Sarasvati (texts & arch.II)

Michael Witzel witzel at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Fri May 29 22:58:01 UTC 1998

On Thu, 28 May 1998, Paul K. Manansala wrote:

> > > However, even in the RV  Vasistha's culture does not seem particularly
> > > IE.             > Sorry, that should be Iranian rather than IE.

Did I not just give a number of hints that Vasistha may be linked to Iran
rather than to an IA background?

These items need to be discussed OR SILENCE IS APPROPRIATE.
We do not need simple OPINIONS such as the one above.
That could be done on any india.alt list.

> Doesn't Vasistha make a sacrifice to Vishnu in Chap. VII?  Vishnu is
> possibly an aboriginal god with a Dravidian name. I don't see
> anything particularly different between V's style/ritual and the
> rest of the RV.

See above. DETAILS?

(for Visnu check Mayrhofer EWA + KEWA! There are several possibilities

> The divine birth of V together with Agastya in a pot is said by some
> to indicate aboriginal origin.  Such devices were often used to
> explain divine births as in the case of the birth of the Pandavas,
> who all had the same mother but different divine fathers.  I think
> that the later association of V with Eastern India cannot be ignored.

First, we have to deal with the RV. Not with the *much* later Epic (which
copies + re-interprets Vedic data).

Indeed, the Mira+Varuna-dropped-seed-into-a-lake (puSkara) birth of
Vasistha (RV 7.33, I forgot last time) is another trick to circumvent his
unclear origins (speaking in Kuruksetra, he says "from across the Indus"

Not from the EAST. I quoted the RV passage already... FACTS! not

> As far as I'm
> concerned the RV could have been written around ~500 BCE rather than
> ~1500 BCE.

This is, I am afraid, and it must be said finally, pure ignorance!

First. The RV was not written either at 1500 nor at 500 BC. But composed
and preserved ORALLY. All of this really is first year Vedic. Remember
Prof.Krishanmurti's exasperation? -  I WILL NO LONGER PROVIDE such
basic info. There is other work to do.

Second, how do you get from the archaic language of the RV to the Prakrit
spoken by the Buddha at or shortly after 500 BC? Or to Asoka's Prakrits,
c.  250 BC??? Or Patanjali's Sanskrit 150 BC???

Instead, the development of the Vedic language inside the Vedic texts
(five !! stages) indicates that a *long* time was needed to get from A to
B (RV to Upanisads). And Buddha's Prakrt. And Patanjali.

> > Love to hear it. ANY Indian words, of Dravidian, Munda, nay even
> > Burushaski origin in Avesta ???? If not, silence is appropriate.

> Not a question of whether they exist, but whether the Eurocentric
> mindset will accept.

examples or SILENCE!

> > Dadhyanc is a RV myth, not a *non-IE* horse burial.
> > That's why I chose him, not any old horse burial. Unfortunately he can't
> > *speak* to us.

> But horse burial is common.  A single burial with a horse's head just
> doesn't get it.  Maybe that was all that was left of the poor
> fellow's horse after a battle.  Or maybe it was just a local
> variation.

Maybe, maybe.... opinions...  The case is so special that I chose it.
It is NOT a horse burial. But one of a man whose head was removed and
SUBSTITUED by that of a horse. Plus Yama's flute at his feet.

V. F. Gening, Mogil'nik Sintashta i problema rannikh
Indoiranskikh plemen. Sovietskaya Arkheologiya 1977, p. 53-73

Gening, V.F., Zdanovich, G.B., Gening, V.V.
Sintashta. Chelyabinsk : Iuzhno-Ural'skoe Izdatel'stvo 1992

First look at the reports, then judge!

> But I'm confused.  You're referring now to RV culture rather than IE?
> Why would we find an RV burial in the Urals so early?

Read again.I did not say RV burial. The myth is attested in RV. <<The area
from where many (not all) of the RV traits are supposed to come from.
That's why the Dadhyanc case is so interesting. (Plus, chariots etc.
Another discussion. >>

ALAM!!!  tUSNIM bhavatu!

Michael Witzel                       witzel at

phone: 1- 617 - 495 3295 (voice & messages), 496 8570, fax 617 - 496 8571
my direct line (also for messages) :  617- 496 2990

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