Chapter 7 Discovery of the Source and Destination of Sindhu River
Selected extracts from Return of the Aryans by Bhagwan S. Gidwani, published by Penguin Books, India, ISBN 0-14- 024053 5 (Reference pages 131- 167- from Return of the Aryans)
SINDHU RIVER Source & Destination:
In 5,000 BCE, a Sindhi expedition, journeyed across the soaring peaks of Himalayas to Tibet to reach Lake Mansarovar, Mount Kailash, to discover the source of mighty Sindhu River. Poets narrate the ordeals through which these Sindhi explorers passed on this fearsome journey along with the vivid description of regions, mountains and rivers they crossed and the disasters and tragedies that struck them on the perilous route before the great discovery; and an account of the discovery of the destination of the Sindhu River into the Sindhu Samundar (now known as the Arabian sea).
The pre-ancient Sindhis, as the Memory Songs reveal, were enamored of the voices that seemed to come from heavens above, and they were enticed by the unending parade of Gods glory in the sky and on earth. Yet their greatest affection and veneration was for Sindhu River, which had sustained their countless generations from time immemorial. Their joy in it was boundless and they regarded it as the most visible gift for all time from Mother Goddess.
In 5,000 BCE, a Sindhi expedition went across the soaring peaks of Himalayas to Tibet to reach Lake Mansarovar, Mount Kailash, to discover the source of mighty Sindhu River. Poets narrate the ordeals through which these Sindhi explorers passed on this fearsome journey along with the vivid description of regions, mountains and rivers they crossed and the disasters and tragedies that struck them on the perilous route.
Of the group of 140 men from Sindh in that expedition, after wandering for nine years through accidents, mishaps, casualties and tragedies, many died and only twenty four reached the awesome source of the Sindhu River, rising at an enormous altitude, near Mount Kailash in Southwestern Tibet.
Doubts were expressed about the exact number from the Sindhi Expedition who had survived to reach the source of Sindhu River. Some poets had said that out of 140 in that expedition, only 24 survivors were present at the source of Sindhu whereas others had said that 22 saw the spectacle. Both figures are correct, as another Memory Song explained:
Twenty four reached that awesome height
Yet Twenty two saw the glorious sight
For two, it was as dark as night
Robbed as they were by Giver of Light;
Shining he was, yes, softly, up, high above
Shooting from ice below, cruel arrows somehow.
(Page 145-146, Return of the Aryans)
Obviously, what the poet meant was that it was the result of the deadly reflection of the Suns rays as they fell on ice and snow, that blinded two of the 24 survivors and the result was that 24 reached the scene but only 22 could actually see the great spectacle of the source of Sindhu.
Of these 24 survivors, only four returned to Sindh. 14 died on the return journey to their home in Sindh and among them were two brothers of Nandan, a member of the Sindhu Assembly (who later, became the 21st Karkarta supreme elected Chief of the Sindhu clan). The two blind and one injured survivor had remained behind in Tibet along with three bachelors who all, later, married local Tibetan girls. (Memory Songs tell also the story of Himatap, grandson of one these two blind men. Himatap, himself a builder and architect, joined the Aryan contingent from Sindh to Egypt, and remained behind in Egypt though most Sindhi Aryans eventually returned to their hometown and heritage of Sindh. Himatap was the direct ancestor of Imohotap who in the reign of Egyptian King Djoser (Zoser) built the first limestone-step-Pyramid and exquisite monuments around it. Imohotap is celebrated in Egypt as the greatest builder and architect.
A much later song of the AD era, speaks of the story told by the four Sindhi explorers who returned from the expedition to discover the source of the Sindhu. An extract from the song says:
These four returning survivors told the story of their painful wanderings of nine years and how ultimately, their expedition reached the source of the Sindhu river this greatest of the trans-Himalayan rivers rising at an enormous altitude, near Mount Kailash in Southwestern Tibet. They did not then know that it was one of the longest rivers in the world and longer than any that crossed the subcontinent; nor did they know of its annual flow of 450,000 square miles, which is twice that of Nile in Egypt and three times of the Tigris and Euphrates combined. No, they did not know all that for the age of statistics, and even of the written word had not yet arrived. They did not know even of the existence of the Nile, Tigris and Euphrates.
