- Religion and Philosophy
Vedic and Indus civilization!
Since the times of Indus civilization era, since last about 5000 years, the religious concepts have remained almost the same till this date in India. Indus people, as evident from the finds, worshiped mother Goddess and also conducted phallic worship in the form of Shivlingam. Yoga, the main feature of today’s Hindu religion finds prominent place in Indus culture as well. Most of the sociocultural practices too are followed today as they used to be practiced in ancient times. The same flat bottom boats, bullock carts and even style of wells can be found preserved in the north-west region of the country.
This is why a major question arises, why the scholars say that the Indus culture was perished sometime between 1700-1800 BC? Actually it is not the case. Over 2500 towns and settlements of Indus were abandoned by residents due to either climatic changes or worsening economy, or simply because people got tired of the old settlements and moved away to establish new ones, it does not mean the culture were perished. It is also wrong to assume that new wave of migrants forced original inhabitants to empty their settlements. For there simply is no proof for this! In fact there are ample proofs are available of post-Indus culture from various excavations that proves continuity of the Indus tradition till the historical period.
Before remains of the Indus culture were found, it was assumed that the beginning of Indian culture starts from Vedic period, 1500 t0 1200 BC. But excavations of Indus culture shattered the myth, taking Indian history far back…almost 3000 BC. New theories started popping up. The major theory that appeared instantly after 1930 was those were invading Aryans who defeated Indus people and destroyed their settlements. However, no proof surfaced to show that there ever was any kind of violent battle in or around any towns of Indus culture. Hence there was no choice but to abandon this theory.
Now a day’s a new theory is in circulation that it were Vedic people (Aryans) who were progenitor’s of the Indus culture. The hypothesis was mainly based on the finds of the remains of few fire pits at Kalibangan site. Interestingly archeologists like Dr. S.R. Rao thought them to be sacrificial fire altars, a main ritualistic practice conducted by Vedic Aryans. Based on this a conclusion was offered that the creators of Indus civilization were Vedic people.
Now, the supporters of Vedic religion of India happily jumped on this hypothesis, creating a cultural controversy. First of all the fire pits found at two Indus sites, with ashes and bones, in anyway does not resemble any Sacrificial fire altars as described in Vedic literature. Another thing is before starting fire sacrifice, entirely new pit used to be erected with chanting sacred Mantra’s. After completion of Yadnya, pit would be dismantled. There is no provision of permanent “Yadnya” in Vedic religion. Hence it will be a grave mistake to ascribe these fire pits to Vedic sacrificial fire rituals.
Also none of the Veda’s mentions the abundantly found remains of Phallic and Venus worship practices at all the Indus sites. Had Vedic people been the originators of Indus culture, being part of Phallic worship, certainly would have made a mention of it in Rig Veda. Moreover Veda’s nowhere mention that Vedic people resided in walled cities or they conducted trade with other civilizations.
Also it should be noted that Vedic people used wool and animal skin for clothing…cotton clothing was unknown to Vedic people, but Indus people not only had mastered the art of weaving but exported cotton cloths to Mesopotamian and other countries. It is claimed that Vedic people knew iron (Krisna Ayas), but Indus people didn’t as no iron material has been found at Indus sites.
Vedic people seem to be at constant wars, using variety of arms and armors. At Indus sites the finds of arms are meager with no find of armors.
Students of Indus culture know well the abundant finds of seals at every site. It exhibits the cultural beliefs of the Indus people, however none of such practice finds mention in Rig Veda. Also it is well known fact that Indus people knew the art of writing, though the Indus script remains undecipherable till date. However there is no mention of either seals or any cognate word for writing and script in Rig Veda.
Looking at the above mentioned discrepancies that arise from the closer look at the Vedic culture mentioned in Veda’s and the physical finds at Indus sites, it is impossible to state that progenitors of Indus civilization were Vedic Aryans. The abundant finds of Shivlingams and Shakti images rather prove that the people of Indus civilization followed Shaiva religion. The Shaiva religion is still thriving in the country. The same Shivalinga’s are worshipped today as were found at Indus sites.
The main question remains unanswered who were the Vedic people and exactly when that religion took birth? We shall probe into this in next installment.
© 2014 Sanjay Sonawani