Tuesday, 4 March 2014


Much has been written about the possibility of Jesus Christ having spent some of the missing years of his life in India, and the similarities between his life story and that of the life of Sri Krishna, but there is much more that has been left untouched. That includes the India connection to the names of the ancient rivers and mountains and places in Israel.

First the name 'Canaan'. Canaan was an ancient land corresponding to modern-day Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Israel and was also known as Phoenicia. The Ancient History Encyclopedia says,"The origin of the name 'Canaan’ comes from various ancient texts (among them the Hebrew Bible) and there is no scholarly consensus on precisely where the name originated nor what it was intended to convey about the land. According to the Bible the land was named after a man called Canaan, the grandson of Noah (Genesis 10). Other theories cite `Canaan’ to have been derived from the Hurrian language where 'caanan' stands for `purple’. The Greeks knew the Canaanites as `Phoenicians’, phoenician is Greek for 'purple'. The Phoenicians worked in purple dye and so were called by the Greeks `purple people’. "This explanation is the most probable but, by no means, provable"- says the Ancient History Encyclopedia. 

But, there are other more plausible explanations supported by cultural collateral as evidence. Canaan is historically attested throughout the 4th millennium BC. The later Amarna Letters use the name 'Kinahhu', while other sources of the Egyptian New Kingdom mention numerous military campaigns conducted in a place called 'Ka-na-na'. Now all these ancient names are cognates to the name 'Kanha' (कान्हा) - the name of Sri Krishna who was also known as 'Kanan' (कानन) and 'Kishen' (किशन). 

One of the largest rivers in Israel, known as the Kishon (also called Kishen) drains into the Jezreel (also called Yizreel) valley. The name Kishon is a cognate of 'Kishen', the name of the Hindu God, Sri Krishna. which is pronounced as Kishen in many parts of India including Kashmir. The name of Krishna's mother was 'Yashodha' (यशोधा) also called 'Jashoda' (जशोधा) , close cognates of the names Yizreel and Jezreel. 

The Kishon flows in the region known as Phoenicia. In the same province are located the towns of 'Ramah' and 'Kanah'. Near the town of Ramah is 'Kadesh' also called 'Kudesh' (कुदेश), meaning 'inhospitable land' in Sanskrit, which could be a reference to the wilderness of Kadesh. However Kadesh with its generally accepted meaning of pure and holy probably derives from the Sanskrit 'Shuddha'(शुद्ध) which means pure, true, absolute or unpolluted. In fact, the Cannaanite root Q-D-S of Kadesh, is nothing but the Sanskrit 'Shuddha'. It is also quite logical to speculate that 'Ramah' and 'Kanah' get their name from Rama and Krishna.

To the East of Phoenicia lies the province of Gallile named after the Sea of Galilee. The Sea of Galilee was also known as Kinneret (as it is called in Old Testament) or Lake Gennesaret (as it is called in the Gospel of Luke). All Bible writers use the term 'sea' for 'Sea of Galilee' except the Gospel of Luke, where it is called a 'lake'.

Here is a look at the name 'Gennesaret' through the Sanskrit lens. First, a look at 'saret', the second part of the word. In Sanskrit, 'sara' (सर) means 'lake', 'sarat' (सरत्) means 'flowing', and 'sarita' (सरित्) means 'river'. The word 'ghanasara' (घनसार) means 'water' - the 'ghana' here indicating 'deep' or 'immense' amount of water. That establishes the Sanskrit connection.

The name 'Kinneret' is the more ancient name and precedes the name 'Gannesaret'. It  comes from the Hebrew word 'kinnor' meaning 'harp' - which is regarded as the 'instrument of music in heaven'. The lake is supposed to be shaped like a 'harp'. In Sanskrit too 'kinnar' (किन्नर) means 'heavenly music'. 

Also, in the Indian context the 'kinnars' were a 'heavenly race of men' and are mentioned throughout the Ramayana. The female counterpart of the 'kinnars' were the 'apsaras'. In the Ramayana the 'kinnars' are always mentioned along with the 'apsaras'. 

So if there was a 'Kinneret', was there a lake dedicated to the 'apsaras' too? The Bible does mention a lake by the name 'Asphar' in Israel. The Dead Sea itself was known as 'Ashphalites' - though the  name is today connected to 'asphalt' there is no known reason for connecting the lakes name to asphalt. 

Then there is the Susita River, also now calledby its Greek name Hippos. 'Susit' (सुसिता) means 'white' in Sanskrit.

We digress here and touch a bit upon what might
be of interest to many readers and that is the question whether Jesus Christ ever travelled to India, especially to Kashmir. There are a number of places geographically located in Israel and in areas around Srinagar in India who's names are cognates of one another, and which related to the life of Christ as well. These names indicate that the belief that Jesus lived a part of his life in India is indeed a fact. 

In a way the map of Israel, especially the area adjoining the Ganeesaret Lake, is the map of Srinagar around the Dal Lake.

If one were to take Ganne-Saret as the equivalent of the Dal Lake who's ancient name was Maha-Sarit (महा-सरित) , we find that both these names mean the same - 'a huge water body'. 

We proceed from there and find the mountain peak of Harmukh, the highest peak in the vicinity of Srinagar - and the abode of Shiva. And on the map of Israel one sees a river by the name Yarmouk - a cognate of the Harmukh. 'Yarmouk' is a tributary of River Jordon and flows through the GanneSaret Lake.

Then there is Mt. Hermon, which again is a pretty close cognate of 'Harmukh'.  Equating the two names might seem like a bit of a stretch but then we find that located at the bottom of Mt. Hermon is a lake by the name 'Ram'. There is a town called 'Ramah' in Phonecia. Then there is the town of 'Ramathiam' in the province of Judea - and yet another town by the name of 'Ramah' in Judea which is different from the one located in Phoenicia. 

In Assyria, Mt. Hermon was known as 'Sinieru' which is the Pali (a Sanskrit derived language) name for Meru. Hence, another link is established. In any case, the Biblical name of Syria was 'Aram' and the language of the Bible 'Aramiac'.

Another river that flows into the Gannesarat is the Bethasaida. Many words that begin with the sound 'V' in Sanskrit distort into 'B' in Sanskrit derived languages. If the same principle be applied in the case of 'Bethsaida', it has then definitely originated from the name 'Vetasta' (वितस्ता) - the ancient name of the river Jhelum in Srinagar that flows along the Dal Lake or MahaSarit as it was once called.

The River Jordon that feeds the Genesserat, is one of the major rivers of Israel and Jordon it is said means 'descend' in Hebrew. But in all likeliness the name stems from the Sanskrit 'jhara' (झर)  which means 'descending water' or 'waterfall'. The Sanskrit connection to the name 'Jordon' has 
been discussed in detail here and here.

There a bit more. On the northwestern shore of lake Genesseret lay the city of 'Genesar'. In Douay-Rheims Bible (Gospel of Matthew) it is stated that it was in the city of Genesar where Jesus visited and performed healing:

[34] And having passed the water, they came into the country of Genesar.
[35] And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent into all that country, and brought to him all that were diseased.
[36] And they besought him that they might touch but the hem of his garment. And as many as touched, were made whole. (Matthew 14:34-36).

Ganesar? Well that is just a distortion of the 'ghanasara' (घनसार) mentioned above. Ganesar and Ganessarat must have been derived from the same word.

Other occurrence of the name 'Canan', and therefore 'Kanha' (कान्हा) happens in the river by the name 'Cana' that flows in the Plains of Sharon just south of the Narabata River. Again 'Narabata' is  probably a distortion of the Narmada (नर्मदा) - a river of India.

....continued ..

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