Monday, 14 April 2014

ANCIENT GREECE - THE KASHMIR AND MAHABHARATA CONNECTION

Edward Pococke dedicates an entire chapter in his classic work 'India in Greece' to the great exodus of the Kashmiris in antiquity some 2500 years ago, and their settlement in Greece which was at that time known as 'Pesasagus' or 'Hella-des'. Considering that there are places named Parthia, Pandosia, Gitanae and also Dassereti, Rhamnous and Sitia on the map of ancient Greece, Pococke may not have been so off the mark. Pococke only discussed the influence of the tribes of Kuru-Pandu on Greece, but the names above seem to indicate that the Ramayana was not unheard of either!

In his research historian Pococke had reached a definitive conclusion that the map of Greece (Hella-des) was a replication of Kashmir and its adjoining areas. He states thus,"... the province of Cashmere and its neighbourhood, and its tribes and its Mahabharatian history are transported to Hela-Nova (Greece), with almost the faithfulness of a lithographic transfer from one material to another."

Pococke adds that 30 miles south of the Greek mountain To-Maros (whose name he said was a corruption of the Sanskrit Su-Meru) 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. This observation, he said, was supported by the most authentic historical document that was ever produced in north-India - the 'Rajatarangini'.

The Su-Meros, Pambur-des and Doda flanking Kashmir on the east is replicated by To-Meros, Pambo-tis and Dodon in the Epirius region of Greece. On the western slopes of the Pindus range of Greece is mirrored forth the Mattan region of Kashmir. The name Mattan has changed to 'Metan-Astae' or '
Meteon' in Greek and means 'the people of Mattan' - a distortion of Matan-Vasti, vasti (वसति) meaning 'dwellers' in Sanskrit.

The Mattan of Kashmir too was also not always known as Mattan, it was known as Martand, for the majestic Sun Temple located there - 'martand' (मार्तण्ड) meaning 'sun'.

Since the time when the temple was built some 2500 years ago, the emigration of the Kashmiris from this tableland has rendered it for the most part a waste. Though Martand is devoid of any natural streams or irrigation, yet its alluvial soil is one of the most fertile anywhere in the world, suggesting and proving what the Nilmut Purana which chronicles the ancient history of Kashmir says, 
that the region of Martand and indeed Kashmir itself, was once submerged in the Kashyapa Lake.




The 'Martand'  Sun Temple, also called the
'Kaurau-Pandau 
Temple ' of Kashmir at Mattan
is 2500 years old and was dedicated to the
Sun God and to the Pandavas
of 
Mahabharata

Charles von Hugel's, an Austrian noble man and explorer had this to say about the Temple of Martand, "The whole character of the building like that of the enclosing colonnade is massive, simple, and severe, yet in excellent taste'.

Adds Francis Younghusband, “Martand has a very high place in the world's great architectural designs. It is an example of not only the Kashmiri architectural skill but it has pride of having been set up at a fine spot which is prettier than the spots where Parthinan, Taj Mahal, St. Peters have been built. It can be considered either a representative of all such great buildings and monuments or a combination and sum total of all the qualities. It gives an insight into the greatness of the people of Kashmir...."
An artist's conception of the
Martand Temple in Anantnag, Kashmir


Stone carvings of Vedic Gods
on the Martand walls, Kashmir.

 Edward Pococke adds, "The pandits of Kashmir call the temple the 'Kaurau Pandau' and as the name reveals attribute it to the Kauravas and Pandavas of the great Mahabharata". Such was the glory of Martand, that the emigrants from Kashmir who took the Vedic culture to new lands such as Greece not only named Metanastae, also called Meteon after it, they named the mountains overlooking Metanastae as 'Pindus' and the most important city in Metanastae as 'Pandosia' after the Kaurau-Pandav temple of Kashmir.


The Pindus mountain range of Greece
is said to be named after 'Pandavas' of Mahabharata
and the region of Meteonaste or Meteon after
Martand and Mattan of Kashmir.
Source: 'India in Greece' by Edward Pococke.
There are many who have written off Edward Pococke's work as that of runaway imagination. But it does make one stop and think. For example in the map above one sees the name 'Dassereth'. That was the name of the father of Sri Rama, the Hindu god-King of India. How did that name get on the map of ancient Greece! And yes, the name Dasserth also appears in Jordon as 'Dushares' at the Temple of Petra. For a look click here. 

Then there is Parthini and Parthos. 'Partha' was the name of 'Arjuna' - one of the protagonists of Mahabharata. There are also two ancient towns, by the names 'Rhamnous', which is in the region of Attica and  'Sitia' which is located on the Sea of Crete. There is also a 'Gitanae', and so on. 

The list is long. All these names and no link to India? Difficult to believe!
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