Lost River of the Vedas

For Indologist David Frawley, the Saraswati River Is No Myth

What is the difference between a yogi in a cave and a caveman? Wisconsin born Sanskrit scholar and internationally renowned Vedic teacher and historian Dr. David Frawley isn’t making a new-age joke—he’s questioning our ability to interpret findings and determine dates relating to ancient civilizations. “We tend to identify advanced civilizations with technology, but that may not be the indicator we should be looking for,” he cautions. “Besides, would an advanced civilization leave a mess? Maybe they would clean up after themselves, leaving little evidence.” He’s referring to the Indus Valley (Harappan) civilization, considered by orthodox archaeology to have existed from 2600 to 1900 BCE in western India and eastern Pakistan, which mysteriously vanished. Frawley recently returned from a three-day conference in India, where the Indian Council of Historical Research and the Archaeological and Geological Surveys of India got together to discuss the latest developments on the Indus civilization, including the 2001 discovery of an underwater city near Gujarat and the so-called Aryan Invasion/Migration, the idea that India was taken over by Western migrants around 1500 BCE.

Frawley thinks that hypothesis is preposterous, and in books, such as The Myth of the Aryan Invasion of India (1994) and In Search of the Cradle of Civilization (1995) he and co-authors Subhash Kak and the late Georg Feuerstein criticize the theory of a conflict between invading Caucasoid Aryans and indigenous Indians, or Dravidians, supporting instead the idea that the Vedic people were indigenous to India. “Behind this Aryan-Dravidian divide idea is the historical debate whether the so-called Aryans invaded or migrated into India from the north and pushed the Dravidians to the south, as western historians have proposed,” states Frawley, adding, “there is no archaeological evidence that shows an Aryan invasion or migration, nor is there genetic evidence. Those who support a migration scenario say the Vedas came from the outside; yet the question of Aryans and Vedic culture revolves around Europe, not just India. The West does not want to accept what has been discovered. Instead, it wants to hold onto the idea that civilization came from the Near East.” On the other side of the pond, Frawley thinks Americans’ knowledge of history is “pretty dismal,” noting that the word ‘Arya’ is a generic Sanskrit term for ‘noble,’ and has no racial or linguistic connotations prior to European adaptation.

“Some linguists posit that German is more ancient than Sanskrit—the only language for which we have such a huge literary record,” he explains. “Sanskrit remains one of the great wonders of the world. Its grammar is so precise that NASA can use it for calculations” (perhaps why, in the 2016 Academy Award nominated film Arrival, characters seeking to unlock an alien code, ask the Sanskrit word for war). Interestingly, in an extensive report published last year in Britain’s New Scientist, author Andrew Robinson notes that the Indus civilization appears to have survived 700 years without war or social inequality. Excavated artifacts include gemstone jewelry and children’s games, but few weapons. There is, however, evidence of indoor plumbing, irrigation, sewage treatment and sophisticated urban planning. Multistory brick structures and long streets aligned with a grid indicate an adherence to the principles of Vastu, an aspect of Vedic culture mentioned in the epic Mahabharata. In particular, notes archaeological researcher Michael Cremo, Lothal, a Harappan city that flourished in the third millennium BCE, is laid out in a manner consistent with Vastu principles, indicating the city was part of the Vedic culture and suggesting that the Mahabharata may be traced to the same time period.

”The Vedic culture is said to have been founded by the sage Manu between the banks of Saraswati and Drishadvati rivers,” says Frawley, who has been interested in India all his life. In fact, he often refers to himself as “an Indian in an American body” and remembers a seminal moment when, as a teenager hiking a mountain near Denver, he felt a strong sense of being immortal and that he “had been here many times.” He discovered Yogananda’s teachings while studying the philosophies, religions, and science of the world. Having memorized all the Egyptian Pharaohs as a child, Frawley began his Vedic studies in the 1970s by translating Vedic mantras, guided by the teachings of Sri Aurobindo. He researched the Vedas, India’s most ancient scriptures, believed to have been revealed to seers, or Rishis, and preserved by oral tradition. Written in early Sanskrit, they contain hymns, philosophy, and guidance on ritual for Vedic priests. The four main texts are the Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda. “I started with the Rig Veda because of its antiquity. I felt the ancient teachings had a message for us about where we came from and our foundation as a species. The Vedas provide a record that has survived the course of history because India has uniquely preserved its continuity of older cultures.”

