Jaydeepsinh Rathod on the historocity of Sanskriti


But it can, however, be used to argue against an origin in India – the Indo-Gangetic plain is also a spread zone, but the demographic weight of agricultural populations mean that spread of a language is much more difficult here – which is why Scythian and Hunnic and Turkic conquerors haven’t left any linguistic descendants in the subcontinent

Here is where you need to remember that there was already considerable demographic weight in the Bronze Age itself in the Indus civilization. This means that steppe nomads coming in from the North in the 2nd millenium BC quite simply could not have had the enormous success in changing the linguistic landscape going by what as you yourself indicate happened with the later migrants.

If IE languages originated in India, we would expect at least one other basal branch of the family to be found in South Asia. That is, there should be some other IE subfamily in or around India that is about as different from Indo-Aryan as the European IE languages are.

Almost all the books that give an overview on the Indo-European language family, pretend as if all Indo-Aryan languages descend from the Rgvedic Sanskrit. However the reality is far more complex.

You must be aware of the canonical language of the Buddhists – Pali. Well,

“Pali as a MIA language is different from Sanskrit not so much with regard to the time of its origin than as to its dialectal base, since a number of its morphonological and lexical features betray the fact that it is not a direct continuation of Rgvedic Sanskrit;rather it descends from a dialect
(or a number of dialects) which was (/were), despite many similarities, different from Rgvedic. ”

” Some examples may help to illustrate this point: (1) (ug-/pag)gharati ‘oozes’ points back to a form * °g^arati (from PII *y/gzhar, see Avestan Vyzar) which reflects the voiced cluster of PIE *Vdhg-her ‘to flow, move forcefully’ as against Vedic ksdrati and Greek (pdeipo)\ (2) we meet with the same difference of voiced and surd consonant in ljhayati ‘burns, is on fire’ (andjhana- ‘f\XQ\jhdpaka- ‘incendiary’, jhapana- ‘setting on firQ\jhdpeti ‘sets on f\xt\jhama- ‘on fire’) and xghdyati ‘is burnt, is tormented’, on the one hand, and OIA y/ksd on the other, continuations of PIE *y/dhg*heH; (3) (anupa/ano/uj)jagghati ‘laughs at’ – as well as the Rgvedic hapax jdjhjhati- ‘laughing’ (5.52.6).- is a dialectical variant from Indo-Iranian *fhlagzhati as against KV(+)jaksa ° (< */a-^s-a °)”

This base dialect (or dialects) of Pali was (/were) in several points more archaic than Rgvedic Sanskrit: (1) (i)dha ‘here’4 (see p. 91) directly continues – other than Rgvedic ihd – PIE * °dhe (see Greek evep0€)\ and (2) kinati ‘buys’ has preserved – other than Rgvedic krinati (with the -f- from kritd- < *krrih2t6~) – the original short -f- of the present stem *krrineh2-. One of the dialects on which Pali rests seems to have had affinities with the language of the holy texts of Zarathustrism, the Avesta: (1) nharu- ‘sinew’ (< *snarut- < *snaurt-) agrees with Avestan snauuard against Vedic (AV+) snavan-2; (2) (a)sata- ‘(tfiis)fortune, (un)pleasant’3 is a continuation of *sata-9 which belongs to PII *ciatd~ (< PIE *k~iehIt6- [see Latin quietus]). Since (OIA) *cyata~ and (Pali) *cata- are to be expected, Yaska’s and Patanjali’s records, that the Kambojas of eastern Iran had a word savati cto go’ (Nirukta II2, Mahabhasya 19,25-26) which answers to Avestan s(ii)auua(ite) and not to the OIA pendant cydva(ti), is of particular interest.”


There were several Prakrit languages besides Pali in ancient India like Magadhi, Sauraseni, Paisachi, Maharashtri, Gandhari etc. and none of them can be considered as a direct descendent of Rigvedic Sanskrit. So there was considerable linguistic diversity in ancient India in the Indo-European languages. However due to the dominant and outsized role of Sanskrit, most of these other lesser known languages got heavily influenced by Sanskrit and lost their individuality.

Have you heard of the language Bangani spoken in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, North India ? It is a kentum language found in the foothills of the Himalayas deep within North India.

“The language seems to have retained some very archaic structures, retaining PIE k-, -l~-, g- and -g-. Many. words in Bangani unlike other IA languages of the region have not witnessed palatalization defying RUKi Rule. It is difficult to prove at this point whether this is because of its affiliation to Kenturn language as claimed by Zoller. However, on the basis of the first-hand data acquired during these two field trips. ,it can be said without any prejudices and with some certainly that some Western Indo-European language (perhaps Tokharian) of which we have no knowledge so far. either had a significant role in substratumizing Bangani or, Bangani itself was genetically related to this unknown Western IE language. ,b>There are many other features in the language such as existence of O as against a of I.Ir., pre-verbal auxiliaries (without being a V2 language system), and post auxiliary negatives that may also be seen as retentions of archaic structure in Bangani of which traces are only in Indo-European languages


Besides, Tokharian was itself spoken not very far off from the Indian subcontinent. Rigvedic Sanskrit is also one of the earliest attested IE languages and that too within South Asia itself with its geographic vision already spread out from Afghanistan in the West to Western UP in the East.


There are very early borrowings between Indo-European languages and Uralic, Caucasian, and Afro-Asiatic (perhaps specifically Semitic) languages. Many borrowings into Uralic are in fact specifically from the Indo-Iranian branch of IE. Of course, none of these other language families are natively found anywhere near India, except Semitic languages in eastern Arabia that are separated from India by hundreds of miles of water. The steppe hypothesis accounts well for Uralic and Caucasian borrowings, and the Afro-Asiatic borrowings fit plausibly into the narrative as well.

You should know that the Indus civilization’s influence was quite substantial in the Eastern Iranian civilizations of Helmand (Shahr i Sokhta) and Jiroft as well as BMAC in Central Asia. The present genetic study supports this very well. Besides these civilizations were using Indian Zebu cattle and to this day, the dominant cattle in Eastern Iran and Central Asia is the Zebu cattle.

Together with the Indus civilization, these Eastern Iranian & Central Asian civilizations combined were spread over an enormous expanse.

These civilizations were from a very early period of time in contact with the Mesopotamian civilization. There were even colonies of Indus civilization migrants within the cities of ancient Mesopotamia. So a language contact with Semitic wouldn’t be all that difficult now would it ?

The Uralic or Finno-Ugric languages according to more recent thinking is said to not date earlier than 2000 BC with its earliest contacts being with Indo-Iranian and only later with European IE languages. The contacts with the Indo-Iranian can be easily accounted for by the fact that during the Bronze Age the BMAC civilization was in contact with the steppe groups in the North and its influence is found at sites such as Sintashta. This could have been the time when the Indo-Iranian languages exerted their influence on Finno-Ugric. Or it could well have been just the later Scythian Iranians who definitely spread over a wide area of the steppe, who could have influence the Finno-Ugrics.

As far as Caucasian is concerned, most of Caucasian language contacts are i believe with the European languages and certainly not with Indo-Aryan. The language contacts with the European IE dialects could be accounted for the migration of these languages from Central Asia to steppe via the Caucasus.


Pervasive retroflection is an areal feature of South Asian languages, not a genetic feature of Indo-European languages, and its presence in Indo-Aryan languages suggests that they are originally intrusive to South Asia.

