Vedic Period (or Vedic Age) is the period in which the Vedas, the oldest sacred texts of the Indo-Europeans, were being composed. Scholars place the Vedic period in the circa 2000 BC continuing up to 600 BC based on literary evidence. The associated culture, sometimes referred to as Vedic civilization, was centred in the northern and north-western parts of the Indian. Its early phase saw the formation of various kingdoms of ancient. In its late phase (from Ca. 600 BC), it saw the rise of the Mahajanapadas, and was succeeded by the Mauryan Empire (from Ca. 320 BC), the golden age, classical age of Sanskrit, and the Middle kingdoms of India.
The reconstruction of the history of Vedic India is based on the details available in the Vedic texts. Linguistically, the Vedic texts could be classified in five chronological strata:
Rigveda: The Rig-Veda is by far the most archaic of the Vedic texts preserved, and it retains many common Indo-Iranian elements, both in language and in content, that are not present in any other Vedic texts. Its creation must have taken place over several centuries, and apart from that of the youngest books (first part of 1 and all of 10), would have been complete by 1000 BC. Archaeologically, this period may correspond with the Gandhara Grave Culture, the Cemetery H culture of the Punjab and the Ochre Coloured Pottery culture (OCP) further east. There is no widely accepted archaeological or linguistic evidence of direct cultural continuity from the Indus.
Mantra language: (The remaining three Vedas). This period includes both the mantra and prose language of the Atharvaveda, the Samaveda Samhita (containing some 75 mantras not in the Rig-Veda), and the mantras of the Yajurveda. This is the time of the early Iron Age in north-western India, corresponding to the Black and Red Ware (BRW) culture, and the kingdom of the Kurus, dating from Ca. 1000 BC.
Samhita prose: This period marks the beginning of the collection and codification of a Vedic canon. An important linguistic change is the complete loss of the injunctive. The Brahmana part ('commentary' on mantras and ritual) of the Black Yajurveda belongs to this period. Archaeologically, the Painted Grey Ware (PGW) culture from ca. 900 BCE corresponds, and the shift of the political centre from the Kurus to the Panchalas on the Ganges.
Epic and Paninian Sanskrit: The language of the Mahabharata and Ramayana epics, and the Classical Sanskrit described by Panini is considered post-Vedic, and belongs to the time after 500 BCE. Archaeologically, the rapid spread of Northern Black Polished Ware (NBP) over all of northern India corresponds to this period. The earliest Vedanta, Gautama Buddha, and the Pali Prakrit dialect of Buddhist scripture belong to this period. (wikipedia).
Historical records set in only after the end of the Vedic period, and remain scarce throughout the Indian Middle Ages. The end of Vedic India is marked by linguistic, cultural and political changes. The grammar of Panini marks a final apex in the codification of Sutra texts, and at the same time the beginning of Classical Sanskrit. The invasion of Darius of the Indus valley in the early 6th century BCE marks the beginning of outside influence, continued in the kingdoms of the Indo Greeks, new waves of immigration from 150 BCE (Abhira, Shaka), Kushan and ultimately the Islamic Sultans. The most important historical source of the geography of post-Vedic India is the 2nd century Greek historian Arrian whose report is based on the Mauryan time ambassador to Patna, Megasthenes. (wikipedia)
Rig vedic period
The origin of the Vedic civilization and its relation to the Indus, Indo-Aryan and Gandhara Grave culture related cultures remains controversial and politically charged in Indian society, often leading to disputes on the history of Vedic culture. The Rigveda is primarily a collection of religious hymns, and allusions to, but not explanation of, various myths and stories, mainly in the younger books 1 and 10. The oldest hymns, probably in books 2–7, although some hold book 9, the Soma Mandala, to be even more ancient, contain many elements inherited from pre-Vedic, common Indo-Iranian society. Therefore, it is difficult to define the precise beginning of the "Rig Vedic period", as it emerges seamlessly from the era preceding it. Also, due to the semi-nomadic nature of the society described, it cannot be easily localized, and in its earliest phase describes tribes that were essentially on the move. Rig Vedic Aryans have a lot in common with the Andronovo culture and the Mittanni kingdoms as well as with early Iranians. The Andronovo culture is believed to be the site of the first horse-drawn chariots. (wikipedia)
The grama (wagon train), Vis and Jana were political units of the early Vedic Aryans. A vish was a subdivision of a Jana or "krishti", and a grama was a smaller unit than the other two. The leader of a grama was called gramani and that of a vish was called vishpati. The rashtra (polity) was governed by a rajan (chieftain, 'king'). The king is often referred to as gopa (protector) and occasionally as samrat (supreme ruler). He governed the people with their consent and approval. He was elected from a restricted class of 'royals' (rajanya). There were various types of meetings such as the vidhata or "Sabha". Gana was the non-monarchical assembly that is a parallel one to the monarchical assemblies of that period headed by Jyestha the same was referred in Buddhist text named Jettaka.
