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. 

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Indians (read, Hindus) need to reaffirm their faith in their tradition and scriptures. Indian history needs to be freed from the grasp of the flag bearers of westerm interest and its blind followers.

Vindicating traditional historiography: Ramayana accurate portrayal of ancient India

Come Carpentier de Gourdon

10 Sep 2012

A fundamental feature, but also an enduring flaw of the modern scientific method is that it strives to ignore ancient data in order to set up a cultural “tabula rasa” on which it may carry out research and build its own edifice. Traditional annals are regarded a priori as inaccurate, due to the positivistic prejudice that people in the remote past were far less knowledgeable than us, and had access only to primitive intellectual and material tools to investigate and record data.

In the case of India, the florid, allusive, metaphorical and dithyrambic emphasis of the style used by ancient bards convinced their western readers that there was little factually accurate information (at least as far as geography and chronology were concerned) to be gleaned in the old epics and poems. The cosmic resonance given to the heroes’ actions further demonstrated in their view that the haze of legend impenetrably wrapped what little factual core there might have been to the tales told. The fact that Valmiki’s Ramayana is a Kavya stood as proof in skeptical eyes that it was not in fact Itihasa – a record of real happenings.

In recent decades however, the progress in various scientific disciplines has led to a reevaluation of that supposedly “rationalistic” appraisal, and the Ramayana for one is being rediscovered as an “odyssey” that is a periplum of ancient India which is not only topographically informative but chronologically accurate to a degree which modern techniques to resuscitate the past on the basis of some archeological and epigraphic fragments could never reach.

It is strange indeed that the academic community tends to reject a lot of information contained in ancient texts which it does not understand, or does not wish to seriously consider, while it takes pride in reinventing a lost world on the basis of inevitably hazardous detective work on a few tiny indices, “recreating a skeleton out of one retrieved tooth” so to say, in the manner of Sherlock Holmes. Conan Doyle was a novelist, but one often wonders if many paleontologists, paleo-anthropologists, archeologists and ancient historians do not create fiction – or at least “faction” i.e. more or less informed guesswork or speculation – which they wish all to regard as proven fact and are very reluctant to revise even when newly discovered evidence should force them to.

Coming after many other convergent theses, the book by Saroj Bala and Kulbhushan Mishra “Historicity of Vedic and Ramayan Eras” (Scientific Evidences from the Depth of the Oceans to the Heights of the Skies, I-SERVE, 2012) enshrines a valuable array of scientific testimonies backed by hard proof, gathered by some of the best specialists in their respective fields, many holding senior posts at various national agencies of the Government of India. It argues and persuasively demonstrates that the chronological records of ancient India were reliable, at least in some cases, and that the claims of traditional scholars about the antiquity of their scriptures are correct.

Thus, the Indian royal annals quoted by Megasthenes and subsequently by other Greek writers, find support in recent findings and must be far closer to truth than the rather arbitrary attempts at reconstruction made by Western archeologists and linguists on the basis of superficial bookish information in the last hundred and fifty years. The 19th century western approach to the origins of Indian civilization was initially informed by the underlying biblical belief that the world had been created about 4000 BC and then it got influenced by the theory of evolution which saw most of mankind as slowly emerging from savagery in the last four millennia, to find its way to rational knowledge and progress in Greece around 600 BC. Such a conditioned, narrow and deterministic worldview could not harbour the data gathered from little known disciplines in which ancient Indians excelled, such as astronomy, agriculture and botany.

What are the main data provided in Bala’s and Mishra’s book, first presented at a seminar in July 2011(inaugurated by former President APJ Abdul Kalam), that are supported by many other results gathered over the last decades:

1] The Ramayana tells a story which took place in the sixth millennium BC, between 5114 BCE (Sri Rama’s birth, according to the astrological theme given by Valmiki, on Chaitra Shuddha Navami of Punarvasu Nakshatra, date when Rama Navami is celebrated to this day) and 5075 BC (the year he ascended the throne as 64th king of his “Solar” dynasty), in an area encompassing much of its modern territory, from the Ganga basin (Ayodhya and Prayag) to Sri Lanka. Many of the places and sites mentioned in the Epic (more than 250) have kept the same names and vivid traditions connected to the passage of the royal and divine trinity. They retain most of the physical and climatic features noted by Valmiki. The least that can be said is that the author or authors of the kavya were well acquainted with all those locations, personally or through the reports of other travelers.

The dates recorded for the various events narrated in the story (astronomical coordinates that can be recreated with the help of planetarium software as well as, in some cases, eclipses are listed which have been found to be factual for those dates and regions) are also internally and sequentially consistent with the unfolding of the plot. Either the expedition of Rama was chronicled by a contemporary witness who was also a skilled astronomer, or a historian (perhaps Valmiki himself) not too long later was able to reconstitute the zodiacal map out of the dates he was given or personally remembered. That seems like a remarkable achievement, but it would be in keeping with the astronomical proficiency evinced by several ancient civilizations in Asia, Africa and Meso-America, among others.

2] Although it is impossible to establish the date when the Ramayana was composed, since the oldest extant manuscript, preserved in Nepal, is “only” a thousand years old, it stands to reason that knowledge of the topography, vegetation, population and astronomical configuration at the time, of the diverse locations described, implies that the initial account dates back to the period when the narrated events took place

Indeed, absent a computer and sophisticated software, it would have been exceedingly difficult for any poet flourishing many centuries later to “turn the zodiacal clock” back to the time when he wished to situate the story, not to mention that he had no need to do so if he was writing a work of fancy or an imaginative reconstruction. There is no escaping the conclusion that initial records at least were kept during the course of Rama’s journey (as was the use for the lives and deeds of kings) and inserted in the later epic at whatever time it was composed, but there is plenty of literary and artistic evidence that Valmiki’s classic was well known for centuries before the advent of the Common Era. 

Intriguingly, as Pandit Narayan Aiyangar pointed out, there are mentions of Rama and Sita in certain Richas (hymns) of the Vedas (1) whose astronomical references has allowed Bala, Mishra and their team to date it between the ninth and fifth millennium BC.

3] On the other hand, archeological, paleo-botanical, oceanographic and remote sensing findings all coincide in the recognition that settled, refined agricultural civilisation with elaborate art and craft techniques – in wood, textiles, stone and metal – existed in large parts of India from about 8,000 BCE and possibly earlier, at the beginning of the Holocene period which, following the end of the last glaciation, ushered in an era propitious to the development of agriculture, and hence to demographic growth and cultural progress.

Evidence for it is concentrated in the Indus-Saraswati-Ganga-Yamuna river system between present-day Afghanistan and Iran and the modern state of West Bengal (Mehrgarh, Kot Diji, Naushero, Dholavira, Lahuradeva, Jhusi, Takwa, Hettapati et al). Some regions covered by that civilization were in contact with and active at sea, as the Rg Veda repeatedly indicates, from at least the fourth millennium BCE (i.e. the port of Lothal and others, some of which have been located submerged under the sea). There is also archaeo-agricultural evidence that rice, wheat, barley, grapes and many other food crops (up to 29 kinds of grains, pulses, fruits and vegetables) were cultivated by the seventh or sixth millennium BC.

4] While the permanence of poetically embellished historical memories is significant to any cultural anthropologist or historian immersed in the local Indian cultures, the estrangement of western “armchair” scholars of centuries past from the facts on the ground, both geographical and chronological, explains why they generally ignored traditional references, preferring to speculate about unprovable linguistic derivations and suspected origins of the “Indo-European” Rama whom they did not wish to place earlier than 1200 BC (assuming he had ever existed) in order to make him fit in with the supposed date of the Aryan invasion, set by them three hundred years earlier, in an era comfortably less ancient than the Biblically hallowed Chaldean and Egyptian archaic dynasties.

Yet it turns out that if we follow the zodiacal data provided in the Ramayana and check out with the help of modern scientific capabilities, we find Rama’s life is much more accurately recorded – in some cases down to the day and time, such as the hero’s birth, his departure for exile, the death of the “monkey-king” Bali in Kishkinda, the slaying of Ravana in battle and Rama’s victorious return to Ayodhya for his coronation – than those of many axial figures of “western” civilization, beginning with those in the Bible and Greek Epics which, however, appear relatively recent by comparison. Needless to say, the planetary and astral relative positions noted in the Ramayana do not recur for many thousands of years, so that there is little uncertainty about the period in which they took place.

5] It is also archeologically borne out that the wooded and forested areas of Central India where Sri Rama, his consort, and his brother dwelt and traveled during their 14-year exile, were haunted by tribes and dotted with ashrams or spiritual/educational colonies headed by rishis, proficient in various branches of knowledge.

For example, the Ramayana refers to Rishi Agastya, who is traditionally held to have lived at the very tip of South India near Cape Comorin where several places are named after him, and to have had his ashram near modern-day Nasik where he gave Rama, on his way to Lanka, some spiritual and material weapons to fight Ravana. Agastya (whose name etymologically is said to mean “calmer of the ocean” or “mountain thrower” but which may in fact come from a Tamil euphemism for the soul: “he who belongs inside”) gave his name to the star Canopus because he was the first to observe it and Canopus became visible over the horizon in the Northern Deccan and the Vindhyas only from about 5100 BCE, thereby providing one more internally coherent zodiacal reference.

Legend has it that Agastya was born in a pitcher and that he was the head of the Vellalar clan of South India. Coincidentally or not, Canopus (Kah Nub in Egyptian, which means “golden earth” and applied to both the star and the town) was the name given to a port city in the Nile Delta, famous for its clay vases with a human head that represented a local icon of Osiris (Oser-Isvar), seen as god within a pitcher. The Indian Agastya, like the Egyptian Canopic god, was associated with the sea and ships and in “western” astronomy Canopus, also known as the Southern Pole Star, is part of the Argo Navis constellation. For the Chinese and Japanese, Canopus is the Old Man’s Star, a clear reference to the Vedic spiritual master.

6] The Ramayana also describes several caves, some inhabited, and indeed in the Central mountainous belt stretching from the Western Ghats to the Bay of Bengal innumerable rock dwellings and sanctuaries display many types of art, from Paleolithic parietal paintings to monumental Hindu, Jain and later Buddhist sculptures and cave architecture. Central India appears to have been, as the Ramayana and the Vedic texts describe it, a wilderness where scholars, hermits, students and ascetics took refuge and built hermitages away from the densely populated and urbanized northern plains.

7] The picture that is emerging out of geological, paleo-climatic and oceanographic findings is that between 12,000 years BCE (when many ancient annals record the great floods that marked the end of the glacial period) and 5000 BCE, the melting of glaciers gradually raised the level of the oceans by a stupendous 80 meters in the Indian Ocean/Arabian Sea region (according to a report by Dr. Rajiv Nigam, head of the paleo-climate project at the National Institute of Oceanography quoted in the book), submerging huge tracts of land and releasing mighty rivers that flowed down from the Himalayan massif towards the sea.

The Puranas indicate that two of Rama’s royal ancestors, more than twenty generations earlier, undertook large scale projects to channel the water from the Shivalinga glaciers eastwards towards the Bay of Bengal in order to control the floods in the Punjab-Rajasthan area. The chroniclers attributed the rise of the ocean around that period to the release of large amounts of fresh water thereby engineered. The same scriptures also refer to a number of tribes or nations that migrated from the subcontinent in the same era (around 6000-5500 BC) towards West and North Asia.

We can also conclude from that that Rama lived considerably earlier than the era when the “Indus Valley” civilization port of Lothal was built, as archeological evidence shows, since the Arabian Sea level was higher than it is now between 6000 and 4000 years ago. From that latter date the port had to be abandoned as the coastline had changed following a new drop in sea level which probably enabled Sri Krishna to build his capital at Dwarka on reclaimed land, according to the Mahabharata. 

Coincidentally, it has been convincingly established that a similar rise in the level of the North Atlantic submerged the so-called Doggerland, the “British Atlantis” which encompassed what is today the United Kingdom as well as Scandinavia. That vast and densely populated Greater Europe gradually sank under the water between 18 and 5500 BCE. An exhibition entitled “Drowned Landscapes” on the discoveries made in this area by a collective of Scottish, English and Welsh Universities is currently taking place at the Royal Society, since July 2012.

At the time Rama and his army reached the southern tip of India at the place since known as Rameswaram, the sea level was still about 3 meters below the present one, and indeed, the bridge reportedly built by the architect Nala for the king of Kosala and his troops is still visible less than 3 meters below the surface.

