2.General theories

Visits

web tracker

GENERAL THEORIES AND CONCEPTS

Local theory versus Diffusion theory­­         

There are two theories in which the development of civilisation is explained. One group adopts the local area development theory, which is more nationalistic and widely supported by national government because it helped in unifying the population and their political ideas. Where as in reality, civilizations have all the time followed the diffusion model and diffusion of idea is the greatest achievement of human civilization  New powerful ideas conquer the world. Taming of horse helped the Indo Europeans, and was in use till the World War II. Gunpowder created Genghis khan and sustained him as well as his descendents for centuries.  Genghis Khan Rule resulted in major genetic influence in the populations of central Asia and resulted in a situation that his genes are present in large section of Central Asian population (recent genetic study shows). Invention of field gun destroyed Eastern Roman Empire (fall of Constantinople). Similarly, rise of new ideas also brings in revolutionary changes. For example, rise of Islam and its powerful message swept through all known kingdoms of that time. So the idea of civilisation is essentially diffusion and good and successful ideas spread far and wide.

                It is important to note that there was a cultural spread from Margiana complex into Indus valley. The Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex (or BMAC) is the modern archaeological designation for the Bronze Age culture of Central India.  Bactria was the Greek name for the area of Bactra (Modern Balkh), in what is now northern Afghanistan and Margiana was the Greek name for the Russian Satrapy of Marger, the capital of which was Merv, in today’s Turkmenistan. It is named as Margiana culture by soviet archaeologists and artefacts found here show that there was a cultural link and continuity between the areas located in Margiana complex and the Indus valley.  But Indian archaeologists and historians take a narrow view and conclude that IVC developed out of local indigenous cultures. Wider area approach should be applied as done by Gregory Possehl in his book “The Indus Civilization – A contemporary Perspective” under Chapter “The Middle Asian Interaction Sphere”. (L.Possehl, 2003, p. chapter12)

          3000 BC was a time of new, unique economic and political configurations in the part of the world that is being called as “Middle Asia”.  This identifies the region between the Indus and the Mediterranean Sea.  The middle Asian interaction sphere is made manifest in shared artefacts, including objects of trade and exchange as well as artefact styles and design motifs. These artefacts form an evidence for the maritime trade activities between Persian Gulf and Indus Region. Maritime activity was a vital component of the 3000 BC Middle Asian Interaction sphere.

 Middle Eastern interaction sphere

          A series of soft-stone artefacts associated with middle Asian Interactive sphere was carved with a number of stylistically coherent motifs.  These include combat snake motif, humped bulls motifs and other figures, - lion headed bird, hut motifs, date palms and rosettes along with simpler portrayals such as mats, squares and whirls.  Since these motifs are wide spread within the Middle Asian Interactive sphere and across a number of cultural regions, it is called the “Inter Cultural” style.  The south Asian Zebu is the best example of these motifs.  In a broad level, the inter cultural style is a shared set of symbols, brought together in stylistically coherent set of motifs, carved on stone that is very much the same wherever it is found.(L.Possehl, 2003).

 The problem is that no one knows what these motifs mean.  General assumption so far is that, the symbols were used in trade and placed as a mark of identification on the goods, or the emblem of a trader.  Now, in this book a brand new theory is being proposed that these motifs are symbols for star constellation which indicated approximately the date of the person’s death and these motifs are emblems of funeral practices and the commodities are the embalmed corpses and not some tradable goods.

 Train journey

               For any person going through a cultural change is like a train journey. For example - if a person starts his journey from Chennai to Delhi, the 2000 km journey takes him through various states in a period of two days. By the time the train reaches Delhi, the composition of passengers gets drastically changed. The train starts the journey with 90% Dravidian speaking people, and periodically many different language speaking people enter into the train. Finally, at the end of the journey, if a census of the language of the passengers is taken, the rough composition of the passengers will be something like this, with 60% Dravidian language speaking and 40% Indo European language speaking people. The change is gradual and there is no violent confrontation all the time, (of course sometimes small arguments take place, but finally every one settles down and adjusts with each other). The spread of civilisation is something like this train journey.

