Picture above: Face of Mithra or Jesus Christ or Alexander of Greece?
Picture: A beautifully carved sculpture of Mithra in the Hall of Animals at Vatican Museum. Pictures clicked by me during my visit in 2017. What a place they chose to put Mithra sculpture in!
Picture: Mithra tauroctomy sculpture in British Museum. He is shown wearing a Phrygian cap.
Picture: Sol Invictus (the Unconquered Sun) in Greek attire
Greeks have always been very good at giving a great face and body to their gods and figures. Their imaginations gave a persona to their gods that evoked power, grace, super strength and perfect proportions. The garments of gods were also typical Greek. The God Mithras was also given a face by Greeks, which some scholars say, resembles Alexander from his early days. Seeing the face, it does seem to resemble the Greek warrior. On the other hand, many Christian scholars say that the face resembles Christ! Christian scholars deliberately look away from the unpalatable truth that Mithras was the prevailing Sun-god before the advent of Christian Sun-god, Jesus Christ.
Pictures: Mithra Sun god surrounded with a Zodiac and Solar related activities and symbolism
The most striking and common image of Mithra is that of ‘slaying’ of a Bull. But, it is a very simplistic and incorrect interpretation of a complex picture/statue which has so many components forming the whole. There is a bull who has been brought to its knees by God Mithras, digging a dagger in his shoulder, a snake, a dog and a scorpion are also attacking the bull. The scene is surrounded by the twelve signs of Zodiac. Obviously, the Mithras form most commonly worshipped, is a cosmic representation of Sun god Mithras, going across the sky traversing all zodiac positions. The Bull or Taurus is the most important animal in agriculture around the world. In some pictures or statues this scene also displays people holding agriculture produce and two persons standing on either side of Bull, holding flaming torches, one pointing upward and the other pointing downwards, seeming to show rising of sun and the sun setting at the end of the day.
A temple of Mithras is known as Mithraeum. Archaeology has discovered more than 400 Mithraeums in widely scattered locations throughout the Roman empire, from East to West and North to South. The map gives a widespread location of Mithras temples through the Roman Empire in the first three centuries.
Picture: More than 400 Mithra temples have been discovered spread in the entire Roman Empire.
In 1954, during a building’s construction in Walbrook, a street in the City of London, a Temple of Mithras was discovered which is now known as, The London Mithraeum. During excavation, many artefacts were discovered which were later housed in the local museum. One find was a head of Mithras. When Christian scholars saw the head, they couldn’t believe their eyes. They were seeing the head of Christ!
Picture: London Mithreum and the recovered ‘head’ of Mithras from the site
In Rome, under many Catholic Churches, temples of Mithras exist even today. These Churches were obviously constructed on top of the Mithas temples.
Pictures: Most famous Christian Church, the Basilica of Saint Clemente (Basilica de San Clemente) has a large Mithra temple under it.
Picture: Santa Maria Capua Vetere in Italy carries a Mithras temple underneath.
Pictures: There is a Temple of Mithras near Carrawburgh Roman Fort on Hadrian’s Wall in UK.
Picture: A temple of Mithas at Ostia Antica Rome, also called the Mithraeum of the Seven Spheres, seems to have been excavated for the first time by Petrini, in the years 1802-1804.
Picture: A Mithraeum located at the far west of Roman empire in Dura-Europos, also spelled Dura-Europus. It was a Hellenistic, Parthian and Roman border city built on 90 meters (300 feet) above the right bank of the Euphrates river, on an elevated area. It is located near the village of Salhiyé, in today’s Syria.
There are vast number of them scattered throughout Rome and other cities of Roman empire. It is obvious that there was a concerted campaign towards destruction of Mithras religion and its temples when Christianity came into power and state control. Christians constructed their churches over them. It is similar to what happened in India, where so many Hindu temples were destroyed or converted to mosques by Muslim rulers. Foundations of those Hindu temples exist under the superimposed mosques.
The temples of Sun God Mithras and worship in his religion of Seven Spheres (seven steps of progression on path of righteousness) continued until the rule of Emperor Constantine. In 325AD, Constantine held the Council of Nicaea. The Creed of Nicaea or the Nicene Creed was promulgated and adopted. Christianity was declared the official religion of Rome. An official alliance between Church and Empire came into being. A politico-religious Roman Catholic Church was established and came to wield unprecedented state power and military influence. A rapid decline of the religion of Mithras followed. Roman Catholic Church launched a virtual cultural and religious genocide of Mithras religion and its followers.
On the ruins of Mithras emerged the Christian Sun god, Jesus Christ.
Charles Francois Dupuis (1742-1809): In The Origin of All Religious Worship, Dupuis states: “Let us well bear in mind here, what we have proved in another place, that Christ has all the characteristics of the God Sun in his birth, or in his incarnation in the womb of a virgin, and that this birth arrives just at the same moment, when the ancients celebrated that of the Sun or of Mithras… The actual question now is, to show, that he has also the characteristics of the God Sun in his resurrection…” (Dupuis, 243)
Dupuis calls Christians “those worshipers of the Sun under the name of Christ”
Picture: Christ in the center of the Zodiac. Image of the 11th Century Northern Italy (from the book “The Hermetic Museum: Alchemy and Mysticism”)
Picture: Jesus as the Sun god throughout history. Illuminated manuscript featuring Jesus as sun.
Picture: Sun worship. With Sun god in her arms and the Greek Sun god Apollo carved on the temple of Apollo
Far from being a “modern” conspiracy of atheists or internet scholars, the nature of Christ as Sun-god coming from pre-Christian traditions, rituals, architecture and artifacts, was obvious to even Church fathers.
Picture: Pope Francis Sun worship – Roman Catholic Eucharist
Jesus Christ is considered a real historical person by Christians. He appeared suddenly in 30 AD and his ministry lasted only three years, until 33 AD. He was crucified, ‘resurrected’ and then he disappeared from history. Just three years! Nobody knew him before 30 AD.
It is important for Christians to ask themselves, as Acharya S in ‘The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold’, asks –‘ Is it more scientifically plausible that 2,000 years ago the God of the cosmos took birth through the womb of a virgin as a Jewish man who walked on water, performed miracles, raised the dead, resurrected himself from death and ascended into heaven – or could it be that this tale is a reworking of older myths in currency around the known world of the time?’
Kenneth Humphreys: Jesus Never Existed
Joseph Atwill: Caesar’s Messiah
British Museum Hadron’s gallery
Seema Anand, How Mitra became Mithras
Acharya S, The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold
The latter half of first century saw the advent of Christianity in Rome which was already a city of several ancient religions and traditions. After a few centuries of ‘early Christianity’, the Sun god or the Son of God, Jesus Christ emerged as the principal god of Roman empire, replacing Roman Sun god, Mithras.
The most followed and prevalent religion of Rome then, was that of Sun god ‘MITRA’. The name ‘Mithras’ is an English distortion. In Greek, which was the spoken language of Rome, it is pronounced as ‘Mitra’ (मित्र) and written as- Μίθρα. Mithras was an ancient Persian God who came to Rome and to all regions of Roman empire from Persia.
Who was this Sun God MITHRA or MITRA? What is the origin of Sun God Mitra?
VEDIC ORIGIN OF ‘MITRA’
Sun worship, in one form or the other, is an integral part of Indian culture since ancient times. The word ‘mitra’ / मित्र, is a Sanskrit word which means ‘Sun’ or सूर्य. The other meaning is, ‘friend’ which of course would mean Sun only, as ‘He is a friend of all life on earth’.
