The invention of Hinduism 1,000 years ago by a Muslim

On of the most annoying tropes in modern intellectual discourse, in particular of the postcolonial variety, is its Eurocentrism. That is, the focus on the Western colonial experience is so strong and unwavering that operationally the rest of history becomes prehistory, a formless period which we are ignorant of, when humans were different in fundamental ways.

Empirically this is of course false. Earlier I have mentioned that the Central Asian Iranian polymath, Al-Biruni, had much to say about India. His was one of the earliest extensive anthropologies we have about the subcontinent from the prespective of an outsider. Though Al-Biruni was from a region which had once had a flourishing Buddhist presence, by the 10th century this had faded from historically memory. Whereas earlier Islamic scholars from previous centuries allude to the persistence of Buddhists in what is today Central Asia and Afghanistan, by Al-Biruni’s lifetime non-Muslims were in sharp retreat (though in the fastness of area like Chitral paganism persisted for a thousand years).

In any case, here are some extracts of Al-Biruni on Indian religion:

The belief of educated and uneducated people differs in every nation; for the former strive to conceive abstract ideas and to define general principles, while the latter do not pass beyond the apprehension of the senses and are content with derived rules, without caring for details, especially in questions of religion and law, regarding which opinions and interests are divided.

With regard to God, the Hindus believe that he is one, eternal, without beginning and end, acting by free will, almighty, all-wise, living, giving life, ruling, and preserving; one who is unique in his sovereignty, beyond all likeness and unlikeness, and neither resembling anything nor having anything resemble him. In order to illustrate this, we shall produce some extracts from the Hindu literature….

This is what educated people believe about God. They consider the unity of God as absolute, but that everything beside God which may appear as a unity is really a plurality of things. The existence of God they consider as a real existence, because everything that exists, exists through him. It is not impossible to think

If we now pass from the ideas of the educated people among the Hindus to those of the common people, we must first state that they present a great variety. Some of them are simply abominable, but similar errors occur also in other religions. Nay, even in Islam we must decidedly disapprove of the anthropomorphic doctrines, the teachings of the Jabriyya sect, the prohibition of the discussion of religious topics, and such like. Every religious sentence destined for the people at large must be carefully worded, as the following example shows. Some Hindu scholar calls God “a point,” meaning to say thereby that the qualities of bodies do not apply to him. Now some uneducated man reads this and imagines that God is as small as a point, and he does not find out what the word “point” in this sentence was really intended to express. He will not even stop with this offensive comparison, but will describe God as much larger, and will say, “He is twelve fingers long and ten fingers broad.” Further, if an uneducated man hears what we have mentioned, that God comprehends the universe so that nothing is concealed from him, he will at once imagine that this comprehending is effected by means of eyesight; that eyesight is only possible by means of an eye, and that two eyes are better than only one; and in consequence he will describe God as having a thousand eyes, meaning to describe his omniscience.

Similar hideous fictions are sometimes met with among the Hindus, especially among those castes who are not allowed to occupy themselves with science, of whom we shall speak hereafter.

As the word of confession, “There is no god but God, Mohammed is his prophet,” is the shibboleth of Islam, the Trinity that of Christianity, and the institution of the Sabbath that of Judaism, so metempsychosis is the shibboleth of the Hindu religion. Therefore he who does not believe in it does not belong to them, and is not reckoned as one of them. For they hold that the soul, as long as it has not risen to the highest absolute intelligence, does not comprehend the totality of objects at once. Therefore it must explore all particular beings and examine all the possibilities.

The point of this post is not to show that Al-Biruni had a good idea of what “Hinduism” was, though I think if you read it on the whole he isn’t that far removed from how some moderns would characterize it. Rather, it is to show that the distinctiveness of Indian religious thought was noticed long before Europeans arrived to create a specific categorization system which we utilize today. The details of the system might deviate from Al-Biruni, or Adi Shankara, but in its broad outlines it’s describing the same thing.

