A very informative post by Brannon Parker / The Collected Works of Bhakti Ananda Goswami: Meghistos Kouros.
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Velkanos & Bal Kanha – Divine Boy of Ancient Crete & Braj
Note: Original version written in 2011, updated 2021
Who is Zeus? Who is Kouros and who is Velchanos?
Crete is home to one of humanity’s most ancient Civilizations. The human presence on Crete may indeed reach far back into the earliest epochs of history. In 2002, 5,600,000 year old human-like footprints were discovered on the island. Debate rages as to their significannce. However, the discovery of 130,000 years old stone tools have incontrovertibly affirmed a Paleolithic human presence on Crete. Based upon this discovery, the historic timeline for seafaring has now been pushed back by thousands of years. Suffice it to say, there truly can be no doubt regarding the extreme antiquity of Cretan civilization.
Moving forward into recorded history, civilization blossomed in Crete long before the Greek Mycenaean era. The religion of ancient Crete verily served as a template for the Greeks of the Classical Age. Its religious and mystical sites were Places of Pilgrimage for it was the birthplace of Zeus himself. Thus rather than just another civilization, Crete was both the economic and religious epicenter of ancient Mediterranean high civilization.
Pointing again at the ancient and globally prevalent presence of Sanskrit, scholars have recognized a clear relationship between ancient Minoan Linear A and Sanskrit, A key question thus arises. Is language the sole Vedic cultural artifact yet discovered? The answer can now be revealed. A brief review of the evidence provides some startling insights into the nature of ancient Minoan and Mycenaean religion and belief.
The Divine Boy of Crete
Over 100 yrs ago, Jane Harrison, one of the world’s leading experts on Greek Religion, wrote of an ancient Hymn to Kouros. Called the Hymn of the Kouretes, it is in praise of Meghistos Kouros, ‘the Greatest and Youthful at the head of the Gods‘. Found at an ancient temple on the Island of Crete, it is one of history’s most important discoveries in the understanding of ancient religion. Adressed to Zeus in his youthful form as Kouros Welchanos, “This hymn was inscribed on both sides of a limestone slab, four fragments of which were recovered from votive pits near Roussolakkos at Palaikastro, Crete in 1904. This discovery confirmed that Palaikastro was the site of the ancient Diktaion – the sanctuary famed in antiquity for the worship of Zeus’. Jane Harrison, ‘Themis: a Study of the Social Origins of Greek Religion
This book reveals that the worship of Baby Zeus as Kouros is at the very origins of ancient Minoan and Greek religion. Zeus is identified as Kouros ‘the youthful and the greatest.’ He is identified as the ‘Divine Boy’ who was hidden away at birth and given to another to be as his mother. Arthur Evans, the famous discoverer of Minoan civilization classified him as, “… a divine child or a youth.’
Meghistos Kouros ‘Greatest Kouros’ Megha and Maha are the same word.
Young Zeus is represented in ancient Minoan art as a long-haired youth and hymned to as ‘ho megas kouros’ or “the great youth.” He is surrounded by the Kouretes, young men initiates of the Kouros tradition. They were a band of ecstatic armed dancers, protecting the Infant Zeus. This same element is present in the Indic Vaishnava tradition as well. Thus the Cowherd men led by Child Krishna’s adopted father, Nanda Maharaj protected the youth as he was suckled by Cows.
“Kouros most great, I glorify you, Kronian, lord of all that is moist and gleaming, you stand at the head of all gods…rejoice in our dance and our song! with lyre and flutes as we sing around your altar…” Hymn to Kouros, the ‘Divine Youth’ of Crete
Young Zeus, known as Kouros was also named Welchanos. (Here W is pronounced V and the CH is pronounced as K. Welchanos has thus been confused with the demigod Vulcanus. Some scholars doubt that Welchanos, Velchanos, Kourus and Zeus are one. Yet the only proof they give is that his name is found along with the name of Zeus within the same prayer. thus they say he must be a totally different God.
However if we applied this to any Vedic Mantra we can easily see the innaccuracies of this conclusion. It is an example of scholars with no background in devotional practice of any of the living sacred traditions, they reach a mundane conclusion. Using such logic the entire ‘Hari Haraya Namah Krsna‘ hymn would be about 100 different gods competing for worship and prayers.
As Welchanos, (pronounced Velkanos, is potentially a dialectical version of the Sanskrit Bala Kana). Velchanos is actually a later Greek pronunciation of the original Minoan. Beyond the name, the commonalities become obvious when comparing the attributes, characteristics and legends of Welchanos Kouros, the ‘Divine Boy’ of ancient Crete and Bal Kanha Krishna, the ‘Divine Boy‘ of Brajadham, Vrindavan.
