Monday, April 23, 2012

Evolution of Guerrilla Warfare in India since medieval times

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Around great men, legends are inevitably woven. These legends, which may or may not be factually correct, speak a lot about the character of the persona involved. One such legend woven around the life of King Shivaji. He was not a coronated Chhatrapati, when this incident allegedly happened. In fact, he was a fledgling king in his early 20s, struggling to carve a niche for himself. The analysis of Shivaji can be found on this blog here and here.

When the province of Kalyan near Mumbai was captured by Marathas, the Persian daughter-in-law of the the provincial Subhedar was captured along with other "war-spoils". She was trying to escape and was captured in the process. As was the tradition in Mughal and other Islamic armies of the time, this captured woman was "offered" to Shivaji. Shivaji's aunt Godavaribai was similarly abducted by Mahabhat Khan, an incident which had a marked impact on the psyche of child Shivaji. 

This captured lady, the legend says, was extremely beautiful and young Shivaji could have kept her in his custody, building harem. He, however, let her go saying that she reminded him of his mother. To be exact, Shivaji allegedly said,"You are indeed beautiful, lady. I wish I had a mother as beautiful as you, I would have been much more good-looking too".

No one knows, whether this incident is historically correct or not. But it is so popular in the folklore of Maharashtra and Marathas that it does not matter now. And this tendency of letting the enemy women "go" attracted a controversial ire by Veer Savarkar. Savarkar who idolized him (well, almost all nationalists all over India, have been idolizing Shivaji for past 300 years), criticized Shivaji for letting this woman go. Of course, Savarkar was writing in context 1920s and 1940s, at the backdrop of Moplah riots in Malabar and Partition riots in Punjab and Bengal. But this analysis of Savarkar that Hindus required a strategy to wage all-out unethical war against invaders demands a scrutiny. 

Pardoning of captured woman is metaphor. The issue is how to integrate Indic values of accommodation and Dharma with unscrupulous hawkish mindset required for a successful guerrilla campaign.

Ghanim-i-Qavvait (गनिम इ क़वैत)

This term for Guerilla warfare technique, which was used and perfected by Marathas, was introduced in Deccan by a person named "Malik Ambar". While the technique itself is very old (Krishna himself was a master of Guerilla warfare, his war against Kaal-Yavana is an excellent example of his genius), it started becoming a common practice in  Krishna-Godavari Antarvedi (present day MH, AP, KN) region after Malik Ambar's time. Until advent of Malik Ambar, this technique was more of an exception than rule. Marathas from Seuna Yadava empire were waging traditional styled wars with their neighbors after disintegration of Rashtrakoota and Chalukya Empire.

The Arabic term गनिम-इ-क़वैत (Maneuver of the successful) implied that those who fought by "Koota-Neeti" were always successful. The Arabic word Ganim (successful) is absorbed in Marathi but with the meaning "Enemy". What prompted the Mughals and Adilshahs to brag themselves as "Ganim" so much so that the word became synonymous to word enemy?

The answer is "Total war" which was waged upon India. 

Guerrilla warfare and India's Dharmik Scaffold

Total war is not a recurring phenomenon in Indian narrative. Except for war of Kalinga waged by Emperor Ashoka, the instances of an Indian state or a kingdom waging a war on entire country of enemy and not just on enemy's military, are rare. By and large in pre-Islamic India, it was the professional and enlisted soldiers who fought in a battle, the local population remained unscathed. And history tells how Emperor Ashoka repented having waged a devastating total war against the population of Kalinga. Even the Dik-vijaya of Samudragupta and Chandragupta Vikramaditya do not describe them having waged a similar war against barbaric foreign tribes of Scythians and Huns. 

Barring invasion of Arabs on Sindh, India was relatively at peace after defeat of Hunnic King Mihiragula by Yashodharma and Baladitya Gupta. Hence Indians did not feel necessary to wage a total war on their internal rivals and competitors. India faced her first massive onslaught of an all-out total war when Mehmood Gaznavi invaded India and crossed Hindu-kush to leave a trail of massacre and loot until Somnath. While this was new to India, India responded in the only language known to barbarians on the battle field of Bahraich. It was this response which kept  India immune of any invasions for next 170 years. However after 1192, India's depression started. India forgot that total war has to be responded by total war. Dharma-Yuddha (Ethical war) cannot be the right response to a sustained total war spanning generations. When total war is responded by Dharmik war for generations, the dharmik side inevitably emerges as eventual losers.

