is nothing like finality in views that are mainly based on mere 



So RGVEDIC INDIA. [APR. TO CHAP. 



intelligent guesses* surmises, and probabilities rather than on positive and 
incontestable historical proofs, and there should be room enough for a fresh 
view, based on fresh materials, in an arena where so many have struggled and 
are still struggling for existence and recognition. Truth can only be arrived 
at, not certainly by stifling any independent opinion, boldly expressed and 
formulated, but by encouraging it and giving it a patient hearing." 1 

1 Rgvedic Culture : Preface, p. viii. 



CHAPTER IV. 

FURTHER RGVEDIC EVIDENCE ABOUT THE ANTIQUITY OF THE 
ARYANS OF SAPTA-SINDEU. 

Mr. B. G. Tilak in his Orion has proved from astronomical 
statements found in the Vedic Literature that " the Vernal 
Equinox was in the constellation of Mfga or Orion about 
4,500 B.C.," when, he believes, some of the hymns of the Rg- 
veda were composed. The evidence adduced by him has not, 
however, been regarded as conclusive by some European 
savants, though Sanskrit scholars like Professor Bloomfield, 
Dr. Biilher and others acknowledged the force of his argument. 
From a statement in the Taittir%ya Brdhmana (iii. 4.1.15) 
which says that " Bjrhaspati, or the Planet Jupiter, was first 
discovered when confronting or nearly occulting the star Tijya," 
Mr. V. B. Ketkar has shown that the observation was possible 
only at about 4,650 B. C, which goes to confirm independently 
Mr. Tilak's conclusions about the age of some of the hymns. 1 
As Professor Bloomfield observed while noticing Mr. Tilak's 
Orion in his address on the occasion of the eighteenth an- 
niversary of John Hopkin's University, " the language and 
literature of the Vedas is, by no means, so primitive as to 
place with it the real beginnings of Aryan life...... These in 

all probability and in all due moderation, reach back several 
thousands of years more. 1 ' 2 This suggests the hoary antiquity 
of the Aryan civilisation, whether in Sapta-Sindhu or else* 
where, it does not matter. It should be borne in mind in this 
connection that the fygveda SamhitA is only a collection of 
hymns which were composed not in any particular period, but 
in different periods of time, one group separated from another 
by probably thousands of years, and handed down to posterity 
from generation to generation. There is distinct mention in 

* Tilak's Arctic Home in the V*das t Preface p. ii, 

* Ibid Preface p. H. 



5 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

the Rgveda of the hymns having come down from the 
ancestors of the Aryans from olden times, clothed in new 
language (Rv. Hi. 39, 2). The composition of the earliest 
hymns, therefore, would take us back to several thousand 
years more than 4500 B. C., and "the real beginnings of 
Aryan life " would be assigned to time immemorial, during 
which long period the archaic language of the hymns, having 
proved unintelligible, had to be changed into Vedic Sanskrit. 
This inference is quite in accord with the geological facts 
mentioned in Chapter II, and other astronomical evidences 
found in the Rgveda itself, which put down the Vjrsakapi hymn 
(x. 86) to about 16,000 B. C., and a verse of the Marriage 
hymn (x. 85, 13) to about 15,000 B.C. 1 

There are many other evidences of the antiquity of the Rg- 
vedaand Sapta-Sindhu, some of which are enumerated below : 

I. Indra is said to have given lands to the Aryans in 
Sapta-Sindhu to live in (Rv. iv. 26,2), and protected them 
in every way by causing timely rains to fall, and the corn 
to grow. The rains, however, used to be withheld by Vj-tra, 
the demon of drought, in his capacious cloud-body, which 
caused great distress to the people ; but Indra invariably came 
to their rescue by killing the demon and letting loose the 
flood of imprisoned waters. Vrtra has been described in the 
Rgveda as an Ahi % or serpent, and judging by his epithet 
Deva or ' bright ' (Rv. i. 32, 12), which is seldom applied to a 
demon, it seems to me that he was probably identified by the 
ancient Vedic bards with the zig-zag lightning that flashed 
through black clouds, followed by a loud clap of thunder, 
which the Aryans imagined to have been produced by the 
hurling of the bolt against him by Indra in his deadly struggle 
with him. The demon, who has been described in several 
hymns as mdydbl or guileful, seemed always to elude the aim 

Vide Mr. D. MukbopMhyf yt's article on " The Hindu NakSatras " 
In the Vcumalof the Department of Science (vol. vi, pp. 19-20.) Published by 
the Calcutta University. Read also fgvedic Culture, Ch. i, pp. 37-38. 



IV.] FURTHER RGVEDIC EVIDENCE, 53 

of Indra by as suddenly appearing in one place as disappear- 
ing from another. And very hard, long and arduous was the 
struggle that Indra waged against him. He succeeded, however, 
in the long run, in vanquishing the foe and laying him low on 
the ground, over which the released waters flowed, to the 
great delight of men and Gods. This Vrtra-legend is as old 
as the Rgveda, nay even older, as it came down to the Vedic 
bards from their predecessors of the hoariest antiquity. In Rv. 
i. 32, i, the Vedic bard says : " I will relate the valiant deeds 
that Indra, the wielder of the thunderbolt, first performed." 
After this brief prelude, he proceeds to narrate them, saying 
that Indra slew Ahi, the serpent, and then caused rains to 
fall. The Ahi that he slew was the first-born of all the Ahis 
( prathamajam ahlndm) (Rv. i. 32, 3). With the slaying of 
the Ahi, his trickeries also were destroyed, and Indra cleared 
the horizon of all his foes by causing the Sun and the Dawn 
to shine and the blue sky to appear (Rv. i. 32, 4). The dead 
body of Vjrtra fell down into the rivers, crushing them by its 
weight, and the glistening waters that he had encompassed 
within his body during his life-time, flowed over it, and it lay 
below them. The arch-enemy of Indra thus fell into " the 
long sleep " that knows no waking (Rv. i. 32, 10). After 
describing the defeat and death of th e Ahi in the above 
hymns, the bard extols Indra' s deeds by saying how he clever- 
ly warded off the blows aimed at him by Vftra, by diffusing 
himself like a horse-tail, l and how he won the cows (/.*., the 
rain-laden clouds or the solar rays) and the Soma juice, and 
how he opened the flood-gates of the Seven Sindhus or rivers 
(Rv. i. 32, 12). It would thus appear that the first valorous 
deed of Indra was performed in the Land of the Seven 
Rivers or Sapta-Sindhu, and it was there that Indra killed 
the first-born of the Ahis. 



* This simile was probably suggested by the form of the lightning which 
branched off at the end. Indra to ward off the blow had also to diffuse himself 
like a horse-tail. 



S4 $GVEt>IC INDiA. [CHAt>. 

Now, this legend about the killing of ttis first-born of the 
Ahis in Sapta-Sindhu, handed down to the Vedic bard from 
his remote ancestors, takes us back at once to the dim past 
that witnessed the first dawning of the Aryan mind to a sen- 
sible realisation of the physical happenings in the world of 
the primitive Aryan thinker who seemed to have grasped and 
unravelled, for the first time, the mystery of clouds and 
lightning and thunder and rain-fall. Verily, the distressing 
drought was the work of the wicked Ahi who absorbed the 
11 water of life " in his capacious cloud-body ; and verily, it 
was the mighty Indra, the beneficent deity, who took up his 
dreadful thunderbolt to wage war against the powerful Ahi, 
and continued the struggle deftly and vigorously till he 
succeeded in vanquishing and laying him low. It was a 
grand discovery, probably the grandest to the primitive Aryan, 
opening up, as it did, a magnificent vista of thought and 
moral visions that went on widening in scope and grandeur 
with the progress of time. The discovery of the Ahi and 
Indra must have been simultaneous, and the Ahi whom Indra 
was first seen to slay necessarily became the first-born of the 
A his, who however appeared, year after year, by a mysterious 
process of resuscitation. But it was enough that he was 
slain for the time being, and the imprisoned waters released 
and the herd of cows, in the shape of the clouds (or the 
obstructed solar rays), set free and won back by the mighty 
Indra, and the bright Sun and the beautiful Dawn, and the 
bright blue sky freed from his trammels to gladden men's 
heart again. It was a most wonderful, glorious and bene- 
ficent deed that the great Indra performed for the benefit of 
the world, which deserved to be sung in joyous strains, and 
handed down to posterity to be sung for all time to come. 
And so was it sung in hymns, which were handed down from 
generation to generation, clothed in new and felicitous lang- 
uage as suited the taste and needs of ever-changing time, 
a fact which one of the greatest bards of the Rgveda joyous- 
ly proclaimed in the following beautiful verse which, for its 



IV.] FURTHER RGVEDIC EVIDENCE. 55 

naive simplicity and wealth of truth, possesses an intrinsic 
value of its own, not generally appreciated or recognised ; r 

" (O Indra), the hymn, chanted long before (the rise of 
the Sun), that awakens (thee) by being sung at sacrifices, is 
old and has come down to us from our ancestors, clothed in 
white and graceful robes." (Rv. iii. 39, 2.) 

We need not at all wonder at the fact that this beneficent 
deed of the great Indra, together with the other valiant deeds 
that he performed for the good of the early Aryans who were 
struggling, through a mysterious impulse, towards light, should 
have made a deep and abiding impression on their mind, 
and raised Indra in their estimation to the first place in the 
hierarchy of their Gods. The ancient bards felt such a great 
enthusiasm for this all-powerful Deva as to make themselves 
his ardent votaries and ascribe to him the position of the 
Creator, who created the Sun and the Dawn, expanded and 
upheld the star-bespangled heavens, protected and sustained 
the animal and vegetable kingdoms by pouring down timely 
rains, made the agitated earth firm, kept the moving mountains 
in position, cut paths for the seven rivers to flow down 
into the sea, killed Vrtra, the demon of drought, which earned 
for him the designation of Vrtrahan, gave the Aryans land 
to live in, extirpated the Aryan non-believers, and unmannerly 
and half-savage nomads from Sapta-Sindhu, and helped his 
votaries to vanquish their enemies. All these glorious deeds 
were attributed to Indra, and the Aryans knew of no higher 
or more powerful deity than him. No wonder, therefore, that 
the worship of the other Gods were subordinated to his 
worship ; and the ancient Aryans, in return for all his good 
and kindly acts, instituted the Soma sacrifice at which they 
offered him a special preparation of the Soma juice, the 
invigorating drink that made him strong and hilarious, and 

1 Rv. iii. 39 2 : 



56 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

that he shared with all other Devas who helped him in his 
work. The Soma cult was as old as the worship of Indra, 
nay, even older, in as much as it is said that as soon as Indra 
was born of Aditi, he felt a strong craving for the Soma juice 
before he even thought of sucking his mother's breast (Rv. iii. 
48, 2). If we fully realised the high estimation in which 
Indra was held by the ancient Aryans, we should not be at 
all surprised to come across such sentiments about him as the 
Vedic bards delighted to indulge in, viz.> ' There can be no 
world without the great Indra" (Rv. ii. 16, 2), and " neither 
the heavens nor hundreds of earth can measure the greatness 
of Indra, nor a thousand suns reveal him " (Rv. viii. 70, 5). 
In fact, he was regarded as the first and foremost Deity, the 
first-born among the Devas, and the most powerful in heaven 
and earth (Rv. viii. 6, 41). It was this great Indra whose 
first great exploit was the killing of Vrtra, the first-born of the 
Ahis, and this great and renowned exploit was performed in 
the Land of Sapta-Sindhu> and was first witnessed in the 
region watered by the SarasvatI, as we shall presently see. 
The great antiquity of I ndra-worship, coupled with the fact 
that Indra first performed his heroic deeds in Sapta-Sindhu, 
goes to prove the antiquity of the Rgveda, and of the Aryans 
who lived in the land. 

2. I have already said that the region between the Indus 
and the SarasvatI was regarded as the God-fashioned birth- 
place of the Aryans (Devakrta Yoni), and the strip of country 
between the SarasvatI and the Drgadvatl looked upon even in 
later times as the " God-created land " (Devanirmita deia}. 
We have also seen that the SarasvatI was described as " the 
best of mothers, the best of rivers, and the best of all 
Goddesses " The ancient Aryans loved to cling to her valley, 
as a child loves to cling to its mother's breast, and many 
were the prayers offered to her that they might not have to go 
far away from her banks (Rv. vi. 61, 14). Now this attitude 
of the ancient Aryans towards this sacred stream and the 
region watered by her, touching as it is to a degree, bespeaks 



IV.] FURTHER RGVEDIC EVIDENCE. 57 

a genuine love for her, as can only be felt for one's mother- 
land, and not for any land of one's adoption. Her great 
antiquity is also proved by the fact that it was in her region 
that the first-born Ahi or Vrtra was seen by the early Aryan 
Rsts to be killed by Indra, which fact earned for her the name 
of Vrtraghni (or killer of Vjrtra), and made her share with 
Indra the glory of the deed and the appellation (Rv. vi. 61, 7). 
In verse 3 of the same Sakta, she has been praised for having 
killed the detractors of the Devas, and the wily son of Vfjaya, 
i.e., Vftra. In the same verse she has also been praised, like 
Indra, for having provided lands to the Aryans. These deeds 
of the Sarasvatl were identical with those of the great Indra, 
and we shall not be wrong, if we hold that they were perform- 
ed in the region watered by her. 

Sarasvatl in the Rgveda is the name of not only the 
river and of the region watered by her, but also of Agni or 
the sacrificial Fire. The Fire, first kindled in the region of 
the Sarasvatl, was called by that name. Another name of the 
sacrificial Fire is Bhdrail, derived from the name of the land 
inhabited by the Bharatas, a renowned clan of the ancient 
sacrifice-loving Aryans, who afterwards became so advanced 
and powerful as to give their name to the whole country which 
has since been called Bharatavarsa. A third name of 
Agni is Ila, derived from the region in which the great Manu 
performed his penances and sacrifices, and which, accordingly, 
came to be regarded as his spiritual preceptress (Rv. i. 31, u). 
lid has been described as the daughter of Dak?a, one of the 
Creators in the Vedic Pantheon, and identified with a region 
which was one of the best regions known to the ancient Aryans 
(Rv. iii. 23, 4). It would thus appear that these sacrificial 
Fires were called after the names of the regions in which they 
had been first kindled, Ila, Bhdrati dad Sara^vatl must have 
been contiguous regions, as the three Fires, called after their 
names, have invariably been mentioned together in the 
Rgveda, and the sarificial Fire, lid, invoked to burn auspici- 
ously in the homes of the Aryans living on the banks of the 

8 



58 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

, and to bring as 

much prosperity to them as to the Aryans living in 114 (Rv. iii. 
23, 4). The very fact that lift derived her name from the 
daughter of Dakja Prajipati, one of the Creators, and was 
regarded as the spiritual preceptress of the great Manu, the 
semi-divine being who is said to be presiding over the 
destinies of the human race, points to its vast antiquity. So 
is proved the vast antiquity of the region between the 
Sarasvatl and the Dfgadvatl, which has been described as 
Brahmdvarta in the Manu SamhitA (ii. 17), and is still 
regarded as the most sacred spot in all India. With regard 
to this spot, says Muir : 

" And even to the north of the Vindhya, we find the 
country distributed into several tracts, more or less holy, 
according to their distance from the hallowed spot in the 
north lying on the bank of the river Sarasvatl. First, then, we 
have this small region itself, Brahmavarta. This name may 
signify ft) either the region of Brahmfi, the Creator, in which 
case it may have been regarded as, in some peculiar sense, 
the abode of the God, and possibly the scene of creation ; 
or, (ii) the region of devotion or the Vedas (Brahma), and 
then it will denote rather the country which was sanctified 
by the performance of holy rites, and the study of sacred 
literature." 1 

The word Arydvarta t defined by Manu in verse 22 of 
Chapter II of the Manu Saqihita, has been explained by the 
commentator, Kulloka Bhatta, as " the land in which the Aryas 
or Aryans are born again and again." 2 From this analogy, 
the word Brahmdvarta may be explained to mean the region 
where Brahm, the Creator, appears again and again at the 
time of a fresh creation after the final disintegration of the 
world at the end of a cycle. Or, if the word, Brahma means 
the Vedas, it may indicate the region where the Vedas were 

* Muir's Original Sanskrit Texts, Vol. II, pp 400-401, Ed, 1871. 



IV.] URTHER ftGVEDIC EVIDENCE. $9 

first revealed or produced, and will be revealed and produced 
again and again at the end of Kalpas. Whatever may be 
the meaning of the word, it is significant as pointing to the 
belief of the ancient Aryans that they were autochthones in 
Sapta-Sindhu and were not colonist* from another country, 
and this belief is corroborated by the Rgvedic evidence 
about the antiquity of the region, which has been discussed 
above. 

There is some indication in the Sat ap at ha Brahman a of 
the situation of the region named Ila. There it has been stated 
that Manu at the time of the great Deluge Bailed in his ship 
northward from the shores of the Southern Ocean, and his 
bark having been stranded on the " Northern Mountain/' i.e., 
the Himalaya, he disembarked and landed on firm ground on 
the mountain. Mere he met a beautiful damsel, named Ila, 
who described herself as his daughter. It is very probable that 
this was the region, called lid, in the Rgveda, and if our 
surmise be correct, it was situated over the Himalaya and 
regarded as one of the best countries, known to the ancient 
Aryans. 1 The regions, watered by the Sarasvatl, the 
Dr?advatl, and the Apaya, were on tra plains of Sapta-Sindhu, 
spread out at the foot of the Himalaya. As Manu's bark was 
stranded on a mountain-peak in the region of Ila, which is 
pointed out in Kashmir, we can identify the former with the 
latter. And this supposition is strengthened by the extremely 
cold climate that prevailed in Ila, a:> suggested by the fact 
that the year was called Hinia in that region.- In Rv. x. 62, 
9, the region where Manu lived has been described to be as 
elevated as the heavens, which also points to its situation on 
the Himalaya. This also goes to prove ih.it the happy valley 
of Kashmir as well ab the plains of Sapta-Sindhu were, in 
ancient times, peopled by the Aryans. It will be interesting 
to note here that " Adelung, the father ol Comparative 



RV. HI. 23. 4 :-15f art & TC 

RV. u i. u : 



60 kGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

Philology, who died in 1806, placed the cradle of mankind in 
the valley of Kashmir, which he identified with Paradise." 1 
Whether Kashmir was the cradle or Paradise of mankind or 
not, it can be confidently asserted that this beautiful 
mountainous country and the plains of Sapta-Sindhu were the 
cradle of the Aryan race. 

3. The early institution of the Soma sacrifice, and its 
existence from time immemorial in the Indo- Aryan community 
also furnish an evidence of the vast antiquity of Sapta-Sindhu 
and of Aryan culture. The Soma cult is, as I have already 
said, as old as the cult of Indra-worship, for the Soma sacrifice 
was mainly performed for propitiating Indra, and strengthen- 
ing him in his daily and annual fight with Vrtra. It was an 
institution peculiar to the Aryans of Sapta-Sindhu, and disting- 
uished them from all other branches of the Aryan race, who 
either on account of thrir disbelief in Indra, or from the 
difficulty in procuring the genuine Soma plant in any country 
other than Sapta-Sindhu or the Himalaya, did not take to the 
sacrifice, or discontinued it, when they left the country. The 
ancient Parsis or Iranians hated Indra and his worship on 
doctrinal grounds, because they did not like to give precedence 
to any deity over Fire and the Sun. Hence, there was a 
religious schism in ancient Sapta-Sindhu, which divided the 
Aryan community into tvo hostile parties, and was attended 
with such bitterness of feeling and mutual hatred and recri- 
mination as to lead to a long and bloody warfare which 
terminated only with the ultimate expulsion of the Parsi 
branch from Sapta-Sindhu. Indra was regarded by them as 
the enemy of mankind, and the chief of the powers of evil, in 
fact as an A sura in the sinister sense used in later Vedic 
parlance, the equivalent Par si word being Daiva. The Parsis, 
when they lived in Sapta-Sindhu, were addicted to the Soma 
drink, like their brethren, the Vedic Aryans, and made 
offerings of it to the Gods ; but after their expulsion from 

Taylor's Origin of the Aryans, p. 9 



IV.] FURTHER RGVEDIC EVIDENCE. 61 

Sapta-Sindhu, they strongly condemned the Haoma (Soma) 
sacrifice, and purged it out of their rituals. Later on, however, 
they were compelled to revive it in some shape even in the 
country of their sojourn and adoption in deference to the 
clamour of a certain section who had a strong predilection 
for the drink. " The High Priests," according to Dr. Haug, 
" seem to have tried to conciliate the men of the old party, 
who were unwilling to leave the ancient polytheistic religion, 
(cilled paoiryo tkarsho 'of the old creed') and their 
time-hallowed rites and ceremonies. The old sacrifices 
were reformed and adapted to the more civilised mode of 
life of the Iranians. The intoxicating Soma beverage 
was replaced by a more wholesome and invigorating 
drink prepared from another plant, together with twigs 
of the pomegranate tree, and without any process of 
fermentation (water being merely poured over them) ; but 
the name in the Iranian form, Haoma, remained, and 
some of the ceremonies also." 1 Dr. Windischmann has 
observed : " The worship of Haoma is placed anterior to 
Yima, that is, to the commencement of Iranian civilisation, 
and in fact is declared to be the cause of that happy period." 
The Rgveda also refers to the high antiquity of the Soma 
worship when it says of Soma (i. gr, i) (i By thy guidance, 
O brilliant (Soma), our courageous fathers have obtained 
treasures among the Gods. "- Mr. Whitney also says: 
11 The high antiquity of the cultus is attested by the references 
to it found occurring in the Persian Avesta ; " 3 and Madame 
Ragozin says : " And like the Fire-worship, the Soma cult 
takes us back to the So-called Indo-Aryan period, the time 
before the separation o. the two great sister races, for we 
have seen Soma, under the name of Haoma, play exactly the 
same part in the worship and sacrifices of the Iranian followers 

1 Dr. Haug's Essays on the Sacred Language, Writings and Religion of 
ike Parsis p. 259 (Popular Edition). 

* Dissertation on the Soma WorMp of the Arians* 

9 TM journal of the American Oriental Society, III, p. 300. 



62 SLGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

of the Avesta. Indeed, we probably trace here one of the 
very few relics of even an earlier time that of the undivided 
Aryan, as it is sometimes called, 'the Proto- Aryan ' period. 
For, the Avesta bears evident traces of the use of the 
Haoma at the sacrifices, being a concession made by 
Zatathustra to old established custom, not without subjecting 
it to a reforming and purifying process." 1 Lastly, Mr. B. G. 
Tilak says : " That the Soma sacrifice is an ancient institution 
is amply proved by parallel rites in the Parsi scriptures ; and 
whatever doubt we may have regarding Soma in the Indo- 
European period, as the word is not found in the European 
languages, the system of sacrifices can be clearly traced back 
to the primeval age. Of this sacrificial system, the Soma 
sacrifice may, at any rate, be safely take n as the oldest 
representative, since it forms the main feature of the ritual 
of the Rgveda, and a whole Mandala of 1 14 hymns in the 
Rgveda is dedicated to the praise of Soma." 2 

Thus, it would appear that the cult of the Soma sacrifice 
was the oldest in Sapta-Sindlm. A drink was prepared from 
the fermented juice of the Soma plant, mixed with honey 
and milk, which had a cheering and invigorating, if not 
quite intoxicating effect on the drinkers, and was offered as 
oblation to Indra, and drunk by his worshippers. But this 
plant the genuine Soma plant, and not its spurious substitute 
among the ancient Parsis, was nowhere obtainable except a 
peak of the Himalaya, the plains of Sapta-Sindhu, the 
banks of the Indus, its tributaries, and the Sarasvatl (Kv. ix. 
61, 7 ; 65, 23), and the shores of Lake Saryanavat in Kuruk?etra 
(Rv. ix. 65, 22; 113, i). The plant, brought from the Himd- 
laya, however, was the best of its kind and was very much 
sought for by the saciificers (Rv. ix. 82, 3). It used to 
grow on the Mujavat mountain which was a peak of the 

1 Ragozin's Vedic India, pp. 168-70. 

Tilak's Arctic Home in the Vedas, pp. 205-06. 



IV.] FURTHER RGVEDIC EVIDENCE. 63 

Himalaya, and from the place of its growth, it received the 
appellation of Maujavata (Rv. x. 34, i). 1 

The Soma has been described in the Rgveda as " the 
oldest " (pratnamit, ix. 42, 4) " anterior to all sacrifices " 
(Yajnasya purvyah, ix. 2, 10) "the very essence and 
spirit of sacrifice " (Yajnasya atmd.vn* 2, 10; 6, 8), " the 
favourite drink of the Gods from the ancient times " (divah 
piyusam purvyam^ ix. 110, 8) " the father of Indra and other 
Gods " (Rv. ix. 96, 5) and " the father of all th e Gods " (Pita 
devatanam> ix. 86, 10,. All these descriptions of the Soma 
point to its hoary antiquity, as also the antiquity of the land 
that produced it, and of the people that first used it in 
sacrifice. 

That it was nsr<i in snrrifioe by the ancestors of the Rg- 
vedir lists is prcwd 1>\ various manfras^ two of which are 
quot'-fl hrlmv ll Om .innent ancestors, the Vasi^thas, who 
vvt-rt- iond of iliihlvini; th<- Soma juice, performed the Soma 
sacrifice according to established rites " (Rv. x. 15, 8). 

" Our ancestors, the Angirases, the Atharvans, and the 
Bhfgus have just come (to this sacrifice), and they are entitled 
to share the Soma drink with us '' (Rv. x. 14, 6). 

It should be borne in mind that these early ancestors had 
initiated the institution of sacrifice by producing Fire (Rv. i. 
3', ' ; ?ii 3 ; x - 2I 5 ' 9 2 l0 )- A S they were the earliest 
sacrificers, and probably also initiated the Soma sacrifice, 
their spirits were invoked at the time of holding a sacrifice, 
and they were asked to share the Soma drink with their 
descendant*. 

I will conclude this subject of the Soma sacrifice by 
quoting the following words from Ragozin's Vvdic India : 

1 Cf. the MahAbhfaata (xiv. 8. l) : 



Also Nirukta '. 



64 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

(( The Soma, used in India, certainly grew on mountains, 
probably in the Himalayan highlands of Kashmir. It is cer- 
tain that Aryan tribes dwelt in this land of tall summits and 
deep valleys in very early times probably earlier than that 
when the Hg-hymns were ordered and collected, or the already 
complicated official ritual which they mostly embody was 
rigidly instituted. From numerous indications scattered 
through the hymns, it appears probable that this was the 
earliest seat of the Soma worship, known to the Aryan Hindus, 
whence it may have spread geographically with the race 
itself, and that as the plant did not grow in the lower and 
hotter regions, the aridity of some parts disagreeing with it 
as much as the steam-laden sultriness of others, they conti- 
nued to get ' from the mountains ' the immense quantities 
needed for the consumption of the gradually widening and 
increasing Aryan settlements. A regular trade was carried 
on with Soma plant, and the traders belonged to mountain- 
tribes who were not Aryan, and, therefore irn-vTcntly handled 
their sacred ware like any other merchandise, bargaining and 
haggling over it. This is evidently the reason why Soma 
traders were considered a contemptible class ; so much so 
that, when customs hardened into laws, they were included in 
the list, comprising criminals of all sorts, breakers of caste 
and other social laws, followers of low professions, as usurers, 
actors, etc. of those who are forbidden to pollute sacrifices 
by their presence. To an Aryan Hindu, the man who owned 
the Soma and did not press it was a hopeless reprobate In 
fact, he divided mankind into * pressers ' and 4 not pressers/ 
the latter word being synonymous with 4 enemy ' and ' godless 
barbarians. 1 They were probably itinerant traders, and the 
bargain was concluded according to a strictly prescribed 
ceremonial, the details of which seem singularly absurd and 
grotesque, until one learns that they had a symbolical mean- 
ing. The price (probably for a given quantity, though that is 
not mentioned) is a cow light-colored or, more precisely, 
reddiste-brown, with light-brown eyes, in allusion to t e ruddy 



IV.] FURTHER RGVEDIC EVIDENCE 65 

or ' golden ' color of the plantwhich must not be tied, nor 
pulled by the ear *'.*., not handled roughly." 1 

With regard to the tiaders of the Soma plant, whom 
Ragozin calls non-Aryans, it should be stated here that the 
Rgveda mentions of the Soma plant having been brought by 
the falcon (Syena). The falcon was also called Garuda or 
Suparna, the golden-winged king-bird of prey. But there is 
also mention of a Rsi or sage of the name of Sy^na whose 
son was Suparna. We shall see later on that there were 
nomadic and non-sacrificing Aryan tribes in Sapta-Sindhu, 
who were described by the derisive terms of birds&nA sarpas, 
i.e., serpents, on account of their constant habit of moving 
from place to place and living in a semi-barbarous condition. 
The traders of the Soma plant belonged to this class and 
were hated by the sacrifice-loving Aryans for their ungodly 
and un-Aryan ways. It is, therefore, wrong to call them non- 
Aryans, as Ragozin has done. Sapta-Sindhu was not access- 
ible to any non-Aryan tribes in those ancient times, and was 
inhabited by ihe p ir,ly Aryan race, among whom there were 
classes, both cultured and uncultured, and the traders of the 
Soma plant belonged to the latter class. And this is probably 
t ! ie reason why Syena and Suparnn have been described as 
Hsis t or the Sage-leaders of these nomadic and uncultured 
Aryan tribes. 

To sum up the internal evidences of the Rgveda, dealt 
with in thU and the previous chapter: We have seen(i) 
that thert* were four seas round about Sapta-Sindhn, a fact 
which is confirmed by the geological evidence about the 
existence of those seas in ancient times; (2) that the region 
between the SarasvatI and the Indus was regarded as the 
God-created birth-place of all life; (3) that the total absence 
of the mention of the Deluge in the Rgveda proves the 
period of the composition of the hymns to be anterior to that 
event ; (4) that this event took place sometime before the 

1 Vedic India, pp. 170171, 

9 



66 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

composition of the Atharva-Veda, in which it has been refer- 
rd to ; (5) that the frequent references in the Rjveda to 
seismic disturbances of great intensity, and the depression of 
high grounds, and the elevation of mountains, point to the 
hoary antiquity of the Rgveda, which takes us back to later 
Pleistocene times when such occurrences were common ; (6) 
that if some of the later hymns of the Rgveda be proved to 
have been composed about 5000 B C , the beginnings of 
Aryan life must be traced back to several thousand years 
more ; (7) that Fndra was one of the oldest Gods of the 
Aryans, to whom was ascribed the volcanic action resulting 
in the tossing up of mountains, the depression of high grounds 
and the carving out of paths for the Indus and the other rivers, 
which carries us back almost to the beginning of human life 
on this globe ; (8) that it was in Sapra-Sinclhu that the first 
great exploit of Imlra, viz , the killing of Vrtra was performed, 
and the region where this act was first witnessed was that 
watered by the SarasvatI, which earned both for her and Indra 
the appellation of "the Killer of Vrtra " ; (9) that the region 
of 114 which was as old as that of the SarasvatI was situated 
high up in the Himalaya, probably in Kashmir, and was the 
country where Dak?a Praj&pati, one of the Creators, and Manu, 
the leader of the Aryan race, lived ; and (10) that the Soma 
sacrifice was admittedly the oldest sacrifice among the Aryans, 
and the genuine Soma plant grew nowhere else excepting the 
Himalaya and Sapta-Sindhu. All these evidences unmistak- 
ably point to the vast antiquity of the Rgveda and of Sapta- 
Sindhu, and go to prove that the Aryans were autochthonous, 
and did not settle there as colonists from any country. This 
conclusion is confirmed by the following observations made 
by Muir, the eminent Sanskrit Scholar : "I must, however, 
begin with a candid admission that, so far as I know, none of 
the Sanskrit books, not even the most ancient, contain any 
distinct reference or allusion to the foreign origin of the 
Indians." 1 

' Muir's Original Santkrit Texts, Vol. II, p. 322 (1871), 



CHAPTER V. 

DESCRIPTION OF THE UNO 4ND TUB RIVERS OF SAPTA SINDHU, 
AND ITS FAUNA, FLORA AND MINERALS. 

Having established the vast antiquity of Sapta-Sindhu and 
of the Aryans in that lan.l, we \vill now turn to a description 
of the outlines of the land, and of its rivers, nnd an account 
of its Fauna, Flora and Minerals, as found in the Rgveda. 
We have already said I'tat Sipta-Siii ihu had four seas on its 
four boundaries, e\cep:iug o;i t'ie north-west where it had 
direct connecuoa with Persia, and through it, with Western 
Asia. On the north were the Himalayan range, and the Asiatic 
Mediterranean Sea beyond, extending northward from the 
borders of Turkestan, md westward as far as the Black Sea. 
On the west were the Sulaiman Ranges and a strip of sea below 
them, which ran up the present province of Sind as an arm 
of the Arabian Sea. On the north-west was GandhAra which 
is identified with modern Vfglnnistin, which also was peopled 
by Aryan colonists. On the east, was a sea, at places three 
miles deep, near the foot of the Himalaya, stretching from the 
cast coabL ot Sapta-Si ,cl w down to Assam On the south, was 
theRajputana Sea, M.K i trhin t i; a^ far south as the Aravalli Ran^e, 
and connected with the Aiahian Sea on the west through the 
Gulfb of Cutch and Sind, and with the Eastern Sea occupying the 
Gangetio trough on the north-east, by probably a shallow b trait, 
below modern Delni. North-east Rajputana is full of hilU and 
rocks which form a continuation of the Aiavalli range termi- 
nating at the Ridge near D^lhi, but probably extending under 
the alluvium, as Oldham surmises, l across the Gangetic 
trough till the range impinges on the Himalaya. This, then, 
probably marked the eastern coast-line of Sipta-Sindhu, 
below which was the Eastern S^a receiving tiie waters ot 

1 Memoirs on tk* Geological Survey of India, Vok XLII, P, 2, p. 97. 



68 BLGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP, 

the Gangd and the Yamuna and the other rivers on the 
southern slopes of the Him&laya. From this it would appear 
that they were not large rivers in those days. " The 
termination of the (Aravalli) range to the northwards.. .is solely 
due to a gradual lowering of the general elevation, which has 
allowed the alluvium to invade the valleys to a greater and 
greater extent, leaving the higher pviaks standing out as rocky 
inliers in the alluvium, till the range finally disappears in the 
last exposure of rock at Delhi." l At the time when the 
Rgveda was composed, the sands on the northern coast of the 
RAjputna Sea used probably to be drifted up inland by the 
strong wind that blew continually from the south and south- 
west. These sands covered up a large p jrtion of the southern 
coast of Sapta-Sitidhu, converting much of it into arid desert, 
and probably helping to graJu.illy choke up the mouth of the 
SarasvatI which, on accou.u of the force of it? current in those 
days, as we shall presently bee, did its best to sweep them back 
again into the sea. It wa> lik; a perp -tuai struggle between 
the waters of the Sarasvati and the sand* on the sea-beach ; 
but with the ultimate di>ippcarancc of the Eastern and the 
Rajputana Seas, and the unhe.ival or gradual filling up of their 
beds with sand and alluvium, the rainfall became markedly 
scanty in Sapta-Sindhu, ind the SarasvatI gradually lost its 
strength till it \v-is reduced to the insignificant river that it 
is at present, and its mouth completely choked up by the ever- 
increasing sand-drifts blown from the desert This event, 
however, took place long after the age of the Rgveda. During 
Rgvedic times, the SarasvatI was a large and magnificent 
stream which, in spite of the sand-drifts, meandered through 
the desert till it reached the RAjputanft Sea. Even then, there 
was a large strip of desert in the southern portion of Sapta- 
Sindhu, of which frequent mention is made in th Rgveda. 
(Rv. iii. 45, i ; ix. 79, 3; x. 63, 15). 

Long after the RajputanS. Sea had become firm land, it 
" was too arid for general habitation " a* the rain-fall was 

pp. 96- 97- 



V.] DESCRIPTION OF THE LAND. 69 

very scanty ; and this is proved by the anthropological fact 
of " the great rarity of weapons of the stone age in Rajputana 
as compared with other parts of India." 1 It can be safely 
inferred that RajputanA was a sea long after the stone age 
had commenced in Southern India, and that the Rgveda was 
composed during that age. 

We have already mentioned three of the principal sub- 
divisions of Sapta-Sindhu, viz., (i) Sarasvatl, the region water- 
ed probably by the upper course of the river; (2) Bhdrati, the 
region watered by its lower course and inhabited by the 
Bharatas, under the spiritual guidance ot Visvamitra and (3) 
Ila, situated in the Himalayan valley of Kashmir. Besides 
these three important sub-divisions, there were two more, one 
inhabited by the Trtsus, somewhere to the east of Paru?nl, 
under the spiritual leadership of the Vasisthas, and the other 
on the banks of the Sindhu or the Indus. In addition to these 
principal sub-divisions inhabited by the five principal clans of 
the Aryans, among whom, besides the Bharatas and the 
Trtsus, were included the Anus, the Druhyus, and the Tur- 
ba^es or the Yadus, who were called by the name of Pancaja- 
nah (or Five Tribes), there were many other parts of Sapta- 
Sindhu, probably the different fertile region* known in modern 
times as the Doabs, - which were occupied by other Aryan 
tribes, none the less important than the Pancajandh^ like the 
Purus and the Cedis. Watered by a number of rivers, the 
alluvial plains of Sapta-Sindhu were naturally very fertile, and 
produced a variety ot bumper crops like barley, millets and 
rice which formed the staple food of the ancient Aryans. 
These fertile plains also afforded rich pastures to the cattle 
which the ancient Aryans valued a^ wealth and possessed in 
large numbers 

The Indus or the Sindhu has its source in the region to 
the west of mount Kailasa on the northern slopes of the Hima- 

1 Memoir* of the Geological Survey of India, Vol. XLV, P, i, p. 103. 
* Doab literally means the region between two rivers (Do = two and ad 
or Apt= water). 



70 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

laya. It * first follows in a westernly direction the great 
rock-gorge which runs with a depth of len thousand feet be- 
tween the parallel mountain chains of the Karakoram (Muz- 
Tagh) and the Himalaya. After breaking through the Hindu- 
kush mountains in a narrow bed, it flows in a southernly 
direction from the point where, not tar from the city of Attock, 
at the west of the flowery vale of Kd.bh.nir, its waters are 
increased by the Kabul river." ' The western UibuUnes of 
the Sindhu are thus mentioned in the Rgveda . 

" First thou goest united with the Tntfttnfi on this 
journey, with the Susartu, the Rasd, and the Svett, O Sindhu, 
with the Kubha (Kophen, Kabul river) to the Gomati ^Gomal), 
with the Mehtnu to the Kruniu (Kuruin) with whom thou 
proceeded together. 1 '-' The rivers to the east of the Sindhu, 
some uniting together ab tributary to it, and others flowing 
as independent nver*> into the adjacent seas, have been thus 
mentioned in the Rg\eda (x. 75, 5; In ih<- re note eastern 
border were the G\n^S and th A Y.i-nuna which, running 
their sliort course^ in the plain, flowed into the E^ti j rn Sea 
covering the Gangetic trough. To the west of tne Yamuna 
were the DrsadvatI and the Sm.vati which, having been 
united together, flowed into tlu Kijputana Sea. Then came 
the Satadru and the Vipas win. h were united is on< II\M 
and flowed into the sea whii h was undoubtedly the Kajj)U- 
t5m& Sea (Rv. iii 33 2). N xt wis (he I'.uu^ni. which is 
identified with the nud"rn I'dvl n\ liavati, anil (lows into 
the Marudvfdha which was th 1 : n t n- ol tlu lowi-i uniti-il 
course of the Asiknl (modern Chenub ui ( han<li.\bliag) and 
the VitastS (modern Jh^lum) and flo^vs inlo the Indus as its 
tributary. Besides the nam'-s of the-.e rivers, there is also 
mention of the ArjiklySL, which is said to have been united 
with the SugomSL. According tj Yaska, the ArjiklyJL is the 
Vipft^ and the Su?oma is the 1 idus Signs of an abandoned 
old river-bed betwern the Satadru and th- Paru^l are htill 

1 Hist. Hist, of the World, Vol M 

* Jjt. x. 75, 6 (Mitxmuller's Translation). 



V.] DESCRIPTION OF THE LAND. 71 

visible, which seems to have been a continuation of the Vip, 
and joined the Indus probably lower down the point where 
the Mnrudvrdha now joins it. If the Ar jiklyS be the old 
name of (he VipS,, then YSska's identification of the SujomS 
with lh.* Indus may be correct. The Satadru is now of course 
a tributary to the Marud\rdhS which flows into the Indus. 
Probably the upheaval of the bed of the Rajputana Sea 
offered an obstruction to its bed, and caused it to deflect its 
course towards the west till it joined the Maruclvrdha. We 
thus find the names of the Seven Rivers that gave the country 
its ancient name of Sapta Smdhavh, which were undoubtedly 
the SarasvatI, the fiatadru, tht^ ArjikiylL or Vipa-, the Parusnl, 
the Asiknl, the YiUsta, and the Sindhu. 

Two of these livrMs, nimely the SarasvatI and the Arji- 
Ki\a it lie old Vipa-) \\en subsequently dried up, and bjcame 
I'l'iijnilirant, when S.ipl i Sindhu came lobe called as the 
ritnuib or the Land of Five Rivers. 

The present name of the Drs.idvati is Ghaggar. But the 
SarasvatI and the Draadv.itl, as we have already said, are not 
now great rivers. The Sarn^vatl is represented by a channel 
or channels, occupying the position of the ancient much-praised 
stream, but now nearly dry for a great part of the year. The 
present condition of the Dr^advatl or the Ghaggar is similar 
to that of the SarasvatI They, as well as the M&rkanda and 
the ('hitting, rise from the lower hills of Sirmur, and are 
violent torrents during the rains, though nearly dry at other 
times. 

The rivet A pay A has been mentioned with the SarasvatI 
and the D^advatl in the Rgveda (iii. 23, 4). Probably the 
ApayS can be identified with either the MSrkanda or the 
Chitung. 

The Gangd and the Yamun& have been mentioned in the 
Rgveda (x. 75, 5) with the Sindhu and its tributaries, and the 
SarasvatI. But as vte have seen, they are not included in the 
computation of the seven rivers that gave the country its name, 



74 $GVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP, 

The cloths manufactured there were known by the name of 
Sindhu, and were of such fine texture as to have created a 
demand for them not only in Sapta-Sindhu but also in far- 
off countries like Babylonia and Assyria even in much later 
times. 1 The woollen fabrics of the Punjab and Kashmir, . 
which even now elicit the admiration and praise of the civilised 
world, were famous also in Rgvedic times. The fertile 
valley of the Indus produced such abundant crops as to justify 
the Vedic bard in calling it a granary of the river. The above 
description of the Sindhu undoubtedly gives us a vivid picture 
Of agricultural and industrial activities and prosperity of the 
ancient Aryans in those very early times. In fact, it seems to 
me as if the Sindhu represented and was the emblem of Action 
which made the Aryans a great and powerful people, when 
the rest of the world was " wrapped up in winter sleep," just 
as much as the SarasvatI represented and was the emblem of 
the mental, moral and spiritual culture that made them a highly 
civilised nation. The banks of the SarasvatI were the scene of 
Contemplation, where sacrifices were performed and the bards 
indulged even then in the highest speculations regarding the 
Soul (Atma) and the Universal Spirit (Parmdtma) that per- 
meates and underlies all things, and tried to solve the riddle 
of life. The Spiritual Contemplation of the people was com- 
bined with Action which was directed towards the improve- 
ment of material prosperity, not divorced from spiritual 
culture, but wedded to and dominated by it, It was this 
happy combination of Spirit and Matter that helped to make 
the ancient Aryans a great and glorious people. 

Let us now turn to the beautiful verses composed in 
praise of the SarasvatI : 

11 May SarasvatI, the purifier, the giver of food, the 
bestower of wealth in the shape of sacrificial fruits, seek 
viands in our sacrificial rite. 

1 " The old Babylonian name for muslin was Sindhu, i. e. t the stuff was 
simply called by the name of the country which exported it." Ragozin's 



V.] DESCRIPTION OF THE LAND. 7$ 

" SarasvatI, the inspirer of truthful word, the instructress 
of the right-minded, has accepted our sacrifice. 

" SarasvatI makes manifest by her deeds a huge river, 
and generates all knowledge." (Rv. i. 3, 10-12.) 

These verses are an unimpeachable testimony of the 
grateful acknowledgment by the ancient Aryans of the facility 
that the SarasvatI afforded them to perform their sacrifices, 
and compose the mantras of the Rgveda, that embodied, as 
it were, the truth that was revealed to the ancient seers. 

Read again the translation of the following verses >* 

11 SarasvatI, appearing in the form of this river, has bdcn 
breaking, with her strong and swift waves, the high elevation 
of the hills, like those who dig up for roots. Let us offer our 
service to her who breaks both her banks, and propitiate her 
by means of hymns and sacrifices for our own protection. 

" O Sarasvati, thou hast destroyed the detractors of the 
Gods, and killed the wily and all-pervading son of Vfgaya. 
O Goddess Sarasvati, rich in food-stores, thou hast given lafjds 
to men, and caused rains to tall for their benefit. 

" thou food-supplying Goddess Sarasvati, dost thou 
protect us from harm at the time of war, and grant us, like 
Pu?an, enjoyable wealth. 

"The dreaded Sarasvati, who is seated on a golden 
chariot and destroys our enemies, covets our beautiful hymns. 

" Her velocity is immeasurable, which overcomes all ob- 
structions, and makes a thundering sound while bringing waters. 

" As the daily sojourning sun brings the days, so may 
Sarasvati, defeating our enemies, bring to us her other watery 
sisters. 

" May our most beloved Sarasvati, who has seven riparian 
sisters, and was adored with hymns by the ancient 
always deserve our praise. 



?6 RGVED1C INDIA. [CHAP. 

11 May SarasvatI who has filled the earth and heaven with 
her brightness, protect us from the attack of unbelievers and 
detractors. 

" May SarasvatI be invoked by men in every battle the 
seven-bodied SarasvatI who extends over the three worlds 
and is the benefactress of the five tribes. 

11 May SarasvatI deserve the praise of the learned hymn- 
makers SarasvatI who is the most famous among her seven 
sisters by her greatness and valiant deeds, who has got the 
greatest velocity of all rivers, and is adorned with many 
excellent qualities on account of her superiority. 

" O Sarasvati, dost thou lead us on to immense wealth 
and not make us low. Dost thou not trouble us with excess 
of water, but accept our friendship and be welcome to our 
homes. May we not be compelled to go to any inferior place 
far away from thy banks, " (Rv. vi. 61.) 

" May SarasvatI, Sarayu and Sindhu, the rivers that flow 
with huge waves, come here to protect us. They are like our 
mothers, supplying us with water. May they supply us with 
water, tasteful like clarified butter, and sweet as honey " (Rv. 
x, 64, 9). 

u SarasvatI is flowing with life-sustaining water and pro- 
tects us like an iron citadel. She is extended like a (broad) 
thoroughfare, and proceeds in her glory, outstripping the 
other flowing streams. 

" The holiest of rivers, flowing from the mountains into 
the Sea, SarasvatI alone knows (the merits of sacrifice). It 
was she who gave Nahu$a vast wealth and produced milk and 
butter for him 

" May the fortunate Sarasvati be pleased to listen to our 
hymns at this sacrifice. May the adorable Gods approach 
her with bent knees, who is rich in everlasting wealth and 
kind to her friends. 




V.] DESCRIPTION OF THE LAND. 77 

" O Sarasvati, we shall get wealth bestowed on us by 
thee, by offering thee these 
before thee. We shall come in 
this thy favourite dwellinj 
thee like a tree. 

" O fortunate Sarasvati, 
door to the hall of sacrifice. 
(Rv. vii, 95). 

From the above description 
ly appears that she was a dreaded^ 
vedic times, flowing from the u ; " * ] 'y^^^flTiL* J I ifl^Tn sea with 
great velocity, and with spill- waters flooding the country around. 
She supplied the ancient Aryans with pure drinking water and 
made her banks fertile, and rich in crops. The Aryan agricul- 
tural population was greatly indebted to her, and, as \\e have 
already seen, clung to her as a child clings to its mother's breast, 
with a love and fondness that is quite touching. It uas on the 
banks of the Sarasvati that great sacrifices used to be performed 
and the Aryans composed most of their hymns. In those days, 
as we have already said, she was certainly not an insignificant 
river which she is now, but a noble stream, with a current 
running throughout the year, which was probably fed by the 
melting snow of the glaciers near her source. As has already 
been observed in a previous chapter, there is evidence of a 
cold climate having prevailed in ancient Sapta-Sindhu, and 
geologists think it quite probable that the Himalaya was 
covered with snow even in the lower altitudes. The dis- 
appearance of snow from these lower heights and the scanti- 
ness of rainfall even during the rainy season in modern times, 
due to the disappearance ol the surrounding seas, have reduc- 
ed the Sarasvati to her present skeleton which is not even the 
shadow of her former greatness. The Sarasvati \\as also 
famous for the number of sacrifices performed, and the rich 
knowledge in spiritual matter that the ancient Aryans acquired 
on her banks. That the region through which the Sarasvati 
flows was inhabited by Aryan tribes from very ancient times 



78 ftGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

would also appear Trom the fact acknowledged by the Vedic 
bards that she was praised by their ancestors in olden times. 

The lower plains of Sapta-Sindhu, watered by her rivers, 
were fertile, which, but for the rivers, the Salt Range, long 
stretches qf woods and the strip of desert in the south, would 
have made the landscape somewhat dreary and monotonous. 
There is no beautiful hill scenery in the plains , but on the 
west, the north-west and the north, mountain-ranges lift up 
their heads to the skies and make the landscape look grand, 
beautiful and variegated. The snowy ranges of the Himalaya 
have been referred to in the Rgveda (x. 121, 4), though none 
of its highest peaks mentioned, for the simple reason that there 
were no means of advancing eastward on account of the exist- 
ence of the Eastern Sea, anil exploration of the gigantic 
mountain range was more difficult in those days by reason of 
a low temperature having prevailed in Sapta-Sindhu, and the 
lower elevations having been covered with snow The peak 
of the Mujavat where the Soma plant grew was familiar to the 
ancient Aryans, as well as the valley of Kashmir and the sur- 
rounding ranges of the Himalaya The mountains of Sapta- 
Sindhu have been described in one beautiful verse which 
being translated into English, stands as follows : " The moun- 
tains stand immovable for seons after icons, as if their desires 
have been satiated and fulfilled, and hence they do not leave 
their places on any account. They are free from the decrepi- 
tude of old age, and are covered with green trees, looking 
green, and filling heaven and earth with the sweet melodies 
of birds." (Rv. x. 94, 12). In two other verses the immov- 
able mountains have been invoked to be propitiatory. (Rv. 
vii. 35, 3 and 8). In Rv. i. 56, 2, it has been stated that 
ladies used to climb up the hills to pluck flowers. It would 
thus appear that the mountainous regions of Sapta-Sindhu 
were as much inhabited as the plains by the ancient Aryans. 
Arachosia and Afghanistan on the west were also inhabited 
by Aryan tribes, who were ruled by Aryan kings performing 
Vedio sacrifices, 



V.] FAUNA AND FLORA. 79 

Having given a short description of the physical features 
of Sapta-Sindhu, as revealed in the Rgveda, we will now 
proceed to give a short description of its fauna and flora. 

Among domestic animals, we find the largest mention of 
cattle (cows) made in the Rgveda. The cow was, as she is 
even now, a most useful animal. She supplied the Aryans 
with milk and butter, and her dried dung was used for fuel. 
Butter clarified was used not only in food, but also in the liba- 
tions offered to Agni or Fire at the time of sacrifice. As reli- 
gious sacrifice formed an essential part of Aryan life in Sapta- 
Sindhu, and clarified butter prepared from cow's milk only was 
used in sacrifiYr, the value of the cow from a religious stand* 
point can easily be imagined. It was the belief of the ancient 
Aryans, as it is still the belief of their descendants, that liba- 
tions, offered to Agni, were shared by all the Gods, and as such, 
Agni was the Purohita or priest of the Sacrifice. The liba- 
tions of ghrta (clarified butter) kindle the flames of the sacri- 
ftYial Fire, and help it to consume the other offerings made to 
it. The cow, therefore, was not only a highly useful but also 
a sacred animal, and two whole Saktas have been devoted to 
the praise of the Gavl-devatft or the Cow-goddess. (Rv. x. 19 
and 169.) The bull was the emblem of power and generation, 
and was used for drawing the plough and the car or rart. 
But there is evidence of its having been killed in sacrifices 
and its cooked flesh offered to the Gods, especially to Indra 
who seemed to have developed a keen taste and inordinate 
desire for it. (Rv. x. 86, 13 and 14.) 

There is also evidence of beef having been eaten by the 
ancient Aryans. 1 But milch-cows were seldom sacrificed, 
though there is evidence in the Rgveda and the BrdJtmanas* 2 
of the practice of sacrificing barren cows (Vehat), or cows 
that miscarried or produced still-born calves. In later times, 
however, the sacrifice of bulls or barren cows was entirely 

1 Rv. vi. 39, i. Read also ii. 7, 5. v *- 16* 49? 39- '' '* l6 9t 3- * 
27, a; 28,3; 86, I. 3& 14. 

v. ii, 7. 5 J *i* Brah. I. 3, 4. 



80 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

discontinued and prohibited, as beef was probably found un- 
suitable for consumption, and disagreeable to health, on 
account of the change of cold into warm climate. The horse- 
sacrifice also was afterwards discontinued, probably for the 
same reasons and also because it was more costly than the 
bull-sacrifice. The cow-hides were tanned and made into 
many articles of everyday use. There was no prejudice, as 
there is at the present day, against using receptacles made of 
cow-hides for storing water, wine, honey, oil, clarified butter, 
and even articles of worship like the Soma juice. (Rv. i. 28, 
9 and ix. 66, 29). Cow-dung was also probably used as 
manure for fertilizing agricultural lands. 

It may be argued that though bulls were sacrificed, and 
their flesh cooked and offered to the Gods, it was not partaken 
of by the sacrifices, or the Aryans. But in Rv. vi. 39, i, the 
sage Bharadvdja distinctly prays to Indra to grant him 
and the worshippers food with "go " or cow as the principal 
item. 1 This, of course, may be interpreted to mean that by 
the word "go" or cow is implied not her flesh but her milk 
and milk-products like butter, curd, ghee, etc. This may be 
a possible explanation , but, as Professor Wilson says, " there 
does not seem to be anything in the Veda that militates 
against the literal interpretation/' In the Aitareya Brah- 
man a which was composed long after the Rgveda, we come 
across a passage which says that when the king or any 
respected person comes as a guest, one should kill a bull or 
a Vehat) i.e., an old barren cow (i. 3, 4).-' Ydjnavalkya also 



1 RV. vi 39, i .- 

Sayana comments on this as follows *znr?t *Fm ^tTT ift W. 



* This practice probably continued till comparatively recent times. 
In the Uttara R dm a- Cant am of Bhavabhuti occurs the following passage . 
"Why, know you not, 
The Vedas, which enshrine our holy laws, 
Direct the householder shall offer those 
Who in the law are skilled, the honied meal, 
And with it fiYsh ot ox, or calf, or go.it, 
And the like treatment shall the householder 
Receive from Brahmans learned in the Veda ?" 
(Hindu Theatre, 1. 339.) 



V.] FAUNA AND FLORA. 81 

expresses a similar view. 1 In the Mahdbhdrata } it hats been 
related that for the royal kitchen of King Rantideva, two 
thousand cows and other animals used to be slaughtered 
daily. 2 In the Rgveda also, there is distinct mention of a 
place for slaughtering cows. (x. 89, 14.) From all these 
evidences it is clear that there was no prejudice of the ancient 
Aryans against beef-eating. * Very probably it was dis- 
continued, as we have already said, after the climate had 
become very hot, as it \\as found injurious to health-, and 
then beef came to be religiously prohibited as an article of 
food. 

The horse was the next most useful domestic animal. 
Professor Macclonell lias ^aid that the horse was never used 
by the ancient Aryan* for riding but only for drawing cars or 
chariots. 4 This again appears to me to be another mis- 
statement of fact. For there are many \erses in the Rgveda 

In the Mahavlracantam also occurs the following 

*' The heifer is reid} lor .sacrifice, and the food is cooked in ghee. Thou 
art a learned man, come to tho house of the learned, favour us (by joining in 
the entertainment.) 

I (Vdfjna I. 109 ) 



Mahtibharata fl'ana Parva) Ch. 266, verges in 1 1 



" O BrAhmafla, in the da^s of yore, two thousand animals used to be killed 
every day in the kitchen of Kingf Rantideva. And in the same manner two 
thousand kine were killed every d*y Rantidev.i daily distributed food miled 
with meat. O foremost of BrAhmaiMs, th.it king thus acquired unrivalled 
fame." (M. N. Dutt's Translation) 

" For an elaborate account of beef-citing and cow-sacrifice in ancient 
India, read Dr. Mitra's Indo-Arvant, Vol. I, pp. 354-388. 
MacdonelTs History f Sanskrit Literature, p. 150, 
II 



82 GVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

showing that the horse was used as much for riding as for 
driving, of which I will quote only a few below : 

" O ASvins, come quickly to the place where we are offer- 
ing hymns, riding on your fleet horses." (viii. 5, 7.) l 

" O Indra, come thou to us from the distant region, rid- 
ing on thy two handsome horses, and drink this Soma." 
(viii. 6, 36.) * 

" Our captains (leaders) have assembled riding on their 
horses. O Indra, may our charioteers be victorious in the 
battle/' (vi. 47, 31.) 3 

" Warriors, eager to fight, follow me on their beautiful 
horses, and assembling together invoke my aid in battle." 

(iv. 42, 5.) * 

A 

" Adorable Aditya, may I pabs (safe) in your car from 

the illusions which (you desire) for the malignant, the snares 
which are spread for your foes, (in like manner) as a horse- 
man (passes over a road)" (Rv. ii. 27, 22). 

The word A&viva (*n?ta) has been used in this verse to 
mean " like a horseman." 

The Maruts or winds have also been described in Rv. x. 
92, 9, as advancing rapidly on horseback. 

In Rv. x. 156, i, mention has been made of Aji or the 
race-course, where fleet horses were run in a race. Unless 
the horses were ridden, it would have been impossible to hold 
horse-races. The stake marking the goal in the race-course 
was called Kdrsma. The chariot-race was, of course, distinct 
from the horse-race. 



1 Rv. viii. 5, 7 i-^t m tttorq 5*Hp ^%fi? ?TOfif: | 

it 

RV. viii. 6, 36 : ^ ^ qrf% xrcrofttftwit 
n 

(Read also $g. x. 96, 10 and ftgvedic Culture Ch. v. 222-227.) 

Rv. vi. 47 3 . OTmhrcto 'ft 'rfts^rarfo* tfWt *&f \ 
RV. iv. 42, 5 : ift rc: w TOi^Jt nt TOT: 



V,] FAUNA AND FLORA. 83 

Dadhikras is the deity of the war-horse, and also the 
name of Fire, to which the horse has been frequently com- 
pared. Three Saktas, viz., Rv. iv. 38, 39 and 40 have been 
devoted to the praise of the war-horse or Dadhikras and from 
a perusal of these spirited hymns, it appears that the war- 
horse was used for riding as well as for drawing war-chariots. 

The war-chariots could only be manceuvred on even 
plains and hard grounds ; but the cavalry could easily pursue 
the enemy over rough grounds and ups and downs, which it 
was impossible for war chariots to do. 1 It would, indeed, 
be strange if the Aryans did not discover the use of the 
horse as an animal for riding, when they used it as a beast of 
burden (Rv. viii. 46, 8). The horse was also used for draw- 
ing the plough. (Rv. x. 101, 7). 

The horse, as we have already said, was the emblem of 
Fire, the Sun and Power, and used to be formerly sacrificed, 
and its cooked flesh partaken of by the worshippers with great 
relish (Rv. i. 162, 12). The horse, decked with pearl, gold 
and silver ornaments, took part in festive processions, as it 
does even now in modern India. 

The ass has also been mentioned in the Rgveda. It 
was employed to draw carts (Rv. i. 34, 4), and also to carry 
burdens. The wild ass (Asinus Onager) is still confined to 
the sandy deserts of Sind and Cutch, where from its speed 
and timidity it is almost unapproachable.- Probably these 
wild asses were tamed in ancient Sapta-Sindhu. 

I have not come across any distinct mention of the mule 
in the Rgveda. But it is mentioned in the Aitareya 

In this connection, the translation of the following verses from the 
46th Sukta of the Sixth Mandate of the Rgveda will be found interesting : 

" O Indra, when the great battle begins, thou urgest our horses over the 
uneven paths, like falcons darting upon their food and flying over inaccessible 
regions with great speed. 

11 Rushing rapidly like rivers in their downward course, and although 
neighing loudly through terror, they yet, tight-girthed, return repeatedly (to 
the conflict) for cattle, like bird* darting on their prey." 

Ency. Brit. Vol. XII.! p. 7*2, Ninth Edition, 



84 RGVED1C INDIA. [CHAP. 

Brahman a (vi. 17. 3). It would thus appear that cross- 
breeding was known in India from very early times, and the 
utility of mules as beasts of burden understood by the ancient 
Aryans. 

The buffalo was also a domestic animal in ancient Sapta- 
Sindhu. Probably its rich milk was used for food ; and 
butter was made of it. It was also used as a draught-animal 
for drawing carts and ploughs. Herds of buffaloes were 
grazed in the woods, just as they are done even to this day. 
(Rv. ix. 33, i.) They were also killed for their flesh, Indra 
having been very fond of it and devouring at a time the flesh 
of 100 to 300 buffaloes. (Rv. v. 29, 8 ; vi 17, 1 1.) 1 

The goat was also domesticated for food, milk and its 
soft wool, for which it is even now famous in Kashmir and 
Tibet. It was also sacrificed in honour of the Gods, and it 
replaced the bull and the horse in later time>, most probably 
because it was discovered to be singularly free from 
tuberculosis. It ^is remarkable that in all affections from 
this disease, the Ayurveda which embodies the Hindu system 
of medicine, prescribes goat's milk and goat's flesh for 
patients as necessary diets. The goat was sometimes 
harnessed to light carts in ancient Sapta-Sindliu. (Rv. ix. 
26, 8.) 

The bheep \\as also largely domesticated for its flesh and 
wool, and sactiliced in honour of the Gods. (Rv. i. 91, 14.) 
The sheep of Gandhara (Kandahar) was famous for its wool. 
(Rv. i. 126, / and iv. 37, 4) The camel was a familiar 
beast of burden in ancient Sapta-Sindhn, as it is even now in 
the modern Punjab. It was even then, as it is now, " the 

* In Hart-vamSa Parva of the MahAbhArata (Chaps 146-147) i& the 
description of a picnic, held in Pindftraka.a watering place on the west coast of 
Guzrat, near Dvdraka, in which Kr$n,a, Baladeva, Arjuna and others took part. 
At the banquet roast buffalo meat, which seemed to have been a favourite dish 
was served. In Chap. 205 of the Vanaparva of the Mahdbhdrata also, it is 
related that buffalo-meat was publicly sold in the market, and the stalls display- 
ing it were crowded by customers. 



V.] FAUNA AND FLORA. $5 

ship of the desert " (Rv. viii. 46, 28), carrying burdens and 
travellers on its back across the sandy wilds of Sind and 
southern Sapta-Sindhu. 

The dog was also a pet domestic animal. Its size must 
have been enormous in those days, as it was used as a beast 
of burden. (Rv. viii. 46, 28.) It is well known that in the 
polar regions the dog is used by the Esquimaux to draw 
sledges over the ice. Even in later times, Sapta-Sindhu was 
famous for its dogs, and large numbers used to be exported 
to Persia and Mesopotamia to assist in the hunt. 1 

There are evidences of the elephant having been tamed 
after capture, in ancient Sapta-Sindhu. Both European and 
Indian scholars have said that the elephant hat> but rarely been 
mentioned in the Rgveda. Professor Macdonell goes so far 
as to say that the animal " is explicitly referred to in only two 
passages of the Rgveda^ and the form of the name applied to 
it ' the beast (wrga) with a hand (hasti) ' shows that the 
Ris still regarded it as a strange animal. nj It was 
indeed a strange animal, as it was not so familiar on the 
plains of Sapta-Sindhu as the horse, the cow, the buffalo or 
the camel. It is a ferocious animal in its wild state, living 
on mountains and in the deep recesses of forests. It is 
caught and tamed with great difficulty and hazard, and none 
but kaja^ and rich noblemen can afford to keep it. There is 
DO lea^uii for wonder, therefore, that the R$is called it by its 
distinguishing limb, the proboscis, which the annual uses just 
a.s we use our hand for picking up food and things But it 
was albo known by the names of Ibha and Vdrana, and has 

1 ''The Babylonians imported Indian dogs. The breed is asserted tc be 
the largest and strongest that exist, and on that account, the best suited for 
hunting wild lions which they will readily attack. The great fondness felt by 
the Persians, for the pleasure of the chase, by whom it was regarded a* a 
chivalrous exercise, mubt have increased the value and use of these animals 
which soon became even an object of luxury." (Hist. Hist of the World; 
Vol. I, p. 488) 

Macdoneil's Hi*t. of Sansk. Lit., p. 148- 



86 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP.* 

been referred to not in two passages only of the Rgveda as 
Professor Macdonell says, but in several passages in one 
name or another, some of which are mentioned below : 

" O Maruts, ye eat the trees of the forest like the beasts 
called elephants." (Rv. i. 64, y,) 1 

" O Agni, thou goest with fearless power (majesty), just 
as the king goes with his minister on the elephant." (Rv. iv. 
4, 'O 2 

" (O ASvins), as the hunters desire to trap large 
elephants, so I am invoking ye, day and night, with these 
articles of sacrifice." (Rv. x. 40, 4.)* 

This verse shows that hunters used to trap or catch 
elephants in ancient Sapta-Sindhu, and they were constantly 
on the look-out for elephants, as the catching of these animals 
was highly paying and profitable to them. 

" Indra assumes uncontrollable power in sacrifices, like 
an elephant that exudes the mada juice, i.e. t becomes must or 
rogue." (viii. 33, 8.) 4 

44 The powerful mother replied, ' he \\ho seeks thy enmity, 
fights like an elephant on the mountain.' " (Rv. viii. 45, 5.) : ' 

"O A^vins, like a rogue elephant, driven by ankufa 
(iron hook), kill ye the enemies, bending your bodies." 
(Rv. x. 106, 6.) 

From the above quotations it would appear that elephants, 
that inhabited the mountains and forests of Sapta-Sindhu, 
were caught and tamed by hunters, and sold to the Rajas 
who used to ride them with their ministers. They were also 



Rv. J. 64, 7 ifin f* ^ftW WTOTT ^TT I etc - 
* Rv. iv 4, i 

s RV. x. 40, 4 



* Rv. viii. 33, 8 -*r*r faft *r *ncnr. HW *ro* & \ etc. 
RV. viii 45, 5 irftr ecu *wrft wfiKU'tf 
n 



RV. *. 106, 6 . *q[> sppft gqr'fr^SnWhr jqfft TO ftwr, ctc 



V.] FAUNA AND FLORA. 87 

probably used in war. That these animals were the natives 
of the Himalayan forests would appear from the following 
extracts from the Encyclopedia Britannica (Vol. XII, 
p. 742) : " The elephant still exists in considerable numbers 
along the terai or sub-montane fringe of the Himalaya." It 
is therefore extremely likely that the elephant existed in the 
Himalayan forests of Sapta-Sindhu in ancient times also. 

Among other wild animals and beasts of prey, mention is 
made in the Rgveda of the spotted deer (i. 37, i), the musk- 
deer (x. 146, 6), the black buck, known as Krsnasara Mrga 
(x. 94, 5), the wild boar, the bison (viii. 45, 24), the lion 
(viii. i, 20 ; ix. 89, 3 ; x. 28, 10), the wolf (Vrka}, the bear, 
the hare, the mongoose (Nakula}^ the monkey (Kapi) } and 
the jackal. There were long stretches of woods and thickets 
in the plains, and forests on the mountains, in which they 
lived and freely roamed. A whole beautiful Sakta has been 
devoted to the description of Aranydni or forest. (Rv. x 146), 

The lion is still found in the deserts of Rajputand, having 
probably been driven to the south by the destruction of the 
woods and forests of Sapta-Sindhu. The tiger ( Vydghra) 
has not been anywhere mentioned in the Rgveda, as it was 
probably in those days a native of Southern India ; but now 
its natural home is the swampy jungles of Bengal, though he 
is also found in all the forests of India. The absence of the 
tiger in ancient Sapta-Sindhu unmistakably points to its 
complete severance from the Deccan. The lion used to be 
trapped and caught alive, and kept in cages probably for 
show. (Rv. x. 28, 10.) 

With regard to the black buck, the antelope proper 
(Antilope bezoartica), it should be mentioned here that it 
was held sacred by the ancient Aryans, and its skin used at 
the time of holding sacrifices. The white hairs of the skin 
represented the Rfcs } the black represented the Sdmas, and 
the yellow the Yajus. 1 " Its special habitat is the salt plains, 

The Satapatha Brlhma^a. I. 4. 2. 



88 GVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

as on the coast lines of Guzrat and Orissa, where herds . of 
fifty does may be seen, accompanied by a single buck. The 
doe is of a light fawn colour, and has no horns. The colour of 
the buck is a deep brown-black above, sharply marked off 
-from the white of the belly. His spiral horns, twisted for 
three or four turns like a corkscrew, often reach the length 
of 30 inches. The flesh is dry and unsavoury, but is permit- 
ted meat for Hindus, even of the Brahman caste." 1 It is to 
be noted that the Aryans even in a later age regarded the 
black buck as a distinguishing mark of the Aryan land pro- 
per, or more correctly speaking o f the land where Vedic 
sacrifices could be performed (Yajniya dea). All other 
lands over which the black buck did not roam were unfit for 
holding sacrifices in, and regarded as Mleccha dt&a * Pro- 
bably the proper habitat of the black buck in ancient times was 
the Southern and Eastern coast-lines of Sipta-Sinclhu, which 
in later times extended, with the disappearance of the Eastern 
Sea from the Gang*tic trough, to the coast-line of Orissa, 
and with the disappearance of the Rajputana Sea, to the 
coast-line of Guzrit. This extended country afterwards 
formed Aryavarta, * or the country inhabited hy the Aryans. 
It is remarkable that the black buck is found nowhere else in 
India excepting Aryavarta. 

The proper home of the musk-deer is in the Himalaya 
where it is still found, and killed by hunters for its musk. 

The Gaura Wrga which has been frequently mentioned 
in the Rgveda (viii. 9, 3; 45, 24) is probably the Gour 
(Bibos Gaurus), the " bison " of sportsmen, "which is 
found in all the hill jungles, in the Western Ghat, in Central 
India, in Assam, and in British Burma," and " sometimes 

i Ency. Bnt , Vol. XII p. 742 (Ninth Edition). 

! ftiut ^t iT^fuWTiTC li 

(Manu, II, 23.) 

r: ti 

(Manu, II, 24.) 



V.] FAUNA AND FLORA. 89 

attains the height of 20 hands (close on 7 feet), measuring 
from the hump above the shoulder. Its short curved horns 
and skull are enormously massive. Its colour is dark chest- 
nut or coffee-brown. From the difficult nature of its habitat 
and from the ferocity with which it charges an enemy, the 
pursuit of the bison is no less dangerous and no less exciting 
than that of the tiger or the elephant." 1 As it is now found 
in, and confined to the Southern Peninsula, Assam and 
Burma, it must have migrated to these countries from Sapta- 
Sindhu, after it had become connected with the Deccan and 
Assam by the disappearance of the R&jputani Sea and the 
Eastern Sea respectively. There is geological evidence to. 
prove that the Deccan was connected with Assam and 
Burma on the one hand, and South Africa on the other, and 
extended as far south as Australia, forming a large continent 
by itself, and completely cut off from Sapta-Sindhu by seas.. 
The Gaitra *l/)ga } having once migrated to the .south, freely 
roamed east and \vest through the jungles and over the hills 
of Central India, the Western Ghats, Assam and Brithh 
li.irin.i t and completely disappeared from Sapta-Sindhu which, 
with tho destruction of thr woods, could no longer afford it 
free pasturage and absolute security. 

Among reptiles, frogs and snakes are mentioned in the Rg- 
veda (vii. 50, 103). The blatant croakings of the frogs have 
been compared with the loud recitations of the Vedic hymns 
by the pupils and disciples of the Rsis in the abodes of learn- 
ing, (Rv. viii. 103, 5\ a grotesquely beautiful comparison, 
no doubt. The're are whole Suktas devoted to Mantras for 
taking off poison injected by the bites of poisonous snakes 
and insects, which proves that these reptiles were numerous in 
ancient Sapta-Sindhu (Rv. i. 191 ; vii. 50). Fishes also have 
been mentioned (Rv. x. 68, 8), and the Mah&mina, or the 
large fish, referred to in Rv. viii. 67, could be no other than 
the whale. There was a country called MatsyadeSa to the 

Rncy. Brit , Vol. XII, p. 742. 
12 



90 FLGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

south-east of Sapta-Sindhu, probably at the junction of the 
Rjput&n& and the Eastern Seas, which was so called pro- 
bably on account of the abundance of fish obtained there on 
the sea-coasts. 

Among birds, mention is made in the Rgveda of pea- 
cocks (Hi. 45, i) of which, it is said, there were 21 species 
(Rv. i, 191, 14), falcons (Syena) (/. PeregrinatorJ, goose or 
swan (HamsaJ (iii. 8, 9 ; viii. 35, 8 and ix. 32, 3), quails (Var- 
tikd) (i. 112, 8), Francoline partridge (Kapinjala) (ii. 42 and 
43), black daxvs (krsna f akuna} (ix. 16, 6), owl (Uluka), whose 
screeches were regarded as inauspicious (x. 165, 5 and 6), 
Cakravdkas or ruddy geese, parrots (Suka) and the vulture 
(Grdhra) (x. 123, 8). Bird-catchers are mentioned in the Rg- 
veda, who either netted or snared them and sold them to 
those who were fond of birds' flesh. (Rv. i. 92, 10). 

Of the Flora in ancient Sapta-Sindhu, the ASvattha (Fiats 
religiosa) was called the Vanaspati> or " king of forest " on 
account of its size and tallness. it was held sacred, and its 
wood was used for making Soma-vessels. Professor Mac- 
donell has translated it by the word. u horse-stand," probably 
suggesting thereby that the shade of the tree was used for 
stabling horses. But it has been derived otherwise by San- 
skrit Etymologists, and is meant to be the tree that is not of 
yesterday, but stands from olden times. And, in reality, the 
ASvattha is not short-lived, and can easily withstand violent 
storms and blasts of wind. The Rgveda, however, does not 
mention the other well-known sacred tree of the plains, viz., 
the Nyagrodha or Vat a (Ficus /ndicus). This was probably 
a native of the Deccan. The Saml tree (Acacia suma) is 
mentioned in the Rgveda (x. 31, 10). as well as the Pal/i^a 
(Bute a Frondosa) (x. 97, 5) and the SAlmal) (Eriodendron 
anfractuosime] (x. 85, 2). There is also mention of the 
Khadira (Mimosa catechu} and of the im*ap (Dalbergia 
Situ) in Rv. iii. 53, 19. The scholiast says that the bolts of 
the axles of carts and chariots were made of the Khadira 



V.] FLORA AND MINERALS. gi 

wood, and the SimSapfi furnished the wood for the floor. The 
Simbul or Simul (Bombax malabarica) is also mentioned in 
Rv. iii. 53, 22. The Soma grew on the Mujavat peak of the 
Himalaya, as also in the plains. The Iksu or sugar-cane is 
also mentioned (ix. 86, 18). Yava or barley, (v. 85, 3 ; x. 69,3) 
and Dhdnya or rice (x. 94, 13) are also mentioned as the 
principal crops cultivated. As regards Dhdnya^ I was sur- 
prised to read the following remarks of Professor Macdonell : 
" Rice which is familiar to the later Vedas, and regarded in 
them as one of the necessaries of life is not mentioned in the 
Rgveda at all. Its natural habitat is in the south-east, the 
regular monsoon area, where the rain-fall is very abundant. 
Hence it probably did not exist in the region of the Indus 
river-system when the Rgveda was composed, though in 
later times, with the practice of irrigation, its cultivation 
spread to all parts of India." 1 This supposition of the Profes- 
sor is gratuitous, as we have already proved that rains were 
abundant in ancient Sapta-Sindhu on account of its proximity 
to the seas, and helped the tillers in the cultivation of paddy 
which is also distinctly mentioned in the Rgveda.- (x. 94. 
13). (Read also R<?vedic Culture, ch. vii). 

Mention is also made of sweet edible fruits, available in 
the forests in great abundance (Rv. x. 146, 3), as well as of 
many flowery creeper^ and medicinal herbs. The white lotus 
(Rv. x. 142, 8) was the favourite flower among the ancient 
Aryans, and was obtained from the lakes. The mango-tree 
is nowhere mentioned, as it probably was indigenous to South 
India, nor is the Sdla (Shorea robiista)^ the famous timber- 
tree of the submontane regions of the Himalaya and of the 
Deccan. The Kusa was the sacred grass which was largely 
used in the performance of sacrifices. 

Of Minerals, mention has been made of gold, silver, 
copper, iron and precious stones in the Rgveda. The 

1 Micdonell's History of Sanskrit Literature, p. 140. 

Rv. x. 94, 13 . TOft ^tirf*r* 



92 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

ancient Aryans, both men and women, were fond of bedecking 
their persons with gold ornaments, either plain or set with 
precious stones. Coins were made both of gold and silver. 
But whether copper coins were in existence is not quite clear. 
Iron was largely used for making weapons of war, and 
agricultural implements. Mailed coats were also made of 
iron. There is also mention of iron forts which were 
probably so called in a figurative sense on account of their 
strength and invincibility. It would thus appear that even 
in Rgvedic times, the Aryans were acquainted with the 
various uses of the principal metals, and had already passed 
the stone age of civilisation. To trace up their history to 
that age would be a feat as impossible as that of drawing a 
landscape in blinding and impenetrable darkness. The 
ancient Aryans had reached a very high rung of the ladder of 
civilisation, when the rest of the world did not even approach 
its foot. These metals and precious stones were procurable 
in the northern mountainous regions of Sapta-Sindhu. Even 
in comparatively recent times, the Babylonians used to draw 
their supply of gold and precious stones from these regions. 
Ctesias says expressly that the precious stones were imported 
from India, and that onyxes, sardines and the other stones 
used for seals were obtained in the mountains bordering on 
the sandy desert. " Emeralds and jaspers," says Theophristus 
a more recent author but worthy of credit, " which arc used 
as objects of decorations- came from the desert of Bactria (of 
Gobi). They are sought for by persons who go thither on 
horse-back at the time of the north-wind which blows away 
the sand, and discovers them." 

11 The country where gold is found and which the griffins 
infest " says Ctesias, "is exceedingly desolate. The 
Bactrians who dwell in the neighbourhood of the Indians, 
assert that the griffins watch over the gold, though the Indians 
themselves deny that they do anything of the kind, as they 
have no need of the metal ; but (say they) the griffins are 
only anxious on account of their young, and these are the 



V.] MINERALS. .93 

objects of their protection. The Indians go armed into the 
desert (of Gobi) in troops of a thousand or two thousand men. 
But we are assured that they do not return from these 
expeditions till the third or the fourth year." 

These classical accounts go to prove that there was 
abundance of gold and precious stones in Sapta-Sindhu which* 
extended as far as Bactria in Rgvedic times. 

Of the Minerals in Sapta-Sindhu, no mention is made of 
salt in the Rgveda, although the Salt Range exists in the 
very heart of the country from time immemorial, and salt 
could also be manufactured from the sea-water, if any 
necessity arose. This has led some European scholars to 
infer that the ancient Aryans were not at all acquainted with 
the use of salt. As Professor Macdonell has rightly observed, 
it is "a good illustration of the dangers of argumentum ex 
silentio " Such an argument would be as absurd as to say 
that the ancient Aryans did not know the use of shoes 
(Updnaka), as they are not mentioned in the Rgveda, 
although the warriors had helmets on their heads, breast- 
plates on their breasts, iron mail-coats on their bodies and 
skin-gloves on their hand*, and that the only limbs that they 
omitted or did not care to protect were their legs and feet 
that required a^ much protection as the other limbs, nure 
particularly to enable them to march easily over grounds, 
rough, hot and cold. It is often forgotten that the Rgveda 
\$ not a history of the ancient Aryans, in the proper sense of 
the word, but only a collection of hymns addressed to their 
various Gods ; and it is indeed a matter for wonder that in a 
work, essentially religious, there should be found so many 
evidences of the incidents of their secular life and material 
civilisation, which, when carefully read, give us a pretty good 
idea of their modes of living and thought. Would it not, 
therefore, be rash to deduce an inference from the omission 
of the mention of a particular article or custom in the 
Rgveda, and to say that it did not at all exist ? 



94 *GVED1C INDIA. [CHA*. 

However this may be, we hope, we have been able to 
draw an approximate picture of the physical features of 
ancient Sapta-Sindhu, and its fauna, flora, and minerals. We 
have shown ( i ) that the Sarasvatl was a mighty stream in 
those ancient days, with water flowing through her channel 
all the year round, which was probably perennially supplied 
by melted snow at her source, and that her banks, as well as 
the banks of the other rivers, were inhabited by a prosperous 
people, fond of holding sacrifices in honour of their Gods ; 
(2) that the submontane regions of the Himalaya and the 
valley of Kashmir were also inhabited by Aryan tribes ; (3) 
that the country, besides being intersected by the rivers, had 
also long stretches of forests, and a desert in the south ; (4) 
that the banks of the Sindhu were also well populated, and 
had important centres of manufacture in wool, woollen goods, 
and cotton fabrics ; (5) that the horses bred in the region of 
the Sindhu were famous, and probably in great demand 
throughout the country ; (6) that the forests were infested 
with wild animals such as the wolf, the lion, the wild boar, 
the elephant, the monkey, the bear, the jackal, the bison, the 
buffalo, the deer and the antelope ; (7) that the black buck, 
held sacred by the sacrifice-loving Aryans, was a distinguish- 
ing mark of the land inhabited by them ; (8) that barley, rice, 
millet, and probably other cereals also were the principal pro- 
ducts of Aryan agriculture ; (9) that they domesticated the 
cow, the buffalo, the ass, the horse, the goat, the dog, the sheep 
and the camel, and caught and tamed even the wild elephant ; 
and (10) that they were acquainted with the use of gold, silver, 
copper, iron and precious stones thai were the products of 
either Sapta-Sindhu, or of contiguous regions. It was indeed 
a self-contained country possessing an equable climate, pro- 
viding all the necessaries of life, and affording facilities for 
advancing towards a higher civilisation and developing all 
those traits of character that make a people great. Though 
divided into numerous clans and tribes, the more advanced 
Aryans were a homogeneous people who felt a mysterious 



V.] SUMMARY.. 95 

impulse to develop their peculiar genius; and actuated 
by that impulse, they tried their best to get rid of all discord- 
ant elements, and eliminate them from their community. 
They were engaged in their noble and arduous task of self- 
assertion and self-determination for a long time, but the story 
of their struggle will be narrated in a subsequent chapter. 



CHAPTER VI- 

THE DBCCAN OR SOUTHERN INDIA IN RGVED1C TINES, 

As we have already said, there is no mention whatever 
in the Rgveda of the Deccan, or the Vindhya mountains, or 
the famous rivers of the Southern Peninsula like the Nar- 
mad&, the God&varl, the Krsnfi, etc., or of the peoples inhabit- 
ing that country. 1 It is therefore not at all possible to 
describe the country from any internal evidence of the Rg- 
veda. The Deccan was completely cut off from Sapta- 
Sindhu by the RAjput^na Sea, and the Sea occupying the 
Gangetic trough ; and the Aryans did not care to go to that 
country, dark and unknown, by crossing the deep and danger, 
ous sea. If they ever migrated or extended in any direction 
during Rgvedic titoes, they did so by the overland route in 
the direction of Gandhdra, Bactriana, Persia and Western 
Asia. There were undoubtedly sea-going vessels and mer- 
chant-ships in Sapta-Sindhu ; but navigation in those early 
days was most difficult and dangerous, and ship-wrecks were 
probably very common occurrences. We may therefore 
safely surmise that the multitude generally avoided the sea- 
route for going to any foreign country. It was only the 
covetous and daring Aryan merchants, the Vaniks or Panis, 
as they are called in the Rgveda, who ventured on a sea- 
voyage for the purpose of trading in neighbouring countries. 
It is just possible that the Aryan merchants crossed the 
R4jputn Sea, and traded along the Western coast of the 
Deccan, exchanging the surplus products of Sapta-Sindhu for 
those of the latter country. But it is extremely doubtful 
whether the Malabar coast existed in those days in its present 
shape. There is geological evidence to prove that in very 
early times, Southern India formed part of a huge continent 
which extended from Burma and South China on the east, to 



Vide Appendix (A) to this Chapter. 



VI.) SOUTHERN CONTINENT. 97 

East and South Africa on the west, and from the VimUiya hilts 
on the north to Australia on the south ; and it was probably 
not connected anywhere with Western Asia, though there is 
reason to believe that it had some connection with the Eastern 
Himalaya through Assam This continent was bounded on 
the north, as we have already seen, by a long stretch of sea 
extending from As^am to the southern coast of Sind as it 
then was, and joined with what the classical writers called 
the J^rytjinejin Sea, o the Arabian Sea, as we now call it. 

This Southern Continent existed from early Permian times 
up to the close of the Miocene epoch, according to Mr. H. F. 
Stanford. Mr. Alfred Russel Wallace say* : " It (this conti- 
nent) represents what was probably a primary zoological 
region in some past geological epoch ; but what that epoch 
was and what were th- limits of the region in question, we 
are quite unable to say. If we are to suppose that it com- 
prised the whole area now inhabited by Lemuroid animals, 
we must make it extend from West Africa to Burma, South 
Thini and Celebes, an area which it probably did once 
orcupy." 1 

Elsewhere he writes " It is evident that during much 
of the Tertiary period, Ceylon and South India were bounded 
on the north by a considerable extent of sea, and probably 
formed part of an extensive Southern Continent or great 
KI i'id. The very numerous and remarkable cases of affinity 
\\ith Malaya require, however, some closer approximation 
with the.se islands, whi^h probablv occurred at a later period. 
When, still later, the great plains and tablelands of Hindo- 
^t in were formed and a permanent land communication 
effected with the rich and highly developed Himalo-Chinese 
fauna, a rapid immigration of new types took place, and many 
of the less specialised forms of mammalia and birds hec-ime 

T "The Geographical Distribution of Anim tb with a study of the rela- 
tions of living and extinct Faunas, as elucidating the pist changes of the 
Birth's surface 11 I ondon, Macmillan & Co 1870 Vol. I, pp. 76-77. 

13 



98 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

extinct. Among reptiles and insects, the competition was 
less severe, or the older forms were too well adapted to local 
conditions to be expelled ; so that it is among these groups 
alone that we find any considerable number of what are 
probably the remains of the ancient fauna of a now submerged 
Southern Continent/' 1 

Mr. H. F. Blanford says " The affinities between the 
fossils of both animals and plants of the Beaufort group of 
Africa and those of the Indian Panchets and Kathmis are 
such as to suggest the former existence of a land connexion 
between the two areas. But the resemblance of the African 
and Indian fossil-faunas does not cease with Permian 
and Triassic times. The plant beds of the Utenhage group 
have furnished eleven forms of plants, two of which Mr. Tate 
has identified with Indian Rajmehal plants. The Indian 
Jurassic fossils have yet to be described (with a few excep- 
tions), but it has been staled that Dr. Stoliezka was much 
struck with the affinities of certain of the Cutch fossils to 
African forms ; and Dr. Stoliezka and Mr. Griesbach have 
shown that of the Cretaceous fossils of the Umtafuni river in 
Natal, the majority (22 out of 35 described forms) are H^nti- 
cal with species from Southern India. 

" With regard to the geographical evidence, a glance at 
the map will show that from the neighbourhood of the west 
coast of India to that of the Seychelles, Madagascar, and the 
Mauritius, extends a line of coral atolls and banks, including 
Adas Bank, the Laccadives, Maldives, the Chagos group and 
the Saya-de-Mulha, all indicating the existence of a submerg- 
ed mountain range or ranges. The Seychelles, too, are men- 
tioned by Mr. Darwin as rising from an extensive and tolerably 
level bank having a dr pth of between 30 and 40 fathoms ; so 
that, alth-Mig'i now partly rncircled by fringing reefs, they may 
be regarded as a virtual extension of the same submerged axis. 

1 /bid pp. 328-329, 



VI.] INDO-OCEANEA. 99 

Farther west, the Cosmoledo and Comoro Islands consist of 
atolls and islands surrounded by barrier reefs ; and these 
bring us pretty close to the present shores of Africa and 
Madagascar. It seems at least probable that in this chain of 
atolls, banks and barrier reefs, we have indicated the position 
of an ancient mountain chain, which possibly formed the 
back-bone of a tract of later Palaeozoic, Mesozoic and early 
Tertiary land, being related to it much as the Alpine and 
Himalayan system is to the European-Asiatic continent, and 
the Rocky Mountains and Andes to the two Americas. As it 
is desirable to designate this Mesozoic land by a name, I would 
propose that of Indo-Oceanea. Professor Huxley has suggest- 
ed on pakeontological grounds that a land connexion existed 
in this region (or rather between Abyssinia and India) during 
the Miocene epoch. From what has been said above, it will 
be seen that I infer its existence from a far earlier date. 
With regard to its depression, the only present evidence 
relates to its northern extremity and shows that it was in this 
region, later than the great trap flows of the Dakhan. These 
enormous sheets of volcanic rock are remarkably horizontal 
to the east of the Ghats and the Sahyadri range, but to the 
west of this, they begin to dip seawards, so that the island of 
Bombay is composd of the higher part of the formation 
This indicates only that the depression to the westward has 
taken place in Tertiary times, and to that extent, Professor 
Huxley's inference, that it was after the Miocene period, is 
quite consistent with the geological evidence. 

" Palaeontology, physical geography and geology, equally 
with the ascertained distribution of living animals and plants, 
offer their concurrent testimony to the former close connexion 
of Africa and India, including the tropical islands of the 
Indian Ocean. The Indo-Oceanic land appears to have exist- 
ed from at least early Permian times, probably (as Professor 
Huxley has pointed out) up to the close of the Miocene 
epoch , and South Africa and Pemrisuler India are the 



(oo $GVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

existirig remnants of that ancient land. It may not have been 
aftsolutely continuous during the whole of this long period. 
Indeed, the Cretaceous rocks of Southern India and Southern 
Africa, and the marine Jurassic beds of the same regions, 
prove that some portions of it were for longer or shorter 
periods, invaded by the Sea ; but any break of contininty was 
probably not prolonged ; for Mr. Wallace's investigation in 
the Eastern Archipelago have shown how narrow a sea may 
offer an insuperable barrier to the migration of land animals. 
In Palaeozoic times, this land must have been connected with 
Australia, and in Tertiary times with Malayana, since the 
Malayan forms with African alliances are in several cases 
distinct from those of India. We know as yet too little of 
the geology of the eastern peninsula to say from what epoch 
dates the connexion with Indo-Oceanic land. Mr. Theobold 
has ascertained the existence of Triassic, Cretaceous and 
Nummulitic rocks in the Arabian coast range, and Carboni- 
ferous limestone is known to occur from Moulmein south- 
ward, while the range east of the Irrawadi is formed of 
younger Tertiary rocks. From this it would appear that a 
considerable part of the Malaya Peninsula must have been 
occupied by the sea during the greater part of the Mesozoic 
and Eocene periods. Plant-bearing rocks of Raniganj age 
have been identiiied as forming the outer spurs of the Sikkim 
Himalaya ; the ancient land must therefore have extended 
some distance to the north of the present Gangetic delta. 
Coal both of Cretaceous and Tertiary age occurs in the Khasi 
hills, and also in upper Assam, but in both cases, associated 
with marine beds ; so that it would appear that in this region, 
the boundaries of land and sea oscillated somewhat during 
Cretaceous and Eocene times. To the north-west of India, 
the existence of great formations of Cretaceous and Nummu- 
litic age, stretching far through Baluchistan and Persia, and 
entering into the structure of the north-west Himalaya prove 
that in the later Mesozoic and Eocene ages India had no 
direct communication with western Asia ; while the Jurrasic 



VI.] INDO-OCEANEA. 101 

rocks of Cutch, the Salt Range, and the northern Himalaya 
show that in the preceding period the sea covered a large part ( 
of the present Indus basin ; and the Triassic, Carboniferous, 
and still more recent marine formations of the Himalaya 
indicate that from very early times till the upheaval of that 
great chain, much of its present site was for ages covered by 
the Sea." 

Mr. Blanford thus sums up the views advanced by him : 

" ist The plant-bearing series of India ranges from early 
Permian to the latest Jurassic times, "indicating (except in a 
few cases and locally) the uninterrupted continuity of land 
and fresh-water conditions. These may have prevailed from 
much earlier times. 

" 2nd In the early Permian, as in the Post-Pliocene age, 
a cold climate prevailed down to low latitudes, and I am 
inclined to believe in both hemispheres simultaneously. With 
the decrease of cold, the flora and reptilian fauna of Permian 
times were diffused to Africa, India, and possibly Australia ; 
or the flora may have existed in Australia somewhat earlier, 
and have been diffused thence. 

" 3rd India, South Africa and Australia were connected 
by an Indo-Oceanic Continent in the Permian epoch ; and the 
two former countries remained connected (with at the utmost 
only short interruptions) up to the end of the Miocene period. 
During the latter part of the time, this land was also connect- 
ed with Malayana. 

"4th In common with some previous writers, I consider 
that the position of this land was defined by the range of 
coral reefs and banks that now exist between the Arabian Sea 
and East Africa. 

" 5th Up to the eiul of the Nummulitic epoch, no direct 
connexion (except possibly for short periods) existed between 
India and Western Asia." 1 

1 H. F. Blanford " On the Age and Correlations of the Plant-bearing 
series of India and the former existence of an Indo-Oceanic Continent/' 
Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, Vol. XXXI, 1875, pp. 534-540. 



102 RGVED1C INDIA. [CHAP. 

From the above extracts it would appear that South India 
remained connected with South Africa up to the end of the 
Miocene Epoch, as a huge continent, completely cut off from 
Sapta-Sindhu or the modern Punjab, by a long stretch of sea, 
extending from Assam to the Arabian sea. Though Mr. 
Blanford establishes the connection of India, South Africa and 
Australia in the Permian epoch, it is possible that the con- 
nection lasted with interruptions till the end of the Miocene 
epoch or even later when man flourished on the globe, as we 
shall see later on ; and that the isolation of Sapta-Sindhu 
continued till a much later period. 

Mr. Ernst Haeckel thus writes about the ancient Southern 
Continent : *' This large continent of former times Sclater, 
an Englishman, has called Lemuria, from the monkey-like 
animals which inhabited it, and it is at the bame time of great 
importance from being the probable cradle of the human race 
which in all likelihood here first developed out of anthropoid 
apes." 1 

Elsewhere he writes * There are a number of circum- 
stances (especially chronological facts) which suggest that the 
primeval home of man was a continent now sunk below the 
surface of the Indian Ocean, which extended along the south 
of Asia, as it is at present (and probably in direct connection 
with it), towards the east, as far as Further India and tlje 
Sunda Islands ; towards the west, as far as Madagascar and 
the south-eastern shores of Africa."- 

Whether this continent was the original cradle of man- 
kind or not, there can be no doubt that man existed here from 
very early times, and that his creation in this continent was 
made possible only after the creation of anthropoid apes 
which were his nearest approach. There is evidence of the 
existence of Pliocene man in the valley gravels of the Nar- 

* Ernst Haeckel's " History of Creation/' 2nd Ed., 1876. Vol. I, pp. 
360-61. 

Ernst HaackeN " History of Creation/' 1876. Vol. II. pp. 325-26. 



VI.] AGASTYA'S FEAT. 103 

mada and of Miocene man in Upper Burma. 1 It can, there- 
fore, be safely surmised that man had existed in this conti- 
nent long before the time when the greater portion of it was 
submerged in consequence of a violent cataclysm. Though 
Sapta-Sindhu was not directly connected with it, conditions 
similar to those of the lost continent must have prevailed 
there, which favoured the creation of a family of human beings 
entirely different from that of the Southern Continent ; and 
these were the progenitors of the Aryan race who, having 
been endowed with higher mental faculties, developed a civil- 
isation which was destined to dominate the whole world, and 
uplift the entire human race. 

It is possible that the same seismic forces that caused the 
subsidence of the greater portion of the Southern Continent 
also caused the upheaval of the bed of the R&jputn Sea ; and 
if these two events were simultaneous and synchronous, they 
must have occured long after Rgvedic times ; for the Rjpu- 
t&nSea had been in existence, when some at least of the ancient 
hymns of the Rgveda were composed The upheaval of its 
bed must have caused, by the displacement of the vast volumes 
of its waters, a deluge in Sapta-Sindhu, known as Manu's 
Flood, which \ve have discussed in a previous chapter. The 
depression of the Aravalli mountain was also probably due 
to the same causes that upheaved the sea-bed and submerged 
a large portion of the Southern Continent. It is related in 
the PurAnas that the great sage Agastya sipped up the ocean dry 
and caused the high peaks of the Vindhya mountains to bend, 
when he crossed over to Southern India, where he was the first to 
lead an Aryan colony. This sipping up of the ocean and bend- 
ing down of the Vindhya are undoubtedly connected with the 
physical disturbances that led to the drying up of the Ra*jpu- 
tdnd Sea and the depression of the Aravalli mountain, as the 
Vindhya is called, and have been fathered upon Agastya who 

1 Thi Students 1 Lyoll (1896) pp. 236, 237, 45- Tke Story of Primittot 
(1895) p. 3. Read also Appendix (B) to this Chapter. 



104 RGVEDIC INDIA, [CHAP. 

first ventured to the south. This Agastya, however, is not 
the Vedic bard of that name, but probably one of his descend- 
ants who, as was the custom in those ancient days, bore the 
patronymic of Agastya. This tradition which is connected 
with an undoubted physical fact goes to prove the antiquity 
of the Aryans of Sapta-Sindhu and of the Rgveda. 

But to return to our account of the Deccan in Rgvedic 
times. It formed part of a vast southern continent that ex- 
tended, as we have seen, from Further India to south-eastern 
Africa, and probably as far south as Australia. The stage of 
the civilisation of the original human inhabitants of this vast 
continent may well be judged by that of their descendants who 
afe the present remnants of the race in Africa, South India, 
Australia, the islands of the Indian Archipelago, and the 
islands scattered in the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. 
Most of them are in the same primitive condition of life as 
their progenitors were in, hundreds of thousands of years ago. 
The Kolarian and the Dravidian races of the Indian Peninsula 
are allied to the Negroid races of Africa, with such modifica- 
tions in their physical features and characteristics as climate 
and different environments have imposed upon them ; and 
there can be no doubt that they were the original inhabitants 
of the lost continent. Of the Kolarians and the Dravidians, 
it seems that some tribes of the latter made some progress 
towards civilisation, which was further advanced by their 
having come in contact with the Aryans after a communica- 
tion had been effected between Sapta-Sindhu and the Southern 
Peninsula by the drying up of the R4jputn Sea. The 
Kolarians, on the other hand, except such as came in contact 
with the Aryans on the borders of the Gangetic plains in later 
times, have remained in their primitive savage condition. A 
brief account of some of the primitive tribes of both the races 
will be found interesting here : 

" Among the rudest fragments of mankind are the isolated 
Andaman islanders in the Bay of Bengal. The old Arab and 



VI.] SOME WILD TRIBES OF THE DECCAN. 105 

European voyagers described them as dog-faced man-eaters. 
The English officers, sent to the islands in 1855 to establish a 
settlement, found themselves surrounded by quite naked canni- 
bals of a ferocious type, who daubed themselves when festive 
with red earth and mourned in suit of olive-coloured mud. 
They made a noise like weeping to express friendship or joy, 
bore only names of common gender which they received 
before birth, and their sole conception of a god was an evil 
spirit who spread disease. For five years, they repulsed every 
effort at intercourse by showers of arrows ; but the officers 
slowly brought them to a better frame of mind by building 
sheds near the settlement where these poor beings might find 
shelter from the tropical rains, and receive medicines and food. 