In Vedic times, Mitra was not a deity with a face. Mitra is the manifest light property of Brahm which has its effect on all life on earth. Mitra and Varun, like Indra and Agni are different qualities of same cosmic force as mentioned in the following ‘shlok’. They are two of the twelve ‘adityas’ (आदित्य- the energy manifestations of Parmatma). –
इन्द्रं मित्रं वरुणमग्निमाहुरथो दिव्य: स सुपर्णो गरुत्मान् ।
Indram Mitram Varunam Agnim Aahuratho Divyah S Suparno Garutman I
Ekam Sad Vipra Bahudha Vadantya Agni Yamam Matrishwanmahuh I
The following ‘shlok’ from Rig Veda also invokes Mitra and Varun: There are many such ‘shlokas’ in Rig Ved.
ऒम शं नो मित्रा च वरुणा :
Aum Shanno Mitra Ch Varunah :
Aum, O ‘Aditya’ Mitra (rising sun, bringing light of dawn) and Varun (the life-giving water element), be happy with us and always stay with us!
In Rigveda, Mitra and Varuna are always together and are invoked in Yagya and prayers. In later Purana (पुराण) age, Mitra and Varuna like every other ‘aditya’ was given a face and form perhaps, for meditation. In time, sculptures of respective Adityas and deities made their appearance. Below is a sculpture of god Mitra from India, in the Hotham gallery of British Museum, holding blooming lotus in each hand. Blooming lotus is a sign of the ‘rising sun’.
MITRA and VARUN are integral parts of Vedic hymns (श्लोक) and objects of meditation of ancient Indian civilization.
PERSIAN WORSHIP OF MITRA
There were two main empires at the time when Christianity was created by Roman Caesars, Flavius Titus, Domitian, Jew scholar Josephus and others – the Roman Empire and Persian Empire. Of the two, Persian Empire was older and there was widespread social and cultural interaction between Eastern Roman regions and Persia. The religious beliefs of Persians found their extension and acceptance among the Romans. Below is Mitra Sun-god carving in Persian attire.
Persian Zoroastrian religion was founded by Zarathustra in the sixth century BCE. However, in the pre-Zoroastrian period the principal god of Iranians was ‘Mitra’ the god of Light, the ‘Rising Sun’. Its immense importance in their society can be understood from the fact that treaties between tribes or kingdoms were established with Sun god Mitra as a witness! The same ancient culture and traditions were taken by Zarathustra when he established the Zoroastrian religion. The name Zarathustra means- “Rising Sun” or “Sunrise aspect” (aspect means, tattva in Sanskrit) There is a very interesting etymology of name Zarathustra. Sanskrit root “sh” becomes Persian “z”. If we were to write Zarathustra in Sanskrit, it would become – Shara-tu- Sutra (शरतु-स्त्र), the Sun Sutra (principal). The entire imagery is related to Sun worship as Sun god. The image of Zoroaster is shown as a ‘Winged Sun’ flying in human form (see the picture).
There is great commonality in ancient Vedic thoughts and Persian traditions. The oldest holy books of Ancient Zoroastrian religion were written in old Avestan or Gathic (गाथिक) Persian. Kriwaczek, who has written books on Zoroastrians, states that Gathic Persian and Vedic Sanskrit are so closely related that they are “little more than the dialects of one tongue.” Avestan is written RIGHT to LEFT, just as Sanskrit. Zarathustra composed his sacred hymns (‘shlokas’) in Avestan and founded his religion, deriving its principals from Vedic tenets. Much of the information on Zarathustra comes from his autobiographical ‘Gathas’ (गाथा) which are ‘hymns’ or ‘shlokas’.
Zoroastrian Religious Texts
The religious texts of the Zoroastrian faith of ancient Persia are referred to as the “Avesta.” The oldest part is the Gathas, which includes a collection of hymns and one of the oldest examples of religious poetry attributed to the prophet Zoroaster (ca. 630–550 BCE). Displayed is a page from the Gathas, in the Middle Persian language Pahlavi, and its translation into modern Persian. The Faravahar, a man and a winged disc that symbolizes the Zoroastrian faith adorns the opening of the page. The Zoroastrian faith has survived from ancient times with followers worldwide, mainly in Iran and India. The Zoroastrians who settled in India more than one thousand years ago, referred to as the Parsi (Persian) community, are very influential in Indian society today.
below is a page of ‘gatha’
Persians trace their origins from ‘Hepta Hindu’ which is same as ‘Sapta Sindhu’ in Sanskrit. ‘S’ of Sanskrit is pronounced as ‘H’ in Persian. This also alludes to the common origin of Vedic and ancient Persian civilizations from the common region of Sapta-Sindhu / सप्त सिन्धु, the land of the Seven Rivers.
Old Persian language of Zoroastrian times is also known as old Avestan or Gathic. There are many similarities between Avesta, Avestan and Rig-Veda. The highly evolved and structured Sanskrit of Vedas is the likely source of Avesta language. Just as in the Rigveda, Mitra is indistinguishable from Varun, together forming a pair, Mitra-Varuna, similarly in Zoroastrian religion, ‘Mitra-Varuna’ hold prime importance.
Seeing that Iranians believe their ancient origin is from the same area of Sapta-Sindhu (सप्त-सिन्धु)/Hepta-Hindu, where the Vedic culture prospered, it is no wonder that Mitra and Varun are the most revered deities of old Persian religion. In Zoroastrian religion, Mitra and Varuna are the principal elements of worship. In both, Vedic culture and Zoroastrianism, Mitra is the ‘Rising Sun’ who brings the light of dawn! It is an interesting subject and needs to be dealt with separately in a more comprehensive way. However, the Vedic origins of sun god Mitra, are indisputable.
The interactions of Roman soldiers, traders and public with Persians carried the Persians’ ways of worship and gods to Greeks and Romans. Mithraism spread to every part of Roman empire through these social and military interactions with Persians. In the Greco-Roman world Mitra or Mithra was called “the divine Sun, the ‘Unconquered Sun’ (Sol Invictus). He was said to be “Mighty in strength, mighty ruler, greatest King of gods! O Sun, lord of heaven and earth, God of Gods!” Initially Sol-Invictus was a separate Sun God of Romans who later got merged into Mithras and the latter came to represent both.
The above picture is an important one. This picture is of Mithreum located below the Basilica of St Clemente in old Roman area, close to Colosseum. The sculpture at extreme back is of Sun god Mitra, rising out of a blooming lotus. It is a very significant archaeological and historical evidence of Sun god Mithra having its origin from Vedic ‘Mitra’! The one in front is the most common sculpture of Mithra performing ‘tauroctomy’, found from many Mithra temples all over the Roman empire.
Many scholars from the Persian and Roman times have described Mithra as the god who was the most important deity and was worshiped not just by Persians but also by Greeks and Romans. Greek warrior, Alexander the Great, also asked his conquered prisoners of Persia to swear allegiance to him by invoking ‘Mitra’.
Some of the famous names from Roman sources who have written about Mithra are – Statius (80AD), Justin Martys (150 AD), Tertullian (200AD), Origen (200-254 AD), Porphyry (270 AD), Commodian (3rd C AD) and many others.
The Hero of Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Alauddin Khilji, was the son of Shahabuddin Masud, elder brother of Jalaluddin, the founder of Khilji dynasty. He was thus a nephew and later, after marriage with his daughter, the son-in-law of Jalaluddin. Alauddin was appointed as Amir-i-Tuzuk (Master of Ceremonies) after marriage. Alauddin’s brother Almas Beg also married a daughter of Jalaluddin. Alauddin was not happy in his marriage and later married another woman, named Mahru.
In 1291, he was appointed governor of Kara after he crushed a revolt there by the previous governor Malik Chajju. The advisors of Malik Chajju who now switched sides, instigated and convinced Alauddin to depose Jalaluddin as he was perceived a weak ruler. To finance his revolt, Alauddin raided the neighboring Hindu kingdoms. He usurped huge wealth from the rich kingdom of Bhilsa in Malwa. At Bhilsa he came to know of the very rich Yadav kingdom of Deccan area, Devgiri. After few years of planning and preparations, he successfully raided Devagiri and plundered vast wealth that included jewels, gold, silk products, elephants, horses and of course, slaves. His capture of slaves included men and women.
