An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Was Proto-Indo-European religion really the Vedic religion?

Budh in the Celtic languages is the name given to Mercury meaning wise. Guess where have you heard that before?

Boudi and the stem budh appear in all the Celtic languages. It means – all victorious, gift of teaching, accomplished, exulted, virtue and so forth. In Breton today, for example, boud means ‘to be’. You will see the stem in the name Bouddica, more commonly referred to in English as Boadicea, the Celtic warrior queen of the Iceni who led an uprising against Roman rule in 60 AD.

The Goddesses were very common in the Celtic history… Brighid, for example, was the Goddess of healing, poetry and smithcraft. Does that sound similar to Saraswati?

Mother goddesses are a recurrent feature in Celtic religions. The epigraphic record reveals many dedications to the Matres or Matronae, which are particularly prolific around Cologne in the Rhineland. Iconographically, Celtic mothers may appear singly or, quite often, triply; they usually hold fruit or cornucopiae or paterae; they may also be full-breasted (or many-breasted) figures nursing infants.

German mythology has a character Mannus, is he the same as Vedic Manu?

Mannus is a Germanic mythological character attested by the 1st century Roman historian Tacitus in his work Germania. According to Tacitus, Mannus is the son of the earth-born Tuisto and the ancestor and founder of the three Germanic tribes Ingvaeones, Herminones and Istaevones.

Then there is this entire use and discussion of the term Daeva and Asuras:

Pandemonium is Jaan Puhvel’s word for the mutual demonization that occurred when the (Younger-)Avesta demonized the daevas, and the (post-Rig-)Vedic texts demonized the asuras. Neither demonization occurs in the oldest texts: In the Rigveda, there is not yet any hard-and-fast distinction between asuras and devas, and even in the later Vedas, the two groups (though thematically in opposition) also cooperate at certain times.[9] In the Old Avestan texts the daevas are to be rejected for being misguided by the “lie”, but they are still gods, and not demons.[10]

However, in the 19th century this distinction between the older and younger texts had yet to be made, and in 1884 Martin Haug “postulated his thesis that the transition of both the words [Asuras and Devas] into the designations of the demons…. is based on a prehistoric schism in religion….”[11] The observation was reiterated by Jacob Grimm (DM3, p. 985), who, like Haug, considered it to be the theological basis of Zoroastrianism’s dualism. Prior to this (in the 1850s), Westergaard had attributed the (Younger) Avesta’s demonization of the daevas to a “moral reaction against Vedic polytheism,” but that-unlike the general notion of a mutual demonization-was very quickly rejected, and by 1895 James Darmesteter noted that it has “no longer [had] any supporter.”[12] Nonetheless, some modern authors like Mallory and Adams still refer to Zoroastrianism as a “religious reformation” of Vedic religion (p. 408-9, Oxford Intro.). Most scholars however stress that there were two independent developments in ancient Iran and post-Rigvedic India, but nonetheless to be considered against the common background of prehistoric Indo-Iranian religion where both groups coexisted, with the *Asuras perhaps even as a subset (having a particular common characteristic, like the Adityas) of the *Daivas, the national gods

And of course, the entire story of Yama and the way his body was used to create the world. That is similar in both Zoroastrianism and Vedic references.

Vedic

* Yamá dies (it doesn’t say how). “Yamá surrendered his dear body.” The original source is the RV 10.13.4. This was published in Vedic Mythology, Vol. 2, p. 223.[18]* “Yama died as the first of mortals.” The original source is the Atharva Veda XVIII.3.13, and this was also published in Vedic Mythology, Vol. 2, p. 222.[19]* later Sanskrit (1000 – 500 BCE). First a bull, then the wife of Manu, named Manâvî is killed (with Manu’s permission) in sacrifice by the Ashuras (no world making!). The original source is the Satapatha-Brâhmana: 1 Kanda, 1 Adhyâya, 4 Brâhmana 14-17. This was published in the SBE, Vol. 12 (trans. by Julius Eggeling), pp. 29-30.

Avestan

* Yima Kshaeta makes the world grow larger three times, but he does this while he is still alive. This version is clearly mythological. Yima is the Avestan form of Sanskrit Yama and Kshaeta means “brilliant, shining.” The original source is the Zend-Avesta, Vendidad, Fargard II, and this was published in SBE, Vol. 4 (translated by James Darmesteter), p. 12-21.
* Avestan “….Aži Dahâka and Spityura, he who sawed Yima in twain.” According to the editor of the text (Darmesteter), Spityura was a brother of Yima. The original source is the Zend-Avesta, Zamyâd Yasht, VIII: 46, published in SBE, Vol. 23, p. 293-297.
* Middle Persian of the 9th-11th centuries. In these source Gayomart Gaya Maratan, the primordial bull, is killed by Ahriman (spelled Aharman in Darmesteter). Out of the bull’s body grows the world, including the first humans, Mâshya and Mâshyana (male and female). The name Gayomard is not a good cognate with Yima Kshaeta, but Jaan Puhvel equates them on the basis of the similarity of the stories. The original source is the Bundahišn, Ch. 3, part 23, (“Gayomard spoke thus: `mankind will be all of my race'”) and Ch. 15, the whole of it. This is published in SBE Vol. 5 (translated by E.W. West), p. 19 and p. 52, etc. An analysis of this was published by Jaan Puhvel, under the title Remus and Frater, pp. 300-311.[20]* Middle Persian. Here there is only the bare statement: “Spîtûr was he who, with Dahâk, cut up Yim.” The original source is also the Bundahišn, Chap XXXI, Verse 5, and this was published in SBE Vol. 5, p. 131.
* Persian (around 1100 CE, written by Firdausi). In this source, Jemshid is sawed in two by Zohak. (Jemshid is the Persian form of earlier Yima Kshaeta. Zohak is the Persian form of earlier Aži Dahâka.) In this text, Gayomart is a man, the first king, but he simply “passes away” after winning a battle against the son of Ahriman. The original source is the Shah Namah, which was produced in many books often with beautiful Mughal style illustrations. The first section of it is a “book of kings”, hence the name. The Shah Namah has been published in English in many very bad verse translations. The one used here is Vol. 1 of the Shahnama of Firdausi, translated by Arthur George Warner and Edmond Warner, Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., London, 1905. There is also an abridged prose version of this on the net, transl. by Helen Zimmerm, 1883, at sacred-texts.

