Continuity and World-Influence of the Vedic Civilization

N. Kazanas

civilization? civilized?

Roman : civis ‘citizen’, civilis ‘civil’, civitas ‘city’:
‘ordered civil life in city.’

S1

We think of –

‘Civilized man’ : not violent, rapacious and selfish. ‘Cultured’ : has interest in other nations, arts, etc. Care of Environment.

S2

Swami Vivekānanda :

“Civilisation is the manifestation of divinity in man’.
Yoshinory Yasuda on the Japanese Jōmon (11th millennium BCE):

“Respect for and co-existence with nature … proper relationship in accord with the features of the given region.”
A. West on Ancient Egypt :

“In civilization men are concerned with … inner life … to master greed, ambition, envy.”

S3

Are modern nations –
with their cupidity, injustice and selfishness ‘civilized’? in harmony with environment when they pollute it so severely? concerned to master greed, envy, ambition?

We see – wars, piracy and genocide ;
pollution of the air and waters; exploitation of the weak by the rich and strong; widening gap between the wealthy and the poor.

S4

Plato’s Ideal Society (Republic 370Cff)
1. Simple agriculture and animal husbandry.
2. Essential crafts and exchanges (trade). 3. Feeding on barley-bread and bulbs; drinking moderately. 4. Singing hymns to the gods.

(Much like life in the Ṛgveda!)

S5

Desire for happiness, health, wealth and heaven. But beneath: –
Axis of Vedic culture: ‘divinization’ or Self-realisation : aha ṃ brahma-asmi (Bṛh Up 1.4.10) & yas tu sarvā ṇ i bhūtāny-ātmany-eva-anupaśyati / sarvabh ū teṣ u ca- ā tm ā nam (Īśā Up 6). This ‘divinization’ ā tmajñ ā na or brahmavidy ā , is achieved through ethical behaviour ( dharma, suk ṛ t ā ni, d ā na ) , yoga-practice and Soma-drinking.

S6

RV 1.164.25:

ino vi ś vasya bhúvanasya gop ā́ ḥ sá m ā dh ī́ ra ḥ p ā́ k am atr ā́ vive ś a.

The mighty Guardian of this entire world, He, the wise One has settled in me, the simpleton.

RV 8.6.10:

ahám íd dhí pitús pári medh ā́ m ṛ tásya jagrabha ; aha ṃ s ū́ r ya iva-ajani.

Kaṇva says: ‘Having received from my father/teacher the essential knowledge (medhā́ ) of the Cosmic Order (ṛta) I was (re) born like the Sungod Sūrya!’

S7

In RV : the One tad-ekam (10.129.2). Also 1.164.16,46; 3.54.8; 8.58.2. Also – Many deities, worlds, phenomena. One and Many – synchronically. Most interest shown in the Many, less in the One!

S8

Spiritual concern : Self-realization; Devotion to divinities.

Mental level :

anumati agreement

asuratva lordship

dāna liberality

paṅkti fiveness (also ‘row’)

vasutā ‘wealth-iness’;

jigiṣā ‘desire to win’.

Mathematics : algebra, geometry. Complex grammar: dhātus and derivative noun and verbs with many tenses and moods. Measure and rhythm in poetry and music.

S9

Material world :

Astronomy: constellations and calendar. Geometry (Śulbasūtras) in building Harappan cities and altars. Medicine with herbs and mineral substances. Chanting of hymns; dancing. Weaving, Metallurgy, Pottery and other crafts (household utensils and weapons like bows. Agriculture and Animal husbandry. Trade with ocean-going boats.

S10

Ś ulba S ū tras

Forming part of the Ś rauta S ū tras (Āpastamba, Āśvalāyana, Kātyāyana, Baudhāyana): they belong to the Kalpa Sūtras which are one of the Six Vedāṅgas (=“limbs of Veda”).

What is their date?

S11

It is very difficult to derive “the Vedic ritual application of the theorem [of Pythagoras] from Babylonia. (The reverse process is easy.)… The application involves geometric algebra and there is no evidence of geometric algebra from Babylonia. And the geometry of Babylonia is already secondary whereas in India it is primary. Hence we do not hesitate to place the Vedic altar rituals, or, more exactly, rituals exactly like them, far back of 1700 BCE. … The elements of ancient geometry found in Egypt and Babylonia stem from a ritual system of the kind observed in the Sulvasutras”
(Seidenberg 1962: 515).

