Showing posts with label Ancient World and its Vedic Connections. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ancient World and its Vedic Connections. Show all posts

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Vedic culture-original ancestor of all religions

Vedic culture is the original ancestor of all religions
By Stephen Knapp

Not only is the Vedic culture the source if architectural art, music, language, and most learning in the world, it is also the original or primary faith and basis of spiritual development of all humanity sonce the beginning of time. So, no matter whether one claims Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Jain, Sikh or whatever, he or she is still a descendant of Vedic culture. This is because all other genuine religions and spiritual paths have numerous traditions, legends and names of God that have been carried over, or have been adopted, from the Vedic culture. However, we need to remember that they look different because as the once united Vedic world became fragmented, portions of the Vedic culture began to emerge in what became faiths and customs based on regional preferences. Thus, bits of the Sanskrit literatures turned up in portions of other religious texts, as found in, for example, what became known as the Talmund of the Jews, the Zend Avesta of the Iranians, the Eddas of Scandinavia, and so on. So from Vedic the Vedic culture came many breakaway cults and creeds. Unfortunately, as previously discussed, many cultures have forgotten their histories and fail to understand their true origins and ancient connections with others. What is worse is that as this age of Kali-yuga unfolds, there will be an increase of societies splintering off from Vedic culture, or whatever is left of it. In fact, this is the prophecy as found in the Vedic literature, which I have especially elaborated in my book. The Vedic Prophecies: A New Look into the future. This means that theree will be a continued decrease in moral standards, behaviour, our spirituality, and less ability to see what we all have in common.

Another reason why many portions of history have been forgotten or buried is that is was typical of the conquering religions that make converts through military force for them to destroy any historical evidence of the previous culture. Especially when it displays loftier principles and more advanced levels of consciousness. So rampaging Roman Christian and Arab Muslim armies destroyed as much of any remaining Vedic culture they could. This, unfortunately, also helped plunge the world into what has been called the Dark Ages, which included terrible crusades, witch burning of thousands of innocent women, and intense torture of any so called infidels.

Consequently, the teaching of Vedic sciences suffered a severe. This meant that the further development of society also ceased to progress and was forced to discover things all over again that were previously known. This provided the basis of the glorification of the inventions and discoveries of such men as Galileo, Copernicus, and Newton, who really were discovering what the Vedic literature had described thousands of years before. Thus, there was a period of several hundred years, if not thousands, in which societies become more distanced from Vedic culture, and they also became more backward and underdeveloped. In fact, in some distant regions, humanity sank to a state of primitive living.

Theologically, however, the Vedic pantheon was shared by many breakaway religions and cults, each swearing allegiance to some particular form of Divinity. Many philosophies and religions that were started by societies that broke away from Vedic cultur still kept many of their Vedic traditions. The differences is that the Vedic knowledge and traditions came at the time of creation, and can certainly be traced back many thousands of years, while the more modern scripture, such as the Bible and Koran, were developed many years later, appearing comparatively recently within the last 2000 years. The Vedas were given to mankind by Lord Vishnu to Brahma, the creator of the universe, and were later compiled By Srila Vyasadeva, an incarnation of the Supreme Being, for the benefit of humanity. The bible was supposedly developed by men who were said ti be inspired by God. However, the more scholars focus their research on historical evidence, the more they find that the formation of the Old and New Testaments is far different than what the Bible tradition claims. The Koran is said to have been given to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel. However, this is questionable because history records that Muhammad could not even read or write. So how could have the original writings of these revelations take place? Furthermore, the Koran was put into it's official form years after death of Muhammad.

In any case, the concepts and scope of the Vedic literature is much broader than that of the Bible, Koran, or other religions. The Vedic literature is a compendium of universal truths and knowledge. The Vedic texts contain a higher level of spiritual understanding and universal love between God and humanity compared with the Koran, which contains many threats and curses for those who do not follow it sent percent. The Bible and Koran are, therefore, local scriptures that pertain primarily to the people of its immediate region. Such scripture deals almost exclusively with the local prophets and customs of the people. This also causes a division between then and everyone else. In this way, we can understand that the Vedic texts are a universal scripture which are based in the principle of Sanatana Dharma, the eternal nature of the soul regardless of where or what a person may be. It is this process which can provide the means for people to return to their natural, spiritual state of being, and find common ground with all people.

