Hinduism stood for a wide variety of related religious traditions native to India. Historically, it involved the evolution since the pre-Christian epoch. In turn, it looked back to age-old belief of the Indus Valley Civilization followed by the Vedic religion. It mostly spread along the Indus and the Punjab region, extending into the Ghaggar-Hakra river valley and the Ganga -Yamuna Doab, surrounding most of what is now Pakistan, the western states of modern-day India, as well as extending into south-eastern Afghanistan, and the easternmost part of Baluchistan, Iran.
The geography of the Indus Valley put the civilizations that arose there in a similar situation to those in Egypt and Peru, with rich agricultural lands being surrounded by highlands, desert, and ocean. Of late, Indus sites had been discovered in Pakistan's north-western Frontier Province as well. Other smaller isolated colonies were found as far away as Turkmenistan. By BCE, early communities turned into large urban centres. In total, over 1, cities and settlements have been found, mainly in the region of the Indus and the tributaries.
Steatite seals had images of animals, people perhaps gods , and other types of inscriptions, including the yet un-deciphered writing system of the Indus Valley Civilization. A number of gold , terra-cotta and stone figurines of girls in dancing poses showed the presence of some dance form. Also, these terra-cotta figurines included cows, bears, monkeys, and dogs. Sir John Marshall reacted with surprise when he saw the famous Indus bronze statuette of a slender-limbed dancing girl in Mohenjo-Daro:. When I first saw I found it difficult to believe that they were prehistoric; they seemed to completely upset all established ideas about early art, and culture.
Modelling such as this was unknown in the ancient world up to the Hellenistic age of Greece , and I thought, therefore, that some mistake must surely have been made; that these figures had found their way into levels some years older than those to which they properly belonged. Now, in these statuettes, it was just this anatomical truth which was so startling; that made us wonder whether, in this all-important matter, Greek artistry could possibly have been anticipated by the sculptors of a far-off age on the banks of the Indus.
It was widely suggested that the Harappan people worshipped a Mother goddess symbolizing fertility. The earliest evidence for elements of Hinduism is before and during the early Harappan period. Phallic symbols close to the Hindu Shiva lingam was located in the Harappan ruins. One famous seal displayed a figure seated in a posture reminiscent of the lotus position, surrounded by animals.
It came to be labelled after Pashupati lord of beasts , an epithet of Shiva. The discoverer of the Shiva seal M , Sir John Marshall and others have claimed that this figure is a prototype of Shiva, and have described it as having three faces, seated on a throne in a version of the cross-legged lotus posture of Hatha Yoga. Yogi's penis is erect, with both testicles prominently visible. The precise placement of both heels under the scrotum is an advanced Tantric Yoga technique known as Bandha, meaning knot or lock.
It is normally used to sublimate and redirect sexual energy and can endow the practitioner with spiritual powers. A large tiger rears upwards by the yogi's right side, facing him. This is the largest animal on the seal, shown as if warmly connected to the yogi; the stripes on the tiger's body, also in groups of five, highlight the connection.
Three other smaller animals are depicted on the Shiva seal. It is most likely that all the animals on this seal are totemic or heraldic symbols, indicating tribes, people or geographic areas. On the Shiva seal, the tiger, being the largest, represents the yogi's people, and most likely symbolizes the Himalayan region.
The elephant probably represents central and eastern India, the bull or buffalo south India and the rhinoceros the regions west of the Indus river. Heinrich Zimmer agrees that the Pashupati figure shows a figure in a yoga posture. The people of the Indus Valley also appear to have worshipped a male god. The most important depiction of an imagined Hinduism god is seal number Many other seals have been found depicting the same figure, but not in the same detail as number The deity is wearing a headdress that has horns, the shape being reminiscent of the crescent moon that modern image of Siva shows on his forehead.
What are thought to be linga stones have been dug up.
Linga stones in modern Hinduism are used to represent the erect male phallus or the male reproductive power of the god Siva. But again, these stones could be something entirely different from objects of religious worship. Even today, Siva is worshipped in both human form and that of the phallus. The deity sitting in a yoga-like position suggests that yoga may have been a legacy of the very first great culture that occupied India. Shiva Pashupati by Marcus Public Domain.
The earliest sure use of swastika motifs in the archaeological record goes to the Neolithic epoch. Another early attestation is on a pottery bowl found at Samarra, dated to as early as BCE.
Religious Developments in Ancient India
The swastika appears only very rarely in the archaeology of ancient Mesopotamia. In Hinduism, the Swastika in two drawings symbolizes two forms of the creator god Brahma. Facing right it signifies the evolution of the universe; facing left it typifies the involution of the universe. The swastika is one of the symbols of the Hindu deity Vishnu and represents the Sun's rays, upon which life depends.
