The disagreement between those who propose the Aryan migration and those who oppose it is not in level of details, not in theory but in much deeper. It is difference in paradigms. The proponents of Aryan Migration state that Vedic civilization was still in “primitive” band and the writings and language must be analyzed as such. The opponents of Aryan Migration think that the Vedic civilization was advanced and the writings must be analyzed.
Let me explain with an example. There is a famous statement which summarizes the gist of what they call a ‘Butterfly Effect’ in chaos theory, “A butterfly fluttering its wings in one continent can cause a tornado in another continent.” If we purely focus on vocabulary of this sentence, (which is what studies in linguistics do more often than not), then probably we will conclude that the person who said this must be from a place where tornados and butterflies are seen, so probably Midwest plains in USA. But if we see that this statement is made by an expert in complex systems analysis, then we will conclude that it must come from some well reputed scientist, and that he must have come from a university which pioneered research in complex systems, so more likely Stanford / Harvard on coasts. In this particular scenario, the second guess is right. Lorenzo was actually born in Connecticut and studied and worked in Harvard. He never resided in Midwest.
Why do I think Vedic civilization could be a little more advanced than we think? There is a clear trail in evolution of Vedic philosophy leading to very abstract worldview.
Vedas are purely for rituals and offering sacrifices to gods. The Sankhya philosophy is philosophy of pure classification by observation. Five physical senses, five organs that do work and mind, and so on. This is more like Aristotle who observed that an object will come to rest unless continuously set in motion. The Charvak philosophy which says “Eat the best food out there, even if it means you have to take loans” is similar to Jeremy Bentham of utilitarian school saying “If a peeping Tom is able to peep into intimate lives of people without ever getting caught, then he must do that. Because that increases total pleasure in the universe.”
From there the Vedic trail goes to Upanishads. The idea of single formless reality is very high level of abstraction. This is a highly evolved idea of all encompassing humanity which represents a complex paradigm of thinking. The Vedic civilization reached zenith of abstraction in advaita (which was consolidated by Shankarachayra, but definitely touched upon in Upanishads many times). Advaita rejects “one + one = two” and states that “one + sense of being two = two”, thus reducing entire world into a quality of perception.
The sort of complex, holistic paradigm proposed in Upanishads, comprising of “single dynamic supercomplex whole” is now just beginning to appear in Western world with works like “Web of life” by Fritzof Kapra in philosophy and works like “Natural Capitalism” by Amory Lovins in green economy.
Slowly but definitely the Western civilization moving to spirituality in it’s own way. From the product economy of industrial revolution era, it moved to service economy and now knowledge economy. Now Western world has realized that it cannot forever continue to take natural resources for granted and is keen on going green. So we might soon see a transition from knowledge economy to philosophical economy and then perhaps to spiritual economy, which will be enlightenment through capitalism.
At this point the humanity of western world will expand from a society of individuals to encompass all animals and trees and planets and everything. They will look at this as “single, super complex, dynamic whole” and might continue to refer it as cosmos. But they will be referring to the same thing what Vedic people called Bramha and Chinese called Tao.
If Aryans came to India in 1500 BC and Upanishads were present at Buddha’s time in 600 CE. Then in less than 900 years, Vedic civilizations reached where western civilization took more than 2000 years to reach? (Including last several centuries of super fast communication?)
I am not at all saying that Vedic people were advanced than Western civilization in material science or even match to them. I am not saying that they had nuclear weapons, or automobiles or even electricity for that matter. Yet the fact is they had highly evolved version of humanity. This evolution must be accounted for.
The only way they must have gotten there is just by building knowledge and insights into nature for millenniums. “Aryan migration at 1500 BC” does not explain this whole evolution very well.
Filed under: Hinduism, India, Linguistics, Sanskrit Tagged: | advaita, aryan, david fawley, hindu, indus, invasion, konrad elst, Linguistics, max mueller, Mythology, Philosophy, rigveda, Sanskrit, spiritual, vedic