We attempt to trace in this article the origins of three of the elements of the Izanagi and Izanami myth: the mating ritual Dance of the Cosmic Couple around the sacred pillar, the Churning Sea of Milk setting for the creation of the Japanese isles, and the harae purification or ablution ritual as Izanagi leaves the Underworld, as detailed in the ancient historical Kojiki and Nihongi chronicles that record the mythology of early royal lineages of Japan. As the story tradition of Izanagi and Izanami goes:
The two deities then went to the bridge between heaven and earth, Ame-no-ukihashi (“floating bridge of heaven”), and churned the sea below with the spear. When drops of salty water fell from the spear, Onogoroshima (“self-forming island”) was created. They descended from the bridge of heaven and made their home on the island.
Eventually they wished to be mated, so they built a pillar called Ame-no-mihashira (“pillar of heaven”; the mi- is an honorific prefix) and around it they built a palace called Yahiro-dono (one hiro is approximately 182 cm, so the “eight-hiro-palace” would have been 14.56 m²). Izanagi and Izanami circled the pillar in opposite directions and, when they met on the other side, Izanami spoke first in greeting. Izanagi didn’t think that this was the proper thing to do, but they mated anyhow. They put the children into a boat and set them out to sea, then petitioned the other gods for an answer as to what they did wrong. They were told that the male deity should have spoken first in greeting during the marriage ceremony. So Izanagi and Izanami went around the pillar again, this time Izanagi speaking first when they met, and their marriage was finally successful.
From their union were born the ōyashima, or the “great eight islands” of the Japanese chain. Izanagi-no-Mikoto lamented the death of Izanami-no-Mikoto and undertook a journey to Yomi (“the shadowy land of the dead”). Quickly, he searched for Izanami-no-Mikoto and found her. At first, Izanagi-no-Mikoto could not see her at all for the shadows hid her appearance well. Nevertheless, he asked her to return with him. Izanami-no-Mikoto spat out at him, informing Izanagi-no-Mikoto that he was too late. She had already eaten the food of the underworld and was now one with the land of the dead. She could no longer return to the living.
Izanagi-no-Mikoto was shocked at this news but he refused to give in to her wishes of being left to the dark embrace of Yomi. While Izanami-no-Mikoto was sleeping, he took the comb that bound his long hair and set it alight as a torch. Under the sudden burst of light, he saw the horrid form of the once beautiful and graceful Izanami-no-Mikoto. She was now a rotting form of flesh with maggots and foul creatures running over her ravaged body.
Crying out loud, Izanagi-no-Mikoto could no longer control his fear and started to run, intending to return to the living and abandon his death-ridden wife. Izanami-no-Mikoto woke up shrieking and indignant and chased after him. Wild shikome (foul women) also hunted for the frightened Izanagi-no-Mikoto, instructed by Izanami-no-Mikoto to bring him back.
Izanagi-no-Mikoto burst out of the entrance and quickly pushed a boulder in the mouth of the Yomotsuhirasaka cavern that was the entrance of Yomi). Izanami-no-Mikoto screamed from behind this impenetrable barricade and told Izanagi-no-Mikoto that if he left her she would destroy 1,000 residents of the living every day. He furiously replied he would give life to 1,500.
The next part of the myth describes Izanagi descent into the Underworld as tradition goes.
The tale of Izanagi’s journey to the underworld is one of the most elaborate underworld legends of East Asia. The story is found in the Kojiki, a centuries-old account of Japanese Shinto history. According to the tale, Izanagi and his wife Izanami, created the Japanese islands and gave birth to many gods and goddesses. The couple lived happily under the blessing of heaven, until Izanami died while giving birth to the god of fire. The Kojiki says that when Izanami dies, Izanagi travels to the Land of Darkness to retrieve her. When he arrives in the underworld, he discovers that she has built herself a castle there and is reluctant to see him. He begs her to return with him to earth, promising that a life of happiness and splendor awaits them in the land of the living. But Izanami refuses, saying it is too late. Her husband persists, unaware of the fact that she has eaten the food of the dead and has begun to decay. She hides in the shadows and keeps him at a distance, telling the grieving widower to go back without her. But Izanagi is determined and pulls his bride out into the light. To his horror, he discovers that his once lovely wife is now a green, rotting, maggot-infested corpse giving off an unbearably foul stench. He screams, flings her aside, and flees. Humiliated by this insult, Izanami sends an army of 1,500 shikome (DEMONS) after her husband to punish him for disgracing her in the underworld.
As the shikome descend upon Izanagi, he throws off his headdress. It immediately turns into grapes, and the shikome stop to eat them. Next, he casts off his right comb, which becomes a patch of bamboo shoots. They devour these, and the pursuit continues. But before the shikome catch up with Izanagi, he is saved by the August Male, a kind protector. The August Male sympathizes with him and strikes down many of the shikome with an enormous sword.
Finally, Izanagi reaches the passageway between the Land of Darkness and the Land of Light. Here he finds three peaches and throws them at the last of his pursuers, demanding that they leave him and return to the underworld. He escapes into the land of the living and blocks the passage with a huge boulder.
Izanami shouts out to her husband from behind the stone. She vows to kill a thousand men every day until he returns to the Land of Darkness to appease her. Izanagi laughs, saying he will cause enough births to offset the deaths. Realizing at last that she is defeated, Izanami says good-bye to her love and they make a final break. Izanagi returns to the living while Izanami must forever remain in the Land of Darkness
Stephen Oppenheimer in his book “Eden in the East: The Drowned continent of Southeast Asia” suggested that the legend of Izanagi and Izanami resembled the Hindu gods Isani and Iswara in respect of the fertility garden analogy and of the “pillar” fertility mating ritual, and of the Izanagi-Izanami creator deities, that they “perform ritual acts of creation (like Brahma and Vishnu) with and around a spear, which has phallic properties including the production of semen.” During these acts Heaven and Earth separate and the Heavenly bodies are formed.” Others have suggested that the “Tree of Heaven pillar” might be an obvious reference to the Cosmic Tree or Axis of the World.
This Cosmic Dance is danced out elsewhere: the Austro-Asiatic speaking Bengal Oraon and Munda tribes when the time comes for planting out rice seedlings, the young men and women go to the forest to ritually cut down a ‘Karma Tree’ that they bring back to the village where it is planted in the middle of the dancing ground. They then dance around the tree attached with ribbons like a maypole dance. After the dance, barley seedlings are offered to the tree and then cast out to sea or water, whereupon the spirits of the grove are expected from there on to take care of the year’s barley harvest. In Flores, they select from the forest, a carefully selected Ngadu-tree trunk which is considered hot and dangerous until it is cut down into a Ngadu pole and covered in carvings and placed in the middle of the village, with ‘phallic’ implications, alongside of a bhaga womb house. Last but not least, a sacred garden (paradise?) is also created for Isani and Iswara in Oedeypoor, Rajputana, like the idyllic residence Izanagi and Izanami build for themselves.
Oppenheimer also observes that the royal myth in Nihongi “there is a preface of a Chaos and an egg separating into heaven and Earth” which brings forth the first light, and that these events have echoes in the differing Chinese, Polynesian, Finnish, Phoenician as well as Indonesian versions of creation myth, the last of which even has a creator who “sails into the eastern horizon and spears the sun into pieces [with his magic lance], thereby releasing both the moon and the stars. The sky is separated from the earth…The lance is also stuck to the front of the boat like a plow thus effecting the separation of the islands from the mainland.“
We can now begin to trace the source of the Izanagi and Izanami myth as related to the royal myth of the Rajput-Gehlote-Sessodian clans, “Iswara and Isani”.
“Mahadera or Iswara, is the tutelary divinity of the Rajpoots in Méwar; and from the early annals of the dynasty appears to have been, with his consort Isani, the sole object of Gehlote adoration”. — James Tod, Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan
However, Izanagi and Izanami in the aspect of their descent into the Underworld also seem to find echoes in the Sumerian myth of Dumuzi or Dumuzid and Innana, Inanna, after descending to the underworld, is allowed to return, but only with an unwanted entourage of demons, who insist on taking away a notable person in her place. Izanagi on the other hand, escapes by the skin of his teeth from the Underworld’s demons by throwing peaches at them (see The peach as a kami and Mother goddess, and symbol of fertility and immortality Then when the demons come to Uruk, they find Dumuzid the Shepherd sitting in palatial opulence, and seize him immediately, taking him into the underworld as Inanna’s substitute… Inanna gives Dumuzid over to the demons as her substitute; they proceed to violate him, but he escapes to the home of his sister, Ngeshtin-ana (Geshtinanna). The demons pursue Dumuzid there, and eventually find him hiding in the pasture….thus we find a somewhat inverted mirror-image version of Izanagi and Izanami. But we find an even better fit and parallel with the ritually married Japanese Cosmic Couple in the Marriage of Inanna and Dumuzi a hymn of Sumer. They declare their love for each other in an orchard, under an apple tree:
Inanna I would go with you to my garden.
I would go with you to my orchard.
I would go with you to my apple tree.
There I would plant the sweet, honey-covered seed.”
And a prayer for the fertility and prosperity of the land is uttered as “Ninshubur, the faithful servant of the holy shrine of Uruk, Led Dumuzi to the sweet thighs of Inanna and spoke”:
From the land of the huluppu-tree to the land of the cedar,
Let his shepherd’s staff protect all of Sumer and Akkad.
As the farmer, let him make the fields fertile,
As the shepherd, let him make the sheepfolds multiply,
Under his reign let there be vegetation,
Under his reign let there be rich grain.
In the marshland may the fish and birds chatter,
In the canebrake may the young and old reeds grow high,
In the steppe may the mashgur-trees grow high,
In the forests may the deer and wild goats multiply,
In the orchards may there be honey and wine,
In the gardens may the lettuce and cress grow high,
In the palace may there be long life.
May there be floodwater in the Tigris and Euphrates,
May the plants grow high on their banks and fill the meadows,
May the Lady of Vegetation pile the grain in heaps and mounds.”
The Rajputana and Sumerian examples make it easy for us to imagine that ritual union of Izanagi and Izanami couple before as it became recorded as a creation story into the Kojiki and Nihongi chronicles, was likely to have had the same kind of effect as the Inanna and Dumuzi hymn on the royals and their entourage watching the Cosmic Dance as it might have been performed as an early prototype kagura dance in the earliest palaces of proto-historic Japan.
The marriage of Inanna and Dumuzi
A traditional autumn festival among a Miao tribe is the Yanu Festival, commemorating a folk hero “Yanu” from ancient times. A “Cosmic Couple”, a man and a woman are dressed in traditional Miao costumes, upholding the corns and paddy under the swing frames, take central place in the ceremony for the celebration of the bumper harvest. The community turns up all dressed-up Miao people, and begin to play swing, climbing “sword ladder” and perform Lusheng dance. At the festival, the unmarried young men and girls will take chance to seek their lovers. There may also be a performance of climbing the “ladder of knives” (see Climbing a Ladder of Knives and Miao cosmic pillar dance).
