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The Source Of All Religions 2



Dear readers, since publishing this article about the Bhavishya Purana 5 years ago, it has come to my attention that the validity of all current versions of this purana are questionable. There seems to be no copies left of any Bhavishya Purana that predates the British invasion of India. Biblical references appear only in the final section of this one purana, and though many puranas give descriptions of this Kali-yuga, such Biblical and modern history verses are never mentioned elsewhere. In-depth research has indicated the biblical, Islamic and modern references were inserted during the reign of the last Hindu Kings of Kashmir by zealous christian Sanskrit scholars. These insertions by unscrupulous scholars of the British Royal Library Project were made at the beginning of the British occupation of India for their own religious and political reasons.

One such unscrupulous Indologist, Francis Wilford (1761–1822), is largly responsible for introducing of the story of Salivahana and Jesus (Isaputra) into the Bhavishya Purana.  He also contributied a significant number of fanciful, sensational, controversial, and highly unreliable articles on ancient Hindu geography and mythography to western scholars.

According to Nigel Leask, Wilford narrated the story of Salivahana that the child had born to a virgin and a carpenter, later became a mystic, and finally crucified in a Y-shaped plough. In 1805, Wilford had confessed publicly that some of the manuscripts he had been working were, in fact, forged, though, he didn’t specifically refer to the Salivahana story; later, when he had published in 1807 – 2 years after his confession, he preceded it with a disclaimer as:

“The Salivahana story ‘is a most crude and undigested mass of heterogeneous legends taken from the apocryphal gospel of the infancy of Christ, the tales of the Rabbis and Talmudists concerning Solomon, with some particulars about Muhammed … jumbled together with … the history of the Persian kings of the Sassanian dynasty.”

Wilford later admitted his guilt; according to Indira Ghose, that the Hindu expert who had been providing him manuscripts and who had been assisting him in his studies of sacred texts had corroborated the veracity of his religious theories.  (source: Wikipedia: Francis Wilford)

For purposes of comparison only, this page will not be deleted, however, when one door closes, another opens. In my newer page “The Source of all Religions 1” a much more authentic connection between the Hebrew, Sumerian, Egyptian, Greek, Persian and Christian understanding of Religion, and their ancient common source is discussed.

Isn’t it odd how there are so many religions claiming to be the one and only religion!  Some of them even proclaim the right to wipe out all other religions and their followers!  So what does religion actually mean? From the Latin “religio” we have the meaning: to unite, to unite oneself with the Supreme. Around the world there are many names for, and paths to, the Supreme, yet, by definition, there is only one Supreme!

Although as a teenager I wasn’t at all religious, I had a fascination for searching for the ultimate truth. I wanted to find the perfect explanation for all this spiritual and para-normal phenomena, the stuff science had no answers for. When I finally discovered the teachings of ancient India, I began to realize I had found not only the most articulate, accurate and most beautiful description of reality there is, but the only one which actually mentions all the other sciences, philosophies and religious founders within it’s pages!  What follows are some excerpts and study’s of the ancient Indian Puranas.

The fifth Veda, or Puranas, where written down five thousand years ago, which makes sanskrit the oldest language, and Hinduism (actually called Sanatan Dharma) the oldest religion on Earth. Yet what makes it even more special is one of the Puranas called the Bhavishya Purana. This title translates to “The History of the Future”! So if you thought Nostradamus was cool, how is this amazing pre-historic poem that accurately predicts the the events of the Old Testament, appearance of Zoroaster, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammad, Shankaracharya, what we see today, over the next century, and the next appearance of God, in person, on this planet!

The following study has been researched by Kartika dasa and presented by the late Sripad Suhotra Swami.

A Study of the Bhavishya Purana by Sripad Suhotra Swami

I was in the Bhaktivedanta Hospital near Mumbai in 2002. A Sanskrit-knowing member of the Chowpatti ISKCON congregation named Kartik came to see me there. This intelligent young man presented me with a paper that was the fruit of his study of Bhavisya Purana. Over the next several days Kartik Prabhu and I discussed his work on that purana. I am very thankful to him for sharing the fruit of his research with me. For the next few days I will write about some of the points Kartik and I discussed; today it is useful to publish Kartik’s introduction to his paper.

BHAVISHYA PURANA is Eleventh among the puranas, and is considered amongst the eighteen principal puranas. It contains five parts. The first part contains a description of the genesis, greatness of the. . . worship of Lord Vishnu, Shiva and Surya. Second, third and fourth parts describe about the greatness of Shiva, Vishnu and Surya respectively. The fifth part contains a description of the heaven. Like other puranas, Bhavishya Purana also contains a description of the ancient kings and Chandra and Surya dynasties. The predominant deity of the purana is Lord Brahma.

The Bhavishya Purana is an ancient scripture compiled by Srila Vyasadeva, the literary incarnation of Krishna. It is listed among the eighteen major puranas. Bhavishya means “future” and purana means “that which happens (history)”, so the text’s name would translate literally as “The history of the future. “

Though the purana was written five thousands of years before the recorded events took place. By the power of his mystic vision, Srila Vyasadeva was able to accurately predict the happenings of the modern times.

Bhavishya Purana and the Old Testament

The “history of the future” given in Bhavisya Purana includes names and events similar to those found in the Old Testament of the Bible

In Chapters 3-5 of the Pratisarga Parva of Bhavisya Purana, Srila Suta Gosvami relates events that in part are described in the Old Testament of the Bible. These events commenced at approximately 11200 BC, or 8200 years before the start of Kali-yuga. At that time King Ksemaka ruled India. While touring the forest areas he was killed by mlecchas, uncivilized meat-eaters. His son, Prince Pradyota, assumed the throne and inquired from the brahmanas about the destination his father achieved after death. They informed the new king that Ksemaka was in Yamaloka (the planet of Yamaraja, the demigod who judges sinful souls after their deaths). Ksemaka had not gone to heaven because of having died at the hands of sinful mlecchas. King Pradyota asked how his father might be delivered from that condition. The brahmanas told him to arranged for a mlecchayagya, a great sacrifice in which the world’s uncivilized meat-eaters would be consumed in the sacred fire

Considering such a yajna a blessing for his father and for the whole world, which would thus be purified of the presence of so many sinful people, Pradyota made the necessary arrangements. A tremendous fire kunda (altar) was constructed that was many miles square. To fill it with wood, whole forests must have been cut down. The fire must have been a towering conflagration. How much ghee was offered into it by the brahmanas? Chanting Vedic mantras, they transported by sound mlecchas from all around the world and dropped them into the flames. Thus these greatly sinful men were liberated from birth and death

Verses 7 and 8 of Bhavisya Purana Pratisarga Parva Chapter 4:

haarahuunaanbarbaraashcaiva gurundaamsca shakankhasaanan
yaavanaanpallavaamshcaiva romajaa nkharasambhavaan
dviipasthitaankaamarushca chinaansaagaramadhyagaan

Mlechhas are uncivilized people who do not follow Vedic scriptures. They are of various tribes, known as Hara (warriors possibly from Arabia, since the Haras were worshipers of Hara or Lord Shiva, and Arabia in those days was a place of Shiva worship), Hunas (Huns), Barbara (barbarians), Gurundas, Shaka, Khasas (people from the mountainous countries north of India), Yavanas (Ionian or Greeks), Pallava (Persians), Romajaa (Etruscans, the ancient people of Italy) and Kharasambhava (literally means those born of donkeys) along with those who lived in different places in China and Assam and islands in the middle of the oceans. All these were killed and turned into ashes by Vedic mantra.

Kali-Purusha or Satan

The Personality of Kali-Yuga “The Lord of Sinful Activities and Quarrel” is known in the Bible as Satan or Lucifer.

