| |

Connections: Ancient Vedic World

In India I found a race of mortals living upon the Earth, but not adhering to it. Inhabiting cities, but not being fixed to them, possessing everything but possessed by nothing. (Apollonius Tyanaeus, Greek thinker and traveller, 1st century AD)

More about Apollonius of Tyana, Western brahmana, can be found at:

Eusebius of Caesarea in his Praeparatio Evangelica (Preparation for the Gospel, tr. E.H. Gifford 1903), Book 11, ch. 3 says: Now Aristoxenus the Musician says that this argument comes from the Indians: for a certain man of that nation fell in with Socrates at Athens, and presently asked him, what he was doing in philosophy: and when he said, that he was studying human life, the Indian laughed at him, and said that no one could comprehend things human, if he were ignorant of things divine.

Another quote is from Severus Sebokht about science in ancient India from "The Wonder That Was India, A Survey of the Culture of the Indian Sub-Continent Before the Coming of the Muslims", by A.L. Basham, Reader in the History of India in the University of London, Sidgwick and Jackson, London, 1954, repr. 1961:

In 662 AD he wrote concerning the new numerals, which were moving West and were to become what we know as 'Arabic' numerals:
I will omit all discussion of the science of the Indians, ... , of their subtle discoveries in astronomy, discoveries that are more ingenious than those of the Greeks and the Babylonians, and of their valuable methods of calculation which surpass description. I wish only to say that this computation is done by means of nine signs. If those who believe, because they speak Greek, that they have arrived at the limits of science, would read the Indian texts, they would be convinced, even if a little late in the day, that there are others who know something of value.

Vedic culture originates in the spiritual world and in prehistory it was spread practically all over this planet (and others). Later these locations were gradually cut off and developed, or rather degraded, independently. Thus in the present world there are many differences on the basis religion. This leads to divisions, conversions, fanaticism, suppression and even terrorism. Many people wonder how to stop and reverse this trend. Some say that by completely eliminating the religion Those attempts failed because human beings are by nature spiritual beings. Replacing religion with secularism as was done in the West is also no solution in a long run because such society without higher rules (dharma) quickly degrades and is opposed by hardline religions like Islam. We suggest that it can be done only by the knowledge of origin of all spirituality - the One and Only God who revealed His laws to various people in various places, times and circumstances. This accounts for some differences but the ultimate goal of life in all religious traditions is the same - to reconnect to God by following His laws.

When we search through various archeological, literary, astronomical and other ancient records with knowledge of Vedic culture, we find that ancient world looked a lot different than present history books suggest. Great civilizations and spiritual traditions around the world had more in common than generally known and the common denominator was the Vedic influence. The earliest outsider account of India comes from Megasthenes in his Indika. Other accounts are linked e.g. from here.

If one looks at various spiritual traditions, practically all have an external and an internal, devotional form. When one compares those devotional forms, esp. by looking at the lives of saints following them, it becomes clear that they are identical. The differences then remain on the outside for ignorant people to fight about...

"Whatever is read as declared in the Vedas and in other scriptures is regarded as authority. The authority of the Vedas and other scriptures not inconsistent with the Vedas is eternal.
"That person who bears in his understanding merely the texts of the Vedas and other scriptures without being conversant with the true sense or meaning of those texts, bears them fruitlessly. Indeed, one who holds the contents of a work in memory without comprehending their meaning is said to bear an useless burden."
(King Janaka, Mahabharata, Santi Parva 306)

"So far I have studied the American minds they are eager and apt to receive Bhakti Cult of Srimad-Bhagavatam because the Christian religion is based on the same principle. My mission is not turn any one from the affiliation of a particular religion but I want to let them know more knowledge about God and devotion." (Srila Prabhupada, The Beginning ch. 6)

"Vaisnavism, Catholic Christianity, Pure Land Buddhism and sattvic theistic Saivism are not four different salvific devotional traditions with four different competing savior-gods invented by different races or cultures. They are four different regional developments of the same tradition with one trinitarian Godhead, and one savior, Lord Baladeva, worshiped in a variety of Visnu (Baal-Yahu, Lokesvara) and Siva forms. They are four forms of worship of the first person of the Godhead, through, with, in, and by the same second person. They are four traditions which are all inspired by the same Holy Spirit." (Bhakti Ananda Goswami, February 26, 2002)

Majority of spiritual and cultural connections presented in this section was discovered by HH Bhakti Ananda Goswami. This introduction by Vrindavan Parker and table shows connections considered for the last 3 000+ years as different and divergent. It is based on 30 years of multidisciplinary research.

