Sunday, 1 October 2017


Sun Temples around the world have similar names - for example: the 'Konark' temple of India and the 'Karnak' Temple of Egypt. In Sanskrit 'Konark' is a combination word, 'kona' (कोण) meaning 'angle', 'karna' (कर्ण) meaning 'diagonal' and 'ark' (अर्क) meaning the 'sun'. Then there is the ancient megalithic  site of Carnac in France. It is not known whether Carnac was a sun temple or not but it is known that the stones of Carnac are aligned to the sun and moon in a special way.

In his article 'Thebes/Karnak, Select Place of Cairns and Carnage', Charles Pope quotes from "A History of Ancient Egypt" by Nicolas Grimal and states "The temple of Karnak dates back to the Third Dynasty if the list in the Hall of the Ancestors is to be believed.......there is certainly evidence for the existence of the Karnak temple in the reign of Inyotef II [11th Dynasty], when it was called 'the abode of Amun'......The entire city of Thebes on both sides of the Nile was essentially one huge temple complex dedicated to the cult of the primeval creator god/sun god Amon-Ra "

Amun is spelt variously as Amon, Ammon, Amen, Ámmōn and ‘Ymn’, which is pronounced as ‘Yamunu’ or ‘Yamun’ leading to the hypotheses that Amun is a corrupted form of the name Yamuna, a river in India on the banks of which Sri Krishna took birth and lived his early life. Other clues that Amun is really a reference to Sri Krishna is that Amun wears two plumes in his hair much like Sri Krishna who wore peacock feathers in his hair. Sri Krishna is an avatara of Vishnu from whose lotus feet emanates the Ganges; in the Egyptian lore  from the feet of Amun emanate all oceans, lakes and rivers. Sri Krishna is blue complexioned. So is Amun.
Regarding the city of Thebes or Karnak Nigel & Helen Strudwick 
write in their 'Thebes in Egypt' , "The ancient Egyptian term for the city and adjacent area was Waset, and is written with a special form of the hieroglyph meaning 'dominion'". Interestingly, 'vasati' (वसति) is Sanskrit for dwelling or habitation. 

No convincing source for the name Karnak has emerged so far. In Hindu scriptures the name Karna is well known. Karna was the son of Sun and hence the association with Karnak being a sun temple site is established. Karna is the Sanskrit term for ear as well as diagonal.

Charles Pope states that Waset is sometimes also spelled as Uast or Was, and as Wasr-sceptre it symbolizes the kingly "dominion". Once again the Sanskrit 'vasa' (वास) dwelling or 'inhabited area'  explains the term.

Suggested Readings:
1. Domain of man
2.Were Hindu Gods worshiped by Ancient Egyptians

Thursday, 24 August 2017


Varna is the third largest city in Bulgaria and the largest city and seaside resort on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. It is situated strategically in the Gulf of Varna, and was historically known as Odessos. Varna Culture is known for the oldest gold jewellery ever found in the world and dates to 4200-4600 BC.

Theophanes the Confessor first mentioned the name Varna in the 6-7th century. The city itself was named after Lake Varna, and the name Varna is of much more antiquity than the city of Varna.

Lake Varna, an elongated lake by shape, is the largest by volume and deepest lake along the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, divided from the sea by a 2 km-wide strip of sand.

Lake Varna, Bulgaria

A number of rivers pour into the lake, including Devnya and Provadiyska that empty near the western shores of Lake Beloslav, which is connected to Lake Varna. Until the 20th century, fresh water from the lake emptied into the Black Sea through the Devnya River. The name Devnya is definitely of Sanskritic origin. There are lakes in India which have this name, for example there is one in Kumaon in Uttarakhand. Even Provadiya is Sanskritic, and can be explained by 'Pravadin' (प्रवादिन्), 'that which makes a sound'.

About the name Varna its been said that it could be of Varangian origin, as Varangians had been crossing the Black Sea for many years, reaching Constantinople in the early Middle Ages. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language states that the name might derive from the Proto-Indo-European root *u̯er- "to flow, wet, water, river". But PIE itself is best expounded upon by Sanskrit which contains  words with the most appropriate meanings - 'Vari' (वरी) is river or stream, 'vArI' (वारी) is water, 'vAri' (वारि) is rain, vArira (वारिर) cloud, variSA (वरिषा) rainy season.

According to Theophanes, in 680 Asparukh, the founder of the First Bulgarian Empire, routed an army of Constantine IV near the Danube delta and, pursuing it, reached the so-called Varna near the city, which was then called Odessos . The latter is often said to be of Carian origin, which was spoken in ancient Anatolia. The Carian language is also of Indo-European origins and hence the name Odessos can be explained by the Sanskrit 'audaKa' (औदका) which means 'town surrounded by water'.

The name Odessa can be explained
by Sanskrit 'Audaka' which means
'town surrounded by water'

Saturday, 5 August 2017


A reconstruction of the ruined Temple of Tenochitilan
has features of vaastu-shastra of South Indian Temples

Mexico, today officially known as the United Mexican States, was home to many advanced Mesoamerican civilizations in the pre-Colombian era before its first contact with Europeans in the early 1500s. In Nahuatl, the native language of the Mexicans, Mēxihcoor Machico - was a term used to refer to the heartland of the Aztec Empire, namely, the Valley of Mexico. Its capital was known as Tenochitilan.

There is much debate on the etymology of the name Mexico and Tenochitilan. It has been suggested that Mexico is derived from Mextli or Mēxihtli, a secret name for the god of war Huitzilopochtli. The name Tenochtitlan was thought to come from Nahuatl 'tetl' (rock) and 'nōchtli' (prickly pear) and is often thought to mean 'among the prickly pears growing among rocks'. However, one attestation in the late 16th-century manuscript known as 'the Bancroft dialogues' questioned the logic here, so that the true etymology of both the words remains uncertain.