Alauddin returned to Kara. He sent a message to Jalaluddin to visit him at Kara and pardon him personally for not coming directly to Delhi after his Devagiri campaign. Jalaluddin had blind faith in Alauddin because he had brought him up after the death of his father, had given his daughter in marriage to him and had bestowed all the riches and power upon him. Jalaluddin came to meet him.
While greeting Jalaluddin, Alauddin killed him and declared himself the new Sultan. Jalaluddin was beheaded and his head was pierced on a spear and paraded in his camp before it was sent to Awadh for public display. This barbaric treatment of Jalaluddin, his mentor and father figure, was as per his faith where killing by beheading of real or supposed rivals is considered an integral part. Sikhs faced similar fate at the hands of Aurangzeb.
Picture: Heads of Sikhs were paraded by Aurangzeb’s soldiers when they refused to convert to Islam. Alauddin did the same to Jalaluddin after beheading him. This was the standard operating procedure of all Islamic kings of India.
Jalaluddin’s powerful nobles joined him and were rewarded with, as reported, 30 -50 mann (one mann = about 38 Kg) of gold each, which was looted by him from Devgiri. Jalaluddin’s widow Malika-i-Jahan, her son Qadr Khan and other family members escaped to Multan which was controlled by another of Jalaluddin’s sons, Arkali. In November 1296, Alauddin sent an army to conquer Multan. On his orders, commander Nusrat Khan arrested, blinded and/or killed the surviving members of Jalaluddin’s family.
Alauddin started the practice of killing of children in front of their mothers and public rape and killing of wives of revolting men in his kingdom. He set his own barbaric standards of punishment. In 1302-03, Alauddin led an army to conquer Chittor, the capital of Guhila kingdom ruled by Ratnasimha (Rawal Ratan Singh). It took him eight months of siege to overcome Chittor. According to Alauddin’s courtier Amir Khusro (the famous Persian poet), he ordered massacre of 30,000 local Hindus after his conquest. Later legends state that Alauddin was mad with lust to capture the beautiful wife of Ratnasimha, Padmavati to make her his sex slave and add her to his harem of thousands of women. But, the proud Rani Padmavati along with hundreds of other Rajput women, committed ‘Jauhar’ (death by fire), rather than let Alauddin lay his lustful hands on her.
This incident is recounted as a golden chapter in the history of proud Rajput women of Chittor who preferred to die rather than let themselves be captured by Muslim barbarians.
In 1306, Alauddin defeated an invading force of Mongols at Amroha. 16th century historian Firishta writes that Alauddin buried 8000 heads of Mongols in the foundation of the wall of Sri Fort in Delhi, a fort area commissioned by him. It is for this reason that this present-day Sports Complex in South Delhi is known as ‘Siri Fort’. Ruins of the wall still exist.
In later years Alauddin launched several invasions on Southern Hindu Kingdoms to plunder their wealth on the lines of Devgiri. It is said that the famous Koh-i-noor diamond was taken by him from king Pratap Rudra of Kakatiya. The Delhi chronicler Ziauddin Barani, described the seizure of wealth from Dwara Samudra and the Pandya kingdoms as the greatest one since the Muslim capture of Delhi! According to excited Amir Khusro’s testimony, the loot burdened ‘1000 camels under the weight of treasure”. Alauddin defeated many Hindu kingdoms of South. Amir Khusro sarcastically wrote with unconcealed glee in his book ‘Tarik-i-Alai’ that, “all the insolent Hindus had died on the battlefield” and “the earth turned saffron with so many Hindus touching the ground with their forehead in front of Alauddin”!
“The great Ghazi Alauddin Khilji, who had successfully extinguished the depraved Satanic ways of Hindus with his sword from the mountains of Ghazni to mouth of the Ganges, by destroying their temples and putting to death their holy-men (Brahmans), was possessed by a zeal to spread the light of the Mohammedan faith to hitherto untouched regions, namely the Deccan and Southern India.”
Alauddin Khilji: Fanatic Islamic Crusader in the path of ‘Allah’
Imposition of Jiziya tax on Hindus
Alauddin Khilji was a Sunni Muslim. He imposed heavy Jiziya tax and other taxes on property and land taxes on non-Muslims in the Sultanate. His officers seized half of all produce of any non-Muslim farmer. Kulke and Ruthermond write that, Alauddin Khilji demanded, from his “wise men in the court” to create “rules and regulations in order to grind down the Hindus, so as to reduce them to abject poverty and deprive them of wealth and any form of surplus property that could foster a rebellion; the Hindu was to be so reduced as to be left unable to keep a horse to ride on, to carry arms, to wear fine clothes, or to enjoy any of the luxuries of life”. In short, those Hindus who accepted the ‘Dhimmi’ status had to convert to Islam to escape the burgeoning hardships.
Killing for the ‘sake of Islam’
The contemporary Persian historian Wassaf, while describing Alauddin’s 1299 Gujarat campaign, states that the Sultan was motivated by “the zeal of religion”, and that the Muslim army massacred people “unmercifully, throughout the impure land, for the sake of Islam”. At the invasion of Khambhat, Wassaf writes-
“They took captive a great number of handsome and elegant maidens amounting to 20,000, and children of both sexes, more than the pen can enumerate […] In short, the Muhammadan army brought the country to utter ruin, and destroyed the lives of the inhabitants, and plundered the cities, and captured their offspring, so that many temples were deserted, and the idols were broken and trodden under foot.”
He persecuted Shia Muslims too. Sometime in 1310, Shias were accused of indulging in ‘un-Islamic’ ways in their ‘secret practices’. Several were declared guilty. Alauddin had them sawed in half publicly for their ‘un-Islamic’ practices!
Picture: Bhai Mati Das was sawed to death in front of Guru Teg Bahadur by Aurangzeb. Same torture to death was inflicted by Alauddin on Shias and his other adversaries.
Alauddin had thousands of women sex slaves
Picture: The cover of this book candidly tells the fate of a slave girl being sold or acquired for sex in the harems of Islamic rulers in India. The next picture tells how captured women were used for entertainment and sex.
Alauddin regarded himself a ‘prophet’ and considered starting a new religion. It didn’t materialize but his megalomania entitled him to keep thousands of sex slaves in his harem, both women and boys! Wherever he defeated a Hindu king, Alauddin would seize the royal women and thousands of other women of the kingdom and brought them to Delhi to be his and his men’s sex slaves. Those kings who accepted his suzerainty had to offer their daughters to Alauddin in order to live.
Alauddin was a compulsive homosexual
Picture above: Malik Kafur
Pictures below: Gay Alauddin with his slave boy-friend
Alauddin’s slave, Malik Kafur, was his boyfriend in whose hands he entrusted most of his power. He “had fallen deeply and madly in love” with Kafur, write historians. Malik Kafur was a Hindu in the beginning. He was a eunuch slave of his earlier master who had purchased him for 1000 dinars. He came to be known as ‘Malik Kafur 1000 Dinari’. Alauddin captured him in his Gujarat campaign and converted him to Islam. Thus ‘kafir’ Malik became Malik Kafuri. Allauddin developed great fascination and physical attraction towards him which made him very influential in power corridors of Delhi.
Malik Kafur got many of his rivals in the administration killed by orders of Alauddin. Kafur even had Alauddin’s eldest sons, Khizr Khan and Shadi Khan, blinded. On the night of 4 January 1316, Kafur killed Alauddin while he was in bed with him. Kafur wasted no time and assassinated the entire Khilji clan. Malik Kafur then married the widow of slain Alauddin. However, Kafur was also killed soon after by an assassin sent to kill one of Alauddin’s sons. Alauddin’s tomb exists in Qutab complex in Mehrauli, Delhi.
