I believe Arya culture is a lot more ancient than Westernized Indology suggests; although how old I do not know. Arya is a culture, civilization, philosophy and faith rather than ethnicity. It was geographically spread from Iran, to the southern former Soviet Republics, Afghanistan, Tibet, Thailand, Vietnam, Loas, Cambodia, Malaysia, Sumatra, Java, Bali, Sri Lanka; although I don’t know what geography it was “founded” from so to speak. Its offshoots are the East Europeans, Germanic tribes, Romans, Greeks. Maybe they are more than offshoots and part of the original civilization.
Given how little modern science and archaeology knows; perhaps Western Indology Oriental dating needs to be reevaluated. Only an almost infinitely small fraction of ancient artifacts have survived father time; including 385,000 year old tools found in South Asia recently. Here are other articles about this.
Recent very fine comments at Brown Pundits have discussed the relationship between Buddhism and Sanathana Dharma. I see the Buddhist family of threads as part of the broader Sanathana Dharma family of families of threads. The great enlightened master Shakyamuni Gautama Buddha revived and enriched far more ancient masters and teachings. Buddha said he was Rama and Kapila reborn. Kapila is the founder of Samkhya, one of the ten schools of Sanathana Dharma:
- Mīmāmsā (also called Purva Mīmāmsā)
There are significant similarities between Buddhism, Nagarjuna (founder of Madhyamaka Buddhism–a subset of Mahayana Buddhism), and Alatasanti Prakarana, or the fourth chapter of Gaudapada’s Māṇḍukya Kārikā. Gaudapada is the guru of Govinda, who is the Guru of Shankaracharya. Multiple sourcing from many eastern calendars and records place Shankaracharya’s date of birth at 509 BC, including but not limited to the 5 Shankaracharya maths in India. Since this date comes from so many literary and historical sources from so many places around South Asia, this date might be correct. Which would date the Alatasanti Prakarana significantly before modern historians date Shakyamuni Gautama Buddha. Which is additional evidence that Buddha may have lived before 1000 BC. Some say Buddha lived 1800 BC. If Buddha was a contemporary of Zarathustra, there is some data consistent with Zarathustra being born 1200 BC to 1500 BC.
I suspect but don’t have evidence that Buddha built upon and enriched great existing streams inside Sanathana Dharma. Buddha said he was a reincarnation of Rama and Kapila, the father of Samkhya Darshana and a figure in Jainism. [The Dalai Lama frequently praises Samkhya philosophy.] Some elements of Buddhism do not have similarities with known Samkhya texts. Could it be that Buddhism has embedded within it some ancient now lost strains of Samkhya philosophy? I do not know, but since almost all Samkhya texts have been lost, it is hard to say. This does not take anything away from Buddha and Buddhism. There is a reason that almost all of Buddha’s disciples were Hindu Brahmins (along with a few Kshatriya Hindus) and virtually all South Asian Buddhists regarded themselves as Hindu Buddhists as recently as the 1941 British Indian census. There is a reason that many Hindu temples and individual Hindu Puja rooms worship Buddha; and why most Hindus so venerate Buddha.
How are Nirvana or Shunya different from Brahman? [Article has been edited to suggest Buddha might have been born before 1000 BC.]