 But the arrival of Indo European tribes was not peaceful, generally they were violent and male chauvinistic as described by Marija Gimbutas. Civilisations did not enjoy continuous peace. Violent and destructive interruptions were common in the history of civilisations.  The spread of Indo Europeans was not a peaceful affair, as said by Marija Gimbutas, it was violent and destructive. Many of the old civilizations have met with violent end in their hands, because of which we have difficulties in reconstructing ancient civilization histories. For example the Egyptian civilization continued to exist and modify itself on slow pace but that also came to an abrupt end after the arrival of Islam. But the case of Mesopotamian cultures was directly opposite to that of Egyptian civilisation. All the cultures of Mesopotamian area met with violent ends.

Evolution theory

            Changes in culture can be defined in another way in addition to the train journey model. It can be equated to the biological evolution theory proposed by Charles Darwin. The cultures also have under-gone similar stress and strain like biological organisms. Some of the animals ended in violent extinction, but some of the animals have flourished, and some animals adapted to change with dramatic additional capabilities or modification of body parts. Till Darwin identified that many of the distinctly different looking animals have evolved from a single ancestor, common men thought that the different species were something like uniquely made by god. Even biology scientists thought that all species arose and developed independently. Similar is the position of culture also, some cultures look so different, but under lying nucleus is the same, and once the morphological differences are identified, the under-lying unity factor can be easily seen.

Violence destroys civilization

It is not reasonable for us to think in a complacent way that, civilized way of life will bring in eternal survival of civilisations. It is often contrary to that expectation, and it has been recorded in the history of many civilisations that they have been brought to the end by external barbarians and internal vandals. In fact that is the fate of any civilisation. Toynbee is the proponent of this theory and came with a good example “the fall of Roman Empire”, it was not only external barbarians, the Ostro Goths and the Germanic tribes who ended the Roman civilisation , the role of internal barbarians i.e. Visigoths  was also equally important. The lesson to be learnt out of this experience is that, any modern nation should plan and protect itself from external barbarians as well as internal proletariat anarchists.

 Geographical influence on civilization

Geographical locations played an important role in survival of civilizations. As said earlier, the location of Egypt in a remote corner of Middle East with natural barriers, the surrounding deserts, helped in its survival. Similarly, the Himalayan Mountain helped in the survival of Indus civilization and still helps in survival of the present day Indian Nation. Island civilizations are also another example in helping survival for a prolonged period, because intruders through sea are less frequent. But when the invaders arrived, the islanders paid terrible price, as shown by Herodotus. In his book, Herodotus is frequently narrating the stories of various Greek city states. Wars were violent and resulted in slavery of entire population of the defeated inhabitants of the city state.

 The hill population enjoyed relatively better peace and tranquillity, because their small valleys are difficult to access and less attractive for any kind of cultivation and economic return. So they were left undisturbed. Typical example is the history of Tibet; such a large area had been left out without any subjugation during the colonial period. Even though the Britishers sent an expedition to Tibet, they left it untouched because making it into a colony was unattractive in the economic sense. But the harsh geographical conditions were a blessing in disguise for Tibetan people, because it helped in the survival of Buddhism for the benefit of that country as well as for the benefit of entire mankind.

Chronology

In the name of chronology, many of the history teachers kill the interest of students in the subject of history itself. I used to wonder, why there is an aversion to this subject among the young students. What gradually I realized was that many teachers insist on chronology with so much sadistic pleasure that the student loses interest in that subject. Hence I have followed a simple way of referring to the periods in rounded off figures to centuries and not to exact years; even then it is inevitable that some important years have to be given as a precise reference point. What is important in learning history is the understanding of the impact of various kings on the politico- socio-economic environment of that country and its impact on the present day nation states and not the date of birth or date of coronation of that king.  A generalized chronology of ancient historic period is given below for ready reference:-

 Table 2: Evolution of man and different metal ages

DIFFERENT AGES
                    PERIOD 
SPECIFIC EVENTS

 

From

To

 

Homo sapiens (emergence of modern man in Africa)

      500,000BC

 

 

 

 100,000BC

 

Cave paintings at South Africa.

