Possible provenance of Japanese mythology and beliefs from the Rajput (Indo-Sakka) solar peoples of Northwest India

This article undertakes a scrutiny at some of the elements of Rajput kshatriya culture that have an affinity with the ancient warrior culture and religion of the Japanese beginning around the start of the Kofun-Asuka-through-Heian periods (all characteristics and traits in common between the two cultures will be highlighted in red).

From the following, it is possible to trace the source of the Izanagi and Izanami myth (read more here) as to a source closely related to the royal myth of the Rajput-Gehlote-Sessodian clans, “Iswara and Isani”, cosmic dance/union myths connected to agricultural fecundity, immortality and prosperity:

“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 

From Wikipedia article on the Rajputs:

Rajput (from Sanskrit raja-putra, “son of a king”[1]) is a member of one of the patrilineal clans of western, central, northern India and some parts of Pakistan. They claim to be descendants of ruling Hindu warrior classes of North India.[2] Rajputs rose to prominence during the 6th to 12th centuries. Until the 20th century, Rajputs ruled in the “overwhelming majority” of the princely states of Rajasthan and Surashtra, where the largest number of princely states were found.[3]
The Rajputs (from the Sanskrit tatpurusha compound rājaputra, “son of a king”), are a ruling class of Indian subcontinent and south east asia. In the Hindustani language, those belonging to the Kshatriya Varna of Hindus are generally referred to as “Rajputs”. They rule in Indian sub-continent from 6th century to 20th century and south east asia from 9th to 15th centuries, Nepal was the last empire of Rajputs which ended in 1950, Rajputs ruled more than 400 of the estimated 600 princely states at the time of India’s independence in 1947. Rajputs ruled 81 of out the 121 Salute states extant at the time of independence. Most Rajputs claim descent from Shri Ram and Shri Krishna.

A Rajput is a member of one of the major Hindu Kshatriya (warrior) groups of India and are a ruling class of the Indian subcontinent. They enjoy a reputation as soldiers
Current-day Rajasthan(Rajputana), Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh is home to most of the Rajputs, although demographically the Rajput population and the former Rajput states are found spread through much the subcontinent, particularly in North India and central India.
Rajputs rose to prominence during the 6th to 12th centuries and ruled until the 20th century in some princely states. They are divided into three major lineages. The four Agnivanshi clans, namely the Pratiharas (Pariharas), Solankis (Chaulukyas), Paramaras (Parmars) and Chauhans (Chahamanas), rose to prominence first. Rajputs ruled more than 400 of the estimated 600 princely states and 81 of the 121 Salute states extant at the time of India’s independence in 1947. — Source: History of the Rajputs

All Rajput clans and tribes ultimately trace their origin to the Rajasthan region, in the North-Western part of India.

The Rajputs are region wise found mainly in Rajasthan, but also in the Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Chota Nagpur, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh/Central India and Gujarat, among others.

The Rajputs as a whole are predominantly Nord-Indid and/or (robust) Indo-Brachid, but also having Gracil-Indid influence, assumably due to acquiring admixture from the lower castes of the same region. The Rajputs were classified as mainly Nord-Indid by most anthropologists, but as a whole they have a higher frequency of Indo-Brachid individuals in comparison to other Nord-Indid groups like the Sikhs (Jatt/Khatri classes), Pashtuns or the Brahmins. Their Indo-Brachid component is noted to go off in a Taurid (Dinaroid) – Cromagnid fashion.

Rajputs from the Rajasthan are mainly medium-toned, all though relatively light skinned individuals are not at all uncommon. The Rajputs in the hilly areas such as the Dogra lands are extremely light skinned. Sexual dimorphism between the males and the females is moderate, but the females are visibly lighter skinned than the males, especially so for the variants in Rajasthan.

In the Institutes of Manu, the ancient law-giver of Bharat/Aryavarta, the Hindu society as is common knowledge was to be divided into four castes. The first is that of the Brahmins, or clergy, to whom is entrusted the spiritual welfare of the Hindus; the second is the powerful class of the Kshatriyas, or warriors, who are the rulers and temporal guardians of the nation; the third class comprises the Vaishyas, or mercantile population, whose duty it is to watch over the agricultural and commercial interests of the people; and at the bottom of the social scale come the Sudras who are hereditary servants and manual labourers.

In light of this, this explicit stratification in turn defines the position of the Rajputs, as the lineal descendants of the ancient Kshatriyas and the hereditary royal warriors and the admitted nobility of India. The general belief is that the Rajputs are the direct descendants of the Kshatriyas of the old kingdoms.