S12

Seidenberg reiterated his finds in another paper in 1978. Note that the Mesopotamian ziggurats (=temples with steps) and the Egyptian mastamba-tombs and the step-pyramid of Djoser, all in the 3rd millennium BCE, are based on trapezoid figures which are found in the Śulbasūtras and those figures are at the basis of Vedic altar brick-constructions like the śmaśana-cit.

S13

Foundations of linguistic studies: –
Yāska (Nighaṇṭu & Nirukta);

Pāṇini (Aṣṭādhyāyī). Patañjali : Mahābhāṣya (comments on Pāṇini). Bhartṛhari : Vākyapadīya Concepts (of Vibhakti and) kāraka in West only in 19th cent – i.e. surface and deep structure grammar and meaning.

S14

After internecine wars some people are scattered far over the earth (abhí kṣā́m 7.18.16) and some pushed to the West (… pūrvaś cakāra áparām … 7.6.3).
5.10.6 asmā́kasaś ca sūráyo víśvā ā́śās tarīṣáni

that our sages may pervade all regions’
6.61.9 sā́ no víśvā áti dvíṣaḥ svásṝr anyā ṛtā́varī / átann áheva sū́ryaḥ //

‘She [Saravati] has spread us beyond enmities, beyond the other [seven] sister[-rivers], she who follows Cosmic Order, as the Sun spreads out the days.’
10.65.11 : sū́ryaṃ diví roháyantaḥ nava sudā āryā vratā visṛjánto ádhi kṣami

‘the bounteous gods made the sun mount in heaven and diversely released (vi-sṛj-) the Aryan laws over the earth’.
S15

S16

Vedic Tradition in Near East
a) c3000 possible influence on Egypt: Affinities in religion : creation through Speech; Sungod’s boat; Cow of plenty; Lotus-born one; Creator’s eye running off and being brought back; etc, etc. (Kazanas 2009, ch8.) Also, the Śulbasūtra geometry and trapezoids for mastaba tombs and step-pyramid, etc. (Rajaram and Frawley 1997)
b) c2600 on Mesopotamia : Actual trade links. Affinities in religion: Seven ṛṣis; flood legend; horse sacrifice; magical rituals; etc, etc. (Kazanas 2009, ch7) Also the Śulbasūtra geometry and ziggurats. (Rajaram and Frawley 1997)

c) Perhaps Judaic culture with monotheism. (Kazanas 2009, ch7)

S17

Kassites & Mitannis in the Near East (17th-16th centuries BCE).

Apart from Indoaryan names and horse-husbandry, under Agum II in early 16th cent. – “A surge of literacy invention, collection and recording” (Dalley S. 1991: 47, 229). A rennaissance with – perhaps – ideas of Vedic origin.

S18

Unity of Being in 1st & 2nd cent CE: Hermeticists and Christian Gnostics 1st & 2nd cent. Neoplatonists and Neopythagoreans 3rd cent. (Enneads of Plotinos; Porphyry; Iamblichos).

Influence of Vedic Tradition (?)

S19

Influence on Persians : Perhaps some influence after Persian conquests in 6th cent BCE. Certainly there were translations of literature 5th cent CE (some of these tales reached Syria in the NE). Also translation of 50 Upanishads in 17th cent CE under Prince Mohammed Dara Shakoh. (From this a French translation.) 1200 CE Decimal system and numbers 0 to 9 via the Arabs into the West: Leonardo Fibonacci’s Liber Abacus (in Algiers).

S20

Spread of Buddhism and Hinduism

S21

Sanskrit vocabulary in South East Asia argha > haliga/harga ‘price’; kāya > kāya ‘body’; buddhi > buḍhi/budi ‘inclination/character’. aṅgula ‘finger’, āyus ‘life’, gaja ‘elephant’ jala ‘water’, dāna ‘charity, gift’, velā ‘limit’, etc.

