F) Vedic period‎ > ‎



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. Later the same constellation had been given symbols of goat and honey bee (Aswin --medicine men). Thus the Pegasus star constellation is very important one and had been identified with four different popular symbols over a period of time and all the four symbols are available in Indus seals.

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 Vedic literature in later day period. Mere change of moon calendar into solar calendar should not be construed as invasion by Aryans.(Trickle down theory of Aryans may be accepted) 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.

addition to be made ---
this issue of Horse and Goat is being discussed by Shri.Ramachandran also ---
that extract should be added here ---