Hindu Beliefs in Shakespeare: Moon, Eclipse, Ghosts (Post No.4096)

Written by London Swaminathan

Date: 19 July 2017

Time uploaded in London- 17-11

Post No. 4096

Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks.


It is needless to say that Shakespeare was a great scholar, playwright and a poet. he must have read and heard about India a lot. He lived just 500 years ago and no wonder he knew about India and Hinduism; by that time lot of Europeans were travelling in different directions in search of wealth. We see several references to Hindu beliefs in his plays. Had he been an essayist he would have mentioned the sources; but he was only a playwright and his main aim was to satisfy the English audience.

I have been collecting such references from different sources; I have written about his reference to Nagaratna (Cobra gem) a few years ago. Now look at some more references about Moon, Eclipses and Ghosts.

Mr Crooke, in his book Popular Religion and Folk-Lore of Northern India, has an interesting note on the moon:

“The moon has several special functions in relation to disease. Roots and simples collected by moonlight are more efficacious”. This is quite Shakespearian for Jessica says,


“n such a night Medea gathered the enchanted herbs

That did renew old Aeson “(The Merchant of Venice)

And Laertes speaks of the poison ‘collected from all simples that have virtue under the moon’ (Hamlet) .

Also very common is the belief that any disease contracted by  a man under the waning moon tends to diminish. Patients are often told to look at the moon reflected in butter or milk or water, and the cure will be effected. This is mostly done in the case of leprosy and similar diseases.

“In spite of all these advantages there is very little special worship of the Moon. When an image is erected to him it is usually associated with that of the Sun God. Moon worship is most popular in Bengal and Behar.”


My comments

I have already written about Moon’s effect on mind, why Hindus worship moon, Nagaratna and Vedic hymns linking Plants and Moon. Western biologists have not yet found out what Hindus already knew. Soma is used to denote Moon, Soma herb and moon in astrology.

Eclipses in Shakespeare

Until today Hindus are the only race in the world who take eclipses seriously.  They knew the bad and good effects of the eclipses. Any prayer done during eclipse is 100 times more effective. Any food eaten during or just before the eclipse will have bad effects. Such beliefs and special rituals like propitiating the departed souls do not exist in any other religion. They put Dharba grass in all the cooked foods to save it from the radiation. The reason is that not all the eclipses are bad. But they want the same rules for all eclipses so that people will remember to follow them.

Eclipses are believed to be of evil omen. Gloucester summarises admirably the Hindu belief in passage in King Lear (1-2)

“These late eclipses in the sun and pointed no good to us… love cools, friendship falls off, brothers divide; in cities mutinies; in countries discord; in palaces treason; and the bond cracked ‘twixt son and father”.


Shakespeare said more than what Hindu scriptures said about the eclipses. Hindus will eat no food which has remained in the house during an eclipse, and all the earthen vessels which are in the house must be broken. During an eclipse, all the household business is suspended and eating and drinking prohibited. Even sleeping is forbidden. They bathe before and after the eclipse; use the time for prayers. Orthodox Hindus stand in the water and recite Gayatri mantra. Bathing during eclipse also cleanses from sin.


People born under particular stars wear special talisman, i.e., a palm leaf written with mantra is worn on forehead.

Though Hindus knew what causes eclipses and they calculated precisely and forecast the date and time, they told the laymen some stories. Ignorant people cant understand  astronomical calculations. They told the laymen that two planets (shadows) Rahu and Ketu are demons or snakes and they devour sun and moon.

Ghosts in Shakespeare

Foreigners have a big confusion about Hindu beliefs in ghosts. All the foreigners described Hindus as devil worshippers. Ignorant people like Dr Caldwell called all the Nadar community members as devil worshippers. Other foreigners described 90 percent Hindus are devil worshippers. This is because of their ignorance; they could not differentiate between the Asuras, Rakshasas, departed souls, Brahmarakshas (Brahmin ghosts), demon planets Rahu and Ketu and the actual ghosts (of people who died unnaturally in murders, suicides, accidents); apart from these some tribal beliefs about forests caves and hills (they are like Bermuda Triangles) and anything that cant be explained were classified as mysterious ghosts. Foreign writers classified all these as devil worships. Such beliefs exists in all parts of the world and in all cultures. Atharva Veda described even bacteria and Viruses as demons because the laymen won’t understand. Eclipsing planets such as Rahu and Ketu were described as demons but not ghosts


In King Lear, Shakespeare says,

:Unsepulchred they roamed and shrieked, each wandering ghost”.

