The Eternal Varna Asrama Dharma – Part 11



As I have been writing, the four Varnas (Knowledge Providers, Service Providers, Material Providers and Labor) are present in any societal structure.  The three Varnas are based on gunas that we acquire by learning and fourth is simply labor work. As long as we have a society with minimal or zero labor, the society would be prosperous and happy. 

When we drive a society to be predominantly labor (Zudra) oriented (as we are doing with Crony Capitalism or hereditary clan based caste system), the society will be poverty-stricken and ultimately lose out on evolution.

Similarly the four Asramas are ways of living that are tuned to societal and human requirements. If we follow the Asramas it helps the society and us.

The reason why I talked about Indus Valley civilization was to show how the Aryan Civilization could have evolved from those times to the times of Manu and from then on to recent times.

Varna Asrama Dharma which probably was a naural way of living turned into hereditary clan-like structure and with Manu Smriti, the aggregation turned into segregation. The aim of this series was to understand how it could have happened.

The Indus Valley Civilization presents the earliest evidences of Civilization in this region and hence it is important to understand it.And as we go through these seals and series, one will understand that Indus Valley Civilization has ‘similar’ (not same) set of messages and events as were in the later day Puranas.

Indus Valley Inscriptions and Bhagavad Gita

I had talked about the top LHS inscription in Harappan tablet as a ‘two-legged Naga’ and “King Cobra’ next to each other and linked it to Krishnas statement in Bhagavad Gita “anantas casmic naganam”.

There are two different references for Snakes in Vedas. They are Sarpa and Naga. Sarpa are those creatures that crawl. Vasuki is said to be the best of all crawling creatures. Naga are two-legged poisonous creatures. Ananta is said to to be the best of all Nagas. Over a period, these two names have practically been used interchangeably in several puranas.

Science says that poisonous snakes once had two-legs and they lost it over a period.  Vedas also say the same thing. In fact people who have poisoning tendency are called Nagas because Nagas were two-legged snakes.

I was able to interpret many inscriptions on these tablets by treating them as slogans and finding them in different vedic and puranic texts. It is to be noted that none have been able to interpret these inscriptions till now clearly.

Adoration of Prajapati Rishis

I had talked about inscriptions in the Harappa and Mohanjadaro tablets. In my view they are not alphabets, but depictions that convey a particular slogan or a sloka.

The inscriptions on Prajapati convey the message that Prajapati Rishis are powerful of the powerful. The Prajapati Rishis are described as Ananta of Nagas, Beast of the Beasts, Makara of the aquatic beings in these inscriptions.

It is the same message that we see from Krishna in Bhagavad Gita. This shows that continuity in terms of thought processes which would not come if there is an invasion and elimination of cultures.

Looking at the continuity in the thoughts (more of which we will see as we go through more tablets) between the tribes of Indus valley, vedic and puranic lores, it is possible that these ‘Rishis’ were from outside the general population of tribes and had a different origin.

Facial features of Rishis and ‘King’

If one compares the facial features of these Rishi figures and other figures in these tablets, it can be found that facial features of Rishi figures are very different and distinct. Hence these Rishi figures seem to be from outside the race and have been adored by the tribes of the Indus valley.

For eg. look at the figure below, which is called the ‘King’ statue, which appears to be a mongoloid tint with almond eyes and a ‘shaven’ moustache but a trimmed beard!  It even has a Ribbon at the back! ( more like a Chinese Emperor).

The below Rishi figure is characterized by a Long nose, Big eyes and flatter chin.

The ‘Horns’ of Prajapati

I had talked about the head-gear of the Rishis depicting ‘Trees’, ‘Snakes’ ‘Worms’, ‘Birds’, “Animals’ and ‘human beings’. Here are some proofs of that from the Harappan and Mohanjadaro Tablets. In particular why I did not talk about the head-gear as ‘Horns’ of Prajapati.

Below are from the Mohanjadaro (LHS) and Harappa (RHS) seals, where one can see the snake in the LHS (with a blunt-ending snake-like head) and an arrow-head in the RHS

Below are from the Mohanjadaro (LHS) and Harappa (RHS) seals, where one can see the worm type crawling creature in the LHS and an a drooping curve in the RHS. I had mapped the LHS figure to a worm (not a snake) based on ‘non-protruding’ head (though a little protrusion seem to be there) and comparison with Harappan seal where the curve droops down like a worm.

The plants/trees on the Head-gear

This is is ‘plant/fig-leaves’ on the head-gear of the Harappan seal of Prajapati (LHS) and ‘tree/trunk’ on the head-gear of the Mohanjadaro seal (RHS). 

