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1: A study discussing the broad basis for the devotional and yoga approaches of the 'six' acara-s, 'styles' of the overall deity system of the sanatana-dharma tradition geared to the sensibility of the three types of devotees/practitioners-Part Two.

    This study is copyrighted by George W. Farrow.


Please note that the font used here does not include the diacritical marks necessary to correctly reproduce or vocalize the English Sanskrit words used in this study. Sorry!


A study, in three parts, discussing the broad basis for the devotional and yoga approaches of the 'six' acara-s, 'styles' of the overall deity system of the Hindu, sanatana-dharma, the tradition of the Eternal Doctrine, geared to the sensibility of the three types of devotees/practitioners. Part Two.


Part One: The Introductory and Preliminary Remarks.

Part Two: The proto-deity 'styles' of the arcane Indo-Dravidian tradition and via those 'styles', the gradual evolution of the orthodox Vedic/Brahminical tradition on towards the deity 'styles' of the Brahminical Trinity .

Part Three: The deity 'styles' of the classic Vaisnava, Shaiva and Shaiva/Shatka traditions.


   The guru, the adept lineage holding master.

   'The syllable 'gu' signifies 'darkness' [and the syllable] 'ru' is that which dispels 'darkness'.

   'He who dispels the darkness of ignorance is the guru, the 'master'.

                                                                                                                                                  KA.T. 17.5.


Part Two: The proto-deity 'styles' of the arcane Indo-Dravidian tradition and via those 'styles', the gradual evolution of the orthodox Vedic/Brahminical tradition on towards the deity 'styles' of the Brahminical Trinity .


   ‘Indians do not possess accurate knowledge of their history [preferring] when pressed for [accurate] information to take to story telling’.

                                    Al-Beruni, the 11th., century AD., Arab scholar, historian and geographer.


Contents of Part Two.


(1.,) The possible, pre-historic origins of the modes of the 'reversed' emanation and yoga system later applied within the graduated 'six' deity 'styles' of the Eternal Doctrine.

(2.,) The Indo-Dravidian, Indus Valley Civilization.

(2a.,} Artifacts and textual references suggesting the existence of a tantric, Indo-Dravidian proto-Shaiva/ Shakta religion.

(2c.,) Interpretations of important seals from the cities of the Indus Valley Civilization.

(3.,) From the land of the Eranvej.

(3a.,) Suggestions within the RV., regarding the nature of Iranian-Aryan social and religious culture.

(3b.,) The shaman/priests/ascetics of the proto-Aryan tribes who applied the shamanistic regimes of psychotropic 'mental medicines'.

 (3c.,) Quasi-history from the RV., suggesting the subjugation of the northwestern region of the Indian sub-continent by the Iranian-Aryan clans and tribes.

(i.,) The ‘five-fold race’ of the Arya, the Noble Ones and their indigenous Indian enemies.

(3d.,) The 'Aryan migration from out of Central Asia' theory and the 'out of India' theory.

(4.,) The Vedic textural tradition.

(i.) General remarks on the  veda-s.

(ii.) Remarks regarding the rg-veda.

(4a.,) A simple differentiation of the nature of the treatises forming the Vedic textural tradition and the traditional means applied to basically grade the overall contents of the Veda-s.

(i.) Suggestions of theism occuring within the Tenth Cycle of the RV.

(5.,) The eastward expansion of the Indo-Aryan social/religious culture.

(6.) New oral and later textural traditions that were created to ‘re-interpret’ the contents of the principal Veda-s as the means to ‘update’ the ‘authority’ and outlook of the Vedic tradition within the now fully established sedentary context of the various petty kingdoms etc., of the 'middle country' .

(i.,) The Brahmana textural tradition.

(ii.,) Important Brahmana-s.

(iii.) The early Upanisad textural tradition.

(iv.) The linkage of the early principal Upanisad-s with the speculative views held by the ethnically mixed warrior class householder intellectuals and the equally mixed lineage of yogi-s/ascetics.

(7.) The basic geographical vista held by the mercantile classes etc., of the greater 'middle country' at beginning of the latter half of the 1st., millennium BC.

(7a.) A very basic Buddhist-orientated historical perspective on the fourteen Great Communities forming the greater 'middle country'.

(8.,) Historical interlude: Remarks regarding greater Gandhara; the advent of invasions from Persia and Central Asia into the northwestern, western region etc., of the Indian sub-continent  and rise and fall of the Magadhan Mauryan Empire etc., etc.

(i.,) The advent of the Persian Empire.

(ii.,) The entry of the Macedonian Greeks under Alexander, the Great into the northwest region.

(iii.,) The rise of the indigenous Magadhan Mauryan dynasty under Chandragupta Maurya.

(iv.,) Asoka Maurya, the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya.

(v.,) The division of the Maurya Empire, leading to the gradual fall of the Maurya Empire by c.180 BC. 

(vi.,) The Bactrian Greeks. 

(vii.,) The Shaka-s/Sythians.

(viii.,) The advent of Kushan/Kusana-s.

(9.) The varna-ashrama-dharma, the system of caste, caste duty and stage of life of the later centuries of the 1st., millennium BC..

(i.,) The classic Brahmin system of caste, duty and stage of life.

(ii.) The profession/duties of the four castes.

(iii.) The Four Stages of life.

(iv.,) The transition from elemental Vedic deities to the Brahminized deities of the Trinity.

(10.,) Remarks on the political and social origins of the various, newly emerging sectarian religious traditions and the philosophical schools that arose and emerged from the second h alf of the 1st., millennium BC.

(i.,} A basic differentiation of the doctrinal approach of the orthodox, unorthodox and hetrodox traditions upheld during the later centuries of the 1st., millennium BC.

(ii.,) The various other  philosophical schools of the ‘deniers’.

(11.,) The sat-darshana, the Six Expositions of classical Indian philosophy.

(i.) The Samkhya school.

(11a.,) The Yoga School.

(11b.,) A translation of Patañjali’s yoga-darshana, Yoga Exposition by George W. Farrow.

(11c.) The Nyaya School.

(11d.) The Vaishesika School.

(12.) The two schools of Mimamsa philosophy.

(i.) The backward looking 'earlier' Mimamsa School.

(ii.) The ‘later' Mimamsa School.

(12a.,) A translation of the sarvasara-upanisad, an ‘instruction’ that defines terminology relating to the orthodox, Vedanta geared, yoga system by George W. Farrow.



(1.,) The possible, pre-historic origins of the modes of the 'reversed' emanation and yoga system later applied within the graduated 'six' deity 'styles' of the Eternal Doctrine.


    '...Siddha-s, adepts are said to have existed in former eras like the auspicious Adin›tha, the Original Lord...'

                                                                                                             hatha-yoga-pradipika (HYP.,) 1.1.5

  The possible geographical range of the pre-historic shamanistic streams of greater south Asia included now modern eastern Iran, Afghanistan and the crucial north-western, western and northern, central regions etc., of the Indian sub-continent. We will propose that the various streams of a pre-historic, possibly greater south Asian, shamanistic lineage upheld and even initially evolved a variety of shamanistic regimes. The arcane origins of the various techniques and methods of the 'reversed' emanation and yoga systems, still applied by ascetics within the 'six' deity 'styles' of the Eternal Doctrine, possibly arose during the pre-historic, tribal era within the tribal shamanistic lineage streams of greater southern Asia. 

   A regime of a proto-reversed method of breath control, later central to a fully formed ulta, 'reversed' emanation and yoga system, were possibly initially evolved and orally transmitted by tribal pre-historic shamans within some of the tribal shamanistic streams of greater southern Asia. But when considering the possible regimes of the pre-historic shamanistic lineage there are no written records or even comprehensive sets of artifacts to guide any possible research. Therefore much of what is discussed here is based upon inference and intuition etc., derived from some remaining artifacts as well as from passages contained within an historic Indian yoga text.

   Patanjali’s 2nd., century BC., yoga-darshana (YD.,), Exposition of Yoga, does alluded to the character of some applied shamanistic regimes, that were possibly inherited from the tribal shamanistic lineage streams of greater southern Asia. YD., 4.1., offers an indication of the range of then contemporary applied systemic approaches, some clearly inherited from tribal antiquity, that were acceptable to the orthodox tradition of yoga during the era of the composition of the YD., during the 2nd., century BC.

      Here YD., 4.1., states:

     ‘siddhya˙, accomplishments, are by janma, birth, ausadhi, drugs [or even 'mental medicines'], mantra, mantra-s, tapam, austerities or by samadhi, gathered stabilized meditative states’.

    Of these regimes, austerities, drugs or 'mental medicines', mantra-s and even 'birth' are linked to the arcane shamanistic regimes of pre-history. Here 'birth' possibly  infers advanced outer and inner erotic tantric methods and practices rather than just the conventional meaning of being externally born into a high caste.

   In addition to referring to the possible attainment of mental concentration and even psychic powers by these various inner approaches, Patañjali infers that the essential aim of some of these inner ‘experiential’ regimes can lead to even deeper degrees of inner, abstract concentration. By including the systemic approaches of ‘birth’, ‘mantra-s’ and ‘gathered stabilized meditative state’, this verse from the YD., is clearly inferring that some orthodox and even tantric approaches are not just simply aimed at psychic potentialities but are aimed towards the intuitive experience of the 'one consciousness' via inwardly ascertaining the essential nature of deities with and without form .

       Once fully assayed, the inner approach of ‘birth’, ‘mantra-s’, ‘gathered stabilized meditative states’ etc., potentially offers the possibility of rolling back the veils of relative sensory conditioning by way of applying the various systems of emanation and yoga. The efficient rolling back of the conditioning of sensory cause and effect by the mature yogi can enable a subsequently abstracted and re-focused mind the potential for establishment within undifferentiated mind flow.

    The protracted experience of undifferentiated mind flow can potentially even allow the eventual establishment of mind of the mature and efficient yogi within the divine sphere of macrocosmic/microcosmic, 'one consciousness'. In part one of this study the macrocosmic/ microcosmic 'one consciousness' can be characterized as the melded divine aspects of resonance/radiance. 

   But during the pre-historic tribal era, the normal daily focus of the shamanistic circles of greater southern Asian was mainly concerned with daily outer worship and outer ritual propitiation as well as with the various periodic seasonal rites, all offered to the various tribal aspects of the main tribal deity, the Great Mother Goddess. Outer ritual worship included sacrifices made to honor and even aid the tribal ancestors in the supposed after-life.

  In the pre-historic context, the untamed natural world along with all the natural elements, water, fire etc., and all the beings contained on/within the Earth were considered, without exception, to be the creations and manifestations of the ‘great source’, the Great Mother Goddess. This approach to the ‘great source’ created an available, but very simple conceptual, outer view of the basis for appreciating a state of non-duality that even on the sensory level led to the perception of a degree of unity within the ‘great source’.

  Here the mental affictions of the emotions or the later ‘sins’ of selfishness, greed, avarice, lust, pride and envy etc., inherent to the foundation basis of later ‘civilization’ had not yet come to dominate warm, ‘communal’ tribalism. Here there was not yet any real need for dualistic conceptual doctrines involving and pointing to the nature of good and evil as well as to point out actually unseen divine and inimical forces etc., required to teach an understanding of the selfishness and evil pervading the sensory, relative social world.

  Animals killed for food were offered respect for the sacrifice of their lives as were herbs, plants and trees. Even flints and stones fashioned and used in the tribal hunter’s daily life were also respected. Also even feared animal predators and snakes etc., who killed hunters or tribal members were respected. This was clearly so because the tribal outlook/custom saw all creation and even supposed inimical creation as being within the universal ‘circle’ of the Great Mother, the 'source' of all life.

    Despite the daily dangers, hardships and sufferings endured by the tribal members, worship for the creation and the respect of all animate and inanimate things within the ‘living great source’ allowed tribal individuals to offer thanks; feel a sense of unity and to be at ease within the ‘circle’ of the Great Mother’s earthly creation. Warmth/love was natural and was ‘timelessly’ present within the close knit family/clan situation. Here, within the tribal family/clan, warmth/love were the first of virtues. In turn this warmth/love was readily directed in the devotion offered to the ‘source’ of life, the Great Mother Goddess.

  Worship and propitiation of the Great Mother was readily made to Her physical embodiment, the form of women-kind. Then women were naturally honored as the visible forms of Goddess by possessing the ‘source’ of life. Here the male role in reproduction was secondary. Thereby a tribal social system based family ‘warmth’ and based on matriarchy became the font of social ‘virtue’ and of ‘unity’ within the tribal ‘circle’ of existence.

  This evident sense of social ‘virtue’, of ‘warm’ social values and of social ‘unity’ coupled with the potential within the individual members of a tribe for deeper, concentrated, intuitive insight leading to psychic experience etc., laid down the seeds for ritualized systematic worship and the various regimes of shamanism. Inner concentration occurred more often and far more normally within the relatively simple and uncluttered tribal communal life-style.

  Here, at the time of the spring and autumnal sacrifices and on the occasion of the summer and winter solstices rites of devotion and sacrifice were offered to the Great Mother Goddess, the ‘great source’. These rites, rituals and sacrifices formed the outer mode of pre-historic and ancient tribal religion. Later these ancient so-called ‘pagan’ lunar and solar rites etc., were certainly adapted for the purposes of a variety of ‘civilized’ sectarian religious contexts.

      Contemporary festivals such as those performed on the New Year, on Yuletide or even at Christmas, around the winter solstice as well as at the summer solstice marking solar calendar or at festivals marking the lunar calendar etc., all have their origins in ancient tribal passage rites offered in thanks to the Great Goddess. Elements in the modes of sacraments and offerings, such as the sacraments of female, red berries and male, white berries as well as evergreen leaves and also the offering of presents made at these festive times, clearly demonstrate the rooting of such festivals in tribal pre-history.

   Residual elements of such ancient modes of ritual worship, propitiation and sacrifice offered at crucial points on the lunar and solar calendar are all still clearly extant in India and Asia and certainly the Indian ritual modes that include fire sacrifices and animal sacrifice form part of the inheritance given by the pre-historic tribal shamanistic traditions and tribal customs .


  During the arcane pre-historic era, tribal shamans performed various shamanistic regimes in order to propitiate both female and male, tribal deities etc., necessary in the pursuit of securing favor, gaining material aid as well as inner knowledge etc. These various kinds of quite different and even contrary shamanistic regimes included the regime of extreme ascetic austerities; the regime of the ritual use of psychotropic substances and a regime that involved tantric-like 'erotic' practices etc.

  The regime of the ritual use of psychotropic substances was perhaps performed in order to find the direct favor of female and male elemental deities etc., and to obtain mantra-s, 'power songs' as well as to gain key knowledge relating to the breath and inner components necessary to further explore the consciousness potential of the finite body/mind.

   Application to these various regimes were in accord with the handed down practices of the various tribal shamanistic lineage traditions and were also in accord to the predilections of the lineage adepts who headed the various tribal shaman circles. But within the circles of ascetic shamans who performed the regimes of austerities, perhaps the various early techniques of breath control and even possibly a very early proto-reversed emanation and yoga system were only gradually developed and evolved into separate yoga regime.

  The development of a separate shamanistic yoga regime, centered on breath control and inner detachment etc., that was not really concerned with the regime of stoically applying painful austerities to the body, possibly gradually arose and spread within some tribal shaman circles. This evolution from the regime of austerity possibly occurred within some of the tribal shaman circles of the tribes living within the regions centered in and around the fertile regions of Indus river valley and the 'five' rivers of the Punjab.

  But hard evidence that a separate shamanistic regime of breath control possibly evolved into a proto-reverse emanation and yoga system is not readily available. Further, the possible widespread extend of the mentioned shamanistic regimes does not really give any firm idea of a tribal, bipolar deity system which is absolutely necessary to support a proto-reversed system of emanation and yoga.

  But here arcane and fundamental esoteric symbols such as the sat-kona, the six-pointed star and/or the unified yoni/linga, the womb/phallus which are historically linked to the metaphor to the ‘erotic drama' of the state of yoga, 'union', can perhaps suggest and point to the existence of an arcane bipolar deity system as well as the existence of a proto-reverse emanation and yoga system arising during the pre-historic tribal era.

  Since the dawn of pre-history, the female and the male components in the drama of the biological process of reproduction have been typified and symbolized by the downward female triangle and upward male triangle. Certainly during the pre-historic era, shamans and early tribal tantric yogi-s would have no cultural or extreme moral inhibitions to borrow and develop these well know symbols and the created an erotic metaphor, to act as an efficient oral teaching mode to point to the consciousness potential of the finite body/mind.

  During the arcane tribal era, the downward female triangle, represented the more experienced, mature Mother Goddess and the upward facing triangle represented her male Helper, the inexperienced, youthful male Deity. Here the mature Mother Goddess takes the lead in initiating the inexperienced, youthful male Deity in towards their divine erotic union and thereby the unified divine female/male triangles can be equated as the melded, divine radiant/resonant aspects of the 'source' of life.

  The tribal regime of the inner 'erotic' tantric practices were perhaps built upon emanating this view. Already the shamanistic masters of the regimes of austerities and breath control, along with the masters of the psychotropic experience, had realized that tribal humanity did have a consciousness potential beyond sensory dualism and go beyond rote outer worship of the Great Mother. These masters realized this potential came from protracted experience within undifferentiated mind flow.

   Here subtle shamans and the very early accomplished tantric yogi-s saw that the inner bipolar male and female aspects of the breath; the principle two vayu-s, 'winds' and the principle male and female 'sun and moon' spinal centers could be considered in terms of the bipolar male and female triangles and as neccessary to finally enter into the melded state of 'union'.

   Normally the 'mother and father' breath as well as the the inner components, the principle 'winds' etc., are out of focus, separated and just reflect the duality of the various states of emotional consciousness derived from the arising trends of desire and the habits of cause and effect. But by successfully applying the purifying regime of breath control within the stages of a bipolar, proto-reverse emanation and yoga system, now unknown but seminal pre-historic tribal adepts actually did realized the 'one consciousness'.

    In the early tribal context these unknown adepts became known the adinatha, the 'original lord' of the proto-yoga tradition or known as Shiva, the 'auspicious one'. These unknown but seminal tribal lineage adepts became known as Shiva, the 'auspicious one', because their accomplishment sybolized as the divine union of female/male attributes was the 'destroyer' of dualistic cause and effect that effected the attainment of the consciousness potential of the finite body/mind etc.

    In turn these unknown seminal 'original lords' founded a separate, overall yoga lineage stream forwarding the lineage system based upon the processes and stages of the proto-reversed emanation and yoga etc. This oral lineage was evolved to teach 'worthy' disciples the exoteric and esoteric means towards fully uncovering and revealing the consciousness potential of the finite body/mind. Over time, this arcane and original yoga lineage stream as well as the other tribal yoga lineage streams founded by later adepts of the regime of breath control etc., went to create the exoteric/esoteric foundations of the  classic South Asian religions.

    In this context the symbolism offered by the inner bipolar union of the male and female triangles as well as the inner symbolic union of the womb/phallus are well suited to characterize the basic processes and stages of the emanation and yoga system as well as to characterize the divine goal of attaining divine non-duality. Here the symbol of the womb/phallus could have be evolved out of six-pointed star or vis-a-versa.

    Since the pre-historic South Asian tribal context, the separated male and female triangles were ideally suited to suggesting the graduated processes and stages of the bipolar proto-reversed emanation and yoga system necessary to reverse and then bring consciousness into unity within the 'one consciousness'.

    Certainly both of these symbols are still present and can be used as oral teaching modes within today's Shaiva, Shaiva/Shakta and Buddhist tantric Mantrayana traditions. Since the pre-historic era, within the master/disciple relationship, the use of the imagery of the two components and the fully formed 'six-pointed star' has certainly suited to the 'secret' lineage transmission of oral instruction towards attaining unity within the 'one consciousness'.

    In the modern era, the adepts of the unorthodox and tantric deity 'styles' of the Eternal Doctrine still use the separated components of the six-pointed star etc., as a means to typify dualistic consciousness and as the bipolar metaphorical means to re-unite the two triangles in order to 'reverse' all duality and finally attain unity within the 'one consciousness'. Here the separated two triangles of the six-pointed star can symbolize and point to the devolution of consciousness from the innate, immanent 'one consciousness' and point to the veil of ignorance that separates the individual from realizing the consciousness potential of the finite body/mind.

   Thereby the purpose of the 'reversed' system of emanation and yoga is to 'reverse' the arising trends of sensory, emotional duality in order to re-establish the consciousness of the efficient, accomplished practitioner within undifferentiated mind flow with the final aim of attaining entry within the immanent macrocosmic/microcosmic sphere of non-dual consciousness. The fuller processes and stages aimed towards that goal can be symbolized by simply using the sat-kona, the six-pointed star as an oral teaching mode.

  Thereby the basis for the ignorance of the consciousness potentiality of the finite body/mind is symbolized by the separate two triangles. When separated from the 'one consciousness', the illusions of the dualistic mind are simply maintained by the ongoing fluctuations of the impure resonance that emanates from the spinal centers via the bipolar breath.

  These fluctuations of ‘I’, ‘mine’, the ego etc., underpin the dualistic delusions surrounding the assumed possession of an individual self which is always alone, separate until the body passes. Whilst alive these fluctuations maintain the arising trends of dualistic, emotional cause and effect that effectively maintains the veils that conceal both the undifferentiated mind flow as well as the divine nature of the 'one consciousness'.

   As inferred this state of duality is maintained by holding fast to constantly ‘arising’ waves of emotional tendencies/desires riding on the diffused, impure resonance emanating from the two main spinal centers. Then the brain further acts upon these emotionally driven impulses by the interplay, action with the senses and objects of the senses. The nature of the bipolar aspects of the impure breath, the separated two triangles, characterize and indicate the basic link with the various ‘arising’ states of emotional colored consciousness.

  Thereby the bipolar aspects of the impure emotional breath initially offer an apparent and fundamental means towards commencing the task of purifying, refocusing the drives of the driven lower mind. The processes of emanation and yoga are applied in order that the inner female and male two triangles can be gradually purified.

  Here the internal yoga techniques of ‘reversing’ or rather purifying and harmonizing the female and male aspects of the bipolar breath giving the chance to 'reverse' the 'normal' but in fact 'unnatural' flow of the two main vayu-s, the 'winds'. By 'reversing' the two main winds can in turn, purify and harness the bipolar inner components, the male and female spinal centers of the 'sun' and the 'moon'.

    By the stages of the yoga process of reversal the skillful tantric yogi can further re-focus the mind on the vista offered by undifferentiated mind flow etc. By way of the efficient tantric yoga method relating to the yoga nerves, winds and the female and male spinal centers etc., the process of further 'reversing' and 're-tuning', the resultant undifferentiated mind flow can perhaps eventually establish the finite body/mind within the microcosmic/macrocosmic 'great breath' or the opitmum energy/capability of the cosmic life force.

   Other symbols from pre-historical era include the cakra, a discus or a vortex even a centre of psychic energy and the right-handed swastika. These symbols in company with symbols of the six-pointed star and the womb/phallus as well as the female/male 'erotic' metaphor of the melding the bipolar breath and inner components etc., can perhaps signify the completion of the 'reversed. emanation and yoga system of union or rather the re-union of finite, sensory consciousness within the divine 'one consciousness'.

   The symbolism of six-pointed star and/or the womb/phallus etc., played a crucial role in formulating the process of the proto-reversed emanation and yoga systems within very early, tribally derived, proto-Shaiva/Shakta lineage tradition. This yoga-based tradition  existed during the 3rd., and early 2nd., millennium BC., era within the sedentary Indo-Dravidian Indus Valley Civilization.


(2.,) The Indo-Dravidian, Indus Valley Civilization.


    ‘ ...Perfect in knowledge and eternal, [is] Shankara himself, on whom [we] alone depend...’

                  The invocation commencing Tulsı D›s’ Hindi composition, the R›macaritam›nasa.


   The discovery of the ruined cities of the hither unknown Indus Valley Civilization occured during the early decades of the 20th., century AD. The monumental discovery of the ruined cities of the city/states of the Indus Valley Civilization shook the foundations of the western academic world which had previously only upheld the vista of the Middle Eastern and Egyptian origins of urban, river-based civilization.

  The possible existence of the ruined cities of the city/states of the Indo-Dravidian, Indus Valley Civilization was heralded by the finding of ancient seals in and around the very large mound situated near the village Harappa, now in modern Pakistani Punjab.  In part this very large mount situated at Harappa consisted of a huge volume of ancient bricks. These ancient bricks were so plentiful that in the late 19th., only a part were subsequently crushed and put to use as the underpinning of 53 miles of track on a then newly build railway line running from Karachi to Lahore. 

   In 1872–75 AD., Alexander Cunningham published a series of papers featuring seals found in and around the village of Harappa. But here Cunningham was in error when he indicated that the signs or rather the characters inscribed on these seals were early examples of the Brahmi script. In 1912 AD., J.Fleet, discover even more Harappan seals.

  In 1921–22 AD., the previous discovery of a quantity of Harappa seals, prompted the archaeologist Sir John Marshall to excavate the huge mound located outside of the village of Harappa. Marshall's archaeological team included the Indian archaeologists Rai Bahadur Daya Ram Sahni and Madho Sarup Vats. Under various teams these successful archaeological excavations have continued until 1999 AD.

   The village of Harappa was/is situated near where the old, dried-up course of the Ravi River flowed into the Indus river. The excavation of the remains of this still large mound resulted in the unearthing of a previously unknown ancient city situated at Harappa. The successful excavation at Harappa in turn led the monumental discovery of the hitherto unknown so-called Indus Valley Civilization.

    By 1931, a team under the direction of Marshall had also finished the initial archaeological excavation of another site located in the environs of the village of Mohenjo-daro, discovering the remains of the ancient ruined city situated there. The village of Mohenjo-daro is situated within the Larkana District of Sindh in modern Pakistan. With the discovery of the ancient city located at Mohenjo-daro, Marshall  perceived that this ruined city was the largest and was perhaps the most important urban center of the Indus Valley Civilization.

     The archaelogical excavation of ancient site at Mohenjo-daro was situated on a near buried ridge within the middle of the flood plain in Indus River Valley. This ridge was prominent during the era of the Indus Valley Civilization, allowing the city to stand above the surrounding flood plain, but over four millennia, flooding by the River Indus had buried most of the ridge under a deposit of silt. The Indus River still flows to the east of the site, but the remains of the riverbed of the Ghaggar-Hakra River, situated on the western side, is only in use during monsoon seasion.

  Archaeological excavations of the earliest levels of the sites of these and the other major cities of the Indus Valley Civilization have revealed that these cities were in turn often built upon ancient village sites.

  From these  archaeological excavations,  archaeologists date the founding of the urban-based Indus Valley Civilization to  the first half of the 4th., millennium BC. The reach of the Indus Valley Civilization extending northeast into the Ghaggar-Hakra River valley and even into the upper reaches of the Ganges-Yamuna Doab. The Indus Valley Civilization extended west to the Makran coast of modern Baluchistan and north towards eastern Afghanistan and southwest along the coast of Gujarat.

   The Indus Valley Civilization is among the earliest urban, river-based civilizations and this civilization was contemporaneous with the river-based civilizations of ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt and China. In all some 1,052 archaelogical sites containing urban centers and agricultural village settlements have been found, mainly in the general region of the Indus River Valley and its tributaries. Major urban centers were found at Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro Ganweriwala, Dholavira, and Rakhigarhi.

    Major harbors were also found and these harbors were situated on the coast or in river estuaries. These harbors were situated at Sotkagen-dor, standing on Dasht River, north of Jiwani; at Sokhta Koh, standing on the Shadi River, north of Pasni and at Balakot near Sonmiani, all in modern Pakistan as well as Lothal situated on the coast of Gujarat in India. These harbors allowed the merchants, the artisans and the seafaring traders of the Indus Valley Civilization to enjoy a brisk maritime trade with the Elamite, Sumerian and Mesopotamian ports and cities to the west.

    Archaeologists  have divided the phases in the time scale of the Indus Valley Civilization into three phases. The Early Harappan phase lasted from c.3300-2700 BC; the mature phase of the Harappan civilization or rather the actual mature phase of the total expansion of the Indus Valley Civilization lasted from c. 2600-1900 BC., and the declining Late Harappan phase that lasted from c.1800-1400 BC.


   In regard to the ethnic nature of the Indus Valley Civilization a minority of scholars of ancient history and ancient linguistics hold a somewhat controversial theory that the Indus Valley Civilization was perhaps generated and founded by ethnic seafaring/colonists hailing from the ancient kingdom of Elam. This theory contradicts the theory normally held by many scholars that the Indus Valley Civilization was founded by the Mesopotamian, Sumerian seafarers/colonists.

    The ancient kingdom of Elam was situated on the coast and inland within Khuzestan and Ilam provinces of modern Iran and a small part of southern Iraq. The inland capital of Elam was Susa laying between the Karkheh and Dez rivers. The language of the Elamites is a language isolate with no connextion with the other ancient Mesopotamian languages. The dark skinned people of Elam were possibly evolved from a ancient mixture of Australoid and Mediterranean tribal peoples.

      One hundred and fifty thousand years ago the first clans of Australoid tribes had migrated from Africa and went on to gradually occupy the lands of the Near and Middle East as well as the Indian sub-continent, Southeast Asia etc. From 30,000 years ago the Australoid tribes were gradually supplanted in the Near and Middle East by the later migrations of tribal peoples who had evolved within the eastern Mediterranean region.

     By 10,000 BC., the  fairer Mediterranean tribes had occupied and dominated most of the lands of the Near and Middle East. But some pockets of independant but mixed Australoid and Mediterranean tribal people possibly still remained. One pocket was the area occupied by the ancient Elamites.

    The Elamites created the foundations of the ancient kingdom of Elam during the late 5th., millennium BC. As mentioned the language of the Elamites was a language isolate. That the Elamites spoke a language isolate enhances the fact that Elamites should be included within the list of the earliest, but culturally seminal, urbanized peoples of the east Mediterranean, Asia Minor and the Middle East.

    This very influential group of culturally seminal, urbanized ancient peoples, included the Etruscans, the Minoans and the ancient Mycenaeans who created the earliest city/states of the ancient world within Italy, Crete, and Greece etc.  This group of culturally seminal ancient ethnic peoples possessed another factor in common, in that they were not ethnically related to the ancient Greeks, to the Mesopotamian Sumerians etc., and to the Romans who after the desmise of these earlier cultures subsequently founded powerful and flourishing empires in the Mediterranean and Middle East etc. 

     In similarity with this culturally seminal group of urbanized ancient peoples, the Elamites founded the literate, urbanized, agricultural and trading seafaring-based culture/civilization of Elam.


     The religious outlook of ancient Elam was linked to the ancient pan-Middle Eastern religious traditions and encompassed the ancient, outer tantric-style cults of the Mother Goddess as well as the worship of snakes, of fire and the sun. Some of these cults were possibly evolved and refined by the priests of Elam known as the Magi, who belonged to Maga tribe of Elam.

    Subsequently after the conquest and incorporation of kingdom of Elam into the Kassite Empire and later into the Babylonian Empire etc., the Magi lineage always formed an important and influential class of priests, astronomers and ascetics. Being astronomers and mathematicians the members of the Magi lineage formulated as well as officiated at the required state passage rites within all these empires. The Magi lineage performed similar roles in a number of later ancient Middle Eastern empires.

     The lineage of Magi priests etc., are recorded as serving the ancient Sumerian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Mede and Persian empires and even in the classical era Magi priests served the Parthian and Scythian dynasties. The Magi lineage are historically designated by classical writers as the formulators of ‘magic’ and magical rites as well as a yoga-like system of exercises etc. The lineage of the Magi gained such renown as being the priests, astrologers and diviners of kings and emperors that their name and fame in the ancient world is still recalled today by the  modern English word ‘magic’.

     Because of their reputation the Magi lineage even play a significant role in the story of the Christ’s nativity by being one of the first to recognize the birth of the Christian messiah. The Magi lineage is mentioned within the Gospel story of the Christ’s nativity from the quest of the three Magi great 'kings', or rather realized adepts, who from following the path indicated by the spontaneous manifestation of a guiding star sought out and worshipped the new born messiah with gold, frankincense and myrrh.


    As mentioned a minority of scholars of  ancient history and linguistics hold the theory that independent seafarers and traders from Elam had in fact entered the western coastal regions of the Indian sub-continent during the early centuries of the 4th., millennium BC. Here these independent Elamite seafarers and traders perhaps set up coastal trading centers at suitable landing points and began to explore the Indus River basin etc.

   These early seafaring Elamite explorers soon realized that the Indus River basin held longterm promise and in addition to trade with the Dravidian tribes there, the Elamites started to bring in colonial Elamite farmers to gradually cut the jungles, clear land and start the first agricultural settlements within the  Indus Valley basin.

    Apparently the interplay of the Elamite seafarers and colonists and the indigenous Dravidian tribes was perhaps made somewhat easier because they both came from a mixed Australoid and Mediterranean tribal heritage and perhaps even spoke languages from a similar language family.  After some centuries Elamite seafarers and colonists intermingled with the indigenous Dravidian tribes to become the Indo-Dravidians and these Indo-Dravidians gradually went on found the Early Harappan cultural  phase which began around c.3300 BC.

   The Indo-Dravidian population of the early Harappan culture as well as the later Indus Valley Civilization consisting of urban based seafaring merchants, overland traders and artisans etc., together with the non-urban population consisting of village based farmers and village artisans etc., as well as indigenous more settled Dravidian farming tribes and the jungle, hunter-gatherer Australoid, Austric and Munda speaking tribes.

    As mentioned the area of the Indus Valley Civilization is roughly comprised with a north/south and west/east span of a thousand miles in either direction. Remarkably, in this respect the territorial area occupied by the Indus Valley Civilization was larger in size to the then contemporary ancient, Egyptian and Iraqi river-based civilizations.

   The extent of the influence cast by the city states of the Indus Valley culture not only encompassed the Indus Valley and five river systems of the northwest region but also spread eastwards towards the Jumuna/Ganges Doab and southeastwards along the western coastal regions of modern Kathiawar and Saurastra. By being a mercantile and agricultural culture this culture/civilization had sea and overland trading links with other contemporary urbanized Middle Eastern cultures as well as with Central Asian cultures and trading links with the indigenous Indian Austric tribal cultures.

   Urban sites in these coastal regions include sites with docks etc. Seaports, such as Lohal in modern Gujar›t State, had flourishing trade links with the Middle East. Artifacts from Elam, Sumeria and Akkad etc., have been found in the sites of the Indus Valley Civilization. Similarly artifacts from the Indus Valley Civilization have also been found at ancient urban sites in modern Iraq, Persia as well as in urban sites in the now modern Afghanistan and in the Central Asian states bordering Afghanistan. Such finds tend to confirm the far ranging sea as well as overland trading orientation of this civilization.

    In regard to the indigenous Indo-Dravidian origins of the sophisticated Indus Valley Civilization, the Indian archaeologist A. Ghosh argues that:

   'The argument that the Tigris-Euphrates [civilizations] lent to the Indus [civilization] its urbanization does not seem to hold water. For, had the stimulus come from Mesopotamia, it should have manifested itself in at least some aspects of urbanization in the Indus Valley. However...neither in it’s town planning, nor in it’s arts and crafts, nor in it’s weight and measures, not even in it’s script - in fact in nothing that goes to constitute urbanization – was the Indus civilization [apparently] influenced by Mesopotamia'.

   Ghosh indicates that artifacts from the Indus Valley Civilization have been found in the Mesopotamian centers of the Early Dynastic III period of Sumeria dated to c.2550 BC., the Sargonid period, of c.2350 BC., and even in the Larsa period of c.1950 BC. From the evidence provided by these finds Ghosh suggests that the mature era of the Indus Valley culture encompassed the period from c.2700 BC., to c.1900 BC. From these suggestions and by way of further archaeological evidence the roots of the sophisticated Indus Valley Civilization can be considered to have certainly commenced from the beginning of the third millennium BC.

   Clearly from this apparent lack of Mesopotamian or Sumerian influences, the Indo-Dravidian civilization had developed in relative isolation untouched by the other contemporary elite cultural/social examples deemed necessary to forward the dynastic ambitions of the warrior regal elite that were always present within the other Middle Eastern civilizations.

    No doubt the difficulties of sending armies along the arid Makran coast, as later experienced by Alexander the Great, as well as difficulties in mounting and maintaining a sea-borne invasion allowed the Indus Valley Civilization the opportunity to independently develop a seemingly more egalitarian, mercantile society in relative isolation and peace.

   The Indus Valley Civilization was a copper/bronze culture. Iron was unknown to this civilization only to be introduced in the Indian sub-continent during the 2nd., millennium BC., by the later arriving Iranian-Aryan-s. However the Indo-Dravidian artisan population was skilled in metal work and made fine jewelry, bronze images in addition to bronze and copper implements and weapons.

   A unique consistency in the form of the cities of the Indus Valley Civilization can be noted through the uniform design and layout of the cities within this area. Each city possessed a remarkably similar layout including a large water storage tank, grain stores and citadel/ administrative area as well as outer streets of living quarters. The street plan of these cities was well thought out.

   But unlike the cities of the then contemporary Middle Eastern, elite warrior led empires, the cities of the Indus Valley Civilizations had is no large forum-like central area or a grand palace or even a high temple. In fact there are no recognizable temple areas within these cities. From these indications, the city/states of the Indus Valley Civilization were perhaps ruled in straight forward and unassuming manner by members from a rich merchant caste. The ruling merchant caste perhaps fostered a more egalitarian, trader friendly form of society than was normally usual in the elite, warrior led contemporary Middle Eastern kingdoms and empires .

   The principle thoroughfare of the ancient city of Mohenjo-dara was thirty-three feet wide, enough to accommodate the two-way traffic of wheeled vehicles, such as ox carts. The model ox carts found in these ruined urban sites, similar to modern north Indian ox carts, point to the design of the wheeled vehicles of the Indus Valley Civilization. Single floored and two floored dwellings, some of which boasted bathrooms, were situated on a systematically designed street layout.

   These houses were built with fired clay bricks of a uniform size. Fired clay bricks measuring twenty inches by ten inches by three inches were used to build all the cities of this civilization. These cities further boasted sophisticated running water and drainage systems. These systems included pottery pipes, covered sewers and vaulted underground conduits that even during the height of the monsoon rainy season channeled excess water away from the urban areas.

    In Harappa as many as nine layers of occupation were found. These layers span more than a thousand-year period. Eight of these layers have a similar layout comprised of a water tank, citadel, streets of urban dwellings etc., successively built upon an earlier layout. Apparently the major cities on the Indus suffered from periodic flooding and the layers of occupation were re-built after such occurrences. Only in the last, upper-most layer of Harappa, perhaps after the Indus Valley Civilization came under protracted attack from the invading Iranian-Aryan tribes, is there any systematic deviation from the earlier layout.

   Although possessing city walls, there is an actual lack of massive fortifications and together with the uniform architectural layout of these cities suggest that the Indus Valley Civilization was free from the fear of invasion by the forces of the Middle Eastern empires. Here the urban population of the Indus Valley Civilization apparently lived free from the injustice, violence and caprice of elite warrior rule. The population of the Indus Valley Civilizationby lived as merchants, artisans and farmers and traded with the Middle Eastern kingdoms and empires while remaining in a general state of peaceful co-existence with the indigenous, independent Dravidian and Austric also tribes.

   The Indus Valley Civilization was a literate culture possessing a distinct script of more than three hundred signs or characters. Unfortunately no Rosetta Stone allowing the deciphering of the Indus Valley script has so far been found and despite many claims, the efforts of modern Indian scholars have not really been able to offer any satisfactory, objective translations of distinct Indus Valley inscriptions.

   Even after the entry of the Central Asian, Iranian-Aryan tribes into the northwestern region of the Indian sub-continent, the ancient Indo-Dravidian language is understood to have exerted some influence in the later formulation of Vedic and classical Sanskrit languages. Rhys Davids also  suggests that the influence of ancient Middle Eastern Sumerian language can be noted both in terms of phonetics and vocabulary.

    The cerebral sounds of Sanskrit, not found in the other Indo-European languages, are thought to be due to the influence exerted upon proto-Vedic/Sanskrit by the ancient indigenous Dravidian and by the Austric or rather the Munda languages of tribal ancient India. Purely Middle Eastern and Dravidian influences on Sanskrit vocabulary are considered by scholars to be especially felt in areas that were hitherto outside of the daily experience of the pastoral, nomadic Iranian-Aryans such as nautical terms and even agricultural terms, such as rice and rice farming etc., as well as even terms in the field of simple daily religious ritual etc.

    Some scholars of linguistics suggest the script and language of the Indus Valley Civilization inscriptions was related to a variant the ancient Elamite script or to the script of an ancient, Sumerian influenced proto-Vedic/Sanskrit language. Under this view the evolution of proto-Vedic/Sanskrit by contact with Sumerian is understood to have occurred during the second stage of the proto-Aryan migration from out of southern Central Asia when the wanderings of the proto-Aryan tribes took them onto the Iranian plateau and then into some centuries of contact with the Sumerian and even the Elamite/Dravidian culture of the northwestern region of the Indian sub-continent.

     Despite suggestions that the script and language of inscriptions found on the Harappan seals etc., is related to Sumerian influenced proto-Vedic/Sanskrit and thereby the Indus Valley Civilization or rather the so-called Sindhu civilization is in fact Iranian-Aryan in origin, to date Indian scholars have not offered objective, satisfactory transcriptions or translations of these inscriptions to confirm such a view.

   In fact such a premise flies in the face of numerous references in the RV., to the conquest of indigenous Indo-Dravidian cities and forts that were encountered by Iranian-Aryan tribes in their progress within the Sindhu, their name for the northwestern and western regions of the Indian sub-continent. Also clearly any supposition that a functioning proto-reversed emanation and yoga tradition existed within the Indus Valley Civilization cannot be historically confirmed because there are no satisfactory translations of the inscriptions on the seals found in the ruined cities of this culture.

   But the peaceful isolation of the Indus Valley culture was certainly shattered by the advent of the marauding and opportunistic Central Asian, Iranian-Aryan warrior led tribes who possibly arrived in the Indian sub-continent through now modern southeastern Iran and the southern and eastern passes of modern Afghanistan.

   The proto-Aryan tribes commenced their migrations out of southern Central Asia during the first half of the 3rd., millennium BC., possibly due to a cycle of protracted drought occurring in the central and southern regions of Central Asian. After a protracted sojourn on the Iranian plateau of southern Central Asia they came in to contact with ancient, advanced sedentary culture of the Oxus culture/civilization and later even with Indo-Davidian culture. This sojourn ended around the beginning of the 2nd., millennium BC., when the now Iranian-Aryan clans and tribal units commenced their arrival in the northwestern and western regions of the Indian sub-continent via southeastern Iran and Afghanistan.

    However, the initial underlying cause for the decline of the Indus Valley Civilization, that eventually allowed the conquering Iranian-Aryan tribes to inflict the coup de grace, was probably more related to floods and a general rising in the water levels of the major river systems of the north-western region than by actual conquest. The river levels rose over the long term through silt accumulations that were probably the result of clearing forests to make way for settled agriculture.

   The period of decline probably commenced at the beginning of the 2nd., millennium BC., and was probably hastened during the early centuries of the 2nd., millennium BC., by the entry of the marauding Central Asian, warrior orientated, Iranian-Aryan tribes into the northwest region. Then followed the period of opportunistic Iranian-Aryan domination of the Sindhu region that continued and was possibly only finally completed by c.1700-1500 BC.


  (2a.,} Artifacts and textual references suggesting the existence of a tantric, Indo-Dravidian proto-Shaiva/ Shakta religion.


   ‘ Cessation, the Seedless Gathered Stabilized Meditative State, is also due to the cessation [reversal] of all these [dualistic cause and effect].’

                                                                                                                      Patanjali’s yoga-darsana 1.51.


   Inferences from artifacts found in the earlier Kulli village-based culture of the north-western region of the Indian sub-continent suggest that the arcane, tribal Mother Goddess cult and even a proto-Shaiva/Shakta religion could potentially pre-date the Indus Valley Civilization. These early artifacts include clay fired yoni, vulva and linga, phallus symbols.

   However the more abundant and definitive soap stone and fired-clay artifacts from the cities of the Indus Valley Civilization would tend to confirm that an apparently crystallized and even organized proto-Shaiva/Shakta religion existed within this Indo-Dravidian civilization. Depictions on these seals range from simple symbols such as the swastika, the symbol of 'all things' returning to the 'one' cause; also the cakra, a discus or wheel as well as the vulva and phallus symbols  etc.

  Further depictions on these seals include totem animals such as the Brahma bull, the tiger, elephant, rhinoceros and crocodile. But there are no seals representing horses. Horses apparently first arrived in the Indian sub-continent with the Central Asian Iranian-Aryan tribes. Seals with more complex designs include depictions of pregnant Mother Goddesses, rather like the later tantric Goddess Tara, as well as male, yogi-like figures, posed in recognizable yoga postures and sometimes in a state of erotic arousal.

  Because of their reputation, the Elamite Magi were perhaps the priests/ascetics of the Indus Valley Civilization. Perhaps a stream from the Magi lineage were invited there during the early centuries of the 3rd., millennium BC. This could well have occurred because of the Indo-Dravidian Ciliazation's trading contacts with Elam and the rest of the Middle East as well as the Magi's well known reputation; their mastery of ancient astrology, medicine and knowledge of mantra-s, shamanistic lore and propitiatory rites. From the possibility of a section of the Magi lineage being invited into the Indus Valley city/states, the Magi lineage perhaps quickly took up the task of becoming the dominant priestly class throughout all the city/states of the greater Indus Valley Civilization.

  Thereby the applied doctrinal input of the Magi lineage could potentially be felt within a concise formulation of ritual within the popular Mother Goddess cult of the Indus Valley Civilization and in the crystallization of the 'secret' inner, bipolar applied approach of proto-Shaiva/Shakta system. Although the origins of the religion traditions of the Indus Valley Civilization cannot be directly attributed to and be linked with the Magi lineage undoubtedly because of their known expertise in the yoga system they in all probably subsequently played a fundamental role in the doctrinal, ritual and applied evolution of the proto-Shaiva/Shakta religion of the Indus Valley Civilization.

  Later via sea trading links of the Indus Valley Civilization, the Magi lineage perhaps also had a role in the spread of both the ritual and yoga-based proto-Shiva/Shakta religion to all the ancient Indo-Dravidian controlled coastal regions/kingdoms of ancient India, including Sri Lanka and the southern region. The existence and the interplay of known Indo-Dravidian kingdoms, whose king worshiped Shiva, with the Vedic orientated, Indo-Aryans certainly form the underlying theme of the great Indian epic the Ramayana.


  Subsequently during the early centuries of the 2nd., millennium BC., the invading Iranian-Aryans tribes potentially encountered the Magi influenced religion of the Indo-Dravidian Indus Valley Civilization. Passages from the rig-veda (RV.,) relating to the conquest of cities within the northwestern region falling within the sphere of the Indus Valley Civilization, tend to reinforce the suggestion for the non-Iranian-Aryan and indigenous, Indo-Dravidian origins of a Magi organized tantric proto-Shaiva/Sh›kta religion. Here the RV., offers negative comments on phallus worship as practiced by the Indo-Dravidians, which were encountered by the Iranian-Aryan priestly caste within the northwestern region.

  In this context a passage from the RV., exhorts the warrior 'going into battle' who 'desiring the spoil' should 'set himself to the acquisition of all...[by] destroying the phallus-worshippers'. Another passage indicates that the Iranian-Aryans considered the 'phallus worshippers' to be 'unchaste'. ‘Unchaste’ in this connection would suggest fertility rites that could have included boisterous rites and even outer erotic tantric yoga practices.

  Such uninhibited probably very boisterous fertility rites were in contradiction to the spirit of solemnity and harmony required by the caste of Iranian-Aryan priests in the performance of the sacrificial shamanistic rites. These sacrifical rites were held for the Iranian-Aryan kings in order to propitiate the deity of fire and the other elemental deities of the Iranian-Aryan tribes. These characterizations undoubtedly suggest that the 'phallus worshipers' were the indigenous inhabitants who were upholding practices contary to those held by the invading Iranian-Aryan tribes.

   That the 'phallus worshippers' included the wealthy, urbanized inhabitants of the cities of the Indus Valley culture rather than just the tribal population of this region is suggested by phrases of these verses from the RV. These verses indicate the warrior who 'desiring the spoil' should 'set himself to the acquisition of all...[by] destroying the phallus-worshippers'.

  Here ‘acquisition of all’ would suggest that the marauding Iranian-Aryans warriors were already clashing with an indigenous people who possessed an abundance of gold, precious and semi-precious gems, women, grain and cattle. No doubt such wealth was stored or found within the realms of the Indus Valley city/states and that was the lure attracting the marauding Iranian-Aryan tribes to attack their villages, cities and forts situated in the fertile, irrigated river valleys of the northwest region.

  Thereby the indigenous proto-Shaiva/Shakta religion certainly pre-dates the invasion of the northwest by the Central Asian, Iranian-Aryan-s and the introduction into the northwestern region of the Indian sub-continent of their shamanistic/family, sacrificial priestly tradition surrounding propitiation and worship of tribal, elemental, male and female deities.


   (2c.,) Interpretations of important seals from the cities of the Indus Valley Civilization.


  ‘[I bow to] him...the adinatha, the Primordial Lord [Shiva, the seminal founder of the yoga tradition], the ocean of the bliss of knowledge...’

                                                                                                                                          goraksa-shataka 2.


  An important seal, discovered in Harappa, depicts on its face a naked proto-Earth Mother Goddess posed half-squatting with legs apart while having a plant emerging from out of her bhaga, womb. Within under the vista of later tantric cosmology and the vista of the tantric system of emanation and yoga, the word bhaga, womb can infer the 'source' of creation etc. This icon can then perhaps symbolize the Nature, the female Shakti, the 'source' of the energy/capability of the divine life force leading to the creation of the spheres containing all insentient things and all sentient beings.

    On the reverse there is a depiction of a terrified and disheveled female figure with arms raised, facing a threatening male figure who is holding what appears to be a shield and a sickle. This dominate male deity figure possibly depicts the deity of destruction, Shiva, that eventually cuts down all creation. The symbolism contained on both sides of this seal can possible be an ancient cosmological representation of the bipolar divine, creative/destructive activities of the Nature and the First Being or rather Shakti and Shiva.

   As mention in a section of part one of the study, this form of cosmological symbolism was certainly subsequently utilized within the later yoga and devotional traditions of the 'six' deity 'styles'. Further this possible cosmological icon can indicate the basic, macrocosmic aspects of creation and destruction intrinsic to the eternal passage of the divine 'cosmic breath'.

   By way of further bipolar interpretation the significance of the figures depicted on this seal can also be made in terms the of the microcosmic in-and-out breaths. Here the figure on the face can symbolize the creative, female ‘in’ breath and the figure on the obverse the destructive male figure, the ‘out’ breath.

  The ithyphallic, proto-Pashupati/yogi seal is the best known Indus Valley Civilization seal among these various kinds of seals that contain yogi-like figures. This seal is not unique as a few other seals with this same icon have been found. The   proto-Pashupati/yogi seal can potentially confirm that a tantric yoga tradition had evolved and developed within the proto-Shaiva/Shakta religion of the the Indus Valley civilization.

    Photos of the proto-Pashupati/yogi seals can be viewed on Google under the heading photos of the Pashupati seals.

  The  proto-Pashupati/yogi seal, found at Mohenjo-daro and now deposited in the National Museum in New Delhi, depicts a three or more likely four-faced, shaman/yogi wearing a triple-horned headdress, somewhat similar in shape to the head of a trishula, a trident, still carried today by Shaiva/Shakta ascetics.

   This certainly four or even five-faced proto-Shiva figure is reminiscent of the classic five-faced Shiva icon. In the context of the historic tantric Shaiva/Shakta Yogini Kula tradition, the five mouths of the five-faced Shiva are considered as the sources for the pañca-amnaya, the Five [orally] Handed-down Traditions, founded during the middle centuries of the 1st., millennium AD.

   Despite the symbolism afforded by the Shiva-like icon, some Indian scholars of ancient Indian religious history have suggested that the figure in this seal is actually a war deity or protector deity. Apparently they make this connection despite the obvious yoga posture; by the figure’s classic yogi-like accoutrements etc., and therefore rule out any the potential connection with an ancient Indo-Dravidian tradition of emanation and yoga. These scholars suggest that this male deity performed the role of an ancestral protector deity, rather like the deity Indra performed such a role for the Central Asian, Iranian-Aryan tribes.

   These scholars also suggest that the rampant tiger appearing at the figure’s right side supports this interpretation of the protector role of the deity figure of this seal. Nevertheless the suggestion that this figure is also a protector deity in addition to being a shaman/yogi archetype could be borne out by the headdress worn by the figure in the seal. This headdress formed in a trident shape appears to be created from a pair of buffalo horns as the outer prongs and with a wedge-shaped club head forming the central prong. Part five of the later Brahminic Shrimad-devi-bhagavatam-purana in part recounts the ancient legend of how the Goddess saved the earth and the realms of the deities by killing the powerful the Buffalo-headed Titan.

   From this feat the Goddess also became known as the Destroyer of the Buffalo-headed Titan. The significance of the trident shaped headdress, formed by buffalo horns and a club head, as worn by the shaman/yogi figure on this seal could be suggestive of the defeat of a similar type of titan who opposed the deities of this culture etc.

  Therefore rather than the popular appellation offered for this figure as the proto-Pashupati, the Lord of Creatures, this deity could be known as the male, Destroyer of the Buffalo-headed Titan. The wedge-shaped club head forming the central prong of the trident-shaped headdress could then represent the type of weapon used to dispatch this adversary. The club is a feature held in the hand by Bhairava/Shiva images found in Nepalese Shiva temples.

  However a lack of any actual weapons within the icon on this seal and in view of the fact that the principal figure is seated in a recognizable yoga posture in a state of arousal would rather tend to emphasize the ‘heroic' undifferentiated nature manifesting within the proto-yogi archetype. These features of the  proto-Pashupati/yogi seal icon can convey the impression of the yogi-like figure immersed in an internal state of deep meditation and thereby as being indifferent and unmoved by the leaping tiger’s ferocity.

  Other animals actually surrounding the yogi-like figure include an elephant, rhinoceros, buffalo, ibex and cock. Significantly a domesticated horse, the pride of later tribal Iranian-Aryan pastoralists, is not included with the totem animals surrounding the yogi-like figure. In addition to potential theistic overtones conveyed by the lone deity, the depicted totem animals are perhaps also suggestive of an initial adaptation of warrior society totems towards the vehicles of principle deities heading deity families as later known within historic tantric and orthodox sectarian deity traditions of classical India.

  Significantly two other, smaller figures also feature within this icon. One figure appears at the top right-hand corner at the end of a line of characters and the other figure appears on the left-hand side below the elephant and above the tiger. From the associations with writing and with wild animals these two figures could represent the sedentary, urban-based devotees and the tribal hunter/gatherer devotees of the proto-Shaiva/Shakta cult. These figures could also thereby suggest the social harmony and social orientations of the people who made up and comprised the mixed urban and tribal population of the Indus Valley Civilization.


  The symbolism afforded by the details of this seal, such as posture, state of arousal, triple-horned headdress, v-shaped bone breastplate, amulets and bracelets, as well as totem animals and two sets of devotees etc., are all suggestive a functioning proto-yoga tradition within the Indus Valley culture. The erotic element of this ithyphallic,  proto-Pashupati/yogi seal also points to the potential tantric orientation for this indigenous proto-Shaiva/Shakta tradition. The various iconographic details of the proto-yogi figure within this seal also certainly lend themselves towards interpretation from the point of view of the later, historic tantric yoga traditions.

  The four-faced shaman/yogi figure is depicted as sitting on a low table or bench, in the bhadra-asana, the Auspicious Posture with urdhva-medhra, the penis erect. Historically the Auspicious Posture is characterized as a posture of relaxation and thereby the figure depicted in this seal is possibly in a stabilized deep state of meditation while maintaining a controlled state of sexual arousal. Here arousal can also be equally suggest that the coiled-up energy/capability, the primeval energy of the universal quantum field, has been awakened and channeled upwards within the central, 'middle' yoga nerve of the spinal column.

  Details on asana-s postures, nadi-s, yoga nerves, cakra-s, spinal centers etc., are readily available within the concise, pithy yoga treatises of the post 12th., century AD., Natha Yogi tradition.

   According to the HYP., 1.35-36.:

  ' Shiva taught eighty-four asana-s, postures. Of these the first four are the essential ones...

  ‘ These four are the siddha, Accomplished, the padma, the Lotus, the simha, the Lion and the bhadra, the Auspicious [postures]. Of these, being most comfortable, the Accomplished Posture, should always be applied. '

  According to this outlook, the Auspicious Posture, depicted within the famous proto-yogi seal, is one of the four most important and essential postures within the historic hatha-yoga orientated Natha tradition. Simply on the evidence of the significance of this posture, as held by the principal yogi-like figure of this seal, should be appreciated as the link to understanding the potentially tantric orientation of the proto-Shaiva/Shakta religion practiced in the Indus Valley Civilization.

  Characterizing the Auspicious Posture and the benefits of this posture, HY P., 1.55-57., states:

  ' Place the heels on either side of the seam of the perineum, keeping the left heel on the left side and the right heel on the right side, hold the feet firmly joined together with both hands.

  ‘This Auspicious Posture is the destroyer of all diseases. Adept yogi-s call this the Goraksa Posture. By sitting in this posture the yogi is relieved of fatigue.’

  A state of continuous, controlled arousal was an historically recorded feature of the notorious, naked, ash smeared followers of Shaiva adept Lakulisha, who in the early centuries AD., founded an important sectarian wing within the now extinct, Shaiva-orientated, unorthodox, Pashupata sect. This state of arousal is also a common iconographic feature of East Indian Bhairava/Shiva images from the pre-10th., century AD., period and such images can be seen even today in functioning Shiva temples of the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal etc.

  However in the symbolic terms of the classic Shaiva tantric yoga tradition, the linga, the aroused male organ/characteristic of this shaman/yogi can also symbolizes the attainment of the undifferentiated resonant/radiant consciousness of the svayambhu-linga, the Self-Manifested Characteristic of the adhara-padma, the purified Root Lotus. Then as earlier suggested the erect male organ could also denote that the shaman/yogi has awakened the kundalini-shakti, the 'coiled-up energy/capability' and is channelling the 'coiled-up energy/capability' within the 'middle' yoga nerve in order to unblock the knots covering the spinal centers etc.

  The triple-horned headdress of the shaman/yogi is shaped somewhat like the head of a trident staff without the supporting shaft. The trishula, the three pronged trident staff, has historically been one of the identifying accoutrements of Shaiva/Shakta yogi-s and ascetics. As a potent symbol, the trident staff can offer the vista of the historic yoga tradition. Similarly a variant of the trident staff could also potentially possess a symbolic utility within the ancient, oral yogi lineage tradition.

  The symbolism afforded by the trident is capable of defining the nature and potential of perceptive consciousness as well as suggesting the basic internal components and the basic aims of the yoga system. Certainly the trident is bound up with the applied symbolism of the later Vaisnava, Shaiva and Shaiva/Shakta traditions of ‘eight-limbed’ yoga. The symbolism of trident occurs from the merging of two outer prongs with the central prong to create the three pronged configuration of trident.

   Internally the trident symbolizes the unification of the three principal inner yoga nerves within the bhaga, literally ‘womb’. But here 'womb' means the ‘auspicious source’ or the heart of the purified and energized spinal center of the 'secret spinal center'. The two outer prongs symbolize the two principal outer relative nerves that upon yoga purification etc., can be merged into the ‘concealed’ principal nerve, the central nerve. The purified and unblocked central nerve running upwards within the danda, the spinal column, links the ‘auspicious sources’ of the spinal centers.

   In the context of this seal, the applied outlook of the yoga tradition the staff of the trident can be considered as being formed by the spinal column of the depicted figure. The symbolism of the v-shaped, possibly bone, breastplate worn by the shaman/yogi figure possibly symbolizing the realms of the spinal centers of the spinal column tend to support this supposition.

  Because the shaman/yogi figure in this seal is adorned with a triple-horned, trident-like headdress he can be assumed to represent a fully awakened adept practitioner of the system of tantric emanation and yoga. In order to attain the status of an adept a yogi must awaken and gather the dormant primordial coiled-up energy/capability within the central yoga nerve, the 'middle' nerve of the spinal column. From purifying and 'sealing' this most important of the yoga nerves with the 'secret fire' the 'one consciousness' can be assayed there. Thereby the the 'middle' nerve or the susumna, the ‘excellent’ is symbolized by the central prong of the trident.

  Once purified and 'sealed' by the aroused 'secret fire' this most important of yoga nerves is also further known as the realm of the avadhuta, the realm of undifferentiated consciousness of the one who has ‘shaken off’ the relative, dualistic conditioning of the sense orientated world. Dualistic, differentiated, relative emotional consciousness active within the realm of the impure, two principal secondary nerves placed on either side of the central nerve is symbolized by the two outer prongs of the trident.

  Dualistic consciousness inherent to these impure outer nerves is what is ‘shaken off’ by the accomplish adept yogi. The systemic outlook of the yoga tradition derived from the symbolic utility of the Shaiva/Shakta ascetic’s trident can also be applied to appreciate the symbolic utility of the triple-horned headdress worn by the shaman/yogi. The utility of the triple-horned headdress can potentially be appreciated in three basic ways.

  Firstly, under the historic yoga outlook this triple-horned headdress signifies and symbolizes that the shaman/yogi has from mastery of the yoga of the 'winds' has potentially unified the winds and the two principal secondary yoga nerves within the sphere of the principle central nerve. Hence the triple horned or trident-like form for the headdress is created from the outer two prongs being unified within the central prong.

  Secondly, from mastery of the breath etc., and by having purified and unified the principal winds and principal secondary nerves within the central nerve signifies that the adept yogi, has aroused the 'secret fire' and cleansed all the spinal centers etc., and is a avadhuta, one who has ‘shaken off’ all dualistic sensory conditioning. Thereby such a yogi has certainly gathered and activated the upward movement of the latent primordial coiled-up energy/capability within the central nerve.

  Thirdly, this upward movement the primordial energy/capability generated from the genital region is understood to pierce, purify and unify perception of the spinal centers situated around the spinal column at the navel, heart, throat levels etc. The yogic significance of the genital region in this advanced process of yoga is suggested by the symbolism of the yogi’s girdle where the bio-kinetic and electromagnetic energies of the body have been initially tied or ‘sealed’ within the central nerve.

  The upward movement of the primordial energy/capability is effected by way of purifying emanation techniques, the placing of mantra-s etc., and by way of the breath techniques of the vayu-yoga, the 'yoga of the winds'. The system of the 'yoga of the winds' is aimed at gathering the electromagnetic energy of the winds with the concentrated bio-kinetic energy located at the purified heart of the spinal root center. This process ignites and awakens the primordial energy /capability and through upward/downward movements, channels the energy/capability through the hearts of the spinal centers thoroughly purifying them.

  The headdress being placed on the shaman/yogi’s head potentially signifies that the primordial energy has actually been induced to rise up the central nerve to the level of the highest head center, the sahasrasa-padma, the 'thousand-petalled lotus'. This means that the fields of the lower spinal centers of navel, heart and throat have been centrally pierced and activated by the awakened movement and spreading of the primordial energy. This fact is confirmed by the v-shaped, possibly bone, breastplate and by the amulets and bracelets worn by the shaman yogi.

  According to the YM., commenting upon H.T., 2.4.6-10 bone ornaments signify:

  ‘...The drops of semen [are the enlightened consciousness] because they are the bare essence. The adorning of the limbs [with bone ornaments internally] refers to the pervading of semen [as the awakened, manifested and channeled energy/capability of enlightened consciousness] through every part of the body by way of the nadi-s...’

  That the yogi figure is an adept practitioner, liberated from the limitations of dualism and the material universe is further symbolically suggested by the v-shaped markings on the central upward facing appendage or prong of the triple-horned headdress.