From Lord Brahma’s back were manifest Adharma and Mithya (sin & falsehood). From them Dhamba and Maya (pride & illusion) were born. They begat Lobha and Nikriti (greed & cunning). From them Krodha and Himsa (anger & envy) were born. They begat Kali (Lord of quarrel and sinful acts) and Durukti (harsh speech) his sister & consort. Lord Kali’s complection is pitch black and his face is very frightening to behold. He dresses like a king and his tongue is red and full of greed. A bad smell emanates from his crow-like body and he always holds his genitals in his left hand. He is very fond of gambling, intoxication, prostitutes and gold. Kali begat Bhaya (fear) and Mrityu (death), who inturn begat Niraya (hell) and Yatana (excessive pain)” [Kalki Purana 1:14-21]

The personality of Kali became most unhappy at the extinction of the mlecchas world-wide. As the demigod in charge of quarrel and sinful activities, he was left with nothing to do, as in those days only the mlecchas were under his control. Along with the bereaved wives of the mlechhas who were killed in the sacrifice, Kali performed penances and austerities for a long time. At last the Supreme Lord Hari, who is pleased by devotional service, personally appeared before Kali and addressed him as yugottama, the best of the yugas. By saying this, the Lord indicated that soon Kali’s own yuga (epoch) would begin. In that epoch, Kali would rule not only the tribal people but the whole world. “I shall assume many forms during your reign,” the Lord declared. He said that Prajapati Kardama Muni had sired a man named Adama and a woman named Havyavati who together were to be the parents of a new race of mlecchas.

Adam & Havyavati in Eden

Hearing this, Kali became very happy. After that time the Aryan peoples became weaker as the mlecchas gained strength again.Adama (the Biblical Adam) was a self-controlled sage who constantly meditated upon his spirit self. He lived with Havyavati (Eve) in Pradan (Eden), a God-given forest area 4 krosas square.

Havyavati (Eve) was deluded by Kali in the form of a serpent to feed her husband the ramyaphala fruit

Adama and Havyavati had been instructed by the Lord to never eat of the ramyaphala, a kind of fruit that stimulated the senses with pleasure. But Kali took the form of a serpent and persuaded the two to eat it. In this way Kali took control of the whole world by causing their falldown from austerity. They took to the path of the world and all of its so-called needs. Desiring to wear nice clothing, they covered themselves with udumbuh leaves. In due course they begot sons who in turn were the progenitors of mlecchas.

In the Bible Adam and Eve are said to be the first man and woman from whom the human race sprang up. The Biblical account of the origin of human beings occurs twice, in Genesis 1:26-27 and Genesis 2:18-24. In a purport to Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Srila Prabhupada states that there are three scriptures given to the mlecchas: the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Koran. Thus in these scriptures, the creation of mankind means the creation of mlecchas.

Bhavisya Purana lists some of Adama’s descendents. There is a remarkable similarity between the names of this list and the names of Adam’s descendents found in the Bible:

Swet — Seth.
Anuh — Enoch/Enosh
Kinash — Kenan
Mahallal — Mahallalel, also known as Managara.
Varada — Jered or Riyad, who established a town named after him, Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.
Hanuk — Enoch
Matocchil — Methuselah
Lomak — Lamech
Nyuha — Noah of the flood, who became the second father of all humanity as told in the Bible, Genesis 6-9.

Nyuha’s 3 sons were Seem (Shem), Sham (Ham) and Bhav (Japeth/Japith). According to Bhavisya Purana, Nyuha (Noah) was a worshiper of Lord Vishnu. He meditated on the mantrasoham,” which means “I am the same quality as the Supreme Spiritual Being. “

Verses 47-50 of Bhavisya Purana Pratisarga Parva Chapter 4 state as follows:

ekadaa bhagavaan vishnu tat svapnena tu samaagatah

vatsa nyuha srunushvedam pralayah saptame ahani
bhavitaa tam janaissaardha naavamaaruhaa stavaram

jiivanam kuru bhaktendra sarvasreshtho bhavishyasi
tatheti matvaa sa munirnaavam krtvaa supushtitaam

hastatrishatalambaam pascaashaddhastavismrtaam
trimshaaddhastocchritaam ramyaam sarvajiivasamanvitaam

Once Lord Vishnu came to Nyuha in a dream and said: “Dear son Nyuha! Hear my words. Seven days from now there will be a devastation. Get on a boat and save your life and other people as well. Oh great devotee of mine, you will become the supreme saviour.”

Nyuha & his sons build the Arc

Accepting the order of the Lord that was conveyed to him in his dream, Nyuha built a strong boat that was 300 hands long, 50 hands wide and 30 hands high. He accommodated all living creatures on it.

Verses 51-2:

aaruhya svakulaissaarddham vishnudhyaanaparoabhavat
saamvartako meghagano mahendrena samanvitah

catvaarimshaddinaanyova mahaavrishtimakaarayat
sarva tu bhaarata varsha jalaihplaavya tu sidhavah

Along with his family members, he entered the boat and meditated on Vishnu. The samvartaka clouds sent by Indra showered rains for 40 days, bringing devastation. The whole land of Bharatavarsha was flooded with water and so became an ocean.

A flood of the whole world or a large part of it that was caused by a rain lasting 40 days is described in Genesis 6-9. The only survivors were the occupants of the ark, a vessel calculated to have been 26. 7 m (87. 5 ft) wide and 160 m (525 ft) long. The ark was built by Noah at God´s command. Noah, his wife, his 3 sons and their wives, and pairs of every species of animal, took refuge on that ark during the flood.

Bhavisya Purana mentions that the waters of the flood did not reach up to Badrinath. Eighty-eight thousand sages gathered there to hear and chant the glories of the Lord. Suta Gosvami, speaker of the Srimad-Bhagavatam at Naimisharanya, was among them. The sages prayed to the Lord’s potency known in the Vedas by the names Mahakali, Devaki, Mahalaksmi, Radha-devi, Revati, Pushpavati, Svargati, Kamakshi, Mayadevi and Bhairavi. The Devi was pleased and the rains subsided.

Within a year the land emerged again. Nyuha with his family left the boat to live in a place called Shishina in the Himalayas. At this time Nyuha was inspired by the Supersoul to create a new language, brahmi-bhasam, which was non-Vedic and meant to expand Kali-yuga. Nyuha’s descendents occupied different lands and gave these lands new names in brahmi-bhasa. Some of these countries were Madi, Yunan, Stuvlocetas, Tirat, Elish, Tarliksh, Kitti and Huta.

Abraham & Isaac

Among Nyuha’s descendents was Abiram, called Abraham in the Bible and known to Muslims as Ibrahim. In the West it is supposed Abraham lived in the period between 2000 and 1500 BC.

Bhavishya Purana states: vishnubhaktyaagnipujaa ca hyahinsaa ca tapo damahdharmaanyetaani munibhihmlechhanaam hi smrtaanivai, “The munis have explained that the dharma of the mlecchas is devotion to Lord Vishnu, fire sacrifice, non-violence, austerity and sense control. “

Bhavishya Purana and Jesus Christ

Bhavishya Purana, composed 5000 years ago, looks ahead to the period several decades after the birth of Jesus Christ. At that time a king named Shalivahan ruled Bharatavarsa. His kingdom was called Sindhustan. Mlecchas by this time were very populous, and Shalivahan brought order to their society by giving them laws and codes to follow.

Once Shalivahan visited Himatunga (the Himalayan region). The king came to the land of the Hunas amid the mountains and there saw an auspicious person of white complexion, strongly built, clothed in white cloth. Shalivahan was pleased and inquired as to the man’s identity. He replied iishaputra ca maam vidhi kumaari garbha sambhavam –“I am Ishaputra, a son of God, born from the womb of a virgin girl.”

Ishaputra told the king he was a preacher to the mlecchas. Among those fallen people he had established the path of truth. The king asked Ishaputra to kindly explain the principles of his religion. That saintly person replied that he was know n as “Masiha” (the Messiah) among the mlecchas because he restored their faith in God and the conduct of goodness that had greatly declined among them. That his doctrine would be accepted by the mlecchas, Ishaputra had even taken initiation from a mleccha guru.

Ishaputra reaches Tibet

His doctrine featured these principles:

maanasam nirmala krtva malam dehe shubhashubham
mind and body are to be kept pure

naigamam japamaasthaaya japata nirmala param
one should be strictly situated in japa –internal chanting or prayer

nyaayena satyavarcasaa manasaikyena maanavah
people should speak truthfully and control their minds

dhyaayena pujayediisham suryamandalasamsthitam
acaloayam prabhuh saakshaattathaa suryocalah sadaa

one should attentively worship the Lord who is constant like the sun

tatvaanam calabhutaanaam karshanah sa samatatah

The Lord attracts to Himself the flickering living entities and assumes control of them. Summing up, he told the king:

iishamurtihyandi praaptaa nityashuddhaa shivakarti
iishaamasiiha iti ca mama naama pratishitam

I keep the form of the Lord in my heart. That is why I am known as Isha Masiha, Jesus the Messiah, ever-pure and auspicious.

iti krityena bhupaala masihaa vilaya gataa

Because of his teachings, the authorities put the Messiah to death.

