Hinduism & Buddhism in India
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Published: Fri, 23 Feb 2018
Chapter II: Ancient India – Birthplace of Hinduism & Buddhism.
Hinduism and Buddhism
There is a nice analogy which was told to me while visiting a Thai monastery many years ago. Buddhism and Hinduism are like two siblings raised in the same household, such as a brother and sister may have a certain family resemblance. A visitor would not mistake one for the other. And just like siblings they may differ in opinion in many things even to the point of arguing. Yet they still love and respect each other.
If the household of these siblings is the Ancient Indian sub-continent then that is the logical place to start. Before looking at Hinduism or Buddhism in the following chapters it is necessary to look at the Ancient Indian civilization and culture prior to any written records as both of these “religions” have their origins in the ancient history of the Indian sub-continent.
The references used are some of the earliest written works and the study will look at these in greater detail in the chapter concerning Hinduism and its teachings. The reader should note that modern science is now re-examining many of the statements made in these earlier works due to discoveries made by modern research which has scientific facts as its proof.
For this section I have chosen to follow the consensus of opinion, and for that reason, the dates given here are those found in other references. We must begin by stating that the Indian continent was first populated 250,000 years ago. When the original thesis paper was written, the first major civilization was considered to be the Harrapan civilization that occupied the Indus Valley where Baluchistan was a farming community from 3500 BCE (this may well have been pre-dated by the 9000 BCE Gulf of Cambay civilisation once more is known about it)
The consensus held by scholars and historians, is that ancient India’s indigenous people were a dark skinned race. There are prehistoric cave paintings and rock art, which provide the basis for these assertions. This is said to be a 40,000-year-old cave painting seen on a white silica sandstone rock shelter depicting existence of human civilization is seen in Banda district 800 kilometers (500 miles) southeast of New Delhi, India. The painting below depicts hunting by cave dwellers in the Paleolithic age. These caves were discovered recently. Notice the horse with rider.
A 40,000 Year Old Cave Painting (AP Photo/Shekhar Srivastava)
Origins of the Indus Valley Civilization
The geography of India is one of many extremes. The land mass encompasses desert, mountains, forest, and jungle. All of these environments were susceptible to unpredictable periods of flood, drought, and monsoons. Though India contained some of the most extreme geological and climatic features, these difficult conditions were also an asset to the development of its early civilizations. The Himalayas provided a natural protective barrier from any nomadic or military invasions from the north, and other mountain ranges provided similar protection in the west and east. The account of the Indus valley and its people, (also known as the Harappa civilization), is a story of a people intricately tied to their environment. The waterways of the Indus valley provided an excellent resource for trade, commerce, and agriculture. Throughout India’s history, the rivers were crucial to the inhabitants of the region.
As is found with most societies, especially non-nomadic ones, a rise in the cultivation of agrarian resources often leads to a surplus. Other factors permitting, this normally leads to an eventual population increase. As far as we can surmise, the development of civilization in the Indus valley followed this pattern ie. a static society, fertile soil , good harvest and no major wars or pestilence diminishing the populace.
The diverse geography of ancient India resulted in an increase of both the quantity and the specialization of agrarian crops. Faunal remains around the era of 3000 BC shows such trends and suggests that the Indus valley civilizations were benefiting from the rich alluvial soil of the Indus River. This region produced high yields of cereal grains, cultivated crops and plant materials. By 2,700 BCE, the presence of a state level society was evident, complete with hierarchical rule and large-scale public works (irrigation, etc.).
Such large-scale growth in so short a period can be attributed to two factors:
- The unique and rich environmental resources India provided,
- An organized civilization, which took direct control of its natural environment.
By 3000 BCE turmeric, cardamom, pepper and mustard were harvested in India. The Harappans who occupied Harappa and Mohenjodero in the Indus Valley, were of mixed stock They had club wheat, barley, sheep and goats from the Iranian Plateau and cotton from Southern Arabia or North East Africa. Sumer had trade links with the Indus Valley via Hindu Kush by 3000 BCE. and by sea from 2500 BCE, thus linking the Harappans with both Sumerians and Egyptians, where cumin, anise and cinnamon were used for embalming by 2500 BCE We can summarize by saying the Indus valley was populated by a dark skinned race of indigenous people who had a structured hierarchical agrarian society, the floods of the local rivers providing rich alluvial topsoil, which replenished the minerals on cultivated land. The non-nomadic conditions coupled with the harvest surplus were conducive to growth population.