The earliest Shakespeare in which Ghosts appear is Richard III. Richard is visited by the spirits of his victims in sleep.

In Hamlet, Horatio doubts the existence of ghosts that Barnardo and Marcellus claimed to have seen on two previous nights.

Horatio says that before Julius Caesar’s assassination,

“he sheeted dead

Did squeak and gibber in Roman streets”

In Julius Caesar, Shakespeare says, Brutus saw the apparition of murdered Caesar. He wondered whether it was some god or angel or devil.


This is definitely Hindu way of questioning.

In Macbeth Banquo’s ghost plays an important role.

In short all the important plays of Shakespeare have ghosts.

Monier William’s Ignorance:—

Rev, E Osborn Martin adds the epithet “bloody” for all the Hindu gods and goddesses: Shiva, Kali, Avatars of Vishnu and Ganesh! They are described in the chapter ‘Demon and Devil worship in India’ in his book ‘The Gods of India’.

Ignorant Sir Monier Williams writes, “the people worshipping a milkman who was killed by a tiger and he became devil”.

Sangam Tamil literature said that the heroes were worshipped after their death. If a person dies in an attack by a tiger or any animal when he tried to save the general public, Tamils erect Hero Stone for him and worship. Even today all the countries in the world erect memorials for their leaders and the visiting foreign dignitary must lay a wreath there. When some accidents happen people go to the spots and lay wreaths or flower bunches and light candles etc. Poor Monier Williams and his colleagues such as Caldwells would have described them as devil worship!


All the ladies who sacrificed their lives to save their honour or in Satee are worshipped! Ignorant foreigners called those devil worship. But they themselves erect war memorials in every nook and corner and ask Kings and Queens to lay flower wreaths every year. we can call them Devil worshippers!!


Sir Alfred Ryall declared that “every mysterious, gruesome looking dell, cavern, steep pass and wild and desolate hill top or ridge in Central India has its Deo (god), never seen of man, but felt by those who visit the spot – by shepherds and herdsmen camping out far amid the melancholy worlds or by travellers along the lonely tracks…. The whereabouts of the spirits is sometimes marked by a heap of stones, sometimes by rags tied to bush, occasionally by chains suspended mystically from a cliff or a tree; or the spirit wanders around a huge banyan tree or a ruined temple.


Mr Bowtring, in his Eastern Experiences (1871), described the Spirit Houses found in the Mysore Forests – little sheds built over the white ant hills and dedicated to the wood demons.

Captain Forsyth, writing about Berar, mentions that when the Gonds fell the wood on a hill side, they leave a little clump of trees to serve as a refuge for the spirit whom they have dislodged.

Westerners also believed in haunted buildings; every year newspaper articles about haunted places appear during Halloween times.

Sangam  age Tamils also believed that spirits occupy all the hills, water sources and trees. It is in Sangam literature. Those who don’t study both Tamil and Sanskrit literature blabber more than others. Hindus believed in ghosts but they are different from good spirits.

Tags: Shakespeare, Hindu Beliefs, Ghosts, Moon ,Eclipse, devil worship






தண்ணீர் கொண்டு வா — நியாயம்!


சம்ஸ்கிருதச் செல்வம் – இரண்டாம் பாகம்

  1. தண்ணீர் கொண்டு வா — நியாயம்!


Post No 1619; Dated 3rd Febraury 2015

by ச.நாகராஜன்


நியாயங்களின் வரிசைத் தொடரில் மேலும் சில நியாயங்களைப் பார்ப்போம்:.


candracandrika nyayah

சந்திர சந்திரிகா நியாயம்

சந்திரனும் அதன் ஒளியும் பற்றிய நியாயம் இது. நிலவின் குளிர்ந்த ஒளியையும் நிலவையும் பிரிக்கவே முடியாது என்பதைச் சொல்லும் இந்த நியாயம் பிரிக்க முடியாதபடி இணைந்து பிணைந்து இருக்கும் இரு பொருள்களைக் குறிக்கப் பயன்படுத்தப்படுகிறது.



jalanayana nyayah

ஜலாநயன நியாயம்


நீரைக் கொண்டு வருதல் பற்றிய நியாயம் இது.