The Rozabal tomb of Yus Asaph (Jesus) in Shrinagar, Kashmir

At, some evidence is offered that Jesus lived in Kashmir after the authorities in Palastine had him crucified. I’ve never visited this website so I have no opinion about the claims made there. But several times Srila Prabhupada mentioned that because Jesus was a great yogi his persecutors could not kill him, though they thought they killed him; and several times Srila Prabhupada mentioned that Jesus lived in India as per the ‘Aquarian Gospel’, however in a taped conversation (Vedabase) he did state this text was not authorative. As we have seen, Bhavisya Purana reveals that after the attempt on his life, Jesus stayed in the Himalayas. When questioned about the Bhavisya Purana, Srila Prabhupada specifically said, “Everything is accurate there” regarding the original unredacted text.

The Vedic Background of the Western Religious Tradition

By the term “Western,” the lands to the northwest of India are meant: the Middle East and Europe. The predominate religions of that area are derived from scriptures originally spoken in the Semitic languages of Hebrew and Arabic. Semitic means “descended from Shem,” a son of Noah. The Western religions are monotheistic. They all give respect to Abraham and Moses as founding personalities. The Western religions are basically counted as three–Judaism, Christianity, and Islam–although there are countless subsects.

The Western religions–Judaism, Christianity, and Islam–are derived from scriptures originally spoken in the Semitic languages of Hebrew and Arabic.

The goal of Western religion is salvation, which for the most part is equated with ascension into heaven. This concept of salvation is traced through history by scholar Henry Corbin to the pre-Biblical “paradise of Yima” described in the Zoroastrian scriptures of Persia (ancient Iran). Scholars identify Zoroastrianism as the prototype Western religion, though its scriptures are not linguistically Semitic. Actually the language of Zorastrianism is close to Sanskrit. The name Iran is related to the Sanskrit arya, as in aryadesa, “the land of the Aryans. “

Yima, a form of the name Yama, was said to be the ruler of an underworld heaven. Just as Vedic Yama is the son of the sun-god Vivasvat, so Zorastrian Yima is the son of Vivanghant. Yama is described in Srimad-Bhagavatam and other puranas as a fearsome judge and punisher of sinful souls. But there are verses in Mahabharata that describe Yama’s sabha (assembly palace, where he associates with his companions) as heavenly. Yamaraja is designated in Srimad-Bhagavatam 5. 26. 6 as Pitr-raja, the king of the Pitrs (the departed ancestors, who are pious karma-margis enjoying their heavenly reward).

The karma-marga, the path of fruitive work leading to heaven, is unarguably prominent in the Western religious tradition. That does not mean that bhakti is entirely lacking. Great souls were undoubtedly sent by God to turn the attention of Western people away from their hopes for heavenly reward to selfless loving service to God. Thus we find in the Old and New Testaments:

Have you never learned that love of the world is enmity to God? Whoever chooses to be the world’s friend, makes himself God’s enemy. (James 4:4)

Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. (II Corinthians 11:14)

Stand up to the devil and he will turn and run. Come close to God and He will come close you. (James 4:8)

In heaven the angels do always behold the face of my heavenly Father. (Matthew 18:10)

As a hart longs for flowing streams, so longs my soul for thee, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the Living God. (Psalms 42:1,2)

Whoever wants to be great must be your servant. . . like the Son he did not come to be served but to serve. (Matthew 20:27-28)

Offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. (Hebrews 13:15)

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. (Mark 12:30)

Yet a Western religious authority of the present day admits:

We are an indulgent people in a selfish age. Even as Christians we do not celebrate discipline, whether physical, intellectual, social, or spiritual. (David L. McKenna, president of Asbury Theological Seminary, cited in Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster, p. 205)

Why do pious Westerners falter in the pure celebration of the bhakti discipline so clearly evident in their own tradition? From the Vedic perspective, it seems there is a historical explanation. The explanation in brief is that transcending the body-based duality of good and evil has never been an option in Western religion, which has its root in an ancient distortion of the Vedic path of fruitive activities. While karma-marga, the path of fruitive work, is certainly a doctrine taught by the Vedas, it is not an end itself. Karma yields no eternal gain. Its good and bad fruits are strung together by time to form an endless chain of duality, a “carrot and stick” combination that drives the living entity ever onward in the cycle of birth and death.

karmana jayate jantu karmanaiva praliyate
sukham dukham bhayam sokam karmanaiva prapadyate

A living entity takes birth by karma . He passes away by karma . His karma brings about happiness, suffering, fear and misery. (Brahmavaivarta Purana 2. 24. 17)

Jnana-marga, which the upanisads much emphasize, attempts to throw off the bondage of this chain of duality by teaching knowledge of the atman, the spirit self, as transcendental to the “good” and “bad” we perceive in matter. Hanti karma subhasubham: “Annihilate karma, good and bad!” cries Maitri Upanisad 6. 20. The same scripture (6. 7) advises how karma may be uprooted: vijnanam karyakarana-karmanirmuktam –through “transcendental knowledge free of both the cause and effect of karma . ” Human beings should learn to 1) live aloof from desires (the cause), and 2) live aloof from sensory and mental happiness and distress (the effect). Thus duality is to be overcome by asceticism and the insight that the Absolute Truth is one.

We don’t find in the Western religious tradition evidence of a strong “jnana revolution” as seen in the history of India, where for example the impersonalist Sankaracarya popularized his philosophy of “the world of duality is false–absolute oneness is true. “

The West has certainly been host to upsurges of theistic devotion. But devotion was rarely practiced apart from the Western version of the doctrine of fruitive work. Thus devotion in the West was aimed at promoting the religious person out of material distress to material happiness. At first the reward of heavenly happiness was to be had in the afterlife. But as time went on, it became an expectation of Western religionists in the present human existence. Hence doctrines like Calvinism approve the amassing of wealth by God’s elect on Earth.

Between the Western religious tradition and Vedic dharma there is an ancient nexus, or link. It is a link that divides as well as connects, like a locked door between two rooms for which the key was long ago lost. History holds the key.

Scholars admit a link between Vedic India and the ancient West. A historian of mathematics named A. Seidenberg has collected evidence to show that the geometry used in building the Egyptian pyramids and the Mesopotamian citadels was derived from Vedic mathematics. The Oxford scholar M. L. West has tracked core ideas of ancient Greek and Middle Eastern philosophy to India.

At one point, though, something that India rejected took hold in the West. This something accounts for the major differences between Western and Vedic theology. This something is Zoroastrianism. It is at once the tie that binds the Western religious heritage and Vedic dharma, and the point at which they departed from one another.

Zoroastrianism is an ancient doctrine of “theological dualism” propagated in Persia at some unknown date by the prophet Zarathushtra. Theological dualism means any religious doctrine in which God is thought to have a rival in the person of an anti-God like Satan. As a religious faith Zoroastrianism is almost extinct. But its dualism lives on to a recognizable degree in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The teachings of Zarathushtra were not unknown in ancient India. He is named Jarutha in several passages of the Rg Veda . However, these references are not flattering. Rg Veda 7. 9. 6 indicates that Jarutha’s theology was opposed by the sage Vasistha.

In the Zoroastrian scripture called Zend Avesta, Vasistha is named Vahishtha. He is said to be a person of harmful intellect who opposed Zarathushtra. Srimad-Bhagavatam 6. 18. 5-6 states that Vasistha was fathered by the demigods Varuna and Mitra; 9. 1. 13 confirms that he was a worshiper of Varuna. Rg Veda, Mandala Seven, has much to say about Vasistha’s devotion to Varuna. It appears that Vasistha and Zarathushtra were rival priests of Varuna, who is called Asura-maya in the Rg Veda.

The wheel of time has twelve spokes, which are the twelve adityas ruling the twelve months of the year. Varuna is said to be the chief aditya in Chandogya Upanisad.

The name Zoroaster is a variant of Zarathushtra; similarly, in the Vedic scriptures Jarutha is also called Jarasabdha. Bhavisya Purana presents an extensive account of the background of Maga Jarasabdha. The word maga refers to a dynasty of priests of whom Jarasabdha was a progenitor. In ancient Iran, the hereditary priestly caste was called the Magi. Bhavisya Purana states that Jarasabdha was born in the family line of vira-aditya, “the powerful Aditya” (sun-god). The Vedic scriptures list twelve Adityas (sons of Aditi, the mother of the demigods). They are the twelve spokes of the kala-cakra, the wheel of time. Chandogya Upanisad 3. 8. 1 proclaims Varuna the chief Aditya.