Destruction of Hindu Temples
Alauddin and his generals destroyed hundreds of Hindu temples during their campaigns. Prominent among those were temples of Bhilsa (1292), Devagiri (of present Daulatabad)(1295), Vijapur (1298-1310), Modhera Sun temple (The Sabha Mandap originally had a tall Shikhara, or tower, only the base of which remains, the remainder was destroyed by Alauddin Khilji), Rudra Mahalaya temple in Siddhpur in Patan district of Gujarat (1296), Somnath (1299), Jhain (1301), Chidambaram (1311) and Madurai (1311).
Picture: Modhera Sun Temple
Picture: Rudra Mahadevalaya
Picture: Surya Kund and Sabha Mandap
Writing about the destruction of Somnath temple, Amir Khusro wrote that the temple was bent into the direction of Kaaba! The invaders looted the temple’s wealth, and carried its main idol to Delhi, where its fragments were thrown to be trampled under the feet of Muslims.
Wassaf describes the destruction of the Somnath idol as follows:
“The idol was adorned with a jewel-studded gold crown and a pearl necklace, and was of ‘admirable workmanship’. After looting the jewels, the Muslim soldiers decided to destroy the idol. The Hindus offered them a thousand pieces of gold to spare the idol, but the soldiers rejected the demand. The invaders cut off its perfumed limbs, destroyed it, and carried its fragments to Delhi. The entrance of the city’s Jami Masjid were paved with these fragments”.
Alauddin Khilji, the man and his deeds, can never be forgotten by any proud Hindu for reasons mentioned above. Successive Islamic rulers in India have displayed the basest levels of primitive human existence. Coming from the deserts of Arabia, Afghanistan or Mongol nomadic lands, they found gratification and fulfillment only in loot, plunder, sex slaves, killings in the most brutal ways possible and complete abhorrence to educational, spiritual or cultural advancement of human race. Be it Alauddin, Jalaluddin, Babar, Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir, Shahjehan, Aurangzeb or Bahadurshah Zafar, they remained cocooned within their religious crusades and natural or unnatural sexual gratification. Unfortunately, there are people like Sanjay Leela Bhansali and film actors in modern day India who for sheer commercial gains, find a sense of achievement in romanticizing or glorifying the worst barbarians that ravaged this ancient land of world’s most advanced civilization.
Rigved begins with prayers to ‘Agni’, the first attribute of Parmatma. In the first ‘Mandala’ (chapter), the first ‘Sukta’ having nine ‘shlokas’ is devoted to ‘Agni’. Thousands of years before, our Rishis grasped the significance of ‘Agni’ in creation of the cosmos. They attained the knowledge that, it is ‘Agni’ that started the process of creation, of coalescing atoms, which appeared from ‘Aakash’. The power of ‘Agni’ formed stellar dust, stars and planets. They realised that the creation is sustained and nurtured by ‘Agni’. Also, when the end comes, the entire creation will be consumed by ‘Agni’. Therefore, Rigved begins with prayers to ‘Agni’.
Of all the five ‘tattvas’ of creation – ‘Agni’, Water, Air, Earth and Aakash, it is ‘Agni’ that permeates and sustains the structure and integrity of others. Therefore, Rigved, which is a repository of cosmic knowledge, begins with a prayer to ‘Agni’ attribute of Parmatma.
Yask Rishi, the writer of ‘Nirukta’ said that ‘Agni’ is अग्रणि (‘agrani’), which simply means that ‘Agni’ comes first! Also, among the eight ‘Vasu’ (वसु), ‘Agni’ comes first. A much-reduced meaning (through English translation) of ‘Agni’ would be FIRE.
Here I present the first ‘shlok’ of RIGVED.
(Kindly note that I have not attempted to translate Sanskrit words into English because it is not possible to do this translation. Sanskrit words are non-translatable. Sanskrit letters or ‘aksharas’ have evolved from ‘shabd’ (sound) and carry a distinct ‘spandan’ (vibration). The very word ‘akshara’ (अक्षर) means that which is indestructible! It is these characteristics of ‘shabd’ and ‘spandan’ that give Sanskrit ‘aksharas’ and words their application in ‘vyavaharika’ (everyday life) and ‘parmarthika’ (spiritual). Translation reduces their vast and profound meaning and spiritual depth. One must know the Sanskrit meaning in Sanskrit or Hindi to grasp the real understanding of a ‘shloka’ from Vedas. We should not look at Vedas through an English lens. You will only see a distorted image. We need to maintain the purity and essence of our original Vedic knowledge. It is our priceless heritage.)
Om ‘Agni’meele purohitam. Yagyasya devamritwijam. Hotaram ratnadhaatmam.
अग्नि: – अग्नि अग्रणि है, अर्थात, ईश्वर के सब गुणों में अग्नि प्रथम है। The ‘tattva’ of Parmatma which starts all creation, that which consumes everything to create new, that which is the property of Parmatma, the very source of everything we know as cosmos and nature, is ‘Agni’.
ईले: – स्तुति करते हैं / I pray to you
पुरः हितम् = पुरोहितम् – सम्पूर्ण स्रिष्टि से पूर्व / before it all appeared; before the nature became manifest from non-manifest (सूक्ष्म से स्थूल); before the atoms appeared from ‘aakash’
यज्ञः – हवन पूजन युक्त श्रेष्ठ वैदिक कृत्य / Yagya, Vedic way of performing prayers
यज्ञस्य – इस यज्ञ के / of this Yagya, you are
देवम् – देने वाला देवता हैं और ईश्वर के दिव्य गुणों में श्रेष्ठ है / you are ‘Devta’
ऋत्विजम् – जो सब समय एवं ऋतुऒं में पूज्य है, अर्थात ईश्वर स्वरूप है / ‘Agni’, the attribute of Parmatma, must be worshipped in every time and season
होतारम् – जो जगत् के सब जीवों को सब पदार्थ देने वाला है, जो वर्तमान और प्रलय में सबको समाहित करने वाला है / you are the giver of all bounties and good things in life. In the present and in the end, everything resides in you.
रत्नः – सब उत्तम पदार्थों एवं स्वर्ण रत्नादि को / all good things in life including precious jewels and gold etc.
धातमम् – धारण करने एवं कराने वाला है / you hold all and give them to us
हे अग्नि स्वरूप परमात्मा, इस यज्ञ के द्वारा मैं आपकी आराधना करता हूं। स्रिष्टि के पूर्व भी आप थे और आपके अग्निरूप से ही स्रिष्टि की रचना हुई। हे अग्निरूप परमात्मा, आप सब कुछ देने वाले हैं। आप प्रत्येक समय एवं ऋतु में पूज्य हैं। आप ही अपने अग्निरूप से जगत् के सब जीवों को सब पदार्थ देने वाले हैं एवं वर्तमान और प्रलय में सबको समाहित करने वाले हैं। हे अग्निरूप परमात्मा आप ही सब उत्तम पदार्थों को धारण करने एवं कराने वाले है।
In English, the prayer would be something like,
“I pray to you, ‘Agni’, the prime ‘tattva’ of ‘Parmatma’ by performing this Vedic Yagya. You, ‘Agni’, were there before there was anything. With you, ‘Agni’, the creation started. You are the giver of everything. I pray to you ‘Agni’, in all days, in every season. You, ‘Agni’, sustain all creation and will consume it when the end comes. It is because of you, ‘Agni’, that we get all the beautiful things of life. You are the source of everything beautiful”.
As the original Vedic learning and practices got diluted due to several reasons, many scholars and artists gave human forms to various attributes of Parmatma. Each one of the attributes became a ‘devta’ with a ‘human form’ who had the power which that attribute represented like, ‘agnidev’, ‘vayudev’ and so on. I will not go into details of these here. However, it is pertinent to note that this dilution or innovation has quite often led to very distorted interpretation of Vedas.
