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Jahnava Nitai Das

Crosss-cultural traces of Vedic Civilization

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by Sadaputa Dasa


The ancient Greek writer Aratos tells the following story about the

constellation Virgo, or the virgin. Virgo, he says, may have belonged to

the star race, the forefathers of the ancient stars. In primeval times,

in the golden age, she lived among mankind as Justice personified and

would exhort people to adhere to the truth. At this time people lived

peacefully, without hypocrisy or quarrel. Later, in the age of silver,

she hid herself in the mountains, but occasionally she came down to

berate people for their evil ways. Finally the age of bronze came.

People invented the sword, and "they tasted the meat of cows, the first

who did it." At this point Virgo "flew away to the sphere"; that is, she

departed for the celestial realm.[1]


The Vedic literature of India gives an elaborate description of the

universe as a cosmos -- a harmonious, ordered system created according

to an intelligent plan as a habitation for living beings. The modern

view of the universe is so different from the Vedic view that the latter

is presently difficult to comprehend. In ancient times, however,

cosmogonies similar to the Vedic system were widespread among people all

over the world. Educated people of today tend to immediately dismiss

these systems of thought as mythology, pointing to their diversity and

their strange ideas as proof that they are all simply products of the



If we do this, however, we may be overlooking important information that

could shed light on the vast forgotten period that precedes the brief

span of recorded human history. There is certainly much evidence of

independent storytelling in the traditions of various cultures, but

there are also many common themes. Some of these themes are found in

highly developed form in the Vedic literature. Their presence in

cultures throughout the world is consistent with the idea that in the

distant past, Vedic culture exerted worldwide influence.


In this article we will give some examples of Vedic ideas concerning

time and human longevity that appear repeatedly in different traditions.

First we will examine some of these ideas, and then we will discuss some

questions about what they imply and how they should be interpreted.


In the Vedic literature time is regarded as a manifestation of Krsna,

the Supreme Being. As such, time is a controlling force that regulates

the lives of living beings in accordance with a cosmic plan. This plan

involves repeating cycles of creation and destruction of varying

durations. The smallest and most important of these repeating cycles

consists of four yugas, or ages, called Satya, Treta, Dvapara, and Kali.

In these successive ages mankind gradually descends from a high

spiritual platform to a degenerated state. Then, with the beginning of a

new Satya-yuga, the original state of purity is restored, and the cycle

begins again.


The story of Virgo illustrates that in the ancient Mediterranean world

there was widespread belief in a similar succession of four ages, known

there as the ages of gold, silver, bronze, and iron. In this system

humanity also starts out in the first age in an advanced state of

consciousness and gradually becomes degraded. Here also, the progressive

developments in human society are not simply evolving by physical

processes, but are superintended by a higher controlling intelligence.


It is noteworthy that Aratos' story specifies the eating of cows as a

sinful act that cut mankind off from direct contact with celestial

beings. This detail fits in nicely with the ancient Indian traditions of

cow protection, but it is unexpected in the context of Greek or European



One explanation for similarities between ideas found in different

cultures is that people everywhere have essentially the same

psychological makeup, and so they tend to come up independently with

similar notions. However, details such as the point about cow-killing

suggest that we are dealing here with common traditions rather than

independent inventions.


Another example of similarities between cultures can be found among the

natives of North America. The Sioux Indians say that their ancestors

were visited by a celestial woman who gave them their system of

religion. She pointed out to them that there are four ages, and that

there is a sacred buffalo that loses one leg during each age. At present

we are in the last age, an age of degradation, and the buffalo has one



This story is a close parallel to the account in the Srimad Bhagavatam

of the encounter between Maharaja Pariksit and the bull of Dharma.

There, Dharma is said to lose one leg with each successive yuga, leaving

it with one leg in the present Age of Kali.


According to the Vedic system, the lengths of the Satya, Treta, Dvapara,

and Kali yugas are 4, 3, 2, and 1 times an interval of 432,000 years.

Within these immense periods of time the human life span decreases from

100,000 years in the Satya-yuga to 10,000 years in the Treta-yuga, 1,000

years in the Dvapara-yuga, and finally 100 years in the Kali-yuga.


Of course, this idea is strongly at odds with the modern evolutionary

view of the past. In the ancient Mediterranean world, however, it was

widely believed that human history had extended over extremely long

periods of time. For example, according to old historical records,

Porphyry (c. 300 A.D.) said that Callisthenes, a companion of Alexander

in the Persian war, dispatched to Aristotle Babylonian records of

eclipses and that these records covered 31,000 years. Likewise,

Iamblicus (fourth century) said on the authority of the ancient Greek

astronomer Hipparchus that the Assyrians had made observations for

270,000 years and had kept records of the return of all seven planets to

the same position.[3] Finally, the Babylonian historian Berosus assigned

432,000 years to the total span of the reigns of the Babylonian kings

before the Flood.[4]


