Clothing in Rg-veda and those Memories of 60,000+ years in Sentinelese

Sentenelese – Pic courtesy- Nat Geo

Three types of clothing in Rg-veda

From the picture above Rg-veda identifies three type of clothing. Adhivastra, Kurlra, and Andpratidhi for garments which correspondingly denotes the outer cover (veil), a head-ornament or head-dress (turban) and part of woman’s dress. Although I could find only one as of now, i.e., अधि-वस्त्र  mfn. clothed, RV. viii, 26, 13. Interesting enough the color used by Sentenelese is of yellow ochre and scarlet red which is known to Rg veda as hiraṇya and aruṇi. Also we don’t know how these Sentenelese are coloring the little of the plant products that they use for their bare clothing.

Tvac; Hide or Skin in Rg-veda

The Rg-vedic text is silent about any other apparel in particular against growing evidence of numerous parts of apparels in the later text like Atharva veda etc. Instead we find Tvac, ‘skin,’ or ‘hide,’ probably hide is more appropriate since before 10,000 BCE the skin color of homosapiens or homogroup was almost dark be it European, African. Ligter skintone appeared only during or later to 16,000 BCE( the debate continues). Indians have the most varied skin tone in the world. Probably, we were little lighter in skin tone due to use of milk products and high in calcium, as Rgveda suggests of use of cattle, it is still a matter of study. The europeans turned into lighter skin more recently as to from 10,000 ~6,000 BCE(form the latest studies). So if the darker avratas were reaching Saraswati, apparently were coming from the northwest which were being continuously resisted. The context of dark color skin has been debated for avratas, i.e., dark skin people but apparently that can mean hide also of some dark colour(see the Ramayana ref below). Overall, with many evidence we do find ( which can be searched in previous blogs) 22K BCE as a bottleneck not only environmentally, for example Last glacial maximum, but due to climatic upheavals, the search for land became more intense for the survival. We saw such confrontations beginning in the Rg-veda itself and probably these are the times when mutations begin so darker krishna-avratas (lawless) could have come from NW frontiers, but probably all were of dark complexion. The evaluation of tvac whether is skin will remain a a matter of discussion.

As I always have advocated, it appears to me, that Rg-vedic people lived a life of the hunter and gatherers more and pastoral life less, they enjoyed AraNya more. Kshetra – clean areas were opted much later when the beast like creature started reducing, we know that much of the megafauna was lost during LGM. From the previous blog we could locate Kshetra, i.e., cleaned areas and Shunasiraa-plough in the later mandalas or the redacted mantras. I also speculate that the Indian Rg-vedic people are less artistic but have more rational and scientific inclination of the world and cosmic view and sensitive to the environment around, they are not making any jewelry, artifacts or weaving baskets. Instead they are using stone implements and mentioning them. The rationalism of scientific observation was decreasing post Rg-vedic times as art and artistic views started emerging more on the sites like those of Konkan petroglyphs on the ground or Bhimbetka panels and that could only have happened with the artistic genetic admixtures happening in the ancient times which is well seen during the advent of holocene times. That is yet another issue to be studied, evaluated and addressed. We do see that Sentenelese, Onge, Jarawa people are more intuitively scientific, than the gadgety us, who sensed the Tsunami and easily saved themselves well in advance. We may never know how they think and sense intuitively about their environment around. That itself is a study material.

Not necessarily the Onge are vedic people, but perhaps they knew vedic people. This is a fact neither can we assess nor can we prove it. On the contrary, what is visible is, definitely they carry the evidence of clothing from 60,000+ BCE times, which is surprisingly present in Rg-veda as well.

Varman- Armour

I came across varman other than simple clothing in Rg-veda. Varman denotes ‘body armour’. It is unknown if the armour was made of any metal or so as it is not described being made of which material. The word appears in 1st, 6th, 7th, 9th, and 10th mandala. Although Varman appears in many mandalas but it appears with सीव् “वर्म॑  सीव्यध्वं ” only once. सीव् appears for the first time in 10th mandala which is the newest mandala of Rg-veda. This gives apparently an idea that varman was not made of metal, at least.

