Thursday, February 6, 2014

Is Vedic astrology derived from Greek astrology? (Part 31) {origins of Europa and Phoenician first letter A traced to Tamil culture}

Previous articles can be read here.

Continuing from the previous post, the pre-Greek society between 15th to 12th century BCE was beset with many features that remind of Tamils or resemble Tamil culture. The famous Cretan Bull was not a bull that originally belonged to Crete. It came to Crete along with Europa  whose entry to Crete was either a case of abduction by Zeus or voluntary elopement with her lover Zeus.

The origin of Europa is fit to be traced from a Tamil clan in the Indian Ocean or South Asian region. Already the connection had existed between Etruscans and Cyclopes with Tirayans of Tamil Pandyan clan. The marine route must have been well established by that time. In one of his trips to South Asian countries, Zeus had met Europa and had taken her to Crete. The name of her son as Minos resembling Minava – the fisherman and Minos building up a navy force are some of the pointers in this direction.

More than all these, the name Europa –has no definite etymological root in Greek or any other European languages. In some Turkic languages, Europe is called as “Avrupa” or “Evropa(1). This name with “rupa” sounds like Sanskrit “rupa” meaning “form” “appearance” or “figure”. The Turkic name sounds like “I-rupa” or “I–roopi” which means the “the form of I/Ay”.

“I” or “Ay” has a meaning in both Sanskrit and Tamil. As per Agni Purana –chapter 348, “I” or “Ay” refers to a female ascetic or Yogini. In Tamil lands it is the name of Goddess Durga, a powerful Goddess known for protecting the people, taming the lions and ruling as the leader. This description goes to show that such Goddesses were once human beings who by exemplary act or ascetic power have done extraordinary feats and were immortalised as Goddesses. A prominent example is Mahishasura mardhini, the Goddess who killed the demon, Mahishasura the Buffalo. 

In the chapter on Eyittriyar (who I equate with Etruscans) in the 1st century AD Tamil work Silappadhikaram, their Goddess was called as “Aiyai” (ஐயை) a form of Goddess Durga whose emblem was lion.  They used to congregate in the temple called “Aiyai kOttam” meaning ‘temple of Ai’.(2) She was further described as Mahishasura mardhini – the one who killed Mahisha, the buffalo. It must be noted here that she was referred to as “Aiyai” by Eyittriyas. Her emblem was lion which they painted on the flag they carried on their hunting expeditions. We can relate the Lion gate of Mycenae to Durga or “Aiyai” with Lion guard. For reference I am showing below the Lion gate of Mycenae.


A close-up of the Lions is shown below.

The idea or concept behind the Lion is in Vedic culture only. As it constitutes an elaborate explanation that could run into separate articles not related to this series, let me confine myself to showing 2 features of Lions in the entrance of a temple and a house in South India.

The following is the Gopura or Tower of the temple of Koodal azhagar in Madurai


This is a Vaishnavite shrine. However it has a pair of lions in the tower and in many other structures in the temple wall. In the photograph shown below, the red arrows point to the lions on top of the Tower over the main deity. 

The black arrow points to yet another feature that is a fusion of Lion’s face based on a  story on Lord Shiva from Shiva Purana  and is known as Kirtimukha. That story has an event of Lord Shiva opening his third eye to drive away the demon. The Lion gate as part of the Cyclopean wall built by Cyclopes having the third eye painted on the forehead fits with the Shiva cult and the story of Lion fused Kirtimukha.

Shown below is a seal impression found in the palace of Knossos in Minoan Crete shows a female Goddess with lions on her sides.

Compare this with a similar feature found at the top of the doorway in an old house in Trivandrum, Kerala showing 2 lions with the Goddess in the middle. Picture courtesy:

The Goddess in the middle is not Durga but Lakshmi.
This figure is of recent origin compared to Minoan Goddess with lions. The lion features existed in 15th century BCE Mycenae. It belonged to pre-Greek and pre-European period and did not continue in the later period. There is no way to say that it migrated from Pre-Greek Mycenaean or Minoan society to South India. The conceptualisation of this feature exists in Vedic society and not in pre-Greek society. The pre-existence of this feature in Mycenae for a brief time and its continuing existence in Tamil – Vedic society till today with an explanation for its existence goes to prove that the origins were in Tamil Vedic culture in the Indian Ocean habitat. It is also highly probable that this feature was there throughout India. Due to lack of evidence on architecture – as no one temple of yore stands today in North India due to vandalism by Muslim invaders - we are able to show only the features found in South India.

