Sunday, May 10, 2009

Indian Civilization - Part 2 - Sapta Sindhu, Bhaarat, Hindutva and Secularism

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Hindutva literally means Indian-ness. The core of India and Indianness is found in Vedas which is allegiance towards land of Sapta-Sindhu and culture and civilization of Sapta-Sindhu. The definition which Veer Savarkar gives for the word Hindu is 

आसिंधु सिन्धु पर्यन्ता यस्य भारत भूमिका l पितृभू पुण्यभू च एव स वै हिन्दुरिती स्मृतः ll

- One who refers to the Indian subcontinent as Bhaarat and considers Bhaarat as his fatherland (or motherland) and most revered land (Punyabhoomi) is a Hindu.

This concept of revered land has its origin in the term of "Sapta-Sindhu" which is widely cited in Vedic and post-Vedic literature.

This concept and high reverence of Sapta-Sindhu is central concept of Vedic literature. The most interesting part of Bhaaratiya civilization is the process in which the radius of this Sapta-Sindhu region increased and expanded with time.

The original Sapta-Sindhu region in early hymns of Rigveda comprises of 5 rivers of Punjab, Saraswati(in Rajasthan) and Kubha (Kabul) river in NWFP. This land is glorified as Sapta-Sindhu. The dwellers of this land are Arya people who are pure, rich, righteous and civilized men on earth who are Kavis (poets) composing beautiful literature and performing grand Yagnas to please their mighty Devas.

In later Rigveda, in nadi-stuti sukta of 10th mandala, the Sapta-Sindhu region includes Ganga and Yamuna as well. Thus, now, this idea of Sapta-Sindhu, its culture and civilzation comprised of entire north Indian plains, from Bengal to NWFP.

In Puranic times post Rigveda, new Sapta-Sindhu concept became popular with time. This is seen in famous verse

गंगेच यमुनेचैव गोदावरी सरस्वती l नर्मदे सिन्धु कावेरी जलेस्मिन सन्निधिम कुरु  ll

Now, Sapta-Sindhu includes the region of Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Saraswati, Narmada, Sindhu and Kaveri. Basically, entire Indian subcontinent. Interestingly, the rivers west of Sindhu were no longer considered as part of Sapta Sindhu region. This expansion has to be seen with its connection with shift from Indra to Trinity elaborated in Part-1 of this series.

Sapta-Sindhu is the term which gave birth to the word "Hindu". The Civilization of Sapta-Sindhu was referred to as Hapta-Hindu by Persians and other outsiders. The people of this region and culture, the Sapta-Saindhavas were referred to as hapta-Haindavas by Persians and other outsiders. All these terms are found in Zend Avesta of Zoroastrians.

In all its context, Sapta-Sindhu has been the homeland of Sapta-Saindhavas (Bhaaratiyas). This has been the Punya-Bhoomi (revered land) of them. This has been the Pitrubhoomi and Matrubhoomi for them. 

Thus, the very concept and identity of India or Bhaarat originated from land of seven legendary rivers and expands with the same. The concept of Bhaarat was Punjab and adjacent areas during Vedic war of ten kings where Sudas is a king of Bhaarata and Sapta Sindhu. The concept of Bhaarat in Vishnupuran was same as pan-subcontinental identity of Sapta-Sindhu.

One more defining feature which was preserved all throughout the history of our civilization is the sense of supremacy of Arya over Anaarya people. The famous quotation of कृण्वन्तो विश्वं आर्यम (lets make the whole world "Arya" or civilized) denotes the same fact. Vedic memes did that, by extending the status of "civilized/Aarya" to all the residents of Indian subcontinent who accepted the Dharmic way of life. The land of "Arya/civilized" automatically became Sapta-Sindhu and hence Bhaarat. Howmuchever it is denied, this identity of civilized Arya people and barbaric Anaarya people still exists, with different names and in subtle forms in the subconscious psyches of Indian population.

