Tuesday, 24 June 2014

THE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM - THE 'LAKSHMI ' AND 'LAKSHMAN' CONNECTION

There is much debate on the origins and etymology of the name Bethlehem. Known as Bayt Lahm in Arabic literally meaning 'House of Meat',  and Bet Lehem in Hebrew where it means 'House of Bread'; Bethlehem is the capital of Palestine. The Hebrew Bible identifies Bethlehem as the city of David. The New Testament identifies Bethlehem as the birthplace of Jesus. 

However, 'House of Bead' or 'House of Meat' does not do the name of the town  Bethlehem any justice. A historical reference to the town appears in the Amarna Letters (c. 1400 BC) where Bethlehem is known as Bit-Lahmi. It is thought that the similarity of this name to its modern forms indicates that this was a settlement of the Canaanites, a pre-Jewish people who lived in Israel. 

Edward Pococke, in his book 'India in Greece' states that the Cannanites were the people of Kanha, or Krishna, the Vedic God,who after the devastation of the Mahabharata war moved westwards from India. There is much authenticity in this argument and the Jewish Encyopeadia attests to this fact.

In his book 'The uttermost part of the Earth: a Guide to places in the Bible', Richard R Losch traces the name Bit Lahmi  of the Amarna Letters to Lachmo, the Akkadian god of fertility. The Akkadian civilization flourished around 3000 BC. Lachomo, the Akkadian God was worshiped by the Canaanites as Lachma. They also worshipped Goddess Lachama as his wife. 

About 1000 years before the Hebrews arrived in Israel, the Cannanites erected a temple to worship the god on the hill now known as the Hill of the Nativity in the town of Beit Lachama. Beit Lachama was fertile and had a good water supply. When the Jews came in they would naturally not worship the Canan god Lachma and the distortion of interpretations began.  

William F. Albright, an American archaeologist  and Biblical Scholar states in his research that, to the Cannaites Beit Lachama meant 'Temple of the God Lakhmu', which later distorted to 'House of Bread' in Hebrew & Aramaic and to 'House of Meat' in Arabic. The etymology of Lakhmu and why the God had that name is unknown.

But leads can be taken from the Indian pantheon of Vedic Gods. The Cannanite Gods seemed to have origins common with India as is evident from the following Cannanite image. 

The posture of a Cannnite (pre Jewish Israel) God seated on the left
shows a close link to Indian sculpture.

There are two Vedic Gods or figures that have names close to Cannanite God Lachmu and Goddess Lachamu. In the Indian scriptures two well known names are - 1. the Goddess Laksmi (लक्ष्मी) - the goddess of wealth and prosperity, and 2. the brother of Sri Rama whose name was Lakshmana (लक्ष्मण). 'Lakshmi' (
लक्ष्मी) in Sanskrit means 'wealth', 'fortune' or a 'mark'. 'Lakshman' (लक्ष्मण) means 'lucky' or 'fortunate'.

Cannanite Goddess of Fertility -
There is much confusion about
the names (God) Lachma and its female
form (Goddess)  Lachama.

The Cannanite Goddess Astrate
depicted here with snakes and skulls
much like the Vedic Goddess Kali.

Here is a Canaanite Goddess
wearing a 'tilak'
on her forehead.

That the pre-Jewish names of places in the state of Canaan (now Israel) are definitely of Indian origin cannot be disputed. Canaan is referred to in the Amarna Letters as 'Kinahhu', while other sources of the Egyptian New Kingdom mention numerous military campaigns conducted in a place called 'Ka-na-na' - all these ancient names are cognates to the name 'Kanha' (कान्हा) - the name of Sri Krishna who was also known as 'Kanan' (कानन) and 'Kishen' (किशन).

To the East of Phoenicia lies the province of Gallile which gets its name from the 'Sea of Galilee', which is also known as Kinneret or Lake Gennesaret. In Sanskrit, 'sara' (सर) means 'lake', 'sarat' (सरत्) means 'flowing', and 'sarita' (सरित्) means 'river'. The word 'ghanasara' (घनसार) means 'water' - the 'ghana' here indicating 'deep' or 'immense' amount of water.

One of the largest rivers in Israel, is known as the Kishon (also called Kishen).The Kishon flows in the region known as Phoenicia. In the same province are located the towns of 'Ramah' and 'Kanah'. 
Then there is the town of 'Ramathiam' in the province of Judea - and yet another town by the name of 'Ramah' in Judea which is different from the one located in Phoenicia. 


And it is therefore likely that Beit Lachamo gets its name from Lakshmana, the brother of Sri Rama. But since Beit Lachamo was a land of plenty and prosperity, its name could have been derived from Lakshmi, the name of the Vedic Goddess of wealth. But how did the Vedic names reach Canaan?

