Despite all efforts of whitewashing the contribution of India to world civilization by the modern ‘western’ world, truth has its way of being unravelled.

Centuries of efforts have failed miserably to establish the Aryan invasion theory and Aryan migration theory and that has shattered other assumptions related to the of Indo-European languages. Stephen Oppenheimer has elegantly depicted the migration of human race from Africa to India and beyond in Journey of mankind

It is now genetically proven that Australian aborigines migrated from India 4000 yrs ago and the Romani people (Roma, Europe’s largest minorities of 11 million people) migrated from India to Europe 1500 yrs ago.

 

American cows have Indian origins, scientists find.

 

Subodh Varma, TNN Mar 26, 2013, 03.06PM IST, NEW DELHI.

Some famous cow breeds of the Americas, including the iconic Texas Longhorn, have descended from Indian ancestors, a new genetic study reveals.

Indian cows traveled to East Africa, then mixed with local cattle populations up to the North African coast. From there they were picked up and continued to intermingle with Spanish cattle. In 1493, Christopher Columbus took these Indian variants to the Caribbean on his second voyage. Then they spread to Mexico and Texas. The study by scientists of the universities of Texas (Austin) and Missouri (Columbia) was published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) this week.

This bizarre journey of the Indian cow’s genes is a reflection of human migration as cows have practically coexisted with human society. Cows were domesticated around 10,000 years ago in two regions – Turkey and India – from a wild species called aurochs which were up to two times larger than current bovines. These are respectively called the taurine and indicine types of cows. Aurochs were hunted to extinction by 1627.

It was generally assumed that North American cattle were descendants of European cattle brought by settlers. However, certain varieties of cattle like the Texas Longhorn showed distinctive characteristics like being immune to certain ticks (parasitic insects), and quite capable of withstanding tough drought like conditions. Obviously, there was more to their ancient past than met the eye.

To understand and unravel the origins of American cattle breeds, the scientists analyzed the genetic lineage of three cattle descended from the New World cows: Texas longhorn, Mexican Corriente and Romosinuano cattle from Colombia, and compared them with 55 other cattle breeds.

They found that changes in genetic sequences found in the three New World cows were very similar to the ones in Indian breeds. Collating historical records, the researchers have suggested that these imported cattle survived in wild herds in their new home for another 450 years. This period, covering about 80 to 200 generations would offer an opportunity for natural selection, that is, survival of the characteristics that are better suited to the new environment, at the cost of unsuited characteristics.

There have been later ‘imports’ of the Indian breeds in the Americas, the researchers admit. They were introduced to North America via Jamaica by the 1860s. In the mid-1900s, Indian cattle were imported into Brazil, and now there are “naturalized” Brazilian indicine (Nelore) and indicine/taurine hybrid (Canchim) breeds.

India has the largest cattle population in the world, numbering nearly 300 million heads, followed by Brazil, China and US. 

Advertisements

What Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo and B R Ambedkar thought about the Aryan Invasion Theory

 

Neo-Colonial Captive Minds

 

By Devan Nair

(Devan Nair, former President of Singapore, has sent the following message to be posted to the ECIT egroup. As an intellectual, a follower of Sri Aurobindo, and student of the recent re-evaluation of the Aryan-Invasion Theory, his message is very interesting to ponder.)

 

The age of colonialism may be over, but not that of neo-colonial Captive minds in India as elsewhere in the former colonial territories. Nations struggled for and won political liberation from imperialist thralldom. But their tertiary institutions of higher learning hardly ever (with rare indigenous exceptions) displayed any compelling urge to free themselves from the restrictive, eurocentric disciplinary paradigms inherited from western universities, or to delve into their own unique native spiritual, cultural and intellectual resources that, even if not altogether annulled, were rendered more or less otiose. And it was precisely from the corridors of domestic academia that the dangerous and divisive infection of captive minds spreads to all fields of the public life of a once subject nation.

India is a prime example of a once great civilization with an Incredibly rich spiritual, literary, artistic, cultural and intellectual heritage, not to speak of production, manufacturing and medical expertise; a heritage that Indian academic and political leaders honor more in the breach than in the observance. Nationalist rhetoric and ritual genuflection, with an eye on the voting predilections of a volatile electorate, are the best the politicians seem capable of. Most worrisome of all is that the infection has affected the perceptions and self-appraisal of large sections of the Indian national collectivity itself, despite the intuitive pronouncements of great spiritual leaders of the Indian renaissance like Dayananda Saraswati, Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo.

In the highly praiseworthy cause of countering and arresting Trends inimical to India’s right development as a member of a global Community of nations, I am confident that your work is of crucial importance, not only for Indian and international practitioners of Indian insights (as in Auroville), but also for the Indian social/political/national collectivity itself. I am sure you will agree that our aim should be, not to denounce everything western, as there is much of great value in western achievements, particularly in the vital fields of modern science and technology, which are today inseparably part and parcel of the global heritage of mankind. On the contrary, your goal is to counter the threat to genuine globalization posed by the tendency in certain western academic quarters to denigrate eastern traditions, and to shamelessly appropriate, using different terminology and without due acknowledgement, the work of Indian pioneers in the important field, for instance, of the psychology of consciousness, and to present such clearly dishonest efforts as original western discoveries. That is intellectually dishonest, which deserves to be exposed and dissolved in the blinding glare of broad daylight. A genuinely global community of nations can and should only proceed on the basis of honest scholarship. Unmasking self-serving dishonesty in some areas of western or eastern scholarship is a service towards expediting the irreversible evolutionary process towards a genuinely united humanity.