In the winter however, the Miao have another Flower Mountain Festival that takes place between January 1 to 15 of each lunar calendar year to pray for happiness of the Miaos and blessings of safety and prosperity. During the festival, the Miaos get dressed up, gather in the green near the village. The people erect the day in the mountain, before the festival begins, a “flower pole” dyed in red and blue in 12 segments to pray to the god of childbirth. Over three days of animated festive dancing and singing, the young men court the young women in the mating ritual. The Flower Pole is the icon of the Flower Mountain. It is also the performance tool in the festival. Made of straight fir several zhang (1 zhang = 3.3 m) high, the people plant it in the middle of the Flower Mountain to form the center of the entertainment. The Lusheng players play the Lusheng and dance under the Flower Pole with the contests displaying acrobatic skill in pole climbing while playing Lusheng, and pole climbing doing Lion Dance.
The pair of myths also appear to be related to solar and astronomical reckonings – see the article on the Izanagi Jingu‘s theory regarding the identification and positioning of Awaji Island at the centre of the Creation of Japan myth, and the island’s guardian shrine for the myth, Izanagi Jingu, in summer and winter solstice alignments with other important sites such as Amaterasu’s cave, Suwa Taisha and Izumo Taisha. Astronomical reckoning is also important in the case of Angkor Wat, like many pyramids:
At the pivot point of this magnificent relief is the figure of the Hindu solar deity Vishnu (right), who occupies the one position in the panel that is directly illuminated by the rising sun on the day of the vernal equinox each March. In addition to the relief, the temple of Angkor Wat features solar alignments in which the Sun appears to rise out of its central tower on the day of the vernal equinox each March from at observation point located at the western end of the long causeway that leads up to the temple gates.
On solar myths, in “Vala and Iwato: The Myth of the Hidden Sun in India, Japan, and beyond” Michael Witzel draws close parallels between the RigVedic Indian winter solstice and release of dawn myth and the Japanese Amaterasu sun myth: “The ancient Japanese myth of the sun deity Amaterasu-ō-mikami hiding in and reemerging from the Iwato cave is first recorded in the oldest Japanese texts, the Kojiki and Nihonshoki (712/720 CE). The Indian version, the myth of Indra’s opening the Vala cave and his release of the ‘first dawn’ is found in the oldest Indian text, the gveda (c. 1200-1000B.C.)7 the Vedic myth of the Usas – Dawn”.
“Its classical Indo-European form is found in the Vedic literature of oldest India, from the gvedic hymns onwards. According to these poems that are meant for praise of the gods, the early morning sun, is regarded as a beautiful young woman (Uas “Dawn”)16 who heralds the rising of the sun. One of the most prominent myths connected with Us as is that of a “first” U as who – for reasons to be further detailed below – was hidden in a cave found on an island in the middle of the stream, the Raså,17 at the end of the world. The cave is opened18 by the strong warrior god Indra, who is accompanied by poets and singers, the Agiras.19
They recite, sing, shout, and make a lot of noise outside the cave that is blocked by a robust lock (phaliga). The ‘strong-armed’ (tuvi-gråbha, ugra-båhu) god Indra smashes the gate with his weapon (vajra). He is helped by the recitations and the noise made by his A
giras friends (B 5). Helped by their various combined efforts, he opens the cave and the “first dawn” emerges, illuminating the whole world.”
Witzel finds most of the elements of the Indian and Indo-Iranian (East Iran and Nuristan, Afghanistan myths) to be intact and to correspond in the Japanese Amaterasu version, but finally concludes that the Japanese myth takes an intermediate position between the Indo-Iranian version and the ones belonging to Southeast Asia — the Austro-Asiatic Khasi, and the Tibeto-Burmese Naga (both in Assam), and the Austric Miao (Hmong) in S. China.
Discerning ancestry and Divine Descent from the Sun … which has parallels for Japan as Land of the rising Sun and its people as the ‘children of the sun’
This next segment of the article aims to sift through the ancestries behind the myths under discussion. We begin by asking the question: Who were the Rajputs and Gehlotes or Gahlots to whom the Isani-Iswara deities are attributed?
This next article by R.V. Russell from “The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India” Vol. IV of IV is particularly significant, as it suggests to us the historical provenance of Silla princely lineages of the Kofun era Japan who arrived via Korea.
Rajput, Sesodia, Gahlot, Aharia_.–The Gahlot or Sesodia is generally admitted to be the premier Rajput clan. Their chief is described by the bards as “The Suryavansi Rana, of royal race, Lord of Chitor, the ornament of the thirty-six royal races.” The Sesodias claim descent from the sun, through Loh, the eldest son of the divine Rama of Ajodhia. In token of their ancestry the royal banner of Mewar consisted of a golden sun on a crimson field…The last king of Valabhi was Siladitya, who was killed by an invasion of barbarians, and his posthumous son, Gohaditya, ruled in Idar and the hilly country in the south-west of Mewar. From him the clan took its name of Gohelot or Gahlot. Mr. D.R. Bhandarkar, however, from a detailed examination of the inscriptions relating to the Sesodias, arrives at the conclusion that the founders of the line were Nagar Brahmans from Vadnagar in Gujarat, the first of the line being one Guhadatta, from which the clan takes its name of Gahlot  The family were also connected with the ruling princes of Valabhi. Mr. Bhandarkar thinks that the Valabhi princes, and also the Nagar Brahmans, belonged to the Maitraka tribe, who, like the Gujars, were allied to the Huns, and entered India in the fifth or sixth century. Mr. Bhandarkar’s account really agrees quite closely with the traditions of the Sesodia bards themselves, except that he considers Guhadatta to have been a Nagar Brahman of Valabhi, and descended from the Maitrakas, a race allied to the Huns, while the bards say that he was a descendant of the Aryan Kshatriyas of Ajodhia, who migrated to Surat and established the Valabhi kingdom. The earliest prince of the Gahlot dynasty for whom a date has been obtained is Sila, A.D. 646, and he was fifth in descent from Guhadatta, who may therefore be placed in the first part of the sixth century. Bapa, the founder of the Gahlot clan in Mewar, was, according to tradition, sixth in descent from Gohaditya, and he had his capital at Nagda, a few miles to the north of Udaipur city.  A tradition quoted by Mr. Bhandarkar states that Bapa was the son of Grahadata. He succeeded in propitiating the god Siva.”
Oodeypoor in Rajputana was also a Sisodian clan, read more on Sessodians (a.k.a. Sassanians) from the same work:
“According to tradition Bapa went to Chitor, then held by the Mori or Pramara Rajputs, to seek his fortune, and was appointed to lead the Chitor forces against the Muhammadans on their first invasion of India.^ After defeating and expelling them he ousted the Mori ruler and established himself at Chitor, which has since been the capital of the Sesodias. The name Sesodia is really derived from Sesoda, the residence of a subsequent chief Rahup, who captured Mundore and was the first to bear the title of Rana of Mewar. Similarly Aharia is another local name from Ahar, a place in Mewar, which was given to the clan. They were also known as Raghuvansi, or of the race of king Raghu, the ancestor of the divine Rama. … From the fourteenth century the chronicles of the Sesodias contain many instances of Rajput courage and devotion. Chitor was sacked three times before the capital was removed to Udaipur, first by Ala-ul-Din Khilji in 1303, next by Bahadur Shah, the Muhammadan king of Gujarat in 1534, and lastly by Akbar in 1567. These events were known as Saka or massacres of the clan…”.
According to historian Sir Jervoise Athelstane Baines, Gujjars are forefathers of Sisodiyas.
“Sisodias claim their descent from Lord Rama who was from the Raghav (Raghuvanshi) clan of Suryavanshi dynasty and the hero of the famous Hindu epic The Ramayana through his son Luv who were their close associates.. They continued with the flag of Luv that has insignia of ‘Sun’ that embossed on a crimson back ground. The clan claims that they had moved from Lahore that was also known as ‘Lohkot’ or ‘Lavasthali’ to Shiv Desh, or Chitor in V.S 191” — Source: “Sisodia“
Identifying the ‘children of the sun’ and the fire-worshippers
According to the Encyclopedia of Shinto (by the Kokugakuin University):
The first wedded couple in the age of the gods (the seventh generation of deities). They gave birth to the terrestrial regions (Oyashimaguni), mountains, rivers, seas, plants, animals, and men, and became the gods of the earth and of all things on earth. Izanami died giving birth to the God of Fire and became a goddess in the land of Yomi. Izanagi went to visit her there but broke a taboo and was forced to part with her. Having come in contact with pollution, he feared that misfortune would result, and so went to the sea and purified himself. (See misogi.) He is thus regarded as the founder of the practice of harae. The three most important deities born to Izanagi and Izanami are Amaterasu Ômikami, Susanoo no mikoto, and Tsukiyomi no mikoto.
Persian presence in Japan
Were there ever any Persians in Japan?
An introduction to the Simorghian culture and Mithraism in East Asia Tojo writes of the widespread influence of Persian S. cultural ideas on Central Asia, China and Japanese Shinto beliefs:
“Zoroastrianism is dominant in Iran all the time until the fall of Sasanid dynasty. In the Achaemenid dynasty Ahura Mazda worship was one of the many sects, and was not so prominent as the western scholars imagine. The elite magi were Simorghians and Mithraists. The Seleucid, Parthia and Bactria were the golden age of the Simorghian (ancient Aryan) religion and Mithraism, the dark age for Ahura Mazda worshippers. Zoroastrianism was a mere branch of the ancient Aryan religion in the Central Asia. The Simorghian culture and Mithraism retained their power all the time even in early Islamic Iran. (Aoki. A History of Zoroastrianism, Ch. 1, 2, p212-213, afterword)
Its[Ancient Aryan religion] origin is far older than the Zoroastrianism. It held not only Mithraism (Mehrparasti) but also worship (cult ) of Anahita, Tyr, Daevas and other gods. In the Central Asia it flourished and retains its dominance even in early Islamic time. It held not only Mitharism and worship (cult) of Anahita, Daevas and other gods but also Zoroastrianism (Ahura Mazda worship) as its branch. There was a possibility that it was influenced by Manichaeism and Mahayana Buddhism. (Aoki. A History of Zoroastrianism, p200-201) There were its temples which have images of Mithra, Anahita, Farrah (prn) and other gods in the Central Asia and North China… (Aoki. A History of Zoroastrianism, p202).
Iranian Mithraism (Mehrparasti) It is simply called “Mithraism” in this article. It is a religion in the Simorghian culture.
It is a religion in the same way as Shaivism and Vaishnavism in the Hindu culture. Neither Shaivism nor Vaishnavism is able to exist without the Hindu culture as its basis.
So is Iranian Mithraism (Mehrparasti).
A monotheistic Mithraism was in its forming process in 12th-9th BC (Aoki. A History of Zoroastrianism, p26, 34). In my opinion Roman Mithraism is the extension of this process which proceed in the West Iran (Kurdistan), however, it retains strong connection with the Simorghian culture, unlike Zoroastrianism which denied the Simorghian culture….