Owing to this, sadly, Muslims and Christians are still considered as Anaarya and Mlenchha by certain section of orthodox Indic people. Same is true about certain section of Muslim population as well which propounded and propagated two-nation theory, which resulted in partition of India in 1947. This exclusivity perhaps worked in medieval times, for good or for evil, with Muslims and Christians of foreign origin. Indian Muslims and Indian Christians, especially in post independence era, are as much Indians as Indian Non-Abrahamics are. Hence, this strategy needs to be changed and updated.

The concept of Arya needs to be extended to IM and IC who understand, appreciate and follow the concept of Dharma and delineate and differentiate their personal faiths of attaining Moksha from pursuit of Dharma-Artha-Kaama in day-to-day life. This differentiation is of utmost importance in Indian context. Separation of Dharma and Moksha is the true definition of secularism in Indian context. 

This origin and the true meaning of the terms "Dharma" and "Arya" and identities of "Sapta-Sindhu", "Bhaarat" should be explained thoroughly to every single resident of Indian subcontinent. This will generate an enormous selective pressure on Indianization and assimilation of Abrahamic memes into mainstream Indic society.

Just like followers of Abrahamic ideologies should Indianize themselves, the followers of Indic ideologies must increase their inclusiveness and expand their idea of Sapta-Sindhu once again. Christians and Muslims in India will be able to retain their Christianity and Islam as personal paths of achieving Moksha/Salvation without letting it interfere with their pursuits of Dharma-Artha-Kaama of daily life in society.

If this happens, who knows, perhaps Tigris, Euphrates and Jordan rivers will become part of Sapta-Sindhu 500 years from now.....


Abhijit Rajadhyaksha said...

well written

rk said...

Hi.. Thanks for this informative article. I really liked it. I also came across this similar site with nice articles and videos on vedic prinicples -

Battery said...

Interesting! The view on Arya and Anaarya is very well presented. However, I would like to know what do you say about Dravidians? What references have been made about them ?
According to your explanations, Dravidians could also be Arya or Anaarya. Do correct me if wht I have interpreted is wrong .

Chiron said...

Thank you... The term Dravid is used in Indian literature to denote lands to the south of Vindhya. There are Pancha-Dravida clans of Brahmins described in puranas, which comprise the brahmin clans from Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra, Tamil-nadu etc. Then there are Pancha-Gauda clans of Brahmins, wherein clans from eastern India and bengal are described.

Thus, we see that the terms like Gauda, Dravida etc are more geographical than racial. British however gave racial connotations to terms like Arya and Dravida thereby a fissure in Indian society..

Arya is a state of civilized being.. nothing to do with geography as long as you are from India. Foreigners however are described as barbarians (anaarya).

satish said...

thanks for sharing such a beautiful/useful concept.. I belong to dravida region., n AIT had made me re think over what i follow (vedic origin rituals, pujas), speak (sanskritized regional language, my mother tongue).. But after reading ur article m feeling good, i belong to aryavrata., but still there are few questions., why all hindu sacred texts are in sanskrit? Where did sanskrit originate from? Are sanskrit n proto dravidian languages sprung frm same proto language?

Kal_Chiron said...


The word Sanskrit - Literally means "refined".
The word Praakrit - (natural).

Since Sanskrit means "Refined" there must be something which preceded it and was considered "crude", right?

I would like to point out here that the adjectives like "crude" and "refined" are pertaining to theoretical grammar of language. The grammar of Paninian Sanskrit OR Classical Sanskrit is one of the most refined, logical and mathematical of all human languages. This language was "designed" for preservation and transmission of knowledge.

The similarity of Sanskrit with almost all Indian languages (and also Persian language) gives idea of the enormity of the expanse of that common thread of culture which spread across the region of Sapta-Sindhu.

The Sanskrit prior to Panini (prior to approximately 500 BC) is called "Aarsha" language. This is the language in which "Vedas" were composed. It has many syllables like "heavy L" sound which comes in the word "TamiL". In fact the first verse of Rigveda has this syllable.

Now, this heavy "L" is characteristic of South Indian languages (Maharashtra onwards). And first stages of Rigveda were composed in Indus river basin. Such small small pointers suggest the common core and origins of all Indian languages.

