Gudea, Vipassi Buddha, Nebuchadrezzar and the Antecedents of Mitraism-Buddhism in Indus-Saraswati-Seistan

 

By Ranajit Pal

 

Abstract: The forgery of Dr. A. A. Fuhrer in the 'discovery' of Lumbini in Nepal has derailed not only the history of Buddhism but that of the world. After cleansing Buddhist history of the Nepalese mud it emerges that Buddhism rose in the Indus-Saraswati-Seistan area. The pre-Gotama Buddhas can be linked to history by shifting the scenario to the North-West. This integrates Buddhist history with that of Zoroastrianism and Judaism and leads to a great unification in the history of religions. Gotama’s name Buddho-Dana as given by Al-beruni links him to Daniel.

 

Introduction

 

No religion can emerge out of a vacuum but unfortunately there is no sensible discussion in the literature on the crucial question of the antecedents of Buddhism. The careful study of T. A. Phelps[1] has highlighted the frauds of Dr. A. A. Fuhrer in the so-called discovery of Lumbini. Indeed, it can be seen that nothing in the art, literature, archaeology or history of Nepal connects with early Buddhism. The keynote of Nepalese archaeology is fraud which has ruined Buddhist and world history. That the textual accounts often appear so fanciful is mainly due to Fuhrer. The Magas of Sakadvipa are referred to in the Agnipurana which reminds one of Gomata of the Behistun inscription who was called a Maga. Gomata  was the true Gotama[2].

In sharp contrast to the Nepalese void, raw materials for early Buddhism abound in the art, archaeology and history of the India of Yore which comprised the Indus cities and Afghanistan-Seistan. Great scholars like Sir Charles Eliot, A. Foucher, and Sylvain Levy noted the strong links of Buddhism with eastern Iran. The most compelling evidence that links Gotama with the North-West is the legend of the Bactrian merchant brothers Bhallika and Trapussa who are reported to have met Gotama immediately after enlightenment. They became his disciples and then returned to Balkh to build temples dedicated to him. G. Gnoli writes that Seistan was the homeland of Zoroaster[3] but due to Fuhrerian delusions misses that the same was true of Gotama. It has already been suggested out that Devadatta the adversary of Gotama may have been Zoroaster[4].

 The endless disputes associated with the location of Kapilavastu are clearly rooted in Fuhrer’s fraud. Vincent Smith’s remark on the location of Kapilavastu is a silent reminder of Fuhrer’s transgression:

 

” ...the mystery of Kapilavastu will continue for many years to be the sport of unverified conjecture.” [5]

 

To search for Kapilavastu one has to turn to Afghanistan and Gandhara where the most resplendent Buddhist artifacts have been found. Sir Aurel Stein discovered an ancient Buddhist shrine at Kuh-e Khwaja near Zabol in Seistan that has murals described as the forerunners of Gandhara art by R. Ghirshman. Kuh-e Khwaja must have been Kapilavastu. The name Zabol and nearby city-names like Kabul and Vasht echo Kapilavastu. Dahan-e Gholaman, usually interpreted as the ‘slaves entrance’, is in fact a memory of Gotama. Haman of the Book of Esther may have been Gotama. In the inscription of Kartir, the Buddhists are called Saman. Queen Vashti of the same source may have hailed from Kapilavastu.

 

Religion in the Indus-Saraswati Age

 

      Owing to the difficulty of reading the massage of the seals it is difficult to characterise the religious practices of the Indus-Saraswati people although some rough idea can be formed from the artifacts. That a primitive form of Vedic sacrificial religion had a role can be surmised but it is inappropriate to expect a strict homogeneity in the religious practices of the entire population. Even in the RigVeda, the Dasas stand out as spoilers of the Vedic sacrifices. In the RigVeda (II:13:8:11, II:14 ) Indra kills the demons Jatusthira, Drbhika, Urana, Arbuda, Asna and Rudhrika, Pipru and Mrgaya. It is likely that the religion of Jatusthira and Pipru was different. Jatusthira reminds one of Yudhisthira and Pipru appears to be related to Baveru, Babil and Pippali (vana) which takes one to the Seistan-Baluchistan area. The word for demon is Danava which appears to be a clan-name. Gotama's name was given as Buddho-dana by Al-beruni. Pipphuru was also the name of the son of Akhenaton famous for unique religious reforms. The ancestors of Pipphuru may originally have been from the Seistan area.

        Moreover the absence of battle implements in the Harappan civilisation may imply that this was a more or less peaceful realm where amity prevailed. This is also suggested by the presence in the seals of the wheel symbol which appeared in later Buddhism. Furthermore the slanted cross which was a symbol of the god Mithra in Persia is also found in the seals. Mitra was not only the god of contract, he

 

 The Indus priest-king (Visvamitra?) in Buddhist attire.

was also a champion of brotherhood. Maitri, an important motto of the Buddhists is related to Mitra. Lastly, from the magnificent Buddha-like image of the Priest-king found at Mohenjo-daro it appears that some kind of Mitraism which can be seen as proto-Buddhism prevailed in the Indus-Saraswati area. There some likelihood that the priest-king was Vishvamitra. The trefoils in his dress speak of a cosmic connection and Visvamitra is said to have had the power to create a counterpart of the cosmos. It is not impossible that he was Gudea of Lagash who may have been a personification of Mitra.