Retroflexion is a pervasive areal feature of the entire South Asian region but it is not an argument against an Out of India movement of IE languages.

There is no good reason why IE languages, if they spread from India, should preserve retroflexion while they traversed through linguistic zones which had no retroflexion. A case in point – the Romani languages have lost retroflexion inspite of them being clearly derived from India.


We can see the spread of DNA from the steppe to India over time – the Swat Valley ADNA shows this, and studies of modern and ancient R1a show that the diversity of branches within India is relatively recent, and that virtually all Indian R1a belongs to a sister clade to Eastern European R1a, and diverged from the European lineages right when the steppe hypothesis would predict. Indian-like R1a is found on the steppe among Scythian nomads, who bear a lot of steppe DNA, and no Indian DNA. In fact, there is no spread of any distinctly Indian genetic markers throughout the rest of the Indo-European speaking world, while we do see R1a, R1b, and/or Yamnaya-like ancestry in virtually every IE-speaking population of Eurasia.

First things first, we have aDNA from steppe from as early as 24000 YBP ( MA-1). We also have the EHG, the Steppe_EN, the steppe_EMBA and the steppe_MLBA samples in plenty. Contrast this with only aDNA from Swat in South Asia which is still younger than even the Steppe_MLBA. You find both these situations equitable ? Seriously ?

The ANE (MA-1) type ancestry is not necessarily of steppe origin. It is usually associated with y-dna R, Q and their ancestor P. Y-dna P is deep rooted in SE Asia. While South Asia has deeply divergent clades of y-dna R & Q. South Asia has R2 lineages which are restricted to South Asia and its peripheries in Iran & Central Asia. There are some deeply divergent R1b clades in South & Central Asia. And if you are not already aware, the Underhill paper of 2014, found the greatest basal diversity of R1a in Iran and not on the steppe. Unfortunately, that Underhill paper took very few samples from South Asia so it was meaningless as far as South Asia is concerned. Indian geneticists, recently in an article in the Hindu newspaper, clearly stated that they have some unpublished data from India which shows R1a basal diversity in South Asians. So therefore there is little evidence to suggest that Indian R1a is derived from Steppe R1a.

You cannot compare the R1a diversity from ancient steppe with modern R1a diversity in South Asia. You have to compare apples with apples. You cannot compare apples with oranges. Similarly, you have to have a good solid set of aDNA from different periods of history of South Asia, the same way we have for steppe. Only then can a meaningful comparison be made. Trying to forego this legitimate demand is quite frankly totally unfair and dishonest.

And as far as Indian DNA is concerned, what the hell is ‘Indian DNA’ ? Does it mean that it should have ASI ancestry ? And that anything that does not have ASI ancestry cannot have ancestry from South Asia ? Well, that is a most puerile and pathetic argument. What evidence do we have that the hunter gatherers from South Asia were ASI-like and nothing else. Do we have aDNA from South Asian hunter-gatherers ? We surely do not. So why do we assume that ASI like ancestry is the only ancestry of South Asian hunter-gatherers and every other type of ancestry is intrusive to South Asia ? There is absolutely no basis for this naive assumption.

And in case you’re wondering, there is indeed ASI ancestry in the steppe_MLBA samples. Look for those Turan -related outliers among the steppe_MLBA group. Read between pages 140-164 of the Supplementary text, especially the terminal portion and also have a look at the tables of qpAdm proximal models for these Turan related outliers. These steppe_mlba clearly had BMAC ancestry and BMAC people had in turn substantial South Asian ancestry.

As for the steppe-related ancestry in South Asians. let me add this – there is already steppe related ancestry among the Copper Age samples from Central Asia from the current Narasimhan et al paper, which are several centuries older to the Yamnaya. Samples from the site of Sarazm dated to 3600 BCE infact have a very high proportion of steppe related ancestry estimated at 23 %. In contrast, the Swat Iron Age samples, who suppossedly had steppe_mlba admixture only had about 20 % steppe related ancestry.

Hence, considering the very old ANE (ancestral steppe) related y-dna R & Q subclades in South Asia and considering the early presence of steppe_related ancestry in Central Asia, there is no good reason to believe that some additional steppe ancestry came to South Asia in the 2nd millennium BC unless of course we have good no of samples from the Indus civilization that prove that they had significantly less steppe-related ancestry than the later Iron Age samples.

Might try to clean up mangled quoted text later.


48 Replies to “Jaydeepsinh Rathod on the historocity of Sanskriti”

  1. Jaydeepsinh Rathod , why do some assume that Pali is derived directly from Sankrit? Couldn’t Pali be derived from another extinct dead language that in turn was derived from Sanskrit?

    Fraxinicus, I deeply enjoy reading your perspectives and keep providing them. Let us conduct a thought experiment. Based on linguistic evidence alone, wouldn’t it be possible to make a case that ancient Egyptian, Sumerian, Indo-Iranian Aryan languages, culture and civilizations are all more than 10,000 years old. Note I am not saying that there is definitive strong evidence that all of them are more than 10,000 year old and neither I am I referring to non linguistic evidence (such as DNA, archaeology). Rather this is a thought experiment based on linguistic evidence alone.

    Carbon dating doesn’t work in dating continuously inhabited living cities and artifacts (since the same artifact is continually handled by human beings over thousands of years). We don’t know how old the ancient habitations and artifacts of Egypt, Sumeria, Iran, Kazakstan, Tibet, SAARC, Cambodia and Indonesia are.

    The ancient eastern texts based on my reading describe many ancient cultures spread out over much of Asia. The concept that Arya civilization was somehow linked to SAARC countries did not exist until European Indologists suggested it.

    Here is another thought experiment. Might there have been a cold age or health pandemic that killed most of the population of Asia in the past. Then a small group of survivors would repopulated Asia afterwards. Could this explain some DNA geneology findings. Again, these are thought experiments rather than definitive statements. I don’t know what happened in the past.

    My reading of ancient eastern texts suggest the possibility that homo sapiens might have been taught Sanskrit, Tamil, other ancient languages, and other ancient technologies from some other now extinct hominid. I don’t know if this is true or not. [DNA evidence that South East Asians are over 50,000 years old suggests they could have learned many technologies from other hominids.] My point is that perhaps we need to examine a wide variety of hypotheses.

    Are South East Asians be the original Arya people? Or did they learn it from homo sapien trees older than themselves?

    We need to throw away most of what academic historians now suspect happened in the past and start from scratch.

  2. “Based on linguistic evidence alone, wouldn’t it be possible to make a case that ancient Egyptian, Sumerian, Indo-Iranian Aryan languages, culture and civilizations are all more than 10,000 years old.”

    Absolutely not. First of all, there is no archeological evidence of civilizations more than 10,000 years old. You can fudge the timing of linguistic splits by perhaps a few thousand years in the absence of other data, but you can’t do that with radiocarbon dating.

