Legends of the Indus Valley

Indus Valley

The oldest elements of India's oral tradition are the Vedas (the word veda means 'knowledge'), consisting of four major samhitas (compilations of hymns): the Rig Veda (the most ancient and the most revered), the Sama Veda, the Yajur Veda and the Atharva Veda. The language used is a very archaic form of Sanskrit, and there is a great deal of it! The Rig alone has an extent of around 450,000 words expressed in 1028 hymns made up of 1O,589 verses. The total compendium of the four samhitas probably runs to almost double that. But what is most amazing about these hymnodies is not so much their overall length, which is awesome, but that for most of their history it is probable that no written versions of them ever existed - and not because they could not be written down but because the priests of the Vedic religion that evolved into Hinduism believed that they should not be written down but should be kept alive instead in human memory. (Underworld)

So in a sense what the Rig presents us with is a dynamic body of scripture and oral history that kept on changing and growing, retaining its dynamism - conceivably even for thousands of years - before being frozen in amber and then preserved eternally in its interrupted form for later study and reflection. (Underworld)

The exact epoch in which the Sarasvati stopped flowing 'pure in her course' to the Arabian Sea and began to lose her way instead in the thirsty sands of the Indian Desert is not yet known with any certainty. Nevertheless, Ramaswamy, Bakliwal and Verma are quite satisfied that it was not in the 'Holocene' (the most recent geological age) but in the 'late Pleistocene' - about 12,000 years ago. If all these scientists are interpreting the data correctly, then it is only to follow Possehl's own logic to observe that the combination of the remote-sensing evidence and the textual evidence carries an interesting chronological implication: the composers of the Rig Veda were in the Sarasvati region at a time when that river still ran all the way to the sea, and this would be closer to 8000 BC than it is to 1000 BC.  (Underworld)

...the ship of the Vedas presently has no one at the helm. These sublime hymns, these cleverly coded riddles from antiquity, which form the core scripture of a thousand million Hindus in the twenty-first century, now stand in the astonishing position of having no known authors, no known cultural background and no known historical or archaeological context into which they fit. Moreover, although their moorings to an 'Aryan' race in 1500 BC have been severed, most orthodox historians and archaeologists living outside the Indian subcontinent seem content to leave the Vedas drifting and unassigned - the scriptures of no known people composed at no known time. (Underworld)

We've seen that there are three other Vedas. These are, respectively, the Sarna Veda - the Veda of song or chanted hymn (a reordering for liturgical purposes of certain verses of the Rig with new verses added); the Yajur Veda - an annotated text of the instructions and sacrificial formulae required at Vedic rituals; and the Atharva Veda, which Gregory Possehl describes as the 'least understood of the Vedas...a book of magic, spells and incantations in verse' and Griffith as 'the Veda of Prayers, Charms and Spells'. As well as these, many Indian scholars also list the following massive venerable bodies of text within the Vedic corpus: the Brahmanas (very ancient prose commentaries on the Vedas), the Arankyas (a later development of the Brahmanas, given over to 'secret explanations of the allegorical meaning of the Vedas') and the Upanishads (philosophical speculations arising out of the Vedas). (Underworld)

The Upanishads are often referred to in Sanskrit as the Vedanta, meaning 'conclusion of the Veda', since they are thought to represent the final stage in the tradition of the Vedas. However, there are other important later texts of Hinduism which unerringly continue the same essential teaching and cosmology rooted and grounded in the Vedas… These include the Mahabaratha (which is about eight times as long as Homer's Odyssey and Iliad put together!), the Ramayana, and the Puranas. The Mahabaratha and the Ramayana are both epics consisting of a mass of legendary and instructive material worked around a central heroic narrative. Embedded within the vast text of the Mahabaratha is the famous Bhagvad Gita, ('Song of the Lord'), described as 'the single most important text of Hinduism'. The Ramayana, which tells of the deeds of the hero Rama, an incarnation of Krishna, is traditionally ascribed to the semi-legendary poet Valmiki. Last but not least, the Puranas (Sanskrit for' Ancient Lore') are collections of myth, legend and genealogy. (Underworld)

Amidst this tangled maze of texts, all of which once lived as memorized recitations within an oral tradition before they were written down, only one story is offered - the same story repeated again and again with minor variations and additions - as an explanation and account of the origins of the Vedas. This is the story of Manu, the father of mankind - India's Noah - and of a mysterious brotherhood of ascetics called the 'Seven Sages', said in many of the recensions to have accompanied Manu in the Ark when the great flood overtook the world. Manu (whose name has the same root as the English word man) was the first and greatest patriarch and legislator of the Vedic peoples and is unambiguously described throughout the ancient texts as the preserver and father of mankind and of all living things. In the morning they brought to Manu water for washing the hands. When he was washing himself a fish came into his hands. It spake to him the word 'Rear me, I will save thee!' 'Wherefrom wilt thou save me?' 'A flood will carry away these creatures: from that I will save thee.' 'How am I to rear thee?' It said, 'As long as we are small, there is great destruction for us: fish devours fish. Thou wilt first keep me in a jar. When I outgrow that, thou wilt dig a pit and keep me in it. When I outgrow that, thou wilt take me down to the sea for then I shall be beyond destruction.' It soon became a large fish ... Thereupon it said, 'In such and such a year that flood will come. Thou shalt attend to me [i.e. to my advice] by preparing a ship; and when the flood has risen thou shalt enter into the ship and I shall save thee from it.' After he had reared it in this way, he took it down to the sea. And in the same year which the fish had indicated to him, he attended to the advice of the fish by preparing a ship; and when the flood had risen he entered into the ship. The fish then swam up to him, and to its horn he tied the rope of the ship and by that means he passed swiftly up to yonder northern mountain. It then said, 'I have saved thee. Fasten the ship to a tree; but let not the water wash thee away whilst thou art on the mountain. As the water subsides, thou mayest gradually descend!' Accordingly he gradually descended, and hence that slope of the northern mountain is called 'Manu's descent'. Being desirous of offspring, he engaged in worshipping and austerities. During this time he also...offered up in the waters clarified butter, sour milk, whey and curds. Thence a woman was produced in a year...With her he went on worshipping and performing austerities, wishing for offspring. Through her he generated this race, which is this race of Manu... When he had been thrown into the ocean he said to Manu: 'Great lord, thou hast in every way preserved me: now hear from me what thou must do when the time arrives. Soon shall all these terrestrial objects...be dissolved. The time for the purification of the worlds has now arrived. I therefore inform thee what is for thy greatest good. The period dreadful for the universe has come. Make for thyself a strong ship, with a cable attached; embark in it with the Seven Sages and stow in it, carefully preserved and assorted, all the seeds which have been described of old ... When embarked in the ship, look out for me: I shall come recognizable by my horn...These great waters cannot be crossed over without me. (Underworld)

