American Institute of Vedic Studies

Hidden Horizons: Unearthing 10,000 Years of Indian Culture, Preface

Author’s Preface for Hidden Horizons: Unearthing 10,000 Years of Indian Culture. Published by the Swaminarayan order ( for Delhi temple historical display For book UK ordering for book

The idea for following book arose after a special meeting between the two authors and seven Swamis of the Swami Narayan order, at the behest of Sadhu Brahmavihari Das. The meeting took place at the new Akshardham temple complex in Delhi, which was then not quite yet finished (March 2005). The Swamis also honored us with a tour of this new and spectacular monument.

As part of this tour, the Swamis showed us their “Ten Minute Down the Sarasvati River” display, one of their important cultural presentations on ancient India, and a great production in its own right. They sought our help with the display and its information. In the ensuring dialogue the idea arose of a short book on ancient India written specifically to accompany the display. At the same time, we concluded that the book should have also general value as a concise, complete and well-illustrated volume that would be useful at all Hindu religious centers and, on a broader level, for the general public.

Both authors have written extensively on ancient India, in various books and articles widely published in the Indian press and in other countries, particularly the USA. The present volume allows us to summarize and update the material we have previously presented. We have also individually written on different aspects of Indian culture and Vedic sciences, not simply as specialists on history. Our perspective is of those who respect the Vedic tradition and can look at ancient India from its broader perspective.

We must emphasize that the ancient history of India still requires revision in light of both recent scientific information and a more accurate study of India’s own venerable literature. Many of the commonly accepted and textbook accounts of ancient India have now been contradicted by new evidence in several fields. Whether one entirely agrees with the alternative views we have put forth or not, these old accounts can no longer be accepted without question.

To treat the revision of historical books as a kind of tampering with scriptures, as some scholars in India are suggesting today, makes no sense at all. History is man-made; it must be updated like all knowledge. All over the world, the dates for the beginning of civilization and for human populations are being pushed back in time. India cannot be exempted from such a revision. The historical accounts of fifty years ago cannot be made the last word any more than the science of fifty years ago.

On the scientific side, recent geological finds like the many urban sites along the now dry Sarasvati River and a greater understanding of natural history and genetics, like the dispersal of human populations from Southeast Asia eight to ten thousand years ago, have important ramifications relative to the history and cultural development of India.

On the literary side, the recognition that the Vedas contain important spiritual, scientific and historical knowledge contradicts older European views of them as primitive and unsophisticated. Such data must be considered carefully and cannot be ignored. In this regard, we have tried to make the book engaging, examining the most difficult and disputed issues, so to arrive at a deeper truth.

We have also aimed at a book that honors the cultural heritage of India and seeks to present that as part of the history. A great culture cannot arise from an historical vacuum or from mere borrowings from invading nomads, as many current accounts of ancient India suggest. India’s culture is itself a proof of a great history.

We have tried to make the book relevant and alive for the modern reader, especially the youth. The book seeks to inspire as well as to inform, to turn the history into a cultural experience rather than a technical presentation only. The book is something like a hundred page ride down the Sarasvati River. Through a culture of ten thousand years, numerous sages, and the development of one of the world’s greatest civilizations, it can only provide a few snapshots and summaries that address the main points.

For those who want more information on these subjects, we urge the reader to look into our other books and those given in the bibliography. The history of India is one of the world’s great cultural and spiritual adventures, which all people should study and can learn a great deal from.

We thank in particular the Swaminarayan movement for allowing us this opportunity. We only hope that our work does justice to the great civilization of India and helps renew it for coming generations.

David Frawley
NS Rajaram
Sept. 2005+

hh2Summary of Main Points Emphasized in the Book

1) India had the largest and most continuous of all the civilizations of the ancient world starting by at least 3000 BCE, with a much more extensive urban civilization than Egypt or Sumeria of the same time periods. Yet its role as a source of civilization has largely been ignored by the historical biases of the West.

2) The Vedic Literature is the ancient world’s largest, with its many thousands of pages dwarfing what little the rest of the world has been able to preserve. This literature reflects profound spiritual concepts, skill in mathematics, astronomy and medicine, special knowledge of language and grammar and other hallmarks of a great civilization. It cannot be attributed to nomads and barbarians or to the short space of a few centuries.

