Tuesday, July 27, 2010

IVC was the post Mahabharata culture (World Tamil Conference series 14)


The researchers of the Indus- Saraswathy sites give the date of the civilization as starting from a time that coincides with the departure of Krishna or the loss of Dwarka to the seas.


The early settlements happened in 3300 BC roughly around the time of Mahabharata.

The latest period (1500 BC) coincides with the shifting if people from Dwaraka to Tamilnadu which we have discussed in the previous posts.


The period of the IVC through different phases has been given below.


Courtesy:- http://www.harappa.com/indus4/e1.html

Table 1 Harappa Chronology

Period

Era

Years

Period 1

Ravi aspect of the Hakra Phase

3300 BC - c. 2800 BC

Period 2

Kot Diji (Early Harappa) Phase

c. 2800 BC - c. 2600 BC

Period 3A

Harappa Phase A

c. 2600 BC - c. 2450 BC

Period 3B

Harappa Phase B

c. 2450 BC - c. 2200 BC

Period 3C

Harappa Phase C

2200 BC - c. 1900 BC

Period 4

Harappa/Late Harappa Transitional

c. 1900 BC - c. 1800 BC(?)

Period 5

Late Harappa Phase

c. 1800 BC (?) - < 1300 BC



Interestingly the beginning of the settlements and the further progress of them match with the movement of people from Dwaraka after Krishna's departure.


These details can be read in Chapter 16 and section 4 to 7 of Mahabharata. Section 4 of this chapter (Musala parva) tells about Krishna's departure and section 7 on the route taken by the people led by Arjuna. The translation of this part is given at the end of this post.


This route solves quite a few questions as also the question of the origin of the IVC people.


First issue is the choice of places as shown by the route. Arjuna came to Dwaraka from his capital Indraprastha (Delhi) after the fateful end of Vrishnis in self destruction. It is quite interesting that he did not plan to take the people to his capital or to the areas of the Ganges. He had taken a western route and reached the land of Five rivers.

According to Musala Parva he took the people for a long journey through pleasant forests, streams and waterways. On the way they stayed at such amicable places and then proceeded to the Land of Five waters. The earliest settlement of the IVC people is found at Ravi!


But this journey to Ravi and further establishment of a permanent settlement was not without a problem. On the way they were attacked by Mlechas.

Mlechas were the non-Vedic people confined to the North west frontier of the then Bharath varsha which includes Middle east of today.


Their origins date back to more than 10,000 years ago as per a deduction I made based on the Mlecha astrology and some narration from Valmiki Ramayana. The article can be read here:- http://www.scribd.com/doc/22717150/Roots-of-Mlechcha-Astrology


The Mlechas have always watched the developments in Bharath varsha. Some Mlechas took part in the Mahabharata war also.

When Arjuna escorted the women and kids of Vrishni heroes as also the numerous people of the Dwaraka, they attacked their cavalcade and took the women with them. Arjuna could not quell their advances.


Perhaps the threat from Mlechas discouraged him to go further north or west.He settled them at the land of five rivers (Ravi, Sutlej / Punjab) and then took a turn towards east and came to Kurushetra. He settled some in and around Kurukshetra and settled others on the banks of Sarawathy - so says the narration in Musala parva. From there he went to Indraprastha and settled some under the ruler ship of Krishna's grandson.


If his intention was to go to Indraprastha why didn't he choose straight route to Indraprastha?

Why did he go to the Indus first and take a round-about route to Indraprastha?

These questions arise when we read the narration of the route.

Arjuna's route

It seems he planned to settle them in the Indus region only and not the Genges region. He went to the Indus but had to abort his plan due to Mlecha threat.


Groups of people seemed to have settled as the cavalcade proceeded along with the river Indus. There is a concentration of early settlements of IVC around Amri and Mohenjo-daro. But between this area and the upper parts of the river that include Ravi and Satlej, the settlements are rare. This coincides with the stretch when the cavalcade was attacked by the Mlechas.


This seemed to have prompted Arjuna to change his plans and his route. He then turned towards Kurukshetra and then to the river Saraswathy where he settled the people.

All these locations match with the IVC settlements and the period of IVC as well.

Yet another group seemed to have crossed the snowy Himalayas and went beyond to a place called Kalpa.


Krishna's wife Sathyabhama went through this route. So there is scope to believe that she would not have gone alone but was accompanied by her loyalists. This location called Kalpa takes the movement of Dwarakans to Afghnasithan and parts of Central Europe.


Archeologically these areas also are likely to throw up connections with IVC people.


