November 12, 2023 at 2:08 am #15979
Is it very plausible that Abrahamic faiths (and related Near-Eastern religions) borrowed meta-historical information from the Vedic Tradition and then adapted it into their own myths? If so, then what might be the path and mode by which this information traveled?
First, regarding some similarities I noticed while reading the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto 1 Chapter 3 Verse 15 states that, “When there was a complete inundation after the period of the Cākṣuṣa Manu and the whole world was deep within water, the Lord accepted the form of a fish and protected Vaivasvata Manu, keeping him up on a boat” (source). This reminded me greatly of the story of Noah and the Flood (see Genesis 5:32-10:1).
Second, the Bhaktivedanta purport on Canto 1 Chapter 3 Verse 22 states, “Rāvaṇa was one of them, and he wanted to deport ordinary men to the planet of Indra (heaven) by material means without consideration of the necessary qualifications. He wanted a staircase to be built up directly reaching the heavenly planet so that people might not be required to undergo the routine of pious work necessary to enter that planet” (source). This is also similar to the story of the Tower of Babel (see Genesis 11:1-9). Additionally, the declining life-spans of humans (from 100,000 to 10,000, 1,000, then 100 years) across the four Yugas may have been borrowed by the Abrahamic peoples in their description of the long life-spans of Adam and his descendants.
Finally, I remember reading in the 12th Canto of SB that the Supreme Personality of Godhead would descend to the Earth as Lord Kalki and slay the demonic rulers at the end of the Kali-Yuga. Maybe the essence of this prophecy was present in the mind of John the Elder when he wrote the Book of Revelation and described a similar event regarding the coming of Christ and his reinstatement of the Kingdom of God on earth (see Revelation 19:11-16)?
For example, Canto 12 Chapter 2 states, “Lord Kalki, the Lord of the universe, will mount His swift horse Devadatta and, sword in hand, travel over the earth exhibiting His eight mystic opulences and eight special qualities of Godhead. Displaying His unequaled effulgence and riding with great speed, He will kill by the millions those thieves who have dared dress as kings. After all the impostor kings have been killed, the residents of the cities and towns will feel the breezes carrying the most sacred fragrance of the sandalwood paste and other decorations of Lord Vāsudeva, and their minds will thereby become transcendentally pure. When Lord Vāsudeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, appears in their hearts in His transcendental form of goodness, the remaining citizens will abundantly repopulate the earth. When the Supreme Lord has appeared on earth as Kalki, the maintainer of religion, Satya-yuga will begin, and human society will bring forth progeny in the mode of goodness” (source).
I hope this discussion is productive!
CalebNovember 12, 2023 at 2:42 am #15983
This is an interesting topic. I’ve done some study on it, but not a lot.
Cosmic Theogony. In this book, I have traced the origins of monotheistic religions based on the trinity of demigods called Aditya, Rudra, and Vasu. These are respectively the religions of sun, moon, and stars. Christianity, Islam, and Judaism have commonalities with these and the book discusses some of those similarities.
The Polytheistic Origins of Monotheism. In this article, I have cited some recent study into the pagan past of monotheism. Of particular interest are three things. One, there was conflict between two deities (Baal and Yahweh) contending for the supreme status in monotheistic Judaism. Two, there was worship of feminine deities (Athirat and Asherah). Three, there was a pantheon of 70 deities headed by another deity called El, from which the word Israel is probably derived etymologically. The article discusses the possible manner in which this polytheistic world became monotheistic.
The Great Deluge. This article discusses the similarities and differences between the flood stories in the Vedic system and the Bible. In both cases, the story relates to the dawn of a new age with a new repopulation of the earth but the timelines are vastly different. It is possible that such a story preexisted the Bible and was integrated after modification, with the timelines being greatly crunched in the Bible.
I haven’t written about this, but it appears to me that the Christian idea of Jesus sacrificing himself for humanity to wash away their sins is drawn from the pagan practices of animals being sacrificed to wash away sins. Naturally, a human sacrifice is a bigger sin ablution method than animal sacrifices. This pagan idea seems to be the basis on which the crucifixion of Jesus was given great importance in Christianity. Since this idea is antithetical to what Jesus actually taught, hence, there were schisms in early Christianity between two sects, one that followed James (the brother of Jesus, a Jew, whom Jesus had treated as his successor) and Paul (who was living in the pagan dominated Europe, and self-appointed himself as the representative of Jesus).