    And while glottochronology isn’t yet a precise science, we have a general idea of how much language can change over given periods of time due to written records of the ancient versions of later languages. Even if there are cases of significant conservatism over spans of up to a thousand years, these are rare cases, and there are no cases of that kind of conservatism over much longer time spans. Just looking at Indo-Aryan languages, we have inscriptions in Prakrit dating to the 3rd century BC, and even the most conservative living Indo-Aryan languages are significantly diverged from Prakrits, moreso than Prakrits are from Sanskrit. So, we would expect the period when Sanskrit was a living spoken language like modern English or Hindi to have been less than the ~2300 years which separates Hindi from the most ancient preserved Prakrits. If we’re generous and allow Sanskrit a full 2300 years of antiquity over Ashoka’s inscriptions (which is very unlikely), Sanskrit as a spoken language wouldn’t date back beyond ~2600 BC.

    And the difference between reconstructed late (after Anatolian split off) Proto-Indo-European and Sanskrit is roughly comparable to that between Sanskrit and Prakrits. Even if we’re very generous and allow 3000 years between Sanskrit and late PIE, that puts us somewhere between 5000 and 6000 BC – and this is being very, very, very generous with assumptions of linguistic conservatism in the period before written records. So, on strictly linguistic grounds, the entire Indo-European language family is exceedingly unlikely to be more than 10,000 years old, and obviously that means that there can’t be a specifically Indo-Iranian civilization that goes back even farther.

    In fact, linguists generally cite 10k years as the upper limit at which the methods of historical linguistics can prove a relationship between two languages. For certain language families with highly distinctive morphology that is especially likely to preserve certain diagnostic grammatical morphemes, the basic fact of a relationship can be established at somewhat longer time depths, even if very little of the proto-language can be reconstructed. Afro-Asiatic and Dene-Yeniseian are the only two widely accepted language families that probably go back further than 10k years.

    The inverse is true for certain other language families, whose relatively limited morphology shortens the time depth at which linguistic relationships can be proven. It wouldn’t be surprising at all if many language families of East and Southeast Asia turned out to be related, and people have been trying to do this for a long time. But if a relationship does exist between, say, Austroasiatic, Tai-Kadai, Sino-Tibetan, Hmong-Mien, and Austronesian, it probably dates back to the invention of agriculture in East Asia, and is too far back for linguists to prove even if such a relationship does exist, because these languages lack the kind of diagnostically useful morphology that helped establish the Afro-Asiatic and Dene-Yeniseian families. Even relationships at a time depth the same as Indo-European (~5-6k years) might be difficult to establish between some of these families, due to the limited morphology of some of them (especially Tai-Kadai and Hmong-Mien).

    1. Hello Fraxinicus,
      I’m an amateur and a wannabe familiar with Dravidian linguistics (phonology of Proto-Dravidian, word formation in Proto-Dravidian majorly) so I’m not at all well-versed in Indo-Aryan linguistics, leave alone Indo-European linguistics. If you are somewhat of an advanced student of/ expert in Indo-European and Indo-Aryan linguistics, could you please consider addressing the points raised in the comment posted as an article here? Many of these are perhaps addressed in linguistics journals but they do not percolate into lay public conversation that easily. Not that there would not be some kind of a cascade of neverending objections and addressals/further objections, but perhaps some kind of voice from the mainstream position regarding Proto-Indo-European dialectisation and dispersals and inferences from these considerations about possible Proto-Indo-European homeland locations, that somewhat covers somewhat deep linguistic issues on a broad yet deep level (I’m finding it difficult to word my aspiration) may be a not-very-bad idea, at least as a representative on Brown Pundits, limited to a single or couple of comments perhaps? There used to be an excellent linguist on Brown Pundits whose username was Slapstik (don’t know his area of study- whether it is Indo-Iranian linguistics or Indo-European linguistics or both) but he is not writing on Brown Pundits unfortunately now. While I take this opportunity to wish out aloud that something in the world makes him come back here again, I again repeat the request to you that I have been making above and ask you to consider addressing the points mentioned.

      Some bibilography (am not following any standard citation style here) that I think may be of importance to the issue (not suggesting to you but in general to the readers) (and I did not study most of these sources also):

      1. The various sections on Indo-Iranian languages in various chapters, especially page 251 in the chapter “Contact and Convergence” in the book “The Languages and Linguistics of South Asia: A Comprehensive Guide”, edited by Hans Henrich Hock, Elena Bashir and K. V. Subbarao

      2. The paper titled “Out of India? The linguistic evidence.” by Hans Henrich Hock in “Aryan and Non-Aryan in South Asia: Evidence, interpretation, and ideology”, Proceedings of the International Seminar on Aryan and Non-Aryan in South Asia, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 25-27 October, 1996, 1-18, ed. by Johannes Bronkhorst and Madhav M. Deshpande. Harvard Oriental Series, Opera Minora, 3. 1999
      (This paper is not accessible to me but the following presentation and also the book above seem to have referred to this paper)

      3. A presentation that I found online dating to 2012 given by Out of India theorist Shrikant Talageri accessible here- http://ancientvoice.wdfiles.com/local–files/article%3Arigveda-and-avesta-the-final-evidence/The%20Out%20of%20India%20Theory%203%20-%20The%20Linguistic%20Case.pdf
      (I scanned through the document but could not understand and evaluate the arguments being made due to lack of expertise in the subject)

      4. The book titled “The Rigveda and the Avesta: The final evidence.” by Shrikant Talageri. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan
      (I did not read this book- I conjecture this 2008 book may be the one on which the above presentation may have been based, and it is also the relevant linguistics views presented in this book that were broadly (and seemingly not-in-depth?) addressed in the page 251 of the 2016 book “The Languages and Linguistics of South Asia” that I mentioned in 1)

      1. I’ve responded to some of Jaydeepsinh’s points in my second comment on this post, and I don’t intend to write further about the matter. As you imply, these kinds of arguments turn into endless back and forth of minutiae, and it’s very tiring work for not much gain. There will always be a few more pieces of evidence that make sense in light of OIT, even if they are completely dwarfed by the evidence against it.

        This Wikipedia article (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indo-Aryan_migration) is better than any post I could make, and I can vouch for the validity of its linguistic arguments. This kind of avalanche of information, which is all most parsimoniously explained by AIT/AMT, is the best way to refute OIT. If you want something more tailored for Brown Pundits, I would suggest reaching out to Slapstik and requesting a one-off article about Indo-Iranian linguistics in light of AIT/AMT. It’s probably an important thing for this site to have what with the new increase in traffic from India.

  3. Responding now to Jaydeepsinh:

    1. Linguistic overturn of agricultural societies by pastoral nomads is possible – see Turkey, Azerbaijan, Hungary. Even outside of ideal spread zones like the steppe, linguistic overturn is possible.

    Pali isn’t descended from Sanskrit, but it’s descended from a very closely related dialect. The presence of dialects in the Vedic period doesn’t push back its antiquity very far at all – American and British forms of English are probably no more different than Sanskrit and proto-Pali, but both have only been separated for a few hundred years.

    Bangani is an interesting case, but it doesn’t make the case for IE originating in India. Europe still has far more diversity of basal branches (which doesn’t prove Europe as the urheimat, just makes it a better fit on grounds of diversity than India), even if Bangani does in fact represent another basal branch of IE, and does in fact have a very long history in India. You can explain Bangani away with a single wayward migration of Tocharians.

    2. IVC influence didn’t go far beyond BMAC or Iran. Indo-Iranian loans into Uralic are from far before the period of Scythians, and the kind of loans indicate a very close relationship between the two groups – so some mysterious steppe mediator between an II BMAC culture and Uralics is unlikely.
    IIRC it’s the Semitic/Afro-Asiatic vocabulary that is weighted towards European IE languages. I don’t think the same applies to Caucasian loanwords.