All these settlements started around 3000 BC.


An interesting correlation is that the coins unearthed from a site in Bactria belonging to a period around 180 BC depict the figures of Krishna and Balarama.
Article and the images of the coin given at the end of this post).


Bactria had been under the influence of the Greeks. It is possible to argue that the Indian connection (whatever) in post Alexander period would have cultivated interest in Krishna in that country. But that looks unlikely because unless Krishna cult had found favour with the kings and subjects of that country for quite sometime, this kind of issue of coins with their images could not happen. My guess is that this place might be the one where the group that went with Satyabhama settled down. Over the course of years, they would have perpetuated the memory of Krishna and Balarama which found an expression in various ways – one being the issuance of coins. This place is not far off from Ghandhara, the home land of Gandhari. That also could explain the popularity of Krishna in that place.


The route of Arjuna solves 3 issues in one go

* The later dynasties of Iran claiming themselves as "Aryan of the Aryans" might be the result of connection with the women of Dwaraka who were kidnapped by the Mlechas. Their kids also would have gone with them and would have retained their pride as Aryans. The findings of the recent research in genetics that state that North Indians share a common gene pool with the people of Middle East and Central Europe also is explained by this mass abduction of women by those of the Middle east.


* The settlements of IVC follow the pattern of Arjuna's stop-overs and his change of route from Ravi when he encountered threat to the safety of the people.This suggests that IVC was post -Mahabharata culture of the people of Dwaraka.


* Arjuna did not take the people to Indraprastha or the gangetic plain. Probably the people did not want to settle in those places. The reason can be traced to the times of formation of Dwaraka. After the fall of Kamsa, the Vrishnis were facing repeated attacks from Jarasandha, thefather in law of Kamsa. In order to avoid blood shed, Krishna moved to Dwaraka. People from diverse regions of the Ganges and Yamuna accompanied him and settled down in Dwaraka. So within the group that we call as Dwarakans, there were different clans having their ancestry to regions in the vast Gangetic plains.The Dwarakans who were forced to move out of Dwaraka in the wake of submergence would not have liked to go back to their early homes for they might have still found some threat to themselves in those places. That could be reason for a totally different direction where the promise of water was there. They would have initially planned to settle in the land of Five rivers (Indus). But Mlecha threat would have made them go for Saraswathy banks which was drying even at those times.


The period between 3000 BC and 1500 BC saw the flourishing of these people in these original settlements who seemed to have spread through the course of the river Saraswathy in due course - wherever / whenever it had shown promise of water.


By 1500 BC the saraswathy dried up for most parts thereby forcing the people to dissipate to different regions.

But this period marks the movement of people from Dwarka to Tamil nadu!


Piecing together the information from Tamil texts (which we discussed in previous posts) and the current post, it seems likely that another city of Dwaraka was built after Krishna's Dwaraka was lost. The people had flourished there until 1500 BC without any major disturbance. From Prof SR Rao's findings we come to know that this Dwaraka was submerged around 1500 BC. The sage Agasthya guided them this time and brought them to Tamil nadu. Around this time, their kith and kin who had long ago settled along the Saraswathy and other places might have left for different places. The Dwarakans had no people or place to fall back on. It was Agsthaya who came to their rescue.


Rest is part of Tamil history. It must be recalled that the period of 49 generations that poet Kapilar mentions as the predecessors of the King IrungoveL matches with this period around 1500 BC.


These people who came to Tamilnadu were the displaced people who had connection with the Indus civilization, but not the Tamils.

The Tamils were nowhere near this civilization as to claim a role in that.


Rest in the next post.

*******


Arjuna's route:-

From

Mahabharata, chapter 16 - Musala parvam, section 7


The son of Pandu, having next performed duly those sraddha rites that are done to the dead, quickly set out on the seventh day, mounting on his car.


The widows of the Vrishni heroes, wailing aloud, followed the high-souled son of Pandu. Dhananjaya, on cars drawn by bullocks and mules and camels.


All were in deep affliction. The servants of the Vrishnis, their horsemen, and their car-warriors too, followed the procession. The citizens and the inhabitants of the country, at the command of Pritha's son, set out at the same time and proceeded, surrounding that cavalcade destitute of heroes and numbering only women and the aged and the children.