Why then, can we assign some stories of ancient India to the period of nearly 10,000 BCE? Are there any material facts or evidence?
Pre-Harappan Evidence Found in Gulf of Cambay
VADODARA, INDIA, July 19, 2004: In an underwater exploration in the Gulf of Cambay, National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), scientists discovered almost 9,500-year-old bricks made of clay and straw. Archaeological experts of the MS University who, too, are involved in a part of the exploration near Surat and the coast of Gulf of Cambay, however, feel that a further insight into the size of the bricks can confirm its age and its period.
The bricks, believed to be pre-Harappan, have been identified to be of the Holocene age. In the NIOT surveys in the 17 sq km area, stone artifacts like blade scrapers, perforated stones and beads were found. The bricks, according to NIOT scientists, were used for construction. It indicates that the people of that age led an advanced form of life.
The artifacts found on the seabed, 20 to 40 ft below the present sea level, consisted of housing material. “It is important to confirm the brick size as people of the pre-Harappan age made bricks in the ratio of 1:2:3. A confirmation on the brick size can add more credence to the discovery,” says head of the archeology and ancient history department V. H. Sonawane.
WARANGAL, INDIA, Feb 12, 2002 – Mysterious Sunken City Found Near Surat Michael Cremo recently attended a meeting of ranking Indian governmental officials at which Murli Monohar Joshi, Minister for Science and Technology, confirmed the archeological find by an Indian oceanographic survey team. Could the recent discovery of a sunken city off the Northwest Coast of India near Surat revolutionize our concept of history?
Michael A. Cremo, historian of archeology and author of “Forbidden Archeology”, claims that all the history textbooks would have to be rewritten if this ancient find proves to be of Vedic origin. Radiocarbon testing of a piece of wood from the underwater site yielded an age of 9,500 years, making it four thousand years older than earliest cities now recognized.
According to Cremo, “The ancient Sanskrit writings of India speak of cities existing on the Indian subcontinent in very primeval times. “Although historians tend to dismiss such accounts as mythological, these new discoveries promise to confirm the old literary accounts.” Michael Cremo is acknowledged as a leading authority on anomalous archeological evidence. Asserting the recent find may be just the first step, he says, “It is likely that even older discoveries will follow.” The cultural identity of the people who inhabited the underwater city is as yet unknown. Most historians believe that Sanskrit-speaking people entered the Indian subcontinent about 3,500 years ago, from Central Asia. Other historians accept India itself as the original home of Sanskrit-speaking people, whose lifestyle is termed Vedic culture because their lives were regulated by a body of literature called the Vedas.
A City Dating Back to 7500 BCE
As was announced on January 16, 2002 from New Delhi, Indian scientists have made an archaeological discovery that dates back to 7500 BCE. This suggests, as a top government official said, that the world’s oldest cities came up about 4,000 years earlier than is currently believed. The scientists found pieces of wood, remains of pots, fossil bones and what appeared like construction material just off the coast of Surat.
Science and Technology Minister Murli Manohar Joshi told a news conference. He said, “Some of these artifacts recovered by the National Institute of Ocean Technology from the site, such as the log of wood date back to 7500 BCE, which is indicative of a very ancient culture in the present Gulf of Cambay, that got submerged subsequently.” Current belief is that the first cities appeared around 3500 BCE in the valley of Sumer, where Iraq now stands. A statement issued by the government said. “We can safely say from the antiquities and the acoustic images of the geometric structures that there was human activity in the region more than 9,500 years ago (7500 BCE),” said S.N. Rajguru, an independent archaeologist. Malleswaram boasts of many temples, but none is so shrouded in controversy and mystery as this one is. The ancient Nandeeshwara temple at Malleswaram 17th cross was discovered only three years ago, but it has stood for 7,000 years on that spot. Being buried over the years has not diminished its aura at all. It still draws huge crowds all day.
According to residents living nearby, the temple was completely buried and the land above it was a flat stretch. “Three years ago, a politician tried to sell this plot. But people objected on the grounds that the land should first be dug through to see if they could find something,” says the priest, Ravi Shankar Bhatt. Therefore, when they started digging up the land, they found buried underneath, this temple. It was in perfect condition, preserved by the thick layers of soil. This underground temple was enclosed within a stone cut courtyard supported by ancient stone pillars.