    3. Retroflection vanishing from one small language family spoken by a group with a history of massive linguistic influence from surrounding cultures is one thing. Retroflection vanishing from every other branch of Indo-European is another.

    4. You’ll need to provide citations about India R1a if you want to maintain its antiquity. It doesn’t matter if there are many R1a lineages in India, if all of them are closely related to each other at a time depth of only a few thousand years, and are a sister clade to European R1a, and have the earliest members of their clade discovered on the steppe.

    1. Also, the odd status of Bangani is disputed by some scholars. It might just be another generic Indo-Aryan satem language.

      1. But some very knowledgeable scholars like Anvita Abbi and Hans Henrich Hock did not dispute the idea of Bangani having a centum-like layer either. Hock for example in a footnote on the page 9 of the book “The Languages and Linguistics of South Asia: A Comprehensive Guide” cites an older article of his in which he wrote: “the evidence … is highly suggestive; but a larger amount of words of the same type would certainly be helpful to allay worries that we might be dealing with chance similiarities.” and that “The issue deserves fuller investigation.”

    2. the south asian branch of r1a is characterized by z93 mutation. it’s found in central & south asia. earliest evidence is found in sbrubna ppl nearly ~4,000 years ago.

      1. Razib, is DNA genealogy analysis based both on the number of generations (with an assumption for years per generation) as well as pure time decay based on radioactivity?

  4. Fraxinicus, appreciate your time and energy. I would rather not focus on DNA genealogy on this article since Razib Khan and many other genetic experts and genetic enthusiasts might not be reading this; and I would love to get their input to my questions. I still have a long list of questions to ask them.

    I love math and obviously would love to analyze data using a modified Glottochronology framework. For the sake of all other readers, here is a summary:

    L = rate of replacement = -ln(c)/t = 2ln(r)
    r = glottochronological constant
    t = period of time from one stage of the language to another (usually 1000 years)
    c = proportion of language wordlist items retained at the end t (time period)
    This theoretical framework was first calculated in the 1950s. It was fit to model so to speak (much the way derivatives are priced to model versus marked to market). L is generally estimated to be 0.86 per thousand years.

    But what if L is much higher than people think? What if L fluctuates over time and varies by language? Then we would need a nonlinear model to understand patterns in L.

    For example let us say the ancient Latin is more than 5,000 years old? Then L (which was initially computed based on the length of time between Latin and Romance languages) would be much higher than 0.86. Maybe 0.96?

    You see where I am going? What if L for ancient Sanskrit and ancient Tamil are 0.99?

    Eastern tradition and texts can be interpreted in ways that do not presuppose that Sanskrit was a language widely used by commoners for day to day conversations . . . rather they are consistent with many simultaneous languages being in common use. Maybe the Sanskrit language was “locked” so to speak after the publication of Panini’s grammar and Patanjali’s commentary of Panini’s grammar. Maybe L for Sanskrit and Tamil has been more than 0.99 ever since?

    Patanjali is thought to be a contemporary of Thirumular. This implies that Tirumantirum, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Patanjali’s Mahabhashya on Panini’s Astadhyayi, Patanjalatantra were composed around the same time. According to thousands of ancient records Krishna lived around 3228 BC to 3102 BC. But during Krishna’s lifetime Patanjali was considered to be vastly more ancient and shrouded in pre history than Krishna’s lifetime is considered today. This would imply that Patanjali and Tirumular lived long before 8,000 BC. Their ethnicity is not known; but they could have been different types of hominids since they are not thought to have been born of normal biological mothers. They taught what they taught and then disappeared. [Patanjali is considered to be a special type of snake.]


    This is why ancient estimates for the life of Patanjali and Tirumular are all over the map. 10,000 years ago. 20,000 years ago. Even longer back.

    The eastern texts describe many different types of human and hominid genealogies. Perhaps some are African, Tibetan, South East Asian homo sapiens. Perhaps some are now extinct hominids. Maybe they are the original Arya peoples. I am skeptical of claims that ancient Arya were “fair skinned” and do not agree with “I am so hot because I am fair skinned” mentality.

    My hope would be that archaeology gets a 100 X increase in funding and reevaluates everything through an open lens. Be open to the possibility that many civilizations around the world “MIGHT” be more than 10,000 years old. They might not be too.

    Much of modern linguistics makes several assumptions from the time of Ferdinand de Saussure and his semiotics. Shouldn’t all these assumptions be reevaluated from the ground up? We now know for example that the world is more than 6,000 years old.

    Fraxinicus, you made many good points that I hope to address later and I would love to touch base offline.

    Slapstik–you are badly missed. Please join us again soon!

    1. “Eastern tradition and texts can be interpreted in ways that do not presuppose that Sanskrit was a language widely used by commoners for day to day conversations . . . rather they are consistent with many simultaneous languages being in common use. Maybe the Sanskrit language was “locked” so to speak after the publication of Panini’s grammar and Patanjali’s commentary of Panini’s grammar. Maybe L for Sanskrit and Tamil has been more than 0.99 ever since?”

      You could say that Vedic Sanskrit has had an L of 0.99 for thousands of years, but that’s the only language where 3000+ year old texts have been preserved by oral tradition near-verbatim. In theory the oral tradition could be much older, but again we can’t push the date of Sanskrit back before PIE, and it would be very odd for Prakrits to be so similar to Sanskrit if thousands of years separated them. Very high L values only apply to fossilized literary languages that have ceased to be tied to any colloquial language (which is what Prakrits were before being fossilized into literary standards themselves).

      1. Fraxinicus, many families in India have Vedic texts written down including my own. Presumably because of paper/leaf decay they need to be rewritten every couple hundred years. According to our tradition the Vedas were first written on paper around 3102 BC–which is yet another reason this date is so deeply enshrined in eastern institutional memory. Many Hindus have detailed records of ancestors going back hundreds of generations. The only major landmark that is recorded is 3102 BC.

        Sanskrit and most ancient scriptures were locked from 3102 BC to the present. Before that I don’t know and am guessing. The Valmiki Ramayana records that writing was widely used in the life of Rama (whenever that was) for Vedangas and smritis. There is great uncertainty about dates before 3102 BC. [Note that some scriptures might have been edited for religious, political or other reasons after 3102 BC.]

        To be clear, I think the hypothesis that needs testing is whether many ancient civilizations are much older than we think. Not the ranking of ancient civilizations by age. We also have to be open to the possibility that there were active shipping routes between the Egyptian Red Sea, Sumeria and India going back a long time. Ideas and knowledge might have percolated back and forth.

        For example we know that there was a lot of trade between Sumeria and Egypt; and that there was a lot of trade between Sumeria and the Indus Valley civilization via sea. Those trading routes could be a lot older than we think.

        Another question, how do we know that PIE (Proto Indo European language for home gamers) isn’t much older than we think it is? If homo sapiens are 200,000 years old, PIE could easily be a quarter that many (50,000) or half that many (100,000) years old.

        A question for Razib Khan and the genetics experts; when did homo sapiens first leave Africa? Estimates are all over the map. 115,000 to 185,000 years ago.

        1. According to our tradition the Vedas were first written on paper around 3102 BC–which is yet another reason this date is so deeply enshrined in eastern institutional memory. Many Hindus have detailed records of ancestors going back hundreds of generations. The only major landmark that is recorded is 3102 BC.