Could the Indus civilization be considered the Saraswati Vedic civilization? “Vedic literature is clear on Saraswati river geography,” says Frawley, who earned a Doctorate in Literature from the Swami Vivekenanda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana. “Numerous Vedic texts locate it west of the Yamuna and east of the Indus, exactly where the main set of ancient ruins have been found. Lauded as the main river in the Rig Veda, the Saraswati is said to be wide and vast in size and ‘pure in course from the mountains to the sea.’ “So the Vedic people were well acquainted with this river and regarded it as their immemorial homeland,” he points out. Modern land studies reveal the Saraswati to have been one of the largest, if not the largest, rivers in India before drying up in the desert in 2000 BCE. In ancient times, it drained the Sutlej and Yamuna, whose courses were much different than they are today. Later Vedic texts including the Mahabharata mention that the Saraswati dried up and no longer reached the sea. Frawley cites this as evidence bolstering his opinion that the Saraswati-Indus civilization was intrinsically literate and self-developed. “How could the Vedic people know of this river and establish their culture on its banks, if it dried up before they arrived?” Indeed, he says, the Saraswati as described in the Rig Veda appears to more accurately show it as it was prior to the Indus Valley culture, as by then it was already in decline.

Writing in the journal Nature (May 2016), researchers from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) support Frawley’s view, citing pottery shards found in the Mohenjo Daro/Harappa area, near where the Saraswati River would have been. Dates obtained from state-of-the-art optically stimulated luminescence technology show they were created around 7000 BCE, indicating the Saraswati civilization was older by at least 2,500 years than conventional scholars consider the pyramids of Egypt or the megaliths of Stonehenge to be. First discovered in the 1920s by researchers looking for evidence of Alexander the Great (who, asserts Frawley, came upon the civilization and chose not to invade), Mohenjo Daro was thought to be around 4,500 years old—suggesting the Indus was an established civilization, not the result of an invasion from the west. The ASI scientists also say they discovered another site at least a thousand years older than Mohenjo Daro. “There are five sites as large or larger than Mohenjo-daro and Harappa,” says Frawley, noting that only one-tenth of what has already been uncovered has been examined.

In a 2002 article for The Hindu newspaper, Frawley drew on then recent marine archaeological discoveries of the existence of a submerged city dating from 7500 BCE in the Gulf of Cambay, further suggesting coastal origins for Vedic civilization along the path of the Indus and Saraswati river beds and supporting the authenticity of global flood myths. Frawley mentions that this concurs with the texts of the Rig Veda, which repeatedly uses the Sanskrit word ‘samudra,’ meaning ocean. He caught flak for this from Harvard Sanskrit professor Michael Wirtzel, a German-American philologist who vehemently argued that ‘samudra’ means ‘confluence of rivers’ rather than ‘ocean,’ and therefore writers of the Vedic civilization were from a place far from any oceans and not originally from India. “Wirtzel is a linguist; there has been no real evidence to show his support of migration,” says Frawley, referring to the fact that while many in Wirtzel’s camp have rejected the theory of an Aryan invasion from outside India, they still contend there was a migration from outside India.

Based on survey data utilizing the latest high-tech methods including side scan sonar, sub-bottom profiling and multi-beam eco-sounding, a report by geologist Badrinaryan Badrinaryan of India’s National Institute of Ocean Technology shows clear evidence that a civilization flourished in the Cambay area from about 13,000 to 3,000 years ago, and strong evidence that human habitation there dates back as far as 31,000 years. Badrinaryan believes this is the progenitor of the Harrapan civilization, once considered the oldest in the world. “What I find interesting is that though genetic records show humans have been here 200,000 years, our historical timeline registers only 5,000 years,” notes Frawley. “As a historian, I’ve studied ancient cultures; none say ‘we are the first’; they all say ‘there were many before us.’ It’s odd that the cultures we claim invented civilization say they didn’t. And just because we don’t find technology doesn’t mean they were not sophisticated. India is interesting because in the south there has been continuous habitation through the ice ages… you can’t always ask for easy proof; if things have been underwater for ten thousand years it will be hard to identify them today.”

In a lecture to the Indian Council of Historical Research, Frawley’s calm, even tone is occasionally punctuated with bursts of enthusiasm. He’s confident, sure of his facts; his long, tapered left hand rests on his knee while the right, encircled with red and gold threads indicating he’s performed certain rituals, gesticulates. In 1991, under the auspices of the Hindu teacher Avadhuta Shastri, he was given the name Vamadeva Shastri, after the Vedic Rishi Vamadeva, and in 2015 received from the Indian government the prestigious Padma Bhushan award “for distinguished service of a higher order to the nation,” honoring his work and writings as a Vedic teacher. “There has been a concerted movement to denigrate the native culture of India; it’s time for that colonial scenario to change,” says Frawley, adding that India is the only nation still denying the true heritage of its native peoples. “The Marxist era ended in 1991 after destroying more art and culture than the British did.”