This structure at the ruins of Persepolis, the ancient capital of Iran, is thought to have been a fire temple where sacrifice was offered to Ahura Mazda.

The name Zoroaster is a variant of Zarathushtra; similarly, in the Vedic scriptures Jarutha is also called Jarasabdha. Bhavisya Purana presents an extensive account of the background of Maga Jarasabdha. The word maga refers to a dynasty of priests of whom Jarasabdha was a progenitor. In ancient Iran, the hereditary priestly caste was called the Magi. Bhavisya Purana states that Jarasabdha was born in the family line of vira-aditya, “the powerful Aditya” (sun-god). The Vedic scriptures list twelve Adityas (sons of Aditi, the mother of the demigods). They are the twelve spokes of the kala-cakra, the wheel of time. Chandogya Upanisad 3. 8. 1 proclaims Varuna the chief Aditya.

In successive months of the year each of these twelve takes his turn in piloting the solar chariot across the sky. It would appear that the lineage of Jarasabdha (Jarutha, Zarathushtra) begins from Varuna, leader of the Vedic solar deities. The sun, like Varuna, is called Asura (from asun rati, “he who gives life or rejuvenates”). Because Varuna is very powerful, and because he measured out the sky (as does the sun), he is called maya. Thus the title Asura-maya fits both demigods. Varuna is furthermore called Asura because he commands a host of demonic undersea creatures. (Lord Krsna killed one of these asuras named Sankhasura; another asura of Varuna arrested Nanda Maharaja, Krsna’s father, as he bathed in the Yamuna River. )

In the Zoroastrian Zend Avesta the name of the worshipable deity of Zarathushtra is Ahura-mazda (Wise Lord), which matches Varuna’s title Asura-maya. Bhavisya Purana states that Jarasabdha’s descendents, the Magas (Magi), follow scriptures that are reversed in sense from the Vedas (ta eva viparitas tu tesam vedah prakirtitah ). Indeed, Zend Avesta presents the “daevas” as demons and the “ahuras” as good spirits. Bhavisya Purana describes the Magas as attached to the performance of fire sacrifices. Even today the small remnant of the Magi–the Parsi community in India–is known as “fire-venerating. ” It appears from the Bhavisya Purana that Jarasabdha was dear to the sun-god. In return he placed himself fully under the protection of this deity. The Zoroastrian scriptures (Korshed Yasht 4) do indeed prescribe worship of the sun:

He who offers up a sacrifice unto the undying, shining, swift-horsed Sun–to withstand darkness, to withstand the Daevas born of darkness, to withstand the robbers and bandits, to withstand the Yatus and Pairikas, to withstand death that creeps in unseen–offers it up to Ahura-mazda, offers it up to the Amesha-spentas, offers it up to his own soul. He rejoices all the heavenly and worldly Yazatas, who offers up a sacrifice unto the undying, shining, swift-horsed Sun.

It is in this special allegiance to Varuna as a solar deity that the Vedic root of Zoroastrian dualism can be discerned. Varuna is a close companion of another Aditya, Mitra. Rg Veda 10. 37. 1 states that the sun is the eye of Mitra-Varuna. (The followers of Zarathushtra regarded Mitra–Mithra in the Zoroastrian scriptures–to be one with Ahura-mazda, since Mithra was the light of the Wise Lord. ) In the Vedas, Mitra-Varuna together are the all-seeing keepers of dharma . Of the two, mankind has more to fear from Varuna. A hymn in Atharva-veda 1. 14 is addressed to varuno yamo va, Varuna or Yama. Thus a link is made between Varuna and Yamaraja, the judge of the dead and punisher of the sinful. Mitra-Varuna are equals in upholding universal law and order, but Taittiriya Samhita identifies Mitra with the law of the day and Varuna with the law of the night. Though at night the eye of the sun is closed, Varuna, with his thousand eyes or spies, observes the acts men do under cover of darkness.

Ahura Mazda as seen in a stone carving at Persepolis

Here, then, emerges a duality. Mitra (which means friendship), the daytime witness, is kinder than Varuna (which means binder), the nighttime witness. Mitro hi kruram varunam santam karoti, says the Taittiriya Samhita : “Mitra pacifies the cruel Varuna. “

It is curious how Zoroastrianism amplified this duality. In the Vedic version, Asura-maya Varuna, lord of the waters, dwells in the depths of the cosmic Garbhodaka ocean, far below the earth. Yama’s underworld heaven and hell are very near that ocean; in the matter of chastising the sinful, Yama and Varuna are closely allied. In the Zoroastrian version, Ahura-mazda (Varuna) is the lord of light who gave his servant Yima an underworld kingdom called Vara, a realm that, while dark to human eyes, is mystically illuminated.

In the Vedic version, Mitra-Varuna are a pair of demigods who in ancient times served the Supreme Lord as a team by supervising the realms of light and darkness. In the Zoroastrian version, Varuna is the supreme lord. Mitra is his light. The mantle of darkness (evil) is worn by an unceasing enemy of Ahura-mazda named Angra Mainyu or Ahriman. It appears that Angra Mainyu is the Vedic Angirasa (Brhaspati), spiritual master of the devas and a great foe of Sukracarya, the spiritual master of the asuras. From Mahabharata 1. 66. 54-55 we learn that Varuna took the daughter of Sukracarya, named Varuni, as his first wife.

In the Vedic version, the powers of light and darkness or good and evil are not ultimate. By taking them to be ultimate, and moreover by reversing them (portraying the asuras as good and the devas as evil), Zarathushtra twisted the Supreme Lord’s purpose for the cosmos that is administered on His behalf by such agents as Varuna, Yama and Brhaspati. In these ways Zoroastrianism was a revolutionary departure from Vedic theology. Jeffrey Burton Russell, writing in The Devil, pages 98-99: A revolution in the history of concepts occurred in Iran. . . with the teachings of Zarathushtra, who laid the basis for the first thoroughly dualist religion. Zarathushtra’s revelation was that evil is not a manifestation of the divine at all; rather it proceeds from a wholly separate principle. . . . The dualism of Zoroastrianism. . . is overt; that of Judaism and Christianity is much more covert, but it exists, and it exists at least in large part owing to Iranian influence. . . . All posit a God who is independent, powerful and good, but whose power is to a degree limited by another principle, force, or void.

Angra Mainyu

The Zoroastrian “anti-God” Angra Mainyu appears to be the Vedic Angirasa or Brhaspati. Note the two horns that adorn his head. The chief devil among the Daevas, Angra Mainyu opposes the coming of the earthly paradise promised to the faithful by Ahura Mazda.

Professor Norman Cohn heads an influential school of thought among historians of religion. In his opinion, the teachings of Zarathushtra are the source of apocalypticism–the belief in a final cataclysmic war between God’s army of angels and the devil’s army of demons. In Zoroastrianism, this war was expected to be sparked by the appearance of a Saoshyant or messiah who would prevail against the forces of evil, resurrect the dead and establish the Kingdom of God on earth.

An important movement within Zoroastrianism was Zurvanism, which became the Persian state religion during the fourth century BC. Zurvan in the Avestan language means “time”; scholars like M. L. West note the similarity between the Zurvan deity and the Vedic Kala, who in Vaisnava philosophy is a reflection of the Supreme Lord as well as His agent of creation, maintenance and destruction. Kala powers the cosmic wheel of time (kala-cakra) upon which the effulgent chariot of Surya (the sun-god) moves through the heavens, illuminating the universe and marking the passage of hours, days and years.

In Omens of Millenium, Harold Bloom, following Cohn’s line of thought, claims on pages 7-8 that Zurvanism was assimilated into Judaism. Thus the Jews came to equate Zurvan with Yahweh. Citing Henry Corbin, Bloom says Zurvanism lives on today in the Iranian Shi’ite form of Islam. Damian Thompson, on page 28 of The End of Time, suggests that Zurvanism influenced John of Patmos, author of the New Testament Book of Revelation.

On page 32 of Early Greek Philosophy and the Orient, Oxford professor M. L. West cites testimony by an ancient Greek that the Magi taught that Zurvan (Time) divided the cosmos into realms of light and dark, or good and evil. West, showing a Vedic parallel, cites the Maitri Upanisad Chapter Six. Here, God (Brahman) is said to have two forms–one of time, the other timeless. That which existed even before the sun is timeless. Timeless, transcendental Brahman cannot be divided into parts (i. e. light and dark, good and evil), hence He is ever non-dual. But the Brahman that began with the sun–time–is divided into parts. Living entities are born in time, they grow in time, and die in time. This Brahman of time has the sun (Surya) as its self. One should revere Surya as being synonymous with time. The correspondence between the Vedic Surya and the Persian Zurvan is thus quite clear.

