Evolution: Monkey to Man! Some Anecdotes about Ancestors!

a dumas

Article No. 2090

Written by London swaminathan
Date : 21 August  2015
Time uploaded in London :– 15-18

It is a common belief that mankind evolved from the monkeys. But the fact of the matter is man did not evolve from apes like gorillas or chimpanzees but he shares a common ancestor with them. Since there many missing links in the evolutionary ladder, still it debated by the biologists. There are some interesting anecdotes about ANCESTORS.


Abraham Lincoln’s Ancestors

Speaking of his ancestry Lincoln once humorously remarked, “ I don’t know who my grandfather was, but I am much more concerned to know what his grandson will be.”

Alexandre Dumas and Baboon!

The elder Dumas was once interviewed by an enterprising reporter, who like many other admirers of the novelist, was curious about his ancestry. “Is it true that you are a quadroon, M.Dumas?”, he asked.

“I am, sir,” Dumas replied.

“So your father……….?”

“Was a mulatto”

“And your grandfather…………?”

“Was a negro.”

Dumas’ patience was running out but the reporter was a bold man. He continued: “And may I inquire who your great- grandfather was?”

“A baboon, sir!” thundered Dumas. “A baboon! My ancestry begins where yours ends!”

((Quadroon : a person who is one quarter black by descent.

Mulatto : a person of white and black ancestry.

Alexander Dumas was famous for his novels and stories such as Three Musketeers. His novels were translated into 100 languages. 200 feature films were on his stories. He wrote 100,000 pages in his life time.))

CONGO - CIRCA 2008: stamp printed by Congo, shows Olive baboon, circa 2008

   CONGO – CIRCA 2008: stamp printed by Congo, shows Olive baboon, circa 2008


Mark Twain’s Ancestor!

The story is told that Mark Twain was once a guest of an Englishman who took him, with some pride, into a manorial hall hung with huge tapestry depicting the judging of King Charles the First. The host placed his fingers with great pride upon the figure of one of the obscure clerks of the court and said, “An ancestor of mine.

Twain, always offended by such ostentation, casually put his finger upon one of the judges seated on the tribunal and remarked, “An ancestor of mine but it is no matter, I have others.”

ROMANIA - CIRCA 1960: stamp printed by Romania show Mark Twain, circa 1960.

ROMANIA – CIRCA 1960: stamp printed by Romania show Mark Twain, circa 1960.


To a man who had proudly said, “My ancestors came over in the Mayflower,” Will Rogers retorted, “My ancestors were waiting on the beach.”

may flower mayflower13

96 Salutes to Departed Souls!

Rameswaram on Mahalaya Amavasya (new moon day)

Research paper written by London Swaminathan
Research article No.1370; Dated 25th October 2014.

Whenever a state leader dies 21 gun salutes are given to him or her. Then he or she is forgotten. The canon balls are fired from the canons. On other occasions such as swearing in as the President of a country or a State visit also the custom is followed. There is no particular reason for the 21 gun salutes other than it is a naval tradition. But Hindu Brahmins salute the departed souls (manes or dead ancestors) 96 times a year!! Not with the canons, but with the water, Sesame seeds and Dharba grass! So the dead people will be remembered and respected throughout the year.

All Hindus pay respects to the departed relatives at least once a year or twice a year. But Brahmins used to give water oblations 96 times a year in the olden days. Now it has come down to 25 to 30 times every year.

thai amavasya
Thai month Amavasai (new moon day)

The beauty of the 96 ceremonies is that Brahmins do it for all the departed people. This was the reason for Hindu kings giving big donations of land and gold to the Brahmin priests. A large number of Tamil inscriptions out of the total 80,000+ inscriptions are about the donations made to the Brahmins or the temples.

When the Brahmins offer sesame seeds and water over the dharba grass in which they have invoke the departed people, they say that they offer it to all known and unknown people. First they say the names of three generations on father’s side and then three generations on mother’s side. On each side husbands and wives are remembered.

Another beauty is the mantra they recite. I will give you just one mantra:

“Please come through the sky route and take a seat here.
May the winds bring us happiness.
May the rivers carry happiness to us.
May the herbs give us happiness.
May night and day yield us happiness.
May the dust of the earth bring us happiness.
May the heavens give us happiness.
May the trees give us happiness.
May the sun pour down happiness.
May the cows yield us happiness. (Madu Vatha ruthayathe. . . . . . )

adi amavasya
Ad Amavasai Priest

This is actually from the Taitriya Aranyaka (10-39). They recite this mantra every time they pay respect to the departed relatives. There are more mantras like this in the same ceremony. When they finish it they say, “whoever has not got any friend or relative or father or mother or distant relatives let all souls be pleased with this offering (it is equal to Christian’s RIP= Rest in Peace)

Following days are selected by orthodox Hindus for this ceremony:
It is called Tarpanam or Srardham. In the olden days they were actually using fire to do this. Later it was simplified. I have already written a post about the use of Sesame seeds from Vedas to Indus Valley (Tarpanam means that which pleases; Srardham is that which is done with faith or sincerity)

12 New Moon Days called Amavasya
12 First days of 12 traditional months
12 Ashtaka days (Krishna Paksha Ashtami, Navami, Dasami of four months Margasirsha to Phalguna (3 X4 =12)
16 Mahalaya Paksha ( When the sun enters Kanya Rasi (Virgo in Hindu calendar, the ceremony is done during the dark period / Krishna Paksha)
14 Manvathi Sirardha days (Calendar shows the 14 Manvantara days. This is done to honour the rule of 14 Manus)
4 Yuga Adhi Srardham (This is to mark the beginning of 4 eras)
26 Vyadipada-Vaidruti-vishkambam (This is based on two of the 27 Yogas; 13+13=26 days are shown in traditional Panchang/calendars)
The total is 96.
TharpaNam Pic

This is practised all over India. Sanskrit literature has got hundreds of references to this custom. 2000 year old Sangam Tamil literature also refers to it. Hindus believed that the departed souls bless their living relatives from the heaven. They believed that they lived in the southern direction.

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