(since some people are not subtle, the title is not to be taken literally)

79 thoughts on “The invention of Hinduism 1,000 years ago by a Muslim”

  1. Has anyone tried to relate the large-scale acceptance of metempsychosis in India to caste/jati-based endogamy, in your knowledge? I used to think that such endogamous practices predated the Iron Age, but recent genetic evidence (as I have gleaned mostly from your writings) seems to suggest that caste boundaries only crystallized in the centuries leading up to the time of Christ. Given that metempsychosis started to get accepted circa 500BC (I’m guessing when Jainism and Buddhism were born?), it seems too much of a coincidence. (Or is it just that?)

    1. It certainly seems that metempsychosis and rigid caste systems jointly create a very stable equilibrium. Perhaps they need each other critically. It would be interesting to see if this macro-level beliefs can be used in formal methods to show equilibrium.

    2. Numinous, hasn’t metempsychosis been widely accepted in many ancient cultures in many parts of the world? Presumably a lot longer than 5000 years ago?

      Metempsychosis appears to have been widely believed during the life of the prophet Abraham.
      https://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-adam-jacobs/reincarnation-in-judaism_b_811379.html

      I don’t fully understand your question. Doesn’t Jati simply means someone who keeps track of his/her ancestors? Isn’t respecting elders and ancestors a good thing? Jati has been common throughout much of the world a lot longer than 5000 years. Maybe a lot longer than 10,000 years also we lack the evidence to conclusively prove this.

  2. What do you think is the relationship of Hinduism to the original Indo-European religion? The Nordic and Greco-Roman pantheons seem very different and much less sophisticated.

    1. I think the current consensus is that Vedic Gods such as Indra came with the “Aryans” and replaced whatever gods were native to the Indian subcontinent. Indra clearly has parallels with Zeus.

      1. Kabir, Zeus is one of the oldest and most mentioned Gods in the Vedas (including in the most archaic Samhitas):

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyeus

        Zeus is born as Bhishma in the Mahabharata. Bhishma is widely revered South Asia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Burma.

        Hinduism is the same thing as the proto original Indo-European religion. At some point I might write an article on the close connection between Greek/Nordic/German mythology and the Vedas.

        I will let Milan write about the close connection between the Vedas and ancient Serbia.

        Note that Hinduism has 10 major schools of which only three have been extant in the past two thousand years:
        -Jainism
        -Buddhism
        -Uttara Mīmāṃsā (also called Vedanta)
        7 schools had de facto become extinct two thousand years ago; albeit Hindus still deeply revered and honored them. In practice many Hindus believe in all ten schools or elements of all ten schools. However I suspect that Hinduism had other ancient now extinct schools that are no longer widely known. For example if Milan can find evidence for the Serbian Darshana, that would be an 11th school in Hinduism. Ditto with the predecessors of ancient Rome and ancient Greece and ancient Nordic and ancient Germanic religion circa 1500 BC. To the degree archeologists, spiritualists, religionists, historians and scholars can collaborate to recreate these ancient faiths; they should be added to the ten Darshanas of Hinduism.

        All Darshanas are ancient. By far the youngest was founded by Buddha–who I believe might have been born before 1000 BC. No Darshanas have been added since then.

        This said Hinduism has sprouted some amazing branches since then. Including through Guru Nanaka and perhaps to a lesser degree some parts of Sufism (albeit this is a controversial statement to some).

        I regard Sufism and mystical parts of Shi’ism as a syncretic fusion of Islam and Hinduism/Zorastrianism that was starting to form in greater South Asia (Iran through Indonesia/Malaysia). Akbar called this fusion Din-i Ilahi. I regard this as a vibrant living Islam within the Hindu open source architecture framework.

        Sadly Islamist Jihadis have viciously attacked this syncretic vision of love and light, slaughtering patriotic loving muslims by the tens of millions. 🙁

        1. I think the claim that the Greek Gods are the same as the Hindu Gods is frankly insane. Can it not be that similar gods were developed in different parts of the world coincidentally because all ancient peoples had similar needs? Everyone needed a god of thunder, a goddess of wisdom, etc. Then we evolved as human beings to a point where monotheism made sense. There is just one God–Allah or Christ Jesus, whatever you want to call him.

