Inscriptions on Indus seals give details about animals sacrificed and nature of ceremony. Some ceremonies were performed for obtaining remission of sins and others were for pleasing the souls of dead ancestors (Pithru Karma ceremony).
Seal no. M-278 A. Picture courtesy of Sue Sullivan, Indus Script Dictionary.
Indus script had remained un-deciphered for a long time. There are some valid reasons for that. The Indus valley civilization flourished quite a long time back, approximately 4,000 years back.
The time gap is really big and the modern day man is not able to visualize the context in which these seals were prepared and what is written over those seals.
There are many decipherments of Indus seal inscriptions, some are based on Dravidian language and others are based on Aryan language. But, none of the decipherer is able to prove anything convincingly because there is no reference point.
Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics code was broken using the tri-lingual inscription made on “Rosetta stone.” Whereas no such bilingual record are available in the case of Indus scripts so far. That doesn’t mean this Indus script had to remain un-deciphered. There are some other methods available to overcome this deficiency.
It is likely that Indus seals were “tokens of evidence” prepared to show the god of death that blood sacrifice had been made so that the dead man’s soul can pass through the trial and accepted in heaven, which is similar to the religious ideas of ancient Egypt.
The first symbol identified by me was “fish” symbol (Matsya), which stood for “Ma” sound. Interpretation of this symbol is quite easy and simple.
Whereas identifying the second commonly used symbol was not that much easy task and the second symbol identified was , which stood for phonetic sound of “Ka/Ga.”
Various names of gods have also been inscribed in Indus seals, however “God Indra” was quite popular and his name appears in many seals.
Next in importance is “goddess Hera,” which is quite unknown in India, however this name was quite popular among ancient Greeks, which shows the link between IVC and ancient Greek civilization.
Another major problem in reading the Indus inscriptions is that the direction from which the inscription should be read. While reading the Indus inscription, the reading should start from the side, which the animal is facing, which was the principle used by the Egyptian hieroglyphic writers.
The language of the Indus script had remained as a puzzle for long time and the conclusion now arrived at is that Indus scripts are written in “logo-syllabic” way and all the Indus inscriptions are based on Sanskrit language.
The methodology used in this decipherment effort is quite simple. I used an analysis table consisting of four steps.
Firstly, the figures (objects) shown in the inscriptions on the seal were identified.
Thirdly, the first letter of the object alone is taken out to form the word and the phonetic sound is obtained by using Logogram – syllabic method of reading.
Fourthly, if the word obtained is not giving correct sound and meaning, then the phonetic sound should be tweaked to get a meaningful word.
Copper tablets found in Mohenjo Daro have been analyzed by Prof Asko Parpola from the University of Helsinki and details are as given in his book Deciphering the Indus script (pp. 111-112). These copper tablets have all the qualities of bi-lingual inscription.
In the absence of Rosetta stone in Indus civilization, these copper tablets should be used as a reference point for Indus script decipherment.
Copper tablet. Picture courtesy of Asko Parpola, Deciphering Indus Script.
Now, I would like to present first a simple word deciphered, so that it will be easy to understand. Rat is the “vahana” of God Ganesha, and the below given picture shows the rat in Indus copper tablets.
This inscription on this below given copper tablet should be read from “right to left:”
The final conclusion is that the name of rat in Indus language was “Musika.”