“1982 – CIVILIZATION”
RIVER AND CIVILIZATION
SHRII SHRII ÁNANDAMÚRTI
2 SEPTEMBER 1982, ALLAHABAD, INDIA
Human life is the most developed and final stage of animal life. The speciality of human life is that it has dharma and in animal life there is no Dharma.
Civilization is a collection of usages, manners, etiquette, formalities, ideologies and love. The culture of the entire humanity is the same, but civilization varies from society to society.
Human civilization is created in, and moves along, river valleys. Like a river, human civilization also has three stages – hill stage, plain stage and delta stage.
From the hill stage, it moves to the plain stage and from the plain stage to the delta stage. A civilization starts in the hill stage, develops in the plain stage, and matures in the delta stage.
Why are civilizations created in, and why do they move along, river-valleys?
In ancient times, up until the Stone Age, humans could not dig wells and depended upon natural sources of water. As such, human habitation started from springs, fountains, waterfalls, rivers, etc. Animals also select such places for habitation; only birds do not follow this rule.
Thus, human habitation started near valleys, fountains, water-falls, springs, and particularly near rivers. Due to the assemblage of humans in the river-valleys, the first stage of civilization started there.
The relation between man and man, man and woman, individual and collective requirements, individual responsbility and collective responsibilities – how to move singularly and collectively – the collection of all these is Civilization.
It has already been said that Civilization starts in the hill stage, develops in the plain stage, and attains maturity in the delta stage. Naturally, the delta stage is the finality of a Civilization.
The hill stage of the Gangá river-valley Civilization in India started from the Garwal and Kumaun ranges of Uttar Pradesh (UP).
The rest of UP and Bihar is in the plain stage, and the delta stage starts from Maldah in West Bengal.
The hill stage of the Brahmaputra valley Civilization starts from Tibet and Arunachal.
Its plain stage lies in Assam and its delta stage starts from the districts of Goalpara, Maymensing, and Rangpur (now in Bangladesh).
Delta is that stage where the river starts to merge in the sea by the shortest route. In the delta stage, tributaries have no prominent role.
In the hill stage, tributaries play the dominant role and there are hardly any branch rivers.
In the plain stage also, tributaries have the dominant role in the growth and manifestation of Civilizations, but branches also have some importance. However, in the deltaic stage, branch-rivers have a more important role than the tributaries.
Simple Civilizations (maolik sabhyatá) and blended Civilizations (vimishra sabhyátá) are the two basic characteristics of Civilization. A particular Civilization changes in a particular way as a river moves and merges with other rivers, thus giving rise to sub-Civilizations.
The Mandakinii and Alakánanda river Civilizations emerged. We find the blending of these two Civilizations at the hill stage. After passing through so many mountains, hills, fountains, etc., these two rivers, Mandákinii and Alankánanda, come in contact with each other at the hill stage. They merge near Hardiwar, and there the two simple river civilizations, Garwali and Kumauni respectively, combine to produce a blended Gangá Civilization, which comes up to Prayága.
Now, another river valley Civilization, the Jamuna Civilization along the river Yamuna, is also a collection of several sub-Civilizations comprising many customs, costumes, manners, etc. It also comes up to Prayága.
The blended Gangá Civilization and the blended Yamuna Civilization merge at Prayága and a blended Gangá-Yamuna civilization occurs after the river confluence at Prayága and moves towards Varanasi. Prayága is the second blending of manners, customs, etc., of the Gangá and Yamuna Civilizations.
After Prayága we find another blending of Civilizations. Therefore, there are variations in the manners, customs, languages, intonations, physical structures and economical conditions of eastern UP and western UP. A further blending occurs in the blended civilizations of the Gangá and Yamuna when the Gomati, Rapti, Sone and Saraju rivers bring new trends from the northern portion of the Himalaya and the Chambal-Ghagher river from the Vindhya ranges. Thus Civilizations vary and sub-Civilizations, branch civilizations, emerge at different stages of the movement of a river and its blending with other River-Civilizations.
The Bundela sub-civilization emerges due to the blending of the Yamuna and Chambal civilizations. The Bagheli sub-civilization emerges due to the blending of Yamuna and Sone.
After Kashi there is another blending of Civilizations where several other rivers merge. Thus in this plain stage, tributaries and branch rivers play an important role in the emergence of new Civilizations.
After Maldah in West Bengal, the Gangá enters the delta stage and the blended Gangá civilization also enters the delta stage –a stage where branches have the dominant role.
The blended Civilization of the Gangá attains maturity in Bengal. “Dah” means the circular movement of water in a river; so it is called Maldaha. At Maldah, the Ganga turns to the right. The blended Gangá civilization is in its highest form in the deltaic stage in Bengal.
Now it is clear that the hill stage of the Civilizations occurs in the hill area of UP and the rest of UP, and Bihar is in the plain stage, where Baghale, Bundeli, Avadhi, Bhojpuri, Magahi, Maetheli, and Aungiká sub-civilizations emerged.
The Brahmaputra Civilization is a combination of the proto-Chinese and Indo-Tibetan Civilizations. The civilization of Assam is a blending of the Tibetan-Chinese and Gangá Civilizations, due to the proximity of Assam with the Gangá Civilization.
After this, the Brahmaputra turns to the left and enters Bengal, which is in its delta stage. The delta stage of the Brahmaputra civilization is its final stage. Bengal is the finality of the Brahmaputra Civilization.
In Bengal there is another Civilization as well, the Civilization of Ráŕh. The hill stage, plain stage and delta stage of the Ráŕh civilization is in Bengal.
So many rivers of Ráŕh merge in the area of lower Bengal, which results in further blending. Thus in Bengal, there is a blending of three delta civilizations – the Gangá, Brahmaputra and Ráŕh civilizations. This is the highest blended civilization of the world. Nature helps the people of Bengal in their intellectual progress, because no two great rivers like the Gangá and the Brahmaputra merge together anywhere else in the world.
In original Civilizations (maolik sabhytá), people are physically strong.
In blended civilizations, people are strong in the psychic stratum and the civilization is complicated as well as forceful.
In the simple Gangá civilization people are simple and physically strong; in the delta stage people are complicated, less physically strong and strong psychically.
The people of Bengal are intellectually developed because
(1) Bengal civilization is a blending of three deltaic civilizations and
(2) it is not a simple Civilization but a great, complicated civilization – the blend and finality of three deltaic civilizations. Naturally, therefore, it is such a powerful Civilization, so advanced in the intellectual and other spheres.