The IE, the Axial Age, and Indian religion/2013/04/23/the-ie-the-axial-age-and-indian-religion/

The IE, the Axial Age, and Indian religion

Let me reiterate my ultra simple view of the AIT/OIT question, which is loose enough to include Sujay Rao’s material, which has to speak for itself.

The idea that the there was no IE migration whatever, that classic Indian religion is IE in source, etc… has been consistently rejected by me, to considerable hostility on the net. Two issues have helped me: Danielou’s material from Indian sources about the antiquity of Indian religion, pegged by him in several broad categories, a sort of ‘primordial Shaivism’, and a long line of ‘proto-Jainism’, this being related to primordial yoga/tantra, etc… Buddhism is a descendant in this recurrent stream, timed to the Axial Age. These are tricky questions, but in broad strokes it makes no sense to assign the origins of Indian religion to the IE and then backdate that to the Neolithic. Indian traditions clearly predate the IE presence.

The question of the IE is fixed by its larger context. A valuable analog is the IE entry into Greece, well after 2500BCE (probably later), with the subsequent creation of culture and literature in that vein. This case is different, however, in that it displaces to a greater degree the prior culture. In India we see the appropriation of the legacy after 1500 BCE or earlier, but not much. That said, there are many echoes of pre-Hellenic culture in the case of Classical Greece. Danielou even suggested a connection between Shiva and Dionysus, but this is hard to be sure of.

I have stayed clear of the Harappan question (for reasons Sujay Rao’s essay makes clear), and my stance here is neutral on that.

I think the view about is right because it is deliberately vague, and some of the details given by Sujay may well be able to fill in the picture.

Again, the idea of IE emanating from India makes no sense, and is a recent view that has produced protest from many Indian scholars.

The Indian religious tradition is still mysterious, and it is easy to infer various gaps, but the results are speculative.

Readers should study my book World History and The Eonic Effect, chapter five, and its section on India:
It is hard to understand Indian (religious) history without and understanding of the Axial Age. The sudden appearance of Buddhism as a baton transfer from ‘Jainism’ in the Axial Age is incomprehensible without the Axial Age model.

India after 2400+ years is entering a New Age of religion, and it will be of great moment to see how the chaos of new age groups resolves to a new development. It may be that the great ‘turning of the wheel’ in Rajneesh/Osho will see a new grand sequence, like that we see before Mahavir, of twenty-four teertankers. That obscure history could replay for the future. The confusion over ‘Hinduism’ is hampering understanding. The core Indian legacy is not ‘Hindu’. The archives have lots of posts on this.

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