Vedic Geography

Sujalaam, Sufalaam, Malyaja Sheetalaam
Shasya Shyaamlaam Maataram..

When I started writing this blog I wanted to explore the mythology in our scriptures from various perspectives, one of those being the geographical descriptions present in various Vedic texts. I was hoping to find verses talking about the mighty Himalayas, fertile river valleys, dense tropical forests, vast oceans and maybe a bit of sand dunes thrown in to complete the picture of India but what I discovered far surpassed my wildest imagination.

With the limited knowledge they had, earlier historians first gave Aryan Invasion Theory and in recent years the Aryan Migration Theory suggesting the development of  Vedic culture outside India. However, as many scholars and historians have come to realize that both these models are overtly simplistic and quite possibly false.

Conservative estimate of extent of Hinduism ~1000 years Before Christ

According to these old timers, Hinduism in its present form developed through inter-mixing of incoming Aryans  with the local indigenous populations and their beliefs . Indian Historian, Lokmanya Balgangadhar Tilak, in his phenomenal book written in 1895 - {The Arctic Home in the Vedas}, gave a succinct and extremely logical view about Aryans developing their civilization near the North pole and migrating southwards after the last Ice Age.

However, with new and new evidences pouring in everyday this and similar views have been completely written off now. American scholar David Frawley in the book {Gods, Sages and Kings}, argues for an indigenous development of culture in India and subsequent migrations outwards towards the Middle-East and South-East Asia spreading the knowledge of Hinduism in the civilized world.

The earliest Vedas themselves  refer to their land as the Sapta Sindhu, or the 'Land of Seven Rivers', while the Nadistuti sukta, [RV 10.75] gives a list of ten rivers both East and West of the Indus. Rigvedic rivers mentioned, cover the stretch from Ganges plains in the East to Afghanistan in the West thus giving us a sense of the direction of movement of people from within India to outside. The congruence of Indus Valley sites with the rediscovered course of Vedic Saraswati river further lends credence to this idea.

Indus Valley Seals with Vedic motifs

The Purans also talk about the Panch-Manav or Five Primary Tribes that spread out from the heartland of Aryavarta to east and west. Today, Rome is widely accepted as the forbear of Western Civilization, but few people are aware, that excavations from the OLDEST Civilization of Italy, known as the Etruscan Civilization, has revealed artefacts with Hindu motifs on them!

Etruscan pendant with Swastika Motifs

This is not an isolated example, the near and middle-eastern kingdoms all had cults and religions derived from the Indic patheon such as those of Mithras (Vedic Mitra), Nasatya (one of the Ashwini Kumars) and Sol  Invictus (Surya). Surprisingly, the Indus-Saraswati or Brahmi script has also been found on statues and tablets in the far off Easter Islands located in the south-Pacific sea!!

Easter Island Statues

These are one of the world's most isolated inhabited islands and are one of the mysteries of the modern world with 887 monumental statues, called Moai. Is there a link between the people of Indus -Saraswati and of Easter Island I have no clue, but the similarity in the scripts is striking and more than 90 signs from both the places have been matched perfectly! Chronologically, the people of Indus-Saraswati Civilization existed much before these statues were created but the similarity in scripts is intriguing and may point to long distance navigation abilities of the Harrapan people.

Indus-Saraswati and Easter Island Scripts

Besides the geographical descriptions of the Indian subcontinent, our scriptures surprisingly also talk about World Geography along with the details of various mountains, rivers and the races inhabiting them! Of course the names and divisions of these landmasses quite understandably differ from what they are now, but their very mention indicates a recognition of the vastness of our planet at that early age.

Jambu-dweep or World Geography

Ancient Indians called this planet 'Bhu-gol' or the Round Earth, proving advancement over the flat-Earth theory believed by almost every other Early civilization. In his famous Book on India, Alberuni, the medieval Islamic scholar quotes an Indian astronomer Brahmagupta to write-

"A man on Meru observes one identical star above the horizon in the zenith of Lanka, the country of demons, whilst a man in Lanka at the same time observes it above his head. Besides all astronomical observations are not correct unless we assume the globular shape of heaven and earth."


Quoting another great astronomer-mathematician Varahamihira, he further writes:

"Mountains, seas, rivers, trees, cities, men, and angels, all are around the globe of the earth. And if Yamakoti and Rum are opposite to each other, one could not say that the one is low in relation to the other, since low does not exist… Every one speaks of himself, 'I am above and the others are below,' whilst all of them are around the globe like the blossoms springing on the branches of a Kadamb-tree."

Although this was in itself an amazing achievement by the ancients, I thought this would be the maximum extent of their geographical knowledge. But I was to be surprised yet again when I stumbled upon the description of different planets, the Lokas of who we call gods as well as the detailed analysis of our galaxy Akashganga, and even the Universe!

The various Lokas mentioned in Hindu scriptures

Understandably, my mind was in a flux for days together when I read all this not in an advanced publication on Astronomy but in  Shrimad Bhagvat Puran, a religious book preaching devotion to Krishna. But being a man of science I could not refute the evidence in front of me.

Count Louis Hamon aka Cheiro, Irish author of several books on Science and the Occult, once remarked,

"People who in their ignorance disdain the wisdom of ancient races, forget that the great past of India contained secrets of life and philosophy that following civilizations were forced  to accept. Ancient Hindus understood the Precession of Equinoxes and calculated it once in 25,870 years. The mathematical precision necessary to establish such a theory is the wonder of Astronomers even today!"

Even if the geographical spread of Hinduism was limited to the Indian subcontinent and its surroundings, our Seers and Magi through their Yogic powers fathomed the deepest mysteries of Space and Time which the scientists today are still struggling to explain through their supercomputers and space-telescopes. I have discussed these in separate posts on astronomy but let us leave that aside and come back to geography for now.

The re-discovery of Saraswati and its identification with the present-day Ghaggar-Hakra, finding the 9500 years old Indus Valley site of Bhirrana in Haryana, discovery of 4500 years old chariots in western UP, these and many such new findings are helping us understand the antiquity as well as spread of our civilization every day.

I have tried to cover some of the interesting topics on this geographical knowledge in posts like-

{Finding River Saraswati},
{Genetics of the Wandering Indian},
{Lokas - Planets of Advanced Aliens},
{Jambudweep, the Global Island},
{Quest for Dwarka} and last but not the least
{India and Bharat}

We need to analyze all these details objectively to find out the correct extent and presence of genetically and culturally Indian populations in different parts of the world in ancient times. And in order to do that, we need to Begin at the Beginning.

Aum Shanti: Shanti: Shanti:

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