Saturday, 7 September 2019


Rama is one of the indigenous languages of the Chibchan family spoken by the Rama people on the island of Rama Cay and south of lake Bluefields on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua. Not much is known about the culture of the Rama people. The most ancient records only date up to the times of the Spanish invaders and the travels of Chrstopher Columbus and other European explorers.

The interaction with the outside world was limited. In his paper 'Origin of the name America', dated 1875, Jules Marcou mentions a bit about the Carcas and Rama Indians and states, "..the Carcas and Ramas Indians have always resisted all attempts at civilization; most of them, especially the Ramas are totally savage and allow no one to penetrate into their country; they have remained the same as they were when Colombo visited them in 1502." However, the assumption that the Ramas tribe was uncivilized is incorrect for a study of their language indicates that they had links to the outside world in ancient past and had a robust culture at some point of time. Their language reveals links to India of Vedic times.

About the Ramas country, Marcou states, "..the Ramas call their mountains by the same word to-day as they did in 1502, when Colombo visited them, Amerrique, Amerique, or Americ. These mountains are aurif crous; at their foot lie the gold mines of Libertad and Santo Domingo, and further, the gold of the alluvium or the placers is entirely exhausted, which can only be explained through a previous washing by the Indians themselves; at present the gold is to be found only in the veins of quartz rock".

One derives that the word Amerrique, Amerique or Americ may therefore have something to do with gold. English geologist and naturalist Thomas Belt, in his book The Naturalist in Nicaragua (1874), indicated that the etymology of America came from the Amerrisque range—an important source of gold in the early 16th century. 

The word for 'gold' in the Rama language is unfortunately forgotten, yet there are many indicators that with the first syllable 'a' dropped, merrique can be explained by the Sanskrit 'meru' which was the name of the Rig Vedic mountain of gold. In the Rig Veda the heavenly summit of Mt. Meru is described as filled with gold. At times it is also described as a mountain made completely of gold. For more on the Sanskrit connect to the name Amerrique click here.

The Sanskrit word ‘marut’ (मरुत् ) meaning ‘gold’ is itself intertwined with the name of the Rig Vedic golden mountain ‘Meru’. It is therefore not surprising that the gold filled mountains of Hondurus bear the name Amerrique. As Marcou has remarked, “.. it is possible that the name Amerrique was then spoken of as a tribe of Indians, and a country rich in gold, for it is the only gold area of that part of the coast of Hondurus.”

Amerrique is not the only word in the Rama dictionary that can be decoded with the help of Sanskrit. Just like Amerrique can be decoded with Sanskrit by dropping the first syllable 'a', many other Rama words that appear to be cognates of Sanskrit words, can be explained with Sanskrit by dropping the first syllable or the first few letters from the original Rama word. Others are close cognates just by themselves.  Take a look:

Rama language            Sanskrit
abiisa - new                  abhi or abhinav now, new
tataata - big                  taata - big
abung - fire                   abhyus - burn or fire
kaat -stick, wood          kashtha- stick काष्ठ, wood
aikat - cane                   utkat - sugarcane
                                       kata - sugarcane
alauk - burn                 
olati - burn, root word 'ul'

alangkiing - hang         alamb - hang down 
                                      aalind - terrace
alautik - scratch          ullikh - scratch
yuwa - old                    yuva - young
almuumu- joined         yamun - twin
alan-gaangima-float    ganga - flow
aln-gais - tied               grarthat - tied
aln-gatik - cut               ghatak - deadly
alangiaa - hold on        alingan - hold on, clasp, embrace
alan-gwu - drink           gilati - drink
al-paaya - buy or sell   paanya - buy or sell or trade
al-patang - fall             patan - fall
al-pulk - gather            pul or pulyati - gather
al-pungul - to bear fruit phal - fruit phalagra - to bear fruit

al-kwis - talk                kath - tell, say 
almain- invite              amantran - invite
al-tawa - fear               trasa- fear
al-trak - split                trut or trotyati- tear or split
ang-suk - clean           suchi - clean
arii - liquid, juice        aari - flow over, pour
ariisba - empty           rikhta - empty
a-rangut - bit              rad, radati, aradat - bite, bitten
atkul - end                  antakal - at the end
auk - roast,cook,burn aukhya - boiled or being in                                                     cauldron औख्य
tara - big                     tara - high, tata - spread tat- father
awas - light                 avi - sun. aavis - in view
tungul - climb, ascend tunga - mountain, height, top तुङ्ग
ma- not                      na-not ma- not
maal - smell              mal - dirt
malangka - old          mahallaka - old (महल्लक)
maling - kill               mrnati - kill मृणति
ikar - want                 iccha- want
ka - from, at              kutah - from where
at-suk- wash            sudh - wash
ngwu - drink            nigala - drink, swallow
ngaang - bed           paryang - bed
kath - leg of bed      kath - wood stick
uruk- top                  ucca- top
ng-aaarak - plenty   aakra-plenty
ngabuk - blister       budbuda- blister
na-galaali -honey    gaulya - syrup
ngurii - hole             garta - hole
paaya - buy or sell  paanya- buy or sell
saaba-wet                snaana - wet
uula - mud               avila - muddy
uuli - turtle               duli - turtle
tata - father              tata -father
ubusup - sprout      uparuh - sprout
uhuting - cough       utkas - cough
upu-lip- smear         lepa-smear

