Thursday, June 23, 2011

Petra, Jordan - Is it an ancient Shiva Temple complex?

Note: This article has also been published in the Viewzone magazine and the Graham Hancock website.

Petra, the ‘rose red city, half as old as time’, located in modern day Jordan, is undoubtedly one of the most dramatic archaeological sites of the world. In a recently conducted Internet poll, it was voted by internet users as one of the ‘seven wonders of the modern world’. In this abandoned city, which lies hidden behind impenetrable mountains and gorges, magnificent rock-cut temples and palaces have been carved into towering cliffs of red and orange sandstone. The most famous of these structures is the ‘Al Khasneh’ (or the ‘Treasury’), which was made famous in an Indiana Jones film.

Historians tell us that sometime during the 6th – 4th centuries BC, the Nabataeans, a nomadic tribe from north-western Arabia, entered the region of Petra, and established their cultural, commercial and ceremonial center at Petra. Petra was located strategically at the intersection of the overland Silk Route which connected India and China with Egypt and the Hellenistic world, and the Incense Route from Arabia to Damascus. It soon developed into a thriving commercial center. Sometime during the 3rd century BC, the Nabataeans began to decorate their capital city with splendid rock-cut temples and buildings. Their economic prosperity and architectural achievements continued unabated even after they came under the control of the Roman Empire in 106 CE. The neglect and decline of Petra started soon after Emperor Constantine declared Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire in 324 CE. A series of earthquakes crippled the region in the 7th – 8th centuries and Petra disappeared from the map of the known world, only to be rediscovered centuries later in 1812, by a Swiss explorer named Johann Burckhardt.


Fig 1: Al-Khazneh (The Treasury) at Petra. Source: Wikipedia / Bernard Gagnon
While the architectural grandeur of Petra continues to captivate us, the mysterious religious beliefs of the Nabataeans have puzzled historians. Within the temple of Al Deir, the largest and most imposing rock-cut temple in Petra, is present an unworked, black, block of stone, like an obelisk, representing the most important deity of the Nabataeans - Dushara. The term Dushara means ‘Lord of the Shara’, which refers to the Shara mountains to the north of Petra. 

The symbolic animal of Dushara was a bull.  All over Petra, Dushara was represented symbolically by stone blocks. In addition, at religious sites throughout the city, the Nabataeans carved a standing stone block called a baetyl, literally meaning ‘house of god’. A baetyl physically marked a deity's presence. It could be a square or rounded like a dome. Some baetyls’ were depicted with a lunar crescent on the top. 

The Nabataeans also appear to be snake worshippers. One of the most prominent structures in Petra is the snake monument, which shows a gigantic coiled-up snake on a block of stone.

Fig 2: Dome-shaped Baetyl. Source: Nabataea.net
Fig 3: Baetyl with lunar crescent on top. Source: Nabataea.net
Fig 4: Petra snake monument. Source: Nabataea.net
This unusual array of symbolic elements associated with the chief god of the Nabataeans, Dushara, may have confounded historians, but to anyone familiar with the symbolism of the Vedic deity Shiva, the similarities between Dushara and Shiva will be palpable. 

Shiva is still worshipped all over India in the form of a black block of stone known as a Shiva Linga. A Shiva Linga, which is essentially a ‘mark’ or ‘symbol’ of Shiva, sometimes appears as an unworked block of stone, much like the idol of Dushara in the temple of Al Deir; but typically it is represented by a smooth, rounded stone which resembles some of the rounded ,dome-shaped, baetyls that we find in Petra. 

Shiva is also associated with the mountains; his residence is supposed to be in the Kailash Mountain in the Himalayas, to the north of India, where he spends most of his time engaged in rigorous asceticism. His symbolic animal is a bull, named Nandi, which is commonly depicted kneeling in front of the Shiva Linga. Pictorial depictions of Shiva always show a crescent-shaped moon in his matted locks, much like the lunar crescent that appears on top of certain baetyls in Petra; and on top of the Shiva Linga is present a coiled-up serpent, bearing a strong resemblance to the serpent monument of Petra. 

It is evident that Shiva and Dushara are symbolically identical, leaving little scope for doubt that Dushara must indeed be a representation of the Hindu deity Shiva. 

Fig 5: Black stone Shiva Linga in the coils of a seven hooded serpent. Lepakshi, Andhra Pradesh, India, 16th century. Credit: Bibhu Dev Misra
Fig 6: The 65 feet high statue of Shiva in Bangalore, India, with snakes coiled around his neck and the crescent shaped Moon on his matted locks. Source: Wikipedia / Kalyan Kumar
 
Fig 7: Giant Monolithic statue of Nandi, the bull, facing the shrine, at the Halebidu Temple, Karnataka, c. 12th century AD. Credit: Bibhu Dev Misra
The similarities, however, do not end here. The consort of Dushara was known to the Nabataeans as Al-Uzza or Al-lat. She was a goddess of power and a goddess of the people, and was symbolized by a lion. Lions are present at many sites in Petra. At the Lion Triclinium in Petra there are two massive lions protecting the doorway. Lions are also seen at the Lion Monument in Petra, a public fountain, where refreshing water for the perspiring pilgrims would have sprouted from the water outlet at the mouth of the lion. 