" The Anamalai Hills in Southern Madras form the refuge 
of a whole series of broken tribes. Five hamlets of long- 
haired wild-looking Pullers live on jungle products, mice or 
any small animals that they can catch, and worship demons. 
Another clan, the Mundavers, shrink from contact with the 
outside world, and possess no fixed dwellings, but wander 
over the innermost hills with their cattle, sheltering themselves 
under little leaf-sheds, and seldom remaining in the same 
spot more than a year. The thick-lipped small-bodied Kadus 
1 Lords of Hills ' are the remnants of a higher race. They 
file the front teeth of the upper jaw as a marriage ceremony, 
live by the chase, and wield some influence over the ruder 
forest-folk. These hills, now very thinly peopled, abound in 
the great stone monuments (kistvaens and dolmens) which 
the primitive tribes used for their dead. The Nairs of south- 
western India still practise polyandry, according to which a 
man's property descends not to his o\vn but to his sister's 
children. This system also appears among the Himdlayan 
tribes at the opposite extremity of India. 

" In the Central Provinces, the aboriginal races form a 
large portion of the population. In certain districts, as in the 
Feudatory State of Bastar, they amount to three-fifths of the 

14 



io6 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

inhabitants. The most important race, the Gonds, have made 
some advances in civilisation ; but the wilder tribes still cling 
to the forest, and live by the chase, with, a few years back, 
flint points for their arrows. The Marias wield bows of great 
strength, which they hold with their feet, while they draw the 
strings with both hands. A still wilder tribe, the Maris, fly 
from their grass-built huts on the approach of a stranger. 
Qrtce a year, a messenger comes to them from the local Raja 
to take their tribute of jungle products. He does not enter 
their hamlets, but beats a drum outside, and then hides 
himself. The shy Maris creep forth, place what they have to 
give in an appointed spot, and run back again into their 
retreats. 

" Further to the north-east, in the tributary states of 
Orissa, there is a poor tribe, 10,000 in number, of Juangs or 
Pdtudst literally the ' leaf-wearers/ whose women formerly 
wore no clothes. Their only vestige of covering was a few 
strings of beads round the waist with a bunch of leaves, tied 
before and behind. 1 Those under the British influence were 

1 Col. Dalton thus writes about the Juangs in his Descriptive Ethnology of 
Bengal, p. 155 

lv The females of the group (the Juangs of Keunjhar) had not amongst 
them a particle of clothing. Their sole covering for purposes of decency con- 
sisted in a girdle composed of several strings of beads from which depended 
before and behind small curtains of leaves. Adam and Eve sewed fig-leaves 
together and made themselves aprons. The Juangs are not so far advanced ; 
they take young shoots of the A'sin (Terminalia tomentosa), or any tree with 
young soft leaves and arranging them so as to form a flat and scale-like 
surface of the required size, the sprigs are simply stuck in the girdle, fore 
and aft, and the toilet is complete The girls were well developed and finely 
formed specimens of the race, and as the light leafy costume let the outlines 
of the figure entirely nude, they would have made good studies for sculpture. 
Next day they came to my tent at noon, and whilst I conversed with the 
males on their customs, language, and religion, the girls sat nestled together 
in a corner, for a long time silent and motionless as statues ; but after an hour 
or two elapsed, the crouching nymphs showed signs of life and symptoms 
.of uneasiness, and more attentively regarding them, I found that great tears 
were dropping from the down-cast eyes like dew drops on the green leaves. 



VI.] SOME WILD TRIBES OF THE DECCAN. 

clothed in 1871 by order of Government, and their native 
chief was persuaded to do the same work for the others. This 
leaf-wearing tribe had no knowledge of the metals till quite 
lately, when foreigners came among them, and no word exists 
in their language for iron, or any other metal. But this 
country abounds with flint weapons, so that the Juangs form 
a remnant, to our own day, of the Stone Age. ( Their huts ' 
writes the officer who knows them best ' are among the 
smallest that human beings ever deliberately constructed as 
dwellings. They measure about 6 feet by 8. The head of 
the family and all the females huddle together in this one 
shell, not much larger than a dog-kennel.' The boys and the 
young men of the village live in one large building apart by 
themselves ; and this custom of having a common abode for 
the whole male youth of the hamlet is found among many of 
the aboriginal tribes in distant parts of India. The Kandhs 
of Orissa who kept up their old tribal ritual of human sacrifice 
until it was put down by the British in 1835-45, and the ' 
Santals in the west of Lower Bengal who rose in 1855, are 
examples of powerful and highly developed non- Aryan tribes." 1 

Now, look at this brief survey of some of the wild tribes 
of the Dravidian and the Kolarian races of the Southern 
Peninsula, who are probably in the same primitive condition 
of savages to-day as their ancestors were in, thousands, nay 
hundreds of thousands of years ago, little removed from the 
state of brutes, living by the chase, eating human flesh and 
raw meat, some of them totally ignorant of the use of metals, 
and using flint weapons, as if mankind was still in its infancy 
and did not progress beyond the Stone Age their women 
going nearly stark naked, and huddling together with the 

On my tenderly seeking the cause of their distress, I was told that the leaves 
were becoming dry, stiff and uncomfortable, and if they were not allowed 
to go to the woods for a change, the consequence would be serious, and they 
certainly could not dance It was a bright, dry diy, and the crisp rustling, 
as they rose to depart, confirmed the statement." 

1 Snayclopadia Britannica, Vol. XII, p. 477 (Ninth Edition). 



'io8 RGVED1C INDIA. [CHAP. 

chief of the family in kennel-huts, 6 feet by 8, and many tribes 
possessing no marriage-laws or custom to speak of I say, 
just look at this picture and think whether these men, even if 
they were not in a far worse condition thousands of years ago, 
could ever immigrate from far-off Central Asia over the snowy 
ranges of the Himalaya, across rapid and wide rivers, and 
deep impassable seas, and dreary deserts, to the plains of the 
Punjab or the hilly forest-tracts of Central and Southern 
India. Even if the Aryans be regarded as immigrants to 
Sapta-Sindhu, and supposed to have waged a long sanguinary 
warfare (which we cannot bring ourselves to think to be at all 
likely) with these primitive savages of the Stone Age, who 
had nothing but rude stone weapons and missiles for offence 
or defence, and were therefore no match for their superior 
adversaries, and to have driven them to the Southern 
Peninsula, how could these savages cross the sea over the 
Gangetic trough and the Rajputana Sea, of whose existence 
we find unmistakable evidence in the Rgveda ? Such a 
feat would be impossible for naked savages to accomplish, 
as it would be impossible for the fauna and flora to do. The 
fact of the matter is that the Dravidian or the Kolarian races 
never came from Central Asia to the Punjab, nor did they 
ever come into conflict or contact with the Aryans during 
Rgvedic times; that Sapta-Sindhu was a distinct country 
from Southern India, cut off as it was by seas; that the 
Aryans were as much autochthones in Sapta-Sindhu as these 
wild tribes were in Southern India which, as we have seen, 
formed part of a huge continent extending from Burma and 
South China to Eastern and Southern Africa, and as far south 
as Australia ; that these savages, though looking like men, 
were little removed from the condition of anthropoid apes or 
brutes, in which some of their tribes are still to be found ; that 
they passed through the palaeolithic and the neolithic stages 
of development, of which they have left ample evidences in the 
valley gravels of the Narmada, and in the flint weapons found 
scattered throughout the Southern Peninsula as far north as 



VI.] THE KOLARtANS AND DRAV1DIANS. 109 

Raniganj and Rajmehal in Bengal, and of which the Juangs 
of Orissa are still the living survivals ; that some of the 
Kolarian tribes, notably the Santals, and some of the Dra- 
vidians living in the southern -most part of the Peninsula, 
notably the Cholas, the Pa^dyas, and the Cheralas or Keralas, 
circumstanced as they were, and probably having come in 
contact with the Aryans, learnt the use of the metals and made 
some progress towards civilisation, but the rest remained in 
their rude primitive condition, and as ignorant as ever of the 
arts of civilised life. That these savages of Southern India 
were autochthonous would further be proved by the undoubted 
fact that " the aboriginal tribes in Southern and Western 
Australia use almost the same words for /, thou> he, we, you 
&c., as the fishermen on the Madras coast, and resemble in 
many ways the Madras Hill tribes, as in the use of their 
national weapon, the boomerang/' 1 There is also some lin- 
guistic affinity between the Dravidian languages and the 
languages in some of the islands in the distant Pacific Ocean. 
As a writer says : " That some of the islands in the distant 
Pacific Ocean were peopled either from the Dravidian settle* 
ments in India, or from an earlier common source, remains a 
conjectural induction of philosophers rather than established 
fact." - It would certainly not have remained a conjectural 
induction of philosophers, but would have been an established 
ethnological fact by this time, had the fact of Southern India 
forming part of a huge continent, now submerged, but extend- 
ing in ancient times from the coasts of the Pacific Ocean to 
South Africa and Australia been taken into account. A large 
portion of the continent having been submerged, the remnants 
of it, with their human inhabitants, became isolated and sepa- 
rated from one another by wide oceans, and the only evidences 
of their having once belonged to the same continent are now 
to be found in the similarities of their fauna, flora, original 
human inhabitants and their languages, such as have survived 
1 Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. Ill, p. 778 (Ninth Edition). 



$SVED1C INDIA. [CHAP. 

the changes and modifications imposed upon them by time, 
circumstances, and altered environments. 1 

There can thus be no doubt that the Kolarian and the 
Dravidian races were the original inhabitants of Southern 
India, and the theory of their having been immigrants from 
Central Asia first to the Punjab, and then, through the 
pressure of the invading Aryans, to the Southern Peninsula, 
is more fanciful than real. It is also certain that when the 
Indo-Oceanic Continent or Lemuria was submerged, it was 
inhabited by human beings in very low stages of development, 
and this is proved by the existence of aboriginal savages in 
South Africa, Australia, Southern India, and the islands in 
the Indian Ocean and of the Indian Archipelago, who, though 
probably belonging to the same human family, became 
isolated and separated from one another, and developed 

1 As a further illustration of the point we may mention the Veddas of 
Ceyion and the Sakais and Semangs of the Malay Peninsula who wonderfully 
resemble one another in their physical features. Mr. Thurston in his introduc- 
tion to Castes and Tribes of Southern India (p. 33) writes : " Speaking of the 
Sakais, the same authorities (Skeat and Blagden) state that ' in evidence of their 
striking resemblance to the Veddas, it is worth remarking thtt one of the 
brothers, Sarasin, who had lived among the Veddas and knew them very well, 
when shown a photograph of a typical Sakai, at first supposed it to be a photo- 
graph of a Vedda.' For myself when I siw the photographs of Sakais publish- 
ed by Skeat and Blagden, it was difficult to realize that I was not looking at 
pictures of Kadirs, Paniyans, Xurumbas or other jungle folk of Southern India/' 
This testimony also goes to prove the existence of the lost IndoOceanic conti- 
nent which was peopled by these allied tribes. The linguistic affinity also has 
been established by Pater Schmidt in his Die Man- Khmer- Vblker among the 
following groups of languages. The Munda languages of India, Nikobar spoken 
in the Nikobar islands ; Khasi spoken in the Khisi Hills of Assam; Palong 
Wa, and Riang of Salwin basin, Upper Burma ; Sakai and Semang languages 
of the Malay Peninsula, and the Mon-Khmer languages. Dr. Konow also, 
working from the point of view of India proper, has been able to show that the 
Munda languages are connected with Mon-Khmer. These allied groups of 
languages have been styled Austro-Asiatic by Schmidt who postulates the exis- 
tence of an Austro-Asiatic race characterised " by long or medium head, hori- 
zontal non-oblique eyes, broad nostrils, dark skin, more or less wavy hair and 
short or medium stature." (vide R. Chanda's The Indo- Aryan Races, p. 10). 



VI.] THE KOLARIANS AND DRAVIDIANS. m 

distinguishing characteristics harmoniously with the changes 
of their environments and climate. 

I have spoken only of the Dravidian and Kolarian abori- 
gines of Southern India, but along with them should be 
mentioned the savage tribes inhabiting the hills of Upper 
Burma, Assam, Tippera and the North-East frontier of India, 
who belong to the Mongolian family. These are the Abors, 
the Akas, the Mishmis, the Nag&s, the Ch&kmas and others 
who, in some pre-historic time, had probably lived side by 
side with the forefathers of the present Mongolians and the 
Chinese, and crossed over into India through the north-eastern 
passes. " Some of the hill languages in Eastern Bengal " 
says a writer, " preserve Chinese terms, others contain Mongo- 
lian. Thus the N&gfts in Assam still use words for three and 
water, which might almost be understood in the streets of 
Canton " ' 

These wild tribes probably drove the Kolarians from 
these hilly tracts and the spurs of the Eastern Himalaya into 
the Southern Peninsula. It will be in the recollection of our 
readers that Mr. H. F. Blanford has said that the ancient land 
of the Southern Peninsula " extended some distance to the 
north of the present Gangetic delta/ 1 connecting itself with 
the Khasi Hills and Upper Assam. A contributor to the 
Encyclopaedia Britannica writes: " It is highly probable that 
the Jurrnsic and Cretaceous coast-line ran across the northern 

part of the Bay of Bengal Probably the Jurrasic traps of 

the Rajmehal Hills, west of the Delta of the Ganges, were 
continuous with those of Sylhet and the Delta." If we bear 
in miml this connection of the Deccan or Southern India with 
the hilly tracts of Assam and Sylhet, we shall be able to under- 
stand the significance of the following observations made by 
Mr. J. F. Hewett : " That they (the Kolarian tribes) came 
from the East is shown by the following facts : First, they 

1 Encyclopedia Britannica. Vol. XII, p. 777- (Ninth Edition). 
Bncy. Brit., p. 726. 



H2 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

themselves always say that they did so ; secondly, the most 
powerful and purest Kolarian tribes are found in the east ; 
thirdly, their languages are allied to those used on the Bhahma- 
putra and the Irawaddy by the Kambojans and the Assam- 
ese." * The correctness of this belief or tradition among 
the Kolarians would be clearly proved, if we remembered that 
the lost Southern Continent extended as far east as Burma 
and South China. The invasion of the Mongolian wild tribes 
must have driven them to the south-west right into the heart 
of the modern Indian Peninsula. They could not of course 
advance directly westwards, as their progress was barred by 
the existence of the sea over the Gangetic trough. But some 
of these tribes, for instance, the Kurkis, marched westward 
through the Peninsula and are now found some 400 miles 
distant from the hilly country inhabited by the Santals, with 
no tradition among them of a common origin. 

The Dravidians occupied the western and the southern 
borders of the Peninsula where their descendants are still found 
in very large numbers. It seems that their evolution was far 
in advance of that of the Kolarians, and they made rapid 
progress towards civilisation after they had come in contact 
with the highly civilised Aryans in post-Rgvedic times, 
when the Southern Peninsula became connected with Sapta- 
Sindhu by the upheaval of the bed of the Rajputana Sea. 
It was a descendant of the great sage Agastya of Rgvedic 
fame, who, as we have already said, first led an Aryan colony 
to the south from Sapta-Sindhu, by crossing the dried-up 
ocean and the Vindhya mountains. Another decendant of 
this Agastya was a contemporary of the great R&tna, the 
hero of Valmlki's Rimaya^a, king of Kosala, which was then 
a flourishing country in the Gangetic plain, stretching far 
into the Peninsula. The Aryan colonization of the Deccan 
must, therefore, have occurred thousands of years after the 
composition of the most ancient hymns of the Rgveda. 

Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1888 and 1889. 



VI J THE KOLARIANS AND DRAVIDIANS. 113 

The poet Vftlmlki, who was a contemporary of Rama, and 
had his hermitage or asr&ma near the Chitrakuta Hills, about 
ten kro$as to the south of modern PrayAga or Allahabad, 
knew partly from personal experience, and partly from 
hearsay, of the extremely savage, nay fierce brute-like condi- 
tion of the dark human denizens of the hills and extensive 
forests of Central and Southern India, and called them by 
the hateful names of Vdnaras (lit. forest-men, or monkeys), 
and Rdksasas, the eaters of raw meat and human flesh. The 
V&naras lived in Ki$kindhy which is identified with modern 
Mysore, and therefore undoubtedly belonged to the Dravidian 
race; but though they fought their enemies with stones and 
branches of trees, showing that they still remained in the 
Stone Age of human progress, they were more morally 
advanced than the Rftk^asas who were full of brutal instincts 
and propensities and scarcely resembled human beings. 
The Mundavers and the Puliers of the Anamalai Hills of 
Southern India, the Juangs of Orissa and the Andamanese 
of the Bay of Bengal would be described as Rk?asas by 
a modern poet, as Valmlki described their forefathers, 
thousands of years ago. " In the Aitareya Br&hmana " l says 
Professor Sir R. G. Bhandarkar, * which is anterior to the 
whole of the so-called classical Sanskrit Literature, the sage 
Vibvftmitra is represented to have condemned by a curse the 
progeny of fifty of his sons to ( live on the borders* of the 
Aryan settlements, and these, it is s'dcl, were the Andhras, 
Pundras, Sabaras, Pulindas, and Mutibhas, and the descen- 
dants of Vi^vdmitra formed a large portion of the Dasyus." 2 
Tne Andhras are the Telugu people, and it is likely that 
Aryan colonies led by the descendants of Vivmitra were 
established in Southern India in post-Rgvedic times; and 
the Aryans, having freely mixed with the original inhabitants, 
were as proportionately degraded as the aboriginal tribes 

1 Ait. Brah. VII. 18. 

* Prof. Sir R. G. Bhandarkar's ' ' Early History oftht Dtkkan," Bdn. 1884, 
P. 5. 



ii4 *GVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

were uplifted. The age in which the great Sanskrit Grammar- 
ian, P&9U1I, flourished is now admitted to be the seventh 
Century B.C., i.e. to say, he had flourished long before Buddha 
was born. From the absence of the names of any country 
south of Kaccha (Cutch), Avanti, Kosala, Karu?a and 
Kalinga in Pnini's Grammar, Professor Bhandarkar draws 
the following inference : " Supposing that the non-occurrence 
of the name of any country farther south in Panini's work is 
due to his not having known it, a circumstance which, looking 
to the many names of places in the north that he gives, 
appears very probable, the conclusion follows that in his 
time the Aryas were confined to the north of the Vindhya, 
but did proceed or communicate with the northern-most 
portion of the Eastern coast, not by crossing that range, but 
avoiding it by taking an easterly course." 1 This, we are 
afraid, is another good illustration of the dangers of argumen- 
tum ex silentio. The omission of the name of Rama in 
Pmni's work, though the word occurs in the Rgveda as the 
name of a powerful and generous king, 2 albeit not 
of Kosala, cannot certainly prove that the Rgveda 
is a later work than Panini's. Similarly, it would be 
wrong to argue that because no countries south of the 
Vindhya are mentioned in Pdnini's work, therefore he was 
not acquainted with them, or the Aryas did not settle in 
Southern India as colonists during or before his time. Such 
wrong inferences would be easily avoided, if we remembered 
that Panini's Grammar was composed to help the understand- 
ing of the derivation, formation and use of such important 
words as are mainly found in the Vedic and post-Vedic 
Literatures, and his omission to mention one word or another 
in his book did not affect ancient history in any way. As a 
matter of fact, the Deccan began to be colonized by the 
Aryan settlers soon after the means of communication with 
that country by land had been effected by the upheaval or 

1 Bhandarkar's Early History of the Dekkan, P. 6, 
* $v. x. gp, 14. 



VI.] THE PANIS OF THE RGVEDA. 115 

drying up of the bed of the Rijputini Sea and the formation 
of the Gangetio plains. As we have already said, a descend- 
ant of Agastya was the first to cross the Vindhya, and lead 
an Aryan colony to the south. It is very likely that some 
descendants of ViSv&mitra also followed in his footsteps, and 
having settled in the Deccan, mingled with the original 
inhabitants by ties of marriage, and produced the Andhra 
people. But this must have happened several thousands of 
years ago, and not after 700 B.C. as wrongly suggested, 
nay, concluded by Professor Bhandarkar. A conclusion 
like this would be not only unreasonable, but highly 
misleading, to say the least 

As I have already said, even in Rgvedic times, the 
Pants or Vaniks who were a branch of the Aryan race and 
lived on the eastern coasts of Sapta-Sindhu, which afforded 
safe harbour to their merchant-ships, and supplied them with 
excellent timber for ship-bulding from the spurs of the 
Himalaya, and who were hated by their Aryan brethern not 
only for their extreme avarice and niggardliness, but also 
for their not subscribing to the tenets of the orthodox Aryan 
faith, came in contact, in the course of their voyages, with the 
inhabitants on the coasts of the Southern Continent, though 
the configuration of the coast-line in those early days must 
have been quite different from that of the present Southern 
Peninsula, and imparted to them some of their culture. But 
the persecutions of these dissenting and avaricious people 
by the Rgvedic Aryans gradually drove them away from 
the country, and their expulsion from Sapta-Sindhu became 
complete, when the Rijput^na Sea was dried up, thereby 
barring all passage of their ships to the open sea. This 
must have decided their leaving Sapta-Sindhu for good, and 
made them seek other convenient sea-coasts for planting 
new colonies. It is just possible that some of them settled 
for a time on the Malabar coast of the present Southern 
Peninsula, not only ^ for the feake of the rich indigenous 



n6 RGVEDlC INDIA. [CHAP. 

products of the country, but also because Indian teak was 
plentiful there, which afforded excellent timber for ship- 
building. During their sojourn on this coast, they must have 
come in contact with the original inhabitants of the DravJdian 
race, notably the Cholas and the Pandyas who lived in the 
extreme south of the Peninsula, and were thus in a position 
to receive a portion of Aryan culture. It may be surmised 
that it was from the Panis that they first learnt the use of 
the metals like iron, copper and gold, and the art of ship- 
building. This intercourse with the Aryan merchants, 
carried on for a long time, must have resulted in their uplift 
and ultimate superiority over the other branches of the 
Dravidian race, and civilised them to a degree beyond the 
reach of the latter. The opening up of the overland route 
also from Sapta-Sindhu helped many Aryan tribes to settle 
in the Deccan along the western sea-coast ; and Janasth&na, 
Gujarat, Sauniftra and Ki?kindhya (Mysore) became well- 
known Aryan settlements, where the Aryans remained 
engaged, from generation to generation, in spreading light 
and culture among the savage inhabitants of the dark 
Peninsula in ancient times. But the mountainous regions 
of Central India, and the dark, impenetrable, extensive and 
primeval forests of the Peninsula remained inaccessible to 
the Aryans for a considerable length of time, which accounts 
for the primitive savage condition of most of their human 
denizens down to recent times. 

The Panis, it may be said here, had a restless spirit of 
adventure, and there is evidence to prove that some of them 
settled in Mesopotamia, and afterwards on the sea-coast of 
Syria, in the islands of the Mediterranean Sea, and on the 
north coast of Africa, trading along the sea-coasts of Southern 
Europe and even the coasts of Great Britain and Norway, 
and spreading Aryan culture such as was left to them after 
their banishment from Sapta-Sindhu and their long sojourn 
In foreign countries among the savage populations of the 



VI.] PART PLAYED BY THE PANIS. nj 

lands they visited. These Panis were the ancestors of the 
Phoenicians of history. They could not, however, help getting 
mingled with the natives of the different countries they visited 
and colonized, and gradually Jost their characteristics as an 
Aryan people. We shall tell the interesting story of their 
expansion in another chapter, and show how they were 
instrumental in spreading Aryan culture in the west, just as 
the European merchants and adventurers in modern times 
have been instrumental in spreading Western civilisation in 
the East, which only proves the truth of the adage that 
" History repeats itself. " Be that as it may, there can be 
no question that the Cholas and the Pandyas of Southern 
India were greatly benefited by their having come in 
contact with the Panis on the one hand, and the Aryan 
settlers from the north on the other, and ultimately developed 
a civilisation which was neither purely Aryan, nor purely 
Dravidian, but a mixture of both, though the note of the 
former was dominant. The Cholas and the Pandyas emulated 
the Panis in their spirit of adventure, and in later times, 
under the guidance of their Aryan masters, founded colonies 
in Mesopotamia and Egypt that played important parts in 
the history of the ancient world. We shall deal with that 
story more fully in subsequent chapters. Suffice here to say 
that of the Dravidian and the Kolarian races peopling the 
Indian Peninsula, the Cholas and the Pandyas were probably 
the first to be influenced and uplifted by Aryan civilisation 
and culture, which they helped to spread, along with the 
Paais or Phoenicians, in Western Asia, Northern Africa and 
Southern Europe, and which formed the basis, as it were, of 
the Semitic and European civilisations. 1 

Such then, was the Indian Peninsula in Rgvedic times 
and after. I hope that my readers have been fully convinced 
that the Dravidian and the Kolarian races were not immi- 
grants to India from Central Asia, but were autochthones in 

L ._ t. . . . ..i..n . . * .. 

1 VW* Appendix (O to this Chapter. 



ii8 JGVED,IC INDIA, [CHAP. 

the now lost Indo-Oceanic Continent, of which Southern 
India is one of the remnants. Sir Herbet Risley does not 
support the view of Sir William Hunter and Mr. Hewett 
about their Central Asiatic home on ethnological and other 
grounds, * and Mr. H. R. Hall also agrees with Sir Herbert 
Risley in making them the original inhabitants of the Indian 
Peninsula, where the Dravidians had developed a civilisation 
which was taken to Mesopotamia, and formed the basis of 
the Semitic civilisation. 2 It is gratifying to find that these 
views find a strong corroboration in the geological evidence 
that we have adduced in this chapter regarding Southern 
India forming part of a separate continent, entirely cut off 
'from Sapta-Sindhu in ancient times, which continued to exist 
as such down to Rgvedic times. 



APPENDIX TO CHAPTER VI. 

(A) THE DECCAN OR DAKSINA'PATHA. 

Professor D. R. Bhandarkar in his Carmichael Lectures (1918), p. 2, has 
picked out the expression daksintipadd from Rgveda, x. 61, 8, meaning 
* with southward foot/ and used with reference to a man who is expelled to the 
South. " This," rightly observes the Professor, " cannot of course denote the 
Daksindpatha or Southern India, as we understand it, but rather the country 
lying beyond the world then inhabited by the Aryans " This country, which 
was apparently a place for banishment, was probably the strip of desert lying 
to the south of Sapta-Sindhu along the northern coasts of the Rajputana Sea, 
and an exile deported to this region was literally between the Devil and the 
Deep Sea. The desert (Sk. maru from rnr t to die) was not fit for human 
habitation, as it afforded neither shelter nor food, and was regarded as a 
veritable region of Death. Hence, the southward direction probably came to 
be associated with the direction over which Yama, the Lord of Death, presided. 

1 The People of India, pp. 47-48 Sir H. Risley sajs: "It is extremely 
improbable that a large body of vtry black and conspicuously long-headed 
types should have come from the one region of the earth which is peopled 
exclusively by races with broad heads and ytllow complexions. With this we 
may dismiss the theory which assigns a trans-Himalayan origin to the 
Dravldiins." 

The Ancient History of the Near East, pp. 171-74. 



VI.] MIOCENE AND PLIOCENE MAN. 119 

The expression daksinbpadd therefore does not seem to be at all connected 
with Daksindpatha. 

(B) MIOCENE AND PLIOCENE MAN. 

Archaeologists are not yet agreed about the existence of Miocene Man, 
though that of Pliocene Man is admitted. Dr. Keith says " There is not a 
single fact known to me which makes the existence of a human form in the 
Miocene period an impossibility." (The Antiquity of Man, p. 511 Ed., 1916). 
"Judging from the analogy of other species/' says Lord Avebury in his 
Prehistoric Times (Ch XII, p 403*, "I am disposed to think that in the 
Miocene period man was probably represented by anthropoid apes, more nearly 
resembling us than do any of the existing quadrumana. We need not, however, 
expect necessarily to find the proofs in Europe , our nearest relatives in the 
animal kingdom are confined to hot, almost to tropical climates ; and though 
we know that during parts of the Miocene period, the climate of Europe was 
warmer than at present, so that monkeys lived much north of their present 
limits, still it is in the warmer regions of the earth that we may reasonably find 
the earliest traces of the human race" 

It is therefore extremely probable thtt man first evolved out of anthropoid 
apes in the Tropics and not in the Torrid Zone He emigrated to this region 
after it had become habitable in consequence of a change of climate. The 
relics of mm found in this region are therefore not necessarily the earliest. It 
is within the bounds of possibility that man appeared in India in the Miocene 
epoch, as the relics discovered in Further India go to show. (Clodd's Story of 
Primitive Man, p. 23) The geographic *1 distribution of land and water in India 
in the Pleistocene eporh and later agrees to a very large extent with the 
description of hnd and water in the Rgveda, which emboldens us to surmise 
that Pleistocene man at any rate attained some degree of civilisation in Sapta- 
Sindhu, as suggested by some of the earliest hymns of the Rgveda. It will 
surely be regarded as a very bold surmise, but we are forced to it by the 
irresisMb'e evidence found in the Rgveda. The following literature about 
Pliocene and Wiorenc mm is taken from Prehistoric Times (1912), pp. 399- 

403 : 

" .\f. Debnoyers has called attention to some marks noticed by him on bones 
found in the upper Pliocene bed-* of St Prest, and belonging to the Elephas 
meridional is, Rhinoceros leptorhinus, Hippopotamus major, several species of 
deer (including the gigantic Megiceros Carmutorum, Laugel), and two species 

of Bos, which he considers to be of human origin At the same place 

(St. Prest), that indefatigable archaeologist, M. b'Abbe* Bourgeois, has more 
recently discovered worked flints, including flakes, awls and scrapers, but 
unfortunately there is some doubt as to the stratigraphical relations of the bed 
in which they occurred, Moreover, some authorities consider these beds to be 

interglacial. In the interglacial coal-beds of Durnten Prof. Rutimeyer has 

found a fragment apparently of rough basket or wattle work. The interpretation 



iao $GVEDIC INDIA. 

in this ease again has been questioned, but Prof. Schwendener, who has recently 
examined the specimens with great care, is decidedly of opinion that it is of 
human workmanship. 

" At the meeting of Spezzia of the ' Societe* Italienne des Sciences 
Nature lies," Prof. G Ramorino exhibited some bones of Pliocene Age, said to 
bear marks of knives. 

" M. Capellini also has described certain bones supposed to belong to the 
same geological period, which, in his opinion, bear marks of flint knives .. .. 

11 Dr Dubois has discovered in Java, in a layer apparently of Pliocene 
Age, to judge from the other mammalian remains, the upper part of the skull, 
a thigh bone and two teeth of an animal about as large as a chimpanzee, which 
he regards as having been intermediate between man and the anthropoid apes, 
and there is this strong support of his view that while the remains, in the 
opinion of some eminent authorities, are those of an anthropoid ape, allied to 
the existing gibbons, others are equally convinced that they are those of a low 
type of man 

" Dr. Noetling of the Geological Survey of India, has also recorded 
unquestionable flint flakes found in Burma with remains of Rhinoceros peri- 
mensis, and Hippotherium (Hipparion) Antelopinum, in strata considered to 
belong to the Pliocene period. 

" Some archaeologists even consider that we have proof of the presence 
of man in Miocene times. Thus M. Bourgeois has found in Calcaire de Beauce, 
near Pontlevoy, many flints which have been subjected to the action of heat, 
and others which he considers to show marks of human workmanship. On the 
age of the deposit there is still some difference of opinion, and the action of 
fire, though it points strongly to, does not absolutely prove, the presence of 
man. These interesting specimens were found in a stratum which contains the 
remains of Acerotherium, an extinct animal allied to the Rhinoceros, and 
beneath a bed which contains the Mastodon, Dinotherium, and Rhinoceros. 
The enormous number of these cracked flints also throws some doubt on their 
being of human origin. 

" In the Materiaux pour V Histoire de 1'Homme for 1870 is a figure of a 
flint flake found by M. Tardy in the Miocene beds of Aurillac (Auvergne), 
together with the remains of Dinotherium giganteum, and Machairodus 

latidens From the figure given there can be no reasonable doubt that it is 

of human workmanship. M. Delaunay also has called attention to a rib, found 
by him at Pouance (Maine et Loire), and belonging to a well known miocene 
species, the Halitherium fossile ; this bears certain maiks which closely 
resemble those which might have been made by flint implements. M. Hanny 
gives a good figure of this interesting specimen. Whether, however, we have 
conclusive evidence of the existence of man in Miocene times is a question on 
which archaeologists are still of different opinions." 



VI.] THE PANDYAS. 



rai 

The human remains discovered at Piltdown (Sussex) are regarded as 
belonging to the Pliocene man, the " Dawn Man " as he is called. With 
regard to the epoch in which the Piltdown race flourished, Dr. Keith says: 
"Dr. Dawson and Dr. Smith Woodwar4 were ultra cautions assigning a 
Pleistocene date to the remains found at Piltdown. All the evidence seems to 
point to a Pliocene age." (The Antiquity of Man. t p. 315 ) 

(C) THE PANDYAS. 

Prof. D. R. Bhandarkar in his Carmichael Lectures for igiB t (Calcutta) 
says that the Pandyas were the descendants of an Aryan tribe, named Paugu, 
who emigrated to the south from the Punjab. " There was " he says " a tribe 
called Pangu, round about Mathura, and when a section of them went south- 
wards and were settled there, they were called Pandyas. This is clear, I think, 
from K&tyAyana's Vdrtika, Pandor-dyan, which means that the suffix ya was 
to be attached not to Pan^u, the name of the father of the Pandavas, but to 
Pandu, which was the name of a Ksatf iya tribe as well as a country. Evi- 
dently Pandya denotes the descendants of the Pandu tribe, and must have been 
so called when they migrated southwards and established themselves there." 
(P. 10). But who were these Pap d us ? We do not find their name men- 
tioned in the Rgveda, though the word Pani occurs frequently. The consonant 
n is pronounced as nd t and the correct pronounciation of Pani would be Pa.ndi. 
Had this word any connection with Pandu I have reasons to think, it had. 
The Pan is lived on the eastern sea -shores of Sapta-Sindhu, on the high banks 
of the Gang&, and probably also of the Yamuna. Many left Sapta-Sindhu 
after the bed of the Rajputana Sea had been unheaved, and settled on the 
Malabar coast, and these Panis or Panels were probably the ancestors of the 
Pandyas who, however, represented a mixed race of Aryans and Dravidians, 
and developed a civilisation which was afterwards taken to Egypt. (Vide 
Chapters XII & XIII). 



16 



CHAPTER VII. 

THE ARYAN TRIBES OF SAPTA-SINDHU AND THE DA'SAS AND 
THE DASYUS OF THE RGVEDA, 

We will now revert to a further account of ancient 
Sapta-Sindhu, and describe the people that inhabited in 
Rgvedic times. Sapta-Sindhu, as we have already seen, 
was the original home of the ancient Aryans who lived there, 
divided into tribes or clans in accordance with their religious 
beliefs and different grades of development. Some of them 
hat] a homogeneous development in religious thoughts and 
sentiments; and they were like one people, though living 
in separate kingdoms under the rule of separate kings, yet 
practising the same religious rites and ceremonies, worship- 
ping the same Gods, observing the same social customs, and 
speaking the same language. These tribes were the 
Paiicajanas and the Paficakrstis of the Rgveda. What the 
names of these tribes exactly were, it is difficult to ascertain ; 
but from the frequent mention of the Amts> the Druhyus, 
the Yadus, the Turba$es>tt\e Trtsus^ the Purusand the Bhara- 
tas> it may be surmised that a combination of these represent- 
ed the five principal tribes, known as Paiicajanas, with a 
homogeneous development in civilisation. For example, the 
Yadus and the TurbaSes were regarded as one tribe like 
the Tftsus and the Bharatas. There were many other 
Aryan tribes in Sapta-Sindhu, not holding the same 
religious views, or observing the same social customs as 
the Five Tribes who, therefore, hated them and kept 
themselves as much aloof from their contact as possible. 
The Five Tribes were fond of performing the Soma sacrifice, 
and prided themselves on their designation of sacrificers. 
The sacrifices were mainly performed in honour of Indra who 
shared the offerings with the other principal Devas whom 
fhe fjye Aryan tribes worshipped. Those Aryan tribes who 



VII.] DIFFERENT GRADES OF CULTURE. 123 

did not perform the Soma sacrifice, or believe in the supre- 
macy or even the existence of Indra, were put down as 
non-sacrificers, Dasas, Dasyus, and unworthy of even being 
called men. To quote Ragozin again : " To an Aryan Hindu, 
the man who owned the Soma and did not press it was a 
hopeless reprobate. In fact, he divided mankind into ' press- 
ers/ and ' not pressers, ' the latter word being synonymous with 
1 enemy ' and 'godless barbarians'" 1 This undoubtedly 
bespeaks a degree of religious intolerance among the ancient 
Aryans, which would not ordinarily be suspected. We shall 
see later on to what lamentable lengths it went in ancient 
Aryan society. 

To understand clearly why in a country inhabited by the 
same race and family of human beings from the very earliest 
times, there are diversity of culture and different grades in 
the development of social and religious institutions, it will be 
necessary for us to refer briefly to the different stages through 
which man had to pass in all lands and climes in his onward 
march towards progress. It is an established fact that primi- 
tive man was at first a nomad, never confining himself to one 
place, but roaming about in quest of food, only settling 
or rather hanging about for sometime in places that 
afforded him sufficient edibles and shelter, and abandoning 
that place again in search of " fresh fields and pastures new." 
He was also by nature a vegetarian, and not a carnivorous 
animal, as is sometimes wrongly supposed. It was only when 
fruits and edible herbs were not found in abundance that he 
had recourse to the flesh of animals, birds and insects, 
which he had to kill for his support with rude weapons of 
stones or bones. A particular habit, contracted through force 
of circumstances, tended to persist and continue, even though 
the circumstances that had produced it no longer existed. 
Thus, a primitive man who once contracted the habit of sub- 
sisting on flesh would not easily give it up,, even if fruits and 
herbs that would maintain his life were found in abundance. 

1 Vcdic India p. 171. 



124 BLGVED1C INDIA. [CHAP. 

But animals and birds, whose flesh was used as food, were 
not always available ; and the second stage of the primitive 
man's development was marked by his desire to secure them 
alive, and stock them against future wants. 1 This necessity 
for keeping livestock gradually developed in him the art of 
taming and domesticating wild animals Some animals were 
more easily tamed and domesticated than others, as for 
instance, the goat, the sheep, and cattle ; and these were the 
first to be tamed. Thus, the primitive hunter gradually de- 
veloped into the primitive cattle-keeper or herdsman. Cattle 
or pafu now became veritable wealth to him, and the posses* 
sor or owner thereof was considered rich or well-to-do, as 
their possession put him above want. The milk of cattle was 
fouhd nutritious, and as the animals multiplied every year, 
some of them could also be slaughtered for food in times of 
necessity, without the number of heads being diminished to 
any appreciable extent. But the possession of cattle imposed 
upon him the duty of pasturing them ; and so, he had to take 
them out to places that afforded them good grazing and 
supplied them with abundant water. Thus, the nomadic 
hunter still remained the nomadic cattle-keeper. 

In course of time, however, wild corn was discovered and 
it was found by observation that by cultivation, the seed 

1 It is related in the 'Laittirlya Samhitd (vii I. i. 4-6) that Prajapati or 
the Creator first created BrAhmarus among men and goats among brutes from his. 
mouth ; then he created Rajanyas among men and sheep among brutes from his 
chest and arms ; afterwards, he created Vaisyas among men and cows among 
brutes from his belly, and lastly he created Sudras among men and 
horses among brutes The order in which the goat, the sheep, the cow and the 
horse are said to have been created shows the order in which these animals 
were domesticated by the primitive Aryans in long and gradual course of time. 
It is curious that though the cow is held sacred and classed with Brfchmaoas in 
the later religions literature of the Hindus, the goat has been given precedence 
in the Stmhitft, and coupled with the Brihmai^as ; but the above description 
probably represents the true order in which these animals were domesticated 
and brought to the use of the primitive Aryans, or for the matter of that, of 
primitive men. 



VIJ.] DIFFERENT GRADES OF CULTURE. 125 

improved in quality and the corn in quantity, and accordingly 
cultivation was resorted to by some of the nomads, who how- 
ever had soon to give up or modify their nomadic life, in as 
much as the corn, as long as it remained in the fields, re- 
quired to be carefully tended and protected from the attack of 
birds and beasts, or worse still, human pilferers. After the 
crops were harvested, they had to be thrashed out from the 
sheaves, the grains winnowed, and the surplus product stored 
for future use. The necessity for performing all these duties 
naturally curbed their nomadic propensities, and induced 
them to settle permanently near their corn-fields. The 
cattle, however, were important and indispensable adjuncts 
to agriculture, as it was with the help of oxen that the fields 
were ploughed, and the corn harvested home. Though the 
stalks or straws supplied them with nutritious fodder, they 
still required to be pastured and were actually taken out, 
during a part of the year, to rich pastures, far or near. But 
there was a large number of tribes who still remained in the 
hunting stage of their development and lived by the chase, 
and there were others who were nomads, and roamed about 
with their cattle and families from place to place, and these 
people naturally felt tempted to steal the cattle of the settled 
population and actually stole and drove them away. 

The settled and agricultural Aryans of Sapta-Sindhu had 
passed through all these stages of development when the 
Rgveclic hymns began to be composed ; but there were still 
in that land those of the race, who remained in the primitive 
stage of hunters, or in the nomadic stage of cattle-keepers, 
lagging far behind in the race of life, and unable to keep pace 
with their more advanced brethern. They constituted the 
very dregs of society the pests and curse of the country 
and were called by the hateful names of D&sas and Dasyus } 
i.e., slaves and robbers. The robbers were notorious cattle- 
lifters, who generally lived in the deep recesses of the forests, 
beyond the reach of civilised men, or in inaccessible mountain 



126 FLGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

fastnesses, secure against attacks, and under cover of dark- 
ness, suddenly descended upon the peaceful agricultural 
population and carried away their cattle and goods, just as 
some of their descendants, the restless tribes on the North- 
Western frontier of India do even to the present day. The 
savage hunters mainly subsisted on flesh and killed the stolen 
animals for food, whose flesh they ate raw, or partially 
roasted or boiled ; and hence they were called raw meat- 
eaters and R/ik?asas, i.e., persons from whom self-protection, 
was necessary. Our readers need not be surprised at the 
practice of eating raw-meat, that prevailed among the savage 
Aryans of ancient Sapta-Sindhu, for even in modern times, 
the Baluchis, in whose veins still courses Aryan blood, are 
known to be fond of raw-meat. 1 The nomads in Sapta- 
Sindhu, like the present nomadic 1 ranis or Iranians who, by 
' the way, are the surviving remnants of the ancient nomadic 
Aryans, were also petty traders who pitched their tents with 
their cattle, horses and dogs near civilised Aryan settlements, 
and bartered articles of trade for grains, gold, cattle or other 
articles of indigenous product. Though posing as honest 
traders by day, they waited for an opportunity to steal the 
cattle of the villagers at night, which they usually did, and 
mingling them with their own herds, swiftly moved away to 
other places beyond the reach of the outraged inhabitants 
Sometimes, they were hotly pursued, and a free fight ensued 
between them and the villagers. As inhabitants of Sapta- 
Sindhu, they as well as the hunting savages were well 
acquainted with the use of iron weapons, though they were 
unable to manufacture them, and were as well armed for 
offensive purposes as the settled Aryans. These gangs were 
led by powerful chiefs and many were the pitched battles 
that the settled Aryans fought with them. Occasionally, they 
proved such intolerable pests and so powerful that the chiefs 
or kings of the settled Aryans who, by the way, called 

1 Vide account of the Baluchis to the Ency. Brit. 



VII.] BLACK DASAS AND DASYUS. 127 

themselves Kr stay ah or agriculturists, and Viah, i.e., 
" settlers " (Weber), had to organize armed expeditions with 
a view to clear them out of their territories and punish them, 
arid thereby to assure their subjects of peaceful protection. 

As the hunters and the nomads roamed about the 
country without any fixed habitations, and were exposed to the 
inclemencies of all the weathers, they were naturally dark-com- 
plexioned, and not possessing the pure white complexion of 
the settled Aryans, were called by them "blacks" or "blackies," 
not only in a literal, but also in a figurative sense to depict 
the blackness of their hearts. The frequent mention of 
" black-skinned " Disas and Dasyus in the Rgveda does 
not refer, as is wrongly supposed, to the existence of 
black-skinned non-Aryans of the Dravidian or Kolarian 
stocks in Sapta-Sindhu for they were entirely cut off from 
this land by the Southern and the Eastern Seas but to these 
Aryan pests who, on account of their savage state and want 
of culture, were a disgrace to the race, and called "blacks," 
just as an Englishmen would call an English robber or* 
swindler a " black-guard. 11 And this is the interpretation 
that some Western Sanskrit scholars feel disposed to put on 
the words " black " and ' black-skinned." In this connection, 
it may be stated here that there is a notable instance of the 
use of the epithet " black " applied to the Vedic Aryans 
themselves by their enemies, the Iranians or Persians, who 
were also a branch of the Aryan race. In the GathA Ustavaiti^ 
Zarathustra says: " 12. That I will ask Thee, tell me it 
right, Thou living God, who is the religious man, and who 
the impious, after whorp I wish to enquire. With whom of 
both is the black spirit, and with whom the bright one ? Is it 
not right to consider the impious man who attacks me or 
Thee, to be a black one ? " J It would thus appear that a 
branch of the Aryan race, who were inimical to another, on 
account of difference of religious opinions, called the latter 

1 Dr. Haug's " Essiy on the Sacred Language, Writings and Religion 
of the Parsees" Ed. 1862 p. 151. 



128 GVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

41 blacks/ 1 although they were admittedly a white people. 
We need not, therefore, at all wonder that the Rgvedic 
Aryans of Sapta-Sindhu called the dregs of their society 
" blacks," not only for their dark complexion but also for 
their dark life and character. 

The analogy of the " black skin " was possibly drawn 
by the Rgvedic Aryans from the colour of the cloud which 
was regarded as the body of the demon, Vrtra, who also 
tormented the Aryans by captivating life-giving rains within 
its compass, and was compared, along with his hosts, to the 
Disas and Dasyus of Sapta-Sindhu, who stole the milk-giving 
cows of the settled Aryans. Hence, Vjtra and his hosts 
were also designated by the names of D&sas and Dasyu? 
after the Aryan robbers and hunting savages. The rain- 
clouds, by a further stretch of analogy, were compared to 
milch-cows, the rumblings of the thunder to their lowing, 
and their ruddy, black and white colours to those of the cows. 
In all these descriptions and similes, we find the fact of the 
stealing of cows by the Disas and the Dasyus from the 
settled Aryans uppermost in the mind of the Vedic bards, 
as this caused them very great anxiety, and oppressed their 
minds with sad and vindictive thoughts. 

After a careful analysis of the use of the word " Dasyu " 
in the Rgveda, Muir came to the following conclusion : " I 
have gone over the names of the Dasyus or Asuras, men- 
tioned in the Rgveda, with the view of discovering whether 
any of them could be regarded as of non- Aryan or indigenous 
origin; but I have not observed any that appear to be of 
this character." ] Professor Roth also says in his Lexicon : 
" It is but seldom, if at all, that the explanation of Dasyu as 
referring to the non-Aryans, the barbarians, is advisable." 
Muir clearly says that none of the names of the Dasyus were 
of non-Aryan or indigenous origin. By the word " indige- 
nous " he probably meant " aboriginal," as the black-skinned 

1 Muir's Original Sanskrit Text, vol. II, p. 387 Ed, 1871. 



VII.] THE DASAS AND DASYUS. 

Dravidians and Kolarians were supposed to h*ve bpen ibe 
original inhabitants of the Punjab, whom the Aryan invader* 
are said to have ousted from occupation and driven to the 
south. The Aryans not having been regarded as indigenous, 
the names of the Dasyus also were necessarily not regarded 
as " indigenous " by Muir. But in the light of the results of 
our present investigation, we should call these names, 
indigenous, though certainly Aryan, because the D&sas and 
the Dasyus formed the lowest dregs of Aryan society, and 
were as much autochthones in Sapta-Sindhu as the cultured 
Aryans themselves. They were merely the remnants of the 
very early stages of Aryan development, probably the dross 
and by-products of the race in the gradually purifying 
process of their evolution, the laggers that could not 
accommodate their pace to that of their most advanced brethi 
ren, and were thus left far behind in the race, revelling in 
their primitive savage condition, as a distinct community, 
having very little in common with the cultured Aryans, except- 
ing blood and language which again was not the pure language 
as spoken by the cultured class, hut a jargon, called Mleccha^ 
or corruption of Vedic Sanskrit, 

These Dasas and Dasyus were also called Asuras and 
Rdksasas. The word Asura literally means " powerful " 
and was at first used as an epithet of the Devas to denote 
their superhuman beneficient powers. But this meaning 
gradually degenerated, and the word came to denote all 
that was evil. The etymological meaning of the word,j 
Rdksasx, according to the great Vedic commentator, Ykska, \ 
is (< one from whom protection is necessary " ; and so, the ) 
word originally meant a formidable man capable of inflicting 
evil. Afterwards, the word came to mean a demon, or 
monster with three or more heads, destroying human life by 
means, visible or invisible, in fact, a supernatural evil being, 
or a lasus natures. But the epithet, Rdksasa, applied to the 
D&sas and the Dasyus, had undoubtedly its etymological sig- 
nificance in the Rgveda, and meant persons " from whom 
& 

'7 



130 fcGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

protection was necessary. 1 * For, they were the very pests of 
Aryan society, looting, pillaging, and plundering the Aryan 
villages in well-organized powerful bands, disturbing the 
peaceful occupations of the inhabitants, and retarding their 
progress. They were like the grim shadows of a past life of 
grossness and barbarism, that haunted and tormented the 
advanced Aryans, and made their very existence miserable 
and unbearable. These evil shadows had to be got rid of, 
and purged from their society and country anyhow, before 
they could think of working out their own evolution. And it 
appears from a study of the Vedic hymns that the cultured 
section of the people applied themselves to the task of either 
annihilating or extirpating them from the country with a grim 
determination. A very large number of the Rgvedic hymns 
breathe this spirit of determination. They were well cogni- 
sant of the powers of the great Indra who vanquished Vjtra 
and his hosts, the supernatural foes of mankind, and they 
invoked his aid in hymn after hymn in this their great and 
difficult task. The mighty Indra seemed to listen to their 
prayers, and slaughtered their enemies like beasts in the 
fields of battle, hunted them out from their mountain fast- 
nesses and scattered them like wind, burned them out from 
the forests, and after destroying their haunts and nests, 
butchered them mercilessly. It was, indeed, an awful, bloody, 
and protracted struggle in which the Aryans were engaged. 
It is sad to reflect that the advanced Aryans did not think of 
reclaiming them from barbarism by more humanizing and 
peaceful methods ; but probably in the circumstances in which 
they were placed, it was not possible for them to do so. 
They thought slaughter or extirpation to be the only means 
of getting rid of them, and we find the Vedic bards gloating 
and exulting over the slaughter, offering hymns and Soma 
libations to Indra for their victories, quaffing the Soma drink 
in excess to the point of intoxication to celebrate their success, 
and feeling a cruel satisfaction at the terrible execution made 
by them. The whole country was up in arms against the , 



VII.] THE DASAS AND bASYUS. Hi 

marauding Dasyus men, women and children ; even Rsi$ 
took up arms and fought against the Dasyus, and a lady 
named Mudgalam, the wife of a R?i of the name of Mudgala, 
drove the car for her husband in pursuit of the robbers, took 
up his bow and arrows, fought, and won back her husband's 
stolen cows. The Vedic bard has described this heroic feat 
in glowing language, and with a pride that he justly felt in 
the glorious achievements of this virago. (Rv. x. 102). 
The incident shows the high degree of excitement to which 
the whole country was roused against the Dasyus, and the 
pitch of indignation generally felt against them. The result 
of this united, determined and persistent effort was the extir- 
pation, dispersion, or destruction of the Dasyus. Many fled 
from the country, dispersed themselves beyond the precincts 
of Sapta-Sindhu westward, and were scattered over Western 
Asia, and thence over Europe. Those that remained were 
subdued, and reclaimed into Aryan society by some Rfis and 
kings who possessed the milk of human kindness in a larger 
quantity and were more catholic than their confreres. 

Let us describe here some of the brave feats that Indra, 
or more correctly speaking, his worshippers, performed in 
this connection : 

" I (Indra) have killed Atka with my thunderbolt for the 
good of the man, known as Kavi. I have protected Kutsa by 
adopting various means of protection. I took up the thunder- 
bolt for killing Su?aa. / have deprived the Dasyus of their 
appellation of Arya. 

" Kutsa hankered after the territory known by the name 
of Vetasu. I brought it under his sway, as I had done in the 
case of his father, and Tugra and Smadiva became his vassals. 
It is through my favour that the sacrificer prospers. I give 
him coveted objects, as to my own son ; and thus he becomes 
invincible. 

" I am that Indra who, as Vftrahan, killed Vjrtra, and have 
broken the two persons known by the names of Nava-v^stva 



132 %GVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

and Bfhadratha (lit. New settler, and Possessor of a big 
chariot). These two foes had become very powerful ; but 
I pursued them, and drove them out of this sunlit globe. 

" My two fleet horses carry me, and riding on them, I 
travel round the Sun. When men prepare the Soma juice, 
and invoke me to purify it, I cut down the Ddsa into twain. 
For, he has been born for that fate. 

14 1 have destroyed the seven strongholds of the enemy. 
However great a capturer may be, there is none greater than 
myself. I have strengthened Yadu and Turba, and made 
them famous. I have strengthened others also and destroyed 
ninety-nine towns. 1 * (Rv. x. 49). 

From the above extracts, it would appear that the Dasyus 
were Aryan tribes, and bore the name of Arya, of which, 
however, they were deprived by Indra. It would also appear 
that the name Dsa was applied to those who were not sacri- 
ficers. 

In Rv. ix. 73,5, it has been said that Indra cannot bear 
tbe sight of the black skin, and he expelled " the black skin/' 
both from heaven and earth. The " black skin " has pro- 
bably a double meaning here, as we have already said, viz., the 
black cloud (the body of Vftra) which he dispersed from the 
sky, and the dark-complexioned sun-burnt Aryan Dasyus 
whom be expelled from the earth. Or, it may simply mean 
that Indra drives away the black-clouds that are formed high 
up in the sky, and the dark mists that are formed below, near 
the earth. 

The term Arya was appropriated by the settled agricul- 
turists of Sapta-Sindhu, who performed the sacrifices, and 
Were a cultured people, as distinguished from the uncultured 
nomads and hunters who roamed about the country, plunder- 
ing and pillaging the Aryan villages, and did not perform any 
sacrifice at all. Y&ska has explained the word in the Nirukta 
by the synonym /ivtrafutra or " son of God." Sftyaga, the 
reat commentator of the Rgveda, has interpreted it to mean 



VIL] THE DASAS AND DASYUS. 133 

" the person who should be approached by all persons for 
knowledge and enlightenment," (Rv. i. 130, 4), and also 
" the person who is learned and performs the sacrifices." 
(Rv. i. 51, 8). He also identifies the Arya with all persons 
belonging to the first three twice-born castes of Aryan society. 

We have already said that the sun-burnt dark-com- 
plexioned hunters and nomadic Dasyus were called " black- 
skinned " from an analogy drawn from the colour of the black 
clouds which Indra dispersed in his fight with Vftra. In Rv. 
i. 101, r, Indra has been described as having killed the preg- 
nant wives of Kr?ua. By the word " wives " are meant the 
rain-laden black clouds. In Rv. ii. 20,7, reference has been 
made to Vftrahan (or Indra) having destroyed the army of 
black origin (krsna yonih) and created rain for Manu. 
This black army was undoubtedly the black hosts, or clouds 
ofVftra. But in Rv. iv. 16,13, ** has been said that Indra 
killed fifty thousand black foes. In Rv. vii. 5,3, VaiSv&nara 
or Fire has been described to have pierced the citadel of the 
enemy, when the black people came out pell-mell, through 
consternation and distress, leaving their dinner unfinished ; 
and in verse 6 of the same Sokta, Agni is said to have driven \ 
out the Dasyus from their hiding places, by burning and( 
blazing fiercely. The black people, referred to in these 
verses, were undoubtedly the sun- burnt Aryan Dasyus who 
lived in the deep recesses of the forests for self-protection, 
but who were afterwards expelled in consequence of the 
forests being set on fire. There was also a Dasyu chief, 
njy5!^JKrUL a _(tke Black), who lived on tUe banks of the 
Aqiumatl or the Yamund, and had ten thousand followers 
with whose help he harassed the settled Aryans (Rv. viii. 
96, 13-15)- 

Though these Dasyus were called black from their com- 
plexion and character, they were similar in appearance to the 
Aryans, and it was difficult to distinguish a Dasyu from an 
Aryan; Hence the Vedic bard invokes Indra to know and 



134 RGVED1C INDIA. [CHAP. 

\ 

distinguish the Aryans from the Dasyus who were opposed 
to the performance of sacrifices (Rv. i. 5,8). Muir has trans- 
lated the verse thus : " Distinguish between the Aryas and 
those who are Dasyus, and chastising those who observe no 
sacred rites, subject them to the sacrificers. Be strong 
supporter of him who sacrifices." In Rv. x. 86,19 Indra 
says: " I come looking about me, and seeking the Das as and 
the Aryas. I drink the Soma juice from those who prepare 
it and cook offerings for sacrifice in my honour. I am ascer- 
taining who among these is endowed with good sense." 
Thus it is clear that the DSLsas and the Arya were so alike in 
appearance that Indra had difficulty in distinguishing the one 
from the other, and he knew only the Arya by seeing him 
prepare the Soma juice aud cook the offerings for sacrifice. 

It would also appear that the word Dasyu was applied 
to the numerous gangs of Aryan robbers, and the word Ddsa 
to those Aryans who were not sacrificers and did not observe 
the religious rites of the Vedic Aryans. These DSsas were 
not necessarily nomads, and for aught we know, were the 
settled inhabitants of the country, living on the products of 
agriculture like the sacrifice-loving Aryas. But as they were 
not sacrificers and had their own modes of worship, they, 
like the Dasyus, incurred the odium and displeasure of the 
Aryas who sacrificed, which furnishes another instance of 
religious intolerance prevailing in ancient Sapta-Sindhu. The 
following references will illustrate our meaning : 

In Rv. i. 51, 9, it has been stated that Indra brings those 
who do not sacrifice under the subjection of those who do. 
In Rv. i. 51,5, the Vedic bard says that Indra defeated those 
* who*, instead of offering sacrificial food to the Gods, them- 
selves swallowed them ; and in Rv. v. 42,9, Brahma^aspati 
has been invoked to reduce the wealth of those who seek 
pleasure for their own sake, but who do not please the Gods 
by chanting hymns, and to deprive them of the sun-light, and 
cast . them into dismal darkness (though they may have 



VII.] THE DASAS AND DASYUS. ^133 

children) for the sin of detracting from the efficacy of the 
ptantras. In Rv. i. 33,5, Indra has been praised for com- 
pelling those to turn their backs, who do not perform sacrifices 
and are opposed to their performance. In Rv. ii. 22,4, Indra 
is praised for defeating " all that is godless " (^Adevam), and 
in Rv. Hi. 31, 19, he has been invoked to kill all godless 
persecutors of mankind In Rv. i. 174, 8, Indra has been 
praised for having destroyed the towns of the godless foes, 
and bent, i.e. broken their weapons. In Rv. i. 100, 18, Indra 
is said to have destroyed the Dasyus and the Simyus 
(demons), and divided and shared their lands with his white 
friends, meaning the Arya worshippers* In verse 4 of the 
same Sdkta, it has been said that Indra deprived the Dasyu* 
of all good parts, and made the Dasas infamous. In Rv. x. 
22,8 the Rfi says : " We live in the midst of the Dasyu 
tribes who do not perform sacrifices, nor believe in anything. 
They have their own rites, and are not entitled to be called 
' men.' O Thou Destroyer of enemies, annihilate them and 
injure the Ddsas" This is another instance of religious 
bigotry and intolerance we come across in the Rgveda. In 
Rv. vi. 47, 20 a R?i when out on a search for his lost cattle, 
thus describes the land infested by the Dasyus : " Ye Devas, 
in the course of our wanderings, we have reached a place where 
there is no trace of cows. The wide tract gives shelter to the 
Dasyus. O Brhaspati, guide us in our search for the cows* 
O Indra, lead thy worshipper on the right track, who has lost 
his way." 

It would thus appear that the Dasyus lived in secluded 
spots far from the agricultural settlements of the Aryans, 
and performed their peculiar rites which were regarded as 
dark and wicked by the cultured Aryas ; and as they did not 
believe in the existence of the Aryan Gods, they incurred 
the hatred of their advanced neighbours. 

That the very existence of Indra was doubted by even 
some of the cultured Aryans would appear from the following 
quotations : " Ye men, believe in that dreaded Deva whose 



136 GVEDiC INDIA. [CHAP. 

name is lodra, about whom people ask 'where is he? 1 
and assert that he does not exist." (Rv. ii. 12,5). "Ye 
warriors, if it is true that Indra exists, then offer libations of 
Soma to him, with true hymns. The Rai who is called Neraa 
*ays: ' There is no Deva of the name of Indra* Who has 

]seen him ? Whom shall we offer our hymns to ? ' " (Rv. viii. 

( 100,3). 

It is thus clear that there were dissenters from the 
orthodox faith even in cultured Aryan society ; and we can 
easily imagine the extent of ill-feeling that existed between 
these free-thinkers and the orthodox Aryans, which after- 
wards led to a protracted sanguinary warfare resulting in the 
ultimate expulsion of the dissenters from Sapta-Sindhu. 
These dissenters were called the Arya enemies, i.e., enemies 
belonging to the cultured Aryan classes, as distinguished 
from the Dasas and the Dasyus who mostly belonged to the 
uncultured classes of the race, and remai ned in the primitive 
condition of their development. I will quote the translations 
of a few hymns to show the attitude of the orthodox Aryans 
towards the cultured dissenters: 

" O Indra, those who have been separated from us, and 
do not come in contact with us, are not thine, because of 
their want of faith in thee " (Rv. v. 33, 3). 

" O Indra, thou instantly killed Arya Arna and 
Citraratha, on the other side of the Sarayu " ! (Rv. iv. 
30, 18). 

" O Indra, thou who art praised by many people, dost 
ordain that our godless enemies, whether belonging to the 
Aryan clans, or the Disas, are easily discomfited by us, when 
they come to fight with us" (Rv. x. 38, 3). 

" O Manyu (Anger), help us so that we may successfully 
fight our enemies, whether belonging to the Arya clans 
Or those of the D&W." (Rv. x. 83, i.) 

* Sarayu was a river either in Sapta-Sindhu or Arachosia, and not the 
river of that name in Kosala, 



VII.] SAVAGE ARYAN TRIBES. 137 

11 O thou valiant Maghavan, be exhilarated by this Soma 
drink, and destroy all our opposing enemies, whether they be 
our own kith and kin, or not. (Rv. vi. 44, 19). 

" May that kinsman of ours, who is not pleased with us, 
and wishes our annihilation from a distance, be destroyed by 
all the Devas." (Rv. vi. 75, 19 ) 

From the above extracts, it would appear that ancient 
Aryan society in Sapta-Sindhu, as depicted in the Rgveda, 
was not an ideal peaceful society to live in. It was cut up 
into numerous tiibes and factions in the different stages of 
development and culture, warring with one another, the more 
advanced tribes the Pancajanas^ combining against the 
DAsas, the Dasyus, and the seceders from the orthodox faith, 
and trying to extirpate them with the object of creating an 
altogether new and peaceful atmosphere in the country, 
conducive to their mental, moral and spiritual growth and 
development, according to their own standard of excellence. 
In this they were eminently successful in the long run, the 
discordant elements having been purged out of the country. 
The nomads and the hunting savages, belonging to the Aryan 
family, were driven out of the land, and some of them took 
refuge in the hills and forests of the western and north-western 
frontiers, as there was no land either eastwards or southwards, 
where they could migrate ; while others passed out of the 
country through the north-western gates into Western Asia, 
and a wider world beyond, where they found ample space 
for living and hunting, and freely mixed with the native 
populations, and gave them their language and culture, such 
as they possessed. This story of the Aryan expansion will be 
told in subsequent chapters ; but it will suffice here to state 
that these Aryan savages left Sapta-Sindhu in Rgvedic 
times, and a sect of the cultured Aryans who seceded from 
the orthodox faith and were subsequently known in history 
as the Iranians or Parsis, was compelled to leave Sapta- 
Sindhu after a protracted sanguinary war, known in later 

18 



138 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

Vedic literature and the PurAijas as the Devdsura-Samgrdma, 
or war between the Devas and the Asuras, which will be 
dealt with later on. 

We have already given a short account of the Panis, an 

Aryan tribe, who were the merchants par excellence in ancient 

Sapta-Sindhu, and traded not only in the country, but also by 

land and sea in other countries as well. They were, however, 

not the votaries of Indra, but of Vala. While trading in the 

interior, they were in the habit of deceivingthe simple villagers, 

and sometimes stole their cows and ran away to places of 

safety, beyond their reach. There is a story of cattle-lifting 

mentioned in Sakta 108 of the Tenth Mandala of the 

Rgveda, in which the Panis were concerned. Saram& 

(literally, the mother of dogs) was sent by Indra to track 

them, which she succeeded in doing ; but she failed to induce 

the Panis to come back or return the stolen cows. Whatever 

astronomical, cosmological or meteorological interpretations 

may be put on the conversation held between Saramft and 

the Pauis, one fact stands out above others, and that is their 

stealing of cows from the settled Aryans, which involved a 

good deal of search, and caused not a little worry and 

anxiety to the owners thereof. The Panis have been 

% described in Rv. vi. 51, 14 as u greedy like the wolf," in 

Rv. vi. 61, i as " extremely selfish " and " niggardly " and 

j in Rv. vi. 20, 4 as " non-sacrificing, voluble, of cruel and 

unkind speech, devoid of reverential sentiments, and not 

multiplying." In Rv. vi. 20, 4, it is said that they once gave 

battle to King Kutsa, but were defeated by him, and they 

fled away, with hundreds of followers, in fright and disorder. 

They were a small community these Patois, but rich, 
adventurous, cruel, selfish, extorting, usurous, and trading on 
the gullibility of the poor simple villagers, like the Jews of 
modern times ; and thus they came to be regarded as veritable 
pests of the country. Not subscribing to the orthodox Aryan 
faith, they were hated and persecuted by the Vedic Aryans, 



VII.] PANIS, YADUS AND SANAKAS, 139 

and at last driven out of the country. As I have aleady said, 
they were the ancestors of the Phoenicians of classical history 
and what is known as the Punic race, and spread over Western 
Asia, Northern Africa, and the islands of the Greek 
Archipelago. But some of them that stayed in the country 
were gradually converted to the orthodox faith, and became 
incorporated in the cultured Aryan community. They 
probably lived, as I have already said, on the eastern coast- 
lines of Sdpta-Sindhu and on the high banks of the Ganga, 
as the following quotation will show : " Bjbu was placed 
high among the Panis, like the lofty banks of the GangA " 
(Rv. vi. 45, 31). It is related that he once helped hungry 
Bharadvja, a Rgi, who had been benighted in the woods, 
and had lost his way. The Vedic bard thus praises Bfbu 
in Rv. vi. 45, 33 . " We always praise Bjrbu with songs, 
who gave us one thousand cows, is wise, and deserves to be 
sung in hymns." This shows that a compromise was effected 
between such of the Panis as were left in the country, and 
the leaders of the cultured Aryan community. Bfbu was a 
great builder, probably of ships, and has been called Tvastr 
or master-carpenter, or master-builder. 

The Yadus were an Aryan tribe living in Sapta-Sindhu, 
but very probably they had at first been seceders from the 
orthodox faith, and had gone across the Southern Sea (the 
Rajputana Sea) and settled somewhere on its farther shores, 
possibly in modern Gujarat. They were, however, brought 
back by Indra to Sapta-Sindhu, where they re-settled, and 
performed many sacrifices on the banks of the Sarasvatl. As 
they had been heterodox in their faith, they were described 
in Rv. x. 62, 10 as kings belonging to the Dasa tribe, or 
unbelievers. 

The Sanakas were also an Aryan tribe. Even to this day, 
when oblations are offered to the manes of the original six men 
(manusyas) who were probably distinguished at the beginning 
of Aryan society, the name of Sanaka is mentioned first. 



fiLGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

But the descendants of Sanaka became opposed to the insti- 
tution of sacrifice, and the Rgveda mentions how they were 
killed by Indra : 

" The Sanakas who were opposed to the institution of 
sacrifice met with death, (O Indra), coming as they did to be 
killed by arrows shot from thy bow." (Rv. i. 33, 4.) 

That there were many Aryan clans in Sapta-Sindhu who 
did not worship the Aryan Gods would appear from the 
following quotation : " Ye men, that God is Indra who 
killed with his thunderbolt many sinful non-worshippers. He 
does not bestow success on the proud and is the destroyer of 
the Dasyus." (Rv. ii. [2, 10.) 

The Puru-s have been mentioned in the Rgveda (x. 48, 
5} as also the Cedis (Rv. viii. 5, 17. 38-39). The famous 
King Puru-Kutsa whose praise has been sung in many a 
hymn was probably a most distinguished leader of the former. 
The Cedis, however, do not appear to have figured much in 
Rgvedic history. 

Mention has already been made of the descendants of 
the fifty sons of Vi^vamitra, who were cursed to be the pro- 
genitors of the lowest orders of mankind, via., the Andhras, 
the Pundras, the Sabaras, the Pulindas, and the Mutibhas who 
,were ranked among the Dasyus. As the curse is mentioned 
in the Aitareya Brahmana, and not in the Rgveda, we may 
take it that long after Rgvedic times, the descendants of 
VHvdmitra freely mixed with the aboriginal tribes of Southern 
India, and became their leaders, just as the descendants of 
Agastya crossed the Vindhya, settled in Southern India, and 
spread light and culture among its dark denizens. 

But even in the Rgveda, we come across instances of 
the advanced and cultured Aryans becoming the leaders of 
the dark-complexioned Aryan Dasyus. Trasa-dasyu (lit. one 
who frightens the Dasyus) was an Aryan king, son of Puru 
Kutsa, and famous for his charities and gifts. In Rv. viii. 



VI!.] DASAS AND DASYUS ALL ARYANS. 141 

*9j 37) he has been described as the leader of the t( , dark- 
complexioned men." Very likely, after subduing the Dasyus, 
he reclaimed them from their evil ways and became their 
leader. Here, then, is an instance of a benevolent, powerful, 
and noble Aryan Prince engaged in the sacred task of uplift- 
ing the low and degraded. 

We thus find that the Dasas, the Dasyus, the Asuras and 
the R&kgasas were all Aryan tribes living in Sapta-Sindhu 
from the earliest times, but mostly belonging to the low and 
degraded classes in the primitive stages of development, who 
did not worship the Gods of the cultured classes, nor perform 
the sacrifices, and were, therefore, hated by them. They 
proved such pests by their evil and wicked ways, unclean 
habits, and criminal propensities that a systematic organization 
was made to extirpate and expel them from Sapta-Sindhu. 
After a guerilla warfare continued for a long time, they were 
either killed, subdued, or driven out. But those that remained 
adopted civilised manners, became converts to the Aryan 
faith and were incorporated in Aryan society not as equals 
but inferiors, occupying the lowest place and forming pro- 
bably the majority of the Sadra caste. 1 What became of those 
who had been expelled from the country, it would be our 
endeavour to ascertain in the next chapter. 

1 Mr. Nesfield in his Brief View of the Caste System of the North-Western 
Provinces and Oudh says that there is no such division of the people as the 
Aryan conquerors of India and the aborigines of the country, that this division 
is " modern " and that there is " essential unity of the Indian race." He 
further says that the great majority of Brahmans are not of lighter complexion 
or of finer or better bred features than any other caste/' or " distinct in race 
and blood from the scavengers who swept the road." ( Vide Pvgee's Aryd 
varticHome, p. 271.) 



CHAPTER VSII. 

THE DISPERSION OF THE EARLY BARBAROUS ARYAN TRIBES FROM 
SAPTA-SINDflU. 

The Rgveda Samhita, as we have already said, is merely 
a collection of hymns which were composed not in any parti- 
cular period, but in different periods, separated from one 
another probably by thousands of years. There are innumer- 
able references in the Rgveda to older hymns which came 
down to the bards of the Rgveda, clothed in new language 
(Rv. vi. 22, 7), and to their great ancient ancestors, for 
instance, Manu, the Angirases, the Atharvans and the Bhrgus 
who were the first to light the Sacrificial Fire, and inaugurate 
the institution of Sacrifice (Rv. x. 46, 2 ; 92, 10). It 
is said that the sage, Atharvan, was the first to produce 
Fire (Rv. x. 21, 5), and the Angirases the first to organize 
Fire-worship. The Vasisthas and the Agnisatvas have also 
been mentioned among the Pitrs or ancestors (Rv. x. 15, 8 
& II). A time is referred to when the Maruts, t.e.> the 
presiding deties of the winds and the Rbhus were men^ who 
were afterwards transformed into Devas on account of their 
piety and good work. (Rv. x. 77, 2). The old and the new 
feats of Indra have also been referred to (Rv. v. 31, 6), and 
the ancient ancestors, the Navagva Saptar?is (the Seven 
Rgis) mentioned. (Rv. vi. 22.3.) The famous R?i Bharadv&ja 
says in a hymn: " (O Indra), the performer of many feats, 
those (R?is) who flourished in the early age became thy 
friends by performing the sacrifices as at present. Those 
that flourished in the medieval age and those that have 
flourished in recent times have similarly earned thy friendship. 
Therefore, (O Indra), worshipped as thou art by many, 
condescend to listen to this hymn, offered by thy (present) 
humble (adorer) " (Rv. vi. 21, 5). The three ages into which 
the Rgvedic period was divided, vis., the Early, the 



VIII.] STAGES OF ARYAN CULTURE. 143 



Mediaeval and the Recent (or Later) have also been men- 
tioned in Rv. iii. 32, 13. The " ancient " and the " modern " 
R?is have moreover been mentioned in Rv. vii. 22, 9 and 
the ancient R?is described as the benefactors of mankind. 
(Rv. vii. 29, 3.) 

Thus it will be seen that the Rgveda which is regarded 
as the oldest work extant of the Aryan race refers to still 
older times when Fire was first produced, the sacrifices first 
introduced, and hymns first offered to the Gods, and gives 
us faint glimpses of things whose origin is shrouded in the 
impenetrable darkness of the past, and will probably never 
stand revealed. 

In the last chapter, I have already briefly referred to the 
stages through which the cultured Aryan had passed before 
he reached the stage of civilisation in which we find him in 
Rgvedic times. He had been the primitive hunter with his 
stone weapons, living on the spoils of the chase, and must 
have passed through the palaeolithic and the neolithic stages 
be* fort* he emerged into a comparatively civilised stage. There 
is no direct reference to stone weapons in the Rgveda, 
excepting Indra's vajra } though horn-tipped arrows also are 
mentioned ; and the palaeolithic or the neolithic Aryan 
savage must have been completely superseded by the Aryan 
hunter and nomad, possessing iron weapons, as the latter 
was superseded by the more civilised Aryan agriculturist 
who settled down in village-life in the fertile alluvial plains 
of Sapta-Sindhu, The Aryan later palaeolithic or neolithic 
savages, pressed by the more advanced tribes, must have 
withdrawn into inaccessible parts where they secluded them- 
selves beyond the reach of other tribes, just as the Juangs of 
Orissa, and the Puliers and the Mundavers of Southern 
India have kept themselves aloof, even to this day, from the 
contact of the more advanced tribes of their race, content 
to remain for long untold ages in the primitive stone stage 
of their development, and not knowing the use and even the 



144 $GVEDie INDIA. CHAP. 

names of metals. Still further pressed by the more Advanced 
tribes, they were at last compelled to leave the land that gave 
them birth, and to disperse into countries beyond the precincts 
of Sapta-Sindhu, which no longer afforded them sufficient secu- 
rity and protection, nor proved congenial to their mode of life. 
They could not disperse eastwards or southwards on account of 
the existence of impassable seas, nor northwards into Central 
Asia for the very same reason. The only direction in which 
they could and did disperse was westward, through Baluchi- 
stan, Afghanistan and Persia along the southern coasts of the 
Central Asian Sea. Here, probably, they came in contact 
with the nomadic savages of the Mongolian race, who also 
pressed westwards along the southern coasts of the same sea 
in search of " fresh fields " for hunting, and " pastures new" 
for their cattle, if they possessed any. It can be safely 
surmised that, as the more civilised Chinese occupied the 
eastern portions of Asia, the hordes of the Mongolian 
savages, not finding any room for expansion in that direction, 
naturally turned to the west ; but the Central Asian Sea 
having barred their progress, they could not but pick their 
way through Turkestan and Bactriana, and advance along its 
southern coasts, till they came in contact with the Aryan 
nomadic savages in \Vestern Asia, and got mixed with them. 
This intermingling of the two races of primitive savages, 
probably placed in the same stage of development, resulted 
in the production of a physical type which was neither purely 
Aryan nor purely Mongolian, but a mixture of both, in which 
the Mongolian type with brachy-cephalic skulls seemed to 
predominate, due probably to the superiority of the Mongo- 
lians in number and the prepotence of the race. But the 
Aryan tribes, being probably more advanced than the 
Mongolians in some respects, gave them their language, or 
more correctly speaking, certain words describing family 
relationships, animals, plants and other natural objects. 
Some of the savage tribes both of the Aryan and the Mongo- 
lian races, however, did not mix with one another, and 



VI1L] ARYAN AND MONGOLIAN NOMADS. 145 

retained their racial characteristics and languages intact. 
" The irresistible impulse " for migration westwards, referred 
to by Grimm and Max Miiller, was created by the dire 
necessity for expansion, felt by the Aryan and the Mongolian 
nomads, and their keen struggle for existence, as they were 
ousted from their haunts and places of refuge, and pushed 
forward by the more advanced tribes who also were in need 
of expansion. As the Semitic race had not as yet occupied 
Western Asia, the Aryan and the Mongolian nomads must 
have tarried there for a pretty long time until they were 
pushed forward again by other more powerful tribes follow- 
ing them. The European Mediterranean Sea having stopped 
their further progress to the west, they must have turned north- 
wards, some occupying the Caucasius mountainous regions, 
while others passed through the broad isthmus of Bosphorus 
into Europe, where they found abundant room for expansion. 
The Ice Age having terminated, and the post-Glacial epoch 
commenced in Europe, there was a general movement among 
the savage tribes not only of Asia, but also of North Africa 
and Southern Europe, resulting in their migration to 
Northern, Western and North-eastern Europe whose wide 
grassy plains and forests afforded them sufficient shelter and 
security. Thus, some of the nomads from Asia passed on 
to the north through the plains of Russia, while others took 
their path up along the banks of the Danube into Central, 
Southern and Western Europe. These migrations advanced 
in waves, each succeeding wave pressing forward the one 
that had preceded it, until the whole of Europe was over- 
spread by them. These waves were originated in Sapta- 
Sindhu where, as we have already seen, a disturbance was 
caused by the storm that had been violently raging there, 
and also in Mongolia where similar conditions likely pre- 
vailed, and started on their career in the direction that offered 
them the least resistance. Europe during the Ice Age was 
very thinly populated, most probably by the Iberians in the 
South, and by the Canstadts in the North, who lived on the 

'9 



146 JLGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

shores of the Baltic, the former probably in the later palaeo- 
lithic stage of development and living by the chase, and the 
latter in the palaeolithic stage, and subsisting mainly on fishes 
and sea-shells which they found in abundance, as the kitchen- 
middens of Denmark testify even to this day. They were in 
a far wilder and more degraded state than the later palaeoli- 
thic Aryan and Mongolian savages who first appeared on 
the scene probably with more advanced modes of life, 
and a superior speech which they gave to those who came 
in contact with them. This subject will be dealt with more 
fully in a subsequent chapter. 

We may mention here in passing that European ethnolo- 
gists now hold the opinion that Europe was peopled in the 
Second Interglacial Period more than two hundred thousand 
years ago by a people whom they have designated as the 
" Heidelberg men, " and who possessed big bodies and large 
forelimbs, and were unlike the true men of modern times. 
There was another type of men living in Europe in the 
Fourth Glacial Age about 50,000 years ago, who were called 
Neanderthalers and who, to judge from their jaw-bones, 
were probably the descendants of the clumsier and heavier 
Heidelberg men. If the Heidelberg men and the Neander- 
thalers belonged to the same race, then this race, may be 
said to have lasted out for more than 200,000 years in 
Europe. The Neanderthaler race, to which undoubtedly 
belonged the Canstadts, was supplanted by the type of the 
41 first true men " (Homo Sapiens) who probably developed in 
"South Asia " or " North Africa," and were superior to the 
Neanderthalers both in intelligence and primitive culture. 
These true men were of two distinct types. One type of 
them was called the Cro-Magnards, because in the grotto of 
Cro-Magnon were first discovered their complete skeletons. 
They were a tall people, with very broad faces and prominent 
noses, and astonishingly big brains, and their type was 
Mongolian, which goes to show that they had emigrated 
to Europe from Asia, These Cro-Magnards wefe probably 



VIH.] EUROPEAN ETHNOLOGY. 147 

the products of amalgamated Mongolian and Aryan savages 
who entered into Europe in later Palaeolithic times and extir- 
pated the Neanderthal race. The other type of these true 
men was African, with Negroid characteristics, and they were 
called the Grimaldi men. Both the Cro-Magnards and the 
Grimaldi men were, some thousands of years later, superseded 
by superior Neolithic men, the ancestors of the present 
principal European races, who had entered into Europe 
with Neolithic culture and Aryan language from " South- 
western Asia " which may have been North-Western India 
or Persia. They could not help amalgamating themselves 
with the Cro-Magnards and the Grimaldi men, and the 
modern European races are supposed to be the products 
of this amalgamation, 1 

Be that as it may. the gradual advancement of the early 
Aryans of Sapta-Sindhu towards civilisation, through the 
discovery and use of Fire and the metals, the establishment 
of sacrifices, and the development of the art of agriculture, 
compelled the savage nomadic Aryans, as we have already 
seen, to migrate westwards from the land of their birth, and 
the advanced Aryans were rather glad to get rid of them. 
But, as already stated, there were still other Aryan hunters 
and nomads left in the country, who, though somewhat more 
advanced than the early primitive savages of the neolithic 
stage, in so far as they knew the use of iron, yet proved to 
be veritable pests to the settled and civilised Aryans who 
called them, as we have seen, by the hateful names of Dasas 
and DasyuS) and combined together to extirpate them from 
the country. Many were put to death or killed in battles, 
and the rest, finding the country made too hot for them to 
live in, left it and migrated westwards through the same 
paths that their predecessors had taken. The descendants of 
the Dasyus hung about the wilds of Persia and Media under 
the name of Dahae (or robbers) even in a later age. When 

1 Read also ftgvedic Culture Ch. I (pp. 5*20). 



148 RGVEDIC INDIA, [CHAP. 

the Iranian branch of the 'Aryans settled there, the Iranian 
peasants who " lived in patriarchal conditions under heredi- 
tary princes were continually at war with the robbers and 
nomads." * We find a tribe named " Dahae " located to the 
west of the borders of Makran in Baluchistan, and " we know 
that tribes of this name from the shores of the Caspian 
accompanied Alexander's army." 2 We can thus safely sur- 
mise that these were the descendants of the Dasyus whom 
the Aryans had driven out of their country. 

Some of the nomadic Aryan tribes were also called by 

the names of Sarpas (serpents) and Garudas (birds), on 

account of their constant movements and migratory habits. 

In the Aitareya Brdhmana } we find mention made of a R?i 

of the Sarpa tribe, who was called Arvuda and presided at a 

sacrifice held by the Br&hmanas (vi. 26. i). In the Mafia- 

bhdrata, we find the name of a R?i whose name was Jaratkaru 

and who married the sister of Vdsuki, the King of the Sarpas. 

That the Sarpas were not crawling reptiles, but Aryan 

nomads of a somewhat savage type, would appear from these 

accounts. In the Harivamfa of the MahabhSrata, it has been 

related that King Sagara, under the direction of Vasi?tha, 

caused certain Ksatriya tribes, viz., the Sakas, the Yavanas, the 

K&mbojas, the Paradas, the Pahnavas, the Kolis, the Sarpas, 

the Mahi?akas, the Darvas, the Cholas, and the Keralas to be 

degraded and deprived of the right of reading the Vedas or 

performing the sacrifices, and drove them out of the country.* 

It would thus appear that the Sarpas were originally an Aryan 

tribe living in Sapta-Sindhu. " In Sarawan, we find the 

Sirperra, and Pliny tells us that a tribe called Sarapara 

resided near the Oxus." 4 The names of these tribes bear a 

close resemblance to the word Sarpa, and it is just possible 

1 Hist. Hist, of the World, Vol. II, p. 569. 

Enty. Brit., Vol. Ill, p. 300 (Ninth Edition). 

* ffarivamsam, Ch. 24. 

* Ency. Brit., Vol. Hi, p. 300 (Ninth Edition). 



VIII.] THE GARUPAS AND SARPAS. 149 

that they were the descendants of the early Aryan nomads 
of Sapta-Sindhu, called Sarpas, who had been driven out of it. 
On the borders of Makran are the plains of Gressia, the 
ancient Gedrosia, which was probably named after the Aryan 
nomads known as the Garudas or the Syenas. The Garudas 
and the Sarpas were at constant war with one another in ancient 
times, the former more advanced than the latter, and in sym- 
pathetic touch with the settled Aryans of Sapta-Sindhu. It 
is said that Garuda or Syena, the chief of the tribe, first 
brought the Soma plant from heaven, or the lofty heights of 
the Mujavat peak in the Himalaya, and gave it to the Vedic 
Aryans who were thus enabled to perform the Soma sacrifice. 
It is related in the Puranas that the Soma used to be guarded 
by the Sarpas ; but Garuda defeated them and carried it to 
the plains of Sapta-Sindhu. We have seen in the Rgveda 
that the Soma plant used to be brought from the mountains 
for sale by savage tribes whom the civilised Aryans hated for 
their ill-bred manners and irreligious life, and pitied for not 
performing the Soma sacrifice, although they were the 
purveyors of the plant, and brought it to the markets for sale. 
Probably these savage tribes were the Sarpas and the Garudas, 
some of whom having been driven out of Sapta-Sindhu, 
afterwards settled in the wilds of Baluchistan, Persia and 
even Southern India. For, we find mention made in the 
Mah&bhftrata of the fact of the migration of the Sarpas, with 
the assistance of the Garudas, to an island which, for aught 
we know, might have been the lost Southern Continent. In 
the Rimiyana, we find Jatayus, the king of the birds, as an 
ally of King DaSaratha of Kosala, and reigning in Southern 
India near Janasth&na. He made a supreme effort to rescue 
Slt& from the clutches of Rvana, when he was carrying her 
off, but failed and lost his life in the attempt. Sampati, the 
brother of Jatayus, was reigning at this time at the southern- 
most point of the Indian Peninsula near the sea-shore. These 
stories go to show that some of the Garudas and the Sarpas 
might also have migrated to Southern India. 



FLGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

Manu says that many Aryans, in very degraded conditions, 
were driven out of Sapta-Sindhu and lived on the mountains 
of the Western frontier under the name of Dasyus, speaking 
either the Aryan language, or its corrupted forms which were 
known as Mleccha. 1 

All these evidences go to prove that the Aryan savages 
and nomads were driven out of Sapta-Sindhu in ancient times, 
and they dispersed mainly towards the west, driving before 
them the primitive Aryan and Mongolian savages in the later 
palaeolithic stage of development, who had been in occupation 
of the land. 

After the expulsion of the Dasyus from Sapta-Sindhu, the 
Pa&is, or the Vaniks, and the Iranian branch of the Aryans, 
who did not subscribe to the tenets of the orthodox Aryan 
faith, were compelled to leave Sapta-Sindhu. The Panis 
probably left first, and the Iranians afterwards. The Panis, 
as we have already seen, were opposed to the worship of 
Indra, having been the votaries of Vala, and to the perform- 
ance of the Soma sacrifice, or for the matter of that, of any 
sacrifice. As they were also cattle-raiders, swindlers, and 
usurers who " counted the days for computing interest " 
(Rv. viii. 66, 10), and oppressed the people by their greed 
and avarice, cruel speech and rough manners, the Aryan 
sacrificers and worshippers of Indra began to persecute and 
harass them so persistently that a majority were compelled 
to leave the shores of Sapta-Sindhu either in their merchant- 
shjps for Southern India and Mesopotamia, or by the overland 
rpute across the mountains for the countries of Western Asia, 
of them must have landed in the Malabar and Coro- 

coasts, or such coasts as then existed in the Southern 
Ccrotioent, while others settled in Mesopotamia near the 
mouth of the Euphrates and the Tigris, and civilised the 
original inhabitants of the countries, who were in an extremely 

condition. They kept up their trade and mutual 

Manu Samkita, Chap, x, 45. 



VHL] THE PANIS, pANDYAS AND CHOLAS. 151 

communication between Southern India and Mesopotamia, 
the more so, because the Western sea-coasts of the former 
were rich in teak-wood which was necessary for ship-building, 
and had therefore to be exported to Mesopotamia which was 
poor in timber. The Cholas and the Pftndyas on the sea-coasts 
of the Indian Peninsula were greatly benefited by their contact 
with the Panis and made rapid strides towards progress. But as 
the coasts of southern Persia and Mesopotamia, besides being 
poor in timber, did not afford the Panis sufficient scope for their 
trade, they must have left the country after a long sojourn in 
search of a better land and passed on to Palestine on the Medi- 
terranean coast either by the overland route, or by voyaging 
up the Red Sea to the Isthmus of Suez. Here, as timber for 
ship-building was found in great abundance, and the sea-board 
afforded them numerous safe harbours, they settled down, and 
called their country Phoenicia, i.e., the land of the Panis. The 
P&ndyas and the Cholas of Southern India, imbibing and 
imitating the adventurous spirit of the Panis, and being gradual- 
ly initiated in the arts of civilisation by the Aryan settlers of 
Southern India after the disappearance of the Rajputana Sea, 
sent out colonies in a later age to Egypt and Mesopotamia, 
under the guidance of Br&hmana (Aryan) priests, and founded 
kingdoms in Egypt and Chaldea, which played most important 
parts in the history of the ancient and modern world. We 
shall relate these stories in greater details in subsequent 
chapters. 

The Iranian branch of the Aryans, as we have already 
said, had also to leave Sapta-Sindhu through religious 
difference with the Aryans of the orthodox faith after a long 
and protracted struggle, a brief account of which will be 
given in the next two chapters. 



CHAPTER IX. 

THE WAR BETWEEN THE DEVAS AND THE ASURAS. 

The Devas in the Rgveda were the benevolent powers, 
and the Asuras the malevolent powers of Nature. The Devas 
were bright and shining Gods, and the etymological meaning 
of the word supports this view, as it is derived from the root 
div t to shine. The etymological meaning of the word Asura, 
as we have already said, is powerful ; and this word was at 
first applied to the Devas to denote their power for good. 
In the early Mandates of the Rgveda, Indra, Varuna, Mitra, 
Savitf, the Maruts, Rudra, Fire (Agni), the Sky and other 
Devas have been addressed as Asuras, and even powerful 
kings and priests received that epithet ; but afterwards, the 
meaning degenerated into " malevolent power," and the 
epithet was applied to the Dnavas i.e. 9 those evil powers 
that acted in opposition to the Devas, wrought mischief in 
the world, and harassed all living beings, especially mankind. 
The early application of the word "Asura" to the Devas 
was, however, retained by a branch of the Aryans, who 
continued to call their deities Asuras, though this practice 
was resented by the Vedic Aryans who accordingly called 
them the worshippers of the powers of evil. The latter 
retaliated and called the Vedic Aryans the worshippers of 
the powers of evil, and with them the word Deva came to be 
synonymous with such evil powers. Both the branches really 
worshipped the bright powers, viz., Varuna, the Sky, the Sun, 
Fire, etc., and hated the powers of evil or darkness ; but the 
retention of an original epithet by the one branch, and the 
rejection of it by the other made a world of difference, and 
created such bad blood between them as led to serious 
consequences, social, religious and political. " What's in a 
name ? " asks the poet, and without stopping for an answer, 
himself answers the question by saying that a rose would 



IX.] INDRA. 



53 



smell as sweet, by whatever name we might call it. This 
is true, no doubt ; but the reply given by the poet, in his 
wisdom, shows that it was necessitated by the great import, 
ance that people usually attached to names, which led to 
quarrels and dissensions. The importance which two 
branches of the ancient Aryans attached to the names Deva 
and A sura led in ancient times to schisms and dissensions 
with very serious consequences, about which we shall write 
in this, and the following chapter. 

Mitra and Varima seem to be two of the earliest deities 
of the Aryans. Mitra was the deity presiding over day, and 
Varuna over night. The Sun, therefore, was Mitra, and 
Night, with its thousand eyes sparkling in the darkness, in 
the shape of bright stars and planets, was Varuna. There 
was another ancient deity, viz.. Fire. All these deities the 
ancient Aryans worshipped as Devas or bright Gods. But 
another powerful Deva, under the name of Indra, was revealed 
to the Vedic Aryans who gave him the first place among all 
the Devas, not only on account of his all-pervading power, 
but also for the beneficent deeds that he performed for the 
good of the world and of mankind. Hence with the Vedic 
Aryans, Indra became the first and foremost of the Devas 
(Rv. i. 102, 9). He was regarded as so all-pervading that 
in the second verse of the above Sokta it has been said that 
" the Sky, the Earth and the Antariksa (the region between 
these two) reveal his visible body." It may be asked what 
is meant by the visible body of Indra ? Verse 8 of the same 
Sakta answers the question thus : " Thou art capable of 
carrying three tejas in the three Locas (regions), and of 
upholding the entire world. " SSyana, the great Vedic 
commentator, commenting on this hymn says that the 
" three tejas " are the Sun in the sky, the Fire on the Earth, 
and Lightning in Antariksa> and in this interpretatipn he is 
confirmed and supported by Rv. i. 103, i, which says: 
11 His (Indra's) one lustre is in the Fire on the Earth, and his 
another lustre is in the Sun on the sky." These, therefore, 

20 



GVEDIC INDIA. [CHAR. 

together with Lightning in mid-heaven, are the three visible 
bodies of Indra. That Fire burns in the Sun has been 
mentioned in Rv. x. 45, 3. Fire has also been identified 
with Lightning (Rv. x. 45, i ), and Indra with the Sun (Rv- 
viii. 97, 10). But Indra is greater than the Sun himself, as 
the translation of the following hymns would testify : 

" O Indra, thou hast given lustre to the Sun, and thou 
art the Maker of this Universe, and great." (Rv. viii. 98, 3.) 
" Thou hast revealed the heavens " (Rv. viii. 98, 3)* 
" He (Indra), from whom the Sun was produced, is the 
oldest of all the Devas, ;'.?., none had existed before him." 
(Rv. x. 120, i.) 

" Indra won the cows by producing the Sun, and reveal- 
ing the days by his lustre " (Rv. ii. 18, 3). 

" Indra has upheld and extended the Earth " (Rv. i. 103, 
2). 

The Vedic bard had all these attributes of Indra before 

his mind's eye when he sang: " O Indra, neither can the 

Heavens, nor hundreds of Earths measure thy greatness, nor 

a thousand Suns reveal thee." (Rv. viii. 70, 5.) Another 

R?I in his ecstatic vision of Indra, sang as follows : " I sing 

the praise of Him who is the Creator of all Creators, the 

Lord of this world, the Preserver of mankind, and the 

Destroyer of all his enemies. . . . May Indra bless us in this 

our sacrifice, who possesses extensively wide powers, is 

magnificent, and is invoked before all others." (Rv. x 128, 

7 & 8.) Another R?i has aptly compared the greatness of 

Indra with that of Varuna by saying that Indra is like an 

Emperor (Samrdt), while Varuaa is like a King or Provincial 

Ruler (Svardt). (Rv. vii. 82, 2). This, then, was the grand 

conception that the Vedic bards had formed of the great 

Indra. He was not merely the God of rain, or of the sky, 

as Western scholars are fond of telling us, but He was an 

all-powerful Deity, pervading and dominating the Universe, 



IX.] GREATNESS Of INDRA. 155 

the Creator of Creators, whose greatness could not be 
measured by the Heavens and hundreds of Earths, and whose 
lustre could not be equalled by that of thousands of burning 
Suns ! It was a very grand idea, probably the grandest that 
the early Aryans could conceive of Indra, from an adequate 
realisation of which the mind of even the highest and greatest 
modern thinker and Yogi, would recoil, baffled and defeated. 
In fact, to express in the language of later Aryan philosophers, 
the great and mighty Indra was none other than Saguna 
Brahman Himself, with the three attributes of the Creator, 
the Preserver, and the Destroyer, combined in him. It was 
in honour of this Great, All-powerful, and All-pervading 
Deity that sacrifices were primarily performed by the ancient 
Aryans. 

The bright and blazing Fire on the earth, and the bright 
Sun in the sky were the two emblems of this great Deity, 
in fact his " visible bodies," as aptly expressed by a Vedic 
bard ; and Indra could only be worshipped by these visible 
emblems. Fire is within every body's reach, and can be 
kindled whenever required. All offerings made to the sacri- 
ficial Fire, which are instantly consumed by it, reach the 
Deity or Deities in whose name they are offered. Hence 
the system of sacrifice by kindling Fire was introduced in 
ancient Aryan society, and Fire was regarded as the Purohita 
or Priest of the Sacrifice (Rv. i. I, 2), through whom alone 
the Devas could be approached. Of all Devas, therefore, 
Fire was eminently fitted to be used in Sacrifice. (Rv. 
iv. 15, i.) It was a delight to contemplate on the brightness 
of the Devas by looking at the sacrificial Fire whose bright 
glow, fed by the oblations of Ghrta or clarified butter, helped 
the sacrificer to realise the nearness of the Devas, in whose 
praise the sacred hymns were chanted and to whom they 
offered the best things available, out of reverential gratitude 
for all the good they accomplished for them, by pouring them 
with ghrta into Fire, Fire the bright, the beautiful, and the 
emblem of the Gods. The instant consumption of these 



156 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

sacred offerings by Fire afforded them the supreme satisfac- 
tion of realising that they were consumed by the Gods 
themselves. The kindling of the sacrificial Fire was thus 
regarded as essential to the worship of the Gods. 

The Devas were, as we have already said, bright and 
benevolent deities who were constantly engaged in doing 
good to the world. But there were also the evil powers who 
were as constantly acting in opposition to the Devas. This 
conflict between Good and Evil, therefore, was constant, 
nay, everlasting. The powers of evil were dark, and appeared 
in the shape of darkness and black clouds. The darkness 
of the night extinguished the light of the bright Sun, and 
imprisoned him, as it were, in his gloomy cave. Indra had 
to wage a daily fight with the power of darkness, and release 
the Sun and the Dawn from his grasp. The clouds, again, 
imprisoned not only the Sun and the Dawn but also " the 
water of life " within their dark bosom, thereby causing a 
drought in the country. These clouds represented, as it 
were, the body of the Evil One, whose name was Ahi, the 
Serpent, or Vrtra, the enveloper. The Sun, the Dawn and 
the waters had to be released for the good of mankind, in 
fact, of all living creatures, and Indra had to fight a hard 
and tough fight with this wily, withal powerful demon. The 
fight raged for several months at a stretch, and Indra had to 
be strengthened by the offering of the cheering Soma juice, 
and roused by the chanting of hymns. Hence arose the 
necessity of the Sattras, the daily, the periodical, and the 
annual sacrifices that were performed by the ancient Aryans 
for the propitiation of the great Indra and the other Devas. 
This daily and yearly conflict between the Devas and the 
Danavas, i e., the Asuras or demons, is known in ancient 
Sanskrit literature as the Devdsura-Samgrdma, or war 
between the Devas and the Asuras. In one sense, it may be 
said that this conflict commenced from the very beginning 
of creation, and will last till the end of it. The Sat ap at ha 
Brdhmana, the Aitareya Brahman a and the other Brdhma- 



IK.] DEVAS AND ASURAS, 157 

nas have declared that the Devas and the Asuras were the 
sons of Praj^pati, the Creator, and all were equally powerful* 
In other words, the dualism of Good and Evil is co-existent 
with the creation of the world, and Evil is as powerful as 
Good. It was thought necessary to strengthen the power of 
the Devas, who represented the principle of Good, by means 
of prayers and sacrifices, and the early Aryans realising this, 
took to sacrifices in honour of Indra and the other Devas. 
But, as we have said before, there were men and sects in 
ancient Aryan society, who did not believe in the existence 
of Indra or his beneficent powers, and held independent 
opinions of their own. Some did not see the necessity of 
worshipping Fire, or performing the Soma sacrifice in honour 
of Indra ; while others regarded Fire as too sacred to be 
polluted by the offerings of the flesh of sacrificed animals. 
This gave rise to schsims, dissensions, religious intolerance, 
and afterwards to active hostility resulting in terrible blood- 
shed. 

