Thursday, January 9, 2014

Is Vedic astrology derived from Greek astrology? (Part 27) (Krios and Kriya, the source is in Vedic Thought)

Previous articles in this series can be read here.

In the last post, we saw how the Cretan goat, Kri-Kri fits with the description of Mesha, the ram signifying Aries. One of the main significances of Mesha rashi is that it denotes a quadruped that resides in the east and is a wanderer in the mountains. In tune with this concept, the Tamil Cheran King of the 3rd century BCE, (read here for details) housed the Mesha, the Nilgiri Tahr (Varudai) in the eastern section of his kingdom in the Western Ghats.

The conceptualisation and symbolic representation are very much clear in Vedic astrology. In contrast to this main feature, the Hellenistic conceptualisation of Aries was a ram that rises from a ship-wreck! This ram has a rich wool cover whereas the Vedic Mesha does not grow fur. Vedic astrology was in use from Tamil lands to Himalayan cold climes, but the conceptualisation of the ram was taken from the non-fur variety of the tropical region. It is because only such a quadruped fits with the significances of Mehsa. Another important significance of Mesha is the fighting spirit as signified by Thagar, the fighter ram. The fighter ram that hits the opponent with its strong head is an important feature of Mesha. In Part 14 we saw how this feature was related to Lord Skanda

The mountainous goat Kri-Kri found since the Minoan times in Greece seems to have lent its name to Krios. Initially Krios was held as a Titan God perhaps based on the predominance of Kri-kri in Crete in the direction of the south. But it was not considered as a zodiacal constellation. When Hellenistic astrology was developed, a plethora of ideas (1) were incorporated related to ram which were mutually conflicting or irrelevant to the idea of the fighting spirit signified by Aries. The Greeks named it Krios but the idea of the ram was one that fled from the clutches of the step mother of Phrixus by carrying him and his sister on its back but to be eventually sacrificed by Phrixux whom it saved. (2) . In what way such a ram can be equated with Krios, the Titan God that stood as a pillar to stop the sky God and even succeeded in doing that ?  We find a mismatch between conceptualisation and the name Krios. 

The earliest recorded name for Aries was a-re in Mycenaean Greek in Linear B script. Check here.  I wonder if this was pronounced as “a-du” – from the Tamil word Aadu for goat / Mesha! (Mycenaean Greece was occupied by Tamil Tiryans according to my research). From this the Greeks built up a story of Ares as a God of war born to Zeus and Hera. Hera as one travelling on a chariot pulled by peacocks, a bird unknown to Greece but was a native of South Asia and Congo in Africa is a clear proof of borrow of idea from outside.

Peacock was the mount for Skanda who was identified with Mars in Vedic astrology. It is reasonable to theorise that his mother also used peacock for transportation. Please note the basic idea is in Tamil Vedic culture and not in Greece.

The Roman concept of Ares was also that of Mars. The Romans had a term Mesarthim with no etymological traces but as a borrowed idea, to signify the first point of Aries or Mesha. 

The point of interest is that Mesarthim or Mesartham as it is found  in Roman is Tamil word “Meshaththam” = Mesha + attham where attham means year.

“Attham” is Tamilsed word for Sanskrit “abda”( अब्द) for year. Abda is pronounced as attham in Tamil. The tradition exists in Tamil lands to call the year as “Goat Year” – which is what Meshaabda (Mesha + abda) means. The exact Tamil word for Meshaabda is “AattaaNdu” (ஆட்டாண்டு) and this exists in old inscriptions in Tamilnadu.  AattaNdu means Aadu + aaNdu meaning goat + year. The Etruscans who identified themselves as Rasna (Sanskrit word for resin producing guggul) must have spoken Tamil  blended with Sanskrit language which is what Tamil is. (3). The start of the year at Mesha could have been called as “Meshartham”. It was retained by Romans who occupied their territories.

The influence of Etruscan on Roman culture is hardly disputed. Mesarthim is one of the influences from Etruscans. The Mesha ram influence entered the Roman and Greek society as a fighting ram much before Hellenistic astrology was developed. The Tamil equivalent for ram is Thagar which by itself means breaking or thagarththal (தகர்த்தல்). Similarly the word ram in English having no known etymological roots  simply is related to ‘ramming’ or breaking or beating. Perhaps the word ram (for goat) was formed from the ramming activity – like how Thagar was formed from the Thagartthal activity.  Basically what is conveyed is that a ram stands for fighting by colliding its head on the opponent and thereby gaining a signification for wars and Mars. 

The idea of Battle ram or Battering ram was born from this nature of ram. The battle ram was originally shaped like a ram’s head to be used to hit the target. A recent marine excavation off Sicily has spotted sunken parts of Battle ram supposedly used in a war in the 3rd century BCE.

Battle ram [Credit: RPM Nautical Foundation]

The above shown battle ram was supposed to have been cast on the bow of the ship of the naval force.  It would ram into enemy’s ship or would be shot with mechanical force to hit the enemy’s vessel. This kind of rams had existed in Tamil society. 

