Yet another article is posted below on the Reality about River Saraswathi that it did exist and the that current excavations at Harappa, Lotha etc were all about the civilization that flourished on its banks.
What interested me most in this article was the information about a community called "Saraswats", who originally inhabited the banks of Saraswathi and later spread to other parts of India. Their descendants are still living today and are known as "Saraswathi Brahmins"
The existence of a community tracing their origins to Saraswathi civilization is difficult to accept for some people outside India, who can not accept a civilized antiquity to India. They consider that archeology is the one and only source to authenticate the past. One such response refusing to accept the prevalence of "Saraswad" community is given underneath this article.
For us in India, the current archeological revelations are a mere addition to what we already know of the Indian past from other sources.
One such source is the vast literature we have on many issues. Of relevance here is Brihad Samhita by Varahamihira who has written on a sage called "Saraswad". This sage was the son of rishi Dadheechi born to the river Saraswathi. Details of the story can be read here.http://www.geocities.com/bhagvatjee/rishi/biographies-A-M/dadheechi.htm
As the child was born of Saraswathi, the sage named him "Sarawad". One may dismiss the story of Saraswad as yet another fiction from puranas. But Saraswad is not a fictional character. Varahamihira recalls his contribution to – guess what? It is about the exploration of underground water! The sage Sarasawad, true to his name, had possessed the knowledge of water ways, their sources and methods to identify underwater sources. Even the term Saras in Saraswad means pond or lake or any water body. The lotus is known as Sarasija in Sanskrit because it is found in saras.
In chapter 54 in Brihad samhita, Varahamihira has detailed about the contributions of two prominent personalities connected with water sources. One is Saraswad and another is Manu.
Manu is earlier to Saraswad and had mastered the art of identifying underground water flows. It is to be remembered here that Manu was said to have survived a flood. He relocated to another area after confirming the water availability there. Both Saraswad and Manu have had good knowledge of water sources owing to their connection to water bodies and life around them. Varahamihira says that sage Saraswad had written about the science of exploration of water springs. He also says that Saraswad had learnt it from Manu. The wisdom of Saraswad is well documented by Varahamihira in Brihad samhita.
By the time of Varahamihira (he was considered as one of the Navaratnas in the court of King Vikramadhitya – this tell about his antiquity), the science of water sources had become scarcely known. He renewed it in his Samhita by recording the wisdom of Saraswad and Manu. After Varahamihira, this science was completely forgotten.
However the very information about Saraswad and his works as quoted by Varahamihira adds legitimacy to the existence of a community whose antecedents can be traced to Saraswathi civilization.
Sage Saraswad's link to Manu is a proof of Saraswathi civilization's connectivity to Vedic society that was rooted there since the end of Ice age. Manu's lineage is listed in Valmiki Ramayana and also in the copper plates unearthed in Thiruvalankaadu tracing the origins of Cholas to one Choal varman who came in the lineage of Sibi, whose ancestors diverged after Mandhatha. Sibi belonged to the lineage of the second son after Mandhatha whereas Rama came in the lineage of the eldest son.
Thus goes the antiquity of Indian past in which Saraswathi civilization formed a part in continuity of the pre-existing civilization rooted in Vedic culture.
Tale of a mystic river
With the Global Heritage Fund planning to set up the Indus-Saraswati Heritage Centre in association with the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, the mystic River Saraswati has once again become the focus for passionate archeologists and researchers.
"The Indus-Saraswati Civiliation in Mohen-jo-daro, Harappa and Lothal was the earliest urban society with a bustling economy that worked on the principles of democracy and prosperity. It had several flourishing industries and there is little or no evidence of continuous warfare or conquests with other contemporary civilizations in Egypt or Mesopotamia which were built around conquest and wars. It is thus not only the oldest known pre-historic culture of the world, but also attracts international researchers because of its theme of peace and progress," says Kalpana Desai, India director of the Global Heritage Fund based in the US.
The Indus-Saraswati culture was extraordinarily innovative and rich in entrepreneurship and promoted technological excellence in various products — especially jewellery. The processes of cutting precious stones and making intricate jewellery are comparable to modern designs! It traded extensively with faraway lands from its wonderfully built huge ports. Sixty to eighty thousand people with various skills lived in every city which was well designed and had good water supply and drainage systems.
But around 4000 years ago, it is believed that this civilization died out without any proof of war or devastation. Researchers' conjecture is that a huge earthquake or tectonic movement of the layers of the earth took place around that time and the River Saraswati changed its course towards the east leaving the rest of its waters to pool into lakes in Gujarat or vanished into the Rann of Kutch and the deserts of Rajasthan. Thus the glorious civilization, with its dependence on water for trade and livelihood, shifted possibly to the fertile plains of the Ganga and Yamuna and became an agricultural rather than industrial community. "The new initiative will form a collection of the coins, the artifacts and the archeological remnants of this cultural miracle will be housed in a world class centre with a museum and a research laboratory in Baroda within the next few years," adds Kalpana.
This is not the only initiative by archeologists and researchers to track the ancient basin and intermittent streams and pools of the River Saraswati, which once flowed from the Himalayas to the Gulf of Cambay. The Indian government has set up a huge initiative to track the flow of the river and establish the truth about this magical nerve centre of India's original civilization, a river that has been described as the Goddess of wisdom and learning. Much work has been done with excavations and re-digging extinct water canals as well as satellite tracking of its underground waters and pictures of its remaining streams and pools.
