MYTH OF VEDIC SOCIETY: BETWEEN REALITY, RELIGION AND POLITICS
Born into a Hindu family, from my childhood, I have been curiously observing Sanskrit chanting of ‘Mantras’ for virtually any event of Hindu life, birth, marriage and shradha (ritual for the peace of the deceased). Though I never understood a single high pitched chanting of the sloka, it was quite clear, every ceremony was a kind of sacrificial ritual where the Fire-god ‘Agni’ is invited as witness ( by burning a small firewood in the middle of the ceremony ) and sacrifice is offered to different Gods, Goddess and ancestors. Only words that resound my memory till today—a priest always raises his voice high in uttering two words-“ Bed (Veda), Bedanta”. Soon we reach primary school, we learn about Aryans as our ancestors and RG Veda as our ritual heritage—ours is thousands of thousands year old rituals based on God’s revelation of knowledge in RG Veda, so was told! Then in class nine, we learn about Aryan Invasion Theory ( AIT) propounded by Max-Muller and aboriginal theory of Aryan origin by some Hindu historians. So for the first time, we learned Aryans were nomadic tribes from Caucasian because of description of flora & fauna of RG Veda, their anthropological similarity with Caucasian tribes and similarity of Sanskrit with Latin !
We also learned that the ‘Dasa’, the people defeated by Aryans, become present days Sudra. However, AIT can not explain why Aryans were so good in Chariot war and therefore, some Hindu historians & zealots like Devendra Swarup, Dyananda Swaraswati etc. put forward a conspiracy theory of 19th century Indologists like Max-Muller or Prof Willson to undermine Indian heritage ! We are proud that Hinduism came from India..So was told by them!
Fortunately, true father of Indian nation, Neheru was also a true student of history and always kept these stray elements of fanatic Historians from the school books. So we learned some ‘truth’ but in school text books, we didn’t learn much about RG Veda except for a ‘mythical’ Vedic society—
• A society where Men and Women were equal in every action • Hymn of RG Veda are the oldest in the world, and reveals the most perfect form of prosaic poetry • ‘Varnashram’..Brhamcharya (celibate student life), Garhastha (family life), Banapastra ( post-family life) and Sanyas (monks who lives in the forest, isolated from family life ) are the most ideal form of evolution of human life.
So like millions of Hindu children, my respect for Veda as supreme spiritual guidance and my ego of Hinduism as the highest form of ancient wisdom continued unquestioned. After all everybody wants to be proud of their heritage. Even though I was always an atheist (non-believer of God), I was confident that Veda is the source of all religious concepts—dualism and non-dualism as I was told. Occasionally, I tried to pick up a Bengali translation of RG Veda and after reading a very first few hymns on Agni, I used to feel confused. Those intangible hymns were not for my age, so was my consolation for failure! How did I know even today, I would not understand many of those hymns because they are truly confusing, non-coherent and a collection of few un-correlated words that can be interpreted in any way we want!
My Hindu friends were busy passing in the examinations and for them, Hinduism is equated to resisting Islamists who are responsible for all kinds of troubles on the earth! The feeling was univocal, irrespective of a Hindu CPI or Congress party member ! Only thing they can discuss about religion is the criticism of cruel Islam !
What are about Veda and Vedanta then? Oh yes! Hinduism was so great then and that’s why we have superior heritage over Islam! You see that’s why we are so educated and they are not!
Then, there were followers of Santan Dal, disciples of Balak Brhamachary, founder father of ‘Vedic Socialism’. Why not Marxist socialism?
“ Communist Socialism transforms a man into an animal “
Every train station in West Bengal was full of this kind of graffiti in the support of Vedic socialism by Santan Dal. Bharatiya Janata Party and Bishya Hindu Parishad were microscopically visible in our school days and for every of such Hindu party, Vedic socialism was the utopian political system of the glorious past where as the Marxist socialism is the cruelest of the political systems of the west. Only if they knew, both Marxist socialism and so called ‘Vedic socialism’ are tied to the same root “ Nomadic Tribal Society” ! Only difference is, Marx followed a true objective method of social science while Nomadic Aryans composed some obscured hymns to leave the discovery of socialism to their modern successors like Balak Brahmachary and MuraliMonahar Joshi.