According to the 1st century AD text Silappadhikaram, devices shaped with the head of ram, tiger and elephant were found in the walls of the fort of the Pandyan king in Madurai (chapter 15 – lines 207 to 217). More than a dozen mechanical devices of different types are mentioned in these lines. Of them, the devices having heads of animals have specific functions similar to the mode of attack of the respective animal.  As such a Thagar-p-poRi fitted on the wall of the fort would suddenly surge forward the approaching enemy and hit him with the head of the ram (shaped like a ram). The Puli-p-poRi would suddenly pounce on the approaching enemy like a tiger. The KaLiRRu-p-poRi would from nowhere stretch an arm / trunk like an elephant and lift the attacker and throw him out. 

It is difficult to say where these ideas originated or who got these ideas from whom. What we must see here is that the presence of the idea of battle ram in the shape of ram covered with hides was found in Rome or Greece centuries before the birth of Hellenistic astrology. If Krios was the original idea of zodiacal sign, their astrology could have taken shape much before. There would not have been a need for a story of the zodiacal ram carrying Phrixux and his sister or of a ram fighting to die. The battle ram easily fulfils the basic idea of the zodiacal ram. That they could not bring out a connection is because none of them are their original creations. 

With such a background, the opponents are trying to ‘connect’ Krios with Kriya. This attempt to relate Krios with Sanskrit Kriya, the synonym for Mesha rashi is against the norms of comparison. Phonetic comparison is done with words having similar meanings. Kriya and Krios cannot be compared for phonetic similarity because Kriya does not mean ram. Kriya  is another name for Mesha rashi, with a different meaning but having significance to Mesha rashi. 

Mesha rashi has other names each with a significance related to that rashi. They are Aja, Chaga, Basta, Adya, Viswabheshaji and Kriya. (There may be other names too.)

Of these Aja, Chaga and Basta can be compared with Krios as they all mean the same, the goat. It is same as “aadu”, “varudai” and “thagar” for goat in Tamil.

Adya means the first rashi whose equivalent is found in Tamil Naadi texts as “thalai” or “Mudhal” rashi.

Viswabheshaji is related to the healing property signified by the Aswin connection to Mesha rashi. There are many verses to this effect in Rig Vedas.

The term Kriya refers to the rites or sacrifices to be done at day-break or at the beginning and therefore the connection with Mesha rashi, the beginning of the zodiac or Kalapurusha.

Rig Veda 5-77-1 makes a reference to this  “The Asvins claim the sacrifice at daybreak: the sages yielding the first share extol them.”
There is another from R.V. 1-161-6Indra hath yoked his Bays, the Asvins' car is horsed, Brhaspati hath brought the Cow of every hue.”

The sacrifice at day-break involving Asvins and Indra makes it Adya rashi and also the Kriya rashi.

Indra is called as Mesha in the context if hymns or prayers addressed to him in Rig Vedas. RV 1-51-1, 1-52-1 and 8-97-12 refer to Indra as Mesha. The symbolism is to the fighting nature according Sayana.  (4). Mesha rashi relevance is deduced from these riks.

अभि तयं मेषं पुरुहूतं रग्मियमिन्द्रं गीर्भिर्मदता वस्वो अर्णवम |
यस्य दयावो विचरन्ति मानुषा भुजे मंहिष्ठमभि विप्रमर्चत || (RV 1.51.1)

(MAKE glad with songs that Ram whom many men invoke, worthy of songs of praise, Indra, the sea of wealth;
Whose gracious deeds for men spread like the heavens abroad: sing praise to him the Sage, most liberal for our good.)

तयं सु मेषं महया सवर्विदं शतं यस्य सुभ्वः साकमीरते |
अत्यं वाजं हवनस्यदं रथमेन्द्रं वव्र्त्यामवसे सुव्र्क्तिभिः ||  (RV 1.52.1)

(1 I GLORIFY that Ram who finds the light of heaven, whose hundred nobly natured- ones go forth with him.
With hymns may I turn hither Indra to mine aid, the Car which like a strong steed hasteth to the call.)

There is also a story in BAskalamantra Upanishad of Indra coming to MedhyAthithi, the son of Kanva as a ram and carrying him to the heaven. The allusion is to a sacrifice. Therefore Kriya rashi refers to another significance of Mesha rashi. The Greek myths come nowhere near these concepts or the interpretations of Mesha and its synonyms as found in Vedic Thought.

Before ending this  post, let me say that there is an unbelievable connection of the Etruscans with the Vedic society that had its resonance or presence as far as Oceania. The connected links are Athiratra homa of the Vedic society, Athiratu Yammi of Tiryns and the Sun God of Etruscans.  These connections would reveal the travel of Vedic Thought from Indian Ocean region rather than from anywhere in Europe or through the so-called Indo-European links.But before that let me also show that Minoan Crete - the supposed pillar of Krios was very much related to the Tamil society from whom the Athirathra connections were taken to Greece.