Dr Jagdish Gandhi, a researcher with an unparalleled passion for the Saraswati, has walked through the extinct basin and the streams of the lost river and brought fascinating new facts and nuggets of knowledge into limelight. He says that many highly-cultured communities called Saraswats lived on the banks of the Saraswati and that over the millenniums after it vanished, they scattered all over India — and lived in Bengal, Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Goa.
Even today, they continue to follow their ancient culture and still venerate the lost river as their cultural mother and the Goddess of knowledge, learning and wisdom. Dr Gandhi has travelled to every mountain and valley where remnants of the Saraswati can be seen and has built a huge body of pictures, videos and documents about the river. "Every Indian knows that the River Saraswati is gupt (invisible) — but definitely present in the waters of the Yamuna and joins the Ganga to make the holy Triveni Sangam in Prayag. My research — as that of other scholars — shows that the Saraswati rose in the Yamdhar glacier in the Himalayas, barely five kilometers from the sources of the Yamuna and Ganga."
Saraswati flowed as a beautiful stream in the Doon Valley and then gushed through Uttaranchal, touching Yamunanagar in Himachal Pradesh, Sirsa, Hanumangarh, Suratgarh and Anupgarh in Rajasthan. Passing through the tri-junction of west Rajasthan, Kutch and the eastern border of Pakistan, she entered Gujarat, where she emptied into the Gulf of Cambay at the Kuwarbet Island.
The Indus and the Saraswati served as the major trade routes for the pre-historic cities of Mohen-jo-Daro and Lothal. As is well known, the huge tectonic upheaval which happened around 4000 years ago changed the course of many rivers in India. The earthquake-like calamity started in Kutch and spread through the desert of Rajasthan to Uttar Pradesh and finally to the foothills of the Himalayas. Thus, the Saraswati and the Yamuna changed their courses, with one stream of the Saraswati confluencing with the Yamuna in Dak Patthar in Himachal Pradesh.
"This sangam can be seen even today. I also believe that from the description of the Saraswati in the Rig Veda, the present day Tons could well be the remnant of the river," adds the professor. The scriptures say that Saraswati burst through the mountain boulders with an unimaginable force and cascaded down the slopes. The Tons matches this description accurately.
"I also believe that many present day canals in the heart of India, built for the purpose of irrigation in the river systems, have followed the basin of the dried up Saraswati. Satellite pictures show small streams in this basin and these could be the remaining waters of the lost river. There is reason to believe that the Nal Sarovar, today a popular tourist attraction for its magnificent bird life and pools set in the midst of a variety of rushes and water plants, is formed by the last still waters of the Saraswati."
The Nal Sarovar spreads over an area of 123 sq km. The surrounding swamps and forests attract birds of all species. "More recently, when a devastating earthquake hit Kutch in January 2001, I went to the area and was surprised to find sweet water gushing out of the land in the Rann which is full of salt and sea water. This water was sent for analysis to a government laboratory and found to be more than 5000 years old! Though no conclusion can be drawn, it is proved that Kutch is an earthquake prone area and that there could be sweet water streams from lost rivers or reservoirs lying underground in this otherwise barren area."
Dr Gandhi has studied Indian rivers in great detail and presented reports to the Indian government and the concerned authorities to be alert about the steady decline of India's main rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, Narmada, Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri and to consider planning a network of canals that would utilize the huge quantity of rain water that is presently wasted when it flows into the sea.
"I believe that the Saraswati, though lost today, is the key to the golden age of India's culture. She is the thread which holds together all the beads of our culture and civilization. She offers us a continuous document of our ancient civilization. We should know everything about the Indus-Saraswati civilisation which surpassed all other contemporary ones in the world so many millenniums ago.
"We should be proud of our heritage and help in the re-discovery of a river that must be called the 'Mother of Indian Culture'. No wonder, she is also called the River Dharini, the mother of prosperity!"
A post commenting on the above article:-
Those "Democratic" Harappans: A Weekend Post
The occupants of the "Indus-Saraswati Civilization" were the first
democrats, of course. And masters of industry and lovers of "peace
and progress" as well. Oh yes, and the "oldest known prehistoric
culture of the world" as well.
Read all about it in the Sunday Deccan Herald, from Bangalore, hot
off the press.
Indian newspapers are masters of "keep 'em stupid" methods, but
this piece goes beyond the usual:
> �The Indus-Saraswati Civiliation in Mohen-jo-daro, Harappa and
> Lothal was the earliest urban society with a bustling economy that
> worked on the principles of democracy and prosperity. It had
> several flourishing industries and there is little or no evidence
> of continuous warfare or conquests with other contemporary
> civilizations in Egypt or Mesopotamia which were built around
> conquest and wars. It is thus not only the oldest known pre-
> historic culture of the world, but also attracts international
> researchers because of its theme of peace and progress,� says
> Kalpana Desai, India director of the Global Heritage Fund based in
> the US.
It gets better (worse) -- read about the "Saraswats":
> Dr Jagdish Gandhi, a researcher with an unparalleled passion for
> the Saraswati, has walked through the extinct basin and the streams
> of the lost river and brought fascinating new facts and nuggets of
> knowledge into limelight. He says that many highly-cultured
> communities called Saraswats lived on the banks of the Saraswati
> and that over the millenniums after it vanished, they scattered all
> over India � and lived in Bengal, Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh,
> Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Goa.
> Even today, they continue to follow their ancient culture and still
> venerate the lost river as their cultural mother and the Goddess of
> knowledge, learning and wisdom....