Pioneering writings of Maharishi(Swami) Dayananda Saraswati (1824-1883) and other Scholars in exploding the myth of Aryan Invasion Theory.
It is observed that even though the Aryan Invasion Theory has been discarded long back but there is hardly any educational institution which is teaching that the AIT is false and baseless. Despite serious attempts made in the last over 130 years beginning with Maharishi(Swami) Dayananda Saraswati, scholars of Arya Samaj, Sri Aurobindo, Dr.Fatah Singh and many others to refute and forthrightly condemn AIT on logical grounds, no significant success seems to have been achieved in overturning this theory. Even the mighty voice of Swami Ramdevji which he raises against AIT from time to time seems to be falling on deaf ears.
GENESIS OF ARYAN INVASION THEORY
According to Swami Vidyanand Saraswati(formerly Principal, Arya College Panipat and Fellow Punjab University), the Aryan migration to India from Central Asia was theorised in London at the office of the Royal Asiatic Society in April, 1866. The meeting was presided over by Viscount Strongfold. To propagate this theory, centres were established in Banaras and Lahore. While Mr.T.H. Griffith was appointed Principal of Banaras Queens College, Mr.A.C. Woolner was made Principal of Oriental College at Lahore. M.A. students of Sanskrit in these colleges were sent to Oxford on scholarship who were later appointed as Lecturers in Indian Colleges. Both the above colleges adopted the courses of studies prescribed by Oxford University and Vedic literature was presented in perverted form. These students who had been indoctrined at U.K. universities proved to be potent instruments in propagating the fabricated and half-baked Aryan Invasion Theory. Due to the endless repetition of the AIT, it has not only established firmly into the minds of a common man but also that of intelligentsia. I strongly feel that unless the academia, the elite class and the theo-politicians remove their western tainted glasses, AIT myth is going to prevail. So long as our Vedic scholars are not able to put the Vedic texts in their true perspective and interpret the figurative language of the Vedas as per guidelines set by ancient rishies (which were revived by Swami Dayananda Saraswati and others in recent times), we shall not be able to reverse the disinformation campaign pertaining to Aryan Invasion Theory.
Who is an Arya and Who is a Dasyu?
Historically speaking, it was Swami Dayananda Saraswati in 1875 who for the first time challenged the idea of Aryan Migration into India as propounded by Western scholars. He wrote in Chapter VIII of his book Satyartha Prakasha “No Sanskrit work writes that the Aryas came from Iran and after defeating and driving out the aborigines became the rulers of this country. How can we then accept the statement of foreigners.”According to Swami Dayananda, Aryas have great works of literature and records, greater and older than those of any ancient people. But no-where it is mentioned that the Aryas are the victors of this country. Had it been so, then there is no reason as to why should they conceal their victory. On the authority of Manusmriti, Swamiji has given the geographical boundreis of Arya Vrat i.e,land of cultured people , it lies between boundries of Himalyas in the north and mountains called Vindhyas stretching right upto Rameshwaram in the South. As per Maharishi Manu, countries outside of Aryavrata are called Malechha desh. Swamiji in the above chapter on Cosmology while answering a question pertaining to number of classes(castes) which were there at the time of creation of the earth says in the beginning there was only one class of human beings. Later on they got divided into two depending upon their actions. Those who were learned and virtuous were called Aryas and ignorant and evil doers were called Dasyus.
Foreign Scholars’ meagre knowledge of Vedic- Sanskrit and their failure to follow the guidelines for interpretation of the Vedas
Without knowing the peculiarities of the Vedic Sanskrit language which is different from Classicial Sanskrit and without following the clues/guidelines prescribed by ancient Rishis for interpretation of the Vedic texts, the so called foreign scholars of Vedas (some of whom were hired by the Imperial Govt.) and their Indian Camp followers have interpreted the words Aryas and Dasyus as referring to different classes, castes or tribes. Swami Dayananda Saraswati was forthright in censuring Max Muller and his Sanskrit scholarship and he commented upon his misinterpretation of some of the Vedic hymns. Mr.Brahma Datt Bharti in his book ‘Max Muller a lifelong Masquerade‘(pub by EraBooks, New Delhi, 1992 Ed.) says “The Swami had likened Max Muller, so far as his knowledge of Vedic-Sanskrita was concerned, to that of a child who was still learning to walk.” “In his book Satyartha Prakash he made such biting reference to Max Muller and his capacity and learning as a Sanskritist that it must have severely nettled the German scholar. ” It is understood that Swami Dayananda also had correspondence with Max Muller who had initially propounded the Aryan Race theory. Later on Max Muller withdrew this theory and remarked that the term Arya referred to people speaking Aryan language.