From the foregoing section seven conclusions can be developed.

1) In ancient times, one Jarutha, Jarasabdha, Zarathushtra or Zoroaster, the founding priest of the Magas or Magi clan, departed from the Vedic tradition. Western historians believe that Judaeo-Christianity and Islam share principles derived from his doctrine of Zoroastrianism, predominate in pre-Islamic Iran.

2) Zoroastrianism seems to concern itself only with the Brahman of time (the sun), leaving aside the timeless Brahman, Purusottama Sri Krsna. The Zoroastrians identified the Supreme with the solar disk and the demigod Aditya Varuna, who is known in the Vedas as Asura-maya and in the Zoroastrian scriptures as Ahura-mazda.

3) The Vedas teach that Varuna is teamed with Mitra to uphold the law of dharma within the realms the sun divides (light and darkness). Here dharma means religious fruitive works that yield artha (wealth) and kama (sense enjoyment) on earth and in heaven. Varuna is associated with Yama, the judge of the dead. Yama’s abode is the place of reward and punishment for good and evil karma.

4) Zoroastrian dualism results in a theological quandary: though Ahura Mazda is all-good, he is not all-powerful. The anti-God Angra Mainyu is not under his control. (Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto Ten, relates that a demon named Bhaumasura bested Varuna in combat; thus sometimes evil gets the upper hand over Asura-maya Varuna).

5) Scholars who specialize in the history of the Western religious tradition believe

Zarathushtra was the first person to put forward the idea of an absolute principle of evil, whose personification, Angra Manyu or Ahriman, is the first real Devil in world religion. Although the two principles are entirely independent, they clash, and in the fullness of time the good spirit will inevitably prevail over the evil one. (Jeffrey Burton Russell, The Prince of Darkness, p. 19)

Resurrection Day as depicted by a Medieval Christian artist

6) The apocalyptic End of Time envisioned by Judaeo-Christianity and Islam is believed by historians to have been devised by Zoroaster, originally a priest of the traditional religion, [who] spoke of a coming transformation known as “the making wonderful,” in which there would be a universal bodily resurrection. This would be followed by a great assembly, in which all people would be judged. The wicked would be destroyed, while the righteous would become immortal. In the new world, young people are forever fifteen years old, and the mature remain at the age of forty. But this is not a reversion to the original paradise; nothing in the past approaches its perfection. It is the End of Time. (Damian Thompson, The End of Time–Faith and Fear in the Shadow of the Millenium, p. 15)

Post-apocalyptic ‘Paradise on Earth’ depicted by a modern Christian sect

In the main, Zoroastrianism, Judaeo-Christianity and Islam do not accept the Vedic doctrine of reincarnation. On the contrary, the Western religious tradition is resurrectionist.

7) Those who await this End of Time expect to achieve eternal life in a resurrected body of glorified matter on a celestial earth cleansed of all evil. They expect, as human beings, to be “above even the gods, or at least their equal. “

From historian Jeffrey Burton Russell comes another key element of the Zoroastrian faith that needs to be mentioned:

Indeed, celibacy was regarded as a sin (as was any asceticism), a vice of immoderation, a refusal to use the things of this world for the purposes that the God intended. (Russell, The Devil, p. 11)

Celibacy–which is highly respected in Vedic religious culture–is likewise a sin in Judaism and Islam. It was a discipline important to early Christianity. But reformed Christianity has discarded it entirely, heeding Martin Luther’s admonition that:

The state of celibacy is the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but–more frequently than not–struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God. (Table Talk CCCCXCI)

That Zoroastrianism regarded celibacy and all asceticism as sinful returns us to an observation that launched this survey of the historical foundation of Western religion: “transcending duality has never been an option in Western religion, rooted as it is in an ancient distortion of the Vedic path of fruitive activities. ” The karma-marga is concerned with what is termed tri-varga, or dharma-artha-kama (religious piety, economic development and bodily happiness). Householders pursue these principles in the course of their productive lives.

But the Vedic path takes mankind further, to the varga (principle) of moksa, liberation. This varga is the goal of the jnana-marga, tread by those who have passed from grhasta-asrama (household life) to sannyasa-asrama (renunciation). The jnana-margi aims to pass over the time-defined duality of good and evil to the timeless absolute, beyond birth and death. The Prasna Upanisad 1. 9 advises the jnana-margi to renounce istapurta –Vedic sacrifices (ista ) and charitable work (purta )–for it is by istapurta that the soul remains bound to the cycle of birth and death. Brhadaranyaka Upanisad 4. 4. 7 states that one acheives immortality in the timeless Brahman upon the departure of all material desire–sarve pramucyante kamah. This anticipates the cessation of sexual attraction, which is the foundation of all other desires.

The pure bhakti-marga begins here, with the transference of the soul’s attraction from dead material forms to the divine ecstatic Form of all forms, the all-attractive Sri Krsna. Pure loving attraction to Krsna is called rasa . It is reflected in this world of time as our attraction to material forms. That reflected attraction powers our karma. Taittiriya Upanisad 2. 7 explains:

raso vai sah
rasam hy evayam labdhanandi bhavati
ko hy evanyat kah pranyat
yad esa akasa anando na syat
esa hy esanandayati

The supreme truth is rasa . The jiva becomes blissful on attaining this rasa . Who would work with the body and prana (sensory powers) if this blissful form did not exist? He gives bliss to all.

Though rasa impels fruitive work, fruitive work does not permit the soul the pure, eternal taste of rasa . This is because fruitive work, by definition, brings one no farther than to the enjoyment of temporary material fruits. Even when fruitive work is governed by scriptural direction, it yields only ephemeral enjoyment in the heavenly spheres of the material universe.

Whether on earth or in heaven, the sine qua non of material enjoyment is sex. Sexual attraction is a perversion of attraction to Krsna. To achieve personal association with Krsna, this attraction must be purified.

tenatmanatmanam upaiti santam
anandam anandamayo ‘vasane
etam gatim bhagavatim gato yah
sa vai punar neha visajjate ‘nga

Only the purified soul can attain the perfection of associating with the Personality of Godhead in complete bliss and satisfaction in his constitutional state. Whoever is able to renovate such devotional perfection is never again attracted by this material world, and he never returns. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 2. 2. 31)

Time is the irrestistible force that pulls living beings together in sexual relationships all over the universe. The same time factor brings them distress and separation. Ultimately, time dissolves the entire cosmic manifestation. Thus sexual attraction is inseparable from fear of destruction.

stri-pum-prasanga etadrk
sarvatra trasamavahah
apisvaranam kim uta
gramyasya grha-cetasah

The attraction between man and woman, or male and female, always exists everywhere, making everyone always fearful. Such feelings are present even among the controllers like Brahma and Siva and is the cause of fear for them, what to speak of others who are attached to household life in this material world. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 9. 11. 17)

Vedic dharma is termed sanatana-dharma (eternal religion). It leads the worshiper from the Brahman of time–the universal form of the Lord, in which demigods like Brahma, Siva, Varuna, Yama, Brhaspati and the sun-god Surya are stationed as departmental heads–to timeless Brahman: Parambrahman Sri Krsna. Parambrahman is achieved when the soul, purified of sexual attraction, dives into the rasa-ocean of Krsna’s holy name, form, qualities, pastimes and His loving relationships with His pure devotees in the timeless realm of Goloka.

The conviction that religion is tri-varga –encompassing piety (dharma ), economic development (artha ) and bodily happiness (kama ), with no scope for liberation from time-bound attraction to the body and material sense objects–is demonic. This is clear from Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto Seven, Chapter Five, where the brahmanas in the employ of the demon Hiranyakasipu are depicted as teaching only tri-varga . When Hiranyakasipu suspected these brahmanas of schooling his young son Prahlada in Visnu-bhakti, he angrily rebuked them. They assured the demon they’d taught Prahlada no such thing; apparently, the boy’s devotion to Krsna was spontaneous. Hiranyakasipu then decided to kill his own son. But in the end Hiranyakasipu was destroyed by Lord Nrsimhadeva, the half-man, half-lion incarnation of Krsna. Lord Nrsimhadeva installed Prahlada as the crown jewel of his dynasty, though his teachers had mocked him as a “cinder. “

Nowadays thoughtful people regret the lack of discipline in modern culture. They would do well to consider Lord Krsna’s instruction to Arjuna (Bhagavad-gita 2. 62-63), in which the total breakdown of discipline is traced to contemplation of the objects of the senses.

