Recognizing Vedic Culture Around the World
by Stephen Knapp

        This is a simple introduction to how we can begin to recognize how Vedic culture infiltrated or was simply accepted into various cultures around the world. If you are interested in understanding this more deeply, please see my books "Proof of Vedic Culture's Global Existence" and "Mysteries of the Ancient Vedic Empire."


WHAT IS THE VEDIC ARYAN CULTURE?

        It is often considered that the Vedic Aryans are a race of people. But aryan actually means a standard of living, an ideal. It was the Sanskrit speaking people of thousands of years ago that gave the word arya to signify a gentleman, an ideal person, someone on the path of purity. It was a term meant for those who were on the cutting edge of social evolution. Another way of interpreting the word aryan is that ar also means white or clear. Ya refers to God. Ya also refers to Yadu, or Krishna, the main person in the Yadu dynasty. Thus, aryan means those who have, or are developing, a clear path or a clear consciousness toward God.
        In this way, we can understand that Aryanism, or Vedic culture, is a way of life. It is not a race of people or a sectarian creed or religion. It belongs to no particular country or race. It is a path that upholds a code of conduct which values peace and happiness and justice for all. Thus, it is a path open for all who want to be trained to be happy with simple living and high thinking, while engaged in proper conduct, a moral life, and selfless service to humanity. Therefore, anyone who wants to live in such a manner may be called an Aryan, a member of the Vedic culture, no matter from which race or country a person may come.
        So what does it mean to follow this Vedic Aryan path? It generally means to learn the ways of a spiritually progressed person. This includes understanding one’s spiritual identity, knowing that he or she is not the body but is spirit soul, that there is karma for one’s actions, and rebirth in another life after death. Thus, everyone will automatically reap the reward or punishment for his own good or evil thoughts, words, and deeds. By having a solid understanding of such spiritual knowledge, there is automatically a respect for all others regardless of race, sex, or species. This brings a moral and peaceful social behaviour in everybody toward everyone. By having respect for everyone’s spiritual identity, this also brings an innate happiness in us all. We can understand that we are only visiting this planet for a short time, and that we are all in this together. In other words, my contribution to your well-being, especially spiritual well-being, will be an automatic contribution to my own existence. In this way, society at large is in a state of constant improvement. That is the goal of the Vedic Aryan way of life.
        Therefore, the Sanskrit word Aryan means a way of life that aims at the elevation of everyone in society to a higher level of consciousness. It means to assist ourselves through a disciplined and godly life to understand the purpose of our existence as well as to become a spiritually realized person. It also means that we help every other individual soul because by helping others we help ourselves. That itself is a natural state of being when we can perceive God as the Supersoul, Paramatma, within everyone. All of this is encouraged by, and increases, a natural faith in an all-pervading Supreme Being. Such faith and focus on the Supreme Being can elevate us to return to our real spiritual home, which is one of the most important goals of the Vedic lifestyle.
        To facilitate this lifestyle, there has been the development of the Vedic literature, such as the Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad-gita, the Puranas, and other ancient texts that explained the Vedic spiritual philosophy. There has also been the architecture that has been seen in the Vedic temples and similar styles as seen throughout the world, along with the common sciences such as mathematics based on the invention of zero and what became known as the Arabic numeral system, which actually came from India. There were also things like Ayurveda (the original holistic health techniques), Vastu, the science of architecture, Yoga, the practice of spiritual development, and much more. I detailed all these things in my book, “Advancements of India’s Ancient Vedic Culture.”
        This culture has spread in many areas throughout the world. Ancient India no doubt covered a much larger area of land than it does today and spread much farther to the north and west. At least there are historical indications showing that the Aryan influence was felt over long distances. The Vedic gods, for example, were known over a wide area. V. Gordon Childe, in his book The Aryans, states that evidence makes it clear that the Aryans had been established in centers on the Upper Euphrates in 1400 BCE. These centers were similar to the cities of the Indus Valley and later in Media and Persia. In fact, Hugo Winckler, in 1907, identified the names of four Vedic gods (Indra, Varuna, Mitra, and the Nasatya twins) along with ten Babylonian and four Mitannian gods that were invoked as witnesses to a treaty signed in 1360 BCE between the kings of Mitanni and the Hittites. There are also tablets at Tell-el-Amarna that mention Aryan princes in Syria and Palestine. But these Aryans were not necessarily permanent residents of the area but dynasts who ruled over the non-Aryan subjects of that region. This would explain why some scholars such as Jacobi, Pargiter, and Konow accept the deities of the Mitanni in the Upper Euphrates in Syria and Palestine as being Indian, introduced to the area through a Sanskrit speaking people who came from the Punjab. Furthermore, L. A. Waddell claims that the first Aryan kings can be traced back to at least 3380 BCE. They had a capital north of the Euphrates near the Black Sea in Cappadocia in 3378 BCE, and these Hittite kings of Cappadocia bore Aryan names. This means that the Aryans had to have been very well settled in the area during this time.

    THE SUMERIANS
                                           
        One widely held view about the Sumerians is that they arrived in Mesopotamia before 3000 BCE when they acquired the prosperity of the inhabitants that were living there. However, another view is that the Sumerians were actually the earliest cultivators in Mesopotamia. They had a philosophy which was especially influential on the succeeding Babylonians and Assyrians who assimilated much of their beliefs. The Sumerians believed the universe and all within it reflected the supreme mind and supernatural activity. They believed that the universe was created from the primeval sea along with all the planets, stars, sun, and moon, each of which had its own orbit. After the creation of the planets came superhuman and invisible beings, who then made human, animal, and plant life. This Sumerian theology, which is very similar to the Vedic version, can still be found in the detailed texts dating back to 1900 BCE.
        Though the Mesopotamian cities shared a common pantheon, not all of the gods were worshiped in all of the cities, neither were they known by the same names. And when the Semites invaded the area, they changed the gods’ names, characteristics, and relations. So, presently it is not clear which were the Sumerian gods or which were carry-overs from the Vedic Aryans, to whom the Sumerians at least were closely related if not a part of Vedic civilization.