Symbolic & Multiple meanings of Vedic terms (poetic expressions) not taken in right perspective by foreign scholars and their Indian camp followers
As mentioned above, the caste differences are often traced by some vested interests to the Vedas and the symbolic fight between gods and demons found in the Vedas is interpreted by them as fight between Aryans and Dravadians. The word Varna has been derived from the root word Vriyn, i.e., to choose. Explaining this, Swami Dayananda said that it is not necessary that a man’s varna corresponds with that of his parents. Swamiji vociferously condemned hereditary caste system with the backing of scriptures and clarified that the Vedic Varna system based on worth of a person has no samblance with the present day birth based caste system. Dr.Dilip Vedalankar describes “The Varna System examined the man in totality which was obviously more than economic. All men have these four kinds of personality traits. He was expected to choose the one for which he was preponderantly suitable. The four varnas are in fact not four vacations but they represent four psychological tendencies of social groups. Every individual has to discover his soul. The Varna system was an attempt to take the organic society to its organic collective soul. The division of labour is a part of it. ” (Vedic Humanism by Dr.Dilip Vedalankar, pub. by Vijaykumar Govindram Hasanand, 2001 Ed.). Varna has also a secondary meaning, i.e., color. The imperialist writers of the last century mainly because of their colour-psychology and racial outlook and being obsessed with the superiority of their race interpreted varna as colour and jumped upon the Aryan invasion theory. They haphazardly concluded that Varna distinction was due to colour and the white coloured Aryans introduced it when they conquered darker aborigines called Dasyus. (Incidentally as per ancient texts, Lord Rama, Lord Krishna, Draupadi,Chanakya and many other revered personalities who are associated with Aryas were of darker hue).
Vedic Basis of Indus Culture
As per proponents of AIT, the Dasyus, and those Aryans who had mixed with the Dasyus and married them were called Shudras. It is really shocking that the above theory has been taken up blindly without ascertaining its truth. Swami Vidyanand Saraswati, and an eminent Vedic scholar says in his book ‘Aryavarta – The original habitat of Aryans’(pub.by Vijaykumar Govindram Hasanand, New Delhi, 1996 Ed.) “The conflict between an Arya or a Dasyu , it is not beween two particular races or tribes, but between the law(dharma) – ABIDER and the law(dharma) BREAKER. To strive to sense such things in the Vedas would be our utter ignorance.”
In a paper ‘The Veda: The Knowledge of the Universal Man'(Veda- Savita. January, 1983), Dr.Fateh Singh writes “The so called scientific interpretation of the Vedas failed to appreciate the traditional view that Vedic mantras are capable to multiplicity of meanings, corresponding to the universal, rational, sensory and physical levels of human self. This view was once universally known to the mankind. A characteristic example of the same may still be seen in the characters of Chinese writings where the same symbols can signify the Sun, the Light and the Knowledge at one and the same time. This is what we find everywhere in the symbolic expressions with which the Vedic texts appear before us”. Dr.Fatah Singh who was able to decipher over 2500 indus seals concluded that Indus Valley Civilization was a Vedic Civilization and in 1969 for publishing his research, he was forced by the Govt.to either quit his post as Director, Rajasthan Oriental Research Institute or to withdraw his thesis. Dr.Fatah Singh immediately resigned from the Govt.post rather than backtracking.(Source: Vedvidya ka puner Udhar by Dr.Fatah Singh, pub.by Ved Sansthan, New Delhi, 2004 Ed.)
Difference between Vedic Sanskrit and Classical Sanskrit
“There is a world of difference between the Vedic language which is also called Vedic Sanskrit and the Classical Sanskrit of the epics, Shastras and Kavyas, etc. Sometimes the meanings of the words have changed altogether”.(Source: Vedic Sanskrit: Mother of All Languages by Swami Dharmananda Saraswati (Vidyamartand) 1979 Ed.). The term ‘Gau’ in Vedic Sanskrit may mean cow or earth, rays of sun, sense organs, speech, etc. The word Parvat means mountain, but also cloud. Vedic Agni has again various shades of meanings like fire, God, energy, etc. Svah in classical Sanskrit means heaven but in Vedic Sanskrit it may mean sun, sky, heaven, happiness. The words ‘vritra’ and asur are used in Classicial Sanskrit for the Rakshasa in general,but in the Vedic Lexicon, they are the names of cloud. The word Shachi is used in Classical Sanskrit for Indra’s wife, while in the Vedic lexicon Nighantu, it is used for speech, wisdom and action. Therefore, for correct interpretation, it is important to refer to context of Ved Mantras which are poetic expressions in allegorical language and follow other guidelines and methodology as enunciated by ancient Rishies like Yaska’s Nirukta, Panini’s Ashtadhyayee, Patanjali’s Mahabhashya, etc. Western scholars failed to understand the nuances of the Vedic language, e.g., Ralph T.H. Griffith in his note on the Rigvedic hymn (1-10-1) writes – “The dusky brood: The dark aborigines who opposed the Aryans.” i.e,, the dark coloured aborigines who opposed Aryas are called Dasa or Dasyu. In order to prove the aborigines as dark-coloured he refers to the six mantras of Rigveda (1-101-1; 1-130-8; 2-20-7; 4-16-13; 6-47-21 and 7-5-3) in which the word Krishna has been used. As a matter of fact different types of colours are mentioned in these mantras and not human beings. Skandswami has interpreted Krishna-garbha as black clouds. That is why in the Vedas the so called leaders of Dasyus, Shambar, Chumuree, Dhumi, Varchin, etc are classified as different types of clouds. In many manras Indra is called Vritraha, i.e, killer of enemies. In the Vedas clouds are referred to as Vrittra and so the sun or lightening when it dispenses the clouds and causes rain is called Indra. Yaskacharya wrote five thousand years ago “This war like phenomena refers to rain. On account of lack of knowledge about the poetic description in the Vedas, the foreigners have distorted the meanings of the words” (Source: Original Home of the Aryans by Swami Vidyanand Saraswati, pub.by The Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, New Delhi 1987Ed).
