Post No. 10,163

Date uploaded in London – 2 OCTOBER  2021         

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(A reader has sent me a question asking whether it is true that Hindus got the concept of Rebirth and Karma theory from Buddhism and Jainism. Here is my reply; I will give it in Tamil as well)

Rig Veda is the oldest book in the world dated between 1500 BCE and 4000 BCE. It has references to rebirth, and transmigration of soul. Buddhism and Jainism borrowed it from Hindus and blown it out of proportion.

Hindus believed in four values Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. Other oriental religionists followed them, but their scriptures don’t approve them in crystal clear terms. Hindus did value them proportionately and practised them in four stages of life Brahmacharya, Grahastha asrama, Vanaprastha and Sanyasa. If we need examples, we have lots in the Mahabharata, oldest and longest epic in the world, and 2000 year old Sangam Tamil literature.

If anyone says that these concepts of Rebirth, Karma Theory and Reincarnation came from Buddhism or Jainism, that means they did not study Brhad Aranyaka Upanishad (The Big Forest Treatise). Buddha took the words Nirvana, Karma etc from this Upanishad which is dated 850 BCE even by the white skinned, Yellow eyed/jaundice eyed, ill motived, non-believers of the West.

Before giving evidence from the Vedas and Upanishads I wanted to alert Hindus about dating. Hindu calendars very clearly date the beginning of Kaliyuga in 3102 BCE. Hindu inscriptions support this in at least two or three very early inscriptions. Bhagavad Gita and its source book Mahabharata give thousands of references to rebirth and Karma theory. If we don’t believe the Hindu dating and believe the date given by Anti Hindu non -believers, it is our fault.

But I admit that all Hindu scriptures were ‘updated’ in language, style and contents from time to time, but yet we can clearly see the original idea or concept in it. Foreigners took the latest updated word and dated them. But they did not do it to Hebrew or Greek literature or Sumerian or Egyptian literature. If anyone studies them, we can see there is controversy in every literature.  When we compare the volume of such literature there is nothing in Greek or Hebrew before the period of Brhad Aranyaka Upanishad. Vedas were very old compared to them.

Before going any further, I wanted to give you one more bit of information. There are many funeral hymns in the Rig Veda. No one could understand them fully.  White skinned people added notes now and then such as ‘they are obscure’, ‘the meaning is not certain’; ‘they may be taken from elsewhere and attached here’; ‘they are jumbled’, ‘they may be later additions’. None of them are the words of Sayana, but they alleged that they follow Sayana in translations.

Sayana himself came just 700 years before our time. But Vedas are at least 3000 years before him. No one could understand them fully.


Evidence from the Rig Veda

The word ‘Amrtam’ occurs in the Rig Veda hundreds of times. The meaning is very clear. It gives eternal life. Where ? You are with God or in Heaven for ever. That means you are not reborn; you are out of the Samsara Chakra- the cycle/wheel of birth and death.


‘Rebirth is even offered as a reward’ – says Satapata Brahmana (SB. 1-5-3-14); dated 800 BCE by foreigners; well before Buddha and Mahavira.

Later Puranas claim that even the Devas (angels in the heaven) long for a life on earth, in the holy country of Bharat.


Agni consumes only the body, and the departed soul, ‘the unborn part’ (RV. 10-16-4) issues forth as from the father or mother (SB 2-2-4-8) furnished with a body, all lustrous (RV.10-56-1) and free from imperfections (Atharva Veda. A.V.6-120-3)


Heaven is full of light

All the funeral hymns talk about dead body travelling as Light.

The heavenly delights are described in RV.9-113- 7 to 11

“There are eternal light and swift waters; there movement is unrestrained; there is spirit food and satiety; there are joy, glee, gladness and the fulfilment of all desires.

A few more heartening touches are added by other texts :-

RV 10-135-7

AV.3-29-3; 4-34

SB. 14-7-1-32/33

Agni (after cremation) carries the newly departed to this place RV 10-154-2 to 5.


What is Hell?

In contrast to heaven, Hell is described as

‘Deep place’, ‘endless abyss’, ‘intangible darkness’ (RV.4-5-5; 7-104-3 and 7

‘Lowes’t, ‘black’, ‘blind darknes’s – AV.8-2-24;5-30-11; 9-2-10

We find the word ‘Naraka, Naraka loka’ in Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda.

