2ndlook

On the sands of Saraswati – Indus दशकोण – 3

Posted in Environment, History, India by Anuraag Sanghi on May 15, 2010

"Curse upon Agade", a text recounting the ruin of the capital, cursed by the gods when king Naram-Sin destroyed the temple of Enlil in Nippur. Clay tablet, 12.6 x 6 cm. Inv.: AO 6890. Location :Louvre, Paris, France Photo Credit : Erich Lessing / Art Resource, NY

“Curse upon Agade”, a text recounting the ruin of the capital, cursed by the gods when king Naram-Sin destroyed the temple of Enlil in Nippur. Clay tablet, 12.6 x 6 cm. Inv.: AO 6890. Location :Louvre, Paris, France Photo Credit : Erich Lessing / Art Resource, NY

The curse of Akkad

As the various cities of the Saraswati-Indus Basin declined, some two thousand kilometers away, the Akkadian Empire also vanished. Was that a co-incidence?

A curious 4000-year old story, The Curse of Agade (also spelt as Akkad /Akkade), a favorite with Babylonian scribes, has been of much interest to modern scholars and researchers. For more than 75 years now, these texts have been analysed and examined. Many versions of this lament were recovered from Sumerian sites (like Nippur). This ‘lament’ was long thought to be a mythical-literary text – with little historical value. Wrongly thought! This poem described how,

The large fields produced no grain
The flooded fields produced no fish
The watered garden produced no honey and wine …

He who slept in the house, had no burial
People were flailing at themselves from hunger

This extract above, from clay tablet, known as the Curse of Akkad, dated 2200 BC, gained documentary credibility after some recent research.  This study showed that it was not Gutians who destroyed Akkad, but it was the multi-century drought.

This study, indicated a prolonged drought in the Akkadian region. To confirm Akkad’s drought, soil samples were analysed. This study confirmed (Weiss 1993) that a prolonged drought significantly, affected the Akkadian empire.

Collapse of the Akkadian Empire - Figure 4 (de Monocal, 2001). Collapse of the Akkadian empire occurred at 4170, as documented by detailed radiocarbon dates from archaeological sites. Windborne sediments and deep-sea sediment cores from the Gulf of Oman (down wind from eolian dust source areas of Mesopotamian sites) are used to reconstruct aridity. The increase of eolian dolomite and calcite ate 4025 BP reveals a 300 year drought. (Chart courtesy - CULTURAL RESPONSES TO CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE HOLOCENE By Richard Prentice)

Collapse of the Akkadian Empire – Figure 4 (de Monocal, 2001). Collapse of the Akkadian empire occurred at 4170, as documented by detailed radiocarbon dates from archaeological sites. Windborne sediments and deep-sea sediment cores from the Gulf of Oman (down wind from eolian dust source areas of Mesopotamian sites) are used to reconstruct aridity. The increase of eolian dolomite and calcite ate 4025 BP reveals a 300 year drought. (Chart courtesy – CULTURAL RESPONSES TO CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE HOLOCENE By Richard Prentice)

Pretty much like what the Indian pollen deposits research did, (Gurdip Singh – 1967-71), in the lakes of Rajasthan.

Pollen dust on Rajasthan’s lake beds

The Akkadian drought also coincided with low rainfall for an extended period of time in North-Western India. Fossil remains of pollen dust (Gurdip Singh – 1967;1971) during this period shows a marked drop in rainfall. Surveys in Rajasthan lake beds showed,

After about 3500 yr B.P., the Lunkaransar profile indicated a desiccated lake bed; because no pollen was preserved, the pollen-climate calibration function was of no use for estimating the amount of the precipitation decline.

This drought and the tectonic movements were seemingly linked from India to Turkey – right upto Africa. North America was not spared from this climatic phenomenon. Sympathetic evidence has been found in Europe of this huge climatic disruption.

A severe drought in parts of low-latitude northeastern Africa and southwestern Asia ~4200 yr ago caused major disruption to ancient civilizations. Stable isotope, trace element, and organic fluorescence data from a calcite flowstone collected from the well-watered Alpi Apuane karst of central-western Italy indicate that the climatic event responsible for this drought was also recorded in mid-latitude Europe.

Ice-core samples at Kilimanjaro seem to indicate a similar climatic cycle. These simultaneous and

abrupt drought events occurred conspicuously at ca. 12,000–11,500, 8500, 7500, 4500, 4000–3700, and 2000 uncalibrated radiocarbon years B.P. Further investigations are required to gain a more precise chronology of these events, which appear to have been crucial for some of the most salient developments in Africa’s prehistory.

Over a long period, from 2200 BC-1500 BC. It affected large parts of Africa. This extended period of drought may have covered most of South-Western Asia.

Some drastic tectonic activity also coincided with this drought. In Turkey, it produced volcanic activity which disrupted lives. In India it affected Sindhu /Indus, and the Yamuna rivers. And gave birth to Ganga.

Most famously, this tectonic activity dried up the Saraswati river.

The Greeks have something to say

The drying up of the Saraswati river and the changes in the Sindhu /Indus river course, created many ghost towns, especially in North West India, upto the Sindh region. Strabo’s 17-volume work Geographica, has something interesting to say about deserted and abandoned villages and townships. It mentions thousands of villages and cities, in India – abandoned, during Alexander’s raid into Northern India.

Some 1500-2000 years after the demise of Saraswati and the change in the course of the Indus.

Aristobulus … says that when he was despatched upon some business into the country, he saw a tract of land deserted, which contained more than a thousand cities with their dependent villages ; the Indus, having left its proper channel, was diverted into another, on the left hand, much deeper, and precipitated itself into it like a cataract, so that it no longer watered the country by the (usual) inundation on the right hand, from which it had receded, and this was elevated above the level, not only of the new channel of the river, but above that of the (new) inundation.

What do the Indian texts say?

The Evolution of Mahabharata (Table courtesy - Delhi: Ancient History By Upinder Singh).

The Evolution of Mahabharata (Table courtesy – Delhi: Ancient History By Upinder Singh).

Saraswati in classical Indian texts

For centuries now, Indians ‘knew’ of the ‘lost’ Saraswati river. What is the source of this Indian oral narrative?

Saraswati is mentioned more than 60 times in the Rigveda. But, the Ganga gets only one mention – and that too, possibly a latter-day insertion. Saraswati, as the river is the “purest among the rivers, flowing from the mountains to the sea.” The sixth book of Rig Veda (6.61.2), describes the powerful Saraswati, in her course through the mountains, “slayeth the Paravatas.” In the Gritsamada verse (II.41.16), Saraswati is ambitame, naditame, devitame Saraswati. (“Saraswati, best of mothers, best river, best goddess.”).

As the river dried, Saraswati changed from being a river goddess to the goddess of learning, wisdom and music. Was it because most of the Indic texts and knowledge was composed along the banks of the Saraswati? Was the extinct river honoured by being elevated to ‘devi’ status!

As the Saraswati progressively dried up, migration to the Indo-Gangetic plains gathered steam. Indian textual narratives also changed. There are added allusions in Mahabharata to the underground Saraswati and there are numerous mentions of Ganga in the Mahabharata.

The earliest available report of the drying up of this river is in the epic literature of the Mahabharata where it says that the river went underground at Binasana, near the present town of Sirsa. The Mahabharata also mentions the reappearance of the Saraswati at three places down stream, then known as Chamasodbheda, Sirobheda and Nagobheda. (from The Lost Courses of the Saraswati River in the Great Indian Desert: New Evidence from Landsat Imagery, by Bimal Ghose, Amal Kar and Zahid Husain © 1979 The Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers).

This people “movement is reflected in the shift from Vedic literature that is centred on the Sarasvati to the Puranic literature that is centred on the Ganga.” How is the Saraswati river related to the ‘Indus Valley Civilization’? How is the dried up River Saraswati important to Indian history? How and why did the Saraswati river dry up?

