Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Deciphering Krios - from Tamil Kidaa to Greek Krios (ram / mesha)

Previous articles in this series can be read here.

The opponents claim that the Greek word Krios was borrowed by Vedic astrology to refer to Mesha rashi. Quoting Odyssey they say that  Krios was the common name for ram or male sheep. But they cannot produce the etymology of Krios or any root word for Krios. The Greek mythology as constructed in the 7th and 8th century BC considers Krios as one of the six sons of the Sky God (Ouranos) and Earth Goddess (Gaia).  The reading of that story tells how a natural calamity was expressed in a story form.

In this story the Cyclopes (whom we discussed in an earlier post as Kaikkolas, the devotees of Shiva who painted a third eye on the forehead) were imprisoned by the Sky God. This forced them to take shelter in Mother Earth. Agitated by the harm done to Cyclopes, the Earth Goddess ordered her sons (born to her and the Sky God) to attack the Sky God. Could anyone in the rightness of mind do that? If a myth says something like this, then we, as thinking beings must understand that some inner meaning is conveyed and that we must try to read such inner meaning of the events.

In this story the father Sky God descends on mother Earth (his wife) to lie on her. This is an obvious reference to heavy downpour from the sky. At that time, 5 of the sons stood up to fight and stop the father Sky God. The four sons including Krios stood as Pillars as though to halt the sky God from descending. The 5th son Kronos stood at the centre and attacked the Sky God and succeeded in stalling him. But in due course, Kronos started to swallow his own sons due to fear of a prophecy that he would be overthrown by his sons. However one of his sons, Zeus was safeguarded in Crete, according the widely followed narration of Hesiod. Kronos was duped by making him swallow a stone wrapped in cloth thinking that it was his son, Zeus. But Zeus grew up well and in due course made his father, Kronos to disgorge his siblings that he once swallowed. He also made the warring Titans to be banished to Tartarus, the deep abyss. However his father Kronos and another Titan God Atlas were forgiven by him. He made Kronos the ruler of Elysium and Atlas to hold the sky to prevent it from coming down on the earth. 

This story and its sequences make a remarkable depiction of a series of natural calamities experienced in and around the Aegean Sea bordered with Greek settlements. The initial event of Cyclopes seeking shelter in Mother Earth, puts the date of the beginning of these events at 15th to 12th century BCE, or even probably 12th century BCE when the Muknani (MukkaNNa / three-eyed) or Mycenaean civilisation at Tiryns came to an end. 

Greek territories around Aegean Sea.

This map is for illustrative propose only to show the territories around the Aegean Sea.

The attack by the Sky God and the powerful Cyclopes seeking shelter in Mother Earth means that heavy and incessant downpour was experienced then which drove the Cyclopes to take shelter within safe regions like caves, inside the earth. 

In this scenario, the 5 sons of the Sky God came into the picture, instigated by the Mother Earth, to stop the Sky God. If we take the myth in its surface meaning, it would be absurd as no wife would ask her sons to attack her husband for the sake of someone else (Cyclopes) who took shelter in her to escape the wrath of her husband. There are better ways to stop her husband or save the affected one. What is concealed in the story is that heavy downpour had battered the Cyclopes who were forced to look for shelters from rain. 

The attackers of the Sky God distributed themselves as four pillars in the four directions while the 5th attacker, Kronos stood in the middle to attack the sky God. In this story, the four pillars were Krios in the South, Koios in the North, Hyperion in the West and Iapetos in the East. Krios mentioned here is the same one that our opponents are making a huge fuss about, claiming that it was borrowed by Vedic astrology as Mesha rashi!!

What is actually described here is that a heavy downpour had occurred in a distant past threatening a flooding of the regions in Greece. The Bathymetry map of this part Mediterranean Sea shows that most parts of the Aegean Sea were once high lands and were connected with the surrounding lands on all sides.

Topographic and bathymetric map of the Mediterranean basin (map produced with OceanMap by combining a number of different datasets).

The Aegean Sea and the surrounding territories of Greek lands are shown within a circle in the illustration below.

One can see the four pillars of the myth fitting in this region. In the illustration below one can see the 4 lands on four directions of the Aegean Sea with the southern side being Crete. It was here Krios was supposed to have stood as a pillar.

During the time the Aegean Sea was a high lands in parts or whole, a heavy and continuous downpour, perhaps coupled with seismic activities could have resulted in the central region of this circle to be devoured by water (sunk) while the four regions of lands  on four directions still standing above the waters as pillars.

This region is bordered with fault lines and subductive boundary lines with volcanoes situated within the Aegean Sea. The disturbance continues even now. 

