Whatever may be the claims of historians the archeological endeavours show that there was an organised life in the Vedic State on the banks of Saraswati River
After developing heritage sites on the place of origin of Saraswati River, there is need to develop the sites related to seers who composed Vedas and Upanishads. Excavations in Saraswati basin at the point of origin and location of several Harappan sites is a good omen. It has established the truth that Saraswati River was not a myth and scriptures written in habitations around the river are not mythologies but describe the facts.
One of the important locations on the banks of revered Saraswati River during initial period of Vedic times was the state of Brahmavarta. According to Manusmriti, composed after the great floods at the end of last ice age, (Underworld: Flooded Kingdoms of the Ice Age, A Vedic and Indian Perspective by David Frawley) some 10,000 years ago, “The land created by the gods and lying between the divine rivers Saraswati and Drishadvati is called ‘Brahmavarta’ — the region of Brahman. (Manusmriti by Tulsi Ram Swamy, p.74) The conduct handed down from generation to
generation among the social classes and the intermediate classes of that land is called the ‘conduct of good people’. (Killingley Dermot (2007) “Milecchas,Yavanas and Heathens: Interacting Xenologies in early Nineteenth-Century Calcutta” p125)
Manusmriti also says that, Kuru Pradesh and the lands of the Matsyas, Panchalas, and Surasenakas border on the Brahmavarta (Manumriti by Tulsi Ram Swamy, p75) The text defines the area as the place where the “good” people are born, with “goodness” being dependent on location rather than behaviour. The name has been translated in various ways, including “holy land”, “sacred land”, (Saraswati-river lost in A desert, by A V Sankaran, p4) “abode of gods” and “The scene of creation”. (Rigveda 1, 187, 9 describing Soma a brew of Milk and Barley) This interpretation by Indologists shows that the area was revered during Vedic times and had some holy qualities absent in other areas.
Manu while addressing a conference in Brahmavarta of the seers who had lost heavily in floods after the ice age, gave them a blue print on ‘living in a organised way’, so that in any future calamity they could face consequences unitedly. This ushered the organised living in India. Communities who lived segregated or nomadic were drawn to the mainstream and started living in civilised and organised way. The Conference also saw the sharing of knowledge by revered seers and initiation of compilation of the oldest scriptures like Rigveda, Upanishads and other Vedic scriptures. The conference was akin to launching of ‘Sanatan Dharma’ or ‘Bharatiya Sanskriti’ formally, which has led to present day Hindu Dharma. Deliberations at the conference show that Indian seers were highly knowledgeable even 10,000 years ago. The document called ‘Manusmriti’ was considered like a ‘law book’ for Hindus by British. Recitation of Manusmriti and composition of Tattriya Upanishad by Bhrigu rishi, also a flood time seer, describing Atma so clearly reveals that Vedic seers had mature knowledge of working of brain and body even earlier than 10,000 years ago. Seers were also well versed with cosmic energies and their effects on human body and mind.
Location of Brahmavarta
For many decades European and Indian researchers have been studying the revered Indian river Saraswati mentioned in Vedic Sanskrit books like Rigveda, Manusmriti, Mahabharata, Shatapatha Brahmana etc. but have ignored Brahmavarta, the important state of Vedic times. This state was the abode of Rishis and Munis where they composed Sanskrit scriptures, that are the mother of Sanatana Dharma or Hindu Dharma. The location of Brahmavarta and route of Vedic Drishadwati river should also be drawn as per scriptures to gather more ancient information about the great Bhartiya Sanskriti.
Manusmriti chapter 2, shalok 17 describes location of Brahmavarta as a place between the two grand and respected rivers Saraswati and Drishadwati. Brahmavarta state is also called as ‘Dev Bhumi’, and described in book as created by gods themselves. This portion in Haryana, district Mahendragarh was the place where oldest Vedas, Manusmriti, Upanishads were partially written and many revered Rishis like Bhrigu, Chyavan, Richik, Piplad, Dadhichi, Nachiketa, Uddalak, Sayana, Shandilya, Durvasa etc. lived and have remnants of their Ashrams still. These Rishis have important contributions to Vedic scriptures. Saraswati River had flowed from Himalayas to Rann of Kutch during Vedic period some more than 10,000 years ago, at the fag-end of last ice age, formed the western boundary of Brahmavarta, while the northern boundary was formed by ‘Drishadwati’ River.
