(Hinduism The Putative Religion)

By Periyava

Translation by V. Krishnaraj




உலகம் பரவிய மதம் : தெய்வத்தின் குரல் (முதல் பகுதி)

WorldwideReligion: Deivathin Kural (Part one)

What we call now as the Hindu Religion – our religion- was the only religion prevalent all over the world. Because it was the only religion in the world, there was no need to give it a name.  In our principal religious texts, there was no name for our religion: That is my opinion.

Considering the research material from the excavations, we see plenty of Vedic religion-associated materials in all foreign countries. A thousand three hundred years before Christ, evidence of an agreement between two kings in Egypt was dug up from below the ground. The document says that the agreement was signed by Mitrā Varuṇa as the witness. Mitrā Varuṇas are our deities mentioned in our Vedas.  Several places (75%) in Madagascar bear names derived from Sanskrit. The king’s name Ramses and our Rama bear a connection.

In Mexico, there are objects with Hindu symbolism.  During our Navaratri festival, Mexico holds a festival, Rāma-Sīta. Piḷḷaiyār idols were discovered in the excavations in Mexico. Before Spain took the country over, the word Aztecs is an inflection of or a derivative from Sanskrit word ‘Āstika.’ In Peru during Vishū auspicious time, they perform sun worship in the Sun Temple. They are the Incas. Iṉaṉ means the Sun.  Rama was Iṉakula Thilakaṉ (இனகுல திலகன்).

I saw a photo book that showed the Australian aborigines dancing naked. 'Native Tribes of Central Australia' by Spencer and Gillen have photos on pages 128 and 129 depicting Siva’s Dance. Upon further scrutiny, I saw the Third Eye drawn on the forehead of one dancer.

In Borneo, there was a virgin forest not explored by any human since Brahma’s creation. The later explorers found a document in Grantha glyphics showing which Maharaja performed Yagna and where he installed Bhūpasthambam (sacrificial post). It further states that the Brahmins received Kaṛpaka Virutsa Thāṉam (gift of Wish tree). They said it was Yuopa inscription of Mulavarman of Koeti. The British who spoke derisively of our religion discovered all these artifacts.

Let me tell something amazing and funny. The Sāgars in search of sacrificial horse went digging into the Nether world. The resulting sea was named after them: Sāgara. At the end, they found the horse near Kapila Maharishi Āśramam. Thinking he was the horse thief, they punished him. By his ferocious sight, he burned them down into ash. This story is in Ramayana. Let us take America on the other side of us as the Nether world. The possibility is the name Ćampāraṇya became the modern California. Beside California, there are Horse Island and Ash Island.

Besides Sagārar and Sāgar, Sahara Desert was once a sea.  The thought comes to me whether Sāgaram became Sahārā.

The researchers tell us, recognizing the Hindu symbols all over the world, there were mutual exchanges of people, goods, and symbols between India and other nations. There was one Dharma all over the world, that of Hindu Dharma. These symbols were the creations of the ancient peoples.

The researchers seeing Hindu symbols in other countries dating back to 2000 years, advance the theory, that immigrant Hindus changed or replaced the civilization of the adopted countries.  At the dawn of civilization in those countries, the Vedic symbols existed there. In later years only, the native civilization and religion appeared among the aborigines of the countries. In Greece, an ancient religion with pantheism and temples appeared and Vedic religious symbols were prevalent then. Before Christ, the Semitic and Hebrew religions in those countries had similarities with Vedic religion including Varṇāsrama divisions. In Mexico, the aborigines worshipped Nature gods and performed many rituals.

Now the old Greek (Hellenic) civilization declined and disappeared from its peak. Christianity has taken its place. Buddhism spread far and wide to the middle Asia, South Asia…  Some places had Islam. In the jungle habitats of Africa, there are still extant the original tribal religions. There are abundant Vedic symbols in these ancestral religions. Let me present to you some examples.

In early times, the doctrines and principals are illustrated with stories for the understanding by the laity. Doctrines may not be easily understood by them. It deserves a story form. Or it must be given a ritual sanctity with procedural elements. Observing religious rites reveals to them the symbolism behind the Tattvas. All rites and rituals are symbolism. The naysayers say it is enough to understand the inner meaning and dispense with these rites. I am not in cahoots with the naysayers. There is Sakti in the special rites. I am not saying that the puranic stories are explications of Tattvas only and are not to be trusted as factual occurrences. They were actual historical facts. Besides being historically accurate, they portray and explain the Tattvas. The rites, when observed, yields fruits first and later gives Siddha Sakti with deferred fruits. The rituals offering greatness have in them the Tattvas.

Over may generations, the inner meaning of the rituals may take leave of the Tattvas or might entirely be forgotten.

When the new religions lacking any relationship with Vedic religion grew in these foreign countries, the Vaidik Tattvas changed their form, shape, and spirit.

You must have heard the story of Adam and Eve in Hebrew religion (Old Bible). Tree of knowledge was well known. The injunction from Isvara was not to eat the fruit of the tree. Adam did not eat the fruit. But Eve ate the fruit. Adam ignoring God’s injunction, ate the fruit thinking whatever high or low happened to Eve, he was ready to face. That was the first story in Genesis in the Old Bible.

