Monday, 30 December 2013

NAKAUVADRA, FIJI - THE SANSKRIT CONNECTION

At Latitude 17.4167S and Longitude178.150000E, in the Nakauvadra Mountain Range in Fiji, a megalithic site near the village of Narara was discovered a few years back. No one yet knows the significance of the 13 standing stones hidden in the caves of Narara. However, researchers say that many standing stones located at megalithic sites around the world align with planets and major stars of the skies. For example the ancient Chankillo observatory in Peru too has 13 towers of which the first and the last are aligned with the Summer and Winter solstices. Whether the same is true of the 13 stones of Narara is not known.

Here is a look at some place names of Fiji. 'Nakauvaudra' is a slightly distorted form of the Sanskrit 'nAku' (नाकु) and 'vadra'
(वड्र). 'Naku' means 'mountain' and 'vadra' means 'large'. The name 'naku' also appears at other ancient megalithic sites around the world - the most prominent of which is Tiwanaku in Latin America.

'Nakauvadra' Mountain Range, Fiji.
'Naku' means 'mountain' and 'Vadra' means
 'large' in Sanskrit
Close to Nakauvadra are many villages with very interesting names. One such name is 'Vatukacevaceva'. It sounds as if the name is derived from Sanskrit 

'Vatika' (वाटिका) means 'garden' or 'enclosure'. And 'ceva-ceva' may be a distortion of 'Shiva-Shiva'. Vatukacevaceva - 'Garden of Shiva'! In fact, even the name 'Suva' - the capital of Fiji sounds as a distortion of  the name 'Shiva'.

Then there is the Sanskrit 'Vatuka' (वटक) which means 'round'. 'Vatu' (वतू) means 'River of Heaven'.

Village Vatukacevaceva
Vatukacevacevapronounced as 'Vatukar-theva-theva'.
In Sanskrit both 'Vatika' (वाटिक )
and 'Tevana' (तेवन ) mean 'garden'
Another village is known as Vatukarasa. Again 'rasa' (रस) is a Sanskrit word. 'Rasa' has many meanings including 'fluid', 'earth', 'elixir' and it is even the name of a mythological river which flows around the world!

Suggested Links:
1. Mt. TaraNaki, NewZealand
2. Sil Nakya, Arizona
3. TiwaNaku, Bolivia

Friday, 27 December 2013

CUYAHOGA - A RIVER IN OHIO: THE SANSKRIT CONNECT

River Cuyahoga, Ohio

River Cuyahoga, Ohio. The word Cuyahoga means "Crooked River" in Iroquios. It is difficult to figure out what the Sanskrit link to this word might be in Sanskrit - not because there are no cognates, but because there are so many!

In Sanskrit, 'Kulya' (कुल्या), 'KUlya' (कूल्या) and 'Kulini' (कूलिनी), all mean 'river'. These may all lead to the genesis of the word 'Cuya'. Or 'Cuya' may be a distortion of the Sanskrit 'kruta' (क्रुक्त) or 'Kutila' (कुटिल) both of which mean 'crooked'.

'Apaga' (आपगा) means river, 'aga' (अग) means 'water-jar' or 'water-pitcher'. You see the word 'aga' in the names of rivers such as 'Ganges' which is known as 'Ganga' in Sanskrit. The word 'aga' also appears in the name 'Volga' which incidentally was also known as 'Jal-aga' in ancient times. By that logic the suffix 'hoga' in Cuyahoga may be a distortion of 'aga' .

One may look at any of the following Sanskrit word-combinations which would all mean 'Crooked River' in Sanskrit:

1. Kutila-Apaga
2. Kulya-Hurna
3. Kulya-Hurna-Apaga


However, the most apt Sanskrit word for 'Cuyahoga' in Sanskrit is  'Kutilaga'. 'Kutilaga'  (कुटिलगा) means 'going crookedly',  it also means 'a river'! 


But is there a link between the Sanskrit language and Native American languages? In 1909, a white lady by the name of Mrs. Helen Troy, was initiated into the Onondaga Native American tribe. Mrs. Troy and her mentor, Mrs. Isaac Thomas - the daughter of a Mohawk chief, had “delved deeply into the fascinating mythology of the Indians, of which comparatively little is known.” Troy and Thomas were both reportedly working on “a dictionary of the languages of the Six (Iroquious) Nations.” Their compilation of Onondaga and Mohawk words was said to total 30,000. On completion of the manuscript, Mrs. Troy commented “There exists no doubt,” stated Mrs. Troy, “that the mythology of the Iroquois antedates that of the Greeks and Romans, and in fact all other peoples just as their language does that of the Hebrews and all others.” She further claimed “that Onondaga, the mother tongue of all the languages, mothered also Sanskrit.” She had indeed found the two languages to be closely linked. 

