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Indra-Vrtra Myth and Tectonic Upheavals
Indra-Vrtra Myth and Tectonic Upheavals
Description
Foreword

We have great pleasure in publishing the book 'Indra-Vrtra Myth and Tectonic Upheavals' by our research student Dr. P.V. Pathak who prepared this research work for his Ph. D. Degree under the guidance of Prof. S.A.Upadhyaya, Director of Bhavan's Mungalal Goenka Institute of Post-Graduate Studies and Research. The present monograph in an abridged version of his original thesis.

We hope the work will enrich the field of Indology in general and Vedic studies in particular.

Preface

The Indra-Vrtra myth in the major myth in the Vedic literature. Indra was highly eulogized by the Vedic seers, for having killed fierce demon and arch enemy Vrtra. According to the Satapatha-Brahmana, the basic yajna ritual of darsapaurnamasesti was formulated Indra to kill Vrtra. The Indra-Vrtra myth is at the centre stage of the Vedic literature, so much so that no Vedic scholar can claim to have completed his Vedic studies, unless he has studied the Indra-Vrtra myth and made up his opinion about the nature of Vrtra. It is like Bhagavadgita in the discipline of the Indian Philosophy. And therefore, since ancient days, scholars have expressed different opinions about the nature of Vrtra. The text of Nirukta dating back to 3000B.P. or earlier, quotes three opinions prevailing in those times. When the western scholars took up the Vedic studies in the modern times, they came out with altogether different views. So also the modern day Indian scholars have expressed their opinions on the nature of Vrtra. All these modern scholars have given their interpretations in the light of modern day knowledge covering the scientific and sociological disciplines of studies. Summary of their opinions is given and commented in the text.

The present author too was involved in studying the Vedic literature and had to study the Indra-Vrtra myth. At the time he took up his studies in early 1980s, the "Plate tectonic" theory of the movement of Earth's crust had just been developed. He was familiar with the basic postulates of the "Plate tectonics". On studying the various aspects of the Indra-Vrtra conflict in the Rgveda, he concluded that the demon Vrtra, as described in the text of Rgveda, was neither a demon nor a cloud or serpent, but was an earthen bund formed due to tectonic upheavals in the Indus and the neighbouring region, which is tectonically sensitive region.

His papers dealing with the Indra-Vrtra myth were first published in the Annals Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (Pathak: 1983, 1984, 1986). Dr. G.B. Palsule, then editor of Annals (A.B.O.R.I.), encouraged author to go in dept of the Indra-Vrtra myth. Later on Prof. S.A. Upadhyaya, Director, P.G. & Research Dept. of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, took keen interest in the topic and made it possible for the author to get registered as a Ph.D. student with Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. The present volume is the abridged version of the Ph.D. thesis submitted by the author to the University of Mumbai, with a few additions incorporating his later research.

The author had to study the Indra-Vrtra myth when his wife agreed to offer Vedic Sanskrit for her Post-graduation, when they both studied the Visvamitra-Nadi dialogue hymns (RVI.32 and III.33) together. It was then clear to the author that the Indra-Vrtra myth was being the terrestrial Phenomena. Buy for his wife consenting to offer the Vedic Sanskrit for her P.G. studies, it was very unlikely that the author would have ever studied it. She had to indirectly suffer for it. The Indra-Vrtra myth absorbed me so much that I went ahead with studying, some times neglecting my duties of a house-holder. I know, she has no regrets but appreciates it.

Prof. S.A. Upadhyaya took keen interest in the topic. But for his guidance and constant encouragement, it would not have been possible initially to submit the thesis and now to get it in print. As a mark of deep respect I dedicate this volume to him.

The library staff of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mumbai; K.R. Cama Oriental Institute, Mumbai and Deccan Collage, Pune have co-operated during the literature survey. Author thanks them sincerely. Shri Girish Jani and Smt. Prachi Moghe, Asst. Directors of Bhavan's P.G. & Research Dept., took real troubles to go through the text, did proof-reading and editing of the text. Author thanks them sincerely.

I am thankful to the University of Mumbai for kindly permitting me to publish this thesis (vide Letter no. Th/6060 of 1997 dated 21-8-1997). Thanks are also due to Publishers, the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, to publish this work.

The lost few words for my wife and two daughters. They patiently endured my obsession with the Indra-Vrtra myth. In India we don't thank our wives, sons or daughters. That's being too formal. The author too does not want to set that precedent of expressing just formal thanks.