Mainstream historians ignore the theory propounded by many other scholars who are of the view that there is a definite connect to the etymology of Mexico with Sanskrit. The basis for this is the many common features and attributes in the culture, the remains of Aztec architecture and languages spoken by pre-Colombian natives of the Aztec empire to that of some of the ancient cultures of Asia.

In his book 'Hindu America' Professor Chamanlal quotes a paragraph from a publication of the Govt of Mexico which says, "Those who first arrived on the continent later to be known as America were groups of men driven by that mighty current that set out from India towards the East "— History of Mexico (Mexican Government Publication).

He also quotes 
Professor Raman Mena, who then was the Curator of the National Museum of Mexico and states, " The (Maya) human types are like those of India. The irreproachable technique of their reliefs , the sumptuous head dress and ostentatious buildings on high, the system of construction, all speak of India....".

In his book 'Primitive Traditional History', James Francis Hewitt stated, "Hindu merchants brought to Mexico the eighteen- months year of the Pandavas and the custom of trade guild and Indian bazaar."— pp . 834-36.

In the Asiatic Society Researches, Volume 11, published in 1808, Major F. Wilford states in his paper 'An Essay on the Sacred Isles in the West', "....various etymologies are given of the name of the city of Mexico, the true pronunciation of which is Machico. The most probable is from the Sanscrit Matsya, or Mach'ha, fish; and, in a derivative form, Matssyacha, and Mach'hica. This word, in the Machico language, is pronounced Mecho, and Mechoa. According to the learned Abbe Clavigero, a native of that country, the name of the town and province of Mechoacan, signifies the place of fish. In Hindi, Mach'hi-c''han'a implies the same, and Mach'hwa-c'hana, a place of fishermen, or Mechoa-can...In the Mexican tongue Teu-Calli signifies the house or cell of god, in Latin Dei-cella, which is to be pronounced Dei-kella....".

Major Wilford links the suffix 'co' in Mexico and -kella in Latin to the Sanskrit 'kula' (house). Examples in Sanskri scripures include names such as 'deva-kula' (देव-कुल) or 'house of god'. The prefix 'Teu' in Teu-Calli according to Wilford is a distortion of Sanskrit 'dev', or god, which we know changes to 'deu' in Latin. The largest Teucalli in Mexico (picture above) was located in Tenochitilan which was the most venerated of them all.

Suggested Readings & Links:

1. Asiatic Researches or Transactions of the Society instituted in Bengal, Volume 11
2. Nahuatl-English Dictionary
3. History of Mexico by Francesco S. Clavigero, 1806
4. Sanskrit Scholars in Spain and Mexico by Juan Miguel De Mora
5. Mexico - Siva Temple
6. Avestan-English dictionary

Thursday, 13 July 2017


In his paper Early America and Hindu Culture author Charles J. Ryan states, "Most Western writers have ignored the possibility of pre-Columbian travel between India and America by civilized expeditions by either the western or the eastern sea route or by both, but have concentrated attention on the possible emigration of early savage tribes from northern Asia across the Bering Straits perhaps more than 30,000 years ago. H. P. Blavatsky, however, and the ancient traditions mentioned, indicate that highly civilized persons came over to America from India at a later date, some even as recently as 5,000 years ago".

Still, there are some writers who have researched and written about the many similarities between the culture of India, especially the Nagas and that of the Native Americans. Ryan states, "We are glad to find that a learned Hindu scholar, Mr. Chaman Lal, has at last taken it up and presented a mass of evidence in his deeply interesting volume of 247 pages entitled Hindu America, published by the New Book Co., Hornby Road, Bombay, in 1940. We are indebted to Dr. W. Y. Evans-Wentz for drawing our attention to this valuable corroboration of H. P. Blavatsky's claim of an intimate connection between America and India some thousands of years before either the Norse or the Columbian rediscovery of the New World".

In Mr. Chaman Lal's book many pages were devoted to the Snake or Dragon (Naga) Cult of Hinduism and its close resemblance to the widespread Snake Cult of ancient America. Ryan also quotes extensively from Blavatsky's work The Secret Doctrine. Referring to the similarity between the cultural likeness between the Nagas of India and many Native American tribes Blavatsky had stated:

"Such similarity cannot be attributed to coincidence. A new world is discovered, and we find that, for our forefathers of the Fourth Race, it was already an old one. That Arjuna, Krishna's companion, is said to have descended into Patala, the "antipodes," and therein married Ulupi, a Naga (or Nagini rather), the daughter of a king of the Nagas, Kauravya." --                                                                                    
The Secret Doctrine, II, 213-4

"Ulupi (Sk.) A daughter of Kauravya, King of the Nagas in Patala (the nether world, or more correctly, the Antipodes, America). Exoterically, she was the daughter of a king or chief of an aboriginal tribe of the Nagas, or Nagals (ancient adepts) in pre-historic America — Mexico most likely, or Uruguay. She was married to Arjuna, the disciple of Krishna, whom every tradition, oral and written, shows travelling five thousand years ago to Patala (the Antipodes). The Puranic tale is based on a historical fact. Moreover, Ulupi, as a name, has a Mexican ring in it, like 'Atlan', '
Aclo', etc. --                                                                              Theosophical Glossary

"Exoterically, the Nagas are semi-divine beings. . . . Yet there was a race of Nagas, said to be a thousand in number only, born or rather sprung from Kadra, Kasyapa's wife, for the purpose of peopling Patala, which is undeniably America. ... — II, 132.--
                                                        The Secret Doctrine

In this glimpse of a North American Cheyyene dance and in the Rengma Naga dance clip that follows one can see the likeness between the dance Native American and Naga dance forms . 