The Cuyahoga originates in springs in the highlands of Geauga County, in the adjoining townships of Hambden and Montville. The headwaters of three watercourses in the Lake Erie basin are located in Geauga County. It is said that Geauga County is named after the Onondaga word 'jyo’ä·gak' or Seneca 'jo’ä·ka', both meaning 'racoon'. In Sanskrit a close cognate of 'jyo’ä·gak' and 'jo’ä·ka' is 'jahaka' (जहका) translates as 'hedgehog' - not quite rocoon. But 'Geauga' seems to be closer in meaning to the Sanskrit 'Jalaja' (जलज) which means 'born in water'.

Monday, 16 December 2013

KILLKENNY - THE 'TREVENI' OF IRELAND

In the 'Cyclopaedia: Or, Universal Dictionary of Arts, Sciences and Literature' (1819), Abraham Rees, the author states, "We cannot refrain from briefly alluding, in this place, to some supposed co-incidences in Indian and Irish mythology..... and we allude to them here in view of the opportunity of saying that poetical traditions existed, and perhaps still exist in Ireland, of a mythological origin and junction of three rivers, reminding us strongly of the Indian Triveni."




Killkenny, the 'Triveni' of the rivers Barrow, Nore & Suir.

Referring to the three rivers of Killkenny in his book 'Oriental Fragments', Edward Moore says, "We accordingly find the sangam or the prayag or the union of the rivers... the Barrow, Nore and Suir - the "three sisters", the "Triveni", the "three plaited locks" of Hibernia, near Killkenny, her Devi-prayaga , is duly celebrated in Hibernian poetics."  Hibernia is the classical Latin name for Ireland.

A round tower has been identified as the oldest surviving structure in the town of Kilkenny. The town of Kilcullen (in Kildare county) hosts another ancient round tower. Edward Moore makes an observation. He states, "At Kilcullen and Kilkenny are two of those very curious round towers, the origin and uses of which have so baffled the researches of antiquaries....... If, on farther inquiry, they should all, or mostly, be found, like these two, connected with towns or hills, bearing KaLic names, it would be a somewhat curious clue for a farther line of investigation. Such things in India would be deemed Lingaic or Sivaic."

Edward Moore had put forth the view that many names of towns (including Kilkenny, Kilmoor, Kilcummin, Kilcullen and Kildare etc.) in Ireland have originated from the Sanskrit word 'kala' (काल), 'kala'  meaning both 'black' and 'time'. 

The 'Stone of Destiny' atop the 
'Hill of Tara' located between Navan and Dunshaughlin
 in County Meath.  

Interestingly, the 'Stone of Destiny located at the Hill of Tara close to 'Dunshauglin' has been equated with the 'shivalingas' of India. Dunshaughlin is an interesting name. Ireland abounds in 'dun', or 'don' or 'down' as the initial, final, or sole names of places. British scholars, with some knowledge of Sanskrit, made the observation that the names 'dun', 'don' or 'down' were extensively connected to 'hilly' or 'mountainous' regions,  however were unable to pin-point the source of these words to any Sanskrit root word. It is likely though that these words have more to do with the Sanskrit word for 'valley' which is either 'dari' (दरी) or 'droni' (द्रोणि) rather than any Sanskrit word for 'hill' or 'mountain'.


Gap of Dunloe, Black valley, Ireland.
The word 'Dun' probably derived from Sanskrit 'droni'.
The Sanskrit 'droni' (द्रोणि) appears as 'dun' in the name
Dehradun, meaning the 'Valley of Dehra' in India.

The Sanskrit 'dari' (दरी ) also means 'valley'.


Suggested Links:

1. The Cyclopaedia: Or Universal Dictionary of Arts, Science and Literature, Vol 36
2. The Round Towers of Ireland by Henry O'Brien

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

KAMALA, GANGA, YAMINA - VEDIC NAMES OF TOWNS ON THE RIVER NIGER, & LORD SHIVA IN AFRICA

The Niger River is the principal river of western Africa, extending about 4180 km. It originates in the Guinea Highlands, which is a densely forested mountainous plateau extending from central Guinea, through Sierra Leone, Liberia and Cote d' Ivore. 

In his travelogue 'Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa', Mungo Park (1771 – 1806), a Scottish explorer of the African continent who was the first Westerner known to have traveled to the central portion of the Niger River lists a number of towns that he passed through while sailing up the Niger in the years 1795-97. The names include Joanakakonda, Tallika, Fatteconda, Sami, Jarra, Samapaka, Wavara, Mellacota.  Many of these names have a decidedly Indic nuance - many Sanskritic and as many explained through Tamil or Telegu. 