Palaeolithic period                  

   (Old Stone Age) 

 500,000BC

 

40,000BC

 

 

40,000 BC

 

Cro Magnon man in Europe,

Mesolithic   

 (Middle Stone Age)                 

40,000 BC

10,000BC

 

Neolithic                          

   (New Stone Age)

10,000BC

4,500BC

 

Copper Age                   

4,500 BC

1500BC

 

Bronze Age                    

3,000 BC

1200BC

 

Santorini Eruption

 1600BC

 

 End of Bronze Age 

Invasion by sea people

Age of pirates? 

 1200BC

 

 End of Bronze Age 

Beginning of Iron Age                       

 600 BC

 

 

_____________________________________________________________  

IMPORTANT EVENTS AT EUROPE AND OTHER PLACES OF THE WORLD
PERIOD

 

IMPORTANT EVENTS IN INDIA AT THE SAME TIME

 Ice age ends

12,000--10,000BC

 

 Beginning of farming in Middle East           

 10,000 BC

 

 Migration of Anatolian people into                 Greece and Mediterranean littoral area

 7,000BC                   

 

Farming becomes widespread  

 5,000 BC

 

 Spread of Indo Europeans from       Southern Russia and Ukraine 

 4,000BC

 

Temples at Malta                     

 3,600 BC

 

Stone henge in Britain               

 3,200 BC

 

 Minoan culture

 3,000--1600BC

Indus culture at its peak at Mohenjo daro and Harappa

  Volcanic eruption of Santorini -- Minoan Culture comes to an end.                                                                                                   

 1,600BC

Note that the end of Minoan culture coincides with the decline of Indus culture in India.

Beginning of Mycenaean culture in Greece     

1,500 BC

Supposed to be the period in which indo European entry into India

Beginning of Greek culture                              

1000BC

 

 First Olympics                           

 800BC

 

Celts in Europe                        

600 BC       

Birth of Buddha and painted grey ware culture in Gangetic plain

          Hellenistic period

         (After death of Alexander)            

 300BC

Onwards

Greek influence in India

        Burning of Alexandria library

391AD

 

         Fall of Roman Empire

  Beginning of Dark Age in Europe

500AD

 

 General chronology

Stone Age civilization

                     It is wrong to conclude that civilization started around 3000 BC, which is the beginning of construction of great pyramids. If further deeper probe is made, it can be seen that it will go back further to 7000 BC. The civilisation at Catal Huyuk, turkey is the oldest known civilisation. (Reader's Digest, 1988) Altogether it gives a feeling that all civilisation started with spread of agriculture. It is wrong to conclude that man was total barbarian before that. We are not able to determine the achievement of earlier pastoral people because there is no physical evidence to prove that. Archaeologists want all the time irrefutable physical evidence before accepting any possibility of civilisation at pastoral level. But at the present rate at which human population is exploding, the evidences existing which had to be archaeologically explored will be destroyed because  of human occupation and activity, hence there is less chance of getting any fresh data in this regard. For example war in Iraq had not only destroyed existing museum, but also various unexplored sites.  All these evidences will silently vanish. Similar is the case of Afghanistan, the civil war not only destroyed Bamiyan Buddha but it had silently damaged many other archaeological sites in an irretrievable way also.

 The earliest artefacts like stone implements, flint stones and pot shreds are evidences in the study of Stone Age cultures. Generally such evidences are unimpressive for a common man but great treasure for archaeologist. Richard Rudgley (Rudgley, 1999) has collected some evidences to show the advancement of Stone Age man. He says even in 10,000BC man was highly advanced without any sign of agriculture; Stone Age man was doing advanced surgical operations, even skull surgery, and caesarean operations. So it is necessary to keep in mind that man was highly civilized even before advent of agriculture and metallurgy.