Course of Vedic Drishadwati
Drishadwati river, present day Sahbi River started its journey from the pot of Brahma at Pushkar Lake near Ajmer. Pushkar has the only ancient temple of Brahma which is described as thousands of years old. So the name of all important state Brahmavarta, the place of Brahma. Drishadwati had flown from Pushkar towards north, in between Aravali Mountain range, a rare occurrence as most rivers had flowed from north to south in India. (Pic 1) Reaching plains on present day Rajasthan-Haryana borders, Drishadwati took a turn towards west meeting Saraswati river which came from the north. This confluence formed the northern boundary of the Brahmavarta state and was all important to Vedic people.
A satellite picture of Palaeo-channels of old Saraswati and Drishadwati Rivers is shown in picture on extreme right and projected on the political map of India displaying the area of Brahmavarta. Seismic and tectonic activities in North India some 6500 years ago, broke the link of river from Pushkar and it changed its course from flowing to north to flowing to east meeting Chambal and finally merging with Yamuna. However, Drishadwati in Brahmavarta during rainy season did carry water from Jaipur
district, Kotputli, Behrod, Rewari district etc and carried it in to Yamuna at Delhi via Jhajjar and Rohtak. This run of the river continues even at present times during normal rainfall in the river named Sahbi in parts of Rajasthan and Haryana.
Course of Vedic Saraswati
Vedic Saraswati River on whose banks initial Vedic scriptures were composed 10,000 years ago had flowed close to western side of Aravallies as shown in the satellite image of paleo-channels in the picture. Many scientists have similar views.
Geomorphological study of Rajasthan for exploration of ground water by R S Murthy and S Pandey of NBBS and LUP, New Delhi on the basis of Landsat images in 1978 had described old flood areas along the western side of Aravalies passing through districts of Jhunjunu, Jalore and Jodhpur which are recognised by many as the old route of Saraswati in earlier Vedic period.
A study by ‘Institute of Mining and Metallurgy Publications’. April 14-17, 1989 Rabat, Morocco explains that ‘Many studies in the past and their own study show clearly that the mighty Saraswati River which once ruled the Thar desert had flowed close to Arawalli ranges and met the Arabian sea in the Rann Of Kutch and had migrated towards the west and north-west.
Also P C Bakliwal and A K Grover, in a study in 1988, “Signatures and Migration of Saraswati River in Thar Desert, Western India” confirm on the basis of palaeo- channels that the initial course of Saraswati river was close to western Aravallies and had migrated to the west in 6 phases before finally getting lost in desert.
Drying of Vedic Saraswati
Brahman Granths and some Puranas have described the drying-up of Saraswati River through a graphic description of a war between ‘Devs’ and ‘Asurs’ living in the same area of that period. According to description, “Devs who once were harassed by Asurs made a complaint about this to the ‘Agni’ god and requested for help. Agni god adopted a huge destructive posture of fire and destroyed the Asurs. At this action of Agni god, Drishadwati river got angry and in protest took a U-turn and changed its course, thus depriving Saraswati river of its water. Devoid of Drishadwati river water, Saraswati river could not maintain its journey to the sea and dried up in
This description is rightly inferred by some geologists as ‘the huge posture of Agni god’ could be an eruption of a Volcano in Aravallies. (Saraswati-river lost in the desert, by A V Sankaran, p4 of 10 and Bhardwaj DP, GSI, 1999, 42, 15-24) One such extinct volcanic hill in the area is Dhosi Hill, which might have obstructed the path of Drishadwati River, because of some seismic or tectonic activity in the area, forcing it to take a U-turn at Nangal Chaudhery on Rajasthan-Haryana border and move in northernly direction further instead of westerenly direction it used to flow. Drishadwati River was the most voluminous tributary of Saraswati river. This had stopped supplies of its water to Saraswati that was coming from north. Also the tectonic activity at the junction of Indian plate and Eurasian plate below Tibet, might have drawn a ‘Luxman Rekha’ for Vedic period Saraswati river and forced it to move towards west instead of flowing in old channel towards south in to Rajasthan in the districts of Khetri and Jhunjunu, leading drying-up of Saraswati in Brahmavarta confirming description in many scriptures.