Torments of Hell are touched in in AV. 5-19 and described in greater detail in SB. 2-6-1 and JB.1-42-4


Punya in bank account

You earn more punya – currency notes given for your  good deeds- and save them in your account; you will be using this currency in Heaven.

Merits of sacrificial and charitable acts accrue to the departed in heaven (RV.10-14-8; VS 18-64).

Karma appears in AV.


Rebirth in RV

Macdonell sees probable germ of metempsychosis ( the  transmigration at death of the soul of a human being or animal into a new body of the same or a different species.) in RV 10-16-3 where the departed spirit is asked to go, among other places, to the plants and stay there with bodies.

Growing belief in Rebirth becomes evident in the Brahmanas (SB and TB).

Words like ‘Punar Mrtyu’ ( re death)  and ‘Punar asu’ ( coming to life again)

, ‘Punar Aayaath’ (rebirth) in GB.

All brahmanas are dated before Buddha and Mahavira.

Departed soul is asked ‘to come home again’ in RV.10-14-8

And Agni is supplicated to see that he may assume life and obtain progeny in RV.10-16-5


Quotes in Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita

A lot of quotes about Karma and Rebirth are in the Upanishads. Bhagavad Gita summarises it beautifully well in its second chapter. Most of the Hindu devotees know them. Sangam Tamil literature, mostly secular in contents, which came after all these books, also refer to rebirth, Punya, Papa, Hell, Heaven etc. Later Tamil Devotional scriptures have innumerable references to karma theory and rebirth.

Even beggars’ folk songs refer to them and they go from house to hose or street to street begging for alms!


Warning to sceptics

Hindu literature is vast; the religious scriptures available in Sanskrit, are incomparably vast. If we draw a line in 850 BCE, there is none in other religion. You may find them in ‘Museum Religions’ or ‘Fossil Religions’ such as Sumerian, Babylonian and Mayan. Coming to Hebrew Bible or scriptures , they are later than the 20,000 mantras of four Vedas. And unlike Vedas, they have contradictory and conflicting matter. We know about the Dead Sea scrolls and the untranslated Greek Bible in the British Library. If it is translated, they fear a Pandora’s Box will be opened. We also know that Moses , who is the foundation rock of three Semitic religions, has no archaeological or historical proof. Hindus have their proof in Sarasvati- Indus River Bank Civilization (Harappan) from 2500 -1700 BCE.




Picture of Empedocles


Written by London Swaminathan

Date – 27th December 2019

Post No.7388

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EMPEDOCLES was a Greek philosopher who lived before Socrates in Greece. He was born in 493 BCE and died in 433 BCE at the age of 60. There are very interesting stories, poems and dramas about him. He was a philosopher and scientist.

He proposed that the universe is composed of four elements – FIRE, AIR, EARTH AND WATER which through the action of love and discord are eternally constructed, destroyed and constructed anew. He lived in Acragas / Agrigentum in Sicily according to tradition.  He committed ‘suicide’ by throwing himself into crater of the volcano Mount Etna.

Hindus believed in Pancha Bhutas (Five elements); for some reason Empedocles left out Akasa (space/ vacumn).

He believed in the Hindu concepts of



3.Cyclical Creation and Dissolution

4.Written in verses (like Sutras)

He was the last of the Greek writers to write everything in verse.

He was a follower of Pythagoras who was widely believed to have proposed the Hindu theorem, known in the western world as Pythagoras theorem. He also believed in reincarnation.

Both Pythagoras and Empedocles travelled to the East. They might have received all the Upanishadic thoughts from Iran or India. Later writers wrote that Empedocles travelled to the Land of Magis.

Land of Magis is described as Iran or East up to Sindhu region. The word Magi is in Bible and in the English word Magic. First, they translated as three magicians visited Jerusalem when Jesus was born. Then they changed it into ‘Three Wisemen visited Jerusalem’. It is derived from a Sanskrit word ‘Maya’ meaning illusion. Hindu saints may have been called by this name(Mayaaavaadi) because they described the world, its existence etc. as illusory. Magic is also an optical illusion.

Atma Thyaga (Self Sacrifice)

Hindu saints enter Fire or Water when they think that their mission in life is accomplished or finished. We have several instances of spontaneous combustion (please read my old article on it) in Hindu literature. A Hindu saint who went to Mayan civilisation entered fire saying that he would come back. When the Spanish robbers and murderers came to America, Incas believed that the Hindu saint with his team has come back and gave the white man  royal welcome to the murderers. They destroyed the whole Aztec, Olmec, Mayan and Inca civilisations.

