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Indus Valley Script Decipherment

Indus Valley Script

Vedic Basis of Indus Culture

Symbolism of Brahmanas and Upanishdas in Indus Valley Script

Critical view of decipherment of Indus script




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Plate 7

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hurdle to Samadhi. The same is depicted in another Indus seal (plate No. 6), where a human figure is standing with an U-shaped symbol in each hand with a bird ready to fly, appearing on his head. Besides him, there is a pole to which he was probably formerly tied. The freedom from the pole means liberation, signified by the winged bird ready to fly. A parallel symbolism is found in a Vedic story of Shunahshepa who was ultimately freed from the triple bonds with which he was tied to yūpa. (RV. 1-24-15).

The attempt at the same spiritual readiness is depicted by an Indus seal (plate No. 6) which has a cross on one side and a winged bird on the other. On the left wing of the bird is a snake, whereas on the right is a peacock. In India , peacock, is proverbially the destroyer of snakes, representing the evil force that bind human soul. The bird on the seal is, however, seen to keep its back on the side of snake, leaving the

(ii) rn~ oufeR;qiklksr (kena up.)

peacock free and peaceful. In other words, the bird symbolizes  the human soul, controlling the evil forces and allowing the forces of goodness (peacock) at the right to have a free-play resulting in spiritual turn, symbolized by the swastika, with its four arms turning to the right. Quite opposite to this is another Swastik, symbolizing the turn of consciousness on the wrong side, inviting bondage. One of Indus seal depicts a cross, with two swastikas respectively on the right and left.

On the urn containing ashes of a dead person, a peacock is often painted (plate No. 7) obviously as a symbol of the good power taking the dead to heaven. Elsewhere, we find a U-shaped symbol containing within itself the bits of a snake, with two peacock heads on either side at the top, each having a crest resembling the flame of burning fire (plate No.7). This obviously means that liberation is possible only by the spiritual energy symbolized by U-shaped symbol, but only when it is able to overpower the forces of evil and continue to guard its resurgence.

The U-shaped symbols are also found on the picture of Buddhist tradition (plate No. 8) symbolizing the tree of enlightenment. or Bodhi_Vriksha. Here we see at least four U-shaped symbols clearly. Two more may be seen in one of the hands of the two guards standing on the either side of the tree. At the top of the tree, we find two U-shaped symbols joined together to the only flower of the tree. Without attempting to comment in detail, it is at least certain that here too the U-shaped symbol is associated with the enlightenment of yoga-samadhi.

VEDIC YOGA - Now to speak of Yoga in the Vedas is to invite a strong objection from those who think that Father Heras has said the last word on Indus Valley civilization. The Reverend Father believed that the evidence of Yoga found on Indus seals clearly shows that Yoga was a gift of Dravidians, and that Vedic people had no knowledge of Yoga. This is, however, absolutely wrong, firstly because the Vedas know a great variety of Yoga. To substantiate my vieW-point I would like to quote the following from the the Athdrva-Veda :-

bUnzL;kst LFk bUnzL; lg LFk bUnzL; cya LFk bUnzL; oh;Za LFk bUnzL; ft".kos ;ksxk; cz;ksxSoksZ ;qufTe --- ft".kos ;ksxk; {k=;ksxkSoksZ --- ft".kos ;ksxk; bUnz;ksxSoksZ ;qufTe - --- ft".kos ;ksxk; lkse;ksxSoksZ ;qufTe --- ft".kos ;ksxk; vIlq;ksxSoksZ ;qufTe --- ft".kos ;ksxk; fo'okfu ek Hkwrkfu mi fr"BUrq ;qDrk e vki LFk v- o- 10-5-1&6

Without attempting a detailed commentary, it may be pointed that five-fold Jişnu yoga means the jina-yoga or the yoga of tīrthankara. The practices in five other Yogas mentioned there as contributing to Jişņu Yoga may be taken to correspond to the five parmeshthis  of Jain tradition. Besides these yogas, Veda also knows Hair Yoga(Rv. 1.56.1), Chandhas Yoga (RV. 10.114.9) and gha-Yoga. In addition to these yogas, the Vedas are full of indirect reference to practice of yoga and meditation. In fact the concept of Veda itself is inseparably connected with yoga. In this connection, it will be sufficient to quote here the following two mantras :-

(1) ;Lekr~ dks'kknqn~Hkjke osne~] rfLeUuUrjon/eSue~A

d`rfe"V cz.kks oh;sZ.k] rsu eka rilk nsokorsgAA (Av. 19.72.1)

(2) vO;lp O;pl'p fcya fo";kfe ek;;kA

rkH;keqn~/k`R; osneFk dekZf.k d`.egsAA (Av. 19.68.1)

In the first mantra, there is a reference to descent and ascent of consciousness to dig out the Veda from the innermost sheath of human consciousness and to restore it to the same. This is actually the yoga process by which one can gain what the mantra calls the Brahma-vīrya to do the desired deed. In the second mantra, the poet talks of uniting the un-manifested and the manifested levels of human personality by filling the gap between the two. Then, he says how by digging out the Veda with the help of both the levels, the actions have to be performed.

Here, of course, the word Veda does not mean any book. It is the supreme consciousness derived from the Non-corporeal agency, called Apuruşa. Hence Veda is called Aporuşēya, that is the Veda obtained from Apuruşa. This is possible only when all the extrovert human energies are withdrawn to the inner-most level where the supreme consciousness called Veda is obtainable. Here it is called Brahma-Veda. When it is drawn out to a little lower level for the first time, it is called Vedas, the wealth or achievement. Also it is known as Atharva- veda,  meaning the Veda with a downward trend. When it comes to mental level. it becomes threefold as Rik, Yaju and sāman which are supposed to exist as un-differentiated at the Atharvaveda level.

The three, also known as Trayī represent the creative power responsible for the creation of many thoughts, desires, emotions and actions etc., but as Atharvaveda, it is the undifferentiated trinity working as the source of the three and their manifold creation.

It is on the analogy of the four Vedas, as the undifferentiated consciousness together with differentiated trinity, that the four Samhitās of Vedic mantras have been designed and named.

THE VEDIC LANGUAGE Thus it is obvious that the word Veda has so many nuances and shades of meaning. This could be possible due to a unique characteristic of Vedic language. In order to make a particular word the composite symbol of more than one ideas or concepts, it is customary to multiply the sense of root from which the word has originally come. This canbe amply illustrated by the root vid of the term Veda. The root vid can be used in the following senses :-

1) Vid, to know, to understand (vid jāne)

2) Vid, to be, to exist, to live, to be present (vid sattāyām)

3) Vid, to think, to contemplate (vid, vicharaņe)

4) Vid, to be conscious of, to narrate, to explain, to live, to reside (vid chetanākhy ananivasesu)

5) vid, to obtain, to acquire, to achieve, to accomplish (vid lābha).

It is with this and some other devices that Vedic people succeeded in making the common sanskrit a suitable medium for expressing the supramental and transcendental truths grasped by rishis in Samādhi, This tendency has affected not only the epics, puranas and some other great works of Sanskrit language, but also the literature of other Indian languages and even foreign traditions.


THE PARALLELS OF VEDIC SYMBOLISM - It will, therefore, be worthwhile to point out briefly some of the parallels of Vedic symbolism in other traditions. The most conspicuous is the symbolism involved in the concept of the first man. According to Vedic tradition, either the human soul or God is conceived as the first man. The same thing is meant in the following statements:-

1) "In the beginning, there was only Atman, all alone. He desired that he may have a wife, so as to procreate" (Brh. Up 1.4.17)

2)      In the beginning, Atman was all alone, like a male. After investigation, he found none except himself. ... He did not enjoy solitude. He desired a second one. He himself became like a male and a female hugging each other. He divided this very form of himself, with the result that there was one husband and one wife.... From this couple came the whole creation. (Brh. Up 1.4.1).

If we compare these statements with the Biblical account of Adam, we find that, besides the phonetic identity between the two names, Atman and Adam, there is also similarity in the details of the story associated with them. Like Atman, Adam also did not enjoy solitude and hence desired a mate. This mate, however, was created by God. In Bible, nevertheless, it came out of Adam himself on the basis of his own rib that was taken out by God. Then the whole creation came into existence, as a result of their union, just as we find in Vedic tradition.

Another important name is Manu, the first man of Indian tradition. Like Atman, this is also found in Jewish, Christian and Islamic tradition as Noah or Nūh, while in ancient Egypt it was known as Minos, the first man. Here again, the flood legend associated with Indian manu is also found with full details in other tradition also. Likewise, Yama, the first to find path for gods, along with his sister Yami is present in Iranian tradition. The yama is also the Japanese first man after whom an island was named. Shyena, the first man of china, credited with bringing the celestial fire for men from heaven is the same as the Vedic Shyena. Th mahat Asuratvam of Veda figures as Ahur Mazda of Iran and Assur, the first man and God in Assyria, was also named after the same Asur. Similarly, the biblical Abraham, with Sara who is also called Sarai is comparable to Indian Brahmā, associate with Sarasvati and Shri.

However, these names as found in foreign countries can regain their original symbolic meaning only if they are compared with their Indian counterparts. According to Ren Guenn, the reason is that these foreign traditions have long deviated from what he calls the universal and uniform tradition of mankind, preserved in Indian