Vedic Ribhu is Greek Orpheus: Nicholas Kazanas (Post No.3720)

Compiled by London swaminathan


Date: 13 March 2017


Time uploaded in London:- 20-43


Post No. 3720


Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks.





“Rbhu is a Vedic God. Rbhu means Intelligent fashioner. Scholars generally agree that this word is cognate with English/Germanic elf (Elfe, Alp etc.), old Slavic Rahb (servant) and the name of the Greek poet- musician- hero Orpheus.


In the Rig Veda (1-20, 110; 3-60; 7-48 etc) the Rbhus are three brothers, sons of Sudhanvan who perform several miraculous deeds “through the power of mind”.


For instance, Rig Veda 4-2 says ‘ratham ye cakruh suvrtam sucetaso avibvarantam manasas pari dhyaya’ The wise ones who fashioned the fine-rolling, impeccable car by visionary power ’dhi’ – out of mind/manas – But three are often indicated by the singular Rbhu as one. Thus, in the RV, the name appears both in the singular and in the plural. The three brothers, though mortal, thanks to their great mental power gain the favour of the gods and stay in the mansion of the Sun god where they serve as priests and there become immortal gods themselves.


The Slavic servant can be put aside as of no significance other than the cognation rbhu=rabh. The Germanic elves are in the plural, a whole tribe of them. They are of two kinds: the dark ones live underground and  often identified with the Dwarfs who often are greedy and who are craftsmen dealing with metals, precious stones and ether minerals; the fair ones live in the light in Alfheim, are associated with the sun and can heal. Thus it is not difficult to see the connection with the Rigvedic Rbhus.


Greek Orpheus was a figure of veneration from very ancient times and a multitude of legends were woven around him. He too was a clever craftsman with music and became a devotee (and in later legend a priest) of the Sun god. Only instead of gaining immortal godhood he was torn apart by the Maenads; his head was thrown into the river Hebros, floated still singing into the sea and finally was washed ashore on Lesbos where a shrine was established giving out oracular prophecies. A different strand has him killed by the lighting of Zeus.


Here again countless generations of ancient and modern scholars tried to trace his antecedents. Some said Orpheus was a historical figure who performed miraculous deeds and founded a religion — Orphism”. Others said he was the son of the Sun god or even the very incarnation of Apollo. Some said his origin was to be found with the Thracians or the shamans in the Hyperborean regions (and farthest Siberia); others claimed that he came from Anatolia and still others argued that he was a native Greek and and/or son of Oiagros.


But, of course, Orpheus is a PIE (-Prtco-Indo-European) as the evidence shows and some IEans brought a memory of him with them when they came and settled into Greece, in the 3rd or the 2nd millennium BC. Although this fact is now well known among IE scholars, classicists continue to speculate and argue in their accustomed vein.

Reincarnation Theory


Closely connected with the Orphics are the Pythagoreans. Both held the idea of reincarnation, albeit clearly, in their early but only in their later traditions.


Now, since the very early Greekliterature of Homer, Hesiod and other poets until Pindar and Empedocles (early 5th century BCE), shows no definite knowledge of this doctrine, hellenists tend to accept what Herodotus says in the Second Book of his Histories (2-123), namely that Pythagoreans brought it into Greece from Egypt. In fact several scholars have the Greeks importing many ideas into Greece from the Near East (e.g. Pengalese 1994; West 1971, 1994).


We can say with certitude that Herodotus is often totally unreliable and this is one such instance. The Egyptians had no doctrine of reincarnation; they mummified the corpses of noblemen and held that their souls rose into heaven joining Ra or Osiris in his sky boat. In fact no, Near -eastern culture had reincarnation at this period.


It would be far more reasonable to accept that Greece brought the idea of metempsuchosis (reincarnation) or palingenesia (rebirth) together with the Erinus (Vedic Goddess Saranyu) legend, the memory of Orpheus and many other elements from the PIE culture, rather than assume that these were borrowed from near-eastern cultures that did not have them anyway.”


Source: Vedic and Indo-European Studies, Nicholas Kazanas, Aditya Prakashan, New Delhi, 2015




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