To give just one illuminating illustration, we might mention the Nearly universal and quite uncritical acceptance by both Indian politicians and the generality of national and international academics, of the 19th Century myth of the “Aryan invasion of Dravidian India” and of the arbitrary classification of the population into Aryan and Dravidian ethnic types. The damage inflicted on the political perceptions of the population poses a threat to the very integrity of India as a unique political and cultural entity. Witness the two most dominant political parties of Tamil Nadu, the DMK and the ANNA DMK (the ‘D’ standing for ‘Dravida’). They swallowed hook, line and sinker the shallow, ill-researched “findings” of 19th Century European Indologists. Even India’s present national anthem perpetuates the Aryan/Dravidian divide by referring to ‘Dravida’. It was a wrong-headed decision to discard the original national anthem “Vande Mataram” (‘Salutation to the Mother’ Ð for the land of Bharatmata was originally conceived, not as a merely secular/geographical abstraction, but as Mother India Herself). It was the mantric potency of “Vande Mataram” that ignited the fiery beginnings (1905-1910) of the Indian aspiration for complete independence from British rule after Lord Curzon’s partition of Bengal. And the man who picked it out from Bankim Chandra Chatterjee’s classic Bengali novel ‘Anandamath’ was no less a leader than Sri Aurobindo himself. To the surprise and consternation of the British Viceroy and his officials, thousand-throated cries of “Vande Mataram” rent the skies of India during the inspiring beginnings in those dramatic years of the national independence struggle.

And what of the real intentions of these 19th Century western Gentlemen still so greatly revered by several leading Indian academics? In a marvelous book “THE INVASION THAT NEVER WAS” by Michael Danino/Sujata Nahar, published by THE MOTHER’S INSTITUTE OF RESEARCH in Delhi (1996), the best known icon of 19th Century Indology Max Muller was effectively demolished in his own words; hoisted on his own petard, as it were. I quote directly from Michael Danino: “Even the celebrated Max Muller (whose research work, interestingly, was commissioned and generously paid for by the East India Company after he had been engaged by Macaulay), wrote to his wife ((ref. Friedrich Max Muller, Life and Letters, Vol.1; London: Longmans, 1902, p328): ‘This edition of mine and the translation of the Veda, will hereafter tell to a great extent on the fate of India and on the growth of millions of souls in that country. It is the root of their religion and to show them what The root is, I feel sure, is the only way of uprooting all that has Sprung from it during the last three thousand years.” So? The seemingly “impartial” scholar was in truth a Macaulayite tool for the accomplishment of grandiose imperial aims.

This plan misfired largely due to the great Indian savants (not academics, mind you!). The first to dispute the Aryan myth was Dayananda Saraswati. He rejected out of hand the whole 19th Century European view of the Veda. Here Michael Danino quotes Sri Aurobindo: “Dayananda seized justly on the Veda as India’s Rock of Ages. In the matter of Vedic interpretation I am convinced that whatever may be the final complete interpretation, Dayananda will be honored as the first discoverer of the right clues.” (ref: Sri Aurobindo, Centenary Edition 1972, Vol. 17, p. 334). Danino continues: “By the same token, Dayananda forcefully opposed the Christian missionaries’ vilification of India’s ancient culture, and engaged in public debates with some of them (with maulanas too), especially in Punjab where a wave of conversions had taken place.”

Danino proceeds to quote: “Dayananda’s performance in public debates not only stopped further conversions, but also gave birth to a new movement, ‘shuddhi’ (purification) of those who had been enticed away from Hindu society …… It sent a wave of consternation through the missionary circles and restored Hindu confidence. In days to come, the missionaries became more and more reluctant to meet Dayananda in open forums.”

Writes Danino: “With Vivekananda’s deep knowledge not only of Hindu scriptures but of Western history and religions, he was quick to see the gaps in the Aryan edifice.” In a lecture in USA, Vivekananda remarked scornfully: “And what your European Pandits say about the Aryans swooping down from some foreign land snatching away the land of aborigines and settling in India by exterminating them is all pure nonsense, foolish talk. Strange that our Indian scholars too say ‘Amen’ to them…. And all these monstrous lies are being taught to our boys.” (Vivekananda Complete Works, Calcutta: Advaita Ashram, 1963; Vol. V, p. 534-535).

Danino goes on to write that in another lecture, this time in India, Vivekananda was in a more humorous mood, but mercilessly to the point: “Our [European] archaeologist dreams of India being full of dark-eyed aborigines, and the bright Aryans came from, the Lord knows where. According to some, they came from Central Tibet, others will have it that they came from Central Asia. There are patriotic Englishmen who think that the Aryans were all red-haired ……. If the writer happens to be a black-haired man, the Aryans were all black-haired. Of late, there was an attempt to prove that the Aryans lived on the Swiss lakes…. Some say now that they lived at the North Pole. Lord bless the Aryans and their habitations! As for the truth of these theories, there is not one word in our scriptures, not one, to prove that the Aryan came from anywhere outside India, and in ancient India was included Afghanistan. There it ends. And the theory that the Shudra caste were all non-Aryans ….. is equally illogical and equally irrational….. The whole of India is Aryan, nothing else…… And the more you go on fighting and quarrelling about all trivialities such as ‘Dravidian’ and ‘Aryan,’ and the question of Brahmins and non-Brahmins and all that, the further you are from that accumulation of energy and power which is going to make the future India.” (Vivekananda Lectures from Colombo to Almora; Calcutta: Advaita Ashram, 1992; p. 222, 230).

