Dr. Thompson's dating of the Rigveda

Vishal Agarwal vishalagarwal at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue May 18 22:58:48 UTC 1999

Mr. Thompson's dating of the Rigveda at 1000 B.C.E raises a serious quesion.
At present, we have about 200 Vedic texts (from Samhitas to
Kalpasutraparisistas) extant. No Vedic scholar dates any Vedic text later
than 4th Cent. A.D. We also know that the extant Vedic literature is a small
fraction of what once existed and therefore can safely assume that there
were literally more than a 1000 texts that existed once. Even in the extant
Vedic texts, we get the feeling that they are separated from each other by
several centuries (for instance, compare the Gopatha Brahman to the Rigveda
Samhita). If we assume that Dr. Thompson is correct, then we will have to
agree that 'Vedic Aryans' composed and compiled more than 1000 texts in 13
centuries. Can a semi-civilized nomadic community write such complex corpus?
Patanjali's Mahabhasya states that there were 21 schools of Rigveda, 101 of
Yajurveda, 1000 of Samaveda and 9 of Atharvaveda. Even assuming that the
1000 for Samaveda refers to something other than Shakhas, is it reasonable
to assume that several 100 schools of Vedas arose within a mere 7 centuries?
As for Patanjali's numbers for the other 3 vedas, they are actually on the
lower side since we find names of more than 21 Rigvedic schools, more than
101 Yjurvedic schools and more than 9 Atharvana schools in the literature.

Several of these Vedic texts clearly pre-suppose several centuries of
development behind them. For instance, Yaska's Nirukta quotes 13 or so
predecessors. That these quotations are not derived from 'floating oral
traditions' but rather from actual written works is proven by the fact that
many more citations of the Niruktas of Shakapuni, Galava etc. are
encountered in commentaries on Rigveda, Yaskiya Nirukta etc. Now, Yaskiya
Nirukta itself is dated  by many as 6th Cent. B.C.E. So do you see the
absurdity of Dr. Thompson's date.

Consider again the Ashtradhyayi. Herein, Maharshi Panini quotes 2 dozen or
so predecessors. A work (Siksa Sutras)  of one of these (Apisali) has
actually been published. Now Panini himself belonged to the Mahesvara
Sampradaya of Vyakarana. There were the Aindra and other schools of
Vyakaranas and manuscripts of these works existed as late as the 17th Cent.
(see the Kavindracarya Sucipatra for instance). In fact, a fragment of a
pre-Paninean grammarian's (Kashkritsna) sutras on Grammar as also the
Dhatupatha have been discovered and also published. My point is that even
the current extant texts pre-suppose several millenia of systematic

Therefore, Dr. Thompson;s dating, based on a comparison of the other
Indo-Aryan languages, to the neglect of a rigorous study of Sanskrit
literature, is simply absurd.



----Original Message Follows----
From: "N. Ganesan" <naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Re: Book review: Indus Age- the Writing System by
Date: Sun, 2 May 1999 10:51:35 PDT

Shanka writes:
Please do prvide concrete evidence for Mr Thompson's dating of the Rg
Veda. A simple 'he says so' is inadmissible. ..>>>

Unable to oblige your request as I simply wrote my understanding
of what I read in Indology. Here is the exact wordings of
Prof. Thompson on 18 oct 98:
"Second, what is "the Vedic period", and where was it located [the
focus of this extended thread, after all]? As far as I can tell,
there is no significant gap between attested Scythian at the 8th cent
BCE and the language of RV. What? Perhaps a couple of centuries?
How old exactly is RV 8.46? And where was it composed? In my view,
early Vedic, and in particular RV book 8, is better understood as
the product of an Indo-Iranian culture, rather than as a strictly
Indic one. I have made this assertion repeatedly on this list."

What is the date of Rigveda? 3000 B.C. written in Harappa???
Do you have any concrete evidence to disprove Prof. Thompson?

I also scanned thru' J. Lesley Fitton, The discovery of the Greek
bronze age. Harvard UP, 1996. Astoninshingly, the vast Greek
texts do not speak of Crete and Mycenae either. These cities have been
found only recently. Why does it become inadmissible among the
Indian powerful & mighty elites that 'Aryans, speaking a language akin
to Old Iranian, entered India like what Indo-Europeans have
done all over the world?' Example: Celts, Hittites, Greeks.

Let me also quote Prof. Witzel, Harvard university,
+Substrates exist anywhere in the world, except before the
+Americas and Polynesia were first populated, comparatively
+recently. E.g., Europe is full of substrates and no one denies or
+deplores that. So why should it be different in South Asia? No one
+ *ever* entered ?

N. Ganesan

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