  The upper-most, v-shaped open triangle is situated at the top of the central appendage of the shaman/yogi-s triple horned headdress. This v-shaped open triangle has a bindu or dot at the very top. This dot potentially represents the 'one' divine essence and of the yogi’s attainment of union and integration within the divine quantum field of the divine 'one consciousness'.


  A further seal, Mackay no.387., is a trident-like symbol that is created from emanations out of a bindu, single 'dot' centrally positioned on top of what appears to be a phallus, or a closed lotus flower or even a toadstool/mushroom. Two emanations from on either side of the lower half of the dot form as two outward-moving snake-like forms, whose heads are nevertheless turning back towards the dot. Also there is a variant with horned, antelope-like forms. From the upper sphere of the dot emanates the central prong of the trident in the form of a single seven-branched sacred Fig Tree.

    This particular seal together with many other other seals and images can be viewed on Google as images regarding the Indus Valley Civilization.

  The sacred Fig Tree, historically revered both in the Buddhist and Vaisnava traditions, is identifiable from the particular shape of the leaves on the seven limbs. The form of this trident shaped symbol is somewhat reminiscent of the symbol related to the Hippocratic oath of ethics guiding the modern medical profession.

  Within the modern western tradition of civilization this symbol was inherited from ancient Egypt. However within the eastern tradition the symbol of a snake eating it's own tail is often found in Hinduism. Here the symbol of a ‘snake’ acts as a means to denote maya, cosmic illusion that circles and encloses a right-hand swastika, symbolizing omnipresent and immanent unity within the divine quantum field. Here as in the Gnostic tradition intuitive knowledge of the nature of ‘oneness’, is confined and veiled within most individuals by the ‘snake’ of dualistic rela sensory illusions.

  The symbolic utility of this seal can perhaps be appreciated in terms of defining the nature of consciousness emanating from the ‘one consciousness’, characterized by the emanation from a central, single dot. In this manner the intent of this symbol infers the supposition that creation and thereby the human form is derived from and is permeated by the  ‘one’ essential nature characterized as melded divine aspects of resonance/radiance.

  Such a supposition infers that the doctrine of the melded nature of the proto-Shiva/Shakti was potentially present in the Indus Valley Civilization. In turn this supposition also potentially infers that the origins of the tantric yoga doctrine of the deha-vada, the Doctrine of the [micro-macrocosmic nature of] the Body also possibly emerged via this civilization.

   As in the interpretation of the symbolism of the trident, the two snakes within this symbol can be interpreted as depicting the limited, poisonous nature of dualistic sense-based, desired-derived consciousness. The two ‘withered’ branches emanating at the base of the sacred Fig Tree falling towards the circling snakes tend to reinforce this view of the transitory nature of dualistic consciousness ruled by sensory cause and effect. Thereby these ‘withered’ branches emphasizing the cycle of death and transmigration accruing from attachment from this limited state of sensory perception ruled by sensory cause and effect etc.

  Thereby the two snakes potentially symbolize the impure two outer yoga-nerves; the cul-de-sac of ignorance or rather the transitory realm of dualistic consciousness ruled by sensory cause and effect. The dependent nature of dualistic consciousness is certainly suggested by the heads of the snakes being turned back towards the dot, the cause of of the 'essential nature'.

  The sacred Fig tree emanating from the top of the dot, the non-dual essential nature, potentially symbolizes the purified 'middle' spinal yoga nerve the realm of the adept who has ‘shaken off’ the conditioning of the sensory world. The seven-branched sacred fig tree arranged in three v-forms with a single leaf at the end of each branch as well as a single central branch with a leaf at the very top suggests a system of four basic spinal centers.

  Apparently here there are three subordinate centers that must be unified in order to gain intuitive experience of the head center. Once unified by channelling the awakened coiled-up energy/capability, the purified and efficient, harnessed internal form resonates at a optimum level so that the adept can be at ‘one’ within intuitive knowledge of the 'one consciousness'. The degrees of coiled-up energy/capability and the primal resonance that permeates throughout the purified but impermanent form can be characterized by the manifestation of the leaves of the Fig Tree.

  The symbolism of the leaves on the Fig Tree suggests that prior to establishment within the undifferentiated mind flow etc., the tendencies of the relative mind can cease to be obstacles. Through a process of 'reversal' and refocusing these tendencies can be transformed by way of emanation techniques etc. Here the ‘arising’ tendencies can rather become avenues leading to intuitive perception to the essential nature that permeates all material realms and all impermanent physical forms.

  Similarly, further the leaves on the seven branches infer the inherent potentiality for intuitive experience of the four basic spinal centers and the integration of sensory experience within the divine 'one consciousness' of the quantum field


   (3.,) From the land of Eranvej.

    ‘ Harness thy pair of strong bay steeds, long maned...’


     A majority modern Indian and western scholars of ancient anthropology uphold a view that the southern branches of the proto-Scythian/proto-Celtic tribes, the proto-Aryan tribes, originally lived on the steppes of southern Central Asia during the pre-historcal era. This area of southern Central Asia falls within the borders of the modern nations of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

   The totality of the proto-Scythian/proto-Celtic group of tribes, of which the proto-Aryan tribes  were a part, formed the pre-historic tribal population of the so-called Andronovo tribal culture.  Sometime prior to    the 10th., millennium BC., ethnic Caucasian hunter/gatherers and later nomadic herders emerged from the northern Caucasus region and spread onto the steppes of modern southern Russia and into Central Asia etc.

     These ethnic tribal Caucasians were the ancestors of the proto-Scythian clans and tribes that also included within their fold, the ancestors of the proto-Aryan clams and tribes. These ethnic Caucasian, proto-Scythians tribal groupings gradually spread and extended their sway/influence east as far as modern western China and even up to the frontiers of Mongolia. Remarkably recent archaeological finds in the semi-desert steppes of western China have over a wide range thrown up burial sites containing freeze dried, mummified bodies and numerous artifacts of ethnic Caucasian peoples. These artifacts also include very rare, early examples of woven woolen cloth. These sites date from as early as the 4th., millennium BC.

   During this period an offshoot from the proto-Scythian tribes probably shared the region of western Xinjiang with proto-Mongolian tribes etc. Evidence for this fact is suggested later by the existence of powerful, ethnic Caucasian tribes, based in Mongolia and characterized by records of imperial China as White Huns. The White Huns later invaded and pillaged northern India during the 4th., and 5th., centuries AD.

    During the 7th., millennium BC., the territories of the Andronovo tribal culture occupied a vast area of Central Asia. This vast area initially stretched within the borders of modern northern Kazakhstan and west into modern Russia to Volga basin, then southwards towards the Caspian Sea. Later the borders of the Andronovo tribal culture were even enlarged.

   From 5th., millennium BC., and at its maximum extent, the Andronovo culture's northern boundary was from the Volga Basin and northeast towards southern Siberia. The eastern boundary bordered the territories of the Afansevo tribal culture in eastern modern Kazakhstan and southern Siberia to Xinjiang. But the Andronovo tribal culture did include a part of Xinjiang in the far north where the Altai Mountains come down to the steppes.

  The eastern border of the Andronovo culture then encompassed most of eastern modern Kazakhstan, moving down to the border with modern Kyrgyzstan in the south to encompass most of modern Uzbekistan except the far south, and included the northern half of Turkmenistan all the way to the the southeastern shore of the Caspian Sea. The areas around the Aral Sea were included within the territories of the Andronovo tribal culture.

    About 12 thousand to fifteen thousand years ago, proto-Scythian clans turned away from being hunter/gatherers and turned to taming and domesticating wild sheep and goats etc. Later,  with great difficulty, some very skillful tribal herders tamed and domesticated a few herds of aurochs, the wild cattle of Eurasia. DNA., tests shows that all the breeds of domesticated cattle known today originated from these small herds of domesticated aurochs.

   But the seminal major step leading to the flowereing of the nomadic, pastoral culture of the proto-Scythian tribes of the Andronovo tribal culture occurred about nine thousand years ago with the taming and domesticating of the wild horse. The taming of the wild horse was possibly achieved in company with herder from the proto-Mongolian tribes. With the taming and the domestication of these various types of previously wild animals certainly spurred on the full flowering of the nomadic, pastoral and horse-borne, Cenrtal Asian tribal culture.

  Later the warrior/smiths of the Andronovo tribal culture were also very skilled in the use of metals such as copper and bronze and by the late 3rd., millennium BC., these skilled tribal warrior/smiths were amongst the first to develop the use of iron and early steel. Also with the breeding of stronger horses, during the late 3rd., millennium BC., the sophisticated warrior/smiths of the northern Andronovo tribal culture developed the war chariot. The use of the war chariot was quickly spread within the various proto-Scythian tribes.

     Previously during the late 4th., millennium BC., the southern branches of the proto-Scythrian tribes, that included the proto-Aryan-s, still inhabited the vast steppe/plain between the Syr Darya and Amu Darya rivers of modern Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, that drain northwestwards into the Aral Sea. This land was known as the Eranvej. This name is confirmed within the few remaining unedited texts of early Iranian Avestic textural tradition. Apparently this name was applied to this part of southern Central Asia that possibly included the northeastern part of the Iranian plateau etc. This is probably the ancient geographical name from which the name Iran was derived.

  Within the Eranvej, the proto-Aryan tribal groups retained their pastoral and shamanistic roots while commencing a gradual evolutionary process towards more sophisticated social and religious modes.  The oldest hymns or 'mantra-s' of the Fourth Cycle of the Vedic text, the RV., represent the means to gain an insight into the rustic rites of their shamanistic tradition. These rites centered on propitating Aditi, the great Mother Godess and her seven sons, the elemental deities such as Agni, 'fire', Varuna, 'water' and/or 'sky' and Indra, the deity of 'rain' who holds the vajra, the 'thunderbolt' as well as the remaining Aditya-s etc. The Fourth Cycle also indicates the pastoral life of the proto-Aryan tribal groups living on the steppes of the Eranvej that was centered upon the warrior mode; on horses and on cattle herding.

   Archaeologists and anthropologists suggest that the proto-Aryan tribes inhabited the Eranvej until the start of the 3rd., millennium BC. During this era, the ancient proto-Aryan tribes had to make a series of southwestern migrations out from the Eranvej towards and onto the Iranian plateau. According to scholars of ancient history and climate, a series of migrations out of Central Asia were perhaps caused by periods of prolonged drought.

    Historically protracted periods of drier climate and drougth potentially coincide with and are probably responsible for early historical mass tribal migrations of Mongolian, Manchurian, Caucasian, Scythian and mixed nomadic tribes. These historical migrations in turn affected their nomadic neighbors to the west on the vast steppes of western Central Asia and Russia in addition to later affecting the inhabitants of the western possessions of the Chinese Empire and even the inhabitants of northern India. 

    Scholars of ancient  climatelogy propose that there have been a number of protracted periods of drought in Central Asian occurring roughly every six hunded years over the past ten  thousand years. Within Central Asia and Mongolia, during the pre-historic, ancient and classical eras as well as even in historic eras  etc., these cyclic periods of protracted drought have acted as an added impetus that forced the mass migrations of Mongolian and Central Asian pastoral nomads in their search for water and fresh pasture for their herds of horses, cattle and/or sheep etc.

    During the latter part of the 4th., millennium BC., these cyclic periods of drought were probably the impetus for the migrations of the proto-Scythian/Celts from the steppes of Central Asia onto the Russian steppes. Eventually the proto-Scythian/Celts migrated to Western Europe via modern Poland and northern Germany. Later during the 3rd., millennium BC., other streams of proto-Scythian tribal migrations occurred via the Iranian Plateau both westwards to modern Turkey and ancient Greece as well as southeastwards into northwestern India.

     There are historical examples of prolonged cycles of drought affecting the nomadic tribes of the steppes Central Asia etc. For example during the 3rd., century BC., a prolonged cycle of drought affected the nomadic tribes of the steppes of Mongolia and modern northwestern China to commence a protracted period of aggressive southeastward, westward and southwestward tribal migrations. These migrations led to the invasion and violent conquest of parts of the Chinese Empire, the civilized sedentary states of Central Asia, the northwestern and western parts of northern Indian and even significant parts of the Persian and Roman Empires.

    The nomadic tribal groups instigating or caught up in this prolonged period of migration were simply characterized as ‘barbarians’ by the Chinese Empire. The Chinese called the Mongolian ‘barbarians’ living to their north and west the Hiung-nu. Among the Hiung-nu and closely connected to them were the Juan-Juan an umbrella appellation for the Mongolian Huns and the Caucasian White Huns. The horse-borne hordes included the Mongolian and Caucasian White Huns etc. as well as those of the ethnic, Neimar and Tartar tribes originating from Manchuria. The Huns were instrumental in forcing the westward migrations of the various branches of the Kushans and Scythians located to their west in Central Asia proper.

      From the 3rd., century BC., and possibly over the following century eastern tribes forming a significant portion of the Mongolian and Caucasian Huns were put under pressure by Manchurian tribes and migrated from Mongolia and eastern Xinjiang. Skirting the western fringes of the Gobi desert gradually migrated via the northern and southern routes of the Tarim Basin, moving towards the steppes of Tajikistan.

    From this period the Huns initially encountered, clashed with and pressed westward the Yueh-chi, the Kushan/Kusana-s out of western Xinjiang. In turn the Kusana-s pressed the blond haired Sai-wang, the Scythian/Shaka-s out of the Tarim Basin on  towards the steppes of modern Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan and over time eventually further to the southwest and southeast towards Persia and India etc., etc.


       During the 3rd., millennium BC., the possible upsurge of long term drought contitions, forced nomadic proto-Scythian tribal groups, including the proto-Aryans, to make further southwestward migrations out of the Eranvej and onto the Iranian plateau proper, in order to save their herds of horses and cattle from slow starvation.  During this southwestern migration the proto-Aryan tribes possibly came into direct contract with the sophisticated urban culture of the Bactria/Margiana Archaeological Complex (BMAC.,) which includes the oasis-based culture of Merv and the Oxus culture/civilization laying on the inland Murgab river delta etc.

    Some of these proto-Aryan tribes perhaps chose to stay on the western borders of the territories controlled by the culturally advanced Oxus civilization, prior to their invasion of the northwestern region of the Indian sub-continent that occurred during the early 2nd., millennium BC. Here the still nomadic proto-Aryan clans and tribes became the Iranian-Aryan tribes from being contitioned into being more culturally sophisticated by way of contact with the sedentary Oxus civilization and with the Persian kingdoms.

   The Murgab river delta was/is a very fertile, agricultural region. The Murgab river rises in north-western Afghanistan and runs northwestwards towards the Kara-Kum desert where the flow of the inland Murgab river peters out. During the 3rd., millennium BC., the little known Oxus sedentary culture/civilization was actually contemporaneous with the river-based, urban cultures of the Nile, Tigris-Euphrates, Indus, and Yellow rivers .

    The full significance and extent of the Oxus  culture/civilization was only discovered in the late 20th., century AD. Since early 1970's, the Russian archaeologist Victor Sarianidi has excavated the ruins of a wealthy city now laying in the scrub lands of the Kara-Kum desert, at the site now known as Gonor. A number of smaller urban settlements were unearthed at Kelleli, Adji Kui, Taip and Togolok/Togoluk. These urban settlements and other village settlements were all found in or around the inland Murghab river delta.

  The unearthed, ruined city at Gonor was once the heart of a series of related urban and village settlements that existed within an area of 3000 sq., km., placed at the extreme limits of southeastern Central Asia. Ruins of over 150 ancient settlements of the Oxus culture/civilization existed within the fertile oasis of the inland Murgab delta region. From these modern archaeological excavations the earliest agricultural settlements of this region may even be dated to the 7th., millennium BC. The development of advanced irrigation techniques enabled the founding of more sophisticated settlements, southwards even towards the environs of the ancient city of Merv.

   The ruined, late 3rd., millennium BC., city, unearthed at Gonor is generally thought to have been the principle urban center of the mature Oxus culture/civilization. Here this wealthy city was protected by high walls and battlements. The ancient urban center at Gonur had carefully designed streets, drainage as well as temples and dwellings. The weathy of the Oxus culture/civilization buried their dead in elaborate graves filled with fine jewelry, wheeled carts, whilst performing animal sacrifices.

    The agricultural and mercantile Oxus culture/civilization dug lengthy canals to channel the glacier-fed rivers of that region, that during this era still flowed in all seasons, in order to water their orchards and fields. The merchants of the  Oxus culture/civilization traded Lapis Lazuli etc., with the urban centers of distant cultures, including the Indus Valley Civilization, for ivory, gold and silver. The trade of Lapis Lazuli created what may have been the first commercial link, the 'Lapis Lazuli road', between the East and the West. 

   Although relatively unknown to Western scholars and researchers, the Oxus culture/civilization can be dated to c.2500-1700 BC. During this period the proto-Aryan tribes began to settle in or around the Iranian plateau. Here perhaps some elements of the Iranian-Aryan tribes came into contact and even settled within the territories of the Oxus culture/civilization. What led to the demise of the Oxus culture/civilization and if the arrival of the nomadic, marauding the Iranian-Aryan tribes helped this demise is unknown. Perhaps a prolonged drought was the cause of the demise of the Oxus civiliation etc? But certainly the urban center of Gonor was deserted by the middle of the 2nd., millennium BC.

      (3a.,) Suggestions within the RV., regarding the nature of Iranian-Aryan social and religious culture.

                 ‘...Delight thee with the juice at all Soma feasts...’.



       From RV.1.93.2., a clear reference to ‘his cattle herds and noble steeds’ indicates that the Iranian-Aryan clans and tribes were herders and horse and cattle breeders. These nomadic warrior/herders always desired regular rain, abundant pasture above all else and who, from ancient nomadic custom, counted their wealth from an abundance of their herds of cattle and horses.

    By way of references from the RV., Iranian-Aryans were also random agriculturists who planted barley. Until settled within the Indian sub-continent rice was unknown to the Iranian-Aryan-s and is not therefore mentioned in the RV. Even this simple fact alone can point to the original homeland of the proto-Aryan-s as certainly being located in another part of Asia outside of the rice growing regions of South, South-east and East Asia etc.

   In accord with Central Asian, tribal steppe custom horses were the most prized animals with the Iranian-Aryan warrior/herders . With the possible exception of Brahma stud bulls, the many references to ‘noble steeds’ are probably indicative that horses were more prized than cattle.  In the Indian sub-continent, during the post-colonial era of the last centuries of 2nd., millennium BC., by way of the reduction of social position of the warrior caste, the preference for horses as a premier indication of social position was gradually lost by the now Indo-Aryan-s. Vestiges signifying the prestige enjoyed by horses only remained in the later historic era with the Horse Sacrifice performed at the time of regal consecration.

    Although primarily horse-borne warrior/herders, among the Iranian-Aryans there were skilled tanners, metal workers and warrior/smiths who used iron and not copper. There were bow-makers, fletchers, carpenters, chariot and cart-makers etc. The Iranian-Aryans also traded using both cattle, silver and gold as the medium for exchange.

     In common with other Central Asian nomads and the much later Amerindian Great Plains tribal society, the earliest hymns from the Fourth Cycle of the RV., clearly indicate that the Iranian-Aryan warrior/herders enjoyed racing horses and gambled on the outcome of horse races. From these hymns we can also appreciate that the Iranian-Aryans did not overly discriminate against women, ate beef, freely drank liquor and within a ritual context ingested psychotropic substances.

     From this outlook and from descriptions of Indra’s archetypal features we can see a picture of nomadic, fair-skinned, blond haired horse-borne warrior/herders constantly watching over their mixed herds of cattle and horse. We can picture their families and possessions travelling in wains, large ox-driven carts. Later warrior based family/clans also possessed some battle chariots, the armor of ancient warfare.

     From the insight offered by the hymns of the RV., the Iranian-Aryans were certainly originally nomadic warrior/herders and were evidently an eminently practical people not possessed by disgust with the worldly nomadic life. Thereby unlike the priestly caste of the later Brahminic social/religious tradition, the shaman/priestly class of Iranian-Aryan warrior/herders were not obsessively concerned with fulfilling fixed sets of daily or periodic social/religious obligations and duties.

    The ritual approach of the shaman/priestly class of Iranian-Aryan tribes was simply guided by harmoniously propitiating the Aditi, the tribal Mother Goddess as well as Her sons, the elemental, ancestral deities for good weather, worldly wealth and happiness. These rites and fire sacrifice rituals did not primarily act as the means to gain forgiveness for sin or to seek to gain positive incarnations. Here religious doctrine did not seek the means to readily quit the wheel of transmigration by obtaining resolution and liberation from the cycle of cause and effect. Simply put in the Eranvej, the nomadic life of a warrior/herder seemed to the offer what is best in life.


     The hymns of the First Cycle of the RV., readily offer significant insight into the nature of Iranian-Aryan tribal social culture, their hopes and dreams, the nature of their enemies, the names and attributes of their deities and their shamanistic religious rites. These rites especially encompassed fire sacrifices and rite of Soma etc. The rite of Soma entailed the imbibing of the undiluted juice of the psychotropic Soma, the plant of the Moon, by the shaman/priests. The diluted juice of Soma, that was diluted by passing in the urine of the shaman/priests, was fermented and imbibed by warriors even by female warriors.

    Under the shamanistic influence cast by the lineage approach of their shaman/priests the Iranian-Aryans and the later Indo-Aryans looked to their ancestral elemental deities to give them abundance and happiness in this world. The utility and approach of the shamanistic tradition within the context of nomadic herding is typified and indicated in RV.1.93.2., by ‘...bestow on him heroic strength, an increase of his cattle herds and noble steeds’.

    The worldly outlook of the shamanistic rites of the Iranian-Aryan tribes is further confirmed in RV.1.93.7., by ‘...ensure us good protection [from our enemies]. Grant to the sacrificer [both] health and wealth’. In RV.1.9.7 Indra is invoked in order to ‘...[make us] wealthy in cattle and in strength lasting our lifetime, failing not’. In RV.1.9.8 Indra is asked to ‘...grant riches, bestowing [upon] the thousands [forming the tribal assembly] those fair fruits of the earth borne home in wains’.

    In RV.1.93.5., Agni, Soma and also Indra are invoked in order to gain wealth, virility, protection, defeat of enemies, cattle, horses, happiness etc., rather than spiritual fulfillment. Certainly here, as with the majority of RV., hymns there is no suggestion of disgust with worldly life nor any suggestion of seeking liberation from cycles of personal cause and effect that lie at the heart of the doctrines propagated by the later orthodox and heterodox traditions of the Brahminic Trinity, operating within the social sphere of despotic regal regimes.

    Here, as elsewhere, the spirit of the hymns of the RV., still reflect the spirit of closeness with tribal communalism as well as tribal liberty and even closeness with elemental, ancestral deities rather than the spirit of fear, oppression and cynicism inherent to religious traditions flourishing later in historic, despotic sedentary social contexts.

    In this sense RV.1.93.6., suggests that the utility of the shaman/priest’s lore is the means by which the deities are ‘...strengthened [and made content] by sacred chants...’. Thereby ‘...Agni and Soma have given us [the Iranian-Aryan priests] the opportunity [or skill] to offer sacrifices [necessary to overcome enemies, obstacles and gain wealth] ‘.

    The role of the Iranian-Aryan priestly caste as intermediaries with the elemental deities is confirmed in RV.1.93.1., by ‘accept in a kindly manner my chant’. RV.1.93.12., reinforces the intermediary role of the priestly caste by stressing the necessity for correctly performing sacrificial rites to propitiate the Vedic deities by stating: ‘... grant us [the priests of sacrificial rites] power and [also grant power] to our wealthy patrons and [being content with our ritual performance] cause our sacred rites to be successful.’

   Elsewhere in the First Cycle of the RV., the essence of the priestly ritual approach is characterized in terms of rtu, harmony, balance or rather appropriate ritual manner, according to the appropriate occasion, season and time of day. Often scholars have simply suggested that rtu is a deity but RV.,1.1.15., suggests that all the various rites performed by Vedic priests are only fruitful when performed with the harmony, balance etc., of an appropriate ritual form, occasion and timing etc.

     Subsequently after the conquest of the cities/states of the indigenous, Indo-Dravidian, Indus Valley culture the deities Agni and Indra came into greater prominence some what eclipsing the  deity Soma. Agni is the deity of fire and is characterized as the nature of the sun and Soma the deity of the psychotropic drug derived from the Soma Plant representing hidden sacred knowledge, the nature of the ‘moon’.

     The ancient lineage of the priestly family who maintained the oral tradition reflected in RV.1.93.6., is suggested in this hymn. Here the lineage of Agni is understood to have been derived from the seer ‘...Matarvan’ and the lineage of Soma from the seer known as the ‘...Falcon’ who first ‘...plucked the other [the Soma plant] from the mountain’. Elsewhere in the RV., the sage Atharvan is also credited with founding the lineage of the fire sacrifice and the rite of Soma.

      RV.,1.12.1., characterizes Agni as ‘...the messenger, the herald [of the deities], the master of all wealth’. Further verse 4 of this hymn urges Agni to ‘ wake up the willing deities, since you Agni perform the role of emissary [or intermediary between man and the deities]...’

     In regard to the total number of elemental Vedic deities RV., 1.45.2., states:

     ‘ Agni, the gods [deities] who understand [please] give ear unto the worshipper: ...bring thou those three and thirty gods [deities here].’

    The very nature of the sun and sunlight, the attributes of the elemental deity Agni are praised in RV.1.7., as the ‘...dispeller of the night...’ and in RV. 1.93.3., as the power allowing growth of vegetation by which ‘ may obtain wealth [in terms of cattle and horses], yes abundance [of herds], waxing [greater] day by day...’.

   Essentially during the subsequent colonial period Agni and Soma almost assume the role of creative theistic deities of the now Indo-Aryan-s. This is indicated RV.1.93.5., by: ‘You Agni and Soma joined in the operation [of creation] having set up the shining lights [of the sun and moon] set in the heavens.’

    In the hymns of this cycle there is no real sense of a monotheistic, transcendental spirit or over-soul as being suggested from this characterization of these two deities. Rather only in hymns dedicated to the Goddess Aditi, as ‘unbounded’ ‘unlimited’, ‘eternal and infinite expanse’ or references to her inexhaustible ‘creative power’ are there any real suggestions of the potential basis for sophisticated transcendental speculation.

   In terms of an ancient tribal monotheistic view more sophisticated elements within the Iranian-Aryan priestly class were apparently also followers of the cult of the Mother Goddess and these elements could thereby be classified in terms of a Sanskrit appellation as proto-Shakta-s.

    In RV.,1.89.10., the unity of the universe within the all pervasive, creative nature of the Mother Goddess Aditi is inferred and suggested. Here RV.,1.89.10., states:

    ‘ Aditi is the heaven, Aditi is mid-air, Aditi is the mother and the sire and the son. Aditi is all deities, Aditi, the five classed men. Aditi is all that hath been born and shall be born.’

    Later commentators have seized upon this reference to ‘five classed men’ as meaning the existence the five-fold division of caste within the Vedic social tradition. However hymns such as RV.1.7., clearly indicate that the Iranian-Aryans were a ‘five-fold race’ and were divided into five distinct tribal groups.


(3b.,) The shaman/priests/ascetics of the proto-Aryan tribes who applied the shamanistic regimes of psychotropic 'mental medicines'.


     During the 5th., millennium BC., while living on the steppes of southern Central Asia, the proto-Scythia/Aryan tribes practiced and performed various shamanistic regimes notably including the regime of austerities etc. Also among the other shamanistic regimes was the regime of psychotropic 'mental medicines'.

       Possibly the proto-Scythia/Aryan lineage of 'mental medicines'  was  divided into a more orthodox section of shamans /priests and a minority of unorthodox section of so-called 'wild' shamans. As a whole the two kinds of the proto-Scythia/Aryan shamans were a part of the wider, arcane lineage of Central Asian tribal shamans who had ingested a wide variety of psychotropic 'mental medicines' and/or natural stimulants derived from wild plants, mushrooms etc. This wide ranging, arcane shamanistic lineage had possible existed well before the 'great flood' that occurred after the end of the last Ice Age about c.15,000 years ago.

    In the main, the majority of orthodox, proto-Scythia/Aryan shaman/priests performed tribal passage rites and ritual worship etc., for the chiefs of the proto-Scythia/Aryan tribes. The rites performed by the orthodox proto-Scythia/Aryan shaman/priests etc., included the rites of ancestor worship; the rituals of 'fire sacrifice' and before battle, the rites involved in the imbibing of the liquor made from Soma plant etc.  In the oldest sections of the RV., this text often refers the more orthodox shaman/priests who performed the rituals for imbibing the liquor made from the Soma plant and the imbibing of Soma in a diluted form by warriors etc..

      But the Soma plant as used a the 'mental medicine' by the orthodox, proto-Scythia/Aryan shamanistic lineage, is said to be unknown to the modern Brahmin priests of India. But in modern eastern Afganistan and western Pakistan herbalists still know and use Soma, Som or the Latin named Ephedra Gerardiana as a medicine. This species is distributed in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region across Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bhutan at an altitude range of 2400-5000 metres. The Som plant contains the stimulant Ephedrine.

    Inferences from the RV., point to the Soma plant as containing a natural stimulant rather than being a true psychotropic substance. The RV., 1.91.16., indicates let 'Soma wax great. From every side may vigorous power unite in thee. Be in the gathering place of strength'. From the RV., Soma was used in a diluted form to give warriors going into battle, fearless courage. In it's diluted form Soma seemed to act as a stimulant for fighting in battle rather than a true, mind altering, psychotropic substance.

      Although the rite of Soma still forms a part of contemporary Vedic sacrifices remarkably  modern priests are actually unable to identify the actual Soma plant previously used by their ancient Central Asian, Iranian-Aryan and Indo-Aryan ancestors. Often a concoction made from ground hemp and other herbs mixed in curd, known as bhang, is used as a substitute. Therefore both in the ritualistic context and in other contexts bhang is still frequently ingested by caste Hindus as a ready shamanistic means to experience degrees of bliss within the accessed inner realm.

    Further, popular myths and legends recounting the doctrinal interplay of deified historic yoga adepts of the early Middle Ages, such as Goraksa and Dattatreya, are often set within the context of their smoking together a chillum, a long, handheld clay pipe filled with dried ganja, hemp. In the modern context this practice can be regularly seen at the great religious fairs, such as the Kumbha Mela or in the shrines, temples and monasteries of various sectarian traditions.

   In the historic tantric context and despite the addictive narcotic side effects, hemp when smoked is understood to give an experience characterized as ‘vij›ya’, victory. In tantric treatises ganja is also simply called ‘vij›ya’. 'Victory' in this context is understood to mean the temporary mental conquest of self and the obstructions of the sensory mind by the drug induced experience of euphoria and bliss.

     Modern ascetics also often use ganja as a means through euphoria to subdue and gradually sublimate sexual desire. Today the rationale for drinking bhang and for smoking ‘vij›ya’ or ganja and hashish is that these substances certainly form part of ritual sacraments offered to and used by the ancient, probably originally aboriginal, pre-historic, seminal adept, Shiva, the now deified founder of the yoga tradition.


       The RV., infers that  both the orthodox and the unorthodox, 'wild' shaman/ priests were not only imbibing natural stimulant Soma but the so-called 'wild' section of shamans also used a variety of other psychotropic substances as well. In other, later composed portions of the RV., the unorthodox shamans of this section of the total Scythian/Aryan and later Iranian-Aryan shamanistic lineage were perhaps later known as yeti-s and even as gandharva-s. These unorthodox, so-called 'wild' shamans probably used the  various types of psychotropic 'mental medicines'.

   Known varieties of psychotropic plants native to Central Asia and Eurasia, included cannabis, various mushrooms and datura etc. These were true psychotropic 'mental medicines' and were possibly known and used by the unorthodox, so-called 'wild' Scythia/Aryan shamans. But by possibly using these types of the natural psychotropic substances the approach and conduct of the 'wild' section of the Scythia/Aryan psychotropic shamans was possibly very different from the mainstream, staid, orthodox shaman/priests.

    The shamanistic adepts from the social unorthodox, psychotropic lineage sought to attain psychic powers from the stabilized mental states induced over the long term by the use of the various 'mental medicines'. From the psychotropic sessions these psychic powers came from concentrating on 'power songs' and/or mantra-s that adept psychedelic shamans had first received during dreams or from visions featuring astral entities or elemental deities etc.

    From the probable use of these true psychotropic substances, the 'wild' shamans were certainly labeled as holding very different modes of conduct and duty etc., from the orthodox shaman/priests. Perhaps these unorthodox shamans were also itinerants often living outside of the tribe. These itinerants wandered on the steppes alone or in groups. In their wanderings, the lone psychedelic adepts were able to have protracted meditations in lonely power spots, much like the stoic proto-Scythia/Aryan ascetics who practiced alone while applying the regime of austerities. Also they were able to gather medicinal herbs; gather other shamanistic knowledge relating to useful rites etc., and also the means of other applied shamanistic methods possibly including the proto-yoga techniques of breath control etc.

    These small groups of itinerant shamans traveled from one nomadic clans to another, including non-proto-Aryan clans. Further, these itinerant bands, headed by psychedelic adepts, perhaps performed dance and musical 'shows' for the entertainment of the members of the various visited nomadic tribes. Here the psychedelic adepts performed spontaneous 'folk magic', especially for the benefit of the tribe's women folk.

    But an air of ill-discipline and laxity gave these adept psychedelic shamans and their 'wild' itinerant bands a dubious reputation among the more orthodox, staid shaman/priestly class. Later, when the Iranian-Aryan tribes invaded and conquered the northwestern region of the sub-continent of India, the dubious reputation of this unorthodox section of the Iranian-Aryan/Indo-Aryan psychotropic shamans also followed them to India.

      The later atharva-veda (AV.,) orally composed in northern India during the early centuries of the 1st., millennium BC., describes these often rowdy 'shows' and infers the licentious attention given to the women of a visited tribal clan by bands of 'wild' itinerants.


(3c.,) Quasi-history from the RV., suggesting the subjugation of the northwestern region of the Indian sub-continent by the Iranian-Aryan clans and tribes.


               ‘...Repel our foes in battle hand to hand...’.



   Around the beginning of the 2nd., millennium BC., the marauding, nomadic Iranian-Aryan clans and tribes entered piecemeal into the northwestern and extreme western regions of the Indian sub-continent now forming modern greater Punjab. In the RV., this region is known as Sindhu. From trade links with southern Central Asia and from the tribes living in proximity to the northwestern region of the Indian sub-continent, the Iranian-Aryan clans and tribes had prior knowledge of the riches of the Indo-Dravidian Indus Valley Civilization.

     The marauding Iranian-Aryan clans and tribes entered the Indian sub-continent from the Iranian plateau via eastern Iran and the southern and eastern passes of modern Afghanistan. There they came into contact with the sophisticated, urbanized Indo-Dravidian Indus Valley Civilization situated in the fertile Indus river valley and the 'five rivers' of the Punjab situated in northwestern region of the Indian sub-continent, that drain into the Indus.

     But during this era large swaths of the land within the north and northwestern regions, as was elsewhere in the Indian sub-continent, were wild, under jungle or in drier regions under acacia thicket and scrub. The wild areas of the northwestern region were the haunts of rhino, elephant, black buck, wild cattle, wild buffalo, tiger and even the lion. These wild areas were also the home for the indigenous Dravidian as well as Austric speaking Munda tribes. These wild areas were inter-spaced in the northwestern region by wooded, fertile river valleys containing the village and urban settlements of the Indo-Dravidians.

    The river valley village and urban settlements forming the city/states of the Indo-Dravidian Indus Valley culture were sedentary, culturally advanced and sophisticated in trade. These city/states were founded upon surpluses gained from the trade of forest products, agricultural products, crafts, artifacts, gems, semi-precious gems etc. These products were traded for imports from the kingdoms and empires of the Middle East via ports situated on the coasts of what are now modern Sind and Gujarat .

    However it is not clear if these city/states were politically formed as a confederation. Further it is not clear if these city/states had absolute political control over the untamed areas separating river valleys or even the wild areas in close proximity to the river valleys containing their city/states. Most probably Indo-Dravidians had a working relationship with local Dravidian and Munda tribes based upon the trade of forest products for agricultural products, copper implements and artifacts.


      The invading clans and tribes of Iranian-Aryan warrior/herders were numerous, numbered in ‘thousands’ in the RV. They protected their various herds and their cart borne families from horseback and even some chariots. They were armed with iron weapons, bows and arrows. Once settled in India, just as modern day Gujars, the Iranian-Aryan warrior/herders probably lived within an annual routine set by spring and autumn migrations to and from the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains necessary to find fresh pasture for their herds of horses and cattle. All the while they no doubt cast envious eyes at the riches of the settled indigenous agricultural and urban centers situated in river valleys of the greater Punjab.

      During the initial period the Iranian-Aryan tribes probably bided their time before entering violent competition with the armies of the Indo-Dravidian city/states. No doubt while following their annual herding routine the clans of Iranian-Aryan warrioe/herders watched and observed the Indo-Dravidian city/states for any weaknesses in will and their defenses. Although they did not in all probability immediately defeat and displace the Indo-Dravidian city/states these powerful Iranian-Aryan tribal groups no doubt dispossessed some other tribal groups carving out and settling into a niche within the wild environment laying outside of the settled river valleys.

     The principal Veda, the RV., contains quasi-historical references to the city/states encountered in the river valleys of the northwest by the invading Iranian-Aryan tribes. These quasi-histories are framed within the hymns dedicated to the mythic deeds of Iranian-Aryan deities. These Iranian-aryan deities battled against indigenous deities, characterized as fiends, as their part in the subjugation and conquest of the northwestern region for the Iranian-Aryan tribes.

   Here the Iranian-Aryan protector and elemental deities act as archetypes. As such they characterize the cultural and martial spirit of the Iranian-Aryan tribes rather than as necessarily typifying or acting simply as supernatural or transcendental agents aiding these tribes. Here the psychotropic rites of the Iranian-Aryan shamans were considered as a means for the Iranian-Aryan warriors to enter into communion with the heroic nature of their principal martial/protector deity Indra.

    Here Indra is often lauded more as a loyal ally or in the manner of a deity/captain, who equally enjoys the pleasures enjoyed by mortal warriors. Indra is adored in this manner rather than being cast, as in classical Greek mythology, as a fickle supernatural trickster or in historic terms as a distant, impersonal but wrathful, judgmental and vengeful male theistic deity.

(i.) The ‘five-fold race’ of the Arya, the Noble Ones and their indigenous Indian enemies.

     The ‘five-fold race' of Noble Ones...’



       According to RV.,1.7.9., the invading Iranian-Aryan tribes were a ‘five-fold race’. The RV., indicates the ‘five-fold race’, the Noble Ones, was a tribal confederation comprised of the Turvasha-s, Yadu-s, Anu-s, Druhyu-s and the Puru-s. According to RV.,1.33., the ‘ fivefold race’, the Noble Ones were led by heroes such as Kutsa, Dashadyu, Shvitra, Purukutsa etc.

     Later classical Brahminic writers have use references to a fivefold division as an excuse to suggest that the ancient Iranian-Aryans actually possessed the fivefold division of caste. However, with the exception of one hymn of RV., that mentions the four castes there is no casteist tone coloring the RV’s outlook of internal Iranian-Aryan society during the early era. In fact modern scholars have linguistically proved that this hymn was composed at a much later date long after the earlier period of invasion.

     After entering the northwestern region the five tribes and clans of Iranian-Aryans were confronted with formidable enemies who barred their way towards total hegemony of this region. These enemies were both sedentary and tribal and included the forces of the sophisticated urbanized Indus Valley Civilization as well as the jungle dwelling tribes.

   Later Brahmin mythologists, having their own social/religious agendas, generally characterized the principal enemies of the Iranian-Aryans as supernatural demons rather than simply as the indigenous tribal and settled human inhabitants of the northwestern region. Therefore despite such associations introduced by later Brahmin mythologists the defeated enemies of the Iranian-Aryans, such as the Pani and the Brsaya tribes, listed in RV.1.93.4, should be considered as being human and not as supernatural enemies.

      Here the Pani are characterized as possessing herds of cattle from whom the Iranian-Aryans were able to ‘to steal...cattle herds.’ That the Pani were settled herders is suggested by the fact that the Iranian-Aryans were able to steal ‘their [very] sustenance’. The Pani were probably not the Indo-Dravidians but were indigenous tribal herders who lived outside of the sphere of the Indo-Dravidians and who were dispossessed with the arrival of the Iranian-Aryan tribes.

     The Brsaya were possibly a forest dwelling tribe. The Iranian-Aryan deity Agni, fire, ‘...caused the Brsaya to perish. You...the radiance for the many [fires by which the Brsaya perished].’ References elsewhere in the RV., to flaming arrows used to destroy enemies suggest that forest dwelling tribes were attacked during the hot, dry season from March to June and that the method of flushing out tribal warriors was by setting the tinder dry forest alight. Hence the reference in this verse to ‘the radiance for the many [fires]...’ Elsewhere in RV.,1.12.5., the fiery power of Agni is invoked in order to ‘...burn up our enemies whom fiends protect.’

   RV.,1.33.4., characterizes the sedentary Indo-Dravidians encountered by Iranian-Aryan warriors as the ‘wealthy Dasyu’ or in 1.33.12., as the Ilibisha possessing ‘strong castles’. Here under the influence of Indra’s berserk might, induced by the psychotropic stimulant Soma, the ‘wealthy Dasyu’ were killed ‘with [the] bolt’ and the remaining indigenous ‘rite-less ones fled to [avoid] destruction’.

       RV.1.54.4., indicates that the ‘dasyu-s’ were led by Shambara. Other leaders of the ‘dasyu’ listed in the RV., include Shushna, Cumuri and Dhuni. The term ‘dasyu’, literally ‘ugly face’ can be further translated as barbarian, inferior, inhuman. Later in the classical era ‘dasyu’ also refers to an ‘impious man’ who neglects all the incumbent duties of his particular family, caste and stage of life.

     Apparently this descriptive term is derived from the earlier characterization of the Indo-Dravidian ‘dasyu’ as ‘rite-less’ or rather as a people who did not possess social/religious rites similar to the Iranian-Aryan-s. Indo-Dravidians followed religious practices, such as ‘phallus worship’, originally repugnant to the sensibilities of the Iranian-Aryan-s. In this manner and despite their more socially advanced urbanized culture the Indo-Dravidian ‘dasyu’ were thereby considered as barbaric or inferior to the Iranian-Aryan warrior/herders.

      RV.,1.54.5., suggests that the Iranian-Aryan tribal units encountered a number of forts maintained by the ‘dasyu’ within the northwestern and northern regions. With characteristic over-exaggeration this hymn praises Indra for his aid to the Iranian-Aryan warriors enabling them to possess the might and vigor to storm the forts of the ‘dasyu’. Indra is praised as: ‘... Thou [who] breakest down the ninety-nine forts.’ In a possibly more realistic tone, potentially inferring the actual number of principal fortified cities actually encountered, a leader of the Iranian-Aryans, Purukutsa, praises Indra for his aid by stating in RV.,1.63.7., that: ‘...Thou breakest down the seven [principal] castles.’

     This reference suggests the possibility of seven major fortified cities encountered by the Iranian-Aryans. However prior to their conquest of the city/ states the RV., also infers that the Iranian-Aryans did not enjoy abundance while living in the wild, untamed country situated on the fringes of the Indus Valley city/states.

      RV.,1.53.4., suggests that the dire lack of basic necessities, such as food, pasture actually drove the early Iranian-Aryan tribes on during their early campaigns to conquer the fertile river valleys of the northwest held by the indigenous Indo-Dravidians. In a hymn again offered to Indra during the rite of imbibing the fermented psychotropic stimulant Soma., RV.,1.53.4 states: ‘...Through these drops [of soma, Indra lead us in] scattering the dasyu, [may we be] freed from their hate [and] may we obtain abundant food.’

    There are also numerous references in the RV., to Indra’s feats of freeing dammed rivers. These references potentially suggest the seeds for the war of conquest fought between the Indo-Dravidians and Iranian-Aryan-s. Possibly, after Iranian-Aryan-s had been established in the untamed parts of the northwestern region for some generations probably a severe prolonged drought arose as a consequence of the failure in the Monsoon rains over a number of years. This drought especially affected the Iranian-Aryans whose herds were probably excluded from the water sources held by the Indo-Dravidians.

   During this possibly prolonged period of drought water was in short supply and the dammed-up tanks of the Dasyu-s remained full or were seriously limiting the flow of river water downstream. The perceived ‘hate‘ of the Dasyu for the Iranian-Aryan-s was possibly manifested by the exclusion of the Iranian-Aryan herds from water sources controlled by the Indo-Dravidians. Under these terms of pure survival, all out war can certainly break out.

     In terms of freeing the flow of rivers Indra is praised as the conqueror of the Vrtra-s, the Snake Deities of the indigenous culture propitiated by the Magi priests who are supposed to have both stopped the rain and dammed up the rivers. Here in RV.,1.32.5-11., Indra is praised both as the giver of rain as well as the one who ‘let loose the flow the seven rivers’ dammed up during a period of prolonged drought. Continuing RV.,1.56.6., suggests that ‘gladdened by the juice [of Soma], [Indra] hast set the waters free and broken the Vrtra-s stone fences through’.

     Despite mythical interpretations by later Brahminic commentators the phrase ‘Vrtra-s stone fences’ in RV.,1.32., 5-11., clearly infers that the city/states of the Indus Valley Civilization dammed their rivers for irrigation purposes etc. In this sense the praises offered to Indra in this hymn as the one who ‘ let loose the flow of the Seven Rivers’ also suggests a long-term strategy adopted by the Noble Ones as a means to bring the indigenous, mercantile Indus Valley culture to it’s knees.

   Over the coming centuries and despite the presence of protecting city walls these iron possessing, nomadic pastoral Iranian-Aryan tribes were able to destroy the irrigation system of the Indus Valley culture and thereby were able to eventually storm and capture major cities of the indigenous, copper-based, Indus Valley Civilization. The burnt out remains and random unburied skeletons of the final layer of the city site at Harapa certainly bear a mute testimony to the final, violent conquest of that city/state.


          (3d.,) The 'Aryan migration from out of Central Asia' theory and the 'out of India' theory.

                'Hero [Indra] of our ancient home, thee whom my sire invoked of old.'


      The theory of the 'Aryan migration from out of Central Asia' is upheld by a majority of Indian and western anthropological scholars. This theory essentially proposes that the region of southern Central Asia, known as the Eranvej, was the original homeland of the proto-Aryan tribes. The nomadic proto-Scythian, proto-Aryan tribes, that originated from southern Central Asia, later migrated at the beginning of the 3rd., millennium BC., into the Iranian plateau, with some clans and tribes coming in contact for some centuries with the Oxus culture/civilization that lay on the inland Murgab river delta etc.

    Later around c.2,000 BC., the southeastern branch of these powerful clans and tribes, the Iranian-Aryan-s, started a further southeastern migratation and entered the northwestern region of the Indian sub-continent via the Iranian plateau. But the theory of the  'Aryan migration from out of Central Asia' is vehemently contradicted by Indian nationalist scholars and Hindu fundamentalists, who hold the 'out of India' approach.         

     The 'Aryan migration from out of Central Asia' theory furher holds that at the beginning of the 2nd., millennium BC., the southeastern branch of these migrating and marauding clans and tribes of  proto-Scythian Iranian-Aryan-s arrived in the territories of the Indo-Dravidian, Indus Valley Civilization. These powerful proto-Scythian, Iranian-Aryan clans and tribes found that the indigenous but still prosperous Indo-Dravidian civilization was on the decline and over approximately the next five hundred years these powerful clans and tribes came to gradually dominate or even to outright conquer the northwestern and western regions of the Indian sub-continent. The arriving Iranian-Aryan tribes named this region of the Indian sub-continent, the Sindhu.

    Within the southwestern and southeastern migrations out of Iranian plateau by the powerful Iranian-Aryan tribes, that occured during the early 2nd., millennium, the possession of the war chariot certainly made a decisive impact in defeating the armies of the various city states of the Indo-Davidian, Indus Valley Civilization as well as the armies of the Persian and Mesopotamian kingdoms and empires who had opposed their entry. 

   The successful chariot-borne invasions by the various western branches of these powerful Iranian-Aryan tribes went on to created Mitanni and Hittite empires. The Mitanni and Hittite empires were created within Anatolia, and in northern Syria and Mesopotamia. The Hittite empire went on to rival to the Egyptian empire. The southeastern branch of the powerful Iranian-Aryan tribes later went on to create the early Indo-Aryan Vedic culture/civilization within the ancient Sindhu, or the northwestern region of the Indian sub-continent.

   Although the 'Aryan migration from out of Central Asia' theory into the Indian sub-continment has been proposed by a majority of western and Indian scholars since the 19th., century AD., this theory is disputed by quite a few modern Indian scholars etc. These nationalist scholars declare that the 'Aryan migration from out of Central Asia' theory was simply the creation of racist British colonialists aided by biased western academics and was necessary to defame ancient Indian culture and religion.

    But seemingly in their haste to defame ancient Indian culture and religion, these   19th., century AD., so-called racist western scholars of linguistics were oddly content to compare the classical Greek and Latin languages  with the examples of the early Vedic language in order to gain an insight and to understand if the roots of the early Vedic language were in fact the root language of the Indo-European family of languages.

   From studying and comparing the language of the RV., and the early unedited texts of Zoroastrian tradition with classical Greek and Latin texts these supposedly racist western scholars of linguistics concluded that an early proto-Vedic language was in fact the root language of the Indo-European languages. Apart from the purely Indian, ancient languages, Vedic, Sanskrit, Pali etc., these Indo-European languages included the languages of the ancient Celts etc., as well as classical Greek and Latin and in turn these classical languages were evolved to include the English, German and French languages etc.

    The proto-Vedic language as well as variants from this language was the spoken language of the proto-Scythian/proto-Celtic tribes, that included the Iranian-Aryan tribes, during their western, southwestern and southeastern migrations out of the Iranian plateau that occurred during early centuries of the 2nd., millennium BC.

    Thereby the 'Aryan migration from out of Central Asia' theory was actually based upon a reasonable and objective, rational hypothesis. This hypothesis was derived from linguistic evidence relating to the arising and spread of the Indo-European languages from out from Central Asia and the Iranian plateau via the western, southwestern and southeastern routes of the migrations of the various proto-Scythian tribes that included the Iranian-Aryan tribes etc.

     Archaeological evidence regarding these proto-Scythian tribes etc., have been found in the huge geographical areas that contained the southern portion of the vast Andronovo tribal culture/civilization of Central Asia as well as in the geographical areas of the  BMAC., also in part known as the Oxus culture/civilization situated to the north of now modern Afghanistan in modern Tajikistan etc.

   But the vista of the 'Aryan migration from out of Central Asia' theory regarding the origins and migrations of the Iranian-Aryan-s leading to their emergence as Indo-Aryan-s within the Indian sub-continent is totally contradicted by a minority of modern western and Indian scholars. The  'Aryan migration from out of Central Asia' theory is especially denied by Indian nationalist scholars who wish to further and aid a chauvinistic, so-called 'real' historical view of the origins of classical Indian language/culture/religion, as now promoted by modern Indian nationalist political parties. This group of Indian and western scholars hold the 'out of India' theory regarding the evolution and expansion of ancient Indian language, culture and religion by way of the long-term efforts the so-called indigenous Aryan tribal culture

  But in fact an early 'out of India' theory was actually initially proposed in Europe by Voltaire, 1694-1778 AD., the French writer, historian and philosopher and later by the German linguist Friedrich Schlegel, 1772-1829 AD., etc.

   Under the modern 'out of India' theory a minority of scholars hold that the Aryan tribes had always inhabited northern regions of the Indian sub-continent while the Dravidian tribes only inhabited south India and the Munda speaking, Austric tribes inhabited the central and eastern regions. Under this theory the Iranian-Aryan-s did not arrive into the northwestern and western regions of the Indian sub-continent during the early 2nd., millennium BC., nor did they introduce the early Vedic culture and Vedic/Sanskrit language into the ancient Sindhu region.

   Under the modern 'out of India' theory the early Vedic culture and Vedic/Sanskrit language was evolved within the Sindhu or rather the regions of the Punjab and the western Ganges/Jamuna valley from 6th., millennium BC., or even before. Moreover the later western migrations and invasions of the so-called Indo-Aryan tribes, out of the Indian sub-continent and into ancient Persia and Mesopotamia, to found the Mitanni and Hittite empires during the middle half of the 1st., millennium BC, are equally upheld by a variant of the 'out of India' theory.

   The vista of 'out of India' theory upheld by the modern Indian nationalist scholars etc., even contradicts the view of arcane history suggested within the oldest portions of the RV. By way of  suggestions that are contained the earliest portions of RV., at least part of the RV., was apparently composed outside of the Indian sub-continent. These early parts of the RV., describe the topographical conditions of the Central Asian steppes which are very different from those the hot jungles and cleared plains of the Ganges/Jamuna valley.

   However today, blinkered Indian nationalist scholarsl are still content to propose and cling to a mythical, deluded and essential false view on ancient Indian social/religious history that maintains the so-called indigenous Aryan-s were the original and oldest inhabitants of the northern regions of the Indian sub-continent etc. Some extreme fundamentalist devotees/ascetics of the sanatana-dharma tradition further hold onto a literal view regarding the four yuga-s, the four 'golden, silver' ages etc., of world time ; that the Vedic/Brahminical religious/social system, based upon caste, caste duties and stages of life etc., had literally existed in India in a crystallized and complete form for hundreds of thousands even for millions of human years.

    From all this, modern Indian nationalist scholars and Indian nationalist political parties as well as extreme Hindu fundamentalists, who all uphold 'out of India' theory, contend that in fact there was no Indo-Dravidian Indus Valley Civilization at all, just an Indo-Aryan Indus Valley Civilization. The demise of the so-called Indo-Aryan, Indus Valley Civilization occurred when the Indo-Aryan-s returned to their cultural hub of the western portions of the Ganges/Jamuna valley. Here from c.1200 BC., the Indo-Aryan-s went eastwards to fully conquor the Austric/Munda tribes there and went on to clear the jungles in order to exploited the rich argricultural potential of the Ganges/Jumuna valley.

    But these Indian nationalist scholars etc., conveniently forget that rice and rice cultivation, so important to classical Indian culture, is never once mentioned in the RV. But the RV., does mentions the cultivation of barley. In RV.,1.53.2., a prayer offered to Indra inform us that he is a 'giver of horses, giver of thou of kine [cows], giver of barley...'. Certainly the habitat of wild barley is not in the semi-tropical jungles nor in the cleared jungles, that went on become the agricultural land of the hot plains of Ganges/Jumuna valley where rice could be cultivated because of the heavy amount of monsoon rainfall. 

   Similarly this group of scholars conveniently forget that the orginal natural habitat of wild horses was on the steppes of Mongolia, Central Asia and Russia and their natural habitat was not within the jungles of the Indian sub-continent. Wild horses were tamed on the Russian, Central Asian and Mongolian etc., steppes at least six to eight thousand years ago or more and since that time horses were selectively bred to enhance their strength and stamina.

    The earliest sections of the RV., indicates that family members of the Iranian-Aryan clans travelled in the southern Central Asian steppes in wains, or large ox carts and warrior/herders drove the clan's herds of horses and cattle, whilst being protected by horse-borne warriors etc. Also horses were never featured in the seals of the Indus Valley Civilization, Indo-Dravidian or Indo-Aryan and the earliest, c.1700 BC., images of horses only appear on stone carvings in the Swat Valley of northwestern Pakistan.

   Apparently there were virtually no horses with in the Indian sub-continent prior to the first half 2nd., millennium BC. So by whom and when were horses first introduced into the Indian sub-continent? Also the two-horse war chariot was also featured within the RV., but historically the war chariot was not developed in the Indian sub-continent. The war chariot was certainly first developed on the steppes of Central Asia during the 3rd., millennium BC., by the warrior/smiths of the proto-Scythian tribes of the so-called Andronovo tribal culture etc., etc.


     (4.) The Vedic textural tradition.


          ‘...May this man...obtain wealth of good steeds and hero might...’.



        At this juncture we can recap the historical progession of the themes of the 'Aryan migration from out of Central Asia'  theory that will act as a guideline within sections in the part of the study. The powerful, nomadic Iranian-Aryan warrior/herders entered the northwestern region of ancient India at the end of the 3rd., millennium or at the beginning of the 2nd., millennium BC. This region, named by them as Sindhu, was comprised of the river systems of the the lower and upper Indus Valley as well as the river systems of the region known as the pañca-nad, the ‘five rivers’ the modern region of greater Punjab that drain into the Indus. The River Indus was also known in the Vedic tradition as the Sindhu.

     Within the fertile plains irrigated by these rivers the marauding Iranian-Aryan tribes initially encountered the the forces of the city/states of the Indus Valley Civilization. The early period of the initial encounter and subsequent gradual conquest of the city/states of the Indus Valley civilization commenced from c.2000 BC. With the probable exception of urban centers situated further to the east and those urban centers situated on the coastal regions of Gujarat and Saurastra, the major city/states of the Indus Valley civilization within the Sindhu region fell to the Iranian-Aryan invaders by around c.1700 BC.

     Certainly the Indo-Dravidian kingdoms located on the coasts of central and southern India, also Shri Lanka etc., previously colonized and founded by Indo-Dravidian seafarers and traders remained unaffected by Iranian-Aryan invasion of the northwest. Indo-Dravidian kingdoms in these regions remained fully independent even after Indo-Aryan expansion into the Middle Country of the northern region from the latter centuries of the 2nd., millennium BC.

     The early, gradually settled Iranian-Aryan colonial era spanned the period of c.1700 BC., to c.1500 BC. During the middle part of the 2nd., millennium BC., after conquering the city/states Indus Valley Civilization, the Iranian-Aryan-s, the Noble Ones, initially established the early Vedic culture in ancient Sindhu formed by the greater Punjab region. However beyond limited archaeological evidence a definitive, recorded history of this period of invasion, conquest and colonization does not actually exist.

     Only in the hymns of the RV., does indirectly offer a confused, quasi-history of this period of invasion, conquest and colonization. The RV., is the oldest and premier treatise of the tradition of the Vedic sacrificial science. Sages from within an actually ethnically broader Indo-Aryan priestly class composed, edited and re-ordered orally transmitted the hymns, sagas/ballads into the form that now contains the hymns of the first nine cycles of the RV.

     These hymns solely indicate the basis for shamanistic rites and the rituals of the sacrificial science offered to ancestral elemental deities as applied by the then Indo-Ayan priests from the initial period of conquest and on during colonization/settlement of the Sindhu region up into the second half of the 2nd., millennium BC. These hymns also suggest that Indo-Aryan ascetics only applied regimes of austerities rather than a system of yoga. There are not any real inferences of a classic yoga-like systemic approach in the RV.

      Hymns in the First Cycle of the RV., refer to ‘fiendish’ and ‘demonic’ enemies who are characterized as possessing ‘hate’ for the Iranian-Aryans and also as possessing no culture and no ‘proper’ religion but who are nevertheless recorded to have possessed forts, cities, great wealth etc. These early examples of ethnic type-casting and misinformation were similarly picked up and applied by the later historic Brahminic textural traditions as a means to depreciate later arriving ethnic tribal and/or ethnic groups or to depreciate alien cultures placed on or near to the frontiers of classical India.

       The fully settled, sedentary post-colonial period, the classic Vedic era, commenced in the Sindhu region from c.1500 BC., and lasted until c.1200 BC. Within this context the Iranian-Aryan ruling classes were over time intermingled with the ruling classes of the Indo-Dravidians and became the leading castes of the ancient Indo-Aryan society of the Sindhu region.  Here an ethnically mixed warrior and priestly classes became the sedentary Indo-Aryan-s and provided the new ruling classes within the Indo-Aryan culture/civilization of the Sindhu. 

     The geographic view offered by the first nine cycles or books of the RV., clearly highlight the ritual significance of the ‘seven’ rivers of the Sindhu region. The ritual significance afforded to these rivers certainly confirms that the Sindhu region was the location where the early shamanistic/sacrificial Vedic era commenced.

      The later classic shamanistic/sacrificial Vedic period commenced in the Aryavarta, the Noble Domain to the east of the Sindhu region within the the Sutlej, upper Jumuna and Ganges valleys of the madhyadesha, the Middle Country from c.1200 BC. This period continued until c.800 BC.


     We should bear in mind and fully appreciate that during the arcane and ancient eras, the liturgies and doctrines etc., of the Vedic and other later Vedic/Brahminic traditions as well as even the liturgies and doctrines etc., of the early heterodox traditions were still orally maintained and transmitted.

     Here the masters of Vedic and other sectarian traditions retained in their memory the totality of a particular family lineage recension of the Veda-s and/or the liturgies and applied instructions for particular sectarian deity cycles. In turn over the generations disciples ‘heard’ and remembered these liturgies etc., during possibly prolonged periods of residence, service and instruction under generations of lineage holding masters.

    Buddhist texts from the Theravada/Hinayana tradition contain references that characterize early, renowned monks as being ‘rich in hearing’. Thereby indicating the oral mode of transmission during the early period of the Buddhist tradition. This mode of instruction characterized and in part still characterizes the traditional master/disciple relationship up to the present day. In the contemporary context pupils and disciples from a variety of Indian religious contexts, including the Islamic traditions, often first learn to read utilizing fundamental religious texts after initially remembering by heart portions or all the parts of particular texts.

     However after the introduction of the Brahmi and Kharosthi scripts from the c.5th., century BC., many of these previously oral traditions were recorded after going through as process of  editing, recompiling and updating. Thereby, although  today there are a still number of quite old extant palm leaf mss., as well as numerous copied, microfilmed and printed editions of principal Vedic, Brahminic, Buddhist texts etc., published within a variety of languages, these versions are not necessarlly the original oral versions but were versions that were sieved through this process.   


   During the classical era, influential works on Sanskrit phonetics and grammar, composed by Panini, Patañjali etc., were certainly created to order spoken Sanskrit rather than to order the later written form of principal texts. These works by Panini etc, by way of concise aphorisms, allegories etc, convey the rules of spoken phonetics and grammar in classical India.

        In this respect Winternitz states:

     ‘ It is also characteristic that the older works on phonetics and grammar and even the Mahåbhasya of Patañjali of the 2nd., century BC., do not pay attention to the script, that they deal always with spoken sounds and never with [the formation of sentences of] written words and that...grammatical terminology always concerns only the spoken word and never the [grammatical form of a] written text ‘.

     Continuing Winternitz comes to a conclusion that is possibly startling to some modern students.

       Here Winternitz states:

    ‘ After considering all this, we may say that in [ancient and early classical] India probably there were no written books...’

   Only from the latter part of the 1st., millennium BC., were the principal texts and commentaries of a wide variety of sectarian traditions, recorded. These texts were recorded in number of scripts and so-called high languages, such as Vedic, Sanskrit and even in vernacular languages such a Pali and Apabramsa. Reflecting the deep-seated influence of the oral tradition, recorded texts in these languages pay little or no regard to basic punctuation, capital letters normal in modern written works etc. This leads to considerable difficulties in coherently reading prose texts etc.

     Therefore we can often use the term ‘so and so textural tradition’ to characterize particular historical groups of works known to-day via mss., or printed editions, we must understand that certainly during the late classical and early historic periods, there were probably no libraries of palm leaf mss. There were no individual palm leaf mss., available for a more general circulation.

     There were only personal collections of palm leaf mss., belonging to masters of the Vedic and the other textural lineage traditions etc. Access to the ‘secret systems’ and ‘secret doctrines’ contained in palm leaf mss., was certainly generally restricted to educated and upper caste, initiated practitioners. These educated initiated practitioners existed within the limited circles surrounding lineage-holding masters of the various sectarian traditions.