Indra having been regarded as the all-powerful and bene- 
volent Deva, those that were opposed to his worship were 
naturally put down to be malevolent, and siding with the 
Asura, named Vrtra, and his hosts, and were in fact called 
Asuras. The Cosmic struggle was thus transferred to earth 
and men. The followers and the worshippers of Indra and 
the other deities were called the Devas, and the opponents of 
Indra-worship and sacrifice were called the Asuras, and 
these became the hateful terms to the one party, or the other. 
The nomadic Aryans and hunters who harassed the settled 
Aryans by stealing their cows and looting and pillaging their 
villages were regarded as the incarnations of the evil powers 
or the Asuras, and those that opposed the worship of Indra 
and the performance of sacrifices, though they were not so 
barbarous as the nomads, and were probably as advanced in 
civilisation as the Vedic Aryans, were also classified with the 
nomads and hunters under that name, and called the " Aryan 
enemies, The struggle was thus two-fold, one against the 



158 RG VEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

savage nomads, and the other against the civilised and settled 
dissenters, all of whom were called " black " figuratively, and 
also from an analogy with the colour of the clouds represent- 
ing the body of Vrtra, The struggle against the savage 
nomads and hunters was short and swift, but that against the 
civilised dissenters long and arduous, as they were equally 
well armed, and having been more worldly, were richer and 
more powerful and resourceful than their opponents, living 
in well-fortified towns, and successfully holding their own 
against the attacks of the Vedic Aryans. The kings of the 
latter, vis,, Kavi, Kutsa, Ayas, Srutarvfi, Divod&sa, Trasa- 
Dasyu, Rjrsv&n, Savya and others were the special protgis 
of Indra who helped them in defeating the Asura kings, 
Tugra, Smadiva, Mrigaya, VeSa, Satgrivi, Sambara, Varci, 
NavavAstva, Bfhadratha, Kr?na, u?na, Pipru and others. As 
we have already said, it was an awful straggle, resulting in 
terrible massacre. Many battles were fought, in some of 
which ten to fifty thousand Aryan enemies were killed. One 
R?i sings : " I burn down the world that does not acknow- 
ledge the supremacy of Indra, and revolts against Indra- 
worship. The enemies have been killed in the place where 
they were assembled. They have been completely destroyed 
and are lying on the SmaSdna (lit cremation-ground), i.e., 
the battle field." (Rv. i. 133, i). This was the spirit that 



Rv. i. 133, i ^ H^ffo tteft WtT Sift 

f qft **<w TOk^ M 



The literal translation of this verse is as follow* : " By sacrifices I purify 
both the sky and the earth. I burn the wide (realms of earth) that are without 
Indra, and are the haunts of the wicked ; wherever the enemies have congre- 
gated, they have been slain ; and utterly destroyed, they sleep in a deep pit." 
Wilson comments on this as follows : " Vailtuthanam aferan ' they have 
slept,' or irregularly they sleep in a place which is of the nature of a vila, a 
hole, a cavern, a pit The scholiast considers the expression in this and in the 
third stanza to be equivalet to Smabdna, a place where dead bodies are burned, 
or as it would here seem to imply, a place where they are buried, as if it was 
the practice to bury the dead when this hymn was composed.'* Very likely, the 
dead bodies of the enemies were collected together after a battle, and thrown 
into a deep pit, and buried. Burial had been an earlier custom among the Vedic 
Aryans than cremation. (Vide Rgiedic Culture ch. x pp. 405*421). 



IX.J ASURAS DISTINGUISHED. 159 



the Indra-worshippers against their enemies, the 
dissenters. 

As the dissenters were opposed to the Vedic mantras 

addressed to the Devas, they did not cultivate the Vedic 

language as carefully as the orthodox Aryans did, and used 

in their speech the common dialects of the people, which were 

corrupted forms of the Vedic Sanskrit spoken by the cultured 

classes. Hence they have been described in the Rgveda as 

Andsa (tf = no, and <& = mouth), i.e., " mouthless." Wilson 

commenting on the word says that it " alludes possibly to the 

uncultured dialects of the barbarous tribes.' 1 But some 

Western scholars, in their eagerness to identify these tribes 

with non- Aryan aborigines, have interpreted the word to mean 

"noseless," i.e., flat-nosed, as describing their repelling 

countenance, by way of distinction from the well -developed 

nose of the Aryans. But this interpretation is wrong, as will 

appear from the use of the epithet mrdhra-vacah applied to 

the Asuras. In Rv. v. 32, 8 and Rv. vii. 6, 3 the word has 

been interpreted by SAyana to mean " persons whose power 

of speech is undeveloped,'* and in Rv. i. 174,2,10 mean 

11 persons who cannot speak fluently, or who speak softly." 

In the Satapatha Br&hmana a curious reason has been assigned 

to the defeat of the Asuras who, instead of addressing their 

enemies as u arayah " addressed them with a soft and liquid 

accent as " alavah " (iii. 2.1. 23-24). 1 Whether this was the 

real cause of their defeat or not, the anecdote shows the great 

care taken in, and the great importance attached to the 

correct pronunciation of words by the Vedic Aryans, and the 

contempt they felt for those who could not pronounce them 

correctly. The author of the Br&hmana draws this moral 

from the anecdote : " Therefore, no Brdhmana should pro- 

nounce words incorrectly ; for such words have no power." 

* tat. Brdh. (iii. 2. I. 23-24) : % VQQ ^TTOTOt * *l*Wt % TO* ifif 



i6o GVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

We have seen that the Asuras (among whom were in- 
cluded the ancient Iranians, the Panis and all dissenters) 
were opposed to the worship of the Devas, especially Indra, 
and to the performance of sacrifices. The ancient Iranians 
were not strict in the pronunciation of words, and generally 
used their corrupted forms. For example, they pronounced 
Asura as Ahura, panca as paja, matar as mddar, bhrdtar 
as brader, sapta as hapta, santi as hanti, asmi as ah mi, 
Sapta-Sindhu as Hapta-ffendu, So ma as Horna and sahasra 
as hdzdra. These are some of the instances of the 
soft or incorrect pronunciation of words, for which they 
incurred the odium and ridicule of the Vedic Aryans, and were 
called by the opprobrious names of " mouthless or speechless." 
The orthodox Aryans, believing as they did in the power of 
mantras, insisted on their correct pronunciation to make 
them efficacious. The Iranians were probably a sect of re- 
formers who used the dialect spoken by the people for the 
propagation of their faith, and effected reforms in other 
matters, e.g., in looking upon Fire as sacred, and unfit to be 
polluted by the flesh of animals or by dead bodies which 
used to be consigned to it by the orthodox Aryans, and in 
the discontinuance of the Soma sacrifice or of the Soma 
drink which had some intoxicating effect on the consumers. 
But like all reformers, whether in ancient or modern times, 
they were opposed and condemned for their new-fangled 
ways by the orthodox party. As the ancient Iranians were 
as strong and powerful as the Vedic Aryans, they were not 
easily discomfited, but they carried on the struggle for a 
pretty long time, now defeating the Vedic Aryans, and now 
being defeated by them. It was virtually a war of Prin- 
ciplescarried on between two powerful branches of the Aryan 
race, and was looked upon by the common people as a war 
between the deities worshipped by the respective branches, 
i.e., a war between the Devas and the Asuras. We learn 
from the Rgveda that the enemies of the Aryans were ulti- 
mately crushed, defeated and driven out of the country, 



IX,] DEFEAT OF ASPRAS. 161 

which implied that the Devas were victorious, and the Asuras 
defeated. This defeat of the Asuras established in the eyes 
of the Vedic Aryans the supremacy and superiority of the 
Devas over the Asuras, of the R?is to whom the mantras 
were revealed over the Iranian reformers and dissenters, of 
the Vedic faith over the non- Vedic, of mantras over simple 
prayers couched in the dialects of the people, and of Indra 
over Ahura Mazda. The Vedic hymns addressed to Indra 
breathe a joyous triumphant spirit, and a sense of relief at 
this victory, which made the Vedic Aryans supremely con- 
scious of their powers, of a sense of right and justice on their 
side, and of the immense superiority of their Faith and their 
Devas. This consciousness added a zest to their ordinary 
humdrum existence, and probably helped them to make 
strides on the path of progress. 

This account of the defeat of the Asuras in the Rgveda 
is supplemented by the elaborate, though somewhat fanciful, 
accounts given in the Brdhmanas^ which are couched in such 
language as to make them relate to supernatural events 
rather than to human affairs. It is Indra, Fire, the Asvins, 
the Sun, the Dawn, and the Maruts who are represented to 
have been lighting with Vftra and his hosts. It is the account 
of the struggle of the Cosmic Powers over again, though 
here and there we cannot fail to catch glimpses of human 
and mundane affairs with which the struggle was mainly 
connected. 

Though the Brfthmanas are not within the scope of our 
treatment, it will not, I think, be quite out of place to make 
occasional references to them, if only to throw some addi- 
tional light on points that are not quite clear in the Rgveda. 
There are some direct references in the Rgveda to the 
Panis having been vanquished by an Aryan king in a battle, 
and having fled from Sapta-Sindhu in a body; but I have not 
come across any reference to the Iranians or the worshippers 
of Ahura Mazda having left the country on account of 

21 



162 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

religious dissensions, though it has been related in a general 
way in the Rgveda that the dissenters who were called 
Asuras were defeated, and expelled from the country. It is 
just possible that some of the Asuras left the country, while 
others withdrew to its remote parts or lived in Sapta-Sindhu 
in a sort of armed truce during a part of Rgvedic times; 
and it was only when the cleavage became well marked, and 
the gulf between the two sects too wide to be bridged that 
their final dispersion took place. There were many points 
of agreement between the followers of Ahura Mazda, and the 
Vedic Aryans. Both sects worshipped the Fire with 
offerings, among which, however, the Asuras did not include 
the flesh of sacrificed animals ; both worshipped many com- 
mon Devas with identical names ; but the Asuras did not 
acknowledge Indra to be the supreme Deva, though they 
worshipped him in substance under the name of Vrtraghna ; 
both performed the Soma sacrifice which the Asuras (Iranians) 
called Hoama sacrifice, though they objected to the intoxica- 
ting properties of the juice, and tried to substitute the plant by 
another of the same genus, ami both were equally civilised and 
powerful. The retention of the name of A sura for their deitirs 
by these dissenters, and the denial of Indra's existence or 
superiority were the main points of difference and friction 
between the two sects ; and the Vedic Aryans called them, 
as we have seen, by the name of Asuras, used in the bad 
sense of the word, which the latter retaliated by attaching 
an equally bad sense to the word Deva, which, however, had 
no etymological justification as that of the word Asura- It 
is sufficient, however, for our purpose to remember that these 
dissenters were simply called Asuras and not Iranians, for 
they had not settled in Iran or Airyana as yet. 

The Brahmanas relate that the Asuras as well as the 
Devas were the progeny of Prajdpati, and both performed 
sacrifices and became powerful. But the Asuras having tried 
to establish their supremacy over the Devas, a conflict arose 



IX.] BRAHMAN 1C ACCOUNTS. 163 

between them, which lasted for a long time, during which 
several bloody battles were fought. Ihe Aitareya Brdhmaya 
(i- 3- 3) sa ys that at first there were fightings in the east, 
the west, the south and the north, in all of which the Devas 
were defeated by the Asuras ; but when the fighting took 
place in the north-east direction (of Sapta-Sindhu), the Devas 
were victorious, and since then, this direction has been 
regarded as invincible. Hence, when the Soma plant was 
brought for sacrifice, it became the custom among the Aryan 
worshippers of the Devas to take it out from the cart from 
that direction. l 

It is further related in the Brfthmana that as the Devas 
attributed their defeat to their having no king, they made 
Soma their king ; and with the help of Soma, they became 
victorious in all the directions. This undoubtedly refers to 
the controversy about the use of the Soma juice in sacrifice, 
which was discontinued by the Asuras or the ancestors of the 
Iranians for sometime, as we shall see later on, and bears 
testimony to the fact that the worshippers of the Devas 
established the necessity and efficacy of the Soma sacrifice, 
and carried their point in the teeth of well-organized opposi- 
tion. 

There is another anecdote in the Aitareya Brdhmana 
in connection with this conflict between the Devas and the 
Asuras, which is worth mentioning here. The Asuras 
thought of birring the Devas from Bhuloka (the Earth), 
Antariksa (the Mid-heaven), and Dyuloka (the Heaven) by 
constructing three walls, w"*., one of iron, another of silver, 
and the third of gold respectively. Against this plan and 
device of the Asuras, the Devas constructed a sadas (a place 
of sacrifice), an agnidhra or place for the sacred sacrificial 
Fire, and two carts named habirdhan in which offerings for 
Sacrifice were brought. After that, they performed (fce 

./iij.ft 

1 Ait. Brdk. i. 3. 3. 



164 kdVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

Sacrifice, named Updsat. At the end of the first day's sacri- 
fice, the Asuras were driven out of the earth ; at the end of 
the second day's sacrifice, they were driven out of mid- 
heaven ; and at the end of the third day's sacrifice, they were 
driven out of heaven. Then the Asuras fell back on the six 
seasons ; but the Devas drove them out of these by perform- 
ing six Upasats. The Asuras then fell back on the twelve 
months, from which they were expelled by the Devas 
performing twelve Upasats Then the Asuras fell back on 
the twenty-four fortnights, from which also the Devas 
expelled them by performing twenty-four sacrifices. Lastly, 
the Asuras fell back on day and night (Ahoratra)^ from which 
also the Devas expelled them by performing two daily 
sacrifices, one in the morning, by which they were expelled 
from day-time, and one in the after- noon, by which they were 
expelled from the night. This compelled the Asuras to take 
refuge only at the junctions of Day and Night at both ends, 
ri'jr., early dawn, and evening. * 

This anecdote proves that the Asuras were rich in 
worldly possessions and prosperous, which enabled them to 
construct three walls of iron, silver, and gold, but they were 
poor in spiritual powers which could only be acquired, 
according to the Vddic Aryans, by the performance of 
sacrifices and religious rites. The Devas, though not rich 
from a worldly point of view, were spiritually strong ; hence, 
they were enabled to expel the Asuras from the three worlds 
by the performance of three sacrifices ; from the six seasons, 
by the performance of six sacrifices ; from the twelve months, 
by the performance of twelve sacrifices ; from the 24 fortnights, 
by the performance of 24 sacrifices ; and from the days and 
nights, by performing the sacrifices twice daily. This was 
the cause of the victory of the Devas ; in other words, it was 
by spiritual culture, and the performance of sacrifice twice 
daily, and not by mere worldly possessions, that they became 

> Ait Brdh. (i. 4. 6). 



IX.] BRAHMANIC ACCOUNTS. 165 

victorious in the long run. This marks the very characteris- 
tics of the two branches of the Aryan race, which are 
observable even to this day. 

It has been previously said that the Asuras, without 
offering any havyas (oblations) to the sacrificial Fire, ate 
them up themselves. On the other hand, the Vedic Aryans 
offered all the best things to Agni, even the flesh of the 
animals sacrificed. * The Asuras were evidently opposed to 
such sacrifices, and tried to stop them by force. But the 
Devas drove them away by having recourse to a device. 
When the animal was made ready for sacrifice, the Asuras 
came towards the yupa (wooden block for sacrificing an 
animal). Seeing this, the Devas made three concentric walls 
of fire for protecting themselves and the sacrifice. The very 
sight of these walls of fire surrounding the animal to be 
sacrificed was sufficient to drive them away from the place 
of sacrifice, as it was highly repugnant and revolting to their 
sentiments. Thus with the help of the sacrificial Fire, the 
Devas succeeded in killing the Asuras and the Rak?asas 
both in the east and west. * 2 

It further appears from a perusal of the Br&hmanas that 
the Asuras were so much persecuted by the Devas that 
they were compelled to assume the forms of Brahmanas 
and Yatis (ascetics) for self-protection. This is probably 
another way of saying that the priests and the ascetics of 
the Asuras were similar in appearance to the Br&hmanas 
and the ascetics of the Vedic Aryans, and were indistinguish- 
able from them, as they all very likely wore the same sacer- 
dotal robes and badges. The Aitareya Brdhmana says that 
11 Indra killed VigvarQpa, the son of Tvagtf, as well as Vrtra. 
He killed the Yatis, and threw their dead bodies to be 

1 Paku or animal (cattle) was in the earliest time* regarded as wealth ; 
and its flesh at one time formed the main article of food. Hence flesh or 
meat was prized above all things. 

Ait. Brdh. t \\. 7. I. 



166 FLGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

devoured by wild dogs. He also killed the Arurmaghas, and 
thwarted Bjrhaspati, for which acts the Devas condemned 

Indra who was thus deprived by them of the Soma drink 

...But Indra afterwards forcibly took the Soma drink away 
from Tva?tr, and since then has been entitled to it." l The 
Taittiriya Brdhmana also says that Tvagtr created a Br&h- 
maga by name Vrtra whom Indra killed. He also killed 
Tva?tr's son VisvarQpa, hacked to pieces the Asuras who 
assumed the forms of Yatis or ascetics, and got their bodies 
devoured by wild dogs. He further killed the Asuras named 
Arurmaghas^ who assumed the forms of Brahmanas. 

These anecdotes bring us at once from supernatural to 
mundane matters, from the Devas and Asuras to Brahmaaas, 
Yatis and Arurmaghas. It seems that before the split 
between the two branches of the Aryans occurred, their 
priests had been Brahmanas and Yatis or ascetics. But after 
the split had been effected, Tvagtr jcreated some persons 
called Arurmaghas who assumed the forms of Brahmaaas, and 
whom Indra killed, because in his superior wisdom, he came 
to know them to be really Asuras in disguise, and not Br&h- 
manas. But this killing of Brahmaaas (though they were really 
Asuras) by Indra and his followers made them incur the 
displeasure and censure of both Gods and men, and no Soma 
drink was consequently offered to Indra, or any Soma sacri- 
fice performed in his honour. It has been said, however, 
that Indra forcibly snatched the Soma drink from Tva?tf, 
which is as much as to say that, though the Soma sacrifice 
and Indra-worship had been discontinued for sometime, they 
were renewed again by the followers of Indra. 

It remains for us now to see who this Tva?tr was, and 
who these Arurmaghas. In Rv. x. no, 9 we find the name 
of Tvajtr as Apri Devata or God of Fire, and his attributes 
mentioned as follows : 

i Ibid, vii.35. a. 



IX.] VlSVAROPA. 167 

"O Hota, worship to-day that Deva whose name is 
Tvajtr, who has produced Dydvd-Prithivl (Heaven and 
Earth) and created the various living creatures. 12 

It would thus appear that Tva?tr was identified with the 
Creator Himself. His son was VivarQpa. The Taittiriya 
Samhitd thus speaks of him : 

" ViSvarQpa, son of Tva$tr, was the priest of the Devas, 
and was their nephew, being sister's son. He had three 
mouths, through one of which he drank the Soma juice ; 
through the second, he used to drink wine ; and through the 
third, he used to take his usual food. He used to say openly 
that the share of havis was legitimate to the Devas ; but in 
private parlance, he would say that the Asuras were entitled 
to it. Indra having come to know this, and apprehended a 
revolution, cut off his three heads with the help of his thunder- 
bolt. The killing of this BrShmana priest by Indra made him 
incur the sin generally attached to the killing of a Br5hmana. M 

The Devas, as we have seen, were fond of, and drank the 
Soma juice ; but the Asuras drank sura or wine, and men ate 
food. It is clear from the above anecdote that VivarQpa 
used to partake of the offerings, made respectively by the 
Devas, the Asuras and men, with the help of his three differ- 
ent mouths. As the Asuras rejected or were deprived 
of the Soma juice, and substituted a new drink in its place, 
prepared from another plant, which they considered to be less 
intoxicating than the Soma juice, the Brahmanas retaliated by 
calling their drink by the name of wine, i.e., a really intoxi- 
cating liquor as compared with the Soma drink, and therefore 
unfit for being offered to the Devas. It appears also that the 
religion of the Devas, the Asuras and men was one at first, as 
ViSvarQpa received all these offerings from all the votaries, 
and partook of them. But Indra, having killed Vigvardpa, 
Tvagtr in his rage discontinued the offering of the Soma 
drink to him, though the latter afterwards forcibly took a 
share of it from him. 



168 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP, 

It was Tvafttjr who is said to have forged the thunder- 
bolt for ludra (Rv. i. 61, 6; 189, 14), which, however, 
was used by the latter in killing his two sons, Vftra and 
ViSvardpa. This created a revulsion of feeling Against Indra, 
and his worship was consequently discontinued by Tvagtf's 
followers who substituted him for Indra. As Tva$tf was the 
God of Fire, he was worshipped by them as Fire. 

But Fire on earth was identical with the Sun in heaven, 
and also represented the splendours of the great Creator of 
the Sun himself whom the Asuras and their descendants, the 
Iranians, called Afithra (Vedic, Mitra). Therefore, Fire or 
Tvagtf, the Sun and Mithra formed, as it were, a Trinity. 
The Sun was called by them Ahura Mazda, which appears 
to be a corruption of the Sanskrit Asura Maghavd, and 
literally means " the great God fit to be worshipped by men." 
It should be pointed out that in the Rgveda, the epithet, 
Maghavan, has been usually applied to Indra, though other 
Devas also have sometimes shared it with him. Therefore, 
it may be surmised that Ahura Mazda, or as he is commonly 
called, Ormuzd, in a still more corrupted form, was equal to 
the Vedic Indra or the Sun, and Tva?tr was the same God 
in another form, via , Fire. It will be in the recollection of 
our readers that in the Rgveda, the Sun and the Fire have 
been called the visible bodies of Indra who created both of 
them, and was therefore also equal to Mithra of the Asuras. 
As Fire belongs to the earth, he is the God with whom men 
can easily associate, and through whom they can worship 
both the Sun, or Ormuzd, and the still higher deity, Mithra. 
Tva?tr thus became the preceptor of men, and as he existed 
from time immemorial, he was called Jurat Tvastr, or the 
ancient Tva?tr, which was corrupted into Zara-thustra^ and 
still further, into Zoroaster. As with the orthodox Aryans, 
Agni or Fire (Brahm) revealed the Vedas, so with the 
Iranians, Zara-thustra, or Zoroaster (the ancient Fire God) 
revealed to them their religion as embodied in their sacred 



IX.] ZOROASTER. 169 

Scripture, the Zend-Avesta. Hence, the Asura tribes after- 
wards settled in Airyana or Iran, called themselves the 
followers of Zoroaster, and are known as Zoroastrians. But 
the Zoroaster of history was a great Prophet who appeared 
in a later age, and was probably regatded as an incarnation 
of Jarat Tva?tf or the Fire-God. He came to the world for 
the good of the race, and for embodying the tenets of the 
religion in the sacred Scripture, the Zend-Avesta. The 
religion had existed from very ancient times, and it remained 
for him only to give it a new shape and life. As a writer 
observes : " A great religion is always a slow growth, and 
any particular religious teacher to whom it may be ascribed, 
after all, has done nothing more than focalise the national 
tendency, or form a centre about which the ideas and ten- 
dencies of an epoch may crystallize In the case of the 

Zoroastrian religion, it was finally given tangible and perma- 
nent expression in the pages of the Zend-Avesta, or sacred 
book of the Persians. The national spirit given expression 

is in many ways of a high order It seems quite clear 

that the early religion of the Persians was almost a pure 
monotheism, not did it in its later stages depart more widely 
from the monotheistic type than has been the case, at some 
stage of its developments, with every other great religion of 
which we have any knowledge. Thus the Zoroastrian system 
admits of a Sun-God, Mithra, who is the creator of the God 

of Light, Ormuzd, and of the God of Darkness, Ahriman 

When we try to get close to the thought of this creed, we 
find that Ormuzd is regarded equal to Mithra, even though 
created by him, and that on the other hand, Ahriman is 
supposed ultimately to be conquered by the God of Light, 
notwithstanding the ages of time throughout which he wields 
malevolent powers." * 

Zoroaster, the Prophet, " asserted the existence of a king- 
dom of light, and a kingdom of darkness ; in the former, reigns 



1 Hist. Hist, of the World, Vol. II, p. 566. 
22 



170 GVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

Ormuzd, the author and giver of all good; in the latter. 
Ahriman, the source of all evil, moral as well as physical. 
The throne of Ormuzd is surroun ded by the seven Amshas- 
pands, the princes of light, of whom the sage himself was the 
first." * 

It would thus appear that the sage was an incarnation 
of Jarat Tvastr, the first Prince of Light, who, with six 
others, surround the throne of Ormuzd. 

No reference to the name of the sage has been made in 
the Rgveda, or the later Vedic Literature, though the name 
of Tvagtr as Fire and Creator is found, as we have seen, in 
the former. The Prophet, therefore, must have flourished in 
a much later period, though the religion, as we have already 
said, had been in existence from very early times. It was 
not known in Rgvedic times as the Religion of Zoroaster, 
but as a religion of the Asuras who worshipped Asura 
Maghava, Ahura Mazda, or Ormuzd. Hence it was also 
known as the Religion of Ormuzd, and its followers were 
called Ormuzdians, or as the later Vedic Aryans called them, 
Arurmaghas. It was these Arurmaghas, described as Brah- 
manas in the Aitareya Brahmana and the Taittirlya Samhita, 
who were killed by Indra, because he knew them to be Asuras 
under the garb of Brahmanas, and as we have seen, their 
killing led to great religious dissensions and schisms in 
ancient Sapta-Sindhu, .vhich deprived Indra of his favourite 
Soma drink for a time, to the point of being ousted from 
worship. These Arurmaghas (which word, by the way, has 
remained unexplained up to this time), therefore, were no 
other than the priests or votaries of Asura Maghavd, Ahura 
Mazda, or Ormuzd, the great God of Light, whom the 
Asuras, or dissenters from the orthodox Vedic faith, worship- 
ped in place of Indra. 2 From the fact that Indra was cen- 
sured and condemned for killing these Brdhmanas, it appears 

1 Ibid, p 636. 

These Arurmaghas were probably the ancestors of the Magi or priests 
of ancient Media who were simply called maghas or Magi. They formed a 



IX.] THE TWO SECTS SfcPAkATE. 171 

that though the Asuras had ceased to worship Indra, and 
were worshipping Asura Maghavi, under a new system of 
faith, they were still regarded as belonging to the Aryan com- 
munity in Sapta-Sindhu, and their priests looked upon as 
Brdhmarjas and Yatis, for the sin of killing whom Indra had 
to incur a public censure. This furnishes us with a curious 
instance of catholicity and sympathetic tolerance in an age 
which seems to have been characterized by religious intoler- 
ance and bigotry of the worst type. Very probably, Indra's 
censure was due to a reaction of the popular mind from the 
terrible scenes of blood-shed and persecution that were 
enacted in the ancient land, in the name of religion. The 
killing of the Arurmaghas, however, though afterwards con- 
doned by the Vedic Aryans, created a revulsion against Indra 
in the mind of the followers of Ahura Mazda, and the breach 
between the two sects widened beyond repair. 

But though the schism had taken place, and there had 
been much bloodshed and persecution in consequence of it, 
the Asuras in all probability .did not leave Sapta-Sindhu in 
a body during Rgvedic times. This they probably did in a 
later age, after the Panis had mostly left the country. But 
it is just possible that those who were defeated by the Vedic 
Aryans in battles, and had their forts broken or demolished, 
emigrated towards the north-west, and after roaming about 

hereditary sacerdotal caste and Herodotus thus writes about their status . " A 
Magian man stands by and chants a theogony thereto, for such the Persians 
say the chant is. Without a Magian it is not lawful for him to offer prayers." 
Prof. Moulton writes '* From the first the Greek writers assume that the 
Magi were priests, with special skill in divination and oneiromancy. They 
were already essential for all priestly acts, and identified thoroughly with the 
Persian religious system. Moreover from the fourth century B. C. down, 
there are frequent allusions to Zoroaster himself as a Magus, and many of the 
foremost modern authorities have accepted this as probably true." (Early 
Zoroastrianism, pp. 196-197). The word Magha or Magus was probably a 
corruption of Maghavan, meaning "worshipful/' a title which was probably 
applied to these priests, Moulton's theory that the Maghas or the Magi 
belong to a non-Aryan race is quite untenable. 



172 BLOVEDIC INDIA, [CHAP. 

in several countries in a helpless condition, finally settled 
down in Bactriana which they called Arya Veeja or Airy ana 
Vaejo (which literally means " the nursery, or place of origin 
of the Aryans "), to distinguish it from Sapta-Sindhu 
which they were compelled to leave, and for which they 
no longer entertained any love, as it was inhabited by 
their hereditary enemies, the Vedic Aryans. This Airyana 
Vaejo was afterwards destroyed by an invasion of Ice in 
post-Rgvedic times, probably in consequence of vast 
volumes of watery vapours, generated by the drying 
up of the bed of the Rajputana Sea, having been pre- 
cipitated there as snow, which compelled Yima, the 
ancient leader of the Iranians, to leave it with his people 
and migrate towards the north, to the Arctic region. Long 
after this event, Airyana Vaejo became again habitable, and 
the Prophet Zoroaster 1 settled there with his followers, and 
made it a centre for the propagation of his new reformed 
faith. As this chapter has already grown too long, I will 
deal with the subject of the dispersion of the followers of 
Ahura Mazda from Sapta-Sindhu in the next chapter. 

1 Xanthos of Lydia, a contemporary of Artaxerxes I (465-424 B. C.), 
places Zoroaster 6,000 years before the expedition of Xerxes. Aristotle 
makes him 6,000 years before the death of Plato. This date, however is not 
accepted by modern European scholars. Hertel makes him live about 660- 
533 B. C. If that were so, Artaxerxes who lived in the fifth century B. C., 
would not have fixed Zoroaster's time about 6,000 years before the expedition 
of Xerxes, and Aristotle calculated a similar date. Zoroaster's date, however, 
has not yet been definitely settled, though the date of the classical writers 
closely tallies with Vedic chronology. (Vide Keith's Tke Religion and Philoso- 
phy of the Veda and Upanishads vol. ii t Appendix A. Page 614 ft. 1925). 



CHAPTER X. 

THE DISPERSION OF THE FOLLOWERS OF AHURA MAZDA FROM 
SAPTA-SINDHU. 

Professor Max M tiller after a careful study of the Vedas 
and the Zend-Avesta arrived at the following conclusion : 

" The Zoroastrians were a colony from Northern India. 
They had been together for a time with the people whose 
sacred songs have been preserved to us in the Veda. A 
schism took place and the Zoroastrians migrated westward 
to Arachosiaand Persia." 1 

Elsewhere he said : " Still more striking is the similarity 
between Persia and India in religion and mythology. Gods 
unknown to any Indo-European nation are worshipped under 
the same name in Sanskrit and Zend ; and the change of 
some of the most sacred expressions in Sanskrit into names 
of evil spirits in Zend only serves to strengthen the convic- 
tion that we have here the usual traces of a schism which 
separated a community that had once been united."* 2 

Dr. Haug also came to the same conclusion : " The 
ancestors of the Brahmans, and those of the Paris (the 
ancient Iranians) lived as brother tribes peacefully together. 
This time was anterior to the combats of the Devas and the 
A suras, which are so frequently mentioned in the Brah- 
manas, the former representing the Hindus, the latter Ira- 
nians." 3 

It would appear, however, that the Iranians did not all at 
once settle in Arachosia or Persia after leaving Sapta- 
Sindhu. They had roamed about in many countries in a 

1 Science of Language^ Vol. II, p. 170 (Fifth Edition). 
Chips from a German Workshop, Vol. I, p. 83. 

8 Dr. Haug's Introduction to the Aitareya Brdhmana, Vol. I, pp. 2-3, 
Edition 1863. 



174 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

helpless condition before they settled down as agriculturists 
in their new colony. We have said in the previous chapter that 
the main body of the followers of Ahura Mazda did not leave 
Sapta-Sindhu during Rgvedic times, though it is likely 
that some tribes who could not hold their own against the 
attacks of the Vedic Aryans did so, and got themselves scat- 
tered in different parts of Asia and Europe. The Arurma- 
ghas or the followers of Ahura Mazda were regarded as 
Brahmanas and were suffered to live in Sapta-Sindhu, as 
long as they did not become obtrusive or militant. But as 
soon as they became active propagandists and aggressive, 
attacking and condemning the Vedic faith and the Vedic 
rites, under the instigation of their priests or prophets, a 
regular campaign against them was organized and started 
by the Vedic Aryans, which resulted in their ultimate expul- 
sion from Sapta-Sindhu. As I have already said in the last 
chapter, the name of Zarathustra does not occur in the 
Brihmanas or the later Vedic literature, though the name of 
Tva?tr as the Fire God and Creator, occurs in them as well 
as in the Rgveda. Zarathustra, therefore, must have flour- 
ished in comparatively recent times. It was he who gave 
the Ahura religion the shape in which we find it in the Zend- 
Avesta, and instilled into it a new life and vigour by shaking 
off the foreign accretions that had gathered round it, and 
purifying it as much as possible. He was, therefore, a great 
Reformer of the Ahura religion, and his words carried the 
greatest weight with its votaries when he declared himself 
or came to be regarded as a Prophet, and an incarnation of 
Jarat Tvagtr, the first of the seven Amshaspands, or Princes 
of Light, who surrounded the throne of Ahura Mazda. In* 
spired and encouraged by his teachings, his followers must 
have assumed a fresh militant attitude towards the Vedic 
faith, and thereby brought upon themselves the wrath of the 
united Vedic Aryans who compelled them to fly far from 
Sapta-Sindhu, the land of their birth. It was when reduced 
to this helpless condition and sorry plight that the Prophet 



X.] EXPULSION OF PARSIS. 175 

with his followers gave vent to the following lamentations as 
are recorded in the GAthA Ustanvaiti : 

" To what country shall I go ? Where shall I take my 
refuge? What country is sheltering the master (Zarathustra) 
and his companions ? None of the servants pays reverence to 
me, nor the wicked rulers of the country." [4. (46) i], 

" I know that I am helpless. Look at me, being amongst 
few men. For, I have few men. I implore thee (Ahur Mazd, 
the wise) weeping, thou living God." [4 (46) 2]. 

"The sway is given into the hands of the priests and 
prophets of idols, who, by their atrocious actions, endeavour 
to destroy the human life..." [4 (46) n]. 1 

Thus expelled from Sapta-Sindhu and other places in* 
habited by the Vedic Aryans, the followers of the Prophet 
probably roamed about in various lands mentioned in the 
first Fargard of the Vemlidad until they found a safe shelter 
in old Airyana Vaejo which, though destroyed by Ice in a 
former age, had again become habitable This province, 
acrording to Spiegel, " is to be placed in the furthest east of 
the Iranian plateau, in the region where the Oxus and the 
Jaxartes take their rise," though Baron Von Runsen supposes 
it to be " the table-land of Pamir and Khokand." 2 The lands 
mentioned in the Fargard of the Vendidad are (i) Airyana 
Vaejo ; (2) Sughdha or Sogdiana (Samarkand) ; (3) Mouru 
or Margiina (Mero) ; (4) Bakhdid or Bactria (Balkh) ; (5) 
Nisaya or Nisaea ; (6) Haroyu (Sans. Sarayu} or Arcia 
(Herat) ; (7) Vaekareta (Cabul) ; (8) Urva, Cabul, according 
Dr. Haug, or land around Ispahan, according to Dermesteter ; 
(9) Khnenta in Vehrkena (Kandahar); (10) Harahvaiti (Sans. 
Sarasvafiy or more probably Irdvati) or Arachosia (Harut) ; 
(n) Ha6tumant (Helmend) ; (12) Ragha (Rai) ; (13) Chakhra ; 
(it) Varena ; (15) Hapta-Hendu (Sapta-Sindhu) and (16) 

1 Dr. Martin Haug's Religion of the Parsees, pp. 153, 155 and 1 66. Ed. 
1862. 

Muir's Onginal Sanskrit Texts, Vol. II, pp. 332, 481. Ed. 1871. 



176 GVEDIC INDIA. [CttAP. 

Rangha. These were the sixteen countries which were 
known to the ancient Iranians. There is a controversy 
among some Western scholars as to the geographical and 
historical value of this account of the countries mentioned 
in the Vendidad. Bunsen is of opinion that the first mention- 
ed country was the primeval abode of the Iranians, from 
which they subsequently emigrated to the other countries an 
opinion with which Spiegel at first agreed. But it appears 
that the latter subsequently revised this opinion as will appear 
from his remarks in his Introduction to the Avestft (Vol. II, p. 
cix) : " I cannot c oincide in the attempt to discover in the 
first chapter of the Vendidad an account of the gradual migra- 
tions of the Iranians, It has been said that, that list of 
countries is a continuous history of their attempts at coloni- 
zation, beginning with their northern home, and ending with 
Hapta-Hendu or India. But the list nowhere speaks of any 

such migration Hence, I see in this chapter nothing but a 

specification of the countries known to the Iranians at a 
particular time. This period, however, cannot be a recent 
one, as the name Hapta-Hendu is connected with the Vedic 
period." 

This seems to me to be the soundest view of the matter. 
The followers of Ahura Mazda were very closely connected 
not only in blood, but also in language, 1 and religious faith 
and practice 2 (of course, before the regrettable schism took 

1 Geldner writes in the Encyclopedia Britannica, (Vol. XXI, p. 347 ; 
1 ith edition) . " The clearest evidence of the extreme age of the language 
of the Gath&s is its striking resemblance to the oldest Sanskrit, the language 
of the Vedic poems. The Gatha language (much more than the later Zend) 
and the language of the Vedas have a close resemblance, exceeding that of any 
two Romanic languages ; they seem hardly more than two dialects of one 
tongue. Whole strophes of the Gathas can be turned into good old Sanskrit 
by the application of certain phonetic laws." 

* Eduard Myer thus summarises in the same work (p. 203) the common 
elements of the two religions : " Fire-worship, especially the sacrificial flame ; 
the preparations of the intoxicating Sorna, which fills man with divine strength 
and uplifts him to the Gods ; the injunction to ' good thoughts and good 



SOSHYANTAS. * 77 

place) with the Vedic Aryans of Sapta-Sindhu which was 
their common home. When a difference in religious opinion 
and practice arose, they came to be called Asuras by the 
Vedic Aryans whom they, in their turn, called Devas or 
Daevas, i.e., Devils. This religious controversy gradually 
degenerated, even in Rgvedic times, into an implacable 
hatred for one another ; and from words, they came to blows, 
and from blows to bloodshed, resulting in the defeat of the 
Asuras. Some, as we have already said, fled to other 
countries, while others remained in Sapta-Sindhu peacefully, 
without provoking further quarrels. " The Soshyantas or 
fire-priests/' writes Dr. Haug, "who seemed to be identical 
with the Atharvans, are to be regarded as the real predeces- 
sors of Zarathustra Spitoma, who paved the way for the grand 
religious reform carried out by the latter. It is distinctly said 
(Yas. 53. 2), that the good Ahura religion was revealed to 
them and that they professed it in opposition to the Deva 
religion, like Zarathustra himself and his disciples. (Yas. 12. 
7). These ancient sages, therefore, we must regard as the 
founders of the Ahura religion, who first introduced agricul- 
ture and made it a religious duty, and commenced war against 
the Deva religion." * We have seen the result of this war 
during Rgvedic times, and prior to the age of the Br&h- 
manas in which the Soshyantas (who were probably identi- 
fied in the Rgveda with Susna, the demon of drought) 
and their followers got the worst, most of them having been 
compelled to leave the country. It was only when Zarath- 
ustra, the fiery and intolerable Reformer and Prophet, flourish- 
ed, that fresh troubles arose, as the result of which his 

works ' imposed on the pious by Veda and Avesta alike ; the belief in an 
unwavering order (rta)-a law controlling gods and men and dominating them 
all ; yet with this, a belief in the power of the magical formulae (mantra), 
exclamations and prayers, to whose compulsion not merely demons (the evil 
spirits of deception druh), but even the gods (daeva) must submit, and lastly, 
the institution of a priesthood of fire-kindlers (atharvan) who are at once the 
repositories of all sacred traditions and mediators in all intercourse between 
earth and heaven." 

1 Dr. Haug's Religion of the P*rsccs t p. 251. Ed. 1862. 

23 



178 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

followers were driven out of the country, who roamed about 
in a helpless condition until they made their final halt in old 
Airyana Vaejo which had been destroyed by Ice in a former 
age when Yima had been its ruler, and so named probably 
to donote the original place where the Ormuzdian religion 
had been first propagated, preached and practised undisturbed. 
This land, therefore, was given precedence over all other lands, 
and regarded as Paradise, when compared with Hapta-Hendu, 
from which the Iranians had been driven out, and for which 
they no longer entertained any love, in as much as it was peopled 
by their inveterate enemies, the Vedic Aryans. We may, 
accordingly, conclude that the naming of Hapta-Hendu 
towards the end of the list, as given in the first Fargard of 
the Vendidad, does not indicate that the Iranians emigrated 
from their northern home and came to Sapta-Sindhu at the 
end of their migrations. Such a theory would be against 
the conclusions at which all impartial students and critics 
must arrive after a careful study of the Vedas and the Zend 
Avesta. 

Secure in this earthly paradise, and free from molesta- 
tions, Zarathustra began a thorough-going reform of the old 
religion as professed by the votaries of Ahura Mazda. The 
following extracts from Yasna 12 of the Avesta will un- 
mistakably indicate the line of reform : " I cease to be a 
Deva worshipper. I profess to be a Zoroastrian Mazdayasna 
(worshipper of Ahura Mazda), an enemy of the Devas, and a 
devotee to Ahura, ...I forsake the Devas, the wicked, bad, 
false, untrue, the originators of mischief, who are most 
baneful, destructive, the basest of all beings...! am a Mazda- 
yasna, a Zoroastrian Mazdayasna. I profess this religion by 
praising and preferring it to others." l 

The Zoroastrians forsook not only the " wicked and 
false " Devas, but also the Soma sacrifice which characterized 
the Vedic Aryans of Sapta-Sindhu. Gdthd Ahunavaiti 

1 Dr. Haug's Religion of the Parsees, p. 165, Ed. 1862, 



X.] SOMA OR HOMA. 179 

(Yasna 32) says : " Ye Devas, sprung out of the evil spirit 
who takes possession of you by intoxication (Soma), teaching 
you manifold arts to deceive and destroy mankind, for which 
arts you are notorious everywhere." l In Gatha Spenta- 
Afainyus also we find : " When will appear, thou wise, the 
men of vigour and courage to pollute that intoxicating liquor ? 
This diabolical art makes the idol priests so overbearing, 
and the evil spirit, reigning in the countries, increases this 
pride." 2 Dr. Haug comments on the verse of this Gathd as 
follows : " This verse refers to the Brahman's Soma worship 
which, as the cause of so much evil, was cursed by 
Zarathustra." 

But though Zarathustra thus condemned the Soma, with 
a view to dissuade his followers from using it in their rituals, 
the old party seemed to retain a predilection for the drink, 
and would not easily give it up. Hence the High Priests 
effected a sort of compromise by substituting the intoxicating 
Soma beverage " by a more wholesome and invigorating 
drink prepared from another plant, together with the branches 
of the pomegranate tree, and without any process of ferment- 
ation ; but the name in the Iranian form Homa remained, 
and some of the ceremonies also." 3 We need not, therefore, 
be at all surprised that Zarathustra also suddenly became an 
admirer of the Soma who, it is said, once visited him in his 
brilliant supernatural body. " Being asked by the prophet 
who he was, he told that he was Homa, and requested him to 
worship him in the same way as the ancient sages and 
prophets had done. Zarathustra, after having attentively 
listened to the angel's reports, bowed before him and 
commenced to consecrate the branches of the Homa plant 
which were before him, in order to put into them secret 
powers.' 1 Zarathustra then praised Soma or Homa as 
follows: " I praise the high mountains where thou hast 

* ibid, p. 145. /ttrf.p. 159. 

8 Dr. Haug's Religion of the Parsees, pp. 219-220; also Chapter IV of this 
book. (pp. 60-6 1.) 



i8o RGVED1C INDIA. [CHAP. 

grown, Homa ! I praise the Earth, the wide, which is full of 
ways, labouring, thy Mother, Homa!" 1 This conversion of 
Zarathustra to the Soma cult is remarkable, in as much as it 
goes to show that his followers came from Sapta-Sindhu where 
the Soma-sacrifice prevailed. The Soma plant, as our readers 
will remember, grew nowhere else excepting on the Himalaya 
and in some regions of Sapta-Sindhu. One of the reasons 
why the Soma plant was substituted by another plant by 
Zarathustra may have been its scarcity in Airyana Vaejo 
where the plant did not probably take kindly to the soil. 

41 It is plain," says Dr. Issac Taylor, ' from the character 
of the culture words common to Zend and Sanskrit that the 
Indians and Iranians had before their separation advanced 
farther in the path of civilisation than any of the other Aryan 
nations. They knew themselves as a united people (Sanskrit 
Arya, Zend Airya). They had common words for bridge, 
column, battle, fight, sword, spear, and bow-string, and they 
could count up to a thousand. But the agreement in religious 
terms is the most striking proof of the stage of culture they 
had reached. They had common words for priest, sacrifice, 
song of praise, religious aspergation, for heroes and demons, 
and for Mithra, the God of Light. The chief Indian God, 
Indra, the god of storms, who in the Rgveda is a beneficent 
deity, becomes in the Avesta a malignant power. It was 
formerly believed that a religious schism was the primary 
cause of the separation of the Indians and Iranians, but this 
notion is now universally given up." 2 

Dr. Taylor does not say on what grounds has this 
notion been universally given up. But if it has really been 
given up by the Western scholars, so much the pity for 
historical truth. The very fact that Indra, not merely " the 
God of storms," but the mightiest beneficent deity of the 
Vedic Aryans, was regarded by the Iranians as a malignant 

1 Dr. Haug's Religion of the Par sees, pp. 167-168. 

of the Aryans, pp. 189-190. (Second Edition, 1893.) 



X.] RELIGIOUS DISSENSION. 181 

power goes to the very root of the religious dissension 
between the two sects, and points to the real cause of their 
separation, as we have shown very clearly in these pages 
from evidences adduced both from the Vedic literature and 
the Zend-Avesta. It is therefore extremely surprising to be 
told that religious schism was not the primary cause of their 
separation. The followers of Ahura Mazda felt such a great 
repugnance for the name of Indra, to whose prowess were 
ascribed their defeat and slaughter by Vedic Aryans, that 
they came to look upon him as Devil himself, and his votaries 
as Devil-worshippers, though, strangely enough, Indra's 
epithet of Vrtraghna was retained by them as the epithet 
of their supreme angel. The Soma sacrifice also was at 
first discarded as unworthy of the followers of Ahura Mazda, 
not only on account of the intoxicating properties of the 
Soma drink, but also because it was mainly connected with 
the worship of Indra and thus savoured of the Devil. But as 
ancient custom, like superstitions, die very hard, Zoroaster 
had to re-introduce it in the rituals under the very old name, 
though the drink was made less intoxicating by an altogether 
different process of preparation. In the face of these and 
the other evidences dealt with in this and the previous 
chapter, it would be bold to assert, that religious schism was 
not the primary cause of the separation of the two sects. 

We have already stated the opinions of Spiegel and 
Bunsen about the probable situation of Airyana Vaejo, the 
Paradise of the Iranians, where they settled and prospered 
after their expulsion from Sapta-Sindhu. Whether it was 
situated in the farthest east of the Iranian plateau at the 
sources of the Oxus and the Jaxartes, or on the table-land 
of the Pamir and Khokand, there can be no question that it 
was placed on sufficiently elevated land, to be called 
" Paradise," and was not easily accessible ,to their enemies. 
But it has been mentioned in the second Fargard of the 
Vendidad that fatal winters fell on this happy land which 
was consequently invaded by snow and ice, and thus made 



182 GVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

unfit for human habitation. Yima, the ruler of the land, had 
been previously warned by Ahura Mazda about this impending 
calamity and advised to remove to another place with " the 
seeds of sheep and oxen, of men, of dogs, of birds and of red 
blazing fire " ! and create a Vara or enclosure there for 
their protection. Mr. Bal Gangadhar Tilak thinks that 
Airyana Vaejo was situated in the Arctic region, the climate 
of which was genial before the advent of the last Glacial 
epoch about 10,000 years ago, and the destruction of this 
happy land was caused by the invasion of snow and ice when 
that epoch came. 2 He is further of opinion " that the 
Airyana Vaejo was so situated that the inhabitants of Yima's 
V&ra therein regarded the year only as a day, and saw the 
sun rise only once a year." 3 This, according to him, points to 
the situation of Airyana Vaejo in the Arctic region. The Vra 
was undoubtedly situated in the Arctic or the Circumpolar 
region, because the year there was only a day, and the sun 
rose only once a year. But where is the evidence to show 
that these were also the physical phenomena and characteris- 
tics of Airyana Vaejo ? When Ahura Mazda first informed 
Yima about the impending calamity that was to overtake his 
country, and advised him to remove to the Vara with the 
seeds of birds, beasts, men and the blazing fire, the latter 
naturally asked Ahura Mazda : " O Maker of the material 
world, thou Holy One ! What lights are there to give light 
in the V4ra which Yima made ? " Ahura Mazda answered : 
44 There are uncreated lights and created lights. There the 
stars, the moon and the sun are only once (a year) seen to 
rise and set, and a year seems as a day." 4 These, then, were 
the physical characteristics of the Vra whither Yima was 
advised to go, and not of Airyana Vaejo, as wrongly concluded 
by Mr. Tilak. The physical characteristics of the V4ra were 

1 Darmesteter. 

* Tilak's Arctic Hone in the Vcdas, p. 381. 



* Darraesteter. 



X.] AIRYANA VAEJO AND VARA. 183 

so entirely different from those of Airyana Vaejo that Ahura 
Mazda had to take the trouble of mentioning them in exfenso 
for Yima's enlightenment. If they were similar to those of 
Airyana Vaejo, he would have said so very briefly without 
going into details. Then, again, if the Vra were situated 
within Airyana Vaejo, the mere creation of an enclosure would 
not have saved it from the invasion of Ice that overtook the 
whole country. If there be any truth in this story, the fact 
probably was that Yima migrated from Airyana Vaejo to the 
Circumpolar region, the climate of which was genial in the 
Interglacial period, and there created an enclosure for the 
protection of his beasts and men, not against the invasion of 
Ice, but of indigenous savages. As regards Airyana Vaejo 
which we believe to have been situated either on the tableland 
of Pamir and Khokand, or in the farthest east of the Iranian 
plateau, it remains for us to explain how it was destroyed by 
the invasion of Ice and made unfit for human habitation. 
Mr. Tilak says : " It seems that the Indian story of the deluge 
refers to the same catastrophe as is described in the Avesta, 
and not to any real deluge, or rain. For though the Satapatha 
Brahmana mentions only a flood (aughah) y the word prdleya^ 
which Panini (vii. 3. 2) derives from pralaya (a deluge), 
signifies * snow,' ' frost,' or ' ice ' in the later Sanskrit 
literature. 1 his indicates that the connection of ice with the 
deluge was not originally unknown to the Indians, though in 
later times it seems to have been entirely overlooked." 1 
Though this explanation is very ingenious, it cannot be gain- 
said that the Satapatha Brihrnana speaks distinctly of & flood, 
over which Manu was conveyed in a ship which was piloted 
by a great fish to a peak of the " Northern mountain " (the 
Himalaya). Now this flood, as we have more than once said 
before, was probably caused by the sudden upheaval of the 
bed of the Rajputana Sea by a seismic action of great 
intensity, and the displaced waters must have covered Sapta- 
Sindhu, thereby creating a flood. These waters in the course 

1 Arctic Home in the Vedas, p. 387. 



i84 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

of drying up or subsiding must have generated vast volumes 
of vapours which, having been carried over the Himalaya, 
were precipitated on the high altitudes as snow. Airyana 
Vaejo, having been situated either on the Pamir or the Iranian 
plateau, must have been thus invaded by snow and ice, which 
caused severe winters to fall on the land, and made it 
uninhabitable either for men or beasts. The occurrence of 
an extensive and destructive flood in Sapta-Sindhu, and the 
invasion of Airyana Vaejo by ice, would thus be simultaneous 
events, without being identical, as Mr. Tilak supposes them 
to be. It has been related in the first Fargard of the Vendidad 
that Angra Mainyu, the destroyer, destroyed, in opposition to 
the creation of Ahura Mazda, the genial climate of Airyana 
Vaejo, by bringing in severe winter ; and he also destroyed 
the genial climate of Hapta-Hendu by bringing in " pernicious 
heat." Now, it is a geological fact that the drying up of the 
Rajputana Sea, and the creation of an extensive desert in its 
place affected the climate of Sapta-Sindhu and made it 
excessively hot and dry. Similarly the precipitation of vast 
quantities of snow on the tops and valleys of the Himalaya, 
caused by the vapours of the displaced waters of the above- 
named sea, changed the climate of Airyana Vaejo, and 
ushered in long and severe winters. These coincidences 
undoubtedly go to prove the contiguity of the two countries. 
Mr. Tilak's contention, therefore, that Airyana Vaejo was 
situated in the Arctic region has no substantial basis to stand 
upon. 

I admit, however, that the V&ra, to which Yima removed 
with his men and beasts, was situated somewhere in the 
Circumpolar region, probably in the north of Russia, where a 
genial climate prevailed in the pre-Glacial epoch. As Yima 
could not migrate to the south, in which direction was situated 
Sapta-Sindhu, inhabited by the enemies of his people, he was 
directed by Ahura Mazda to proceed to the north, either by 
crossing the Central Asian Sea, if the sea had existed in 
those days, or by land, if the sea had disappeared by that 



X.] SLAVONIC AND IRANIAN. 185 

time* And this he did by leading his colony of men and 
beasts to North Russia. This fact of Iranian colonization of 
North Russia in some remote age is proved by linguistic 
evidence also, to which I will now briefly refer. 

As early as 1851, in his edition of the Ger mania of 
Tacitus, Dr. Latham stated that Li thuanian is closely related 
to Sanskrit and no less archaic. The connection between 
Greek and Indo-Iranian has been established by Grassmann, 
Benfey, Sonne and Kern. Again, Schmidt, Ascoli, Leskian 
and Miklosich have proved the connection between In do- 
Iranian and Slavonic. It has been ascertained that the 
affinities of the Indo-Iranians with the European Aryans are 
chiefly with the Slavs on the one hand, and with the Greeks 
on the other. l Schmidt also showed " that the more geo- 
graphically remote were any two of the Aryan languages, 
the fewer were the peculiarities they possessed in common. 
Thus while there are fifty-nine words and roots peculiar to 
Slavo-Lithuanian and Teutonic, and sixty-one to Slavo- 
Lithuanian and Indo-Iranian, only thirteen are peculiar to 
Indo-Iranian and Teutonic. Again, while one hundred and 
thirty-two words and roots are peculiar to Latin and Greek, 
and ninety-nine to Greek and Indo-Iranian, only twenty are 
peculiar to Indo-Iranian and Latin. Hence Slavonic forms 
the transition between Teutonic and Iranian, and Greek the 
transition between Latin and Sanskrit." 2 This clearly 
shows that a branch of the Iranians must have migrated from 
Iran to Russia, and this migration is proved by Yima's leav- 
ing Airyana Vaejo for the Vra in the Circumpolar region, 
when the former was destroyed by ice and snow. Subsequently, 
the climate of Airyana Vaejo must have changed to make it 
possible for the Prophet Zarathushtra and his followers to 
settle in that country, when the latter were finally expelled 
from Sapta-Sindhu by the Vedic Aryans. 

1 Tk* Origin of the Aryans, pp. 2O-22. 

, PP. 
24 



186 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

The connection of the Iranians with the Slavs is further 
proved by certain words which are common to the languages 
of both these branches of the Aryan race. " Slavo-Lettic," 
says Dr. Taylor, " agrees with Indo-Iranian in the designa- 
tion of the supreme deity, Bagu (Sansk. and Iran. Bhaga), 
in the word for marriage, and in several numerals ; and also 
in two cases of the noun, four forms of the verb, and certain 
forms of the pronoun ...Iranian, Greek, and Slavonic change 
into h between two vowels, and Iranian and Greek replaces 
an initial s by A" l Elsewhere he says : " In the Slavonic 
languages, Bogu denotes the supreme deity. The word is 
found in the Rgveda as Bhaga } which means the distributor 
of gifts, especially of food, and is used as an epithet of the 
gods, and also, seemingly, as the name of a subordinate deity. 
In the Avesta the word has attained a larger significance, 
and is applied as an epithet to Mithra and also to Ahura 
Mazda, who is called Bhaga-BhagAnam, God of gods. The 
word only became the name of the supreme deity among the 
Slavs, and among the closely related Phrygians. " 2 We need 
not adduce further proofs of the close connection of the 
Iranians with the Slavs. But some European savants have 
inferred from this the origin of the Aryans in Europe, and 
assert that the Indo-Iranians emigrated from Europe into 
Asia. We will discuss this subject in greater details in a 
subsequent chapter. All that we now say is that this theory 
is untenable in the face of the evidence we have adduced 
about the emigration of the Iranians from Sapta-Sindhu, 
their original home, into Airyana Vaejo, and thence into 
Europe. 

It is just possible, however, that the colony led by Yima 
was not the first to go. Other tribes of this branch of the 
Aryans had emigrated long ago into Europe, along with the 
half-savage nomadic tribes of the race, who had been com- 

* /bid, p. 2? i. 

, p. 318. 



X.] ARYAN COLONIZATION. 187 

pelled to quit Sapta-Sindhu in consequence of their persecu- 
tion by the more advanced Vedic Aryans. The route of their 
march lay through Western Asia and Southern Europe, as 
their linguistic affinity with the Greeks on the one hand, and 
the Phrygians on the other, abundantly testifies. Some of 
these savage tribes must have been the ancestors of the 
Phrygians, the Slavs and the Lithuanians ; while others were 
the ancestors of the Greeks and the Celts. The Teutons 
were the mixed products of these nomadic Aryan tribes and 
the dolicho-cephalic savages known as the Canstadts or 
Neanderthals, to whom they imparted such culture as they 
possessed. This culture, however , was of the lowest order, 
as is evidenced by the fact that Europe, though Aryanised in 
early prehistoric times, remained in the neolithic stage of 
development till even comparative ly recent times. 

We may conclude this chapter by pointing out that the 
immigration of Yima to Vara in the Circumpolar region in 
the pre-Glacial period points to the vast antiquity of the 
Indo-Aryan civilisation, as the Iranians had long before this 
event left Sapta-Sindhu, and settled in Airyana Vaejo in 
consequence of religious d issens ions. The upheaval of the 
bed of the Rajputana Sea, and the invasion of Airyana Vaejo 
by Ice, if these events were at all simultaneous, must have 
taken place, as we have pointed out in a previous chapter, 
long after the composition of the Rgveda which does not 
contain any reference to the Flood or the Ice-Deluge. This 
also goes to establish the vast antiquity of the Rgveda 
itself. 



CHAPTER XI- 

THE PAN1S OF SAPTA-SINDHU, THEIR EXPANSION IN WESTERN 

ASIA AND THEIR INFLUENCE ON SEMITIC, EGYPTIAN 

AND GREEK CIVILISATIONS. 

The Panis have been mentioned more than once in the 

previous chapters. We have shown that they were Aryans, 

belonging to the trading class, who traded not only on land 

but also by sea, and were notorious for their avarice and 

money-grabbing spirit that made them highly unpopular with 

the cultured Aryans. They were a community by themselves, 

selfish, narrow-minded, intent only on their own business and 

gain, and seldom coming in contact with the high culture and 

speculative thoughts of their advanced neighbours. They 

did not perform the same sacrifice, nor worship the same 

Gods as the cultured Aryans did, which made them incur 

their displeasure, nay, hatred. They lived on the eastern 

sea-coast of Sapta-Sindhu, on the banks of the Gangd, and 

were famous builders of ships, for the construction of which 

they procured suitable timbers from the Himalaya, which 

probably were brought down the stream in floats. Though 

hated and persecuted by the Vedic Aryans, they probably 

continued to live in Sapta-Sindhu as long as their route over 

the sea remained open. It was only when the Rajputana 

Sea disappeared and cut them off from the outer world that 

they probably thought of abandoning their native home in 

search of a land that would give a free scope to their 

trading and sea-roving propensities. T hose that remained 

in the country gradually became incorporated into the Vedic 

Aryan society, and became the ancestors of the Vapiks 

of later times, who formed the third twice-born caste, 

known as the VaiSya caste. Even in later Sanskrit Lexicons, 

the Va^iks came to be identified with the Panikas who 

were no other than the Pa$is of Rgvedic times. 1 That 



l *&j*-Nirghanta: 



XI.] PANIS COLONIZE. 189 



the word Vanik was derived from the Rgvedic word Pani 
or the Sanskrit word Panika^ goes without saying. The 
latter word is still traceable in the Sanskrit words panya 
(merchandise), and Apana or bipani meaning the place where 
articles of trade are sold. Originally, panya must have meant 
those articles only, in which the Partis principally traded ; 
but afterwards it came to mean any article of trade. 

If the upheaval of the Rajputana Sea was due to the 
great seismic disturbance that caused the dismemberment of 
the Indo-Oceanic Continent, separating and isolating its rem- 
nants from one another, the present configuration of the 
coasts of Southern India must be dated to that time. The 
Panis, in their search of a sea-coast for establishing a new 
colony, would, therefore, naturally first select the coasts of 
modern Gujarat for this purpose. And very probably they 
did settle there for sometime. But as they combined in 
themselves the functions of both traders and ship-builders, 
and as Gujarat was probably poor in timber, they must have 
moved along the western coasts of the Deccan Peninsula in 
search of a suitable land that would, in the first place, supply 
them with suitable timber for ship -building, in the second, 
afford their ships a safe harbour, and in the third, give them 
sufficient scope for trade and expansion. The narrow strip 
of land between the mountain range, known as the Western 
Ghats, and the sea, did not answer and satisfy all their 
requirments. It is true that Southern India is rich in Indian 
teak which grows in abundance and affords excellent material 
for ship-building ; but, in many places, the mountains rise, 
as it were, from the very bosom of the sea whose breakers 
dash up against their sides in fury, and make safe navigation 
impossible along the coasts. The Pauis must, therefore, 
have moved furthur south till they came to the Malabar coast 
which was not only rich in timber , } but also afforded safe 

1 " This particular tree (the Indian teak) is to be located with more than 
ordinary accuracy : it grows in Southern India (Dekhan) where it advances 
close to the Malabar coast, and nowhere else ; there is none north of the 
Vindhya." Rigorin's Vtdic India, p. 205. 



RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

harbours to their ships. Rounding the island of Ceylon 
which was probably in those days connected with the main- 
land, they must have come also to the Coromondal coast 
which answered their purpose equally well for planting a 
colony. 

It is also probable that some of the Panis finding the 
sea-route closed by the upheaval of the bed of the Rajputana 
Sea, sailed with their ships from the eastern coast of Sapta- 
Sindhu down the sea then occupying the Gangetic trough, 
and passing out into the Bay of Bengal through the passage 
caused by the depression of the range connecting the Raj- 
mahal Hills with the mountains of Assam, navigated along 
the eastern coast of the Southern Peninsula till they found 
safe harbour on the Coromondal coast where they settled. 
In these regions as well as on the coasts of Malabar, they 
came in contact with the aboriginal tribes of the Dravidian 
race, vis., the Cholas on the Coromondal coast, and the 
Pandyas on the Malabar coast. The Panis must have freely 
mixed with them and imparted to them some of their culture, 
in as much as of all the Dravidian tribes, we find the Pa"n- 
dyas, the Cholas and the Keralas or Cheralas to be the most 
advanced in ancient times, and playing important parts in 
the early history of the Southern Peninsula. But they must 
have been wild savages at first, like the Puliers, the Munda- 
vers, or the Juangs of the present day. It was only when they 
came in contact with the Panis that they probably first learnt 
the arts of civilisation and became advanced peoples. They 
must have learnt from them not only the use of iron, but also 
the arts of agriculture, ship-building and architecture and the 
process of irrigation by means of canals. 4< The Cholas, M 
says Mr. Krishnaswami Aiyangar, " were great builders of 
not only cities and temples.. .but also of useful irrigation works. 
. . . That they maintained an efficient fleet is borne out by refer- 
ences to the destruction of the Chera fleet at Kandatur placed 
on the west coast by Dr. Hultzsch... Ancient Tamil literature is 
full of details and descriptions of the sailing craft of those 



XI.] CHOLAS AND PANDYAS. 191 

days. They also show abundant evidence of nautical expe- 
rience by the figures and tropes made use of in the works. 
To give only an instance, the author of the Epic of the 
Anklet refers to beacon-lights being placed on the tops 
of palmyra trunks in lamps made of fresh clay... on dark 
nights when the sea was rough." 1 These descriptions un- 
doubtedly relate to facts of comparatively recent times. But 
there can be no doubt that the later civilisation of the Cholas 
came down to them from hoary antiquity, and our readers 
need not therefore be surprised, if they are told that it was 
imparted to them first of all by the Panis. The very fact 
that the Panis were renowned ship-builders in ancient times 
leads us to surmise that the Cholas learnt the art of ship- 
building from them, as well as the arts of agriculture and 
irrigation by means of canals. These latter they might also 
have learnt from the other Aryan tribes that settled in 
Southern India after the drying up of the Rajputana Sea ; 
but the art of ship-building could only have been imparted to 
them by the Pauls, unless we suppose that they learnt it in 
the natural course of their own evolution. But this supposi- 
tion can only be based on the further supposition that the 
Cholas and the Pndyas were the inhabitants of the sea- 
coasts of the lost Indo-Oceanic Continent from time imme- 
morial. If the Malabar and the Coromondal coasts were 
their original homes, very lik ely these regions formed parts 
of inland provinces of the lost continent, and the sea was 
far-off from these places. In such a case, their natural 
evolution as sea-faring peoples from very early times would 
be impossible. It was only when the sea was brought near 
to its present position that they would think of constructing 
crafts for navigating it, if, of course, they were sufficiently 
advanced in civilisation to do so a supposition which is not 
supported by the savage condition of the other allied tribes 
who were their neighbours, and some of whom are still in the 

1 Aiyangar's Ancient India p. 185. 



192 KGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

primitive stage of civilisation. But if the dismemberment of 
the Indo-Oceanic Continent was synchronous with the 
disappearance of the Rajputana Sea, then the necessity that 
the Panis felt for founding a colony on the new sea-coasts 
would naturally bring them to the Malabar and the Coromon- 
dal coasts, and into contact with the original inhabitants 
thereof. For these reasons, my surmise is that the Cholas 
and the Pdndyas were uplifted and civilised by the Panis 
first of all, and this surmise is strengthened by the subse- 
quent history of these tribes, which will be related later on. 

It is probable that the Panis afterwards emigrated from 
the coasts of Gujarat, and the Malabar and the Coromondal 
coasts to those of the Persian Gulf and established a colony 
near the mouths of the Tigris and the Euphrates. Though 
thus removed far away from their mother-land, they must have 
kept up an intercourse with her coasts for a long time, mainly 
in the interest of their trade. The immigrants to Mesopo- 
tamia, however, appear to have left their new colony, 
probably after a long sojourn, not only because it was very 
poor in timber suitable for ship -building, but also because 
they must have been ousted from occupation by the invasion 
of the Semitic hordes. 

Herodotus says that the Phoenicians "formerly dwelt, as 
they themselves say, on the coasts of the Erythraean Sea. 
From thence, they passed transversely across Syria, and 
now dwell on the sea-shore " (of the Mediterranean). Now, 
this Erythraean Sea was a common designation of the sea that 
modern Geographers call by the name of the Arabian Sea 
which, with all its gulfs, washes the shores of Arabia, Persia, 
Baluchistan and Western India. If the Phoenicians asserted 
that they had immigrated to Phoenicia from the shores of 
the Erythraean Sea, there could be no doubt that they 
believed that their ancestors had been immediate immigrants 
from the shores of the Persian Gulf. But some modern 
European scholars are loath to place any credence in this 



XL] MIGRATIONS OF PANIS. 193 

ancient tradition and to locate their original home on these 
shores, mainly on the ground that they were, as they still are, 
poor in suitable woods for ship-building, and could not there- 
fore have afforded any scope for the rise of a maritime people. 
As a write r says : " As a matter of fact, these particular 
regions which have been specially represented as the primi- 
tive home of the Phoenicians, namely, the Babylonian coasts 
of the Persian Gulf and those which lie to the west of them, 
are so little qualified to favour the rise of navigation, 
owing to the want of suitable woods that, as Aristobulus 
informs us, when Alexander the Great conceived the idea of 
bringing the coast district of Eastern Arabia under his 
dominion, both seamen and portable ready-made ships had 
to be brought from Phoenicia to Babylon, and this was 
actually done with the express intention of making of Baby- 
lonia what it had never hitherto been, namely a second 
Phoenicia." l 

These observations would be eminently just, if these 
Babylonian sea-coasts were represented to be " the primitive 
home " of the Phoenicians. But, as our readers have already 
been told, if the Phoenicians of history were the descendants 
of the Panis of Rgvedic times, their " primitive home " 
would be, as it certainly was, in Sapta-Sindhu, from which 
they emigrated to the coasts of Gujarat, and the Malabar and 
the Coromondal coasts, and thence to the coasts of Babylonia. 
The last-named region, however, not favouring their rise as 
a maritime people on account of the paucity of suitable 
woods, they were compelled to leave them in search of a 
more suitable country which they at last found in Phoenicia 
on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. It would thus 
appear that Herodotus faithfully jotted down the tradition 
that had been current among the Phoenicians in his time, 
and it would indeed be unjust to summarily dismiss it with 
a view to establish the theory of their original home in Syria. 

* Hist. Hist, of the World, Vol. II, p. 262 



194 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

The same writer says : " It is in itself probable that they 
were originally native not to Phoenicia but to some place 
further south, and in the interior of Palestine; but not 
because we have information to that effect, but solely on 
account of the outlying position of their settlements, repre- 
senting the most northerly extent of territory of the 
Canaanites. Amongst the peoples of antiquity, the Phoeni- 
cian is not the only one which must not be regarded as 
autochthonous, although all the accounts of their immigration 
which we possess are unworthy of credit." 1 An argument 
like this, we need hardly say, is far from convincing. 

The tradition of their immigration from the coasts of 
Eastern Arabia and Babylonia through Syria to Phoenicia 
seems to us to indicate one of the real lines of their march, 
and furnishes the reason of their movement. Phoenicia was 
an ideal country for a maritime people like the Pa^is to live 
in and prosper. " Phoenicia proper, even in the most 
flourishing state, was one of the smallest countries of anti- 
quity. It comprised that part of the Syrian coast extending 
from Akko to Aradus (Arvad), a narrow strip of land about 
two hundred miles in length from north to south, and 
probably nowhere more than thirty-five miles in width. This 
short line of coast, rich in bays and harbours, was covered 
with lofty mountains, many of which ran out into the sea, 
and formed promontories, and whose heights, covered with 
forests, supplied the most valuable material in the construc- 
tion of the fleets and habitations of the Phoenicians... The 
sea which broke with great fury upon this rocky shore had 
probably separated some of these promontories from the 
main-land, forming little islands at a small distance from the 
shore, which are not less worthy of note than the mainland 
itself, being everywhere covered with extensive colonies and 
flourishing cities." 2 

1 Ibid. Vol. II, p. 162. 
Ibid, Vol. II, p. 255. 



XI.] PANIS COLONIZE SYRIA. 195 

Here, then, did the Phoenicians find a suitable country to 
live in, that satisfied all their requirements as a sea-faring 
people. But this immigration was made long long after their 
leaving Sapta-Sindhu, which must have taken place several 
thousand years ago, and of which they had only a vague tradi- 
tion. In the course of their wanderings and settlements in 
various lands, they intermingled with the native populations, 
and could not, therefore, retain the pristine purity of their 
Aryan blood, but were transf ormed into an altogether new 
people neither purely Aryan, nor purely Semitic, nor Tura- 
nian. Their speech also underwent a thorough change, but 
like the Tamil-speaking Aryans of Southern India, they could 
not help retaining some words of Sanskrit origin, and the 
names of some of the Gods whom their forefathers had 
worshipped in Sapta-Sindhu. 

European scholars regard the Phoenicians as a race not 
separated from the rest of the Canaanites, especially from the 
various elements of the pre-Israelite population of Palestine. 
They regard their history as " only that of a section of the 
Canaanite race, the history of that portion which, as far back 
as the times to which the earliest historical information con- 
cerning this territory refers, had fixed its abode not in the 
interior of Palestine but on the edge of the sea... Although in 
the matter of descent no difference can be discovered between 
them and the other Canaanites, historical science must, never- 
theless, regard them as a different people. It is in this sense 
that they are spoken of as a Phoenician race, the Phoenician 
people/* 1 This looks like a tardy and halting admission of 
the fact that though the Phoenicians resembled the Canaanites 
in many respects, there was something in their character and 
genius, which was distinctly their own, and distinguished them 
from the rest. 

In the opinion of eminent geologists, Phoenicia was an 
inhabited country at some wholly pre-historic period long 

1 Ibid, Vol. II, pp. 259*260. 



196 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

before the first appearance of the Semitic race in that land. 
" It is in no way probable that when the Phoenicians chose the 
low lands on the west side of the Lebanon Chain as their 
place of abode, they took possession of a tract of country 
which had as yet practically no population. But we have 
not the slightest grounds for guessing the stage of civilisation 
of the predecessors whom they encountered there, nor to 
what race these belonged. Certain scholars have indeed 
sought to answer the question why it was in Phoenicia that 
in early times a much higher development of civilisation 
appeared than in most of the other countries inhabited by 
members of the Semitic family of peoples, by the hypothesis 
that the branch of Semites that immigrated there found, as 
did those who settled in Babylonia, a population entirely 
different in endowments and descent, who had long been in 
possession of a manifold civilisation; with these they may 
have intermingled, and from the complete amalgamation first 
proceeded that section of humanity, which bears in history 
the name of Phoenicians. This hypothesis has no other 
foundation than the idea that otherwise it would be necessary 
to attribute to a Semitic people qualities which are denied to 
the Semitic family generally." l 

But, as we have seen, the above hypothesis has a more 
solid foundation than a mere idea, which, however, for 
obvious reasons, the writer has failed to notice ; and it really 
explains the origin of the Phoenicians of history, who were 
the product of an amalgamation of a highly civilised people 
of a different family, inhabiting the sea-coast, and the 
Semites who immigrated there subsequently. The amalga- 
mation became so complete that the Semitic type ultimately 
predominated in the race, and hence they are usually called a 
Semitic people. It is needless to say here that the original 
people whom the Semitic immigrants found on the sea-coast 
in a high state of civilisation were no other than the Panis of 

Ibid, Vol. II, pp. 363-364. 



XI.] CULTURE SPREAD BY PANIS. 197 

Vedic India, who had ultimately settled there after their long 
sojourn in various lands, the last being the shores of the 
Persian Gulf. This would clearly explain why the civilisa- 
tion of the Phoenicians was more highly developed than that 
of the other sections of the Semitic family. 

The Panis, while settling on the fertile plains near the 
mouths of the Tigris and the Euphrates, must have found the 
original inhabitants in an extremely savage and wild state, 
not knowing the use of agriculture, or any of the arts that 
help men to advance on the path of civilisation. It was the 
Panis who first lighted up the torch of culture among them, 
and reclaimed them from barbarism. It can therefore be 
asserted that the civilisation of Western Asia was first born 
on the shores of the Persian Gulf, from which it gradually 
spread northwards. A writer says . " It is pure supposi- 
tion to say that civilisation in Babylonia started out from the 
shores of the Persian Gulf, and spread from there towards 
the north, but it is a supposition which has a high degree of 
probability. In this direction points the old legend of Baby- 
lonians, as Berossus relates it, which describes the origin of 
civilisation in the legend of the divine fish-man Cannes (or 
Musarus Cannes) who came up in the morning from the 
Erythraean Sea, instructed the inhabitants of Chaldea, who 
were still living like animals, in the arts and sciences, and 
then in the evening, disappeared under the waves. This 
fibh-god has long since been recognised as the god who is so 
frequently depicted on Babylonian and Assyrian monuments, 
and it can now hardly be longer doubted that he, the god of 
waters, or rather the source of light and fire in the waters, 
is the god Ea. This god with his circle is without doubt 

indigenous to Southern Chaldea Thus if legend traces 

the culture of the Chaldeans from the instruction of this god, 
this is the origin of the tradition that his worshippers, who 
must have been mariners and dwellers on the sea-coast } 
introduced this civilisation into Chaldea." 1 

1 Ibid, Vol. I, p, 535. 



ig8 FLGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

This fish-man, as has been suggested in the above 
extract, was undoubtedly the leader or deity of those ancient 
mariners who visited the coasts of the Persian Gulf and 
helped to spread civilisation among the aboriginal savages, 
who regarded their teachers more as denizens of the deep 
than landsmen like themselves, as they probably used to live, 
while reconnoitering the sea-coasts for a suitable settlement, 
in their ships that must have been anchored in the sea far 
out of sight of the aboriginal population. Hence they were 
called fish-men, and their leader or deity the fish-god. Now 
it was to the interest of these mariners to civilize the natives 
in order that they might settle down and prosper in this new 
country without being molested by them. They all, therefore, 
set themselves to this task, and were successful in their 
effort. 

These early mariners could have been no others than the 
Panis of Sapta-Sindhu who traded along the coasts of the 
Erythraean Sea, and were afterwards compelled to leave their 
original home in search of countries for planting colonies 
therein. And this supposition is strengthened by th^ follow- 
ing observation made by the same English writer a* I have 
quoted above : " The people who brought its culture ; to the 
southern coasts of Babylonia, and probably also to UK coasts 
of Elam, and communicated it to the still uncultured races 
living there, seems to have belonged to \\wA. peaceful commer- 
cial race which the Hebrews designated as the * Sons of 
Kush y n which was not unlike the Phoenicians and was 
placed in the same category ; a race which, while jealous of 

1 In the PauraTLic literature of the Hindus, mention has been made of a 
country named Kuba or Kuba-dinpa, which is identified by some with Southern 
India or Australia, and by others with Africa. Probably it was applied to the 
whole Indo-Oceanic continent. The " sons of Kush " therefore might mean 
the peoples of the Southern Continent whose remnants were Southern India, 
Burma, East or South Africa, and Australia. As the Panis came from the 
coasts of Southern India, they would rightly be called "the sons of Kush." 



XI.] PHOENICIA. 199 

its independence, was not aggressive, although inclined to 
colonisation, and to making distant journeys." 1 

There can, therefore, be no doubt about the identity of 
the people who first brought their culture to Babylonia. 
They were the Phoenicians, or people like them, who could 
not but be the Panis of Sapta-Sindhu. The characteristics 
of the race as described above fully agree with those of the 
Panis. These peaceful settlers after a long sojourn in 
Babylonia were, as we have already said, compelled to leave 
the country partly on account of the absence of materials 
for ship-building, and partly for political reasons, as the 
country was invaded and conquered by the turbulent and 
uncivilised Semites ; and they marched northwards by the 
overland route through Syria to the coasts of Lebanon, where 
they settled again to their occupations which, however, were 
not altogether peaceful, and called their new colony 
Phoenicia. 

Julius Africanus, a Christian Chronographer who wrote in 
the first quarter of the third century A.D., mentions inci- 
dentally that there were versions of Phoenician history, in 
which the latter was made to go back no less than 30,000 
years. 2 Though this is regarded as incredible by European 
savants, there may be an element of truth in this computa- 
tion. Their sojourn to Babylonia and Western Asia from the 
shores of Southern India was made in pre-historic times 
which must have been several thousand years before the 
Christian Era, if not exactly 30,000 years, as mentioned by 
Julius Africanus. 

The long contact of the Panis with the Dravidians, the 
aborigines of Babylonia, and the Semites, and their complete 
separation from the Vedic Aryans of Sapta-Sindhu, the parent 
stock from which they were descended, wrought a thorough 
change in their language, manners, and modes of life, though 

* Hist. Hist, of the World, Vol. I p. 536. 
Jbid, Vol. II, p. 264. 



ado IlGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

from a conservative instinct they retained the names of and 
worshipped some of the Vedic Gods. " The Phoenician reli- 
gion was of a distinctively natural type. The active and the 
passive forces of Nature were symbolised by male and female 
deities, as in Egypt, but the Phoenician Gods were more defi- 
nitely associated with the heavenly bodies than the Egyp- 
tian." 1 In the Phoenician cosmogony, the beginning of all 
things was a moving and limitless chaos of utter darkness. 
After the lapse of ages, this agitated air became enamoured 
of its own first principles, and from this embrace was gene- 
rated Mot, which some interpret mud, (Sanskrit Mrit}> and 
others the putrefaction of a watery mixture. From this the 
universe came forth, first living creatures without sensation, 
then intelligent beings in shape like an egg. From this, too, 
the sun, moon and stars were evolved ; and the heat and light 
generated clouds, winds and rain/ 2 The principal divinity of 
the Phoenicians was Baal or the Sun, and this name came to 
be equivalent to the Supreme God, in which sense it was 
more frequently used than with reference to his original 
character of Sun-God. Another name of the Sun was 
Ouranus which is the same as the Vedic Varuna. 

From the above brief account, it would appear that the 
Phoenicians retained a mutilated form of Rgvedic cosmogony, 
and were Nature-worshippers like the Aryans of Sapta- 
Sindhu, their principal deities being Baal, the Sun-god, and 
Ouranus or Varuna. Now this god Baal or Vala is also men- 
tioned in the Rgveda, and identified with the Sun. The 
Rbhus, whom Sdyana identifies with solar rays, were the sons 
of Vala or Baal (Rv. iv. 33, 34, 35, 36 and 37). Fire also 
was called a son of Vala (Rv. iv. 18). The Panis of Sapta- 
Sindhu, under the leadership of Bfbu, were the votaries of 
the Rbhus. The Phoenicians worshipped a god named Res- 
chufi which word, for aught we know, may be a corruption of 

' Ibid, Vol. II, p. 350. 
Ibid, Vol. II, p. 349- 




XL] THE PHOENICIANS. 201 

the Vedic word Rbhti. As the Pagis were opposed to the 
worship of Indra, and were, therefore put down by the Kg- 
vedic Aryans as Asuras or unbelievers, the name of their God 
Baal, although it represented the Sun-god, came to be identi- 
fied with Vftra who stole the cows and <2iM0V^&L gods. 
(Rv. i. ir, 5). The Pauls also were^ 
in ancient Sapta-Sindhu, as we 
legend of Sara ma and the Pauls, aj 
if their God al? o was identified 
(rain-clouds or solar rays) and ke| 
dark cave. In the land of their 
however, the Panis having probabl) 
ated in consequence of their contac 
became worse than cattle-lifters. 
slaves at ridiculously low prices but kidnapped men, women 
and children from the neighbouring countries. " These 
spoilers hunted the coasts and harbours of Phoenicia, Asia 
Minor and Syria, and either exacted a high ransom from the 
relatives of their captives, or sold them in the public slave- 
markets. During the mo<t prosperous period of the slave-trade, 
we find the Phoenician slave-dealers everywhere, even on the 
fields of battle, where they followed the fortunes of war as 
peddlers and purveyors. The booty which fell into the hands 
of the soldiers was at once purchased by these traffickers, and 
the little children and women, whose transport would have 
been difficult, were sold to them at a very low price, or 
exchanged for wine or some other commodity valued 
by the soldiers. The beautiful women and boys of Greece 
had from early times been introduced into the East as slaves. 
In Homeric times they commanded a higher price than any 
other commodity, and they were brought by Phoenician 
pirates as prisoners of war to Egypt and Palestine." 1 

The Phoenicians, in the time of Homer, " visited the 
Greek islands and the coasts of the continent as robbers or 

/* Vol, II, pp. 344-345. 
26 



202 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

merchants, according as circumstances offered. They came 
with trinkets, beads and baubles, which they sold at a high 
price to the inexperienced and unwary Greeks ; and they thus 
gained opportunities of kidnapping their boys and girls, whom 
they turned to good account in the Asiatic slave- markets, or 
who .tfere redeemed at heavy ransoms by their parents and 
countrymen. A most faithful and lively picture of the state 
of society in these respects is drawn by the Greek bard him- 
self in the narrative which he makes Eumaeus relate of his 
birth and early adventures/' 1 

It would thus appear that they became worse pests in 
Western Asia and Southern Europe than they had been in 
Sapta-Sindhu. It was no wonder, therefore, that the God Baal, 
whom the Phoenicians worshipped came to be looked upon by 
the Vedic Aryans as a dark malevolent deity like Vjrtra, for 
it was natural to believe that the character of the votaries of 
a particular God was moulded and influenced by that of the 
God himself. 

The name of Our anus which was also applied to Baal by 
the Phoenicians is, as we have said, clearly traceable to the 
Vedic Varuna ; and this name represented one of the oldest 
gods of the Aryans, being an Aditya or Sun-god, though 
more correctly speaking, the Sun of Night, and also the Lord 
of the Ocean. The worship of Baal was introduced by the 
Panis into their first settlement on the coasts of the Persian 
Gulf, where also it became a principal deity among the 
ancient Babylonians and Assyrians. 

" In religious doctrine they were more receptive than 

productive Instead of continuing through free speculation 

what is understood, or impressing an idiosyncratic national 
stamp on what was foreign, they reduced the fundamental 
elements to a complicated convolution of ideas, devoid of 
clear forms or ethical foundations. As their life was so 
permeated with the mercantile spirit, they placed their divini- 
t Vo| H( p ^ 



XL] THE PHCENICIANS. 203 

ties in direct relation with appearances of practical experience, 
and desecrated the deep doctrines by material significations, 
by lasciviousness and by cruel practices." 1 This is a most 
faithful description of their character that made them so un- 
popular with the Vedic Aryans. 

Of their cruel practices, one may be mentioned here, viz. y 
the practice of human sacrifice. On the occasion of any extra- 
ordinary calamity, an unusual number of victims was sacrified, 
but human sacrifice was also part of the established ritual, and 
every year a youthful victim was chosen by lot. " Infants were 
burnt alive, and the most acceptable of all sacrifices was that 
of an only child. The image of Saturn was brass, the out- 
stretched hands were hollowed so as to receive the body of the 
child, which slid thence to a fiery receptacle below. Mothers 
brought their infants in their arms, and quieted them by caress- 
es till the moment they were thrown into the flames, since any 
manifestation of reluctance would have rendered the sacrifice 
unacceptable to the God." 2 If the Panis practised this cruel 
custom in Sapta-Sindhu also, we should not wonder at the 
strong hatred the Vedic Aryans felt towards them and their 
religion. 

But with all their faults, draw-backs, and shortcomings, the 
Panis, or Phoenicians as we should now call them, are credited 
with helping the advancement of civilisation in the ancient 
Western world to a very large extent. It is a strange dispensa- 
tion of God that both in the olden and modern times, the selfish 
and greedy merchants should be selected for the outspread 
of a particular civilisation in other lands. As the European 
merchants have paved the way for the spread of Western 
culture in Eastern lands, so did the Panis also help to spread 
the culture of the East in Western countries in ancient times. 
Of course, none were actuated by altruistic motives or a 
missionary spirit to undertake this noble task. But their 

1 Hist. Hist, of tht World, Vol II, p. 354- 

Hist. Hist, ofth? World, lbid t Vol. II, p. 35 1. 



204 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

inordinate love of gain and restless spirit of adventure took 
them far away from their homes, and brought them into 
contact with different peoples in different climes, who could 
not help imbibing some of their culture as well as their 
vices. It is probably thus that God fulfils himself in History. 
To sum up : The Panis, after leaving Sapta-Sindhu 
through sheer necessity arising out of adverse circumstances, 
first settled down on the coasts of Southern India among the 
Cholas and the Pandyas who could not help imbibing a 
portion of their culture and spirit of adventure. Thence 
they proceeded towards the coasts bordering on the Persian 
Gulf, followed by the Cholas, and settled there for a pretty 
long time, keeping up a close and constant communication 
with the sea-coasts of Southern India, and imparting such 
culture to the aboriginal inhabitants of their new colony as 
was calculated to make them friendly and helpful, instead of 
antagonistic to the principal vocation of their life, viz. } trade. 
When subsequently this colony was invaded by the strong, 
though comparatively uncivilised Semites, the Panis not 
finding the country any longer congenial to the successful 
pursuit of their vocation, moved on towards the north and 
settled down on the sea-coast of Syria, which they called 
Phoenicia, or the Land of the Panis or Pa^ikas. This land 
furnishing them with full facilities for trading in the islands 
of the Greek Archipelago, Southern Europe and Northern 
Africa, and for manufacturing articles of trade with the help 
of the vast number of slaves whom they captured or bought 
at nominal prices, the Panis soon became a prosperous and 
powerful people, founding colonies in the islands of the 
Mediterranean and on the coasts of Northern Africa. Carthage 
was a Phoenician colony and every student of ancient history 
knows what important parts she played in historic times in 
Southern and Western Europe. In all the islands and 
countries where they settled, the original inhabitants coming 
in contact with them learnt from them the arts of civilised 
life. They traded by sea as far north as the coast of Great 



XI.] SUMMARY. 205 

Britain and ancient Gaul and even Scandinavia, whose 
original inhabitants also learnt from them the use of the 
metals and the art of agriculture. In this way the Panis, or 
the Phoenicians, spread Aryan culture not only among the 
Semitic peoples of Western Asia and Arabia, but also among 
the early pre-historic inhabitants of Egypt and of North 
Africa, and the Greeks, the Romans, the Iberians, the Celts 
and the Gauls of Europe. Professor Nilsson has attempted 
to show that the Phoenicians had settlements far up on the 
northern shores of Norway also, where they spread the 
worship of their God Baal (vide Appendix to this Chapter). 
It is simply wonderful to contemplate how an Aryan tribe, 
originally small and insignificant, and driven out of their 
home for their vicious ways and manners, helped in the 
course of several thousand years to spread such culture as 
they possessed over a large portion of the then known world. 
Having been traders, they were of necessity the first to 
invent and develop a purely alphabetical script which was 
afterwards borrowed and improved upon by the Greeks. 
The Semites also, with their help and that of the Chaldees or 
Chaldeans whom we shall find in the next chapter to be the 
Cholas of Southern India, made rapid strides towards progress 
and founded the famous kingdoms of Babylonia and Assyria, 
to which also early European civilisation was immensely 
indebted The ancient Egyptians also, who are supposed 
to be an amalgamation of the Punic race (the Panis), the 
Pandyas of the Malabar coast of Southern India and the 
prehistoric peoples of the land, developed a civilisation which 
influenced European civilisation to a very large extent. The 
Greeks received their culture from the Phoenicians, the 
Babylonians and the Egyptians, and imparted it to the 
Romans, and the latter in their turn imparted it to the 
Iberians, the Celts, the Teutons and the Slavs. But we are 
afraid that we are anticipating too much in this chapter. 
The interesting romance of the expansion of Indo-Aryan 
civilibation from Sapta-Sindhu and the Deccan over Western 



zo6 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

Asia, Egypt, Northern Africa and Europe will be told more 
elaborately in subsequent chapters. 



APPENDIX TO CHAPTER XI. 

Writing about Phoenician influence on Pre-historic Europe, Lord Avebury 
thus observes in his Prehistoric Times, pp. 67-71, (Ed. 1912) 

" We are surely quite justified in concluding that between B. C. 1500 and 
B. C. 1200 the Phoenicians were already acquainted with the mineral fields of 
Spain and Britain, and under these circumstances it is, I think, more than 
probable that they pushed their exploration still farther, in search of other 
shores as rich in mineral wealth as ours. The amber also, so much valued in 
ancient times, could not have been obtained from the coast of the German 
Ocean. 

" Professor Nilsson has attempted M ..to show that the Phoenicians had 
settlements far up on the northern shores of Norway. His arguments may be 
reduced to seven, namely, the small size of the sword-handles, bracelets, etc. ; 
the character of the ornaments on the bronze implements ; the engravings 
in Bronze Age tumuli ; the worship of Baal ; certain peculiar methods of reap- 
ing and fishing ; and the use of war-chariots . 

"The implements and ornaments of bronze certainly appear to have 
belonged to a race with smaller hands than those of the present European 
nations. This indicates an Eastern, but not necessarily a Phoenician origin. 

" The ornaments on them are also peculiar, and have, in Professor Nilsson's 
opinion ( a symbolic meaning. Although the great stones in tumuli attributed 
to the Bronze Age are very seldom ornamented, or even hewn into shape, still 
there are some few exceptions, one of these being the remarkable monument 
near Kivik in Christianstad. From the general character of the engravings, 
Professor Nilsson has no hesitation in referring this tumulus to the Bronze 
Age, and on two of the stones are representations of human figures, which may 
fairly be said to have a Phoenician or Egyptian appearance. 

" On another of the stones an obelisk is represented, which Professor 
Nilsson regards as symbolical of the Sun-God ; and it is certainly remarkable 
that, in an ancient ruin in Malta characterized by other decorations of the 
Bronze Age types, a somewhat similar obelisk was discovered ; we know also 
that in many countries Baal, the God of the Phoenicians, was worshipped under 
the form of a conical stone. 

" Nor is this, by any means, the only case in which Professor Nilsson finds 
traces of Baal worship in Scandinavia. Indeed, the festival of Baal, or Balder, 
was, he tells us ; celebrated on Midsummer's night in Scania, and far up into 



XI.] APPENDIX. 207 

Norway, almost to the Loffoden Islands, until within the last fifty years. A 
wood fire was made upon a hill or mountain, and the people of the neighbour- 
hood gathered together in order, like Baal's prophets of old, to dance round 
it shouting and singing. This Midsummer's-night fire has even retained in 
some parts the ancient name of ' Balders-baal ' or Balders-fire. Leopold von 
Buch long ago suggested that this custom could not have originated in a 
country where at midsummer the sun is never lost sight of, and where, conse- 
quently, the smoke only, not the fire, is visible. A similar custom also pre- 
vailed until lately in some parts of our islands. Baal has given his name to 
many Scandinavian localities, as, for instance, the Baltic, the Great and Little 
Belt, Belteberga, Baleshaugen, Balestranden, etc. 

11 The ornamentation characteristic of the Bronze Age is, in the opinion of 
Professsor Nilsson, decidedly Semitic rather than Indo-European. He lays 
considerable stress on two curious ' vase-carriages, ' one found in Sweden and 
one in Mecklenburg, which certainly appear to have been very like the ' vases ' 
made for Solomon's temple, and described in the first Book of Kings. Finally, 
he believes that the use of war-chariots, the practice of reaping close to the 
ear, and a certain method of fishing, are all evidences of Phoenician intercourse. 

" Professor Nilsson is so great an authority as an archaeologist, and his 
labours have contributed so much to place the science on a sound basis, that 

his opinions are deserving of the most careful consideration That the 

Phoenicians have left their traces in Norway is, however, in my opinion all that 
can fairly be deduced from the facts on which he relies, even if we attributed 
to them all the significance claimed for them b\ him .. . As regards the small- 
ness of hands, we must remember that Hindoos share this peculiarity with 
Egyptians , this character is therefore not less reconcilable with an Indo- 
European than with a Phoenician origin of the Bronze Age civilisation." 



CHAPTER XII 

INDO-ARYAN INFLUENCE ON THE ANCIENT CIVILISATIONS OF 
BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA. 

In the last chapter, we have related the legend of the 
Fish-god (Musarus Oannes) who first taught the wild and 
savage inhabitants of the coasts of the Persian Gulf the 
rudimentary arts of civilised life. This Fish-god, as we have 
already said, undoubtedly represented a sea-faring people who 
visited the coasts in early prehistoric times, and could have 
been no others than the Panis of Sapta-Sindhu, and after- 
wards of the Deccan, for we know of no other people in that 
dim past, who were sufficiently advanced to undertake sea- 
voyages. These Panis, as we have seen, were the mariners 
par excellence in those ancient days and continued as such 
down to historical times. We have further seen that leaving 
India, they first settled down on the fertile coasts of the 
Persian Gulf as colonists, and \\ere either accompanied or 
followed by the Cholas. The latter were probably at first 
pressed into their service as sailors and artisans or husband- 
men, and went with their masters to this new colony. Other 
Cholas, probably hearing excellent reports of the country 
from those who returned from the voyages, followed the first 
batch of immigrants and founded a colony of their own. As 
we have already said, it was undoubtedly to the self-interest 
of the Panis to induce a large number of the Cholas to immi- 
grate and settle in this new colony where, otherwise, they 
would be in the midst of savages and find no facility for 
carrying on their trade. The Cholas, having long ago learnt 
the art of agriculture, naturally felt inclined to settle in this 
new land where the soil was exceedingly fertile in conse- 
quence of the alluvial deposits of the Tigris and the Euphrates 
near their mouth. As the Cholas had been aryanised, they 
probably went there with their Gods and Aryan priests, and 



XIL] CHALDEA. 209 

called their colony Choladeta^ which word through corrupted 
pronunciation, came to be known as Chaldea, i.e., the land 
of the Cholas. This land was the " Shinar " land of the 
Semites, and the Babylonia of the Greeks. 

Chaldea or Babylonia is a wide plain of rich brown soil, 
about a hundred miles above the mouth, where the two rivers, 
the Tigris and the Euphrates, approach most nearly, and the 
banks touch the so-called Median wall. It seems that the 
new colonists first settled down in the land of Makan, the 
district of the mouth of the two rivers, and were known to 
the early inhabitants as Sumerians, because the tract of land 
was called Sumer with its capital Ur. The colonists, however, 
called their settlement Chaldea, and hence were also known 
by the name of Chaldees or Chaldeans. 

" The most ancient population of this country/' says a 
writer in the Historians' History of the World (Vol. I, p. 341), 
" formed several closely related races which had no connec- 
tion with the other nations of Western Asia ; but, in the course 
of historical evolution, they lost their language and nationality, 
and were submerged in the neighbouring races." 

" It is coming to be a common agreement among Assyrio- 
logists," he continues, " that the original peoples of Babylon 
were of a race that was not Semitic. Just what it was, these 
scholars are not yet prepared to say ; although the inclina- 
tion of belief is that it was an Indo-European race and most 
probably of the Turanian family. An attempt has recently 
been made to connect the aborigines with the Urgo-Finnish 
branch of the Ural-Altaic family, but with what success it is 
still too soon to say. But whatever these peoples the 
Sumerians may have been, they occupied the land of Baby- 
lonia until dislodged by a great wave of Semitic migration." 1 
" That the Sumerians, like the Semites, were not an autoch- 
thonous race in Babylonia follows from the condition of the soil 
which had to be rendered fit for agriculture, and indeed, for 

1 Hist. Hist, of the World, Vol. I, p. 342. 



210 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

human habitation, by a system of canals. Whence, then, did 
the Sumerians originally come, before they took possession of 
the swampy Euphrates valley and settled there?" 1 

We have already answered this question by asserting at 

the beginning of this chapter that they were the Cholas of the 

Coromondal coast of Southern India, who had already become 

a cultured people under the direct influence of Aryan civilisa- 

tion, and learnt the art of agriculture by the construction of 

canals, from which they irrigated their lands. Yet, we shall 

endeavour to answer it more fully and satisfactorily in this 

chapter by a careful study of the ancient civilisation of the 

Sumerians or Chaldeans themselves. Though Professor Joseph 

Halvy is of opinion that the earliest civilisation of Babylonia 

was developed by a people of the pure Semitic race, yet, 

" after a long dispute, carried on chiefly by philologists, it is 

now generally conceded that the earliest civilisation of 

Southern Babylonia was due to a non-Semitic people, the 

Sumerians. To this people, it would seem, must be ascribed 

the honour of developing the chief features of Mesopotamian 

civilisation, including the invention of cuneiform system of 

writing." 2 It is not at all clear at precisely what time the 

Semitic people, destined ultimately to become predominant 

in this region, made their appearance ; but u as early as the 

beginning of the fourth millennium before the Christian Era, 

the Semitic Babylonians were already settled in northern 

Babylonia and, as is proved by the Naram-sin inscription and 

several dating from the time of Sargon, his father (Circa 3,800 

B. C.), had already acquired the Sumerian character (and, by 

inference, the Sumerian civilisation). In the case of southern 

Babylonia, the discoveries at Telloh has put us in possession 

of a number of sculptures some of them in relief, others 

severed heads of statues dating from the period between 

Circa 4,000 B. C. or earlier, and Circa 3,000 B. C. These 



Vol. I, p. 337. 



XII.] SUMERIANS AND SEMITES. 211 

present two different types one is characterised by a 
rounded head with slightly prominent cheek-bones, always 
beardless, and usually with clean-shaven crown. To this type 
certainly belong the representatives of vanquished foes on the 
archaic sculpture, known as the Vulture Stele, though the 
primitive method of representing the brow and nose by a 
single slightly curved line gives a merely superficial resem- 
blance to the Semitic cast of countenance. The other is a 
longer-skulled (dolichocephalous) type, with thick, black hair, 
and long, flowing beard. 

" It is certainly by no mere accident that the heads of the 
Telloh statues, most of which are supposed to represent kings, 
are of the first-named (Sumerian) type, while the bronze 
votive offerings, which likewise bear the name of Gudea, are 
carried, as is evidenced by a glance, by Semites. And as 
there were Semites among the subjects of Gudea, where the 
Sumerians were a dominant race, so we find the same Semitic 
type clearly marked in the figures round the stem of a Vase, 
while the party of musicians who were seen approaching with 
submissive gestures on the fragment of a bas-relief, which 
probably also dates from the reign of Gudea, must likewise 
be of Semitic-Babylonian descent. 

