N. S. Rajaram and the Aryan Question

Navaratna Srinivasa Rajaram (22 September 1943 – 11 December 2019)


N. S. Rajaram was born on 22 September 1943 into a Deshastha Madhva Brahmin family in Mysore. His grandfather Navaratna Rama Rao was a colonial scholar and vernacular author of regional fame. Rajaram held a Ph.D. degree in mathematics from Indiana University and taught in American universities for over 20 years, including stints at Kent State University and Lockheed Corporation. He died in Bengaluru on 11 December 2019 at the age of 76.

Rajaram’s biographical data describe him as a mathematician and computer scientist living in Houston and Bangalore, with over twenty years teaching experience in universities in the United States. Since 1984, he has also been an adviser to NASA, for which he was the first to develop and apply artificial intelligence methods. He has written at least two books on the Aryan debate, The Politics of History (New Delhi: Voice of India, 1995) and Aryan Invasion of India: The Myth and the Truth (New Delhi: Voice of India, 1993), and is writing several more on such topics as “Old World Mathematics” and “Ancient India in the Light of New Science.” He is one of the members of the Indigenous Aryan school who advocates the application of hard science to the reconstruction of history. Rajaram is vociferously active in this debate in India. Both his books reveal much about the intense political emotions enveloping the Aryan Migration Debate.

Rajaram work in the Aryan debate promotes hard science (such as archaeology and the mathematics of the Sulbasastras) and the scientific method as indispensable in ancient historical reconstruction but is also criticized as being cavalier in his dismissal of linguistics.

Before getting into what Rajaram says about the Aryan Debate let’s first look at what he says about Hinduism.

What is Hinduism? (N.S. Rajaram)

Hinduism is anadi (beginning-less), apaurusheya (without human founder)

The basis of Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma is the quest for cosmic truth, just as the quest for physical truth is the domain of science. The earliest record of this quest is the Rigveda. Its scripture is the record of ancient sages who by whatever means tried to learn the truth about the universe, in relation to Man’s place in the cosmos. They saw nature — including all living and non-living things — as part of the same cosmic equation.

This search has no historical beginning. This is not to say that the Rigveda always existed as a literary work. It means that we cannot point to a particular time or person in history and say: “Before this man spoke, the Rigveda did not exist.” On the other hand, we can say this about Christianity and Islam, because they are historical religions.

This brings up another important facet of Sanatana Dharma or Hinduism: it is a-paurusheya, which means it is not originate in any man (purusha). That is to say it has no historical founder like Christianity has Jesus Christ and Islam has Prophet Muhammad. We can say that Jesus is the purusha of Christianity while Muhammad is the purusha of Islam. These religions cannot exist without their founders. Christianity and Islam are therefore paurusheya. Hinduism has no such purusha on whose authority it exists.

Hinduism is a-paurusheya in a deeper sense also, which brings it close to science, and brings its spiritual quest close to the scientific method. In paurusheya religions, the word of the purusha (founder) – be it Jesus or Muhammad – must be accepted without question. This gives rise to an enforcing authority known as the clergy to ensure that no one deviates from the ‘true path’ as shown by the founder, but in reality as dictated by the human representative who claims to be the true spokesman of the purusha. He is the enforcing authority of the true faith.

This naturally leads to men exercising political power in the name of God. This is what we call theocracy. The authority is the scripture, which is said to represent the word of God as conveyed through his medium (the Purusha). In this scheme, the medium invariably becomes more important than God. For example, it is Jesus not his God that defines Christianity. Also, the sacred book becomes also the law book in the hands of its enforcers.

Hinduism on the other hand leaves the individual free from any religious authority. If any work is considered great, it is because of its merit and not because of the authority of the author. Similarly, a teacher is considered great because of the greatness of the teaching. For example, Vishwamitra is considered a great sage because of the greatness of the Gayatri Mantra, which he enunciated. If someone else than Vishwamitra had given us the Gayatri Mantra, it would still be considered great because of its message. It is the same with Krishna and the Gita. It is the message of the Gita that has led to people revering Krishna as a great teacher. Also, a Hindu is free to question or reject any part or all of a religious work.

It is different with revealed religions like Christianity and Islam: Jesus and Muhammad are invoked as authority to justify teachings that sometimes cannot be justified on their own merit. No such authority exists in Hinduism: the teaching must stand or fall on its own merit. This is what makes it apaurusheya. Cosmic truths existed before the arrival of Vishwamitra and Krishna. These sages, who first expressed them, were historical persons but the truth of their message is eternal and always existed.