An extraordinary similarity concerns the presence of Seven Sages in both the Sumerian and Vedic traditions. In the case of Sumer the Seven Sages were depicted as amphibian, 'fish-garbed' beings who emerged from the sea in antediluvian times to teach wisdom to mankind. In the case of the Vedas the focus is not on the antediluvian period but on the flood itself and those antediluvians who are claimed to have survived it, namely Manu and the Seven Sages. What do we have so far?
• Two groups of seven antediluvian sages, one in ancient Sumer, one in ancient India.
• Both groups are associated with fish symbolism of some sort - the Seven Sages of Sumer are themselves half men, half fish, and the Vedic Seven Sages take refuge on Manu's survival ship, which is towed by a gigantic fish through the raging waters of the deluge.
• Both groups of sages perform an identical function - which is to preserve the gifts of civilization and bring them to mankind in their respective areas.
• Both groups of sages set an example of asceticism and teach and promote the spiritual life.
• Paradoxically, both groups of sages also play an absolutely fundamental and extremely distinctive earthly role as king-makers and as advisers to kings. (Underworld)

The Seven Rsis are...frequently described as being those who composed, are most conversant with and supremely knowledgeable in the Vedas - as makers of the Vedas, knowers of the Vedas and masters of the Vedas ... [They are] thought to be composers of Vedic hymns, and...to come to the earth periodically in order to renew Vedic knowledge among men; they are further depicted as teaching the Vedas and other sacred works to various individuals and pupils, and as praising the learning, study and recitation of the Vedas. (Underworld)

...in summary, it is at least clear that the essential task of the Seven Sages, whose own story is set in the remotest antiquity, was that having learned the Vedas from the Sages of an even earlier age they should survive the cataclysm and go forth at the beginning of the new age to 'repromulgate the knowledge inherited by them, as a sacred trust, from their forefathers'. I do therefore find it odd, to say the least, that ancient India's Seven Sages are given a stellar 'manifestation' as the Big Dipper at the heart of the circumpolar region of the sky, just where the Egyptian Pharaohs wanted to go. Even odder, however, as Mitchiner reports, is that one of the Sages, Visvamitra, is said in both the Ramayana and the Mahabaratha to have transferred a king of ancient India named Trisanku to the sky in bodily form 'where he now shines as the constellation of Orion'. (Underworld)

Indian thought has traditionally regarded history and prehistory in cyclical rather than linear terms. In the West time is an arrow - we are born, we live, we die. But in India we die only to be reborn. Indeed, it is a deeply rooted idea in Indian spiritual traditions that the earth itself and all living creatures upon it are locked into an immense cosmic cycle of birth, growth, fruition, death, rebirth and renewal. Even temples are reborn after they grow too old to be used safely - through the simple expedient of reconstruction on the same site. Within this pattern of spiraling cycles, where everything that goes around comes around, India conceives of four great epochs or 'world ages' of varying but enormous lengths: the Krita Yuga, the Treta Yuga, the Davapara Yuga and the Kali Yuga. At the end of each yuga a cataclysm, known as pralaya, engulfs the globe in fire or flood. Then from the ruins of the former age, like the Phoenix emerging from the ashes, the new age begins. Each cycle and each yuga within a cycle is believed in India to possess its own special character: the Krita Yuga is a golden age 'in which righteousness abounds'. The Treta Yuga that follows sees a decline and 'virtue falls short'. In the Davapara Yuga 'lying and quarrelling expand, mind lessens, truth declines'. In the Kali Yuga 'men turn to wickedness and value what is degraded, decay flourishes and the human race approaches annihilation'. (Underworld)

Summary of Vedic traditions about the origins of civilization in India:
1. An earlier civilization, which knew the Vedas and practised yoga, existed before the great flood and was destroyed by it.
2. Manu and the Seven Rishis (Saptarishi) were yogic adepts who survived the flood.
3. The role of the Seven Rishis was to preserve the Vedas through memorization and to repromulgate them amongst post-diluvial humanity.
4. The role of Manu was to re-establish agriculture after the flood, using a cache of seeds and plants that he had brought with him for this purpose, and to become the progenitor of future civilized humanity by fathering a dynasty of kings.
5. The Vedas and the traditions that descend from them depict the Saptaarishi as a lineage of ascetics. After the flood their primary abode was in the Himalayas, where they would retreat to meditate and perform austerities, but they also played decisive roles in running and ordering secular affairs, and in the making and guidance of kings.
6. The so-called Saptarishi calendar of ancient India, which of course cannot be separated from the traditions of the Seven Rishis, has a start date around 6700 BC - almost 9000 years ago. (Underworld)

How long, I wondered again, does it take to perfect a system like yoga? And if it was already perfect 4700 years ago, then how many thousands of years before that must its roots go back, what are we to conclude about the level of development of the supposedly Stone Age people who created it, and why is there no archaeological trace of them? Siva is a god of many dimensions and he has been present in India - all of India - for a very long while. We've seen that his form as a meditating sadhu, lean, naked, powerful, the Lord of Yoga, goes back at the very least to the Pasupati seals of Indus-Sarasvati times, 4700 years ago. The same is true of his manifestation as a phallic cone or column of stone - many examples of which have been excavated in Indus-Sarasvati sites. (Underworld)

This, indeed, is little more than is already claimed in the ancient Indian accounts of the deluge, and the survival of it by a remnant of wise men, and their preservation and repromulgation of antediluvian knowledge in the new age of the earth. Moreover, it can hardly be an accident that the yuga system that lies at the heart of the Dwarka story, of the story of the flood of Manu, and of the Hindu concept of recurrent cycles of cataclysm and rebirth, is also denominated in terms of precessional numbers. According to the Puranas, for example, the duration of the Kali Yuga is set at 1200 'divine years', equivalent to 432,000 mortal years. The durations for the preceding Krita, Treta and Davapara Yugas are set respectively at 4800 divine years, 3600 divine years and 2400 divine years, such that one mahayuga - made up of the total of 12,000 divine years contained in the four lesser yugas - is equivalent to 4,320,000 years of mortals. (Underworld)

"In a former age," an ancient Sri Lankan text states, "the citadel of Rawana (Lord of Lanka), 25 palaces and 400,000 streets were swallowed by the sea." The submerged landmass, according to one ancient account, rested between Tuticoreen on the southwest Indian coast and Manaar in Sri Lanka . This submerged landmass was not a landmass of the size envisioned by the early geologists, but--if it actually existed--a submerged portion of the Indian subcontinent just the same. (Forbidden History)

In India and throughout the Hindu countries it is said that Lord Vishnu caused the Earth to give birth to rice, and the god Indra taught the people how to cultivate it. (The Genesis Race)

The ancient Hindu Vedic texts describe many cycles as taking place within a very long time period known as a Day of Brahma, which is equal to 4,320,000,000 years. Within it there are cycles of much shorter duration known as the yugas, which are subdivided into great and small yugas. The four great yugas roughly correspond to the Greek scheme. The Satya Yuga is the Golden Age, the Treta Yuga is equivalent to the Silver Age, the Dvapara Yuga is the Bronze (copper) Age, and the Kali Yuga is the Iron Age. (The Genesis Race)