Kouros is always represented as a youthful beardless God often in a gesture of worship or adoration to a Female Goddess.
Velchanos was frequently depicted on the coins of Phaistos seated among the branches of a tree. These Ancient Cretan Coins featuring Kouros Velchanos sitting in a tree are such examples. The bird symbolism is also significant and relates to the eagle/hawk/rooster that is always associated with the divinity of Zeus/Vishnu/HR/Helios. Like all these forms of God, Velchanos was also depicted as an Eagle.
Rather then an obscure regional cult, Velchanos worship was widespread and long lasting. A Velchania festival was long celebrated and it endured through the centuries down into the Hellenistic era. ‘Inscriptions at Gortyn and Lyttos record a Velchania festival, showing that Velchanios was still widely venerated in Hellenistic Crete.’ ‘In the Hellenistic period a small sanctuary dedicated to Zeus Velchanos was founded at the Hagia Triada site of a long-ruined Minoan palace.’ Zeus at Mythos
The Velchanos tradition of ancient Crete was at the core of classical Greek culture. This is confirmed by the ancient book, Plato’s Laws. The characters of the book engage in a dialog on the origins of civilization as they proceed, ‘…on their religious pilgrimage from Knossos to the cave of Zeus.’ This cave of Zeus is the sacred birthplace of Zeus as the ‘Divine Child‘ Velchanos Kouros. ‘The dramatic setting of Plato’s Laws is along the pilgrimage-route to one such site, emphasizing archaic Cretan knowledge.‘ Zeus, the Sky and Thunder God
Sacred Pilgramage Routes connected to Velchanos reflect yet another vital ingredient of the tradition. Pilgrims such as those highlighted by Plato, followed specific routes directly connected to Zeus and his associated legends.
These same Pilgrimage Routes are found in the Vedic Vaishnava tradition as well. They are called Parikrama Marga. Devotees walk along a specified sacred trail directly connected to Krishna and his associated legends.
‘Velchanos was a youthful male deity of Ancient Crete; He was identified as a form of Zeus and was worshipped in the form of a Divine Boy. He was titled as ‘ho megas kouros‘ ‘o great youth’. His sanctuaries were often in mountain caves or in green woodlands.’
THE INDIAN VEDIC-HINDU TEMPLATE
By accessing the Vedic Vaishnava template we.find the key to comprehending these discoveries. The traditions preserved within the Sampradayas (Disciplic lineages) and Sanskriti (Culture) provide the vital clues to deciphering the riddles of ancient Mediterranean religion.
Without the Sampradayas and Vedic-Hindu cultural narratives, how could one recognize that Jagannath/Bala Kana Gopal/ Rama/Matsya/Buddha/ Vishnu/Balaram were various manifestations of THE same divinity Vishnu? India provides the keystone. It is India that has maintained an accurate understanding of the primordial truths. Yet much of the world’s cultural continuity has been shattered. Thus people see this or that god in a setting of chaotic randomness. Mistakenly assumed to be part of a polytheistic pantheon, of at times rival gods, the evidence reveals that they are verily one being. These diverse forms are in fact forms of the One Supreme Godhead.
Another link between Zeus and Vishnu is found when we apply his Roman name of Jove. Jove has been recognized by all scholars as a direct Latin translation of the Sanskrit ‘Dyaus Pita‘ which means ‘Father Sky God.’ In the Vedic Purusha Shukta, Dyaus is described to have been created from the head of the primeval being, the Purusha. Purusha is Vishnu. Now one can say this is Brahma or some other divinty yet when combined with the great panorama of evidence in totality it is clear that Zeus/Jove has a greater compatibility with the Supreme Godhead Vishnu himself.
The gap of time combined with the efforts of the atheistic mindset and religious exclusivists have obscured these many truths. This Vedic culture is identified by the Vedic authorities as the primal reality of all existence. It represents the pulse of the multiverse. It is not only pulsing thru out creation, in the realms of the demons and the gods, but throughout human history as well. Be it the lands of ancient Greece, Egypt, Babylon, Crete or Japan, there at the undercurrent of them all, flows the same sacred river known as Vedic civilization.
Velkanos Kouros and Bal Kanha Krishna share the same ‘Supreme God as Pastoral Youth’ Archetype. Similarities Between Zeus as Young Velchanos Kouros the Divine Boy of Ancient Crete and Vishnu as the Young Bal Kana Krishna, the Divine Boy of Vrindavan reveal an almost exact match.