This feature— of focusing on the message and its truth rather than the authority of the source brings Sanatana Dharma close to science and the scientific method. In science also, a principle or a theory must stand or fall on its own merit and not on the authority of anyone. If Newton and Einstein are considered great scientists, it is because of the validity of their scientific theories.

In that sense, science is also a-paurusheya. Gravitation and Relativity are eternal laws of nature that existed long before Newton and Einstein. These are cosmic laws that happened to be discovered by scientific sages Newton and Einstein. But no one invokes Newton or Einstein as authority figures to ‘prove’ the truth of laws of nature. They stand on their own merit. The same is true of the Gita and the Gayatri Mantra.

Hinduism recognizes the freedom of the individual. It recognizes no prophet’s claim as the possessor of the ‘only’ truth or the ‘only’ way.

This is probably the greatest difference between Sanatana Dharma and revealed religions like Christianity and Islam. One can see this in a recent proclamation by the Vatican. In a document titled “Declaration of Lord Jesus” the Vatican proclaims non-Christians to be in a “gravely deficient situation” and that even non-Catholic churches have “defects” because they do not acknowledge the primacy of the Pope.

This of course means that the Vatican refuses to acknowledge the spiritual right of others (including Hindus) to their beliefs and practices. It consigns non-Christians to hell; the only way they can save themselves is by becoming Catholics and submit to the Pope. It also makes the Pope more important than both God and Jesus.

It is worth noting that this statement has nothing to do with God, or noble conduct. A non-Christian who lives a life of virtue is still consigned to hell because he refuses to acknowledge Jesus as the only savior and the Pope as his representative on earth. The same is true of Islam: one must submit to Prophet Muhammad as the last, in effect the only prophet, to be saved. Belief in God means nothing without belief in Christ as the savior or Muhammad as the Last Prophet.

One who believes in God but does not accept Jesus or Muhammad as intermediary is still considered a non-believer and therefore a sinner. They simply do not tolerate pluralism. This is what makes both Christianity and Islam exclusive. The rejection of this formulation is also what makes Hinduism pluralistic and tolerant.

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The Aryan Debate

“The histories of our country written by English [and other Western] writers cannot but be weakening to our minds, for they talk only of our downfall. How can foreigners, who understand very little of our manners and customs, or religion and philosophy, write faithful and unbiased histories of India? Naturally, many false notions and wrong inferences have found their way into them”. – Distortions in Indian History


In Sanskrit, ‘Aryan’ simply means cultured and not any race or language.”


Ancient India: age of freedom and synthesis

History books today begin with the Aryan invasion of India, which is said to have taken place in 1500 BC. Students are told that the ancient civilization of the Indus Valley or the Harappan Civilization was Dravidian that was destroyed by the invading Aryans. According to this theory, the language of the Harappan seals, which contain a good deal of writing, is some form of Dravidian language, unrelated to Sanskrit. There are nearly 4000 of these with writing on them, but until recently, no one could read them. Recently, the great Vedic scholar N. Jha made a major breakthrough in deciphering it. Following the breakthrough, Jha and I have read and published the writing on nearly 2000 seals. (We have read many more that are yet to be published.) The language of the seals is Vedic Sanskrit. This means the Harappan Civilization was Vedic.

This also means there was no Aryan invasion and no Aryan-Dravidian conflicts either. In Sanskrit, ‘Aryan’ simply means cultured and not any race or language. I am myself a so-called Dravidian who speaks Kannada. Kannada, like all South Indian languages, is heavily influenced by Sanskrit. South Indian dynasties going back time immemorial called themselves ‘Aryas’ because they were followers of the Vedic culture. South has always been a stronghold of Vedic culture and learning. Sayana, probably the greatest Vedic scholar of the last thousand years was a South Indian. (He was the brother of Vidyaranya, who helped Harihara and Bukka found the great Vijayanagara Empire.)

The idea of Aryans and Dravidians as mutually hostile people was created during the colonial period, in which Christian missionaries played an active role. It was part of the British policy of divide and rule. Bishop Caldwell was probably the most influential Dravidian scholar. When criticized for his theories, he defended them “as not only of considerable moment from a philological [linguistic] point of view but of vast moral and political importance.” By ‘moral and political’, he meant Christian missionary and British colonial interests.

This shows that one of the main forces behind the Aryan invasion theory, and of education policy in general, was the conversion of Hindus to Christianity to make them accept British rule. According to the Aryan invasion theory, the Vedas and Sanskrit language were brought by these Indo-European invaders and not native to India. (This is now demolished by science and also the decipherment of the Harappan writing.) Using this false theory, the British could claim that India had always been ruled by foreign invaders — first the Vedic Aryans, and later the Muslims. The British claimed to be Aryans (as Indo-Europeans) and therefore only the latest rulers of India, but related to their own ancient Aryans who also were foreign invaders! Christian missionaries took advantage of this by enjoying the patronage of colonial rulers. The presented the Bible as ‘Yesurveda’ — or the Veda of Yesu (Jesus).