    PERSIA

        The name Persia is actually a derivative of the Sanskrit name Parasu, which was the battle axe of Parashurama. Lord Parashurama had led 21 expeditions around the world to chastise the Kshatriya warriors who had swayed from the Vedic principles and became cruel and unruly. This was before the time of Lord Ramachandra. Persia was overrun by Lord Parashurama and his troops and succumbed to abide by his administration. According to E. Pococke on page 45 of his book, India in Greece, the land of Persia became known as Paarasika.
        Pococke goes on the explain that the term “Chaldeans” comes from the Sanskrit term Kul-deva (often pronounced Kaldeo), which means “family gods” referring to a people who worshiped the gods of the Brahmanas. He also adds that the map of ancient Persia, Colchis, and Armenia provides distinct evidence that show a colonization of people from India of a massive scale. It also shows the truth of several main descriptions of the area as found in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
        A British author, R. G. Wallace, mentions on page seven of his book, Memoirs of India, that Hindus are numerous throughout Afghanistan, as well as Arabia and Persia. These are not recent migrants but remnants from the local populations who were converted to Islam by force.
        Lt. Gen. Charles Vallancy, on page 465 of his book Collectania De Rebus Hibernicus, quotes Sir William Jones as saying: “It has been proved by clear evidence and plain reasoning that a powerful monarchy was established in Iran, long before the Assyrian or Pishdadi government; that it was in truth a Hindu monarchy. . . that it subsisted many centuries and that its history has been ingrafted on that of the Hindus, who founded the monarchies of Ayodhya and Indraprastha. . .”
        V. Gordon Childe points out more linguistic resemblances found in the Sanskrit of the Rig-veda and the Iranian of the Gathas of Zoroaster and Darius the Great. Both Indians and Iranians had called themselves Aryas and worshiped the same deities, such as Mitra, Aryaman, Indra, Varuna, Agni, and so on. They also once knew the same set of rivers, the Sarasvati and Hara ‘uvatis, as well as shared the Soma ritual. Thus, one can conclude that they were once of the same background. Even the word Iran or Ariana means “Land of the Aryans” as pointed out by Hermann Kulke in his book, A History of India. All this signifies that the early Iranians were a part of or at least affiliated with the Vedic Aryan civilization.

IRAQ AND IRAN

        An interesting thing is that the royal family of Iran, the Pehlavis, have their roots in the Vedic Kshatriya tradition. The name Pehlavi appears first in the Ramayana episode in which Vishvamitra attempts to drive away Vashista’s sacred cow. The title “Shah” is also a Vedic name and is also a common Hindu surname. The Hindu king of Nepal also bears the title of “Shah.” The Kshatriya king of Gwalior deposed by the Muslims was Ram Shah. The wealthy patriot who turned over his wealth to Rana Pratap to help defend India was Bhama Shah. Therefore, the title “Shah” in Iran is simply a reminder of the Indian Kshatriya tradition that once ruled the area of Iran. In fact, when Iran started to come under attack by the Islamic invasions, many of the common people ran away to India. Histories also record that the royal family at the time also considered leaving Iran to seek shelter in India. So, the very fact that the people and the ruler of Iran thought of coming to India during the Islamic raids proves that they were Hindus, part of the Vedic culture.
        The Rig-veda, being the most ancient scripture, and its language being Sanskrit, provides evidence that Sanskrit is the great ancestor of all known languages. Persian is also, therefore, a descendant dialect of Sanskrit. For example, many towns in Iran have Sanskrit names. The birth place of Omar Khayyam, a well-known Persian poet, is Nishapur, which is a pure Sanskrit name. Indian troops stationed in West Asia during World War I and II have reported seeing temples of Indian deities like Ganesh and Shankar (Shiva) in ruins in remote desolate areas of Iran, Afghanistan, and other countries. Iranian mythology also has links with ancient Vedic lore.