          I come from a conservative religious Tamil Brahmin family, and was immersed in religious stories and Indian epics during childhood, but somehow never learned of this date (3102 BC) until much later in life, around the time when the Internet started taking off in India (late 90s) and people started chatting about these topics online. What I read was that this date had been inferred from astrological information embedded in various texts and scripture. I never heard anyone explicitly stating that date, which is why I’m very curious as to why you state that “this date is so deeply enshrined in eastern institutional memory”. Not in my family’s memory, at least.

          Also, our family has virtually no records of ancestors going back even into the 19th century (if I ever get time, or if I get laid off from my job, I aim to go research our origins.) is your background perhaps from a very specific Indian tradition that’s been meticulous about keeping records?

          1. Numinous, interesting perspective. I don’t know for sure how many families keep very detailed genealogies. My family does and many others do.

            You might find out your genealogy by visiting holy places and talking with the local record keepers. They might be able to tell you which of your ancestors visited said holy place. You need your ancestral village name, gotra, and names a few generations before you.

            I remember hearing about 3102 BC when I was four years old. The date is mentioned many times in many Purana Itihasas, the Mahabharata Itihasa and many other texts.

            Whenever a puja or yagnya is done your family probably recites the date based on the Indian calendar. The basic Indian calendar is about 315 trillion years long. You will mention that you are in this day in this year of Brahma’s life. And you are in the 7th manvanthara of this day in the twenty eight Chaturyuga. Five thousand and so many years into Kali Yuga. And you are in this city in this country at this time. and voila . . . you move on to the puja/yajna. I think it is much the same for Hindus all over the world. Many Buddhist Hindus too. The Jains have their own different but extremely detailed calendar.

            The eastern calendar has time time measurements and histories much longer than 315 trillion years (including many different Buddhist and Jain texts that I devoured as a child) but in day to day conversation we assume people know which Brahma we are in (there are many different Brahmas).

            Easterners are extremely meticulous and detail oriented. As a child I was fascinated by sections in the scriptures (multiple Puranas, Mahabharata, different parts of the Vedas including Brihadaranyaka Upanishad) that had sections on science and math. I use to spend hours doing all sorts of mathematical calculations based on what I had read and didn’t know that others did the same until later. In fact this is one of the ways I taught myself number factors, exponents, algebra and geometry. Later I found out that others also were interested in these subjects and that they were called “algebra” and “geometry”.

            Temples, paramparas and various different spiritual orders have very detailed meticulous histories.

            As a child I always assumed that the eastern texts were talking about multiverses and that our big bang universe was but one of an infinite number of looping cyclical universe (plural) along many different dimensions. The vast majority of the eastern “history” corpus so to speak doesn’t discuss homo sapiens but discusses other species, forces of nature, beings from other dimensions and “aliens” for lack of a better word. Maybe the history of events in other solar systems or in other galaxies. Human beings were taught the large majority of these things by non human beings. This is one reason I wonder how much homo sapien technology/culture/civilization was taught to homo sapiens by other now extinct hominids.

            Numinous, assume you know some ancient Sanskrit and Tamil words and have read many ancient texts. If so listen carefully to Pujas, Yajnyas and other rituals. You might be surprised by how much you follow and how closely it relates to what you have read and your own inner moment to moment lived experience. I have learned a lot from this alone; although it took me years to learn that not that many other people paid close attention.

            Physics is advancing the frontiers of knowledge rapidly. Perhaps soon Physics will help explain various different concepts in eastern texts that I have difficulty understanding.

            For example what is Mahat, Brahma or Hiryanyagarbha. Are these three the same thing? And if so are they code for the multiverse we inhabit. What multiverse do we inhabit? As we keep breaking down quarks, Higgs boson particles etc. we might get clues.

            Kashmiri Shaivism breaks things down even more finely than most eastern texts and is hard to understand.

            But if I were you, I would read Tirumantiram . . . one of my all time favorite books. It also had very detailed histories by time and explains many very subtle aspects of our universe and multiverse which are hard to decipher. I believe Tirumantiram explains a lot about the nervous system and different parts of the brain . . . how to feel and use them. How to consciously understand and control many aspects of our nervous system and brain that are normally not consciously used. How to sharply increase our own intelligence and intuition.

            You have a huge advantage over me since you know Tamil and I don’t. I am very dependent on the translation. Here is a free PDF translation:
            My favorite translation is:

  5. Kudos to you Jaydeep.

    Regardless of which view is the correct one (I don’t know if linguistics has much predictive value or falsifiability), what you are doing is very difficult and unappreciated. Fraxinicus stands on the shoulders of a huge ecosystem of linguistic research mostly done at taxpayer expense, with the benefit of expensive university level courses and lots of references and resources to go back to, whereas you are fighting a lone and uphill battle with very few to go by except a rare Talageri-type work, or the rare openness and generosity of an AnAn to publish your views.

    Those in the ecosystem, who have access to all sorts of resources at taxpayer expense, are typically used to taking their facilities for granted and hence will at best not appreciate your initiative and effort, and at worst brand you a troll.

    Just your will power in doing this difficult work, without ecosystem support, is very inspiring.

    1. froginthewell, there have long been many PhD people (some with tenure) in Indology/Sanskrit departments in the US, Europe and India with some of Jaydeep’s views. However most of them were deathly afraid of sharing their views in public (or publishing them on scholarly journals) for fear of being called “Nazi” or other slurs. Many of them use to be very angry and frustrated. Practitioner Hindus and Buddhists have long suffered from the “Nazi” label in global academia. Many of my friends (and myself) decided not to pursue a PhD in Sanskrit for this reason.

      But things are changing in Indology departments. It is less dangerous to express one’s views than in the past. I am hopeful about the thawing that I am seeing. If existing professors and PhD students in Indology/Sanskrit departments were fully free to express their views we would make a a lot of progress.

      Note that the divide isn’t western versus Asian but rather practitioner versus non practitioner post modernist. And the Indian non practitioner marxist post modernist scholars are the worst of the lot.

      1. 1. Thanks, I am pleased to hear about the thaw.

        2. I totally agree that the divide isn’t western vs Asian. Forget indology, within Hinduism, even within vedanta, and within dharmic spirituality I have benefited considerably from insights articulated by westerners. For instance here are two articles on Buddhist/Dharmic spirituality by a westerner, in fact an atheist associated with the “less wrong” community, that totally blew me away: http://slatestarcodex.com/2017/09/18/book-review-mastering-the-core-teachings-of-the-buddha/ http://slatestarcodex.com/2017/09/20/meditative-states-as-mental-feedback-loops/ (highly recommended if you are into spiritual practice).

        In fact, I even have some preference for western practitioner takes on Hindu or Buddhist spirituality, as they tend to articulate things more clearly (which can be attributed to better education system in those countries).

        3. That said, I am not sure the divide is really practitioner vs nonpractitioner either. Practitioners and nonpractitioners have different sets of biases and different sets of insights, and I would say both are needed. Though I will agree that the system is usually heavily loaded against nonpractitioners: remember when Wendy Doniger said she wouldn’t “go so far” (i.e., would go some distance) to say that a Hindu shouldn’t be one to study Hinduism, comparing Hindus studying Hinduism to elephants studying elephants, think of how problematic that would be if instead of Hindus it were some other group that political correctness police supported?