The main duty of the king was to protect the tribe. He was aided by several functionaries, including the purohita (chaplain) and the senani (army chief; sena: army). The former not only gave advice to the ruler but also was his chariot driver and practiced spells and charms for success in war. Soldiers on foot (Pattis) and on chariots (rathins), armed with bow and arrow were common. The king employed spaś (spies) and dutas (messengers). He collected taxes (originally ceremonial gifts, Bali), from the people which he had to redistribute.
The concept of Varna (class) and the rules of marriage were rigid as is evident from Vedic verses (RV 10.90). The status of the Brahmins and Kshatriyas was higher than that of the Vaishyas and Shudras. The Brahmins were specialized in creating poetry, preserving the sacred texts, and carrying out various types of rituals. Functioning as intellectual leadership, they also restricted social mobility between the varnas, as in the fields of science, war, literature, religion and the environment. The proper enunciation of verses in ritual was considered essential for prosperity and success in war and harvests. Kshatriyas amassed wealth (cattle), and many commissioned the performance of sacrifices. Kshatriyas helped in administering the polity, maintained the structure of society and the economy of a tribe, and helped in maintaining law and order. In the Early Vedic Period all the three upper classes Brahmins, Kshatriyas, and Vaishyas were considered as --relatively-- equal Arya, but in the Later Vedic Age the Brahmins and Kshatriyas became upper class. The Vaishyas were pastoralists and farmers; the Shudras were the lower class; they included artisans and were meant to serve the upper three classes. As the caste system became deep-rooted there were many restrictions and rules which were to be followed. Cattle were held in high esteem and frequently appear in Rigvedic hymns; goddesses were often compared to cows, and gods to bulls. Agriculture grew more prominent with time as the community gradually began to settle down in post-Rigvedic times. The economy was based on bartering with cattle and other valuables such as salt or metals. Families were patrilineal, and people prayed for the abundance of sons. The Society was strictly organized in a system of four Varna (classes, to be distinguished from caste, jati) (wikipedia)
Vedic Religious Practices
The Vedic forms of belief are the precursor to modern Hinduism. Texts considered to date to the Vedic period are mainly the four Vedas. The Brahmanas, Aranyakas and the Upanishads belong to later Vedic period. The mode of worship was performance of sacrifices which included the chanting of Rigvedic verses singing of Samans and 'mumbling' of offering mantras (Yajus). The priests executed rituals for the three upper classes (Varna) of Vedic society, strictly excluding the Shudras. People conducted sacrifice ceremonies praying for abundance of rain, cattle, sons, long life and gaining 'heaven'.
The main deities of the Vedic pantheon were Indra, Agni (the sacrificial fire), and Soma and some deities of social order such as Mitra-Varuna, Aryaman, Bhaga and Amsa, further nature deities such as Surya (the Sun), Vayu (the wind), Prithivi (the earth). Goddesses included Ushas (the dawn), Prithvi and Aditi (the mother of the Aditya gods or sometimes the cow). Rivers, especially Saraswati, were also considered goddesses. Deities were not viewed as all-powerful. The relationship between humans and the deity was one of transaction, with Agni (the sacrificial fire) taking the role of messenger between the two. Strong traces of a common Indo-Iranian religion remain visible, especially in the Soma cult and the fire worship, both of which are preserved in Zoroastrianism. The Ashvamedha (horse) has parallels in the 2nd millennium BC Andronovo culture, in Rome and old Ireland, was continued in India until at least the 4th century AD.
Vedic religion evolved into the Hindu paths of Yoga and Vedanta, a religious path considering itself the 'essence' of the Vedas, interpreting the Vedic pantheon as a unitary view of the universe with 'God' (Brahman) seen as immanent and transcendent in the forms of Ishvara and Brahman. These post-Vedic systems of thought, along with later texts like Upanishads, epics (namely Gita of Mahabharat), have been fully preserved and form the basis of modern Hinduism. The ritualistic traditions of Vedic religion are preserved in the conservative Srauta tradition, in part with the exception of animal sacrifice, which was mostly abandoned by the higher castes by the end of the Vedic period, partly under the influence of the Buddhist and Jain religions, and their criticism of such practices. (wikipedia)
It is generally said that Vedic Indo-Europeans were nature worshippers and sky god Dyaus/Zeus was the earliest god and later replaced by Indra. It looks like that the sky god Varuna, Zeus all encompassing the atmosphere were worshipped for astrological purpose (calendar purpose) not because of their potency in influencing weather. The Kala Purusha as depicted in jyotisha vedanga is all encompassing and covering over mother earth. His various body parts are various constellations. There are so many different kinds of gods in Vedic religion because it all describes various astronomical events and constellations, not weather element as being interpreted. This gives rise to confusing number of gods, and gods with over lapping roles. (Siddharth & Hemtun)
The later Vedic period
The transition from the early to the later Vedic period was marked by the emergence of agriculture as the dominant economic activity and a corresponding decline in the significance of cattle rearing. Several changes went hand in hand with this. For instance, several large kingdoms arose because of the increasing importance of land and long distance trade. The late Vedic period, from ca. 500 BCE onward, more or less seamlessly blends into the period of the Middle kingdoms of India known from historical sources.