Coming to Sri Aurobindo’s immense contribution, Danino writes: “A systematic refutation of the Aryan invasion theory had to wait until Sri Aurobindo. In 1910, after he had worked for a decade to awaken the spirit of independence in India, and spent a year in prison, he learned that the British had finally decided to deport him under new draconian laws (they regarded him as ‘the most dangerous man we have to deal with at present”); leaving Bengal he sought refuge in Pondicherry, then a French possession. There, soon afterwards, he took up his study of the Veda….While reading the Sanskrit text, he also came to question the European scholars’ view of the Veda which, ‘like the majority of educated Indians,’ he had so far ‘passively accepted without examination.‘ (ref. Sri Aurobindo, The Secret of the Veda, Centenary Edition, vol. 10, p. 33-34). He soon realized that ‘If the modern interpretation stands, the Vedas are no doubt of high interest to the philologist, the anthropologist and the historian; but poetically and spiritually they are null and worthless. Its reputation for spiritual knowledge and deep religious wealth is the most imposing and baseless hoax that has ever been worked upon the imagination of a whole people throughout many millenniums. Is this, then, the last word about the Veda? Or is it not rather the culmination of a long increasing and ever progressing error?'” (Sri Aurobindo Archives and Research, Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, April 1985, p 27).

Danino: “With his usual keenness of vision, Sri Aurobindo wrote: ‘In India we have fallen during the last few centuries into a fixed habit of unquestioning deference to authority……. We are ready to accept all European theories, the theory of an ‘Aryan’ colonization of a Dravidian India, the theory of Nature-worship and henotheism of the Vedic Rishis…… as if these hazardous speculations were on a par in authority and certainty with the law of gravitation and the theory of evolution.’ (ref: Ibid., p 41). ‘So great is the force of attractive generalizations and widely popularized errors that all the world goes on perpetuating the blunder talking of the Indo-Aryan races, claiming or disclaiming Aryan kinship and building on that basis of falsehood the most far-reaching political, social or pseudo-scientific conclusions.'” (Sri Aurobindo, the Origins of Aryan Speech, in The Secret of the Veda, op.cit., p. 193).

“How prophetic’, writes Danino, “if we consider that this was written some twenty year before the growth of Nazism with its claims to ‘Aryan kinship’! In his Secret of the Veda, which started appearing from 1914, Sri Aurobindo called on his fellow countrymen not to be ‘haunted by the unfortunate misconstruction of the Veda which European scholarship has imposed on the modern mind.'” (The Secret of the Veda, op. cit., p 193).

Danino continues: “Taking a straight look at the original text, with no preconception, no a priori theory, Sri Aurobindo observed, ‘it did not take long to see that the Vedic indications of a racial division between Aryans and Dasyus and the identification of the latter with the indigenous Indians were of a far flimsier character than I had supposed.'” (ref: Ibid., p 36). ‘This division was “a conjecture supported only by other conjectures …… a myth of the philologists”. (ref: Ibid., p 40). “Sri Aurobindo added. ‘The indications in the Veda on which this theory of a recent Aryan invasion is built, are very scanty in quantity and uncertain in their significance. There is no actual mention of such an invasion'” (ref: Ibid., p. 24). “Above all, he wanted the Indians to develop their own independent judgment: ‘A time must come when the Indian mind will shake off the darkness that has fallen upon it, cease to think or hold opinions at second and third rank and reassert its right to judge and enquire in a perfect freedom into the meaning of its own Scriptures. When that day comes, we shall ….. question many established philological myths; the legend, for instance, of an Aryan invasion of India from the north, the artificial and inimical distinction of Aryan and Dravidian which an erroneous philology has driven like a wedge into the unity of the homogeneous Indo-Afghan race ….(India’s Rebirth, Paris: Institut de Recherches Evolutives, 1993 , p 91-92) ‘”.

Continues Danino: “Some eighty years later, we know that the ‘wedge’, driven now not only by scholars but also by politicians, has only gone absurdly deeper. Yet Sri Aurobindo’s study of Tamil, which he did with the help of Subramania Bharati (the national poet of Tamil Nadu), led him to discover that the ‘original connection between the Sanskrit and Tamil tongues’ was ‘far closer and more extensive than is usually supposed’ and that they were ‘two divergent families derived from one lost primitive tongue'”. (Sri Aurobindo, The Secret of the Veda, op. cit., p 36). “The division between Indo-European and Dravidian languages had collapsed: ‘My first study of Tamil words had brought me to what seemed a clue to the very origins and structure of the ancient Sanskrit tongue.'” (ref: Ibid., p 46).

“Sri Aurobindo’s study, however, led him to far more momentous results, for he recovered the long lost symbolism of the Veda, and brought to light the Rishis’ extraordinary experience.” These results, however, are of far greater value to living practitioners of Indian Yoga, than to academics, and recourse must be had to the major portion of Sri Aurobindo’s “Secret of the Veda” for that purpose.

