Monday, November 29, 2021

What are the origins of Vedic culture?

 The oldest civilization in the world is the Mesopotamian (3500-500 BCE).  It flourished in Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. Later, the Indus Valley Civilization (3300-1900 BCE) had its heyday in western India, Pakistan, and eastern Afghanistan.  Ancient Egyptian civilization prospered in Egypt during 3150-30 BCE.  Greek civilization ruled the roost between 2700-479 BCE and Mayan civilization between 2600 BCE and 900 CE.  Since then, Chinese, Persian, and Roman civilizations had flourished.  Indus civilization is the aboriginal civilization of India.  It had nothing to do with Aryans or Vedic orthodox civilisation. That they (Aryans) created  gods  and all the myths written about those gods were fabricated after the Buddha was confirmed beyond doubt.  In a way, their structures were demolished and turned into temples as part of a campaign to destroy Jainism and Buddhism.  In order to undermine the uniqueness of the Buddha, he was made one of the ten incarnations (Dashavataras), and with Buddha’s inspiration Lord Rama was created with his (Buddha’s) features.  All this is nothing new.  Researchers, historians, anthropologists, and social activists have studied and established with impeccable evidence. There is no need now to talk about them. But, it is important to note how and what did  the preachers of the Vedic religion derive from the religious beliefs of civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Greece as inputs in ‘making’ their gods.  Astrology and the traditional Indian system of architecture (Vaasthu) did not originate here, they were all known and established by the ancient Babylonians.  If you go into the details of the ancient Egyptian civilization – you can find out how they helped to establish the Vedic religion in our country.

Pyramids attract people even today

We are told that Egyptian civilization is among the most ancient.  The pyramids and mummies in GIZA still attract world attention.  This civilization dates back to three thousand BCE. There are monotheistic (worshipping one God) religions and many polytheistic (worshipping many gods) religions.  Polytheism has been there in Egypt since the very beginning.  They call it ‘Mat‌’.  It was through this belief that they felt they could keep nature under their control.  They realized that truth, harmony, order, good heartedness, law, morality, justice, etc. were all essential in life.  Had the Mat there become a monastery here?  Well, we don’t know yet.

They thought that the journey of life on this earth was short-lived and that there would be life in another world even after death.  Most people thought that more gods they prayed the better. As per God’s will, human beings on earth should depend on each other and reach the set goals.  Also Pharaoh (PHARAOH), the ruler, was said to be the mediator between gods and the people, hence everyone has to be obedient to the king.  It is their belief that if there is to be order in this universe, it is only possible with Pharaoh since he only can pacify the gods.  From 3150 BCE to 30 BCE, the Egyptians worshiped about two thousand deities.  Some gods and goddesses have been forgotten in course of time. Some details of this aspect retained in the artefacts are still available.

The complexity of Egyptian civilization

The duties and obligations of some deities are the same.  There are two reasons for this: 1. The complexity of Egyptian civilization 2. The attributes, abilities, and significance of the gods and goddesses keep changing according to the political thinking of the rulers (pharaoh) over time.  In some places local deities were also worshiped.  Although it has been there for thousands of years, Egyptian civilization could not bring about a ‘unified’ culture.  It remains a complex culture.  Anyway, I will try to make the matters simple.  The most important deities are:  AMUN-RA means the sun god who is more powerful and important than any other Egyptian deity.  He travels in his boat on skyline.  Every night he goes to the worlds under him and defeats serpent god called ‘Epophys’ and takes birth again the next morning.  The dawn is considered by the Egyptians to be birth.  All the kings on earth take ‘Ra’ as an ideal.  Gods and goddesses have different levels of status in Egyptian civilization. In the fourth row there are four individuals – Osiris (OSIRIS-Farah), ISIS (His Queen), Seth (SET-God of Destruction), Nifty (NEPHTHYS – Owner of Heaven).  They have two in the third row above them.  They are Zeb‌ (GEB- earth god) Nut‌ (NUT – sky god).  Here the earth and the sky were kept at the same level.  They have in the upper level Shu (SHU – air god) and Tefnut (TEFNUT -rain goddess).  Even at this level a god kept a goddess are kept on the same level.  This is the second row.  The deities at levels 2, 3, and 4 are given equal representation.  Above all, 4 + 2 + 2 = 8 above all the gods and goddesses, the first being RA (Sun).  He is omnipotent.  Swayambhuva-one who has created himself.