In the Central Asia (present Afghanistan and Pakistan) Iranian religions met primitive Buddhism and made a syncretic new religious movement. The first is Miroku Buddhism 弥勒仏教, the second is Pure Land Buddhism 浄土教, the third is Esoteric Buddhism 密 … These three syncretic religions brought Simorghian culture and Mithraism to Japan.
On Mihr’s-day everybody rest their work and wear white clothes to celebrate Mithra.
Recent Chinese and Japanese researchers attested that the Iranian religion which spread in the Central Asia was not Zoroastrianism (Mazda worship) but the ancient Aryan religion (and Simorghian culture) which includes Zoroastrianism as a branch sect. They also think that it is this ancient Aryan religion that came to Japan in Asuka era (592-710 AD).
(Aoki. A History of Zoroastrianism, p201, 205-207) It seems Manichaeism was a branch of it as well.
Mahayana Buddhism was formed under the strong influence of Mithraism, (2) there were also strong influence of Roman Mithraism. It is possible to say that Mahayana Buddhism is a syncretism of primitive Buddhism and Mithraism.
The name Miroku itself is the definitive attestation that the origins of Miroku is Mithra. According to Prof. Imoto, the origin of the name Miroku is Middle Persian Mihrak, which is the nickname for Mithra. Mihrak was transcripted into Mi-l’әk* (Miroku 弥勒) in Northern Buddhism (Mahayana Buddhism) ( Imoto “Influence of Iranian Culture to7 Japan”, pp1-6). He is the first scholar who proposed the theory that Iranian religion, which was merged with Buddhism, came to Japan in Asuka era 592-710. Today he has many supporters among researchers.
Why did Buddhists use the name Mi-l’әk for the Chinese name of Maitreya of Mahayana? It is highly likely that they knew the origin of Mahayana Maitreya is Mithra and thought it adequate to use Mi-l’әk. There is an attestation. Manichaeran in Central Asia calls Maitreya Mitri-Burkhan (Mitra-Buddha) (Mirecki, Paul & Jason BeDuhn ed. Emerging from Darkness Studies in the Recovery of Manichaean Sources, p94). It is an attestation that Mahayana Maitreya is Mitra-Buddha and Maitreya and Mithra is identical in the Central Asia“
A Brahmi connection of Japanese mythology has also been made by Anon Prajapati, in the article The Shinto Mirror of Yata Inscription which relates to the central Amaterasu royal myth. The article asserts that the words on the Yata mirror have been decoded by a combination of the reading of Brahmi Sanskrit and Hebrew and early Japanese letters (notwithstanding the veracity of the Yata mirror’s existence and authenticity). The above analysis of Saka-Sassanian/Persian-Sila invaders of India locate their origins in the Hurrian-Mittanian-Persian or Hindu Kush region but if this theory were confirmed to be true, it would bring the semitic peoples into the context of the Kojiki founding myths instead.
This next section traces the origins of Saka-Scythian-Sisodian (Sassanian) segments of the populations of Northwest India and cultural elements that Japan has in common with India. The scholars trace their them back to Persian and Hurrian-Mitannian populations. The writings of Tojo Masato offer an extensive exposition of the influences of the Persian-Simorghian Culture on Shintô Myth.
A description of the Saka-descended peoples of northwest India is given in Khshatrapa Gandasa’s Origin of the Saka Races (Chap 3)
“Herodotus from the 5th century BC writes in an eye-witness account of the Scythians: “they were the most manly and law-abiding of the Thracian tribes. If they could combine under one ruler, they would be the most powerful nation on earth.” According to their origin myth recorded by Herodotus, the Sakas arose when three things fell from the sky: the i) plough, ii) sword and iii) cup. The progenitor of the Sakas picked them up and hence the Saka race began its long history of conquering lands, releasing its bounties and enjoying the fruits of their labor (the cup has a ceremonial-spiritual-festive symbolism). The relevance of these symbols and codes of life and culture to the traditional Punjabi and northwest society are tantalizingly obvious. A branch of the Sakas kown as the Alani reached regions of Europe, Asia Minor and the Middle East….
Some of these Saka tribes entered northwest India through the Khyber pass, others through the more southerly Bolan pass which opens into Dera Ismail Khan in Sindh — an entry point into Gujarat and Rajasthan. From here some invading groups went north (Punjab), others went south (Maharasthra), and others further east (UP, MP). This explains why some Jat, Gujjar and Rajput clans claim descent from Rajasthan (Chauhan, Powar, Rathi, Sial etc.) while others from Afghanistan…
Sir Cunningham (former Director General of Indian Archeological survey) writes:
“the different races of the Scythians which succesively appeared as conquerors in the border provinces of Persian and India are the following in the order of arrival: Sakas or Sacae (the Su or Sai of the Chinese – B.C. ?), Kushans (the great Yue-Chi (Yuti) of the Chinese – B.C. 163), Kiddarite or later Kushans (the little Yue-chi of the Chinese – A.D. 450) and Epthalites or White Huns (the Yetha of the Chinese – 470 A.D.).
Cunningham further notes that “. . . the successive Scythian invasions of the Sakas, the Kushans, and the White Huns, were followed by permanent settlements of large bodies of their countrymen . . “.
Cunningham and Tod regard the Huns to be the last Scythian wave to have entered India.
Herodotus reveals that the Scythians as far back as the 5th century B.C. had political control over Central Asia and the northern subcontinent up to the river Ganges.
…the agrarian and artisan communities (e.g. Jats, Gujars, Ahirs, Rajputs, Lohars, Tarkhans etc.) of the entire west are derived from the war-like Scythians who settled north-western and western South Asia in successive waves between 500 B.C. to 500 AD. Down to this day, the very name of the region `Gujarat’ is derived from the name `Khazar’, whilst `Saurashtra’ denotes `Sun-worshipper’, a common term for the Scythians. The Gujarat-Rajasthan region continues to be the most Scythic region in the world.
The oldest Rajputs clans found in southern and western Rajasthan arose much later from earlier Scythic groups; or are of Hun origin (5-6th century AD); and many are no doubt of mixed Scythic-Hun origin. Virtually all are of Scythic descent.
Regarding the Mauryas, Dehiya [p.147] states “Another indication of the foreign origin [ ie. Saka ] of these people is . . . The Vishnu Purana calls them [ Gupta rulers ] Sudras. The Markandeya Purana brands the Mauryas as Asura. The Yuga Purana called them `utterly irreligious, though posing as religious’. The Mudra Rakshasa calls these people as Mlecchas and Chandragupta himself is called ‘Kulahina’, an upstart of unknown family”.
It has also been suggested that this Scythic influence was occasioned by the immigration of Iranic Scythians fleeing the Greek conquest. Be that as it may, the fact remains that the main civilizing impetus behind the Mauryan empire was Scythic.
The Mauryas were themselves perhaps of Scythic origin. D.B. Spooner who evacuated Pataliputra was struck by his findings and writes in his article “The Zoroastrian Period of Indian History” as follows:
“For Chandragupta’ s times, the evidences are more numerous and more detailed, and indicate a following of Persian customs all along the line – in public works, in ceremonial, in penal institutions, everything“.
The theory of a Scythic descent of the Mauryas is supported by the following pieces of evidence :
Mauryan coins have the symbol of the sun, a branch, a humped bull and mountain (Dehiya, p.155). All these are pre-eminently Scythian MassaGetae icons who were Sun worshippers with the high mount symbolizing earth and the irregular curving lines alongside it symbolizing water. The tree branch is a symbol of productivity of the earth – agriculture and soldiering were the traditional noble occupations of Sakas. The historians of Darius record that when he attempted to attack the Scythian MassaGetae (an old-Iranian culture of Central Asia) along the Black sea in the 5th century BC, “the Saka kings swore by the sun god and refused to surrender earth and water”.
Survivals of Sakas | Based on coins, inscriptions, archeology and early Indian/Buddhist/Chinese/Greek/Persian manuscripts dating back to 500 BC, historians and ethnographers since the 19th century (e.g. Cunningham, Tod, Rapson, Ibbetson, Elliot, Ephilstone, Dahiya, Dhillon, Banerjea, Sharma, Sinha, Puniya etc.) have shown that the traditional agrarian and artisan communities of the entire northwest (e.g. Jats, Gujars, Tarkhans, Khatris, Ghakkars, Rajputs, Awans, Khambos, Lohars, Yadavs, Ahirs, Meos, etc. including various BC groups) are descended from Scythian (or Saka) tribes of central Asia (an aggressive and expansionist old Iranian speaking culture) who settled western and north-western South Asia in successive waves between 5th century B.C. and 1st century AD. The capital-lion Saka inscriptions at Peshawar and Mathura state “Sarvasa Sakasthanasa puyae” (for the merit of the people of Sakasthana). Inscriptions and coins mentioning ‘Sakastan’ are found all over the Saka core region of Rajasthan-Gujarat and surrounding tracts….
Political control over the western and northwestern subcontinent post 500 BC (Gandharan period) was primarily in the hands of Sakas (Scythians) and their descendents who mainly patronized Buddhism and Solar cults prior to 9th century AD. Based on analysis of coins, inscriptions, archeological finds and early Indian/ Buddhist/ Chinese/ Greek/Persian manuscripts dating back to 500 BC, historians and ethnographers (e.g. Cunningham, Tod, Rapson, Ibbetson, Elliot, Ephilstone, Dahiya, Dhillon, Banerjea, Sharma, Sinha, Shrava, Puniya etc.) have shown that the traditional agrarian and artisan communities (e.g. Jats/ Gujars/ Tarkhans/ Khatris/ Rajputs/ Lohars/ Yadavs etc.) of the entire northwest are the descendants of Scythian tribes from central Asia.
The Sakas of the northwest did not accept the supremacy of the Brahmins, did not practise the chaturvarna caste system advocated by their “law givers” like Manu, had their own Saka priests (Magas), and mainly patronized Buddhism mixed with their own religion (sun-worship) prior to 9th century AD. … In the Saka social order, zamindari, cultivation, artisanship and soldiering were considered the “noblest” and “highest” professions and way of life. These social ideals and cultural heritage are diametric opposites of eastern Brahmanical social dogma in which those who worked the land and worked for their living were designated “polluted” and “sudras” while those following non-Brahmanical religions were “mlechas” (barbarians).
… the northwest country (“Saptha-Sindhva” in Rig Veda) was politically independent from rest of southasia over 97% of its history from the start of its Vedic period to the Afghan conquest (500 BC – 1200 AD), as was the Sakasthan region surrounding Rajasthan. Between 500 BC-1200 AD, it was under the political rule of Saka tribes and dynasties who form 65% of the present western population based on ethnological information collected in colonial censuses. Saka priests were known as “Magas” (Sun priests who prayed to the sun for bountiful harvests) who, along with Buddhist masters of Sakasthan, found themselves out of work when Buddhism and its institutions declined during 8-10th century.”