At the Temple of the Winged Lions, a considerable amount of material has been found, including feline statuette fragments, which emphasize the ‘feline’ association of the mother goddess. The supreme mother goddess was also symbolically associated with vegetation, grains and prosperity, and was frequently depicted holding cereal stalks and fruits.

Not surprisingly, the lion is also associated with the consort of Shiva, known as Parvati, Durga or Shakti. As per the Puranic legends, when the entire humanity was threatened by the evil Mahisasura, the goddess Durga, invested with the combined spiritual energies of the Hindu Trinity – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva – and adorned with celestial weapons granted by the divine company of gods, rode her lion to battle this asura. The terrible battle raged over nine days, and on the tenth day Durga defeated and killed Mahisasura. Even now, the victory of Durga over the forces of darkness represented by Mahisasura, is one of the most widely celebrated religious festivals in India, known as Dussehra (or Dasha-Hara, Navratri, Vijaydashami) which is celebrated over a period of ten days.

Fig 8: The idol of Al-Uzza, found in the Temple of the Winged Lions. Source: Nabatea.net

Fig 9: One of the two reliefs of lion of the Lion Triclinium in Petra, Jordan. Source: Nabataea.net
Fig 10: Durga on a Lion, slaying Mahisarura who has taken the form of a bull. Aihole temple complex, Karnataka, c. 6th century AD. Credit: Bibhu Dev Misra
There are indications that the Nabataeans, too, may have celebrated this ancient festival. At Petra, an elaborate processional way leads from the center of the city to the temple of Al Deir. In front of the temple there is a massive, flat, courtyard, carved out of the rock, capable of accommodating thousands of people. This has led historians to suggest that the Al Deir temple may have been the site of large-scale ceremonies. 

It is possible that this was a celebration of Dussehra, since Al-Uzza / Al-Lat was the ‘goddess of the people’ and Dussehra is the celebration of the victory of the goddess over the forces of evil. It is not unlikely that the presiding god of the Nabataeans, Dushara, may have obtained his name from the festival Dussehra. The cult of Shiva-Shakti represented the sacred masculine and feminine principles, and the worship of Shiva has always been inextricably linked with the celebrations of Durga. Even now in rural Bengal in India, the final day of celebration of Dussehra (Basanti Puja) is followed by an exuberant worship of Shiva. For these people, it remains the most important festival of their annual religious calendar.

Interestingly, the Nabataeans worshipped the triad of goddesses - Al-Uzza, Al-lat and Manat – often depicted in Petra in the form of three baetyls, carved next to each other. Al-Uzza (the ‘Strong One’) was the goddess of the morning and evening star. Isaac of Antioch (5th century CE) referred to her as Kaukabta, ‘the Star’. She was the virgin-warrior and the youngest in the goddess triad, fiercely protective, and a strong ally in an approaching battle. She was sometimes depicted riding a ‘dolphin’ and showing the way to sea-farers. She has been identified as the counterpart of the Indo-European goddess of dawn, Ostara, and the Vedic ‘Usas’. In the Rig Veda, there are around 20 hymns dedicated to the Usas, the goddess of dawn, who appears in the east every morning, resplendent in her golden light, riding a chariot drawn by glorious horses, dispelling the darkness, awakening men to action, and bestowing her bounty and riches on all and sundry. The phonetic and symbolic associations between ‘Uzza’ and ‘Usa’ indicate that they may be derived from the same source. 


Al-lat was widely regarded as ‘the Mother of the Gods’, or ‘Greatest of All’. She was the goddess of fertility and prosperity and was known from Arabia to Iran. She was symbolically associated with vegetation, grains and prosperity, and was frequently depicted holding cereal stalks and a small lump of frankincense in her hands. In this respect, Al-lat is symbolically associated with the Hindu goddess ‘Lakshmi’, who is also considered as the goddess of prosperity and fertility, and is depicted holding cereal stalks and a container of grains. The third goddess of the Nabataean triad, Manat, is the oldest goddess of the Nabataeans, and also the most feared. She was the terrible, black goddess of death, destruction and doom, and was worshipped as a black stone at Quidaid, near Mecca. Nabataean inscriptions tell us that tombs were placed under her protection, asking her to curse violators. The symbolism of Manat bears stark resemblances to the Hindu goddess of death and destruction – Kali – who is also worshipped in the form of a black goddess.


We can, therefore, see that the Nabataean triad of goddesses – Al-Uzza, Al-Lat and Manat – corresponds to the Vedic/Hindu goddess triad– Usa, Lakshmi and Kali. And here is the most interesting part: Even now, this goddess triad is worshipped in many parts of India, with the sole exception that Usa is often replaced by Saraswati, the goddess of learning and wisdom.


One of the most famous temples in India, which attracts millions of devotees throughout the year, is the Vaishno Devi temple in Jammu. This temple is dedicated to the goddess Vaishno Devi, who is an aspect of the goddess Durga. The primary shrine at Vaishno Devi, however, contains three pieces of stones representing the three goddesses – Saraswati, Lakshmi and Kali. It is believed that these three goddesses represent three different aspects of the all-encompassing mother goddess Durga, the consort of Shiva. The symbolic similarities with the Nabataean goddess triad are plainly evident.