       These limitations on access together with illiteracy, the general awe of written books, allowed the Brahmin literati class to create a biased, self-serving mystic. From quasi-histories, myths etc., the Brahmin literati class wove and embellished on this mystic to create ingrained cultural stances. These stances promoted the Brahmin’s social pre-eminence as well as the pre-eminence, even divine status of their social/religious stance.

(i.) General remarks on the  veda-s.


      ‘...[the] gaayatri [meter] has eight syllables; the meter of agni [the deity of fire] is the gaayatri...

                                                                                                                          aitareya-brahmana 1.1.


      Scholars of linguistics and literature generally accept that some of the earliest examples of humanity’s liturgical literature and poetry are contained in the Indo-Aryan Veda-s. The numerous hymns comprising the Veda-s form a body of ‘mantra’. These hymns discussing a variety of shamanistic rites were offered by Iranian-Aryan and later Indo-Aryan priests to propitiate, satisfy, gain favor and even support a number of ancestral elemental deities.

     In the context of the early and even the classic Vedic tradition there is no mention of cosmic deities and their cosmic functions as featured in the doctrinal outlook of Brahminic Hinduism. The origins of the classic cosmic deities of Hinduism, such as Shiva and Naraysna/Visnu and their consorts are actually rather rooted in the non-Indo-Aryan, Indo-Dravidian religious milieu.

   Their prominence apparently only gradually came to the fore with the adoption of the applied doctrines of the indigenous, Indo-Dravidian proto-yoga lineage. Within the Vedic/Brahminical tradition Rudra, the ‘howler’ or the elemental deity of the storm later became an aspect of Shiva. Also Visnu only features as an aspect of the Fire/Sun deity as sunlight and by this attribute became elevated as the cosmic ‘sustainer’ within the Braminical Trinity.

   Ancestral elemental deities were propitiated in specific rites, especially by way of fire sacrifices, through chanting particular hymns forming this body of ‘mantra’. Hymns were chanted while offering specific ingredients, such as clarified butter etc., into the sanctified fire.

   Sacrificial rites were offered by Iranian-Aryan priests were in order that individuals or groups of warriors could obtain horses, cattle, rain for the growth of pasture etc as well as protection from and the destruction of enemies. The harmonious but charged chanting offered during the rites of fire sacrifice etc., can still be heard in the contemporary orthodox context during major annual festivals, weddings etc., and at the major and minor religious fairs.

     As indicated the original Vedic tradition was an oral tradition and even after the introduction of the early Brahmi and Kharosthi scripts etc., commentaries of the later Vedic/Brahminic tradition indicate that there were prohibitions against writing down the principal Veda-s. The Veda-s had to be ‘heard’ and memorized within the context of the orally transmitted family lineage. The Veda-s were transmitted in this manner because they were considered to be apaurusheya, ‘not of human origin’. Thereby the Veda-s should not be diluted or possibly be polluted with any ‘human’ interpolations in written versions.

     Therefore, the corpus of Vedic hymns, the ‘mantra’ portion of what became the Vedic textural tradition were considered of themselves to be amnaya, ‘sacred’ as well as eternal, indestructible. According the Brahminic tradition the Veda-s were said to the infallible ‘source’ of ‘all doctrines’. Certainly within the classical era the Veda-s themselves were considered to possess a greater status than even the elemental deities.

     This was the case because once an elemental deity had exhausted the merit accumulated by Vedic sacrifice, austerity etc. they would fall. Vedic sacrifices and austerity had giving the elemental deity his position and once the accumulation of merit was exhausted, another aspirant with the necessary merit accumulated from sacrificed etc., would replaced him. Then the fallen elemental deity was again forced to enter the cycle of transmigration etc.

    This process is related in the well-known legend of Indra and the ants. This legend tells how a devotee, an Indra to be, attained the status of an Indra. His new founded status, gained by  cultivating austerities and by gaining merit from Vedic sacrifice was just like ants that slowly but surely built up their nests. However once his accumulation of merit was used up the incumbent Indra falls, even to a status as low as an ant. Then a new devotee who has attained sufficient merit by way of austerity, sacrifices takes his place as the new Indra etc.

    Within the classic Vedic/Brahmin tradition this is considered to true for the other elemental deities where sages and great devotees can attain the status of a particular deity by way of accumulating merit through austerity and sacrifice. Thereby the later Vedic/Brahminic tradition considered the ritual knowledge contained in the principal Veda-s, is capable of both sustaining the ancestral elemental deities and offering merit to aspiring devotees. Thereby the Veda-s are thought to possesses a greater status than even the ancestral elemental deities.

     Further in the context of the outlook of the later Vedic and early Brahminic Upanisad traditions the elemental deities came to be considered as simple aspects of the theistic cause. Here the ‘cause’ is characterized in some of the early principal Upanisad-s as the Brahman, the genderless, essence/principle, the monad, the cause for the sphere of the expanding universe and beyond or the over-self permeating the expanding universe.

      The view of principal Upanisad-s suggests that out of loneliness and hunger the genderless Over-self created the 'golden egg' and then created first cosmic Being and his consort, Nature. The first Being together with his consort, Nature were the actual creators of the expanding material universe within the measureless 'golden egg'. The expanding material universe is populated by cosmic deities, elemental deities, demi-deities, titans, demons, humans and animals etc. Hence the view of henotheism and polytheism.


      The word ‘veda’ is derived from root verb vid, to know. The RV., together with the later yajur-veda (YV.,) and sama-veda (SV.,) are known in the orthodox Brahminic tradition as the ‘trayi vidya’, the ‘triple science’ or the triple knowledge. However ‘knowledge’, in the context of the original, shamanistic, Vedic outlook of the first nine cycles of the RV., certainly does not refer to metaphysical speculation leading to intuitive experience of the soul or the innate non-dual nature of Brahman etc., by way of  deep devotion and yoga.

    Rather ‘knowledge’ refers to ritual lore/knowledge necessary to apply the shamanistic rites of fire sacrifice and the psychotropic rites of Soma etc. These sacrifices are offered to elemental Vedic deities by the hotri, the presiding shaman/priest or later in the context of regal passage rites by the purohita, the royal preceptor etc.

     In this context of defining ‘knowledge’ RV., refers to ‘inherited’ shamanistic knowledge or lore passed down from the lineage of ancient pre-Indian Aryan seers. Some hymns contained in the Fourth Cycle of the RV., even reflect the cultural outlook, social mores and the unmodified outlook of pre-Indian, proto-Aryan-s. In addition the early cycles of the RV., recall how the lore of proto-Aryan shamanism was ‘heard’ by the sages from the ancestral elemental deities.

   However, despite the obvious simple shamanistic/sacrificial bias of the early cycles of the RV., that discourse on the lore and mantra-s of the very early Vedic period, the modern scholar S. Radhakrishnan suggests that ‘knowledge’ in this context ‘...means knowledge par excellence, sacred wisdom’. This opinion echoes the opinion of Winternitz etc., and follows the classic, orthodox Brahminic propaganda line.

    Certainly this not the case when the hymns of the RV., are viewed without the gloss of an updating commentary. Clearly in the original context of the early 2nd., millennium BC., this knowledge only realistically represents the lore of fire sacrifices and psychotropic rites etc., employed by the Iranian-Aryan priests as a means to attain the worldly desires of the Iranian-Aryan tribes.

   The initial nine cycles of RV., are considered by scholars to have coalesced by c.1500 BC. Without doubt first nine cycles of the RV., potentally only represent the worldly outlook of the classic approach to the lore of the Vedic sacrificial science that flourished in the Punjab and the lower Indus Valley during the period c.1500 BC., to c.1200 BC. Only the hymns of the later 10th., century BC., Tenth Cycle, possibly composed in the Noble Domain to the east, contain the seeds for primitive metaphysical speculation. This cycle can offer some potentiality for the doctrinal approaches aimed towards ‘sacred wisdom’.

     However these half-finished, incomplete speculations were not present in the older nine cycles of the RV. Therefore the Tenth Cycle of the RV., can be potentially considered as the product of other non-Indo-Aryan influences. Perhaps these influences were produced by the protracted contact and by the inter-action with the indigenous Indo-Dravidian Shaiva/Shakta yoga lineage and their applied doctrines.

    Potentially these Indo-Dravidian Shaiva/Shakta yoga doctrines relate to intuitive knowledge or the essential nature of cosmic deities with and without form. Potentally these unfinished speculations from the Tenth Cycle of the RV., form part the basis for speculative doctrinal discussions aired in the Upanisad-s composed from the 8th., century BC.

    The oral traditions of both the YV., and the SV., coalesced some what later than the tradition of the RV. Scholars of linguistics suggest that these oral traditions coalesced during the period of the Vedic era from c.1500 BC., to c.1000 BC. The classic Vedic era flourished in the Sindhu and later further to the east with the expansion of Indo-Aryan hegemony into the Sutlej, Jumuna and upper Ganges Valleys. The oral traditions of the YV., and the SV., clearly reflect the change from a pastoral, semi-nomadic existence to a sedentary village and city based social situation.

   This tranformation of the social situation offered the scope for the greater elaboration of ritual and sacrificial rites as was performed during late Vedic era. During the process of colonization of the Sindhu etc., and the subsequent social transformation of the Indo-Aryan-s also led to the transformation of the outlook of the caste system. The attitude of caste gradually hardened and coalesced into the classic modes by being generally instituted within all settled regions.

    Although there were numerous independent schools of the YV., and SV., nevertheless these treatises essentially act as supplementary works suggestive of this process in the elaborate evolution of the overall sacrificial tradition derived from the RV. These Veda-s in a large part were formed by the re-arrangement of hymns from the RV.

    The process of evolution from the RV., led the Vedic tradition from being a simple form of tribal shamanistic lore towards a caste-orientated religious tradition based upon the complex and elaborate passage rites of a sedentary society. These complex passage rites of family and of the ruling elite performed by lore holding priests were deemed necessary to promote the desires and the required social dignity of the upper ruling castes. A principal aim was to cement the ‘divine’ dignity and authority of the deified ruling elite within settled Indo-Aryan kingdoms.

    Therefore within this context the composite words forming the titles of these later treatises, ‘veda’ essentially refers to particular forms of Indo-Aryan priestly lore or ‘knowledge’ related to the evolution of essential social/religious passage rites and sacrificial rituals derived from the first nine cycles of the RV. Certainly in the context of the YV., ‘knowledge‘ refers to detailed ‘ritual’ lore necessary for the appropriate and correct performance of later, much more elaborate, Vedic fire sacrifice, passage rites etc., within a regal dominated, sedentary social context.

     In the mahabhasya Patanjali indicates that the YV., represents the ritual approach of the ‘one hundred and one schools of the Veda of the Adhvaryu [priests]’. However of these one hundred and one schools of the YV., the extant samhita-s, ‘collections’ of the YV., only relate to five of these schools. Here the extant YV., textural tradition acts as a manual for the rites still offered to elemental deities essentially aimed at gaining worldly desires and in the ‘correct’ ordering of the passage of life within a caste based society.

      Within the context of the SV., knowledge refers to ‘melody‘, or to the knowledge of the udgita, ‘chanting in the arya meter’. Or rather the intonation, meter etc., required and necessary for the correct chanting of ritual liturgies during the ritual performance of a variety of Vedic rites. Of the thousand schools of the SV., mentioned in the later Purana texts the recensions of only three schools are extant today. Within the two parts of the SV., of the Kauthumas school, of the 1549 verses all but 75 verses are found in the eighth and ninth cycles of the RV.


      There is also a fourth Veda in addition to RV., YV., and SV., the atharva-veda (AV.). Both the Brahminic Upanisad and Dharmasastra textural traditions make no reference to the AV., nor list this treatise together with the principal Veda-s. The AV., was probably composed during middle of the 1st., millennia BC.

    However the AV., was only able to gain a wider acceptance within the so-called orthodox Brahmin tradition during the latter centuries of that millennium. This occurred during the prolonged period of further invasions from the west and the infusions of ruling alien ethnic groups within the kingdoms of the western, northwestern and northern regions of the Indian sub-continent. During this period an already mixed Indo-Aryan Brahmin caste began to serve alien dynasties and became thoroughly diluted by the further induction into the orthodox fold of alien priestly classes, already linked to these alien ruling dynasties.

    Despite containing some hymns from the RV., the characteristic nature of the rites discussed in the AV., clearly indicates an infusion of essentially non-Indo-Aryan tribal shamanistic elements into the late Vedic tradition. These rites encompass indigenous as well as Middle Eastern derived approaches to so-called 'magic'. Here ‘white’ magic is applied to healing and ‘black magic’ was applied to injure. In order to counter this progression towards the various forms of non-Indo-Aryan shamanism and ‘magic’ etc., the later orthodox Brahminic tradition maintained that only the three Veda-s of the ‘trayi vidya ‘ actually reflect the outlook of classic, shamanistic Vedicism.

     However despite the mixed origins of the youngest and last Veda, the AV., is confusingly  linked to and named after a seminal ancient Central Asian proto-Aryan shaman/seer. According to legend Atharvan was instrumental in pre-history in establishing the psychotropic/sacrificial shamanistic traditions of the ancient proto-Aryan nomads.

     No doubt this Veda is so named by following the Brahminic tendency to give ‘authority’ to any and all adopted and adapted shamanistic and doctrinal trends by artificially linking such trends to the arcane traditions of proto-Aryan seers who lived in pre-history. However although named after this seminal shaman/seer of pre-history this treatise certainly does not actually reflect a pre-Indian proto-Aryan or even the early Vedic shamanistic approach.


(ii.) Remarks regarding the rg-veda.


       ‘ I laud Agni...Deity, minister of sacrifice...lavish...[us with] wealth...’.



      According to Winternitz ‘...the language [of the RV.,] proves also that the collection [of hymns in the RV.,] is not a unitary work but consists of older and younger pieces’. Certainly the actual form of the oral tradition of the RV., created by different family recensions, the sakha-s, ‘branches‘, differed from one major family lineage to another. Even the textural form of these family lineage recensions probably underwent a protracted process of editing and recompilation under the direction of generations of Brahmin scholars. This was epitomized in the Brahmin tradition as the epic labors of the sage Vyasa, prior to and during period when the RV., was first written down and recorded during the c.4th., century BC.

     According to the outlook of the later Brahminic textural tradition there were twenty-one recensions of the RV. According to treatises of the later Kalpasutra tradition, dating from the latter half of the 1st., millennium BC., such as the charana-vyuha, the twenty-one recensions of the RV., were adapted from within the basic oral tradition. This was in order to reflect the ritual outlooks of the five major branches or schools of the late post-8th., century BC., Brahminized Vedic tradition. 

    Of the recensions utilized within the five major schools only the oral recension of the Shakala School survived to become the basis for the written version of RV., known today. This surviving recension certainly reflects a thousand or more years long process of cultural transformation. This was experienced by the Indo-Aryans after their initial conquest of the northwestern Sindhu region and the subsequent movement of their cultural hub eastward into the Noble Domain forming the core of the Middle Country. As suggested the basis for the oral recension of the Shakala school was probably only finally fixed by the middle of the 1st., millennium BC. This oral recension was actually only initially recorded during the 4th., or the 3rd., century BC.

     The RV., is comprised of ten cycles of hymns. In some circumstances the contents of the RV., can be further divided into astaka or eight ‘octaves’ or even eight khanda, ‘trunks’ or basic divisions. The ten cycles of hymns are further sub-divided into adhyaya, chapters and eighty-five anuvaka, sections, that in total contain one thousand and twenty-eight sukta, hymns.


   The body of hymns that went on to form the first nine cycles of the RV., were gradually compiled, composed or collected from the ancient oral tradition held by the various prominent priestly caste families during the early and settled colonial periods during the the middle of the 2rd., millennium BC.

    Winternitz suggests the First Cycle contains ‘...older and younger...’ hymns. Here there are hymns that were most probably composed during the early colonial period. The hymns of the First Cycle, especially those hymns offered to Indra, reflect the insecurities and hopes of the still nomadic Iranian-Aryan tribes living outside of the Indian sub-continent as well as those of the Iranian-Aryan invaders battling with the indigenous Indo-Dravidians and the Munga tribes etc., for supremacy within the greater northwestern region. However perhaps some hymns of this cycle, those mainly offered to Agni and Soma, reflect the more secure, settled colonial period occurring after the conquest of the forts of the major city-states comprising the Indo-Dravidian, Indus Valley civilization.

   Cycles Two to Seven contain the hymns of seers who founded the principal priestly caste families. These seers, characterized as anukramani-s, ‘authors’, include Bhrigu, Vishvamitra, Vasishtha, Vamadeva, Atri, Angiras, Bharadvaja etc. Cycle Eight contains the hymns of the Kanva family. Cycle Nine is exclusively devoted to hymns offered to the deity Soma.

    Among the initial nine mandala-s, cycles, of the RV., only the significant portions of the Fourth Cycle, contain poetic hymns that evoke the period of when the proto-Aryan tribes resided in the Eranvej, long prior to the entry of the Iranian-Aryan tribes into the Indian sub-continent. These hymns are the oldest hymns contained in the RV. Here the spirit of simple tribal optimism, of rejoicing in a sense of awe for the natural world and the enjoyment of the communal life style of nomadic warrior/herders, is evident within the oldest hymns of the RV.

     These early hymns reflect an ancient oral tradition and the exacting but joyful, uninhibited, life-style that pre-dated the entry of the proto-Aryan tribes into the Iranian plateau and their subsequent close contact with sedentary societies. Here, although the elemental deities are revered, they are almost like senior captains or the manifestations of revered ancestral archetypes. The elemental deities understand the simple wants of the warrior/herders, share their pleasures and are not, as in later theistic situations, mainly concerned with judging an individual’s adherence to duty and law or with establishing, assaying and judging their sins.

    Certainly by the beginning of the middle of the 2nd., millennium BC., after a protracted struggle for hegemony with the indigenous Indo-Dravidians, the social and cultural reality of the Indo-Aryans no longer reflected the optimistic life-view of nomadic Central Asian warrior/nomads and random agriculturists as alluded to in the Fourth Cycle.

    In the hymns of later cycles, composed in the Indian sub-continent and which form the bulk of the RV., the spirit of tribal optimism was replaced by the skepticism and greed inherent to a more complex, sedentary social outlook. The bulk of the later hymns forming eight cycles of this Veda, reflecting the spirit of elitist colonialism, colored by skepticism and greed, were composed in the northwestern region of the Indian sub-continent during the latter centuries of first half of the 2nd., millennium BC. The spirit of elitist colonialism bred over the long term, the caste system.

     Nevertheless even these hymns still reflect a spirit of social openness unknown within the classic Brahminic era. In these cycles of the RV., hymns were composed by female ascetics, by seers not belonging to the priestly caste and even by Indo-Dravidians ascetic/priests. Also there are no real suggestions of the later rigid caste system that discriminated against the majority non-Indo-Aryan population, discriminated against women and widows while at the same time unreasonably elevating and endowing the priestly caste and the ruling warrior elite with an almost divine status etc.

     Scholars have conjectured that the oral basis necessary for the creation of the initial nine cycles of the RV., had coalesced by the middle of the 2nd., millennium BC., prior to the eastwards migrations of the Indo-Aryan-s into the Middle Country. However the long-term process of adaptation and evolution of the oral tradition of the RV., away from simple shamanistic rites etc., was not entirely completed by this period. Apparently protracted contact with the yoga-based, Indo-Dravidian proto-Shaiva/Shakta traditions was not yet complete and continued to generate a process of the  further evolution towards metaphysical speculations within the oral traditions of the Indo-Aryan priestly families .

    The eastwards shift of the hub of Indo-Aryan culture into the Middle Country apparently spurred on this process of further doctrinal evolution towards the semi-formed theistic metaphysical speculations. These semi-formed theistic metaphysical speculations characterize the more advanced doctrinal stance in the late Vedic and early Brahminic eras. The potentiality for further input by the Indo-Dravidian yoga-based traditions within this ongoing process of doctrinal evolution is suggested by the not yet fully formed and rounded out metaphysical speculations found in the hymns of the Tenth Cycle, the youngest cycle of the RV., to be orally composed.


   However readily disregarding the worldly slant and the obviously unsophisticated shamanistic approach inherent to the sacrificial ritual approach of the RV., that is clearly apparent in the hymns of the initial nine of the ten cycles of this treatise, the contemporary Indian scholar Radhakrishnan vehemently suggests that sacrificial Vedic knowledge is cosmic knowledge and represents ‘...the correct performance of sacrifice to which is attributed...control of the universe.’

    Undoubtedly these remarks, being guided by the influence of later Brahminic doctrinal speculations that do not actually form part of the original early Vedic outlook etc., Radhakrishnan attributes a greater degree of doctrinal significance to the Vedic tradition than is actually warranted. By suggesting this view, Radhakrishnan as well as other contemporary fundamentalist Indian scholars, do not entertain the possibility for the potentiality of a very sophisticated, experiential approach within the more ancient, indigenous Indo-Dravidian, proto-yoga-based traditions.

   Rather, by following the conventions set by classic Brahminic propaganda, ‘spin’ Radhakrishnan in company with other well known scholars persist with a view that simply and solely postulates the input of animistic or gross tantric approaches by the indigenous Indo-Dravidian ‘phallus worshippers’ etc., into the classic Vedic/Brahimical milieu.

   Whereas from the earlier interpretations of archaeological evidence and symbols found in the Indus Valley culture clearly infer that the sophisticated applied views of the Indo-Dravidian yoga-based traditions seem to be superior to the unsophisticated shamanistic lore of the early Indo-Aryan priests. This can be see with Indo-Dravidian doctrinal input within the Upanisad-s. This later Vedic commentary tradition from the early centuries of the 1st., millennium BC., emerged in an era that clearly post-dates the era of classic Vedicism.

    Apparently from the evidence of the Upanisad-s, doctrinal views aimed towards intuitive experience of the ‘one deity’ with or without form were extant within the ancient Indo-Dravidian religious milieu. The era of the Indo-Dravidian milieu pre-dates by at least fifteen hundred years the era of the composition of the Upanisad-s. Thereby simply the existence of unfinished or unfocused speculations forming part of the doctrinal approach of the later and broader Vedic/Brahminic tradition certainly cannot be interpreted to automatically mean that these speculations actually emerged from within the shamanistic/austerity milieu prevalent within the ancient Vedic tradition of the early 2rd., millennium BC.


(4a.,) A simple differentiation of the nature of the treatises forming the Vedic textural tradition and the traditional means applied to basically grade the overall contents of the Veda-s.


      ‘Veda denotes the whole literature [of the Vedic textural tradition] made up of two portions...’

                                                       Introduction to S. Radhakrishnan’s ‘The Principal Upanisad-s.


       Overall the textural traditions of the principal Veda-s are comprised of two portions, a ‘mantra’ or samhita, ‘collection’, portion and a brahmana, commentary portion. The metered hymns of praise, of propitiation reflecting the various shamanistic rites performed by ancient Indo-Aryan priests and were directly dedicated and offered to particular elemental Vedic deities, form the ‘mantra’ portion.

      Only the ‘mantra’ portion represents the shruti or the orally transmitted knowledge said to have been ‘heard’ by the ancient pre-Indian proto-Aryan seers directly from their ancestral deities. These ancient pre-Indian seers subsequently orally passed down this 'knowledge' to the Iranian-Aryan shaman/priests. In turn from the first half of the 2nd., millennium BC.,  the oral transmission of the ‘mantra’ portion of the Veda-s continued down to later Vedic, Brahmin shaman/priests of the ancient and classical eras.

     The much later, prose brahmana portion of the Vedic textural tradition, dating only from the early centuries of the 1st., millennium BC., is formed by explanatory works as well as the commentaries of the principle Veda-s. Set within deity myth this portion offers a rationale and a guide for the performance of revised and more elaborate shamanistic rites by Vedic/Brahmin shaman/priests. Further by way of etymology and myth this portion acts to initially elevate elemental deities or even to enter new deity cycles into the Vedic fold. These texts introduce fresh speculative philosophical and more advance internal doctinal views into the hitherto unsophisticated or semi-finished Vedic outlook.

    This portion of the Vedic textural tradition basically acts as a means to update the outlook of the Veda-s. These texts are clearly representative of the protracted process of infusion, incorporation and adaptation of significant doctrinal strands from an indigenous, non-Indo-Aryan experiential religious milieu. This progression was continued via the metaphysical speculations of the slightly later orthodox Upanisad textural tradition. In turn this oral and later textural tradition impelled the evolution of shamanistic/elemental Vedicism towards post-Vedic Brahminic cosmic polytheism.


    The possible c.7th. , or c.6th., century BC., nirukta, ‘etymology’, by Yaksa is the only extant early commentary on the Vedic samhita-s, brahmana-s and the very early works of the Upanisad tradition, surviving from the very early Brahminic era. Winternitz certainly considers Yaksa to be much earlier than the 4th., or 5th., century BC., master Sanskrit grammarian Panini of Gandhara.

   In the recorded nirukta, Yaksa objectively and frankly quotes seventeen earlier commentators whose works are now destroyed or lost. The views expressed by these early commentators are often in contradiction to each other, with one commentator even suggesting that commentary on Vedic hymns was useless because these hymns are mutually contradictory, arcane and obscure etc.

     The nirukta uses nighantu-s, ‘glossaries’ of rare and obscure Vedic words and phases as the means to interpret a large number of obscure and arcane passages from the Veda-s. In the nirukta Yaksa indicates that the Vedic samhita-s can be interpreted in three basic ways. The three modes of interpretation are from the points of view of the yajñika-s, the performers of fire sacrifices, the nairukta-s, the etymologists and the aitihasika-s, the mythologists.

    Undoubtedly the first nine cycles of the RV., when presented without later commentary reflect the ancient pre-Indian, shamanistic outlook of the performers of sacrifice. Only within the Tenth Cycle, dating from the early centuries of the 1st., millennium BC., does the unfinished basis for later Brahminic theistic, metaphysical speculations occur. Therefore the evolved, sophisticated view of later etymologists, such as presented in the 14th., century AD., rgvedabhasya by Sayana, are apparently derived from an amplification of the more sophisticated doctrinal approach that is directly stated or can actually only be inferred directly from the content of some hymns contained in the Tenth Cycle.

   However such later glosses were apparently uncritically applied to ‘update’ the outlook of the hymns of all the earlier cycles of the RV. This was in order to bring their view in line with later doctrinal progressions away from the reliance on elemental deities and the introduction of the new cosmic male and female deity cycles of the classic Brahminic Trinity.

    Classical Indian etymologists were also concerned with ‘updating’ the Veda-s by equating a cosmic meaning to Vedic mantra-s previously offered to the elemental deities of the earth, sky, fire. Updating by these means allowed the introduction of applied, internalized systemic views utilizing prime Vedic mantra-s and other so-called meaningless seed syllables and words.

     This approach is also found in other traditions including the Buddhist tantric tradition. Within the exposition of root treatises of the Mantrayana tradition crucial words like evam, ‘thus’, or whole phrases within the nidanavakyam, the Fundamental Statement, are assigned a greater etymological significance and systemic meaning beyond their ordinary literal meaning.

     However, many modern western scholars suggest that the classical etymological approach was essentially an arbitrary, artificial contrivance that most definitely should not be applied to the hymns of the first nine cycles. Nevertheless, by way of this so-called contrivance, metaphysical and doctrinal speculations, that clearly did not actually form any part of the outlook of the early shamanistic Vedic tradition, were incorporated into the later Vedic/ Brahminic tradition. In turn this led to and allowed further metaphysical doctrinal speculation via the prime Upanisad-s within the historic Brahminic tradition.


(i.) Suggestions of theism occuring within the Tenth Cycle of the RV.


      ‘...[The Goddess] Aditi is all that hath been born and shall be born.’



    An already initiated process in the re-evaluation of the Vedic sacrificial/austerity milieu further acted in a protracted process in the evolution of Vedicism towards the classic Brahminic social/religious milieu. This process is reflected in the unfinished metaphysical approach of the Tenth Cycle of the RV.

   The Tenth Cycle is thought to have been only composed and compiled at the beginning of the 1st., millennium BC., once the hub of Indo-Aryan culture had already shifted into the 'middle country' of the northern region. The further evolution and consolidation of the embryonic, speculative metaphysical approaches found in the Tenth Cycle certainly in part contributed to the creation of the speculative doctrinal outlooks discussed in the texts of the Brahmana and Upanisad commentary traditions orally composed from the early centuries of the 1st., millennium BC., and only recorded in the last centuries of the same millennium.

    Metaphysical references are a rarity in the first nine cycles of the RV., and where encountered are even less focused than the semi-formed speculations found in the Tenth Cycle. The lack of definitive metaphysical hymns in these initial cycles suggests that such sophisticated doctrinal vistas and allied applied approaches were generally unknown to the majority of the Iranian-Aryan priestly class prior to c.1500 BC. Thereby potentially the evolution of the oral basis for the oral recensions of the RV., to include the Tenth Cycle continued well into the 1st., millennium BC.

     The linguistic basis for this ongoing process of the expansion of the RV., can be marked by the hymns of the Tenth Cycle of the RV. The hymns of this cycle differ from the earlier hymns in terms of language, compositional style and by the introduction of a more sophisticated but unfinished, theistic doctrinal approach. The hymns of the Tenth Cycle are thought to have been orally composed just prior to the classic era of the Brahmana and early prime Upanisad commentary traditions dating from c.1000 BC., to c.700 BC.

      Certainly from the beginning of the 1st., millennium BC., the essential shamanistic tone of Vedicism aimed at propitiating elemental deities etc., was gradually more and more masked by an over-lay of theistic cosmic theories. By way of not fully formed metaphysical, theistic speculations, contained in the Tenth Cycle of the RV., the ascendancy of the Vedic shamanistic milieu apparently gradually gave ground. Therefore during this era, within orthodox intellectual/ascetic circles, later Vedicism was in part slowly evolved towards a more sophisticated theistic philosophical approach.

     The incidence of theistic doctrinal elements within the hymns of the Tenth Cycle of the RV., most probably indicate that significant elements within the Vedic priestly class had by this period fallen under the influence of the doctrinal input offered by the non-Indo-Aryan, Maga influenced Indo-Dravidian ascetic/yogi lineage.

    However while input of the non-Indo-Aryan ascetic/yogi milieu cannot be underestimated or even be discounted nevertheless metaphysical speculations contained in the Tenth Cycle of the RV., can also in part be viewed as being an extension of a not fully formed, primitive Indo-Aryan doctrinal view of the nature of a ‘deity with form’. This view is certainly found in the few hymns of earlier cycles dedicated to what is now considered to be a relatively minor Vedic deity, the all-pervasive Mother Goddess, Aditi, the ‘unbounded’.

     In this sense RV.,1.89.10., states:

   ‘ Aditi is the heaven, Aditi is mid-air, Aditi is the mother and the sire and the son. Aditi is all deities, Aditi, the five classed [tribes of] men. Aditi is all that hath been born and shall be born.’

    Clearly the doctrinal approach of this hymn centering on the all-pervasive nature of the creatrix permeating creation can potentially suggest a proto-Samkhya view of a pervasive prakrti, nature/energy of the life force. Clearly the view of the nature of the Great Mother Goddess in part acted as the inspiration for the themes of some theistic hymns found in the much later Tenth Cycle of the RV., and for some of the metaphysical speculations discussed in the later recorded treatises of the orthodox Upanisad tradition.

    In regard to these doctrinal seeds suggesting an as yet not fully formed doctrine of the theistic cosmic deity with attributes emerging from undifferentiated transcendental reality, RV., 10.121.1., states:

   ‘ ...In the beginning was the 'golden egg' [the measurless divine sphere initially containing the body of the first, divine Being, Brahma]. From his birth He was the sole lord of creation. He made firm the earth and this bright sky.’

    Speculatively discussing the possible limited nature of the theistic deity with attributes while inferring the doctrine of the undifferentiated transcendental reality without attributes and thereby also further inferring the doctrine of maya, illusion, RV.,10.129.7., states:

    ‘ He [the first Being, Brahma was] the first to originate [out from] of this [process of] creation, whether he formed it all or did not form it. [He] whose eye controls this world in the highest heaven, he verily knows it [who formed ] or perhaps he knows it not.’

    The overall tone of this verse can be viewed as being governed by doctrinal uncertainty. From this tone this verse can even be an admittance of ignorance of knowledge of the nature of the undifferentiated nature of 'one', the monad. As is borne out in the discourses of some principle Upanisad-s, possibly at best Vedic seers of this era only had philosphical doctrines proposing deities ‘with form’. Thereby althougth they knew of the potential for sojourns in heaven realms they yearned for the means to attaining knowledge of the undifferentiated nature of 'one', the monad out of which the primal process of creation originated .

    Certainly the phrase ‘...he verily knows it [undifferentiated transcendental reality] or perhaps he knows it not’ can infer a lack of the means aimed towards intuitive knowledge, kevala, ‘alone’ of the radiance/resonance of the divine 'one' quantum field of the monad ‘without form’.

   As indicated in the discourse within some of the principle Upanisad-s, it was certainly the pursuit of the radiance/resonance of Brahman, the 'one',  ‘without form’ that led Vedic priests to seek instruction from the non-Indo-Aryan, possibly Indo-Dravidian kings of the eastern 'middle county', who were the actual lineage holders of such tantrically colored yoga doctrines. The recorded incidence of the need of Indo-Aryan Vedic priests to pursue such as course tends to confirm their ignorance of such an applied approach to the 'one' consciousness. Thereby these discourses potentially offer an interesting insight into the doctrinal advanced Indo-Dravidian yoga lineage as well as the mixed doctrinal environment inside of which the Vedic tradition had to evolve during the first half of the 1st., millennium BC.


       (5.,) The eastward expansion of the Indo-Aryan social/religious culture.


      ‘It [the geographical milieu of the yajur-veda] is not so much of the Indus and its tributaries, but [rather] the areas of the Sulej, Jumna and Ganges rivers.’


                                                                                                            Benjamin Walker, Hindu World.


      During the latter half of the 2nd., millennium BC., the Indo-Arya-s occupying the Sindhu gradually moved the hub of their social/religious culture eastwards. The gradual relocation of the Indo-Aryan cultural hub probably occurred from the build up of pressure exerted by independent Iranian-Aryan tribes and/or purely Iranian tribes still living in eastern Iran etc., outside of the Sindhu. Perhaps more significantly, the Indo-Aryan/Indo-Dravidian warrior elite were lured to the greater territorial sphere forming the upper Jumuna and Ganges river valleys. This greater territorial sphere had been previously partly exploited by the still remaining independent, Indo-Dravidian city/states forming the eastern rump of the greater Indus Valley Civilization.

    Even prior to this further period of eastward colonial expansion, the Indo-Aryan warrior elite allied themselves with the Indo-Dravidian warrior/merchant elite. This elite mix of ruling ethnic groups gave birth to the ruling regal elite of the seperate of kingdoms of the Jumuna and Ganges river valleys. Culturally and socially these mixed elite groups were united by following and maintaining the outer forms of the now dominant, Vedic/Brahmical social/religious culture. Also the slow evolution of a common spoken language from out of the various vernacular ethnic languages also helped this ongoing progress.  

      Outside of the settled Indo-Dravidian/Indo-Aryan kingdoms, the Austric, Munda speaking tribes, inhabited the jungles then covering much of region. These Austric tribes inhabited the jungles of the Jumuna and Ganges Valleys as well as further to the south in the then impenetrable jungles covering the Vindhya Hills and the northern Deccan plateau of modern Madhya Pradesh.  

     To complete their hegemony within the upper Jumuna and Ganges river valleys the forces of the mixed regal elite further encountered and fought with these dark skinned Austric tribes. In part the inspiration for the tone of contempt, racism and colonial elitism occurring in the Veda-s and in later other quasi-historical texts arose from fears generated by the fierce, sustained resistance put up by the indigenous tribes and sedentary ethnic groups to the inroads and conquests made by the Indo-Aryan-s etc.

    The ritual significance of the Ganges and Jumuna Rivers within the later YV., and SV., clearly indicates an eastward shift of the Indo-Aryan cultural hub from the Punjab and lower Indus Valley into the Sutlej river and the upper Jumuna and Ganges Valleys. From the shift in the ritual significance of the ‘seven’ rivers of Sindhu to the Jumuna and Ganges rivers, the hymns of latter two Veda-s of the ‘triple knowledge’, the YV., and the SV., were probably orally recompiled during the period c.1300-1000 BC. With the addition of some new hymns these later Veda-s were recompiled by mainly re-arranging and re-ordering hymns from the RV.

    This process of composition, compilation and re-ordering occurred to suit the changing requirements of more elaborate rites and sacrificial rituals within a now established sedentary context of the upper Jumuna and Ganges valleys . This process certainly occurred some centuries prior to the oral composition of the principal treatises of the early Brahminic Brahmana textural tradition and slightly later early works  'family' traditions.


     With the conquest of the settled portions of the region, lying between the upper reaches of the two great rivers of northern India, the agriculture was formed. This region was subsequently known as the aryavarta, the Noble Domain. In this early context, the Noble Domain was at first comprised of the Indo-Aryan regal kingdoms of Kuru, Pañcala, Vatsa and Kosala. Within the orthodox Brahminical tradition only these kingdoms were considered as the font and heartland of both late classic Vedic and later Brahminic social/religious culture within the Middle Country.

    These four kingdoms of the Noble Domain were the locations and the backdrop for the dramatic quasi-historical events portrayed in the great Epics, the earlier Ramayana and the later Mahabharata. As suggested by an underlying, unspoken theme of the great epic, the Ramayana, a sense of insecurity manifested in the minds of the ruling elite, that apparently continued even after the conquest of the Noble Domain and the rest of the Middle Country. This sense of insecurity was caused by the unsettling knowledge of the existence of the militarily powerful, Shiva worshipping, Indo-Dravidian kingdoms laying to the south in centeal and south India.

   This sense of insecurity possibly dictated the alliance of the now deified Indo-Aryan prince Rama with the probably mixed Indo-Aryan/Indo-Dravidian ruler of the central/eastern kingdom of Videha, Janaka. This alliance of possibly hitherto warring ethnic groups allowed peaceful co-existence, that was possibly cemented by the marriage of Janaka’s daughter the princess Sita to Rama.

    Significantly Rama won the contest for Janaka’s daughter Sita by stringing the bow of Shiva personally given to Janaka by Shiva. The abduction of Sita by the Indo-Dravidian king of Shri Lanka, Ravana, could well have sprung from his discontent at having his own suit spurned by the politically wily Janaka.

  Certainly throughout this whole period, the possible further southern expansion of Indo-Aryan military/political power and even impact of social/religious culture was certainly barred and halted by the mountainous, jungle-covered terrain of the Deccan plateau of central/southern India. Further the expansion of Indo-aryan-s was halted by the known military power of the settled Indo-Dravidian kingdoms lying to the south of the Narmada and Godavari Rivers.

   But by the beginning of the 1st., millennium BC., with the establishment of the hub of Vedic/Brahminic social/religious culture of the Noble Domain, led to a gradual extension eastwards of the boundary of Vedic/Brahminic social/religious culture from out of the Middle Country. Over the coming centuries the Vedic/Brahminic social/religious culture extended eastwards towards Bengal and Assam.

    Within this context the manu-smiti, the Noble Domain was further equated to comprise the fourteen states forming the totality of the greater Middle Country. This was a principal treatise of the early  1st., century BC., social/religious Dharmashastra tradition dealing with social/ religious mores and social usage.

     With the gradual eastward expansion of Vedic/Brahminic social/ religious culture, the greater Middle Country was formed. This entity was at first a purely social/religious entity and not political entity. This social/religious entity was comprised of some fourteen ethnic regal kingdoms and confederated tribal republics. These states were known as janapada-s, Ethnic Communities. They included Anga, Assaka, Avanti, Cedi, Kasi, Kosala, Kuru, Magadha, Malla, Matsya, Panchala, Surasena, Vajji and Vatsa.

   These Ethnic Communities forming the greater 'middle country' were populated by Indo-Dravidian-s, Indo-Aryan-s and a mix of both these ethnic groups etc. Also within these Ethnic Communities were populations of independent indigenous Austric tribes and other alien tribal ethnic groups who had entered the eastern region from the northern and northeastern routes etc. Clearly, despite contrary cultural propaganda offered in the great Indian Epics, during this period the area forming the Noble Domain and the greater 'middle country' was certainly basically still a patchwork of squabbling and competing petty regal kingdoms, petty tribal states and tribal republics set within swaths of untamed jungle. 

    However, from the 8th., century BC., the protracted process of fundamental change in the nature of social governance of the Indo-Aryans etc., and other influential ethnic groups entered into a culminating stage. This occurred with the creeping, often violent amalgamation of the Ethnic Communities into larger provincial and regional kingdoms. These became known as the mahajanapada-s, the Great Communities. This process fostered further and even more intense rivalry, pride between now often deified ruling dynasties. 

    The principal theme of the epic, the Mahabharata, indicates how by the early centuries of the of the 1st., millennium BC., the ambitions of elite, mixed Indo-Aryan regal warrior families led even related wings of regal family groupings and their allies from various ethnic groups to war among themselves. Eventually this protracted infighting led to the exhaustion of the Indo-Aryan warrior caste of the Noble Domain. Their decline led later to the emergence of vigorous ethically mixed Magadhan dynasties. These Magadhan dynasties created the first regional then multi-regional even trans-Indus Indian empires during the second half of the 1st., millennium BC.

     With the advent of the historical Buddha during the 6th., century BC., the political hegemony of Indo-Aryan dynasties ruling from the Noble Domain had already passed. However although Indo-Aryan dynasties no longer dominated the political stage formed by a patchwork of petty states within the 'middle county', the remaining Indo-Aryan and even mixed Indo-Aryan/Indo-Dravidian dynasties continued to maintain the classic Brahminic sacrificial and ritual stance and the allied social/religious system.

     By the era of the historical Buddha the process leading to the later emergence of regional kingdoms, multi-regional kingdoms and even trans-Indus multi-regional empires was already well advanced. From this era onwards, Indian history actually enters the realm of recorded history. Here an historical perspective cannot be only seen according to the ethnic/sectarian biases of particular social/religious traditions. Nor can an historical perspective be geared by the fictions even gross delusions associated with the limited traditional approach to myth/history as exposed in the Brahminic Purana-s and Epics etc..

      By way of his wanderings in the greater Middle Country during the 5th., century BC., the historical Buddha had experience and knowledge of the conditions within the fourteen Great Communities forming the greater Middle Country. Significant events in the Buddha's hagiography as well as significant events in the early propagation of the Buddhist Doctrine occurred within these kingdoms and remaining tribal confederations. References within early Buddhist treatises offer a very basic insight into the significance of these regal states etc., forming the greater Middle Country.


     (6.) New oral and later textural traditions that were created to ‘re-interpret’ the contents of the principal Veda-s as the means to ‘update’ the ‘authority’ and outlook of the Vedic tradition within the now fully established sedentary context of the various petty kingdoms etc., of the 'middle country' .


     ‘[In performing their duty] Brahmana-s engaged in austerities, their [religious/social] doctrine and in frequenting places of pilgrimage; the Vaisya-s in their trade and the Sudra-s in serving the other three castes.’

                                                                                                          Shrimad-devi-bhagavatam 4.8.10.


     Up to the latter centuries of the 2nd., millennium BC., the arcane tradition of the RV., was simply comprised of ‘knowledge’, or the mantra-s of ancestral lore regarding the propitiation of elemental deities, of fire sacrifice etc., passed down since pre-history via the ancient proto-Aryan and later Indo-Aryan lineage. Here ‘knowledge’ clearly refers to the correct, ritual manner of propitiating elemental deities; the correct, harmonious manner of chanting the mantra-s etc., within rituals of fire sacrifice as well as the preparation etc., and rites required for ingesting the psychotropic substance Soma. During the classic Vedic and late Vedic eras the oral transmission of this lore, this ‘knowledge’ represented the orally handed down family tradition of the RV., as was maintained within the closed family traditions of the Indo-Aryan priestly class, the Brahmins.

    Within the oldest Veda the RV., there are only limited references to Brahmins and caste-based Brahminism. In fact it is safe to assume that the incidence of these references to casteism were only later introduced into the RV., as a means of ‘updating’ a view of the ancient Iranian-Aryan priestly class and their shamanistic orientated social/religious approach. Although there are numerous references to seers and sages applying regimes of austerity there are also no references of seers applying themselves to a yoga system nor are there even instances of references to the classic yoga system, of yoga techniques and historic yoga terminology.

    The shaman/priests of the Iranian-Aryans performed sacrificial rites for Iranian-Aryan warriors for simple worldly aims. Within the RV., there is virtually no hint of theistic or metaphysical speculation outside of early hymns dedicate to the Goddess Aditi and also in some of the hymns of the much later 10th., cycle of the RV composed at the beginning of the 1st., millennium BC.

     Brahminism within the context of the early Vedic textural tradition was certainly the creation of interpolations into the RV., and from later commentators introducing the social/religious basis for casteism via the Brahmana, Upanisad, commentary treatises orally dating from the early centuries of the 1st., millennium BC. Rather the Veda-s indicate that the tribal Iranian-Aryans and their Indianized descendents, the Indo-Aryans, originally lived a nomadic, pastoral warrior mode of life free and unencumbered by the later inhibiting social framework and mores of caste-based Brahminism. Casteism appears to be the product of the conquest of the Indo-Dravidian Indus Valley Civilization and of a subsequent era of racist colonialism within western and northwestern regions of the greater Middle Country.

    Historically the Brahmin caste has been characterized as being divided into northern and southern groupings. These groupings include the  five divisions of northern so-called white Brahmins and the five divisions of southern darker Brahmins who inter-married with the priestly families of Indo-Dravidian-s of the South.

   From the 5th., century BC., due to the chaotic conditions generated by invasions from alien regal dynastries and tribal groups into the northwestern and western regions, Brahmin families and clans started to emigrate from the these regions of north India into south India. Significant numbers of Brahmin families and clans migrated at the invitation of the various ruling south Indian, Indo-Dravidian dynasties via Maharastra down along the western coastal plain of Konkana that skirts the western Ghat mountain range.

   This period of migration commencing furthered a total transformation of hitherto southern Indo-Dravidian modes for the worship and propitiation of the cycles of Shiva, Visnu and the aspects of the Great Goddess etc., by the introduction of the orthodox northern Brahminic approach to social/religious rituals, rites and conventions.

   This occurred by way of Sankritization and the elaboration of hitherto relatively simple Indo-Dravidian rites and the ritual modes of passionate devotion as well as with the formal institution of an increasingly rigid system of caste. This process of transformation can be noted through the rise in importance of the various treatises forming the orthodox and exoteric Shaiva Agama textural tradition.  

    An examination of the varying degrees of the status, daily ritual roles and degrees of interplay between particular Brahmin families and clans that historically make up the northern group certainly suggests the further historic infusion and inclusion of alien ethnic priestly groups into an already ethnically mixed Indo-Aryan and Indo-Dravidian Brahmin caste. Certainly the many lesser and sometimes little regarded sub-castes within the overall Brahmin caste of the northern Brahmin grouping were the product of the induction of alien priestly groups into the Brahmin caste who arrived in the Indian sub-continent in the trains of later invading tribal and sedentary  regal groups.


    Within the sedentary context of the Noble Domain of the 'middle country' from the end of the 2nd., millennium BC., these orally transmitted, closed family lineage traditions of ritual and sacrifice were further evolved via the oral traditions of the YV., and SV. The oral traditions of the YV., and the SV., stem from the process of evolving and updating of the arcane shamanistic lineage approach of the RV. This process of evolution occurred by re-ordering and re-compiling hymns from the RV., in order to be able to perform expanded and more elaborate rites and rituals within the context of the more sophisticated sedentary social situation of the petty regal kingdoms etc., that sprang up in the 'middle country' .

    Under the arcane oral outlook of the RV., and even within the evolving modified approach of the later Vedic tradition of the YV., and SV., these rites and rituals were always understood and performed in order to sustain the elemental Indo-Aryan deities; making them content and by being content these deities were supposedly induced to fulfill the various worldly desires of the individuals offering rituals and sacrifices. Thereby up to this point in time the lineage approach of Vedic/Brahminic priests was simply still founded upon ‘knowledge’ of Vedic mantra-s or rather the lore of the shamanistic sacrificial science and upon propitiatory rites and rituals etc.

    During this period, by way of maintaining a socially closed oral mode of transmission, the Brahmin family lineage was able to keep the simple shamanistic outlook of the Veda-s away from close public scrutiny by the other upper caste groups. However the possible protracted interplay of Indo-Aryan upper caste anchorites and intellectuals with their Indo-Dravidian householder/ ascetic counterparts perhaps generated a clearer insight into the limitations of Vedic ‘lore’. This insight created a climate for the evolution of doctrine and applied systems aimed towards attaining the essencial nature of cosmic deities 'with form' and even the essential 'one' nature of the monad 'without form'.

     Only a few hymns of the Tenth Cycle of the RV., probably composed in the latter centuries of the 2nd., millennium BC., much later than the other nine cycles of the RV., indicate an already commenced process of the introduction and infusion of metaphical speculation into the doctrinal milieu of the RV. These included as yet unfinished metaphysical speculations surrounding a possible first cosmic Being, Brahma ‘with form’.

    But there are a few verses in the 1st., cycle of the RV., that do offer some glimpes of proto-view of Brahman, the monad. RV.1.164.6., states: ‘I, unknowing, ignorant, here I ask the wise sages for the sake of knowledge, what was 'that one', in the form of the unborn, who established these six worlds?’ Further a glimpse into proto-monism is seen in RV.1.164.46: ‘Him who is the 'one existent'...’. These views are taken up and evolved in the 10th., cycle where in RV.10.129.1-2 a proto-view of the self-containment and total indepentence of the Brahman, the monad, is offered: ‘There was then neither being nor non-being...Without breath [it] breathed by its own power, 'that one'.’

   Further RV.10.121.1., offers an early proto-Samkhya view: ‘In the beginning arose the 'golden egg' [containing the Purusha, the first Being, Brahma but without any mention of his consort Nature], the earth’s begetter, who created heaven. Here with the measureless divine sphere of the 'golden egg', RV.10.72.2., states that: ‘Brahmanaspati like a smith, did forge together all things here.’

    However during this era, the applied lineage approach of a majority orthodox Vedic/ Brahminic ascetics was clearly based on the protracted and stoic application of specific vows within a regime of austerities in addition to chanting Vedic mantra-s, aum etc. Austerities were offered to the ancestral deities by these Vedic/Brahminic ascetics who sought the astral heaven realms of their ancestral deities and in this world, psychic powers. Ascetics from the Vedic tradition did not apply the classic system of yoga and as such there are no real indications of an ordered, systematic approach to yoga within the hymns, the ‘mantra-s’ forming the RV.

    Therefore prior to the beginning of the era of the oral composition of the Upanisad-s from c.8th., century BC., the approach of the majority of Vedic/Brahminic family priestly tradition was  essentially based upon the ritual lore of mantra-s and austerities and was not really concerned with metaphysical cosmic speculations or applied systems of emanation and yoga later aimed by various kinds of ascetics at intuitive experience of the divine ‘essence/principle’ of the formless Brahman, the monad or even concerned with realising the essential nature of the cosmic deities 'with form' etc.

   But from the possible, long term influence of the lineage holding adepts of the indigenous Indo-Dravidian proto-Shaiva/Shakta lineage tradition, the systemic approaches of yoga and mantra applied to intuitively prove diverse metaphysical speculations relating to causal deities ‘with and without’ form, did eventally enter into the doctrinal parameters of the Vedic/Brahminical lineage.  Certainly the dialogue within some of the principal early Upanisad-s suggests that during this era the non-Indo-Aryan yoga lineage tradition was upheld and transmitted by warrior caste yogi/kings, so-called low caste adepts and even by women etc. Only subsequently, after consecration by these possibly Indo-Dravidian regal lineage masters etc., did the Brahmin priests/ascetics of the 'middle country' come to attain and to freely transmit as their own, the so-called othodox approaches to these applied yoga systems that they had first received as disciples from the adepts of the Indo-Dravidian lineage tradition.

   Orthodox doctrinal speculations and etymological approaches to the greater internal use of mantra and even the introduction of any wider yoga system to the Brahmin family lineage of the early Upanisad-s was thereby quite possibly an adaption and a cultural/social modification from the metaphyical doctrines upheld by the indigenous Indo-Davidian lineage. As recorded in the principal Upanisad-s these systemic approaches were backed up with metaphysical speculations surrounding the causal mantra aum; deities ‘with and without’ form as well as the soul and the  supreme soul/over-soul and karma, cause and effect etc.

   The oral Vedic/Brahminical lineage of the early Upanisad-s introduced these metaphysical doctrines to the broader circle of orthodox devotees drawn from within the priestly families. But the process of interplay with generations of Indo-Davidian yoga adepts eventually led some orthodox sacrificial/ascetic priestly lineage traditions away from simple application to austerities and towards  an approach based on the classic system of yoga of the yoga-sutra that later evolved to include the later systematic yoga aspects of mantra-yoga, hatha-yoga and raja-yoga etc.


    But with a broader emergence and influence of the sophisticated Indo-Dravidian doctrinal milieu, based upon and surrounding clear approaches to theistic cosmic deities ‘with and without’ form etc., the arcane, unsophisticated Vedic shamanistic vista etc., was teetering on the edge of redundancy during the early centuries of the 1st., millennium BC.,.

    From fears of losing their pre-eminent social/ascetic status to an Indo-Dravidian householder/ ascetic lineage tradition, the Brahmin caste were forced to change their approach from solely upholding the pre-eminence of Vedic sacrificial lore and ‘knowledge’. To cope with and accommodate the applied Indo-Dravidian metaphical doctrinal/systemic milieu, while attempting to maintain the status of Vedic lore, Brahmin redactors were out of necessity forced to create updated deity myths etc.

     Over the long term these myths supported a misleading and essential false view of the arcane Indo-Aryan origins of these newly introduced innovative doctrinal and systemic approaches. Via the Brahmana treatises these myths and with the further use of commentary and etymology, the orthodox priesly class contrived to link and weave Indo-Dravidian deity cycles and metaphysical speculations and applied systems to their font of ‘all doctrine’, the RV.

    The Brahminic literary doctrine of sanatva or 'ancientness’ was applied to further the dismissal of the influence of non-Vedic or non-Brahminic traditions as well as the later achievements of various non-Indo-Aryan ethnic elements within classical Indian society. Certainly the later emergence of the popular and ascetic outlooks of a significant number of the important sectarian traditions of the sanatana-dharma reflect a protracted process of inter-play with non-Indo-Aryan traditions that were concealed with applying 'ancientness'.

    But with the emergence of the devotional and applied yoga approaches of the ancient Indo-Dravidian theistic deity traditions, the product of this inter-play saw the popular  eclipse of the shamanistic deities of the Indo-Aryan Vedic tradition. Ancient Indo-Dravidian traditions derived and possibly maintained by the Indian Magi lineage and by a mixed warrior class included the Shaiva/Shakta traditions and even elements within the historic Vaisnava tradition. Via the doctrines broached in Brahmana-s, and discussed in a detailed but piecemeal manner in the Upanisad-s these deity traditions and their adapted devotional and applied elements were crucial in the formulation of doctrine within the context of the classic Brahminic Trinity.

     Despite indications within the Upanisad-s of the non-Vedic origins and even the anti-Vedic approach of such doctrines and/or applied yoga views and any devotional usage, were simply clumsily incorporated, in a piecemeal fashion, and overlaid with the veneer of the 'ancientness' of the Vedic tradition. This was certainly performed to maintain an impression of the unbroken doctrinal continuity of the 'ancient' orthodox Vedic lineage. During the millennium dating from the 6th., century BC., the formative period of Brahminic Hinduism occurred and any appreciation of the limitations Vedic shamanism was certainly brunted and concealed by the continued use of the powerful literary tool of 'ancientness'

   Non-Aryan doctrines of the even anti-Vedic sectarian traditions, actively present within the early Brahminical culture were incorporated by way of ‘ancientness’. By overly emphasizing the unwarranted metaphysical significance of the early Vedic tradition and by emphasizing the 'divine' role of the Brahmin caste as arbiters of social/religious doctrine, the ancient indigenous non-Vedic, Indo-Dravidian yoga doctrine etc., were gradually incorporated into the mainstream of the orthodox tradition.

     By means of the Purana textural tradition etc., such contradictory tendencies and influences were either quietly Brahminized and incorporated by way of updated myth or as in the case of some tantric approaches were readily discarded after being characterized as being the creations of barbarians or low caste degenerates. The self-serving, but sectarian propaganda woven throughout the treatises of the Purana tradition, always emphasizes the 'divine' nature of the Vedic doctrine and the 'divine' status of the Brahmin caste. Here even in a sectarian context of the Brahminical Trinity, 'ancientness' formed part of the buttress underpinning the assumption on the part of the Brahmin elite of their formative role in the development and evolution of all the major aspects of classical Indian social/religious culture.

   Thereby through an opportunistic association with the source of the ‘authority of ancientness' offered by a linkage with the ‘font’ of arcane Indo-Aryan lore, the orthodox tradition the Brahmin oral and later recorded textual tradition sought to lay claim to Indo-Dravidian and other non-Vedic doctrinal and systemic innovations. Meanwhile the textual tradition was simultaneously moving to ‘update’ doctrines and the outlook of the Vedic family-based and ascetic traditions.

    A bye product of the contradictions thrown up from the need to link the origins of these diverse non-Indo-Aryan speculations within the actually limited vista of the Veda-s also forced later Brahminic redactors and commentators to further clarify and broaden the scope of the treatises comprising the Vedic textural tradition. By the second half of the 1st., millennium BC., the texts of the Vedic tradition were thereby further divided into two categories, the karma-kanda and the jñana-kanda.

    The karma-kanda, the sacrificial ‘actions’ category, is comprised of the corpus of ‘mantra’, of the three, principal Veda-s and the supplementary Brahmana treatises that linked with the later evolved ritual approach of the principal Veda-s. The jñana-kanda, the speculative transcendental ‘knowledge’ category, is comprised of the Aranyaka and Upanisad treatises. In the sense of ‘secret’ or rather hidden systemic approaches to transcendental knowledge the term ‘upanisad’ means ‘sitting-near’, ‘instruction’. This is in reference to the disciple ‘sitting-near’ the master in order to receive ‘instruction’ on such esoteric doctrines and applied inner systems.

    Therefore only from the beginning of the 1st., millennium BC., the oral Brahmana treatises, the explanatory and commentary appendages to the system of ritual discussed in the three principal Veda-s were further supplemented by the Aranyaka, ‘forest’ treatises. The principal early treatises of the early Brahminic Upanisad textural tradition make up a very important part of the Aranyaka textural tradition.

    From the later orthodox point of view these contrivances sought to give the appearance and an apparent confirmation that the ancestral Vedic tradition of the RV., was the undeniable sole ‘font’ for the origin of sophisticated metaphysical speculations. These included all the internal applied systems of yoga and non-Vedic seed mantra-s. Clearly this was in contradiction to any view that these cosmic metaphysical speculations and applied systems originated from the doctrinal vista of the Indo-Dravidian proto-Shaiva/Shakta lineage traditions existing and inherited from the Indus Valley Civilization.

    A review of the contents of the RV., clearly indicates that metaphysical speculations and yoga doctrines were essentially unknown within the arcane, shamanistic Vedic outlook. This is surprisingly as the oral RV., was only recorded in the latter half of the 1st., millennia BC. Even at that period the written recentions of the RV., as known today, still shows little evidence of a sophisticated theistic or applied approach. Therefore a process allowing the use of etymology and myth in the composition of the Brahmana-s, as a means to augment the original limited Vedic vista certainly smoothed the way for the gradual infusion of indigenous theistic, metaphysical and yoga doctrines into the later and wider Vedic/Brahminical textural and so-called orthodox lineage traditions.

   Thereby within the later Vedic/Brahminical tradition the approach of the mythologists represents a basic and best means to create the mystic of the Brahmin caste as being the 'ancient' holders of transcendental lore and their assumption of holding an unbroken lineage of such lore since the arcane era of ancient proto-Aryan sages.

    By creating a mystic of ‘secret doctrines’ and the aura of a lineage tradition commenced in an arcane era, the Brahmin writers of these and later textural traditions were able to integrate into the orthodox mainstream the systemic and doctrinal approaches of the non-Vedic, Indo-Dravidian traditions. But here the systemic and doctrinal imput of the non-Vedic, Indo-Dravidian traditions were dismissed and written off, leading to future generations of Brahmins to claim that these doctrinal innovations and systemic approaches were the creative inventions of the orthodox Vedic/Brahminic lineage .


     The oral and recorded tration of the Upanisad-s reflect the diverse doctrinal approaches to metaphysical speculation espcially aimed at discussing the doctrinal concepts surrounding cosmic causal deities ‘with and without’ form. Further these texts demonstrate the use of etymology and myth as a means to assume and assert Vedic doctrinal authority even in the context of such 'new' deities cycles and their associated  systemic approaches.

   To augment this whole approach to supposed 'new' deity cycles , indigenous Indo-Dravidian cults, such as the wider, unorthodox the cult of Mother Goddess; the Shaiva/Shakta cults; the Narayana cult of Indo-Dravidian seafarers and even the later originally tribal Dravidian Krsna cult were linked by 'ancientness' to obscure elemental deities within the Veda-s. Among these obscure, Vedic elemental deities Rudra, the 'howler' and Visnu, the  'sunlight' etc., were elevated together with their consorts and later made into the cosmic deities within the Trinity of Brahminic Hinduism.

    Despite now being popularly considered as a paramount deity of the Hindu Trinity and honored as the mythical founder of the yoga tradition and more besides, Shiva as an originally indigenous unorthodox deity certainly presents an ambiguous, contradictory figure within the early Brahminic, caste-based social/ religious context.

   In Brahminic myths Shiva often acts in contradiction to orthodox mores by drinking liquor and by using narcotics. Within these myths Shiva is sometimes the butt for jokes between other deities by often being found in a state of intoxicated stupor. Here Shiva often acts in an erratic manner alternating protracted periods of asceticism and deep meditation with periods of extreme passion and attachment to his consort. His ‘gana’, retinue, are often portrayed as raucous rogues or even as goblins, sprites, demons. 

     However Shiva’s marriage to Sati, the daughter of Daksha Prajapati, a son of Brahma, the Creator, discussed in treatises of the Purana tradition, certainly symbolizes and indicates the process of the marriage of popular indigenous pre-Indo-Aryan deity traditions with the orthodox Brahminic social/religious outlook that apparently occurred during the 1st., millennium BC.

    Certainly the tone of the themes contained in the legend of Daksha’s great sacrifice serve to confirm the ancient indigenous, potentially tribal or so-called low caste origins of the Shaiva tradition. Here Daksha’s daughter Sati and his son-in-law Shiva are not invited because of fears that Shiva’s unorthodox behavior and his uncouth retinue would disturb the harmony, the solemnity of the occasion. This loss of face led to Sati’s act of self-immolation and the potentially disastrous consequences of Shiva performing out of grief the unrestrained dance of destruction while carrying Sati’s corpse.

    Both to gradually assuage Shiva’s grief and also to save the universe from destruction this led Visnu to slyly cut the rotting corpse of Sati into pieces with his cakra, or sharpened discus. Legend recounts the locations where the pieces of Sati’s body fell leading to the elevation of numerous very ancient, regional tribal sites to become the seats of the Goddess on the pilgrimage circuits frequented by historic and modern devotees of the Shaiva/Shakta tradition.

   This legend certainly heightens a sense of the ambiguous position held by Shaivism within the orthodox social/religious traditions of the classic era. However this and other legends confirm the Vedic/Brahminic tradition’s awe of the potentiality for psychic powers and intuitive divine knowledge offered by the system of the proto-Shaiva yogi tradition. This appreciation occurred from the time when the Iranian-Aryan shamans first came into contact with adept Indo-Dravidian yoga practitioners at the beginning of the 2nd., millennium BC,. and appreciated their yoga doctrine.