" Fortunately, ancient Babylonian art gives us the oppor- 
tunity, not merely of studying the wholly non-Semitic language 
of the earliest inhabitants of Babylonia in lengthy bilingual 
original inscriptions such as many of the statues of Gudea 
bear, but of seeing with our own eyes the bodily semblance 
of this singular people, and so observing the striking 
correspondence of non-Semitic elements in speech and facial 
type. In this connection we would draw attention to an 
ancient Babylonian statue of a female figure now in the 
Louvre at Paris. We may confidently assume that the woman 
represented is a Sumerian, and not a Semitic Babylonian; 
and it may thus be regarded as a splendid counterpart of the 
Gudea statues, which by the whole character of workmanship 



212 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP, 

it c&lls to mind. Whether we have here a queen or some 
other lady of high rank (the supposition that she is a 
goddess appears to be excluded by the absence of the head- 
dress goddesses are wont to wear) cannot, of course, be 
determined with certainty. It is only natural that various 
mixed types should have developed in course of time, 
especially in northern Babylonia, and many of the faces we 
meet with on the seal-cylinders more particularly, may be 
representations of such." 1 

It is clear from the above long extracts that the Sumer- 
ians had been a distinct people from the Semites who after- 
wards invaded Babylonia and established their supremacy 
over it, and advancing farther north, founded the kingdom 
of Assyria. It must, however, be mentioned here that the 
original home of the Babylonian Semites is set down by 
orientalists like Eduard Meyer and Sprenger in the desert of 
Arabia, which, according to them, used to send forth the 
surplus of her predatory and Bedouin population to the great 
pastoral districts in the vicinity, that is, to Palestine, the 
plain of Mesopotamia (Aram), and in times long out of mind, 
to northern Babylonia also. But this theory has been directly 
refuted by later investigations set on foot by A. Von Kremer, 
and followed up by Ign. Guidi at Rome, and lastly by 
Hommel who thinks that he has succeeded in proving that 
" the people who afterwards became the Babylonians and 
Assyrians must have separated from the common stock in 
some part of Central Asia where the lion was indigenous, 
and emigrated into northern Babylonia through one of the 
passes of the Medio-Elamite range, certainly no later than the 
fifth millennium B.C." Whatever may be the original home 
of the Semitic Babylonians, it would be interesting and of 
great historical importance, if some philologists oould clearly 
establish the identity of the family, to which the non-Semitic 
language in the bilingual inscriptions on the statues of Gudea 

/bid. Vol. I, pp, 34-343. 



XII.] SUMERIANS AND DRAVIDIANS. 213 

belonged. If it be found to have belonged to the Aryan, 
Dravidian or Dravido-Aryan family, the hypothesis that tlte 
Sumerians or Chaldeans came from India would be established 
on a firm and sound basis, and beyond the shadow of a doubt. 
It is to be hoped that philologists would direct their earnest 
attention to make researches in this line, though it must be 
stated here that, so far, the result of their spasmodic and 
desultory investigations has established a resemblance 
between the Sumerian and the Dravidian languages. Be that 
as it may, " it must be understood that the Sumerians, 
whatever their precise racial affinities, were a different people 
from the Semitic races that superseded them. There is 
reason to believe that they were an essentially creative race, 
whereas the Semites, and in particular, the Assyrians, were 
pre-eminently copyists and adapters rather than originators. 
It would appear that all the chief features of a later Assyrian 
civilisation were adumbrated, if not indeed fully elaborated 
in that early day when the Sumerians were dominant in 
southern Babylonia. Even the cuneiform system of writing, 
with all its extraordinary complexities, is believed by philo- 
logists to give unequivocal evidence of Sumerian origin. ni 

As regards the Babylonian religion, it " was largely 
influenced by the Sumerians, which was an astral religion. 
The names of the Gods are found written with the same 
ideograms, although they were doubtless pronounced 
differently."* 

That the Sumerianb introduced agriculture in Babylonia, 
which they carried on by means of irrigation from a number 
of canals specially constructed for the purpose, has already 
been referred to. " They also excelled the Semites in artistic 
spirit and ability, perhaps also as traders and mariners, and 
the latter probably imitated the former, and seldom reached 



Ibid, Vol. I, p. 461. 
Ibid, Vol. I, p. 523. 



RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

them and never superseded them." 1 It would thus appear 
that the Suraerians gave their indelible stamp over the 
ancient civilisation and religion of the Babylonians and the 
Assyrians, to which again modern European civilisation is 
immensely indebted. As Mr. G. Smith says : " The history 
of Babylonia has an interest of a wider kind than that 
of Egypt, from its more intimate connection with the 
general history of the human race, and from the remarkable 
influence which its religion, its science and civilisation have 
had on all subsequent human progress. Its religious 
traditions carried away by the Israelites who came out of 
Ur of the Chaldees (Genesis XI. 31) have, through that 
wonderful people, become the heritage of mankind, while its 
science and civilisation, through the mediums of the Greeks 
and the Romans, have become the base of modern research 
and advancement." 

It is for this reason that I have said that from an histori- 
cal point of view, it would be highly interesting to discover 
the identity of the race to which the Sumerians or the Chal- 
dees belonged. As we have already pointed out, the inclina- 
tion of belief among European savants is that it was an Indo- 
European race, and most probably of the Turanian family. 
But it would probably be more correct to say that the 
Sumerians belonged to a race which was a mixture of peoples 
belonging to the Indo-Aryan and the Turanian (Dravidian) 
families. It is admitted generally that the Dravidian civilisa- 
tion was influenced and developed by Aryan colonists from 
Sapta-Sindhu ; and we have seen that it was the Panis who 
were probably the first to settle on the Malabar and the 
Coromondal coasts of Southern India and introduce Aryan 
civilisation and culture among the aboriginal populations, 
particularly among the Cholas and the Pagdyas, and that the 
Panis afterwards left these coasts in search of a new colony 
on the coasts of the Persian Gulf, followed by the Cholas who 

' /rf f Vbl.I,p.S3S. 



X!n.] SUMERIANS AND DRAVIDIANS. 

settled there and founded a flourishing colony. The 
Sumeriatis, therefore, must have been the product of the 
intermixture of the Aryan and Dravidian races. It may be 
argued that all this is mere supposition on which no historical 
hypothesis or fabric can be based or constructed. It is a 
supposition, no doubt ; but it is a supposition which becomes 
a probability when we take into our consideration the 
following incontestable facts via, (i) that the resemblances 
between the severed heads of the statues discovered at Telloh 
or Tell-loh in Chaldea and the facial type of the Dravidians 
of Southern India are remarkable ; (ii) that the language of 
the Sumerians was agglutinative like the Dravidian lan- 
guages ; (Hi) that the Sumerians, i.e., the Chaldees were agri- 
culturists and builders of canals like the ancient Cholas ; (iv) 
that they were mariners and traders like the latter who, in 
their turn, must have learnt the art of navigation and the 
principles of commerce from the Panis, and emulated them in 
everything, even in their spirit of adventure ; (v) that of all 
countries in Western and Southern A^ia, a commercial inter- 
course was admittedly kept up between the coasts of Southern 
India and those of the Persian Gulf in ancient times ; and (vi) 
that there having been no other civilised country anywhere in 
the southern portion of Asia or East Africa, no highly civilised 
people excepting the Indians would found a colony on the 
shores of the Persian Gulf. We shall see later on how close 
and intimate was the intercourse between India and Meso- 
potamia in the ancient days, and how not only the material 
civilisation but also the religion of the Babylonians and the 
Assyrians bear unmistakable evidences of the influence of 
Vedic and Dravidian civilisation and religion. If all these 
facts, circumstances, and probabilities be taken into con- 
sideration, the conclusion would be irresistible that the 
Sumerians who were the founders of the Babylonian and the 
Assyrian civilisations were the products of a mixed race of 
Aryans and Dravidians. 

In this connection it will not be out of place to mention 



RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

here what Mr. H, R. Hall says about the Sumeriatis in his 
Ancient History of the Near East (Chap. V, pp. 172-174) : 

" The Sumerian culture springs into our view ready- 
made, as it were, which is what we should expect if it was, 
as seems on other grounds probable, brought into Mesopotamia 
from abroad. We have no knowledge of the time when the 
Sumerians were savages : when we first meet with them in 
the fourth millennium B. C., they are already a civiKsed, 
metal-using people living in great and populous cities, 
possessing a complicated system of writing, and living under 
the government of firmly established civil and religious 
dynasties and hierarchies. They had imposed their higher 
culture on the more primitive inhabitants of the river valley 
in which they had settled, and had assimilated the civilisation 
of the conquered, whatever it may have been, to their own. 
The earliest scenes of their own culture-development had 
perhaps not been played upon the Babylonian stage at all, 
but in a different country, away across the Persian mountains 
to the eastward. The land of Elam, the later Susiana, where 
till the end a non-Semitic nationality of Sumerian culture 
maintained itself in usual independence of the dominant 
Mesopotamian power, was no doubt a stage in their progress. 
There they left the abiding impress of their civilisation, 
although the Elamites developed their art on a distinct line 
of their own. Whether the Elamites, whom they probably 
civilised, were racially related to them we do not know ; the 
languages of both Elamite and Sumerian were agglutinative, 

but otherwise are not alike The ethnic type of the 

Sumerians, so strongly marked in their statues and reliefs, 
was as different from those of the races which surrounded 
them, as was their language from those of the Semites, 
Aryans, or others ; they uere decidedly Indian in type. The 
face-type of the average Indian of to-day is no doubt much 
the same as that of his Dravidian race-ancestors thousands 
of ye^rs ago. Among the modern Indians, as amongst the 
modern Greeks or Italians, the ancient pre-Aryan type of the 



XIL] SUMERIANS AND DRAVIDIANS. 217 

land has (as the primitive type of the land always does) 
survived, while that of the Aryan conqueror died out long 
ago. And it is to this Dravidian ethnic type of India that the 
ancient Sumerian bears most resemblance, so far as we can 
judge from his monuments. He was very like a Southern 
Hindu of the Dekkan (who still speaks Dravidian languages). 
And it is by no means improbable that the Sumerian s were 
an Indian rape which passed, certainly by land, perhaps also 
by sea, through Persia to the valley of the Two Rivers. It 
was in the Indian home (perhaps the Indus valley) that we 
suppose for them that their culture developed. There their 
writing may have been invented, and progressed from a 
purely pictorial to a simplified and abbreviated form, which 
afterwards in Babylonia took on its peculiar cuneiform 
appearance owing to its being written with a square-ended 
stilus on soft clay. On the way they left the seeds of their 
culture in Elam. This seems a plausible theory of Sumerian 
origin, and it must be clearly understood that it is offered 
by the present writer merely as a theory, which has little 
direct evidence to back it, but seems most in accordance with 
the probabilities of the case. There is little doubt that India 
must have been one of the earliest centres of human civilisa- 
tion, and it seems natural to suppose that the strange un- 
Semitic, un-Aryan people who came from the East to civilise 
the West were of Indian origin, especially when we see with 
our eyes how very Indian the Sumerians were in type." 

Mr. Hall adds in a foot-note that " this civilisation was 
not Aryan. The culture of India is pre-Aryan in origin ; as in 
Greece, the conquered civilised the conquerous. The Aryan 
Indian owed his civilisation and his degeneration to the 
Dravidians, as the Aryan Greek did to the Mycenaeans." 
This, to our mind, is reading history on an altogether wrong 
line. If Mr. Hall had cared to study Rgvedic civilisation 
as diligently as he has studied Babylonian civilisation, he 
would assuredly have come to a quite different conclusion. 
As our readers have seen, it was Aryan civilisation that put 

38 



2i8 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

its indelible stamp on Dravidian culture, and uplifted the 
Dravidian races, notably the Cholas and the P&^dyas, who 
took their reformed civilisation to Babylonia and Egypt 
respectively, as we shall see later on. 

11 Thirty years ago," writes Ragozin, " no one would 
have thought of connecting India (pre- Aryan India) with 
archaic Babylonia, and if a solitary fact pointing that way was 
once in a while picked out by an exceptionally inquisitive 
and observant mind, it was suffered to remain unexplained 
as a sort of natural curiosity, for the inferences it suggested 
was too startling to be more than hinted at. Eminently such 
a mind was the late Francois Lenormant, and he laid 
great stress on the use of the word mand as early as 
the Rgveda to denote a definite quantity of gold a 
word which can be traced to ancient Chaldea or Semitic 
Babylonia with the same meaning, and which afterwards 
passed into the Greek monetary system (mand, still 
later latinised into mi no]. Well, this little fact simply 
points to a well-established commercial intercourse between 
Dravidian India (for the Kolarians never came as far west as 
the land by the Indian ocean) and Babylonia and Chaldea." 1 
Ragozin's ideas appear to be a little confused in the 
above extracts that we have made from the excellent work, 
Vedic India. The writer is clearly convinced that there was 
commercial intercourse between Dravidian India and Babylo- 
nia or Chaldea in the ancient days. But by using the phrase 
" pre-Aryan India " the author seems to think that the word 
mand used by the Dravidians and the Babylonians, and 
borrowed by the Greeks, was either of Dravidian or Baby- 
lonian origin, and that it was borrowed by the Vedic Aryans 
from the Dravidians, and used in the Rgveda after they had 
settled down in Sapta-Sindhu. This line of thinking perfect- 
ly accords with the hypothesis in vogue that the Aryans were 
immigrants into the Punjab from either Central Asia or some 

Ragozin' Vedic India, pp. 304-305. 



XII.] ETYMOLOGY OF MAN A. jig 

remote region at a comparatively recent time, or at any rate, 
at an age later than the flourishing of the Babylonian empire. 
But if Ragozin had more carefully studied the Rgveda, and 
more closely examined the etymology of the word, she would 
have assuredly come to the conclusion that the Vedic Aryans 
were autochthonous in Sapta-Sindhu, and the word is of 
purely Sanskrit origin, being derived either from the root ma, 
to measure, or man, to prize or value. The verse where the 
word occurs has been translated as follows : " Oh, bring us 
jewels, cattle, horses and mands of gold." (Rv. viii. 78, 2.) 
Mand is here undoubtedly a definite measure of gold, which 
had a fixed and recognised weight and value! and used 
probably as coin, and therefore prised and coveted by all, 
even by Rsis. To suggest therefore that it was a word 
borrowed by the Vedic Aryans from the Dravidians is simply 
preposterous. The only plausible suggestion should have 
been all the other way, via., that it was borrowed by the 
Dravidians probably from the Aryan merchants, the Pa^is, 
and taken by them or the latter to Chaldea, whence it passed 
on to the Greeks. 

Ragozin further goes on : " In the ruins of Mugheir, 
ancient Ur of the Chaldees, built by Ur-Ea (or Ur-Bagash) 1 
the first king of United Babylonia, who ruled not less than 
3,000 B.C., was found a piece of Indian teak.- The evidence 
is exceptionally conclusive because, as it happens, this 
particular tree is to be located with more than ordinary 
accuracy : it grows in Southern India (Dekhan) where it 
advances close to the Malabar coast, and nowhere else ; 
there is none north of the Vindhya." 3 This clearly proves 

1 Among certain Ruling Families of Southern India, especially the Mysore 
(or Mahisur) Family, we find the title of Ur given to the names of Princes. 
Has it got anything to do with the ancient name of Ur used in Babylonia, 
and can it be that Mugheir was a corrupted form of Mahisur P Here is some 
food for philologists. 

Sayce, Hibbert Lectures for 1887, pp. 18, 136, 137, 

9 Ragozin, Vedic India, pp. 305-306. 



220 fiiGVEDiC INDIA. [CHAP. 

that there was commercial intercourse by sea between Chaldea 
and Southern India, and that this particular timber used to 
be transported in ships from the Malabar coast either by the 
Parjis or the Cholas for building purposes the building of 
ships as well as of houses. This fact also lends a strong 
colour to the view that the Chaldt-ans were really the Cholas 
of the Dravidian family. 

From the Babylonian name of muslin, which was sindhu, 
Ragozin rightly concludes that the article used to be manu- 
factured by the Aryans of Sapta-Sindhu " at an amazingly 
early period " " a fact which implies cultivation of the 
cotton plant or tree, probably in Vedic times." 1 She thinks, 
however, that this stuff of Aryan product used to be exported 
by the enterprising Dravidian traders only, and not by the 
Aryan merchants, as the Aryans had no export trade, " not 
being acquainted with the sea, or the construction of sea-going 
ships/ 1 ' 2 I have quoted this last amusing passage in order to 
show how superficial has been the study of the Rgveda with 
some Western scholars, and how errors, once ushered into 
existence, die hard. After a careful study of the Rgveda, 
Professor Wilson observed: " They (the Rgvedic Aryans') 
were a maritime and mercantile people. ...Not only are the 
Suktas familiar with the ocean and its phenomena, but we 
have merchants described as pressing earnestly on board ship 
for the sake of gain ; and we have a naval expedition against 
a foreign island or continent (dvlpa) frustrated by a ship- 
wreck." 3 Our readers also have already clearly seen (vide 
Chapter III) that the Rgvedic Aryans were fully acquainted 
with the sea, having four seas round about their country, that 
they had sea-going ships propelled by one hundred oars, and 
furnished with sail or "wing," as the Rgvedic bard has 

* /bid, p. 306. 

Ibid, p. 307. 

* Wilson's Translation of the $g-Veda, Intro . p. XLI second edition, 
1860. 



XII.] THE SEA KNOWN TO ARYANS. 221 

picturesquely described the thing, and that one of their tribes, 
the Paijis, were famous ship-builders and sea-faring merchants, 
possessed of a dash and daring enterprise which is simply 
amazing. The Dravidians, after they were uplifted and 
civilised by the Pan is, might have exported the stuff known 
as sindhu in post-Rgvedic times to Babylonia, but this does 
not in any way prove that the Aryans were not acquainted 
with the sea, or did not themselves export the products of 
their manufacture to foreign countries. 1 "Professor Max 

1 European scholars have invented the theory that the ancient Aryans 
lived in some place with a homogeneous civilisation, culture and language, 
whom they have called Proto-Aryans, and that they gradually dispersed from 
that one central hive over Europe and Asia. The very fact that there is no 
common word for the sea among the various branches of the Aryan family has 
led them to infer that the primeval home of the Proto-Aryans was an " inlmnd 
home/' The Vedic word for the sea is Samudra, the Latin and the Greek 
name is Pontos, Pontus (a high-road, Sank. Panthd) ; the Slavs call it M6ri* 
(Lat. Mar, Italian and Spanish Mare, French Her, German Meer, English Men, 
meaning a lake, Celtic Uuir) which is derived from a Sanskrit root mri 
meaning " destruction." This difference, says Ragozin, is well accounted for 
" when we consider that the only seas the Slavs and Teutons were acquainted 
with were the Black Sei, the Baltic, and the German Ocean, all rough and 
treacherous, all renowned for their fierce tempests, which must have been 
destructive indeed to small and imperfect craft, while the fortunate dweller 
on the genial Mediterranean shores well could look at the sea, not as a 
barrier, but as a high road, more useful for trade or travel than any other 
road." (Vedic India, pp. 72-73.) But our theory is that the early Aryans of 
Sapta-Sindhu were in different stages of civilisation in Rgvedic times, and 
the savage and nomadic Aryan tribes lived in the forests and mountains from 
which they were gradually driven out, and moved westward through western 
Asia, and the isthmus of Bosphorus into Europe. Those of them who became 
acquainted with the sea in Europe, gave separate names to it, according to their 
different experiences ; but this does not in any way prove that the Vedic Aryans 
were not acquainted with the sea The very meanings of the word Samudra, 
either "a collection of waters " or 'waters that swell and flood the land by 
tidal waves " would be most natural to apply to the sea. Hence I am of 
opinion that the Vedic Aryans were fully acquainted with the sea from the 
very earliest times, but the savage and nomadic Aryan tribes who lived in 
the hills and forests on the northern portions of Sapta-Sindhu, and afterwards 
were dispersed towards the west, were not. Hence they applied different 
names to the sea when they became acquainted with it. 



222 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

Muller," says Ragozin, " has long ago shown that the names 
of certain rare articles which King Solomon's trading ships 
brought him, were not originally Hebrew. 1 These articles 
are sandal-wood (indigenous to the Malabar coast and no- 
where else), ivory, apes and peacocks ; and their native 
names, which could easily be traced through their Hebrew 
corruptions, have all along been set down as Sanskrit, being 
common words of that language. But, now quite lately, an 
eminent Dravidian scholar and specialist brings proofs that 
they are really Dravidian words, introduced into Sanskrit." * 
This observation may be applicable to later Sanskrit, but 
certainly not to Rgvedic Sanskrit in which mayura is the 
distinct name for peacock, and kapi for monkey. There is 
no mention of sandal-wood in the Rgveda, showing clearly 
that the Rgvedic Aryans had no knowledge of the Malabar 
coast to which the tree is indigenous. By the way, the 
Hebrew word for peacock is tukiyim which bears a close 
resemblance to the old Tamil word tokai. But I have not 
come across any Rgvedic word which is derived from 
total. The Sanskrit word mukta may have been derived 
from the Tamil word muttu, but the word occurs nowhere in 
the Rgveda to denote pearl. It would thus appear that the 
Dravidians had no connection whatever with the Vedic Aryans 
in Rgvedic times. However this may be, there can be no 
doubt that the Dravidian names of these animals and articles, 
current in Hebrew, go to prove the early intercourse of the 
Dravidians with the Semites. But it is also a fact which is to 
be remembered in this connection that the vessels of the 
Phoenicians or the Pajjis "visited the coasts of Arabia, 
Ethiopia, and the Malabar coast of India " and " the com- 
modities which they imported were ivory, precious stones, 

1 Science ef Language, First series, pp. 203-204. (1862). 

* Ragozin's Vedic India, p. 307. The eminent Dravidian scholar is Dr. 
Caldwcll. (Vide " Introduction to Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian " 
Language.' 1 ) 



XII.] DRAVIDIANS AND CHALDEANS, 2*3 

ebony and gold, to which may be added apes and peacocks ; 
all satisfactorily proving that they visited the countries just 
mentioned." 1 

The connection between the Dravidians and the first 
Babylonian Empire the Babylonia of the Shumiro-Accads 
before the advent of the Semites * ' becomes less surprising/' 
says Ragozin, " when we realise that there was between them 
something more than chance relations, that they were in fact 
of the same race or stock that which is broadly designated 
as Turanian. Philology points that way, for the Dravidian 
languages are agglutinative ; craniology will not disprove the 
affinity, for a glance at the Gondh types, and the turbanned 
head of Tell-loh (Accadian Sirgulla) will show the likeness 
in features and shape. But even more convincing is the 
common sacred symbol the serpent, the emblem of the 
worship of Earth, with its mystery, its wealth and its forces. 
The Accadian Serpent-God Ea was worshipped at his holiest 
shrine at Eridhu under the form of a serpent, and as Eridhu 
was the centre from which the first Chaldean civilisation 
started and spread, so the serpent-symbol was accepted as 
that of the race and its religion. The Turanian Proto-Medes 
also, before they were conquered by the Aryan followers of 
Zarathustra, worshipped the snake-symbol of Earth, which 
afterwards was identified by the Eranian Mazdayasnians, 
with Angra Mainyush, the Evil one, the spirit of Lie and 
Death. This Proto- Median serpent, like his Dravidian 
brother, had the honour of being admitted into the Aryan 
Mythic Epos." (Vedic India^ pp. 309-310.) 

The correctness of this last conclusion drawn by Ragozin 
is doubted. In the Rgveda, we find a whole Sakta (Rv. x. 
189) composed by a lady-R$i, named Srpa-Rjnl (the Ser- 
pent-Queen) who is regarded as the deity presiding over the 
Earth. (SAyana.) The verses of this Sakta have been 
addressed to the Sun. The Satapatha Brhmana explaining 

* Hist. Hist, of tht World, Vol. II, p. 333. 



224 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP, 

v 

them says: " The Earth herself is Sarpa-Rljnl " (ii. i. 4, 30). 
The Aitareya Brdhmana also explains the word as " the 
Earth " (v. 4. 4). The ancient Babylonian worship of the 
Earth in the emblem of a serpent is, therefore, not indigenous 
to the land or Southern India, nor peculiar to the Dravidians. 
We have already mentioned an Aryan tribe who, on 
account of their nomadic habits and a probable leaning 
towards the worship of Vjrtra who was called A hi or the 
serpent and sometimes Deva, were hated by the Vedic 
Aryans who worshipped Indra the chastiser and destroyer 
of Vjrtra, and ultimately driven out of Sapta-Sindhu. We 
have also mentioned the name of a R?i of the Sarpas, who 
presided at a sacrifice held by the Vedic Aryans and whose 
mantras have found a place in the Rgveda. ] We have 
further referred to the story related in the Mahdbharata about 
the migrations of the Sarpas to an island, probably to Southern 
India, from Sapta-Sindhu, and that of a R?i who married the 
sister of the Sarpa-king, VAsuki. The Panis also may have 
been the votaries of Vjtra who is identified in the Satapatha 
Brihmana (i. 5. 3. 18) with the Moon, the God of Night 
(Darkness), and was the arch-enemy of Indra, and they 
probably worshipped him in the symbol of Serpent (Ahi). 2 
In Rv. ii. 31, 6, we find mention made of a god, named Ahi- 
Budhna ; and this name has been explained by Sdyana to 
be that of " the God Ahi who lives in antariksa " (mid- 
heaven). This explanation has been admitted by Roth in 
his lexicon as correct. Probably this god was none other 



1 $g. x.94, 1-14. 

The new crescent moon appears on the horizon like a sickle, which 
looks like a serpent. Vftra was therefore Ahi. The Vftra worship seems to 
refer to the worship of the Moon, as opposed to the worship of the Sun. The 
$gvedic Aryans worshipped the Srn only and not the Moon whom they 
looked upon as Vftra or the Demon of darkness. He was probably called a 
D* oa account of the brightness of the Moon. The Paqis were identified 
with Vftra bteause they were Moon- worshipers. Vftra wss also sometime* ' 
Identified with the zig-zag lighgtning, which had the shape of a serpent. 



.XII*] AH I AND EA. 325 

than the Moon. But as Ahi was, in common Vedic -parlance, 
identical with the arch-enemy of Indra, his worshippers were 
necessarily put down by the Vedic Aryans as the worshippers 
of Vrtra, or the power of evil. In these circumstances, I 
am disposed to think that the worship of Ahi or the Serpent 
as the symbol of the Earth, or the Moon, must have pro- 
ceeded from Sapta-Sindhu, and been carried to Southern 
India by the Panis, and those Aryan tribes who were called 
Sarpas not only on account of their nomadic habits, but 
also because they worshipped their deity in the symbol of a 
serpent. The very name, Ahi, is traceable in the Sumerian 
or Chaldean Ea ; and the name of the town of Eridhu, in 
which the holiest shrine of Ea stood, may, for aught we know, 
have been a corruption of the word Vrtra, which is so 
difficult to pronounce correctly. It oan be safely surmised, 
therefore, that the worship of Ahi or the serpent continued 
among the non- Vedic Aryans uninterruptedly ; and was 
certainly not borrowed either from the Turanians or any 
other race. 

Be that as it may, there can be no question now as to 
who the Sumerians or the Chaldeans were, and whence they 
immigrated to Chaldea. They were, as I have already said, 
a mixed race, sprung from the Panis and the Dravidians 
(Cholas), and were immigrants from the Coromondal and the 
Malabar coasts. The Cholas had been "aryanised" before 
they left their original home, and took with them their 
Aryan culture and civilisation, as adopted and modified by 
them, to their new colony. 

We have, in a previous chapter (Chapter HI), discussed 
the Flood-legends as were current among the ancient Aryans, 
the Chaldeans or Babylonians, the Israelites, the Egyptians 
and the Greeks, and pointed out the material difference 
noticeable in the various legends. We have also pointed 
out that these floods did not occur at one and the same time 
in the different countries, and that the Flood, with which 
Manu's name is connected, had occurred, long before the, 

29 



ttf RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

Flood id Babylonia and Noah's Flood occurred, if these really 
xxmred at all. The Indian Flood-legend, referred to in the 
tahafva-Veda, is related first in the Satapatha Brihma^a 
which says that it was caused not by heavy and continuous 
downpours of rain "for three days 11 as mentioned by 
Berossus in the Babylonian account, or for u forty days and 
forty nights " as mentioned in the Bible, but by the waters 
of the ocean rising in a tremendous flood and covering the 
land, probably in consequence of some seismic disturbance 
of great intensity. Manu, who had been previously warned 
by the Divine Fish and constructed a ship, got into it when 
the Flood came, and the Divine Fish dragged his ship to a 
peak of the " Northern Mountain " (the Him&laya), and 
advised his protege* to disembark as soon as the Flood should 
subside. I have already more than once ventured a guess 
that the Flood was caused in Sapta-Sindhu by the sudden 
upheaval of the bed of the Rajputana Sea, which displaced 
and scattered around the vast volumes of its waters. After 
the subsidence of the Flood, and the drying up of the sea- 
bed, there was a rapid immigration of many surviving Aryan 
tribes of Sapta-Sindhu into the Deccan, headed by a de- 
scendant of Agastya, to whom is ascribed the wonderful 
feat of having first sipped up the ocean dry and then crossed 
the Vindhya, and by the descendants of Vi^vdmitra, the 
Panis, and others. These peoples must have carried with 
them the story of the wonderful and devastating Flood 
(Augha) in Sapta-Sindhu, and it went down among their 
descendants and the Dravidian peoples (who must have heard 
it from the Aryan settlers), from generation to generation, 
with such exaggerations and embellishments as the story- 
tellers were capable of inventing. In course of ages, people 
forgot all about the place of origin of the Flood, or the 
previous existence of the Rajputana Sea; and the sea 
from which Manu's ship started towards " the Northern 
mountain " naturally came to be identified with the 
Indian Ocean, and the place where Manu had lived and 



XII.] THE STORY OF MANU'S FLOOD. 

performed his penances, located on the banks of " the river 
Kritamil&" in Malabar, as related in the Bhdgavata 
Purdna, or " in a certain region of Malaya " (Malabar) 
as related in the Matsya Purdna. As these Puri^as are 
admittedly of more recent date than the Satapatha Br4hma$a, 
we can easily understand how the story of the Flood travelled 
from Sapta-Sindhu to the coast of Malabar with the emigra- 
tion of the Aryan colonists, who embellished it with fuller 
details to give it an air of probability than those found in 
the story related in the Satapatha Br&hmana. Hence it 
would be more reasonable to suppose that the story travelled 
with the Cholas and the Panis from Southern India to the 
coast of the Persian Gulf in the form in which we find it in 
the Puranas and the Babylonian and Biblical accounts than 
that it came from the latter place to India, as is supposed 
by some European scholars. The belief that Manu was 
saved by the Divine Fish which was identified by some with 
Prajapati, the Creator, and by others with Vi?$u, at once 
raised the Fish-God to the highest place in the Hindu 
Pantheon, for which a cult was established. Very likely, 
the cult was propounded and developed by the aryanised 
Dravidians who became the chief votaries of the God, and 
also claimed Manu as a Dravidian king under the name of 
Satyavrata. l This word (Satyavrata) was probably corrupt- 
ed into Hasisadra by the Chaldeans, and Xisuthrus or 
Sisithrus by the Greeks, the name of the king who was 
the hero of the Chaldean or Babylonian Flood. Hasisadra, 
however, is not given any mission or task, like Manu or 
Noah, " but is simply translated with his mpfe into immortal 
life.' 1 (Ragozin.) Be that as it may, as the Divine Fish was 
regarded as an incarnation of Vig$u or the Sun, who saved 
Manu the son of Vivas vat or the Solar Deity and as the 
Sun was also identified with Indra, the vanquisher of Vrtra, 
Ahi, or the Moon, the Fish-God or Vi^u also was given the 

'- Vide Bhdgt&ata Purdna 



RGVEDIC INDIA. 

title of Ahi-kan, like Indra who had the title of Vitra-han ; 
and the Dravidian worshippers of Visnu or the Fish-God 
probably worshipped him under the name of Ahi-han, to 
distinguish him from Indra who was called Vrtra-han, though 
he also appears under the name of Ahi-ban in the Rgveda 
( *9i 3)- l Though Indra and Vignu were originally one 
deity, we notice an effort made in the Rgveda itself to sepa- 
rate them, Vifnu being regarded as an helper of Indra in his 
fight with Vjtra. In ancient Dravidian India, we find the 
two deities still more separated with different titles which, 
however, have the same significance, and the worship of 
Vi0U established in the place of Indra -worship. Later on, 
in the age of the Puranas, the Indra-cult appears to 
have been over-thrown by the Vignu-cult, as Kf^a, the 
jncarnation of Vinu, has been described to have waged a 
war against Indra and defeated him. Ahi-han thus replaced 
Vjrtra-han, and represented the Supreme Deity who was 
worshipped by the followers of Vi$nu However this may 
be, the Chola tribe oi the Dravidians must have taken with 
them to Chaldea the image of their Supreme Deity, the 
Fish-God, the incarnation of Visnu whom they called Abi- 
han, which was corrupted into Ea-han, and still more into 
Cannes, - to which the epithet Musaras or Matsya (Fish) 
was added. As the Cholas attributed their culture to the 
direct influence of Ahi-han, the civilisation spread by them 
in Chaldea among the aboriginal population was also attri- 
buted to him. Possibly the word Ahi-han, savouiing as it 
* did of Indra, came to be abbreviated into simple Ahi or 
Ea through the influence of the Panis who were the worship- 
pers of the Earth and the Moon under the name of Ahi or 
Ahi-Budhna, and Ea or Ahi, under the forms of the Fish-god 
or the Serpent, became the principal God of the Chaldeans, 

1 The legend of KfSUa (a later incarnation of Visg.u) vanquishing the 
serpent Kiliya in a lake near Brindavana, can be traced to this mythology 
which has its roots in the Rgveda. 
Ragozin'b, Vedic India, p. 346. 



XHJ THE FLOOD-LEGENDS 229 

All these probabilities being taken into consideration, my 
surmise is that the story of Manu's Flood travelled with sub- 
sequent embellishments from Sapta-Sindhu to Southern India, 
and thence to Chaldea. This story, with other legends and 
religious traditions, must have been " carried away by the 
Israelites who came out from Ur of the Chaldees " (vide 
Genesis xi. 31), and Noah was substituted by them for Manu, 
and the Fish-god was merged into the God of the Israelites. 
The Floods, however, in Chaldea and Israel were caused not 
by the rising of a stupendous tidal wave from the ocean in 
consequence of some volcanic action, but a deluge of rain, 
as probably the story-tellers could not conceive the idea of a 
country being flooded excepting by a heavy and continuous 
downpour of rain. A deluge of rain, continued for three days, 
as told by Berossus, was probably considered insufficient for 
flooding a country by the Israelites, who therefore improved 
the story by saying that heavy showers of rain fell for forty 
days and nights. The element of the Fish in the story, 
however, was eliminated both by the Babylonians (who were a 
mixed people, sprung from the intermingling of the Chaldeans 
and the Semites) and the Israelites who were a purely Semitic 
people, characterised by a strong commonsense and practical 
spirit, and the fish was replaced by God, their Supreme Deity, 
who warned both Hasisadra and Noah of the coming Flood. 
The introduction of the Fish in the Vedic legend is essentially 
original, and thoroughly disproves the theory of the legend 
having been borrowed or brought to India, through the Dravi- 
dians. The Vedic legend lacks some of the details of the 
Babylonian and Biblical accounts of the Flood, and is devoid 
of literary embellishment, thus pointing to the crude original 
ore from which the article was picked up and subsequently 
embellished and finished. 

It may be asked : " How can the Vedic legend of Manu's 
Flood be rationally explained ? " I will attempt a brief explana- 
tion here. Manu was washing himself one morning, when he 
found a little fish poured with the water into the hollow of his 



*3 SLGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

palms. Being an ascetic of kindly dispqsition, be took pity on 
the tiny creature , and fearing that it might be eaten up by a 
larger fish, if thrown back into the pond, kept it in a water-jar. 
When the tiny fish grew too large for the jar, he threw it into 
the pond, and when it grew sufficiently large in the pond, and 
was thought by Manu to be able to take care of itself, he threw 
it into the river, and from (he river, it swam down into the sea, 
which appears to have been close to Manu's hermitage. Manu, 
living on the sea-shore, probably noticed great agitations 
both in land and water, due to seismic causes, and, being a 
wise man, caused a ship to be built for his safety and 
protection. The seismic action of the earth having grown 
stronger and stronger every day, he betook himself to the 
ship for his safety ; and when the great tidal wave came, 
flooding the whole country, his ship floated up with the tide till 
she reached a peak of the Himalaya. Manu noticed a huge 
fish, probably a whale, swimming inland with the incoming 
tidal wave just in front of his ship ; and he thought of the 
little fish that he had saved, and cast into the sea, when it had 
grown large. Manu probably also thought that his miraculous 
escape from that devastating flood was undoubtedly due to the 
mercy of God, because he had himself been merciful to a tiny 
creature of His ; and he naturally attributed to that tiny fish 
the cause of his safety and dr liverance. The fish, therefore, 
loomed large before him like a luminous embodiment of 
Divine Mercy, and, in the fulness of his gratitude, identified 
it with the Divine Being Himself. This simple incident was 
the focus of the Vedic legend of the Flood as related in the 
Satapatha Br&hmana. Our readers will thus see that there 
is nothing absurd in the legend, but it is as simple and 
beautiful as any legend can be. 

The religion of the ancient Chaldeans or Babylonians 
appears to have been moulded by those who had come under 
the influence of the Vedic religion. The cosmogony, theogony, 
arts, industries and astronomical science of the ancient 
Chaldeans bear in them the unmistakable stamp of Vedic 



XII.] CHALDEAN GODS. 131 

India. Not only are the names of some of the Chaldean Go* 
traceable to those of the Gods of the Vedic Pantheon, of 
which we have already given a few instances, but their very 
religious thoughts bear the impress of the Vedic religion. 
The names of the Gods worshipped by the Babylonians and 
the Assyrians were common, though some particular God 
was assigned the supreme place by the one people or the 
other. At Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, the god who 
seems to have been the highest in the celestial hierarchy is Ilu 
or Ana ; but his character is no further defined, and his symbol 
is often only the abstract representation of the divinity. 
Though the divinity is one, he is at the same time divisible. 
" Dogma proclaims this divinity in certain passages, but when 
we wish to learn its exact individuality, it eludes us, so that we 
may seize only the abstraction. We are led to believe in a 
celestial hierarchy of beings inhabiting a superior world, and 
subordinated to an all-powerful God who governs gods, worlds 
and men. He is enthroned in spaces inaccessible to us in 
our condition, and appears only in legends ; his power inter, 
venes only when the order of the Universe is threatened." J 
This Ilu or Ana corresponds to the abstract (attributeless) 
Brahman of the Hindus, who incarnates himself only when the 
mordl order of the Universe is in danger of being upset. 
We have seen that Indra also was raised to the position of 
an all-powerful and incomprehensible deity in the Rgveda, 
and Ilu must be a corruption of the word Indra, or HApati 
Parjanya (another name of Indra, vide Rv. v. 42, 14), or of 
the Sanskrit word Alii, meaning the supreme deity, as Ana 
was a corruption of Ahi-han. He was also called Asshur by 
the Assyrians, a word which they must have borrowed directly 
from the Vedic Aryans, and not from their neighbours, the 
Iranians, who pronounced the word as Ahura. The next 
God was Bel or Baal who, as we have already seen, was 
worshipped by the Pa^is or Phoenicians, and is identified 
with the $gvedic Vala or the Sun. The third God was 
Hint Hist of the World, Vol. I, p. 516. 



*GVEDIC INDIA, [CHA*>. 



i or Agni (Fire), whose another Babylonian name 
Daganu (Sansk. Dahana, fire). " These three divinities 
appear as the reflection of the gods of the superior world, 
whioh we have already mentioned, but to which we have been 
unable to ascribe names. 11 1 We have seen also in the Rg- 
veda that the visible bodies of the great Indra was the Sun in 
the sky, the Lightning in mid-heaven, and Fire on earth. Sin 
(Sansk. Candra) was the god of the Moon ; Samash was 
another name of the Sun, and Bin (Sansk. Vayu, or Rgvedic 
Vena) was " the god of the higher regions of the atmosphere, 
arbitrator of the heavens and earth, the god who presides 
over the tempests." In Sakta 123 of the Tenth Mandala of 
the Rgveda we find the god Vena to be a bright and res- 
plendent deity, sending down rain, and residing high above 
the sky in " the third heaven." The name of the Babylonian 
storm-god was Matu or Martu, which corresponds to the 
Vedic name of the same god, Afarut. This Babylonian name 
was probably afterwards borrowed by the Romans who called 
their god of war Mars (Martes). The Indian Sun-god Dinega 
(the lord of day) was identical with the Assyrian Sun-god 
Dianisu ; and the Greek nanfe Dionysus^ applied to the same 
god, was probably borrowed from the Assyrians. Sayce has 
discovered in an Assyrian inscription the name Mitra applied 
to the Sun-god, who corresponds to the Vedic deity of the same 
name. The Babylonian deity Zarpanit (Sansk. Sdrpardjnl) was 
the goddess " who particularly represented the fertile principle 
of the Universe." Ishtar (Astarte) is the name of a goddess 
whose consort was Tammuz, (Sansk. Tamaja> lit. born of 
darkness, z.*., the Sun, who springs out of darkness) ; and 
Ishtar resembles the Vedic Us as who was the wife of the Sun. 
But there is one curious feature of the Assyrian and Babylonian 
gods, which deserves mention here ; they assume a human form 
" often joined with that of various animals fish, oxen or birds." 
This, at first sight, would appear to be a purely Assyrian or 
Babylonian invention ; but on careful research, we can trace 

VoL I, P . 517- 



' REPRESENTATIONS OF GODS. 233 

them to Indian mythology, nay to Rgvedic descriptions of 
certain gods who have' been compared with various animals. 
For instance, the god Rudra has been compared with the boar 
to denote his fierceness (Rv. i. 1 14, 5), the god Vena or Marut 
with the vulture to denote his speed (Rv. i. 88, 47 and x. 123, 
6 & 8), the Sun with the horse (Rv. x. 136, 5), or the golden- 
winged eagle (Rv. i. 164, 46), to denote his speed, or flight in 
the high heavens, and Indra with vrsa or the bull to denote 
his strength and majesty (Rv. i. 32, 3). These comparisons 
must have caused the gods themselves to be identified with 
the respective animals in later mythology, specially when it 
reached Southern India. Thus the fish in the story of Manu's 
Flood became there the very incarnation of Visnu, and was 
represented as Fish-god ; the boar became the incarnation of 
Vi?nu under the name of Varaha ; the lion with his flowing 
tawny manes, being compared with the Sun with his refulgent 
rays, became another incarnation of Vi 91111 under the name of 
Nfisimha (man-lion) ; and the bull, with his virile powers of 
generation, came to be identified with Indra who poured 
showers of rain to fertilize the earth. The Greek legend of 
Zeus (Jupiter or love) assuming the form of a bull may also 
be thus traced to this mythology. Many stone statues have 
been discovered in the ruins of Nineveh and Babylon re- 
presenting one god as half-man and half-beast, another as 
half-man and half-bird, and yet another as half-man and half- 
fish. More such statutes may be discovered in the course of 
further excavations. In a majority of cases, the head only 
is human, and the rest of the body resembles that of an 
animal either a lion or a bull, furnished with wings to symbo- 
lize the celestial character of the deity. In the case of the 
representation of the God Eagle-Man only, do we find the 
head to be that of the bird, and the rest of the body human, 
but furnished with wings. This deity undoubtedly represents 
the Garuda or the yena of the Rgveda, who in later 
mythology vied with the Sun or Vi?n,u for supremacy, and 
was regarded as Vijnu himself. 1 Very likely, Garuda 

1 MahtbMrata, Book I, Chapter 33. 
3 



234 RGVEDIC INDIA, 

represented the nomadic Aryan tribes who used to bring the 
Soma plant for the Vedic Aryans from the Himalaya, and 
afterwards migrated to Southern India, and flourished in the 
age of the Rmyana under kings Jatayus and Sampti. The 
Cholas must have carried these mythologies with them to their 
new home in Chaldea, and given a tangible shape to them in 
the statues which have been discovered in the ruins of 
Nineveh and Babylon. 

The Assyrian and Babylonian Cosmogonies also resemble 
the Vedic Cosmogony in some of its principal features. Mr. 
L. W. King has discovered certain tablets whose translation 
he has published in his Seven Tablets of Creation. The 
authorities of the British Museum have given a gist of the 
records, from which the following is condensed : 

The First Tablet of the series describes the time when 
the heavens were not, when there were no planets, and before 
the gods had come into being, and when the water-deep was 
the source and origin of all things. The male and female 
deities of the primeval watery mass were called Apsu and 
Tiamat ; their children were called Lakhmu and Lakhfimu, 
and their grand-children Anshar and Kishar, and their great* 
grand-children were Amu, Bel, Ea and other great Gods. The 
other Tablets describe how Tiamat afterwards became jealous 
of the gods, and created a brood of monsters, so that they 
might wage war against the gods. The plot having become 
known to the gods, they assembled to take counsel among 
themselves, and made Marduk their leader. Marduk fought 
with Tiamat, and defeating her, cut her up into two halves, 
one of which formed the firmament and the other the earth. 
Then the stars were created, the year with twelve months 
established, and the Moon appointed " to determine the days." 
Then men was created by Marduk from his flesh and bones. 1 

Hist Hist of the Walrd, Vol. I, pp. 520-521. This Marduk is wrongly 
identified by some scholars with the Maruts of the $gveda. The name 
pf the Babylonian. Storm-Go4 was Matu or Mart* which, as we have seen 



XII.] COSMOGONICAL ACCOUNTS. 235 

The Babylonian religion was largely influenced by the 
Sumerian, which was an astral religion. The legend of 
the Babylonian creation was practically the same as the 
Assyrian : " In the begining was Chaos, consisting of watery 
mass. Only two beings existed Apsu, the Deep, and 
Tiamat, the Universal mother. These two represent the 
two formulative elements, from whose unions the gods were 
created." * Then followed the creation of the brood of 
monsters produced by Tiamat with the object of annihilating 
the gods, as in the Assyrian legend, and her ultimate defeat 
and destruction. 

Now compare these cosmogonical accounts with the 
account of the Vedic Cosmogony (Rig. x. 129): 

" i. Nor aught nor naught existed then ; not the aerial 
space, nor heaven's bright woof above, What covered all ? 
Where rested all ? Was it water, the profound abyss ? 

was the same as the Vedic Marut, and must have been taken by the Panis 
and Cholas to Babylonia. Marduk was probably the same God as Afdrdika, 
mentioned in Rg iv. 18, 12, who was opposed to Indra, and is said to have 
killed Indra's father, Dy&vd or the sky, by probably covering it up with clouds 
or darkness, for which reason he was not only not recognised in the Rgveda 
as a Deva (Rv. iv. 18, 13), but put down as a malevolent deity, like Vrtra, 
probably worshipped by savage Aryan tribes who were opposed to Indra-worship 
The name of M&rdika must have been carried by the Pailis to Southern India, 
whence it travelled to Mesopotamia under the name of Marduk. It is remark- 
able, however, that like Indra in India, he was the leader of the Gods in Baby* 
Ionia, and fought with Tiamat or darkness, the Universal mother, who produced 
a brood of monsters (serpents or Ahis) in opposition to her first-born sons, the 
Gods, with a view to defeat them. As Indra killed Vrtra and Vftra's mother, 
so Marduk also killed Tiamat with all her dark brood of monsters. It would 
thus appear that MArdika in the Rgvedi was the god of those Aryan tribes 
who were opposed to Indra-worship, and was, in fact a rival of Indra like Vrtra, 
Vala, or Ahura Mazda. Though regarded by the Vedic Aryans as an evil 
power, M&rdika resembled Indra in some of the feats performed by him. To 
say that Marduk travelled all the way from Babylonia to Rgvedic India, and 
found mention in a Rgvedic hymn under the name oi Mfirdika is simply pre- 
posterous and is opposed to sound commonsense and the correct reading of 
ancient Indian History. 
Ibid, Vol. I, p. 522, 



336 BLGVED1C INDIA. [CHAP. 

" 2. Death was not then, nor immortality ; there was 
no difference of day and night. That One breathed breathless 
of Itself (*.*., existed, but without exerting or manifesting 
Itself) ; and there was nothing other than It. 

" 3. In the beginning there was darkness in darkness 
enfolded ; all was undistinguishable water. That One, which 
lay in the empty space, wrapped in nothingness, was develop- 
ed by the power of heat. 1 

" 4. Desire first arose in It that was the primeval 
germ of mind, which poets searching with their intellects, 
discovered in their hearts to be the bond between Being and 
Not- Being. 

" 5. A ray of light which stretched across these worlds, 
did it come from below or from above ? Then seeds were 
sown and mighty forces arose, Nature beneath, and Power 
and Will above. 

" 6. Who indeed knows ? Who proclaimed it here 
whence, whence this creation was produced ? The Gods were 
later than its production who then knows whence it sprang ? 

" 7. He from whom this creation sprang, whether He 
made it or not, the All-seer in the highest heaven, He knows 
it, 01 He does not." 

The Vedic thinkers conceived primeval chaos, unquickened 
as yet by the first fiat of Creative Will, yet brooded over by 
the Divine Presence, which their great poetic gift enabled 
them to clothe in such words as, to use Max M Ciller's enthusi- 
astic expression, " language blushes at but her blush is a blush 
of triumph." " One of the great beauties of this matchless 
piece/' says Ragozin, " is that while reaching the uttermost 
bounds of philosophical abstraction, it is never obscure unless 
to the absolutely uninitiated." 

1 Max Miillor hab translated tapasas into "by power of he it," but the word 
also means " by penance." The Taittiriya Brahma.no. reads " tamasa " which 
means "out of darkness." 



XH.J COSMOGONICAL ACCOUNTS. 237 

There is another short cosmogonic piece in the Rgveda 
(x. 190), which is worth quoting here : 

11 From kindled heat (tapasa] Right and Law were born 
(Satya and ftta, the Cosmic Order), and night, then the watery 
flood. And from the watery flood the coursing year was born, 
disposing day and night, the ruler of all that close the eyes. 
And in their order the Creator formed the sun and the moon, 
and heaven and earth, the regions of the air and light." 

The accounts of the Assyrian and Babylonian Cosmogonies 
are characterized not only by obscurity of expression but also 
by a confusion of thoughts and ideas. They seem, however, to 
have embodied in them not only the account of the Vedic 
cosmogony but also the Vedic account of the struggle of the 
Gods to overcome the powers of darkness, viz., Vrtra and his 
hosts, which forms the theme of many a Rgvedic hymn. In 
the Rgveda, we find that the mother of Vrtra was slain with 
Vftra himself by Indra, and they both lay down below the 
waters (Rv. i. 32, 8. 9). This probably is the origin of the 
story of the cutting up of Tiamat into twain by Marduk in the 
Assyrian account. It seems very probable that this account of 
the Vedic cosmogony and the struggle of the Gods with 
Vrtra was taken by the aryanized Cholas in an abbreviated 
form from Southern India to Mesopotamia. Like Vrtra, the 
sons of Tiarnat are all snakes, or dragons in the Babylonian 
legend. 

This cosmogonical account of the Babylonians and Assy- 
rians must have found its way among the Israelites who, as we 
have already pointed out, emigrated to Syria from the city of 
Ur, the ancient capital of Chaldea. The Biblical account of the 
creation of the world, though resembling the Vedic in some 
points, is also characterized by obscurity of language, and 
confusion of ideas. It would be beyond the scope of this chap- 
ter to deal with these defects of the Biblical account ; but I 
would refer my readers to the chapter on Genesis, so that they 
may be able to judge for themselves the truth of my remarks. 



238 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

The words Apsu and Tiamat in the Assyrian and Babylo- 
nian accounts undoubtedly resemble the Sanskrit words A pa 
and Tamas, meaning water and darkness respectively. The 
water, of course, was not the material water we see, but the 
very essence of it in abstraction, the tanmatra, as it is called 
by Sanskrit philosophers. Tamas was the darkness reigning 
over the bottomless abyss. But Tiamat has been wrongly 
rendered into English as water or ocean, which she was not. 
The brood of the dark evil powers, produced by Tiamat in- 
dependently, could not be but the brood of Darkness itself. It 
would be profitless further to seek a resemblance of the names 
of the Assyrian and Babylonian Gods, for they were mostly 
transformed into words of Semitic origin, or corrupted in 
pronunciation beyond recognition. That the Sumerians or 
Chaldeans, after the invasion of the Semites, adopted the 
language of their conquerors is an undoubted fact. "The most 
ancient populations of this country," says a writer, " formed 
several closely related races which had no connection with 
the other nations of Western Asia, but in the course of histori- 
cal evolution, they lost their language and nationality, and 
were submerged in the neighbouring races." ! It is therefore 
really astonishing that we should still find in the Semitic 
language some traces of the source from which the religion of 
the ancient Babylonians and Assyrians was derived. 

About 77 years ago, Dr. Edward Hinks propounded the 
theory that though the Sumerians, who laid the foundation of 
the Babylonian civilisation, might not have been an Aryan race, 
their speech bore unmistakable evidence of the influence of 
Aryan speech,' 2 and his conclusions are now generally admitted 
to be correct. Hommel, Delitzsch and Kremer have discovered 
certain primitive relations between Aryan and Semitic speech. 
Hommel adduces six culture-words which, in this opinion, esta- 
blish such a primitive connection. " Delitzsch goes deeper. He 

i Hist. Hist, of the World, Vol. I, p. 341. 
J. R. A. S., Vol. IX, pp. 387-449 (1848). 



XIL] CREATION OF MAN AND CASTES. 239 

claims to have identified one hundred Semitic roots with Aryan 
roots." 1 In my humble way, I have endeavoured to establish 
the identity of the names of some of the Babylonian and 
Assyrian Gods with those of the Aryan (Vedic) Gods, and to 
prove that the Babylonian Cosmogony bore the stamp of the 
Vedic Cosmogony. All these, however, do not prove the Aryan 
origin of the Sumerians, but only go to show that they must 
have been a people who came under the influence of Aryan 
speech and culture. I have already said that these Sumerians 
or Chaldeans belonged to the Chola tribe of the Dravidian race, 
who had been aryanized by the Panis and other Aryan settlers 
in Southern India. I will now proceed to note down some 
more points of resemblances between the Chaldean and the 
Vedic civilisations. 

The creation of man from the flesh and bones of Marduk 
as related in the Assyrian tablet resembles the Rgvedic 
legend of the sacrifice of Purusa, and the creation from his 
limbs of the four castes into which mankind is divided. The 
primitive four castes are common to and observable in all 
races of mankind, whether civilised or barbarous. But while 
they are elastic in other communities, they have become hard 
and crystallized in the present Hindu society. Be that as it 
may, I will quote here the passages from the Rgveda (x. 90, 
ii and 12) which describe the creation of the four castes 
from the severed limbs of Puru?a : 

" When the Gods divided Puru?a, into how many parts 
did they cut him up ? What was his mouth ? What his arms ? 
What his thighs and feet ? 

" The Br&hman was his mouth ; the Rajanya was made 
his arm ; the VaiSya, he was his thighs ; the Sadra sprang 
from his feet." 

It is needless to say that the resemblance between the 
two legends is remarkable, with this difference only that the 
Babylonian legend is brief, while the Vedic legend is elaborate. 

1 Taylor's Origin of the Aryans^ p. 40. 



240 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

The religious ceremonies of the ancient Babylonians, like 
those of the Vedic Aryans, bore a relation to external worship ; 
they all ended in invocation or sacrifice. " The 'cylinder-en- 
graved scenes give us an idea of these ceremonies ; we usually 
see the priest in an attitude of adoration or prayer, sometimes 
alone, but often before an altar on which reposes the object of 
adoration, or that which is going to be sacrificed. The most 
usual victim is a ram or kid. The Assyrian kings never began 
an important expedition without having invoked the Gods and 
held religious ceremonies ; after a victory they offered a sacri- 
fice on the borders of their newly conquered states. These 
sacrifices generally took place in the open air ; nevertheless 
temples were numerous in Assyria and Chaldea." 1 These 
customs and practices mostly resembled those of the ancient 
Indo-Aryans. 

The priests of ancient Chaldea held a high position in 
society, like the Brahman priests of ancient or modern India. 
They were called Patesis which may have been a corruption 
of the Sanskrit word Purohita. Says Diodorus : " The 
Chaldeans being the most ancient Babylonians held the same 
station and dignity in the Commonwealth, as the Egyptian 
priests do in Egypt. For being deputed to Divine offices 
they spend all their time m study of Philosophy, and are 
especially famous in the Art of Astrology. They are mightily 
given to Divination, and fortel future events, and employ 
themselves either by Purification, Sacrifices, or other In- 
chantments to avert Evils, or procure good Fortune and 
Success. They are skilful likewise in the art of Divination, 
by the flying of Birds, and interpreting of Dreams and 
Prodigies : And are reported as true Oracles (in declaring 
what will come to pass) by their exact and diligent viewing 
of Intrails of the Sacrifices. But they attain not to their 
Knowledge in the same manner as the Greecians do ; for the 
Chaldeans learn it by Tradition from their Ancestors, the Son 

* Hist. Hist, of the World, Vol. I, p. 519, 



&L] THE PATESIS. 



241 



from the Father, who are all in the meantime free from all other 
public offices and Attendances, and because their Parents are 
their Tutors, they both learn everything without envy, and rely 
with more confidence upon the truth of what is taught them ; 
and being trained up in this Learning from their very child- 
hood, they become most famous Philosophers/' l It should 
be borne in mind that this was the picture of the Chaldean 
priests in the first century B.C., for Diodorus was born in 
Sicily about 44 B.C., and visited Mesopotamia probably a few 
years before the birth of Christ. During 8,000 years, the sacred 
learning and culture of the Patesis probably changed very 
little, as they were the conservative custodians of the ancient 
religion, and the sacred lore was handed down from father to 
son, as it is still done in india. They were undoubtedly the 
descendants of those priestly Brahmans who accompanied the 
Cholas to their new colony as 'their spiritual guides, at the 
very beginning of the historical era. The fact that the offiice 
of the Patesis as well as their learning were hereditary lends 
a strong colour to this view. It is remarkable that the func- 
tions of the Babylonian Patesis resembled those of the 
Brahman priests, as depicted in the Atharva-veda J} which 
according to Professor Macdonell " is, in the main, a book of 
spells and incantations, appealing to the demon- world, and 
teems with notions of witch-craft, current among the lower 
grades of the population, and derived from an immemorial 
antiquity." 

Like the chief priests of the temples of Southern India in 
anoient times, the Patesis of ancient Babylonia were the rulers 
of Provinces and Kingdoms. The Mahantas of modern times 
in India seem to us to be the survivals of a similar system 
that was in vogue in Ancient India. We know from the Rg- 
veda what great influences used to be wielded over kings and 
rulers by the R$is in Vedic times. Vigv4mitra himself led an 
army against the Tjtsus (Rv. iii. 33 and 53) and Vasitfha, as 

1 Booth's Translation, 1700. 
31 



242 fcGVEDIC tNDIA. [CHAP. 

the leader <s>f the Tftsus, invoked the aid of the powerful 
Indra for victory over their enemies in the very field of battle 
{Rv. vii. 83). These Bt?ii>, though not actual rulers of the 
country, guided them by their counsels in all important matters 
of the state. Very likely, when the Aryans, under the leader- 
ships of their Rjis, founded colonies in Southern India, the 
latter necessarily took the supreme control of the Government 
in their hands, and became de facto Rulers. In ancient 
Chaldea also, a similar system prevailed. Says a writer: 
' Without referring to the legendary history of Babylonia 
related by Berossus, our earliest knowledge of the land is of 
a country of independent kingdoms, the cities with temples 
forming their centres. The ruler is often the Patesi or high 
priest." 1 

In this connection we are reminded of an extremely re- 
volting and abominable custom that obtained in ancient Baby- 
lonia, which, we suspect, was taken there in an aggravated 
form from Southern India, where in many temples is still 
attached a number of maidens, dedicated to the Gods, who 
live there all their life, ostensibly as pure maidens (Devaddsis) 
but really in secret prostitution. In Babylonia) the custom 
assumed a worse and more gruesome aspect, in as much as 
not merely a certain number of dedicated maidens, but all 
maidens, irrespective of rank or position, had once in their 
life to prostitute themselves in the temple premises to 
strangers. Decency forbids us to give in these pages a 
detailed account of this abhorrent ceremony, for it was no 
other than a religious ceremony, but we refer our curious 
readers to Historian's History of the World, Vol. I, page 478, 
for a gruesome account of it. This oustom unmistakably 
shows Dravidian influence on the ancient civilisation of the 
Babylonians who imitated not only the virtues but also the 
vices of their teachers. It is, indeed, extremely strange 
that this custom had a sort of religious sanction, which pro- 

Hist. Hist, of the world, Vol. I, p. 323. 



XII.] CHALDEAN ASTRONOMY. 243 

bably made the moral sense of the people impervious to the 
revolting ugliness and immorality of the whole thing. It has 
been related that women whose appearance was not engag- 
ing had sometimes to remain in the temple of Venus " from 
three to four years unable to accomplish the terms of the 
Law." 

The Dravidians were famous in ancient time for their 
astronomical knowledge which they undoubtedly derived from 
the Vedic Aryans, and especially the Panis who had to study 
the motions of the planets and stars for guiding their ships in 
the seas, The fact that the ancient Chaldeans also developed 
the astronomical science to a high degree of perfection streng- 
thens our opinion that the science was taken from India by 
the Cholas. Like the twelve Adityas of the Veda, there were 
also twelve suns among the Chaldeans, " to each of which/ 1 
says Diodorus, " they attribute a month, and one Sign of the 
Twelve in the Zodiack. Through these twelve signs, the 
Sun, Moon and the other Five Planets run their course. The 
Sun in a Year's time, and the Moon in the space of a Month. 
To every one of the Planets they assign their own proper 
courses which are performed variously in lesser or shorter 
time according as their several motions are quicker or slower. 
These stars, they say, have a great influence both as to the 
good and bad in Men's Nativities." 1 This shows that like 
the Indians, the Chaldeans were also astrologers. 

The Babylonian year, according to Edward Mayer, con- 
sisted of simple lunar months (twenty-nine or thirty days) 
which, as with the Greeks and the Mahomedans, was deter- 
mined by the course of the moon itself. To make this year 
coincide with the course of the sun an extra month was 
intercalated. 2 

Now in the Rgveda also, we find the calculation of the 
Lunar year by thirteen months, and of the Solar year by 

Booth's Translation, 1700. 

Htot. ffisi. of the World, Vol. I, p. 565. 



RGVEDIC INDIA* *[HAP, 

twelve months, as will appear from the following translation 
of a verse (Rv, L 25, 8) : 

" He (Varuija) in his wisdom, knows the twelve months, 
each producing a distinctive result, as well as the thirteen 
months." 

The twelve signs of the Zodiac have also been referred 
to in the following verse (Rv. i. 164, 11) : 

A 

11 The wheel of the well-ordered Aditya which is furnished 
with twelve spokes is continually moving round the heavens, 
* and never becomes old. O Agni, seven hundred and twenty 
mithunas (pairs) live in this wheel as the sons (of Aditya)." 
These seven hundred and twenty pairs are evidently the days 
and nights that make up a year, and the twelve spokes are 
the twelve months or the twelve signs of the Zodiac. 

In verse 48 of the same Sakta pccurs the following 
enigmatical problem : " Twelve fellies, one wheel and three 
naves, who knoweth the mystery ? In that wheel are three 
hundred and sixty spokes." The wheel is the ecliptic of the 
sun ; the twelve fellies are the twelve parts that make up 
the rim either the twelve months or the twelve signs of 
the Zodiac, and the three naves are the three principal 
seasons,Ws., summer, winter and the rainy season. 

In verse iz of the same Sakta, mention has been made 
of the twelve different characteristics that the sun assumes 
in the twelve months as well as of his two motions, viz., the 
Uttarayanam (going to the north), and the daksindyanam 
(going to the south). 

Though the seasons have been sometimes mentioned as 
three and sometimes as five, they are ordinarily numbered as 
six in the Rgveda, a couple of months being assigned to 
each ; but when there were thirteen lunar months, the seventh 
season was regarded as single, i>. f not connected with a couple 
of months (Rv. i. 164, 15). This solitary month or season was 
called malimlucha, and regarded as inauspicious, as not 



XI L] THE SAITS OF CHALDEA. 245 

forming a mithuna or couple. A similar belief also prevailed 
among the ancient Babylonians with regard to this thirteenth 
month. " Hugh Winckler has suggested an ingenious theory 
for the fact that thirteen has always been considered as an 
unlucky number. In order to make the Babylonian calendrical 
system of lunar months agree with the solar year, it was 
necessary to insert an extra month. This thirteenth month 
was regarded as being in the way and disturbing calculations. 
So thirteen came to be regarded as a superfluous unlucky 
number. Another sign of the Zodiac was appointed for this 
extra month, and this was the sign of the raven." l It would 
thus be seen that the ancient Babylonians or Chaldeans were 
greatly influenced not only in religion, but also in astronomy 
by Rgvedic culture. 

We have seen that the ancient Cholas were great builders 

builders not only of canals and ships, but probably also of 

temples. Southern India is famous from early times for the 

existence of old massive temples, for the construction of which 

atone materials could be procured in great plenty. But very 

probably, the buildings were at first made of wood, as wood 

suitable for building purposes was abundant. They undoubtedly 

carried their art to Chaldea, and the Semitic Babylonians 

and Assyrians were greatly indebted to them for learning and 

developing it. The Salts of Chaldea were a people "who 

Certainly were not descended from a race inter-mixed with 

Semitic blood/' They must have belonged to the same race 

as the early Chaldeans or Cholas who had first established their 

colony on the coast of the Persian Gulf. My surmise is that 

they were the Seths or Srejthls of Southern India, who mostly 

belonged to the enterprising mercantile class, the Chetties as 

they are even to this day called, and went to Chaldea probably 

at a later period than the invasion of it by the Semites. These 

Seths or Saits greatly influenced Babylonian and Assyrian 

art. <4 Not until under the Saits did art rise again to a 

* Hist. Hist, of the World, Vol. I, p. 5*4' 



RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP, 

height which recalled the palmy days of the ancient realm. 
This early Chaldio art was the mother of that of Babylonia 
and Assyria, and the Semites of Babylon and Asshur proved 
themselves diligent students, gifted imitators, who gave to 
their works also the stamp of their own genius ; but they 
were never more than students and imitators ; they never 
produced anything original, which might stand in equality by 
the side of early Cbaldic art. The Semitic race occupies one 
of the foremost positions in the history of civilisation, and 
is highly talented. But in architecture and sculpture it has 
always worked in close connection with foreign masters, and 
never produced anything really great by itself. The further 
it goes from the ancient centres, where the great tradition of 
the former so highly developed art still lived on, the more 
unskilful becomes its production in the field. Assyria where 
the Semitic blood was purer than in Babylonia, and which 
was certainly surpassed in art by the latter, Phoenicia, 

Palestine and Arabia are proofs of this Considered as 

artists, the Babylonians and Assyrians stand foremost among 
the Semites, but they are indebted for this to the early 
Chaldeans." l 

We thus see that it was the ancient Chaldeans who influenc- 
ed, nay, laid the very foundations of the Babylonian and Assy- 
rian civilisations in all their phases viz., agriculture, arts, in- 
dustries, architecture, natural science, religion and philosophy.' 
That the Chaldeans, and latterly the Saits were peoples 
entirely different from the Semites is admitted on all hands. 
I have endeavoured in this chapter (as briefly as it has been 
possible for me to do so) to prove that they were Indians 
who came to Chaldea from Southern India, and probably 
belonged to the Chola tribe of the Dravidian race, who in 
their turn received their culture and civilisation from the 
Vedic Aryans ; that they founded a colony with the help of 
Pa^is on the coasts of the Persian Gulf near the mouth of the 

i Hist. Hist, of the Wold, Vol. I, pp, Stf'547. 



XII.] ANTIQUITY OF VED1C CULTURE. 247 

Tigris and the Euphrates, which they called Kengi, and which 
was also called Sumer (Sutner being probably a corruption 
of the Sanskrit word Sa-maru which literally means the land 
contiguous to the desert), or Chaldea ; that they spread their 
culture first among the aboriginal savage tribes, and afterwards 
among the barbarous Semites when they conquered the 
country and established their supremacy over it ; and that 
the Semites, as apt pupils, were able to assimilate Chaldean 
culture and founded famous empires at the early dawn of the 
historical age, about ten thousand years ago. The whole of 
Western Asia and Southern Europe were indebted to Baby- 
lonia and Assyria (as also to Egypt) for their early culture 
and civilisation. As a writer says : " If the earlier walls of 
the Temple of Bel (Baal) at Nippur really date from 6,000 or 
7,000 years B.C., as the records seem to prove, there was a 
continuous powerful empire in Mesopotamia for at least five 
or six thousand years. The civilisation of Greece, of Rome, 
or of any modern state seem mere mushroom growth in 
comparison." 1 

If the civilisation of Chaldea be proved to be nearly ten 
thousand years old, how older was the civilisation of the Cholas 
of Southern India ? And how older again was the Rgvedic 
civilisation that was taken to Southern India after the partial 
disappearance of the Raj putana Sea? These are questions 
which cannot be definitely answered. The age of the early 
BLgvedio civilisation goes back to a period of time which is 
lost in the impenetrable darkness of the past to which 
thousands of years can be safely assigned, without one 
being accused of romancing wildly. The Chaldean priests 
told Diodorus that at the time when Alexander the Great 
was in Asia, their civilisation had been 470,000 years old. 
This appeared incredible to Diodorus, as it undoubtedly 
would to all men of modern times. But if the priests were 
of Aryan extraction, as there is every reason to believe they 

* Ibid, Vol. I, P. 39 



JBLGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

were, the tradition of the hoary antiquity of their civilisation 
would be partly justified and corroborated by the extremely 
old age of the Rgvedic civilisation, of which they were the 
inheritors. We should, in this connection, recall to mind 
the tradition current among the Phoenicians who told Julius 
Africanus that they had been in Phoenicia for nearly 30,000 
years. If there is any element of truth in this tradition, the 
Chaldean civilisation in Mesopotamia must be older than 
10,000 years. 



APPENDIX TO CHAPTER XII. 
A FEW IMPORTANT NOTES. 
(a) The PaJlis and the Dravidians. 

Long before the complete disappearance of the Rajputana Sea about 
7500 B.C., as asserted by Mr. V. B. Katkar, the Aryan merchants, e.g., the 
PaljLis, must have established trade- relations with the aboriginal inhabitants of 
the Deccan, especially those who lived on the sea-coasts This contact of 
the two peoples undoubtedly resulted in the uplift of the latter under Aryan 
influence and tutelage. The civilising process of the Dravidians was further 
accelerated, when the drying up of the bed of the Rajputana Sea facilitated 
the free immigration of the Aryan colonists to the South. 

(b) Yima's emigration to the Arctic region from Airyana Vaejo. 

Mr. B. G. Tilak has identified Manu's Flood with the invasion of. 
Airyana Vaejo by Ice. But probably the two events were not at all identical 
Airyana Vaejo must have been destroyed through some other causes, VIM,, the 
advent of the last Glacial Epoch which, according to American Geologists, 
lasted down to 8,000 B.C., after which the Post-Glacial Epoch commenced. 
Yima's emigration to the Arctic region whose present inclement climate, 
according to American Geologists, " dates from the Post-Glacitl period," must 
therefore have taken place a few millenniums ago before 8000 B.C. When 
the Post-Glacial epoch came, the climate of Airyana Vaejo became temperate, 
enabling Zoroaster and his followers to re-settle in the lost and abandoned 
" Paradise," and the climate of Sapta-Sindhu also changed from cold to hot, 
due probably to the complete disappearance of the Rajputana Sea, subse- 
quent to 7500 B.C. Xanthos of Lydia's estimate about the age of Zoroaster 
who was supposed by htm to have flourished 6,000 years before the expedition 
of Xertes, as well as Aristotle's similar calculation, seem to be approximately 
correct. The Zend-Avesta also must have been as old as that period. 



XII.] APPENDIX. 249 

(c) The Papis and the Chaldeans. 

The Aryan sea-going merchants used to visit the coasts of the Deooan 
and of the Persian Gult from a few millenniums earlier than 7500 B.C. The 
Cholas and the Paijtdyas had already been civilised by them. They established 
colonies with their help in Mesopotamia and Egypt, and also independently in 
Syria. 

(d) Manu's Flood and the Babylonian Flood. 

Manu's Flood must have taken place about 7500 B. C. or later. The 
Babylonian Flood was not identical with it, and was probably a myth. The 
legend of Manu's Fiood may have been carried to Mesopotamia by the Aryan 
and Dravidian colo. lists. Ila* was a region in Kashmir, known to the Rgvedic 
Aryans as the best of regions, where Manu's ship later on was stranded after 
the Flood. I la. has been described in the Satapatha Brihmaua as Mnnu's 
daughter. It had been known to him before and he probably lived there ; but 
he also appeared to have a hermitage on the shore of the Rajputana Sea when 
the Flood occurred. His ship was probably carried up to Ha* by a stupendous 
tidal wave along some flooded valley of a Punjab river that has its source in 
the Kashmir mountains. 

(e) Dravidian colonisation of the Punjab, 

After the Punjab had land-connection with the Deccan, there must have 
been an influx of enterprising Dravidians, mostly merchants, into the Punjabi 
who established trade-centres at different places of the Indus-valley and other 
river-valleys, founding flourishing towns and ports. Most of the Vedic 
Aryans had probably withdrawn to remoter and safer parts of the country 
after the Great Flood. Harappa in the Punjab and Mahenjo-daro in Sind 
may have been Dravidian colonies, having direct trade-relations with Sumeria 
and other countries, as the recent archaeological finds in those places go to 
establish. Most of the Vedic Aryans, as already stated, had been gradually 
leaving the Punjab and advancing towards the east, occupying the newly 
formed Gangetic plains and founding flourishing kingdoms and cities therein. 
The ancient relics of Dravidian and Sumerian civilisations, found in the course 
of archaeological excavations in these two places, do not at all prove that these 
civilisations were pre-Aryan. The finds of graves and urns containing ashes 
do not also point to their un- Aryan character. The Rgveda clearly mentions 
the existence of the customs of burial, cremation, and ceremonial burial of 
ashes in urns, among the ancient Aryans. (Vide Rgvedic Culture Ch X). 
Probably the population in these trade-centres was mixed, consisting of 
Aryans, Dravidians and other foreign peoples, speaking different languages 
and observing different religious customs. This fact has been very likely 
referred to in the following verse of the Athawa-ved* (xii, I, 45). 

nf flwft 



CHAPTER XIII. 

INDO-ARYAN INFLUENCE ON THE CIVILISATION OF ANCIENT EGYPT. 

European scholars are not agreed as to which of the two 
civilisations! the Egyptian and the Babylonian, was more 
ancient than the other. Some claim for the former the earliest 
antiquity, while others assert that it was the Babylonian civili- 
sation that influenced the Egyptian. There can be no doubt 
that there was free intercourse in ancient times between 
Egypt and Babylonia, and it was within the bounds of 
probability that both the civilisations exerted mutual influence 
upon each other, without the one effacing the individual 
characteristics of the other. In one point, however, all scholars 
are agreed, viz., that both exerted a tremendous influence 
over the early civilisation of Europe, to which they gave not 
only a shape, but also a life whose vigour still continues 
unabated, dominating the civilisations of nearly the whole of 
the modern world. 

J," In this place (Egypt)," says Dr. Adolf Erman, u there 
early developed a civilisation which far surpassed that of other 
nations, and with which only that of far-off Babylonia, where 
somewhat similar conditions obtained, could in any degree 
vie." 1 Elsewhere he says : " Even under the Old Kingdom, 
Egypt is a country in a high state of civilisation ; a centralised 
government, a high level of technical skill, a religion in exu- 
berant development, an art that had reached its zenith, a liter- 
ature that strives upward to its culminating point this it is 
that we see displayed in its monuments. It is an early blossom, 
put forth by the human race at a time when other nations were 
wrapped up in their winter sleep. In ancient Babylonia alone, 
where conditions equally favourable prevailed, the nation of the 

1 Hist. Hist, of the World Vol. I, pp. 57-58. 



XIII.] EGYPTIAN ANTIQUITY, 251 

Suraerians reached a similar height"* Further on, the 
Professor says : " In the future as in the past, the feeling 
with which the multitude regards the remains of Egyptian 
antiquity will be one of awe-struck reverence. Nevertheless, 
another feeling would be more appropriate, a feeling of grate- 
ful acknowledgment and veneration, such as one might feel 
for the ancestor who had founded his family and endowed it 
with a large part of its wealth. For, though we are seldom 
able to say with certainty of any one thing in our possession 
that it is a legacy we have inherited from the Egyptians, yet 
no one who seriously turns his attention to such objects can 
now doubt that a great part of our heritage comes from them. 
In all the implements which are about us now-a-days t in every 
art and craft which we practise now, a large and important 
element has descended to us from the Egyptians. And it is 
no less certain that we owe to them many ideas and opinions 
of which we can no longer trace the origin, and which have 
long come to seem to us the natural property of our own 
minds." 2 

These observations may justly apply to the civilisation 
of the modern nations of Europe, but certainly not to that of 
some of the oldest nations of Asia, vis. } the Vedic Aryans, 
the Dravidians, and probably the Chinese. They also go to 
show how European savants in their eagerness to acknow- 
ledge their debt of gratitude to an ancient people who were 
the neighbours of the European nations, and from whom they 
derived their civilisation directly, have been led to overlook 
the just claims of other nations, far older than the Egyptians 
and the Babylonians, to be regarded as the real founders of 
those civilisations that blossomed forth in ancient Egypt and 
Babylonia. It is, we are afraid, blind prejudice that has 
narrowed and circumscribed their vision, and prevented them 
from taking that broad outlook on the ancient world, which 

* Ibid, Vol. I, p. 59. 

/AM, Vol. I, p. 69. 



252 RGVEDIC INDIA, [CHAP, 

is the natural outcome of a calm and dispassionate mind, 
capable of studying the histories of all ancient peoples on a 
comparative basis, and making a general survey of them by a 
sweep of clear and far-sighted vision. Such a mind has yet 
to appear ; and when it does appear, the history of the 
ancient world will certainly have to be re-cast, and written 
anew. 

Egypt is the lower valley of the Nile, and is bounded on 
the east and west by desert land. Between the two deserts, 
occupying a breadth of from 15 to 33 miles lies the depression 
forming the fruitful valley of the Nile. On the north is the 
Mediterranean Sea, and on the south is a chain of mountains 
through which the river Nile flows in cataracts, the " First 
Cataract" forming the southern boundary of Egypt, beyond 
which is the Nubian sandstone plateau. Egypt is thus totally 
shut off from the rest of Africa. It is the narrowest country 
in the world. Embracing an expanse of 570 miles in length, 
it does not contain more than 12,000 square miles of fertile 
land, that is to say, it is not larger than the kingdom of 
Belgium. 

This country was called " Kamit" (black country) by the 
ancient inhabitants. " The name of Egypt in hieroglyphics 
is Kem... The sense is 'black land/ Egypt being so called 
from the blackness of its cultivable soil. 1 ' 1 But the country 
was called by the Greeks Aigyptos, which name first occurs in 
the Homeric writings. In the Odyssey , it is the name of the 
Nile (Feminine). But it was afterwards transferred to the 
country watered by the river. No satisfactory Egyptian or 
Semitic origin has been proposed for the word. u The probable 
origin is the Sanskrit root ' gup ' ( to guard ' whence may 
have been formed dgupta c guarded about.' " 2 

"Semitic people call Egypt, we know not why, Afior or 
Musr (Hebrew Mizraine, the termination being a very common 

* Ency. Brit., Vol. VII, p. 700 (Ninth Edition). 



XIH.] ORIGIN OF THE NAMES OF EGYPT. 253 

one with the names of localities). In its Arabian form Masr, 
the word, at the present day, has become the indigenous name 
of the country and of its capital which we call Cairo." 1 The 
river Nile was called by the ancient Egyptians Hapi or Aur. 
" The Greek and Roman name Neilos is certainly not trace- 
able to either of the Egyptian names of the river, nor does it 
seem philologically connected with the Hebrew ones. It may 
be like schichor indicative of the colour of the river, for we 
find in Sanskrit nila * blue,' probably especially ' dark blue, 1 
also even black, as nila panka ' black mud.' " 2 

From the above extracts, it would appear that the names, 
Egypt and Nile, were respectively imposed upon the land and 
the river by the Greeks, or by a people whose language was 
of Sanskrit origin. But the names Kami*, and Hapi can also 
be traced to Sanskrit words. From the etymological mean- 
ing of the word Kamit (black soil), it seems to us that it was 
derived from the Sanskrit roots ku " black " (in a physical 
sense as in ku-rupa) and mrt " soil, " and the word Hapi 
appears to be a mere corruption of the Sanskrit word Apa 
meaning water. The names Aigyptos and Neilos were pro- 
bably given afterwards by the Greeks as further descriptive of 
the country which was well guarded about from the outer 
world, and of the river whose water looked dark-blue. Thus 
both the original and the subsequent names of the land and 
the river were undoubtedly given by peoples whose language 
was derived from or allied to Sanskrit. The Semitic names 
Musr may also have been derived from the Sanskrit word 
Mi&ra (mixed), to denote the people of mixed origin who 
lived in the country. 

Egyptologists are not agreed as to the ethnographical 
place of the ancient Egyptians. While philologists and his- 
torians assume a relation with the neighbouring Asiatic races, 
separating the Egyptian by a sharp line of distinction from 

1 Hist. Hist, of the World, Vol. I, p. 84. 

Bncy. Brit., Vol. VII p. 705 (Ninth Edition). 



*S4 RGVEDIC INDIA, [CHAP. 

the Negro race, ethnologists and biologists have defined them 
as genuine children of Africa, who stood in indisputable 
physical relation with the races of the interior of the conti- 
nent. But " a careful comparison leads to the conclusion that 
in ancient, as in modern Egypt, there are two co-existent 
types: one resembling the Nubian more closely, who is 
naturally more strongly represented in Upper Egypt than in 
Memphis and Cairo ; and one sharply distinguished from him, 
whom we may define as pure Egyptian. Midway between 
these two stands a hybrid form represented in numerous 
examples and sufficiently accounted for by the intermixture 
of the two races. While the Nubian type is closer akin to 
the pure Negro type and is indigenous in Africa, we must 
regard the purely Egyptian type as foreign to the continent ; 
this directs us towards the assumption that the most ancient 
home of the Egyptians is to be sought in Asia. The Egyp- 
tians have depicted themselves, times out of number, on 
monuments, and enable us clearly enough to recognise their 
type.'" 

Prehistoric Egypt is supposed to have been inhabited by 
a steatopygous race of " Bushman " type. They were in the 
palaeolithic stage of civilisation, and were superseded by a 
fresh race of European type slender, fair-skinned, with long 
wavy brown hair. Their skull was closely like that of the 
ancient and modern Algerians of the interior. They seem to 
have entered the country as soon as the Nile deposits render- 
ed it habitable by an agricultural people. They already made 
well-formed pottery by hand, knew copper as a rarity, and 
were clad in goatskins. Entering a fertile country, and mix- 
ing probably with the earlier race, they made rapid advance 
in all their products, and in a few generations they had an 
able civilisation. After some centuries of culture, a change 
appears in consequence of the influx of a new people who 
probably belonged to the same race, as the type is unaltered, 

* Hist. Hist, of the World, Vol. I, p. 85. 



XIII,] ANCESTORS OF EGYPTIANS. 255 

but showing some eastern affinities. These later people seem 
to have flowed into Egypt from Syria or North Arabia, and it 
is perhaps to them that the Semitic element in the Egyptian 
language is due. 

" This prehistoric civilisation was much decayed, when 
it was overcome by a new influx of people, who founded the 
dynastic rule. These came apparently from the Red Sea, as 
they entered Egypt in the reign of Coptos, and not either 
from the north or from the Upper Nile. They were a highly 
artistic people, as the earliest works attributable to them the 
Min Sculptures at Coptos show better drawing than any 
work by the older inhabitants, and they rapidly advanced in 
art to the noble works of the 1st Dynasty. They also brought 
in the hieroglyphic system, which was developed along with 
their art. It seems probable that they came up from the Land 
of Punt, at the south of the Red Sea, and they may have been 
a branch of the Punic race in its migrations from the Persian 
Gulf round by sea to the Mediterranean. They rapidly 
subdued the various tribes which were in Egypt, and at least 
five different types of man are shown on the monuments of 
their earliest kings. Of these, there were two distinct lines, 
the kings of Upper and the kings of Lower Egypt." 1 

This people, then, were the ancestors of the Egyptiansj 
and it will now be our endeavour to establish their identity 
with a civilised people of ancient times. 

It has been suggested above that they probably formed a 
branch of the Punic race in its migration from the Persian 
Gulf round by sea to the Mediterranean. Now, as we have 
seen in the two previous chapters, the Punic race was identical 
with the Fanis of Sapta-Sindhu, who at first emigrated to the 
Malabar and Coiomondal coasts of Southern India, and thence 
to the coasts of the Persian Gulf. One branch of the Panis 
settled down with the Cholas in Chaldea ; while, another 
branch, very likely accompanied by the P&n^yas who lived 

ibid, Vol. I, p. 89. 



HLGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

on the Malabar coast, must have proceeded probably directly 
from the shores of India to Egypt through the Red Sea. 
Those of the Panis who preferred a maritime life to settling 
down as peaceful agriculturists! selected the sea-coast of Syria 
for establishing a separate and independent colony of their 
own, and became the ancestors of the Phoenicians of history. 
The very fact that the name of Kamit which the immigrants 
gave to Egypt, and the name of Hapi which they gave to the 
river Nile, can be traced to words of Sanskrit origin goes to 
strengthen the view that the new-comers hailed from that part 
of India which was peopled by a race whose speech was 
Sanskrit, or who had been influenced by Indo-Aryan civilisa- 
tion. And this part of India could have been no other than 
the Malabar coast, peopled by the P&ncjyas, which was 
probably called the " Land of the Pndyas," afterwards 
corrupted in Egypt into the " Land of Punt." It would be 
interesting to note here that among the earlier students of the 
subject of the origin of the Egyptians, " Heeren was prominent 
in pointing out an alleged analogy between the form of skull 
of the Egyptian and that of the Indian races. He believed in 
the Indian origin of the Egyptians." l One of the most recent 
authorities, Professor Flinders Petrie, " inclines to the opinion 
that the Egyptians were of common origin with the Phoenicians, 
and that they came into the Nile region from the land of 
Punt, across the Red Sea." 2 That Heeren was right in his 
belief, and Petrie in his conjecture, will be clearly proved 
from an account of the culture and civilisation of the ancient 
Egyptians themselves, about which we shall write later on. 
But let us first see what descriptions the Egyptians gave of 
the Land of Punt. 

" Under the name of Punt, the ancient inhabitants of 
Kamit understood a distant country, washed by the great sea, 
full of valleys and hills, rich in ebony and other valuable 

ibid, Vol. i, P , 77. 

IHd, Vol. I, p. 77. 



Xlll.] LAND OF PONt 

woods, in incense, balsam, precious metals and stones, rich 
also in animals, for there are camelopards, cheetas, panthers', 
dog-headed apes, and long-tailed monkeys ; winged creatures 
with strange feathers flew up to the boughs of wonderful 
trees, especially of the incense-tree and cocoanut-palm. Such 
was the conception of the Egyptian Ophir, doubtless the coast 
of the modern Somaliland which lies in view of Arabia, 
though divided from it by the sea." l 

The writer has undoubtedly noticed some resemblance of 
the physical characteristics of Somaliland with the above 
description of the Land of Punt to enable him to identify the 
latter country with the former. But the above description 
equally well applies to the Malabar coast of Southern India 
which is also " a distant country, washed by the great sea, 
full of valleys and hills, rich in ebony and other valuable 
woods, etc." The animals mentioned in the above extract 
are all natives of Southern India, excepting, perhaps, the 
camelopard which is now a native of Africa. Southern India 
having been in ancient times joined with Africa, the camel 
opard, or the giraffe, atao might have been one of its fauna, 
though it subsequently became extinct ; or the animal might 
have been the Sambhar or the Nilghau which was probably 
mistaken for, or likened with the giraffe. The incense was 
probably derived from the sandal-wood of the Malabar coast, 
which was so eagerly sought for in the ancient civilised world. 
We have seen that sandal, ebony, precious stones, apes, 
peacocks, etc., used to be brought from the Malabar coast to 
ancient Babylonia, and as there was an established commer- 
cial intercourse between Western Asia and India, it is most 
likely that ancient Egypt also drew her supplies from that 
country. The Land of Punt, therefore, could not but be the 
Malabar Coast of India, " the land of the Pip4yas." With 
regard to Somaliland, there is no proof that it was inhabited 
by any civilised people in anoient times, from which they 

i /bid, Vol. I, p. 108. 
33 



fiLGVEDtC IN0IA. 

oi^ht have immigrated with their Gods and culture. The 
of evidence, therefore, rather leans on the side of 
than Sonudiland. 

" According to the old dim legend, the Land of Punt was 
the primeval dwelling of the Gods. From Punt, the heavenly 
beings had, headed by Amen, Horus and Hathor, passed into 
the Nile Valley. The passage of the Gods had consecrated 
the coast-lands, which the water of the Red Sea washed as 
far as Punt, and whose very name Gods' land (Ta-nater) 
recalls the legend. Amen is called Haq, that is ' King of 
Punt,' Hathor simply ' Lady and Ruler of Punt,* while Hor 
was spoken of as ' the holy morning star ' which rises west- 
ward from the Land of Punt. To this same country belongs 
that idol Bes, the ancient figure of the deity in the Land of 
Punt, who in frequent wanderings, obtained a footing, not 
only in Egypt, but in Arabia and other countries of Asia, as 
ar as the Greek islands. The deformed figure of Bes, with 
its grinning visage, is none other than the benevolent Diony- 
sus (Bacchus) who pilgrimaging through the world dispenses 
gentle manners, peace and cheerfulness to the nations with a 
fcvish hand."* 

We will try to identify these Gods with the Gocjs of the 
Hindu Mythology later on. But it may be said here that Hor 
or Horus was a corruption of the Sanskrit word Suryas (the 
first s being corruptly pronounced as A), and that this ' God' 
yras spoken of by the Egyptians as " the holy morning star 
which rises westward from the land of Punt." This land, 
therefore, was the the land of the rising Sun," so far as the 
Egyptians were concerned, and cannot certainly be identified 
With Somaliland which was situated far off to the south of 
The land of Punt was undoubtedly situated some- 
to the east of Egypt, which also goes to confirm our 
that the land was no other than the Malabar coast 
of India. The allegation that " the water of the Red Sea 
i Afi'Vof. i, p. 108. " J 



XI.} LAND OF PUNT. 

washed the coast-lands as far as Punt " can be eitptattoftf fy* 
the fact that the " Erythraean Sea/ 1 formerly identified wftb 
the modern Arabian Sea, was probably translated into th* 
" Red Sea " which name is now only confined to the sea ot 
that denomination and is not applied to the Arabian Sea 
extending as far as the western coasts of India. This coA- 
ftiskm has probably led the writer of the above extract to 
locale the Land of Punt to the south of the 4 present Red Sea 
in Somaliland. 

In this connection, it would be interesting to mention the 
conclusion of Egyptologists that " the Egyptians of history 
are probably a fusion of an indigenous white race of north- 
eastern Africa and an intruding people of Asiatic origin." 1 
If these intruding people had originally come from Somali- 
land 1 , they would undoubtedly have been put down as " a 
people of African origin." It may be argued that they were 
an Asiatic people who came to Egypt from some part of Asia 
through Somaliland. But this would not help to identify the 
latter country with the Land of Punt which was traditionally 
and undoubtedly the original home of the Asiatic intruders. 
We have already said that Heeren clearly believed in the 
Indian origin of the Egyptians, and Petrie thinks that they 
were a branch of the Phoenicians, or the Punic race, or the 
Punites who came to Egypt through the Red Sea. This leads 
us to infer that the Land of Punt was the Malabar coast of 
Southern India. 

It is said that it was under Pharaoh Sankh-ka-Ra that " the 
first Ophir-voyage to Punt and Ophir was accomplished." * 
With regard to the identity of the land of Ophir, another writer 
says : " Ophir was the general name for the rich countries 
of the south, lying on the African, Arabian and Indian coasts, 
as far as at that time known. From there the Phoenicians had 
already obtained vast treasures by caravans ; but they now 

* *i Voh t p. 66. 
t /bid, Vol. I, p. 108. 



RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

opened a maritime communication with them, in order to 
lighten the expense of transport, and to procure their merchan- 
dise at best hand. The name of Ophir was common even in 
the time of Moses, and was then applied to those southern 
countries only known by common report. It was therefore 
now spoken of as a well-known name and country, and it may 
be fairly presumed that when the Phoenicians entered upon 
this new line of trade, they only took possession of a previously 
well-established system, since it was a regular, settled navi- 
gation, and not a voyage of discovery. From its taking three 
years to perform, it would appear to have been directed to 
a distant region ; but if we consider the half-yearly monsoons, 
and that the vessels visited the coasts of Arabia, Ethiopia, 
and the Malabar coast of India, and also that the expression 
1 in the third year,* may admit of an interpretation that would 
much abridge the total duration, the distance will not appear 
so great. The commodities which they imported were ivory, 
precious stones, ebony and gold, to which may be added apes 
and peacocks ; all satisfactorily proving that they visited the 
countries just mentioned, especially Ethiopia, and probably 
India." 

I need hardly say that there could be no probability in 
the case of India, but absolute certainty ; for it was from the 
shores of India that the Panis, the ancestors of the Phoenicians, 
had originally emigrated to the coast of the Persian Gulf, and 
thence to Syria. The route of navigation to India was perfectly 
known to them, as it was they who had established it. It is a 
mistake, therefore, to suppose that they " only took possession 
of a previously well-established system. " Be that as it may, 
there can be no question that the term Ophir included India 
also among the Southern countries, and that the Land of 
Puot was especially the name of India, or more correctly 
speaking, of the Malabar coast winch was the land of the 
P4$dyas. From all these considerations, and particularly 

t Vol. II, p. 333. 



XIIL] SOME EGYPTIAN GODS. 261 

from the opinions of Heeren and Petrie, my surmise is that a 
branch of the P4$dyas, headed or led by the Paais, immigrated 
to Egypt and settled there. This surmise will be immensely 
strengthened by a striking similarity of social and religous 
customs prevailing among the Egyptians and the Indians, 
about which I will now write. 

The Egyptian religion, like the Rgvedic religion, was 
based upon natural phenomena and manifestations. Their 
Gods were mostly Solar deities, and the name of their Sun- 
god was Horus, which, as we have already pointed out, was a 
corruption of the Sanskrit word Suryas (Gk. Sirius). The 
name of another God was Osiris and that of his consort Isis, 
which are identified by some with the Sanskrit words ISvara 
and /ft. But I have reason to suppose that the Egyptian 
word Osiris is a corruption of the Sanskrit word A-suryas, 
which literally means * the Sun devoid of his solar character ' 
(the <tf-Sun), or as the Egyptians described the deity, " the 
Sun of the night," when he loses his lustre, and becomes, to 
all intents and proposes, quite dead. The Rgveda has 
described the Sun of the night as " the sleeping sun " (Rv. 
x. 86, 2r), the idea being the same as the Egyptian idea, as 
sleep, in the words of the greatest English poet, is " every 
day's death." Isis, the consort of Osiris, is no other than the 
Vedic Ugas (Gk. Eos). In the Rgveda occur many verses 
in whioh Usas has been described as the consort of the Sun 
who eagerly covets and follows her, " as a bull follows a 
cow." There was another Egyptian God whose name was 
Amen or fmu. This God, however, was not a visible one 
like Horus, but a deity quite imperceptible and inconceivable. 
This God was also called Ra, and he " was the greatest God 
of all, ' the king of Gods. 1 Amen was sometimes identified 
with Ra, and the tendency was towards the recognition of a 
most important central God who, to a certain extent, ruled 
over and controlled the hierarchy of the lesser deities. 1 ' 1 Ra 

* Ibid, Vol. I, p. aao. 



26a RGVEDIC INDIA. [CriA* 

was " the uncreated, the autocrat of the heavens. Hornt, 
the Sue-god, who fought each day in the interest ot mankind 
against the malignant demon Set or Sutekh, and who was over- 
come each night only to revive again, and renew the combat 
with each succeeding morning was a God of great and wnfeiy 
recognised power. Yet it appears that he was not quite 
identified, as has sometimes been supposed, with the Supreme 
God Ra. To the latter attached a certain intangibility, a 
certain vagueness inconsistent with the obvious visual reality 
of the Sun-god or with the being of any other God whose 
qualities could be explicitly defined. In the very nature of the 
case, the conception of Ra was vague. He presented the 
last analysis of thought from which the mind recoils dazed, 
and acknowledging itself baffled." 1 

The Ra, therefore resembled the Vedic Brahman " the 
one without a second, " who transcends the three gunas, or 
the vehicles of manifestation as the Creator, the Preserver 
and the Destroyer, whose very nature is Supreme Bliss or 
Beatitude (dnandam] and fron whom " words, with the mind, 
not reaching, recoil baffled." 2 This Vedic conception of the 
Supreme Being perfectly agrees with the Egyptian concep- 
tion of Ra. Some one asked " Had the Egyptians any idea 
of one God ? In other words, is their religion a complex 
structure raised upon monotheistic foundation ?" The Egyp- 
tian religious writings are held by M. De Rouge to give an* 
affirmative answer to this question. " They speak o( one 
Supreme Being, Self -existent, Self-producing, the Creator of 
Heaven and Earth, called the double God or double-being, as 
the parent of a second manifestation. From the idea of a 
Supreme Deity, at once father and mother, producing a 
second form, probably originated a first triad, like the triads 
of father, mother and son, frequent in Egyptian Mythology/' 3 
The double God was undoubtedly the Nirguna Brahman and 



. Voi; I, p. 
y*Upa 
' Bncy. Brit., Vol. VII, p, 714 (Ninth Edition). 



XUL] VEDIC AND EGYPTIAN MYTHOLOGY 963 

tbe S^funa Brahman of the Aryans. Hara or Siva! in later 
Hfedu Mythology, represented the Nirgu^a Brahman, the 
Unmanifested Being, and the Egyptian Ra was probably a 
corruption of the Sanskrit word Hara, the ha (\) having been 
silent in Egyptian pronunciation. Amen or Imu who was 
identified with Ra was probably a corruption of the Sanskrit 
mystic word Aum, the emblem of the three gunas or manifes- 
tations of Brahman (Taitt. Upa., I. 8), the gradual cadence 
of the last syllable signifying the merging of the Manifested 
or Finite (vyakta) into the Unmanifested or Infinite (a-vyakta\ 
whose name in the later Hindu Mythology was Hara, corre- 
sponding to the Egyptian Ra. 

In the Rgveda we find the description of a constant fight 
going on between the Power of Light, and the Power of 
Darkness, the latter overcoming the former in the night, and 
being overcome again by its adversary in the day. Indra 
or Sdryas represents the Power of Light, and Vrtra, the 
Power of Darkness. The latter is a malevolent power, work- 
ing mischief in the world, yet bearing in the Rgveda the title 
of Deva or bright (Rv. i. 32, 12). This, at first sight, leads to 
some confusion in our mind about his identity. We have 
identified this Deva in his form of a cloud as the Lightning. 
But when there is no cloud but simple darkness, we feel some 
difficulty in identifying him. The Satapatha Brahmana 
however helps to remove this difficulty, when it says : " The 
Sun that gives us heat and light is Indra, and the Moon is 
Kr/ra. The Sun is like the Moon's natural and eternal enemy.' 1 
(I. 5. 3. 1 8). Usas or the Dawn has been described in the 
Rgveda as the wife of the Sun (probably, the Sun of the 
night), but sometimes also as his mother (undoubtedly, the 
mother of the morning Sun, the Kumdra or the son, who 
appeared to have been produced by her). Nakta or Night has 
been described in the Rgveda as the wife of the Moon, and 
Usas and Nakta (the Dawn and the Night) as twin sisters, 
nay, the one and the same deity with different aspects. 1 If 

I $v. i. 123, 7 and 9) $v. i. 124, 8, 



264 BLGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

we remember these principal figures of the Vedio Mythology, 
we shall be able to understand clearly its resemblance with 
the Egyptian Mythology. 