There are no attempts to connect Abrahamic faiths to the Vedic system in current mainstream academic historical research. Every account that I come across only goes back to the history of the region and never looks at cross-cultural influences. I suppose the Abrahamic world doesn’t want to trace its history back to another civilization. So, it is an extremely fruitful area of study alongside the fact that it is totally neglected.November 21, 2023 at 9:55 am #15994
The Pagan Hebrews. This is a good example of the point I was trying to make. You can see that the Jews (or Israelites) were polytheistic and shared the pantheon of gods with the Canaan, Egyptian, and Greek religion. Through a complex set of events that different people tell differently, this polytheistic religion became monothestic. And yet, this article (like many others exploring the history of monotheism) only traces the history back to the Canaan religion and never to the Vedic system. At most, they will point out similarities in a few cases (as this article does in the case of Kali) but the point would be buried in lots of other things such that it will not be studied deeply.
There are stark similarities between ancient Jewish religion and the Vedic system. El is Shiva, Baal is Brahma, Yahweh is Indra, lion goddess is Durga, Mot is Yamadeva, etc. Those who know the Vedic tradition can see the similarities. But the same similarity is not highlighted by those studying this from an Abrahamic religious perspective.
As I said, they don’t want to trace their history back to any other civilization. They also call the polytheistic to monothestic transformation a great intellectual and theological advance ensuring that it is preserved in the future. The past remains purely academic curiosity, doesn’t become common knowledge, and lives on the unpopular fringes.November 23, 2023 at 10:05 am #16001
I am favourably inclined to this post. But as it is, it is like Chery picking. We need to show the pathways. My study shows that Abram or ab.rama lived in the indus valley. 1. No need to go north to haran when destination was canaan. 2. No need to cross river Jordan when joseph carried Jacobs bones. 3. Rachel’s nose ring is an Indian tradition. 4. Chaldeans were astrologers. 5. Rachel.s household idols. 6. People make wells called .Beri. in the thar desert that are described as .Beer. Sheba etc. In the Bible. We have to build on these data. PmNovember 23, 2023 at 10:06 am #16003
You need to publish your study with evidence and arguments. Probably a book is required. Without that, it is just assertions and accusations. Abraham may have lived in Indus valley or migrated from there. And God could have revealed Himself to Abraham giving him monotheistic theology while he was living in Indus valley. Unless you publish a book, and let people read and critique it, you will not know the pitfalls.November 26, 2023 at 1:40 am #16010
Ashish Dalela you asked Bharat Jhunjhunwala, “You need to publish your study with evidence and arguments. Probably a book is required”
I’ve been reading this book from Bharat JhunjhunwalaNovember 26, 2023 at 2:20 am #16013
Sue Rose, I did not know about the book. Thank you for that.
Let me give you some context about how I think about this issue. In the Vedic texts, there are several narrations of kings who conquered the world and ruled over it during their time. Then, when they got older and wanted to retire to perform penances, they divided their kingdom between their sons, who went to different parts of the world and became their rulers, while the king who had conquered the world previously retired. Thus, I don’t have doubts about people immigrating out of India to spread to the rest of the world. They carried the Vedic ideologies and practices with them. I have explored this theme (without discussing people migrations) in Cosmic Theogony as I said above.
My primary interest is what happened afterwards. The story after that is simple for all except Abrahamic religions: They continued with the tradition they had taken. A core ingredient of that tradition was that there are many paths to transcendence and hence diversity is welcome. With that came respect for other traditions and the absence of attempts to destroy, convert, and conquer other lands on religious grounds. Another key ingredient of that tradition was that you live many lives, the land on which you live right now is incidental, God is not so partisan to exclusively bless some people, and certainly not so cheap and shallow to allocate land to someone based on their allegiance to Him. Religion is never a covenant or contract in the Vedic system, unlike Abrahamic faiths.
All these things changed under Abrahamic religions. The status of God was drastically lowered to the level of human affairs and God became involved in matters of land, rulers, and politics. The universe was shrunk to heaven, earth, and hell and its age was reduced to 6000 years. Ideas like apocalypse, judgment day, and a jealous God who abhors the worship of others were introduced. There was no discussion of the vastness of space and time, the complexity of the body and mind, or the variety of flora and fauna. Their world is so small and their thinking so narrow it shrinks their minds and hearts. They become so parochial and self-absorbed that they imagine that God must be just like them.