We do not wish to suggest that these statements are true (or that they

are false). The point here is that people in the old Mediterranean

civilization evidently had a much different view of the past than the

dominant view today. And this view was broadly consistent with Vedic



Although the Bible is well known for advocating a very short time-span

for human history, it is interesting to note that it contains

information indicating that people at one time lived for about 1,000

years. In the Old Testament the following ages are listed for people

living before the Biblical Flood: Adam, 930; Seth, 912; Enos, 905;

Kenan, 910; Mahaleel, 895; Jared, 962; Enoch, 365; Methusaleh,969;

Lamech, 777; and Noah, 950. If we exclude Enoch (who was said to have

been taken up to heaven in his own body), these persons lived an average

of 912 years.[5]


After the Flood, however, the following ages were recorded: Shem, 600;

Arphachshad, 438; Selah, 433; Eber, 464; Peleg, 239; Reu, 239; Serug,

230; Nahor, 148; Terah, 205; Abraham, 175; Issac, 180; Job, 210; Jacob,

147; Levi, 137; Kohath, 133; Amaram, 137; Moses, 120; and Joshua, 110.

These ages show a gradual decline to about 100 years, similar to what

must have happened after the beginning of Kali-yuga, according to the

Vedic system.


Here we should mention in passing that the Biblical Flood is

traditionally said to have taken place in the second or third millenium

B.C., and the traditional date in India for the beginning of Kali-yuga

is February 18, 3102 B.C. This very date is cited as the time of the

Flood in various Persian, Islamic, and European writings from the sixth

to the fourteenth centuries A.D.[6] How did the middle-eastern Flood

come to be associated with the start of Kali-yuga? The only comment we

can make is that this story shows how little we really know about the



In support of the Biblical story of very long human life-spans in

ancient times, the Roman historian Flavius Josephus cited many

historical works that were available in his time:


Now when Noah had lived 350 years after the Flood, and all that

time happily, he died, having the number of 950 years, but let

no one, upon comparing the lives of the ancients with our

lives...make the shortness of our lives at present an argument

that neither did they attain so long a duration of life....


Now I have for witnesses to what I have said all those that have

written Antiquities, both among the Greeks and barbarians, for

even Manetho, who wrote the Egyptian history, and Berosus, who

collected the Chaldean monuments, and Mochus, and Hestiaeus, and

beside these, Hiernonymous the Egyptian, and those who composed

the Phoenician history, agree with what I here say: Hesiod also,

and Hecataeus, Hellanicaus, and Acuzilaus, and besides Ephorus

and Nicolaus relate that the ancients lived a thousand years:

but as to these matters, let everyone look upon them as he sees



Unfortunately, practically none of the works referred to by Josephus are

still existing, and this again shows how little we know of the past. But

in existing Norse sagas it is said that people in ancient times lived

for many centuries. In addition, the Norse sagas describe a progression

of ages, including an age of peace, an age when different social orders

were introduced, an age of increasing violence, and a degraded

"knife-age and axe-age with cloven shields."[8] The latter is followed

by a period of annihilation, called Ragnarok, after which the world is

restored to goodness.


The Norse Ragnarok involves the destruction of the earth and the abodes

of the Norse demigods (called Asgard), and thus it corresponds in Vedic

chronology to the annihilation of the three worlds that follows 1,000

yuga cycles, or one day of Brahma. It is said that during Ragnarok the

world is destroyed with flames by a being called Surt, who lives beneath

the lower world (appropriately called Hel) and was involved in the

world's creation. By comparison, the Srimad Bhagavatam (3.11.30) states

that at the end of Brahma's day, "the devastation takes place due to the

fire emanating from the mouth of Sankarsana." Sankarsana is a plenary

expansion of Krsna who is "seated at the bottom of the universe" (Srimad

Bhagavatam 3.8.3), beneath the lower planetary systems.


There are many similarities between the Norse and Vedic cosmologies, but

there are also great differences. One key difference is that in the

Srimad Bhagavatam, all beings and phenomena within the universe are

clearly understood as part of the divine plan of Krsna, the Supreme

Personality of Godhead. In contrast, in the Norse mythology God is

conspicuously absent, and the origin and purpose of the major players in

the cosmic drama are very obscure. Surt, in particular, is a "fire

giant" whose origins and motives are unclear even to experts in the

Norse literature.[9]


One might ask, If Vedic themes appear in many different societies, how

can one conclude that they derive from an ancient Vedic civilization?

Perhaps they were created in many places independently, or perhaps they

descend from an unknown culture that is also ancestral to what we call

Vedic culture. Thus parallels between the accounts of Surt and

Sankarsana may be coincidental, or perhaps the Vedic account derives

from a story similar to that of Surt.


Our answer to this question is that available empirical evidence will

not be sufficient to prove the hypothesis of descent from an ancient

Vedic culture, for all empirical evidence is imperfect and subject to

various interpretations. But we can decide whether or not the evidence

is consistent this hypothesis.