        Usually atheism per se is not the problem, but if it comes with exaggerated notions of your own rationality just because you don’t believe in “a sky god”, I think that epistemic arrogance screws your rationality more than actually believing in the sky god.

        1. froginthewell, I have always had enormous difficulty expressing myself to non meditators. Can you share suggestions on communication?

          Are you willing to be a contributor to Brown Pundits?

          My hope is to write a number of articles on neuroscience and then later come back to discussing eastern thought/philosophy. Maybe this will help with communication?

          “whatever your meditation object is) to a pleasant sensation. You put your attention on that sensation, and maintain your attention on that sensation, and do nothing else…

          What you are attempting to do is set up a positive feedback loop. An example of a positive feedback loop is that awful noise a speaker will make if a microphone is held too close to it. What’s happening is that the ambient noise in the room goes into the microphone, is amplified by the amplifier, and comes out the speaker louder. It then reenters the microphone, gets amplified even more, comes out louder still, goes into the microphone yet again, and so on. You are trying to do exactly the same thing, except, rather than a positive feedback loop of noise, you are attempting to generate a positive feedback loop of pleasure. You hold your attention on a pleasant sensation. That feels nice, adding a bit more pleasure to your overall experience. That addition is also pleasurable, adding more pleasure, and so on, until, instead of getting a horrible noise, you get an explosion of pleasure.”

          Very nicely explained. I would have loved to talk to more normal regular dudes like this one when I was a young child. I could care less if someone regards themselves as an atheist or not. It makes no difference with respect to awareness, beingness so to speak, mystical experience, or religious/spiritual music/poetry. Note that religious/spiritual texts are almost always poetry and often combinations of music and poetry.

          When I was a kid I started reading a translation of the holy Koran [read way too many books on almost every if not every religion] and I found it full of mystical poetry that helped explain moment to moment day to day living experience. It took me decades to understand that most people didn’t read the holy Koran the way I did . . . and had enormous difficulty understanding how I interpreted the Koran. Many muslims interpret the Koran though a meditator lens . . . but are afraid to share openly.

          I would also like to write about psychology but feel deeply unqualified. About 36% of all Americans are on heavy mind altering doctor prescribed medications. Most people around the world are put on brain altering (I would say brain damaging) drugs the moment they start becoming meditative. This is without a doubt one of the largest causes of low global IQ test scores, physical health problems, poverty and low global total factor productivity growth (product development and process innovation). But how to openly discuss this subject without being called “Nazi” by post modernist psychologist academics? This is one of the most important challenges facing the world’s 7.6 billion people.

          The parts of Freud I have read so completely don’t match my moment to moment lived experience that I can’t even understand what the heck he is writing about.

          You are an incredibly subtle perceptive fellow froginthewell. Any articles you write would likely add to the sum of human knowledge and wisdom.

          1. 1. I certainly shouldn’t contribute to BP. Each of the very few topics where I might think I have anything to say, is of interest to perhaps 1 or 2 people here. The admin may tolerate it, but I don’t want to use up whatever “default goodwill” I might have that makes Razib answer my stupid questions occasionally.

            2. AnAn, You like to err on the side of being generous (the polar opposite of most other people) and in this case you are off by a huge margin. I am hardly a meditator except for listening to youtube guided meditation videos when I am stressed (mainly because, unlike the popular western Buddhist view that anyone can meditate and benefit from it, I believe in a sort of the theory of “Pancha Bhumikas” (five “levels” of mind), according to which people in certain levels will not benefit from meditation. Namely, it is meant for those with a certain psychological makeup. So unlike with you, my own interest in spiritual reading is not informed by my experience, but mostly extrapolated from my psychology, and a sense that spiritual books actually contain enough information entropy to sound credibility (it helped that I could see the shallowness of critiques of religion, mostly due to my wounded ego from seeing otherwise smart people such critiques of Hinduism).

            3. Talking of medication: I have actually taken tablets for depression at one point. The way they calmed me down was very similar to how my low-level “meditation” videos me down. I am very grateful to those tablets because in that frame of mind I was not in a position to do the tranquilization through any meditation videos.

            4. I am probably even less qualified to write on psychology than you are.

          2. froginthewell, I don’t agree with you. Many would find your intuitions and feelings insightful, including me. Please reconsider.

            Please elaborate about Pancha Bhumikas. Do you mean the five bodies? If so I am sure you know that in AI, Facebook, Google etc. there is a lot of interest in eastern philosophy.

            I think you can meditate much better than you think. If you have physical pain, discomfort or health that is holding you back from meditation; please consider some combination of breathing, stretching, exercise, sports. This helps enormously with temporarily reducing physical pain and letting the mind go.

            Maybe just don’t call it “meditation” if the word is holding you back. Just listen to music. Or watch the sunrise, sunset, a moving stream or nature. Just watch, enjoy and relax. Let everything else happen on its own. “meditation” is just a really nice big juicy word for deep relaxation with awareness or deep sleep with awareness. Then nothing becomes everything.

          3. This is a side note to your main point, but sometimes those “heavy mind-altering medications” are needed. Some conditions can only be managed by medication if the patient is to be able to move on with their lives as far as “normal”. Bipolar disorder (known to the layperson as “manic depression”) , for example, can only be managed by mood stabilizers. But I do agree that in the US, far too many people take antidepressants when they really need therapy. Mental illness is real though. And sometimes, a combination of medication and therapy is what is needed to enable patients to function.

            As for Freud, psychology has moved a long way since his time and become much more scientific. We know a lot more about the chemical reactions in the brain than Dr. Freud did in 1920s Vienna. Freud’s ideas are now seen more in English Literature courses than actual psychology courses. In Literature, the “Oedipus Complex” will never die.

    2. Hello,

      I don’t personally know about falsifiability but comparative linguistics is shown to have a bit of a predictive power when Indo-European linguists hypothesised the reconstruction of a set of laryngeal phonemes to Proto-Indo-European from the data of the languages available at that time but did not have laryngeals, solely based on linguistic arguments, and some of which laryngeals turned up as predicted in the Hittite language discovered slightly later.

      And regarding taxpayer expense, what activity is not done at the expense of taxpayers? Comparative linguistics is the most systematic way to know about the history of related languages and it has immensely helped people (like me for example) to understand the likely historical evolution of languages of personal interest that do not have very hoary ancient attestations.

      I agree with the rest of your comment. The work of all the objecting folks, especially of rare and sparsely populated schools like Out of India is extremely commendable. It is a very difficult uphill battle indeed.

      1. Also, I forgot to add that; in many cases, the current understanding of the grammar of a particular language can be improved a lot and its grammatical traditions (if any) themselves can be better understood, if there is identification of genetically related languages hitherto not thought to be related, and there is systematic comparison of the language in question with all those identified related languages.

      2. @historumsi: Sorry I should have been clearer. The taxpayer expense thing was to highlight the asymmetry in resource availability.

        Thanks for the example about Hittite languages and the comment about understanding grammar better. But the predictive power I was really hoping for is along the lines of an experiment with a large number of data points with statistical significance, which you start without a priori having an idea of how the results are going to skew.

        1. I read on this in just a little bit of detail (definitely not much) and this is the idea that I got- I may be horribly wrong in which case, I request you (and linguists knowledgeable about the theory and philosophy which I know nothing about and thus more likely than not might misrepresent in the following paragraphs) to comment and point my mistakes out.

