Saturday, 9 May 2020

The Vārṣāgira Battle in the Rigveda

The Vārṣāgira Battle in the Rigveda

Shrikant G. Talageri

[This article is a sequel to my earlier article "The Identity of the Enemies of Sudās in the Dāśarājña battle"]

The Dāśarājña battle of Book 7 in the Rigveda had an important sequel of extreme historical importance: the battle described as the Vārṣāgira battle, referred to in hymns IV.30 and I.100. This battle took place on the further side of the Sarayu (later Avestan Haroiiu, presently the HariRud or Herat river in Afghanistan) river, a river to the west of the Indus, and representing the westernmost thrust of the Bharata Pūru expansion. This battle is extremely important because:
a) it represents the final climax of the westward expansion of the Vedic Indo-Aryans (Bharata Pūru) described in the Rigveda, and
b)  memories of this battle are found not only in these two hymns in the Rigveda, but in the Avesta and in Iranian traditions as well.

For the Bharatas, this is a battle between ārya (Indo-Aryan=Pūru) and dāsa (non-Indo-Aryan=proto-Iranian) enemies (and in this case also some named ārya individuals who sided with the dāsa in this battle, and are therefore treated as enemies).

In the Iranian traditions, the battle is between the airya (proto-Iranians) and tuirya ("Turanians" a word used in Iranian traditions in the same sense the word dāsa is used in the Rigveda. Rigvedic ārya and Avestan airya mean "of our community", and Rigvedic dāsa and Iranian tuirya mean "not of our community").

Let us examine:
A. The evidence for the Vārṣāgira battle as a sequel to the Dāśarājña battle.
B. The Iranian Evidence.

A. The evidence for the Vārṣāgira battle as a sequel to the Dāśarājña battle:

1. Book 4 is associated with the descendants of Sudās: i.e. with Sahadeva and Somaka (IV.15). The battle beyond the Sarayu is mentioned in IV.30.18. Sahadeva is directly mentioned in I.100.17 as one of the five Vārṣāgiras.
[It must be kept in mind that many generations must have passed between Sudās and these descendants: they were not his "son" and "grandson" as some people who take "dynastic lists" in the Puranas too literally would assume].

2. The enemies of Sudās, the Śimyu (VII.18.5) in the Punjab are also later the enemies of Sahadeva (I.100.18) in the west. This word, Śimyu, is found only in these two verses in the Rigveda and nowhere else after that in any text.

3. The Vārṣāgira battle is described in the Kutsa upa-maṇḍala of Book 1 (I.94-115). This is the only part of the New Books which maintains a historical continuity with the ethos of the period of the Old Books. It may be noted that the word Bharata itself, which is otherwise found only in the Family Books 2-7, is found in only one place in the non-Family Books (Books 1,8-10): in the Kutsa upa-maṇḍala, in I.96.3.

4. Along with Sahadeva, another one of the five Vārṣāgiras is Surādhas. No such person is known anywhere else in the Vedic (or later) literature. However, an examination shows that this is not a name but a nickname, meaning "bountiful, bounteous giver" (as translated by Griffith in various other verses where the word occurs). It not only sounds like the name Sudās, but also means exactly the same thing: "bountiful".
That this was a word coined (by the Viśvāmitras) as a nickname for Sudās is proved by the fact that the word, in the sense "bountiful", is found in the three oldest Books (6,3,7) only in two hymns: III.33 and 53: exactly the two hymns in Book 3 which deal with the battles of Sudās.
After that, it is found in the other three Family Books (4,2,5) only in Book 4, the Book of Sahadeva and Somaka: IV.2.4; 5.4; 17.8.
Then we find it as the "name" of one of the Vārṣāgiras in I.100.17 along with Sahadeva. The logical inference is that it is being used here as a nickname for a descendant of Sudās (it having become a kind of family epithet), and since Sahadeva is named directly, this can only be Somaka.
[Elsewhere in the New Books, the word is found, in the sense of "bountiful", only once more in Book 1, in I.23.6; once in Book 10, in X.143.4; and as a common word occurring six times in Book 8: VIII.14.12; 46.24; 49.1; 50.1; 65.12; 68.6.]