Not only that, but most archaeological work was done by colonial scholars funded by colonial governments, and India’s main historians were communists with a vested interest of their own.” Fortunately, says Frawley, as of 2014 the Indian government has been more favorable. “Like the U.S., India is divided by states, so some projects are statewide. Still, funding for archaeology is going down, and there is academic resistance to things that push our boundaries. But just as there was a revolution in physics, we could have a revolution in history.”

Frawley sees the current historical model as “just a working model that is probably flawed. Our scenario has changed; we’re finding older civilizations throughout the world. What’s unique about India is that it has the oldest, most massive literature and the longest list of dynasties and yet also the most recent discoveries. It offers a unique geological situation in the role of the movement of rivers, affecting both agriculture and the course of civilization.” So what does he think caused the decline of the Saraswati civilization? “Several factors: a weakening of the monsoon between 2200–1900 BCE; also, major quakes changed rivers like the Sutlej and the Yamuna. Early Vedic texts talk about the river reaching the sea; later texts talk about them drying up into a series of lakes. The British found evidence of these ancient rivers in the nineteenth century, but later archaeologists chose to ignore it. The Himalayas are the youngest and highest mountains in world, and are also the most active with regard to earthquakes (some have registered 8.0) and mega-quakes. Emerging rivers go through the outer range’s series of folds and hills. The plains are relatively flat, so that could have caused rivers to move. Oceans have been going up and down; at the end of the last ice age oceans went up 300-400 feet; the coastline was radically changed worldwide; most civilizations are on the coast and would have gone under. Water sites reveal evidence of habitations that would have gone underwater thousands of years ago. Mega earthquakes and rising oceans can cause lost continents.”

One of the mysteries of the lost Indus Valley civilization is the as yet undeciphered script that has been found on hundreds of excavated seals, which may represent humanity’s oldest writing. As far as the discovery of the Naga Stone (said to be India’s Rosetta), Frawley is skeptical about the details. “The problem is that though we have many seals, the small number of characters is extremely limited, and vowels may be missing; they’re not always written. Yet there is no doubt that the iconography found with the seals reflects what we find in later India. Though discoveries are being made all the time, trying to date history is difficult and speculative; we find ruins, but how do we interpret them? You can debate symbols; you can’t debate changing rivers, so we cannot ignore the Saraswati evidence.”

In 1980 Frawley founded the Vedic Research Center, reestablished as the American Institute of Vedic

What is the difference between a yogi in a cave and a caveman? Wisconsin born Sanskrit scholar and internationally renowned Vedic teacher and historian Dr. David Frawley isn’t making a new-age joke—he’s questioning our ability to interpret findings and determine dates relating to ancient civilizations. “We tend to identify advanced civilizations with technology, but that may not be the indicator we should be looking for,” he cautions. “Besides, would an advanced civilization leave a mess? Maybe they would clean up after themselves, leaving little evidence.” He’s referring to the Indus Valley (Harappan) civilization, considered by orthodox archaeology to have existed from 2600 to 1900 BCE in western India and eastern Pakistan, which mysteriously vanished. Frawley recently returned from a three-day conference in India, where the Indian Council of Historical Research and the Archaeological and Geological Surveys of India got together to discuss the latest developments on the Indus civilization, including the 2001 discovery of an underwater city near Gujarat and the so-called Aryan Invasion/Migration, the idea that India was taken over by Western migrants around 1500 BCE.

Frawley thinks that hypothesis is preposterous, and in books, such as The Myth of the Aryan Invasion of India (1994) and In Search of the Cradle of Civilization (1995) he and co-authors Subhash Kak and the late Georg Feuerstein criticize the theory of a conflict between invading Caucasoid Aryans and indigenous Indians, or Dravidians, supporting instead the idea that the Vedic people were indigenous to India. “Behind this Aryan-Dravidian divide idea is the historical debate whether the so-called Aryans invaded or migrated into India from the north and pushed the Dravidians to the south, as western historians have proposed,” states Frawley, adding, “there is no archaeological evidence that shows an Aryan invasion or migration, nor is there genetic evidence. Those who support a migration scenario say the Vedas came from the outside; yet the question of Aryans and Vedic culture revolves around Europe, not just India. The West does not want to accept what has been discovered. Instead, it wants to hold onto the idea that civilization came from the Near East.” On the other side of the pond, Frawley thinks Americans’ knowledge of history is “pretty dismal,” noting that the word ‘Arya’ is a generic Sanskrit term for ‘noble,’ and has no racial or linguistic connotations prior to European adaptation.

“Some linguists posit that German is more ancient than Sanskrit—the only language for which we have such a huge literary record,” he explains. “Sanskrit remains one of the great wonders of the world. Its grammar is so precise that NASA can use it for calculations” (perhaps why, in the 2016 Academy Award nominated film Arrival, characters seeking to unlock an alien code, ask the Sanskrit word for war). Interestingly, in an extensive report published last year in Britain’s New Scientist, author Andrew Robinson notes that the Indus civilization appears to have survived 700 years without war or social inequality. Excavated artifacts include gemstone jewelry and children’s games, but few weapons. There is, however, evidence of indoor plumbing, irrigation, sewage treatment and sophisticated urban planning. Multistory brick structures and long streets aligned with a grid indicate an adherence to the principles of Vastu, an aspect of Vedic culture mentioned in the epic Mahabharata. In particular, notes archaeological researcher Michael Cremo, Lothal, a Harappan city that flourished in the third millennium BCE, is laid out in a manner consistent with Vastu principles, indicating the city was part of the Vedic culture and suggesting that the Mahabharata may be traced to the same time period.

”The Vedic culture is said to have been founded by the sage Manu between the banks of Saraswati and Drishadvati rivers,” says Frawley, who has been interested in India all his life. In fact, he often refers to himself as “an Indian in an American body” and remembers a seminal moment when, as a teenager hiking a mountain near Denver, he felt a strong sense of being immortal and that he “had been here many times.” He discovered Yogananda’s teachings while studying the philosophies, religions, and science of the world. Having memorized all the Egyptian Pharaohs as a child, Frawley began his Vedic studies in the 1970s by translating Vedic mantras, guided by the teachings of Sri Aurobindo. He researched the Vedas, India’s most ancient scriptures, believed to have been revealed to seers, or Rishis, and preserved by oral tradition. Written in early Sanskrit, they contain hymns, philosophy, and guidance on ritual for Vedic priests. The four main texts are the Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda. “I started with the Rig Veda because of its antiquity. I felt the ancient teachings had a message for us about where we came from and our foundation as a species. The Vedas provide a record that has survived the course of history because India has uniquely preserved its continuity of older cultures.”

Could the Indus civilization be considered the Saraswati Vedic civilization? “Vedic literature is clear on Saraswati river geography,” says Frawley, who earned a Doctorate in Literature from the Swami Vivekenanda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana. “Numerous Vedic texts locate it west of the Yamuna and east of the Indus, exactly where the main set of ancient ruins have been found. Lauded as the main river in the Rig Veda, the Saraswati is said to be wide and vast in size and ‘pure in course from the mountains to the sea.’ “So the Vedic people were well acquainted with this river and regarded it as their immemorial homeland,” he points out. Modern land studies reveal the Saraswati to have been one of the largest, if not the largest, rivers in India before drying up in the desert in 2000 BCE. In ancient times, it drained the Sutlej and Yamuna, whose courses were much different than they are today. Later Vedic texts including the Mahabharata mention that the Saraswati dried up and no longer reached the sea. Frawley cites this as evidence bolstering his opinion that the Saraswati-Indus civilization was intrinsically literate and self-developed. “How could the Vedic people know of this river and establish their culture on its banks, if it dried up before they arrived?” Indeed, he says, the Saraswati as described in the Rig Veda appears to more accurately show it as it was prior to the Indus Valley culture, as by then it was already in decline.

Writing in the journal Nature (May 2016), researchers from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) support Frawley’s view, citing pottery shards found in the Mohenjo Daro/Harappa area, near where the Saraswati River would have been. Dates obtained from state-of-the-art optically stimulated luminescence technology show they were created around 7000 BCE, indicating the Saraswati civilization was older by at least 2,500 years than conventional scholars consider the pyramids of Egypt or the megaliths of Stonehenge to be. First discovered in the 1920s by researchers looking for evidence of Alexander the Great (who, asserts Frawley, came upon the civilization and chose not to invade), Mohenjo Daro was thought to be around 4,500 years old—suggesting the Indus was an established civilization, not the result of an invasion from the west. The ASI scientists also say they discovered another site at least a thousand years older than Mohenjo Daro. “There are five sites as large or larger than Mohenjo-daro and Harappa,” says Frawley, noting that only one-tenth of what has already been uncovered has been examined.