   This suggestion is confirmed by the elevation of the deity Shiva into a paramount popular position within the Trinity of classic Hinduism from the second half of the 1st., millennium BC. Certainly the acceptance of a modified doctrinal form of proto-Shaivism as an acceptable applied orthodox philosophy is confirmed by the view of the 3th., century BC., svetasvatara-upanisad, considered as the earliest treatise of the historic orthodox Shaiva textural tradition.

    Thereby these indigenous traditions and the popular myths surrouding their indigenous cults were also gradually embraced, adapted and entered within the myth and lore of the orthodox Brahminic fold by way of the process of 'ancientness'. This process certainly furthered the eventual emergence of classic Brahminic Hinduism and the demotion of the many of the ancentral elemental deities of the Vedic tradition. Curiously, the late Vedic, causal deity Brahma, was only included as the lesser deity with the Hindu Trinity of cosmic deities.


(i.,) The Brahmana textural tradition.


    ‘[The Brahmana-s are] an arid desert of puerile speculations on religious ceremonies marking the lowest ebb of Vedic culture.’

                                                       Professor B.K. Ghosh, The Vedic Age, edited by R.C. Majumdar.


     Both the early and later Brahminic textural traditions asserted that the Brahmin caste and their caste-based social/religious system had actually existed for millions of years. Further during the classical era, the Brahmin textural tradition asserted that via the ‘authority of ancientness’ and by proof offered by the actually closed family tradition of the Veda-s, the Brahminic system had existed in toto since the days of an arcane Vedic era etc.

    These traditions are thought to have existed in toto since the beginning of the current life span of Brahma, the Creator aspect within the Hindu Trinity of cosmic deities. The propaganda contained in these assertions was actually made in order to maintain a monolithic sense of cultural continuity, 'ancientness', while smoothing the passage for the quiet induction of non-Indo-Aryan, actually Indo-Dravidian speculative metaphysical and applied doctrinal elements.

    But these assertions are not borne out by readings of the original mantra section containing the hymns of RV. These assertions are clearly the product, the spin of the later oral and recorded Vedic/Brahminical tradition not actually related with the RV. Therefore despite such assertions in reality the classic Brahminic doctrinal approach and social/religious situation only came into being in a relatively unfinished and moderate form from the latter stages of the late Vedic era. This progession commenced at beginning of the 1st., millennia BC., just prior to the composition of the early oral recentions of the Brahmana and allied Upanisad textural traditions dating from the 8th., or 9th., centuries BC.

    Up to this era the underlying basis upon which the Brahminic social/religious situation within the core kingdoms forming the Noble Domain of the Middle Country still functioned in a state of relative doctrinal infancy. This state can be characterizered, as in the SO.T, as the state of being 'bound without' attaining the necessary 'degree of inner sensibility. But at least during this time the social/religious system operated with a reasonable degree of flexibility towards caste inter-action.

     However, from the 8th., century BC., the increased regal patronage and social prestige enjoyed by the now powerful Brahmin caste within the kingdoms forming the greater 'middle country' acted to further a process in the calcification of social status and limitation of social interaction. Further from their safe, assured status and hierarchical position the worldly actions of the  priestly families acted to further fuel their cupidity and greed.

         From the second half of the 1st., millennium BC., a widespread sense of social/religious dissatisfaction caused by these factors, within the already despotic political circumstances, spurred on the popular, but unothodox influence exerted by the applied heterodox systemic religious approaches developed by a number of Magadhan streams that included the atheistic Buddhist and Samkhya traditions.

     These lineage streams had already emerged independently of Brahmin lineage streams from within the still extant ancient Indo-Dravidian derived possibly tantric yogi lineage. The aim of the open, non-austerity orientated, theistic and atheistic Magadhan traditions were towards the attainment and establishment within intuitive knowledge of non-dual consciousness. This led towards the aim of resolution of cause and effect and to liberation from the cycle of transmigration.


     As suggested the process leading to composition of the Brahmana textural tradition began during the last centuries of 2nd., millennia BC. The outlook proposed by the Brahmana textural tradition certainly reflects the effects of a protracted process of linguistic, religious and social evolution that since c.1500 BC., had radically transformed the social/religious situation of the Indo-Aryan-s, especially for the priestly caste and acsetics.

   This gradual process transformed the goals of Vedic/Brahminical religion from an approach based upon tribal shamanism aimed at propitiating elemental ancestral deities towards a sedentary approach based upon expanded and elaborate ritual as well as complicated rites of sacrifice. Gradually these outer rites performed by 'bound' devotees were aimed at coming to terms with propitiating aspects of transcendental cosmic Brahmincal deities with a further prospect of gradually cultivating and attaining finer degrees of inner sensibility that can give entry and consecration into a given lineage tradition

      Within the context of the Brahmana-s this process had not yet been completed. Only with the diverse speculative metaphysical outlooks of the slightly later but related works of the Upanisad  tradition are there signs of the possible culminating avenues for this process of doctrinal transformation. These avenues were aimed towards the eventuality of attaining inner transcendental knowledge of cosmic deities ‘with and without’ form by way of cultivating the consciousness potential of the finite body/mind.

    The Brahmana textural tradition introduces for the first time the view of the social pre-eminence of the Brahmin caste and a still flexible Brahmical social outlook. This social outlook was gradually formed and was based on caste, caste duty and obligation as well as four stages of life later central to classic, historic Brahminical social/religious culture.

     The further evolution of Vedic shamanism within the Brahmana tradition is created by way of etymological and mythical means. These devices led to a further broadening and complicated elaboration of the approach of the Brahmin performers of Vedic fire sacrifices and other sacrificial rites. This broadening of rites led to more elaborate rites by adding a cosmic significance to these rites. In part this creating a greater cosmic scope for mantra-s and ritual through the device of etymological analysis and definition.

     These progressions are set within the overall context of the so-called authority of traditional usage, 'ancientness', created by way of transforming the mythological base from simple tribal ancestral myth into cosmic mythology. The role of the sedentary Brahmin priest was no longer simply based upon the task of invoking and propitiating ancestral elemental deities to aid the natural vigor of the Indo-Aryan warriors in gaining their worldly desires.

    Rather this hitherto simple and often spontaneous tribal shaman/priestly role was transformed into that of a supposed arbiter and ‘mover’ within an overall process of cosmic creativity. In this sense 'knowledge' holding, Vedic adepts from the Brahmin priestly class were considered to possess both ritual, linguistic, etymological as well as cosmic knowledge allowing them the capability of inter-acting with cosmic deities on their cosmic level. By these means the simple tribal role of the Vedic shaman/priest became totally transformed in classical Indian society.

     In this sense and clearly indicating an amazing degree of vanity underlying even the early Brahmin stance, the satapatha-brahmana states:

    ‘ Verily there are two kinds of deities: the deities themselves, who are assuredly deities [living in deity realms] and the [Brahmin] priests [living in this world] who have studied [mastered and apply the] Vedic lore.’

    Essentially by way of the elaboration and complication of rituals etc the opportunistic Brahmin class sought to create an indispensable role for themselves within the social/cultural fabric of the petty kingdoms of the greater Middle Country. The indispensable role of the Brahmin caste was created by formulating cycles of ritual said to be capable of influencing the theistic cosmic deities, gaining thereby their essential aid in the orderly regulation of worldly order/law. Thereby by way of supposed ritual communication with the deities the Brahmin caste were considered as being able to bring state and regal passage rites into harmony and positive alignment within the overall creative cosmic process.

     The introduction of this exacting and elaborate ritual milieu radically evolved the hitherto relatively unsophisticated and spontaneous approach to performing the rituals of shamanism by Indo-Aryan priests. The treatises of the Brahmana tradition stress the significance of exact ritual, of formal, much expanded, complicated rites of sacrifice. These treatises stress the relative and cosmic utility of such rites and sacrifices by way of the precise Vedic science of meter and intonation in the correct chanting the mantra-s of these liturgies. Hence the obsession with ritual minutiae within these works.

   The later treatises of the Brahmana tradition were mostly composed in prose and as such represent some of the earliest prose works composed in an Indo-European language. However despite this first, the ritually orientated Brahmana-s make turgid and because of their self-serving tone, sometimes irritating reading. As suggested by the quotation heading this section these treatises certainly reflect the depth of vanity even arrogance then pervading the social/religious approach of the Brahmin caste at this time

   Far from being vehicles for clearly introducing cosmic theories based on the utility of Vedic sacrifices and rites etc., or on metaphysical speculations surrounding 'newly' emerging cosmic deity cycles the treatises of this tradition are generally poorly compiled and sometimes confusingly ordered. This reflects the pedantry, absurdities and self-serving approach of the priestly caste.

    Clearly if a rationale for understanding the unpopularity of early Brahminism and the Brahmin caste during this era, a researcher need look no further than the overall tone characterizing this textural tradition for clues and answers in this respect. Certainly the self-serving approach of the orthodox priestly caste led to the later rise of independent, unorthodox and heterodox traditions during the middle of the 1st., millennium BC.


   (ii.,) Important Brahmana-s.


       ‘ The deities and the anti-deities strove for these worlds...’

                                                                                                                aitreya-brahmana 1.1.23.


    The early treatises of the Brahmana textural tradition are related to the three principal Vedic samhita-s, ‘collections’, the RV., YV., and SV. Only one, later Brahmana treatise is related to the AV. Further the early principal treatises of the Upanisad tradition are related to the treatises of the Brahmana textural tradition.

     However the texts of the Upanisad tradition are not necessarily extensions of the views proposed in the Brahmana-s. But rather the classic Upanisad-s act as a further means to introduce philosophical and applied trends into the orthodox Brahminic philosophical milieu. These trends are generally at best only briefly touched upon within particular Brahmana-s.

     From the traditional viewpoint the contents of the treatises forming the Brahmana textural tradition are divided into three categories. These include vidhi, manner and mode of ‘ritual and sacrificial rites’, arthavada, explanations regarding the ‘significance and purpose’ of rites and rituals and upanisad, ‘instructions’. The ‘instructions’ offer philosophical or doctrinal speculations introduced by way of myth, discourse, polemic and explanation etc. The Brahmana treatises themselves deal extensively with various rites and rituals including the rite of Soma, elaborate fire sacrifices regal passage rites.

     Of the Brahmana-s linked to the RV., the aitareya-brahmana is considered to be the oldest, with portions possibly dating fromthe oral tradition of  the 8th., or 9th., century BC. Remarkably Mahidasa Aitareya was a Brahmin of mixed caste origins, whose mother was from the  tribal or Indo-Dravidian shudra, the servile caste. He orally composed or rather compiled the aitareya-brahmana. However the redactorary process that led to the recorded version known today possibly continued up to the 2nd., century BC.

    This Brahmana contains forty adhyaya-s, ‘lessons’ further divided into eight pañcaka-s, ‘fifths’. This treatise deals with the sacrificial rite for imbibing the psychotropic liquor Soma; with the elaborate rites of agni-hotra, fire sacrifice and with the various passage rites associated with the rajasuya, regal consecration and inauguration.

    Within this treatise the deity Rudra, the ‘howler’, originally the Vedic deity of the RV., personified by the raging storm, is elevated into an acceptable, orthodox form of proto-Shiva. The elevation of Rudra suggests that even during the early centuries of the 1st., millennium BC., popular worship of the indigenous, Indo-Dravidian deity Shiva had already entered the orthodox Indo-Aryan fold.

    The aitareya-brahmana commences with a discussion on the sacrificial offerings given at the time of Vedic consecration. Initially sacrificial offerings are made to the Vedic deities of fire, Agni and of sunlight, Visnu. Here the role of Visnu as sunlight, is to illuminate. This role is certainly suggestive of the later cosmic function of sustenance attributed to the later Brahminic deity of the Hindu Trinity, Visnu. However the deity Visnu mentioned here is essentially an elemental demi-deity and is only an attribute of the Sun.

   The aitareya-brahmana commences by stating:

   ‘Agni is the lowest of the deities [by being present as the sacrificial fire] and Visnu is the highest [by being emanated in space from the sun] between them are all the other [elemental] deities’.

     However what follows in the first lesson is not a discussion on the attributes of Fire or Sun deity or consecration into metaphysical/cosmic knowledge but rather a discussion on the consecration into marriage by one ‘...who considers himself unsupported [by offspring]...‘.

    Fruitful marriage by way of offerings made both by the man and woman is sought in order that ‘...with a pairing truly thus does he propagate himself with offspring and cattle...’. In this manner the intent of this lesson as well as other lessons of this brahmana continue to demonstrate the earlier influence and approach of Vedic ritual. These include fire sacrifice, the Soma rite, animal sacrifice aimed towards worldly goals, such as male offspring, cattle, land, wealth etc.

    Other brahmana-s linked to the RV., include the kaushitaki-brahmana also known as the shamkhayana-brahmana. In contrast to the aitareya-brahmana Winternitz considers the kaushitaki-brahmana to be ‘a uniform work’.

    The kaushitaki-brahmana also offers a special place to the early worship of the deity Rudra/shiva and especially mentions two forms of this deity mahådeva, the Great Deity and ishana, the [One who] Reigns. These classic names of Shiva also occur in the later oral tradition of the 5th., century BC., AV., and by this possible correlation suggest the later date for the kaushitaki-brahmana. This brahmana contains thirty lessons.

     The initial six lessons deal with the modes of food sacrifices etc. These includes the modes of creating the sacrificial fire pit, the actual modes of fire sacrifice as well as food sacrifices offered at the new moon, full moon and offered at the advent and during the seasons. The remaining lessons deal with the intricacies of the Soma sacrifice.

     The brahmana-s linked to the YV., include the taittiriya-brahmana and the shatapatha-brahmana. These two brahmana-s are respectively linked to the recessions of the YV., known as the Black and White YV. Both these brahmana-s are linked to the seminal Brahmin sage Yajñavalkya, who within the orthodox Brahminic tradition is understood to have actually founded the yoga tradition. Researches of some of the Upanisad-s rather suggest that the warrior caste king/seer Janaka of Videha rather than the other round converted Yajñavalkya from Vedic ritual shamanism to the yoga view. Only upon conversion did he actually commence propagating an orthodox lineage of yoga.

     The taittiriya-brahmana is an extension of the taittiriya-samhita forming part of YV., and acts as a means to include later additions that ‘update’ the approach of this ‘collection’ of hymns. This Brahmaaa includes a discussion on purusa-medha, Human Sacrifice.

    The shatapatha-brahmana the Brahmana of the One Hundred Paths, is probably the most important treatise of the early Brahmana textural tradition. This treatise is a definitive source for appreciating the very early Brahminic outlook, Brahminic rituals, sacrificial rites and doctrinal philosophy etc. This brahmana is so titled because this treatise contains one hundred lessons. There are two recensions of this treatise entitled the madhyamdina and the kanva.

     In the madhyamdina recension the one hundred lessons are further divided into fourteen kanta-s, ‘trunks’ or books. The first nine books are a commentary on the first eighteen chapters of another work forming the YV., textural tradition, the vajasaneyi-samhita. These first nine books are considered as older than the remaining five books.

     Although Yajñavalkya is traditionally declared to be the author of all fourteen books of this brahmana he is only actually mentioned in the fourteenth book. Thereby he potentially appears to have been the author of only the last five books. Whereas, through references to another Vedic master Sandilya in the first nine books, the initial nine books appear to have been composed by Sanrilya or at least by members of his lineage.

    Books six to nine deal with the agni-cayana, the correct creation of the ‘fire-alter’ as directed by the Vedic master Sandilya. Book ten discusses the agni-rahasya, the Secret of Agni or the secret procedures and various benefits of the fire sacrifice. Books ten to fourteen essentially act as supplements to the preceding books.

     Here the topics discussed in these books offer insights into the early Brahminic view on passage rites etc. These rites include the upanayana rite, the Rite of Conferring the Sacred Thread and funeral rites including the creation of a grave mound. Also these books discuss the introduction of the disciple to the master, the disciple/master relationship and the mode of worship performed by the daily study of the Veda-s. Additionally these books deal with regal passage rites and sacrifices such as the ashva-medha, the Horse Sacrifice, the purusa-medha, the Human Sacrifice and the sarva-medha, the All [or total] Sacrifice.

    There are eight brahmana treatises associated with SV. These treatises include the prauda, shadvimsa, samavidhana, adbhuta, jaiminiya, tandya and chandogya-brahmana-s. The tandya-mahabrahmana, also known as the pañcavimsha, is considered to be one of the oldest brahmana-s.

    This Brahmana contains the vratya-stoma rite by means of which non-Indo-Aryan probably Indo-Dravidian priests etc., as well as fallen Brahmins were admitted or re-admitted into the Brahmin caste. This rite was also instituted as a means of combating the popular rise of the Maga ekavratya, the cult of the One Assembly, that arose during the era of the Brahmaaa tradition and which is discussed within a Vedic framework in the fifteenth chapter of the AV.

   The shadvimsa-brahmana is concerned with rites of magic and the necessary formulas required in such rites. Despite the fact that only incomplete and fragmented mss., of the jaiminiya-brahmana are now extant this Brahmana is considered as one of the most important of the Brahmana-s. This Brahmana deals with details of quasi-history, myths and the various modes of sacrifice etc.

   The adbhuta-brahmana is a manual for divination by way of indicating the means to read omens and signs etc. The sole Brahmana related to the AV., is the much later gopatha-brahmana that recapitulates the outlook of ritual and sacrifice by way of compiling and re-ordering material drawn from earlier Bråhmana-s such as the aitareya-brahmana and the shatapatha-brahmana.

     (iii.) The early Upanisad textural tradition.


      ‘...Only one in the beginning. Nothing else whatsoever winked’.

                                                                                                                             aitareya-upanisad 1.1.4.


    The early Upanisad, ‘instruction’, tradition forms part of the Aranyaka, ‘forest’ treatises of the Brahmana explanatory portion of the later Vedic oral and the recorded textural tradition. This portion offers ‘instructions’ suited to householders as well as forest dwelling ascetics still living with their wives. Also there are ‘instructions’ for solitary itinerant ascetics, detachedand free of  conventional social ties.

     Although there are some one hundred and fifty Upanisads of these only one hundred and eight are traditionally recognized as belonging to this class of treatise. In practice, according to different Brahminic family-derived schools reflecting traditions linked with the principal Veda-s, there is five, seven, ten or thirteen principal early Upanisad-s.

    Among the thirteen principal Upanisad-s, the aitareya and kausitaki are linked to the brahmana-s of the same name that form part of the RV., tradition. There are six principal upanisad-s linked with the YV. These six are the brihadaranyaka, isa, taittriya, svetasvatara, maitrayani and katha. Within this textural tradition these upanisad-s are related to the satapatha brahmana, the vajasaneyi-samhita, taittriya-brahmana and the Black yayur-veda respectively. The candogya and the kena are linked to the candogya and jaiminiya brahmana-s of the SV. There are three principal Upanisad-s linked to the AV. These three are the mundaka, mandukya and prasna Upanisad-s.


    The most sophisticated and profound doctrine contained in the discourses of the early Upanisad-s is founded internally, upon ascertaining the 'one' consciousness, the essence/ principal of Brahman, the monad. Under the later fully formed Vedanta philosophical view, the genderless monad, Brahman, is the formless, resonating/radiating, but uncreated essence/ principle that permeates the measureless divine sphere of the 'golden egg'. The 'thoughts' of the monad created 'golden egg' and then in turn created the first Being or rather later. the melded male/female first Beings who in turn created the cosmic Brahminical Trinty of male deities and goddesses. In turn these cosmic deities etc., created space, time and the expanding universe and beyond etc.

  Here brahman, resting 'alone' in the sphereless, 'now divine moment', is the neutral or quiescent ‘one’ essence/principle, pervading the 'golden egg', the First Beings, the cosmic Trinity and all beings of the created universe. From this attribute the monad, Brahman, is known as the supreme soul or the over-soul/self. Clearly these doctrinal speculations and characterizations of the cause of the cosmic situation and the ongoing cosmic process certainly do not reflect the arcane doctrinal and sacrificial approach of the unmodified RV., or even a later updated view of any greater role for Vedic elemental deities.

    Here the major Upanisad-s somewhat start from and reflect the unfinished doctrinal speculations expressed in the tenth cycle of the RV., concerning the sole first Being, Brahma. By being concerned with the sole first Being, these unfinished doctrinal speculations do not express the fully formed Vedanta philosphical view of the resonating/radiating Brahman; the first, bipolar male/female Beings or the bipolar deities and goddesses of the  Brahminic Trinity etc.. However the principle, early Upanisad-s do indicate that the doctrinal approach of the Vedic/Brahminic lineage at that time was still in an early formative stage but was ready to receive doctrinal infusions from other, non-Vedic, ethnically, non-Indo-Aryan esoteric approaches to inner intuitive ‘knowledge’.

      But even by that era, such esoteric approaches to inner intuitive ‘knowledge’ surrounding the monad etc., as upheld by ethnic non-Indo-Aryan warrior caste lineages, was considered to potentially become apparent by way of accomplishment in applying experiential systems of emanation, yoga and seed mantra-s. These approaches aimed a efficiently harnessing the potential of the transitory human body were/are aimed at intuitive knowledge of the atman or atma, the individual soul/self, the essential nature of the deity ‘with form’ and even the uncreated nature of the paramatma, the over-soul, the brahman ‘without form’.

    Some scholars suggest that the term atman is derived from the root verb atan to spread or stretch. This implies that the ‘spreading’ of the ‘one’ essence/principle of the monad is the concealed essence of the bipolar first Beings, the cosmic deities, the universe and beyond etc. Also here, ‘stretching’ can imply the manner of stretching a bow for shooting and can also thereby be metaphorically related to the essential yoga means offered by the breath.

   Thereby the term atman can also suggest and characterize the fundamental basis for individuals to maintain an ascetic life-style geared to the ‘aim’ of a yoga system by seeking to intuitively ascertain the characteristic nature of the 'secret' essence/principle ‘spread’ or permeating within  the mass of individuals.

      However the essential nature of a supposedly ‘individual’ soul/self, residing in forms should also be understood to be synonymous with the essence/principle of the formless, all pervasive uncreated over-soul/self. Here as already suggested the quiescent over-soul/self is further characterized as the all-pervasive  resonating/radiating essence/principle of Brahman.

     But in the RV., and also in some of the early Upanisad-s, the first male ‘cosmic being’, the deity Brahma is the sole first Being, without any female consort. The view of some early Upanisad-s is very different from the bipolar deity vista offered by the later Samkhya and Vedanta philsophies. Under the view of some early Upanidad-s, Brahma  is considered to have been manifested by 'thought' of the monad  in order to facilitate the cosmic process of the creation of the material universe. Here the ‘first being’ emerges self-aware from out of the 'thought' of Brahman and in turn is the sole cause for the expanding universe populated by time bound beings.

      The major Upanisad-s discuss in speculative terms the desire of individual devotees to ‘know’ the essential nature of the soul/self and to further ‘know’ the unity of the soul/self within the essence/principle of the monad. Intuitive knowledge of the ‘individual’ soul/self can be equated to the attainment of the causal deity ‘with form’ located in the heart spinal center.

   Intuitive knowledge of the unity of the soul/self within the essence/ principle of the monadcan equated to the attainment of the primeval, uncreated brahman ‘without form’. Upon an appreciation of the unity of the spinal centers by correctly harnessing and channeling the coiled-up energy/capability, the attainment of this supreme essence/nature is intuitively ‘known’ by establishment within the thousand-petal lotus located at the top of the head.

   Although considered in these dualistic and qualified non-dual terms and relationship the undifferentiated nature of the individual soul/self ‘with form’ and nature of the ‘formless’ quantum field are nevertheless considered to be one and the same. However some major Upanisad-s are not so advanced and do not posit such subtle doctrinal approaches and differentiation. Some of these instructions merely offer speculative views of how the soul/self of an appropriately purified individual simply goes on to progressively more subtle astral heavens or subtle planetary realms at death.

     But Winternitz summarizes the subtle approach of major Upanisad-s as ‘the universe is brahman but the brahman is [also] the atman’. Or as in the in Judeo/Christian doctrinal /philosophical terms he characterizes this as the ‘world is god and god is my soul’. Or in applied Gnostic terms of the inner quest of the soul/self seeking the over-soul/self.

    Clearly in the context of the Upanisad-s brahman, remains the ‘neutral’ essence/principle and does not represent a pre-determining divine ‘will’ in the Judeo/Christian sense. Rather in absolute undifferentiated terms brahman is the quiescent uncreated essence/principle that permeates the ‘first being’ etc., and the created expanding universe as well as every individual soul/self.

     However the soul/self is often simply and misleadingly characterized as the ‘encapsulated’ manifestation of this universal essence/principle. Despite such a dualistic conception forwarded to aid devotees of a weak sensibility who are unable to appreciate the immanence of innate unity, in actuality the secret ‘one’ essence/principle not only pervades the universe but also the material creation and permeates the mass of transitory body/minds.

     The nature of the ‘secret’ essence/principle can perhaps be unveiled by mental and physical disciplines; by applied techniques and stages that efficiently harness the potential of the body and mind. This is in order to demonstrate the inherence of the actual unity of all individuals, things within the melded resonance/radiance of the ‘one’ essence/principle.

     However here there is still no sectarian characterization for the ‘one’ essence/principle as a personification of ishvara, ‘cause’ for the universe, beyond Brahma. This characterization was only applied later in the popular context according to kula, family tradition or personal predilections of an ista-devata, ‘chosen tutelary deity’. But later classic chosen tutelary deities, included the various aspects of Shiva, Visnu within the Brahminic Trinity or the forms of the consorts of the male Trinity, the various aspects of the Devi, the Goddess and even Ganesha etc., but rarely the Brahma of the Upanisad-s.

      Interestly the oral origins of the earliest of the major Upanisad-s emerged from the eastern part of the 'middle country' and date from the early centuries of the 1st., millennium BC. But this oral tradition was in part broken by the recording of the oral recentions. At this time these texts were edited and revised.

   In the geographical/cultural sense there appears to be no coincidence in that seminal, warrior caste intellectuals and practitioners of mixed ethnic descent, heading indigenous unorthodox and heterodox systems/philosophies also emerged from the eastern region of Magadha, located on the eastern marches of the 'middle country'.

  Later Magadhan warrior caste intellectuals and seminal ascetic lineage founders included the formulator of atheistic Samkhya philosophical system, Kapila, the historical Buddha as well as the lineage of Magi tantric yogi-s. The influence cast by the proto-tantric lineage of Magi yogi-s led the emergence of the eka-vratya, the cult of the One Assembly discussed in the AV., that in turn underpinned the popular emergence in the norther region  etc., of the historic, unorthodox,  Pastupata, Shaiva/Shakta traditions.

     The discourse in some of the early principal works of the Upanisad-s indicate how major priestly masters of the Vedic sacrificial family lineage tradition from the Noble Domain of the western 'middle country', were drawn towards the unorthodox applied doctrines aimed at intuitive knowledge of cosmic deities ‘with and without’ form. These lineage masters of Vedic sacrificial lore are epitomized by seminal figures such as Yajñavalkya, Sandilya and others.

      The dialogues of some of major Upanisad-s unequivocally indicate that the doctrinal vista of these treatises arose as a consequence of inter-play between Indo-Aryan/Indo-Dravidian king/yogi-s with Indo-Aryan priest/ascetics and intellectuals. This occurred in the eastern part of the greater 'Middle C'ountry, formed by eastern Kosala and Magadha. Within some of these dialogues Brahmin Vedic priests are initially described as coming: ‘with [sacrificial] fuel in hand...’ to humbly beg instruction on these sophisticated doctrines from the lineage holding ascetics and/or yogi kings.


     (iv.) The linkage of the early principal Upanisad-s with the speculative views held by the ethnically mixed warrior class householder intellectuals and the equally mixed lineage of yogi-s/ascetics.


     ‘...[The Vedic seer] Balaki, with fuel in his hand approached [king Ajatashatru of Kasi] saying, “Receive me as your pupil.”

                                                                                                       kausitaki-brahmana--upanisad 4.19.


       In terms of the early influence set by indigenous warrior caste ascetic lineage, treatises of the Brahmana textural tradition such as the kausitaki-brahmana and the shatapatha-brahmana already contain discourses between kings and priests. These discourses certainly indicate that intellectuals within the Brahmin caste in fact came to appreciate the limited scope and efficacy of the shamanistic Vedic sacrificial science. The shatapatha-brahmana contains a section where king Janaka of Videha, in modern northern Bihar, requests three prominent Vedic priests/seers, Yajñavalkya, Somashusma and Shvetaketu to fully explain the system and utility for Vedic sacrificial rites.

    After their discourses and explanations king Janaka concludes that these discourses were unsatisfactory and the necessity and altruistic purpose for Vedic rites, such as fire sacrifices etc., remained unclear and by inference unproven. After the king takes his leave these Vedic priests/seers grumble that they have been shamed by a mere warrior and that they should challenge him to a further debate.

     However, by playing on their fears as well as by flattering their vanity Yajñavalkya dissuades them from this ‘demeaning’ course. Nevertheless Yajñavalkya subsequently goes to the court of Janaka. He went in order to gain insight and instruction on Janaka’s apparently more advanced philosophical and yoga-orientated outlook of the ‘formless’ essence/principle, the supreme soul that permeates the  'golden egg' as well as the expanding universe and even the individual soul.

    Subsequently Yajñavalkya denounced the greed of the priestly caste and left aside a doctrinal approach solely based upon the efficacy of external ritual and sacrifice as the means to overturn a predetermined fate, to gain worldly wealth etc. From instructions actually received from King Janaka Yajñavalkya subsequently relied upon application, self-effort, within a yoga-orientated exoteric/esoteric system as the means to re-orientate and purify the cycle of cause and effect. Eventually he went on to attain knowledge of the individual soul/self and became established within the resonating essence/principle of the supreme soul.

    Paradoxically, within the historic Brahminic tradition Yajñavalkya rather than the probably ethnically mixed, warrior caste Janaka, is credited with the foundation of the classic yoga school of orthodox philosophy. Subsequently upon receipt of instruction from Janaka, Yajñavalkya decided to renounce the world in order to apply an ascetic yoga regime. In part the brhadaranyaka-upanisad recounts that upon taking this decision Yajñavalkya decides to divide his property between his wives Maitreyi and Katyayani.

     However Maitreyi asks to know from Yajñavalkya that even if her portion were the equivalent to the whole earth full of wealth would this give her immortal or divine knowledge. Yajñavalkya replies in the negative and Maitreyi declares she does not want her share of his worldly wealth. Pleased with her insight Yajñavalkya instructs her on the exoteric/esoteric yoga system aimed towards intuitive experience of divine knowledge of the soul/self.

     Remarkably other scenarios framing the context for the discourses of some early principal Upanisad-s further clearly indicate that not only warrior caste kings but also women and even low born intellectuals and practitioners possessed intuitive experiential divine knowledge then apparently unknown to Vedic priest/seers.

     Within early principal Upanisad-s warrior caste kings, female ascetics sometimes participate in the discourses. They appear either as the authors of doctrinal theories discussed or as those who challenge the doctrinal status quo held by Brahmin priest/ascetics forcing them to further enquiry into the nature of absolute ‘reality’ of non-dual consciousness.

    Despite the attempt at claiming the arcane origins of emerging metaphysical speculations remarkably the scenario of the candogya-upanisad is in part created by the Vedic deity Indra, seeking instruction upon the mantra system discussed in this Upanisad in order to gain transcendental knowledge. Discussing in etymological terms the esoteric system relating to the characteristics and nature of the mantra om or rather aum within such a context suggests that the author or authors of this Upanisad already appreciated the applied and doctrinal limitations of the shamanistic Vedic tradition.

    Further in the candogya-upanisad the low born carter and leper Raikva is featured as a holder of the divine knowledge and is humbly approached by the high born devotee Janashruti for instruction on the means to appreciate and attain this knowledge.

    Here in order to characterize Janashruti’s lack of generosity and lack of wit, the low-born carter Raikva even calls this Brahmin as sudra, member of the ‘servile caste’. In the same Upanisad, the priest/seer Gautama seeks instruction from king Pravahana. In this scenario the king is embarrassed to have to point out that the knowledge he can impart had not previously been known to or had been accessible to Vedic priests. In the kausitaki-upanisad the warrior caste ascetic Citra instructs the Brahmin Aruni on esoteric yoga doctrines.

    Similarly in the candogya-upanisad Uddala Aruni, the father of Shvetaketu, is requested by five eminent Brahmins to give instruction on metaphysical doctrines but feeling unqualified and unable to give such instruction he directs them to King Ashvapati Kaikeya for instruction.

    Elsewhere in the same Upanisad Uddala Aruni is dissatisfied with his son Shvetaketu’s vanity upon gaining mastery of scholarly and ritual knowledge necessary to perform sacrificial Vedic rites. Uddala Aruni pricks Shvetaketu’s pride and sets him on the road towards finally attaining metaphysical knowledge by clearly indicating the existence of metaphysical doctrines, then unknown to his son that transcend the limitations imposed by shamanistic Vedic rites.


      The extant recorded recension kaushitaki-upanisad (KU.,) possibly date from the 5th., or 4th., century BC., but is nevertheless related to the tradition of the RV. The KU., is divided into four chapters. The exposition of chapter one of this upanisad commences by indicating that the sage Citra of the family of Gangya wished to perform a fire sacrifice and that he chose the Vedic priest Uddala Aruni/Gautama to perform this sacrifice. However Aruni instead sent his son Shvataketu to perform the sacrifice.

      On arriving before Citra Gangyayani this sage cryptically asked Shvataketu in 1.1.:

     ‘O son of Gautama is there a hidden place [signifying the end of the cycle of transmigration] in the world in which you can place me? Or otherwise is there a way [a method towards attaining the cessation of the cycle of cause and effect] to it in this world and will you convey it to me?’

     Shvataketu indicates his ignorance of such a ‘hidden place’ and of ‘a way’ to this end and asks Citra if he could return to his father in order to find the answers to these two questions. However his father Aruni/Gautama was also unable to answer these questions and resolved that both he and his son should return to the sage and beg his indulgence and ask for teachings on the subjects raised.

     Here in 1.1., Aruni/Gautama asks the sage Citra: 

    “ May I come near to you (upayaniti) [as a disciple].”

      In reply Citra says:

     “You are worthy of the knowledge of Brahman [the uncreated, formless essence/principle], O Gautama, for you have not gone into deceit [by claiming Vedic ritual knowledge is supreme].         

     " Come I will make you understand.”

    Although not indicating the ethnic origin or the caste of the sage Citra Gangyayani an assumption that he did not belong to the priestly caste can be inferred from the fact that he needed a Brahmin priest to perform his sacrifice. Further as he was not from the Brahmin caste perhaps he was from the warrior caste.

     We can also possibly assume that the sage Citra Gangyayani was not of tribal Austric stock but was rather probably from mixed Indo-Dravidian/Indo-Ayan warrior stock. We can potentially make this assumption because although the Vedic master Aruni/Gautama did not reject Citra’s request to perform a sacrifice on ethnic/class grounds but he did not feel obliged go in person and rather sent his son in his place.

     The fact that the Vedic sacrificial lineage of Aruni/Gautama did not possess transcendental doctrines or insight/wisdom of the essence/principle is clear from the stage setting scenario and by his request to be instructed by the sage Citra Gangyayani.

 Here in KU., the mixed ethnic, warrior/yogi kings such as Janaka of Videha and Ajatasatru of Kasi are seen as adept lineage holding masters heading indigenous householder/yogi lineage streams. The fact that warrior caste kings headed these lineage traditions suggests a potential early proto-tantric yoga tendency of these lineage traditions. Thereby proto-tantric influences seem to have a play in the origins and the ordered formulation of the yoga doctrine the historically can offer dual, non-dual and an absolute non-dual doctrinal view and inner approaches to cosmic deities with and without form etc.

    In chapter four of the KU., introduces a very significant discourse between the seer Gargya Balaki and king Ajatashatru of Kasi. Here in 4.1., here the Vedic seer Gargya Balaki declares to king Ajatashatru of Kasi that he will offer a discourse on the nature of Brahman, the supreme essence/principle. In response to Gargya Balaki’s offer the king in turn politely offers the seer one thousand cows and declares that ‘ at such a speech as this, truly, people would run about saying [the name] Janaka, Janaka’.

    Although initially this statement alludes to Janaka’s generosity to ascetics, it’s semi-sarcastic tone as borne out by the following discourse is also in reaction to the Vedic seer’s assertion to having attained complete knowledge of the supreme essence/principle, the essential goal of King Janaka’s yogi lineage tradition.

     Further this response containing a reference to king Janaka of Videha infers that the lineage of the complete knowledge of the formless, essence/principle by way of a yoga regime was traditionally certainly understood to have originated from this yogi/king. Hence in this respect ‘...people would run about saying [the name] Janaka, Janaka.’

     Because Janaka’s kingdom was placed on the eastern edge of the greater Middle Country an assumption can be made that the origins of this style of the classic yoga lineage tradition initially arose in the eastern portion of the greater 'middle country'.

   The clear reference to the kingdom Kasi confirms that at least this chapter if not all of the KU., was composed in the eastern part of the greater 'middle country'. Further references in 4.1., linking the seer Gargya Balaki to the kingdoms of Ushinara, Matysa, Kuru, Pañcala, Kasi and Videha suggests that news of the wider influence of doctrines regarding the essence/principle attained by way of yoga, had already spread from Videha in the east into the Noble Domain and greater 'middle country' and were current by the period of the composition of this upanisad.

     But the discourse that follows serves to indicate the limitations of the knowledge of the Vedic seer Gargya Balaki who is actually only able to discuss the nature of the supreme essence/principle in terms of the sole causal deity or first being ‘with form’. Within verses two to eighteen Gargya Balaki deals with a series of meditations. These are based upon the purified emanations of differentiated attributes of the first Being, who originated from the 'thought' of the essence/principle, the monad as well as the accrued psychic and other accomplishments attained by way of such meditations.

    From verse nineteen the source of the discourse moves from Gargya Balaki to king Ajatashatru who is able to move beyond Gargya Balaki’s limited knowledge by demonstrating a capability of actually discussing the nature of the supreme uncreated essence/principle ‘alone’ without form.

     Verse nineteen is certainly significant in any historical appreciation of the traditional view of the doctrinal and applied limitations of the shamanistic Vedic tradition vis-a-vie the Indo-Dravidian warrior class yoga traditions. Here the warrior caste lineage origins of the doctrine of the supreme essence/principle ‘alone’ without attributes are confirmed.

   Here 4.19., commences by indicating that after discussing the nature of the essence/principle ‘with form’ the seer Gargya Balaki is unable to discourse further. 4.19., commences by stating:

    ‘After this Balaki became silent. Then Ajtashatru said to him, “Thus far only [does your knowledge go] O Balaki?”

      “Thus far only”, replied Balaki.

      To him Ajatashatru said, “In vain indeed did you [begin] conversation with me by saying, ’Let me declare Brahman [essence/principle] to you.’

    ‘...Thereupon Balaki, with fuel in his hand approached [Ajatashatru] saying, “Receive me as your pupil.”

     To him then Ajatashatru said, “This I deem a form [of conduct] contrary to [the social] convention [of caste] that a ksatriya, warrior, should receive a brahmana, priest/ascetic, as a pupil. Come I shall make you understand.”

     Here the characterization of ‘...Balaki, with fuel in his hand’ clearly indicates that he was a brahmana, Vedic priest/ascetic. The subsequent opportunistic and self-serving approach of the Brahminic tradition is clearly suggested by usage of caste convention signified by Ajatashatru’s first refusal to accept Balaki as a disciple.

    Here, despite Balaki’s acknowledged ignorance, the mention of the social convention of not permitting a Brahmin to become a disciple of a warrior, suggests Brahminic contrivances that allowed the Brahmin takeover of the possibly Indo-Dravidian warrior caste lineage of the doctrine of the uncreated essence/principle without form. Here by being unencumbered by vows of absolute obedience and secrecy to the lineage preceptor, Brahmins undermined the authority of the warrior caste lineage leading to their eventual claim of these lineage doctrines as their own.

   By way of an analogy characterizing deep, dreamless sleep Ajatashatru introduces the seer to the yoga doctrines of the soma and hita. Here Soma is synonymous with the inner nectar that via the center at the top of the head drips from the ajña-cakra, the Center of Unlimited Power. Upon entry into the digestive tract the nectar is diffused throughout the body by way of the hita, the yoga channels. Here the term hita is synonymous with the latter term nadi for the yoga channels.

    Under the outlook suggested by Ajatashatru, in this verse knowledge of the essence/principle can be likened to deep, dreamless sleep where the mind/consciousness remains unruffled by dream, dualistic emotional delusion and rests naturally in the unmodified state of the uncreated essence/principle. In 4.20., Ajatashatru concludes that such a state of deep concentration is attained by accomplishment the yoga of the vital breath:

   ‘Then in this [unmodified state of] the life force/vital breath alone, he [the practitioner] becomes one [with knowledge of the uncreated nature of the essence/ principle ‘alone’ without form].’

     From this type of discourse, while masters of the Vedic sacrificial science retained links to the Vedi/Brahminical 'family' lineage tradition, nevertheless the dialogue of some principal Upanisad-s clearly indicates that these masters were drawn away from total reliance upon their ancestral elemental deities and the rites and rituals of the  Vedic science. They were drawn away from total reliance upon the Vedic sacrificial science etc., by adopting the early doctrinal approaches of the inner applied systems of emanation, yoga and seed mantra recitation. These systems were applied because with the correct cultivation of the degree of inner sensibility these systems could afford affirmation by way of intuitive knowledge.

     However prior to receiving instruction from adept warrior caste kings, the dialogue within some of these ‘instructions’ conveniently applies the mores of orthodox caste-based convention to indicate the impropriety of a Brahmin becoming a disciple of a warrior. By means of caste precedence members of the priestly caste consecrated by adept warrior kings were thereby clearly able to disregard the ‘time honored’ mores of lineage convention that a disciple must honor both the  lineage master and his lineage.

     From applying caste precedence and other textural contrivances, the orthodox lineage apparently seized the esoteric lineage tradition away from direction and transmission of these non-Brahmin yogi lineages. Formally these non-Brahmin lineages were transmitted in more caste free situation ruled by the degree of inner sensibility of aspiring disciples. Subsequently by way of textural ‘proof of ancientness’ the Brahmin caste were able to claim that this ancient indigenous yogi lineage tradition originated from the arcane lineage of the RV. Thereby they were able to wrap up any possibly tantric yoga approaches of the Indo-Dravidian lineage tradition with the stifling mores of caste usage and orthodox social convention.

     This whole process is quite clear within some major Upanisad-s where in different parts of the same work the instructional discourse reverts from the lineage holding yogi king to the Brahmin ascetic who had previously petitioned the yogi king for instruction and subsequently received instruction from this yogi king etc.

     From the apparently disconnected manner of the composition and compilation of some major Upanisad-s the themes of these texts rather reflect the confusing variety of orally transmitted doctrinal speculations and possible avenues of approach. These approaches confronted the lineage of Brahmin intellectuals during this era of transition, revision and ‘updating’. This confusion is clear through disjointed manner in which these works are compiled and by the piecemeal manner in which a variety of doctrinal theories and streams of speculation are introduced within some major Upanisad-s.

     The principal treatises forming this early Brahminic textural tradition often do not offer a consistent approach of a single doctrinal/philosophical lineage. But rather according to the predilections of their authors or redactors some principal treatises offer, within a variety of settings, a number of streams of approach to metaphysical speculation.

      Early principal Upanisad-s such as the aitareya, brhadranyaka, kausitaki and candogya as well as other major Upanisad-s do not generally offer a balanced or consistent exposition of doctrine. In accord with their oral origins these works appear to be the product of an uneven fusion of the doctrinal strands of a number of doctrinal approaches gradually coalesced over a considerable period of time.


     The candogya-upanisad offers fundamental verses,  regarding the basis of the doctrinal approach offered to Brahman, the essence/principle of the ‘formless’ one and deities ‘with form’, can be summed by the following quotation from the candogya-upanisad.

     Here in 3.14.1-4 the early Vaisnava sage Sandilya from the western region, declares:

    ‘Truly this whole universe is [permeated by] brahman, the essence/principle from which He [the ‘first being’ Brahma, the causal cosmic deity] comes forth, [and] without which [this essence/principle] He will be dissolved and in which he lives/breathes.

    ‘ [Ever] tranquil one should contemplate it [this essence/principle]...

    ‘...It encompasses this whole world, being without speech and without concern.

   ‘ This [also] is my atman, soul/self [located] within the heart, smaller than a grain of rice, smaller than a corn of barley, smaller than a mustard seed, than a grain of millet...

   ‘ This is my soul/self within the heart [whose nature is] greater than the earth, greater than the atmosphere, greater than the sky, greater than [all] these [perceived] worlds [planets and stars].

   ‘ Encompassing all works, encompassing all desires, encompassing all odors, all tastes, encompassing [all in] this world, without speech, without concern, this is [the nature of] my soul/self within the heart.

This is the brahman, the essence/principle [of the expanding universe].

 ‘ Into him shall I [fully] enter on departing here. Truly who believes this will have no more doubts [as to the goal]...’.


      (7.) The basic geographical vista held by the mercantile classes etc., of the greater 'middle country' at beginning of the latter half of the 1st., millennium BC.


      'Within [the regions bordering upon the Indian sub-continent known as] Purvavideha, Aparagoyana, Uttarkuru are gathered people of great wealth [but who] are dull, torpid and ignorant [in terms of the social/religious, law/doctrine].’

                                                                                                                        samvarodaya-tantra 2.5.


      Indian artifacts discovered in Middle Eastern and Central Asian sites have established that trading links with India had commenced from as early as the period of the Indus Valley civilization during the 3rd., millennium BC. These trading links were by sea and overland routes. In common with later classical Greek, Roman and Chinese civilizations, the Indian mercantile classes within the regions of ancient and classical Indian certainly possessed  broad geographical knowledge.

     This geographical knowledge came from sea, river and over-land trading routes and even by exploration. However the geographical knowledge held by the Indian mercantile class was generally little regarded, acknowledged and exposed within works of orthodox Brahminic textural traditions.

    This arose because of the Brahmin caste’s traditional fear of the sea and the inability to maintain caste duties at sea, leading to a loss of caste status. Thereby Brahmin caste generally avoided voyages to foreign shores. This is borne by their indifference to the study of geography outside of the Indian sub-continent leading to their igorance and to their broadly negative approach to alien cultures/civilizations.

     Further this was also due to Brahminic fears and prejudices regarding the spread of concrete and empirical knowledge. The study of such knowledge could upset their essential social/doctrinal view of the ‘world as illusion’ or the 'ancientness' of the Vedic culture/religion. Therefore geographical and topographical information is only sparingly but is nevertheless often correctly offered within a variety of orthodox, Purana texts.

     Unorthodox textural traditions generally offer a broader and better picture of geography outside the Indian sub-continent and of alien cultures/civilizations there. Taken together with orthodox sources it is clear that during the early classical era the Indian intelligentsia possessed concrete knowledge regarding the ‘five regions’ of the Indian sub-continent as well as geographical knowledge of the overall southern underbelly of Eurasia including South-east Asia etc.

    From reference to Buddhist nikaya-s, sutta-s as well as the purana-s, epics such as the Mahabharåta as well as tantric works there can be no doubt that the intelligentsia within Buddhist and Brahminic social situations were well aware of geographical locations outside the Indian sub-continent. They were apparently equally aware of the geographical origins of various sedentary civilizations and tribal groups living adjacent to the Indian sub-continent. During the millennia beginning from 6th., century BC., various sedentary civilizations and tribal groups invaded and conquered parts of the northwestern, western and northern regions of the Indian sub-continent via the west and northwest.

     From invasions by sedentary civilizations and tribal groups the classical Indian geographical outlook appreciated that other culturally significant Asian regions bordered the jambhudvipa, the Bear Peninsular, the Indian sub-continent, to the north, west and east. Here these Asian regions bordering on the Indian sub-continent were known by the Buddhist tradition as uttarakuru, aparagoyana and purvavideha. Collectively these three regions together with the Bear Peninsular were known as the catur-mahadvipa, the Four Great Regions forming the greater southern underbelly of Asia.

      Here uttarakuru refers to the adjacent lands of Central Asia lying to the North and northeast. Aparagoyana to the adjacent lands of Persia and Middle East and purvavideha to the adjacent lands of modern China, Burma as well as lands of the far-eastern and southeastern regions of Asia. Within the non-Buddhist, Brahminic Purana textural tradition the name of uttarakuru for Central Asia was the same as in the Buddhist tradition but ketumala and bhadrashva were substituted as the names for the adjacent regions of Persia etc., and east Asia.

      Broader geographical knowledge also included detailed knowledge of the ‘golden lands’ of Southeast Asia that included the historic Khmer Empire of modern Cambodia as well as the even the more important ‘golden islands’ of Sumatra and Java. Due to the seasonal incidence in the predominance of either the northeast monsoon or the southeast monsoon indigenous states here played very significant roles in external trade from eastern and southern India.

     These states inluded the wealthy Hindu/Buddhist Kingdom of Kedah and the later Sumatran, Hindu/Buddhist Kingdom of Shrivijaya. During the  classical and historic eras, due to the nature of the monsoon seasons as well as from a long tradition of piracy, these states possessed a monopoly over entrepot trade between India and China and visversa.


     (7a.) A very basic Buddhist-orientated historical perspective on the fourteen Great Communities forming the greater 'middle country'.


      'Jambudvipa [the Indian sub-continent and especially the greater 'middle country'] is proclaimed to be the region of [doctrinal] action for those who are well born there [within a family following the law/doctrine]...'

                                                                                                                               samvarodaya-tantra 2.8.


     The fourteen Great Cummunities were Anga, Ashmaka, Avanti, Cedi, Kasi, Kosala, Kuru, Magadha, Malla, Matsya, Pañcala, Surasena, Vajji and Vatsa.

      The earliest reference to the kingdom of Anga occurs in the AV. According to the Jain treatise the bhagvati-sutra, Anga was one of the Ethic Communities. On consolidation the naguttara-nikaya lists Anga as one of the Great Communities. Within the Purana-s, such as the garuda-purana etc, the Ethic Commuties were divided into nine divisions and Anga is listed as one kingdoms within the eastern/southern division.

     Anga, whose capital was Campa or Campavati, was comprised of the modern Bhagalpur and Monghyr districts of eastern Bihar and later extended into Bengal. The Mahabhatata mentions Anga and Vanga formed one county. The boundaries of Anga extended northwards up to where the Koshi River flows out the foothills of Himalayan Mountains from modern Nepal and to the west were drawn by the River Chandan to form the boundary with Magadha.

    The ancient city of Campa or Campapuri was also known as Malini. This city was in legend founded by Pritulaksha, the son of Anu. Campa was situated on the right-bank of the Ganges near its junction with river Campa. Within the early, Pali medium Buddhist textural tradition, the maha-parinibbåna-sutta characterizes Campa as one the six principal cities of ancient India.

     According to the 7th., century AD., Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsiang around the capital city of Campå the ‘soil is level and fertile [loamy]. It is regularly cultivated and productive...the manners of the people simple and honest.’ He indicates that the walls of the city ‘are built of brick and are several tens of feet high. The foundations of the wall are raised on a lofty embankment, so that by their high escarpment they can defy the attack of enemies’.

    Prior to the Buddha's lifetime the kingdom of Anga possibly included parts of Magadha to the west and at some stage even extended further eastward to the Bay of Bengal. Campa was an important trading center that had sea-borne trading links with the suvarna-bhumi, the ‘golden land’. Here the ‘golden land’ probably refers to lower Burma or to the ancient Malaysian Kingdom of Kedah, south of the Isthmus of Kra. But the ‘golden land’ could also in fact refer to ‘golden islands’ or the islands of Sumatra and Java that later formed the Kingdom of Shrivijaya. Similarly the early Buddhist textural tradition establishes that far-flung trading links also existed between Anga and the Sind region of modern southern Pakistan.

  Prior to the 6th., centry BC., the Kingdom of Anga succeded in annexing Magadha and extended its borders to the kingdow of Matsya. However by the time of the historical Buddha Anga had been absorbed into Magadha. The Magadhan crown prince Bimbisara killed the king Brahmadatta, the last independent ruler of Anga.

    During the Buddha's visits to Campa the sumangala-vilasini indicates that he resided by the tank known as the gaggara-pokkharani built by queen Gaggara of Campa. The majjhima-nikaya indicates that while residing in the Angan city of Assapura the Buddha proclaimed the discourses that form the maha-assapura-suttanta and the culla-assapura-suttanta.


     Assaka or the Sanskrit Ashmaka was one of the sixteen Great Communities mentioned in the anguttara-nikaya. Assaka, whose ancient capital was Potana, now located in the Nandura Tehsil of Maharasta State. Assaka was comprised of the portion of land south of the Vindhya hills and bounded by the Godavari River.

    Assaka is mentioned in the sutta-nipata and formed part of the dakshinapatha or the lands to the south of the Ganges. Therefore by being situated to the south of the Vindhya region Assaka could well be considered as being placed outside of the 'middle country' proper.


     The kingdom of Avanti later known as Malava, was situated in the Malva and Nimar districts of modern Rajasthan as well as parts of western Madhya Pradesh. Avanti was divided into northern and southern parts. Ujjeni, the modern Ujjain was the capital of the northern portion and Mahisatti the capital of the southern portion. Avanti was an important center of in the propagation of Buddhism. During the early period many important male and female elders of the Buddhist tradition, such as Abhayakumara, Isidasi, Isidatta, Mahacacayana, Sonakutikanan, Udana etc., were born or lived in Avanti.

    According to Hiuen Tsiang ‘the soil is rich and fertile and produces abundant harvests...[including] winter wheat.’ He indicates that ‘ the disposition of the men is virtuous and docile and they are in general of remarkable intelligence. Their language is elegant and clear and their learning is wide and profound’. In this respect Hiuen Tsiang further observes that ‘two countries in India, [each] on the borders [of the Middle Country], Malava on the south-west [border] and Magadha on the north-east [border], are remarkable for the great learning of their people.’

    Hiuen Tsiang further comments that although ‘They are of an intelligent mind and exceedingly studious nevertheless the men of this country are given to heretical [non-Buddhist] belief as well as the true faith [Buddhism] and so [the two] live together.’ Continuing he indicates that ‘the heretics are very numerous but [are] principally [comprised of] the [Shaiva] Pashupata-s.’


     The ancient kingdom of Cedi, whose capital was Sotthivatinagara/Suktimati, was comprised of the modern Bundelkhand region of southern Uttar Pradesh. The Buddha visited Cedi and preached the Buddhist Doctrine there. Annuruddha attained the state of an Arahat while residing in Cedi.


    The kingdom of Kashi, whose capital was Baranasi, was situated in what is now modern eastern Utter Pradesh. During the lifetime of the Buddha the kingdom of Kashi had lost its political power and was incorporated into Kosala. In the immediate period following the Buddha's final entry into the fully released state, Ajatashatru defeated the Kosalans and incorporated Kasii into Magadha.

     The Buddhist textural tradition indicates that the city of Baranasi was an important trade center. Baranasi had trading links with both with Shravasti, the capital of Kosala and even trading links with the northwestern region and the capital of Gandhara, Taxila. During this period the fame of the distant university/city of Taxila attracted the elite of Baranasi to send their sons to the capital of Gandhara to complete their education. This no doubt occurred with the sons of the elite in other kingdoms of the 'middle country' thereby facilitating the introduction of a broader cosmopolitan cultural/philosophical milieu into this region.

    The city of Baranasi played an important role within the hagiography of the historical Buddha. After attaining sambodhi, ‘complete enlightenment’, the Buddha gave his first discourse in the Deer Park situated at Sarnath on the outskirts of the city. This discourse is known as the dhamma-cakka, [the first turning of] the Wheel of the Doctrine. The historical Buddha subsequently spent a great deal of the latter period of his life in Baranasi. The digna-nikaya lists Baranasi as one of the six ancient cities suitable for the Buddha's final entry into the fully released state.


     The ancient kingdom of Kosala was comprised of parts of modern central and southeastern Uttar Pradesh. The ancient kingdom of Kosala, whose capital was Shravasti, was divided into northern and southern portions by the river Sarayu . During this period the capital of southern Kosala was Såketa. Within the Brahminic tradition the capital of southern Kosala is the better known city of Ayodhya. However with the exhaustion of the Indo-Aryan ruling dynasties after the civil war or wars discussed in the Mahabharata, by the Buddha's lifetime the importance of this city was eclipsed by the cities of Saketa and Shravasti.

    The Buddha spent lengthy periods of time in Shravasti after attaining complete enlightenment. The majjhima-nikaya recounts how the Buddha converted Brahmin villages near the city to the Doctrine. The majjima-nikaya also indicates that during his stay in Shravasti the Buddha first allowed women to enter the Buddhist Assembly. When in Shravasti the Buddha resided in the Jetavana grove that had been donated by the merchant Anathapinika.


    The ancient kingdom of Kuru was comprised of the Sonipat, Amin, Karnal and Panipat districts of modern Hariyana State. The capital of Kuru was the city of Hastinapura, on the Ganges near modern Meerut. Hastinapura was the capital of the Indo-Aryan Kuru clan who were a principle party in the protracted civil war discussed in the Mahabharata. The Buddha gave discourses on the Buddhist doctrine to the Kuru-s in the city of Kammåssadhamma.


    The ancient kingdom of Magadha was situated in the modern Patna and Gaya districts of Bihar as well as in districts further to the southeast. The tribe of Maga-s lent their name to Magadha. The Maga-s had migrated from the Punjab at the end of the 2nd., millennium BC. They migrated during the period of the eastward movement and establishment of the new cultural heartland of the Indo-Aryans in the Noble Domain of the Jumuna/Ganges Valley.

     At some stage, possibly during the early centuries of the 1st., millennium BC., the Maga-s also again migrated further to the east eventually settling in the lands that became known as Magadha. The doctrinal approach of the yoga-orientated cult of the Shaiva One Assembly maintained by the ancient Maga Magi lineage tradition is briefly characterized in the fifteenth chapter of the unorthodox work of the late Vedic tradition the AV.

    Under the outlook of the late Vedic and Upanisad textural traditions, the kingdom of Magadha was considered not to form part of the Middle Country. Magadha was considered as an impure land possibly because of associations with the unorthodox Shaiva eka-vratya, the cult of the One Assembly maintained by the Indo-Dravidian Magi lineage. But Magadha became the centre of the important Magadhan Mauryan dynasty. This dynasty was closely associated with the spread of both the Buddhist and Jain heterodox traditions.

     Further because of associations with the Buddhist tradition, Magadha is often referred to in the later Brahminic Purana textural tradition as a cursed or unlucky land. However within the Buddhist tradition, by the association with the most significant detail of the Buddha's hagiography, the Buddha’s attainment of ‘complete enlightenment’, Magadha is obviously considered by Buddhists to be the heartland of the greater 'middle country' and as the cradle of the Buddhist Doctrine. The Buddha converted his cousin Ananda and his other important disciples Sariputta and Moggallana to the doctrine in Magadha.

      During the era of the Buddha the capital of Magadha was Rajagriha. Bimbisara, (born c.554 BC.,) of the ruling Haryanka dynasty of Magadha was a contemporary and disciple of the historical Buddha. According to the Buddhist tradition, following the advice given by Devadatta, the malicious cousin of the Buddha, the ambitious and aggressive son of Bimbisara, Ajatashatru slowly poisoned his father to death. Ajatashatru subsequently reigned over Magadha from c.485 BC. Ajatashatru was probably the model for the Buddha’s critic on the negative social impact generated by the ambitions, greed and vanity of a despotic ruling elite.

    Subsequently Patiliputra, the modern Patna, became the capital of both Magadha and of the Mauryan Empire. The Mauryan Empire founded by Candra-gupta Maurya was the first multi-regional indigenous Indian Empire. Founded in c.320 BC., the Mauryan Empire endured as a significant power until c.180 BC.

     This dynasty holds a special place in Buddhist history because of the great devotion and patronage offered to the Buddhist Doctrine and Assembly by the grandson of Candragupta Maurya, the emperor Asoka. Asoka reigned from c.274-232 BC. The Third Buddhist Council presided over by Moggaliputta Tissa was convened by Asoka and was held in Patiliputra in c.253 BC.

     Essentially under the patronage of Asoka the Buddhist tradition was transformed from a regional religious tradition into an influential multi-regional tradition. For a millennium Buddhism successfully competed with Brahminism and certainly influenced the formation of social/cultural mores that colored historic Hinduism including non-violence to all creatures and even vegetarianism.

      But the prolonged conflict with Buddhism for religious hegemony acted to spur the doctrinal renaissance of Brahminism during and after the ‘golden’ Gupta era commencing from 4th., century AD. This trend continued towards a successful conclusion via the direction of Shaiva ascetic Shankara during the 9th., century AD.


     The ancient kingdom of Malla was divided into two parts whose ancient capitals were Kusinara and Pava. In common with the state of Vajji the kingdom of Malla possessed a democratic political situation that was in stark contrast to the despotic norm. Under this system the gathered tribal assembly still elected kings. The kingdom of Malla was comprised of districts in northeastern Uttar Pradesh and northwestern Bihar.

    The city of Kusinara or Kusinagara has been identified with Kasia on the Gandaki River in the eastern part of Gorakhpur district and Pava to the village of Paragoan to the northeast of Kasia. The Buddha quit the mortal realm and completely entered into the fully released state in a Sala tree grove by the Hiranyavati River, near Kusinagara.

     The maha-parinibbana-suttana indicates that the Buddha chose this small city for his complete entry into the fully released state because of the auspicious association of this site with the ancient city of Kusavati. The early Buddhist textural tradition indicates that the doctrine was popular in the kingdom of Malla. Some sources suggest that the First Buddhist Council took place in Kusinagara the day after the Buddha’s complete entry into the fully released state.


      The kingdom of Matsya, whose ancient capital was Viratanagara, lay to the southwest of the ancient city of Indraprastha, the modern Dehli and to the northwest of the ancient state of Su rasena. Matsya was comprised of the region immediately to the southeast of the Aravalli Hills etc. This region is comprised of the modern districts of Jaipur, Alwar and Bharatpur in northwestern Rajasthan and the extreme tip of southwestern Uttar Pradesh.


      Pañcala was divided into northern and southern portions. The capitals of northern and southern portions were Ahicchatra near modern Ramnagar and Kampillanagara in modern Fategarh district. The ancient kingdom of Pañcala was comprised of the region to the northeast of modern Dehli up to the foothills of the Sewalik Himalaya bounded on the southwest by the river Jumuna up to the junction with the river Chambal. The eastern boundary of Pañcala was formed by the Gumti River to the north of the modern capital of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow. A prince of Pañcala, Visakha, renounced the world and became a monk after lisening to a discourse on the Doctrine given by the Buddha.

      Subsequently the kingdom of Kanauj was situated in southern Pañcala. At the beginning of the 7th., century AD., the great patron of later Mahayana Buddhism, Harsavardana, moved his capital from Thaneswar, near Dehli, in modern Hariyana to Kanauj on the border of southern Pañcala and eastern Malwa. Harsavardana, reigning from c.606-648 A.D., founded the last truly multi-regional northern empire. North of the Narmada River, the empire of the Vardana dynasty stretched from the extreme northwest, Punjab to Orissa and the Bay of Bengal in the east.


      The kingdom of Su rasena, whose capital was Mathura, was comprised of parts of modern southwestern Uttar Pradesh. Within the Brahminic tradition Mathura was considered to have been founded by Shatrughna, the brother of Rama of Ayodhya, the incarnation of Visnu and the hero of the epic, the Ramayana. By the 2nd., century BC., Mathura was also an important center for the Jaina tradition.

    While resting during a journey from Mathura to Verañja in Surasena the Buddha received homage from Brahmin householders. The Buddha resided in Verañja during a rainy season and converted many Brahmins to the Buddhist Doctrine. During the eras of the Bactrian Greeks during the 2nd., and 1st., centuries BC., and Kusana empire during the 1st., and 2nd., centuries AD., Mathura became a principal center for the Buddhist Doctrine while being a prime center for the Greek influenced Mathura school of Buddhist art.