The late Vedic period was marked by the rise of the sixteen Mahajanapadas referred to in some of the literature. The power of the king and the Kshatriyas greatly increased. Rulers gave themselves titles like ekarat (the one ruler), sarvabhauma (ruler of all the earth) and chakravartin ('who moves the wheel'). The kings performed sacrifices like rajasuya, (royal consecration) vajapeya (including a chariot race) and, for supreme dominance over other kings, the ashvamedha (horse sacrifice). The coronation ceremony was a major social occasion. Several functionaries, in addition to the purohita and the senani, took part. The role of the people in political decision making and the status of the Vaishyas as such were greatly decreased.
The Rig veda is a compound word consisting of “rik" (praise, verse) and "Veda "(knowledge). It is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns dedicated to the gods (devas). It is counted among the four canonical sacred texts (sruti) of Hinduism known as the Vedas. Some of its verses are still recited as Hindu prayers, at religious functions and other occasions, putting these among the world's oldest religious texts in continued use. It is one of the oldest extant texts of any Indo-European language. Philological and linguistic evidence indicate that the Rigveda was composed in the North-Western region of the Indian subcontinent, roughly between 1700–1100 BC (the early Vedic period). There are strong linguistic and cultural similarities with the early Iranian Avesta, deriving from the Proto-Indo-Iranian times, often associated with the early Andronovo culture of ca. 2200-1600 BC.
Dating and historical context
The Rigveda is far more archaic than any other Indo-Aryan text. For this reason, it was in the centre of attention of western scholarship from the times of Max Muller onwards. The Rigveda records an early stage of Vedic. There are strong linguistic and cultural similarities with the early Iranian Avesta, deriving from the Proto-Indo-Iranian times, often associated with the early Andronovo culture of ca. 2000 BC. The Rigveda's core is accepted to date to the late Bronze Age, making it one of the few examples with an unbroken tradition. Its composition is usually dated to roughly between 1700–1100 BC. It is certain that the hymns post-date Indo-Iranian separation of ca. 2000 BC and probably that of the Indo-Aryan Mitanni documents of c. 1400 BC. Several other evidences also pointed out 1400 BC as the most reasonable date. But many historians are questioning this date probably it may be much earlier than this mentioned date.
Writing appears in India around the 3rd century BC in the form of the Brahmi script, but texts of the length of the Rigveda were likely not written down until much later, the oldest surviving manuscript dating to the 11th century, while some Rigveda commentaries may date from the second half of the first millennium AD. While written manuscripts were used for teaching in medieval times, they were written on birch bark or palm leaves, which decompose fairly quickly in the tropical climate, until the advent of the printing press from the 16th century. The hymns were thus preserved by oral tradition for 3500 years from the time of their composition until it was written down by Max Muller.
The Rigveda describes a mobile, semi-nomadic culture, with horse-drawn chariots, oxen-drawn wagons, and metal (bronze) weapons. The geography described is consistent with that of the Greater Punjab: Rivers flow north to south, the mountains are relatively remote but still visible and reachable (Soma is a plant found in the high mountains, and it has to be purchased from tribal people). Nevertheless, the hymns were certainly composed over a long period, with the oldest (not preserved) elements possibly reaching back to times close to the split of Proto-Indo-Iranian (around 2000 BC) Thus there was some debate over whether the boasts of the destruction of stone forts by the Vedic Aryans and particularly by Indra refer to cities of the Indus or whether they rather hark back to clashes between the early Indo-Aryans with the BMAC in what is now northern Afghanistan and southern Turkmenistan (separated from the upper Indus by the Hindu mountain range, and some 400 km distant).
