[Indo-Eurasia] Re: If the Indus had "yoga," so did the Egyptians and Olmecs
- Dear Luis (and List),
Thank you for bringing this point out more clearly.
As you mention, using terms like "proto-yoga" for IVC practices
implies continuity that is precisely why I do it, albeit in a
clearly defined context.
Steve pointed out, quite rightly, that we need to avoid projecting
too much of later Indian culture onto the IVC thus missing what is
unique about it. On the other hand, I think we should not
overemphasize uniqueness to the point that we miss elements of
The prevailing theory of the Aryanization of South Asia, beginning
in the Panjab and NW Border regions, has been clearly laid out by
Michael Witzel and others. One of the key elements is the idea
of "elite dominance", i.e. that a relatively small number of Indo-
Aryan speakers established their culture on a much larger non-Aryan
native population. This means that there was a very large substratum
element. Some of these presumably non-Aryan substratum words include
important concepts or items in later Hindu thinking (see Kuiper's
Numerous reputable scholars have drawn parallels between these "pre-
Aryan" words, practices and artifacts and those of later
Vedism/Hinduism. These parallels are particularly noticable among
the "non-Vedic" groups like the tantrik practices in certain aspects
of Saivism, Shaktism and wandering sadhus. I think it is no accident
that these groups also include the elements that tend strongly
towards yogic/shamanistic practices.
Thus I suggest that the term "proto-yoga" is quite appropriate in
this context where there could very well have been a tradition
parallel to the "Greater Tradition" of the Vedas which consisted
of "popular, local, Lesser Tradition" practices that do in fact have
roots going back to the IVC. So while it is unlikely that members of
the IVC used the term "yoga", it is quite likely that their direct
descendents adopted the term for what they had been practicing for
quite a long time already, viz. "citta vritti nirodhah"
the "cessation of mental activity" as defined by Patanjali at a
As a side note: to answer Steve Farmer's question about the IVC
severed heads and later Indian practices, it is also this same
tantrik element that has been identified with human sacrifice.
Usually, in modern times, the sacrifice involves the decapitation of
animals like water buffalo but stories of human sacrifice are still
- Dear all,
As far as I know, the inscription on http://tinyurl.com/2ep6et must be
read in the direction Annette suggested earlier, as the letters S and R
indicate the direction.
BTW, there're also inscriptions in Greek script written right to left,
so even if this is not a signet ring, the direction is not a problem.
AY Reed wrote:
> Dear Alfred,
> In response to your suggestion...
>>>ASYES may be wrongly written for ASNES, known as "Asen, Bolgaric prince"
>>>(cf. Gyula Moravcsik,
>>>Byzantinoturcica. Leiden 1983, pp. 73ss.).
>>>SOTER- is Greek soter "rescuer" - a word still unknownin the Thracian word
>>>list by I. Duridanov >>(vide http://www.wordgumbo.com/ie/cmp/thra.htm ).
>>>But perhaps thisis simply Greek.
> First, I just wanted to clarify that previous suggestions of readings were
> -- following Daniel Milton's initial insight -- indeed reading left to right
> but just flipping the image (i.e. assuming that it is a signet ring such
> that the image is reversed; see also Trudy Kawami's message to this effect).
> In any case, I do find your suggestion intriguing to ponder, even though I
> tend to be wary of reconstructions that assume multiple corruptions or
> errors. I hope you don't mind if I ask a couple follow-up questions.
> 1. I wonder how you're accounting for "sotEr" as "saviour" with regard to
> the omicron (i.e., since Greek "sOtEr" is spelled with an omega) -- perhaps
> you know of other cases of this alternate spelling on inscriptions, coins,
> or the like. Or perhaps the vocalic change of Grk. long "O" to short "o" is
> elswhere attested in Thracian (e.g. personally I could find nothing of the
> sort in Duridanov's handy comparative phonetics list -
> 2. Given the date attributed to find in general (i.e. 4th c BCE), I'm also
> curious as to the dates of this "asuEs" = "Asnes"/prince Asen (I don't have
> Moravcsik's Byzantinoturcica handy here to look up your above citation, but
> I thought it dealt with later figures and materials in general). I'm not all
> that wedded to my own suggestion. In defense of my reading, however, I could
> note that the dates of Odrysian monarchic line of Teres do fit well with the
> proposed date (e.g. Teres I, d. 445 BCE; see also Thucidydes, Hist. 2.29).
> Best wishes, Annette
> Key to transliteration above
> Episilon = e
> Eta = E
> Omicron = o
> Omega = O