குடிக்கத் தண்ணீர் கொண்டு வா என்று ஒருவரிடம் சொன்னால் அதைக் கொண்டுவரும் போது அதை எடுத்து வருவதற்கான குவளையும் கொண்டு வா என்பதும் அதில் அடங்கும் அல்லவா! பிரிக்க முடியாத ஒன்றுடன் ஒன்று தொடர்பு கொண்ட இரு விஷயங்களைக் குறிப்பிட இந்த நியாயம் பயன்படுத்தப் படுகிறது.

pen painti1

Painting by S. Ilayaraja from Face Book


citrangana nyayah

சித்ராங்கனா நியாயம்

ஓவியம் ஒன்றில் சித்தரிக்கப்படும் அணங்கு பற்றிய நியாயம் இது. எவ்வளவு தான் த்த்ரூபமாக ஒரு அழகியின் படத்தை வரைந்தாலும் கூட அந்த அழகி நேரில் இருப்பது போல ஆகுமா? ஆகாது. எவ்வளவு அரிய முயற்சி எடுத்து ஓவியத்தை வரைந்தாலும் கூட நிஜத்திற்கு அது நிகராகாது. அதே போல ஒருவன் எவ்வளவு தான் சித்தரித்தாலும் பேசினாலும் ஒரு விஷயத்தின் நிஜ ரூபம் காண்பிக்கப்படும் போது அதற்கு நிகராக எதுவும் ஆகாது என்பதைச் சுட்டிக் காட்ட இந்த நியாயம் பயன்படுத்தப்படுகிறது.



kurmanga nyayah.

கூர்மாங்க நியாயம்

கூர்மம் – ஆமை அங்கம் – உறுப்பு

ஆமையின் உறுப்புகள் பற்றிய நியாயம் இது. ஆமை தனது கழுத்து மற்றும் கால்களை தேவைப்படும்போது  மட்டுமே வெளியில் நீட்டும். தேவை இல்லாவிட்டாலோ அல்லது ஒரு ஆபத்து வந்தாலோ அது தன் கழுத்தையும் கால்களையும் இழுத்து தன் ஓட்டிற்குள் அடக்கிக்கொண்டு விடும். அதே போல விஷயம் தெரிந்த ஒருவன் தன் சக்தியை தேவைப்படும் போது மட்டுமே வெளியில் காட்டுவான். சரியான வாய்ப்பு வரும் போது தன் திறனைக் காட்டிப் பயன் பெறுவான். தேவையற்ற காலங்களில் அனாவசியமாக தன் திறமைகளைக் காட்டி சக்தியை விரயம் ஆக்க மாட்டான்; தம்ப்பட்டம் அடிக்க மாட்டான்.

Sugar cane-23


iksuvikara nyayah

இக்ஷுவிகார நியாயம்


கரும்பை எப்படியெல்லாம் மாற்றுகிறோம் என்பதைக் குறிக்கும் நியாயம் இது. கரும்பை வெட்டி எடுத்து அதை முதலில் நசுக்கி அதன் சாறு எடுக்கப்படுகிறது. அந்தச் சாறு சூடாக்கப்பட்டுப் பின்னர்  மெதுவாக திட நிலைக்கு கொண்டு  வரப்படுகிறது. பின்னர் அது சுத்திகரிக்கப்பட்டு அழகிய வெல்லக் கட்டிகளாக ஆக்கப்படுகிறது. படிப்படியாக ஒரு விஷயம் பக்குவப்படுத்தப்பட்டு இறுதியில் விரும்புகின்ற ஒரு வடிவமாக ஆவதைச் சுட்டிக்காட்ட இந்த நியாயம் பயன்படுத்தப்படும்.

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Mr.30! Indra and Chandra!! Rig Veda Mystery-5


Research paper written by London Swaminathan
Research article No.1349; Dated 15h October 2014.

