Tuesday, 5 February 2013

THE CITIES OF THE AMAZON - THE SANSKRIT CONNECTION

The three best known ancient cities of the Amazon are Themiskyra, Chadesia and Lykastia. The location of Lykastia as mentioned in the writings of Apollonius Rhodius, (3rd century BC) suggests, that Lykastia city is geographically identical with where the ruins of DundarTepe have been discovered. So, once again the name 'Tepe' crops up! Other examples of course include 'Goebekli Tepe' in Turkey or 'Tilliya Tepe' in Afghanistan.

In Sanskrit 'stupa' (स्तूप) means a 'heap' or a 'mound'. In Pali the word 'stupa' distorts to 'thupa' and means a 'mound'. As a verb 'stup' (स्तूप्) means 'to heap up' or 'to erect a structure'. As an adjective 'tupara' (तूपर) means something that is blunt or rounded - like a 'mound'. The word 'tepe' is probably a distortion of the Sanskrit 'tupara'.

Traditionally in India, any place where someone engaged in spiritual meditation, became known as Tapovan (तपोवन), which included places such as forest groves and mountain caves. Tapovan is a combination word with two parts, 'tapa' (तप) means 'meditation' and 'austerity'. 'Vana' (वन) means 'forest', 'thicket', or 'any distant land'.

Though 'Tepe' is often translated as mountain or mound (as in Goebekli Tepe), 'tepe' often had more to do with 'meditation', 'observation', 'austerity' and 'spiritualism' and the places where the sages and seers practiced meditation and observation, which were often hills and mountains, but not just hills and mountains. Forests and thickets were places of meditation as well. In the ancient Native tongue of the Pemon, the indigenous people who inhabited the Grana Sabana region of Venezuela, the word 'tepui' means 'house of the gods'. However, with time these 'houses of gods' and 'spiritual tapa', became centres for political administration. They were often located on a hill surrounded by a village. In South America, there are innumerable examples - Tepentita, Tepetzintala, Mazatepec, and of course Dundertepe.


Another city of the Amazon was 'Chadesia'. The second syllable 'desh' (देश) means 'land' or 'country' in Sanskrit. Close to 'Chadesia' city are the impressive ancient ruins of 'Akalan'. Was 'Akalan' an observatory. Kala (काल) is Sanskrit for 'time'. Also, the word 'Kala' or 'Cala' appears in the names of many ancient sites around the world - especially the ones that are thought to be 'observatories' - such as the 'Kalasasaya' temple in Bolivia or the Callanish Megalithic Site in Scotland. (For more about the Sanskrit connection to the name Kalasasaya in Bolivia, click here. And for more on the Sanskrit Connection to Callanish Megalithic site click here. )

A town by the name of 'Chajasa' was the capital city of 'Chadesia'. In literal Sanskrit 'Chajasha' (छा - झष) means 'concealed forest', or 'cover from sun-heat'. 'Cha' (छा) means concealed or covered. 'Jhasa' (झष) means 'forest or sun-heat'. Was 'Chajasa' really the town of 'Themiskyra'? Though its existence is often regarded as a myth and is dismissed as Greek innovations of the stories about Amazon, 'Themiskyra' is described as a 'hidden forest city, difficult to be traced', which corresponds with the meaning of the word 'Chajasa' in Sanskrit.

And, if there is a Sanskrit link to the names of these cities of the Amazon, what about the name 'Amazon' itself. That is coming up in a future post.

Suggested Links:
1. Amerika: Timeless World by Hector Burgos Stone
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