Harappan Euhemerus

Steve Farmer saf at SAFARMER.COM
Sun Dec 17 06:10:55 UTC 2000

Stephen Hodge wrote:

> Ok, so Shendge may be guilty of unwarranted hyperbolic elaboration in
> her reconstruction of specifics but why should one simply dismiss a
> suggestion that certain gods were orginally mere mortals as euhemerism
> just because the transformation took place in prehistoric /
> proto-historic times ?

Euhemerism is simply the technical name for what Shendge is
doing. The term refers back to the work of Euhemerus, fl. ca. 300
BCE, whose _Sacred History_ suggested that all ancient myths
could be traced back to specific historical events. Euhemeristic
models were quite popular in antiquity. Beyond Shendge, you would
be hard pressed to find any modern adherents. We are *not*
talking here -- to reply to one of your questions -- about single
acts of apotheosis.

Shendge not only applies this idea to Harappa -- like Rajaram &
co., anachronistically conflating Rgvedic and Harappan cultures
-- but also provides imaginative reconstructions in elaborate
detail of supposed historical events in the Indus Valley. Hence
the passage (one of hundreds similar) on the secret spy mission
of "Vishnu, the young, tall, lanky assistant of Indra." But I'm
an evidential scholar, Stephen. I'd be happy to discuss whatever
textual evidence you think lies behind this miraculous historical
reconstruction. Again, I'm especially interested in Indra's
"tall, lanky assistant" -- as well, of course, as in that Asuran

>   When the Aryas could not defeat the Asuras
>   in straight fight, they beg for a patch of
>   land and are granted one grudgingly. Erecting
>   temporary sheds, they begin to live there. Vishnu,
>   the young, tall, lanky assistant of Indra, disappears
>   thrice. Where he goes is not known but apparently he
>   makes three exploratory trips under disguise into the
>   Asura territory to collect information on their sensitive
>   points. On its basis a strategy is hatched. The quarrels
>   and jealousies between the Asura chiefs or courtiers are
>   used and one is aided against the other. So Indra emerges
>   as a friend of some of them. With their help, he gets
>   access to the Asura weapons and secures a vajra, thunderbolt,
>   from the chief counsellor of the Asuras, Ushanas...


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