Deluge of Atlantis

Deluge of Atlantis
Deluge of Atlantis

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Origin of Easter from Ishtar and Ishtar from Hindu Goddess.(part -1)

Guest Blogger Jayasree has a series that shall run all week.

Origin of Easter from Ishtar and Ishtar from Hindu Goddess.(part -1)

Sunday, March 31, 2013


The following information on Easter as an adaptation of the idea of Ishtar, the Assyrian and Babylonian Goddess of Fertility makes an interesting reading. The annual revival of the Spring season which was originally identified with Ishtar was adapted by Christianity as the day of resurrection of Christ. For those who are familiar with the Hindu rules of iconography, the concept of Ishtar is seen as an adaptation from the pre-existing images of Mother Goddess of the Hindu pantheon. The mother goddess principle is the oldest in the world and in the Hindu Thought as well. In this article let me share some of my observations on the development of Mother Concept of Hindu Thought and its spread in other parts of the world.

(Picture courtesy :- ) Easter is not a fixed date in the civil calendar. It is fixed on the basis of Full moon that comes after March equinox. It has been found that the day of resurrection of Jesus was adapted from the pre-existing custom of resurrection or revival of Goddess Ishtar from death. This is nothing but a metaphorical way of saying that the new season of spring had arrived after a death like cold season. Interestingly the pre-Christian Europe was following lunation to mark important events. Even the present practice of celebrating the New Year on January 1st came from one such practice. When Caesar wanted to start the New Year on 25th December (which was again a pre-existing date of Birth day of Mitra), the people resisted it because it did not coincide with either New Moon or Full Moon. A few days after that, i.e., on 1st January, 45 BC, New Moon occurred. So that date was chosen as the New Year. The importance given to Full and New Moon in Europe at that time seems to be a continuation of the pre-existing customs of Vedic life. To cite an example of the spread of the pre-existing customs or ideas and their subsequent degeneration owing to loss of connection with or understanding of the original idea, let me take up an idea of Mithraism. Mithra, which the western world considers as a Persian God is a degenerated idea taken out from the Hindu concept of Vedic God, Mithra. Mithra is the friend of cattle and is the cause for rains in Hindu texts. He always tows behind the Sun. Any ray of sun has the distribution of Mithra and other entities (Devas) which are none other than energy pockets of Nature. They are depicted as follows in the vAstu (science of building / architecture) diagrams.

  The very first line of Taittriya Upanishad that was the basic education in olden days in India, glorifies Mithra- Varuna – Aryama, the three entities who are supposed to travel along with the Sun every day. In the above diagram, we can find from east to west, the line-up of entities as Surya (Sun), Aryama (departed ancestors), Brahma, Mithra (friend) and Varuna (ocean). When the central part called as Brahma, comes directly over head at noon time in any place (this is possible only in Tropical regions), the sun (Surya) will be seen moving eastward and Aryama (pitrus / departed ancestors) would be just behind the sun in such a way that if water oblations are given at that time to the departed ancestors, it is absorbed by Mithra who is just coming to reach the overhead position. Varuna or the sea comes close after Mithra which further aids in the absorption of water by Mithra (through the process of evaporation). This is the unique relationship between Mitra, varuna and Surya (Sun). Mithra signifies the rains and Varuna the ocean (water body). According to the Hindu meteorological concept, the conditions for rain appear well in advance. To put it differently, a place would receive rains, 195 days after the Mithra – Varuna – Aryama combination had suck the water.

The kind of evaporation and other climatic conditions that prevail on a day is directly related to the rainfall that would occur after 195 days in that place. This is basic idea. This has been elaborately explained in Brihad samhita by Varahamihira. This is also found expressed in early Sangam texts in Tamil. By this it is meant that Mitra – the friend of the cattle is associated with rain formation which can be predicted 195 days beforehand. Depending on the rain related factors of the 1st day, a place would receive rain after 195 days. For more details :-

Interestingly the month of Mithra in the Zoroastrian calendar also falls on the 196th day! It is the 16th day in the 7th month of the Zoroastrian calendar. This puts the beginning of the calendar in December. December 25 was considered as the first day of this calendar. Again this was an early concept of Vedic people – who in my opinion shifted from the southern hemisphere to India after a series of inundations in South east Asian islands. Only for the people of Southern hemisphere December could be an important time of summer solstice. For those in the Northern hemisphere, it is winter solstice. The Vedic system of meteorology starts the counting of the meteorological observation on the Full moon of December (Solar month of Sagittarius), the summer solstice of the Southern hemisphere. The climatic parameters of that day would bring rain on the 196th day after that. This concept and its practical applicability are relevant to India, particularly South India which experiences south west monsoon six and a half months (195 days of the lunar calendar) after the Full Moon of December -January , but the concept is also found in Iran / Persia and later adapted by Greeks. Due to geographical reasons, these regions cannot receive the Mithraic rains. But this concept and date are found with them. How is this possible? The plausible answer is that the people of this region had once lived close to equator surrounded by the ocean where this 1to195 day rain calendar was applicable. The concept could not have travelled to Iran, without people taking it up along with them, while migrating from the region near the equator, where this concept is possible to happen. In course of time the date stayed on but the symbolism of Mithra was modified. He who had to bless people with cattle wealth by means of sufficient rains for the growth of pastures, came to be considered as one who gives the cattle to people as food! A story was gradually built around Mithra (who had to somehow help the people with cattle) that have him killed the cattle and feasted them – something which people also could copy and make sure that they had enough to eat and thank Mithra for that!! Mitra's date stayed on in memory as an important one until 2000 years ago.