ARABIA

        To help illustrate the well established Vedic connection in Arabia there is an old poem to which we can refer. It is from page 257 of the Sair-Ul-Okul, the anthology of ancient Arabic poetry compiled in 1742 under the order of the Turkish Sultan Salim. It was written by Labi-bin-e Akhtab-bin-e Turfa who lived in Arabia around 1850 BCE, 2300 years before Mohammed, and pays devout poetic tribute to the Vedas and mentions each one by name. In English, the poem reads as follows: “Oh, the divine land of Hind (India), very blessed art thou! Because thou art the chosen of God blessed with knowledge. That celestial knowledge which like four lighthouses shone in such brilliance, through the (utterances of) Indian sages in fourfold abundance. God enjoins on all humans, follow with hands down the path the Vedas with His divine precept lay down. Bursting with divine knowledge are Sama and Yajur bestowed on creation, Hence brothers respect and follow the Vedas, guides to salvation. Two others, the Rig and Athar teach us fraternity, sheltering under their luster dispels darkness till eternity.”
        So, even at that early stage, we can get an idea as to the respect that was given to the Vedic tradition in ancient Arabia. The Vedas were the only religious scriptures to which the Arabs owed allegiance. This shows the antiquity of the Vedas and the existence of Vedic Kshatriya rule over the entire region from the Indus to the Mediterranean. In fact, from Mohammed’s time backwards through history to the remotest antiquity, Arabia shows the influence of Vedic rule and culture. So, you could say that Arabs used to be Hindus.
        Another poem that illustrates this point was written by Jirrham Bintoi, who lived 165 years before prophet Mohammed. In the poem he glorifies the character of King Vikramaditya who ruled 500 years before Mohammed. Vikramaditya’s capital was Ujjayini (Ujjain), alias Avantika, in Central India. The poem appeared in a premier article in a magazine around 1945 on the occasion of the 2000th anniversary of the Vikram Era, greatly celebrated in Ujjain. This poem is also from the Sair-Ul-Okul, the anthology of ancient Arabic poetry. It is in Arabic, but when put in English, it reads as follows:
        “Fortunate are those who were born (and lived) during King Vikram’s reign. He was a noble, generous, dutiful ruler devoted to the welfare of his subjects. But at that time we Arabs, oblivious of divinity, were lost in sensual pleasures. Plotting and torture were rampant (amongst us). The darkness of ignorance had enveloped our country. Like the lamb struggling for its life in the cruel paws of a wolf, we Arabs were gripped by ignorance. The whole country was enveloped in a darkness as intense as on a New Moon night. But the present dawn and pleasant sunshine of education is the result of the favor of that noble king Vikram whose benevolence did not lose sight of us foreigners as we were. He spread his sacred culture amongst us and sent scholars from his own land whose brilliance shown like that of the sun in our country. These scholars and preceptors through whose benevolence we were once again made cognizant of the presence of God, introduced to His sacred knowledge, and put on the road to truth, had come to our country to initiate us in that culture and impart education.”
        The poet Jirrham Bintoi had received the topmost award for three consecutive years at the Meccan symposium. All three poems, including the one above, had been inscribed on gold plate and hung inside the Kaba shrine.   
        This poem shows the way that Arabia had been a part of the advanced Vedic culture, and how it had been appreciated by Arab people. From this we can understand that there were many of the Vedic sciences that had been incorporated into the Arab region for the advancement of the people. Such would include Ayurvedic health centers (as is apparent from the almost identical nature of the Arabic Yunani and Ayurveda systems), schools, Vedic forms of irrigation and agriculture, and an orderly and peaceful way of life. It is for this reason why we can also find today the Kurds and Iranians speaking Sanskritized dialects, fire temples existing in places like Baku and Baghdad thousands of miles away from India, scores of sites of ancient Vedic cultural centers like Navbahar in Iraq, and what was once numerous viharas (Vedic educational centers) in Soviet Russia and throughout the world. Ancient Vedic scriptures are also found from time to time in Central Asia.
        This also explains why when starting from India and going towards the West we find so many names derived from Sanskrit in the region, such as Afghanistan, Baluchistan, Kurdistan, Iran, Iraq, and Arvastan. It has not been realized that it was the Indians who ruled this entire region in the ancient past who gave all these names to these countries. It is from ancient times that Indian Kshatriya royal families like the Pehlavis and Barmarks have held sway over Iran and Iraq.


EGYPT

        The name Egypt comes from the shortened term of Ajap, which refers to the Sanskrit name Ajapati, signifying Lord Rama as the illustrious scion of the clan of Aja, since Aja was the grandfather of Lord Rama. Also, the Egyptian Pharaohs had such names as Ramses I, or Ramses II, because Rama was universally regarded as an ideal ruler. Ramses means Rama the God. And like the Vedic tradition, the Egyptians also considered their rulers as being representatives or even descendants of God.
        In an article by Dr. S. K. Balasubramanian, Hindu Mythology as Prehistory, he relates that the history of Egypt goes thousands of years back to the time of Yayati. Yayati had married Devayani, the daughter of Shukracharya, the Vedic Aryan preceptor of the Danava king Vrishaparva, whose daughter, Sharmistha, was Yayati’s second wife. Yayati’s story finds etymological support in the development of Judaism and its linkage with ancient Egypt. Yayati suffered loss of youth and became prematurely old as a result of a curse and begged his sons to relieve his old age by exchanging their youth with his old age. The eldest son of Devayani, Yadu, declined the request and was deprived of his birth rite to succeed his father. The other sons became similarly accursed. The last son, Puru (by Sharmistha), exchanged his youth for his father’s old age and was later crowned the sovereign of the world superceding his elders.
        Therefore, Puru’s descendants, who were the Puravas, later became known as the Pharaohs of Egypt who ruled over his father’s domain with his elder brothers subject to him. Yayati was deified as Yahweh by the descendants of Yadu who are identified with the Yadus, the Jews of the present day. Nonetheless, they bore bitter animosity to their ancestor Aryan Hindus because the Jews were subservient to the Pharaohs by the edict of Yayati. They resented their subordinate status and revolted against it, moving out of Egypt. Thus, they went on and created their own culture, legends, and histories.
        The other sons of Yayati were also subject to the Pharaohnic suzerainty. Of these, Druhya was the leader of those who became the French Druids, the Druhyas. Anu went on to become the head of Anatolia, while Turvasu was the king of the Turanians in the area north of the Black Sea.
        By the time ancient Egypt comes into our view in history, its extent had shrunk to the Nile valley. Others in that ancient Vedic culture had also asserted their independence. The Minoans, the Maltese, and the Greeks had developed along such independent lines. The Jews rose in revolt against the Pharaohs and moved into Palestine retaining a grudge against their forebears in Aryavarta and Egypt. They developed an iconoclast religion and were the first to attempt to “rewrite” history. They rejected the past to such an extent and with such bitterness that they even reversed the natural mode of writing from left to right. The Egyptians and the Greeks retained the pluralism of their ancestors and developed on more tolerant lines.
        The discovery of the source of the Nile is also credited to the early Vedic explorers. Colonel John Speke explains in his Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile (page 13) that, “Colonel Rigby gave me a most interesting paper with a map attached to it about the Nile and Mountain of the Moon. It was written by Lt. Wilford from the Puranas of the ancient Hindus. It is remarkable that the Hindus had christened the source of the river Nile. This, I think, shows clearly that the ancient Hindus must have had some kind of connection with different parts of Africa. . . All previous information concerning the hydro-graphy of these regions originated with the ancient Hindus. . .  and all those busy Egyptian geographers who disseminated the knowledge with a view to be famous for their long-sightedness in solving the mysteries which shrouded the source of the Nile (the holy river) were so many hypothetical humbugs.”