          I think that the comparative method does not have predictive power in the sense that the predictions made in the form of reconstruction cannot be tested experimentally- for example, some lucky discovery of a new hitherto unknown Indo-European language like Hittite is necessary and the data of that discovered Hittite should support a particular reconstruction for the reconstruction to be considered “predictive”. That is, if the Hittite language did not in fact have the laryngeals, then Indo-European linguists still would maintain that Proto-Indo-European may have had the laryngeals and that the ancestor of Hittite separated after they got lost in Proto-Indo-European. The reconstruction of laryngeals was driven by attaching some amount of importance to metaphysical considerations like elegance and simplicity and the vindication of the reconstruction by the discovery of Hittite involved luck and it was not the success of a prediction that was tested by setting up an experiment.

          As for the question of anecdotality vs. data, again, if I’m understanding this right (which I’m extremely unsure about), this concept comes into picture only if it is possible to conduct experiments to collect data and falsify predictions (in this case, a particular reconstruction)?

          But that said, the hypotheses made in linguistic reconstruction are required to be bound by certain constraints such as “naturality” for example as far as possible- i.e. a change of a hypothetical reconstructed phoneme in a particular environment in a proto-language into another in a descendant language is much better and stronger if already attested in some other language in some corner of the world that did not have anything to do genetically with the languages in question. That way, comparative linguistics stresses the importance of some kind of validation to reconstruction from research on universal, cross-linguistic tendencies in human language.

      3. More precisely, I would like to know, if possible, where it lies in the spectrum in between anecdotes and data.

    3. Every resource I base my arguments on can be ordered from Amazon or found for free on the internet.

      1. Resources to collect data and publish too? Razib couldn’t crowd source lower caste Indian DNA. Bet that wasn’t a problem for other Indo Europeans.

        Yeah, let’s increase sample sizes of DNA of existing Indian populations by caste without any taxpayer grant money for field work either.

        1. Yes, but not just that: jstor and other journal subscriptions, a fully equipped library, courses (which are expensive), an advisor or peer to proof-read your thesis or publication, grants to travel to conferences, and so on and so on. It is so easy to take things for granted.

          1. + 1000 froginthewell

            If only global big government made all journal subscriptions free to all (or at least all young people). Now that would greatly reduce global poverty over time.

  6. Homo Sapiens have been around for at least 200,000 years (Razib, would you agree)? We could have had many civilizations, cultures and languages rise and fall during this period. We know almost nothing about history.

    Human like hominids who are not homo sapiens have been around for more than a million years. Again we know almost nothing about their histories, technologies, languages, cultures, civilizations.

    We know that non homo sapien hominids lived in South Asia 385 thousand years ago. But that doesn’t mean that hominids haven’t lived all over the world much longer ago than that. All we can say is that we don’t have evidence that they did:


  7. Fraxinicus, do you have difficulty with post modernist academics? How do you deal with them?

    The issue isn’t only Asian studies, it is the entire linguistics, history, humanities global academia (albeit China, Vietnamese, Japanese academics seem better than the rest).

    The Adam-ic, Noah-ic, Abrahamic peoples tried to suppress the histories, civilizations and cultures before them. Among other things they believed that Adam was born about six thousand years ago. There was a systematic negation and suppression of ancient Greek/Roman culture, Phoenicians and Carthaginians culture, Egyptian culture, Sudanese culture, Ethiopian culture, Germanic culture, Skandanavian culture, Eastern European culture. This is a major reason why the dating of European, Asia Minor and North African culture/civilization/history is so off. Which is why the dating of ancient Greek and ancient Latin are off. Which is why L is incorrectly calculated. Which in loop leads to dating problems for history all over the world. We have almost no records of ancient Greece or Alexander the Great (especially compared to other civilizations).

    This is another reason why I believe the entire global history and linguistics profession needs to reevaluate all past dating with fresh eyes.

    The hypothesis that Cyrus the Great was born before the currently accepted 600 BC (I don’t know how long before) needs to be tested. If this hypothesis is carefully evaluated and proves plausible . . . a lot of ancient historical dates move much further back in time.

    Full disclosure . . . I am a giant fan of Cyrus the Great and a proud Iranophile and Judeophile. Cyrus the Great was an unapologetic Judeophile too. Strongly suspect that Zachary Latif might also be a fan of Cyrus the Great. Am I right? 😉

  8. AnAn,

    Sorry if this feels like an intrusion, but how is it useful to just throw out propositions that are neither provable nor falsifiable, which is what you seem to be doing in all your comments here? Sure, anything could have happened in the past. None of the theories out there (either on fraxinicus’ side or Jaydeep’s side) can be conclusively proven or falsified without a time machine. The best we can do it marshal all the evidence at our disposal and find the theory that best fits, no?

    I treat this quest as akin to solving a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle of which we have about a 100 pieces, and realistically can never hope to get more than maybe another 100. So any picture we draw must necessarily be a projection of the set of pieces we currently hold. From my vantage point, the picture the AIT folks have painted use a lot more pieces available to us than the picture the OIT people have painted. It’s perfectly possible that the addition of new pieces will reinforce one of those two pictures more than the other, but I hope we all understand what it is we have right now and the inherently limited scope of our quest. We’ll never reach a closure on this topic, so if that’s what the OIT-believers want, they’ll probably have to keep ignoring the research and stick to their dearly held theories.

    1. Numinous, the point is that most of what we think we know about history is not so and we need to start from scratch. Strange as it might sound many post modernists in global academia greatly resist this idea. If global academia accepts this idea as plausible or probable; then I would discuss it less. Obviously part of the reason for bringing all of this up was to reinterpret glottochronology.

      DNA genealogy analysis probably provides far more data than everything else modern academia has combined and we will likely learn a lot more about DNA histories soon.

      And yes it is fun to think out load about different possibilities; not knowing which might be true.

      Honestly I don’t have a dog in AIT or OIT. How does it matter where ancient technologies and cultures came from? My view is that many different global civilizations were far more technologically advanced and far older than academia believes plausible. My views might evolve materially based on new evidence.

      Hopefully many more articles are coming on this subject at Brown Pundit.

      1. Thanks for your response! I agree with you about the need to reinterpret glottochronology, or at least keep a somewhat skeptical attitude towards the predicted timelines. I would guess that natural sound changes happen noticeably over time only in illiterate populations. Where there is a continuous written record of events, and literature, and an effective education system to communicate the language of one generation to another, it’s hard to see how languages can change much in an organic fashion. (But perhaps the linguists on this forum have an answer to that?)

        I believe the English language has hardly changed (barring some speaking styles) since the Glorious Revolution (maybe that was when the British got fully “Protestantized”) up to the present day. Indian dialects have changed much more appreciably in the same period. I recall reading Kabir’s and Rahim’s “Dohas” back in school, and the language was somewhat arcane, yet recognizable, to me. No doubt the general illiteracy of the Indian population, or at least in the Gangetic plain, had an impact on the evolution of dialects.

        My belief in the much higher plausibility of the AIT vis-a-vis the OIT has nothing to do with glottochronology but with other observations about how various IE langauges relate to each other and to languages in other families, recent genetics evidence (thanks Razib!), some evidence from archaeology and from what little I know about texts of different cultures.