Yet these men who were not the children of the mountains and were brought up in the warm sunshine of the plains, were the first to discover the source of the great river, hidden in the midst of the highest mountains and the most formidable terrain. (Pages 131-132; 150, Return of the Aryans)
Destination of Sindhu River:
While the expedition to discover the source of the Sindhu river had proved to be perilous, it was easy for the Sindhis to witness the nearby destination of the Sindhu into the River of Rivers or the Sindhu Samundar (called the Arabian sea, in modern times).
Sindhu River merged with the Sindhu Samundar. A Memory Song of those times tells of this magical meeting of the Sindhu River with the River of Rivers (Sindhu Samundar):
The Sindhu flows majestically; along the way many rivers and streams come rushing from different directions to pay homage to her She accepts them lovingly, and thus overflowing, she goes on to meet her lover at a magical place where there is the River of all Rivers, with winds of crushing force and enormous waves And Sindhu is so glad to meet her lover that she sheds tears of happiness which turns her waters salty And together, then, in the ecstasy of a tumultuous embrace, with pounding hearts and heaving chests and the cry of joy and pain that is heard when two lovers surrender to each other, they go on to distant shores that no one has seen
(From the song of the wandering hermit Page 11 Return of the Aryans )
There was also philosophic and poetic speculation as to where the Sindhu River went into the lap of the Sindhu Samundar. They recalled an older, half-remembered song which had spoken of the Moon as the lover of mother Earth and revolving around it, all the times- and a verse in that song said:
Even though sometimes we see it not, always the Moon revolves around the Mother Earth, at times shining near our view, but half the time away and hidden, shining over distant, unknown shores where Mother Sindhu goes on her enchanted journey in the passionate lap of the mighty River of Rivers (Sindhu Samundar).
But the ancients of Sindh had hoped for much more. Somehow they had felt that once the source (and destination) of Sindhu was revealed, they would have greater insight into secrets of Mother Goddess. There was joy of discovery and thankfulness but clearly also a realization that with each discovery, the mystery deepens and a Memory Song of those times tells us:
She reveals much to conceal more
Behind each gate, a closed door,
Play your games, God, it matters not
I know what is in my lot
And if in searching You, I fail
You will find me is it not?
(Page 156, Return of the Aryans )
Thus, their faith in final destiny remained intact even if their discoveries failed to reveal little of the ultimate Reality.
Antiquity of Sindhu -Theories and Investigations by Ancient Sindhis:
Discovery of the source of Sindhu River gave rise to number of speculative theories, studies and investigations.
Sage Yadodhras theory of 5078 BCE on the Antiquity Sindhu is captured in a Memory Song, as under:
..Sindhu river was always there, long before the mountains came. And then slowly, imperceptibly, the mountains rose but each day no more than one-millionth measure of one angula (finger breadth; 2cm.), and thus the mountains were uplifted gradually, completing in each cycle of a million days the rise of one angula (2cm.).
. . . If the mountains had come in all their might and height in one single sweep, perhaps the rivers would have been blocked and mountains themselves would have lost the sure foundation that they now have and who would wish to obstruct the flow of Mother Goddess Sindhu or provide mountains with floating foundation, rendering them unsure of their place on earth !. Nature works with patience, and neither will mighty mountains bang into waters and earth; nor will rivers explode suddenly to rise to the height of the mountains and the sky.
. . . Everything evolves gently, slowly, smoothly as a continuous drama in Time with the same tranquil calmness of The ONE who fashioned it all. .