The basic belief underpinning both schemes is that human beings devolve spiritually through a series of ages from a zenith Golden Age to the nadir, the Iron Age, when self-centered materialism prevails. It is intriguing that both the Greek and the Hindu scenarios seem to agree concerning the description and passage of the ages. Hesiod describes the Golden Age as a time when humans were happy and knew neither greed nor suffering. Earth provided for all of their needs. The Vedas describe the Satya Yuga as an ideal time characterized by virtue and wisdom and almost devoid of vice and ignorance. (The Genesis Race)

The Greeks say the Silver Age was when humans invented agriculture and began to work for food. Humans of this age were powerful yet deceitful and were lacking in fortitude, resolve, and character. Hardship, suffering, and decay were introduced to humankind until, as Greek legend tells it, Zeus got fed up with the constant complaining and bickering of Silver Age humans and decided to destroy them. We can align this to the events in the second and third chapters of Genesis, when the first period in the Garden ends and the gods drive Adam out of Eden, commanding him to toil in the fields to earn his bread. The comparable Hindu Silver Age, Treta Yuga, is characterized by a one-third reduction of the good qualities and virtues of the Golden Age. It was the time when humans invented early religious rites, animal sacrifices, and ceremonies. (The Genesis Race)

In Indian antiquity (see the Hindu Ramayana) the Nagas, known as the "educators of the world," taught navigation, military principles, and architecture. The people from whom the Mayans say they descended, according to their history collected in the Papal Vuh, received "fabulous knowledge" from a god. (Gods, Genes, and Consciousness)

The Indo-European world of 3,000 years ago extended from northwestern India to the Mediterranean basin. While the complete process of transformation from naturalism to modern supernaturalism ensued only in the Judeo-Greco-Roman-Arabic nexus, developments in India opened a window to its early stages. The Hindus went through the Advanced Beings-god-cults era but did not throw out the already existing pantheism. There we can see the progression from natural worship of gods to worship of absentee gods as magical beings. However, this way of thinking about multiple gods did not replace the original Vedic idea of Atman as the expression of the one source from which the universe manifests itself. (Gods, Genes, and Consciousness)

The Iranian Yima…, who was celebrated as king of the Golden Age throughout Persian literary history, appears as Yama in Indian texts as early as the Rig Veda and as the Giant Ymir of Scandinavian myth. (All of these names are apparently derived from the Indo-European root yemo, "twin.") Typically, death and disease were unknown to the reign of this First King, and both people and herds throve and increased to the point that Yima was required to enlarge the world three times to accommodate their numbers. The fall from grace of this sunlike monarch is variously explained. In one Iranian text the evil material existence seems to have been at fault; another blames Yima for introducing falsehood to his mind. The oldest source accuses him of giving the flesh of cattle to people to eat (to make them immortal…), which some have taken to mean the instituting of ritual animal slaughter or sacrifice. But whatever his sin, or sins, Yima's punishment is generally described as the loss of the kingly Glory, which fled from him in the form of a bird. Caught up first by the god Mithra and then by the legendary Persian heroes, the Glory became, one Iraniologist interprets the text “the object of contest between Aryan and non-Aryan forces. (Plato Prehistorian)

In the Rig Veda, the Aryans are always described in positive, light-filled, benevolent terms. They worship the bright, happy gods. They are religious, decent, civilized. In contrast to them, the non-Aryans--here referred to as Dasyus--are pictured as sensual, earthly, aberrant, perverted, exotic, antinatura1. They worshipped trees, snakes, and the phallus--the lingam. They didn't cook their food as the Aryans did, and their language wasn't minced and plotted and neatly controlled like the Aryans', but was cacophonous, crude, jarring. They are dark-skinned and flat-nosed in contrast with the white, aquiline-nosed Aryans. The dichotomy is very clear. On one hand we have the People of Light, the Aryans, the people of the sky-gods, Varuna, Agni, Indra, and on the other hand we have the evil People of Darkness, the non-Aryans, the subterranean earth people, the unclean. (Gods of the Cataclysm)

This contrast comes out with indelible clarity in a hymn to Indra in which Indra is pictured as appearing in the sky, armed with lightning, slaying, of course, the enemy, the Nagas, the serpents:
Let me tell out the manly deeds of Indra,
Which he accomplished first of all, lightning-weaponed;
He slew the serpent, opened up the waters,
And cleft in twain the belly of the mountains.
He slew the serpent lying on the mountain…
The Vritra Vyamsa, worst of Vritras,
Indra Smote with his bolt, smote with his mighty weapon;
Then just like trunks of trees laid low by axes,
The serpent lies stretched out along earth's surface.

The Rig Veda goes on to talk about where these Dasyus live, in terms appropriate to describe an Inca fortress. They are said to live in the mountains in huge stone fortresses, in palaces with a thousand doors, in three-story mansions. (Gods of the Cataclysm)

I noticed at this point that the frontispiece of Morley's Ancient Maya was that of the young corn-god who has around his neck a necklace made out of a jaguar head and snakes. Not only is this cat-snake motif a commonplace in Amerindian cultures from Chavin and Tiahuanaco in Peru, but it is also connected with various avatars of Siva-and Vishnu. Was the Mayan corn-god an Amerindian version of Siva and/or Vishnu? (Gods of the Cataclysm)

I fastened on this idea of a warrior culture--a Hindu-Dravidian, syncretic warrior culture. And another door seemed to open. The basic god of the Olmecs was a man-lion/man-jaguar. What aspect of ancient Indian polytheism concentrated on a felinoid human? Was there a cat-man among the ancient Indians? There was! One of the avatars of Vishnu is the man-lion incarnation, and this man-lion incarnation was especially favored by the military. In the Nrsimha-purva-tapini Upanishad we find:

Why should the Divine Being be spoken of as a man-lion? For the reason that, among all creatures, man is the most powerful and excellent and [among the lower creatures] the lion is the most powerful and excellent. For the welfare of the worlds the imperishable Supreme-Ruler took the form of a man-lion. He is extolled as Visnu, the pervader, for his valor [which destroys ignorance]. This fearful man-beast is the greatest being wandering on the earth. (Gods of the Cataclysm)

The Vedic rain-god was Indra, and in Vedic times--at the time when the Indians emigrated from India--he was a very important god. Indra's mount is a white elephant “who stands at the entrance of the heavens.” One of Indra's other names is "The Owl" (Uluka). Indra is the rain/fertility god. He sits inside the stem of a lotus, and the rain causes the earth to sprout. Creation/fertilizaation is further symbolized by the world-egg and the Bindu. The "egg" at the top of the lotus stem is a very common symbol in the East Indian Tantra tradition: it is the original world-egg, the primordial unit of primitive energy, and can be related to the Bindu's function as a symbol of the passage of nonbeing into being. (Gods of the Cataclysm)

