Sunday, 2 October 2011

Aryan Invasion Theory, Vedas and Dravidian Discourse

By Gurushankar Swaminathan

Aryan Invasion Theory, which today having been rechristened as Indo – Aryan migration theory (given that the original position is no longer tenable) is the largest myth that was ever propagated by historians with vested interests that still retain vestiges to their Western paymasters. In this post the scope is restricted to visiting Veda samhitas and Tamil literary works from the Sangam period that render the AIT / IAM theories redundant. This article will also show the integrated, continuous nature of the deities that were worshipped from the now parched Saraswati river basin and the Vaigai river basin in Madura, Tamilnadu. We are taking Tamil as representative of Dravdian languages because, unlike the other 3 Southern states, it is in Tamilnadu that the political and societal idea of Aryan / Dravidian divide is more vocally and visibly pronounced.

Evidence from Rig Veda:
Rig Veda does not give even a shred of evidence of any invasion or migration to have taken place from outside or the Rishis of Vedas having been part of expeditions into India from somewhere else. But Indologists and apologists of AIT / IAM use Rig Veda to try to establish their standpoint. They use the invocation of Indra by Angiras family of Rishis to slay the likes of Dasyus and Panis as evidences that an invading Aryan army slaughtered the aborigines of India that were Dravidians. Before we move ahead let us establish what Dravida means. In Sanskrit, it loosely means liquid like or watery. The root word for this is Drava in Sanksrit. And importantly, in Tamil, the word Dravidian or Dravida hardly gets mentioned in the Sangam literature of Tamils. The corpus of Sangam literature is the most authentic chronicling of the life, times, theology, events, wars, business, natural calamities, Tamil grammar etc of the Tamils starting from 600 BC to 200 AD. To put it in another way, if hypothetically the invading Aryans pushed the Dravidians South of Vindyas and killed many Dravidians (based on Rig Veda), the earliest Tamil literary works obviously ought to have mentioned the mayhem in the so called Dravidian literary works of the Sangam age.

The Tamil literary works started using the word “Dravida” only in the 9th century AD but that too only in the context of linguistics. And a Tamil lexicon of the 9th century AD called “Senthan Divakaram” uses Dravidam to denote Tamil.

Now, let us move to understanding how the AIT / IAM apologists use Dasyus to claim that invading Aryans slaughtered the so called native Dasyus and let us also explore a few questions. The apologists point to Rig Veda 10/48, where, Indra is seen to have destroyed Dasyus, Vrtras and Panis with his might, captured wealth and also mentions that those in his company will not be felled. But what the apologists do not delve into is to understand the characterization of the likes of Dasyus , Vrtras and Panis (the last 2 being a kind of Dasyu) in Rig Veda. Who are the Dasyus? When we look up Rig Veda 1/33/1 – 10, it becomes obvious that the wealth that Indra captures is actually knowledge. RV/1/33/1 ends with "gavam ketam param avarjate nah." It means supreme knowledge of the luminous cows. And the whole verse means - come let us go seeking the cows to Indra, it is he that increases the thought in us, for us, he releases supreme knowledge of the luminous cows.

Let us first understand, in Vedas, those that do the Soma pressing or other Vedic sacrifices for divinities are called yajyu. The divinities to whom these sacrifices are offered are called yajata. The yaju by virtue of his goodwill is sukratu. Sukratus by virtue of their works find the “divine word” and having found the divine word, a sukratu becomes the singer of the word.
But Dasyu is the opposite principle of both Sukratu and Yajyu. Dasyu is also called "Ayajyu (opposite of Yajyu). And interestingly an Ayajyu is a hater of the singer of the divine word (this quality is Ayajyu called brahmadvisa) and IMPORTANTLY an Ayajyu is ANASA (has no mouth to speak) and has no mental faculties (Amanyamana). And across the Vedas the Dasyus like Panis and Vritras withhold the kine (the kine are not physical cows and sheep but they point to knowledge) and this kine has to be forcefully extracted with Indra's help by man. And in another place in RV, it is stated that Panis (a type of Dasyu), plunders and steals the cows and hides them in his cave. With the help of Indra the knowledge, the luminous cows are secured by man. RV/6/51/14 calls Indra to destroy the Panis and equates Panis to wolf.
And let us also look at a few more items that Indra won by destroying Dasyus.
7 Lord of the brave, Indra who rules the people gave freedom to the Gods by might and battle. Wise singers glorify with chanted praises these his achievements in Vivasvan's dwelling.
8 Excellent, Conqueror, the victory-giver, the winner of the light and Godlike Waters,He who hath won this broad earth and this heaven, -in Indra they rejoice who love devotions.
9 He gained possession of the Sun and Horses, Indra obtained the Cow who feedeth many.Treasure of gold he won; he smote the Dasyus, and gave protection to the Aryan colour.
10 He took the plants and days for his possession; he gained the forest trees and air's mid-region.Vala he cleft, and chased away opponents: thus was he tamer of the overweening.
Indra secures forest trees, mid air, plants and days. Now, if Dasyus were HUMAN non-Aryan tribes, how come Indra secures the DAYS and MID-AIR from mortals? The allegory of Dasyus continues in the Rig Veda, where, Indra then actually chases Dasyus out of heaven and earth by the power of his thunderbolt. Indra's greatness keeps increasing and the luminosity of Indra leaves Dayus with nowhere to hide. Indra recovers the lost Sun and as this Sun rises, it illuminates the caves where Vala (a type of Dasyus) has hidden the luminous cows.