 Genetic archaeology will help in developing new evidences in the place of old archaeological tools and methods. In this regard, the genetic archaeology records are much more accurate and revealing many more details, than the old theories based on physical evidences. Genetic finger printing is helping the criminologists in identifying the criminals and is being accepted as good evidence in various courts. The same way, genetic archaeology also will be accepted as good evidence in the forth coming years by historians. This is the only hope in identifying and solving the riddle involving the origin of Indo European people. Further collection of data on human gene mapping will improve our understanding on the issue of origin of IE people.

 Cave paintings

                           Two recent reports in science discuss the issue of creation of arts by human beings (Balter, 2009). The cave paintings found in South Africa with well defined cross patterns made with ochre, have been dated to be at least 100,000 years old. These were merely geometric pattern, but even then making painting tools and using symbols require the capacity to hold on to an abstract concept in one’s mind and executing the same with the help of tools and show the advancement of human beings. Until recently, archaeological wisdom had it that the “creative explosion” of human art and culture started in the late stone age (40,000 years ago), with Cro Magnon  people of Europe and their stunning cave paintings at Lascaux and Chauvet in France. (D.Balasubramanian, 2009) Based on this evidence of South African cave paintings and other cave paintings found in India and Australia the age of cultural development of human beings should be revised and fixed at 100,000 BC.

The mythical Saraswati River

 Proposed Saraswati river

The Rig Veda mentions about Saraswati River and some of the interpreters of ancient Indian history have come to the conclusion that it was river Ghaggar, which was flowing through Rajasthan, which has dried up now. Many other historians do not accept the view and radically different views are suggested, and all the major rivers lying between Volga to Ganges are being identified as possible Saraswati River. Among this confusion, I would also like to introduce another possible claimant for the status of Rig Vedic River.

  There is a distinct possibility that the Rig Veda is talking about a mythical river instead of a real physical river. As narrated earlier, my experience with old stories end with pure mythical ideas, which are generally related with astronomical events. While studying the constellations for defining a workable calendar, our ancestors had floated many stories to explain a star constellation or important stellar events. While studying the sky, the movement of planets looks like that as if the stars and planets are moving like boats through a heavenly river. Not only that, one constellation is named as a river and there is a possibility that the Rig Vedists really meant was a river constellation and not a geographical river.

   There is another possibility that, the river meant as Saraswati was the Euphrates and Tigris River rather than the Volga River. For a modern scholar, the Euphrates- Tigris River never comes to mind because it is a twin river, not a single one.  It looks like that the combined Euphrates and Tigris River was called as Saraswati River by Sumerians. Ten thousand years ago things changed drastically due to melting of snow of ice age. Earlier the waters of Euphrates-Tigris flowed as a single river through the Persian Gulf.  Because there was no sea in the gulf area, entire Persian Gulf was a flat meadow. After melting of the ice around 10,000 BC, the water level started to increase. It inundated all coastal areas including the present day gulf area. The sea water arose as much as 100 ft in some places. This event drastically destroyed some of the most civilized areas. It is likely that the legend of biblical flood also arose from this event.

Compared to the present day desert condition, this gulf region was much more green and rainy place because the ice line extended up to the Zagros Mountains of Iran. There were lot of green pastures, and, human population settled in that place literally enjoyed the place as “Garden of Eden”. Things changed drastically after receding of the ice line; the land became desert even though the water of the two rivers made it a fertile one. But that could never match the earlier glory. The bible story of “Garden of Eden” clearly depicts the fertility and beauty of land of Sumeria. (Reader's digest, 1998)   It is likely that memory of the immense fertility and natural resources of this region lingered in the minds of people of that time and they have recorded the matter for the benefit of posterity in the form of a story, the Garden of Eden and the combined river Euphrates and Tigris was possibly the Saraswati River, being mentioned by the Rig Vedists.

