Sarasvati (texts & arch 2)

Michael Witzel witzel at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Mon May 25 13:39:56 UTC 1998

On Sun, 24 May 1998, Sn. Subrahmanya wrote:

> >But we can see enough from their seals and tablets. They do not
> >fit *Rgvedic* religion.  A deity wrestling with 2 lions? A deity
> >killing a buffalo?  A deity wrestling a buffao? etc.   Not in RV

> Have you seen some of the celtic motifs ?
> A man and two beasts are in them too.

Yes I have, but this is a well-known, ancient Mesopotamian motif. ...
Celtic motifs are from a much later period and show mediterranean
influence  (among others).

> Art historians have noted the similiarities between the cross
> legged 'yogic' horned deities of the celts with that of the seals
> from the SIVC  also.

Yes, - I think there is only one, and I always told that to students as a
joke. Since the Gundestrup vessel comes from (Germanic) Denmark but is
supposed to be Celtic, from Yugoslavia, some 500 BC or even later. An
export from the Indus valley 2000 years later? The Celtic Cernunnos 'the
horned one' rather is the typical shamanistic/hunters' religion "Lord of
the Animals" which precedes both the IE and the Harappan civilizations.
You can see him at work already in the Trois Freres Stone Age paintings,
of palaeolitic times, at 14,000 BC ... in Southern France.  Exported from
the Indus?

More about export: Don't forget the great simililarty of the Indus and the
Easter Island's rongo-rongo script, just off S.  America! The prof is that
Polynesians also use maalaas and practice ritual dance, even have some
fire ceremonies.... And not to forget, they also have a 4-caste system
with very strict taboo rules similar to those about untouchables, and
Vedic myths like those of the Rgvedic Dyaus Pitaa and PRthivii (Rangi and
Papa), who were separated by the Polynesian Indra (Toko 'pole', sorry:
Indradhvaja). I suggest a sympathetic reading of Chaman Lal's book "Hindu
America": that will provide much more evidence of such exports, ... and I
can save some time.

> Let me point out some more "cultural" evidence that might be
> of interest:
> Figuirines have been found in SIVC with red pigmentation
> between the parting of the hair (just like women in India
> do even today) and there is elephant head with a red
> pigmentation on top, like kumkum usage of today.
> (Look up India-Land of Mystery by Time Life books for the photos)

I have seen red linings and pigmentation before. (I have worked in Nepal
for 5 years and I actually have travelled and lived in India as well).
But what has all of that to do with immigration or emigration? We rather
talked about certain cultural survivals. In this case, while there is
simantonnayana in the Grhya Sutras, the red lining of the partition of the
hair is not mentioned. Again, the typical mixture of two traditions.

> Also, Parpola uses the 'pottu-min' to try and decipher the script
> on the seals. I mention all this just to reiterate the point
> that the 'tilak' is a uniquely Indian and stron cultural feature.

No, it isn't. It has a long (and, so far, well hidden history). To put you
on the track, read the later Rajataranginis and you will find that it was
done, even in the 15th c. AD with the blood of a slain enemy... I suppose
the Near Eastern and European hunting customs of doing the same thing
(with blood) is an export from the Indus Valley again?



More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list