Vision Document: Humans’ Evolutionary Ascent: A Passage through the Ages:
Earliest books of mankind: Rig-VedaThe secret India is a sacred corner on Earth where a section of humanity away from the tumultuous world and since ages is relentlessly pursuing and realizing secret dimensions of human consciousness and what lie beyond. This India gives meaning to the otherwise meaningless cosmic existence. She assures of hope amid hopelessness all around. This India is a soothing balm to Mankind’s eternal pains. She is the trust of Mankind.
The history of secret India is the history of collective consciousness of a people that has been shaped and sustained by the experience of an unbroken chain of individuals whose life on Earth was solely devoted to know experience and live the Unknown. In these pages we shall set out their experience – the secret of all secrets – as far as possible in their own words. These words are the gems – the real Wisdom - of Mankind. It is neither advisable nor possible on the part of an author of a book like the present one to substitute his own interpretation in place of the original words employed by those who have had the experience. Such an attempt – an exercise which is traditionally carried out by authors, average and eminent both – does no more than bringing confusion in the subject matter and fundamentalism in the approach.
Abu Rihan (1029 AD), popularly known as Al Beruni, who had accompanied Mohammed Ghazani on his expedition of Indian conquest, was an acute observer of his surroundings and a learned man. He had written a treatise on Indian customs, thoughts and beliefs prevalent in India at that time. He says that Indians since ancient times, believed in the division of time into Manvantars, Kalpas, Chaturyugas, which deal with mankind's cyclic progression and retrogression within huge span of time.
According to the Aditya Puran Kalpa is composed of Kal, which means the existence of the species in the world, and pana, which means their destruction and disappearance. The sum of this existing and perishing is a Kalpa. Brahmagupta holds that since the plants and mankind in the world came into existence at the beginning of the day of Brahma, and since they both perish at the end of it, we must adopt this day of their existence as a Kalpa, not another period. A thousand chaturyugas are one day of Devaka, i.e., Brahman, and a night of his is of the same length. Therefore his day is equal to 2000 chaturgugas. In the same way Vyasa the son of Parasara says: "He, who believes that 1000 chaturyugas are a day and 1000 chaturyugas a night, knows Brahman.'Within the space of a kalpa 71 chaturyugas are equal to 1 manu, i.e., manvantara, or Manu-period, and 14 manus are equal to 1 kalpa. On multiplying 71 by 14, you get 994 chaturyugas as the period of 14 manvantars, and remainders of 6 chaturyugas till the end of the kalpa”. 1
Indians hold that three thousand years are one Tretayuga, but together with a samdhi and a samdhyamsa, each of 300 years, a tretayuga has 3600 years Two thousand years are a dwapara, but together with a samdhi and a samdhyamsa, each of 200 years, a dwapara has 2400 years. A thousand years are one Kali, but together with a samdhi and a samdhyamsa, each of 100 years, a kaliyuga has 1200 years. This is what Brahmagupta has quoted from Smriti. This division of time into manvantaras, kalpas and yugas may not have mathematical exactitude and means to prove their accuracy as nothing is known of the mankind's history prior to the Event of Deluge (refer infra). But it incorporates certain underlying ideas that ancient Indians had about time. Firstly, they hold the opening that there is a cycle of mankind's rise and fall. Secondly, each revolution of this cycle involves period of time running into millions of years; and, thirdly, the beginning and end of one revolution is marked by cataclysms and destructions effecting the whole mankind.
Could there be any grain of truth in the concept of cyclic rise and fall of mankind in a given time frame? Here, we may point out a curious aspect of the Event of Deluge, the earliest memory of mankind. In that Event, it is related, only one individual - Manu or Noah -, the Patriarch of mankind was able to save himself from the catastrophe and, this implies that there were other people also living prior to Deluge who perished in it. We do not know about them. May be, they were living in the stage of Stone Age, but they must have had a collective - societal - existence. May be also, they had their own rise and fall in a time-frame, and, science one day finds means to unearth their history.