पौराणिक अर्थ (विक्रित or distorted)
The following translations are by some well-known exponents of Vedas who are popularly known as ‘Vedic Scholars’. There are many of them. Some of them teach westerners too and run ‘Vedas learning centres’ abroad. See how they use the word ‘sacrifice’ for Yagya and entirely distort the real meaning of the Vedic ‘shlok’. As Rajiv Malhotra rightly says, YAGYA is NOT ‘SACRIFICE’! Such ‘scholars’ are doing great disservice to our priceless Vedic heritage. Word ‘Sacrifice’, has a completely different meaning and context in Abrahamic religions.
1. “Om, I praise ‘Agni’ who is the Purohita (Priest) of the Yagya (Sacrifice) (Priest leading the Sacrifice), (as well as) its Ritvij (Priest performing Sacrifice at proper times); the Yagya which is directed towards the Devas,
Who is (also) the Hotara (Priest invoking the Gods) and the bestower of Ratna (Wealth of physical, mental and spiritual plane)”.
2. I Laud Agni, the chosen Priest, God, minister of sacrifice,
The hotar, lavishest of wealth.
3. “O Agni, I adore Thee,
priest, O divine minister
Who officiates at the divine Sacrifice,
Who is also the invoker, the Summoner,
Who most bestows the divine wealth upon us.”
The above quoted meanings of Agni Mantra are distorted. They reflect poor understanding of what our Rishis meant to convey in Sanskrit. I emphasize once again, ‘Yagya does not mean ‘Sacrifice’.
The writers of Gospels and Josephus who wrote the literature of the ‘new’ religion of Christianity based them on two important integers of Hebrew Bible – Exodus and the Book of Daniel. These two are common knowledge, however, it will be pertinent to recall briefly their importance in Jewish theology. Exodus is the story of Jew slaves who left Egypt under Moses’ leadership and wandered in the deserts for forty years. Book of Daniels is a compilation of ‘Prophecies’ by Daniel which came to pass on the desolation of Jerusalem.
Book of Exodus: Jesus as the New Moses
Here is a summary of Exodus.
The Israelites prospered in Egypt and their population increased to nearly 600,000. The Pharaoh, afraid of their growing numbers, ordered that the newly born male child of Israelites be killed by throwing into the river Nile. Pharaoh’s daughter found a Hebrew baby by the river in a basket. She adopted him and named him Moses. When he grew up, Moses killed an Egyptian and fled to Midian. Moses saw a burning bush and heard the voice God coming from it. God told him to lead Israelites out of Egypt. Moses and his brother Aaron told Pharaoh to let the Israelites go but, he refused and instead increased their workload instead. Aaron’s staff became a snake and the Nile turned blood red. Still Pharaoh didn’t yield. Then God sent successive plagues of Frogs, livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness for three days but Pharaoh would not yield. Then God told Moses to tell his people to take Passover of Lamb (slaughter of a lamb, roasting and painting his blood on the entrance door of their houses). That night the firstborn Egyptians would die. When Pharaoh’s son also died, he allowed Moses to lead his people out of Egypt. God parted the sea waters and Moses led 600,000 of Israelites out of Egypt into the desert. This was the EXODUS which lasted for forty years.
There are further stories of Ten Commandments and institution of daily sacrifice of a young bull and two rams, with ceremonies of blood and roast over an altar with four horns. Also, God instructed the construction of a tabernacle, the meeting place of God with Moses or the Priests.
Jesus as a Passover lamb
PASSOVER is the festival which Jews celebrate to commemorate the release from Egypt under the guidance of Moses. When Pharaoh became adamant that he will not let go of the Israeli Jews, God ‘instructed’ Moses to tell his people that they were to choose a lamb, who must be a year old. The lamb should be without any defect. They could also take them from the sheep or goats.
The lamb was to be slaughtered, roasted and to be eaten with bread made without yeast! They were instructed to paint the lamb’s blood on the sides and door frames of the houses of all Jews who sacrificed a lamb, roasted it and ate it.
Next day, God sent His destroyer through Egypt and brought his plague throughout the land. The first-born son of every household died from God’s curse, including the son of Pharaoh. Only those houses were spared which had followed the instructions of God and painted lamb’s blood on the door. This Lamb of Hebrew Bible is the Passover Lamb.
BLOOD and BREAD are the key elements of the sacrificial PASSOVER LAMB in Jew traditions.
Jesus is the ‘new’ Moses of Christianity
There are many parallels between the life of Moses and the events in the life of Jesus. We have already discussed many in the previous blog. Exodus from Egypt is a salient event in the history of Jews. It followed a FORTY YEARS crucial period in various life events of Moses. Keeping these in mind, let us see how Josephus (and his team or co-writers) goes about building Jesus as the ‘‘new’’ Moses and Christianity as the ‘‘new’’ Judaism.
The founder of the ‘new’ religion was to be the ‘new’ Moses. An important aspect of Judaism was that the blood of a sacrificial lamb was liked by God and it was offered to wash away the sins of Jews. The Passover lamb is an essential part of Jewish religion. Since Judea was at war with Rome and there is an obscure ‘prophecy’ in the Book of Daniel which predicted the stopping of daily sacrifice, Jesus could not be expected to continue the old traditions of Jews and their daily sacrifice. Titus destroyed the Temple and brought the daily sacrifice of animals to a halt, therefore, Jesus could not resume it by presenting a ‘Passover lamb’. So, to get over this problem, Josephus presented Jesus Christ himself as the ‘Passover Lamb’ after Crucifixion!
Jews sacrifice a Lamb on a rectangular altar with ‘four horns’, one in each corner (see picture) to atone for their sins.
Jesus is the new ‘Passover Lamb’, sacrificed on a cross with ‘four’ limbs! Animal sacrifices were no more needed as the ‘son’ of God had sacrificed himself over a ‘cross’ to atone for the sins of mankind, forever!
Jesus is setup as the Passover Lamb after Crucifixion.
The New Testament establishes a relationship between Jewish Passover lamb and the Complete Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 5:7). “Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed”
John the Baptist recognized Jesus as “the Lamb of God” (John 1:29). “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
Apostle Peter links the lamb without defect (Exodus 12:5) with Christ, whom he calls a “lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:19). “but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a Lamb without blemish or spot.”
Jesus is qualified to be called One “without blemish” as was the original command of Moses to Israelites, because his life was presented as completely free from sin (Hebrews 4:15).
In Revelation, John the apostle sees Jesus as “a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain” (Revelation 5:6).
Jesus was crucified during the time that the Passover was observed (Mark 14:12). The Passover with the Disciples: ‘And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him’, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?”
Exodus 16: When the followers of Moses started ‘murmuring’ for lack of food’, Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. God rained down quail birds for meat and manna for bread.
Jesus heard his followers ‘murmuring’ for lack of food. Jesus continues his discussion, saying: “Your forefathers ate the manna in the wilderness and yet they died” (alluding to Moses giving bread/manna to his followers). In contrast, he explains: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread he will live forever; and for a fact, the bread that I will give is my flesh in behalf of the life of the world.”—John 6:48-51
“Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has everlasting life,. . for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood remains in union with me.”—John 6:53-56.
Notice the emphasis on Bread and Blood in both Exodus and New Testament. Bread represents the ‘flesh of Jesus Christ’ and Wine, his ‘blood’, which are offered to Christians in a church.
The story of Exodus and early life of Moses formed the TYPE on which the life of Christ was positioned. The sequence, concepts and time are uncannily very well synchronized.
Jesus’ miracles have been projected as bigger than those of Moses. Following examples are very revealing.
Elisha (old Bible) satisfied a hundred men with twenty loaves and still had bread to spare.
Jesus fed five thousand men with five loaves and two fishes and still had twelve baskets to spare.
God gave the Commandments to Moses fifty days after the first Passover.
Christianity also gave the ‘‘new’’ law Fifty days after its Passover, the crucifixion of Jesus.
3000 people died for worshipping the golden calf, on the day Moses was given the law.
