A Brief Introduction to the Ancient Indus Civilization

A Brief Introduction to the Ancient Indus Civilization

Hariyupia in the Rg Veda

In aid of Abhyavartin Cayamana,
Indra destroyed the seed of Varasikha.

At Hariyupiyah he smote the vanguard of the Vrcivans,
and the rear fled frighted.

Rg Veda (VI.27.5)
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Is the Hariyupiyah mentioned in this Hymn from the Rg Veda the Harappa of the Indus Civilization?

The Vedas contain the oldest recorded history of the subcontinent. The gap between the demise of Harappa and Vedic history has been traditionally estimated at 1,000 years. Yet new work suggests that the Vedas could be much older.

One cannot say if Hariyupia refers to Harappa. The place is never again mentioned in the Rg Veda. According to some commentators, it may refer to a river. Varasika and the Vrichivat are not mentioned again either.

Nevertheless, the Rg Veda presents much relevant information for understanding the Indus Civilization. A number of other ancient texts, from Mesopotamia, China and Greece, can help shed light on what happened to the Harappans.

Aryan Invasion of India?

There is no evidence for an Aryan invasion of the subcontinent, as some old archaeologists once thought. But large amounts of new research need to be done to better understand the complex interactions between the Indus Saraswati river basins and the neighboring areas.

Below is an excerpt on the connection with Hariyupia and a possible Indo-Aryan invasion from an essay by Jonathan Mark Kenoyer in Edwin Bryant's recent book compiling evidence from many scholars Indo-Aryan Controversy: Evidence and Inference in Indian History (Routledge Curzon, 2005).

Hariyupia and the Rg Veda by J.M. Kenoyer

"Many scholars have argued that the site of Harappa can possibly be associated with a reference in the Rg Veda (VI.27.4-8) to a place called Hariyupia (Majundar, Raychaudhuri, Datta, 1961; Wheeler 1968; Singh 1995).

In this Vedic reference, there is a description of a battle between two forces, one led by Abhyavartin, son of Chayamana (Puru clan) and the other by Turuvasa (Turuvasa Clan); leader of the Vrichivat, seed of Varasika (Sen 1974; Majumdar, Raychaudhuri, Datta, 1961:25-26).

The batttle was fought at Hariyupiyia, which appears to have been situated to the east of the Yabyabati River (possibly the Ravi). Half of the attacking force was scattered in the west, presumably on the other side of the river, while the other portion was defeated by Abhyavartin, aided by Indra (Singh 1995).

There is no evidence for a battle of conflagration in either the Harappan or later Harappan levels at the site of Harappa, but given the nature of many historical conflicts it is possible that the battle may have taken place outside the city. Since the invading forces were defeated, there is no need to find destruction levels in the city itself and the identification of the place called Hariyupia remains un-resolved."