Tuesday, 30 December 2014

THE ANCIENT CITY OF 'HARAN' IN TURKEY - ABODE OF LORD SHIVA?

Located near the Turkish- Syrian border in the middle of an arid plain, Haran is one of the oldest Mesopotamian settlements.


Ancient Haran, located north of Euphrates River.


T
he settlement of Haran is mentioned in a treaty which was enacted in the Temple of Sin (Sin was the Mesopotamian Moon God) at Haran in thereign of Hammurabi (1728-1686 BC). Several Assyrian kings describe rebuilding this temple. The last king of Babylon, Nabonidus (556-539 BC) also rebuilt the Temple of Sin. Excavations have revealed a large mud-brick building which dates to the end of the 3rd millennium BC. It is thought this might be the predecessor to the temple of the Sumerian and Mesopotamian Moon-God Sin.


Haran, the site of Temple of the 
Moon God named 'Sin'

On the left is Stele of Babylonian King Nabonidus 
who rebuilt the Temple of Sin during 556-539 BC, 
Centre: Star and Crescent of Haran coin, 
Right: Sign of Moon God 'Sin' 

Archaeologists have uncovered temples to the Moon-god Sin throughout the Middle East. The worship of the Moon God was the dominant religion of the Sumerians, Mesopotamians, the Babylonians, Assyrians and the Akkadians. 

The insignia of the Moon God Sin bears a remarkable likeness to that of the Vedic God Shiva. In fact, Shiva is also known as Som-nath (सोमनाथ) which means 'Lord of the Moon'. Shiva's insignia includes the crescent moon and the bull called 'Vrishabha' or 'Nandi' who was the vehicle of Lord Shiva. 


The earliest known form of the name 'Sin' is 'Suen' which may well be a distortion of the Sanskrit 'Shivam' - the name of the Vedic Moon God. What is even more interesting is that 'Haran' (हरन), is another name for Lord Shiva.

Lord Shiva with crescent moon
in his matted hair top-knot 


Lord Shiva with Vrishabha or
Nandi the bull
who is his vehicle.



Lord Shiva also known as 'Haran'
 is the Vedic Moon God in
 semi-Padmasana posture.

Insignia of the Moon God 'Sin'
of Haran.  Notice the crossed-legged posture akin to 

yogic semi-Padmasana of Shiva, the crescent moon
 and the bulls which were
the vehicles of the moon-god 'Sin'. 

Lord HariHaran at Brihadisvara temple complex,
Gangaikondacholapuram, TamilNadu, India

Lord Hari-Haran is part Vishnu, part Shiva
Hari is Vishnu.
Haran is Shiva.


Suggested Readings:
1. Allah - The Moon God

Monday, 22 December 2014

'NAGAR', THE ANCIENT CIVILIZATION OF SYRIA - AND A BIT ABOUT VEDIC GODS & GODDESSES

Ancient Nagar, now known as Tell Brak is a settlement mound, in the Upper Khabur area in north-eastern Syria. With an area of 320 acres it is one of the largest archaeological sites in northern Mesopotamia. In 1937-39, British archaeologist Max Mallowan discovered the ancient Al-Ayoun Temple and King Naram Sin's Palace at this site.

The name Nagar is interesting for 'nagar' (नगर) is Sanskrit for 'city' or 'settlement'. So is the name Naram Sin, it seems to be a deviation of the Sanskrit 'narsimha' meaning 'man-lion', a name fit for a king. Narsimha is also another name for the fourth avatar of the Vedic God Vishnu. Here are two steles of the Akkadian King Naram Sin - the link to man-lion is evident :



Naram Sin, the Akadian King (2270-2230 BC).
'Narasi
mhameans 'man-lion' in Sanskrit.



Naram Sin was also depicted with a false beard and a crown-
giving hi
m resemblance to a lion. Was
he known as
Narasimha rather than Naram-Sin?

Photo: www.journeytothesource.info/sumer.html

The closest city to ancient Nagar, now called Tell Brak is Damascus. Damascus, Edward Pococke wrote in his book 'India in Greece', derives its name from Sanskrit 'dharma' (धर्म). He supports his argument by putting forth the view that Vedic 'dharma' distorts to 'dham
ma'  just as it does in Buddhism - he says Damascus was the city of Dharma. 

Nagar is the site of some very curious artefacts  - the most famous of them are the 'eye idols'. Hundreds were found in a temple near the site, perhaps a representation of the gods that were worshipped at the time. Take a look:


The 'eye idols' of Nagar, Syria
are dated to 3200 BC
Figurines from ancient Nagar Civilization, Syria.

Here is an artefact that the Interpol reported had been smuggled out from a Syrian site into Lebanon. This news and photo was reported on 13th December, 2013 by www.alapn.com, the website of a prestigious literary and cultural news agency in Damascus:


An artifact from a Syrian archaeological site.
This looks like a depiction of Sri Rama, Lakshmana and Sita

or Subhadra, Sri Krishna and Balarama.
Notice the attire.