          Now we have evolved as human beings to the point where many people believe god is not necessary at all.

          But you can keep believing Zeus is Indra if it makes you happy. I think Zeus is Zeus, Thor is Thor and Indra is Indra.

          Please tell Sikhs that they are a branch of Hinduism. They will probably slap you in the face. Tell Sufi Muslims that they are a kind of Hindu and no one is ever going to speak to you again.

          1. Zeus is not Indra. Zeus is called Dyeus in the old Vedic Samhitas and Hinduism. Even many post modernist marxist Indologists agree with me on this. In fact I learned this fact by reading articles written by them. [Please read the wikipedia link.] Among scholars of ancient Greece, ancient Romans, ancient Iran and Indology this is a mainstream widely accepted theory.

            Most Sikhs live in India. Most Sikhs aren’t offended by Hindus regarding the 10 Sikh Gurus and Sikhs as part of the Hindu family. Sikhs disagree with each other over this and have the right to do so.

            Until very recently Hindu Gods were worshiped inside the holiest Sikh Gururdwaras. Until very recently Punjabi Hindus contributed one son per generation to the Sikhs. Hindus still regard Sikhs as the protectors of the Hindus.

            Have you listened to and read the Guru Granth Sahib? Is there anything in the Guru Granth Sahib that is not widely accepted by Hindus? What is the difference?

            Regarding Sufis, I hesitate to write too much about this. Enough to say that Islamist Takfiri Jihadis often call Sufis “Naths” and “Siddhas” when they attack Sufis or kill Sufis. There is a big difference between what Sufis privately tell Hindus and what they say in public.

            Muslims have little freedom of art, speech, thought, intuition and feeling. This is a terrible tragedy.

          2. But you can keep believing Zeus is Indra if it makes you happy. I think Zeus is Zeus, Thor is Thor and Indra is Indra.

            the cognate between zeus and other indo-european sky-gods is one of the most solid findings in this aspect of philology https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeus#Name

            i find this attitude from you strange in light of other comments where you wax on about the importance of bending the knee to the specialists.

          3. Sikhs wrote a pamphlet one hundred years ago called “Hum Hindu Nahin”. I know Sikhs in America. You tell them they are a type of Hindu, they will lose their shit.

            I sing Shabads. I know Guru Nanak was very against the caste system (or Varna-Jati if you prefer). In fact, I wrote an article about Nankana Sahab which used to be on BP. But Guru Nanak was very clear that he was neither a Hindu nor a Muslim.

            Razib: Indra is the Vedic equivalent to Zeus, just as Thor is the Nordic equivalent. That doesn’t mean they are the same. I find this attitude evidenced by Anan that all ancient civilizations came from India to be frankly nonsensical.

          4. Sikhs wrote a pamphlet one hundred years ago called “Hum Hindu Nahin”. I know Sikhs in America. You tell them they are a type of Hindu, they will lose their shit.

            Political identity can change, classical theology will remain what it is. Sikhs can claim they are not hindu and that is fine, but sikhism, the theology, is pure vedanta. No real scholar of sikhism argues against this. Rest all is bullshit.

          5. “I know Sikhs in America. You tell them they are a type of Hindu, they will lose their shit.”

            Yes, if anything they are quite insistent on differentiating themselves from Hindus.

            The situation in India is quite different though,

            “While Singh, 37, is a Sikh, not a Hindu, he said he is a patriot and considers his religion an offshoot of Hinduism anyway.”

            https://www.livemint.com/Politics/Tmpwbw52603uCLuoBByrqM/India-on-a-quest-to-recreate-Hindu-river-Saraswati.html

          6. Vikram

            The situation in India is quite different though,
            “While Singh, 37, is a Sikh, not a Hindu, he said he is a patriot and considers his religion an offshoot of Hinduism anyway.”