Compare the above with the clip of dance by the the Rengma Naga folk dancers of Nagaland, India.


Friday, 23 June 2017


Native American hunter-gatherers first arrived in the Appalachian region over 12,000 years ago in multiple migrations across the Bering Strait from Asia.

In 1789 Thomas Jefferson wrote,"I endeavor to collect all the vocabularies I can, of American Indians, as of those of Asia, persuaded, that if they ever had a common parentage, it will appear in their languages."

In their research, 'Linguistic Origins of Native Americans', Joseph H. Greenberg and Merritt Ruhlen state,"The evidence of comparative linguistics indicates that the Americas were originally settled by three major migrations from Asia ...... the recent discoveries at least in part fulfill Jefferson's hope that one day the languages of native Americans would illuminate their relations to one another and will reveal the Asian origins of the first Americans."

There is very little left of the Native American culture yet their are traces of some commonalities with ancient cultures of the East - some words that indicate that their languages might have been once close to that of Asia - even India.

The 'Apalachee' were a tribe of present-day Florida who lived in a village by the same name near Talahassee. It is sometimes believed that the Native American word 'apache', a collective term for several Native American tribes, has its source in the Yavapai word 'epache' meaning 'people'. It is also sometimes traced to a Zuni word meaning 'enemy'.

Some hold the view that this village got its name from the Apalachee word 'abalahci' which meant 'the other side of the river'. Others say the word originated from the Muskogean 'apalwahči' which meant 'dwelling on one side.'

In some languages of India that are derived from Sanskrit 'apara' means on the other side, 'vasi' means 'dweller'. 'Paravasi' or 'aparavasi' would then mean 'dwellers on the other side of the river'- same as its Native American meaning.

Gene Matlock holds the view that the Apalachee derive their name from Palaza, a name of ancient Maghada, a powerful Yadava kingdom of India in what is today’s state of Bihar who migrated extensively establishing homes in various parts of the world. He states, "When the Palazis came to America, they came with the intention of staying".

He adds, "Therefore, they became the Apalizis (ex-Palazis). Without a doubt, these 'Apalazis' were the founders of the mound-building cultures, for in other parts of the world they built the Egyptian pyramids, became the founding fathers of Greek civilization, and the like." His view is identical with that of the 17th century scholar, Edward Pococke, who wrote in his book India in Greece: “Pelasa, the ancient name for the province of Bihar….Pelaska is a derivative form of Pelasa, whence the Greek ‘Pelasgos’…"

About the Pelasgis Edward Pococke further states, “So vast were their settlements, and so firmly rooted were the very names of the kingdoms, the nomenclature of the tribes – nay, the religious systems of the oldest forms of society – that I do not scruple to assert that the successive map of Spain, Italy, Greece, Asia Minor, Persia, and India may be read like the chart of an emigrant.”

The coast of Florida has many interesting names. What has caught the attention of people who have knowledge of Sanskrit are the coastal place names in Florida that end with the suffix 'cola' or 'kUla' (कूल) - which just happens to be Sanskrit for 'coast' or 'river' or 'water-body'. Names include Apalacheecola, Pensacola, Wakulla and so on.

According to Florida Stae Department, "Apalacheecola" comes from the Apalachicola tribe and is a combination of the Hitchiti words apalahchi, meaning "on the other side", and okli, meaning "people". In original reference to the settlement and the subgroup within the Seminole tribe, it probably meant "people on the other side of the river".

Native American 'apalahchicola', means 'on the other side of the river'.
Same as the Sanskrit "Apara'-'kula'.

Says Gene Matlock, "'Cola' in Sanskrit, means 'coast'. Therefore, Apalachee-Cola means the coast of the ex-Palazas. The Palazas were the builders of the ancient world. They built Egypt, the foundations of Greek culture, and every other culture on earth....In that swampy area, they built huge mounds to build their first cities. Being master builders, the Apalachee probably built the first mound cultures in Apalachee-cola, the first place they began to inhabit after their arrival from India."

About Pensacola Gene Matlock says, "Now for Pensacola. Pensacola is a great port. It has a gigantic, safe harbor. Therefore, it doesn't take much guesswork to intuit that its original name was Panisha-Cola, or the coast of the Panis or Phoenicians. Again, as I say, the name goes with the game. No guesswork required. The Apalazis were builders. They built the type of edifices that could survive in the Florida swamps. The Panis were seamen and traders. Their natural place to settle first would have been in Pensacola."

It is said that 'Wakulla' is a Timucuan (Native American) word, and it is unlikely that its meaning will ever be known. Wikipedia says, 'Wakulla' may contain the word 'kala' which signified a 'spring of water' in some Native American Indian dialects'.

Lets look at the word through the Sanskrit lens. In Sanskrit 'v' () means water. 'Kulya' (कूल्या) means a 'stream', a 'canal' or a 'water body'. Kulini (कूलिनी) means a 'river'. That explains Wakulla.

Talllahassee has a similar meaning. In Sanskrit, 'tala' (तल) again means a water body or pond and 'talak' means 'spring'. 'Ulhas' (उल्लस्) means joyful, cause movement, jump, shine forth or come forth. Tallahassee therefore mean a place the 'Water Springs Emerge'. Wakulla Springs in Tallahassee are said to be the largest freshwater springs anywhere in the world.

Click here for an interesting observation about the Sanskrit and Vedic connection to the Seven Peaks of the Appalachian Mountains, one of which is named Maneka, and the nearby Mononghaela River .

Click here on a bit about the Sanskrit connect to the name Saratoga.