One of the most ancient and landmark historical events that has been preserved by ancient traditions of many races of mankind - that is, the event of Great Waters - does not seem to go beyond the last 10 to 20 thousand years. Even in these ancient traditions the particulars of historical significance are absent. Thus, human history as we know it may be said to have begun with the date of this event. Perhaps, one-day scientists may be able to ascertain this date with some accuracy. We may only hope to talk of human history from this date. Records of this memory of Great Waters - a universal flood - have been preserved by ancient books like Rig-Veda, Zend- Avesta, Jain Sutras and Bible.
We may say that, in the current cycle of human debut on earth, the history of India commences with the event of Deluge or the great Floods. Though the memory of this event is still preserved by Indians in their traditions, the passage of time has effected a great distortion of the same. Agni Puran, in much fanciful way, says that when ocean quitted his bounds and caused universal destruction by Brahma’s command, Vaivaswata (son of the sun) Manu (Noah), who dwelt near the Himaleh (the snowy Caucasus) mountains, was giving water to the gods in the Kritmala River, when a small fish fell into his hand. A voice commanded him to preserve it. The fish expanded to an enormous size. Manu, with his sons and their wives, and sages, with the seed of every living thing, entered into a vessel which was fastened to a horn on the head of the fish, and thus they were preserved. 3
According to the Satapatha- Brahmana, (Adi) Manu alone was saved by the advice of a fish and that all other created beings were destroyed in Deluge. Rig-veda repeatedly acknowledges Manu as the progenitor of mankind and refers to him as ‘Father Manu’ in verses 1 – 80 – 16, 1 – 124 – 2, 11 – 33 – 16 etc. In Rig-Veda we find mention that ‘the five tribes’, ‘these created beings’ or ‘the races of man’ are the offspring of Manu.4 Indian traditions say that the Vedas - and particularly the Rig-Veda - were composed at least 5000 years before Christ. Europeans have difference with this estimation and assert the compilation of them around 3000 years before Christ. They say it is not possible to ascertain the composition period. At least when the compilation of Rig- Veda took place, its contents must have been prevalent for a long time in the society so as to give a feeling to the society's leaders of necessity of its compilation in view of its deemed value. The contents of Rig- Veda must have been for a long time a part and parcel of the collective consciousness of the people who compiled them.
It seems logical to hold that there must have been considerable interval of time between the composition of the most of the Vedic hymns and their compilation. This view is reinforced by the fact that most of the Vedic hymns are in the rugged Sanskrit, which is different from the comparatively polished Sanskrit employed in other sacred writings. It is generally admitted that some of these – Vedic – hymns, though antiquated, are composed in comparatively polished Sanskrit. In attempting to ascertain the age of Vedas, it is the age of their compilation alone, and not that of their actual composition in still earlier times, that one can hope to fix.
Sir William Jones made an attempt to fix the date of the composition of the Yujur Veda by means of counting the lives of forty sages, through whom the Yajur Vedic doctrines were handed down to the posterity, from the time of Parasara. The time of the sage Parasara is also fixed by him by a celestial observation finding place in this Veda. On this basis, he supposes the Yajur Veda to have been compiled in 1580 BC. He fixes the completion of this compilation in the twelfth century BC. All other European scholars who have dealt with this question also fix the age of the compiler, Vyasa, between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries BC. However, the reasoning employed by Sir William Jones does not seem reasonable and accurate enough to yield any definite result. 5
But the Hindus unanimously declare Vyasa to have lived 3000 years, if not more, before Christ. Colebrook has pointed out that in every Veda there is a component of astronomical nature, the objective of which is to explain the desirable adjustment of calendar for the purpose of fixing the proper periods for the performance religious duties. The measure of time employed in Vedas is a cycle of five years of lunar months, with peculiar divisions, intercalations and many other corrections required to be made. This elaborate mechanism contains in itself the rudiments of the calendar, which even today, after successive corrections rendered over generation after generation, is used by Hindus throughout India.
