Ārya (Sanskrit : (आर्य) , (Old Persian "Ariya" and Avestan "Airya") is an ancient Sanskrit term for Hindus, Zoroastrians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains. The term has a variety of positive meanings, usually in spiritual contexts. It is not to be confused with the modern derived English adjective "Aryan", which has had a variety of meanings but is today mainly used by scholars in the context of the sub-branch of Indo-Iranian languages referred to as Indo-Aryan languages.
Etymology and derived words
The Indo-Iranian term is from Proto-Indo-European "*ar-yo-", from the same root as Sanskrit "rta", Iranian "asha". Root cognates without Indo-Iranian include a large constellation of associated concepts, such as Greek "arete" "virtue" , "aristos" "best", and "ortho", in "orthodoxy"; Latin "rectus" and "erectus", and all Romance derivatives, as well as German "Recht" and English "right".
Sanskrit aryá- is an adjective meaning "kind", "favorable", or "devoted". In nominalized usage, it can take a meaning of "master, lord". The vrddhi derivation "ārya- means "respectable", "honorable", "noble", and "belonging to the IAST|brahmin, kṣatriya, or vaiśya varṇas.". As a noun, IAST|ārya-"' means "an honorable or respectable man", "a master", "an owner", "a member of the three highest IAST|varṇas".
The important Sanskrit lexicon Amarakośa (ca. 450 AD) defines ārya thus: "An ārya is one who hails from a noble family, of gentle behavior and demeanor, good-natured and of righteous conduct. (mahākula kulinārya sabhya sajjana sadhavah.)" Ārya- was also frequently used as a prefix of honor attached to names, and sometimes as an integral part of a person's name. E.g., Unicode|Āryāsaṅga is the name of a Buddhist philosopher and author [http://www.kul.lublin.pl/efk/angielski/hasla/a/asanga.html] , and Āryabhaṭa is the name of an Indian mathematician.
In general, Ārya is either a term of approbation or refers to one's standing in the IAST|varṇa system: an arya is a free man, and not a member of a lower caste or a slave. Roughly, 'arya' is a follower of vedic traditions and take vedas as the nodal point of their religious and social identity. At an early period, the cultural area where the varna system was used, along with the linguistic area where Indic languages were spoken, would have been nearly the same. This region (northern and central India; the Indus and Ganges plains) was called Āryāvarta, meaning "abode of the noble people". At present, these cultural and linguistic spheres overlap but are quite distinct from each other. That is how 'aryavarta' is defined in manusmriti. Later the vedic culture spread through much of the Indian subcontinent and the word has come to mean Bharat in general.
The Western interpretation of "ārya" as the name of a particular race ("Aryans") became known in India in the 19th century and was generally accepted by Hindus and Hindu nationalists, though combined with religious self-identification. In response to the racial concept Vivekananda remarked: "...it is the Hindus who have all along called themselves Aryas. Whether of pure or mixed blood, the Hindus are Aryas; there it rests." (Vivekananda, Complete Works vol.5).
As an aside, mention must be made of a fact that does not lie in the realm of what could be considered Conventional History. Dravidian is an English word which comes from Dravida just as Aryan comes from Arya. Now pre-historic traditions from both Dravida and Arya make mention of Dravida being the original homeland of both the Dravidians and the Aryans of India. Here, however Dravidians are a people on the basis of region and not race, and similarly Aryans are a people on the basis of practiced customs and not race. Here, Dravida means a stretch land from East Africa and Madagascar till South India, and possibly further till Southeast Asia and Australia. Both the Dravidian legends and Aryan legends attribute their origins to this sunken continent [Kumari Kandam] [Matsya Purana] .
The interpretation of the Sanskrit words in Europe was influenced by the cognate words in Avestan:
* airya meaning "nobly born" and "respectable", but also "Iranian"
* airyana or "Iranian"
"Iranian", as used above, refers to all Iranian peoples, at the time not yet differentiated from each other at the time of the composition of the Zoroastrian Yashts texts, where Zarathustra is described to have lived in Airyanem Vaejah meaning "Land of Aryans". The word "Iran" (Ērān) itself comes from Proto-Iranian *Aryānām - "(land) of the Aryas". "Airya" was distinguished from "anairya", non-Iranian, and is clearly to be understood as the name of a self-identified nation, ethnic group, or linguistic group. The word and concept of Airyanem Vaejah is present in the name of the country Iran (lit. "Land of Aryans") which is a modern-Persian form of the word "Aryana" (lit. "Country of Aryans"). ["IRAN." LoveToKnow 1911 Online Encyclopedia. © 2003, 2004 LoveToKnow. [http://58.1911encyclopedia.org/I/IR/IRAN.htm] ] Aryana in ancient history was also a name of present-day Afghanistan.