Suggested Links:

1.  Sanskrit Roots of some Pre-Columbian Native American Words
2. Sanskrit found in Native American Tribal Names
3. Hindu Origins of the Amerindians by Gene Douglas

Wednesday, 21 June 2017


On August 10, 1990, Bill Miller, a pilot in the Idaho Air National Guard, noticed a huge etching on a dried-up lake-bed while flying over it, in Oregon in the United States. The massive formation was a quarter of a mile in width and was etched 3 inches deep into the surface.

In his earlier round, about 30 minutes before Bill Miller first noticed the glyph, there had been no trace of this formation. Neither had any of the other pilots of the Idaho National Guard who regularly train over this corridor, observed any unusual activity. The etching simply appeared one morning.

This etching appeared on a dry
lake bed in Oregon in 1990
Photo Courtesy: ICCRA

Miller immediately reported the details to the authorities at the National Guard. It was a 13.3 mile glyph of lines, about a quarter of a mile in width and length, on the hard, sun-baked dry bed of a lake in Mickey Basin located southeast of Steens Mountains in the Alvord Desert in Oregon.

The formation detected on the morning of August 10, 1990 was oriented precisely in the North-South direction. The glyph had a machine like precision in its shape and clarity of lines. After Bill Miller reported the observation, the news was concealed from the public by the authorities for thirty days.

Photo Courtesy: ICCRA

The news hit the media in the United States on 12th September, 1990 when Boise TV station first aired the story. As soon as the story was aired, the glyph was quickly identified as the ancient Hindu meditation device- the Sri Yantra - identical in shape and proportion, and in its geometrical properties. No one had a theory why a pictograph of a complex Hindu meditation yantra should appear in the wilderness of Oregon.

The etching of the Sri Yantra that appeared
on a river bed in Oregon in August, 1990.

Photo: Bill Witherspoon

By September 14th, the story was picked up by the Associated Press, Bend Bulletin and the Oregonian. The Oregonian reported that some architects that had been contacted by the newspaper, had said that the cost of conducting a land survey alone, before such a project could be initiated, would range from $75,000 to $100,000. 

The Sri Yantra design has a degree of complexity and a level of symmetry that makes it difficult to recreate its design even on paper. Furrowing an enormous replication of it on a dry lake-bed is next to impossible. There was therefore a good deal of speculation that the glyph was not man-made. 

For one, the shape produced by the lines in this massive Sri Yantra could not be deciphered while standing on the ground. The shape only made sense when viewed from a height of a few thousand feet above.

In Vedic texts, the Sri Yantra is defined as a device formed by nine interlocking triangles. Four triangles point upward (representing Shiva) overlapping with five downward-pointing triangles (representing Shakti). The triangles are placed in a circle surrounded by the two levels of lotus-petals, which in turn are surrounded by an outer circle and enclosed in a tantra design, serving as a protective cover. As the devotee enters into the Mandala, represented by the Sri Yantra, he leaves behind the worldly distractions and conflicts; and is transported into a world of symbols and visualizations.

The triangles surround and radiate out from a bindu point. The bindu represents the junction point between the physical universe and its un-manifest source. The nine triangles are interlaced in such a way so as to create forty three smaller triangles symbolic of the entire cosmos.

The Sri Yantra is variedly described as a visual representation of the sound ‘Om’ and an expression of the philosophy of ‘Advaita (one-ness or non-duality). The Sri Yantra is popularly used today in India as a meditation device.

Two UFO Researchers, Don Newman and Alan Decker, visited the site on 15th September and reported that no trace of tire track markings or foot prints were visible anywhere close to the site even though their own station wagon had now left quarter inch deep marks into the hard crust of the surface. 

UFO researcher Don Newman with his
Newman was a B-17 pilot
and instructor in the U.S. Army Air Corps 

Dr. James Deardorff, a Research Professor Emeritus at the Atmospheric Science Department of Oregon State University and a colleague of Don Newman and Alan Decker, compiled the details of their investigations and forwarded the story to UFO magazine, a British magazine devoted to the subject of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) and extraterrestrial life. The magazine agreed to publish the story which appeared in Volume 6, # 3 in 1991 under the heading, ‘A Symbol on the Oregon Desert’.

Dr. James Deardorff, a Research Professor Emeritus
at the Atmospheric Science Department
of Oregon State University.

Dr. Deardorff wrote in his investigative story that the government had not been able to give a reasonable explanation to the undetected appearance of  a massive glyph at a site which was constantly patrolled by the National Air Guard. 

Not surprisingly, about 40 days later a group of four people, headed by a Bill Witherspoon, claimed that they had etched out the pictograph, over a period of 10 days, by pulling a garden cultivator like a plow over the lake-bed. They said they had used ropes to ensure the lines were straight and the angles perfect. 

Dr. Deardorff countered by saying that the story was concocted, and that it was sponsored by the government which not want to fuel the belief that the glyph had an unexplained origin.

Bill Witherspoon was interviewed by newspapers to judge the authenticity of his story. Very quickly it became evident that his explanations lacked credibility. The most unconvincing part of his story was his claim that a garden plow, a rope and a blueprint of the formation were enough equipment to furrow out the glyph. His interview revealed other incongruities. For one, he had stated in the newspapers that he and his team had carried their tools for three quarters of a mile to the formation site everyday for 10 days, however in his video interview he said that he and his team had camped out two miles away from the site.

Bill Witherspoon’s team only managed to gouge out an untidy half-inch deep line with great exertion when they were asked to demonstrate how they had gouged out 13.3 miles of lines, 3 inches deep and 10 inches wide. No one believed anymore that the original glyph could have been created by using crude tools. 

Coutesy:: ICCRA
Dr. Deardorff also questioned how the National Air Guard could have missed detecting the glyph in the 10 days that Witherspoon claimed they had worked upon the etching. 

