Sur-Asur Conflict in India and its Effect in Present Times

Exploring history of Asia, I made few serious observations which i wanted to share here:

sur-a-asur

Background (till 2000 BC):
1. Sur (Devata) and Asur (Daanav, Rakshas) were equivalent entities equally worshiped in major parts of India and Middle East. Examples of Sur were Indra. Examples of Asur were Mitra, Varun. There were some common Gods like Varun and Agni which had equivalent endorsements in both in Sur and Asur followers. Apart from Sur & Asur, there were some higher powers like Rudra, Matri-devi etc. which was common to all.

2. Sur were more rural oriented civilizations with higher stress on inner science (called VIDYA in adhyatm) while Asur were urban oriented civilizations with higher stress on outer/material science (called AVIDYA). So, materially, technologically and culturally followers of Asurs were more powerful. They built great cities and human structures. In almost every Sur-Asur battles, they used to win. Those who followed Surs were identified as Aryans, Maanav etc. and those who followed Asurs were identified as Dasyus, Daanav etc.

3. Caste system was prevalent with high degree of caste mobilization (change of caste based on profession).

4. Individuals were independent to select any Sur or Asur as divine figure. Those who opted for Asurs were called Danav or Dasyus or similar names. Those who opted for Surs were known as Arya or maanav. So, Ravan who opted for Asur became a Danav while Ram who opted for Sur was Maanav or further Devata (an incarnation of Vishnu).

5. There was a common set of codes & practices through which they derived their spiritual legitimacy. This set can be said to be the previous version of Vedas or Gathas (ref: Zoroastrianism).

6. Followers of Surs were more concerned towards Vidya, therefore, they didn’t have any aggressive policy towards statehood or nationhood. In fact, being a less significant political entity, they stressed more on individualistic spiritual concerns. On the other hand, Asurs being more concerned with Avidya had very aggressive statehood policies. They stressed more on community behavior, common brotherhood, strict following of established conducts, strict order etc.

7. Majority of Kingdoms were followers of Asurs. Sarasvati-Sindhu civilization was the epitome of Asur civilization. Surs had nothing similar of that much grandeur. Majority of Middle-East and South Asia

8. There was no concept of religion; rather there was a concept of Dharma which meant a set of codes which people mutually agree to follow. Individuals had a lot of freedom to chose their faith. There was no compulsion. Same person can become follower of Sur and Asur in different parts of his/her life.

9. Indian subcontinent had nearly 30% global population and a much larger share of global production. Other large human settlements in Asia were in China (of size equivalent to that of India) and South-East Asia. Human civilizations in Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and Europe were very small with very small population and negligible production. Almost all of them depended on India and China for most of their needs. India had immense influence on these regions. In plain words, it was an era in which India was overwhelmingly a super nation. Any event in India had immense impact elsewhere.

Things start changing that changed the Human History After 2000 BC
1. Harappa (Sarasvati-Sindhu Civilization) underwent great downfall due to drying up of Saraswati River.

2. The second possible event was the battle between Rama (a neutral King) & Ravana (Asur King) (which we find in Ramayana) in which Ravana got defeated. The divinity of Rama is endorsed in both Sur & Asur traditions. Interestingly, Zend Avesta which is the most prominent Asuric Text mentions Rama hundreds of times compared to Vedas which mention Rama only for few times. Though it doesn’t tell much about the fact that whether Rama was a Sur or Asur, but it clearly shows that he received respect, honor and praise among all.

These two events were big blow to Asuric ideas in Indian sub-continent and triggered the rise of Sur kingdoms in India. Followers of SUR celebrated it as a “victory of virtue against vice”. During this era, following things happened in Indian sub-continent:
a. Number and power of Asuric Kingdoms shrinked in India followed by rise of a large number of kingdoms or Janpads which claimed not to follow Surs.
b. Under the changed sociopolitical regime, Avidya was declared inferior and Vidya as superior. Material advancement was made an inferior activity compared to spiritual.
c. The whole civilization of Asurs was demonized.  Followers of Asurs were forced to the lower positions in the caste-system. They were given a different identity than that of Maanav.
d. Vedas were completely transformed from a neutral text to a Sur-text. The new transformed Vedas or the Neo-Vedas demonized Asurs, representing them in bad light. Similarly, an equivalent of Vedas was transformed into an Asuric text (Zend Avesta) in which Surs were demonized and Ashurs were represented as supreme divine entities.
e. Facing the threat from changing sociopolitics in Indian sub-continent, the Asuric kingdoms outside India started fearing that Asuric ideas are in danger.
f. Since most of the kingdoms in the Middle East were very small in population and economic surplus; they found it better to make uniform codes. It was needed to have better control over happenings in these kingdoms and keep it as much free from Indian influences as much possible; especially after the demise of Asuric power in India.
g. Due to Dharmik code of conduct, every new idea or proposition must have to be debated before it got acceptance (recall what used to happen in Buddhist Vihars). Nothing can be forced with a sword. Society was largely polytheistic. But due to changing environment in India, smaller kingdoms started moving towards stricter laws curbing human freedom.
h. In one of the major developments, Monotheism took birth in Middle East. Monotheism meant that there is
– only one code, one God, one text
– everyone has to conform to this single belief, no one can have a difference of opinion
– no one can criticize this “only one code”, if a person criticizes this “only one code” then this act will be called blasphemy and this act will be a punishable offense
Judaism and Zoroastrianism came up with these Monotheistic ideas.
i. In the beginning demonization process was slow but it became more intense with time. Recall followers of Asurs are still humans in Vedas while they become demons in Puraans.
j. Both Surs and Asurs intellectually boycotted each other despite appropriating concepts of each other. For example, Asurs are demonized but Asur gods Mitra, or neutral Gods like Varun & Agni are respected in Sur-texts. Similarly,  Indra is demonized while Varun & Agni are honored.