Suggested Readings:
1.A Dictionary of Rama Language
2. Origin of the name America

Sunday, 25 August 2019


Western etymological dictionaries trace the origin of the word 'God' to Old Frisian 'Du', which it is said had found its way into Old Frisian from Proto Germanic 'guthan' or 'gudan'. That is where the trail ends and 'guthan' therefore remains of unknown origin. In any case Proto-Germanic is a re-engineered language as are all languages which have the prefix 'Proto', and as such any claims made to etymology of words by 'Proto' languages obviously do not have cultural or scriptural literature to support them.

One may therefore turn to Sanskrit to help trace the etymology because it is the oldest language which has scriptures and literature that are understood to this day. One finds that the Old Frisian 'Du' is of Sanskrit origin and stems from 'deva' meaning 'deity' as do other European words for 'god' such as the French 'deu' and Greek 'theos'. The word 'deva' and its feminine form 'devi' appear in myriad ancient Vedic hymns and hence the contention made by sources such as 'wikipedia' that 'deva' and 'devi' appeared in Sanskrit from sources such as Latin or Persian are hugely erroneous for one will not find the origins of these words in Latin, Greek or Persian texts.

In fact, the etymology of 'guthan' and its many variations in European languages, are far better explained by Sanskrit rather than the later references made to them in texts in Europe or Central Asia. 'Guthan' has most likely originated from the Sanskrit 'huta' (हुत), which means 'that which is invoked', 'summoned', 'offered in sacrifice', or 'offered in fire'. The root word 'huta' appears in many forms in Sanskrit such as in the word 'ahuti' meaning 'sacrifice'. 'Huta' also appears repeatedly in Yajur Vedic verses and strotrams or hymns.

Most Hindi speakers are familiar with the word 'ahuti' (आहुति) which means 'invoking' or 'offering' both in Sanskrit and in Hindi, and, are derived from the root word 'huta' (हुत). In fact,  Zoroastrian 'ahura'  of 'Ahura Mazda' may also be derived from Sanskrit, taken to mean 'the invoker' or 'the one who is invoked'.

In the Vedic tradition 'huta' refers to Lord Indra. As an example here is a verse from the Sanskrit Sri Vishnu Sahsranama, a Strotram (hymn) from the ancient Hindu epic Mahabharata:

"Om ananta-huta-bhug-bhoktre-namah". Listen to the verse (with translation) here. The word appears in all its meanings in the verse mentioned above.

Some scholars trace the etymology of 'god' to PIE *ghu-to- "poured," from root *gheu- "to pour, pour a libation". First, the root word *gheu is linked to the Vedic 'ghee' which was the libation poured in a 'huta' (sacrificial fire). Second, the word 'ghee' itself, and the PIE *gheu are derivations of ancient Sanskrit 'ghrta' (घृत) which together appear in combination words such as 'ghRtAhuti' (घृताहुति); 'ghRtAhuti' contains the Sanskrit words for both- 'pouring ghee' and 'offering libations in the huta or sacrificial fire', thus establishing the link to the sacred fire offerings made to Vedic gods.

The source of Greek 'khein' meaning 'to pour' itself arises from the Sanskrit 'ghRtA' via 'ghee'. The Greek phrase 'khute gaia' meaning 'poured earth' which refers to reverence to burial mounds, also emerges from Sanskrit 'ghee'. Without the Vedic collateral of why 'pouring' is sacred, the Greek phrase 'khute gaia' does not convey the meaning.

Sunday, 4 August 2019


In 1888 Helena.P. Blavatsky stated in her book ‘The Secret Doctrine, “…the name of America may one day be found more closely related to Meru the sacred mount in the centre of the seven continents according to the Hindu tradition, than Americus Vespucius.” In the same book Blavatsky quotes Dr. Alexander Wilder (1823-1909), an American physician and Neoplatonist who in his writings had commented earlier, “It is most plausible that the state of Central America where we find the name Americ signifying (like the Hindu Meru we may add) great mountain, gave the continent its name.”

Their contention is not far fetched considering that the legend of Mt. Meru was not unknown in the Mezo-American and Mayan tradition of South America. In fact if we research Mayan culture we find that the legend of Mt. Meru is deeply seeped and entrenched in its culture and tradition. If one analyzes place names and deity names of Mayan and Aztec culture through the Sanskrit lens a whole new world of information emerges that establishes that the American links to the name Meru of the Vedic culture are far more deeply entwined than most people will be comfortable to accept.

