About the book:
This book was first written in 1994 in order to summarize important new information on the ancient history of India that refutes commonly held views on the subject inherited from the nineteenth century. It was a condensation of longer material from books of mine like Gods, Sages and Kings, Vedic Aryans and the Origins of Civilization (with N.S. Rajaram) and In Search of the Cradle of Civilization (with Georg Feuerstein and Subhash Kak). The 2001 update reflected my recent book Rigveda and the History of India that pushed the Vedic horizon further into the South India. The current 2005 edition reflects information from a new book that N.S. Rajaram and I are completing for the Swaminarayan movement and their New Delhi temple Akshardham, the largest to come up in the city in perhaps centuries, and its cultural displays. That book (Ancient India: From Oceanic Origins to the End of the Sarasvati) will take the origins of the Vedic age further back in time and in the direction of Southeast Asia. The amount of information available relative to ancient India is now much more extensive than that considered in old textbooks still used in India's schools and in most schools in the West. Numerous new archaeological finds, including several larger than Harappa, the geology of the Sarasvati River, the natural history of the region, Southeast Asia as the homeland for most human populations prior to the end of the last Ice Age, new views of genetics, new theories of linguistics, archaeo-astronomy, and a greater sensitivity to Vedic texts and their vast spiritual and cultural implications, are only part of the new fabric to be woven in order to really understand ancient India. Whether one may agree with the details, it is clear that the ancient history of India needs to be totally recast. The history and cultural heritage of India is largely an indigenous development of the same basic peoples that have inhabited the region for over ten thousand years, as they have adapted to their environment and also discovered its spiritual essence in its great mountains, rivers and oceans. It is time to look at the history and culture of India as a whole, organically, and in an integral manner according to its own internal impetus as the primary factor. Older views of India based on outside migrations, external cultural influences and foreign borrowings as the primary forces are the products of a failure to understand the real soul and spirit of India. In the twenty first century in which the antiquity of cultures all over the world is being extended back centuries, if not thousands of years, there is no need to keep the history of India frozen around speculative events of 1500 BCE that have so far failed to prove themselves. It is time to open the door on India's great ancient heritage that takes us back to the very dawn of time. This primary message of the book remains the same.