Excerpted from “Rajputs” (Encyclopedia.com) who are known as the “fire-race”:
“Rajput” identifies numerous ksatriya or warrior castes in northern and western India. The term “Rajput” comes from rajaputra, which means “son of kings.” Rajputs are famed for their fighting abilities and once ruled numerous Indian princely states. The British grouped many of these states into the Rajputana Province. Today, it is the Indian state of Rajasthan.
Most believe Rajputs come from tribes in central Asia such as the Parthians, Kushans, Shakas, and Huns. These groups entered India as conquerors and became kings or rulers. They often married high-caste Hindu women or converted to Hinduism. By the ninth century, Rajputs controlled an empire that extended from Sind to the lower Ganges Valley, and from the Himalayan foothills to the Narmada River.
About 120 million people in India call themselves Rajputs. They live throughout northern India, although Rajasthan is considered their cultural homeland…. Rajputs speak the language or dialect of their region. In Rajasthan, Rajputs speak one of the dialects of Rajasthani, which sounds a little like Hindi. Some Rajasthani dialects include Jaipuri, spoken in Jaipur, and Marwari, spoken in Marwar…
Many folktales describe Rajput exploits… Rajputs were known as the agnikula (“fire-race”) and were the ancestors of clans such as the Chauhan, Solanki, and Ponwar Rajputs. Other Rajput clans trace their ancestry to the Sun or Moon.
Most Rajputs are Hindu. They were known for protecting Hinduism against Buddhism and Islam. Today, in their religious practices, Rajputs differ little from other high-caste Hindus. They use Brahmans (priests and scholars) for ceremonial and ritual purposes. They worship all major Hindu deities. Most Rajputs are devotees of the god Shiva. Many also worship Surya (the Sun God), and Durga as Mother Goddess. In addition, nearly every Rajput clan has its own patron god to whom it turns for protection.
Rajput is from the Sanskrit word Raja-Putra (son of a king). The word is found in ancient texts, including the Vedas, the Ramayana, and the Mahabharata. It was used by the ancient Sanskrit grammarian Pāṇini in the 4th century BCE. The word Kshatriya (“warrior”) was used for the Vedic community of warriors and rulers. To differentiate royal warriors from other Kshatriyas the word Rajputra was used. Rajputra eventually was shortened to Rajput; gradually it became a caste. Rajputs belong to one of three great patrilineages, which are Suryavanshi, Chandravanshiand Agnivanshi. Further, many Rajputs also claim patrilineage from Nagavanshi clan.
Suryavansha lineage: the sun
The Suryavanshi, which means Sun Dynasty, claim descent from Surya, the solar deity. The Sun Dynasty is oldest among Kshatriyas. The first person of this dynasty was Vivasvan, which means the Fire Bird. Ikshvaku was the first important king of this dynasty. Other important kings were Kakutsth Harishchandra, Sagar, Dileepa, Bhagiratha, Raghu, Dashratha, and Rama. The poet Kalidasa wrote the great epic Raghuvaṃśa about the dynasty of Raghu. Rajput Suryavanshi clans that claim descent from Rama are the Rathores, Jamwals, Raghuvanshi, Pundirs,Sisodias, Mauryas, Hill Chauhans, Bargujars, Durgvanshi, Minhas (Manhas), Vardhans and the Kachwaha.
Chandravanshi lineage: the moon
The Chandravanshi, which means Moon Dynasty, claim descent from Chandra, the lunar deity. This Lunar Dynasty is very ancient, but is younger than the Sun Dynasty. Som was the first king of this dynasty (Source: Rajput, Wikipedia)
Connecting the geography and civilizations of Hamitic or Kushitic Egypt, Hittite Anatolia, vs. Mithraic Iran and Mittanian N. Syria-SW Anatolian and Mitraic India…
This next article “The Aryans” gives a strong historical and chronological account of the origins of the earliest Vedic Brahmans or Brahmin-kshatriyas-Vaisya “Aryan” caste groups and their affinity to the stories of the Rig Veda as evidenced by a treaty recorded in cuneiform at El Amarna, Egypt. It also establishes the time frame of arrival of the first Brahmins, earliest evidence of Vedic (as well as early Mithraic) worship as well as the identity of the Mitannians (Hurrian-speaking state in northern Syria and south-east Anatolia from ca. 1500 BC–1300 BC which at its peak during the 14th century BC, had outposts centered around its capital, Washukanni whose location has been determined by archaeologists to be on the headwaters of the Khabur River), and their fragile alliance with the Anatolian Hittite-Akkadians at Boghazhoy (ancient Hittite city of Hattusa), brokered by the mediator Egypt at El-Amarna against the backdrop of hostile Israelites. Although at the beginning of its history, Mitanni’s major rival was Egypt under the Thutmosids, with the ascent of the Hittite empire, Mitanni and Egypt made an alliance to protect their mutual interests from the threat of Hittite domination. At the height of its power. Eventually however, Mitanni succumbed to Hittite and later Assyrian attacks, and was reduced to the status of a province of the Middle Assyrian Empire. This may have propelled migrations of the Hurrian-Mittani elites en masse into Central and East Asia and the Indian sub-continent.
“The term Aryan is applied to the three so-called forward castes in India – Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaisyas who constitute about 12% of India’s population. However, this minority group has for the most part gained control of the religious, political and economic power in India today.
In tracing the Brahmin ancestry, the best evidence seen thus far is their religious affinity to the Rg Veda. That is why they are often referred to as the Vedic people.2 The earliest evidence of Vedic worship is seen in on a cuneiform tablet excavated at El-Amarna in Egypt, on a document from Bogazkoy in Anatolia (Asia Minor)3. The tablet is in Hittite cuneiform and written in the Akkadian language, and is an adjunct to a treaty between the Hittite king Suppiluliuma and his son-in-law, the Mitannian king Kurtiwaza, and it contains a long list of the gods of the peoples who were parties to it.4 The tablet is dated around the 14th century BC.
The gods are invoked to witness the conclusion of the treaty and guarantee its observance. The gods of the Mitannians are named in these forms: Mi-it-ra, U-ru-ua-na, In-da-ra, and Na-sa-at-ti-ia-an-na. It is evident that these names correspond to Mitra, Varuna, Indra, and Nasatuau of the Vedic pantheon.
In this treatise, Mithra (or Mitra) is invoked as the god of contract and mutual obligation. In short Mithra may signify any kind of communication between men and whatever establishes relations between them.6 The treatise is in the time frame of Israel invading the land of Canaan and their occupation causes a migratory movement in Canaan and surrounding areas. Thus these early Vedic elements spread to other nations.
The worship of Mithra is next seen in Iran where he has evolved and become the god of the sun, justice, contract and war. Before Zoroaster (6th century BC) the Iranians had a polytheistic religion and Mithra was the most important of their gods.7 However, Zoroastrianism, a monotheistic faith, displaces the importance of Mithra. Zoroaster’s teaching centered on Ahura Mazda, who is the highest god, creator of heaven and earth and alone is worthy of worship.8
Zoroastrianism seems to have slowly decayed into fire worship. Early reliefs show the king praying to Ahura Mazda before a flaming altar. However, later the king appears on coins without Ahura Mazda, dressed in the costume of a fire priest, praying directly to a fire. This change occurred around the late 5th or 4th century BC.14 The worship of fire, Agni, is also of importance to the Vedic people.
When Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire around 330 BC, the old structure of worship appears to have broken down completely and about the worship of Mithra in Persia no more is heard.4 However, the worship of Mithra spreads to other parts of the world. In the Roman Empire, Mithraism is a western mystery cult which sprang into existence in the last century BC and flourished during the first centuries of the Roman empire.
In India, the first evidence of Vedic worship is seen in 183 BC in the Sunga Empire. For some fifty years Mauryan kings continued to rule in Magadha until about 183 BC when Pusyamitra Sunga, a brahman general of Brhadratha, the last Mauryan king, succeeded in gaining power by a palace revolution. Pusyamitra was a supporter of the orthodox faith and revived the ancient Vedic sacrifices, including the horse sacrifice.18
Most scholars agree that the Sungas were the ancestors of the Brahmins, though they were not called Brahmins at this time. However, their affinity to the Vedic practices and the usage of Mitra in their names (Pusyamitra’s son was called Agnimitra) are evidence that they were Vedic people. The Sungas were overthrown by the Kanvas in 72 BC, and the Kanva dynasty came to an end in 28 BC. The Kanvas are also considered in the Brahmin ancestry.19 The Sungas and the Kanvas were weak empires which did not last very long.
Thus the present Brahmin race can be traced from the Sunga empire through Persia to western Asia. They were nomads and their gods were inspired by nature and sacrifice is an important part of their ritual. However,
“Sacrificial ritual was beginning to be replaced by the practice of bhakti (personal devotion), positing a personal relationship between the individual and the deity”20
The numerous Vedic deities lost significance and, the numerous solar deities of the Vedas were merged in Hinduism into a single god, usually known as Surya (“the Sun”)21
Numerous temples of the sun are found in Gupta and medieval times. Amongst these is the “Black Pagoda” of Konarak, Orissa, built in the 13th century AD.
After the fall of the Sungas and Kanvas nothing significant is heard of the Brahmin ancestors for a while and there was religious and social harmony in the land,
Till the close of the sixth century AD different religious sects lived together in admirable harmony.23
However, after the death of Harshavardhana in 647 AD, his empire crumbled and there was great confusion in India. From this confusion arose the Rajputs,
The Rajputs maintained their unchallenged supremacy over northern India from the death of Harsha to the first Turk invasion. That is why, the period between 647 to 1200 AD is known as the Rajput period.24
The Rajputs were the descendants of Sakas, Hunas, and Kushans who came to India and settled here. Later, they entirely mixed themselves in the Indian society and almost lost their individuality.
The presence of Charans and Bhats (bards) was a new feature of the Rajput period. They were appointed at the courts to recite poems in praise of their masters. They also used to sing the heroic deeds of the ancestors of Rajputs. They used to accompany the army to the battlefield. Their duty was only to sing the heroic deeds and rouse the feelings of courage and bravery in the soldiers. They often used to act as messengers.
Further the caste system was the foundation stone of the Rajput society. The posts of Purohitas (family priest or court chaplain) were reserved exclusively to the Brahmin ancestors and the posts were hereditary. These Purohitas were never given capital punishment since they were considered an authority in the field of religion and spiritualism and they seem to have been the chief advisors to the king during the Rajput period. The Rajput society was marked by a lack of unity, mutual quarrels and pride. Sati system, child marriage and female infanticide were evil practices rampant.28
Thus based on these evidences we can see that the Brahmin ancestors and Rajputs set up the caste system during the Rajput period to control the Dravidian population of India which constitute about 88% of India’s population today. The Brahmin ancestors became the religious leaders and the Rajputs, the rulers or Kshatriyas. This was the beginning of the mythical race called the Aryans. The foreigners who were involved in trade were later included as the Vaishyas29.