At the far end of the courtyard, a Nandi was carved out of a black stone with eyes painted in gold. From its mouth a clear stream of water flowed directly on to a Shivalinga made out of the same black stone at a lower level. There were steps that led to a small pool in the centre of the courtyard where the water flowed and collected. The pool’s centre had a 15 feet deep whirlpool.
Everything remains the same today. Nobody knows where the water comes from and how it passes from the mouth of the Nandi idol on to the Shivalinga. Nobody knows how the whirlpool came into being. The source of water, the sculptor, even the time when it was built remains a mystery. “There has been no scientific explanation for the source of water to date,” says resident Shivalingaiah. “Some say it was built by Shivaji Maharaj. Some say it’s older. However, of one thing we were sure, the temple has remained untouched over the years. We found it exactly as it might have been before it was covered by soil,” he adds. On Shivaratri day, overwhelming crowds gather at this temple. Some perform the ‘milk puja’. Others just come to marvel at a temple.
A Malleswaram committee has been specifically created to look after the temple. Committee president C Chandrashekhar functions along with a 11-member committee. “We are slowly introducing improvements in the temple to keep it in good shape. A lot of people come even from other parts of Bangalore,” he says. The committee’s next step is to build a gopuram in the temple premises.
Mehgarh 6,000 BCE
Mehgarh is located 125 miles west of the Indus valley, and provides early evidence of village dwelling level within the Indus Valley. The initial site is quite small and exhibits evidence of crop farming, with produce such as Asiatic wheat. The site also shows use of domestic goats and extensive trade with the west. Traded goods included turquoise, copper, and cotton from as far away as Arabia. By 5,000 BCE the dwellings of the Mehgarh went from simple semi-permanent housing to mud brick, and then large permanent housing.
The economy was largely dependent upon trade. Such trends, specifically emphasizing trade, continued well into 4,000 BCE when the culture clearly identified as Harappan became evident.
5000 Year Old Harappan Township Found in Haryana
Evidence of a township of the 5,000-year-old Indus Valley Civilisation (Harappan Era) has been found during excavations near Bhirdana village in Fatehabad district of Haryana . The excavations are being carried out by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).The ASI had earlier discovered the presence of same townships of the Indus Valley Civilisation at two other places, Kunal and Banawali, in the district. The evidence found at Bhirdana includes many structures made of mud bricks, peculiar of the Harappan era; a well, a fortification wall, pottery and other antiquities. Mr L.S. Rao, Superintending Archaeologist of the ASI, who is leading the team of excavators here, informed that the team, comprising a Deputy Superintending Archaeologist, three Assistant Archaeologists and other officials like photographers, draftsmen, artists, and surveyors, was working on the excavation site spread across 62,500 square meters and situated on a mound.
Fifteen students of Institute of Archaeology, New Delhi, have also been assisting the team. The excavations, being carried out under the `Saraswati Heritage Project’ of the Union Government, were part of a series of such excavations being made to unearth the old civilisations on the bank of the ancient Saraswati river. The Department of Archaeology and Museums, Government of Haryana, had protected the area of the present excavations. Mr Rao said the area where the excavations were being carried out was the bank of the Saraswati. The whole riverbed had been converted in to agricultural lands with the passage of time, he added that the ASI based its findings on the antiquities collected during the excavations on the surface of the mound. Pottery, among the antiquities, is the main criteria for ascertaining the civilization.
The excavators have also discovered a 2.4-metre-wide wall considered to be the fortification wall of the township on the excavation site. Ms Ankum, from Nagaland, a student of the Institute of Archaeology, who was manning the fortification area, said a clinching evidence of the township was that the earth outside the wall comprised of virgin soil while the one inside the fortification wall had all the evidence of structures. Mr Prabhash Sahu, Assistant Superintending Archaeologist, explained that it was a horizontal excavation and the whole mound had been divided into four parts for convenience. Mr Rao said the residents of the area were cooperative and were showing keen interest in the excavations.
First Harappan Burial site Found in Sinauli, Uttar Pradesh
SINAULI, June 28, 2006: Imagine for a moment that you’re a farmer, leveling your field, when suddenly your plough hits something hard. You wipe away the dust and discover it’s a bone, hardened over time. You dig some more and discover the remnants of pottery next to an ancient human skeleton.This is what happened to Sattar Ali while working in the sugarcane fields in Sinauli village near Baghpat in western UP, some 75 km from Delhi. Although he didn’t know it at that time, Ali had chanced upon an ancient burial ground of the late Harappan period, believed to be more than 4,000 years old. Matters would have rested there had not a local youth, Tahir Hussain, informed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) about it. Since August last year, ASI’s excavations have been going on in full swing. Dharamvir Sharma, superintending archaeologist, ASI, says, “The findings here are very important and have the potential to change the way we look at the history of Asia.”
