collection of hauma hamiddha's scattered posts

Posts tagged ‘saraswati’

Danava and other issues with OIT

>7. The main and older Rig Vedic struggle, however, was the rth-south
>conflict, the Turvashas and Yadus (the people of interior India the
>south) with the Vedic Purus of the Sarasvati River to the north. It
>continued long after the period of the Rig Veda as Puranic stories of
>Purus or Ikshvakus struggles the Yadus reveal. The Turvashas and
>Yadus were also called Rakshasas and Yakshas.

Shri Vamadeva Shastri: a very interesting essay expounding views
Talagerian genre. I will try to address all your points in detail as a
when time permits. But first this point: How did you infer that the
major and older R^igvedic struggle was between the pUrus/ikshvAkus and
the turvashas and the yadus. I noticed that in your earlier work you
even went as far as claiming that rAvaNa was yadu. Do you still stick
to this claim. On what basis do you make this claim? when it is not
really supported by any of the traditional genealogies. There is
paurANic evidence for the struggle between the bhR^igus and their
cousins the yadus in the so called haihaya period culminating in
hostilities under rAmo bhArgava. But the vedic evidence does not (at
least to me) really present a prolonged struggle between the bhArata
center and the yadu/turvasha periphery. There was possibly one major
episode during the sudAsa expansion but beyond that there are even
references to the yadus and turvashas coming from far to aid the
pUrus. Also note the reference them in the long gayatri to Indra:
nakirindra tvaduttaro na jAyan asti… ityAdi by vAmadeva gautama, a
pUru priest; it is hardly hostile.

While the druhyus, anus, purus, t and y are often mentioned in one
breath the ikshvAkus are kept aside on most instances. So they are
possibly a peripheral people with shorter phases of more widespread
dominance of the Aryan heart land like during the periods of mandhAtA
and trasadasyu.

How would you explain this with respect to you geographical model?

> Afghanistan at an early period. The Europeans called themselves
‘Danavas’,
> the sons of the Goddess Danu. Danava was originally a positive term
reflected
> in the name of the Maruts and other Vedic Gods as Su-Danavas (good
Danus). It

There are many issues with dAnava first and problems for OIT with it.
dAnava had already accquired a negative context by the R^ig veda. To
understand this note the epithet dAnava-han applied to Indra fairly
early in the Rigveda itself. Indra’s hostilites with the son of dAnu
are also mentioned on multiple occassions especially in the hymns of
the mainstream pUru angirasas like hiraNyastupa and shaunahotra.
SudAnava is traditionally interpreted by teachers of vedic sanskrit as
good (su) givers (dAnavaH). There is a pauraNic myth that the maruts
were born of diti through an embryo cut up by mahendra. This myth
while probably having some Indo-European root is likely not to have
been an ancient one for it is contradicted in the RV by the tale of
the maruts being the sons of rudra through pR^ishNi. Thus
interpretation of sudAnava as connected to danu is less likely than
the explanation of good givers. Now let us see where the rivers that
derive their name from dAnu are seen: predominantly in the
circum-Pontic region: Dnieper, Donets, Don, Dniester and Danube
(joining Black sea somewhat to the south). There is a sporadic
presence further west like Don in Scotland and the name in the Tuatha
de Daanan of the Celts. This is contrasted with a relative paucity of
the Danu river names to the far east of the Circum-Pontic region. The
two important lessons that we learn from this are one: the
Indo-Europeans river names can be mobile so there can be Don in the
Pontic steppe as well as Scotland: so also for Sarasvati- there could
have been many sarasvatis and that of bharadvAja need be the same as
Hakra. Secondly we see no trail of Danu river names from India to the
Pontic region. So the fundamental split between the danu/dAnava
worshipping population: what may be termed in Indic vocabulary a
Druhyu-early- branching-Anu admixture occured in the Pontic region
rather than in Gandhara. This early danu/dAnvava- split mirrored in
many respects the later asura split. This taken together with the
later surviving Indians in the Black sea regions suggests that the
Indians and the Iranians were most possibly once in this region where
the basic theological construct of dAnava as demon occurred.

The conclusion OIT is far from explaining all the issues of IE origins
and migrations.

West East
Time Danu+dAnava|Asura/Deva
| Split
| Danu+dAnava<———[BOTH]—>Asura/Deva
|main river name main river name
| {danu} {sarasvati}
| Split
| Asura <——- ———–>Deva
| Iranians Indians
\ / {middle vedic period}

> a historic aura, and when the Danu-worshippering people had
> subjugated the Old-European natives/Finno-Ugric people and became
> masters of the land.