The accounts of Khafi khan, Ibn Batuta and others are full of references which describe how Sultanate armies tricked and massacred Hindu armies time and again. It is not that Hindu armies never emerged victorious, they did on many occasions. But as stated above, they eventually emerged as losers. The famous saying निर्लज म्लेंच्छ लजै नहीं, हम हिंदू लजवान (Shameless Mlechhas have no scruples, We Hindus have honor), describes the overall psyche of the Indics. While there were innumerable instances of Rajputs and other parts of India waging guerrilla warfare to sustain an defeat Sultanates and Mughals, somehow this "dishonorable" way of fighting, it seems, had not percolated in the Indic psyche completely.

It was Shahaji and his son Shivaji who reinvented this guerrilla techniques, now called Ganim-i-Qavvait (Ganimi Kaavaa in Marathi) OR the maneuver of the successful and institutionalized it as an honorable way of fighting. The necessity to abandon the mode of fighting which the scriptures preach about, and take up warfare based on "Koota-Neeti" as almost exclusive means of offense was a slow transition and a bloody one. All the forces all over the world fighting against a dictatorial omnipotent centralized power with all the machinery of state available at its disposal to act against dissenters, have resorted to Ganimi Kaavaa. 

Shivaji's Ganimi Kaavaa

In Shivaji's ganimi Kaava, the honor of victory is immaterial. What counts is attrition of enemy with respect to self-attrition. As long as enemy's attrition is order of magnitude more, the method legitimises the "running away" from the field. Typical of Rann-Chhod Daas strategy of employed by Shri Krishna described in one of the links provided above. It involves giving promises, breaking them first, back-stabbing, pillaging villages, burning crops avoiding direct confrontation; basically making the territory inhospitable for enemy, even if it hinders one's own productivity and development. 

It is also a tactic when the onus of struggle falls on the shoulders of those people who are do not have any experience or tradition of military career. This method was (and is) more efficiently employed by unorthodox fighting clans (in Indian terms Non-Kshatriya Jaatis) when the traditional kshatriya force has either fled the country OR killed OR compromised with enemy. The non-specialist fighters have no option but to resort to Ganimi Kaavaa, in order to survive. And in a way, it is they who can internalize this method of fighting most successfully. A Kshatriya with inflated ego, would find it difficult to run away when being challenged OR when soft points (family, for eg.) are being targeted by enemy to draw you out in open. The emphasis here is on survival and out-lasting the enemy, not out-fighting him.

Throughout the life of Shivaji, we see this focus on "outlasting the enemy". The gruesome Mughal-Maratha war of 27 years was essentially about outlasting the Mughals. 

Post Maratha attempts to revive Ganimi kaavaa.

After decline of Maratha empire in 1818, there were many instances where Ganimi Kava was used to varied degrees of success against the British. The famous Anglo-Indian war of 1857 was epitome of Ganimi Kaava waged by Pro-Independence forces. They were outmatched because they did not have answer to systematic cold-blooded violence unleashed by EIC on the country side which supplied to the logistical column of Indian forces. Other attempts like Sanyasi rebellion, war against British by Santhal tribe (Birsa Munda), Vasudev Phadke's Ramoshi rebellion of 1875-1882, all attempted to recreate Shivaji's model but against an enemy who was on much higher technological plain as compared to contemporary adversaries of Shivaji.

Naxalism and Maoism

As happened with factions of Vijaynagar kingdom which kept on fighting Deccan sultanates for long time, the folks and streams of resistance against the centralized Indian power based in Delhi (both before and after transfer of power in 1947) continued in various pockets of India. The infamous dacoits of Chambal valley and other regions are continued streams of earlier guerrilla resistance groups. As the uneven development began happening in India, people in certain remote pockets took up arms and started fighting against the Indian establishment. This marks the beginning of Naxalite movement in India. Where other Indic guerrilla movements against centralized and oppressive Indian power were not much successful in "lasting long enough", the Naxalite movement transformed slowly to a Marxist and then Maoist movement. This transformation was essentially a game changer. The example of Paritala Ravindra discussed on this blog earlier, also casts light on the changing scenario in India.