Sinauli’s find is unique because this is the first Harappan burial site to be found in UP. More importantly, it’s the first Harappan site where two antenna swords were found buried next to the skeletons. These were of the copper hoard culture, which has been a cause of debate among historians. These findings might just prove that the copper hoard was associated with the late Harappans, says Sharma.
The excavations have already yielded a rich haul. Almost 126 skeletons have been recovered, which indicates that the mound was a fairly large habitation. While some are broken, others are remarkably well preserved. One of the first skeletons to be discovered was found wearing copper bracelets on both hands. Some distance away, another was found buried along with an animal, presumably intended to be a sacrificial offering. Other finds include bead necklaces, copper spearheads, gold ornaments, and a few anthropomorphic figures which were typical of Harappan settlements. While these are all relative evidence of the late Harappan period, believed to be around 2000 BC, carbon dating of the skeletons would put a firm date on it.
Sinauli’s findings might also prove that the Harappans were a part of the Vedic culture and followed prescribed Vedic practices. Sharma says, “All the skeletons have been found lying in the North-South direction, as prescribed by the Rig Veda. Near their heads have been found pots, which probably contained grains, ghee, curd and somarasa as an offering to Yama, the God of Death. This was in accordance with ancient Vedic burial practices, mentioned in the Shatpath Brahman.” However, not all historians agree with this view. They feel it is too early to jump to conclusions without carbon dating being done.
The Early Harappan 4,000 BC to 3,000 BC
From the humble, but rapidly advancing beginning of the Mehgarh, came the eventual arrival of the early Harappan. The early Harappan evidenced very densely packed villages and village centers, all with extensive irrigation systems, and much the same subsistence pattern as the Mehgarh. The early Harappan people planted a wide variety of crops, including barley, and wheat, and did so according to the predictable cycles of the Indus River. The farmers of the Indus would plant their crops as the floods receded between June and September, and by early Spring harvested them.
The result of the Harappan civilizations emphasis on agriculture and irrigation lead to a plethora of irrigation systems around which human settlements were built. The settlements along the river were susceptible to periods of violent flooding. In such cases, stone walls were erected as flood barriers. Ironically, these flood barriers eventually became the city walls of some settlements.
The Harappan 2,500 BC. to 2,050 BC
From the Early Harappan arose such settlements as Mohenjo-daro and Harappa, as well as numerous other settlements which spanned roughly 1,000,000 miles of the Indus Valley. The culture of the classical Harappan era surrounded the rivers of the Indus valley and was greatly dependent upon the valley and trade for its subsistence. Indicative of all Harappan sites are the fire mud brick houses and the net-like city plans that took generations to evolve.3
The Indus Valley Civilization
The Indus Valley Civilization was one of the world’s first great urban civilizations. It flourished in the vast river plains and adjacent regions in what are now Pakistan and western India. The earliest cities became integrated into an extensive urban culture around 4,600 years ago and continued to dominate the region for at least 700 years, from 2600 to 1900 BCE It was only in the 1920’s that the buried cities and villages of the Indus valley were recognized by archaeologists as representing an undiscovered civilization.
Modern satellite images and field surveys indicate that the once mighty Saraswati River appears to have changed its course several times and became completely dry in approximately 1900 BCE. Some experts believe that the phonetically close affinities between the Deva Bhasha Sanskrit and several European languages may be due to natural calamities that may have caused the Indus Valley people to migrate out of India.
The Mohehjodaro in Sind was discovered in 1922 and Harappa in West Punjab a few years later. Although the two sites were about 600 km apart, these two civilisations covering an area in excess of a million square kilometers, were considered as one Indus civilisation in view of the similarity of the objects discovered in the ruins. A comparison of the archaeological remains of Indus Valley with the Vedic civilisation can be made from the Vedic hymns. These reveal almost one hundred per cent similarities between the two civilisations in food habits, animal rearing, cotton weaving, personal cleanliness, use of metals for weapons and ornaments, method of worship, practice of Yoga, cremation of dead, belief in immortality of soul and after-life etc.