Like this, the worship of Mother Goddess having its roots in Vedic system but appearing with modifications in the ancient culture of Europe make us think that a pre-existing common culture of people spread and degenerated in course of time with the spread of people to different places away from the region of original culture. Let us see the Ishtar image.

Certainly this image must have been conceived with lot of thought and ideas related to each part of the figure. When people lose touch with the core idea, many new interpretations start filling up the air. The degeneration is such that this figure was connected with sacred prostitution – a case of the then prevailing condition being attributed to the portrayal of Ishtar which no one at that time knew what it was about. I say this with conviction because the object that this figure is holding in her left hand is a kind of symbol of power and authority which is not of a disgusting type but of a moralistic type. See the same object in the hand of the ruler (Anu?) in the Sumerian depiction. The wheel of Dharma is there and the king is wielding this object (sceptre? Or hand-fan?) as a mark of protection of the subjects and their rights.

  Almost a similar object can be found in the Indus seals! The first object (on our left) is the wheel of Dharma (righteousness). Numerous Indus seals are seen with objects like these.

 Seeing similar ones in the seals of various Indian kings in the past (particularly the Cholan seals and the Kharavela inscriptions), I am led to believe that these are Ashta mangala objects, the 'auspicious objects' connected with Kings and their rule. Fish are part of the 8 items of Ashta mangala symbols! There are 8 and 21 items that are auspicious symbols of the Royalty – some of which would find place in the Royal seal or emblem. The 8 auspicious symbols as per Hindu texts are lamp, fan (chamara), mirror, elephant goad (ankusha), twin fishes, drum (damaru), pot (holy water pot) and Flag (banner) The 21 auspicious symbols are crown, Royal canopy or umbrella, fan (chamara), elephant goad, drum (murasu), chakra (wheel), elephant, Flag or banner, wall, thOraNam ( decoratives on the door), water pot (purna kumbha), garland, shanku (conch), ocean, makara (marine fish), tortoise, pair of fishes, lion, lamp, bull and simhasana (throne). To give an example from the Cholas (who ruled Tamil lands), the following is the coin of Utthama Chola of 10th century AD. It has a twin fish.

It is easy to mistake this as a Pandyan coin because fish is the symbol of Pandyans whereas tiger is the symbol of Cholas. But fish being an auspicious Royal symbol, the Cholan king had that embossed in his coins and seals. Another sample case that I want to show is the 2 symbols found in the inscriptions of Kharavela, ruler of Kalinga (today's Orissa in India). This is dated at 1st century BCE. At the beginning of the inscriptions a swastika and a knot (srivatsa) are engraved.

Similar ones are found in the Indus seal!

Seal 1356 Though these two are not considered as auspicious symbols of the list given above, these two were auspicious symbols about 2000 years ago stretching to 5000 years ago in the Indus region.

Coming back to Ishtar, she is holding the sceptre like object in both her hands. Raising of the two hands is the common feature in the iconography of Hindu Gods, particularly the female Goddess. Look at this image of Kali found in South India.

This popular form of Kali is holding Paasa or noose in her left hand. The loop of this noose is similar to the loop of the object that Ishtar is holding. The image of the God or Goddess may have any number of pairs of hands – each with some symbolism, but the upper most pair of hands would show the inherent idea or concept of the deity. For example in the image of Vishnu shown below, the topmost hands hold a disc (wheel or chakra) and a conch (shanku).

They are his weapons of strength with which he destroys the evil. The other hands are shown for protection of the devotee. Similarly in the dancing image of Shiva, the topmost pair of hands carries a drum (damaru) and fire (agni). They depict what he symbolises – the sound of drum ushering in creation of the worlds and fire, devolution.

Here Shiva symbolises both Creation and devolution – of cosmic worlds. In mundane level wherever the natural features are evolved and become suitable for living or lost once for all with destructive nature, there Shiva is said to dance. This must not be construed as destroying the same thing that was created. The timings and locations would vary but the idea is where Nature or Cosmic features spring up or get destructed. A popular example in Shiva's creation is the rise of the Himalayas which was accompanied with the sound of his Drum. In reality clash of tectonic plates causing vibrations of sorts (including the sound vibrations) resulted in the gradual rising of the Himalayas, with which Shiva came to be identified. This kind of birth- death feature is markedly different for female deities in Hindu Thought. Where a living being or an entity of the world in our surroundings is destroyed or killed, there the Mother Goddess principle is seen. Let us see the Ishtar image once again. (continued)

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