GREECE

        In looking at the Greek culture, we find many connections between it and the Vedic civilization. Many people and scholars tend to view Greece as a source of western civilization. However, it is seldom realized that the original Greek culture was itself Vedic. This is not to say that no one has recognized the similarities. Even as far back as 1830 we can find on pages 61-2 from Volume II of Narrative of a Journey Overland From England to India, by Mrs. Colonel Elwood, where she sees the Vedic influence in Greece. “The striking analogy between some of the Hindoo fables with those of the Greeks, would induce us to believe that the Greeks and Hindoos must, at an early age, have had much intercourse, and possibly Pythagorus, with the doctrine of the Metempsychosis, may have imported some of the adventures of the Indian Gods and ascribed them to the Greek deities.
        “Indra whirling his thunderbolt appears to be the same with Jupiter. Chrisn [Krishna] and his nine Gopis are evidently Apollo and the Muses. The beautiful Camadeva is a more interesting being even than the Greecian Cupid, while the lovely Maya, the Goddess of beauty, the Venus, sprang from the bosom of the ocean, Surya and Arjuna resemble Phoebus and Aurora, and the twin sons Aswinau, Aswini-cum-arau, or the Daul, Castor and Pollux; Lachshemi crowned with ears of corn appears to be Ceres; Kali, Hecate or Proserpine; and Narad, the eloquent messenger of the Gods, is Mercury. Sir William Jones identifies Ganesh with Janus, whilst Hanuman and his monkey attendants, resemble Pan and his Sylvan deities.”
        The fact that Krishna was the God of Greece is shown by the silver coins made by Agathaclese, a Greek ruler of the 2nd century BCE. These coins bear the imprint of Lord Krishna and His brother Balarama and are on display in several museums. Furthermore, a large mosaic of a young Krishna playing the flute, standing cross-legged under a tree while grazing cows, hangs in the museum in Corinth. This was obviously salvaged from a local Krishna temple which proves this city was once a center of Vedic culture with temples to Krishna.
        We can recognize that as the Vedic culture moved from India to Egypt to Greece, etc., much of the philosophy stayed the same, although the names and artistic characteristics of the gods changed with time. The features of the deities would change because as they moved west the esthetic standards would be adjusted since the priests would emphasize certain aspects of the images according to regional and cultural preference. The early Greek sculptures seem to have been carved by the priests for the temples. In other words, they were the temple deities and were probably dressed rather than left naked, and then worshiped in the temples. Many of the early forms were almost always carved as a boy of 15 to 17 years of age with long hair like Krishna. Furthermore, Zeus, Jupiter, and Amon were all blue bodied, not because they were sky-gods like some say, but because they are related to the image of Krishna who is blue, which signifies His spiritual nature.

ITALY

        The name Italy (from Etaly) in Sanskrit signifies a country situated at the bottom of the continent now called Europe. As the Vedic culture had crossed through the mid-eastern countries and into Greece and Italy, the Vedic gods were still a primary factor in the worship and legends of the land. However, the names had changed in the local jargon to emphasize various characteristics that had more emphasis with the people of the region. We can recognize this in regard to how the popular Roman god Mithra can be traced to Mitra of the Vedas, who came to the Mediterranean through Asia Minor by the military forces who had been impressed with the Vedic philosophy.
        Furthermore, many other Roman gods originated from the east, especially from the Greek tradition who were further traced and characterized after the Vedic deities. For example, Zeus is Dyaus, Jupiter is Diupeter (or Dyaus Pitar, the Vedic Indra), Minerva is Pallas Athen, Diana is Artemia, Venus (the Vedic Lakshmi) became Aphrodite, Neptune is Poseidon, Vulcan is Hephaestus, Ceres is Demetri, Liber is Dionysus, Mercury became Hermes, and Hermes was formerly the Egyptian god Thoth. An interesting point concerning Hermes is described by Dr. Ginsburg in Life of Levita. It is mentioned that the way the god Hermes was worshiped was as a phallus, standing on a flat stone, which was anointed with oil, similar to the worship of the Shiva linga. But the Shiva linga is anointed with Ganges water, representing the way Shiva accepted the pounding force of the Ganges river on his head as it descended from the heavenly region to earth.
        One of the reasons why so many Vedic deities can be found here is that Rome had been engaged in trade with India for many years. An example of how extensive trade was between Rome and India can be seen at Sisupalgarh. This was a fort located on the far eastern side of India, three miles south of Bhubaneshwar. It was built around the third century BCE and abandoned in the fourth century CE. Excavations revealed Roman and Indian coins that date back to the first and second centuries.

