Apart from wondering about the treasure trove of Hinduism which opens the doors to Wisdom,Knowledge, Information and Spirituality, one thing has been nagging my mind.
There are thirty million manuscripts 700 poetic meters in Sanskrit.
and you have the Vedas.
‘The Vedic literature is composed of many books.
The oldest texts are the Rig-veda, Yajur-veda, Sama-veda, and the Atharva-veda. It is said in the Muktikopanishad that these four Vedas had 21, 109, 1000, and 50 branches respectively, with over 100,000 verses. Now, however, we can only find around 20,023 (some say 20,379) verses in total from these four Vedas.
It is the oldest book in any Indo-European language and contains the earliest form of all Sanskrit mantras that date back to 1500 B.C. – 1000 B.C. Some scholars date the Rig Veda as early as 12000 BC – 4000 B.C
It is well known that the Hindu Texts were transmitted orally.
Even today one can see the Vedas being transmitted orally in India.
I am amazed at the sheer volume being transmitted only by Oral tradition.
It is enjoined in the Vedas that one has to study the Vedas from a Guru for Twelve Years.
Even this can be one Shaka, a portion of a Specific Veda that is assigned to one by tradition.
How come all the verses, well most of them, are available today?
Only by Oral tradition?
Without recourse to any form of writing?
Well let me leave this for the present.
But writing must have been in vogue during the Ramayana and Mahabharata Period.
We have instances of Kings sending emissaries with written Communication ‘Nirupam’
Sita’s Swayamwara, Damayanti Swayamvara, Draupadis Swayamvara have been communicated to all the Kings of India, then 56 in number.
And these messages traveled from Ayodhya to Madurai and the present Kerala, to Pandyan and Chera kings respectively.
The messages as Nirupam implies a language, script.
Resting aside the controversy about the common language, which I shall address later, the accepted early script is Brahmi.
Again there is Tamil Brahmi, Sanskrit Brahmi, Kannada Brahmi.
Tamil Brahmi is found in the Harappan Civilization.
Two million year old Rock carving dating to Million years was found in Karnataka.
Earliest Brahmi script is assigned a date of 2600 BC
‘The first Indian script, developed in the Indus Valley around 2600 B.C. is still undeciphered. Thus, it is still not possible to fully understand this civilization, as we have no readable records of their beliefs, history, rulers or literature’
‘The Indus valley findings made Indologists acknowledge that writing existed prior to Mauryan writing. Though it has not been deciphered , it clearly shows writing existed in India before atlest 5-2 milliena before christ. Some Indology scholars have tried to show Indus script is derived from script from another civilization. But all these theories have fallen flat. Hrozny tried to derive Indus script from Hittite, Diringer is convinced that no script existed prior to Indus script from which Indus scirpt can be derived. Hunter and Langdon regard Indus script as prototype of Brahmi. The Vedic Scholars believed that Brahmi is from Brahma. It is mentioned in Narada Smriti that if Brahma has not created the art of writing or given excellant eye in the shape of script, the future would not have been deprived of obtaining bright future.
The Absence of inscriptions since Indus valley is due to widespread use of Paper and Cloth, which are perishable in nature…
‘Alberuni believes Indian Alphabet originated with the begining of Kali Age (3102BC).
Hiuen Tsang speaks of high Antiquity of Indian writing system. Brahmi is stated, in the Chinese Encyclopedia Fa-Wan-Shu-Lin, to be the best of scripts.’
I agree with Alberuni the Chinese ancient .eu ,taking into account the dates of Ramayana and Mahabharata and of course the Vedas.
A Concise History Of Classical Sanskrit Literature By Gaurinath Shastri, Bhattacharyya Shastri Gaurinath
The rise, decline and renewals of sramanic religious traditions within indic civilisation with particular reference to the evolution of jain sramanic culture and its impact on the indic civilization by Bal patil
Students’ Britannica India, Volumes 1-5 By Indu Ramchandani
A Companion to Sanskrit Literature: Spanning a Period of Over Three Thousand … By Sures Chandra Banerji
On the origin Indian Brahma Alphabet Georg Buhler
Was Writing Know Before Panini by A Chela
Agama Aura Tripitaka, Eka Anusilana: Language and Literature By Nagraj (Muni.)