According to the Geological Survey of India’s research, that bridge or causeway is an artificial construction. Specifically its report says: “Ramasethu is a natural formation, the top portion of which appears to be man-made” as it consists in part of stones and rounded coral pebbles that were obviously transported and put there. This observation tallies with the Ramayana’s description of the way the causeway was built by connecting many islets and shoals strung along the Palk Strait, filling in the gaps and building a road on top. Considering that this structure is over 30 kilometers long, its construction ranks as one of the most stupendous achievements of archaic mankind.

The Indian Ministry of Earth Sciences further noted: “There are some raised Teri formations that supported a vast assemblage of Mesolithic, microlithic tools indicating the presence of strong human habitation and activity as early as 8000 to 9000 years before present and as late as 4000 years ago”.

8] The Ramayana describes Sri Lanka, which has kept its original name since, as a part of the “Aryan” civilisational area. Its King Ravana, from the Rakshasa tribe, a descendent of Visravas, was a brother of Kubera, the lord of wealth also euphemistically called the “king of the world”, monarch of the northern quarter (Uttarakurus), beyond the Himalayas, who ruled the yakshas (from where the god Thraco-greek Iacchus-Bacchus and the Tibetan Yaks seem to have taken their name) and gandharvas (Gandhara – Gedrosia for the Greeks – is modern day Afghanistan and Northern Pakistan). The name of Kubera is etymologically related to Siberia, if we keep in mind the sata/centum dichotomy – which is not split by a clear East/West divide, contrary to the original theory – among Indo-European languages. The Shubras or Shubrians for instance were a Middle Eastern, probably Iranian people, settled in Eastern Asia Minor who were conquered and assimilated by the Assyrians from the 8th century BC onwards.

Ravana, Kubera’s brother and Rama’s foe is also said to be descended, like all Rakshasas, from Rishi Pulastya and to be a great devotee of Shiva (3) so that his cultural kinship with both the “Aryan” Rama and the “Dravidian” Agastya is attested, over and above the conflict. A common origin for the peoples of the subcontinent from North to South was hence recognized and anthropology vindicates that belief as both the Sinhalese and Tamil inhabitants of Sri Lanka belong to the greater Indian genetic family.

The authors of the book under review have visited various sites in Sri Lanka and identified various sites described by Valmiki rather precisely, including the caves opening on four sides of a hill that led to Ravana’s rock-hewn fortress, in the region of Nuwara Eliya, the island’s central massif. The tradition of building palaces on top of steep rocky hills, surrounded with terraced gardens and harbouring deep caves used for habitation, defence and worship, remained alive until medieval days in Sri Lanka as can be seen in the renowned sites of Sigiriya and Dambulla.

8] Over and above the fact that hominid bone remains and tools found in the Indian subcontinent date back to more than two and a half million years (4), DNA research yields the definitive conclusion that the Indian population is overwhelmingly homogenous since some 55,000 to 60,000 years when it is believed to have moved in from Africa. Strangely (but is it?), some traditional Puranic chronologies situate the beginnings of civilization with the arrival of the first Manu of this cycle some 56,000 years ago. In Southern Siberia, recent genetic tests have shown that an earlier human population, known as Denisovian, sharing many traits with Melanesians and Australian aborigines, mingled with homo sapiens newcomers before vanishing as a separate genus, probably migrating from the South, about 50,000 years ago.

The Greek historians after Megasthenes quoted the Indian royal annals as beginning with the first sovereign of the Solar Race whom the Greeks called Bacchus or Iacchus (Ikshvaku in Samskrit), in 6776 BC (5). That fits chronologically with the nomenclature of 63 kings who ruled Kosala before Sri Rama as listed in Valmiki’s opus (whereby Ikshvaku would have lived some sixteen to eighteen centuries before Sri Rama), and indeed, since about 7000 BC at least all scientific data confirm that an autochthonous civilization experienced consistent development, displaying increasing sophistication and expanding far and wide even beyond the subcontinent. Royal annals further assert that Rama’s two sons and the sons of his brothers and half-brothers, eight in all, ruled as many kingdoms, spread from the Eastern Gangetic plain to the confines of Afghanistan (Taxila and modern-day Peshawar).

9] From a climatic point of view, it is logical to assume that the first settlements of homo sapiens in the subcontinent were located in the South, closer to the Equator and less affected by glacial ages. Indeed, there are traces of prehistoric villages in Tamil Nadu which predate the Toba’s explosion in Indonesia, as shown by the volcanic ashes that covered them around 60,000 years ago. The first Indian civilization should thus have taken root in the South before moving northwards and settling in the riverine plains in the shadows of the great Himalayan chain, well after 12,000 BCE. If that is so, Ravana and his Sri Lanka kingdom would have belonged to an elder branch of the Indic ethnic family.

10] Contemporary developments in linguistic archeology, however disputable those may be, reveal at least according to P. Foster and A. Toth (2003) (6) that Indo-European languages are probably derived from a common ancestor that was already spoken more than 10,000 years ago. From about 5000 to 3500 BCE there are traces of the expansion of that linguistic family throughout Eurasia, from Urals and the Volga to Central Asia. J Greenberg (7) has gone further back in time and tried to show the existence of a common Eurasian macro-family that includes non Indo-European ones, such as the Uralic, Altaic (Turkic) and Afro-Asiatic languages, formerly known as Semito-Hamitic as well as Elamo-Dravidian. His thesis connects with the Nostratic theory in its various interpretations, which generally propose the existence of a common proto-Nostratic source in the Epipaleolithic Age, towards the end of the last glaciation.

There is much common ground as well with the hypothesis of Paleolithic Continuity or PCC (8) which India’s pre-history and history, corroborated by human genetics, illustrate with great clarity as this report shows. Bomhard estimates that 5000 BC (Rama’s age) was when the Proto-Eurasiatic linguistic family divided into Indo-European, Proto-Uralic and Proto-Altaic branches.

The academic school which seeks to prove since Colin Renfrew, that there is an Anatolian origin (in modern day Turkey) for all those “Paleolithic” languages, has not made its case beyond doubt so far, and there might well have been a common linguistic motherland spread over a wide area comprised between North-Western India and Eastern Asia Minor.

Atkinson’s phylogeographic attempt (sciencemag, August 23, 2012 by Nicholas Wade) to establish the common forebear of all Indo-European languages by using a computer to mimic in reverse the evolution of 103 languages of that family, yields Anatolia as the urheimat some 8 to 9500 ago; but its conclusion is disputed by other experts who continue to believe that the westward Indo-European expansion began only in the fifth millennium BCE, either from Asia Minor or from the Black Sea steppe region. However, it is not even clear whether the Kurgan culture, the supposed ancestor, beyond the fact that it was Eurasiatic, was Indo-European or Uralic; so a lot of controversy remains. Further, the now confirmed existence of an epipaleolithic civilization in submerged “Doggerland” even before the dawn of the Holocene throws in disarray all the other theories about human migrations.

The motherland of Eurasiatic or Nostratic languages more than 12000 years ago remains undetermined and could as well as been located in South Asia as in Anatolia.

11] The evidence of a steep but gradual sea level rise in the first five millennia of the Holocene force us to consider the possibility that many settled and populated areas were swallowed by the ocean, and that only those populations which moved to higher grounds were able to survive. That accounts for the traditions preserved in South India about the vanished continent of Kumari Kandam that some have identified with legendary Lemuria, and also for the discovery of extensive urban ruins, more than 8000 years old, under the water of the Gulf of Khambat and Arabian Sea off the coasts of Gujarat and Saurashtra. Tamil civilization traces its origins back to the once emerged lands which now lie beneath the Indian Ocean to the west of Sri Lanka, and the earliest known Dravidian royal dynasty, the House of Pandya, claimed to have ruled over Kumari Kandam and that could only have been before the sea level rise, i.e., prior to the seventh millennium BCE.

Coincidentally Plato recorded that Atlantis, which he located beyond the pillars of Hercules, sank into the Atlantic Ocean sometime after 9600 years BCE, probably as a result of the post-glacial sea level rise around the time when “Doggerland” also became submerged in various stages.

12] There are many “supernatural” elements in the Ramayana (as in all ancient epics, such as the Iliad, Odyssey, Mabinogion, Beowulf et al) which have made scientifically minded scholars wary of lending any credence to the story as a whole. However, the insertion of prodigious characters and miraculous events seems to have been a required feature for heroic tales and records of the ancient world on all continents. The interpretation of those epics need not be literal. In the Ramayana, the vanaras, monkeys who formed Rama’s army along with other wild animals may be regarded as forest dwelling tribesmen which had the langhur or macaque as their totemic animal and emblem, just as the crest of Kosala was the two fishes that have remained in the arms of the successive dynasties of Awadh (Ayodhya) (9) until the present.

 It is a universal tradition in fables and legends to lend animals many of the moral and physical features of human beings and involve them in the story as equal protagonists. The vanaras may well be Central India’s pygmies cited by Ctesias, who reported that they were experts in archery and provided soldiers to various kings. They also may be at the source of Greek reports about India’s kalystroi or cynocephali, a dog-headed, monkey-tailed population of mountain-dwelling hunters and herdsmen with a reputation for honesty and justice. Jatayu, the giant eagle that tried to rescue Sita from her abductor in the Ramayana appears to be a mythified vulture identified in ancient travellers’s accounts with the fabulous griffins, semi-human birds of prey which kept watch over gold mines.

13] There remains however an enigma which is harder to unravel. One is the repeated and detailed mention of sophisticated weaponry, quite out of character with the technology of that pastoral age, and of flying vehicles, including the golden puspaka vimana (shaped like a flower or lotus and also alluded to as a cloud in the sky) which Rama took from the slain Ravana in order to fly back to his capital city in a few hours, after taking many months to complete the onward journey on foot. Analysing this aspect of the story is another subject, which “Historicity of Vedic and Ramayana Eras” does not address. But we can only wonder whether Ravana and his Rakshasas, as the oldest branch of the post-glacial population in the subcontinent, closer to the submerged land of Kanya Kumari, had kept or gained access to an advanced scientific knowledge that their northern cousins long settled in the Sapthasindhu region had lost. That would account for the semi-divine or supernatural status they were given in the cosmography of the day.

The inevitable conclusion of this review of available facts, old and new, is that civilization in India – as in other parts of the world – is much more ancient than archeologists generally think, and that most sites excavated so far in Sumer, Iran, Anatolia, Egypt and the Indus Valley, are more recent, by several thousand years, than the cities and settlements described by Valmiki.

 India’s civilisation can only be compared in terms of antiquity with the contemporary societies of Egypt, the Levant, Asia Minor, Iran and Central Asia whose early, often monumental remains, found at Gobekli, Catalhoyuk, Jericho, Zarzian, Hissar and Keltiminar date back to the age of the Vedas. As Valmiki’s masterwork indicates, Rama and his India were the heirs of a very ancient indigenous culture rooted in the pre-holocene glaciation period.

Notes 

1] Aiyangar notes that the Rig Veda mentions Rama Margaveya who first pressed the soma sacred brew, whereas the Yajur Veda dedicates four stanzas to Sita, daughter of Prajapati. The author, who also notes that Rama Jamadagni or Parasurama is an older avatara of the Sri Rama archetype, gives an astronomic interpretation of most Indian myths and epics and equates Rama with the god Indra and with the Sun, while Sita is the star Betelgeuse, and Ravana the moon. This however, does not contradict the original human history as it is common for legends and their characters to assume a cosmological dimension. For instance, the fact that George Washington owed his given name to an Indo-European dragon-slaying Spring God (Georges) similar to Indra does not make the father of American independence less historically real.

2] In Northern Pakistan, Kashmir and Uttarakhand, skeletal fragments and lithic tools date back to 2,5 -2 million years before present. Proto-Hominid remains in the Kalagarh basin of Uttarakhand (Ramapithecus) are about 10 million years old.

 3] Shiva, one of the many names or euphemisms given to Rudra “The howler” or the “Red One”, seems related to the Thracian Evoe, (Iahweh?) used both as an invocation and a surname of Bacchus or Iacchus. In Indian languages certain names lost their initial s consonant, as in siddhi (samskrt) to iddhi (pali).

