Sun Chariot in Denmark: Hindu Calendar?

Sun chariot in Copenhagen Museum
Trundholm Sun Chariot

Research Paper written by London Swaminathan
Post No.1259; Dated 29th August 2014.

Denmark has got two “Hindu” artefacts 1)Gundestrup Cauldron and 2) Trundholm Sun Chariot. I wrote about the Gundestrup cauldron in one or two posts under the title:
Hindu Goddess’ march to Denmark (Posted by me on 2nd March 2012)
Vishnu Seal in Indus Valley Civilization (posted by me on 21 September 2011)

The first of the above two articles compares the Gajalakshmi motif in Indian monuments with that of the cauldron and the second article compares the Pasupati motif in the Indus Valley with the figure on the cauldron. Gundestrup cauldron was also found in a bog in Denamark.

I wanted to write about the other famous finding the Trundholm Sun Chariot for long. I bought a book in 1992 written by Miranda Green with the title “The Sun Gods of Ancient Europe”. What attracted me to buy the book is the Sun Chariot picture on the jacket of the Book! It struck me like a sacred Hindu object. Now that I have done some research on the topic, I shall present my views below.

sund disc in sun chariot

First let me give some facts about the TRUNDHOLM SUN CHARIOT:
1.It was found in a bog (swamp, marsh land) in Denmark in 1902. Now it is kept in the National Museum in Copenhagen. It attracts a large crowd.

2.It is made up of bronze and covered on one side with gold. A horse is pulling a chariot of sun disc. It belongs to Nordic Bronze Age.

3.It is dated 1600 BCE to 500 BCE. I will take the date as 500 BCE because it suddenly appears from nowhere in Europe. Nordic sun legends are dated 13th century CE. There is a wide gap of 2800 years!
4.Whatever the age of the chariot, it is a very interesting object to come out of a marshland like the Gundestrup cauldron.

5.The width, height and depth of the chariot is 54X35X29 cms. It has got six wheels with four spokes on each.

6.There are two interpretations about this artefact. Some people thought that it may be a replica of that one which was actually taken in ceremonial processions. The second interpretation is that it was a calendar.
Two scholars who have already interpreted the artefact as calendars are:

1.Klaus Randsorg, Professor of Archaeology at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark
2.Amelia Carolina Sparavigna, Assistant Professor at the Department of Applied Science and Technology at the Turin Polytechnic/ University, Italy

If it is a calendar it may be a Hindu calendar. I am giving the reasons below. But we can definitely see some Hindu influence on the artefact, whether it is a calendar or not.

Trundholm Sun Chariot Photo 1
It is a Hindu artefact because

1)The oldest religious book in the world, the Rig Veda, describes Sun as a chariot driven God by two horses or seven horses. This is the oldest record to link the sun with horses and chariots. All other literature comes way behind:-

“Like a young man follows a girl, so does the sun Dawn (Ushas), refulgent goddess;
Where pious men extend their generations, before the auspicious one for happy fortune.
Auspicious are the sun’s bay coloured horses, bright, changing hues, meet for our shouts of triumph. (Rig Veda 1-115-2/3)

There are many more references in the RV:6-51-1;7-63-1;!0-85. There are references in the Atharva Veda and Yajur Veda as well linking the sun with horses and chariots.

2)Hindus are the only race in the world who worship sun every day until today. There are Sun temples all over India. Millions of Hindus do Surya Namaskar (Sun Worship) every day and as a Brahmin (living in London) I do sun worship every day. Brahmins are supposed to offer water oblations to the Sun God three times a day facing the sun. I do it at least once a day.

( A few days back I wrote another article comparing Iraq Yazidis’ sunworship with the Hindu Brahmin’s Sun Worship)

3.Hindus recite Vedic mantras daily in praise of the Sun God .It might have begun on the banks of River Sarasvati at least 5000 years ago. There are at least four Mantras (Chants) in my daily Sun Worship (Sandhya Vandhanam).

4. The word Solar, Helios etc are derived from the Sanskrit word “Surya” which is in the Rig Veda, the oldest religious book in the world.