EUROPE

        Before Christianity, Vedic culture had access to all lands around the globe. This is proved by several finds, such as the naval bell with a Tamil inscription found on the sea-bed off Australia. There was also a ship of the BCE era with the image of Buddha on it found under the ice-bound sea near Denmark. Ancient statues and temples and cities bearing an identification with India and Vedic culture have been located in almost all continents and even in remote islands. References are available about Hindu naval experts assisting people in Africa and other continents to safely navigate the high seas. The chronicles of the Greek Periplus indicate that India shipped a variety of products to Greece. These included spices, high quality textiles, ivory, gems, and iron. Rome also supplied many products to India in these trades. While trading in the Mediterranean area, India did much trade with Egypt, as evidenced from the great stock of 14th century Egyptian and Syrian gold and silver coins found in Broach, Gujarat.
        Images and paintings of Krishna in His mother’s arms were worldwide. Only later was it adopted by early Christians to depict Mother Mary holding baby Jesus. Such images and the Vedic books and remnants of Vedic civilization throughout Europe were destroyed by Christian invaders. Thus, in some ways you could say we have forgotten this knowledge of our ancient roots because we have been forced to forget it.
        How this destruction took place is explained by Godfrey Higgins in his book, The Celtic Druids (p.164). He says that Christians did not always burn and plunder, but subtly took in whole communities along with their customs and stamped them as Christian. “The monks of Roman and Greek churches were remnants of the sect of the Essenes converted to Christianity, and much degraded and corrupted from their excellent predecessors. . .  When they became converts they formed an odd mixture of the two religions. In what they called monasteries, many of them built before the Christian era, a day had from time immemorial been dedicated to the god Sol (the Sun-god) as his birthday, and that he bore the epithet Lord. . . Thus came the 25th December, the heathen festival of the God Sol to be selected as the birthday of Christ, and the Druidic festival of the winter Solstice to become a Christian rite. . . the ‘birth’ of the Sun on 25th December was kept from India to the Ultima Thule. . . these ceremonies partook of the same character.”
        So, from this it is apparent that many of the Christian festivals were carry-overs from the Vedic culture of India, which also recognized the importance of the sun, the solstices, and so on. Therefore, as the Vedic culture had reached all lands, all ancient people throughout the world, whatever may have been the name of their community or region, were united in a common culture and observed familiar festivals. It could be that the same festivals had different emphasis in different regions, but the main culture was the Vedic culture or a close derivative of it.

THE VEDIC INFLUENCE IN BRITAIN

        How the Vedic influence was felt in such far away places as England and Scandinavia is explained in The Aryans by V. Gordon Childe. He relates that in Britain, shortly after 2000 BCE, a people conquered the territory who were noted for their use of battle-axes. It was during this time that a period of rapid development began. It is now understood that these people were mixed with Aryans who promoted what is now called the Western type of civilization that continued to develop.
        L. A. Waddell also writes that the Trojans and their civilization were of Sumerian-Aryan origin. When the Trojan amulets were deciphered they were disclosed to be of the same religion with the same invocations and deity symbols as on the amulets of the seals of the Indus Valley. These symbols were also the same as those on the ancient monuments in Britain. And recorded history states that Britain was first colonized by King Brutus the Trojan in about 1103 BCE.
        Further Vedic influence in Britain was also brought by the Celts. Celts were Indo-Europeans who first emerged as a separate people near the source of the Danube about 1000 BCE. They swept over central Europe and arrived in Britain about 800 BCE. Ward Rutherford, in his book Celtic Mythology, points out many similarities between the Celtic and the early Hindu or Vedic traditions. He suggests that though the Celts and Vedic followers were separated by a large mass of land, they nonetheless must have originally come from the same source. Furthermore, Waddell, in The Makers of Civilization, provides some evidence that Saint George, Saint Andrew, Saint Michael, and the legend of King Arthur and the Holy Grail, as well as the Thor-Odin legend of the Britains and Scandinavians, were of Sumerian-Aryan origin.
        The whole of Europe was administered in ancient times by a Sanskrit-speaking Vedic clan known as the Daityas. Danu and Merk were two leaders of that ancient clan of Daityas. It is those two names which are combined into the term Denmark. Count Biornstierna, himself a Scandinavian, is no doubt right in determining in his book The Theogony of the Hindus, “It appears that the Hindu settlers migrated to Scandinavia before the Mahabharata War.”
        The ancient Vedas that the Kshatriyas followed were also transported to Scandinavia. Later they became the Eddas, which still remains the ancient-most scripture of the region. However, due to the discontinuation of the Vedic form of education, the content of the Eddas has all been changed from the ancient Sanskrit texts to the fairy tales of the local modern language. Nonetheless, close study reveals many similarities in the tales of the Eddas and Vedic and Puranic legends.
        The Norse ballad about Sigfried, a hero who was born with a coat of horn, is the European relic of the story of Karna. He was born with an armor-plated body as described in the Mahabharata.
        Similar to the Vedic time line, in the Norse region it is said that ancient peoples lived for hundreds of years. There was also a set of ages, or time periods, during which conditions would continue to deteriorate with increasing violence into a time called the knife and axe age. After this final age would be what is called Ragnarok, the period of annihilation. However, after this would be a time of restoration in which the world would return to a time of goodness. During the Ragnarok, the world would be destroyed by flames that come from a being named Surt. It is he who lives in an underworld, Hel. This is quite similar to the Vedic version (Bhagavatam 3.11.30) in which the world is destroyed by the flames that come from the mouth of Lord Sankarshana, who is an expansion of Lord Krishna and who is seated in the lower regions of the universe.
        The Vedic gods and heroes are also the same as those found in Scandinavia, although different names may have been given to them in the Eddas. We find on page 27 of the footnote of Volume I of the text Aryatarangini: “Even today, the study of Sanskrit is a treasured objective among the Finns and the Lithuanians and the legendary gods of these people can be mostly identified with Vedic deities.”
        With the Christian invasion of Europe, Olaf was the first Scandinavian king to be turned into a Christian. As soon as he was baptized, he let loose his army in 1030 CE to forcibly convert all other Scandinavians to Christianity. Thereafter, the Vedic gods of old were stigmatized and misrepresented as demons and devils.

