How Romantic Was the Ancient Aryan Love?

The term “Aryan culture” refers to the ancient cultural civilizations that existed many centuries ago. The word “Aryan” was often used interchangeably with “Indo-European” to mean Indo-Iranian languages.

Here I will talk about Aryan love.

Who Were the Aryans?

In the past, the word “Aryan” was used to refer to the people who spoke the old Indo-European languages. Those prehistoric Aryans were nomad warriors who colonized northern India around 1500 BCE, 500 years after the Indus River Valley collapsed. These fair-skinned ancient people settled in Iran and northern India.

The Aryans were hunter-herders at first. When they migrated to India, they learned agriculture and built settlements and cities, beginning Aryan civilization. Literature, religion, and social structure have substantially influenced Indian culture.

The Ancient Aryan Culture Was Favorable for Love

Before the introduction of Brahminism in India in the early 1st millennium BCE, the Aryan culture was greatly different. Women were held in high regard. They had many rights and enjoyed a variety of privileges. They had opportunities for free communication and social interaction with men. The cultural conditions of the Aryan culture in that historic period entertained the ideas of “romantic love”. Nevertheless, Aryans favored monogamous marital relationships. Monogamous marriage was the typical mode of marriage and family formation.

All these cultural factors were conducive to love. At that time—about 1200 or 1500 years ago, at least some of the Indian population had experienced many of the feelings and emotions that are associated with the modern understanding of love.

Here Are the Ancient Hindoo Love Maxims

The Seven Hundred Maxims of Hala were published in India no later than in the 3rd century of our era. This collection of Aryan poetic utterances represented interesting and valuable descriptions of cultural ideas of love that educated and entertained people during those times. They are written in Prakrit, which is a language that is closely related to Sanskrit.

The structure of the words suggests that they were meant to be sung. The Bayaderes, the Indian female dancers, who were often clothed in loose Eastern costumes, presumably sang some of those maxims. Others were sung by dancing girls from Buddhist temples. Their singing appealed to emancipate women from the domestic and educational constraints placed on them. They also sought to fascinate men with their wit, love, and aesthetic accomplishments.

The majority of the maxims are feminine utterances, and often of dubious moral character. Some of these early Aryan love revelations might have an unpleasant aftertaste.

Nevertheless, they are still extremely interesting and demonstrate how “romantic love” is dependent on a woman’s freedom as well as on corresponding intellectual and aesthetic culture.

What the Hindoo Love Maxims Tell Us About The maxims of Halâ indicate that the beautiful overtones of love, joyful adoration, and poetic hyperbole depicted in its romantic expressions were present in Aryan culture of the far past. That was a unique cultural phenomenon that love scholars have not yet come across elsewhere. What can be more contemporary than these quotes?

“Although all my possessions were burnt in the village fire, yet is my heart delighted, since he took the buckets from me when they were passed from hand to hand.”

Or this one:

“O thou who art skilled in cookery, restrain thy anger! The reason why the fire refuses to burn, and only smokes, is that it may the longer drink in the breath of your mouth, fragrant as the red potato-blossoms.”

The following two examples illustrate how Aryans appreciated personal beauty:

“He sees nothing but her face, and she too is quite intoxicated by his looks. Both, satisfied with each other, act as if in the whole world there were no other women or men.”

“Other beauties likewise have in their faces beautiful, wide black eyes, with long lashes,—but no one else understands as she does how to use them.”

The following quotes illustrate how love established its monopoly in the Aryan heart and mind, leaving no room for any other thoughts:

“She stares without a (visible) object, draws a deep sigh, laughs into empty space, mutters unintelligible words—forsooth, there must be something on her heart.”

“Love departs when lovers are separated; it departs when they see too much of each other; it departs in consequence of malicious gossip; aye, it departs also without these causes.”

It appears that Aryans clearly comprehended the nature of coyness, as the lover was admonished in this way:

“My son, such is the nature of love, suddenly to get angry, to make up again in a moment, to dissemble its language, to tease immoderately.”

The loving poet believes it necessary to tell a sweetheart that:

“By forgiving him at first sight, you foolish girl, you deprived yourself of many pleasures,—of his prostration at your feet [a trace of Gallantry], of a kiss passionately stolen.”

A voice was also given to the anguish that comes from being apart:

“As is sickness without a physician; as living with relatives when one is poor,—as the sight of an enemy’s prosperity,—so is it difficult to endure separation from you.”

Thus, one can see that many of the defining characteristics of contemporary romantic ardor can be found in ancient Aryan love.

(H. Finck, 1887/2019, p. 75).

It seems that those were the times when romantic love was real.