Sarasvati (texts & arch.II)

Paul K. Manansala kabalen at MAIL.JPS.NET
Wed May 27 15:26:05 UTC 1998

 Michael Witzel <witzel at FAS.HARVARD.EDU>

> On Sun, 24 May 1998, Paul K. Manansala wrote:
> > Isn't Vasistha connected with Eastern India in later literature?
> > Some intereresting facts about Vasistha:
> >
> > 1. He promoted cow worship (among beef-eaters?).
> > 2. He raised tens sons on King Sudas' wife (among patriarchal
> >     peoples?)
> > 3. In later literature he is the priest of Danavas and Daityas.
> PRECISELY:  in later literature. The Epics and the Puranas are
> re-formulations and re-interpretations, with a lot of changes made, of the
> Vedic texts.  Vasistha as been promoted "to the Heavens" in such texts,
> while in the RV he is a newcomer, without Angirasa background etc.

However, even in the RV  Vasistha's culture does not seem particularly
IE.  The RV (II 5-3-7) states that the priests of the Saudasas were Angirasas,
and Vasistha was the priest of Sudas.

> Or do you also doubt that the Epics/Puranas are *late* texts compared to
> the Vedas?
> (Love to see the proof!)

Well, according to tradition, Krishna Dvaipayana compiled both at the
same time.  Also, the Puranas are at least attempts at historical
writing.  One can't say the same thing about the Vedas.

> > > The Old Iranian of the older Avesta (Zarathustra's Gatha-s) is
> > > linguistically hardly younger than the RV. Absolute dating has not been
> > > established, though. B
> > But the Avesta is in neighboring Iran several centuries after the
> > proposed "invasion".  If the Avestan language is younger, then using
> > the standard  presumption we should suggest a migration from east to
> > west.
> How do you know that? Standard presumption?

The practice used in most other cases.  Why make exceptions here?

There simply is no means so
> far to date any Avesta texts independently from the Near Eastern sources
> and from correpondensces with the Vedas, see O Skjaervo in the Erdosy
> Volume 1995. (We would love to have a Chinese ambassador at that time in
> Bactria. Unfortunately, he came 1000 years too late!).
> Avestan is often MORE archaic than the frequently INNOVATIVE Rgvedic.
> The last sentence gives away your suppositions. -- On reading any Avesta
> section in the original you would see that it does not contain anything
> (linguistically) that could have come out of India. No Indian words, no
> Indian ideas, no Harappan items etc.

I would strongly disagree with this statement, but the argument
against it could get long and complicated.

> > > That has changed wit the finds in Bactria-Margiana and Baluchistan.
> > > Now their is a *trail*, see Hiebert in Erdosy, Indo_Aryans of Ancient
> > > South Asia, 1995. Plus the Gandhara grave culture, plus Swat.  All
> > > starting about 1880/1700 BC., and after the destruction of the Bactrian
> > > horizon about 2100 BC.
> > >>
> > Highly questionable.  We have to question the "Aryan" identification
> > here.  A lot of presumptions used to back up other presumptions.
> >
> > "Highly questionable" does not do it. This is a scholarly list (so we
> > hope) , not politics. Some examples are necessary. Let's have
> discussionon the arch. cultures mentioned above... But then,the horse, or
> rather Dadhyanc will raise its ugly horse head again...

Wrong.  The onus is on you to prove IE identification. Since we are
talking mainly about language, I would love to hear of something more
than a horse burial which was very common among *non-IE* peoples.

Paul Kekai Manansala

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