The Jewish Encyclopedia, referring to the writing of Clearchus of Soli, who was the disciple of Aristotle and wrote extensively around 320 BCE on eastern cultures, states that Aristotle was of the view that the Hebrews were descendants of the Indian philosophers.

Titus Flavius Josephus was a first-century Romano-Jewish scholar, historian and hagiographer, who was born in Jerusalem. In his works, Josephus quotes the writings of Clearchus of Soli. He relates the story of a dialogue between Aristole and a Jewish scholar. He quotes Clearchus thus, "In his first book on Sleep he relates of Aristotle, his master, that he had a discourse with a Jew; and his own account was that what this Jew said merited admiration...... To speak of the race first, the man was a Jew by birth and came from Cœlesyria [Palestine]. These Jews are derived from the philosophers of India. In India the philosophers call themselves Kalani, and in Syria Jews, taking their name from the country they inhabit ... the name of their capital is rather difficult to pronounce: they call it Jerusalem". For more on this click here.

Godfrey Higgins states in his book 'Anacalpysis', "Megasthenes, who was sent to India by Seleucus Nicator, about 300 years before Christ, and whose accounts are every day acquiring additional credit, says that the Jews 'were an Indian tribe called Kalani...".


One of the best known Indian philosophers in recent times (roughly 1100 AD) who is known by a similar title is Kalhana, who wrote the Rajatarangini - a chronicle of the ancient kings of India.

The word 'Beth' appears in many names of Biblical sites such as Bethsaida, Betahbara, Bethany, Bethal and so on. Bethsaida was the site of many miracles, Bethabara was a site to where Jesus often retreated to, Bethal was the site where Jacob was favoured with a heavenly vision. It may well be that the Cannanite Beit is a distortion of the Sanskrit 'math' (मठ्) meaning 'dwelling'. India itself has many 'math' which are the ancient seats of learning and tapasya.

Suggested Readings:
1. Who was Abraham?
2. The Phoenicians - Global Navigators
3. Encyclopedia of Ancient Dieties
4. Jewish Encyclopedia
5. The Cottage Bible - Volume 2 edited by Thomas Williams
6. A Study in Oriental History by Fredrick Carl Eiselen

Monday, 16 June 2014

THE BIRTH OF 'VANARAS' - AN INSTANCE OF GENETIC ENGINEERING IN VALMIKI RAMAYANA

It is said that the 'monkey-like' Vanara race of the Ramayana is procreated by numerous gods or celestials who endowed them with a mighty physique and super-human power to come to the help of Sri Rama in the inevitable war with Ravana which was to occur in the future.

The vanaras were produced from the genetic material taken from many 'celestial species' and animals such as the 'bear' and 'monkeys'. No where does the Ramayana say that the 'vanaras' were 'monkeys' - nor does it say that any genetic material was taken from 
the 'human' species.

In the Bala- Kanda, Section 17, Verses 3-6, it is
 stated that Bramha himself addressed the 'celestials' and said that monkey-shaped progeny equaling Vishnu's valour be procreated from the bodies of prominent apsaras and gandharvas, from the girls of yakshas and pannagas, and also from the bodies of kinnaraas, (kinnaras are celestial musicians) 'she-vidyaadharaas' (विद्याधर) meaning 'fairy', and from 'she-rikshas' (ऋक्ष) meaning 'bear' and 'she-monkeys'. 




A painting of  a 'Flying Apsara'
at the ancient Ajanta Caves, Aurnagabad, India



A Kinnara depicted on the left and an Apsara on the rigt
Pawon Temple in Java, Indonesia.
Kinnaras are 'half human and half-horse'



A 'Yaksha' and 'Yakshini'
depicted on a temple panel
Madya Pradesh, India


A Vidyadhara couple.
Vidhyadharas are 'demi-gods'
in the Vedic pantheon.


The 'Pannaga' were
a half human-half serpent race

Ramayana says that the ensuing species shall be the wizards of miracles. In travel they shall have the speed of air, bestowed with intellect they shall be the knowers of all 'ideas', and with their divine physique they shall be in-eliminable, they shall be endowed with all the assault- power of missiles, and they shall be as untiring in their efforts as the celestials who lived on 'amrita', and 'ambrosia' were.

This pedigree that is being genetically engineered in Bala-kanda are were not given the label of monkeys! They are look-alike of monkeys but not monkeys. They were vaana ruupiNam or 'resembling monkeys', as said in the verse. The word vanara is 'vane carati iti vanara' because 'they range far and wide over forests hence they are called 'vanaras'', 'vana' (वन) meaning 'forest'. They are not exactly a 'monkey race'. (Inputs from 'www.valmikiramayan.net)

The last verse of Section 17 of Bala -Kanda of Ramayana says that the 'gods' procreate many thousands of such valorous and guise changing entities who with their immeasurable strength and bravery are manifest for the elimination of the demon Ravana. It is obvious that the vanara-commandos are genetically engineered, strong enough for the task of assisting in the war against Ravana. Click here for a bit more.

