Thoughts on economics and liberty

Sanjay Sonawani’s further refutation of Mr VR Patil’s thesis that the Vedas originated in India

I had published Sanjay’s critique of material that VR Patil had sent me some time ago, here.

In the meanwhile Mr Patil sent me the following (download here): “Indirect Evidence In Rigved Indicating Avestan People Were Originally From Sapt-Sindhu Region”

I sent this to Sanjay to have a look. Sanjay has take the time to respond, thereby refuting once again the idea that the Vedas orginated in India. His views below:


Mr. Patil has confused Nahusha and Yayati with the namesake characters of Mahabharata. The geneology of Mahabharata obviously is fictitious, with some Vedic names used to bridge the missing links. However Mr. Patil conflates Mahabharata geneology with the Rig Vedic Nahusha and Yayati. This is why he connects names of the sons of Yayati (personal names) from Mahabharata with the Rigvedic five tribes of similar name. Every reader knows that the present edition of Mahabharata is heavily interpolated over the time.  Interestingly, the Battle of Ten Kings fame Sudasa and the account of that battle is absent in Mahabharata. Equating Samvarana with Sudasa has been proven to be entirely wrong because the account of Mahabharata does not match any way with the Rigvedic tale. Here, the suggestion that memories of that battle were obscured doesn’t come to rescue because Vedic account was already available, which was preserved with oral tradition.

There certainly are similarities in the language of Gatha and Rig Veda. However, the Vedic language appears modified. As Mr. Patil agrees, there is similarity between Avestan and Vedic religion, he forgots to mention that Avestan religion was throughout Asura-centric whereas the Vedic religion gradually shifted its base from Asura to Deva. The word Asura appears as a main epithet of the Vedic gods, especially Varuna, which later on was dropped and the meaning of Asura made opposite to its original. He has not given attention towards this drastic shift. Asura-Deva wars and their kinship is well recorded by Brahmana literature. This suggests that the Avestan religion was anterior to the Vedic religion and there were constant feuds between Avestan and Vedic people over political or religious supremacy. Still, Asuras were elder brothers to the Devas, with both performing a fire sacrifice of different nature and worshipping the opposing deities/forces. This only proves that both the societies lived in close vicinity, not in Greater Punjab but present Afghanistan itself.

While using Vamana myth, Mr. Patil has not checked how the myth has evolved in three stages. In the Vedic myth Vishnu (in the form of a sun) crosses the universe in three steps. The second stage –  Satapatha Brahman states that after Asuras won in a battle with Devas, they displaced them. Deprived of any share of the earth the Devas came back to the Asuras with a humble request to allot them a piece of land on which a dwarf Vamana could walk in three steps. Asuras agreed and the dwarf Vamana (who in fact was Vishnu) expanded his body and in three steps covered the earth and thus deceitfully deprived Asuras of their entire land (SB- Later on, this story was further interpolated adding king Bali to it. In fact the myth indicates deceitful conduct of the Vedics (Devas).

As far Puru is concerned, the name of Zarthustra’s father was Pourushaspa. ‘Pouru’ was a prefix of the many Avestan personal names, such as Pouru-Bangha, Pouruchista, Pouru-Dhakshiti, Pouru-Jira, Pouru-Dhakhsti, and many others. There is likely to be some possible connection between Puru of the Rig Veda and Pouru of Avesta. If one wants to stretch this similarity, one may easily infer that the Zoroaster belonged to the Puru tribe. Zoroaster in a same breath was Arya and Dasyu (Airyanam Dakhyunam).  The origin of the name Iran is Airyanam whereas many places in Iran and Afghanistan are named as Dahistan (land of Dasas). This indicates the real location of the Vedic people who had a love-hate relationship with Dasas and Dasyus. Many Rigvedic personalities bear dasa and dasyu as suffix to their names. It can be inferred that Avestan and Vedic people belonged to not only same region but same lingo-ethnic stock as well.

The five tribes, on which Mr. Patil stresses on, do not seem to have ever lived in close vicinity. The Rig Veda describes that the Yadu and Turvasus came from a long distance (RV 1.36.18, 7.45.1). Had the Vedics settled across the river Ghaggar, then the known region of at the least Yadus, i.e. Mathura, could not have been ‘far away’. In fact the Turvasa name suggests they belonged to the Tur region, now known as Turkestan. Only because there is similarity in name, Yadus of Mahabharata cannot be equated with Yadus of Rig Veda. Similar names are found in far-afar civilizations. For example the word ‘Puru’ also is found in Assyrian language. Would this suggest movement of Puru clan to Assyria?

The Parshu tribe name suggests they were ancestors of the Persian people. Turvasa were the residents of the Tur region. Zoroaster’s location is almost certain, i.e. Balkh, North Afghanistan. Most of the tribes mentioned in the Rigveda belong to ancient Iran and the original tribal identities have been preserved since then. Nothing in any scripture suggests movement of the people. The only movement recorded in Brahmana literature is the movement of Videgh Mathava from the banks of the Sarasvati River to Sadanira River via crossing Hindukush (Uttaragiri).

Celebrated tribes of Rigveda do not show that they all accepted the religion under formation at one go. Battle of Ten Kings must have taken place in early times when the Vedic religion was in the making.  Later on, from Manusmriti we find that the status of Sudasa was completely degraded by the Vedics. Also, Panchajana every time does not mean the five tribes that Mr. Patil thinks. The same confusion is with Sapta-Sidhava. It only does mean seven rivers and not necessarily Sindhu (Indus) and its tributaries. Avesta also mentions haptahindu but does not include any tributary of the Indus river while mentioning it. In all probability both the religions are referring to different river systems. They certainly didn’t belong to the Indus region though some bordering tribes like Pakhta (Pashtuns), Balochi (Bhalanas) and a few western tributaries to Indus river that originate in Afghanistan were known to them.

Nadistuti hymn cannot be used to prove Mr. Patil’s conjecture because this sukta, just like Purushasukta, is a very late addition to the Rig Veda. No archeological finding suggests Vedic religion and its deities were ever present in the Indus culture. Only because ten tribes were Indra-haters and fought Indra-lovers does not make them residents of the Indus region. The Avestan reference to Angra-Mainyu is as an abstract evil force and not any personified demon. Fundamental concepts in both the religions were originally same, i.e Asura centric, later on shifted in the vedics from Asura to Deva.

The tribal names and their still preserved identities only indicates ancient Iran being their original location. The rivers mentioned in Rig Veda and Avesta didn’t belong to the Indus region. There never was any Sarasvati flowing through Indus or adjoining regions. The myth associated with Sarasvati’s becoming invisible only suggests that the Vedics did not live across it anymore. Manusmriti also suggests a different geography of Sarasvati and Drishadvati (which Manu calls Brahmavarta) and Kuru-Panchal region (which to him was Brahmarshi Desa).

In a way this is an attempt to force new meanings on the obvious to draw a pre-conceived conclusion.

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Sanjeev Sabhlok

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