Here in the case of Empedocles it was not a suicide he committed. Being a great philosopher he asked his followers to take him to the top of the volcano Mount Etna and drop him into the fire. We see such things in the life of great philosopher Kumarila Bhatta and the greatest of the Sangam Tamil Poets Kapila. Both of thee entered fire voluntarily when their missions were accomplished (please see my old articles for the full story; links are given below).

Bharatiyar, the greatest of the modern Tamil poets has described it in a stanza

“And when one puts a finger in a fame

Nandalala (God), one feels

The thrill of your touch

Nandalala “

His thoughts on various topics

Ancients were fascinated by dreams and much thought was devoted to how they could be explained. Empedocles got close to modern ideas by proposing that dreams dealt with day’s residue. (In the ‘Interpretation of dreams’ by Artemidorus of second century CE, we see his finding that slaves’ dreams commonly featured fear of losing a master’s trust or hopes of freedom)

Empedocles’ belief that the cosmos was constructed by four elements was believed by great Aristotle as well. His authority was so great among intellectuals and the church fathers that the theory was simply assumed to be true for nearly 2000 years till the experimental method was invented in the sixteenth century.

Later authors of medicine attributed body parts, four humours, four seasons to four elements.

Pythagoras in the sixth century BCE, argued that from the moment of conception the foetus was body and soul with every innate human capacity intact. Empedocles thought that the foetus became fully human only at birth.

Since Empedocles wrote in verses, people interpret it differently. More over some of his poems are discovered in parts and joined together. There is a debate whether it is correct or incorrect.

Hindu scholars’ views on Empedocles

Dr S Radhakrishnan says

“Sixth century BCE was remarkable for the spiritual unrest and intellectual ferment in many countries. In China we had Lao Tzu and Confucius, in Greece Parmenides and Empedocle,s in Iran Zarathustra, in India Mahavira and the Buddha. In that period many remarkable teachers worked upon their inheritance and developed new points of view.”

P C Ray and  P Ray say

“KAPILA , the reputed originator of  Samkhya philosophy, developed his ideas  about the ultimate particles of matter in the latter part of his theory of cosmogenesis . The atomic theory of Samkhya bears a great resemblance to the Greek theory of elements introduced by Empedocles .”

Samkhya is the oldest of the six Hindu philosophical systems. Kapila lived before the time of Empedocles .

Professor Macdonell in his history of Sanskrit literature remarks on the question of whether Hindus borrowed the ideas from the Greeks,

“According to Greek tradition , Thales, Empedocles, Anaxagoras, Democritus and others undertook journeys to oriental countries in order to study philosophy. Hence there is at least the historical possibility of the Greeks have been influenced by the Indian thought through Persia (Iran).”

Colebrook too sums up his views in the following words,

“I should be disposed to conclude that the Indians were in this instance teachers than learners.”

Prof. H H Wilson in his preface to Samkhyakarika also observes,

“That the Hindus derived any of their philosophical ideas from the Greeks seems very improbable , and if there is any borrowing in this case, the latter were most probably indebted to the former.”

A KALYANARAMAN in his book ARYATARANGINI has given a detailed analysis of this topic. I will give it separately.






EUREKA , PETER JONES, 2014 › 2011/11/15 › the-mysterious-disappearance-of-…

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Posts about Fire Walking written by Tamil and Vedas.

Empedocles’ atma thyaga (self sacrifice) have been referred to by various authors and poets up to Mathew Arnold and Bertrand Russel. This incident also proved that he was a great Hindu follower. › 2014/07/12 › five-ascetics-who-entered-fire-ved…

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12 Jul 2014 – Tamil poet Kabila did enter fire after fulfilling his noble mission. Aztec saint Quetzalcoatl (may be a Hindu saint) did sacrifice his life in fire.


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Sati by women | Tamil and Vedas

31 Oct 2012 – Posts about Sati by women written by Tamil and Vedas.

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“Aryan SATI” in Sangam Tamil Literature! | Tamil and Vedas

14 Jun 2014 – Practice of Sati is found in ancient Sangam Tamil literature at least in three places. Sati is the custom practised by some Hindu women in the olden times. The wife of the diseased husband will enter the funeral pyre of her husband.


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