5. The third important name among the Vārṣāgiras, in fact the main one, is Ṛjrāśva. Outside this hymn, he is only named in two Āśvin hymns in the first Book, in I.116.16; 117.17,18, in relation to an obscure myth about his being blinded by his father for giving a hundred goats to a wolf. So it is clear that he is also, in a sense unique to this battle.

6. The names of the other two Vārṣāgiras are Ambarīṣa and Bhayamāna. The first name is known in later Puranic-Epic stories as the name of an Ikṣvāku king of the east, but this clearly cannot be him, and the second, meaning "fearsome" is more like an epithet rather than a name. The two names are rather unlikely names in this context (Ambarīṣa, in fact, being a late Vedic type of word) but they are mentioned in the hymn and must have some significance.

7. Two other names, but names of enemies, are mentioned in IV.30.18: the two enemies killed on the further side of the Sarayu are Arṇa and Citraratha, and they are referred to as ārya, i.e. Pūru. So clearly they were Pūru kings or warriors who fought on the side of the proto-Iranians.

The wonderful thing about this battle is that it is actually recorded on both sides of the divide: the Rigveda has been kept alive almost like a tape-recording of the hymns as they were at the time of their composition, but at the same time this particular event was at a very great distance (beyond the Indus, and even "beyond the Sarayu") from the core area of the composition of the text, and represented a very distant and peripheral event; so there are no memories of the event in later texts. On the other hand, for the proto-Iranians it was a major event from the oldest and most formative days of the Avesta, and right in the heart of the Avestan area, and so the basics of the event were remembered for a longer time in traditional proto-Iranian memory, but at the same time, the Avesta was not recorded in as great detail as the Rigveda, and it was much more concerned with ritual events (giving lists, in repetitive formulaic phrases, of kings who performed certain sacrifices to certain deities, etc.), so the personalities involved in this battle are found mentioned in bits and pieces in these lists; and some details left out were recorded much later in more purposefully intended, but much less meticulously maintained, traditions retained in garbled accounts as late as the much later Shahnameh.

However, the main details can be gleaned from both the Rigveda and from the Iranian traditions. The ancient Iranian-Turanian conflicts represent the oldest period of Avestan and proto-Iranian history. And the memories of this ancient battle provide us with evidence of this.

B. The Iranian Evidence:

1. The Iranian traditions distinctly remember the main leader of the Turanian side in the conflict: the leader is Arəjəţ.aspa (in later texts, Arjāspa). Clearly, this is Ṛjrāśva.

2. The Avesta (Aban Yašt 113) refers to Arəjəţ.aspa along with his brother Humayāka who is referred to as the "worshipper of the Daevas". Clearly this is Somaka (called Surādhas in the Vārṣāgira hymn).

3. The Shahname (chapter 462) records another main companion or brother of Arəjəţ.aspa who led his troops from the rear: Hushdiv. Clearly this is Sahadeva (whose equivalent name in the Avestan language would be Hazadaeva, which becomes Hushdiv in the late Shahname).

4. Three of the names of the Turanian leaders in the battle are directly identified with the Rigvedic names. The other two names Ambarīṣa and Bhayamāna are not found in equivalent forms in the Iranian records.
But it is significant that a very prominent Parsi scholar E. Sheheriarji identified them with two other family members of Arəjəţ.aspa: Vidarafshnik, a brother of Arəjəţ.aspa, and Vandaremaini, father of Arəjəţ.aspa (who is named in the Aban Yašt 116 with Arəjəţ.aspa) on the grounds that Ambarīṣa and Vidarafshnik both mean "the one with beautiful garments", and Bhayamāna and Vandaremaini both mean "the fearless one".
Incidentally, he also connects up Surādhas with Humayaka on the ground that both mean "one with much wealth"!
S.K.Hodiwala, who provides these references, of course does not find much "weight" in Sheheriarji's "identification of persons in two different languages from the meaning of their names" (HODIWALA 1913:12-13), but the cumulative weight of this evidence, added to the undeniable weight of the first three names, is noteworthy.

