A Hindu is any person who practices good Karma (action), Bhakti (worship), or dhyana (meditation) for achieving Moksha (freedom from rebirths and union with God). Hinduism is the oldest religion in the world, with origins perhaps as far back as to the prehistoric times, more than 5000 yearsand is the predominant religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word “Hindu” is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion (i.e. Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism or Sikhism).In common use today; it refers to an adherent of Hinduism.
With more than a billion adherents, Hinduism is the world’s third largest religion. The vast majority of Hindus, approximately 940 million, live in India. Other countries with large Hindu populations include Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Fiji and the island of Bali.
Hinduism began as a civilization and thus it is ‘wrong’ to call it a religion, modern ethics shows and portrays Hinduism as a religion, for their own benefits Politically, which is an another topic in itself. In this article we will see how, the archaeology and scientific facts will prove the presence of “Hindu” and it’s influence all over the world.
The word Hindu is derived from the Sanskrit word Sindhu, first mentioned in the Rig Veda, was the historic local appellation for the Indus River in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent.
The Brihaspati Agama says:
|“||हिमालयं समारभ्य यावदिंदुसरोवरम् ।|
तं देवनिर्मितं देशं हिंदुस्थानं प्रचक्ष्यते ।।
The land created by the gods which stretched from the Himalayas to the Indu (i.e. Southern) ocean is called Hindusthan, with the हिंदु (Hindu) mentioned in word हिंदुस्थानं (Hindusthan).
”The usage of the word Hindu was further popularized for Arabs and further west by the Arabic term al-Hind referring to the land of the people who live across river Indus and the Persian term Hindū referring to all Indians. By the 13th century, Hindustān emerged as a popular alternative name of India, meaning the “land of Hindus“.
Did ancient India started Egyptian Civilization?
The name Egypt comes from the word “Ajap” which in Sanskrit is Ajapati which signifies Lord Ram as the most illustrious forbearer of the Aja clan. Aja was the grandfather of lord Ram. The word Ram means God and like the Vedic tradition where the rulers were considered as being representatives or descendants of God, the Egyptians also considered their Pharaoh as God or their descendants and their Pharaoh was also named as Ramesis I or II. Here I would like to mention one of the interesting fact about the sphinx. The pyramids have been dated as 3000 years BC and the Sphinx is dated to be 6000 Years BC. This means that when the pyramids were being made, the sphinx stood in front of them as a reminder of a civilization which was antique to them and full of intrigue.
What is the link?
Dr.S.K.Balasubramaniam in his book “Hindu Mythology as prehistory” says that the history of Egypt goes back to thousands of year in time to the period of Yayati who had two wives namely devayani and Sharmishtha. Yayati,by some forces of nature became prematurely old and was thus very depressed. He asked his Eldest son Yadu who was from Devayani to relieve him from his predicament by exchanging his youth with the old age. Yadu refused to do the needful and so did all other sons. It was Puru the youngest and the son from Sharmishtha who agreed to help his father. Henve he was crowned the sovereign of the world superceding his elder brothers. Purus decendants were the Puravas later became known as the Pharaohs of Egypt who ruled over his father’s domain with the elder brothers as subject to him.
Did Egyptians wrote about India?
Professor P.N.Oak in his world famous book “world vedic Heritage” says that the Egyptians called India as the land of Punt or rather Pankht and regarded it as their divine land peopled by Punts meaning Pundits, sages, seers, and Gods. Further evidence of the Vedic roots of the Egyptian area, as mentioned in the book “ Proof of Vedic Cultures Global Existence” by Stephan Knapp, is noticed when we understand that Rama was spelled as Rham in the west. Later the “R” was dropped and consequently the African school text books asserting that Africans are Kushites ( Subject of Kush son of Ram ) mention Ham as the father of Kush. The twin brother of Kush was Luv and the region named after him was known in Sanskrit as Laviya, now pronounced as Libya.
Comparison between Vedic Civilization and Egyptian Civilization
Count Biornsttierna again says ,in the same book, “ on comparing the religious system between the Egyptian civilization and the Vedic civilization we are struck by their resemblance to each other.The principal of trinity with that of unity, the pre-existence of the soul,its transmigration, the division of caste into priest, warriors, traders, and agriculturists are the cardinal points of both system. Even the symbols are same on the shores of The Ganges and The Nile. Thus we find the Lingam of the shiva temples of India in the Phallus of the Ammon temples of Egypt. We find the lotus as a symbol of the sun both in India and in Egypt, and we find symbols of immortality of the soul both in India and Egypt. The power of rendering barren women fruitful is ascribed to the Temple of Shiva in India is also ascribed to the temple of Ammon in Egypt.”
Ancient Indian Contacts
Indian contacts with the Western world date back to prehistoric times. Trade relations, preceded by the migration of peoples, inevitably developed into cultural relations. Evidence of Indian contact with the ancient civilizations to her west, however is certain. Knobbed pottery vases came to Sumer from India and so did cotton. In the Akkadian tongue, Indian cotton was expressed by ideographs meaning “vegetable cloth.” Assurbanipal (668-626 B.C) cultivated Indian plants including the “wool-bearing trees” of India. According to the Skandha Purana, Egypt (Africa) was known as Sancha-dvipa continent mentioned in Sir Willliams Jones’ dissertation on Egypt. At Alexandria, in Egypt, Indian scholars were a common sight: they are mentioned both by Dio Chrysostom (c. 100 A.D.) and by Clement (c. 200 A.D.) Indirect contact between ancient India and Egypt through Mesopotamia is generally admitted, but evidence of a direct relationship between the two is at best fragmentary. Peter Von Bohlen (1796-1840) German Indologist, compared India with ancient Egypt. He thought there was a cultural connection between the two in ancient times. There are elements of folk art, language, and rural culture of Bengal which have an affinity with their Egyptian counterparts and which have not been explained satisfactorily in terms of Aryan, Mongolian, or Dravidian influences. There are similarities between place names in Bengal and Egypt and recently an Egyptian scholar, El Mansouri, has pointed out that in both Egypt and India the worship of cow, sun, snake, and river are common.
Recently, more definitive evidence suggesting contact between India and Egypt has become available. A terracotta mummy from Lothal vaguely resembles an Egyptian mummy and a similar terracotta mummy is found also at Mohenjodaro. In this context it is of interest to note that the Egyptian mummies are said to have been wrapped in Indian muslin. Characters similar to those on the Indus seals have also been found on tablets excavated from Easter Island. Of all the Egyptian objects and motifs indicating some contact between India and Egypt during the Indus Valley period, “the cord pattern occurring in a copper tablet in the Indus Valley and on three Egyptian seals is the most striking link between the two countries. Gordon Childe has said, “In other words, in the third millennium B.C. India was already in a position to contribute to the building up of the cultural tradition that constitutes our spiritual heritage as she notoriously has done since the time of Alexander.”
The Mystery of Lotus Flower
Neither historical events nor cross-cultural currents can explain the unique parallels in the myths and imagery of ancient Egypt and India. Walafrid Strabo (c. 809–849) German scholar has said: “The lotus flower, sacred to Buddha and to Osiris, has five petals which symbolizes the four limbs and the head; the five senses; the five digits; and like the pyramid, the four parts of the compass and the zenith. Other esoteric meanings abound: for myths are seldom simple, and never irresponsible.” In fact, Hinduism’s pervading influence seems to go much earlier than Christianity. American mathematician, A. Seindenberg, has, for example, shown that the Shulbasutras, the ancient Vedic science of mathematics, constitute the source of mathematics in the antique world of Babylon to Greece: “The arithmetic equations of the Shulbasutras were used in the observation of the triangle by the Babylonians as well as in the edification of Egyptian pyramids, in particular the funeral altar in the form of pyramid known in the Vedic world as smasana-cit.”The flower so prolific in the imagery of both India and Egypt, grows out of the waters and opens its petals to be warmed by the sun: to be fertilized. From the earliest imagery in stone at Sanchi, of the first century BC in India, the lotus is associated with Sri, the goddess of fertility, who is later invoked as Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and abundance – being worshipped by Buddhists, Jains, and Hindus alike. The lotus is held in each hand by Surya, signifying the fertilizing powers of the sun as he travels through the universe.
In Egypt, the blue lotus appears in the earliest wall paintings of the VI Dynasty at the pyramids of Saqqara and in all funerary stelae. They are offered to the deceased, and held in the hand as thought they possess the power to revitalize them: to bring the deceased back to life. Carved out of blue lapis, along with the golden falcon and the sun that are the symbols of the god Horus, the lotus appears among the funerary treasures from the tomb of Tutankhamen.
The lotus then, becomes a leitmotiv, a symbol most apt since its links the waters with the sun, the earth to sky – signifying fertility and regeneration in both Egypt and India. For, it is the seed of the plant which spells out the cycle of birth-decay-death and rebirth that forms the essential pattern of belief in these two riverine and agricultural societies. In India and Egypt, the rivers Saraswati and Ganga and the Nile have brought sustenance to the land and nourished these civilizations which have survived five millennia. Both these rivers, the Ganga and the Nile, are personified and worshiped. They provide the dramatic backdrop against which myths and indeed created, to explain the topographic conditions of the land.