Ghost in Indus Seals

By London swaminathan

A seal with a ghost or devil was recovered from Indus valley. This is a puzzle for many research scholars. Indeed all the gods and goddesses are puzzles and not yet explained satisfactorily. Many seals with tiger goddesses or half tiger or half woman also remain a puzzle. Marshall and other westerners mislead the entire world by introducing Aryan-Dravidian division in this field. Had they not introduced any absurd theories like that scholars would have solved the puzzle by this time. Scholars would have deciphered the script by this time.


Please read my earlier posts:

1.Serpent Queen: From Indus Valley to Sabarimalai

2.Sugarcane Mystery: Indus valley and Ikshvaku Dynasty

3. Vishnu seal In Indus Valley

4. Indus Valley –New Approach required

5.Indra in Indus valley seals+ Symbols for Vedic Gods

Since scholars have discovered new gods such as “Proto Shiva”, “Murugan before Aryanisation”, “Skanda after Aryanisation”, “Rudra diluted into pacific Shiva”, new scholars also fell into this blind alley and are struggling still. Some scholars even discovered “Dravidian structure” in the script and by publicising this theory, mislead the entire world and not a single inch of progress has been made because of these absurd statements. With all the powerful computers in the world and all the discoveries available via google at the press of a button or by the movement of a computer mouse, we have achieved nothing. Reason? The same old Aryan Dravidian absurdity.

When it comes to Indus Gods they keep quiet, because they can’t see any Aryan or Dravidian  in the tiger Gods or Goat faced or Bull faced Gods. When it comes to the camel skeleton discovered in the Indus valley they turn a blind eye. It is said that the early discoverers did not do the job properly. They did not record the layers from which the artefacts were recovered. If one is able to explain the Indus Gods and Goddesses satisfactorily, without worrying much about what is written on the seals, then we can claim some achievement. But whoever reads all the books by the so called scholars on Indus seals can see they still do not agree on gods or goddesses.

The closest records to Indus period (2500 BC to 1800BC) are the world’s oldest religious book Rig Veda (1500 BC). No other language or books come nearer to this book. The oldest Tamil book, Tolkappiam (1st Century BC), baffled the scholars by giving the Vedic Gods as Tamil Gods. Tolkappiam says INDRA and VARUNA are Tamils’ gods. The other Gods mentioned by Tolkappiam, Seyon (SKKANDA/MURUGAN), Mayon (VISHNU) and Kotravai (DURGA) are also Vedic Gods. Those who wanted to explain Indus Gods conveniently forget or hide this reference. Tolkappiam also refers to the Palmyra Flag of Balarama, Lord Krishna’s brother, elsewhere. In short it is a slap on the face of Aryan-Dravidian theory supporters.

Now we will look at the devil seal recovered and recorded by Marshall. Who are these devils? Are they Devils or Gods? Now we have to go to the closest records to Indus period. Mahabharata, the longest epic in the world, with 200000 lines and one million words has the record of many ghost stories. The people of the Indian sub continent from one end to other end believe in spirits that occupy the lakes, ponds, rivers, mountains, hills and trees. Sanskrit and Tamil literature have hundreds of references to them. Tamils call it Anangu, a Sanskrit word, meaning that which has no form. Sanskrit literature has lot of references to Yaksha, the semi divine, semi human, ghost or devil.

The most famous ghost story of Mahabharat is the Yaksha Prasna. It is a spirit that which occupied a water source where it killed four of the five Pandava brothers. When the fifth person, Dharma came and challenged it, it asked him 130 questions and he answered all of them to the satisfaction of the ghost or Yaksha. Then the Yaksha became very happy and revived all the other four brothers. This is a beautiful ghost story giving a gist of moral values that which Hindus held high.

The other ghost story is the famous Vikram and Vedal story. A just and heroic king Vikramaditya answers all the questions of the ghosts correctly. Vikramaditya is a historic figure and he inspired hundreds of kings who named themselves as Vikramadityas. The Arabs and other cultures copied all the ghost stories and wrote Arabian Nights and other stories.

Sangam Tamil literature, which is two thousand year old, has hundreds of references to ghosts and spirits in the lakes,hills, trees, dark nights ,crematoriums, pregnant women. The Tamil literature prescribe anti dotes for ghost attacks throughout its 2000+ poems running to 27,000 + lines composed by 470+ poets.

Sangam literature says that children should wear Aimpatai Thali, and should use Aiyavi (white mustard) to scare away the evil spirits. Tiruvalluvar knows about these ghost stories and refers to them in his Kural couplets. Pura Nanuru and Kuruntokai say that we should not turn back in the crematoriums after burning a body. Anangu references are too many in Sangam works to refer here.