5. There is one more connection between the Avesta and the two Rigvedic battles: in the oldest part of the Avesta, the Gāthās, Zarathushtra (in Yasna 32.12-14) refers to the grәhma as the most powerful and persistent of his enemies.
In the Rigveda, the word grāma is found in two references in the sense of "armies or troops" of the Bharatas: in III.33.11 (where it refers to the troops, under Sudās and Viśvāmitra, crossing the two rivers in their expedition westwards) and in I.100.10 (where it refers to the troops of the Vārṣāgiras).
Apart from the above reference in Book 3, it is found in the Old Books only once in the latest part of the Old Rigveda: in II.12.7 in its new and subsequent meaning of "village". After that it is found with this new meaning in the New Rigveda (Books 5,1,8,9,10) many times: I.44.10; 114.1; V.54.8; X.27.19; 62.11; 90.8; 107.5; 127.5; 146.10; 149.4.  

6. Finally, who are the two ārya enemies (Arṇa and Citraratha) of the Bharatas named in IV.30, in this battle beyond the Sarayu?
The Iranian texts also have the name of a person who was on the Iranian side in the battle but who must have been an Indo-Aryan (Pūru): Manušciθra (later Manūchīhr or Minocher).
The evidence for this is that:
1. In the later Pahlavi texts, the Manusha of Yasht 19.1 (which is the Manuṣa of Haryana in Rigveda III.23.4) is cited as the birthplace of Manušciθra.  
2. According to the Cambridge History of Iran, his name "means 'from the race of Manu', and refers to the ancient mythical figure, Manu, son of Vivasvant, who was regarded in India as the first man and founder of the human race. He has no place in Iranian tradition, where his role is played by Yima and later Gayōmard" (YARSHATER 1983:433).
He is referred to in the Farvardīn Yasht 131, in a list of names of holy persons of the past who are being worshipped in the hymn, where he is referred to as "Manušciθra, son of Airyu" . If the Manuš- in the name is a prefix indicating his birthplace, the names could be "Ciθra, son of Airyu": i.e. Citra(ratha) and Arṇa.

[Note: Airyana could be an alternative form of the name Airyu, since later Iranian myths actually make Airyu the founder of Iran (Airyana), and his brother Tūra the founder of "Turan": "Turan and Iran were inherited by Tūra and Airyu" (DARMETESTER 1883:227 footnote). This also explains why all non-Iranians,  originally Indo-Aryans, were called Turanians in later classification: Tūra, the brother of Airyu was, like Airyu and his son Citra, an Indo-Aryan or Pūru, but, unlike his brother, he did not shift alliance to the Anu proto-Iranians].    

7. There can be other additions to this: for example, the name Iṣṭāśva of a king in the Rigveda (I.122.13) could be identified as the leader of the Iranians in the battle: Vīštāspa. But the connection with the battle, except that this name appears in Book 1, is not as direct as the other evidence already seen. So I will just leave it on record here for further investigation.

8. The early priests of the Pūru (the Indo-Aryans) were the Aṅgiras, and the priests of the Anu (the proto-Iranians) were the Bhṛgus also called the Atharvans.
However, one branch of the Bhṛgu, under Jamadagni, became affiliated with the Indo-Aryans. In the Avesta, therefore, the priestly classes are divided into two: the Kauui (the branch of priests who joined the other side) and the Spitama (the branch of priests who remained with the Iranians). The Spitama, to which group Zarathushtra himself belongs, are the good priests in the Avesta and the Kauui are the evil ones. [Note these priestly Kauui are different from the royal Kauui dynasty which dominated the Avesta].
It is therefore significant that, in the manner already noticed for some other words, there is a pun on the word śvit- (white=Iranian spit-) which is deliberately used in connection with the Bharata Pūru priests in both the battle hymns. It may be noted that words from the root śvit- (as opposed to the word śveta) are used in only eight verses in the whole of the Rigveda (and never after that, although one of these Rigvedic verses is repeated in the Yajurveda).
In four of these verses, it refers to the glowing refulgence of the Gods: Agni (VI.6.2; X.46.7), Rudra (II.33.8) and Uṣas (I.123.9).
But three of the other references clearly use the word tongue-in-cheek, again in the battle hymns, to refer to the Bharata Pūru side: to the priests of Sudās (VII.33.1; 83.8) and to the Vārṣāgiras (I.100.18).
In the last reference (VIII.46.31), it is used to describe the glowing colors of the cows given by the patrons with proto-Iranian names in this hymn, who also donate camels.

