Monday, November 15, 2021

The Battle for the Rig Veda and Sanskrit

The Europeans possess the great talent for weaponizing anything that catches their eye. In the late eighteenth century, they became aware of the Rig Veda, and within a century they had weaponized some of its verses and its language: Sanskrit. The Rig Veda has been revered as a holy text by the Hindus (most people living in South Asia before 1000 AD) for more than 3500 years. The Hindus never thought of weaponizing its verses and language—the Hindus were never as warlike as the Europeans have been in the last 400 years. 

The story of the European weaponization of some of the verses of Rig Veda and Sanskrit begins in 1783 when Sir William Jones, a British judge in India, decided to learn Sanskrit. By 1786, he had reached a startling conclusion, which he expressed in a line that is often quoted: 

“The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and the forms of grammar, than could possibly have been produced by accident; so strong indeed, that no philologer could examine them all three, without believing them to have sprung from some common source, which, perhaps, no longer exists.” 

Jones had concluded that Sanskrit had originated from the same ancient parent language (Proto-Indo-European) which gave rise to Greek and Latin. He added that Persian, Celtic, and German too were probably linked to the same parent language. But who were the people who spoke this language? Where did they live? Where was the Rig Veda composed? Germany was in the middle of an intense Romantic movement in those days—and many German scholars proclaimed that Germany was the home of the ancients who spoke the parent language. 

The Rig Veda talks about the Aryans who are people of divine virtues and great abilities. In Europe, the term “Aryan” was appropriated to refer to the ancient European master race who brought civilization to mankind. In his 1916 book The Passing of the Great Race, American author Madison Grant claimed that the Nordic people (British, Scots, Irish, and German) were the descendants of the original Aryans, and that America was meant to be an Aryan homeland. (This book was a bestseller in America and Europe, and was praised by Hitler.) 

The Europeans associated the term “Aryan” with racial purity even though the Rig Veda does not preach racial purity. The Rig Veda’s verses are on cosmology, history, moral values, and the right ways of performing prayers and sacrifices. Some supremacist groups in Europe and America still call themselves Aryans. 

Grant warned against the weakening of the superior American (Aryan) bloodline by interbreeding  with inferior races. In the category of inferior races, he included the Jews, Czechs, Poles, and Italians. When the Nazis acquired power in Germany, they made an absurd connection between the Rig Veda’s conception of Aryans and Plato’s discussion of Atlantis. They said that the German Aryans were the original inhabitants of the Platonic Atlantis and the original speakers of the ancient language which had given rise to Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, and other languages. 

The Nazis desecrated the symbol of Swastika by appropriating it as a symbol of their version of the Germanic Aryan race. The Swastika has served as a Hindu symbol for divinity and spirituality since 1000 BC. It is often used in Hindu marriage ceremonies. In the Vedas, the word “Swasti” occurs frequently. The Swastika is mentioned in Pāṇini’s Ashtadhyayi and several other Hindu texts. The Buddhist and Jain movements use the Swastika for their religious ceremonies. 

It is certain that the Sanskrit language, the Rig Veda, and other Vedic and Puranic texts were created by the people who were the ancestors of today’s Hindus. It is likely that these ancients lived in South Asia—in the region stretching from Persia to North India. The Rig Veda was probably composed in the region of Punjab. The Europeans and Americans are not the Aryans. They have been very successful in the last 350 years, but that does not imply that they have been the masters of the world for thousands of years.

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