3000 people were ‘added’ to followers of Christ on the day the ‘spirit’ was given to Jesus. Of course, the ‘new’ Messiah was life giver, not life taker!
The Exodus of Israelites was followed by ‘40’ years of exile before they could come to Egypt.
It took Christianity ‘40’ years after the crucifixion of Christ in 33 CE and the fall of Masada in 73 CE, to come to Jerusalem.
It is important to recognize how literally early Christianity saw itself as a replacement for Judaism, even to the extent that the early church fathers like Eusebius claimed that the ancient Hebrews were Christians and not Jews.
The destruction of the Temple and fall of the citadel of Masada came to state the completion of the prophecies of Daniel (Book of Daniel) and thus the ending of Judaism. Crucifixion of Christ and his claimed ‘resurrection’ on the third day, heralded the onset of a ‘new’ religion, the religion of Christ. Thus, the writers of the ‘new’ Testament and Wars of Jews smoothly brought about an end to the ‘old’ militant rebellious Judaism and its immediate replacement with a pro Roman and pacifist ‘‘new’’ Judaism. Early Christianity was nothing but a transformed Judaism in its ‘new’ ‘avatar’ of Christianity. The Crucifixion of Christ was the ‘new’ Passover!
As Joseph Atwill says in his book, Caesar’s Messiah, “One must admire the craftsmanship of the intellectuals who produced the works of Josephus and the New Testament. ….. they were able to neatly remove from history a religious movement that opposed them militarily and replace it with one aligned to their interests. In doing so, they were able to conform history to theology to such an extent that one movement ended and the other came forth on the same day.”
In a previous blog, I had shown that the Prophecies of Jesus came to pass and were fulfilled in the war campaign of Titus Flavius, son of Caesar Vespasian Flavius. The prophecies of Jesus run parallel to the campaign of Titus in Jerusalem. Josephus, the historian for Romans, has written in detail, the events that led to the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem. Joseph Atwill, writing in his book Caesar’s Messiah, has shown that the New Testament and ‘War of The Jews’ by Josephus, show remarkable parallel events when both are read side by side. The sheer vast number of these parallel events are impossible to happen by chance. The probability of this happening by some supernatural revelation, is just not there. The only conclusion that one can draw is that the authors of the two were the same.
Right on the first page of Matthew, the TYPOLOGY is laid bare. There is a complete overlay of the story of Moses by the story of Jesus Christ. The early life of Jesus parallels that of Moses. This is not disputed by any renowned Christian scholar these days. The picture below shows just a few of them.
As we analyze the New Testament and the Complete Works of Josephus, we find that the entire Ministry of Jesus is a reflection, name by name, concept by concept and step by step, of Titus’ military campaign in Judea, leading to the destruction of the Temple.
Such uncanny resemblance cannot be possible unless it was deliberately done and the authors of the two were the same.
As Joseph Atwil tells, the two had the same Names, Locations, Concepts and Sequence! Once you read the New Testament keeping this in mind, you will find that the journey of Jesus and Titus was the same.
The Ministry of Jesus begins with the beginning of Titus’ military campaign and ends with the end of the campaign!
Let us look at the remarkable parallels.
Both, Jesus’ Ministry and Titus’ military campaign begin at the same place- The sea of Galilee.
At the Sea of Galilee:
As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee,
Matthew 4:19“Come, follow Me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”
Luke 5:10 “From now on you will catch men”
Wars of the Jews. 3, 10, 527
Titus’ followers then fish for men on the Sea of Galilee. The Jews escaped in their boats into the sea of Galilee. Titus’ men pursued them in their own faster boats and upturned them or destroyed them. Jews fell into the sea.
‘And for such as were drowning in the sea, if they lifted their heads up above the water, there were either killed by darts, or caught by the vessels’. Thus, soldiers were fishing for Jew rebels in the sea of Galilee when they escaped on their boats.
Then Jesus goes to outside the city of Jerusalem and WAITS there.
Then Titus takes his legions to outside the city of Jerusalem and WAITS there to prepare for the assault on the city.
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all tell a story of Jesus healing on the Sabbath day and the Jews try to accuse him of thus breaking the law of the Sabbath. Jesus restores a man’s right hand, that was withered.
On the Sabbath, Titus send Josephus who offers the Jews his (Titus’) right hand (security of Rome) to surrender, but they refuse because they can’t go for peace on the Sabbath.
The Demons of Gadara
This is a story in the New Testament which parallels the sequence in Titus’ campaign.
Jesus asks the name of a demon, who answers “Legion”. Read about this at Bible.org – 16. Healing the Demoniac at Gadara. “And he was dangerous (Natt 8:28). So, the demons are very powerful. The gospels tell us that Jesus carried out exorcism of Jews affected by demons at Gadara.
Josephus describes a legion of Jews with a demonic (rebellious) spirit against Rome. When Titus reaches Gadara, the rebels (demons) surrender but, many rush to the hills and like ‘swine possessed by demons’ fall of the cliff.
Now Jesus and Titus both go to Jerusalem!
Luke 9:51-56: And Jesus sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritan to make ready for him; but they did not receive him.
Josephus records that Titus now heads straight for Jerusalem. He sends his messengers in advance to warn Jews to surrender otherwise it may be too late. Jews refuse to surrender.
Then there is a story of Jesus on the way to Jerusalem, ‘It happened, as he came near Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the road, begging’. Jesus restores his sight and showers his mercies on him.
Josephus records that the 12th Legion on their way to Jerusalem, is attacked by a group of rebel Jews at Jericho. Their mules and other belongings are taken away. Titus meets this legion on the way and refurbishes it completely and takes them along.
As Jesus arrives outside the city of Jerusalem, he waits there. He is met by Jews who don’t believe him and mock him. They are creeping in numbers, they lay traps for him.
Josephus describes that when Titus arrives outside the city, his army is attacked by Jews who fight him first outside the city walls.
At the same time, both Jesus and Josephus talk of sedition.
At this very time, Gospels tell that when asked whether he had come for ‘peace on earth’, Jesus tells the Jews that he has not come for peace but warns- (I have come for) ‘rather division, for from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three.
Josephus writes, ‘that sedition, which had been divided into three factions, was now reduced to two’.
An important parallel that Atwil mentions is that of –
Matthew 7:19 – Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Picture shows Jesus cursing a fig tree.
Josephus writes that Titus, intending to pitch his camp nearer to the city…gave orders for the whole army to level the distance, had made about their gardens and groves of trees, and cut down all the fruit trees…
Luke 19:41-44 JESUS– ‘Your enemies will pile up earth against your walls and encircle you and close in on you’
Josephus- War of the Jews: Titus raised a wall around the Temple town of Jerusalem, which was as high as the city walls, all around its circumference.
Luke 19:41-44 JESUS- “not one stone here will be left on another; everyone will be thrown down”.
Josephus-War of the Jews: The Second Temple of Jews in Jerusalem was demolished by Titus – “until not one stone remained atop another”
John’s Revelation 16:18- “And there were noises and thundering and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth.”
JOSEPHUS- Wars of the Jews 4:4:5 “for there broke out a prodigious storm in the night, with the utmost violence, and very strong winds, with the largest showers of rain, with continued lightnings, terrible thunderings, and amazing concussions and bellowings of the earth, that was in an earthquake. These things were a manifest indication that some destruction was coming upon men.
Matthew 21:12 “And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the … said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.”
Exactly at this point in the narrative of Josephus, Titus enters the Temple and takes control of the area, driving out ‘robbers and thieves’.
Abomination of Desolation
Daniel 9:26-27 (Hebrew Bible) refers to a prince who will destroy the city (Jerusalem) along with its temple and sacrifices, “and on the wings of abominations shall come one who makes desolate.” “From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. Isn’t it remarkable that 1290 days or, three and a half years, is exact period of Titus’ military campaign in Judea, according to Josephus!
The segment ends with Jesus promising “this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place”.