Certain rituals associated with Shiva-Durga worship can also be found reflected in the religious practices of the Nabataeans. The Nabataeans ritually made animal sacrifices to Dushara and Al-Uzza, at the ‘High Place of Sacrifice’ in Petra. The Suda Lexicon, which was compiled at the end of the 10th century, refers to older sources which have since been lost. It states: 
 Theus Ares (Dushrara); this is the god Ares in Arabic Petra. They worship the god Ares and venerate him above all. His statue is an unworked square black stone. It is four foot high and two feet wide. It rests on a golden base. They make sacrifices to him and before him they anoint the blood of the sacrifice that is their anointment.
The practice of anointing the Shiva Linga with red vermilion powder (Kumkum) continues to this date in India. It has also been noticed that most of the Djin blocks (large standing stone blocks) at Petra are located close to sources of running water, a fact which has left historians in a dilemma. However, such a peculiar alignment of Djin blocks can be explained once we remember that one of the most common practices of Shiva worship is to pour a kettle of water (or milk, curd, ghee, honey etc.) over the Shiva-Linga. This act is symbolic of the sacred river Ganges, which, after emanating from the toe of Vishnu, flows down the matted locks of Shiva. This is the reason why nearly every Shiva temple is also associated with a natural well or spring or a source of running water.

Fig 11: Petra - High Place of Sacrifice. Source: atlastours.net
Fig 12: Shiva Linga carved on the bedrock, at Hampi, Karnataka. Credit: Bibhu Dev Misra
The worship of Shiva-Durga, the sacred masculine and feminine principles, is as old as time itself. The presence of sacred pillars and dolmens, the ancient snake cults, the symbolism of the trisula / trident, the crescent moon etc. found at various archaeological sites across the world suggests that the worship of Shiva-Shakti was one of the most deeply entrenched belief systems of the ancient wisdom traditions. Among the ancient Semites, a pillar of stone was a sacred representation of a deity. In many texts, the ancient Hebrews are recorded setting up stones as monuments. Jacob set up a pillar and anointed it, in a manner starkly reminiscent of the Shiva worship rituals, while Joshua set up a sacred stone monument under a oak tree, just as a Shiva Linga is generally set up under a banyan tree:

"And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had set up for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. (Genesis 28; 18-19).
 
"And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he talked with him, even a pillar of stone: and he poured a drink offering thereon, and he poured oil thereon (Genesis 35; 14).
  
And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law  of God, and took a great stone,   and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the LORD" (Joshua 24;26). 

Pillars and Dolmens (stones arranged one on top of another) also constituted an essential part of Druidical worship, among the Celts of ancient Britain and France. In the Irish Druids and Old Irish Religions (1894), James Bonwick mentions that the Irish venerated their lithic temples. They not only anointed them with oil or milk, but, down to a late period, they poured water on their sacred surface so that the draught might cure their diseases. Molly Grime, a rude stone figure, kept in Glentham church, was annually washed with water from Newell well. 

Fig 13: Cylindrical, Linga-shaped stone in the center of the stone altar. Feaghna, Ireland, at least 2000 years old. Source: http://www.megalithic.co.uk
The geographical distribution of stone monuments extends from the extreme west of Europe to the extreme east of Asia, and from Scandinavia to Central Africa. In spite of centuries of destruction, stone monuments of every type abound in the British and Irish Islands, and some of the most remarkable structures in Europe are found there. In France some 4000 dolmens are present. In Northern and Central Europe they occur in Belgium, Holland and in the northern plains of Germany. They have been found in large numbers in Denmark and the Danish Islands, and also in Sweden. ‘Meteoric stones mounted on carved pedestals’ have been found in the farthest reaches of the Roman Empire, and one such piece is, at present, on view at the Etruscan Museum in Vatican, Rome. 

Although this ancient faith was practiced in large parts of the world since time immemorial, there appears to have been a renewed westward thrust soon after the conquests of Alexander, which invigorated the ancient land and maritime trade routes, popularly known as the Silk Route, which connected India and China with the western world. 


Fig 14: The Silk Route. Source: http://www.cais-soas.com.

In 329 BC, Alexander established the city of Alexandria in Egypt, which became a major staging point in the Silk Route. In 323 BC, Alexander’s successors, the Ptolemaic dynasty, took control of Egypt. They actively promoted trade with Mesopotamia, India, and East Africa through their Red Sea ports and over land. This was assisted by a number of intermediaries, especially the Nabataeans and other Arabs.  Soon after the Roman conquest of Egypt in 30 BC, regular communications and trade between India, Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka, China, the Middle East, Africa and Europe blossomed on an unprecedented scale.

The Silk Route transformed into a highway for the cultural, commercial, technological, philosophical and religious exchanges between far flung kingdoms. Buddhism spread from the northern part of India into the farthest reaches of China.  The Eastern Han emperor Mingdi is supposed to have sent a representative to India to discover more about this strange faith, and further missions returned bearing scriptures, and bringing with them Indian priests. 