            Sounds like a Tamil living in Sri Lanka.
            As against the Tamil Diaspora = Sikh Diaspora

  3. Did Al-Biruni use the greek word “metempsychosis?” I assume he wrote in arabic. Just wondering if he was discussing Indian reincarnation using a greek word for same.

  4. I think it was the British who first used the word “Hinduism”.

    But of course, Indian religious beliefs have been around much longer and Al-Biruni was able to see that.

    1. @ “But of course, Indian religious beliefs have been around much longer and Al-Biruni was able to see that.”

      I was thinking the same that Al-Biruni was able to see the religion of the people of the time in South Asia. Well meaning cyberspace dwellers say that Hinduism is not a religion but a way of life.

        1. Kabir, what you call it does not matter. I have never heard anyone take offense over this.

          For that matter I think it makes no difference if someone says Bharat, Hindustan, South Asia, SAARC etc.

          What is “evoked culture”?

          1. “Bharat” is the Hindu right’s name for the country. “Hindustan” is what seculars and Muslims call it so it does matter very much.

            “South Asia” has a technical meaning in International Relations. By convention we have agreed which countries belong to this region and which do not. Iran is not part of South Asia. Afghanistan is kind of in a border zone. Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Maldives are definitely South Asia. Burma is again in a border zone between South Asia and Southeast Asia.

          1. Razib, can you elaborate? Didn’t Arya Samaj promote their version of Sanathana Dharma/Hinduism?

            The Arya Samaj reveres the Samhita portion of the Vedas only. Some other Hindus have similar views. Other Hindus interpret the scriptures differently. There are many different perspectives and streams.

  5. Razib Khan, awesome article!

    May we succeed at breaking the historically misleading vice grip of Eurocentrism. I would add post modernism to Eurocentrism since these two are intrinsically linked.

    Al-Biruni seems to have been a wise and observant person. Would love to have met him. 🙂

    Everyone is free to study, interpret and practice Hinduism however they choose, including Al-Biruni. If he was a syncretic muslim of Turan or Iran, this would partly explain his openness. Sufism and mystical Shia traditions thrived in Turan and Iran.

    “the prohibition of the discussion of religious topics, and such like” Agree completely with Al-Biruni on this. All muslims and all nonmuslims should be free to study, analyze, interpret, discuss, practice or not practice Islam, holy Koran, Hadiths, Sira, Mohammed pbuh anyway way they choose anytime they choose. Inshallah this shall soon be true in every part of the world very soon.

        1. I am wallahi. Salah 5 a day keeps Allah miyan gay. Gay as in happy, that is. Astaghfirullah! these other people have invaded the pure English of the Queen too.

      1. Some will say knowledge comes from discussion itself. However I hate those people. I keep my AK cocked for that lot and make sure people know before they discuss anything and shoot the ignorant at the first sign of ignorance especially about Islam.

        __Jo dur bhagayay Kuffar o Jew
        Uska naam Jaggu Jangjoo__

    1. If he was a syncretic muslim of Turan or Iran, this would partly explain his openness. Sufism and mystical Shia traditions thrived in Turan and Iran.

      only salafis would call someone like al-biruni syncretistic 😉

  6. Alby was my direct ancestor I think being Central Asian Uzbek myself.

    He was too easy on the Hindu Kuffar though. He knew the Hindu Kuffar were so different that they would “frighten their children with us, our dress and our ways and customs” and thought of Mumineen as “devil’s breed” and “everything we do as opposite of all that is good and proper”. That should have been enough reason to submit the whole lot to a simple choice of conversion to the one, true Faith on pain of death.

    Don’t understand why didn’t he advocate such a simple recipe which worked wonders elsewhere? If he had I’d be sipping rooh-e afza in the Pakistani capital Delhi right now under the sabz hilali parcham. Alas!

    Anyway, no matter. Pak afvaj will realize that dream dair savair as my ghazwa-buddy Zaid reminds me whenever I’m feeling blue.