The above feature is shown here to drive home the point that the idea of showing a pair of lions on the top of the door way or gate way or the tower of the temple has been there in the Vedic society and continues till today. The specific feature is that Goddess Ai aka Aiyai aka  Durga was mounted on a Lion or had Lion figure painted on her flag. Even today a temple in South India can be identified for the deity inside, without even entering it, just by looking at the surrounding wall of the temple. The temple wall of Durga or Kali would have Lion figures mounted on it.

This deity “Ai” was the main deity of Eyittriyas (Etruscans) and was called by 14 names including Ai. (3)  The Mycenaeans who called themselves as “Mukanai”  - sounding like MukkaNNa or the “Three-eyed” had worshiped the deity Ai, were they to have hailed from the Indian Ocean community. (Read the details in part 23). Their easy adaptation of Minoan deities and the similarity with Tamil Vedic culture perhaps lend a justification for why “Ai-rupa” (Europa) gained acceptance in the succeeding period even though no myth is there to justify her pre-eminence over other deities or no information existed to bind her to a place in the vicinity of Greece.

The name of Europa of unknown origins having lent her name to the entire geographic region of the continent goes to show that she (Europa) was considered as someone special and unique by the pre-Greek society of that time. If it is true that she hailed from the nearby Phoenician territories, why is there no other feature found in them as to convey that Europa was someone special?

Further into the analysis, we will see that Ai has a connection to cattle – a facet of which we saw in the previous article in the bull leaping practice in Minoan society. If it is true that Europa had come from the surrounding Phoenician regions, this bull leaping must have been found in those regions too, but it is not so. The female connection to bull – in growing the bull as a pet animal and not harming it in any way, particularly not offering it as a sacrifice - is a feature found in Europa’s bull and subsequent Minoan bull culture and also in Tamil culture.  

An important feature of the influence of Ai – a concept imported from Tamil lands – in the times of Minos (the son of Europa) was the Moon throne found in the palace at Knossos  where king Minos lived. This is the place where the bull-leaping frescos are seen (refer previous article). 

One can see the crescent moon in the stone throne. It is unusual to come across lunar or solar dynastic lineages in Greek myths. This place pre-dating Greek civilisation, with a crescent moon found in the palace of Minos, son of Europa, smacks of a matrilineal influence on the King. The Tamil- Pandyans belonged to lunar dynasty with their lineage linked to Meenakshi, the human avatar of the consort of Lord Shiva.

The background frescos also support the origins in this lineage. The background images are known as griffins with a fusion of a bird and an animal. The images in the above picture of Minos’ times show a cock with a lion body. The cock is the bird of importance to Skanda as a signifactor of Pranava (OM) and Lion was the emblem of Durga, the mother factor of Skanda. The  Yaudheya coin on Skanda is seen with cock. Shown below.

It is a practice to depict the fused version of animal – bird- man combine in a suitable way to convey an idea. Such images can be seen in many temples of the Vedic society. There is a reference to Purusha Mruga in Mahabharata of a half man and half animal creature. There are Yalis coming in the shape of lion + elephant with serpent’s tail. Different varieties of fused creatures can be seen in temple architecture in South India. The idea was to convey the fusion of attributes of the depicted creatures.  For example the following illustration is taken from the wall of the Koodal azhagar temple in Madurai. It has a man with two lion bodies. It means he is a man with the power of two lions.

Most common figures are eagle head with lion body and lion body with snake head. Even in the Indus seals, such fusion is seen. The following is the seal found in Mohenjo-Daro of a woman with tiger or Cheetah body. This seal is perhaps the oldest available proof of fusion. 

The following seal found in Harappa is a griffin of perhaps a bird with human body.

Researchers think that this is seal from outside the Indus, But the other side of the seal shows the famous board of dice game which is still in use – if not in other parts of India – in South India. Called as Daayam, I have played dice with this design by just drawing it on the floor. 

The appearance of this on the other side of the Harappan griffin figure must have some meaning in rebus reading. What is important to note is that this kind of fusion was olden than pre-Greek Minoan society and was based on some conceptualisation in the Vedic society.

For comparison let me show Etruscan Yali like figure with Vedic Yali.