Monday, 9 June 2014

THE EARLIEST CIVILIZATIONS OF CENTRAL ASIA AND THEIR SANSKRIT NAMES

The earliest civilizations of the Middle East and their Sanskrit names:

1. Sumer (3200 BC) is named after mountain Meru whose name appears repeatedly in Vedic scriptures, manuscripts and texts of ancient India. Often interpreted as the name of a mountain, the more scientific interpretation is that Meru represents the middle-point of the the axis of the earth, one end of the axis is known as Sumeru, the other end as Kumeru. This is evident from the fact that th
e cerebro-spinal nerve of the human body is known as 'mastishk-meru-cheta' (मस्तिष्क-मेरु-चेता) in Sanskrit, 'meru' meaning 'spine'.


The earliest civilizations of the Middle East

a. Sumerian Dynasty of Kush: Forbidden archaeology and new excavations point to the fact that the extant of the area depicted in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata far exceeds the geographical limits of present day India. The story of the Ramayana and the Mahabharat is the history of the world. Because the knowledge of world history is preserved in India, it is erroneously believed that the geographical scope of the Ramayana and Mahabharat  is also limited to India. 

The word Maha-Bharat itself implies Pan-Bharat or all those areas which were culturally related to Bharat. The Mahabharata was once known as 'Jaya'- meaning 'victory' - its scope extending far beyond India.

The Dynasty of Kish or Kush is believed to be named after the son of Sri Rama whose name was Kush. Sri Rama and his brothers establish their sons as the kings of various regions. The last chapter of the Uttara Kand Section of Valmiki Ramayana describes the story of the time when Sri Rama, Bharata and Shatrugna happily ascend a 'heavenly vehicle' (which seems much like a massive spaceship rather than 'heaven') and leave their kingdom to their sons.

The Ramayana has stayed alive in the memory of the world because its influence was much wider than Ayodhya in India.

b. Dynasty of Lagash: The Sumerian city of Lagash was also known as 
Sirpurla and was located to the north-west of the confluence of the Euphrates and Tigris. The name 'Sirpurla' probably emerges from Sanskrit 'Surpura' (सुरपुर) which means 'city of gods', also 'heaven'. Its neighboring city was named 'Umma', probably a distortion of 'Uma', the name of the consort of Lord Shiva.


The Sumerian cities of Sippar and Nippur are located on the path of the ancient Euphrates. The 'par 'and 'pur' are probable corruptions of the Sanskrit 'pura' meaning 'town' or 'city'. The first syllable in both names are short and may have meanings in many languages, however as a combination word Nippur would mean the 'low lying city', nIpa (नीप) in Sanskrit meaning that which is situated on the 'lower side', and 'nipa' (निप) 'that which absorbs' or 'soaks'. A corruption of any number of words, 'sipa' could be a distortion of 'ksipa' (क्षिप्) which means 'to pour'. That would make 'Sippar', the 'city that poured' (the waters of Euphrates) and 'Nippur' located at the lower end of the water flow making it 'the city that receives' (the waters of the Euphrates). Some historians trace the roots of the name Nippur to the word 'Nabha'. 'Nabhapur' - hence the city of the 'Nabhas'. Others have linked the name Sippar to Shiva-pura, the 'city of Lord Shiva' of whom 'Uma' was the consort - hence the city of Umma mentioned above.

2. The Akkadian Empire is also referred to as Agade and Uri. One theory holds that Agade was situated opposite Sippar on the left bank of the Euphrates, and was perhaps the 
oldest part of the city of Sippar. 'Agad' (अगद) in Sanskrit means 'magic jewel', 'Ur' (उर) means 'canal' and 'Uru' (उरु) means 'excellent'. Uru was also the name of one of the sons of Manu.

Notice names such as 'Nagar' ( नगर ) meaning town
and 'Haran' probably from Sanskrit 'Harani' (हरणि)
meaning 'water-channel'. Or 'Harani' could be
named after 'Hari' (हरी) meaning 'god' in Sanskrit.

Click here and here to read about the Sanskrit links to the names Euphrates and Tigris.

Sumerian cities have names that have a remarkable resemblance to Sanskrit names. An example is 'Eshnunna', 'Esha' (ईश) means 'powerful', 'Annuna' (अनून) means 'whole' or 'having full power'. One of the kings of Esnunna was 'Naram-Suen' or 'Narem-Sin' probably 'Narsimha' (नरसिंह) meaning the 'Lion-Man', another King was named 'Ishar-Ramashshu' which is close to 'Isha Rama' followed by a suffix', and yet another 'Asurawasu', which is identical to 'Asura-Vasu' and so on.