I make no apologies for continuing with quotes from Danina, for The good reason that they cannot be improved upon. He next writes: “The Question we should now ask is: Are our latter day historians, who still swear by Marx or Max Muller, or both, and often have a poor knowledge of Sanskrit and India’s traditions, better equipped than a Swami Vivekananda or a Sri Aurobindo, with their depth of understanding and erudition, to tell us what the meaning of the Veda is and the conclusions we are to draw from it?…Yet it is not as if there were no scholars in India to agree with these great seers. We will cite here only two of these striking examples of genuine but ignored Indian scholarship.

“Some ten years after the serialization of the Sri Aurobindo’s ‘Secret of the Veda’, R. Swaminatha Aiyar, a Tamil administrator, linguist and mathematician, carried out extensive research on the so-called Dravidian languages, but not ‘without previously disposing of a large number of misconceptions and untenable theories about Dravidian languages and Dravidian culture, which have come into existence since the publication of Bishop Caldwell’s ‘Dravidian Grammar’. (Ref: R. Swaminatha Aiyar, Dravidian Theories (New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidas, 1987). “After a thorough scrutiny of the grammar and roots of these languages, his conclusions confirmed Sri Aurobindo’s own findings on the deep connection between Tamil and Sanskrit. Swaminatha Aiyar found most Dravidian verb forms of ‘Indo-Aryan origin,’ and that ‘the basic portion of Dravidian vocabularies consists of words of Indo-Aryan origin though ….. these words have been greatly corrupted and are very difficult of recognition.’ As N.S. Rajaram, also a mathematician and linguist from South India, remarks in a recent study, ‘Dravidian languages are strongly inflected like Sanskrit, and cases and declensions are also quite similar…. In some ways these so-called Dravidian languages have preserved ancient forms and usages from Sanskrit better than North Indian languages like Hindi.'” (N.S. Rajaram, The Politics of History, op. cit., p 175).

To continue with Danino. “B.R. Ambedkar is our second example. Known in India chiefly for his campaign in support of the lower castes (he himself was a Harijan) and his work on the Indian Constitution, it is often overlooked that in order to find out the truth of the European Theories about Aryans and non-Aryans, high and low caste, he did precisely what Sri Aurobindo exhorted Indians to do: he went to the source, and studied the Veda for himself, with an open mind. His conclusions are unequivocal, though regrettably they are largely ignored by those who profess to follow his lead and who more often than not make a strident use of the very theories he sought to demolish: ‘The theory of invasion is an invention. This invention is necessary because of a gratuitous assumption that the Indo-Germanic people are the purest of the modern representatives of the original Aryan race. The theory is based on nothing but pleasing assumptions, and inferences based on such assumptions. The theory is a perversion of scientific investigation. It is not allowed to evolve out of facts. On the contrary, the theory is preconceived and facts are selected to prove it. It falls to the ground at every point.’ (ref: B. R. Ambedkar, quoted by D.B. Thengadi in The Perspective [Sahitya Sindhu Prakashan]).

My conclusions are:

1. The Vedas do not know any such race as the Aryan race.

2. There is no evidence in the Vedas of any invasion of India by the Aryan race and it having conquered the Dasas and Dasyus supposed to be the natives of India.

3. There is no evidence to show that the distinction between Aryans, Dasas and Dasyus was a racial distinction.

4. The Vedas do not support the contention that the Aryans were different in colour from the Dasas and Dasyus…..If anthropometry is a science which can be depended upon to determine the race of a people….. (then its) measurements establish that the Brahmins and the Untouchables belong to the same race. From this it follows that if the Brahmins are Aryans the Untouchables are also Aryans. If the Brahmins are Dravidians, the Untouchables are also Dravidians…..’

(B. R. Ambedkar, ‘Writings and Speeches’ [Bombay: Education Department, Government of Maharashtra, 1986-1990], Vol. 7, p. 85 and 302-303, quoted in Koenraad Elst’s Indigneous Indians, Agastya to Ambedkar, op. cit., p.410-411).

Danino completes this particular chapter of his book, thus: “Despite these remarkable protests, none listened; we Indians have long had the inexplicable habit of accepting change only if comes to us from the West. Yet in recent years, some voices have begun to be heard, both in the West and in India, asserting that the time has come to chuck out this worm-eaten theory once and for all. The cumulative evidence from all scientific branches of knowledge, especially archaeology, has become simply too overwhelming to be ignored, except for historians with dubious motives.”

Voila! as the French would say. I have done my bit of ‘nishkama karma’ (desireless action) for your more than worthwhile cause in respect of at least the demolition of the fictitious Aryan/Dravidian divide Indian politicians and a good number of India’s leading academics continue to subscribe to. There is no such thing as an “immortal bubble”. This bubble too will one day burst for good and be seen no more.

