Dates of the written Rgveda

Prasad Velusamy prasad_velusamy at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Mar 20 22:39:25 UTC 2000

      Also, the Tamil sangam material must be sifted with care.
      Phrases like ezhdAk kiLavi, ezhudA maRai, ezhudAk kaRpu
      etc., tell that vedas are not written down even by
      2nd cent. BCE to 2nd cent. CE. Even 6th century Saiva
      texts talk of brahmins/shiva reciting RV ('irukku Odi...').
      Look at the ta. word for veda: maRai (hidden/secret).
      Brahmins = maRaiyavar. Both god and brahmins are "maRaiyOn"!

      In tamil literature, the six duties of brahmins are described:
      'aRu thozhil aNdaNar', the first 2 being: reciting veda (Odal),
      teaching veda (Oduvittal). Is this 6 jobs of brahmins common
      prescription in Sanskrit? Are they in dharmashastras?


I think that the Buddhist Pali suttas tend to corroborate a relatively
late date for the introduction and use of writing in India.  Given
that these scriptures record in passing many aspects of Indian society
at the time of the Buddha and during the ensuing one hundred + years
before the Pali canon was closed, it is surprising that there is no
mention (as far as I know) of anything connected with writing if it
had indeed been in use in India at that time, given also that the
extent of this material far exceeds the length of the RV.

The precise dates for putting these scriptures down in writing is not
definite but must be some time after the reign of the emperor Ashoka
given the relatively primitive nature of the writing system used in
Ashoka's edicts.  Thereafter, one has a similar situation to that
suggested by some subscribers where an oral tradition continued in
tandem with a written record of the texts.

Best wishes,
Stephen Hodge>>

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