…I found a very differen1 kind of link between Siva and children, or a child, his own child Skanda: Siva, the great Yogi, was lost in meditation. Rama, the god of lust, attempted to attract his attention and was reduced to ashes by a single glance of Siva's third eye. The goddess Parvati began to practice austerities. But it was only after a long penance that she won the notice of the lord of Yoga. Once Siva was aroused, none could bear his fiery seed. This seed of life gave birth to the "Jumper" or the "Spurt of Semen" (Skanda), who was called the Chaste-Adolescent (Kumara) since he remains forever young and single. Skanda was thus conceived without the participation of a female being. (Gods of the Cataclysm)

This is on a purely mythological level. Moving into the realm of Yoga symbolism, though, Skanda is the "power of chastity," and his birth is dependent on total sexual control. In Yoga terms, when Siva attains total sexual mastery, when he totally dominates his lower instincts, then and only then Skanda is born. The "child-sacrifice figures" were not sacrifice figures at all, but birth figures representing Siva, the Yoga Master, attaining total mastery and giving birth to his son, who is a concentration of the very process of mastery. (Gods of the Cataclysm)

Skanda/Kumara was the lord of war, the secret chief of the gods' army. He is married to the army, chaste "purified," detached. (Gods of the Cataclysm)

Interestingly enough, extreme Saivism is always associated with human sacrifice, and, in India itself, the Kanphata Yogis performed human sacrifice until 1832 when they were suppressed by the British. "In 1565, 140 victims were beheaded in the course of a single sacrifice." In fact, Eliade's description of another extremist Siva group, the Gorakhnathis, sounds very much like a description of the spirit behind Chavin (or as far as that goes, La Venta): Siva is their supreme god, and salvation consists in union with the divinity through Yoga. It is for this reason that the Gorakhnathis assert their mastery of the art of respiration. But they are chiefly known and respected for their magical prowess; they have a considerable reputation as healers and magicians, they are supposed to be able to bring rain, they exhibit snakes. The ability to tame wild beasts is also attributed to them; they are said to live in the jungle, surrounded by tigers, who sometimes serve them as mounts. This motif is archaic and shamanic, for the tiger is the “master of initiation”; in central Asia and Indonesia, elsewhere the tiger or other wild animals appear and carry the neophyte into the jungle on their backs (symbol of the beyond). (Gods of the Cataclysm)

I pulled the Griffith translation of the Rig Veda from the half-open satchel that lay perched between Santha and myself on the middle of the back seat and opened it at Book I, Hymn 104: ‘I will declare the mighty deeds of Vishnu, of him who measured out the earthly regions...thrice setting down his footstep, widely striding. For this mighty deed is Vishnu lauded ... He within whose three wide-extended paces all living creatures have their habitation...Him who alone with triple step hath measured this common dwelling place, long, far extended…' All kinds of symbolism might indeed be intended in such a passage, but if we take the hymn at face value, then isn't it rather clearly saying that Vishnu measured out the earth by taking three footsteps? We might speculate on what precisely the footsteps represent, but the involvement of the whole enterprise in earth-measuring - i.e., geography - cannot reasonably be denied. (Underworld)

Other passages reinforce the same conclusion, describing Vishnu, for example, as 'He who strode, widely pacing, with three steppings forth over the realms of earth for freedom and for life...' Two verses later we read that 'He, like a rounded wheel, hath set in swift motion his 90 racing steeds together with the four...' What could the function of this latter verse possibly be if it is not to invite us to multiply 90 by 4, giving us the 360 degrees of the circle (or 'rounded wheel')? Remember, we have been told just beforehand that such an approach to measuring out 'the realms of earth' is a contribution to the cause of freedom and life - a clear incentive to its preservation! Last but not least, in Book I, Hymn 164, we encounter the following riddle: ‘Formed with 12 spokes, by length of time, unweakened, rolls round the heaven this wheel of during Order. Herein established, joined in pairs together, 720 sons stand...' So here, represented by a multiple of its 'ruling' number 72, pops up Santillana and von Dechend's ancient precessional code combined in the same passage with the familiar 'wheel of heaven' metaphor of the precession of the equinoxes. The passage also provides further evidence that the convention still in use by modern geographers of dividing the circle into 360 degrees (or 720 half-degrees) was already in existence in Vedic times and is directly alluded to in this hymn. Likewise, the 12 spokes of the wheel are anachronistically suggestive of the 12 'houses' of the (supposedly Graeco-Babylonian) zodiac in which the sun rests for 30 'days' of each precessional month - each such month being equivalent to 2160 human years with the entire precessional cycle thus amounting to 12 x 2160 = 25,920 human years. (Underworld)

It is therefore reassuring to discover that the Mahavamsa, Dipavamsa and Rajavali, Ceylonese chronicles based on archaic oral sources that first began to be set down in writing by Buddhist monks around the fourth century AD, 'speak of three deluges which destroyed a large land area that lay beyond Ceylon'. For example the Rajavali remembers a time, long before its own compilation as a text, when the gods who were charged with the conservation of Ceylon became enraged and caused the sea to deluge the land...In this time 100,000 large towns, 970 fishers' villages and 400 villages inhabited by pearl fishers were swallowed up by the sea…Twenty miles of the coast, extending inland [were] washed away. The same source also refers to a flood that affected Sri Lanka even earlier - indeed 'in a former age' - during the time of the giant Ravana (the 'demon king' whose exploits feature, separately, in the Indian Sanskrit epic, the Ramayana). Ravana, it seems, had angered the gods with his 'impiety' and was punished in the usual way: The citadel of Ravana, 25 palaces and 400,000 streets, were swallowed up by the sea...The submerged land was between Tuticorin [south-east coast of modern Tamil Nadu] and Mannar [north-west coast of modern Sri Lanka] and the island of Mannar is all that is now left of what was once a large territory. (Underworld)

I noticed that a large tract of land would indeed have been exposed between Tuticorin and Mannar - just as the chronicle said - at around 16,000 years ago. This was soon after the end of the Last Glacial Maximum, shortly before global sea-level began to rise steeply, and Milne's maps go on to show the flooding of Ravana's antediluvian domain by the post-glacial floods. (Underworld)

I was reminded of the cylindrical and conical stone pillars (of officially 'unknown', but I would have thought obvious, function) that have been excavated by archaeologists along the valleys of the Indus and the Sarasvati rivers at numerous Harappan and pre-Harappan sites. These 'proto-Sivalinga' are antedated by even earlier stone pillars of the same sort excavated from Neolithic settlements in India - so many of them that T. R. Sesha Iyenagar can write: ‘the worship of Siva in the form of a linga existed in the Stone Age, which certainly preceeds the Vedic Age'. (Underworld)