* Old Norse texts written down in the 13th cent. but composed earlier. Ymir is dismembered by Odin and his brother gods to make the World with the formula: “Of Ymir’s flesh the earth was fashioned, And of his sweat the sea; Crags of his bones, trees of his hair, And of his skull the sky. Then of his brows, the blithe gods made Midgard for sons of men; And of his brain, the bitter-mooded Clouds were all created.” The original source is Grimnismal 40-41 (Poetic Edda). This version is quoted from p. 21, The Prose Edda by Snorri Sturleson, transl. by Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur, The American-Scandinavian Foundation, Oxford Univ. Press, London, 1923.

So there is a lot in Proto-Indo-European languages and texts that somehow come together. The question is – did they have the same origin – i.e.; the Rig Veda?


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10 Comments
  1. Anonymous says

    It is great that you and others start to look into the history of Europe, in a new and non-euro centric perspective. There are so much that does not make sense.

    These are Buddha’s from the Viking era found here. The origin of them is not often discussed.
    One controversy is whether they belonged to the Vikings or if they were imported. In the perspective that the there are so much in the Viking culture that seem to be related to Asia this is peculiar. Even the genetics of the Vikings seems to be related to Asia with haplogroups such as male R1a and female mtDNA U7 (found in several Viking graves).

    To me the style of the Vikings are related to Chinese Han dynasty and Indian Jainism. Buddha with Svastika is common in Jainism. The R1a genes are most frequent in Western India and Pakistan, Kashmir, up to Tibet / China from where the main Rivers flow. Some of the Vikings had horned helmets, like the Celts. An Asian man is found in a Danish bog dates back to between about 300 – 50 BC. Even if looks are only suggestive, be observing people here many could have come from Asia a few thousand years ago, this includes the indigenous Saami people of Norway, Sweden, Finland and northwestern Russia.

    From the Viking museum in Norway:
    http://www.slide.com/r/WWI2aRz

    Both Buddha’s found in Norway Viking period: Oseberg and Myklebostad
    http://verasir.dk/tinytest/ima

    A Buddha found in a Viking grave in Sweden http://www.asianart.com/forum/

    A Buddha found in Iceland from the Viking period
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wi

  2. Anonymous says

    It is great that you and others start to look into the history of Europe, in a new and non-euro centric perspective. There are so much that does not make sense.

    These are Buddha’s from the Viking era found here. The origin of them is not often discussed.
    One controversy is whether they belonged to the Vikings or if they were imported. In the perspective that the there are so much in the Viking culture that seem to be related to Asia this is peculiar. Even the genetics of the Vikings seems to be related to Asia with haplogroups such as male R1a and female mtDNA U7 (found in several Viking graves).

    To me the style of the Vikings are related to Chinese Han dynasty and Indian Jainism. Buddha with Svastika is common in Jainism. The R1a genes are most frequent in Western India and Pakistan, Kashmir, up to Tibet / China from where the main Rivers flow. Some of the Vikings had horned helmets, like the Celts. An Asian man is found in a Danish bog dates back to between about 300 – 50 BC. Even if looks are only suggestive, be observing people here many could have come from Asia a few thousand years ago, this includes the indigenous Saami people of Norway, Sweden, Finland and northwestern Russia.

    From the Viking museum in Norway:
    http://www.slide.com/r/WWI2aRzS7z-_Cb9hxgHPt6e2AbRLTCs2?view=original

    Both Buddha’s found in Norway Viking period: Oseberg and Myklebostad
    http://verasir.dk/tinytest/images/Buddha%20Oseberg%20Myklebostad.jpg

    A Buddha found in a Viking grave in Sweden http://www.asianart.com/forum/takaki/dozen/swed2.gif

    A Buddha found in Iceland from the Viking period
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f2/Holy_objects_from_Helg%C3%B6_Island.jpg

  3. Desh says

    Anon – you have brought up something that I did not know about! Thanks for the information and links. I will try and research these links between Scandinavian world and Eastern/Buddhists and may be write more on it soon..

    Please keep commenting and educating..

  4. Desh says

    Anon – you have brought up something that I did not know about! Thanks for the information and links. I will try and research these links between Scandinavian world and Eastern/Buddhists and may be write more on it soon..

    Please keep commenting and educating..

  5. Slag310 says

    All of the religions of the Indo-Europeans can be shown to descend from a common Proto-Indo-European religion, just as the languages descend from the common PIE language. There is a description of the process here:
    http://www.associatedcontent.c

    Based on linguistic analysis, the religion of the Rig Vedas can be shown to have evolved from the common Proto-Indo-European religion. Hope that clarifies.

  6. Slag310 says

    All of the religions of the Indo-Europeans can be shown to descend from a common Proto-Indo-European religion, just as the languages descend from the common PIE language. There is a description of the process here:
    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2474370/protoindoeuropean_religion.html?cat=37

    Based on linguistic analysis, the religion of the Rig Vedas can be shown to have evolved from the common Proto-Indo-European religion. Hope that clarifies.

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