Thus the sparse data available in the Rigveda and the Iranian records (from the Avesta to the Shahname) provides strong evidence connecting the Dāśarājña battle with the Vārṣāgira battle, and both with the oldest known "Iranian-Turanian" battle in the Iranian traditions.

Note Added 13/5/2020: The Identity of the Sarayu river:
An alert reader alerted me to make a correction I should have made long ago. It is about the identity of the extremely important river Sarayu in the Rigveda. In my very first book in 1993, I identified it with the Siritoi river, a western tributary of the Indus, on the basis of the identification by P.L. Bhargava in his invasionist book "India in the Vedic Age: A History of Aryan Expansion in India", since it was definite that the Sarayu of the Rigveda was in Afghanistan as it represented the westernmost thrust of the Bharata Pūrus. Subsequently, I found many reasons to doubt this exact identification:
1. The Siritoi is a very minor tributary, and in fact so minor that it will be difficult to locate it on a map. And it seems considerably to the south of the area of activity of the Rigveda.
2. In a late hymn in X.64.9, the reference is to the Three Great Streams Sarasvati, Sarayu and Sindhu. It would be surprising for an obscure tributary to be clubbed together with the two Great Rivers of the Rigveda. However, if it is identified with the Herat, it makes sense, since these are three Great Rivers located then within present-day day India, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Further, I recently find that in his original book, in 1956, Bhargava does not specifically identify the Sarayu with the Siritoi. He identifies it, of course, as "the river Sarayu, which was a western tributary of the Indus" (BHARGAVA 1956:68). But he is not specific: "The name Sarayu is mentioned more than once in the Rigveda, and the fact that it is never associated with Yamunā,  Gangā or any of the eastern rivers but is mentioned along with Kubhā, Krumu and Sindhu proves that in Rigvedic times it was the name of a river of the north-west of India, for there could be no meaning in associating a river of eastern India with the rivers of the north-west frontier. Unfortunately it is not possible to identify this river because it has changed name, as did several others" (BHARGAVA 1956:70).
However, in his much revised reprint of the book in 1971, which was the book referred by me in 1993, he specifically writes "Gomatī and Sarayu [….] two of the western tributaries of the Indus, now known as the Gomal and the Siritoi" (BHARGAVA 1956/1971: 132).

Having accepted the identification in my first book, and since it tallied with the general geography and history (i.e. the expansion into the westernmost area in the Rigveda, west of the Indus), I simply carried on with it out of lethargy (and perhaps subconsciously realizing that it would mean a correction of all my earlier writings where I referred to the Sarayu as the Siritoi or as a "western tributary of the Indus"!). I am grateful to reader Arunabha Roy for nudging me into action.  


BHARGAVA 1956: India in the Vedic Age: A History of Aryan Expansion in India. Upper India Publishing House Pvt. Ltd. Lucknow, 1956.

BHARGAVA 1956/1971: India in the Vedic Age: A History of Aryan Expansion in India. Upper India Publishing House Pvt. Ltd. Lucknow, reprint.

GRIFFITH 1889: The Hymns of the Rig-Veda. (tr.) Griffith, Ralph T.H. Munshiram Manoharlal, rep. 1987, Varanasi.

HODIWALA 1913: Zarathushtra and his Contemporaries in the Rigveda. Hodiwala, Shapurji Kavasji. Published by himself, Mumbai 1913.

YARSHATER 1983: The Cambridge History of Iran, Vol. 3 (1). ed. Ehsan Yarshater. Cambridge University Press, 1983.