Together with coveted merchandise, rock-cutting skills travelled eastwards along the Silk Road from India to China. Hundreds of rock-cut caves with statues of Buddha were built between 450 and 525 CE. Among the most famous ones are the Longmen Grottoes in China’s Henan province, a UNESCO World Heritage Site today. The Longmen grotto complex contains 2345 caves and niches, 2800 inscriptions, 43 pagodas and over 100,000 Buddhist images collected over various Chinese dynasties. The Yungang Grottoes near Datong in the province of Shanxi consists of 252 grottoes and more than 51,000 Buddha statues and statuettes, mainly constructed in the period between 460-525 CE. 
Fig 15: Yungang Grottoes, China. Source: Wikipedia /
Felix Andrews
Fig 16: Longmen Grottoes, China. Source: Wikipedia
There was also a westward flow of Eastern wisdom along the Silk Route. During the time around 320 BC, soon after the conquests of Alexander, the Mauryan Empire of India had extended its western borders to include nearly the whole of Afghanistan, and large portions of south-eastern Iran. Chandragupta Maurya had entered into a settlement and matrimonial alliance with the Greeks in 305 BC. Seleucus dispatched an ambassador, Megasthenes, to Chandragupta, and later Deimakos to his son Bindusara, at the Mauryan court at Pataliputra (modern Patna). The effect that this cultural exchange between two ancient nations had on the flowering of Greek philosophy and sciences during this period has been grossly underestimated by modern historians. In the Preface to the Vishnu Purana (translated 1940), the translator Horace Hayman Wilson, who was the Professor of Sanskrit at the Oxford University, writes:

“We know that there was an active communication between India and the Red sea in the early ages of the Christian era, and that doctrines, as well as articles of merchandise, were brought to Alexandria from the former. Epiphanius and Eusebius accuse Scythianus of having imported from India, in the second century, books on magic, and heretical notions leading to Manichæism; and it was at the same period that Ammonius instituted the sect of the new Platonists at Alexandria. The basis of his heresy was that true philosophy derived its origin from the eastern nations: his doctrine of the identity of God and the universe is that of the Vedas and Puráńas; and the practices he enjoined, as well as their object, were precisely those described in several of the Puráńas under the name of Yoga. His disciples were taught "to extenuate by mortification and contemplation the bodily restraints upon the immortal spirit, so that in this life they might enjoy communion with the Supreme Being, and ascend after death to the universal Parent." That these are Hindu tenets the following pages will testify; and by the admission of their Alexandrian teacher, they originated in India.”

It is, therefore, quite possible that the ancient faith of Shiva-Shakti may also have migrated westwards along these ancient trade routes during this time, and it was adopted by the Nabataeans. While it is possible that the Nabataeans may have worshipped Dushara prior to the construction of the monuments at Petra, there is very little evidence to support that. And even if they did worship Dushara prior to Petra, the stark similarities between the symbolic elements, rites and rituals of their faith with elements of Shiva-Shakti worship indicates that there must have been a cultural diffusion along the Silk Route which profoundly impacted and reinvigorated their religious beliefs. 

The other intriguing question is, how did the Nabataeans suddenly acquire and master the technological and architectural sophistication necessary to execute the rock-cut monuments of Petra? Achieving such a level of finesse and perfection in rock-cut architecture takes generations. In the few centuries before Petra was established the Nabataeans had not constructed a single house in the desert, let alone grand temples. Is it possible that, like the ancient cult of Shiva-Shakti, the technology for building these rock-cut monuments was also transferred along the Silk Route?

It may be no coincidence that around the same time that the rock-cut monuments of Petra were being executed, sometime during the 3rd – 2nd century BC, an incredible array of 31 rock-cut cave temples were being carved into the sheer vertical side of a gorge, near a waterfall-fed pool, located in the hills of the Sahyadri mountains in western India, at a place called Ajanta, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Ajanta is located 100 kilometers from the medieval town of Aurangabad (‘City of Gates’), which is situated right on the ancient Silk Route, and was a flourishing commercial center since time immemorial. In the ancient times, however, Ajanta itself used to be on the Silk Route. Buddhist missionaries used to accompany traders on busy international trade routes through India and the merchants, in turn, funded or even commissioned elaborate cave temple complexes that also offered lodging for traveling traders. Some of the more sumptuous temples included pillars, arches, and elaborate facades. Like Petra, the Ajanta caves had fallen out of use, and remained lost for centuries until 1819, when they were re-discovered by a British officer who was hunting a tiger in the region.

Fig 17: Cave 9, Ajanta, India. Source: Wikipedia / Marcin Bialek
While in Petra only the exterior façade was decorated with sculptures, the cave temples at Ajanta are elaborately decorated, both outside and inside, with sculptures, paintings and murals, which are considered to be masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, and represent the most sophisticated rock-cut architecture of this period anywhere in the world. They mostly depict the Jataka tales that are stories of the Buddha's life in former existences as Bodhisattva. Many mythic elements from Hinduism are also depicted. Moreover, the interiors were designed to be functional, providing housing, worship halls, and even dining halls for the monks who lived there.

It is extremely improbable that two ancient cities located on the Silk Route, and worshipping deities that are culturally related, would happen to build some of the finest rock-cut temples of the world at around the same time, without having any cultural contact between them. Petra and Ajanta must be connected; and since the rock-cut architecture of India represents the highest achievements of engineering and aesthetics of that period, it can be supposed that the Silk Route acted as a conduit for the westward transfer of the Shiva-Shakti cult and rock-cut architectural skills, across the Arabian Peninsula, during the 3rd – 2nd centuries BC. However, since Petra stood at the crossroads of the trade route between the east and the west, there has been an amalgamation of various influences in its architecture. The Greco-Roman influence is apparent in the facades of many structures, which strengthened even further after the Roman occupation of Petra. Egyptian influences are also evident due to the presence of obelisks and funerary tombs throughout the city.

