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Vedic Archaeogeography

Vedic Archaeogeography

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Published by Narayana Iyengar
This is an extension of the previous work of RNi and BPR on the Vedic IriNa. In the present work published in the Puraatatva, the Rigvedic animal Gaura is shown to be same as GoDh Khur, the whitish wild-ass, living in the Rann-of-kutch.
This is an extension of the previous work of RNi and BPR on the Vedic IriNa. In the present work published in the Puraatatva, the Rigvedic animal Gaura is shown to be same as GoDh Khur, the whitish wild-ass, living in the Rann-of-kutch.

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Narayana Iyengar on Mar 08, 2009
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01/29/2013

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VedicIrina
andtheRann-of-Kutch
McCrindle(1879),Bisht(1989)Agarwala(1953),amongothers,mentionthattheRann-of-Kutch(ROK)wasknownas
Irina,
inancienttimes.Startingfromthe
Rigveda(RV),Vedic
literaturereferstoaspecialtypeoflandformorplacecalled
Irina,
severaltimes.Intheschemeof
Vedic
rituals,
Irina
occupiesasignificantplaceass9ciatedwith
Nirrti,
thedeityofdisaster,andthesouthwestdirection,knownas
Nairtya
inlaterSanskritusage.The
Mahabharata
inoneplacementionsthat
Irina
wasformedbytherecessionofsea.InapreliminarystudybyIyengarandRadhakrishna(2007)itwasdemonstratedthat
Irina,
inthe
Rigvedic
timesshouldhavebeenslightlynorthofthepresent
.
dayROK.Thepresentpaperextendstheabovestudytoincludeinputsfromthe
Nirukta
andthe
Sutra
literature.Further,therelationbetween
Gaura
and
Irina
istracedwiththehelpofthe
AitareyaBrahmana,
topointoutthatthe
Gaura
of
RV
shouldhavebeenahorse-likeanimalmatchingwiththewildassofROK.Theplanofthepaped.stofirstpresentthe
Vedic
textscontainingreferencesto
Irina.
Thisisfollowedbylatertextual
*IndianInstituteofScience,Bangalore.rniyengar@ymail.com**GeologicalSocietyofIndia,Bangalore***Randhoeve197,3992XGHouten,TheNetherlands,adhin88@yahoo.colll
R.N.IYENGAR*,B.P.RADHAKRISHNA**ANDS.S.MISHRA***
referencesandconsiderationofassocialedgeographicalfeaturesasmentioncdinthe
Vedic
texts,
Irina
in
the
Rigveda(RV)
Theword
Irina
occursinthe1",81h,and1Qlb
mandalas
ofthe
RV,
sixtimesinall.ThesearelistedwiththeoriginaltextandtranslationasgivenbyGriffith,followedbyrelevantcomments,
adhayadesall1sudinenasanlrViSl'aJlIerinam
prllsayantasenah
II
(1.186.9)
So
maytheManIts,armed\\'ithmightyweapons,resthereonheavenandearthwithheartsinconcord.Asgodswhosecarshavedappledsteedsliketorrents,destroyersofthefoealliesofMitra.TheyhastenontohappyterminationtheirorderswhentheyaremadeknownbyglOl)',AsonafairbrightdaytheaJ'J'oll'fliethoverallthebarrensoiltheirmissilessparkle
(RV1.186.
8-9),
 
VedicIrinaandtheRann-o.fKutch
Griffithtranslatestheword
erinam
(a+irinam)asbarrensoil,following
Sayana.
ThecontextisthatofMaruts,whoarmedwiththeirmightyweaponscandischargesparklingarrowsoveraregionorplacecalled
erina.
Inhymn8.4addressedtoIndrathewordoccursonce.Inhymn8.76addressedto
Asvins,
itappearstwiceinitsbasicformas
Irina.
yathagauroapakrtamtrsYG1111tyaverinam
I(8.4.3)
madhvahsutasyasadivipriyonarapatamgal/raviverine
"(8.87.1)
tavavrdhanaupasustutimdivagantamgauraviverinam
II
(8.87.4)
Evenasthewild-bull,whenhethirsts,goestothe
desert
s
waterypoolComehitherquicklybothatmorning
andateve,andwiththeKanvasdrinkthyfill.Splendid,
0
Asvins,
is
yourpraise.Comefountain-like,topourthestream.Ofthesweetjuiceeffused-dearisit,Chiefs,inheaven-drinkliketwowildbullsatapool.DrinkyetheSomarichinmeath,yeAsvinsTwain:sitgladlyonthesacredgrass.So,waxenmighty,tooureulogyfromheavencomeyeaswild-bullstothepool.(RV8.4.3;
8.87.1,4)Theinterestingpointhereisthatinallthethreecases
Irina
isassociatedwithaspecialanimalcalled
Gaura.
Thisrelationisanalyzedlaterinthepresentstudy.Thenextusageof
Irina
isinthetenthbook,wheretraditioninterpretsitasdiceboard.
pravepamabahatomadayantipravatejairine
varvratanah
I
(10.34.1)
divyaangarairinenyuptahsitahsantohrdayamnirdahanti
I
(J0.34.9)
Sp11lngfromtalltreesonwindyheights,theserollerstransportmeastheyturnuponthetable.DearertomethediethatneverslumbersthanthedeepdraughtofMujavan
s
ownSoma.Downwardtheyroll,andthen
171
springquicklyupward,and,handless,forcethemanwithhandstoservethem.Castontheboard,likelumpsofmagiccharcoal,thoughcoldthemselvestheyburnthehearttoashes(RV
10.34.1,9).Thefirstversereferstoanobjectthatsupposedlysprungfromtalltreesataheight.Thiscouldrefertothenutsofthe
Vibhitaka
treeoutofwhichdiceweremade.Thehymninwhichtheabovetwoversesarise,istraditionallyassociatedwithdiceplay.Thegamewasplayedbythrowingthediceonflatground.Hence,herediceboardcouldbeasecondarymeaningoftheword
Irina.
Theword
divya
doesnotmeanmagic.Itreferstosomethingbrightandperhapscelestial.Theliteralmeaningofthesecondverse(10.34.9)abovewouldbe
"HeavenlycharcoalshavingploughedintoIrina,thoughcold,burntheheart.
"Doublemeaningmaybeintended,buttheprimarymeaningappearstobethatoffieryobjectsfallingfromtheskyinaplacenamed
Irina.RV(1.186.8-9)
alreadyquoted,wherebrightobjectsarementionedasflyingover
Irina
supportsthisinference.
Irina
in
the
Nirukta
Nirukta
ofYaska(Sarup1967)anancientreferenceontheetymologyof
Vedic
words,acceptstwomeaningsfortheword
Irina
in
RV(10.34)Irinamnirnamrnateraparnambhavatilaparataasmadosadhayaitiva
II
Board(irinam)isfreefromdebt(nir-rinam).Itisderivedfrom(theroot)rn(togo)i.e.itisdistant.Orelse,herbshavebeenremovedfromit.
BasedontheaboveetymologyofYaskaonecaninterprettheword
irinam
as:thatwhichwaspreviously
rnam,i.e.
moving/flowing(thusfertile),became
nir-rnami.e.
non-flowing,non-fertile,withoutherbs,afterbeinghitbyfieryobjects.
 