While it is highly likely that the bulk of the Rigvedic hymns were composed in the Punjab, even if based on earlier poetic traditions, there is no mention of either tigers or rice in the Rigveda (as opposed to the later Vedas), suggesting that Vedic culture only penetrated into the plains of India after its completion. Similarly, there is no mention of iron as the term ayas occurring in the Rig Veda refers to useful metal in general. The "black metal" (kṛṣṇa ayas) is first mentioned in the post-Rigvedic texts (Atharvaveda etc.). The Iron Age in northern India begins in the 10th century in the Greater Panjab and at the 12th century BC with the Black and Red Ware (BRW) culture. There is a widely accepted timeframe for the beginning codification of the Rigveda by compiling the hymns very late in the Rigvedic or rather in the early post-Rigvedic period, including the arrangement of the individual hymns in ten books, coeval with and the composition of the younger Veda Samhitas. This time coincides with the early Kuru kingdom, shifting the centre of Vedic culture east from the Punjab into what is now Uttar Pradesh.
Some of the names of gods and goddesses found in the Rigveda are found amongst other belief systems based on Proto-Indo-European, while words used share common roots with words from other Indo-European languages. The horse (ashva), cattle, sheep and goat play an important role in the Rigveda. There are also references to the elephant (Hastin, Varana), camel (Ustra, especially in Mandala 8), ass (khara, Rishabha), buffalo (Mahisa), wolf, hyena, lion (Simha), mountain goat (sarabha) and to the gaur in the Rigveda. The peafowl (mayura), the goose (hamsa) and the chakravaka (Anas casarca) are some birds mentioned in the Rigveda. (wikipedia)
According to Hindu tradition, the Rigvedic hymns were collected by Paila under the guidance of Vyasa, who formed the Rigveda Samhita as we know it. According to the Shatapatha Brahmana, the number of syllables in the Rigveda is 432,000, equalling the number of muhurtas (1 day = 30 muhurtas) in forty years. This statement stresses the underlying philosophy of the Vedic books that there is a connection (bandhu) between the astronomical, the physiological, and the spiritual. The authors of the Brahmana literature discussed and interpreted the Vedic ritual. Yaska was an early commentator of the Rigveda by discussing the meanings of difficult words. In the 14th century, Sayana wrote an exhaustive commentary on it. Other Bhashyas (commentaries) that have been preserved up to present times are those by Madhava, Skandasvamin and Venkatamadhava.
So far no proof has been available to show that ancient Vedic religion had possessed any scientific knowledge. Subhash Kak has come out with evidence that there is a code in the design of Vedic altars. The astronomical basis of the fire altar as well as the discovery of an altar code in the organisation of material of the Rig-Veda confirms the need for a new understanding of the origin of science and astronomy. In its overall plan, the Rig-Veda is an altar fashioned from hymns rather than bricks. Its internal organisation contains important cosmological information. (Georg Feuerstein, 2005, pp. 200,201)
Subhash Kak says that fire altars were meant to symbolise the universe at large. There were three different type of altars, which respectively represented earth, the atmosphere (or mid region) and the sky (or Heaven). The sky altars were constructed in five layers of bricks. The altars were built in a sequence corresponding to 95 years, with the size being increased every year by certain amount. The amount of increase represented the extra days needed to make the lunar year equal to solar year. At the completion of this sequence, after the necessary number of intercalary months had been added to the lunar year, the ancients obtained an excellent synchronisation of lunar and solar years.
An interaction cycle of 95 years hints at a knowledge of the length of the tropical year being equal to 365 days. Such knowledge could only be based on century long tradition of astute astronomical observation. When we turn to the Rig-Veda, we find from the total number of syllables that this text was itself taken to represent a symbolic altar. Thus the number of syllables in Rig-Veda is supposed to add up to number of “Muhurtas” (1 day = 30 Muhurtas) in forty years, it will be equal to 4,32,000 Muhurtas. The same numbers of syllables were allotted to the Yajur-Veda and Samaveda put together, thus yielding a total of 864,000 syllables for the three principal Vedas. Similarly the number of books, hymns and groups also represent various calculation of number of days in over a 40 year period (40 years= one Yuga). The Rig-Veda consists of 1017 hymns distributed over 10 books (including 11 supplementary hymns the total number of hymns will be 1028). These divisions are based on authorship, subject or meter. (Georg Feuerstein, 2005, p. 204)
Different view on Rig-Veda
David frawley takes a view that the Indus people themselves were authors of Rig Veda and other Vedas. There is some possibility that this statement is correct. Because all the indications so far reveals that Rigveda is some kind of astronomical guide, which was helpful in calendar making. Calendar making was the main profession of Anatolian priests, who were accompanying the Anatolian farmers in their expansion mode all around Anatolia. Hence it is to be construed that the Rig Veda was in existence in Indus culture itself and the language of Indus people was Indo-European in nature. But the Indus people were M-172 stock and not M-17 stock.
The myth of the Aryan invasion of India
One of the main ideas used to interpret and generally devalue the ancient history of India is the theory of the Aryan invasion. According to this account, India was invaded and conquered by nomadic light-skinned Indo-European tribes from Central Asia around 1500-1000 BC, who overthrew an earlier and more advanced dark-skinned Dravidian civilization from which they took most of what later became Hindu culture.