I have assembled the table based on my understanding of Bhakti Ananda Maharaja's research. It should encourage your personal exploration of his research. It is a preliminary draft. Maharaja appreciates this effort and looks forward to help make additions and adjustments to perfect it. He also plans to have a website dedicated solely to this topic. Sift it thoroughly, verify it as much as you can and if you understand its importance and potential, spread it further by any means without change. Maharaja experienced both verbal and physical attacks from fanatics of all sorts for revealing this information which is a sort of confirmation to its truth. Here's an example of its impact and opposition from secularists.
More of Maharaja's writings:

  • website by bh. Elijah Dobkins presenting some works based on the findings of Bhakti Ananda Maharaja
  • A significant part of material in this section comes from Vrin Parker's former sites Vedica and Vedic Empire. We are using them with permission and gratefulness.

    Another inspiration for this section comes from this talk at 1986 Continental Indigenous Council, Fair Banks, Alaska. (Check the very last sentence.)

    books on connections:

    • Gods, Goddesses, and Images of God in Ancient Israel, Othmar Keel, Christoph Uehlinger, translated by Thomas H. Trapp, Fortress Press, 1998
    • Asclepius: Collection and Interpretation of the Testimonies/Volumes I and II in Onem Emma J. Edelstein, Ludwig Edelstein (Contributor), Gary Ferngren (Introduction), The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998
    • Early Greek Philosophy and the Orient (Oxford Scholarly Classics), M. L. West, Oxford University Press, 2001
    • Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey into Christian Hermeticism, anon (Valentin Tomberg) Robert Powell (Translator), Hans Urs Von Balthasar (Afterword), Tarcher, 2002
    • Hindu-Christian Dialogue: Perspectives and Encounters (Faith Meets Faith Series), Harold Coward, Orbis Books, 1990
    • Song of Songs Marvin H. Pope, Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1977
    • Sophia-Maria: A Holistic Vision of Creation, Thomas Schipflinger, Weiser Books, 1998
    • A Scholar's Odyssey Cyrus H. Gordon (autobiography), Society of Biblical Literature, 2000
    • Common Background of Greek and Hebrew Civilizations, Cyrus H. Gordon, W.W. Norton & Co Inc., New York, 1965
    • other writings by Cyrus H. Gordon
    • The Origin of Language: Tracing the Evolution of the Mother Tongue, Merritt Ruhlen, John Wiley & Sons; 1996
    • Rethinking India’s Oral and Classical Epics: Draupadi among Rajputs, Muslims and Dalits, Alf Hiltebeitel, Delhi, Oxford University Press, 2001 (about Bhavisya Purana, etc.)
    • The Cult of Tara Magic and Ritual in Tibet, Stephan Beyer, University of California Press, Berkeley, California, 1978
    • Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibetan Buddhism and the West, Donald S. Lopez, University of Chicago Press, 1999
    • Tales of the Dervishes, Idries Shah, The Octagon Press, London, 1967, 1977, 1982
    • Sayings of the Desert Fathers, Benedicta Ward, Cistercian Publications, Rev edition 1987
    • The Way of The Pilgrim, Walter J. Ciszek (Foreword), Helen Bacovcin (Translator), Image, Reprint edition 1978
    • The Philokalia, Volume 1 : The Complete Text; Compiled by St. Nikodimos of the Holy Mountain & St. Makarios of Corinth, Faber & Faber 1983
    • Philokalia, Volume 4 : The Complete Text; Compiled by St. Nikodimos of the Holy Mountain & St. Markarios of Corinth, Faber & Faber 1999
    • The Philokalia: The complete text, Faber & Faber 1979
    • In 1999 Peter Schmidt published A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami im interreligiosen Dialog. Biographische Studien zur Begegung von Hinduismus und Christentum (A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami in Interreligious Dialogue. Biographical Studies on the Encounter of Hinduism and Christianity), Theion. Jahrbuch fur Religionskultur, Bd. 10, Frankfurt/Mua: Peter Lang. Leaving aside all controversies surrounding the ISKCON the author deals with the ‘strategy of interreligious dialogue’ of the ISKCON-founder and with its transformation by Subhananda Das (Steven Gelbert), who has been ISKCON’s ‘director for interreligious affairs’ for some years. Schmidt’s analysis of the source material reveals the often overlooked fact, that Prabhupad took an interest in Christianity and in dialogue with it. Schmidt traces its roots back to Prabhupad’s religious education under Vaishnava influence but also to the Scottish Church College in Calcutta.

    • Krishna meets Jesus: A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada's Interpretations and Conclusions about Christianity Peter Schmidt, ISBN 3-8311-3570-3
    • Grace in Vaisnavism and Christianity, Bishop Isaac Mar Philoxenos

    More links

    If you know of any material (articles, pictures, books, links) suitable for this topic, please let us know. Thank you very much.

    Please support us:  
    © 2001 - 2024 VEDA - Bhaktivedanta Book Trust -, authors. CC-BY-SA J. Mares (contact)