Michael Wood’s ‘Beginnings’ – Hinduism Damned with Praise


wood.jpeg

Producer and historian Michael Wood in the final scene of ‘Beginnings’, the first in a series of six documentaries on the ‘Story of India.’

I watched a television documentary on the ancient history of India today. Presented by Michael Wood and made for British and American audiences, it was entitled Beginnings and forms part of a season celebrating the 60th anniversary of India’s independence.

Although the presenter was quite congenial and effusive in his praise of India’s traditions, and rightly gave recognition to her people’s antiquity, the actual conclusion of his presentation was an unwitting slap in the face for every one of India’s 800 million Hindus. Some of my congregation members watched it and were troubled by it. They asked me what my own views on the show were, which I hadn’t actually seen at the time they asked, so I’m writing this blog by way of a reply.

Blogs are meant to be short, so I will try to be brief, although there’s enough to say on every one of my points that I could speak for quite some time on each of them.

Firstly, I suppose I should begin by saying that television presenters are exactly that: they present. They present us with information for our awareness and entertainment in an appealing and artistic way. They are the face you see on the screen and the voice you hear. These days, when money is short in the industry and the atmosphere relentlessly competitive, and if they are particularly competent, they will also write the show and produce it themselves. I have got to know a number of television presenters over the years and have been featured in their documentaries. I know what goes into the making of a film and how much effort and creativity goes into making even the shortest one.

So I don’t want to shoot any messengers here. Michael Wood was just doing his job. He has a team of researchers, who naturally approach the university academics, who are quite naturally teaching what they consider to be the latest knowledge. And that, they may all reason, is the best that anyone can do. But for anyone who actually has religious faith, who believes in the tenets of the scriptures of Hinduism, and, through the practise of their faith, hopes to be connected with God, this documentary was the equivalent of the proverbial mad elephant in a flower garden.

Why? Because it explained that Indians came from Africa, the Vedas came from central Asia, the traditional Vedic fire sacrifices were conducted by intoxicated shamans, and that because Hinduism itself is in a constant state of flux, it is a belief system shaped only by the forces of climate, geography and history, rather than eternal verities. Oh yes, and while we’re on the subject, that the speaker of the Bhagavad-gita – the Bible for all Hindus – was a Persian prince. Or perhaps from Kazakhstan. Or maybe Russia.

That doesn’t really leave India with much to be proud about does it? Nothing at all came from the land we now know as India. Basically everything that every Hindu believes to be true is false. The great theology, language and traditions of a magnificent culture are all borrowed from somewhere else. Whoever thinks that chauvinism about India died when the last servant of the British Empire got on a boat and left the country should think again; it is very much alive and well.

Right from the very beginning of exploration into India’s ancient past the Europeans did not like the idea of anywhere other than the Garden of Eden being the cradle of civilisation. At the turn of the last century there were those who conceded that the location of Eden may have been somewhere between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers – but no further east, please. And this prejudice continues today, no matter how well it is concealed. Now the ‘cradle of civilisation’ has merely shifted further south, down into Africa, but never as far as India.

Although Beginnings purported to represent the latest knowledge on the origins of India and the Hindu religion, it actually left out some of the most recent research which has taken place. In this it was quite behind the times. Generally, popular presentations are quite a few steps behind the latest research, as it may take academics quite some years for their findings to be peer-reviewed, cross-checked by further findings, and finally accredited. The rest of us – particularly schoolchildren – find it in their text books up to 30 years later. So who gets to say where mankind – and the great civilisations – actually come from? Who should we believe? And, more importantly, who gets to have the final opinion? Well, first up we have the:

Palaeontologists

Everyone has heard the name of Leakey. While I was living in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1979, the Leakeys were practically our next door neighbours. The Leakey Institute was just a few yards down the road. I met Richard, the son, and found him to be a very pleasant man. I was also able to drive for some miles away from the city and have my first sight of the Great Rift Valley. I defy anyone not to have grand visions of the history of Man in such a beautiful landscape.

