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Indus Script Deciphered

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Indus Script Deciphered1


Note Publication sequence.

This series consists of a sequence of 33 articles, which will be published with three days distance each. The first article following the present introduction will be published on June 20, the next of June 23, and so on till all 33 issues have been published.

Exception: The Sign Lexicon (nr.33) will be published on August 15, 2014.



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Indus script is a sign and symbol script that can be regarded as the most ancient code language known, used by all groups of shramanas (ascetics) wandering free through the Indian continent. They were and are revered for their spirituality and repute for spreading the message of peace. Possessing nothing, like just born babies, and having but minimum needs beyond accepting simple vegetarian food they moved (and still move) around wherever nature and environment are conducive, while in their heart they continuously wish peace for every soul – it is their very purpose to inspire every soul to a spiritual life and liberation from worldly limitations – and on their way they bless every living being they encounter or not. They became so much acclimatized to nature that even animals, flora and fauna were friendly and were cooperative with them. Many people think that only human beings have life, and they selfishly ignore the life and well-being of other creatures living around, including vegetation and all the basic components of nature. But the ascetics knew since ancient days that not only vegetation but also air, water, earth, fire and microbes have life. Each of these has its own individual, indispensable soul that offers them the fundamental means of life, e.g. of birth, life and death and are reborn after the mundane death making living in world a cycle. Each one has chetana, i.e. conscious knowledge as the most important attribute within them. That chetana, consciousness, allows them to perceive and to react to the environment. Though not cared for by selfish humans they do have their own ways of communication. Insects, plants, and creatures who do not produce sound, yet communicate, as is evident from ants, bees, worms etc. as well as vegetation. They have their own way to express and bring forth progeny, hence their descendants continue to proliferate in nature, as is also shown in the Indus culture, where the swastika law of karma dominated the thinking.

Modern science believes in a law of evolution, but this evolution, which takes place in the physical bodies mainly, is but adaptation to outer circumstances which is thought to be brought about only by chance mutations of genes. Genes do vary under natural stress, but generally return to their normal basis situation. The minutest live forms continue to live in nature just alike the higher ones and do not change drastically. No monkey and no ape has ever produced a human baby nor vice versa. The hypothesis of humanoid ancestors of modern Homo sapiens fails on the Swastika law of evolution and survival believed by the Indus people. In this view evolution does not run through progeny, but through cause and effect phenomena in which the soul transmigrates by itself into different categories of life-forms, of which there are sid to be 8,400,000 through rebirths. Thus a crisscross move of the soul may lead a man’s soul to suffer as a crippled, ailing creature or even to the lowest life-forms of nature in order to face the results of his own pre-earned karmas; or it may enjoy heavenly pleasures. This law applies to all existing living beings in the universe. But ultimately the soul can and will achieve blissful salvation explained in this series later on in # 26, and here in Pictures 2 and 3.

ISD p 2 left

ISD 00 plate 2

All cultures and all religions of the world have some Indus expressions presented symbolically for its followers to realize and express. Among the ancient Indian religions the Indus religion with its culture, being pre-Vedic, is the most influential. One has to see the basic features of that ancient religion and culture, self-expressed through its silent seals carrying neatly impressed symbols. Why they were thus designed in such small size, with repetitive symbols and texts, seen distributed over such a vast land at various levels of excavation and of different time is a grave question. Some of these impressions appear on some hill rocks in much bigger size. One also must see if that culture is yet alive in some parts of our present world or not, either in traces or in full, in order to understand the past.

Soon after the artifacts of Harappa and Mohenjo Daro (in present day Pakistan) came to light scholars from all over world, including the USSR, USA, UK, Europe, Middle East, China, Japan, Ceylon and India rushed to study that newly discovered culture. But what can we say in defense of our own neglect, when in stead of looking for themselves without bias, our own scholars get lured into the charms of an ignorant world? A whole century was wasted in putting tremendous efforts to read the script, even though much of its cultural details became known and moreover hundreds of new sites were brought to light both in India and Pakistan, but its script could not be read successfully. The script is seen mainly on seals made of baked clay tablets of different sizes, metal coins, jewelry, utensils, etc.