{ Distribution of tectonic plate boundaries, active volcanoes and volcanic provinces in the Mediterranean and Black Sea region. `A’ indicates the Calabrian volcanic province, `B’ indicates the Hellenic volcanic province, `C’ indicates Anatolian province, including Caucasian volcanoes (van der Meijde et al., 2003; McKenzie, 1970).}

The remaining land forms in the Aegean Sea getting sunk due to undersea volcanism or earthquakes was characterised as Kronos (in the middle of the pillars / Aegean Sea) swallowing up his sons! In this situation, Zeus had escaped as he was left in Crete, a safe place and the place which can be characterised as the Southern Pillar of Krios. The story of Zeus fighting with Kronos and making him belch out his siblings that Kronos once swallowed shows that there came a time when parts of the lands in the Aegean Sea started to arise above the sea surface. Earlier the story of Kronos swallowing a stone wrapped in cloth thinking that it was his baby Zeus is in conformity with this rationale that the sinking or sighting of lands or islands in the Aegean Sea are meant by this.

The narration of Zeus dooming the wicked Titan Gods into Tartarus means that the tormenting sea water slid into deeper valleys at last. The personification of Tartarus as deep abyss or places under the ground (Hades) indicates this. This shows that after heavy rains and sea floods causing inundation, there came a time when calmness returned in the sky and land forms rose up here and there as flood water receded – which is personified as Titan Gods being sent to abyss of Tartarus – a euphemism for sea waters going down into depths.  

With calmness coming back, Kronos was sent to Elysium, the land of ancestors which was indentified with heaven or paradise. And Atlas was condemned to hold the Sky God on his shoulders to prevent him from again coming down on mother Earth.  The location where these two were sent unfolds the mystery of the whole myth.

The location of Elysium where Kronos was sent as the God of heaven or ancestors is in the western edge of the Earth, according Greek myth. The location where Atlas was sent to stop the sky from falling on earth is also on the Western edge of the Earth. The Atlas Mountains situated on the edge of North Africa forming the western border of the Mediterranean Sea was perhaps seen as a massive pillar preventing western winds from playing havoc in the Mediterranean waters.

Before explaining this, we must know how ancient Greeks viewed the earth. They saw the world centred on their habitat in Greece in the Mediterranean Sea. The Mediterranean Sea formed the centre of their world with Gibraltar at the entrance of the Mediterranean Sea forming the western edge. Quoting from Graham Hancock's website, “ancient Greek maps such as those of Hecataeus and Homer depicted the world as a circular disk portraying Europe, Asia and Africa united in a singular circular band of land wrapped around a large inner sea, the Mediterranean. In turn the whole of the world is surrounded all about by an outer ocean. The Strait of Gibraltar is located at the western end of the Mediterranean Sea forming the only passage between the inner sea and outer ocean” Such a world map conceived by Homer and Hecataeus is shown below.

Reconstructions of Homer's (left) and Hecataeus’ (right) world maps

The four pillars including Krios in the South exactly fits within this world of the ancient Greeks. It is illustrated in the picture below.

The Western edge of this world of Greeks was the door way to the other world which they personified as Elysium. Elysium was described as Paradise by Homer. Why it is so is known from his description that “Elysian plain…where life is easiest for men. No snow is there, nor heavy storm, nor ever rain, but ever does Ocean send up blasts of the shrill-blowing West Wind that they may give cooling to men.” (Odyssey (4.560–565)) For a community that was battered by sea floods caused by underwater volcanoes and heavy downpours, the western edge of their world that opened into the Atlantic Ocean was seen as a serene region where those who had departed from the ordeal in the Aegean Sea had reasons to be happy to spend time in calmness. Hence that signified the Paradise, Elysium. 

Atlas being sent to the Western edge to shoulder the sky is also a euphemism for the Atlas Mountains standing tall as if to stop the sky from descending down on the earth. The location of this mountain range shows it all.

Location of the Atlas Mountains (red) across North Africa

This is how a calamity was spun into a myth for posterity to remember forever and retrieve it in its real meaning. It is in the same way many Puranic accounts also have been woven by the sages of the Vedic society. It is a pity that people fail to see the import of these myths and build up unsustainable and impossible appendages to these myths. It would pay rich dividends if the scholars had worked on why Krios, why Kronos etc and looked at the location to extract the connection.

For example, Krios is the early name. It was not recognised as a ram initially. But some time later after the above myth was made, Krios was identified with ram. Why and how that could have happened must be probed in the region where it was developed. If we look at Krios, it was the pillar of the South – with South identified with Crete that was home for an important pre-Greek people called Minoans. How did Krios become ram must therefore be searched in Crete. When we look into Crete we do come to know that a mountain goat, the kind of Mesha called as “varudai” in Tamil is found there! 

Known as Kri-kri this ram is peculiar to Crete. The Wikipedia article says that this animal is not indigenous to Crete but could have been brought by the Minoan people, but there is no clue about from where the Minoan people came. However it is accepted by scholars that this ram variety is not found anywhere else and is endemic to Crete. Speciality of this ram is that it is found roaming in high peaks and is capable of scaling steep cliffs quickly – similar to how the Varudai or Nigiri Tahr behaves. Please refer Part 9 of this series where I have described the qualities of the Mesha animal and justified Nilgiri Tahr as the Mesha animal signifying the Mesha rashi.