  7. Kabir says, “Sikhs wrote a pamphlet one hundred years ago called “Hum Hindu Nahin”.”

    This is another case of faithful being confused when given facts. A war was fought based on this contention. The recent Khalistan war was partly to prove that Sikhs are different and separate from Hindus.

    1. Obviously if Punjabi Sikhs wanted a separate country then they felt they were not the same as Punjabi Hindus. Also, I’m not hundred percent sure but I believe the division of East Punjab into Punjab, Haryana, and Himachal also had something to do with religion (and language).

      “Hum Hindu Nahin” by Kahn Singh Nabha was first published in 1898.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ham_Hindu_Nahin

      1. Kabir, You are on a roll. You are correct to think a separate Punjab state was created in India on religious grounds. I know this as a fact as I followed the events that led to present day Punjab formation in real time as it happened. One doesn’t have to take my word as it is all in the news paper records.

        1. I understood that Haryana was for the Hindi speakers and Punjab for the Punjabi speakers. It just so happened that most of the Hindi speakers were Hindu and the Punjabi speakers were Sikh.

          1. It is more interesting than that. In order to prevent division into Punjab and Haryana, the Hindus as a group started to register in the census form their mother tongue as Hindi though they speak Punjabi at home. Finally Sikhs don’t hear any of it and wanted Punjab with Chandigarh. Thus it is religion driven. This was all in the news papers.

          2. All in the news papers of India, which I have you know are highly absorbent. Hoipolloi, literally on a roll here matey..

          3. All in the news papers of India, which I have you know are highly absorbent. Hoipolloi, literally on a roll here matey.

            Nice and noted. Will use quote while changing “India” to appropriate.

            Eagerly awaiting comments on Sri Lanka. No Hindi/Urdu please.

          4. Ref. Indian news papers. It is all in the timing. True that today’s papers are very absorbent and not even good as bird cage liners. In 20th century news papers were the only source of news and had standards. Just my rant.

  8. For a stimulating reading on the influence of India on the birth of Islamic golden age in the 8th century read

    From Balkh to Baghdad: Indian Science and the Birth of the Islamic Golden Age in the Eighth Century
    by
    Dominic Wujastyk
    https://www.academia.edu/30576715/From_Balkh_to_Baghdad_Indian_Science_and_the_Birth_of_the_Islamic_Golden_Age_in_the_Eighth_Century

    Parts of central Asia was known as Vahika in Sanskrit , later Balkh .

    1. Vijay,

      Balkh is another name for Serbia in the Balkh-ans.
      Iskander in the paper is definitely a Serbian.

      The family known to Arabic authors as “al-Barmakī” was in fact a family of hereditary Pramukhas, administrators of the Nava Vihāra in Balkh. Captured during the Arab expansion into Bactria, and transported via Syria to Baghdad, they rose to positions of power at the Abbasid court second only to the Caliphs themselves.

      The Nava Vihara is problem, what would could it mean in Serbian. Over to you Milan.

        1. Vijay,

          You are too invested in modernism and science.
          There is a real reality out there, and its all about belief.

          If you believe Balkans is Balkh-ans then its true, regardless of all other evidence.

          I see an convergence and fall out between a pan Aryan concept proponents.

          No Shudra/Dalits to keep me company.

  9. Kabir, if you don’t want to read the two links on Zeus/Dyeus provided by Raazib and myself, that is your right.

    Dyeus/Zeus is one of the most important forces/entities/drivers in the Vedic Samhitas, Vedic Brahmanas, Vedic Aranyakas, 18 Maha Purana Itihasas, Mahabharata Itihasa, Ramayana Itihasa. He plays a large role in the Mahabharata plot and in the Ramayana.

    When Ravana/Kumbakarna/Indrajit and their many allies (including Daityas, Danavas) attacked Indra; Indra was worried. He reached out to many other powerful forces in the universe for help. One of these was Dyeus/Zeus. Dyeus/Zeus was not worried or afraid. He knew he could take Ravana and company out; and he was right.