3) The ancient Indian literature, the world’s largest, and ancient Indian archaeology, also the ancient world’s largest, must be connected. We can no longer accept the idea of Ancient India without a literature and Vedic literature reflecting no real culture or civilization. Vedic literature and its symbolism is clearly reflected in Harappan archaeology and its artifacts.

4) Southeast Asia, which included South India, was the home of most human populations, which migrated after the end of the Ice Age, when the water released by melting glaciers, flooded the region around ten thousand years ago. Southeast Asia, not the Middle East, is the likely cradle not only of populations, but culture and agriculture as well.

5) The Sarasvati River, the dominant river in India in the post-Ice Age era, after 8000 BCE, and the main site of urban ruins in ancient India, is well described in Vedic texts. It ceased to flow around 1900 BCE, making the Vedic culture older than this date. All stages of the development and drying up of the Sarasvati can be found in Vedic texts down to the Mahabharata, showing that the Vedic people were along the river at all phases.

6) There is no scientific or archaeological basis for any Aryan or Dravidian race, which are now discredited concepts. No Aryan skeletal remains have ever been found in India apart from the existing populations in the country going back to prehistoric times. There is no archaeological evidence of any Aryan invasion or migration into India but only the continuity of the same populations in the region and their cultural changes. This requires that we give up these old ideas and look at the data afresh apart from them.

7) Connections between Indian languages and those of Europe and Central Asia, which can be found relative to both Sanskritic and Dravidian languages, are more likely traceable to a northwest movement out of India after the end of the Ice Age. The late ancient Aryan and Dravidian migrations, postulated to have taken place c. 1500 BCE into India from Central Asia of western linguistic theories occur too late, after populations and cultures were already formed, to result in the great changes attributed to them. Besides no records of such proposed migrations/invasions have yet to be found. Archaeology, literature and science, including genetics, all contradict it.

8) Vedic spirituality of ritual, mantra, yoga and meditation, based on an understanding of the dharmic nature of all life, created the foundation for the great spiritual traditions of India emphasizing individual experience of the Divine and spiritual practice over outer dogmas and beliefs. Such a spiritual ethos is the fruit of a great and mature ancient civilization.

9) The Hindu view of time, as through the Hindu Yuga theory, that connects human history with natural history of tens of thousands of years marked by periodic cataclysms makes sense relative to new scientific discoveries relative to natural history through genetics and climate changes.

10) This ancient, eternal Vedic culture is still relevant to the world today and lives on in the great ashrams, temples and spiritual practices of India. Reclaiming this ancient spiritual heritage of India and spreading it throughout the world is one of the greatest needs of the coming planetary age, in which we must go beyond the boundaries of creedal boundaries and materialistic values.

Latest Articles
Articles on Vedic Counseling

Embodied Mind and Transcendent Consciousness

We human beings are embodied creatures defined by our birth in a particular physical body as indicating our real identity and the focus of our lives. Our minds are not only located in the body but ruled by an entire set of bodily needs, imperatives, appearances and actions and their

Read More »
Articles by Yogini Shambhavi

Kali as the Yuga Shakti: the Power to Create a New World Age

By Yogini Shambhavi   As the great power of time, Kali’s Shakti creates the different Yugas or world ages that humanity passes through during the long cycles of cosmic evolution. Kali is the Goddess of eternity watching over all our temporal changes and facilitating those which promote our inner growth.

Read More »
Articles on Vedic Counseling

Comparison and the Incomparable Self

Your inner Self (Atman) and true nature cannot be compared to anything. It has no name, form or action, no shape, size or color. It is beyond all elements and qualities of nature. It is beyond body and mind, time and appearance altogether. It dwells within everything yet is not

Read More »
Articles on Ayurveda

Shiva Ayurveda – The Yogic Power of Healing and Transformation

Most Ayurvedic practitioners look upon Lord Dhanvantari, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, as the deity of Ayurveda and ideal doctor. Certainly that is an important tradition worthy of following based on profound Puranic stories and symbolism. Yet in the Rigveda, the oldest Vedic text, and Shruti or book of mantric

