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Bharatiyas in Egypt?

By: for ISKCON News on Dec. 2, 2014
Opinion
Photo Credits: www.hdwalle.com

It was around 2 years ago when I had seen an ancient Egyptian depiction of what seemed like a child drinking milk from a cow’s udder. At the very sight, it reminded me of Gopala (little Krishna). I had asked myself: Might it be the Hindu deity, or is it my imagination which is making wild associations? Also, I came across the Fayyum mummy portraits of ancient Egypt (Roman era) at that time- paintings of men and women, mostly with brown eyes and hairs. Something that caught my attention was a very ‘living’ portrait (found in 1911) of a bearded man with something that looked like a ‘tilak’ on his forehead.[1] …A tilak! A Vaishnava tilak? A Vaishnava in Egypt! Is that possible? Or, am I making arbitary connections once again?

Subsequently, I realized that my guesses were not that mad, when I stumbled upon independent researcher Bibhu Dev Misra’s sister-articles on Bhaarat -Egypt connections (“Krishna worship and Rathyatra Festival in Ancient Egypt?” and, “The journey of Jagannath from India to Egypt: The Untold Saga of the Kushites.") in the first half of 2013. 

PUNT: "Since 1985, Dr. Dreyer and his team have unearthed about 300 pieces of written material on clay tablets (from over 5,000 years ago) barely bigger than postage stamps." in Egypt. In this connection, Sindhologist Wim Borsboom writes, “I'm coming closer to the conclusion that "Early Proto-Sinaitic", the earliest "Pre-Ashokan Brahmi" and perhaps a dozen of Indus Script signs have a connection with Upper Egypt...

Whether an early script (which may have given rise to the above three) came from there or was introduced there is actually hard to say as there are rock- engravings close to that part of Egypt [Drawings of Petroglyphs found in Wadi Hammamat after illustrations in the book "Legend" by David Rohl] that appear to indicate a migration of seafarers from the Red Sea into Egypt. (They even carried their vessels through the desert via the wadis ["...The wadi contains many carvings and inscriptions dating from before the earliest Egyptian Dynasties to the modern era, including the only painted petroglyph known from the Eastern Desert and drawings of Egyptian reed boats dated to 4000 BCE.”[2]). Who these people were is hard to say, but their hairdo and horned headdresses are suggestive of their origin - which for now I will leave unidentified."[3] Non-Jonesian indologist, Dr. Ranajit Pal, and others also think that the south semitic script had actually evolved from the Harappan script.

According to Bibhu Dev Mishra, the ‘ancestral homeland of the ancient Egyptians, which they referred to as “Punt” (also called “Pwenet”)’ might have been Bhaarat. He writes: “Punt was also considered as a “personal pleasure garden” of the god Amun, whom we have already identified with Krishna (or Jagannath)... Queen Hatshepsut [belonging to the 18th dynasty] was an ardent devote of Amun and had actively developed the Opet festival [which has been equated with the Ratha-yatra festival of Bhaarat by him] into a grand ceremony.”[4] Mishra has identified the ‘Trinity of Ethiopia’, Amen, Mut and Khonsu, with Krishna, Balaram and Subhadra of Bhaarat. He refers to the ancient Egyptian expeditions to Punt. Apart from the above, he also gives other reasons to support his claims.

OTHER SIMILARITIES: Other gods of ancient Egypt share similarities with the different Hindu gods of Bhaarat too. Ptah (Pitah) reminds one of Brahma; Horus could be equated with the Vedic Dyaus Pitra; Ra’s Vedic counterpart is Mitra (Surya); Osiris might be identified with Yama; Sekhmet has attributes similar to Durga; Wadjet is reminiscent of Naga-devi; Khnum and Nejamesha are both depicted as being ram-headed; Apis and Nandi have similar purposes(?), and so on.

However, I found that my initial guess about ‘little Krishna and the cow in Egypt’ was wrong. The depiction was that of Tuthmosis III, and not that of Gopala.[5] “Hathor’s most famous manifestation is as a cow. Even when she appeared as a woman, she often wore cow’s horns, or a pair of cow’s ears. Hathor is frequently depicted suckling the pharaoh, whether in the guise of the cow or as a sycamore fig, a tree that exudes a white milky substance. At the Shrine of Hathor; Hatshepsut (Venus), a queen who would rule as pharaoh and Tuthmosis III (Moon) are depicted bringing offerings to Hathor. Hatshepsut (Venus) is also seen nursing from the divine cow as seen in fig 11 and drawing 11a."[6] Goddess Hathor was originally the personification of the milky way, and is equivalent to the Vedic goddess Aditi, I think. The bovine-form of Hathor also brings goddess Kamadhenu to my mind. Horned head-dresses seem to have been in fashion in the Sapta Sindhu (Indus valley) of Harappan times.