The war between the powers of light and darkness, a prevalent idea in ancient Vedic scriptures, was thus interpreted to refer to this war between light and dark skinned peoples. In the middle of the second millennium BC, a number of Indo-European invasions apparently occurred in the Middle East, wherein Indo-European peoples the Hittites, Mittani and Kassites conquered and ruled Mesopotamia for some centuries. An Aryan invasion of India would have been another version of this same movement of Indo-European peoples. On top of this, excavators of the Indus valley culture, like Wheeler, thought they found evidence of destruction of the culture by an outside invasion confirming this. (David Frawley)
The Vedic culture was thus said to be that of primitive nomads who came out of Central Asia with their horse-drawn chariots and iron weapons and overthrew the cities of the more advanced Indus valley culture, with their superior battle tactics. It was pointed out that no horses, chariots or iron was discovered in Indus valley sites. This was how the Aryan invasion theory formed and has remained since then. However new excavations have been done and new evidences have been brought into record. These excavations reveal that remnants of horses have been found not only in Indus Valley sites but also in pre-Indus sites. The use of the horse has thus been proven for the whole range of ancient Indian history.
The 'Rig Veda' describes Indra as 'destroyers of cities'. This was used also to regard the Vedic as a primitive non-urban culture that destroyed cities and urban civilization. The latest opinion is that the Indus Valley culture was not destroyed by outside invasion, but according to internal causes and, most likely, floods. According to the theory proposed in this book it never declined at all. The Indus sites are discarded burial sites and merely give an impression that these sites were destroyed by some invaders. This new hypothesis eliminates the ‘Dark Age Theory’ which is in current consumption.
The interpretation of the religion of the Indus Valley culture made incidentally by scholars such as Wheeler who were not religious scholars much less students of Hinduism was that its religion was different than the Vedic and more likely the later Shaivite religion. However, further excavations both in Indus Valley site in Gujarat, like Lothal, and those in Rajasthan, like Kalibangan show large number of fire altars like those used in the Vedic religion, along with bones of oxen, potsherds, shell jewellery and other items used in the rituals described in the 'Vedic Brahmanas'. Hence the Indus Valley culture evidences many Vedic practices that cannot be merely coincidental. That some of its practices appeared non-Vedic to its excavators may also be attributed to their misunderstanding or lack of knowledge of Vedic and Hindu culture generally, wherein Vedism and Shaivism are the same basic tradition. (Frawley)
According to the theory, which is currently in use, the Vedic people were nomads in the Punjab, came down from Central Asia. However, the 'Rig Veda' itself has nearly 100 references to ocean (samudra), as well as dozens of references to ships, and to rivers flowing in to the sea. To preserve the Aryan invasion idea it was assumed that the Vedic (and later Sanskrit) term for ocean, samudra, originally did not mean the ocean but any large body of water, especially the Indus river in Punjab. Here the clear meaning of a term in 'Rig Veda' and later times verified by rivers like Saraswati mentioned by name as flowing into the sea was altered to make the Aryan invasion theory fit. (Frawley.)
In his opinion David Frawley states that there is nothing in the Hymns of the 'Rig Veda' which demonstrates that the Vedic-speaking population was intrusive to the area: this comes rather from a historical assumption of the 'coming of the Indo-Europeans. Wheeler speaks of 'the Aryan invasion of the land of the 7 rivers, the Punjab', whereas David Frawley states that there is no evidence to conclude that there was an invasion. If one checks the dozen of references in the 'Rig Veda' to the 7 rivers, there is nothing in them to imply that there was an invasion in the land of the 7 rivers, which is the land of the 'Rig Veda'.
Aryan invasion theory is not good scholarship or archaeology but merely cultural imperialism. The Western Vedic scholars did in the intellectual sphere what the British army did in the political realm discredit, divide and conquer the Hindus. In short, the compelling reasons for the Aryan invasion theory were neither literary nor archaeological but political and religious that is to say, not scholarship but prejudice. Such prejudice may not have been intentional but deep-seated political and religious views easily cloud and blur our thinking.
David frawley concludes that never there was any Aryan invasion in India, but takes a view that Indus valley culture itself is that of Indo-European people who migrated in to India much ahead of the presently accepted dates. In this book Indo European have been defined as the people those who have the genetic marker M-17, whereas the Indus people were Neolithic Anatolian farmers with genetic marker M-172. (See the Table-1: Human Migration details). That makes them they were Middle Eastern stock and not the central Asian stock.