Egyptian calendar

Egyptians followed Dog Star (Sirius constellation) to make their calendar accurate. There were three types of calendars in use in ancient Egypt. First, following the moon for determining religious festival dates, but it did not help in determining the agricultural cycle, because it could not determine the rising of Nile. Finally the breakthrough came with the observation that rising of Nile coincided with heliacal rising of Dog Star. A new calendar was laid out on this basis. It is relevant here because it looks like that the Dog Star is mentioned as “Sarama” in Rig Veda. The year of this new calendar has been determined as 4236 BC by Egyptologist, in that context, the age of Rig Veda also should be fixed around 5000 BC; instead of being determined at 1500 BC. Siddharth is also repeatedly emphasizing that the age of Rig Veda should be reassigned. (Sidharth.B.G, 1999)

              The ancient Egyptians originally employed a calendar based upon the Moon, and, like many people throughout the world, they regulated their lunar calendar by means of the guidance of a sidereal calendar. They used the seasonal appearance of the star Sirius (Sothis); this corresponded closely to the true solar year, being only 12 minutes shorter. Certain difficulties arose, however, because of the inherent incompatibility of lunar and solar years. To solve this problem, the Egyptians invented a schematized civil year of 365 days divided into three seasons, each of which consisted of four months of 30 days each. To complete the year, five intercalary days were added at its end, so that the 12 months were equal to 360 days plus five extra days. This civil calendar was derived from the lunar calendar (using months) and the agricultural, or Nile, fluctuations (using seasons); it was, however, no longer directly connected to either and thus was not controlled by them. The civil calendar served government and administration, while the lunar calendar continued to regulate religious affairs and everyday life.

In time, the discrepancy between the civil calendar and the older lunar structure became obvious. Because the lunar calendar was controlled by the rising of Sirius, its months would correspond to the same season each year, while the civil calendar would move through the seasons because the civil year was about one-fourth day shorter than the solar year. Hence, every four years it would fall behind the solar year by one day, and after 1,460 years it would again agree with the lunisolar calendar. Such a period of time is called a Sothic cycle.

Because of the discrepancy between these two calendars, the Egyptians established a second lunar calendar based upon the civil year and not, as the older one had been, upon the sighting of Sirius. It was schematic and artificial, and its purpose was to determine religious celebrations and duties. In order to keep it in general agreement with the civil year, a month was intercalated every time the first day of the lunar year came before the first day of the civil year; later, a 25-year cycle of intercalation was introduced. The original lunar calendar, however, was not abandoned but was retained primarily for agriculture because of its agreement with the seasons. Thus, the ancient Egyptians operated with three calendars, each for a different purpose.  The civil year was divided into three seasons, commonly translated: “period of Inundation”, when the Nile overflowed the agricultural land; “planting time”, the time of planting when the Nile returned to its bed; and “period of  Deficiency”, the time of low water and harvest.

Sirius: the 'Dog Star

Early Egyptians depended on the Nile’s annual rising and flooding. Each year as that great river flooded it brought down mountain soil to the Egyptian plain. This enriched the fields and enabled creation of an agricultural system that supported a large civilization.  In the eighth century B.C., the Egyptian Pharaoh’s primary advisor, the Vizier, was charged with reporting the first appearance of the bright star we call Sirius after it had been missing from the sky for (depending upon the observer’s latitude) approximately two weeks. This first appearance of Sirius in the pre-dawn sky was used to start the so-called Egyptian "lunar" calendar year, which was used for purposes of regulating religious affairs and everyday life.

Shortly after Sirius first reappeared in the east, the Nile would have its annual life-giving flood. Because of the Nile’s flooding at this time, the fixing of the New Year could well be said to have been based on a geophysical as well as an astronomical event. Although many other stars may be used to fix the beginning of a sidereal year, the Egyptians made an excellent choice for this purpose.  Egyptians selected the star Sirius for this purpose, which was called in the name of Sothis in Egypt. Heliacal rising of this star Sothis not only signalled the approaching Nile flood, but is also one of the brightest "fixed" stars in the heavens.