LITHUANIA

        Lithuania was one of the last Vedic countries to be converted to Catholicism. The kingdom of Lithuania (or Lietiva) at the time extended from the Baltic to the Black Sea and to the Urals in the East. The last of the pre-Christian rulers before Lithuania was forcibly taken over by Christianity was Grand Duke Gediminas of the 14th century. Although he defended his country against the force of the Christians, he had the wisdom to announce that the Pagans of Lithuania, Catholics, and Orthodox Christians all worshiped the same Supreme Being, although in different forms. Even though he had guaranteed religious freedom in Lithuania, his liberal attitude did little to help his country from being conquered by the Christians who then suppressed the native pagan religion. Of course, pagan in this instance refers to the ancient Vedic culture, or the remnants of it. In any case, it was only 50 years after Gediminas’ rule that Lithuania was taken by the Christian crusaders. The Lithuanian king at the time, Jogolia, married the Polish princess Jadvyaga and converted her to Catholicism. Then pagan temples were destroyed and Christian churches built in their place. The last pagan temple was closed in 1790.
        That, however, did not bring a swift change in the people of Lithuania. Many of them held on to their pagan beliefs and rituals, much to the dismay of the church missionaries. After all, to the native people, the Christians were but foreign invaders. Even the Soviet occupation after World War II did not overpower the national pagan church--Romuva, which is again becoming popular these days. The church was kept alive through the 1980s, during the nation’s independence. Even today you can find the pagan rituals still being held with participants circling the fires singing Dainas, the Lithuanian Vedic chants. The name Dainas is linguistically connected to the Sanskrit word  dhyanam, which means meditation. So, these chants were and still are considered a way of meditation in the same way the Vedic chants have always been used. The fire goddess is still held in reverence, and her name is Gabija or Ugnis, related to the Sanskrit fire god Agni. Another similarity between the modern pagan rituals and Vedic culture is that the priest uses some of the ashes from the fire to smudge the third eye area on the forehead of the participants, as often done during the Vedic fire rituals.
        The Lithuanian language was not Slavik but was based on Sanskrit. This is why there are so many Sanskritic words in the Lithuanian language. A short example can be seen in the words for God, day, and son, which are devas, dina, and sunu in Sanskrit, and dievas, diena, and sunus in Lithuanian. The numerals are also very similar. There is a large Sanskrit Department in the University of Vilnius. Since the language has changed less than others over the centuries, it clearly shows its linguistic link to its Vedic past.

GERMANY

        The area of Germany has many points that relate to its connection with its primordial Vedic culture. In regard to names, the name “Prussia” is from “Pra-Russia.” Russia simply refers to the Sanskrit Rishiya, or a land of Rishis, and Prussia is an extension of the Rishi Country. Its other name, Deutschland, is a corruption of the Sanskrit term DaityaSthan, which refers to the land of the Daitya clan, or those born of Mother Diti and Kashyapa Muni. This is why Germany is called Deutschland. The term “Titan” is the European pronunciation of the Sanskrit word Daityan. The Dutch people of Holland also share in the same name of Daitya.
        The name German is a corruption of the Sanskrit term Sharman, which is applicable to the Sanskrit scholars in Vedic terminology. You can find many Indian people with the surname of Sharma, which is in reference to this.
        Other examples of Sanskrit words in German are easily found. In the German names like Heidelburg, “burg” signifies a fort. Heidelburg is the Sanskrit compound Haya-dal-durg meaning a fort garrisoned by a contingent of horses. Hindenburg is another such example, which simply means the fort of the Hindus.
        The German word of thanks is Danke, a mispronunciation of the Sanskrit Dhanya, which is commonly used in India. The German suffix “maan” in names like Hermann and Hahnemann comes from the Sanskrit word Manav, meaning man. Hahnemann is also a derivative of the name Hanuman from the Ramayana.
        We also find personal and place names that derive from the Vedic incarnation of Lord Rama, such as Ramstein, the site where the first American Pershing missile was located in November, 1983. “Stein” is similar to sthan, which means a spot or place.   
        Tacitus, an ancient Greek writer, has also testified to the ancient Hindu, Vedic culture in old Germany. Furthermore, Col. James Tod records on page 63 in Volume I of Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan: “The first habit of the Germans upon rising was ablution, which must have been of Eastern origin and not of the cold climate of Germany, as also the loose flowing robes, the long and braided hair tied in a knot at the top of the head, so emblematic of the Brahmins.”
        One of the more obvious signs of Vedic culture was the Swastika. The Swastika was found widely all over Europe as an important Vedic symbol in the pre-Christian era. The very term Swastika is Sanskrit meaning an emblem of well-being. It is a symbol of the sun and earth and cosmos in a dynamic whirl. It represents karma and action in consonance with the whirling cosmos. It also represents the divine energy which pervades the universe in the eight directions which are important in Vedic tradition.