4] The Greek interpretation of the first Indian king’s name as Iacchus translated as Dionysos suggests that it was derived from the Vedic Ikshvaku who came second after Manu in the traditional chronology. The Greeks generally equated Iacchus-Bacchus with Shiva as both were said to dwell in the mountains (Kailash, the Caucasus or Zagros respectively) surrounded by wild animals and to induce a sacred intoxication in their followers. The wedding of Bacchus and Ariadne, a foster daughter of the Cretan bull, also has connections with Nandi-riding Shiva’s betrothal with Parvati. Vishnu on the other hand was identified by them with Herakles-Hercules who also carried the mace, wore a lion skin (Narasimha?) and was celebrated for twelve heroic feats reminiscent of the Indian God’s ten world-saving avatars.

5] P. Foster and A. Toth “Towards a Phylogenic Chronology of Ancient Gaulish, Celtic and Indo-European” PNAS, 100 (15), 9079-9084 (2003). They conclude that Indo-European languages took shape in 8100 BCE (between 9600 and 6600 BCE) and that Celts reached Britain about 3200 BCE.

7] “Indo-European and Its Closest Relatives: The Eurasiatic Language Family” (2 vols, 2000-2002)

8] The Paleolithic Continuity Theory or Paradigm expounded by Mario Alinei in his book Origini delle Lingue d’Europa (1996) holds that Indo-European languages in Europe are indigenous and developed during the Paleolithic period, but it is disputed also on genetic grounds as recent mitochondrial DNA research (B. Bramanti, sciencemag.org) has shown in 2009 that a large influx of farming people in Europe at the beginning of the Neolithic provided the ancestry of most modern Europeans by supplanting the earlier Paleolithic hunter-gatherers (see Arrredi, Poloni, Tyler Smith’s The Peopling of Europe in Michael Crawford’s Anthropological Genetics (pp. 380-408)).

9] Note that according to his astronomic birth chart, Dasaratha was born with the Sun in Pisces (Meena). His son and heir Rama was born under the sign of Aries (Mesha the Ram), which follows Pisces in the zodiacal cycle. There are parallel cosmological, symbolic and historical dimensions in the epic.

The author is Convener, Editorial Board, World Affairs Journal. In 1999, he co-founded the Telesis Academy in Switzerland, dedicated to the study of the ancient wisdom of East and West in the contemporary scientific context. He has been associated with the Nuclear Disarmament Forum and the Foundation of Global Dialog in Switzerland.

Jeffrey Armstrong on the Mysteries of Indian Culture, the Relevance of Hindu Vedas and the Reality of Ancient Flying Machines

Sunday, December 19, 2010 – with  Anthony Wile

 

The Daily Bell is pleased to present an exclusive interview with Jeffrey Armstrong.

Introduction: Jeffrey Armstrong is an award-winning author of numerous books on Vedic knowledge including his recent book: Spiritual Teachings of the Avatar, Ancient Wisdom for a New World. He is a philosopher, practitioner and teacher of the Vedas for the past 40 years. He has degrees in Psychology, History & Comparative Religions, and Literature and had a successful career as an executive in Silicon Valley before turning to teaching full time. Jeffrey Armstrong (Kavindra Rishi) is the founder of VASA – Vedic Academy of Sciences & Arts in Vancouver Canada. His work aims at promoting higher education in the Vedic sciences, showing their roots in Veda and Vedanta, taking an integrated approach with the different Vedic disciplines. As the Vice President and International Media Coordinator for the Vedic Friends Association (VFA), Jeffrey Armstrong is a global advocate for the Sanatana Dharma Culture.

Daily Bell: Give us some background, where did you grow up?

Jeffrey Armstrong: I am one of those people that people often ask: How did you do all that in one life? I was born in Detroit, Michigan and by the time I was 13 I had become more interested than anyone I knew in questions such as: Who are we? Why are we here? What is life? I was a philosopher in the making, but I sure wasn’t surrounded by many others in the suburbs of Detroit. Eventually, everything I did became directed toward answering these questions.

Daily Bell: Did you focus on these issues in college?

Jeffrey Armstrong: I went off to university and spent five years working on a double major, one in psychology and one in creative writing, literature, and poetry. During that time – which was also the 60s – I was intensely involved in social developments and what was going on in the world and the experiences of the time. From that I was led, in almost every subject that I entered into, toward India. It is my opinion that if one studies most any modern subject with real diligence, they will be led, as I was, to India. India has the largest simultaneously scientific and spiritual ‘library’ known to exist.

I then spent five years in a Yoga ashram, as a celibate monk, being trained in the knowledge and practices of India. At the end of that time I spent two years learning Vedic Astrology. In the west, Astrology is mostly considered entertainment but in India it is a very serious and rigorous science. Then I went back for another degree in History and Comparative Religion where I spent 3 more years and then a year of graduate work in South Asian studies at the University of Wisconsin. I also studied modern dance, various forms of martial arts, fencing, Chinese herbal studies and rode and trained horses for many years.

Starting in 1980 I began working in corporations in Silicon Valley. I first worked for Apple Computer as their Middle Eastern Sales Manager and then spent the next 7 years at the heart of the explosion of Silicon Valley, in various Executive Sales & Marketing positions. Finally, I decided I would prefer to work outside the corporation, as a consultant, rather than inside. So, I built a career for myself as a corporate motivational speaker and spent the next 10 years speaking to Fortune 500 companies around the world. That was my work until 14 years ago, when I made the commitment to be a full time spiritual teacher. During all these years, I have been an avid Mystical poet and have written over 1,600 poems describing the philosophy of India in modern English.

Daily Bell: How did you get interested in Indian culture and religion?

Jeffrey Armstrong: Religion is the wrong word to use for India’s teachings. Religion is a word that is more accurately applied to the Middle Eastern Abrahamic cultures. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are religions. The origin of the word religion, from the Latin, is re-legare (a legalistic system of rules given by God) or ‘bound by rules.’ Re = tied up or connected by, and ligion = legare = ligaments = to tie, bind or bandage. The usual idea is that the practitioner of a religion is bound up in rules or laws. This especially applies to the three Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, whereas the spiritual practices of India are called a Dharma Culture. The main difference is religions generally have one book of rules and stories whereas a Dharma culture has a library of spiritual and material knowledge aimed at understanding who we really are and how to properly use everything around us. The phrase Dharma Culture is a more accurate descriptor for India, as compared to the ‘Indian religion’ or ‘Hindu religion.’

At the core of the Abrahamic Religions is a set of rules given by God that we are told we must follow because a specific vision of God and His prophet said so. That is not the basis of the Vedic Spiritual Library of India. India does not have a single book or an authoritarian/disciplinarian God, it uses an entirely different approach to the question of who we are and it is certainly more philosophical than a Religion, but it also contains many other components. It has a library of self-actualizing sacred knowledge, rather than just one dogmatic book.

Daily Bell: What do you believe in and why? What application does it have to the West?

Jeffrey Armstrong: My lifelong effort has been to try to find things that are universally true rather than relatively true and I believe that the largest library of that information exists in India in spite of the fact that India is a very fragmented culture right now due in large part to 1200 years of violent colonization by outside invading forces. This library of knowledge stretches back for thousands and thousands of years and is, as far as I know, the largest repository of the universal truth that exists on our planet.

What we now call the West is the outgrowth of a tribal or city/state approach to living on the planet. This means if you take care of your tribe, you are seen as good. So, to all those tribes who were fighting against each other for thousands of years in a series of wars, that essentially meant that as long as the spoils of the wars were brought back and shared amongst the tribe, they were good. Alexander the Great was a prime example of this. He went out to rape, pillage and conquer, and was a monster to the rest of the world, but was considered great by his people, hence the name. He was really great at being a warmonger, and a rapist and a pillager. But he brought his people back the spoils of war. India, on the other hand, is the only culture of its size in the world that has never gone out and tried to spread its beliefs by war. In fact, it has consistently given shelter to anyone from any culture. So, to compare histories, the west is a competitive, war-based civilization and India has been a nurturing, cooperation-based civilization on an epic scale. I am involved in the process of practicing and transferring that cooperative culture of India to the war-based culture of the west at a crucial time when it is needed very much.

Daily Bell: Let us go back in time. How old is humankind?

Jeffrey Armstrong: This is one of the most striking things about India. Indians of pre-modern history calculated the age of the universe in trillions of years. This is also the culture that gave us zero, the numerals that we use – so-called Arabic have their roots in India – as do trigonometry and calculus, astronomical calculation and a view that says the universe is not only billions, but trillions of years in age and that we are eternal beings who are simply visiting the material world to have the experience of being here. So, the point is, India holds a massive cosmological view of us – and that humans have existed for trillions of years, in varying stages of existence. And further, over time humans will continue to populate the many universes again and again.

Daily Bell: You wrote a book about this. Can you explain?

Jeffrey Armstrong: The book I wrote is called: The Spiritual Teachings of the Avatar, published by Atria/Beyond Words an imprint of Simon and Schuster. The word Avatar means the descent of the Transcendental Divine or Supreme Being to the Earth for the purpose of revealing things we need to know about both living here and the nature of the Transcendental itself. In other words, to inform us of that which is currently beyond our sight.

Daily Bell: Are there lost Indian cities under the sea?

Jeffrey Armstrong: There is at least one that was discovered in 2001 in the Bay of Cambay, which is off the west coast of India. In a routine, environmental scan of the bottom of the sea, a city was discovered which turns out to have the largest megalithic stones of any city in ancient times; artifacts were dated to about 10,000 years ago. This find hasn’t yet been recognized in mainstream intellectual and academic circles but is nonetheless a momentous discovery which I am sure will eventually contribute to the review of our current theories of the age of human civilization. The city sits in about 150 feet of water, which indicates it was built before the last melting of the polar ice caps, which most geologists date conservatively at about 12,000 years ago. It appears to have had a building format similar to the cities of Harappa and Mohendro Daro (3000-5000 BCE), which were previously thought to be the oldest cities of India (and located in what is now called Pakistan). But this underwater city off the coast of India suggests, conservatively, 15,000 years of sophisticated human history in India.

Daily Bell: Did the ancient Indians know how to fly and to build flying machines? Are there replicas of these machines on the tops of ancient temples?

Jeffrey Armstrong: On the latter question, I am not sure I have heard that there are replicas of the airplanes or Vimanas as they were referred to in the epic histories of India. But there are two Indian epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, the two epic poems that supposedly took place 5,000 years ago and over 1.2 million years ago in India, and the Ramayana actually begins with a scene in which a very sophisticated stolen airplane is being flown all over the Earth. Such ancient stories, thousands and thousands of years old, have no logical reason for talking about airplanes in any modern sense. Yet they do.

Daily Bell: Did this civilization possess nuclear weapons?

Jeffrey Armstrong: It did not possess nuclear weapons as we know them and there is no evidence that India cultivated radium or other atomic materials at all. There is reference to a particular kind of mantra-based weapon that was used along with bows and arrows and is called a “Brahmastra.” This weapon supposedly could release nuclear-like energy with pinpoint accuracy. So not exactly nuclear, but its use produces the same consequence of bringing an intensely powerful explosion to a targeted area: complete and fiery destruction. But in the epics there is nothing that resembles the nuclear reactors or nuclear contamination we see today. India is also unique in that, historically, none of their wars were fought with or against civilian populations. Even in the massive Mahabharata war, warriors fought warriors on a sequestered field of battle, leaving civilians untouched.

Daily Bell: Are there lost power sources and other ancient technologies that we could perhaps reclaim with enough study?

Jeffrey Armstrong: This is a question that is once again coming to light. For example, there is a recent though controversial book out called 1421: The Year China Discovered the World, by a British submarine captain, Gavin Menzies. Regardless, China and India had very sophisticated sea faring technology, which is now proven, and with that technology and with the many inventions that both cultures created, it is becoming more and more clear that there was an extensive technological culture at an earlier time period in history than generally thought, that was spread all over the planet. It is now considered very likely that China and India had the ability to circumnavigate the entire planet. The ships that were launched from China in 1423 were 300 feet long and double-hulled and could stay at sea for 300 days at a time. Menzies further suggests that many inventions attributed to Leonardo de Vinci were actually from a book that the Chinese brought to Italy in 1423 on a global, seafaring expedition. Either way, China and India and Egypt appear to have had sophisticated technologies for thousands and thousands of years before modern times. And for the record, it is also common historical knowledge that both Egypt and China acknowledge their debt to India as the oldest culture.

Daily Bell: How were the great stone blocks used by ancient builders moved from place to place?