By the way, something that had caught my attention: the trefoil-designs made on the cow’s body in [4] are eerily reminiscent of the trefoils made on the body of the statue of the ‘priest-king’ from Mohen-jo daro (circa 2600 BCE).[7] Dr. Ranajit Pal believes that trefoil could have either had astral significance, or could have been an ‘ancient form of trinity’. I’ve noticed similar trefoils on the figure of a recumbent calf from Uruk (3300-2900 BCE).[8] and, on a bowl of steatite with two bulls from Ur (dates back to 2250 BCE), both in Mesopotamia. We know about the extensive Harappan trade-networks. But, some scholars have also seen the Harappans and the Sumerians as ‘sister-tribes’.

BENGAL AND EGYPT: Bibhu Dev Misra writes: “Some scholars have, however, pointed out the similarity between the culture of Egypt and Eastern India. Peter Von Bohlen, a German Indologist, mentioned that there are elements of folk art, language, place names and rural culture of Bengal (the state adjacent to Orissa and included in it in ancient times) which have an affinity with their Egyptian counterparts.”[9] Dr. Ranajit Pal believes that the original homeland of the people of Bengal and Orissa was in what is now Pakistan and south-east Iran, from where they had migrated to present-day eastern India and Bangladesh in post-Mauryan times.[10]

Interestingly, my first inspiration in the alternative Bhaaratiya historical research, Vedic researcher Vrndavan Brannon Parker, has recently published an article on the Ratha-yatra festival in Babylon, Mesopotamia. So, does this suggest a westward movement of the same people, or, are the Bengal-Egypt cultural similarities a result of later trade-contacts? Let us see.

KUSH AND KASSITES: Misra thinks that it was the Kushites (or Kassites) who had migrated from the Sapta Sindhu to Egypt in around 17-1600 BCE after the fall of Harappa, or even earlier. The Wikipedia states: “…modern scholars have often suggested that certain uses of the name Cush in the Bible might refer instead to the Kassites of the Zagros Mountains region (within modern Iran)”.[11] Note that the Wikipedia says, “Mentuhotep II (21st century BC founder of the Middle Kingdom) is recorded to have undertaken campaigns against Kush in the 29th and 31st years of his reign. This is the earliest Egyptian reference to Kush; the Nubian region had gone by other names in the Old Kingdom.[6]”[12] Kassites became prominent in western Iran in circa 1800 BCE, and captured Babylon in the 16th century BCE. Misra writtes that many Sumerian inscriptions refer to them as ‘Meluhha-Kasi’, ‘Meluhha’ possibly being the other name for the Sapta Sindhu. Misra refers to the book, “History  ofcivilizations of Central Asia’, which was commissioned by the UNESCO, in support of his views.

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About the author: Alapan Roy Chowdhury is an amateur alternative researcher. He has done his Master’s in English literature at the University of Calcutta. Currently, he is pursuing the Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) course under the same University, with English and History as Method subjects. 

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References:-

 [1]. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hawara_MoS_1911.210.1.JPG.

[2]. Wikipedia: Wadi Hammamat.

[3]. From Wim  Borsboom’s comments in Harappa.com

[4]. The journey of Jagannath from India to Egypt: The Untold Saga of the Kushites, Bibhu Dev Mishra. 

[5]. A detail of a painted sandstone statue from the chapel of Tuthmosis III. Hathor in the form of a cow suckles a royal infant Country of Origin: Egypt. Culture: Ancient Egyptian. Date/Period: 18th dynasty c.1479-1425 BC. Place of Origin: Deir el-Bahri, West Thebes: 

[6]. The SACRED WHITE COW in Egypt: The Goddess HATHOR, Myriel RAouine.

[7].  Mohenjo-daro Priesterkönig.

[8]. here.

[9]. Krishna worship and Rathyatra Festival in Ancient Egypt?, Bibhu Dev Mishra.

[10]. From Dr. Ranajit Pal’s website (http://www.ranajitpal.com/) : Early Vanga, Kalinga and Magadha were near Cape Maceta: http://www.ranajitpal.com/jones-1.jpg.

[11] & [12]. Wikipedia: Kingdom of Kush.

Tags:
[ antiquity ] [ egypt ]
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