 

Gudea the Piyadassi

 

Art history is not only largely independent of textual literary history, it is also less susceptible to catastrophic misinterpretations. In a sense the images do not lie. The French art-critic André Malraux was a beacon of enlightened French culture and the broadness of his vision is clear from his comment in the preface to the book `Sumerians' by A. Parrot,

 

If Delacroix, hundred years ago, had been shown the works illustrated in this volume, he would not have seen them; they lay outside his range of vision and, had his attention been directed to them, they would have seemed to him devoid of any aesthetic value. ... Now, however, not only have they been discovered, but the scales have fallen from our eyes and they have become visible to us for what they are: authentic works of art in their own right, not just museum pieces.

 

Whereas most observers on Buddhist art remained spellbound by the Nepalese frauds and the Greco-Indian magic, Malraux went further and discussed the images of Gudea, the Patesi of Lagash, in relation to Buddhist art. From the linguistic viewpoint, as the letters "G" and "B" are readily interchangeable,  Gudea's name can be seen to be cognate with Budea and Buddha. The fine statues of Gudea portray him as a refined ascetic-looking intellectual man, clean shaven and having his shawl draped around his body and thrown over the left shoulder, leaving the right shoulder bare, in a manner reminiscent of the Buddha. Moreover, the clasped hands clearly convey a sense of Maitri or brotherhood which is the central message of Buddhism. Gudea's date is usually given to be from about 2150 to 2100 B.C. and he 

 

Gudea, a personification of Mitra ?

may have been a governor under an overlord but together with Ur-Nammu he represents a genre not common in Sumerian history. H. Bauman writes,

 

The statues of Gudea and the steles of Ur-Nammu were not damaged. As they refused to sow violence, they reaped no hatred but admiration, even from those who came thousands of years later.

 

Gudea is referred to as the 'Patesi' and according to D. O. Edzard, the title is not Sumerian and Gudea is said to have been an easterner by many scholars. It is likely that Patesi is a corruption of Piyadassi a name of a former Buddha in the Isigili Sutta. The name also occurs in the Buddhavamsa. The name was later adopted by Asoka. 'Gud' or 'Gut' in Sumerian meant bull/cow and 'ama' meant 'mother' which shows the link of Gudea with Gotama.

        Gudea is known to be an easterner and he may have hailed from the Jiroft area. Jiroft, or more precisely, Djiroft echoes Dvaravati, capital of Kamboja. Nearby Kohnouj may have been Kanauj of the Indian texts which is linked to Gadhi, father of Visvamitra. 'Vŗşabha' in Sanskrit meant the 'bull' which may link Gudea to Visvamitra. Tradition has it that after his defeat in the ten-kings battle he went to the 'forest'. This reminds one of the great Rama who also went to the 'forest'. Rama can be identified with Ram-Sin of Larsa which may indicate that Visvamitra went westward.   

 

 

Ur-Nammu, the Great Law-giver

Gudea's contemporary Ur-Nammu was a famous Sumerian ruler who 'freed the land of thieves, robbers and rebels' and promulgated the famous Code of Ur-Nammu which was older and more humane than the code of law ascribed to Hammuravi. The tree-symbolisms of the stele is reminiscent of later Buddhist art.

 

The Humanism of King Usinara of Seistan

 

Kapilavastu was in Seistan and to locate the heartland of pre-Gotama Buddhism one has to turn to the Indian Epic Mahabharata which recounts the immortal stories of King Ŝivi Ausīnara whose piety and humanism is a recurrent theme in the Indian tradition. The epithet Ausīnara designates a person belonging to Usīnara. The Ŝivis and the Usīnaras were often grouped together and according to Zimmer the Usīnaras were people of the North-west. One group of Sivis, the Siboi, were known to the partisans of Alexander the great living between the Indus and the Akesines (Chenab) but before the fourth century B.C. they probably inhabited the Seistan-Baluchistan area. The very name Seistan may be a corrupt form of Ŝivasthan. It has been suggested[10] the legendary Queen of Sheva may have been Queen Usīnarani of the Rigveda (X, 59,10). The name Usīnara echoes Shinar of the Old Testament which is blindly equated with Sumer by modern scholars. Shinar corresponds to Sineru of the Buddhist texts. In the Ŝantiparvan of the Mahâbhârata (Chap. 29,39) Nârada says to Sańjaya;

 

Usīnara Ŝivi is dead. He encircled the whole world like a skin.

 

The Mahâbhârata also states that Usīnara Ŝivi became the sole emperor of the world which is discarded by all writers as a patent exaggeration but this may be unwarranted.

