Tuesday, June 13, 2023

A Reply to Rainer Stuhrmann's Die Zehnkönigsschlacht am Ravifluss

(This abstract was sent in, spring 2023, to the call for papers for the annual conference of the International Association for Comparative Mythology, summer 2023 in Saloniki, Greece. Though it would have constituted a great leap forward in the mythologists’ understanding of the Ten Kings’ Battle, it was predictably rejected by anti-OIT crusader Steve Farmer c.s.) Abstract 1. Historicity We agree with Rainer Stuhrmann (2016) and the early Veda translators (who largely based on it the scenario of the then "Aryan invasion") on the essential historicity of the Ten Kings' Battle, and on Vasiṣṭha’s Seventh Maṇḍala’s information about the battle’s course. While the Ṛg-Veda contains lots of myth, this episode, though ideologically streamlined, is about historical facts. But in the hallowed tradition of controversy, we want to take issue with other parts of Stuhrmann’s thesis. 2. Facts of the battle In the RV, the direction of king Sudās’s offensive is plainly east-to-west. This fits the wider context, where he, like his father Divodāsa, is based in the Sarasvatī basin. (Stuhrmann reconnects with a long tradition of scholars identifying the Sarasvatī with the present-day Ghaggar in Haryāṇā, after a decade-long intermezzo of it being pooh-poohed as a recent concoction.) Sudās has reached the third river westwards from there, the Paruṣṇi, and the Ten Kings are coming eastward from the fourth, the Asiknī. 3. The dark-skinned Natives, or…? There’s no indication whatsoever that either party is more indigenous than the other. At most Panjāb was invader territory for the Bhāratas from Haryāṇā, but no area outside India is indicated. None of the kings’ or tribes’ names is Dravidian, or Munda, or any known language – except Iranian. Many (Kavi, Kavaśa/Kaoša, Dāsa/Daha, Dasyu/Daŋhyu, Paktha, Parśu etc.) are well-known Iranian names. Vasiṣṭha’s description of their religion as “without Deva”, “without Indra” and “without yajña/fire-sacrifice” exactly matches Mazdeism. Though Stuhrmann and all translators before him have missed it, Sudās obviously defeated an Iranian-dominated alliance. Those who insist they came from outside, could liken it to the colonial wars: after defeating the natives, the colonial powers fought each other. But the text itself nowhere indicates that they came from outside.


Rahul said...

However Mandala 6 mentions bharathas as being vanguard of parthava army led by kavi cayamana and Iranian Atharvan priests.

In short bharathas established themselves in India with help of Iranians .

Later bharathas decided to go their own way leading to conflict with Iranians that's reason behind battle of ten kings.

Golden Reed said...

Rahul, what is your reference from the original text?

Koenraad Elst said...

Rahul, there is no indication that "the Bhâratas established themselves in India (with the help of the Iranians)". But you illustrate well how AIT champions are that attached to their AIT that they keep on reading it into a text passage where it doesn't appear.