This animal, Kri-kri of Crete also fits with the same bill. It was worshipped by the ancient pre-Greek civilisation,that is, Minoans.

    Kri-kri of Crete.


In comparison, Nilgiri Tahr – the Mesha animal of Tamil lands is shown below. 

In Tamil this ram is called as “Kidaa”. Its variations are “Kidaai” or “kadaa”. From Sangam age till today the name Kidaa is in common use in the Tamil society.  Please note the phonetic resemblance between Kidaa and Krios. How did this happen? Could that be accidental? But no.  Based on our contention that Tirayan Pandyans had gone to the regions of Greece around 15th century BC, along with the Eyittriyas and others who occupied the regions of the now submerged Western Ghats, there is every likelihood that this ram was  carried by the people from their previous habitat. The reason that this ram was not indigenous to Crete and not found anywhere in that region strengthens this contention. Ram, the Mesha – was sacred for Lord Skanda, the deity of the people of hill regions (called Kurinji in Tamil). The people of these hills who had gone to Greek regions could have either carried this variety or identified a similar variety in the new habitat and started treating it as fit for veneration.

The name Kri-Kri also sounds Tamil. The repeat words of Kri-Kri – resembles the famous Tamil repeat words called as ‘Irattatik kiLAvi” (இரட்டைக் கிளவி) – meaning twin words. These words have no derivative meaning but have come into existence due to sounds connected with the entity identified by that word. As such Kri- kri refers to an entity that is connected with a sound “kri- kri”. It is also possible that the name by which this ram was called – Kri-kri - was adapted as Krios in Greek later. Since Kri-kri was found in Crete, the myth makers could have identified Krios as the pillar in the South.

But the idea of ram as the Mesha had travelled from South Indian Ocean community of ancient Tamils to Crete. Already the Tamils had known Hora and they were perhaps the fore-runners in inventing this concept and names of the week based on this concept. Their previous location near the equator had given them the scope to observe 12 part zodiac divided into 2 equal halves of day and night. The Skanda influence had been there for too long which we discussed in Part 14 with justification from Cameroon and Scandinavian Sami and Shaivu traditions. The Berber language of Cameroon  having Tamil words shows the travel of language and the people to the Mediterranean. The name Berber is also a twin word like Kri-kri, resembling Tamil origins.

Even looking at the names of the Zeus myth, Elysium is the name of Paradise on Greeks. El (எல்) is the Tamil word meaning “Light”. The concept of Elysium goes against the Hellenistic Thought as it is based on the idea of after-life.  The bright world of El where the departed ones live as Gods was perhaps adapted from the ideas of Tamil settlers in Tiryns and Mycenae.

The concept opposite to this is Hades, the underworld. This name Hades also sounds like “adi” (அடி) in Tamil which means below or underneath.

Coming back to Krios, there is no etymological root for Krios in Greek. The possible link is to Kri-kri, the ram found in Crete. Thus the etymological root for Krios was not from Greek but from Tamil. When Krios as such does not have an indigenous root in Greek language, what is the point is clamouring for a place for it as the root for Sanskrit Kriyah?  What cannot denied is that Mesha by whatever  name you may call it - in Sanskrit or Tamil – the concept could not have travelled to Crete as Kri-kri or Kidaai without its prior existence in Vedic India from where the Tirayan Pandyans migrated to Tiryns 1000 years before Homer.

In this context I would like to say that Crete was a meeting point of two sections of people from India, one from South India (Tamils) and another from North east India (Kiratas). The Yavana – Kirata lived as a pair first in North East India in the Himalayan regions. They were the first entrants to Crete (pronounced as Kiriti) becoming early carriers of Vedic astrology to Greece. We will discuss that part in another post. The Tamils from South Indian Ocean were the late entrants around 15th century BCE. Since these two sections came from a common culture, there was no problem in merger of them. Distinct traits for each of these sections are seen ancient Crete art. In the next post I will be  concentrating on Tamil contribution to Cretan art and also as carriers of an important Vedic concept whose distant presence can be noticed as far as Oceania even as early as 15th century BCE. . 



Jayasree Saranathan said...

Mr Dale Drinnon's note in his blog under this article which is reposted there.

//[Dale's footnote: It must be emphasized that much of what Jayasree is saying is not even controversial, it is to be found in standard reference books. The more surprising aspects of this study merely arise from correlating data from different areas in ways that they are not commonly thought to be connected. The connection of Yavanas to Greece and the Eastern Mediterannean is not controversial and it is stated in most Bible dictionaries and concordances that way. Jaysree's comments on the maps of the Ancient Mediterranean and the geographical mythology of the World Pillars is likewise nothing new and it is likewise known that the foundations of cultures of Oceana date back to 1500 BC: it is merely the connections between all of those things which seems fantastic. And I likewise completely agree with Jayasree's statement that there was a violent catastrophe to be dated also to just about exactly 1500 BC, which is connected to all of these events.]//

Jayasree Saranathan said...

Link to the re-posted article in Mr Dale Drinnon's blog:-