No answers could ever be arrived at, either by the government or by scientists. Only the UFO Researchers have since then ventured to explain the mystery!

Update: In September 2016 another Vedic symbol, the svastika. appeared in a crop field in Wiltshire, England.

Monday, 22 May 2017


The Republic of the Congo is a country located in Central Africa. Bantu-speaking peoples who founded tribes during the Bantu expansions largely displaced and absorbed the earliest inhabitants of the region, the Pygmy, about 1500 BC. The earliest inhabitants of the region comprising present-day Congo were the Bambuti people. The Bambuti were linked to Pygmy tribes and were known to have equivalents in parts of India. Bambuti may be just a morphed form of the word 'Vamana' (वामन), the name of a 'dwarf tribe' of India.

The name Congo is derived from the name of the river Congo. In turn the river gets its name from Kongo- a Bantu kingdom which occupied the mouth of this river around the time of its discovery by the Portuguese in 1483. The Bantu kingdom of 'Kongo' derived its name from its people, the Bakongo. Bakongo is an endonym said to mean 'hunters'. South of the Kongo kingdom lay the similarly named Kakongo kingdom. Abraham Ortelius in his world map of 1564 labels yet another kingdom as Manicongo - the city at the mouth of the river.

We see then that the suffix 'kongo' appears in many tribal names and possibly derives from the equivalent of a word for 'public gathering' or 'tribal assembly' as stated by many scholars. Samuel Henry Nelson (1880-1940) states in his book 'Colonialism in the Congo Basin', published by Ohio University Press, ".....It is probable that the word 'Kongo' itself implies a public gathering and that it is based on the root konga, 'to gather'." 

If 'kongo' means 'gathering' then it is no different from the Indo-European 'congre' or 'congregation'. That itself is a variation of the Sanskrit 'sangha' (संघ) which again has the same meaning - congregation. 

In the context of the etymology of the name Congo, the Sanskrit 'sangha' is significant. For one, a tributary of the River Congo is called the Sangha. In fact the river Congo, itself is a congregation, with many tributaries merging in, flowing along, sometimes parting ways and then flowing back into the Congo river. It is a congregation and assimilation of many large streams and tributaries. Hence it is very likely that Congo itself was the Sangha, its name having survived to the present day in the name of one of its tributaries.

The Congo and the Sangha Rivers

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, "When the river Congo first became known to Europeans at the end of the 15th century, they called it the Zaire, a corruption of a word that is variously given as nzari, nzali, njali, nzaddi, and niadi and that simply means 'river' in local African languages." However, all these words are just a corruption of the Sanskrit 'nadi' (नदी) which also means 'river'.

On the Congo
 river lies one of the largest towns of the country. Its present name is Kisangini, it was known as Stanleyville for a while, but prior to that it was known as Singitini or Singatini which are Sanskritic by sound. If at all these names have a Sanskrit origin, then the people who named them so must have been a very refined people. The words Singitini and Singatini have a beautiful feminine nuance to them - and the idea of 'Singitini on the Sangha river' indicates a civilization where the language is poetic. Singitani has the meaning of 'companion', Sangha, as mentioned above implies 'gathering'. Kisangani is strategically placed at the junction of the Congo, Tshopo, and Lindi rivers - a 'Sangham' (सङ्घं) of sorts. Not surprisingly, there are a few other points of river confluences named 'Sangama' in the African continent. For more on this click here.

Kisangani was earlier known as Singitini.
It is indeed a Sangham spot as two rivers

merge into the river Congo here.

The sources of the river Congo are in the highlands and mountains of the East African Rift, as well as Lake Tanganyika and Lake Mweru. Though Mweru is said to mean 'lake' in Bantu languages, the lake is also spelled as 'Moeru', as mentioned in the 'Geographical Dictionary of the World', edited by Angelo Heilprin and Louis Heilprin, first published in 1906. Moeru is phonetically close to the name 'Meru' - the sacred mountain of the Hindu texts.

The name Tanganyika is equally interesting.Lake Tanganyika is the world's longest freshwater lake. So what about the name. In Sanskrit 'Tunda' (तुण्ड) means 'a long snout', that describes the shape of the lake. Yet, this may sound unconvincing unless supported by other facts. But there is more. 

In his Journals about his travels in the Congo, Reverend David Livingstone (1813-1873), a medical missionary, ironically gives details of many sites in Congo, that are interesting in the Hindu and Sanskrit context.  His writings were later also recorded in the book, 'Garenganze or Seven Years Pioneer Mission Work in Central Africa' written by another Scottish Missionary Frederick Stanley Arnot (1858-1914) who too established Christian missions in Congo.

Arnot shares the details of the lakes of Tanganyika, Mweru and Bangweulu and the adjacent mountain range of Kalasa and the caves of Sombwe that he visited in the Katanga region. He states, "... Going north-west, nearly to the Kalasa, I had a good view of the famous cavern mountain...The great cave has two entrances, a distance of five miles or more apart, and within is a running stream. There are also many smaller caves and dens in the mountainous country...". This is at once a reminder both of the caves of Mt. Kailasha and the name Shambhu. Sombwe is now known is also known as Kambove. Kalasa is a common name for males in the Congo. The ancient name of Katanga was Shaba. All these names are related to Lord Shiva. For example Kalasa or Kailasha is the abode of Shiva. Shaba is a cognate of Shiva, and. Kambove or Sombwe are variations of Shambhu, another name of Shiva.