PAGANISM IN CHRISTIANITY
                                           
        The name pagan means a country man. The name heathen comes from the word heath, which is a common name for a variety of evergreen shrubs that live in swamps or along mountain slopes. Thus, the name heathen simply referred to those who lived in the country near such plants. Therefore, the use of the name heathen or pagan originally was not meant in a condescending way. To be a heathen or pagan simply meant that one followed those religions that existed prior to Christianity, or that he or she participated in the nature religions, which primarily meant demigod worship. So, paganism is simply a reference to following the old remnants of the Vedic Aryan culture. And people throughout pre-Christian Europe worshiped a variety of spirits and demigods, known by different names according to culture and region. The Romans and Greeks of that time also worshiped demigods. The sun-god, Mithra, was apparently considered the most exalted of the demigods. Even King Constantine (280-337 CE) was originally a devotee of the sun-god. His famous vision of the cross that he had while marching on Rome came to him from the sun. In fact, even after he was converted to Christianity, he remained a devotee of the sun-god, and because of that he continued to hold the Sabbath on Sunday, which traditionally was on Saturday.  
        According to Jewish tradition, the Sabbath was Saturday when God finished the creation and rested. So, Saturday is the seventh day and Sunday is the first. Therefore, the Seventh Day Adventists, in a kind of protest, changed the Sabbath back to the original day. So, even today the Sabbath is celebrated as a kind of pagan carry-over on the sun’s day. In this way, each day was set aside for different demigods, who are the presiding deities of different planets. Thus, Sunday is for the sun, Monday is for the moon, Tues is the Greek name for Mars, Wednesday is for Mercury, Thursday for Jupiter, Friday for Venus, and Saturday for Saturn.
        Actually, Paul was the fanatic who took whatever was known of Jesus and, while misinterpreting Jesus’ teachings, made Jesus out to be the incarnation of God, the Messiah, that Jesus never wanted to be. As described in Mark (8.29-30), when Jesus asked his disciples who they thought he was, Peter said that he was the Christ. And Jesus charged them that they should tell no man of him. In fact, the term Christ was first used in relation to Jesus by Paul when Paul first started preaching in the city of Antioch. The name Christ was simply the Greek word for Messiah. It was not a person’s name.
        Paul was the person who developed Christian theology and ritual and simply wrote in the Epistles his own ideas of Jesus while never referring to what Jesus actually said. Paul also put many threats into the philosophy of Christianity and created an image of a fearsome and jealous God rather than one that was merciful and loving. But, according to Paul’s version of Christianity, salvation was granted by God alone who would save you if you simply became a Christian because Christ had already died on the cross as a sacrifice for your sins. In this way, faith was all that was needed, and faith outweighed the need for good works. This may be a simple and comfortable concept for Christians but is not a true one and was never presented in the real teachings of Jesus. Jesus actually did emphasize the need for good works. So, what we really find in Christianity are the teachings of Paul, which in some areas have little to do with what Jesus actually taught.
        Paul also accepted Sunday as the day of rest from Mithraism rather than Saturday, the seventh day as found in the Hebraic tradition. Paul also took Easter from Mithraism as the day Jesus rose from the grave. Mithra is said to have died in battle on a Friday and was buried in a rock tomb from which, after three days, he rose on the festive occasion of the spring equinox, called Eastra, the Latin word for Astarte, the earth mother goddess. Interestingly, the 40 days before the spring equinox corresponding to Lent was the period for searching for the renewal of life in that tradition. Furthermore, the celebration for the resurrection of the Greek god Adonis is said to have taken place as late as 386 CE in Judea at the same time as the Easter observance of Jesus’ resurrection. And the use of dyed Easter eggs was widely known by such people as the Egyptians and Persians who made presents of them, and by the Jews who used them in the Passover feast. These are some of the non-Christian traditions that became incorporated into the Christian Easter holiday and are still practiced today.
        In regard to Jesus’ crucifixion, he is supposed to have died and descended into hell, and on the third day rose again. However, if we look at other cultures, many of which are far older than Christianity, this is hardly an isolated event. The Persian Zoroaster, the Egyptian Osiris, Horus, Adonis, Bacchus, Hercules, and the Scandinavian Baldur, and the Mexican Quetzalcoatl all are supposed to have spent three days in hell after their death and then rose again. All these persons also performed many miracles that can be compared to the ones Jesus performed.
        When we consider the story of how baby Jesus appeared in the heart of Mary by immaculate conception, as well as the bright star appearing in the night sky, we can discern a direct parallel to Lord Krishna’s birth three thousand years earlier in Vrindavana, India, as recorded in the Vedic literature. It is described in the ancient Vedic texts how Krishna appeared in the mind of Vasudeva, Krishna’s father, and was then transferred into the heart of His mother, Devaki. During Krishna’s birth, the bright star Rohini was high in the sky, and the king at the time, Kamsa, actually ordered the killing of all the infants in an attempt to kill Krishna, similar to the way Herod was supposed to have done as described in the gospel of Matthew. And just as a multitude appeared among the shepherds in the hills praising God at the time of Jesus’ birth, there were also many demigods who came and danced and sang about the glories of Krishna when He was ready to appear in this world. Krishna was born in a cave-like dungeon, while Jesus was also born in a cave, although some say a manger in a barn. Rays of light illuminated the area after they had taken birth. While newly born, they both spoke of why they had come to this world. And as wise men were supposed to have presented Jesus with frankincense and myrrh, baby Krishna was also presented with gifts that included sandalwood and perfumes.
        At the time when Krishna left this planet, His foot was pierced with an arrow, while Jesus’ side was pierced with a spear. There was a darkness that descended when Jesus is said to have been crucified, just as there was a darkness and many calamities taking place when Krishna left this world. And as there is a description of many ominous signs that are to signify the second coming of Christ, there are even more symptoms of the terrible age of Kali that we are going through that indicates the time before the coming of Krishna’s next avatara as Kalki. Many of these I have included in my book, The Vedic Prophecies. There are many other parallels that we could refer to that are disclosed in the Vedic texts, which were written many hundreds of years before the Bible. In this way, practically speaking, what we find in the Bible regarding Jesus’ birth is a description of the appearance of Lord Krishna, but only the names have been changed.