 

A Flesh-and-Blood Vipassi Buddha

 

That Zoroastrianism is far older than Buddhism is an oft-repeated cliché which is based on the report of Plato and the classical writers but it is not quite true as there were many Buddhas before Gotama. Owing to the Nepalese frauds it has been almost forgotten that all these former Buddhas are not purely mythical beings. Vipassi Buddha, the nineteenth of the twenty-four Buddhas, is depicted on the panel of cave17 in Ajanta and it can be presumed that he was seen as a real sage by the Ajanta artists. We can disbelieve the account in the Buddhist texts that for eight thousand years Vipassi Buddha, lived as a householder in three palaces. Such embellishments abound in world literature but this should not distract us from the real possibility that there may be crucial bits of truth in the legend. The hunt for the the palaces in which he lived which are named as Nanda, Sunanda and Sirima is surely absurd at
 

  Vipassi Buddha depicted at Ajanta (cave-17)

 

this stage but the name Bhandumati of his birth-place deserves to be treated with greater respect. After the Nepalese stories are rejected it becomes possible to study Buddhism in a real time-frame. One of the most authentic historical documents of the world, the Persepolis Fortification Tablets contain the place-name Mandumatis (PF 2069, 2080 and 908) which may have been Bandhumati, the city of birth of Vipassi Buddha. Vipassi Buddha preached his first sermon in Khema-migadaya.

        Another priceless document that proves the great antiquity of Buddhism is the Isigili Sutta of Majjhima Nikaya that gives a list of former saints that is absurd in a locale in Eastern India and is linked to the Esagila of Babylon.

 

The Humanism of Nebuchadrezzar II

 

Despite his attack on Judea and Jerusalem, Jewish tradition paints Nebuchadrezzar II as a great hero. Prophet Jeremiah saw him as God's own instrument whom it was impiety to disobey, and Prophet Ezekiel held a similar view vis-à-vis his expedition at Tyre. He is also seen as God's instrument against wrongdoers, in the Apocrypha in 1 Esdras and, as the protector to be prayed for, in Baruch. In the Book of Daniel and in Bel and the Dragon (Apocrypha), he appears as a man, initially deceived by bad advisers, who welcomes the situation in which truth prevails and God is vindicated. D. J. Wiseman refers to the compassionate approach of Nebuchadrezzar[6] and the eminent Dutch scholar C. P. Tiele describes him as one of the greatest rulers of antiquity[7].

 

Cameo of Nebuchadrezzar in the Berlin Museum

 

          From his helmet Nebuchadrezzar can be mistaken for a Greek soldier at first sight, but there more to it than just meets the eye. It is known that there was a contingent of Greek mercenaries in his army. Antimenides, brother of the Greek poet Alcaeus fought as a soldier on his side. More than two centuries later Alexander the Great expressed his adoration for Nebuchadrezzar in whose palace he breathed his last. It is surprising how little scholarly study has been directed to the socio-religious background of this. That he wanted to make Babylon the capital of his world-empire may also be due to his high regard for the Babylonian world-empire of Nebuchadrezzar. Not much is known about the religious ideals of Nebuchadrezzar from inscriptions or non-sectarian sources but the enthusiasm of Alexander and the Greeks suggests that these did not differ greatly from those of Hellenic religion.

 

Nebuchadrezzar, Hammu-rabi and Rim-Sin

 

      The deep religious fervour of Nebuchadrezzar cannot be fully understood from the accounts in the sectarian sources like the Old Testament and one has to also consider the Indian Buddhist and Jaina sources which pertain to Seistan-Baluchistan. In this context even the histories of Ram-Sin and Hammu-rabi, the ruler of the First Dynasty of Babylon in the early eighteenth century B.C. become relevant. Nebuchadrezzar is described as a Chaldaean which is often confused with the term Babylonian or Neo-Babylonian. The name Chaldaea is the Anglicised form of Kaldu which is usually identified with the marshlands of the gulf but this is only partly true. The term is first used by Ashurnasirpal II (884–859 B.C.), though in earlier texts the same area was called ‘Sealand.’  A famous ruler of the Sealand dynasty was Ilu-ma-ilu(~18th B.C.) a contemporary of Rim-Sin and Hammu-rabi. The name Ilu-ma-ilu can also be read as An-ma-an or Anumanu which recalls Hanuman, the close associate of the great Rama in the Indian tradition. Rama was widely respected as the righteous king who has been identified with Rim-Sin of Larsa[8]. The noted Assyriologist C. J. Gadd termed the reign of Rim-Sin as the Golden age of Sumer[9].

 


 

[1] T.A. Phelps, Lumbini on Trial, The Untold Story, http://www.lumkap.org.uk

[2] R. Pal, Non-Jonesian Indology and Alexander, (New Delhi 2002) 190, 222.

[3] G. Gnoli, Zoroaster’s Time and Homeland, Naples,1980.

[4] R. Pal, [2] 190.

[5] V. Smith, Kapilavastu in Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, vol. VII, p. 661

[6] D.J. Wiseman, Nebuchadrezzar and Babylon, (Oxford 1985) 98.

[7] C. P. Tiele, Babylonisch-Assyrische Geschichte, 454

[8] R. Pal, [2] 64.

[9] C. J. Gadd, ‘Babylonia c. 2400-1800 B.C.’, in The Cambridge Ancient History, vol. 1 Pt.2, ed. I. E. S. Edwards, C. J. Gadd and N. G. L. Hammond, (Cambridge 1971) 643.

[10] R. Pal, [2] 36.