Nonetheless, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam incorporate many Vedic traditions, which we will discuss much further in the chapters that follow. Even much of Islamic religious terminology is rooted in Sanskrit. For example, the term “Allah” is a synonym for a goddess in Sanskrit, usually in reference to Durga or one of her forms. Also, one of the Indian Upanishads is the Allopanishad.

Another example is the origin of the word Satan, which both Muslims and Christians use in their scripture. The term “satan,” or Shaitan as Muslims call him, comes from the Sanskrit word Sat-na, which means unreal or nontruth, Sat means the true and eternal, while Sat-na means opposite. From that we can get the Satan, which takes on a personality in the Bible and Koran, indicating our attraction or temptation to that which is impermanent.

The word “prophet” is a synonym for the Sanskrit word avatar, or one who descends from heaven, from which comes the concept for prophet. The correct Sanskrit word is pri-pata, which is being pronounced as Prophet in English. Pri-pata is also similar to the Sanskrit word pita, which means father.

Another similarity deals with Abraham. In the Jewish tradition Abraham was one of the progenitors of the Jewish race. However, there are religious scholars who question historically if there ever was an Abraham. There are stories about him, but little historical evidence can be found. But this Abraham, who is accepted by the Jews, Christians, and Muslims, is a reference to none other than Brahma of Vedic tradition. Brahma is explained in the Vedic texts to be the first progenitor of the human race. It is this Brahma who is referred to under the mispronounced name of Abraham, wi then became one of the progenitors of the Jewish people, and associated with and the basis of many stories within the new cultures and their scriptures. Therefore, Abraham is another misunderstood carry-over from the Vedic tradition.

Even the story of the creation of the world, as explained in the Bible, has its roots in the Vedic tradition. In the first sentences of the Bible it states: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” So, herein we can see that the Bible begins with the same but summarized story as recorded in the Vedic texts, when Lord Vishnu was lying in the universal waters in a dark and empty universe and created all the universal elements to form heaven and earth.

This is continued in the New Testament, in the oepning lines of the book of John which states, “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God,” That first word, as described in the Vedic texts and related earlier in this volume, was OM. That word was present at the time of creation and was with God, and is God.

Shortly after the creation, the Bible refers to the story of Adam and Eve, the first couple from whom the human race was born. However, this is similar to the previously recorded story in the Vedic texts of Svayambhuva Manu and his wife Satarupa who, after coming inti being, were essentially advised by Brahma, the creator, to “Beget many children and rule over the earth, for you shall be the ruler of the men. “The Koran also follows the biblical tradition, accepting the lineage of the prophets.

The trinity of the Chritians of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost has also been a derivative of the Vedic tradition of Bhagavan (the individual Supreme Being), Paramatma (the internal incarnation and expansion of God, the Son), and the great, all pervasive Brahman (Holy Ghost). This trinity can also be compared to Vishnu, Brahma, and Mahesh (Shiva). Mother Mary of the Christian tradition also reflects the Vedic goddess Mari-amma, where amma designates mother. Even the Christian term mater Dei is but a reflection of the Vedic term Matri Devi—Mother Goddess.

There are even similarities between Christian, Buddhist, and Vedic styles of Meditation, such aswith the use of prayers beads. The use of beads goes back to prehistoric times. The word bead comes from the word bid, to plead or petition, which is done to awaken the spirit of God, or to open the channel of communication between God and man. Thus, chanting the name of God is to invoke God himself. The followers of the Vedas, the Vaishnavas, have 108 beads on their japa mala or rosary, while Buddhist also have 108, Catholics have 54, and Muslims have 99 plus one head bead. Vaishnavas, Buddhist, and Muslims use beads to chant the names of God. Catholics chant prayers to God, and sometimes they just chant the names, especially in the Eastern tradition. The names of Krishna, Rama, and Hare are the original names of the Supreme Deity before were changed in their theosophical and linguistic forms through variations in location and cultural traits.

In other aspects of spiritual practices, many cultures provided a means of entering into the higher levels of knowledge, which was often kept secret from the uninitiated. The Persians, Egyptians, Syrians, Cretans, Greeks, Romans, Celts, Druids, as well as the Mayans and American natives all had their rituals of initiation into the mysteries of the unknown after which, in many cultures, the initiates were called twice-born. This is identical to be earliest known practice of the Vedic brahmanas who are initiated into spiritual understanding and , thus, are called “twice-born” to signify their spiritual birth which is over and above the common animal birth that every ordinary creature undergoes when born from the womb.


