Sarasvati (texts & arch.II)

Lakshmi Srinivas lsrinivas at YAHOO.COM
Tue May 26 19:16:06 UTC 1998

---Michael Witzel  wrote:
> We can more or less reconstruct their Soma, Animal, Pravargya,
> Horse and Fire rituals right from the Rv. Plus a lot of mythology.
Add the
> Avesta with very similar data.

In this discussion of the external vs indigenous origin, the evidence
with respect to Soma, in our current state of knowledge,  seems to be
somewhat ambiguous. (Cremation also!)

I do not know if the list members are generally aware of I.
Mahadevan's theory that the IVC Cult Object represents a Soma filter.

 A summary for those who are not aware:  Based on the overall
appearance of the cult object and the variant styles in which it has
been depicted in the Indus seals, Mahadevan identified 15 signs of the
Indus script as pertaining to the Soma ritual. His entire study is
based a fresh interpretation of the hymns in the ninth Mandala of the
RV. ( See The cult object on unicorn seals: a sacred filter? Paper
presented at The 31st Int'l Cong of Human Sciences in Asia and North
Africa, Tokyo and Kyoto, 1983. On this topic, Mahadevan read one more
paper in 1993, I think, in Helsinki. I don't have the reference.)

This hypothesis is quite significant as  in Mahadevan's words "the
cult object is the third most frequent symbol depicted on the Harappan
inscribed objects" (ibid.). Equally significant is Mahadevan's
conclusion "that the Soma (Haoma) rituals of the Indo-Iranian
religions are based on a pre-Aryan Harappan substratum and that this
is the reason for the remarkable resemblances between the Harappan
symbolism of the Sacred Filter and the Soma ritual as described in the
Rgveda" (ibid.).

The hypothesis itself seems to have been well received in the world of
South Asian archaeology. (See Possehl, Indus Age: The writing system,
Philadelphia, 1996.)

A post-script perhaps worth mentioning is that the cult object in
ivory has recently been found by the HARP project in the continuing
excavations of Harappa. The physical appearance of the object seems to
confirm the suspicion that it is some kind of a filter e.g., it has
deeply drilled holes in the bottom etc..

Wonder what the ziSHTAs think?

(Of course, Mahadevan does not think that the Indo-Aryan speakers
were responsible for the IVC. His entire work in this area is based on
the   Dravidian hypothesis.)

Warm Regards.

Lakshmi Srinivas

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