Genetic evidences suggest that people with M-20 marker genes were the second group of people to enter India and they were living and multiplying in Turan basin 30,000 years ago, and this marker is found in high frequency in south India (i.e.50%). (Wells, 2003, p. 113) Hence it is reasonable to conclude that they were early pastoral Dravidians and they formed the basic strata of Indian populace of that time and were culturally interacting with Sumerian people as well as Turan people. Further the cultural interaction sphere as defined by Possehl clearly shows the similarities in seals and religious belief between Turan people, Sumerian people and Indus people. (L.Possehl, 2003, pp. 215-236).
From the facts narrated above it can be safely concluded that the language of the Indus priests was Sanskrit (as described in the chapter under Sanskrit) and the Rig Veda itself is the work of Indus priests and not the Indo-European people as imagined by various different authors. Wherein the Dravidian language was the language of common people and could have survived along with the Vedic language of the priests.
Sarama is the Dog Star -Sirius
Sarama is mentioned prominently in Rig Veda. There is a narration in Rig Veda about missing “cows” and “Sarama” the dog finds them in the custody of “Panis” after a long search. Then she (dog) converses with the Panis threatening them that she is working for Indra and she will inform him about the incident of capture of cows by Panis. It was a warning to them to release the cows. The explanations given by Rajeshwar gupta, (Gupta, 1902), are illuminating on this issue. The word Sarama gives a new insight into Vedic period as well as Indus period.
In Rig-Veda Sarama is the messenger of Indra; she seeks out the lost cows and goes about in search of them to distant places. For her services, she is sumptuously rewarded with food for her as well as her son. She gets large quantity of milk from Indra and others. Max Muller thought that the early dawn (Ushas) were called as Sarama in the Vedas. It looks like that the view of Max Muller may not be correct, because various expressions used to describe Sarama fits a dog and not a goddess.
In this light, the most plausible explanation is that Sarama meant the dog, the heavenly dog “The Dog star-Sirius”. In fits well to the general narration in this book that many of the stories in Vedas are allegorical expression of heavenly events (Sidharth.B.G, 1999). The importance of Dog Star lies in the fact that the heliacal rising of the Dog Star heralded the onset of rising flood waters of Nile in Egypt, at the same time on set of rains in Indus valley also. This definition brings the conclusion that the word “Go” means rainy months and not the literal meaning “cows”. It is relevant here to note that not only the celestial dog was given ample food; her son was also given enough food by Indra and others. As discussed in earlier pages under the heading “the yogi seal”, there is small boy like constellation (Puppies) on the back of tiger (Canis Major).It is most likely that the reference to son of Sarama means the Puppies constellation. If this statement is correct, then logically speaking, the extension of this allegory will result in the conclusion that the Orion constellation (Hunter) is the Indra (Prime Star) in this context.
The word Pani is mentioned no less than 36 times in the Rig Veda. The word Pani forms as it were the backbone of the Rig Veda: it is the key that unfolds the meaning of the sacred book, Not only do the stories of Sarama and Pani, but also good many riks depend for their proper interpretation upon the correct meaning of the word Pani itself.
The expression “Revata Panina” shows that the Panis were rich. The expression “Paner maneeshan” shows that the Panis were wise. “Abasam Panim” would show that the Panis were given to introspection. Further Rig-Veda tells us that the Panis did not perform any Yajnas or sacrifices; were talkative, arrogant or haughty; had no respect for Yajnas and were Dasyus i.e., idlers or robbers. According to Sayana they were usurers also. The word Pani is used for traders. It is therefore clear that the Panis were a trading people and sold things for their value. Rig-Veda also depicts the Panis as gluttons. For their voracious eating they were regarded as monsters. The word is also explained to mean illiterate traders. (Gupta, 1902)
They were indeed a nation of traders without sacrifices, selfish, illiterate and usurious. A nation of traders of those ancient days recalls the Phoenicians of old, for they were the only trading people then. In those days the Phoenicians were known as the Panis. The Indo Europeans spoke of them as the Panih and the Romans as the Punic. Gupta further stretches his theory and concludes that the origin of Phoenicians lie in Afghanistan. Thereby comes to the conclusion that panis of Afghanistan are the earliest people and further it is to be construed that the Vedic people are from central Asia, because both of them exist side by side. It looks like that Gupta is supporter of “India centric, Indo–European theory”
In the process of developing “Indo-centric theory”, Gupta narrates out various other informations. He explains the possibility that Vedic people and panis could be from central Asia and Afghanistan and were living in nearby areas. This important information coincides with the fact that Anatolia and Phoenicia are nearby lands and both were centres of ancient civilisations. This view supports the theory proposed in this book that “Vedic People” are from Anatolia. B.G.Sidharth is also emphatic that the “Vedic people” are from Anatolian region. (Sidharth.B.G, 1999)
While dealing with any information or story in Vedas, it should be always remembered that many of them are allegorical expression and not mere facts. In this way of interpretation, this expression of “panis” also has two meanings, one “heavenly” meaning and the other “earthly” meaning. The earthly expression meant the traders of Phoenicia, while the heavenly expression meant the “Dark evil forces of heaven, the Ashuras, who block the rains”. The factual meaning of this word “panis” seems to be indicating the earlier dark coloured inhabitants of Indus valley area, who were descendents of the earlier immigrants, i.e. the people with genetic marker M-130 and M-20.