Since there are so many similarities between the cultures of the world, the most ancient of which can be traced back to the primal Vedic traditions, a return to Vedic culture, or at least the realization that it is the original and primordial tradition of humanity as given by Divinity, should be helpful to establish peace and social unity. With the highest common factor and background among us all being the Vedic heritage, the recognition of this can surely help break down the regional barrier as well as the distinctions created by present-day organized religious. This should be done for ultimate peace, idealism, and happiness.

Many more of these similarities in words, traditions, rituals, stories, and architectural discoveries will be explained in the following chapters as we look deeper into each area of the planet. This will help prove the existence of a global Vedic Aryan culture that preceded all others.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Druids of ancient Celtic were at par with Brahmans of India/Bharat

The Druids of the ancient Celtic world have a startling kinship with the brahmins of the Hindu religion and were, indeed, a parallel development from their common Indo-European cultural root which began to branch out probably five thousand years ago. It has been only in recent decades that Celtic scholars have begun to reveal the full extent of the parallels and cognates between ancient Celtic society and Vedic culture.
The celtic people spread from their homeland in what is now Germany across Europe in the first millennium bce. Iron tools and weapons rendered them superior to their neighbors. They were also skilled farmers, road builders, traders and inventors of a fast two-wheeled chariot. They declined in the face of Roman, Germanic and Slavic ascendency by the second centuries bce.
Peter Berresford Ellis, one of Europe’s foremost experts of the Celts, explains how modern research has revealed the amazing similarities between ancient Celt and Vedic culture. The Celt’s priestly caste, the Druids, has become a part of modern folklore. Their identity is claimed by New Age enthusiasts likely to appear at annual solstice gatherings around the ancient megaliths of northwest Europe. While sincerely motivated by a desire to resurrect Europe’s ancient spiritual ways, Ellis says these modern Druids draw more upon fanciful reconstructions of the 18th century than actual scholarship.

The Celts were the first civilization north of the European Alps to emerge into recorded history. At the time of their greatest expansion, in the 3rd century bce, the Celts stretched from Ireland in the west, through to the central plain of Turkey in the east; north from Belgium, down to Cadiz in southern Spain and across the Alps into the Po Valley of Italy. They even impinged on areas of Poland and the Ukraine and, if the amazing recent discoveries of mummies in China’s province of Xinjiang are linked with the Tocharian texts, they even moved as far east as the area north of Tibet.
The once great Celtic civilization is today represented only by the modern Irish, Manx and Scots, and the Welsh, Cornish and Bretons. Today on the northwest fringes of Europe cling the survivors of centuries of attempted conquest and “ethnic cleansing” by Rome and its imperial descendants. But of the sixteen million people who make up those populations, only 2.5 million now speak a Celtic language as their mother tongue.

The Druids were not simply priesthood. They were the intellectual caste of ancient Celtic society, incorporating all the professions: judges, lawyers, medical doctors, ambassadors, historians and so forth, just as does the brahmin caste. In fact, other names designate the specific role of the “priests.” Only Roman and later Christian propaganda turned them into “shamans,” “wizards” and “magicians.” The scholars of the Greek Alexandrian school clearly described them as a parallel caste to the brahmins of Vedic society.
The very name Druid is composed of two Celtic word roots which have parallels in Sanskrit. Indeed, the root vid for knowledge, which also emerges in the Sanskrit word Veda, demonstrates the similarity. The Celtic root dru which means “immersion” also appears in Sanskrit. So a Druid was one “immersed in knowledge.”
Because Ireland was one of the few areas of the Celtic world that was not conquered by Rome and therefore not influenced by Latin culture until the time of its Christianization in the 5th century ce, its ancient Irish culture has retained the most clear and startling parallels to Hindu society.
Professor Calvert Watkins of Harvard, one of the leading linguistic experts in his field, has pointed out that of all the Celtic linguistic remains, Old Irish represents an extraordinarily archaic and conservative tradition within the Indo-European family. Its nominal and verbal systems are a far truer reflection of the hypothesized parent tongue, from which all Indo-European languages developed, than are Classical Greek or Latin. The structure of Old Irish, says Professor Watkins, can be compared only with that of Vedic Sanskrit or Hittite of the Old Kingdom.
The vocabulary is amazingly similar. The following are just a few examples:
Old Irish – arya (freeman),Sanskrit – aire (noble)
Old Irish – naib (good), Sanskrit – noeib (holy)
Old Irish – badhira (deaf), Sanskrit – bodhar (deaf)
Old Irish – names (respect), Sanskrit – nemed (respect)
Old Irish – righ (king), Sanskrit – raja (king)