        1. English has changed a lot since the late 17th century, it’s just the literary standard that’s changed relatively little. Literacy and mass education slow the pace of language change, but that was still relatively limited in most parts of the English speaking world until the 19th century, when universal education took off outside of weird places like New England.

          Sound changes happen regardless of literacy. There’s at least one systematic restructuring of the vowel system going on in the Midwest and Northeast. And then there’s Iceland, where the vocabulary and structure of the language has changed hardly at all for 1000 years, probably in no small part because of a long tradition of literacy (even poor farmers might have a manuscript or two to read to the family while huddled up inside during the middle of winter). However, the sound system of Icelandic has changed drastically since the Middle Ages, in many ways more than Norwegian has.

  9. Kabir wrote “sometimes those “heavy mind-altering medications” are needed. Some conditions can only be managed by medication if the patient is to be able to move on with their lives as far as “normal”.”
    Completely agreed. Don’t know the exact percentage but perhaps 5% to 10% of people might in the short run might benefit from heavy mind altering medications. It is a lot less than 36%.

    “Bipolar disorder (known to the layperson as “manic depression”), for example, can only be managed by mood stabilizers. ”
    I don’t agree. Many very successful people live with large bipolar disorders (usually with more manic episodes than depression) for most of their lives. And they don’t necessarily need medication. For example Supreme Leader Sayyed Khamenei, may peace be upon him. Some would say the current POTUS too; although as a policy I try to be very respectful to CINC. Or Dawah man:
    Usually some combination of music, religious, spiritual, breathing, stretching, exercise and meditation practices work better than mood stabilizers.

    “But I do agree that in the US, far too many people take antidepressants when they really need therapy. Mental illness is real though. And sometimes, a combination of medication and therapy is what is needed to enable patients to function.”
    They don’t necessarily need to pay someone an arm and a leg for therapy. Having conversations with close friends, family, Imams, pastors etc. are often just as good.

    Much of eastern philosophy (or Aryan thought if you prefer) deals with the nervous system, brain and psychology. There is extensive literature on physical health, nervous system/brain health, mental health and intelligence. These are closely linked.

    Mental health is related to purifying the Chitta (loosely translated as subconscious). Someone with a completely purified Chitta is said to have Chitta Shuddhi. Such a human is said to be a Yogi, super human, very intelligent, better physical health ceteris paribus and have many powers (Siddhis).

    imho Muhammed pbuh created many religious practices for the express purpose of facilitating Chitta Shuddhi.

    This said, Chitta Shuddhi is not the goal in the east. That remains freedom. But Chitta Shuddhi is useful to have.

    1. Anan, Manic depression is not fun. Trust me on that. Some people with the disease are not able to hold down regular jobs, relationships with family suffer, etc. There is this book about how apparently manic depressives are more creative. It is called “Touched With Fire” (I haven’t actually read it so can’t comment further)


      Regarding the dilemma between creativity and illness, I don’t know how I personally feel about that. If “managing” your illness takes away your ability to create your art, is it worth the sacrifice? That’s for the individual to decide. But the suicide of a great writer like Virginia Woolf (who I understand is discussed in this book) was a great loss to Literature.

      The reason why people “pay an arm and a leg” for therapy (and I agree in the US it is very expensive, especially for those who don’t have health insurance), is that most people are not lucky enough to have close friends with the time to indulge in extensive discussion of one’s personal problems. Those friends may also not be trained in the best ways to handle those problems. Luckily, nowadays there are kinds of therapies that you can work through on your own (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for example) though you would probably still benefit from a trained professional guiding you through it.

      Meditation works for some people. I find “sur ki riyaaz” works for me.

      Anyway, this has nothing to do with Sanskriti, so I will end the discussion here. A separate post on depression or psychotherapy (if anyone wants to write one, I don’t particularly) would be a better place for further comment.

      1. Kabir, psychology is extremely connected to Sanskriti.

        Agreed that sur ki riyaaz is very good. This is one reason that Ali and Sufis and some large Shia strains so emphasized sound and music.

        I think that psychological therapy should be one of the primary functions of Imams and Pastors. How can Imams be better trained for this? My anecdotal observation is that divinity universities emphasize psychological therapy.

        One of the best way we can help others is by listening to others in an interactive way with heart and intuition (therapy).

        1. I think the primary function of an Imam is to preach Islam. The primary function of a “secular” psychologist is to provide therapy. Psychologists have training and certification requirements to make sure they know what they are doing. You wouldn’t go to a heart surgeon who had not conducted surgery before would you? (This is not to say that the wrong psychiatric diagnosis cannot mess you up further. It definitely can).

          Of course, some people do turn to religious leaders for help with personal problems. I just wouldn’t do so and would rather go to a certified mental health professional. But we can agree to disagree on this particular issue.

        2. Thanks to both of you, AnAn and Kabir, for the remarks about the drugs. I don’t know which percentile I belong to, but during that phase of life, I think I needed those drugs and meditation or whatever couldn’t save me (I tried).

          AnAn, since you asked about the Panchabhumikas, they are described here: https://books.google.co.in/books?id=OGBNDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA147&lpg=PA147&dq=kshipta+mudha&source=bl&ots=bCZrcDApMO&sig=H0rkt5iSw_w0OQaDc_vhNDcv3Gs&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjVweun2traAhXMPI8KHS3IBOk4ChDoAQg6MAQ#v=onepage&q=kshipta%20mudha&f=false

          The point is that some traditional commenters “interpret” atha yoganushasanam as adhikAri-nirNaya and then say that those sutras aren’t meant for those at the Kshipta and Mudha levels. Perhaps Bhakti and other paths will work for them.

          1. I definitely needed those drugs as well. Though as a creative person, I found that they made me numb and basically stifled my creativity. Still I suppose feeling numb is better than being in despair.

            I’ve found CBT (Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy) to be helpful. Drugs and therapy is the best combination. A lot of psychiatrists (in my experience) just want to medicate you without actually understanding the context of your problem. It saves them time, but I don’t know how much it actually helps the patient.

  10. froginthewell, one of my friends loves Swami Shivananda and “Mind–Its Mysteries and Control”.

    Kabir, these drugs sharply reduce intuition, intelligence. They sharply reduce career and wealth outcomes. They also damage physical health. Plus modern postmodern psychology isn’t as advanced as ancient eastern psychology such as Toaism/Accupuncture/Qi Gongs/Tai Chi, or Sanathana Dharma. Neuroscience is closer to eastern psychology than modern academic psychology. This is one reason that neuroscience and post modernist psychology are in such intense conflict with large demonstrations on college campuses. Most neuroscientists are afraid of post modernist mind control and feel that their freedom of research, thought and speech are being impeded.

    Eastern philosophy has large sections on science, mathematics, psychology, history and humanities. These are not different fields of study but closely connected interdisciplinary fields of study.

    The east has its own long tradition with medicinal drugs–as is mentioned in the first verse of the Kaivalya Paada of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The Tamilians are famous for it. Taoists are famous for it. However the potential side effects of drugs is emphasized. Only a master should supervise the intake of drugs.

    Drugs can be used to sharply improved physical health, nervous system/brain health, mental health, intelligence and intuition. But there is great potential danger.

    froginthewell, the five state of mind. These are closely linked to the classification of people via the four Varnas. Would love to touch base some time.


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