Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Arctic Home in the Vedas: Part 3


The chief language in ancient India. Its modern status in "Greater India" being the equivalent of what Latin is in the West. Additionally, Sanskrit is to Hinduism what Latin is to Roman Catholicism: a "liturgical language" or a "ceremonial language."

From Wikipedia:


Sanskrit is a member of the Indo-Iranian sub-family of the Indo-European family of languages. Its closest ancient relatives are the Iranian languages Old Persian and Avestan.

In order to explain the common features shared by Sanskrit and other Indo-European languages, many scholars have proposed migration hypotheses asserting that the original speakers of what became Sanskrit arrived in what is now India and Pakistan from the north-west some time during the early second millennium BCE.


Hinduism, with numerous sub-groupings, is the predominant religion of India.

From Wikipedia:



The word Hindu is derived (through Persian) from the Sanskrit word Sindhu, the historic local appellation for the Indus River in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent, which is first mentioned in the Rig Veda.

Again, we see the spiritual connection, along with the linguistic, from ancient Persia. This would not be significant if it were not for the fact that the Icelandic and Sri Lankian languages are part of the same greater language family, and that needs to be explained. On the surface, it doesn't make any sense.

History of Hinduism

From Wikipedia:

Hinduism is a term for a wide variety of related religious traditions native to India. Historically, it encompasses the development of Religion in India since the Iron Age traditions, which in turn stretch back to prehistoric religions such as that of the Bronze Age Indus Valley Civilization followed by the Iron Age Vedic religion.

We can see the progression now from Persia to the Indus Valley Civilization. When uncovering the layers of time, the Indo-European linguistic and spiritual roads now seem to all lead to ancient Persia.

Because we're dealing with a subject that has three main facets to it--ethnic, spiritual, and linguistic--it's difficult to go at it entirely in chronological order. We're also looking at a very long timeline, a large surface of the earth, and all while trying to block out the demographic changes of the last two millennium.


From Wikipedia:

The Vedas (Sanskrit वेदाः véda, "knowledge") are a large body of texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism. The Vedas are apauruṣeya ("not of human agency"). They are supposed to have been directly revealed, and thus are called śruti ("what is heard"), distinguishing them from other religious texts, which are called smṛti ("what is remembered").

The Vedic texts or śruti are organized around four canonical collections of metrical material known as Saṃhitās, of which the first three are related to the performance of yajna (sacrifice) in historical Vedic religion:

1. The Rigveda, containing hymns to be recited by the hotṛ;
2. The Yajurveda, containing formulas to be recited by the adhvaryu or officiating priest;
3. The Samaveda, containing formulas to be sung by the udgātṛ.
4. The fourth is the Atharvaveda, a collection of spells and incantations, apotropaic charms and speculative hymns.

The individual verses contained in these compilations are known as mantras. Some selected Vedic mantras are still recited at prayers, religious functions and other auspicious occasions in contemporary Hinduism.

Etymology and usage

The Sanskrit word véda "knowledge, wisdom" is derived from the root vid- "to know". This is reconstructed as being derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *u̯eid-, meaning "see" or "know."


Categories of Vedic texts

The term "Vedic texts" is used in two distinct meanings:

1. Texts composed in Vedic Sanskrit during the Vedic period (Iron Age India)
2. Any text considered as "connected to the Vedas" or a "corollary of the Vedas"
The canonical division of the Vedas is fourfold (turīya) viz.,

The four Vedas

The canonical division of the Vedas is fourfold (turīya) viz.,

1. Rigveda (RV)
2. Yajurveda (YV, with the main division TS vs. VS)
3. Sama-Veda (SV)
4. Atharva-Veda (AV)

Vedic Sanskrit

From Wikipedia:

Vedic Sanskrit is an Old Indo-Aryan language. It is an archaic form of Sanskrit, an early descendant of Proto-Indo-Iranian. It is closely related to Avestan, the oldest preserved Iranian language. Vedic Sanskrit is the oldest attested language of the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European family.

Vedic Sanskrit is the language of the Vedas, texts compiled over the period of early-to-mid 2nd to mid 1st millennium BC. Vedic Sanskrit has been orally preserved as a part of the Śrauta tradition of Vedic chanting, predating the advent of alphabetic writing in India by several centuries. For lack of both epigraphic evidence and an unbroken manuscript tradition, Vedic Sanskrit can be considered a reconstructed language. Especially the oldest stage of the language, Rigvedic Sanskrit, the language of the hymns of the Rigveda, is preserved only in a redacted form several centuries younger than the texts' composition. Recovering its original form is a matter of linguistic reconstruction.

From about the 6th century BC, in the classical period of Iron Age Ancient India, Vedic Sanskrit gave way to Classical Sanskrit as defined by the grammar of Pāṇini.


Prehistoric derivation

The separation of Indo-Aryans proper from the undifferentiated Proto-Indo-Iranian ancestor group is commonly dated, on linguistic grounds, to roughly 1800 BC. The composition of the oldest hymns of the Rigveda is dated to several centuries after this division, or to roughly 1500 BC.


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