Read "Climbing the Stairway to Heaven", my 7-part review of Wilber's The Religion of Tomorrow (2017).
INTEGRAL WORLD: EXPLORING THEORIES OF EVERYTHING
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Publication dates of essays (month/year) can be found under "Essays".
Reposted from www.academia.edu with permission of the author
Adam Kennedy is a: writer, philosopher, integral theorist, and researcher, that lives in Atlanta Georgia. Adam is currently attending Georgia State University where his concentration is Religious Studies and Sociology. Adam's passion involves interdisciplinary approaches that will mesh the hard and soft sciences so that a more complex conversation can occur.
Alternate Interpretations of the Aryan Invasion
of the Indus Valley from an Integral Perspective
The Aryan Invasion Myth served a social, political and economic purpose of domination, proving the superiority of Western culture and religion.
The academically accepted Aryan invasion of the Indus River Valley, and the subsequent conquest of the superior Indus peoples, has recently come under serious scrutiny by respected experts in fields such as anthropology, archaeology, and religion. The reason for this close examination has to do with several inconsistencies found in: historical documents, discrepancies in physical evidence, and an uncovering of racial and religious bias on the part of the early scholars and Indologists who first translated the Rig Veda. When the Aryan Invasion Theory, as it is called, is viewed from an Integral perspective an orthogonal dimension of inconsistency arises. The AIT becomes extremely problematic when it is stated that an advanced proto-modern civilization that constructed a civilization known for its' agricultural system, extensive trade, and cutting-edge construction; was effectively usurped by a primitive nomadic tribe, that was reported to be solely responsible for the entire catalog of religious texts that the Indus peoples built their spiritual foundation upon.
If proven false, the most evident and logical explanation of the barely 100 year old AIT is the use of the narrative to taut Western religious and political superiority; while at the same time leaving the Indian peoples with a sense of disenfranchisement and social inferiority, making them easier to colonize and control. A more likely scenario based on the evidence is the evolution of the ancient Indus valley peoples from the tribal nomadic lifestyle into the more advanced agrarian society that is indicative of the Indus valley civilization. This paper will attempt to tease out the inconsistencies in the AIT and then show how it is possible to utilize an Integral methodology to uncover discrepancies in certain historical narratives, lending to a better understanding of human civilization.
Aryan Invasion 101
It is first necessary to give a brief overview of the AIT in order to better ascertain the chronology of events and their importance for history and the world-at-large. According to AIT, Northern India was invaded and conquered by a race of primitive, aboriginal, light-skinned people called Aryans. These tribal peoples reportedly descended into the Indus Valley from Central Asia around 1500 to 1200 BCE armed with horses and iron weapons, whereupon they destroyed a much earlier and more advanced civilization of people, and imposed upon them their culture, language, and religion. (W.Duiker)
These supposed invaders then wrote a large body of spiritual manuscripts known as the Vedas, (Sanskrit for Knowledge) c.a. 1200 BCE. This is a major indication of the shortcoming in the AIT for it is well documented that written language appears with the advancement of civilizations, and not in nomadic communities. These manuscripts, which were animistic in nature, personified the natural elements, and provided a moral and ethical code of rules to live by. These texts were also used as calendars, almanacs, and history books; which are innovations of a well-organized agrarian society. These texts gave the most accurate account, to date of what life was like in the civilizations of antiquity. The most interesting thing about these historio-spiritual reference books was their complete lack of reference to any other periods prior to their time in the Indus Valley region. In fact, the dates are so incongruous that scholars have just now started questioning if there every really was a separate Aryan race to begin with.
