collection of hauma hamiddha's scattered posts

Posts tagged ‘indo-aryan’

bAvari in the land of the assakas

The sutta nipAta, which is the oldest of the bauddha Pali texts gives a
remarakable account of the brAhmaNa penetration
of southern India. A brAhmaNa named bAvarI lived in srAvasti in the realm of the
ikshvAkus prior to the time of the
buddha. He is said to have borne 3 marks of a great being and was a purohita of
the ikshvAkus and a teacher of the
prince. He however, lost interest in his comfortable position and sought to
become a recluse teacher. He along with his
students travelled to dakkhinApatha and entered the realm of the horse tribe,
the assakas (ashvakas). Their land lay in
the basins of the godAvarI and the mUlaka (mULa) rivers. The rAja of the
assakas was a certain andhakarAjA, who gave
the bAvarI a plot of land for a 1000 coins. bAvari and his team lived here
subsisting on roots and fruits. They encouraged
the settlement of a large village of local in their vicinity. By visiting this
village bAvarI and his students collected a large
amount of offerings from the village and conducted a great vedic sacrifice.
After that he was apparently informed by a deva
of the coming of the Buddha. Now in his previous janma bAvarI was supposed to
have been the yadu king kattavAhana
who ruled north of those regions.

Who were the assakas of the godAvari region? Being the horse tribe they were
clearly the megalithic horse men of the
vidarbha region whose archaeological sites are extensive from the 800-600BC.
They appear to have spread from here to
the entire southern penisular country. Now the deities of the of pastoralist
tribals of south India are all horse riding
deities similar to the assakas. Further the mahAbhArata alludes that the abhirAs
overtook the yadu realm after the
intercine killing and the fall of dwAraka. Now the same abhirAs and other
pastoralists of peninsular India called gollas,
yadavas, abhirAs etc associate themselves with the yadus. The name of the king
of the assakas andhakarAjA is also a
yadu name, so also is kattavAhana. It may hence be reconstructed that after the
fall of the Indo-Aryan yAdavas their
native mercenary cattle breeders gradually took on the yadu paraphernalia and
expanded southwards. By 800 BC they
appear to have formed the powerful assaka state that had alread assimilated many
elements of the Indo-Aryans, probably
including prakrit and some elements of the Aryan religion. They still
predominantly maintained their own deities, who were
now depicted in horse borne form. They may have also transfered the names of
some ancient yadu heros, like kArtavIrya,
to their deities. This may also explain certain tamil ruler claim decent from
the yadus of dvAraka. They probably were in
reality descendent of the assaka complex. However, the fact that bAvarI had
reached their land and instituted brAhminical
practices suggests that the brAhmin presence was probably carried to the Tamil
regions directly with the expansion of
these megalithic people. Hence it is no surprise that the earliest Tamil
literature already shows a brAhminical influence.

> Is assaka < azvaka or asmaka? Many history books give only the latter
> name. Since some Prakrits comtemporary to Pali confuse the palatal and
> the dental sibilants, <asmaka> could be later hyper-sanskritisation of
> assaka. What do you think?

I could come up with the following:
vismarati>vissarti (forget)
rashmi>rassi (rein, hindi: rope)
So we have a very occassional sm/shm>ss. Hence theoretically asmaka can give
rise to assaka.
However, there is some evidence to support your proposition that asmaka was
reconstructed back from Pkt by using
templates like rashmi or vismarati. There is another ashvaka tribe that lived in
the NW. They were a sub-branch of the
kambhoja, aNu lineage and are called as such in the Pauranic sources. They are
refered to as the assakenus by the
Gandharan Greeks. But the later writer asanga terms them as asmakas, suggesting
that he reconstructed it from assaka
into asmaka.

In the Hathigumfa inscription one line is said to state that khAravela sent a
large army westwards to strike terror amidst
the assakas. This confirms the position of the assakas of bAvarI. Apparently
this was an out flanking operation to prevent
the assakas from making common cause with the draviDas attacking kalinga by sea.

On Gotras

>What happened to the Gotra’s of those people who left the
>Indian Homeland(OIT)?