Many other rock-cut architectural sites were established along the Silk Route during this period. For instance, the monolithic Buddha statues and rock-cut monasteries of Bamiyan in Afghanistan were constructed  between the 2nd - 7th centuries CE, while at Taq-e-Bostan in the Kermanshah Province of Iran a set of beautiful rock-cut caves and reliefs were built between the 3rd - 7th centuries CE. Both places are located right next to the ancient Silk Route. 

The Nabateans built a few other cities in the desert, one of which is the archaeological site of ‘Shivta’ built in the 1st century BC on the 'Perfume Road' between Petra to Gaza. Like Petra, Shivta too was abandoned by the 8th – 9th century CE, after the ascendancy of Islam. A few kilometers from Shivta is located the ancient, biblical city of ‘Tel Sheva’, an archaeological site in southern Israel, which derives its name from a nearby ‘well’ or ‘water source’. The phonetic and symbolic similarities between these cities and ‘Shiva’ are obvious. In fact, the worship of Shiva-Shakti was widespread across the entire Middle East and West Asia, and penetrated deep into the farthest corners of Europe in the centuries before Christ. The biblical kingdom of ‘Sheba’ (Hebrew: Sh’va) believed to be in present day Yemen, as well as the archaeological site of ‘Shibham’ (Sanskrit: Shivam) located in Yemen, hint at the fact that entire kingdoms and cities were named after this deity. 

It is unfortunate that these symbolisms and associations have been either overlooked or ignored by historians till now. What is even more regrettable is the fact that the Shiva Linga, and, in fact, any Pillar or Dolmen cult, has been uniformly interpreted as a form of phallic worship, when the information from the ancient sources clearly specify that the ‘pillar’ represents the ‘Cosmic Mountain’, the symbolic axis-mundi of the cosmos, around which the heavens revolve. It is a powerful cosmic symbol, fusing the divine masculine and feminine principles, whose meaning was universally understood by the ancient cultures, but whose real import has been lost to us now. Unless we begin to acknowledge the widespread presence of the Shiva-Shakti cult in large parts of the ancient world, and make a sincere attempt to understand the vast array of symbolisms associated with this ancient faith, we will continue to concoct a version of history that is illusory, fragmentary, and ultimately meaningless.

51 comments:

  1. Love your work here, mate. Ancient civilizations (particularly the Vedic civilization) have much more to offer than we give them credit for! The truth is out there. Keep it up!

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  2. Thanks Yogen. The search for the truth continues...

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  3. outstanding work sir .. i have been doing some research on similar lines off late and have found your blog extremely enlightening.

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  4. Thanks Shuvodeep...I'm glad that my articles have been of help.

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  5. This is an excellent article. Very well argued. BTW, did you grow up in Ironside Rd Kolkata? Sanjeev Sanyal

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  6. Thanks Sanjeev. Yes, you are right about the Ironside Rd bit.

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  7. Wonderful....Post more .

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  8. Excellent work. May I add a few more observations I have made, and you can judge their veracity for yourself?

    1. Sheva is the "Hebrew" JoShua. "Ya's Shiva" perhpas, or one of the dual aspect gods Ya and Sheva. Shiva the Destroyer/JoShua the destroyer of cities.

    2. In the Hebrew/Christian mythology, in the Book of Esther, she is a queen that replaces an old queen, named "Vashti." I would suggest this is Vedic mythology, and is a religious story of Istar replacing Vaishno Devi. In fact, Istar is also called Istar Devi.

    I'd go further: on ancient Stele, called the Kassite Stele, are images of "Houses". These are the "signs" of the astrological charts. On one "house" is the exact image of what Jews label "The Harp of David." Above this house is the image of a "star" which the experts label Venus.

    I'd suggest that your connection of Al-Uzza to Ostara is correct, and that it actually refers also to Istar, also a fierce warrior. In Hittite mythology, she plays a harp to soothe a giant that has been blinded by Gilgamesh (a name that certainly sounds Indian to my ear).

    So, we have a "House" under a "star" with a "harp" in it. I submit to you at Al-Uzza/Ostara/Istar Devi is source of the Hebrew myth of the "Star of David." Venus is the star of David.

    farang

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  9. I can go much further..Istar is "Uthar" in Arthurian myth..and in one ancient Hittite myth, she "changes form" to mate with a human...which is almost exactly what Uthar does to mate with Arthur's mother...and which David does to mate with wife of man he sends off to battle "Uriah." Arthur is the House of Artu, astrological myth, seen on same stele mentioned)

    "David" had a sex change from goddess/queen to god/king. Further, I'd suggest that Al-lat changed likewise into Allah.

    3. The "Mittani brother king" of Amenhotep III labeled "Tushratta" is in fact the Indian Puru king named Dhritashtera. A check on Wikipedia of the 14th century BC Puru dynasty has Dhritastera listed, as well as a Yuyuti. I suggest this is the "Vizier" of Egypt called Yuya. His daughter is Amenhotep III's wife, Tiye.