Osiris, as we have said, was identified by the Egyptians 
with " the Sun of the night," " He has a life-long conflict 
with a malevolent power, his brother or son, Seth, who is not 
wholly evil... The opposition of Osiris and Seth is a perpetual 
conflict. Osiris is vanquished. He is cut in pieces, and sub- 
merged in the water. Watched by his sisters, Isis, his consort, 
and Nephthys, the consort of Seth, he revives. Horus, his son, 
avenges him... and destroys the power of Seth, but does not 
annihilate him. The myth is a picture of the daily life of the 
Sun, combating Darkness, yet at last succumbing to it, to 
appear again in renewed splendour, as the young Horus, a 
solar God, triumphs over Seth. It is also a picture of human 
life, its perpetual conflict, and final seeming destruction, to be 
restored in the youth of a brighter existence. In this view 
suffering is not wholly evil, but has its beneficent aspect in the 
accomplishment of final god... We may regard Osiris as the 
Sun of the night, and so the protector of those who pass away 
into the realm of Shades.' 11 

Nephthys or Night, in the above extract is the same as the 
Vedic Nakta. Isis, as we have already said, is the same as 
the Sanskrit Usas or Greek Eos. Seth, is identical with the 
Sanskrit word Sveta, meaning white, the colour of the Moon. 
Horus (Suryas] is the son of Osiris (A-sury&s), the dead Sun 
of the night, who is born again in him. The following Gods are 
identified with Osiris in the Theban system : (i) Seb (Vedio 
Savitf who is also the Sun of the night, and the PaurSaic Siva), 
his consort being Nut (Sanskrit, Nakta or Night), the sister 
of Isis, or Isis herself in another form the Paur&gjc Kdft (or 
Kdlardrti) ; (2) Hesiri or Osiris, his consort being Hes or Isis 
(Vedic Usas, Pauri^ic Umd) ; (3) Har (Paur^ic Har*\ his 
consort being Hat-har (Sanskrit, Hotri or Sdvitri). Isis is 

* Bncy. Brit. t Vol. VII, p. 716 (Ninth Edition). 



XIIL] VEDIC AND EGYPTIAN MYTHOLOGY. 165 

also identified with Pakht (Sanskrit, Prakfti), and Sekbtt 
(Sanskrit, Sakti), and is called <( the ancient/. 9 as she is 
called in the Rgveda, in as much as there was nothing bat 
darkness in the beginning, out of which evolved Light and 
the Shining Ones. Hence she was called by the Egyptian 
word Mut (Sanskrit Mdtd, mother), *.*., the mother of the 
Gods. Amen or Amu (corrupted from Sanskrit Aum, the 
mystic word representing the Three Principles of Creation, 
Preservation and Destruction) was called by the Egyptians 
" Lord of Punt," as Hathor or Sdvitri } the root-mantra on 
which the structure of the Vedic or Hindu religion is based, 
was called the " Lady and Ruler of Punt." This probably 
meant that the religious cult of the Egyptians originally 
belonged to, and came from Punt. The God Bes was un- 
doubtedly the Vedic Visnu 9 the Protector of the world, who, 
according to the Egyptians, dispensed " gentle manners, peace 
and cheerfulness to the nations with lavish hands." This 
God afterwards came to be identified with Bacchus, and his 
worship degenerated into orgies, at which the lowest human 
passions were given a free indulgence. These orgies appear 
to be the result of a misinterpretation of the esoteric meaning 
attached to the autumnal and spring festivals (the Rdsa and 
the Dola] held in India to celebrate the union of Krg^a 
(Incarnation of Vi?$u) with his devout worshippers, the 
Gopik&s. But the Bacchanial festival was of a later date 
than the worship of Bes in ancient Egypt and was probably 
introduced into Western Asia from India long after the 
had immigrated to Egypt. 



From the above account of the Egyptian Gods, and subse- 
quent account to be given in its proper place, it would appear 
that the immigration of the Indians (the aryanised Pfydyas) 
to Egypt must have taken plaoe at a period of transition from 
the Vedic to the Paur&^ic faith in India, in as much as we find 
not only some of the Vedic gods and Vedic sacrifices (notably 
the bull-sacrifice) in Egypt, but also some of the Gods and 

34 



RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

Goddesses of purely Paur&nic Mythology, who were undoubt- 

edly the later developments of Vedic deities and the myths 

attached to them. This striking resemblance between the 

theogonies and mythologies of the ancient Egyptians and the 

^indo- Aryans would alone prove the Egyptians to be of Indian 

origin, even if we exclude from our consideration the similarity 

*x>f skulls of the Indian and Egyptian races, discovered by 

Heeren. We shall find that in social, religious and political 

institutions also, the Egyptians pre-eminently resembled the 

.Indians. 

\ 

With the Egyptians, as with the ancient Aryans, " the 
'king was the representative of the deity, and his royal 
authority was directly derived from the Gods. He was the 
-head of the religion and of the state ; he was the judge and 
law-giver ; and he commanded the army and led it to war. 
It was his right and his office to preside over the sacrifices, 
and pour out libations to the gods, and whenever he was 
present, he had the privilege of being the officiating high 
'priest 11 l 

As with the Indo-Aryans, so with the Egyptians, ' the 
sceptre was hereditary ; but in the event of a direct heir fail- 
ing, the claims for succession were determined by proximity 
of parentage, or by right of marriage. The king was always 
either of the priestly or military class, and the prince also 
belonged to one of them." 2 In Rgvedic society, we have 
noticed Rsts or priests, like Vasitfha and ViSvAmitra, wielding 

1 Hist. Hist, of the World, Vol. I, p. 199. 

Cf. Chap. VII of the Manu Samhitd : 

" The Lord created the king for the protection of all mankind, from the 
essences drawn from Indra, Vayu (Wind), Yama (Lord of Death), the Sun, the 
Moon y Varu^-a and Kuvera (Lord of wealth). The king is a great deity in the 
shape of man. The king is the wielder of the sceptre, the leader, and the 

governor, and is the representative of D harm a, and the four ASramas, He 
should perform the sacrifices and make various gifts, (verses 3, 4, 8. 17, 79, 
rtc.) 
' ' Ibid, Vol. I, p. 199. 



XIH.] VEDIC AND EGYPTIAN CUSTOMS. 267 

great influence over the kings, if not actually wielding the 
sceptres. We have also instances of warrior-priests not only 
in Vedic times but also in the later ages. In the MahibhArata, 
Brahmans like Drona, Kfpa, and ASvatthftmft, were renowned 
warriors, and in the earlier age Bhftrgava, the son of the sage 
Bhrgu, extirpated the Kgatriyas twenty times and one. This 
shows that in ancient Aryan society, the occupations of 
priests and warriors were interchangeable. ViSvclmitra, who 
had originally belonged to the warrior class, became afterwards 
a famous R$i, and Vedio priest. A similar condition prevailed 
in ancient Egyptian society: " The army or the priesthood 

were the two professions followed by all men of rank The 

law too was in the hands of the priests, so that there were 
also two professions. Most of the kings, as might be expected, 
were of the military class, and during the glorious days of 
Egyptian history, the younger princes generally adopted the 
same profession. Many held offices also in the royal house- 
hold, some of the most memorable of which were fan-bearers 
on the right of their father, royal scribes, superintendents of 
granaries or of the land and treasures of the king ; and they 
were generals of the cavalry, archers and other corps, or 
admirals of the fleet." 1 

In ancient India, the Brahmans or priests not only framed 
the laws, but interpreted and administered them as judges. 
They were also selected as ministers on account of their learn- 
ing and experience. As regards the office of fan-bearers held 
by the Princes in ancient Egypt, it is to be noted that a similar 
custom prevailed in ancient India also. In Vlmlki's Rdmdya$a 
(Book VI, Chap. 130), we find a picture of the Princes Bharata 
and Lak?mana acting as fan-bearers to King R&ma, and Prince 
Satrughna holding the royal umbrella over the king's head. 
As regards the high military offices, they were held by the 
royal Princes in India, as in Egypt. 

* Do. Vol. I, p. 199. 



**8 $GVD1C INDIA. [CHAP. 

" The Egyptians, 91 says a writer, " are said to have been 
divided into castes, similar to those of India ; bat though a 
marked line of distinction was maintained between the 
different ranks of society, they appear rather to have been 
classes than castes, and a man did not necessarily follow the 
precise profession of his father. Sons, it is true, usually 
adopted the same profession or trade as the parent, and the 
rank of each depended on his occupation ; but the children 
of a priest frequently chose the army for their profession, and 
those of a military man could belong to the priest-hood. 1 ' * It 
would thus appear that the Egyptian caste-system like that of 
the Aryans in Vedic times was elastic, and not crystallised as 
it afterwards became in India. 

Says the same writer : " The priests and military men 
held the highest position in the country after the family of 
the king, and from them were chosen his ministers and con* 
fidential advisers ' the wise counsellors of Pharaoh/ and all 
the principal officers of the state."* 

" The priests consisted of various grades. There were 
the king's own priests. They acknowledged him (the king) as 
the head of the religion, and the state ; nor were they above 
the law ; no one of them, not even the king himself, could 
govern according to his own arbitrary will. 113 

The king, in ancient India also, was never absolute nor 
autocratic. He was guided by three councils, w*., (*) the 
council of Rtviks or Priests, (it) the council of Afantris or 
Ministers, and (Hi) the council of Amdtyas, or Executive 
officers, each in charge of a department, whose number varied 
from 8 to 33 ; and the king bad to accept the decision of the 
majority of his councillors* 4 Manu has distinctly said that 

' /bid, Vol. I, p. too. 

Ibid, Vol. 1, p. 300. 

/bid Vol. I, p. 200. 

~ Vid* my article on lr Limited Monarchy in Ancitnt India" in the 
Jfefer* ftffev (CaU, Vol. II, p, 346. 



XIII.] VEDIC AND EGYPTIAN CUSTOMS. 

the king who governs according to his arbitrary wilt and not 
harmoniously with the constitution, and is actuated by low 
selfish desires is killed by the constitution itself. 1 This con- 
stitution was impersonated in the Danda or sceptre, which 
the king himself wielded. 

As in India, so in Egypt, " next in rank to the priests, 
were the military."* 

The mode of warfare among the Egyptians " was not like 
that of nations in their infancy, or in a state of barbarism ; and 
it is evident, from the number of prisoners, that they spared 
the prostrate who asked for quarter. Those who sued for 
mercy and laid down their arms were spared and sent bound 
from the field." 3 

This seems to be a faint echo, or imitation of the custom 
that prevailed in Ancient India. Says Manu : " The warrior 
shall not kill his adversary with any weapon concealed in a 
wooden sheath (which the latter never suspects to be a deadly 
weapon), with karn%, or weapon tipped with poison, or made 
red-hot by fire. Nor shall he kill an enemy who is on foot, 
who is a hermaphrodite, who joins his hands in supplications 
of mercy, whose hair has been dishevelled, who is resting and 
says ' I am thine,' i *., surrenders himself ; nor an adversary 
who is asleep, has doffed his mail-coat, is semi-naked (as in 
sleep or while resting), is unarmed, non-combatant, and is 
either a spectator, or fighting with some one else ; nor him 
from whose hands his weapons have fallen, who is over- 
whelmed with grief (in consequence of the death of .a comrade 
or near relative in the fighting line), who has been dangerous- 
ly wounded or terror-stricken and not engaged in fighting 
always remembering that this is the D/iarma (canon) followed 
by all right-minded men." 4 

U*n*S*mkita, Ch. VII, 37*28. 

Hist. Hist, of ike World, Vol. I, p. 201. 

/*t*Vol.I,p.3o8. 

Hanu, Chap. VII, 90-93* 



270 ^GVEDIC INDIA; [CHAP; 

This was what the ancient Aryans understood by " honest * 
and clean fighting." Whether this high standard of the mode 
of warfare is maintained even by the present civilised nations 
of the world who always boast of the high state of their civi- 
lisation, I leave my readers to judge. 

I will now mention some of the customs of the ancient 
Egyptians, which will be found to bear a close resemblance to 
those of the ancient Aryans. Says Herodotus : " Those Egyp- 
tians who live in the cultivated parts of the country are of all 
whom I have seen the most ingenious, being attentive to the 
improvement of memory beyond the rest of mankind. 1 To give 
dome idea of their mode of life : for three days successively 
every month, they use purges, vomits, clysters ; this they do 
out of attention to their health, being persuaded that the 
diseases of the body are occasioned by the different elements 
received as food/' 2 

Herodotus writes upon another custom of the Egyptians, 
which is essentially Aryan. Says he : " The Egyptians surpass 
all the Greeks, Lacedaemonians excepted, in the reverence 
which they pay to age : if a young person meets his senior, he 
instantly turns aside to make way for him ; if a senior enters 
an apartment, the youth always rise from their seats ; this 
ceremony is observed by no other of the Greeks. When the 
Egyptians meet, they do not speak, but make a profound 
reverence bowing with the hand down to the knee." 3 I need 
not take the trouble of quoting Manu 4 to prove the existence 
of this custom in ancient India, as it is still observable among 

* The cultivation of memory among (the Aryans was most remarkable. 
As writing was probably not in vogue, they committed to memory the four 
Vedas and the Smrtis, the latter so called, because they were remembered. 

Hist. Hist, of the World, Vol. I, p. 212. In the Hindu Medical works, 
purging and vomiting 'have been recognized as means for eliminating all 
undigested and indigestible elements of food taken, in order to ensure the 
preservation of health. 

Ibid, Vol. I. p. 213. 

* Manu, Cb. II, 119-121. 



,X|JL] VEDIC AND EGYPTIAN CUSTOMS. 271 

the descendants of the Aryans. " The 'life-currents of ayoudg 
man/ 1 says Manu, " tend to flow out of his body when an 
elder comes, and attain only their normal condition when he 
stands up to accost and recieve him." 

Herodotus further says : " Of the Egyptians it is further 
memorable that they first imagined what month or day was 
to be consecrated to each deity ; they also from observing the 
days of 'nativity, venture to predict the particular circumstances 
of a man's life and death." 1 

I need not point out that the custom was similar among 
the ancient Aryans also. Each month was consecreated to the 
worship of a particular deity. The months also were named 
after the movements and ascendancy of certain constellations 
of stars in the heavens. The particular circumstances of a 
man's life and death were also predicted by the ancient 
Hindus from the peculiar situation of the stars and planets at 
the time of his nativity. The science of astrology was highly 
developed among the Aryans. The Bhrgu Samhittl claims to 
predict not only the events of man's present existence, but 
also to read the events of his past and future incarnations. 

4 'The Egyptians/' says Herodotus, lc express aversion 
to the customs of Greece, and to say the truth, to those of all 
other nations. 11 ^ In this they essentially resembled the 
ancient Aryans, with whom all was Mleccha that was not 
Aryan. This term was also applied to those of their own 
race, who did not conform to their manners and customs, and 
way of thinking. 

" In the treatment of women, they seem to have been very 
far advanced, beyond other wealthy communities of the same 
era, having usages very similar to those of modern Europe, and 
such wasthe respect shown to women that precedence wasgiven 
to them over men, and the wives and daughters of kings suc- 
ceeded to the throne like the male branches of the Royal family. 

* Hist. Hist, of the World, Vol. I, p. 213. 

* Itid, Vol. I. p. 21*4. 



J72 liGVEDIC INDIA. 

Nor was the privilege rescinded even though it had more than 
once entailed on them the troubles of a contested succession, 
foreign kings often having claimed a right to the throne, 

through marriage with an Egyptian princess It was a 

right acknowledged by law, both in private and public 
life."* 

It should be stated here that women in Ancient India 
were also held in high esteem, and enjoyed equal freedom 
with men in many important matters. For instance, ladies 
with a religious turn of mind composed hymns in praise of 
the Devas, and the most distinguished among them were 
classed with the Rsis, i.e. } the seers or sages. They could 
also take part with men in the discussion of abstruse philo- 
sophical questions, make their own choice of husbands or 
lead a life of celibacy, just as they pleased. They also took 
up arms, and assisted their husbands in the defence of their 
hearths and homes, when any need arose. They were the 
real help-mates and soul-mates of their husbands, shared all 
their rights and privileges, helped them in the performance 
of their religious ceremonies, and were the real rulers of their 
household. The daughter had the same right as the son, 
and, in the absence of any male issue of her parents, succeeded 
to their estates as a matter of right. The widow also, if 
childless, inherited her husband's property, and could adopt 
a son to perpetuate the line of her husband's family. It is 
true that we do not find the mention of any lady-ruler in 
ancient Sanskrit Literature ; but if the claims of ladies to sit 
on the throne were passed over in favour of the next male 
heir, it was done more for the sake of expediency than 
anything else. 

Like the Aryans, the Egyptians also had "an abiding 
faith in the immortality of the soul." They also resembled 
the Aryans in the observance of many customs. Herodotus 
says : "The Egyptians who at other times have their heads 

* Ibid, Vol. I, p. 217. 



XIII.] VEDIC AND EGYPTIAN CUSTOMS. 273 

closely shorn suffer the hair to grow'' on the occasions of 
sorrow and bereavements- a custom which the Hindus 
observe even to this day. "One of their customs," says 
Herodotus, "is to drink out of brazen goblets, which it is the 
universal practice among them to cleanse every day. They 
are so regardful of neatness that they wear only linen, and 
that always newly washed. Their priests every third day 
shave every part of their bodies to prevent vermin or any 
species of impurity from adhering to those who are engaged 
in the service of the gods. The priests wash themselves in 
cold water twice in the course of the day, and as often in the 
night. f>1 Those who are acquainted with Hindu customs 
will notice their striking resemblance with these Egyptian 
customs. Brazen utensils, and gold and silver ones, are 
regarded by the Hindus to be pure, and any contamination is 
easily removed by washing them simply. 

The Egyptians, like the ancient Aryans, performed the 
bull-sacrifice. If the Egyptians went from India, about which 
however there seems to be no doubt, they must have done so 
at a time when bull-sacrifice was in vogue in the country. 
Bull-sacrifice was discontinued in India in post-Vedic times, 
when the ram, the goat and the buffalo took the place of the 
ox. This shows that the Indians must have emigrated to 
Egypt several thousand years ago, and the immigrants took 
the custom with them, which remained intact in Egypt down 
to a later age, and was probably imitated and adopted by the 
Semitic race, afterwards. 

I will give here a brief account of the bull-sacrifice which, 
in the selection of the animal, the cutting up of the different 
parts of the victim, and consigning them to the fire with liba- 
tions, and the uttering of mantras (which Herodotus wrongly 
understood to be imprecations) over the severed head, resem- 
bled the Aryan ritual, with this difference that instead of 
pouring libations of wine, the Aryans poured libations of 

1 Hist. Hist, of the World, Vol I, p. 213. 

35 



274 BLGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

ghrta or melted butter into the Fire. Says Herodotus : 
"They (the Egyptians) esteem bulls as sacred to Epaphus, 
which previous to sacrifice are thus carefully examined ; if 
they can but discover a single black hair in his body, he is 
deemed impure. Having led the animal destined and marked 
for the purpose to the altar, they kindle a fire, a libation of 
wine is poured upon the altar ; the god is solemnly invoked, 
and the victim then is killed ; they afterwards cut off his head, 
and take the skin from the carcass ; upon the head, they 
heap many imprecations." 1 

The intestines of the victim were then taken off, leaving 
the fat and paunch. "They afterwards cut off the legs, the 
shoulders, the neck, and the extremities of the loin ; the rest 
of the body is stuffed with the fine bread, honey, raisins, figs, 
frankincense, and various aromatics ; after this process, they 
burn it, pouring upon the flame a large quantity of oil. 
Whilst the victim is burning, the spectators flagellate them- 
selves, having fasted before the ceremony ; the whole is 
completed by their feasting on the residue of the sacrifice." 2 
The different parts of the carcass of a victim, whether a bull 
or a horse, used similarly to be thrown into the fire with 
libations of ghrta } with which cakes, barley, scsamum seeds, 
etc., were mixeH ) in ancient India. 3 There is evidence, how- 
ever, in the Rgveda that the horse-flesh used to be cooked 
and the meat partaken of by the worshippers with great 
relish. (Rv. i. 162, 11-13). 

Herodotus further says: "All the Egyptians sacrifice 
bulls without blemish, and calves ; the females are sacred to 
Isis, and may not be used for this purpose. The divinity is 
represented under the form of a woman, and as the Greeks 
paint lo, with horns upon her head ; for this reason, the 

1 Ibid, Vol. I, pp. 213 and 223 
* Ibid, Vol. I, p. 224. 

8 Read the account of a horse-sacrifice in the Rdmdya^a, Bk. I, Canto 14 
Verses 31*38- 



XIII.] VEDIC AND EGYPTIAN CUSTOMS. 275 

Egyptians venerate cows far beyond all other cattle." The 
ox (Apis) was sacred to Osiris, whose soul, according to the 
Egyptians, passed into the animal. Similarly they probably 
believed that the soul of Isis also passed into the cow, which 
accordingly was identified with the goddess herself. But if 
this was merely the reason for not sacrificing the cow, it 
would have held equally good with the ox also. As a matter 
of fact, however, the ox only used to be sacrificed but not the 
cow, the reason probably having been originally economical, 
rather than religious. While only a few oxen were sufficient 
for breeding purposes, the loss of cows by indiscriminate 
sacrifice or slaughter would have made cattle gradually 
extinct. Hence only the male animals were selected for 
sacrifice. The ancient Aryans, however, sometimes sacrificed 
barren and old cows, from which no multiplication of the 
breed was expected. It should be noted here that, like the 
Hindus, the Egyptians also venerated the cow as a sacred 
animal. 

The aloofness in which the Egyptians, like the ancient 
Hindus, kept themselves from foreigners will be best illus- 
trated by the following quotations: " Neither will any man or 
woman among them (the Egyptians) kiss a Grecian, or ue a 
knife or spit or any domestic utensil belonging to a Greek, 
nor will they eat even the flesh of such beasts as by their law 
are pure, if it has been cut with a Grecian knife." (Hero- 
dotus.) 

It seems that some Egyptians preferred the sacrifice of a 
particular animal to that of another. "Those who worship in 
the temple of the Theban Jupiter, or belong to the district of 
Thebes, abstain from sheep, and sacrifice goats." 

Like the Hindus, the Egyptians looked upon the hog as an 
unclean animal, and "if they casually touch one, they imme- 
diately plunge themselves, clothes and all, into the water." 
(Herodotus.) The hatred that the Semites felt for the hog 
was probably imbibed by them from the ancient Egyptians. 



376 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

Diodorus says that the Egyptians "adored and worshipped" 
some animals "even above measure when they are dead, as 
well as when they are living," and this custom struck him as 
" most strange and unaccountable," and worthy of enquiry. 
11 These creatures are kept and fed in consecrated ground 
inclosed, and many great Men provide food for them at great 
cost and charge." It is generally believed that the teachings 
of the Buddha in India, which were a loud protest against the 
custom of animal sacrifice, had much to do with the creation 
of a revulsion of feeling against it, and the development of 
kindly sentiments towards all living creatures ; and that the 
reaction of the popular mind was so great that not only were 
animals protected from torture and slaughter, but large 
hospitals were established for the treatment of their diseases, 
and refuges maintained for their protection in old age and in 
sickness. The fact, however, is overlooked that the advent of 
a great Teacher becomes impossible unless the ground is 
previously well prepared for him. The Buddha would not have 
been able to successfully inculcate the teachings of good will 
and kindness to all animals, unless the sentiment had already 
existed in the popular mind. The very fact that the cow, the 
bull, and some other animals and birds were regarded as sacred 
by the Aryans from Vedic times pointed to the existence of 
kindly sentiments in their mind towards those creatures ; and 
though the prevalence of the custom of animal secrifice 
seemed, at first sight, to give the lie direct to the real exis- 
tence of these sentiments, it should be borne in mind that 
animal-sacrifice had the sanction of Religion from hoary times, 
which it was impossible for ordinary weak minds to disregard. 
Who can say that the religious sanction itself was not a make- 
shift to curb a desire for slaughtering animals for daily -food, 
and to restrict it only to special occasions of religious celebra- 
tions, which are generally attended with a series of intricate 
and difficult ceremonies ? It has been mentioned in the Sata- 
patha BrAhmana that the Sacrifice, or Yajna as it is called, 
was at first in the cow or bull, from which it went into the 



XIII.] VEDIC AND EGYPTIAN CUSTOMS. 277 

horse, and from the horse it went into the goat, and from the 
goat it went into the earth, where it found a place in the 
grains produced by the earth. This anecdote shows the 
different stages through which Sacrifice had to pass according 
to the different stages of the mental developments of the 
people who practised it, till animal-sacrifice was abandoned 
or sought to be abandoned, and its place was taken up by 
grains, fruits and flowers dedicated as offerings to the Deity. 
This undoubtedly points to a remarkable development of 
moral and spiritual sentiments, which was carried still higher 
when it was enjoined that purely mental worship of the Deity 
by the contemplation of all His divine attributes was the best 
of all forms of worship. If we keep this fact in our mind, the 
existence of kindly sentiments towards animals simultaneously 
with the existence of the cruel custom of animal -sacrifice 
would not at all seem incongruous in certain stages of the 
development of the human mind. And so both, the senti- 
ment and the custom existed side by side, as we see in the 
case of the ancient Egyptians and the ancient Aryans. The 
custom, however, was sought to be eradicated in India in the 
time of the Buddha who was successful in his noble efforts in 
a large measure. We need not, therefore, be at all surprised 
that long long before the Buddha was born, a kindly sentiment 
towards animals had developed both in ancient India and 
Egypt to the extent of worshipping and adoring certain dumb 
caeatures of God and keeping and feeding them in "conse- 
crated grounds," enclosed for the purpose. So far, we have 
noticed such a close resemblance between the ancient Egyp- 
tians and the ancient Aryans in their theogony, religious 
practices, social customs, and political institutions as to lead 
us to the irresistible conclusion that they were one people in 
some remote age and lived in one and the same country. That 
this country was not Egypt would appear from the fact that 
the Egyptians were not autochthonous in Egypt ; but as they 
are said to have come from the Land of Punt, from which the 
Sun rises and proceeds on his journey westward, their 



278 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

original home must have been in India on the Malabar Coast, 
which is situated towards the east of Egypt. We will notice 
below some other striking resemblances between the Egyp- 
tians and the ancient Aryans. 

We have said that the bull which was sacred to Osiris, 
(Siva or Seb) and into which the soul of Osiris entered, was 
looked upon as Osiris himself, and the cow which was sacred 
to I sis, and with which she was identified, having been re- 
presented with horns on her head, was as much venerated as 
Isis herself. The bull and the cow thus came in to represent 
the Male and the Female Principles of creation respectively. 
These two Principles were, in course of time, still more 
emblematically represented in the male and the female organs 
of generation, the Lingam and the Yoni of the Hindus, the 
stone symbols of which are still to be found in every Sivaite 
temple of India. 

It is customary both with European and Indian scholars to 
father the inauguration of these symbols on the Dravidians, 
and to trace their source to non-Aryan agency. But I have 
come across the word "Sisnadevh" in the Rgveda 
(vii. 21, 5), which referred to those Aryan tribes who wor- 
shipped the symbol of the male organ of generation. Of 
course, these Aryan tribes were hated by the Vedic Aryans 
for their mode of worship, and classed with the R4k?asas or 
demons. But the fact stands out as incontrovertible that the 
worship of the Lingam existed in Rgvedic times in Sapta- 
Sindhu. It is very likely that this worship was carried by 
these tribes to Southern India where it was freely adopted by 
those who came in contact with them. The adoration of the 
generative organs as symbols of the creative powers of 
Nature is known by the name of Phallic worship. This wor- 
ship is still widely prevalent in modern India ; but it was also 
prevalent in ancient Egypt, and in fact in the whole ancient 
world. Richard Gough, in his Comparative View of the 
Ancient Monuments of India (London 1785), said : " Those 



XIII.] PHALLIC WORSHIP. 279 

who have penetrated into the abstruseness of Indian Mythology 
find that in these temples was practised a worship similar to 
that practised by all the several nations of the world, in their 
earliest as well as their most enlightened periods. It was 
paid to the Phallus by the Asiatics j 1 to Priapus by the 
Egyptians, Greeks and Romans ; to Baal-Peor by the Cana- 
anites and idolatrous Jews. The figure is seen on the fascia 
which runs round the circus of Nismes and over the Cathedral 
of Toulouse and several churches of Bordeaux. M. d' Ancar- 
ville has written two large quarto volumes to prove phallic 
worship to be the most ancient idea of the deity." 

" Originally " says the auther of Phallism - " Phallic wor- 
ship had no other meaning than the allegorical one of that mys- 
terious union between the male and the female, which through- 
out nature seems to be the sole condition of the continuation 
of the existence of animated beings. There is no reason what- 
ever for supposing that licentiousness invented the rites inci- 
dental to the worsnip of Pan, Priapus, Bacchus and Venus 
whatever may have been made of them afterwards. 4 It is 
impossible to believe,' said Voltaire, 'that depravity of man- 
ners would ever have led among any people to the establish- 
ment of religious ceremonies, though our ideas of propriety 
may lead us to suppose that ceremonies which appear to 
us so infamous could only be invented by licentiousness. It 
is probable that the first thought was to honour the deity in 

1 Phallus is the same as the Sanskrit Pela. 

Some eighty years ago a writter in the Edinburgh Review " pointed 
out certain points of comparison between the Osiris in Egypt, and Bacchus in 
Greece under the emblem of Phallus. It is under the same emblem that he 
is still venerated in Hindoostan, and Phallus is one of the names in the 
Dictionary of Amara Singha. The bull was sacred to him in Egypt. 
Plutarch assures us that several nations of Greece depict Bacchus with a 
bull's head, and that when he is invoked by the women of Ehs, they pray 
him to hasten to their relief on the feet of a bull. In India, he is 
often seen mounted on a bull ; hence one of his sacred names, Vrsadhvaja, 
signifying 'whose sign is the bull ' " (Phallism p. 53. London 1889). 

* ^Phallism (London) Privately printed. 1889. p. 10. 



a8o RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

the symbol of life, and that the custom was introduced in 
times of simplicity. 3 " 

Though the Phallic worship was widely prevalent in the 
ancient world, there is a striking resemblance between the two 
forms of worship as prevailed in ancient Egypt and India, 
Osiris and Isis are identical with Siva and Sakti (A-Surya and 
Usas or Sekhet). In both the countries, the bull was secred 
to Osiris or Siva and the cow to Isis or Usas or Um. " A 
circumstance occured some years ago, which illustrates in a 
remarkable manner the similarity of Pagan systems which 
we have been alluding to, and as it is too well authenticated 
to admit of doubt, it is of particular value. It was this : 
During the expedition into Egypt against the French, the 
Indian soldiers, who had been taken there by the Red Sea and 
Suez to assist in the work, recognized many of the mythologi- 
cal forms, especially the bull and some stone figures of serpents, 
as similar to what they had in their own country. They 
at once made this known to their officers, affirming that the 
people who formerly inhabited Egypt must have been Hindoos ; 
and when they saw the temple of Hadja Silsili in a state of 
decay, they were filled with indignation that the natives 
should have allowed it to fall into such condition, as they 
conceived it to be the temple of their own god Siva" 1 This 
incident, though simple, strongly corroborates our view about 
the identity of Osiris with Siva. 

Students of Hindu Mythology know fully well that the 
Hindu Trinity is represented by the Sun, the morning Sun 
being looked upon as Brahmi, the Creator, the midday Sun as 
Vienu or Hari (Egyptian Horus),the Preserver, and the setting 
Sun as Siva or Hara (Egyptian Har,) the destroyer, covering 
the world with darkness, and wrapping all living creatures 
in deathlike torpor. Siva is thus regarded as " the Sun of 
the night." This will enable us to clearly understand the 
following words of Diodorus : " Some of the ancient Greek 

i Phallism, London (1889) p. 54 



XIII.l VEDIC AND EGYPTIAN MYTHOLOGIES. 281 

Mythologists call Osiris Dionysus, and surname him 
Sinus. Some likewise set him forth clothed with the spotted 
skin of a fawn (called Nebris) from the variety of stars that 
surround him." l Our readers will at once see that the word 
Dionysus corresponds to the Sanskrit word Dinega (the sun) 
and the word Sirius to Siirya. They will also understand 
why Siva, in the Hindu Mythology, has a spotted leopard skin 
round his loins, which merely represents the starry sky that 
forms the robe of him who is Digamvara (or nude). It 
will also not be difficult for them to grasp the meaning of the 
description of Siva as Sa^imaull, i.e., having the moon on his 
forehead, because the moon appears just as the sun descends 
towards, or sinks below the horizon ; or because, as the Egyptian 
Mythology says, the moon ( Vrtra) was triumphant over Osiris 
(the Sun of the night, or Siva). The dark portion of the night 
(K&la-ratri or KdK) is one of the consorts of Siva, represented 
as dancing her weird dance over the prostrate body of her 
husband, and fighting the demons or Asuras, who a re the enemies 
of the Devas, i.e. the shining ones, congregated on the heaven 
probably in the shapes of stars and planels, and watching the 
terrific fight below. Isis was sometimes identified with the 
moon in the Egyptian Mythology, as she had horns on her head 
like those of the crescent moon. The moon-lit portion of the 
night was therefore another consort of Siva, and she was 
called Satl in the Hindu Mythology. SatI was a daughter of 
Dakfa PrajSpati of the family of BrahmA, the Creator, or the 
morning Sun, who invited all the Devas to his Yajna or sacrifice, 
excepting Siva, his son-in-law, apparently for no other reason 
than because Siva being the Sun of the night, could not possi- 
bly be invited to attend a sacrifice held in the morning by the 
Morning Sun. The consort of Siva, i.e. Satl, ( the moon-lit night, 
or for the matter of that, the Moon), however, went to her father's 
Yajna uninvited, though Siva repeatedly and emphatically pro- 
tested against her attending the sacrifice thus unceremoniously, 

1 Hist. Hist, of the World Vol. I. p. 279. 
36 



BLGfteDIC INDIA. [CHAP, 

and the result was disastrous. The glorious Morning Sun, 
holding his court in all his splender, took no notice of the poor 
daughter, and slighted, nay, insulted her ; and lo ! SatI, keenly 
feeling the sting of insult, neglect and humiliation, as only a 
loving and sensitive daughter could feel, paled before her father 
and suddenly died. Siva, hearing of the tragic death of his 
beloved wife, became furious, destroyed the splendid sacrifice 
of Dak?a, and in his mighty grief, roamed over the world, 
with the dead body of SatI flung across his shoulders. 1 The 
Devas fled in all directions, and in their distress, sought the 
help and advice of Vi$nu or the Mid-day Sun, who with a view 
to avert a calamity, cut up the dead body of SatI with his Cakra or 
disc into pieces and flung them about. These cut-up pieces were 
represented in the different phases of the moon, lighted up 
by the solar rays. The third consort of Siva was HaimavatI 
Um or Durga, i.e., the Golden Dawn another form of Isis, 
called Eos in Greek, and Usas in the Veda -who with her 
ten outspread arms was engaged in righting and routing the 
demons of darkness. Durga is represented as mounted on 
a lion, the most ferocious of the beasts of prey that prowl 
about in the night. The lion with his tawny colour, bushy 
manes, strength and ferocity is sometimes compared to the 
Sun (Hari). Durga, Uma, U?as, or the Golden Dawn may 
be said to ride over the first rays of the Morning Sun, in all 
the splendours of her beauty. 

The description of Osiris as given by Diodorus has natur- 
ally led me to explain the meaning of the corresponding Hindu 
myth about Siva and his consorts. About Isis Diodorus says 
that the word " being interpreted, signifies Ancient, the name 
being ascribed to the moon from eternal generations." The 

1 The Moon on the fourteenth night of the dark fortnight rises just before 
tttnrise, and immediately dies away On the Amdvasyd day, clouds sometimes 
gather in the morning, darken the morning sun and spread gloom all around. 
This looks like the grief of Siva on the death of his beloved consort whose 
dead body he flung accross his shoulders and roamed over the world, Sati was 
re-born as Uma, or Usas (Dawn.) 



XIII.] OSIRIS AND RIS. 283 

Greek mythologists "add likewise to her horns, because her 
aspect is such in her increase and in her decrease, represent- 
ing a sickle, and because an ox among the Egyptians is offered 
to her in sacrifice. They hold that these gods (Osiris and 
Isis) govern the whole world, cherishing and increasing all 
things, and divide the year into three parts (that is to say, 
spring, summer and autumn) by an invisible motion, perfecting 
their constant course in that time. And though they are 
in their nature very differing from one another, yet they com- 
plete the whole year with a most excellent harmony and con- 
sent. They say that these Gods in their natures do contri- 
bute much to the generation of all things, the one being of a hot 
and active nature, the other moist and cold, but both having 
some of the air, and that by these, all things are brought 
forth and nourished ; and therefore that every particular being 
in the universe is perfected and completed by the sun 
and moon, whose qualities as before declared are five : 
(i) spirit of quickening efficacy, (2) heat or fire, (3) dryness or 
earth, (4) moisture or water and (5) air, of which the world 
does consist, as a man made up of head, hands, feet and 
other parts. These five they reputed for gods, and the people 
of Egypt, who were the first that spoke articulately, gave 
names proper to their several natures, according to the lang- 
uage they then spoke. And therefore they called the spirit 
Jupiter, which is such by interpretation, because a quickening 
influence is derived from this into all living creatures as from 
the original principle ; and upon that account, he is esteemed 
the common parent of all things" J . 

The above extracts at once recall to our mind some of 
the tenets of the Hindu Philosophy which, based on the Rg- 
vedic cosmogony, admits of the existence of two principles 
in the universe, the Male and the Female the Positive and 
the Negative the Active and the Passive the Purusa and the 
Prakfti as they are called by the Hindu philosophers, from 

* ffist. Hist, of the World, Vol. I, p. 279 



284 R&EDIC INDIA. [CHAP, 

whose union the material world and all life have been pro- 
duced. The five qualities mentioned by Diodorous are the 
five Tatvas of Hindu Philosophy, or primordial elements, vie. 
Ksiti (earth), Ap (water), Tejas (heat), Marut (air) and 
Byom (sky or ether), from a combination of which every 
thing has been created. It will thus be seen that the resem- 
blance between the Hindu and the Egyptian philosophies is 
striking. 

Diodorus further says : " Fire they (the Egyptians) called 
by interpretation Vulcan, and him they held in veneration 
as a great god, as he greatly contributed to the generation and 
perfection of all beings whatsoever. 

" The Earth as the common womb of all production they 
called Meter a (cf. Sansk. Mdtf]^ as the Greeks in process of 
time by a small alteration of one letter, and an omission of 
two letters, called the Earth Demetra which was anciently 
called Gen Metera, or the Mother Earth. 

" Water or Moisture, the ancients called Oceanus, which 
by interpretation, is a nourishing mother and so taken by 
some of the Grecians. 

" To the Air they gave the name of Minerva, signifying 
something proper to the nature thereof, and called her the 
daughter of Jupiter, and counted a virgin, because the air 
naturally is not subject to corruption, and is the highest part 
of the Universe whence rises the fable that she was the issue 
of Jupiter's brain." l 

11 And these are the stories " continues Diodorus, " told 
by the Egyptians of the heavenly and immortal gods. And 
besides these, they sav, there are others that are terrestrial, 
which were begotton of these former gods, and were originally 
mortal men, but by reason of their wisdom and beneficence 
to all mankind have obtained immortality, of which some have 
been kings of Egypt, some of whom by interpretation have 

* Hist. Hist, of the World, Vol. I, p. 280. 



XIII.] MENES AND *&NU. 285 

had the same names with the celestial gods, others have kept 
their own names." l 

This will explain why, besides the gods of the Egyptian 
hierarchy, were also kings and queens of the names of Osiris 
and Isis etc. who were regarded as demi-gods, and afterwards 
identified with the cosmic deities themselves. It is not at all 
unnatural for a people who had left their ancestral home and 
settled in a foreign country, to set up a new hierarchy after 
the names of the gods of the motherland, in order to reconcile 
themselves thoroughly to the condition of the country of their 
adoption. It was probably on this principle that their first 
great king may have been named Menes or Mena after the 
great Manu of their motherland, and sometimes identified 
with Osiris (the sun) himself, as Manu of India was regarded 
the offspring of the Sun and called Vaivasvata. In this con- 
nection, it should be noted here that the Rgvedic Aryans also 
believed that some of their gods were originally men who on 
account of their piety, wisdom and beneficent exploits, were 
raised to the status of gods. For example, the Rbhus, (Rv. 
i. no, 2. 3) and the Maruts (Rv. x. 77, 2) were believed 
to have been originally men, who were afterwards transformed 
into Devas on account of their wonderful exploits and valor- 
ous deeds. This belief must have been taken to Egypt by 
the immigrants from India. 

What with these striking resemblances and similarities in 
social customs and manners, religious dogmas and beliefs, 
and political life and institutions of the ancient Egyptians and 
the Indo-Aryans, what with the ancient tradition of the 
Egyptians themselves that their forefathers had come from the 
Land of Punt, " the dwelling of the Gods/ 1 what with the 
anthropological evidences, as adduced by Heeren and others, 
establishing a similarity between the skulls of the ancient 
Egyptians and the Indian races, what with the fact that the 
ancient names of the country and the great river that flows 

i Ibid, Do. Do. 



286 $G\*DIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

through it, as well as the names of the principal Egyptian 
deities can be satisfactorily traced to words of Sanskrit origin 
only, and what with the wonderful coincidence of the Egyp- 
tian with the Aryan Mythology, one is forced to the irresist- 
ible conclusion that a branch or branches of the Indo-Aryan 
race, or aryanised Dravidians, probably the Pandyas, must 
have emigrated from India to Egypt in pre-historic times (as 
some other branches of the same race or races did to some of 
the neighbouring countries viz.^ Phoenicia, Chaldea and Elam 
&c.) and finding the valley of the Nile fertile, secluded (a- 
guptd)) and secure from the invasion of enemies, settled there 
and founded a civilisation which was essentially Aryan, though 
greatly modified by surrounding influences. If this conjecture 
be correct, the theories about the age of the Indo-Aryan civili- 
sation, as propounded by European savants^ have to be 
reconsidered and recast in the light of the recent discoveries 
made in Egypt and Mesopotamia, and the revised readings 
of their ancient history. Menes was the first king to have 
established the Dynastic rule in Egypt about 4,400 B. C. and 
to have united under one rule the Red and White crowns 
which probably represented the two branches of the Solar 
(Red) Dynasty and the Lunar (White) Dynasty of the immi- 
grant Indo-Aryans, constantly at war with one another and 
striving for supremacy in ancient Egypt as in ancient India. 
The emigrations of the Indo-Aryans, or aryanised Dravidians 
to Egypt must therefore have taken place long before the 
establishment of Dynastic rule by King Menes, that is to 
say, in the Dvdpara Yuga of the Hindus, and long before the 
battle of Kurukgetra was fought in the plains of the Punjab. 
The Kali Yuga, according to the Hindus, commenced on the 
20th February of 3,102 B. C. at 2 hours 27 minutes and 30 
seconds, and the battle of Kuruk?etra was fought some time 
after this date. l The establishment of the Dynastic rule 

1 " According to the astronomical calculations of the Hindus, the present 
period of the world, Kfdi-Yuga, commenced 3,102 years before the birth of 
Christ on the 20th February at a hours 27 minutes and 30 seconds. They say 



XIII.] EGYPTIAN CHRtf&OLOGY. *8 7 

in Egypt by King Menes had therefore been effected some 
1,300 years before the Kali Yuga commenced ; but even long 
before that event, the Indo-Aryan or the Dravidian immigra- 
tion to Egypt had taken place. It is indeed extremely diffi- 
cult to ascertain the exact period of time, when the Indo- 
Aryans or the Dravidians first immigrated to Egypt. But 
Diodorus says : " From (King) Osiris and (Queen) Isis to 
the reign of Alexander the Great, who built a city after his 
own name, the Egyptian priests reckon above ten thousand 
years, or (as some write) little less than three -and- twenty 
thousand years." l If we accept the first of these two 
calculations, the first immigration of the Indo-Ajryans or the 
aryanised Dravidians to Egypt may have taken' place about 
10,000 B.C., a supposition which would not/seem improbable 
when we take into our consideration the fjct that the sacrifice 
of bulls was a prevailing custom among tipe Egyptians, who 
must have taken it with them from Indi si at a time when the 
custom was in vogue in that country; We find the 
custom discountenanced in the Brahmufys and, therefore, 
may conclude that the immigration had tak^n place before 
these works came to be written. This also goi's to prove the 
hoary antiquity of the Rgveda, as the hymns had been com- 
posed long before any land-communication was established, 
by the drying up of the Rajputana Sea and the formation of 

that a conjunction of planets then took place, and their tables show this con- 
junction Bailly states that Jupiter and Mercury were then in the same degree 
of the ecliptic, Mars at a distance of only eight, and Saturn of seven degrees; 
whence it follows that at the point of time given by the Brahmins as the com- 
mencement of Kali Yuga, the four planets above mentioned must have been 
successively concealed by the rays of the Sun (first, Saturn, then Mars, after- 
wards Jupiter, and lastly Mercury). These then showed themselves in con- 
junction ; and although Venus could not then be seen, it was natural to say that 
a conjunction of the planets then took place. The calculation of the Brahmins 
is so exactly confirmed by our own astronomical tables that nothing but an 
actual observation could have given so correspondent a result." Tktogony if 
the Hindus^ Count Bjornstjarna. 

* Hist. Hist, of tkt World Vol. I. p. 285, 



288 RGVEDIC INDIA, [CHAP. 

the Gangetic plains, between ancient Sapta-Sindhu and the 
Southern Peninsula. It must also have taken thousands of 
years to uplift the Dravidians from their savage condition, 
and impart to them the elements of Aryan civilisation, even 
after the Aryans founded colonies in the south. The tradi- 
tion current among the Phoenicians that they had been in 
Phoenicia for 30,000 years before Alexander the Great 
invaded their country, and the belief of the Chaldean 
priests (probably Brhmans) that their civilisation was 
nearly five hundred thousad years old, though these calcula- 
tions seem to be highly exorbitant and cannot be relied 
upon, also point, as we have already said, to the vast 
antiquity of Rgvedic civilisation. The calculation of the 
age of Indo-Aryan or Dravidian immigration to Egypt is 
indeed modest beside these calculations, and can be taken as 
probable. My surmise is that the first people to immigrate 
to Western Asia from India were the Panis, the ancestors of 
the Phoenicians, then the Cholas from the Coromondal coast, 
and afterwards, the Pandyas from the Malabar coast, who 
however instead of settling in Western Asia, or on the coasts 
of the Persian Gulf, which had already been occupied by the 
Cholas, immigrated directly to Egypt and founded a flourish- 
ing colony there. 

It may be asked that if the Indo-Aryan civilisation was 
really so old, how is it that we cannot go back beyond at most 
three to four thousand years by computing the reigns of the 
kings whose list we find in the Purdnas ? The answer is simple. 
There having been no art of writing in ancient times, no chro- 
nicles were kept of the reigns of the kings who had flourished, 
and the names of such kings only as had distinguished them- 
selves by their beneficent rules passed on from generation 
to generation in popular tradition. It was quite natural that 
people did not care to remember the names of kings whose 
reigns were not distinguished by wars or conquests, or any acts 
of popular good, and therefore were not worth remembering 



HINDU CHRONOLOGY. 289 

at all. And as noble and great king* ne ver fl mrished in 
quick succession, but appeared only once in a v\hile, probably 
at intervals of hundreds of years, their names were few 
and far between, as a matter or course. When writing came 
into vague, an atempt was made to collect and arrange the 
names of those kings who figured in the popular tales, and 
a sort of connection was established between one king and 
another as father and son, though in reality they were 
separated from each other by a gap of several generations. 
The compilers themselves felt the difficulty, and sought to 
overcome it by assigning a fabulous number of years some 
thousands of years, to each reign, which simply proved the 
very hopelessness of their task. The fact is that history in 
the truest sense of the word is a com par itivelv recent product, 
and cannot be older than seven or eight thousand years 
at most, and is probably synchronous with die invention and 
development of the art of writing. So farAs ancient Sapta 
Sindhu was concerned, it was divided wnto a number of 
small states, in which the kings were more jfcike leaders and 
patriarchs of the people than autocrats bent uteon self-aggran- 
disement and making extensive conquests. TheLfive tribes had 
a homogeneous development, and lived in peacfc and amity 
among themselves, combining together only on occasions of 
grave common dangers. Though they sometimes quarrelled 
among themselves, the quarrel never ended in a conquest^ or 
permanant subjugation of one tribe by another, and " Live and 
let live " seemed to have been the one principle that guided 
them. " May you all be united in your endeavours ; may your 
hearts beat in unison ; may your minds not pull different ways, 
but, united, act in harmony " 'Rv. x. 191, 4) such was the 
inspiring prayer that was offered by a Rst who saw a higher 
vision of the purpose of life that the Imlo-Aryan race was 
destined to fulfil than the mere establishment of a mighty empire 
by physical conquest of the world Their wars were only 
directed towards the eliminntion of the discordant elements from 
their community, that proved to be veritable clogs in the wheel 

37 



ago RGVEDIC INDIA, [CHAP. 

of their spiritual progress, and stood in the way of their consum- 
mating the summum bonum of life. As soon as this object was 
accomplished, they plunged again into contemplation, and 
developed such a civilisation, based on satya (truth) and rta 
(right), as has survived the ravages of time and is to last till the 
end of the world, or of the cycle of the human race. This was 
the spirit that dominated and guided the whole nation, men, 
women and even children. There were of course occasional 
lapses and aberrations which are bound to occur in the 
course of the evolution and perfection of all human institutions, 
but these only served as fresh incentives to the nation to apply 
to the noble work with renewed and greater zeal. A nation 
guided by such noble ideals can have no history in the sense 
in which we understand the word ; for nobody would care to 
record the ephemeral achievements or glorious conquests of 
kings, which by the way were regarded as so many obstacles 
to the spiritual evolution of the race, rather than things to be 
proud of. Hence we find the ancient Aryan kings, not in 
the role of leaders of conquering hordes, but as fathers of the 
people, protecting them from outside harm, and helping them 
to live a life of peace and contentment, which was conducive 
to their spiritual culture and the practice of Dharma, which 
literally means " that which upholds." And the Princes 
themselves were more ascetics than gorgeous personages 
rolling in luxury. The King was the wielder of the Danda 
the sceptre, which was emblematic of Dharma, keeping 
people on the path of r*<* (ght), and which would 
destroy even the wielder himself, if he strayed out of 
the path. The history of the ancient Aryans consists of an 
elaborate account of ideal kings like R&ma and Yudhi?thira, 
of moral and spiritual heroes like Bharata, Lak^mana, 
Bhl?ma and Arjuna, of noble and ideal Princesses like Sltft, 
Sivitrl, DamayantI and Draupadl, of ascetic kings like Manu 
and Janaka, of sages like Vasiftha, VigvlUnitra, Bharadvija, 
Ydjnavalkya, VyAsa and V&lmlki, of truthful kings like Harig- 
candra and Da^aratha, of noble spiritual ladies like Maitreyl, 



XIII.] HINDU CHRONOLOGY. 



, Lopamudri, AnasQy4 and Gindhftri, and of noble 
and virtuous persons of even low birth and rank like Vidura, 
Ekalavya, Dharmavy&dha and TulAdhAra. The names of all 
other persons, whether kings or princes, were consigned to 
the limbo of oblivion, as quite unnecessary, and unfit to b 
remembered or chronicled. If history merely means an 
account of kings in chronological order, and of their wars 
and conquests, the ancient Aryans have no history. But if 
it means an account of the people, as they lived and thought, 
of their hopes, aspirations and ideals, of an evolution of 
their civilisation working up to those ideals, of their many. 
sided activities in the domains of ethics, spiritual culture, 
philosophy, literature, arts and sciences, of well-ordered 
social and political institutions making for the evolution of 
the community as a whole as well as of the individual, of a 
constant struggle, both communal and individual, to live up 
to the highest ideal of true manhood, and of bold and deter- 
mined efforts to solve the riddle of life that always stares 
one in the face like the mysterious Egyptian Sphinx, to grasp 
the destiny of humanity as a whole, and to realise oneself 
as a drop in the ocean of the Universal Ego, permeating 
the entire creation, physical and spiritual, then, certainly, 
the Aryans have a history, a history which is unique in 
the world, and unsurpassed by that of any people that ever 
flourished on our globe. The great Veda-Vyasa in the early 
dawn of the Kaliyuga, some 5,000 years ago, compiled such 
a history in the Mahdbharata, the greatest work after the 
Four Vedas, which is aptly called the Fifth Veda (Paftcama 
Veda) and Itihdsa (history). Other sages followed him in his 
foot- step, and compiled the various Pur anas y though all of 
them are fathered on Veda-Vydsa. The compilation of these 
works was undoubtedly made possible only by the invention 
and development of the Br&hml script which is the parent 
of the modern Sanskrit script, and owes its origin entirely 
to the genius of the Aryan race, a script which is admittedly 
the most perfect of all scripts in the world, 



3892 fcCSVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

It would thus appear that the absence of succinct 
chronological accounts of kings and their reigns in the 
sacred Scriptures of the ancient Aryans does not disprove 
the hoary antiquity of their civilisation. The Vlakdbhdrata 
contains many traditions of the ancient Indo- -\ryan race 
which, even at the time of Veda-Vyasa, passed into the 
realm of myths and legends. Without trying to explain 
them, he carefully collected all the legends and traditions 
current in his time and preserved them in his great Itihasa^ 
There are many legends in the Mahabharata relating to the 
emigrations made into foreign countries by some branches of 
the Indo-Aryan people, which admirably fit in with the 
tradition of the ancient Egyptians themselves that their 
forefathers had emigrated from the Land of Punt. It is 
Recorded in the Mahabharata that Garuda led the Ngas or 
serpents fa nomadic Aryan tribe) out of India into a beautiful 
island where the latter settled. Garuda himself carried on 
war with the Devas, and aspired to be their lord, but Vignu 
brought about a compromise by which Garuda submitted 
to the authority of the Devas, and acknowledged their supre- 
macy, though not without first extorting a promise from Vinu 
that he (Garuda) would always be perched over Viuu's head ! 
It is for this reason, says the legend, that Garuda always 
occupies a place on the top of Visnu's chariot or throne. We 
find that the Egyption God M Ra, the Sun, is usually represented 
as a hawk-headed man, occasionally as a man, in both cases 
generally bearing on his head the solar disk... Horus is generally 
hawk-headed, and thus a solar god connected with Ra." J 
The Assyrians also, as we have seen, had gods with the head 
and wings of an eagle. These facts will go to explain to a 
certain extent the Garuda myth of the Aryans. Besides the 
Garudas and the Sarpas or Ndgas, there were other nomadic 
Indo-Aryan tribes under the name of Ydydvaras. (lit. Wan- 
derers). We have already said elsewhere that a sage of the 

1 Bncy. Brit., Vol. VI/ t pp. 7/6-7/7. (Ninth Edition.) 



XIII.] ARYANf EMIGRATIONS. 293 

Y&y&varas whose name was Jaratkiru married the beautiful 
sister of Vasuki, the king of th^ Nigas, and th^ issue of the 
union was the great sage Astika From the legends to be 
found in the Mahdbhirata, it would seem that there were 
constant feuds between the nomadic and the settled tribes of 
the Indo-Aryan race and that these feuds were continued for 
a long time and only put an end to by effecting a compromise, 
or by the nomadic tribes leaving the shores of India for good. 
It is also on record in the MahabhArata that some of the sons 
of King Yayati were banished by their father from the country 
on account of their disobedience and selfishness, and they 
became lords of the Yavanas, Mlecchas and other barbarian 
races. All these legends go to show that long before the 
Mahabhirata was composed, branches of the Indo-Aryan race 
had emigrated from India and settled down in other countries. 
We have seen in this chapter that a branch of this race or the 
aryanised Pdndyas very likely emigrated to Egypt and founded 
a flourishing empire which gave birth to the modern civilisa- 
tion of Europe. A conjecture like this can only explain the 
striking resemblances in physical type, manners, social 
customs, and religious beliefs of two such widely separated 
peoples as the ancient Aryans and the ancient Egyptians. 

The writer of the History of Egypt in the " Historians' 
History of the World " finds great difficulty in arriving at a 
satisfactory conclusion as to the origin of the ancient Egyp- 
tians, in as much as he notices their striking resemblances 
with the Indians in many important respects, and yet cannot 
bring himself to believe that they originally emigrated from 
India. His observations on the point are worth quoting 
here : 

11 The ancients, beyond vaguely hinting at an Ethiopian 
origin of the Egyptians, confessed themselves in the main 
totally ignorant of the subject. And it must be confessed that 
the patient researches of modern workers have not sufficed 
fully to lift the veil of this ignorance. Theories have been 



ag4 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

propounded, to be sure. It was broadly suggested by Heeren 
that one might probably look to India as the original cradle 
of the Egyptian race. Hebrew scholars, however, naturally 
were disposed to find that cradle in Mesopotamia, and some 
later archaeologists, among them so great an authority as 
Maspero, believe that the real beginnings of Egyptian history 
should be traced to equatorial A f rica. But there are no sure 
data at hand to enable us to judge with any degree of certainty 
as to which of these two hypotheses, if any one of them, is 
true. 

" The whole point of view of modern thought regarding 
this subject has been strangely shifted during the last half 
century. Up to that time, it was the firm conviction of the 
greater number of scholars that, in dealing with the races of 
antiquity, we had but to recover some four thousand years 
before the Christian Era. Any hypothesis that could hope to 
gain credence in that day must be consistent with this sup- 
position. But the anthropologists of the past two generations 
have quite dispelled that long current illusion, and we now 
think of the history of man as stretching back tens, or per- 
haps hundreds of thousands of years into the past. 

" Applying a common-sense view to the history of ancient 
nations from this modified standpoint, it becomes at once appa- 
rent how very easy it may be to follow up false clews and 
arrive at false conclusions. Let us suppose, for example, that, 
as Heeren believed and as some more modern investigators 
have contended, the skulls of the Egyptians and those of the 
Indian races of antiquity, as preserved in the tombs of the 
respective countries, bear a close resemblance to one another. 
What, after all, does this prove ? Presumably it implies that 
these two widely separated nations have perhaps had a 
common origin. But it might mean that the Egyptians had 
one day been emigrants from India, or conversely, that the 
Indians had migrated from Egypt, or yet again, that the forbears 
of both nations had, at a remote epoch, occupied some other 
region, perhaps in an utterly different part of the globe from 



XIII.] CRADLE OF THE EGYPTIANS. 295 

either India or Egypt. And even such a conclusion as this 
would have to be accepted with a large element of doubt. 
For up to the present it must freely be admitted that the 
studies of the anthropologists have by no means fixed the 
physical characters of the different races with sufficient clear- 
ness to enable us to predicate actual unity of race or unity of 
origin from a seeming similarity of skulls alone, or even 
through more comprehensive comparison of physical traits, 
were these available. More than this, any such comparison as 
that which attempts to link the Egyptians with the Indians or 
Hebrews or Ethiopians is, after all, only a narrow view of the 
subject extending over a comparatively limited period of time. 
If it were shown that the first members of that race which 
came to be known as Egyptians came to the valley of the Nile 
from India or Mesopotamia or Ethiopia, the fact would have 
undoubted historic interest, but it would after all only take 
us one step further back along the course of the evolution of 
that ancient civilisation, and the question would still remain 
an open one as to what was the real cradle of the race." l 

The real cradle of the race, as we have taken pains to 
point out and prove in these pages, was India, and that of its 
civilisation ancient Sapta-Sindhu. Our readers have seen 
that I hdve not depended upon the evidence of a seeming 
similarity of skulls alone as established by Heeren and other 
scholars, to prove the common origin of, or a close connection 
between the ancient Aryans, or aryanised Dravidians, and 
the ancient Egyptians. The manners, social customs and 
institutions, and religious beliefs and observances of these 
two widely separated races had something of the family like- 
ness in them which cannot fail to strike even the most critical 
mind as very remarkable. Add to this the Sanskrit origin of 
the names of the land, the river, and the gods, and the tradition 
of the ancient Egyptians themselves that they had originally 
come from the Land of Punt. Taking all these evidences and 

> Hist, of the World, Vol. I, pp. 263-264- 



296 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

circumstances into one's consideration, one cannot help fet- 
ing and concluding that the ancient Egyptians were original 
immigrants from India as were the Chaldeans of Mesopota- 
mia and the Phoenicians of the Syrian coast. We have 
proved the hoary antiquity of Rgvedie civilisation, which 
goes back to geological times, at any rate, to the time when 
Sapta-Sindhu was entirely cut off from Southern India by a 
long stretch of sea extending from Assam to the coast of 
modern Gujrat, and when the entire Peninsula was peopled 
by wild savages little removed from the state of brutes. The 
very fact that the first Egyptain king Menes established the 
Dynastic rule about 4400 B. C., from which Egyptian history 
and civilisation really began, makes it absolutely impossible 
that the Egyptians could have emigrated from Egypt to India, 
and imparted their civilisation to the Aryans whose civilisation 
was probably several thousands of ^ears old. Such a 
supposition would be absurd, not to say, ridiculous on the 
very face of it. The real fact was that when the whole world 
was streped in utter darkness, the Rgvedic Aryans on the 
banks of the sacred Sarasvatl and the Sindhu, and in the 
beautiful valley of Kashmir, lighted up the holy Fire of 
Civilisation and Spiritual Culture and kept it burning and 
glowing for thousands of years for the benefit of humanity. 
In a much later age, a few faggots were taken from this 
sacred and burning pile to other countries where they burned 
and glowed spasmodically for some time till they were finally 
extinguished, removed as they were from their original source. 
The ancient civilisations of Babylonia, Assyria, Phoenicia 
and Egypt are now mere names, and things of the past 
beyond all hopes of revival or resuscitation. It is only in 
India that the Ancient Fire still burns and glows on, and 
though blasts and dusts have done much to bedim its radiance, 
it will burn and glow again with its wonted lustre, if properly 
fed with such fuels and libations as are eminently fitted to 
keep it up, viz. a vivid realisation like that of the ancient 
Aryans of the one supreme end and purpose of life, the 



XIII.] DESTINY OF THE ARYANS. 297 

direction of all thoughts, energies and actions towards the 
consirnnUion of that supreme end, the simultaneous culture 
of the b> ly, tninJ 4id $jui, and the? subordination of material 
culture to spiruutl, th* culfcvrttkw oi catWUcily, charity and 
toleration, the subordination of the self to higher good, the 
realisation of the divinity in man, irrespective of caste, greed 
or rank, the merging of the individual in the Universal Eg$, 
the cultivation of the spirit of self-sacrifice for accomplishing 
communal good, and the development of that beatific vision 
that sees God in everything and everything in God an all- 
round culture which is the special heritage of the Aryan r^ce 
from their glorious ancestors who occupied the position of 
world-teachers, and vividly realised their own destiny. It 
was therefore not a mere vain boast that the great Mtnu 
indulged in, when he inspiringly declared : ''From the first* 
born (the Brahmans) of this country let all the peoples of the 
Earth learn the guiding principles of their life and con- 
duct 1 a boast which was partially fulfilled in the past, and 
waits to be completely fulfilled in the days to come. 

1 Manu, Ch. n, 20 



CHAPTER XIV. 

INDO-ARYAN INFLUENCE IN WESTERN ASIA. 

We have traced in the previous chapters the unmi*takable 

stamp of Aryan culture and civilisation on those of ancient 

Babylonia, Assyria, Phoenicia and Egypt. We have also 

shown that branches of the Iranians emigrated to Europe, 

and mixed with the Slavs, and that the main body of the tribe 

settled in Iran, Persia, or Parsua as it used to be called. 

The Iranians were ''a fine vigorous type of humanity, living 

by agriculture and cattle-rearing, and skilled in the use of the 

spear and the bow. Horse-breeding, on which the tribes of 

Iran prided themselves, was assiduously pursued, and hunts 

in the mountains offered rich gains, and hardened the inews 

of men for war. Other agricultural tribes \\ere the PctnthU- 

laeans and the Darusiaeans, who probably da eh fu'ther to the 

east, and the Germanians or Karmanians in the high-lands of 

Karman. The wilder parts of the mountains and the btrppes 

and deserts of the coasts were occupied by predatory nomads, 

some of them very barbaric, the majority of whom must be 

ranked under the head of Persians. Such were the Mardans, 

the neighbours of the Elymaeans (Elamites), Uxians (Persian 

Uvadza, now Chuzistan) and the Kossaeans in the Zagros ; 

the Sagartians (Persian Asagarta) in the central desert, the 

Utians (Persian Jutija) in the Karmanian coast districts, and 

the Dropicians ; the name Dahae or 'robbers' is also found 

here, as in the Turanian steppe. These tribes no more 

constituted a political unity than did those of Media ; divided 

among various districts, the peasants lived in patriarchal 

conditions under hereditary princes, and were continually at 

\var with the robbers and nomads, while they were protected 

by the 'household gods' \\lio sheltered from sterility and 

foes." 1 

1 Hist. Hist, of tht World, Vol. II, p. 569, 



XIV.] DAH/E AND PERSIANS. 099 

These Aryan robbers and nomads, some of whom were 
known as Dahae (Sansk. Dasyus or robbers) had been, it 
should be rernembere 1, the pests of Sapta-Sindhu, before 
they were driven out by the Rgvedic Aryans. When the 
Iranians and other Aryan tribes emigrated from India, and 
settled in Persia, Media, Elam and other parts of Western 
Asia, these robbers proved as much pests to them as they 
had proved to the Rgvedic Aryans in Sapta-Sindhu. Tne 
civilised Aryan settlers, however, managed to keep them 
away from their territories, and probably drove most of them 
westward until, further pressed forward by other civilised 
and more powerful tribes, they were compelled to pass out of 
Asia into Europe through the isthmus of Bosphorus. The 
route of march of th*se wild Aryan savages must have been 
along the southern coast of the Black Sea, through the 
ancient province known as Pontus, which is the same word 
as the Sanskrit Panthd meaning "highway." The mountains 
and forests of Media, Armenia, Pontus, Cappadocia, Galatia, 
Mysia and Lydia must have afforded them sufficient refuge 
and facility for hunting to induce them to hang about and 
tarry in those regions for a long time, until they were ousted 
from possession and pressed forward again by other more 
powerful tribes, leaving such residues in all the regions as 
chose to remain by adopting more civilised and peaceful 
ways of living. As the Mediterranean Sea barred their 
further progress westward, they naturally turned towards the 
north and went over to Europe, scattering themselves, along 
with other Asiatic nomads, east, west, north and south. 

Of all the Aryan tribes that were compelled to leave 
Sapta-Sindhu, and passed westward, " the Persians were the 
first Aryans to achieve a great world empire within historic 
times. With them the Aryan race became dominant in the 
Western world, and it has so continued to the present time. 
The Persians themselves maintained the first place among 
the nations only for about two centuries, or from the time of 



Cyrts ttfitft the Asiatic conquest of Alexatidtr the Great. 
And the sceptre which they laid down was taken up by 
Western nations akin to them in speech, and passed on from 
otte to another people of the same great Indo-Germanic race 
the two and a half millenniums which separate the 



time <rf Cyrus from our own. Hut it is not only because of 
their kinship with European nations that the Persians are of 
interest. Their history has intrinsic importance. Theirs 
was unquestionably the mightiest empire the world had seeti, 
siftce secure history began. It extended from India on the 
efcftt to the extreme confines of Asia in the west and the 
north-west, and beyond them to include Egypt. It even 
threatened at one time, through the subjugation of Greece, 
to irtvade Europe as well, and numberless writers have 
moralised on the great change of destiny that would have 
fallen to the lot of Western civilisation, had their threat been 
made effective. All such moralising of course is but guess- 
work, and it may be questioned whether most of it has any 
validity whatever. For the truih seems to be that the Persians 
were much more nearly akin to the European intellect than a 
study of their descendants of recent generations would lead 
one to suppose. It is everywhere conceded that they sprang 
from the same stock, and their most fundamental traits show 
many points of close resemblance." 1 

It should be remembered, however, that the great Persian 
Empire flourished after the kingdoms of Babylonia, Assyria, 
Phoenicia and Egypt had declined. It would therefore be 
wrong to suppose that they were the first to achieve greatness 
in the line of building empires or developing a world civilisa- 
tion. But it mufct be conceded that the extent of their empire 
aad jK>wer was greater than that of the ancient Babylonians, 
or Egyptians, and that, while these nations were 
peoples, the -ancient Persians were undoubtedly of pure 
Aryan descent. The great Eonperor Darius who ascended 

> ibid, Vol. II, p. 565, 



XIV.] MITAtfNIANS. ! 

the throne of Persia about 521 B. C. described himself with 
pride not only as a Persian but "an Aryan of Aryan race." 
Such, at any rate, is the inscription on his tomb. 

But more than 1000 years before the flourishing of the Per- 
sian Empire, othrr powerful and enterprising Aryan tribes had 
appeared in Western Asia from Sapta-Sindhu directly, as 
is evidenced by the names of the Gods whom they worshipped 
and invoked and who were the identical deities worshipped 
by the Vedic Aryans themselves. Such Aryan tribes were the 
Mitannians, theKos*ae*n, the Hittites or Khetas, the Phrygians 
and others. " The kingdom of Mitanni," says Rogers, " must 
take its place among the small states which have had their 
share in influencing the progress of the world> but whose own 
history we are unable to trace." This kingdom was situated 
to the north-west of the kingdom of Babylonia and west of 
Assyria, between the Tigris and the Euphrates in their upper 
courses. It was called Niharain by the Egyptians, and Ararn- 
Naharain in the Bible. Tehutimes I of Egypt reached this 
kingdom about 1580 B, C. during his Asiatic campaign, and 
in a battle fought on the borders, the king of Mitanni was 
defeated. Tehutimes erected a stele on the Euphrates to 
mark the limits of his dominion or rather conquest, and then 
turned back, richly laden, to Thebes. From this time forth, 
there was constant intercourse between the Nile and the 
Euphrates. In 1522 B. C. Tehutimes III extended his conquest 
as far as Mitanni which was made tributary to Egypt. 

From the Tel-el-Amarna letters we know that between 
the years 1470 B C. and 1400 B. C. there reigned in Mitanni 
four kings whose names were Artatana, Artasuma, Sutarna 
and Dashiatta, the last name resembling the Sanskrit word 
Dafaratha. The other names also bear a close resemblance 
to Sanskrit. Hugh Winckler discovered in 1909 at Boghar 
Keui, situated in Cappadocia, a clay tablet containing the 
terms of a treaty made by the king of Mitanni, in which the 
Vedic Gods Mitra-Varu&a, Indra, and the Nisatyas (the twin 



RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

) were invoked. 1 Mitra-V.irutti have b^cn mentioned 
together in tlie clay tablet, as in the RjveJa. Indra, as our 
readers know, was ihe principal Vedic drily \\lio, however, 
was discarded by the Iranians. The word Nfisatyas used to 
be pronounced by the Iranians as Nahatyas. It would, there- 
fore, appear that the Mitannians were a branch of the V^dic 
Aryans, and not of the Iranians and they must have emigrated 
to Western Asia directly fro n Sipta-Smdhu, \\here alone, as 
is admitted by all scholars, the Vedtc religion had its birth. 
When did this emigration take place, it is very difficult to 
ascertain ; but it may have been accomplished long before 
the powerful Assyrian kingdom, which \va* situated just to 
thr east of Mitanni, flourished. It is admitted by archaeologists 
that Nineveh, the capital of A^syrU, was in existence in 
3,000 B. C, and the early rulers appear to have been subject 
priest-princes of the kings of Babylonia. 

The Mitannians made alliances with the Kossaeans and 
the Hittites to resist the invasion of the Egyptian kings about 
1,400 B C. The power of the Hittites at this time became 
formidable. They threatened the Egvptian provinces in Syria 
and the Mitannians were instrumental in driving the Egyptians 
from the land of the Amorites. 

During the period of Egyptian subjection of Mitanni, its 
kings gave their daughters in marriage to some of the kings of 
the XVII Ith Dynasty of Egypt. Tihutimes IV married a 
Mitannian Princess. His successor Amenhotep III married a 
wife of foreign origin and religion, named Thi. He also 
married Gilukhipa (or Kirgipa), daughter of the king of 
Mitanni. It was Tihutimes IV who, probably under the in- 
fluence of his Mitannian wife, discarded the Great Sphinx 
and restored the old cult of Horemkhu (" The sun in the two 
horizons"). His successor, Amenhotep III, who, as we have 
said, also married a Mitannian Princess, brought to Thebes 
the religion of Aten, the solar disk, an'! in the tenth year of 

Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society No. 25 pp, 722-723 (1909). 



XIV.] KOSS^EANS. 



303 



his reign, inaugurated a festival at Karnak in honour of the 
new religion. And his successor, Amenhotep IV, to free 
himself from the power of the high priest at Thebes, deter- 
mined to have a new capital for his kingdom, for which Aten 
should be the supreme God. The religion of Aten was 
probably the most ancient form of the religion of Ra. The 
disk before which protestations were made was not only the 
shining and visible form of the divinity, it was the God himself. 
For the introduction of this new religion, the last kings of this 
Dynasty were distinguished by the name of " Heretic kings." 
It is believed by Rogers that this change of religion in Thebes 
was brought about by the influence of the Mitannian Princess- 
es. 1 The Mitannians having been the worshippers of Vedic 
Gods, the predilection of the Princesses for the worship of 
th-* Sun and the establish n^tit of a pure religion would be 
most natural. 

Tne K >$-aeitn or K is*it *s K ushu) were another Aryan 
tribi whi inhibit *tl tie mmitiin-i of Zagrosin Elam, which 
was situUeJ to the east of ancient Babylonia and the south of 
Persia or Iran. In about 1800 B. C. the last Sumerian king 
of Babylonia was defeated, and Babylonia conquered by the 
Kassites or Kossaeans under Kandish (Gandis) or Gaddas, 
who established a dynasty which lasted for 576 years and nine 
months. "Under the foreign domination, Babylonia lost its 
empire over Western Asia. Syria and Palestine became 
in<lrpen<lent, and the high priests of Asshur made themselves 
kings of Assyria. The divine attributes \\ith which the 
Semite kings of Babylonia had been invested disappeared at 
the same time ; the title of * ^ od ' is never given to a Kassite 
sovereign. Babylon, however, remained the capital of the 
king'lom, and the holy city of Western Asia. Like the 
sovereigns of ihe Holy Roman Empire, it \\as necessary for 
the Prince who claimed lule in Western Asia to go to Babylon 
and there be acknowledged as the adopted son of Bel before 

R, W. Rogers' History of Babylonia and Assyria, Vol. I, p. HO- 



3* RGVftmC ftfffiA. 

his claim to legitimacy could be admitted. Babylon became 
more and more a priestly city, living on its ancient prestige 
and merging its ruler into a p>ntiff. Fron henceforth d \vn 
to the Persian era, it was thvi religious h^ad of the civilised 
cast."! 

Some later K<>saem kings of Babylonia, viz , Kadaslunan 
Bel and Burni-buriusli 1 corresponded with the Kg\ ptian 
Pharaohs, Amenhotep III and A nenhot^p IV (1400 B. C.), 
The Assyrian king, Asshur-Uballit, still owned allegiance to 
his Babylonian suzerain, and intermarriages took place between 
the royal families of Assyria and Babylonia. The latter, 
moreover, still sought opp ntunities of recovering its old 
supremacy in Palestine, which the conquests of the XVlIIth 
Dynasty had made an Egyptian province, and along with the 
Mitannians and the Htttites, intrigued against the Egyptian 
government with disaft^ctsd conspiritors in the west. The 
Kossae in dynasty came to an end in 230 B. C , after which 
the Assyrian kings became the masters of Babylonia. 

It would thus appear that the Kossaeans played a great 
part in the ancient history of Western Asia. That they were 
pure Aryans from Sapta-Sindnu is proved by the names of 
their principal deities, Suryas (the Sun) and Mariettas 
(Afaruts, or the winds). Their language also bore a strong 
resemblance to Sanskrit, and the Kossaean kings described 
themselves in the inscriptions as Kharis or Aryas. 

11 There is little doubt " says Mr, H. R Hall in \\\sAncient 
History of the Near East (p. 201) "that the Kassites (Kossaeansj 
were Indo-Europeans, and spoke an Aryan tongue. Their 
chief god was Suryash, the sun, the Indian Surya and Greek 
Hyros ; their word for ' god ' was bugash> the Slav bogu t and 
Phrygian bagaios. The termination ash which regularly 
appears at the end of their names is a nominative, corres- 
ponding to the Greek 0s (cf. Sansk. as or su). Such a name 



XIV.] HITTITES. 



3<>5 



as Indabugash is clearly Aryan. They were evidently the 
advance-guard of the Indo-European southern movement 
which colonized Iran and pushed westward to the borders of 
Asia \finor. In the north the king lorn of Mitanni was about 
this time established between the Euphrates and Tigris by 
Aryans who must hive been of the same stock as the Kassites 
who conquered Babylonia. The names of the kings of Mitanni 
which are known to us in later times are Aryan, and among 
the gods of Mitanni we find the Indian Varuna, Indra, and 
the Nasatya twins (Afvins).*' All this goes clearly to show 
that the Kassites as well as the Mitannians were direct 
immigrants from India where the Vedic gods had been 
worshipped from time immemorial, and the Vedic hymns 
composed in a far earlier age. My surmise is that the disper- 
sion of these Aryan tribes took place after the battle of Kuru- 
kfetra that had been fought about 2,500 B. C, and had made 
the K$atriya race nearly extinct in India. Those that sur- 
vived this general ruin migrated towards the west and settled 
in various parts of Asia Minor, founding powerful kingdoms, 
and maintaining their national and tribal characteristics for 
a long time. But afterwards they were gradually absorbed 
by the Semites, and the only relics of their once having 
belonged to the great Aryan race are now to be found in 
their statues, writings on bricks and engravings on stones 
and monuments, and in the names of their kings and gods. 

The Hittites, who lived in a region to the north-west of 
Mitanni, and the north of Phoenicia, were probably also a 
branch of the Aryan race, though European scholars are not 
agreed as to who they were, and whence they came. That 
they were a non-Semitic race is, however, admitted by all. 

11 The Peninsula of Asia Minor is so situated geographi- 
cally that it is the. only highway between Asia and Europe, 
much as Palestine is the highway between Asia and Africa. 
The peoples which inhabited it were therefore necessarily, 
in some sense, a buffer between the great nations of the twe 

39 



3to6 RGVEDIC INDIA. 

cotttiftents. For the most part, the role they played, at any 
rfcte in later history, was a comparatively insignificant one. 
It is becoming more and more evident that there was a time 
in Mfciettt hittcry using the term in the ordinary or relative 
sfcfisfc when the people who inhabited Asia Minor, took a 
foremost rank among the nations of their time as a warlike 

aftd conquering race They are vaguely referred to in 

the Bible records as descendants of Heth, son of Canaan, 
thfe son of Hern, and they are mentioned as one of the seven 
Caabamte tribes, but no one now-a-days ascribes great 
historical importance to these Hebrew records." 1 

It appears that the Hittites were one of the most power- 
ful and warlike of ancient nations. The Egyptians called 
them Khetas, and the Assyrians Khattis. From their very 
warlike character and their name, it seems to me that they 
were originally an Aryan tribe, belonging to the caste of 
Kfatriyas, and Khatti, Kheta, or Hittite were meiely corrupt* 
ed forms of the original Sanskrit word. That they were a 
very powerful people would appear from the fact that 
" several centuries before our era, the Hittites founded a 
powerful empire in Western Asia, probably with outlying 
provinces in Africa, and even in Europe as far west as Italy. 
The greatness of this nation we are able to conjecture from 
the numerous references made to it in the Bible and Egyptian 
history, and from the mighty monuments of its power that 
Still exist. The carved figures on these monuments and the 
representations given by the Egyptians prove the Hittites 
to have been of an altogether different physical type from 
ikt Semites, and> therefore, of a different race \ but their 
origin has not been clearly determined. "2 

From their language also they appear to have been a 
noa-Semitic tribe. It is held by scholars that their language 
was '* characteristic and more sharply defined from any 

1 Hist. Hist of the World Vol. II, p. 391. 
IU*< p. 393 



ttrrrtTM. 

known contemporary tongue, and though the point is net 
yet as fully established as might fee wished, it is thought that 
the evidence in hand justifies the conclusion that the Hittitei 
were not a Semitic race. It has been even suggested that 
they had Mongoloid affinities. If such was the case, the 
Hittites were related rather to the people of the north 
and north-east, to the Scythians, perhaps even to the 
Chinese than to their neighbours of the south. But all 
these questions must await the results of future investiga* 
tions. For the moment, the Hittites are only just beginning 
to be revealed to us as a great conquering nation of Western 
Asia, who at one time rivalled the Egyptians and the 
Mesopotamians, but the memory of whose deeds had almost 
altogether faded from the minds of later generations/' 1 

The figures of the sculptures left by the Hittites arc 
always represented as wearing a peculiar form of shoe with 
upturned toe, a form which appears typical of India. They 
are also credited with having invented a hieroglyphic script 
of absolutely independent origin. But as yet very little 
progress has been made towards the decipherment of this 
new form of writing. 

The Hittites were obstinate fighters, and put up a tough 
fight against Pharaoh Tehutimes III and Seti. But they are 
memorable in Egyptian history because of the great battle of 
Kadesh, their city on the Orontes, in which Ramses II so 
distinguishsd himself. The feats of Ramses are described 
in an Egyptian war-poem which is stilt extant under the 
name of " The war-poem of Pentaur." A treaty of peace, 
however, was concluded by Ramses with the KhatU King, 
Khatusil (Sanskrit, Ksatra*sri ?) or Khatasar, which word 
may be a corruption of the Sanskrit word Ksdtrtsvar&) th 
lord of t^e Kfatftyas. The text of the treaty has been 
discovered in an inscription on the temple of K*rnak in 
which the name Sutekh, the supreme god of the Kheta, 

#fc*. ffist. of the World, Vo1 !!., p. 397- 



RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

was lord of heaven and earth, has been mentioned. Sutekh 
was probably a corrupted form of the Sanskrit word 
Odtakratu, which was a name of Indra. 

It will be recalled that an alliance was formed by the 
Hittites with the Mitannians and the Kossaeans 'against the 
Egyptians. This alliance was made by these peoples pro- 
bably in consequence of their natural affinity in race. The 
Scythians were an extremely barbarous and cruel people, 
mostly addicted to a nomadic life. It is not at all likely from 
the advanced state of the civilisation of the Hittites that they 
belonged to that race. The figures on the Hittite sculptures 
also do not resemble the Mongoloid type or the Chinese. 
The probability, therefore, is that they were Aryans. Further 
investigations into their early history may lead to the es- 
tablishment of the truth of this hypothesis. 

It may be mentioned here that the Hittites worshipped 
MA (the Universal Mother) and Attis (Vedic Atri> or the 
Sun), and probably also Mithras (Vedic Afttra)> and M6n, 
the moon (Iranic Mao). All these gods must have been 
introduced from India or Iran. These deities, however, are 
not mentioned in the list of the Hittite gods in the Treaty 
of Ramses II with Khattusil or Khatasar. On the rocks of 
the shrine of Yasili Kaya are found the sculptured figures of 
" a goddess, Cybele or MA, standing upon a lion as she does 
on the coins of Greek and Roman times, and wearing upon 

her head a turreted head-dress Behind her is a youthful 

war-god, armed with an axe, and also mounted upon a lion, 
who accompanies her, as the young god does the goddess 
on Cretan seals. He must be Attis." At Yasili Ka\a and 
at Malatiya (l the Hittite deities " says Mr. H. R. Hall in his 
Ancient History of the Near East (p. 331) "are often 
accompanied by animals in quite Indian fashion, and some- 
times stand upon them. This was a peculiarity, characteristic 
of Anatolian iconography down to the latest times. // may 
be thdt it was a feature borrowed from Aryan religion" 



XIV.] PHRYGIANS. 309 

Mr. Hall would have been more correct in saying that it was 
brought by the Hittites themselves direct from Aryan 
India. The Hittites had a male god in the form of a bull, 
and a female god in the form of a lioness, and the deities 
were sometimes represented as riding on them. In an old 
coin of Ancient Syria (which belonged to the Hittites) are 
found the figures of a goddess mounted on a lion, and of 
a god mounted on a bull. These figures undoubtedly 
resemble those of the god Siva and the goddess Durgi of 
the Hindu Pantheon of the Paur&nic age. If the Hittites 
came from India, they must have done so at an age when 
the Vedic religion gave away to the Paurinic, and Siva and 
Durgft were the popular deities in that land. The first 
historical mention of the Hittites or the Khatti occurs about 
1750 B. C, when they invaded Babylon in the reign of king 
Samsuditana, and the Hittite kingdom lasted till noo B. C. 
If this was the Paurinic age in India, how old and early 
must have been the Rgvedic age, and how absurd would 
be the computation of that age by European and American 
scholars, who have put it down at 1000 B. C., or at most 
1500 B. C. ! 

The Phrygians who lived in the centre of Asia Minor 
were admittedly an Aryan tribe. Phrygia is a country of 
many mountains and numerous river valleys. The fertility 
of the latter was always remarkable, and in the northern 
boundaries, at the sources of the river Sangarius, wide 
stretches of pasture land afforded nourishment for sheep. 
Grapes also were extensively cultivated. 

" The ancient Phrygians were an agricultural people, 
and the strange rites of their religious worship all had 
reference to the renewal and decay of Nature. The 4 Phrygian 
mother ' who was called by the Greeks Rhea or Cybele, and 
whose name in the Phrygian language is said to have been 
AmmA, had her temple at the foot of mount Agdus, near 
Pessmus, where she was served by hosts of priests. She was 



jto RGVfctHC ffffclA. 

worshipped in the temple under the guise of a formless stone, 
slid to have fallen from heaven, and was contrived of as 
driving over the mountains in a chariot, and wearing a crown 
of towers over her head. The beloved of Cybele was Attys, 
and the festivals of his birth and death were celebrated with 
wild grief and frantic joy, and accompanied by barbarous 
and unlovely rites, much like those of the worship of Adonis 
at Byblus. Cybele represents nature, or nature as the 
producer of life, and the birth and death of Attys typify the 
spring and autumn of the years. 01 

Now it would appear that Ammd, the name of the 
14 Phrygian mother/* is equivalent to the Sanskrit word Ambd 
which means " mother," Cybele was the same as the Vedic 
goddess Prithivi (Earth) or Cybebe as she used to be called 
by the Lydians, another ancient Aryan tribe of \sia Minor. 
Attys is no other than Atn who has been described in the 
Rgveda (v. 40, 7) as a friend of the Sun whom he released 
from the clutches of Svarbhanu (Eclipse). There are many 
legends in connection with Atri in the Rgveda, one of which 
is that the Asuras confined him in a torture-house having 
one hundred doors and lighted up a fire, fed and kept alive 
by chaffs of corn as fuel, with the object of torturing him. 
It was the A^vins, however, who extinguished the fire by 
pouring water upon it, and released Atri. (Rv. i. 100, 8). 
This Atri in the fiery torture-house was undoubtedly the 
summer-sun, and his sufferings during the three hot months 
only came to an end when the rains began to fall, thereby 
cooling the atmosphere. That Cybele or Cybebe was Mother 
Earth is undoubted, as she was represented by a shapless 
meteoric stone that fell from heaven. Cybele was, therefore, 
identified with the sky as well as Terra firma or hard earth. 
We have a whole Sakta in the Rgveda (v. 84) in praise of 
the goddess Pritkni who has been identified both with 
An far Ufa the sky) as well as the Earth. The beloved of 
1 Hist. Hist, oftht World, Vol. II, p. 414. 



XIV.] PHRYGIANS AND LVDIANS. 3 #j 

Cybele i.e., Earth or Nature was Attys or the Sun in the 
Phrygian land. When winter came, and the power of the 
Sun declined, the aspect of Nature became dejected 
and mournful; but when the Sun gained power again in 
spring and summer, Nature became enlivened with fresh 
foliage and flowers, and joyous with the songs of birds. 
These were the occasions of the festivals among the Phrygians 
festivals of grief and joy respectively. 

Bagaios was the name of the supreme God of the 
Phrygians, and this God is the same as the Vedic God Bhaga, 
and the Avestic God of the same name. In the Slavonic 
languages also Bogu denotes the supreme deity. " The 
Armenians," says Dr. Isaac Taylor " are believed to have 
been an eastern extension of the Phrygians, who themselves 
have been identified with the Briges of Thrace. Thus of 
the few Phrygian words which we possess, Bagaios, the 
Phrygian name of the Supreme God, is the Iranian Bhaga, 
and the Slavonic Bogu. Hence we may conjecture that 
Phrygian and Thracian might supply some of the missing 
links between Greek, Armenian, Slavonic and Iranian." 1 

Herodotus says that the Egyptians regarded the 
Phrygians to be the oldest people in the world ; but the 
Greeks thought that they came from Thrace and were 
originally called Brigians. The Phrygians, however, while 
owning the relationship to the Brigians of Thrace, declared 
themselves to be the older people. And probably they were 
right. Modern writers are disposed to attribute an Armenian 
origin to both races. But whether the Phrygians were of 
Armenian origin or not, there can be no doubt that they had 
a racial affinity with them as with the Iranians also. This 
establishes a continuous link of the Aryan race along the 
" high way " between Asia and Europe. The Phrygians 
must have been a branch of the Bfjis of the Rgveda. some 
of whom probably settled in Asia Minor as Phrygians, while 

1 Talyor's Origin of the Aryans, p. 267. 



3*2 fcGVEDIC INDIA. 

others crossed over to Europe and settled in Thrace under 
the name of Briges " There are indications which serve to 
show that the Phrygians once extended tht-ir rule over a 
much wider area than that assigned to their country in our 
maps of the ancient world; that they held command of the 
sea-board, and were even found beyond the ,/Egean." 1 This 
shows Aryan expansion over Europe. The Slavs, as we have 
elsewhere said, were probably a branch of the Iranians who, 
in the course of their wanderings westward from Airyana 
Vaejo most likely under the leadership of Yima, in the inter- 
glacial epoch, left residues on the line of their march through 
Armenia, Phrygia, Lydia, and other provinces of Asia Minor, 
and through Thrace in Europe, till they settled in North 
Russia. They could not have marched through the steppes 
of Central Asia, which were in ancient times covered by a 
large sea, and probably did not exist in those times. 

Another Aryan people were the Lydians who, after the 
disappearance of the Hittites, attained a degree of prominence 
that makes them an object of particular interest to the 
present-day student of ancient history. " As to the origin 
of the Lydians and their early history, all is utterly obscure. 
It is not even very clearly known whether they are to be 
regarded a Semitic, Aryan or Turanian race ; most likely 
they were a mixed race, and owed to this fact the relative 
power which they attained/' 2 

Tradition ascribes to them three dynasties of kings, 
which are commonly spoken of as the Attyadac, Heraclidae 
and the Mermnadae. The first of these dynasties is altogether 
mythical, and the second very largely so. Under the Merm- 
nadae, Lydia became a maritime as well as an inland power. 
They conquered some of the Greek cities, and the coast of 
Ionia was included within the Lydian kingdom. Under the 
great Croesus, the Lydian kingdom became a Lydian empire, 

Hist. Hist, ofth* World, Vol. II, p. 4'4- 
Hit*. Hist, oftk* World, Vol. II p. 4*1. 



XIV.] LYDIANS. 313 

and all Asia Minor westward of the Halys, with the exception 
of Lycia, owned the supremacy of Sardis, the capital of 
Lydia, which never again shrank back into its original 
dimensions. 

11 The language, so far as can be judged from its scanty 
remains, was Indo-European, and was more closely related 
to the western than to the eastern branch of the family. The 
race was probably a mixed one consisting of aborigines and 
Aryan immigrants. It was characterised by industry and a 
commercial spirit, and before the Persian conquest, by bravery 
as well." 1 

" The religion of the Lydians resembled that of the other 
civilised nations of Asia Minor. It was a Nature- worship, 
which at times became wild and sensuous. By the side of 
the supreme god Medeus stood the sun-god Attys, as in 
Phrygia, the chief object of the popular cult. He was at once 
the son and bridegroom of Cybele or Cybebe, the mother of 
the gods.... Like the Semitic Tammuz or Adonis, he was the 
beautiful youth who had mutilated himself in a moment of 
frenzy or despair, and whose temple was served by eunuch 
priests. Or again, he was the dying snn-god, slain by the 
winter, and mourned by Cybebe, as Adonis was by Aphrodite 
in the old myth which the Greeks had borrowed from 
Phoenicia." 2 

Cybebe became " the mother of Asia," and at Ephesus, 
where she was adored under the form of a meteoric stone, 
was identified with the Greek Artemis, " The priestesses by 
whom she was served were depicted in early art as armed with 
the double-headed axe, and the dances they performed in her 
honour with shield and bow gave rise to the myths which saw 

in them the Amazons, a nation of woman-warriors The 

prostitution whereby the Lydian girls gained their dowries 

4 Ibid, Vol. II p. 424- 
Ibid, p. 424- 

40 



314 RGVED1C INDIA. [CHAP. 

was a religious exercise as among the Semites, which marked 
their devotion to the goddess Cybele." 1 

In the above extracts, we can easily identify Medeus, the 
supreme god of the Lydians, with the early Vedic god 
Mitra, and Attys, the Phrygian and Lydian sun -god, with 
Atri. We have already identified Cybebe with Prithivi or 
Nature, and Cybebe was both the mother and wife of AM 9 
Attys or the sun, just as Surya in the Rgveda has been 
described as both the husband and son of i/sas. It was from 
primordial Nature that the sun was produced, and it was 
through the power of the sun that Nature produced flowers 
and fruits, in other words, became fruitful. As regards the 
eunuch priests who served the Lydian god Attys, there is a 
strange coincidence of this story with a Vedic myth which is 
worth mentioning here. In Rv. v. 78, we find the story of a 
Rsi of the name of Sapta-Vadhri (lit. seven-eunuch) who 
was a son of Atri and whose brothers used to lock him up in 
a wooden chest every night, thereby preventing him from 
coming in contact with his wife. The Rst, on account of 
this forced separation from his wife, became very much 
dejected and care-worn, and prayed to the ASvins, the divine 
physicians, to release him from his imprisonment. It is 
needless to say that the ASvins did listen to his prayer and 
release him, thereby enabling him to meet his wife. 

Now it is perfectly reasonable to call the sun a eunuch, 
when he loses his powers in winter. As Nature wears a 
dismal look in this season, the trees being stripped of foliage, 
flowers and fruits, she may be said to be reduced to the same 
condition as that of a young woman who is separated from 
her beloved. The sun in winter was therefore compared to a 
eunuch, or as the Lydians thought, was served by eunuch 
priests (Sapta-Vadhri). Hence arose the practice of employ- 
ing eunuchs as priests in the temple of Attys. Lucian says : 
"The priests are self-mutilated men, and they wear women's 

f lbid t p. 434. 



XIV.] LYDIANS. 315 

garments." As regard Cybele or Cybebe, it was thought 
necessary to guard her during her forced separation from her 
husband, not by man-warriors but by female-warriors. Hence 
probably arose the necessity of having her served by priest- 
esses who were also warriors. This practice of employing 
female warriors as priestesses in the temple of Cybebe was 
the origin of the tribe of Amazons of angyptaigggnd. As 
regards the religious practice of the 
themselves before marriage, it wa 
Babylonian custom which was 
Lydians. 




The chief town of Lydia was 
ancient times as the principal 
west. Sardis in Lydian originally 
can be identified with the Vedic 

means "a year." The Homeric word *T5'di! IT inay be a 
corruption from the word "Sardis." There was a town in 
Lydia called "Asia," and the continent of Asia took its name 
either from this town or from Asies, a Lydian hero. This 
legendary hero was connected with Attys by some sort of 
relationship, and we are disposed to think that he was none 
other than the Vedic ASvins who released S ipta-Vadhri, the 
son of Atri, from his forced confinement. It was quite 
natural for the Lydians to honour this legendary hero or god, 
by founding a town in his name. Strabo reports that there 
was shown by the side of the river Cayster on the route from 
Ephesus to Sardis a building dedicated to the hero Asies. 
This was probably the site of the town of Asia, from which 
the continent took its name. 

"The Lydian Empire may be described as the industrial 
power of the ancient world. The Lydians were credited with 
being the inventors, not only of the games such as dice, 
buckle-bones, ball, but also of coined money. The oldest 
known coins are elect rum coins of the earlier Mermnads, 
stamped on one side with a lion's head, or the figure of a king 



3 U6 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

wj* bow and quiver." 1 It should be noted here that the 
'Vedic Aryans were extremely fond of the game of dice, 
and the Lydians only brought this game as well as the 
art of coining metals from India. These coins were of a 
particular measure, and called minas which, as we have 
already elsewhere pointed out, was a corrupted form of the 
Vedic word mand. 

The Lydians were SiSnadevas or worshippers of lingam. 
"Phallic emblems for averting evil were plentiful ; even the 
summit of the tomb of Alyattes is crowned with an enormous 
one of stone about 9 ft. in diameter" 52 It is still a custom 
with the Hindus to erect a lingam over the ashes of a disting- 
uished person, covered over with a conical temple. 

From the above brief account of the ancient Lydians, it 
would appear that they were originally an ancient Aryan 
tribe from Sapta-Sindhu, but they afterwards commingled 
with the aborigines and the Semitic races, which helped to 
destroy the purity of their race and religious faith. 

We thus see that the influence of Aryan culture in 
Western Asia was great, and that many Aryan tribes in the 
different stages of civilisation emigrated from India to 
Western Asia and settled down in various regions, establish- 
ing kingdoms and empires. Those that were in a savage 
state were pushed forward by the more powerful tribes 
following them until they were compelled to disperse over 
Europe. We shall try now to find out how this dispersion 
was effected. It should, however, be noted here that the 
savage Aryan tribes who were nomads and lived by the chase 
were the first to wander out of their original home in Sapta- 
Sindhu. They were probably in a rudimentary stage of 
development, and though they might have learnt the use of 
metals while in Sapta-Sindhu, they forgot it as soon as they 
left the country, not having learnt the process of manufac- 



p. 433. 



XIV.] SAVAGE ARYANS. 317 

turing them like their advanced brethern. They had pertain 
common words with the other Aryan tribes to express family 
relationship like father, mother, brother and sister, to describe 
animals like the ox, the cow, the dog, the sheep, and the horse 
(Vedic arusa), and natural objects like the sun, the sky, the 
earth, and water and tree, but they had no culture-words like 
those of the advanced tribes for no other reason than 
because they had no culture to speak of. With this scanty 
stock of words and a rude speech to express their thoughts 
and primitive culture, they roamed about for centuries, nay 
thousands of years in Western Asia, before they were 
compelled to scatter themselves over Europe. These migra- 
tions must have taken place long before Babylonia and Egypt 
flourished and the Semites made their appearance in Western 
Asia, so that when the highly developed Aryan civilisation 
was planted in Mesopotamia and Egypt, the Aryan nomads 
who had passed into Europe still remained in their primitive 
condition, and early rude stage of development. We shall 
now write about the spread of Aryan civilisation in Europe. 



CHAPTER XV- 

ARYAN INFLUENCE IN PRE-BISTORIC EUROPE. 