ISD 00 plate 3

Most of the seals carry a beautifully carved animal covering the greater portion of the seal and is called the “field animal,” with a “pole” in front of it. The script itself covers usually the top half of the seal. Seals which do not have a field animal may have some ethical pictorial theme with sign script impressed on it. Some seals have only signs marked on it to give this or that important message. Presumptive approaches of indigenous Hindus saw a relation with the Vedic script, and with the Maheshwar sutra, the Anushtubh meter or the Gayatri sutra and though aware of the swastika influence they could not bring out any convincing evidence useful to transcribe those themes. The themes as well as the pictorial substances resemble most the Jina shraman components like kayotsarga, where the swastika is a warning sign, but was wholly ignored. However, with the appearance of identical signs and symbols on ancient Jain pilgrimage sites all over the country and beyond, minute observations were undertaken with very fruitful results. With this new approach Indus script is completely deciphered, ethically and uniformly. So far, now five schools of approaches had come forward to decipher its script:

I . The School of pre-Vedic approach applied by Dr. S. R. Rao seeking Vedic names for phonetic values of Indus signs.

II. The School of Linguistic approach considers some signs of the Brahmi language as they do appear similar to some Brahmi alphabets, though they do not stand uniform in their meaning. Some Indus scripts appear to be influenced by Ural Altaic-Sumerian script, but not a single text could be deciphered un-argued. Some signs resemble Chinese and Egyptian alphabets also but no sensible, uniformly applicable meaning is obtained for texts. Thus the rebus approach which had been useful for deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs was investigated but failed with the Indus signs.

III. The School of the Dravid approach has a big team of established Indus scholars like Mahadevan and Madhivanan as its support, but their interpretations have been on basis of the information received from what is written here below under V. by a group of followers of Dravid Shramana interpretation This happened in spite of the presence of a rich archaeological Indus heritage in the South Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka belonging to the Jina shramanas, and which has been severely damaged intentionally since ages.

IV. The School of post-Vedic approaches of Vaishnava belief applied, by Dr. M. S. Mishra using the Gayatri meter, the Maheshwar sutra and the Anushtup meter found in the Bhagavad Gita, the Mahabharat, the Ramayan and in the Shiva and Shakti re-embodiment concept.

V. The School of Jain Symbolic approach applied by the present author not only deciphers the Indus signs, symbols and texts meaningfully, but gives out a well defined and uniformly applicable Indus sign lexeme for the basic well established signs and their derived conjugates which are seen inscribed on rocks, not only on the Jain pilgrimage sites but also are seen inscribed on 25 Jina images, traditionally. The survey is going on for more to be explored.


Seeing the kayotsarga posture of the Indus yogi in the 1960s, Muni Vidyanand immediately declared that the Indus Valley culture reflects the Jain culture, but he did not pursue to explain that further. However, many other scholars and archaeologists like T. Ram Chandran, Pran Nath Vidyalankar, Vachaspati Gairolla and some Jain scholars also insisted that the so called Indus culture resembles the Jain heritage. Without loosing time the unbiased scholars could for a moment look through the Jain window also and confirm what the present researcher/author proposes. Not one or two but more than 55 Indus keys could be recognized in the Jain heritage at locations which even the ASI did not care to preserve at its sites. To mention some of them: the Sravana Belagola hills, Khandagiri Bhubaneshwar, Girnar hills, Junagarh etc. There some common symbols are seen inscribed on the rocks to correlate the meaning of those theme symbols.

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  1. Note:These researches were made by Dr. Sneh Rani Jain, and are wholly original and primary. The results have been published in part as conference papers and as articles in magazines. All researches were conducted under the sponsorship of Ramadevi Behasilal Digamber Jain Trust of Bluefield, Virginia, USA, which own all rights for its publication. Those who would wish to use the material here used need to seek permission of the Trust’s president – Dr. Pushpa Rani Jain, 2101, Walhela Drive, Richmond VA or from the author herself: Dr. Sneh Rani Jain, Vishram, behind Patel Market, Link Road, Sagar MP, India. []