It is also seen as pointing in all four directions north, east, south and west and thus implies stability. Its use as a Sun symbol can first be seen in its image of the god Surya. The swastika is used in all Hindu yantras and religious designs. The swastika symbol right-hand was believed to have been stamped on Gautama Buddha 's chest by his initiates after his death.
It is known as The Heart's Seal. With the spread of Buddhism, the Buddhist swastika reached Tibet and China. The symbol was also introduced to Balinese Hinduism by Hindu kings. Well over distinct Indus symbols, some say , have been found on seals, small tablets, or ceramic pots and over a dozen other materials, including a signboard that apparently once hung over the gate of an inner citadel. A large number of eminent scholars argue that the Indus system did not encode language, but was instead similar to a variety of non-linguistic sign systems used extensively in the Near East and other societies.
Others have claimed on occasion that the symbols were exclusively used for economic transactions, but this claim leaves unexplained the appearance of Indus symbols on many ritual objects, many of which were mass-produced in moulds. No parallels to these mass-produced inscriptions are known in any other early ancient civilizations.
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The scholars Parpola and Asfaq identified another seal M found at Mohenjo-Daro as the one relating to a unique ritual of equinox. It was an stellar ceremony marking the equinox at the star constellation of Krittika - Alcyon. The legend on the seal cited: the epoch Kali Yuga — the present epoch we live in set off at the beginning of the sign of the goat on Wednesday at sunrise at Lanka.
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To cut short a fascinating tale of astral importance with religious nuance, it was the city of Lanka which had the place of honour as the prime meridian passed through it in BCE. One more narration in this regard was in the travel record of Hwen Tsang in CE. He saw a palisade stupa of Mauryan times.
It was one hundred feet high. Cunningham said of this pillar:.
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As the former was Alor, and the latter was almost certainly the Pattale of the Greeks or Haiderabad, the recorded distances fix the position of O-fan-cha in the immediate neighbourhood vicinity of the ruins of an ancient city called Bambhra-ka-Thul or simply Bambhar. This, according to tradition, was the site of the once famous city of Brahmanwas or Brahmanabad […].
The city can be located because the circumstances are narrated in detail. The king of the city had previously submitted, but the citizens withheld their allegiance, and shut their gates. By a stratagem, they were induced to come out, and a conflict ensued, in which Ptolemy was seriously wounded in the shoulder by a poisoned sword.
Hermes in Greek is the muted term for Brahma. The Chinese syllable fan is the well-known phrasing of Brahma. Hence, both O-fan-cha and Hermetalia is a direct wording of Bambhra-ka-thul or Brahma-sthal. From all these discussions, it seemed certain that what Hwen Tsang visited was the city of Mohenjo-Daro and its real name was Brahma-sthal or Brahmanabad.
Such a name seems peculiar for a prosperous city like this. The Hindi word was mohan jodad. This word jodad.
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The Sindhi word d. A number of scholars made out that meluhha was the Sumerian name for mleccha , meaning non-Vedic, barbarian. It was used by the Aryans much as the ancient Greeks used barbaros , indicating garbled speech of foreigners or native people of the country. Excavation at this level was impossible due to the high water table that made even simple excavations of Mohenjo-Daro difficult. The city covered around hectares of land and at its height might have had a population of 85, people.
The site was located in the modern Larkana district of Sind province in Pakistan. Mohenjo-Daro was the largest city in the southern portion of the Indus Valley Civilization and important for trade and governance of this area.
The mound rose 40 feet about the plain at present time; it would have been higher at the time Mohenjo-Daro was inhabited. There was a gap between the mound and the lower city. Because of the large size and separation from the rest of the city, it was thought the mound might have been used for a religious or administrative purpose. This hypothesis was supported by the architecture found on the top of the mound. The Great Bath was a sunken tank on the top of the mound; the tank was 12 meters long, 7 meters wide and was sunk 2.
The Great Bath was one of the first aspects of Indus Valley life that could be related to modern Hinduism. The Great Bath might also be linked to the concept of river worship, much like the worship of the River Ganga today. In northern Mesopotamia, a great power arose: the Mitanni kingdom.
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Whatever we could gather about it is from indirect sources. Those people were called Kharri. Some philologists believed that this term was the same as Arya. According to the Vedic Index of Names and Subjects , compiled by Macdonald and Keith, this was the normal designation in Vedic literature from the Rig- Veda onwards of an Aryan of the three upper classes. The Mitannian invasion of northern Mesopotamia and the Aryan influx into India represented two streams of wandering migrations from a common cultural axis.
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