But just last week, August 2007, the Leakeys announced that their most recent findings, without a doubt, provide vital evidence that – we now know less about the origins of man than we thought we did. Or that the presumed straight line from Australopithecus to Homo Habilis to Homo Sapiens is not straight at all; and that two or more species were flourishing at the same time.

Beginnings starts with the basic assumption that mankind – Homo Sapiens – actually started in Africa and that the habitation of all other regions of the world represent a migration outwards from that continent. Hence everyone in India originally came from Africa. But why would anyone conclude this? How much palaeontology has been done in India? The answer is not a great deal.

Archaeologists

Once you accept the basic premise that India was empty and had to be filled with people from somewhere else, it becomes part of the way you view all information, acting as a ‘knowledge-filter.’ Besides, if you’re an archaeologist paid by an established university you’re not going to risk your job by proposing an alternative notion – especially when you may know nothing about fossilised remains.

Much of Beginnings was about the old archaeological stand-by of the ancient cities of Harappa and Mohenjo-daro. Discovered only in 1921 and 1922 they have nevertheless helped to confirm what was actually an existing Christian theory in need of evidence; that the Aryans, the presumed early ancestors of modern India, came from the West.

But nothing in the documentary was mentioned of the recently discovered Dwaraka, or of the even larger city (two miles long by one mile wide) discovered by submarine three years ago off the coast of modern Gujarat. Mention was made, however, of the 1948 excavation of Hastinapura, a city mentioned in the Mahabharata. It was suggested that this discovery fitted in nicely with the newly-independent India’s need to have an ancient discovery of their own. No-one as good as the culturally biased to sniff out cultural bias, eh?

The discovery of remnants of Soma, the plant stimulant mentioned in the Rig-Veda, mixed with other ingredients, does not prove that such ingredients and the fire ceremonies which employed them originated outside India. Rather, it may even show that such performances were exported outside what is now India. Of course, what is known as India today is a shrunken version of ‘Hindustan’ which incorporated even present day Afghanistan a few centuries ago. And Hindustan itself, according to the histories of India, is only a fraction of the kingdom of Bharata.

Linguistic Palaeontology

As a discipline, this ‘Ology’ is a baby compared with others. It does, however, have a lot to say for itself about ancient languages. Although in the documentary Michael Wood spoke in something approaching wonder of Sanskrit being ‘the living sound of the Bronze Age,’ and although he nicely displayed the sound-links between Sanskrit and Latin, his presentation was scuppered by the fallacious notion of a language that predates both: the so-called ‘Proto-Indo-European.’ That nothing has been found of this language, but that we need such a language to substantiate the claims made by other academic disciplines, does not seem to prevent anyone from claiming its existence. I have a theory of my own, and this theory is just as good as that proposed by anyone else. I believe that because the ancient Welsh language, the tongue of the Druids, contains at least 200 Sanskrit words, that the Aryans actually came from Wales and that Hinduism is actually the finest expression of the Welshmen. Wales, therefore, is the very cradle of the ancient Vedic civilisation. I just happened to be born a few miles from Cardiff but that bears absolutely no influence upon my academic objectivity.

Of course, I do not believe that. And neither does anyone else. It is a generally accepted idea that the Druids – and the Celts – gradually migrated westwards across Europe. That the Celtic forefathers can travel the thousands of miles from their notional origin to the very western tips of Ireland, where their language is still spoken, but that the culture of the ancient Hindus cannot travel a few hundred miles west to Persia and Central Asia defies logic.

I might also mention here that ‘fire-worship’ (which, of course, is nothing of the sort, except to the naked eye) and the stories of Vishnu and Krishna, are also found in Russia in the oldest language of that country.

Anthropologists

The discipline of Anthropology – the study of humanity and the unique non-biological characteristics we call culture – has, as its working foundation, the current conclusions of all the above. Religion examined through the eyes of the anthropologist will be regarded as the study of how primitive peoples project their superstitions upon nature. Fear of disaster through failure of rains and harvests; longings for fertility and the mystery of life and death; all these will be explained through cosmic myths and played out in tribal rituals.