    Further, I'd suggest(actually, it is historical record in one of the Amarna letters from "Tushratta" to Amenhotep III) that this is the king that sent a statue of Ashtera/Istar to an ailing Amenhotep III, twice, as if the statue was a real goddess/queen. Istar was also the goddess of fertility...recall, in the Hebrew mythology, "Solomon" impregnates "Sheba." In other words "cured" of his impotence.

    farang

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  10. How does Istar become "Sheba?"

    Who was Istar/Ashtera's brother/husband in the Mittani mythology?

    TaeSheba, the Storm God king. Making her the queen of TaeSheba. Shiva's wife. Making Amenhotep III the Great Solomon king...but certainly not the only one. Ramses II was the biblical one. Samsu-Iluna was an early "Kassite" Solomon king. Samsu=Shamsu=Shaman Shamash the Sun God and Ilunu, the Moon...Sol O Moon. Sun and moon. Next to "David's House" on stele is the "House with a sun and moon over it, with a camel inside...get it? Solomon "followed" David...and in the Old testament, is a tale of one "Zalmunneh and Zeba" riding a camel covered with silver stars and moon..and being murdered. Solomon and Sheba. Astrological myth.

    4. If you like, I will send an photo image found on Wikipedia of a statue of Amenhotep III that is residing in the Lepzieg museum: he wears the Buddha temple crown. At "touregypt.com" one can find a king's list of all the dynasties...and on it is a name that Amenhotep III was also called: Nebmatra. Neb means Lord. He is Lord Matra. I'd suggest this is the source of the Buddha known as "Maitraya." I'd suggest that his son, Amenhotep IV/Akhenaton, was a Charkra A(r)tin king. An image his grandfather, Thutmose IV, not of the existing royal line, started in Egypt, and his father cruised the Nile in a ship called "The Shining Aten." I'd suggest Artin is the source of "Aten."

    Further, if one looks at the 1400 BC (18th dynasty) "Golden Horus" throne name, thay call themselves "Khepru", which experts associate with the image of the scarab beetle. I believe this is an error: I think it means the "Ka of HePeru", or "spirit of Puru" and refers to their Puru roots...and morphed into Hebrew. Puru culture were Brahma worhipers from the sarasvati river basin area, that migrated west during a drought. I'd say for certain this is "A Brama" or Abram/Abraham as the Jews now label it. Along with his "wife" Sarah..and I see in this article you know this already.

    Further, I'd suggest that the pharaoh found on this list named "Sawadjkare" is almost identical to the greeting one hears in Thailand/Laos/Burma of "Sawadee ka"...and that Sawadjkare meant "Blessed is the Ka of Re/Ra/Rama."

    "Ka" in Thailand and ancient Egypt mean the exact same thing...and "Ba", the human-headed bird spirit that flies off after death seeking a new host...is the Thai "Ba" meaning "crazy/possessed."

    Most of the Thai name places are morphed from ancient Pali names.

    One easily finds correlation between the Buddha and the Egyptian Ptah. I find images of a "sleeping Ptah" easily. At Saqqara, in the Hall of Sokar (Pr: Showkar/Choiek according to touregypt.com), one finds an image of Thutmose III making an offering to a seated Ptah. with Amun and Sokar standing behind him.

    Let's say it together: ChoiekAmun Ptah. Or, is it ShakAmuni Buddha?

    farang

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  11. I strongly believe India to be the source of the first dynasties of Egyupt, and the pyramid builders, and that "Hathor" is in fact the Vedic Mother Cow.

    Hebrews are Egyptians are Indians. And the recent DNA proof that the trail of ancient "Modern man" took a route from southeastern Africa through India, then back around the top of Africa from India and it's cattle culture people, proves the real roots of ancient Egypt. That is why they are depicted as White/Brown/Black/Red/yellow: it was a meeting place of the ancient peoples during/after the Ice Age. A refuge.

    With the predominant culture being the one from India.

    That's my take....feel free to try to dissect my assertions.

    Oh yeah..."Petra" the city of stone...rock...is the Christain Peter, the "Rock" of the Gadolic/Catholic church..."CohenGadols" being Amun Temple priests of Egypt. One of their robes was found in Tut's tomb...which held the treasures of his grandfather, Amenhotep III/Solomon.

    farang

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    1. @ Farang. Thanks for your inputs. Boy, you have inundated me with data. I agree with some of them, and I disagree with some. Here are the points on which I have a different opinion:

      1. The Puru dynasty timelines mentioned in wikipedia is absolutely and blatantly incorrect. This kind of gross distortion of facts is a result of the colonial legacy, based on the ridiculous assumptions that the world started in 4000 BC and the Mahabharata war was fought at around 1200 BC. Both are false assumptions. Mahabharata war took place before 3000 BC at the latest, and the Puru dynasty was much older than that. Current research bears out both the facts. Therefore, although the Mitanni kings were defintely Vedic, Tushratta had nothing to do with Dhritarashtra.

      2. Regarding your Buddha hypothesis - While Amenhotep III deserves to be called a chakravatin, the term chakravartin is of sanskrit origin. chakra=wheel, vartin=one who turns - one who turns the wheel of dharma. So this does not necessarily connect him to Buddha who appeared nearly a 1000 years later at around 500 BC. The term Maitreya is again of sanskrit origin, and was pretty common in India. So, the connection between Buddha and Amenhotep III is pretty far-fetched. By the same logic 'Vartin' cannot be 'Aten'. Now Aten may or may not be the sun disk , but there is no apparent connection to Buddha or chakravartin.