First a look at the naming of America in popular literature. In popular literature, only two sources of the name America have generally been put forth. One states that America was named after the Christian name of Italian explorer Americus Vespucci (1454- 1512) who’s name goes by many variations, one such being Amerrigo Vespucius which was mentioned by Blavatsky. The second source of the etymology of America emerges from the name of the Amerrique mountain chain. The Amerrique chain runs like a spine across the Mayan territories of Central America, beginning at the north west and culminating at the south east end at Mosquito Coast.

The name of explorer Americus Vespucius as the source of the name America is widely popular but many doubts have been raised about its authenticity by serious scholars. For example, French geologist Jules Marcao (1824-1898), in his paper ‘The Naming of America’ had put forth the view that Americus Vespucius’s name in the oldest records is mentioned as Alberigo Vespucci and not Americus Vespucius. Marcao also states that his name-change to Americus from Alberigo happened only subsequent to his return to Europe from the Americas- after he had interacted with the native tribes who introduced him to the name Amerrique implying that the name Amerrique already existed much before the arrival of the European invaders into Mayan territories. Also places in Central and Latin America which were named after Spanish invaders, were conventionally done so in the family or surnames of the explorers, rather than their Christian names. Why then would the tradition be broken for one particular explorer. Though Vespucci had worked to make the name America known in Europe after he returned from his voyages the authenticity of Vespucci’s exploration records was found to be questionable because he had amalgamated the myths and legends of South America with a distortion of his own name.

As mentioned above Jules Marcou had put forth the view that the name America was brought back to Europe from the New World where the name had originated; and that Vespucci had changed his name from Alberico to Amerigo to reflect the name of his discovery.

In the late 1970s, in an essay written by Guyanan novelist and educator Jan Carew (1920-2012), titled ‘The Caribbean Writer and Exile’, Carew had stated, “Alberigo Vespucci, and I deliberately use his authentic Christian name …….. was undoubtedly a Florentine dilettante .… an extraordinarily clever one. Why would he otherwise have changed his Christian name after his voyages to the Americas?"

Jan Carew had cited Marcou in support of his argument. In an article published in the Atlantic Monthly in 1875, and later in his work published in the ‘Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution’ dated 1890, Marcou had mentioned that, “…in the archives of Toledo, a letter from Vespucci to the Cardinal dated December 9, 1508, is signed Amerrigo with the double 'r' as in the Indian Amerrique … and between 1508 and 1512, the year in which Vespucci died, at least two other signatures with the Christian name Amerrigo were recorded." The argument was that Alberigo Vespucci had gradually changed his own name to fit in with the name of this newly founded territory around the Amerrique chain in Central America. About Christopher Columbus’s travels to the Americas, Carew stated that they were largely fictions “characterized, with few exceptions, by romantic evasions of truth and voluminous omissions."

Carew summed up his view by making the statement that, “robbing peoples and countries of their indigenous names was one of the cruel games that colonizers played with the colonized…. To rob people or countries of their names is to set in motion a psychic disturbance which can in turn create a permanent crisis of identity. As if to underline this fact, the theft of an important place-name from the heartland of the Americas and the claim that it was a dilettante's Christian name robs the original name of its elemental meaning."

There is yet another reason for finding a simplistic explanation to the naming of America problematic for it completely ignores the fact that the Americas, especially South America, had a long history and a rich culture and it is this indigenous culture which must first be examined to look for the roots of the name America.

Second, a vast expanse of information about this indigenous south American culture emerges and is explained if the Rig Vedic links to this information is studied, which is why Blavatsky and Wilder had made the connection between Mt. Meru and the Ammerique mountains. The Christian missioners of Europe neither had the knowledge nor the inclination to study the Mayan and Aztec civilizations, let alone analyze links with the Rig Vedic civilization. In fact, their intention was the opposite. Their mission was to establish a Christian state in the New World. Their endeavor included eradication of the very traces of the ancient civilization of the Americas (which unfortunately they vastly succeeded in doing) rather than study its depth, and propagate information about its greatness and its links to other civilizations.

Apart from the legend of Mt. Meru itself, two other links to the Rig Vedic tradition emerge if one were to analyze the legends of Mayan and Aztac cultures. The first link refers to the gold fields of Amerrique mountains. To elaborate the above point, one may once again mention American-French geologist Jules Marcou (1824-1898) who in his paper, ‘The Naming of America’ had introduced to the world the name of Ramas, a native Indian tribe which belonged to the gold rich Nicaraguan district of Amerrique. According to Marcou, Amerrique had been visited by both Columbus and Vespucci in their quest for the riches of this region, greatly facilitated by the members of the Ramas tribe who lived in this region. Rama is the name of the Hindu god King, the protagonist of the Hindu epic, Ramayana which also carries the descriptions of Mt. Meru.

