A study of ancient Indian literary heritage is extremely relevant not only to appreciate India's glorious past, but also for an enriched understanding of the many modern disciplines in right perspective. Scholars and researchers of Vedic and Sanskrit literature recognize that there is a wealth of knowledge available in ancient texts and a deeper research will bring forth valuable information about chronology, civilization, culture, history and many other fields. Such an endeavour will present the constant brilliance of Indian insight.
The present volume comprises thirty seven selected papers of well known scholars that primarily work in the field of Vedic and Sanskrit Studies. Papers by Dr. Kalyanaraman, Mr. Bhagwan Singh, Dr. S.P. Gupta, Mr. Michel Danino, Dr Bhu Dev Sharma, Dr. Madan L. Goel, Dr. Bal Ram Singh, Dr. Pushpendra Kumar, Dr Vedagya Arya and Dr. Fateh Singh definitely add increased value to this literary work. All the papers are divided into two sections on the basis of medium of presentation - English or Hindi. Among them, twenty two papers look at various issues associated with the Indus civilization, while the rest, present certain aspects or concepts related to Vedic culture and civilization with a view to bring forth a fresher outlook on ancient Indian civilizations. Most of these papers were presented in the twelfth India Conference of WAVES, held on the theme 'Harappan Civilization and Vedic Culture', and focus on our grand traditions.
We hope that researchers and scholars of Veda, Sanskrit and the Ancient Indian History will find invaluable insights and a unique glimpse into the ancient Indian culture and psyche through this publication.
Prof. Shashi Tiwari, a well-known and recognized Vedic and Sanskrit scholar, is engaged in Sanskrit Studies and Vedic research for the past forty two years. She has participated in several conferences held in USA, Canada, Italy and Nepal along with a number of International conferences held at different parts of India. She has herself organized around seventy academic programs and fourteen International conferences in India and Nepal on the themes related to Vedas and ancient literary heritage in the capacity of the General Secretary of WA YES, India.
Dr. Tiwari has twenty published books to her credit, apart from her contribution of more than hundred research papers to reputed journals and edited volumes. Rigvediya Aprisuhta, Suryadeota, Rigvedic Studies, Sanshrit-Loleokti-Kosb a, and Sanskrit Sabitya Ka Itihasare her awarded publications. Many of her books are well received and read by the students and researchers of Indian universities. She has broadcasted about 150 talks on Indian Cultural traditions from the All India Radio.
Dr Tiwari has been honored with eleven academic awards from various Academies of India including the prestigious "Sanskrit Sahitya Seva Sammana", 2006, of Delhi Sanskrit Academy for her contributions to Vedic and Sanskrit Studies. She has supervised around fifteen research scholars for the award of M.Phil./ Ph.D. degrees. Dr. Shashi Tiwari currently works in the Department of Sanskrit, Maitreyi College, University of Delhi; she has also worked in the Hindu University of America, Orlando, USA as a Visiting Professor of Basic Hindu Scriptures.
The world of scholars is endowed with infinite hunger and thirst for knowledge. It goes on adding to its appetite by creating fresh problems every now and then. Similar is the case with Vedic Culture and Harappan civilization. It is generally believed that Harappan civilization precedes Vedic culture. But there are quite a few knowledgeable scholars who strongly believe just otherwise. Scholars all the world over have been trying their utmost to come to a decisive conclusion about the priority or posteriority of the one against the other. But one positive factor of deliberations on this point is that an everlasting and ever-growing Jijnasa on this problem has been generated among impartial scholars at global level. Both ancient Indian cultures are, however interrelated and both represent one and only one indivisible stream of eternal spirituomaterial ‘Mahamanisa' of Indian subcontinent.
Professor Shashi Tiwari, Secretary General, WAVES, has done a wonderful job in bringing out the views of several knowledgeable scholars and well-read researchers on the various aspects of Harappan civilization and Vedic Culture in a book form. I offer my best wishes for the success of this publication. Congratulations !
I have great pleasure in presenting this second Volume of 'Ancient Indian Literary Heritage,' which comprises a number of selected papers of the twelfth India Conference of W A VES held at Sanskrit Bhawan, near JNU, New Delhi, from 24th to 25th December, 2008, on the theme- 'Harappan Civilization and Vedic Culture.' Last year we released the first volume of this series entitled 'Contemporary World Order: A Vedic Perspective', which primarily comprised of the papers presented at the Seventh India Conference, organized in association with the Central University of Pondicherry at Pondicherry in 2003.
The Indus Vally civilization unfolded at Harappa and Mohenjodaro as a result of a series of excavations started by Daya Ram Sahni in 1921 and R.D. Banerjee in 1922-23, followed by Vats, Dikshit, Marshall, Mackay and others, was believed to have been confined to a narrow strip of the Indus Valley. Archaeological explorations and historical discoveries carried out since then have now confirmed the geographical spread of this civilization over a much larger region. Sites of the sophisticated urban Civilization, which is generally termed as Harappan Civlization have now been found spread over a region from Turkistan in the northwest to the Ganges Valley in the east, and from near the border of modern Iran in the West to the Godavari river in south India, with even a site on the Arabian coast. Marshall had originally estimated 3250- 2750 B.C. as the period of Harappan culture, which was later on scaled down to 2350-1770 B.C. by c.]. Gadd and to 2500-1500 B.C. by Wheeler for the entire Harappan span. Archaeological findings give an idea about the general characteristics of this civilization in regard to its arts, agriculture, irrigation, fabrics, fibers, weights, seals, etc. to prove that India had to a certain extent a much developed civilization during that ancient period.
Vedic and Sanskrit scholars consider the Vedic civilization and culture as the most ancient civilization of India. The Vedic literature, consisting of Samhitas, Brabmanas, Aranyakas and Upanisads, constitutes the principal source of our knowledge about this civilization and its culture. The vast Vedic literature provides important materials to understand every aspect of the Vedic people and their views. Evidence from within the Veda suggests that the Vedic people were acquainted with the seven rivers and especially with the mighty river Sarasvati, The whole Vedic literature through hymns, invocations and ritualistic procedures presents an extraordinary picture of the culture, religion, philosophy, economics, ritualistic practices, and scientific knowledge of the Vedic people. Chandogya Upanisad (7.1-4) gives a long list of sciences that used to be cultivated in the Vedic times. Such an organized society based on agriculture, arts and crafts, trade and industry, characterized by a deep interest in nature and environment, and moved by spiritual urges provided a fertile ground for the cultivation of knowledge and science.