Marxism removed the "inhibitions" on Indic mind to be "more violent and unscrupulous" than the power ruling from Delhi (which they perceive as Asurik). Maoism refined these methods and further removed the inhibitions on Indian/Hindu mind and emerged as a "menace". Here Hindu mind refers to those Indians OR Hindus who choose to enter this Chakra-vyuha of Maoism to commit suicide against fellow Indians. This engineering of mind which Marxism and Maoism has done, has been a great evolutionary step in history of Guerrilla warfare in India since the days of Shahaji and Shivaji Maharaj. The irony of India is, while Guerrilla movements have become more unscrupulous and violent, central Indian government, after 1947's transfer of power to Indics, has become less aasurik and violent in comparison to their British predecessors. Given these scenarios, it is more than likely that Maoists just might "outlast" Government of India in her current form, especially in their stronghold pockets. Maoists may succeed in long run where naxalites like Paritala Ravindra failed.


Ganim-i-Qavvait is without any doubts an Asurik and Adharmik way of resisting. However when left with no chance, Indic mind took it up and institutionalized it. At times, it worked for benefit of India (Shivaji and Marathas, 1857, Sanyasi, Santhal, Phadke et al) whereas as after 1947's transfer of power, it has been working against republic of India's interests. The fault lies with Government of India machinery as well which has modeled itself along the lines of Mughal and British Predecessors forcing many groups to do what Shivaji did. Since Indic ideological pool could not provide any alternatives which could motivate and justify the Indic resistors to overcome the scruple-barrier required to outlast the British Empire, the resenting population sought elsewhere and found the answers in Marxism and Maoism. So far, it does not look like GOI has found an anti-dote to this "astra".

There are two ways ahead. Either one has to present an alternative to Maoism which is more effective. We have traditions and legends of "Parshurama" which can be the ideological source of the subsequent iteration of future Indian Guerrilla fighters from Indian narrative. 


GOI takes sincere measures and drastically reduces corruption and delegates more power to people, bringing in a genuine decentralized democracy in the country, taking it nearer to the golden times of Sri Raama and Vikramaditya.

In both cases, India will preserve her "Swa-tantra" (Self-system). Else, bondage under foreign system is assured.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Brief history of Hindu Marriage - 3 - The flux of Yugas

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In previous part, we saw the description of Hindu Marriage ritual and symbolism associated with the three central rites which are more or less common across the Hindus throughout the subcontinent. But one interesting doubt which emerges from part 1 of this series is how did this symbolism evolve? Why did it became necessary to place a unwed girl in the bondage of Devatas like Varuna, Aryaman et al? Why did this story of heroic rescue stuck at all? Again the main reference here is Acharya V.K.Rajwade's book - Bhaartiya Vivaha Sansthecha Itihaas. I have composed this article taking help from references cited in this book.

To get first clue, let us revisit the verse by Bhishma Pitamaha from Mahabharat cited in part 1 of this series. In Mahabharata, Shanti Parva, Chapter 207, Bhishma says,

न चैषां मैथुनो धर्मो बभूव भरतर्षभ  
संकल्पादेवैतेषां अपत्यं उपपद्यते  - 37
ततः त्रेतायुगेकाले संस्पर्शात् जायते प्रजान 
ह्य भूः मैथुनो धर्मस्तेषां अपि जनाधिप - 38 
द्वापरे मैथुनो धर्म प्रजानां भवन्नृपःतथा 
कलियुगे राजन द्वन्द्व मापेदिरे जनाः - 39 
"In satya yuga, intercourse happened as desire arose in minds of fertile men and women. There were no words for mother, father, sibling etc. In Treta Yuga, when men and women touched each other and welcomed the touch, dharma allowed them to copulate for time-being. (this is stage where concept of "favourite" mate started emerging). IN Dwapara Yuga, Men and women started cohabiting as couples but not as stable and committed pair-bonding couples. In Kali Yuga, the stable pair-bonding (what we refer to as institution of marriage) emerged."
According to Bhishma, in Satyayuga, the intercourse happened as desire arose in the minds of men and women. In Treta Yuga, there began elaborate ritual of expressing the desire to have coitus. They included the rituals of making hand-gestures and touching the potential mates symbolically to invite them for coitus. What were those rituals of symbolic touching? Let us refer to Ashwalaayan Grihya Sutra. Most of Hindu marriage rituals are present in 7th volume of first chapter of Ashwalayan Grihya Sutra (AGS). Therein, the priest asks groom to 