S22

Buddhism into China 1st cent CE. Sanskrit into China 3rd cent CE. Buddhism into Korea 4th cent CE. Buddhism into Japan 6th cent CE. Buddhism into Thibet 7th cent CE.

S23

JAVA – from 1st cent CE CHAMPA (=todays Vietnam) 2nd cent CE SUMATRA, BORNEO 4th cent CE BALI (still much Hinduism) 6th cent CE

Valmikiʼs Rāmāyaṇa found in – LAOS in dance-dramas and sculptures in temples THAILAND in paintings and sculptures; capital of Siam Ayothya (< ayodhyā) CAMBODIA sculptures and reliefs in temples; temple Angkor-wat with its Hindu cosmology.

S24

The Ramakrishna Mission.

Shri Vivekanandaʼs visit to the USA & UK; Sept 1893 “Sisters and brothers of America” speech in Parliament of Religions in Chicago. 1899-1902 2nd tour in the West. Many others subsequently – Tagore et al.

S25

Exports to the West from 19th cent onward :
Literature and Linguistic ideas;
(e.g. Emerson in the US, Schopehauer in Germany, Eliot in Britain; Comparative Philology.)

Vedānta and Buddhism; Āyurveda, Meditation and Yoga

S26

ast āṅ ga-yoga of Patañjali (2.29).
EIGHT STAGES (LIMBS) OF YOGA

8) sam ā dhi 7) dhy ā na 6) dh ā ra ṇā 5) praty ā h ā ra 4) pr āṇā y ā ma 3) ā sana 2) niyama 1) yama

ABSORPTION MEDITATION CONCENTRATION OF THE MIND WI Τ HDRAWAL OF THE SENSES BREATH REGULATION BODY POSITION INTERNAL RULES EXTERNAL RULES
(CODE OF CONDUCT)
S27

yogaś citta-vṛtti-nirodha (1.2)
Yoga effects the cessation of mind-movements. (All such movements of thinking and feeling are caused, says Patañjali, by 5 kleśas.)

5 kleśas ‘afflictions’ (2.3)
avidyā
ignorance

asmitā
egoism (separate ego)

rāga
attachment, passion

dveṣa
abhorence

abhiniveśa
attachment to the world

S28

5 regulations (yama) (2.30)

ahiṃsā
non-injury

satya
truth

asteya
non-stealing

brahmacarya
life of purity

aparigraha
non-grabbing, non-amassing

S29

Ṛgveda 10.117 Bṛhadāraṇyaka Up Manusmṛti 1.86 Bhagavad Gītā

Hymn to Generosity datta ‘[humans], give’! dānam ekaṃ kalau yuge ‘giving alone in the kali yuga’ 8.28; 16.1; etc

S30

Cycle of Four Yugas

Kṛta- or Sad-yuga : Tretā-yuga : Dvāpara-yuga : Kali-yuga :

tapas jñāna yajña dāna


Deterioration

S31

Depletion and pollution of Ganges waters Himalaya glaciers diminish. Tehri Dam absorbs tributaries. Increasing canals for supplying agriculture and cities. Uncontrolled, explosive growth of cities. City sewage and industrial toxins into the river. Drop of average level at Varanasi from 60 down to 10 metres. Other problems: Caste system; cruelty to girls and widows; Increasing gap between rich and poor.

S 32

Studies in 2002 reveal that : –
In Germany youngsters could before 1970 distinguish

< <

350 colours 300 000 sounds 130 colours 180 000 sounds

today only

In France & USA youngsters had vocabulary

25 000 words .

today only 10 000 words.

S33

5 regulations (yama) (2.30)

ahiṃsā
non-injury

satya
truth

asteya
non-stealing

brahmacarya
life of purity

aparigraha
non-grabbing, non-amassing

S 34

Swami Vivekananda :

“Civilisation is the manifestation of divinity in man”.
(See H. P. Kanoria 2012: 8)

Yoshinory Yasuda on the Japanese Jōmon (11th millennium BCE):

“Respect for and co-existence with nature … proper relationship in accord with the features of the given region.” A. West on Ancient Egypt : “In civilization men are concerned with … inner life … to master greed, ambition, envy.”
(For Yasuda, Rudgley 1998: 31-33. A. West see his publication of 1993: 6-7.)
S35

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