A generation was considered 40 years of lifetime among Jews . Therefore, the destruction of Temple happened within the lifetime of that generation. The Abomination of Desolation came to pass at the hands of Titus Flavius, a prince. This is a very important, and one of many indisputable parallels, that go to show that the New Testament is a commentary on Titus’s military campaign. Josephus wrote this parallel to indicate that the ‘prophecy’ of Daniel came to pass with the destruction of Jerusalem. A very clever piece of history writing, keeping in view the old Bible as well.
I have written just few of the common parallels but, there are too many of them. In this age of technology and information, all old scriptures are open to scrutiny. Internet has given a new power of exploration to all those who seek the truth.
New Testament is the ‘New Bible’ which has been ‘Typed’ on the stories of the Old Hebrew Bible. There is overwhelming evidence to prove that. The religion of Christianity was created to appear as if evolving out of Judaism. The ‘New Judaism’ appeared to smoothly transition from Old Bible to New Bible! Josephus and his fellow writers, fulfilling the directives of Caesar Titus, wrote a new Jew history from a Roman perspective, created literature for a new religion that gave life to a messiah who was pro Rome and pacifist but, strongly against militant Jews. He exhorted Jews to ‘give what was due to Rome’, meaning taxes! He was not the militant messiah that was supposed to come from the family of Prophet David, who would defeat Romans and restore Jew rule over the known world.
Joseph Ben Matityahu or Josephus was a remarkable Jew historian, priest of the Temple of Jerusalem, a descendant of royal family from his mother’s side, a soldier of resistance against Romans and finally a turned confidante and history writer for Caesar. He was adopted into the Flavian family and renamed, Titus Flavius Josephus. Caesar Vespasian Flavius, father of Titus Flavius, recognized his extraordinary religious scholarship and knowledge of Jew history. He adopted him into his family and gave quarters within his palace. Josephus also accompanied Titus in his military campaign in Judea. He was the firsthand witness to the campaign. His extensive knowledge of Jew ancestry and religious literature was vital to writing Jesus literature.
The purpose of these blogs is to stimulate an inquiry. It is in the character of humans to raise questions and seek answers to questions and not, to just blindly ‘believe’ what has been presented to them from generation to generation. Many scholars around the world are questioning the whole gamut of so called, evidence to the historicity of Jesus Christ and Christian theology. It is important to approach this subject with an open and an inquisitive mind. I appeal to my Christian friends that they should weigh the available evidence objectively without any religious bias. If there is any evidence to the contrary, present it so that the truth prevails. ‘Belief’ systems can perpetuate falsehood by shutting down the greatest attributes of humans- seeking of truth! It is only when we question age old false ‘beliefs’, that we can truly go from darkness to light.
I have just returned from a visit to Shiva’s abode in the south- Kailash Nath Temple.
A visit to KAILASH TEMPLE or KAILASHNATH TEMPLE at Ellora in Aurangabad can be a lifetime experience for anyone. The magnificence of the architecture, its proportions, symmetry and sheer brilliance of work done is unique in the world. There is no other rock-cut structure of this size anywhere that has been carved out of a solid rock mountain.
The master craftsmen have exhibited such brilliant skills as to carve out a lava rock mountain flawlessly and meticulously, from top to down, and created a temple so exquisitely amazing that one may start believing in Vishwakarma, architect of the gods. The caves of Ajanta and Ellora may be superb examples of rock “cut-in” style but, Kailash Temple is unique for its rock “cut-down” technique. The carving of the temple started from the top (shikhar) of the mountain and moved down. This mountain has been treated by temple architects as if it was just a mound of clay! They didn’t add anything to the structure rather, just removed rocks from it with extreme precision and supreme accuracy to leave behind a marvel of human accomplishment that can easily be described as the biggest architectural wonder of the world. It is said that it took more than 100 years to carve out the temple. But, nobody really knows how many years it took to complete this mammoth undertaking. There are remnants of white coated material on the temple which have eroded over the millennia. This was a very light yellow, almost white natural ochre paint job, first done by Krishna 1 of Rashtrakoot dynasty and later by queen Ahilya Bai Holkar. One may visualize that when it was carved and freshly coated in white, it must have looked as resplendent as Mount Kailash in Himalayas during daylight. Perhaps, that was the purpose of making this Kailash temple, to create an abode of Shiva in the South!
Kailash Temple is a monolith! Every statue, pillar, carving, passage, floor, ceiling or rooftop, halls and the magnificent Shiva lingam in the main temple are ONE SINGLE PIECE! Nothing has been added to it. Only rocks have been removed to reveal a beautiful Shiva temple.
I will not write much but let the pictures speak for themselves. I will try to carry you on a divine journey. While I was enjoying the marvels of the temple, I felt great sadness and anger at the sheer uncalled for, deliberate disfigurement of many statues of human and animal sculptures. The religious zealots who inflicted this damage didn’t realize that they were striking at unique irreplaceable ancient human heritage. How I wish, they had first tried to create even 1% of the magnificent structure before attempting their mindless destruction. Despite all the disfigurement, the still standing beautiful Kailash temple is a living testimony to the pinnacle of temple architectural achievement of ancient Indian civilization.
For years, I had wanted to visit Kailash temple at Ellora but, it didn’t happen. Then, while sitting over coffee with some friends, a quick program was made and off we went. It is said that good things happen only when the time is ripe. We rushed to the call of Shiva.
Kailash temple is isolated from the surrounding rock both from the outside and inside. The scholars tell us that it was constructed during the reign of Krishna-1 of Rashtrakoot dynasty, in the period 756-773 CE, that is, in just 18 years. These estimates are based on some obscure plaques of that period where there is mention of the magnificence of Kailash temple but there are no plans, orders or any plausible details of its construction. On the contrary, there are overwhelming and convincing arguments that the time of its construction lies much before in antiquity. I will discuss them later. Renowned scholars agree that it is not known how long it took to carve out the temple and whether such a task could be accomplished using only chisel and hammer. It is the culmination of an art form which must have taken ages to develop to this level of maturity.
It Is a Yog Temple made for Adi-Yogi Shiva
YOGIC PLAN OF KAILASH TEMPLE
A visit to Kailash temple is a spiritual journey. Every spiritual journey takes the seeker from मूलाधार चक्र to सहस्रार चक्र, that is the way of Indian thought and practice. Kailash temple has been made in a very Vedic way. It is in the tradition of Hindu temple architecture. In its layout, as seen in a south elevation (picture below), one can see all the elements of a Hindu temple architecture. Lengthwise it represents the body of the deity. Every part of the temple has its own significance. Nothing has been carved without a meaning. The lengthwise elevation represents the Chakras in human body as seen in the pictures below. It is of immense importance to understand this basic planning as we try to understand the plan of Kailash temple.
Hindu Temples take their cue from the structure of Human body. The vast Hindu literature on Agamic texts, देवालय-वास्तु / Devalaya-Vastu (Temple Vastu astrology) and sacred geography, describe the temple as a cosmic man, the पुरुष or ‘Purusha’ (cosmic man). Before we proceed further, let us briefly discuss the concept of the वास्तु पुरुष मन्डल / Vastu Purusha Mandala.
The knowledge, that Earth is a living organism, throbbing with life and energy is fundamental to the Vastu Shastra. That living energy is symbolized as a person- the वास्तु पुरुष(Vastu Purusha). The site for the proposed construction is his field – Vastu Purusha Mandala. In fact, the Vastu Purusha Mandala, the site plan, is his body and it is treated as such.