Because religious beliefs are merely hopeful mental projections based on lack of knowledge, when science can show us the actual realities of life religion as such will cease to be useful to us. Or so say the anthropologists. If religion is nothing more than subjective evaluation of nature, then, by extension, there is no objective reality involved in it at all. And absence of objective reality means self deception. The study of the religions of mankind – according to anthropologists – is therefore the examination of the many ways in which humanity has deluded itself since it had the power to think. And so-called ‘helpful myths,’ however helpful, do not become true simply because they are colourfully displayed in dance, drama and music. Hinduism, being perhaps the oldest religion, with ‘so many gods’ can therefore be labelled as the most deceived of all the branches of the human family.

So when Michael Wood, in the final scene of his documentary, is speaking to camera in his conveniently white shirt and trousers in the middle of a happy throng of Hindus throwing multi-coloured powders, he speaks words of praise for the antiquity of India and her culture. But he has, albeit not with malice, just smilingly damned the very religious beliefs of millions.

The documentary is shown on BBC / PBS and is produced by Maya Vision. Indeed.

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28 Comments

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28 responses to “Michael Wood’s ‘Beginnings’ – Hinduism Damned with Praise

  1. dave

    Many thanks for such an in depth insight, it is very much appreciated.
    Maybe as it is such a lengthy subject you could write it as a PDF file so we can download it and read a more lengthy version, for myself I will benefit from a deeper insight.

  2. I watched the documentary and was appalled by the media yet again presenting the theories of the academics as ‘fact.’ There were even some Indian academics agreeing with him on the show that the south Indian people came from Africa. What was most amazing of all was him referring to the sounds of the Vedas as proof that we come from animals by way of evolution, just because there was no translation of some of the mantras! Srila Prabhupada encouraged us to make propaganda against this ignorance of the scientists and historians by dissemination of Vedic knowledge. Let us all help in this great mission to give real knowledge to the world and save it from godless academia.

  3. subrata saha

    The term ‘Hinduism’ was coined by people living west of the river Sindhu (Indus). The religion (Vedic) born and practised in Bharat goes back 10,000 years if not earlier. This is a historical fact denied by most historians. Modern saints have spelled it out repeatedly. The west will never accept that but the Indians should not believe in any false history any more and should face the future with renewed vigour and confidence knowing that their ancestors laid down the greatest civilisation of all and had given immense spiritual wealth for posterity. Hats off to Michael Wood for generating interest. Healthy debate is required. Truth will come out one day and that won’t be long.

  4. Rev. Dr. GORDON WESTERLUND

    Indian philosophy I find is much greater than Western religions, in my opinion. A thousand times greater, though I’ve thought the Bible for 15 years. My congratulations to those who are living and propagating Indian concepts.

  5. shiv

    I do not disagree with the excellent points made, but I wish to comment on the following quote:
    “So when Michael Wood, in the final scene of his documentary, is speaking to camera in his conveniently white shirt and trousers in the middle of a happy throng of Hindus throwing multi-coloured powders, he speaks words of praise for the antiquity of India and her culture. But he has, albeit not with malice, just smilingly damned the very religious beliefs of millions.”

    In a perverse way Michael Wood has not damned those beliefs. He has merely pointed out that those beliefs have survived in India despite being wantonly wiped out by the march of militant Christianity and Islam in the rest of the world. While all of Africa, Arabia, Europe and America adopted the tribal beliefs of a couple of towns in West Asia, anything that needed to survive came to India. And survived.

  6. Thank you to Shiv and Dr. Westerlund. The ideas we find expressed in the Vedas are truly noble, uplifting, life enhancing, and by virtue of the fact that millions still follow them, enduring through centuries of human civilisation.