There are ancient oral traditions, still repeated by the elders of some of the more remote islands, which provide an explanation for the Maldives' atmosphere of lost prehistoric grandeur and for its strange ruins. These traditions speak of a mysterious people called the Redin, said to have built the hawittas, who were described to me by Naseema Mohamed, a scholar at the Maldives National Institute for Linguistic and Historical Research, as: Very tall. They were fair-skinned, and they had brown hair, blue eyes sometimes. And they were very, very good at sailing. So this story has been around in Maldives for many, many years, and there are certain places where they say the Redin camped here, and certain places which they say here the Redin were buried. But we don't really know how old or how long ago it happened. (Underworld)

...the last of Izanami's children is the fire-god Kagu-tsuchi (Fire-Shining-Swift-Male). As he enters the world her uterus is burnt and soon afterwards she sickens, dies and her spirit travels to the Land of Yomi. Now, another scene from universal myth unfolds - here powerfully reminiscent of the Underworld quests of Orpheus for Eurydice and of Demeter for Persephone. The ancient Japanese recension of this mysteriously global story is given in the Kojiki and the Nihongi, where we read that Izanagi, mourning for his dead wife, followed after her to the Land of Yomi in an attempt to bring her back to the world of the living: Izanagi-no-Mikoto went after Izanami-no-Mikoto and entered the Land of Yomi ... So when from the palace she raised the door and came out to meet him, Izanagi spoke saying; 'My lovely younger sister! The lands that I and thou made are not yet finished making; so come back! Izanami is honoured by Izanagi's attention, and minded to return. But there is one problem. She has already eaten food prepared in the Land of Yomi and this binds her to the place, just as the consumption of a single pomegranate seed binds Persephone to hell in the Greek myth. (Underworld)

Is it an accident that ancient Indian myth also contains the same idea? In the Katha Upanishad a human, Nachiketas, succeeds in visiting the underworld realm of Yama, the Hindu god of Death (and, yes, scholars have noted and commented upon the weird resonance between the names and functions of Yama and Yomi). It is precisely to avoid detention in the realm of Yama that Nachiketas is warned: Three nights within Yama's mansion stay But taste not, though a guest, his food. So there's a common idea here - in Japan, in Greece, in India - about not eating food in the Underworld if you want to leave. The parallel idea of not looking or not looking back after a successful quest in the Underworld is strong in the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. In their case Eurydice, killed by a snakebite, is permitted to return to life after Orpheus has journeyed to the land of the dead to find her. But there is a condition: neither he nor she should look back as they depart the Underworld: 'The couple climbed up toward the opening into the land of the living, and Orpheus, seeing the sun again, turned back to share his delight with Eurydice. In that moment, she disappeared.' (Underworld)

And it may be noted further, in this connection, that in practically every primitive society ever studied the smearing of paint and clay on the body is thought to give magical protection as well as beauty; that in India, where cowdung is revered as sacred and the ritual distinction between the left hand (used at the toilet) and the right (putting food into the mouth) is an issue of capital moment, a ritual smearing of the forehead and body with colored clays and ash is a prominently developed religious exercise... (Primitive Mythology)

The fragments of mythology and ritual that have come to light in southeast Africa, in the nuclear zone of the southern part of the Eritrean sphere, compel us to reconstruct an image that resembles that of the Sumerian and the Indian Dravidian lore of life and the gods as closely as one egg resembles another. The moon-god imaged as a great bull; his wife, the planet Venus; the goddess offers her life for her spouse; and everywhere, this goddess, as the Morning Star, is the goddess of war, as Evening Star a goddess of illicit love, and a universal mother besides; in all three zones (Africa, Dravidian India, and Sumer) the drama of the astral sky is the model and very destiny of all life, and when projected as such upon earth gave rise to what may have been the very earliest form and concept of the state - namely, that of a sacred, cosmic, priestly image. Is it too bold, given these circumstances, to speak of a Great Eritrean Culture Zone, which in ancient times comprised the shores of the Indian Ocean? (Primitive Mythology)

The earliest teaching of the Mysteries traceable within historic time was in the Orient and in the language known as Sanscrit - a name itself significant and appropriate, for it means Holy Writ or "Sanctum Scriptum", and for very great lights upon the ancient Secret Doctrine one must still refer to the religious and philosophical scriptures of India, which was in its spiritual and temporal prime when modern Europe was frozen beneath an ice-cap. (The Meaning of Masonry)

The gods, the Vedas told, were all members of one large, but not necessarily peaceful, family. Amid the tales of ascents to the heavens and descents to Earth, aerial battles, wondrous weapons, friendships and rivalries, marriages and infidelities, there appears to have existed a basic concern for genealogical record keeping--who fathered whom, and who was the firstborn of whom. The gods on Earth originated in the heavens; and the principal deities, even on Earth, continued to represent celestial bodies. In primeval times, the Rishis ("primeval flowing ones") "flowed" celestially, possessed of irresistible powers. Of them, seven were the Great Progenitors. The gods Rahu ("demon") and Ketu ("disconnected") were once a single celestial body that sought to join the gods without permission; but the God of Storms hurled his flaming weapon at him, cutting him into two parts--Rahu, the "Dragon's Head," which unceasingly traverses the heavens in search of vengeance, and Ketu, the "Dragon's Tail." Mar-Ishi, the progenitor of the Solar Dynasty, gave birth to Kash-Yapa ("he who is the throne"). The Vedas describe him as having been quite prolific; but the dynastic succession was continued only through his ten children by Prit-Hivi ("heavenly mother"). (The 12th Planet)

As dynastic head, Kash-Yapa was also chief of the devas ("shining ones") and bore the title Dyaus-Pitar ("shining father"). Together with his consort and ten children, the divine family made up the twelve Adityas, gods who were each assigned a sign of the zodiac and a celestial body. Kash-Yapa's celestial body was "the shining star"; Prit-Hivi represented Earth. Then there were the gods whose celestial counterparts included the Sun, the Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn. (The 12th Planet)

In time, the leadership of the pantheon of twelve passed to Varuna, the God of the Heavenly Expanse. He was omnipresent and all-seeing; one of the hymns to him reads almost like a biblical psalm:

It is he who makes the sun shine in the heavens,
And the winds that blow are his breath.
He has hollowed out the channels of the rivers;
They flow at his command.
He has made the depths of the sea. (The 12th Planet)

His reign also came sooner or later to an end. Indra, the god who slew the celestial "Dragon," claimed the throne by slaying his father. He was the new Lord of the Skies and God of Storms. Lightning and thunder were his weapons, and his epithet was Lord of Hosts. He had, however, to share dominion with his two brothers. One was Vivashvat, who was the progenitor of Manu, the first Man. The other was Agni ("igniter"), who brought fire down to Earth from the heavens, so that Mankind could use it industrially. (The 12th Planet)

