Idiom, and, Grammar, (and, chariots, again!)

Steve Farmer saf at SAFARMER.COM
Tue Apr 10 07:28:33 UTC 2001

Subrahmanya writes:

> I am assuming that you think that the two-wheeled fast chariot
> was brought in by the incoming Aryans and that is the kind
> of chariot mentioned in 6.75

Your assumption is wrong, Subrahmanya. I haven't said anything about the
origins of these war chariot. You asked for an example in the RV of a war
chariot and I pointed to an obvious one, found in a famous hymn used for
ritualistic military purposes in later RV times. The simplistic image of
Aryans sweeping into India in chariots of this sort is alien to my way of
thinking. The technology clearly evolved over time.

> Also, I will also greatly appreciate your response to Dr.Kochhar's
> questions.

You mean these? You are invited to answer them yourself, since they weren't
addressed to me:

>  1. What is a war chariot?
>  2. How does it differ from a peace chariot?
>  3. What type are the chariots divinities like Indra and Surya ride?
>  4. Are their chariots as old as the Rgveda?

To do them justice, in any event, would take a small book. What does it
*mean* to ask if something *found* in the Rgveda is "as old as the Rgveda"?
As old as the earliest levels of the family books? As old as the youngest
strata in Mandala 10? As old as the final interpolations before the
so-called Sakalyan redaction, in the mid first millennium BCE? That's a big
chunk of time to consider.

The chariot issue is of interest to me only because it helps assign an
earliest possible date to the oldest RV strata, demonstrating the
impossibility of the great antiquity assigned to the book by many Indian
nationalists. From the standpoint of my own research, far more interesting
than its early dates are the dates of the canonization of the RV (and
indeed of all four Vedas) near the middle of the first millennium -- in the
same centuries that similar "fixed" canons were forming in the Middle East,
Greece, Persia, and China. Say something interesting about *why* so many
base traditions became "fixed" in Eurasia c. the 6th - 4th centuries BCE
and you'll get my rapt attention. The answer to that question cannot come
if you limit your view narrowly to study of Indian traditions.

I have continued this discussion so far only because I've been addressed by
name. This is my last permitted post for the next 24 hours, and the last I
can make in the thread.

S. Farmer

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