INDIA OF THE EAST, INDIA OF THE WEST AND
THE NOMADIC JEWS
 
by Ranajit Pal
 
 

 

The long arms of Mithra seize upon those who deceive Mithra:
even when in India of the East he catches him,
even when in India of the West he smites him down:.....

                                                                               Yasht, X, 104.

 

        

But how far West was this ‘India of the West’? 'Bharata' was another name of 'India' which is not found in the ancient documents but in the Cambridge Ancient history  R. D. Barnett points out that there was a Barata in Phrygia[1]. But if there had been an 'India' in the Near East, the ignorance of this must have greatly falsified history. Does the great text RigVeda provide information about Jewish history and Christian origins? Did Jesus belong to the line of Ramah mentioned in the Book of Ezra? Indeed the fact that such a great historical figure as Jesus Christ has been reduced to a hapless figure of myth is due to the sins of omission of unwary historians accumulated over centuries. Writers such as Geza Vermes have tended to project Judaism only in the context of Galilee and Judea which is a serious distraction. The Catholic Encyclopedia states[2] with a tinge of sorrow;

 

It may not be just to agree with De Maistre that History has been for the past three hundred years a conspiracy against the truth and against the Church, but if any corporate body is to profit by these more skilled efforts to learn the truth, it will be that Church which brought civilization to Europe and America, and which has always cherished within her ranks the highest ideals of devotion to learning, to art, to science, and to religion. …Chronology and geography have been called the two eyes of history without the use of which all is confusion and uncertainty.

 

The greatest blunder was made in geography – although the Yasht 10.104 emphatically points to two Indias the true meaning of it was lost on the historians who could not even dream that there was another India in the Galatian region.

 

    Rama was an Ancestor of Darius-I, Gotama Buddha, David and Jesus

 

In the article on David, the Wikipedia, which is often a bundle of confusion, gives the names of ancestors of king David as (1) Judah → (2) Pharez → (3) Hezron → (4) Ram. The Wikipedia washes its hands of Rama and states that nothing is known about him. Geza Vermes discusses Jesus only in the context of Galilee and Judea which is incorrect. According to R. Thapar and A. L. Basham Rama was a tribal hero of Eastern India[3] who was glorified by the Ramayana but this is a travesty. Rama is not only a great figure of Indian history and culture, as the numerous cities with Ram-names in Sasanid Iran show, he was also a great hero of Persia. Rama was the ancestor of Darius-I, Gotama Buddha (see below) and also David. Judah can only be Yadu mentioned in many Indian texts including the RigVeda and the Mahabharata. As Max Mǔller visualized, at the dawn of religions in Afghanistan-Seistan-Gandhara, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism and Hinduism were all part of a parent creed which later bifurcated into many religions.

 

    Another 'India' in Galatia

 

To see how there could have been an India in Galatia one has to note that Chandragupta Maurya was a king of both India and the Pontus area near Galatia. Although careless writers such as R. Thapar and A. L. Basham confidently placed Chandragupta at Patna[4] without caring for any archaeological support, this is clearly unacceptable. Martin Carver and Dilip Chakrabarti take archaeology to new heights by supporting Sir William Jones' shoddy identification of Patna as Palibothra on the basis of the reports of Hsüan-tsang which were written a thousand years later.

