Re: Indo-European Studies

Raghu Seshadri (
7 Jul 1995 20:08:10 GMT

Gerold Firl ( wrote:
: In article <3thp4e$> (Raghu Seshadri) writes:

: >why is it that the authors of the veda make no mention
: >of this most important part of their lives, namely,
: >this long migration from half a world away ? Shouldn't
: >this have been the most significant aspect of their
: >history, and wouldn't their sagas give this prominence ?
: >
: >There is NO mention of any area outside India in the Veda,
: >nor any mention of the Aryan trek thru those places !
: >How do YOU explain this ?

: Note: I'll use IE (indo-european) and aryan interchangably.

: It is interesting that the rig veda makes no mention of the migration into
: india, but probably shouldn't be too surprizing. Note that american indian
: myths also make no mention of migrations; origins are always local, where
: the "people" (i.e., the tribe) often will have emerged from the earth in
: the long-ago. For illiterate cultures, long-ago is about three generations.

I agree you make a plausible case, but the Veda is
quite descriptive of Aryan travels within India; not
the mark of the history and geography illiterates
you theorize about. Why did they record details of
inter-Indian travel, but not the ones outside it ?

: IE peoples seem to have first appeared in india at roughly the same time
: they appear in the middle-east; around 1500bc. They may have reached shang
: china around the same time, since their characteristic two-wheeled chariots
: suddenly appeared contemporaneously. The vedas were not written down until
: much later, maybe 1000 years later, if I recall correctly. Even so, the
: vedic hymns give a glimpse into the world-view of the primitive IE tribes
: at a much earlier date, since these are sacred verses which would lose
: their magic potency if mispronounced. The rig veda does not tell the
: history of the aryans, except indirectly.


: Also, the early aryans which moved into india were nomads. Indra was not
: not just the wielder of the thunderbolt and the leveler of cities, but also
: the lord of cows. The deities found in the vedas show significant influence
: from the more sophisticated beliefs of the sumerian and persian culture-
: areas, so these tribes had been doing a lot of travelling, for a long time.
: Migration was part of life, as was conquest. This was a predatory culture,
: attracted by the wealth of cities and civilization.

: By the time the vedas were written, the aryans had been largely absorbed by
: the native dravidian culture. Invocations of indra and agni were still used
: in ritual, but the spirit of the warrior gods was no longer felt by the
: people. Indra had now become the butt of jokes, and the brahmins had
: asserted the power of ritual over the power of the sword. Thus the stage
: was set for the next wave of invaders.

Thanks for this response.