गृम्भाणि ते सौभागत्वाय हस्तं इति अङ्गुष्ठमेव गृहणियाद् यदि कामयति पुमांस एव मे पुत्रा जायेरन्निति, अन्गुलिरेव स्त्रीकामः , रोमान्ते हस्तं सान्गुष्ठं उभयकाम. इति त्रय पाणिपीडनं 
There are three types of Paani-Peedanam (hand-hurting/clasping). If Groom wishes to beget son, he should clasp the thumb (of the bride's hand) first and then rest of the hand. If groom wishes to beget a daughter, he should clasp her four fingers first (barring thumb). If groom wishes to beget both son and daughter, he should clasp entire palm of the bride and hand too as long as her hair are. That is, he should clasp entire palm and also the hand at the point where her hair (Veni) reach.
This refers to the Sparsha (touch) ritual described by Bhishma from Treta Yuga. While this is supposed to be done prior to every coital session, we now a days do it during the ritual of "Paani-Grahanam". 

This is also perhaps a remnant tradition of various clans from Treta-Yuga following patriarchal, matriarchal and dual system of inheritance and precedence described in part one of this series. The patriarchal system following tribes forcibly held the thumb of woman (either captured OR reared from within the tribe). In matriarchal systems where men wooed women to get coital consent held the fingers of the women they wished to indulge in coitus with. While those societies which were not preferentially patriarchal OR matriarchal held hand and wrist (typically woman is described "Sukeshaa" (one with beautiful long hair) in Indic narrative, hence it was and is common to have a wife with long hair until her wrist).

Indic society was made up of all three systems described above. The composer of AGS, Sage Shaunaka has chronicled these ancient mating gestures for our privilege.

With beckoning of Dwaapara-Yuga, the process of stable pair-bonding started emerging in Indic society. As opposed to treta-Yuga, wherein kids belonged to entire tribe, in Dvaapara yuga, the ownership of kids started emerging in parents. Identity of child was based on parentage primarily and not on clan or tribe. In Kaliyuga, the institution of marriage came into existence with formation of stable pair-bonding. Along with this, emerged definition of various relations which we use today (like cousins, uncles and aunts etc). 

The cyclic nature of Yuga and time

In one older articles, I have discussed how time is viewed "cyclical" in Indian world-view. When Bhishma was on his death-bed giving this final advise to Yudhishthira, the world was still in Dvaapara-Yuga. Kali-Yuga had not started. Yet Bhishma speaks of Kali-yuga in past-tense. This is because the four-yugas are symbolic terms used for growth in complexity of any organization OR institution.

By the time of Ramayana, the stable-pair bonding was already in place. After all, the whole story of Ramayana is about Rama's and Seeta's commitment towards each other. This means that the "institution of marriage" was already in late Dvapara Yuga and Kali-yuga while the story of Ramayana happened. However, politically the age was treta.

In Indian narrative, time is relative. What is one day for Brahmadeva is millions of years for human being. Hence when we see the verses pertaining to time and four yugas, one should examine the context in which they are being spoken. The increasing level of organizational structure and complexity of any system (be in dhaarmik, aarthik, Kaamik OR Mokshik) is denoted by progress of that system in four yugas.

While things are completely flexible in any institution when in Satya-yuga stage (like a small start-up company), they become increasingly bureaucratic and complex as the organization grows and becomes rigidly rule-based in Kali-yuga phase. While it is good for a while, too much of rigidity causes stagnation of evolution, hence the system breaks down and new cycle of 4 yugas start. This point when a system breaks down owing to its extreme rigidity (in peak of kali-yuga) is termed as "pralaya".

Speaking with respect to Marriage institution, one has to answer, does choice of partner need to be strictly rule-based in given time? In west, the institution of marriage is collapsing. Or rather we can say it is getting more "open". Some even find this "open-ness" abhorrently repulsive. But one must understand that western civilization is merely transiting from Kali-Yuga to Dvaapara-Yuga. Perhaps even Treta-yuga where one-night stands are increasing and so are the instances of single-parents. This is nothing but the system reverting to times described in Puranas when children were identified by mother and not father. We have seen this in part 1 of this series.

In India, in recent times, we are slowly transiting from Kali-Yuga to Dvaapara Yuga. The "live-in" relationships are seen relatively in higher frequency in urban India. This was not the case ever since we entered Kaliyuga (of marriage institution). The institution and the rigidity of marriage was further cemented by Islamic invasions when women were made forcibly to stay in homes. In my opinion, the Kali-yuga accelerated in India with stabilization of Islamic rule in past 1000 years followed by Victorian British rule where our moral values were severely engineered. Prior to this, as long as the system of "Svayamvara" was in place, we were still in "Dvaapara-Yuga". At least not in deep kali-yuga as we were post Ghurid invasions.