Now we have to decide whether the Indus ghost is Aryan Ghost or Dravidian Ghost. Since it is a ghost seal, Rationalist Tamils won’t compete with anyone else to claim that it is their own ghost.

We have some Indus seals with a goat or bull faced figure. It carries bow and arrow. The earliest form of Murugan carried bow and arrows. Then came the spear what the Tamils called VEL. In Tamil Nadu we have six or seven temples with Murugan statues carrying Bow and Arrows. Murugan defeated demon Sura Padman with bow and arrow.


Murugan Temples wth Bow and Arrow Murugan statues:

Tirukkollikkadu Agneeswarar Temple,Thiruvettakkudi Sundareswarar Temple,Thiruvidaikazi (near Mayiladuthurai),Villumaiyan pattu,Thiru Sayakkadu,Vilanagar,Thirumayiladi,Ananthamangalam,Neyveli, Polakurichi (as hunter)

Gomukha Yakshan

Jain literature talks about Gomukha Yakshan (bull faced). Saivaite Puranas talk about Shiva replacing Taksha with goat head. We have bull faced vehicle of Shiva, Nandikeswara, and Purusha mruga. We have also Sarabeswara, Kinnara, Kimpurusha – all with half human and half animal features. So the Sanskrit literature give us plenty of materials to identify the devil or bull/goat faced figures of Indus valley.

Atharva Veda has got lot of mantras (spells) to drive away the ghosts or devil or evil spirits. Grtsamada in his hymn to Asvins speak about treasure under trees (RV 2-39). Please read my post “27 SIMILES IN ONE VEDIC HYMN”. This treasure under trees is a familiar theme handled by poets like Tiruvalluvar and saints like Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (The barber and the seven Jars of Gold story).

Goddess Devi killed Mahisasura, the buffalo faced demon which is the most famous theme for sculptors from Gupta caves to Pallava caves. Greeks called it Minotaur.

The full impact of Tamil ghosts is in Parani genre literature and the most famous Parani is Kalingathu Parani. Karaikal Ammaiyar of fifth century AD has also described the dance of ghosts in her poems.

Rig Veda describes Gods as Bulls in at least twenty places. Following this Tamils also used the word ERU (bull) as suffix for several words.


Picture: please see No 14, a figure with bow (click on the picture to enlarge it)

Dr Nagaswamy’s View on Murukan

Dr R Nagaswamy, eminent historian and archaeologist says, “There is a word in Tamil  ‘Anangu’ which is taken to refer to Demon. The real meaning of the Word is “One without a form” or “invisible“ Na angah iti anangah. The Murukan is derived from Murukku “Pey”, is an absudidty. Muruka is not a demon in literature but a destroyer of demon.”

“Please note the name of the drum they (Kurinji people) use during hunting is Murukiyam. It clearly indicates that the term Murukiyam is connected with hunting. That gives us the clue to the origin of the word Murukan givien to Ceyon. The word for hunting in Sanskrit is “Mrg” or “Mrgyana+.It is known Mrga stands for animal and hunting is “mrgyam”. Mrgya changes into “Muruku” in Sanskrit. Such a change is quite commonly found from the Rk vedic times onwards. The word “kru” to do is changed into “kuru” in the age of Rk veda itself. see  Karoti – kurutah-  kurvanti” See Monier Williams Just as  krit becomes kurut – Kurute etc in Sanskrit Mrig becomes Muruk in Sanskrit. Muruka stands for hunter, also the lord of hunters. Chief of hunters.. Thus it is proved beyond doubt that the Muruku standing for Ceyon (Kumara) is a direct  word from Sanskrit as Varuna, Vendan Kaman, Durga etc. This has nothing to do with “Pey”, or “Bhuta”  or “skeleton” as proposed by Mahadevan. Once this is understood then all the other iconographic details of Ceyon fall into position. For example Ceyon’s flag is peacock, the bird of the Kurunci region, his  mount is Elephant, Yanai again of Kurunci, his weapon is spear the hunting weapon per excellence, he married a hunter’s daughter Valli, and he was given honey and Tinai mavu etc. “ Murukan-The origin of the word from Tamil Arts

Devil is Not Murugan

So the seal of devil is not Murugan, according to scholars like Dr R Nagaswamy. Who is the devil then? It may be a Kinnara or Kimpurusa or Gomuka Yakshan.

No culture in the world is without superstitions. Probably the Indus Valley people also had such superstitions. When we look at the half human half tiger seals we can come to that conclusion only.

But a hunter seal may be Mrugya= Murugan.


European Ghosts

Ghosts have travelled to Europe, probably from India, and Shakespeare used them in at least two of his dramas Hamlet and Macbeth.

Romans have half man, half goat in Silvanus or faunas and Greeks have it Pan.

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