The south Asian bombs and RV date problem

S. Kalyanaraman kalyan97 at YAHOO.COM
Wed Jun 3 01:15:24 UTC 1998

---George Thompson <thompson at JLC.NET> wrote:
> [snip]
> >
> Briefly, let me tell you what my method is:
> I read the Rgveda as much as I can. I study its grammar, its
poetics, its > world-view -- from as many points of view as possible.
I compare it to > traditions that are known to be related to it,
starting with Avestan, and > other Indo-European traditions. I read
scholarship that places the RV > within the Indic linguistic area.
When I sense similarities with more
> remote cultures, I study those similarities too. I make regular
effort to > THINK about the RV in as many ways as I can conceive. But
I try always to
> be faithful to the text.
> I do not consider my knowledge of the RV "subjective." I consider it
the > product of many years of study of that text. As for the
Indo-Aryan > migration/emigration controversies, my method is very
simple, and very > limited in its scope:
> If a given position does not agree with what I know of the RV I
reject it. > If it agrees, I entertain it.

We can debate this.

At the outset, I agree fully with the method as outlined by George
Thompson. The problem is so immense that this has to be a collective
effort of all indologists.

The validating process is superb and should be the basis for
entertaining 'external' evidence.

Perhaps, one of the greatest 'collective' achievements of indology in
the last hundred or so years, is the 'decipherment' of the Rigveda.
The interpretation has been possible mainly because of the use of
lexemes from the lingustic area to 'read' what Michael Witzel calls
the tape-recordings.

Have we not move a long distance from Sa_yan.a who broke the ground
away from the 'oral' tradition?

What I meant by 'subjectivity' was this use of 'data' external to the
texts. The other element of 'subjectivity' relates to extrapolating
the RV evidence back and forth in time, either towards Iran or Avesta
or towards the 'traditions' noticed in the linguistic area in
historical periods.

Another aspect of 'external' evidence is archaeology which brings its
own baggage of methods.

Language is not mathematics, words have no embedded dates and
archaeological finds seem to get a life of their own with the
carbon-14 dating.


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