  1. Hello Talagiriji:

    Thank you for yet another enlightening article. If I understand this correctly, the Deva worshiping Turanians (which is us basically) won the war and the Airyans became the pre Islamic Iranians as we know them today. As expected, Western scholarship has got it backwards. They date the Avestan at 2300 BCE.

    "The oldest existing mention of Turan is in the Farvardin yashts, which are in the Young Avestan language and have been dated by linguists to approximately 2300 BCE"

    To them the exact location of the ancient Zarathustra and Turan is "unknown" which would be western Punjab under the OIT.

    "Similar to the ancient homeland of Zoroaster, the precise geography and location of Turan is unknown."

    My question is, as Zoroastrians were expanding further, did they call their own enemies as Turanians? In recorded history the territory to the east of the Caspian see came to be known as Turan. Moreover, did these new Turanians include Dasa (Dahaes) who were the enemies of Sudas during the Dasharajanya War? Thank you for sorting all this out.

    1. Yes, airya and tuirya referred to people not lands. Later, they called Iran the "land of the airya".

      By that time (like the word "dasa" in India had changed from "non-Puru" to "servant/slave") the word which meant "enemies of the Iranians" (formerly the Indo-Iranians) was used for their main enemies of that time, who were to their northwest, and their land came to be called "land of the tuirya/tura".

    2. Sorry, in my above reply, I wrote "Indo-Iranians" for Indo-Aryans. The correct sentence is:

      "enemies of the Iranians" (formerly the Indo-Aryans).

  2. Isn't verse IV.30.18 an interpolated verse.

    1. I have given this in detail in TALAGERI 2008:155-156. The geographical and historical contexts and references in both the Old Hymns and the Redacted Hymns in any Book are the same.

      Thus in Book 6, belonging to the period of Divodasa, he is referred to in the Old Hymns 26,31,43, as well as in the Redacted Hymns 16,47,61. Similarly, the eastern geographical names are found in the Old Hymns 1,4,8,17,20,27 as well as in the Redacted Hymns 45,49,50,52,61; and the western geographical names are totally missing in both the Old Hymns as well as in the Redacted Hymns.

      The Redacted Hymns (except the ones at the end of each Family Book) were Old Hymns which were only modified in language, not in historical or geographical contexts.

      Except the references to Purukutsa and Trasadasyu (see TALAGERI 2000:68-72), whose help to the Purus in the period of the New Rigveda was so great that verses praising them were interpolated into the Old Hymns.

      Again note that the Citra of IV.30 (Manush-cithra of the Avesta), the Puru who sided with the Iranians, is called Citra-ratha, and this ratha name in this Interpolated Hymn is the only ratha name in the Old books: no other interpolated Hymn has names with ratha. Clearly, the battle (in I.100) is a late event, and the addition of the "ratha" to the name must indicate something. Perhaps, as this is the only reference which actually gives the personal names of some arya enemies, the ratha is added to indicate the defection to the Anu side (I have pointed out elsewhere that the Anu-Bhrgu are credited with the invention of the ratha, for Indra, in IV.16 and V.21.).

  3. In the section B. Iranian evidence point 8 you mention
    "The Spitama, to which group Zarathushtra himself belongs, are the good priests in the Rigveda and the Kauui are the evil ones."

    Was it Rigveda or Avesta?

    1. Thank you, you always bring typos and careless mistakes to my notice. I will correct it. It should be in the Avesta.

  4. yours 1st question was already describe by him in one of his previous article:
    "Āryas, Dāsas and Dasyus in the Rigveda".

    yours 3rd question is being described in this article.

    1. Thanks. But I can you further explain why the Turans are used in the Avesta for the Indo-Aryans? Shrikant ji has not gone in detail in this.

  5. Hello Shrikant ji, I have a ques to ask you.

    1. Are the Turvasa and Turya refering to the same tribe.

    1. Then why did the Avestans coined the term Turanians for the Indo-Aryans?

    2. I find it surprising that I constantly get this type of question as to why someone or the other were called by some particular names. In this particular case, I was neither present on the spot, nor consulted, when the composers of the Avesta decided to call the Indo-Aryans Turanians, so I cannot provide a first-hand report about the origins of the name
      Nevertheless, in this particular case:

      1. In the above article, I have given the explanation. Please read the part in square brackets before point 7 of Section B.