The eye idols of ancient Nagar civilization of Syria, and the above artifact bear a remarkable resemblance to the gods and goddesses of India, especially the Sri Jaggan Nath idols and Naina Devi. See pictures below:


The large-eyed idols of Balarama, Subhadra and Sri Krishna
Naina Devi, the large eyed Vedic goddess.


Vedic scriptures and strotrams describe the
gods and goddess to have eyes which are large,
deep blue and shaped like lotus-petals.

Adi Sankara in his 'Ardhanarishwara stotram' describes the eyes of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva hence:

'vishAlanIlotpalalochanAyai vikAsipa~NkeruhalochanAya'
Her eyes are large like a blue lotus and the Lord's eyes are like the petal of a blossomed lotus'.

Is it possible that the eye idols of Syria bear a connection to the Vedic Gods and Goddess. Although Nagar is in north-eastern Syria, both the decoration and plan of the Eye Temple resemble that of south Mesopotamian temples, such as those in Uruk and Eridu.


Other Syrian artefact also bear resemblance to Indian gods and goddesses in attire and hand gestures such as the one below:


The Golden Statuette, Syria.
Notice the hand gesture.

This hand gesture common to India
gods is also seen in the Syrian artefact above
.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

FROM SANSKRIT 'BHAGVAN' TO THE ANCIENT CITY OF 'BAGHDAD' - AND A BIT ABOUT GOD

English etymological dictionaries such as the Webster's Dictionary trace the origin of the word 'god' to Old Frisian 'Du', which it is said emerged from Proto Germanic* word 'guthan' - originally from Sanskrit 'huta' (हूत) which is the equivalent of 'that which is invoked'. 

(Note: The Germanic people were an ethno-linguistic group of people generally considered less civilized than Celtic group of people that included the Gauls* and the Druids. The Frisians belonged to the physically hardened but less refined Germanic group of tribes.Old Frisian language is the most closely related language to Old English.) 

*On an aside, the name Gaul is derived from the Germanic term walha or foreigner which can be traced via its Proto-Germanic form walhiska, ultimately to the Sanskrit 'videshi' (विदेशी) meaning 'foreigner'. The same root resulted in names such as 'Welsh' and 'Wales'.

But back to the word 'god'. Here is a quote from the Readers' Digest, Family Word Finder-

"Our word 'god' goes back via Germanic to Indo-European, in which a corresponding ancestor form meant 'invoked one'. The word’s only surviving non-Germanic relative is Sanskrit hu, invoke the gods, a form which appears in the Rig Veda, most ancient of Hindu scriptures: puru-hutas, “much invoked,” epithet of the rain-and-thunder god Indra."
                                         - (From Reader's Digest, Family Word Finder, page 351) (Originally published by The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc., Pleasantville New York, Montreal; Copyright (C) 1975)

In his book 'Some Missing Chapters of World History', author P.N. Oak traces the etymology of the word 'god' in detail. P.N Oak was often dismissed for his so called Hindu-Centric revisionism'. But was there any substance to his claims or were they baseless?

Here is a quote from the above mentioned book. "Pagan is a mal-pronunciation of the Vedic term Bhagvan or the supreme deity.... the name Bhagvad as in Bhagvad Geeta came to be pronounced as 'pagvad' thence leading to the French word 'pagoda' i.e. temple. Its last syllable 'god' came to signify the deity inside the temple. The term Baghdad, capital of Iraq is of the same derivation and was originally 'Bhagvad Nagar' - the city of God."


Is the word 'pagan' a mal-pronunciation of 'Bhagvan' as P.N.Oak had argued? English etymological dictionaries give no convincing source of the word 'pagan' except that its meaning came to be associated with Latin paganus meaning 'villager' or 'rustic', which stems from from PIE root *pag' meaning 'fixed' in reference to the conservative rustic villagers who did not give up their ancient beliefs  and gods for Christianity. Later, in Christian Latin 'pagan' became 'heathen' which referred to those who were not enrolled in the army of Christ.

But there is a problem with the view that 'pagan' stems from 'paganus' meaning villager, because at them time when the term 'pagan' was coined, it was the cities of the Roman Empire and not the rustic areas that were the centres of 'paganism'. Besides 'paganus' acquired its meaning of being 'uncultured' or 'backward' or 'villager' much later in Church history rather than at the time of the first conversions.

Though it is not accepted that the word 'pagan' is a distortion of the Rig Vedic 'bhagvan', it is accepted that the word 'pagan' changed to 'heathen'. P.N.Oak of course says that 'bhagvan', 'pagan' and 'heathen' are the same word.