You have other challenges to meet head on, by way of dissemination Of your objectives to opinion in India itself, but also among the Indian diaspora in the West, particularly in the USA. In the psychological field, as in the study of yet another speculative discipline like Indology, Ken Wilber and his undoubted intellect may be safely left to the attention of formidable Indian and non-Indian practitioners of Indian spiritual practices (these, incidentally, are not speculative, but experiential disciplines in which seekers consciously ascend and descend what Sri Aurobindo called the “ladder of consciousness”). Don Salmon, for instance, is himself a master in the same field as Wilber. But he also possesses an additional SOMETHING ELSE of one who devotedly treads the path of the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo. Be assured that Mr. Wilber will by no means arrive at the stature of an Avatar. No barefaced plagiarist of ideas and conceptions ever did.

Warm regards and best wishes,

C. V. Devan Nair

BHARAT: cradle of human civilization

William Durant (1885-1981): Mother India is in many ways the mother of us all.

Sylvain Levi (1863-1935): She (India) has left indelible imprints on one fourth of the human race….from Persia to the Chinese sea, from the icy regions of Siberia to Islands of Java and Borneo, India has propagated her beliefs, her tales, and her civilization! 

Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803): …. mankind’s origins can be traced to India, where the human mind got the first shapes of wisdom and virtue with a simplicity, strength and sublimity which has – frankly spoken – nothing, nothing at all equivalent in our philosophical, cold European world

 Friedrich Majer (1771-1818): It will no longer remain to be doubted that the priests of Egypt and the sages of Greece have drawn directly from the original well of India,

 Romain Rolland (1866-1944): If there is one place on the face of this Earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest day when man began the dream of existence, it is India.

 Francois Marie Arouet Voltaire (1694-1774): I am convinced that everything has come down to us from the banks of the Ganges, – astronomy, astrology, metapsychosis,.. It is very important to note that some 2,500 years ago at the least Pythagoras went from Samos to the Ganges to learn geometry…But he would certainly not have undertaken such a strange journey had the reputation of the Brahmins’ science not been long established in Europe…It did not behove us, who were only savages and barbarians when these Indians were civilised and learned, to dispute their antiquity.

 Arnold H Ludwig Heeren (1760-1842): India is the source from which not only the rest of Asia but the whole Western World derived their knowledge and their religion. 

Mark Twain (1835-1910): India had the start of the whole world in the beginning of things. She had the first civilization; she had the first accumulation of material wealth; she was populous with deep thinkers and subtle intellects; she had mines, and woods, and a fruitful soul. India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grand mother of tradition. Our most valuable and most astrictive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only!  

 

When will the people of India start believing in themselves?

When will our history books start telling the truth?

When will Hindus get their dues?

 

 

Who discovered America

Ricardo Palleres 

 

It very well may come to pass in the near future that those concerned with truth will wrestle primarily with history rather than science. The obvious reason for this is that, in the words of Dr. Wilfred Cantwell Smith, author of Theology and the World’s Religious History, “Humanity is more important than things. The truth about humanity is of a higher order than the truth about things.”1

History tells an intriguing tale, one that ultimately may provide the greatest support for a spiritual worldview. But history has also been distorted. An example of this is the “common knowledge” that Columbus discovered America. Some say he didn’t, nor were any other Europeans the first to touch America’s shores. There is good reason to reexamine the history of the world and the Americas in particular. An unbiased look into the development of our planet’s civilizations may help to bring about a change in values, a shift from material values to spiritual ones.

What if Europe was really in darkness in comparison to the Far East and India that Columbus set sail to find? What if the popular idea that the Tibetans and the American Indians have much in common in terms of their spiritual culture is largely a result of another historical scenario? What if Hindus and Hopis, Advaitins and Aztecs, Tibetan monks and Mayans were part of one world culture — a spiritual one?

Perhaps the development of Western civilization and the Protestant ethic, which many of the West are now coming to abhor, have gotten in the way of the spiritual development of humanity. Perhaps many technological developments, while making physical contact with other cultures more possible, have distanced us from one another in a deeper sense.

Another historical scenario: The spiritually sophisticated Asians were the first to set foot on Western shores, and Asia, not Europe, was the seat of culture. The central focus of that culture was genuine spiritual development, not the mere shadow of the same in the form of the politically-motivated Pauline Christianity and later the Protestant ethic, which licensed humankind’s exploitation of nature.

This theory is found in the Vedic literature of India. The ancient Puranas (literally, histories) and the Mahabharata make mention of the Americas as lands rich with gold and silver. Argentina, which means ‘related to silver,’ is thought to have been named after Arjuna (of silver hue), one of the heroes of that great epic. India’s Puranic histories are, however, questionable to the rationalist. In the minds of the empiricists, they are more akin to myths. Yet myths have meaning, as the late Joseph Campbell has reminded us. The Puranas downplay in particular the mere recording of mundane events. The Puranic view is that even if its histories are only myths (which is not necessarily the case), the lessons to be learned from them are infinitely more valuable than what can be learned from recording the coming and going of humanity. In their view, only those human events that serve to promote transcendental knowledge are worth recording. Although empiricists are justified in dismissing them from their viewpoint, the so-called myths and their followers are also justified in dismissing the empiricist’s insistence that empirical evidence is final.