Back of the Book

Dr. Pramod Vishnupant Pathak (b.1951) is a Chemical and Environment Engineer by profession. He did his B.Tech. from Nagpur University in 1972 and M.Tech. from I.I.T., Mumbai in 1974. He was awarded Ph.D. in Ancient Indian Culture by the University of Mumbai in 1992. His thesis is entitled as "Tectonic Upheavals in the Indus Region and Interpretation of the Vrtra Myth" which he prepared under guidance of Prof. S.A. Upadhyaya, Director of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan's Mungalal Goenka Institute of Post-Graduate Studies and Research. His deep interest in the Ancient Indian Culture and the Vedic literature prompted him to do research in Indology and the Indus Culture. He has established correlation of the famous 'Pasupati' seal from Mohenjodaro with the Atharvavedic hymns II. 34, with presiding deity Pasupati. Later on he showed that many Indus seals are pictorial representations of the Atharvavedic hymns. In his recent book on Archaeology and Ethno-archaeology of Afghanistan, 'The Afghan Connection', Dr. P.V. Pathak has dealt in depth with the Rigvedic past of Afghanistan and identified the 'Dasa' tribes and their purs being located in the Seistan province of Southern Afghanistan. More than forty research articles are to his credit.

In the present books, Dr. Pathak has thrown light on the nature of Rigvedic demon Vrtra, the archenemy of Indra. Author has elaborated the geological and tectonic background of the Indra-Vrtra conflict in the Rigvedic lore and has shown that Vrtra was an earthen bund formed due to tectonic upheavals in the Indus river valley and the neighbouring region. He has given rc by rc explanation on the nature of Vrtra who held captive the river waters. He has further correlated the Vrtra myth with Vrtra myth with Verethragna in the Avestan lore and Vahagna in Armenian folk-lore. This book is an abridged version of his Ph.D. thesis.

Contents

Forewordiv
Prefacev
Table of Figuresviii
List of Abbreviationsviii
Chapter IPlate Tectonic Model of the Earth1
Chapter IIPlate Tectonic and Rocking of the Indus and Neighbouring Region10
Chapter IIIInstances of Tectonic Upheavals in the Indus Valley and Neighbouring Region28
Chapter IVThe Earlier Interpretations39
Chapter VThe Vrtra Myth in the Rgveda107
Chapter VISaga of Vrtra Killing168
Chapter VIIOther Gods and Deities associated with the slaying of Vrtra181
Chapter VIIIDemonology of Vrtra183
Chapter IXConquest and Release of Gauh by Indra – An Interpretation198
Chapter XConclusions202
Bibliography204

Indra-Vrtra Myth and Tectonic Upheavals

Item Code:
IDK795
Cover:
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Edition:
2001
Size:
9.5" X 6.5"
Pages:
216
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Weight of the Book: 340 gms
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Foreword

We have great pleasure in publishing the book 'Indra-Vrtra Myth and Tectonic Upheavals' by our research student Dr. P.V. Pathak who prepared this research work for his Ph. D. Degree under the guidance of Prof. S.A.Upadhyaya, Director of Bhavan's Mungalal Goenka Institute of Post-Graduate Studies and Research. The present monograph in an abridged version of his original thesis.

We hope the work will enrich the field of Indology in general and Vedic studies in particular.

Preface

The Indra-Vrtra myth in the major myth in the Vedic literature. Indra was highly eulogized by the Vedic seers, for having killed fierce demon and arch enemy Vrtra. According to the Satapatha-Brahmana, the basic yajna ritual of darsapaurnamasesti was formulated Indra to kill Vrtra. The Indra-Vrtra myth is at the centre stage of the Vedic literature, so much so that no Vedic scholar can claim to have completed his Vedic studies, unless he has studied the Indra-Vrtra myth and made up his opinion about the nature of Vrtra. It is like Bhagavadgita in the discipline of the Indian Philosophy. And therefore, since ancient days, scholars have expressed different opinions about the nature of Vrtra. The text of Nirukta dating back to 3000B.P. or earlier, quotes three opinions prevailing in those times. When the western scholars took up the Vedic studies in the modern times, they came out with altogether different views. So also the modern day Indian scholars have expressed their opinions on the nature of Vrtra. All these modern scholars have given their interpretations in the light of modern day knowledge covering the scientific and sociological disciplines of studies. Summary of their opinions is given and commented in the text.

The present author too was involved in studying the Vedic literature and had to study the Indra-Vrtra myth. At the time he took up his studies in early 1980s, the "Plate tectonic" theory of the movement of Earth's crust had just been developed. He was familiar with the basic postulates of the "Plate tectonics". On studying the various aspects of the Indra-Vrtra conflict in the Rgveda, he concluded that the demon Vrtra, as described in the text of Rgveda, was neither a demon nor a cloud or serpent, but was an earthen bund formed due to tectonic upheavals in the Indus and the neighbouring region, which is tectonically sensitive region.