Apaya River in Brahmavarta
Another revered river mentioned in Rigveda was, Apaya (present day Dohan river in Mahendragarh district) on whose banks all powerful Bharata’s kings would join Yajanas with Vedic seers as per descriptions in Rigveda. Many important ashrams of seers who composed Upanishads, like Uddalak, Nachiketa, Sayana, Piplad, Dadhichi, Bhrigu, Chyavan, etc. were on this river. The river which had its origin from hills of Neem ka Thana in Rajasthan district Sikar had flowed to Dhosi Hill, Mahendragarh, Sayana and Bagot to Dadri meeting the Saraswati River coming from north and Drishadwati River from east. These Ashrams need protection and development too.
The Holy Brahmavarta
Indologists analyse that the texts defined the area as the place where the “good” people are born, with “goodness” being dependent on location rather than behaviour. (Killingley Dermot (2007) “Milecchas,Yavanas and Heathens: Interacting Xenologies in early Nineteenth-Century Calcutta” p125) Name Brahmavarta has been translated in various ways, including “Holy Land”, “Sacred Land”, “Abode of Gods” (Olivelle Patrick, Law Code of Manu, Oxford Univ Press p24) and “The Scene of creation” (Bakhshi, S R; Gajrani, S; Singh, Hari eds (2005) Early Aryans to Swaraj, Sarup & Sons, p 12). Place had many advantages on the basis of which it was called a holy land.
Spiritualism: Brahmavarta had several rishis who contributed to Vedas and various Upanishads. These contributors were considered ‘Apaurusheya’ meaning not ordinary people but ‘super humans’. Concentration of these holy peaceful people in the area made it a holy and sacred land. As per Mahabharata and Puranas, Bhrigu rishi had his ashram at Deepodak at the base of Dhosi Hill on the banks of Vadhusar river, a tributary of present day Dohan and ancient Saraswati rivers, before migrating to Bhrigukuch in Gujrat. Bhrigu had good knowledge of Astronomy and Spiritualism even 10,000 years ago. In Tattriya Upanishad Bhrugu explained all about brain and soul. Indologists confirm the fact that most of the oldest Upanishads like Tattriya, Aitriya, Katha, Mandukya, Chandogya, Brhdaranyaka were written by a family and its members and descendents had not moved from the area to a distance during composition of Upanishads. Most of the seers had their hermitages on Vedic Apaya river presently known as Dohan river. Area was peaceful as well as developed even at that point in time.
Metallurgy: Rigveda describes availability of Copper or ‘Ayask’ in Saraswati habitations during Vedic period. One of the reasons that made Brahmavarta unique 10,000 years ago was that the place had abundant supply of Copper. In fact Brahmavarta has remained the source of copper for the entire country since that time. Many Harappan settlements had hoards of Copper for various uses. These settlements also had their supplies from Khetri Copper mines. There was a dedicated road from Khetri to Mohanjo Daro that was used by Bullock carts to carry Copper to settlements there. Khetri Copper mines are shown in the map of Brahmavarta above. Not only Khetri, but the entire hill also stretch from Narnaul to Sikar had copper, though not in concentrated form. Vedic people had known the use of Copper in every day life. They made tools for agriculture, axes, fishing hooks, knives, arrow-heads, jewellery, utensils etc. They had known germicidal and medicinal use of Copper as well. Copper/Brass Kamandals were used for their germicidal properties for making the water potable. Chyavan Rishi’s Ashram at Dhosi Hill which is rich in Copper contents too had a specially designed tank containing cupric water, on the advice of Rajvaidyas ‘Ashvin Kumar’ bothers, that treated him for his ‘early delivery ailments’ 10,000 years ago. Copper has an important role in maintaining health of an individual. Pilgrims still take dips in such water tanks at the hill top of Chyavan Ashram. An ancient manufacturing unit located in Sikar district, part of Brahmavarta, manufacturing Copper/Brass items is dated as 5800 years old. (Upinder Singh: A history of Ancient and Early medieval India; From the Stone Age to the 12th century, 2006, Pearson Education, p 116)
Agriculture: Agriculture was hold in Brahmavarta since flood time. Palaeo-botanical studies by Sahni Lab at Lucknow confirm that lakes in the area had contained pollen of barley which was grown some 9500 years ago. Evidence of burning of jungles and making them suitable for agriculture is also available around same time. Animal husbandry was developed in area. ‘Dhusar Bull Seals’ found at Mohenjo Daro and Harappan sites carried the pictures of Bulls still found in Dhosi Hill area.