      2. If the above explanation had not been available, how on earth was I expected to know? Even in my article "Aryas, Dasas and Dasyus in the Rigveda", I have pointed out that it does not matter which of the suggested roots for the word "arya" is correct, but "what we require is to understand what the word means in the Rigveda". In this case, we can see that the word "Turanians" refers to Arəjəţ.aspa, Humayaka, Huzdiv, etc. in the Avesta, who are the Bharata Purus of the Rigveda. If my identification is right, why should anyone want the exact etymology of the name?

      3. It is this obsession with the "origins", rather than the actual identity, of names which leads to the sidelining of history and the manufacturing of new myths to "explain" those names. Mythology is great in its field but history is a different field.
      Therefore Draupadi was called Panchali because she was the daughter of the king of Panchala. But the word "pancha" created new myths about her five husbands.
      Dattatreya was called Datta-Atreya because he was the son of Atri. But the word "treya" created new myths about him being a combination of the Three Great Gods, with three heads.

  6. There is something I always wanted to ask. Is there any connection between Anu of the Vedas and Anu of ancient middle east?
    Name of Sumerian supreme God was Anu, Egyptians also used to have this word Anu as name of many of their pharaohs like Neferkamin Anu.

    1. Not as far as I know. Nor do I see any logical connection.

    2. Well if the Bhrgus can be remembered as a Goddess named Brigit, similarly is it not possible that Anus also have been made a God in Sumerian myths?

    3. Maybe, but one isolated word cannot be used to make up a full theory. There are people, like PN Oak, who made a lifetime practice of doing so, but I would not like to make such speculative stories on the principle that everything originated in India.

      Sometimes we do find amazing origins. As I have often pointed out, Mitra of the Rigveda is the most wideiy spread God in the world: he was a Sun God and the God of Contracts:
      1. His name has survived in modern India as the word "friend".
      2. He is found in the Zoroastrian Avesta as Mithra.
      3. He is found in Buddhist theology all over Asia as Maitreya, who will be the future Final Incarnation of the Buddha, like Kalki will be the future final avatar of Vishnu.
      4. His cult spread all over the Graeco-Roman world as Mithraism.
      5. The "birth of Christ" was celebrated on different days of the year by different sects. Finally, there was an assembly in which they sat down and decided to choose one day of the year for all sects: that day was December 25th, the day of the Braeco-Roman Festival of Mithra.
      6. The name of Mitra became the word for "contract" in all Semitic languages. In Islam, the "contract money" decided during a marriage contract is called Meher (Meher and even later Sanskrit Mihir are derived from the Avestan Mithra).

      We can connect Brigit with the Bhrgu because:
      1. BRGT is not a simple word form like ANU, which may be found in different languages independently (though of course we have PN Oak's amazing Abraham-Sarah and Brahma-Sarasvati connection, which seems to have no logical explanation and seems too close to be pure coincidence!).
      2. The Irish and the Vedic people are linguistically connected.
      3. The Bhrgu-Brigit connection is part of a package deal: another of the three Irish Goddesses is Anu, Brigit like the Bhrgus is the Goddess of Learning and is worshiped with eternally burning fires, etc.
      There is no similar connection between the Rigveda, the Sumerians and the Egyptians.
      Of course, I will be only too happy if connections, as well as the direction of influence, can be proved by someone.

    4. well I am asking all of this for one reason. Recently I came across a author name " Dr. Liny Srinivasan" who in three books

      1. Desi Words Speak of the Past: Indo-Aryans in the Ancient Near East
      2. Crete to Egypt: Missing Links of the Rigveda
      3. Near Eastern Deities in the Rigveda

      tried to show that Vedic civilization was actually Egypt-Middle Eastern in origin. There are names of places, priests, tribes, Deities mentioned in the Vedas, Epics and Puranas which are actually middle east in origin but are hidden under Sanskrit names.