So the influence of myth of Vedic society continued abated. No question was ever raised. Even not by the ruling Communist party, CP(I)M. They are truly a busy party managing numbers and beliving in democracy of numbers. So Das Capital and RG Veda become simultaneous source of inspiration of socialism for Bengali intellectuals. Ramakrishna Math and Bharat Sevashram, the two most celebrated institutions for modern Bengali elites fueled to the same imagination of myth of Vedic society. Such strong is the influence of the myth, that, in Southern California, local American intellectuals formed ‘Vedanta Society of Southern California” with four large monastery, with each of them worth more than tens of millions of dollar in real estate—Trabuco Canyon Monastery holds 1200 acres of land occupying a whole hill of two miles of circumference! ( I must confess in USA, they are my only source of Hindu literature and I am indebted to them for providing their library )
However, I never took serious interest in RG Veda till 1999. In September,1999, I went to Polytechnique di Turino, Italy for a couple of months. City of Turin is the second most holiest place for the Roman Catholics after Rome. I started living in a Catholic hostel equipped with rare collections of books on Christianity. So, I decided not to leave this opportunity to learn Catholic literature but my barrier was language. So, I started learning Latin oriented Italians. Though I was aware of Indo-European language, language of RG Veda as the mother of Latin and Sanskrit, I never faced this reality. Striking similarity of Latin roots with Sanskrit like ‘Primo = = Pratham’ ..” Duo= = Dwi “..” Tre = =Tree”..and so on, made me realize roots of the Aryans. So, I started taking interest in Aryan Invasion Theory and RG Veda purely from linguistic point of view.
Meanwhile India was going through a forced Hinduization in the institute of learning thanks to Murali Monahar Joshi, then HRD minister of India. He was ex-departmental head of Physics in Allahabad University. His ex-PhD student Dr. Anil Kumar who was my Professor in IIT-Kharagpur Physics department, had a lot of ‘interesting recollection’ on his ‘Guru’. Since it was a private talk between me and Prof. Kumar, I do not want to get into that, but M.M.Joshi was determined to impose a Vedic society in India and his first target was the higher institutes of learning like IIT, IIM etc. In order to glorify and legitimize the imposition of a Vedic society, he went on stating proverbial lies like ‘Goeler’ –‘ Sabi Bade Ache’ [ famous sarcasm by scientist Prof Meghnad Saha]. He compared ‘Maya’ with Heisenberg’s uncertainity principles, Astrology with Grand Theory of Relativity and endless comparison to impress common Hindu mass. Since, common mass do not understand physics but they know that M.M.Joshi is a Professor of Physics, they too tend to believe in the glory of Veda. But how do you tell them that Prof. Joshi’s PhD & knowledge in Physics itself is questionable and there is no natural science in any of the ancient scripture!
So Vedic myth is no more just a topic of scholarly discussion but a serious hypothesis that will determine the future of India. So as a responsible citizen of India, it became my duty to expose the Vedic myth to fight for our future!
So what did I understand in RG Veda?
Between 10-20% of the hymns are intangible. RG hymns reveal a polytheist dualistic religion that is common to all the tribal faiths…There is God for everything: For War, it is Indra, for prosperity, it is Agni, for fear Yama etc. There is no concept of atheism in RG Veda. Just a normal pagan religion of tribals based on war, fear, greed for wining golds, women etc. There is a huge number of hymns that indicate that Aryans used to drink wine ( ‘Soma’) heavily before prayer to Lord Indra because Indra was also a legendary alcoholic with passion for women like a typical Afgan Warlord ( geographically, it is highly possible that he was indeed an Afgan Warlord who killed thousands of local dark colored tribes who have been mentioned as ‘Dasa’ in RG Veda ). There is no trace of higher spiritualism in RG Veda, it is squarely a collection of rituals to please their Gods and maintain a society.