Most of the destruction of Indian "resources" happened during Islamic invasions of north. Hence many books which were composed by our ancestors from north are destroyed. Whatever is left was taken to South for protection.

However not all sacred texts are in Sanskrit. Kadamba Ramayana, the songs of Azhwar saints, Thiruvalur etc are in Tamil, there are numerous sacred books in native languages. Yes, most of them are "commentaries" or adaptations OR translations of some original sanskrit treatise, but there are many original sacred books in other languages too.

Having different languages was never a problem for India, in fact it has been her asset ever since she exists.. In spite of the huge diversity, there is a "common factor" which binds Indian people. That common factor can be sensed but is somewhat undefinable in words. That common factor is "Indian-ness" or Hindutva.

satish said...

@kaal_chiron, thanks again. I feel you are the right person to ask few more questions ;-)., as u said, sanskrit n dravidian languages have evolved from the same origin, then what is your opinion about Aryan invasion theory? Why it is widely accepted? Even our historians, our govt ( mentions it in indian history sectn) belives in AIT. Is it true that sanskrit speaking people invaded india of non- sanskrit people?

Most of the historians give many proofs, the unavailibility of SOMA in indian subcontinent is the most convincing one. An archeological site in turkamenistan reveals that the inhabitants of that region were vedic people who moved towards south into india coz of several reasons.

Kal_Chiron said...


Check these links-

Check these series of peer-reviewed papers disproving AIT -

The AIT stands rebutted. The Aryan Migration theory is severely contested now. The viable alternative is Out of India, theory which says Aryans moved out of India to give all those archaeological sites in central asia and Iran.

There is no reference to any migration OR region anywhere outside Indian subcontinent in vedas.

The Soma is found in Khyber pass, Peshawar, Kabul-Kandahar region which was known as "Gaandhaar" province in ancient times. It is very much India. Hence the argument that Soma is not found in India is falsified. Recently, BBC documentary maker Michael Wood found the Soma plants in markets of Peshawar. The region which is today known as Pakistan and Southern Afghanistan are part of ancient India.

Why is AIT popular? Because it was designed by british historians to brainwash Indian students to make their rule easy. After Indian independence, many scholars have researched and published papers in which AIT stands discredited. Regarding why is it still taught in school-text books, that is something which is severely wrong about India's educational system. That problem is political and has to be solved politically. I can only say that there are certain powerful forces in Indian establishment which do not want to see a "united Hindu" community. Hence play the politics of caste, language to keep people divided.

There was no "Sanskrit" language prior to Panini. Panini refined the language which was used by the intelligentsia then and this refined language is called Sanskrit. The earlier language is just called as "Language (Vaacha/Vaak)". The word "Sanskrit" is an adjective which described a language and not a noun.

Finally regarding archaeological sites in central asia. Yes, the sites are found. Many people say, it belongs to "Zoroastrian" community. Quite a few say, it belongs to "vedic" community. But there is no way to prove the direction of migration. based on one or two archaeological sites, no historian can prove whether the people were Migrating and if yes, to which direction (towards India OR away from India).

For that, one needs to rely on literary evidences. And No where in Vedas there is even a slightest hint towards possibility of migration. All the forests, trees, floara, fauna, climate, geographical descriptions, river-descriptions found in Vedas is Indian. There is nothing in Vedas and entire Vedic literature which describes foreign lands.

There are descriptions of foreign lands in Ramayana, Mahabharata, Raghuvamsha etc, but that is when Indian armies were venturing out as part of their routine "Ashwamedha conquest".

Hope, this helped.. :-) Pleased to answer your doubts in my limited capability..

Shubham astu...

satish said...

@kaal chiron- Dhanyawada.. Yes it has helped a lot.. Thanks for ur time.. Hope we could find that one missing link which proves there was only one race, proto language for all of us.. India must not devide again.. Jai hind :-)..



gaurav bahuguna said...

i am fully confused about the 7th river of sapth sindh.
accoding to my information 6 rivers are jhelum,ravi,beas,chenab,sutlej(also known as sindhu & indus),saraswati
but what is the 7th one,,all peoples are saying different,so i am fully confused,,help me out.