Indian Trade and Maritime Sea Routes
India, situated at the central point of the ocean that washes its coasts on three sides, appeared destined for a maritime future. The majority of Western scholars have underestimated India’s achievement with regard to commerce, shipbuilding, navigation, and sea travel. The Indian world stretched far beyond its borders, and it must be noted, that India had no policy of violent conquest to spread her influence. The antiquity of these voyages are most remarkable; regarding India’s Western trade routes:- there is archaeological and historical evidence to show that as early as the 8th century BCE, there existed regular trade relations, both by land and sea, between India on the one hand and Mesopotamia, Arabia, Phoenicia, and Egypt on the other. The Eastern routes, which are the most pertinent to this study, can be traced back to the 7th century BCE using Chinese literary texts, which refer to their maritime trade activity.
The fact that this information is recorded and documented by non-Indian races, having nothing to gain by stating these ancient links, must lend substantial weight to the claims of Indian scholars and historians. The evidence may support many claims made by Hindus about the advanced culture that existed in India’s ancient past. However, it is inconceivable that the Chinese, Egyptians, Romans etc wrote these articles to enhance or raise the status of what would have been a foreign power and alien religion.
We can confidently conclude that there was a time in the ancient past, when Indians were masters of the sea borne trade of Europe, Asia, and Africa. They built ships, navigated the sea, and held in their hands all the threads of international commerce, whether carried overland or sea. Sanskrit literature is replete with tales of merchants, traders, and men engrossed in commercial pursuits. Manu Smriti, the oldest law book in the world, lays down laws to govern commercial disputes having references to sea borne traffic as well as inland and overland commerce. Lord Elphinstone has written, “The Hindus navigated the ocean as early as the age of Manu’s Code because we read in it of men well acquainted with sea voyages.” Noted historian, R. C. Majumdar, observed: “The Indian colonies in the Far East must ever remain as the high watermark of maritime and colonial enterprise of the ancient Indians.” It has been proved beyond doubt that the Indians of the past were not, stay-at-home people, but went out of their country for exploration, trade, and colonization.
For some of the oldest information we have to look in the ancient Rig Veda. One passage speaks of merchants going everywhere and frequenting every part of the sea for gain (L. 56.2) and another (I. 25.7) represents Varuna having a full knowledge of the sea routes. The Ramayana (translation in the English language by T.H. Griffith), refers to the Yavan Dvipa and Suvarna Dvipa (Java and Sumatra)* and to the Lohta Sayara or the Red Sea. The drama Sakuntala Ratnavali of King Harsha Sisupalvadha of Magha, relates stories of sea voyages of merchants and others. Ancient Indian books – the Kathasagara, the Jatakas and others – refer to these wondrous regions that set the imagination of civilized Indians on fire, to Suvarnabhumi, the fabulous “Land of Gold.” Overall, the Indian influence on Southeast Asia proceeded peacefully. Local chiefs and petty chieftains were admitted into the caste structure as Ksatriyas through a ritual known as vratyastoma, performed by an Indian Brahmin. The Brahmin priests would, no doubt, have found it a relatively simple matter in persuading a local ruler to elevate his status and standing among his people.
Professor A. L. Basham, who reduced India along with her culture to a wonder-land in his book Wonder That Was India has observed that: “certain over-enthusiastic Indian scholars have perhaps made too much of the achievements of ancient Indian seafarers, which cannot compare with those of the Vikings or of some others early maritime peoples.” Is this comment a fair assessment of the facts? What was the Viking achievement? It is clear that the Vikings, during the period 800 to 1200 BCE, migrated to all the corners of Europe. They did not do this peacefully, and had no lasting cultural influence on the people they came into contact with. On the contrary, they lost their identity when settling under the influence of the superior cultures of the lands they visited.In comparison to this, both from the qualitative and quantitative viewpoints, what was the Indian achievement?