In his book, 'Oriental Fragments', author Edward Moor lists names of many African towns and villages mentioned by various European explorers in Africa which include Jonakakonda, Tendikonda, Kootakunda, Barraconda, Seesekund, Tandacunda, Fatteconda and Mauraconda. He then equates them with the names of towns in southern parts of India which have similar names.

In a letter to the Asiatic Journal of July 1817, Issue 1, Volume 1, Edward Moor states, " .. with a little of this license where wanted, and it may be allowed to others as well as distressed etymologists let us try to turn Park's names into Hindi. Jonaka-konda is Janeka-kunda, or the hill of Janeka...". Kootakunda may also be traced to India. 'Kuta (कुट)  means a mountain, while 'kUta' (कूट) means 'dwelling'.

Of the suffix 'konda' one may point out that unlike the Telegu 'kunda' which means a hill, in Sanskrit 'kund' (कुण्ड) means a 'pool'. However, 'kAanda' (काण्ड) means a 'heap' and it is this 'kAanda' which might be related to the Telegu 'kunda' or 'hill'. Also 'khanda' (खंड) means 'piece' or 'section'. In any case, the similarity of these names is unmistakable. 

The River Niger which originates in the Guinea Highlands in Southern Guinea runs a crescent course -shaped like the top knot of Lord Shiva -  through  Mali, Niger, on the border with Benin and then through Nigeria, discharging through the Niger Delta.

The Crescent shaped bend on the River Niger

As it flows through Mali, near the island of Madjie, the Niger branches into three streams, forming a sort of a 'Triveni'. 


The encircled part where the River's Moussa and River Niger
 meet and form a 'Triveni'. In the middle of this intersection is a
small island.


As one follows the most easterly of the three streams down the current for a few minutes, it is said that one will suddenly come in sight of an elevated rock. The mountain is called Kesa by the natives. Mt. Kesa forms a small island, and is about three hundred feet in height, which renders it a conspicuous and a remarkable object. In the book 'Celebrated Travels and Travelers', the author Jules Verne states, "Mt. Kesa is greatly venerated by the natives of this part of the country."



Mt. Kesa on the island where the River Niger meets River Moussa,
'Kesa' is the name of Vishnu and Krishna both
Lord Shiva is also known as 'Vyoma-Kesha'.
The local inhabitants worshipped this 300 ft. stone.

Kesha is the name of both Lord Vishnu and Sri Krishna. Lord Shiva is also known as Vyoma-Kesha, which means, 'one whose hair is widespread in space'. Lord Shiva is known for 'having bound the river Ganges in his hair'. Mt. Kesa or Kesha, located on an island made by the triveni-like intersection of the Niger and Moussa rivers, was a place of worship for the local inhabitants of this part of Africa.

in 1805 Mungo Park once again went on an expedition, on the central portion of the River Niger where the path of the Niger takes the shape of the crescent and Mungo Park mentions the route that he had taken on this trip in his travelogue . The route that he took included place names such as Downie - Jinbala - Kamala - Ganga - Yamina - Calimana. 


A section of  Mungo Park's Exploration route on the Niger
The three highlighted town names would be expected while someone was travelling in India. But these are names of African towns that Mungo recorded on his trip on River Niger more than 200 years ago. 

Other intriguing names that appears on the Nigeria-Cameroon border include 'Mandara'.The Mandara Mountains (Monts Mandara) are a volcanic range extending about 200 km along the northern part of the Cameroon-Nigeria border.  

The name Mandara is obviously Indian. It is the name of the mountain that appears in the 'Samudra Manthan' episode in the Hindu Puranas, where it is used as a rod to churn the ocean of milk. Vishnu's serpent, Vasuki, offered to serve as the rope pulled on one side by a team of asuras, and on the other, by a team of devas


The Mandara Mountain Range
forms the Nigeria-Cameroon Border


Kapsiki Peak is one of the most photographed
p
arts of the Mandara Mountains. 
Wikipedia states that the Kapsiki Peak, also called the Rhumsiki 'plug' (remnant of a dormant volcano) is very obviously phallic and traditionally barren women prayed at its foot". In the Vedic tradition, women make offerings of the 'mandara flower' to  the 'Shivalingas' - the symbol of Lord Shiva. 

For a note on the Sanskrit connection to  the name Niger click here.

Suggested Links:


1. The story of the Niger
2. Celebrated Travels and Travellers, by Jules Verne
3. Mt. Kesha
4. Journal of an Expedition to Explore the course and the termination of the Niger by Richard. Lander and John Lander
5. The Northern Star or Yorkshire Magazine: Conjectures Concerning the River Niger
6. The Jouranla of a Mission to the Niger by Mungo Park
7. The London Encyclopedia: Niger