Reverend Dr. Livingstone had earlier described the Kalasa mountains in his journal without writing the details of the name which had inspired Arnot to explore these caves further. Arnot states, "...(Livingstone) turned southward from Tanganyika, his purpose being to go round the east and south of Bangweolo (in 1868 Livingstone had only seen its northwest shore and visited some of the islands) then onto the sources of the Lufira, and up through Katanga to the caves west of Moero, of which the natives give marvellous reports." These were the Sombwe caves later visited by Arnot.

Dolomite from the Caves of Katanga
in Congo.
Malachite Specimen from the caves of Katanga
also called Shaba.
There is another thread though - one that connects the Bantus with not only the village- families of India but also of some of the native American tribes of the Hudson river of the United States. Among the early Bantu tribes, each village unit had a ritual and political head who was known as the *mu-kumu. In the United States, the nearly 40 Indian tribes that had settled on the rivers Hudson, Delaware, Potomac and Susquehanna by the 1650s called their leading tribe, the Lenape, by the title 'Mochomes'. Both mu-kumu and muchome are strangely close to the Sanskrit 'mukhya' (मुख्य) meaning 'chief' which is the title of the village head in India.

There are some similarities with Sanskrit and perhaps Tamil in the mountain names of Congo too. For example, Nyamuragira is the name of a volcano in Congo. The suffix 'giri' (गिरि) in Sanskrit derived languages means mountain, and appears in the names of many mountains in India, especially in the South, such as Vellangiri and Sathuragiri. Perhaps there is a Tamil explanation to the prefix 'Nyamura' in the name 'Nyamuragira'.

Another mountain is named Mangengenge which it is said derives from the Lingala word 'kongenge', which means 'shining'. This name uncannily rings of the name Kanchenjunga which is a distortion of Sanskrit 'Kanchentunga'. Kanchan (काञ्चन) means 'golden', tunga (तुङ्ग) means 'high', 'tall', 'mighty' and 'mountain'. 'Mangen', due its similarity of meaning, may be a variation of Sanskrit 'tunga'. This seems to be true of another mountain name, which is Mt. Nyiragongo. The suffix 'gongo' here again is a cognate of 'tunga' and may simply mean 'mountain' as mentioned above.

Ancient names of mountains, rivers and lakes tend to survive the longest, as compared to names of cities and towns because these are changed by the rulers or chiefs or anyone with political or religious power. It is in the most ancient versions of the names of mountains and rivers of Africa that one sees traces of a more ancient society, perhaps with a deeper link to the Indic civilization.

Friday, 5 May 2017


The Palm was the traditional sacred tree of Persia, Assyria, Mesopotamia, Sumeria and Phoenicia. The Tree of Life in the Babylonian Garden of Eden story is a palm. But much before these civilizations came into existence, and before the Bible was written, the ancient Hindu text of Ramayana identifies the whole of the extended Persian region with that of a few geographical sites of which Mt. Meru and Mt. Asta are significant. But, the Ramayana identifies this entire region with just one man-made structure - a gigantic ten-leaved golden palm tree with a magnificent podium. Here are the details:

In the Ramayana, four 'vanara' brigades are readied to be sent out in four different directions for the search of Goddess Sita, the wife of God-King Sri Rama who ruled from the city of Ayodhya, after she is abducted by Ravana, the king of the mighty Lanka (now Sri Lanka) empire. 

At the time when it was not yet established where Sita was being held in captivity, one of the search parties is preparing to head west. The search-party is given a route-map by Sugreeva, the vanara chief, which they are told will lead them right up to what was known as the Asta Mountain. 'Asta' (अस्त) is Sanskrit for 'Sunset', and for the 'vanara' commando brigade Mt. Asta was the limit of the western most point that they were to scour for Sita. Mt. Asta's location can be traced to somewhere in the present day Middle East. There is enough evidence for that in the Ramayana. Here are a few clues:

One of the easily identifiable locations that Valmiki mentions is the geographical point where the Sindhu, that is the Indus falls into the Sea.  Moving further west away  from the Indian coast towards a waterlogged mountain glittering like gold by the name 'Paariyatra', the vanaras are told, is a region inhabited by ferocious 'Gandharvas'. The instruction for the 'vanaras' is to quickly search for Sita and not engage with the 'Gandharvas', nor pluck any fruit from their date-palm trees.

In the sea beyond Mt. Pariyatra, the 'vanaras' are told they will come across Mt. Vajra, which shines like a diamond. And further ahead, in the fourth quarter of the sea, they will find Mt. Chakravaan on which is located the Sudarshana weapon, the 'thousand-spoke wheel' that was constructed by Vishwakarma, the celestial architect.

Then, moving ahead the 'vanaras' are told that they will in succession come across, many mountain peaks which are named as Varaha, Meghavanta and finally Meru. These appear to be mountain peaks of the Zagros range. Mt. Varaha is probably what is today called Kuh-e-Vararu. Valmiki mentions that close by is the 'golden city of Prag-jyotisha' . That must be a reference to an ancient city in the vicinity of where Tehran stands today.

The ancient Avestan name of Tehran was 'Raghes' and may be derived from the name of Sri Rama who was also known as 'Raghu' (रघु). The Ramayana says that Pragjyotish was the abode of the demon 'Naraka' (नरक) and there indeed is a town by the name of 'Naraku' in Bhushehr province of Iran.

Close by is the volcanic peak of Damavand, its most ancient known name dating to the Sassanid era is 'Donbavand'. In Sanskrit 'danav' (दानव) means 'demon' but the name stated in the Ramayana is 'Meghavant'. Once again it is difficult to trace whether the names 'Damavand' and 'Meghavant' have any ancient links but the popular traditions of the villages around Damavand mountain are filled with legends and superstitions of which traces can be found in place names, as in the upper valley of the Lar, where a small ravine sprinkled with marshes, warm springs, and geysers is named Div Asiab or the 'the devil’s mill'.