We have already said that in the long course of the evo- 
lution and purifying process of the Aryan race in Sapta- 
Sindhu, the dross was purged out, which constituted the 
savage Aryan tribes known as the Disas, Dasyus and R4k?a- 
sas, and that these were gradually driven out of the country in 
order to create a peaceful atmosphere, and enable the 
advanced Aryan tribes to work out their further moral and 
spiritual evolution, undisturbed. It can therefore be easily 
inferred that these savage Aryan tribes were not all in the 
same stage of development, that the earliest to leave the 
country were probably in the neolithic stage, and that the 
dispersion of the different Aryan tribes did not take place at 
one and the same time, but at long intervals and in different 
periods according to the progress made by the advancing 
Aryans in their evolution. The migrations of the savage 
Aryan tribes must, therefore, have taken place in successive 
waves, one following the other, and pushing it forward 
towards the west, as it itself was pushed forward by the 
succeeding wave, till the first and foremost reached the 
farthest end of Europe. These wandering Aryan savages, 
however, could not maintain the purity of their blood, and 
got themselves mixed with the Turanian or Mongol hordes 
in a similar stage of development, to whom they gave their 
speech and culture, such as they possessed. These successive 
migrations continued till long after Rgvedic times, when the 
worshippers of Ahura Mazda were compelled to leave Sapta- 
Sindhu on account of religious dissensions, and settled down 
in Iran. This was probably the last migration of the Aryans 
from Sapta-Sindhu ; but by this time the greater part of 
Europe was overspread by savage nomads speaking an 



XV.] ARYAN DISPERSION. 319 

Aryan tongue, and in various stages of development Those 
Aryan tribes that were more advanced, vis., the Pelasgians, 
the Hellenes, the Slavs and the Lithuanians necessarily left 
Sapta-Sindhu at a later period, and occupied regions of 
Europe that were contiguous to Asia, and therefore nearer 
to Sapta-Sindhu than the farthest parts of Europe, which 
were occupied by the less advanced Aryan tribes. If Western 
Asia had not been occupied by the Semitic and the Turanian 
races in a later age, and the Aryan tribes that had settled 
there absorbed by them, we should have found relics of Aryan 
dispersion and settlements in a continuous chain from Sapta- 
Sindhu to the farthest ends of Northern and Western Europe, 
the remotest Aryan tribe having been the earliest to leave 
their original home and the first to enter Europe. The 
different stages of civilisation also would have been found in 
an order beginning with the highest in Sapta-Sindhu and 
ending in the lowest in Europe. In other words, the radiation 
of the light of Aryan civilisation from the central source 
which was in Sapta-Sindhu proceeded uninterruptedly west- 
ward (having been checked in the other directions by the 
existence of seas), till it became fainter and fainter as it 
advanced farther and farther from the source. It is customary 
with modern European scholars to point to the isolatipn of 
two branches of the Aryan race, viz., the Indo-Aryans and 
the Iranians in Asia in the midst of the Turanian, Mongolian, 
and Semitic races, and to the presence of a large number of 
peoples in Europe, whose language is of Aryan origin, in 
order to prove the original home of the Aryans in Europe. 
But in arriving at this conclusion, they forget to take note of 
the fact that in very early times the line of Aryan immigra- 
tion from Sapta-Sindhu to Europe was distinct, long and 
continuous, and that it was only in comparatively recent 
times that the Semites, the Turanians, and the Mogolians 
strode across it, and broke its uninterrupted continuity by 
interposing themselves in Western Asia. These received 
their culture from the Panis, and the aryanised Dravidians 



3ao BLGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

who settled in Phoenicia, Mesopotamia and Egypt, and 
developed a civilisation which drew its vital energy from 
India, but to which was given the stamp of their own peculiar 
genius. The savage and mixed Aryan-speaking peoples that 
had emigrated to Europe were thus cut off from the parent 
Aryan stock, and formed isolated groups of mixed races, in 
which the Aryan language only, and such rude Aryan culture 
as the immigrants were capable of carrying with them from 
Sapta-Sindhu, predominated. In all other respects, they were 
entirely different peoples from the Ar)ans with scarcely a 
drop of Aryan blood left in their veins. These savage tribes, 
thus entirely isolated, could not help remaining in their 
'primitive condition down to comparatively recent times, and 
depended for their culture and progress on their Semitic and 
Turanian neighbours in Western Asia and Egypt, whose 
civilisations, as we have seen, had been influenced by Indo- 
Aryan civilisation that remained essentially Aryan in India. 
This will explain why the Indo-Aryans and the Iranians stand 
as isolated groups in Asia in modern times in the midst of the 
Semitic, the Mongolian and the Turanian races, cut off from 
the modern European nations, speaking languages of Aryan 
origin. This isolation, however, had not existed, as we have 
already said, before the movements of the Semitic and the 
other races took place; on the other hand, there had been a 
continuous chain of Aryan tribes linking Europe to Sapta- 
Sindhu, the original home of the Aryans, as is evidenced by 
the existence of such Aryan tribes in Western Asia in ancient 
times as the Iranians, the Kurds, the Kos^aeans, the Magis of 
ancient Media, the Armenians, the Phrygians, the Lydians, 
the Mitannians, the Hittites, and the Phoenicians. Had not 
most of these tribes been absorbed by the Semites, there 
would have been to-day a large number of peoples speaking 
Aryan dialects in Asia, as there is in Europe. It is unfortunate 
that in their eagerness to prove the original Aryan home in 
Europe, Western scholars forget to take note of this fact as 
well as of the fact that in India alone, which is regarded as a 



XV;] PRE-HISTORIC EUROPE. 

continent by itself, the number of Aryan dialects derived 
from Sanskrit exceeds that of Europe. From the standpoint 
and test of language, therefore, it cannot be proved that 
Europe was the cradle of the Aryan race. Add to this the 
fact that Sanskrit is admittedly the most developed of all 
Aryan languages, and the most archaic, and no language or 
civilisation of a high and peculiar stamp could be developed 
in a country which was not peopled by the highest type of 
the race, and did not furnish the main-spring of all their 
activities from hoary times. 

I will now give a brief account of prehistoric Europe, 
showing its physical conditions and the type and character of 
the early inhabitants who are now admittedly recognised to 
be the ancestors of the present European races. 

Charles Lyell, the famous English Geologist, working 
along the lines first suggested by another great Englishman, 
James Hutton, was the first to prove that " the successive 
populations of the earth, whose remains are found in the 
fossil beds, had lived for enormous periods of time, and had 
supplanted one another on the earth, not through any sudden 
catastrophe, but by slow process of the natural development 
and decay of different kinds of beings. Following the demon- 
strations of Lyell, there came about a sudden change of 
belief among geologists as to the age of the earth, until, in 
our day, the period during which the earth has been inhabited 
by one kind of creature and another is computed, not by 
specific thousands, but by vague hundreds of thousands, or 
even millions of years... The researches of Schmerling, of 
Boucher de Perth, of Lyell himself, and of a host of later 
workers demonstrated that fossil remains of man were found 
commingled in embedded strata and in cave bottoms under 
conditions that demonstrated their extreme antiquity; and in 
the course of the quarter century after 1865, in which year 
Lyell had published his epoch-making work on the antiquity 
of man, the new idea had made a complete conquest, until 

4' 



3M ffiVEDIC INDIA, 

no o*e any more thinks of disputing the extreme anti* 
of man than he thinks of questioning the great age of 



U is believed by geologists that tfce age of ipan in Europe 
if abppt 4 million years and * b*Jf, " The sciences of pre- 
ttetpric Archaeology aw) Geology/ 1 says Dr, Isaac Taylor, 
41 have shown that in Western Europe man was the con* 
temporary of the mammoth, the wooly rhinoceros and other 
extinct pachyderms, and have brought tp light from the 
grayels^of Abbeville evidences of his handiwork, datjpg from 
a. period when the Somme flowed three hundred feet above 
its present level, and England was still united to the continent. 
Man must have inhabited France and Britain at the close 
of the quaternary period, and must have followed the retreat- 
ing ice of the last glacial epoch, to the close of which Dr. 
GroH and Professor Geikie assign on astronomical grounds 
an antiquity of some 80,000 years." 8 

Elsewhere {P. 55), he sums up the results of astronomical 
and geological calculations as follow : " From astronomical 
data Or. Croil has calculated that in the northern hemisphere 
the last glacial epoch began some 240,000 years ago, that 
it la^od with akernatioo* of a milder and even tropical 
temperature for nearly 160,000 years, aad finally terminated 
afbovt 80,000 years ago. With these calculations Professor 
(fefke esstntiattjr agrees. 8 He believes that pateotitiiac man 
omst tore occupied parts of Western Eurppe shortly after 
the dfeappaanmce of die great tee-sheet, and that there *r* 
rta&nsfor supposing that ke mas intcv-gladtl 4 like the 
mammoth and the H*iadeer whoae ucmaias exist below 4he 



Gdke, Th* Gnat /fMfi p. i 





XV.} EARLY MEN OP BOROPE. 393 

till which w*s the prodbtt of the last (tension of 



It would thus appear that palaeolithic man is believed to 
have existed in Europe in inter-glacial epochs, i.e., more than 
80,000 years ago. It is also believed that in the neolithic 
period in a later age, "the geological and climatic conditions 
were essentially the same as they are now >f in Europe, and 
it has been found that throe, if not four, of the existing 
European types occupied approximately their present seats. 2 
It remains however to be seen whether the neolithic men of 
Europe were the direct descendants of the palaeolithic men 
or they immigrated to Europe from other countries with the 
disappearance of the great ice-sheet at the end of the glacial 
epbch. 

" It must not be assumed," says Mr. H. S. Mackinder, 
"that physical and geographical conditions have remained with- 
out change during the human epoch. Nearly the whole of that 
epoch is probably contained in the geological period which 
may be described as the Retreat of the Ice-Age. It is 
probable that while the ice slowly, and with many fluctuations, 
retired northward from northern Europe, and elsewhere, 
towards the mountain summits, drought was gradually em- 
phasised in the region where is now the Sahara. 3 As a result, 
it is likely that while man advanced northward from Africa 
and southern Europe to occupy the ground, uncovered by 
the ice, a great natural void, the desert belt across northern 



160. 

1 Taylor, Origin ofth* Aryans, pp. 55-56. 

* " If the Sahara was a sea, the ' Fohn ' instead of being a burning, dry 
wind, which strips the snow off the Alps, both by melting and evaporation, 
would be a moist, ditnp wind, and when it reached the mountains, would 
produce dfense clouds and thick fogs, which would prevent the sva't rays fro* 
warming the earth or melting the glaciers. So that to the barren desert of tte 
Sahara which we are apt to look upon as a useless waste, we are in reality maofe 
indebted for the fertility and civilisation of Kurort" Lord Anbury's 



3 34 ^GVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP, 

Africa, was formed in their midst. Throughout recorded 
history this has divided the white man from the black, for 
the Sahara rather than the Mediterranean constitutes the 
true southern boundary of Europe. The whole contrast be- 
tween the European and the Negro is the probable measure 
of the significance of this physical change. 

" Europe is at present broadly attached to Asia, but 
it is likely that this is one of the more recent of geographical 
features. A small fluctuation in level would suffice for the 
flooding of western Siberia from the Arctic as far as the 
Caspian Sea, and there is not wanting testimony of such a 
change in the relatively recent past. 

" We are probably justified in correlating this possibility 
with another, for which the evidence is of a different kind. 
Of all human bodily characteristics, none in the general opinion 
of anthropologists i* so persistently conveyed by heredity as 
the shape of the skull. The primary division of mankind is 
therefore based on the relative length and breadth of the head. 
Speaking very generally we may say that Africans and 
Europeans have long skulls, and Asiatics have broad skulls, 
but that a wedge of Asiatic breadth of skull is thrust westward 
through the centre of Europe into France. From a European 
point of view we have thus a broad-skulled ' Alpine ' race, 
intrusive from the east, between the blonde, long-skulled 
Northerners and darker but equally long-skulled peoples in 
the west and south. 

" May not the earliest human events have thus been (i) 
a physical change in the North which allowed the Africans 
to push northward through Europe, (2) a contemporary change 
in the Sahara which severed the migrants from what was to 
become Negro Africa, and (3) a subsequent change in Western 
Siberia, which permitted of the entry of the Asiatics into 
Europe? And may it not be that the blending of these strains 
in the European corner of the world has enriched the initiative 



XV.] PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS. 325 

of the race in that part, and contributed to its lead in subse- 
quent history ? " l 

These are questions containing pregnant suggestions of 
events that most probably took place in the dim past, making 
it possible for savage nomadic tribes to emigrate from North 
Africa and Asia to Europe, and occupy those parts at first 
that were uncovered by the ice. But before we deal with this 
subject more fully, it would be necessary for us to understand 
the different types of men in Europe, with broad skulls, long 
skulls, and skulls intermediate between the two. 

It was Broca who first " laid down the axiom that the 
ethnic characteristics of the first order of importance are not 
linguistic but physical. As to the nature of the speech of the 
neolithic peoples of Europe, we have inferences rather than 
any positive facts to guide us. As to their physical charac- 
teristics, the evidence is abundant and conclusive. This 
evidence consists partly of the statements of Greek and 
Roman writers, but is derived mainly from measurements of 
skulls. The shape of the skull is one of the least variable 
characteristics of race, so much so that the skulls from prehis- 
toric tombs make it possible to prove that the neolithic 
inhabitants of Europe were the direct ancestors of the existing 
races. The skull form is expressed by the numerical ratios 
of certain measurements, which are called indices. Of these 
the most important are the latitudinal, or, as it is commonly 
called, the cephalic index, which gives the proportion of the 
extreme breadth to the extreme length of the cranium ; the 
altitudinal or vertical index, which gives the proportion of the 
height of the skull to the length ; the orbital index, which 
gives the proportion of the height of the eye orbit to the 
breadth ; the facial angle ; the nasal index, and the index 
of prognothism, by which we estimate the shape of the face. 
These indices, taken in conjunction with the shape of certain 

1 Hist. Hist, of the World, Vol. I, pp. 43-44. 



3*6 ttOVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP, 

ben**, espedtetty the femur and the tibia, enable us to deter- 
mine with considerable certainty the ethnic relationship of 
pre-historic to existing races. 

11 The tetitudinal or ' cephalic ' index is thus determined. 
Divide the extreme breadth of the skull by the length from 
front to back, and multiply by 100. Thus if the breadth is 
three4oiirths of the length, the index is said to be 75. Cephalic 
ihdfces Tary from 50 to 98. 

" The term dolichocephalic, or long-headed is applied 
to skulls with low indices ; brachy-cephalic or broad-headed, 
to those with high indices ; and ortho-cephalic, to the inter- 
mediate class. The black races are dolichocephalic, the white 
races incline to ortho-cephalic, and the yellow races to 
brachy-cephalic.. .The Swedes are the most dolicho-cephalic 
race in Europe, the Lapps the most brachy-cephalic, the 
English the most ortho-cephalic. North Germany is sub- 
dolicho-cephaKc ; South Germany sub-brachy -cephalic." 1 

Further oh, Dr. Taylor says that the orbital index among 
flie black races is lowest, varying from 79-3 to 85-4, and 
destehdhig to 61 among the Tasmanians ; among the yellow 
racs it Is high, varying from 82*2 to 95*4; among the Europeans, 
it is usually betwfeeh 83 and 85. A similar test applies to 
tfce section of ths hair. In the Mongolian or yeHow race, it 
is drcufar ; in Hie black or African race, it is flat or ribbon- 
sllap^d ; Sn fte white or European race, it is oval. The hir 
of the Motigofhm is straight, that of the African frizzled or 
tftoly, alitt that '6f the European is inclined to curl. 

11 All these tests/' says the same writer, " agree in exhibit- 
ing two extreme types the African with long heads, long 
orbits, and flat hair ; and the Mongolian with round heads, 
round orbits, and round hair. The European type is inter- 
mediatethe head, the orbit, and the hair are oval. In the 
east of Europe, we find an approximation to the Asiatic type ; 



XV.] MINGLING OF TYPES. 

in the south of Europe, to the African. The neolithic tomb* 
of Europe exhibit notable approximation both to the Afric^i) 
and Asiatic types/ 91 

11 Where, it has been asked > did the human race originate ? 
Darwin inclines to Africa, De Quatrefagcs to Asia, Wagner 
to Europe in the Miocene epoch, when the climate was sub- 
tropical. If it originated in Europe, we may suppose it was 
differentiated into the extreme Asiatic and African types ; or, 
on the other hand, Europe may have been the place where the 
African and Asiatic types met and miqgled. Those who hold 
the former view may believe with Penka that the Aryans 
represent the oldest European race ; those who hold the latter 
opinion may maintain that while Aryan speech came originally 
from Asia, it was subsequently acquired by men who were 
largely of African origin/' 2 

From the evidence about the hoary antiquity of the Aryans 
of Sapta-Sindhu, and the proofs we have adduced of the 
savage Aryan tribes having gradually migrated westward 
through western Asia to Europe, we hold the opinion that 
Aryan speech went originally from Sapta-Sindhu to Europe, 
alorjg with the savage Aryan nomads wjio got raided with the 
Mongolian savages in Western Asia and imposed their speech 
upon th^m, and that these savages having commingled their 
bloo<J; afterwards came in contact with the early inhabitants 
of Europe who had immigrated from Africa with the retreat 
of the great ice -sheet northward at the end of the Glacial 
epoch. Our opinion will be more clearly established as we 
go on with fuller accounts of these eaf ly pro-historic peoples 
of Europe. 

It is, indeed, a pity that we have no meajos of comparing 
the skulls of tbe ancient Aryans of ladia the tljree 
caatefii with those of the Mongolians, the Emppeane aqd 
Africans, and are consequently not in a position to say; 



328 *GVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

whether they were dolichocephalic, brachy-cephalic or ortho- 
cephalic in ancient times. The Aryans of India had the 
practice of cremating their dead, and therefore no ancient 
skulls of the Indo-Aryans have been available anywhere in 
India. As of ail castes, certain sections of the Brahmans have 
changed the least, it would be interesting to compare their 
cephalic and orbital indices with those of the other principal 
races of Asia, Europe and Africa. Whatever the indices of 
the other races may be, those of the Brahmans of some of the 
principal centres of religion may be regarded as representing 
the approximate standard of the true Aryan type. But even 
then, we cannot lose sight of the fact that there were in post- 
Vedic times large influxes of peoples, other than Aryans, 
who were gradually incorporated into Aryan society, distri- 
buting themselves among the four castes. It would, therefore, 
be extremely difficult to discern the truly Aryan type even 
from among the Brahmans of modern times. 

Mr. Mackinder, like Dr. Taylor, has said that the black- 
races are generally dolicho-cephalic. How is it then that the 
Swedes and the Teutons of North Germany, who are white 
peoples, dolicho-cephalic ? The natural inference would be that 
they had originally belonged to the black races of Africa who 
afterwards emigrated to the north of Europe in inter-glacial 
periods, and survived the glacial epoch. Their long residence 
in a cold climate must have affected and transformed the colour 
of their skin. For, " it is believed that under certain circums- 
tances, fair races may become dark, and dark races light, the 
cuticle however being affected sooner than the hair or the iris 
of eyes." 1 If this be scientifically true, then it would be easy 
to understand how the Swedes and the Teutons, though 
originally belonging to the black races of Africa, gradually 
became white, nay whiter than the southern races of Europe, 
and how the Aryans of Sapta-Sindhu, though originally a white 
people as some of their descendants still are in Kashmir and 

* Ibid, p. 100. 



XV.] CLIMATE AND COLOUR OF SKIN. 329 

other places, gradually became brown and dark-complexioned 
through a gradual change of climate from extreme cold to 
extreme hot in consequence of the disappearance of the seas 
round about Sapta-Sindhu. We have already said that a cold 
climate prevailed in India in ancient times, and the year was 
called by the name of Hima (winter) in the Flgveda in 
consequence of wintry conditions having prevailed in the 
land during a greater part of the year, just as Sarad (autumn) 
came to designate the year when the climate became 
temperate and less severe. The very fact that the Indo- 
Aryans have changed colour proves the very long period of 
time during which they have been the inhabitants of Northern 
India. This marked change of climate was also noticed in 
the Zend-Avesta. Even in Rgvedic times a change of 
colour was noticeable among the Aryans according to their 
occupations and modes of living. Those who had to toil in 
the fields, or perform outdoor work, or were engaged in trade in 
the country and foreign lands, and in warfare, were naturally 
more swarthy than those whose occupations compelled them 
to stay at home. The nomadic Aryans who were subjected 
to the hot rays of the sun in their wanderings became 
naturally more dark-complexioned ; and thus we find 
mention made in the Rgveda of peoples who were dark- 
skinned and called " blacks." Colour or Varna^ therefore, 
became the distinguishing mark of men engaged in the 
different occupations. The Brahmans who generally stayed 
at home performing the sacrifices and attending to spiritual 
culture remained naturally white-complexioned ; the K?atriyas 
who were engaged in warfare and active duties in connection 
with the government of the country became naturally a shade 
darker than the Brahmans ; the VaiSyas who tilled the lands, 
pastured and reared up cattle, and were engaged in trade 
and manufacture, were of a still darker complexion than the 
Kjatriyas ; and the Sddras who had at first mostly belonged 
to the nomadic tribes, without settling down to any sort of 
occupation for a living and had been in a low state of 

42 



330 RGVEWC INDIA. [CHAP. 

moral development, became necessarily darker still to the 
verge of blackness. Colour, therefore, became the index of 
occupation, caste or tribe, and the word varna afterwards 
came to be synonymous with caste. It is however a remark- 
able fact even to this day that the Aryan women of the 
higher castes, who have seldom to do any out-door work 
and always keep themselves within the precincts of the 
zenana, are usually more fair-complexioned than the men who 
have to spend their time in outdoor work. Colour, therefore, 
cannot be an in fallible criterion of race or type, which can 
only be determined by the measurement and comparison of 
craniums which are least liable to change. (t would 
undoubtedly be wrong to say, as Dr. Taylor has done, that 
the influence of climate has exterminated the Aryan race in 
India, Persia and other places, the Aryan speech alone being 
left as the permanent evidence of early Aryan settlement. 1 
Though the Aryans cannot be recognised now by their white 
skins, the Aryan blood still runs in th-ir veins, and the type 
has probably regained intact in India, to a large extent, in 
consequence of their conservative instincts and extreme 
reluctance to freely mix with peoples of other races. 

As the Swedes and the Teutons have been found to be 
dolicho-cephalic, they must have been the direct descendants 
of the pre-historic dolicho-cephalic people (an originally 
black race from Africa), whose skulls have been found in 
the graves of North Germany and other parts of North 
Europe. They have been designated as the Canstadt race 
" by De Quatrefages and Hamy from a skull found in 1700 
at Canstadt near Stuttgart, associated, it is said, with bones 
of the mammoth. A similar skull was discovered in 1867 
together wkh remains of the mammoth at Eguisheim, near 
Colmar, in Alsace." 2 

Another specimen of this type is the celebrated skull 
which was found seventy miles south-west of the Neanderthal 

i Ibid, P . 4 6. 

t pp. 105-106. 



XV.] THE CANSTADT RACE. 

in a cavern at Engis, on the left bank of the Mease, eight 
miles south-west of Leige. It was embedded in a breccia with 
remains of the mammoth, the rhinoceros, and the reindeer. It 
has usually been referred to the Quaternary period. Of this 
Engis skull Virchow writes : " It is so absolutely dolicho- 
cephalic that if we were justified in constituting our ethnic 
groups solely with reference to the shape of the skull, the 
Engis skull would without hesitation be classed as belonging 
to the primitive Teutonic race, and we should arrive at the 
conclusion that a Germanic population dwelt on the banks of 
the Meuse prior to the earliest irruption of a Mongolic race." 

" In the oldest skulls of the Canstadt race, 1 ' says Dr. 
Taylor, " the ridges over the eyes are greatly developed, the 
cranial vault is low, the forehead is retreating, the ^eye-orbits 
enormous, the nose prominent, but the upper jaw is not so 
prognathous as the lower. ThU primitive savage, the earliest 
inhabitant of Europe, 1 \v<is muscular and athletic, and of great 
stature. He had implements of flint, but not of bone, and was 
vain of his personal appearance, as is proved by his bracelets 
and necklaces of shells. He was a nomad hunter, who sheltered 

1 But the Canstadts are not now reg irded as the earliest inhabitants of 
Europe. The discovery in 1907 of a hum m lowjr jiur in the base of the 
" Matter Sand* " is one of the oust imp ruat in the whole history of anthro- 
pology. The jaw wi= that of A hum in bing, belonging to a race, designated 
as the Heidelberjs '*the first huimn race recorded in Western Europe." 
According to Mr. H. F. Osborn, 'they appeared in Southern Germany early in 
the second Interglacial times in the mid-t of a most imposing mammalian fauna 
of northern aspect and containing many forest-living species, such as bear, 
deer and moose ; in the meadows and forests browsed the giant straight-tusked 
elephant (S. antiquus) which from the simple structure of its grinding teeth 
is regarded as similar in habit to the African elephant now inhabiting the 
forests of Central Africa. The presence of this animal indicates a relatively 
moist climate and well-forested country." H. F. Osborn 's Men of tkt Old 
Stone Ag f t p. 96 (1918). It does not appear, however, that the Heidelbergs 
were the ancestors of the Teutons, though some anthropologists are of opinion 
that the Neanderthalers were of the same race as the Heidelbergs. The 
Neanderthelew were afterwards supplanted by the Cro-Magnards and the 
Grimaldis. 



332 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

himself in caves, but was without fixed abodes, or even any 
sepulchres. 

41 The chief interest that attaches to these repulsive savages 
is that French anthropologists consider them to be the direct 
ancestors of their hereditary enemies the Germans, while 
German anthropologists assert that the Teutons are the only 

lineal representatives of the noble Aryan race That the 

earliest inhabitants of Europe belonged to the Canstadt race 
may probably be granted, since skull of this type have been 
found underlying those of the Iberian and Ligurian races in 
the very oldest deposits at Grenelle ; while in many cases 
there are indications, more or less trustworthy, of the Canstadt 
race having been contemporary with the extinct pachyderms. 
Its chief habitat seems to have been the valley of the Rhine, 
but it extended to the south as far as Wiirtemberg, and to the 
east as far as Briix in Bohemia. Only at a later time when 
the rein-deer had retreated to the north, it reached the shores 
of the Baltic. 

11 Though this type has now become extinct in Germany, 
owing to the'prepotence of the Celtic or Turanian race, and 
though it has been favourably modified by civilisation in 
Scandinavia, yet even in modern times we find curious 
instances of atavism or reversion to an earlier type. These 
cases are found chiefly among men of Norman or Scandina- 
vian ancestry. Such may occasionally be noticed in the 
Scandinavian districts of England. The skull of Robert Bruce, 
who was of pure Norman blood, exibits a case of such 
reversion." l 

Dr. Taylor further says that there is a superficial resem- 
blance between theTeutons and the Celts, but they are radically 
distinguished by the form of the skull. Both races were tall, 
large-limbed and fair-haired. De Quatrefages has conjectured 
that the Canstadt race may have roamed farther to the East. He 
thinks that the type may be recognised in the Ainos of Japan 
and Kamatshatka and in the Todas of the Neilgherries, who 

1 Ibid, pp. I06-I08. 



XV.] THE CANSTADT RACE. 333 

bear no resemblance to any of the contiguous tribes. Both 
the Ainos and the Todas are fully dolicho-cephalic, differing in 
this respect from the Japanese and Dravidians, who are 
brachy-cephalic. The profile is of the European type, and 
instead of the scanty beard of the Mongolians and the 
Dravidians, they are as amply bearded as the Scandinavians, 
and, like many North Europeans, they have much hair on 
the chest and other parts of the body. 

From Scandinavia to Southern India and Kamatshatka 
is indeed too long a jump for Canstadt savages to have 
performed in early pre-historic times, especially when we 
remember that up to a relatively recent period there was a 
big sea extending from the Caspian to the Arctic to obstruct 
their progress towards the east, and vast impassable 
mountains and seas barred their way to Southern India. 
If there is a racial affinity between these tribes living in 
far-off corners of the European and Asiatic continents, what 
probably happened was this : The Canstadts who are 
undoubtedly of African oiigin must have emigrated to the 
North when Africa was connected with South-western Europe 
and to the East when it was connected with Southern India 
by the Indo-Oceanic continent, now lost. The ancestors of 
the Todas must have found their way to Southern India 
directly from Africa at that time, and a branch which 
wandered farther east to the Pacific coast must have migrated 
northward to Kamatshatka and Japan. We should remember 
that they were primitive savages, and quite incapable of 
crossing seas and oceans by crafts which they did not know 
how to construct. They are believed to have been in the 
paleolithic stage, though from the presence of rude potteries 
in the caves with their remains, some are of opinion that 
they were in the neolithic or at best in the early neolithic 
stage. The state of their civilisation has been gathered 
from the remains in the kitchen-middens or shell-mounds of 
Denmark. The stone implements found therein are more 
archaic in character than those found near the Swiss lake- 



33* *GVEDIC INDIA, [CHAP. 

dwellings. " The people, 11 says Dr. Taylor, " had not yet 
reached the agricultural or even the pastoral stage, they 
were solely fishermen and hunters, the only domesticated 
animal they possessed being the dog, whereas even in the 
oldest of the Swiss lake-dwellings the people, though still 
subsisting largely on the products of the chase, had domes- 
Heated the ox, if not also the sheep and the goat." 1 It is 
believed that the accumulation of these kitchen-middens or 
shell-mounds occupied an enormous period. Professor 
Steenstrup, the highest authority on the subject, is of opinion 
that a period of 10,000 to 12,000 years must be allowed for 
the accumulation of the vast mounds of refuse. Some of 
these are more than 900 feet long, and from 100 to 200 feet 
broad, and they are usually from three to five feet, but, 
occasionally as much as ten feet in thickness. 

Such then were the Canstadts, one of the earliest races 
of North Europe, and the ancestors of the Teutons. This 
type became extinct owing to the infusion of Celtic and 
Slavonic blood. They were conquered and aryanised by the 
Slavo-Celtic races from whom they received their language, 
and such culture as they possessed. The claim of the 
Teutons to be the original Aryan race has thus no firm basis 
to stand upon. Both they and the Scandinavians were 
descended from dolicho-cephalic savages of Africa who had 
immigrated to Europe either in the interglacial or post-glacial 
epoch with the retreat of the great ice-sheet northward. 

I will now write about the other prehistoric races whose 
remains have been found in the neolithic tombs of Europe. 
They were three in number, one of which is supposed to 
represent the primitive Aryans, the other two along with the 
Canstadts being regarded merely Aryan in speech, but 
non-Aryan in descent. 

In the early neolithic age, Britain seems to have been 
inhabited by one race only which was " of feeble build, short 
stature, dark complexion, and dolicho-cephalic skull."* They 

' Ibid, pp. 60-61. * MM P. 67. 



XV.] IBERIANS AND CELTS. 333 

buried their dead in sepulchral caves, and when these were 
not available, in long barrows provided with interior chamber* 
and passages. This race is identified with the British tribe 
of the Silures. From their physical characteristics Tacitus 
concluded that they belonged to the Iberian race which resem- 
bled the Spanish Basques. The same type is found in some 
of the Hebrides, in Kerry, and also west of the Shannon, in 
Donegal and Galway. Skulls of this type have also been 
found in sepulchral caves in Belgium, France, Spain, Algeria 
and Teneriffe. The Iberians are believed to be a North 
African people who emigrated to Europe and passed on to 
Britain, probably when the latter was connected with the 
continent. They belonged purely to the Neolithic age, as no 
trace of metal is found in any of the long barrows of England. 

Towards the close of the Neolithic age, or probably at 
the beginning of the Bronze age, Britain was invaded by a 
wholly different race, "tall, muscular, brachy-cephalic, and 
almost certainly with xanthous or rufus hair and florid 
complexion." 1 They buried thc^ir dead in round barrows, 
and " to them in all probability we may ascribe the erection 
of Avebury and Stonehenge, and also the first introduction 
into Britain of Aryan speech and of implements of bronze. 
This race Dr. Thurnam identifies with the Celts and he calls 
the type the ' Turanian ' type, believing it to be an offshoot, 
through the Belgic Gauls, from the great brachy-cephalic 
stock of Central and North-eastern Europe and Asia. It is 
also the prevailing type among the Slavonic races. This 
1 Turanian * type of Dr. Thurnam is the ' type Mongoloide ' 
of Priiner-Bey."* 

The difference of stature between the two races, the 
Iberians and the Celts, was remarkable, the former being 
shorter than the latter. The stature of the Celts struck the 
Romans with astonishment. " Caesar speaks of their minfica 



/bid, p. 69. 
Ibid, p. 70. 



336 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

corpora^ and contrasts the short stature of the Romans with 
the magnitude corporum of the Gauls." l The Iberian race, 
as we have already said, was dark in complexion with black 
hair and eyes. The Celtic race was fair, with red or yellow 
hair, and blue or blue-grey eyes. The Belgic Gauls also 
belonged to this race. Western scholars believe the Iberians 
to be the primitive inhabitants of Britain, and the Celts to be 
later invaders who were not only a more powerful race, but 
possessed a higher civilisation. In a few of the round barrows 
of the Celts, bronze has been found. The Iberians were 
originally troglodytes, but the Celts probably lived in huts or 
pit dwellings. That the latter spoke an Aryan language which 
was Celtic is admitted, though Professor Rollerton has 
characterised their physical type as " Turanian, 1 * and Priiner- 
Bey as " Mongoloide." 

The Celtic type in Europe is traced eastward to the 
continent of Asia, and the Iberian type southward through 
France and Spain to Northern Africa There can be no doubt 
therefore, that the Iberian* came from Northern Africa and 
the Celts from Asia at different periods of prehistoric times 
after the retreat of the great ic -sheet towards the north of 
Europe. The Canstatlts who were in the palaeolithic stage of 
civilisation had undoubtedly migrated first from Africa, and 
roamed towards the north with the rein-deer up to the shores 
of the Baltic. They were followed in the early neolithic 
period by the Iberians from North Africa ; and at the close 
of the neolithic period, the Canstadts and the Iberians were 
conquered by the Celts from Asia, wlu are admitted by 
anthropologists to be of Turanian or Mongoloid type. Our 
readers should remember all these facts in order to under- 
stand the gradual expansion of the Celts in Europe from Asia. 

The Celts appear to have crossed to Britain from Belgic 
Gaul. The Celts of the latter place appear at a later time to 
have advanced southward imposing their Celtic speech on 
the earlier race of Central France. The Celts may also be 

* Ibid, p. 76. 



XV.] EUROPEAN ETHNOLOGY. 337 

traced eastward to Denmark where the brachy-cephalic type 
has been singularly persistent. According to Dr. Beddoe, the 
modern Danes are of the same type as the round-barrow 
people. At the beginning of the historic period the valleys 
of the Main and the Upper Danube were occupied by Celtic 
tribes. In this region Celtic names abound. The ethnic 
frontier between Celts and Teutons was the continuous 
mountain-barrier formed by the Teutoberger Wald, the 
Thuringer Wald and the Riesen Gebirge. North of this line 
the population is now dolicho-cephalic, while to the south of 
this line the people are more brachy-cephalic. 

The people of the modern kingdom of Wiirtemberg are 
also brachy-cephalous. 1 Holder codsiders the type to be 
Turanian or Sarmatian. Halle seems to have been the most 
northern outpost of the Celts in Germany, since beyond the 
Teutoberger Wald, a few miles to the north of Halle, 
the type changes. Southern Germany is now Teutonic in 
speech, the local names and the persistent ethnic type bear- 
ing witness to the primitive Celt occupation. Southern 
Germany was Teutonised in speech by German invaders in the 
early centuries of the Christian era. In Wiirtemberg and 
Bavaria a number of pile dwellings of the neolithic age 
have been discovered, which seem to be prototypes of those 
which are so numerous in the Swiss lakes. The Swiss 
craniologists, His and Riitimeyer, attribute the erection of the 
lake dwellings in Switzerland to " our Celtic ancestors," 
the Helvetii. The Helvetian skulls resemble the round-barrow 
skulls. The Helvetii appear to have reached a comparatively 
high state of civilisation. 

Towards the close of the neolithic age, the same Aryan- 
speaking race which constructed the Swiss pile-dwellings 
seems to have crossed the Alps, erecting! their pile-dwellings 
in the Italian lakes and in the marshes of the valley of the 
Po. They have been identified with the Umbrians. This 

i After the recent great European war, this province has formed part of 
the German Republic. 

43 



338 SLGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

conclusion is confirmed by the close connection between Celtic 
and Italian speech, and also by the almost identical civilisation 
disclosed by the pile-dwellings of Italy and those of Switzer- 
land. Further, craniologists have proved that while the people 
of Southern Italy are dolichocephalic, belonging apparently 
to the Iberian race, they become more and more brachy- 
cephalic as we go northward, especially in the district between 
the Apennines and the Alps. Latin and Umbrain were merely 
dialects of the same language, but in Rome there was a large 
admixture of Etruscan and Campanian blood. Skulls of the 
pure Latin race are rare, owing to the prevalent practice of 
cremation ; but there is a very marked resemblance in the out- 
lines of the Latin and Helvetian skulls, and those of the better 
olass from the British round barrows. They exhibit no greater 
difference than the refinement of type due to the progress 
from neolithic barbarism to the high civilisation of Rome. The 
oldest Umbrian settlements prove that the Umbrians, when 
they arrived in Italy, lived chiefly by the chase, and had 
domesticated the ox and the sheep. Agriculture even of the 
rudest description, seems to have been unknown, since no 
cereals were found, but there were considerable stores of 
hazel-nuts, of water-chestnuts, and of acorns, some of which 
had been already roasted for food. Before the arrival of the 
Umbro-Latin race, Italy was inhabited by Iberian and Ligu- 
rian tribes, the former dolicho-cephalic, and the latter highly 
brachy-cephalic, with an index of 92. The round-barrow 
race, which we have traced from the Tyne to the Tiber, 
extended eastward down the Danube, and across the great 
plain of Russia. All the nations of Slavic speech are brachy- 
cephalic, and their hair and eyes are mostly light in colour. 
The Great Russians are brachy-cephalic ; so also are the 
Finno-Urgic tribes beyond the frontier of Aryan speech. The 
mean cephalic index of the Mongols is 8t, which is precisely 
that of the round -bar row people whom they resemble in their 
prognathism, their high cheek bones, and the squareness of 
the face, 



XV.] EUROPEAN ETHNOLOGY. 339 

The foregoing investigation which has been condensed 
from Dr. Isaac Taylor's excellent book, the Origin of tht 
Aryans (81-91) " has brought us to the conclusion at which 
Dr. Thurnam arrived many years ago. He says that to him it 
appears to be proved that the type of the Celtic skull, at least 
that of the dominant race in the bronze period in Britain, was 
of the brachy-cephalic ' Turanian type/ How Celtic be- 
came the language of a people witli this Turanian skull- 
form, and how this Turanian skull-form became the skull- 
form of a Celtic and so-called Indo-European people are 
questions which he thinks are yet to be determined. Mean- 
while, he continues, the idea of a connection between the 
ancient Celtic brachy-cephalic type and that of the modern 
Mongolian or Turanian peoples of Asia, cannot be over- 
looked, and remains for explanation." 1 Whatever may be 
the explanation of the European savants, there can be no 
doubt that some of the chief Aryan-speaking races the Celts, 
the Danes, the Umbrians, the Romans, the Greeks and the 
Slavs belong to the brachy-cephalic type, found in the 
neolithic round barrows of Britain. We have seen that these 
races stretch in a broad continuous zone across Central Europe 
into Asia. The fact that they are of the Turanian type lends 
a strong colour to the view that they originally came from 
Asia to Europe with Aryan speech. How could the Tura- 
nians acquire this speech is a problem which has perplexed 
those European scholars who are unwilling to admit that the 
original home of the Aryans was in Asia. But it is easily 
solved if we look for this home not in Northern Europe, or 
the Arctic regions, or Central Asia, but in Sapta-Sindhu in 
India whence, as we have shown, waves after waves of nomadic 
Aryans, in more or less savage conditions, emigrated or were 
compelled to emigrate towards the west. It is extremely likely 
that they met the Turanian or Mongolian hordes in Western 
Asia, and having been more civilised, imposed their speech 



p. Q2. 



340 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

and culture on them, which they carried to Europe in their 
onward march westward through the central regions of the 
continent up the valley of the Danube till they reached Britain, 
and also northward through the steppes and fertile plains of 
Russia. It is probable that an amalgamation of the Aryan 
and Turanian nomadic tribes had taken place long before they 
entered Europe, and as the latter were more numerous than 
the Aryans, the dominant type of the amalgamated product 
was Mongolian or Turanian, though their speech and culture 
were Aryan. As Dr. Taylor says : "When two distinct races 
are in contact, they may, under certain circumstances, mix 
their blood, but the tendency as a rule is to revert to the 
character of that race which is either superior in numbers, 
prepotent in physical energy, or which conforms best to the 
environment." 3 Further on he says : ''While race is to a 
great extent persistent, language is extremely mutable. Many 
countries have repeatedly changed their speech, while the 
race has remained essentially the same. Language seems 
almost independent of race. Neo-Latin languages are spoken 
in Bucharest and Mexico, Brussels and Palermo ; Aryan 
languages in Stockholm and Bombay, Dublin and Teheran, 
Moscow and Lisbon, but the amount of common blood is 
infinitesimal or non-existent.'" 2 In illustration of his point he 
mentions the Spaniards who have imposed a Latin dialect on 
a large portion of the New World, and asks "Were they 
Latins, or even Aryans in blood ? Spain was originally Iberian 
or Berber. In prehistoric times the Celts wrested a large 
portion of the peninsula from the Iberians, the Phoenicians 
founded populous and important cities, the Vandals, Goths 
and Suevi poured in from the north, and the Moors and Arabs 
from the south. The speech, and very little more than the 
speech, is Latin ; the Roman, of whose blood the trace must 
be extremely small, have imprinted their language upon 

* Ibid p. ao3, 
Ibid, p. 204. 



XV.] EUROPEAN ETHNOLOGY. 341 

Spain ; and the Spaniards, by reason of their speech, are 
reckoned among the Latin races." 1 

Similarly the Celts, who belonged to the Turanian type, 
are wrongly called Aryans, because their speech was Aryan. 
The physical type of the Aryans who were small in number 
was absorbed in theirs, and the only relic of the Aryans that 
was left in them was their superior speech and culture. "In 
the neolithic period," says Dr. Taylor, "Aryan languages can 
hardly have been spoken by more than a million persons. 
At the present time they are spoken probably by 600 millions 
half the population of the globe." 2 This goes to show that 
"Aryan speech specially seems to possess the power of 
exterminating non-Aryan dialects." We need not wonder 
therefore, at the fact that while the Aryan type disappeared, 
the Aryan speech remained predominant in the amalgamation 
that had been formed out of the Aryan and Turanian savages 
in prehistoric times in Europe. The Celts, the Slavs, the 
Lithuanians, the Hellenes and the Latins were Aryan in 
speech but Turanian or Mongolian in physical type. The 
dolicho-cephalic Teutons were the descendants of the 
Canstadts, a north African race, who received their Aryan 
speech and culture from the Celts, Slavs and Lithuanians. 

This seems to me to be the real explanation of the pro- 
blem with which Dr. Thurnam and scholars of his way of 
thinking were confronted, viz.) how and why did Celtic 
become the language of a people with Turanian skull-form 
and how and why the Turanian skull-form became the skull- 
form of a Celtic and so called Indo-European people. This 
hypothesis is strongly supported by the hoary antiquity of 
Sapta-Sindhu and the Rgveda, about which I have already 
adduced ample evidence in the previous chapters, and by the 
existence of many Aryan tribes in more or less advanced 
states of civilisation in Western Asia, who must have pushed 
forward the savage Aryan and Mongolian hordes to Europe. 

1 Ibid, p. 206. 
Ibid, p, 208. 



34* %GVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

As after the post-glacial epoch, Central and Northern Europe 
afforded suitable regions for wandering or settlement to the 
nomads, they must have readily passed into Europe through 
the isthmus of Bosphorus, just as the Canstadts had in an 
earlier age emigrated to North Europe from Africa, and the 
Iberians who also were undoubtedly a North African and 
Atlantic race, had followed them in a subsequent age. This 
in our humble opinion, would also clearly explain how a 
people with Mongolian or Turanian physical characteristics 
and Aryan speech occupied a large portion of Europe, and 
imposed the Aryan speech, and such Aryan culture as they 
had possessed or imbibed on the dolicho-cephalic prehistoric 
peoples of Europe, vis., the Canstadts and the Iberians. 

We have given a sufficient idea of the state of civilisation 
of the last-named two peoples. Of the Iberians it is said that 
they were troglodytes and cannibals. "From distant parts 
of Europe where the remains of the Iberian race are found, 
there is evidence that they were occasionally addicted to can- 
nibalism. Such evidence is supplied by human bones which 
have been broken in order to extract the marrow." 1 The 
ethnology of Greece, says Dr. Taylor, is obscure ; but it is 
probable that the pre-Hellenic autochthones belonged to the 
Iberian race, and that the Hellenic invaders were of the same 
type as the Umbrians and Romans. 

As regards the Ligurians who were called "Celtae" by 
Caesar and found by him in Gaul, there is a controversy among 
European savants about their origin. They were a short, 
brachy-cephalic race, and though called "Celtae" by Caesar 
were not as tall as the Celts of the round barrows. Broca 
says that the real Celts are the people of Central France 
who are the descendants of the Celts of Caesar ; and that 
the term is an ethnological misnomer, if applied to either of 
tbe two British races by whom what is commonly called 
"Celtic speech" is spoken, either the tall red-haired brachy- 
cephalic Irishman and Scot, or the short, dark, dolicho-cephalic 
1 Ibid, pp. 100-101. 



XV.] EUROPEAN ETHNOLOGY. 343 

race of Donegal, Galway, Kerry and South Wales. It is urged 
however that though Caesar's Celts ( the people of Central 
Gaul) spoke the Celtic language, they probably acquired it 
from the Belgic Gauls who were an Aryan-speaking people, 
and imposed their culture upon them. Many English writers, 
ignoring Broca's arguments, identify the two races, the short- 
statured and the long-statured Celts, and contend that the 
shorter stature and the darker hair of the race of Central 
France arose from a union of the short, dark, dolicho-cephalic 
Iberians, with the tall, fair, brachy-cephalic people of the 
round barrows. Others again trace their origin to the Fnrfooz 
race whose remains have been found in the valley of the 
Lessee, a small river which joins the Meuse near Dinant in 
Belgium. " They seem to have been a peaceful people, 
possessing no bows and arrows or weapons for combat, but 
merely javelins tipped with flint or rein-deer horn, with which 
they killed wild horses, rein-deer, wild oxen, boars, goats, 
chamois and ibex, as well as squirrels, lemmings, and birds, 
especially the ptarmigan... Their clothing consisted of skins 
sewn together with bone-needles. They tattooed or painted 
themselves with red oxide and iron, and wore as orna- 
ments shells, plaques of ivory, and jet, and bits of fluor-spar." 1 
It has been found that the skulls of the Ligurians resembled 
those of the Lapps and Finns, and it is believed that the 
Celts of ethnology and the Celts of philology, the two brachy- 
cephalic types, may have been remote branches of the same 
race which Dr. Thurnam has called Turanian. It is in the 
same way believed that the two dolicho-cephalic races of 
Europe, iiz., the tall Canstadts and the short Iberians, may 
have been descended, at some very remote period, from 
common ancestors. Whatever may be the probabilities, it 
is certain that the dolicho-cephalic races came from Africa, 
and the brachy-cephalic races from Asia. Of the latter 
the tall Celts spoke the Aryan language, and imposed it 
upon the ancient peoples of Europe. If they were Turanians 

I (bid pp. 117-118. 



344 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

and Mongols, they must have come in contact, in the course 
of their wanderings, with some Aryan tribes from Sapta- 
Sindhu, who imposed their speech upon them. The amal- 
gamated race who are known as Celts brought this speech 
to Europe, and imposed it again, in their turn, on the primi- 
tive rude inhabitants of Europe, the Canstadts, the Iberians 
and the Ligurians, the last probably having come to Europe 
from Asia with a non-Aryan speech. Those of the Iberians 
who did not come in contract with the Celts or the Celtae, 
like the Basques of Spain, retained their original non-Aryan 
dialects. It is also almost certain that the line of route of 
the Turanians or Celts lay through Western Asia where 
they had an opportunity of mixing with the Aryan nomads 
and adopting their speech. A greater portion of Central 
Asia having been covered by seas, it was not at all possible 
for primitive savages to have crossed them in their onward 
march to Europe. It was only when the shallow beds of 
the seas were dried up and converted into steppes that it 
was possible for the hordes of the savage Scythians, Huns 
and Goths to have made their incursions to Europe directly 
from Central Asia across the plains. But these events 
relate to comparatively recent and historic times. 

Says Dr. Taylor : " The civilisation which we find in 
Europe at the beginning of the historic period was gradually 
evolved during a vast period of time, and was not introduced 
cataclysmically by the immigration of a new race. Just as 
in geological speculation, great diluvial catastrophes have 
been eliminated and replaced by the action of existing forces 
operating during enormous periods of time, so the prehistoric 
archaeologists are increasingly disposed to substitute slow 
progress in culture for the older theories which cut every 
knot by theories of conquest and invasion "* It is believed 
that the neolithic civilisation commenced in Europe more 
than 20,000 years ago. 

* ibid, p. 132. 



XV.] NEOLITHIC CULTURE IN EUROPE. 945 

Dr. Taylor has thus summarised the state of neolithk 
culture in Europe at the beginning of the historic period : 
" It is believed that the speakers of the primitive Aryan 
tongue were nomad herdsmen who had domesticated the 
dog, who wandered over the plains of Europe in waggons 
drawn by oxen, who fashioned canoes out of the trunks of 
trees, but were ignorant of any metal with the possible ex* 
ception of native copper. In the summer they lived in huts, 
built of branches of trees, and thatched with reeds ; in winter 
they dwelt in circular pits dug in the earth, and roofed over 
with poles, covered over with sods of turf, or plastered 
with the dung of cattle. They were clad in skins sewn 
together with bone needles ; they were acquainted wftfc 
fire, which they kindled by means of (ire-sticks or pyrites ; 
and they were able to count up to a hundred. If they 
practised agriculture which is doubtful, it must have been of 
a primitive kind ; but they probably collected and pounded 
in stone mortars the seeds of some wild cereals either spelt 
or barley. The only social institution was marriage ; but 
they were polygamists and practised human sacrifice. Whether 
they ate the bodies of enemies slain in war is doubtful. There 
were no enclosures, and property consisted in cattle, and not 
in land. They believed in a future life ; their religion was 
shamanistic ; they had no idols, and probably no gods properly 
so-called ; they reverenced in some vague way the powers 
of nature." 1 

The above, according to Dr. Taylor, is " a general picture 
of primitive Aryan culture," But from the results of ethno- 
logical investigations, of which we have given a summary in 
this chapter, our readers have undoubtedly been impressed 
with the fact that there was absolutely no trace of the Aryans, 
beyond that of their speech, among the ancient races of 
Europe. It is admitted that the Celts spoke an Aryan tongue; 
but they have been found to belong to the Turanian or 
Mongolian family, and European scholars are, as we have 

1 /Wrf, pp. 138-133. 

44 



346 RGVEDIC INDIA, [CHAP. 

said, confronted with the apparently insoluble problem as to 
how Aryan speech was propagated in Europe by a people 
who were not Aryans. We have already suggested a solution 
which appears to us to be the only solution of this knotty 
problem. The Turanians, in the course of their journey to 
Europe, came in contact, and commingled with the rude Aryan 
tribes who had been driven out of Sapta-Sindhu, and adopted 
their speech and culture which they took with them to Europe, 
and imposed upon the primitive inhabitants of that continent. 
The Turanian immigration had taken place long long before 
Babylonia or Egypt flourished under the influence of the 
aryanised Dravidians of India. The neolithic culture of 
Europe was therefore an essentially Turanian culture, and 
not " primitive Aryan culture," as is wrongly supposed. The 
original habitat or cradle of the Aryans was certainly not in 
Europe, but in ancient Sapta-Sindhu, as we have already 
proved in the previous chapters ; and as the Rgvedic civili- 
sation goes back to later geological times, probably to the end 
of the Pleistocene epoch, it would be as impossible to draw 
a picture of the genuinely primitive culture of Sapta-Sindhu 
as it would be to paint a landscape in utter darkness. But 
the neolithic culture of Europe may be called primitive Aryan 
culture in this sense that the nomadic Turanian savages 
received it along with Aryan speech from Aryan tribes who 
had been, like themselves, in the neolithic stage of civilisation. 
This, however, does not necessarily imply that the Aryans of 
Sapta-Sindhu were also at that time in the same stage of 
development as these nomadic Aryan tribes who had been 
the dross cast out of the genuine race in the course of its 
evolution and purification. An inference like this would be 
as absurd as to say that the Dravidian or the Kolarian race 
is still in the neolithic stage, because, forsooth, the Juangs of 
Orissa use stone implements and do not know the use of 
metal even to this day. Much confusion has been caused, 
and many insurmountable difficulties created in the path 
pf ascertaining historical truth by persistent attempts being 



XV.} EUROPEAN ETHNOLOGY. 347 

made by zealous European writers to connect one people 
with another from mere superficial similarities (for instance, 
of language), and to read the history of one race in the light 
of that of another. It is because the Europeans believe 
themselves to be Aryans on account of their languages which 
are undoubtedly of Aryan origin and also because the neolithic 
age lasted in Europe down to very recent times, stone 
implements, according to M. Arcelin, having continued to be 
used in Central Gaul as late as 1150 B. C, that they cannot 
conceive that a branch of their race, as they believe the 
Indo-Aryans to be, could possess a civilisation older than 
3000 B. C., at most. They picture the Indo-Aryans to have 
passed through the same stages of civilisation during the 
same period of time as their own ancestors. But the 
results of ethonological investigations clearly demonstrate 
that their ancestors were no others than the dolicho-cephalic 
Canstadts and Iberians who had been the original inhabitants 
of Africa, and the brachy-cephalic Turanians or Celts 
who had brought the Aryan speech with them from Asia. 
In spite of this indubitable fact and the dictum laid down 
by Cuno that race is not co-extensive with language a 
dictum which is now looked upon as an axiom in ethnology, 
European scholars are eager to call the European races 
Aryans. Posche urged, as Broca had done before, that 
while there may be Aryan languages, there is no such thing 
as an Aryan race, and language is only one, and that the 
least important factor in the enquiry. The first part of his 
assertion would be true, if it were applied to Europe only ; 
for there is no such thing as an Aryan race in that continent. 
The Aryans who immigrated there with the Turanians had 
been so completely amalgamated by them as to make the 
Turanian type dominant in the resultant product. It is 
possible, however, that in later times more advanced Aryan 
tribes from Iran and the precincts of Sapta-Sindhu emigrated 
to Europe, as there is evidence of their having done so in 
the Zend-Avesta, and marching through the southern plains 



340 fGVEWC INDIA. [CHAP. 

of Russia settled down in the north and the north-east of 
that country as Slavs and Lithuanians. Among existing 
languages of Europe, Lithuanian, like Sanskrit, preserves 
the primitive forms of Aryan speech. The Slavonic language 
shares certain peculiarities with Iranian, just as Greek is 
more closely related to Sanskrit than Latin. Schmidt 
showed that the more geographically remote were any two 
of the Aryan languages, the fewer were the peculiarities 
they possessed in common. " Thus, while there are fifty- 
nine words and roots peculiar to Slavo-Lithuanian and 
Teutonic, and sixty-one to Salvo- Lithuanian and Indo-Iranian, 
only thirteen are peculiar to Indo-Iranian and Teutonic. 
Again, while one hundred and thirty-two words and roots 
are peculiar to Latin and Greek, and ninety-nine to Greek 
and Indo-Iranian, only twenty are peculiar to Indo-Iranian 
and Latin. Hence Slavonic forms the transition between 
Teutonic and Iranian, and Greek the transition between 
Latin and Sanskrit. 1 ' 1 This, in our opinion, goes to show that 
Slavo-Lithuanian drew its supply of vocabulary from Indo- 
Iranian, and the Teutonic from Slavo-Lithuanian. If the 
Aryan tongue had been originally developed in Europe, the 
number of words and roots peculiar to Slavo-Lithuanian 
and Teutonic would have been far larger on account of their 
close proximity to one another than that of words and roots 
peculiar to Slavo-Lithuanian and Indo-Iranian. The fact 
that there are only thirteen words and roots peculiar to 
Indo-Iranian and Teutonic, and only twenty peculiar to 
Indo-Iranian and Latin is explained by the remoteness of 
Teutonic and Latin from the central source, viz., Indo- 
Iranian. This would also explain why Greek is more closely 
related to Indo-Iranian or Sanskrit than Latin or Slavo- 
Lithuanian. The remoter you go from the central source, 
the less becomes the number of the common words and roots 
peculiar to two languages. It should be remembered in 
this connection that the Greek and Roman civilisations are 

i ibid, pp. 35-36. 



XV.J THEORY OP ARYAN CRADLE. 349 

comparatively of recent date ; and the neolithic civilisation 
of Europe as possessed by the lake-dwellers of Switzerland 
continued to a time when the highly developed civilisations 
of Babylonia and Egypt had commenced to decline. We 
have shown in the previous chapters that these civilisations 
drew their main inspiration from Indo-Aryan civilisation, 
and that while Hommel has discovered six culture- words in 
the Semitic language, which are Aryan, Delitzsch claims 
to have identified one hundred Semitic roots with Aryan 
roots. This goes to show that the cradles of these two races 
were situated in contiguous regions, and Europe could not 
have been the cradle of the Aryan race. 

Dr. Schrader is a stout champion of the European cradle 
of the Aryans. He thinks that not a particle of evidence has 
been adduced in favour of Aryan migration from the East 
But we have shown that various Aryan tribes migrated from 
India towards the west in very ancient times, as is evidenced 
by the emigration of such races as the Iranians, the 
Kurds, the Kossaeans, the Mitannians, the Hittites, the 
Phrygians, the Lydians, the Armenians, and the Phoenicians! 
all of whom spoke Aryan dialects in ancient times, 
and some of whom do so even to the present day. The 
Egyptian and the Babylonian civilisations which date 
from 7,000 or 10,000 B. C. owed their origins, as we have 
already shown, to Indo-Aryan civilisation. Dr. Schrader 
thinks that the Phrygians came to Asia from Europe, probably 
from the fact that the Briges of Thrace were closely related 
to the Phrygians ; but the latter believed that they were the 
older people, and that the Briges emigrated from Asia to 
Europe. These Briges or Phrygians were, as we have already 
pointed, probably a branch of the Brjis mentioned in the Rg- 
veda. As for the Armenians, they were only an extension 
of the Phrygians and cannot be said to have come from 
Europe to Asia. Dr. Schrader admits that certain races and 
languages of Europe are more closely connected with those 
of Asia than the rest, and notes the close relations between 



350 BLGVEDIC INDIA. 

the Indo-Aryans and the Greeks, as is evidenced by the names 
of weapons and of words referring to agriculture and religion. 
Yet he cannot bring himself to believe that the Greeks were 
the descendants of Aryan immigrant tribes from India. Ethno- 
logists have proved that they were the mixed products of the 
brachy-cephalic Turanian race speaking Aryan tongue, and 
the primitive Iberians. The origin of the Celts, Slavs and 
Lithuanians has also been traced to the amalgamated Tura- 
nians and Aryans. The former are undoubtedly an Asiatic 
people, and the prevalence of the Turanian type in almost 
all the principal European races, with the excep ion of the 
Teutons and the Swedes, unmistakably points to an early 
immigration of an Asiatic people to Europe in prehistoric 
times. The very fact that they spoke an Aryan language 
shows that it was imposed on them by Aryan tribes that had 
been amalgamated with them. None can certainly overlook 
this stern fact before trying to establish the hypothesis of the 
early cradle of the Aryans in Europe. Schrader admits that 
the Indo-Iranian speech is more developed and refined than 
the European ; but he says that the greater rudeness of the 
European languages is itself the sign of a more primitive 
condition than the literary culture exibited by Zend and 
Sanskrit. This may be true to a certain extent, but he seems 
to have overlooked the possibility of these rude Aryan 
languages having been taken to Europe by rude Aryan 
tribes amalgamated with the Turanians in prehistoric times, 
and also the fact that as they were cut off from the 
parent stock in Asia, their language remained in its primitive 
condition, while the original language went on growing and 
developing in the land of its birth, till it blossomed forth into 
Sanskrit and Zend. The reason of the close relation between 
the Indo-Aryans and the Greeks wa<> probably no other than 
the fact that Greece was, as it were, the connecting link be- 
tween Asia and Europe, and served as a dumping ground of 
the Aryan immigrants to Europe, whence they dispersed 
either westward or northward. As I have already said, the 



XV.] ARYAN CRADLE NOT IN EUROPE. 351 

close connection of Lithuanian with Iranian is accounted for 
by an Iranian immigration to the north of Europe in prehistorio 
times, under the leadership of Yima, when Airyana Vaejo was 
destroyed by the invasion of ice. 

It is useless further to discuss the hypothesis of Aryan 
home in Europe. The attempts of European scholars to prove 
it have failed, and I should say, signally failed, from their 
utter inability to explain the existence of a Turanian type 
with Aryan speech in some of the principal modern races of 
Europe. The attempt to prove that the Teutons and the 
Swedes represented the true Aryan type has also failed from 
ethnical and linguistic points of view. As Dr. Taylor says : 
"It is not probable that the dolicho-cephalic savages of the 
kitchen-middens, or the dolicho-cephalic cannibals who 
buried in the caves of Southern and Western Europe could 
have aryanised Europe. It is far more likely that it was the 
people of the round barrows, the race which erected 
Stonehenge and Avebury, the people who constructed the 
pile-dwellings in Germany, Switzerland and Italy, the brachy- 
cephalic ancestors of the Umbrians, the Celts and the Latins, 
who uere those who introduced the neolithic culture, and 
imposed their own Aryan speech on the ruder tribes which 
they subdued.'* 1 Elsewhere he says : " It is an easier hypo- 
thesis to suppose that the dolicho-cephalic savages of the Baltic 
coast acquired Aryan speech from their brachy -cephalic neigh- 
bours, the Lithuanians, than to suppose with Penka that they 
succeeded in some remote age in aryanising the Hindus, the 
Romans and the Greeks. 1 '- M. Chavee also says that of the 
dolicho-cephalic and brachy-cephalic races in Europe, the 
intellectual superiority lies with the latter. Look, he says, 
at the beautifully formed head of the Iranians and the Hindus 
so intelligent, and so well developed. Look at the perfection 
of those admirable languages, the Sanskrit and the Zend. 
The Germans have merely defaced and spoilt the beautitul 

1 Ibid t pp. 212-213. 

Ibid, p. 243. 



35* RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

structure of the primitive Aryan speech. Ujfalvy says : " If 
superiority consists merely in physical energy, enterprise, 
invasion, conquest, then the fair dolicho-cephalic race may 
claim to be the leading race in the world ; but if we consider 
mental qualities, the artistic and the intellectual faculties, then 
the superiority lies with the brachy-cephalic race." De 
Mortillet is also of opinion that the civilisation of Europe is 
due to the brachy-cephalic race. We may, therefore, dismiss 
the claims of the Teutons and the Swedes to be the original 
Aryan race. As a matter of fact, we have seen that the 
majority of the European races are a mixed product of 
African and Asiatic races ; and the dolicho-cephalic races of 
the North, who are of a pronounced African type, are only 
entitled to be called Aryans on account of their speech which 
they received from their brachy-cephalic neighbours. We 
can, therefore, say with Pdsche and Broca that while there 
may be Aryan languages, there is no such thing as an Aryan 
race in Europe. 1 

1 It has already been pointed out in Chap. VIII that recent discoveries 
in Europe have somewhat modified the viewes of Ethnologists regarding the 
early inhabitants of Europe. The Hei del bergs were the earliest known peoples 
of Europe, who were followed by the Neanderthalers probably belonging to the 
same nee. The Canstadts may have belonged to this race. Next appeared 
on the scene, the Cro-Magnards, probably an Asiatic people with Mongolian 
characteristics, and the Grimaldis, who were an African people. These two 
racea nearly extirpated the Neanderthalers, and represented the first true men 
(B*mo Sapient). These two races were afterwards superseded by a Neolithic 
race with superior culture and probably Aryan speech, who had come from 
South-Western Asia, probably Northern India and Persia, and been amal- 
gamated with the Cro-Magnards and the Grimadis. This race was the ancestors 
of most of the modern European nations. (Vide Das' 1-tgvedic Culture, Ckmp. /.) 



CHAPTER XVI. 

THE THEORY OF THB ARYAN CRADLE IN CENTRAL ASIA. 

4< Sir William Jones made his memorable declaration in 
1786 that Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, German and Celtic belonged 
to one family of speech, and that these had a common origin. 
Hegel regarded this discovery as the discovery of a new 
world." From that time the new science of Comparative 
Philology came into being. Bopp published his Comparative 
Grammar in 1833-35, and placed Comparative Philology on 
a scientific footing by discovering the method of the com- 
parison of gramatical forms. He also showed that Zend and 
Slavonic as well as Albanian and Armenian must be included 
in what he called the Indo-Germanic family. " The great 
linguistic family," says Dr. Taylor, " whose existence was 
thus established, embraces seven European groups of 
languages the Hellenic, Italic, Celtic, Teutonic, Slavonic, 
Lithuanic or Lettic, and Albanian ; in fact all the existing 
language of Europe 'except Basque, Finnic, Magyar and 
Turkish. There are also three closely related Asiatic groups ; 
lir*t, the Indie, containing fourteen Indian languages derived 
from Sanskrit ; secondly, the Iranic group, comprising Zend, 
Persian, Pushtu or Afghan, Baluchi, Kurdish and Ossetic ; 
and thirdly, the Armenian, which is intermediate between 
Greek and Iranian.*' 1 

It would thus appear that the Aryan languages extend 
from India to the extreme west and north of Europe almost 
uninterruptedly, barring only parts of Western Asia occupied 
by the Semitic races, Turkey in Europe, and a few other 
regions of the continent. Had not the Semitic and Turanian 
races interposed themselves in a later age between Indo- 
Irania and Europe, and absorbed into their families many 
Aryan tribes of Western Asia, who spoke Aryan dialects, 



Taytar, Origimtf tH* Aryans^ p. 3. 
45 



354 RGVEDIC INDIA, [CHAP. 

the continuity of the Aryan languages would have remained 
unbroken from India to the farthest ends of Europe. 

\Ve have seen in the preceding chapter that Sanskrit 
and Zend are the oldest and most developed forms of the 
Aryan tongue, uith literatures that date from hoary antiquity ; 
and though Lithuanian bears many archaic forms similar to 
those of Sanskrit and Zend, it possesses no ancient literature, 
and has practically remained in the same condition in which 
probably it was taken to Europe by migrant tribes from 
Iran or India in some by-gone times. The very fact that 
Greek also is closely allied to Sanskrit points to the later 
migration of the Hellenes to Europe. The spread of the 
Aryan language over Europe was, as we have seen, 
effected by a Turanian race who are known in history as 
the Celts. This fact stands undoubted and unchallenged, 
whatever may be the contentions of German and French 
scholars as regards their respective claims to be the original 
Aryan people. The Canstadts the Iberians and probably 
the Ligurians had already been in Europe when these 
aryanised Turanians madr their appearance as intruders or 
conquerors and imposed their speech and neolithic culture 
on the aborigines There was, therefore, no direct immigra- 
tion of Aryans to Europe, but of Turanians with whom the 
rude Aryan tribes had been amalgamated. This mixed 
people were the ancestors of most of the modern nations of 
Europe, who are Aryans in speech but not in blood. The 
dolicho-cephalic Teutons and Swedes, though not Aryan in 
blood, are Aryan in speech which they imbibed from their 
aryanised neighbours. 

If these premises be correct, we are led to the conclusion 
that the pure Aryans, as represented by the Hindus and the 
Iranians, did not emigrate to Europe in a body or in tribes. 
It was the mixed Turanians who emigrated to Europe, with 
Aryan tongue and neolithic culture, in waves after waves, from 
Central and Western Asia, the more advanced tribes driving 
before them those that were less advanced. And if any 



XVI.] THEORY OF CENTRAL ASIAN CRADLE. 355 

Aryan tribes at all immigrated later on to Europe, they also 
got themselves mixed up with the then existing races. There 
is indeed some evidence in the Zend-Avesta of at least one 
Iranian tribe having gone to the drcumpolar regions under 
the leadership of Yima, when their Paradise or settlement 
in Airyana Vaejo was destroyed by ice. But this immigration 
probably took place in a later age. It is most likely that 
they settled in North Russia, in as much as we find a close 
resemblance between Lithuanian and Iranian, and afterwards 
became amalgamated with the indigenous peoples. 

The resemblance of Zend and Sanskrit to the principal 
languages of Europe led some eminent scholars of the last 
century to broach the hypothesis that the ancestors of the 
Europeans, and the Hindus and Iranians must have originally 
lived in some place of Central Asia close to Iran or Bactria, 
from which, guided by " an irresistible impulse, 11 many tribes 
marched towards the west, and settled in different parts of 
Europe. Those that did not migrate to Europe marched 
southwards, and while one branch settled in Iran, the other 
crossed the Himalaya, and settled in the land of the Five 
Rivers. What this " irresistible impulse" was due to, and 
why the original home was abandoned by all the Aryan 
tribes has not been made clear. 

Professor Max Muller in his Lectures on the Science of 
Language, delivered in 1861, said that there was a time 
11 when the first ancestors of the Indians, the Persians, the 
Greeks, the Romans, the Slavs, the Celts and the Germans 
were living together within the same enclosures, nay under 
the same roof." He further argues that because the same 
forms of speech are " preserved by all the members of the 
Aryan family, it follows that before the ancestors of the 
Indians and Persians started for the south, and the leaders 
of the Greek, Roman, Celtic, Teutonic and Slavonic colonies 
marched towards the shores of Europe, there was a small 
clan of Aryans, settled probably on the highest elevation of 



^GVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

Central Asia speaking a language not yet Sanskrit or Greek 
or German, 1*it corrtainmg the dialectical germs of all. " 

The above observation was based on philological grounds 
only. But the assumption of identity of race from identity of 
speech made by philologists has been decisively disproved 
amd -rejected by anthropologists. The French anthropologists, 
and more especially Broca, first raised the needful protest. He 
dbserve-s that "races have frequently within the historic period 
Cbatiged their language without having apparently changed 
the race or type. The Belgians, for instance, speak a neo- 
Latin language, but of all the races who have mingled their 
blood with that of the autochthones of Belgium, it would be 
difficult to find one which has left less trace than the people 
of Rome." Hence he says that ' the ethnological value of 
comparative philology is extremely small. Indeed, it is apt 
to be misleading rather than otherwise. But philological 
facts and deductions are more striking than minute measure- 
ments of skulls, and therefore the conclusions of philologists 
have received more attention. ;> 

Topinard, a distinguished follower of Broca, also remarks 
that it has been proved that the anthropological types in 
Europe havn b<>en cotinuous, and if the Aryans came from 
Asia, they can have brought with them nothing but their lang- 
uages, their civilisation, and a knowledge of metals. Their 
blood has disappeared. 

In spite of the anthropological evidences disproving the 
common origin of the Aryan-speaking races of Europe and Asi.i, 
fche philologists continued to believe in it, the theory having 
apparently captured their imagination. They were agreed 
that the cradle of the Aryan race must be sought in Central 
Asia on the upper water of the Oxus. But the Central Asian 
theory had first been propounded in 1820 by J. G. Rhode. 
His .argument was based on the geographical indications 
ectttkained in the first chapter of the Vcndidad, which pointed 
<te> fiactria as the earlier home of the Iranians. But even 
tong after Rhode, in 1876 Mommjen declared that the -valley 



THEORY OF CENTRAL ASIAN CRADLE. 357 

of the Euphrates was the primitive seat of the Fttdo-Germanic 
race, and as late as 1888, Dr. Hale advocated the theory in a 
paper read before the Anthropological Section of the Ameri- 
can Association for the Advancement ot Science. 

Rhode's hypothesis, however, found adherents in Schlegel 
and Pott. The latter based his argument on the aphorism 
ex oriente lux. Ths path of the sun must be the path of cul- 
ture. In Asia, he declares, or nowhere, was the school-house 
where the families of mankind were trained. He fixes on the 
region watered by the Oxus and the Jaxartes, north of the 
Himalaya, and east of the Caspian, as the true cradle of the 
Indo-European race. In 1847 Las sen declared his adherence 
to the view of Pott on the ground that the* Sanskrit people 
must have penetrated into the Punjab from the north-west 
through Cabul, and that the traditions of the Avesta point to 
the slopes of the Belurtag and the M us tag as the place of 
th^ir earlier sojourn. In 1848, this opinion received the 
powerful support of Jacob Grimm who lays it down as an ac- 
cepted conclusion of science that " all the nations of Europe 
migrated anciently from Asia ; in the vanguard those related 
races whose destiny it was through the moil and peril to 
struggle onwards, their forward march from east to west 
being prompted by an irresistible impulse, whose precise 
cause is hidden in obscurity. The farther to the Tvest any 
race has penetrated, so much the earlier it must have started 
on its pilgrimage, and so much the more profound will be the 
footprints which it impressed upon its track." 

Professor Max Miiller adopted Grimm's theory in 1859 
in his History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature. " The main 
stream of the Aryan nations," he says, " has always flowed 
towards the north-west. No historian can tell us by what 
impulse those adventurous nomads were driven on through 
Asia towards the isles and shores of Europe ..But whatever 
it was, the impulse was as irresistible as the spell which in 
our own times sends the Celtic tribes towards the prairies, or 
the region > of goM across the Atlantic, ft requires a strong 



358 ILGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

will, or a great amount of inertness, to be able to 
withstand such national or ethnical movements. Few will 
stay behind when all are going. But to let one's friends 
depart, and then to set out ourselves to take a road which 
lead where it may, can never lead us to join those again 
who speak our language and worship our gods is a 
course which only men of strong individuality and great 
self-dependence are capable of pursuing. It was the course 
adopted by the southern branch of the Aryan family the 
Brahmanic Aryans of India, and the Zoroastrians of Iran.' 1 

The above picturesque account is only partially true in 
so far as it relates to the Brahmanic Aryans and the Zoro- 
astrians who are regarded by him as autochthones of Central 
Asia, which, however, they were not, as we have proved in 
the preceding chapters that the original home of the Aryan 
race could only have been in Sapta-Sindhu. Adelung, the 
father of Comparative Philology, who died in 1806, came 
near the truth when he placed the cradle of mankind in the 
valley of Kashmir, which he identified with Paradise. He 
would have been absolutely correct if he had said that the 
valley of Kashmir and the plains of Sapta-Sindhu were the 
cradle, not of mankind, but of the Aryan race. It was aUo 
Adelung who was the first to observe that since the human 
race originated in the East, the most westerly nations, the 
Iberians and the Celts, must have been the first to leave the 
parent hive. We have seen, however, that the Iberians went 
to Europe from Northern Africa, and the Celts from Central 
and Western Asia, and that they belonged to two distinct 
races of mankind, none of which could be identified with 
the Aryans. 

Be that as it may, the Central Asian theory so much 
captivated the imagination of the European scholars of the 
last century that " Pictet in his Origines Indo-Europiennes 
of which the first volume was published in 1859, constructed 
an elaborate theory of the successive Aryan migrations from 
Central Asia. He brought the Hellenes and Italians by a 



XVL] THEORY OF CENTRAL ASIAN CRADLE. 359 

route south of the Caspian through Asia Minor to Greece 
and Italy, and the Celts south of the Caspian through the 
Caucasus to the north of th Black St-a, and thence up the 
Danube to the extreme we*t of Europe, the Slavs and 
Teutons marching north of the Caspian through the Russian 
steppes. Pictet's argument, derived mainly from philological 
considerations as to the animals and plants with which he 
supposed the various races to have been acquainted, vanish 
on examination. 111 

It has been said above that the Hellenes, Romans, Celts 
and Slavs were all men of the Turanian family with an Aryan 
speech and were not genuine Aryans but a mixed race. 
Pictet was therefore wrong in supposing that they were all 
Aryan tribes who dispersed to Europe through different 
routes. The only route of march or pantha (preserved in 
the name of the province named Pontus in Asia Minor) lay 
to the south of the Caspian Sea through Asia Minor, by 
which the Turanians advanced to Europe over the isthmus 
of Bosphorus, one branch marching towards the west through 
Central Europe up the Danube, and another towards the 
north through the steppes of Russia. The greater part of 
Central Asia and North Siberia was at the time of the 
dispersion probably covered by the sea extending from the 
Black Sra to the Sea of Aral, and a^ far north as the Arctic 
Ocean, which was impossible fo/ nomadic ravages lo cross. 
They had therefore to pick thrir way through B.tCtna, Pcibia 
and Asia Minor which, having been peopled by Aivan 
nomads, made it possible for the Turanian savages to mix 
with them and adopt their language and culture which were 
ultimately taken to Europe by the mixed races. The theories 
of the different routes of march, as propounded by Pictet 
and the great scholar Schleicher, are therefore more fanciful 
than real. 

Professor Sayce thus wrote in 1874 : "When the Aryan 
languages first make their appearance, it is in the highlands 

1 Taylor, Origin of tht Aryans, p. ia. 



3fio ^GVEDIC INDIA. 

of Middles Asia, between the sources of the Oxus and the 
Jaxartes." 1 He abided by the current opinion which placed 
the primeval Aryan community in Bactriana on the western 
slopes of the Belurtag and the Mustag and near the sources 
of the Oxus and the Jaxartes. 2 He argues that "Compara- 
tive Philology itself supplies us with a proof of the 
Asiatic cradle of the Aryan tongue." The proof 
consists in the allegation that " of all the Aryan 
dialects, Sanskrit and Zend may, on the whole, be con- 
sidered to have changed the least ; while, on the other hand, 
Keltic in the extreme west has changed the most " Hence it 
would appear that the region now occupied by Sanskrit and 
Zend must be the nearest to the primitive centre of dispersion. 
This conclusion, he adds, is confirmed by the assertion in the 
Avesta that the first creation of mankind by Ahunnazda 
(Qrmuzd) took place in the Bactrian region He admits that 
"this legend is at most a late tradition, and applies only to 
the Zoroastrian Persians," but he thinks it agrees with the 
conclusions of Comparative Philology, which teach us that 
the early Aryan home was a cold region ' since the only two 
trees whose names agree in Eastern and Western Aryan are 
the birch and the pine, while winter was familiar with snov 
and ice " We have already said in a previous chapter that 
the followers of Ahurmazda, after their expulsion from Sapta- 
Sindhu, had roamed about in different countries till they 
settled down in Bactriana which they called their original 
home, as distinguished from Sapta-Sindhu which they had 
been compelled to leave, and for which they dad no longer 
entertained any love or patriotic sentiments, and that the 
original climate of Sapta-Sindhu was cold, with snow and ice 
in- winter, which afterwards changed into temperate verging 
upon hot, in consequence of the disappearance of the seas 
that had in former times girt the country about. Sayce's 
conclusion, therefore, was as much true about Sapta-Sindhu 

i Sayce, Principles of Philology, p. 101. 

* Sayce, Science of Language, Vol. II, p. 133. 



XVI.] THEORY OF CENTRAL ASIAN CRADLE. 361 

as about Bactriana. It should also be remembered that the 
the Aryans of Sapta-Sindhu believed themselves to be 
autochthones of Sapta-Sindhu, and there i- absolutely no 
tradition in their literature of their having come from any 
country. 

Against the argument that the cradle of the Indo-Iranians 
must be the cradle of the Aryan rao- because Sanskrit and 
Zend are the most archaic of the Aryin languages, it is urg'-d 
that Lithuanian is also archaic in its character, and therefore 
the region where this Ungu tg is ^poke i ?n ly also br re^ard-^1 
as the Aryan cradle. But it is overlosk *d thit Lithuanian does 
not possess any literature that can b< i cornpired with the Did 
Sanskrit and Z-. j nd literatures, shoeing thrreby that the 
langu ge, in its archaic form, was taken to Europe by an 
unprogressive race and has re mine I i i its primitive condition, 
while Sanskrit and Z^nd, in their n itive home and congenial 
environments, fl >urished lu\u.iantly, an 1 proJjced literature-* 
that still command the admiration of tlx* \\orld IL would 
not help us in any way to solve the problem of the original 
Ar\an cradle " if we cj.ifinv* our atteati'ri to co.itemp'irarv 
farin^ of speech, and co npari, for in- an :e mo lei u Litiiui- 
nian with any of the vernaculir dial cts of India \\hich have 
descended from Sanskrit ", and thereb) " find that the 
Lithuanian is immeasurably the more a r chaic in its character " 
This, as we have said, only proves the un progressive genius 
of the people who took the language to Europe. Progress 
and change connote an inexhaustible* fund oi hfr and en< rgv, 
while stagnation means death, o^ at an\ rate, a lack of vitality ; 
and this clearly shows why Ltthuanim still retains s^m of 
the archaif forms of Aryan speech, and the modern vrrna 
culars of India, derived from Saiiskiit, have developed and 
advanced by leaps and bounds 

It was Cuno " who contended that tlu* undivided Ar)ans, 
instead of being a small clan, must have been a numerous 
nomad pastoral people, inhabitin^ an exlfisive territory. 
A long period several thousand years he considered, must 



362 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

have been occupied in the evolution of the elaborate gram- 
matical system of the primitive speech, while the dialectic 
varieties out of which the Aryan languages were ultimately 
evolved could not have arisen except through geographical 
severance. The necessary geographical conditions were, he 
thought, a va^t plain, undivided by lofty mountain barriers, by 
desert tracts or impassable forests, together with a temperate 
climate, tolerably uniform in character, where a numerous 
people could have expanded, and then, in different portions 
of the territory, could have evolved those dialectic differences 
which afterwards developed into the several Aryan languages. 
There is only one region, he contends, on the whole surface 
of the globe which presents the necessary condition of uniform- 
ity of climate and geogiaphical extension. This is the 
great plain of Northern Europe, stretching from the Ural 
mountains over Northern Germany and the north of France 
as far as the Atlantic. In this region, he thinks, and no 
other, the conditions of life are not too easy, or the struggle 
for existence too hard, to make po^ible the development of 
a grvat energetic r.ice such as th Aryan*. At the begin- 
ning of the historic pt iiod we find this region oc< upied by the 
Celtic, Teutonic, Lithuania and Slaxonir races, whom hi 
regards as autochthonous. At so'ne earlier time he considers 
that the Italic and Hellenic races had extended themselves to 
the south across the mountain chain of Central Europe, and 
had wandered with their herds further to the east, subduing 
and incorporating non- Aryan races " ] 

The above summary of Cuno's opinion has been made 

by Dr. Taylor who, however, says : u To this it might be 

replied that the steppes of Central Asia, extending eastward 

of the Caspian for more than a thousand miles beyond Lake 

Balkash, also offer the necessary conditions, and that here 

the great Turko-Tartaric race has grown up, presenting an 

actual picture of what the Aryan race must have been in the 

early nomad stage of its existence. But it must be concedec 

1 Taylor, Origin of the Aryans, pp. 30-31. 



XVI.] THEORY OF CENTRAL ASIAN CRADLE. ' 363 

to Cuno that the conditions of climate, of soil, of greater 
geographical extension and of proximity to the regions now 
occupied by the Aryans, are arguments for selecting the 
European rather than the Asiatic plain as the probable cradle 
of the Aryan race. 1 ' 1 

But if the plains of Europe be the probable- cradle of the 
Aryan race, how would the fact of nearly all the principal 
Aryan-speaking races being of the brachy-ce phaiic Turanian 
family of Asia be explained ? Dr Taylor has himself shown 
that the dolicho-cephalic savages of the kitchen-middens 
or the dolicho-cephalic Iberian cannibals of Southern Europe 
could not have been the ancestors of the Aryans.- The 
original home of the Aryans must tht refore be sought not in 
Europe, but in Asia whence the Turanians admittedly went 
to Europe with Aryan speech, and the Aryans must have 
been some other race in Asia, fro.n \\hom the Turanians in 
the course of their wanderings borrowed their speech and 
culture. There is no other alternative than to make this 
admission, if we want avoiding arguing in a circle It is 
extremely probable, however, that the gi. at European plain, 
referred to by Cuno, afforded tacihtie> to the Ann-Turanian 
nomads to develop the differ nces of their dialects and 
culture, which we notice at the beginning of thr historical 
epoch in Europe Though Prof* ssor Sayce subsequently 
announced a change of his opinion about the original home 
of the Aryans being in Asia, 3 European scholars like Ujfalvy, 
Hommel, Fessl, Professor Max Muller, and American writers 
like Messrs. Hale and Morris advocate various forms of the 
Asiatic hypothesis. Processor Max Muller gave a final 
pronouncement on the subject in iSSy, \v!i -n he wrote . M If 
an answer must be given as to the place where our Arvan 
ancestors dwelt before their separation, I .should still say, 

1 Ibid p. 31 

Ibid, pp. 222-323 

In the Academy^ Dec. 8th, 1883, and in his Introduction to tht Scimci 
f Language, third edition, 1885. 



364 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

as I said forty years ago, ' somewhere in Asia,' and no more." 1 
And the Professor wis undoubtedly right. This " somewhere 
in Asia " is, as we have pointed out, no other country than 
Sapta-Sindhu with the outlying adjacent territories of 
Gandhara and Bactriana. We have shown how the nomadic 
Aryan savages, driven out of Sapta-Sindhu, spread westward 
in waves after waves That they were primitive savages in 
the hunting stage, and n >t even in the stage of wandering 
cattle-keepers, can easily be surmised from the state of 
neolithic culture in Europe, of which we have already given 
some glimpses. Tiu^e wandering savages readily mixed 
with the nomadic Turanian hordes from Central and Eastern 
Asia, on whom they impo>ed their language, though, having 
been comparatively snvill in number, they were subsequently 
absorbed b\ the Turanians These overspread Europe, but 
they were followed by other Aryan tribes, more advanced 
in culture than then pn dece^sors, as they marched with their 
cattle, and in rude c<rts drawn by oxen. They also subse- 
quently intermingled with the h>brid population of Europe, 
and settled in variou^ parts, sonrit; in the north becoming the 
ancestors ol the Lithu ima-ii an 1 the Slavs, and others in the 
south and west, beco'nm<y the ancestors of the Hellenes, the 
Latins and the O Its. The retreat of the great ice-sheet 
towards the north of Eur-pe after the, post-Glacial epoch 
laid bare the vast plains of Central and Northern Europe 
and made the influx of the Asiatic hordes to that continent 
possible. This must have lurnished " the irresistible impulse " 
for migration, spoken of by Grimm and Max Miiller. The 
greater part of Europe w.is thus floo led in a remote age by 
these surging hordes of mixed Asiatic savages who were, 
however, more advanced in culture and richer in speech than 
the dolicho-cephahc savages and cannibals whom they found 
already settled in the north, south and west of Europe, and 
J[on whom they imposed their culture and language. The 
subsequent development of the dialectic varieties must have 

1 Goofoordt, Aug. 1887, reprinted in " Biographies ol Words." 



XVI.] THEORY OF CENTRAL ASIAN CRADLE. 365 

been favoured by the nature of the countries in which the 
various settlements took place and the character of the 
neighbouring tribes. It would thus appear that the hypo- 
thesis of the European cradle of the Aryan race can by no 
means be satisfactorily maintained, and there is no other 
alternative than to fall back on the Asiatic hypothesis. 
Central and Eastern Asia can, with some show of reason, 
be pointed out as the original home of the brachy-cephalic 
and ortho-cephalic European races, as they are admittedly 
the descendants of the Turanians of Asia, but not certainly 
of the pure Aryans whom we have shown to be autochthonous 
in ancient Sapta-Sindhu, which appears to us to be the real 
cradle of the race. 

The Rgveda is admittedly the oldest work extant of 
the Aryans, and European scholars are unanimously agreed 
that most of the Rgvedic hymns were composed in Sapta- 
Sindhu on the banks of the Indus and its tributaries, and 
of the S,irasvatl and the Dradvatl. In these hymns we do 
not find any mention or evidence of the ancient Aryans 
having ever lived in any other country, or immigrated thence 
to Sapta-Smdhu Some scholars, both Indian and European, 
however, have, in their eagerne^s to establish the Aryan 
cradle in C ntral Asia, trk-d to interpret certain hymns in a 
manner that would support their theory ; but so far their 
efforts do not appear to have been attended with any degree 
of success. For example, Pandit Ramanatha SarasvatI in 
his Bengali translation of the Rgveda interprets Rv. i. *2, 
16 & 17 to mean that the ancient Aryans had been divided 
into seven clans (saptv dhdmavih} and had lived in seven 
regions of an unknown territory somewhere ; whence under 
the leadership of Vijnu, their tutelary deity, they immigrated 
to Sapta-Sindhu after halting in three different places. It is 
needless to say that this interpretation is absurd on the very 
face of it. In the first place, there is no mention in the 
Rgveda that the Vedic Aryans were divided into seven 
clans or tribes ; on the other hand, we find frequent mention 



366 BLGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

of Paftcajan&h or the Five Tribes only. Secondly, the word 
does not mean seven tribes or seven places, but the seven 
rays of the Sun who is identified with Vi?nu. Thirdly, the 
three steps of Vi?nu or the Sun were not the three halting 
places of the Aryan immigrants, hut the three strides that 
the Sun or Vijnu \\as first observed by the primitive Aryans 
to take, viz., the first step in the morning when he rises, 
the second step in the midday when he ascends the zenith 
of the sky, and the third step in the evening when he goes 
down to rest. All the ancient Vedic commentators from 
Yiska, SAkapuni, Ournabh&va and Durgicirya, down to 
S&yana have unanimously adopted this interpretation which 
seems to us to be the most natural, and the only rational 
interpretation of the verges. Thus verse 16 simply means: 
11 May the Devas protect us from the region from which 
Vi?nu or the Sun with his seven rays or metres started on 
his peregrination." There is not here even the shadow of a 
mention of an Arjan immigration to Sapta-Sindhu from 
another country. The Devas evidently dwell in the region 
from which Vi$nu or the Sun starts on his journey and it 
could not have been any other than Heaven itself, the abode 
of the Gods, from which they come down to the earth, when 
invoked by their votaries. This celestial region has been called 
Pratnoka, or ancient abode, in the Rgveda. In Rv i. 30.9 
we read " Indra goeth to many people (i.e., responds to their 
invocations,. I invoke him to come from the ancient abode. 
My father also invoked him before." Skyana interprets 
Pratnasyekasah in the above hymn as follows .Pratnasya 
pur&tanasya Okasah sthdnasya Svargarupasya sakdfdt) 
which means " from the am ient abode, or heaven." The 
dwelling place of the Gods, or heaven, is ralle<i " the ancient 
abode/' because the Devas being as ancient as the creation 
of the Universe itself, the region where they dwell, which is 
one and the same from eternity, is also like them ancient 
and unchangeable. Hence the epithet of their abode is 
''ancient." The word certainly does not mean any ancient 



XVI.] WRONG INTERPRETATIONS. 367 

home of the Aryans, abandoned by them before coming to 
Sapta-Sindhu. It simply means " the ancient or primeval 
and ettrnal home of the Devas," i.e , Heaven itself. But it 
is argued that there is a place named Indrdlaya (abode of 
Indra on the north of the Hindu Kush, which has been 
mentioned in the AmarukoSa and Sabdaratndvafi^ and this 
might have been the ancient abode of the Vedic Aryans who 
worshipped Indra as their supreme deity, and probably named 
the region after him The theory is undoubtedly very 
ingenious ; but there is no mention in the Rgveda of any 
place named Indrdlaya. It is just possible, however, that, 
Indra's birth-place having been described to be the peak of the 
Mujavat mountain in the Himalayan Range, where the Soma 
plant grew, a place over this range or on the north of the 
Hindu Kush was located in a later age as the abode of Indra, 
or IndrAlaya. Similarly at the present day, the KailAsa 
mountain near Lake Mansarobar on the Tibetan side of the 
Himalaya is pointed out as the abode of Siva, and another 
loftv snotty peak of the Himalaya as the abode of the 
-.upeihum.m king ot that name, \\here Uma or Durg& was 
horn. A Himalayan Hindu traveller 1 who passed below 
this snowy piak in his journey to Tibet was astonished at 
the sight ot the semblance of a beautiful palace of snow with 
domes and turrets over this peak, \\hkh \vas pointed out to 
him by his guide as the abode of the celestial Mountain-king 
wno was the father of the Goddess Durg4. We need not, 
therefore, wonder that a place north of the Hindu Kush was 
nannd in some later age as Indrdlaya or the abode of Indra. 
But this does not in an\ way prove that it was the original 
home of the ancient Aryans. 

We have seen that " the ancient abode 7 ' mentioned in 
the Rgveda does not mean the original cradle of the Arvans, 
hut onl> Heaver, or the abode of the Gods ; that the immigra- 
tion of the Vedic Aryans under the leadership of Vi^nu from 
that ancient home is a pure myth which has no basis to 
* * Svami Akhandananda of the Ramkrishna Mission. 



368 $GVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

stand upon ; and lastly, that the three steps taken by Vi?nu 
or the Sun do not mean the three halting places where the 
immigrant Aryans stopped, but only the three strides that 
the Sun daily takes in his journey from the east towards 
the west. Even if it be admitted for the sake of argument 
that the Aryans in the course of their immigration to Sapta- 
Sindhu really halted in three different places for a long time, 
no body has so far been able to identify them If, on the 
other hand, it is supposed that the Aryans did emigrate to 
Sapta-Sindhu at one stretch, halting only at three places 
during their march, then their origin.il home would be situated 
at a very short dUUnce, say 50 miles, from Sapta-Sindhu, 
which could be covered by a journey of only three days. This 
would be tantamount to a confession that the cradle was, 
as it were, within the ambit of Sapta-Sindhu itself. We 
have shown th U though the Aryans originally belonged to 
Sapta-Sindhu, they expanded in the direction of Gandh&raand 
Bactriana, both of which were peopled by their own kith and 
kin. We further know that the rivers of Afghanistan that 
are tributaiy to the Indus have been mentioned in th<- R^- 
veda at the sune tim as th- tributaries tnat fl:>w through the 
Punjab, together with the Sir<isvdtl, the Djr?advatl, the 
Apaya and other independent rivers. Though all these 
rivers as well as the Ganga* and the Yamuni have been 
mentioned, the Rgvedic bards are eloquent in thdr 
description of the Indus and the Sarasvati only, and relate 
with pride how all their sacrifices were performed and all 
knowledge, sacred and secular, wa*> acquired on their 
hallowed banks. They have also called the Sarasvati <4 the 
best of mothers " and " the best of rivers," thereby implying 
that they looked upon the region watered by the sacred 
stream as their original cradle. The ancient Aryan world, 
therefore, included not only Sapta-Sindhu proper, but also 
GandhAra and Bactriana; and we should not be at all 
surprised if we come across a verse that mentions, among 
other places, one named Yakfu (Rv. vii. 28, 29). Even if this 



XVI.] WRONG INFERPRETATIONS. 369 

Yakju be identified with the river Oxus, it does not mean that 
the original home of the Aryans was near the upper sources 
of the Oxus and the Jaxartes. It simply means that they 
knew this river, or the region watered by it, merely as 
colonists, sojourners or invaders. The verse says that Indra 
fought a battle in which he killed Bheda (probably the ruler 
of the country), and Yamuna* pleased him and the three 
countries named Aja, Sighru and Yak?u offered him the head 
of a horse. This evidently means that Indra, or for the 
matter of that, his votaries, embarked on a war of conquest 
on the frontiers, beginning from the banks of the Yamuna* in 
Sapta-Sindhu, and ending in the northern-most region of the 
then known Aryan world, which was watered by the Oxus, 
and that this victory was celebrated by the performance of a 
horse-sacrifice in honour of Indra, in which the vanquished 
peoples also took a prominent part. The mention of the 
Rugamas in Rv. v. 30, 12-15 has led certain scholars to 
identify them with the ancestors of the Russians, and their 
country with Russia ! The sage Bnbhru, while praising Agni, 
mentions in the above verses that Rnancaya, the leader of 
the Ru^amas, gave him four thousand heads of cattle, one 
golden bucket, and a house to live in. The Rucamas were 
therefore undoubtedly Vedic sacrifices, and must have lived 
in Sapta-Sindhu. Whether thev afterwards emigrated to 
Russia and gave their name to the country is more than what 
we know or can say. It would, however, meiely suffice to 
say here that they were an Aryan tribe living either in 
Sapta-Sindhu or its neighbourhood, and not in Russia. 
Another similarity in name has led some scholars to indulge 
in another wild guess. The word ffariyupla occurs in a 
Rgvedic ver^c (Rv. vi. 27,5), which is identified with 
Europe. But it is probably the name of a river or town, as 
Siyaaa says ; and it is related that Indra killed the sons of 
Vjrcivana (who was himself the son of Vara&ikha), who were 
encamped on the eastern side of Hariyupla, aad thai' 
Vfcivana's eldest son, who was encamped on the western 

47 



370 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

side, seeing his brothers killed, died through fear. This 
expedition therefore was also a war of conquest, and 
Hariyupla does not seem to us to be the name of the continent 
of Europe. But even if it was, it only goes to show that 
the ancient Aryans of Rgvedk* times advanced from Sapta- 
Sindhu as far as Europe in their warlike expeditions. 

Another argument in favour of tht* Central Asian cradle 
of the Aryans is b^sed on the fact that the word hima was 
equivalent for the year, thereby indicating that the climate 
of the place where they dwelt was cold and wintry during 
the greater part of the year, and not hot like that of the 
Punjab. In Rv. i. 64,14, ii. i, n, 33,2, v. 54,15, vi. 10,7 
and vi. 48,8, we come across the word hima to mean the 
year. This does not imply that the Aryans had lived in a 
cold country before they immigrated to the Punjab ; but 
that the climate of Sapta-Sindhu it-elf, as geologists have 
proved, had been cold in ancient times in consequence of 
the existence of seas round about the country, which after- 
wards changed into hot with the disappearance of the seas. 
The year, therefore, was naturally designated by the word 
hima\ and there can be no doubt that the existence of this 
word in the verses proves their hoary antiquity and takes us 
back to geological times. When the climate changed from 
cold to temperate, the word hima was naturally substituted 
by the word Sarad (autumn) to mean the year and 
indicate the prevailing climate. A disregard of this fact 
has led scholars to surmise that the Aryans at first lived 
in a cold climate! and that their original home was situated 
on the high table-land of Central Asia where wintry 
conditions prevail even to this day. This surmise, however, 
has no firm basis to stand upon. It is Sapta-Sindhu which 
was, as we have repeatedly shown in the previous chapters 
by adducing various proofs, the real cradle of the Aryan race, 
and included not only Sapta-Sindhu proper, but also 
Gaiidh&ra, or Afghanistan, th<- beautiful valley of Kashmir, 
the high plateau situated to the north of it, Bactriana and 



XVI.] ARYAN CRADLE IN SAPTA-SJNDHU. 371 

Airyana Vaejo. But the five tribes that constituted the Vedic 
Aryans, performing the Vedic rites, worshipping the Vedic 
Gods, and having a homogeneous civilisation, confined them* 
selves to the plains and the beautiful valley of Kashmir only. 
Those of the Aryans that lived outside the territory were 
regarded by the Vedic Aryans as non-sacrificers, Ddsas 
DasyuS) barbarians and Mlecchas } i.e., people who could not 
pronounce words properly. Religious schisms and intolerance 
went a great way to estrange their own kith and kin from 
them, and this estrangement gradually developed into an 
implacable enmity, which ultimately completed their separa- 
tion. 

It would thus appear that Central Asia could not have 
been, and never was the original cradle of the Aryan race. If 
it is to be located anywhere with any show of reason, it must 
be in Sapta-Sindhu or nowhere. 



CHAPTER XVH. 

THE HYPOTHESIS OF THE ARCTIC HOME OF THE ARYANS. 

Besides the hypothesis of Aryan home in Northern 
Europe and Central Asia, there is yet another which seeks 
to prove that the original Aryan cradle was situated some- 
where in the Arctic region This theory would, at first 
sight, appear startling and incredible, in as much as these 
regions are covered by ice, at places hundreds of feet deep, 
and are not at all calculated to favour the growth and 
development of any large family of human beings The 
circum-polar regions are very sparsely populated, and the 
nearer one approches the North Pole, the more desolate 
does the scene appear till every vestige of human habitation 
and even of life and vegetation in any shape or form disap- 
pears, and the vast panorama consists of nothing but an 
awfully still and strange, bleak and cold, and white and weird 
expanse of ice, in whichever direction one may turn one's eyes. 
In fact, King Ice reigns there supreme and undisputed in his 
solemn grandeur and appalling loneliness, plunged for six 
months into the various shades of darkness which is only 
occasionally relieved by the resplendent flashes of the Aurora 
Borealis, or the moon-light, and lit up for the remaining six 
months by the rays of the Sun who wheels round and round 
the horizon in concentric circles, like a strange and shy creature, 
or an unwilling exile, eager for an escape from this dismal 
and inhospitable region, but finding no way out, making 
" the day-light sick " as it by his own chilling and creeping 
sensation of fear, never venturing to mount high up the 
heavens, and feeling as it were only too glad to retrace his 
steps, and disappear below the horizon, leaving King Ice again 
to dismal darkness and his dreary dreams. Such then is the 
Polar region which can only be fit for the habitation of beings 
other than human probably of the Devas or the Gods, 



XVIL] THEORY OF ARCTIC CRADLE. 373 

as the ancient Hindus who came to be acquainted with 
it in an age later than the Rgvedic believed it to be. The 
very appalling loneliness and desolation of the region cannot 
but be associated with the haunts of unearthly beings, if such 
really exist, with v\hom solitude probably is the very essence 
and condition of their existence. 

Such a region as the Polar nobody would ever believe 
to have been inhabited by human beings at any stage of the 
Earth's evolution, for ordinarily we are accustomed to think 
of it as having existed in its present condition from the very 
beginning of creation. But Geologists have proved from the 
remains of plants and animals embedded in the ice that in 
the Arctic circle theie prevailed in a remote period a 
congenial climate verging upon " perpetual spring," which 
favoured the growth of vegetation, and the multiplication of 
animals, and probably also of human beings, though ordinarily 
it is difficult for men of the tropics who are accustomed to 
live in bright sunshine every day of their life to understand 
why, granting that the more southern latitudes possessed an 
equally congenial and equable climate, people should prefer 
to live in a region which is covered by darkness for six 
months, or even a lesser period. But, strange as it may 
appear, even to this day, the circumpolar regions are tenanted 
by human tribes like the Esquimaux, who prefer to live there 
as much as people do in the swelteringly hot and enervating 
climate of the tropics. There is a wonderful power in man 
to get himself acclimatized and adapt himself to his environ- 
ments, however unfavourable they may be at first sight, as 
he is possessed of a spirit of conservatism, which makes him 
unwilling to change his habitat, however unsuitable it may 
appear to others, for another in a strange though more 
suitable land, unless he is absolutely compelled by circums- 
tances to do so. And thus we find Iceland, Greenland, and 
the northernmost parts of Scandinavia and Russia still 
inhabited by human beings who are quite as much at home 
ia those inhospitable regions, as we are in ours. It is 



374 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

therefore exceedingly probable that, a more equable and 
congenial climate having prevailed in the Arctic region in 
some by-gone geological epoch, it was tenanted by human 
beings whose origin is traced back by scientists to the 
Pleistocene epoch, and even to the Miocene epoch of the 
Tertiary Era. 