The word "arya" (in the form āriyā, آریا), in the modern Persian language, also means "noble", "Aryan", or "Iranian" The word is both related to language and ethnicity and is found in various forms of boys' and girls' names. "Arya" is also a common Hindu name.
In the Avesta, apart from the Airyanem Vaejah, "Airya-shayana" ("abode of the Aryans") is also addressed. It is the entire homeland of the Aryans as opposed to the "root-land".
The term "ārya" is often found in Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain texts. In the Indian spiritual context it can be applied to Rishis or to someone who has mastered the four noble truths and entered upon the spiritual path. The religions of India are sometimes called collectively ārya dharma, a term that includes the religions that originated in India (e.g. Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma), Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism).
"O my Lord, a person who is chanting Your holy name, although born of a low family like that of a Chandala, is situated on the highest platform of self-realization. Such a person must have performed all kinds of penances and sacrifices according to Vedic literatures many, many times after taking bath in all the holy places of pilgrimage. Such a person is considered to be the best of the Aryan family" (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 3.33.7).
In the Vedas
The term Arya is used 36 times in 34 hymns in the Rig Veda. According to Talageri (2000, The Rig Veda. A Historical Analysis) "the particular Vedic Aryans of the Rigveda were one section among these Purus, who called themselves Bharatas." Thus it is possible, according to Talageri, that at one point Arya did refer to a specific tribe. “"Brahma of glory is he to whom both the Aryans and the Dasas belong"” (Book VIII, Ch 8, verse 9). [ [http://www.indiacause.com/columns/OL_070222.htm Hinduism and Equality] By: Dr. Dipak Basu February 22, 2007 ] However, sometimes it is also used in a moral sense, RV 9:63:5 "Make us all in the universe arya, noble."
In the Epics
Arya and Anarya are primarily used in the moral sense in the Hindu Epics. People are usually called Arya or Anarya based on their behaviour.
In the Ramayana, the term Arya can also apply to Raksasas or to Ravana, if their behaviour was "Aryan". In several instances, the Vanaras and Raksasas called themselves Arya. The monkey king Surgriva is called an Arya (Ram: 505102712) and he also speaks of his brother Vali as an Arya (Ram: 402402434). In another instance in the Ramayana, Ravana regards himself and his ministers as Aryas (Ram: 600600512).
The Ramayana describes Rama as: "arya sarva samascaiva sadaiva priyadarsanah", meaning "Arya, who worked for the equality of all and was dear to everyone."
In the Mahabharata, the terms Arya or Anarya are often applied to people according to their behaviour. Dushasana, who tried to disrobe Draupadi in the Kaurava court, is called an "Anarya" (Mbh:0020600253). Vidura, the son of a Dasi born from Vyasa, was the only person in the assembly whose behaviour is called "Arya", because he was the only one who openly protested when Draupadi was being disrobed by Dushasana. The Pandavas called themselves "Anarya" in the Mahabharata (0071670471) when they killed Drona through deception.
According to the Mahabharata, a person's behaviour (not wealth or learning) determines if he can be called an Arya [(Mbh: tasyam samsadi sarvasyam ksatttaram pujayamy aham/ vrttena hi bhavaty aryo na dhanena na vidyaya. 0050880521)] . [(Deshpande/ Gomez in Bronkhorst & Deshpande 1999)]
Modern uses in Hinduism
According to Swami Vivekananda, "A child materially born is not an Aryan; the child born in spirituality is an Aryan." He further elaborated, referring to the Manu Smriti: "Says our great law-giver, Manu, giving the definition of an Aryan, 'He is the Aryan, who is born through prayer.' Every child not born through prayer is illegitimate, according to the great law-giver: "The child must be prayed for. Those children that come with curses, that slip into the world, just in a moment of inadvertence, because that could not be prevented - what can we expect of such progeny?..."(Swami Vivekananda, Complete Works vol.8)
Swami Dayananda founded a Dharmic organisation Arya Samaj in 1875.
It is also used a popular name, including among Dravidian groups. For example there were Telugu and Tamil films titled "Arya".
The word Arya is also often used in Jainism. The word occurs frequently in the Jain text Pannavanasutta.
