The Mother of Us All: Ancient India’s Vedic Civilisation, Part II
by William T. Hathaway
Part Two: The Global Culture
The previous article, “The Homeland”, described the origins of Vedic civilization in India. This one tells how it spread around the world.
Vedic civilization was in full flourish 7,000 years ago, the most advanced on the planet. “The country was a leader in world trade relations amongst such people as the Phoenicians, Jews, Assyrians, Greeks, … Romans, … Egyptians, Turks, Portuguese, Dutch, and English.”¹ “The culture of India has been one of the world’s most civilizing forces. Countries of the Far East, including China, Korea, Japan, Tibet, and Mongolia owe much of what is best in their own cultures to the inspiration of ideas imported from India. The West, too, has its own debts.”²
Early Indian society was prosperous and developed surplus population. Groups of people moved east and west into the neighboring regions. These areas were usually already inhabited, but the newcomers brought a more advanced civilization and technology. And they were peaceful. Instead of conquering, they shared their knowledge and became influential in the society.
“Vedic wisdom flowed out from India in almost all directions, influencing language, literature, philosophy, law, and religion throughout Asia and, according to some scholars, throughout the world. Greek tradition holds that Pythagoras, Thales, Empedocles, Democritus, and others journeyed to India to study philosophy and that Indian sages visited Athens to share their knowledge.”³
Many members of the Druhyus tribe emigrated northwest into Europe, where they became known as Druids, the priests of Celtic society. Druid legends say they came originally from Asia, and the names of their deities are very similar to those in the Veda. “The ancient Vedas … were also transported to Scandinavia. Later they became the Eddas, which still remain the ancient-most scripture of the region.”⁴
The Pahlavas and Parsus moved towards the Caspian Sea, where they became leaders of what became Persian society. The Alinas moved to the Mediterranean and evolved into the Hellenes of Greece.⁵ “Many people feel that Greece was the center of the development that established Western civilization. But the fact of the matter is that much of the advancement that was experienced in Greece was because of the influence, especially in mathematics, literature, and other fields, from India.”⁶
“In Story of Civilization by Will Durant, he writes, ‘Foreign trade of India is as old as her history. Objects found in Egypt and Sumeria indicate a traffic between these countries and India as far back as 3,000 BC,'” the time of pyramid building in Egypt.⁷
Judaism and Islam were also influenced by Vedic philosophy, as can be seen in the similarities of names and functions of Brahma and Saraswati in the Vedas and Abraham and Sarah in the Bible. Brahma and Saraswati are the creators of the universe, and Abraham and Sarah are the creators of the Semitic peoples, both Jews and Arabs.
Vedic Indians also traded and emigrated eastwards, bringing science, technology, and religion with them. Ancient Vedic temples abound throughout Southeast Asia. Angkor Wat in Cambodia was originally built as a temple to Vishnu.⁸ The cultures of Java and Bali are to this day deeply influenced by Hinduism.
National Geographic magazine reported on archeological evidence showing that Australia received a wave of immigration from India 4,000 years ago. The newcomers influenced aboriginal culture and were eventually absorbed into it.⁹
“A thousand years before the birth of Columbus, Indian ships were far superior to any made in Europe up to the 18th century.”¹⁰ Explorers “traveled through the South Pacific over to Central America. This could be done by simply following the currents that flow to America.”¹¹ “There they mingled with whatever people may have been there, but introduced such things as their language, art, agricultural practices, and religion, which, in various degrees, have remained amongst the practices of the populace.”¹² “Through this sort of exchange came the adoption by the Americas of the culture and religion of the Vedic traders. Archeologists have found many Vedic deities like Shiva, Ganesh, Surya the Sun, Buddha-like images, all of which had been worshiped in ancient central South America. Images of Ganesh have been found and excavated in Mexico. He is also depicted in temple ruins in Central America. … Dr. Robert Heine Geldern, anthropologist, has written … ‘The influences of the Hindu-Buddhist culture of Southeast Asia in Mexico, particularly among the Maya, are incredibly strong.'”¹³
The Mayan pyramid of Chichen Itza is built in accordance with Vastu Shastra, the principles of Vedic design. Temples in Central America and Peru have stone-carved images of Vedic deities and inscriptions in the languages of South India. Their builders moved huge rocks weighing up to 160 tons using the same system of levers used in India.¹⁴ “The Aztec and Inca gods, philosophy, architecture, and art are all remnants of that found in the ancient Vedic culture of India.”¹⁵ In North America the Hopis still maintain a mystical tradition similar to that of the Vedas, and their origin myth states they sailed to America from the East beyond the Pacific and stopped at islands along the way.¹⁶
Ancient records also tell of trade between India and America. For instance, “Indian cotton was exported to South and Central America back in 2,500 BCE.”¹⁷ On their return trips, Indian traders brought back corn and sunflowers, which became important foods in India.¹⁸
Considering all these influences, Columbus wasn’t totally wrong when he named the people he found in America ‘Indians’.
This global Vedic culture was the highest the world has ever seen. The next article, “Decline and Fall”, describes how it was lost.
About the author:
William T. Hathaway is the author of eight books and was a Fulbright professor of creative writing at universities in Germany, where he currently lives. His novel of climate change, Wellsprings: A Fable of Consciousness, tells of an old woman and a young man healing nature through techniques of higher consciousness. Chapters are posted at https://www.johnhuntpublishing.com/cosmicegg-books/our-books/wellsprings
His peace novel, Summer Snow, is the story of an American warrior falling in love with a Sufi Muslim and learning from her that higher consciousness is more effective than violence. Chapters are posted at http://shattercolors.com/fiction/hathaway_summersnow01.htm
Notes and references