Source: The Aryans
Excerpt from The Aryans and the Vedic Age
“The Aryans are said to have entered India through the fabled Khyber pass, around 1500 BC. They intermingled with the local populace, and assimilated themselves into the social framework. They adopted the settled agricultural lifestyle of their predecessors, and established small agrarian communities across the state of Punjab.
The Aryans are believed to have brought with them the horse, developed the Sanskrit language and made significant inroads in to the religion of the times. All three factors were to play a fundamental role in the shaping of Indian culture. Cavalry warfare facilitated the rapid spread of Aryan culture across North India, and allowed the emergence of large empires.
Sanskrit is the basis and the unifying factor of the vast majority of Indian languages. The religion, that took root during the Vedic era, with its rich pantheon of Gods and Goddesses, and its storehouse of myths and legends, became the foundation of the Hindu religion, arguably the single most important common denominator of Indian culture.
The Aryans did not have a script, but they developed a rich tradition. They composed the hymns of the four vedas, the great philosophic poems that are at the heart of Hindu thought. …A settled lifestyle brought in its wake more complex forms of government and social patterns. This period saw the evolution of the caste system, and the emergence of kingdoms and republics. The events described in the two great Indian epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, are thought to have occurred around this period. (1000 to 800 BC).
The Aryans were divided into tribes which had settled in different regions of northwestern India.“
Identifying the ‘children of the sun’, and fire-worshippers
Excerpts from Genealogical Evidence Chapter 4 Scythic Origin of the Rajput Race by Mulchand Chauhan (from his book “Scythic origins of the Rajput race” emphasize the predominance of Saka-Scythian constitution of the Northwest populations of India:
The Jats, Gujjars, Thakurs and all others as Saka Rajputs… a few notes about the Rajput Race. The Jats are in fact, Rajputs, as are Thakurs and Gujjars. There are no racial differences between these stocks, all are descendants of Saka immigrants; the differences are purely social and customary, reflecting partly the degree of pollution by Indo-Aryan customs.
Thus, the noted anthropologist Sir Denzil Ibbetson wrote : “It has been suggested, and I believe held by many, that Jats and Gujjars and perhaps Ahirs also, are all of one ethnic stock.” [ Ibb.185 ] This ethnic stock is the Scythic ethnic stock.
The overwhelming majority of the population of Rajputana and Gujarat is of Scythic origin, and even a sizeable proportion of Punjab is too. Jats and Rajputs alone form approximately 28 % of Punjab population. [ Ibb.97 ]. Tod holds that Jats are one of the great Rajput tribes, and that both are Getae [ Ibb.97 citing Tod.I.52-75 and 96-101 ] The Jat Rajput ratio is 3:1 in Punjab [ Ibb.102 ] Adding the other Scythic races to the Rajput total yields well over 50 % of the population of Rajputana and Gujarat as Saka. Sakas no doubt dominated in the Punjab and parts of the Ganges valley as well, but they have here been more or less overwhelmed in the flood of Mughalloid (Indo-Muslim) immigration.
The Thakur and Rathi are “lower grade of Rajputs rather than separate castes.” [ Ibb.132 ] and the Rawat is also Rajput [ Ibb.161 ] Adding these to the Rajut total greatly increases the number of Rajputs.
The distinction between Jat and Rajput is “social and not ethnic” [ Ibb.100 ] “the same tribe even is Rajput in 1 district and Jat in another.” [ Ibb.102 ]. I…
Even casual observers note that the Rajputs form a majority of the population in the Greater Rajputana region: ” … they [ Jats/Jits ] now constitute a vast majority of the peasantry of western Rajwarra, and perhaps of northern India.” [ Tod.II.138 ] This feature is most obvious in Rajwarra or Rajputana, and is less obvious in the Punjab, where Mughal immigration has effectively overwhelmed any Saka survivals. The Sikhs are mixed Saka-Mughal stock, with ample evidence showing that both Mughallic and Scythic populations converting to the faith. Thus, Sikhism displays a combination of Saura-Saka and Islamic-Mughal influences. There is very little Indo-Aryan influence on Sikhism; it is Saka influence which was deliberately ignored and suppressed.
In Rajputana, even the commercial class are Scythic : “Nine-tenths of the bankers and commercial men of India are natives of Maroodes, and these chiefly of the Jain faith .. All these claim a Rajput descent.” [ Tod.II.127 ] Adding these classes leads to the startling conclusion that, except for the Brahmans (ca. 10 %), Black Untouchables or Sudroids (ca. 15 %), and Mughals (ca. 10 %), the rest of the population, comprising 65 % of Rajputana, is of Saka descent.
Mughal (Indo-Muslim) Genealogy
It is generally assumed that Col. Tod was the first to discover that the Rajputs were of Scythic descent. The concept of a Scythic origin of the Rajputs is thus often dismissed as a `Christian Colonialist Conspiracy to divide Hindus.’ However, the Mughal genealogists were completely aware of the Scythic extraction of several Rajput families. Indeed, there was, politically speaking, an alliance of Sakas and Mughals. The Sakas inhabited Sakasthan comprising Rajputana-Gujarat, whilst the Mughals inhabited Mughalstan comprising the Indus-Ganges Valley. It is only later, as a result of Brahmin conspiracies that the Sakas and Mughals fought each other and destroyed each others’ empires. Thus, Abul Fazl fondly narrated the Scythic descent of the Rajput allies of the Mughals :
`Let us see what Abul Fuzil says of the descent of the Ranas from Noshirwan. ” The Rana’s family consider themselves to be descendants of Noshirwan. They came to Berar (Berat), and became chiefs of Pernalla, which city being plundered eight hundred years proir to the writing of this book, his mother fled to Mewar, and was protected by Mandalica Bhil, whom the infant Bappa slew, and seized his territory” — [ Met.197 ]
Akbar commenced his reign in 1555 AD, and had been 40 years on the throne when the Institutes were composed by Abul Fazil. The Zoroastrians were not restrained from eating beef [ Met.197 ]. Another act which testifies to the tolerance of the Mughals towards the Sakas. There are further abundant mentions of the Sakas in Mughal chronicles –
The work which furnished all the knowledge which exists on the Persian ancestry of the Mewar princes is the `Maaser-al-Omra’, or that (in the author’s possession) founded on it, entitled `Bisat-al-Ganaem’, or `Display of the Foe’, written in AH 1204. The writer of this work styles himself `Latchmi Narrain Shufeek Arungabadi’, or `the rhymer of Arungabad’. He professes to give an account of Sevaji, the founder of the Mahratta empire; for which purpose he goes deep into the lineage of the Ranas of Mewar from whom Sevaji was descended, quoting at length the Maaser-al-Omra, from which is the following literal translation: ” It is well known that the Rajahs of Oodipur are exalted over all the princes of Hind, Other Hindu princes, before they can succeed to the throne of their fathers, must receive the khuskhka, or tiluk of regality and investiture, from them. This type of sovereignty is received with humility and veneration. The khushkaof these princes is made with human blood: their title is Rana, and they deduce their (p.198) origin from Noshirwan-i-Adil (ie. the Just), who conquered the countries of [ lacuna in MS ], and many parts of Hindustan. During his life-time his son Noshizad, whose mother was the daughter of the Kesar of Rum [ Maurice, emperor of Byzantium ], quitted the ancient worship and embraced the `faith of the Christians’ [ Din-i-Tersar ], and with numerous followers entered Hindusthan. Thence he marched a great army towards Iran, against his father Noshirwan; who despatched his general, Rambarzeen with a numerous force to oppose him. An action ensued, in which Noshizad was slain; but his issue remained in Hindusthan, from whom are descended to Ranas of Oodipur. Noshirwan had a wife from the Khankhan of China, by whom he had a son called Hormuz, declared heir to the throne shortly before his death. As according to the faith of the fire-worshippers it is not customary either to bury or burn the dead, but to leave the corpse exposed to the rays of the Sun, so it is said that the body of Noshirwan has to this day suffered no decay but is still fresh.” — [ Met.197-8 ]
Continuing the quotation from the work of Arungabadi,
” Of the eldest daughter of Yezdegird, Maha Bahoo, the Parsees have no accounts; but the books of the Hindus give evidence to her arrival in that country, and that from her issue is the tribe of Sesodia. But, at all events, this race is either of the seed of Noshizad, the son of Noshirwan, or that of the daughter of Yezdegird.”— [ Met.199
” Ali Ibrahim, a learned native of Benaras, was Wilford’s authority for asserting the Rana’s Persian descent, who stated tohim that he had seen the original history, which was entilted “Origin of the Peishwas from the Ranas of Mewar.” (Ibrahim must have meant the Satara princes, whose ministers were the Peishwas.) From this authority three distinct emigrations of the Guebres, or ancient Persian, are recorded, from Persia into Guzerat. The first in the time of Abu Beker, AD 631; the second on the defeat of Yezdegird, AD 651; and the third when the descendants of Abbas began to prevail, AD 749. Also that a son of Noshirwan landed near Surat with eighteen thousand of his subjects, from Laristhan, and were well received by the prince of the country. Abul Fuzil confirms this account by saying `the followers of Zerdesht (Zoroaster), when they fled from Persia, settled in Surat, the contracted term from the peninsula of Saurasthra, as well as the city of this name’ “— [ Met.197.ftn. ]
Cacustha and Suryavamse are synonymous according to the genealogists. The term Cacustha may be traced to “the Persian `Kai-caous’, a well-known epithet of the Persian dynasties.” [ Met.200.ftn ].
Rajput tradition records 36 Royal Races (`rajcula’) as being the highest Rajput families. The bulk of these are Scythic in origin. Thus, the following table shows the direct one-to-one correspondence for some of the more prominent Rajculas –Rajput Royal Clan Scythic Progenitor ---------------------------------------------- Dahya Dahae Hoon Huns Jit Getae Camar Camarii Sessodia Sassanian
The abundant mention of Yavanas or Ionians clearly shows that the Greeks merged into the Scythic races; a fact already evident from the abundant usage of Greek legends on Saka coins found in Rajasthan. Thus, whilst the Brahmanists hold that the Yavanas disappeared into thin air, these persons in fact merged into the Saka population, adopting the Saka Saura faith
The food which the Rajput consumes once again bears the imprint of his Scythic ancestry:
“Caesar informs us that the Celts of of Britain would not eat the hare, goose, or domestic fowl. The Rajpoot will hunt the first, but neither eats it, nor the goose, sacred to the god of battle (Hara). The Rajpoot of Mewar eats the jungle fowl, but rarely the domestic”– [ Met.74.n ]
The Rajput consumes boar, deer and fowl :
“The Rajpoot slays buffaloes, hunts and eats the boar and deer, and shoots ducks and wild fowl (cookra); he worships his horse, his sword, and the sun,m and attends more to the martial song of the bard than to the lit of any Brahmin.”– [ Met.68 ]
The food which the Rajput consumes once again bears the imprint of his Scythic ancestry :
“Caesar informs us that the Celts of of Britain would not eat the hare, goose, or domestic fowl. The Rajpoot will hunt the first, but neither eats it, nor the goose, sacred to the god of battle (Hara). The Rajpoot of Mewar eats the jungle fowl, but rarely the domestic”— [ Met.74.n ]
The Rajput consumes boar, deer and fowl :
“The Rajpoot slays buffaloes, hunts and eats the boar and deer, and shoots ducks and wild fowl (cookra); he worships his horse, his sword, and the sun,m and attends more to the martial song of the bard than to the lit of any Brahmin.”