The Rajput princes of India trace their descent from the ancient Emperors and rulers of India and thus they have a hereditary claim to royal authority. The sacred lore as well as the laws of Hindustan admit only those as Rajputs who are descended from the thirty-six royal Kshatriya clans mentioned in the sacred books, the Puranas, and in the two great Indian epic poems, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana.

Sir Alfred Lyall, in his famous work, Asiatic Studies, Religious and Social speaks of the ruling dynasties of Rajasthan as “the most ancient families of the purest clans.”

I will now end this brief introduction by presenting an interesting quote by the same Sir Alfred Lyall, which summarizes the character of the Hindu Rajputs-

The Rajputs, true to their descent, are born warriors, and no family of the human race ever possessed so liberal a portion of that essence of reckless daring, called chivalry by poets and romancers, as the Rajputs. Chivalry and heroism are as much a part of their blood as honour and pride. To write at any length about the Rajputs is to relate the deeds and vicissitudes of one of the noblest and most ancient of known races, and to enliven many pages of the world’s history with startling episodes of romance. Their fame is recorded on every page of the stirring annals of the Rajput States of India. The glory of their mighty achievements is reflected in the works of every chronicler of Europe and Asia, beginning with the father of historians, Herodotus, who was the first to allude to their heroic courage. The Rajput code of honour calls for a very high standard of character, and that this high standard has been uninterruptedly maintained is shown by their present ready response to the call to arms.
-Sir Alfred Lyall


See also Vedic Empire – Concept of Rajput is Vedic

The Rajputs of India are comprised of many different tribes. They were known for their valor and chivalry in battle. For centuries, they were India’s line of defense against invaders. They proved their chivalry by fighting with honor and the mercy that they showed to the vanquished. When fighting against the hordes of Arabs, Moghuls, Afghans, and Turks, many preferred to die rather than to forsake their ancestors’ faith (Hindu dharma) for Islam. While the nations of the Middle East fell in a matter of a few years to the rapid advance of Islam’s new followers, the Rajput men and women refused to let them capture India for over 500 years. The heroism and sacrifice displayed by these tribes is undisputed in the chronicles of Indian history.

The concept of the Raja-putra, or “son of a king,” is mentioned in Vedic literature. Rajput, a shortened version of Raja-putra, is a name that has come to be associated with various tribes that woul gain political importance in a given region. Because of the fluid social structure in early medieval India, a tribe could gain or lose Rajput status based on its political importance, its occupation, and its survival or extinction. Many tribes over the course of time became extinct because of war, or relocated to another location and changed their names. Traditionally, 36 “royal races,” or raj-kul, were known as Rajputs. They were allegedly migrants to India from central Asia who mingled with the aboriginal tribes and were given Kshatriya, or warrior status by the priests. One of these newcomers were the Huns, commonly listed as one of the raj-kul.
During the rule of the British, Lieutenant Colonel Tod visited Rajasthan and attempted to write a definitive list of the 36 Rajput tribes. However, everyone that he spoke to gave him varying lists of tribes. It can thus be concluded that a tribe that had furnished warriors or was politically dominant in a particular region can justly call itself a Rajput tribe.

Of all the Rajput tribes, there are some that deserve special mention. First, there are the Suryavanshi (Solar) Rajputs who are said to have descended from Shri Ram Chander. Second, there are the Chandravanshi (Lunar), or Yaduvanshi Rajputs who are descendants of Shri Krishna’s tribe. The most famous Chandravanshi tribe is the Bhatti tribe. There are also several Agni-kul, or tribes born of fire. Although different sources vary, the generally acknowledged Agni-kul are the Chauhans, Parmars, Chalukyas, and the Purihars. The name Chahamana was actually the original name of the Chauhans. The rest of the Rajput tribes are said to have been born of women.

Some Rajput traditions

The Rajput lifestyle was designed to foster a martial spirit. The festival of Rakhi, known as Lakhri in Punjab, is typically held in August. The rakhis, or bracelets, are tied to a brother’s wrist by his sisters. The belief amongst Rajputs was that the bracelets would avert evil in battle and designated those who would make a proper return from battle (Tod i.463). This festival was and is still celebrated all over India. Tod described at length the bond between the Rajputs and their swords. The double-edged scimitar known as the khanda was the favorite weapon of the Rajput. On special occasions, a primary chief would break up a meeting of his chiefs with khanda nareal, or a distribution of swords and coconuts (453). In order to attain a greater bond with one’s sword, Rajputs revered their swords and conducted the ritual of Karga Shapna during the annual festival of Navratri.