  7. r

    i agree with everything here except your disagreement with our origins in africa. all people are some type of evolved variation on black africans (look at sri lankans who are dark and have the same type of hair as black africans). believing this doesn’t mean we cannot also verify that our religion was created IN india and not by invading “aryans” who never existed. krishna means “black complexioned” and is described as having a broad nose. i don’t see why it’s far fetched that indians and africans share the same ancestral dna. on the contrary we should embrace this fact so that africans can be proud that they are somehow related to hinduism rather than viewing a blue eyed white jesus as god

    • truth

      thats not true, none of the people outside africa(euroasians) came from black africans, in fact the oldest caucasian skull is older than the oldest negroid skull.

      we originally came from the continent of africa yes, but you cannot assume that those who stayed in africa stopped evolving.

      so basically at the time of the OOA migration, none of the modern phenotypes had developed yet, those came much later in isolation from each other.

      and btw Sri lankans look nothing like africans, sri lankans have predominantly caucasoid facial features and have dark to medium brown skin. as well as wavy or straight hair, not nappy/kinky afros like africans have.

  8. Sridharam Ramachandra

    Lord Macaulay, Max Muller and a host of other politicians, missionaries had systematically, planned in earlier years. Their scheme was to Indians in every manner possible, by physical subjugation, psychological abuse, religious conversion, denigrate and humiliae their culture, languages, dress, beliefs, living labits, skin color, environment, etc. them in every manner using every tool and media possible while covering up and/or ennobling the trivial practices/concepts of the west and particularly the Abrahamic religious concepts. Even our History timelines have to tally western timelines. For a thousand years we had the brutal hoardes from the Middle-East came brutalized and destroyed Indian history physically. Following that, Europeans invaders worked psychologically to convince Indians of their essentially inferior physical feature, their l and, culture, their religion extolling all the minor.major virtues of the west using various media. Indian Government has been rewriting Indian History for schools deleting muslim invasions and their misdeeds, distorting Indian History. Today when Indian authors write books giving different view,publishers do not publish fearing government wrath. Films humiliating the majority community are encouraged and contrary films are banned. Hindu temples are government controlled. This is the sorry situation. Hindus must wake up and exhibit their pride and stand.
    Ramachandra

  9. Kumar

    Hi
    I was discussing about this with my uncle and below are comments from him

    I read your mail. this is nothing new.you can find an apt and fitting reply in ‘SEARCH FOR HISTORICAL KRISHNA’ AND ANOTHER BOOK ‘THE INVASION THAT NEVER WAS’.THE OLD THEORIES ABOUT ARYAN INVASION, ARYAN- DRAVIDIAN DIVISION, AGE OF OUR VEDAS AS FIXED BY THE SO CALLED FUNDAMENTALIST AND COLONIAL CHRISTIAN SCHOLARS INCLUDING MAX MULLER, WERE SHATTERED TO PIECES, THANKS TO MODERN TECHNOLOGIES LIKE SATELLITE PHOTOGRAPHY, ARCHEOLOGY, ECOLOGY AND ANCIENT MATHEMATICS. DECIPHERMENT OF INDUS SCRIPT BY JHA ADDS A LOT OF VALUE TO OUR THEORY THAT OUR CIVILIZATION DATES BACK TO BEFORE 7000BC.,THANKS TO EXCAVATION OF SITES AT PLACES LIKE MEHRGARH. NOWADAYS , WE ALSO DO LOT OF RESEARCH AND MANY BOOKS WERE PUBLISHED PROVING OUR THEORY. IT WILL TAKE SOME MORE TIME FOR A MAJORITY OF PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND INCLUDING MICHAEL WOOD. I THINK YOU KNOW WHY THESE PEOPLE DISTORTED OUR ANCIENT HISTORY AND WE ACQUIESCE.

    BEFORE 3500BC – THE AGE OF RIG VEDA
    3500-3000BC – THE LATER VEDAS AND
    BRAHMANAS
    3100-1900BC – HARAPPAN CIVILIZATION
    AND THE SUTRA PERIOD
    2200-1900BC- COLLAPSE OF ANCIENT
    CIVILIZATION IN INDIA,
    EGYPT AND MESOPOTAMIA
    DUE TO A MASSIVE 300 YEAR
    DROUGHT
    1900BC AND
    LATER PERIOD – PARTIAL RECOVERY BASED
    ON THE CULTIVATION OF
    DRYCROP