This point is further established in the writings of Jonathan Cohen in his research paper ‘The naming of America: Fragments we have Shored against Ourselves’ which was published in 2014. Cohen says that for both the explorers, Columbus and Vespucci, the words Amerrique and gold had become synonymous. The object of Columbus’s travel and later explorers to the Ammerique region was finding the gold mines at the foot of this mountain range, especially at Veragua, Carambaru and Cariai and the native Americans had led Christopher Columbus and later explorers to the gold mines on the River Mico in Veragua. Columbus had stated in his narration, “It is the custom in this territory of Veragua to bury the chief men with all the gold they possess.”, thus establishing his interest in the gold rich land of Ammerique.

That brings us to Blavatsky’s contention that the name America and its source word Amerrique may have more to do with Mt. Meru than anything else. In the Rig Veda the heavenly summit of Mt. Meru is described as filled with gold. At times it is described as a mountain of gold. The Sanskrit word ‘marut’
(मरुत् ) meaning ‘gold’ is itself intertwined with the name of the Rig Vedic golden mountain ‘Meru’. It is therefore not surprising that the gold filled mountains of Hondurus bear the name Amerrique. One may therefore even attribute the etymology of the word Amerrique to the word Meru and marut. As Marcou has remarked, “.. it is possible that the name Amerrique was then spoken of as a tribe of Indians, and a country rich in gold, for it is the only gold area of that part of the coast of Hondurus.”

Carew, on the other hand, inadvertently took a different route to the Sanskritic link to the name Amerrique. To define the elemental meaning of Amerique, Carew had quoted Marcou’s correspondence with Augustus Le Plongeon, an anthropologist, who had studied the Mayan culture in Yucatan. Le Plongeon in his correspondence with Marcou had stated, "The name America or Amerrique in the Mayan language means, a country of perpetually strong wind, or the Land of the Wind, and sometimes the suffix '-ique' and '-ika' can mean not only wind or air but also a spirit that breathes, life itself."

Interestingly Vedic scriptures add collateral to Carew’s interpretation. First, there is ‘Maarutta’ 
(मारुत), the Rig Vedic ‘god of Wind’. His name derives from the Sanskrit word for ‘breath’ and ‘wind’ which again is ‘marutta’ (मारुत), thus establishing the connect to the Mayan meaning of the name Amerrique. It also establishes a connect between Sanskrit and Mayan languages. Thirdly, it indicates that an exchange or interaction existed between the Mayans and the Hindus which was strong enough for scriptural texts and legends to have travelled into the Mayan land. It also indicates that the Mayans were familiar not only with the Hindu concept of Mt. Meru but also with Rig Vedic God of Wind.

There is a lot more evidence still available to provide proof of a Vedic Indic link with the Mayans in spite of the intentional destruction of, and distortion brought in, to the Mayan culture by the Spanish invaders. Surprisingly, in spite of the destruction of evidence by the invaders and erosion brought on by time, what we have today is still potent enough to establish the Rig Vedic-Mayan connection. Here is a look at the remnants of that evidence.

Martin Myrick states in his book ‘The Book of the Last Trumpet Vol 3’, “In the Mayan Bible, the Popul Voh, the story of the creation of mankind by gods, centres around the World Mountain, Paxil. In the beginning, the Mayan Gods raised up the earth as a mountain which lay below the Cosmic Waters, drawing comparison to the rising of Mt. Meru by Hindu Gods & Mt. Mashu by Sumerian gods.” The second syllable of ‘paxil’ that is ‘xil’ maybe decoded with the Sanskrit ‘shila’ which means ‘stone’ or ‘rock’ or ‘mountain’ and appears in many Meso-American names such as Yaxcillan. For more about the Sanskrit connect to the name Yaxcillan click here.

In popular texts Meru is a mountain of gold that stands in the centre of the universe. It is so high that it reaches the heavens and the pole star shines directly above it. In the Hindu tradition, the name Mt. Meru is no ordinary mountain. Quite often Meru represents the middle-point of the axis or spine of the earth, one end of the axis is known as Sumeru, the other end as Kumeru. In Sanskrit, 'meru' also has the meaning 'spine'.

From this scriptural root of the name of Meru we can also easily see how the Rig Veda made its way around the world. Traces of the name Meru are seen in all ancient cultures of the world. Here is a listing:

Sumer, the ancient Central Asian civilization is named after the Meru mountain. In Greece, are located the To-Maros mountains. In his book ‘India in Greece’ author E. Pococke argued that Tomaros is a corruption of the name Sumeru. On the Tomaros are situated the people of Cassiopaei. The Cassiopaei, he said, are the Cashyapa or Kashyapa tribe of Kashmir who had migrated from y-Elumyo-tis or the land of the river Yelum or Jhelum. Mt. Tomaros lies in the southwestern Ioannina region of the Pindus mountain range of Greece. Pococke traces the name 'Pindus' to the 'Pandava' clan of the great Sanskrit epic of ancient India, the Mahabharata.