This applies not only in the field of linguistics but in law and social custom, in mythology, in folk custom and in traditional musical form. The ancient Irish law system, the Laws of the Fénechus, is closely parallel to the Laws of Manu. Many surviving Irish myths, and some Welsh ones, show remarkable resemblances to the themes, stories and even names in the sagas of the Indian Vedas.
Comparisons are almost endless. Among the ancient Celts, Danu was regarded as the “Mother Goddess.” The Irish Gods and Goddesses were the Tuatha De Danaan (“Children of Danu”). Danu was the “divine waters” falling from heaven and nurturing Bíle, the sacred oak from whose acorns their children sprang. Moreover, the waters of Danu went on to create the great Celtic sacred river–Danuvius, today called the Danube. Many European rivers bear the name of Danu–the Rhône (ro- Dhanu, “Great Danu”) and several rivers called Don. Rivers were sacred in the Celtic world, and places where votive offerings were deposited and burials often conducted. The Thames, which flows through London, still bears its Celtic name, from Tamesis, the dark river, which is the same name as Tamesa, a tributary of the Ganges.
Not only is the story of Danu and the Danube a parallel to that of Ganga and the Ganges but a Hindu Danu appears in the Vedic story “The Churning of the Oceans,” a story with parallels in Irish and Welsh mytholgy. Danu in Sanskrit also means “divine waters” and “moisture.”
In ancient Ireland, as in ancient Hindu society, there was a class of poets who acted as charioteers to the warriors They were also their intimates and friends. In Irish sagas these charioteers extolled the prowess of the warriors. The Sanskrit Satapatha Brahmana says that on the evening of the first day of the horse sacrifice (and horse sacrifice was known in ancient Irish kingship rituals, recorded as late as the 12th century) the poets had to chant a praise poem in honor of the king or his warriors, usually extolling their genealogy
and deeds.
Such praise poems are found in the Rig Veda and are called narasamsi. The earliest surviving poems in old Irish are also praise poems, called fursundud, which trace back the genealogy of the kings of Ireland to Golamh or Mile Easpain, whose sons landed in Ireland at the end of the second millennium bce. When Amairgen, Golamh’s son, who later traditions hail as the “first Druid,” set foot in Ireland, he cried out an extraordinary incantation that could have come from the Bhagavad Gita, subsuming all things into his being
Celtic cosmology is a parallel to Vedic cosmology. Ancient Celtic astrologers used a similar system based on twenty-seven lunar mansions, called nakshatras in Vedic Sanskrit. Like the Hindu Soma, King Ailill of Connacht, Ireland, had a circular palace constructed with twenty-seven windows through which he could gaze on his twenty-seven “star wives.”

There survives the famous first century bce Celtic calendar (the Coligny Calendar) which, as soon as it was first discovered in 1897, was seen to have parallels to Vedic calendrical computations. In the most recent study of it, Dr. Garret Olmsted, an astronomer as well as Celtic scholar, points out the startling fact that while the surviving calendar was manufactured in the first century bce, astronomical calculus shows that it must have been computed in 1100 bce.
One fascinating parallel is that the ancient Irish and Hindus used the name Budh for the planet Mercury. The stem budh appears in all the Celtic languages, as it does in Sanskrit, as meaning “all victorious,” “gift of teaching,” “accomplished,” “enlightened,” “exalted” and so on. The names of the famous Celtic queen Boudicca, of ancient Britain (1st century ce), and of Jim Bowie (1796-1836), of the Texas Alamo fame, contain the same root. Buddha is the past participle of the same Sanskrit word–“one who is enlightened.”
For Celtic scholars, the world of the Druids of reality is far more revealing and exciting, and showing of the amazingly close common bond with its sister Vedic culture, than the inventions of those who have now taken on the mantle of modern “Druids,” even when done so with great sincerity.

