The Vedic Fathers of Geology, Part 16
BY: SUN STAFF
Dec 05, 2011 CANADA (SUN) A serial presentation on Vedic discoveries in Geology, from the book by Narayan Bhavanrao Pavgee.
I may here state, that the same story of the deluge, with a few variations and difference of names, appears in the mythologies of other Aryan nations; and as it bears great resemblance to the Deluge story of Manu, described in the Shatapatha Brahmana, from which it seems to have apparently been borrowed by others, I venture to give the following extract from the History of Greece for the sake of comparison:
"The enormous iniquity with which earth was contaminated -- as Apoliodorus says, by the then existing brazen race, or as others say, by the fifty monstrous sons of Lykaon -- provoked Zeus to send a general deluge. An unremitting and terrible rain laid the whole of Greece under water, except the highest mountain-tops, whereon a few stragglers found refuge. Deukalion was saved in a chest or ark which he had been forewarned by his father Prometheus to construct. After floating for nine days on the water, he at length landed on the summit of Mount Parnesses. Zeus having sent Hermes to him, promising to grant whatever he asked, he prayed that men and companions might be sent to him in his solitude. Accordingly, Zeus directed both him and Pyrrha (his wife) to cast stones over their heads: those cast by Pyrrha became women, those by Deukalion Men. * * * * Deukalion on landing from the ark, sacrificed a grateful offering to Zeus Phyxios, or the God of escape; he also erected alters in Thessaly to the twelve great gods of Olympus." (Grote's History of Greece, Vol. I, Chapter 5).
A question, however, would naturally arise, that the catastrophe in the Shatapatha Brahmana refers to the Water-Deluge, as no mention is made of ice or snow in the whole narrative, and as such, this deluge might be some local flood consequent upon heavy showers of rain. But there seems no reason to entertain any doubt about this, as the deluge in the Shatapatha Brahmana refers to the sweeping floods from the glaciated regions, and Manu appears to have been carried along these, in a ship guided by the fish, to the Northern Mountains or the Himlayas. And in respect of this, Mr. Tilak also says that, " Nevertheless, it seems that the Indian story of deluge refers to the same catastrophe as is described in the Avesta, and not to any local deluge of water or rain. For though the Shatapatha Brahmana mentions only a flood, the word pralaya, which Panini (VII-3-2) derives from pralaya (a deluge), signifies 'snow', 'frost', or 'ice' in the later Sanskrit literature. This indicates that the connection of ice with the deluge was not originally unknown to the Indians, though in later times it seems to have been entirely overlooked." (Arctic Home in the Vedas, p. 387).
Moreover, the prophetic words in the Avesta (ante pp. 81, 82), like those of the Fish in the Shatapatha Brahmana (pp. 131, 137), corroborate and establish the fact that the Indo-Aryan story of the Deluge refers to the same devastation by Ice and Snow-floods, during the Pleistocene Period, and not to any local floods of water or deluge caused by excessive rain.
Because, the close similarity in the Deluge story as narrated in the Vedas and the Avesta, nay, the identity in the incident and even of the names of some of the chief characters therein, makes the evidence all the more relevant, and stronger still, in the matter. For instance, while on the one hand, the Fish warns Manu of the coming deluge in the Shatapatha Brahmana, and asks him to construct a ship for embarking therein, Ahuramazda on the other hand tells Yima, (supposed in the Avestic scriptures to be the king of great wealth), about the coming winter-frost in a prophetic tone, after advising him to build a vara (enclosure), for preserving all seeds therein. And I may here with advantage take the opportunity to observe that Manu is also called Vivasvat in the Rig-Veda (R.V. VIII, 52.1), and that the Yima of the Avesta is our Indian Yama. Besides, Yima's another appellation in the Avesta is also Vivanhan, which is but a corrupt form, of Vaivasvata appearing in the Rig-Veda (R.V. X, 14.1), where he is called by both the names, viz. Vaivasvata and Yama, and said to be the son of Vivasvan (R.V. X, 14.5).
The deluge, therefore, in the Shatapatha Brahmana is the same as the winter-frost of the Avesta, and both these evidently refer to the Pleistocene or Glacial Period, which lasted for a considerable time (pp. 84, 85), and was followed by the Quaternary Era.
Now, the Ice Age and the Quaternary Era appear to have been divided by our Vedic Geologists into Krita, Treta, Dwapara and Kali, of which, therefore, requisite details would be given presently, as they are very important and interesting. In the meanwhile, however, I shall give an extract from the Aitareya Brahmana where, for the first time, mention is made of the four Yugas, and then notice in brief the nature of the changes brought about by the advent of the Great Ice Age.
Muir translates the verse as follows:
"A man while lying is the Kali; moving himself, he is the Dvapara; rising, he is the Treta, walking, he becomes the Krita." (Muir's Original Sanskrit Texts, Vol. I, p. 48, Second Edition)
Manu refers to this verse, and almost paraphrases it. But, in doing so, he happily gives us a direct clue to its real import, or possible original meaning. I shall, therefore, quote the same, along with its translation, as rendered into English by Muir, and explain the same later on:
"While asleep, he is the Kali; walking, he is the Dvapara age; intent upon action, he Is the Treta, moving about, he is the Krita." (Muir's Original Sanskrit Texts, Vol. I, p. 4.9, Note, Second Edition)
We have seen that the Deluge or the so-called Ice-Age was a great catastrophe, as it. destroyed our prosperous colonies and well populated tracts in the Arctic regions, and forced us to abandon them forever, and in search of lands free from the direful frost, also ice and snow that buried beneath enormous country, and extensive tracts of land. Such of us, however, as had great love for our Mother Country Aryavarta had never forgotten it. Nay, they had always considered it as their Primitive Cradle and the Aryan Home, and had ever remembered it with fondness that was simply unique (pp. 74 3 75, 76). They therefore, naturally endeavoured to return home to Aryavarta, by way of the Himalayas, while others sought refuge in places which either gave them shelter or which they chose for themselves, having had due regard to the surrounding circumstances, and finally settled there.