(From Verdict on the antiquity of Himalayas, surrounding mountains and Mother Goddess Sindhu, pronounced by Sage Yadodhra around 5078 BCE). (Page150, Return of the Aryans )
Note: Yadodhra had worked on this theory for several years. By his reckoning, for a mountain to rise one meter, it had to take 140,000 years and for each thousand meter rise, 140 million years had to pass. On the basis of this calculation, it would appear that the highest peak on Himalayas should have taken about 1,238 million years to form.
Yadodhra was undoubtedly the foremost among those in ancient Sindh who sought to discover natural and physical laws. His Ashram was regarded as a beehive of what may be termed as scientific activity ( though he chided anyone who characterized his Ashram as a beehive and tried to convince everyone of his own findings that bees were lazy and indolent and certainly could not be compared to his diligent, hard-working students). His large number of students were busy some, to plant crops and flowers in different kinds of soils, others to treat various metals and yet others to study the effect of still water, dripping water and rushing water on diverse materials and even on rocks and stones. Some would make and mix various dyes and paints, others would chart the growth pattern of various trees. Their activities were endless but to what end? Until the mystery is no more, Sage Yadodhra would reply.
Sage Yadodhra saw the hand of God in everything but this did not limit his scientific investigations, because he believed with the Sages of those times that God Himself followed the physical laws which He had created for observance by His creation. Bharatjogis Memory Song brings out this aspect more clearly:
I believe God had a choice when He created the Universe and He had freedom to choose the laws that the Universe obeysThat is the everlasting miracle which arose from the mind of God. But if I am called upon to believe in an unending string of miracles, which are talked of from day to day, I must also believe that the initial conditions which God chose were so imperfect as to need the aid of constant miracles to support His universe and this I shall never believe that Gods mind conceived something imperfect.
(Repeated by Bharatjogi as Karkarta Bharat was called after his retirement as a hermit at the age of sixty 5065 BCE). (Page 279, Return of the Aryans )
The journey to discover the destination of the Sindhu River posed no real danger, trauma or distress. Nothing of the trials, tribulations and tragedies that assailed their compatriots on the northern route, to discover the source of the Sindhu River, came in their way. The contingent of eighty men to discover the destination was led by Karkarta Bharat (the elected supreme Chief of the clan) himself, and included Sage Yadodhra. Bharat and his men mingled with the people of the region and were charmed by the goodness and graciousness of these friendly people. They all seemed to delight in poetry, song and music. They loved conversation not only because each thought they had much to learn from others but also for sheer pleasure. Their huts and cottages were smaller than Bharats people, though their boats were superior. Their tools were advanced and they loved their wines. These sea people were forever friendly, laughing, joking, making merry and loved life; they painted beautifully but there was no evidence of great architecture; it was prohibited to hunt in the forest or to kill birds; they raised poultry and cattle in pens; meat was eaten on special occasions; They generally ate fish and seafood, poultry, eggs and vegetables. They fished no more than three days in the week saying that fish needs time to grow and multiply. They had no notion of money and relied on barter. Trees could be cut down only in the parks on the fringe of the forests, with the requirement to replant. There was equal respect for men and women and both went in for fishing, farming, weaving and other activities though generally, it was the mans task to cook food while women served communal meals.
There were no temples as the earth, sky and the sea were themselves regarded as temples, and a person could pray anywhere; most of them however kept idols made with great art and intricacy though the Guest-huts reserved for visitors, parks and public places were kept free of idols for each visitor may have his own favorite gods, so the argument was Why impose a god when they believe in another? or even why impose a god at all, when they believe only in the One-Supreme?
There were no whores, no slaves, and no priests.
They belonged to an ancient order which they called Sanatanah or Sanathana all pervading, ageless, abiding and eternal and one that is indestructible and imperishable like the soul itself and it imposed a requirement to watch that no action should be performed or contemplated to hurt or harm another or offend against nature.
Truly, these are the people of Sanatana Dharma,
said Sage Yadodhra to Karkarta Bharat.
They are more ancient than that.
They are the people of Sanatanah (Sanathana).
It is from them that our Sanatana Dharma came.
(Page 147, Return of the Aryans )