If there was an ancient Vedic world civilization, we would expect to

find traces of it in many cultures around the world. We do seem to find

such traces, and many agree with Vedic accounts in specific details

(such as the location of Surt's abode or the sacred buffalo's loss of

one leg per world age). Since this civilization began to lose its

influence thousands of years ago, at the beginning of Kali-yuga, we

would expect many of these traces to be fragmentary and overlain by many

later additions, and this we also see. Thus the available evidence seems

to be consistent with the hypothesis of a Vedic origin.




[1] E. C. Sachau, trans., Alberuni's India

(Delhi: S. Chand & Co., 1964), pp. 383-4.

[2] J. E. Brown, ed., The Sacred Pipe

(Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1971), p. 9.

[3] D. Neugebauer, History of Ancient Mathematical Astronomy

(Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 1975), pp. 608-9.

[4] J. D. North, "Chronology & the Age of the World," in Cosmology,

History & Theology, eds. Wolfgang Yourgrau and A. D. Breck

(N. Y.: Plenum Press, 1977), p. 315.

[5] D. W. Patten and P. A. Patten, "A Comprehensive Theory on Aging,

Gigantism & Longevity," Catastrophism & Ancient History,

Vol. 2, Part 1 (Aug. 1979), p. 24.

[6] J. D. North, Ibid., p. 316-7.

[7] D. W. Patten, Ibid., p. 29.

[8] V. Rydberg, Teutonic Mythology, R. B. Anderson, trans.

(London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co., 1889), pp. 88,94.

[9] Ibid., pp. 448-9.




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There was no world wide vedic culture.


however there was vedic influence.


The Indus valley civilization had the largest trading empire on earth.


There have been artifacts found as far away

as scandanavia.


The linguistic connection is the easiest

way to connect the dots.


Almost all european languages are related to sanskrit.


this is only possible through the influence of people going from India to europe.


The religions of ancient europe are also influenced by the same people.


The so called proto indo european culture,

was in fact the indus valley civilization,which is undoubtedly the society

described in the puranas as being Bharata.


The evidence is in language.


If the language of the Indus valley people can be shown to be connected to sanskrit,then it would be impossible for sanskrit to have come about from the influence of europeans with a proto language.


Why ?


The proto theory states that after the fall of the Indus valley ,the aryans came in and established control,bringing their language

in,becoming sanskrit.


The indus valley script has not been deciphered,yet it is very similar to the hittite script,which is related to sanskrit,yet not nearly as old as the Indus valley script.


therefore the indus valley script was related to sanskrit before the so called aryan invasion ever took place.


therefore sanskrit was not brought into India,it was brought out.


The influence would be greater if the Vedic people had established authority in europe,

there would be temples,archeological evidence would abound,it does not.


this is due to the influence being done through merchants,settling for trade,and not establishing vedic society ,just influencing

the native people through language which was neccessary for trade,and religion which

would have been a natural curiosity

as a prosperous people would have been looked up to,as well as their gods.

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This is off subject but the mention of astrology made me think of it. I wondered how the astonomers could see all those images in the stars. I could see the big dipper but that was about it.


Anyway a few years ago came across a mystic named Don Tolman who had these cyberoptic posters. Anyway if you stared at them and kind of crossed you eyes all these symbols would appear. Kind of like those 3-d posters.


The philosophy was that there is an area in the brain about the size of a postage stamp that has some special cells called glial cells or something like that. Geniuses like Einstein are suppose to have very large cells in this area.


Anyway after practicing with the posters you could hold up your finger cross your eyes and see images in the stars like the ancient seers. Like in 3-D. Problem is that you would see beings in forests or sand or any natural pattern as well.


Anyway saw the guy in the movie "A Beautiful Mind" doing this with the stars and thought of it and how some of the images in the stars are pretty much Universal. Could be why.


It's a different way of "seeing." Through one eye instead of 2.

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It is said that during Ragnarok the

world is destroyed with flames by a being called Surt, who lives beneath the lower world (appropriately called Hel) and was involved in the world's creation.


One key difference is that in the Srimad Bhagavatam, all beings and phenomena within the universe are clearly understood as part of the divine plan of Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In contrast, in the Norse mythology God is conspicuously absent, and the origin and purpose of the major players in the cosmic drama are very obscure. Surt, in particular, is a "fire giant" whose origins and motives are unclear even to experts in the Norse literature.



This is not true. In the concept of God, 3 polytheisms of vedic, Greek, & Norse are hardly different --

Vedic - occult brahman (refer to RV 10.129)

Greek - impersonalized Zeus (Zeus - Sky father)

Norse - impersonalized Odin (another name, All-father)


Surt, in my view, is just the "fire beast", or "fire mist", "primordial flame", "primordial milky ocean" (refer to RV 10.121 & stanza iv in Dzyan)


"Sankaracharya the greatest of the Esoteric masters of India, says that fire means a deity which presides over Time (kala). "

----Secret Doctrine by H. P. Blavatsky

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