    Dyeus placed himself at the vangaurd and took care of business. About 80% of Ravana’s vast coalition was decimated. Ravana got his butt kicked. Kumbakarna was close to being defeated. So great was Dyeus/Zeus.

    You can compare Indra with Dyeus/Zeus if you wish. But Dyeus/Zeus is a much more spiritually evolved and powerful being. It is like comparing a Chump angel with seventh level Seraphim Arch Angel Michael. You can do it. There are similarities.

    In the east Indra is an office holder God. A new Indra is selected every 300 million years or so. There have been millions of Indras in the past in many alternate universes or dimensions. Dyeus/Zeus is a much older, more ancient witnessing force.

    You can say that Dyeus is how the Greeks viewed Zeus 3 thousand years ago versus how Zeus is viewed today and that would be more accurate. My interpretation is that the entity called Dyeus took birth as the son of Cronus/Saturn. Dyeus took birth in many universes/eras depending on the needs of the time. Dyeus/Zeus also took several births in Vedic/Puranic accounts.

    1. This is all fiction. The Mahabharata is fiction and so is the Ramayana. I’m sorry. When you start thinking that these things actually happened you have a severe problem with reality. Your religious beliefs are your own concern, but reality is what it is.

      The “Greek Gods” did not really exist. Hate to break it to you. Human beings created gods because they didn’t understand the natural world.

        1. In an anthropological sense, yes. But monotheism was still a huge advance on polytheism and idol worship. We have to thank Judaism for that. Christianity and Islam are just later forms of the Jewish religion. Practicing Muslims believe that Allah sent down Rasul-e-Akram (peace be upon him) because the Jews and Christians had gone astray and corrupted the message of the earlier prophets. Obviously, if you’re not Muslim, you don’t have to accept that. Prior to Islam, in the time of Ignorance, the Meccans worshipped idols. Rasul-e-Akram (pbuh) put a stop to that.

          Karen Armstrong wrote a very good book called “A History of God” which I read some years ago. It’s all in there.

          1. Karen Armstrong wrote a very good book called “A History of God” which I read some years ago. It’s all in there.

            i read that book in the late 1990s. it’s OK.

            Prior to Islam, in the time of Ignorance, the Meccans worshipped idols. Rasul-e-Akram (pbuh) put a stop to that.

            revisionists scholars are highly skeptical of this narrative. they argue that the early 7th century arabs who conquered byzantium/persia were semi-christianized of the oriental sects (like the lakhimids and ghassanids).

            i suspect both the revisionists and the ‘classical’ model (in english probably most well explicated by hugh kennedy, *great arab conquests*) are wrong in many details. but reading on the primary sources i doubt it will be resolvable without new documentary texts showing up.

          2. Oh rohit, we’re back on the sex slaves thing? You have no other way to disparage Islam (God,the Hindu Right is disgusting and stupid) so you keep coming back to this.

            In the time of Ignorance, the Arabs buried female infants alive. Islam put a stop to that, gave women the right to divorce, etc. It was a very progressive religion for 7th century Arabia.

          3. Oh rohit, we’re back on the sex slaves thing? You have no other way to disparage Islam (God,the Hindu Right is disgusting and stupid) so you keep coming back to this.

            As always when kabir doesn’t have logical cogent arguments to back his claims he starts name calling.

            The article above isn’t about sex slaves, its about the how the condition of women changed in arabic society (became infinitely worse) once islam arrived at the scene. It demolishes the argument that islam liberated women from what muslims like to call the age of jahiliyah.

          4. “But monotheism was still a huge advance on polytheism and idol worship”

            Monotheism is a guaranteed path for religious strife and intolerance. That is why monos have spread with much violence. Monotheism per se is not absence of idol worship , but is a parallel injunction.
            Monotheism is a retrograde step in civilized living and discourse.