Meroe is an ancient city on the east bank of the Nile in Sudan extending into present day Ethiopia. This city was the capital of the Kingdom of Cush from 530 BC to AD 350. Pococke made the connection of Meroe with Meru and stated, "Meroe was indebted for its civilisation to India." Tanzania too has a mountain by the name of Mt. Meru, the second highest peak after Mt. Kiliminjaro.

According to the mythology of the Greeks, Bacchus was born from the thigh of 'Jupiter'. In Greek the word for thigh is 'meros' and hence Pocoke stated that from this arose the confusion that Bacchus was born from the 'meros' or thigh of Jupiter. Pococke clarified that Bacchus's legend appeared from the Hindu legend of Mt. Sumeru. The 's' often changes to 't' in Greek, hence the Sanskrit 'Sumeru' that corrupted into 'Sumeros' ultimately changed to Tomaros'.

An even older form of this name can be found in the ancient name for Egypt, Mera or To-mera or Tomaras, loosely translated to mean “of the Pyramid” or ‘Land of Meru’.

In Assyria, Mt. Hermon was known as 'Sinieru' which again is a corruption of Sumeru. In Turkmenistan was located the ancient city of Merv. Merv was a major oasis-city located on the historical Silk Route, near today's city of Mary in Turkmenistan. In ancient Persian texts (that is Avestan texts), Merv is mentioned as Mouru , which is a distortion of the Sanskrit Meru the original name of the first city built on this site. The remnants of the most ancient sacred site of Merv still exist at 'Gonur Tepe'.

When early British settlers, started arriving in Gympie, the site of the ancient Gympie pyramid in Australia in 1858, they recorded the name of Gympie as 'Meru'ndai'. This name was in usage with the aboriginal Australian 'elders' who were known as the 'ngtja guru'.

It is therefore not surprising that Meru like temples exist in Chichen Itza, Palenque, and Tikal in Guatemala and in other parts of Central and South America. 

Other scriptural links between the Mayan civilization and the Rig Vedic civilization also exist. The Mayans had a concept of a double headed turtle-god who had appeared at the dawn of creation and was known as the great Divine Lord. It was from the cracked shell of the double-headed turtle that the Mayan Maize God emerged. The maize God who is the source of fertility is also the central World Tree, an axial symbol equivalent to Mt. Meru.

In the Hindu mythology, Mt. Mandara, a spur of Mt. Meru was torn out at the time of the churning of the oceans, and was used as a churning stick. It was steadied at the bottom of the ocean by Lord Vishnu on his back in his incarnation as a tortoise or turtle called Kurma. In the Meso-American tradition it is the World Tree that rests on the back of the turtle. For more on Vedic-Indic links to Mayan sites of Yaxha, Uxmal in Mexico and Ketumala in Belize click herehere and here.

When the first Spanish chroniclers arrived with the conquistador Pizaro, the Inca explained that Tiahuanaco had been constructed by a race of giants called Huaris before Chamak-pacha, the “period of darkness,” and was already in ruins before their civilization began. They said these giants had been created by Viracocha, also known as Kukulkan to the Maya and Quetzalcoatl to the Aztecs, and Amaru to the Peruvians, a god who came from the heavens. Once again the name Amaru is a distorted form of Meru. For the Sanskrit-Indic links to the name Viracocha click here.

Friday, 23 November 2018


Sculptures of Vedic Gods from the Panchapura Temple, at Pinjore in Haryana, destroyed by Mughal ruler Aurangzeb.

Pinjore is a town in Haryana set at about 1800 feet above sea level in a valley overlooking the Shivalik hills. Pinjore is today only known for Pinjore Gardens, a garden built by the Mughal ruler, Aurangzeb's brother, on the foundations, plinth and ruins of a fabulous ancient Hindu temple. The temple site was then known as Panchapura.

The forgotten story of the temple of Panchapura is only spoken by the remnants of the sculptural stones of the once magnificent temple that lies in ruins today.

Geographically,  Panchpura  lies close to the present day town of Panchkula. Panchkula did not exist till quite recently, but its name describes the geography of this region. In the vicinity of Panchkula (literally five rivers) flow the five tributaries of the once mighty Saraswati. Today these rivers are no more than rivulets (except in the monsoons when the streams are flooded) and are named Tangri (or Dangri), Markanda (or Martand), Kaushalya, Chautang (or Drsadvadi) and the Gaggar-Hakra, its name a corruption of the original more meaningful Sanskrit name, the Gagara-Sagara. 

Haryana,originally Hari-ayana (or abode of God) is of course the region where the ancient rishis of India recorded the Vedas on the banks of Sarasvati. Kurukshetra, the site of the Mahabharata also lies in Haryana.

The architectural style of the ancient temple of Panchapura is the panchayatana. It is similar to the architectural style of the Khajuraho temples. 

The Panchapura Temple was built on the incline of a hill in the Shivalik and had many platforms. The entrance was located at the bottom of the hill. A walk up the steps would take one to the highest platform where the garbha griha was located and housed the principal deity. The bottom most steps of this temple were probably washed by the waters of the Kaushalya river, one of the tributaries of the Saraswati. The Kaushalya still flows nearby though it is has now changed course away from the temple hill.