The point is that Danu was an ancient river goddess/Demoness and so
she was always worshipped by at least a section of the PIE community.
So you should see her worship associated with this community except
the portion that stops worshiping her. Thus we explain the observed
pattern: hence I do not immediately understand why she has to acquire
a historical aura to be invoked.

> Shouldn’t we also see a plethora of Sarasvati-derived names in the
> the Proto-Indo-Iranian homeland in the Pontic region ifIranian-Indo-
> Aryan split occured there?

On etymological grounds I postulate that the name Sarasvati was
applied to the trans-functional IE goddess only after the
Indo-Iranians had split from the Europeans. After this occured after
the former had started drifting from the Pontic region and invented
sarasvati in this period. One of the Pontic rivers Bug may be derived
from the god bhaga suggesting there were some alternative river names.
This god was common in the slavic branch where many of the gods are
called ‘bogs’.

> The Vendidad does talk about the Vanguhi Daitya river in Eranvej or
> Airyana Vaeja (modern Oxus?), where Daitya=’one who has received the
> Law’. The Avestan corpus should provide with many interesting
threads.

Correct, but this is to do with the much later split of asura and deva
worshippers: Note dAnu and diti are essentially different, though
later they may have been synonymized unifying asura and dAnava. In the
RV dAnava is always negative and asura is still positive. So I was
expressing doubt regarding vAmadeva shAstri’s theory.

Vastu and Harappans

1) There is no strong reason to believe that the in coming Aryans were
incapable or unaware of house construction, town construction etc and
learnt these only from the Harrapans. The Aryans during their long
sojourn in Central Asia came in contact with the oasis civilizations
even if they were not direct participants of this civilization.
Further the fortified settlements of the Sintashta culture are
possible sign of the Aryans already having such capabilities well
before they entered the horizon of the Indus. The Aryan rite of the
gR^ihapravesha is performed even today by many Indians and freely
mixes with the concepts of vAstu

2)The earliest reliable mentions of the vAstushAstra to my knowledge
are datable to the puranas. It is embedded in the midst of other
paurAnic material that is clearly a product of the ‘grand-daughter’
culture of the late Indian vedic period. A concise summary of the
early thoughts on vAstu can be obtained in the garuDa purANa 1.46
entitled vAstu pUjA. The pUjA is recommended to be followed for
constructing houses and a list of deities are given: These include:
Isha, parjanya, jayanta, indra, sUrya, AkAsha, vAyu, pUShA, vitatha,
kshetrapati, yama, gandharva, pitaraH, dvArika, asura, soma, diti,
aditi, ahirbudhnya and some constellations and planets. The total
comes up to *33*- All these deities and the number 33 are particularly
Indo-Aryan, some going back to the I-Ir or PIE period and have clearly
been drawn from the vedic vishvedeva lists. These deities are
typically worshipped outside in the plot, but inside the house itself
another list is given: it includes: Apa, savitA, jaya, rudra, brahmA
and his attendents, mitra, aryamA,viShNu etc. An idol of bR^ihaspati
is installed in front of the house. Again chiefly vedic deities. In
fact aspects vAstu pUja for houses is closer to the late vedic rites
like the kushmANDa rites of the dharma texts than to the paurAnic
pUjAs to the sectarian deities. Hence the vAstu texts may be late but
its earliest attested form in the purANa is firmly placeable with the
late vedic tradition.

3) The house as mentioned in this summary from the garuDa purANa is
said to contain: 1) A kitchen in the south-east with a ventilator
enough for a monkey to pass through; 2) in the East a room with
altars; 3) A room for storing scent in the northeast; 4) a storeroom
in the north; 5) a cowshed in the northwest, 6) a bathroom with
windows in the west; 7) a room to store weapons, *sacrificial fuel*
and barhis in the southwest; 8)guest room in the south and a sacred
grove for viShNu is grown outside the house. Thus we are talking of
fairly sumptuous houses quite compatible with the Indus Civilization
but the ritual is entirely Aryan. A possible explanation is that the
Aryans started displacing the Indus people right during the height of
IVC itself and thus adopted some local architectural schemes but
retained their older rites that gradual metamorphosed to vAstu durign
India’s second urbanization.

> What is the va_stu evidence in sintashta? What is the evidence
> for ‘fortifications’? What were they called in IE?

Well I did not say there was a vAstu text in the sintashta period-
after all pots do not speak- so much for the value of archaeology.
What it does show however is that they were capable of construction
hence the concepts of the later vAstu rites could be purely of Aryan
origin. Also see the other evidence I provide in this regard. As for
fortifications works on Sintashta, especially by russian authors gives
quite a bit about this.

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