          5. Islam gives women the right to divorce. A lot of people don’t know this because today when a Pakistani girl signs on the dotted line on the Nikahnama, the person who has prepared the contract usually has her waive her right to ask for a unilateral divorce. My grandfather insisted that this right not be waived for his daughter.

            Arabs literally used to bury female babies alive or leave them for dead. The Prophet (pbuh) told them to stop doing that. Of course from the vantage point of the 21st century, Orthodox Islam is not progressive. But in its own context, it was a big step up from what came before. Hazrat Ayesha led an army against Hazrat Ali, so she wasn’t some demure housewife.

          6. Merely pointing out the existence of female infanticide (again without any academic sources to back it up) or saying women had a right to divorce doesn’t prove that the arrival of islam improved the status of women. The entire gist of the article i posted states otherwise. In the comments section the author also sites her sources.

            Religions of the sword spread by butchering multitudes need to have their bullshit called out, especially when the faith’s supremacists make lofty claims.

          7. Ok rohit,
            Fair and fair alike. I will call the Hindu right out on its bullshit and you can call Islamists out on their bullshit.

            Sound good to you?

      1. Kabir, you miss the point. It is hard to converse with you. Of course there isn’t a Dyeus/Zeus human like being. It is symbolic of the many levels of subtlety within thought, emotion and feeling. It is related to the brain and nervous system. But to understand Dyeus/Zeus it would help to go to three month silent retreats as Sam Harris has or engage in some other religious/spiritual process (music is one such process).

        The point was not to explain exactly how Zeus/Dyeus is connected to the many different parts of the concious brain, subconcious brain, unconcious brain and nervous system. The point is that Dyeus/Zeus is:
        —not Indra
        —part of the religion of the Romans, Greeks and the East

        Milan, what is Zeus/Dyeus in ancient Arya Serbian religion?

        Razib, you are obviously right about Allah. Too bad muslims don’t have enough freedom of art, speech, thought, intuition and feeling to openly and honestly discuss these issues.

        “June 14, 2018 at 4:46 am
        In an anthropological sense, yes. But monotheism was still a huge advance on polytheism and idol worship.”
        Wow!

        1. Believing that there is one God is a big advance from believing that the stone is god and the tree is god, etc. There is an anthropological consensus on that.

          Of course, now we have gotten to the point that God is not necessary in order to lead a moral life, but that is a different debate.

          It’s “hard to converse” with you too because you think India was the greatest thing ever and the Mahabharata is History. It is FICTION. It did not happen. You cannot use it to prove anything. You try doing that and a real scholar of History will laugh you out of the room. At least Jesus Christ and Prophet Muhammad were actually existing human beings.

          1. “At least Jesus Christ and Prophet Muhammad were actually existing human beings.”

            That did not prevent them from hallucinating about having a hotline to non-existent beings.

    1. More precisely I say that there is such a thing as pan Arya that was spread through much of Asia 4000 years ago or so.

      However there are other large civilizational streams whose relationship with the Arya are unknown (by me anyway):
      -ancient Egyptian (linked to ancient Sudanese)
      -ancient Ethiopian
      -ancient Sumerian
      -ancient Akadian
      -ancient Babylonian
      -ancient Adamic/Noahic (including Jews and Yezidis) [although many claim Yezidis are Arya]
      -ancient Chinese
      -ancient Olmecs
      -ancient Maya
      -ancient Inca

      Perhaps the Koreans were their own ancient civilization. I don’t know. This is one reason I asked Razib about their genetic link with the Han and Japanese.

      It appears that trade and travel were common in the ancient world. So these many civilizations interacted and learned from each other. One example of this is the close similarity of Chinese astrology with Arya astrology. I suspect Chinese civilization had its own independent course from Arya civilization. Yet the Chinese called the Arya Naga star (Greeks and Romans called it the Hydra star) the dragon star.

      As new data becomes available, my views (and all of our views I suspect) will alter.