      4. The husband of Ishar, TaeSheba may not be Shiva himself but a "son of Shiva". Most gods are regarded as sons of Shiva. The Vedic goddess of dawn Usa is accompanied by six other deities (the seven Adityas), and one of them must be the husband of Usa.

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    2. Bibhu: Maitreya is what Amenhotep III was called in Amarna letters by his "brother kings" as well as "Nimuria."

      So, you just linked Amenhotep III with Sanskrit, yes?

      That was my point, not "which Buddha" he might have been.

      Amenhotep III sent gold to all his brother kings. Gold was his fame. Sailed the Nile in the "Gleaming (gold-plated) Aten" barq.

      I hold he is a candidate for the source of the "Golden Buddha" myth.

      For any reading these comments, I want all to know Bibhu is a very kind man, and patiently explains to me why I am incorrect. It is a pleasure reading his works, and his comments. Friends do disagree.

      farang

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    3. He might have been called Maitreya (if Nebmatra means Maitreya by the way) by his Mitanni neighbours. We know that the Mitanni were Vedic people, with a Sanskrit vocabulary.
      The root of the word Maitreya is "Mitra" which means friend. Interestingly, "Mitra" is also one of the Vedic deities,and we also know he was worshipped by the Hittites and the Mitanni since his name is mentioned in a treaty signed by them. Therefore, Nebmatra i.e. Lord Matra may be a reference to the Vedic deity Mitra. In my opinion this is a more likely possibility than the connection with Buddha.

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  12. @Farang and Mr. Misra :)
    thanks a lot for all your data , i feel very proud of being born an Indian. My own culture and History tells us that we have been living in Orissa,India since 3000 BC and we are the ones who spread religion and culture in countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia etc

    Again thanks a lot for all your data

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    1. Hello Amrit,
      I am happy to know that you enjoyed the article, as well as the interesting comments left by the visitors. You are most welcome.

      Delete
  13. History Channel recently acknowledged that the ancient underwater remains of Dwaraka are more than 12,000 years old. So that pushes the Mahabharata age to 1000 BC.

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    1. I do not think we can consider the History Channel to be a valid source of archeological information. They seem to be more concerned with ancient aliens than anything else.
      There is currently a lot of controversy regarding the dating of the underwater ruins near Dwaraka in the Gulf of Cambay. The 7500 BCE dating of the site was calculated on the basis of a piece of wood obtained at the site, which was obtained through dredging.
      Archaeologists have said that this piece of wood cannot be tied to the site, and may not be an artifact produced by the city. Dr. D.P. Agrawal, chairman of the Paleoclimate Group of India, has argued that the wood piece is a common find, given that 20,000 years ago the Arabian Sea was 100 meters lower than its current level, and that the gradual sea level rise submerged entire forests.
      Hence, the jury is still out on the dating of the site. How did this city end up nearly 30-40 meters under the water of the Arabian Sea? If the submergence was due to gradual sea-level rise then it means that the city might be extremely old, and a date of c.7500 BCE would be appropriate. However, experts have pointed out that the Gulf of Cambay is a very tectonically active region, with many fault lines, and the city may have submerged under the sea due to earthquake activity. It may, therefore, be another Harappan era settlement from c.3000 BCE. This would imply that Sri Krishna's Dwaraka still remains undiscovered, hidden somewhere under the muddy waters of the Arabian Sea.

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    2. "I do not think we can consider the History Channel to be a valid source of archeological information."

      That one can be assured of.

      farang

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  14. bibhuti g maine aapke articles ko padha aur mujhe bahut acha laga, agar aapne P.N. Oak ko padha hain to aapko isme aur bhi madad milegi, yedi nahi padha hain to jarur padhey

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    1. Thanks Mamta. I have not read P.N. Oak's books, but I am aware of some of his theories from the works of other writers who have cited him. I will try to get hold of one of his books in future.

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  15. Nice to read the article followed by various comments. Good to see that something is happening & finding believers like me who are proud of our indian history & culture.

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  16. Figure 7: The eyebrow/nose.....I have seen that before: that is an exact image of the "plumb/level" tool found in the shaft of Khufu's pyramid.

    I am sure of it. Whoever built Petra, left a clue. They also were the pyramid builders or their descendents.

    http://www.sunilshinde.com/2007/08/dixons-relics.html

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    1. Yes, it does look very similar. The plumb / level tool has some "nuts and bolts", which is obviously not present on the nose. I am not so sure of the implications though...if the similarity was intended or accidental...besides, the two objects have different purposes.

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    2. Perhaps...but in Robert Schoch's new book "Forgotten Civilization", Plate 19, rear view, one sees exact same image.

      I am afraid I strongly disagree it is 'accidental", in fact, it looks to be like the carver intentionally "hid" the tool in a face.

      Oddly enough: Schoch is going to Petra in 2014. If you know him, ask him his opinion.

      farang

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    3. It looks like very similar tools were being used in Mesoamerica when Columbus had arrived there. Check this link, fig.56

      http://www.scienceviews.com/squier/aboriginalmonumentsA-13.html

      Also, check this link, the 8th picture from the top.

      http://cookjmex.blogspot.in/2012/05/nw-yucatan-part-9-meridas-museum-of.html

      Similar tools were also being used by the Eskimo of North America and the Inca of Peru. Check this link, fig.58

      http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_American_Indian/Chapter_7

      I do not know Robert Schoch personally, nor have I read his new book. Maybe you can send him an email and share your thoughts with him. I think he will be receptive to any new idea.