It is calculated that the place assigned to the solstitial points mentioned in Vedas is that in which those points were situated in the fourteenth centuries BC. The ancient form of the Hindu calendar is beyond any possibility of its forgery by a clever priest as there could be no motive for him to coin a passage and fix the date in the fourteenth centuries BC while he himself would assign the same as thirty-first century of the same era. Also no conceivable ground to suspect the genuineness of the Vedic texts is available. It seems reasonable to hold that the last compiler of these Vedic texts would avail him of the observations made therein which were most relied on when he wrote and that he would explain them by the method of computation of time that was the most intelligible to his readers. The approach adopted by Colebrook, in the absence of a better alternative, reinforces the European position and the superior accuracy of their method. 6 Certain portions of Rig-Veda – and particularly the Ka or Hiranyagarbha verse - are regarded by Europeans of a comparatively modern origin. In this connection we should keep in mind that even the most modern of such hymns cannot be more modern than 1000 BC. For example, the Hiranyagarbha hymn must have existed not only previous to the Brahmanas period, since many Brahmanas presuppose it, but previous to the Mantra period also. In the Sama – Veda – Brahmana it is mentioned at IX – 9 – 12 – verse 1, though no part of this hymn is found in the Sama – Veda. However, most of its verses occur in the Vagasaneyi – Samhita, Taittiriya – Samhita and Atharva – Veda – Samhita. The last verse of this hymn most frequently occurs in the other Samhitas and Brahmanas. Therefore, one is justified in regarding these hymns as composed and existing before the final arrangement of the four Samhitas. In the light of these facts, we can be rest assured that even the most modern of these hymns cannot be later than at least one thousand years before Christ. 7
First let us see how this eternal truth or prime reality was perceived by different individuals in past ages and how the consequential teachings have become corrupted with the passage of time. Words are never able to convey the entire spectrum of individual’s real experience.
‘Hiranyagarbha’ of Rig-VedaLet us deal with Rig-Veda first. Rig-Veda, the most ancient record of man's thoughts, deals with mankind's early mysterious vision. And its contents, rising above petty concerns of any particular geo-political people, have throughout ages inspired the most inquisitive minds - minds in search of answers to eternal questions - to go behind the apparent and seek the Truth there. Even today they have this magnetic appeal to the seeker of supreme Truth. They address the early human beings' consciousness and goad it to face the eternal riddle of life - Truth behind appearance - rather than mundane concerns of an early ignorant mind and their hazardous life. Let us see what Rig- Veda says. By way of an example, we take verses 1 to 10 of Varga 3-4, Adhyaya 7, Ashtaka viii, Hymn 121, Mandala X of Rig-Veda.
Here we quote their English version translated by F. Max Muller and Muir (respectively), both being European Sanskrit experts and great Vedic scholars - earlier one being an lndologist of great fame - of nineteenth century. These verses read:
- In the beginning there arose the Golden Child (Hiranya- garbha): as soon as born, He alone was the lord of all that is. He established the earth and this heaven: - Who is the God to whom we shall offer sacrifice? (by Max Muller). * Hiranyagarbha arose in the beginning; born, he was the one lord of things existing. He established the earth and this sky: to what god shall we offer our oblation? (by Muir).
- He who gives breath, he who gives strength, whose command all the bright gods revere, whose shadow is immortality, whose shadow is death: - Who is the God to whom we shall offer sacrifice? * He who gives breath, who gives strength, whose command all, (even) the gods, rever, whose shadow is immortality, whose shadow is death: to what god shall we offer our oblation?
- He who through his might became the sole king of the breathing and twinkling world, who governs all this, man and beast: - Who is the God to whom we shall offer sacrifice? *Who by his might became the sole king of the breathing and winking world, who is the lord of this two-footed and four-footed (creation): to what god shall we offer our oblation?
- He through whose might these snowy mountains are, and the sea, they say, with the distant river, he of whom these regions are indeed the two arms: - Who is the God to whom we shall offer sacrifice? * Whose greatness these snowy mountains, and the sea with the Rasa (river), declare, - of whom these regions, of whom they are the arms: to what god shall we offer our oblation?
- He through whom the awful heaven and the earth were made fast, he through whom the ether was established, and the firmament; he who measured the air in the sky: - Who is the God to whom we shall offer sacrifice? * By whom the sky is fiery, and the earth fixed, by whom the firmament and the heaven were established, who in the atmosphere is the measurer of the aerial space: to what god shall we offer our oblation?