So, my interest in religious history is simply this: Why did an expansive ideology become so narrow? There is a gradual evolution. It did not occur for everyone. But it occurred for Abrahamic faiths. Why? I’m keen on that question. Then the key question for me is why anyone would immigrate to a desert to live on meat and dates for centuries. Why not immigrate out of that land to more fertile and abundant lands? Why would Jews, for instance, insist that God gave them a place to live, and they cannot go out of that place to other lands? Clearly, Muslims and Christians did not believe that God had confined them to a specific land as they went about conquering the world. This question is tied to the previous question about religious evolution because when you go to a place where survival is difficult then you lower God to the status of human affairs, your mind and heart shrink, and the inevitable result is the intermixing of religion and politics.
In short, for me, spread out of India is not very valuable. Why they chose to go to Israel (and not Persia, Mesopotamia, Egypt, or Greece) is the initial key question I’m interested in. The next question is why they would insist that God gave them land. Did they try to get other lands and fail at that to fatalistically conclude that this must be God’s design for them? Why did they tell the story of immigration out of Egypt if the immigration is out of India? Finally, why did they transform a tolerant, pluralistic, and broadminded idea to an exclusivist, exclusionary, and narrowminded ideology? Why is the Middle East/Near East so violent and apocalyptic for the last thousands of years when nobody else is? This violence is the indicator of a struggle for survival being enmeshed with religion.
Seeing commonalities lulls us into disregard for the clear and obvious differences. The commonalities live in stories whereas the differences have a real impact on the world. I’m very keen on understanding history as it has an impact on the world. As regards the similarities, there are pagan remnants in all Abrahamic faiths, despite longstanding attempts to wipe them. We don’t have to consider history for that. They exist in the present. The value of history (at least for me) lies in the study of the gradual parochial historical transformation.
There are cultural reasons for this interest. India, as you may know, was colonized for 800 years, initially by Muslims and then by Christians. At least 200 million people died during this time (the estimates are conservative because it is hard to find records). Thousands of temples were destroyed during this period. The Jews talk about one temple being destroyed. There were thousands of such cases in India. But Indians never tried to transform their religion into something else despite the harsh living conditions. Nobody said that God gave this land to us such that nobody else could live on it. They tried to live with other religions as long as they would not persecute the natives. Wars resulted when attempts at accommodation failed. Nobody talked about God’s messengers or God-appointed kings coming to save Indians from these disasters. There has never been a “King of the Hindus” like there has been a “King of the Jews”. No immigration out of India occurred because India had been occupied by invaders. Non-believers going to hell was out of the question. It entirely depended on their actions. So, there was no desire to convert non-believers. Indians accepted their fate as the result of their previous deeds. They thought of performing better deeds so that they won’t have to suffer this fate again. Indians did not imagine retaliating their conquest by reverse conquest of the lands from which these conquerors had come originally. They knew that this brings bad consequences. Therefore, the mentality of Abrahamic faiths is strange to the Indian mind. We don’t share culture, religious ideology, or philosophical principles. If we shared history at some time (and we likely did), it is not relevant at the present, given the cultural and ideological divergence.November 26, 2023 at 2:25 am #16011
You were sharing about the whole world was deep within water, the Lord accepted the form of a fish and protected Vaivasvata Manu, keeping him up on a boat.
My response: I wonder if it was because of the Meena community that this flood story was remembered. The Meena Community believes they have descended from this Vaivaswat Manu, yet how from Vaivaswat Manu came this story, Noah, as stories change? Do you know anything about the Meena community? I wonder how many who know the Noah story don’t know anything about the Meena community.November 27, 2023 at 6:59 pm #16026
Ashish Dalela wrote “In short, for me, spread out of India is not very valuable. Why they chose to go to Israel (and not Persia, Mesopotamia, Egypt, or Greece) is the initial key question I’m interested in.”