We have already saiil that Dr. Croll has calculated from 
astronomical data that in the northern hemisphere the last 
Glacial epoch began some 240,000 years ago and that it 
lasted with alternations of a milder and even tropical 
temperature for nearly 160,000 years, and finally terminated 
about 80,000 years ago, from which time the modern climatic 
conditions have prevailed. Professor Geikie essentially 
agrees with these calculations an<l believes that palaeolithic 
man must have occupied parts of Western Europe, shortly 
after the disappearance of the great ice-sheet, and that he 
was also probably interglacial. " During the interglacial 
period " he observes " the climate was characterised by 
clement winters and cool summers, so that the tropical plants 
and animals, like elephant-, rhinoceroses and hippopota- 
muses ranged over the whole of the Arctic region, and in 
spite of many fierce carnivora, the Palaeolithic man had no 
unpleasant habitation." 1 We aie not here concerned with 
the causes that produced these climatic changes in the Arctic 
region, it will suffice for our purpose to admit that these 
changes did actually take place in geological times, and that 
palaeolithic man most likely inhabited this region in the 
interglaciai epoch, the dolicho-cephalic savages of Northern 
Europe having probably been the survivors of the cataclysm 
that made the Arctic circle uninhabitable by the invasion of 
ice and snow. As these savages have been declared by 
anthropologists to have btnen originally an African race, it 
follows that they must have emigrated to the Polar region 
in some interglacial epoch, when the climatic conditions 
-were favourable. We are also not much concerned here 
1 GtMe'B Fragments of Barth Lore, p. 266. ~~" 



XVII.] THEORY OF ARCTIC CRADLE. 375 

with the controversy among European and American scien- 
tists as regards the period of time when the Glacial epoch, 
ended, and the post-Glacial epoch commenced in the northern 
hemisphere, as there is a wide divergence of opinion between 
them, the English Geologists holding that the event must have 
taken place more than fifty or sixty thousand years ago, while 
the American Scientists asserting that it could not be earlier 
than 7000 or 8000 thousand years at most in North America. 
It is just possible that owing to local causes, the post-Glacial 
epoch in the two countries may have commenced in different 
periods of time and that the calculations of the European and 
the American scientists are correct so far as their respective 
countries are concerned. It is an admitted fact that while all 
the evidence regarding the existence of the Glacial epoch 
comes from the north of Europe and America, no traces of 
glaciation have so far been discovered in Northern Asia or 
North Alaska. We may therefore take it that different 
conditions of climate prevailed in different periods of time 
in different countries owing to the existence of different 
causes, and that the calculations of the European Geologists 
are correct so far as North Europe is concerned. 

We have also seen that the neolithic civilisation of 
Europe was brought there with Aryan speech by a brachy- 
cephalic people, whom anthropologists have identified with 
the Mongolian or Turanian race of Asia. There is no evidence 
to show that they came from the Arctic region, for the earliest 
lake-dv\ellings of Europe have betn ascertained to be not 
older than 8,000 B.C., and the commencement of the Neolithic 
age in Europe not earlier than 20,000 B.C., while the Arctic 
regions had become unfit for human habitation more than 
50,000 years ago when the present inclement climate com- 
menced there owing to the invasion of ice. If, therefore, the 
progenitors of the Aryan race ever had their original home in 
the Arctic region, it must have been in some interglacial 
epoch long before the commencement of the post-Glacial . 
epoch in Europe, and they must have emigrated southward 



yfi RGVEDIC INDIA. 

alter the destruction of their original home not certainly to 
Europe but to Asia, whence in neolithic times the Turanians, 
having been aryanised in speech and culture, went to Europe 
about 20,000 years ago. 

Among the scholars who have propounded the hypothesis 
of the original Arctic home of man, the name of Dr. Warren, 
President of the Boston University, stands foremost. His 
work, the Paradise Found or the Cradle of the Human Race 
at the North Pole has opened up a new vista of speculation 
and research. M. de Saporta, a distinguished French savant, 
ihas also propounded a theory to the effect " that the entire 
human race originated on the shores of the Polar sea at a 
time when the rest of the northern hemisphere was too hot 
to be inhabited by man." 1 We do not dispute the fact that 
the Polar region was habitable in interglacial epochs, but 
whether the shores of the Polar sea constituted the original 
cradle of the human race is quite another matter, with which 
we are not here concerned. Professor Rhys also after a 
careful examination of the Celtic and Teutonic myths, and 
comparing them with similar Greek traditions, has come to 
the conclusion that the original home of the Aryans was in 
Northern Europe, somewhere " between Germany and Scandi- 
navia, especially the south of Sweden. This last would 
probably do well enough as the country in which the Aryans 
may have consolidated and organized themselves before 
beginning to send forth their excess of population to conquer 
the other lands now possessed by nations speaking Aryan 
languages." He goes further to say that the mythological 
indications " point to some spot within the Arctic circle, 
sttoh, for example, as the region where Norse legend placed 
the Land of Immortality, somewhere in the north of Finland 
and the neighbourhood of the White Sea. There would, 
perhaps, be no difficulty in the way of supposing them to have 
thence in" jdue time descended into Scandinavia, settling, 
amoag other places, at Upsaia, which has all the appearance 
* Rfeys' Hibbert 'Lectures, -p. 637. 



XVII.] THEORY OF ARCTIC CRADLE. 377 

of being a most ancient site, lying as it does on a plain dotted 
with innumerable burial mounds of unknown antiquity. This, 
you will bear in mind, has to do only with the origin of the 
early Aryans, and not with that of the human race generally ; 
but it would be no fatal objection to the view here suggested, 
if it should be urged that the mythology of nations beside the 
Aryans such as that of the Paphlagonians, in case of their 
not being Aryan, point likewise to the north, for it is not 
contended that the Aryans may be the only people of 
northern origin." 1 

Professor Rhys says that the old views of mythologists 
and philologists regarding the primeval home of the Aryan 
race have been modified by the recent researches in Geology, 
Archaeology and Craniology, and the site of that home has 
been shifted from the plains of Central Asia to the northern 
parts of Germany or even to Scandinavia not only on 
ethnological but also on philological grounds. A comparison 
of the Celtic, Teutonic, and Greek myths als6 brings him to 
the same conclusion, as we have already said. But his 
arguments seem to overlook the fact that language, and for 
the matter of that, mythology which is transmitted by 
language, are no criteria of race. " Ideas," says Dr. Taylor, 
" may be the same and language may be identical, but we 
cannot affirm that the undivided Aryans were in possession 
of a common mythology. It is more probable that out of 
the same common words and the same thoughts, the Aryan 
nations, after their separation, constructed separate mythic 
tales, whose resemblances are apparent rather than real. 
Another factor has also to be taken into account Much of 
the culture formerly attributed to the undivided Aryans is 
due merely to borrowing, and so also it is probable that there 
has been an extensive migration of myths from tribe to tribe. 
In many oases this has been proved to.beljhe Case. We 
know that a large portion of the Greek mythic taW^f wereUn 

ibid, pp. $36-37. 



3 y8 %GVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

reality , derived from Semitic sources, J and that the Latin 
poets transferred Greek myths to unrelated Italic deities, 
that the Teutons appropriated Celtic deities, while even the 
mythology of the Edda turns out to be largely infected with 
ideas which carf be traced to Christian sources, and supposed 
Hottentot traditions of a universal deluge prove to have 
been obtained from the dimly remembered teaching of 
Christian missionaries. Religious myths, like folk-tales and 
popular fables, have an astonishing faculty for migration. 
Sacred legends of the Buddhistic priests found their way 
from India to Bagdad, from Bagdad to Cairo, from Cairo to 
Cordova, and are now enshrined in the pages of La Fontaine, 
having been translated by wandering professional story-tellers 
from Pali into Pehlevi, from Pehlevi into Arabic, from Arabic 
into Spanish, from Spanish into French and English. It is more 
probable that any divine myths which may ultimately be identi- 
fied in the Aryan languages may have thus migrated at some 
early time, than that, as the comparative mythologists assume, 
they formed part of the common Aryan heritage in the 
barbarous and immensely remote period before the linguistic 
separation. 1 ' 2 It will thus appear that on linguistic and 
mythological grounds, no identity of race can be established. 
Craniology also proves that the Celts and the Teutons do not 
belong to the same branch of the human race. The dolicho- 
cephalic Teutons were admittedly in the palaeolithic stage 
when the neolithic Celts and the Slavs came in contact with 
and itoposed their language and culture on them. It is not 
unlikely, as asserted by Dr. Taylor, that the Celtic deities 
and myths found their way among the Teutons who adopted 
arid modified them to suit their own way of thinking. When 
the dolicho-cephalic Teutons do not admittedly belong to 
the original Aryan race, it would be idle and futile to call 
their old cradle' in Europe as the early cradle of the Aryans. 

* We byre shown however in a previous chapter that the Semites derived 
much of their culture from India, 

Taylor's Origin of the Aryans, pp. 330.332. 



XVII.] THEORY OF ARCTIC CRADLE. 

The theory of the Arctic home of the Aryans should, thcrefbtt, 
fail on this very ground. Add to this the vast difference in 
culture of the Teutons and the Celts as exhibited in the 
remains of the kitchen-middens of the former, and the 
lake-dwellings of the latter. The Teutons having been vastly 
inferior to the Celts, it is certain that the culture went from 
the south to the north, thus pointing to the probability that 
the centre of Aryan culture was in a place other than 
North Europe or the Arctic Circle. There is also 
another factor which has to be reckoned with. The Arctic 
region became uninhabitable more than 50,000 years 
ago, when the present inclement climate commenced there. 
Where did the Aryans go after the destruction of their home 
in the Arctic circle ? As the dolicho-cephalic Canstadts or 
Teutons were not Aryans, nor were the Iberians and the 
Ligurians, it is probable that the Celts belonged to the Aryan 
race. But how is it that they exhibit a Turanian type, with 
an Aryan speech? These are questions which cannot be 
satisfactorily answered by assuming a North European or 
Arctic cradle of the Aryans. That cradle must have been in 
Asia, and, as we have already pointed out, in Sapta-Sindhu. 

In India, Mr. Balgangadhar Tilak has attempted to prove 
from internal evidences of the Rgveda and the Zend-Avesta 
that the Arctic region was the original cradle of the Aryans. 
It will be our humble endeavour in this and the following 
chapters to examine how far the evidences gathered and 
marshalled by him can be relied upon to support his 
hypothesis. But we must candidly say at the very outset 
that Western Vedic scholars have admitted that there is 
absolutely no evidence in the Rgveda of the Aryans having 
ever immigrated to Sapta-Sindhu from any country in any 
ancient epoch, or of their original home having been 
destroyed by the invasion of ice and snow. Mr. Tilak also 
holds the same view with these Western scholars, but he 
persuades himself to believe that the legend of Manu's Flood, 
as told not certainly in the Rgveda, but in the Satapatha 



3 8o RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

Br&hroa^a which is a much later work, is identical with 
the story of the Ice-deluge as related in the Zend-Avesta, 
which is said to have destroyed Airyana Vaejo, or the Aryan 
Paradise. He thinks that this Paradise was situated within 
the Arctic Circle, and that the Ice-deluge referred to in the 
Avesta was no other than the glaciation that made this Circle 
uninhabitable. 

There is, however, a vast difference between the accounts 
of Manu's Flood, and the Ice-deluge as mentioned in the 
Avesta. Manu's deluge was one of water, while the Avestic 
deluge was purely one of snow and ice. Mr. Tilak also has 
noticed this difference. u Nevertheless," says he, "it seems 
that the Indian story of the deluge refers to the same 
catastrophe as is described in the Avesta, and not to any 
local deluge of water or rain. For though the Satapatha 
Br&hmai^a mentions a flood (aughah), the word prdleya 
which P$ini (vii. 3. 2) derives from pral&ya (a deluge) 
signifies 'snow,' * frost, ' or * ice ' in the later Sanskrit 
literature. This indicates that the connection of ice with the 
deluge was not originally unknown to the Indians, though 
in later times it seems to have been entirely overlooked. 
Geology informs u<* that every Glacial epoch is characterised 
by extensive inundation of the land with waters brought 
down by great rivers flowing from the glaciated districts, 
and carrying an amount of sand or mud with them. The 
word aughah or flood in the Satapatha Brihmana may, 
therefore, be taken to refer to such sweeping floods flowing 
from the glaciated districts, and we may suppose Manu to 
have been carried along one of these in a ship guided by the 
fish to the sides of the Himalaya mountain. In short, it is 
not necessary to hold that the account in the Satapatha 
Br&hma&a refers to the water deluge, pure and simple, 
whatever the later Pur&Qas may say ; and if so, we can 
regard the Brahmanic account of deluge as but a different 
version of the Avestic deluge of ice. It was once suggested 
that the idea of deluge may have been introduced into India 



XVIL] THEORY OF ARCTIC CRADLE. 381 

from an exclusively Semitic source ; but this theory is long 
abandoned by scholars, as the story of the deluge is found in 
suoh an ancient book as the Satapatha BrAhma^a, the date 
of which has now been ascertained to be not later than 
2500 B.C. from the fact that it expressly assigns to the 
Kfttikds or the Pleiades a position in the due east. It is 
evident, therefore, that the story of the deluge is Aryan in 
origin, and in that case the Avestic and the Vedic account 
of the deluge must be traced to the same source." 1 

We agree with Mr. Tilak in his last conclusion that the 
story of the deluge is Aryan in origin, but not in any of the 
other inferences drawn by htm. In the first place, we do not 
admit that the deluge of water and the deluge of ice were iden- 
tical and traceable to the same cause. We have already 
discussed this subject in extenso in a previous chapter, conclud- 
ing that the deluge of water occurred in Sapta-Sindhu probably 
as the result of the sudden upheaval of the bed of the RljputAnA 
Sea; that Manu's ship floated with the inrushing flood towards 
the Himalaya which has been described in the Satapatha 
BrAhmaaa as " the Northern Mountain " (Uttaragiri) ; that 
this mountain could not have been described as northern 
(Uttara) unless Manu had lived to the south of it in a region 
where the flood occurred ; and that the deluge of ice men- 
tioned in the Avesta, which destroyed Airyana Vaejo, was 
probably caused by the vast volumes of vapours, released 
from the flood-water, having been precipitated as snow on 
the lofty peaks of the Himalaya and in Airyana Vaejo which 
was not situated in the Arctic Circle but on the tableland of 
Bactriana. If our conclusions be correct, the Ice-deluge was 
not at all connected with the advent of the Ice Age in the 
Arctic region at the close of the Glacial epoch, which made 
it uninhabitable. The Ice-deluge mentioned in the Avesta 
and the flood related in the Satapatha Brihma^a were 
undoubtedly local events due to local causes, and were not 
at all connected with the widespread changes brought about 

" * Tilak's Arctic Horn* in ike Vedms> p. 387- 



383 *GVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

by the natural forces at work daring the Glacial and Inter- 
glacial epochs. In the second place, instead of the Arctic 
Circle having been made uninhabitable by the deluge of ice 
that destroyed Airyana Vaejo, we find Yima emigrating to a 
region within that very circle, where the year consisted of 
"one long day and one long night," thereby proving that it 
was situated within that circle, and habitable, and that Yima 
must have led his colony to that region in an Inter-glacial 
period. This also goes to show that the deluge in Sapta- 
Sindhu had occurred long before the Arctic region was 
destroyed and made uninhabitable by ice, and that the Indo- 
Iranians had already been in Sapta-Sindhu and Bactriana 
before the immigration of the dolichocephalic savages of 
Northern Europe took place from the Arctic Circle, if they 
had at all lived there in any Inter-glacial epoch. In the third 
place, the immigration of the Aryans from the Arctic Circle 
to Southern Asia is more fanciful than real. Manu, at any 
rate, did not come in his ship from the north to the side of 
the " Northern Mountain " which is interpreted to be the 
Himalaya. Taking all these circustances into our considera- 
tion, we cannot hold with Mr. Tilak that the Indo-lranians 
had their cradle in the Arctic region, and that there is any 
evidence in the Avesta or the Rgveda of the destruction of 
that cradle or Paradise by the invasion of ice. 

Then again, even if we admit for the sake of argument 
that the Aryan cradle was situated within the Arctic Circle, 
and that Manu, on the advent of the Ice-age immigrated to 
the side of the Himalaya in his ship which started from that 
cradle, and glided along a great river flooded by water from 
the melting ice of the glaciated districts, though, by the way, 
the existence of such a great river is nowhere traceable, the 
fact remains undoubted that the Aryans of the Arctic 
cradle were a highly civilised race even in that remote age, 
in as much as they could construct a ship capable of 
making such a long voyage, without meeting with any 
mishap. How is it, then, that such a great event was not 



XVII.j THEORY OF ARCTIC CRADLE. 

mentioned in the Rgveda, the oldest <J5ruti, which was 
admittedly composed in Sapta-Sindu, and according to Mr. * 
Tilak's view, composed after the immigration of the Aryans 
from the Polar region under the leadership of Maim ? And 
how is it again that the other Aryans who dispersed to the 
northern and southern regions of Europe from this same 
cradle remained in a savage condition as primitive hunters, 
shell-eaters, and even cannibals, living in caves, clad in skins 
sewn with bone-needles, unacquainted with the use of any 
metal, placed in the palaeolithic stage of civilisation, and 
divided into two distinct branches of the human family, one 
dolicho-cephalic and the other brachy-cephalic ? To some 
of these questions Mr. Tilak has attempted an answer which, 
for ingenuity, absurdity and desperateness, is hard to beat, 
and well worth quoting here " The destruction of the ancient 
Aryan home by glaciation and deluge/' says he, "intro- 
duces a new factor in the history of the Aryan civilisation ; 
and any shortcoming or defects in the civilisation of the 
Aryan races that are found to have inhabited the northern 
parts of Europe in the beginning of the Neolithic age as 
distinguished from the civilisation of the Asiatic Aryan races 
must now be accounted for as the result of a natural relapse 
into barbarism after the great catastrophe. It is true that 
ordinarily we cannot conceive a race that has once launched 
on a career of progress and civilisation suddenly retrograding 
or relapsing into barbarism. But the same rule cannot be 
applied to the case of the continuation of the ante-diluvian 
into post-diluvian times. In the first place, very few people 
would have survived a cataclysm of such magnitude as the 
deluge of snow and ice, and those that survived could hardly 
be expected to have carried with them all the civilisation of 
the original home, and introduced it intact in their new 
settlements under adverse circumstances, among the non- 
Aryan tribes in the north of Europe, or on the plains of 
Central Asia. We must also bear in mind the fact that th* 
climate of northern Europe and Asia, though temperate at 



384 *GVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

present, must have been very much colder after the great 
deluge, and the descendants of those who had to migrate to 
those countries from the Polar regions, born only to a savage 
or nomadic life, could have, at best, preserved only frag- 
mentary reminiscences of the ante-diluvian culture and 
civilisation of their forefathers living in the once happy 
Arctic home. Under the circumstances we need not be 
surprised if the European Aryans are found to be in an 
inferior state of civilisation at the beginning of the Neolithic 
age. On the contrary, the wonder is that so much of the 
ante-diluvian religion or culture should have been preserved 
from the general wreck caused by the last Glacial epoch, by 
the religious zeal and industry of the bards or priests of the 
Iranian or the Indian Aryans. It is true that they looked 
upon these relics of the ancient civilisation as a sacred 
treasure entrusted to them to be scrupulously guarded and 
transmitted to future generations ; yet considering the difficul- 
ties with which they had to contend, we cannot but wonder 
how so much of the ante-diluvian civilisation, religion, or 
worship was preserved in the Veda or the Avesta. If the 
other Aryan races have failed to preserve these ancient 
traditions so well, it would be unreasonable to argue there- 
from that the civilisation or the culture of these races was 
developed after the separation of the common stock. 1 ' 1 

There are so many absurd elements in the above 
answer that we cannot do better than pick out a few promi- 
nent ones and deal with them one by one. In the first place, 
if very few of the Aryans, who had be* i n settled in the Arctic 
Circle, survived the cataclysm of ice and snow, and such as 
survived and migrated south to Scandinavia and other parts 
of North Europe relapsed into barbarism, it is tantamount to 
an admission that there is no Aryan element to speak of in 
the population of Europe. In the second place, it is incon- 
ceivable that the survivors of a tribe which has, by a natural 
process of evolution, reached a certain stage of civilisation, 
Tilak's Arctic Horn* in tht Vitas, pp. 434-435. 



XVII.] THEORY OF ARCTIC CRADLE. 385 

would retrograde or relapse into barbarism in consequence 
of a catastrophe that destroys their home, to such an extent 
as to make them forget the use and manufacture of metals, 
or to adopt palaeolithic implements for neolithic ones. This 
may be conceivable and possible in the case of an isolated 
individual, but never in the case of a tribe. Even a Robinson 
Crusoe, cast away in a lonely island, would be able single- 
handed with the assistance of such meagre instruments as he 
could lay his hands on, to conform himself to the require- 
ments of a semi-civilised life. In the third place, it may be 
reasonably assumed that the Glacial epoch did not appear all 
at once, in a single day, in the Arctic region, without any 
previous warning, and destroy all life. Its appearance was 
undoubtedly gradual, giving sufficient forewarnings to the 
creatures that lived there, so that they could instinctively 
take themselves to places of safety. As a matter of fact, the 
number of survivors, to whichever race they may have 
belonged, and even if they were Aryans, as is supposed by 
Mr. Tilak, was large enough to have overspread a large part 
of Europe, and also parts of Asia. Now a tribe that survives 
a catastrophe, and .shares the general culture of the race to 
which it belongs, cannot conceivably relapse into barbarism 
as soon as it is removed from its original home and environ- 
ments. The physical home may have been destroyed, but 
the tribal mind was there, with all the inheritance of its 
culture, and mind, as we all know, is a principal factor in the 
evolution of civilisation, with the help of which a tribe is able 
to overcome many difficulties, and remove many obstacles, 
even in unfavourable environments. These may retard further 
progress, but certainly cannot destroy, root and branch, the 
culture inherited from time immemorial, unless, of course, we 
suppose that the dispersion took place in groups of two or 
three individuals only, completely cut off from one another 
a supposition which seems absurd on the very face of it. In 
the next place, it should be considered that though the 
northern regions of Europe may have been uncongenial and 

49 



386 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

unfavourable to the growth and development of civilisation, 
the southern regions were not. How is it then that both the 
Northerners and the Southerners remained in the same stage 
of development for thousands of years? And how is it again 
that the Aryan tribes who wandered south to Asia from the 
'same cradle after the catastrophe, not only retained a large 
part of their original culture but also made rapid strides 
towards progress? These are questions which cannot be 
satisfactorily answered by the explanation that Mr. Tilak has 
offered. Either it must be supposed that the ancestors of the 
Indo-Iranians, who are alleged to have lived in the Arctic 
region, formed a people by themselves, with a superior 
culture and homogeneous civilisation which were not shared 
by the savage ancestors of the European nations who formed 
a separate group of people, unconnected with the Aryans ; 
or, the hypothesis of a common Aryan cradle in the Arctic 
Circle, from which the common ancestors of the Europeans 
and I ndo-Iranians are said to have dispersed, must be given 
up as untenable. There is no way out of this dilemma. If 
the Indo-Iranians were a separate people in the Arctic Circle, 
then the ancestors of the European nations were undoubtedly 
not Aryans. The question, however, remains to be answered, 
if they were not Aryans, how rouM they imbibe the Aryan 
speech ? One plausible answer may be that they must have 
come in contact with the Aryans in the Arctic Circle, and 
adopted their language, though not their culture, which 
however, seems improbable. But even then another question 
would stare us in the face : How is it that the majority of the 
Aryan-speaking people of Europe are distinctly of a Turanian 
or Asiatic type, and the Teutons of an African type ? The 
hypothesis of the Arctic home of the Aryans cannot explain 
this point, or answer this question. The only other alternative 
left to us is to fall back on the hypothesis that the Aryans 
had no cradle in the Arctic region, and that their original 
home was in Asia, and in Sapta-Sindhu, whence savage 
Aryan tribes in the primitive stages of civilisation went out 



XVII.] THEORY OF ARCTIC CRADLE. 387 

towards the west, and getting themselves mixed with the 
Turanian savages on whom they imposed their language, 
overspread Europe. This hypothesis, so far as our present 
knowledge goes, most satisfactorily explains everything, as 
we have shown in the previous chapters. But Mr. Tilak*says 
that there are internal evidences in the Rgveda and the 
Avesta to prove the original Aryan cradle in the Arctic 
Circle. Even if, after a close and careful examination of these 
evidences, we find them to be true or reliable, they would only 
go to prove that the ancestors of the Indo-Iranians had lived 
in some early remote age in the Arctic region, developing a 
civilisation of their own, whence they emigrated south to 
Bactriana and Sapta-Sindhu in an age, still so early 
and remote, that their descendants forgot all traditions 
of this early immigration, and regarded themselves as 
autochthones of SapU-Sindhu. If Manu's Flood and the 
Ice-deluge in the Arctic region were identical events, 
then the civilisation of the early Aryan immigrants 
must have been in such an advanced stage as to make 
the building of sea-going ships possible, which connotes an 
intimate knowledge of the use and manufacture of metals. 
This involves the further question : How is then the existence 
of savage Aryan nomads in the neolithic stage in Sapta- 
Sindhu to be accounted for ? For, unless they had existed 
there, and wandered away to the west, with the Turanian 
savages in a similar .stage of development, the import of 
Aryan speech with neolithic culture into Europe by a people 
of the Turanian type would not be at all possible. The 
Aryan immigrants to Sapta-Sindhu having been highly 
civilised, we cannot imagine that they were accompanied in 
their journey by Aryan savages in the neolithic stage, in as 
much as the co-existence of two such widely divergent stages 
of civilisation in the same community is not ordinarily 
possible, without the higher civilisation effecting an improve- 
ment in the lower. But it may be argued that the two 
branches of the Aryan race probably started from their 



388 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

original cradle in the Arctic region separately and by different 
routes, one branch settling in Sapta-Sindhu and Bactriana, 
and the other in Central Asia where they mixed with the 
Turanians, and wherefrom they afterwards immigrated to 
Europe. This may indeed have been possible. But we have 
to take into our consideration the fact that the gi eater part 
of Central and Northern Asia was covered by seas in ancient 
time, which would be impassable to savage nomads in the 
neolithic stage of civilisation, and a route beset with such 
difficulties and obstacles would be instinctively avoided by 
them. Besides, there is absolutely no evidence of Aryan 
settlement or migration in North Asia. There is indeed 
some evidence of this in Central and Western Asia. But 
this is accounted for by the Aryan nomadic sa\ag<-s having 
migrated in those directions from th^ central hive in Sapta- 
Sindhu and Bactriana, from which they had been eliminated 
and ejected by the more advanced tribe-* in the natural 
course of their evolution. Considered from all these points 
of view, Mr. Tildk's hypothesis of the Aryan cradle in the 
Arctic region seems to us to be untenable. It now only 
remains for us to examine the Veclic and Avestic evidences 
adduced by him in support of his hypothesis, which we 
propose to do in the following chapters. 



CHAPTER XVIII- 

EXAMINATION OF MR. TIUK'S THEORY OF THE ARCTIC 
CRADLE OF THE ARYANS. 

THE NIGHT OF THE GODS. 

The North Pole is merely a point and the Arctic region 
comprises the tract between the North Pole and the Arctic 
Circle. It is also called the circum-polar region. The 
Polar chaiacteristics have thus been summed up by Mr. Tilak: 

(i) The sun rises in the south. (2^ The stars do not 
rise* and set, but revolve or spin round and round in horizon- 
tal planes completing one round in 24 hours. The northern 
celestial hemisphere is alone overhead and visible during the 
year , and the southern or lower celestial world in always 
invisible. (3) The year consists only of one long day and one 
long night of six months each. (4) There is only one morn- 
ing and one evening, or the Sun rises and sets only once a 
)^ar, But th- twilight, whether of the morning or of the 
evening, lasts continuously for about two months or 60 
period-, of 24 hours each. The luddy light of the morn, or 
the evening twilight, is not again confined to a particular 
pait of the horizon (eastward or westward) as with us, but 
moves like the stars* at the place, round and round along the 
hoiizon, like a potter's wheel, completing one round in every 
24 hours. These rounds of the morning light continue to 
take place until the orb of the sun comes above the horizon ; 
and then the sun follows the same course for six months, 
that is, moves without setting round and round the observer, 
completing one round every 24 hours. 1 

These are the characteristics of the North Pole, the point 
whtre the axis of the earth terminates in the North. But they 
are not the same as those of the circum-polar region which 
are somewhat different and as follow: (i) In this region, 

'^ Article H\>mt in the Vedas, p. 58. 



390 SLGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

the sun will always be to the south of the zenith of the 
observer. (2) A large number of stars are circumpolar, that 
is, they are above the horizon during the entire period of their 
revolution, and hence always visible. The remaining stars 
rise and set, as in the temperate zone, but revolve in more 
oblique circles. (3) The year is made up of three parts : (i) 
long continuous night occurring at the time of the winter 
solstice, and lasting for a period, greater than 24 hours and 
less than six months, according to the latitude of the place ; 
(') one long continuous day to match, occurring at the time 
of the summer solstice, and (Hi) a succession of ordinary 
days and nights during the rest of the year, a nycthemeron, 
or a day and a night together never exceeding a period of 
24 hours. The day after the long continuous night is at first 
shorter than the night, but it goes on increasing until it 
develops into the long continuous day. At the end of the 
long day, the night is at first shorter than the day, and goes 
on increasing in duration until the commencement of the 
long continuous night, with which the year ends. (4) The 
dawn at the close of the long continuous night lasts for 
several days, but its duration and magnificence is propor- 
tionately less than at the North Pole, according to the 
latitude of the place. For places within a few degrees of 
the North Pole, the phenomenon of revolving morning light 
will still be observable during the greater part of the duration 
of the dawn. The other dawns, vis., those between ordinary 
days and nights will, like the dawns in the temperate zone, 
only last for a few hours. The sun, when he is above the 
horizon during the continuous day, will be seen revolving, 
without setting, round the observer, as at the Pole, but in 
oblique and not horizontal circles and during the long night, 
he will be entirely below the horizon ; while during the rest 
of the year, he will rise and set, remaining above the horizon 
for a part of 24 hours varying according to the position of 
the sun in the ecliptic. 1 
1 Ibid, pp, 59-60. 



XVIII.] THE NIGHT OF THE GODS. 391 

The above summary of the Polar and circumpolar charac- 
teristics, made by Mr. Tilak, is accepted as correct. " If a 
Vedic description or tradition," says he, u discloses any of 
the characteristics mentioned above, we may safely infer that 
the tradition is Polar or circumpolar in origin and the 
phenomenon, if not actually witnessed by the poet, was at 
least known to him by tradition faithfully handed down from 
generation to generation. Fortunately, there are many such 
passages or references in the Vedic literature, and for con- 
venience, these may be divided into two parts : the first 
comprising those passages which directly describe or refer 
to the long night, or the long dawn, and the second consisting 
of myths and legends which corroborate or indirectly support 
the first. " l Let us first see how he has treated the direct 
evidences. 

We admit the correctness of Mr. Tilak's view that the 
Rgveda was not composed in any particular period but at 
different periods, and that many old traditions and myths are 
mixed up with hymns composed at a later period, though it 
is veiy difficult to separate and classify them. He says that 
the spinning round of the heavenly dome over the head, which 
i one of the special characteristics of the North Pole, is dis- 
tinctly traceable in Rgvedic passages " which compare the 
motion of the heavens to that of a wheel." For instance, he 
quotes Rv. x. 89, 4, in which Indra is said separately to 
uphold by his power heaven and earth, as the two wheels of a 
chariot are held by the axle. Now, in the passage we find 
both the sky and the earth described as a pair of wheels, 
because they appear circular in the distant horizon, and look 
like two gigantic wheels. This, however, is no peculiar 
characteristic of the North Pole, but of every region 
on the face of the earth. We do not find here any mention 
of the two wheels turning round and round horizontally 
like a potter's wheel, or vertically like those of a chariot. 
In fact, there is no mention at all of any motion of 

Ibid p, 160. 



392 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAp. 

the wheels. The earth and the sky simply appear to the 
bard to be round like two wheels, one placed below 
and the other above, and both joined by an invisible axle 
which seems to him to represent, as it were, the power of 
Indra. In Rv. ii. 15, 2 and iv. 5, 6 Indra is said to be 
supporting the sky even without a pole. These verses, there- 
fore, do not prove any polar characteristics. But Mr. Tilak 
says that the spinning of the sky as a potter's wheel is proved 
by Rv. x. 89, 2 where Indra is identified with SQrya (or the 
Sun) and described as (( turning the widest expanse like the 
wheels of a chariot." Mr. Tilak says : " The word for 
1 expanse ' is varamsi which Sayana understands to mean 
' lights ' or * stars.' But whichever meaning we adopt, it is 
clear that the verse in question refers to the revolution of the 
sky and compares it to the motion of a chariot-wheel" 
(pp. 65-66). Now the revolution of the widest expanse, or 
of the lights and stars, which is compared to the motion of a 
chariot-wheel should have at once convinced Mr. Tilak that 
the poet means that the heavens move from ea^t to west, and 
back again to east vetticallyi and not horizontally like a 
potter's wheel. But he " combines the two statements that 
the heavens are supported as on a pole, and that they move 
like a wheel" and infers therefrom ** that the motion referred 
to is such a motion of the celestial hemisphere as can be 
witnessed only by an observer at the Noith Pole." This 
inference however is quite unwarranted, as the two statements 
are distinct, giving separate ideas of the h< j av^ns, the one 
being that they are supported by Indra even without the 
assistance of a pole, and the other being that the lights or 
stars of the sky turn in the same way as the wheel of a 
chariot does. Where, then, is the horizontal movement of 
the sky or the stars indicated ? This evidence adduced by 
Mr. Tilak does not, therefore, support or prove his point. 
His interpretation is forced and cannot be relied upon. 

He next quotes Rv. i. 24, 10 to prove the Polar character 
of the heavens. This hymn translated into English stands 



XVIII.] THE NIGHT OF THE GODS. 393 

thus : " Those riks&h (that are) placed high and visible in 
the night, where do they go during the day-time? 1 ' The 
commentator, SAyana, says that the word riks&h may mean 
either the Sapta-^sis, i.e., the seven stars that form the 
constellation of Ursa Major, or stars generally. Mr. Tilak 
says that it refers only to the constellation of Ursa Major, 
and as the stars are said to be placed " high " (ucc&h), " it 
follows that it (the constellation) must then have been over 
the head of the observer, which is possible only in the circum- 
polar region. Even if Mr. Tilak's interpretation of the word 
be accepted as correct, his inference would seem to be far- 
fetched. The word ucc&h (high) is a relative term, and does 
not necessarily mean " overhead " (urddhva). It simply 
means that the object spoken of is higher than the surround- 
ing objects. By applying the epithet ucc&h to the constella- 
tion of Ursa Major, the poet, therefore, simply means that 
this prominent constellation is placed high above the horizon. 
It does not necessarily mean that it was seen overhead^ the 
bard. Professor Max Muller says in his Science of Language : 
11 Riksa in the sense of bright has become the name of the 
bear, so called either from his bright eyes, or from his bright 
tawny fur. The same name ii) the sense of the bright ones 
had been applied by the Vedic poets to the stars in general^ 
and more particularly to that constellation which in northern 
parts of India was the most prominent." 1 If the word refers 
to stars in general, they may be called ucc&h or placed high 
above the horizon, whether over the head of the observer or 
not. On the other hand, if it refers to the constellation of 
Ursa Major which is the most prominent in the northern 
parts of India t and particularly in the high tableland north 
of Kashmir and the peaks of the Himalaya from which 
the Vedic bard may have made his observations, it is not 
unnatural for him to describe it as placed high above the 
horizon. At all events, the hymn quoted by Mr. Tilak 
does not conclusively prove any polar characteristic. The 
1 Science of Language t Vol. II, p. 395. 
50 



394 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

evidences of those characteristics in the Rgveda are so 
few and far between that he himself is compelled to observe : 
" Unfortunately there are few other passages in the Rg- 
veda which describe the motion of the celestial hemisphere 
or of the stars therein. " l He therefore leaves the point, 
and goes to take up another characteristic of the polar 
regions, viz.) " a day and a night of six months each." 

He- admits, however, that there is absolutely no reference 
to this polar characteristic in the Rgveda, and therefore 
falls back on such later Sanskrit works as the Taittirlya 
Br&hmana, the Mah&bh&rata, the Manu Samhita, the Purdnas, 
and even such a recent work as the Sdrya-Siddh&nta for 
references to it. But he forgets that all these references 
may have been due to knowledge subsequently acquired 
either from hearsay, or the personal observation of some 
adventurous traveller, and cannot certainly prove his 
hypothesis of the original Arctic home of the Aryans. If the 
Aryan cradle was in the Arctic region, there would undoubt- 
edly have been some reference at least to this extraordinary 
characteristic of a day and a night, each of six months 1 
duration, in the oldest work extant of the Aryans, vt&. t the 
Rgveda. The total absence of any such reference to this 
characteristic in this Veda takes away much of the force and 
value of Mr. Tilak's arguments, however much he may try 
to bolster up his theory by evidences culled from later 
Sanskrit works and interpret some Vcdic hymns in his own 
way to support it. It would therefore be perfectly useless 
to plod with him through evidences collected by him from 
these later works. It would only suffice, however, to observe 
here that all these evidences go to show that at a later period 
when the Aryans became acquainted with the Polar regions, 
they believed them to be tenanted not by ordinary men of 
flesh and blood, but by Devas and other superhuman beings 
who had a day and a night, each of six months' duration. 
This further goes to prove that the acquaintance of their 

* Arctic Home in the Vedas, p 66. 



XVIII.] TAE NIGHT OF THE GODS. 395 

authors with the Polar regions dated after they had become 
uninhabitable by the invasion of ice and snow at the end of 
the Glacial epoch. 

The Sdrya-Siddhnta of Bhiskaricarya says (xii. 67) : 
" At Meru the Gods behold the sun after but a single rising 
during the half of his revolution beginning with Aries." Manu 
in his Samhita (i. 67) says : " A (human) year is a day and 
night of the Gods ; thus are the two divided, the northern 
passage of the Sun is the day and the southern the night." 
In Chapters 163 and 164 of the Vana Parva of the 
Mahibh&rata, there is mention of Mount Meru which Mr. 
Tilak identifies with the North Pole, and round which the 
Sun, the Moon and other luminaries are said to be constantly 
moving from left to right. 1 he translation of verses 27 and 
28 of Chapter 163 is as follows: "O descendant of Kuru, 
the Sun and Moon, through eternity, make their tour around 
this Meru every day. O pure one, O great king, all the 
luminaries too turn round this prince of mountains in the 
self-same way." ] The main idea of the passages is the daily 
rotation of the Sun and Moon round Mount Meru, either 
causing a long continuous day throughout the year and 
through eternity, or a simple nycthemeron. But the night 
also was illumined by the splendour of the mountain and 
the brilliancy of luminous herbs, so that it was not dark, and 
there was DO difference between day and night. The 
translation of verse 8 of Chapter 164 is as follows : "O great 
hero, by reason of the splendour of this excellent mountain 
itself and of the brilliancy of the annual herbs, there was no 
difference between day and night." 2 Mr. Tilak identifies 
this splendour of the mountain with the appearance of the 
Aurora Borealis. But the radiance of the Aurora lasts only 
for a short while, plunging the greater part of the night into 
darkness again. How can it then be said that the appearance 
of the Aurora Borealis made the whole night look like day ? 

1 Rid, p, 66. 

- M . N. Dutt's English Translation of the Mahdbhdrata. 



396 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

Mr. Tilak then goes on to say : " A few verses further, and 
we find, the day and the night are together equal to a year 
to the residents of the place." Unfortunately, we have 
not come across the identical idea in verse 13 Chapter 
164 which Mr. Tilak has quoted. The translation of 
this verse is as follows : " In spite of beholding many 
romantic forests on the mountain, as they could not 
help constantly thinking of Arjuna, every day and night 
appeared to them (long) as a year." 1 This is the correct 
meaning of the verse : The four brothers of Arjuna who had 
gone to the abode of Indra were so eager to meet him 
that they considered a day to be as long as a year. They 
tried to while away their time by beholding the beauties of 
romantic forests and keeping their minds otherwise engaged, 
but without much success. They felt the tedium of waiting, 
and each moment seemed to move so slowly as to make 
a day appear like a year. There is absolutely no sugges- 
tion in the verse of the polar characteristic of the year 
being equal to a long day and a long night, as Mr. Tilak 
thinks there is. But from the description of Mount Meru 
given in the Mdhabharata, it seems that the writer had an 
idea, though vague and confused, of the Arctic region, which 
he believed to be tenanted by the Gods, Brahma, Vi^u, 
the Sun, the Moon, etc. t and where no ordinary mortals could 
go. This shows that at the time of the composition of the 
Mah&bh&rata, the Arctic region had become quite unfit for 
human habitation. In the Taittiriya Ar an yak a (i. 7. i), 
which forms part of what is known as Vedic Literature, we 
find Mount Meru described as the seat of the seven Adityas, 
while the eighth Aditya called KftSyapa is said never to leave 
the great Meru or Mahdmeru, and in the Taittiriya 
Brahmana (iii 9. 22. i) we come across a passage which 
clearly says : " That which is a year is but a single day of 
the Gods/ 1 There can be no doubt that these references to 
a long day and a long night, constituting a human year, 

i M. N. Dutt's English Translation of the Mahtikdrata, 



XVIII.] THE NIGHT OF THE GODS. 397 

point to a knowledge, either direct or derived, of some of the 
characteristics of the Polar region, on the part of the authors 
who believed it to be the abode not of men but of the 
celestial hierarchy. This knowledge, therefore, dated after 
the Arctic region had become uninhabitable. As we have 
already said, it is extremely strange that there is absolutely 
no mention in the Rgveda, the oldest work, of any of those 
Polar characteristics, specially of the long day and the long 
night, each of six months' duration. We cannot, therefore, 
help concluding that in Rgvedic times, the Indo-Aryans had 
no knowledge of the Polar region, which appears to have 
been acquired in a subsequent age. The Br&hmanas, though 
regarded as forming parts of the Vedic Literature, were 
composed long after the Rgveda, in order to explain the 
meaning of many intricate Vedic rituals which people came 
to forget in course of time. Any reference to the Polar 
characteristics in the Brahmanas, therefore, does not prove 
that the Rgvedic bards had any knowledge of the Polar 
region or that their ancestors ever lived there. 

But Mr. Tilak says that in several hymns of the Rgveda 
occurs the mention of Devaydna and Pitryana which he 
says, u originally corresponded with the Uttardyana and the 
Daksindyana, or the day and the night of the Gods." The 
word Devaydna literally means " the path of the Gods," and 
Pitjyana means " the path of the Pitrs," or the dead human 
ancestors. In other words, the path by which the Devas travel 
is Devaydna, and the path by which the Pitrs or dead human 
ancestors travel is Pitj-yina. The Devas are bright divinities 
and the producers of light, not only in a physical but also in 
a moral and spiritual sense, and light is only another name 
of life. Therefore, Devay&na is the best and most covetable 
path. The path, on which light fades into darkness and life 
into death, is the path of the Pitrs or the dead ancestors. 
These paths, therefore, in their original significance have 
nothing to do with Uttar&yana and Daksindyana } or the 
periodical northward and southward movements of the Sun. 



398 BLGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

The Vedic bards understood them simply to mean the Path of 
Light and Life, and the Path of Darkness and Death respect- 
ively. Agni has been described in the Rgveda as the Priest 
of the Sacrifice and it is one of his functions to carry to the 
Devas the offerings that are made through him. It is, therefore, 
essential that he should know their paths and whereabouts. 
This idea has been expressed in Rv. i. 12, 7, where it is said 
that Agni knows the path of the Devas, situated midway 
between heaven and earth, and diligently carries to them all 
offerings made through him. The Devay&na, therefore, is an 
invisible path located in mid-sky, which only becomes visible 
when the Gods of light travel by it. Now of these Gods, the 
ASvins are the first to make their appearance. They are the 
predecessors of the Dawn or Usas, and are seen in the 
eastern horizon as patches of butterlike condensed lights. 
The night sacrifices had to be commenced from the very 
appearance of the ASvins, and the sacrificers had to keep a 
patient and tiresome vigil, waiting for their appearance. 
When they did appear at last, the sacrificers felt a relief, as 
their appearance marked the beginning of the end of the 
dark and oppressive night. This idea has been expressed 
in Rv. i. 183, 6 and 184, 6, where the sacrificers address the 
ASvins saying that it is through their kindness that they are 
able to cross the borders of darkness, and they, therefore, 
invoke them to come along the path of the Devas, The same 
sentiment has been differently expressed in Rv. vii. 76, 2, 
where the Vedic bard says : " The Devay&na path has been 

visible to me The banner of the Dawn has appeared in 

the East." Mr. Tilak, however, says that all these evidences 
point to Arctic conditions and to Uttar&yana when the Sun 
moves to the Northern hemisphere, and the Dawn is visible in 
the horizon after the end of the long night. But as there is 
no referrence in the Rgveda to the long night, it is begging 
the whole question, and is undoubtedly a gratuitous 
assumption. Moreover, the rise of the Dawn in the east is 
entirely inconsistent with Arctic conditions in as much as 



XVIII.] THE NIGHT OF THE GODS. 399 

neither the Dawn nor the Sun, according to Mr. Tilak's own 
showing, ever rises in the east in the Arctic region, but they 
make their first appearance in the south. This should have 
convinced him that the bard was describing only the 
phenomena that are visible in the Tropics, and that these 
descriptions are applicable only to ordinary days and nights. 

Mr. Tilak says that the path of the Pitrs or Pitryana is 
described in Rv. x. 18, i, as the reverse of Devayana or the 
path of Death. In Rv. x. 88, 15, the poet says that he has 
"heard" only of " two roads, one of the Devas, and the 
other of the Piers. " We do not question the genuineness 
of these statements, but only the inference drawn by Mr. 
Tilak from them. " If," says he, " the Devayana commenced 
with the Dawn, we must suppose that the Pitfydna commenced 
with the advent of darkness. Sayana is therefore correct in 
interpreting Rv. v. 77, 2 as stating that ' the evening is not 
for the Gods' (Devyah). Now if the Devayana and the 
Pitryana were only synonymous with ordinary day and 
night, there was obviously no propriety in stating that 
these were the only two paths or roads known to the 
ancient R?is, and they could not have been described as 
consisting of three seasons each, beginning with the spring 
(Sat. Brah. ii. i. 3. 1-3). It seems, therefore, very probable 
that the Devayana and the Pitjryana originally represented 
a two-fold division of the year, one of continuous light and 
the other of continuous darkness as at the North Pole." 1 

If the Aryans really lived in the Arctic region, the 
conclusion drawn by Mr. Tilak would be correct. The 
Devayana in that region would commence from the advent of 
the Arctic Dawn, and last for six months with the long day, 
and the Pitj-yana would commence from the disappearance of 
the Sun and last for the remaining six months with the long 
night. But where is the Rgvedic evidence of the existence 
of a long day and a long night ? The assumption, as we 
have said, is gratuitous. The evidences, cited by Mr. Titak, 

*~ Tilak's Arctic Horn* in the Vedas, p. 74. 



400 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

would as much apply to a long day and a long night of the 

Arctic region, as to ordinary days and nights of the Tropics, 

the underlying principle being that light is identical with the 

Devas, and darkness with the Pitrs. And this principle has 

been clearly enunciated in the passage of the Satapatha 

Br&hmana, which Mr. Tilak has only partially quoted. We 

will give here for the sake of clearness a full translation of it 

which is as follows : " Spring, Summer and the Rainy season 

(varsd) are Devas, and Autumn, Hemanta and Winter are 

Pitrs. The growing fortnight (during which the moon develops 

into full size) is Devas, and the decaying fortnight (during 

which the moon wanes or decays) is Pitrs. The day is 

Devas, and the night Pitrs ; (similarly) the forenoon is Devas 

and the afternoon Pitrs." These illustrations clearly explain 

what we should understand by Devas and Pitrs, and 

Devay&na and Pitry&na. The power of the Sun grows from 

Spring to the Rainy season ; hence these months are rightly 

called Devas. As it declines from Autumn to Winter, these 

months are called Pitrs. Similarly the fortnight during 

which the Moon grows or becomes gradually full is called 

Devas, and the fortnight during which she wanes is called 

Pitrs. On the very same principle, the days are Devas, 

and the nights Pitrs, and the first part of the day when the 

Sun grows in power is Devas, and the latter part of the day 

when the solar power declines is Pitrs. Every Hindu knows 

that the worship of the Devas has to be performed during 

the forenoon, and the Sraddha of his ancestors after mid-day, 

from which begins the time of the Pitrs. We do not know 

whether Mr. Tilak has intentionally omitted to quote the 

last portion of the passage of the Satapatha Brihmaija and 

quoted only such portion of it as would support his theory 

that the DevayAna and the Pit ry in a consisted of a long 

day and a long night, each of six months 9 duration. If he 

has really done this which, by the way, we cannot bring 

ourselves to believe, his arguments would savour of advocacy 

of a questionable order, that seeks to suppress the truth 



XVIIL] THE NIGHT OF THE GODS. 401 

with a view to mislead and befog the mind. As Professor 
Max Miiller has said : " All truth is safe, and nothing else 
is safe." And we have no doubt that if Mr. Tilak only 
cared to read the entire passage of the Satapatha Brahmana, 
he would at once have seen the truth and come to an 
altogether different conclusion in the matter. 

It would be fair to state here that though the words 
Uttardyana and Dak$inyana do not occur in the Rgveda, 
the Satapatha Br&hmana suggests them, as would appear 
from the following extracts (ii, 3. 3) : " When that (the Sun) 
moves towards the north, then he comes and stays near the 
Gods. And when he moves towards the south, he comes 
and stays near the Pitrs." The northward movement of 
the Sun increases his power, and this increase is attributed 
to the Devas who are the Gods of light. Hence it is believed 
that the Gods dwell in the north. The southern movement 
of the Sun decreases his power, and this decrease is 
attributed to the Pitrs who dwell in darkness. Hence the 
southern direction is generally believed to be the abode of 
Yama (the Lord of Death) and ths dwelling place of the 
Pitys or the dead ancestors of men. This passage, however, 
does not prove any Polar characteristic, but only indicates 
how the ancient Aryans who lived in the Tropical or the 
Temperate Zone looked upon these two movements of the 
Sun and interpreted them. If they had any knowledge of 
the South Pole or the Antarctic region, they would have 
found an equally long day there as at the North Pole for 
six months, and assigned that region to the Devas, and the 
Arctic region to the Pitrs for that period. The view-point 
was assuredly that of men living in the Tropics or the 
Temperate zone, without any direct knowledge of the Arctic 
and Antarctic characteristics. 

Having discussed the evidences culled from Vedic and 
post-Vedic Literatures, Mr. Tilak next proceeds to deal 
with the Avestic evidences of the original Arctic home of 
the Aryans, and quotes from the Vendidad, Fargard II, the 

5 



402 RGVED1C INDIA. 

conversation held between Ahura Mazda and Yima regarding 
the threatened destruction of Airyana Varjo or the Iranian 
Paradise by the invasion of ice and snow. We have already 
discussed this subject in previous chapters and shown that 
Airyana Vaejo was not situated in the Arctic region but 
probably in Bactriana, which having been threatened to be 
destroyed by snow, Yima acting on the advice of Ahura 
Mazda migrated with his followers to a place in the Arctic 
region which was then habitable. The interpretation, put on 
the conversation by Mr. Tilak, has been shown to be incorrect. 
(Vide ante^ Ch. X.) This evidence, however, does not prove 
the original Arctic home of the Aryans, but merely their 
acquaintance with it in a subsequent age. Probably some of 
the Indo-Aryans also followed the Iranians to this region in a 
later age when it became uninhabitable, and got a knowledge 
of the Polar characteristics, of which we find mention in 
some of the later Vedic and post-Vedic works. The reference 
made in the Farvardin Yasht, paragraphs 56 and 57, to the 
Sun and the Moon having " stood for a lung time in the 
same place, without moving forwards through the oppression 
of the Daevas (Vedic Asuras or the demons of daikness) " 
also points, according to Mr. Tilak, to a knowledge of the 
Arctic characteristics, obtained by the Iranians. But this 
passage has an altogether different explanation of which we 
shall speak later on (vide infra } Chapter XXI 11). 

Mr. Tilak compares the belirf oi the Indo-Aryans with 
that of the Iranians or Parsis regarding the unmeritorious 
character of death taking place during the period of Pitrydna 
which he identifies with Dak^in&yana. We admit that there 
was and still is a popular prejudice among the Indo-Aryans 
against such an occurrence, but this is due to the belief that 
death during the Pitrynic period takes the soul to the Pitrs, 
and not to the Devas, whereas a man dying during the 
Devay^nic period is at once taken to the company of the 
Gods, and the soul enjoys heavenly bliss. A belief like this 
is natural and consistent. The Parsis also have a similar 



XVIII.] THE NIGHT OF THE GODS. 403 

belief which is based on more cogent and practical reasons. 
Th>*y do not bury or burn the dead body, but expose it on 
the grated roof of a Silent Tower with the face and the eyes 
of the corpse turned towards the Sun, Vultures and other 
bitds of prey soon gather round the corpse and make short 
work of it. This is the Parsi mode of the disposal of a 
dead body. The corpse of a man dying during the night 
cannot be take i out to be exposed to the Sun and devoured 
by the birds of prey. The relatives have, therefore, to wait 
till daytime. Should the sky be overcast with clouds, and 
the Sun be invisible in consequence for days together, the 
difficulty in disposing of the corpse becomes equally great. 
Death, therefore, during the night, or at a time when the Sun 
remains hidden behind clouds for days together, or when it 
rains or snows, and birds do not venture out of their roosts, 
is regarded as unmeritorious and inauspicious for the 
departed soul. Mr. Tilak quotes the Vendidad, Fargard 
v. 10 and viii. 4, to show how the worshippers of Ahura 
Mazda should act, when a death takes place in a house when 
summer has passed and winter ha* come. To a question 
on this subject put to A'^ura Mazda, he answers : " In such 
case a Kata (dirch) should be made in every house and 
there the lifeless body should be allowed to lie for two nights 
or for three nights, or x month long, until the birds b*gin to 
fly, the plants to giow, the floods to flow, and the wind to 
dry up the water from off the earth.' 1 Mr. Tilak makes the 
following observations on this passage: " Considering the 
fact that the dead body of a worshipper of Mazda is required 
to be exposed to the Sun before it is consigned to birds, the 
only reason for keeping the dead body in the house for one 
month seems to be that it was a month of darkness. The 
description of birds beginning to fly, and the floods to flow, 
etc., reminds one of the description of the Dawn in the 
Rgveda, and it is quite probable that the expressions here 
denote the same phnomenon as in the Rgveda. In fact, 
they indicate .a wioter of total darkness dwrin^jaduch Jthe 



404 BLGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

corpse is directed to be kept in the house, to be exposed to 
the Sun on the first breaking of the Dawn after the long 
night." l The explanation seems plausible at first sight, 
but Mr. Tilak omits to take note of the fact that the Sun 
in the Tropics remains hidden behind clouds during the 
rainy season for days together, and even for a month at a 
stretch, and that during this period, birds are in great 
distress, seldom stirring out of their roosts, and managing 
to eke out a miserable existence by feeding on such things 
only in their immediate neighbourhood as may serve as their 
food. The disappearance of the Sun in the first place, and 
the absence of the birds of prey in the second, for days 
together during the rains, would prevent the worshippers of 
Ahura Mazda from disposing of the dead body as much 
in the Tropics as in the Arctic region where the 
Sun disappears for months together. The aforesaid direc- 
tion of Ahura Mazda, therefore, does not necessarily 
imply that his followers lived in the Arctic region. 
If the passage be carefully read, it will be found that 
Ahura Mazda had in his mind rather a contingency like 
boisterous rainy weather lasting for days at a time, when 
he said that the dead body should be kept in a Kata until 
" the birds begin to fly, the plants to grow, the flood to flow, 
and the wind to dry up the water from off the earth " than 
a Polar night lasting for several days and even months. The 
birds begin to fly as soon as the rains hold off intermittently, 
the plants begin to grow by being saturated with rain-water, 
and the rivers are in flood as soon as the rain-water is drained 
off from their basins into the channels. The very mention of 
the wind drying up the water from off the earth unmistakably 
points to rainfall and rainy weather. But Mr. Tilak says 
that this description reminds him of the description of the 
Dawn in the Rgveda. Even admitting for the sake of argu- 
ment that the release of the aerial waters from the clasp of 
Vftra enables the Dawn, the Sun, and the other deities to 

1 Tilak's Arctic Home in th Veda* t p. 77, 



XVIII.] THE NIGHT OF THE GODS. 405 

glide along the sky in their golden boats, it does not seem 
to us very clear as to how these waters, which were more a 
creation of the fancy of the Vedic bards than a reality, would 
wet the ground, unless we assume tlMt it was a real shower 
of rain that drenched the earth. This would be tantamount 
to an admission that Ahura Mazda had the conditions of the 
rainy season in his mind when he gave the aforesaid direc- 
tions. It should also be remembered in this connection that 
the appearance of the Dawn, which must be a long Dawn at 
the end of the long night, would not help the worshippers of 
Mazda to dispose of the dead body immediately, in as much 
as it is necessary to expose the body to the Sun. In these 
circumstances, we cannot accept Mr. Tilak's interpretation 
of the passage as indicating a Polar night. In this connec- 
tion it should further be mentioned here that birds do not 
hibernate in the Arctic region, but they fly out of their roosts 
as soon as there is sufficient light, either of the Moon or ot 
the Aurora Borealis, to enable them to see their environments 
and seek their food. It would be absurd to suppose that they 
hibernate for a month or two months at a time without any 
food. On the other hand, it would be most natural to 
suppose that they migrate to sunny regions on the advent 
of the long night and winter, and such as choose to remain 
stir out of their roosts, like men or other animals, in search 
of food with the help of the moon-light or of the Aurora 
Borealis. We cannot, therefore, connect the flying of the 
birds with the appearance of the Polar Dawn at the end of 
the lon^ night. 1 It remains, however, for us to explain the 
words " two nights " or " three nights M mentioned by Ahura 
Mazda. The question is, do the words literally mean 
" nights " or only " days/' just as the word " fortnight " is 
used in English to denote " fourteen days ? J> My answer is 
that the words were used in the latter sense, as it was also 
customary with the Indo-Aryans, the neighbours of the Parsis, 
to use words like Paftcaratra and Navardtra to mean five 

i Vid* also Chap, XXIII. " " 



4 o6 fcGVEDIC INDU. 



and nine days respectively. 1 Mr. Tilak seems to have set 
great store by the word " nights " in order to prove his 
Arctic theory ; but his interpretation is evidently wrong. 
He also seems to lay some stress on the existence of two 
seasons only, mz, % summer and winter, in the region in 
which Ahura Mazda spoke to his followers, and thinks that 
this description answers that of the Polar region, where the 
long night comes in winter. But in Airyana Vaejo situated 
in* Baclriana, there were also two seasons, summer and 
winter, lasting for seven and five months respectively. The 
Vendidad Sadah says: " It is known that (in the ordinary 
course of nature-) there are ^even months of summer and 
five of winter." (Darmesteter.) After the region was 
destroyed by the Ice-'Jeluge, the duration of the two season*. 
was altered. Tho Vendidad, Fargard i. 4 says: "Ten 
months of winter are there, two months of summer." (Haug 
and Bunsen.) The prevalence of wintry conditions during 
the greater part of the year in Sapta-Sindhu in ancient times, 
which made the Aryans call the year by the name of Hima 
(winter), has already been referred to and discussed in a 
previous chapter. We should not, therefore, be su r prised 
that the same wintry conditions also prevailed in Airyana 
Vaejo, situated in a region adjacent to Sapta-Sindhu, and 
that there were only two principal seasons in that region, 
u>., summer and winter. As the other seasons have not 
been mentioned, we may take it that they were too short- 
lived to have separate designations, and that the rains fell 
there in summer as well as winter. The disappearance of 
the Sun behind clouds for days together either in summer or 
winter would not, therefore, necessarily indicate a long Polar 
night as Mr. Tilak seems to think, Hence Mr. Tilak's inter- 
pretation of the direction of Ahura Mazda with regard to the 
disposal of corpses in certain contingencies does not appear 
to us to be correct. 

* Tor further elucidation off the word ~ wi^hC cead Chap. XXHI. 



XVIII.] THE NIGHT OF THE GODS. 407 

And even if it be taken as correct, what does it prove 
after all ? It simply proves that the Parsis, or a branch of 
them once iinmigiated to the Arctic region from their original 
home in Bactriana after it had been made uninhabitable by 
the invasion of ice and snow, and that Ahura Mazda's 
directions applied to the novel conditions of this new colony. 
It ceitainly does not pro\e that the Aryans had their original 
home in the Arctic region. The total absence of any men- 
tion of a long Polar day, and a long Polar night in the 
Rgveda, the oldest work of the Aryans, is extremely signi- 
ficant. We cannot, therefore, help thinking that Mr. Tilak 
has failed to prove, from so-called evidences of and references 
to long Polar night in Vedic and pobt-Vt- die literatures and 
in the P.irM scriptures, that the Aryans had their original 
home in the Arctic region. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

EXAMINATION OF Mr. TILAK'S THEORY OF THE ARCTIC CRADLE OF 
THE ARYANS (contdj 

THE VEDIC DAWNS. 

Mr. Tilak says that " the Rgveda does not contain 

distinct references to a day and a night of six months' dura- 
tion, though the deficiency is more than made up by parallel 
passages from the Iranian Scriptures " which, as we have 
just seen, is extremely doubtful. " But in the case of the 
Dawn," he continues, "the long continuous Dawn with the 
revolving splendours, which is a special characteristic of the 
North Pole, there is fortunately no such difficulty. U?as, or 
the Goddess of Dawn, is an important and favourite Vedic 
deity, and is celebrated in about twenty hymns of the Rgveda, 
and mentioned more than three hundred times, sometimes 
in the singular, and .sometimes in the plural. These hymns, 
according to Muir, are amongst the most beautiful if not 
the most beautiful in the entire collection ; and the deity to 
which they are addressed, is considered by Macdonell to be 
" the most graceful creation of Vedic poetry, there being no 
more charming figure in the descriptive religious lyrics of 
any other literature." All these remarks are perfectly true 
to which we readily subscribe ourselves. But Mr. Tilak 
says that if this Dawn were short-lived and evanescent like 
the Dawn of the Tropical or the Temperate Zone, the Vedic 
bards would not have gone into raptures over her. It is, 
however, a fact that poets living in the Tropics go even now 
into raptures over the Dawn, however short-lived she may be ; 
and the very fact that she is short-lived and evanescent 
probably adds a peculiar zest to the mind and makes it 
lingeringly and lovingly contemplate on her divine grace and 
beauty. Though this statement may seem paradoxical at 
first sight, it is nevertheless psychologically true. The 



XIX.] THE VEDIC DAWNS. 409 

mind naturally hankers after beauty of which it merely 
catches a glimpse ; but this very beauty tends to become 
inane, and devoid of the power of evoking a response, when 
the mind gets familiar with it by long and constant associa- 
tion. The splendours of a Dawn lasting for forty days would 
become dull, jejune and monotonous, and the first rapturous 
effusions of the mind would soon degenerate into a feeling 
of oppressive boredom. From this point of view the raptures 
that the Vedic poets felt over the beauties of the Dawn 
would not be inconsistent with her tropical evanescent 
character, though we admit that the splendours of a long 
revolving Polar Dawn are far more varied and magnificent 
than those of a Tropical Dawn. In this connection, it may 
be stated here that though the splendours of the long Polar 
Evening are equally magnificent and lasting, it is curious 
that the Vedic poets, if they at all lived in the Arctic region, 
never felt any raptures over them. A beautiful evening that 
lasted for several days should have made as deep an 
impression on their mind as the Dawn herself. This omis- 
sion is indeed very remarkable. 

However this may be, Mr. Tilak thinks that " the first 
hint regarding the long duration of the Vedic Dawn is 
obtained from the Aitareya Brihmana, iv. 7. Before com- 
mencing the Gavdmayana sacrifice, there is a long recitation 
of not less than a thousand verses, to be recited by the Hotr 
priest. This A&vina Sastra, as it is called, is addressed to 
Agni, U$as and Agvins, which deities rule at the end of the 
night and the commencement of the day. It is the longest 
recitation, to be recited by the Hotr and the time for recit- 
ing it is after midnight when ' the darkness of the night is 
about to be relieved by the light of the Dawn ' (Nir. xii. I ; 
ASv. Sr. Sotra vi. 5. 8). The same period of time is referred 
to also in the BLgveda, vii. 67, 2 & 3. The Sastra is so 
long, that the Hotr, who has to recite it, is directed to 
refresh himself by drinking beforehand melted butter after 
sacrificing thrice a little of it (Ait. Brtlh. iv. 7 ; Agv. Sr. vi. 

5* 



410 *GVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

5,3). 'He ought to eat ghee/ observes the Aitareya 
Brihma^a, ' before he commences repeating. Just as in this 
world, a cart or a carriage goes well if smeared (with oil), 
this his repeating proceeds well, if he be smeared with ghee 
(by eating it). 1 It is evident that if such a repetition has to 
be finished before the rising of the Sun, either the Hotr must 
commence his task soon after midnight when it is dark, or 
the duration of the Dawn must then have been sufficiently 
long to enable the priest to finish the recitation in time after 
commencing to recite it on the first appearance of light on 
the horizon as directed. The first supposition is out of 
question, as it is expressly laid down that the Sastra is not 
to be recited until the darkness of the night is relieved by 
light. So between the first appearance of light and the rise 
of the Sun, there must have been in those days time enough 
to recite the long laudatory song of not less than a thousand 
verses. Nay, in the Taittirlya Samhitd the recitation of the 
Sastra, though commenced at the proper time, ended long 
before sunrise ; and in that case, the Samhitt requires that a 
certain animal sacrifice should be performed. Avalyana 
directs that in such a case, the recitation should be continued 
up to sunrise by reciting other hymns (ASv. Sr. So., vi. 5.8.), 
while Apastamba (S. S. xiv. i. & 32) after mentioning the 
sacrifice referred to in the Taittirlya Samhita adds that all 
the ten Ma^dalas of the Rgveda may be recited, if necessary, 
in such case. It is evident from this that the actual rising of 
the Sun above the horizon was often delayed beyond expecta- 
tion, in those days ; and in several places in the Taittirlya 
Saqihitd (ii. 1.2.4), we are told that the Devas had to 
perform a praya&citta> because the Sun did not shine as 
expected.*' 1 

The above extracts require some critical examination. 
The Gavdmayanam is the name of the yearly session of sacri- 
fices, and commenced from the second day of the new year, the 
first day having been devoted to the performance of the 
* Tilak's Arctic Home in th* Vedas, pp. 82-84. 



XIX.] THE VEDIC DAWNS. ,411 

Atirdtra sacrifice which was so called because a whole night 
session was held for it. The night was divided into three 
parts (parydyas) the first, the middle, and the last. Twelve 
stotras had to be recited during the whole night, i .*., four 
stotras in each parydya. Besides reciting the four stotras, 
four oblations of Soma had to be offered to Agni, and fastras 
had to be recited, whose number could exceed the number 
of verses in the stotras. The ASvina-Sastra consisted of not 
less than one thousand verses, and these had to be recited 
by the Hotj* who strengthened himself by eating ghrta 
These verses were called ASvina-Sastra, because the A&vins 
are said to have won a race run by the Devas, w'*., Agni, 
U?as, Indra and the ASvins with the object of appropriating 
them. The limit of their race was from Grhapati Agni (the 
sacred Fire presiding over the household) up to Aditya or 
the sun. As the sacred Fire was kindled at the commence- 
ment of the sacrifice in the evening, we may take it that the 
race was run from the evening up to the rise of the Sun in 
the morning. This probably also indicates the period of 
time during which the one thousand verses had to be recited. 
These verses undoubtedly included the Sastras or verses that 
were recited in each parydya of the night, whose number 
was for this reason not limited. Unless and until one 
thousand such verses or mantras were recited, the oastra 
was not entitled to be called Afvina, and so the reciter went 
on reciting them till he reached and finished that number. 
Even if, after the completion of the requisite number, the 
Sun did not rise, the direction was either to hold an animal 
sacrifice, or to recite even the Ten Maadalas of the Rgveda, 
if necessary. The duration of the time occupied for the 
recitation of the one thousand verses entirely depended on 
the dexterous practice and ability acquired for the purpose 
by the reciter. If he was well-practised, the recitation could 
be finished long before sun-rise, in which event, the interval 
had to be employed by further recitation of verses, or the 
performance of an animal sacrifice. This appears to us to be 



4 ii RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHM>. 

the correct interpretation of the AtirAtra sacrifice, and of 
the recitation of the ASvina Sastra, as expounded in the 
Aitareya Brfthma^a (IV. Chapters 16 and 17). There is no 
mention in the Brihma^a that the recitation should be 
commenced after midnight when " the darkness of the night 
is about to be relieved by the light of the dawn," as Mr. 
Tilak says. It is true that YAska in his Nirukta (xii. i) 
says that the time of the ASvins begins soon after midnight 
(tayork&la urdhvam ardhva-rdtrdt), but this does not imply 
that the recitation of the ASvina-Sastra had to be commenced 
from that time. " Of the heavenly deities," says Y4ska, 
"the ASvins are the first to appear" (Tdsdm Asvinau 
prathamagdminou bhavatah]. This clearly explains why 
they have been described in the Aitareya Brahmana as 
winning the celestial race. First appear the Agvins, then 
follows Ufas, and lastly Indra or the Sun. Though the 
ASvins won the race, and the Sastras were called after their 
name, they are really verses addressed to Agni, U?as, Indra 
as well as to them, and they all had a share in them by 
compact. There was, therefore, no special appropriateness 
for beginning the recitation of the verses from the time the 
ASvins first appeared. Mr. Tilak's assumption that the 
recitation was not commenced until the darkness of the night 
was relieved by light seems to us to be gratuitous. And 
even if we admit that this was the real direction, and the 
Sastra had to be recited from the very appearance of the 
ASvins in the horizon in the shape of patches of faint light 
struggling with darkness soon after midnight, the time was 
sufficiently long about six hours for one thousand verses 
or more to be recited by a practised reciter. At all events, 
the recitation of the ASvina-Sastra does not prove the 
existence of a long Polar night. Neither do verses 2 and 3 
of Rv. vii. 67, referred to by Mr. Tilak, prove Polar charac- 
teristics. They are addressed to the ASvins only, and the 
poet says that "the inner recesses of darkness are being 
visible," meaning probably that the ASvins have appeared, 



XIX.] THE VEDIC DAWNS. 413 

and he invokes them to oome by "the eastern path " (purvi- 
bhih pathydbkih). This very reference to the eastern direc- 
tion in which the Agvins first appear should have at once 
convinced Mr, Tilak of the untenability of his proposition, 
for the first streak of light after the long night is visible in 
the Polar region on the south. 

Next, Mr. Tilak turns to another indication of the long 
duration of the Dawn, furnished by the Taittirlya Samhitd 
vii. 2. 20. Seven oblations are here mentioned, one to Usas, 
one to Vyusti, one to Udesyat, one to Udyat, one to Udita, 
one to Suvarga and one to Loka. " Five of these," says Mr. 
Tilak, (< are evidently intended for the Dawn in its five forms. 
The Taittirlya Br&hmaaa explains the first two, viz., Usas* 
and Vyusfi as referring to Dawn and sunrise, or rather to 
night and day, for according to the Br&hma^a, ' U?as is night, 
and Vyusti day.* But even though we may accept this as 
correct, and take Usas and Vyusfi to be the representatives 
of night and day, because the former signalises the end of 
the night, and the latter the beginning of day, still we have 
to account for these oblations, vis., one to the Dawn about to 
rise (Udesyat), one to the rising Dawn (Udyat) y and one to 
the Dawn that has risen (Udita), the first two of which are, 
according to the Taittirlya Brahmana, to be offered before 
the rising of the Sun. Now the Dawn in the Tropical Zone 
is so short that the threefold distinction between the Dawn 
that is about to rise, the Dawn that is rising, and the Dawn 
that has risen or that is full-blown (Vi-usfi) is a distinction 
without a difference. We must, therefore, hold that the 
Dawn which admitted such manifold division for the practical 
purposes of sacrifice, was a long Dawn." (p. 84.) 

We have no doubt that if Mr. Tilak's mind had not been 
pre-occupied or biassed by the Polar theory, he would have 
clearly understood the plain and simple meaning of the 
seven oblations mentioned in the Taittirlya Samhita, and the 
interpretations put upon the ceremony by the author of the 
Taittirlya BrfLhma^a, which, however, he has the temerity 



414 fLGVfeDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

to question or ignore. The first two oblations were really 
offered to the Dawn the Dawn when she first made her 
appearance on the horizon (U$as), and the Dawn when she 
was full-blown ( Vyu$t%). These two respectively represented 
the night and the day, as the Taittirlya Br4hman.a has ex- 
plained, "because" (to quote Mr. Tilak's words), "the former 
signalises the end of the night, and the latter the beginning 
of the day. 1 ' As Vyustl (or full-blown Dawn) represents the 
beginning of the day, the oblations offered to Udesyat and 
Udyat were certainly not meant for l/sas, but for the Lord of 
the day or the Sun who was still below the horizon and 
invisible, but gave clear indications, by the gradually glowing 
red of the light, first of the fact that he would rise } and 
secondly that he was about to rise. Hence the Taittirlya 
Brihma^a rightly says that these two oblations ( Udesyat and 
Udyat) "are to be offered before the rising of the Sun." It 
is simply absurd to refer them, as Mr. Tilak has done, to the 
Dawn who had already risen, and become Vyustl or full-blown, 
and to whom the first two oblations had already been offered. 
The two oblations to Udesyat and Udyat were clearly intend- 
ed for the Sun that had at first given promise of rising, and 
was now about to rise. The fifth oblation was offered to 
Udita or the Sun that had just risen above the horizon and 
was visible. The sixth oblation was offered to Suvarga or 
the Sun when he was divested of all back-ground setting in 
the shape of the ruddy light of the Dawn, and was illuminated 
by his own bright rays as a distinct Deva by himself. Lastly 
the seventh oblation was offered to Loka^ which I understand 
to mean the three Lokas or worlds, viz., Bhur, Bhubah and 
Svar which were revealed by his rays. This explanation is 
most simple and natural, supported as it is by the author of 
the Taittirlya Br&hmana, who must be credited with a sounder 
and more precise knowledge of the Vedic rituals, as practised 
and performed in those ancient days than Mr. Tilak who 
seems to follow the ignis fatuus of the Arctic cradle of the 
Aryans and twists and obscures the true meanings of passages 



XIX.] THE VEDIC DAWNS, 415 

in order to establish his theory. As we have seen, the pas- 
sages quoted by him cannot and do not prove the aspect of 
a long Dawn as witnessed in the Polar or circumpolar regions. 

Mr. Tilak, having wrongly interpreted Udesyat, Udyat 
and Udita as referring to the Dawn, naturally, though incor- 
rectly, identifies with them her "threefold division " mentioned 
in Rv. viii, 41, 3. This verse says that Varu^a embraces 
Night and his dear ones prosper the three Dawns for him. It 
has been related in Rv. i. 123, 8, that U?as tarried in Varurja's 
abode for sometime without any blame attaching to her 
character. As Varuna is the Lord of Night, and as Night 
has been described as sister of U?as, she naturally assumed 
a dark form while resting there. She changed her dark 
form into a bright one, when she proceeded on her journey 
and appeared on the horizon as Usas. 1 Lastly, when her 
light became full-blown, she became Vyustl. These then are 
the three forms of U$as, which are called the three Dawns, 
prospered in the abode of Varuna. In other words, the 
Dawn assumes three forms in the night, first dark, then 
bright, and lastly resplendent or " full-blown." These forms 
have nothing to do with the three stages of the Sun, ms. } 
Udesyat, Udyat and Udita. 

Mr. Tilak says : " There are other passages in the Rg- 
veda where the Dawn is asked not to delay or tarry long, 
lest it might be scorched like a thief by the Sun (v. 79,9), 
and in ii. 15,6 the steeds of the Dawn are said to be ' slow ' 
(ajai&saK) showing that people were sometimes tired to see 
the Dawn lingering long in the horizon," 2 

The translation of Rv. v. 79,9 is as follows : " Daughter 
of heaven, flash forth or be dawning ; do not tarry long ; let 
not the Sun scorch thee with his rays as (a king punishes) a 
thief or (subdues his) enemy, etc." This evidently refers to 

i " The divine Usas lights up with her beams the quarters of the heavens. 
She has thrown up her gloomy form, and, awaking (those who sleep), comes in 
her car, drawn by purple steeds." Rv. i. 113, 14. 

' Arctic Home in the Vedas, p. 85. 



*GVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP., 

the vigil that the worshippers kept while watching the first 
appearance of the Dawn in order to begin their sacrifice. 
They were certainly not " tired to see the Dawn lingering 
long in the horizon " as Mr. Tilak has wrongly interpreted, 
for the Dawn had not as yet made her appearance, but they 
simply expressed feelings of impatience, because she did not 
appear^ or delayed her appearance. As the Sun closely 
follows her heels, the poet apprehends or says humorously 
that if she tarries long, or does not appear, she may be 
trodden on her heels by the Sun and scorched by his burning 
rays. There is absolutely no suggestion in the verse that 
the Dawn lingered long in the horizon, or that she had any 
Polar characteristic. She must have been called " slow" for 
the very same reason in Rv. ii. 15,6, because Indra or the 
Sun is said to have actually overtaken her in the long run, 
and broken her chariot, which is another way of saying that 
she disappeared on the rise of the Sun. Mr. Tilak, however, 
thinks that the long duration of the Dawn is clearly proved 
by Rv. i. 113, 13 where the poet says that " the Goddess 
U?as dawned continually or perpetually (SaSvat) in former 
days (Purti)" Now the translation of this hymn is as 
follows : " The Goddess U?as repeatedly or regularly 
dawned in the past ; and she, the source of wealth, has been 
even to-day ridding the world of darkness ; and she will 
dawn daily, or day after day (anudyun), in the future ; (for) 
ever-youthful and immortal (that she is), she moves on in 
her own splendour." The word SaSvat literally means " going 
by regular leaps like a hare ; " hence it means " regularly," 
" invariably " or " repeatedly " and not perpetually which 
means " continuing for ever and for an unlimited time." To 
say that the Dawn rises perpetually in the Polar region would 
be absurd, as she appears for only two months in the year ; 
but to say that she appears repeatedly at regular intervals 
would be more appropriate and correct. As a matter of fact, 
this rising of the Dawn is repeated every day, as the poet 
clearly expresses by the use of the words anudyun in the 



XIX] THE VEDIC &AWNS. 4*7 

same passage, which mean " day after day," The poet is 
evidently impressed by the perpetual youth and immortality 
of the Goddess, because, in the past or days gone by (purd), 
she used to flash forth every day regularly, as she has flashed 
forth even on the very day the poet observes her ; and from 
this regular flashing forth in the past and the present, the poet 
rightly infers or predicts that she would flash forth daily in 
future, because she is not only ever-youthful, but also immor- 
tal. This appears to us to be the simple and plain meaning 
of the verse, and we are sure that no manner of twisting it 
would yield a significance to denote her long duration as in 
the Polar region. 

But Mr. Tilak thinks that there are "more explicit 
passages in the hymns" to denote the long duration of the 
Vedic Dawn, and in support of his contention, he quotes 
Rv. i. 113, 10 which is as follows : 

Kiyati a yat sa may a bhavdti 
yd vyusur ydg ca nunam vyucchdn, 
Anu purvdh kripate vdvaSand 
pradidhydndjosam anydbhir eti." 1 

There are differences of opinion as to the meaning of 
the words Kiyati d yat samayd bhavdti. S&yana understands 
Samayd to mean "near." Profesbor Max Miiller translates 
Samayd (Gk. Omos Lat. Simul) by "together" ; while Roth, 
Grassmann and Aufrecht take Samayd bhavdti as one expres- 
sion, meaning "that which intervenes between the two. 11 

Wilson translates the verse as follows : "For how long a 
period is it that the dawns have arisen ? For how long a 
period will they rise ? Still desirous to bring us light, U?as 
pursues the functions of those that have gone before, and 
shining brightly, proceeds with the others (that are to follow)." 

Griffith, following Max Miiller, translates it thus : "How 
long a time and they shall be together, Dawns that have 

i. RT. i. 133, 10: ftrqiqT WW VtffH 3T 



4 i8 BLGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

shone and Dawns to shine hereafter ? She yearns for former 
Dawns with eager longing, and goes forth gladly shining 
with the others." 

Muir, following Aufrecht, translates it thus : " How great 
is the interval that lies between the Dawns which have arisen 
and those which are yet to rise ? Usas yearns longingly 
after the former Dawns, and gladly goes on shining with the 
others (that are to come)." 

Mr. Tilak draws the following inference from the above 
interpretations : ''There are two sets of Dawns, one of those 
that have past, and the other of those that are yet to shine. 
If we adopt Wilson's and Griffith's translations, the meaning 
is that these two classes of Dawns, taken together, occupy 
such a long period of time as to raise the question How 
long they will be together ? In other words, the two classes 
of Dawns, taken together, were of such a long duration that 
men began to question as to when they would terminate or 
pass away. If, on the other hand, we adopt Aufrecht's 
translation, a long period appears to have intervened between 
the past and the coming dawns ; or in other words, there was 
a long break or hiatus in the regular sequence of these Dawns. 
In the first case, the description is only possible if we suppose 
that the duration of the Dawns was very long, much longer 
than what we see in the temperate or the tropical zone ; while 
in the second, a long interval between the past and the 
present Dawns must be taken to refer to a long pause, or 
night, occurring immediately before the second set of Dawns 
commenced their new course a phenomenon which is pos- 
sible only in the Arctic regions. Thus, whichever interpre- 
tation we adopt a long Dawn, or a long night between the 
two sets of Dawns, the description is intelligible only if we 
take it to refer to the Polar conditions previously mentioned. 
The Vedio passages, discussed hereafter, seem, however to 
support Siyana's or Max M tiller's view. A number of Dawns 
is spoken of, some past, and some yet to come and the two 



XIX,] THE VED1C DAWNS. 419 

groups are said to occupy a very 'long interval.' That seems 
to be the real meaning of the verse." 1 

We admit that two sets of Dawns, one that has past, and 
the other that is to come, have been indicated in the verse, 
Wilson's translation seems to imply a feeling of wonderment 
in the mind of the bard who cannot guess for how long a period 
the Dawns have been regularly rising, and for how long a 
period they will continue to rise. Understood in this sense, 
the verse does not admit of the meaning assigned to it by Mr. 
Tilak, vis. } " the two classes of Dawns, taken together, were 
of such a long duration that men began to question as to 
when they would terminate, or pass away." This implies a 
feeling of weariness at the sight of long continuous Dawns ; 
but there is absolutely no indication of such feeling in the 
entire hymn. On the other hand, we notice in the same 
hymn a feeling of relief and joy at the sight of the Dawn, as 
she has dissipated the darkness of night (Rv. i. 113, 7), and 
has roused men from their death-like sleep (Rv. i. 113, 8.). 
There is also evident a feeling of gratitude towards her in 
the next verse, because her appearance has been the signal 
for kindling the sacrificial fire, and for the rising of the Sun, 
and because she has freed the sacrificers from darkness. 
In Rv. i. 113, 16 the poet calls men, in clear terms, to rise 
from their sleep, as their life has returned to them, and light 
has come and darkness gone. All these verses, taken from 
the same Sukta from which Mr. Tilak has selected the hymn 
under discussion, do not point to any feeling of weariness in 
the mind of the bard at the long monotonous duration of the 
Dawn. His interpretation, therefore, is far-fetched and 
quite untenable. If we accept Max Miiller's and Griffith's 
interpretation, the idea the Vedic bard would seem to convey 
is quite different. The poet in verse 8 has distinctly men- 
tioned of Dawns that are past, the Dawn that is present, 
and Dawns that are to come, and in verse 10 (the one under 
discussion) he wonders : u How long a time and they shall 

* Arctic Home in the Vedas, pp. 8;-98 



ILGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

be together Dawns that have shone, and Dawns that are to 
shine hereafter? She yearns for former Dawns with eager 
longing, and goes forth gladly shining with the others." 
The poet thinks that the present Dawn is yearning to be in 
the company of the Dawns that have gone, and with that 
object in view, she is pursuing them, followed by the Dawns 
that are to come. But he asks " How long a time and they 
shall be together Dawns that have shone, and Dawns that 
will shine hereafter ? " He revolves the question in his mind, 
but finds no satisfactory solution. This interpretation also 
would be perfectly rational, and does not betoken any long 
duration of the Dawn. And lastly, even if we accept Muir's 
and Aufrecht's interpretation, it would not lead us to conclude 
that the Dawn was Polar. " The interval that lies between 
the Dawns which have arisen and those which are yet to 
rise " is long. But is not a period of 22 hours a sufficiently 
long interval? Where is the justification to measure this 
interval by months, as in the Polar region ? We have shown 
above that there is distinct mention in verse 13 'just two 
verses below) of the Dawn shining day after day (anu dyun)^ 
which at once militates against Mr. Tilak's theory. Taking 
all these facts and circumstances into our consideration, we 
cannot hold with Mr. Tilak that Rv. i. 113, 10 discloses any 
Polar characteristics of the Dawn. The Dawn mentioned 
in the verse is clearly a Dawn of the Temperate Zone, 
whichever interpretation of it we may accept. 

As we have already said, it is only necessary to go through 
all the verses of Rv. i. 1 13 in order to be thoroughly convinced 
that the poet does not describe a Polar Dawn. A single 
solitary verse, read and discussed without its context, is surely 
to mislead. I have therefore taken pains to refer to the 
preceding and the following verses of mantra \o to prove that 
the Dawn mentioned therein is only a Dawn of the Temperate 
Zone. Two more references will go to strengthen our con- 
tention. In verse 5, it has been said that the Dawn has roused 
all persons who were sleeping in crooked postures to enable 



XIX.] THE VEDIC DAWNS. 4*1 

them to perform their respective duties. In verse 6 it has been 
said that the Dawn has roused some for earning wealth, some 
for procuring food, some for performing sacrifices, and others 
for attaining their desired objects. If the Dawn first appeared 
after the end of the long Polar night, no mention would 
have been made about rousing men from their sleep } or sending 
them about their business, as it would presuppose hibernation 
on the part of men, which is absurd. Nor can it be supposed 
that during the period of the long night, men did not perform 
their ordinary vocations. The real fact is that the Dawn 
described is a Dawn of the Temperate or Tropical Zone, and 
not a Dawn of the Polar region, and that she made her 
appearance daily at the eml of night, rousing men and 
animals from their sleep. In our opinion, Mr. Tilak's 
attempt to prove Polar characteristics from the verse dis- 
cussed above has failed. 

Mr. Tilak next quotes Rv. vii. 76, 3 to prove the Polar 
origin of the Dawn mentioned therein by putting a forced 
construction on certain words of the verse. But if he only 
cared to read the preceding verse, viz., vii. 76, 2 in connec- 
tion therewith, he would certainly have come to a different 
conclusion. That verse has been rendered into English as 

follows: "The Devayana path has been visible to me The 

banner of the D.iwn has appeared in the east" As the Polar 
Dawn first appears in the south, according to Mr. Tilak's 
own showing, this Dawn whose banner has appeared in the 
east is certainly not Polar, but belongs to the Temperate or 
Tropical Zone. This alone should have at once convinced 
Mr. Tilak of her non-Polar character, and dissuaded him 
from interpreting the next verse in his own way with a view 
to establish his pet theory. The^e is a word ahdni in the 
verse which Mr. Tilak interprets to mean " days"; while 
Sayana interprets it to mean " lights or splendours." It 
would be futile and extremely tedious to repeat here the 
hair-splitting arguments which Mr. Tilak has put forward 
in support of his contention ; and I would leave my readers 



$GVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

to go through them in order to be convinced of their 
absurdity. The verse, according to Siyana's interpretation, 
would mean: "Verily manifold were those splendours or 
lights that were aforetime of the rising of the Sun, by which, 
O Dawn, thou wast beheld as moving towards (or after) thy 
lover (the Sun), and not like a woman who forsakes (her 
lover)." 1 The meaning is clear and simple. There is a 
quick succession of lights from a faint glimmer to a glowing 
red at dawn-time, which makes the Dawn look like a woman 
approaching her lover nearer and nearer, and revealing her 
beauties and not like a woman who feels a repulsion and 
repugnance for him, and gradually recedes far and far away. 
Mr. Tilak says that the word Ahan " is derived from the 
root ah (or philologically dah) ( to burn ' or ' shine/ and 
Ahand meaning Dawn is derived from the same root. 
Etymologically ahani may, therefore, mean splendours." 2 
The word ahah meaning " day " is derived from the same 
root, and is so called because it is bright with sun-shine, 
though the word has sometimes been used in the Rgveda 
to denote the " dark" portion also of the day, viz., night. 3 
But this usage was not justified by the etymology of the word, 
and came only in vogue, because by the word ''day" were 
understood both day and night in ordinary parlance. How- 
ever this may be, when Mr. Tilak admits that ahdni means 
"splendours or lights," what objection can there possibly be 
against interpreting the word in the same way as Syana has 
done? And why interpret it by " days " in order to support 
a theory which proves its very untenability by the banner of 
the Dawn being described in the previous verse as appearing 
"in the east"? If the Dawn appears in the east, it is 
admittedly not a Polar Dawn. But Mr. Tilak has omitted to 
refer to this matter altogether, and translated Rv. vii. 76, 3 



1 Rv. vii. 76, 3 : 



Tilaks Arctic Home in the Yedas, pp. 90-91. 
Rv. vi. 9> I i TO* ft 



XIX.] THE VEDIC DAWNS. 433 

as follows : " Verily many were those days which were afore- 
time at the uprising of the Sun, and about which, Dawn, 
thou wast seen moving on, as towards a lover, and not like 
one (woman) who forsakes." Mr. Tilak's object is clear. He 
wants to prove by this interpretation that many days elapsed 
before the rising of the Sun, during which the Dawn moved 
towards him, as a woman moves towards her lover. This 
interpretation is very ingenious, no doubt. But what about 
the reference to the rising of the Dawn in the east, only in 
the previous verse ? Mr. Tilak is silent on the point. Thus, 
though we may admire his skill in interpreting isolated verses 
in support of his own view, his interpretation, when examined 
in the light of the context, becomes quite untenable, and 
leaves us as unconvinced as ever. Mr. Tilak says : " Pro- 
fessor Ludwig materially adopts SAyana's view, and interprets 
the verse to mean that the splendours of the Dawn were 
numerous, and that they appear either before sunrise, or if 
fracinam be differently interpreted, ' in the east,' at the 
rising of the sun. Roth and Grassmann seem to interpret 
praclnam in the same way." 1 It is needless to say here that 
this meaning of praclnam is quite consistent with that of the 
preceding verse where it has been said "the banner of the 
Dawn has appeared in the east." 

Mr. Tilak next quotes Rv. ii. 28, 9 which he translates 
af follows : " Remove far the debts (sins) incurred by me. 
May I not, O King ! be affected by others ' doings. Verily, 
many Dawns (have) not fully (vi) flashed forth. O Varu^a! 
direct that we may be alive during them." 2 From the 
description " many Dawns have not fully flashed forth," Mr 
Tilak infers that the dawns mentioned here are a long conti- 
nuous Polar Dawn. This interpretation, however, seems to 
us to be quite forced, firstly because there is only one conti- 
nuous dawn in the Polar region which becomes " full-blown " 

* Tilak's Arctic Home in the Vedas, p. 91. 

$g. ii. 28. 9; ^ W STfkW *omft IT* \I1I|*<11 



424 *GVEDIC INDIA. [ClUF, 

( Vyusta) before sunrise. If we assign 24 hours to each 
Dawn, it does not become full-blown (vyusta) at the end of 
this period, but its glow increases little by little every day 
until it becomes vyusta or full-blown before sun-rise at the 
end of two months at the North Pole, or a lesser period in 
the circumpolarr egions. So it cannot be said that some 
Dawns have already been full-blown , and many yet remain to 
be so. In the second place, a prayer to Varuna that " we 
may be alive during the Dawns that have not yet been full- 
blown/' i.e., for only a few days more, or at best, a month, 
would be utterly meaningless. The bard really prays that 
he may be alive for many many days to come. The word 
Usas stands here for days, and we have many instances in 
the Rgveda of the application of the word to days, for 
instance, Usasa-nakta (Rv. i. 122, 2), Nakto-sasa (Rv. i. 
142, 7) and Usasau (Rv. i, 188, 6) all meaning a couple 
of day and night, i.e., one ordinary day. And S&yana also 
says : " The word day (ahah) is used only to denote such a 
period of time as is invested with the light of the Dawn," 1 
which is as much as to say that the day begins with the 
appearance of the dawn. Hence the word Usas stands for 
day and the meaning of the verse is that the poet prays for 
life during the days that have not yet dawned. 

Next, Mr. Tilak refers to the fact that the Dawn has not 
been unfrequently addressed in the plural number in the 
Rgveda, and accounts for it by suggesting that as the Dawn 
lasted for several days in the Arctic region, it was quite 
natural for the Vedic bards to address her in the plural 
number. Subsequently when the Aryans emigrated from the 
Arctic region, and noticed only one Dawn in the Temperate 
Zone, they addressed her in the singular, though the custom 
of addressing the Arctic Dawn in the plural number stilt 
survived. Mr. Tilak says : " Yaska explains the plural 
number Usasah by considering it to be used only honorifically 
(Nirukta, xii. 7) ; while S&yana interprets it as referring to 



XIX.] THE VEDIC DAWNS. 435 

the number of divinities that preside over the morn. The 
western scholars have not made any improvement on these 
explanations ; and Prof. Max M tiller is simply content with 
observing that the Vedic bards, when speaking of the 
Dawn, did sometime use the plural, just as we use 
the singular number!" 1 All these explanations, how- 
ever, do not appear satisfactory to Mr. Tilak. " If the 
plural is honorific " he asks pertinently, " why is it changed 
into singular only a few lines after, in the same hymn ? Surely 
the poet does not mean to address the Dawn respectfully 
only at the outset, and then change his manner of address 
and assume a familiar tone. This is not, however, the only 
objection to Y&ska's explanation. Various similes are used 
by the Vedic pcr>ts to de-scribe the appearance of the Dawns 
on the horizon, an<l an examination of these similes will 
convince any one that the plural number, used in reference 
to the Dawn, cannot be merely honorific. Thus in the second 
line of i. 92, i the Dawns are compared to a number of 
'warriors' (dhrisnava), and in the third verse of the same 
hymn, they are likened to 'women (narili) active in their 
occupations.' They are said to appear on the horizon like 
'waves of waters' (apam na urm<ivah} in vi. 64, i ; or like 
'pillars planted at a sacrifice' (adhvaresu svaravah) in iv. 
51, 2. We are again told that they work like ' men arrayed ' 
(viah na yuktdh] or advance like 'troops of cattle' (gavdm 
na sargah) in vii 79, 2 and iv. 51, 8 respectively. They 
are described as all 'alike' (saetr&h), and are said to be of 
'one mind' (safijdnati) or 'acting harmoniously in iv. 51, 6 
and vii. 76, 5. In the last verse the poet again informs 
us that they 'do not strive against each other' (mithah na 
yatante], though they are jointly in the same enclosure 
(samdne urve). Finally in x. 88, 18 the poet distinctly asks 
the question ' How many fires, how many Suns, how many 
Dawns (Usasah) are there ?' If the Dawn were addressed in 
plural simply out of respect for the deity, where was the 

1 Tilak 's Arctic Home in the Vedas, pp. 95-96. 

54 



426 EGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

necessity of informing us that they do not quarrel, though 
collected in the same place ? The expressions 'waves of 
water' or 'men arrayed/ etc., are again too definite to be 
explained away as honorific. Siyana seem* to have perceived 
this difficulty, and has, probably for the same reason, pro- 
posed an explanation slightly different from that of Y&ska. 
But unfortunately Sayana's explanation does not solve the 
difficulty, as the question still remains, why the deities presid- 
ing over the Dawn should be more than one in number ? The 
only other explanation put forward, so far as I know, is that 
the plural number refers to the Dawns on successive days 
during the year, as we perceive them in the Temperate or 
the Tropical Zone. On this theory, there would be 360 
Dawns in a year, each followed by the rising of the Sun every 
day. This explanation may appear plausible at first sight, 
but on a closer examination it will be found that the expres- 
sions used in the hymn cannot be made to reconcile with this 
theory. For, if 360 Dawns, all separated by intervals of 24 
hours, were intended by the plural number used in the Vedic 
verses, no poet with any propriety would speak of them as 
he does in i. 92, i by using the double pronouns etah and 
tyah } as if he was pointing out to a physical phenomenon 
before him. Nor can we understand how 360 Dawns, spread 
over the whole year, can be described as advancing like 
'men arrayed' for batttle. It is again absurd to describe the 
360 Dawns of the year as being collected in the 'same 
enclosure' and 4 not striving against or quarrelling with each 
other.' We are thus forced to the conclusion that the Rg- 
veda speaks of a team, or a group of Dawns, unbroken or 
uninterrupted by sunlight, so that if we be so minded, we 
can regard them as constituting a single long continuous 
Dawn.... The fact is that the Vedic Dawn represents one long 
physical phenomenon which can be spoken of in plural by 
supposing it to be split up into smaller day-long portions. 
It is thus that we find U?as addressed sometimes in the 
plural, and sometimes in the singular number. There is no 



XIX.] THE VEDIC DAWNS. 427 

other explanation on which we can account for and explain 
the various descriptions of the Dawn found in the different 
hymns." 1 

I have quoted in extenso Mr. Tilak's arguments as well 
as the Rgvedic evidences cited by him in support of his pro- 
position that the Dawns mentioned in the several hymns are 
Polar Dawns. His arguments and evidences, however, require 
very careful examination. He says that in Rv. i. 92, i the 
Dawns are compared to a number of " warriors/' and in the 
third verse of the same hymn, they are likened to ''women 
active in their occupation." His idea is that these Dawns 
represent one long continuous Polar or Arctic Dawn, cons- 
tituting "one long physical phenomenon which can be spoken 
of in plural by supposing it to be split up into smaller day- 
long portions." Even if we admit that this accounts for the 
reason for addressing them in the plural number, how does it 
explain the existence of a group of Dawns advancing 
together like warriors, or huddled together like cattle in a 
pen, or like women active in their occupation ? To be able to 
conceive the idea of a group, we must have before our mind's 
eye a limited space in which the units constituting the group 
assemble together, or a limited time during which the units 
pass in such rapid succession as to give us the impression 
of a united band pursuing the same object. The Arctic 
Dawn, though long and continuous, and extending in one 
unbroken existence over several days, does not give us 
the idea of a group or band, though it may be artificially 
split up into day-long units. Whenever we may look at the 
horizon we can see only one Dawn, whichever direction of 
the sky it may occupy in its revolving course. It is the same 
one Dawn that is circling round, and not a group of Dawns. 
The ascribing of the Arctic character to the Vedic Dawn, 
therefore, does not explain the group of Dawns mentioned 
in the verse quoted by Mr. Tilak. We do not, however, 
dispute the correctness of the similes or descriptions. All 

Kid, pp. 95-98. 



4*8 SGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

we say is that the interpretation put upon them by Mr. Tilak 
seems to us to be wrong. 

In the first part of the verse (Rv. i. 92, i) quoted by 

Mr. Tilak, it has been clearly stated that the Usas or Dawns 

have lighted up the eastern sky. l But he is discreetly silent 

on this point, probably because it militates against his theory 

of the Arctic Dawn who makes her first appearance in the 

south. Nor is there any evidence in the verse of the Dawn 

revolving round the horizon as she does in the Arctic region. 

On the other hand, in verse 9 of the same hymn there is 

distinct mention that the Dawn, after illumining the world, 

is extending her li^ht and glow towards the west. 2 The 

motion of the Dawn is, therefore, undoubtedly from east to 

west) and not circular. In verse 10 of the same hymn, U?as 

has been described as being born daily ^ and thus has not a 

prolonged and continuous existence like that of the Polar 

Dawn. Mr. Tilak next says that the Dawns have been 

described in Rv. vi. 64, i to appear on the horizon like 

" waves of waters." But in verse 4 of the same hymn, she 

has been described as crossing the sky, and in verse 6 we are 

told that on her appearance, the birds leave their roosts and 

men are roused from their sle^p, showing thereby that the 

Dawn spoken of is an ordinary Dawn of the Temperate or the 

Tropical Zone, where only her crossing the sky is possible. 