There is one argument that lends credit to his view. It is one of the 3 fundamental rules of sound shift in languages as they change over time (known as Grimm's Law) that often the sound 'bh' changes to 'b' to 'p'. Grimm's law was the first non-trivial systematic sound change to be discovered in linguistics; its formulation was a turning point in the development of linguistics. Theis sound shift may be represented as follows:

bʰ > b > p > ɸ

It is evident from the rule above that the sound 'bh' in 'bhagvan' could have indeed changed to 'p' of 'pagan'.

Mainline etymological dictionaries hold that 'pagoda' stems fromTamil 'pagavadi' house belonging to a deity', originally from Sanskrit 'bhagavati' (भगवती)   or 'goddess'. 'Pagode' is indeed French for 'temple' as P.N. Oak has put forth.

And what is the ancient name of Baghdad. P.N. Oak states it was 'Bhagvad' Nagar. The name Baghdad is pre-Islam and is evident from the fact that the name 'Baghdadu' has been inscribed on Assyrian cuneiform and Babylonian records going back to at least 2000 BC. By the times of Nebuchadnezzar (600 BC) the name had changed to Bagh-dadu.

Though the name Baghvad Nagar does not appear on the maps of ancient Iraq (Sumerian/ Mesopotamian/ Babylonian Region) yet if the names of other ancient cities and towns is any indication, the name Bhagvad Nagar fits right in. 

Notice the names Kish, Lagash, Umma
and of course Sumer.

And though there is no Nagar in the region where Baghdad is located, an ancient tell (ancient settlement mound) now called Tell Brak, the largest ancient archaeological sites of Mesopotamia, in present day Syria was named 'Nagar' in antiquity.

Nagar, an ancient archaeological Mesopotamian
site in present day Syria,
is now known as Tell Brak


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.

Notice some more Sanskrit names in the following map.


Nippur, Anshan,  Subartu!
Subartu was also known as 'Subartam'.

A name such as 'Bagvad' on these ancient maps would therefore be no big surprise. Hence, to dismiss the views presented by researcher P.N.Oak without undergoing a review of mainline history may be a little premature.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

ANCIENT VOYAGE FROM INDIA TO JAVA, SUMATRA AND BALI IN THE VALMIKI RAMAYANA

Here is the verse from Ramayana that mentions the islands of Java and Sumatra.


यत्नवन्तो यव द्वीपम् सप्त राज्य उपशोभितम् |
सुवर्ण रूप्यकम् द्वीपम् सुवर्ण आकर मण्डितम् || ४-४०-३०

The Ramayana clearly states the sea-route from Jambhudvipa (India) starting from its east coast to what is today known as Indonesia. The route mentions the islands of Java & Sumatra and Shalmali Dwipa which is identified as Australia. 

The Ramayana also states that located on the further end of Shalmali Dwipa (Australia) as we travel from India, is located a massive structure that Valmiki, the author of Ramayana, writes was constructed by the celestial architect Vishwakarma, its peak as high as that of Mount Kailash! For more about the voyage to Shalmali Dwipa and the megalithic structure constructed by Vishwakarma click here .


In the times of the Ramayana Java was known as Yava. Some sources say that Java was known for its barley terraced fields and hence its name - yava (यव) which in Sanskrit means 'barley'.

The name Java is a distortion of Yava. Here is a quote from www.valmikiramayan.net about the shift of the name Yava to Java, "Regarding the difference between the names of Yava and Java the word ya in Sanskrit becomes ja in vernaculars. Hence Yava became Java, as 'simha puri' or 'lion-city' became the present day Singapore"

The 9th century Prambanan Shiva Temple in Java

On this point of Yava/Java island as said in Ramayana, Sri Kedarnath Basu notes in his 'Hindu Civilization': 'The reader may note here that java dwiipa described as consisting of seven kingdoms was probably the group of islands now called the Indian Archipelago, of which Java was at that time the most powerful'

Murajambi Temple, Sumatra

Sumatra was known in ancient times by its Sanskrit name of 'Swarnadwipa' (Island of Gold) as is mentioned in the Ramayana. Its other name was Svarnabhumi (सुवर्ण भूमि) or 'Land of Gold', because of the gold deposits of the island's highland. Later the name Svarna (सुवर्ण) meaning 'gold' changed to 'Samudra' (समुद्र) meaning 'ocean' and finally 'samudra' distorted into 'Sumatra'.


Another inhabited island in the region mentioned in the Ramayana is the 'Rupayakam dvipa' - which means the 'silvern island'. Sometime in the 7th century AD, its name changed to 'Bali' from its name then which was 'Jambrena'. It is said that with the arrival of a maharishi by the name Markandeya around 7th century, clearing of forests and a ritual planting of Panca Dhatu (पंचधातु) , namely the five types of elements that are believed to be able to withstand the hazards was undertaken. The Maharishi taught meditation and worship of the Gods with offerings that contained three elements: water, fire and fragrant flowers. The island therefore came to be named after the  word 'offering' which is 'bali' (बलि) in Sanskrit.

A scene from the Ramayana
in a Bali Opera