Let’s make one thing clear. My doubts are about the timing Sanskrit (or seeds of Sanskrit) coming into India. I am pretty sure at some point the “seeds” of Sanskrit came to India from Central Asia. But I think the 1500 BC timeline raises more questions than it answers.
My doubts about 1500 BC timeline primarily come from my study of comparative religions and evolution of philosophy. If you see the Vedas and Puranas and Upnishads and Buddhist texts like Mahayana canon, they follow a certain curve. They move from a rituals to social ethics to metaphysics to nihilism and then to negativist philosophy of Zen. Upnishads clearly talk about this negativist philosophy of emptying your mind. Most of the Upnishads, including Isha-vasya Upnishad were already present at the time of Buddha (approx 600 BC). The number of texts is so big and the discussions so thourough, that this represents more the state of maturity of society than intellect of an individual.
If Rig-veda was compiled at 1500 BC, then all this transition was done in less than thousand years. Which I find IMPOSSIBLE. To achieve this state of philosophical development, a society must go through several golden periods and dark periods. Also the society must be very well established to share and pass down the knowledge. A nomadic tribe cannot offer such environment.
If you have read the book “Geography of Thoughts”, you will know what I mean. The Western culture still believes in two things. One is “linear trend”, where things just keep getting better and in long term things always improve, may it be Stock Market Index or average life expectancy. Second is “individual choice”. This is why Western philosophy always revolves around utilitarian aspect of ethics, the way of making the best choices and getting gratification to all your desires. Whereas Eastern world talks about endless cycles and transcendence beyond identity. This has come from a long history crossing several millennia that has witnessed several ups and downs of entire civilization.
Most of the Western scholars (and their European influenced Indian counterparts) look at the cyclical paradigm as a primitive form of linear western paradigm. Thus they interpret the texts as more primitive works. Whereas Eastern philosophers (and their Western advocates like Alan Watts), view the linear paradigm as a primitive version of cyclical Eastern paradigm, and place the Eastern works philosophy at higher in evolution chain then their European Utilitarian equivalents.
I, for my part, am reasonably sure that line is the circle you haven’t seen enough. I think even the Western civilization will eventually starve itself of strategic resources, will undergo decay, destruction and will reach the phase of cyclic thinking paradigm. I think the all-encompassing humanity of Vedic civilization represents a more advanced stage than the individual based humanity of Western world. They achieved higher level of humanitarian development with lesser level of scientific or technological development.
The room must be made for Vedic civilization to evolve to this stage, in proper contexts of geography and time. If that’s the case, then the Indus civilization, with a vast geographical footprint of more than 2.5 million sq km with well planned towns and long timeline spanning several millennia is better candidate to be the ancestor of vedic civilization than the Kurgan or any other culture with a tiny presence in time and place.
If you choose to deny that the cyclic paradigm is not advanced stage of linear paradigm, you have one less reason to doubt 1500 BC Aryan Migration. But still that is not the end of story. If Aryan Migration at 1500 BC has to be accepted 100%, then it must explain everything, not only linguistics and some archeological findings.
The points about horse and spoke wheels of chariots are old and lot of explanations have been provided by either sides. Aryan migration is perhaps one way of explaining those archeological findings, rather than the only way.
What is not yet explained by Aryan Migration is the interesting finding of genetics that today’s Southeast Asians do not differ significantly from their ancestors 6000 years ago. Please take a look at this Wikipedia articles about Aryan Migration.
and follow description to “Genetics and Archaeogenetics of South Asia” for further explanation. As I understand it, so far archeogenetics has raised very serious doubts about Aryan Migration @1500, but probably not enough to oust it out. Study is ongoing.
Also the points related to astronomical obeservations in Konrad Elst’s book are not well explained by Aryan Migration theory. I am not astronomy expert but the discussion presented by Konrad Elst in his book is indeed fact based.
Till a new theory is found, Aryan Migratio theory stays because this should get benefit of doubt. But at the same time, as an established theory, it has more burden of answering doubts that it’s not-proven-yet counterparts.
Yes, the Aryan Migration @1500 BC theory is accepted by several Foreign and Indian experts. But that does not mean the theory should not be doubted and overturned if some new evidence found against it tomorrow. No theory in science is blessed with immunity from doubt and further enquiry.
Filed under: Hinduism, History, India, Linguistics, Philosophy, Sanskrit, Uncategorized | Tagged: aryan migration, david fawley, eastern philosophy, konrad elst, mahayana, max mueller, puranas, rigveda, Sanskrit, upnishads, vedic |