I wasn't sure if I should continue writing under the same title “Zodiac & Horoscopy in India" but I decided to use the same title because this is ultimately a sequel to my earlier article where I discussed the possible origins of the knowledge of the zodiac and horoscopy. While there were many scholarly responses related to the current narratives, there was hardly any point mentioned about more authentic research outcomes on the history of Indian civilization probably because of the non-exposure to the Indic civilization. A historian whose name is unworthy of remembrance even went so far to write that Rama being an incarnation of Vishnu was a later addition to Ramayana. This is the point where I realized that most historians, scholars, and scientists are making comments about Indian history and civilization without knowing the essence of Indian history and philosophy.
Questions about the truth of Rama’s horoscope (be it Thema Mundi) were raised while no one really noticed or discussed the Tamil poem Silappathikaram from the 3rd century BC which I quoted to point out that natal astrology was prevalent in India at least 400 years before Yavanajataka (Greek Horoscopes). The conclusions were still leading to Yavanajataka being the oldest text that was available in 2nd century CE. Every point refutable was refuted but the Tamil Poem? I always had this understanding that people see only what they want to see. It is the fault of none but the truth that the theories of Max Mueller, Pingree and other biased historians are effectively debunked will reach the ears of those who are seasoned to the narratives that don’t hold much evidence. For starters, wipe off the Aryan invasion theory from your mind while reading this paper because enough research has been done to prove that the Aryan invasion theory was a hoax fitted in by Max Mueller to ensure nothing goes beyond 1500 BC from India.
In this post, I will answer some implications made during the discussion on my earlier post with regards to the history of the zodiac in India. Although this post is a deviation from the main subject, it feels like the digression is necessary to establish some facts and also some of my philosophical and linguistic opinions.
Dating of the Rig Veda
Later addition to Ramayana
Basic Approach to Sanskrit scriptures
GD Bakshi, in his The Sarasvati Civilization, writes “There was an unwritten law in the colonial era as it were- nothing could predate Mesopotamian cradle in terms of antiquity. Hence Max Mueller had designated 1500 BC as the age of advent of the Indo-Aryans. It was a rather arbitrary and whimsical fixation.” Graham Hancock has written in America Before that a more advanced civilization existed around the Amazon basin before 140,000 years. While the global cataclysm of the ice age around 10500 BC (before 12500 years) has been proved beyond doubt, the question of Mesopotamian or any other civilization for that matter can never be the oldest. Now, we know that ancient civilizations before the global cataclysm existed in India, Turkey, Malta, North America, Latin America, Indonesia, Atlantis and other places. Tamil civilization was prevalent in the form of Poompuhar which is a sub-merged city today, probably has connections with Lemuria and Kumari Kandam which is an ignored phenomenon by the mainstream scientists which allows a huge scope to work further to unravel the mysteries of the ancient world.
Dating of the Rig Veda
To understand the reasonable dating of the Rig Veda as far the astrological context goes, we need to understand how old Saraswati River is. Some Indologits questioned the very existence of the river and called it a myth. Evidence is the key in research. Satellite imagery has served as a major point of consolidation for the authentic Indologists to prove that the River Sarasvati was in full flow by 6000 BC. This doesn’t mean that the river is only 8000 years old. The existence and the changes that the river has gone through ranges from 140,000 BC to 70000 BC to 50000 BC. While for the narrative driven mindset that doesn’t believe humans existed before 7000 BC or so, this might be a fact that might be indigestible, this will be a matter of excitement for further study for those who have exposure to the lost ancient civilizations.
Satellite image showing the course of palaeo Saraswati River (Source: RRSSC, Jodhpur). A, Delhi-Kalka Ridge; B, DelhiSargodha Ridge; C, Jaisalmer Mari Arch.
The Scientists came to a conclusion that Sarawati river was the greatest of all the rivers in India both in terms of length and the volume of the flow; however, the image that we have is the dried course of once a great perennial river celebrated in the Rig Veda. Saraswati was in full flow until 3000 BC according to the studies done by an Expert Committee put together by the Government of India which was headed by Prof. KS Vaidya, Professor of Geodynamics at the JNU Centre for Advanced Study and Research in Bengaluru.
GK Bakshi (The Saraswati Civilization), points out from the KS Vadiya’s (& team) study that “Yamuna was once a tributary of Sarawati, later changed course in a major way and joined the Ganga, thus depriving the Saraswati river of a major source of ice melt water from the glaciers. It is said that there was a major tectonic plate shift some 4700 years from today which created a shear fault in the Shivalik hills and forced the Yamuna to change course from the west towards the east”. Today, Yamuna joins the Ganga and this shift apparently took place before 4600 years according to the same study. Conclusively, Saraswati river dried up somewhere around 1900 BC.
