Sarasvati (texts & arch.III)

Sn. Subrahmanya sns at IX.NETCOM.COM
Sat May 23 21:47:26 UTC 1998

>Michael Witzel wrote:
>Well, in fact, not at all: I just mentioned the Mitanni, eh? And I
>mentioned them earlier (Mitanni with their Asvins = Nasatya), I guess in
>another "horse" message. Well known since Thieme's c. 1960 argumentation.
>Their importance depends on the spin you want to give to their appearanae
>at c.1380 BC in Syria/Iraq.

Here are some excerpts from "The Emergence of the Indo-Iranians: The
languages." Harmatta, In History of Civilizations of Central Asia.
Ed: A.H.Dani and V.M.Masson

Harmatta writes {begin quote}"
In the scanty linguistic material of the Kassites three important
terms denoting deities occur: Suriyas,Maruttas and Bugas corresponding
to the Old Indian names Surya, Marut and Bhaga. Surya and Marut are unknown
in Old Iranian; this fact clearly points to the borrowing by the Kassites
of these names from the Proto-Indian. Thus, linguistic evidence speaks
clearly for the assumption that the people of war-charioteers, which had
induced the Kassites to invade Babylonia, belonged to the Proto-Indians."
"...Proto-Indian linguistic influence was considerable on the vocabulary
of horse breeding, horse training, social life and training as shown by
the following list of Proto-Indian terms borrowed by the Hurrians and
other peoples of Western Asia.
Horse breeding and horse training:
    azvani 'horse driver';azva 'horse'. This term was borrowed by
    Heiroglyphic Hittite in the form azuwa, by Hebrew in the form of the
    radical s-w-s(<*azvas) becoming sus and by Akkadian with metathesis
    *azvas s-w-s > s-s-w giving sisu.
    *vazhanasya Gen.'ground', vartani 'round', babhru 'brown', palita 'grey'
    pingala 'red', *aika -'one', tri 'three', panca 'five', sapta 'seven',
    nava 'nine', vart 'to turn', rathya 'part of the chariot'
Social life:
    marya 'member of the charioteer aristocracy', *mizdha 'wage',
    magha 'gift,present', mani 'necklace', rukma 'jewel', khadi 'bracelet'
    Mitra, Varuna, Indra, Nasatya, Agni (in Hittite ritual texts)
    'names of gods'
(Phonetic forms which are earlier than Vedic Indian are marked with an *)

Also many personal names are known; they enlarge considerably our knowledge
of the Proto-Indian vocabulary. There were heated debates to the extent
and importance of the Proto-Indian ethnic elements in Mesopotamia. In the
present writers opinion recent research tends to underestimate or even
to deny the role played by the Proto-Indians in Mesopotamia in general
and in the Mittani kingdom in particular." {end quote}

Thus there is clear evidence of  Indian vedic names (not Indo-Iranian!)
 and vocabulary showing up in  West Asia long before the time you say
the Rgveda was compiled. Also, as we have already seen, by your own argument
the Rgveda has indications of the time of the confluence of the
Beas and the Satluj (probably a time even before the appearance of
Indian vocabulary in west-asia) and even older as well.

Because of this evidence, I think that the dating of the Rgveda
to 1500-1200 is a gross underestimation.

As already stated, it seems that you interpret based on a presumption
that the Rgvedic people came into India from outside and thus have to
fit the date of the Rgveda accordingly. For this hypothesis to be true
we have to assume these Vedic people having come in from outside and then
compose the Rgveda using remembered information from the locals about
the Satluj and the Beas and then rename a local river as the Sarasvati
based on a still older reminiscence of an Iranian river!.

I really appreciate Prof Witzel for taking the time to answer the questions
and I have learnt a few more things in the process.  Thanks a lot.

(please pardon the long postings)

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