Today the entrance to this once magnificent temple, which in now the site of Pinjore garden, is located at the uppermost platform, and not at the foot of the hill on the other end, where the Kaushalya flowed. The ruined temple of Panchapura, between 8th and 11th AD came to be known as Bhimadevi. 

The temple ruins have identifiable statues of gods and goddesses, apsaras and ghandharvs, including Shiva, Vishnu, Bhairava and Kubera, but none that of Bhimadevi. It is for this reason that it is believed that the temple was dedicated to Bhimadevi only after the 8th century.

Though the Panchapura temple is often called the Khajuraho of the north, it appears to be far more ancient than Khajuraho. The temple deities are carved out of quartz. Quartz is a sturdy and stable stone and erodes far slower than sand stone. The temples of Khajuraho are carved from sand stone, yet look far less eroded than the temple complex at Pinjore, suggesting that this temple is probably older than the Khajuraho temples, and certainly older than its 1000 year's of known history.

It is said that the Pandavas, during the period of their exile, visited Panchapura which is highly likely because of the proximity of Kurukshetra to Panchapura. A temple either already existed here in those times or perhaps Panchpura became a sacred site once the Pandavas visited it. It is said that the town got the name Panchapura (the town of five) after the visit of the five Pandavas. Others say that the town got its name from the Panchayatana architecture style of the temple.

A Panchayatana style temple is one where the main shrine is surrounded by four subsidiary shrines. The origin of the word Panchayatana stems from two Sanskrit words, Pancha (five) and ayatana (containing). An example of a Panchayatana style temple is the Kandariya Temple at Khajuraho. Below is the floor plan of Kandariya temple which is the same as the temple in Pinjore. You will also notice that the Pinjore garden itself, built by ruining the earlier temple that existed at this spot, has exactly the same floor plan and design.

The Pinjore garden was built by Aurangzeb's brother, on the ruins of the Panchpura temple which had the same foundation plan as the Kandariya Temple of Khajuraho shown above. In a temple of this style the entrance would be at Ardha Mandapa. When the Mughals constructed the Pinjore garden, they reversed the entrance.  The entrance now is at what is marked 6 in this diagram which was once the garbha griha of the temple. 

Pinjore garden was built by Aurangzeb's brother by ruining a Panchayatana architectural styled Hindu temple on a hill in the Shivalik mountain, its foot washed by the Kaushalya river. The river has since then moved its course though it still flows nearby.
The ruins and remains of this temple were dumped in an area adjacent to the Pinjore Garden. A largely unimpressive museum, which is not visited by most people who come to Pinjore (since there are no signages), houses the statues of this once magnificent temple.

Some of the remnant statues are placed in small rooms, others are placed in an unkempt lawn of the museum premises and look rather uninteresting because of poor presentation. Quite a few of statues from this site are placed in museums around India and are hence scattered. Unfortunately, since no one place houses all the remnants of this majestic temple, its glory is diluted. This is an immense loss to the cultural history of Pinjore.

Here are pictures of some of the remains of what was definitely a spectacular temple in antiquity. The craftsmanship of the ancient sculptors is far superior to the Mughal period masons who were directed to, perhaps too hastily, build walls and platforms with the material procured from the ruined temple. The Mughals were crafty enough to leave intact the foundations of all the Hindu structures that they destroyed. Those served as the foundations of the Mughal-Islamic structures that they laid atop the Hindu structures. This saved not only labour and time but also offered a ready made architectural blue print and design. Take a look:

A standing Lord Shiva, Panchapura Temple, Pinjore which was constructed in the vicinity of the Kaushalya River- a tributary of the Sarasvati River

Seated Shiva Panel, Panchpura Temple, Pinjore
The Temple Ruins are now given the name Bhimadevi Complex
The ancient most name of the temple is lost in history.
The Uma-Maheshwara Panel, Panchpura Temple, Pinjore
The Panchpura Temple was constructed in the Panchayatana
architectural style. The temples at Khajuraho are built in the same architectural style.
Goddess Chandwardharini, Panchpura Temple, Pinjore. These statues are made of sturdy quartz. The erosion of the quartz points to the antiquity of this very ancient temple.
Bust of Lord Surya, Panchpura Temple, Pinjore
Most of the statues were destroyed by Aurangzeb's onslaught. 

Another statue of Lord Siva's avatara called Ishana. Panchpura Temple, Pinjore. Very few of these have survived. None are left undamaged.
A damaged statue of Lord Ishana, an incarnation of Lord Shiva, from Panchapura Temple. Pinjore.

A heavily damaged sculpture of Parvati and Ganesha.
Panchapura Temple, Pinjore
Lord Ganesha Panel, Temple of Panchapura, Pinjore.
A panel of two gods, Temple of Panchapura, Pinjore.
Goddess Brahmani, Panchapura Temple, Pinjore. 
Sri Hari Hara, Panchapura Temple, Pinjore.
Goddess Saraswati, Temple of Panchapura, Pinjore.