Granted, India has shown some lacking in her ability to record her story. But that is due to her preoccupation with the transcendent, the suprahistorical, and not to any ineptitude on her part. According to Kana Mitra in her article “Theologizing Through History?” “We [Hindus] tend to forget about history, and the de-emphasis of nama-rupa — name and form [due to transcendent preoccupation] — is one of the reasons for not putting down a name or date in many of our writings. Consequently present-day historians have a difficult time in determining the date and authorship of various works.”2

Fortunately, for dealing with the “I’ll only believe it if I can see it” mentality of the empiricist, there is considerable hard evidence and academic support for the Vedic theory that most people are unaware of. Unbiased consideration of this remarkable evidence may move modern-day rationalists to give serious thought to the more realistic spiritual outlook of “Only if you believe it can you see it.” After all, reality is a living thing and it may reserve the right not to show itself but to those to whom it so chooses. Otherwise, why are we in illusion, or in search of reality? If it is something we can attain by our own prowess, how did we get here (in doubt) in the first place?

 herman-cortes-montezuma

The meeting (1519) of Hernan Cortes and the Aztec emperor Montezuma II is depicted in this 17th century Spanish painting. (British Embassy, Mexico City). Unfortunately, the American Indians did not survive their cultural exchange with Europe. The Europeans, through book burning and bayonet, successfully “converted” them leaving very little trace of their noble civilization.

Many historians have scrutinized historical evidence to find more insight into the marvelous cultures that populated the American continent before Christopher Columbus was born. Their thirst for research was based on the assumption that the great Mayan, Aztec, and Incan civilizations could not have appeared all of a sudden in the Western world. Rather, they must have received strong influence from ancient Eastern cultures, mainly from India.

Alexander von Humbolt (1769-1859), an eminent European scholar and anthropologist, was one of the first to postulate the Asiatic origin of the Indian civilizations of the Americas.

His and other scholars’ views formed the basis for the “diffusionist” argument, which was opposed by the “isolationist” viewpoint. Diffusionists believe that the world’s civilizations are a result of social contact (civilized man meets uncivilized man). Isolationists believe that civilizations cropped up all over the earth without physical contact with one another.

  aztec-calender

The Aztec Calendar is known as the Aztec Chakra to Hindu Astronomers. (National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico.)

 “The doctrine of the world’s ages (Hindu Yugas) was imported into Pre-Columbian America… The Mexican sequence is identical with the Hindus… The essential fact remains that they were derived from a common source… It would be ridiculous to assert that such a strange doctrine was of spontaneous origin in different parts of old and new worlds.” — Mackenzie, Myths of Pre-Columbian America.

It is readily accepted that some twenty thousand years ago primitive Asians crossed the Bering Strait into North America and gradually moved south all the way to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. Diffusionists maintained that after this occurred civilized Asiatic people distributed themselves via the Pacific, thereby bringing civilization to the Americas. Isolationists insisted that after the nomadic tribes crossed the Bering Strait, a homogeneous race of “Indians of the Americas” was formed, and the American tribespeople then went about reinventing all culture, duplicating in two thousand years what originally took about six millenniums in the Old World.

Henry Charlton Bastian, author of The Evolution of Life (1907), presented the concept of physicochemical evolution, which gave strength to the isolationists. His theory advocated that the development of civilized man was a result of “a psychic unity of mankind,” rather than social contact. Bastian’s theory of elementargedanke influenced many anthropologists, and today, although the theory is not accepted, it is tacitly acknowledged as far as the conformities between America and Old World civilizations are concerned.3

This pseudo-evolutionist theory leaves much to be desired, and its unspoken acceptance casts doubt on the credibility of the anthropologists. After all, doesn’t it tax our credulity when we are asked to believe that a whole series of complicated techniques like casting by the lost wax method, the alloying of copper and tin, the coloring of gold by chemical processes, weaving, and tie-dyeing and batik were by some miracle invented twice, once in the Old World and again from scratch in the Americas? What mysterious psychological law would have caused Asians and Americans to both use the umbrella as a sign of royalty, to invent the same games, imagine similar cosmologies, and attribute the same colors to the different directions?

No archeologist today would attribute to prehistoric Europeans the independent invention of bronze casting, iron work, the wheel, weaving, pottery, writing, and so many other cultural elements that were derived from the Middle East. Similarly, the industrial developments in Britain were introduced from elsewhere within the European continent, not developed independently. What then would cause one to insist that what was not possible for the Europeans (duplicating culture independently) was possible for the American Indians? Especially when at the same time we are taught that the Europeans were of superior stock!

It was in 1949 that these opposing views met head-on at the Congress of the Americanists held in New York, which was sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History. At that time, the diffusionists presented an overwhelming mass of Asiatic-Pacific-American parallels. Nonetheless, much of the diffusionists’ evidence continues to be ignored, and the isolationist view is more widely accepted. The reason for this may be more than empirical evidence or lack of the same. Indeed, it may be the faulty nature of the empirical approach, which depends on one’s imperfect senses and causes one to dismiss facts that do not conform with the prevailing worldview.

The Aryan civilization of India is a logical choice for the beginning of the diffusion of our planet’s civilization. American historian Will Durant, in his book Our Oriental Heritage, described India as the most ancient civilization on earth, and he offered many examples of Indian culture throughout the world. He demonstrated that as early as the ninth century b.c.e. Indians were exploring the sea routes, reaching out and extending their cultural influence to Mesapotamia, Arabia, and Egypt.