This theory is further supported by the observation of H.G.Wundderlich (page.no266), who states that the basis of Egyptian calendar is a cycle of Sirius that takes 1460 years. Sirius is the dog constellation and perfectly fits the role of Sarama and the narration mentioned in Rigveda. It is further supported by postulation of B.G.Siddharth that many of the narrations in Rig Veda are allegorical and pertains to earliest astronomy. (Sidharth.B.G, 1999)
Indra is an important deity of Vedic people and frequently invoked for rain and victory in war. He played dual role of rain maker as well as war god. In the old portion of Rig Veda, Indra is frequently invoked but later portions of Vedas, Indra’s importance gradually declines and gradually the priestly god Agni is highly praised and frequently invoked. It is possible that the shift in importance reflected the change in field realities. By the time Vedic people got settled in Indo-Gangetic plain, agriculture was given more importance than pastoralism. The fact that more importance is being given to Agni shows the ascendancy of priestly class over warrior class.
Now, coming to more hard facts about Indra, it is surprising that Indra is frequently dethroned and replaced with somebody else and is really a weak character. Identity of Indra could not be properly fixed. It is very important to fix the identity of Indra to understand better the Vedic religion. Indra means “prime” or “principal” he was the principal or chief of Vedic gods, but still there is no proper temple for Indra in India, how perplexing and contradictory it is? This confusion arises because we have not properly understood him.
Indra was chief in the sense, he was principal star in indicating the forth coming rainy season, or beginning of the year. This role was played by different stars at different time. In the beginning it was the bull constellation Taurus and principal star Aldebaran. Arising of Aldebaran in heliacal rising position indicated the New Year as well as forth coming rains. This was the period of Indus people and they worshipped Aldebaran as Indra. Later Aldebaran got replaced with Canis Major (Dog Star) because of precessional movement of earth.
Later that was also replaced and star Chitra was made beginning of the New Year. The conclusion is that the position of Indra was unstable and was replaced periodically. The original developers of Rig Veda knows the real position of Indra and gave due respect as rain predictor, but later the power of war god added to it. Later heliacal arising of Aries constellation also marked the beginning of the year, because of this frequent replacement phenomenon; Indra did not have a lasting influence to remain as a supreme god.
It looks like that it is attested by an Indus seal which shows a goddess (most probably mother goddess and later day Kali of India) fighting tigers with a wheel over her head, the wheel symbolizes the prime constellation that is Indra of that time (Auriga constellation) and she is standing over an elephant, which means that her vahan was elephant. Later after arrival of indo Indo-Europeans the elephant becomes vahan of Indra (A male god in place of female divinity). It is very significant because elephant is the symbol of Indra for indo –Europeans, where as it was the vahan of a goddess for Indus people.
The issue of the horse has become the support base of Aryan invasion theorists. It has become a one-issue argument used to neutralize any other data. They see Vedic culture as a movement of horse-riding people into India from Central Asia. They point out the development of a horse culture at an earlier period in Central Asia and the lack of horse remains in ancient India. They equate the Aryans with the horse and Harappa with a non-horse culture, and hence non-Vedic culture. Such a simplistic equation has many flaws and ignores the many other issues. It overlooks that Vedic culture was essentially a Rishi-king culture, not a horse/nomad culture.
First, one should note that horses spread throughout the ancient world from Egypt and China. It was not accompanied by a radical change of culture, language or population for an entire subcontinent as has been proposed for ancient India. Ancient Egypt and China took on horses and chariots without any break in the continuity of their civilizations. Certainly, ancient India, the largest urban civilization of its time in the world, could have taken on a new horse/chariot culture without having to change everything else as well. Therefore, even if horses or chariots came into India from the outside at some point in time, this is no reason to assume that the language and culture of the region had to change as well.
Second, a study of horse anatomy shows that there were two types of horses in the ancient world that we still find today. There is a south Asian and Arabian type that has seventeen ribs and a West and Central Asian horse that has eighteen ribs. The Rig Vedic horse, as described in the Ashvamedha or horse-sacrifice of the Rig-Veda has thirty-four ribs (seventeen times two for the right and left side). This shows that the Rig Vedic horse did not come from Central Asia but was the South Asian breed. The Rig Vedic horse is born of the ocean, which also indicates southern connections. The Yajur Veda ends with an invocation of the Divine horse that has the ocean as its belly (samudra udaram.). (Frawley.)