A Gandharva , Panchapura Temple, Pinjore.

Lord Ganesha, Panchapura Temple, Pinjore.

A broken shikhara of one of the temple mandapas, Panchapura Temple, Pinjore.
Lord Lakulish avatara of Lord Shiva and Parvati,
Temple of Panchapura, Pinjore.
Lord Shiva Panel, Temple of Panchapura, Pinjore.

An Eroded Shivainga, Temple pf Panchapura, Pinjore

Apsara Carvings at Temple of Panchapura, Pinjore.
Eroded Gandharva Carving, Temple of Panchapura, Pinjore.

A panel of dancing apsaras and gandharvas.
Temple of Panchapura, Pinjore.
Another panel of dancing apsaras and gandharvas.
Temple of Panchapura, Pinjore.
The Temple of Panchapura at Pinjore is also sometimes called Khajuraho of north India for its erotic sculpture.
Fragments of broken walls of Temple of Panchapura, Pinjore.

The wall fragments of the Temple of Panchapura even in their ruined state  
are much more artistic than the walls of Pinjore Garden made by the razed material of the temple.
Another wall fragment of the destructed Temple of Panchapura, Pinjore. 

Thursday, 8 November 2018


Notes from Michel Danino's  - The Lost River, On the Trail of River Saraswati:

On 29th June 2002 BBC News ran a program on 'India's Miracle River'. The Sarasvati river's dry bed, it announced,  had been traced in the Rajasthan desert, and there was "startling new evidence that it may not have been a myth after all'. But that wasn't news at all to many Indians.

Most people today, because of information that has come to the fore in the last one decade, are aware that Sarasvati was not a mythical river. What is less well known is that traditionally too, people in India have extensively remembered and recalled the existence of the Sarasvati, calling it by various names such as Ikshumati in the times of the Ramayana, or in later times as Gargara in the upper Himalayan reaches and the Sagara in its lower run. It is currently called Gaggar-Hakra, the names deriving from the Sanskrit Gargara (गर्गर), meaning 'churn' and Hakra a distortion of the Sanskrit Sagara (सागर) meaning 'ocean', an indication that it was well known that the river, rather than disappearing into the desert sands as it later did, had at one time flowed into the ocean in its lower course.

Not surprisingly then, researches too have long known about the existence of the Saraswati in antiq
uity and also visited and explored its river bed, detailed information about which has been recorded by European as well as Indian explorers for at least two centuries.

In the year 1855 French explorer Louis Vivien de Saint Martin recorded, "The trace of the ancient river bed was recently found, still quite recognizable, and was followed far to the west. [This discovery] confirmed the correctness of the tradition."

In 1893 C.F. Oldham stated, "Although the river below the confluence (with the Ghaggar) is marked in our maps as Gaggar, it was formerly the Saraswati; that name is still known amongst the people."

The fact also remains that the existence of the dried river bed of Sarasvati had been known to the invaders of India such as Masod I, the son of Mahmoud Ghazni who used the dried river bed of Sarasvati to get to the heart of India when he invaded India reaching Sonipat in the year 1035 AD. Later Hyder Ali in the year 1305 used the dried river bed of Sarasvati in his approach when he attacked Jammu.

Aryan Invasion Theory and the composing of the Vedas by so called Aryan invaders runs into a dead end mainly because the same researchers including Max Mueller who state that the Saraswati dried up by 1900 BC also state that the Aryans came to India in 1500 BC. But why would they settle down on a dried river bed and not on the banks of any of the five major rivers, Indus (Sindhu), Jhelum (Vitasta), Sutlej (Shatadru), Ravi and Beas (Vipasha) that they would have crossed to get to the dried river Sarasvati? Does not make any sense. This is another major point that questions the validity of the Aryan Invasion Theory.

Friday, 5 October 2018


Historians such as Edward Pococke and Edward Moor had put forth the view that the city of Damascus gets its name from Dhammiska, an extension of the Pali word Damma, which itself is a distortion of the Sanskrit word Dharma, meaning duty, a code by which the Indian monks lived. Many such historians who have not attained the kind of prominence they deserve because of an inherent bias against 'Out-of India' theory and a propensity towards the now outdated Aryan Invasion Theory. There is much legitimacy to their contention, if one were to study the etymology of the names of other ancient cities and towns, mountains and rivers in the vicinity of ancient places such as Babylonia, Damascus, Mesopotamia and so on. But this post is about Hindu and Buddhist monks who as early as since at least the times of the Mahabharata and later under the patronage of Emperors such as Puru and Ashoka sent embassies to various kingdoms around the world. These monks and their knowledge had a tremendous impact in a variety of ways on the lives of people they made contact with.