His papers dealing with the Indra-Vrtra myth were first published in the Annals Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (Pathak: 1983, 1984, 1986). Dr. G.B. Palsule, then editor of Annals (A.B.O.R.I.), encouraged author to go in dept of the Indra-Vrtra myth. Later on Prof. S.A. Upadhyaya, Director, P.G. & Research Dept. of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, took keen interest in the topic and made it possible for the author to get registered as a Ph.D. student with Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. The present volume is the abridged version of the Ph.D. thesis submitted by the author to the University of Mumbai, with a few additions incorporating his later research.

The author had to study the Indra-Vrtra myth when his wife agreed to offer Vedic Sanskrit for her Post-graduation, when they both studied the Visvamitra-Nadi dialogue hymns (RVI.32 and III.33) together. It was then clear to the author that the Indra-Vrtra myth was being the terrestrial Phenomena. Buy for his wife consenting to offer the Vedic Sanskrit for her P.G. studies, it was very unlikely that the author would have ever studied it. She had to indirectly suffer for it. The Indra-Vrtra myth absorbed me so much that I went ahead with studying, some times neglecting my duties of a house-holder. I know, she has no regrets but appreciates it.

Prof. S.A. Upadhyaya took keen interest in the topic. But for his guidance and constant encouragement, it would not have been possible initially to submit the thesis and now to get it in print. As a mark of deep respect I dedicate this volume to him.

The library staff of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mumbai; K.R. Cama Oriental Institute, Mumbai and Deccan Collage, Pune have co-operated during the literature survey. Author thanks them sincerely. Shri Girish Jani and Smt. Prachi Moghe, Asst. Directors of Bhavan's P.G. & Research Dept., took real troubles to go through the text, did proof-reading and editing of the text. Author thanks them sincerely.

I am thankful to the University of Mumbai for kindly permitting me to publish this thesis (vide Letter no. Th/6060 of 1997 dated 21-8-1997). Thanks are also due to Publishers, the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, to publish this work.

The lost few words for my wife and two daughters. They patiently endured my obsession with the Indra-Vrtra myth. In India we don't thank our wives, sons or daughters. That's being too formal. The author too does not want to set that precedent of expressing just formal thanks.

Back of the Book

Dr. Pramod Vishnupant Pathak (b.1951) is a Chemical and Environment Engineer by profession. He did his B.Tech. from Nagpur University in 1972 and M.Tech. from I.I.T., Mumbai in 1974. He was awarded Ph.D. in Ancient Indian Culture by the University of Mumbai in 1992. His thesis is entitled as "Tectonic Upheavals in the Indus Region and Interpretation of the Vrtra Myth" which he prepared under guidance of Prof. S.A. Upadhyaya, Director of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan's Mungalal Goenka Institute of Post-Graduate Studies and Research. His deep interest in the Ancient Indian Culture and the Vedic literature prompted him to do research in Indology and the Indus Culture. He has established correlation of the famous 'Pasupati' seal from Mohenjodaro with the Atharvavedic hymns II. 34, with presiding deity Pasupati. Later on he showed that many Indus seals are pictorial representations of the Atharvavedic hymns. In his recent book on Archaeology and Ethno-archaeology of Afghanistan, 'The Afghan Connection', Dr. P.V. Pathak has dealt in depth with the Rigvedic past of Afghanistan and identified the 'Dasa' tribes and their purs being located in the Seistan province of Southern Afghanistan. More than forty research articles are to his credit.

In the present books, Dr. Pathak has thrown light on the nature of Rigvedic demon Vrtra, the archenemy of Indra. Author has elaborated the geological and tectonic background of the Indra-Vrtra conflict in the Rigvedic lore and has shown that Vrtra was an earthen bund formed due to tectonic upheavals in the Indus river valley and the neighbouring region. He has given rc by rc explanation on the nature of Vrtra who held captive the river waters. He has further correlated the Vrtra myth with Vrtra myth with Verethragna in the Avestan lore and Vahagna in Armenian folk-lore. This book is an abridged version of his Ph.D. thesis.

Contents

Forewordiv
Prefacev
Table of Figuresviii
List of Abbreviationsviii
Chapter IPlate Tectonic Model of the Earth1
Chapter IIPlate Tectonic and Rocking of the Indus and Neighbouring Region10
Chapter IIIInstances of Tectonic Upheavals in the Indus Valley and Neighbouring Region28
Chapter IVThe Earlier Interpretations39
Chapter VThe Vrtra Myth in the Rgveda107
Chapter VISaga of Vrtra Killing168
Chapter VIIOther Gods and Deities associated with the slaying of Vrtra181
Chapter VIIIDemonology of Vrtra183
Chapter IXConquest and Release of Gauh by Indra – An Interpretation198
Chapter XConclusions202
Bibliography204
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