However, the Indians did fight war whenever righteousness was subdued by evils. This led to wars between Ram and Ravana in which arms and strategies, many of which still not manufactured, were used. There is mention of supersonic air crafts and ground-to-air missiles capable of bringing down planes without harming the craft or its pilot. As mentioned in epic Mahabharata, there were weapons that artifially created tornadoes and covered the sky with dark clouds. In the field of medicine, as well, significant advancements were made during the period of Rama. There were medicines to cure punctured wounds instantaneously, to remove cut marks immediately, and to bring a fainted person back to consciousness within seconds. (Decoding Rig-Veda for the Knowledge of Science)

The Rishis were ordinary living persons like us. In the state of super-consciousness they could hear the whispers of Atma and Nature, collected knowledge from the whispered words and made efforts by meditation to realize those truths. Rishis were observers of the eternal truths. The Rishis who spoke the hymns of the Veda were persons of super­consciousness. They could hear the Absolute whispering its laws and transmitted those laws to the humanity, not in prose but in poems to be sung. Among the above Rishis, Maharishi Vishwamitra was mostly , science-oriented and less inclined to spiritualism. Rockets, satellites were creation of Vishwamitra. Tuber crops such as potato, onion were also developed by Vishwamitra. In Sanskrit, Vishwamitra means" friend of the Universe". (Decoding Rig-Veda for the Knowledge of Science)

There are 33 Gods and Goddesses in the Rig-Veda. The Rishis have presented the various forces, energies, space, and vibrations as Gods. The order in which Gods are placed is very meaningful. Gods can be formless or with forms and all Gods are but different creations or projections of the Paramatma or the Ultimate, Supreme, Omnipotent, and Omnipresent. This unity amidst diversity is the core preaching of the Rishis. The first God is He, the Ultimate Supreme, the Infinite. Next, there is the Triad known as the Holy Trinity. They are Brahmaspati, Vishnu, and Rudras (Tryambaka), commonly known as Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh (Shiva). In their formless representation Brahma is thought, Vishnu is space and Rudra is the force uplifting thoughts. Later on, these three have been understood as infinite knowledge, infinite space for action and Mahesh (Shiva) as the infinite force, initially, but later as the infinite peace and tranquility. Among these three, Shiva has the maximum number of worshippers. Shiva is the highest God (Mahadev). He is also called Mahakal - the great time where there is only present, no past or future. When in peace Shiva danced with his wife Parvati and the dance is known as Lasya dance. They have three sons Ganesh - the youngest, Kartikeya - the eldest, and Skanda - the middle one who is not commonly known. Shiva means mass at rest (tranquility). Intense tranquility often precedes intense activity such as storm, volcanic eruption, and submarine earthquake that generates giant waves or tsunamis. The energy of all these intense activity is Parvati. In simple words, Shiva is the matter and Parvati is the energy. (Decoding Rig-Veda for the Knowledge of Science)

Consequent to this conversion of matter into energy, the radiation of ultraviolet (UV) zone is known as Ganesh, of infrared (IR) zone is Kartikeya, and the middle zone is Skanda. The zone of UV rays is not very large, but maximum energy is in UV rays. God Vishnu is shown as sleeping on a snake (python) with many hoods, floating in an ocean of milk. ...the snake, known as Anant, literally means without end (infinite); the coils represent the cycles of creation and annihilations. After annihilation called, Pralaya in Sanskrit, the space (Vishnu) becomes motionless meaning He sleeps. The ocean denotes infinity in which the cycles of creation and annihilation are taking place. (Decoding Rig-Veda for the Knowledge of Science)

The first is Aditi, a Goddess, mother of all Gods. Her father is Daksha Prajapati and she is wife of Kashyap. She is also considered as mother of the Adityas (Sun). She is mother of God Indra also. When de-personified, she is considered as pure consciousness of infinite existence, self luminous, free, secure, and sinless. Aditi is the expanse of infinite dimension encompassing all Gods and matter. The most powerful son of Aditi is Indra. The most important force is gravitation and Indra generally means gravitational force. According to Aryan theory, there is no creation or destruction. The Aryans believed in the change of form which is similar to the principle of conservation of energy. With this concept the Aryans believed in two things - Aakash (Ether) and Pran (Force). Aakash is space comprising matter in infinitely minute forms. Pran is the force which vibrates Aakash and creates galaxies, stars, planets, and life. This vibration continues for certain period and then stops and the entire projection is converted into Aakash. (Decoding Rig-Veda for the Knowledge of Science)

The next important God is Agni. He is said to be the son of Brahma. Agni is all types of energy personified. The Rishis recognized superiority of energy over force. Indra is all the forces personified. The Rishis have indicated repeatedly that Indra means force, especially gravitational force. Aswins gave us military air planes without engines. These are glider planes. ...the chariot of Aswins is triangular. ...the Aswins made his plane stationary over the ocean to save Vrijju, son of Tugna, who was drowning in the ocean. Does this refer to existence of helicopters? The above hymn suggests existence of a hovercraft or hydro-plane which lands and takes off from river or ocean. ...existence of aircrafts, gliders, helicopters, hovercrafts during Vedic days are not just fanciful thoughts of the Rishis. In Rig­ Veda there are hymns that confirm the existence of such crafts. This hymn indicated aircraft made of iron, copper and silver. This hymn refers to three types of vehicles for land, sea and air. The above hymn indicates that such vehicles can cross oceans at high altitude. For these vehicles a pond of water should be made for providing water to the vehicle. Here water can mean hydrogen and oxygen. This hymn indicates rockets. Swami Dayanand Saraswati has translated this hymn in detail. He has given designs of aircrafts. "There should be twelve supports and all instruments will be fitted on the support. There should be one wheel with which all instruments become functional. In the center of aircrafts there will be three wheels, one to stop, the other for forward movement and the third for backward movement. There should be 300 joints in the frame of the plane. There should be sixty instruments of which some should be in reserve and rest should function. When plane has to ascend the steam chamber be closed and when to descend the steam chamber should be open. When to move eastward the opening at east be closed and at west be opened, similarly, for north and south." Reverting back to Aswini Kumars one can reason as to why applied science, and aeronautics are associated with Aswins. Perhaps their name" Ashwa" explains it since Ashwa means force, activity, quickness. Mandala 1 sukta 116, has descriptions of military weapons such as ships, submarines, modes of transporting water, and aircrafts high above in Antariksha. The hymn 1.180.8 indicated that dark clouds can be made to rain torrentially by music. Perhaps music here refers to some type of sound waves. (Decoding Rig-Veda for the Knowledge of Science)