Among the Upanishadic Tattvas, one took on the form of a story: When the time and the country changed, confusion reigned supreme, as if the principal Tattva might go obsolete.

What is said in Upanishads? ‘There were two birds in a Pipal tree (Ficus religiosa). One bird eats the Pipal fruit. The other does not eat the fruit but keeps looking at the fruitarian bird. Our body is that tree. Jīvātmā (self-absorbed fruit eater) thinking of himself eats the fruit of phenomenal existence and experience (the Epicure). This is one bird. In the body of fruit-eating bird, Paramātmā lives as another bird. He does not engage in any activity. He is the constant witness observing the activities of the Jīva bird. Though the 2nd bird is the basis for the existence of the fruit-eating bird, he does not eat the fruit, waives experiencing the enjoyment of eating the fruit and is free from Karma Phalaṁ (Fruits of Karmic actions).

This Jīvaṉ became the Eve in the Abrahamic religions. Jī becoming Ē is a grammatical rule.  Ja series sounds become Ya series sounds. This is how Yamuṉā became Jamuṉā; Yōgīndir, Jōgīnthā. Jīva became Ēve (Ēvā). Ātmā became Ādam. Pipalam became Apple. Tree of Knowledge is our Bhodi Virutsam (Tree of Knowledge). Bhōdham means Jñāṉam.  Buddha attained Jñāṉam under the Bhōdhi tree. Before that the Ficus religiosa (Pipal tree) was called Bhōdhi tree. Upanishad in distant countries after many years changed, took new forms, and underwent change in the meaning. The story of Ātma, not susceptible to sensual experiences, took a turn and the Bible story told that Ātma (Adam) ate the (forbidden) fruit. That was a change in the story. Though our Bhōdhi Virutsam (Tree of Knowledge) points to renunciation of pleasures of motor and sensory organs, the Bible refers to the worldly pleasures of the organs as the Tree of Knowledge. I am not sure whether our Veda Religion existed there or not in ancient times. Another example, I present here will give you the confidence (in what I say) and it is to say that the original story and tattva undergoing changes at other times in other countries takes us back to the original. Our Tiruppāvai and Tiruvempāvai poems, presumably 1100 years old, are not as old as the Vedas.

Andal and Manickavasakar of these said poems were born much after the Veda-Itihāsas era. After their time, the Hindu empires were established abroad. Tamil Nadu Chola kings had spread their empire abroad. More than the invasion, the spread of commerce was important. Because of the commerce, the foreign contact grew. Seeing these merchants, they were attracted to Hindu manners, customs, and civilization, and adopted many aspects of our religion. Far-East countries were in the forefront in adopting the Hindu civilization. Countries like Bali became Hindu. Cambodia, Thailand (Siam), Indochina, and Manila (Philippines) came within the ambit of Srī Vijaya Sāmrājyam.

In the hoary ancient past, that Veda religion existed everywhere was a reality. Later, new religions cropped up, offering the second reality. Then, the new religions faded with the rise of Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam in the native soil. Still later, there was a rejuvenation of Hindu Civilization in many countries particularly in Angkor Wat, Borobudur, and Prambanan (the latter two in Indonesia) with the rise of Tamil Temples. At this stage only, Tiruppāvai and Tiruvempāvai became part of the liturgical service.

As evidence, year after year, a big festival takes place in the month of Mārgazhi with the chanting of these poems.  These two poems bring together Saivam and Vaishnavam. In the Dolotsavam festival, Sri Malayappa Swamy, Sridevi and Bhudevi are seated on the swing and swung to the accompaniment of Veda Parayanam and traditional music. Dolotsavam = Dola + Utsavam = Swing or Cradle + Festival = Festival of Swing.  A participant in the guise of Siva is part of the festival in Siam or the modern Thailand. They are not familiar with the Pāvai poems as it existed in their original forms, at present. They call the poems Triyambāvai and Tripāvai. The Bible readers are not familiar with Upanishads, but they know the story of Ātmā and Jīvā (Adam and Eve). The Thais forgot the recitation of Tiruppāvai and Tiruvempāvai. But they celebrate in Dhanur month the festival of Dolotsavam and Siva and call it Triyampāvai-tripāvai.  We see such changes in this historical period. There must be tremendous changes in the original practices from three to four thousand years ago in the foreign countries. The symbols of Vedic traditions declare their survival over several millennia and rear their head.

The prehistoric aborigines harbored our religious symbols. What does it mean? It is unlikely that invasion or commerce from India took our religion and civilization to the distant lands.  It is not the spread from here to there. My opinion is the whole world must have had Vedic religion in the mist of time. Going forward, the Vedic religion and civilization underwent gradual and relentless changes to what is now considered the native original or neo-religion in those countries and still later the historical religions such as Christianity, Buddhism and Islam must have taken a foothold displacing the native cultures.


*Treaty of Rameses II with the Hittites.

** Baron Humboldt-quoted in Har Bilas Sarada’s ‘Hindu Superiority’