Vedic Aryans

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Indus valley civilization was replaced by village cultures of Vedic Aryans from Central Asia, who were virtually invaders in the sub-continent. From many sources the fall of Indus valley civilization is reported to be an outcome of two Aryan Invasions successively in 1500 and 1400 BC which swept the Semito-Negroid civilization. The initial Aryan onslaught started with the first Aryan invasion under the Aryan god Indra (as narrated in Hindu mythology), who was a powerful warrior and the ruler of sky, weather and the clouds by which he released the rivers to destroy the non-Aryans. Being unaccustomed to violence and bloodshed, and withstand the terrific numbers of ferocious invaders, the civilization collapsed into mayhem, disorder and massacres. Thus the entire native populations of Negroids, Semites and Mongoloids were exterminated. The Indus irrigation system was shattered to destroy agriculture in the region in the first recorded instance of ecological warfare. In 1400 BC Bharata (from whom the modern name of India – Bharat — is derived) launched the second Aryan invasion from Afghanistan, and conquered much of the upper Ganges valley. The mayhem and mass murder continued throughout this period, which left no trace of the Indus Valley civilization except Sudroid Blacks, the ill-fated survivors retreating to the Ganges valley and Rajasthan. Hundreds of thousands inhabitants of the Indus Valley perished but the world was easily deceived by the Vedic version so as to regard the unfortunate ancient ‘black’ people contemptuously as devils, demons and monsters deserved to be exterminated by the Aryan fire and sword. The believing minds eagerly revered the Aryan invaders as models of civilized colonists who came and established Utopian states in India. But the excavations at Harappa, Muhunjo Daro, Tarro Hills, Chanhundero, Zhob, and other places have discovered the untruths of the Vedic denunciations and exposed that condemnation of the ‘Blacks of India’ was absolutely mischievous and malicious. They have revealed that the Dravidians who have been transformed into South Asian shudras were actually a great and civilized people to establish powerful kingdoms and develop great civilizations.

Nevertheless, Rigveda gives a picture of the Aryans who may well have been settled in the land of the Sapta-Sindhavah (meaning land of seven streams) side by side with many Dasa or Dasyu peoples. Sapta-Sindhavah is the northern part Pakistan, and river Indus was the major source of living. Generally, these villages consisted of various tribes engaged in armed conflict with one another. The object of their fight was to capture the land and treasures of other tribes. The struggle between the Arya and the Dasa is brought out in clear perspective in the Rigveda. There were also fights among the Aryan tribes, of which the most famous is known as the Battle of the Ten Kings fought on the bank of the river Parushni (Ravi). Arya and Dasa belonged to different races as the Aryans were tall and fair while the Dasa were black, short and flat-nosed. There was a contrast between the Dasas and the Aryans in their concepts of life, speech, beliefs and practices. But as far as material culture is concerned there was not much difference. The only noticeable contrast was in the fortified castles of the Dasas and horse-drawn chariots of the Aryans. Both of them subsisted on agriculture that was dependent on rain as well as irrigation. The main Aryan settlements were also around the agricultural farms known as grama (village). There was patriarchal family (kula) system headed by a male member (kulapati). Dampati (wife) was next to her husband. Monogamy was the general rule and polygamy was, however, not unknown. Both dowries and bride prices are recorded, but on the whole the daughter was a burden on her father and was considered to be a duhita (daughter, literally one who milked the father. The highest political unit was the jana that denoted “collective manhood of the tribe”. The chief of the jana was a rajan whose office was generally hereditary. He was helped by the purohita (priest) and he could get further advice of the elders in the assemblies called Sabha and Samiti. There were thus two distinct classes that dominated in Vedic era: the ruling or Rajanya and the priestly or Brahmana. Below them we find the common people referred to as Viz, from which later derived the word Vaisya. There were three main social divisions of the Aryans but they were distinct and apart from the Dasas of Dasyus, the non-Aryans who came to be known as Shudras.

The economy of the Aryan tribes depended on agriculture that was supplemented by the domestication of cattle and rearing of sheep for wool. The cow was not only a standard of valuation but also a symbol of adoration. There is no information of Aryans taking part in trade or commerce, as the people mentioned in this context are Panis who are non-Aryans. The women were assigned work of sewing, the plaiting of mats from grass of reeds and weaving cloth.

The Aryans enjoyed full life. They indulged in the intoxicating drinks of soma and sura, played the game of dice, went chariot racing, hunted in the forest, sang and danced along with instruments of music. Though the cow was aghnya (not to be killed) because of her great value, they did not mind eating beef. Their dress consisted of two or three garments, woven from wool of sheep, though skins were also used for dress. Variegated garments and different kinds of ornaments were used both by men and women. Aryans generally buried their dead ones though at times burning was practiced as well. In such ashes were collected and then buried.

Aryan religion was based on polytheism or polymorphic monotheism, i.e., worshipping the One present in various forms. They worshiped Deva, the sky god, Varuna who established order in the universe, other celestial deities like Mitra and many forms of the sun like Surya, Savitra, Pushan and Vishnu. Climate had brought into front Indra (god of cloud or rain), Maruts (wind-god), Parjanya, Rudra (storm god). In next stage we see the terrestrial deities like Prithvi (the earth), Soma (a plant), agni (fire) and Usha (goddess of dawn). The method of worship was not conventional puja but sacrifice (yujna) which constituted the basic ritual in the Aryan religion. The sacrifice included offerings of milk, grain and ghee as well as offerings of flesh and the soma.

This article was last updated on Monday, Jan 03, 2005