      I haven't read those books but this is what is being said in the books back cover as given in amazon.

    5. I Have checked some of her works, she has done a good job in showing the links between East and West but I think she got the direction wrong.

    6. So what do you think was the Vedic Deities, tribes, Priests, place names were really Egyptian-middle East in origin camouflaged under Sanskrit names?

      Because I think its actually the opposite way around.

  7. Also Talageri ji can you tell us the meaning of this word "Vārṣāgira" and what was the ultimate outcome of this battle.

    1. This word is there only in this hymn. It would be assumed they are sons or descendants of a king named Vrshagira, about whom nothing more is known (to me at least, although later texts may have manufactured myths about this name).

  8. Also is their any information that what the Proto-Iranians(Anus) used to called the priests of the Purus just like they used the term tuiryas for the Purus(Indo-Aryans)?

    1. The Avesta is a very late text. Even the Rigveda does not remember all the details of the Dasarajna battle except in a few hymns, which were just memorized by rote.

      Nevertheless, in all my articles I have pointed out that there were three groups of the earliest priests: the Angiras, Bhrgu/Atharvan and Druhyu in the Rigveda; the Angra, Athravan and Druj in the Avesta, and the Drui in the Irish traditions (Brigit remembered as the Goddess of Knowledge).

    2. Actually I was talking on the basis of Dāsas and Dasyus.
      Just like all the Anu tribes are referred to as Dāsas and there priests as Dasyus(not to any particular family of priests), so does the Avesta had a particular word for the priests(from whichever family he may belongs to) of the Indo-Aryans/Purus(tuiryas)?

    3. Every text, tradition or language has its own terminologies. It is exciting when we discover the connections between different terminologies, but it is not necessary that such connections should always be there.

  9. About the name Turanianas from Talageri The Rig Veda: A Historical analysis (2000)

    "The Iranians must have had their own names for the Indoaryans in the Avesta. And it not necessary that the names or epithets used by the Iranians for the Indoaryans be located in the Rig Veda. However, we can speculate as follows:

    a. The word Turvayana occurs four times in the Rigveda, and in two of the verses it refers to the person for whom Indra conquered all the tribes from east to west (i.e Kutsa-Ayu-Athithigava). About Turvayana, Griffith notes in his footnote to VI.18.13: According to Sayana turvayana, "quickly going" is an epithet of Divodasa (p.222)."

    The quickly going meaning that Sayana attributes to turvayana may have survived till today in the Hindi word turant meaning quick.

    1. Yes, from this Turvayana may have arisen the "tura" of Iranian tradition (A Bharata Puru, like Manush-cithra, whether or not his actual uncle as the tradition suggests).

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Sorry, the quote should read.

    "And it is not necessary that the names or epithets....."


  11. Sir, I got stuck right in the beginning when I tried to locate the Sarayu river, the western tributary of Indus. The google search yielded Harayu or present day Hari/ Herat which does not flow into the Indus.
    Can you help in this?

    1. Your question is extremely important because it brings forward a point which has been rankling at the back of my mind since years, but which I did not address because it never came to the fore. I have increasingly come to believe that this identification is wrong and that the Sarayu of the Rigveda is indeed the river HariRud or Herat which does not flow into the Indus, which represents the westernmost thrust of the Bharata Pūrus.
      I will make the change in the article, with a concluding note on the identity of the river. Thank you for bringing up the point and giving me a chance to correct it.

    2. This means the western most extension of the Purus was upto western afghanistan and not south eastern afghanistan.

    3. sorry eastern and southern afghanistan not south eastern.

    4. Certainly Central Afghanistan, since the Harirud river starts out from central Afghanistan and flows westwards. it starts to the west of the Kubha (Kabul) river which flows to the east and becomes a tributary of the Indus. This also explains why Sarayu is mentioned in V.53.9 separately from the Sindhu and its tributaries, Kubha, Krumu and Rasa which are mentioned together. Also, it would appear the expansion is not towards southern Afghanistan but the northwest, which is why camels from Central Asia appear in later hymns.