Jeffrey Armstrong: This still remains a mystery. There are actually conjectures that this was done with so-called psychic ability and powerful sound vibrations called mantras, yet there is no proof of this theory. All that aside, so-called modern man constantly and profoundly underestimates the brilliance of so-called primitive man.

Daily Bell: What happened to this ancient civilization? Was it worldwide?

Jeffrey Armstrong: There is a lot of evidence that it was global and as I mentioned many were seafaring and using extremely accurate astronomical, heliocentric calculations for both Earth and celestial motions, indicating an understanding that the Sun is at the center of the solar system and that the Earth is round. Elliptical orbits were also calculated for all moving celestial bodies. The findings are remarkable. What India calculated thousands of years ago, for example the wobble of the Earth’s axis, which creates the movement called precession of the equinoxes – the slowly changing motion that completes one cycle every 25,920 years – has only recently been validated by modern science.

Was this knowledge given to them by divine beings as they claim? Was there inter-galactic travel? Did the people in India have contact with beings or knowledge from other planets? We don’t know, but what is certain is that they had mathematical/astronomical understanding that is extremely precise and agrees with many of the results of astronomy today. There is no other way to explain why India and these ancient cultures would have such precise knowledge other than the fact that they were in a period of impressive technology and culture beyond our present understanding.

Daily Bell: The modern Hindu spirituality is a reflection of this ancient civilization and its knowledge?

Jeffrey Armstrong: Reflection is probably a good word because India has been aggressively colonized for the last 1200 years. Some scholars have suggested that as many as 60 million people died in the process of both the Muslim and British colonization of India. Whatever the numbers, that a holocaust of this proportion hasn’t even been discussed in terms of history speaks for itself. But what is simultaneously amazing is that the culture of India is as intact as it is compared to what one would expect from such extreme abuse and what we usually see with other decimated indigenous groups all across the world.

Sixteenth century India has been described as the wealthiest country in the world, with the best universal educational system – all of which has obviously become seriously damaged. India of today does not accurately represent the ancient culture, but what is amazing is that the India of today, without funding or resources, has spread its knowledge around the world. Today, there are probably as many as 100 million people practicing aspects of yoga – not because India spent a lot of money trying to spread its culture, but because that knowledge is, I would say, innately desired and needed by people all over the world.

So, to look at current India and then ask if their deep cultural knowledge is useful for today is misguided and ignorant. Present day India is damaged badly by recent colonization, internally corrupt and in many ways ruled by foreign interests opposed to its basic culture. But if we look deeply into the storehouse of ancient knowledge that the original culture possessed, we will find a legacy profoundly useful for the world we live in today.

Daily Bell: Did ancient Indians consort with aliens and travel through time or to other dimensions?

Jeffrey Armstrong: The cosmology of India describes our universe as having fourteen parallel realities on multiple levels, all existing and intersecting within the material realm in which we are currently living.

One of those levels is called the Deva realm. The Deva realm is supposedly the home of the beings who actually conduct the laws of nature to which we are subject. This view of Divine helpers is much misunderstood as the so-called many gods or also as demi-gods, but in India they were never viewed as God, gods, demi-gods or in competition with God. They were, instead, viewed as souls (or more accurately atmas) like us, but living on another plane of material reality and performing specific jobs as administrators of the laws of nature. So, gods is the wrong word for many reasons, the main one being it implies ‘God,’ which is not an Indian word in the first place. These beings are called Devas, meaning beings who ‘work in the light’ assisting the Supreme Being by enforcing the laws of nature that allow the universe to function as it does.

Different yet similar to us, Devas are viewed in India, by analogy, much as someone who works in the passport department giving out visas. Devas give out the passports (enforcing the laws of Nature) and we are people using and receiving the passports (obeying the laws of Nature).

So as for the alien question, it was always the view in India that there are other dimensions of intelligent life in our universe who communicate with humans and that the Devas specifically are the intelligences operating behind the laws of Nature. But the Vedic culture wouldn’t have described these beings as aliens in the way we currently think of aliens, as coming from another planet in a metal ship, parking their ship (or crashing their ship in Roswell) et cetera. The Vedas describe infinitely multiple universes filled with many Earth-like and other diverse planets and many kinds of intelligent beings living in these other dimensions, some in contact with this realm.

The closest modern analogs are found in some of the theories of quantum physics, one being string theory, which suggests there are something like eleven parallel realities that are running simultaneously with ours. This idea in physics, of parallel realities crisscrossing, is undeniably reminiscent of the ancient teachings from India.

Finally, beyond these many material realms, the Vedas state that there is an eternal Transcendental realm or abode which, though non-material, makes periodic visits to our physical plane here on Earth. The Transcendental is not considered a material realm and thus represents yet another form of visitation that sometimes takes place. In the Vedas, these intentional visitations from the Transcendental are called Avatars – literally the descent of higher beings from the Transcendental to the material realms.

Daily Bell: How did such a powerful civilization perish and why?

Jeffrey Armstrong: By a definition given in the Vedas, everything within matter changes and is in flux, eternally. Specifically, younger, more physically vital cultures from the cold climates came in with a new power, technology and energy that was able to, let’s say, exploit the situation of a diverse and cooperative India that had also become somewhat corrupt and decrepit. Ancient India is probably the poster child for a diverse, complex, cooperative society that by this definition allowed a lot of bio-diversity. Ironically, that was actually a weakness when Europeans came in and wanted to conquer India, to rape and pillage her wealth or to religiously convert the population, as with Islam and Christianity. After all, might does not make right.

Daily Bell: We believe the West is afflicted by money power – a group of wealthy families that want to centralize control over the world and are causing misery. How does your philosophy account for this?

Jeffrey Armstrong: The philosophy of India is very clear. We human beings are here with the ability to utilize our free will and the spectrum is anywhere from enlightened to ‘endarkened.’ The enlightened end of the spectrum is where the laws of Nature reside, and is called the Deva view. The ‘endarkened’ view is the philosophy of the so-called Asuras, who are always against the enlightened way of being. We humans can choose to cooperate for the good of all and align ourselves with the Devic view or we can choose to be entirely selfish and only concerned for the personal gain and pleasure of a few. The dark Asuric choice brings fear, destruction, chaos, exploitation and is always imposed by a small uncaring minority, enslaving the masses and farming them like animals to steal their life energy. All the Vedic stories show this human potential for abuse of free will and the problems it can create.

The Indian epics are rife with classic conflicts involving those who care only for themselves, subvert the laws of nature, create artificial inorganic societies, cannibalize other living entities and make a few people very wealthy and powerful at the expense of large numbers of innocent people.

It is the Avatars who come to fight against these dark beings. So anything like a global world government or a single global power or technology that subverts a freedom-based and sustainable reality with a manufactured and degrading pseudo-reality is considered, in the Vedic way of thinking, as Asuric, or against the light, against truth and blind to the good of all. The likelihood of such groups being out there is considerable. They are only acting in their selfish interest and do not care if they cause harm to large numbers of people. Ironically, the Vedas make it very clear that massive so-called wealth is actually most efficiently and easily acquired by literally not caring at all about sucking the life-force out of people and the Earth.

Daily Bell: What is the fusion between “Western technology and Eastern wisdom [that] offers a revolutionary new vision for multiculturalism and responsible expansion?”

Jeffrey Armstrong: The most scientific language that exists on our planet is Sanskrit. The Sanskrit language has four thousand grammatical rules, making it more precise than either Greek or Latin. Sanskrit by its sheer specificity explains why the citizens of India have never made a wide distinction between material science and spiritual science. Sanskrit also helps explain how a so-called primitive, ignorant and Pagan people were able to so rapidly take over the IT industry. Behind Sanskrit is a temperament that is not against science but rather weds science and our spiritual nature together into a single important subject: Divine Intelligence. The key principal here is that the original culture of India thinks in the longest possible cycles and believes that we are not supposed to brutally exploit the resources of the planet, the non-renewable resources of the planet, let alone control or enslave people in the process. We are supposed to use our scientific and technological abilities to work in harmony with the laws of nature.

This is based on the belief that nature is intelligent, conscious, purposeful, and not random – and that the natural order of the universe is to be supported by us, not subverted by us. In the future, if we are fortunate, the technological capabilities that have now been developed will be wedded with a renewable idea of energy and we will stop exploiting the non-renewable energy resources of our planet and use our abilities to create a recycling, renewable and therefore a good-for-the-future way of living on the planet. Because right now, in so many ways, from energy to money, we are living as if there will be no future – and we will certainly leave a terrible mess for our children given what is being done. Regardless of what we see today, India’s teachings have always stood for a renewable and cooperative relationship with the resources of the universe and the freedom of individuals.

Daily Bell: You write of your views “this will help take our success beyond the present-day definitions of a profit-only marketplace.” How so?

Jeffrey Armstrong: The large corporation as we know and define it now generally has a financial responsibility (which encompasses most of its other responsibilities) to its Board of Directors, only to bring in profit. It has the rights of an individual with no moral responsibilities.

Corporations are still based on the colonial ethos that we can go out and harm the rest of the world as long as we bring the results back to our own country. These giant corporations become ‘too big to fail,’ are often deeply subsidized by taxpayer money, are products of the State in many nefarious ways and often have a revolving door of positions and lobbyists between themselves and government. Of course this isn’t good for the planet and it creates animosity among many groups. Given the immense powers of technology, this rape and pillage attitude will inevitably lead to more and more war, more destruction and misery, and more debt. It continues at a rapid pace right now with the corporate world trying to own more and more resources like, for instance, water, with the idea that individuals or corporations should be able to own non-renewable, life-sustaining resources, neither of which is acceptable morally, as history has shown and the Vedas have warned.

This robber baron mentality needs to be replaced by a new mentality. I call it the CCO and every corporation should have one – the Chief Conscience Officer. Why? Because as I said, and as it is said in the Vedas, massive wealth in the material world is most easily acquired via the exploitation of both resources and people – and is therefore always tempting to certain beings. Ideologies aside, without compassion and corporation, there is no well-being.

Daily Bell: What is the ancient Yoga philosophy and how does it teach valuable skills that are applicable to all areas of life?

Jeffrey Armstrong: The purpose of Yoga is two-fold. One is the purpose to live in harmony with the laws of nature. The second is to empower each individual spiritual being to be autonomous and ultimately to be able to fly their airplane, (their divine consciousness), back to the Transcendental realm from which they originally came. This leads to a political viewpoint that says our education should maximize as many human beings as possible to achieve their highest human potential and not put them in positions of bondage where they are degraded in any means whatsoever. The yogic ethos is that we should arrange life so that, as far as is possible, human beings are not degraded in consciousness by performing their work but have the greatest possible opportunity to remain conscious of their true, Divine Nature, which will lead them as far as possible in that direction. All of this, by definition, has to be accomplished without the use of intimidation, forced-conversion or coercion.

Daily Bell: You write, “The real treasures of the East weren’t jewels, spices or exotic perfumes – but the amazing treasure house of sacred and universal knowledge. This knowledge, increasingly validated by modern science, is now being embraced by leading edge corporations, professionals and leaders throughout the world.” What are some examples?

Jeffrey Armstrong: As I mentioned earlier, what is unique about the library of India is that it was recorded in the Sanskrit language, which has not degraded over time to any significant extent. This is unlike other religions and spiritual paths and bodies of knowledge that were written in languages which have often become obsolete or are no longer clearly understood. Thus, the treasure house of knowledge that I am talking about goes back accurately for thousands and thousands of years. The literature contains the precise understandings of the ancients and is still being transmitted by traditional teachers in India to the modern world.

It is well known that Greek advancements in knowledge have affected our world for a couple thousand years. Socrates, the famous Greek philosopher, was the teacher of Plato. Socrates of course claims to have been enlightened by the teachings of Pythagoras who preceded him by 200 years. It is also historically known and should be remembered that Pythagoras studied in India; he was a vegetarian, virtually unheard of anywhere else, and learned the philosophy of India and taught it in Greece.

So if we are to accept the well-known saying in academia that western philosophy is simply footnotes to Plato, it is then logical to say that the knowledge of India has been leaking into our culture for thousands of years. That this is not understood is a shame because it’s both extremely exciting and a huge aspect of our human heritage. The Abrahamic religions, however, especially Islam and Christianity, have been very resistant to this idea because of their own institutional agendas. So knowledge from India that leaked in to other cultures has often remained either hidden or was simply incorporated into western thought without credit to India.