We will see them in the next post.



Legend: Aries represents the ram with the golden fleece, a gift from Mercury, upon which Phrixus and his sister Helle escaped through the air from their step-mother Ino. On arriving in Colchis, Phrixus sacrificed the ram to Jupiter and its fleece was hung in the Grove of Mars, whence it was subsequently carried away by Jason (see Argo). According to another account it was the ram that guided Bacchus to a spring of water in the Libyan desert. [Robson, p.31.]

Influences: Ptolemy's observations are as follows: "The stars in the head of Aries possess an influence similar in its effects to that of Mars and Saturn: those in the mouth act similarly to Mercury, and in some degree to Saturn; those in the hinder foot, to Mars; those in the tail, to Venus." By the Kabalists Aries is associated with the Hebrew letter He and the 5th Tarot Trump "The Pope." [Robson, p.31.]

"All the Aries stars have been in the sign Taurus for 200-300 years now. Hamal just over 600 (Botein actually entered Taurus in year 505AD), and in this same period we have seen large-scale aggression change its nature from barbaric raiding and migration of earlier centuries to the building of large empires which had to be administered and kept in peace and good order, as well as exploited by their conquerors. This is typical both of the sign Taurus and of the planet Saturn". [The Living Stars, Dr. Eric Morse].

The astrological influences of the constellation Aries given by Manilius:
"The Ram, who is rich with an abundance of fleecy wool and, when shorn of this, with a fresh supply, will ever cherish hopes; he will rise from the sudden shipwreck of his affairs to abundant wealth only to meet with a fall, and his desires will lead him to disaster; he will yield his produce for the common benefit, the fleece which by a thousand crafts gives birth to different forms of gain, now workers pile into heaps the undressed wool, now card it, now draw it into a tenuous thread, now weave the threads to form webs, and now they buy and sell for gain garments of every kind; no nation could dispense with these, even without indulgence in luxury. So important is this work that Pallas herself has claimed it for her own hands, of which she has judged it worthy, and deems her victory over Arachne a token of her greatness. These are the callings and allied crafts that the Ram will decree for those born under his sign: in an anxious breast he will fashion a diffident heart that ever yearns to commend itself by its own praise.

"When the Ram emerges above the surface of the waves (rising) and the curve of his neck appears before his horns, he will give birth to hearts that are never content with what is theirs; he will engender minds bent on plunder and will banish all sense of shame: such is their desire for venture. Even thus does the ram himself rush forth with lowered horns, resolved to win or die. Not for them the gentle ease of a fixed abode with none but peaceful cares; it is ever their delight to travel through unknown cities, to explore uncharted seas, and enjoy the whole world's hospitality. The Ram himself gives you evidence of this: once furrowing a trail through the glassy sea, he tinged it with the gold of his fleece, when on his back he carried Phrixus, bereft of his sister (Helle) by fate's decree, and brought him to the banks of the Phasis and to Colchis". [Astronomica, Manilius, 1st century AD, book 4, p.233].

(2)    Aries is the first sign of the zodiac. The Greeks associated Aries with the Ram who carried Phrixus and his sister Helle on his back to Colchis (the Georgian region of the Caucasus) to escape the evil designs of their stepmother, Ino, who was about to kill them. In crossing the strait that divides Europe from Asia, Helle became giddy and lost her hold, falling off the Ram into the sea when she disobeyed a warning not to look down, the place thereafter became the Hellespont which today separates Greece and Turkey. Continuing his flight, the ram bore the boy to Colchis, at the eastern end of the Euxine or Black sea. On reaching his journey's end Phrixus sacrificed the ram and hung its fleece in the Grove of Ares where it was turned to gold and became the object of the Argonauts' (Argo Navis) quest.

I suggest that one possible consequence of Helle falling off the Ram might be symbolic over-representation of the masculine element in the Arian psyche.
According to Apollonius Rhodius, Phrixos had journeyed to Aia (better known as Kholkis, or Colchis);
"bestriding a ram which Hermes had made all of gold" (2.1143-45; Seaton 1912)

(3)   Tamil is blended with Sanskrit words to a greater extent. To give a basic example let me express a few points from the famous grammar book of the 3rd Sangam age, Thol-kappiyam. The name of this book is a mix of Tamil and Sanskrit words – Thol is Tamil word for ancient and Kappiyam is a Sanskrit word for Kavya. The author of this book  was given a generic name as Thol-kappiyar – meaning the Kavi of the ancient. This author was the son of Jamadagni from somewhere in Aryavarta. His original name was TruNadhoomagni, not a Tamil name. This author says in the very first verse of Thol-kappiyam that he as one qualified in Aindra Vyakarana had written this grammar book. There are many Sanskrit terms such as Pinda, Mantra etc which are beautifully explained in this book which we may not be otherwise aware of. In the chapter on how sounds are born within the body, say from stomach, chest and nose, he concludes that the letters whose sounds are not explained can be known from the Vedic chants.  

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