Vedic Geography


Sujalaam, Sufalaam, Malyaja Sheetalaam
Shasya Shyaamlaam Maataram..

When I decided to look for Geographical descriptions in the sacred texts, I was hoping to find verses talking about the mighty Himalayas, fertile river valleys, dense tropical forests, vast oceans and maybe a bit of sand dunes thrown in to complete the picture of India.



The mighty Himalayas frame our northern border



I found all this for sure corroborating in my mind that the Vedic people were spread throughout the Indian sub-continent.

But then, I found some more.. To my surprise, the entire World Geography was extensively described in the scriptures along with the details of their mountains, rivers and the races inhabiting them!

Although the names and divisions of these landmasses understandably differ from what they are now, the very mention of them indicated a recognition of the vastness of our planet at that early age..



Geography in ancient Hindu scriptures


Ancient Indians called this planet 'Bhu-gol' or the Round Earth, proving advancement over the flat-Earth theory believed by almost every other Early civilization.

In his famous Book on India, Alberuni, the medieval Islamic scholar quotes an Indian astronomer Brahmagupta to write-

"A man on Meru observes one identical star above the horizon in the zenith of Lanka, the country of demons, whilst a man in Lanka at the same time observes it above his head. Besides all astronomical observations are not correct unless we assume the globular shape of heaven and earth. 

Therefore we must declare that heaven is a globe, and the observation of these characteristics of the world would not be correct unless in reality it were a globe. Now it is evident that all other theories about the world are futile." 



Bhu-gol




Quoting another great astronomer-mathematician Varahamihira, he further writes:

"Mountains, seas, rivers, trees, cities, men, and angels, all are around the globe of the earth. And if Yamakoti and Rum are opposite to each other, one could not say that the one is low in relation to the other, since low does not exist… 

Every one speaks of himself, 'I am above and the others are below,' whilst all of them are around the globe like the blossoms springing on the branches of a Kadamb-tree."


Wow!! I thought this would be the maximum extent of the ancients' geographical knowledge but I was to be surprised yet again. Here I was, trying to look for the descriptions of Saraswati valley or the Southern Dandak forests and what do I stumble upon- The description of different planets of our Solar System as well as the Lokas of advanced aliens besides the detailed analysis of our galaxy Akashganga, and finally the Universe itself!



The Nav-grihas or Nine Planets




Understandably, my mind was in a flux for days together when I read all this not in an advanced publication on Astronomy but in  Shrimad Bhagvat Puran, a religious book preaching devotion to Krishna. No wonder then the Hare Krishna followers consider it their Holy Bible!

Count Louis Hamon aka Cheiro, Irish author of several books on Science and the Occult, once remarked,

"People who in their ignorance disdain the wisdom of ancient races, forget that the great past of India contained secrets of life and philosophy that following civilizations were forced  to accept.  

Ancient Hindus understood the Precession of Equinoxes and calculated it once in 25,870 years.The mathematical precision necessary to establish such a theory is the wonder of Astronomers even today!"


But did the presence of such data mean Hinduism developed all around the globe (or Universe) and NOT in the Indian sub-continent alone?

Or does it show that even if the Origin of Hinduism was in India, the Seers and Magi through their Yogic powers fathomed the deepest mysteries of Space and Time which the scientists today are still struggling to explain through logic and their supercomputers and space-telescopes.

While we get an overwhelming sense of Scientific advancement from the Vedic literature, what is not really clear even today is the geographical extent of the Vedic civilization. With the limited knowledge they had, earlier historians gave Aryan Invasion Theory first and theAryan Migration Theory later suggesting the development of  Vedic culture outside India.




Estimated extent of Hinduism Before Christ



According to them, Hinduism in its present form developed through inter-mixing with the local indigenous traditions. However, as stated elsewhere, with new and new evidences pouring in everyday this view has been completely written off now!!

Indian Historian, Lokmanya Balgangadhar Tilak, in his phenomenal book written in 1895 - {The Arctic Home in the Vedas}, gave a succinct and extremely logical view about Aryans developing their civilization near the North pole and migrating throughout the world from their original homeland in the Arctic after the end of the last Ice Age.

This view may possibly hold true for this current post-glacial period, however, American scholar David Frawley in the book {Gods, Sages and Kings}, argues for an indigenous development of culture in India and subsequent migrations outwards towards the Middle-East and South-East Asia spreading the knowledge of Hinduism in the civilized world.



Indus Valley Seals with Vedic motifs



The earliest Vedas themselves  refer to their land as the Sapta Sindhu, or the 'Land of Seven Rivers', while the Nadistuti sukta, [RV 10.75] gives a list of ten rivers both East and West of the Indus.

The most prominent river of the Rigveda is the Saraswati, next to the Indus. The Rigvedic rivers mentioned, cover the stretch from Ganges plains in the East to Afghanistan in the West thus giving us a sense of the direction of movement of people from within India to outside!

Today, Rome is widely accepted as the forbearer of Western Civilization, but few people are aware, that excavations from the OLDEST Civilization of Italy, known as the Etruscan Civilization, has revealed artefacts with Hindu motifs on them!


Etruscan pendant with Swastika Motifs



It's hard to conclusively decide the Geography of the Vedic Civilization as the Historians are of differing view-points and the archeological evidence is not fully understood.  I hope once the Indus-Saraswati script is deciphered, it could give us some pointers about how true my educated guesses are. 

Surprisingly, the Indus-Saraswati or Brahmi script has also been found on statues and tablets in the far off Easter Islands located in the south-Pacific sea!! These are one of the world's most isolated inhabited islands and are one of the mysteries of the modern world with 887 monumental statues, called Moai!



Easter Island Statues



Is there a link between the people of Indus -Saraswati and of Easter Island I have no clue, but the similarity in the scripts is striking and more than 90 signs from both the places have been matched perfectly!!

Chronologically, the people of Indus-Saraswati Civilization existed much before these statues were created but the similarity in scripts is intriguing and may point to long distance navigation abilities of the Harrapan people.


Indus-Saraswati and Easter Island Scripts



Still, recent developments such as the Discovery of Saraswati and its identification with the present-day Ghaggar-Hakra, have helped realize the antiquity of our civilization! I will be presenting a post on this in detail later so keep checking the Recent Posts section on the right hand side :)  


Interestingly, Genetics is helping us get a sense of our roots! According to the research findings such as MtDNA Haplogroup Study in Indian Peninsula and the Indian Genome Variation project, Indian sub-continent saw the first wave of migration of humanity out of Africa, directly into India!

This implies an early settlement and demographic growth soon after ‘Out-of-Africa’ dispersal of anatomically modern humans in the Late Pleistocene period. I have tried to cover some of these interesting topics in posts like-

{Finding River Saraswati},
{Genetics of the Wandering Indian},
{Jambudweep, the Global Island} and
{India and Bharat}


We need to analyze all these studies objectively to find out the correct extent and presence of genetically Indian populations in different parts of the world. And in order to do that, we need to Begin at the Beginning.


.
Aum Shanti: Shanti: Shanti:
.

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