I am not making any moral judgments on this change. I am simply acknowledging and making gentle readers aware of the fact that Indian scenario (of marriage institution and Kaama) is in flux and this flux has been documented by our ancestors. One has to understand that time is relative and cyclic. We are undergoing cycles of 4 yugas in one's own lifetime too.

Since we are discussing the most important "Kaama" purushartha of human life, one has to look at Yuga-transition from this perspective.

Shubham astu !!!

In next part we will learn about the ancient meaning of the word "Atithi" (guest) and how it is intimately associated with institution of stable pair-bonding.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Brief History of Hindu Marriage - 2 - Significance and Story of Core Marriage Ritual

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Continued from part 1

As man progressed the vedic era, the ritual for marriage became fixed. The ritual itself is highly revealing and are found in Ashvalaayan Grihya sutra. The three core rituals of Hindu marriage are

1. Shila Aarohanam
2. Lajjaa Homam
3. Sapta padi. 

The sequence of other rituals changes in different cultures, times, places, castes etc. But these three are somewhat universal. 

When a girl child is born, she is "owned" by different Devatas until she crosses her different ages. It seems like Devas being powerful had the right of Prelibation (Agra-Upabhoga). Prelibation means right of "first taste". Right to have first Upabhoga of a woman was by Devas. Young fertile bride of marriageable age is under the bondage of three devatas (Aaryaman, Varuna and Pushan) because they have right "taste her first". 

Groom asks permission from bride's father and father gives away his daughter to the groom (Kanyaadaan). But what about the devatas? they will not give her up so easily. Vara (Groom) frees the bride from the bondage (Paasha) of three devatas by his valor at an opportune time (Muhurtam). This is the reason why Hindu marriage emphasizes on Muhurta.  It was deliberate planning by the groom to liberate the one whom he desires at an auspicious time when he thinks the chances of slipping past the guard of devatas are highest. On predetermined time, the bride agrees to elope with groom from bondage of devatas. This is signified by exchanging garlands which symbolizes her consent.

The three Devatas are angered by this insolence and attack the "Vara" to get back, what they think is rightfully theirs. Here comes the ritual of "Shilaa Aarohanam" where groom asks bride to climb a rock and hold it tight and stay in his life like that immovable rock. Remember, Varuna is water-god and only climbing on a tall, firm and immovable rock can save one from wrath of Varuna. This also affirms the commitment of bride. Since groom has angered three powerful devatas for this lady and has picked fight with them, he needs to be sure that all this was worth it. The bride promises him that she shall hold on firmly to the rock and hold on in his life like that firm immovable rock.

As angry Devatas approached the Vara, and seeing that bride safe on rock (Shilaa), her brother rushes to help the groom. He indulges in negotiations with three devatas. Here begins the ritual of "Laajaa Homa". He offers the three gods parched rice grains (which is more valuable than raw rice grains, hence an expensive gift). Not only this, he coats the Laajaa (parched rice) with ghee, thus making it a valuable offering. He offers Parched rice coated with ghee thrice in Agni as "fine" to the devatas. This ritual is called "Avadaana". While giving this "fine" to three devatas thrice, the brother warns three of them to leave his sister alone else he will join hands with her husband in war against them. He "calls" three devatas individually and gifts them and warns them separately. Thus both groom and bride's brother bribe and threaten each of the three gods individually and separately. They circled around agni to confuse the devatas. While encircling the sacred agni, couple made vows to each other of mutual good conduct. This shows how cunning brother was.

In spite of bribing, Varuna still held on to the hair of bride. Groom symbolically touches the hair of bride and releases her from clutches of Varuna, setting her completely free. 

Hereafter we approach the main ritual of "Sapta Padi". Hindu Jurisprudence has considered this ritual as the one which cements the wedding since ancient times. Even modern hindu civil code asks for performance of sapta-padi as proof that marriage has materialized. After victoriously liberating his beloved from clutches of devatas, they take seven steps together towards Ishanya (north-east) direction which is considered direction of devatas. They make joint declaration of their wishes and expectations from each other. 