So, we clearly have a scenario that completely contradicts the possibility of Dasyus ever being Dravidian tribes that Indra destroyed. So the Rig Veda based attempts to prop up the non-existent AIT/IAM falls flat. Rest assured Dravidians (of AIT/IAM) do have noses and are able to speak and are intelligent people unlike the Dasyus of Rig Veda.

Evidence from Sangam Literature:
Now let us travel to Tamil / Dravidian land to see if Tamils were really people that were completely different from the so called Aryans and if they showed signs of being brutalized by invading Aryans. While there are extensive works that fall under the Sangam literature, let us pick some of the most important works to see what the Dravidians worshipped as their deities. It is important to note that Sangam literature categorizes land into Mullai (forests), Kurinchi (hills), Marudam (Farm lands), Neidal (Sea Coast) and Palai (Barren). Tolkappaiyam mentions the following as the presiding deities of these lands – Mullai: Tirumal (Vishnu), Kurinchi: Seyon (or Kumara / Murugua/Kartikeya), Marudam: Vendan (Indra), Neidal: Varunan (Varuna) and Palai: Korravai (Shakti). Another key Sangam literary work called Purananuru talks about the legend of Lord Shiva destroying the three cities (Tripura Samhara). Shiva is said to have taken the lofty Meru mountain in his hand as bow and with the terrific serpent as bow string and a single arrow destroyed the cities sending them into flames. And the deity of Seyon (Kumara / Kartikeya), is repeatedly seen across Purananuru and Ahananuru as being the progeny of Shiva. This ties us back to Agni, the Kumara, template of the Puranic Kartikeya, being an aspect of Rudra.
Some AIT / IAM apologists try to make Shiva to be an exclusive Dravidian deity to keep the theory running. Shiva of Puranas is derived from aspects of Rudra of Vedas. In Vedas, if you delve deeper into attributes of Rudra, across Rig Veda or the Rudram / Chamakam sections of Yajur Veda, a common set of attributes is easy to be seen. And Shiva is all but one aspect of Rudra that is mentioned in Rudram / Chamakam. While the usage of Rudra has been replaced at large by Shiva, the attributes of Vedic Shiva / Rudra and those described in works like Periya Puranam of Tamil literature are the same. In places like Tiruvannamalai or Chaidmabaram, in addition to Thevaram, Rudram / Chamakam is also recited, if Shiva of Tamils and Shiva or Puranas / Vedas are different. If anything, the Taittriya Samhita of Yajur Veda (where Rudram / Chamakam occurs) is a tradition that is living primarily in Tamil Nadu, AP and Karnataka, today.

Conclusion: From this small attempt to put things in perspective, it is very easy to understand that the AIT/IAM, based on Rig Veda and the premier Tamil Sangam literary works is a farce. If anything, it is easy to see that this great land has been inhabited by people that belong to the same Vedic family. Differences based on linguistics, skin color, local culture, cuisines etc are being played up by vested interests today, as it were done 150 years ago. To repeat it, this land was inhabited by followers of the same Vedic Dharma until the early part of last millennium.

P.S: We have not even touched the theological works of Alwars (Vaishnavites) and Nayanmars (Shaivites) to establish the oneness of the Vedic dharma of this land.

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