Although modern-day historians and anthropologists might prefer to accept Egypt or Babylon as the most ancient civilization, due to various archeological findings, their theories are by no means conclusive. The popular theory in the academic community that the Aryans were an Indo-European stock, who spoke an unknown pre-Sanskrit language and only later invaded India subsequently occupying her, is also considerably lacking in supportive evidence. Indeed, there is very little evidence whatsoever for the postulated Aryan invasion of India. But perhaps it is easier for modern people to accept ancient Egypt and Babylon, whose ancient civilizations have no living representation and thereby do not pose any challenge to the status quo.

But India is alive and kicking. Prominent traces of ancient Vedic civilization can still be found today not only in India but outside her borders as well. The life science of ayurveda, yoga and meditation, and Sanskrit texts translated into modern languages are all prominent examples. If we recognize ancient India as a civilized spiritual giant, we will have to reckon with her modern-day representations. It is altogether possible that the Vedic theory, if thoroughly researched, poses a threat to many of the concepts of modern civilization and the current worldview, as can be seen by the fact that the Vedic literature and spiritual ideology loomed as the greatest threat to the British in their imperialistic conquest of India.

The Aryans’ footprints are found throughout neighboring Southeast Asia. They were skilled navigators and pioneers of many cultural developments. According to several sources, these Aryans ruled in Java, Bali, Sumatra, Borneo, Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, Annan, Burma, and Thailand until the fourteenth century. Even today, the kings of Thailand bear the title Rama after the Indian Ramraja (the perfect kingdom said to have been governed by the incarnation of Godhead Ramachandra). And the story of Ramayana is depicted on the palace walls in Bangkok.

Cambodia, the ancient Kamboja, boasts the largest temple complex in the world, named Ankor, from the Sanskrit language meaning “the capital city.” It was built in the ninth century c.e. in honor of the Hindu god Vishnu. The complex extends over an area more than twice the size of Manhattan and took thirty-seven years to complete. Its physical and spiritual grandeur is found elsewhere only in ancient Greece, Egypt, and among the Mayan and Aztec civilizations. Cambodia’s principle river is today called Me Kong, which some scholars say is derived from India’s Ma Ganga (Mother Ganges).

Vietnam, once called Champa, figures prominently as a stepping-stone in the story of India’s cultural expansion to the Americas. Furthermore, the Hindu state of Java was founded by the king of Kalinga (Orissa) in the first century c.e. Java is said to be the ancient Yava-Dveepa mentioned in the Ramayana and other Sanskrit texts. The Indonesian national flag flies the symbol of Garuda, the bird carrier of Vishnu. Garuda is also the national symbol of that country.

In 1949, two scholars, Gordon Ekholm and Chaman Lal, systematically compared the Mayan, Aztec, Incan, and North American Indian civilizations with the Hindu-oriented countries of Southeast Asia and with India herself. According to them, the emigrant cultures of India took with them India’s system of time measurement, local gods, and customs. Ekholm and Lal found signs of Aryan civilization throughout the Americas in art (lotus flowers with knotted stems and half-dragon/half-fish motifs found commonly in paintings and carvings), architecture, calendars, astronomy, religious symbols, and even games such as our Parcheesi and Mexican patolli, which have their origins in India’s pachisi.

Both the Hindus and the Americans used similar items in their worship rituals. They both maintained the concept of four yuga cycles, or cosmological seasons, extending over thousands of years, and conceived of twelve constellations with reference to the Sun as indicated by the Incan sun calendar. Royal insignias, systems of government, and practice of religious dance and temple worship all showed remarkable similarities, pointing strongly to the idea that the Americas were strongly influenced by the Aryans.

 temples

The temples of India (pict. 1-2) are built according to the ancient Vedic architectural science. There are striking similarities between Mayan temples and those in India. Pict. 3-4: Two Mayan temples from Palenque, Mexico and Central America.

Another scholar, Ramon Mena, author of Mexican Archeology, called the Nahuatl, Zapoteca, and Mayan languages “of Hindu origin. He went on to say, “A deep mystery enfolds the tribes that inhabited the state of Chiapas in the district named Palenque. . . . Their writing, and the anthropological type, as well as their personal adornments . . . their system and style of construction clearly indicate the remotest antiquity. . . . [they] all speak of India and the Orient.”4

Still another scholar, Ambassador Poindexter, in his two-volume 1930s treatise The Arya-Incas, called the Mayan civilization “unquestionably Hindu.”      

The Aztec culture in particular shows a striking resemblance to that of India. Aztecs divided their society into four divisions of both labor and spiritual status, as did the Hindus. In India, this system of government was known as varnashrama, or the division of society based on body types and mental dispositions resulting from past karma. As in Indian civilization, the Aztecs maintained a God-centered government in which people were employed in accordance with their natural karmic tendencies. The results of the labor of all the priests, administrators, mercantilists, and laborers were for the glorification of Godhead, who in turn was thought to provide for humankind.

Aztec boys were sent to school at the age of five, at which time they were put under the care of a priest and trained in various duties of temple life. The Aztec system of education bears a striking resemblance to the Indian system of gurukula, in which boys were sent to the care of a guru for spiritual and practical education. The Mayans and Incas had a similar approach to education, which was mainly a training for priestly service. Fanny Bandelier’s translation of Sahagun’s History of Ancient Mexico describes that the intellectually inclined boys were trained as “ministers to the idols.”