Reverting back to Som, there are many hymns which explain Som as follows: Som creates Sun for light and controls Sun.The Som appears in a vast zone in sky like the Sun. Som particularly is bright at dawn. Due to Som, Sun is seen for a long period of time. ...the brightness of Sun is due to Som. ...through rays, Som maintains life in sky and on the earth. By his own capability he created Sun in the sky full of Jal. The second part about Som is the drink which was consumed by Rishis. The drink Somras (juice of Som) was for high growth of intellect. This drink was very different from alcohol. Scholars of Botany can assist in researching the herb from which Rishis obtained the Som through various processes, mixing of water, milk, and filtration through hair of sheep or ewes. Som juice makes one joyful. ...the Aryans knew that the juice of Som plant could elevate one's spirit under the influence of which a juice drinker was capable of deeds beyond natural powers. Aryans considered this juice as divine. The state of excitement was celebrated as blessing of Gods and as a state in which both the warrior and the poet would reach their highest achievement. (Decoding Rig-Veda for the Knowledge of Science)

In the hierarchy among Gods, Surya or Sun follows after Indra, Som, and Varun. ...Indra established Surya in high sky for lighting the world and Surya by his rays, made objects like mountains visible. ...seven visible colors (VIBGYOR) in sun rays thousands of years before Newton, by representing them as seven horses of the Sun's chariot. If Surya or Sun is understood as nature's power of fertility then fertility's first master is Som which means the Sun's rays, direct and also reflected from the moon. Som gave brightness and energy to the Sun's rays which is understood as Gandharva. From Som fertility comes to earth's soil and also to humans. The power to utilize fertility is the Aswins. Lastly there is the energy which is represented by Agni. Among the three fundamental Gods, one is Rudra, whose common name is Mahadev, Mahesh, or Shiva. In appearance, actions of Rudra are fearsome and violent but in effect they are beneficial. Lord Shiva (Rudra) also kown as Natraj (king of dancers) had once danced a violent dance called Tandav dance at the creation of this universe. Rudra's Tandav was because his wife Gauri (Parvati), committed suicide due to humiliation of Lord Shiva by her father Daksha. (Decoding Rig-Veda for the Knowledge of Science)

...the Ribhugans are associated with immortality and power to restore youth to emaciated bodies. This sukta also means that God Twasta, who is chief artisan, carpenter of Gods and Guru of Ribhus, created the year, but Ribhus as Gods of season divided the year into four parts or seasons. Twasta is said to be a carpenter who designs the pole, erected at the place of Yagya. This pole means axis of the earth. It was vertical earlier but Ribhus tilted it and four seasons were created, Ribhus divided the sky in twelve parts and gave rains that increased fertility of soil and added rivulets and streams. The Ribhus created lands for agriculture. The cow (fertile soil) is well-explained...Cow is the mother of Rudra, daughter of Vasus, sister of Adityas and source of nectar or Amrit. Here cow is not the animal as we commonly know. (Decoding Rig-Veda for the Knowledge of Science)

Vayu means wind and so this God Vayu in the ordinary sense means wind. But it is different from Maruts who are storm Gods associated with hurricane, blizzards, or tornado. Vayu is very subtle. He is the soul of all the Gods. From the breath of the Absolute God has born Vayu. He gives health, longevity and unlimited strength. Vayu lives in Antariksha. His movement is not straight but oblique. He is the fastest among all Gods. (Decoding Rig-Veda for the Knowledge of Science)

In Rig-Veda Goddess Saraswati is mentioned fifty-two times. She is Goddess of eloquence and sacred poetry. But her most important role is inspiration. She is represented as the wife of Brahma. The meaning of Saraswati is "flowing like river, inspiration". She is clad in white spotless saree and her vehicle is white crane (Hansa). She has a musical instrument (Veena) in her hand. Saraswati is associated with Goddesses Ila, and Bharati or Mahi. Ila is also the wife of Buddha (Mercury) who controls intellect of humans, as per astrology. (Decoding Rig-Veda for the Knowledge of Science)

Buddha is the son of Moon and Tara. She appears twelve times in Rig-Veda. She is said to be the Goddess of sacred speech and action. She is also said to be butter and ghee (clarified butter) of cow's milk. She is also considered a Revelation, which is one of the faculties of intuitive reasoning. She is also said to be Dristi which means vision of knowledge of truth. (Decoding Rig-Veda for the Knowledge of Science)

Usha, the inseparable sister of Ratri, is the most beautiful, kind, generous and loved by all Gods as well as humans. She can be realized only by those who look at her. Usha's beauty and charm can not be expressed in simple words. To those who see and realize her daily in the early morning hours, Usha gives intellect and good thoughts (Brihaspati), good health (Aswins), good physical strength (Indra), good mind and peace (Moon) and good vitality (Sun). She gets up before the Sun, so she is said to be the wife of Sun. She has her qualities derived from the Sun, so she is also said to be the daughter of the Sun. ...cow means light and milk means radiance and other health-giving benefits of light. Usha travels thirty Yogan (a Yogan is Vedic standard for length measurement) each day or steps. Griffith translates thirty steps as Aryan's division of day and night each step being equal to two Dands (48 minutes) for length measurement of each day. (Decoding Rig-Veda for the Knowledge of Science)

The Amesha Spentas of Iranian lore are undoubtedly to be equated, not just with the seven archangels, but also with the seven adityas, or suryas, found in the Hindu Rig Veda; one of whom, the sun god, is named as Surya. Ancient Indian myth and legend records that the suryas' evil enemies were the ahuras (spelt asuras), who were giants, skilled in the magical arts. Like the Watchers of the Book of Enoch, the Vedic ahuras were condemned for having misused the secret wisdom of the gods - casting them in the role of malevolent spirits comparable with the fallen angels of Judaeo-Christian tradition. (From the Ashes of Angels)

In prehistoric Susa it was the Watchers' goat-like aspects that would appear to have been best preserved in visual art, but elsewhere in the ancient world it would seem to have been their connection with the vulture that became the mainstay of early religious iconography. In Yezidi and Yaresan tradition they were personified as the Ancient One, the Peacock Angel, and as the black serpent Azhi Dahaka or Sultan Sahak. In Sumeria they were mythologized as bird-men and serpent gods such as Ningiszida, while elsewhere in the Near East the vulture attributes of the Watchers became the ultimate symbol of the Great Mother, particularly in her aspect as the goddess of death and transformation. Constantly archaeologists have unearthed stylized goddess figurines from the neolithic age with abstract bird-like qualities, such as long beaks, short wing-like arms and wedge-shaped tails. These have been found in such far-flung places as Crete, Cyprus, Syria, mainland Greece, in the Balkans and Danube basin of eastern Europe, at Mohenjo-Daro in the Indus Valley and as far east as Baluchistan in central Asia. Many also possess strange, slit-like eyes, like those of the serpentine clay heads found by Robert Braidwood and his team at Jarmo in Upper Iraq. (From the Ashes of Angels)

Memories of a terrible flood resulting from divine displeasure are also preserved in the Popal Vuh. According to this archaic text, the Great God decided to create humanity soon after the beginning of time. It was an experiment and he began it with 'figures made of wood that looked like men and talked like men'. And so a flood was brought about by the Heart of Heaven; a great flood was formed which fell on the heads of the wooden creatures...A heavy resin fell from the sky...the face of the earth was darkened and a black rain began to fall by day and by night...The wooden figures were annihilated, destroyed, broken up and killed.' (Fingerprints of the Gods)