In olden days, there were only Shiva temples. A Shiva-lingam (lingam means sign, logo, representation) by its shape, represents the elliptical form of cosmos at the time of creation and at the time of its dissolution into Shiva. Concept of Shiva-lingam is a subject matter for discussion some other time. Shiva temples were not meant for worship of Shiva but were centers of meditation, gaining positive energy and practicing Yog. Temples were places to discover one’s spiritual potential and help in enlightenment. As we know, there are seven energy centers in our body in which energy moves in a circular way, like a spinning wheel. Some Yogis say that there are 114 chakras in our body. But, since we commonly know the seven, we will confine our discussion to that. The chakras are triangular in shape and the energy in these centers moves in a pulsating rotation that is why these energy centers are called ‘chakras’. They are named in an ascending order. The activated energy of ‘kundalini’ in a Yogi, moves upward from the base of the spine, penetrates each chakra one after the other and activates them.
These are – मूलाधार चक्र, स्वाधिष्ठान चक्र, मणिपूर चक्र, अनाहत चक्र, विशुद्ध चक्र, आज्ञा चक्र and सहस्रार चक्र. Every activated chakra empowers the Yogi with its specific powers. A Shiva temple is constructed to represent the chakras of ‘Shiva’ in his ‘human’ body.
The visitor enters the temple at its lowest level, moving from one stage to the next and finally reaching the ‘Sahasrar’ chakra (a resplendent blooming lotus with a thousand petals). In a temple, it is the place where Shiva Lingam has been consecrated. It is also called, the Sanctum Sanctorum. The Kailash Nath temple is a योग मन्दिर. It has been designed and carved to represent the seven chakras of Shiva! The parts of a temple according to this Yog plan are the following.
GOPURAM or गोपुरम्
गोपुरम् / Gopuram, represents feet of deity. This is also the entrance of the temple.
Dhwaj Stambh / ध्वज-स्तंभ (मूलाधार चक्र)
ध्वज-स्तंभ / Dhwaj-stambh is the pillar which represents the ‘muladhar chakra’. In Kailash temple there are two, one on each side of the temple.
बलि-पीथम / Bali-peetam (स्वाधिष्ठान चक्र)
बलि-पीथम / Bali-peetam is a place where offerings are made – the offering is usually flowers and cooked rice. Besides, the devotees are expected to leave behind ego, impure thoughts and superficial knowledge and enter the temple with a pure unattached mind to sit in Yog meditation. This is the purpose of ‘bali-peetam’. It is situated at ‘swadhishthan chakra’.
नन्दी /Nandi (मणिपूर चक्र)
नन्दी /Nandi the Bull or Adhikar-Nandi resides in Nandi-mandapam at ‘manipura chakra’. One enters Nandi mandap from Bali-peetam. Nandi mandap leads to the Maha-mandapam. The picture shows stairs leading to Nandi Mandap.
Nandi always faces Shiva. Nandi above, is facing Shiva lingam which is reached through the Maha-mandapam, right in front.
महा मन्डपम / Maha-mandapam (अनाहत चक्र)
महा मन्डपम / Maha-mandapam is the main hall where people sit to learn and meditate. From Nandi mandapam, the passage leads to Maha-mandapam or the main hall.
Maha-mandapam is usually exquisitely designed with beautiful sculptures, carvings and paintings. It sits on ‘Anahat-chakra’. On the roof top of Maha-mandapam of Kailash temple, there are four beautifully carved lions in attack mode. The heads of each pair of lions is turned towards each other. These lions are carved in South Indian temple architecture style.
It is important to note that a giant blooming lotus with three rows of petals has been carved on the roof top of Maha-mandapam. This is typical of a Yogic temple as lotus represents ‘Sahasrar’ chakra. The four lions are standing within the middle cusp. Right in the middle there is a rectangular decorative structure, beautifully carved on all faces. Each side of roof-top has barrel style carvings with beautiful sculptures on them.
Passage from Maha-mandapam to Shiva lingam, the neck portion (विशुद्ध चक्र)
The portion of the temple that joins Maha-mandapam with the main place where deity is present, is the neck, as in the body. It is the place for ‘vishuddha chakra’
शिव लिंगम् / Shiva Lingam (आज्ञा चक्र)
The place of main deity, Shiva-lingam or garbha-graha is the place for ‘Aagya-chakra’.
Sitting on the steps to ‘garbh-grah’ where Shiva lingam is present. It is the purpose of the Kailash temple. Standing next to this massive Shiva lingam fills one with pure divine energy. The thoughts and feelings are difficult to put in words. They have to be experienced by oneself.
It is a massive stone structure. Its designing is a subject of separate discussion
Beautifully carved blooming lotus, right above Shiva lingam (सहस्रार चक्र)
The seventh chakra is ‘sahasrar-chakra’ which is always recognized as a full blooming lotus with a thousand petals, is situated at the top of the head. Therefore, it was carved above the ‘lingam’, on the ceiling.
Vimanam (Tamil) विमानम्
Vimanam (Tamil) विमानम् / Aakasha (Kannada/Hindi/Sanskrit)- is the term for the tower above the sanctum-sanctorum or the ‘garbh-griha’. The term Vimana, according to scholars, should refer to the structure above the कपोता or Kapota (the flat roof over the sanctum). The northern temple texts call it ‘prasada’ which has a curvilinear shape. Vimana is pyramid like according to south temple architecture. Vimana has differently name parts which are shown in the schematic diagram below. However, this plan is just representative of south temple architecture and not of Kailasha temple.
Vimana / विमाना of Kailash temple
In Kailash temple one may see four levels of carvings and platforms until the ‘griva’ or neck of Vimana. Griva is where Vimana meets the Shikhar or the top dome. At neck level four beautifully carved Nandi Bulls are sitting facing each direction. The Vimana resembles ‘Kutina-type’ tower which is characterized by gradually receding stories in a pyramidal shape. Each story is typically delineated by a parapet of miniature shrine carvings, square at the corner and rectangular with barrel-vault roofs at the center. This style is seen in a more recent Colisvara temple at Kilaiyur, Tamil Nadu. But, recent is also a thousand years old.
Shikhar / शिखर
Shikhar or top dome! Shikhar is also called the peak of a mountain. It is the most prominent structure in a Hindu temple. The Shikhar of Kailash temple is just above the ‘griva’ or neck of Vimana where four Nandi bulls are sitting.
This Shikhar is remarkable because it has EIGHT faces which represent eight directions of a compass. Delicate pairs of pillars have been carved on each face to show as if they are holding up the Shikhar. Just above each pair of pillars, there are intricate and very detailed carvings.
अमालक / Amalaka with a मंगल कलश
An अमालक / Amalaka, is a stone cap which is usually in the form of an inverted lotus symbolizing Yog energy coming from the deity or has deep ridges on the edge to symbolize rays of the sun as is commonly shown behind the head of gods or enlightened saints. In Kailash temple, amalaka is carved as an inverted lotus.
From the center of Amalaka, the top is crowned with a large finial and a मंगल कलश / ‘mangal-kalash’ which is commonly used in Hindu sacred rituals.
A ‘mangal-kalash’ is usually a copper or brass open vase adorned with a coconut sitting on leaves of mango tree. The Amalaka of Kailasha temple has eroded over millennia or damaged but, still one can make out the inverted lotus and lower part of ‘mangal kalash’.
Kailash temple is such an amazing structure that words fail to describe this marvelous creation. It represents a uniquely glorious chapter in Indian ancient temple architecture. Creation of a marvel like this requires an understanding of advanced knowledge of spacial geometry, mathematics, calculus, system of precise measurements, proportions and weight bearing, understanding of composition of rocks and soil, building architecture and other knowledge systems. The architects of this magnificent temple must have drawn detailed drawings and models of finished temple before starting their work. The team of laborers, skilled workers, architects and dexterous stone carvers of that time seem to have put in every bit of their dedication, expertise and devotion to carve out a mountain to create a structure which has no equal in the world.
I have covered only a small portion of the temple complex. In this blog I have focused basically on the fundamental purpose and schematics of the temple. I have barely touched the superficial layers of the design because I am not a temple architect or an expert in this field. I hope my small attempt will at least give an idea of the overall concept of Kailash temple to my readers. In the next blog I will cover a different aspect of this great Yog temple.