Dr.Thompson' dating of the RV...

Shrisha Rao shrao at IA.NET
Sat May 22 10:44:41 UTC 1999

On Sat, 22 May 1999, Yaroslav V. Vassilkov wrote:

> >From yavass Fri May 21 01:47:41 MSD 1999
> >Sri Iyer wrote:
> >>What is your taking as Rigveda's date...
> >Vishal replies:
> >I am not competent enough to make a call on this issue.
> If so, what particularly makes you think that you are competent enough
> to dismiss Professor Thompson's hypothesis (which is firmly based on the
> wide range of Rgvedic, as well as Avestan, texts) and even call it "absurd"?

Such vainglorious ad hominem does no justice to you or to the position you
are trying to support.  It is perfectly reasonable to find that someone
else's conclusion on a certain topic is not in order, even if one has not
oneself reached a final conclusion yet.

It certainly is a valid question to ask as to how the RV could have been
composed in 1000 BC, and then the whole mantra corpus of the various
shAkhA-s of the RV itself, and then the other Vedas and their myriad
rescensions, and then the brAhmaNa-s, and then the nirukta, the mImAMsA
and the kalpasUtra-s and the like, could all have settled in, before
Panini, who certainly cannot be placed later than 500 BC (and we must note
that Panini is not even the first of his kind, as noted by Mr. Agrawal).
Mr. Thompson's efforts have, lamentably, not accounted for these points
Mr. Agrawal noted, and merely appealing to the former's competence (and
berating the latter for lack thereof) is not a cogent response.

>         As for your own suggestions, how can you explain the fact that the
> civilization of Classical Greece in the first four or five centuries of its
> existence produced several times more texts than Vedic India in its
> whole history? (If we take into account only surviving texts, which is the
> only correct procedure). Should the Greeks too claim a period of several
> millenia for their several thousand titles or so? And what about China?

Let's take things from the top.  How do you know that classical Greece
produced greater textual output?  Where are the comparisons made, and what
are the quantities?  No handwaving please.  Secondly, what makes you think
that it is only correct to consider surviving texts?  Is there a rule of
some kind that equal proportions of texts will have survived to the
present day from ancient civilizations of like dates?  Lastly, to
pre-suppose the notion that "Vedic India" produced the texts whose dates
are under dispute, is assuming the consequence, after a fashion -- lacking
any agreement about the dates of "Vedic India," or even its nature and
existence, it becomes impossible to invoke it as a tool in one's argument.


Shrisha Rao

>                                         Yaroslav Vassilkov

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