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  17. Superb work, keep up your good work and feed us with the knowledge about Hinduism. Tq

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  18. Sir what do you think of the leaking of nuclear waste fron the nuclear reactors in Japan. Is that somehow related to the start of the transitional period in 2025?
    Btw, just found out your blog, and i have to salute you for doing a very very good job in explaining things clearly and also providing examples/prove/statistics to back it up. Keep up the good work !

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    1. Thanks for the positive comments. Regarding the transitional period beginning 2025, I think there are a host of social and environmental factors which seem to point in that direction - the devastating hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis and flash floods, the increasing numbers of earthquakes and volcanoes, frequent wars and social revolutions, man-made disasters etc. etc. Overall, there seems to be a destabilizing influence on the planet right now, which typically happens towards a yuga ending period. So, I will not pick any one incident in particular, but look at the overall trend and see where its going.
      The Fukushima disaster is obviously very serious, and needs to be contained as early as possible. There will be enough natural upheavals for us to deal with in the transitional period, and we do not want to add to our agony with man-made disasters. In general, I think it is a wake-up call for us. I think it is far better to invest in alternative sources of energy like solar and wind power, than on a risky technology like nuclear power (no matter what the economics are), where a single mishap can cause unimaginable damage.

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  19. It seems that we had our origins in the fertile crescent called Mesopotamia.From there we diverged in all directions.

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    1. I do not believe in a single point of origin. In my opinion advanced civilizations existed simultaneously in many different parts of the world - Egypt, Greece, India, Mesopotamia, China etc. for many thousands of years. These cultures also maintained contacts between them, and groups of enlightened people (e.g. the Seven Sages) moved between them, bringing about a common foundation for their sciences, philosophy and arts. Each culture had its own period of growth, when it shined brighter than the others, followed by periods of stagnation and decay. Groups of people also fanned out from these primary cultural centers to form sister cultures. If you take a broad sweep through history, this is the picture that emerges. The obsession with the fertile crescent area primarily stems from the fact that the colonial era historians wanted to locate the cradle of civilization in the land associated with Moses and Jesus. It has no basis in history. There is more and more evidence emerging that advanced cultures existed in many different parts of the world, going back to the farthest periods of prehistory.

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  20. Most ancient Buddha: Ptah, circa 3000 B.C., at Heliopolis:

    http://www.hknet.org.nz/BhaktiAnandaGoswami-Buddha.html

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    1. Thanks for sharing the link. There is a lot of interesting information in the article about the connections between Mahayana Buddhism and Vaishnavism. However, there is no information at all about the connections between Buddha and Ptah. Both India and Egypt have a multitude of deities, with rich iconography and mythology.We need to get into more details in order to be able to draw a connection.

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  21. Bibhu,

    Good research work. Keep it up.

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    1. Thanks. Glad to know you liked the article.

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  22. Thank you for sharing great article
    I will look out for these sites when i visit Petra in May 2014
    Thank you once again

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    1. Thanks. Hope you have a great trip. Please share your thoughts once you come back from Petra.

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  23. Great work!
    Keep going with more mind blogging fact about universe, mankind , GOD, etc.
    I like to ask, is it really true that the mahabrata war took place between Pandhaves and Kauravas. Is the battle field in Kurushetra exit even today

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    1. There is every reason to believe that a great war did indeed take place at the end of the Dwapara Yuga, sometime around 4000 BC, as mentioned in the Mahabharata. However, we have not yet identified any material evidence associated with this culture. The Dwarka of Sri Krishna has not yet been found, while the modern day city of Kurukshetra may not necessarily be the place where the war was fought, since according to the Puranas Kuruskshetra was located between the Saraswati and Drishadvati rivers.

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  24. Nice info Bibhu. I love it.
    Thank You!

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  25. Thank you so much for writing about all these things and for doing so much research. It is all extremely fascinating!

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  26. Saraswati river is mentioned even today while doing sandhya vandana by the hindus. All other rivers mentioned are still flowing in India, However, Saraswati river is not flowing today. This has an implication to say that Saraswati river stopped flowing long back even before the so called useless theory of Aryan Invasion theory by the britishers/germans to show their superiority. Thus, Hindu civilization must not be less than 8000 to 10000 years.

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    1. Modern scientific studies show that the Saraswati river started drying up around 4000 BC, and subsequently ceased to be a perennial river. The tectonic shifts of around 1900 BC led to the complete drying up of the river. Since the Rig Vedas mention the Saraswati as a great river flowing from the mountains to the sea, it implies that the Vedic Age had ended at around 4000 BC, as pointed out by many scholars. For how long the Vedic civilization existed prior to 4000 BC is subject to conjecture. It could have existed for tens of thousands of years before it ended.

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  27. Hi Bibhu, May be my previous comment is not posted. Thanks for enlighting us with the facts and info. Keep it up.

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    1. Thanks for commenting.Glad to know you liked the article.

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  28. Bibhu, great work. Adding your page in references at wikipedia.

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    1. Thanks. Honoured to have the page added in wikipedia references.

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