In Egypt at the present time, Sirius rises just before the sun late in July, but usually can’t be seen until early August. This is because as sunrise approaches, stars fade from view and the light of dawn obliterates starlight. At the time Sirius is about to reappear, the constellation Orion is fully visible in the lower eastern sky. With the bright star Betelgeuse on his shoulder, anyone familiar with constellations would find Orion hard to miss. Sirius can be seen in the next constellation to rise (Canis Major). Because of this close relationship; Sirius was sometimes referred to as the "dog star" by early Greeks who thought of Canis Major as one of Orion’s hunting hounds.

Determining age of Rig Veda

  While determining age of Rig Veda, its origin has been fixed to the period around 1500 BC; it is a random fix without any proper evidence. B.G.Sidharth says the origin should be around 7000 BC. (Asko Parpola says it is around 2600 BC) Similarly many of the ancient cultures are dated around 5000 BC, on conservative approach, for want of reliable evidences. This age period should be revised. For example one of the oldest civilization  the Egyptian civilization is dated around 5000 BC, because evidences are available. But Sumerian civilization is much older than the Egyptian civilization but older date is not being accepted for want of physical evidence. Similarly Indus culture might have followed suit to that of its mother culture, i.e. the Sumerian Culture, but still older dates for Rig Veda is not being accepted for want of some good evidence.

The only evidence that could be correlated is the planetary positions that are being discussed in Rig Veda. After considering various astronomical facts, Siddharth concludes that Rig Veda might have been in existence around 7000 BC.  As discussed under the heading Egyptian Calendar, the heliacal rising of Dog Star was determined around 4236 BC.  So it should be fairly concluded that around 5000 BC itself the Egyptian civilization was at its prime and peak and another 2000 years should be added to the development process and beginning of Egyptian civilisation should be safely placed around 7000 BC. It has been the generally accepted view that fully developed culture existed in Egypt around 5000BC and it was the oldest of the civilisations that ever existed on this earth. But the excavations at Catal Huyuk in Turkey shows that people had built durable religious structure around 7000BC itself. Considering this fact, the argument of Siddharth that the date of Rig Veda should be fixed at 7000 BC should be considered as a plausible one.

 Indo Europeans

The word ‘Aryan’ has created lot of problems and misunderstanding, and is being frequently used for showing racial supremacy. Originally the word Arya meant somebody of noble origin. The first written reference comes in the inscriptions of Darius of Iran. As it will be elaborated later, the Sanskrit language was the language of the earliest priests and priest-kings. The Indus priests depicted in seal shows more Middle-eastern features than Aryan features. Big lips and big eyes are typical of Middle-eastern race. The naked dancer statue depicts a totally African looking girl. Thus Indus priests are looking more of Sumerian origin than that of Indo-European race. The Indus valley seals show star constellations symbols, which later reappear as Jyotisha Vedanga. It looks like that the Rig Veda (oldest Veda) itself is the work of early Sumerian priests and has been assimilated by later day Indo-European priests. In this book the word Indo-Europeans have been preferably used instead of the word Aryan, which is misleading.

Early astronomy

          It looks like that the earliest people were obsessed with astronomy, because they thought that they would be able to predict the future by studying movement of stars. This became the main knowledge base and source of income of priestly class. They refined it more and more, and gave elaborate stories to memorise, the constellation and star movements. Even now the constellations are being visualised as animals and picturisation is helpful in identifying the star constellations. Further such visualisations make star gazing extremely interesting and easy to remember. But this knowledge of astronomy was precious knowledge in ancient times and was zealously guarded as secret knowledge by priestly class. Considering all these above mentioned facts, the statement of Siddharth that the Vedas contained many allegorical expressions of various astronomical events should be considered as a logical explanation about Vedas. (Sidharth.B.G, 1999)

  In this regard, it should be noted that all important religious centres are located in hill tops and sacrifices are made in such places. It is amazing to note that the visibility of stars are extremely good in hilly areas, whereas at the lower plains, stars twinkle and do not appear clear because of the atmospheric distortion. This distortion is due to refraction phenomena. The layers of different density in the atmosphere have refractive effect, which results in mirage effect. The mirage effect results in appearance of water in desert or tar road. Similarly in the night time, the view of the stars get distorted and disturbed at the sea level (or) lower level plain areas. Because of the said reason, hill areas would have been the ideal place for astronomical observations and studies for early priests.

