Home Date of Rig Veda Date of Rig veda has always been controversial as it is the oldest surviving literary work. Generally it is put at BC. Let us see how it came to that date and how experts differ on that date. One of the reasons given is that beginnings of human kind cannot be earlier to B. Muller took particular care to ensure that the hypothetical Aryan invasion took place after the Biblical flood and he arbitrarily assigned a date of B.
C to the Rig Veda, which is considered as the oldest among the four Vedas. Since the evidence was flimsy, he recanted his earlier assignment near the end of his life Aryan Invasion theory This Aryan invasion theory was proposed by the British archaeologist Wheeler around the early part of the twentieth century.
According to this theory, all the Vedas were not composed in India. They were composed by members of tribes, the so called Aryans, who invaded India from the Northwest, destroyed the old civilisation in the Indus Valley, supposedly Dravidian, and drove out these original inhabitants to the south of India and other parts.
By this theory the date of Rig Veda is before BC. All the modern archaeologists like Shaffer declare that there is no archaeological evidence for such an invasion; the invasion is a myth propagated by historians. Avesta and Rig Veda It lookslike avestan and vedas are not related , unnecesarily told they are related to create confusion. According to Thapar, the date of Avesta has been controversial, but a mid-second millennium date is now being accepted.
Thapar considers the the Hittite-Mittani treaty as more archaic than the Sanskrit of Rig-Veda and hence dates Rig-Veda to be of a date closer to the language and concept of Avesta. Basham and Max Muller. According to them, the Rig Veda mentions the river Saraswati which disappeared in BCE and so it has to be at least eight centuries older than the Max Muller's arbitrary date of BC. Vedic literature is considered older than Avestan literature by - years though the dating of both is speculative.
The Mittani Indo-Aryan language is considered older than Vedic or Avestan because it has aika instead of eka. Vedic is supposed to to have merged ai to e and hence is considered younger. But if you take the word for seven in Mittani - satta, it is considered to be much later than Vedic. So some folks believe that this dating based on selectively chosen words cannot be trusted fully. If you look at the Avestan and Vedic language you see that 'h' in one language has been renamed as 's' in another.
There are people like Rajesh Kochchar and Romila Thapar who believe that the Vedic people migrated from the Haraxvati Saraswati region in Afghanistan and not the mythical Saraswati flowing underground through Rajasthan. It seems this replacing 's' with 'h' is prevalent in some parts of Rajasthan and Assam even today. One point of view is that it is not possible to find which one came first based on language traits.
The satellite studies indicate this river as completely dried up by the date BCE. The Satellite study cannot refer to the Sarasvati Haraquiti river in Afghanistan since it is a small river that dries up in the desert.
Thus the lower bound for the Vedic civilisation is BCE. Mathematics The knowledge of mathematics in Rigveda and related texts is another important evidence. Rigveda not only mentions the decimal number system for integers but also the infinity. It mentions in detail the spoked wheel with arbitrary number of spokes 1.
Clearly such verses would imply that these authors knew the associated mathematical properties of circle and square. These books are later than the Rigveda Samhita.
Even though Dutta made a detailed study of these books around and showed that the theorem attributed to Pythogoras is contained in these books in a more general form, the western indologists like Keith or Whitney earlier did not pay much attention since they were convinced, without any proof, that all the sciences in ancient India - mathematics, astronomy etc.
Recall that the Egyptian pyramids are used as tombs for the dead. There is no ancient Egyptian literature for the detailed construction of these pyramids. Astronomy Rigveda and all other ancient books contain several statements of astronomical significance like the position of Sun in the Zodiac on the two equinoxes, vernal or spring equinox and autumn equinox.
Indian Astronomy is based on sidereal Zodiac. The Zodiac is divided into 27 roughly equal segments, all are measuring 20' of arc. The seventh mandala of the Rigveda records the vernal equinox in Mrigashira Constellation pointing to a date around BCE - a fact noted by Jacobi and Tilak. Since a visible pole star occurs only at certain epochs, such a citation gives a normal range of dates for that event.
The astronomical dates put the dates before BC. Since the date of cotton is well established, again we get a lower bound on the Rig Vedic date. Sages Rigveda repeatedly refers to ancient sages and modern sages. The age associated with these ancient sages can be called as the high Rig Vedic period which is declared to be BCE or early. The dates have to much earlier than that. Vedic term "ayas", interpreted as iron. There is no reason to insist that in such earlier Vedic times, 'ayas' meant iron, particularly since other metals are not mentioned in the 'Rig Veda' except gold that is much more commonly referred to than ayas.
Hence it is clear that 'ayas' generally meant metal and not specifically iron. Moreover, the enemies of the Vedic people in the 'Rig Veda' also use ayas, even for making their cities, as do the Vedic people themselves. Hence there is nothing in Vedic literture to show that either the Vedic culture was an ironbased culture or that there enemies were not. He chides those who have been "using both their brains and chair to save the Vedic Aryans from the Harappan authorship".
But isn't it ironical that we couldn't identify any of the archaeological cultures with literary cultures?
He has no doubt that the Rig Vedic Aryans were the authors of the Harappan civilisation.