- He to whom heaven and earth, standing firm by his will, look up, trembling in their mind; he over whom the risen sun shines forth: - Who is the God to whom we shall offer sacrifice? * To whom two contending armies, sustained by his succour, looked up trembling in mind; over whom the risen sun shines: to what god shall we offer our oblation?
- When the great waters went everywhere, holding the germ (Hiranya-garbha), and generating light, then there arose from them the (sole) breath of the gods: - Who is the God to whom we shall offer sacrifice? * When the great waters pervaded the universe containing any embryo, and generating fire, thence arose the one spirit (asu) of the gods: to what god shall we offer our oblation?
- He who by his might looked even over the waters which held power (the germ) and generated the sacrifice (light), he who alone is God above all gods: - Who is the God to whom we shall offer sacrifice? * He who through his greatness beheld the waters that contained power, and generated sacrifice, who was the one god above the gods: to what god shall we offer our oblation?
- May he not hurt us, he who is the begetter of the earth, or he, the righteous, who begets the heaven; he who also begets the bright and mighty waters: - Who is the God to whom we shall offer sacrifice? * May he not injure us, he who is the generator of the earth, who, ruling by fixed ordinances, produced the heaven, who produced the great and brilliant waters: to what god shall we offer our oblation?
- Prajapati, no other than thou embrace all these created things. May that be ours which we desire when sacrificing to thee: may we be lords of wealth! * Prajapati, no other than thou is lord over all these created things: may we obtain that, through desire of which we have invoked thee: may we become masters of riches.” 8
According to Max Muller Hiranyagarbha literally means the golden embryo, the golden germ or child, or born of a golden womb and that there is no doubt it was an attempt by the ancient composer of this verse at naming the sun. Is his over-confidence in saying that Hiranyagarbha was an attempt at naming the sun well founded? Here we are dealing with an ancient people who have left no trace of their mind except verses like this one and in a language that is equally ancient, though undoubtedly having a scientific grammatical structure and an ancient grammar book - Astadhyayi of Panini - still extant to go by. Language is one device to unearth their mind. But a mere language and its rules are not enough to read their mind hidden behind the language they employed to express it.
Undoubtedly, the compilers of the Rig-vedic verses had already well developed language – Sanskrit – at hand to communicate their thoughts for the benefit of their companions and coming generations. To communicate ordinary events, even if these were of a momentous significance to them, the compilers of these verses would have, in the natural way, used a direct manner than a clumsy symbolism that the Rig-vedic verses are.
In fact, Rig-Vedic verses, here and elsewhere, do not directly concern themselves with mundane things of daily routine. They, for example, do not refer to the battle they might have had recently with the rival enemy tribe, or to the encounter with wild beasts they might have had the other day and that might have cost them the lives of several members of their group, the lives that were valuable for the common survival of the whole group. Yes, in several verses they pray for the grant of strength to them in the battle with their rival enemy tribe; they pray to grant them the strength to get victory over wild beasts. But they seem concerned more with the One or Ones that has or have powers to grant them their prayers than with the objects of benefit that they get out of those prayers.
Regarding these and other verses of Rig- Veda a few things are certain. At the time of their compilation, and before these verses were part of the collective consciousness of the people, they were current among the population; they were deemed valuable by the people giving rise to the sense of necessity of compiling them; and, they were deemed greatly sacred by the people so as to cast a duty on them to preserve (by passing them from generation to generation by oral recitations) for the posterity.
Zend-AvestaIn ancient Iran, or Persia, there was one class of persons who were dedicated to and proficient in the science of sacerdotal rituals. Their sacred duty included not only the performance of these rituals but also to extend this science to laymen who were still ignorant of the same. The sacred book of Magis was Zend-Avesta.9 These Magis were priests dedicated to performing sacred prescriptions ordained by Avesta, much like the Vedic priests of ancient India who were dedicated to performing the sacred rituals ordained by Vedas. Who were these Magis and where did they dwell? What is their connection with the ancient Indian Vedic priests – as they are understood by modern European scholars – who are revered as Rishies even in modern India?
