Sarasvati,boats myths etc...

S. Kalyanaraman kalyan97 at YAHOO.COM
Sun May 24 03:20:39 UTC 1998

Michael Witzel wrote:

>Now, RV 7.95 is supposed to be composed by Vasistha >(in Anukramani).
Indeed, the hymn seems to be solid, of >one piece (no trca-s here) and
thus is not thought >to be late (Oldenberg, Prolegomena, 1888!).

>If we thus take Vasistha's authorship (contemporary of >Sudas)
seriously, we are faced with the abnormal >"great Sarasvati" at the
time Sudas crosses the >confluence of the Beas & Sutlej (necessitating
a small >Sarasvati).

---George Thompson <thompson at JLC.NET> wrote:

> I think that Michael Witzel's point was that we can't expect such
wildly > mythological material to lead us to any solid conclusions
about geography.

Can we date the sequential dates of RV hymns with precision? George
Thompson is right; we have to be
careful in relying on RV to establish the sequence
of desiccation of the Sarasvati river. Geological evidence is perhaps
more reliable, though paleogeography tends to measure time in terms of
large units such as 10,000 years, even for the quaternary period.
Glaciology and geomorphology [not excluding tritium analysis of BARC
using samples of waters taken from Jaisalmer etc. along the course of
the paleochannels of Sarasvati river (S.)] seem to indicate the
sequence as follows:

1. Circa 2500 B.C. the river was navigable from Ropar
thru S.atra_n.a thru Bhawalpur thru Kotda thru Lothal. The river had
carried the glacial waters of both S.atadru (from Mt. Kailas) and
Yamuna (from Yamunotri and Har-ki-dun glaciers via Tons and Giri
rivers in W. Garhwal).
2. S.atadru took a 90 degree turn at Ropar and turned
westward, and ceased to be a tributary of S. (Note the two sequences
of desiccation of the river around Ganweriwala referred to in Mughal's
3. Ganga pirated Chambal (later called Yamuna) at
Paonta Saheb and took this tributary of S. to meet Ganga at Prayag.
4. The changes caused in earth formations (continuing even today
evidenced by the rise of the Arbuda and Himalayan ranges) and the
numerous faults in NW India led to the problem of subsurface drainage
in aquifers, more vividly along the S. paleo-channels.

For more precise dates, archaeology (carbon-14 dates) of S. sites,
offers some help. Kotdiji, Kalibangan, Kotda (Dholavira), Lothal,
Rakhigarhi, Ropar, even Chanhudaro and Mohenjodaro are caught between
the two great rivers , the Sindhu and the Sarasvati. The migrations of
people away from Sindh towards the Ganga-Yamuna doab is also
noticeable, based on this cumulative archaeological record. When
S.atadru joined S. at S.atra_n.a, Kalibangan was directly accessible
by road from Harappa. The riverine/maritime civilization
had transported their wares (and seals) along the S. and Sindhu river
channels and the Persian gulf into the Tigris-Euphrates doab.

Tritium analysis has yielded only broad data (Current Science
article). The waters of Jaisalmer deep wells are identical to those of
the waters of S. upstream. The dates are approximately 4500 years B.P.
Certainly more work has to be done on the ground to establish the
ground truth more precisely.

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