Sapta Sindhu (सप्त सिंधु), Hapta Hindu in Avestan, "seven rivers" are the seven sacred rivers in Sanskrit mythology. The Rig Veda often refers to the seven rivers. In RV 7.36.6, the Sarasvati is the seventh river, whose mother is the Sindhu. The Avesta's hapta həndu are generally equated with the Vedic Sapta Sindhavahá; in Vendidad 1.18 these are described to be the fifteenth of the sixteen lands created by Mazda.
It is unclear how exactly the seven rivers were intended to be enumerated. They are often located in the Punjab region in northwestern India / northern Pakistan. If Sarasvati's membership is taken for granted, and the five major rivers of the Punjab are included (Sutudri, Parusni, Asikni, Vitasta, Vipas all tributaries of Sindhu), one river is missing (or perhaps two, since the Sindhu is a special case, having feminine or masculine gender and in this case not being invoked as a goddess), perhaps Arjikiya or Sushoma compare also the list of ten in the Nadistuti sukta, RV 10.75. David Frawley extends the Sapta Sindhu region from the Punjab to the Gangetic plain, specifically suggesting Sindhu, Ashikni, Parushni, Sarasvati, Yamuna, Ganga and Sarayu. (Frawley 2000) In 6.61.10, Sarasvati is called "she with seven sisters" (saptasvasā) which would logically indicate a group of eight rivers, but which probably is just due to the number seven being more important than the individual members (see also saptarshi, haft keshvar), so that the list of the Sapta sindhu may not have been fixed or immutable. In RV 10.64.8 and RV 10.75.1, three groups of seven rivers are referred to (tríḥ saptá sasrâ nadíyaḥ "thrice seven wandering rivers"), as well as 99 rivers.
Hukum Singh Panwar (Pauria) states: One such starting formulation of ours is likely to shock those who have been drilled to believe that Sakas (Scythians) are not only different, but were antagonistic peoples - the Sakas (Scythians, being all that Aryans were not. We, on the contrary hold that the Ailas and Iksvakus (former's sub-section) lived side by side in the sub-Sivalik zone of the Sapta-Sindhu, where Saka trees (teak in English and Sagawan in Hindi) were grown in abundance in ancient times. The Rechna Doab in which Sakala (Sialkot) was situated was known as Sakaladwipa. The region as well as its inhabitants, derived their names from Saka, which, as some eminent anthropologists and geographers rightly hold, conveys only a geographical sense and not a racial one. The so-calico Skythia or Scythia of the Greeks, which is represented as Sakadwipa in the
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ancient Indian literature, is now proved to be a misnomer: it actually stands for Sakasthan of central Asia, and not for Sakadwipa. Sakadwipa and Sakasthan are distinct, separate entities in site of similarity in sound, Sakadwipa was the landmass in the South and South east of the Meru (Pamir), the climate of which was suitable for the growth of teak; and the Sakasthan comprises the countries of adoption by the Sakas as their second home in central Asia after their exile or emigration to those countries in pre-historic times from Sapta Sindhu (cf, S.M. Ali, 1973, app., pp. 205ff). Ali has aptly vivified the distinction between the two terms.
Migration from Sapta-Sindhu
Hukum Singh Panwar (Pauria) states: "Mohanjodaro sold its seals at Ur and Kish. The humped bull of tile Guts of the Indus valley was developed as winged sentinel of Assyrian palaces at Nineveh. It is represented as human-headed & bearded emblem of bull-god of prosperity on the columns of Apadan. The Indus bull created the Apis bull of the Egyptians. The Indus metric system standardised the weights and measures of Mesopotamia and further west. The cheque and banking system of the Panis (Phoenicians) of the Sapta Sindhu and their coins struck and minted at Carthage, Sodom and Tyre, after migrations there, became models for the currency and banking in the west. All these are the solid proofs, now universally accepted, of the migrations to and occupations of those countries by Indians in the hoary past (B.S.Upadhayaya, 1973: 2).
- RV 2.12; RV 4.28; RV 8.24)
- आ यत साकं यशसो वावशानाः सरस्वती सप्तथी सिन्धुमाता | याः सुष्वयन्त सुदुघाः सुधारा अभि सवेन पयसा पीप्यानाः || (RV 7.36.6)
- Gnoli, Gherardo (1989), "Avestan geography", Encyclopaedia Iranica, 3, New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul, pp. 44–46.
- इमं मे गङगे यमुने सरस्वति शुतुद्रि सतेमं सचता परुष्ण्या | असिक्न्या मरुद्व्र्धे वितस्तयार्जीकीये शर्णुह्यासुषोमया || (RV 10.75.5)
- The Jats:Their Origin, Antiquity and Migrations/The identification of the Jats, pp.297-298
- The Jats:Their Origin, Antiquity and Migrations/The identification of the Jats, p.308