Presence of Dhāna and Absence of Godhuma in Ṛg-Veda; The Implication of Archeobotany on Indian History

Anthropology of Ṛg-veda

I have taken up the anthropological issues of Ṛg-veda and they are very original in the sense that they were not covered by any author previously, like absence of tiger and elephants still shy beasts, not yet properly named. We already saw that anthropologically Tiger is absent in India from before 22000 BCE and also from Ṛg-Veda (read here) while Lion’s imagery, profoundness and metaphorical representations can instantaneously be felt in Ṛg-Veda. We already studied that trying to naming of elephants began in Ṛg-Veda but has not yet evolved with a matured noun or nouns, if the blog here made some sense to my conjecture. We also have now begun to understand the fan pan geography of Saraswati–IndavaH in the blog here. These all will remain conjectures until these propositions find a solid ground, which is already present in my mind, with the help of other signature evidence, but these are yet to be penned.

Archeobotany of Ṛg-veda; Curious absence of Godhuma in Ṛg-veda and evidence of domestication of Rice via new sciences, what does these suggests

One such was about Godhuma-Wheat which was pending ever since I listened to Anil Suri’s paper presentation IHAR-IGNCA 2019 (see here) where I was to present Antiquity of History with the help of Agastya evidence of crossing Vindhya (19000 BCE) just after him. The gist of the paper can be read in The sense of full-fledged agriculture in Lahuradev went back to 9,000 BCE+. 2017 Fuller et al gives rice present from 360Ka. They branched out into different hierarchy. The latest studies Coalescence-based modeling of demographic parameters estimate that the first domesticated rice population to split off from O. rufipogon was O. sativa ssp. japonica, occurring at 13.1-24.1 ka, which is an order of magnitude older then the earliest archeological date of domestication. If this is so then the entire vedic hymns on agriculture, i.e., Ṛg-veda IV.57 and Atharvaveda III.17 suddenly makes sense as in the previous blog I discussed that this sukta 57 should be the redacted, newly added one.  The Ṛg-veda (X.34.13) advises for land-farming as the best means of gaining wealth ‘kṛṣimit kṛṣasva vitte remasva bahumanyamānaḥ suggests clearly that farming had begun and we just read that domestication of O. sativa ssp occurring at 24.1 Ka. Suddenly presence of Agastya in 10th mandala, importance of visibility of Agatsya and these antiquities of Agriculture started making sense of continuous civilization to me. Pleistocene environment was changing and with the increase of population the demand for food was also increasing which is not clearly found in Ṛg-veda. The rice, with the noun Dhaana is present in Ṛg-veda but it has not yet found the synonymical name VrIhi which also means Field of Rice and व्रीहि = वर्हति उपचयं गच्छति, from वृह्  (वृद्धौ) Dhatu; Increases (and) goes (adds) to a grainery/elevation(of-status)/Prosperity. as an aside, उपचय = prosperity, seems to come from it’s “Grain-pile” meaning. Ṛg-veda has not yet started seeing the word Agara. On the contrary, apart from Rice, Wheat is present in many of the later texts like Yajurveda Saṃhitās1 and Brāhmaṇas,2 but conspicuously not in Ṛg-veda.

Evidence of Wild Grain in Chamakam

In his paper presentation Mr Anil recited the part of Chamakam 4 where all these yajur grains (as given below) are indicated. But everyone would connect the Araṇyānī sukta of Ṛg-veda from the phrase “the abundance of wild forest grains” which were still present during the times of induction of Chamakam. Probably these were the “kṣetra-area” demarcated in Araṇya which were producing wild grains, inspiring humans to create more such kṣetras as the demand grew. We saw in the earlier blog that the experiment had begun with early ploughing and the sense of Shuna’s head in the naming of a plough suggest the primitiveness and deep antiquity so much so that ‘dogs and plough’ have now become only synonyms instead of inspiration to the latter’s induction as a separate word.

The Yajurveda records twelve types of food-grains in the following mantra: Brīhayaśca me, yayāśca me, māṣśc ame, tilāśca/ Me, mudgāśca me, khalvāśca me, priyaṅgavaśca/ Me, aṇavaśca me, śyāmākāśca me, nīvārāśca me,/ Godhūnāśca me, yajñena kalpantām, while Ṛg veda doesn’t.

Archeological and Textual evidence of Wheat in Indian subcontinent

Wheat at Mehrgarh dates back to around 7000 BCE. It thus now gives us a fare idea for why Wheat is not present in Ṛg-veda. Many things can be absent from Ṛg-veda and one can just avoid or debunk the theories in the name of absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. But the staple like Wheat or Rice, edible, cannot be avoided for they are also to be offered to gods. Hence one can safely say that Ṛg-veda didn’t have wheat and it didn’t carry further additions or compilation after say 7000 BCE with the latest archeological records. Now the question arise that “Godhuma” is present in Rāmāyaṇa. With the help of two pole stars in Rāmāyaṇa and Agastya’s visibility starting from Mahendragiri gave us timing of Rāmāyaṇa as 12000~13000 BCE (see Historical Rama- Nilesh Oak dating of Rāmāyaṇa). Rice is already domesticated by then. Rama has been shown to eat rice but he observes wheat too. It presents that Wheat is cultivated with Barley etc in the Godavari region near Agastya Ashram in the forest. This verse also shows the fields in the forest and also shows the feel of Pleistocene environment. Probably, either the verse is a later addition or we have not yet archeologically explored the Godavari region.  Wheat was archeologically found on Fertile Crescent around 9600 BCE. As Anil Suri has suggested that agriculture could only had gone from India towards Fertile Crescent makes sense post 12000 BCE. The wheat here is a winter crop with barley something like hanfetz; a common cropping system in the highland of Eritrea.

प्रकृत्या शीतल स्पर्शो हिम विद्धाः च सांप्रतम् |
प्रवाति पश्चिमो वायुः काले द्वि गुण शीतलः || 
"The western breeze by itself will be cool to touch, but presently charged with snow it is wafting doubly chilly in the early hours. [3-16-15]

बाष्प च्छ्हन्नानि अरण्यानि यव गोधूमवंति च |
शोभन्ते अभ्युदिते सूर्ये नदद्भिः क्रौन्च सारसैः || 
"Covered with the dew the forests that already covered with crop fields of barley and wheat are beaming forth, together with the callings of ....., at the rise of the sun. [3-16-16]


After understanding and knowing all these above we can conclude that Rice is present but Wheat is absent in Ṛg-veda. The presence of wheat in Mehrgarh during 7000 BCE and its textual presence in Rāmāyaṇa suggests that Ṛg-veda didn’t have any addition during or after 12209 BCE at least. But the evolution of the word Kṣetra in Ṛg-Veda and domestication of Rice during 24,000 BP, i.e, 22000 BCE suggests that farming in small areas had begun early, are present as evidence in the last mandala, and in the redacted mantras. Incidentally and evidently tigers are absent from before 22000 BCE…not just a coincidence.

I am at awe for how we have contained certain evolutionary knowledge, ain’t that fantastic.


[Footnote: 1) Maitrāyaṇī Saṃhitā, i. 2, 8; Vāja- 
saneyi Saṃhitā, xviii. 12; xix. 22. 89; 
xxi. 29, etc.] 

[Footnote: 2) Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa, xii. 7, 1, 2; 2, 
9; Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad, vi. 3, 22 
(Mādhyaṃdina = vi. 3, 13 Kāṇva), etc.] 

2 thoughts on “Presence of Dhāna and Absence of Godhuma in Ṛg-Veda; The Implication of Archeobotany on Indian History

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