My response: I recently learned the word Levant, so could Israel be an area of Egypt, so no Exodus from Egypt as that land covers a larger area back when? Also, back when lands were named by soil color, for example, KMT (Egypt) was the black soil, what soil type does Israel have? Is Israel soil similar to India soil or different? How come the Yadavas chose that soil to live on, what caused that type of soil to attract them? Could traveling happened due to droughts from Indus Valley (Exodus). My believes are we all go to inner ‘I’ we all carry within us., and so people can use their religions to help them connect to inner ‘I’ we all carry. That being said, I struggle finding words to help others comprehend me. Actually I’m running out of words.
Other questions: How did Krishna become a king that many look up to compare to Jarasandha and Kamsa. What is a king? The first Kings began from the association of either sun or moon. How come? Then the family trees came about, how come they chose sun or moon to association to begin their family trees from?November 28, 2023 at 12:15 am #16027
A student decides to study maths not arts. Can we ever know 100 years later why she did it. There are too many factors. Likewise india to israel. But we would know from her degree that she studied maths. So let us work with the known.November 28, 2023 at 1:01 am #16028
I recently learned the word Levant, so could Israel be an area of Egypt, so no Exodus from Egypt as that land covers a larger area back when? Also, back when lands were named by soil color, for example, KMT (Egypt) was the black soil, what soil type does Israel have? Is Israel soil similar to India soil or different? How come the Yadavas chose that soil to live on, what caused that type of soil to attract them? Could traveling happened due to droughts from Indus Valley (Exodus).
Indus Valley was always fertile and continues to be fertile. Sarasvati is just one river. There are 7 other rivers in that same region. Even if one river dries, they would move to another river in the same region. If they had to move out of that region, they would move Eastward rather than Westward. Mass migration Westward has no rational basis.
My believes are we all go to inner ‘I’ we all carry within us., and so people can use their religions to help them connect to inner ‘I’ we all carry. That being said, I struggle finding words to help others comprehend me. Actually I’m running out of words.
Abrahamic faiths don’t connect a person to the inner “I”. They are covenants with a God in heaven. Covenant theology comes from Babylonian trade practices. In all the Abrahamic texts put together, there is zero discussion of the nature of “I”. Buddhists who don’t accept an “I” have discussed the “I” far more. Greeks never discussed the “I”, nor did Romans. Descartes was the first Western philosopher to start discussing the mind after which psychology became a subject in Continental Europe. The specific role of psychology was to study emotional illnesses. Connecting to an “I” is a New Age “spiritual” idea which simply means reducing materialism. If Abrahamic faiths had emphasized reducing materialism, New Age “spiritual” ideas wouldn’t arise.
How did Krishna become a king that many look up to compare to Jarasandha and Kamsa.
Krishna never became a king. His maternal grandfather (Ugrasena) was alive and considered a wise ruler. He had been deposed by his demonic son Kamsa. After Krishna killed Kamsa, Ugrasena was reappointed as king.
The first Kings began from the association of either sun or moon. How come? Then the family trees came about, how come they chose sun or moon to association to begin their family trees from?
There is a very detailed genealogy of the Surya and Chandra dynasties in Vedic texts. How the Surya dynasty forks into the Chandra dynasty is also given in detail. The problem today is very simple: (a) Abrahamic faiths depersonalized nature so no demigods like Surya or Chandra can exist, (b) there is no life anywhere in the universe other than earth, so places like the sun and moon could not have life, and (c) science seeks human origins in monkeys rather than in higher beings. Those new to the Vedic system should know that it rejects the depersonalization of nature, talks about different kinds of lives that exist in different parts of the universe in great detail, and explains how all species are eternal rather than evolutionary. There is a fixed count of 8,400,000 species. It doesn’t increase. It doesn’t decrease. It may appear in different places at different times, but that is the appearance of a species rather than the evolution of one species from another. All this requires understanding science.November 28, 2023 at 1:35 am #16029
A student decides to study maths not arts. Can we ever know 100 years later why she did it. There are too many factors. Likewise india to israel. But we would know from her degree that she studied maths. So let us work with the known.
You may not realize this, but you are studying history from a Western cultural, axiomatic, and scientific worldview. Europeans who began this study during colonial times, completely disregarded the Vedic traditional system of learning from teachers who had learned from their masters, because under Protestant theology everyone is a priest (Catholicism had to have priests appointed by the Church). Previously priests were authorized to interpret scriptures but after Reformation, everyone is authorized to interpret scriptures, because everyone became a priest under Protestantism. The entirety of the West is operating under this Protestant assumption. At present, there are 5000 Protestant denominations about 10 of which are very well-known. It means that giving the freedom to speculate doesn’t create consensus, even when you have just one book (the New Testament) to interpret. Instead, you get 5000 interpretations.