     The ancient state of Vajji was not a kingdom but was rather a confederation of tribes who were governed by a republican-like assembly. The confederation was comprised of eight Tribes prominent among which were the Vajji-s, the Videhan-s, the Licchavi-s etc. The Vajji confederation was comprised of the modern Muzzafarpur district of Bihar and the lands northwestward and north towards the modern Nepalese border.

     The ancient capital of the Vajji confederation was Vaisali. Important roads linked Vaisali to the ancient capital of Magadha, Rajagriha and also to the capital of the region of the Shakya clan, Kapilavastu, near to the Buddha's birthplace Lumbini.

      The Licchavi-s of Vaisali endowed the building of stupa-s and monastries in the city. The famous courtesan of Vaisali, Ambapali donated her mango grove situated on the outskirts of Vaisali to the Buddhist assembly. The Buddha delivered a number of discourses in this mango grove as well as at the Kutagarasala in the Mahavana Vihara also located in Vaisali. However, as prophesized by the Buddha, the indolence of the Licchavi-s caused the downfall of Vaisali. The incorporation of the Vajjan State into Magadha subsequently occurred during the reign of Ajatashatru. The Second Buddhist Council was held in Vaisali in c.390 BC.


      The ancient kingdom of Vatsa, whose ancient capital was Kaushambi, was situated in modern eastern Uttar Pradesh and western Bihar. The city of Kaushambi was one of the six ancient cities from where the Buddha could choose to throw off the mortal body and completely enter the fully released state. The Buddha gave fundmental discourses on the Doctrine and the rules of monastic conduct at the Ghositarama Vihara within the city of Kaushambi.

    Historically the location of the most renowned of the four Kumbha Mela-s is Prayagraj situated within the kingdom of Vatsa. The Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsiang visited this pilgrimage destination and recorded observations on the conduct of pilgrims and ascetics who he saw at this location. He records that ‘to the east of the capital between the confluence [point] of the rivers [the bluff now known as Joshi] is pleasant and upland’. As can still be seen today Hiuen Tsiang describes the ‘ whole [area of the banks beside the Ganges and Jumuna Rivers] is covered with a fine sand’.

     Hiuen Tsiang characterizes part of this area as a ‘great charity enclosure’ on account of the custom of kings of the region to distribute wealth accumulated over the past five years to charity. He relates how a recent previous ruler, the renowned and pious Buddhist ruler of the Vatsa, Shiladitya had gathered ‘in the space of the charity enclosure immense piles of wealth and jewels’. Initially ‘ he adorned in a very sumptuous manner the statue of the Buddha ...afterwards he offers charity the residing priests...other of distinguished talent...[ascetic] heretics who live in the place and lastly to widows and the bereaved, orphans...the poor and mendicants’.

     All this and more charity was performed while showing ‘no regret’ and upon completion this ruler is recorded as saying “ [It is] well done! Now all that I have, has [through the merit of charity] entered into incorruptible and imperishable treasuries.”

     According to Hiuen Tsiang ‘to the east of the enclosure of charity at the confluence of the two rivers every day there are many hundreds of men who bathe themselves and die’. Here he indicates that after fasting for seven days and following the popular notion that bathing in the confluence of these rivers absolves the pilgrim from all sin some the pilgrims did not simply depart but preferred to die ‘pure’. Such pilgrims drowned after throwing themselves into the river with a heavy stone slung on a rope placed around their neck.


      (8.,) Historical interlude: Remarks regarding greater Gandhara; the advent of invasions from Persia and Central Asia into the northwestern, western region etc., of the Indian sub-continent  and rise and fall of the Maghan Mauryan Empire etc., etc.


     ‘Indians do not possess accurate knowledge of their history [preferring] when pressed for [accurate] information to take to story telling’.

                                    Al-Beruni, the 11th., century AD., Arab scholar, historian and geographer.


      The Pali treatises of the early Buddhist tradition were orally composed prior to or during the initial stages of the advent of the protracted series invasions and conquests by alien imperial dynasties and cilivized Central Asian tribes. From the 6th., century AD.,  this roughly millennium long period fully affected the kingdoms and indigenous tribal republics of the northwestern and western regions etc., and even affected the kingdoms of the western part of 'middle country' within the northern region of the Indian sub-continent etc.  

    This protacted, millennium long period, that was initially focused on greater kingdom of Gandhara, was marked by great upheaval and political chaos, but was also inter-spaced with political and culturally significant periods of stability created by both major indigenous and alien dynasties. This protracted period introduced more ethnic layers into these regions as well as fully affecting the political/ cultural/religious aspects of these regions.

   During this period, the Indo-Aryan late Vedic tradition, supported by the doctrine 'ancientness', finally gave way to the rise of the former Indo-Dravidian deities forming the Brahminical Tritity as well as gave ground to the unorthodox and hetrodox traditions of the nastika-s. the 'deniers' of Vedic/Brahminical orthodoxy such as Buddhist and Jain traditions.  In effect this protacted period of political chaos and change etc., played a major part in the emergence of the classic 'golden' era of north Indian culture that occurred during the first half of the 1st., millennium AD., etc.  

    From the 6th., century BC., onwards, the northwestern region, formed in part by the important trading kingdom of greater Gandhara, was gripped with political chaos from a series of eastern and south-eastern invasions from the direction of Iran and especially from Central Asia via modern Afghanistan. This series of invasions led to conquests by ethnic and tribal regal dynasties and to periods of subsequent foreign domination.

    The politically powerful, alien ethnic dynasties and groups of tribes, who carved out petty kingdoms, regional kingdoms/states or even ruled empires formed by northwestern, western and north Indian kingdoms/provinces as well as trans-Indus provinces, included Persians, Macedonian Greeks, Bactrian Greeks, Persian/Sythians, Central Asian Sythian/Shaka-s, Kusana-s and White Huns/Huna-s.

    This protracted era of invasion, political chaos etc., affecting the northwest and western regions etc., of the Indian sub-continent only actually ceased in 532 AD., with the final defeat of the Huna-s or rather ethnic Caucasian, White Huns by the feudatory of the Magadhan Gupta-s, Yasodharman .


    East of the Indus River, the kingdom of Gandhara was comprised of the plains and hills/mountains of the western Himalayas etc., lying in the flow of the Swat, upper Indus and Jhelum rivers of modern Punjab. The kingdom of Gandhara even sometimes included the Vale of Kashmir. The petty hill kingdom of Uddiyana/Oddiyana, now the modern Swat Valley, was the birthplace of the tantric Vajrayana/Mantrayana tradition of Buddhism, formed part of the greater kingdom of Gandhara.   

   According to the epic, the Ramayana, the younger brother of Rama, Bharata established the principle cities of Gandhara, Pushkalavati and Taxila.  A lack of archaeological evidence suggests that Taxila did not exist during the earlier era of the Indus Valley Civilization and was probably only founded as late as the 9-8th., centuries BC. The important university/city of Takshashila/Taxila was the birthplace of Kautilya/Canakya, the Machiavelli of classical India and the chief adviser of Candragupta Maurya.

    Prior to the invasions of Persians, Macedonian and Bactrian Greeks, from the middle of the end of the 2nd., millennium BC., the northwestern region as a whole had been further invaded and settled by more waves of ethnic Iranian-Aryan tribes, the same ethnic group of tribes who had conquered and politically supplanted the rulers of the sedentary Indo-Dravidian city/states of the Sindhu/Punjab region. Subsequently this later invasion gradually set the now settled Indo-Aryan warrior elite on futher migrations out from the Sindhu, to seek and found their new eastern cultural hub, the Noble Domain, within the upper Jamuna and Ganges valleys etc.

    Thereby greater  Gandhara is often characterized in the later Brahminic textural traditions as a land of mleccha-s, barbarians. However despite this negative connotation, Gandhara was a very important kingdom of ancient and classical India both because of the connection with powerful, trans-Indus, alien kingdoms and empires and more imporantly from trading links to and from the west and thereby the constant inter-play with external cultures, including Persian empire and the tribal states of southern Central Asia.

   The kingdom of Gandhara and the city of Taxila was the meeting place of three great trade routes. One route was west from the 'middle country' and eastern India. This route was described by the Greek ambassador to the Mauryan court, Megasthenes, as the ‘royal high-way’, the forerunner of the grand trunk road, that during this period ran from Pataliputra northwestwards to the Indian and trans-Indus northwestern provinces of the Mauryan Empire.

    A second western route was from Taxila and the Punjab to Persia, Central Asia and eventually to Asia Minor via both the Makran coast and the Kabul River Valley. The third route was the difficult, mountainous, pack animal route, north to southeastern Central Asia via Kashmir. These routes were important trade links, that depending upon the season, constantly carried traffic to and from India, the west and Central Asia. Thereby the city Taxila was already a thriving trading city by the time of the initial conquest of greater Gandhara in c.518 BC., by the Persians under Darius I., of the Achaemenid dynasty.

    From the 6th., century BC.,, the kingdom of greater Gandhara and the whole northwestern region etc., was successively conquered and settled by Persians, Macedonian and Bactrian Greeks as well as tribal Central Asian Shaka-s, Kushana-s and Huna-s. As a consequence of these waves of invasion and also from ancient trade links, the kingdom of greater Gandhara became a focal point for the meeting, even the synthesis as well as for the import and export of Mesopotamian, Central Asian, Persian, Greek, Chinese, proto-Shaiva, Shaiva/Shakta, Vedic, Zoroastrian, Buddhist and Brahminic cultural/religious trends.

   But such interplay with alien cultures was odious to the elite Brahmin elite. This interplay was odious because the Brahmin social/religious system, based on stressing the view of the unique 'ancientness' of Vedicism, could be potentially upset by any wider acknowledgement of powerful alien kingdoms and of course by any equally ancient social/cultural influences lying outside of Brahmin control.


        (i.,) The advent of the Persian Empire. 


     ‘...These countries [including Kapisa, greater Gandhara on the edge of the Middle Country] ...came to me by the will of Ahura Mazda...’

                                                                                                     Inscribed column 1, at Beistun, Persia.

   Greater Gandhara formed part of the Persian Achaemenid empire from the beginning of the 6th., century BC., and was further conquered and occupied by Macedonian Greeks during the 4th., century BC., and after an interlude under indigenous imperial Mauryan rule, greater Gandhara again fell under Bactrian Greek rule from the 2nd., century BC.

    The reign of Darius the Great, of the Persian Achaemenid dynasty commenced in 518 BC. Darius I., had five inscribed columns installed at Behistun in Iran to list the countries or rather the satrapies, the semi-autonomous provinces that comprised the empire in the third year of his reign. These inscribed columns not only list the provinces inherited by Darius I., but also list the provinces 'that came to him' by way of conquest from the first three years of his reign.

    Among the provinces conquered by Darius I., during the initial years of his reign are the provinces of greater Gandhara situated on the extreme northwestern marches of the Indian sub-continent and a trans-Indus province, Qatagus or Sattagydia. Qatagus was thought by Cunningham to correspond to the ancient kingdom of Kapisa, known as Capissa and Caphusa in classical Greek and Roman literature.

    Kapisa was thought to comprise parts of modern eastern Afganistan. Ptolemy indicates that Kapisa also comprised the modern Kabul Valley as well as the lands laying to the northeast of the Kabul Valley. At this time greater Gandhara probably included both Kapisa and Kamboja, that was situated in southeastern modern Afghanistan. Together with Kapisa and Kamboja, greater Gandhara also included parts of the modern Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan, the totality of modern western Punjab and even parts of eastern Punjab.

    With the eastward expansion of the Achaemenid Empire, commenced and furthered a prolonged historical period of inter-action with the Middle East and the northwestern regions etc., of the Indian sub-continent. Within the Epic and Purana textural traditions, the peoples of Iranian descent who occupied or migrated into these regions from this period are known as Parasika-s.

  The Persian Empire was certainly well established as a sophisticated, sedentary culture/civilization and was well known for its far-sighted and evenhanded approach to ethnic minorities and sectarian religious traditions that lay within the frontiers of the Persian Empire. The Persian Empire also contributed to the evolution of the system of governance within classical India. The Persians not only introduced their system of provincial and regional government founded on the decentralized satrap system of semi-autonomous provinces, ideally ruled by strong and honest governors, but also introduced their even-handed approach to ethnic minorities and sectarian religious traditions.

   The mode of decentralized governance was well suited to the control of a number of regions comprised of provinces often distant from the central seat of imperial power. Certainly in the provinces of the northwestern and northern regions and in the trans-Indus provinces outside of the borders of classical India proper, both the Macedonian Greeks as well as later Magadhan Maurya-s continued, maintained and even broadened the scope of this form of provincial government. Also from this era major Indian regal dynasties and empires also continued the astute policy of an even-handed approach to ethnic minorities and sectarian religious traditions based upon the original Persian model.


     (ii.,) The entry of the Macedonian Greeks under Alexander, the Great into the northwest region.


       “ The east bowed low before the blast in patient deep disdain...”

                                                                                                                          Mathew Arnold.


    Persian Achaemenid political control of the northwestern regions lasted for some one hundred and fifty years until the advent of Macedonian political power in the region during the 4th., century BC. Under Alexander, the Great, the Macedonian Greek forces defeated and conquered the Achaemenid Empire. Driven by his dream of world conquest, Alexander the Great led the advance of his armies across the upper Indus River into the Gandhara and then into the Punjab. Within the Epic and Purana traditions the Macedonian Greeks and the later arriving Bactrian Greeks are generally known as Yavana-s.

    During the cold season of early 326 BC., the already reluctant Macedonian armies, under the command of Alexander the Great, crossed the Chenab River. Prior to this final push towards the interior of northern India, an Indian ascetic had already demonstrated to Alexander the Great a symbolic expression of the potential dangers and futility of his grand enterprise.

   Here this ascetic asked Alexander the Great to walk upon a laid out dried hide. As he stepped on one end, the other end flew up, as is quite normal with dried, untanned hides. Here the ascetic’s intent was to clearly demonstrate the probable consequences of this campaign by signifying the potential for rebellion, for political chaos, that could occur from attempting to forcefully extend his empire too far from its geographical axis and from communication with its supply and administrative center.

  Certainly upon reaching the Beas River by May of that year the Macedonian armies mutinied and refused to advance any further into the vast expanse of the northern plains. Reluctantly Alexander the Great recognized that his grand design for an uninterrupted advance leading to the conquest of all the major regions comprising the then known world was flawed and was probably at an end.

   By having advanced so far from his empire's supply and administrative center in central Persia, Alexander reluctantly recognized that he could not supply and maintain the strength of his army without first pacifying the regions through which his over extended supply routes passed.

   So as to pacify the regions through which his communication and supply routes passed and in order to settle his conquests both to the West and to the East of the Indus river Alexander set up six satrapies or semi-autonomous provinces. Three satrapies were situated on the west of the Indus River and three were located east of the Indus. The satraps or governors of the western provinces were initially Persians who were quickly replaced by Greeks because of excessive corruption.

    The western provinces were those of Sind, governed by Peithon; the province known as ' India west of the Indus' comprised of the lower Kabul River valley and the province of Paropanisadae comprised of the Kabul valley and the hill regions south of the Hindu Kush. Alexander appointed his father-in-law Oxyartes, of Bactria, the father of the mysterious Roxanne, as governor Paropanisadae west of the Indus River. Alexander appointed defeated local kings now allied to the Macedonians as governors of the three provinces east of the Indus. These provinces were formed by parts of the Punjab and by the upper Indus valley etc. Alexander appointed Ambhi, king of Taxila; Poros, the ruler of the upper Indus and Abhisara, the ruler of Kashmir to govern these provinces

    But with the death of Alexander in Babylon in 323 BC., Macedonian power in the eastern portion of their empire entered a period of retrenchment due to struggles over the succession. A process of retrenchment was especially necessary within their Indian possessions where unrest was generated by the aspirations of the independently minded tribal communities of Gandhara and the Punjab who wished to be free from foreign domination.

   The Macedonian Empire was initially divided immediately after Alexander's death but after a brief period of civil was again re-partitioned at Triparadisus in 321 BC. After nearly a decade of further civil war the portion of the Macedonian Empire in Syria, Asia Minor, Persia including only the far-flung provinces of India to the west of the Indus finally fell to Alexander's favorite general, Seleucus Nicator. Seleucus Nicator was in command of Babylon by c.311 BC., and reigning from c.305-280 BC., went on to found the eastward looking Seleucid empire.


       (iii.,) The rise of the indigenous Magadhan Mauryan dynasty under Chandragupta Maurya.


      ‘Where there is no Holder of the Rod of the law the strong eat up the weak...’

                                                                                                   Kautilya/Canakya’s artha-shastra 1.4.


       But after nearly two centuries of political chaos and alien rule, the indigenous Magadhan Mauryan dynasty offered a vigorous response to alien adventures into these vulnerable Indian regions. The rise of the Kingdom of Magadha, located on the eastern edge of the 'middle country' of the northern region, gradually commenced from the era of the mixed ethnic, warrior Mahanaga/Hiriyana dynasty.

   A ruler of this dynasty Bimbisara, ruling from the ancient capital of Magadha, Rajgriha, was a contemporary of the historical Buddha. Ajatasatru succeeded Bimbisara and continued expanding Magadha into the first historical multi-province, regional Indian kingdom. Ajatasatru, who reigned from c.485 BC., is understood to have slowly poisoned his father to death and despite confessing his patricide to the Buddha continued to ruthlessly conquer and consolidate neighboring states into his regional kingdom.

    Subsequently, with the decline of the later Mahanaga/Saisunaga dynasty, a greater Magadhan kingdom again emerged under the rule of the Nanda-s, c.364-320 BC., and then under the Maurya-s c.320-183 BC. The Nanda dynasty, much hated by the Brahmin faction for being from the servile caste, emerged and briefly flourished just prior to and during the latter period of the Persian Achaemenid Empire when that empire was locked in a desperate battle for survival with the Macedonian, Alexander the Great.

     Magadha was shielded from the momentous political events occurring further to the west. Here the Nanda dynasty founded a regional kingdom centered at the then capital of Magadha, Patiliputra, the modern Patna. The Nanda regional empire included Magadha, northern modern Bihar, parts of west Bengal and other states, such as Kasi, immediately to the west within the Ganges valley.

     The Brahminic Purana textural tradition characterizes the Nanda-s as low born, sudra-s from the servile class. The founder of this dynasty Mahapadma/Ugrasena Nanda is sometimes portrayed as originally being a farmer turned bandit who eventually became the lover of the queen of Magadha. Some other accounts simply suggest that he was a barber and by these means came into contact with the queen of Magadha. In any case Mahapadma/Ugrasena Nanda used his situation as the lover of the queen as a means to seize the throne after assassinating the then apparently very weak Magadhan ruler Kakavarni Saisunaga.

    According to the early Buddhist textural tradition the Nanda-s followed a system of passing the throne from brother to brother in order of seniority. All nine of the Nanda rulers were reputedly brothers and were greedy misers. According to the Purana tradition the emergence of the greedy, low caste Nanda dynasty heralded the beginning of the kali-yuga, the Dark Age.

   The effect of the Macedonian conquest of the Achaemenid empire and the subsequent retreat of Macedonian power from provinces both west and east of the Indus after the death of Alexander, the Great, contributed to allowing the removal of nearly two centuries of foreign domination over the greater north-western region.

    Chandragupta Maurya, who had personally met Alexander the Great in Taxila, founded the Mauryan dynasty. Reigning from c.320-299 BC., Chandragupta Maurya took advantage of the dynastic conflicts within the Macedonian camp after the death of Alexander in 323 BC. Subsequently acting on the strategic advise offered by the Brahmin Machiavelli, Kautilya/ Canakya of Taxila, he went on to evict the remaining garrisons of Macedonian Greeks from the Punjab etc., and to then went on to defeat the last of the Nanda-s, Dhana Nanda and remove the despised Nanda-s from Patiliputra.

    Chandragupta Maurya was a follower of the Jaina tradition. According to tradition Chandragupta Maurya was understood to have abdicated his throne and to have accompanied his master to Sravana Belgola, the principal Jain center of southern India. Subsequently in c.299 BC., he is reported to have fasted to death there in accord with the usage of Jain ascetic practices.

   The administrative heart of Chandragupta Maurya's empire was situated in Patiliputra, the capital of Magadha. Seleucus Nicator, the founder of the Greek Seleucid Empire, that inherited the eastern portion of Alexander’s empire, sent Megasthenes as ambassador to the court of Chandragupta Maurya in Patiliputra.

    Fragments from Megasthenes' now lost account, recall the efficiency, richness, artistic and intellectual achievements of the court of Chandragupta Maurya. Also the observations of other Greek ambassadors to the Mauryan court in Patiliputra clearly talk of its power, wealth and splendor. Similary such reports are contained in the works of Strabo, Pliny, Arrian, Diodorus etc.

    All these reports augment the reports by Alexander's official chroniclers Nearchus, Onesicritus and Aristobulus that offered valuable insights into Indian social, cultural and religious life during this very crucial early  phase in the arising of early classical India culture and history etc.

   After displacing the Nanda-s Chandragupta Maurya and his successors expanded the Mauryan Empire to become the first and actually the only Indian Empire to encompass and govern a major portion of all the ‘five’ regions of classical India. The Mauryan Empire also became the first Indian imperial power to include trans-Indus provinces that had traditionally fallen into the Persian cultural sphere of influence. These provinces included Aria, modern Herat, Arachosia, Kandahar, Gedrosia, Makran/Balucistan and Paropamisadae, Kabul.


       In his pursuit of freeing the northwestern region of the Indian sub-continent etc., from alien domination and in his pursuit of founding the Mauryan Empire, Chandagupta Maurya always followed the strategic advise etc. offered by the Brahmin Machiavelli, Kautilya/Canakya. The Brahmin Kautilya/Canakya was from the northwestern university/city of Taxila in greater Gandhara and was the ruthless, amoral Machiavelli of classical India. Kautilya/Canakya was also an ancient ‘renaissance man’. He was a medical practitioner; a master of contemporary Persian and Greek culture, sciences and philosophies; a master of Maga astrology and a master of the Veda-s, Vedanga-s and the 'five' philosophies of the early Brahminic period in addition to being a master of the strategies and tactics of war and politics.

     Remarkably the Brahmin Kautilya/Canakya initially entered into service as an advisor under the sudra, servile caste, Nanda dynasty of Magadha in the eastern portion of the greater 'middle country'. However the notoriously greedy and miserly Nanda monarchs were of peasant/bandit stock, used to instant action. Being absorbed in gross materialism they found no affinity with the subtle strategic approach proposed by Kautilya/Canakya in dealing with the constant menace posed by foreign dominance in the western and northwestern regions of India.

     Rather than being brow beaten by the intellect of this master tactician and strategist the brothers of the Nanda clan rather diverted themselves from their urgent tasks to the west by resorting to making fun of Kautilya/Canakya’s kautilya, ‘crooked’ and notoriously ugly face. This tack deeply insulted Kautilya/ Canakya and generated in him an enduring hatred for the Nanda clan. Subsequently relationships between the Nanda king and his advisor became so bad that the Nanda monarch resolved to have Kautilya/Canakya murdered.

   However having fore knowledge of this plot Kautilya/Canakya slipped away from Patiliputra. Subsequently Kautilya/Canakya nursed a burning hatred for the low born members of the Nanda clan while continually being on the look out for a likely man to lead a roll back of Greek,  Macedonian political power in the northwestern region and overthrow the Nanda-s in the east. Kautilya/Canakya found such a man in Candragupta Maurya.

     Classical Indian histories and literature leave unclear the family lineage and origins of Candragupta Maurya. Suggestions have been made to his base origins but Candragupta Maurya’s direct contact with Alexander the Great together with the sons of Indian nobles during the latter’s stay in the Punjab and his subsequent acceptance by Kautilya/Canakya tend to suggest that this was not the case.

    Candragupta Maurya was probably from a minor noble family but his vigor and intellect marked him out from his contemporaries and drew him towards the circle of Kautilya/Canakya who sought to complete his education and use him within his broader political/social strategy.

   Kautilya/Canakya initially acted as the mentor of Candragupta Maurya and subsequently as his chief strategic advisor and political preceptor. Subsequently, with his tactical and strategic guidance, Candragupta Maurya went on to expel the Macedonian Greeks east of the Indus River, overthrew the Nanda-s of Magadha and through conquests founded the first indigenous multi-regional, all India and trans-Indus empire, the Mauryan Empire


     The commencement of a process in the historic recording and textural re-capitulation of the Brahminic social/religious stance a the end of the 4th., century BC., in part reflects the positive effects of the events that led to the throwing off of more than two centuries of alien rule under the Persians and briefly by the Macedonian Greeks in the western and northwestern regions. A part of this whole process can be marked within the composition of the arthashastra (AS.,) the earliest historical Indian work on regal statecraft and politics, written by the Brahmin Kautilya/Canakya.

    Kautilya/Canakya considered this process of recapitulation and redefinition as absolutely necessary after the social and political dislocation of the whole 'middle country' generated by the conquests and domination of the western and northwestern regions by the Persian Archaemenid dynasty and the Macedonian Greeks under Alexander the Great. In addition and possibly personally more importantly to Kautilya/Canakya, this process sought to redress the perceived loss of social cohesion generated by the rise to power of the low caste Nanda dynasty previously ruling in Magadha.

   After receiving slights and even threats on his life at the hands of the Nanda-s, their overthrow and replacement with a dynasty able to institute and enforce orthodox social ideals became part of the life work of Kautilya/Canakya. Certainly by way of the outlook promoted in the AS., the orthodox elite commenced and set in motion an ongoing process of recording, re-evaluation and re-definition that through the slightly later Brahminic Dharmashastra textural tradition led to the emergence of the rigid historic social/religious stance of classic Brahminism.

     Despite the historic existence in northern India and Nepal of works containing maxims and aphorisms on statecraft, morality, ethics and common sense attributed to Kautilya/Canakya, such as the still popular Nepalese, Sanskrit and Newar medium canakya-sar-samgraha, an actual mss., copy of the AS., was only discovered in 1905 AD.

    From the inclusion of language and terminology of later eras, the text of this mss., had apparently been revised and adapted by later interpolations during the immediate post-Mauryan period and also possibly later still during Shaka era of the early centuries of the 1st., millennium AD. Nevertheless the core contents of this text retain much of the spirit and sense guiding the Mauryan approach to social order and offers an insight into the basis for the generally unethically, unprincipled approach to absolute kingship frequently applied during the classical era.

   The AS., also still some what recalls and reflects an earlier certainly more flexible Brahminic social/religious outlook. Concise even pithy aphorisms defining the occupations and duties of the four castes as well as injunctions against women, widows, out-caste groups are presented in in sections of this treatise. Similar subjects dealing with caste duties and responsibilities are presented in a more inflexible manner within the slightly later works the Brahminic Dharmaßastra tradition.


     The essence of Kautilya/Canakya political, social and strategic advise can be found in the contents of the AS,. Curiously for a work composed by a renowned Brahmin intellectual, the AS., is dedicated to the Greek deities Jupiter and Venus. This dedication points to the flexibility of the era and to the degree of penetration of Greek and Persian ideas, systems of government and philosophies as well as to their continuing significance within the system of governance applied by the Mauryan Empire.

     Elsewhere there is considerable evidence of the influence of the approach of the so-called Brahminic, Nyaya, Logic School in the philosophical weave of the AS. Certainly reflecting the effects of the ongoing eclipse of the Vedic outlook by ancient, indigenous applied philosophical systems, such as the yoga system, Kautilya/Canakya gives place of preference to the unorthodox, yoga-orientated logic of the Nyaya philosophy. He places a greater emphasis upon this philosophical outlook rather than giving preference to the shamanistic doctrines of austerity, sacrifice discussed in the principal Veda-s and expanded upon within the outlook of the Brahmana-s.

    The AS., is divided into fifteen books or chapters. The first book deals with the ideals, principles and strategies of kingship within the caste-based mode of classical society. Book two is concerned with the civilian administration, the necessity for overt and covert oversight of all levels of civilian administration within this system as well as the oversight of religious and civil institutions by a variety of inspectors, officials, spies and agent-provocateurs etc.

   The Mauryan administrative system was based upon the Persian satrap system of semi-autonomous provinces headed by a governor, answerable to the king, who presided over both the local civil administration and military forces.

      Book three deals with the criminal, civil and personal aspects of the law. Book four the methods of apprehending and punishing all forms of wrongdoing from murder, theft to mercantile fraud, over-pricing, adulteration and false weights etc. Book five deals with the appointment and removal of officials, the responsibilities of all grades of officials, of their officers and lesser retainers. Here some very ingenious methods of extracting and collecting tax revenues are proposed.

     Book six deals with the seven principals or elements within politics, the required training and responsibilities of the king, his ministers etc. Here the means of governing the land, commanding forts, the oversight and auditing of the treasury, the army, dealings with allies and relations with other states are discussed. Book seven deals with the six modes of international policy, the application of the modes and strategies of peace, war, neutrality, readiness, alliance and especially duplicity.

    Book eight deals with the detrimental effects on the state when a king over-indulges passions for hunting, women, gambling or intoxication. Book nine and ten deal with the pursuit and prosecution of war. Book eleven deals with the modes of sowing discord and poisoning friendships among rival aristocratic or ethnic factions. Book twelve deals with the use of covert and overt agents within the overall regal strategy of self-preservation.

   Book thirteen deals with the modes of propitiating the deities after the bloody or peaceful conquest of enemy forts and fortified cities. Book fourteen deals with the necessity and modes for covert murder and the means to cause blindness, disease and insanity. By means of a broader discussion of such base principles together with examples book fifteen deals in general with the highly devious and unprincipled classical Indian approach to the science of politics.


     The Sanskrit word kautilya means ‘crooked’ and in relation to Kautilya/Canakya this term has initially historically simply be related to his crooked limbs and notoriously bad looks. However this term was also commonly used in connection with characterizing the crookedness and treachery associated with the poor, unethical and amoral stances of the mercantile and political classes. Here the word kautilya, ‘crooked’ certainly refers to the ruthless absolute approach to kingship guiding Indian monarchs including the Mauryan emperors and their advisers.

    The adjective ‘crooked’, when discussing the underlying philosophical approach and the basic principles of absolute Indian kingship, as appreciated from the precepts of the AS., makes perfect sense. Here in reality there is no pretense of ruling for the common good, as the first rule of kingship is simply based upon self-preservation followed by the necessity for any extreme of coercion and duplicity aimed towards maintaining this end.

    Duplicity is further amplified by the need to maintain feigned indifference to actions and events while actually attempting to remain informed of enemies’ and friend’s parts and motives in actions and events. Here through a pervasive system of spies, informants and agents provocateurs the king watches the situation, seeks to perceive the weakness of others while attempting to conceal his own strengths, weaknesses and overall strategy.

     Here the king is also taught to be unemotional and cold so as not to make any rigid preference or distinction based upon real friendship or even enmity. Rather he should adopt an opportunistic and flexible approach and when appropriate should unemotionally and deviously use both friendship and enmity within schemes aimed at the furtherance of his goal of self-preservation, absolute power, the expansion of the state etc.

     Punishment, including slow execution, torture, maiming etc., is to be ruthlessly inflicted to act as a deterrent. Under this approach rivals and vanquished foes are summarily dealt with by following the well-known classical Indian maxim that ‘unpaid debts, uncontrolled fires and defeated foes’ will further ‘multiply’ if left unattended. Thereby following the precept of deceit, gifts, false assurances and flattery could be used in order to lull enemies into a false sense of security until the right opportunity to strike occurred.

    Thereby the king was taught never to trust anyone, wife, son, concubine, minister and should anyone, even the most able, become too powerful or independent they were to be readily proscribed and executed. All this was justified on the basis of self-preservation and the maintenance of absolute power and thereby ‘crookedness’ as a political tool was deemed acceptable because the ‘end justified the means’.


     According to the AS., this treatise was primarily composed in order to re-establish the view and rule of traditional social dharma, law/duty and social usage, said to have been earlier set aside by the rise of the servant/laborer caste, Nanda dynasty of Magadha etc. In this sense part of the contents of the AS., while establishing the outlook of politics/statecraft, also in part certainly reflect a re-capitulation and modification of the inherited tenets of traditional Vedic/Brahminic law and usage.

    In this respect undoubtedly the AS., is a treatise that reflects the cultural necessity to reiterate and redefine accepted orthodox political, social and religious mores prevalent in the centuries prior to the Nanda-s and prior to the inroads made in the northwest and west by the Persians and subsequently the Macedonian Greeks under Alexander.

    Modern scholars, such as Radhakumud Mookerji, suggest that the orthodox social outlook discussed and presented in AS., certainly reflects a more liberal and tolerant social approach inherited from and reflecting the mores of the late Vedic and early Brahminic traditions than the later rigid, dogmatic approach discussed in the treatises of the Brahminic Dharmashastra tradition.

    The casteist views discussed in the AS., that deal with the various caste duties, the taking up military service, on meat eating, the drinking of liquor, on the duties of women, on divorce and the treatment of widows certainly reflect a much more tolerant approach than the dogmatic, anti-feminine, paternalistic and even neurotic approach on such subjects proposed in the slightly later Dharmashastra tradition.


     The AS., and the later treatises of the Dharmashastra tradition are characterized as smrti, ‘humanly inspired’ treatises that were composed to further discuss in detail the achara, the laws, codes and usage enjoined in the daily life of householders and ascetics. In this respect the treatises of the Dharmasastra tradition discuss in detail the shila, the moral, ethical and social codes that must be applied by the king and by all aspects of society in general.

    These two basic codes of shila and achara formed the dharma, meaning in this social context the ‘law/duties’ of both ascetic and householders. In the enforcement and application of the law/duties the ruler is characterized as the dandadhara, the Bearer of the Rod of the law who is enjoined to uphold and maintain these twin codes. Therefore under the idealized classical outlook of the system of caste, stages of life and profession/duty and despite the conventional regal approach solely based upon self-preservation, the duty of the ruler and of government was to uphold the codes of this social/religious system for the benefit of all.

    In an idealized sense this duty was incumbent upon the ruler and state in order that social stability could be maintained allowing development of the family and the individual towards attaining the aims of this social/religious doctrine centered on the 'stages of life'. Ideally these aims encompassed both worldly as well as spiritual fulfillment. Under the outlook of the AS., the ruler bears full responsibility to uphold and maintain this system of profession, moral, ethical and religious duties and stages within the passage of life.

     In 1.4, of the AS., in regard to the rationale and necessity for a ruler to strictly uphold the social/religious doctrine, Kautilya/Canakya states:

     ' Where there is no dandadhara, Bearer of the Rod [of the law], the strong eat up the weak as it is among fish. But protected by the king the weak become the strong.'

    Continuing 1.19., of AS., characterizes the necessary impartial and universal attitude a king should assume in order to fulfill the role of Bearer of the Rod [of the law], as the upholder of the law/duty incumbent on the various castes, by stating:

  ' For a king, his vow is constant activity in the cause of [the welfare of] his people.

  ‘His foremost social/religious duty is the [correct] performance of command [ordering all in accord with the law/duty].

   ‘His foremost [performance of] charity is equality [or impartiality] of treatment offered to all [castes within society].

    ' In the happiness of his subjects lies the happiness of the king. In their good lies his good and not in what is [simply] pleasing [or pleasurable] to himself.

    ‘ He must find his pleasure in the pleasure of his subjects.'


    Chandragupta Maurya used the Macedonian dynastic struggle to commence a series of rebellions against remaining Macedonian Greek power in the Punjab. Having no confidence in local rulers, who were previously allied with the Macedonians and in order to commence vigorous rebellions against Macedonian forces Chandragupta Maurya looked to the ajudhajivi-samgha-s, the Warrior Communities, from the independent tribal republics of the Punjab for recruits. Despite having earlier been unable to form a unified front against Alexander nevertheless individually these communities had put up a fierce resistance against the invading Macedonian forces and are reported in some instances to have died fighting in an attempt to maintain their political independence etc.

    Upon the removal of Macedonian power both to the west and east of the Indus, Chandragupta Maurya became free to turn his attention the Nanda-s and begin his long-term plan to conquer other kingdoms within the ‘five’ regions of classical India. After raising a regular army from the republican-minded tribes of the Punjab, Chandragupta Maurya then turned his attention to overthrowing the despised Nanda dynasty.

   After an initial setback he overthrew the Nanda dynasty and established himself at Patiliputra. As the reign of Chandragupta Maurya is understood to have commenced in c.320 BC., this date presumably also indicates the year that he overthrew the Nanda-s and established himself in the capital of Magadha, Patiliputra.

     Having firmly secured his western frontier and having established the seat of his dynasty in Patiliputra, Chandragupta Maurya commenced campaigns that further extended the Mauryan Empire, initially in southern and later in western India. His conquests in the south extended below the Narmada River as far south as the southern Deccan plateau within Mysore including the important Jain center of Sravana Belgola situated south of the Pennar River.

     In the West his conquests included Gujarat, Kutch, Saurastra, Konkana etc. These conquests, that endowed the Mauryan Empire with the status of a pan-Indian empire, occurred in the period prior to Seleucus Nicator's attempt to return the Punjab to Greek control in c.305 BC.

     Seleucid armies under Seleucus Nicator returned to the Afghan portion of greater Gandhara in c.305 BC., and even attempted to re-conquer the Punjab. However the forces of Seleucus Nicator were unable to make any progress in gaining a hold over the Punjab. Recognizing the difficulties of confronting and holding the extreme eastern portion of the former Macedonian empire in the face of the powerful forces of the  Mauryan dynasty, Seleucus came to terms with Chandragupta Maurya in c.303 BC.

   After receiving five hundred Indian trained war elephants as part of the treaty, that he subsequently successfully used in a crucial battle with remaining Macedonian rivals, Seleucus officially ceded all former Macedonian territories both to the west and to the east of the Indus to the Maurya-s. This extended the western boundary of the Mauryan Empire up to Aria, the modern Herat firmly located within the Persian cultural sphere.

     Friendly relations between Seleucus Nicator and Candragupta Maurya commenced from the treaty of c.302 BC. Both emperors recognized the benefits of having friendly relations with powerful neighbors situated on the frontiers of their respective empires. This treaty was beneficial to the Mauryan side and commenced positive long-term friendly relations, trade between the Seleucid and Mauryan empires.


       (iv.,) Asoka Maurya, the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya.


      Chandragupta Maurya was succeeded by his son Bindusåra, c.299-275 BC., who in turn, after a war of succession was succeeded by his son, Asoka, c.274-232 BC., the originally violent conqueror but then the politically subtle, humanitarian-minded patron of Buddhism. Asoka Maurya increased the extent of the Mauryan empire by expanding into Kalinga, situated south of the Mahanadi river on the coast of modern southern Orissa and by fully incorporating the inland kingdom of the Andhra-s, situated South of the Godavari river into the empire etc.

    However, subsequently Asoka became disgusted with the bloodshed of violent conquest, as occurred during his campaign and conquest of Kalinga, and became a dedicated devotee of the humanitarian, atheistic Buddhist Doctrine. From that time Asoka actively accepted and sought to apply in daily governance the moral and ethical stances of the Buddhist Doctrine derived from the ‘four noble truths’, the ‘eight-fold path’ of ‘right’ action, including the stance of ahimsa, non-violence towards all living beings. By adopting and applying the moral and ethical stances of the humanitarian Buddhist doctrine Asoka sought to break with and further evolve the remorseless and generally unprincipled face of the opportunistic and absolute rule of the Mauryan monarchy.

     Within the context of classical Indian empires, immoral and amoral concepts generally guided the ruthless application of power by the normally duplicitous, selfish and self-centered monarchs. In the classical era such an approach to governance was deemed necessary by monarchs for their self-preservation, to ruthlessly maintain internal administrative order, public order and discipline as well as to maintain territorial integrity. During the Maurya era this unprincipled and ruthless approach to governance is clearly characterized by the contents of Kautilya/ Canakya’s work on classical Indian politics and statecraft, the AS,.


    Asoka had already come to appreciate the negative effects of applying the hitherto normal, amoral standards of ruthless suppression and exploitation in the autocratic government of unsettled frontier provinces. When Asoka was the governor of Taxila and then Ujjain during the reign of Bindusara, the Punjab was the center of a number of protracted revolts against heavy-handed Mauryan rule.

   Essentially the powerful Greek element within the extreme western and northwestern regions of the Mauryan Empire already regarded the Mauryans as a culturally alien, tyranny that exploited them with heavy taxes and oppressed them by forcing the Greek leadership to levy recruits and laborers. Heavy-handed Mauryan rule merely served to confirmed this perception and drove the Greeks to revolt.

    Further in c.262 BC., during the twelfth year of Asoka's reign, while he was engaged in the conquest of Kalinga, the Bactrian Greeks revolted against Seleucid rule. Under Diodotus I., the Bactrian Greeks founded the independent, separate kingdom of Bactria in parts of modern northern and northwestern Afganistan as well as in modern Uzbekistan etc., that in the southeastern part bordered the extreme northwestern provinces of the Mauryan Empire. The establishment of an independent Bactrian Greek kingdom on his northwestern marches together with Greek unrest in his wealthy Indus and trans-Indus provinces posed Asoka with difficult military, economic and political dilemmas.

  These dilemmas included the need to fully settle the wealthy Indus and trans-Indus provinces that contained influential and powerful Greek minorities as well as to avoid costly campaigns in sometimes difficult terrain while at the same time not wishing to antagonize the Seleucids or stir up Bactrian Greeks. Asoka formulated and successfully applied a unique and hitherto unheard of subtle strategy towards achieving these ends.

   Asoka substituted the policy of digvijaya, ‘violent conquest’ and the ruthless suppression of his subjects with that of the more liberal and flexible dharma-vijaya, morally and ethically-based ‘moral conquest’ or rather Moral Rule. Certainly by way of Moral Rule Asoka adopted a then unusually enlightened attitude towards the material and spiritual welfare of his subjects. This attitude certainly stemmed from his practical approach to applying Buddhist morality and ethics leading him to fully embrace and live up to the historic regal ideal of the danda-dhara, the Bearer of the Rod of the law.

    Asoka's rock edicts, inscribed pillars etc., indicate the positive mental attributes, necessary and inherent to the cultivation of the moral and ethical aspects of the Buddhist doctrine, that should be the guiding principles within the context of publicly applying Moral Rule by a Bearer of the Rod of the Law. These recorded attributes of mind and action include truthfulness, self-scrutiny, self-control, inner and outer purity, non-injury, mercy/kindness, charity, gentleness, gratitude, equal treatment under the law, moderation in spending and moderation in saving etc.

    Breaking with the approach of absolute and despotic monarchy Asoka sought through the application of Moral Rule to generally uplift the social, moral and doctrinal situation of his subjects. He sought to avoid having to constantly resort to ruthless suppression and to positively go beyond the normal standard of neglect of social welfare and the neglect of impartial justice. Such policies aimed at cultivating a reasonable degree of acceptance and even loyalty to Mauryan imperial rule certainly hinged upon maintaining the satrap system, by way of good provincial government free from gross corruption.

   However, Asoka's adoption of policies based upon Moral Rule certainly did not mean that the Mauryan Empire became a toothless tiger in the face of external threats and internal revolts, corruption etc. Rather Asoka appreciated that the rapid expansion of the Mauryan Empire had placed immense military and financial burdens as well as severe administrative strains upon the government of such a vast empire and thereby while applying Moral Rule he certainly retained the mailed fist in reserve.


     In an era of poor networks of transport and slow communication, where time delays in news and responses to urgent threats necessitated delegating power to provincial governors, Asoka wisely continued many of Kautilya/Canakya’s prudent if often ruthless policy approaches. Asoka accepted many of Kautilya/Canakya’s ideas on fiscal prudence, bureaucratic efficiency free of corruption and the need for constant oversight of the decentralized provincial bureaucracies. Oversight was created by way of trusted officials and networks of overt and covert inspectors and spies who appreciated the need for the expeditious, clear and detailed relay of information and orders.

    Such a uniform system of satrap provincial government had already be created by way of a decentralized but carefully overseen provincial bureaucracy who worked together with urban guilds and the semi-autonomous even quasi-democratic village and tribal-based institutions. Under Asoka this carefully overseen mode of provincial administration was further augmented and refined.

    During the reign of Asoka, Moral Rule and this unusual degree of positive, careful central government guidance instituted fundamental changes in the direction of Mauryan state policy. Provincial administrations became essentially free of massive corruption; free from farming out tax collection; free from partial tax extractions and became a system allowing the fair levying of soldiers and laborers while also actually engaging in spending revenue on social welfare and public works.

    The pursuit of good governance and fiscally prudent policies certainly meant greater degrees of oversight of provincial bureaucracies by trusted independent officials answerable only to Asoka in the court of Patiliputra. To this end in c.257 BC., Asoka created the office of the dharmamahamatra-s, the High Officials of Morality who were charged to fully institute and oversee his policy of Moral Rule.

    The High Officials of Morality were a natural but seemingly positive extension of the system of spy/internal auditing officials of the Mauryan Empire mentioned and discussed in the AS. Positive intervention, such as weeding out the corrupt and actually applying defined moral and ethical principles to daily governance, formed the oversight duties performed by the High Officials of Morality. They performed these duties while retaining the very potent threat of heavy punishment and/or severe suppression and also where necessary the use of armed might.

    While applying these principles, the decentralized civil satrap administration under the command of provincial governors and the military wing, both overseen by the High Officials of Morality, sought to guard the frontiers against incursions while at the same time seeking to eliminate the causes for civil unrest and rebellion. In order to reverse and eliminate the causes of civil unrest Asoka’s mode of decentralized provincial administration offered a hitherto unheard of degree of commitment to social welfare and equal, impartial justice.

     In the Punjab etc., the successful application of this strategy, allowing an uninterrupted flow of trade and taxes from the very wealthy northwestern provinces, was demonstrated by the cessation of a prolonged period of revolt and unrest and by the enduring adoption of Buddhism by the now Indianized Greek communities.

    Apparently the rational philosophical approach of Buddhism was well suited to the mind-set and social situation of the Greeks. Although there are later recorded instances of Greeks being accepted as caste Hindus, essentially the Yavana/Greeks of this period are characterized as being without Vedic/Brahminic social customs/mores and social/religious usage.

   According to biased Brahminical sources Greek society was simply only divided into employers and laborers. Presumably because of a philosophical affinity to the intellectual, rational concepts of Buddhism and because of a lack of the incidence of adopting casteism, Buddhism endured among the Greek communities of the northwest. Even after the fall of the Mauryans, Buddhism continued to be applied by the Greeks and actually flourish coming to full flower within the later Bactrian Greek kingdoms of western India, such as at Mathura etc.

    A similar approach was adopted to secure Kashmir and the other parts of northwestern marches inhabited by Shaiva worshipping indigenous tribes. In Kashmir Asoka introduced Buddhism, attempted to convert the indigenous Shaiva following inhabitants and planted Buddhist kula-s, families and sreni-s, colonies of military families commanded by yoda-s, [military] veterans, deemed necessary to protect and support monasteries and the communities of monks etc.

      The introduction of Buddhism in Kashmir and in the tribal regions of the northwest possibly commenced the gradual process of the fusion of Buddhist doctrinal principles with the ancient tantric yoga-based, Shaiva milieu. Eventually in the hill valleys of the northwest, during later periods of political chaos and cultural dislocation that characterized the early centuries AD., this process of fusion accelerated, thrived within a religious climate freed both from the strictures of Brahminic and Buddhist orthodoxy.


    In c.253 BC., Asoka convened the Third Buddhist Council that was held in Pataliputra. This council presided over by Mogaliputta Tissa, is reputed to have set down the first authorized and recorded Pali canon of the orthodox Theravada or Hinayana tradition. The tipitaka, the 'three baskets' of treatises, that comprise the canon of the modern Shri Lankan, Burmese, Thai and Lao Theravada textural traditions etc., are understood to be derived from and are thought to be similar to the authorized canon compiled and recorded at this council.

     Mogaliputta Tissa also sent Maharakkita on a mission to the Greek communities of the Punjab. In c.252 BC., Asoka dispatched a son Mahendra and subsequently, in c.245 BC., his daughter Sangahmitra together with monks and Buddhist families to the court of king Tissa in modern Shri Lanka in order to propagate the Buddhist Doctrine there. Sanghamitra is reputed to have taken a sapling of the original Bodhi tree to Shri Lanka, which was subsequently planted in Annuradhapura. The offshoots of this sacred tree are understood to still being growing there to this day.

   The patronage and missionary efforts of Asoka served to facilitate the rapid spread of Buddhism throughout the 'five regions' of classical India that comprised the bulk of the Mauryan Empire. In this manner by way of Asoka's official patronage, the missionary and administrative efforts of his High Officials of Morality, Buddhism was transformed from a relatively obscure regional doctrine/religion and spread from the original cradle of Buddhism in the eastern 'middle country' throughout and beyond the multi-regional Mauryan Empire. In addition to Shri Lanka, Asoka is known to have sent Buddhist missionaries to Egypt even to Macedonia and the Epirus etc.

     However although converted to Buddhism, Asoka nevertheless also patronized the other orthodox and heterodox traditions including Vedic/Brahminism, the various emerging Brahminic and unorthodox cults of the Trinity, the Jaina tradition and even to the sinister, amoral Ajivika tradition. Asoka was possibly sympathetic to the Ajivika-s by way of a prophecy reputedly given to his mother by an Ajivika ascetic that her son would be a ‘great’ ruler.

    However, despite being liberally inclined towards the other orthodox, unorthodox and heterodox traditions of the day, Asoka was by faith a Buddhist and his partiality for his chosen faith led the disproportionate patronage of this then relatively obscure and certainly essentially regional religious tradition. This disproportionate degree of patronage in fact led to an overly rapid expansion of the assembly of monks and added to the deep seated, doctrinal rivalry within the Buddhist tradition as well as fueling the bitter antagonism held by the Vedic/Brahminical traditions etc., towards the atheistic Buddhist tradition.

     According to the historical outlook of the Theravada tradition, as expressed in historical works such as the Sri Lankan mahavamsa, the rapid expansion of the Buddhist Assembly, through generous royal patronage attracted many converts who were unworthy by being at best lukewarm to the Buddhist Doctrine. According to this source many of these converts in fact retained many of their previous non-Buddhist doctrinal views and beliefs.

   As a consequence of the conversion of Asoka in c.261 BC., the MV, v.228-229., indicates that:

   ' From that time onwards the revenues of the brotherhood were exceedingly great, and since those who were converted later caused the revenues to increase, heretics who had lost revenue [or patronage] and honor [thereby] took likewise the yellow robe for the sake of revenue and dwelt together with the bhikku-s'.

     According to the orthodox Theravada tradition these converts introduced philosophical and doctrinal elements which subsequently led to the further schisms that rocked the Buddhist Assembly and which eventually led to the formation of the various Mahayana schools. A further significant negative side-effect of Asoka's disproportion patronage of Buddhism, led after his death to a protracted period of intense religious factional rivalry and even violent sectarian unrest.


     The various other major religious traditions of the day, that competed with Buddhism for patronage and influence, were remarkably supported by powerful patrons within Asoka's own  family and court. Members of Asoka's immediate family, including some of his sons and even his last, young and favorite wife did not share his enthusiasm for the Buddhist Doctrine. Their actions and especially the action of his grandson Samprati’s staging a successful coup d’etat, led to the tragedy that marked the last days of Asoka. Here this most noble-minded of emperors was rendered virtually powerless by his immediate family circle and was essentially held as a prisoner within his own palace until his death.

     Asoka's young and purportedly ‘lustful’ last wife, Tisarakshita was a supporter of the Brahmin faction. She is characterized in the mahavamsa as the 'treacherous Tisarakkha'. She hatched a plot that caused Asoka's favorite son and designated heir, Dharmavivardana, the Buddhist devotee and governor of Taxila, also known as Kunala, to be seized and blinded. This intentional blinding is said to have occurred because Kunala spurned Tisarakßita's lustful advances but more likely occurred to exclude the Buddhist Kunala from ascending to the Mauryan throne. 

   Further the ‘treacherous’ Tisarakshita is also debited with poisoning and destroying of the original Bodhi Tree ' because the king worships the Bodhi-tree to my cost'. According to the Buddhist, Sri Lankan historical tradition Asoka was eventually forced to execute Tisarakshita for these crimes.

   Certainly as a consequence of this handicap and in accord with traditional usage Kunala was excluded from his inheritance. Because Asoka's other principle sons and grandsons were not Buddhists, the effect of this plot dashed Aßoka's hopes of having a Buddhist heir who would continue the spread and maintain the supremacy of his chosen faith.

   Subsequently Kunala is thought to have entered the monk-hood and retired to a monastery in Gandhara in the northwest. As a consequence of the later persecutions of his Shaiva supporting brother Jalauka, Kunala led an emigration of Buddhists from Kashmir and from greater Gandhara to Kingdom of Khotan, an the oasis-based culture, situated in the deserts of the  southern Tarim Basin of Central Asia. Here the southern route of the China/West Silk Road, passes south of Taklimakan desert through the oasis-based cultures of Khotan etc.


        (v.,) The division of the Maurya Empire, leading to the gradual fall of the Maurya Empire by c.180 BC. 


    On the death of Asoka in c.232 BC., internal religious factors certainly contributed to the division of the Mauryan empire into western and eastern wings under his son Jalauka and his grandson Samprati. Further these sapping internal factors together with Bactrian Greek incursions and invasions and the expansion of Satavahana/Andhra power from the south-east towards Malava, north of the Narmada river, led to the eventual fall of both the wings of the Mauryan dynasty as significant regional powers by c.180 BC.

    Because of renewed and fierce competition with other sectarian traditions the Buddhist tradition entered a period of persecution, roll back and retrenchment. After Asoka’s death the Brahminic persecution of Buddhism in the northwest commenced under the aegis of his son Jalauka. Even the paramount position of Buddhism was lost in the east because of his grandson Samprati’s enthusiastic patronage of the Jain tradition.

    An even greater degree of Brahminc persecution occurred after the fall of the eastern Mauryan Empire to a coup d’etat initiated in c.180 BC., by the leading general of Brhadratha Maurya, Pusyamitra Shunga. Pusyamitra Shunga and his successors, who favored the Brahminic faction ruled from Videsa in northern modern Madhya Pradesh. They defaced Buddhist monuments, destroyed stupa-s, torched monasteries and even massacred monks.

    Nevertheless, the appeal of Buddhism among the mass of the population endured because the monasteries endured and maintained the humanitarian and moderate ascetic outlook the tradition. Buddhism endured because the continuing egalitarian approach of the Buddhist Assembly served as a buttress against the excesses of casteism and the weigth of Brahminism. In this sense the Buddhist tradition also offered a rational view on cause and effect in daily life by way of the outlooks of the ‘four noble truths’ and the ‘noble eight-fold path’ of right action.

    These stances contrasted in a positive manner to the arbitrary, unreasonable and sometimes irrational outlooks offered by other polytheistic, caste-oriented Vedic/Brahminical sectarian traditions etc. Despite this period of persecution and because of these factors Buddhism still remained a potent religious tradition in classical India. Buddhism endured because of regal patronage and thereby further flowered in western India during the era of the Bactrian Greeks, the Shaka-s and Kusana-s. Subsequently the Buddhist tradition also continued to flower in Magadha and in the east during the later eras of the Gupta and Pala dynasties and in the north under the Vardhana dynasty etc.


      Asoka's son Jalauka, a follower of Shaivism, was initially Asoka's governor of Kashmir. On Asoka's death Jalauka seized the whole northwestern region etc., and founded the western wing of the Mauryan dynasty. Jalauka actively patronized and encouraged orthodox Shaivism and allowed the persecution of Buddhism in the northwest. He reigned in the western wing of the Mauryan Empire from c.232-215 BC.

    On the death of Jalauka the western wing of the Mauryan empire lost the trans-Indus provinces to the Bactrian Greeks who in turn certainly temporarily lost control of these provinces to the eastern advance of the Seleucid emperor, Antiocus III., in c.206 BC. Despite the loss of the trans-Indus provinces the western wing of the Mauryan dynasty endured in the Punjab, Kashmir and the upper Indus Valley regions until being supplanted by the Bactrian Greeks during the early decades of the 2nd., century BC. Subsequently the Bactrian Greeks were in turn displaced by the invading Sythian/Saka-s during the middle and latter parts of the 1st., century BC.

    Asoka's grandson Samprati, the son of Kunala, inherited the major eastern portion of the Mauryan Empire. Samprati reigned from c.232-223 BC. Samprati is thought to have maintained intact the portion of Mauryan Empire that he inherited from his grandfather. With the exception of the western provinces ruled by Jalauka his portion included all the provinces of the Mauryan Empire in the 'middle country' as well as to the south of the Narmada and Mahanadi rivers etc.

    Like his great, great grandfather Chandragupta Maurya, Samprati was an avid patron of the Jain tradition. Samprati's support of the Jain tradition stemmed from the period of his conversion to this creed while serving as Asoka's governor of Ujjain, then a center of the Jain tradition.

      In order to deal with the threat posed by incursions from the Bactrian Greeks to his western frontier Samprati ruled mainly from Ujjain rather than from Patiliputra. However his often indolent and dissolute successors left the protection of the western frontiers to their provincial governors preferring to reside in Patiliputra whiling away their time hunting or indulging themselves with their concubines etc.

    This lack of energetic direction saw the Mauryan Empire shrink eastwards and northwards under the threat of rebellious independently minded governors and generals. The situation was further exacerbated through the potent external threat posed by the Bactrian Greeks, by the expansion of the Satavahana/Andhra power from the southeast across the Narmada River and by incursions from the now again independent kingdom of Kalinga.

    With the division of the Mauryan Empire and through the indolence of the later dissolute emperors the western frontiers of these two wings of the Mauryan Empire fell prey to the incursions, invasions and conquests of the Bactrian Greeks. Demetrius, the son of Euthydemus, the founder of the Bactrian Greek house that ruled eastern Punjab, invaded the interior of northern India in c.187 BC., and even laid seige to Patiliputra. This major Bactrian Greek incursion was driven back by Pusyamitra Shunga, the commander-in-chief of the last Mauryan emperor Brihadratha.

     Presumably disgusted with Brihadratha's indolence and weakness in the face of the continuing very potent threat posed by the Bactrian Greeks Pusyamitra staged a coup d'etat by engineering the assassination of Brihadratha in c.180 BC. Remarkably the assassination of Brihadratha is reported to have occurred in full view of the army that had been assemble for  a review. Pushyamitra was a follower of the Brahmin faction and the nature of Brihadratha's assassination in full view of the army would suggest the strength of this faction at that time as well as the unpopularity of the Mauryan dynasty.

    With the fall of the last Mauryan emperor in c.180 BC., and after the passing of the usurper, the powerful Pushyamita Shunga, who reigned from c.180-147 BC., the extent of the former eastern Mauryan empire continued to rapidly contract. According to the matsya-purana the Shunga dynasty endured for 112 years. This may well be true in terms of the life of this dynasty but not in terms of the military power or political authority wielded by this so-called empire.

    With the passing of the usurper, the powerful Pusyamitra Shunga, the extent of the former eastern Mauryan Empire continued to contract more rapidly through the inroads made by the Bactrian Greeks from the west and by the Satavahana/Andhra-s from the southeast.

    Through the inroads of these adversaries and by the assertions of independence by opportunistic provincial governors, the extent of the domains of the Shunga dynasty are thought to have been rapidly reduced to a mere shadow of the former glory of the eastern Mauryan Empire. The reduction of the rump former eastern Mauryan Empire is suggested by the fact that after the passing of Pusyamitra Shunga the Shunga-s did not even rule from Patiliputra. The capital of their rapidly reduced domain was Videsa, their ancestral seat in eastern Malava, situated near Besnagar in modern Gwalior district.

     During the first quarter of the 1st., century BC., the Shunga-s were even overthrown in Videsa by their Brahmin ministers, the Kanva-s. Thereafter the Shunga/Kanva-s endured in Videsa for a further 45 years before their last king was swept away by the Andhran Satavahana-s in c.30 BC.

     In marked contrast to the outlook of the matsya-purana, the noted modern historian S. Chattopadhyaya characterizes the actual nature and condition of the so-called Shunga Empire by stating:

      ' ...That there was no empire of the Shungas after the death of Pusyamitra and it is therefore a misnomer to think of a Shunga age in ancient Indian history.'

      An inscription at the southern gate of Sanchi stupa indicates a donation made by 'the superintendent of the workshop of king Shri Satakarni'. S. Chattopadhyaya suggests that Satakarni is Shri Satakarni the third monarch of the Satavahana dynasty and that it was this monarch who swept away the Kanva-s thereby establishing Satavahana political control of Malava at the end of the 1st., century BC.


        (vi.,) The Bactrian Greeks. 


       'The Greeks were] viciously valiant...’.

                                                                                yuga-purana of the gargi-samhita.



     Despite the fact that the Seleucids had relinquished their claims on the Punjab and lands both to the West and East of the Indus in an agreement with Chandagupta Maurya 303 AD., nevertheless a considerable number of Greek colonists remained there. These Greek colonists had married local women and had remained in the trans-Indus provinces as well as in the provinces immediately east of the Indus.

   But in actuality Greeks and Greek influences in what is now modern Afghanistan, Gandhara etc., pre-dates both Alexander the Great and the Bactrian Greeks, as powerful Achaemenid emperors such as Xerxes and Darius I., are known to have instituted policies of settling Ionian Greek exiles and other Greek captives in Bactria etc., during the 6th., and 5th., centuries BC. Because of frequent incursions and destructive raids by Central Asian nomads into eastern Persia, colonies of Greek exiles were founded to block these incursions. Like the earlier Oxus and Merv oasis-backed cultures, these Greeks exile colonies thrived there and eventually went on to form the independent kingdom of Bactria in the southern part of southern Central Asia as well as in modern northern Afghanistan etc.

     Asokan rock inscriptions in modern Lamghan near Jalalabad and at Kandahar, inscribed in Aramaic and Greek-Aramaic, indicate deep seated Persian and Greek influences in these regions of modern Afghanistan. The seminal 3rd., century BC., Sanskrit grammarian, Panini, who hailed from the Gandharan district of Salatura, near Taxila, mentions yavana-s, Greeks and yavanani, the Greek script in his famous work on Sanskrit grammar, the Sutra-s of Panini.

     During the reign of Asoka, the prime Yavana/Greek country was certainly then recognized as being situated in Gandhara both to the northwest and southwest of Takshashila/Taxila. Greek influences in the Punjab, Balucistan and in Sind etc., were maintained and further augmented towards the western states of the 'middle country' with the arrival of Bactrian Greeks during the latter part of the 3rd., century BC.

    As mentioned the Bactrian Greeks were the descendents of rebellious Greeks, settled there by Persian emperors during the 6th., and 5th., centuries BC. These dangerous rebels were spared death because of their ‘vicious valiance’ and because of this characteristic were sent into exile to guard the northeastern marches of the Persian Empire from incursions by Central Asian Sythian and other nomadic tribes.      

    The ancient Greek kingdom of Bactria was comprised the province of Balkh as well as other provinces in modern northern Afghanistan and also by possessions on the steppes of modern Uzbekistan and Tajikistan as well as even in the southwestern part of southern Tarim Basin. This land is known in ancient and classical literature as Bahlika, Vahlika etc., and the ancient city of Balkh, known as the ‘mother of cities’, was the ancestral city of Zoroaster and from where the fire worshipping Zoroastrian religion emerged.

    Subsequently during the 4th., century BC., Macedonian soldiers were left behind in Bactria with the retreat of Macedonian power from the Indus region of Gandhara and further augmented the Bactrian Greek population. Despite being far from Greece and set on the frontier with the steppes of southern Central Asia, Bactria remained a center for Hellenic culture and was therefore a source for later Greek influences in Indian culture and art.

   Bactria remained nominally subject to the Seleucid Empire until they asserted their full independence in the following century. During the early part of the reign of Asoka, in the middle of the 3rd., century BC., the governor of Bactria, Diodotus declared independence from the eastern Greek, Seleucid Empire. Diodotus then founded the Bactrian Greek dynasty that ruled both in northern modern Afghanistan and the regions of Central Asia placed in proximity to Bactria across the Oxus and Jaxartes rivers. The Mauryan-s continued to rule provinces in western, southern and eastern Afghanistan.