Rig Veda praises and embellishes Sarawati as the greatest river, river of rivers and mother of rivers. I have quoted two of those verses from the Rig Veda. European Indologists have dated the Rig Veda to 1500 BC and asserted that nothing could have come from India before 1500 BC because of the force-fitted fiction called Aryan Invasion theory.
Hymns referring to River Saraswati
Rig Veda 2.41.16
अम्बि॑तमे॒ नदी॑तमे॒ देवि॑तमे॒ सर॑स्वति । अ॒प्र॒श॒स्ता इ॑व स्मसि॒ प्रश॑स्तिमम्ब नस्कृधि ॥
ambitame nadītame devitame sarasvati | apraśastā iva smasi praśastim amba nas kṛdhi ||
“Sarasvatī, best of mothers, best of rivers, best of goddesses, we are, as it were, of no repute; grant us, mother, distinction.”
Rig Veda 10.75.5
इमं मे गङ्गे यमुने सरस्वति शुतुद्रि स्तोमं सचता परुष्ण्या । असिक्न्या मरुद्वृधे वितस्तयार्जीकीये शृणुह्या सुषोमया ॥
imam me gaṅge yamune sarasvati śutudri stomaṃ sacatā paruṣṇy ā | asiknyā marudvṛdhe vitastayārjīkīye śṛṇuhy ā suṣomayā ||
“Accept this my praise, Gaṅgā, Yamunā, Sarasvatī, Śutudri, Paruṣṇi, Marudvṛdha with Asiknī,and Vitazstā; listen, Ārjikīya with Suṣomā.”
It has been proven that Saraswati has dried up by 1900 BC. When there is so much mention of Saraswati river in the Rig Veda, how could the Rig Veda be dated after 1500 BC? This is the million dollar question but it has only one answer. Rig Veda is much older than anyone can actually imagine.
Hymns referring to a global cataclysm towards the end of the Ice age
Rig Veda 4.18.7
किमु ष्विदस्मै निविदो भनन्तेन्द्रस्यावद्यं दिधिषन्त आपः । ममैतान्पुत्रो महता वधेन वृत्रं जघन्वाँ असृजद्वि सिन्धून् ॥
kim u ṣvid asmai nivido bhanantendrasyāvadyaṃ didhiṣanta āpaḥ | mamaitān putro mahatā vadhena vṛtraṃ jaghanvām̐ asṛjad vi sindhūn ||
“What do the sacred expiatory strains declare to me? the waters reeive the reproach of Indra; my son has slain Vṛtra with the mighty thunderbolt; he has set those rivers free.”
Rig Veda 4.18.8
ममच्चन त्वा युवतिः परास ममच्चन त्वा कुषवा जगार । ममच्चिदापः शिशवे ममृड्युर्ममच्चिदिन्द्रः सहसोदतिष्ठत् ॥
mamac cana tvā yuvatiḥ parāsa mamac cana tvā kuṣavā jagāra | mamac cid āpaḥ śiśave mamṛḍyur mamac cid indraḥ sahasod atiṣṭhat ||
“Vāmadeva speaks: exulting one youthful mother brought you forth; exulting, Kuṣavā swallowed you; exulting, the waters gave delight to the infant; Indra, exulting, rose up by his strength.”
Rig Veda 4.18.9
ममच्चन ते मघवन्व्यंसो निविविध्वाँ अप हनू जघान । अधा निविद्ध उत्तरो बभूवाञ्छिरो दासस्य सं पिणग्वधेन ॥
mamac cana te maghavan vyaṃso nivividhvām̐ apa hanū jaghāna | adhā nividdha uttaro babhūvāñ chiro dāsasya sam piṇag vadhena ||
“Vyaṃsa, exulting and striking (hard blows), smote you, Maghavan, upon the jaw; whereupon, being so smitten, you proved the stronger, and did crush the head of the slave with the thunderbolt.”
Indra, the Lord of the Devas as per the Hindu texts is the god of sky, lightning, weather, thunder, storms, rains, river flows, and war. Vrtra had imprisoned all the water sources by leaving the world to suffer, while all the gods had given up unable to control Vrtra. Cataclysm was the only end that they could see and Indra was born to finish off the task and free the world. There are similar stories in all the ancient cultures. Unfortunately, the modern scientists see this as some form of fantasy stories but in reality these are the records of the major events that took place in the history of human civilization. Rig Veda has documented this and it is now clear that Rig Veda is at least 12500 years old and we shouldn’t be surprised if it goes far back and I certainly believe it is much older. If Rig Veda 4 has the documentation of the end of the Ice age (around 10500 BC), we should understand that the initial portions of Rig Veda is much older and the wheel of time/zodiac (Rig Veda 1.155.6) was known to the Indians well before the cataclysm (Pralaya) just like other ancient civilizations.