Max Muller’s Double Standards
It is quite improbable to expect from a hired scholar to remain intellectually honest. This is evident from a letter which Prof.Max Muller wrote to his wife in 1986 “I hope, I shall finish that work(translating the Rigveda). It(Veda) is the root of their religion and to show them what the root is, I feel sure, is the only way of uprooting all that has sprung up during the last three thousand years.” And on 16th December, 1868 he wrote to the Duke of Argyll, the then Secretary of State for India – “The ancient religion of India is doomed, now if Christianity does not step in, whose fault will it be?”(Source: A Clue to understanding of the Vedas by Swami Vidyanand Saraswati, pub.by Vijay Kumar Govindram Hasanand, New Delhi, 1996 Ed.). From the above it is evident that complimenting the Vedic tradition and praising the spiritual knowledge of India by Max Muller in his later years in his book ‘India, What Can it Teach Us?’ was like blowing hot and cold with the same breath.
The Word Arya a Qualitative Term and Not a Racial Term
The Vedas are indeed the voice of ‘weal and welfare’ meant for the psychic and physical efficiency, respectively connoted by ‘Arya’ and ‘Shudra’ words. No where in the Vedas do these words refer to any race or caste. “It is by conduct and behaviour that one becomes Arya and not by birth or wealth”. This is the consistent view of Indian tradition, right from the Vedas down to the Smritis, Puranas and the great epics. The word Arya was a favourite term with Budha who called his ‘Four Noble Truths’ as ‘Four Arya Saach’. Sri Aurobindo has remarked “The word Arya expresses a particular ethical and social order of well-governed life, courage, gentleness, purity, humanity, compassion, protection of the weak, liberty, observance of social duties, eagerness for knowledge, respect for the wise and the learned and the social accomplishment. There is no word in human speech that has a nobler history.” (Arya, Vol.1, 1963)
The most significant thing about an Arya was that whenever anybody was found guilty of an unworthy act, he or she was invariably reprobated or repremended as anarya, i.e, one behaving in a manner unbecoming of an Arya. Rigveda 10–22-8 makes it clear that dasyu is one who remains engaged in evil deeds, such as , cruelty, falsehood and killing, is not willing to sacrifice for the sake of others, is devoid of rational thinking and one who does not observe discipline in life. In Rigveda mantra 6.22.10, Indra or king has been exhorted to make Dasyus as Aryas. Rigveda Mantra 9.63.5 enjoins that while you raise yourself spiritually by eradicating your evil qualities, at the same time make the entire world Arya (krunvanto vishvamaryam). If human beings are born Aryas and Dasyus, then how could they be made Aryas through reform. When Arjuna felt despondent and refused to fight, saying that he would rather live on alms than kill his kith and kin, Lord Krishna reprimanded him, saying that he was behaving like an anarya. – ‘anaryajushtam‘ – Gita 2.2). When Kaikayi insisted on sending Rama into exile for fourteen years, Dasharath and later Valmiki too called her anarya (Ayodhya Kanda, 13.5;19.19). When Dushyant discarded Shakuntala, saying that he did not recognise her, the latter reproched him, saying that he was anarya. In Ramayana, Rama is called “Arya Sarvsamshaiva saddaiva priyadarshana” i.e, an Arya who looks on everyone alike and is ever pleasant looking. Mahatma Buddha has also used the word Arya for noble persons. He defined Arya in Dhamma in the following terms: “A person who kills living beings is not an Arya. Arya always entertains feeling of non-killing for all living beings.” Prof.K.V. Paliwal in his book Untouchability Alien to Hindu Dharma, (pub by Hindu Writers Forum, New Delhi, 2005 Ed.) while explaining the difference between Arya and Dasyu has given the example of Ravana who even though was born to Brahmarishi Pulstya of Arya Varna, but because of his misconduct was called a rakshasa.
In the larger national interest, all well meaning Indians may make a beginning by discarding Aryan Invasion Theory lock, stock and barrel. It is the need of the hour to come out-of-the-box thinking, stop nursing the debunked and unfounded Aryan Invasion Theory, refrain from spreading the false notions of Aryan and Dravidian as separate races and present the Vedic tradition in its true perspective. I am sure that consistent and collective efforts made in his regard will go a long way in removing the misgivings and misconceptions and in convincing the judiciary that ‘Bharat’ is the Original Home of the Aryans. Else, politicans shall keep on making political mileage out of the artificial divide and imperial powers hostile to our country shall continue to fish in the troubled waters.
( Y.K. Wadhwa )