Etruscan YaLi

Etruscan sphinx. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Mary & Jon, 2009.

YaLi in Vedic society

Taking this rationale to Minoan fresco of Cock- lion fusion, it is noted by researchers that bull- lion frescos were there in Knossos and replaced by griffins by a buccaneer prince who conquered Knossos.

If it is true that bull- lion fusion was originally drawn in the Minoan palace, that says it all – that the idea was to combine the features of importance. Bull was an animal of importance to Europa. Europa had her origins in a lunar dynasty of which the patron deity was Goddess Ai. The emblem of Ai was Lion. Therefore a fitting description of Europa and her descendants (Minos) was a combination of bull and lion – to show that they were endowed with the attributes of these two animals.  

Did she come all the way from the Indian Ocean habitat of the Tamil Pandyans is something difficult to accept for many. Looking around Minoan Crete, the surrounding region of the pre-Greek society does show the presence of Tamil words, thereby raising the probability that she came from one of those regions. Let us analyse that.

To name some of the Tamil features, the famous Titan God of the Greek myth, Atlas has no convincing etymology from the Greek or other European languages. But it has a pre-Greek but non- European name “Thalassa”. Thalai (தலை) is the Tamil word for head. Atlas was supposed to have borne the sky on his head and shoulders. How did this similarity exist in the word Thalassa with thalai?

The mountain of Atlas is where Berbers lived. The influence of Berber language is there on the pre-Greek society. The name of Atlas is supposed to be derived from the language of Berbers, from the word ‘adrar’ which is said to mean Mountain. In Tamil “athar” (அதர்) means ‘path’ or ‘long passage’. The Atlas Mountain forms a passage between Mediterranean world of Greeks and the western edge of the word (according to them) in the place where Atlantic Ocean starts off Spain. Beyond this existed the Paradise called Elysium.  The Atlas range formed “Athar” (in Tamil) or a passageway to the other world.

The Berbers called their language as “Tamaziɣt” or  Tamazigh”. Why this phonetic similarity with the name ‘Tamil’ ?

The Berber world is called as Maghreb – sounding as Megaron that we discussed in part 23

 Berber region.

In their language they call it as “Tamazgha, Tamazɣa; or Amaḍal, Amaziɣ”. Similar sounding names in Tamil are Tamizha, Tamizh, amari , amizhthu or Amizhi!

Amizhthu is another name for Tamil by meaning “nectar”. Amari is the name of Goddess “Ai”.

The Berbers were seen as barbaric by Greeks and other Europeans. Perhaps from Berber, the word barbaric came. But the word Berber sounds like a Tamil word by grammar.  (Ber- Ber = repeat words called as Irattaik kiLavi).

The Berbers also had genetic connection with Sami tribes of Scandinavia since 9000 years ago. This was already discussed in part 14. Contacts must have existed between Berbers and Tamil lands in the Indian Ocean habitat since Skanda’s times that roughly match with 10,000 years BP. But this does not show that Europa hailed from Berber world. Particularly the “Ai” – Goddess connection has not yet been found in Berber lands. Whereas Ai was the Sangam age deity in Tamil lands of Indian Ocean islands.

The fame of “I-rupa” (Europa) of the Indian Ocean habitat must have reached Zeus through Berber lands or the Mukanai people (Mycenae) and he made a bid to win her over. The way he brought her by speeding across the seas shows that he had abducted her. The complete absence of any description of her previous origins in the Berber world or Phoenicia and absence of any continuing signs in the succeeding period are easily understandable if we accept her origins in a faraway land in South Asia.

The Greek myths do speak of one connection from her previous origins. That had an impact in the pre-Greek society and continued further.  That was Cadmus, her brother who introduced alphabets for the first time in Greece! How did he do that? From where did he get the idea of written letters?  Suppose I say that he brought the alphabets from Tamil lands as the written letters were introduced 10,000 years ago by sage Agatshya and Skanda, it may be asked why the Etruscans aka Eyittriyas or Tirayans did not bring in the alphabets, if they too had come from Tamil lands. They did not for, in Tamil culture until 2000 years ago, the fighter class did not have education. The Tamil Sangam texts refer to them as “kallaa Maandhar” கல்லா மாந்தர் – those who did not study or did not have education. ( 4). So it is acceptable that they did not introduce written letters.

But then how can I say that Cadmus had introduced the letters from his previous place in the Tamil regions in South Asia?