Girls were educated in the domestic arts at home and did not mingle with young boys. Even as late as the 1930s, there was no courtship between Mexican Indian girls and boys, as is still the case in village life in India today. From conception to education, marriage, death, cremation, and even the observance of the sati rite, there are overwhelming parallels between Indian society and the Americas. Further evidence of cultural ties between the East and West is found in the statues of American gods who show a striking resemblance to the Hindu deities of Hanuman, Shiva, Indra, Vishnu and others. Such statues have been found throughout the Americas, and many of them can be seen today in museums in Central America.

The Mexican Indians and the Incas of Peru were primarily vegetarians. They were of high moral character and hospitable and generous as a habit. They practiced astrology, and mental telepathy was common among them. It was perhaps their peace-loving disposition that, like the Hindus, allowed them to be ruled by Europeans. Unfortunately, the American Indians did not survive their cultural exchange with Europe. The Europeans, through book burning and bayonet, successfully “converted” them, leaving very little trace of their noble civilization.

And what about Europe?  When merchants sailing from India brought delicious spices, aromatic perfumes, incense, fine silk, precious stones set in delicate and rare jewelry, complex craftsmanship of ivory, and many other goods never seen before by Europeans, the riches and mystique of that land captivated them. The stories told by many navigators about that land of wonder, where the palaces were built of varieties of marble rather than rush stone, decorated with beautiful sculptures and wooden inlay, made the Queen of Spain so covetous that she provided Christopher Columbus with all necessities for his famous journey. Columbus had heard of India’s riches through the writings of Marco Polo. Polo had written that India “was the richest and noblest country of the world.”5

Europe, after Guttenburg’s invention of the printing press, wasted no time in announcing the discovery of the New World. It was at this time that European historians began to present to the rest of the world that their land was the center of culture and civilization.

In comparison to Indian society, however, the Europeans were rather crude. The ominous age of the Inquisition, with its persecution and fanaticism, the use of mechanical devices to insure the “chastity” of its women, the exploitation of the serfs, and self-destructive habits, such as indiscriminate eating and alcoholism within the higher classes, are all evidence of this. The original Palace of Versailles in Paris, although certainly a unique architectural creation requiring genius, was built without a single bathroom. Louis XIV and his court are said to have evacuated behind curtains, cleaning themselves with the same. The king was in the habit of substituting soap with Indian perfume and waited until his thirty-fifth birthday before he took his first complete bath.

When Europe was still uncivilized, Indian culture, as well as American culture, was highly advanced. When Europeans were still cave dwellers and nomads wandering from place to place subsisting through hunting, some American peoples were plowing fields and baking bread and dressing in cotton, the seeds for which came from India. The subtlety of Indian society, both eastern and western, marks its superiority to Europe. It was a subtlety of spiritual outlook that Europeans failed to appreciate.

  dresden-codex

The Dresden Codex, one of the few Mayan hieroglyphic manuscripts that survived the book-burnings by Spanish invaders, documents astronomical calculations of the planed Venus. Large numbers of codices were compiled by the Mayan priests to record religious rites and astronomical facts. (Sachsische Landesbibliothek, Dresden, East Germany.)

The industrial revolution of Europe was prompted by India’s cotton, which competed with European wool. Later when the popularity of cotton products imported from India increased, the Europeans began to manufacture cotton in mills. Thus it was even an Indian resource that prompted Europe’s claim to fame — the beginning of modern technology.

Several ancient cultures of the Americas were more spiritually attuned than the Europeans. They also lived with great regard for nature. Many people today are searching out the spirituality of the Americas, a spirituality that was lacking in Europe and is now lacking throughout the world. The Christ’s teachings were most certainly tainted with misunderstanding of that great savior’s message of love. And he too is said to have been influenced by India’s spirituality. His appearance in the world for that matter is mentioned in India’s Bavishya Purana long before the virgin birth took place.

The theory that India, Mother India, is the earthly source of spirituality can be to some extent supported by the fact that India is still today the most religious country in the world, with a theology that dates back to antiquity. The idea that she is the source of civilization as well, although supporting evidence is available, will ultimately require that modern man reevaluate what constitutes civilization before it gains wider acceptance.

 

Notes

1. Wilfred Cantwell Smith,”Theology of the World’s Religious History,” Toward a Universal Theology of Religion, Orbis Books, Maryknoll, N.Y. (1987) p.69.

2. Kana Mitra, “Theologizing Through History?” Toward a Universal Theology of Religion, Orbis Books, Maryknoll, N.Y. (1987), p.82.

3. Dr. Robert Heine Geldern, “Challenge to Isolationists,” Hindu America, Chaman Lal, Zodiac Press, New Delhi, (1940) Introduction p.vii.

4. Ibid., p. 14.    

5. Marco Polo, The Travels of Marco Polo (The Venitian), revised from Marsden’s translation and edited with introduction by Manuel Komroff, Livright Pub, (1956) p.201.

 

Further References

William Mccgillivray, The Travells and Research of Alexander von Humbolt, Harper Bros. N.Y. (1872).

Henry Charles Bastian, The Evolution of Life. E.P. Dutton & Co. N.Y. (1907).

Gordon Ekholm, Excavations At Sinaloa, American Museum of Natural History, N.Y. (1942).

Gordon Ekholm, Excavations at Lampico and Panuco in the Hausteca, American Museum of Natural History N.Y. (1944).