      My suspicion is that 5 thousand years ago there were active trading routes between Egypt/Sudan, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Iraq, Iran, SAARC, Turan, Tibet, China, South East Asia. Perhaps Milan can provide evidence that these ancient global trading routes extended to Serbia. Let us see if this can be supported with data.

      Razib, did you ever read:
      https://www.amazon.com/1421-Year-China-Discovered-America/dp/0061564893
      I read this book with great interest when it was first released. It appears likely that the Chinese circumnavigated much of the world in the early 1400s AD. This opens the possibility that the Chinese, or Egyptians or someone else had sailed to the Americas long before Christ.

      Globalization might be much older than we think. Which is a good thing. Globalization benefits most people, especially poor people.

  10. hoipolloi, fascinating about Haryana. I thought many Punjabi Hindus were unhappy about the bifurcation of their state. Or so I heard.

    India has bifurcated and atomized too many states. Better to have fewer larger ones.

    1. AnAn @ “I thought many Punjabi Hindus were unhappy about the bifurcation of their state. ”

      Unhappy before or after bifurcation? Again proves my point that it was forced on religious grounds. Linguistically it was already a majority Punjabi speaking state. But that was not good enough. Cheers.

      1. Unhappy after bifurcation. Some Pujabis have told me this.

        Do you think Khalistan would never have happened had Punjab not been partitioned and Haryana not been created?

        I have noticed that Indian Sikhs tend to be pro Indian and pro Hindu. Canadian Sikhs are the opposite extreme. UK Sikhs are in between. American Sikhs are closer to Indian Sikhs and not as separatist as UK Sikhs. Most large Indian American organizations (lobbying, business, community) have many Sikh members. American Gurudwaras are frequented by many Hindus and Hindus are warmly welcomed and feel included.

        ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

        What does everyone think of Jagmeet Singh, possibly a future PM of Canada. I think he might be one of the most dangerous people in the world and would be the worst PM in Canadian history if elected. Why are Canadians (a great country and people) even considering someone like him?

          1. Razib,

            Sorry, got a little pissed of with
            Jagmeet Singh, possibly a future PM of Canada. I think he might be one of the most dangerous people in the world and would be the worst PM in Canadian history if elected.

            To be honest dont even know who is Jagmeet Singh. Obviously not Aryan or of the Santana Dharma faith.

  11. The “Hindus” or let’s say inhabitants of Indian subcontinent themselves started separating Indic beliefs from ‘others’ only after encountering Islam esp. since around 14th century.

    1. Hinduism itself started linking the different ideologies during 14th century even though Brahmins & Sharmanas have been ever present in Ancient India. Clear distinctions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism etc. only took shape in the later part as ‘Orientalist’ descriptions.

      For reference check – Unifying Hinduism by Andrew J. Nicholson {Regarding the process of Hindu standarization}

      Check this paper – https://www.academia.edu/2399492/Doxography_and_Boundary-Formation_in_Late_Medieval_India

      From ‘Academia’ article –
      Sanskrit doxographers in the late medieval period were concerned with the concordance of the
      âstika systems in a way that pre-twelfth century authors were not. The corollary of this was an increasing concern with and systemati-sation of the category of nâstika. For Madhusûdana, this means accepting all âstika schools as having some heuristic value, although only Vedânta contains the ultimate teachings. For him, Buddhism and Jainism are completely without value. By the late medieval period, of course, Buddhism was virtually non-existent in India, and Jainism hardly a threat. It would therefore seem that the need to unify âstika doctrines would have been less urgent, not more. So why should the late-medievals have been more concerned with defining the boundaries of the âstikas than their predecessors?

      Note – The transmission of knowledge in one direction but not in other direction because Indians back then did not have any understanding of what is religion rather they were fighting the battle of ideas & it took them centuries to move from that tradition to forming an organized religious narrative to compete with Organized religions.

      1. [the transmission of knowledge in one direction but not in other direction because Indians back then did not have any understanding of what is religion rather they were fighting the battle of ideas & it took them centuries to move from that tradition to forming an organized religious narrative to compete with Organized religions.]

        Great point!

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