How was the society?
Again, tons of Hymns have been dedicated to show how much they used to hate these dark colored people ‘Dasa’ and how proud they are to make them slave and snatched their wives. So, before they will attack a local ‘Dasa Tribe’, they will chant praising Indra (similar to praising Allah before Jihad )
“Eager for booty, craving strength and horses, we-singers stir Indra, the stray for friendship,
who gives the wives we seek, whose succors fails not, to hasten, like a pitcher to the fountain” --Hymn XVII(17) To Indra
What they prayed to Indra in this hymn? Writer is saying Aryan warriors were always craving for strength and horses—all that matter in ancient war tactics. And what is the biggest reason for this attack ? So that they can confiscate wives of the other tribes by killing their men. Yes, women, fertile women were the biggest booty of the war that Aryans have always craved.
What’s about the gold then?
“ And now to Vasa, Asvya here This stately woman is led for the Adorned with mammoth of gold” -Hymn XLVI (22) To Indra
Of course when an Aryan wins a war, he gets a woman to get laid with her gold as additional bonus. And if this lady is wife of any leader, return is even higher! “ Mammoth of gold”.
Sometimes, even Dasa used to take their revenge. They will abduct Aryan women as well. So, Indra will be called for rescue operation.
“Women for weapons hath the Dasa taken, What injuries his feeble armies do to me?
Well he distinguished his two different voices And Indra then advanced to fight Dasya” -Hymn XXX
What’s about myth of women poet ? Like Gargi and twenty other women composers of RG Veda?
Remember, RG Veda is not like Bible or Koran. It is just a collection of rituals with hymns. Since, ritual should always be practiced by a man and his wives, obviously there should be hymns to be recited by women folk as well. So, existence of women authors of RG Veda is natural just because it is a collection of rituals for their wives as well. However, I must agree, that they were more free about their sexual need even by today’s’ standard. Sometimes, they posed first feminist question on the earth like this hymn
“Neither in thy decree, nor mine, but Is another he delights – The man who brought us into this” --Hymn XXXIII (16) To Indra
Above composition by a woman author is just terrific! This is an eternal complain of a woman against a man whom she loves!
And how a man replied to her complain in the next hymn?
“Indra himself hath said, The mind of woman brooks not discipline, Her intellect hath little weight” -Hymn XXXIII(17)
What a male chauvinistic answer by a warrior Aryan to a finest composition by a woman !
I can go on and on to show that women were treated no better than a property and were taken as one of the wives when her husband would be defeated. However, she had sexual freedom to the extent of demanding lesbian and animal sex publicly when her husband would be away in war. Also, she was free to compose finest of poetry though men paid little attention to her finest sensitivity. An eternal story!
But as you can see, we, the successors of Aryan civilization do not need to be proud or to be ashamed of Vedic society. It was a prehistoric tribal society that followed the historical standards of their time.
However, no ground be granted to M.M.Joshi or Balak Bramhachary or people like Hitlar to satisfy their vested interest in the name of Vedic/Aryan Society.
About the Author: Biplab Pal (31) works as an optical R&D engineer in Endress+Hausser, California. Born in Calcutta(’73) and brought up in a small village town, Karimpur of Nadia, he attended his higher secondary schooling in Narendrapur Ramakrishna Mission. He did his PhD (2001) in Electronics, MS &BS in Physics, all from Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. Immediately after PhD, he came to USA in 2001 to work as an optical engineer and since then, he has been working in various field of optical engineering. His research interest includes development of optical sensors for medical optics, pharmaceuticals and drinking/waste water purification. Author is an avid reader of history and religious philosophy. He learned Hinduism, Zen-Buddhism and Catholic Christianity under great masters but chose to follow objectivism of science as supreme source of spiritual guidance.