This ritual of Hindu Marriage is itself a signification of evolution of man, assertion of man over something that belongs to him and drive of man to achieve it, even if it means angering omnipotent Devas. It also shows how important brother is in life of a woman. It also shows that the relationship of "brother-sister" is well defined and established and sibling-cohabitation had by this time, had became "Off-limits". It also shows that woman was yearning to be liberated by a "hero" and becomes his wife in defiance of gods. 

The ritual continues only if woman swears the oath of fidelity by climbing the rock. This shows the beginning of patriarchal system and stable pair-bonding where children were (and are) identified by their father. The relations like Maamaa (maternal uncle), Mausi (maternal aunt), mother, sibling were defined earlier during matriarchal times. With establishment of marriage-institution the relatively distant relations like Chacha (paternal uncle), Bua (paternal aunt), their kids (cousins), were also defined.

The story of evolution of human pair-bonding and marriage institution of India and Hindus continues in part 3. 

Brief history of Hindu Marriage - 1 - Evolution of Human Pair Bonding as seen from Puranas and Vedas

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I time and again refer to real meaning of term "sanaatana" (stretched from origins). 

Sanatana - Sat + Aa + Tan  = One which shows continuity since "Sat".

The basic drive to excel and evolve is not changeable since it originates from Sat. That drive is the real Dharma. Other rules which facilitate this movement of every player from darkness towards light ("Tamaso ma Jyotirgamaya") are Bahya-Dharma and are changeable. Thus Bahya-Dharma (Set of rules) is changeable and is subset of the "Sanatan Dharma" which is intrinsic drive to move towards completeness (poornatva). Sanatan Dharma is the Dharma which shows continuity with (or since) "Sat"

Puranas are folk-lores of pre and post Vedic era. The vedas themselves are conglomerate of various "peer-reviewed" opinions. Those oral traditions and stories which did not make into Vedas, Vyaasa very painstakingly wrote them in form of Puranas. He also compiled the haphazard Vedic "memories" into 4 distinctive categories which today refer to as four vedas. The main reference for this series is seminal work in Marathi by Itihasacharya V K Rajwade titled as "Bhaartiya Vivaha sansthecha itihaas".

While Vedas are "memories" of human being from just before development of speech (in form of bird songs) to speech, Puranas are not only memories but also "theories" of human beings about the origins. As Bhimsen of Mahabharata very correctly identifies, "Kaama" as mother of all other purusharthas and hence the superior to all three (dharma, artha and moksha). Our memories have stories when there were no "names" for relations. Only relation was that between a fertile man and woman. Here we have stories of Brahmadeva and his daughter indulging in coitus in beginning of time. There are many stories as such.

Later, when numbers grew, the basic relations and prohibitions started appearing. The dialogue between siblings Yama and Yami where Yami proposes her brother Yama to have intercourse with her and Yama refuses, elevates Yama to the position of "Dharma-Raaja". It is hereafter that a fertile sibling was referred to as "brother" or "sister" and was off limits for procreation. Relationship with a fertile sibling got a "name". This shows evolution of man. There are many references towards such relations as well.

The conversation of Yama and Yami from Rigveda is very fascinating. Yami asks "what is use of brother, if he cannot fulfill his "Svasu". The sanskrit term for brother "Bhraataa" and for husband "Bhartru" come from same word root "BhR" which means "to fulfill". Yami refers to herself as "Svasu". स्वान् सरति इति स्वसा. One who imitates (bad translation for Anusarana which means to behave in accordance to) her "own" (in hindi "Apne"). जो अपनों का अनुसरण करती हैं वह स्वसा. Here, it means one who cohabits with one's kin is svasaa. 

Yami asks - "किं भ्राता सद्यद् अनाथं भवति? किमु स्वसा यत् निरऋतिः न गच्छात्" 
What is (the use of) brother, who keeps me "Anaath (Uncovered/Unprotected)"? What is (meaning of being) Svasaa who cannot even follow her drive"?

Later as man graduated to social hunter-gatherer, we slowly see emergence of matriarchal identities. There was yet no need for an offspring to be identified by its father as no one was sure who the father was. But one was sure about one's mother. Here we see the categories of people referring to themselves as Aadityas (lineage of aditi), daityas (lineage of Diti), Vainateyas (lineage of Vinita), Kaartikeyas (lineage of Kritikaa), Daanavas (lineage of Danu) so on and so forth. 