The very fact that the Dawns are compared to " waves of 

waters " suggests that the poet saw them rise, one after 

another, in quick succession ; and the same idea is also 

conveyed by their being compared to " pillars planted at a 

sacrifice " which are contiguous to one another. In the 

Polar regions, there is only one Dawn illumining a part of 

the horizon, and continuously moving round it. There are 

no other Dawns that are seen to follow her heels like "waves 



RV. L 92, i : i&n ^ air 

Rv i. 92, 9 : RHnfi tft Vqgrifa^qUI ^fr ^*ft3T ft *nfa I ft*' 

ftro 



XIX.] THE VEDIC DAWNS. 429 

of waters " or that look like " pillars " planted and juxtaposed 
at a sacrifice. The Arctic Diwns (assigning 24 hours to 
each) are also not "all alike " (sactrfih), the Dawn of one 
day not resembling that of another, as the one following gets 
brighter and brighter than the one preceding. Nor do the de- 
scriptions that they work " like men arrayed " (Rv. vii. 99, 2) 
or advance like " troops of cattle lf (Rv. iv. 51, 8) help Mr. 
Tilak in proving that they are the Arctic Dawn ; for, as we 
have just said, there is only one long continuous Dawn in 
the Arctic region, which changes her appearance every 
moment of her existence. We cannot, therefore, concieve 
of the existence of more Dawns than one in the Arctic region, 
which can suggest the idea of " men arrayed " for work, 
or of " troops of cattle " advancing together, or living 
in the same enclosure without " striving against each other " 
(R?. vii. 75, 5), as cattle do, when they are shut up in the 
same pen. In the verse preceding that in which the Dawns 
have been compared to " men arrayed,' 1 the poet mentions 
of the Sun rising, and filling the sky and the earth with his 
rays (Rv. vii. 79, i), which shows that the interval between 
the appearance of rhe Dawns and sunrise was not long. In 
verse 3 of the preceding hymn, the same poet (Vasisfcha) 
says that the resplendent Dawns that usher in the bright 
morning have been visible in the east (Rv. vii. 78. 3). In 
the face of all th^se clear indications about the tropical 
character of thi Dawns described in the verses* quoted by 
Mr. Tilak, it seems exceedingly strange that he should have 
attempted to invest them with a Polar character. There can 
be no doubt whatever that these Dawns belonged to the 
Temperate or the Tropical Zone. 

But if that be so, the question still remains to be 
answered, why are the Dawns addressed in the plural number ? 
Like Mr. Tilak, we also do not accept the explanations 
offered by Yaska, SAyana, and Prof. Max Muller about the 
use of the word in the plural number. What can, then, be 
the real explanation ? We think that it is to be found in the 



430 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

Taittirlya SamhitA, Kinda iv, Propithaka 3, Anuvtka n, 
of which Mr. Tilak has given a summary, though he has 
understood and interpreted the mantras in a different way. 
The summary is as follows : 

" The Taittirlya Samhitd, iv. 3. n, expressly states that 
the Dawns are thirty sisters, or in other words, they are 
thirty in number, and that they go round and round in five 
groups, reaching the same appointed place, and having the 
the same banner for all. The whole of this Anuvdka may 
be said practically to be a Dawn-hymn of 15 verses which 
are used as mantras for the laying down of certain emblem- 
atical bricks, called ' the dawn-bricks ' on the sacrificial 
altar. There are sixteen such bricks to be placed on the 
altar, and the Anuvdka in question gives 15 mantras or 
verses, to be used on the occasion, the i6th being recorded 

elsewhere The first verse of the section or Anuvdka is 

used for laying down the first dawn-brick, and it speaks only 
of a single Dawn first appearing on the horizon. In the 
second verse we have, however, a couple of Dawns, men- 
tioned as ' dwelling in the same abode.' A third Dawn is 
spoken in the third verse, followed by the fourth and the 
fifth Dawn. The five Dawns are th^n said to have five sisters 
each, exclusive of themselves, thus raising the total number 
of Dawns to thirty. These ' thirty sisters ' (trinSat svas&rah) 
are then described as * going round ' (pari yanti) in groups 
of six each, keeping up to the same goal (niskritam). Two 
verses later on, the worshipper asks that he and his followers 
should be blessed with the same concord as is observed 
among these Dawns. We are then told that one of these five 
principal Dawns is the child of Rta, the second upholds the 
greatness of waters, the third moves in the region of SGrya, 
the fourth in that of Fire or Gharma, and the fifth is ruled by 
Savitjr, evidently showing that the Dawns are not the Dawns 
of consecutive days. The last verse of the Anuv&ka sums up 
the description by stating that the Dawn, though it shines 
forth in various forms, is but one in reality. Throughout the 



XIX.] THE VEDIC DAWNS. 431 

whole Anuvka there is no mention of the rising of the Sun, 
or the appearance of sunlight, and the Brahmana makes the 
point clear by stating : ' There was a time when all this was 
neither day nor night, being in an undi&tinguishable state. 
It was then that the Gods perceived these Dawns, and laid 
them down; then there was light; therefore, it brightens to 
him and destroys his darkness, for whom these (dawn-bricks) 
are placed/ The object of this passage is to explain how 
and why the dawn-bricks came to be laid down with these 
Mantras, and it gives the ancient story of thirty Dawns being 
perceived by the Gods not on consecutive days, but during 
the period ot time when it was neither night nor day. This, 
joined with the express statement at the end of the Anuv&ka 
that in reality it is but one Dawn^ is sufficient to prove that 
the thirty Dawns mentioned in the Anuvaka were continuous 
and not consecutive. If a still more explicit authority be 
needed, it will be found in the Taittirlya Brahmana ii 5. 6. 5. 
It (the mantra) is addressed to \he Dawns and means : 
' These very Dawns are those thai first shone forth, the 
Goddesses make five forms ; eternal ($<ifvati) t they are not 
separated (na avapriyanti), nor do they terminate (na 
gamanti an tarn).' " } 

But do not the Arctic Dawns, lasting only for 30 days in 
the region where the Aryans were supposed by Mr. Tilak to 
have theu original home, terminate in the long run ? After 
30 days of continuous Dawn, there is long continuous sun- 
shine for several days, nay, tor months, followed by long 
continuous darkness extending over the same period. The 
Arctic Dawns may, therefore, be said to terminate after one 
month, and cannot be described as u eternal n {$dvati). In 
these circumstances, the description of the Dawn in the 
Mantra quoted from the Taittirlya Brahmaua cannot be 
reconciled with that of the Arctic Dawn, but it very well 
applies to the Dawn of the Tropical or the Temperate Zone ; 
for, she rises in the east every day, goes towards the west, 
1 Tilak's Arctic Homt in the Vidas, pp. 99-100. 



*GVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

an4 reappears in the east the very next morning, thus 
showing that she has not reached her destination, or the end 
of her journey. Thus does she travel on through eternity, 
and is aptly described as u eternal " being born again and 
again. But, we ask again, if the Dawn is really , Tropical, 
why is she addressed in the plural number? There is only one 
Dawn every day in the Tropics, and not thirty continuous 
Dawns for thirty days as in the Arctic region. The inter- 
pretation put upon the Dawn-hymn by Mr. Tilak must, there- 
fore, be evidently wrong as it does not satisfactorily explain 
either the Arctic Dawn or the Tropical Dawn as we under- 
stand it. The interpretation must consequently be something 
different, \\hich seems to be as follows: The Taittinya 
Samhitd does not really mean the thirty Dawns to be Arctic 
but only an ordinary Dawn of the Tropics, which is made up 
of thirty Dawns, or five groups of six Dawns each, all com- 
bined together like sisters into one refulgent Dawn, and 
moving like warriors under the same banner, or working in 
concert like women, or living like cattle in the same en- 
closure without striving against each other, or appearing 
like waves of water, and all having one mind, and acting 
harmoniously. Their appearance in the eastern horizon 
"like waves of waters " (apam na urmayah) has been most 
aptly described in Rv. vi. 64, i The light of the Dawn 
really appears in waves, one following another, and pushing 
it forward till there is a general bright glow in the sky 
presaging the rise of the Sun. The Vedic bards divided 
these waves into five main wavrs, each simultaneously 
accompanied by five other similar waves. These thirty waves, 
mingling together, formed one huge wave of light which was 
called the Dawn, or more appropriately, the Dawns. Though 
thirty in number, they appear like one, advancing together 
like warriors under one banner, and wending their way 
towards the same goal, but never reaching it, as they are 
seen moving round and round their course through eternity. 
It is for this reason that the Dawn has been described as 



XIX.] THE VEDIC DAWNS. 433 

having the same appearance to-day as yesterday, (sadrfth 
adya sadrftridusvak) ; and the poet says that after resting 
for a while in the abode of Varuna without any blame attach- | 
ing to her character, she travels thirty yojanas again. (Rv. i. 
123, 8). As we have already said, the Arctic Dawn has not 
the same appearance for two consecutive days, but changes 
it every hour of her existence. The Dawn mentioned in the 
verse cannot, therefore, be an Arctic Dawn. These thirty 
yojanas are identified with the thirty steps that the Dawn 
is said to take in thirty moments. (Rv. vi. 59, 6). These 
thirty steps are undoubtedly the thirty waves of light that 
follow one another in five groups of six each, representing 
the thirty Dawns who are like sisters united for one purpose. 
"Their five courses (kratavah) " says the Taittirlya Samhita 
(iv. 3. n. 5) "assuming various forms move on in combina- 
tion." The next verse says : " The thirty sisters, bearing the 
same banner, move on to their appointed place...... Refulgent, 

knowing (their way), they go round (pari yanti) amidst 
songs/' 

The 1 2th verse says: " The first Dawn is the child of 
Rta, one upholds the greatness of the waters, one moves in 
the regions of Sarya, one (in those) of Ghanna (Fire), and 
Savitr rules one." Rta is the Immutable Order of the 
Universe, and by calling the First Dawn as the child of Rta, 
the poet probably means that the Dawn regularly appears in 
obedience to the unchangeable law of the Universe, just as 
the Sun, the Moon, and the stars do. The waters mentioned 
in the above verse are undoubtedly aerial waters which were 
supposed to bring to our view the Dawn and the heavenly 
bodies in aerial boats floating on it. The others, described 
as moving in the regions of the Sun, the Fire and the Savitr, 
undoubtedly refer to the gradually glowing and bright light 
of the Dawns. These Dawns, though they are many and 
assume various forms according to the order of their appear- 
ance, are looked upon as " one." Hence in the I4th verse, 
the poet says : "The chief of the bright, the omniform, the 

55 



434 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

brindled, the fire-bannered has come with light in the sky, 
working well towards a common goal, bearing (signs) of 
old age, (yet) O Unwasting, O Dawn, thou hast come." 
It would thus appear that the same Dawn is described as 
bright, omniform, and brindled, as she really is according to 
her proximity to or distance from the Sun about to rise. 
There is absolutely no suggestion here of 30 different day- 
long Dawns. 

The 8th verse of the above-mentioned Dawn-hymn says : 
"The Ekagtaka, glowing with fervour, gave birth to a child, 
the great Indra. Through him, the Gods have subdued their 
enemies ; by his powers (he) has become the slayer of 
Asura." Now Eki?taka was the first day, or the consort of 
the year, and the annual sattras were commenced from that 
day. The birth of Indra was really the birth of the Sun on 
New year's day; and the Dawn-hymn of 15 verses was 
recited with a view to lay down certain emblematical bricks, 
called the "Dawn-bricks" on the sacrificial alter. The 
recitation of each verse was accompanied hy the laying of a 
brick, and for the i6th brick a ver^e was recited from else- 
where, which runs as follows : "It was undistinguished, 
neither day nor night. The Gods perceived those dawn- 
bricks. They laid them. Then it shone forth. Therefore, 
for whom these are laid, it shines forth to him and destroys 
his darkness." Now as these verses of the Dawn-hymn were 
recited on the Eka?taka day to herald the rise of the new 
Sun of the New Year, it cannot be said that they were 
continuously recited for 30 days during which the Arctic 
Dawn lasted. The verses were recited only on the Ekdgtaka 
day, when the rise of the Dawn marked the beginning of the 
New Year. The thirty Dawns, therefore, cannot but be the 
component parts of the same Dawn, or as fie poet has said, 
the thirty sisters united as one. The Atharva-veda (vii. 
22,2) also says " The Bright One has sent forth the Dawns, a 
closely gathered band, immaculate, unanimous, brightly 
refulgent in their homes' 1 (Griffith). We do not therefore, 



XIX-] THE VtfDIC DAWNS. 435* 

see any indication of the Arctic Dawn in the verses of the 
Dawn-hymn referred to above. The time taken up for the 
recitation of the verses, and the laying down of the emblem- 
atical bricks on the sacrificial altar really marked the 
period, or measure of the Dawn's duration. Even after all 
the bricks had been truly laid, it was neither day nor night, 
after which the Sun appeared on the horizon. 

It has been said above that these Dawns travel 30 
yojanas in the sky. Mr TiUk interprets the word yojandni 
occuring in Rv. i. 123, 8 to mean " daily course," or " daily 
rounds as at the North Pole." But he omits to take note 
of the fact that the same verse mentions the Dawns to be 
"alike to-day, and alike to-morrow." Are the Polar Dawns 
lasting for 30 days all alike ? Let me here quote the des- 
cription of the long Polar Dawn from Dr. Warren's Paradise 
Found (p. 69, loth Ed.) : " First of all appears low in the 
horizon of the night-sky a scarcely visible flush of light 
At first, it only makes a few stars' light seem a trifle fainter, 
but after a little it is seen to be increasing, and to be moving 
laterally along the yet dark horizon. Twenty-four hours 
later it has made a complete circuit around the observer, 
and is causing a large number of stars to pale. Soon the 
widening light glows with the lustre of 'orient pearl.' 
Onward it moves in its stately rounds, until the pearly 
whiteness burns into ruddy rose-light, fringed with purple and 
gold. Day after day, as we measure days, this splendid 
panorama circles on, and, according as atmospheric condi- 
tions and clouds present more or less favourable conditions 
of reflection, kindles and fades, kindles and fades fades 
only to kindle next time yet more brightly as the still hidden 
sun comes nearer and nearer his point of emergence. At 
length, when for two long months such prophetic displays 
have been filling the whole heavens with these increscent and 
revolving splendours, the Sun begins to emerge from his long 
retirement, and to display himself once more to human 
vision." With the above description of the characteristics 



436 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

of the Polar Dawn, how would Mr. Tilak reconcile the Vedio 
description "alike to-day, alike to-morrow/' and how would 
he interpret yojanAni as " daily rounds " or " circuits of the 
revolving Polar Dawn ?" The very meaning and context of 
the verse indicate the Tropical character of the Dawn, and 
yojan&ni in the passage does not mean " rounds," but a 
measure of distance up the sky which the Dawn is seen to 
travel before the Sun rises. Nor does the description of the 
Dawn "turning on like a wheel" betoken its circular motion 
round the horizon. Rv. Hi. 61, 3 says that the Dawn is like 
the banner of the immortal Sun, and advancing towards the 
three worlds, appear high (iirdhva) in the heavens. The 
second part of the verse has been translated by Mr. Tilak as 
follows : "Wending towards the same goal (sam&nam 
artham), O newly-born Dawn (Navyasi\ turn on like a 
wheel." The word navyasi does not mean "ever new" or 
"becoming new every day" as Mr. Tilak interprets it, but it 
simply means "newly-born" or "just risen." How can the 
newly-born Polar Dawn be urdhva or " placed high up in 
the heaven"? When she does appear high up in the sky 
in the Polar region, she must be more that a month old, or 
must have passed half the period of her allotted span of 
existence. The high-placed Dawn in the Polar region can- 
not therefore be called "newly-born." But the newly-born 
Dawn in the Tropics becomes iirdhva in a few moments; 
and the description in the above verse more aptly applies to 
the Tropical than to the Polar Dawn. The words cakram 
iva dvavritsva also do not mean "turn on like a wheel," but 
"come back again by turning on like a wheel." This wheel- 
like motion is not lateral like that of a potter's wheel, but 
vertical like that of a chariot-wheel. The half-round of 
this wheel is made from east to west, and the other half from 
west to east during the night, thus completing one full 
round. This appears to us to be the clear and correct inter- 
pretation of the verse. It is true that the Dawn is not seen 
to travel over the head in the Tropical region ; but her steps 



XIX.] THE VEDIC DAWNS. 437 

are measured by 30 yojanas only, after which the Sun rises. 
The sun-light makes her invisible, but she is visible in 
regions where the Sun has not as yet appeared. The fact 
of her invisibility, therefore, does not in any way militate 
against her wheel-like motion from east to west, and back 
again from west to east. This idea has been elaborated by 
the poet in verse 7 of the same hymn, which says that 
Aditya (the Sun), after sending the Dawn at the beginning 
of the day, enters into the region between heaven and earth. 
The wide Dawn then constituting the light of Mitra and 
Varuna shows her splendours in various regions. Mitra, as 
our readers know, is the Lord of Day, and Varnna the Lord 
of Night. The verse, therefore, means that the Dawn 
continuously travels in the day time as well as in the night, 
till she reappears in the eastern horizon. This clearly 
explains how she completes her circular movement. 

These, then, are some of the principal evidences that Mr. 
Tilak has discussed to prove thjfU: at least some of the Dawns 
described in the Rgveda, the Taittirlya Samhita, and the 
Atharva-veda bear Arctic characteristics, or at any rate, 
reminiscences of the Arctic regions. But we have carefully 
examined them, and found that his hypothesis is quite unten- 
able. The Dawns mentioned in the Vedas are not at all 
Polar in origin or character, but they are Dawns either of 
the Tropical or the Temperate Zone. 



CHAPTER XX. 

EXAMINATION OF Mr, TILAK'S THEORY OF THE ARCTIC CRADLE OF THE 

ARYANS (contd.) 

LONG DAY AND LONG NIGHT 

The word tamas stands for darkness, and has been used 
in the Vedas both in a literal and figurative sense. Darkness 
is the absence of light, and light emanates from the Sun, 
the Moon, the Dawn and the Fire. The light of the first 
three is widespread; but that of the last is local, and con- 
fined only to the place where it burns. Universal darkness 
is caused when the Sun, the Moon, and the Dawn are non- 
existent in the sky, or if existent, arc hidden from view by 
obstructions, like clouds. The resplendent Dawn presages 
the day, and the Sun is the Lord of Day. Night is dark, 
and the Moon is the Lord of Night. The Moon has, therefore 
been sometimes identified in the Brihmanas with Vrtra, 
the demon of darkness (Sath. BrSh. r . 5. 3. 18), who is also 
rightly described by the epithet Deva or bright, on account 
of his shining light (Rv. i 32, 12). The powers of darkness 
(Asuras) are as strong as the powers of light (Devas) and 
there is a constant struggle going on between them. Vrtra 
overpowers the Sun and the Dawn, and confines them and 
their lights in his dark cavern at night. The benevolent 
deities, headed by Indra, release them from the clutches of 
the malevolent Vftra at the end of every night, and thus free 
the world from darkness, thereby enabling all living creatures 
to move about in quest of food and to perform their ordinary 
avocations, and helping the plants to grow and the corn to 
ripen. Indra has thus to enter into a deadly conflict with 
V|rtra, and vanquish him every night, with the object of 
releasing the Dawn and the Sun from his dark prison. The 
ancient Aryans thought that Indra and his colleagues required 
to be strengthened in their struggle by the chanting of 



XX.] LONG DAY AND LONG NIGHT. 439 

specially composed hymns, and the performance of sacrifice* 
The invigorating drink of Soma was offered as oblation to 
Fire who, as the priest of the sacrifice, carried it to those 
deities for whom they were intended. The performance of 
sacrifice, therefore, came to be regarded as an imperative 
religious duty, and Fire became the House-hold Deity 
(Grhapati Agni] who was worshipped daily with oblations 
by every householder, and through whom all the other Gods 
could be approached. 

The struggle of the Devas with Vrtra, the demon of 
darkness, was thus one of daily occurrence ; but there was 
another great struggle which was seasonal and lasted for 
months when Vrtra who could assume various forms (mdydbi) 
absorbed the life-giving waters and the solar rays in his 
cloud-body, and oppressed all living creatures and plants by 
causing drought, and obstructing the li^ht of the Dawn and 
the Sun for days and months together. To make Indra 
victorious in this great struggle a long sattra or sacrifice 
lasting for ten months, nay, a whole year, and a special 
sattro called Ratrisattra or night-sacrifice, lasting for 
three months, had to be performed Vrtra, therefore, appear- 
ed not only in the shape of nightly darkness, but also in 
i he shape of dark clouds, and all hi* activities resulted in 
the creation of tamas or darkness, which the Gods did their 
best to overcome. 

It should be borne in mind here that the ancient Aryans 
were par excellence the worshippers of li^ht. Every phase of 
the light of the sky was supposed to be presided over by a 
distinct deity. First in order was the light of the A^vins, 
then that of the Dawn (U$as) in her three forms, viz., (i) 
the dark form changing into blight, (2) the bright (Usas) and 
(3) the resplendent ( Vyusta) ; and lastly came the light of 
the Sun who also had five phases, viz., (i) Udesyat, (2) 
Udyat, (3) Udiia, (4) Suvarga and (5) Loka. The Morning 
Sun again was Kumara or Bramhd } the Mid-day Sun was 
Visnu, the Sun soon after mid-day was Rudra, and the 



440 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP, 

Evening Sun, or the Sun of the night was A-surya (not-Sun) 
or Siva as called in post-Vedic literature. Indra assumed 
the form of the Sun occasionally, and was the leader of all 
the Gods or Devas. Besides the lights of these heavenly 
deities, there were the lights of Mitra, the Lord of day-light 
and Deity presiding over the Sun, and of Varuija, the Lord 
of Night, who was sometimes identified with the Moon or 
the Sun, being an Aditya. Lastly was the light of the 
Household Fire which was kept burning day and night, 
and specially kindled for the performance of a special sacri- 
fice. Light, therefore, was the very essence of the religious 
life of the ancient Aryans. The time for performing a 
special sacrifice was regulated and fixed by the appearance 
of the particular deity in the sky. Hence a regular vigil had 
to be kept at night to watch the appearance of light in 
the eastern horizon, first of the AMns, then of Usas } and 
lastly of the Sun. Sometimes the worshippers woke up from 
their sleep long before the appointed time, miscalculating 
the pary&yas or praharas of the night, and in all such cases 
the watching for the first appearance of the light was neces- 
sarily long and tedious. But night-time was also not safe 
for the sacrificers to perform their sacrifices in the open, as 
thieves loitered and wild animals prowled about in the dark- 
ness. They, therefore, earnestly prayed that they might 
safely tide over the precincts of the dark night, and be 
brought to the borders of daylight. 

It is necessary to remember all these facts and the 
foregoing description of Vftra in order to be able to under- 
stand our criticism of Mr. Tilak's arguments in favour of 
14 a long day and long night " which he seeks to prove from 
Vedic passages to be the long day and the long night of the 
Polar regions. To begin with, he says : " When a long 
continuous dawn of thirty days or a closely gathered band of 
thirty dawns is shown to have been expressly referred to in 
the Vedio literature, the long night preceding such a dawn 
follows as a matter of course ; and when a long night prevails. 



XX] LONG DAY AND LONG NIGHT. 441 

it must have a long day to match it during the year..* 
Therefore, if the long duration of the Vedic Dawn is once 
demonstrated, it is, astronomically speaking, unnecessary to 
search for further evidence regxrding the existence of long 
days and nights in the Rgveda." 1 The foregoing observa- 
tion is true, so far as it goes ; but has Mr. Tilak been really 
able, after all, to prove the long duration of the Vedic Dawn ? 
We have seen in the preceding chapter that he has not 
succeeded in proving it. Therefore, if his premises are 
found to be wrong, it follows that his conclusion also would 
be wrong. Mr. Tilak, however, thinks that there is evi- 
dence in the Vedic literature about the long day and the 
long night of the Polar regions, which we now proceed to 
examine. 

11 There are many passages in the Rgveda," says Mr. 
Tilak, "that speak of long and ghastly darkness, in one form 
or another^ which sheltered the enemies of Indra, and to 
destroy which Indra had to fight with the demons, or the 
Ddsas, whose strongholds are all said to be concealed in the 
darkness. Thus in i. 32, 10 Vrtra, the traditional enemy of 
Indra, is said to be engulfed in long darkness (dirgham tamah 
dfayad Indra^atruh)^ and in v. 32, 5 Indra is described as 
having placed Su?aa who was anxious to fight, 4n the dark- 
ness of the pit 1 (tamasi karmye), while the next verse speaks 
of a-surye tamasi (lit. sun-less darkness) which Max M tiller 
renders by 'ghastly darkness.' In spite of these passages, 
the fight between Indra and Vjtra is considered to be a daily 
and not a yearly struggle/ 12 

At the very outset, we have said that the struggle be- 
tween Indra and Vrtra was both daily, and seasonal or 
yearly. The passages quoted by Mr. Tilak undoubtedly 
prove the yearly struggle ; but there are also proofs of the 
daily struggle, as we shall see later on. The struggle, indeed, 

1 Tilak's Arctic Home in the Vedas, pp. 123-24, 
* Ibid, p. 125. 



443 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

was two-fold. The daily struggle required the performance 
of d lily sacrifice, and the yearly or seasonal sacrifice was 
performed for ten or twelve months in order to strengthen 
Indra and his colleagues to Right with Vrtra when the latter 
concealed the Diwn and the Sun in his cloud-body for 
several days and months, and withal imprisoned the life- 
giving waters, causing a distressing drought. These 
waters had to be released for the benefit of the vege- 
table and the animal kingdons, and the thunderbolt of 
Indra was kept active during this period which was none 
other than the rainy season. It was during this struggle in 
the rainy season that InJra laid Vjtra low by hitting him 
with his bolt. A graphic account of this struggle has been 
given in Rv. i. 32, from which Mr. Tilak has quoted the 
tenth verse only to prove that Vftra was " engulfed in long 
darkness." Now this " long darkness" (dirgham tamah] is 
clearly not used in the ordinary physical sense, but in a 
metaphorical sense to denote death, or a long period of 
inactivity, which is generally associated with darkness. 
Indra's struggle with Vrtra really ended when the latter was 
vanquished and laid low, and the ceaselessly moving waters 
flowed over his body, and he " slept in long darkness " (Rv. 
1.32, 10). That this "long darkness" was not physical 
darkness is proved by verse 4 of the same hymn, which says 
that after the first-born Ahi (Vrtra) had been killed, and his 
delusions or charms dissipated, the Dawn, the Sun and the 
Sky were all revealed. The death of Vrtra or his entering 
into long darkness, therefore, coincides with the appearance 
of the Dawn, the Sun and the blue sky, i.e. } of bright day- 
light, and not darkness, whether long or short. Hence it is 
evident that Tilak's interpretation of dirgham tamas (long 
darkness) in the above verse, and his identification of it with 
a long Polar night are palpably wrong. Neither is he correct 
in his interpretation of Rv. v. 32, 5 wherein, says he, " Indra 
is described as having placed 5u?na who was anxious to fight 
in the darkness of the pit." The real meaning of the verse 



XX.] LONG DAY AND LONG NIGHT. 

is as follows : " Thou hast discovered, ladra, by his acts the 
secret vital part of him who thought himself invulnerable, 
when, powerful Indra, in the exhilaration of the Soma, thou 
hast detected him preparing for the combat in his dark 
abode." 1 The meaning is diametrically opposed to the 
interpretation put upon the verse by Mr. Tilak. Indra 
detected Su?na (Drought) preparing for the combat in his 
dark abode, which was none other than the clouds, and 
uplifting his thunderbolt struck and slew him, " enjoying the 
dews of the firmament, sleeping (amidst the waters) and 
thriving in the sunless darkness." t^Rv. v. 32. 6;. Now this 
Susna was the " wrath-born son " of the powerful Vftra whom 
Indra had slain after rending the clouds asunder, throwing 
open the flood-gates and liberating the obstructed streams. 
(Rv. v. 32, i). The meaning seems to be that after the 
rains, there was a long spell of drought, during which the 
sky remained continuously covered viith dark clouds which 
did not give any rains, and behind which the Sun lay bidden 
for days together. The dim light or gloom of these cloudy 
days has been described by the poet as " sunless darkness," 
i.e., darkness caused by the Sun remaining hidden behind 
the clouds. This appears to be the simple meaning of the 
verses of the hymn referred to by Mr. Tilak, and there is not 
in them even the shadow of the long Arctic night. As Wilson 
observes : " From the body of Vjtra, it is said, sprang the 
more powerful Asura, u?na, that is, allegorically, the ex- 
haustion of the clouds was followed by a drought which 
Indra as the atmosphere had then to remedy." And Indra 
caused the drought to disippear by rending open the clouds 
which seemed to have imprisoned the waters. In other words, 
there was at first rain, which was followed by a period of 
drought, with clouds overhanging the sky, but not giving a 
drop of rain. Then Indra broke open the clouds with his 
thunderbolt and liberated the imprisoned waters. Besides 

M. N. Dutt's English Translation of th* &frfa, p. 889. 



444 GVEDIC INDIA. [Our. 

the usual form of darkness of the night, there was another 
form of it in overhanging clouds, and Vrtra, the M&ydvt 
(or wily) Asura, or Susna assumed these forms to torment 
mankind. 

Mr. Tilak next turns to Rv. ii. 27, 14 to prove the 
familiarity of the ancient Aryans with "long darkness 1 ' 
(dirghah tamisrah). Max Muller has rendered the hymn 
thus: " Aditi, Mitra, and also Varuna, forgive if we have 
committed any sin against you ! May we obtain the wide 
fearless light, O Indra ' May not the long darkness come 
over us." Mr. Tilak comments on this as follows : "The 
anxiety here manifested for the disappearance of the long 
darkness is unmeaning, if the darkness never lasted for more 
than twenty-four hours." But was it really the physical 
darkness of the long night that the poet was anxious to 
avoid ? We do not think so. If the poet was really an 
inhabitant of the Arctic region, he knew, as a matter of 
course, that the long night was bound to follow the long day, 
as surely as death follows life, and that no amount of praying 
to the Gods would avert or postpone the approach of the 
long darkness in due course of time. It would further be 
futile, ray pueiile, on the part of the sage-poet to have the 
physical orders of the Universe altered by prayer, as it would 
be for a child to cry for the moon. It is not the long 
physical darkness that the poet is dreading, but the dreary 
darkness of sin which, he prays, may never come upon him. 
The entire drift of the hymn points to an eager desire on his 
part to be beyond the clutches of sin, with the gracious help 
of the y*dityas, as the following translation of some of the 
verses in the same hymn will prove : 

" 5. May I be conscious, Adityas, of this your protec- 
tion, the cause of happiness (and security) in danger ; 
Aryaman, Mitra and Varuaa, may I, through your guidance, 
escape the sins which are like pitfalls (in my path). 

" 6. Aryaman, Mitra and Varuaa, easy is the path (you 
show us), and free from thorns and pleasant; therefore, 



XX.] LONG DAY AND LONG NIGHT. 445 

Adityas, (lead us) by (it) : speak to us favourably, and grant 
us happiness, difficult to be disturbed. 

" 7. May Aditi, the mother of royal sons, place us 
beyond the malice (of our enemies). May Aryaman lead us 
by easy paths, and may we, blessed with many descendants, 
and safe from harm, attain the great happiness of Mitra and 
Varu^a. 

A 

" 9. The Adityas, decorated with golden ornaments, 
brilliant, purified by showers, who never slumber, nor close 
their eye-lids, who are unassailable, and praised by many, 
uphold the three bright heavenly regions for the sake of the 
upright man. 

l( ii. Neither is the right hand known to us, Adityas, 
nor is the left ; neither is that which is in front, nor that 
which is behind (discerned by me). Givers of dwellings, may 
I who am immature (in knowledge) and timid (in spirit) 
obtain, when guided by you, the light that is free from fear. 

" 14. Aditi, Mitra, Varuna, have pity upon us, even 
though we may have committed some offence against you. 
May I obtain, Indra, that great light which is free from 
peril, let not the protracted gloom envelop us. 

.A 

" 16. Adorable Adityas, may I pass (safe) in your car 
from the illusions which (you desire) for the malignant, the 
snares which are spread for our foe, (in like manner) as a 
horse-man (passes over a road) ; and thus may we abide 
secure in infinite felicity. 1 ' ! 

Where is the room for long physical darkness in the 
above beautiful verses which embody in them an earnest and 
pathetic prayer of the soul in its helpless struggle to be 
free from the meshes and snares, and the blinding gloom of 
sin, and which breathe an irrepressible hankering after the 
" wide fearless light " of righteousness and virtue, that 
is in the gift of the Gods ? The same poet, still in the same 

1 M. N. Dutt's Translation oftki ffvtda, pp, 543-545. 



446 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAt. 

mood of mind, thus continues his prayers in the next hymn 
(ii. 28) : 

" 5. Cast off from me sin, Varuaa, as if it were a rope. 
May we obtain from thee a channel .filled) with water. Cut 
not the thread of me (engaged in) weaving pious works ; 
blight not the elements of holy rites before the season (of 
their maturity.) 

" 6. Keep off all danger from me, Varuna, supreme 
monarch, endowed with truth, bestow thy favour upon me. 
Cast off (from me) sin like a tether from a calf. No one 
rules for the twinkling of an eye, apart from thee. 

" 7. Harm us not, Varuna, with those destructive 
(weapons) which, repeller (of foes), demolish him who does 
evil at thy sacrifice. Let us not depart (before our time) from 
the regions of light. Scatter the malevolent that we may live." 

The poet goes on in the same strain in the next hymn 
also (ii. 29) : 

i. " Adityas, upholders of pious works, who are to be 
sought by all, remove sin from me, like a woman delivered 
in secret. 5. Alone among you, I have committed many 
offences, (the which correct) as a father corrects a naughty 
(son). Far from me, Gods, be bonds ; far from me be sins, 
seize not upon me, (your) son, as (a fowler) catches a bird." 

The above extracts clearly prove the penitent spirit 
which makes the poet confess his sins and lay bare his heart 
to the Gods. The " long darkness " is undoubtedly the 
darkness of sin that blinds our moral vision, and does not 
show us the right path, and " the wide fearless light " is the 
light of righteousness, and holy doing and holy thinking. 
This long darkness, therefore, cannot be the darkness of the 
long Arctic night. The well-known prayer in a Upanisad 
must be familiar to our readers : " Oh, lead me from the 
unreal (not-good) to the real (good) ; from darkness to light 
(tamaso mA jyotir gam ay a) ; from death to life." Sin or Evil 



XX.] LONG DAY AND LONG NIGHT. 447 

is here compared to darkness and death. Heaven has been 
described in Rv. ix. 113, 7 as a region filled with perpetual 
light, free from the shadow of death or destruction, where the 
blessed covet to go. Conversely, hell is a region of perpetual 
darkness, begot of sinfulness, to which the sinful are doomed. 
This state or region is one over which long fearful darkness 
holds sway. The poet, when praying for deliverance from 
long darkness, had undoubtedly the long darkness of sinful- 
ne*s in his mind rather than any physical darkness. 

Mr. Tilak next picks out Rv. vii. 67, 2 to prove " long 
darkness. " The verse has been thus rendered : " The fire has 
commenced to burn, the ends of darkness (tamasah antah) 
have been seen, and the banner of the Dawn has appeared 
in the east" The words tamasah antah have been interpreted 
by some to mean u the inner recesses of darkness, 1 ' which 
become visible when fire burns and radiates its light around. 
But even if we take them to mean " the ends of darkness," 
they do not necessarily imply that this darkness was long like 
that of the Arctic night. The words simply mean that the 
Dawn having appeared, the darkness of night is about to dis- 
appear. It seems also really very strange that it did not 
strike Mr. Tilak that the appearance of the Dawn in the east 
could not give any suggestion of the Arctic night. 

Next, in support of his contention, Mr. Tilak quotes 
Rv. x. 124, wherein Agni (Fire) is told that he " has slept 
too long in the long darkness." The " long darkness " may 
not necessarily be that of the long Arctic night, but only of 
an ordinary wintry night of the Tropical regions, which is 
generally long. It should be borne in mind that after the last 
oblation of the evening had been offered to Fire, it was 
allowed to lie dormant or go out, and was only re-kindled 
when the Dawn appeared. It is therefore not unnatural for 
the poet to say that the sacrificial Fire has slept " too long in 
the long darkness." In the very next verse, Agni himself 
says that when the Gods want him, he appears with his 



448 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

radiant lustre from a lustreless state of invisibility, and that 
when the sacrifice is ended, he leaves it and becomes invisible 
again. This clearly explains what is meant by Fire sleeping 
too long in the long darkness. It cannot be reasonably 
assumed that even if the early Aryans lived in the Arctic 
region, they allowed the sacrificial Fire to remain extinguished 
during the entire period of the long night, and rekindled it 
only with the appearance of the Polar Dawn. The necessity 
for keeping the sacrificial Fire burning during that time 
would be all the greater for dissipating the darkness, and in 
view of the great fight going on between Indra and Vjtra, in 
which Indra stood in need of being strengthened by oblations 
of Soma and the chanting of Mantras. 

Next, Mr. Tilak quotes Rv. x. 127, 6 in which the 
sage-poet addresses Night, and prays that she may " become 
easily fordable " to the worshippers fnah sutard bhava). The 
word sutar& has been rendered by some as " favourable or 
auspicious." But even if we adopt the meaning of " easily 
fordable/' it does not imply that the night was long. The first 
part of the verse contains a prayer to Night to keep off the 
he-wolf, the she-wolf and the thief from the doors of the 
worshippers. These prowl about in the darkness of the 
night, causing terror to all. It is, therefore, quite natural 
for men engaged in night-sacrifice to pray for themselves as 
well as for those who are asleep that the night may be easily 
fordable, i.e., may pass away without causing any mishap. 
There is no indication here of the long night of the Arctic 
region. The following beautiful translation of this verse, 
and of the previous verse, made by Professor Macdonell, is 
worth quoting here : 

"The villagers have gone to rest, 

Beasts, too, with feet, and birds with wings, 

The hungry hawk himself is still 

Ward off the she-wolf and the wolf, 

Ward off the robber, Goddess Night, 

And take us safe accross the gloom.' 91 

1 MacdonU' Hist, of Santk. Liter a.tur*, p. 104. 



XX.] LONG DAY AND LONG NIGHT. 449 

The description is that of an ordinary Tropical night, 
and not of Arctic night. Men, beasts and birds do not go to 
sleep for six months in the Arctic region, or even for days 
together during which the long night lasts in the circum-polar 
region. 

Mr. Tilak next quotes the 4th verse of the Parifista 
that follows the above hymn and is called the R&tri-sukta or 
Durga-stava to prove his contention. The worshipper asks 
the Night to be favourable to him, exclaiming "May we reach 
the other side in safety. May we reach the other side in 
safety." 1 What does this prayer mean ? It means nothing 
but an anxiety on the part of the worshipper to pass the 
night (so full of dangers) peacefully and without any mishap. 
Mr. Tilak quotes a similar verse from the Atharva-veda 
(xix. 47, 2) which is interpreted as follows : "Each moving 
thing finds rest in her (Night), whose yonder boundary is 
not seen, nor that which keeps her separate. O spacious 
darksome Night, may we, uninjured, reach the end of thee, 
reach, O thou blessed one, thine end. 1 ' 2 This verse also 
does not help Mr. Tilak in any way, in as much as all 
moving creatures are said to have found rest in Night 
which is inconsistent with the condition of the long Arctic 
Night. The description that the yonder boundary of night 
is not seen is as much applicable to Arctic as to an ordinary 
wintry night of the Tropics, for the "yonder boundary" of 
both is not visible, not "that which keeps her separate." 
Mr. Tilak himself is conscious that it admits of an explana- 
tion like this, and hence falls back on a passage of the Taitti- 
r%ya Samhit& } which, he thinks, supports his view. In this 
Samhita (I. 5- 5- 4) there is a similar mantra or prayer 
addressed to Night, which is translated as follows : "O 

The 4th Verse of the Rdtrl-Sukta is as follows : 



A. V. xix, 47,2 . 

3ft cpusfci Tlfr HI^4(rflMf^ Kflf 

57 



450 RGVEDIC iN 7 D!A. [CHAP. 

Chitr&vasu, let me safely reach thy end." A little further 
(I. 5 7- 5 the Samhita itself explains this mantra or prayer 
thus : "Chitrvasu is (means) the Night ; in old times (purd) } 
the Br&hmans (priests) were afraid that it (Night) would not 
dawn." 1 Mr. Tilak makes the following comment on this 
interpretation : ''Here we have an express Vedic statement 
that in old times the priests or the people felt apprehension 
regarding the time when the night would end." But we beg 
to differ from this vir w of Mr. Tilak. It was not the people^ 
but only the Brhmans or priest* v\ho felt this apprehension. 
And this makes a world of difference. The word BrAhmandh, 
in the Vedic sense, means the priests who recite stotras or 
hymns at the performance of sacrifices. These priests who 
presided at the night-sacrifices had to keep up the whole 
night, and felt so much fagged and worn-out in consequence 
of the vigil that the hours seemed to them to stand still or 
move at a snail's pace, and a ft cling came over them a* if 
the night would never terminate. The watching for the first 
streak of the Dawn, when the saciifices had to be punctually 
commenced, was a terrible strain on their nerves, and we 
need not wonder if, broken down by fatigue and want of sleep, 
they sometimes gav-? vent to the apprehension that the night 
would not end. Even to this day, do not those who are 
compelled to keep up night, watching or attending the sick, 
and pass their time in awful suspense, sometimes think the 
night to be too long ? And are they not occasionally seized 
by a feeling bordering upon an apprehension that the dreary 
night would never end ? A feeling like this would be as 
much natural in the olden days, as it is to-day. But what 
does the author of the Samhita mean that in the olden days 

1 Taitt. Sam. i. 5. 5 4 : fo*rWt ^fftf % *mjnfH n Taitt. Sam. i 5. 

7- 5 s fiwrqfrft gfa fr qiMjtftemi i ^rfiriftTOs Trr$ 

n Sayaljui thus explains the passage 



XX.] LONG DAY AND LONG NIGHT. 

(purf) the Brhmans felt this apprehension ? This probably 
signifies that when the Saijihita was composed, the practice 
of keeping night-vigils for the performance of sacrifices was 
discontinued, or considerably modified. It should be borne 
in mind that the laiitiilya Samhita was composed long long 
after tin Rgveda (the date ci-mputtd by Mr. Tilak being 
about 2,500 B. C ), and during this long interval, many 
practices had undergone complete change or material modi- 
fication. We have got clear evidence of this in some of the 
Brdhmanas. There is a discussion in the Satapatha Brdhmana 
(II i. 4. 8 & 9) as to whether the sacrificial Fire should be 
kindled and the Homa performed before or after sunrise. 
The author concludes in favour of the former and praises 
the performance of Homa before sunrise. The Aitareya 
Brdhmana V. 5. 4. 6), on the other hand, advocates the per- 
formance of Homa after sunrise. The Taittirlya Bra^hinana 
too at first praises its performance after sunrise but con- 
demns it later on (II. j. 2. 7 & II. i 2. 12.). It would thus 
appear that there was a gradual change in some of the old 
religious practices, and night-sacrifices having probably been 
discontinued at the time of the com portion of some of the 
Brahmanas and Samhitas, it was quite consistent and appro- 
priate to rrftr to the practice of night-watching as belonging 
to the olden days (fufd). But Mr. Tilak thinks that the 
word (purd] refers to those days of yore when the Aryans 
had their home in the Arctic region, where: the night was so 
long as to make the prints apprehend that it would not 
terminate. But did the priests keep a continuous night vigil 
for months or days together ? A supposition like this 
would be absurd on the very face of it. Then, again, why 
should the priests apprehend that the long night would not 
terminate, when, as inhabitants of the Arctic region, they 
knew from personal experience that it must end in the long 
ran ? Their apprehension, therefore, would be entirely 
groundless and childish. The real fact of the matter is that 
the poet speaks only of an ordinary Tropical night, or a bog 



45* RGVED1C INDIA. [CAP. 

wintry night, as Siyaiia has explained, and refers to the 
awful sense of weariness which night-keeping usually pro- 
duced on the priests in the olden days. 

Mr. Tilak adduces another proof in support of his 
contention from Rv. iii. 55, 1 1 which is as follows : 

N&na cakr&te yamy& vapumsi 
tayor any ad rocate krsnam any at 
yav% ca yad arusl ca svasarau 
mahad devdndm asuratvam ekam. 1 

The deity of the verse is Ahoratra (Day and Night), 
who are described here as twin sisters (yamya). The verse 
is ordinarily translated as follows : 

"The twin pair (Day and Night) adopt various forms : 
one of them shines brightly, the other is black ; twin sisters 
are they, one black, and the other white ; great and un- 
equalled is the might of the Gods." 

Mr. Tilak says that if the above translation be accepted 
as correct, and the description be applied to a couple of 
ordinary Day and Night, and "the twins," and "the two 
sisters" in the veise be taken as identical, then there would 
be an unnecessary repetition of the same idea. He therefore 
thinks that the twins (yamyd) and the two sisters (svasdrau) 
are two different deities or manifestations of Nature, the 
first being a couple of ordinary Day and Night, and the second 
a couple of Long Day and Long Night. He refers to the 
use of the words UsdsA-naktd (Rv. i. 122, 2), Naktosdsa 
(Rv. i. 142, 7) and Usasau (Rv. i. 188, 6) as meaning a 
couple of day and night, and quotes Rv iv. 55, 3 to prove 
that Ahani (Night and Day) and Usdsd-naktA (Day and 
Night) in the verse 2 refer to two separate couples of Day 
and Night which are different in form, length and character, 



Rig. ill. 55- 1 1 -irwr *?fim TOT WH f* tiiiKsH8 
*nft i 

iv. 55, 3 : 



XX.] LONG DAY AND LONG NIGHT. 453 

one being identical with a couple of ordinary day and night 
of 24 hours' duration, and the other with a couple of long day 
and long night as in the Arctic region. The verse, however, 
admits of the following interpretation : (l (I praise you) both 
Night and Day that you may protect us unimpeded ; Night and 
Dawn do (what we desire)." Here ahani simply means Day 
and Night, and Us&sd-naktd Dawn and Night. Day and 
Night form one couple, representing one deity ; and Dawn 
and Night another couple, representing another deity. The 
twin, Night and Dawn, represents the deity of that portion 
of the night when darkness is penetrated by the light of 
Dawn, in other words, when light struggles with darkness. 
This deity is, as it were, the embryo of the other deity, Ahani 
(Day and Night) in a state of development. Though the 
word Usdsd-naktd also stands for Day and Night, the latter 
are quite different in character from Dawn and Night, or the 
period when it is neither day nor night. It is, therefore, 
quite unnecessary to attribute to Ahani the meaning of a long 
Arctic Day and a long Arctic Night. Considered from this 
view-point and analogy, " the twin pair " (yamyd) and " the 
two sisters'* (svasdrau) in Rv. iii. 55, n may also respec- 
tively mean Night and Dawn, and Day and Night, or simply 
Day and Night (Ahordtre). There would be no repetition of 
the same idea in the verse, to which Mr. Tilak refers, if it is 
explained in the following simple way : 

44 N&n (various) cakr&te (make) yamyd ^the twin) vapurji?! 
(forms) ; tayor (of the two) anyat (one) rocate (shines) 
kr$nam (dark) anyat (the other), byavl (black) ca (conjuction 
connecting the second anyat) yat (wherefore) aru?i (bright 
or white) ca (conjunction connecting the first anyat) svascirau 
(the two sisters) " etc. 

The meaning in plain English would be this : 4( The twin 
(sisters) make or assume various forms ; of the two, one 
shines, and the other is dark ; wherefore the two sisters are 
(one) black and (the other) bright or white." There is no 



4S4 %GVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

repetition here of the same idea in the verse ; but the first 
part, containing the primitive characteristics of the twin, 
only furnishes a reason for their description in the second ; 
in other words, the reason why one of the twin sisters is 
bright or white, and the other black is explained by their 
natural characteristics, #**., one shines brightly, while the 
other does not. Our readers will thus find this interpretation 
to be quite natural and consistent and Mr. Tilak's interpreta- 
tion to be strained and far-fetched. The verse certainly does 
not contain any reference to or suggestion of long night and 
long day of the Arctic region. We may therefore dismiss 
Mr. Tilak's proof as unconvincing, though we must admit 
that he has taken great pains and shown much ingenuity in 
interpreting the verse to suit his own view. ] 

Mr. Tilak next qoutes the Taittirlya Aranyaka (i. 2. 3) 
in support of his point. Referring to the year, it says that the 
year has one head and two different mouths, and then remarks 
that all this is season-characteristic, which the commentator 
explains by stating that the Year-God is said to have two 
mouths, because it has two ayanas } the northern and the 
southern, which include the seasons. 2 " But the statement 
important for our purpose, " says Mr. Tilak, "is the one 
which follows next. The Araynaka continues: 'To the 
right and the left side of the Year-God (are) the bright and 
the dark (days) and the following verse refers to it : Thy 
one (form) is bright, thy another sacrificial (dark), two ahans 
of different forms, thou art like Dyau. Thou, O self-depen- 
dent, protectest all magic powers ; O Pagan, let thy bounty 

1 The word vapumfi in the above verse has also been interpreted to 
mean " colours," as there are various shades of colours of Ahordtri from early 
dawn till night-fall. If we take it to mean " forms," the verse would mean 
that day and night sometimes become equal in duration, and sometimes long 
and short, according to the movements of the sun northward and southward. 
For example, the wintry nights are long and the days short, and the summer 
days long and the nights short. There are also equal days and nights over 
the equatorial region. 

ft I 



XX.] LONG DAY AND LONG NIGHT. 455 

be here auspicious."' l Mr. Tilak comments on this as 
follows; "The verse or the mantra here referred to is 
Rv. vi. 58, i, Pa$an is there compared to Dyau and is said 
to have two forms, dark and bright, like Ahani. These dark 
and bright forms of Ahani are said to constitute the right 
and the left sides of the personified year. In other words, 
the passage clearly states that the dark and the bright parts 
of Ahani do not follow each other closely, but are situated. 
on i he diametrically opposite sides of the year. This can 
onl) be the case, it the couple of Day and Night, represented 
by Ahani, be taken to denote the long night and the long 
day in the Arctic region. There the long night is matched 
by the long day, and while the one occurs when the Sun 
is at the winter solstice, the other occurs when he is at the 
summer solstice. The two parts of Ahani are, therefore, 
very correctly represented as forming the right and the left 
sides of the Year-God in the Aranyaka, and the passage 
thus materially supports the view about the nature of Ahani 
mentioned above." 2 

We think that the inference of the long night and the 
long day of the Arctic region drawn by Mr. Tilak from the 
extracts of the Taittirlya Aranyaka is wrong. The author of 
the Aranyaka has made his meaning clear by referring to 
Rv. vi. 58, i in which Pu?an, the Sun-God, is said to have 
two forms, one bright and another dark, consistently with 
the colours of a day and a night. The bright and dark forms 
of Ahan constitute, as it were, the unit of the bright and 
and dark forms of all the three hundred and sixty days that 
make up the year. If one Ahan has a dark and a bright 
side, then 360 ahans taken together would considerably add 



Trfitt.Aran I. 2 4 jflj} TOf **VG?t I *ftr* JTOfr 

i TO* ft *wiini TOftwrt ^roft ^fttrftr i fart f% *rrar 
*TST ft ^fftn TTfot^r i wr m* i r ^ r TO*: I 
firing 



' Tilak's Arctic Homt in ike Vcdas (pp. 138-139) 



456 %GVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

to the bright and dark sides of the year. In other words 
the sum total of the bright and the dark forms of all the 
days of the year would constitute its bright and dark sides 
respectively. Hence the Aranyaka says : " To the right and 
the left side of the Year-God are the bright and the dark 
(days)," each day contributing to the bright and each night 
to the dark side. The distinct reference to Pa?an and to 
Ahan in the above passage clearly shows that the author 
intends an ordinary day with a bright and a dark side to be 
taken as a unit of all the days that constitute a year which, 
like a day, has consequently a bright and a dark side, by the 
sum total of the bright and dark forms of all the days. This 
appears to us to be a rational interpretation of the passages, 
and Mr. Tilak's arguments do not seem to us to be at all 
convincing. If the passages implied a long day and a long 
night, each of six months 1 duration, there would have been no 
room nor necessity for referring to Po?an or Ahan, *.*., an 
ordinary day and night, 

But the passages of the Taittirya Aranyaka still admit 
of another interpretation. The first passage means that " the 
year has one head, and two different mouths ; and all this 
is season-characteristic " ; and the second passage means that 
11 the year has a bright and a dark (side) ; one on the right, 
and the other on the left. The following verse refers to it : 
'Thy one (form) is bright, thy another sacrificial (dark) ; two 
ahans of different forms ; thou art like Dyau.'" From the 
above, it appears that the two different mouths of the 
Year-God caused the different seasons, the one mouth or side 
being bright, and the other dark. It will be shown later on l 
that the Vedic year commenced from autumn, and the half 
year commencing from this season, and lasting through winter 
and spring was bright, as the rains held off, and the sky 
remained clear and free from clouds. The other half of the 
year commencing from summer and lasting till autumn was 

' Vide Chapters XXI & XXII (Infra > 



XX.] LONG DAY AND LONG NIGHT. 457 

dark, as there were thunderstorms in summer, and clouds and 
rains in Var? or the rainy season. This is clearly explained 
by the passage Krtsnam tadrtulaksanam, i.e., " all this is 
season-characteristic." The " dark" side referred to in Rv. 
vi. 58, i has been called " sacrificial " (yajatam) } because 
sacrifices were generally commenced at night, and a sacrifice, 
known as Rdtri sattra and lasting for nearly three months, 
was performed during the rainy season. This interpretation 
put upon the passages of the Aranyaka also explains the 
meaning clearly. Mr. Tilak need^ot, therefore, have fallen 
back on his pet Arctic theory to Explain it. 

Lastly, Mr. Tilak quotes L verse from the Rgveda 
(* 138, 3) to prove his point. T\he verse is as follows : 

Vi sdryo madhye amttfat rathandiro 

vidad ddsdya pratimdnam dry ah 
Didahani Pipror asurasya mdyinah 
Indra vv&syac cakrivdm Rji&vand. 

Mr. Tilak translate, the verse as fibllows " The Sun 

i ft 

unyoked his car in the midst of heaven j; the *\rya found a 

counter-measure (pratimdnam) for the Detsa. Indra, acting 
with RjUvan, overthrew the solid forts of Pipru, the conjuring 
Asura." The translation of the first part of the verse is not 
according to the interpretation put upon the words vi amucat 
by Sciyana. The sentence, suryo rat ham vi amucat madhye 
divah, has been interpreted by the famous commentator to 
mean " the Sun loosened (vi-amucat) his carriage, i.e., set 
it free to travel towards the middle (madhye) of heaven 
(ratham prasth&n&ya vimuktaidn)." This interpretation, 
however, is diametrically opposed to that of Mr. Tilak who 
says that the passage means : ' The Sun unyoked his carriage 
in the middle of heaven/ 1 thereby implying that the Sun 
stopped his course in mid-heaven, as he seems to do in the 
Polar region before retracing his steps backward to the 
south. But the Sun really never stops his course from the 
time of his appearance on the Arctic horizon till he sinks 

58 



458 ^GVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

below it ; but he wheels round and round, gradually ascending 

the sky up to a certain point in mid-heaven, and then 

similarly retraces his steps backward till he sinks down 

below the horizon. Thus he ib up in the sky for six months, 

but he never stops anywhere either near the horizon or in 

the middle of the sky, justifying the expression that M he 

unyoked his carriage " and rented for some time. Mr. Tilak's 

interpretation, therefore, is evidently wrong. He says, 

however, that " the verb vi muc is used in about a dozen 

places in the Rgveda in relation to horses, and every where 

it means to ' unharness ' * unyoke ' or ' separate the horses 

from the carriage to rest/ and even Syana has interpreted 

it in the same way. This vi-mucya is explained by him as 

rathdt vislisya in i. 104, i, and rat hat wnucya in iii. 32, r, 

and rathdt visfjya in x. 160, i. (Also compare i. 171, i ; 

i. 177, 4; vi. 40, i). The most natural meaning of the 

present verse \\ould, therefore, be that * the sun unyoked his 

carriage/ " We admit the correctness of the interpretation 

put by Seiyana upon the word vi-mucya in the different 

verses referred to above, but we challenge the correctness 

of the inference drawn therefrom by Mr. Tilak. We can 

easily understand the unyoking of a horse, i.e., separating it 

from a carriage ; but we cannot conceive the idea of unyoking 

a carriage winch is not a living and self-moving thing like a 

horse. The yoking of a horse implies that it is harnessed and 

attached to a carriage, in other words, that its free motion 

is restrained ; and unyoking it means that its restraint is 

taken away, that it is separated from tru carriage, and that 

its free motion is restored. Similarly, on this analogy, rat ham 

vi-amucat would imply the removal of the restraint put 

upon the free motion of the carriage and restoring its usual 

motion. When Sdyana said that vi-mucya meant "to loosen, 

or set free for travel/' he undoubtedly had in his mind the 

idea that the chariot was stopped or obstructed in its motion 

by something, and that the obstruction having been removed, 

it was set free to travel in the middle of the sky. Mr. Tilak 



XX.] LONG DAY AND LONG NIGHT. 459 

objects to Sdyaga's translation of madhye as " towards the 
middle of heaven/' and says that it should be u in the midst 
of the sky." Even if we admit Tilak's* interpretation of the 
word, the idea would be that the chariot, whose motion had 
been obstructed in the midst of the sky, was set free to travel 
as soon as that obstruction was removed. Now let us see 
whether there \s mention of any obstruction in the two 
verses immediately preceding the one quoted by Mr. Tilak. 

The first verse of the hymn (x. 138, r) says that Indra 
rent Vala (i.e., clouds), brought the morning light to Kutsa, 
set free the imprisoned waters and thereby destroyed all the 
tactics of Vj-tra. The second verse says that Indra set free 
the rain-water, caused the clouds (parvata) to move, drove 
away the cows (water-laden clouds), drank sweet honey, 
and refreshed the trees by pouring down rain-water on them. 
Then Indra, praised in hymns, caused the Sun to shine. 
Next follows verse 3, which says that the Sun loosened his 
carriage, setting it free to travel, and that the Arya found a 
counter-poise for the Dsa, etc. The above description 
clearly betokens an obstruction of the Sun by clouds in the 
morning. Griffith says that this is perhaps an allusion to 
an eclipse, or to the detention of the Sun to enable the 
Aryans to complete the overthrow of the enemies. But this 
surmise is clearly incorrect. The description undoubtedly 
refers to morning clouds that obstructed the Sun from view, 
and when that obstruction was removed by Indra, the Sun's 
chariot was set free, as it were, to move in the midst of the 
sky. This is what is understood by the Sun setting free the 
chariot (rat ham vi-amucat). The passage does not mean 
that the Sun unyoked the horses from the chariot and rested 
awhile in mid-heaven, as Mr. Tilak would have us believe. 
From.the words divo madhye (in the midst of the sky), it is 
clear that when the Sun's chariot was set free from the 
obstruction of the clouds, the morning had advanced into 
noon or forenoon, after which the Sun's progress was 
unimpeded. 



460 GVD1C INDIA. [CHAP. 

As regards the second part of the verse, it should be 
stated here that the word D&sa does not apply to the 
non-Aryan race, as some European scholars seem to think, 
but to the enemies of Indra, some of whom like Samvara 
(iv. 30, 14), Pipru (viii. 32, 2), and Namuci (v. 30, 7) have 
been designated by that name. Mr. Tilak observes: "The 
exploits described are all heavenly, and it jars with the 
context to take a single sentence in the whole hymn as 
referring to the victory of the Aryan over the non-Aryan 
race. There is again the word pratim&na (lit. counter-mea- 
sure) which denotes that what has been done is by way of 
retaliation, a sort of counter-poise or counter-blast, with a 
view to avenge the mischief done by the Dsa. A battle be- 
tween the Aryans and the non-Aryans cannot be so described 
unless a previous defeat of the Aryans is first alluded to. The 
plain meaning of the verse, therefore, is that the Sun was 
made to halt in the midst of the sky, producing a long day, 
and Indra thus found a counter-poise for the D&sa, his 
enemy, for we know that darknes.s is brought on by the 
DAsa, and it is he who brings on the long night, but if the 
Disa made the night long, Indra retaliated or counter-acted 
by making the day as long as the night of the Dasa." l 

As our readers will now be able to judge, this interpreta- 
tion put upon the passage by Mr. Tilak is entirely wrong. 
There is no question here of the long day and the long night, 
and of counterpoising the former against the latter. If there 
is any sense of counterpoising, it will be found in the descrip- 
tion of the Sun's chariot being set free to move in the midst 
of the sky, after it was obstructed by the Disa, represented by 
rain-clouds. As the Dsa obstructed the progress of the Sun's 
chariot, so the Sun was enabled to set it free, i. <?., to 
move on in the sky. This is what is understood by the 
word pratim&na. It does not and cannot mean that the long 
Polar day followed the long Polar night. Mr. Tilak's 

Tilak's Arctic Home in the Veda* p. 143. 



XX.] LONG DAY AND LONG NIGHT. 461 

interpretation, though highly ingenious, is not at all borne 
out by the context, and he fails to prove that the Vedic bard 
had in his mind the idea of a long day as against a long night. 

These are the principal proofs that Mr. Tilak has adduced 
to show that the Vedas contain references to a long day and 
a long night of the Arctic region. But we have carefully 
weighed them in the balance, and found them wanting. 



CHAPTER XXI- 

EXAMINATION OF MR. TILAK'S THEORY OF THE ARCTIC CRADLE 
OF THE ARYANS (contd.) 

THE MONTHS AND THE SEASONS. 

Mr. Tilak, believing as he does, that he has discovered 
proofs of a long Arctic dawn, and a long day and a long night 
of the Arctic region in the Vedic literature, which, however, 
we have found on critical examin ition to be unreliable and 
unconvincing, pursues his investigation in other directions 
with a view to collect further proofs in support of this theory. 
He argues that if the Aryans really lived in the Arctic region, 
there would be found distinct mention of six, seven, eight or 
more Suns corresponding to the months of sunshine in the 
latitudes where they lived, and he thinks that he has found 
such unmistakable proofs in the Rgveda. Let us now proceed 
to examine them. 

"We refer first/' says Mr. Tilak, " to the legend of 
Aditi, or the seven A^dityas (Suns), which is obviously based 
on some natural phenomenon This legend expressly tells us 
that the oldest number of Adityas or Suns was seven, and the 
same idea is independently found in many other places of the 
Rgveda. Thus in ix. 144, 3 seven Adityas and seven priests 
are mentioned together, though the names of the different 
Suns are not given therein. In ii 27, i Mitra, Aryaman, 
Bhaga, Varuna, Dak?a and A me. a are mentioned by name as 
so many different Adityas, but the seventh is not named. This 
omission does not, however, mean much, as the septenary 
character of the Sun is quite patent from the fact that he is 
called Saptd&va (seven-horsed) in v. 45, 9, and his ' seven- 
wheeled ' chariot is said to be drawn bv * seven bay steeds ' 
(i. 50, 8), or by a single horse 'with seven names' in i 164, 
2. The Atharva-veda also speaks of ' the seven bright rays 
of the Sun' ' (vii. 107, i) ; and the epithet Aditya, as applied 



XXLJ MONTHS AND SEASONS. 463 

to the Sun in the Rgveda, is rendered more clearly by 
Aditeh putrdh (Aditi's sons) in A V xiii. 2, 9. ScLyana, 
following Ydska, derives this seven-fold character of the Sun 
from his seven rays ; but why solar rays were taken to be 
seven still remains unexplained, unless we hold that the 
Vedic bards had anticipated the discovery of seven prismatic 
rays or colours which were unknown even to Yska or 
Syana. Again though the existence of seven Suns may be 
explained on this hypothesis, yet it fails to account for the 
death of the eighth Sun ; for the legend of Aditi, (Rv. x. 
72, 2. 3) tells us ' of the eight sons of Aditi, who were 
born from her body, she approached the Gods with seven, 
and cast out Mirtinda. With seven sons, Aditi approached 
(the Gods) in the former age (purvyam yugam) ; she brought 
thither Mrtnda again for birth and death.' "* 

Mr. Tilak refers to this legend of Aditi to prove that 
there were only sevt-n months of sunshine, each month 
having been allotted to a particular Sun, and that from the 
eighth month there was no sunshine, or the long Arctic night 
commenced, an idea which, he thinks, was expressed by 
Aditi having produced her eighth son, named Mdrt&nda } who 
was cast out, or \\ho was brought by her for birth and death 
This explanation apparently proves an Arctic characteristic ; 
but let us critically examine it. 

A. 

In Rv. ii. 27, i only six Adityas have been mentioned. 
But were all these Adityas the Suns of the six different 
months, or to speak more correctly, the same Sun with a 
different characteristic in each month according to the differ- 
ent region of the sky he occupied or traversed in the course of 
his motion ? We do not think so They are not mentioned 
as the givers of material light, but as divinities who are 
"mighty, profound, unsubdued, subduing, many-eyed, who 
behold the innermost (thoughts of men), whether wicked or 

i TiUk's Arctic Home in the Vtdas pp. 152-153 



464 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

virtuous, whether far from or nigh to those royal (deities)." 
(Rv. ii. 27, 3). The next verse says that "the divine Adityas 
are the upholders (of all things) movable or immovable ; 
the protectors of the universe, the provident in acts ; the 
collectors of rain ; the possessors of veracity ; the acquitters 
of our debts. 11 The 8th verse says : "They uphold the three 
worlds, three heavens, and in their sacrifices, three cere^ 
monies (are comprised) ; by truth, Adityas, has your great 
might been produced, such as is most excellent, Aryaman, 
Mitra, and Varuna." By the " three worlds " in the above 
verse, Siyana understands the earth, the firmanent (antariksa^, 
and the sky, *".*., the upper and higher region of antariksa ; 
and by the " three heavens " (dyun) he understands 
the three Lokas, viz., Mahah, Janah and Satyam. These, 
then, are the three worlds and the three heavens, making up 
in all the six Lotas, over each of which, one of the six 
Adityas mentioned in the first verse presided. In this verse 
another Loka has not been taken into account, vis. } Tapak 
which, with the six, made up in a later age the seven Lokas, 
viz. } Bhu1i< Bhuvah, Svah, Mahah^ Janah^ Tapah and 
Satyam. The first Loka was undoubtedly presided over by 
Mitra, but he was not the Sun or SHrya } as this luminary 
derived his light and power from him, and the other Adityas. 
As Ragozin says, "Mitra represents sometimes the Sun itself, 
and sometimes light generally, or again the power who rules 
the Sun and brings him forth to shine on the world at the 
proper time." 1 In Rv. i. 115, i the Sun has been described 
as " the eye of Mitra, Varuna, and Agni," and in verse 5 of 
of the same hymn, it is said that "as the sight of Mitra and 
Varurja, he displays his form (of brightness) in the middle 
of the heavens." In Rv. vii. 60, i Surya (the Sun) has been 
invoked by the bard "to report us truly sinless to Mitra and 
Varuna" and in verse 4 of the same hymn, it has been stated 
that " Mitra, Varuna, Aryaman and the other Adityas, cherish- 

* Ragoxin's Vcdic India, p. 140. 



XXI,] MONTHS AND SEASONS. 465 

ing equal love, prepare the path for the Sun (to travel)." 1 
The Sun, therefore, is a deity subordinate to Mitra, Varuna 
and the other Adityas. As Ragozin rightly says, " SQrya is, 
in the Rgveda, the material visible luminary, ' created' by the 
Gods (or even some particular God), and obedient to their 
bidding. But Sarya is not only the Sun, he is also the Sun- 
god, powerful, independent, subject only to the ordinances 
of the great Adityas, themselves governed by Rta, the 
supreme Cosmic and Moral Law." 2 The Zoroastrian system 
also " admits a Sun-god, Mithra, who is the Creator of the 
God of Light, Ormuzd, and of the God of Darkness, 
Ahriman," 3 a belief similar, in some respects, to that of thr 
Vedic Aryans who thought that the Sun derived his light 
from the Gods who revealed him. Rv. x. 72, 7 says : "The 
Gods overspread the world like clouds. SQrya (the Sun) lay 
hidden in the ocean-like sky, and the Gods revealed him." 
Verse 5 of the same hymn clearly says who these Gods 
were : "Aditi was born, O Dakfa, and she was thy daughter. 
The benevolent and immortal Gods were born after her." 

A 

So the Gods were the sons of Aciiti, or Adityas. The word 
Dakga in this verse stands for the Creator himself ; but 
among the Adityas, there is also a Daksa (also called DhAtr)J 
and the Vedic bard, availing himself of the use of the word 
in two different senses, indulges in a conundrum, saying that 
"Aditi was born of Daksa, and Daksa was born of Aditi." 
Be that as it may, there can be no doubt that the Adityas 
were the Cosmic Gods who, among other acts, revealed the 
Sun that lay hidden in the sky, in other words, helped the 
Sun to shine, by each giving him a portion of his light. It 
would thus appear that they were not the Suns of so many 
months, but divinities born of Aditi, the One and the Infinite. 
Verse 8 of the same hymn says that eight sons were born of 
Aditi, but she took with her only the first seven to the Gods, 



i RV. vii. 60, 4 . jfm *nft*tr w*t T<?*ft fltft ^fernr w 

Ragorin's Vtdic India, pp. 215-216. 

Hist. Hist of the World, Vol. II, p. 586. 

59 



466 $GVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

and cast away the eighth, named Mdrtdnda (lit., the mortal 
egg). These seven immortal sons of Aditi were called Devdh 
Aditydh or the Divine Adityas, while the eighth Aditya, 
called MArtdnda, was produced by her "for birth and death. 1 ' 
Hence, being mortal (mdrta), he had no place among the 
Immortals. He is identified with our terrestrial Sun or Surya t 
who is really subject to "birth and death, " as he is born every 
morning and dies in the evening. The seven Adityas, who 
revealed him by each giving him a portion of his light, were 
not, like him, subject to "birth and death/' and were there- 
fore immortal or Dev&h. Their function was to uphold the 
Universe, a work far more important than that of merely 
lighting the earth (Rv. i. 72, 9 and ii. 27, 4). They were not 
the seven Suns of the seven months, during which there is 
continuous day-light as in the Arctic region, but mighty 
divinities who created, protected and upheld everything, 
movable and immovable, in the Universe. This appears 
to us to be the real import of the legend of the seven Dei ah 
Adityah (Divine Adityas} and of JMdrtanda, the eighth 
Aditya or Sarya, who was produced by Aditi "for birth and 
death. " If we bear this in our mind, and also the fact that 
the seven Divine Adityas revealed the Sun by each giving 
him a portion of his light, it will not at all be difficult for us 
to understand why he (the Sun) was called Sapt&fva or 
"seven-horsed" (Rv. v. 45, 9), and his chariot "seven-wheeled" 
which was drawn by l 'seven bay steeds" (Rv. i. 164, 2), or 
why again he had "seven bright rays" (A. V. vii. 107, i.) 
Mr. Tilak is unwilling to concede that the Rgvedic Aryans 
discovered or were even aware of the existence of the 
seven prismatic rays of the Sun, as if this discovery required 
any extraordinary scientific knowledge. Every playful child 
knows, when blowing out water in minute particles from 
his mouth against the Sun, that his rays are multi-coloured 
and create miniature rainbows. The rays of the Sun are also 
found to be refracted in beautiful colours from the drooping 
lashes of the eye, acting as so many prisms and produce 



XXL] MONTHS AND SEASONS. 467 

a sight worthy of fairy-land. The multi-coloured solar rays 
are also seen through natural crystals which are abundant 
in the Himalaya and other places. It is further most likely 
that the colours of the rain-bow were attributed by the Vedic 
bards to the refraction of the solar rays through minute watery 
globules, of which clouds are formed. Hence it would not be 
unnatural for them to infer that the solar ray consisted of the 

J A 

combined seven different rays of the seven Deva Adityas who 
revealed ^the Sun. As we have already said, these seven 
Divine Adityas were quite distinct from Mbrt&nda, or the 
Sun. Rv. ix. 114, 3 says: " The sky regions are seven, with 
seven different Suns (Nana Suryhh] ; the sacrificing priests 
are seven ; and Devbh Adityah are seven ; O Soma, protect 
us with them." 1 In this verse the " different Suns " and the 
" Devah Adityah " have been separately mentioned, thereby 
showing that the two sets (Nhna Sury&h and Devcth 
Adityah} are distinct from one another. But as there is only 
one Sun, how is it that different or seven Suns have been 
mentioned ? The answer to this question is simple. When 
the Sun, in the course of his motion in the sky, occupies a 
particular region, he comes under the direct influence ot a 
particular Deva Aditya presiding over that region or sphere, 
and assumes a distinct aspect. Hence he becomes nhnb^ or 
speaking more correctly, seven in number, according to his 
coming under the influence of a particular Deva Aditya. As 
the Taittirlya Aranyaka explains : " Resorting to or shining 
in different regions, (the Suns) make the seasons. " 2 Syana 
observes in his commentary : " The different features of the 
different seasons cannot be accounted for, except by supposing 



t *H Mr. *W*K* n: n 

Taitt. A'ral^ i. 7 :-f|pn*l ^flJJ qrttffl I SiyaUa comments on this 
as follows : 

I 



468 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

them to have been caused by different Suns ; therefore, 
different Suns must exist in different regions/' It may be 
argued, however, that if the different seasons are produced 
by the Sun coming under the influence of the seven Deva 
Adityas in the different periods of the year, the seasons should 
have beens even, and not six, in number, as they are ordinarily 
computed. As a matter of fact, the number of seasons has 
been mentioned to be seven in the Rgveda (i. 164, 15). The 
translation of this verse is as follows : " Of these that are 
born together, sages have called the seventh the single-born, 
for six are twins and are movable and are born of the Gods ; 
their desirable (properties) placed severally in their proper 
abode are various (also) in form, and revolve for the benefit 
of that which is stationary/ These twins have been 
interpreted to be the six reasons, each, made up of two 
months , the seventh is the intercalary month which has no 
fellow Though there is a Devi Aditya to preside over it, 
it is not considered to be divine like the rest, because it is 
single. born. Thus we find mention made in the Rgveda of 
the seventh season al^o. The explanation of the seven Suns 
and the seven Deva Adityas that we have, given above is, 
therefore, correct. The Satapatha Br^hmana (iii. i. 3. 3) 
explains the legend of Aditi somewhat on the same lines. 
It says that seven alone of Aditi's sons are styled Devah 

Adityah by men. and that the eighth, Mbrtbnda, was born 

* 

undeveloped, whereupon the Aditya Gods created men and 
other animals out of him. This probably is a faint echo, or a 
vague and indistinct realisation of the scientific truth that 
the earth was created out of the Sun, along with the other 
planets of aur solar system, and that when the earth became 
fit for the evolution and support of life, men and animals 
were created on it. 

From the above discussion, it is clear that the seven 
Adityas are not the seven Suns of the seven months, during 
which the long day prevails in the Arctic region, nor does 
the eighth Aditya, who was cast away by Aditi for birth and 



XXL] MONTHS AND SEASONS. 469 

death, signify the advent^ of the long Arctic night, The birth 
and death of the eighth Aditya clearly proves his daily rising 
and setting. It is also evident that the seven Deva Adityas 
who went to the abode of the Gods with Aditi are the seven 
luminaries who are supposed to light up the seven sky-regions 
or Lokas } and to lend their rays to the eighth to enable him 
to shine over the terrestrial region. This appears to us to 
be the only correct interpretation of the Vedic passage 
quoted and discussed above. 

It may be urged, however, that there is distinct mention 
of twelve Adityas in the Br^hmanas, each assigned to one 
month. The Satapatha Br&hmana (xi. 6. 3. 8) asks : " How 
many Adityas are there ?" The answer is as follows : " There 
are twelve months of the year. Hence the number of 
Adityas is twelve." 1 

/s 

The Upanisads also mention twelve Adityas (Bf. Ara. 
Up. III. 9. 5), and in the post-Vedic literature they are 
everywhere said to be tweUe in number, corresponding to 
the twelve months of the year How is the discrepancy to be 
explained ? It is easily explained, if we remember the original 
distinction between the Devah Adityah^ and the Aditya who 
is mortal (Martanda}. The twelve Adityas, mentioned in 
the Satapatha Brdhmana and the post-Vedic literature, are the 
different forms that Martanda (the Sun) assumes in the 
different months. The nana buryah of Rv. ix. 114, 3 refers 
to the seven Suns of the seven seasons, one of which is 
discarded because it is single-born. These seven Suns mark 
the change of the seasons. The twelve Suns (Adityas) 
belong to the twelve months (each being assigned to one 
month), and as such, are the creators or inaugurators of the 
months. The Rgvedic idea of the seven Devah Adityah } 
and seven Suns, who inaugurated the different seasons by 
being located in particular regions of the sky, each presided 

i Sata. Brah , (xi. 6. 3. 8) : ^fH* Wlfw ffif I 



470 ^GVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 



over by a particular Deva Aditya, was only elaborated in a 
later age by harmonizing the number of the Suns (Adityas) 
with the number of the months of the year; but these 
Adityas were only the different forms of the M&rthnda, and 
not the Devah Adit yah who presided over the seven Lokas and 
whose number remained fixed as seven. The Taittirlya 
Aranyaka (I. 13. 2-3) mentions the names of the eight sons of 
Aditi, which are as follow : Mitra, Varuna, Dha*tr, Aryaman, 
Am9a, Bhaga, Indra and Vivasvat. The first seven are the 
seven Devah Adit yah who preside over the seven Lokas ', and 
the last (Vivasvat) is the Mhrthnda, the Sun who illumines 
the terrestrial sphere, and is subject to birth and death. He 
assumes seven different forms when creating the seasons, 
and twelve different forms when creating the months. It 
would thus appear that the mention of seven Devah Adityhh 
in the Rgveda, and of twelve Adityas in the later Vedic 
literature does not prove that the Aryans knew only of seven 
Suns and seven months of daylight while living in the Arctic 
region and that this number was increased to twelve when 
tbey came to live in the Tropics. The interpretation put 
upon the passages by Mr. Tilak and the inference drawn 
therefrom are clearly wrong. 

We will now turn to another evidence tendered by 
Mr. Tilak to prove his theory of the Arctic home of the 
Aryans. This is a reference in the Rgveda to nine or ten 
months of sun-shine during which the annual sattra or 
sacrifice was performed. 

The institution of sacrifice is as old as the Indo-Aryan 
civilisation. " The Rgveda," says Mr. Tilak, " mentions a 
number of ancient sacrificers, styled ' our fathers ' (ii. 33, 13 ; 
vi. 22, 2) who initiated the sacrifice in ancient times, and 
laid down for the guidance of man the path which he should, 
in future, follow. Then the sacrifice offered by Manu is taken 
as the type, and other sacrifices are compared with it in i. 76, 5. 
But Manu was not alone to offer this sacrifice to the Gods. 



XXL] MONTHS AND SEASONS. 471 

In x. 63, 7, he is said to have made the first offerings to the 
Gods along with the seven Hotjrs ; while Angiras and Yayiti 
are mentioned with him as ancient sacrificers in i. 31, 17, 
Bhrgu and Angiras in viii. 43, 13, Atharvan and Dadhyanc in 
i. 80, 1 6, and Dadhyanc, Angiras, Atri and Kanva in i. 139, 
9. Atharvan by his sacrifices is elsewhere described as having 
first extended the paths, whereupon the Sun was born (i. 83, 
5), and the Atharvans, in the plural, are styled ' our fathers ' 
(nah pitarah) along with Angirases, Navagvas and Bhrgus in 
x. 14, 6. In ii. 44, 12 the DaSagvas are said to have been 
the first to offer a sacrifice ; while in x. 92, 10 Atharvan is 
spoken of as having established order by sacrifices, when the 
Bhrgus showed themselves a? Gods by their skill... Now so far 
as my researches go, I have not been able to find any Vedic 
evidence regarding the duration of the sacrifices performed by 
Manu, Atharvan, Bhrgu or any other ancient sacrificers, except 
the Angirases. There is an annual sattra, described in the 
Srauta Sdtras, which is called the Angirasam-ayanam, and is 
said to be a modification of the Gav&m-ayanam, the type of all 
yearly sattras. But we do not find therein any mention of the 
duration of the sattra of the Angirases. The duration of the 
Gavam-ayanam is, however, given in the Taittiriya Samhit&, 
...There are two chief species of Angirases (Angiras-tama) 
called the Navagvas and the Da9agvas, mentioned in the 
Rgveda (x. 62, 5 and 6). These two classes of ancient 
sacrificers are generally mentioned together, and the facts 
attributed to the Angirases are also attributed to them. Thus 
the Navagvas are spoken of as 'our ancient fathers' in vi. 22, 
2 and * our fathers' along with Angirases and Bhrgus in x. 
14, 6. Like the Angirases, the Navagvas are also connected 
with the myth of Indra over-throwing Vala, and of Sarami 
and Panis (i. 62, 3 and 4 ; v. 29, 12; v. 45, 7 ; x, 102, 8). In 
one of these, Indra is described as having taken their assist- 
ance when he rent the rock and Vala (i. 62, 4) ; and in v. 
29, 12 the Navagvas are said to have praised Indra with 
songs and broken open the firmly closed stall of the cows 



47* GVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

But there are only two verses in which the duration of their 
saciificial session is mentioned. Thus v. 45, 7 says : * Here, 
urged by hands, hath loudly rung the press-stone, with which 
the Navagvas sang (sacrificed) for ten months' and in the 
eleventh verse of the same hymn the poet says : * I place 
upon (offer to) the waters your light-winning prayers where- 
with the Navagvas completed their ten months.' In ii. 34, 
12 we again read : ' They, the Da^agvas, brought out 
(offered) sacrifice first of all. May they favour us at the 
flashing forth of the Dawn' ; while in iv. 51, 4 the Dawns 
are said ( to have dawned richly on the Navagva Anginas, 
and on the seven-mouthed Da^agva/ 1 evidently showing 
that their sacrifice was connected with thr*';reak of the Dawn 
and lasted only for ten months. What the^ 7 avagvas or the 
Da^agvas accomplished by means of 'uheir sacrifices is further 
described in v. 29, < 2 which says : ' The Navagvas and the 
Da-agvns, who had offered libations of Soma, praised Indra 
with songs; labouring (at it) the men laid open the stall of 
kine, though firmly closed'; while in iii. 39, 5 we read: 
'Where the friend (Indra), with the friendly energetic 
Navagvas, followed up the cows on the knees, there verily 
with ten Da^agvas did Indra find the Sun dwelling in dark- 
ness (tamasi ksiyantam). ' In x. 62, 2 and 3, the Angirases, 
of whom the Da^agvas and the Navagvas were the principal 
species (Angiras-tama x. 62, 6), are however said to have 
themselves performed the feat of vanquishing Vala, rescuing 
the cows and bringing out the Sun, at the end of the year 
(fari vatsare Valam abhindari) ; but it obviously means 
that they helped Indra in achieving it at the end of the year. 
Combining all these statements we can easily deduce (i) 
that the Navagvas and the DaSagvas completed their sacri- 
fices in ten months ; (2) that these sacrifices were connected 
with the early flush of the Dawn ; (3) that the sacrifioers 
helped Indra in the rescue of the cows from Vala at the end 

1 The Dafagvas were called " seven-mouthed " because the sacrifice was 
conducted by seven priests chanting hymns. 



XXI.] MONTHS AND SEASONS. 473 

of the year ; and (4) that at the place where fndra went in 
search for the cows, he discovered the sun * dwelling in 
darkness." 1 

The etymological significance of the words Navagvas and 
Da9agvas has been thus explained by Sivana: " The Angirases 
are of two kinds, the Navagvas or those who rose after com- 
pleting the sattra in nine months, and the Da^agvas, or those 
who rose after finishingthesacrifice in ten months." 2 Originally 
the Navagvas must have received their name by completing 
their sacrifice in nine months only; but, as has been seen in 
Rv. v. 45, 7 and n, they like the Da^agvas completed the 
sacrifice in ten months It is, therefore, admitted that the 
sattra or sacrifice usually lasted for ten months, though there 
is evidence to show that there were Angirases 'Bfhaspati, son 
of Angiras) who probably performed the sacrifice in seven 
months (Rv. x. 47, 6), and others who were called Virtfpas 
(Rv. x, 62, 5 and 6) who performed it variously. But of all 
these various species of Angirases, the Navagvas and the 
DaSagvas were admittedly the best, who performed it in ten 
months. So far Mr. Tilak's first deduction is correct. 

With regard to the second deduction that "these sacri- 
fices were connected with the early flush of the Dawn," all 
we can say is that Rv. n. 34, f2, quoted bv him in support of 
it, does not prove that th^re was a long night for two months 
after ten months of sunshine, at the e nd of which the Dawn 
flashed forth and the sacrifice commenced. The translation 
of the verse is as follows "May they who, the first celebra- 
tors of the ten months' rite, accomplished this sacrifice, 
re-animate us at the rising Dawn ; for as the Dawn with purple 
rays drives away the night, so (do they scatter the darkness) 
with great and pure and mist-dispelling radiance/'- ' The 

1 Tilak's Arctic Home in the Veda*, pp. 160-163 

* Vide Sdyal^a's commentary on Rv. i 62, 4 and x 62 6. 

Rv. ii. 34. ii- 



60 



474 RGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP, 

verse is addressed to the Maruts (Winds), who are identified 
here with the Daagvas, and the poet invokes their aid at 
the end of the performance of ten months' sacrifice to animate 
them at the rising of the Dawn by scattering the darkness 
with their mist-dispelling radiance, just as the Dawn herself 
drives away the night with her purple rays. From the simile 
of the driving away of the night, it is clear that the darkness 
which the Maruts are invoked to dispel is not the darkness of 
night, either long or short, but another form of darkness 
which makes the Sun and the Dawn invisible for months, and 
is caused by clouds overspreading the sky like a thick 
sombre pall during the rainy season. The phrase "mist-dis- 
pelling radiance" lends a strong colour to this view, for 
clouds are merely mists formed high up the sky. It is the 
Maruts or Winds that drive away the clouds from the sky and 
usher in, at the end of the rainy season, bright dawns and 
days, when the sattra is commenced again. The idea has 
been more elaborated in the next verse which is as follows * 
"They, the Rndras, equipped \\ith melodious flute, and 
decorated with purple ornaments, exalt in the dwelling of the 
waters, and scattering the clouds with rapid vigour, they are 
endowed with delightful and beautiful forms." Here the 
Maruts are identified with the Rudras, and the meaning of 
the phrase "mist-dispelling radiance" in the preceding verse 
is now made qnite clear, because they are said to exalt in 
the dwelling of waters and to scatter the clouds with rapid 
vigour. Thus it was not the darkness of the long Arctic 
night that the poet had in his mind, but such gloom as is 
caused by clouds overspreading the sk\ for days and months 
together in the rainy season Mr Tilak's inference, there- 
fore, that the darkness refers to the darkness of the long 
Arctic night is clearly wrong. 

We will now examine the correctness of his third 
inference, vis., "that the sacrificers helped Indra in the rescue 

i Rv.ii. 34- 13=* ^ftfir T^fiMfafl TO 



XXL] MONTHS AND SEASONS. 475 

of the cows from Vala at the end of the year " Let us first see 
who this Vala was. Rv i. n, 5 says : "Thou, O Wielder 
of the thunderbolt, didst break open the cave of Vala where 
he kept the kine (of the celestials concealed) ; the deities 
oppressed (by Vala) no longer fear him, having obtained 
thee as their protector." Rv. iv. 50, 5 says : "(Aided) by the 
praised and brilliant troop (of the Angirases), he destroyed 
with sound the mischievous Vala. Brhaspati, shouting aloud, 
set free the boon-bestowing oblation-supplying kine." Now 
Brhaspati literally means the Lord of the Devas (Brhatdm 
dev&nam pati} and is sometimes identified with Indra. At 
any rate, he was the principal co-adjutor of Indra in releasing 
the confined kine, and is jointly praised with him (vide verse 
10 and ii of the above hymn; also hymn 49 of the same 
Mandala). 

The kine in the Rgveda are sometimes used as a simile 
for the solar rays, and sometimes for the rain-clouds which 
resemble them not only in their variegated colours, vis. } dark, 
white, red, and black, but also in the supply of milk in the 
shape of rain. As milk and its preparations are necessary for 
the performance of sacrifice, so is rain-water essentially 
necessary for the growth and production of corn and fruits 
which are used in sacrifice as oblations or offerings. Hence 
the clouds are desciibed as "oblation-supplying kine." Now, 
Vala, the enemy of the Gods and of mankind, used to steal 
away these cows and keep them concealed in his cave ; in 
other words, he caused drought by withholding the rains. 
Though the sky remained overcast by clouds concealing the 
the Dawn, the Sun anil the solar rays, there was sometimes 
very little rain ; and it was, therefore, the duty of the Gods 
to release them as well as the rain-water from their confine- 
ment in Vala's cave. This Vala was the same as Vrtra and 
Su?na, and the killing of the demon resulted in the pouring 
down of copious rain and the release of the Dawn, the Sun 
and solar rays which also were called cows in Vedic parlance. 
This, in plain language, means that after abundant rain-fall 



GVEDIC INDIA. [CHA*. 

in the rainy season, the clouds disappeared, the sky became 

clear, and the Dawn and the Sun shone as brightly as ever. 

This is what is understood by the creation of the Dawn and 

the Sun by Indra. As we have already said, Bfhaspati was 

regarded as the principal co-adjutor of Indra in this terrible 

conflict with the demon, in as much as he was the lord of 

Vc or the mantras that were chanted at the performance 

of the sacrifices, and no sacrifice could be efficacious without 

the proper recitation of the mantras. The connection of 

rain-fall with the regular performance of sacrifices was ac- 

knowledged even in a much later age, which is comparatively 

recent, when Lord Kffaa who did not seem to countenance 

much the performance of Vedic sacrifices, could not help 

saying in the Bhagavad-geeta as follows . "Rain is caused by 

the performance of sacrifice, and annam or food is produced 

by rain." 1 Hence Bfhaspati has been described in Rv. iv. 

50, 5 as having destroyed Vala, the demon of drought, with the 

help of the brilliant troop of Angirases who performed the 

sattra or annual sacrifice for ten months, to the accompani- 

ment of the loud chanting of the Vedic mantras^ and as 

having released the pent-up kine by shouting aloud. If we 

bear these facts in our mind, it will b** easy for us to under- 

stand why Sarasvati, the Goddess of Speech, or of mantras, 

or the sacrificial Fire of that designation for that matter, was 

called Vrtraghn\i or the killer of Vjtra. It will also be 

possible for us to realise the meaning of Rv. x. 62, 2 and 3 

which say that the Angirases after performing their sacrifice 

for one year were able at the end of it to kill Vala, and 

rescue the kine, and make the Sun visible in the sky. The 

end of the year, therefore, corresponded to the end of the 

rainy season, which also marked the beginning of the New 

Year, and as it began from the end of Var$& (the rainy 

season), the year also probably came to be designated as 

Varsa. That the object of the sacrifice performed by the 



i Bhagavad-Geeta III. 14 : 



XXI.] MONTHS AND SEASONS. 477 

Navagvas and the Daagvas for ten months was the pouring 
of timely rain will appear from Rv. v. 45, 1 1 which says : 
"I offer to you (Gods), /or the sake of water, an all-bestowing 
sacrifice whereby the Navagvas (the nine months' ministrants) 
have completed the ten months' rite. May we, by the sacri- 
fices, be the protected of the Gods ; may we, by this sacrifice, 
cross over the boundaries of sin. J>1 

It would thus appear that the main object of the 
sattras or sacrifices was water or the precipitation of timely 
rain, and that the ten months 1 sacrifice performed by the 
Navagvas and the Daagvas does not at all signify ten months 
of sunshine, and two months of darkness, or long night with 
Arctic characteristics. The Angirases performed this sacrifice 
for ten months during which, they thought, Indra and his 
allie^ had been sufficiently strengthened by mantras, the offer 
of the Soma juice and oblations to wage on war with Vala 
or Vftia tor the remaining two months ; but there were 
other sacrificers, as we shall see later on, who performed 
the sattra for full twelve months, because they believed that 
Indra and his allies needed their help all the more during 
the period when they were in the thick of the fight. That 
thib fighting took place in the rain) season would further 
appear from the following beautiful description of nature in 
hymn 45 of the Fifth Mandala after the rains held off: 

" I. Indra recovered (the hiden cattle), hurling his 
thunderbolt fiom heaven at the prayers of the Angirases ; 
the rays of the approaching Dawn are spread around ; the 
divine Sun, scattering the clustered gloom, has risen and 
set open the doors ot (the habitations of) men. 2. The Sun 
distributes his radiance as if it was a substance ; the parent 
of the rayb of light (the Dawn), knowing his approach, comes 
from the spacious (firmament) ; the rivers with running 
waters flow, breaking down their banks ; the heaven is stable 



RV. v 4S i * fotf ft *re *Wt ^rit nuiflwi ''ret TWT: I 

'M VII Wl? {jqtmi"rv V 



478 JjLGVEDIC INDIA. [CHAP. 

like a constructed pillar. 3. To me, when offering praise, 
as to an ancient author of sacred songs, the burthen of the 
cloud (descends) ; the cloud parts (with its burthen) ; the 
sky performs (its office) ; th* assiduously worshipping 
Angirases are exhausted by much (adoration). 11 

It would appear from the above description that Indra 
has already recovered the hidden cows and has caused 
rains to fall, and the rainy season is just over. The sky is 
clear, and the Sun and the Dawn have begun to shine a^ain 
with their wonted lustre. The rivers, after the rains, are 
in high flood, breaking down their banks, and the sky looks 
stable like a pillar. Occasionally, however, there are pass- 
ing clouds as in autumn, from which rain falls ; and even as the 
R?i is offering his prayers, rain descends on him from a 
passing cloud ; but that cloud soon disappears again. These 
are the well known characteristics of autumn in India 

The hymn further goes on : " 5. Come to-day quickly ; 
let us be engaged in pious acts ; let us entirely annihilate 
the hostile ; let us keep off all secret enemies , let us hasten 
to the initiator of the rite 6. Come, friends, let us celebrate 
that solemn rite which was effertual in setting open the 
(secret) stalls of the (stolen) cattle, by which Manu overcame 
VKiipra, by which the merchant going to the wood (for it) 
obtained the water. 7. At this sacrifice, the stone (set in 
motion) by the hands (of the priests) make a noise, whereby 
the Navagvas and the Dasagvas offered worship, when 
Saramd going 1 to the ceremony discovered the cattle and 
Angiras rendered all the rites effective. 8. When all the 
Angirases, on the opening of this adorable Dawn, came in 
contact with the (discovered) cattle, then milk and the rest 
were offered in the august assembly ; for Sarama* had found 
the cows by the path of truth. 9. May SQrya, lord of seven 
steeds, arrive, for he has a distant goal (to reach) by a tedi- 
ous route. Fleet as a hawk, he pounces upon the offered 
(sacrificial) food ; ever young, and far-seeing, he shines, 
moving amidst rays of light, 10. Sflrya has ascended above 



XXL] MONTHS AND SEASONS 479 

the glistening water. As soon as he has mounted on his 
bright-backed steeds, sage (worshippers) have drawn him 
like a ship, across the sea ; the waters, hearing his com- 
mands, have come down. n. I offer to you (Gods), for the 
sake of water^ an all-bestowing sacrifice whereby the 
Navagvas have completed the ten months' rite. May we, 
by this sacrifice, be the protected of the Gods. May we, 
by this sacrifice, cross over the boundaries of sin." 1 

From the translation of these verses it is evident that 
the poet refers to the ten months' sacrifice that was over 
and became effective in so far as the imprisoned kine had 
been set free and rain had fallen, and that the Dawn and 
the Sun having been visible again after two months of 
continuous downpour, a new session of the same sacrifice 
has just be^n commenced " for the sake of water/' or 
rain, which would fall again after ten months. Hence the 
poet says that the Sun " has a distant goal to reach by a 
tedious route. " It may also be noted en passant that the 
Sun is said to have risen above the "glistening water," which 
probably was the sea that washed the ea.stern shores of Sapta- 
Sindhu in those days, and to have been drawn like a ship 
across the sea. It is also quite clear that the two months 
during which the Dawn and the Sun remained hidden were 
not the months of " th^ long night," but only rainy months 
during which the sky remained overcast, causing gloomy 
days, and gloomier nights that only ended with the cessation 
of the rains, and the disappearance of the clouds in autumn, 
when the sacrificial session commenced again, and the New 
Year began. We shall revert to this subject later on. 

It will not now be difficult for our readers to understand 
the import of the verse ( Rv. iii. 39, 5) which says that 
"Indra, with the friendly energetic Navagvas, followed up 
the cows on his knees and with the ten Dagagvas found the 
Sun dwelling in darkness" which is as much as to say that 

1 M. N. Dutt's Translation of th* $fid+. 



480 ^GVEDIC INDIA. [Of*?. 

after the ten months' sacrifice had been performed, Indra 
caused the rains to fall, and discovered the Sun hidden 
behind the clouds and dwelling in darkness, as it were. We 
will presently see that the subdued gloomy light of the 
sunless cloudy days of the rainy season has been compared 
with darkness in the Rgveda. 

Mr. Tilak next sees the indications of a long night in 
the story of Dlrghatama\ about which we will now write. 
DlrghatamS. is the name of a Rgvedic Rei who composed 
some hymns. He was the son of Ucatthya and Mamata" 
The following verses of the Rgveda (i. 158, 4. 5. 6) give 
a brief description of him : 

* 4. Mav the praise addressed to you, ASvins, preserve 
the son of Ucatthya. Let not these revolving (days and 
nights), exhaust me. Let not the ten times kindled fire 
consume me. Let it not be that one who is your (dependent) 
bound (with bonds) should of himself bite the earth. 5. Let 
not the maternal waters swallow me, since the slaves hurled 
down this decrepit (old man) in the manner as Traitana 
wounded his head, so has the slave wounded his own, and 
struck his breast and shoulder. 6, Dlrghatamas, the son 
of Mamatci, has grown old after the tenth yuga has passed ; 
he is the Brahma* of those who seek to obtain the object of 
their (pious) work ; he is their charioteer." 

The last verse has been translated otherwise as follows : 
" Dlrghatamas, the son of MamatA, having grown decrepit 
in the tenth yuga, becomes a Brahman charioteer of the 
waters wending to their goal." Mr. Tilak adopts this 
meaning, and interprets yuga to mean " a month." He 
says that Dlrghatamas is here identified with the Sun who, after 
running a course for ten months, rides on the waters and 
goes floating in darkness. These waters, says Mr. Tilak, 
"are in fact, the same over which the King Varu^a is said 
to rule, or which flow by his commands, or for which he is 
said to have dug out a channel (Rv. ii. 28, 4; vii. 49, 1-4; 



XXI.] MONTHS AND SEASONS. 4*1 

vii. 87, i), and so cut out a path for Sarya, and which, being 
released by Indra from the grasp of Vrtra, bring out the Sun." 
But why strain the meaning of the verse, and not admit at 
once that after shining for ten months, the Sun enters into 
the clouds, the home of the waters in the rainy season ? 
And even if the waters be those over which Varuaa rules, 
they must refer as much to the waters of the ocean below as 
to those of the clouds above, for Varima, as we have seen 
elsewhere, rules over both. In Rv. i. 147, 3 and iv. 4, 13 
it has been related that Dlrghatamas became blind, and it 
was Agni who cured him of his blindness. This blindness 
refers to the eye of the Sun being covered up by mists or 
clouds (Rv. i. 164, 14), and it was Sacrifice, or Agni to 
whom oblations are offered, that cured him. This story of 
Dlrghatamas was developed in a later age in the Mahi- 
bharata (i. 104) into a piteous tale in which the poor old 
Rgi who was born blind, is said to have been put on a raft 
by his wite and sons, and floated down the Ganges, thus 
abandoned to his own fate. But tins story has not the 
significance of the solar myth, which is traceable in the 
Rgvedic version. 

A word about Traitana in Rv. i. * 58, 5, with whom Dlrgha- 
tamas has been compared, will not be out of place here. This 
word occurs only once in the Rgveda, but the word Trita does 
in several verses, and it *eems that the two words are iden- 
tical and refer to the same deity. In the Zendavesta we 
come across Thraetaona who is described as Ajihanta like 
Indra who, in the Rgveda, is called Ahihanta. Both Trita 
and Thraetaona are called Aptya i.e , born of, or residing in 
waters. Sayana, in his gloss on Rv. i. 52, 5 relates a siory 
mentioned in the Taittirlya Saqahita, which says that Agni 
created three deities from the waters, whose names are 
Ekata, Dvita and Trita with the object of wiping off all 
marks of the offering