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Hinduism Share This Page
What Hindus Ought To Know!
by Govindarajan Padman Bookmark and Share

The word 'Hindutva' like the Sanskrit word 'Aryan' has become much maligned and become very unpopular, as the general public seem to have serious misgiving about Hindutva, which is unfortunately bracketed with saffronization. Our national language is Hindi, which is an abbreviation for Hindustani and our national leaders conclude their public functions calling on their followers to hail 'Jai Hind'. Who is a Hindu and what is the minimum he ought to know? A popular national media should be created to serve as a forum to disseminate the fundamental truths about Vedic Hinduism. The name India for the Bharathavarsha or more popularly Hindustan is not of indigenous origin but of foreign import. In ancient times, India was known to the foreigners by the river Sindhu, which Persians pronounced as Hindu and the Greek as Indos. The Indus River is very closely related to the Indus Valley Civilization. 

Opinion is gaining ground that the Indus civilization was probably the earliest human civilization in the world. Who were the original inhabitants of this ancient civilization? The human remains found at Indus sites reveal that the population of this Valley was varied in that early age. They bring to light four ethnic types probably corresponding to the four castes mentioned in the Vedas. The most singular feature of the Vedic civilization is the Varna Ashrama Dharma or the unpopular caste system. This unique system is wholly indigenous, as no where outside India the concept of social distribution of labor according to Guna i.e. aptitude and temperament is prevalent. The citizens of the Indus Valley were not wholly homogenous non-Aryans or Dravidians but were a mixed ethnic population. Precisely how and when the caste system with its specific occupations made its maiden appearance cannot be established with any degree of certainty but the stratification of Indus society suggests that some form of caste system may well have been in vogue in that ancient civilization. 

The word 'Aryan' is a term invented by philologists to describe the race presumed to have existed in pre-historic times and to have spoken the Indo-European language from which the majority of European and some Indian languages were derived. The place of origin of the Aryans has been variously sought in Europe and Asia and the Aryan race is presumed to have branched off at different periods northwest and westward into Europe and southward into Persia and the valley of Ganges, giving rise to the great branches of the languages like Greek, Latin, German etc on the one hand and Persian and Hindu on the other. Philology is a highly questionable, imprecise pseudo science on which much reliance cannot be placed. In Sanskrit the word 'Arya' refers to noble, enlightened, profoundly wise personages who pursue the Vedic way of life. Even in the Indus Valley there seems to have existed atheists and agnostics who must have, like the Buddhists and Jains, revolted against the Vedic way of life. Rig Veda refers to these non-conformists as Adevayu i.e. not worshipping Vedic gods, Abrahman i.e. devoid of devotion, Avrata i.e. lawless, Anyavrata i.e. follower of strange ordinances, Devapiyu i.e. revilers of Vedic gods etc. 

The question often raised in regard to the antiquity of Vedas is: What is the probable age of Rig Veda, which is the oldest of the four Vedas. Regarding Vedic chronology Max Muller opines: 'Whether the Vedic hymns were composed 1000 or 1500 or 2000 or 3000 years B.C. no power on earth will ever determine.' The Rig Veda is the earliest literary work of India and perhaps of the world. The excavations of Indus Valley offer useful evidence that can change the conception of not only ancient Vedic chronology but also human history. The literary evidence available in the Rig Veda and the archaeological remains of Indus Valley should be closely examined together to arrive at any definite conclusion about whether the Rig Vedic civilization was the ancestor or the descendent of Indus civilization. A modest attempt to examine in-depth this complex issue has been made below:

The three crucial antique remains that are the most important of all Indus Valley finds have not received the extent of attention that they richly deserve. These are the unique art pieces in Yogic postures, the four-armed standing figure occurring at item No. 383 of the Signs of Indus script and the Peepul tree, which has enormous esoteric significance. In the Karma Kanda or ritualistic portion of the Vedas, nowhere in the Samhitas, Brahmanas or the Aranyakas is there any mention about Yoga, as this portion of the Vedas deal wholly with various forms of Yajnas or fire sacrifices. The first specific mention about Yoga is found in the Kathopanishad, which is elaborated in the Srimad Bhagawad Gita, the Song Celestial. Both Kathopanishad and the Gita contain reference to the Peepul tree and the Gita goes to the extent of saying that the person who realises the esoteric significance of this tree is a knower of the Vedas. While the Kathopanishad makes a passing reference to the four-armed Deity Vishnu inVishnor Yad Paramam Padam, the Lord in the Gita reveals to Arjuna His four-armed Divine Vishnu form in all its fine details. In the Indus Valley, people seem to have strictly adhered to several Vedic practices like fire sacrifices, ceremonial cremation of the dead, worship of Vedic deities, practice of Yoga, belief in after-life and immortality of soul etc. 

On the basis of preponderance of evidence available in the Indus remains, one can safely conclude that the Indus Valley civilization could represent the culmination of the Vedic period, when the Upanishads and Srimad Bhagawad Gita must have been widely popular. Western archaeologists have placed the Indus civilization between 3250 to 2750 B.C., by allowing a period of 500 years for the seven different layers of Indus remains. This chronology more or less corresponds with the traditional view that the Mahabharata war was fought in 3102 B.C. This fact is further corroborated by the Aihole inscription of Pulikesin II that declares that the Epic battle took place in 3102 B.C. that marks the end of the Dwapara Yuga and the commencement of the Kali Yuga. According to the astronomical tradition represented by Aryabhatta, the Kali Yuga is believed to have begun on the 18th February 3102 B.C.

The fundamental unity of the Bharathavarsha from Himalayas to Cape Camorin right from the Indus Valley times was brought about by the Vedic way of life popularly known as the Sanatana Dharma or the eternal way of Vedic religion that governs every aspect of human life from birth to death. The Sanatana Vedic Dharma must have been the way of Indus people who seem to have worshipped the Vedic deities, observed the Varna Ashrama Dharma, performed Vedic sacrifices and practiced the Upanishadic Yoga. Indus civilization did not become extinct by any foreign invasion and even to this day the eternal way of Indus life survives in agricultural farming, vegetarianism, cattle rearing, cotton clothing, use of precious beads, gold ornaments and pottery, social customs, religious beliefs and spiritual practices. Vedas are immutable truths that are universally applicable and eternally valid and can have no beginning or end.

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23-Mar-2003
More by :  Govindarajan Padman
 
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