Saraswati dries up

On the reasons for Saraswati drying up, the most acceptable hypotheses proposes that “tectonic activity in the northern Punjab … bifurcated the water of the Himalayas from the western drainage system of the Indus to the eastern drainage system of the Ganges”. Researchers have reconstructed that the original Saraswati possibly,

originated in Bandapunch masiff (Sarawati-Rupin glacier confluence at Naitwar in western Garhwal). Descending through Adibadri, Bhavanipur and Balchapur in the foothills to the plains, the river took roughly a southwesterly course, passing through the plains of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat and finally it is believed to have debouched into the ancient Arabian Sea at the Great Rann of Kutch. In this long journey, Saraswati was believed to have had three tributaries, Shatadru (Sutlej) arising from Mount Kailas, Drishadvati from Siwalik Hills and the old Yamuna.

Chronology of the Saraswati river system  |  Source & courtesy - Saraswati – the ancient river lost in the desert      A. V. Sankaran  |  Click to open larger image.

Chronology of the Saraswati river system | Source & courtesy – Saraswati – the ancient river lost in the desert A. V. Sankaran | Click to open larger image.

Based on satellite imagery and research, there is an apparent correlation between the dried up Saraswati river bed and most of the ‘Indus-Valley civilization’ archaeological sites.

Earlier, even before the LANDSAT pictures from NASA, surveyors were intrigued about

the source of the perennial supply of subsurface water in western part of the Great Indian Desert where annual rainfall is so meagre and erratic (less than 150 mm) that it cannot contribute substantially to the perennial wells of the area.

Some 160 years ago, Saraswati’s dry river bed impressed most who saw it. In the middle of nineteenth century, a British surveyor described Saraswati’s dry river bed which

runs through an open country with little or no cultivation, and may be increased to any breadth; camels may march by it fifty abreast on either side of column of troops.

While the Saraswati dried up, it left behind tell-tale markers.

ISRO has dug up 23 tube wells along the course of the river mapped by it across 70 kilometers west of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan.

The results have been startling. All the wells have provided good quality drinking water with very little Total Dissolved Salts (TDS). The water itself was found at a depth ranging from 35 to 60 meters which is unusual for the area which is covered with sand dunes.

“We also dug a well 50 meters away from the channel and yielded water with very high TDS content proving quality water exists only around the old river bed of the extinct river,” he added.

In 1968, deep bores were sunk along the dried river bed.

The alternate plentiful supply and scarcity of water in the river is confirmed by the boring in the river bed by Raikes, 1968.

This tectonic-climatic disturbance affected a large swath of the Indian sub-continent. What part of India did this combination of drought and tectonic activity affect?

Contours of the Indus Valley-Saraswati Basin

Most affected by this global drought and tectonic movements was a cluster of Indian cities and villages along the Saraswati Basin. In the last 60 years, archaeologists look at the area covered by the thousands of these sites,

… so vast in its extent that at its peak it is estimated to have encompassed a staggering 1.5 million sq km — an area larger than Western Europe. In size, it dwarfed contemporary civilisations in the Nile Valley in Egypt and in the Tigris and Euphrates valleys in Sumer (modern Iraq). Its geographical boundaries are now believed to extend up to the Iranian border on the west, Turkmenistan and Kashmir in the north, Delhi in the east and the Godavari Valley in the south …

Over the last nearly 60 years, research has expanded. It has also shown that

Out of nearly 2,600 archaeological sites of varying sizes, over 1500 archaeological settlements were found on the Sarasvati river basin; there are also major settlements (some of) which are larger than the settlements of Harappa and Mohenjodaro (100 ha. each), Lakhmirwala (Bhatinda) (225 ha.), Rakhigari (Hissar) (224 ha.), Gurnikalan One (Bhatinda) (144 ha.), Hasanpur (Bhatinda) (100 ha), Ganweriwala (Bahawalpur) (81.5 ha), Kotada (Jamnagar) (72 ha.), Nagoor (Sukkur) (50 ha.), Nindowari (Jhawalan) (50 ha), Tharo Waro Daro (Sukkur) (50 ha.), Mangli Nichi (Ludhiana) (40 ha.) (underlined text supplied).

What is in a name

Saraswati archaeological sites, given a misleading name of ‘Indus Valley Civilization’ are the oldest date-able evidence of Indian culture – going back to earlier than 3000 BC. With retro-fitted history, the ‘discovery’ of the ‘Indus Valley Civilization’ was inconvenient, for Western history, based on Biblical logic of the Ussher-Lightfoot chronology.

There are two fallacies with the nomenclature of ‘Indus Valley Civilization’. There is no proof altogether, that the Indus Valley Civilization was separate and different from Indian civilization. By the simple act of naming it as Indus Valley Civilization, Marshall-Woolley-Wheeler-Piggott have made out illogical assumptions – without a shred of evidence. One – as though Indus Valley was apart from the Indian civilization. Para-dropped by a passing alien ship, maybe? Or two, the subsequent evolution and developments in India were discrete and unrelated to the Saraswati sites. There is no evidence to support either of the ‘ideas’.

The other major reason is that since the sites are clustered around the Saraswati river bed, the term Indus Valley ‘civilization’ is misleading – and no longer valid. This cluster of sites should correctly be called Saraswati Basin sites.

How did the entire Saraswati theory come about? How did this start off?

The Probable Course of the Sarawati River

The Probable Course of the Sarawati River

The Saraswati Theory

After Indian independence (1947), faced with an acute shortage of research sites, Indian academic establishment broke new ground.

India was left with just one Indus site, in Gujarat and a couple of other sites towards the north, so there was an urgency to discover more Indus sites in India. This has been among the big achievements of Indian archaeology post-independence – that hundreds of Indus sites today are known, not only in Gujarat but also in Rajasthan, in Punjab, in Haryana, and even in Utter (sic) Pradesh.

Mohenjo daro and Harappa excavations now fall in modern Pakistan. In the face of limited access to sites in Pakistan, Indian archaeologists focused on Indian sites. Many sites were discovered in the post-colonial Indian area – apart from Harappa and Mohenjo daro. There are whispers that historians and archaeologists from India (especially, the Saraswati school) have been denied access. Some Indian archaeologists have charged HARP with interjection of newer kinds ‘politics’ into research of the Saraswati Basin and Indus Valley.

Since Harappa and Mohenjodaro were the first to be excavated in the 1920s, Sir John Marshall, who headed the team of explorers, called it the Indus civilisation because it flourished in the valley of that river. Marshall’s announcement wowed the world and pushed India’s known history back by about 2,000 years. At the time of Independence there was no real need to change the epithet as barely a dozen Indus sites had been explored. With the prime sites, Mohenjodaro and Harappa, going to Pakistan, however, a feverish hunt began in India to locate and excavate Indus sites — a race that its neighbour soon joined. In doing so, they began uncovering a civilisation … vast in its extent … (from The Indus Riddle, By Raj Chengappa, ellipsis supplied).

Building the Saraswati hypotheses

Considering the importance of the Saraswati sites, to the world (and Indian) history, Indian academics used a multi-disciplinary approach. Evidence from extensive radio-carbon dating, satellite imagery, hydrological studies, statistical analysis was integrated for creating a context for Saraswati sites.

since 1972 topographical, hydrological and national remote-sensing investigation done by the Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur, the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad and the Remote Sensing Agency, Hyderabad, brought out evidence for the existence of a mighty river in the region over which the Ghaggar flows today. Tectonic disturbances around 1800 B.C. which raised the Aravalli ranges in Rajasthan, it was said, changed the directions of the important rivers flowing down the Shiwaliks. The Yamuna turned east and went on to join the Ganga, making that river the mightiest in the subcontinent. The Sutlej began to shift westwards towards the Indus. Thus the once mighty river was swallowed up …

In the 1980-90 decade, India’s own satellite went into space, remote sensing costs decreased and applications increased. After years of mapping and images, it became apparent that the ‘mythical’ Saraswati river in fact did in fact exist at one point of time. Researchers, from India, A Ghosh and from Pakistan, MR Mughal have shown that the drying up of Saraswati, was a fact. It is surmised that

tectonic events must have severed the glacier connection and cut off the supply of melt water from the glacier to this river; as a result, the Saraswati became non-perennial and dependent on monsoon rains. The diversion of the river water through separation of its tributaries led to the conversion of the river as disconnected lakes and pools; ultimately it was reduced to a dry channel bed. Therefore, the river Saraswati has not disappeared but only dried up in some stretches

Further, it is but a natural corollary, that “as the river dried up completely in the second millenium BC, albeit in several stages and with several reversals …” settlements and towns at Saraswati were abandoned.