    5. One thing I would like to know. How did scholars identified ustra (camel) with the camel of central asia which is having two humped and not with one humped dromedary camel?
      Does the Vedas says anything like that this ustra has two humped.

    6. Because the camel appears in the Rigveda only as gifts by kings with Iranian names, and the camels known to the Iranians were the Bactrian camels.
      There is unanimity on the part of all scholars as to the camels being Bactrian camels.

    7. Hello,

      I had the same problem as Arunabha. Wikipedia identifies a river Suru as one of the tributaries of the Sindhu.

      The equation Saryau=Suru did not appear to be satisfactory and the geography did not make much sense either. Glad to hear that Dr. Talageri is now thinking about the Harirud. As irony would have it, the Vedic Saraswati cannot be identified with Haraiviti as AIT proponents have been pushing for, for years. But now Saryau can possibly be equated with Harirud in an OIT scenario.

    8. Yes the only thing is that I have, rather thoughtlessly, been repeating the copy-paste phrase "southern and eastern Afghanistan" in all my books and articles, when actually the movement across the Beas-Sutlej and Ravi from Haryana, going past the Kabul, Krumu and Suvastu, would lead into central and northwestern Afghanistan. It would also connect more logically with the Avestan Iranians and camels.
      Now I have to think how to make all the necessary corrections.

    9. S. Talageri wrote:

      "when actually the movement across the Beas-Sutlej and Ravi from Haryana , going past the Kabul, Krumu and Suvastu, would lead into central and northwestern Afghanistan."

      That would also square well with Zarathustra's later conflicts with Turanians in modern Turkmenistan. And here you might be surprisingly in agreement with Western scholarship!

      "The Rigveda is claimed to have recorded the Hereyrud as the River Sarayu.[4] "

  12. In para 8, line 6, should it be Avesta instead of Rig Veda?

    1. Do you mean in the sentence "However, the main details can be gleaned from both the Rigveda and from the Iranian traditions"? No, I see what you mean, but I am only saying that both the Rigveda and the Iranian traditions (including the Avesta as well as Shahname, etc.) refer to this battle.

  13. I refer to B 8.
    "The Spitama, to which group Zarathushtra himself belongs, are the good priests in the Rigveda and the Kauui are the evil ones."
    Since the Spitama are the priests of Anu, will they be good priests in the Rigveda which belongs to the Puru?"

    1. That was a typing error in the article which was brought to my notice by a reader of the article on, and I corrected it there. I thought I had corrected it here also. Thank you for bringing it to my notice. It should be in the Avesta, not the Rigveda.

  14. Sir can please join the IHAR group, it will be much help to all group members. Below is the link to register:

    Here is the website:

  15. Does the name Narmara in the RigVeda(2.13.8) has any relationship with the Egyptian king Narmer?

  16. I think your identification of 'dasa' meaning 'not our people' and 'arya' as 'our people' is not justified. There is 'dasa' in sudasa and divodasa as well. A more logical meaning could be feudatory for 'dasa' and emperor for 'arya'. This also opens a window of history of the Indo-Persian struggle being predominantly a fight one for the throne of the empire (IVC/Indus-Saraswati/panchajanya) having some cultural-religious dimensions, instead of it being a religious struggle with political dimensions.

  17. Talageri ji, since the Vedic Aryas had moved beyond Sarayu so they must have encountered Helmand/Harahwati river in the eastern afghanistan. Any idea what the Vedic Aryans used to call that river. Did the RigVeda gives any information regarding this?

  18. Talageri ji, in the section
    "A. The evidence for the Vārṣāgira battle as a sequel to the Dāśarājña battle:"
    You mentioned
    "The battle beyond the Sarayu is mentioned in IV.18."

    Is it IV.18 or IV.30?

    1. It's IV.30.18. I am making the correction. Thank you.

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  20. Talageri jee Vistaspa was the king to patronised zarathustra , was zarathustra killed in this battle ?

  21. Namaste Talageri Ji,

    I suggest you read this

    It undoubtedly establishes Celts/Druids with the Dryuhu in the region of Mehrgarh.