 On the other hand even a cursory glance at the reports of the classical writers show Mithradates II (ό κτιστής), king of Pontus was Chandragupta Maurya. From the reports of Diodorus it becomes clear that after the war with Seleukus, Chandragupta surrendered the control of Pontus to the former. R. Thapar knows no Mauryas before Chandragupta but the Virasena Maurya cited by Taranatha appears to be mentioned in the Perspolis tablets. Purnavarman who according to Shankaracharya was the greatest king appears to be Parnaka who ruled both Indo-Iran and the Pontus area. The fact that historians such as by A. L. Basham and R. Thapar have not cared to study Strabo and Diodorus shows the poverty of mainstream Indian ancient history. Strabo mentions Sandaracurgium (Strab. 12.3.40), and Gangra, the royal residence of Morzeüs (Strab. 12.3.41) which is a clear reference to Maurya. The fact that no archaeological relic of Chandragupta is known should have been taken as a warning that there is a serious error in historiography. Mithradates-II was king Chandragupta Maurya. Gangra echoes Ganga. Chandragupta’s Suganga Palace on the Ganga, (actually on the Indus, the earlier Ganga) was famous. This two-tier geography of India has a much deeper ramification as even the Kushan kings such as Kujula Kadphises appear to be linked to Armenia adjoining Pontus. Artavasdes of Armenia was clearly a Vasudeva.
 

Woolley's Dreadful Blunder About Abraham's Homeland

 

Another disastrous lapse was related to the homeland of the Jews. According to the Old Testament, the common ancestor of all the Jews is Abraham, who was born in Ur Kashdim. This was identified as Ur in Sumer by Sir Leonard Woolley and is now accepted by common consent as truth, but in reality this is a huge blunder that has turned Abraham into a figure of myth. This was doubted by great scholars such as W. F. Albright but Woolley's idea prevailed due to greater media glitter. Even such a learned authority as André Parrot doubts the historicity of Abraham who later migrated to Canaan (commonly known as the Land of Israel) with his family. Tacitus described the Jewish religion as ‘tasteless and mean’ which has to be taken as the dominant Roman view about not only Judaism but also Christianity. Not unexpectedly, his other observations regarding the origin of the Jews were also short-sighted;

 

Some say that the Jews were fugitives from the island of Crete, who settled on the nearest coast of Africa about the time when Saturn was driven from his throne by the power of Jupiter. Evidence of this is sought in the name. There is a famous mountain in Crete called Ida; the neighboring tribe, the Idaei, came to be called Judaei by a barbarous lengthening of the national name. Others assert that in the reign of Isis the overflowing population of Egypt, led by Hierosolymus and Judas, discharged itself into the neighboring countries. Many, again, say that they were a race of Ethiopian origin, who in the time of king Cepheus were driven by fear and hatred of their neighbors to seek a new dwelling-place. Others describe them as an Assyrian horde who, not having sufficient territory, took possession of part of Egypt, and founded cities of their own in what is called the Hebrew country, lying on the borders of Syria. Others, again, assign a very distinguished origin to the Jews, alleging that they were the Solymi, a nation celebrated in the poems of Homer, who called the city which they founded Hierosolyma after their own name.

 

Solymi may refer to not only Yerusalem but also Silavat in Indo-Iran. Tacitus apparently did not care much about India and made no mention of the country. Before Tacitus Hecateus (whose name is resembles that of Shakatadasa of the Mudrarakshasa) mentioned the Jews. After Alexander's death Ptolemy's troops had come across the Jews in Syria near Dura Europos and Hecateus traced their origin to the Egyptian civilization which is only partly correct about the later phase of Jewish history. According to him the Jews were corrupted by their 'ill-advised lawgiver' Moses. About fifteen hundred years before Hecateus Abraham left his home in Alexandria Prophthasia (Alexandria of the Prophets) in Seistan which was India. 

 

  Jews in Ancient India

 

        On the surface there is just a hint of a Jewish heritage of the Indians and Afghans but a detailed study leads to great surprises. Josephus wrote that Aristotle saw a link between the Jews and Indians (Book I:22.). This is usually doubted and traced to Clearchus of Soli and Megasthenes but Aristotle can be seen to be right. In the 18th century B.C. Abraham and the Jews went from this area, not Sumer. J. Todd, an early historian of Rajasthan wrote ;

 

Mr. Elphinstone scouts the idea of the descent of the Afghans from the Jews; and not a trace of the Hebrew is found in the Pashtoo, or language of the tribe, although it has much affinity to the Zend and Sanscrit. I cannot refrain from repeating my conviction of the origin of the Afghans from the Yadu, converted into Yahudi, or ‘Jew. Whether these Yadus are or are not Yuti or Getes, remains to be proved.