Indra and Chandra are called Mr.Thirty in Indian and Sumerian cultures respectively. Chandra, the Sanskrit word for moon, is a male deity in Hindu scriptures and astrology. But in several other cultures moon is feminine deity.

Indra is called Tri dasa pati (Three Ten Lord= Lord of Three Tens) in Hindu scriptures because he is the head of the thirty three Vedic Gods. But yet this number is rounded to 30!

Tridasa pati is used in Carnatic musicians’ compositions and inscriptions (Sravanabelagola inscription, Thyagaraja Kriti) and Hindu mythology.

The thirty three Gods are 12 Dwadasa Aditya, 11 Ekadasa Rudra and 8 Ashta Vasu and Two Asvins.

It is a coincidence that Sumerians also rounded the number 27 or 29 and a half to 30!
Why moon is called No.30?


It seems that in all the cultures of the Near East the moon was imagined a male deity. In Anatolia, the Hurrian moon God was Kushuh corresponding to earlier Hattic god Kashku and Luwian Arna. The name was usually written with the name of the Mesopotamian moon god Sin or the numeral 30 – representing the thirty days in a month.

In Ugarit the moon god was Yarih.

Only the Greeks and the Romans worshipped moon as goddess. They were called Selene and Diana respectively.
Moons other names in different cultures:–
Menuo, Man Nannan, Mani, Myesyats , Mene, Kushukh, Amins, Soma , Chandra, Full moon : Pournami or Purnima;
In Tamil , Thingal, Nilavu and Pirai

The moon was the first calendar of the ancient people, as it disappears and reappears every month. The word for month comes from moon and that in turn comes from indo- European root ‘’me’’ – measure –. The god Mani determined the waxing and waning of the moon. One of his titles was ‘year-counter’ and another was ‘time teller’. The Norse and Anglo- Saxons had two kinds of months, a proper lunar month of 29 and half days and a common law month of 28 days.

Like Hindus Baltic culture believed that there is a connection between moon and the plants. Like Hindus they also sowed seeds during the bright half of the month. Baltic people also prayed to the new moon for health during full moon like Hindus . Major Hindu festivals are held on full moon days. In fact all the 12 full moons in a year are big festival days in the Hindu temples.

A lot of rituals are linked with full moon around the world. People thought that there is a link between the menstruation and ovulation of women. They prayed to moon for children. Hindus do Puja (worship) with flowers on Full Moon days. Many of the Hindu gods and goddesses have crescent moon on their head.

In Hinduism the word Soma is used for both the moon and a miraculous herb. Hindus use Sasi (Sin in Sumerian) Chandran (Suen in Sumerian) . In Tamil Thingal is moon like the Canaanite Nikkal. Nannan is also a familiar name in Sangam Tamil literature.

Nanna was a Mesopotamian moon god worshiped from 3500 BCE. He was the tutelary god of Ur. His wife was Ningal (rhyming with Tamil Thingal).


Rig Veda Mystery -5
I have already posted Rig Veda Mystery 1 to 4.
We have already seen Vedic number puzzle of four horns, three feet, two heads and seven hands (RV 4-58).
Here is another Rig Vedic number riddle about 33 gods:

Three times a hundred gods and thrice a thousand, and three times ten and nine have worshiped Agni.
For him spread sacred grass, with oil bedewed him and established him as Priest and Sacrifice-(RV 3-9).
Griffith who translated the above hymn says,

In the Vaisvadeva Nivid or hymn of invitation to the Visvedevas the number of Gods is said to be 3 times 11, then 33, then 303, then 3003. By adding together 33+ 303+ 3003 the number 3339 is obtained

My opinion is that the Vedic seers must be mathematics geniuses to use maths in worshiping Gods. They were great intellectuals to use Number symbolism 4000 years ago. When we compare this with the Sumerian poems of Gilgamesh, they sound like barbaric and primitive poems of low level intellect!! I am not making this sweeping statement on the basis of this one verse. Those who study the Vedas and the last hymn of the Rig Veda (10-191) will be surprised to find how advanced they were. Vedic seers sing the World Anthem for the welfare of the human beings (I have already written about this International Anthem of the World).

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