The Zagros Mountains in Iran were named after an ancient nomadic tribe, referred to by the name 'Sagar-tians'. Stephanus Byzantinus (6th century AD), who was the author of a geographical dictionary entitled 'Ethnica', wrote that there was a peninsula in the Caspian Sea called 'Sagartia' and that the Sagartians moved south from Sagrtia to what were later known as Zagros mountains. In Sanskrit 'Sagara' (सागर) means 'Sea and its other form 'Sagartia' means 'of the sea'. The Zagros mountains were named after the Sagar-tian tribe who were also referred to as Zagar-thians. 

As they move further west from 'Sarvaani Meru' to Mt. 'Asta' the 'vanaras' are  told that they will see a 'gigantic ten-leaved date-palm-tree, which is completely golden and shines forth with a marvellous podium'. Here is the verse from the Ramayana: 

अन्तरा मेरुम् अस्तम् च तालो दश शिरा महान् |
जातरूपमयः श्रीमान् भ्राजते चित्र वेदिकः || ४-४२-४६

"In between Mt. Meru and Mt. Asta there is a gigantic ten-leaved Date-palm-tree, which is completely golden and shines forth with a marvelous podium. [4-42-46]

The date-palm tree is a highly respected tree in the Persian-Sumerian-Mesopotamian region. The tradition of gifting golden palm trees by monarchs to others of equal rank has been recorded in the Persian region for centuries. Writes Allegra Iafrate in his 'The Wandering Throne of Solomon: Objects and Tales of Kingship', "..The Golden Palm Tree reaches far back in time. The presence of a tradition of an artificial metal palm trees in what we can loosely call the Persian region is particularly interesting....Although alternatively identified with the tree of life or with the stylized representation of a date-palm tree, the figure would seem to represent a cult object consisting of an actual tree trunk or a pole, encased in bronze or gold sheaths, on which other movable parts like branches and leaves were inserted. ...Archaeological evidence, particularly during excavations made at Nimrud and Khorsabad... has revealed bronze sheathing embossed with a design of a tree trunk scales or imbrications and the remains of poles. Bronze leaves and branches were also found at excavations at Inshushinak temple in Susa.... The actual symbolic meanings of these objects is far from being clarified. It is certain, however, that these are to be put in relation with sacred spaces.....".

The golden metal date-palm tree mentioned by Valmiki adds a wider chronological span to the custom of erecting or gifting metal date-palm trees in this region. In known history, Iafrate states, temple entrances or across the facade, it was a tradition extending from the third millennium BCE in Mesopotamia: mosaic tesserae mimicking palm trunks were found, for instance, at the Ninhursag temple at Tell al' Ubaid, four miles west of Ur, also in the Eanna precincts at Uruk, circa 3200-2900 BCE, on a ziggurat dedicated to Ianna.

4000 year old Sumerian date-palm  Tree of Life

Sumerian Goddess Ninhursag with a Date-Palm Tree

In this artifact Assyrian Gods are seen
with a stylized palm tree.

A mural depicting a sacred palm tree

Assyrian artifact depicting a sacred palm tree
with a podium

Though the location and any remains of this ten leaved date palm tree structure has never been identified or even searched-for by scholars,  what is interesting is that in the Ramayana, the 'vanaras' travelling east in search of Sita are told to keep going forth across many oceans, till they see 'a three-leafed palm tree etched on a mountain near Mt. Udaya which they are told will be visible from the ocean'. This three-pronged palm tree has been identified as the ancient Paracas Trident of Peru etched on a mountain in the Andes chain. For more on this click here.  See picture below:

The ancient Paracas Trident of Peru is
described as a
three-leafed-palm-tree etched on a
mountain visible from the sea in the Valmiki Ramayana.

Suggested Readings:
1. The Wandering Throne of Solomon: Objects and Tales of Kingship by Allegra Iafrate

Saturday, 8 April 2017


Ladoga is a freshwater lake located in northwestern Russia just outside the outskirts of Saint Petersburg. It is the largest lake in Europe and is fed by a river named Ladoga (also known as Volkhov) from which the lake gets its name. The only river that flows out of the lake is the Neva, and despite its modest length (74 km) it is the fourth largest river in Europe in terms of average discharge after the Volga, the Danube and the Rhine.

The Neva River gets its name from Indo-European
or Sanskritic 'nava' (नव) or new.

In one of his papers published posthumously in Studia Etymologica Cracoviensia, author Eugene Helimski deals with the etymologies of the names Ladoga and Neva. He states that the river Neva, which was formed about 3000 years ago got its name from an Indo-European-speaking population who observed the birth of the ‘New’river. (Quoted from Juha Janhunen's Some Additional Notes on the Macrohydronyms of the Ladoga Region). Neva is the same as the Sanskritic 'nava' (नव), with the same meaning.

A Swedish fortress called Nyenskan stood at the mouth of the Neva river in Swedish Ingria, on the site of present St. Petersburg, Russia. Cities that stand on fort-sites in Europe often have names that end with the suffix -burg, said to be a variation of the Sanskrit 'durg' (दुर्ग) or fort. 

In the same research paper Juha Janhunen, Professor of East Asian Studies at University of Helsinki states, "The etymology of Neva is potentially important in that it shows that the historical presence of the Finnic branch of Uralic on both sides of the Gulf of Finland is secondary to an earlier Indo-European expansion to the region....This conclusion is confirmed by the well-known fact that the entire marine terminology of the Finnic languages is of an Indo-European origin. In some cases, as in that of the very word for ‘sea’, Finnic *meri : *mere- : *mer-, the exact identification of the Indo-European source language is controversial." 'Meri' is the same as the Sanskrit 'mir' (मीर) meaning 'sea'.