It has been pointed out how

“Lothal, believed to be the oldest dockyard in the world, is located at the head of the Gulf of Khambhat, now situated about 23 km away from the shoreline and about 12 m above the mean sea-level, on the left bank of river Bhogawa … clear evidence of southward shifting of shoreline by about 23 km”

4000 year-old Indian oral history has now been vindicated by modern research.

Different strokes

These tectonic shifts that dried up Saraswati, also had different effects on the cities of the Indus-Saraswati complex.

Some 90 miles down-stream from Mohenjo daro, is the Manchar Lake, at Sehwan, spread over large area. It was recently estimated at some 24 sq. km, and in 1890, as some “twenty miles by ten” – that is some 200 sq. miles, the largest fresh-water lake in Asia. These tectonic shifts , probably, created the Mancher lake at Sehwan. This lake plausibly, flooded Mohenjo daro some 7 times. The many layers of silt at Mohenjo daro can be accounted for the flooding of the Lake Mancher, at Sehwan. Even today peopled by the Mohana fishermen-tribe, who some believe to be remnants of the original Mohenjo daro residents – an assumption based on thin evidence.

There are modern recorded parallels of such events.

In 1819 an earth tremor in Kutch created a huge natural dam 75 miles long and upto 16 miles wide that disrupted the flow of the Eastern Nara branch of the Indus. After 7 years, however, the rivers floodwaters created a breach and the Nara resumed its flow to the sea.

Harappa seems to have suffered more due to reduction in the inflow in the Ghaggar-Hakra rivers due to change in the flows of either the Yamuna (into the Ganga) or the Sutlej (into the Indus).

To this cataclysmic event, add the long travelling global drought.

Politics and theology in archaeology

Artifices and contradictions in the story proposed by Marshall-Woolley-Wheeler-Piggott structure started showing up, as more and more data piled up. Outcome – the Saraswati Theory, a more unified approach to history.

Channels have been mapped, soil sediments studied, groundwaters analysed and earthquake history investigated. And not all of this is recent work. European colonial surveyors, agents and adventurers of all kinds who travelled at ground level, as it were, observed, measured and recorded what they saw. They also noticed that this arid, thinly populated wasteland was densely peppered with the remains of ancient, permanent settlements — many of them city-size, which could never have existed without abundant year-round water. In some cases, these pioneers recorded what they heard too, such as folk traditions which told of a time when a great river flowed through the region.

The earliest and the most well-known Indus Valley and the Saraswati Basin sites are now in Pakistan. Pakistani sites are controlled by an ‘independent’ American-Pakistani project – named HARP (Harappa Archaeological Research Project). Accepting the Sarswati thesis is, but anathema, in Islamic Pakistan, which is an important part of the HARP project. Not to forget, that it makes Western historical research of the last 150 years redundant – which complicates research. More than 10,000 libraries will have to junk more than a million history books.

Table Source - A. S. Gaur* and K. H. Vora, National Institute of Oceanography

Table Source – A. S. Gaur* and K. H. Vora, National Institute of Oceanography

What further held up research in the Saraswati belt was the fact that two sides squared up are the US-Pakistan HARP collaboration, on one side. The Saraswati team on the other.

Neither is asking or willing to give a quarter in this struggle to write history – the history of mankind. Seemingly, the Saraswati vs Indus has acquired overtones of India vs Pakistan.

And may history be damned!

Most of the Saraswati Basin work was done at Indian institutions, under differing degrees of political patronage and dispensations. With multinational collaboration from India, Pakistan, Europe and USA, with many false starts and tangential movements, the Saraswati Theory has acquired a certain acceptance.

This acceptance, in spite of spirited opposition from HARP, has possibly made the WASP-Pakistan, narrow-cast establishment under the Farmer-Sproat-Witzel combine defensive. Not to be outdone, having failed at the exclusion and shutting out game, the same players are trying to work from ‘within’ the Indian system.

Foreign universities are all for bartering their technological expertise and resources to get an opportunity to work on the unexcavated sites here … Director, ASI, told The Indian Express, “We have received applications from a number of foreign institutions like Harvard University, Cambridge University and others …”

Before rushing pell-mell into such ‘joint-ventures’, it may be worthwhile to remember the dubious role played by Western archaeologists in various parts of the world.

Tales you lose, Heads I win

Some ‘historians’ have come up with the thinnest of ‘evidence’ against the Saraswati theory. Like rivers from neighbouring geographies with similar sounding names.

Much like York became New York, so also there is Megiddo (of the battle fame), Makedonia  (home of Alexander), Mary Magdeline came from Magadan, Megasthenes came from Magasthan  (Magan, land of the Magi) – all candidates for Magadha cognates. Kannauj near Patna finds an echo in Kahnuj of ancient Carmania (now Kerman, the largest province in modern Iran). Byzantium is a Vaijayanti cognate. Byzantine traditions were influenced by India. The name Byzantium itself was possibly derived from Vaijayanti – also the ancient capital of Satavahana Empire,  now in Goa. The Greek and Egyptian cities of Thebes are possibly cognates of To Po (Upper Tibet) – now known as Tibet. As does Judea – derived from Ayodhya->Yehudiya->Judea.

Saraswati, a celebrated river, also had cognates. Harahvati /Harkhawati in South-West Afghanistan is another ‘suspect’ for the Saraswati mentioned in the Vedas, Sarayu with Harirud. There are other such thin claims that Gomti and Gomal in Baluchistan are the same.

Archaeology in India is a young discipline. Since most Indian population centres have been existence for centuries, archaeological excavations have not been possible or wide ranging. India’s population density also does not allow vast archaeological projects to happen. And anyway, both ,

Indian and foreign archaeologists often invoked invasion /diffusion as tools for explaining away the origins of fully-fledged archaeological cultures ranging in age from the Lower Paleolithic to the early historic period as well as individual traits concerning pottery, technology and other aspects. Africa, West and Central Asia and Europe were the favourite source areas. (From Theory in Archaeology: A World Perspective By Peter J. Ucko, page 132)

Lower Paleolithic is about 250,000 years ago and early historic period in India is 3000 years ago.

Where are the texts, the systems

The real marker in this case may be the depth of the civilization. Why is it that there is no evidence of Sanskrit in all these ‘Central Asian’ locations from where these ‘Aryans’ came from? Why did Vedic learning survive only in India? How is it that Vedic Gods survived only in India – and not in the ‘Aryan homelands’. How come there are lakhs of Sanskrit texts in India, but none where Sanskrit supposedly originated from? In Central Asia!

And such legless theories, abound. For instance, the mythical ‘Indus Valley priest-king’, based on, “a few stone sculptures of seated male figures, such as the intricately carved and colored Priest King, so called even though there is no evidence he was a priest or king.”

One the other hand, the Saraswati river theory, supported by strong evidence, is picking up more adherents and evidence. Fortunately, there are many sites in India, where research can continue, without access to Mohenjo daro and Harappa. For instance the

excavation of Lothal, an Indus port town located off the Gujarat coast. It shattered notions that the Indus was a landlocked civilisation, conservative and isolated, and as a result sank without a trace. Rao uncovered a dock 700 ft long — even bigger than the one currently at Visakhapatnam. It took an estimated million bricks to build it. Next to the dockyard were massive granaries and specialised factories for bead-making. Hundreds of seals were found, some showing Persian Gulf origin, indicating that Lothal was a major port of exit and entry.

Possehl, who made a recent study, found that in 2000 BC in Pakistan’s Sindh district the sites were down from 86 to 6 and in Cholistan, 174 to 41. But in India the sites in Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan exploded from 218 to 853. Possehl asks: “How can this be construed as an eclipse? We are looking at a highly mobile people.”

Dwellers from these settlements moved to other cities. The HARP-Pakistani school of thinking sticks to the old artifice,

“that the Indus River changed course, which would have hampered the local agricultural economy and the city’s importance as a center of trade.

But no evidence exists that flooding destroyed the city, and the city wasn’t totally abandoned … and … a changing river course doesn’t explain the collapse of the entire Indus civilization.

So, what does explain this, Witzelbhai? Blue-eyed, blonde, White Aryan invaders, thundering down the Khyber, I presume!

Alternate model

As the Saraswati River became erratic ... and started drying. (Click to get larger image).

As the Saraswati River became erratic … and started drying. (Click to get larger image).

We do not see archaeological finds of the Saraswati type in the rest of India, because the rest of India continued with life, at existing settlements. Most Indian cities have been settled for centuries – and have not seen vast archaeological excavations. And in all these centuries, Indic peoples moved up and down from South to North to South to East and West – from living settlements to living settlements.

Given the vastness of the Indus empire, V.H. Sonawane, director, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History in the MS University of Baroda, points out: “The first casualty is the earlier notion of a Harappan homogeneity. It is clear that there was tremendous regional diversity just as we have in modern India.”(from The Indus Riddle, By Raj Chengappa, ellipsis supplied).

As Gregory Possehl confirms, that there “was no general “eclipse” but a process of deurbanization and a shift eastward in the general distribution of the population.”

In the ’70s, when Braj Basi Lal, a former ASI director-general, began excavating Kalibangan, a site in the desert sands of Rajasthan, he was amazed to find evidence of a field of crossed furrows dated to around 2900 BC, preserved by a strange quirk of nature. Looking around he found that farmers in the region used a similar ploughing technique even after 5,000 years. The ancient houses had tandoors (earthen ovens) similar to ones found in kitchens in the villages in the area. As Lal says, “It was as if the present was the past and that despite the passage of time not much had changed.” (from The Indus Riddle, By Raj Chengappa, ellipsis supplied).

Independent research in Pakistan, by the noted specialist, RM Mughal echoes the same. The ability of the Indic people to live with diversity in skin colour, language, food, lifestyle, trade and thinking is an age old phenomenon.

Mughal’s studies in Pakistan have helped chalk out an approximate chronology of the changes. The beginnings of village farming communities and pastoral camps were reported as early as 7000 to 5000 BC. But developed farming communities, which grew wheat and barley, emerged around 4300 BC. In a site called Mehrgarh near the Bolan river in Baluchistan province, there are signs of agricultural surplus with the establishment of community storage silos. The conclusion: Sorry to use the cliche, but we had unity in diversity even then. (from The Indus Riddle, By Raj Chengappa, ellipsis supplied).

To make sense of this cataclysmic event, one also needs to read the account of how the Ganga was brought down from the heavens – which we will in the next post. The Ramayana takes much time in describing how the Ganga was ‘persuaded’ down from the heavens. The holy Indian trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh contributed their efforts and might to his ‘cause’.

An Indian summer

1972. India, basking in the warm after-glow of the military victory in the 1971 War with Pakistan. The Oil crisis was yet to hit India. Indians were taking hesitant first steps towards a remittance economy. Rich, expatriate neighbours, relatives and friends were spreading the words of ‘phoren’ opportunities to Indians. The 1973 Oil shock and the Bombay High discovery were a few years in the future.

As were India’s remote sensing satellites (1979).

Oral chronicles

That year, was the first time I heard about the supposedly subterranean Saraswati river. From my grand-father, at Haridwar संगम sangam (meaning union). The Indian oral narrative, goes that Saraswati meets up with ‘sister’ rivers, Ganga and ‘Jumna’ at Haridwar. I did the dip at संगम sangam, as any संगम sangam of rivers is a considered shubh (a fertility symbol?) – and a dip is called for. Later, my mother too, corroborated the Saraswati ‘story’.

The Kaveri </i><i>sangam</i> at Srirangapatinam (Picture courtesy - Travelpod; by Indian nature).

The Kaveri sangam at Srirangapatinam (Picture courtesy – Travelpod; by Indian nature).

In (was it?) 1973, a small rivulet, which joins the Musi at Hyderabad, (a tributary of Krishna river) was at full flow, due to huge cloud-burst.

That year, on dubki poonam, (the first full moon after Diwali, reserved for a bath at any river), the entire extended-family was bundled into a few vehicles, to go for a dip in this insignificant ‘river’. Never after 1973, did I see that rivulet flow so strongly again.

In 1977, at Seringapatinam, we did a dip at the Kaveri sangam – a संगम sangam of two arms (Kaveri and Lokapavani) of the same river. At Rishikesh, the संगम sangam of Ganges and Chandrabhaga, I did daily dips for about 45 days in 1972. Also at Rishikesh, is the Triveni ghats, the meeting of Gunga, Jumna and Saraswati. I am yet to go to the Triveni ghat at Somnath – the joining of Kapil, Hiran and River Saraswati (again).

My experience was pretty much like the experience of Anusha, a housewife-mother-blogger from Mumbai, who writes

125 Kms from Varanasi is the sacred city of Allahabad where the three greatest rivers of India meet … The Ganga … from the Himalayas, Gangotri, passing … Rishikesh and Haridwar … industrial city of Kanpur, before arriving at Allahabad to join her sisters as she makes her way to Kashi. Yamuna also begins … in the Himalayas, at Yamunotri … passes through Mathura and Brindavan, (after) association of Krishna, … arrives at Allahabad … she joins the Ganga … Saraswati arrives at Allahabad from god alone knows where, for she is an underground river, … remains unseen … The place where these 3 rivers merge is the Triveni Sangam

The three rivers maintain their identity and are visibly different as they merge. While the Yamuna is deep but calm and greenish in colour, the Ganga is shallow, but forceful and clear. The Saraswati remains hidden, but the faithful believe that she makes her presence felt underwater.

Much before the Saraswati paper by Yashpal et al (1980), based on NASA-LANDSAT images. Much before Indian Remote Sensing satellites went up in 1979.

A leading educationist and currently chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Yash Pal, who had published in 1980 in his own words “a small paper on the existence of Saraswati river which attracted attention,” concurred with the view. “Surveys so far have brought out clearly the path the river had taken when in flow,” the national research professor told The Pioneer. He did a stint with ISRO (which has played a pivotal role in the probes so far) from 1973-1980 where he set up the Space Application Centre.

A case of India’s oral history vindicated by modern research!

Droughts, food and culture: ecological change and food security in Africa’s …

By Fekri A. Hassan

Advertisements

38 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Fan of your blog said, on May 17, 2010 at 4:18 am

    Dear Anurag,

    Thank you for another brilliant post on your well researched blog. What you have provided is amazing information. If possible, can you please provide your views on the following in your future posts:
    1. If Ganga was a more recent phenomenon (around time of Ramayan) and plays such a big role in the Mahabharat, what, in your opinion, were the dates of Ramayan and Mahabharat? A lot has been published on these topics, but I wanted to get your well-researched perspective.
    2. While there is no doubt about the great culture that thrived in India many many years ago, and which is well documented, it seems that the Aryan civilization theory is still propagated in school books and most people still believe it. Are you aware of any efforts to put an end to these ill-conceived notions in our history books?
    3. What is the origin and significance of the word Om (Aum)? Is there any scientific basis to its existence? It shows up in all Hindu texts and yet, other than the symbolism it conveys, not much is known. Can you please shed some light?

    Again, thank you so much for your well researched blog. It is truly an eye opener.

  2. Anuraag Sanghi said, on May 17, 2010 at 11:35 am

    If Ganga was a more recent phenomenon (around time of Ramayan) and plays such a big role in the Mahabharat, what, in your opinion, were the dates of Ramayan and Mahabharat? A lot has been published on these topics, but I wanted to get your well-researched perspective.

    Dating Indian texts is a bad idea. These texts were living documents – and vast numbers of people composed them over a long period of time. To some of these core compositions, many layers were added as time went by.

    The section on Ganga, ‘nested’ in the Ramayana, may not have been part of the ‘original’ text – but a latter addendum. The ‘nested’ story device is used in Indian texts liberally – and modern writers avoid. So, I would avoid altogether attempts to date Indian texts.

    While other cultures struggle with low or high double digits of ancient texts, Bharata-ah has lakhs of them. This vast body of textual creation, has not happened anywhere else in the ancient world. The very assumption that it happened in a Bharata-ah a matter of a few centuries – while the Aryans, Greeks, Persians, Scythians, Tocharians, Huns, were invading Indians, massacring the males, raping the women and enslaving the rest is simply a caricature – which by any definition cannot be called history. Thus the very attempt to phase Indian culture is artificial and unproductive.

    While there is no doubt about the great culture that thrived in India many many years ago, and which is well documented, it seems that the Aryan civilization theory is still propagated in school books and most people still believe it. Are you aware of any efforts to put an end to these ill-conceived notions in our history books?

    Indian history is a huge part of world history.

    There is a clear propaganda objective from the part of the Congress Party – to show how they defeated the ‘mighty’ British. How they have brought ‘progress’ to a ‘backward’, ‘poor’, ‘caste-ridden’ India.

    Similarly, BJP’s agenda at ‘Hindutva’ takes a foreign idiom of religion, Hinduism, and religious identity, Hindutva to define India is defeatist. Theoretically, Hindutva is not supposed to be religious – but that practically is turning out to be something else. Remember that arya in Bharata-ah was a value-set – and a not a religion, race or nation! The land of Bharata-ah was always about values – and it is values that we must look at. Bharata-ah was karma-bhumi and punya-bhumi – and janma-bhumi was always less important.

    That said, research on Saraswati gathered momentum during the BJP’s five years – which created significant backlash from the FSW cartel aided by the Marxist-Liberal historians in India (will be covered in another forthcoming post). That has created a logjam in the rewriting of history.

    So, in the current system the correction Indian history books will follow correction of history in Indian universities. Alternately, bypassing the universities and approaching the scholastic system, is a very ambitious idea. Another approach would be to look at mass-media to change perceptions of Indian history.

    What is the origin and significance of the word Om (Aum)? Is there any scientific basis to its existence? It shows up in all Hindu texts and yet, other than the symbolism it conveys, not much is known. Can you please shed some light?

    This is a big question that the many upanishads try and answer? A BIG question! Simplistically, what little I understand of aum!

    1. aum is the primal sound – from which creation happened.

    2. aum is made up of a, oo, am. These are three nominal, vowel sounds – and represent Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh – as per another interpretation.

    3. aum is also a representation of the the vedic concept of creation. Before creation, when there was nothing, there was only the primal sound of aum. Before aum there was nothing. And after pralay there will be nothing – except aum.

    4. The aum sound is also used as device to focus mental energy and activity in yoga.

  3. RAMKUMARAN said, on October 17, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Anuraag,

    Wonderful post as usual, can you please add one more category to these Indus Saraswathi Series so that it would be helpful in tracking

  4. senthil said, on May 23, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Anurag,

    yet another brilliant post.. i heard from my friend, that saraswathi river was cursed by a rishi, and hence disappeared (went underground).. do you know have any info on this?

    In your comment section, you mentioned indian history cannot be dated.. How about the archeo-astronomy where date of sri-krishna and rama has been deduced? Do you accept that method?

  5. Anuraag Sanghi said, on May 29, 2011 at 4:03 am

    Senthil –

    Archaeo-astronomy will need a lot of work before we can cleanly accept the data.

    Now Pushkar Bhatnagar did a lot of work to fix Raghu Ramchandra’s birthday at some 7000 BP.

    But now look at the problem. If Raghu Ram was 7000 BP, what is Ramayana’s date.

    Whatever the date, Ramayana’s also contains details on birth of Ganga – which is some 4000-5000 BP after Saraswati dried up.

    Does it mean that the Valmiki-Ramayana was writeen 3500 years after RaghuRama’s birth, going by Pushkar Bhatnagar’s references?

    So, therefore, to clarify, we cannot use ‘Western’ concepts of ‘modern’ history to date India’s past.

    Our models and research must be patterned on a different cross-index.

  6. Bharat Sharmaa said, on August 22, 2011 at 3:21 am

    @Anurag,

    On the issue of using astronomy to date the classics – the point you raised about birth of Ganga and Saraswati drying up could very easily have been added later to give sanctity to river Ganga.

    The fact that the astronomical incidents listed all fall in place – in Pushkar Bhatnagar’s book for example – and that alone can be used to date events.

    My concern was about Pushkar’s approach in making first guesses about the time.

    Bharat

  7. Anuraag Sanghi said, on August 23, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    On the issue of using astronomy to date the classics – the point you raised about birth of Ganga and Saraswati drying up could very easily have been added later to give sanctity to river Ganga.

    Exactly … like I pointed out above, how Indian classical texts used the nested’ story device.

    The fact that the astronomical incidents listed all fall in place – in Pushkar Bhatnagar’s book for example – and that alone can be used to date events.

    Of course, where such astronomical indices are given it is adequate to create a date-stamp.

    My concern was about Pushkar’s approach in making first guesses about the time.

    To understand this better, let me give some facts about ancient astronomy.

    Indian ancients divided the sky into 27 nakshatra (star constellations) – and called them as follows: – अश्विनी, भरणी, कृत्तिका, रोहिणी, म्रृगशीर्षा, आर्द्रा, पुनर्वसु, पुष्य, आश्लेषा, मघा, फाल्गुनी, उत्तर फाल्गुनी, हस्त, चित्रा, स्वाती, विशाखा, अनुराधा, ज्येष्ठा, मूल, पूर्वाषाढा, उत्तराषाढा, श्रवण, श्रविष्ठा or धनिष्ठा, शतभिषक् / शततारका, पूर्वभाद्रपदा / पूर्वप्रोष्ठपदा, उत्तरभाद्रपदा / उत्तरप्रोष्ठपदा, रेवती and the additional अभिजीत्.

    To measure passage of time, position of planetary bodies against these constellations was recorded. These planetary bodies move in and out of star constellations 27 times a day at varying speeds. For instance, the moon stays in a constellation for roughly a day. To get a better fix, the sun’s position at sunrise and sunset was also recorded, and also of other planets like Jupiter, etc.

    With so many elements moving in and out of star constellations at varying speeds gives a-near infinite number permutations and combinations. It is estimated for any one combination to recur, it takes more than 25,0000 years. So, Pushkar Bhatnagar would need a starting point.

    Otherwise, he will need to possibly test 25,000 years x 365 days x 27 nakshatra combinations. You will agree that there is nothing wrong with Pushkar Bhatnagar’s methodology – as far as I can see.

  8. Shankar Shanmughan said, on February 9, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Friend Anuraag ,when will these texts come in books for our new gen. to remain aware off.
    Well its a time of change, when time itself is felt shortening up, it will soon be reveled I believe.
    Knowledge will bring a communion beyond the isms to keep our minds constructive and to remain neutral on what we inherit.

    Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts with evidence.

    Shankar.S

    • Udayan Banerjee said, on October 22, 2014 at 10:20 am

      Here is a must read book – if you are interested in River Sarasvati.

      “The Lost River: On The Trail Of The Sarasvati” by Michel Danino.

      Very well researched book.

  9. Akhil said, on February 11, 2012 at 8:15 am

    Anuraag,

    Well researched and well written as usual. I know this is your style, but is it possible for you to be a little less cryptic and sarcastic in these posts? It is already so hard to sieve the ‘right’ and the ‘wrong’ sides of a complex multi-faceted debate like the Sarsawati Civilization.

    Akhil

  10. Neeraj said, on April 14, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    Hi, very informative article. However, I do have some questions , I have been searching answers for but haven’t got satisfactory answers.

    1) U mentioned Sri Ram Chandra born ca. 7000 BC and Sri Krishna ca 3000 BC. But the former existed in Treta Yuga and the latter in Kali Yuga. This does not really agree with the traditional lenght of yugas and in that sense the present kali yuga is really really long?