While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust anger arises. From anger, complete delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost one falls down again into the material pool.

Because the karma philosophy begins with the contemplation of sense objects, it ends in the breakdown of all spheres of human endeavor–physical, intellectual, social, and religious. The karma philosophy was, is, and remains the main root of Western culture and materialistic culture everywhere.

Further Notes

From A World History by William H. McNeill, p. 75:

Zororastrian dualism explained evil more plausibly than any strictly monotheistic faith could do. Dualisms which trace their origin to Zoroaster have therefore cropped up repeatedly in the Judaeo-Christian-Moslem tradition; but Zoroastrianism itself barely survives and not without extensive later emendation, among the Parsi community of India.

Rg Veda 7. 9. 6:

tvam agne samidhano vasistho
jarutham han yaksi raye puramdhim
purunitha jatavedo jarasva
yuyam pata svastibhih sada nah

Vasistha is kindling thee. Agni (the fire god): destroy the malignant Jarutha. Worship the object of many rites. The community of demigods, on behalf of the wealthy institutor of the sacrificial ceremony, offer praise–Jatavedas, with manifold praises–and do ever cherish us with blessings.

Rg Veda 7. 1. 7 and 10. 80. 3 also mention Jarutha as an enemy who was consumed by the flames of Agni.

In The Study of Indian History and Culture edited by S. D. Kulkarni, vol. 1, is a passage from Zend Avesta (Yasna Ha 43. 15) as translated by the scholar S. K. Hodivala:

O Ahura-mazda, then indeed I regarded thee as bountiful when that angel came to me with good mind and informed me with wisdom that neither the harmful-intellected Vahishtha, nor Puru belonging to the Dregvant [=Grehma or Brahma] is dear to us: indeed they have all regarded all the Angras [followers of Angirasa] as righteous.

Ahura-mazda is translated as Wise Lord in Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, under “Zoroastrianism”, p. 866.

Besides meaning “demon,” the word asura can mean “spirit,” “good spirit,” and “supreme spirit. “

The opinion of some Indian historians is that Zarathushtra, like Vasistha, was a worshipper of Varuna. Such is the view expressed in The Study of Indian History and Culture, vol. 1, p. 198.

The name Zoroaster is a variant of Zarathushtra: Zoroaster is the Greek form, Zarathushtra the Persian form.

Zend Avesta presents the “daevas” as demons and the “ahuras” as good spirits. Jeffrey Burton Russell, on page 104 of The Devil, writes:

Zarathushtra was largely responsible for the relegation of the daevas to the ranks of the demons by elevating one of the ahuras, Ahura Mazda, to the position of the one God. The daevas then logically had to be categorized as enemies of the God.

“Even today the small remnant of the Magi–the Parsi community in India–is known as ‘fire-venerating'”: see the article by Maseeh Rahman in Time Magazine of 16 March 1998, p. 25.

“The Zoroastrian scriptures (Korshed Yasht 4) do indeed prescribe worship of the sun”: The quotation is from The Zend-Avesta, translated by James Darmesteter (1883).

“In the new world, young people are forever fifteen years old, and the mature remain at the age of forty”: In a book published by a modern Christian missionary movement, we find the same Zoroastrian theme.

. . . God has, and will yet use, the power to reverse the aging process. As the Bible describes it: “Let his flesh become fresher than in youth; let him return to the days of his youthful vigor. ” (Job 33:25) The aged will gradually return to the perfect manhood and womanhood that Adam and Eve enjoyed in Eden.

The long-standing orthodox Christian position on the resurrection of the body is succinctly stated by Macrina the Younger, a principle theologian of the early Greek church: “We assert that the same body again as before, composed of the same elements, is compacted around the soul. ” (See page 289 of Jaroslav Pelikan’s Christianity and Classical Culture, 1993. ) Augustine, in De civitate Dei (The City of God), suggested that when the bodies of dead believers are resurrected, they will be rest ored to thirty years of age. (See page 98 of Caroline Walker Bynum’s The Resurrection of the Body, 1995. )

Questions about physical resurrection were heavily debated in the history of the Christian church, particularly in the fifth, twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Some theologians who defended a purely spiritual conception of resurrection–that a non-material body is raised–were condemned as heretics. The orthodox position was, “I am not ‘I’ if I rise in an aerial body” (Bynum, p. 60). Bynum comments on page 229, “materialistic conceptions of bodily resurrection were significant elements of the positions that triumphed as mainstream Christianity. “

That sexual attraction is the foundation of all other desires is made clear in Srimad-Bhagavatam 5. 5. 8:

pumsah striya mithuni-bhavam etam
tayor mitho hrdaya-granthim ahuh
ato grha-ksetra-sutapta-vittair
janasya moho ‘yam aham mameti

The attraction between male and female is the basic principle of material existence. On the basis of this misconception, which ties together the hearts of the male and female, one becomes attracted to his body, home, property, children, relatives and wealth. In this way one increases life’s illusions and thinks in terms of “I and mine. “

That pure bhakti begins with the transference of the soul’s attraction from dead material forms to the divine ecstatic Form of all forms, the all-attractive Sri Krsna, does not mean that one must formally pass from the karma-marga (household life) through the jnana-marga (renunciation, or sannyasa) before one can arrive at pure bhakti. Lord Krsna gives His own definition of sannyasa in Bhagavad-gita 18. 57.

cetasa sarva-karmani
mayi sannyasya mat-parah
buddhi-yogam upasritya
mac-cittah satatam bhava

In all activities just depend upon Me and work always under My protection. In such devotional service, be fully conscious of Me.

The Lord says that in sarva-karmani (all activities) one can be a sannyasi by remembering Him and working under His protection. He spoke this verse to Arjuna, who was a ksatriya householder engaged in battle, not an ascetic monk engaged in the pursuit of transcendental knowledge. Thus the bhakti-marga does not require one to first graduate through the Vedic social divisions before one is allowed to devote one’s life to Krsna. Householders can cross from the karma-marga to bhakti-marga by surrendering all their works to the Lord, just as Arjuna did.

The Prophet Mohammad

Some five hundred years after the time of Salivahan Maharaja, a king in his family line named Bhoja Raja crossed the Sindhu river into Gandhara (Afghanistan) and other westward lands. Bhavisya Purana states that while he was in this western region, Bhoja Raja worshiped a Sivalinga situated in the desert.

Lord Siva

For persons in darkness and ignorance, Mahadeva Lord Shiva is God. He is known as Bhutanatha, the lord of ghostly entities like pishachas, yakshas, and rakshashas. And he is the lord of destruction. Direct or indirect worship of Shiva is seen in many guises all around the world. His linga (symbol) is a type of stone. Ganga-devi lives in his matted locks; thus wherever Shiva appears, the water of the Ganges appears also

nripascaiva mahaadevam marusthalanivaasinam
gangaajalaishca sasnaapya pancagavyasamanvitaih
candanaadibhirabhyarcya tushtaava manasaa harim

He offered that linga Ganges water, pancagavya and sandalwood pulp.

From Kartik Prabhu’s notes, we learn that the central shrine of Islam is the Kabba, which is a cube-shaped, one-room stone structure in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. In pre-Muslim Arabia it already attracted pilgrims as the most important sanctuary. The traditional belief is that it was built by Abraham and Ishmael (to whom the Arabs trace their descent). This is confirmed in the Qur’an (Koran). A black stone is worshiped in the shrine. This kaaba stone is also called as Sange-Aswad, which is corruption of Sanskrit linga-asveta which literally means the Black (asveta=not white) Shiva Linga.

Near this shrine there is a sacred well called Zamzam, a name that sounds remarkably like “ganga. ” The Zamzam well was holy even before the rise of Islam in Arabia, and it remains holy to the Muslims. It appears that Bhoja Raja bathed the Shivalinga with water from this well, which is non-different from the Ganges. That a well far from the Ganges river yields Ganges water is not remarkable. There is such a well at Ramesvaram in South India.