    BIRTH OF KALI 13 OCTOBER 3105
    BIRTH OF KRISHNA 27 JULY 3112
    BEGINNING OF
    MAHABARATA WAR -22 NOVEMBER 3067
    DEATH OF KRISHNA 13 APRIL 3031
    AT THE TIME OF WAR KRISHNA WAS 45 AND HE LEFT AT THE AGE OF 81

    FOR EVERYTHING ABOVE WE HAVE ALL IRREFUTABLE EVIDENCE , LITERARY ASTRONOMICAL, ECOLOGICAL, AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL.WITHOUT CHECKING THE FACTS IN DETAIL AND BASING ON THEIR OWN VERSION,WHICH IS DISTORTED DUE TO RELIGIOUS BELIEFS ETC PEOPLE LIKE MICHAEL WOOD SHOOT FILMS LIKE THIS. THE DAYS ARE OVER WHEN WE JUST ACCEPTED.

    NO TIME TO WRITE MORE.

    Balu

  10. Thanks to you Kumar and Uncle Balu. Very interesting dates you’ve given there.

    I can only imagine what discoveries might be made in India if only serious funding was provided to archaeologists as in Europe. Oh, and if India was seriously interested in researching its past.

    At the moment, the future seems much more interesting for the majority of India’s universities.

  11. Free Human Being

    The show is currently airing on PBS. Link to the PBS blog for further analysis: http://www.pbs.org/engage/blog/five-good-questions-michael-wood

  12. Win

    In 1st episode of the series, there are some serious objections in finding root of so called Aryan people in Turkmenistan based on Victor Sarianidi’s archeological excavations.

    1. BMAC ( Bactria Margiana Archeological Complex ) central asia excavation which is refered in the 1st episode started in 2200 BC & extinguished in 1900 BC i.e. for some 300 – 400 years. There were gold/silver jewelery finds there. Before South African Gold mines findings in recent times, there was only one source of Gold and that was South India. So,how come intricate Gold & Silver jewelery came to Turkmetistan ( i.e. BMAC ) area ? BMAC shows seals that are found in Indus Valley Civilization excavation in large sum. So, it shows that IVC had bigger contacts with BMAC.
    No mention of such points ? But, arbitrary acceptance of some Aryan people migrating to India. ( they are still not talking about Invasion. Good ! )

    2. There is no mention of Indus Valley Civilization ( IVC ) people’s achievements which was unparallel of concurrent civilizations of Egypt or Iraq ( Sumer ) or China. IVC had all planned towns with bricks of ratio 4:3:2 which is best ratio & that’s used even today. Finding of maths ruler with smallest unit and uniform weights & measures throughout IVC towns which encompasses more area than W.Europe. IVC’s famous bronze dancing girl statue & small terracota statues of persons in Yoga asans postures are not mentioned ?

    When you are telling about India’s true story then why are you hiding this very important thing ? Yoga statues during IVC times means that ancient IVC indians were knowing about Yoga and Yoga tradition itself speaks that it’s derived from Vedas. So, that means that IVC people were knowing Vedas and it means that there was no Aryan tribal people’s migration.

    3. How such advanced & cultured people accepted so called Aryan language of Sanskrit which is considered as hard to learn even for current Indians ? So, how ancient Indians accepted this `foreign’ language and changed all their teminology of maths & science & astronomy in which they were quiet advance than any other civilization ?

    If any term is new to some culture and that word’s equivalent is not found in their language then it’s accepted directly. Like Yoga , Karma , Dharma , Puja , Mantra etc. Sanskrit words in today’s western world’s vocab.

    4. Mentioning of Soma plant but it’s portryed wrong that Aryans came with Soma plant from central asia. Infact RigVeda or any Sanskrit do not remember anything about so called central asia motherland or migration in India which would have been very significant for any aryan people who happaned to change language & culture of ancient indians.