Later additions to Ramayana
(With reference to Uttara Kanda)
In one of the critical editions quoted as part of discussion in my earlier post, the implication was that Rama’s horoscope was a later addition. When I opened the critical edition to read some of the comments, I found what is written in the below image and did not feel like I could really respond. Imagine two people put into the same room where one speaks Greek and the other speaks Hindi. None of them communicate with each other. In this case, I felt that conclusions were arrived at without understanding or knowing even the basics of the Indian tradition.
The reason why I feel there is no point making a counter-argument is because, it looks like anyone who is doing their research about Indian history is really not taking the time to read the foremost scriptures of Hindu Sanskrit. When someone questions the Rama being an incarnation of Vishnu, it is very clear that the person doing the research has a lot of studies to do with regards to the basics of Hindu scriptures.
While I will never address the question of whether Rama is an incarnation of Vishnu, I feel there is a need to talk about whether Ramayana had later additions. Project Shivom has done a good research video on this and I am basically quoting a few of the verses that were mentioned in the documentary.
Sri Ramayanam is narrated by Hanuman to Bheema during the exile of the Pandavas. The Gandharvas and the music is the part of Uttara Kanda that takes place after Ravana was killed.
Vana Parva , Tirtha-yatra Parva, Adhyaya 147
O repressor of foes, O Bhima, through the grace of Sita also, here all excellent objects of entertainment are supplied to me, whoever abide at this place. Rama reigned for the thousand and ten hundred years. Then he ascended to his own abode. Ever since, here Apsaras and Gandharvas delight me, singing for aye the deeds of that hero, O sinless one.
O son of the Kurus, this path is impassable to mortals. For this, O Bharata, as also with the view that none might defeat or curse you, have I obstructed your passage to this path trod by the immortals. This is one of the paths to heaven, for the celestials; mortals cannot pass this way. But the lake in search of which you have come, lies even in that direction."
In Uttara Kanda, Valmiki asks Rama how come he won’t have the knowledge of his own sons when he lives in the heart of every being that walks this earth and points out to Rama, his sons, Lava and Kusa. Towards the very end of The Ramayana, Rama performs Ashwamedha Yagya where he performs sacrifice therefore marking the end of the great epic and these are part of Padma Purana which was also written by Veda Vyasa like Mahabharata.
How is it that you who live in the heart of men, would not have the knowledge (of the deeds)? Yet, to delight you I am telling it now. O king, these two boys, the best among the mighty, who resemble your form, and have charming bodies like yours, (live) in my hermitage. When you abandoned in the fierce forest the pregnant, innocent Jānakī, afflicted with grief and repeatedly crying like an osprey, I saw the daughter of Janaka and brought your righteous wife to (my) hermitage. The sages’ sons constructed a lovely hut of leaves for her. In it she gave birth to the two sons illuminating the ten quarters. It is clear that I named them Kuśa and Lava.
O dear one, I who was asked (by you), have described (to you) the good story of Rāma. I have described the sacrifice in detail. O brāhmaṇa, what do you ask again? He who, through devotion for Viṣṇu, hears the (description of) the good sacrifice of Rāma, would, after having crossed (i.e. overcome) the sin of killing a brāhmaṇa, obtain the eternal Brahman.
Ramayana, Bala Kanda 4.2
The holy rishi composed twenty-four thousand verses and divided them into five hundred chapters and six books. In addition, he composed the epilogue. The work being completed, he reflected thus: " To whom shall I teach this classic? "
The Ramayana of Valmiki, Bala Kanda, Chapter 4, P15, Hari Prasad Shastri
Sage Valmiki composed the Ramayanam in 24000 Slokas in 500 Sagas across 6 Kandas followed by Uttara Kanda. In Bala Kanda 4.2 of the prose version we have a note about the contents of Ramayana which includes an epilogue, referring to Uttara Kanda of the Ramayana. This should clear off any doubt that people may have regarding Uttara Kanda being a later addition. There is no doubt that Bala Kanda was an integral part of Ramayana. However, I will write a follow up work specifically to discuss Bala Kanda being original.
Basic Approach to Sanskrit scriptures
The point I was trying to make through the presentation of the Saraswati River is to bring to notice the timelines of the verse Rig Veda 1.155.6 which no one seems to accept as the zodiac wheel. However, in the Indian context, the wheel of time and the zodiac are not different from each other which is also mentioned in the link that cited below along with the translated verse.
Rig Veda I.155.6
“He causes, by his gyrations, ninety and four periodical revolutions, like a circular wheel, vast of body, and evolving in many forms, through the praises (addressed to him); ever young, though not infantine, he comes at our invocations.”
When the sutra from Rig Veda clearly mentions the 12 divisions, it is difficult for me to contemplate that it won’t be the reference to the zodiac. Imagine we are a sky-gazer from an ancient world. When we see the stars and the wheel, how do we see the zodiac and the wheel of time differently when the difference is basically non-existent?
One of the fundamental understandings as far as the Vedanta goes is that science is not separated from the philosophy of life. This is very much a divorced idea in the west and hence, there are a lot of assumptions that a western mind forms about the Vedantic philosophy tends to be partial and erroneous at some crucial times. In his Vaisheshika Sutram, Maharishi Kanada (6th Century BC) begins the text by talking about the body and mind from a completely philosophical perspective.
A verse in Sanskrit is the shortest way of explaining some of the most complex concepts and in order to understand the subject behind any verse, an individual needs to be convinced that the verse is not just what it appears to be. This is not any modern language that we are dealing with. A verse in Sanskrit is called “Sutram”.
Vaisheshika Sutram is one of the oldest surviving treatises on Atomic theory. If we ask a random person a simple question: Who wrote about gravity? The answer we get is Issac Newton. Is it naive? Maybe, maybe not. The reason why it might not be naive is because of the seasoning of our minds to the narratives. Issac Newton wrote about gravity very recently in the 17th century and there is no denial. The question is, is he the first person to write about gravity? No. Is Maharishi Kanada the first person to write about it? Probably not, because we know that humanity existed with a more advanced civilization than what we have today and it would be funny if we claim they would have not known about gravity.
Why should Rishi Kanada begin the text with philosophy instead of the fundamentals of physics?
The rishi elucidates that the existence of humans is subject to three afflications.
1. Adhyatmika - Bodily and mental afflictions
2. Adhibhantika - caused by natural agencies (man, beast, bird, reptile etc)
3.Adhidaivika - Super natural powers such as Yaksa, Raksasa, Vinayaka, etc)
According to the Vaisheshika Sutras and also from our own understanding of life, we know that human suffering is basically because of the body and mind and in order to remove it, we need something called realization. This connects both body and mind. The commentary by Major JD. Basu (one of the translations of Vaiseshika Sutras edited by Major Basu) states that the self realization was through revelations, recollections, histories and cosmogonies.
Mind and matter are one and the same which is what Dr. Subash Kak points out in his translation of Vaisheshika Sutras. The basic underlying theory of the Maharishi Kanada was that anything that takes shape in this world is basically the manifestation of Atom. Once again, Project Shivoham does a good job of explaining the existence of life through four basic virtues: Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha which are the four cornerstones of understanding life through houses in Jyotisa. I am not saying Kanada is implying Jyotisa but I am just pointing out how the philosophical virtues of life play an important role in everything where science is not really different from philosophy. The beauty of Indian philosophy is it makes sense while it is dualism and non-dualism. In fact, both are intertwined but it is only the individuals who take sides. On the other hand, although there might have been different ideas or opinions between Plato and Aristotle about a few of these issues concerning mind, matter and body (among others), there never was a divide between any science and philosophy.
This leads to an argument as to how Physics is different from Metaphysics. According to ancient philosophical traditions, Metaphysics is an extension of Physics or any form of natural sciences but only in the modern day retrogression, the split between philosophy and science has widened. Today, it is in a position where the wedge is almost unbridgeable which I feel is the fundamental reason for the singular or one-dimensional approach towards Sutras or verses in the ancient philosophical texts of Indian tradition. The narrow vision towards specificities is the reason for the ignorance of many hidden or even direct sayings of the sages.
While I surely know that there will always be counter-arguments especially when we talk about philosophy or linguistic perceptions because of the difference in cultural background, there are some facts that are really unchangeable like the wheel of time/zodiac in Rig Veda or the age of Rig Veda being far older than 10500 BC (at least) or Uttara Kanda was an integral part of Valmiki Ramayana and not a later interpolation. I still have many issues that I have some opinion about which I will write under the same heading as multiple parts.
References of this article contents:
The Saraswati Civilization - GD Bakshi
The Ramayana of Valmiki
Saisheshika Sutras - Maharishi Kanada (Translation by Dr. Subash Kak)
Let Peace be!