Horse bones have now been found in Harappan and pre-Harappan sites in India, not only in the north and west but also in the south and east, showing that the horse was known to the Harappan people, though it was probably mainly the south Asian horse. At the same time, the horse evidence required to prove the Aryan invasion/migration theory is also lacking. We do not find any significant evidence of horses coming into India around 1500 BCE in the form of horse remains, horse encampments or horse images. If the Aryans came with the horse around 1500 BCE, such remains would be dramatic. There is no archaeological trail of horse bones into India around 1500 BCE. If the horse were indigenous to India, on the other hand, there would not be dramatic horse remains at one level as opposed to another. So far there are no dramatic horse finds at any level. Even in the Bactria and Margiana Archaeological Complex, which is supposed to be horse rich and a staging area of successive Indo-Aryan migrations/invasions into India, not a single horse bone has been found yet. This means that other areas supposedly rich in horses do not exhibit significant horse remains either.
Moreover, there are many equus bones found in ancient India, particularly the onager (Equus hemionus), which is native to Kachchh in Gujarat. There is evidence that the onager was used to draw chariots or battle cars in ancient Sumeria and was later replaced by the stronger and faster horse. The same thing probably occurred in India. It is also likely that the Vedic people did not discriminate between the different equus animals as strictly as we do the true horse from other breeds. This means that the Rig Vedic horse (ashva) could have, at least in the beginning, been an onager, which explains its oceanic connections as its native region of Kachchh is along the sea in what would have been the delta of the Sarasvati River. (Frawley.)
In this overall argument over horse it should be noted that the Vedas may actually be talking about celestial horse and not earthly horse. The celestial horse is the Pegasus constellation, which was earlier known by the symbol “top of foot of Kalan” (refer to jyotish wheel table) in the “Kalan- Scheme” of visualisation of sky-map. The old Kalan-sky-map of moon-priests was replaced by new set of priests who were following sun calendar. Their star constellation symbols were different from those of earlier priests. That is the reason for appearance of horse in later day period. Mere change of moon calendar into solar calendar should not be construed as invasion by Aryans. Definitely there is a change from old constellation symbol to new symbols, that should not be taken as an important evidence, as taken by Aryan invasion theorists. Further David Frawley states that the Rig-Vedic horse is born out of ocean and has ocean as its belly. This statement coincides very well with the celestial horse Pegasus. If you refer to sky-map, below the belly of the Pegasus there is a great fish, which is supposed to be swimming in a great ocean. The final conclusion is that the concept of horse in Veda perfectly fits celestial horse and not earthly horse.
Similar to Indra, Prajapathi is another controversial figure, whose identity could not be established properly. Prajapathi was closely attached with Rohini star. Later, Prajapathi was dethroned; because he was accused of having sexual relationship with his daughter Rohini. He was beheaded by Rudra, his own son, who was born out of that incestuous relationship. Historians have interpreted this story as a creation story. But in reality it is an astronomical story to remember a calendar event. Prajapathi was the bull, the Auriga constellation and is closely related to Aldebaran (Rohini). Prajapathi was the principal star (Indra) to mark the beginning of the year. He was the first Indra of Rig Veda. But later he was dethroned because of changes in heliacal risings. This event has been morphed into a mythological story.
Pushan is the Hindu of meeting. Pushan was responsible for marriages, journeys, roads, and the feeding of cattle. He was a psycho pomp, conducting souls to the other world. He protected travellers from bandits and wild beasts, and protected men from being exploited by other men. He was a supportive guide, a "good" god, leading his adherents towards rich pastures and wealth. He carried a golden lance, a symbol of activity. In Puranas he is said to be one of the twelve sons of Aditi. Pushan is praised in eight hymns in the Rigveda. Some of these hymns appeal to him to guard livestock and find lost livestock. His chariot is pulled by goats. Sometimes he is described as driving the Sun in its course across the sky. His name in Sanskrit means "he who causes people to thrive". He seems to represent the sun as a guardian of flocks and herds.
Pushan could be best remembered by the description that his chariot is drawn by a Ram. As said earlier all the mythological stories could be best understood by analysing the astronomical basis behind that story. If you refer to sky map it can be seen that Ram constellation is pulling the chariot (fish constellation) behind it. This may be the reason for the description that he drives the sun in its course across the sky. Further, it should be noted that the Ram constellation and Pisces (Pushan star in jyotisha Vedanga) appears just before rising of sun at early morning. This could be the reason for the story that he is the driver to sun.
 David Frawley is a well-known Vedic scholar, runs the American Institute of Vedic Studies in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is also a famed Ayurveda doctor. Those interested in this subject may refer to his book "Gods, Sages and Kings: Vedic Secrets of Ancient Civilization".