 

Archaeology has changed the historical scenario since the days of Todd, but both he and Elphinstone seem to be correct. Afghans and Indians are offsprings of the Yadus who were the forefathers of Abraham. The Hebrew term Yehudi corresponds to the Latin Judaeus which resembles Jadu or Yadu, an ancient clan mentioned in the RigVeda and other texts. Alexander is said to have prostrated before the Jewish high priest Jaddua whose name echoes Yadu. B. G. Tilak, M. Shendge and others  have alluded to similarities between Yahweh and El and the RigVedic Yavah and Ila which supports Aristotle’s view. Notably, the names of Abraham and Serai resemble the Indian deities Brahma and Saraswati. The common homeland of Buddhism, Zoroastrianism and Judaism seems to vindicate Max Muller and has crucial implications in the history of religions[5]. D. P. Mishra[6] noted the close links between Indian history and that of the Jews.

 

      Kabbala and the Religion of the Yadus

 

The link of Abraham’s forefathers with Iran, Afghanistan and India can be seen from the Jewish Kabbala, the central plank of which is the startling doctrine of the deity. S. Radhakrishnan writes that many of its features like the potency assigned to letters, the use of charms and amulets, the theory of emanation as opposed to creation ex nihilio, the doctrine of the correspondence between the macrocosm and microcosm, belief in rebirth and a definite pantheistic tendency, are alien to the spirit of Rabbinic Judaism and akin to that of the Indian Upanishads and Tantrism. The roots of Tantrism are ancient. R. J. Zwi Werblowsky writes[7] 

 

Of course Kabbalah is not the same as Jewish mysticism, of which it is merely one phase, though the most important and far-reaching in its effects. In spite of its name which means '[esoteric] tradition' and in spite of the Kabbalist's sincere belief that they only revived the old mystical teachings of Moses and earlier sages, there can be no reasonable doubt that the system as such evolved in the thirteenth century in Southern France and Spain.

 

This view is clearly short-sighted but it is shared by many scholars for whom Judaism begins with Abraham the wanderer. Werblowsky wonders in vain,

 

How must one explain the resurgence of myth in the midst of what is usually considered to be the moral enemy of mythical religion? By what channels or mechanisms did mythical and Gnostic symbols reassert themselves in medieval Jewry? What is the relation of the old, Oriental Gnosticism and the almost explosive reappearance of similar ideas .... For our present purpose we can ignore these questions ... .

 

Sadly Werblowsky's equipment allows for no other alternative than ignoring such questions. The answer has to be sought in the Eastern Judaism of Terah. A. Edrei and D. Mendels write about the split between the eastern and Western Diaspora[8] but are not aware of the true nature of the split. Eastern Judaism appears to have been less absolutist and closer to Buddhism. Also their Eastern Jews are only from Babylonia and Russia. Kabbala is akin to ‘Kephalia’ of Mani, ‘Kaivalya’ of the Jainas, ‘Nirvana’ of the Buddhists and Moksha of the Hindus.

 

     The Amorites, Indo-Europeans and Early Jews in Indo-Iran

 

The history of the Amorites reveals the true bonds between the Jews and India-Iran-Afghanistan. They are usually given the blanket label ‘Semite’, but this is hasty. It has escaped the notice of all that they were one of the ancient inhabitants of Indus-Saraswati civilization. The Amorites are shown as tall and fair in ancient Egyptian art, and can also be seen as half-Indo-Europeans. They shared many features with the Vedic people. The Sumerians called them nomads, a well known characteristic of the Vedic people. They were not buried after death which also fits with Indian customs. Their homeland Mar-tu closely corresponds to the Sanskrit Martya, the abode of the mortals. Indra’s palace was Amaravati (vati=’house’) which echoes the name ‘Amar’ of the Amorites. The name Maurya also appears to be linked to the Amorites (Heb. emori).