The warriors who fought from the backs of elephants proceeded on elephants as huge as hills. The foot-soldiers also set out, together with the reserves. The children of the Andhaka and the Vrishni races, all followed Arjuna. The Brahmanas and Kshatriyas, and Vaisyas, and wealthy Sudras, set out, keeping before them the 16,000 women that had formed Vasudeva's harem, and Vajra, the grandson of the intelligent Krishna. The widows of the other heroes of the Bhoja, the Vrishni, and the Andhaka races, lordless now, that set out with Arjuna, numbered many millions. That foremost of car-warriors, that conqueror of hostile towns, the son of Pritha, escorted this vast procession of Vrishnis, which still abounded with wealth, and which looked like a veritable ocean.


"After all the people had set out, the ocean, that home of sharks and alligators, flooded Dvaraka, which still teemed with wealth of every kind, with its waters. Whatever portion of the ground was passed over, ocean immediately flooded over with his waters. Beholding this wonderful sight, the inhabitants of Dvaraka walked faster and faster, saying, 'Wonderful is the course of fate!' Dhananjaya, after abandoning Dvaraka, proceeded by slow marches, causing the Vrishni women to rest in pleasant forests and mountains and by the sides of delightful streams.


Arrived at the country of the five waters, the puissant Dhananjaya planted a rich encampment in the midst of a land that abounded with corn and kine and other animals. Beholding those lordless widows escorted by Pritha's son alone O Bharata, the robbers felt a great temptation (for plunder). Then those sinful wretches, with hearts overwhelmed by cupidity, those Abhiras of ill omen, assembled together and held a consultation. They said, 'Here there is only one bowman, Arjuna. The cavalcade consists of children and the old. He escorts them, transgressing us. The warriors (of the Vrishnis) are without energy.'


Then those robbers, numbering by thousands, and armed with clubs, rushed towards the procession of the Vrishnis, desirous of plunder. Urged by the perverse course of time they fell upon that vast concourse, frightening it with loud leonine shouts and desirous of slaughter. The son of Kunti, suddenly ceasing to advance along the path, turned, with his followers, towards the place where the robbers had attacked the procession. Smiling the while, that mighty-armed warrior addressed the assailants, saying, 'You sinful wretches, forbear, if ye love your lives. Ye will rue this when I pierce your bodies with my shafts and take your lives.' Though thus addressed by that hero, they disregarded his words, and though repeatedly dissuaded, they fell upon Arjuna.


Then Arjuna endeavoured to string his large, indestructible, celestial bow with some effort. He succeeded with great difficulty in stringing it, when the battle had become furious. He then began to think of his celestial weapons but they would not come to his mind. Beholding that furious battle, the loss of the might of his arm, and the non-appearance of his celestial weapons, Arjuna became greatly ashamed. The Vrishni warriors including the foot-soldiers, the elephant-warriors, and the car-men, failed to rescue those Vrishni women that were being snatched away by the robbers. The concourse was very large. The robbers assailed it at different points. Arjuna tried his best to protect it, but could not succeed. In the very sight of all the warriors, many foremost of ladies were dragged away, while others went away with the robbers of their own accord. The puissant Arjuna, supported by the servants of the Vrishnis, struck the robbers with shafts sped from Gandiva. Soon, however. O king, his shafts were exhausted.


In former days his shafts had been inexhaustible. Now, however, they proved otherwise. Finding his shafts exhausted, he became deeply afflicted with grief. The son of Indra then began to strike the robbers with the horns of his bow. Those Mlecchas, however, O Janamejaya, in the very sight of Partha, retreated, taking away with them many foremost ladies of the Vrishnis and Andhakas.


The puissant Dhananjaya regarded it all as the work of destiny. Filled with sorrow he breathed heavy sighs at the thought of the non-appearance of his (celestial) weapons, the loss of the might of his arms, the refusal of his bow to obey him, and the exhaustion of his shafts. Regarding it all as the work of destiny, he became exceedingly cheerless. He then ceased, O king, to make further efforts, saying, he had not the power which he had before.


The high-souled one, taking with him the remnant of the Vrishni women, and the wealth that was still with them, reached Kurukshetra. Thus bringing with him the remnant of the Vrishnis, he established them at different places. He established the son of Kritavarma at the city called Marttikavat, with the remnant of the women of the Bhoja king.


Escorting the remainder, with children and old men and women, the son of Pandu established them, who were bereft of heroes, in the city of Indraprastha.


The dear son of Yuyudhana, with a company of old men and children and women, the righteous-souled Arjuna established on the banks of the Sarasvati.


The rule of Indraprastha was given to Vajra.

The widows of Akrura then desired to retire into the woods. Vajra asked them repeatedly to desist, but they did not listen to him. Rukmini, the princess of Gandhara, Saivya, Haimavati, and queen Jamvabati ascended the funeral pyre.