Soma: There is no mystery on Soma the Rigvedic drink, as described by researchers. Drink is consumed even at present times widely in Brahmavarta area. A brew of milk and barley as per Rigveda, (Rigveda 1, 187, 9 describing Soma a brew of Milk and Barley) it is still popular and used mainly during summer months. The drink has many permutations and combinations for a variety of preparations with various additives. Many a times ‘buttermilk’ is used instead of milk for brewing the drink. Soma is considered a safe bet against heat strokes in the area where temperatures go up to 50 degrees Centigrade during summers at present times. Drink is glorified for its benefits in Rigveda and has a separate chapter on it.
Ayurveda: Vedic people in Brahmavarta had good knowledge of Ayurveda even at the flood time. Chyavanprash an Ayurvedic formulation prepared to cure Chyavan Rishi, is still popular and widely used in the country. It’s a 10000 years old ‘brand’ Scriptures talk of surgery and seers lived longer lives. Yoga and Meditation were part of daily life with seers having wide knowledge of these subjects. Very old Taramind or ‘Indian Dates’ trees in several Shiva temples in the area reveal that the seers had knowledge about ‘defluoridation’ of brain components, and other body parts, that got affected by higher contents of fluorides in ground water in south Haryana and adjoining Rajasthan
Brahmavarta as a Vedic Heritage tourist site Several religious sites in Haryana portion of Brahmavarta can be developed, though many sites fall in Rajasthan area too. Haryana Saraswati Heritage Development Board (HSHDB) should develop Chyavan Rishi Ashram at Dhosi Hill in Mahendragarh district that has a great potential of developing as a tourist spot. An ancient circumambulation (Parikrama) track of the hill, which holds positive energies, is visible even from the satellite images. Hill being an extinct volcano has higher magnetic field beneficial to humans
during circumambulation. This hill is mentioned in various scriptures as Chyavan Rishi hermitage. It has its
educational value for students too, as it is a volcanic hill. Several fairs on
specific religious days are held on the hill top. Already hundreds of pilgrims and tourists visit the place but as
infrastructural facilities are not enough, people in the adjoining villages are not benefitted by the tourist activities.
Observations and Conclusion
It is quite strange why the period of Manu and Bhrigu, who were flood time seers and the contributors to main Vedic scriptures, is not mentioned as 10,000 years old. Bharatiya Sanskriti, 10, 000 years ago was quite mature and
logically must be older than that. Even Indian Govt. calls Bhartiya Sanskriti 5000 years old. Sanskrit Puranas give
genealogy chart of 100 generations of seers who existed before Mahabharata that occurred more than 5000 years ago. It is wrong to put the timing of Vedic period as 2500-3000 years ago and Manusmriti dated close to Buddha
period. It is time that discussions should be take place and consensus made on dating of oldest scriptures. Valuable information can be gathered from the oldest Vedic ashrams in Brahmavarta and proper dating can be done scientifically. Dhosi Hill, where ashrams of Bhrigu and Chyavan Rishis were located in district Mahendragarh in Haryana is one such known site which can be helpful in dating of Vedic events, if
excavations are done there.
(The writer is Convener, Brahmavarta Research Foundation)