With time, Sur remained very much Dharmic in its character. It developed some characteristics like:
a. Polytheism, freedom of individual belief
b. Rigid immobile caste system
c. Non-aggressive outlook, therefore Sur following nations never preferred to go outside India for military conquests with some exceptions
d. Allow multiple ideas to peacefully co-exist, hence many ideas came into existence
e. No concept of believer, non-believer; no concept of aggressive conversion like Semitic religions

With time Asuric systems transformed itself into rigid monotheist civilizations. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are mature transformations while Zoroastrianism is a transition phase between Dharmik system and monotheism. They became aggressive belief systems and started outside expansion. They were able to impose monotheism upon small populations applying terror and violence, but their all efforts failed in India and China because they had very large populations.

Modern Context of this discussion
1. For India
a. India has lost its Asuric traditions which needs revival. Its revival has become very necessary for:
1. Creating an Indo-centric worldview
2. Explaining diff religions & civilizations in Indian perspective (as 1 above)
3. Some people may re-establish the ASURs in India. It will give the debate on Aryan Invasion a new dimension because those who supported SURs were Aryans and those who supported ASURs were Dasyus.
4. Presently, everyone in our country talks about VIDYA but AVIDYA has very little legitimacy in society. Once ASURic ideas will come into prominence, AVIDYA will get public participation. It will help India a lot in evolving itself into a materially & scientifically rich civilization with big infrastructure, stronger defense and aggressive geopolitics.
5. The immobility of caste system can be eliminated after revival of Asurs. Since followers of Asurs have been forced to to the lowest strata of caste system; revival of Asurs will empower these lower caste pepole
c. Connections between Dharmas and religions/monotheism can be established keeping interests of India as of prime importance. It will help in building good relations among diff Dharmik & monotheist communities living in India and other parts of the world
d. Hinduism will be enriched by diversification into a stream which was killed 4000 years ago

2. For world:
a. The information about evolution of diff sociopolitical systems can be explained, especially in the Middle-East and ways can be identified through which conflicts can be resolved and a framework for mutual-coexistence can be developed.
b. Revival of pure Ashuric civilizations and other Suric civilizations outside India.

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    • S
    • January 7th, 2014

    Insightful.and very interesting. I had a belief or rather i shoud say was forced to believe that Asurs have always been Evil while Surs are divine forces. Thanks for the post. Keep writing.

    • Ramesh
    • March 11th, 2014

    at present time sur followers has many threats from asur followers and ausuric religion, This is era where we as manav can achieve better things than that of Asur people. I am not research scholar, but I am not fully agree with your thought, moreover at present time sur culture has been reduced down to 2% only exist in small region of India and nepal so manav should be more careful of asur activity

  1. The article provides a new perspective to our Indian ancient culture, religion and aspect of development. Very beautifully crafted article with clarity of thoughts on two themes of thought and development.

    • Sandeep Nair
    • February 28th, 2016

    Hi this is a very a nice article.. It is very insightful . I was also thinking about these same issues . My questions is if false knowledge (avidya) is encouraged , wont that overshadow vidya ( true knowledge ) and that would lead to more materialism in the long run.

    • As a country and society, India has been enslaved for 1000+ years. Despite knowing the imminent danger at the boundaries, we never responded. And at global level, material advancements have dwarfed India’s spiritual and cultural advancements. So, in order to counter that, we again need a society which gives importance to material strength and military supremacy.

    • Rajendra Maleyvar
    • September 17th, 2016

    To suggest any supremacy of the Asuric way of life is being myopic. Materialism can never lead to a peaceful existence; a fine balance between the two – adhyatm & materialism – should be realistic. Again, the assumption that asurs represent the civilized aspect seems to contradict the commonly held notion about the surs, who some emphatically claim to be relatively balanced in their approach to interpersonal relationships.

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