           It looks like that the Anatolian high land priests were the best astronomers and calendar specialist of the ancient times. It looks like that because of their superior knowledge in astronomy and calendar; the Anatolian priests had over shadowed and replaced the Sumerian priests. It is likely that the early Sumerian priests were following the moon calendar and Anatolian priests were developers of sun calendar. Naturally the sun calendar was superior over the moon calendar and prevailed in the long run. The mythological stories like Indra killing snake (vritra) or Rudra killing the bull (his father) should not be taken in literal sense. They are mythological expression of the change in calendar and should not be as such treated as invasion of one populace over the other. (Indo-Europeans vanquishing the other nations)

Geb and Nut
Geb and Nut are Egyptian gods of sky and earth respectively. Generally the sky gods are male principle and earth is the mother god. But the roles are reversed here and it shows that this myth is more ancient than any other myth which depicts sky god as male principle. (Earliest societies were matriarchal). The relevance of this myth here is that the “Kalan” is the earliest sky god of India (Indus People) and he takes a hovering position over mother earth as depicted in the picture. The calibration of astronomical position of star constellations were made by depicting various body parts of Kalan to that of constellation as shown in the figure of Kalan. Further details are under the heading jyotish wheel, under the chapter “Astronomy and calendar”.

Kalan

Kalan is variously described as Yama or Rudra or Shiva. In fact all the three are manifestations of the same principle of death and overseer of moral standards. He was overseer of moral principles because he could see from his heavenly position all the events, which were happening on this earth. Pictures given below show the dignified form as well as the original form of Kalan. The dignified from of Kalan model is drawn after the depiction in the book “myths and legends”. (David Bellingham, 1996, p. 147)  The original picture of Kalan could be seen in the seal depiction figure no.6.12, page no.119, of Possehl’s book. (L.Possehl, 2003) One important principle to be learnt here is that the old replaced gods are depicted as devil by the new usurpers. This second depiction of Kalan gives a feeling that it is drawn by the new generation of priests, who had replaced him with a new god (most probably proto-Shiva); hence Kalan has been depicted as devil, even though he was an important venerated god of earlier group.

 

Kalan plays an important role in this book; he is concluded as the time keeper and calendar maker of Indus people. Further details are under the heading jyotish wheel.

This illustration is from a fragment of seal found in Harappa. Note that the right hand of Kalan itself is forked (Like a Trishul) and is having a double bun hair style. (Kenoyer J. M., The latest discoveries.)

 Rudra- Shiva

              Asko Parpola’s description of Rudra is in detail and very thoughtfully analysed and narrated. It gives the full picture of the pre-Indo-European god. It is generally agreed that Rudra is pre-Vedic god and most probably prime god of the Indus people. The pictorial depiction of Rudra could be seen in the copper tablets of Mohenjo Daro. (Parpola, 2000, p. 234) Further it is generally agreed that proto Shiva depicted in the yogi seal is the next god evolved from Rudra, and fully manifested Shiva appears in the later day Hinduism. Hence it is important to fully understand the characteristics of Rudra to appreciate the religious belief of Indus people.