A strong proof of the travel of Tamil words to Greece and adjoining places, along with the people of Tamil speaking origin lies with the very first alphabet of many Semitic languages including Phoenician which the researchers think as the nativity of Europa.  This letter is Aleph or  Ālp denoting the first alphabet “A”. The sound is long “aa”.

Aleph means “ox” in the Semitic languages. This letter “aa” exists as a word in Tamil () to mean cattle –including cows and oxen. “Aa” was the term for cattle in popular use among ancient Tamils. How did this similarity happen between a Tamil word and Semitic languages? 

This is the Phoenician ‘aa’ or A    


which was based on a Proto-Sinaitic glyph which depicts the head of an ox. 

The early idea was as follows – showing the face of the bull with its horns.

This glyph was pronounced as “A” or “aa” or “Alp”

It is understandable that a pastoral society considered the bull or ox or the cattle as of foremost importance and hence devised the idea of bull as the first letter.

But why it sounds “A” (), which is a word in Tamil for cattle?
From ‘Aa” the Tamil cattle rearing community got its name as “Ayar”.

This Tamil root word “Aa” is also seen in Sanskrit “Abhira”, the people who tended cattle.

This Tamil root word is there in Gujarati “Ahir” similar to Tamil Ayar who tends the cattle. 

This Tamil root word is there in Aymara  in the Andes region too!

The Ayars had existed by that name in pre-15th century BCE in the Indian Ocean habitat as we find a verse in Sangam literature saying that “Ayar” were an ancient community that co-existed with Pandyan Kings in the submerged lands. (5). They along with the Pandyan ling managed to survive the seas floods and entered the present day Tamilnadu.

The Ayars had existed in the Indian Ocean habitat prior to 15th century BCE when the last submergence happened in the Indian Ocean. This resulted in the dispersal of people in different directions – one such group being seafarer Tirayans had gone to Greece. It was within a short period of their settlement there, Zeus was born. Hearing the folklore type of narration  of the previous Ayars from the society that is settled in Greece, he had come to the Tamil regions, seen “I rupa” – of the Ayar or cattle rearing community and taken her to Crete.

“Aa”, the name of cattle had gone there when her brother introduced letters to the society there. The knowledge of stars, Mesha (Kri-Kri) and Taar (Taurus) had gone there with these people. It was only after her entry in to Crete, that constellations were introduced – that too with many hiccups – as seen in Minotaur myths and Asterion myths all of which are vague and not based on clear concepts.

From “aa” the cattle, the “Ay” connection comes and is found throughout the Indian ocean and Pacific Ocean stretch and even crossing the Andes mountains. The presence of “Ay” and related to “Ida” having a meaning and relevance in Tamil brings in more rationale on a range of topics including why Crete came to have a mountain named as Ida! That would further substantiate the claim that Europa was a product of South and South East Asian community that spoke Tamil and followed Vedic culture. We will see them in the next post.



(1)  “ some Turkic languages the originally Persian name Frangistan (land of the Franks) is used casually in referring to much of Europe, besides official names such as Avrupa or Evropa”

(2)    ஐயை கோட்டத் தெய்யா வொருசிறை” (Silappadhikaram 2-2- line 4)

(3)   திரண்ட தோள் அவுணன்
தலைமிசை நின்ற தையல்; பலர் தொழும்
அமரி, குமரி, கவுரி, சமரி,
சூலி, நீலி, மால்-அவற்கு இளங்கிளை;
ஐயை, செய்யவள், வெய்ய வாள் தடக்கைப்
பாய் கலைப் பாவை; பைந் தொடிப் பாவை;
ஆய் கலைப் பாவை; அருங்கலப் பாவை;” (Silappadhikaram – Vettuva vari)

(4)    கல்லா மாந்தரொடு நகுவனர் திளைப்ப,”  (Maduraik kanchi line 420)

(5)   மலி திரை ஊர்ந்து தன மண் கடல் வௌவலின்,
மெலிவின்றி, மேற் சென்று, மேவார் நாடு இடம் படப்,
புலியோடு வில் நீக்கிப், புகழ் பொறித்த கிளர் கெண்டை,
வலியினால் வணக்கிய வாடாச் சீர்த் தென்னவன்
தொல்லிசை நட்ட குடியொடு தோன்றிய
நல்லினத்து ஆயர்...”  (kaliththogai – 104)

No comments: