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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

From Indus Valley to Vedic Civilization

The Indus Valley Civilization, which sprawled across the northwest regions of the Indian subcontinent, has been placed by archeologists between 3300 B.C. and 1300 B.C. The planned city of Harappa, a part of Indus Valley, flourished between 2600 B.C. and 1900 B.C. Among the artifacts recovered in the archaeological surveys are the seals which show figures seated in yogic posture. One seal represents a figure seated with extended arms resting on the knees—a classical meditation posture. From these finds it can be inferred that yoga has been practiced in the Indian subcontinent for close to 5000 years. A civilization of the sophistication of the Indus Valley cannot be sustained for more than 2000 years if it was not founded on a strong cultural system—the culture could have been based on the yoga theories and exercises, the Vedic rituals, and the Puranic legends. But most scholars believe that the Vedic civilization came after the decline of the Indus Valley Civilization, between 1500 B.C. and 1200 B.C. The composition of the Rig Veda (the oldest Veda) has been dated between 1300 B.C. and 500 B.C.

2 comments:

Ajit R. Jadhav said...

So, the obvious conclusion to draw is this:

With the same bone-structure, and presumably therefore, the same nervous system-structure, and presumably therefore, the same bodily faculty to have exactly similar kind of experiences as we do, including a capacity for observation and abstraction, they for some 50 k to 70 k years (in the least) did nothing but gathering food, hunting for food, or getting killed by animals or others. They did this continuously for 50 k years. All the time.

And, in any time left from these activities, they totally partied hard. Sometimes, they had ideas of making some scratchings or blobs in some caves.

*All* of them lived thusly. In every part of the world. Without exception. Even if they had the same mental faculties as we do.

They didn't do anything else with the same mental capacities for experience as we do, including those for observations, abstractions, communications, and accumulation and transmission of knowledge across generations.

Then, about 5 k years ago, everything changed. Somehow. Even if there was no change in the bodily structure, and hence, in mental faculties.

Hmmm... Quite an impressive piece of a yarn that one is, don't you think?

A few *more* points:

1. People need water apart from food, and so, without more modern technology, settlements would occur near banks of rivers or lakes.

These precisely are the places where bio-degradation of any dwelling structures (made of wood, clay, even tents with animal skins) would occur very fast. So, no record would be found. Even brick-structures would simply get washed away.

2. *Where* ever you have electrical power, your attention does not go up towards the sky. Not even in taluka places.

But when you don't have electricity, the contrast between the dark surroundings and the bright diamonds in the sky suddenly captures you. ... Even today, just spend a few consecutive nights at some isolated place in the forests (say an ancient fort on a mountain), or near a sea-shore but away from civilization. (The place would still have to be near a river, naturally---you need fresh water.) Now observe what you do with your time after the sun sets down.

Given the fact that they had the same mental faculties as we do, when do you think that they might have started observing regularities in the motions of the stars, and gradually, came to reach time-keeping, and then began passing their observations through the oral traditions? Some 100 years before the Greek time-keeping machines like Clepsydra? 200 years? 1000 years? Are you sure it never happened at any other place and at any other time before?

Check your premises, and watch for your implications.

Best,
--Ajit

Anoop Verma said...

@Ajit, your points are well taken. I am not making any judgements in this post -- I am merely pointing out what the modern archeologists and the scholars are saying about the timeline of certain cultures and texts in this part of the world. The subject is obviously very complicated, and it is not something on which a non-scholar like me can make a judgement