On the authority of classical writers, it may be said that the native place and the seat of Magis was Media, the land of Medes. Herodotus (480 BC) asserts that the Medes were divided into several tribes, like Busae, Paraetakeni, Strouchates, Arizanti, Bundii and Magi.10 We find at somewhat later times – at the time of Alexander’s expedition to India - some of these tribes like Paraetakeni etc. spread to Indian frontiers and settled there. In fourth century AD, Mercellinus, a classical writer, describes11 Media a land of Magis where there are the fertile fields. He narrates that in earlier times, Magis number was very scanty but with the passage of time their number and name grew into a nation. They inhabited towns without walls, lived according to their own law and were protected by their religious awe or observance. Marcellinus also asserts that Magis had been taught the science of magic by King Hystaspes12 and they were hereditarily devoted to the worship of gods. 13
This is what we gather about Magis from the Greek sources about the origin, native place and spread of the believers of Avesta. This information about Magis – or Parsees, who are the descendants of ancient Iranians believing in Avesta – also tallies with their traditions. In Bundhis we find that all the Maubeds are descendants from king Minochihr and the priesthood among them is hereditary. Even today we find that the priesthood cannot extend beyond the priestly family. Thus, no one who is not the son of a Dastur can become one, though the son of a Dastur is not obliged to become Dastur. The traditions of Magis say that the first conquest of Zoroaster – their chief – was Bactria. Bactria was not his native place. Zoroaster and his people outpoured from Media and conquered – being their first one – Bactria where they grew as Mazdean power at the court of King Vistasp. Thus, Bactria became the cradle of Magian religion. The original texts of Zend-Avesta were in a language that was not used in Persia. This is obvious that these texts were not written in Persia. Moreover, Zend-Avesta prescribes certain customs that were unknown to Persia and prohibits some others that were prevalent there. Zend-Avesta was compiled in Media and by the priests of Ragha and Atropatene. It was written in the language of Media and contained the beliefs of the sacerdotal class of priests under the Achaemenian dynasty of Media. 14
However, it was Bactria where Zoroastrian creed found a fertile ground and flourished. Though the creed seems to have struck roots in Media, its further growth evidently took place in Bactria. Here in Bactria we find the purest – or the most extreme – form of the religious commandments that Zaraathustra taught being practiced by his followers. The place where the composition of the hymns of Zend-Avesta took place is shrouded in the darkness of unknown antiquity but about their further evolution in Bactria is beyond the pale of doubt. According to the story handed down to us by classical writers,
Bactria was first conquered by Ninus, the well known Assyrian king of antiquity, and annexed to his kingdom. This Assyrian king had defeated and killed the Bactrian king, whose name is given by Diodorus as Oxyartes. However, another classical writer, Justin, identifies this monarch with Zoroaster himself. Whoever he might be, it is generally accepted that the defeat spurred Bactria to take revenge against Assyria. The legend says that, in retaliation, the Bactrian hero Arbaces attacked Nineveh, the Assyrian, in the days of Assurbanipal – or Sardanapalus – and the assault resulted in the overthrow of the Assyrian Empire. 15
Bactrians are identified by ancient Indians accounts with Bahlikas. These Bahlikas were the foes and rivals of Assyrian Nineveh. The classical writers Diodorus and Justin, drawing their information about Bactria from Ctesias, assert the great antiquity of these events and point out to the highly developed state of the Bactrian civilization.16 Traditions of Iranians – Parsees, as they are called in India – hold Zoroaster as their first king and that he was of a miraculous character. As Westcoyy holds, perhaps Zaraathustra Spitama arose to organize his countrymen and purify their faith when the Aryan tribes of Bactria and of North India were on the point of disruption. Aryans of Northern India were closely related to the Iranians who sang the hymns of Zend-Avesta, like their brethrens who sang the hymns of Rig-Veda. The Brahmin creed of North India and the Zoroastrian creed of Iran have a common origin in the Vedic faith; though for some unknown reason between the two there arose bitterness and rivalry. 17
The religion of Magi as found in Avesta may be summarized thus: The world, such as it is now, is two-fold; being the work of two hostile beings (or forces), Ahura Mazda, the good principle, and Angra Mainyu, the evil principle; all that is good in the world comes from the former and all that is bad in it comes from the later. The history of the world is the history of their conflict, which vividly highlights the workings of these two forces behind historical material events. The historical events are merely material manifestations of the forces, which are the real originators of these apparent happenings. The working of these rival forces shows how Angra Mainyu invaded the world of Ahur Mazda and marred it, and how he shall be expelled from it at last. Man is active in the conflict, his duty in it being laid before him in the law revealed by Ahura Mazda to Zoroaster (we may add, his duty being to be on the right side of Ahura Mazda, the good principle only and nothing more since he is to participate in the conflict, and cannot determine the result of the conflict).