Bhavisya Purana continues:

etasminnantare mleccha aacaaryayena samanvitam
mahaamad iti khyaatah shishya shaakhaa samanvitah

At that time a mleccha acarya, famous by the name Mahamad (Mohammad), dwelt there accompanied by his followers.

Kartik Prabhu notes:

The prophet Mohammad (570?-632), founder of Islam, taught political and social as well as religious principles that are the basis of Islamic civilization and that have had a vast influence on world history. Mohammad was born in Mecca. He belonged to the clan of Hashim, a poor but respected branch of the prestigious and influential tribe of Quraysh. His father died before he was born, and after his mother’s death when he was six, he was brought up by his uncle Abu Talib, who was the priest at the kaaba.

Mecca (Makkah, called Macoraba in very olden times), is a city in western Saudi Arabia. It is located in Al ijaz (Hejaz) Province near Jiddah. Mecca is the most sacred of the Muslim holy cities. Muslims around the world must face Mecca during their daily prayers. Every year, during the last month of the Islamic calendar, more than 1 milion Muslims make a pilgrimage, or hajj, to Mecca. The city’s location on several trade routes has made it commercialy important since ancient times. Mecca was a religious center before the time of Muhammad, and several holy sites within the sacred precincts of the great mosque, called al-Haram, had religious significance in pre-Islamic times.

The prophet Mohammed

The prophet Mohammed propagated the religion of Islam among the people of the Arabian desert.

Many Vedic deities were worshiped at Mecca in pre-Islamic times. These were destroyed by Mohammad and his followers. The Kabba, a windowless cube-shaped building in the courtyard of the mosque, is believed to have been built by the Hebrew patriarch Abraham. In the southeastern corner of the Kaaba is the Black Stone, supposedly given to Abraham by the angel Gabriel. Also within the precincts of the mosque is the sacred well, called the Zamzam (Zemzem), a corruption of Sanskrit word Ganga, which was reputedly used by Hagar, mother of Abraham’s son Ishmael. The city is first mentioned by the Alexandrian geographer Ptolemy, who in the 2nd century ad called it Macoraba.

Mohammad secretly came to meet Bhoja Raja, as the Bhavisya Purana now describes. It appears that this meeting took place before Mohammed had achieved prominence in Arabia.

raatrau sa devaruupashca bahumaayavishaaradah
paishaacam dehamaasthaaya bhojaraajam hi soabravit

At night, he (Mohammad) of angelic disposition, this shrewd man in the guise of a Pishacha [a desert spirit or jinn], spoke to Bhoja Raja.

aaryayadharmohi te raajansarvadharmottamah smritah
iishaagyayaa karishyaami paishaaca dharma daarunam

O Raja! Your Arya Dharma has been considered to be the best of all religions, but according to the commandments of the Supreme Controler, I shall enforce the strong creed of the Pishachas.

lingacchedii shikhaahinah shmashrudhaari sa dushakah
uccaalaapii sarva bhakshi bhavishyati jano mama

My followers will see to it that men are circumcised and that they wear no shikha on their heads. Instead they will wear beards and behave against brahminical principles. They will call out loudly in their prayers. They will eat all things.

binaa kaala caa pashavaasteshaaam bhakshyaa mataa mama
naimusaleva samskaarah kushariva bhavishyati

According to my teachings, they will eat all animals except swine. They will not seek purification by sitting on Kusha grass, rather their purification will come by warfare. (Musal).

tasmaanmusalavanto hi jaatayo dharmadushakaah
iti paishaaca dharmashca bhavishyati maya krutah

They shall be known as Musal because of their battles with irreligious nations, and I shall be known as the originator of this pisaca-dharma.

The Beginning of Quarrel

An asura is defined as suravirodhi , a being of intelligence and power who does not agree with the suras or demigods. The suras are ever-firm in their devotion to Lord Visnu: om tad visnoh paramam padam sada pasyanti surayah–“Lord Visnu, who is beyond this world, is sought by the suras. ” (Rg Veda 1. 22. 20) But as Padma Purana makes clear, asuras tad viparyaya , “Visnu and His devotees are opposed by the asuras. “

Even the superior beings who dwell in the upper levels of the universe are divided by disagreement and quarrel.

In ancient times, so the Vedas report, the asuras were once equals of the suras in every way. But their disdain for serving anyone other than their own selves grew so strong that it polluted their performance of Vedic dharma. From Satapatha Brahmana 5. 1. 1. 1. we learn the following.

devas ca va asurasca. ubhaye prajapatyah pasprdhire tato
‘sura timanenaiva kasmin nu vayam juhuyameti svesv evasyesu
juhvatas cerus te ‘timanenaiva parababhuvus tasman natimanyeta
parabhavasya haitan mukhamy yad atimanah

Both demigods and demons come from Prajapati. The arrogant demons asked, “To whom should we offer?” They placed the offerings into their own mouths, and through arrogance they were overcome. Therefore no one should be arrogant. Arrogance is indeed the source of destruction.

Sripad Madhvacarya, in his commentary on Bhagavad-gita 7. 15, defines asura thus: asusu rata asurah–“Those who take pleasure in the enjoyments of life are asuras. “

But it wasn’t always like that. Verse 26 of Mahabharata 7. 221 tells us that the demons used to be firm adherants of dharma (religion): asuresvavasam purvam satyadharmanibandhana. They followed svargamarga, the pathway to heaven (verse 28), they gave charity, they performed sacrifices, they worshiped guru and gods, and they showed hospitality to learned brahmanas (verse 29). But in time lust and anger covered these virtues. Mahabharata 3. 92. 6 says that during a period of history known as the Deva-yuga, the asuras became distinct from the demigods at the moment they abandoned dharma. Laksmi (the goddess of good fortune) left them, and Alaksmi (the goddess of misfortune) became their constant companion (verse 9). Verse 10 states:

tan alaksmi samavistan darpopahatacetasah
daiteyan danavams caiva kalir apy avisat tatah

Kali entered the demons, whose minds were afflicted with pride and who were surrounded by Alaksmi.

Kali (a male personage, never to be confused with goddess Kali) is quarrel personified. His family lineage is described in Srimad-Bhagavatam 4. 8. 2-3. It begins with Brahma, the creator and soon comes under the shelter of Nirrti, the goddess of the southwest who is associated with untimely death, difficulty, poverty and infertility. Kali consorted with his own sister, Durukti (Harsh Speech), and begot in her two children, Bhaya (Fear) and Mrtyu (Death). Wherever Kali is, there will be irreligion, greed, falsehood, robbery, incivility, treachery, misfortune, cheating, and vanity.

By his superior skill as an agent of suffering, Kali became the leader of the asuras as much as Brahma is the leader of the demigods by his superior Vedic knowledge (asurah kali-prayanta evam duhkottarottarah kalir duhkhadhikas tesu te’py eva brahmavad ganah). So writes Madhvacarya in his Mahabharata Tatparya-nirnaya 1. 136. From Padmanabhasuri’s Padartha-sangraha with Madhva’s Siddhantasara commentary (552), we learn that Kali appeared on earth five thousand years ago as the rulers Duryodhana, Jarasandha and Sisupala. But these were amsas (empowered expansions) of Kali. His mula-rupa or root form lives on to this very day.

In that mula-rupa Kali takes the dress of a king to perform abominable activities such as cow slaughter. Seeing his sinful behavior not long after the Kuruksetra war, the great devotee King Pariksit brought Kali under control. Kali then entered a young brahmana and provoked him to curse Pariksit. After the king departed this world, the Age of Kali spread over the whole earth.

Kali is ever on the lookout for discrepancies in a person’s execution of religion (dharma ). When, for example, the pious King Nala forgot to wash his feet after going to the toilet, and then sipped water and performed his sandhya rituals, Kali entered his body and pulled him down to ruination. After a terrible struggle Nala at last got free of Kali’s clutches and recovered his former status, but those who deliberately abandon dharma–i. e. the demons–willingly follow Kali into the moral abyss.

However, Lord Krsna never abandons His parts and parcels, even when they abandon religion and by so doing abandon themselves. Krsna comes to this world again and again in many avatara forms so as to revive dharma. Even to demons, He preaches dharma in ways that they can accept and follow. And so He gives them a chance to change from asura nature to sura nature.

Kaliyuga lila-avatar Lord Buddha

In His form as Buddhadeva, for example, He preached against the authority of the Vedas and thus attracted to Himself a large following of nastikas or atheists. Having abandoned devotion to Visnu, they became devotees of Buddha. But Buddha is Visnu. He put them on the path of the four regulative principles respected by the Vaisnavas (the devotees of Visnu): abstinence from meat, fish, eggs, onions and garlic; abstinence from illicit sexual activity; abstinence from gambling and unnecessary mental speculation; and abstinence from intoxication.