A brief look at gods and goddesses

Let’s take a brief look at these gods and goddesses!  The one in the fourth row is Osiris‌.  He was the Farah (King).  Osiris’s wife is Isis. Osiris’ brother – Seth is the god of destruction.  Seth stealthily puts Osiris in a coffin (COFFIN) and throws in into River Nile.  Even then his anger did not subside. He cut the coffin into pieces.  ISIS‌ has been searching for her husband’s body for a long time.  Eventually she found the body in BYBLOS‌ and brought it to Egypt.  ISIS was assisted in this work by Nephthys and ANUBIS.  At last Osiris’ body parts were searched, assembled  and a methodical funeral was performed.  However, Queen Isis was pregnant before her husband’s death.  After her husband’s demise, she gives birth to HORUS.  Horus, after growing up, fights with Seth, the killer of his father.  After finally killing Seth, Horus becomes king of Egypt. A destructor was killed by a person who was known for his integrity.  The Egyptians believed it a victory of good over evil.  Since then who ever captured power was known as Farah and he was supposed to be coordinator between the people and ‘Ra’ (Ra is the king of deities and father of creation, the sun).  But here too there is a comparison.  In the story in which the baby in a box is left in the river – the epic writers appear to have used this episode.  It is a myth that God Himself took care of these works and gave them to human beings – or that those who were born with divine character did the writing. This blatant lie has been propagated successfully.

They believed the earth is flat

The Egyptians believed that the earth was flat and that the sky was like a bowl over it.  It is believed that there is another world beneath the earth parallel to the earth, that it is also covered by a sky, and that there is a god of destruction ‘Nu’ (oldest of Egyptian gods and father of Re, the sun god) beyond it. ‘Nu’ has been there even before this creation.  They believe that there is a mystical place called DUAT in the following world, where death and rebirth are all determined.  It is believed that ‘Ra’ travels  throughout the day and also travels through the underworld at night, from that place called Duat‌, encounters the god of death and is reborn the next day.  Sunrise is supposed to be a heroic deed.  The Egyptians thought that behind the visible sky, there is an ocean of heaven, and behind it was the paradise of the heavens.  The paradise, heaven of heavens, is what the Greeks call the paradise of fire.

Manuvadis adopted Egyptian mythology

Everyone has to decide for himself or herself whether the Manuvadis adopted the Egyptian mythology as it was or not. The tradition of worshiping most deities is Egyptian.  The concept of life after death, heaven, and rebirth also belongs to Egypt.  While the Egyptians divided their gods into four categories, the Manuvadis divided the people into four strata. The notion that all living beings draw their energy from the sun was there in Egypt as well as here.  But, unlike them, the sun (Ra) is not given the highest position here.  Gods of wind, rain, education, the death were recreated in the same way they were there.  The belief that there is an upper world and a lower world was adopted from Egypt. Another belief that the life of the deceased would be evaluated and reward or punishment is awarded is same there and here. While the burden of the heart of the deceased is weighed in Duat there, Chitragupta examines the account of sins and pious deeds of the deceased in the presence of Lord Yama Dharmaraja, the god of death.  If the ancient Egyptians believed that the earth was flat, the Vedic preachers in India could not think of anything new or innovative to the contrary.  Our people had adopted their idea of earth being flat and created an incarnation of Maha Vishnu as wild boar. When a monster wound up the earth and hid himself in sea, It was Lord Vishnu in the form of wild boar who killed the demon and saved the earth, according to Indian mythology. If the sea is on the earth, where did the demon go along with the earth to hide?  In which sea?  Innocence and ignorance are the same all over the world or so it seems. The beliefs, superstitions, imaginations and illusions are the same all over.

 It is said that the characteristics of the grandfather are passed on to the grandson, but the characteristics of the grandson are not inherited by the grandfather.  Which means the influence of the erstwhile culture would be there on the cultures flourished thereafter. It would not be contrary. It is not enough to boast that we have enlightened the world in matters of morality and spirituality. One has to show the hard evidence. 

 Dr. Devaraju Maharaju

(Author is a well known literary figure, biologist)

Dr. Devaraju Maharaju
The author is a famous litterateur and a Professor in Biology.

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