When the appointed time comes, a son of the lawgiver, still unborn, named Saoshyant, will appear, Angra Mainyu and hell will be destroyed, men will rise from the dead, and everlasting happiness will reign over the world. As we have indicated elsewhere, the religion of the Magi is derived from the same source as that of the Indian Rishis, that is, from the religion followed by the common forefathers of Iranians and Indians, the Indo-Iranian religion.
give here the essence of Fargard 1 of Vendidad18 of Zend-Avesta:
“Ahura Mazda (the all mighty Divine) spoke to Spitama (the most beneficent, an epithet of) Zarathustra, saying: “I have made every land dear to its dwellers, even though it had no charms whatever in it (that is, I have made men feel their own respective lands dear to each one of them); had I not made every land dear to its dwellers, even though it had no charms whatever in it, then the whole living world would have invaded the Airyana Vaejo (that is, all would have come to your land).
“The first of the good lands and countries which I, Divine, created was the Airyana Vaejo, by the good river Daitya (The Daitik - Daitya - comes from Iran Vej, it flows through the mountains of Gorgistan - Georgia. It was, therefore, in the time of the Assanides, a name of the Araxes).
‘’Thereupon came Angra Mainyu (the head of evil forces), who is all death, and he counter-created by his powers the serpent in the river and winter, a work of the Daevas (that is, evil forces).
“There are ten winter months there, two summer-months; and even those two months of summer are cold for the waters, cold for the earth, cold for the trees. Winter falls there, with the worst of its plagues. (Note: pleasant things were created by Divine and to counter them evil forces created serpents, cold etc. that cause pain to men and trouble them).” 19
Zenda-Avesta summarizes the creation and the counter-creation of various lands of Aryas, or Airyana as these lands are referred to, by saying that the creation of the plain of Sughdha (Sogdiana of Alexander's time) was an action of the Divine benevolent force and its counter-creation by the Evil force was Skaitya-fly that brings death to the cattle. Likewise, the next land created by Divine was holy Mouru and its counter-creation was sinful- lusts. The next one was the land of Bakhdhi (Bactra, Bulkh) with the counter-creation of Bravara (the corn-carrying ants). The fifth land was Nisaya, which lies between Mouru and Bakhdhi, and the counter-creation was the sin of unbelief (in Divine). The sixth land was Haroyu with a lake (Haraiva; Areia; the basin of the Hari River, or Heart) and the counter-creation was stained mosquito. The seventh land was Vaekereta, of the evil shadows (Kapul) and the counter-creation was the Pairika Knathaiti, who calves unto Keresaspa. The eighth one was Urva of the rich pastures (in Khorasan; more probably, the land around Ispahan) and the sin of pride was its counter-creation. The ninth land was Khnenta in Vehrkana (Varkana; Hyrcania; 'Khnenta is a river in Vehrkana' and therefore, the river Gorgan) and its counter-creation was the unnatural sin. The tenth land was the beautiful Harahvaiti (Harauvati; Heart) and its counter was the burying of the dead. The eleventh one was the bright, glorious Haetumant (the basin of Erymanthus; now Helmend) and the evil powers of the Yatus (wizards) were its counter- creation by Angra Mainyu, the Devil.