All these are "women of Prajapati" but none of the offsprings are identified by father's name. But this shows beginning of "Sahodara (belonging to same womb)" relationships among humans and Indics. The fact that the necessity arose to have some "clan name" also shows evolution of man into higher level of social organization.  The evolution seen from Indian scriptures from early human to modern human is somewhat as follows.

Alpha male system (one dominant male owing all females in clan) >> many males many females cohabiting together without defined pair bonding >> many males and many females of same lineage cohabiting together without defined pair-bonding >> one male cohabiting with multiple females of same lineage  AND one female cohabiting with multiple males of same lineage >> multiple females cohabiting with with one male of different lineage (emergence of Gotra system). 

There are stories of each of such systems in our Puranas. It shows the lineage from Prajapati (origin of species) until Kaurava-Pandavas and Parikshita. The lineage continues until Mauryas. This is the real "sanaatana" dharma. 

This also shows the emergence of Brahmacharis and Brahmanas. The story of Sanakaadi sages show that certain individuals voluntarily sacrificed their "share" of women to go live in forests. This "sacrifice" earned them high respect as they could think above the petty constraints of belonging to a particular lineage or clan. A system of counselling developed which evolved in parallel and which was based on altruistic sacrifice of one's primal drives in favor of something higher and more meaningful. 

One must thank Vyaasa Rishi to have chronicled all these stories, theories for us, when it is clear that he himself did not approve many such practices. Most of these practices were considered "Garhya" (something which is frowned upon, prohibited) by the time of Vyaasa rishi. But he honestly chronicled them. My homage to this great soul.

The references of free cohabitation, sibling cohabitation, offering one's "stri (woman)" to friend OR guest" (note that the word "patni" had not evolved), references towards intercourse with alive and dead animals, intercourse with wife of one's guru (much later stage, when humans understood that knowledge is important), cohabitation with multiple males, temporary cohabitation, contract marriage all these are referred to in our Itihaasa. 

There is story of Daksha prajapati and Aasivaki giving birth to 5000 children then a brahmachari named Naarada appears and counsels them about economy. This discourse of Narada found in Harivamsha is first of its kind in human history which talks about economics and necessity to keep numbers less and spread across different regions for efficient utilization of resources without burdening the earth. 

Those 5000 sons agreed with Narada and scattered in all directions and settled in distant lands, never to return. Seeing that children are gone, Prajapati and aasivaki gave birth to 1000 more kids who also spread in all directions like their predecessors. This not only shows expansion of aryans all over earth from here, but also shows how certain individuals by sacrificing their primal drives earned knowledge and respect from rest. Thus this prajapati system resulted in 3 important changes in humans and dharmiks.

1. Emergence of Gotras
2. Tendency to spread out and colonize other lands
3. Tendency of few to indulge in Brahmacharya willingly. 

Bhishma beautifully explains this succinctly in three verses from chapter 207 of Shanti Parva.

न चैषां मैथुनो धर्मो बभूव भरतर्षभ  
संकल्पादेवैतेषां अपत्यं उपपद्यते  - 37

ततः त्रेतायुगेकाले संस्पर्शात् जायते प्रजा 
ह्य भूः मैथुनो धर्मस्तेषां अपि जनाधिप - 38 

द्वापरे मैथुनो धर्म प्रजानां भवन्नृपःतथा 
कलियुगे राजन द्वन्द्व मापेदिरे जनाः - 39 
"In satya yuga, intercourse happened as desire arose in minds of fertile men and women. There were no words for mother, father, sibling etc. In Treta Yuga, when men and women touched each other and welcomed the touch, dharma allowed them to copulate for time-being. (this is stage where concept of "favourite" mate started emerging). IN Dwapara Yuga, Men and women started cohabiting as couples but not as stable and committed pair-bonding couples. In Kali Yuga, the stable pair-bonding (what we refer to as institution of marriage) emerged."

It is interesting that by the time of Vyaasa Muni, all these extensive family relations which we use even today were well-established in society. The societal norms about which women are off limits and which are not were also in place, gotra system was in place, patriarchal identification had become norm. Yet he did not shy away from chronicling the earlier times when they were not. He did it proudly, without any shame.  

Emperor Janamejaya was visible shaken and expressed horror and disgust at earlier stories of copulating siblings, parent-offspring duos, parent-siblings with offsprings along with others. Rishi Vaishampayana replied,"Oh king, in those ancient times, that was the yuga-dharma".

Continue to Part 2