Read More »
Articles on Vedic Astrology

Winter Solstice, Galactic Center and New Time of Troubles

I have been writing for some years about 2020 as indicating the beginning of a “New Time of Troubles” for humanity, dangerous from 2020-2028, but continuing long beyond that. This relates astronomically to the Winter Solstice point transiting the Galactic Center in the constellation of Sagittarius. It is difficult to

Read More »
Articles on Yoga

The Ancient Yoga of the Sun

For the Winter Solstice December 21, which marks the rebirth of the Sun and Agni What if the most powerful force for energizing all Yoga practices were as obvious and visible as the Sun? The fact is that it is. The Sun, properly understood not merely as an outer but

Read More »
Articles on Yoga

Yoga as Samadhi

Yoga is defined as Samadhi in the Yoga Sutras. Yet few Yoga practitioners know what Samadhi is or how to approach it. But without understanding Samadhi one cannot understand Yoga in the true sense of the term. Samadhi is complete coherence and composure of mind, the mind fully united with

Read More »
Articles on Yoga

Yoga Nidra according to Adi Shankara

Yoga Nidra is a popular topic today but seldom taken to the depth that it is presented with in the Vedantic teachings. Here we will examine it according to the views of the great teacher, Shankara.   Adi Shankara or Shankaracharya is the most lauded exponent of Advaita or non-dualistic

Read More »
Articles on Yoga

Why Sri Krishna is the Avatar of Yoga

Sri Krishna is the only human guru and incarnation of Vishnu called Yogavatara or the Avatar of Yoga, and Yogeshvara or the Lord of Yoga. The Bhagavad Gita remains the most important and foundational Yoga Shastra or definitive Yoga text. To understand Yoga one must understand Sri Krishna, his life,

Read More »

Follow Dr David Frawley on social media @

Ayurvedic Healing Course

Take a comprehensive, yet affordable distance learning program in Ayurvedic healing, providing a vast set of resources, presented with clarity and depth. It is an excellent and accessible place to start your journey into Ayurveda from wherever you may be, and yet will take you very far. Our Ayurvedic Healing course covers mind-body constitution, daily health regimens, doshic imbalances, dietary and herbal treatment, sensory therapies and internal practices of Yoga and meditation. Our course aims to bring the deeper teachings of Ayurveda to everyone at an affordable price, whether for self-healing or helping others. It is connected to the classic books on Ayurveda of Dr. David Frawley. An internationally renowned course taken by over ten thousand people worldwide over the last thirty years, the course remains one of the best ways to learn Ayurveda both at a personal level and as a foundation for deeper study. Let the wisdom of Ayurveda transform your life and broaden your awareness!

Learn more and Signup Here »

Ayurvedic Astrology Course

Learn the secrets of Vedic astrology as taught relative to the healing powers of Ayurveda. View your birth chart to determine your Ayurvedic mind-body constitution according to their planetary connections, and promote longevity yoga and Self-realization. Learn how to read Vedic charts to help others recognize and optimize their karmas to fulfill their dharma. Study the teachings Dr. David Frawley (Pandit Vamadeva Shastri), a master educator in Vedic astrology and Ayurveda of worldwide renown. This course has helped pioneered Vedic astrology in the West and made it accessible to all serious students. Join in this Vedic movement to connect to the universe, the stars and planets, within you!

Learn more and Signup Here »

Yoga, Ayurveda, Mantra & Meditation Course

Take an inspiring online program on classical Yoga and traditional Ayurveda for body, mind and consciousness. Learn how to heal yourself according to a higher awareness that you can share with all! This many-sided course covers all eight limbs of Yoga according to Ayurvedic principles, from asana and pranayama to deeper practices of mantra and meditation. It teaches an Ayurvedic Yoga approach for the full unfoldment of our inner awareness. It shares the secrets of Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga, the Yogas of knowledge, devotion and action, in the context of a greater Raja Yoga. Study with one of the world’s leading experts and Acharyas in the field of Yoga and Ayurveda. Dr. David Frawley (Pandit Vamadeva Shastri), linking yourself with authentic traditions going back to the Vedic Seers.

Learn more and Signup Here »
Layer 1