— [ Met.68 ]
The religion of the Scythians was Sun-Worship in all its forms; the Rajput is thus, not surprisingly, a Sun-worshipper. They are thus referred to in Sanskritic and Prakritic tradition as `Sauras’ (devotees of Surya). Indeed, the Saurashtra peninsula in Gujarat is named after the Scythic Solar deity :
“the remains of numerous temples to this grand object of Scythic homage [ the Sun ] are still to be found scattered over the peninsula; whence its name, `Saurashtra’, the country of the Sauras, or Sun-worshippers; the Surostrene or Syrastrene of ancient geographers; its inhabitants, the Suros of Strabo.” — [ Met.183 ]
This religion is decidedly non-Brahminist as Sauras neither revere the Vedas nor accept Brahmin racial supremacy. The Sauras are thus not included among the 6 orthodox (`astik’) schools of Brahmanism (Vedism and Vaishnavism). As a result, the Rajput Saura is, along with Sudra Shaivas, Tantriks, Bauddhas and Jainas referred to as `nastik’ (heretic) and as a result the Saura has had to suffer considerable religious persecution.
The Scythic Sacae worshipped the god “Gaeto Syrus”, whence the Roman Sol, the Sanskrit Surya, the state of Syria and the Nordic Thor or Sor ( the commentator of the `Edda’ mentions that the ancient Nordics pronounced `th’ as `ss’), and Suarashtra peninsula of Gujarati Rajastan, the `Land of Sun worshippers’ [ Met.448 ]. Indeed the Sacae may have been the acestors of the Saxons of Europe. Thus the Sanskrit term for Sun, Surya, is derived from the Scythic Syrus.
The Surya-mandala is the supreme Rajput heaven [ Met.448 ]. The first day of the week, Aditwar/Aitwar/Thawara (cf. the Nordic Thor) is dedicated to the Sun [ Met.447 ].
Zoroastrianism: In the Vedas, Surya is frequently referred to as “the eye of Mitra, Varuna, and Agni” (RV 1.115.1, RV 6.51.1, RV 7.63.1, WYV 4.35, WYV 7.42, WYV 13.46, AV 13.2.35). This bears striking similarities to Zoroastrian scriptures, where the Sun is described as “the eye of Ahura Mazda”.
[This Vedic passage creates parallels between Surya and Amaterasu who was born from the left eye of Izanagi vs. Mitra=friend/mediator; Varuna=water or ocean deity; Agni=fire. Here the common important role that is assigned to water fountains or springs and the sun by both Persians and ]
” That there existed a marked affinity in religious rites between the Rana’s family [of Mewar ] and the Guebres, or ancient Persians, is evident. With both, the chief object of adoration was the sun; each bore the image of the orb on their banners. The chief day in the seven [ Sooraj-war or Adit-war, Sun-day ] was dedicated to the sun; to it is sacred the chief gate of the city, the principal bastion of every fortress. But though the faith of Islam has driven away the fairy inhabitants from the fountains of Mithras, that of Surya has still its devotees on the summit of Cheetore, as at Ballabhi; and could we trace with accuracy their creeds to a distant age, we might discover them to be of one family, worshipping the sun at the fountain of the Oxus and Jaxartes.” — [ Met.194 ]
However, some corruption has taken place with the infiltration of Sakta rituals :
“with the exception of the adoration of the `universal mother’ (Bhavani), incarnate in the person of a youthful Jitni, they were utter aliens to the Hindu theocracy. In fact, the doctrines of the great Islamite saint, Sekh Fareed, appear to have overturned the pagan rites brought from the Jaxartes.”
— [ Tod.II.139 ]
Indeed, the classification of Rajpoots as Brahminist Hindus is entirely absurd. It is akin to classing the Jews as Germanic Nordics. What the German did to the Jew, the Brahmanist (or dolicocephalic Later Aryan) did to the Saka. Despite the fiercest and most savage of persecutions at the hands of `astik’ Later Aryan Brahminists, the Saura religion has managed to survive :
“The religion of the martial Rajpoot, and the rites of Hara, the ground of the battle, are little analaogous to those of the meek Hindu s, the followers of the pastoral divinity, the worshippers of kine, and feeders on fruits, herbs and water. The Rajpoot delights in blood as his offerings to the god of battle are sanguinary, blood and wine. The cup (kharpara) of libation is the human skull. He loves them because they are emblematic of the deity he worships and his taught to believe that Hara loves them, who in war is represented with the skull to drink the foeman’s blood, and in peace is the patron of wine and women. With parbutti on his knee, his eyes rolling form the juice of the p’fool ? and opium, such is this Bacchanalian divinity of war. Is this Hinduism, acquired on the burning plains of India ? Is it not rather a prefect picture of the manners of the Scandinavian heroes ?” — [ Met.68 ]
Indeed, the ancestors of the Rajput royal families proudly claim to be descendants of the Su : “The children of Bapa [one of the Gehlote ancestors], were named `Agni-upasi Sudrya-vamsi’ or sun-born fire-worshippers.” [ Met.191 ]
The Jhalore fortress of South Marwar has four gates, that from the town is called `Sooruj-pol’ and to the North-West is the Ba’l-pol (`the gate of Bal, the Sun-God). [ Tod.II.240 ]
The architecture of the Rajputs is decidedly Scythic. All across the Sakasthan core regions of Rajputana and Gujarat one finds even today numerous tumuli, sacrifical pillars and burials reminiscent of Central Asia.
Strikingly, tumuli for which the Scythians of Central Asia are so famous exist in abundance in Rajputana and surrounding regions. Baron Metcalfe noticed the occurrence of tumuli in Rajputstan :
“ The tumulus, the cairn, or the pillar, still rise over the Rajput who falls in battle; and throughtout Rajputana these sacrificial monuments are found, where are seen carved in relief the warrior on his steed, armed at all points; his faithful wife (Sati) beside him, denoting a sacrifice, and the sun and moon on either side, emblematic of neverdying fame.”
— [ Met.73 ]
Tumuli containing “ashes and arms” exist, “especialy in the South about Golwalcoond” [ the Chohan dominions about Mt. Aboo ] and hence these structures are Scythic as per the testimony of Col. Tod [ Tod.II.357 ].
In addition to the province of Central Asia and the Russian Steppes, the Getes of the Jaxartes built tumuli, as did the Scandinavians. The Getic Alaric’s tomb is only one of numerous such examples [ Met.73 ].
Sacrificial pillars are another remnant of the Scythian. They are abundant in the regions surrounding Rajputana which comprise the historic Sakasthan :
” In Saurasthra, amidst the Catti, Comani, Balla and others of Scythic descent, the Pallia or Joojar (sacrificial pillars) are conspicuous under the walls of every town, in lines, irregular groups and circles. On each is displayed in rude relief the warrior, with the manners of his death, lance in hand, generally on horseback, though sometimes in his car.”
— [Met.73 ]
Stone circles are another feature generally recognised as representing Saka domination. The Jesuits found amidst the Comani of Tartary stone circles, a circumstance which testifies to the Scythic heritage of the region. Baron Metcalfe noted that “it would require no great ingenuity to prove an analogy, if not a common origin, between Druidic circles and the Indu-Scythic monumental remains.” [ Met.73 ]
The Sun, the Supreme God of the Saura Rajputs, forms the most important theme for Rajput architecture. The main entrance of Oodipur (Udaipur) is referred to as the Surya-pol [ Met.448 ]. The chief hall of Udaipur palace is called Surya-mahal [ Met.448 ]. A huge painted sun adorns the hall of audience and is behind the throne [ Met.448 ]. These prove that most of the triumphal monuments of the Indo-Scyths were erected to the Sun, further confirming their Saka ancestry. There even exist fountains sacred to the Sun :
“There was a fountain (Suryacoonda) `sacred to the Sun’ at Ballabhipura, from which arose, at the summons of Siladitya (according to legend) the 7-headed horse Saptaswa, which draws the car of Surya, to bear him to battle.” [ Met.185 ]
The Scyths used to fight on horseback. The worship of the sword prevailed among the Scythic Getae as described by Herodotus. Likewise, the Rajput also pays his devotion to his sword, he `swears by the steel’ and prostrates himself before his defensive buckler, his lance,his sword, or his dagger [ Met.73 ].
” The worship of the sword in the Acropolis of Athens by the Getic Atila, with all the accompaniments of pomp and place, forms an admirable episode in the history of the decline and fall of Rome; and had Gibbon witnessed the worship of the double-edged sword (khanda) by the prince of Mewar and all his chivalry, he might have even embellished his animated account of the adoration of the scymitar, the symbol of Mars” [ Met.73 ]
The Rajput, true to his Sun-worshipping Rajput heritage, follows the Solar calendar. This is in sharp contrast to the customs of the Indo-Aryans, who follow the Lunar calendar.
Who are the Children of the Sun?
Eurasian-Scythic and Indian Rajput Connections by Vrndavan Parker
The major extant Indian branches of the Scythic (`Saka’) tribes and their historical ancestry are shown –
Jat =>Getae or Jutii [ EB ]
Gujjar => Gujarati Khazar [ EB ]
Thakur => Tokharian [ EB ]
Abhira => Avars [ EB ]
Saurashtri =>Sauro Matii (Sarmatians) [ EB ]
Saka =>Scythii [ EB ]
Madra =>Medes [ Cakra.10 ]
Dahya => Rajcula Dahae [ Met. ]
Sessodia => Sassanian [ Met. ]
Trigarta => Tyri Getae [ Cakra.16 ]
Sulika => Seleucid [ Cakra.16 ]
Sisunagas of Magadh Sse [ Cakra.10 ] => Magadhi Magii [ Cakra.10 ]
Other tribes classed as Scythic are the Malavas, Arjunayanas, Yaudheyas, Sivis, Parthians, Kushans & Trigarttas [ Cakra.16 ].
The Keraits of Mongoloid race were referred to as Kirata [ Cakra.10 ]. The Sanskritic Aryan texts refer to the Scythians collectively as `Saka’, the Mongoloids as `Naga’ or `Kerait’ and the Negroids as `Sud’; a word related to the stem `Sud – ‘ in `Sudan’. Thus, recent genetic evidence indicates that the Sudroids of India are in fact the Sudanic Negroids who settled in India in ancient times. There is nowhere any concept of a monolithic “Hindu” race mentioned anywhere even up to the Puranic period.
The Sakas are mentioned as being clearly distinct…. Indeed, such well-known Saka races as the Sogdians and Cathii are all represented amongst the Indo-Scythic races :
” He [ the historian ] would find the Soda, the Catti, the Mallani, affording in history, position of nominal resemblance, grounds for inferring that they are the descendants of the Sogdi, Cat’hi and Malli, who opposed the Macedonian in his passage down the Indus.”