This, in substance, appears to me to be the interpretation of the Sanskrit passage from the Aitareya Brahmana quoted above. However, referring to this Sanskrit text, Dr. Martin Haug takes a different but probably erroneous view. He first renders into English the passage as follows: "The Kali is lying on the ground; the Dvapara is hovering there; the Treta is getting up; but the Krita happens to walk (hither and thither)."
He then says, "Sayana does not give any explanation of this important passage; where the names of the Yugas are mentioned for the first time. These four names are, as is well-known from other sources (see the Sanskrit Dictionary by Boehtlingk and Roth. S.V., kali, dvapara, &c.) the names of dice, used at gambling. The meaning of this Gatha is, "There is every success to be hoped; for the unluckiest die -- the Kali -- is lying, two others are slowly moving and half fallen, but the luckiest, the Krita, is in full motion. The position of dice given here is indicatory of a fair chance of winning the game." (Vide Dr. Hang's translation of Aitareya Brahmana, Vol. II, p. 464, Note, Ed. 1863)
But it seems that the passage in question refers to the picture that presented itself after the advent of the Great Ice Age or the Pleistocene Epoch, and depicts, in glowing colours, the state of our Arctic Colonies subsequent to and during the catastrophe. I shall, therefore, revert to it and endeavour to explain the same in detail, as the Vedic text has but an important bearing on the present chapter, from the stand-point of Geology.
I would first literally translate the passage thus: "Kali is lying; Dvapara is abandoning; Treta is standing up; and Krita is wandering." Now, viewing in this light the original text, we shall try our best to explain what it means. After the hard winter made its appearance, and frost began to convert our once genial and habitable Arctic Colonies into thick sheets of ice, extending for miles together, our ancestors living in those northern regions had a very hard and distressing time of it, and having been overtaken unawares, they were naturally at their wit's end, and had no remedy left except to abandon these colonies, and take shelter for protection from this impending danger, in such tracts as were free from the devastating ice. They were, therefore, compelled to wander, take southern direction, and roam about night and day in quest of refuge and protection, till at last they passed the northern latitudes overrun by the deadly frost and ice.
As soon, however, as they stepped beyond the frozen zone, they stood and stopped, made a halt, and were intent upon some action (vide Manu's explanation and paraphrase of this, as also its English translation, ante p. 144), as they found time to breathe, evidently for the reason that they were beyond the reach of danger. But, although they had outlived the catastrophe, certainly not all but only a very few of them, they were, all of them, homeless, and could no more live in places where they had temporarily made a halt, only for breathing time. They, therefore, naturally considered that it was time for quitting these halting stations. Consequently, they abandoned these places where they had halted for a time, moved and marched onwards, in search of new homes and lands of their choice for settlement, till at last the junior branch -- the European Aryans who had forgotten Aryavarta, their Cradle, settled in parts of Europe, now known by the name of Russia, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Greece, &c., and even distinguished one of these settlements by calling it AryaLand or Ireland; while the senior branch, the Iranian Aryans settled in Iran (modern Persia), and the Indo-Aryans the oldest of the stock, hastened and returned home to Aryavarta, by way of the Himalaya called the Northern Mountain (ante pp. 63, 72 @, 77, 82 (5. 8-i), and lay and rested there. This, therefore, was the beginning of the Quaternary Age, or Kali Yuga.
Now, the fact that when after the Great Deluge or the Arctic Catastrophe, caused by the incessant and heavy floods of Ice, our ancestor Manu thought of sailing to the South, from our Arctic Colonies, owing to the thick sheets of Snow and Ice that were fast covering the Arctic regions as also the higher latitudes, he had in his memory the aforesaid Himalaya or the Northern Mountain, meaning thereby the mountain to the north of Aryavarta, where he and his fore-fathers, nay the Primitive Ancestors, were born, had lived, and seen from their childhood the great Mountain Wall to the north of the Land of their birth, proves, beyond, all manner of doubt, that we (Aryans) did not at first belong to the Arctic Regions, nor to Europe, nor to the Central Asiatic Plateaux, but had gone there from Aryavarta, our Home and Cradle, for purposes of colonisation and spreading our Aryan Civilization over the Globe.
For, had Manu never seen Aryavarta or the Great Himalayan Mountain to the north of the land before, rather than have called the highest wall to the north "the Northern Mountain", he would certainly have termed it the Southern Mountain, as evidently it lay to the South of the Arctic Regions, or even Europe and the Central Asiatic Plateaux, from where it has been erroneously supposed by some that we (Indo-Aryans), for the first time, immigrated into, not returned to, the Land of the Renowned Seven Rivers. If, therefore, under the circumstances, the stupendous wall was still designated and called the Northern Mountain, it follows that it was to the north of the Land of our birth, and thus indicates a faint reminiscence and an ancient relic of an older order of things, or at any rate manifests a dim memory of our Original Home in Aryavarta, to the north of which the Himalayan Mountain is situate, and owing to which fact, it was named the Northern Mountain, whose protection and refuge was sought by the Fish for the sake of Manu, by means of a ship, of which the cable was fastened to its horn, when there was a Great Flood and the Ice had capped the northern latitudes.
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