    5. Mention of now outdated Western interpretation of Indra as god of Aryan people & destroyer of forts. In the same episode it’s mentioned that Indian people’s whole life depends on Monsoon and people eagerly wait for monsoon rains. The same episode mentions Kolkata’s Asiatic Library’s lady mentioning that Indra is god of rains & thunder. So, do Mr. Wood who narrates Aryan Migration in India from Central Asia as some truth – can not understand that Indra as god of rains as RigVedic god and also mentioned in Iranian Avesta is india specific, as central asian people’s life don’t depend on rains. But, it’s Indian subcontinent people’s life which is totally dependent on Monsoon rains. Hence, Indra was glorified in RigVeda. But, Krishna had adviced Gokul’s villagers to stop praying Indra ( refer to Govardhan parvat episode in Krishna’s childhood ) and during Mahabharat time Saraswati had ceased to flow till ocean and she ended at Vinasana in desert. During Krishna’s time weather & geolocial changes had already effected life of indian people and hence He had adviced to stop praying Indra. This shows people’s faith shifting from Indra of RigVedic times.

    Infact series of events mentioned in RigVeda & other vedas,Puranas, Upnishad & other ancient Sanskrit scriptures indicate period much ahead of 1500 BC. Also, when DNA testing of south indian is shown in the episode then why it’s not mentioned that there is no genetic change in Indians’ DNA from 4500 BC to 500 BC period.

    Aryan theory is theory and not a scientific fact. So, the episode is not portraying the True Story of India.

    6. He shows B.B.Lal, great archiologist of India & once chairman of ASI, as excavator of a city during 1000 BC peiod which is perceived as Hastinapur of Mahabharat time. During early time the same B.B.Lal was accepting Aryan Invasion / Migration theory , but now same person is opposing it with newer findings in archeology, genetics & Saraswati river findings etc. So, why his recent findings are not mentioned as this series is of 2007. Whereas Victor Saridanidhi’s excavation findings like horse is mentioned as some proof when whole horse riding Aryans invading india is obsolete now.

    7. In Kushan kings episode, it’s mentioned that people of Mathura ( which was a very important city state during those time ) were happy with killing of Kushan king Kanishka. Then, same episode shows play of Krishna in which he kills Mathura King Kansa and then Mr. Wood says that people are still remebering killing of Kushan king as it’s shown in story of Kansa. This way he is potraying that episode of Kansa & Krishna are just myth and that’s taken from killing of that Kushan king of 100 – 200 BC time. A mislead by him.

  13. Juven Bachan

    Kumar, Before 3500BC, there was no horses in India. With the advent of the Vedas in India, its society and culture evolved into what is Hinduism today. The Indus has no Vedas to project its culture.

  14. Juven Bachan

    Win, The Indus is not of Aryan origin. Need I say more?

  15. Guru Krsna dasa

    Using ‘archaeo-astronomy’ to place the exact time and day the Mahabharata War began, a computer program reveals a date – 3067 B.C. on 22nd November. Surprisingly, Michael Wood did not mention the very new but very relevant science of ‘archaeo-astronomy.’ This fascinating science combines both astronomy and computer generated time lapse models that allow for exact placement of the celestial bodies, as far back as 7,000 years ago, with mind boggling precision.

  16. Can you kindly provide any links to relevant sites so that readers can find out more? It sounds fascinating.

  17. Guru Krsna dasa

    Srila Prabhupada wanted a Planetarium built in Mayapur. With the current ‘archaeo-astronomy’ software technology, it is possible to substantiate Vedic reference with a show-and-tell audio-visual performance of the celestial bodies moving backward in time to various cross-referenced descriptions right out of the Mahabharata. As you requested Deshika Prabhu; here are some fascinating links to relevant sites readers may ponder: http://ignca.nic.in/nl002503.htm and http://kalyan97.googlepages.com/dateofmahabharatawar

  18. Win

    Deshika, some more points.

    8. In Ashwameda ceremony, horse with 34 ribs are mentioned which pre-historic Indian Equus sivalensis were having ( instead of usual 36 ribs which modern horses have ).

    Also, BMAC area is also having equally less findings of horse like Indus Era.

    9. Word Navigation used in English for sea fare has cleared come from Sanskrit word Nav Gatih ( Nav = Ship and Gatih = Gati = motion ). So, do we assume that central asian land lock people brought sea faring to Europe !

    9. Swastik is found in many Indus seals, much before it’s found in another countries outside Indian Subcontinent. Indian culture and Sanskrit language can be found in Thailand, Indonesia, Malayasia, Cambodia ( Angkor Wat Temple where God Vishnu , Puranic incidents etc. are carved alongwith Gautam Buddha ), Vietnam ( where you can find ancient Shiv Lingas & temples ). Indian culture ( and yes Buddhism is an important Indian cultural export ) with language is found in SE Asia. Sanskrit words, direct or derived, comprise 30 to 50% vocab in Thai, Bahasa Indonesia or Malay languages. By the way, Bahasa is derived from Sanskrit word Bhasha = Language !

    10. Since there is not a single reference of Aryan people coming from outside India, current proponent of Aryan Migration / Invasion theory western Indogolist MichaelWitzel tried to traslate wrongly one verse of “Baudhayana Shrauta Sutra” and told that hey ! look this verse talks about coming of aryans from North-West India. But, it’s traslation was challneged by some other Indian & Western Sanskritist. In fact , that verse speaks about Aryans not coming from North-West , but migrating TO North-West. So, this verse holds the belief that ancient Indians moved to North-West of Indian subcontinent and beyond in pre-historic time.

    Even I am amazed at the low level of Sanskrit knowledge of M.Witzel when he says that Saptasindhavah are different than SaptaSindhu. For non-Sanskrit knowers , SaptaSindhavah is one form of word for original word SaptaSindhu ( = Seven Rivers ). It’s like one word for ` XYZ has’ or `by XYZ’ , where XYZ is SaptaSindhu. Sanskrit grammer is totally different than European languages. Read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanskrit_grammar and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanskrit_pronouns_and_determiners to understand complex grammer.

    I am giving some weblinks for your reference which will be in random order.

    *[http://www.geocities.com/ifihhome/articles/bbl001.html The Homeland of Indo-European Languages and Culture: Some Thoughts] By Archaeologist B.B. Lal
    *[http://www.geocities.com/ifihhome/articles/bbl002.html Why Perpetuate Myths ? – A Fresh Look at Ancient Indian History] By Archaeologist B.B. Lal
    *[http://www.archaeologyonline.net/artifacts/19th-century-paradigms.html Let not the 19th century paradigms continue to haunt us!] Inaugural Address, by Prof. Lal, delivered at the 19th International Conference on South Asian Archaeology, 2007

    http://www.omilosmeleton.gr/english/en_index.html

  19. Sita

    Pranams,
    I think this link “http://reflections-shivanand.blogspot.com/2008/09/interview-rigveda-harappans.html” will give us a lot of answers,both on Michal Wood’s Beginnings and about India’s Archaeological Past.
    Hari Om!

  20. Sita

    I must also thank free Human Being for providing the link to the link I had given earlier.
    Hari Om

  21. Catherine Doherty

    In reply to Reverend Westerlund, I have to disagree with this assessment regarding our respective religions. I have been studying the Bhagavad Gita, Mundaka Upanishad and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras with a most eminent and holy senior Swami from the non-sectarian Ramakrishna order. As being of a Christian background I am still attached to my roots and recently have been reading the writings of Saint John of the Cross. I have found that these are the equal in every way of any of the Hindu scriptures I have studied, as are the four Gospels, and other books of the Bible. The problem is that the churches hide these lights under a bushel and these days try to be “relevant” in a modern society, thus overlooking spirituality completely. Add to that the fact that priests and ministers, while in many cases well-meaning, are often not particularly holy or even truly inspired, are too worldly and thus not able to elucidate these gems of scriptures for the faithful. This is a trap that any religion can fall into and India will become vulnerable to this grave failing if its material wealth increases.

  22. It is already happening Catherine. India is indeed losing its centuries-old veneration of its own spiritual culture in direct proportion to its western-tied economic prosperity. Rapid communication and televisions even in remote villages have further promoted a culture in direct opposition to the original Vedic culture.

    Yes, you are right, if people followed the teachings of Lord Jesus Christ as they did in the first and second centuries, the world would be a different place. However, we would still have to borrow Greek philosophy to provide an intellectual foundation to his theological and moral teachings.

    And there lies the only difficulty. Lord Jesus’ ministry was so short, and in many ways focused on contradicting the existing legalistic religious ways of the day, that philosophical certainties do not shine from his teachings as they do from the Vedas.

    If the essence of both Vedic and Christian teaching is that we have all forgotten God and must try now to understand, serve, and to love Him, then we can all agree.

    Once we move into discussing the identity of God, the identity of the self and the nature of eternity, the most efficient method of approaching God, and the mechanics of reincarnation – that is where disagreements may lie; and precisely where Vedic philosophy can help.

    Christianity on the basis of Vedic teachings – now that would be worth investigating.

  23. Win

    In Shrimad Bhagad’s Eighth Skandh and 8th Adhyay where Mohini swaroop of Vishnu is mentioned ; there it’s mentioned that Vasant ritu in Vaishakh month. But, in today’s time Vaishakh month is in peak summer ritu. ( Ritu = season ) Which means that 3 months of change in Ritu w.r.t. month. It’s proved by all scientist that in 2000 years 1 month of season change take place. So, 3 months of change will correspond to around 6,000 years. i.e. around 4000 BC. And, this season change w.r.t. month is due to the Earth’s Precession. Read more about it here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precession_(astronomy) . Look at the photo ” Effects of axial precession on the seasons ” under section “Anomalistic precession ” in that wikipedia page. It clearly shows that month which is under summer now, was under Spring before 5,000 years. So, Precession is an scientific phenomenon and proof of it in Shrimad Bhagavad by way of season change w.r.t. past gives proof of Bhagavad Purana’s timeline. Vedas were composed before Purana , so Vedas are ancient than 4,000 BC at least.

  24. Sita

    Pranams Guruji,
    Actually we are also witnessing a kind of reorganization around here to cope with the new social systems and demands on our times and energies.
    “Rapid communication and televisions even in remote villages have further promoted a culture in direct opposition to the original Vedic culture.”
    I wouldn’t blame them for the social degeneration that we see around here. In fact they are also tools to spread piety and Spirituality. Every morning the DD Chandana broadcasts the abhishekams done to the accompanyment of Purusha Suktam and other Vedic prayers from temples all over Karnataka.These are a boon to those who couldn’t go to temples on account of old age or other family obligations..On DD podhigai one can listen to devotional music and discourses.This is there in other T.V.Channels, too. Not all that is old is good, nor is all that is new bad. I think we must keep in mind the adage that anything, even Amrith (nectar), when in excess becomes poison. With jobs taking people away from their families, and the State not doing enough to fulfill its obligations,and individuals not sure what their true history is ,what else could one expect.
    “Christianity on the basis of Vedic teachings – now that would be worth investigating.”
    This is being tried by the churches in India, at least the trappings like lamps and bhajans etc.
    Hari Om, Sita

  25. Leo

    Does it really matter who came from where? If we are so proud of our history then why even after independence we haven’t been able to make A ONE good documentary on Hinduism. Don’t expect an outsider to do your job the way you want to get it done specially when he is using his own resources and nothing from so Called proud Indians. Before pointing out see what you have done other than producing mindless bollywood movies and dramas which you all hindus spend time everyday watching it on TV ask your wife or daughter or anyone about this. So do not show false pride. First prove it then talk about it.

  26. John

    Wow… and I thought the Americans in the deep south were wacky fundamentalists.
    You guys take the cake!

    • Thanks John. In the past month alone archaeologists have announced two new findings: the existence of a prehistoric supersized sea creature that could eat todays blue whale and the co-existence of homo-neanderthalis alongside homo-sapiens. We’re not fundamentalists really, we just find it hard to keep up with theories that keep on changing.

      Four years ago, when one of our members brought out a book describing such sea creatures and the simultaneous co-existence of two human forms (such that sapiens was not a development from neanderthalis on the same evolutionary branch) the author was also termed a fundamentalist.

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