The so-called American ‘transcendentalists’ – Emerson and Thoreau et cetera – are one tiny example of this. Today – and for the last 100 years and perhaps especially the last 50 years – the influence of ancient India is being revealed in full force and clarity. As part of that knowledge are a number of things, including the empowerment of women as seen clearly in the view of a feminine as well as masculine Divine and the consciousness that the Earth is in very tangible ways a living entity described as Gaia, Bhumi (In Sanskrit) or Mother Earth.

The awareness of how we eat and how we live in our bodies is also vital to the Vedic philosophy and Yoga. It is also a viewpoint promoting bio-diversity both personally and sustainably. Firstly, individuals should never be coerced into a particular spiritual viewpoint. Secondly, we are living on a single organism, planet Earth, and it is in everyone’s best interest to cooperate with one another since we ultimately all breathe the same air and drink the same water. This is initially accomplished by developing a vision of ALL living beings as divine in nature.

Finally, it is a bio-diverse vision that both creates and supports an open Internet, considered by many technological idealists to be one of the great hopes of our planet trying to find a way to know and cooperate with each other instead of being in a competitive and destructive relationship. If we can keep the Internet open, then that is one of the key places where bio-diverse ideas in a potentially open and cooperative environment can meet and are meeting.

This interview, for example, with less than mainstream ideas, could be distributed in a short time to millions of eager listeners who hope that this is possible. That positive and idealistic ethos also lives in some corporations, more each day – of course, not all of them are robber barons. Indeed, there are so many negative invisible and unseen forces that exist in the background for the purpose of manipulating our economy, our private lives, our food source and what is defined as medicine and so forth. For those invisible forces to be brought out into the open requires communication environments that allow for that possibility. This publication is an example and there are many others. Monopolies are dangerous in government, corporations and ideas. The saying in Sanskrit is, ‘Satyam eva jayate- the truth will always eventually prevail’.

Daily Bell: You write, “We are all becoming global citizens. The next evolutionary step requires us to blend the advances of modern science with the time-honored secrets of ancient wisdom to create a sustainable and successful future throughout the world. Does this involve one-world governance as well? Who governs?

Jeffrey Armstrong: The answer to that again, in clear English, straight from the Vedas, is NOTHING COULD BE WORSE THAN A ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT. Extreme centralization – a single, domineering and autocratic control-based system is entirely antithetical to the Vedic way of thinking. We need regional wisdom at every level in order to interact successfully and cooperatively with the laws of nature, the environment and individual local needs as they are playing out in a given area. Regional and bio-diverse management combined with a global awareness of ourselves as part of the universe, as part of a larger planetary perspective, is the ideal. The goal of government is to serve, not to create a bureaucracy that is a burden on everyone and helps create a group of robber barons who serve only themselves, under some false flag of so-called freedom.

Daily Bell: You write, “According to Yoga philosophy there are a few easily recognizable body-types that determine many of our specific behavior patterns. Every professional will benefit from learning how to recognize these important body types. Once you’ve learned the body types, you’ll know who you’re talking to and how to communicate with them effectively.” What are these body types?

Jeffrey Armstrong: These body types are the basis of the practical everyday lifestyle science of the culture of India. It is rooted in the notion of universal elements, just as our modern science has divided matter into the atomic periodic table of elements. The problem is we can’t see those minute atomic elements in our day-to-day life, even though we are composed of them. In ancient times there was (and still is) a more practical approach using the table of the five visible elements of nature. These elements are earth, water, fire, air and space, and they are visible to everyone using their perceptive senses.

Everything is composed of these five ingredients, which are present in a specific ratio in all of our bodies. That proportionality or ratio can be translated to mean that each one of us has a certain body ‘type’ and that body is our vehicle. Each vehicle has a particular nature that is best suited for particular functions. I have described this in some detail in my book: ‘God/Goddess the Astrologer, Soul, Karma, and Reincarnation: How we continually create our own destiny’.

We as individuals are empowered by understanding what particular kind of body we are inhabiting, just as we need to know the make and model of our car in order to maintain it properly. This then forms the basis of the preventive, healing and organic science that is called Ayurvedic Medicine. Ayurveda, or the science of the life force, is based on knowing our nature and then using the natural remedies and foods that enhance and balance that nature. Because we all have a physical nature that is knowable, this knowing allows us to cooperate with Mother Nature, of whom we are a part. Conversely, not knowing our specific body type causes needless friction and damage to our bodies and minds and ultimately obscures a relatively easy understanding of each other’s particular physical and mental nature and needs.

Daily Bell: These would be called the 3 Doshas?

Jeffrey Armstrong: Yes these would be the 3 Doshas, which give rise to the 10 basic body types. This means the particular mix of the five elements, in other words the characteristic design elements of each person’s body/mind complex. We could also call this the recognizable form of one’s underlying genetic structure. As an example, if you had a Maserati and took it to a mechanic who said: ‘Sure, I can repair your car, all cars are all the same’, you would never believe him. It’s a bad diagnosis, and currently there are a startling number of medical conditions in hospitals that are actually doctor or pharmaceutically induced. One of the reasons is an unnecessary ignorance of the Ayurvedic body types, which means modern physicians simply do not know the make and model of their patient’s body. For this reason, modern allopathic medicine, which is undeniably brilliant in repairing serious trauma, is not preventive. Combining that ignorance with Big Pharma and their excessive and relentless use of chemical-based pharmaceutical medicines instead of using either nothing or, when needed, safe, organic herbs, causes a great deal of suffering and unnecessary environmental damage. Ayurveda says: ‘Live according to your body type,’ let organic, nutritious food be your medicine and use pure herbal remedies as far as possible. Then allopathic and pharmaceutical medicines and surgery will become what they should be, remarkable last resorts.

Daily Bell: What are the “Vedas” and Vedic values?

Jeffrey Armstrong: The word Veda means ‘to see’, and gave us our modern word, video. Its root is ‘vid’, and from that comes, wit, meaning ‘knowledge’ or ‘what we know,’ so Veda, first of all means the knowledge that we need in order to exist and fulfill our purpose for existing. That knowledge is considered to be eternal and to co-exist with both this world and with the eternal Transcendental world. A student of the Veda, or the study of the knowledge of India, would be studying a library of knowledge. There is not one, single dogmatic book, which takes precedence over the others. To be a student of the Veda then, is to be a student of a library of knowledge concerned with all subjects that support a sacred lifestyle and our true spiritual nature. That library has been passed down from antiquity and is thought by practitioners to have emanated from the Divine mind of the Supreme Being. It is the many ‘users manuals’ for the material world.

Daily Bell: What was the vision of the Hindu Vedic Sages?

Jeffrey Armstrong: The word Hindu came about when the people of Persia were describing the people on the other side of the Sindhu (Indus) River (India). They could not pronounce the river’s name properly, saying the ‘s’ as an ‘h’ and thus they called the people on the other side the Hindus. Technically, Hindu is now used as a word to describe the whole culture of India but it is more specifically a generic term meaning all of those people who probably are taking some inspiration from the Veda – so card – carrying Hindus would really also be card – carrying members of the Vedic library. But that doesn’t tell us – which books within the library an individual favors. This choosing within the library is why there is such diversity in the Hindu Dharma or culture, and consequently confusion over what a ‘Hindu” is or believes. The Sanskrit word dharma means learning the essential nature of everything, including your true self-nature, and then using it all accordingly. Knowing your own nature and the nature of everything and using it according to its Divinely intended purpose, is the basis and goal of the Vedic Hindu Dharma Culture.

Daily Bell: Expand on the word Avatar and the relevance of the original Avatars of India for today’s world?

Jeffrey Armstrong: The word Avatar is two Sanskrit words: ‘ava‘ which means to descend and ‘tara‘ which means to heal, restore or replenish. The concept of ‘Avatar’ is different than that of a Prophet. The Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are considered Prophetic religions, meaning a human acted as a mouthpiece for some version of the Supreme Being. Moses and Mohammed are considered prophets, not Avatars. Even Jesus, by strict definition, is not an Avatar. Avatar means the actual appearance in a bodily form here on earth of the Supreme Reality, the Supreme Being, variously called God, Allah, Jehovah, etc. Those are some of the names that the Middle Eastern tribes have used for this Ultimate Being. In India that Being has thousands of names but is ultimately called ‘Bhagavan‘, which means the “Person of the Supreme Being, the One who has all the possible Divine qualities.”

According to the historical record of India, that Supreme Being has come to Earth twice, and these visits or descents are described in detail in the two longest poems that exist on our planet, both written in Sanskrit. The Ramayana (24,000 verses) and the Mahabharata (100,000 verses), are the two great Avatar epics of India. The well-known Vedic text, the Bhagavad Gita is 700 verses taken from the Mahabharata, wherein Bhagavan Krishna explains in summary all the key spiritual teachings of the Vedic library.

The descent of the Supreme Being, aka, GOD, to Earth, takes place with a large group of friends, to teach the purpose of our existence, to fight the previously mentioned Asuras who, indeed, were trying to make a repressive and destructive ‘one world’ government, at the expense of sustainability, compassion and individual freedom.

Daily Bell: Perhaps they ought to visit again. Is the world heading toward collapse? What will be the outcome?

Jeffrey Armstrong: It is inevitable that we are headed toward some kind of collapse or major contraction because we are violating the primary law, even of modern science, which is the law of entropy. The two laws of thermodynamics – that matter is neither created nor destroyed and always going from a higher to lower state of energy – were initially described in the Vedas as the laws of Nature, and were called ‘The Gunas.’ The Gunas are a description of the cyclic states and processes of matter.

The point is, as long as we are simply extracting energy from the world around us and not replenishing or giving back or finding balance, then we are inevitably creating a world that is headed for collapse, population imbalance and exploitation. We are doing this through factory-farming animals, by factory farming the land. We are doing it by not recycling correctly, by not replenishing the growth and vegetation of the planet. We are doing it by an exploitation-only attitude in economics, by a currency and a monetary system that is not rooted in real, sustainable value, by the manipulation of human beings at the most fundamental level in their real estate, their property, their resources, the water they drink, etc.

Because exploitation and the irresponsible use of power is the fastest way to acquire wealth at the expense of others, the Vedic culture says that anyone who has great power has great responsibility and is accountable to use that power for the well-being of everyone. This idea is clearly not being exercised sufficiently on the planet. This process is based on the ancient Vedic principle of Karma – that every action has an equal and opposite reaction both with matter and in the moral actions of humans. I describe this in depth in my book ‘Karma – The Ancient Science of Cause and Effect‘. The resources of the Earth are meant for the good of all, they do not truly or ultimately belong to anyone – as even death reminds us. So right now, we are on a crash course with destiny and the karmic laws of nature as a result of our incorrect attitude toward Mother Earth. We are stealing the future and wealth (and therefore freedom) of our children and their children by our actions in the present, and leaving them a pile of waste and debt as our legacy, instead of protecting their future.

Daily Bell: Why is ancient Hindu knowledge being suppressed, if it is?

Jeffrey Armstrong: The honesty of the Hindu knowledge is that we are accountable to, to put it colloquially, Mother Nature, who is Divinely intelligent. The world that we live in, however, is really being controlled by a variety of interests that are negatively polarized. In my opinion, the knowledge of India has been and is still being repressed so that certain interests can continue colonizing both India and the planet, and to prevent it being a viable alternative to more aggressive religious and political worldviews.

The deeply spiritual, cooperative message of the Hindu Vedic Dharma Culture would shine light on the various selfish and harmful activities of the powerful interests who are harming the world. The rapid spread of Yoga in recent years shows that previous attitudes of repressing information are not nearly as effective in our current world of global communication. Freedom of speech is a crucial right to defend at this dangerous moment in history.

Daily Bell: Why does the modern power elite not want the world to know about ancient Hindu civilization?

Jeffrey Armstrong: At the crux of both of the epics and of the Avatar’s descent to Earth is the message that anyone who has power has responsibility. This is the one message that those who are abusing power do not want to hear. The concept of stewardship had its home in India. Anyone who was a ruler in India had the responsibility of caring for every living entity. The intentional degradation of human beings for personal gain is simply wrong – despite its effectiveness as a means of rapidly acquiring wealth.

It is written that many of the greatest kings and queens and dynasties in India had a rule; that before they ate a meal, they would ring a bell. The bell meant if you are hungry, we have a kitchen open where you can come and eat. We are going to eat now, but we will not eat if you are hungry. Why? Not because of ideology, but because massive wealth and power is generally acquired on the backs of others. So, I would challenge any leaders of the world to ring a bell in your country and if no one is hungry, unsafe or uncared for, then you can have your dinner. You should listen carefully to what the Avatars and honorable ancient leaders have said is your responsibility as a so-called leader.

