Will Durant, an eminent American historian, in his book Story of Civilization: Our Oriental Heritage, described India as the most ancient civilization on earth and he offered many examples of Indian culture throughout the world. He demonstrated that as early as the ninth century B.C. E. Indians were exploring the sea routes, reaching out and extending their cultural influences to Mesopotamia, Arabia, and Egypt.
Mons Leon Delbos noted, "The influence of the civilization worked out thousands of years ago in India is around and about us every day of our lives. It pervades every corner of the civilized world. Go to America and you find there, as in Europe, the influence of that civilization which come originally from the banks of the Ganges."
Anacalypsis : An Attempt to Draw Aside the Veil of the Saitic Isis or an Inquiry into the Origin of Languages, Nations and Religions, the product of more than twenty years of research, upon the average applied for nearly ten hours daily, during which Godfrey Higgins tried to uncover "a most ancient and universal religion" from which all later creeds and doctrines sprang. He said Celts were Hindu Brahmins from Northen India, in his Celtic Druids. In his epitome, Anacalypsis, he keeps coming back to India, and one would suspect his bias towards India and Hindus, but his character of seeking justice and truth, of which he had demonstrated umpteen times in his career as a magistrate, and the logical arguments and quotes given from other scholars, makes one convinced of some substance in his claims.
Sir William Jones wrote: ".. of this cursory observation on the Hindus which it would require volumes to expand and illustrate this is the result that they had an immemorial affinity with old Persians, Ethiopians, and Egyptians, Phoenicians, Greeks and Tuscans, the Scythians or Goth and Cilts, the Chinese, Japanese and Peruvians."
I will jump into the same independent conclusion, before knowing that other scholars before me said the same thing, when I would occasionally read articles on World History of different nations, races, civilizations, and continents, and find a lot of similarities tracing to ancient times.
While I was growing up, History was my most hated subject. It only talked about Kings and Queens, their births and deaths, and the wars they waged on each other. They showed splits and differences among people. Being Indian, I learnt sadly how India, e.g., Hindustan or ancient ‘Bharat’, was subjugated by outsiders and enslaved for a long period of time. Despite being told about the greatness of our Culture and its History by our ancestors, the history taught to us was very negative. We only learnt how other cultures and nations were great! That was during the formative years of schooling till 1976.
Now let us fast forward to year 1987. I hit upon a book series on World History by Will Durant during my visit to Barnes and Nobel, and instantly bought the series. Naturally, out of curiosity, I started reading on India, in the volume, Our Oriental Inheritage, and I was pleasantly shocked and pleased to see that what was written made sense with what our ancestors told about us! Iranians or Persians, whom before I felt were different from Indians -as taught to us in the divisive History - were like us and shared the same inheritage! As a young school boy, I felt not connected with them, because of the language and cultural differences taught. But now I was reading that they were too like Hindus, with all four classes, e.g. Brahmin, Kshatryia, Vaishya, and Shudra. The Cow was sacred to them and killing of the Cow was prohibited, and their priests, too, took part in the said Soma ritual, but they called it Homa! Here I learnt the first and famous rule of Philology in Indo-European Languages when it comes to Sanskrit, which made the world know people of the Indian sub-continent by the word of 'Hindus' or 'Hindoos'. I read that people west of Sindhu River could not pronounce the Siblant Sounds (Palatal ‘Sh’, Cereberal/Retroflex ‘Sh’, Dental ‘S’ and Compound Palatal ‘Ksh’) and they would call their counter-parts on the east side of Sindhu River as "Hindus".
The journey was laid along with a personal tragedy, where my son fell down from a two-story building and lost a third of his brain. His recovery and the recovery of my soul would take me for on the quest of knowledge to heal him, and myself too, specially to ancient Indian knowledge as well as to modern medical research. I would seek my asylum in Ayurveda, Yoga, Spiritual Knowledge of Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagwat Gita. History was then a background subject and only off and on I would read material on it. But this quest for the recovery, took me to teaching my children and me Sanskrit (which I used also as a therapy to my son to stimulate his brain as Sanskrit Grammer posed a serious memory and logic challenge), and surprisingly it helped me understand the words from other parts of the world, specially in Ancient Greece, Italy and even English!
What I first read was how Sanskrit was more grammatically copious and pure, as per Sir William Jones, than the ancient Greek and Latin, how Indian and Greek Philosophies mirrored, how Indian Astronomy was superior than Greeks, if Indians had taken it from Greeks or vice versa, and so on. Soon it developed into a quest of seeing that "everything" came out of India, as things started pointed out, but this was also a serious blow to the conventional knowledge, and many other Western Scholars like me have also thought the same for last 250 years! But this view is not acceptable to the "main stream" western academia. Never-the-less it is clear and acceptable that there was one common cultural, religious and language source for most part of world civilization today! If not, then there are still interconnected and borrowed ideas and practices from each other, as the "gene" in the egg borrows from the chicken, and the "gene" in the chicken borrows from the "egg", in the classical conundrum whether the chicken came first or the egg!!
Later I would develop a more universal approach, and thought that is it not wonderful to see the whole world is interconnected, which goes to a common source way back in time and has evolved into many entities of "subdivisions" like a large family tree? See that we have our sibling rivalries going on and as parents we just need to ignore the differences and focus on our common-ness. This was a wonderful feeling, besides seeing the same spiritually.
So I saw the commonness in four ways historically:
a. Language - Western Academia calls it Proto-Indo-European language.
b. Religion - Western Academia calls it Proto-Indo-European religion.
c. Philosophy - The history of this field is not yet developed to explain why Greek and Indian Philosophies mirror.
d. Science and Mathematics - In this field there has been some papers where how science and mathematics was also developed by Indians, besides others.
At a higher level, the commonness can also be addressed as following:
a. Spiritually - We are part and parcel of the same Creator which goes by many names and forms because of our limitations in understanding Him and we conceive of Him as per who we are.
b. DNA Wise - National Geographic: The Genographic Project published a report in 2006, somewhere in first half, that all Europeans migrated from the Northern Indian Region. Please note that at one time "cultural" India was all the way till Afghanistan, parts of Iran, Uzbekistan, and even North Western Part of China, above Tibet, called Xinjiang , (also called Tushars and Tocharian), which is south west of Mongolia. Major newspapers carried this news, specially Washington Post and San Jose Mercury News, but somehow this was modified, maybe after some retraction, as it may have created a furor among different camps. They all acknowledged that in 40,000 BC, people passed into Europe from current North Western Afghanistan (which is part of Indian Sub-Continent - as the well known word on 'India' applies - like USA would be synonymous with Americas to many people in India) . Anyway, we all finally go back to the same "Eve" from Africa!
But human nature is where two siblings and cousins fight and divide extended families. So how far can a human mind go and feel the empathy and bound with other human beings from distant past of remote antiquity? Spiritual bound is abstract to others, and going back to Africa may be still too far to many, but if History Facts are published, which shows how our fore-fathers came from the same stock of Cultural, Language and Religious group, perhaps then at least the extremists of all religions could be made not to incite hatred with each other, based on ignorance of their limited understanding of the world. Yes, we will continue to have our differences but we should focus on our commonness. I know this is a tall order, and every long journey begins with a small and first step. If nothing more, at least some like minded people would become educated in this process and then become ambassadors of this message!
So welcome to my Blog and lets share a journey, which would take you to a newer and greater world of the world-understanding, and find you connected with different nations, religious, language and ethnic groups!!