                 The male figure shown in the copper tablet is armed with bow and arrow, anthropomorphic  apart from having a bull’s horn, tail and long eyes. A male deity having similar long eyes and bull’s horn, but with a goat’s beard is known from several terracotta masks and terracotta statuettes. The Harappan art also depicts the Markhor goat (wild mountain goat) with a human face, which has similar long eyes and goat’s beard. (Parpola, 2000, pp. 233, 234) Rudra holds two weapons, club in one hand and bow in other hand. It is likely that all symbols depicting club and bow may be indicating Rudra. In modern day these symbols are indicating Mars (planet) and Aries (constellation), which are the outcome of evolutionary process   on Rudra. In this evolutionary process Rudra was in the beginning stage, Mars and Aries are in the middle stage and Shiva and Kartikeya are in the final stage.  

         In Rig-Vedic hymns, the god Rudra is described as a cruel hunter and raider. With his characteristic weapon the bow, he shoots arrows at cattle and people resulting in fever, disease and death. This role of Rudra is taken over by Shiva in Vedic period and his youthful son Skanda (Kartikeya/ Murugan) (Hindu –war-god). Rudra is born out of the incestuous relationship of his father Prajapathi with his daughter Rohini.  Rudra punishes his own father for this incestuous relationship. This crude story should not be taken literally and confused with moral values of ancient people. This story is an allegorical expression describing the loss of importance of bull constellation. It looks like that the beginning of the year in ancient times coincided with the heliacal rising of the constellation Auriga (the bull constellation). Later it was replaced with Dog Star (Canis Major) sometime in the ancient past. This change was very important and was recorded in story form with an attractive story. Note that the same story of queen having relationship with bull and delivering a Minotaur son appears in Greek culture, which is parallel to the story of Prajapathi’s relationship with Rohini.  The similarity between these two myths suggest that the story originated somewhere in Middle-east (Sumeria) and has spread on two directions, one stream towards Greece and other stream towards India.

Myths

Myths are a separate line of thinking which are exhaustive and inconclusive. It is a separate topic which has to be dealt with exclusively. The present topic Indus civilisation and Vedic culture are so much inter twined with myth that it is very difficult to ignore the study of myths. I would like to present and explain some of the important myths which are relevant in our context. I was very much intrigued by the story of Dhuruvan for long time from my child hood onwards. I was of the opinion that it was some kind of historical event which had been forgotten, which could be correlated with some historical event on the availability of some evidence. The theme of the story was so emotional that it made a deep scar in my mind and always remained in my mind.

 The final breakthrough came to me a few years back, while I was reading Bhagavatha Purana. The story comes in chapter-4, where the history of Dhuruvan is narrated and it is clearly mentioned that the Dhuruvan will be reigning as pole star for a period of 26,000 years, after that he will be replaced by some other person. The editor of the book   “Shrimath Bhagavatha Saram”, Shri Anna had given the page note on the scientific truth behind this story and the concept of precession.  (Anna, 2003) It is truly amazing to know that our ancestors have understood the phenomenon of precession and have codified that principle in a remarkable story, so that the coming generations will remember it and will benefit from that story.

Precession is the concept that the earth revolves around sun at the same time spins around itself like a top. During such spin like a top, it does the same thing like a top, it “wobbles”. When the top wobbles, it makes a small circle on the head side. Earth also wobbles and makes a similar circular movement on the North Pole side. This results in a phenomenon that the pole star gets replaced every 26,000 years. The moral of the story is that you should not look for historical event, in every myth. The reason for developing a myth is generally an astronomical event.

I fell into the trap of myth, with the hope that it will contain some kind of evidence which will explain the controversial topic of arising of earliest civilized society. In mythological stories, I followed up the story of Perseus and tried to fix him in some historical perspective for long time. Recently, I was pursuing the astronomy subject trying to figure out the names and locations of various constellations, during this process of identification of constellations, I realised that Andromeda, the Queen’s throne and Hero (Perseus) are names of constellations and not historical figures. Using the subject of mythology with a hope to trace out some historical event may lead to a pit fall, leading to wrong conclusions.

 



[1] Ochre is naturally occurring red stone of iron oxide.

[2] Anthropomorphic form means that of giving the attribution of a human form to a god or an animal. (A kind of mixed figure of animal, god and human being)


Comments