Daily Bell: Recommend some books and websites for further study, please.

Jeffrey Armstrong: Too many to mention, but if you go to my website, http://www.jeffreyarmstrong.com, I have made a list of useful people and sites, and I have personally given many lectures on these topics which reader’s can request. There are numerous sources of information on India and her ancient culture but the genuine teachers of her wisdom should all lead you back to the Vedic Library, grounding their opinions in that ancient wisdom.

Daily Bell: What is next for you? Where do you go from here?

Jeffrey Armstrong: Well, my goal is to reach a billion people with this knowledge that pushes for individual autonomy and empowerment in the most positive sense of those terms. I believe that a real problem is that good people who have good intentions often do not have the knowledge-tools necessary to give them a scope of vision and daily empowerment that will help them to implement the goodness and greatness that’s inside of them.

Even though the journey of life is cyclic and eternal, I believe we are here today at a sort of tipping point and that this point will be turned positively by autonomous and knowledgeable individuals who use their eternal free will to choose a universal view that is for the good of all. We don’t need more ignorant armies, better weapons or sadly victimized civilian populations. We need a large body of informed and compassionate citizens from diverse cultures and viewpoints. Humans, through non-violent enlightenment on many levels and subjects, can change the world. I am ever hopeful that this is possible. We do NOT need more technology, we need smarter technology and a less-is-more attitude (less debt, less waste, less violence) to build a sustainable future.

Daily Bell: Anything else you want to mention?

Jeffrey Armstrong: I always like to stress the importance of broadening the scope of one’s thinking to envision the idea that all the living entities on our planet have a right to be here, learning and growing happily. Be a philosopher and poet. Become broad-minded. Be local but don’t live in a small bubble of reality ignoring the larger world. Inform yourself. Try not to become a Darwinian human, believing only in the survival of the so-called strong or well-armed, try to become a feeling being, an empathic human feeling the pain of others and helping them where you can, to heal.

Mahatma Gandhi once said, ‘the Supreme Being has provided enough for everyone’s need but not enough for everyone’s greed.’ Certainly we know that not everyone will have the same amount as everyone else but surely a world can be built in which more people instead of less people have enough, and our children have a future not oppressed by waste, debt, propaganda and tyranny. The Hindu Vedic Dharma says that exploring ‘Inner Space‘ is much more important than exploring ‘Outer Space‘, while always hoping that all may be fed, protected and find peace within and in the world. Hari Om! May this knowledge bless all.

Daily Bell: Thank you for sharing your time so graciously. It has been most interesting.

Jeffrey Armstrong: Thank you for the opportunity.

Finally, after centuries of (western) deception, at least some people are talking sense. It must be disappointing for those who believe that “the British civilized us” and that perhaps include our esteemed Prime Minister, Mr Manmohan Singh.

One reason why our education syllabus needs to be rewritten so that our children start knowing the truth from the beginning.

But then, if it is pre-Islamic, Hindu (or Vedic) glories, our secular historians are not much excited and our government believe that such truth is a threat to ‘communal harmony’. 

  

On the Origins of Western Law and Western Civilization (in the Indus Valley)

Robin Bradley Kar
University of Illinois College of Law
October 18, 2010

Abstract:     
Western Law and Western Civilization are often said to be parts of a distinctive tradition, which differentiates them from their counterparts in the “East,” and explains many of their special capacities and characteristics. On one common version of this story, as propounded by legal scholars such as Harold Berman, Western Civilization begins with a return to the texts of three more primordial traditions: those of ancient Greece, Rome, and Israel. The basic story that Western Civilization finds its origins in ancient Greek, Roman and Hebrew culture is, however, so familiar and so pervasive that it has rarely – until recently – been questioned in the West.

There is nevertheless a deep sense in which this story is incomplete, and even potentially misleading. This article – along with its sequels – argues that if we are genuinely interested in understanding our origins, in a way that will shed light on why the West has exhibited such distinctive capacities for large-scale human civilization and the rule of law, then the story we commonly tell ourselves starts abruptly in the middle, and leaves out some of the most formative (and potentially transformative) dimensions of the truth. Western Law and Western Civilization are not just the outgrowths of three particularly creative cultures, which straddled the transition from human prehistory into human history, and developed in either Southeastern Europe or the Near East. Rather, the West is descended from a much deeper cultural tradition, which extends all the way back to some of our first human forays out of hunter-gatherer modes of subsistence and into settled agricultural living. The tradition in question began not in Greece, Rome, or Israel, however, but rather in the Indus Valley – which is a region that spans the Northwestern portions of the Indian subcontinent. Our failure to know this about ourselves has limited our self-understanding in critical respects, and has prevented us from realizing useful aspects of our traditions – including, in some cases, aspects that make them work so well for large-scale human civilization.

In addition to arguing for this thesis, this article addresses some of its implications for the (1) legal origins literature, (2) comparative law, and (3) the promotion of development and the rule of law.

  

Constitution 1,000 years ago

 T.S.SUBRAMANIAM

 A perfect electoral system existed, inscriptions found in Uthiramerur reveal.

 Photos: S. Thanthoni

 

 

  

  

 

OUTSTANDING DOCUMENT: The mantapa of the Vaikuntaperumal temple.

 

It may be hard to believe that nearly 1,100 years ago, a village had a perfect electoral system and a written Constitution prescribing the mode of elections. It was inscribed on the walls of the village assembly (grama sabha mandapa), which was a rectangular structure made of granite slabs. “This inscription, dated around 920 A.D. in the reign of Parantaka Chola, is an outstanding document in the history of India,” says Dr. R. Nagaswamy, former Director, Tamil Nadu Department of Archaeology, referring to Uthiramerur in Chingleput district.

“It is a veritable written Constitution of the village assembly that functioned 1,000 years ago,” Dr. Nagaswamy says in his book, “Uthiramerur, the Historic Village in Tamil Nadu.” The book, in both Tamil and English, has been published by the Tamil Arts Academy, Chennai.

Dr. Nagaswamy says: “It [the inscription] gives astonishing details about the constitution of wards, the qualification of candidates standing for elections, the disqualification norms, the mode of election, the constitution of committees with elected members, the functions of [those] committees, the power to remove the wrong-doer, etc…”


 

 

 

 

 

And that is not all. “On the walls of the mandapa are inscribed a variety of secular transactions of the village, dealing with administrative, judicial, commercial, agricultural, transportation and irrigation regulations, as administered by the then village assembly, giving a vivid picture of the efficient administration of the village society in the bygone ages.” The villagers even had the right to recall the elected representatives if they failed in their duty!

It has a 1,250-year history

Uthiramerur has a 1,250-year history. It is situated in Kanchipuram district, about 90 km from Chennai. The Pallava king Nandivarman II established it around 750 A.D. It did exist earlier as a brahmin settlement. It was ruled by the Pallavas, the Cholas, the Pandyas, the Sambuvarayars, the Vijayanagara Rayas and the Nayaks. It has three important temples, the Sundara Varadaraja Perumal temple, the Subramanya temple and the Kailasanatha temple. Plans are under way for the conservation and restoration of the Kailasanatha temple, which is in ruins.

All the three temples have numerous inscriptions — those of the great Raja Raja Chola (985-1015 A.D.), his able son, Rajendra Chola and the Vijayanagar emperor Krishnadeva Raya. Both Rajendra Chola and Krishnadeva Raya visited Uthiramerur.

Uthiramerur, built as per the canons of the agama texts, has the village assembly mandapa exactly at the centre and all the temples are oriented with reference to the mandapa.

R. Vasanthakalyani, Chief Epigraphist-cum-Instructor and R. Sivanandam, epigraphist, both belonging to the Tamil Nadu Department of Archaeology, said that while village assemblies might have existed prior to the period of Parantaka Chola, it was during his period that the village administration was honed into a perfect system through elections. “About 1,100 years ago, during the period of Paranataka Chola, Uthiramerur had an elected village panchayat system, which was a step ahead of the modern day democratic system,” she said.

According to Dr. Sivanandam, there were several places in Tamil Nadu where inscriptions are available on temple walls about the prevalence of village assemblies. These villages included Manur near Tirunelveli, Tiruninravur near Chennai, Manimangalam near Tambaram, Dadasamudram near Kanchipuram, Sithamalli and Thalaignayiru near Thanjavur, Jambai near Tirukovilur and Ponnamaravathy near Pudukottai. “But it is at Uthiramerur on the walls of the village assembly (mandapa) itself, that we have the earliest inscriptions with complete information about how the elected village assembly functioned,” said Dr. Sivanandam. It is learnt that the entire village, including the infants, had to be present at the village assembly mandapa at Uthiramerur when the elections were held, pointed out Vasanthakalyani. Only the sick and those who had gone on a pilgrimage were exempt.

 

 

 

 

 

The Tamil inscriptions elaborate on the election procedure followed several centuries ago.

There were committees for the maintenance of irrigation tanks, roads, to provide relief during drought, testing of gold and so on. Sivanandam himself has written a book in Tamil called, “The Archaeological Handbook of Kanchipuram district,” (published by the Tamil Nadu Department of Archaeology in 2008) in which he says the original sabha mandapa’s superstructure was made of timber and bricks. After the superstructure collapsed and only the base of the mandapa made of granite slabs remained, Kulotunga Chola I built a Vishnu temple on the base towards the end of the 11th century.

The village sabha mandapa, with its invaluable inscriptions, is now called Vaikuntaperumal temple. Dr. Nagaswamy says: “The village assembly of Uttaramerur drafted the Constitution for the elections. The salient features were as follows: the village was divided into 30 wards, one representative elected for each. Specific qualifications were prescribed for those who wanted to contest. The essential criteria were age limit, possession of immovable property and minimum educational qualification. Those who wanted to be elected should be above 35 years of age and below 70…”

Only those who owned land, that attracted tax, could contest. Another interesting stipulation, according to Dr. Nagaswamy, was that such owners should have possessed a house built on legally-owned site (not on public poromboke). A person serving in any of the committees could not contest again for the next three terms, each term lasting a year. Elected members, who suffered disqualification, were those who accepted bribes, misappropriated others’ property, committed incest or acted against public interest.

 

Also read:

India – The Mother of Western Civilization

Albert Einstein (1879-1955), Physicist, Nobel Laureate:  When I read the Bhagavad-Gita and reflect about how God created this universe everything else seems so superfluous.

W. Heisenberg (1901-1976), German Physicist and Nobel Laureate: After the conversations about Indian philosophy, some of the ideas of Quantum Physics that had seemed so crazy suddenly made much more sense.

Dick Teresi, American author of ‘Lost Discoveries’: ….Some one thousand years before Aristotle, the Vedic Aryans asserted that the earth was round and circled the sun….Two thousand years before Pythagoras, philosophers in northern India had understood that gravitation held the solar system together, and that therefore the sun, the most massive object, had to be at its center….Twenty-four centuries before Isaac Newton, the Hindu Rig-Veda asserted that gravitation held the universe together….. The Sanskrit speaking Aryans subscribed to the idea of a spherical earth in an era when the Greeks believed in a flat one…..The Indians of the fifth century A.D. calculated the age of the earth as 4.3 billion years; scientists in 19th century England were convinced it was 100 million years…

 

Are Eastern Religions More Science-Friendly?

 

Philip Goldberg

Interfaith minister; author of the forthcoming book ‘American Veda’

 

Religion comes into conflict with science when it is defined by unprovable claims that can be dismissed as superstitions, and when it treats as historical facts stories that read like legends and myths to non-believers. Other aspects of religion — what I would consider the deeper and more significant elements — are not only compatible with science but enrich its findings. The best evidence of this is science’s response to the religions of the East over the course of the last 200 years. As the French Nobel laureate Romain Rolland said early in the 20th century, “Religious faith in the case of the Hindus has never been allowed to run counter to scientific laws.” The same can be said for Buddhism, which derives from the same Vedic roots.

Most of the Hindu gurus, Yoga masters, Buddhist monks and other Asian teachers who came to the West framed their traditions in a science-friendly way. Emphasizing the experiential dimension of spirituality, with its demonstrable influence on individual lives, they presented their teachings as a science of consciousness with a theoretical component and a set of practical applications for applying and testing those theories. Most of the teachers were educated in both their own traditions and the Western canon; they respected science, had actively studied it, and dialogued with Western scientists, many of whom were inspired to study Eastern concepts for both personal and professional reasons.

