Vedic and Indus Religions
The interpretation of the religion of the Harappan culture - made incidentally by scholars
such as Wheeler who were not
religious scholars and had little knowledge of the Hindu religion - was that its religion
was different than the Vedic and more like the Shaivite religion in which Shiva is the
supreme divinity. This was based on the examination of a handful of seals and symbols
found in the ruins. Hence the Harappan religion was thought by them to be a kind of early
Dravidian Shaivism. However, further excavations - both in Indus Valley sites in Gujarat,
like Lothal, and those in Rajasthan, like Kalibangan - show large number of fire altars
like those used in the Vedic religion, along with bones of oxen, potsherds, shell jewelry
and other items used in the rituals described in the Vedic Brahmanas.(*22) Vedic-like fire altars are more common in earlier than later
Indus ruins. As fire altars are the most typical feature of Vedic culture, such finds
associate the Vedic with Harappan culture from the beginning.
That the Harappan culture appeared non-Vedic to its excavators may be attributed to their
lack of knowledge of Hindu culture generally, wherein Vedism and Shaivism are the same
basic tradition. We must remember that ruins do not necessarily have one interpretation.
Nor does the ability to discover ruins necessarily give the ability to interpret them
correctly. Ancient India, like Egypt, had many deities and could not have been dominated
by one only. It would have included Shiva, who as Rudra is already prominent in the Yajur
and Atharva Vedas which appear to correspond with the Harappan age.
We also note that Shiva is the deity of the Ganges region which became the center of Indic
civilization in the post-Harappan era. Vedic deities, like Indra and Agni, are those of
the Sarasvati river to which the Harappan era belongs. Moreover Indra and Shiva have many
common traits being the king of the Gods, the destroyer of cities, terrible or fierce in
nature, the dancer, the lord of the Word, possessing a wife named power or Shakti, etc.
There is no real divide between them.
Unfortunately certain Dravidian politicians and certain Shaivite religious groups have
uncritically accepted the Aryan invasion idea as it gives greater credence to their own
traditions. In this regard they have only fallen into the trap of the invasion theory,
which is to turn various Indic cultural elements against each other, rather than promote