172
Irina
in
the
YajurvedaTaittiriyaSamhita(TS)
ofthe
Krishna-Yajurveda
refersto
Irina
inthelegendof
Visvarupa.
Thelegendsays,
Visvarupa
sonofTvastrhadthreeheads.Indrakilledhimbycuttingofftheheads,butwasaccusedofbeingguilty.Earthagreedtotakeone-thirdoftheguiltofIndra,inreturnforaboon.This(guilt)became
Irina
ontheearth.
trtiyambrahmahatyayaipratiagrhnattatsvakrtamirinamabhavattasmadahitagnihsraddhadevahsvakrtairinenaavasyed(I'S2.5.1.3)AthirdoftheguiltofkillingaBrahmanawastaken(byearth).That(partofearth)becametheself-createdIrina.Therefore,thefaithfulfireworshippershouldnotstayintheselfmadeIrina.
Thislegendof
Visvarupa
carriesthefootprintsoforthodox
Vedic
peopleemigratingoutof
Irina,
whichforsomespecialreasonbecameuninhabitable.Thetranslationof
Irina
asanaturalfissureinearthbyKeith(1914)doesnotconveythecompletemeaningoftheabovetext.Thiscanbeinferredfromotherhymns,where
pradara
(fissure,opening)isprescribedonlyasanalternateplaceforcertainrituals.
svakrtairinejuhotipradarevaitadvaaiasyainirrtigrhitamnirrtigrhitaevainamnirrtyagrahayati(TS3.4.8.5)
Heoffersintheselfmade(natural)
Irina
orinafissurethatisseizedby
Nirrti.
Certainly,inaplaceseizedby
Nirrti,
hemakeshim(theenemy)seizedby
Nirrti.
Itistobenotedthat
pradara
meaningafissureisanalternateto
Irina,
forofferingasacrifice.Theword
syakrta
qualifiesboth
Irina
and
pradara;
hencethefissurewasalsoanaturaloneincontrasttoamanmade
PlIr(itatfm38
opening.Thetwoland-typesareequivalentasfarastheritualisconcernedbuttheyarenotphysicallyidentical.Theplaceissaidtohavebeenseizedby
Nirrti,
thedeityofdisasterandmisfortune.Inessencehere
TS
equates
Irina
itselfwithdisasterormisfortune.If
Irina
meantaregion,theadditionalreferenceto
pradara
heremayhintattheexistenceofanaturalcraterinthatregion.Through
Nin'fi
adirectionisalsoindicatedfor
Irina
asinthefollowingtext.
imamdisamyantyesavainirrtyaildiksvaya11levadisinirrtimniravadayate
I
svakrtairinaupadadhatipradareva
I
etadvainirrtyaayatanam
I
svaevaiyatanenirrti11l
niravadayatel(TS5.2.4.3)
Theygointhisdirection(tothisquarter).Thisisthedirectionof
Nirrti;
verilyinherowndirectionhepropitiates
Nin'fi.
Heplaces(it)inself-madeIril,laorinafissure;thatistheabodeof
Nirrti;
verilyhepropitiates
Nin.fi
inherownabode.Theindependent
TaittiriyaBrah11lana(TB)
textcorroboratestheabovestatements..
svakrtairinejuhotipradarevaletadvairaksasa11layatanam
I
sayevaayataneraksamsihantil(TB
1.7.9)HeoffersintheselfmadeIril,laorinafissure.Thisisverilytheabodeofdemons.Theydestroydemonsintheirownabode.
TB
(2.2.7)and
TS
(3.4.8.5)aresimilar.The
SatapathaBrahmana
ofthe
Shukla-Yajurveda
alsoprovidessimilardirectionsforlocating
Irina.
tenadaksinayantisayatrasvakrta11lverina11lvindati
svabhrapradara11lva
II
(5.2.3.2)Theygosouth,where
theself-created(natural)verinaisreachedorafissureduetoawhirlpool.
tabhiretamdisamyanti
I
esavainairrtidinnairrtyameva

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