But conditioned souls rarely change their natures overnight. When dharma is practiced by persons who cling to their lower natures, it is called gauna-dharma or religion influenced by the tri-guna, the three modes of material nature–sattva-rajas-tamas, goodness, passion and ignorance. Gauna-dharma in the mode of goodness lifts the spirit soul into svarga , the heavenly realm of this material cosmos. Gauna-dharma in the mode of passion puts the spirit soul into the martya-loka, the realm of mortal human beings. Gauna-dharma in the mode of ignorance leads the spirit soul down into the realm of ghosts.

Because these three situations are material, they are subject to duality. Duality invites disagreement. If disagreement is seasoned with arrogance, it provokes quarrel. To engage in quarrel means to come under the control of Kali. If quarrel divides even the denizens of heaven where goodness predominates, then how shall people of Earth who are prone to be overcome by passion and ignorance ever be free of quarrel?

The Old Testament tells of the brothers Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam and Eve. Both worshiped the Lord by the fruits of their work. Cain was a farmer. Abel was a shepherd. Cain made an offering of vegetables and grain. Abel made an offering of lamb.

Now, a devotee of Krsna might expect God to accept Cain’s offering and reject Abel’s, but the Old Testament says the opposite. How to understand this? Well, for one thing the Bible teaches mleccha-dharma. For another, to make an offering that is externally in the mode of goodness but internally corrupted by sinfulness is displeasing to the Lord. And indeed this is why God told Cain he rejected his offering:

If thou doest well, shall thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.

Cain’s inner sinfulness was exposed when in anger and envy he killed his brother Abel. God told Cain that the earth which had drunk the blood he spilled would henceforward not nourish his crops with her strength. Thus farming would be a hard life for Cain and his descendents.

But God did not abandon Cain. The reader may have heard the expression, “the mark of Cain. ” People who have only vague knowledge of the story think the mark of Cain is something bad, a mark of God’s condemnation perhaps. In fact, Cain worried aloud before God that his crime would outrage other men to kill him, and so God replied that whosoever would slay Cain would have to suffer seven times the deserved reaction for murder; God put a mark on Cain’s body for all to see so that no man would dare do him harm. Thus “the mark of Cain” was actually God’s protection upon this fallen soul. The lesson is that even if one’s religious practice is polluted by great sins, he is still better off than one who practices no religion at all.

Now, there is another kind of dharma that is untouched by the three modes of nature. It is called mukhya-dharma. And what religion is that? The pure chanting of the mahamantra Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare/Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare, or indeed the pure chanting of any names of God found in bona fide scripture, is mukhya-dharma.

Chanting the holy names of the Lord loudly to music is called sankirtana. Sankirtana was introduced in the Kali-yuga by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu as the transcendental religion of prema. Prema means love of Godhead and love for all of Godhead’s parts and parcels. If one chants the holy names and is blessed by Mahaprabhu with a heart flooded with prema, how then can Kali impell that person to quarrel with others? Kali afflicts those who are in duality, which means those whose hearts lack love of God and who are therefore under the modes of material nature.

Lord Chaitanya the Kali yuga-avatar

Those who take shelter of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s sankirtana movement are raised out of the duality of sin and piety. In that transcendental situation, the personality of Kali cannot touch them

Duality means dharmadharma (“religion-irreligion”). Dharmadharma is another way of saying gauna-dharma. It is a creation of the material world, as Manu-samhita 1. 26 explains:

karmanam ca vivekartham
dharmadharman vyavecayat
dvandvair ayojayat cemah
sukha-dukhadibhih prajah

To distinguish actions (karma), the Lord separated piety (dharma) from impiety (adharma), and He caused the living entities to be affected by pairs [of opposites] such as pain and pleasure.

In all different mixtures of the three modes, dharmadharma manifests. In all its forms, dharmadharma is more concerned with personal position and respectability–“I, me and mine”–than with satisfying Krsna. Even among the low and fallen mlecchas, someone like Cain thinks, “I am a high-class pious man. My offering to the Lord is respectable. This other fellow, my brother here, has made an inferior offering to mine. Why should he get more respect than me?” Everywhere in the material world, on earth and in heaven, such division and quarrel is going on.

But this egoistic me-versus-him dharma is not the transcendental, nonmaterial dharma taught by Sri Krsna Himself in Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. As the Lord declares in Bhagavatam 11. 19. 27: dharmo mad-bhakti-krt prokto–“Real dharma leads one to My devotional service. “

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura prays:

bhakativinoda nahi jane dharmadharma
bhakti-anukula tara hau saba karma

Bhaktivinoda knows neither religion nor irreligion. He simply prays that all his activities be conducive for pure devotion to You. (Bhakti-anukula-matra Karyera Svikara 1. 9, from Saranagati)

How does pure devotion to Krsna surpass the duality of religion and irreligion? Consider the story of Haridasa Thakura and the prostitute. Haridasa was the Namacarya, appointed by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to be the teacher of the chanting of the holy names for His sankirtana movement. He used to live in a cave and chant hundreds of thousands of names of Krsna each day. An aristocratic landholder grew envious of Thakura Haridasa’s fame. This man hired a young, beautiful prostitute to seduce the Namacarya and so ruin his reputation as a saintly person. When she arrived at his cave, Thakura Haridasa bade her to sit down and hear while he chanted. Doing so, her heart was purifed. She renounced prostitution and later became famous as a pure devotee herself. So the point here is that Haridasa Thakura did not associate with this woman in a sinful manner, as the envious landholder hoped he would; nor did he try to maintain religious respectability in the eyes of the world by rejecting her association outright. Haridasa was simply fixed in love of God. Fully absorbed in the Lord’s holy names, he could not be deviated. His pure devotion set the woman on the path of pure devotion too.

The sankirtana movement spreads throughout the world by this principle of transcendental association (sat-sanga ). Radha-krsna bolo sange cholo ei matra bhika cai –“Chant the holy names of Sri-Sri Radha-Krsna in Our association,” Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Nityananda Prabhu invite everybody. “These are the alms we beg. “

In such powerful and uplifting association, material duality cannot intrude. Even among the purest personalities, bheda (difference) will not disappear, since difference exists even in transcendence. The individual soul (jivatma ) is always different from the Supreme Lord, for example. But in transcendence, bheda does not contradict abheda (oneness). Oneness in difference means relationship, and love harmonizes and sweetens relationships. It’s when love is lacking that difference becomes hopelessly exaggerated by selfishness and forces relationships asunder. By loving Krsna, the Self of all selves, one can relate lovingly to all selves. In the absence of that love, one is obliged by nature to try to love one’s own self as Supreme. In that event, harmony with other selves is impossible.

Of course, an individual always has his free will. If he wants to he can refuse to enter the transcendental sanga of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates. He can even try to oppose the sankirtana movement. But he cannot stop it. And indeed by trying to oppose sankirtana he has to associate with the chanting of Hare Krsna. Even such negative association is purifying. Nearly five centuries ago the soldiers of the Kazi, the Muslim ruler of Navadvipa in Bengal, tried to stop sankirtana. The result was that these soldiers started chanting Krsna’s name themselves, even in the presence of the Kazi who had ordered them to forbid others from chanting.

The Bhavisya Purana presents Islam as pisaca-dharma, a religion of the ghosts that inhabit the wastelands of Arabia. Mohammad is depicted as warning a Hindu king that the pisaca-dharma of Arabia would disturb India’s arya-dharma. Now, trying to decide whether this account of such an important world religion is “bad” or “good” would involve an intense discussion. Most likely that discussion would not be successful in satisfying everybody. But this controversy of “good” versus “bad” is just another instance of exaggerated duality. That very fallen persons who followed a ghostly religion crossed the western desert to invade India is all within the Lord’s plan. Thus Muslims too were caught up in Lord Caitanya’s sankirtana movement. Namacarya Haridasa Thakura himself was born in a Muslim family. Such is the power of sankirtana which continues to spread to every town and village of the world regardless of all the ceaseless arguments about this religion verses that religion, this race verses that race, this material body versus that material body.

By Sripad Suhotra Maharaja and Kartik Prabhu (research).

ISKCON Bhaktivedanta Sadhana Asrama, Govardhana, India
31 January – 1 February ©2004

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