5.The most powerful Mantra in the whole of the Vedas is known as the GAYATRI mantra. This is worshipping sun as a goddess of tremendous energy or Light. This is a feminine form of the Sun. Hindus are the only race in the world who worship sun as Man and Woman (God and Goddess) until today in their everyday worship as one of the Nava Graha or Gayatri.
(Nava Graha= Nine celestial Objects)

big disc

Now I will explain why I consider this as a Hindu calendar:
a)Gundestrup cauldron found in Denmark has got Gaja Lakshmi and Pasupati figures which is acknowledged in all the encyclopaedias. So Trundholm Sun Chariot is not the first Hindu object.

b)The Sun Disc on the Trundholm chariot is gilded with gold on one side only. Vedas describe sun as golden in many places. Incas in South America had built a massive temple for Sun God with tons of gold. Inan (Inca) is the Sanskrit word for Sun, as pointed out by Kanchi Parmacharya (1894-1994) in his talk.

c)The Trundholm sun disc has got two sides, one not covered with gold. This is considered night by two scholars who interpreted it as calendar. But my interpretation is this is Dakshinayana ( six month southward journey of sun). Hindus consider this as darker side religiously. The other six month called Uttarayana is considered the most auspicious by the Hindus. Mahabharata character Bhisma lied on a bed of arrows for nearly two months waiting to die in the auspicious Uttarayana period.

The Aitareya Brahmana (3-44-4) presents a naïve conception of the course of the sun, which it regards as bright on one side only, and as returning from west to east by the same road, but the reverse side turned towards the earth, thus illuminating the stars in heaven.
The solar year is divided in to two halves – the Uttarayana, when the sun goes north and the Dakshinayana, when it goes south (satapata Brahmana 2-1-3)
(Source: Vedic Index of Names and Subjects by Keith and MacDonald)

d)The spirals and circles on the disc are explained by two scholars in two different ways. Unfortunately I am not in Denmark to count them exactly. But my counting from the pictures displayed here show one central circle and then 8 in the next ring and then 16 in the next. The most powerful Mantra in the whole of the Vedas is Gayatri which is made up of 24 (16+8) syllables. Then another circle had 20 spirals. Added together 24+20=44 is called Tristub meter.

Though it is part of Vedic prosody, Hindu Brahmins recite them three times a day: Grammar and prosody are part of their daily Sun worship; Every day I recite the mantra Gayatri (24), Usnuk(28), Anushtub(32),Brihati(36), Pankti (40), Tristubh (44), Jagati (48 syllables). Prosody in every day prayer!!!
We have to do more research to see whether it fits in to all the rings.

e) One of the interpreters says that on one side the days count come to 360 days in one method of calculation which is what the Vedas give for one year like the Egyptians. Another side of the disc adds up to 364 days which is also followed by the Hindus for solar year based festivals (Eg. Makara Sankranti, Pongal).

Gajalakshmi in Denmark

Gajalakshmi in Gundestrup Cauldron.

The sun as a maker of time determines the year of 360 days which is the civil year and the usual year of Vedic literature (RV 5-81-1)

f)Neither of the two scholars included the six wheels of the chariot in their interpretation. I think that the six wheels of the Sun Chariot represent six seasons. Hindus have divided the year in to six seasons from the Vedic days. It is followed until today from Kashmir to Kanyakumari (I have already written an article about six seasons). Six wheels X four spokes also add up to 24!

Number 24 is important in another calculation as well. We follow 24 hours of 60 minutes each hour in a full day in the Western System. It is otherway round in Hindu Calendar! Hindus follow 60 Nazikai of 24 minutes each in a full day. In other words 24 is the basic unit in Hindu time calculation. It is called Nazikai.
24 minutes of 60 Nazikai make one day.

Tamil Hindu daily sheet calendars and Hindu Panchangs list all these timings with the star of the day, moon’s position and sun’s position. It is a wonder that there is one community in the world who consider sun, moon and stars are important for their day to day activities!


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