    2) What is the between the indus- saraswasti civilaztion and the pandav clan? Where was IVC during the reign of say king Parikshit? Was IVC a vedic civilization?

    Thanks!!!

    • manu said, on April 15, 2012 at 12:29 am

      Hi Neeraj just some pointers on the yuga cycle…

      http://www.angelfire.com/yt/Yukteswar/

      • manu said, on April 15, 2012 at 12:31 am

        or this http://oaks.nvg.org/nuss.html

      • Neeraj said, on April 15, 2012 at 10:40 am

        Hi Manu, I have read these posts. According to these posts we are in upward dwapara yuga. Does it really seem like dwapara yuga? The events happeneing around the world and the current state of India it is very much still kali yuga. India is supposed to be down and backward in kali yuga while in the other three yugas, India is on top with vedic religions taking the forefront. Isn’t it?

        Thanks!

        • Manu said, on April 16, 2012 at 1:31 am

          Before I start I will suggest you reach your conclusions …

          What yuga are we in.. Let see based on my perception of the times gone by esp the past 2000-1500 years.. Things have improved in terms of human livability and respect for fellow human beings in the past 100 years or so….. Time is a continuous flow of events with one event leading to another… So things will not change overnight as soon as dwapara yuga hits …The problem with the yugas as described in the puranas is that it does not reconcile with the proofs on the ground… 100000 or more year cycle is tough to comprehend and I refuse to agree to them (being part of my sacred texts is not reason enough) … Given the onslaught that India has taken over the past 2-3k years its quite feasible that confusion/errors were made in interpreting these texts at some point.. or it cud have been a deliberate attempt by some smart individual…

          About the generations between ram and krishna a lot of research has been done… You can google subhash kak , ancientindians.wordpress.com etc… We know who was ruling Ayodhya at the time of Mahabharta war…its all documented…

          The biggest delusion to get over is the delusion of golden age… in india golden age was the vedic period… for christians it was around the christ birth n life for muslims it was 650 AD etc… etc etc… and that humans were somehow superior then than now… Or they had super powers or magical powers… As Anuraag said technology is contextual..

          Again take a 2ndlook at everything that has been told to you… Seek truth without any prejudice or bias…

          • Manu said, on April 16, 2012 at 2:18 am

            About the current state of India.. Think about it.. compared to the previous 1000 years isn’t the state of India in an ascending cycle …I guess with babaji telling us 24hrs a day on astha/jaagran channel about kali yuga and we the paapi jan of these times and news channels bombarding us with all that goes wrong in our neighbourhood it does seem we are in a hell hole … 🙂

            • Neeraj said, on April 16, 2012 at 8:14 am

              Yes, I agree we are ascending but we were at the top up until the 17th century and then suddenly everything went down.

          • Anuraag Sanghi said, on April 16, 2012 at 4:32 am

            Subhash Kak has written a few papers on the use of ciphers and codes in Sanskrit texts. If we have been able to decipher a few, I feel there are more that we have not even looked at – or even identified as a cipher.

            Some of these yugas and numbers could be numeric ciphers. Multiply by pi – divide by 108, kind of stuff. I am reminded of an incident in Mahabharata. At the end of agyaatwaas, Duryodhana’s spies inform him that Pandavas could be Virata desha. To smoke them out, Duryodhana makes a mock attack on Viraat desha. The entire army of Virata desha is mobilized to quell this attack. Duryodhana then attacks from another front – while Virata desha‘s armies are busy on another front.

            Arjun as Brihanalla accompanies Uttar (the Virata-desha prince) to the second battle. Uttar seeing the Kuru armies and warriors runs away from the battle field. Brihanalla drags him back to the field. Subsequently, Arjuna retrieves the Gandiva bow – and strings it. The stringing of the Gandiva identifies Arjuna to the Kuru armies.

            An exultant Duryodhana tells his elders that Pandavas have been found out. Hence they must go into another thirteen year exile.

            Not so fast says Drona. In a matter of minutes (or seconds), Drona completes a calculation, and confirms that the thirteenth year was over, just before Arjuna twanged his Gandiva. Now this shows how complex calculations about the years could be done in a matter of seconds.

            Come to modern times. Shakuntala Devi, the maths wiz, has credited her father, a jyotish-shastra experts, for teaching her mathematical tricks. She has written a number of books on these mathematical tricks also. I am sure that there are a number of tricks that she has not written about. Now, jyotish-shastra was one of the six basic foundation courses that were required before study of vedas was taken up.

            So, these codes, ciphers, tricks, Sanskrit as a database language makes this into vastly different arena than a simple story telling. There is no magic, no super-natural – but yes, there is an element of packaging that we need to understand.

            We have forgotten how to open this package.

          • Neeraj said, on April 16, 2012 at 8:10 am

            Hi Manu, I somehow still strongle believe in my sacred texts and timelines suggested in them. But I also agree with the archeological facts. Could it be that time is not linear but cyclical. I know this seems a bit unrealistic but we did discover particles that travel faster than the speed of light very recently. What I am saying that could it be that something which seemed like 100K years when the texts were written seems like 1k years now because of the cyclical nature of time?

          • Neeraj said, on April 16, 2012 at 8:16 am

            What about the saraswati civilaztion? Do you think it was actually the suryavanshi raghuvanshi kingdom settled there and did not participate in the chndravanshi battle of Mahabharata?

          • Neeraj said, on April 16, 2012 at 8:23 am

            About the various golden ages. I agree with Indian and Muslim timelines, but for christians I think they are still in their golden age with their countries flourishing and it started during the colonial times. And all this ecconomic crisis indicates a descending period. Isnæt it?

            • manu said, on April 16, 2012 at 10:59 am

              Hi Neeraj

              Yes I agree that time is cyclic… like waves or a forward moving wheel.. Not sure if I understand the 1000k and 1 k thing… I think you might be confusing the concept of relativity of time with cyclic… There is no doubt time is cyclic… everything in the universe is… from day night.. seasons ….year … earth goes around the sun… moon around earth etc….The cycle that creates the yugas is the precession of the equinoxes (Ayanamsa of the jyotish is similar concept) …..

              Raghuvanshi..suryavanshi.. or as puranas call it the Ikshvaku dynasty … I dont know if there was any conflict between the surya and chandra vanshi’s …But the collapse of the civilisation happened coz of the vanishing of the river (as suggested in this blog) not due to any war/invasion etc…. Also the war happened after the centre had moved towards ganga from saraswati (i think)….

              I will leave it at that … here is a link to an article that forces one to rethink

              http://www.boloji.com/index.cfm?md=Content&sd=Articles&ArticleID=1766

              Almost all articles on that site are worth reading …..

              • Neeraj said, on April 16, 2012 at 11:32 am

                Hi again Manu. thanks for the reply. Sorry, offcourse time is cyclic, what I meant to say is that it is non-linear i.e. it is exponential. Since, it is exponential the rate of change of time is relative in each yuga. Hence, 1000K years in treta yuga might be equal to 1k years in Kali yuga since speed of light might be different in each yuga (which may not be constant – limitation of modern science?????)

                Do you think this theory could some sort of explanation if we belive our scriptures are correct and so are the carbon dating findings?

              • Neeraj said, on April 16, 2012 at 11:37 am

                About the Ikshvaku dynasty, this is quit interesting.
                I thought that the “mahabharata” was like World War where the whole world particiapted. The japanese fought under the sun flag, the western people (yakshas and dndharvas) fought along side the Kauravas, assyrians (asuras) also fought the war, then why did the Ikshvaku dynasty distance itself from this huge war. Were there other kingdoms\civilizations who did not participate in this war? No mention of egyptians etc?

    • Anuraag Sanghi said, on April 15, 2012 at 12:40 am

      U mentioned Sri Ram Chandra born ca. 7000 BC

      What I said is “Pushkar Bhatnagar did a lot of work to fix Raghu Ramchandra’s birthday at some 7000 BP”. This means about 5000 BC.

      Looking at Raja Raghu as the inventor of money; Raghu Ramachandra as the perfect ruler using Bharattantra; Raghukul as the pioneers in sugarcane cultivation would roughly translate into 7000 years ago from now. It could be earlier too. But I doubt if it is later.

      Yadu clan as the pioneers in animal husbandry; as expert horsemen; inventors of self-defence (original versions of karate and kung-fu); would imply around 5000 years ago.

      Of course this based on current thinking on timelines.

      Considering the huge innovations in social engineering, the timelines may get stretched anywhere from 200%-500%.

      • Neeraj said, on April 15, 2012 at 10:45 am

        Thanks. but Raghu Ramchandra was from the survanshi clan and yadus were chandranvanshis. Did suryavanshis and chandravanshis co-exist. If yes, did they have any interactions? What about the indus sarasvati civilization?

        Did they really use weapons of mass destruction (brahmastra, agniastra and various other celestial weapons). How did we lose that technology? Were they really scientifically more advanced than us?

        • Anuraag Sanghi said, on April 15, 2012 at 11:38 am

          Raghu Ramchandra was from the survanshi clan and yadus were chandranvanshis. Did suryavanshis and chandravanshis co-exist. If yes, did they have any interactions?

          I have not studied this or thought about this.

          Did they really use weapons of mass destruction (brahmastra, agniastra and various other celestial weapons). How did we lose that technology? Were they really scientifically more advanced than us?

          I think these weapons used various poisons. As I can see it, in Ramayana, Lakshman went into a coma, after a poisoned arrow wounded him. Some herb revived him. Agnibaan could be an incendiary device or a chilli-spraying device.

          Technology is contextual. You gain some that you need. You lose some that you don’t need.

          • Gaurav Sharma said, on May 4, 2012 at 2:54 pm

            Hindu tantrik texts have the mantra of various astra and hence they are called “astra-mantra” or “astra-vidya”. Primary weapons amongst them are Brahmastra , Narayanastra and Pashupatastra. In todays world the correct deployment of these mantras is not known to even the highest matha of tantriks. After discussing with a great ascetic who is an adept in tantrashastra and knows to successfully deploy Agneyastra , I found out and saw the great capacity of the Agneyastra mantra. After much of my insistence he showed me teh capability of Agneyastra. I will narrate my experience as I witnessed the Agneyastra deployment. Here it goes :

            It was the month of Feb in 2003 and in the vast land alongside the Ganga river in Kachla( near Badaun in UP) , I was taken some half a kilometer inside the dense thickets of trees and groves. He carefully chose a babool tree and then made a square around it. I was witnessing somethning really serious here. It took about 2 days for him to finish his rituals in a small temple near the ghat and and told me that the tree will be burnt totally in 7 days and the soil inside the square will become barren and then he moved in the direction of the tree inside teh groves along with me. There he recited some mantra and strew some ashes on teh tree and inside teh square. I returned to the site of teh tree after about 15 days and found that the tree was blighted and had shed all teh leaves and was looking extremly dry. The soil around teh square had become dry and there was not even the shred of a green grass blade in that area but just 6-7 feet distance from teh tree was all green and flourishing. It was something which made me shiver to see but I realized teh powers that was encoded in the mantras of Hindu tantrashastra.

            I happened to meet that scholar tantrik only once after that and tried to know more about it . He only told me that this was a very very limited demonstration of the Agneyastra mantra and it can be extended to destroy even a nation but one must hold himself back from doing such rituals and abhichara. He said that if agneyastra( even in limited form) is deployed on a nation , samudaaya( community) or a village then that nation , community or the village will sink into poverty for a very long period and will be remain tormented for centuries. He also told me that though he knows the rituals of Pashupatastram but this is used only for controlling the natural calamity as per his kula and if its used for destructive purpose then its simple and minor deployment will cripple the strongest of nations( which have the benign grace of even Mahakali and Durga), its citizens, armies and will repeatedly destroy that nation or race for more than 2000 years.

            When I enquired why we cant deploy this astra against hostile nations to Bharat so he said that I should take the deeksha follow the kula path and the answer will reflect upon me.

            It sounds all unbelievable but its metaphysics and only the person who has the revelation and experience knows it.

  11. manu said, on April 16, 2012 at 11:34 am

    Hi Anuraag

    What is your take on the assertion that rig veda is the oldest veda… The texts themselves do not claim this.. No text in india has claimed that… Now whoever asserted that may have had their reasons… But just going by the genealogy of the sages who authored the vedas… Rig veda should be after atharva veda… Just a theory …. That the split between the Bhrigu clan of rishis and Angirasas rishis had happened by the time rig veda was being compiled… Hence the zend Avesta of the asuras of iran and rig veda have similar language etc…

  12. Ancient Archeologist said, on May 20, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    HARAPPA Mohejo daro has been underwater in floods of SINDHU before 4500 years ago. see present satelite pictures of flooding as on 24August 2010

    Present Indus flooding is due to miss management of the water flows of the river and trying to tame the river waters. 4500 years ago Harappa and MohenjoDaro civilisation used the correct way to keep the flow in most efficient way so as to avoid flooding. They used canals to divert water to reservoirs and kept the river water flow clear without obstruction. Presently we have obstructed natural water flows of rivers and obstructed to make more flooding. If we see the present situation in Indus and Gangatic plains we see the water flow have been obstructed and that have cause the flooding in the areas of river banks.

    In the Harappa region

    HARAPPA, Mohejo daro has been underwater in floods of SINDHU before 4500 years ago

    Mohejo daro Ground level 56m from sea level and present near flood water of river (River bank burst to 25 to 30 Kms ad just close to the Cilisation, any more flooding will cover the area)
    Location:
    Mohenjodaro Latitude 27°19’N Longitude 68°07’E

    Harappa Latitude 30.6222222° (30°37’47” N) Longitude 72.8638889° (72°51’40” E)

    HARAPPA Ground level 166m from sea level and presently most of the area is under the rain water as swallen Indus river flow is obstructed and can not drain the flood water around the ground.

    Though this is only just a sample of rain cycle in 80 years time. Not as wild monsoon to destroy the civilisation as it has happened in the past with Mohenjodaro.

    Weather pattern runs in cycles of floods/famine of 30-40 years and world weather cycle of 120 years (accordingly based on the scientific tree ring study – wider rings in tree in good rain and narrow in droughts time) – from the data in our library. And based to that 120 years cycle is approaching in next decade. So we have to be prepared during this decade and also that will be helpful to regulate water in floods and droughts.

    Present situation is not the perfect green Famine, there is a plenty of rain but if it cause a scarcity of crops or food. Reasons may be floods, destroyed crops, less sunlight due to high rain and clouds – crops fail or less productive or even washed away, destroyed food grains as wet damp weather or rain water may decay those food stores.

    As in areas of floods in PAKISTAN INDUS region is happening there, that may happen in GANGETIC plains as those area has less slopes in river drains in Northern India. (Less likely in Southern as is mountain area and river slope is good in gradient to drain all water quickly)

    Recorded available data of KUTCH

    Kutch civilisation like DHOLAVIRA, Kuran, Kanmer, BHADLI KOTADA etc has highly developed Irrigation engineering architect. as with the canal water was diverted to right places in reservoirs and in a perfect gradient all reservoirs filled one by one by gravitation. Not only was that, at that time droughts were in the cycle. Though we name those as Saraswati civilisation but in fact Saraswati river bed was lifted higher and was dry river bed. Else they do not make such water irrigation system to fulfil the demands in water scarcity. NOT ONLY that Each reservior has a WELL in the Bottom of the reservior so as when the reservior becomes empty water in the deep well in the bottom of the reservior can be used (as we do in our village water lakes).

    There has been records of two cycles of weather in KUTCH. though a mini cycle of 3 years of good and bad rain is known as short term periods as we are aware of in our regular life time.