The Classification of living beings

Living beings are classified into ‘Udbhija’ (Botanically viviparous), ‘andaja’ (oviparous), ‘Jarayuja’ (viviparous)  and ‘Svedaja’ (ovoviviparous) in the Upanishads.

Udbhija are born from seeds (Botanically viviparous, Plants/trees or Vegetative propogation). ‘Andaja’ are born from ‘eggs’ (oviparous, birds, reptiles). “Svedaja’ are born in a medium (ovoviviparous, reptiles, invertebrates, some fishes). Jarayuja are born from mothers (viviparous, humans, mammals).

The head-gears of Indus Valley depict all of them. The trees/plants are the Udbhija. The Snakes and Birds on the LHS are the Andaja. The Worms and Animals on the RHS are the Svedaja. The Human in the middle is the Jarayuja.


Thus prajapati head-gear depicts all types of living beings. This also tallies with the statement of powerful of powerful slogan inscribed on the top of these figures.

Who can be a good Praja(people) Pati (Guide, protector, lead)..? Only those who understand all types of beings can be a good people leader, as they have the ability to protect people from the other beings and also help people make use of the other beings.

The Eka Sringa – Unicorn

The Eka Sringa (Single Horned) is depicted in several seals of the Indus Valley civilization. While the Eka-Sringa which is a ‘Varaha’ type of animal, some of the inscriptions above this animal typically depict the ‘Maha-Sringa’ (or Big Horned) Matsya

There are several Indus valley seals depicting Eka Sringa with inscriptions on them. I just present two of them here that has Maha-Sringa inscriptions in them.

The Maha Sringa Matsya – The Big Horned Matsya

In Matsya Purana, Satyavrta and the Seven Rishis along with herbs and creepers enter a boat as there are continuous rains and ocean levels rise.  Earlier Satyavrta has been advised by an ever-growing fi sh that he along with Rishis, herbs and seeds should enter into a boat and escape the destruction that world would see.

Satyavrata did it and was waiting his fate.  The sloka in Matsya Purana states the following.

so ‘nudhyatas tato rajna

pradurasin maharnave

eka-srnga-dharo matsyo

haimo niyuta-yojanah

sah anudhyatah tatah – after the waiting

anudhyatah—inactive, idle, waiting

rajna–by the King


maha-arnave—in that great flood

eka-srnga-dharo –one horn bearing (a peak bearing)

matsyo haimah— covered with snow/ice, glistening(and hence golden)

niyuta – fixed, fastened

Yojana – Yoked, joined (or a measure of distance)

After a period of waiting by the King, in that great flood appeared an One horn of aquatic being that was covered with snow/ice and yoked to it.

This means that the Horn of aquatic being was covered with ice/snow (was glistening) and was ‘yoked’ to the being, rather than the ‘horn’ being a growth of the being, as shown below in the Indus Valley seals.

Traditionally this is interpreted as “One horn fish, horn made of gold (as haima means glistening) and several yojanas”. The translations I have provided is as good as the interpretations provided of the puranas from a literary view. Even if the interpretation of Horn being several Yojanas is right, as it is traditional, it does  not affect the fact that the above pictures represent a Matsya with a Horn.


Several inscriptions in Indus Valley describe the Matsya with Horn in this way very clearly (as yoked).

Not just they describe the Maha-Sringa (Big Horned) Matsya, they describe them as being yoked with the Horn. Not just that, they also describe the ‘Maha-Sringa’ as is given in Vishnu Sahasra Nama, as we will see later.

The Matsya purana further states that

nibadhya navam tac-chrnge

yathokto harina pura

varatrenahina tustas

tustava madhusudanam


nibadhya – chained

nAvam – boat/ship

tac-chrnge – to that Horn (peak)

Yatha Ukta – as said

Harina pura – by Hari before

Varatra ena – strapped that

hina – at the base

tuSTa – satisfied self

tusatava madhusudanam – Satisified the Madhusudhana

Binding the boat to the horn/peak, as said by Hari before, strapping that base, satisfied the self and satisfied madhusudhana (Hari’s wishes). 

This means that the ‘Navam’ of Satyavrta was bound to horn by strapping the base of the boat.

Traditionally this is interpreted as ‘Binding the boat to the horn, as said by Hari before, strapping with a Serpent, satisfied the self and satisfied madhusudhana. ‘Varatra ena hina’ means strapping with the base. ‘Varatra ena ahi na’ means strapping with a (ahi) serpent type.

Actually this too does not matter here. But I wrote it as an example of how one’s understanding could affect the translation, in particular when we are understanding other’s work. 

Not just this, the seals depict the slokas in Vishnu Sahasra Nama like “Tripadas Trita SAdhya Akso Maha Sringa” “Maha VarAho Govinda Sushena Kanaga Angadi”.



How..? In the next blog…



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