— [ Tod.II.256 ]
Col. Tod notes that ” The Gets or Jits and Huns, hold place amongst the 36 royal races of ancient India.” [ Tod.II.256 ]
The Gujjars are the 8th largest Punjabi caste after the Jats, Rajputs, Pathans, Arains, Brahmans, Camars and Chuhras [ Ibb.182 ]. The highest authorities have declared them to be the ancient Khazars who entered India :
“They [ Gujjars] are identified by General Cunningham with the Kushan or Yuchi or Tochari, a tribe of Eastern Tartars. About a century before Chrsit their chief conquered Kabul and the Peshawar country; while his son Hima Kadphises, so well known to the Panjab Numismatologist, extended his sway over the whole of Upper Panjab and the banks of the Jamna so far down as Mathra and the Vindhyas, and his successor the no less familiar king Kanishra, the first Buddhist Indo-Scyth prince, annexed Kashmir to the kingdom of Tochari. These Tochari or Kushan are the Kaspeiraei of Ptolemy, in the middle of the 2nd century of our era, Kaspeira, Kasyapapara or Multan was one of their chief cities.”
— [ Ibb.182 ]
The Indo-Aryan terms Gujjar and Kushan is clearly derived from the original name Khazar via the standard rules of phonetic change. Thus, Indo-Aryan languages universally lack the -kh- and the -z-, transforming them into -g- and -j- respectively. By end of the 3rd century, a portion of the Gujjars had moved south down the Indus and by the mid-5th century there was a Gujjar kingdom in South-Western Rajasthan. They were driven by the Baluchis into Gujarat [ Ibb.182 ]. Gujarat remains their stronghold to the day, and they settled there in such large numbers that the very name `Gujarat’, the `Land of Khazars’ came to be applied to the tract :
“Gujarat is still their [ Gujjar ] stronghold, and in that district they form 13.5 % of the total population.”
— [ Ibb.183 ]
Adding the other Saka tribes present in Gujarat, such as the Rajputs, the Saurashtrians or Sauro Matii and the Kathiawadis or the Catti one obtains well over half the entire population of the region. It is little wonder that this is the case, for the Gujarat-Rajputana region was the locus for the glorious Saka kingdoms of yore. The list of Rajput rajcula (royal races) indeed clearly mentions the Huns and other immigrant Sakas :
” so late are 7 centuries ago we find Getes, Huns, Catti, Ariaspas, Dahae, defnitely settled and enumerated amongst the Chhaties rajcula [of the Rajput ].”
— [ Met. 185 ]
The Rajput Sesodias are the seed of the Sassanid Noshirwan [ Met. 198-200 ] whence the Mewar kings are descended, a circumstance which justified Shivaji’s descent. General Cunningham also considered the Jats to be Scythic :
” General Cunningham and Major Tod consider the Jats Indo-Scythic [ Tod’s Raj. I.52-75 and page 96-101 Madras reprint ] [ Cunningham, ASI reports, II, p.51-61 ] Cunningham identifies the Jats with the Zanthii of Strabo and the Jatii of Pliny and Ptolemy and holds that they probably enterd the Punjab from their home on the Oxus very shortly after the Meds or Mands (also Indo-Scythic) and moved into the Punjab in the 1st century BC ”
— [ Ibb.97 ]
The Parthians also settled in India in large numbers : “Arrian, who resided in the 2nd century at Barugaza (Baroach) descrbies a Parthian sovereignity as extending from the Indus to the Nerbudda.” [ Met.184 ]
The Indo-Scyths were designated by the names of animals, just as their Scythic forbears : ” The Indo-Scythic tribes were designated by the names of animals, Barahas or hogs, Noomries or foxes, Takshacs or snakes, Aswas and Asis or the horse.” [ Tod.II.185.n1 ]
Abundant survivals of the Scythic era of Indian history can be gleamed from the numismatic record. The frequency of archaeological discoveries of Saka coins reaches its maximum in the Rajputana-Gujarat region, the traditional locus of the Saka Kshatrapa kingdom.
” Based on analysis of coins, inscriptions, archeological finds and early Indian/Buddhist/Chinese/Greek/Persian manuscripts dating back to 500 BC, historians and ethnographers (e.g. Cunningham, Tod, Rapson, Ibbetson, Elliot, Ephilstone, Dahiya, Dhillon, Banerjea, Sharma, Sinha, Shrava, Puniya etc.) have shown that the traditional agrarian and artisan communities (e.g. Jats/Gujars/Tarkhans/Khatris/Rajputs/Lohars/Yadavs etc.) of the entire northwest are the descendants of Scythian tribes from central Asia (an aggressive and expansionist old Iranian speaking culture) who settled north-western southasia in successive waves between 5th century B.C. to 5th century AD. Sociological and ethnological information collected in colonial censuses shows that the majority (+65%) of the population of the northwest (“Sakasthan” including Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat, northern Maharashtra and western UP) is of Saka origin . Terms like “Sakasthana” appear on ancient Saka inscriptions found as far as Mathura in western Uttar Pradesh (formerly, United Provinces).”
— [ Khalsa, Ch.2 ]
In addition, many of the coins of the Sakas include Greek legends. This indicates that the Greeks were absorbed into the Rajput stock, and that the Rajputs of today possess a considerable Greek ancestry.
The Gujjars are the 8th largest Punjabi caste after the Jats, Rajputs, Pathans, Arains, Brahmans, Camars and Chuhras [ Ibb.182 ]. The highest authorities have declared them to be the ancient Khazars who entered India :
“They [ Gujjars] are identified by General Cunningham with the Kushan or Yuchi or Tochari, a tribe of Eastern Tartars The Indo-Aryan terms Gujjar and Kushan is clearly derived from the original name Khazar via the standard rules of phonetic change. Thus, Indo-Aryan languages universally lack the -kh- and the -z-, transforming them into -g- and -j- respectively. By end of the 3rd century, a portion of the Gujjars had moved south down the Indus and by the mid-5th century there was a Gujjar kingdom in South-Western Rajasthan. They were driven by the Baluchis into Gujarat [ Ibb.182 ]. Gujarat remains their stronghold to the day, and they settled there in such large numbers that the very name `Gujarat’, the `Land of Khazars’ came to be applied to the tract Adding the other Saka tribes present in Gujarat, such as the Rajputs, the Saurashtrians or Sauro Matii and the Kathiawadis or the Catti one obtains well over half the entire population of the region. It is little wonder that this is the case, for the Gujarat-Rajputana region was the locus for the glorious Saka kingdoms of yore. The list of Rajput rajcula (royal races) indeed clearly mentions the Huns and other immigrant Sakas :
” so late are 7 centuries ago we find Getes, Huns, Catti, Ariaspas, Dahae, defnitely settled and enumerated amongst the Chhaties rajcula [of the Rajput ].”
— [ Met. 185 ]
The Rajput Sesodias are the seed of the Sassanid Noshirwan [ Met. 198-200 ] whence the Mewar kings are descended, a circumstance which justified Shivaji’s descent. General Cunningham also considered the Jats to be Scythic :
The Indo-Iranian Kambojas may also have been contributed to the horsemen culture of early Japan (see Kambojas; Kamboj and Kamboja Asvaka Ksatriya (Indo-Iranian Light Cavalry) / Bactria) as well as clans such as the Ashinas and Wusuns (see Why Soma and Sake are both the drink of the gods).
Purification rituals of the solar Saka-Scythian tribes and festivals dedicated to Sun God Surya in India:
Surya Jayanthi or Makara Sankaranthi is most Widely celebrated Hindu festival dedicated to the Sun God. It is celebrated as Makara Sankranti throughout India and as Pongal by Tamils all over the world. People thank the Sun God for ensuring a good harvest and dedicate the first grain to him.
This day is also known as Surya Jayanthi because it celebrates the power of the Sun God who is believed to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu in his form as Surya is usually worshiped on this day. Usually, Rathasapthami begins in households with a purification bath by holding a few calotropis leaves on one’s head and shoulders while bathing and chanting a verse which is supposed to invoke the benevolence of the Lord in all that one takes up the rest of the year. It also involves doing a puja with the ritual ‘Naivedyam’, flowers and fruits. On this day at Tirumala (Andhra Pradesh), Lord Venkateshwara (Balaji) is mounted on Seven Vahanas (Celestial Vehicles) one after the other starting from Suryaprabha Vahana and ending with Chandraprabha Vahana. Other Vahanas are Hanumad vahana, Garuda Vahana, Peddashesha Vahana, Kalpavruksha vahana and Sarvabhupala vahana. Origin of celestial vehicles – omatsuri
Surya is not mentioned as one of the Adityas in the first book of the epic Mahabarata, but may be regarded as the compound of the twelve solar deities mentioned there, to be understood in connection to the Jyotisha vedic astrology: Dhatri, Mitra, Aryaman, Sakra, Varuna, Amsa, Vaga, Vivaswat, Usha, Savitri, Tvashtri, Vishnu.
In Mahabharata, Surya is referred to as father of Karna, as he begot the latter on Kunti when she was virgin. With his grace and in order that Kunti is not spoken of badly in the world, Kunti could retain virginhood even after delivering a child.Makara Sankranti to slide further over the ages. A thousand years ago, Makar Sankranti was on December 31.
Sankranti is a solar event. So while dates of all Hindu festivals keep changing as per the Gregorian calendar, the date of Makar Sankranti remains constant over a long term, 14 January. Makar Sankranti is celebrated in the Hindu Calendar month of Magha.
Makar Sankranti is a major harvest festival celebrated in various parts of India. According to the lunar calendar, when the sun moves from the Tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn or from Dakshinayana to Uttarayana, in the month of Poush in mid-January, it commemorates the beginning of the harvest season and cessation of the northeast monsoon in South India. The movement of the earth from one zodiac sign into another is called Sankranti and as the Sun moves into the Capricorn zodiac known as Makar in Hindi, this occasion is named as Makar Sankranti in the Indian context. It is one of the few Hindu Indian festivals which are celebrated on a fixed date i.e. 14 January every year.
Makar Sankranti, apart from a harvest festival is also regarded as the beginning of an auspicious phase in Indian culture. It is said as the ‘holy phase of transition’. It marks the end of an inauspicious phase which according to the Hindu calendar begins around mid-December. It is believed that any auspicious and sacred ritual can be sanctified in any Hindu family, this day onwards. Scientifically, this day marks the beginning of warmer and longer days compared to the nights. In other words, Sankranti marks the termination of winter season and beginning of a new harvest or spring season.
As it is the festival of Sun God and he is regarded as the symbol divinity and wisdom, the festival also holds an eternal meaning to it.
In 2011, Makar Sankranti will be celebrated on 15 January 2011.