The word ārya (Pāli: ariya), in the sense "noble" or "exalted", is very frequently used in Buddhist texts to designate a spiritual warrior or hero, which use this term much more often than Hindu or Jain texts. Buddha's Dharma and Vinaya are the ariyassa dhammavinayo. The Four Noble Truths are called the catvāry āryasatyāni (Sanskrit) or cattāri ariyasaccāni (Pali). The Noble Eightfold Path is called the āryamārga (Sanskrit, also IAST|āryāṣṭāṅgikamārga) or ariyamagga (Pāli). Buddhists themselves are called ariyapuggalas (Arya persons). In Buddhist texts, the āryas are those who have the Buddhist śīla (Pāli sīla, meaning "virtue") and follow the Buddhist path. Those who despise Buddhism are often called "anāryas".
In Buddhism, those who spiritually attain to at least "stream entry" and better are considered Arya Pudgala, or the Arya people.Fact|date=February 2007
In Chinese Buddhist texts, "IAST|ārya" is translated as (approximately, "holy, sacred", pinyin ', on'yomi ').
The spiritual character of the use of the term ārya in Buddhist texts can also be seen in the Mahavibhasa and in the Yogacarabhumi. The Mahāvibhasa [(Taisho 1545, vol. xxvii, 401c29-402a12, 402b5-6, and 402a27-b6)] states that only the noble ones (āryas) realize all four of the four noble truths (āryasatyāni) and that only a noble wisdom understands them fully. The same text also describes the āryas as the ones who "have understood and realized about the [truth of] suffering, (impermanence, emptiness, and no-self)" and who "understand things as they are". [(Deshpande/ Gomez in Bronkhorst & Deshpande 1999)] . In another text, the Yogācārabhūmi (Taishō 1579, vol. xx, 364b10-15), the āryas are described as being free from the viparyāsas (misconceptions).
Several Buddhist texts show that the "IAST|ārya dharma" was taught to everybody, including the āryas, Dasyus, Devas, Gandharvas and Asuras. The IAST|Bhaiṣajyavastu (from the Mūlasarvāstivādavinaya) describes a story of Buddha teaching his dharma to the Four Heavenly Kings (IAST|Catvāraḥ Mahārājāḥ) of the four directions. In this story, the guardians of the east (IAST|Dhṛtarāṣṭra) and the south (IAST|Virūḍhaka) are āryajatiya (āryas) who speak Sanskrit, while the guardians of the west (IAST|Virūpākṣa) and the north (IAST|Vaiśravaṇa) are dasyujatiya (Dasyus) who speak Dasyu languages. In order to teach his Dharma, Buddha has to deliver his discourse in Aryan and Dasyu languages. This story describes Buddha teaching his Dharma to the āryas and Dasyus alike. [Bronkhorst & Deshpande 1999] The IAST|Karaṇḍavyūha (a Mahāyāna sūtra) describes how Avalokiteśvara taught the ārya Dharma to the asuras, IAST|yakṣas and IAST|rakṣasas. [Bronkhorst & Deshpande 1999]
*Bhaisajavasta in Mulasarvastivadavinaavastu. In Gilgit Mansuscripts, Vol. III, Part I. Edited by Nalinaksha Dutt. The Kashmir Series of Texts & Studies, No. LXXI (E). 1947. Srinagar: Research Department.
*J. Bronkhorst and M.M. Deshpande. 1999. Aryan and Non-Aryan in South Asia. Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press.
*Bryant, Edwin: The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture. 2001. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-513777-9
*Elst, Koenraad Update on the Aryan Invasion Debate. 1999. ISBN 81-86471-77-4 [http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/books/ait/index.htm] , [http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/articles/aid.html]
*Fussman, G.; Kellens, J.; Francfort, H.-P.; Tremblay, X.: Aryas, Aryens et Iraniens en Asie Centrale. (2005) Institut Civilisation Indienne ISBN 2-86803-072-6
*Karandavyuha. In Mahayanasturasamgraha. Edited by P.L. Vaidya. Parts I-II. Buddhist Sanskrit Texts, Nos. 17 and 18. 1961 and 1964 Darbhanga: The Mithila Institute.
*Mahabharata. The electronic text of the B.O.R.I. Critical Edition, prepared by Muneo Tokunaga.
*Ramayana. Electronic version of the Baroda Critical Edition, prepared by Muneo Tokunaga.
* Sethna, K.D. 1992. The Problem of Aryan Origins. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan.
*Trautmann, Thomas R. 1997, Aryans and British India. Berkeley: University of California Press.
* [http://intyoga.online.fr/signif.htm 'Arya': Its Significance] (Aurobindo in 'Arya', September 1914)