'Oh you, Uparicara Vasu, the spacious aerial flying machine will come to you - and you alone, of all the mortals, seated on that vehicle will look like a deity.' 'Visvakarma, the architect among the Gods, built aerial vehicles for the Gods." 'Oh you descendant of the Kurus, that wicked fellow came on that all-traversing automatic flying vehicle known as Saubhapura and pierced me with weapons.' 'He entered into the favourite divine palace of Indra and saw thousands of flying vehicles intended for the Gods lying at rest.' 'The Gods came in their respective flying vehicles to witness the battle between Kripacarya and Arjuna. Even Indra, the Lord of Heaven, came with a special type of flying vehicle which could accommodate 33 divine beings. All these quotations have been taken from the Bhagavata Purana and from the Mahabaratha...(Fingerprints of the Gods)

...the gods became jealous at the rapid progress made by these upstart humans who had 'succeeded in seeing, succeeded in knowing, all that there is in the world. Divine retribution quickly followed: 'The Heart of Heaven blew mist into their eyes...In this way all the wisdom and all the knowledge of the First Men [together with their memory of their] origin and their beginning, were destroyed. (Fingerprints of the Gods)

...both Egypt and Angkor venerated the serpent. In both cases it was the hooded cobra that was selected as the archetype. in both cases it could be depicted in art as a half-human, half-serpent figure or as fully serpentine. In both cases it was usually shown rearing with its hood extended (taking this form as the uraeus worn by the Pharaoh on his crown for example). In both Egypt and Cambodia the serpent could be a denizen of either sky or ground, frequently terrestrial (or even subterranean) but also equally frequently shown navigating the celestial regions. This ambiguity is expressed in the Book if What is in the Duat and, in ancient India, the Yajurveda talks of 'snakes whichsoever move along the earth, which are in sky and in heaven' In both Egypt and ancient Cambodia, too, the serpent was frequently employed as an image of eternal life and of the cycles of the universe. (Heaven's Mirror)

The god-kings of the Khmers [like those of the Egyptians] also sought immortality through knowledge of cosmic cycles. This was why they encoded the minutes and hours and days and months of the 'Great Year' of precession in so many of the significant dimensions of the Angkor monuments, transforming these immense structures into schools of initiation with secrets that could be recovered through diligent quest. In the funerary rituals of Angkor a statue of the deceased king was referred to as his "body of glory" ans was believed to be animated with his spiritual essence - "a magical projection into the future of the king's destiny". Similarly, in ancient Egypt statues were accorded enormous importance as vessels for the life-force of the deceased - with which they were of course believed to be animated. In both cultures statues were referred to as "living images." A greater level of complexity often underlies such superficial similarities. For example, in both Egypt and Angkor it was believed that a ritual must be conducted in order to make a statue "alive". (Heaven's Mirror)

The late historian of religion Mircea Eliade has shown how the imagery of three interconnecting worlds is detailed with gorgeous elaboration in the symbolism of North and Central Asian shamanism. Among these cultures, "the universe is conceived as having three levels--sky, earth, underworld-- connected by a central axis." This axis is symbolically conceptualized as the central support pillar of buildings or, where architectural styles differ, by the smokehole in the roof. The cosmic pillar is also sometimes represented as the notched trunk of a tree, ascended as a ladder by the shaman in trance. This "world tree" runs through the "navel of the earth" and provides the shaman access to the three worlds by means of ecstatic ascents and descents. A third image, the cosmic mountain, serves the same purpose. Both the world tree, with branches spread into the starry heavens and roots in the underworld, and the cosmic mountain "are merely more developed mythical formulations of the Cosmic Axis (World Pillar, etc.)."(Heaven's Mirror)

Upon his release, Tilak retired to the mountains to rest at a favorite family retreat. In 1903, his great work, The Arctic Home in the Vedas, was published. In it he argued that the remains of an island paradise could be found beneath the Arctic Ocean. “It was the advent of the Ice Age that destroyed the mild climate of the original home and covered it into an ice-bound land unfit for the habitation of man.” Tilak summarized a key passage in the oldest saga of Iran, the Zend-Avesta. “Ahura Mazda warns Yima, the first king of men, of the approach of a dire winter, which is to destroy every living creature by covering the land with a thick sheet of ice, and advises Yima to build a Vara, or an enclosure, to preserve the seeds of every kind of animal and plant. The meeting is said to have taken place in the Airyana Vaêjo, or Paradise of the Iranians.” (Atlantis Beneath the Ice)

To put the Vedic account in its most simple terms, we did not evolve up from matter; rather, we have devolved, or come down, from the level of pure spiritual consciousness. (Human Devolution)

The 24,000 years of the Indian ages or Yugas are divided into two halves, one ascending and one descending period of 12,000 years each. Within each 12,000 year period are four ages, not of equal duration but tn a 4,3,2,1 ratio, the highest age being the longest. With a starting point in Aries (based on the autumnal equinox), the descending Satya Yuga or Golden Age lasts 4800 years, the descending Treta Yuga, or Silver Age, lasts 3600 years, followed by the descending Dwapara Yuga or Bronze Age of 2400 years, and flnally the descending Kali Yuga, the Iron Age (the Dark Age or lowest period) of 1200 years. During this long descent consciousness is said to diminish, causing the light of civilization to grow dimmer. But then, just like the seasons, the celestial cycle slowly reverses and more light, or wisdom, gradually returns to Earth. The descending heaviness of the Kali Yuga gives way to the ascending Yugas: Kali, 1200 years, Dwapara, 2400 years, Treta, 3600 years, and finally another ascending Golden Age or Satya Yuga that lasts 4800 years - making a complete cycle, which then begins all over again. The complete 24,000 year Yuga Cycle (composed of the two 12,000 year ascending and descending periods) is of course roughly equal to the time it takes for the Earth to complete one Precession of the Equinox through the twelve signs of the zodiac.

Descending Yuga:
Satya (Golden Age) - 4800 years - 11,501 BC to 6701 BC
Treta (Silver Age) - 3600 years - 6701 BC to 3101 BC
Dwapara (Bronze Age) - 2400 years - 3101 BC to 701 BC
Kali (Iron Age) - 1200 years - 701 BC to 499 AD

Ascending Yuga:
Kali (Iron Age) - 1200 years - 499 AD to 1699 AD
Dwapara (Bronze Age) - 2400 years - 1699 AD to 4099 AD
Treta (Silver Age) - 3600 years - 4099 AD to 7699 AD
Satya (Golden Age) - 4800 years - 7699 AD to 12,499 AD

(Lost Star of Myth and Time)

This Golden Age, or Satya Yuga, in myth is a time of , spiritual virtue and enlightenment when gods were supposed to have walked the earth and mankind communed with all nature.  (Lost Star of Myth and Time)