The twelfth land or countries was Ragha of the three races (it is 'of the three races' because the three classes, priests, warriors, husbandmen 'were well organized there. Some say that Zarathrustra was born there... those three classes were born from him') and its counter-creation was the sin of utter unbelief (in Divine). The fifteenth land was the holy Kakhra (this place is not identifiable) with a sin for which there is no atonement, the burning of corpses. The fourteenth land was the four-cornered Varena (the Elborz mountains), for which was born Thraetaona, who smote Azis Dahaka. 20 Its counter-creation was abnormal issues in women and the oppression of foreign rulers. The fifteenth land was the seven Rivers (the basin of the affluent of the Indus, the modern Punjab = the Five Rivers) and its counter-creation was abnormal issues in women and excessive heat. The sixteenth land was the land by the floods of the Rangha (Arvastan -i - Rum = Roman Mesopotamia), where people live without a head (either 'people without a chief or king' or 'people without head with their eyes on shoulders') and its counter-creation was winter, a work of Daevas.
Zenda – Avesta further says that besides these lands, there are still other lands and countries, which are beautiful and deep, desirable and bright, and thriving. 21
Words employed in Rig-Vedic and Zenda-Avesta verses were meant by their composers to carry specific meaning and these words definitely carry certain quantum of thoughts. How much quanta do they carry?
Fortunately, there is one device that India has preserved against ravages of ages and that is more powerful in communicating visions than any language, and it is possible to employ this device to uncover the mind of ancient authors. That is, India has been able to preserve her ancient culture not only in the dead letters of ancient texts but also in the lives of many living persons. The naked persons living in mountain caves, or staring at sun or standing on one leg for years together, for spiritual reasons and speaking of mystical visions, about which ancient texts of India speak, are not extinct race - like the people of ancient Egypt, Greece or Iran. Such people have always been found in India and still today one can easily find them. And these people since the Vedic times till today have been expressing similar visions, in Sanskrit, Pali, Urdu, Hindi and English. This country has given birth since Rig-vedic period to modern times to an unbroken chain of great saints, sages, seers, Brahmins, sramanas, fakirs, sufis and innumerable kinds of mystic persons who know, explain and live the truth expressed in ancient books. Since, if not before, the composition of Vedas till modern times, these great individuals have consistently been expressing their visions and thoughts.
Is it not reasonable to have, in addition to the language and its words, recourse to this device - a living resource - for ascertaining the true meaning hidden behind ancient words? And, moreover, is it not the only reasonable recourse left to us now for this purpose?
1 :- Alberuni’s India, p.368
2 :- ibid p.373
3 :- ‘Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan’ by Col. James Todd, Vol. I, p.17
4 :- The Seven Laws of Manu translated by G. Buhlar (SBE Vol. 25) p. lvii
5 :- Mountstuart Elphinstone’s The History of India, 1911 edition (The age of Manu and the Vedas) p.1
6 :- ibid
7 :- Vedic Hymns, by Max Muller (SBE Vol. 32) p.3
8 :- Vedic Hymns (SBE Vol. 32) p.1
9 :- Zend-Avesta could perhaps be derived from Sanskrit ‘Janavastha’, which means ‘the state of knowledge’.
10 :- Histories by Herodotus, Book 1.101
11 :- Mercellinus, chapter XX111 – 6.
12 :- Hystaspes may be derived from Sanskrit words ‘Hasti’ meaning ‘elephant’ and ‘Ashva’ meaning ‘horse’ and denotes a person who is powerful as an elephant and swift as a horse.
13 :- James Darmesteter in his introduction to Zend-Avesta (SBE Vol. 4 p.xlv).
14 :- James Darmesteter, p. xlvii
15 :- ‘Bactria – from the Earliest Times to the Extinction of Bactrio-Greek Rule in the Punjab’ by H.G. Rawlinson (being his Hare University Prize Essay, 1908), p. 17
16 :- ibid
17 :- ibid
18 :- The word ‘Vendidad’ is a corruption of Vidaevo – datem. Based on Sanskrit roots etymologically we may suggest: Vi (=against) + daevo (=demon) + datem (= that is given) = The given law that is against demons.
19 :- The Zenda-Avesta, Vendidad 1, Fargard 1, Sections 2 to 5 (SBE p. 13)
20 :- Perhaps this an allusion to Azis Dahaka, - Zohak - who, as a king, represents the foreign conqueror; in later tradition the Tazi or Arab; possibly in older tradition the Assyrian).
21 :- ibid (Zenda-Avesta).