We begin this post with the story of one such Indian monk who lies buried in Athens in a tomb that exists till today. His story was recorded by a Greek historian and philosopher by the name Nicolaus of Damascus.

Nicolaus of Damascus was born around 64 BC and his name is derived from that of his birthplace Damascus. In his works Nicolaus of Damascus describes an embassy sent by the Indian king Porus (or Puru as he is known in Indian texts), to the Emperor of the Roman Empire Caesar Augustus who reigned from 27 BC to 14 AD. The embassy traveled with a diplomatic letter addressed to Caesar Augustus, and one of the members was a Sramana (Buddhist monk) by the name Zarmanochegas. The monk is said to have burned himself alive to display the faith he had in his tradition. The incident took place in Athens in the year 22 or 21 BC. The incident is described by historians like Strabo and Dio Cassius.

Based on the different ways Strabo and Dio Cassio render the name (Zarmanochegas, Zarmarus) modern scholars attempted at interpreting Strabo's version as a combination of two Sanskrit words, 'shraman' (श्रमण) or monk', and acharya (आचार्य) or 'teacher'.

A tomb was constructed for the monk at Athens. The inscription on the tomb indicated that the monk came from Barygaza near the north bank of the Narmada River. Barygaza was known as Bhrighu-Kutcch, the name being derived from one of the ancient Rishis (Bhrigu) who lived there. Today the city is known as Bharuch.

The tomb of Zermanochegas at Athens

Greek geographer Strabo (64 BC-24 AD) makes a mention of this incident in his famed work Geographia as follows. he states," From one place in India, and from one king, namely Pandian, or, according to other Porous, presents and embassies were sent to Augustus Caesar. With the ambassadors came the Indian Gymnosophists, who committed himself to the flames at Athens."

Buddhist monks on the patronage of Emperor Ashoka were travelling from India across Asia spreading 'Dharma' or the teachings of the Buddha as early as 3rd century BC. The monks scattered in all directions on the Silk Route and spilled into many ancient cities including Khotan in China, Alexandria in Egypt and Antioch in Greece.

Alexandria in Egypt was inhabited by a
great number of Buddhist monks during
the rule of Emperor Ashoka in around 250 BC. 
'Dharma' (धर्म) is a Sanskrit word which means 'duty' and at its earliest appears in the name 'Sanatan-Dharma', the Vedic religion of the land that is today known as India. In Pali, the language of Buddhism, 'Dharma' distorts to 'dhamma'. The most ancient ancient school  Buddhism was known as Stavira Nikaya'. Sthavir  (स्थविर) has the meaning of "elder' in Sanskrit. Later the name Sthavir distorted to 'Theravada' in Pali but has the same meaning of 'Elder'.

The Buddhist monks who arrived in Egypt set up their community in Alexandria. In his research paper 'The Possible Indirect Influence of Buddhism on Christian Monasticism: an Assortment of Facts in Support of the Hypothesis", author P. A. Martin says, " There is also evidence that a number of Buddhists were living in Alexandria sometime between 300 BCE and 100 CE, and this was a large site of Therapeutae. The Therapeutae were an ancient order of mystical ascetics who lived in many parts of the ancient world but were found especially near Alexandria, the capital city of Ptolemaic Egypt.

Zacharias P. Thundy, Professor Emiretus of the Northern Michigan University made the observation that the name 'Therapeutae' arises from the Sanskrit/Pali word 'Thervada' which means 'Elder'. He says, " 'Therapeuta' is the Hellenization of the Sanskrit/Pali word 'Thervada'; they were probably the successors of the missionaries whom Emperor Ashoka sent to Egypt, to the kingdom of Ptolemy in the 3rd century as Thervada medical missionaries. Greek, which does not have have corresponding sounds for the labio-dental 'v' and the apico-dental 'd', changed the Indian v & d to p & t ....." Hence, 'thervada' changed to 'therapeuta'.

The evidence for the fact that the Buddhist monks who were sent by Ashoka to various kingdoms within India and abroad were professional healers comes from Ashoka rock edict at Girnar in Gujarat. It states, "Everywhere within the dominion of His Sacred & Gracious Majesty the King & likewise among the frontages such as the Cholas, Pandyas, Sativaputra, the Keralaputra, what is known as Tamrapani, the Greek King Antiochs, and those kings who are neighbors of that Antiochs - everywhere have been instituted by His Sacred majesty two kinds of medical treatment - medical treatment of man and medical treatment of beast. Medical herbs also, those wholesome for man and those wholesome for beast, have been caused to be planted in all place where they did not exist.....".

Ashoka's Rock Edict at Girnar in Gujarat states that medical treatment was instituted by Buddhist monks or 'thervadas' as far as Antioch in Greece.The language of the edict engraving is Pali. The script is Bramhi.
Western sources trace they etymology of 'therapy' and 'therapeutic' to Latin and Greek sources with obscure arguments to support their view that the 'theraputae' were pre-Christian or Jewish ascetics but these arguments have no cultural or historical collateral.