If we are all truly wedded to living in harmony with one another, with nature, and seeking to protect endangered species of animal and plant life, let us remember that language and culture can also be in ecological danger. The Celtic languages and cultures today stand on the verge of extinction. That is no natural phenomenon but the result of centuries of politically directed ethnocide. What price a “spiritual awareness” with the ancient Celts when their culture is in the process of being destroyed or reinvented? Far better we seek to understand and preserve intact the Celt’s ancient wisdom. In this, Hindus may prove good allies.
The Song of Amairgen the Druid I am the wind that blows across the sea; I am the wave of the ocean; I am the murmur of the billows; I am the bull of the seven combats; I am the vulture on the rock; I am a ray of the sun; I am the fairest of flowers; I am a wild boar in valor; I am a salmon in the pool; I am a lake on the plain; I am the skill of the craftsman; I am a word of science; I am the spearpoint that gives battle; I am the God who creates in the head of man the fire of thought. Who is it that enlightens the assembly upon the mountain, if not I? Who tells the ages of the moon, if not I? Who shows the place where the sun goes to rest, if not I? Who is the God that fashions enchantments– The enchantment of battle and the wind of change?
Amairgen was the first Druid to arrive in Ireland. Ellis states, “In this song Amairgen subsumes everything into his own being with a philosophic outlook that parallels the declaration of Krishna in the Hindu Bhagavad-Gita.” It also is quite similar in style and content to the more ancient Sri Rudra chant of the Yajur Veda.

Original Article

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Ancient World and its Vedic Connections

Ancient World and its Vedic Connections


Excerpts from the book “Hindu Dharma”

“Hindu Dharma” is a book which contains English translation of certain invaluable and engrossingspeeches of Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Maha Swamiji (at various times during the years 1884 to 1994).
In the dim past what we call Hinduism today was prevalent all over the world.
Archaeological studiesreveal the existence of relics of our Vedic religion in many countries. For instance, excavations have brought up the text of a treaty between Rameses II and the Hittites dating back to the 14th century B. C. In this, the Vedic gods Mitra and Varuna are mentioned as witnesses to the pact. There is a connection between the name of Ramesses and that of our Rama.

About 75 per cent of the names of places in Madagascar have a Sanskritic origin. In the Western Hemisphere too there is evidence of Hinduism having once flourished there. In Mexico a festival is celebrated at the same time as our Navaratri; it is called “Rama-Sita”. Wherever the earth is dug up images of Ganapati are discovered here. The Aztecs had inhabited Mexico before the Spaniards conquered that land. “Aztecs ” must be a distorted form of “Astikas”. In Peru, during the time of the holy equinox [vernal? ] worship was conducted in the sun temple. The people of this land were called Incas: “Ina” is one of the Sanskrit names of the sun god. Don’t we call Rama Inakula-tilaka?

There is book containing photographs of the aborigines of Australia dancing in the nude (The Native Tribes of Central Australia, by Spencer Killan, pages 128 & 129). A close look at the pictures, captioned “Siva Dance”, shows that the dancers have a third eye drawn on the forehead.

In a virgin forest in Borneo which, it is said, had not been penetrated by any human being until recently, explorers have found a sacrificial post with an inscription in a script akin to our Granthas characters. Historians know it as the inscription of Mulavarman of Kotei. Mention is made in it of a sacrifice, the king who performed it, the place where the yupas was installed. That the king gave away kalpavrksass as a gift to Brahmins is also stated in this inscription. All such details were discovered byEuropeans, the very people who ridicule our religion.

Now something occurs to me in this context, something that you may find amusing. You know that the Sagaras went on digging the earth down to the nether world in search of their sacrificial horse. An ocean came into being in this way and it was called Sagara after the king Sagara.

The Sagaras, at last found the horse near the hermitage of Kapila Maharsi. Thinking that he must be the man who had stolen the animal and hidden it in the nether world they laid violent hands on him. Whereupon the sage reduced them to ashes with a mere glance of his eye. Such is the story according to the Ramayana. America, which is at the antipodes, may be taken to Patala or the nether world. Kapilaranya(the forest in which Kapila had his hermitage), we may further take it, was situated there. It is likely that Kapilaranya changed to California in the same manner as Madurai is something altered to “Marudai”. Also noteworthy is the fact that there is a Horse Island near California as well as an Ash Island.

Some historians try to explain the evidence pointing to the worldwide prevalence of our religion in the past to the exchange of cultural and religious ideas between India and other countries established through travels. I myself believe that there was one common religion or dharma throughout and that the signs and symbols that we find of this today are the creation of the original inhabitants of the lands concerned.