Juha Janhunen further states that Helimski’s proposal of a Scandinavian etymology for Ladoga is problematic. Although it is clear that its modern name Laatokka is based on Russian, it is far less obvious whether the Russian name can really be derived from Scandinavian *Ald-aug-ja ‘Old Eye(d)’ - which would have been the name of Ladoga had it been derived from Scandanivian languages. Besides 'Old-Eyes' is not a convincing name for a lake or a river.

It might be added here that of all the Indo- European languages, Sanskrit is the oldest and best decodes the names of ancient sites and rivers and mountains of Europe. Here is a look at some of the names mentioned above through the Sanskrit lens. First an observation: 

Many river names in Russia end with the suffix -ga, much like the Ganga of India. River names in Russia include Volga, Pinega and Onega. The ancient names of Volga include Jilga and Julga.

Roman Jakobson, Russian linguist and literary theorist, quoted Nikolai Trubetzkoy's research thus, "In primitive eastern Slavic, un-rounded front vowels changed into rounded back vowels before a tauto-syllabic 'l', so that 'jilga' must have changed tojulga; the initial j was lost before rounded vowels in eastern Slavic, and the initial u acquired an obligatory prothetic 'v'. Thus the form 'vulga' arose, and short 'u' changed in the 12th–-13th centuries into 'o'. So through a long series of changes Jilga became Volga". 
Nikolai Trubetzkoy was a Russian linguist and historian whose teachings formed a nucleus of the Prague School of structural linguistics.

Here is the actual quote from Ramon Jakabson's 'The Balts- Ancient Peoples & Places':
' 205 Notes CHAPTER I 1 Tacitus (90), XLV. 2 Orosius (87). 3 Adam of Bremen (82), 199. 4 G. Gerullis, Die altpreussischen Ortsnamen, Berlin-Leipzig, 1922; A Salys, “Prūsai,” Lietuvių Enciklopedija, XXIV (Boston), pp. 146-57. 5 L. Kilian, “Baltische Ortsnamen westlich der Weichsel,” Altpreussen, IV, 3 (1939), pp. 67-68; H. Krahe, “Baltische Ortsnamen westlich der Weichsel?,” Altpreussen, 1943: I, pp. 11-12. 6 V. N. Toporov, “Dve zametki iz oblasti baltijskoj tomonimii,” Rakstu krājums veltījums audd. J Endzelīnam, Riga, 1959, pp. 251-66. 7 A. Kamiński, Jaćwieź, Terytorium, ludnosć, stosunki gospodarcze i spoleczne (Jatvingia. Territory, population, economy and social structure), Ĺódź, Societas Scientiarum Lodziensis, sectio II, No. 14, 1953. 8 Polnoe sobranie russkikh letopisej, I, 1, Petersburg, 1908. 9 Būga (1). 10 Vasmer (6). 11 The etymology of Volga as proposed by the linguist Trubetzkoy — in his lectures at the University of Vienna — was as follows: in primitive eastern Slavic, unrounded front vowels changed into rounded back vowels before a tauto-syllabic l, so that jilga must have changed to julga; the initial j was lost before rounded vowels in eastern Slavic, and the initial u acquired an obligatory prothetic v. Thus the form vulga arose, and short u changed in the 12th-13th centuries into o. So through a long series of changes Jilga became Volga. (Oral information by Roman Jakobson.) 12 Thomsen (4) 13 B. A. Serebrennikov, “O nekotorykh sledakh izcheznuvshego indoevropejskogo jazyka v centre Evropejskoj chasti SSSR, blizkogo k baltijskim jazykam” (Traces of an extinct Indo- European language related to the Baltic in the centre of the European part of the USSR), Lietuvių Mokslų Akademijos Darbai (Trudy AN Litovskoj SSR), serija A, vyp. 1 (2), Vilnius, 1957. 14 M. Vasmer, “Die alten Bevölkerungsverhältnisse Russlands im Lichte der Sprachforschung,” Vorträge and Schriften der Preussischen Akademie, No. 5, 1941. ' IN

It is more likely that the original name of Volga was 'Julga' rather than 'jilga' if one were to look at the name through the Sanskrit lens. 'Jala' (जल) is 'water', both in Sanskrit and in Hindi. The suffix 'ga' () means 'going' or 'moving'. Hence 'Julga' means 'moving water'. 

Once the -ga suffix is explained one may look at the prefix Lado. La (ला) has the meaning of 'begin' or 'undertake'. 'Uda' (उद), Udra (उद्र) and 'daka' (दक) all mean 'water'.

The older Finnish name of Ladoga was Nevajarvi, jarvi is lake in Finnish, while 'jhari' (झरी) is Sanskrit for 'river'. The Finnish 'joki' or river may be a variation of 'jhari' where the 'r' changes to 'k'.

Juha Janhunen observes that several macrohydronyms in different parts of Scandinavia cannot be explained from any known language. In th
e Ladoga region an example of such a hydronym is the name of Lake Saimaa (Finnish Saimaa, Swedish Saima or Saimen), the largest lake of today’s Finland. But Sanskrit does. Saimma or Sahima (सहिम) means 'with snow' or 'with ice'.

The river draining Saimaa into Ladoga has the name Vuoksi or Swedish Vuoksen which is the same as Sanskrit 'vakshan' (वक्षण) meaning 'river'.

The etymology of Volkov, another name of Ladoga, is unknown, but since 'v' and b' are often used interchangeably in Sanskrit derived languages, Vokhov changes to Balkhov. Bolkhov and Baltic may have the same root and maybe a variation of the Sanskrit 'balaksh' (बलक्ष) meaning 'white' which is one of the interpretations of the name 'Baltic' as made by western linguists.

Suggested Link: