The Aryan Invasion
#1
Cross-Posted at the Religious Education Forum.

As you may know, the Vedas describe a conflict between two groups of humans: the Aryas and the Dasas/Dasyus/Panis.

Traditionally, historians have associated the Dasas with dark-skinned Dravidian-speakers who (supposedly) built the Indus Valley Civilization. The Aryas were identified with light-skinned Indo-European speakers who (supposedly) migrated from Central Asia and pushed the Dravidians to South India.

However, Asko Parpola has a different perspective on the Arya-Dasa conflict. On page 367 of The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia, he writes:

Quote:Important clues to an archaeological understanding of the Rgvedic invasion are provided by the references to the enemies of the Rgvedic Aryans. Indra and his protégés, namely the earliest Rgvedic kings, are said to have destroyed the strongholds of these enemies. When Sir Mortimer Wheeler unearthed the huge defensive walls of Harappa in 1946, he identified the Dasa forts as the fortified of the Indus Civilization (Wheeler 1947: 78-82). This hypothesis was widely accepted until 1976, when Rau published his study of relevant Vedic passages which showed that, unlike the rectangular layout of the Indus cities, the Dasa forts had circular, and often multiple concentric, walls. Moreover, the Dasa forts were not regularly inhabited cities but functioned as temporary shelters, particularly for the protection of cattle. I have argued that the Dasas, Dasyus, and Panis were actually Indo-Iranian speaking BMAC tribes, and that the battles against them described in the Rgveda took place in and around northern Bactria, before entrance to Gandhara on the eastern side of the Hindukush (Parpola 1988: 208-218).

In other words, the Dasas of the Rgveda were the inhabitants of a previously-unknown civilization called the "Bactria and Margiana Archaeological Complex", which flourished in Turkmenistan and Northern Afghanistan from 2500-1500 BC. It is also interesting to note that many scholars identify the BMAC as an Indo-European culture.
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#2
Now, you may ask, what religion did these Dasas follow?

According to the Vedas, the Dasas lived in tripura (forts with 3 concentric walls). Asko Parpola writes the following on page 370 of The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia:

Quote:The word tripura has important religious implications. I shall only briefly deal with the religion of the BMAC, which I have examined elsewhere (Parpola 1988: 251-264; also Parpola 1992, 1993, in press). There is widespread evidence for the worship of a goddess connected with lions (for a new BMAC seal with this motif see Sarianidi 1993c), ultimately going back to the traditions of the ancient Near East. Connections with the later Indian worship of Durga, the goddess of victory and fertility escorted by a lion or tiger, the protectress of the stronghold (Durga), are suggested by several things. The ground plan of the Dashly-3 “palace” is strikingly similar to the Tantric mandala (Brentjes 1981; Brentjes 1986: 234; Brentjes 1987: 128f.), the ritual “palace” of the god or goddess in the Hindu cult. A Bactrian seal depicting copulating pairs, both human and animal, reminds one of the orgies associated with the principal festival of the goddess. Wine is associated with the cult of the goddess and may have been enjoyed from the fabulous drinking cups made from silver and gold found in Bactria and Baluchistan, for viticulture is an integral part of the BMAC (Miller 1993: 151, 154). Durga is worshipped in eastern India as Tripura, a name which connects her with the strongholds of the Dasas. Of course, the Sakta tradition of eastern India is far removed from Bactria and the Dasas both temporally and geographically. But the distance between these two traditions can be bridged by means of Vedic and Epic evidence relating to Vratya religion and archaeologically by the strong resemblance between the antennae-hilted swords from BMAC sites in Bactria and the Gangetic Copper Hoards (c. 1700-1500 BC). The linguistic data associated with the Dasas also link them with the easternmost branch of Middle Indo-Aryan, the Magadhi Prakrit. The age-and-area principle of anthropology suggests that the earliest wave of Indo-Aryans was the first to reach the other end of the Subcontinent.

In other words, the enemies of the Rgvedic Aryans were Shakti worshippers who engaged in Tantric sex.
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#3
(05-Sep-2010, 06:51 AM)TTCUSM Wrote: In other words, the enemies of the Rgvedic Aryans were Shakti worshippers who engaged in Tantric sex.

And that wasn't all that they were doing. On page 176 of The Strange World of Human Sacrifice, Asko Parpola writes the following:

Quote:A lion-escorted martial goddess imported from the Near East is depicted on the seals of the “Bactria and Margiana Archaeological Complex” (=BMAC) of the Bronze Age (c. 2500-1500 BC) in Afghanistan and Turkmenistan; she apparently kept her Sumerian name Nana(ya) for two millennia, as her counterpart worshipped in Afghanistan in Kusana times was so called, and is worshipped in Afghanistan even nowadays as “Bibi Nanni”. This BMAC culture interacted with the Indus Civilization, and may be a principal source of the “Gangetic Copper Hoards”. A BMAC-type cylinder seal from the Harappan site Kalibangan bears an Indus inscription and a tiger-escorted goddess in the midst of two warriors spearing each other. Vedic texts show Vac (“Voice, Speech”) as a goddess of war identified with the lioness and connected with the Vratyas. The Vedic vratyastomas were performed before and after raiding expeditions, and closely resemble the later Hindu navaratri festivals of Goddess Durga, which involve sexual license and feasting with the meat of many different sacrificial animals. The Vedic lists of “unclean” animals (to be released) agree with Puranic lists of victims pleasing the goddess; in both cases, a human victim as the most appreciated offering heads the list.
Excavations at the BMAC site Dashly-3 in northern Afghanistan brought to light a palace with the layout of a Tantric mandala and a temple-fortress surrounded by a moat and three concentric circular walls. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Rgvedic Aryans encountered an inimical people, called Dasa, whose chief Sambara had in the mountains “autumnal forts” (saradi pur), possibly venues of the autumnal navaratri festival, like the fortress called Sar(a)di in Kashmir. Many of the goddess’s names (Durga, Kottavi, Tripura-sundari) designate her as the guardian of the fortress (durga, kotta, tripura).

There are at least three conclusions that we can draw from this data:
  • The Hindu goddess Durga is none other than the Sumerian goddess Inanna;
  • She was worshipped by the enemies of the Rgvedic Aryans; and
  • Her cult involved sex, violence, and alcohol consumption.
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#4
I do not believe everything is so clear cut because real life rarely is.

Aryan tribes were always fighting among themselves and with other tribes but that did not mean that that religious differences was the cause. Everyone in those days worshipped nature gods and that is why Vedic religion ended up assimilating other cults easily.
Dasas, Panirs, --- who actually knows who they were or even if they were an offshoot of the orignal group from whom the aryans came?
Dravidians themselves could have migrated from elsewhere, Aryans could have been one of the original people in India. No one knows, that is the point.

P.S the latest theory is that when Dasas were described as 'anasa', it did not mean they were snub-nosed, simply that they did not speak the vedic dialect, as with the origin of Greek word 'barbarian'
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#5
(07-Sep-2010, 11:59 AM)nastikashiromani Wrote: Dravidians themselves could have migrated from elsewhere

Well, they had to have migrated at some point, due to the Out of Africa Theory.
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#6
TTCUSM what is your agenda posting links to a religious education forum? Nirmukta is not a religious education forum, as you know by now. We are anti religion.
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#7
(08-Sep-2010, 02:48 PM)Sajit Wrote: TTCUSM what is your agenda posting links to a religious education forum?

Dear Sajit,

I apologize for linking to another forum.
I posted this information here because I thought it might explain the origins of certain elements in the historical Vedic religion (like the low status of women). Feel free to delete my posts if you do not think they are useful.
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