Maharaja Bhagiratha, performed great penance to bring Ganga down to the earth for the redemption of 60,000 sons of Maharaj Sagar, who were burnt to ashes at the Kapil Muni Ashram, near the present day Ganga Sagar. It was on this day that Bhagirath finally did tarpan[clarification needed]with the Ganges water for his unfortunate ancestors and thereby liberated them from the curse. After visiting the Pataala(underworld) for the redemption of the curse of Bhagirath’s ancestors the Ganges finally merged into the sea. A very big Ganga Sagar Mela is organized every year on this day at the confluence of River Ganges and the Bay of Bengal. Thousands of Hindus take a dip in the water and perform tarpan for their ancestors.
Bhageeratha was the king of Kosala, a kingdom in ancient India. He was a descendent of the great king Sagara of the Suryavamsa, or Sun Dynasty. He was one of the forefathers of Lord Rama, of the Ramayana, the epic in which Bhageeratha’s tale is primarily recounted.
He lost his father when he was just a child, and was raised by his mother. Bhageeratha was very intelligent, virtuous and kind hearted. When he came of age, Bhageeratha ascended to the throne of the kingdom of Kosala, today located in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. He was a pious, benevolent ruler who adhered to his duties as a king as prescribed by dharma.
Note: The above Bhagiratha story illustrates the purification by water ritual that is required for redemption from a curse. This element is found in the Izanagi and Izanami myth, where Izanagi has to carry out ablution rituals after his ascent and escape from the Underworld, and which have formed the ritual basis for the harae rites of Shinto practices.
DNA evidence for the ‘children of the Sun’ and possible origins:
Zhongming Zhao, et al. Presence of three different paternal lineages among North Indians: A study of 560 Y chromosomes Ann Hum Biol. 2009 Jan–Feb; 36(1): 46–59.
Three distinct lineages were revealed based upon 13 haplogroups.
The first was a Central Asian lineage harbouring haplogroups R1 and R2.
The second lineage was of Middle-Eastern origin represented by haplogroups J2*, Shia-specific E1b1b1, and to some extent G* and L*.
The third was the indigenous Indian Y-lineage represented by haplogroups H1*, F*, C* and O*. Haplogroup E1b1b1 was observed in Shias only.
The results revealed that a substantial part of today’s North Indian paternal gene pool was contributed by Central Asian lineages who are Indo-European speakers, suggesting that extant Indian caste groups are primarily the descendants of Indo-European migrants. The presence of haplogroup E in Shias, first reported in this study, suggests a genetic distinction between the two Indo Muslim sects. The findings of the present study provide insights into prehistoric and early historic patterns of migration into India and the evolution of Indian populations in recent history.
All Indian populations were clustered together, but there was further bifurcation between North Indian Brahmins and South Indian Brahmins (Vizag Brahmins). The five populations selected in this study (i.e. three Brahmin groups and two Muslim sects) were distributed along a single branch. Interestingly, not unexpectedly, the Central Asian populations were clustered; however, they were overall closer to Indian populations, depicting the gene flow from Central Asia.
North Indians carry three Y-lineages, one derived from Central Asia or West Eurasia (R1a1, R1b1b2 and R2 haplogroups), one derived from the Middle East (J2, Shia-specific E1b1b1, and to some extent Gand L haplogroups). …data revealed that there may have been admixture between Sunni Muslims and Brahmins in North India. However, a recent study has shown the presence of the YAP + element in lower caste groups, namely Panchamas and Vaishyas of North India (Uttar Pradesh) (Zerjal et al. 2007). It may be postulated that there was admixture between Shia Muslims with both higher and lower caste groups from Uttar Pradesh in the past. Our previous results based on mtDNA analysis (Terreros et al. 2007) revealed that the two Muslim sects (Shia and Sunni) appeared to lack significant levels of the haplogroups (M2, U2, R5) which are believed to represent the proto-Indians involved in the initial migration out of Africa along the southern Asian coast 60 000–80 000 ybp.
Our examination of the 32 UEPs in 560 North Indian Y chromosomes revealed 13 different haplogroups (C, E1b1b1, F, G, H1, J2, K, L, O, P, R1a1, R1b1b2 and R2), of which nine (C, F, H1, J2, K, O, P, R1a1 and R2) were present in all the studied populations.
The Middle East is often called the Fertile Crescent due to the emergence of agriculture during the Neolithic era and is one of the most important geographical areas contributing to the initial population and re-population of Europe (Cavalli-Sforza and Feldman 2003). There were two putative mutations found in the Middle Eastern populations: YAP/PN2/ M35 and 12f2/M172 (Semino et al. 2000; Underhill et al. 2001). The first mutation creates haplogroup E1b1b1 while the other mutation defines haplogroup J2. The Middle Eastern populations might have contributed differentially to the South Asian gene pool during the last 8000–10 000 years (Lahr and Foley 1998). The Y-lineages observed in the present study may suggest two major episodes of migrations: One carried J2 and to some extent L and G with the Neolithic farmers (Underhill et al. 2001) and the other arrived with the Muslims carrying E1b1b1 and a few more haplogroups such as J2 and G. Kivisild et al. (2003) also reported the presence of a J2 clade and postulated that the origin of the J2 clade in India was probably Central Asia. Their hypothesis is based on eight populations taken from different parts of India. They observed the J2 clade in ~13% of the sample. The major Middle Eastern lineage present in our study was J2 with an average frequency of 13.8% and its frequency among Shias was the highest (19.5%). We suggest that the J2 lineage of the studied populations might be derived from the Middle East. This might have been due to two different episodes of migrations, one concomitant with the development and spread of agriculture ~8000–10 000 years ago (Renfrew 1989; Cavalli-Sforza 2005), and the other more recent migration being the arrival of Muslim rulers 1000 years ago. The supporting evidence of the Middle East or West Asian migrations in Indian Muslims was demonstrated by the presence of 11.0% of haplogroup E1b1b1 in Shia Muslims. Our results revealed that Shia Muslims are different from Sunnis and other upper caste populations. They possess a relatively high frequency of the E1b1b1 haplogroup which was not observed in any other population selected for the present study. It appears that gene pool of extant Shia Muslims reflects the contributions of earlier Islamic invaders who might have maintained the founder population features. Zerjal et al. (2007) have also recently reported the low frequency of E3b3a (old nomenclature in YCC2002) in lower caste populations, i.e. Panchamas and Vaishyas populations of Uttar Pradesh, India.
Saini, JS et al. Genomic diversity and affinities in population groups of North West India: An analysis of Alu insertion and a single nucleotide polymorphism. Gene. 2012 Dec 15;511(2):293-9. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2012.08.034. Epub 2012 Sep 17
The North West region of India is extremely important to understand the peopling of India, as it acted as a corridor to the foreign invaders from Eurasia and Central Asia. A series of these invasions along with multiple migrations led to intermixture of variable populations, strongly contributing to genetic variations. The present investigation was designed to explore the genetic diversities and affinities among the five major ethnic groups from North West India; Brahmin, Jat Sikh, Bania, Rajput and Gujjar….. Genetic distance estimates revealed that Gujjars were close to Banias and Jat Sikhs were close to Rajputs. Overall the study favored the recent division of the populations of North West India into largely endogamous groups. It was observed that the populations of North West India represent a more or less homogenous genetic entity, owing to their common ancestral history as well as geographical proximity.
The Central Asian or west Eurasian Y-lineages are depicted in terms of presenting a similar high frequency of sibling clades of R haplogroups (R1a1 and R2) in the studied populations. A total of 256 of the 560 individuals (45.7%) in this study belonged to European Y-lineages, i.e. R1a1 (M173/M17), R1b1b2 (M173) and R2 (M124) clades (Figure 1). Similar results were reported in a previous study of the Indian subcontinent (Kivisild et al. 2003). Haplogroup R reflects the impact of expansion and migration of Indo-European pastoralists from Central Asia, thus linking haplogroup frequency to specific historical events (Sengupta et al. 2006). Haplogroup R is widely spread in central Asian Turkic-speaking populations and in eastern European Finno-Ugric and Slavic speakers and is less frequent in populations from the Middle East and Sino-Tibetan regions of northern China (Karafet et al. 1999; Underhill et al. 2000).
Interestingly, the high frequency of the R1a1 haplogroup seems to be concentrated around the elevated terrain of central and western Asia. Several migratory routes of H. sapiens are illustrated in Figure 3. Although haplogroup R1a in Central Asians depicted a low genetic diversity estimate, many researchers (Kivisild et al. 2003; Zerjal et al. 2003) have suggested a recent founder effect or drift that led to the high frequency of R1a in the Southeastern Central Asia. It has also been suggested that R1a might have an independent origin in the Indian subcontinent (Kivisild et al. 2003). We have observed a low frequency of R1b1b2 (0.5%). An additional signature of the Central Asian lineage is haplogroup R2. Its frequency was 22.0% in our sample. This haplogroup is mainly found in Indian, Iranian, and Central Asian populations and has been postulated to have a Central Asian origin (Quintana-Murci et al. 2001; Wells et al. 2001; Kivisild et al. 2003). However, our results have shown that high incidence of R2 clade was also observed in other North Indian populations, which was similarly reported in other studies (Cordaux et al. 2004; Cavalli-Sforza 2005). Overall, we suggest that Central Asia is the most likely source of North Indian Y lineage considering the historical and genetic background of North India (Karve 1968; Balakrishnan 1978).
Races in India notes: “considerable diversity in R1a1-M17 (and R2), especially in the northwest, possibly exceeding 10-15 Ka in time depth, and this has been confirmed in another study. This may be inconsistent with a single recent (i.e. about 5 Ka) entry of the comparatively recent (about 7 Ka) linguistic group called Indoeuropeans into India, though complicated exogamy rules can confound such simple conclusions. In fact, since the maximal diversity is around the Hindukush mountains, one can even postulate that as the source region, but the strong association with the Indo-european languages (which are unlikely to have arisen in that region), and its higher frequency (and lower diversity!) among caste Indians compared to tribals…R1a1 probably marks multiple separate population movement which still remains to be deciphered. …The R1a1 fraction in different populations (Sengupta et al. and Qamar et al.): West Bengal Brahmins: 72%, Konkanasth Brahmins: 63%, Muslims: 58%, Sindhi Pakistani: 52/49%, Kashmiri Pakistani: 51%, Pathan Pakistani: 49%, Balti Pakistani: 46%, Tanti: 41%, Pathan Pakistan: 40/49%, UP Brahmins: 36%, Rajput: 31%, Baluchi Pakistanis: 28%. J2a is more common in India amongst the Iyengar, Iyer, and Kurumba and in Pakistan among the coastal, Sindhis, Makranis, and Baluchis.“
Sources and references:
Source of the Izanagi’s descent into the Underworld;
Scythic Origin of the Rajput Race by Mulchand Chauhan, published by Rajputana Liberation Front, Ujjain, 1999, Copyright Notice: Excerpts have been used in this article in accordance with their terms and with credit
The “Red Book” ~ INANNA, QUEEN OF HEAVEN AND EARTH: Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer, by Diane Wolkstein and Samuel Noah Kramer. This book contains the Marriage of Inanna and Dumuzi.