We learn from our teachers, ask questions, clear our doubts, practice to realize its truths, and then try to explain to those who might be interested. Guesswork and speculation is not our method. When we can confirm all that can be confirmed right now, then we take the rest that we cannot confirm on trust. This is how we study history. The basic principle is simple: When I don’t have any reason to doubt my teachers, then why should I doubt the tradition?
This is not the case for the West. Christians had serious reasons to doubt the Catholic Church and broke away from it. They created new theologies. They appointed everyone to the status of priest. From that appointment, they created science in which tradition has no place. The Vedic system has not undergone a Protestant Reformation. We are living with our tradition for millions of years and we will continue like that. Ours is a system of trust and not speculation.
I looked at the material you sent me. You shrunk the Vedic history to Abrahamic history of 6000 years. You think that the durations of Yuga, Manavantara, and Kalpa are “hyperbole”. You pick stories about Rama, Krishna, and Manu, and equate them to Biblical stories with trillions of years of timeline shrunk to 6000 years. Basically, the Abrahamic timeline is the de facto standard and the Vedic timeline is hyperbole. Nobody in the Vedic tradition will take you seriously.
For 800 years we were colonized, and we did not change our books. We did not revere the invaders. We did not immigrate out of India. We stayed, endured, and continued. We preserved the Sampradaya. But today people suffering from inferiority complex worship the West, make it the de facto standard, and try to “fit” the Vedic system into that. It is just a cruel joke. A civilizational destiny is nothing more to you than a student choosing to study math or arts.November 28, 2023 at 3:06 pm #16030
What I do is take what I can use and leave the rest alone. I think I need to go back to that idea.
Ashish Dalela I didn’t know that new agers also use phrases about the inner ‘I’ we all carry. I learned this phrase from Ya’qub Ibn Yusuf, as he’s into Sufism.
It was a Sufi reading that Ya’qub Ibn Yusuf shared.
The inner ‘I’ which we all carry Ya’qub Ibn Yusuf wrote I’ve heard a Sufi reading that Jesus said, “I is the way… etc. Nobody come to the Father but through I’. “Anokhi” in Hebrew. The inner ‘I’ which we all carry…November 28, 2023 at 4:24 pm #16031
Sue Rose, we have gone past the substance of this topic, which was the connection between Abrahamic Faiths and the Vedic tradition. I do believe there was a connection between the Vedic tradition and the pre-monotheistic religions. After monotheism, there is no connection because monotheism wiped away the actual history. If at all that history will be rediscovered, it will be through the study of pre-monotheism.
I have traced the pre-monotheistic connection to the Vedic system. Many other folks have talked about the pagan past of the Jews. You can search the internet on topics such as “Yahweh vs. Baal” or “Yahweh and Asherah” or “Yahweh and his wife” or “pagan history of Jews” or “the Ugarit gods” or “the Levant deities”, and so on, and you will find lot of material to read. There is so much material on this subject now that we can say with 100% certainty that monotheism evolved from a pagan-polytheistic-pluralistic religious society. And yet, after this evolution, monotheism tried hard to wipe its true history and pretended that it was monotheism from the beginning of time. Their hatred of their own past slowly became their hatred of every other religious group.
Their exclusivism, intolerance, and narrow-mindedness has been displayed over the course of centuries by an unprecedented amount of violence between the Abrahamic faiths and their sects. We cannot unite the sects of these religions. Then to imagine that you will unite all three together seems very preposterous. Then to imagine that someone will unite these three with the Vedic system is absolutely unthinkable.
Finally, there is absolutely no relationship between the history of Vedic system and the post-monotheism history of Abrahamic faiths. There was some relation between the Vedic system and the pre-monotheistic religion. But once monotheism tried to wipe its true antecedents and break away from the past there are is nothing useful left. We all know through science that the universe is billions of years old. Time did not begin 6000 years ago. There is no point of a history that begins 6000 years ago.
I would like to close our discussion with this summary. I am not qualified to comment on Sufism, what it has said about inner “I”, etc. It is not related to the topic we were discussing, and I focus on a few things where I can contribute and this is not it.
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