As early as the 1890s, Swami Vivekananda spent time with scientific luminaries such as Lord Kelvin, Hermann von Helmholtz, and Nikola Tesla. “Mr. Tesla thinks he can demonstrate mathematically that force and matter are reducible to potential energy,” the swami wrote in a letter to a friend. “I am working a good deal now upon the cosmology and eschatology of Vedanta. I clearly see their perfect unison with modern science.” Had Vivekananda lived three years longer, he would have rejoiced in Einstein’s discovery of E = mc2, which united matter and energy forever.

In the early decades of the 20th century, the great sage and Indian independence leader Sri Aurobindo, who had studied in England, blended East and West by extending Darwinian concepts to the evolution of consciousness and the cosmos. In 1920, Paramahansa Yogananda set a precedent by calling his first lecture in the West “The Science of Religion.” He befriended a number of scientists, growing so close to the great botanist Luther Burbank that he dedicated his Autobiography of a Yogi to him. Later, Swami Satchidananda, whose own teacher, Swami Sivananda, had been a successful physician before becoming a monk, encouraged the scientific study of Yoga; one of his early students was Dr. Dean Ornish, whose groundbreaking research sprang directly from Satchidananda’s teachings. And Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, even before he became famous as the Beatles’ guru, prodded scientists into studying the physiology of meditation, setting in motion an enterprise that has now produced over a thousand studies.

The interaction of Eastern spirituality and Western science has expanded methods of stress reduction, treatment of chronic disease, psychotherapy and other areas. But that is only part of the story. Hindu and Buddhist descriptions of higher stages of consciousness have expanded psychology’s understanding of human development and inspired the formation of provocative new theories of consciousness itself. Their ancient philosophies have also influenced physicists, among them Erwin Schrödinger, Werner Heisenberg and J. Robert Oppenheimer, who read from the Bhagavad Gita at a memorial service for President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In his landmark TV series Cosmos, Carl Sagan called Hinduism the only religion whose time-scale for the universe matches the billions of years documented by modern science. Sagan filmed that segment in a Hindu temple featuring a statue of the god Shiva as the cosmic dancer, an image that now stands in the plaza of the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva.

The relationship between science and Eastern spiritual traditions — which many prefer to think of as psychologies — is still in its infancy. In recent years, the Dalai Lama has carried the ball forward, hosting conferences and encouraging research. Western religions would do well to emulate this history. Their historical and faith-based claims conflict with empirical science and probably always will; but to the extent that their practices directly impact human life, they can be treated as testable hypotheses.

AVATAR is an interesting, politically incorrect movie, acknowledging the age old Vedic traditions, wisdom and philosophy. The similarities with Vedic / Hindu concept, starting from the name itself was striking throughout the movie. A refreshing change from the usual pattern of negative depiction by the west, of Indic history and Hindu / Vedic culture and traditions.

A nice write-up too.

 

Cameron’s Avatar: The emerging zeitgeist?       

Come Carpentier de Gourdon

10 Jan 2010

 

Every now and then, a book, a play, or film, marks a watershed in the landscape of culture when it represents most eloquently a growing and world-changing (or “epoch making” as Marxists used to say) awareness.

James Cameron’s Avatar may well be one of those symbolic milestones. As the hitherto most sophisticated result of the technologies of virtual reality and computerized design, it takes place in an already long line of wondrous special effects extravaganzas which include George Lucas’ Star Wars, Steven Spielberg’s ET and Close Encounters, Cameron’s own Terminator and sequels, the Harry Potter series, Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings’ trilogy and so many others.

Yet, the message of Avatar synthesizes some of the most powerful calls that mankind is hearing nowadays: the appeal for a new communion with nature on the cosmic scale, the yearning for disclosure about the reality of other life forms from outside our planet, and the eternal nostalgia for legends and mythology which formed civilization from its origins.

Cameron situates himself in the sphere of mythology when he creates his heroic saga on the imaginary planet Pandora -“all gifts” in Greek, but also the name of the Goddess (Mohini) who brought them to Prometheus. The name hints at the pantheistic worldview that prevails on it and that the author advocates – inhabited by the peaceful and empathic Na’vi, cat-like, slender, blue-skinned humanoids who live in symbiotic communion with the magnificent but dangerous ecosystem of a primeval forest.

It is this ecstatic communion that the film’s hero, a paraplegic former Marine called Jake Sully, sent by the RDA corporation to help explore Pandora through the bio-engineered Avatar created for his late brother, learns from them and gradually becomes one of them. Though the story is set in 2154, Cameron seems to assume that little will change in America or on Earth by then. Our planet has been presumably turned into a biological wasteland by our industry, the economy is still in very bad shape, the US is still fighting wars in many poor and hostile lands on behalf of giant corporations dedicated to exploiting natural resources, but wounded US soldiers are still neglected and financially unable to undergo reconstructive surgery for the injuries incurred in the line of duty.

The contrast between the penniless, paralyzed and depressive discarded mercenary of the earth’s richest nation and the boundlessly free and luminous Na’vi is one of the many ontological antitheses presented in the film.

In building Pandora’s fictional world, the author borrows from the legends and traditions of many “primitive” cultures, as most myth-makers have from the dawn of humanity, to create monuments as diverse as the Book of Gilgamesh, the Ramayana, the Iliad and Beowulf or Cuchulain. The Na’vi remind us of all bow and arrow wielding tribal peoples of warm climes, but they particularly evoke images of the blue-green divine heroes of ancient India, Rama and Krishna, whose wisdom and omniscience reflected their profound union with the Cosmic Whole which Cameron calls Eywa, the universal mother who embraces and comprises all creation, according to a concept embedded in Tantric philosophy.

Those people of the Pandoran forest will also remind people familiar with Indic culture, from Mongolia to Indonesia, of the Monkey people or Vanaras met by Rama and his companions in the deep woods of Central India, and who became his allies under the leadership of their king Sugriva and their champion Hanuman. However, the alien people created by Cameron are not modelled on a single historic or mythical race, but are inspired by many diverse shamanistic and pantheistic cultures.

The fact that in order to roam on Pandora freely and meet the Na’vi on their own terms, humans have to go into a state of conscious dream through the medium of a biological Avatar identical to the natives (contrary to the homonymous Internet creation, Cameron’s Avatar, like its Indic archetype is physical and alive) reminds us of the Dreamtime described by Australian aborigines or of the parallel worlds evoked by South American tribals and to which one can accede in sleep, with the help of hallucinogenic drugs such as the Ayahuasca just as Vedic Hindus and Avestan Iranians used the Soma or Haoma plant.

Like the Vedic peoples, but also like many other ancient races on all continents, the Na’vi are said to go through a ritual process of second birth (samsrkt dvija) which ushers them in as full members of the social and universal community of life and soul.

The metaphysical question raised by the cosmology of the Invisible has occupied much of Buddhist and Hindu thought over millennia since there is reason to question the “rational” assumption that only the facts experienced in our waking state are real. Many ancient religious systems relied on the opposite conclusion, which the Spanish writer Calderon de la Barca expressed in five words: “La vida es un sueno”: life is a dream! Other traditions teach that the other worlds we sometimes visit in trance or sleep are as material and actual as our sphere of familiar awareness.

Until we accept and integrate fully the parallel universes that we can visit only in the various subtle and psychic dimensions of our selves, we are doomed to living tragic lives in blindness and “quiet desperation”. For the Na’vi, becoming aware of this transcendent reality is “seeing” the truth of another person’s being. The reference to the symbolism of darsana in Indian psychology and philosophy is transparent.

Avatar dares to proclaim defiantly what many people in the West, and especially in the USA, are still afraid to admit. Cameron squarely points to the American military forces and the associated “private security companies” as the major agents in today’s world of uncontrolled corporate greed in all its brutal destructiveness. The film builds towards a cathartic massacre of the Pentagon’s robotic mercenaries and the utter annihilation (history repeats itself many a time!) of its space age war machine, personified by a Colonel whose face and gait mirror those of the many warlords who regularly appear in the news, from Odierno and Petraeus to McChrystal, just as his corporate army represents Blackwater, Triple Canopy and other such outfits created to privatise war and occupation. The polar opposition between the gracefulness of the native people of the Planet Pandora, the luminous and willowy Na’vi and the mechanical ugliness of the human killing machines is as striking as it is expected to be in a myth which is made up of allegories and signs.

The humanoid natives of Pandora look more than a bit like some of the Aliens described by several witnesses from the 1947 Roswell incident until recent times. Their four-fingered hands seem modelled after the tetradactyle extremities that at least some of the Greys or Zetas are reported to have. Such evocations are hardly surprising in ET-aware Hollywood, all the more from a director who authored the film Aliens in 1986.

The sort of  intuitive intelligence that the Na’vi demonstrate in their collective, beehive-like harmony, reminded me of a striking observation made by Whitley Strieber once about the “visitors” who have appeared to him at various occasions in his life: “animals far more intelligent than us”. The Na’vi’s fusional connection with the horse-like quadruped and the flying dragons they ride – as the bluish God Vishnu flies on the giant bird Garuda – through the merger of the tips of their respective capillary appendices is at once technologically inspired (fiber-optics and hints of David Cronenberg’s Existenz) and related to the Indian and Chinese belief that the brain is rooted in the cosmic oversoul through the pituitary seventh cakra at the crown of the head and also through the Kundalini coiled at the base of the spine as a vestigial tail.

As the polar opposite those fluid, intuitive lifeforms, Colonel Miles Quaritch, commander of the Company’s private army, the SecFor, is a mixture of Nietzsche’s “beast” and of a ruthless, calculating and emotionally deaf and dumb weapon of mass destruction. He uses the well worn Pentagon jargon which has become so recognizable during the last decade of “pre-emptive” wars: “killing the hostiles”, “minimizing casualties”, “winning hearts and minds”. He is unquestioningly committed to carrying out his mission, which is to allow “free market access” to the corporation to extract the precious mineral Unobtainium (a metaphor for oil or any other coveted mineral) from Pandora’s soil, and he regards all unfamiliar lifeforms as dangerous nuisances that must be “domesticated” or eliminated at any cost if and when they cannot be simply ignored.

That very attitude is made manifest in the policies enforced by the US and many other governments which consist in systematically ignoring and denying the presence of “Alien” life, especially that which strikes us as being far more evolutionarily advanced than our own. Those who are minimally aware of the Ufological reality realize that Cameron, like most in Hollywood, is not duped by the current political-scientific-military consensus and is making in his film an appeal for disclosure.

Quaritch reports to a wimpish, self-absorbed and infantile corporate boss of RDA, Parker Selfridge – a George W Bush to Quaritch’s Cheney or Rumsfeld – and they both have a conflictual rapport with the scientist, Grace Augustine, played by Sigourney Weaver, who serves the operatives of the military-industrial complex in her research on Pandora in spite of her moral reservations. Yet, they finance her work so that she needs them to carry out her investigations. The ambiguous role of scientists as handmaidens of their corporate paymasters (somewhat like the missionaries of the colonial ages) is illustrated quite tellingly.

Another parallel is drawn between the wondrously strange and intensely alive but somewhat ethereal world of Pandora and the high tech, ugly and depressing artificial habitat in which the earthly invaders are imprisoned. Where is reality? In the scientifically controlled, drably military environment of the occupiers (where the only entertainment available is the mini-golf used by the corporate boss) or in the fantastic wilderness of Pandora, inaccessible to humans outside their heavily insulated and armoured aircraft and “exoskeletons” (dubbed AMP for “Amplified Motion Platforms”).

The reference to the US bases set up in many countries and thoroughly cut off from the outside world, making the American soldiers and administrators the real aliens for the rest of mankind, is obvious, and the Na’vi are virtual icons of all the native peoples subjugated and massacred by colonizers, from the Aztecs, Incas and Patagonians to the Bantus, the Red Indians, and the aboriginal Australians.

The analogy with the Vietnamese, Iraqis or Afghans is not so transparent because those martyred people are not “pristine” children of Nature, though the attitude of the US occupiers towards them is similar to that of most conquistadors of yore, but as the hero of the film points out, those alien people cannot be won over with baubles or “light beer” or even by giving them American education and teaching them English. The endeavour of the conquerors is tragically flawed and is bound to fail, but not without causing immense destruction.

