Post No. 10,600

Date uploaded in London – –    26 JANUARY   2022         

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“Hence even at this day, one who does not give (in charity) ,or has no faith, or does not sacrifice, is said to be an Asura. They adorn the bodies of the dead with gifts, with raiment and jewels, and imagine that by this means they shall attain the world to come”- Chandogya Upanishad VIII-8-5



Interesting definition of ASURAS is in Chadogya Upanishad (C U ) attached to Sama Veda. Along with Brihad Aranyaka Upanishad, this C. U. is dated around 8th century BCE. Adi Shankara quoted this C. U. over 800 times in his Brahma Sutra commentary. That means it is the most informative Upanishad. It is in Sanskrit poetry format. Chandas means Poetry, Prosody and Song (Eg. Chandak Kavi Arunagiri nathar in Tamil)

One must be careful in interpreting words such as ‘Mlecha, Yavana and Asura’. They generally meant foreigners who lived outside India. But the wonder of wonders is all of them are called Sons of Prajapati (God or Creator; later days Brahma).

Asuras figure in the oldest book in the world – the Rig Veda. Yavanas, Pahlavas, Sakas and Dravidas figure in Ramayana and Mahabharata. Because they are in the very first chapter of both epics, some consider them later additions.

Moreover , if you look at literal meaning it does not point to any race or clan. Even Sangam Tamil literature use both Yavana and Mlecha for Italians/Romans and not the Greeks!

Oldest book in the world Rig Veda praises all Hindu Gods as Asuras in some places. Later it was applied only to Baddies/ demons.

Kings of Assyrian Dynasty called themselves as Asurs.

Mayans of South and Central America called themselves Mayans, because they were the descendants of Maya, the greatest builder and architect of Hindus, friend of Arjuna and Krishna. Maya was an Asura/Ditya/Danava

Asura is synonymous with Dhanava, Daitya. All mean the same. They were described as sons of Hindu gods. Like we have good and bad people living together they were part and parcel of Hindu community. Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita makes it crystal clear the qualities of Asuras and Devas.

In short, violent bad people with mighty power were known as Asuras. Similar to modern day gangsters, goons or gundas


Greek Connection

Greeks called others (non-Greeks) barbarians. Today we use the word for real barbarians. In the same way Asura also changed its meaning.

But the amazing information in Chandogya Upanishad takes us to Mycenean period of Greek History!!!

Tasmad api adhya iha adadaanam asradhdhaanam ayajamaanam aahuhu asuro vatha ithi

“Hence even at this day, one who does not give (in charity) ,or has no faith, or does not sacrifice, is said to be an Asura. They adorn the bodies of the dead with gifts, with raiment and jewels, and imagine that by this means they shall attain the world to come”- Chandogya Upanishad VIII-8-5

Shatapata Brahmanam  XIII-8-1-5 says the Asuras constructed ‘round graves’.

The general meaning is those who don’t follow the rules of charity, those who don’t worship God through fire sacrifices, and atheists are Asuras.

But look at the specific meaning – ‘burying dead bodies with jewels and clothes’.

When we read it, we are immediately reminded of the Egyptian Mummies

We know they are buried with cotton bandages and enormous jewellery in big buildings called Pyramids. Most of them were plundered in the past 3000 years. The discovery of Tutankhamun (1300 BCE) with all his gem studded golden jewellery stunned the world; but his tomb was not round shaped. It is in Egypt.

Zoroastrians don’t do it. They throw the dead bodies to vultures.

But in Greece we had three periods- Minoan, Mycenaeans and Greek Classical period.

Only Mycenaeans had round graveyard and jewellery with buried dead bodies. One must remember that only kings, lords, and rich people only had this type of burials whether it is Egypt or Greece. Hindus had no such custom. Neither literary nor archaeological evidence is available.

Let us look at a Mycenaean burial.

German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann excavated several areas in Turkey and Greece. When he found a golden mask with other artefacts he thought he discovered king   Agamemnon’s mask. But later research found it was from 1600 BCE. Atreus , father of Agamemnon built ‘tholos’ type of tombs. Like the earlier circular graves later graves also had a stone circle around it. The tomb where the German archaeologist found the golden mask was surrounded by a double stone circle. It suggests it was particularly revered by the Mycenaeans. Agamemnon was murdered by his wife  Clytemnestra  and her lover  Aegisthus. But his son Orestes took revenge by killing them both.

From this historical account we find their violent Asuric behaviour and the above-mentioned circular graveyard and dead bodies buried with jewellery. After thousands of years of plundering and robberies we have one or two treasures intact. So the poets and writers of Satapatha  Brahmana and Chandogya Upanishad knew the 1600 BCE Mycenaeans or earlier Minoans.


Egyptian Tutankhamun’s mask

To be continued………………………

tags– Greeks, Asuras, Round graveyard, Chandogya Upanishad, Mycenean, Burial, Jewellery

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