     Friendly relations between the eastern Greek Seleucid Empire and Mauryan Empire began in 303 BC., and despite a hiatus due to incursions by Aracid/ Parthians and the Bactrian Greeks, relations continued until the reign of the Seleucid emperor Antiochus III, c.223-187 BC. Friendly relations between these two empires kept the Bactrian Greeks in check and stopped the southeastward expansion of their sphere of influence.

     However on the death of Jalauka in c.215 BC., the weakened western wing of the Mauryan empire lost their trans-Indus provinces to the Bactrian Greeks. In turn the Bactrian Greeks certainly temporarily lost control of these provinces after the Seleucid Emperor, Antiochus III., defeated the forces of the Aracid/Parthian Empire of central/eastern Persia in c.206 BC., allowing him to temporarily re-extend the frontiers of the Seleucid empire back up to the Indus river.

    Despite the loss to the Seleucids of provinces to the west of the Indus, the western wing of the Mauryan Empire endured in the Punjab, Kashmir and the upper and lower Indus Valley regions. However relations between the Seleucid and Western Mauryan empires ceased around this time with the re-emergence of loose Aracid/Parthian authority over eastern Persia now also partly occupied by an invading Sythian horde from southern Central Asia. This further allowed the Bactian Greeks to rally and from what is modern southeastern Afghanistan to again overrun and reoccupy the former frontier provinces of the Seleucid Empire to the west of the Indus.

    This situation continued until the provinces to the east of the Indus were also again invaded by the Bactrian Greeks during the early decades of the 2nd., century BC. From c.197 BC., the son-in-law of Diodotus, Euthydermus also expanded Bactrian sway to the southeast and founded Bactrian Greek colonies in portions of the modern western Punjab and the lower Indus Valley of modern Pakistan.

   Euthydermus' son Demetrius c.190-165 BC., the contemporary and antagonist of Pusyamitra, invaded the plains of northern India in c.187 BC., and even laid siege to Patiliputra. The Purana-s record that the Bactrian Greeks also lay siege to Saketa, near Ayodhya and Madyamika near Chitor and for a period overran and ruled parts of Kosala and Pañchala in modern Uttar Pradesh.

   Although Pusyamitra eventually pushed this invasion back nevertheless the Bactrian Greeks under Demetrius still retained their hold over major parts of the northwestern and western regions up to Mathura. Demetrius, also known in Indian literature as Dattamitra, Damodara etc., was the king credited with firmly establishing Greek supremacy over northwestern and western regions including coastal regions for the next hundred years.

   Certainly from this time, a period of Bactrian Greek hegemony over large portions of northwestern and western India was firmly laid. With the fall of the western and eastern wings of Mauryan Empire and with the rapid decline of the Shunga-s after the death of Pusyamitra in c.145 BC., the Bactrian Greeks gradually became the paramount political force within the northwestern and western regions of classical India.

     During this period Bactrian Greek rule in eastern Punjab as well as in Patalene, Sigerdis and Saraostos corresponding to modern Sind, the lower Indus Valle, the Kathiawar peninsular and their rule of Saurastra was also established. Also during this period Bactrian Greek political influence was also again briefly expanded out of Sogdiana and Ferghana in modern Tajikistan and into Seres and Phryni thought to correspond to southwestern regions of the Tarim Basin. However all these central Asian provinces quickly fell to the Sythian horde or became independent by the end of the 2nd., century BC.


   A further, dramatic turn of events occurred while Demetrius of the house of Euthydermus was engaged on the protracted campaign in northern India. In c.171 BC., Eucratides, his nephew, usurped the throne of Bactria. The ensuing civil war led to the creation of two distinct and subsequently constantly warring Bactrian Greek ruling houses.

     Demetrius was forced to return to Bactria losing his hold on Kosala in the 'middle country' etc., and despite aid offered by the Sogdians was unable to retake his throne or regain his possessions both in Central Asia as well as in modern northern and western Afghanistan. Demetrius and the house of Euthydermus even lost Kapisa in eastern modern Afghanistan as well as Gandhara and western Punjab, to the house of Eucratides. Thereby the house of Euthydermus was only left in possession of their conquests in eastern Punjab, the lower Indus Valley as well as in western India and the coastal region further to the southwest.

    Eucratides was also the cousin of Seleucid emperor Antiochus IV., and this linkage of the Bactrian ruling house with the Seleucid's is understood to have disturbed the Arsacids who ruled the re-emerging Aracid/Parthian Empire. However upon the death of Antiochus IV., in c.163 BC., Eucratides refused to acknowledge his successor. Similarly the Seleucid military commander of Media rebelled against the Seleucids and declared the independent kingdom of Media/ Babylon.

     This state of confusion within the eastern portion of the Seleucid Empire allowed the Aracid/Parthian emperor Mithridates I., of central/eastern Persia to attack Eucratides. Strabo states that Mithridates I., crushed the forces of Eucratides and conquered the western and southern provinces of modern Afghanistan and even for a while held the region between the Indus and Jelum rivers etc.

      In another dramatic turn of events, while returning to Bactria from India in an attempt to repulse another Sythian invasion Eucratides was assassinated by his own son Heliocles II. Heliocles II., subsequently went on to annex the remaining possessions of the house of Euthydermus to the south and southeast of the Hindu Kush.

    Subsequently Antialcides c.130-100 BC., was the ruler of the lands from the Jelum River in the east to the Hindu Kush in the northwest. This ruler is recorded as sending envoys to the court of the Shungan king Bhagabhadra. Demonstrating the Indianization of the Greeks by this time, one envoy to the Shungan court, Heliodorus raised a still standing column surmounted with the image of Garuda, the mount of Visnu, at Besnagar in modern northwestern Madhaya Pradesh.


    This scantily documented and very confusing scenario, can sometimes only surmised from found coin troves and minimal numismatic evidence, was being played out while the Sythian/Shaka horde, known to imperial China as the Sai-wang, were pressing on the northern frontiers the Bactrian Greek provinces in the steppes of southern Central Asia. After decades of thrusts and counter thrusts between the Bactrian Greeks and the Shaka-s these Central Asian nomads finally decisively defeated the Bactrian Greeks. The Shaka-s destroyed Bactrian Greek power in Central Asia after their captured Bactria in c.145 BC.

     Heliocles II., together with the Bactrian Greek nation were forced to retire from Bactria eventually settling in their possessions in modern southeastern Afghanistan and northwestern India. However even during this period of invasion and retrenchment the two ruling houses of the Bactrian Greeks continued to competed with each other for possession of the Bactrian Greek sphere of influence within the remaining parts of Afghanistan as well as in the northwestern, western and southwestern regions of India.

      Subsequently, during the latter part of the 1st., century BC., or the early decades of the 1st., century AD., the Bactrian Greeks were in turn part displaced in Afghanistan etc., by the invading Iranian Shaka horde.  Certainly by the middle of the 1st., century AD., Bactrian Greek power had succumbed to a combination of family strife as well as incursions and conquests by the Aracid/Parthian empire and most importantly from migrations and invasions by the tribal Iranian Shaka horde. Here as previously mentioned, the Shaka horde were being pressed by the Kusana-s from modern northern Kazakhstan. At the same time the Kusana-s were also being pressed by Hunnish tribes further to their northeast and east in western China and Mongolia.

      In India the Bactrian Greek monarchs of the house of Euthydemus ruled mainly from Shakala, the modern Sialkot, in eastern Punjab near modern Jalundar. Rulers within this house include Demetrius II., Strato I.,& II., as well as the patron of Buddhism Menander/Milinda etc. The house of Euthydemus was defeated and displaced here in the first decade of 1st., century AD., by the Shaka king Azes I.

     The house of Eucradites initially ruled from Puskalavati and then Taxila until being displaced by the Shaka chief Maues. The date of Maues rule in Taxila is a cause of controversy among scholars some suggesting c.75 BC., or as is more likely to c.25 BC. The house of Eucradites continued to rule from the Upper Kabul River Valley and eastern Afghanistan until displaced in c.25 AD., by the Shaka Spalirises, the brother of Vonones.

    A Bactrian Greek state continued in the Kabul Valley until c.45 AD., until being briefly displaced by the eastern Aracid/Parthians, who in turn were displaced by the Kusana-s. However because of a lack of epigraphic and written records and the confusing minting of Greek coinage by the Shaka-s, the dates for the assumption of Shaka rule is certainly subject of much uncertainty and controversy among scholars.

       Further there is even reason to believe that even after the assumption of Shaka rule in the Punjab and elsewhere the consistency of their rule fluctuated and was inter-spaced by periods of the return power by local Bactrian Greek rulers. The conflicting evidence offered by finds of superior and inferior coins minted by the Bactrian Greeks and by the Shaka-s, who used both Greek and Persian Aracid/ Parthian designs, does not really help in clarifying the very confusing political scenario of this period.

     Of the Bactrian Greek rulers the best known is Menander/Milinder. Although initially ruling from the possessions of the house of Euthydermus the actual family lineage of Menander/Milinder is unclear. Menander/Milinda is thought by some scholars to have been a successful general of this house who rose to reign from c.115-90 BC. However the Indian historian S. Chattopadhyaya suggests that Menander/ Milinda ruled later from c.75 BC.

     Certainly under Menander/Milinda, the later domains of the Bactrian Greeks expanded to their zenith and included Afghanistan up to Herat in the West and to include parts of Punjab, Sind, Kathiawar, Saurastra, Ujjain and Mathura to the east. As indicated Mathura was already used by the Bactrian Greeks as a base for raids, incursions and invasions of the Jumuna/Ganges Valley during the 2nd., century BC.

      Mathura, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Shurasena is located on the Jumuna River some fifty miles southeast of Dehli. In classical myth the name of this probably pre-Indo-Aryan city is derived from the name of a legendary Maga king, Madhu. Megastenes the ambassador of the Seleucids sent to the court of Chandragupta Maurya at the end of the 3rd., century BC., recorded that Mathura was the center of the worship for the Indian Heracles, possibly the proto-tribal form of the Vaisnava deity Krsna. Subsequently local legends surrounding this tribal deity in turn became woven into Buddhist, Jain and later Hindu religious myth and legend.

     By the first half of the 2nd., century BC., Mathura fell into the Bactrian Greek sphere of influence. Menander/Milinder partly ruled from Mathura and the last Greek ruler of house of Euthydemus, Strato II., ruled there in c.75 BC., possibly being replaced by Menander/Milinder. Subsequently Mathura then passed alternatively to Shaka, Aracid/Parthian rule and by the late 1st., century AD., to Kusana rule. Mathura was an important administrative center for all these alien rulers as well as for later 3rd., century AD., Shaka Satrap kingdoms.

       The Mathura school of art whose heyday was from c.100-300 AD., shows marked eclectic origins and influences. The eclectic influences of the Mathura school demonstrated by Corinthian columns, stylized motifs, the distinctive stylized modes of statue subjects show a meeting of Persian, Middle Eastern, Roman and especially Greek artistic styles.

     By way of the kingdom of Gandhara, the crossroad for West Asian and Central Asian cultural influences into northern India, these styles were subsequently introduced and assimilated into the artistic milieu of western and northern India. The plastic form of statues from the Mathura school, such as the sculpted standing Buddha statues with their stylized, seemingly near diaphanous robes, show the complete assimilation of Greek and Roman artistic styles and techniques by the Mathura school. The recently destroyed huge, standing Buddha-s of Bamian in central Afghanistan dating from the 6th., century AD., certainly reflected the influence of the Mathura School of Art.


         (vii.,) The Shaka-s/Sythians.


       ‘They make all beings tremble with their mighty strength, even the very strongest...’



        The only comprehensive records of Central Asian tribal movements during last centures BC., and the early centuries AD., can be found in the remaing Chinese Imperial annals dating from this period. The earliest account of Central Asian tribal movements is found in the Report of Chang-kien. This Report forms chapter 123 of a larger work, the Shi-ki, composed by Tsi-ma-tsien and completed in 99 BC.

     Other important annals include the T’sien-han-shu, the Annals of the 1st., Han Dynasty and the Hou-han-shu, the Annals of the Later Han Dynasty. The Hou-han-shu was written in the 6th., century AD., some centuries after the period in question.

      The T’sien-han-shu was composed by Pan-kun and on his death was completed by his sister Pan-tcha. This work recounts the history of the 1st., Han dynasty from the era of its foundation in 202 BC., by the soldier of fortune, Lui-pang after the death of the first Chinese emperor Chen up to 24 AD. The Hou-han-shu was composed by Fan-ye who had based his work on the various reports by Pan-young recorded in c.125 AD. This work covers the period 25 AD., to 220 AD., and includes a discussion on the Yueh-chi, a northeastern part of the ethnic Sythian group of tribes. The later Kushans or Kusana-s of the Purana-s formed part of the Yueh-chi ethnic group of tribes.

      Both the Shi-ki and the T’sien-han-shu recount how during the 3rd., century BC., a Hun king of Mongolia, Chi-yu inflicted a crushing defeat upon the Yueh-chi, then living adjacent to Mongolia in the extreme eastern and north-eastern parts of the Tarim Basin bordering on the western part of the Gobi dessert. This crushing defeat at the hands of the Juan-Juan, the Huns or Huna-s apparently scattered the Yueh-chi with one group known as the Ta-yueh-chi migrating to the west via modern Kyrgyzstan and/or southern Kazakhstan into the steppes of Central Asia and the other group migrating south and southeast into northern Tibet, where they became known as the Hsiao or the Little Yueh-chi.

    In their westward migration via modern Kyrgyzstan/Kazakhstan, the Ta-yueh-chi encountered and defeated a major steppe tribe known as the Wu-san. In this defeat they killed the ruler of the Wu-san whose son then fled to the Huns for safety. This prince of the Wu-san was brought up by the Huns and subsequently regained his ancestral lands by defeating the Ta-yueh-chi who as a consequence migrated further into the southwestern steppes of Central Asia there clashing with the Sai-wang, the Sythians or Shaka-s.

      The defeat of the Sai-wang at the hands of the Ta-yueh-chi in turn caused the Sai-wang to migrate southwestwards into what is now the southern steppes of modern Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and on towards the Jaxartes and Oxus Rivers and modern northern Afghanistan. Here the Sai-wang encountered and clashed with the forces of the Bactrian Greeks who were finally defeated and driven southeastwards by the Shaka/Sai-wang in c.145 BC.

    However due to pressures on their eastern flank, the Yueh-chi followed the Sai-wang into the steppes of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan eventually forced the Sai-wang out of Bactria. This migration broke the Sai-wang into two parts. One group, known later simply as the Iranian Shaka-s continued on a westward route of migration  towards Mesopotamia. The other group, in part later known as the Afghan Shaka-s and the Murunda-s migrated by two routes one over the Hindu Kush and the other via Kashgar to Kashmir.

     But some scholars suggest the route of a branch of the Murunda-s southeastward migration towards Kashmir was via Herat. However this possible route is in contradiction to the more reliable suggestion found in Chinese annals that indicate a major route was from via Kashgar.


     Little is known regarding the subsequent history of Murunda-s. The T’sien-han-shu indicates that a significant portion of the Sai-wang in the southwestern Tarim Basin were attacked by the Yueh-chi and were forced southwards via the Hien-tu, the Hanging Gorge Pass, located to the southeast of Kashgar on the difficult mountainous route leading towards Kashmir.

   The T’sien-han-shu suggests that the Murunda-s of Ki-pin or Kashmir were established there by the period of the emperor Wu-ti, c.140-85 BC., and were ruled by a prince named Wu-tou-lao. The Sai-wang of Ki-pin were not receptive to embassies sent by Chinese frontier officials demanding tribute and Chinese attempts to obtain recognition of their suzerainty and the payment of tribute continued during the reign of the emperor Hsuan-ti, c.73-48 BC.

    The T’sien-han-shu further indicates that the Chinese successfully aided a prince of another branch of the ruling family of the Sai-wang to overthrow the ruler of Ki-pin during the reign of the emperor Hsuan-ti. However this prince known as Yin-mo-fu was equally recalcitrant in his dealings with the Chinese, even killing Chinese emissaries, and the confusing history of Chinese attempts at gaining recognition in Ki-pin continued during the reigns of the emperors Yuan-ti, c.48-33 BC., and Cheng-ti, c.32-7 BC.

     These brief and conflicting references only clearly suggest that the Shaka/ Murunda-s had entered Kashmir during the reign of Emperor Wu-ti c.140-85 BC., and because of the remoteness of Kashmir from the Tarim Basin and Central Asia had gradually grown bold enough to defy the dictates of the Chinese Empire. Further the Shaka/Murunda-s apparently extended their sphere of influence from Kashmir into the plains of the Punjab during the 1st., century BC.

    During this period of Shaka/Murunda power in the northwestern region of classical India other Shaka related tribes such as the Abhira-s, Madra, Pishacha etc., also continued to enter India eventually further migrating into the western region. Subsequently Abhira cattle herders settled in the western region and were apparently instrumental in the introduction of the mode of cow worship that today occupies an important place in the popular Vaisnava Krsna cult that emerged from the western region.

   Some scholars suggest the Madra-s founded the city of Shakala, the modern Sialkot. However this is uncertain because  Shakala was already an administrative center for earlier Bactrian Greek rulers and was later the capital of the Huna king Toramana. The Murunda-s were apparently not re-integrated with the Iranian and AfghanShaka-s and their influence actually again extended into northern India during the 2nd., century AD., after the fall of the Kusana dynasty.


     Details of the history of the western migrations of the Sythian/Shaka-s are also equally scanty and confusing. The Aracid/Parthian Empire, founded in c.248 BC., when the Aracids overthrew the Greek Seleucids in central Iran, had a great deal of trouble in containing the western migrations of the Sythian/Shaka horde. Being unable to defeat the Shaka-s the Aracid/Parthians attempted to buy them off. The policy of appeasement simply emboldened the Shaka-s and two Aracid/Parthian kings Phrates II., c.138-128 BC., and Artabanus, c.128-123 BC., were killed in battles with the Shaka-s.

    However Mithridates II., the Great, c.123-88 BC., stabilized the situation after defeating and putting pressure on the movement of the Shaka horde. Mithridates II., apparently stemmed the tide of their westward migration and forced the direction of their migration route southeastwards rather than towards Mesopotamia so that they were forced to create a sphere of influence in Seistan in eastern Iran. This sphere of Shaka influence was most probably nominally under Aracid/Parthian control and certainly subsequently the Aracid/Parthians employed Shaka chiefs as governors of their eastern and Indian provinces.

     Nominally now under Aracid/Parthian rule the now Iranian Shaka horde is thought to have remained intact in eastern Iran until the latter half of the 1st., century BC. From this period their sphere of influence gradually expanded with the migration of portions of their horde into western and southern Afghanistan an on towards India via Kandahar and the Bolan Pass. From c.50 BC., their influence expanded towards both into the Indus Valley and western Punjab.

     Once established in the northwestern region periods of Iranian, Murunda or Afghan Shaka rule apparently rapidly and confusingly alternated with periods of Greek and Persian Aracid/ Parthian domination. Certainly during periods of Aracid/Parthian dynastic weakness the already semi-autonomous Iranian/Shaka governors acted independently of the Aracid/Parthian Empire.

     This situation led to the emergence of various autonomous Shaka states/satraps that vied with the Bactrian Greeks for total control of provinces in eastern Afghanistan, the Punjab, Sind, the western region of India etc. These provinces/satrap states were eventually completely seized from the Bactrian Greeks. Only Bactrian Greeks under Hermaues continued to rule in the Kabul Valley up to c.45 AD., and patchy purely local Bactrian Greek rule endured for a while elsewhere in the Punjab and western region just prior to this date.


      During the period of their contact with the Aracid/Parthian Empire, the Iranian/Shaka-s absorbed elements of Iranian/Parthian culture and governance. As vassals of the Aracid/Parthian Empire they acted as provincial governors in eastern Iran and their administrative system was based upon the Persian semi-autonomous satrap approach. On arrival in India the ruling elite of the Iranian/Shaka-s, belonging to the family of the paramount chief Vonones ruling from Seistan in eastern Iran, re-introduced and relied on the Persian system of semi-autonomous satraps or provinces.

    The loose knit Iranian and Afghan Shaka sphere of influence outside of eastern Iran included western, southern and eastern Afghanistan as well as northwestern and parts of western India. By the end of the 1st., century BC., after their comprehensive defeat of the Bactrian Greeks, this led to the emergence of semi-autonomous Iranian and Afghan Shaka provinces/satraps, loosely centrally ruled from Taxila in the Punjab, by related members of the house of Vonones.

     These regions were divided into seven satraps or provinces. These satraps west of the Indus River included those of Kapisa, Puskalavati; a satrap comprised of the Swat Valley and another unnamed satrap possibly in the modern Northwest Frontier province known from an epigraphic inscription at Shahdaur to have been governed by one Namijada/Damijada. The other three satraps to the east of the Indus River include those of Cukhsa synonymous with modern Chach located in the plain of northern Attock district, Abhisharaprastra in the Punjab and Mathura in modern Uttar Pradesh to the east.

     D.C. Sirkar suggests that the Shaka kings of Taxila, governing on behalf of the ruling Iranian/Shaka family of Seistan include Maues c.20 BC.-22 AD., Azes I, c.5 BC-30 AD., Azilises c.28-40AD., and Azes II, c.35-79 AD. The anomaly between the possible dates of Maues and Azes I, suggests that the latter was possibly co-ruler for a while with his father.

      Dating all these rulers and especially Maues is the subject of much controversy among scholars. Chattopadaya suggests that the dating of Maues can only be ascertained by two pieces of concrete numismatic evidence and the Taxila copper plate dated to the year 78 VSE. Chattopadaya suggests that the numismatic evidence is actually weak because the early Shaka-s of Taxila copied coins minted by Bactrian Greeks including the coins of Demitrius and Antialkidas as well as those of their own earlier kings of Taxila. This anomaly led to finds in the excavations Taxila of pre-Shaka and early Shaka coins outside of their appropriate layer and time frame.

    The date 78  found in the Taxila copperplate is probably calibrated by the Vikram Samvat era calendar. This calendar is understood to have commenced in 58 BC., and is probably related to the date when the Iranian Shaka king Vonones of Seistan defeated his rivals and became paramount chief/king of the Iranian and possibly the Afghani Shaka-s. Subsequently this calendar became associated with late rShaka satraps of western India who ruled from Ujjain spreading their rule from there to other regions of northern India.

     The date of 78 VSE., on the Taxila copperplate thereby corresponds to c.20 AD. The Taxila copperplate refers to one Liaka Kusulaka identified with Liaka, a Murunda Shaka governor of Kashmir. The same governor of Kashmir is mentioned in an epigraphic inscription at Manshera date 68 VSE. or c.10 AD. However this evidence is in conflict with the Chinese annals that suggest Kashmir was still under the rule of the Murunda/Shaka prince Yin-mo-fu. Nevertheless on the basis of this evidence Indian scholars such as Chattopadaya and Sircar are in agreement that Iranian Shaka rule in Taxila certainly occurred by or just prior to c.20 AD.


    Azes II., was succeeded or was replaced by Aracid/Parthian rule under the semi-autonomous governor/satrap Phraotes. The lineage of Maues in Taxila ceases with Azes II. Chattopadaya suggests from the evidence of the very poor workmanship of Shaka coinage during this period that this was possibly due to some natural disaster, such as a massive earthquake or even a plague. Taking advantage of the weakness of their Shaka vassals, the Persian Aracid/Parthian Empire certainly seized control of the very important trading center of Taxila after or uring the reign of Azes II.

     However central Aracid/Parthian rule at this time must be characterized as nominal because certainly in the eastern half of the Persian, Aracid/Parthian Empire was not a cohesive whole but was rather a federation of semi-independent satraps and vassal tribal states. Only according to the personality and military prowess of the central emperor was this eastern federation of satrap states held more or less firmly together.

      The end of independent/autonomous Iranian Shaka power in Taxila is confirmed by the account left by Appollonius of Tyana who visited Taxila in c.43-44 AD., and who indicates that this city was then under the rule of the Aracid/ Parthian satrap Phraotes. As a subordinate to Orthanges, Phraotes was the governor of the ‘Satrap of the Indus’.

    In his hagiology, 'Appollonius of Tyana', Philostratos mentions that during Phraotes time as governor of Taxila he employed barbarians, presumably Shaka-s, to guard the northwestern frontier from other ‘barbarians’. This small snippet of information suggests that the Kushans were already in Afghanistan and were beginning to press the frontiers of the northeastern marches of the eastern provinces of the Aracid/Parthian Empire.

     The well known inscription at Takht-i-Bahi, near Peshawar, dated 103 VSE., or 45 AD., indicates that Gondopharnes ruled Taxila by this date. There are suggestions that he may even have seized Taxila from Phraotes. This inscription also indicates that Gondopharnes commenced his reign in c.19 AD. However what is not clear from this inscription is what kingdom or satrapy Gondopharnes rule over from c.19 AD., and what transpired between 44 AD., and 45 AD., to put him in control of the important trading center of Taxila?

   Numismatic evidence suggests that both Phraotes and Gondopharnes were originally subordinates of the senior Aracid/Parthian satrap/ruler of Arachosia in eastern Iran, Orthanges. Gondopharnes most probably had a strong personality and was militarily adept, originally ruling one of the other Parthian satraps to the west of Taxila.

    Marshall and other historians suggest from numismatic evidence and from generally scanty recorded evidence that Gondopharnes moved on from being simply a subordinate satrap/vassal for the eastern Aracid/Parthian Empire. Apparently in the classic manner Gondopharnes became independent of eastern Aracid/Parthian control, seized Taxila directly from Phraotes or at his death in c.44-45 AD., and went on to carve out for himself a significant empire in eastern Iran, the southern half of Afghanistan as well as in the northwestern and western regions of classical India. As was common in these turbulent times, this empire only endured during his lifetime.

    During the reign of Gondopharnes the last remaining probably mixed Bactrian/Sythian dynasty ruling the Kabul Valley under Hermaues entered into an alliance with the Kushan Kujula Kadphises I., in order to attack the domains of Gondopharnes. However they were defeated and Gondopharnes incorporated the Kabul Valley into his multi-regional empire around c.45 AD. Gondopharnes also conquered Seistan in eastern Iran and even for a short while the Parthian provinces to the west of Seistan. Certainly Gondopharnes continued to rely upon government by the satrap system of semi-autonomous governors.

    The Chinese historian Fan-ye confirms that the Kabul Valley fell under Aracid/Parthian control at this time and that Gondopharnes maintained friendly relations with the Kushans. Certainly by this period the Central Asian Kushan/ Kusana-s are understood to be already exerting pressure on the Aracid/Parthian possessions in modern Afghanistan and in the northeastern region of Iran.

    However although acknowledging that Gondopharnes controlled the Punjab, the Indus Valley as well as portions of the western region, Chattopadhyaya doubts if Gondopharnes occupied and controlled Cutch and Kathiawar on the coast to the southwest. But there is evidence from a account regarding the Shaka states and satrapies, known as the Periplus, to suggest that a Shaka kingdom of Nambanus, centered at the port of Kalyana in this southwestern coastal region, under the rule of one Nahpana, was clearly independent of Gondopharnes and Aracid/Parthian rule.

   Interestingly, the early Christian apostle St. Thomas is also linked to the reign of Gondopharnes. The Syriac version of the Acts of Saint Thomas the Apostle, indicate that St., Thomas was drawn by the fame of the Parthian ruler of western India to travel to ‘India’. Here ‘India’ most probably just refers to the Indus Valley. Here he attempted to convert that ruler, most probably Gondopharnes, to Christianity. He failed and was martyred. This account certainly puts into doubt the legend of the South Indian mission of St., Thomas and his death there.

    There is considerable confusion regarding the date of the death of Gondopharnes with most scholars suggesting that it occurred between c.50-55 AD. Certainly upon the death of Gondopharnes his empire disintegrated. Numismatic evidence suggests that it immediately fragmented into a number of semi-autonomous satrapies in Seistan, Taxila the Punjab and in the parts forming the western region.

    However in the confusion generated after the death of Gondopharnes and the fragmented nature of eastern Parthian Empire at this stage gave an opportunity to the Kushan/Kusana-s, who were waiting in the wings in the northern half of Afghanistan. They took the Kabul Valley and sweep down onto the plains by c.60 AD. This initial conquest of Gandhåra in the northwest and of the western Punjab commenced the process of conquest that rapidly led to the establishment of the Kushan/Kusana Empire in northern India.


        (viii.,) The advent of Kushan/Kusana-s.


       ‘He [Vima Kadphises II] conquered Tien-chu [India]...’

                                                                                                                          Hou Han-shu.


        From the evidence of a significant number of coins found at Begram near Kabul bearing the name of Gondopharnes but none for any of his successors who briefly succeeded elsewhere, Chattopadhyaya suggests that the Kabul region fell under a new Kushan/Kusana dynasty immediately after the death of Gondopharnes. Chinese records indicate that the Kushan/Kusana king/chief Kujula Kadphises I., attacked the eastern Aracid/Parthian Empire and took ‘Kao-fu’, Kabul as well as Kashmir. The advent of the new Kusana dynasty in Kabul from c.55 AD., heralded a new period of political confusion in the northwestern and western regions of classical India.

    There are suggestions that the political confusion generated after the death of Gondopharnes was exacerbated in Taxila by an outbreak of the plague leaving the region prostrate. Chattopadhyaya further opines that the Kushan/Kusana-s took advantage of this situation and entered the northwestern region by c.60 AD. Certainly the epigraphic inscription on the Panjtar stone dated to c.64 AD., indicates that the Kusana-s occupied and controlled the region in and around Peshawar below the Khyber Pass by this date.

      However the copperplate inscription at Kalawan, near Sirkap, Taxila, dated 134 VSE., or c.76 AD., does not mention Kusana rule and thereby indicates that the Kusana conquest of Taxila and the provinces to the east of the Indus River by Kujula Kadphises I., or more likely by his son Vima Kadphises II., occurred after this date.

   Konow and Marshall are of the opinion that Vima Kadphises II., succeeded his aged father in c.78 AD., and without offering any real proof suggest he instituted the Shaka Samvat calendar that begins from this date. Other scholars suggest he commenced his reign in c.95 AD. Whereas others are of the opinion that Vima Kadphises II actually died in c.78 AD!

     According to the more reliable Hou-han-shu Kujula Kadphises I., died at the age of eighty years and was therefore unlikely to have undertaken the arduous journey from Kabul down the Khyber Pass to the plains to wage war in the northwest and the Punjab. Therefore without doubt the Kusana conquests made from after c.65 AD., were made by his son Vima Kadphises II., either in the role of crown prince or as his successor.

   Again according to the Hou-han-shu Vima Kadphises II., ‘conquored Tien Chu [India] and set up generals [satraps] who governed in the name of the Yueh-chi [Kusana-s]’. Certainly historical Han reports and records suggest that by c.80 AD., Kusana conquests in India extended up to Mathura. Therefore in addition to their Central Asian provinces in modern Uzbekistan, Tajikistan etc., throught to the southernTarim Basin, the Kusana-s also controlled Afghanistan as well as parts of India formed by the extreme Northwest Frontier Province, the Punjab and the northern part of the western region including Mathura.


      Despite knowledge of the existence of a number of kings forming the Kaniska lineage group of kings some scholars suggest that Vima Kadphises II was one and the same with Kaniska, the Great. This is certainly not the case and Chattopadhyaya makes a convincing argument that Kaniska, the Great did ascend the throne of the Kusanaa Empire around c.78 AD. This assertion certainly runs in the face of the western scholarly view that dates the twenty-four year reign of Kaniska, the Great from c.120-134 AD., to c.143-167 AD.

    Without entering into details here Chattopadhyaya bases his argument upon the imperial account of the Chinese general Pan-chao’s conquests in the southern Tarim Basin from c.73-102 AD., and epigraphic evidence of the Shaka Satrapa Rudradaman’s conquests in southwestern and central India from c.130-150 AD. By Chattopadhyaya’s dating of the commencement of the reign of Kaniska, the Great to c.78 AD., the commencement of the Shaka Samvat calendar beginning in 78 AD., is also clearly linked to his accession to the throne.

    There are certainly suggestions that the greater Kusana Empire based in the Kabul Valley had actually lost control of Taxila in Gandhara just before this date. No doubt in the classic manner of the period, as suggested by Chinese records Kusana generals had most probably set up semi-independent states/satraps on the plains of India.

     This would also suggest that the conqueror Vima Kadphises II., had certainly already died just prior c.78 AD. Chattopadhaya suggests that with the general confusion and the usual fragmentation of the loosely federated Kusana territories arising upon the death of the powerful Vima Kadphises II., eventually after some fighting Kaniska, as militarily the most able and powerful claimant seized the reins of power by c.78 AD.

     Initially Kaniska took power in Gandhara but through his military might extended his sway both to the northwest to include Afghanistan and southeastwards to include a major portion of the Jumuna/Ganges Valley and also the western region. Subsequently he further stabilized the situation in Central Asia retaining control over the steppes of Uzbekistan and  Tajikistan etc.,  while checking and bringing to a standstill the advance of the Chinese Empire in the southern Tarim Basin under the hitherto successful campaigns of general Pan-chao.


      Among the Kusana rulers of India, Kaniska was certainly the foremost king/emperor. From his conquests initially from greater Gandhara in the northwest to Bihar in the east etc., from his success at halting further Chinese penetration in the souther Tarim Basin leading to the creation of a stable multi-regional and trans-Indus, Central Asian Empire, Kaniska clearly earned the title of ‘great’.

     The Chinese translation of Kumaralata’s lost kalpana-manditika composed after Kaniska’s death indicates that ‘king Chen-Kia-ni-tcha, devaputra Kaniska ...conquered eastern India and pacified the country’. Some scholars suggest that this meant that the Kusana Empire extended up to the Bay of Bengal. But under the Buddhist approach to geography of this period the eastern boundary of the 'middle country' only extended up to eastern Bihar and despite suggestions in Chinese historical works would not have included West Bengal.

     Some scholars even suggest from inferences drawn from the records of the Chinese historian Tong-li that up to 170 AD., the Yueh-chi/Kusana-s ruled a number of petty states in the central region of the Deccan. However there is no epigraphic evidence to support such a supposition.

    The date Chattopadhyaya suggests for Kaniska’s accession to the throne in c.78 AD., throws into considerable doubt whether he actually officially called the Fourth Buddhist Council that was held at the Kundalavana Monastery in Kashmir in c.120 AD. Under this dating it is unclear whether Kaniska, the Great or another of the Kaniska line of kings call this council.

     Perhaps the association of Kaniska, the Great was simply a literary device that by way of association with a great ruler gave greater weight to these proceedings that were otherwise certainly completely ignored by the mainstream Theravada literary and historical traditions. Certainly in the Si-yu Ki, that records the pilgrimages of principle Chinese pilgrims to India in the 1st., millennium AD., the Chinese pilgrim Fa-hian suggests that Kaniska did call this council.

    The Mahayana tradition certainly also holds the view that this council marks the official commencement of that tradition. Here this council authorized the creation of a Mahayana canon composed in the Sanskrit medium. Through the patronage of Kaniska the Sanskrit Mahayana tradition was fully introduced into Kashmir, Khotan and the city/states of the southern Tarim Basin then under Kusana rule etc.

    According to the Si-yu Ki this council was presided over by Vasumitra and the record of the proceedings were ‘written on copper plates and stone boxes...’ that were deposited in a specially built stupa. Kaniska is certainly in other contexts further associated with Buddhism and is credited in Chinese historical works and even by the Muslim historian Al-beruni with building the great stupa complex at Peshawar identified by Cunningham and Foucher as the two mounds at modern Shahji-ke-Dheri.

    After having introduced the reign of Kaniska, the Great and the extent of the Kusana empire in India created by his military might, this work cannot digress by entering into lengthy discussions on the very sketchy history of the later contractions and fluctuations of the Indian Kusana empire. Beyond listing the names and dates of the five successors of Kaniska the Great will suffice with an ending formed by a brief view of the final days of the Indian Kusana Empire. However due to anomalies in epigraphic records even a simple chronology of five lineage successors of Kaniska, the Great cannot be given with any certainty.

    After ruling for some twenty-three years the great emperor Kaniska died in c.101 AD. Certainly as was usual upon the death of such a powerful ruler the loose federation that formed Kaniska’s decentralized domains, ruled from Bactria, Kabul, Taxila, Mathura and Ujjain fell into a period of chaos and fragmentation. His son Vasiska, who had been the viceroy of Malava in Ujjain certainly inherited the Indian portion and ruled for four years until 105 AD. Another member of Kaniska’s family lineage, Vaskusana, ruled the trans-Indus portion for one year until c.102 AD.

     However after Vasiska’s death in c.105 AD., the Kusana Empire continued to be split into two portions one in the west including Afghanistan and Central Asia etc., ruled by the son of Vasiska, Kaniska II., until c.119 AD., and the eastern Indian portion by another son of Kaniska, I., Huviska who ruled from c.105-138 AD. Huviska is understood to have merged both parts of the Kusana Empire by c.119 AD. Confusingly there is an hiatus of rulers between c.138-142 AD., until Vasudeva I., the last of Kaniska’s lineage ascended the throne.

    This hiatus again suggests a period of political and dynastic turmoil that is further confirmed by a break even in Vasudeva I’s rule from c.143-146 AD., when he again commenced ruling until c.167 AD. The date of the death of Våsudeva I., is a matter of controversy among scholars. The date of his death depends on the view held of the date of Kaniska I’s accession to the throne. Chattopadhaya and other Indian scholars generally hold it be c.78 AD., whereas western scholars hold that it was some fifty or more years later. Therefore the death of Våsudeva I., could in c.167 AD., or even as late as c.220 AD.

   Vasudeva I., is considered as the last Kusana ruler of interior India east of the Jumuna River. By way of epigraphic inscriptions other Kusana rulers such as Kaniska III and Vasudeva II., are certainly known to have ruled a loose federation of petty states in western and northwestern regions beyond c.200 AD.

    However after this period the Kusana-s in India were certainly reduced to ruling petty local states and elsewhere in western and southern Afghanistan were reduced to vassalage under the now dominant Persian Sassanid dynasty that invaded from eastern Iran. However there are clear indications that independent Kusana rule endured in the Kabul Valley and eastern Afghanistan until at least the first quarter of the 3rd., century AD.


     However after the fall of the Kusana Empire in India in the first half of the 3rd., century AD.,  the gloom of a further phase of a cultural and political ‘dark age’ again returned together with a more protracted period of Persian Sassanid rule in the northwest and in the Punjab. A little after this period from the end of the 3rd., century AD., the now fully Indianized Shaka dynasties re-emerged to rule independent satrapies in the western region centered at Mathura and Ujjain.

     Elsewhere the fragmentation of northern India into numerous petty states again occurred. S. Chattopadhyaya characterizes the political condition of northern India during this period by stating: ' North India was in fact studded with various petty states without any political cohesion'. Nevertheless despite the positive influence exerted by the later Shaka Satrap rulers who patronized Sanskrit learning and who are credited with the initial patronage of the Vaisnava, Bhagåvata tradition, a cultural and politica ‘dark age’ continued to blanket much of northern India.

     This ‘dark age’ lasted until the advent of the Magadhan, Gupta dynasty dating from the 4th., century AD. The Gupta dynasty later carved out a multi-regional empire encompassing major parts of the east/northern, northern, western, and northeastern regions etc. Within Indian history the Imperial Gupta era, marked both by a literary and cultural/religious renaissance, is characterized as the ‘golden’ era of classical Brahminic culture.

    This era is so characterized despite the obvious achievements of the principal emperors of the earlier Magadhan Mauryan dynasty, Candragupta Maurya and Asoka Maurya and despite the fact that some Gupta emperors, like the earlier Mauryan emperors, readily patronized the  Buddhist, Jain and other non-Brahminic traditions. Gupta imperial patronage certainly had a hand in the foundation of the great Buddhist university/monastery at Nalanda that with other university/monasteries maintained Buddhism in northern India until the 13th., century AD..

     However during the 4th., and 5th., centuries AD., with the advent of the White Huns or Huna-s from Afghanistan and despite the martial vigor of the Gupta-s under powerful and masterful emperors, such as the indefatigable military genius Skandagupta c.454-467 AD., another phase of the ‘dark age’ again blanketed large portions of the northwestern, western and even central regions of classical India.

     With the White Hun conquest of greater Gandhara in the northwest, thr Huna-s came to subsequently dominated the Punjab. From this initial base the Huna-s launched raids and large-scale incursions that through rape, pillage and destruction caused severe deprivations and dislocation in cultural/social continuity within these regions of classical India.

     However some Indian sources suggest that the overwhelmingly bad characterizations of the White Huns were not fully merited. Popularly held characterizations probably echo the canards found in Chinese reports, that were apparently later picked up second hand by Indian and European historians. Certainly the White Huns were initially marauders and raiders interested in pillage and spoils and were not initially sympathetic to or were interested in the caste based, classical Indian culture.

     For nearly a half century the Huna-s made destructive raids and incursions into northwestern, northern and western regions of India. But also their later rulers including Toramana and his son Mihirakula were recorded in copper plate temple grants and inscriptions as followers of Shaivism and as making endowments for temples as well as charitable donations.

     However in part the vigor of the imperial Gupta dynasty was certainly spent during this century from attempting to fully defeat these opportunistic tribal marauders. The incursions and depravations caused by the White Huns/Huna-s only ceased with their comprehensive and decisive defeat at the hands of the vassal of the Gupta-s, Yasodharman around c.532 AD.


     In conclusion the intention of this lengthy discussion on ancient north Indian history, relating to the changing dynastic and political trends that occurred during the millennium long period from 500 BC., was in part aimed at suggesting the consequential effects on the social/religious situation. These consequential effects were caused by waves of alien invasions and periods of alien dynastic rule. Alien invasions and periods of alien dynastic rule clearly had a marked, even dramatic effect on the continuing evolution of the social/religious and political/cultural situation in the northwestern, western and southwestern regions of northern India as well as affecting the situation within the rest of the petty kingdoms of 'miiddle country'.

    Further because of the loss of political cohesion and cultural continuity, generated and perpetuated by these prolonged periods of political/social disruption, even periods of utter chaos, this millennium was further marked by periods of a literary/cultural ‘dark age’. These periods were indicative of a loss of regal patronage; a dislocation even disintegration of the dominance of the Vedic/Brahmin sacrificial/doctrinal approach and because of the fall of their regal patrons/allies, even to perhaps temporary periods marking a hiatus in the adherence to the system of caste, stages of life etc., within some kingdoms.

     However these periods of social/political disruption, even utter political chaos within many of the petty states forming the greater 'middle country' were also interspersed by formative cultural periods that were marked by the rise and dominance of major Magadhan empires. The Magadhan Mauryan and Gupta dynasties were each dominant for approximately two centuries during the latter half of the 1st., millennium BC., and during the first half of the 1st., millennium AD., respectively.

    From the dictates of both statecraft as well as from a perceived need to maintain social/cultural continuity these dynasties sought to re-evaluate, update and re-institute a reasonable degree of cultural authority for the orthodox social/ religious tradition. However these dynasties tempered this approach by also simultaneously adopting a reasoned even-handed approach to the then increasingly popular and even dominant unorthodox and heterodox social/religious traditions.

   Both the rise of alien dynasties and the emergence of indigenous empires, that upheld and introduced to the religious mainstream, the hetrodox Buddhist and Jain traditions as well as other unorthodox traditions etc., certainly served to check the social prominence and even further re-channeled the long-term ambitions of the Brahmin caste. These historical political/social  processes facilitating the ongoing popular re-emergence, even resurgence of the broader-based, but modified indigenous so-called tribal/lower caste traditions towards playing a greater and even later, a leading role within the popular and applied ascetic/householder so-called tantric approaches to the various sectarian cycles of the Brahminical Trinity. The Brahminical Trinity gradually emerged from the latter centuries of the 1st., millennium BC.

     The Brahmin caste were fornced to 'bend with the wind'. Here Bending with the wind’ entailed attempting to continue to maintain the system of caste; to seek to maintain regal patronage from alien dynastries while also continuing to allow the evolution of their arcane family traditions. Here Brahmin family traditions gradually moved away from reliance upon the worship and propitiation of a majority of their ancestral elemental deities, including Indra, Soma, Varuna etc.  

  This culturally contradictory process now lent towards the elevation of modified Indo-Dravidian cosmic deity cycles geared by the adapted applied Samkhya or Yoga philosophies as well as by doctrinal approaches to cosmic deities ‘with’ and ‘without’ form. These unfinisted approaches are discussed in the early instructions of the Upanisad-s, the AV., as well as in texts of some of the arising ‘six’ systems of philosophy. 

      In addition to simultaneously attempting to stem the tide in the rising popularity of the more orthodox Vaisnava tradition, the unorthodox/tantric Shaiva and Shaiva/Shakta traditions as well as the heterodox Buddhist, Jain and AjIvika traditions, the Brahmin caste had to accommodate the infusion of new deity cycles and priestly classes introduced by the new, alien ruling dynasties.

    Here the flexibility shown by the orthodox tradition allowed inter-play with the religious predilections of the culturally fluid, but politically powerful, ruling elite of newly arrived ethnic groups. With the exception of the Huns, who arrived in the 4th., century AD., these groups including Greeks, Sythians, Kushans etc., who were generally quite receptive and gradually adapted their social mores and religious milieu to some or all aspects within the prevailing Indian social/religious model.

   This multi-faceted religious, cultural and political process thereby also saw the adoption and fusion of dominant indigenous deity cults with the predilections of these ethnic groups. In turn this also acted to accelerate the already ongoing process of the emergence and dominance of modified deity cycles forming the post-Vedic, Brahminic Trinity. The pantheon formed by the retinue of the classic so-called Brahminic Trinity was augmented to include alien deity cycles introduced and inducted after the arrival of new alien ruling ethnic groups.

    The rise from the 4th., century AD., of the Vaisnava leaning Magadhan Gupta dynasty accelerated the re-establishment of trans-Indus trading links and hastened a gradual return to a more settled social/cultural context, after some four hundred years of political/social upheaval and uncertainty. This further allowed a gradual flowering of literary and religious textural traditions. With the replacement of uncertainty by a reasonable degree of security, a process in the re-emergence and the later eventual dominance of the orthodox Brahmin tradition, spearheaded from south India, gradually commenced and occurred during the centuries of the second half of this millennium.

    During the era of the Gupta-s dating from the 4th., to the 5th., centuries AD., the composition and recording of the eighteen principle treatises of the purana tradition was finally completed. By way of the 'five characteristics' marking the contents and subject matter of these works, the eighteen purana-s wove into the social fabric the Brahminized myths, social/religious conventions etc., surrounding the classic deity cycles of the Brahminical Trinity and their related pantheon of retinue and demi-deities.

   The revival of Brahminic literary traditions during the Gupta era and onwards, including philosophical, deity and yoga upanisad-s, later purana-s, reflects and marks the completion of the near two millennia long process of accommodation and adaptation made by the Vedic/Brahmin tradition with the ancient indigenous Indo-Dravidian traditions. During this era the Brahminized male and female deity traditions of the classic Hindu Trinity and their associated retinue deity cycles finally and clearly emerge.


     (9.) The varnashramadharma, the system of caste, caste duty and stage of life.


     ‘ If its [the cycle of action’s] roots still exist they ripen [into fruits that are manifested] as [an individual’s family] profession, life-span and enjoyment.’

                                                                                                                                       Patañjali’s YD.2.13.


    With the retreat of the Macedonians after the death of Alexander the Great and with the replacement of the Nanda-s with the rise of the Maurya-s under the leadership of Candragupta Maurya a wave of cultural evaluation and social/ cultural restoration was set in motion within the 'middle county.

      Part of this wave of evaluation and re-capitulation was concerned with the ordering of an increasingly inflexible social/religious system. From the late 4th., century BC., this whole process not only included the ordering and recording of fundamental previously orally transmitted Vedic and Vedic/Brahminic texts but also included a textural re-capitulation of the early Brahminic approach towards a stricter differentiation of caste and caste duties etc.

   Subsequently with the disintegration of the Mauryan Empire through the advent of invasions by Bactrian Greeks and Shaka/Sythians the recording of seminal texts during the 3rd., century BC., such as Patañjali’s YD., and numerous other previously orally transmitted lineage traditions was given greater priority in order to preserve the liturgies and doctrinal outlooks of these traditions.

     However with a deepening of this prolonged and chaotic era of invasion and conquest by semi-sedentary, sedentary and nomadic tribal groups from Central Asia, the period spanning the next few centuries from the 2nd., century BC., marks the cessation of the composition of new Brahminic works. The 19th., century Indologist Max Muller characterizes this period as the ‘dark age’ of Brahminic culture.

    Certainly during this period significant numbers of Brahmin families from the western regions of the 'middle country'  migrated into the Indo-Dravidian kingdoms of south India. Here they in turn married and mingled with earlier arriving Brahmin families as well as with ancient Indo-Dravidian priestly families.

   This mingling of priestly families transformed the ritual/social approach to worship and propitiation of the hitherto Indo-Dravidian modes offered to the deity cycles of Shiva, Visnu, the Goddess and other popular local south Indian deity cycles. By way of recording and composing texts in Sanskrit and by offering liturgies within daily and periodic rituals and rites in Sanskrit these traditions became transformed into the orthodox Brahminized traditions known to this day.

     However, for those numbers of Brahmin families, who remained in the northern-western, western and northern regions, the overall family lineage took a remarkably flexible and even opportunistic approach in their dealings with newly arrived, alien ruling elite. This occurred because of the uncertainty of an era marked by limited dynastic stability and political chaos.

    These considerations precluded a settled court life, regular regal patronage and undoubtedly led to the literary hiatus. The flexible even opportunistic approach of the remaining north Indian Brahmin family lineage was based upon the need to preserve the basic integrity and approach of their family caste lineage and the textural and applied basis for the Brahminic social/religious and ascetic traditions.

     The remaining undiluted Brahmin caste was able, through stricter implementation, to preserve the system of caste; preserve the Vedic sacrificial sacrifice, the Vedic body of ritual mantra and the pre-eminent position of the ritual Sanskrit language. However, of necessity the Brahminic approach had to be flexible enough to adapt to the religious predilections of the alien dynasties actually allowing the gradual eclipse of a majority of Vedic deities, including the principal Indo-Aryan ancestral deity Indra.

   Apparently some the orthodox and tantric deity cycles surrounding the Brahminical  Trinity had an affinity with and were attractive to the religious predilections of the alien elite. Thereby the elemental deities of the Vedic pantheon were gradually replaced by the elevation of modified, indigenous regional deities andalso  by the introduction of new tribal deity cycles. These deity cycles included new forms of the Mother Goddess, the Maga/Shaka cult of the Sun deity and also the rise into full prominence of the ancient indigenous deity cycles, such as the Shaiva/Shakta deity cycles and the early Vaisnava deity cycles, that were previously regionally popular.

      Successive alien dynasties formed by the elite of the Bactrian Greeks, Shaka-s and Kusana-s, ruling petty kingdoms or Indian provinces within trans-Indus empires were quite willing to accept and enter within the sectarian folds of Sanskritized Indian religion. Elements among these new ethnic groups embraced the orthodox and tantric wings of the Shaiva/Shakta traditions, the Vaisnava tradition as well as various other unorthodox traditions especially the still evolving Buddhist tradition.

    During this period from the end of the 1st., millennium BC., the ongoing process of oral compilation, standardization and subsequent recording of other textural traditions continued during the settled periods in the supremacy of various alien or indigenous dynasties within these regions. This ongoing process in fact allowed elements within the Brahmin literati tradition to infiltrate and insinuate itself within a variety of unorthodox and tantric traditions. Thereby over the coming centuries the Brahminic tradition was able to maintain cultural and social influence even within non-Brahminic and anti-Brahminic traditions while at the same time accommodating and integrating the equally flexible social/religious approach of new alien ethnic dynasties.

     Certainly Muller tends to exaggerate the degree of cultural ‘darkness’ of this era for clearly the Kusana-s, who controlled an empire stretching from western and northern India into Central Asia were by no means barbaric or uncivilized and were in fact cultured and well used to sedentary civilization. The great Kusana emperor Kaniska patronized the Mahayana Buddhist tradition and is understood, in c.120 AD., to have possibly organized the Fourth Buddhist Council held at the Kundalavana Monastery in Kashmir.

     Although not generally given credit within later Brahminic works, alien dynasties upon assimilation also certainly played significant roles in the continuation and further evolution of the overall classical Indian cultural milieu during this long period of uncertainty and crisis. As suggested the Shaka-s ruling kingdoms in the western region played significant roles in maintaining Sanskrit learning and literature and the Kusana-s in the standardization of the texts loosely forming the basic canon of the Mahayana tradition written in the Sanskrit medium.


      (i.,) The classic Brahmin system of caste, duty and stage of life.


       ' They [individuals experience] pleasure and pain in accordance with the fruits of virtuous [actions] and sinful [actions]'.

                                                                                                                                         Patañjali’s YD. 2.14.


      Social and ritual interplay between the minority three upper 'twice-born' castes and the lower two caste groups who formed the majority of the population has since the ancient and classical eras has been historically limited by overbearing attitudes of intolerance, fastidiousness and inhibition manifested on the part of members of the upper castes. These attitudes are founded upon the view that every individual is born into a family/profession that exactly and even unalterably accords with the coloration and tendencies of their mind-set derived from their personal trend of cause and effect generated in a previous life.

     In this respect Patanjali's yoga-darsana (Y.D.,) 2.13., indicates an outlook on cause and effect that essentially forms the underlying basis for this social view by stating:

     ' If it's [the cycle of actions] roots still exist they ripen [in a re-birth situation into fruits which are manifested through the individual's] profession, life span and enjoyment.’

      Remarkably the Buddhist Mantrayana samvara-tantra (SO.T.,) dating from the 9th., century AD., indicates just how deep-seated this view was even within the certainly more egalitarian and anti-caste approach of the tantric Buddhist context. Here the SO.T., offers a basic cultural approach to the superiority of the people of the 'middle country' and to the doctrine of cause and effect that is similar to the orthodox Brahminical outlook.

       In this respects SO.T.,2.8-12 states:

     'Actions good or evil may be [of a] mild, medium or strong [quality leading to re-birth in an appropriate family].

    ‘Here in the Jambudvipa the fruits of [past action performed in] previous births are seen in [terms of the re-birth situations of] all beings. Those beings [born in bad or low caste situations] are defiled by conceit and envy.

   ‘ They are false, fraudulent and proud, [they are] darkened by greed, anger and folly and so on and are [thereby] afflicted [without the relief afforded by the application of the social/religious, law/doctrine] with old age and sickness.

    ' [However] those of the Jambudvipa who are the best, the excellent [in terms of potential sensibility to the law/doctrine] are born in the Madhyadesha, the Middle Country.

    ‘They are of weak, medium and strong sensibility and their [positive situations of] birth depends upon good actions [performed] in previous lives.'


      Reflecting the racism inherent to the much earlier Indo-Aryan colonial period after the conquest of the western city/states of the Indo-Dravidian Indus Valley Civilization there are according to the AS., four basic varna, literally colors or castes. In this context to this day in India and in Indian influenced southeast Asia a light/white skin reflects the high status of an upper caste formed by priests and the ruling elite. Whereas a brown or dark skin, reflects the subservient status of the masses whose purpose is simply to serve.

      In the classic system the four castes are comprised of those who follow particular professions and duties. However because of the diversity of ethnicity within the regions of classical India, because of inter-marriage between castes and the actual greater diversity of professions, the four castes are in practice themselves divided into numerous sub-castes as well as mixed caste groups etc.

      The Brahmin caste itself has historically been characterized as being divided into northern and southern groupings. An examination of the varying degrees of status, daily ritual roles and degrees of interplay between particular Brahmin families and clans that make up the northern group certainly suggests the infusion and inclusion of a variety of non-Indo-Aryan and non-Indo-Dravidian ethnic priestly groups. Many of these priestly groupings arrived within the Indian sub-continent in the trains of later invading tribal and sedentary groups during the latter centuries BC., and the early centuries AD. 

    Certainly rigid caste attitudes are generally and idealistically attributed to a perceived need to maintain personal purity, in order to correctly perform Vedic rituals, daily and optional passage rites and other sectarian rites etc. However, historically even the members of the Brahmin caste have not only maintained their traditional caste role as officiating priests but have also been noted warriors, ministers and even merchants.

   This diversity of profession applied by Brahmins indicates that historically the caste system was not a uniform, monolithic system even at the so-called highest level. Rather the caste system was fragmented into a myriad of sub-castes that often accorded with accommodations to personal situations and predilections rather than simply being rigidly pre-determined to fit the traditional profession of a particular family or clan. In this manner any simplistic suggestion that a monolithic system of caste has been historically maintained simply for the reasons of ritual purity etc., actually gives a false impression.

    In many respects the rigid application of the system caste through the social conditioning created by the Brahminical textural traditions rather stems from both an ordinary conventional sense of social hierarchy and pride and especially from the dictates of 'real' power. The application of the caste system in terms of 'real' power was deemed necessary in order to maintain elite control of land, wealth production etc., and to maintain so-called divinely sanctioned absolute feudal rights and obligations necessary to maintain long term control over large segments of the population.

     In this manner, by way of the social conditioning of a so-called 'divinely inspired' social hierarchy, caste was manipulated for the ends of 'real' politics as a means to suborn generations of the 'twice-born' castes through the enjoyment of social status as well as to suppress the remaining mass of the population.


    Under Kautilya/Canakya's idealized view each caste must unswervingly follow their particular swaådharma, their ‘own particular nature’, or specific family approach to profession/duty in order to uphold traditional ethics, morality, law and social usage. By following their ‘own particular nature’ and profession each caste thereby maintained social continuity and the twin ideals of classical Indian society, worldly and spiritual fulfillment.

    The four basic castes listed in the AS., are brahmana, priestly caste, kstriya, warrior caste, vaishaya, land owning, mercantile caste and shudra, laborer, servant, artisan caste. Within this system there is also a so-called untouchable, fifth category, that included the so-called dirty professions such as butchers, tanners, cremation ground workers, night soil gathers, sweepers etc., as well as the mass of tribals, foreign borderers and barbarian tribal invaders etc

      Those who fall within the fourth and so-called fifth outcaste groups were historically excluded from orthodox, Brahminic sectarian initiation and ritual. Prior to and from the formative period of the latter half of the 1st., millennium BC., these groups could find avenues for religious expression within the ancient indigenous, unorthodox sectarian traditions, such as the unreformed, indigenous Shaiva/Shakta tantric traditions or within the heterodox traditions such as the Buddhist, Jaina or Ajivika traditions. Historically these traditions maintained a more egalitarian an in some instances an anti-caste stance. 

    Later from the latter part of the 1st., millennium AD., because of continuing dogmatic and rigid Brahminic caste discrimination and with the creeping Brahminization of the unorthodox and heterodox traditions many from within the lower caste groups and even members of the warrior caste entered the fold of Islam etc.


       (ii.) The profession/duties of the four castes.


      ‘ [Brahmins are] philosophers who are first in rank [within the hierarchy of caste] but form the smallest class in point of number’.

                                                                                                         Megasthenes, Fragments, chapter 23.


      According to the AS., the profession and duties of the Brahmin caste were comprised of adhyayanam, learning; adhyapanam, teaching; yajanam, worship; yajanam, conducting worship; dana, offering gifts and pratigraha, receiving gifts. The pre-eminent social position of the Brahmin caste was established by the view of their unworldly pursuit of spiritual knowledge, performance of necessary fire sacrifices, state and family passage rites etc.

     In the AS., this fact was recognized by their being exempt from taxes, confiscation of property, corporal punishment and the death penalty etc. The greatest punishment inflicted upon a Brahmin was permanent ejection from their wider family caste circle and thereby permanent loss of all position and status in the caste hierarchy.

     For the warrior caste the profession/duties included learning, worship and the offering of gifts as well as shastrajiva, the pursuit of arms and bhutaraksanam, the protection of living beings. The profession/duties of the mercantile caste included learning, worship and the offering of gifts as well as vartta, trade, agriculture, cattle rearing etc.

    These first three categories in the hierarchy of caste are characterized as dvija, ‘twice-born’, meaning that according to their particular social/doctrinal approach post puberty males from these caste groups receive a second spiritual birth through diksha, initiation into caste/clan religious rites and mantra-s.

    Under this system initiation into the pranava, the primeval, causal mantra om, was restricted to the brahmana caste. However, the second spiritual birth for all the ‘twice-born’ castes is signified by the upanayana rite through being conferred with the sacred thread and the appropriate mantra-s of their kula-devata, family deity by the family or clan preceptor.

     Other samskara-s, sacraments or periodic and regular passage rites were incumbent upon the twice-born castes. These passage rites govern and define the social/ritual outlook of the 'twice-born'. Important sacraments are offered during the period of education. These include vidyarambha, offered at the time of initial instruction into the Devanagri alphabet; vedarambha, offered at the commencement of the study of the Veda-s.

      Further sacraments are offered in passage rites such as keshanta, offered at the time of the first shaving of the beard, symbolizing the necessity to discipline the awakening libido and samåvartana offered on the return home after the completion of studies. The sacrament of vivaha is offered at the time of marriage; sama-panna, offered at the time of consummation; antyeshti, offered to complete the rites performed after death and sraddha, offered annually to the manes.

      Other passage rites offered during and immediately after the marriage rite include garbha-dhana, offered to ensure conception; pumsavana, offered to ensure a male offspring and jatakarman, offered to ensure safe birth. After birth further passage rites include namakarana, offered while giving the child a name; nishkramana, offered during the 'first outing' of the child; annaprasana, offered when the child first eats rice. Subsequently karnavedha, was offered when the child's ears are first pierced and chudakarana, offered at the time of the first tonsure etc.

     The profession/duties of the laborer caste excluded learning, worship etc., and were originally that of slaves and subsequently as servants or family retainers to the three ‘twice-born’ castes, especially in situations of trade, agriculture, cattle rearing. However the laborer caste was also able to practice karukarma, arts and crafts and kushilavakarma, minstrelsy etc. As suggested those who fell within the fourth caste and the out-caste groups, often forming the majority of the population in most regions, were historically excluded from orthodox, Brahminic religious initiation and ritual.


(iii.) The Four Stages of life.


       ‘[Ascetics] live in the forest...and wear garments made from the bark of trees...’

                                                                                                                                               Strabo. Book 4.

     Within the classic Brahminic outlook on social/religious obligations and duty the life of the ‘twice-born’ Hindu devotee, especially those belonging to the Brahmin caste, is divided into catur-ashrama, Four Stages. According to the AS., the four stages include those of brahmacari, student, grihasta, house-holder, vanaprasta, forest dweller and parivrajaka, wandering ascetic.

    In addition to the smooth performance of normal social obligations and duties towards family and clan etc., the progression of the Four Stages of life was an ideal considered necessary within an orthodox outlook on life in order to repay the debts accrued from living. These debts are those considered as being owed to the deities, the seers and to the ancestors for giving the opportunity for life, for ritual and worldly knowledge and for offering ‘high’ birth within a ‘pure’ caste-based family lineage.

    These debts are only considered paid by way of the performance of ritual sacrifices, such as fire sacrifices, by study of the various ritual and philosophical sciences and by siring and raising male offspring thereby continuing the family lineage. Upon the performance of the obligations and duties relating to these fields the devotee is considered as debt free and suitable to totally renounce the world and enter the third and fourth stages, the stages leading to the complete renunciation of the social world. 

      Orthodox Brahminic works, such as treatises of the Dharmashastra tradition, state that only members of the Brahmin caste were subtle enough and suited for progressing through the four stages of life. However other sources and certainly unorthodox and tantric traditions considered that the three ‘twice-born’ castes as well as even the servile and untouchable castes were also eligible. According to a number of non-Brahminic traditions, suitability in the spiritual field depended rather upon an individual 'strivers’s' sensibility to the inner sphere and the goals of devotion and yoga and not simply upon birth into particular caste professions etc.

     Liberally minded modern scholars such as Ambedkar have even suggested that hymns in the Veda-s, unfiltered with later Brahminic social fixations, suggest that even the Shudra, the servant class was entitled to graduate through these stages. Although personal predisposition does appear to have moved some Vedic seers from non-priestly families and even Indo-Dravidian backgrounds to adopt the ascetic life this assertion appears far-fetched. The classic Brahminic view of a social order based upon caste and stages of life is not a feature of the Indo-Aryan social approach directly expressed in the Veda-s and only appears in the late Vedic/Brahminic tradition by way of interpolations from later Brahmin redactors and commentators.

     Essentially the social/religious doctrine of stages of life appear to texturally date from the era of the Brahmana-s and early Upanisad-s orally dating from the latter part of the first half of the 1st., millennium BC. The isha-upanisad declares that an ideal span for an individual life should be 'one hundred years'. This ideal span should be divided into four portions of twenty-five years in order that an individual from the twice-born castes could potentially perform and fulfill the duties of life in terms of both the relative and the spiritual spheres.

     However, today and even in the classic Brahminic era this ideal appears not to be strictly followed. Some ascetics, such as Shankara, entered the final fourth stage as an unmarried teenager whereas the vast majority of members from within the three ‘twice-born ‘ castes never even attempted to progress beyond the second stage of householder. Apparently, although idealized as the correct approach to a complete life, entry or progress through all the stages was and still is in reality a matter of personal inclination and choice.

     Some particular duties or rather cultivated mental attitudes are common to and required within all four stages and these include ahimsa, non-violence, satyam, truthfulness, shaucham, purity, anasuyam, freedom from jealousy, ksama, patience or tolerance and anisturyam, freedom from cruelty

    Within the Brahmin caste the duties of the student included guruvada, unswerving, absolute devotion to the master/preceptor; svadhyaya, study of the veda-s; agnikaryabhishekau, worship and offering to the fire and bhaiksyavratavam, vowing to beg for offerings and following one’s own teacher until death etc.

      The duties of a householder included svakarmajiva, earning a living by following their own particular family occupation, trade or craft as well as marrying into a family of equal varna, caste, but from a different gotra, clan. Similarly all householders were enjoined to offer shesha-bhojanam, food etc. Initially the householder offers food etc., to the deities, to the manes, to guests, to paid servants and while being content with what remains offers food to the family and finally to himself etc.

     Ideally upon attaining fifty years and once the householder had completed his fundamental duty of siring male offspring, bringing up and educating his family and had decided to renounce family life, the social world, he would leave the family home together with his wife for a life in the forest.

     As a forest dweller he had to observe further basic duties. While living in a forest retreat the forest dweller observed ascetic practices such as brahmacarya, sexual abstinence, sleeping on bare earth, wearing deer-skins, wearing the hair long, eating what grows in the forest. He also upheld particular ritual obligations such as worshipping and offering to the fire and worshipping the deities, manes and guests etc. Contemporary Vaisnava ascetics and yogi-s are representative of the modified third stage of forest dweller.

     In the final, more advanced and austere ascetic stage, the stage of the wandering ascetic, he had to adhere to a further set of basic duties and injunctions. These duties and injunctions included niskiñcana-tvam, the renunciation of all possessions, samgatyaga, a life of solitude and wandering, anarambha, abstention from scheming as well as control of the senses, living and begging for only very limited periods in one place etc. In the contemporary context ascetic/yogi-s from the Shaiva Dasnami tradition are representative of a modified approach to the fourth stage of life.


     (iv.,)   The transition from elemental Vedic deities to the Brahminized deities of the Trinity.


      The transition from elemental Vedic deities to the Brahminized deities of the Brahminical Trinity can be appreciated by way of the evolution in the significance of these minor Vedic deities into the cosmic deities of the Triniy  as is suggested within the early Brahminic Brahmana treatises. This still uncompleted trend of evolution leading to the virtual eclipse of elemental ancestral Vedic deities is further confirmed by way of reference to the popular deities listed in Kautilya/Canakya’s 4th., century BC., arthashastra (AS).

     According to the AS., hitherto indigenous deities that were apparently modified for the Brahminic tradition include deities such as Shiva; Krsna, an aspect of Visnu; Shri, the consort of Visnu; Sarasvati, the consort of Brahma; Aparajita, an aspect of the Goddess; Apratihata, an aspect of Visnu and Jayanta, a form of Kumara the son of Siva etc. Apparently these deity cycles were the important, popular sectarian cults of the day. The AS., indicates that the Vedic deities which retained a degree of popularity up to and during the early Mauryan era only included Agni, 'fire', Soma, 'moon' and Vaiyanta, a form of Indra.

    Therefore already considerable differences can be appreciated when this list of deities is compared with the dominant deities of the treatises of the earlier Brahminic textural traditions that were composed from the first half of the 1st., millennium BC., as well as with lists of deities discussed in later Brahminic Purana-s orally composed from the latter centuries BC.

    Certainly with the turn of the millennium, while still paying lip service to the authority of the Vedic tradition and while retaining rites of fire sacrifice etc., the outlook of Brahminic sectarian traditions became overwhelmingly bound up with actually indigenous but modified non-Vedic deity cycles.


    The classic, Brahminic and unorthodox tantric sectarian traditions that emerging by the 1st millennium AD., are founded upon their particular modes of worship and propitiation of the Trinity of Brahma, Visnu and Shiva and their sakti-s, Goddesses, consorts or the creative energies together with their accompanying retinues of demi-deities. The principle so-called Hindu sectarian traditions are also traditionally characterized as the traditions of the pañca-devata, the ‘five deities’. In addition to the cycles of Shiva, Visnu, Devi, the goddess, these ‘five’ also include the cycles of the sons of Shiva, Ganesha and/or Kumara as well as Surya, the Sun deity.

    Certainly within the Puråna-s the principle deities were clearly by then not the elemental deities of the Vedic tradition but were rather the ‘five deities’ and especially those of the bipolar deities and goddesses of Brahminical Trinity. These deities and their consorts ‘with form’ were especially worshipped and propitiated because they are endowed with roles within the performance of the cosmic functions of creation, sustenance and destruction of the material universe.

     The esoteric applied approach of both tantric and orthodox ascetics within the sectarian cycles of Shiva, Visnu and the forms of the Goddess was certainly founded upon unmodified as well as modified approaches to Indo-Dravidian derived systems of yoga. These systemic approaches were geared by a number of applied philosophical theories and their related Sanskritized ritual and devotional modes.

    In refined contexts popular deities ‘with form’ were often seen as the attributes of the ‘first cosmic being’ Brahma, who in turn was the creation of the neutral brahman, the ‘essence/principle’ permeating and pervading the universe and beyond. Actually at that time only a minority of ascetic yoga orientated lineage streams sought intuitive knowledge of the brahman, the monad, ‘without form’, the essence principle of the supreme soul/self.


     (10.,) Remarks on the political and social origins of the various, newly emerging sectarian religious traditions and the philosophical schools that arose and emerged from the second h alf of the 1st., millennium BC.


     ‘Even those who know which actions are good and which are evil, though free from sin, become bewildered in this world by being [variously] engaged in these diverse [but misleading philosophical approaches].’



     By the 6th., century BC., the primacy of an Indo-Aryan warrior elite of the Noble Domain was in fact long eclipsed by the political rise and ascendancy of ethnically mixed aristocratic and regal warrior families etc., from the eastern portion of the greater 'middle country'. These ethnically mixed aristocratic, warrior families arose because the previously ascendant Indo-Aryan regal warrior elite of the Nobal Domain had exhausted themselves through the folly of inter-family, regal competition ultimately leading to civil war. The mixed Indo-Dravidian/Indo-Aryan dynasties etc., that arose from Kosala and Magadha etc., were military powerful but also forwarded a more independent, sometimes non-Vedic and even an anti-Vedic social/cultural/religious line. 

     The exhaustion of the Indo-Aryan regal elite is evinced through the prime theme of the epic,  the Mahabharata, that recounts the family struggle between the Kaurava and the Pandava princes that perhaps happened during the 9th., century BC. From the oral tradition this epic was only finally completed and written versions were recorded during the 4th., century AD.

   The family struggle between the Kaurava and the Pandava princes culminates in the catastrophic effects of a protracted battle of annihilation that was fought over a number of weeks. However, that a whole generation of Indo-Aryan regal warrior families and their ethnic allies would allow themselves to annihilated in a matter of weeks seems unlikely, suggesting that this protracted battle is possibly symbolic of the culmination of a number of significant battles fought within the ongoing context these inter-dynastic family civil war.

     The effects of civil war had exhausted the original Indo-Aryan regal elite of the Noble Domain, leading to the arising of a mass of petty kingdoms, that then formed the Indo-Aryan, non-Indo-Aryan and tribal states of the Ethnic Communities.   Here the mass of the population of these states were subject to the sometime violent ambitions of the 'deified' rulers drawn from the now mixed Indo-Aryan/Indo-Dravidian and other ethnic regal elites. The petty kingdoms forming Ethnic Communities were further consolidated into a number of regional kingdoms forming the Great Communities. .

    During 6th., century BC., social pressures and political rivalries were continued and generated by fierce competition among the remaining Indo-Aryan regal elite and a rising mixed Indo-Aryan/Indo-Dravidian aristocratic and regal elite. Within these rivalries particular regal families sought to enlarge their realms by conquering and consolidating ancient tribal confederations and petty kingdoms of the Great Communities into regional kingdoms. The violent consolidation of tribal confederations and petty kingdoms remaining within the eastern part of the greater 'middle country' into regional kingdoms further heightened social pressures and popular social discontent.

     The advent of despotic and autocratic kingship throughout the greater Middle Country certainly generated a long-term sense of general dissatisfaction at a loss of tribal communalism, tribal lands and ancient social liberties. This sense of general dissatisfaction formed a groundswell against arbitrary Brahminic social/religious orthodoxy linked with the 'deified' regimes of regal dynasties. This dissatisfaction contributed to the emergence of heterodox religious traditions; atheistic philosophical systems and backward looking philosophies such as Jaimini’s purva-mimamsa, the ‘earlier’ Mimamsa School, that yearned for the return to an arcane Vedic era.

     With 'deification' of the ruling elite by way of the opportunism of the Brahmin caste and as a result of this further consolidation into regional kingdoms, many dispossessed tribal groups and the members of the downwardly re-classified occupations and professions now existed in a more and more negative and pervasive social/religious caste system.

    These dispossessed tribal groups and the members of downwardly re-classified occupations and professions resented this whole process of political/social consolidation into a fixed caste system where any personal choosing of occupation was no longer possible . The political process onsolidation had robbed them of their tribal liberties; robbed them of their tribally-derived egalitarian democracy/republican political systems as well as their social status, choice and placed them onto the lower rungs of the caste system.

     Due to a prevailing, pervasive mood of impotence, disgust and nostalgia at this loss of tribal democracy, egalitarianism and even arcane Vedicism etc., a deeply felt and deep-seated sense of indignation arose among the mass of the population. Later this sense of impotence, disgust and indignation was even present among the intelligencia of the now consolidated kingdoms.

   Here the intelligencia were now influenced by the so-called alien social/religious theories and philosphical ideals that accompanied the Persian and Greek imperial regimes. These alien regimes had for some centuries controlled the important trading centers of greater Gandhara etc., and thereby controlled trade and even the flow of ideas to and from the trading centers of western, northern and eastern regions of ancient India etc.

   This sense of indignation at the manifested arrogance of a now ‘deified’ regal dynastic elite, clearly aided in their opportunism by the Brahmin caste, arose most vigorously in the eastern part of the 'middle country'. The eastern part of the 'middle country' had been a last bastion for democratic/republican tribal confederations and was the last region to completely fall under ‘deified’ regal dynastic rule and the 'deified' social/religious system of caste and caste duty.

     From the 6th., century BC., within the consolidated the regional kingdoms of the greater 'middle country', the inequities, extractions and the fixations towards simplistic Vedic ritual etc., of a supposedly ‘divinely’ inspired Brahminic social/religious system certainly created a fertile field for religious dissent. Within these field the evolution and then the arising of new non-Vedic religions and philosophies even anti-Vedic philosophies occurred. Here there arose the new, dissenting, non-Vedic and even anti-Vedic so-called unorthodox and heterodox religious traditions as well as even a number of non-religious philosophies that purely forwarded hedonism and materialism.

    These various new trends of non-Vedic religion and philosophy etc., were forwarded by the so-called nastika-s, ‘deniers’ of the Vedic/Brahminical social/religious traditions. The Vedic/ Brahminical social/religious traditions continued to be upheld by the astika-s, those who ‘affirmed’ the orthodoxy of the Vedic/Brahminical tradition. But here, from the latter centuries of the 1st., millennium BC., the recording and composition of the Vedic and non-Vedic textural traditions commenced a protracted period of the sometimes bitter competition and confrontation between those who 'affirmed' the orthodox Vedic/Brahminic tradition and those 'deniers' of the Vedic/Brahminical tradition who upheld the various doctrinal views of the non-Vedic and even anti-Vedic unorthodox and heterodox traditions .

    Following on from the example set by the ancient Magi yogi lineage tradition, it was clearly no coincidence that Magadhan philosphical masters and adepts founded and popularized these emerging popular unorthodox and heterodox traditions. Also Magadhan masters also helped to formulate some of the dialectical approaches of the 'six' philosophies, such as the Samkhya and Yoga philosophies, that were upheld by the newly emerging and influential religious traditions as well as by the non-religious philosophical schools.

      From the 5th., century BC., the crystallized outlooks of these non-Vedic, unorthodox and heterodox traditions, such as the Samkhya, Buddhist and Jain traditions etc., as well as the early approaches of some of the 'six' unorthodox religious and non-religious philosophical schools  certainly rode the wave of popular indignation against the fixed caste system and Vedic/Brahminical orthodoxy to vigorously emerge into the social/religious mainstream of the 'middle country'.

       Popularity of these newly emerging  and influential religious traditions etc., led to the urgent need on the part of the orthodox Brahmincal tradition for clear doctrinal and philosophical definition. Over the centuries, from the 5th., century BC., this need led to the recording of the  previously oral tradition. Here the three Veda-s etc., forming the heart of the Vedic tradition were edited, updated and recorded. Also this process led to the composition of the AV., and the later Upanisad textural tradition, in which the outlines of an updated and evolved cosmological and philosophical doctrinal line surrounding cosmic deities 'with and without' form were gradually  formulated.

     The later texts of the Upanisad tradition etc., build upon the ill-defined and unfinished doctrinal seeds regarding cosmic deities 'with form', regarding causal mantra-s etc., as stated within the tenth cycle of the RV., as well as in some of the Brahmana texts and the early Upanisad-s,   


     Here the orthodox Vedic/Brahminical tradition resented any possible intrusion by the non-Vedic unorthodox and heterodox traditions that could alter the pre-eminence of their social/religious stance or threaten and upset regal and mercantile patronage required to perform state and social passage rites, founded on the outlook of the Vedic sacrificial science and other ritual stances.

    But from the latter centuries of the 1st., millennium BC., because of the inroads popularly made by the various non-Vedic unorthodox and heterodox religious traditions and by the non-religious philosophies, actually considered in some respects to be even more dangerous to the status quo, the Vedic/Brahminic tradition was further spurred to create its own ‘authorized’ textural traditions. In addition to the later Upanisad-s, these added textual tradition rebutted any doctrinal, applied and philosophical stances deemed as opposing the historic, overall orthodox stance.

     These orthodox textural traditions included those of the Purana and the Dharmashastra traditions. The Dharmashastra-s dealt in detail with the rationale and detailed injunctions etc., required to order the now increasingly rigid system of caste. In addition to exposing updated deity myths of the emerging, dominant male and female deities and goddesses of the Brahminical Trinity, the updated myths of the ‘five’ deities etc., the Purana-s also contained biased quasi-history. Some Purana texts disproportionately emphasize the quasi-histories of sometimes minor pro-Brahminic regal states ruled by authorized ‘deified’ regal dynasties that were supposedly founded in myth from the lustful dalliances of particular deities.

     These updated myths, quasi-histories devalued, misrepresented and even omitted the political and valuable cultural contributions made by those Magadhan dynasties, who significantly progressed the course of ancient and classical Indian culture and religion. Devalued Magadhan dynasties even including the imperial Maurya-s, whose emperors often followed non-Vedic traditions.

   The Maurya-s were treated in this manner because the Maurya emperors adopted politically sensible, even-handed policies towards ethnic minorities and the various popular orthodox, unorthodox and heterodox sectarian religious traditions. From all this, Maurya emperors were free-thinkers not conformists who chose their chosen religious doctrine/ideal and did not simply conform to or solely popularized the orthodox Vedic/Brahminic social/religious line.

    The epic, the 4th., century AD., Mahabharata can somewhat act as a culmination text within this whole process of textually rebutting any non-Vedic doctrinal, applied and philosophical stances. The Mahabharata contains numerous story strands etc., taken from the orally tradition which was then composed and recorded from the latter centuries BC., through to the early centuries AD.

    The contents of the voluminous Mahabharata contain the myths, stories and the quasi-histories of the deities and the early Indo-Aryan regal elite ruling the Noble Domain as well as the stories and myths of other prominent ethnic warriors, sages and personalities etc. The Mahabharata even includes the various doctrines attached to or evolved to meet the later doctrinal needs of the Vedic/Brahminical line etc.

     A prominent personality featuring in the Mahabharata is the ethnic Indo-Dravidian, Krsna, the Black One, the Vaisnava avatar from the western region. Here Krsna is a human but accomplished lineage adept of devotion, emanation and yoga, and can be appreciated as embodying the ascendancy of applied streams within the Vedic/Brahminical milieu that were adapted and evolved from the Indo-Dravidian yoga milieu of the arcane Shaiva/Shakta tradition etc.

     Within a small portion of this epic, the portion known as the bhagavad-gita, Krsna instructs the Indo-Aryan hero Arjuna on ‘detached action’ and on a variety of essentially non-Vedic philosophical and applied approaches to cosmic deities 'with and without form' ranging from devotional modes to emanation and yoga modes etc. The adaption and evolution of the diverse and ancient Indo-Dravidian applied milieu into an acceptable form for the later Vedic/Brahminic milieu was potentially created by this time.

    This adaption was created from a fusion of these various applied approaches together with the further evolution of cosmological and doctrinal theories aired in the early Upanisad-s, and the AV., of the Vedic/Brahminic tradition. Although the Vedic sacrificial science is not discounted, the discourses of Krsna clearly highlight the elevation and ascentancy of the cosmic Brahminical Trinity. From this, an inferance can be made that the slow process of creating the philosophy, the cosmology and doctrinal logic for the Brahminical Trinity was completed by the latter centuries BC.


      (i.,} A basic differentiation of the doctrinal approach of the orthodox, unorthodox and hetrodox traditions held during the later centuries of the 1st., millennium BC.


          ‘Others [the skeptics] say: “Only those things exist which are actually perceived through the senses and nothing else other than them. Where then are heaven and hell?”

                                                                                                                                         shiva samhita 1.11.


      From the 7th.,  and the 6th., centuries BC., as a consequence of the ongoing and evolving social/religious and political situation in the greater 'middle country' numerous schools of non-Vedic and even anti-Vedic philosophy as well as non-Vedic sectarian applied approaches gradually emerged. Many of these freshly emerging philosophical schools and applied sectarian systems did not arise from the orthodox Vedic/Brahminical tradition but were rather derived from or were distilled from other ethnic lineage traditions etc. These emergent systems went on to compete with the Brahmin family traditions that maintained the Vedic sacrificial science and other Vedic passage rites and rituals for regal patrons etc.

     The Jain tradition commencing from the 5th., century BC., held that by this era there were some three hundred and sixty schools divided into four basic groupings. These four groups were those that ‘recognized cause and effect’, ‘did not recognize cause and effect’, were ‘skeptics’ in regard to morality, cause and effect and those that followed disciplines of ‘morality’.

      The then contemporary, early Buddhist tradition took a different tack by classifying the various ‘outsider’ and ‘incorrect’ non-Buddhist philosophical and sectarian traditions into three categories. These three were those that followed the view that everything phenomenal occurs through issaranimmana, ‘causality by will of a creator’, or by pubbekahetu, ‘predetermination by past cause and effect’ or ahetu, everything as a ‘consequence of chance’. The Buddhist doctrinal approach deemed these approaches to be ‘incorrect’ because they did not make an allowance for free will, mindful individual effort within a personally chosen course/cycle of cause and effect based upon the actualization of morality and ethics etc.

    The speculative philosophical positions of the non-Buddhist schools were further characterized by two further sets of criteria. Those were the parinama-vada, the doctrine of ‘transformation’ and the arambha-vada, the doctrine of ‘beginning’. The doctrine of ‘transformation’ relates to the orthodox approach that postulates ‘everything’ including the atman, soul/self, matter, the material universe etc., are ‘transformations’ caused and evolved by and from the monad,  Brahman, the ‘formless’ ‘essence/principle of the expanding universe’. These ‘transformations’ occur via the cosmic function of the ‘first being’ and first deity ‘with’ form, Brahma created from the ‘thought transformation’ of Brahman.

     The doctrine of ‘beginning’ represents a primitive approach to physics that did not recognize transformations from a single primeval cause but rather argued that transient matter, living beings, the very universe are simply composed of and are formed by combinations of the primeval elements. Under this view despite the expansion and contraction of the overall cosmic process these elements cannot be destroyed and thereby these elements essentially constitute what is eternal.


    But by the 5th., century BC., by way of the various basic philosophical and applied situations ascetic/mendicant practitioners were further divided into two basic types, the orthodox brahmana-s, the Brahmin ascetics and the unorthodox/heterodox shramana-s, ‘strivers’. These two basic types of ascetic could apply actually two types of basic system founded either on extreme regimes of austerity or upon ascetic contemplation based upon devotion and/or emanation and yoga offered to cosmic deities 'with and without form'.

     The brahmana-s  ascetics were drawn from the uppermost caste represented the culmination of the orthodox social trend founded upon graduating through the system of caste, caste duties and stages of life. For the uppermost caste, the graduated trend of stages of life included initially the priestly role of performing and officiating at Vedic sacrifices and rites then adopting the role of householder/forest dweller and finally the role of a mendicant itinerant ascetic living without home or possessions. Certainly during this era Brahmin ascetics living within the final stage are recorded as more usually applied themselves to tapas, ‘heat’ or rather extreme asceticism within regimes of extreme austerity.

     Accounts left by Macedonian Greek observers from the 3rd.,century BC., and by Greek ambassadors to the Mauryan court during the 2nd., century BC., record similarities in Indian ascetic regimes with their own ascetic traditions. Classical Greek writers such as Clearchus of Soli, the disciple of Aristotle, suggest that the origin of the ancient and historic ‘gymnosophist’ or rather the ongoing evolution of the tribal ascetic/yogı traditions can be traced to the influence of the priestly class of the Ellamite Maga, the Magi.

     Macedonian Greek observers included Onesikritus, an aid to Alexander the Great. His account records an the early western encounter with naked Indian ascetics. He encountered these ascetics in the northwestern region, on the outskirts of the city of Taxila in Gandhara. While being fully exposed to the midday sun they were unflinchingly sitting naked on hot rock.

    Subsequently one of these ascetics, named by the Greeks as Kalyana, was induced to don clothes and leave this circle to be able to further explain and discuss his philosophical system to the Macedonians. He was well respected by the Macedonians and followed in Alexander’s train. Prior to Alexander’s death Kaly›na announced in the Ellamite City of Susa that his own time had come. In the midst of a gathered assembly of thousands of locals and Greeks, Kalyana had a pyre built, ascended the pyre, assumed a sitting posture, ordered the pyre lit, entered into a trance and met his end within the flames.

     Canakya /Kautilya's AS., further discusses that during the latter part of the 1st., millennium BC., the approach of ‘austerities’ by way of self-will, as was applied by Vedic/Brahminic ascetics. Similarly this approach is also discussed in epigraphic records such as Asoka's rock edicts. These records certainly list Vedic/Brahmin ascetics together with similarly ‘austerity’ orientated ascetics of the heterodox Ajıvika and Jaina traditions.

   Tamil medium Jaina and Buddhist treatises of the later 4th., century AD., characterize  some orthodox Brahmin ascetics, then flourishing within the southern regions, as practicing regimes of 'austerity'. Here, apart from upholding the Vedic tradition, these Brahmin ascetics seem to have more in common with the heterodox Jaina and Ajıvika traditions than with other sectarian yoga-based or devotional ascetic traditions.


      However even prior to era of the later Upanisad textural tradition, Brahmin ascetic milieu also included a minority ascetics who followed more sophisticated systems of emanation and yoga based upon mild regimes of austerity. These applied devotional and yoga approaches, reflecting the influence of the Indo-Dravidian lineage, tradition were aimed at attaining heaven astral realms or even towards intuitively ascertaining and attaining the essential nature of ‘self/soul’, the ‘essence of the expanding universe’ of causal cosmic deities ‘with’ form.

     Variations on theories surrounding the uncreated nature of monad, Brahman; essential nature of the soul/self created by first Being, Brahma as well as the jiva, the ‘extant being’ progressing within a cycle of cause and effect and transmigration etc., were quite numerous at this time. In fact the early Buddhist treatise the brahmajala-sutta lists, discusses and refutes as many as sixty-two non-Buddhist ‘outsider’ approaches to these doctrinal subjects.

      The unorthodox and heterodox ‘strivers’ were also itinerant ascetics who could be drawn from the three upper castes as well as from the lower two castes. The ‘strivers’ were initially differentiated from orthodox Brahmin ascetics because they did not follow an orthodox approach to the social religious system via the stages of life nor found any philosophical appeal or even utility in the Veda-s or in Vedic rites and rituals including the sacrificial science.

   The grouping of ‘strivers’ included those who followed the ancient, pre-Indo-Aryan Shaiva/Shakta lineage tradition maintained by the Indo-Dravidian/Magi yogi and tantric yogi streams. These lineage streams historically described in the AV., included the forerunners of the later historical Pashupata, Kapalika, Yogini Kula and the later tantric lineage streams.

      Unorthodox/heterodox ‘strivers’ certainly discounted the utility of the Veda-s as the source of ‘all’ doctrine and also denigrated the utility of the Vedic sacrificial science as well as the hypocrisies of the Brahminic social system. However some of these schools of ‘strivers’  did seek to initially control the mind by recognizing cause and effect and the need for morality and ethics while applying systems of austerity, devotion or yoga as the means to transform the mind stream towards intuitive knowledge.

     Among the more radical members of this grouping of ‘strivers’, some were austerity-orientated 'fatalists' as well as 'skeptics' on the necessity for morality and ethics. Some were even quasi-scientific 'materialists' who followed the view of the impersonal cause but eternal nature of the basic elements. From the 6th., century BC., these lineage streams were characterized as being those founded by particular ganin, ‘leaders’ or teachers.

   Foremost among these were six ‘leaders’, the AjIvika fatalist Makkali Goshala; the fatalist/skeptic Purana Kashyapa; the skeptic/materialist Ajita Keshakambala; the skeptic Sanjaya; the materialist Katynna and the founder of the extreme austerity orientated Jaina tradition Mahavira.

       Certainly outside of their application to vows of austerity many within this grouping clearly saw no need for moral and ethical discipline and beyond niyati fatalism/determinism; did not even support a view of cause and effect and the consequences so derived in terms of social status, transmigration, re-birth etc. Rather they saw ‘self-will’ applied within regimes of austerity as solely useful in order to transform ‘destiny’; to attain mental concentration and psychic powers etc.

     The historical Buddha personally knew some of these ‘leaders’ and being thoroughly familiar with their philosophical and applied approaches was severely critical of their reliance upon severe and extreme austerity and/or their lack of ethical altruism and acceptance of personal moral responsibility.

     By the latter part of the 1st., millennium BC., within the recorded, orthodox textural traditions, the late Vedic/Brahminic tradition was able to establish a basic standard, differentiating a variety of orthodox, heterodox and tantric sectarian traditions. This process of differentiation was also extended to include unorthodox sacred and secular schools of philosophy, emerging during this period, some of which were not even related to religion at all.

     In order to establish a standard ‘of which were acceptable and which were unacceptable’, philosophical stances, then authorization was basically decided in terms of those that astika, ‘affirmed’ and those that nastika, ‘denied’ the fundamental criteria of Vedic/Brahminical orthodoxy. Under these terms an initial differentiation of traditions relates to those that upheld a doctrine ‘affirming’ the existence of ishvara, ‘causal deity’ and those traditions that held the doctrine of nirishvara, 'no causal deity', that ‘denied’ the existence of a causal deity.

     Further, on an applied esoteric level, a differentiation into acceptable authorized ‘affirmed’ doctrines was related to the existence of individual souls, to the relationship of the individual self/soul with causal deities ‘with form’. On a more subtly level the non-dual relationship of the self/soul with the monad, Brahman, the essence/principle of the ‘formless’ quantum field also needed to be ‘affirmed’.

     These fundamental criteria also further included the need to ‘affirm’ the primacy of the Veda-s, the utility of the Vedic sacrificial science and ‘affirm’ that the Vedic tradition was the source of 'all knowledge' and applied doctrine. These criteria clearly included the need to ‘affirm’ the utility of ‘divine’ social order based upon the orthodox social/religious Vedic system.

    Thereby further criteria were based upon doctrinal views that ‘affirmed’ cause and effect within society and the situation of the after-life based upon the fruits of such cycles of cause and effect. In effect these criteria further underpinned the orthodox rationale for the social/religious system of caste and caste duties.


      Orthodox traditions upholding the primacy of the Veda-s, the Vedic sacrificial science, the ‘divine’ social/religious system as well as the orthodox approach to the causal deity cycles of the emerging Trinity and the ‘five’ deities, were obviously considered among those that ‘affirmed’. Additionally unorthodox ‘affirming’ traditions such as elements within the later unorthodox Shaiva/Shakta lineage etc., that also upheld such ‘authorized’ doctrines were acceptable to the orthodox Brahmin establishment.

     Further despite sometimes possessing extreme vama-marg, ‘left-hand path’ wings and allied radical applied approaches, often much disparaged by orthodox Brahminic commentators, even the early independent tantric sectarian deity traditions were in part included among the ‘affirmers’ because they also texturally upheld the primacy of the Vedic tradition, the social doctrines and theism, monadism and polytheism. These traditions historically included those that sought intuitive knowledge of the svabhava, own self or soul-nature, of one of the ‘five’ principle theistic and cosmic deities, Shiva, Visnu, Shakti or the Goddess as well as Ganesha and Surya.

     Despite being placed in an historical context where some regal dynasties regularly patronized and favored the radical tantric approach presumably the introduction of orthodox doctrinal stances within tantric treatises such as the kula-arnava-tantra dating from the latter centuries of the 1st., millennium BC., certainly suggests accommodations made with the orthodox tradition and thereby apparently even confirm the necessity to be seen as an ‘affirming’ tradition. Accommodation with orthodoxy was apparently necessary for the Yogini Kula, Kaula and other tantric traditions necessary in order to obtain an acceptable degree of social ‘authority’ in order maintain patronage and maintain the prestige of their regal patrons as upholders of traditional orthodox usage.

      Many tantric treatises such as the KA.T., up to a point clearly affirm the utility and authority of the Veda-s, the Vedic sacrificial science and the Brahminic social/religious system while at the same time emphasizing the over-riding need to apply an internal, sometimes radical, yoga system aimed at awakening and channeling the normally latent coiled-up energy/capability in order to enter within the essentialnature of the Goddess or of Shiva.

      However significant elements within the unreformed Shaiva/Shakta tantric traditions, such as the Pasupata-s, Lakaula-s, Kapalika-s etc., certainly ‘denied’ some or all of the basic orthodox doctrinal stances surrounding the Vedic/Brahminic tradition. They especially ‘denied’ the validity of the social/ religious system and some even ‘denied’ the over-riding significance of the fruits of cause and effect in this life and their effect on the after-life.

    They suggested that ‘destiny’, cause and effect and its fruits could be cancelled out or be successfully re-channeled either through occult lore or through siddhi, psychic and/or deeper accomplishment attained both by proficiency and efficiency in the utilization of the outer and inner pañca-mudra, the ‘five’ seals etc.

     These sects were included together with the overall Buddhist tradition and the austerity-orientated Jaina tradition. Because of the real threat posed by the Buddhist and Jain philosophical approaches to the Vedic sacrificial science and posed to Brahminic social/religious orthodoxy, the socially ‘authorized’ traditions, backed by their regal patrons. were often very hostile to these traditions. Supported by their regal patrons, especially in South India, the orthodox Vedic/ Brahminic traditions instituted a protracted process aimed at the suppression and the drastic revision of the oral and textural traditions of these ‘denying’ traditions.

     However because the rational Buddhist doctrine attracted generations of intellectuals, Buddhist doctrinal principles continued to be taught and promoted from within the secure base of the system of monasteries. By this means the Vedic/Brahminic tradition was unable to suppress or wear down the still evolving overall Buddhist tradition. Only from the 13th., century AD., with the destruction of the monastic infrastructure by Islamic forces did monastic Buddhism of eastern India enter the period of gradual, terminal decline.

       Among the heterodox traditions originating from Magadha, the Buddhist tradition sought by means of mild asceticism, yoga and mindful meditation to attain intuitive knowledge of an inherent, ‘formless’ uncreated released nature, free of all the taints of cause and effect. The concept of an uncreated, ever tranquil and quiescent 'essential nature' excludes the process of primeval 'thought differentiation' or tranformations from the primal resonance that led to divine causality and the personification of deities ‘with’ form.

     Thereby this doctrinal view and applied approach ‘denies’ the doctrinal vista of the Upanisad-s based upon primeval thought within the essence/principle; of differentiation leading to the creation of the 'golden egg' and the creation of the ‘first being’ who further creates gross and subtle matter realms populated with long living and short living, individual sentient beings endowed with soul/self etc.

     The Buddha’s doctrinal approach saw no purpose in a contradictory doctrinal vista proposing the arising of primeval thought leading to the actual differentiation of the actually  undifferentiated or monistic essence/principle etc. Rather the Buddha only sough to impart an uncomplicated and rational doctrinal view that from concerted self-application of an internalized system was aimed at attaining knowledge of an uncreated, ‘formless’ naturally inherent quantum field free of even the most subtle of thought constructs and the dreams, delusions of cause and effect.

      Thereby the atheistic Buddhist tradition was in reality the leader of the ‘deniers’ and was the principal antagonist for the ‘affirming’ orthodox theistic traditions. The Buddhist tradition was the clearly the leading opponent because its popular atheistic doctrine contradicted the core doctrine of the Upanisad-s, the Doctrine of Brahman and the first Being, Brahma. Thereby the Buddhist doctrinal approach also ‘denied’ the utility of the Veda-s as the source of ‘all doctrine’; ‘denied’ the utility of the Vedic sacrificial science as well as the supposedly ‘divine’ social/religious system.


      The Jaina and Ajivika ascetic traditions either sought, by extreme asceticism, total ‘release’ from the cycle of cause and effect or more simplistically, psychic powers. Further despite the Jain and Buddhist traditions holding doctrines related to individual cycles of cause and effect, an after-life etc., these traditions clearly 'denied' and rejected both the utility of primeval theism, the utility of the Veda-s, the Vedic sacrificial science and the cosmic Vedic /Brahminic deities.

     The now defunct AjIvika tradition, doctrinally founded upon application to regimes of extreme austerity, was popular from the middle of the 1st., millennium BC., and endured until the early Middle Ages. This tradition upheld doctrines of dishtika, 'non-personified determinism' and niyati, 'fatalism'. Because of these doctrinal principles the Ajivika-s saw no value in propitiating deities in order to change the individual’s determined fate and effectively simply saw the Veda-s and the Vedic science as the opportunity for greedy priests to gain wealth and social status by false pretences.

     Further because of the perpetual incidence of limited sensory pleasure, invariably leading to suffering and sorrow, the Ajivika-s in fact saw no need in even acknowledging the possible existence of fickle minded even capricious causal deities, who are apparently indifferent to the circumstances and fate of living beings. Thereby the doctrinal approach of the Ajivika tradition was certainly atheistic, anti-Veda-s, anti-Vedic and anti-caste.

     The Ajivika-s further saw no validity in seeking to cultivate morality and ethics. Their outlook postulated that application to personal striving necessary to cultivate moral and ethical stances was futile and fruitless. They held that the nature of individual existence and of all things in general was already determined in terms of their good or evil, svabhava, self-natures and that these natures could not actually be altered.

     Rather Ajivika ascetics applied the akriya-vada, the Doctrine of Non-Action, in their extreme approach to applying mental and physical will power within protracted regimes of often very painful physical austerities. Stoically overcoming pain within the protracted application of regimes of physical austerity was considered to act as the means to accumulate tapas, heat, leading to deep mental concentration taking the individual practitioner beyond determined fate and into the attainment of psychic powers that endured for limited periods.

     However, by viewing existence as being simply pre-determined in time bound space as well as from attempting to gain psychic powers for a limited duration through will power, within regimes of physical austerity, certainly points to significant contradictions and limitations permeating the AjIvika doctrinal position.

     Scholars certainly consider that many of the most pernicious aims and aspects of popular, historic ‘left-handed’ tantricism can be attributed to the Ajivika tradition as well as the influence of earlier anti-Vedic philosophical schools, including the Carvaka-s who held extreme anti-Brahmin views. ‘Left hand’ tantric practices derived from the influence of the Ajivika-s and also the Kapalika-s included malevolent mantra rites, black magic curses, sadistic/masochistic rites, ritual rape and other revolting rites even including the historic incidence human sacrifice.


       (ii.,) The various other  philosophical schools of the ‘deniers’.


        ‘...With their faces turned away from the supreme goal they think according to their understanding and education that this universe is without ishvara, the cause [or causal deity]...’



    From references within the Brahmana treatises of the late Vedic tradition ‘denying’ philosophical schools apparently existed in the Noble Domain even prior to the historic emergence of the ‘denying’, heterodox Buddhist, Jain and AjIvika sectarian traditions and the 'six' later classical schools of philosophy.

        Apparently from the end of the 2nd., millennium BC., various preceding strands within the dissenting, anti-orthodox even anti-religious movement ran parallel to and socially competed with the early traditions of Vedic/Brahminic ritual and the other unorthodox sectarian deity traditions. These competing essentially anti-Vedic, social traditions also found a textural flowering during the latter half of the 1st., millennium BC.

      However due to the success of the protracted process of infiltration, revision and suppression, in many instances little is actually now known of the fuller or original details of the philosophies of early ‘denying’ schools of philosophy. Often all that remains are fragments set within very critical, biased accounts and summaries found in later Brahminic works offering suggestions of their original atheistic, anti-orthodox even secular approaches to philosophy.

      The manusmriti simply characterizes the founders and leading personalities of these schools as pashanda, heretics. Their heresy and notorious reputation is largely derived from their view that the outlook expressed in the Veda-s and by the treatises of the late Vedic tradition is both contradictory and even absurd.

     This so-called heresy further opined that the Vedic sacrificial science was the self-serving vehicle of a greedy, opportunistic priestly class created to fulfill, by way of complex rites and pompous ritual, the relative, materialistic goals of their foolish clients. Obviously such characterizations did not go down well with the socially dominant performers of the Vedic science and with the regal  proponents of the Veda-s and the adherents of Brahminic ritual/social orthodoxy.


    An early cynic Javali, was born a Brahmin and was a contemporary of Lord Rama in the 10th., century BC. He is featured in the dialogue of the Ramayana. In common with later cynics and skeptics he saw no reason to cultivate morality and ethics. During an encounter he ridiculed Lord Rama for having moral scruples over vows made to his father not to return from exile to Ayodhya when urged to return to Ayodhya by his brother Bharata. Javali opined that an individual should simply look for what is best for his own future, for his own pleasure, having no loyalty or respect for vows, family, friends or even the deities.

     Javali ridiculed the offering of sacrifices to the deities and to the ancestors and opined death was final and that dreams and hopes of heaven realms or liberation were no more substantial than bubbles. Because life is fleeting Javali further ridiculed abstinence and austerity suggesting that indulgence in the sensory pleasures should be the goal of life pursued until death.

     The later philosopher Brhaspati together with Kapila the founder of the Samkhya school, are considered by the orthodox tradition as the prime atheistic motivators within the historic ‘denying’ schools. However, in this context Brhaspati is not the Brhaspati of the RV., nor is he the creator of a code of law that bears this name.

     The 4th., century BC., Brhaspati, was probably from the warrior caste and was notorious within the orthodox tradition because of the vehemently anti-Vedic and anti-Brahmin stances of his philosophical approach, known as Brhaspatya, contained in his now lost sutra-s. However his sutra-s and the opinions they contain were still extant up to the 12th., century AD., and were quoted by the earlier Shankara as well as by Madava as examples of the dangerous opinions promoted by the ‘denying’ philosophies.

       Brhaspati derided the Veda-s as simplistic and called their authors fools and charlatans. In the manner of an Indian Luther he fulminated against the Vedic sacrificial science as merely being the means of livelihood for a ‘soft-bellied and slothful’ priestly class who relished reaping the rewards of others’ labor while arrogantly demanding their humble obedience and obeisance. He saw the orthodox Vedic/Brahminic path as an avenue to servitude and ignorance and characterized their doctrines of Brahman; personified causal deities ‘with’ form; of soul/self, heaven and hell as tales told by mothers to impress or frighten naughty children.

       The dissenting philosophical school of lokayata, 'materialism' is attributed to the skeptic Ajita whose outlook was further broadened by Parameshthin and by Bhaguri, who is mentioned in Patañjali’s mahabhasya. Ajita, flourished during the early 5th., century BC., was also known as kesha-kambalin, ‘hair blanket’, because he wore a blanket or robe woven from human hair.

     Ajita’s skeptical approach held that the universe and all in the universe is created from the four elements, earth, water, fire and air and their combinations. He further held that intuitive knowledge of the personified primeval essence/ principle or the totally neutral quantum field, if such intuitive knowledge even existed, was unattainable because the mind only functions in terms of the senses, sense impressions and sensory interplay with objects.

     Ajita characterized the Vedic sacrificial science as ‘the vomit of the Brahmins’ and what passed as Vedic knowledge was the product of minds distorted by avarice and greed. He held that death was final, that there was no after life and that offering sacrifices, giving alms or applying moral and ethical disciplines were futile and offered no merit. As he held that what occurs in life makes no difference one way or the other he also opined that there was no demerit in vice and evil and that pleasure may be pursued or not as the individual chooses. Ajita’s philosophy was roundly condemned both by the other unorthodox, heterodox and the orthodox traditions.

   The founder of another extreme skeptic school was Jayarashi, who flourished in the 7th., century AD. A principle treatise of Jayarashi’s school the tattva-upaplava-simha, is extant. Here through subtle arguments and the skillful use of the dialectics of nihilism he undermines and seeks to disprove the basic tenets of religious belief. Eventually religious belief is considered as being similar to a child’s game of make-believe and that no one or any religious ‘truth’ is real or even valid. He saw all religious philosophy/doctrine as pretentious.

     Jayarashi suggests that the sensory mind created by sensory interplay with objects; by fleeting sense impressions, attachments, desires, emotions etc., is thoroughly imperfect. Being imperfect the fragmentary knowledge of even the sensory world gathered by the sensory mind is incapable of knowing even a fraction of the phenomenal world let alone the nature of the universe or the essence of any possible transcendental field.

     Another skeptic and agnostic was Sañjaya, who flourished at the end of the 6th., century BC. Although rejecting the possibility for intuitive knowledge and attempting to know the after-life or any ultimate purpose in life, Sañjaya took a different tack from Ajita and Jayarashi. Here he postulated that all the informed man could do is not to inquire into such speculative matters and to simply attempt to suspend and cease all thought processes pursuing such fruitless inquiries.

      By ridding the mind of discursive and speculative thought, curiosity as well as emotion, passion etc., the mind could become naturally calmed like a pond when the ripples formed by a stone thrown into the pond subside. Therefore Sañjaya’s philosophical approach solely confined itself to the attainment of mental calm and equanimity through attempting to do nothing and by being mentally indifferent under all circumstances.

      By this approach, finding a solution to any proposed problem or any answer to a question presented to him was to avoid doing or saying anything. Or if pressed he simply equivocated by either not offering an argument for or against something. In fact he opined that it was not even necessary to even listen to a petitioner seeking advice but rather it was simply better to be indifferent and remain mentally calm and composed.

      Sañjaya merely proposed to petitioners that once the mental ripples of curiosity, enquiry or perplexity over questions like soul/self, over-soul/individual self, cause and effect, transmigration were stilled, the mind could become naturally calm. Therefore he instructed his followers and confronted his critics by neither saying ‘yes or no’ to anything nor even giving any definitive answer at all to any of their questions. He suggested that this kind of indifference was the characteristic that marked the liberated mind. The Buddha and others roundly condemned Sañjaya’s approach based both upon equivocation and timidly ducking the point of a question.

      Although Brhaspati and Kapila are generally considered as the principle motivators for the ‘denying’ schools of philosophy in many instances the school of hedonistic philosophy founded by Carvaka is also presented as one of the most dangerous and pernicious ‘denying’ schools of philosophy by the orthodox tradition.

     Very little is now known about the life of Carvaka but reference to him and also to a demon of the same name in the manu-smrti, the visnu-purana and the mahabharata would suggest that he flourished during the latter centuries of the 1st., millennium BC.

     Like Ajita, Carvaka’s school opined that the universe was purely comprised of matter without any underlying divine basis or cause and was simply formed by the combinations of the primeval four elements. They merely saw a spontaneous process in the combination of these elements that commenced cycles of insentient matter within the time bound universe.

    The followers of Carvaka denied the existence of any divine quantum field or divine monadic essence/principle and characterized belief in causal deities and the application of modes of religious propitiation as being akin to having an infectious disease. They ridiculed doctrines of soul/self; a supreme over-soul; deity astral realms; an after life and transmigration also suggesting that Vedic sacrifices made to the Vedic/Brahminic deities were solely created for gullible fools.

     This school was especially scornful of the Veda-s, the Vedic sacrificial science and Brahmin priests. The followers of Carvaka suggested that the Veda-s were repetitive, contradictory and that Vedic sacrifices were useless, meaningless simply being the means for priests to gain a livelihood. They characterized Vedic priests and Brahmins to be worse than scorpions and cobras and as parasites living off society etc. They were equally scornful of the caste system opining that it was an invention of the Brahmins and kings used as a means to suppress the populace.

    They further opined that knowledge is only attained through sense perceptions and that sentient consciousness is the product of the insentient elements and that the activities of emotionally driven mind are the product of sense imprints, reactions and interplay with external objects. Therefore the followers of the ancient Indian philosophy of Materialism  suggested that the only sensible path in life was through enjoyment attained through the given svabhava, self-nature or rather the natural functioning of the body, like inclinations to erotic pleasure, good food, intoxication etc. They advocated a ‘live for today and forget tomorrow’ approach to life and thereby threw scorn on asceticism and regimes of austerity for future fruits as being both unnatural and shear folly.

    They posited that the individual should only follow his niyati, destiny, set by his/her svabhava, self-nature. However here self-nature is certainly a far cry from the definition of this term as divine self-nature or intrinsic divine nature as utilized in the doctrinal approach of the Shaiva/Shakta and Mantrayana yoga schools.

     (11.,) The sat-darshana, the Six Expositions of classical Indian philosophy.

      ‘The history of this [the development of the historic Six Expositions], perhaps the most interesting period in the whole history of Indian philosophy, has been [for the most part] lost through bigotry, indifference and neglect.’

                                                                                                     Benjamin Walker, Hindu World.

      Historically the ritual and doctrinal/applied approaches of the overall and ‘authorized’ Vedic/Brahminic tradition, derived from the hymns of the RV., are based upon the Vedic sacrificial science, the other Vedic rites and rituals of the YV., and the SV. Here ascetics and asceticism was initially based upon regimes of austerity.

     More subtle orthodox ascetic traditions based on emanation and yoga arose via the doctrinal approaches proposed in the later Upanisad-s that sought enquiry into the nature of the soul/self. Here the essential nature of the soul/self is synonymous with the nature of deities ‘with’ form created by the ‘first being’ Brahma as well as being synonymous with the uncreated nature of the monad, Brahman, the neutral essence/principle ‘without’ form.

    As suggested certainly from the beginning of the 1st., millennium BC., unorthodox philosophical schools, whose social views and applied systemic trends proposed unorthodox theistic, heterodox atheistic, secular or even materialistic outlooks, ran parallel and competed with the ‘authorized’, orthodox Vedic/ Brahminic family traditions and their allied ascetic traditions.

     The treatises of the sat-darshana, the Six Expositions, emerged some centuries after the era of the Brahmana-s, the early Upanisad-s and even after the works of the early Buddhist tradition. The various approaches that coalesced into the stances of these philosophical schools emerged during and after the period of conquest and cultural inter-action with the Persian and Greek empires to the west and more importanly from the urgent need on the part of the orthodox Brahmincal tradition for clear doctrinal and philosophical definition.   

   The need for clear doctrinal and philosophical definition led to the recording of the  previously oral tradition. Here the three Veda-s etc., forming the Vedic tradition were edited, updated and recorded.  Also this process led to the composition of the later Upanisad textural tradition, in which the outlines of an updated and evolved cosmological and philosophical doctrinal line surrounding cosmic deities 'with and without' form was formulated. 

     Clearly by the latter centuries of the 1st., millennium BC., with the introduction of logical approaches to analyze thought and to approach primitive scientific exploration, apparently inter-action with other alien influences had also clearly occurred. Certainly in terms of the Nyaya school the introduction of logical and rational analytical modes potentially suggests introduction of classical Greek input within this particular evolution of the classical Indian discipline offered towards thought and rational primitive scientific enquiry.

    Kautilya/Canakya, the mentor of Candragupta Maurya, was known to be a master of contemporary Persian and Greek philosophies and sciences. He hailed from the university/city of Taxila, situated in the kingdom of greater Gandhara, known for its eclectic approach to culture, knowledge and religious doctrine.

      After assisting in the ejection of Macedonian Greek over-lordship from the extreme western and northwestern regions, the master Brahmin, Kautilya/Canakya was not shy in dedicating the AS., his seminal work on classical Indian politics, statecraft and social organization to Greek deities. As the renowned university/city of Taxila was located within the kingdom of greater Gandhara by then containing a large Greek population, surely was he alone and unique among Indian intellectuals in his respect for the rational Greek approach to enquiry and empirical knowledge.

       In order of their seniority the oldest of the six philosophical schools is the Samkhya School, followed by the Yoga, the two original schools of Mimamsa, then by the Vaisheshika, Nyaya and Vedanta Schools. As the Mimamsa/Vedanta School was the only school whose approach was not revised, edited or suppressed by the orthodox tradition, in reality only this school represents the sole and actual ‘authorized’ orthodox school of Indian religious philosophy.

    Therefore with the exception of the Vedanta School, the approach and aim of a majority of these 'six' schools was not necessarily originally directly towards religious doctrine at all but was rather inclined towards atheism and especially towards the quasi-scientific and the analytical.

     The outlooks of the other schools were often atheistic by an omission of a theistic view for the cause of matter rather than vehemently proposing any atheistic opinion, as was the case with schools of skepticism and cynicism. Only later through the intrusion and interference of the Brahminic social/religious tradition, fearful of the consequences of rational and empirical inquiry, was theism introduced and thrust piecemeal into the doctrinal approach of these philosophical schools.

    With the exception of the Vedanta School the other schools were certainly in part concerned with a rational quasi-scientific scientific approach. These approaches sought to examine the nature of matter; to examine the nature of consciousness; the means to attain concentrated mind and a logical means to examine the relative rationale underpinning thought and the logical presentation of dialectics.

     Thereby in many respects some of the original doctrinal approaches of the so-called ‘six’ orthodox systems of philosophy actually do not compliment or even uphold ‘authorized’ doctrinal views of the 'asserters' of Vedic/Brahminical orthodoxy. In fact in some instances these philosophical approaches tend to contradict the certainties that go hand in hand with ‘belief’, devotion and the adherence to the ‘authorized’ Vedic/Brahminic vista and the socially geared ritual and applied approaches to the Brahminical Trinity and/or the ‘five’ deities.

      As mentioned in their original context the Samkhya, Nyaya, Yoga and also the Vaisheshika philosophical schools were actually quasi-scientific in approach and even atheistic by the omission of a framework of theism. Because these philosophical/quasi-scientific systems apparently offered the possibility for intellectual and intuitive exploration and the dangerous potential for gaining concrete knowledge that could render the Vedic sacrificial science meaningless and the ritual/social rationale of the Brahmin caste redundant, these schools were certainly initially numbered with the ‘deniers’ of Vedic/Brahminical orthodoxy.

     The atheistic and dualistic Samkhya philosophical system, was originally simply orientated towards appreciating the activities of primeval positive and negative principles whose bipolar inter-action within a non-personified, neutral quantum field, led to the formation of primeval elements and to the eventuality of subtle and gross matter realms. Further the definition of dualistic transformations from the activities of these primeval principles can also be seen in the context of factors active in the manifestation of sensory consciousness and degrees of internalized non-sensory intuitive consciousness.

    By an appreciation of these principles, the individual is considered able to assay the nature of consciousness back from the gross to the most subtle. Here the individual can enter inwardly via sensory interplay; via the senses to the drives of the gross mind and thereby into ever more subtle degrees of consciousness. Here perhaps the inquirer can eventually assay the melded nature of the twin prime positive and negative principles and can intuite the neutral quantum field.

     Within an actually quite western philosophical sense the approach of the Nyaya School was clearly concerned with differentiating the underlying logic governing relative modes of thought and consequent action in addition to logically approaching the dialectics required for a reasoned, rational doctrinal analysis of philosophical and religious stances. Orthodox hostility to rational, logical analysis of such stances was generated by fears that such an approach could well clearly highlight the inherent contradictions even absurdities of the Veda-s, the Vedic sacrificial science etc., and thereby upset the ‘authorized’ view that affirms the utility of orthodox social/religious stances.

    Patañjali-s YD., certainly infers, from the omission of a comprehensive framework and pervasive approach based on the doctrine of theism, that the milieu of the Yoga philosophy governing the systemic yoga approach was not originally or actually aimed at proving the existence of the nature/unity with a causal deity. Rather the yoga system was apparently originally applied to basically reveal the nature and benefits of degrees of concentrated mind after successfully harnessing the breath, in conjunction with the internal components/energies physiologically inherent to the body.

      This is a far cry from the sectarian yoga method aimed at entering into union with or within the essential nature of personified theistic deities. Apparently theism grafted onto the original system of yoga, confusingly overlaying and allying this system for mental concentration with the previously unrelated aims of orthodox and unorthodox theistic sectarian religion.

      As already suggested in the context of unorthodox/heterodox traditions and philosophical schools, later generations of Brahmin writers sought to obscure the original aim of the various philosophical schools by adapting or even re-writing the treatises of these schools. This approach was certainly applied to discourage and even to attempt to eradicate rational exploration by way of empirical sciences and empirical knowledge.

    As suggested these approaches to rational exploration etc., were discouraged because they could also be focused on an examination of the contradictions, absurdities and hypocrisy apparent within the Veda-s; the application of the Vedic sacrificial science and in the ordering of the imperatives of the social/religious caste system.

    By following the outlook of the orthodox Mimamsa School and the later evolution of this school, the Vedanta School the texts of the other schools were edited, re-written and in some cases lost. For this reason the texts of some prominent early schools, that tended to undermine the ‘authorized’ certainties of orthodox tradition and were made to fall in line with the orthodox view and approach of Shankara’s 9th., century AD., Vedanta School.

     By these means the philosophical themes of some important texts were clearly made to reflect the Vedanta view of the ‘world as illusion’. After being made to dovetail and to especially conform to the Vedånta outlook the foundation view of some of these treatises became thoroughly mangled and distorted. Thereby the treatises of some of these schools effectively lost their original purpose. These texts merely became the tools for enforcing the stifling blanket of orthodox social/religious conformity rather than being vehicles for forwarding inquiry and thereby offering further possible avenues for empirical and intellectual discovery.

     A similar process occurred from the latter centuries BC., with the texts of the empirical sciences pursued by literate so-called low caste professionals, craftsmen and artisans. These fields included herbal medicine, surgery, metallurgy and primitive chemistry.

   Tantra-s, treatises, were composed to record the knowledge accumulated by these professionals, craftsmen and artisans. Today many of these treatises are lost and knowledge of their previous existence is often only known from second hand sources. However some early treatises on medicine, surgery, metallurgy, casting and alchemy are extant.

   An analysis of some of these extant treatises, performed by modern India scholars, have suggested that the form, language and contents of many of these works has over the centuries also been edited, re-written and distorted by later Brahmin writers. These works had apparently been revised and distorted away from their original purpose of simply recording advances in empirical knowledge in order to again conform with the ‘world as illusion’ vista of the pervasive Vedanta philosophical outlook.

    Such an anti-intellectual line simply and clearly confirms the insecurities, fears held by the historical Brahmin caste of empirical sciences, of real education, that through the development of rational thought could also lead to the revision and evolution of the social/religious system based on fixed caste and caste duties.


    (i.) The Samkhya school.


      ‘...The purusa, the cosmic person or spirit, is knowledge and this knowledge [being synonymous with the spirit] is consequently eternal.’

                                                                                                                                            SS., 1.53.

   The Magadhan sage Kapila, who established the Samkhya, ‘enumerating’, ‘reckoning’ philosophical approach was thought to have been born sometime in the 7th ., century BC. In legend the sage Kapila is understood to be the son of a sage who was brought up and taught the basics of doctrine and philosophy by his mother Devahuti. Later he applied himself to asceticism and concentrated meditation within caves situated below ground in the underworld. While living within these caves he is reported to have burnt to ashes the sons of king Sagara who had come there in search of a lost, sanctified horse that was being used in a warrior caste, post coronation Horse Sacrifice.

      Upon finding the lost horse wandering in a vast underground cave the sons of Sagara also came across Kapila, absorbed in concentrated meditation. The body of the sage was reported as radiating a light, like the ‘autumnal sun’, that illuminated the gloom of the underground cave. However in their folly and arrogance the sons of Sagara loudly declared that the sage must be the thief who had stolen their sanctified horse.

     Their noisy shouts roused the sage out of his meditations and upon opening his eyes he, like Shiva, burnt them to ashes with a fire emanating from the gaze of his opened ‘third eye’. As a penance the sage spent the latter part of his life on Sagar Island in the estuary of the Ganges River on the Bay of Bengal. This island, south of Calcutta, is now a destination of an annual late winter/early springtime pilgrimage.

      The applied, dualistic Samkhya system of philosophy formulated by Kapila during the c.7th., century BC., is considered to be the earliest of the 'six' so-called Brahminic or rather Brahminic adapted schools of philosophy. The early Brahminic textural traditions refer to Kapila's Samkhya system in atheistic terms. Here the Samkhya system is characterized as nirishvara, a system ‘without a creator’.

    The basic views of the Samkhya School were originally presented in the samkhya-su tra attributed to Kapila. Kapila is also credited with another work that acts as an introduction to the Samkhya system, the samkhya-pravacana. However the samkhya-su tra known today is not Kapila’s original work but is a theistic version of this work that was revised and re-written in the 14th., century AD. But Ishvarakrsna's celebrated samkhya-karika, a commentary on the original samkhya-sut ra, that dates from the 5th., century AD., is a more atheistic in orientation and offers a far more authentic insight into the unmodified, Samkhya outlook.

     In the introduction to the 14th., century AD., version of the samkhya-sut ra, the proponent of the Vedanta outlook, Vijñabhiksu, clearly indicates that his purpose is to revise and recast the outlook of the samkhya-sutra by entering major theistic elements of the Vedanta outlook into the Samkhya system. Therefore it is clear that this version does not actually reflect the unmodified primitive or quasi-scientific atheistic outlook of Kapila.

    In his treatment of the samkhya-sutra Vijñabhiksu is following the lead set by his lineage founder, Shankara. By pointing to the popularity of the Samkhya outlook, the formulator and foremost proponent of the 9th., century Vedanta tradition, Shankara, actually characterizes the atheistic and quasi-scientific Samkhya system as posing a greater danger to the hegemony of the orthodox Vedic/Brahminic social/religious outlook than the threat posed by the equally atheistic Buddhist doctrinal position.

      According to Shankara's sharirakabhasya, the Samkhya system was the foremost enemy of Vedic/Brahminic social/religious orthodoxy by virtue of the fact that:

    ' Kapila's doctrine not only contradicts the Veda-s but also [contradicts] the sayings of those persons like Manu who follow the [theistic, social/religious] Vedic way [of caste and caste duties]...

  ‘...In order to [comprehensively] establish [approved orthodox theistic systems like the]...Vedanta, systems like Samkhya and others are to be eradicated.'

    Vijñabhiksu built upon the process already put in motion by Gauda-pada, in his 8th., century AD., revision of the samkhya-karika. Here Gauda-pada set aside the vista of primeval negative and positive principles inter-playing on the sub-atomic level within the neutral quantum field and fundamentally revised the Samkhya outlook. Here the purusa, the negative primeval principle becomes the quiescent primeval male ‘being’, rather like the Upanisad concept of Brahma, the ‘first being’ created by the differentiation of thought of Brahman, the one essence/principle. The prakrti, positive primeval principle become the female 'nature', the shakti, energy/capability, consort of the 'first being'.

    Here the bipolar resonant 'first being' and the radiant 'nature' create of the field of the mahatattva, the Great Principle, some what like the 'golden egg', the measureless sphere of creation. After creating the Great Principle, then the resonant primeval male ‘first being’ remains quiescent while the female energy/capability, the Goddess, performs the act of creating the Trinity of cosmic deities and goddesses who in turn create time, space and the subtle and gross matter based realms etc.

   Thereby the quasi-scientific theory of atheistic Samkhya, originally based upon bipolar interaction of positive and negative principles, creating on all levels primeval and gross cycles of cause and effect, is thoroughly distorted by this revision. By this distortion the Samkhya view is brought into line with the Vedanta view to reflect the core doctrine of Upanisad-s, the Doctrine of Brahman, the  essence/principle active ‘without’ form whose primeval thought differentiation led to the creation of the ‘first being’ and female 'nature' or 'energy/capability' and to the creation of male and female cosmic deities ‘with’ form.

     Kapila's applied Samkhya philosophical tradition roughly emerged within the same time frame as the Buddhist tradition and is considered by some scholars to have had a seminal influence in the formulation of some doctrinal elements within the overall Buddhist philosophical/doctrinal position. Somewhat in common with the Buddhist tradition, the atheistic Samkhya view shared the concept of the inherence of an independent, neutral, 'space-like, quantum field.

     Certainly in common with the Buddhist outlook the original Samkhya view simply saw the cosmic creative process in terms of eons long cycles cause and effect, spontaneity and becoming. Under this outlook the recycling of ‘waves’ of cause and effect by the bipolar activities of the most subtle and gross principles constantly occurs within the field of neutral quantum field. However this cosmic process of ‘waves’ of creation/destruction is undetermined by the will or differentiation of thought within the quantum field by a primeval monadic deity, nor directed by a ‘first being’, the goddess or a trinity of deities and goddesses.

    Such an outlook effectively discounted the need for conceiving speculative theories of divine cosmic causality, the differentiation of thought within a transcendental, primeval essence/ principle and the necessity or even utility of propitiating personified causal deities by way of complicated Vedic rites and rituals. Certainly the original unmodified applied outlook of atheistic Samkhya did not rely upon the Vedic/Brahminic pantheon as a means to frame and clearly expose their primitive or quasi-scientific approach to assaying intuiting an inherent state of equipoise, free from all the causes of relative pain.

      Therefore until the fusion of the Samkhya system to the applied approach of yoga creating theistic Samkhya, where the bipolar activities of the breath and internal components lend themselves to this system, the original atheistic Samkhya system was certainly indifferent to the orthodox outlook. Atheistic Samkhya was indifferent to the Vedic sacrificial science and saw no necessity for the hierarchy of caste, required to under-pin and uphold the 'ancientness' of the elitist Brahminic social/religious system and their social allies and patrons, the ruling regal dynasties.

    Such indifference to the priorities of the ‘authorized’ Brahmin social/ religious system generated protracted Brahminic hostility to the atheistic Samkhya School. This hostility was fueled by fears that the popular adoption of the unmodified applied Samkhya philosophical approach could fatally undermine the hegemony of the ‘divinely inspired’ Brahminic social/religious system and in political terms undermine the regal elite’s ‘divine’ right to rule etc.


      The basic aim and approach of atheistic, dualistic Samkhya is clearly set out by the fundamental, first unit of the samkhya-sutra that states:

    ‘Then the complete cessation of pain, comprised of three kinds, is the complete end [of the striving] of man’.

      Here there is no view of an actual liberation from suffering, cause and effect by the cessation of pain, nor is there any outlook of integration or union with a causal deity or divine agent. Rather there is the simple cessation of pain by way of mental re-tuning.

     Here pain is initially seen as caused by striving within relative sensory conditions and situations founded upon the inter-play of dharma, self-nature/ propensity, artha, worldly goals/prosperity and kama, desire/sensory indulgence. However even these causes are considered as secondary within the purview of the cause of pain. The prime cause for pain is considered as being from manas, the mind. Therefore the principle aim of Samkhya is to discipline and re-tune the focus of the mind allowing a natural state of equipoise and the cessation of pain. 

     Therefore the atheistic Samkhya system does not seek to liberate beings from suffering but rather this system seeks to harmonize the body and mind by attaining the state of equipoise where all the underlying positive and negative principles are harmonized. Therefore the Samkhya system seeks to understand the mind from initially appreciating the principles causing the emergence of insentient matter and then sentient matter as well as grosser aspects of these principles active in the nature of the physiological functioning of the body and mind.

    The atheistic, quasi-scientific Samkhya view postulates that within the primeval neutral quantum field, on the subtlest of sub-atomic levels primeval negative and positive tattva-s, principles exist. Within this field these positive and negative principles are in a constant state of spontaneous bipolar inter-play. These negative and positive principles are characterized as purusa, the negative sub-atomic charge or the nature of charged 'resonance' on the sub-atomic level and prakrti, the positive sub-atomic charge or the 'nature' of charged 'radiant' energy/ capability on a sub-atomic level.

      On this most primeval level within the quantum field the bipolar interplay of these primeval principles is known as satkarya-vada, ‘existence causing’. This process of ‘existence causing’, the most primeval form of spontaneous cause and effect, is understood to lead to the formation of a subtle field comprised of basic resonance of charged voidness mingled together with the charged radiance of energy/matter.

     Within the atheistic Samkhya system the basic principles, the bipolar inter-play of the transformations of these primeval, bipolar negative and positive agents of cause and effect continues throughout a whole process impelling the emergence of subtle and gross realms and ever more gross insentient and sentient matter forms. In all there are twenty-five categories or stages of inter-play of the bipolar positive and negative principles derived from and including the original two, bipolar primeval principles.

     From the bipolar inter-play of the two primeval principles, the negative, 'space-like' resonance and the radiant positive energy/capability within the quantum field, a third principle, their initial transformation, the mahatattva, the Great Principle or ' great field' emerges. Within the 'great field' the actual creation primeval matter and astral realms etc., occurs.

    The Great Principle is the subtle, underlying, macrocosmic field of prajña, pure intelligence or insight/wisdom where the time-based material universe occurs. Here time-based material universe is comprised of the spectrum of insentient subtle and gross matter realms etc., filled with and subtle and gross sentient beings. Microcosmically this field can be also known as the so-called higher mind.

     The Great Principle is characterized as possessing three attributes the tri-guna, the Three Qualities. These Qualities are those of sattva, clarity/purity, rajas, activity/emotional activity and tamas, inertia/mental inertia. These three active Qualities are understood to color the formation, capabilities and nature of the remaining twenty-two principles. These twenty-two remaining principles essentially relate to the potential nature of consciousness present within all created subtle and gross sentient matter forms, from deities, human being, titans, demons and animals to the smallest worms etc.

     These twenty-two principles include ahamkara, self-consciousness, manas, mind, the five tanmatra, the five subtle mental spheres, the five jñanendra, the five organs of sensory perception, the five karmendriya, agents of action and the five mahabhuta, the five elements. Under the approach of Kapila all these twenty-five principles are active and present within the microcosmic sphere of the human body and mind.

     Thereby through the cognition of the essential, unconditioned nature of these principles from the gross to the very subtle, gives the cessation from pain or cessations the causes of sorrow, the cycle of cause and effect. From attaining this essential, unconditioned nature and the state of equipoise can be attained. Kapila characterizes the attainment of the state of cessation or equipoise as where ‘neither I am, nor nothing is mine, nor does I-ness even exist’.

     The three Qualities of the Great Principle also feature in Patañjali’s non-sectarian system of yoga is discussed in the YD. This fact suggests that the culmination of both atheistic and theistic Samkhya, in terms of the cessation of pain, the causes of sorrow and the state of equipoise could be attained by concentration of mind generated by application to the art and techniques of yoga.

     Subsequently with the apparent and broader recognition of the utility of the Samkhya view within in the context of applied sectarian yoga, the atheistic Samkhya system was transformed and re-formulated to suit sectarian theistic contexts. Here the system of yoga is applied and aimed at attaining particular goals that prove a textural definition of the characteristic nature of particular deities. The adapted theistic approach aimed towards such textural definitions can be seen within the early treatises of the orthodox and unorthodox Vaisnava Shaiva and Shaiva/Shakta ascetic traditions. 

   Therefore from the middle of the 1st., millennium AD., the atheistic Samkhya system was texturally re-modified in theistic terms to eventually become the Samkhya/Vedanta system. This was achieved by  initially attributing the primeval/ transcendental, neutral quantum field to be the monad, the genderless Brahman, essence/principle, whose uncreated nature is melded resonance/radiance. Here the melded resonance/radiance of the monad is differentiated by the 'thought' of Brahman into the Great Principle or in other sectarian contexts the 'golden egg', the measureless divine sphere of creation. Here by a further differentiation, these bipolar aspects of the uncreated nature of the monad were created as the first 'beings or deities' and are given gender-based deity characteristics.

       Here purusa becomes the ‘first cosmic person' or Being, the male ishvara, akin to the causal deity Brahma, whose essencial nature is resonance. Here under this view the 'first Being' remains quiescent. Under the theistic Samkhya view, the ‘first Being’ inter-plays with prakrti, the ‘female’ Shakti, 'energy/capability', whose essencial nature is radiance. But within any further differentiations of bipolar causal activity She, the Great Goddess, directs. Later their icons feature the 'first' Being and Nature in constant erotic union necessary in order to create the cosmic deities and goddesses of the Trinity leading to the whole creation.  

       All the activities of creation are performed by the melding of quiescent resonance of the 'first Being' togther with radiant energy/capability of Nature. But here Nature, the Great Goddess is dominant and thereby is the Mahat, the Great Source or the field of creation, of pure intelligence, insight/wisdom. By way of the bipolar melding with the 'first Being', within the Great Principle, She becomes the Great Source, the primeval Great Goddess, and is understood to be the field for birth of the cosmic deities and goddesses of the so-called Brahmincal Trinity; the emergence of macrocosmic insentient matter that further offers the potential for sentient matter forms to emerge.

      Her primeval attributes are the three Qualities that in turn represent the natures/functions, the capabilities of Her initial creations, the time-bound Trinity of cosmic male deities and their female energies who are active in the cosmic functions of the creation, maintenance and destruction of the universe. In theistic Samkhya these qualities are clearly related to the cosmic activities of the Brahminical Trinity of male deities and their consorts.

       The active essencial natures or attributes of the female consorts/energies of the male Trinity are characterized as the activities of the three Qualities. These attributes of the Trinity are active during the process of forming elemental cosmic bodies as well as in the development of all kinds of physical forms. The qualities of tamas, inertia, rajas, activity and sattva, clarity are further understood to underlay or color the development of the natures/consciousness inherent to all created sentient matter forms.

      The samkhya-karika emphasizes that the cessation of the unpurified or conditioning activities these three Qualities, the causes of attachment, affliction and suffering, is essential. The activities of the three qualities, elementally generate and color the nature of differentiated thought and thereby obstruct the potential for harmonization with the inherent state of equipoise or melded nature of the essence/principle. In the theistic context their cessation constitutes liberation both from trends of cause and effect and the cycle of transmigration as well as establishment in the state of equipoise.

      Thereby in the context of a comprehensive yoga system the dualistic and theistic Samkhya outlook certainly possesses a microcosmic relevance and utility for individual practitioners in order to assay the conditioned and unconditioned natures of the principle spinal storehouse sources of consciousness.

       The art of yoga geared by the theistic Samkhya system is to purify and cease the activities of the obstructing qualities and to fully awaken the normally concealed energy capability inherent within the body/mind in order bring the mind into prolonged state of undifferentiated consciousness and to possibly attain and realize the uncreated nature of the monad, without form or essential nature of the  chosen deity ‘with’ form. For the individual practitioner the task of conscious integration with the essential nature of the chosen deity ‘with’ or 'without' form can be attained through yoga by fully charging the atomic and sub-atomic fields of the body.

      By manifesting the optimum resonance of the energy/capability of the charged atomic and sub-atomic fields, the awakened Coiled-up Energy/Capability, corresponding to the primeval nature of the Great Goddess, can be consciously harnessed and channeled within the meridian nerve of the spinal column. By success in this task, the mind can be resolved within the essential nature of the chosen deity ‘with’ form or even within the ‘formless’ uncreated nature quantum sphere permeating the microcosm/macrocosm.

      (11a.,) The Yoga School.


      ‘Yoga, union, is nirodha, the cessation of the vritti, the modifications/ dispositions [of the relative, sensory mind]. Then the seer remains in svarupa, the [intrinsic] own self’s form/characteristic.’

                                                                                                Patañjali’s yoga-darshana (YD.) 1.2-3.

       The orthodox Vedic/Brahminic tradition holds that the origins, approach and view of the yoga tradition were derived from the arcane Vedic sacrificial tradition. Further, the Vedic/Brahminic tradition holds that the sage Yajñavalkhya crystallized the doctrine and basic modus operandi of the yoga system and founded the orthodox lineage of yoga at the beginning of the 1st., millennium BC.

    This view holds that the tradition of yoga and the system of yoga did originate from the Indo-Aryan, Vedic sacrificial/austerity tradition. But this historic view  is held despite the fact that the system of yoga as well as essential yoga terminology and classic yoga techniques are not mentioned in the principal Veda, the RV.

    Here the Upanisad-s of the early 1st., millennium BC., tend to suggest that prior to instruction by warrior caste regal lineage yoga masters, Brahmin priest/ascetics were initially ignorant of the view of Brahman, the monad, the ucreated, essence/principle, ‘without’ form that can be attained by the successful application to the system of yoga. 

     The elemental Air deity, vayu, is lauded in the RV., but hymns to this deity do not dwell upon yoga-like metaphors or allusions to the approach of yoga. Further such an outlook conflicts with the view that Vedic/Brahmin ascetics are recorded to have applied regimes based upon vows of extreme austerity during the ancient and classic eras, rather than applying themselves to a system of yoga.

     The historic yoga view of the origins of yoga system held by the Vedic/Brahmincal tradition is  further contradicted by archaeological evidence that tends to suggest the origins of the yoga tradition pre-date the arrival of the Indo-Aryan-s into the Indian sub-continent. Here archaeological evidence points to the fact  that the yoga system is most probably linked to the applied and ritual traditions present within the Indo-Dravidian Indus Valley civilization dating from the 3rd., millennium BC.

     However during the era of the early Upanisad-s, Yajñavalkhya may well have crystallized an outlook on yoga suited to the mores of the Vedic/Brahmin tradition and thereby most probably founded the orthodox lineage of yoga. However for the reasons stated here it is unlikely that Yajñavalkhya was the originator or founder of the ancient and broader yoga lineage that include ancient tantric and unorthodox streams.

    The orthodox view held by the Vedic/Brahminical tradition also further contradicts the approach on lineage origins discussed in the yoga treatises of the tantric traditions and the later Natha tradition. Here the indigenous Indo-Dravidian deity, Shiva is considered as the original founder of the yoga lineage who in turn passed this lineage approach down via the Goddess to seminal human lineage masters like Adinatha, Matsyendranatha etc.


      Patanjali’s 2nd., century BC., yoga-darshana (YD.,), Exposition of Yoga is the earliest, recorded treatise fully discussing a comprehensive yoga system and is often better known as the yoga-sutra. YD., is essentially a non-sectarian, Samkhya geared, theistically colored text where ishvara. the 'cause' as well as the linga, the 'characristic' and the eka-tattva, the 'one principle' are mentioned . There some 196 sutra-s or aphorisms divided into four chapters. There are 51 sutra-s in the first chapter; some 55 sutra-s in the second chapter; 56 sutra-s in the third chapter and 34 sutra-s in the fourth chapter.

      However some fragmentary and disjointed indications of the yoga system are apparent in some major Upanisad-s, especially the candogya-upanisad, as well as within the fifteenth chapter of the AV., dating from the 5th., or 4th., century BC. This chapter of the AV., clearly alludes to the Magi-derived, proto-Shaiva, One Assembly lineage and their system of yoga.

      The YD., is certainly a seminal work based on Samkhya influenced yoga philosophical approach. The YD., was crystallized and formulated during the protracted period of social/religious change and dynastic/political upheaval and flux occurring in the northern half of the Indian sub-continent from the 6th., century BC.

     A number of scholars have suggested that Patañjali was the contemporary of the founder of the Shunga dynasty, Pusyamitra Shunga. However there are doubts as to whether or not the Patañjali mentioned in the matsya-purana in connection with the composition of the mahabhasya during the reign of Pusyamitra Shunga is the same Patañjali credited with the composition of the YD.

   Pusyamitra Shunga was the political leader of the powerful north Indian Brahmin political/religious faction that attempted to turn back the strong upsurge and popular spread of the Buddhist, Jaina, Ajivika and the other unorthodox indigenous Shaiva/Shakta sectarian traditions that vied with Vedic/Brahminic orthodoxy. The popularity and spread of Buddhism, so feared by the orthodox tradition, occurred from the missionary efforts set in motion during the earlier reign of Asoka Maurya c.274-232 BC.

      Pusyamitra is recorded in the matsya-purana as having patronized and honored Patañjali for his knowledge and scholarship. Certainly scholars consider that during his reign Patañjali composed the mahabhasya a commentary on Panini’s 4th., century BC., astadhyayi. Panini’s astadhyayi is considered to be the definitive work on spoken Sanskrit grammar. This work also contains a set of supplementary rules of grammar known as the vartika-sutra composed by Katyayana.

     By way of dating derived from the matsya-purana Patañjali is understood to have composed the third chapter of the mahabhasya around c.145 BC. Thereby if this is the same Patañjali the YD., was also possibly composed during the second half of the 2nd., century BC.

      The YD., was apparently composed during an historical era of cultural re-assessment, re-definition and updating that occurred in the latter centuries of 1st., millennium BC. The YD., perhaps represents the gathering, systematization and recording of a number of applied lineage strands from within hitherto orally transmitted yoga traditions. Therefore the overall tone of the YD., reflects its eclectic oral origins and although upholding a minimal theistic vista, the YD., is basically a work that offers a non-sectarian but othodox outlook.

    This seminal work on the early classic yoga vista provides broad systemic guidance by outlining a basis for a comprehensive framework by which the doctrinal yoga outlook, aimed at the concentration of mind, can be applied and intuitively proved by this graduated system. Although the yoga system is historically connected with the various sectarian streams of applied religion, the tone and approach of this text is not really exclusively geared to sectarian religion at all.

    The tone and approach of the YD., furthers the vista of the system of asta-anga, Eight Limbed yoga system. Here the YD., infers that Eight Limbed yoga system is actually an ancient Indian physiological science initially applied to appreciate and harness the physiological potential of the transitory body/mind with the aim of entering consciousness into deep undifferentiated concentration. Undifferentiated concentration is characterized here according to the practitioner's situation depending on either non-religious or religious contexts. However the tone of the work certain ly infers that this ancient Indian physiological science can accommodate the doctrinal priorities and predilections of sectarian religion.

     Certainly the fundamental quotation at the beginning of this section indicates that the goal of yoga is not primarily to attain the essential nature of a particular sectarian deity. At that point  such a goal can only be inferred. Rather the defined goal is to cease the habitual dispositions or tendencies of the relative mind in order to cognize the undifferentiated nature of consciousness characterized as svarupa, 'the [intrinsic] own self’s form/characteristic’.

     Here the concluding verse, YD 4.39 also states:

    ' The non-existence of the purusartha, the [four] objectives of [relative] human existence, [the non-existence] of the Qualities by being enjoined in the state of detachment from all other relative connections thereby [the yogi is] established in the own self’s form or the [primeval creative] energy of [absolute] consciousness.

   Whether or not to compare or define the attainment of the undifferentiated ‘svarupa, the [intrinsic] own self’s form/characteristic’ as the svabhava, the nature of soul/self or intrinsic essential nature has been left to the later works of sectarian yoga lineage traditions to decide and/or confirm. The YD., essentially only offers direction to practitioners by pointing them towards the means to appreciate the drives of the mind, the attributes and possible states of sensory mind as well as the nature of mental concentration and the fruits attained by gaining protracted concentration of mind.

    But by providing a guiding framework for an overview of the yoga system the YD., also points towards the absolute necessity for suitable devotees to seek acceptance, consecration and instruction by a lineage holding master, accomplished in applying the system of yoga. This is essential not only to obtain actual stage by stage instruction from a master accomplished in these stages but also to direct students away from the many pitfalls and dangers that can accompany the application of the stages which comprise a comprehensive yoga regime.


     Therefore Patañjali’s YD., is a seminal yoga treatise that historically initially defines much of the basic orthodox framework for the systemic approach of various 'styles' offered to the Brahminic Trinity. These various 'styles' are  aimed towards attaining the intuitive goal of both an orthodox and tantric system of emanation and yoga. Later a number of quotations from the YD., will attempt to establish a basic, balanced outlook on the framework and essential foundation that initially underpins and of necessity constantly guides the graduated manner applied to attain the goals of the 'six styles'.

   The basic two systemic characterizations of the Eight Limbed yoga are true for all the yoga systems of the ' six styles' of the Eternal Doctrine and further also true for the yoga system of the Buddhist Mantrayana tradition etc. In general these basic exoteric and esoteric stages were incorporated and evolved within a variety of sectarian contexts in order that the minority of devotees suited to practicing yoga could safely harness the mind, the life breath as well as the normally veiled internal components etc. Systemic variations within these various traditions stem from the emphasis placed upon certain stages and techniques within lineage systems originating from and developed by seminal adept masters.

    Essential inner components include the four aspects of the life breath as well as the vayu-s, winds; the nadi-s, yoga nerves; the bindu, the harnessed, pent-up energy of the libido and the bipolar mandala-s of specific cakra-s, spinal centers. Within most sectarian traditions it is implicit that upon mastery of the preliminary exoteric disciplines, the purification and harnessing of these components should initially be commenced with devotionally-based visualization/emanation techniques and then by placing/resonating mantra-s in particular parts of the body.

    Only then can the inner components be potentially further safely harnessed and utilized within a basic yoga system. This basic esoteric system is formed of asasa-s, postures; the pranayama modes of breath regulation; the bandha-s, bonds for channeling the winds; the mudra-s, seals for attaining degrees of concentration and samyama, the attained degrees of inner mental concentration that lead to samadhi, the gather stabilized meditative state. These basic elements of the yoga system are applied and attained in order to attain a number of internal goals.

   Of these various goals that include the purification of the nerves, the harnessing and channeling the flow of the winds within and to particular nerves, the final awakening of the ‘secret fire’, the normally dormant kundalini, the Coiled-up Energy/Capability, is the most crucial.

     Upon being awakened and correctly channeled, the kunaldini-shakti, the 'coiled-up energy/ capability' can allow the subsequent manifestation of degrees of gathered stabilized meditative states, or concentrated degrees of bliss/void, within the spinal centers. The correctly channeled, the 'coiled-up energy/capability' can fully resolve the traits of cause and effect. Ultimately, the ordered, protracted intuitive experience of stages of gathered stabilized meditative states can lead to the unveiling of intuitive  knowledge of the intrinsic own self’s form/characteristic. The duration of gathered stabilized meditative states are marked either in/or by moments or through prolonged periods of total absorption.

    Essentially the ‘awakening’ of the 'coiled-up energy/capability' of the body forms the ‘experiential’ lynch pin of the system of yoga and is essential to know the prolonged moments of bliss/void. Whether known as the 'coiled-up energy/capability' or known as the candali, [the fire of] the 'cremation ground girl', the ‘secret fire’ is the actual means to conclusively ‘prove’ the validity of the ‘experiential’ nature of the yoga system. Once attained and intuitively experienced there is certainly no need for words or concepts affirming or maintaining belief.

     From the YD., the yoga system can be basically characterized as being comprised of two complimentary and graduated exoteric and esoteric trends. The broader characterization as the  Eight Limbed system of yoga, is comprised of two stages of moral disciplines and of ethical observances in addition to six graduated, 'applied' stages of esoteric yoga. The six esoteric stages of yoga system are characterized as the sat-anga, the Six Limbs. The method of the six esoteric stages rely on 'the cessation of the modifications/ dispositions [of the relative, sensory mind]'.

    Further reference to the YD., also certainly establishes a basic systemic view of the task of the 'six' esoteric stages in terms of the eventuality of intuitively attaining the ‘equipoise alone’ of the ‘essence of beings and the universal spirit’.

    In this respect the YD., indicates that the later aim of both the orthodox and tantric yoga lineages hinges upon disciplining the mind towards attaining the ‘cessation’ of the ‘dispositions’ of the relative, sensory mind. In this respect and in regard to the potentiality of consciousness to manifest inherent intuitive knowledge YD., 2-4., states that:

   ‘Yoga, union, is the cessation of the dispositions [of the relative, sensory mind].

    ‘Then the seer remains in the [intrinsic] own self’s form/ characteristic.

    ‘At other times [through sensory conditioning] identification with the [changeable] dispositions [of the relative, sensory mind continues].

    The nature of ‘cessation’ is further characterized in YD.,1.43., which states that:

   ‘ Upon the cessation of memory, the distinctive state [of mind] from being within the own self’s form/characteristic, void as it were of any object, radiates alone.’

   Clearly the gradual attainment of ‘cessation’ and the graduated goals of the 'styles' aimed towards the culminating state of equipoise ‘alone’ within the uncreated nature of the monad is initially commenced and founded upon the codes of morality and ethics leading to committed, daily application coupled with daily non-attachment.

    Actualized codes of morality and ethics are capable of disciplining the normally emotionally tossed mind, offering the dispassionate practitioner a necessary degree of detachment from emotional clinging and any consequent erratic emotionally driven modes of action and behavior. The codes of morality, ethics and the basic approaches/observances to doctrine and ritual procedure form the two exoteric ‘limbs’ within the eight-limbed exoteric/esoteric yoga system. These ‘limbs’ are characterized as the ‘limbs’ of ‘restraint’ and ‘observances’.

    The limb of ‘restraint’ is linked to the mahavratya, the Great Vow of the Eternal Doctrine and is the applied basis for moral conduct within traditional Hindu society. However, the Great Vow approaches the attitude to moral conduct in a truly ‘universal’ manner certainly similar to and in common with the approach of the Biblical Ten Commandments as well as the Buddhist code of Five Injunctions and Eight-fold mode of Conduct.

    YD., 2.30-31., lists the constituent restraints/disciplines of the Great Vow and thereby the fundamental orthodox approach to traditionally cultivating and maintaining morality and ethics within society. Here the degree of mental and physical restraint is further necessary for ‘bound’, ‘higher bound' and 'heroic’ devotee/practitioners etc., to possess a sound foundation necessary to commence, in a balanced manner, application to the systems of 'six styles'. 

     Here all devotee/practitioners need to cultivate:

   ‘...Non-violence [towards all beings], truthfulness, abstaining from theft, celibacy, abstaining from greed.

  ‘These [comprise] the mahavratya, the Great Vow, [that is] universal, not [just] limited to ascetics, [not limited] by space, time [or even limited] to the struggle for [mental] equipoise.’

    Actualized, these attributes of good character form a sound moral and ethical foundation and this foundation is fundamental for the application of all the 'six styles' towards the tantric Kaula culmination. This foundation is certainly necessary and should be second nature to any advanced yoga practitioner. This is so because in the latter stages of the orthodox or tantric yoga system, attained by degrees of deep concentration, can lead to the manifestation of psychic powers that if capriciously misused by practitioners, because of emotional and immoral tendencies, can in fact become obstacles to the culmination, even leading to the fall of practitioners etc.

    Within the applied context ‘of the struggle for equipoise’ the ‘restraints’ are further augmented by the code of basic social/religious ‘observance’. In respect to the ‘observances’ YD.,2.32., states:

   ‘The Observances are cleanliness, contentment, austerities, study and motivating all activities towards [intuitive experience of] the Cause.’

    Further and contrary to the biased, false western view that Hinduism actually lacks a code of ethics and morality and thereby has no doctrine on sin and the means to remove the stains of sin, YD., 2.33-34., is quite clear on the nature of sin and offers a succinct rationale for the anti-dote of sin. In this respect these verses state:

    ‘Troubled by sinful thought resort to the opposite [of sin, virtue].

    ‘Thoughts of sin are [thoughts] of causing injury to others and the rest.

   ‘They, [the gamut of sinful thought word and deed] are preceded [and impelled] by desire, anger and ignorance.

   ‘They are slight, medium and strong [in their intensity] and their effects are an infinity of pain and lack of knowledge [of the own soul/self’s intrinsic form/ characteristic].

     In this manner [from appreciating this progression] resort to the opposite [of sin, virtue].’

   YD., 2.35-45 continue by listing the various benefits the can accrue from the meaningful application of the physical and mental disciplines of Restraint and Observation. These are as follows:

   ‘Established in non-violence he [the yogi] does not encounter hostile acts.

   ‘Established in truthfulness, according actions and fruits.

   ‘Established in abstaining from theft all jewels [or financial aid] are at the disposal [of the yogi].

   ‘Established in celibacy vigor is obtained.

   ‘Established in abstaining from greed, knowledge of [positive] future births [is established].

  ‘Through cleanliness [arises] disinterest in one’s own body and [disinterest/aversion in] the inclination for [physical] contact with others.

  ‘And upon the [external and internal] purification of the [yogi’s] being, arise right understanding, one-pointed [mind], control of the senses and a fitness for knowledge of the soul/self.

  ‘By contentment excellent happiness is obtained.

  ‘By austerities defilement of the body [and] senses [that obstruct] the accomplishment [of the aim of the yoga system] are removed.

   ‘Study leads to the correct approach towards [propitiating] the chosen personal deity.

  ‘Motivating all activities towards causality leads to the accomplishment of the gathered stabilized meditative state.’


     The various grades of devotees/practitioners can be characterized in YD.,1.21-22., as:

    ‘...The tivra, [extremely] keen [practitioner for whom the attainment of] supreme consciousness is rapid.

    ‘Also a further differentiation [of the sensibility/capability of practitioners] by mrdu, mild, madhya, medium and adhimatra, strong sensibilities.’

   Here ‘extremely keen’ can certainly refer to the ‘divine’ class of practitioner and the ‘mild’, ‘medium’ and ‘strong’ sensibilities can refer to the ‘bound’, ‘higher bound’ and ‘heroic’ classes of tantric devotees/practitioners.

   YD., 1.20., indicates that for these kinds of devotees/practitioners the fruits of their stages of application can lead to ‘...shraddha, belief, virya, energy, smrti, recollection [or stages of concentration], samadhi, gathered stabilized meditative states and [eventually] to prajña, insight/wisdom.’

    Clearly these states can be equated to the degree of realization related to the attainment of the graduated goals of the 'six styles' within the overall tantric system. Thereby firm ‘belief’ can relate to attaining intense devotion by the Vedic and Vaisnava stages. ‘Energy’ to the initial inner realizations of the Shaiva stage.

     ‘Recollection/concentration’ to the attainment of degrees of undifferentiated mind attained by awakening the coiled-up energy/capability within the Daksina and Vama systems. ‘Gathered stabilized meditative state’ to the degrees of deep and prolonged concentration by way of the channelled energy/capability, attained by the Siddhanta system and finally the non-dual, ‘wisdom/insight’ refers to establishment within the ‘location of the seat’ of the formless monad, the quantum field, or the paramsiddhi, the supreme accomplishment of the culminating Kaula system.

    The characteristic nature of the state of insight/wisdom is suggested in YD., 3.54., that states:

   ‘Upon purification the essence of beings and the universal spirit are in equipoise, kaivalyam, ‘alone’ [within the attained state of] complete detachment from all other [relative] connections [or conditions].

   Here the YD., indicates that the non-dual nature of the microcosmic/macrocosmic state of equipoise ‘alone’, is the innate essential nature of the transitory body/mind and is known as the 'own self’s form/characteristic’. Thereby here the 'own self’s form/characteristic’ is synonymous with resonant/radiant quantum field of the monad that pervades the ‘one and the many’ that includes the Great Principle, the bipolar first 'Being' and 'Nature as well as the Trinity of bipolar deities and goddesses etc.

   The YD., further characterizes what constitutes the basic changeable aspects forming the dispositions of the relative, sensory mind that veil intuition of the ‘resonant/radiant' uncreated nature of the quantum field of the monad. These aspects and their attributes of the active sensory mind have to be disciplined, mastered and re-channeled by the graduated system in order to afford establishment within the nature of ‘insight/wisdom’.

    The YD.,1.5-6., characterizes and approaches these dispositions in the following manner:

   ‘The dispositions [of the relative, sensory mind] are five-fold, [and their effects are both] painful and not painful.

    ‘[The five-fold dispositions of the relative, sensory mind are] of pramana, understanding reality, viparyaya, understanding unreality, vikalpa, imagination, nidra, deep sleep and smriti, memory.’

    Characterizing these dispositions YD.,1.7-11 succinctly states that:

    ‘[Sensory] perception, verbal understanding and inferred [meaning comprise] understanding reality.

  ‘Understanding unreality is appreciating form [objects, circumstances etc.,] are wrongly [ascribed as] possessing [particular characteristics] not of that [form, state of reality].

  ‘Imagination resulting in verbal expression and [sensory] knowledge is devoid of [concrete] reality.

  ‘Deep sleep is an unsupported disposition [of mind] that is a cause of non-existence [in the perception of one’s individual self].

  ‘Memory is the retention of the perceptions of sensory experience [impelling attraction and aversion].’

   Further the YD., is equally quite clear on the required manner to approach the dispositions and modes of relative sensory consciousness. The manner and aim of disciplining, bringing to cessation relative sensory dispositions and mental drives with an eventual view of harnessing the mind stream towards attaining equipoise ‘alone’ is broached in YD.,1.12-18. Here these verses indicate that the fundamental basis of the applied system is founded upon ‘application’ and ‘non-attachment’. In these regards the YD., states:

  ‘Cessation [is] by abhyasa, application and vairagya, non-attachment [offered] towards their [arising].

  ‘Of these, application is the strenuous effort relating to [attaining] sthitau, [mental] steadiness.

  ‘And this [steadiness] is firmly rooted by constant, uninterrupted devotion [to both application and non-attachment].

  ‘The state of non-attachment is supreme in one who is free of enjoyment [derived] from perceivable [physical and mental objects] and [free from the enjoyment of pride derived from the intellectual/conceptual understanding of philosophical and sectarian religious] texts.

  ‘Indifference to the guna, qualities [elemental stimulus coloring all states of emotional, sensory/emotional mind], due to knowledge of the purusa, the [quiescent] spirit, [indicates] a greater degree of non-attachment.

  ‘With the appearance of vitarka [philosophical and doctrinal] enquiry, vicara, [ritual and meditative] deliberation, ananda, bliss and asmita, absorption, [thereby] samprajña, cognition [of insight/wisdom].

  ‘Other[-wise the five-fold mental dispositions] that precede the condition of cessation remain as samskara, past tendencies [capable of impelling ignorance through driving the relative, sensory mind].


   (11b.,) A translation Patañjali’s yoga-darshana, Yoga Exposition by George W. Farrow.

    The samadhi-pada, the [First] Chapter regarding the Gathered Stabilized Meditative State.


    [Fundamental remarks.]


1. Now an explanation of yoga!

2. Yoga, union, is nirodha, the cessation of the vritti, modifications/dispositions [of the relative, sensory mind].

3. Then the seer remains in svarupa, the [intrinsic] own self’s form/characteristic. 

4. At other times identification with the modifications/dispositions [of the relative, sensory mind continues].


     [The basic, changeable aspects forming the modifications/dispositions of the relative, sensory mind.]


5. The modifications/dispositions [of the relative, sensory mind] are five-fold, [both] painful and not painful.

6. [The five-fold modifications/dispositions of the relative, sensory mind are] of pramana, understanding reality, viparyaya, understanding unreality, vikalpa, imagination, nidra, deep sleep and smriti, memory.

7. [Sensory] perception, verbal understanding and inferred [meaning comprise] understanding reality.

8. Understanding unreality is appreciating form [objects, circumstances etc.,] are wrongly [ascribed as] possessing [characteristics] not of that. 

9. Imagination resulting in verbal expression and [sensory] knowledge is devoid of [concrete] reality.

10. Deep sleep is an unsupported disposition [of mind] that is a cause of non-existence [in the perception of one’s individual self].

11. Memory is the retention of the perceptions of sensory experience.


    [Application and non-attachment as the basic anti-dotes for relative, sensory states of mind.]


12. Cessation [is] by abhyasa, application and vairagya, non-attachment [offered] towards their [arising].

13. Of these, application is the strenuous effort relating to [attaining] sthitau, [mental] steadiness.

14. And this [steadiness] is firmly rooted by constant, uninterrupted devotion [to both application and non-attachment].

15. The state of non-attachment is supreme in one who is free of enjoyment [derived] from perceivable [physical and mental objects] and [free from the enjoyment of pride derived from the intellectual understanding of philosophical and sectarian religious] texts.

16. Indifference to the guna, qualities [elemental stimulus coloring all states of mind], due to knowledge of the purusa, the [quiescent] spirit, [indicates] a greater degree of non-attachment.

17. With the appearance of vitarka [philosophical and doctrinal] enquiry, vicara, [ritual and meditative] deliberation, ananda, bliss and asmita, absorption, [thereby] samprajña, cognition [of insight/wisdom].

18. Other[-wise the five-fold mental dispositions] that precede the condition of cessation remain as samskara, past tendencies [capable of maintaining the ignorance of the relative, sensory mind].

19. [Within] existence it [application and non-attachment] are the cause for the [emergence of] deities and for the dissolution of matter.


  [The various grades of devotees and practitioners.]


20. For others [the state of cessation] is preceded by shraddha, belief, virya, energy, smrti, recollection, samadhi, gathered stabilized meditative states and prajña, insight/wisdom.

21. For the tivra, [extremely] keen [the attainment of] supreme consciousness is rapid.

22. Also a further differentiation [of the capability of practitioners] by mrdu, mild, madhya, medium and adhimatra, strong sensibilities.


[ishvara, the primeval cause.]


23. Or [cessation of mental modifications is] by experiencing the omnipresence of ishvara, the [primeval] Cause.

24. The [primeval] Cause is distinct, untouched by cycles of affliction, actions and fruition [of desire].


[Mantra, the manifested resonance.]


25. There [within the own self’s form/characteristic or the cause] the bija, the seed [the resonance] of omniscience is not superceded [by desire].

26. That too [the seed mantra], not being limited by time, was the instructor of the ancients.

27. The mantra, the sacred word denotes this [infinite resonance and is the link to time honored ancestral tradition].

28. The understanding of it’s [the sacred word’s intuitive] meaning is by it’s recitation [according to the lineage master’s instructions].

29. From this [correct mode of mantra recitation] the attainment of the atma, the individual self/soul and also the non-existence of obstacles.


[Obstacles to cessation.]


30. Disease, languor, indecision, carelessness, laziness, sensuality, incorrect notions [regarding the nature of existence], non-comprehension, instability, these cause distractions and are obstacles.

31. Pain, despair, shakiness, [impure, emotionally colored] inhalation and exhalation are the companions of these distractions.


[Knowledge as the complete anti-dote for obstacles.]


32. For their [obstacles] prevention resort to the eka-tattva, the One Principle.


[Emanation as the anti-dote for obstacles.]


33. By the emanation of maitri, friendliness, karuna, compassion, mudita, joy and upeksa, equanimous detachment, in regard to [the obstacles and distractions generated by relative] happiness, sorrow, virtue and vice, the mind becomes purified.


[The system of yoga as a means to attain knowledge that completely anti-dotes relative states of mind and obstacles.]


34. Or [purification is by] the expulsion and the retention of breath [within the yoga system of breath regulation].


   [Other systemic means to attain concentration, steadiness and purity of mind.]


35. Or [concentration] from the resolution of subtle sense perceptions causes mental steadiness.

36. Or [concentration] on the painless state of [mental] clarity.

37. Or [concentration] upon the mind having non-attachment as an object.

38. Or resorting to the knowledge of dream and [deep] sleep.

39. Or concentrate according to one’s own choice.


   [Praise of the ability to concentrate the mind.]


40. The smallest atom and the largest [material bodies] in infinity are in the end subjugated by this [concentration of mind].

41. Upon the disappearance of the [relative mental] disposition it [mind] becomes transparent like crystal [and] assuming the primordial own self’s form/characteristic [the practitioner] becomes [concentrated, at one with] the knower, the knowable and the knowing regarding whatever object is encountered.

42. The gathering [of perception regarding objects etc.,] in which the word, meaning and notion are confused [by being without concentrated insight into the own self’s form/characteristic within all things] is called indistinct.


[The fruit of concentration.]


43. Upon the cessation of memory, the distinctive state [of mind] from being within the own self’s form/characteristic, void as it were of any object, radiates alone.

44. Similarly, [the fruit of] savicara, conceptual deliberation/abstraction [on external objects] and nirvicara, non-conceptual deliberation/abstraction based upon subtle objects, is also so described.

45. And [this] characteristic of [conceptual and non-conceptual deliberation/abstraction on] subtle objects reaches up to [the attainment of] the linga, the characteristic [radiant] conclusion [of the system of yoga].

46. In this manner they [the external and internal modes of mental concentration] are seeding [necessary] for [attaining] samadhi, the gathered stabilized meditative state.


[The fruit of non-conceptual deliberation/abstraction.]


 47. The undisturbed flow of non-conceptual deliberation/abstraction [allows] the own self’s form/characteristic to [manifest and] radiate.

 48. There [in that radiance] the [intrinsic] essence is determined.


   [Obstacles generated from relying on conceptualization.]


49. [However] verbal and inferred conceptualizations [alluding to the essence of the own self’s form/characteristic] relate to particular [qualities of material] objects and are different from [the actual intuited experience of this] object/characteristic [of the own self’s form].

50. Residual impressions born from these [conceptualizations] impede [the actual intuitive attainment of] the characteristic [of the own self’s form].




51. Cessation, the Seedless Gathered Stabilized Meditative State, is also due to the cessation of all these [relative states of mind, obstacles to concentration and allusions to the characteristics of the own self’s form/characteristic].


[Thus the First Chapter regarding the Gathered Stabilized Meditative State.]

The sadhana-pada, [Second] Chapter regarding Efficient Application [of Yoga].

[The basic approach and utility of the system of Yoga.]

1. A strictly ordered regime, study and the firm intent for [knowledge of] the cause [comprise] the [fundamental practical] approach [of the applied system] of yoga.

2. [Application of yoga] is for the purpose of producing the gathered stabilized meditative state and for the purpose of relieving afflictions.


   [The afflictions of the relative mind.]


3. Klesha, the afflictions are avidya, ignorance, asmita, self-absorption/egoism, raga, attachment, dvesa, aversion and abhinivesha, the [habitual mental] adherence to [all] these.

4. Whether dormant, insignificant, alternating or fully operative ignorance is the field for the others.


    [The causes of the afflictions.]


5. Ignorance is the supposition that the transitory, the impure, the painful the [sum total] not [of the] self are eternal, pure, pleasurable and [are of the] self.

6. Discerning the power of the visible [and the other sense faculties] egoism is created by the identification [with the activities of the sense faculties].

7. Attachment is the consequence of pleasure.

8. Aversion is the consequence of pain.

9. Carried along by the current produced through the potency [of the afflictions] even the attentive, in this manner, [habitually] adhere [to the mental impulses generated by the afflictions].


     [Non-attachment, concentration the means to resolve the afflictions.]


10. These [afflictions] return to the primeval state [of unmodified consciousness only] once [the most] subtle [impressions generating the afflictions] have been abandoned.

11. By concentration their modifications are abandoned.


      [Afflictions and the cycle of cause and effect.]


12. Afflictions are at the root of the cycle of actions made apparent by the birth of visible and non-visible [fruits of action].

13. If it’s [the cycle of action’s] roots still exist they ripen [into fruits that are manifested] as [an individual’s family] profession, life-span and enjoyment.

14. They [the mass of individuals] experience pleasure and pain in accordance with the fruits of virtue and sin.


     [The activity of the elemental qualities underpinning the sense faculties.]


15. By reason of pain, of mental anxiety, habitual impressions and the contradictory dispositions of the qualities are indeed for discriminating all sorrows.

16. Future pain can be avoided.

17. Absorption in the knower and the knowable are the cause for the avoidance [of pain].

18. The nature of sattva, clarity, rajas, activity and tamas, inertia, characterize experience [of the underlying mental activity] of the elements and [the thrust of] the sense faculties.

[Internal absorption in] the knowable brings release from the [impure activity of the qualities, elements and sense faculties towards sensory] objects.

19. The differentiated and the undifferentiated [nature] of the [individual’s] intellect and [non-personal] consciousness [characterize] the stages of the qualities [and their actual purification].


     [The characteristic nature of the seer.]


20. The seer is pure [unmodified] consciousness [but can] also perceive thoughts.

21. This is on account of [the seer] perceiving the essence.

22. Although [afflictions caused by mental modifications] have disappeared in him [the seer who has] accomplished the purpose [of yoga], for others these [afflictions] have not disappeared owing to [continuing identification with] ordinary [modified and differentiated consciousness].

23. By entering into the source [of undifferentiated consciousness], recognition of the possession of both [unmodified and modified characteristics of] the own self’s form.


     [Ignorance and the anti-dote for ignorance.]


24. Ignorance is it’s [modified and differentiated consciousness’] source.

25. Entering into union leads to the abandonment and disappearance of it [ignorance].

Abandoning that [ignorance] the knower of [the state of union attains] kaivalya, 'aloneness' [or full detachment] from all other [relative] connections.

26. viveka khyate, discriminating perception is the means to the abandonment [of ignorance].

27. His [attainment] of the culmination of [each of] the seven stages [of the eight-fold system of yoga] insight/wisdom [arises during the culminating eighth stage].


     [The eight limbs of the system of yoga.]


28. Through sustained application of the [eight] Limbs of Yoga [all] defilements [caused by ignorance] are destroyed.

Attaining [intuitive] knowledge of the radiance [of the own self’s form] is based upon [cultivating the attitude of] discriminating perception.

29. Yama, Restraint, niyama, Observance, asana, Posture, pranayama, Breath Regulation, pratyahara, Abstraction, dharana, Subtle Abstraction, dhyana, Concentration and samadhi, Gathered Stabilized Meditative State are the [eight] Limbs of Yoga.




30. Of these Restraint is non-violence [towards all beings], truthfulness, abstaining from theft, celibacy, abstaining from greed.

31. These [comprise] the mahavratya, the Great Vow, [that is] universal, not [just] limited to ascetics, [not limited] by space, time [or limited] to the struggle for [mental] equipoise.




32. The Observances are cleanliness, contentment, austerities, study and motivating all activities towards [intuitive experience of] the cause.


     [The approach to sin]


33. Troubled by sinful thought resort to the opposite [of sin, virtue].

34. Thoughts of sin are [thoughts] of causing injury to others and the rest.

They [sinful thoughts] are preceded by desire, anger, and ignorance.

They are slight, medium and strong [in their intensity] and their effects are an infinity of pain and lack of knowledge [of the own self’s form/characteristic].

In this manner resort to the opposite [of sin, virtue].


    [The benefits of applying the disciplines of Restraint and Observation.]


35. Established in non-violence he [the yogi] does not encounter hostile acts.

36. Established in truthfulness, according actions and fruits.

37. Established in abstaining from theft all jewels are at the disposal [of the yogi].

38. Established in celibacy vigor is obtained.

39. Established in abstaining from greed, knowledge of [positive] future births [is obtained].

40. Through cleanliness [arises] disinterest in one’s own body and [disinterest in] the inclination for [physical] contact with others.

41. And upon the [external and internal] purification of the [yogi’s] being, arise right understanding, one-pointed [mind] control of the senses and a fitness for knowledge of the self/soul.

42. By contentment excellent happiness is obtained.

43. By austerities defilement of the body [and] senses [that obstruct] the accomplishment [of the aim of the yoga system] are removed.

44. Study leads to the correct approach towards the chosen personal deity.

45. Motivating all activities towards causality leads to the accomplishment of the gathered stabilized meditative state.


     [The basic logic underpinning the remaining six limbs of the system of yoga.]


46. Posture is firm [but] comfortable.

47. By a slackening of persevering effort infinite thought transformations [arise].

48. Hence [the continual need for vigilance] to cease [mental] disturbances caused by duality [of relative mind].

49. Once that [the cessation of disturbances caused by the duality of subject and object] has been established [by posture], regulation of the breath is by the restraint of the inhalation and exhalation [of the breath].

50. Regulated in [an appropriate] place, time and number the internal and external manifestations [of breath are] arrested [for] long periods [leading to] subtle [intuitive states and experiences].

51. [After] passing beyond spheres of the external and internal, the Fourth [the culminating stage of the eight-limbed system of yoga].

52. Then [the veil of afflictions] covering the radiance [of the own self’s form] is dissolved.

53. By Subtle Abstraction unsteadiness of mind [becomes] absorbed.

54. By Abstraction of the senses, [the sense faculties] do not enter into contact with their objects [and] in the same manner [abstraction of the mind etc., leads to experience of] own self’s form/ characteristic.

55. Therefore, [from the modes of abstraction etc.,] the senses [of the accomplished yogi] are under the highest [degree of] control.


      [Thus the Second Chapter regarding the Efficient Application of Yoga.]

      The vibhuti pada,  the Chapter [third] regarding the Accomplishment.


     [Introduction to the characteristics attained from application of the three limbs that form the saµyama, the advanced three-fold mode of Mental Restraint.]


1. Steadiness of mind [is attained] by [way of] dharana, Subtle Abstraction.

2. Continued mental effort there [in the state of subtle abstraction] dhyana, Concentration.

3. Similarly, in the previously [stated] manner ‘...being within it’s own self’s form/characteristic, void as it were of any object, radiates alone’ is samadhi, the Gathered Stabilized Meditative State.

4. Together these three [abstraction, concentration and gathered stabilized meditative state] are known as samyama, [the culminating, advanced yoga mode of] Mental Restraint

5. By the successful [application of] that [the triple mode of Mental Restraint] the discernment of prajña, insight/wisdom.

6. It’s [the triple mode of Mental Restraint’s] application is [suited] to [the graduated purification of all mental] spheres.

7. The Three [abstraction, concentration and gathered stabilized meditative state] are integrated [together forming the culminating advanced esoteric stages of the eight limbed yoga system separate] from the preceding [five exoteric and esoteric limbs of the yoga system].

8. [However] even these [three] are [also] outer limbs [that precede the awakening to] the seedless [state of undifferentiated divine consciousness].


[The effects attained by the triple mode of mental restraint.]


9. On the awakening [of the stream of undifferentiated consciousness] the cessation of prevailing past tendencies, [is] the moment of the cessation of [endless] successions of transformations of the mind [and the moment of] their [actual] restraint.

10. It’s [cessation’s] undisturbed administration [as the anti-dote for differentiated consciousness] perfects [insight/wisdom].


[The nature of mind after attaining the triple mode of mental restraint.]


11. All manner of things [sensory tendencies and dualistic relative states of mind] are overcome through the rise of one-pointed mind [and through prolonged experience mind] is transformed into the gathered stabilized meditative state.

12. Then moreover subsiding and arising [streams of relative thought] have a similar quality within the [overall undifferentiated] mental stream transformed by one-pointed [mind].

13. By this [the attainment of one-pointed mind] the nature, characteristics [and] condition of phenomena [experienced] in the sensory [mental] stream are described as transformed [by the arising of insight into their inherent unity within the universal own self’s form/characteristic].


    [The difference of sensory mind from mind transformed by the triple mode of mental restraint.]


14. Subsiding, arising define the nature [of thought within the sensory mind that] precedes [the attainment of the state of one-pointed mind] is the characteristic attribute [of the sensory mind].

15. The uninterrupted progress [of the differentiated sensory mind characterized by subsiding and arising of thought] is different [both] from [the transformed undifferentiated mind attained by the triple mode of mental restraint and] the cause of that [transformation, mental concentration]. 


     [Accomplishments gained by the application of the triple mode of mental restraint.]


16. Transformation by the triple mode of mental restraint knowledge of the past and future [is attained].

17. From the word, object and [the idea conveyed] by each of these [that] coincide and are gathered together as one by their distinctiveness, knowledge of the sounds of all living creatures.

18. By skillfully making manifested the [nature of] the [underlying] tendencies [of sensory mind while applying the triple mode of mental restraint] knowledge of previous lives.

19. [While applying the triple mode of mental restraint the certain appreciation] of others ideas [gives] knowledge of others minds.

20. [Another’s] body, form held by restraint [from the triple mode,] by the capability of that energy to paralyze the light entering [another’s] eye, there being no contact, invisibility.

21. [Within an individual’s cycle of] karma, cause and effect [there] is fast progress and slow progress [in strands of cause and effect coming to fruition].

[Contemplation] by the triple mode of mental restraint of these [strands within the cycle of cause and effect] knowledge of [the time of] death or of signs.

22. [While applying the triple mode of mental restraint accomplishment of emanation] beginning with friendliness [etc.,] power [arises].

23. Resultant power [from applying emanation while applying the triple mode of mental restraint] the power [or strength] of the elephant and others.

24. The accomplishment of an objective [in any] realm by way of directing [consciousness while applying by the triple mode of mental restraint leads to] knowledge of the subtle, the veiled and the remote.

25. Knowledge of worlds, the sun [while applying] the triple mode of mental restraint.

26. Knowledge of the moon, [knowledge of] the arrangement of stars.

27. Knowledge of the movement of the Pole Star.

28. [While applying the triple mode of mental restraint contemplation on] the navel [spinal] center knowledge of the disposition of the body.

29. [Applying the triple mode of mental restraint] in the hollow of the throat hunger, thirst restrained.

30. [Applying the triple mode of mental restraint] on the tortoise [yoga] nerve, steadiness.

31. [Applying the triple mode of mental restraint] on the light [of the intellect situated] in the head a vision [or being at one with the presence] of adepts.

32. Or, [while applying the triple mode of mental restraint] intuitive [knowledge of] all [manner of things].

33. [Applying the triple mode of mental restraint] in the heart knowledge of [the nature of] the mind.

34. [Within the sensory world] individual beings, the quiescent spirit are quite distinct from each other.

The absence of distinction [between the two] is the experience of the dependence [or inter-relationship] of something [created] on it’s own cause.

While [applying the triple mode of] Mental Restraint [in this manner] knowledge of [the inherent relationship of beings within] the quiescent spirit.

35. From this [application of the triple mode of mental restraint] emerge intuitive hearing, contact, sight, taste [and] smell.

36. They [the experience of the interplay of the senses with their objects] are [in the sensory mind] obstacles to [attaining] gathered stabilized meditative state but are accomplishments in the awakened [mind].

37. On relaxing the cause of [mental and physical] limitation [while applying the triple mode of mental restraint] the manifestation of [subtle] perceptions and [the possibility allowing] entry of the mind [consciousness] into another’s body.

38. From mastery of the udana[-vayu], upward moving wind, no contact with and the passing away of [dangers posed by] water, mud, thorns along with others.

39. From mastery of the samana[-vayu], middle wind, luster [of the body occurs].

40. The faculty of hearing joined together with [the element] space [while applying] the triple mode of Mental Restraint divine hearing.

41. The conjunction of the body and [the element of] space [while applying] the triple mode of Mental Restraint the attainment of lightness [of body] like cotton and [the ability] of passage in space.

42. Actually passing outside of the body is the function of the great bodiless [state of death and] by [accomplishment of] that [while still living] the destruction of the [mental] veils [covering] radiance [of the own self’s form/characteristic].

43. While applying the triple mode of Mental Restraint on the gross characteristic [of elements and on] the subtle [characteristics] in succession [and] significance, mastery of the elements.

44. Thereby [the power of] becoming small [like an atom] and the other [powers] are the manifestations of the perfection [of the triple mode of mental restraint] and their characteristic of [making] the body invulnerable.

45. Perfection of the body [manifests as a youthful] form, charm, strength [and] adamantine endurance.

46. Actions, [an individual’s] own nature, egoism, the significance and connection with cause and effect [and complete] mastery over the senses by the triple mode of Mental Restraint.

47. Thereby mastery over fleetness of mind, modifications of becoming, [as well as] the original cause [by way of application to the triple mode of mental restraint].


     [The effect of the successful application the triple mode of mental restraint.]


48. [Thereby by the triple mode of mental restraint mastery over relative mental] clarity, the quiescent spirit, the difference [between these two], elemental perception, all appearances, dependence and omniscience.

49. From that [mastery complete] non-attachment [thereby] even the destruction of the seed of bondage [and the emergence of the state] of detachment from all other connections [while resting within the own self’s form/characteristic].

50. [From] the resonance of inaugurating [the perfected state of detachment from all other relative connections] no attachment [to the act of attainment], no smile of self-satisfaction [at attaining this state or else renewed] contact with the unfavorable [dualistic, sensory mind] is again possible.

51. From [successfully applying] the triple mode of Mental Restraint on the moments and their uninterrupted course, knowledge, produced from discrimination.

52. [Despite] birth, [physical] characteristics, country, in one way [or another nevertheless from knowledge produced from discrimination] thereby the ascertainment of no distinctions [and inherent] similarity [by being within the own self’s form].

53. And it, this intuition [the realization of the intrinsic own self’s form/ characteristic inherent to all things], has everything for it’s sphere of activity, [as well as] all [gross and subtle] conditions [of existence] for it’s sphere of operability having no [limitation of] order [within space and time].

54. Upon purification [by the application the triple mode of mental restraint] the essence of beings and the universal spirit are in equipoise [within the attained] state of detachment from all other [relative] connections.


      [Thus the Third Chapter, the Chapter regarding Accomplishments.]


      The kailvalya pada, the [fourth] Chapter regarding the State of [complete] Isolation [from all relative connections of mind].


       [Basic approaches to disciplining the mind stream towards gaining psychic accomplishments by way of attaining the state of detachment from all other relative connections.]


1. [Psychic] accomplishments are by birth, drugs, mantra-s austerities or by the gathered stabilized meditative state.


    [The transformation of an individual yogi’s mind stream towards attaining the state of detachment from all other relative connections.]


2. In another [earlier] life [the drive towards accomplishment] is [commenced] from the [progressive] transformation of the primary characteristics filling [the relative mind].

3. [Once] the primary characteristics [of the relative mind] are not moved by random [sensory] causes [but are harnessed by the system of yoga] these [primary characteristics] do not enclose [the mind stream].

But from that [system of yoga discipline], like a cultivator [breaching the wall of an irrigation ditch,] the mind flows freely [towards concentration].


      [Ego and the one mind stream.]


4. [The obstructing manifested activities of] created [relative] minds [during numerous incarnations manifest by] the degree of self-absorption/egoism.

5. [Obstructions] manifest as the [numerous] changes of the one mind [stream active during numerous incarnations that through the afflictions generated by egoism] causes [the appearance] of many [further modifications of relative mind stream].

6. [Nevertheless] there [in that essentially one, ego-driven, mind stream] indestructible concentration can be born.


      [The nature and activities of the cycle of cause and effect.]


7. The cycle of cause and effect of a yogi is neither [simply] white nor black [but with] the rest [an admixture of meritorious and sinful cause and effect] it is three-fold.

8. Therefore by their having similar qualities they [strands within a yogi’s cycle of cause and effect] mature [and] ripen according to their merits.

[Strands within the cycle of cause and effect] only manifest according to the vasana, the [residual] imprints [previously laid down by accumulated mental tendencies].


     [The maintenance of one mind stream based upon memory and past tendencies within the cycle of cause and effect and transmigration.]


9. Because of their being one and the same, memory and past tendencies are not separated [from] the uninterrupted sequence [of the imprints of cause and effect] even by birth [into a new incarnation], country [or] era.

10. For them [imprints, memory and the accumulation of past tendencies] the desire for [manifested expression] is without a beginning and is ceaseless.

11. Being grasped/gathered together [by discriminating awareness] the cause, fruit, anything connected with and dependent on [imprints, memory and the accumulation of past tendencies,] from the absence of these, the non-existence of them.

12. Past, future, by their very nature of existence, act as pathways for the blossoming of the characteristics [of the cycle of cause and effect based upon imprints, memory and the accumulation of past tendencies].


      [The nature and activities of the elemental Qualities, as the mental cause/support for the apparent reality and appearances of transitory relative existence, the relative mind and interplay with sensory objects].


13. They [the activities of imprints, memory and the accumulation of past tendencies] are manifested, [or remain as] subtle [latent potentialities reflecting] the [characteristic] nature of the Qualities.

14. From [inter-dependence within a process of] their modification, continuity [of sensory interplay with the activities and nature of] objects [and thereby the appearance of relative] reality.

15. [Despite the apparent sensory] equality of [the individual, the individual’s consciousness with] objects, the conscious mind is distinct from them by being separate from the [manner in which objects were originally] produced.

16. And not depending upon the [individual’s] one mind [stream for their existence] if objects are [simply so] measured by that [the standard of the coloration of the individual’s mind] what would [then actually] exist [beyond the individual]?

17. Thereby [appreciation of] the coloration of mind is required [in order] to know and not know objects.


      [The characteristic nature of the relative mind and the characteristic nature of absolute consciousness.]


18. [Despite the veils of ignorance] the dispositions of [the relative] mind are always perceived by [within] that lord [of absolute consciousness] the unchanging [quiescent] spirit.

19. From familiarity with self-illumination [of the own self’s form, sensory consciousness] is not that.

20. And the impossibility of simultaneous perception from within both of these [the dependent and absolute modes of consciousness].

21. [Because] in directing the [dependent, sensory] mind outwardly [towards objects] the power of discernment, the will to know, becomes adhered to and confused by memory.

22. [Absolute] consciousness having no mixture [with memory etc.,] that expression [of non-dependent consciousness] is unmodified [during] the act of perception, [the act of] the self-discernment [of information].


      [The seer.]


23. [The seer] who sees well, having seen the afflicted [relative, dependent state, his released] mind becomes [the sphere of] the entirety [reflecting the nature of the omnipresent quiescent spirit].

24. [For the seer] that [the sphere of the entirety] also [is the sphere] for other innumerable imprints mind caused to have been [within a cycle of cause and effect].

25. [For] the one observing the distinctiveness [of] the self/soul [the entirety], the existing [the residual cycle of cause and effect] producing [the differentiated relative mind] comes to an end.


     [The effect of discrimination.]


26. Then inclined towards [constant] discrimination the mind gravitates to the state of detachment from all other relative connections.


     [The effect of past impressions.]


27. From [the habitual effect of] past impressions interruption in perceiving that [discrimination and the state of detachment from all other relative connections] is caused within [the mind stream].

28. Getting rid of these [the residual past impressions] is like that described for the afflictions.


    [The nature of consciousness after the successful application of discriminating right knowledge.]


29. However, after liquidating and taking no interest [in arising residual impressions] through discriminating right knowledge, the [initial] gathered stabilized meditative state, of Nature Clouded.

30. Thereby indifference to afflictions and actions.

31. Then the infinity of knowledge is free from all veils and impurities [of which] the knowable is [but a] small [part].


     [The effect of maintaining the [initial] gathered stabilized meditative state, of Nature Clouded.]


32. By [maintaining] that [the initial gathered stabilized meditative state] the accomplishment of the purpose of transforming the [hitherto uninterrupted active] progress of the qualities is concluded.

33. The moments of dependent existence [of the mind within the activities of the qualities] are transformed, ended, [their] progress being [fully] suppressed.

34. The non-existence of the purusartha, the [four] objectives of [relative] human existence, [the non-existence] of the Qualities by being enjoined in the state of detachment from all other relative connections thereby [the yogi is] established in the own self’s form or the [primeval creative] energy of [absolute] consciousness.


      [Thus the Fourth Chapter, the Chapter regarding the State of [complete] Isolation [from all relative connections of mind].

     (11c.) The Nyaya School.

     ‘Supreme happiness is attained by knowledge regarding the actual/true nature of the sixteen categories...’

                                                                                                                                        nyaya-sutra (NS.,) 1.

     Gautama, the Aristotle of Indian philosophy, founded the Nyaya School of philosophy. Gautama was also known as aksapada, ‘eye-footed’ on account of walking with his eyes cast downwards while wrapped in deep thought. The era of Gautama is subject to some speculation among scholars some holding that he flourished in the early centuries AD., whereas others hold that he more likely flourished during the middle centuries of the 1st., millennium BC., or even  earlier.

     Nyaya-vidya, the science of logic, is also known as the tarka-vidya, the science of reason and the vada-vidya, the science of debate. In this manner Nyaya is not really a school of religious philosophy at all but has been applied to logically analyze and order both social and religious philosophical approaches.


     The appearance of the family name Gotama and descendents bearing the family name Gautama occur frequently in the classical Vedic textural tradition. The RV., mentions Gotama as the son of Rahugana. Here Gotama was the family priest of Kuru-srñjaya and was renowned as being accomplished in the rites for the propitiation of Indra.

   According to the RV., the descendants of Gotama were very intelligent. By the late Vedic era this family was known by the name Gautama. Members of the Gautama family are recorded as the lineage transmitters of the SV. This family lineage is mentioned in the brhadaranyaka-upanisad as well as in connection with the composition of portions of the AV.

    The epic the Ramayana set at the beginning of the 1st., millennium BC., mentions a member of the Gautama family in connection with the Brahmin sage who lived on the outskirts of the city of Mithila, in northern Bihar, with his wife Ahalya. Here a myth evolves around the flirtation and amorous dalliance of Indra with Ahalya and the sage’s curse on her to perform penance of extreme self-mortification only later relieved by the intervention of Lord Rama.

    The Shatapatha-brahmana and other texts mention aksapåda Gautama during the era of Jatukarnya Vyasa who was the disciple of Yaksa and Asurayana. According to some scholars this association with Jatukarnya Vyasa and references in the Buddhist text, the divya-vadana, suggest that Gautama flourished in the first half of the sixth century BC.

     Some scholars suggest that the analytical approach of Gautama was present in the early Upanisad-s, dating from the c.8th., century BC., in the manner in which the warrior caste lineage holders of applied Indo-Dravidian doctrines such as king Ajatashatru logically approached their discourses on doctrines of the essence/ principle ‘with’ and ‘without’ attributes. Similarly works within the Theravada abhidhamma-pitaka, dating from the 3rd., century BC., also include technical terms of the Nyaya school as a means to logically explain their doctrinal approach.


      The nyaya-sutra (NS.,) is comprised of five ‘books’ each containing two chapters. The work as it now stands does not appear to be a cohesive work but appears from the nature of its contents to be a work that was composed, compiled and built on over the period of a millennium from the c.6th