व्र॒जं कृ॑णुध्वं॒ स हि वो॑ नृ॒पाणो॒ वर्म॑ सीव्यध्वं बहु॒ला पृ॒थूनि॑ । पुर॑: कृणुध्व॒माय॑सी॒रधृ॑ष्टा॒ मा व॑: सुस्रोच्चम॒सो दृंह॑ता॒ तम् ॥10.101.008
The armour made of bark sewn.
त्वम॑ग्ने॒ प्रय॑तदक्षिणं॒ नरं॒ वर्मे॑व स्यू॒तं परि॑ पासि वि॒श्वतः॑ ।स्वा॒दु॒क्षद्मा॒ यो व॑स॒तौ स्यो॑न॒कृज्जी॑वया॒जं यज॑ते॒ सोप॒मा दि॒वः ॥01.031.15

Absence of Cotton but presence of Wool in Rg-veda

Very conspicuously, cotton-karpāsa is absent in Rg-veda, thus we cannot rule out if they used cotton clothing, but in the 1st and 10th mandala we come across “syuta”-means sewing which can even be done with the barks or leaves etc. Tantu in the sense of cord, string, line, wire, warp (of a web), filament, fibre, is present in Rgveda in the sense of सूर्य्यस्य, रश्मिभिः* but absent with the sense of warp and woof of Atharva veda. In the Rigveda the word is used only metaphorically. Cotton is much present during 6000 BCE, the strains of cotton are found in copper bead (see here). But wool is much known to Rg-vedic people. Ūrṇā, ‘wool,’ is very frequently mentioned from the Rigveda onwards. The Paruṣṇī country was famous for its wool, like Gandhāra for its sheep( lexicon). Although again we do not encounter ‘Woollen thread’ (ūrṇā-sūtra) in Rg-veda, instead we find Soft as Wool’ (ūrṇa-mradas). If one shear and beget the wool of the wild sheep this can be easily used for covering as a veil or spreads without even knitting it, or probably without even shearing it, and “ऊर्णावन्तम्”; meaning बहूर्णादिवस्त्रयुक्तम् in 06.015.016 Rg-veda suggests so.

The wild sheep which was never sheared.

Archery, Lancing and Navigation- The Universal Science

You can see the below picture where the log is carved into a canoe without any subscription to modern knowledge of chiseling and boat making by the Sentinelese. The bows and arrows are indigenously their own and not learnt via Dhanurveda. How do they know this?

Head dressing, use of plant fibre

Overall my attempt is to show that few things which are absent in Rg-veda also makes sense when we try to understand their anthropological evolution, taxonomy use, and expansion of their territories from the river based habitation which has just begun during Rg-vedic times…..

Rg-veda Vs Ramayana

On the contrary Ramayana has an evidence to Bark clothings known as Valkal, the bark of a tree, a garment made of bark  ( see २-१०१-२३, २-६३-३१, २-९९-२६ etc), as a wearing of tribal people against kShouma, i.e., linen or silken clothings of the city people), Conspicuously this word is absent in Rg-veda. Apparently, the word valkal is not yet discovered by Rg-vedic people, but gives a good imagery of black antelope hide and bark used as clothing by Rama “कृष्ण अजिन धरम् चीर वल्कल वाससम् |” cf. tvac of Rg veda above, but Rg veda knows Carman, denoting ‘hide’ in general, is a common expression from the Rigveda onwards so the use of tvac is still doubtful and can relate more to skin. This word can mean both but the mandalas and mantras in question yet requires to be tabulated.

…to be continued.


स सूर्य॑स्य र॒श्मिभि॒: परि॑ व्यत॒ तन्तुं॑ तन्वा॒नस्त्रि॒वृतं॒ यथा॑ वि॒दे । नय॑न्नृ॒तस्य॑ प्र॒शिषो॒ नवी॑यसी॒: पति॒र्जनी॑ना॒मुप॑ याति निष्कृ॒तम् ॥09.086.032

सूर्य॑स्येवर॒श्मयो॑द्रावयि॒त्नवो॑मत्स॒रास॑: प्र॒सुप॑: सा॒कमी॑रते।तन्तुं॑त॒तंपरि॒सर्गा॑सआ॒शवो॒नेन्द्रा॑दृ॒तेप॑वते॒धाम॒किंच॒न॥09.069.006 

इ॒मं नो॑ अग्न॒ उप॑ य॒ज्ञमेहि॒ पञ्च॑यामं त्रि॒वृतं॑ स॒प्तत॑न्तुम् । असो॑ हव्य॒वाळु॒त न॑: पुरो॒गा ज्योगे॒व दी॒र्घं तम॒ आश॑यिष्ठाः ॥10.124.001



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