    But a major cycle of droughts an very Good Rain cycle are different e.g. 40 years of cycles of major droughts (e.g. 1, CHHAPANO Vikram sanvant 1956= 1900AD and 2, 1940 KUTCH FAMINE CHHANAVO Vikram sanvant 1996= 1940AD) affecting most parts of western Monsoon system and also has Good Monsoon of 30 years cycle. both of those weather cycles falls in 120 years world weather cycle studied scientifically with rings in tree trunks. as good rain makes a ring wider expanding growth and narrows in famines. (30×4 cycle=120 years=3×40 cycle)

    CHHAPANO 1956 VS= 1900/01 famine has been recorded in major parts of the world tree records. and if cycle is repeating after 120 years Major world dropout is possible in next few years after next decade!

    (1744 to 1823) 80 years = 2×40 years cycle) population dropped 65%

    Year 1744 Population was about 10 00 000 People migrated to KUTCH BHUVAD, HALA, VAGAD and ANJAR from Saurashtra and HALAR
    1762 Wars in Kutch from SINDH (WAR of ZARA) many people died in ZARA (LAKHPAT – KUTCH), SANDHAN and VINZAN (ABADASA – KUTCH)
    Year 1819 MAJOR EARTHQUAKE of AlhaBANDH Many people died, Gone out of KUTCH , SINDHU RIVER farming stopped in KUTCH.

    Year 1821 Population dropped 700 000 a 30% drop of Population because of ABOVE circumstances.
    Year 1823 Population dropped 350 000 a 50% drop of Population because of ABOVE circumstances.

    Year 1891 Population increased to 5 58 000
    Year 1900 Population dropped due to FAMINE of CHHAPANO (Vikram sanvant 1956= 1900AD)
    Year 1901 Population dropped to 4 88 000 (12%) due to FAMINE of CHHAPANO (Vikram sanvant 1956= 1900AD)

    (1821 to 1901 = 80 years = 2×40 years cycle)

    Science Group Of INDIA
    Founder :
    in.groups.yahoo.com/group/scienceclubofindia

    Do visit our ABOVE Clubs/Groups of Science Groups of India.

  13. Anonymous said, on January 30, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    […] […]

  14. HinduIDF said, on June 29, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Reblogged this on Hindu Internet Defence Force.

  15. Rahul (@Rahulkumar2020) said, on June 29, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    Hi , wonderful article. . A new technology called LIDAR is being used to discover most inaccessible and difficult archeological sites. It was used to discover temples near Angkor Wat and also in Mexico.

  16. Tinu said, on August 28, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    Mahabharata states that Sarasvati became invisible at Vinasana due to her contempt of Sudras and Abhiras and thus the Rishis lost her at this place. This and subsequent narration clearly means that it were the Rishis who could not see the Sarasvati at this place and that Sarasvati was lost to them at Vinasana and not that the River had been completely lost in the desert as it is famously accepted. Mahabharat indicates that there were numerous other Trithas (pilgrimage site) on the banks of Sarasvati, ahead of Vinasana which were visited by Baladeva, who bathed at those places in the Sarasvati.

    The Mahabharata after narration of the Tirth at Vinasana, highlights that Baladeva next visited Subhumika located on the bank of Sarasvati where he came in contact with fair complexioned Apsaras. Next he visited the pilgrimage site of Gargasrota on the bank of same river. Next he visited Sankha on the bank of same river and then on to Dwaita lake. He then proceeded to the Tirtha called Nagadhanwana on banks of Sarasvati. From this point Baladeva, face turned east, visited hundreds and thousands of famous tirthas that occurred at every step along his journey astride the banks of river Sarasvati and reached the spot where Sarasvati turns in an eastward direction towards the forest of Nirmisha.

    The most interesting and surprising aspect that has been highlighted in the Mahabharata itself and has not been much talked about (again very surprisingly) is the mention that Sarasvati changed course eastwards towards the forest of Naimisha, where the story of Mahabharata was narrated. The Forest of Naimisha is believed to be located in Uttar Pradesh, not far from Triveni Sangam where Ganga, Jamna and Sarasvati meet in a holy confluence.

    When Mahabharata state this unequivocally and as clearly as the daylight, that Sarasvati did not completely die out at Vinasana and that it continued and followed an easterly course as compared with Ghagar-Hakra which followed a westerly course, why is it that history is being re-written and incorrectly.

  17. srimannarayana k v said, on November 17, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    1) River Saraswati was mentioned along with river Ganga in Srimad Ramayana also.

    After receiving orders from Sage Vasista, Bharata embarks upon a journey from Kekeya Kingdom to Ayodhya. It was described he saw Saraswati enroute.

    सरस्वतीम् च गङ्गाम् च उग्मेन प्रतिपद्य च |
    उत्तरम् वीरमत्स्यानाम् भारुण्डम् प्राविशद्वनम् || २-७१-५

    Arriving at the confluence of Saraswati and Ganga rivers, Bharata entered the woods of Bharmuda, the north of Viramatsaya region.

    Here, Sage Valmiki was saying that Bharata crossed the confluence of Saraswati and Ganga rivers.

    Can we conclude that during Ramayana period Saraswati and Ganga rivers might have met at the point of their origin at some point and thereafter got separated?

    2) In Ayodhya Kanda of Srimad Ramayana, the confluence of Ganga and Yamuna was mentioned, but the third river Saraswati ( Triveni Sangam) was not mentioned. However, it was mentioned towards North-west place of India, as indicated above at point No.1.

    यत्र भागीरथी गन्गा यमुनाम् अभिवर्तते |
    जग्मुस् तम् देशम् उद्दिश्य विगाह्य सुमहद् वनम् || २-५४-२
    ते भूमिम् आगान् विविधान् देशामः च अपि मनो रमान् |
    अदृष्ट पूर्वान् पश्यन्तः तत्र तत्र यशस्विनः || २-५४-३

    Having penetrated into a deep forest, they the illustrious trios, while seeing many stretches of land and at some places, attractive scenery never seen before, proceeded in the direction of that region where river Yamuna was flowing forth towards river Ganga, associated with the name of Emperor Bhagiratha.

    प्रयागम् अभितः पश्य सौमित्रे धूमम् उन्नतम् |
    अग्नेर् भगवतः केतुम् मन्ये सम्निहितः मुनिः || २-५४-५

    “Perceive, Oh Lakshmana, the smoke looking prominent as a sign of the glorious god of fire near Prayaga (the confluence of the holy Ganga and Yamuna rivers). I think that sage Bharadwaja is staying nearby.”

    So as per Ramayana, there is not mention about Triveni Sangam.

  18. srimannarayana k v said, on November 18, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    Many archaeologists/authors say that after drying up of Saraswati, people of this side of land moved to Gangetic plains and people on the other side moved towards Iran and other places. And that as the Vedic Literature did not mention about any cities in Gangetic plains, the Vedic Culture slowly developed over there.

    My doubts are:

    1. We do not see archaeological finds of the Saraswati type in the rest of India, because the rest of India continued with life, at existing settlements. Most Indian cities have been settled for centuries – and have not seen vast archaeological excavations. And in all these centuries, Indic peoples moved up and down from South to North to South to East and West – from living settlements to living settlements.

    So, when no archaeological finds of the Saraswati type in the rest of India, how was it inferred that people did not reside in Gangetic plains, when people at the beds of Saraswati used to compile the Vedic Literature?

    2. River Saraswati was mentioned along with river Ganga in both Srimad Ramayana .

    After receiving orders from Sage Vasista, Bharata embarks upon a journey from Kekeya Kingdom to Ayodhya. It was described he saw Saraswati enroute.

    सरस्वतीम् च गङ्गाम् च उग्मेन प्रतिपद्य च |
    उत्तरम् वीरमत्स्यानाम् भारुण्डम् प्राविशद्वनम् || २-७१-५

    Arriving at the confluence of Saraswati and Ganga rivers, Bharata entered the woods of Bharmuda, the north of Viramatsaya region.

    Here, Sage Valmiki was saying that Bharata crossed the confluence of Saraswati and Ganga rivers.

    So, in the absence of archaeological finds of the Saraswati type in the rest of India, as mentioned above, why should not we consider that at the time of Ramayana, The 2 rivers Ganga and Saraswati were used to confluence somewhere after the points of origin and thereafter due to tectonic disturbances, as were happened around 4000 b.c., they got separated?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: