Aryan Migration theory is a hotly contested topic. The proponents of the theory cite Vedic verses which talk of ancestors recording their memories of a cold desolate homeland and their fear of fauna like foxes therein (Central Asia) and also the importance of pole star in the their marriage rituals. They also talk of the similarities between Indo-Iranian languages and similarities between Zoroastrian and Brahmin customs and traditions—especially the similarity between the Brahmin Yagnopavita and Zoroastrian Sudreh and word by word similarities between some Zend Avestan and Vedic verses.

The supporters of Out of India theory (OIT) on the other hand suggest that the presence of names of rivers like Saraswati, Ganga, Yamuna, etc in the Vedas are indicative of an early Indian ancestry.

Among the Migration theorists there are different variations—that it was a peaceful and gradual migration, like immigration and cultural diffusion; that it was violent and pushed Dravidians southward; that Aryans were nomads in Central Asia and composed the Vedas and developed high culture only after they came to India; etc.

Without dwelling into the multitude of investigative tools like genetic evidence, archaeology, linguistics, etc and sticking only to the Vedas, where do the verses point to in terms of our ancestry?

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    I recommend Edwin Bryant's book "The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture: The Indo-Aryan Migration Debate". It does a good job presenting both sides. Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 2:03
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    This conversation has been moved to chat. Commented Jun 28, 2015 at 3:09
  • keshav srinivasan If the question is invalid, without any basis, invalid comparison or argument, still it can be continue to listed. Learn from Yahoo / answers.com where replies to queries are NOT deleted, but maintained for others to decide. Should deletion give pleasure please do, still you have not replied to my original query of when did your ancentral premana or proof go in the context of Sri Adi Shankaracharya conducting rights to his mother. Lord Buddha given status of Vishnu avatar, without any basis any word in your literature....your website is good thought, but not your actions.
    – Annonymous
    Commented Sep 4, 2015 at 19:09
  • A note to editors/reviewers: People go through the contents and google for keywords before suggesting/approving edits. Out of India theory(OIT) is actual name of a theory that is antithetical to Aryan Invasion theory (AIT) and there is simply no need to change it to 'Indigenous to India' theory!!
    – Naveen
    Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 19:53
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6 Answers 6


David Frawley and Michel Danino have formulated compelling arguments against the "Aryan Invasion Theory". Dr. Frawley's book is entitled, "In Search of the Cradle of Civilization". His collaboraters were Georg Feuerstein (a scholar regarding the history of Yoga) and Subhash Kak (a scholar researching the archaeo-astronomy of the Vedic texts).

Dr. Edwin Bryant's book (cited above) presents both sides of the debate. During a personal email communication with me during the Spring of 2016, he did state that the current Indus Valley Civilization (whose language system is still open to debate and speculation) most likely is of Vedic origin. This last piece of evidence would shift the debate in favor of the "OIT" theory.

The mighty Bal Gangadhar Tilak composed a book entitled, "Arctic Home in the Vedas" (published in 1903). In this manuscript, he proposes the North Pole as the original homeland of the Aryans (during the pre-glacial period); they eventually departed from the North Pole circa 8000 BCE due to the ice deluge. This is an interesting theoretical variation in the debate.

Traditional Acharyas and Spiritual Pillars like Dayanand Saraswati (Arya Samaj), Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, and more recently the late Pandurang Shastri Athavale (founder of the Swadhyaya movement) have always decried the tendency of the Western historians to posit an Aryan invasion. More recent evidence (including genetic evidence) has now shifted the debate away from an Aryan invasion.

Please visit these books to obtain a greater understanding of this fascinating debate.


Link to YouTube playlist: Exploring Indian Civilization by Michel Danino, IIT Kanpur

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    This (#1) answer isn't "sticking only to the Vedas." More proof that people just use this platform to support their preformed opinion rather than actually being open to learning and growth Commented Sep 27, 2019 at 5:39
  • @RubelliteYakṣī suggest you read the books in question.
    – Haridasa
    Commented Jan 29 at 0:05
  • @Haridasa The point of my comment was that when info is presented on this site from the perspective of migration theory (which people then misrepresent as the old, outdated invasion theory no longer taken seriously in academia), it gets down-voted and tossed out for not being sourced in sacred texts. But, when users agree with the sentiment of an answer, they don't actually care if it follows the rules. In other words, H.SE is so full of hypocrisy that it won't taken seriously. Commented Feb 14 at 17:41
  • @RubelliteYakṣī Sorry that is an old comment I don't care about this theory.
    – Haridasa
    Commented Feb 14 at 17:45
  • @Haridasa Your comment from 2 weeks ago is "old?" The comment you were replying to was 3.5 years old when you replied to it. You also say you don't care about the theory which again misses the point: the site doesn't use the same standards for all answers. I was never discussing the theories in my comment here, I was discussing how poorly the site comes across as a source of reliable information due to inconsistent use & moderation. Commented Feb 14 at 18:02

The Vedas are set in the framework of the geography of the Indian subcontinent. This is clearly obvious through the innumerable references to geographical features.

For example, the River Hymn (Nadi Suktam) RV 10.75 lists all the major rivers of northern India in precise order from east to west.

RV 10.75.5:

इमं मे गङ्गे यमुने सरस्वति शुतुद्रि स्तोमं सचता परुष्ण्या । असिक्न्या मरुद्वृधे वितस्तयार्जीकीये शृणुह्या सुषोमया ॥

O Ganga, Yamuna, Sarasvati, Shutudri, Parushni, Asikni, Marudvrdha, Vitasta, Arjikiya, Sushoma - please grace this yajna.

The river Sarasvati was also personified as a goddess and she is still with us spiritually although her physical form has dried up. The Sarasvati was the center of Vedic civilization. She is mentioned more than 70 times in the Rig Veda, whereas Ganga is mentioned 2 times.

The land between the Sarasvati and Drshadvati rivers (i.e. Kurukshetra) was considered the most sacred spot on earth, created specially by the devas themselves.

For example, RV 3.23.4:

नि त्वा दधे वर आ पृथिव्या इळायास्पदे सुदिनत्वे अह्नाम् । दृषद्वत्यां मानुष आपयायां सरस्वत्यां रेवदग्ने दीदिहि ॥

You, O Agni, I place on the best spot on earth, Ilāyāspada, the land on banks of the Drshadvati, Sarasvati and Āpayā.

This in itself is incontrovertible evidence of the completely indigenous origin of the Vedas and the Vedic people. There is not a single shred of evidence for a migration of the so-called Indo-European or Indo-Iranian or whatever linguistic or ethnic group from outside the Indian subcontinent.

Any invader of a new land always cherishes his original motherland and retains strong memories of it. You can see that throughout history across all geographies. For example, Babar who was originally from central Asia and invaded India and settled in India, fondly records his memories of his homeland in his autobiography Babarnama. Every Islamic invader of India maintained connections to their ancestral homeland, and regularly sent wealth usurped from India. The same pattern is seen with the British. The European Gypsies who migrated out of India more than a 1000 years ago, still retain their memories of their Indian ancestry. Against such a unanimous pattern, the Vedic people who otherwise demonstrate such a prodigious and stupendous capacity for preserving ancestral lore in excruciating detail, have not recorded a single word that indicates any origin outside the Indian subcontinent.

Since you have emphasized citing sources strictly from the Vedas, I highly recommend reading the book 'The Rig Veda: A Historical Analysis' by Shrikant Talageri.

Although I disagree with Talageri on some minute details, I completely agree with his analysis of the key aspects seen in the Rig Veda that incontrovertibly confirm a completely indigenous ancestry of the Vedic people.

  • Shrikant Talageri is a computer programmer who doesn't know anything about the Vedas and says stuff that just straight up make no sense. See here for further details on what he get wrong about the Rgveda: benjaminindology.wordpress.com/2020/09/13/… But in my opinion, my favorite error Talageri makes is claiming that Book 6 is older than Book 4. Book 6 was composed while tr̥kṣíḥ was the chieftain and Book 4 was composed while his FATHER trasádasyuḥ was chieftain, implying that tr̥kṣíḥ time-travelled to Book 6 to go be chief.
    – abhishek
    Commented Jul 20, 2023 at 19:49
  • Also, the "evidence" about the Drshadvati is about as strong as arguing that because for Mormons, Utah is the most sacred place, that all the Biblical stories took place in the Great Basin of North America
    – abhishek
    Commented Jul 20, 2023 at 19:58
  • I've commented this elsewhere, but the Aryans DID maintain connections to the Iranic Central Asian tribes, like the párśu- tribe (predecessors of the Parthians/Pashtuns), the álina- (the peoples of Nuristan, Afghanistan), the paṇi- too appear to be the name of a tribe (compare the name of the Parnoi the classical Greeks encountered living in what's now the Iran/Turkmenistan border area) - otherwise why would viśvā́mitraḥ, "friend of all" indeed, call upon these tribes to send their men to fight and die for him?
    – abhishek
    Commented Jul 20, 2023 at 20:06

Oh Manyu with your help may we conquor both the Aryans and Dasas

Oh lodra with your help may we kill both the Dasas and Aryans.”

—–Rig Veda 10-83-1

This verse pray for the destruction of both Aryans and Dasas. Should this verse be interpreted to mean that before Aryans invaded India some native ‘Aryan’ variety already existed in India and they were killed by invaded Aryans?

It is true that in many places, Rig Veda says Indra protected the Aryan color, but it also says Kanwa, the son of black. This Kanwa Rishi is said to have dark skin. Many Suktas in the 8th Mandala of Rig Veda was written by his descendants.So, these verses like Indra protecting Aryan colour should be taken as metaphorical.

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    Aryans is not a word to describe any specific race, it's a generic term just like biologist, engineer, doctors etc.
    – Just_Do_It
    Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 17:03
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    it's just another theory plotted by the west to confuse our already confused people.
    – Just_Do_It
    Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 17:15
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    @AnubhavJha It is an ethnic term, not genetic. Commented May 10, 2018 at 16:15
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    @AnubhavJha "why can't migration happen from India?" I suppose it could have if human beings originated there. But it is well known that we originated in Africa. Commented May 11, 2018 at 15:07
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    "Should this verse be interpreted to mean that before Aryans invaded India" No. That's not how time works. The culture modern scholars call Aryan moved into Northern S. Asia, then wrote down the text. Commented Sep 27, 2019 at 5:46

As a child I have seen few mythological series like the Ramayana & Mahabharata and have heard this word 'Arya' many times but don't think it was in context to Aryan race!

Speaking of the Aryan invasion theory, it would probably be an oversimplification to say: "Germans invented it, British used it," but not by much. The concept of the Aryans as a race and the associated idea of the 'Aryan nation' were very much a part of the ideology of German nationalism.

Before getting to the role played by German nationalism, it is useful first to take a brief look at what the word Arya does mean.

The first point to note is that the idea of the Aryans as foreigners who invaded India and destroyed the existing Harappan Civilization is a modern European invention; it receives no support whatsoever from Indian records - literary or archaeological. The same is true of the notion of the Aryans as a race; it finds no support in Indian literature or tradition. The word 'Arya' in Sanskrit means noble and never a race. In fact, the authoritative Sanskrit lexicon (c. 450 AD), the famous Amarakosa gives the following definition:

mahakula kulinarya sabhya sajjana sadhavah

An Arya is one who hails from a noble family, of gentle behavior and demeanor, good-natured and of righteous conduct And the great epic Ramayana has a singularly eloquent expression describing Rama as:

arya sarva samascaiva sadaiva priyadarsanah

Arya, who worked for the equality of all and was dear to everyone.

The Rigveda also uses the word Arya something like thirty six times, but never to mean a race. The nearest to a definition that one can find in the Rigveda is probably:

praja arya jyotiragrah ... (Children of Arya are led by light) RV, VII. 33.17

Julian Huxley, one of the leading biologists of the century, wrote as far back as 1939:

In 1848 the young German scholar Friedrich Max Muller (1823-1900) settled in Oxford, where he remained for the rest of his life. ... About 1853 he introduced into the English language the unlucky term Aryan as applied to a large group of languages. ...

As far as ancient India is concerned, one may safely say that the word Arya denoted certain spiritual and humanistic values that defined her civilization. The entire Aryan civilization - the civilization of Vedic India - was driven and sustained by these values. The whole of ancient Indian literature: from the Vedas, the Brahmanas to the Puranas to the epics like the Mahabharata and the Ramayana can be seen as a record of the struggles of an ancient people to live up to the ideals defined by these values.

Let us now take a final look at this famous theory. It was first a theory of Europe created by Europeans to free themselves from the Jewish heritage of Christianity. This was to lead to Hitler and Nazism. This theory was later transferred to India and got mixed up with the study of Sanskrit and European languages. Europeans, now calling themselves Indo-Europeans became the invading Aryas and the natives became the Dravidians. The British hired Max Muller to use this theory to turn the Vedas into an inferior scripture, to help turn educated Hindus into Christian collaborators. Max Muller used his position as a Vedic scholar to boost German nationalism by giving scriptural sanction to the German idea of the Arya race. Following German unification under Bismarck, British public and politicians became scared and anti-German. At this Max Muller, worried about his position in England, got cold feet and wriggled out of his predicament by denouncing his own former racial theory and turned it into a linguistic theory. In all of this, one would like to know where was the science?

More can be read in details here

Found an interesting presentation ruling out rightly the so-called AIT. Watch here on youtube.

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    @RubelliteYakṣī Because it was the other way around: The Aryans of India invaded and conquered Europe. The Puranas talk about the Pandavas and later on King Parikshit conquering Eurasia about 3000 years ago.
    – Ikshvaku
    Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 19:22
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    @Ikshvaku Please explain how domestication of the horse, invention of wheels, and development of chariots North of the Caspian Sea predate the same everywhere else in the world. Commented Oct 13, 2018 at 18:43
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    @Ikshvaku The careful reader will note that I said "domestication of the horse" not "existence of the horse." Further, presupposing "Vedic civilization has existed since creation," doesn't require that it have always existed in one and only one place. Commented Oct 13, 2018 at 18:58
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    @Ikshvaku Can you please source your claims for my edification? Commented Oct 13, 2018 at 19:11
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    Above comment chat aside, no one still entertains the idea of an "Aryan race." They were a cultural complex. This is a contemporary term for a historic people, not one they likely would have used for themselves as a people. Commented Sep 27, 2019 at 5:43

The problem with the historians & anthropologist is They Conclude something unidirectionally based on various available Limited incomplete samples or premises. But the work of fate is not limited to their intellect. It is not necessary that the things should work based on limited understanding of various logists & ians, derived from limited available distorted sources. Will of lord works in various ways which historians & various -logists can't even fathom. So scriptures are valid means of knowledge as Brahma Sutra says & purva mimamsa proves systematically. And Since no any historian or various -logist is omniscient enough to see past events nor were they provided with complete information (rather were provided with limited available past information in bits & pieces) they are not worthy accepted as valid means of knowledge to us. What happened some thousands years back can not be discerned by anyone scientifically. One can only speculate based on one's limited understanding what happened looking at bits & pieces But one can't gauge the pattern of the will of unfathomable reality.

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    Don't make community wiki when you have no sources or when you post a long comment. They have same effect on your account when they are deleted. Commented May 11, 2018 at 5:50
  • @Sarvabhouma kkkkkkkkkkkkkkk Commented May 11, 2018 at 6:16
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    "sticking only to the Vedas, where do the verses point to in terms of our ancestry?" Commented May 11, 2018 at 13:57

The astounding similarities between Greek, Latin and especially Avestan and Sanskrit strongly point to all of them being descended from a single language. Phonetics makes it extremely unlikely that Sanskrit is the ancestral language (sanskrit has only three short vowels (a i u) and wherever Greek and latin show e Sanskrit often displays palatalization in Rig Veda - softening hard sounds like k which are preserved intact in Latin and so forth. (sanskrit chatvaras :: Latin Quattuor)). Vedic Sanskrit and Avestan have largely replaced l by r whereas European languages keep them apart.

The only way for Aryas not to be descended from Central Asian / European migrants is for Proto Indo-European to have originated in India. The fact that Sanskrit alone has retroflex sounds borrowed from Dravidian and loanwords from Munda, Dravidian etc. not found in European languages suggests strongly that the ancestor of Sanskrit is an immigrant to India.

Even if PIE originated in India - Vedic Sanskrit has undergone major changes from how Linguists have reconstructed PIE and it is hard to reconcile with apaurusheyatva of Sanskrit.

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    You are the first Hindu I have met that confirms this. In anthropology it is very clear there was migration and even the vector they approached by is pretty clear. Perhaps you can help me understand why this is such a big problem for others. Just look at the voting on this page. Clearly, people are voting with their guts and hearts, not with their heads. Commented May 10, 2018 at 16:44
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    @RubelliteYakṣī It was the other way around: The Aryans of India invaded and conquered Europe. The Puranas talk about the Pandavas and later on King Parikshit conquering Eurasia about 3000 years ago.
    – Ikshvaku
    Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 18:35
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    @Ikshvaku Again, please explain how Central Asian PIE artefacts predate the same kinds of artefacts in South Asia. Commented Oct 13, 2018 at 18:53
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    @Ikshvaku That is an "appeal to ignorance" fallacy. Commented Oct 13, 2018 at 19:28
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    @Ikshvaku It is equally plausible to say that the rock next to my nightstand keeps tigers away. There's no evidence that this rock isn't the reason for a lack of tigers around my nightstand. That doesn't make it true, though. For more information, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_ignorance . So, we have to make a judgement about truth based on the evidence we do have. For example, "We can construct a set of things which are known to keep tigers away. Rocks do not have qualities which are members of that set." Commented Oct 13, 2018 at 23:49

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