Satyabhama and other dear wives of Krishna entered the woods, O king, resolved to set themselves to the practice of penances. They began to live on fruits and roots and pass their time in the contemplation of Hari.

Going beyond the Himavat, they took up their abode in a place called Kalpa.


Those men who had followed Arjuna from Dwaravati, were distributed into groups, and bestowed upon Vajra. Having done all these acts suited to the occasion, Arjuna, with eyes bathed in tears, then entered the retreat of Vyasa. There he beheld the Island-born Rishi seated at his ease."


***********



On the coins from Bactria showing Krishna and Balarama:-


From


http://www.tamilartsacademy.com/journals/volume4/articles/article5.xml


Balarāma and Kiha in Bactrian coins


Dr. R. Nagaswamy


Balarāma, the brother of Kṛṣha, was an influential god in early centuries of the current era, His sculptural representations are found in many places of India as at Nagarajunakonda in early period. He is shown generally with a drinking cup and standing by the side of his sister and brother Kṛṣha. He is also said to be given to drink and pleasures (Bhōga)



Balarāma in a Bactrian coin


Obverse: Balarāma, with Greek legends on either side :

Reverse: Kriha with Brāhmi legend;

the conch is held vertically:

courtesy Wikipedia



Balarāma is shown in a square silver coin ( a standard drachma) issued by the Bactrian King Agathocles (c.180 BC) portrayed Kriha and Balarāma that was excavated Ai-Khamun, an important archaeological site on the Oxus (ref. Arts Asiatique XXXVI ( 1973), 52-57 and Journal of the Numismatic Society of India XXXV (1973) , 1873-77.



I am thankful to Prof evendra Handa for this reference) The obverse of this coin, shows Balarāma standing with two hands holding a (hala) plough and (musala) pestle. The pestle may be identified with the dhyānaśloka of Balarāma who is interestingly called Kāmapāla i.e protector of love or desires.



sphurad-amala-kirīam kikiī-kakaārham

calad-alaka-kapōlam kuṇḍala-śrī-mukhābjam

tuhina-giri-manōjñam nīla-meghāmbarāhyam

hala-musala-viśālam kāma-pālam samīhe



By the side is written the name of the king "Basiles Agatokleus" in greek characters while on the reverse is shown Kṛṣha also standing with two arms holding a wheel and a conch. The wheel is so big it seems to do justice to the name Rathāngapāi. The Wikipedia, which illustrates this coin, identified the object in the right hand of Kṛṣha as kamaṇḍalu (Vase) but in fact it represents a conch held vertically in hand (śankha).



On both the sides of Kṛṣha is the name of the king written in perfect Brahmi script in Prakrit reading "Rane Agathuklayea".


The first letter "Ra" is in serpentine form. Whether there is a second letter is not very clear for it merges with the big cakra held in the hand of Kṛṣha. The next letter is "ne". so the actual reading is "rane". These letters are seen to the left of Kṛṣha while on to his right is the name of the king "agathuklayeha".



Both the images of Kṛṣha and Balarāma are in greek attire. Kṛṣha wearing a long sword and Balarāma an unidentified handled weapon (probably a ring with twisted rope), tucked in their waist band. They also wear the Bactrian crown with two horn like projections on either side and a jeweled umbrella over his head resembling a horizontal cap. Both are also seen wearing shoes. But what is important is that the figure of Balarāma is shown on the obverse where the Greek name occurs and the figure of Kṛṣha occurs on the reverse. It seems to emphasize the importance of Balarāma as the elder as it appears on the side of the issuer and depicts his prowess while Kṛṣha with his conch signifies "spreading fame". The conch is that which blows the fame of Kṛṣha through out the world. The choice of the two figures also seem to show the Bactrian kings made this choice of Balarāma and Kiha to exhibit their strength (by Balarāma) and fame (by Kṛṣha) on their coins.




A Sangam Tamil poem of the beginning of the CE extols four great deities Balarama, Kṛṣha and Rudra and Subrahmaya for their praiseworthy achievements as strength, fame, furious attack on enemies, and determination to fulfill his undertaking respectively. Balarāma is referred to as Vāliyōn (Vali – bala in Skt). He is also called Veḷḷai nāgan, the white serpent. It has also been suggested earlier that the depiction of the two gods, Balarāma and Kṛṣha was to exhibit the religious leanings of the issuing king. Evidently the legends of Kṛṣha and Balarāma and also their special characteristics have become so popular before the 2rd cent BC even in Bactria in the region of the River Oxus, beyond Afganisthan to be imprinted there in their coins.





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