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Rig veda II.15.6 says

सोदञ्चं सिन्धुमरिणान महित्वा वज्रेणान उषसः सं पिपेष | अजवसो जविनीभिर्विव्र्श्चन सो... ||

sodañcaṃ sindhumariṇān mahitvā vajreṇāna uṣasaḥ saṃ pipeṣa | ajavaso javinībhirvivṛścan so... ||

With mighty power he made the Sindhu (stream) flow upward, crushed with his thunderbolt the car of Uṣas, Rending her slow steeds with his rapid coursers. These things did Indra in the Soma's rapture.


My question is Was the act of Indra in turning the direction of Sindhu towards North (Rig veda II.15.6) historical or spiritual?

Edit 15-12-19

Some paleo-environmental scientists have proposed that the Hakkra was fed by Himalayan sources, which made it a mighty river, but dried-up between 2500 BCE and 1900 BCE, due to tectonic disturbances which caused a tilt in topography of Northwest India, resulting in the migration of rivers.

According to this theory, the Sutlej moved westward and became a tributary of the Indus River, while the Yamuna moved eastward and became a tributary of the Ganges, supposedly in the early 2nd millennium BCE, while reaching its current bed by 1st millennium BCE.

The river Sindhu might have changed its course towards North, which might have been allegorically mentioned in the Rig Veda.

In view of the above issue, I had added the word "historical" in my question.

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    How do you mean, historical evidence? Do you mean geological evidence of the Indus river having reversed course in the past which you could then impute to divine intervention, or on the other hand, eye-witness accounts of said divine intervention in scriptures? :-) – iruvar Dec 13 '19 at 21:04
  • I am not presuming anything. As I doubted something, I had expressed it. If you have answer, please provide it :-) @iruvar – srimannarayana k v Dec 14 '19 at 0:52
  • my question still stands - what would constitute historical evidence? – iruvar Dec 14 '19 at 1:56
  • @iruvar: There was a reference in Mahabharata, by Balarama if I remembered correctly, that the river Saraswati is getting dried up slowly. Now we could not see it. That is what historical evidence, in my view. So similarly, there might be a change of course of river Sindhu. – srimannarayana k v Dec 14 '19 at 10:52
  • @iruvar: The formation of Himalayas itself due to Continental drift. The Indian plate is still moving at 67 mm per year, and over the next 10 million years it will travel about 1,500 km (930 mi) into Asia. So some time in the past, due to this drift, The river Sindhu might have changed its course towards North, which was allegorically mentioned in the Rig Veda. Nothing can be ruled out. – srimannarayana k v Dec 14 '19 at 12:09
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This question was discussed with my friend, a Vedic scholar.

I am quoting the translation of the mantra in my question:

With mighty power he made the Sindhu (stream) flow upward, crushed with his thunderbolt the car of Uṣas, Rending her slow steeds with his rapid coursers. These things did Indra in the Soma's rapture.


The word Udīcī (उदीची) has different meanings.

One is Upwards and another is Northwards


Rig Veda I.164.45 says

Four are the levels of speech that are measured, these the wise sages know. Three hidden in secrecy, they cannot manipulate, only with the fourth level of speech do humans talk.

So the sages of Rig Vedic period, composed mantras in such a way that different meanings can be perceived with different level of perception.


So in the mantra (Rig veda II.15.6) in question, only two meanings are perceivable to me.

  1. If we take the meaning upwards for the word Udīcī, we will get SPIRITUAL meaning.

Indra removed the obstacles, so that the Shakti travelled from mUladhara towards sahasrAra, an upward journey, and the sage attained the BLISS .

  1. If we take the meaning Northwards for the word Udīcī, we will get a historical meaning.

The river Sindhu might have changed its course towards North, which might have been allegorically mentioned in the Rig Veda. The sage of the mantra might be aware of this event or might have heard from his ancestors.

In Mahabharata thinning of the course of Saraswati was mentioned in many places. Similarly, the Sindhu river might have changed the course.

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