OIT or AIT the gotra concept can be traced back probably to the
proto-indoeuropean era. The concept of the gens and phratia are the
gotra equivalents amidsts the romans and greeks. The
buddo-communist Kosambhi erroneously argues that the gotra names are
totemic symbols of the respective tribes. This is plain wrong because
most names can be traced back to historical authors of the R^igvedic
period. The gotra originally was and to this date is a patriarchial
hereditary unit and was established for exogamous marriage purposes.
Some of the gotras can be traced even amidst the early Iranians. The
spitama was clearly the gotra of zarathustra who may have shared
pravaras with a branch of the bhArgavas. From the Avesta we can infer
that the other gotra shared by the Indians and the Iranians was that
of the gotamas. However following the separation of the Iranians there
appear to have been genesis of new Iranian specific gotras even as
the Indian specific shunakas arose. The avesta mentions a clan athwya
that appears in the R^ig as the Aptya that one may interpret as a now
extinct gotra of the bhArgavas. While bhArgavas and some angirasa
clans may even be traced back to the to the PIE period the remaining
clans amidst the druhyu and the anu clear were different from those
amidst the Indians and their names do not survive in entirity due to
the destruction of their cultures.

But gotra like systems were clearly attested in the later day
descendents of the Tocharians: the kushANas. These had an exogamous
clan structure with 5 dominant clans at the time of the invasion of
India of which that of kujala khadphises became dominant. Further the
Secret history of the Mongols of Chingiz Kha’khan describes a very
remarkable parallel of the gotra system in their clan structure. Thus
for those who favor the AIT the gotra-like system may even go back to
the Eurasian common heritage. The Secret history is a must read for
any one comparing AIT and OIT because it provides some excellent
material to compare and contrast the Indo-Aryan culture with.

> The possibility of the Spatima gotra sharing pravaras with the
> Bhargavas.
> *** How do you conclude that? You could be right, but what is the
> basis>

One of the aspects of the early Indo-Iranian Gotra system was to name
the clan after a prominent hymn composer of R^ishi who figured in the
ancestory. The bhArgavas to this date remember their eponymous
ancestors atharvAn or bhrR^igu and utter their names before
performance of the vishasahi vrata or the new moon rite or the rite of
dIksha. In the fravashi yasht that is sort of a combination of
a purusha sUktaM-like hymn and pitR^i-medha hymns of the Iranians it
is mentioned in mathra 84 that ZarathushTra the performer of yazna of
the clan of the Spitama was born of Athravan. This clearly suggests
his origin in the bhArgava line. I should acknowledge here that
Talageri too makes this point in his new book. However, his actual
pravaras may have differed from those of the numerous Indian
bhArgavas. As the pitar ca maitravaruNi paryAya of the Atharva veda
ShaunakaS:4.29 the avesta also list many ancestor who might have
figured in their pravaras. include: Spitama, Thrimithwant, Daevo-tbhis
and Takhma in the zarathushtrian line.

> Secret history of the Mongols of Changez Khan, concept of gotra
> system exists.
> Would you mind providing the author, publisher, ISBN. Seems to be an
> interesting book.

Formally a gotra-like system can be defined as a patrilinear descent
system wherein the clan gets its name after a prominent male member
and this clan acts exgamously in matters of mating. Certain male
members are quasi-venerated by the descendents. In this definition the
mongol system was gotra-like though not the same as the Indian one
because there is no evidence for Hymn composition meaning anything to
the mongols or some other steppe people with similar systems. The
mongols used the word Orda and the four sons of chingiz founding the 4
khanates may be compared to the founding of the pancha janaH.

Secret history: See translation of Cleaves. Al juvainy in urduized
Hindi (painful for me) is also an option.
Importantly the Indo-Aryan gotra system had little to do with
educational/ teaching purposes. See that paippalada’s students did not
change to his gotra (prashna U) nor did paippalada change his to
become an AV Shakakrit. Its main use was and is in marriage and

Sidenote: Shri Sitaram Goel suggested that there can be only one form of
nationalism for Indians and that is Hindu Nationalism. He pointed to
an important issue: People like the RSS have an undue attachment to
the piece of land called bhArata. It is not the piece of land that
lends the Hindus their identity but it is their culture. Hence their
primary affliation should be to their culture and not just the land.
It is this affiliation to the culture that still keeps the
Austronesians of Bali still tied to their religion. A corollary to
this is that the AIT should really not be damaging to the Hindu
Nationalist position. Hence there need not be a taboo amidst true
Hindus and they should address the AIT issue quite unemotionally and
objectively. The rightful resentment against the inimical Indologists
should be directed against them rather blindly against a theory. The
AIT itself may be wrong or right but that should be decided quite
independently of the assault on the Aryophobes. While we (true
Indians) must take all steps to destroy the communist ideology that
has corrupted large swathes of the Indian masses and threatens the
Hindu identity we need something to replace it. This replacement is
the unadultrated Hindu dharma that is open to informed interpretation
rather than a diluted or distorted version of it. If we do away with
AIT with a serious discussion just because it was favored by our
communist foes then we are not really not instilling the questioning
spirit that pervaded the Hindus in their heydays. I would like to
know if Hindu nationalism can survive independent of the OIT.

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