The view put forward by some students of history about the discovery of the remnants of our religion in other countries- these relating to what is considered the historical period of the past two or three thousand years- is that Indians went to these lands, destroyed the old native civilizations there and imposed Hindu culture in their place. Alternatively, they claim, Indians thrust their culture into the native ways of life in such a way that it became totally absorbed in them.

The fact, however, is that evidence is to be found in many countries of their Vedic connection dating back to 4, 000 years or more. That is, with the dawn of civilization itself, aspects of the Vedic Dharma existed in these lands. It was only subsequently that the inhabitants of these regions came to have a religion of their own.

Greece had an ancient religion and had big temples where various deities were worshipped. The Hellenic religion had Vedic elements in it. The same was the case with the Semitic religions of the pre- Christian era in the region associated with Jesus. The aborigines of Mexico had a religion of their own. They shared the Vedic view of the divine in the forces of nature and worshipped them as deities.
There was a good deal of ritual in all such religions.

Now none of these religions, including that of Greece, survives. The Greek civilization had once attained to the heights of glory. Now Christianity flourishes in Greece. Buddhism has spread in Central Asia and in East Asia up to Japan. According to anthropologists, religions in their original form exist only in areas like the forests of Africa. But even these ancient faiths contain Vedic elements.

Another example to strengthen the view that however much a custom or a concept changes with the passage of time and with its acceptance by people of another land, it will still retain elements pointing to its original source. Our TiruppavaiT and TiruvembavaiT are not as ancient as the Vedas. Scholars ascribe them to an age not later than 1, 500 years ago. However it be, the authors of these Tamil hymns, Andal and Manikkavacakar, belong to an age much later than that of the Vedas and epics.
After their time Hindu empires arose across the seas. Even the Cola kings extended their sway beyond the shores of the country. More worthy of note than our naval expeditions was the great expansion in our sea trade and the increase with it of our foreign contacts. As a result, people abroad were drawn to the Hindu religion and culture. Among the regions that developed such contacts, South-East Asia was the most important. Islands like Bali in the Indonesian archipelago became wholly Hindu. People in Siam (Thailand), Indochina and the Philippines came under the influence of Hindu culture. Srivijaya was one of the great empires of South-East Asia.

Even today a big festival is held in Thailand in December- January, corresponding to the Tamil Margazhi, the same month during which we read the Tiruppavai and Tiruvembavai with devotion. As part of the celebrations a dolotsava (swing festival) is held. A remarkable feature of this is that, in the ceremony meant for Visnu, a man with the make-up of Siva is seated on the swing. This seems to be in keeping with the fact that the Tiruppavai and Tiruvembavai contribute to the unification of Vaisnavism and Saivism.

If you ask the people of Thailand about the Pavai poems, they will not be able to speak about them. It might seem then that there is no basis for connecting the that festival with the Pavai works merely because it is held in the month corresponding to the Tamil Murgazhi. But the point to note is that the people of that country themselves call it “Triyampavai- Trippavai”.

Those who read the Bible today are likely to be ignorant about the Upanisads, but they are sure to know the story that can be traced back to them, that of Adam and Eve. The Thais now must be likewise ignorant about the Pavis but, all the same, they hold in the month of Dhanus every year a celebration called “Triyampavai – Trippavai. ” As part of it they also have a swing festival in which figures a man dressed as Siva. Here the distortion in the observance of a rite have occurred during historical times- one of the distortions is that of Siva being substituted for Visnu. Also during this period the Thais have forgotten the Pavis but, significantly enough, they still conduct a festival named after them. Keeping these before you, take mind back to three thousand years ago and imagine how a religion or a culture would have changed after its passage to foreign lands.

It is in this context that you must consider the Vedic tradition. For all the changes and distortions that it has undergone in other countries during the past millennia its presence there is still proclaimed through elements to be found in the religions that supplanted it.

How are we to understand the presence of Hindu ideas or concepts in the religious beliefs of people said to belong to prehistoric times?

It does not seem right to claim that in the distant past our religion or culture was propagated in other countries through an armed invasion or through trade, that is at a time when civilization itself has not taken shape there. That is why I feel that there is no question of anything having been taken from this land and introduced into another country. The fact according to me, is that in the beginning the Vedic religion was prevalent all over the world. Later, over the centuries, it must have gone through a process of change and taken different forms. These forms came to be called the original religions of these various lands which in the subsequent period- during historical times- came under Buddhism, Christianity or Islam as the case may be.