Predictably, the target of Colonel Queritch after he has destroyed the “tree of voices” (“first, cut off the target people from their source of traditional wisdom” seems to be the rule followed by colonialists and missionaries) and the “hometree” of the Na’vi (which disintegrates in a manner intentionally reminiscent of the World Trade Centre’s destruction in 2001 and happens to stand on the largest deposit of Unobtainium), is to “preemptively” take out the soul tree, Cameron’s allusion to the Aswattha of Indian mythology (and to the Nordic Yggdrasil) which, as Augustine tries to explain to the dismissive colonel and the bemused corporate executive, lies at the core of the planet’s bio-botanical neural network. She provides thereby a graphic image of the phenomenon of non-locality explained by quantum entanglement in contemporary physics as it applies to the eco-sphere, but such a holistic perspective is predictably beyond the grasp of her mentally autistic listeners, bent on quick territorial conquest and financial profit.

Cameron makes it clear that the only option for survival and for the preservation of our environment is to overthrow the tyranny of finance and technology enforced by the warlords of the Pentagon and their soldiers of fortune and misfortune. His film is a rousing call for defiance and rebellion that many in the US civilian and military sectors may eventually heed, and it is symbolically enlightening and also inevitable that he should conceive an iconography reminiscent of the Hindu sacred epics in order to convey this radical and apocalyptic message. What splendid depictions of the Indian myths and legends could be made nowadays by using the stereoscopic and virtual camera “motion capture” techniques, aptly called “3D Fusion Camera System”, pioneered in Avatar!

The author is Convener, Editorial Board, World Affairs Journal

Cross Cultural traces of Vedic Civilization

 

by Sadaputa das (Dr Richard L. Thompson)

1991 The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.

 

The ancient Greek writer Aratos tells the following story about the constellation Virgo, or the virgin. Virgo, he says, may have belonged to the star race, the forefathers of the ancient stars. In primeval times, in the golden age, she lived among mankind as Justice personified and would exhort people to adhere to the truth. At this time people lived peacefully, without hypocrisy or quarrel. Later, in the age of silver, she hid herself in the mountains, but occasionally she came down to berate people for their evil ways. Finally the age of bronze came. People invented the sword, and “they tasted the meat of cows, the first who did it.” At this point Virgo “flew away to the sphere”; that is, she departed for the celestial realm.[1]

The Vedic literature of India gives an elaborate description of the universe as a cosmos — a harmonious, ordered system created according to an intelligent plan as a habitation for living beings. The modern view of the universe is so different from the Vedic view that the latter is presently difficult to comprehend. In ancient times, however, cosmogonies similar to the Vedic system were widespread among people all over the world. Educated people of today tend to immediately dismiss these systems of thought as mythology, pointing to their diversity and their strange ideas as proof that they are all simply products of the imagination.

If we do this, however, we may be overlooking important information that could shed light on the vast forgotten period that precedes the brief span of recorded human history. There is certainly much evidence of independent storytelling in the traditions of various cultures, but there are also many common themes. Some of these themes are found in highly developed form in the Vedic literature. Their presence in cultures throughout the world is consistent with the idea that in the distant past, Vedic culture exerted worldwide influence.

In this article we will give some examples of Vedic ideas concerning time and human longevity that appear repeatedly in different traditions. First we will examine some of these ideas, and then we will discuss some questions about what they imply and how they should be interpreted.

In the Vedic literature time is regarded as a manifestation of Krsna, the Supreme Being. As such, time is a controlling force that regulates the lives of living beings in accordance with a cosmic plan. This plan involves repeating cycles of creation and destruction of varying durations. The smallest and most important of these repeating cycles consists of four yugas, or ages, called Satya, Treta, Dvapara, and Kali. In these successive ages mankind gradually descends from a high spiritual platform to a degenerated state. Then, with the beginning of a new Satya-yuga, the original state of purity is restored, and the cycle begins again.

The story of Virgo illustrates that in the ancient Mediterranean world there was widespread belief in a similar succession of four ages, known there as the ages of gold, silver, bronze, and iron. In this system humanity also starts out in the first age in an advanced state of consciousness and gradually becomes degraded. Here also, the progressive developments in human society are not simply evolving by physical processes, but are superintended by a higher controlling intelligence. 

It is noteworthy that Aratos’ story specifies the eating of cows as a sinful act that cut mankind off from direct contact with celestial beings. This detail fits in nicely with the ancient Indian traditions of cow protection, but it is unexpected in the context of Greek or European culture.

One explanation for similarities between ideas found in different cultures is that people everywhere have essentially the same psychological makeup, and so they tend to come up independently with similar notions. However, details such as the point about cow-killing suggest that we are dealing here with common traditions rather than independent inventions.

Another example of similarities between cultures can be found among the natives of North America. The Sioux Indians say that their ancestors were visited by a celestial woman who gave them their system of religion. She pointed out to them that there are four ages, and that there is a sacred buffalo that loses one leg during each age. At present we are in the last age, an age of degradation, and the buffalo has one leg.[2]

This story is a close parallel to the account in the Srimad Bhagavatam of the encounter between Maharaja Pariksit and the bull of Dharma. There, Dharma is said to lose one leg with each successive yuga, leaving it with one leg in the present Age of Kali.

According to the Vedic system, the lengths of the Satya, Treta, Dvapara, and Kali yugas are 4, 3, 2, and 1 times an interval of 432,000 years. Within these immense periods of time the human life span decreases from 100,000 years in the Satya-yuga to 10,000 years in the Treta-yuga, 1,000 years in the Dvapara-yuga, and finally 100 years in the Kali-yuga.  

Of course, this idea is strongly at odds with the modern evolutionary view of the past. In the ancient Mediterranean world, however, it was widely believed that human history had extended over extremely long periods of time. For example, according to old historical records, Porphyry (c. 300 A.D.) said that Callisthenes, a companion of Alexander in the Persian war, dispatched to Aristotle Babylonian records of eclipses and that these records covered 31,000 years. Likewise, Iamblicus (fourth century) said on the authority of the ancient Greek astronomer Hipparchus that the Assyrians had made observations for 270,000 years and had kept records of the return of all seven planets to the same position.[3] Finally, the Babylonian historian Berosus assigned 432,000 years to the total span of the reigns of the Babylonian kings before the Flood.[4]

We do not wish to suggest that these statements are true (or that they are false). The point here is that people in the old Mediterranean civilization evidently had a much different view of the past than thedominant view today. And this view was broadly consistent with Vedic chronology. 

Although the Bible is well known for advocating a very short time-span for human history, it is interesting to note that it contains information indicating that people at one time lived for about 1,000 years. In the Old Testament the following ages are listed for people living before the Biblical Flood: Adam, 930; Seth, 912; Enos, 905; Kenan, 910; Mahaleel, 895; Jared, 962; Enoch, 365; Methusaleh,969; Lamech, 777; and Noah, 950. If we exclude Enoch (who was said to have been taken up to heaven in his own body), these persons lived an average of 912 years.[5]

After the Flood, however, the following ages were recorded: Shem, 600; Arphachshad, 438; Selah, 433; Eber, 464; Peleg, 239; Reu, 239; Serug, 230; Nahor, 148; Terah, 205; Abraham, 175; Issac, 180; Job, 210; Jacob, 147; Levi, 137; Kohath, 133; Amaram, 137; Moses, 120; and Joshua, 110.

These ages show a gradual decline to about 100 years, similar to what must have happened after the beginning of Kali-yuga, according to the Vedic system.  

Here we should mention in passing that the Biblical Flood is traditionally said to have taken place in the second or third millenium B.C., and the traditional date in India for the beginning of Kali-yuga is February 18, 3102 B.C. This very date is cited as the time of the Flood in various Persian, Islamic, and European writings from the sixth to the fourteenth centuries A.D.[6] How did the middle-eastern flood come to be associated with the start of Kali-yuga? The only comment we can make is that this story shows how little we really know about the past.

In support of the Biblical story of very long human life-spans in ancient times, the Roman historian Flavius Josephus cited many historical works that were available in his time:

Now when Noah had lived 350 years after the Flood, and all that time happily, he died, having the number of 950 years, but let no one, upon comparing the lives of the ancients with our         lives…make the shortness of our lives at present an argument that neither did they attain so long a duration of life….

Now I have for witnesses to what I have said all those that have written Antiquities, both among the Greeks and barbarians, for even Manetho, who wrote the Egyptian history, and Bersus, who        collected the Chaldean monuments, and Mochus, and Hestiaeus, and beside these, Hiernonymous the Egyptian, and those who composed the Phoenician history, agree with what I here say: Hesiod also, and Hecataeus, Hellanicaus, and Acuzilaus, and besides Ephorus and Nicolaus relate that the ancients lived a thousand years: but as to these matters, let everyone look upon them as he sees fit.[7]

Unfortunately, practically none of the works referred to by Josephus are still existing, and this again shows how little we know of the past. But in existing Norse sagas it is said that people in ancient times lived for many centuries. In addition, the Norse sagas describe a progression of ages, including an age of peace, an age when different social orders were introduced, an age of increasing violence, and a degraded “knife-age and axe-age with cloven shields.”[8] The latter is followed by a period of annihilation, called Ragnarok, after which the world is restored to goodness. 

The Norse Ragnarok involves the destruction of the earth and the abodes of the Norse demigods (called Asgard), and thus it corresponds in Vedic chronology to the annihilation of the three worlds that follows 1,000 yuga cycles, or one day of Brahma. It is said that during Ragnarok the world is destroyed with flames by a being called Surt, who lives beneath the lower world (appropriately called Hel) and was involved in the world’s creation. By comparison, the Srimad Bhagavatam (3.11.30) states that at the end of Brahma’s day, “the devastation takes place due to the fire emanating from the mouth of Sankarsana.” Sankarsana is a plenary expansion of Krsna who is “seated at the bottom of the universe” (Srimad Bhagavatam 3.8.3), beneath the lower planetary systems. 

There are many similarities between the Norse and Vedic cosmologies, but there are also great differences. One key difference is that in the Srimad Bhagavatam, all beings and phenomena within the universe are clearly understood as part of the divine plan of Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In contrast, in the Norse mythology God is conspicuously absent, and the origin and purpose of the major players in the cosmic drama are very obscure. Surt, in particular, is a “fire giant” whose origins and motives are unclear even to experts in the Norse literature.[9]

One might ask, If Vedic themes appear in many different societies, how can one conclude that they derive from an ancient Vedic civilization?

Perhaps they were created in many places independently, or perhaps they descend from an unknown culture that is also ancestral to what we call Vedic culture. Thus parallels between the accounts of Surt and Sankarsana may be coincidental, or perhaps the Vedic account derives from a story similar to that of Surt. 

Our answer to this question is that available empirical evidence will not be sufficient to prove the hypothesis of descent from an ancient Vedic culture, for all empirical evidence is imperfect and subject to various interpretations. But we can decide whether or not the evidence is consistent this hypothesis.

If there was an ancient Vedic world civilization, we would expect to find traces of it in many cultures around the world. We do seem to find such traces, and many agree with Vedic accounts in specific details (such as the location of Surt’s abode or the sacred buffalo’s loss of one leg per world age). Since this civilization began to lose its influence thousands of years ago, at the beginning of Kali-yuga, we would expect many of these traces to be fragmentary and overlain by many later additions, and this we also see. Thus the available evidence seems to be consistent with the hypothesis of a Vedic origin.

 REFERENCES

 [1] E. C. Sachau, trans., Alberuni’s India (Delhi: S. Chand & Co., 1964), pp. 383-4.

[2] J. E. Brown, ed., The Sacred Pipe (Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1971), p. 9.

[3] D. Neugebauer, History of Ancient Mathematical Astronomy (Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 1975), pp. 608-9.

[4] J. D. North, “Chronology & the Age of the World,” in Cosmology, History & Theology, eds. Wolfgang Yourgrau and A. D. Breck (N. Y.: Plenum Press, 1977), p. 315.

[5] D. W. Patten and P. A. Patten, “A Comprehensive Theory on Aging, Gigantism & Longevity,” Catastrophism & Ancient History, Vol. 2, Part 1 (Aug. 1979), p. 24.

[6] J. D. North, Ibid., p. 316-7.

[7] D. W. Patten, Ibid., p. 29.

[8] V. Rydberg, Teutonic Mythology, R. B. Anderson, trans. (London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co., 1889), pp. 88,94.

[9] Ibid., pp. 448-9.