- Zeus, Apollo, the Supreme God of ancient Greek Religion was worshipped in his Child and Youthful form as Velchanos and Kouros
- Vishnu, the Supreme God of the ancient Vedic Vaishnava Religion is worshipped in his child and youthful form as Bal Kanha and Krishna
- At birth Velchanos was hidden away and given to another to be as his mother
- At birth Krishna was hidden away and given to another to be as his mother
- Velchanos grew up without ever being seen by his birth father
- Krishna grew up without ever being seen by his birth father
- Velchanos or Kouros is identified by scholars as the ‘Divine Boy’ or ‘Divine Youth’ of Ancient Crete
- Bal Kanha Krishna is identified by scholars as the ‘Divine Boy’ or ‘Divine Youth’ of Ancient Vrindavan
- At birth Velchanos was in danger of being murdered by a male relative who feared his potential as a threat
- At birth Krishna was in danger of being murdered by a male relative who feared his potential as a threat
- Velchanos’ siblings were all killed prior to his birth by a male relative who feared that one would rise up against him
- Krishna’s siblings were all killed prior to his birth by a male relative who feared that one would rise up against him
- Velchanos was protected by armed dancing warriors, the Kourettes and is depicted being suckled by a Cow sorrounded by Kourettes, followers of Kouros
- Child Krishna was protected by powerful cowherd boys and is often depicted as Gopal being suckled by a Cow safe in the protection of the Gopa, Cowherd Boys, followers of Gopal
- Velchanos is an agrarian bucolic Diety associated with Cows, Bulls, Forests, Caves and Agricultural activities
- Child Krishna is an agrarian bucolic Diety associated with Cows, Bulls, Forests and Agricultural activities
- The Velchanos Tradition features Sacred Pilgrimage Routes connected to incidents associated with Zeus Velchanos Kouros
- The Vaishnava Tradition features Sacred Pilgrimage Routes connected to incidents associated with Bal Kanha Krishna
- Velchanos was depicted as having long hair and Beardless
- Young Krishna was depicted as having long hair and Beardless
- Velchanos was often depicted sitting in a tree with a Cock
- Krishna was often depicted sitting in a tree with a PeaCock
- Velchanos was portrayed on widely circulated coins being suckled by a Cow
- Krishna is often portrayed being suckled by a Cow
- Velchanos was closely associated with a Goddess whom he both adored and loved amorously.
- Young Krishna was closely associated with a Goddess whom he both adored and loved amorously.
- Velchanos is both associated with and depicted as an Eagle
- Krishna is both associated with and depicted as an Eagle, for Garuda is one of his Avatars
- Velchanos was worshiped and praised as the Greatest and recognized as being at the ‘head of the gods.’
- Krishna was worshiped and praised as the Greatest and recognized as being at the ‘head of the gods.’
“While this particular cult was based in Crete, the name Velchanos was still recognized by almost all Greeks. The island of Crete and the name Velchanos have to do with probably one of the most significant events in the myths of Zeus: his birth. According to the myth, while hiding her child from Chronos, the titan, Rhea, gave birth to Zeus in a secluded cave on Crete. It was there that the child Zeus grew up without being seen by his father, who had until this point, devoured all his siblings in fear that one would raise up against him.” Panhellenic Cults of Zeus: Zeus Velchanos & Zeus Lykaios Despite slight variations in the details, the vital key ingredients are present in both the Velchanos/Kouros and Child Krishna Legends.
2550 yr old marble Kouros and Kore were found buried together in this exact position.
Yet today these exact same deities are presented on opposite sides from each other apart from one another. Like most ancient studies a slight change can completely alter the original significance,context and meaning of an item or tradition. Vedic Civilization represents the prehistoric world’s sole remaining functioning civilizational paradigm. It was based upon a genuine interactive experience between the same Divine God who is Creator of all Mankind. Thus Vedic culture is the original culture of all ancient humanity. By the application of the Vedic template upon the study of the ancient world, one can discover the original context of the ancient world’s religions and mystical traditions.
Modern etching of Ancient relief depicting the Kouretes dancing around Baby Zeus (Kouros)
A copy of another ancient relief depicting Baby Zeus suckling a cow/goat protected by the Kouretes, followers of Kouros. This depiction correlates with the Child Krishna Gopal suckled by a Cow as he is protected by the Gopas, Cowherd Boys and followers of Gopal, guardians of Brajendra Kumar, the Prince of Vrindavan.
Copyright © 2021 Brannon Parker