The Amorites were generally described as tall and may be related to the giants described in many episodes[9]. Despite occasional references to clashes with them it is clear that the Amorites were the next of kin of the Jews; ‘Thy father was an Amorite, wrote Ezekiel. The Israelites are referred to as Aziru in the Amarna tablets which may correspond to Aja, the mythical progenitor in the Indian texts. They are usually equated with the Phoenicians/Canaanites but this is only partly true. The Phoenicians, according to Herodotus, came from the ‘Red Sea’ which can be seen to be the Persian Gulf. A. Haldar[10] writes  that an Amorite person had the title ‘Lapputtum' which has a straightforward rendering in Sanskrit-like languages as ‘Son of Lava’. This is reminiscent of the phrase ‘He Lavo’ quoted in the Satapatha Brahmana  as an example of alien speech. Lapputtum may have been a very early Levite. ‘Laban’ in Hebrew means ‘white’ whereas in Akkadian ‘Laba’ meant ‘lion’.

As the links of Bengali with Canaanite shows, many of the problems can be traced to the much-abused blanket term ‘Semitic’ which is the cornerstone of Judaic scholarship. S. N. Kramer’s statement that the Semites were present in Iraq in the fourth millennium B.C. even before the Sumerians may be due to the arrival of the Amorites who were a mix of Semites and Indo-Europeans. The Jews are seen as Semites but the Sanskritist John Brough pointed to the existence of Dumĕzilian tripartite ideology characteristic of the Indo-Europeans in the Old Testament. This is also demonstrated by the fact that Rishava of the Sanskrit texts corresponds to Resheph, a so-called Semitic god. Rama was an 'Aryan' par excellence of the Ikshvaku line who seems to be related to the so-called 'Semite' King Lamgi Mari who calls himself an Issakv. The links between Anatolia, in particular the Mari area, and India and Iran seems unfathomable. Mari was located near ancient ‘Barata’ which echoes the elusive toponym Bharata (India) and ancient Hinduism. Mithridates-I (same as Chandragupta and Orontobates), who had Amorite links, was the Satrap of Pontus and ruled India. The same may have been true of Parnaka who may have been an early Mithradata. There are numerous other evidences including the symbolism of the three hares which link early Judaism  with Buddhism and the East.


 

[1] R. D. Barnett, in ‘The Cambridge Ancient History’,  vol. II, part 2.

[2] The Catholic Historical Review, Vol. 2, No. 2 (Jul., 1916), pp. 240-243.

[3] A. L. Basham, ‘The Wonder That Was India’.

[4] Ranajit Pal, ‘An Altar of Alexander Now Near Delhi’, Scholia, vol. 15, p78-101.

[5] Ranajit Pal, ‘The Dawn of Religions in Afghanistan-Seistan-Gandhara and the Personal Seals of Gotama Buddha and Zoroaster’, Mithras Reader III.

[6] D. P. Mishra, Studies in the Proto-History of India (New Delhi, 1971) p. 38.

[7] R. J. Zwi Werblowsky, ‘The Concise Encyclopedia of Living Faiths’, p. 26

[8] Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha, Vol. 16, No. 2, 91-137 (2007).

[9] See A. Mayor, ‘Giants in Ancient warfare’ http://stanford.academia.edu/AdrienneMayor/Papers/539288/Giants_in_Ancient_Warfare

[10] The location of the original Amorite homeland is not definitely known. One extreme view that emerges from the Sumerian and Akkadian inscriptions is that kur mar.tu/māt amurrim covered the whole area between the Euphrates and the Mediterranean, Arabia included. Another radical notion is that the “homeland” of the Amorites was a limited area in Syria (Jebel Bishri). One theory refers to Arabia in general as the area from where the Amorites once came. Another refers to a limited area (unknown) in Arabia, the mountain district of Martu. A. Halder, ‘Who Were The Amorites?’, (Leiden, 1971), p. 7.