In a 2002 article for The Hindu newspaper, Frawley drew on then recent marine archaeological discoveries of the existence of a submerged city dating from 7500 BCE in the Gulf of Cambay, further suggesting coastal origins for Vedic civilization along the path of the Indus and Saraswati river beds and supporting the authenticity of global flood myths. Frawley mentions that this concurs with the texts of the Rig Veda, which repeatedly uses the Sanskrit word ‘samudra,’ meaning ocean. He caught flak for this from Harvard Sanskrit professor Michael Wirtzel, a German-American philologist who vehemently argued that ‘samudra’ means ‘confluence of rivers’ rather than ‘ocean,’ and therefore writers of the Vedic civilization were from a place far from any oceans and not originally from India. “Wirtzel is a linguist; there has been no real evidence to show his support of migration,” says Frawley, referring to the fact that while many in Wirtzel’s camp have rejected the theory of an Aryan invasion from outside India, they still contend there was a migration from outside India.

Based on survey data utilizing the latest high-tech methods including side scan sonar, sub-bottom profiling and multi-beam eco-sounding, a report by geologist Badrinaryan Badrinaryan of India’s National Institute of Ocean Technology shows clear evidence that a civilization flourished in the Cambay area from about 13,000 to 3,000 years ago, and strong evidence that human habitation there dates back as far as 31,000 years. Badrinaryan believes this is the progenitor of the Harrapan civilization, once considered the oldest in the world. “What I find interesting is that though genetic records show humans have been here 200,000 years, our historical timeline registers only 5,000 years,” notes Frawley. “As a historian, I’ve studied ancient cultures; none say ‘we are the first’; they all say ‘there were many before us.’ It’s odd that the cultures we claim invented civilization say they didn’t. And just because we don’t find technology doesn’t mean they were not sophisticated. India is interesting because in the south there has been continuous habitation through the ice ages… you can’t always ask for easy proof; if things have been underwater for ten thousand years it will be hard to identify them today.”

In a lecture to the Indian Council of Historical Research, Frawley’s calm, even tone is occasionally punctuated with bursts of enthusiasm. He’s confident, sure of his facts; his long, tapered left hand rests on his knee while the right, encircled with red and gold threads indicating he’s performed certain rituals, gesticulates. In 1991, under the auspices of the Hindu teacher Avadhuta Shastri, he was given the name Vamadeva Shastri, after the Vedic Rishi Vamadeva, and in 2015 received from the Indian government the prestigious Padma Bhushan award “for distinguished service of a higher order to the nation,” honoring his work and writings as a Vedic teacher. “There has been a concerted movement to denigrate the native culture of India; it’s time for that colonial scenario to change,” says Frawley, adding that India is the only nation still denying the true heritage of its native peoples. “The Marxist era ended in 1991 after destroying more art and culture than the British did.”

Not only that, but most archaeological work was done by colonial scholars funded by colonial governments, and India’s main historians were communists with a vested interest of their own.” Fortunately, says Frawley, as of 2014 the Indian government has been more favorable. “Like the U.S., India is divided by states, so some projects are statewide. Still, funding for archaeology is going down, and there is academic resistance to things that push our boundaries. But just as there was a revolution in physics, we could have a revolution in history.”

Frawley sees the current historical model as “just a working model that is probably flawed. Our scenario has changed; we’re finding older civilizations throughout the world. What’s unique about India is that it has the oldest, most massive literature and the longest list of dynasties and yet also the most recent discoveries. It offers a unique geological situation in the role of the movement of rivers, affecting both agriculture and the course of civilization.” So what does he think caused the decline of the Saraswati civilization? “Several factors: a weakening of the monsoon between 2200–1900 BCE; also, major quakes changed rivers like the Sutlej and the Yamuna. Early Vedic texts talk about the river reaching the sea; later texts talk about them drying up into a series of lakes. The British found evidence of these ancient rivers in the nineteenth century, but later archaeologists chose to ignore it. The Himalayas are the youngest and highest mountains in world, and are also the most active with regard to earthquakes (some have registered 8.0) and mega-quakes. Emerging rivers go through the outer range’s series of folds and hills. The plains are relatively flat, so that could have caused rivers to move. Oceans have been going up and down; at the end of the last ice age oceans went up 300-400 feet; the coastline was radically changed worldwide; most civilizations are on the coast and would have gone under. Water sites reveal evidence of habitations that would have gone underwater thousands of years ago. Mega earthquakes and rising oceans can cause lost continents.”

One of the mysteries of the lost Indus Valley civilization is the as yet undeciphered script that has been found on hundreds of excavated seals, which may represent humanity’s oldest writing. As far as the discovery of the Naga Stone (said to be India’s Rosetta), Frawley is skeptical about the details. “The problem is that though we have many seals, the small number of characters is extremely limited, and vowels may be missing; they’re not always written. Yet there is no doubt that the iconography found with the seals reflects what we find in later India. Though discoveries are being made all the time, trying to date history is difficult and speculative; we find ruins, but how do we interpret them? You can debate symbols; you can’t debate changing rivers, so we cannot ignore the Saraswati evidence.”

In 1980, Frawley founded the Vedic Research Center, reestablished as the American Institute of Vedic Studies in 1988, which he now runs with his wife, Yogini Shambhavi Chopra. Their program of Vedic Education encourages the teaching of Yoga, meditation and Ayurveda in schools as well as in ashrams and temples, and includes developing a more accurate post-colonial, post-Marxist view of the history of India, particularly relative to the Vedic period, which is aware of the spiritual dimensions of the Vedas through such great Vedic teachers in modern India as Sri Aurobindo, Ganapati Muni and Sri Sivananda Murty.

We need the power of focus and clarity in going within,” says Frawley. “We need to use our senses in a way that expands our awareness. Many people have dulled senses because of outer stimulation, but our outer senses can be doorways to inner senses.” He suggests we hold a certain inner dimension in what we do; that we learn to observe and understand “like a mother remembering her child, though she is doing her work.” And he says witnessing isn’t judging; “we are like the flow then, rather than being in the flow.” In other words, we’re not just wading in the river—we are the River.

Addressing the India Ideas Conclave in 2014, Frawley shared his vision that a new Rishi order will bring about the revival and modernization of the ancient teachings. “Knowledge of India’s great heritage is relevant to the entire world, particularly in this age of globalization in which we need to understand life as a whole. It is not we as separate individuals who can guide humanity to a better world. We must awaken the Rishi vision, the inner Self or Atman of the Upanishads, the universal presence within the heart in order to propel us to our higher goal with certainty and with grace. I am reminded of a verse from the Rig Veda here: ‘The Rishis found the secret light, with the mantras of truth, they generated the Dawn.’ May we awaken to a new dawn and a new renaissance at both spiritual and cultural levels, honoring not only the outer physical sciences but also the inner science of consciousness.”Studies in 1988, which he now runs with his wife, Yogini Shambhavi Chopra. Their program of Vedic Education encourages the teaching of Yoga, meditation and Ayurveda in schools as well as in ashrams and temples, and includes developing a more accurate post-colonial, post-Marxist view of the history of India, particularly relative to the Vedic period, which is aware of the spiritual dimensions of the Vedas through such great Vedic teachers in modern India as Sri Aurobindo, Ganapati Muni and Sri Sivananda Murty.

We need the power of focus and clarity in going within,” says Frawley. “We need to use our senses in a way that expands our awareness. Many people have dulled senses because of outer stimulation, but our outer senses can be doorways to inner senses.” He suggests we hold a certain inner dimension in what we do; that we learn to observe and understand “like a mother remembering her child, though she is doing her work.” And he says witnessing isn’t judging; “we are like the flow then, rather than being in the flow.” In other words, we’re not just wading in the river—we are the River.

Addressing the India Ideas Conclave in 2014, Frawley shared his vision that a new Rishi order will bring about the revival and modernization of the ancient teachings. “Knowledge of India’s great heritage is relevant to the entire world, particularly in this age of globalization in which we need to understand life as a whole. It is not we as separate individuals who can guide humanity to a better world. We must awaken the Rishi vision, the inner Self or Atman of the Upanishads, the universal presence within the heart in order to propel us to our higher goal with certainty and with grace. I am reminded of a verse from the Rig Veda here: ‘The Rishis found the secret light, with the mantras of truth, they generated the Dawn.’ May we awaken to a new dawn and a new renaissance at both spiritual and cultural levels, honoring not only the outer physical sciences but also the inner science of consciousness.”

By Cynthia Logan