Many influential British officials felt that the conversion of Hindus to Christianity would make them readily accept British rule. The most influential of these was Thomas Babbington Macaulay who introduced the English education system in India. He made no secret of his goal of conversion of India to Christianity. In 1836, while serving as chairman of the Education Board in India, he enthusiastically wrote his father:

“Our English schools are flourishing wonderfully. The effect of this education on the Hindus is prodigious. …… It is my belief that if our plans of education are followed up, there will not be a single idolator [Hindu] among the respectable classes in Bengal thirty years hence. And this will be effected without any efforts to proselytise, without the smallest interference with religious liberty, by natural operation of knowledge and reflection. I heartily rejoice in the project.”

So religious conversion and colonialism were to go hand in hand. Christian missions always supported the colonial government, with missionaries working hand in glove with the British government. They supported the Jallianwallah Bagh Massacre also, even though many Englishmen were ashamed of it. In a real sense Christian missions were not religious organizations at all but an unofficial arm of the British Administration. (The same is true of many Catholic missions in Central American countries. Many of them are in the pay of the American CIA. This was admitted by a CIA director, testifying before the Congress.)

It was part of the Macaulayite education program to distort Indian history to serve British colonial and Christian missionary interest. To do this, he employed a German Vedic scholar now famous as Friedrich Max Müller. Macaulay used his influence with the East India Company to find funds for Max Müller’s translation of the Rigveda. There can be no doubt at all regarding Max Müller’s commitment to the conversion of Indians to Christianity. Writing to his wife in 1866 Max Müller himself explained his purpose:

“It [the Rigveda] is the root of their religion [Hinduism] and to show them what the root is, I feel sure, is the only way of uprooting all that has sprung from it during the last three thousand years.”

Two years later he also wrote the Duke of Argyle, then acting Secretary of State for India: “The ancient religion of India is doomed. And if Christianity does not take its place, whose fault will it be?” His job was to uproot Hinduism by giving a negative version of the Vedas!

Unfortunately, the version of history being taught to children in Indian schools and colleges, including the Aryan invasion, is the version created by Macaulay and Max Müller. It is a tragedy. It is not only anti-national but also totally false.

Unity of India is of untold antiquity

It was claimed by the British, and faithfully repeated by the Leftist intellectuals, that the British unified India. This is completely false. The unity of India, rooted in her ancient culture, is of untold antiquity. It may have been divided at various times into smaller kingdoms, but the goal was always to be united under a ‘Chakravartin’ or a ‘Samrat’. This unity was cultural though not always political. This cultural unity was seriously damaged during the Medieval period, when India was engaged in a struggle for survival — like what is happening in Kashmir today. Going back thousands of years, India had been united under a single ruler many times. The earliest recorded emperor of India was Bharata, the son of Shakuntala and Dushyanta, but there were several others. I give below some examples from the Aitareya Brahmana.

“With this great anointing of Indra, Dirghatamas Mamateya anointed Bharata Daushanti. Therefore, Bharata Daushanti went round the earth completely, conquering on every side and offered the horse in sacrifice.

“With this great anointing of Indra, Tura Kavasheya anointed Janamejaya Parikshita. Therefore Janamejaya Parikshita went round the earth completely, conquering on every side and offered the horse in sacrifice.”

There are similar statements about Sudasa Paijavana anointed by Vasistha, Anga anointed by Udamaya Atreya, Durmukha Pancala anointed by Brihadukta and Atyarati Janampati anointed by Vasistha Satyahavya. Atyarati, though not born a king, became an emperor and went on conquer even the Uttara Kuru or the modern Sinkiang and Turkestan that lie north of Kashmir. There are others also mentioned in the Shathapatha Brahmana and also the Mahabharata. This shows that the unity of India is ancient. Also, the British did not rule over a unified India. They had treaties with the rulers of hereditary kingdoms like Mysore, Kashmir, Hyderabad and others that were more or less independent. The person who united all these was Sardar Patel, not the British. But this unification was possible only because India is culturally one. Pakistan, with no such identity or cultural unity, is falling apart.

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The Distortion of ancient history through the ‘Aryan invasion’ and the Aryan-Dravidian wars, presenting the Vedic Age as an ‘age of conflict.’

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