The Making of a History
Max Muller, a renowned Indologist from Germany, is credited with the popularization of the Aryan racial theory in the middle of 19th century. At that time scholars agreed that the Aryans had entered into the Indus Valley around 1500 BCE. (Frawley) However, there is evidence in the Vedas that they had been there many centuries before. The Vedic calendar for example, was based upon astronomical sightings of the equinoxes and solstices. Such texts as the 'Yajur Veda' and 'Atharva Veda' speak of the vernal equinox in the Krittikas (Pleiades; early Taurus) and the summer solstice (ayana) in Magha (early Leo). This places the Aryans in the Indus Valley around 2400 BCE. (Frawley) If the original writings of the Vedas were supposedly from 1200 BCE, what would explain this blatant anomaly? Also, the Aryans wrote hymns about the sacred Sarasvati River and built their communities around the banks of it. The only problem is that the Sarasvati River dried up because of a continental shift prior to 1500 BCE. (Agrawal ) Why then would the Aryan civilization build their newly emerging farming communities around a dried up riverbed?
Muller's reputation as a Sanskrit scholar was eventually questioned and his peers challenged him, since nowhere in the Sanskrit literature was the term Aryan denoted as a race of people. Also Muller, like many of the Christian scholars of his era, believed in Biblical chronology. This placed the beginning of the world at 4000 BCE and the flood of Noah around 2500 BCE. Assuming these two dates, it became difficult to get the Aryans in India before 1500 BCE. Muller later recanted and pronounced that Aryan meant only a linguistic family and never applied to a race, but the damage was already done. Vedic literature was interpreted on the assumption that there was an Aryan invasion. Then archeological evidence was interpreted by the same assumption. And both interpretations were then used to justify each other.(Frawley) Henceforth, the invasion of the Indus Valley by a tribe of barbaric savages known as Aryans has been perceived as irrefutable fact.
The Division Bell
For thousands of years the Hindu society has looked upon the Vedas as the fountainhead of all knowledge: spiritual and secular, and the mainstay of Hindu culture, heritage and existence. Looking carefully at the Aryan Invasion Myth a clear pattern can be disseminated. (Rao) More important than the facts from 1500 BCE was the attitude of 19th Century Europeans. In the last century, European scholars have stated that the Vedas do not belong to the Hindus; rather, they were the creation of a barbaric horde of nomadic tribes that descended upon North India and destroyed an advanced indigenous civilization. They also suggested that the Sanskrit language is of non-Indian origin. (Rao) Not only is there no physical evidence to corroborate any of this, there is an abundance of evidence surfacing that shows that the Aryan and Indian civilizations are a continuation of one another; they are one and the same!!
The Aryan Invasion Myth served a social, political and economic purpose of domination, proving the superiority of Western culture and religion. The effects of this throughout the Indian culture were seen in a displacement of their heritage and a weakening of their cultural bonds. This occurred during a pivotal moment when Britain was moving into India to colonize and convert the Indians to Christianity. The vulnerable Indian peoples, with their supposed primitive religion, and their non-indigenous origins were an easy people to conquer indeed. (Frawley)
- The Aryan race is a fabricated tale spun by power hungry colonialists and religious fundamentalists.
- The result of this fabrication was the division, emasculation, and eventual colonization of the Indian people.
- The Indo-European language is indigenous to the Indus Valley region.
- The Indian civilization and culture is a 5000 plus year continuous saga in which the
- Vedas and eventually Hinduism was formed, which is the world's oldest and most comprehensive religion.
It is a known fact that most of the original proponents of the Aryan Invasion Myth were not historical archaeologists but had religious and/or political agendas. Max Muller, in fact, had been paid by the East India Company to further its colonial aims. (Agrawal) Others were German nationalists, with hardly any authority or knowledge on India, only motivated by the superiority of the German race through Aryan race supremacy. And, as everybody knows, this eventually ended up in the most calamitous event of the 20th century: World War II. (Frawley) However, with the advent of modern archaeology, the "facts" that make-up the Aryan claim are crumbling more and more. Most importantly though, the ideology that engineered the Aryan myth is changing rapidly, as is the notion that people need to be controlled, which will hopefully lead to a day where shit that didn't actually happen stops getting taught in our schools.
Agrawal, Demise of the Aryan Invasion Theory, www.hindunet.org.
Duiker, The Essential World History, Sixth Edition, Cengage Learning
Frawley, The Myth of the Aryan Invasion, www.hindunet.org
Rao, Dawn and Development of the Indus Civilization.