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A Discussion About Aryan Problem (Dscs1)
>My understanding is that the word Arya means one who believes in the Vedas
>and lives according to it. It has nothing to do with blood relation or race. Let me know if the idea is acceptable by the scholars. Why it could not be true?
Arya means a lot of things to a lot of different people. What arya meant to the ancient Aryans themselves may ultimately be an unresolvable problem. Part of the problem is that while we have the Vedas and the Avesta, these texts are the work of the post-Aryan community. We know little about the Aryan divinities such as Dyaus Pitar, though Mithra/Mitra was probably an original member of the Aryan pantheon. In a sense, the texts are probably closer to your definintion than the so-called scholarly approach. The common denominator of the Aryans was the Soma Pressing ritual, as the anarya, such as the Dasa or Dasyu, are defined as ayajnan, that is, without the sacrifice. Scholars tended to see the Arya in racial terms because historically, European scholars were racists. I mean this not to accuse, but that is how most would have described themselves in that they assumed that cultural phenomenon were determined by physical, inherited traits of a given population. Because the Aryans were considered the progenitors of the "European" race, the Arya had to be a white tribe that conquered the dark-skinned inhabitants of the subcontinent. This theory is still dominant in Indo Iranian studies, even though there has never been even a single iota of evidence supporting it.
>I would like to know more about you and why you are interested in resolving/ researching the Aryan problem.
I was a PhD student in Indo Iranian studies and became interested in the contrast between the Arya of the Veda and the Arya of the Avesta. I also did a fair amount of studies in arcaheology and came to the conclusion that the Aryan Invasion theory was a fraud--as many archaeologists are finally starting to accept. Unfortunately, subtle racist beliefs remain embedded in European and American Indology (and to a lesser extent in Iranian studies), and there seemed little hope of making a successful career of it with so much racist opposition to new theories of Aryan identity. I was also turned off by the failure of Indologists to come to terms with their central role in the development of racism and especially the Nazi heritage of so much Indology--many of the most respected names in the field were enthusiastic Nazis for instance: Lommel, Guntert, etc. So now I am here on the net where I believe the real changes are occurring. The academies, repositories of Euro-American elitist and racist thought are nearing the end of their tyranny. As for the ideas on Aryanism and the Nazis, an excellent book by Leon Poliakov, The Aryan Myth, does a better job than I on the details of this history. He was an expert on anti-semitism in Europe. I am perticularly interested in furthering his work on dispelling the myth of Aryanism and at the same time rediscovering the reality of ancient Aryan society. I believe that there is something in their history that is crucial for an understanding of mankind. Something very important happened to the ancient Aryans, and I believe solving that mystery would help us find answers to the problem of human conflict, race, language, and our relationship to the spritiual world.
> Have you read "The Forbidden Archeology" by a couple of disciples scholars of Sri Bhakti-vedanta Swami Prabhupada? Their interest is to reveal the truth as it is, without any bias or hiding or distortion. They are also interested, I think, to
expose the archeological and historical cover-ups for selfish and egoistic reasons.
I am familiar with Prabhupad's work, though I have not read this title. If I find a copy locally, I'll certainly have a look. I seriously doubt that the academic institutions of Europe and America can be reformed, however. The study of non-western cultures was built on the presumption of racism and they therefore the academy must be destroyed before it can be reformed.
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Thank you for your interesting response. My educational background is in Physics and electrical engineering. However, I am very religious, follower of Vaishnavism, a branch of Sanatana Dharma or Hinduism.
The pursuit of knowledge by scientific method is bottom-up and is based on on the five senses and materialistic logic. The journey for the complete and full knowledge is an infinitely long and our senses are not perfect and are limited in power and perception. Therefore one cannot acquire full knowledge any time by the method.
Accepting the knowledge from the spiritual authority, e.g. Vedas, Bhagavad Gita, Bible, etc., is top-down method of acquiring knowledge which requires faith which transcends the limitations of the senses. With faith, it is not necessary to apply materialistic logic and test the knowledge. [One however, has to be very careful where one wants to put faith.] The test or proof however, in the results actually achieved.
In a message dated 97-05-03 01:00:41 EDT, you write:
<< Something very important happened to the ancient Aryans, and I believe solving that mystery would help us find answers to the problem of human conflict, race, language, and our relationship to the spiritual world. >>
To solve the above problems you mentioned, the answers or solutions are already given in e.g. Bhagavad Gita. It is nice to solve Aryan problem, but the above mentioned problems can be solved by the knowledge in Gita. If your faith is different which prohibits you from believing Krishna, then it would not help studying Gita. So, if you could, I invite you to study Bhagavad Gita As It Is by Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada with open mind and see if it does not give solutions to the problems the world is infested with. Krishna tells that race, etc. does not count. What counts is the knowledge of the soul and Supersoul, Paramatma or Krishna and our relation with Him. If your faith identifies God with a different name, then substitute that name for Krishna. There is more. First thing is to know. Then have some faith. and then practice something regularly and see and feel the result.
So, according to the Veda, and Gita which is the condensed summary of the Vedas, "An Arya is not a racist. One who does not accept the authority of the Vedas is not an Arya." What harm is there in accepting this definition of "Arya"? What benefit is there in finding other definitions of "Arya"? Could you tell me, please? If some racists in the past spoiled the meaning of the word, why not we reject it and put/spread the proper meaning? Suppose there was some other original meaning different than what I stated it is, what benefit it's knowledge is going to yield?
If your desire is to be prominent as a scholar in the so called "scholars" circles, your pursuit to solve the Aryan problem would help. If your desire, however, is to solve the real racism, etc. problems, the solutions are already here in the Gita. What you say?
I hope that in discussing the matter as above I have not offended you. My vocabulary is limited and I do not have as much diplomatic skills as I would like to have. I however, speak the truth as I know without any selfish motive. If it helps you, I would be delighted.
The problem of language, in my view, is: there are many languages and some are cheat languages, e.g. to spell a word "school" and pronounce it as "skool". Devanagari and other Indian scripts do not have this problem. It has 36 consonants, 12 vowels, and very mathematical grammar. The computer programmers of the world are now realizing that Sanskrit is the most easily programmable language. Why not all learn and use Devanagari script for any language?
People will learn other language when they think it would make them happy. It is also said that learning a language is learning a culture. If you hate it for right or wrong reason, you would not learn it. Do you know Sanskrit?
Looking forward for your response.