AMERICA

        The traditions of the ancient Americans have numerous similarities with Vedic culture. In the legends of the Sioux Indians, there is the story of how their ancestors were visited by a celestial woman who gave them the religion they follow. She had explained that there are four ages that are symbolized by how a buffalo loses one leg during the advent of each age. This shows that with each age, conditions deteriorate. Presently, the buffalo has only one leg. This symbolism is directly in accordance with the Vedic version, which also shows a bull standing on one leg due to the decline in the age of Kali-yuga. Other tribes of the Indians of North America, especially the Hopi, also have descriptions of the four ages, or four worlds as they call them, that are similar to the deteriorating effects of the four ages in the Vedic tradition; namely Satya-yuga, Treta-yuga, Dvapara-yuga, and Kali-yuga. They also accepted the concepts of reincarnation, respect for nature, the nature spirits or demigods, etc., which are very similar to the concepts found in the Vedic philosophy. In Mexico, ancient paintings were found that showed heads of a rhinoceros, as well as paintings of a man with the head of an elephant, like Ganesh in India. And we all know that the rhinoceros and elephant are not animals found in the Americas.
        Studies have concluded that similarities in Mayan, Aztec, Inca, and North American Indian civilizations have a strong connection with Indian Vedic Aryans and the Southeast Asian countries. For example, the Aztec and Mayan architecture of ancient Mexico and Central America is very similar to the Vedic buildings and temples and pyramids of Egypt. They shared many other things in the areas of customs, art motifs (such as the lotus flower found at Chichen Itza), time measurements, calenders, local gods, styles of dress, and, of course, in architecture, astronomy, and religious symbols. Similarities can be seen in sculptures of the native dress and solar symbolism, rituals of worship, systems of government, and in language and names. In fact, the name Argentina (meaning connected with silver) is related to the name of Arjuna (meaning of silver hue). Arjuna was one of Krishna’s closest devotees. Witnesses have also found Sanskrit letters carved in the stone on Sugarloaf Mountain in Brazil.
        An obvious point about the Mayan connection with that of the Vedic is, for example, that the word Maya is from the Sanskrit language of India, which I will discuss more later. Deities of Ganesh, the same as in India, have been discovered in excavations in Central America and Mexico. Additional Vedic deities that were found by archeologists in ancient America include those of Shiva, Kali, and the sun, though they may have been in slightly varied forms. And forms of Buddha had been found in the jungles of Honduras by Professor F. W. Putnam.
        The physical and facial characteristics of the people of Mexico are also similar to the people of northeast India. Even the traditional songs of the Mexican people contain similar sentiments of those of India, such as when a mother bids her newly married daughter farewell. Mexican women’s clothes still resemble the long dress and short blouse like an East Indian sari and choli. Women still prepare flat bread made from corn flour like the Indian chapati made from wheat flour.
        The remnants of great cities with roads, water tanks, canals, forts, etc., found in South America leads one to accept the fact that it must have been quite a developed civilization. Due to the traces of Vedic architectural design, city planning, mythology, and images of worship found in this area, many researchers consider that this society was originally developed in India. For example, in the book The Conquest of the Maya (published by Jarrold’s in England), J. Leslie Mitchell explains that the basis of the old Maya empire was not the work of the ancestors of the present day Maya, but was an import from the same foreigners that built the palaces and temples of the Chams and Khmers in Cambodia, and the temples in Java. He also points out the similarities between the Maya rain-god Chac and the Vedic Indian Indra, and the Maya monkey-god and the Vedic Hanuman. The Vedic origin is further enhanced by the frequency that the elephant motif is found in Maya art, especially the earlier works of the Maya, such as at Copan, although the elephant never existed in the region. Mr. Pococke also says in this regard: “The Peruvians and their ancestors, the Indians, are in this point of view at once seen to be the same people.”
        One reason for these similarities between the Americas and India is that in ancient Vedic times there were two great architects, Visvakarma of the demigods or Aryans, and Maya of the asuras. The Mayan people, also known as technicians, were no doubt named as such because of being connected with this person named Maya, or Mayasura and Maya Danava. They were a part of his clan or tribe. They had fallen away from the Vedic way of life and were sent or escaped to the region of Central America. They also carried with them much of the science of astronomy and navigation for which this Mayasura was known. This will become more apparent as we proceed through this chapter.
        Mayasura’s knowledge is more fully explained in the classic work of Indian Vedic astronomy known as the Surya Siddhanta for which he is given credit. Many people have wondered from where the Mayans acquired their astronomical knowledge. This would explain how the Mayan people had such a high degree of understanding in astronomy, from which they also developed their calendar. The Mayan calendar was a science they had long developed, carrying it with them from their previous location and civilization. Incidentally, for them, the end of the world, or the way we have known it, is calculated as December 23, 2012. Thus, the calendar was not merely a record of time, but also a prediction of social changes.
        Another strange but interesting link between the Peruvians and the Vedic culture is explained by Henry Gilman in his book Ancient Man in Michigan. The Peruvians, among other societies, such as the Mound Builders, Neolithic people of France and the Canary Islands, would bore a small hole in the top of the skulls of the dead so the soul might easily pass out. This is a Vedic understanding that is common among yogis, Tibetans, and others that if the soul passes out of the body through the head, especially the top, then it is a sign of a higher birth in the next life. Boring a hole would be a mechanical means of trying to guarantee this result.
        This is just an introduction to recognizing Vedic culture and its influence in many parts of the world. You can find much more information in my book, “Proof of Vedic Culture’s Global Existence,” as well as “Advancements of Ancient India’s Vedic Culture,” and the very elaborate "Mysteries of the Ancient Vedic Empire: Recognizing Vedic Contributions to Other Cultures Around the World."
    Thank you very much.

[From www.stephen-knapp.com]

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