With regard to their contact with Southeast Asia Professor D. P. Singhal remarks, “Indians came into contact with the countries of Southeast Asia principally for commercial reasons. Wherever they settled, they introduced their culture and civilization. In turn, they were influenced by the indigenous culture, laying thus the foundation of a new culture in the region. Indian cultural contact with Southeast Asia covers a period of more than thirteen hundred years, and segments of Indian culture even reached eastwards of this region.” 1
Sir Aurel Stein (1862-1943) a Hungarian and author of several books including Ra`jatarangini: a chronicle of the kings of Kashmir and Innermost Asia.”The vast extent of Indian cultural influences, from Central Asia in the North to tropical Indonesia in the South, and from the Borderlands of Persia to China and Japan, has shown that ancient India was a radiating center of a civilization, which by its religious thought, its art and literature, was destined to leave its deep mark on the races wholly diverse and scattered over the greater part of Asia.” 2
Indians of old were keenly alive to the expansion of dominions, acquisition of wealth, and the development of trade, industry, and commerce. The material prosperity they gained in these various ways was reflected in the luxury and elegance that characterized their society. Some find allusion in the Old Testament, to Indian trade with the Syrian coast as far back as 1400 BCE, and we have noted the archaeological evidence shows Chinese links from the 8th century BCE. Recent excavations in the Philippines, Malay Peninsula, and Indonesia confirm early and extensive trade, which continued down to the historical period. This naval network enabled Indians to explore and colonize the islands in the Indian Archipelago.
Shortly after, there grew up a regular traffic between India and China, both by land and sea. India also came in close contact with the Hellenic world. We learn from ancient authority that in the processions of Ptolemy Philadelphus (285-246 B.C.) were to be found Indian women, Indian hunting dogs, Indian cows, also Indian spices carried on camels, and that the vessels of the ruler of Egypt had a saloon lined with Indian precious stones. Everything indicates that there was a large volume of sea-trade between India and the western countries as far as African coast. From the coast the goods were carried by land to the Nile, and then down the river to Alexandria which was a great emporium in those days. There was a mercantile colony of Indians in an island off the African coast in the first century CE. The adventurous spirit of the Indians carried them even as far as the North Sea, while their caravans traveled from one end of Asia to the other.3
On journeys by sea, there were jalaniryamakas – guides who could predict the behavior of waters. In the sea-coast town of Shurparak, there was an arrangement to train persons with the help of the Niryamak Sutras. According to these verses, those persons who traveled together in a ship were called sanyatrika.
The Greater India with Islands
Comparing the achievements of the Indians and the Chinese in Southeast Asia, T. V. Mahalingam observes. “Though China also exercised a considerable influence over countries of Southeast Asia, Indian influence was more effective and durable for the Chinese always remained colonies of foreigners with little inclination to mix with the local population and in contrast to what the Hindus achieved, there is nowhere any trace of the taking-over of Chinese culture by the children of the soil.”
His views have been upheld by John F. Cady who concluded that: “Indian cultural patterns in particular became widely disseminated during the early centuries CE, while Chinese influence, although culturally less contagious, virtually dominated from Sung times (960 and later) the trade and politics of the eastern seas.”4
Amaury de Riencourt wrote: “The brightest sun shining over Southeast Asia in the first centuries CE was Indian Civilization. Waves of Indian colonists, traders, soldiers, Brahmins and Buddhist beat upon one Southeast shore after another. Great military power based on superior technical knowledge, flourishing trade fostered by the remarkable increase in maritime exchanges between India and these areas, the vast cultural superiority of the Indians, everything conspired to heighten the impact of the Indian Civilization on the Southeast Asian. Passenger ships plied regularly between the Ganges, Ceylon and Malaya in the middle of the first millennium CE. Indian settlers from Gujarat and Kalinga colonized Java, for instance, while others set out for Burma, Siam and Cambodia.
Old Indian books – the Kathasagara, the Jatakas and others – refer to these wondorous regions that set the imagination of civilized Indians on fire, to Suvarnabhumi, the fabulous “Land of Gold.” On the whole, the Indianization of Southeast Asia proceeded peacefully. Local chiefs and petty chieftains were admitted into the caste structure as Ksatriyas through a ritual known as vratyastoma, performed by an Indian Brahmin. All over Southeast Asia tremendous ruins are strewn, testifying to the immense influence of Indian Civilization.” 5
Ancient Indians knew Atlantic Ocean
Buddhist Jataka stories wrote about large Indian ships carrying seven hundred people. In the Artha Sastra, Kautilya wrote about the Board of Shipping and the Commissioner of Ports who supervised sea traffic. The Harivamsa informs us that the first geographical survey of the world was performed during the period of Vaivasvata.
The towns, villages and demarcation of agricultural land of that time were charted on maps. Brahmanda Purana provides the best and most detailed description of a world map drawn on a flat surface using an accurate scale. Padma Purana says that world maps were prepared and maintained in book fo
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