All recorded instances of Jauhar and “Saka” have featured Rajput defenders of a fort, resisting the invasion of a Muslim force.
Saka The next morning after taking a bath, the men would wear kesariya and apply the ash from the maha samadhi of their wives and children on their foreheads and put a tulsi leaf in their mouth. Then the palace gates would be opened and men would ride out for complete annihilation of the enemy or themselves. Rajput men and women could not be captured alive. This fight until death of men is called “Saka.” [They tended to practise mass suicides to avoid capture and molestation of their women] — Rajput Chronicles

On Rajput DNA, see Dienekes’ Anthropology blog, and Doma-peoples’ relation to the Romani gypsies of Europe and affinity to NW India’s Rajput clans and Indo-Scythian makeup of Western and Northern India’s Rajput, Jat, see Indo-Scythian Wikipedia article:

According to Ethnographers and historians like CunninghamTodd, Ibbetson, Elliot, Ephilstone, DahiyaDhillon, Banerjea, etc., 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;[1] who settled north-western and western South Asia in successive waves between 500 BC to 500 AD.

Trevaskis put the date of Scythian migrations into India approximately from 600 BC to 600 AD. Trevaskis wrote, “Their (Scythians’) successive onslaughts proved the ruin of Assyria, and soon after the fall of Nineveh, B.C. 606, a vast horde of them burst into Punjab.”[2]

Herodotus reveals that the Scythians as far back as the 5th century BC had political control over Central Asia and the northern subcontinent up to the river Ganges. Later Indo-Scythic clans and dynasties (e.g. Mauryas, Rajputs) extended their control to other tracts of the northern subcontinent. The largest Saka imperial dynasties of Sakasthan include the Satraps (204 BC to 78 AD), Kushanas (50 AD – 380), Virkas (420 AD – 640) while others like the Mauryas (324 – 232 BC) and DharanGuptas (320 AD – 515) expanded their empires towards the east.[1]

Professor Pritam Singh Gill wrote: “There is a general concensus of opinion that Jats, and with them Rajputs and Gujjars were foreigners who came from their original home, near the OxusCentral Asia.”[28]

Professor Tadeusz Sulimirski wrote: “The evidence of both the ancient authors and the archaeological remains point to a massive migration of Sacian (Sakas)/Massagetan (“great” Jat) tribes from the Syr Daria Delta (Central Asia) by the middle of the second century B.C. Some of the Syr Darian tribes; they also invaded North India.”[29]

  • Satya Shrava wrote: “The Jats are none other than the Massagetae (Great Getae) mentioned in Diodorus as an off-spring of the ancient Saka tribe…. a fact now well-known.[41] 
  • B. S. Nijjar wrote: “The Jats are the descendants of Scythians, whose kingdom’s capital was Scythia, in the present Ukraine (Ukrainian), Soviet Social Republic, is the constituent Republic of the European USSR (Population 49,757,000) in 1947. Now Ukraine’s capital is Kiev, the third leading city in Russia. Before the invasion of the golden herd, 13th century B.C. Scythian, ancient kingdom of indeterminate boundaries, centered in the area north of the Black Sea.[42]
  • “The first to describe the life style of these tribes was a Greek researcher, Herodotus, who lived in the fifth century BCE. Although he concentrates on the tribes living in modern Ukraine, which he calls Scythians, we may extrapolate his description to people in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and possibly Mongolia, even though Herodotus usually calls these eastern nomads ‘Sacae’. In fact, just as the Scythians and the Sacae shared the same life style, they had the same name: in their own language, which belonged to the Indo-Iranian family, they called themselves Skudat (‘archers’?). The Persians rendered this name as Sakâ and the Greeks as Skythai. The Chinese called them, at a later stage in history, Sai.” — Livius


James Tod. Annals and antiquities of Rajasthan, or The central and western Rajput states of India (Volume 2)  online at pp 10-13
The Aboriginal Tribes. — With regard, however, to the rude tribes who still inhabit the mountains and fastnesses of India, and who may be regarded as the aborigines of that country, the converse of this doctrine is more probable. Not their language only, but [558] their superstitions, differ from those of the Rajputs : though, from a desire to rise above their natural condition, they have engrafted upon their own the most popular mythologies of their civilized conquerors, who from the north gradually spread themselves over the continent and peninsula, even to the remote isles of the Indian Ocean. Of the primitive inhabitants we may enumerate the Minas, the Meras, the Gonds, the Bhils, the Sahariyas, the Savaras, the Abhiras, the Gujars, and those who inhabit the forests of the Nerbudda, the Son, the Mahanadi, the mountains of Sarguja, .and the lesser Nagpur ; many of whom are still but little removed from savage life, and whose dialects are as various as their manners. These are content to be called the ‘ sons of the earth,’ ^ or ‘ children of the forest,’ ^ while their conquerors, the Rajputs, arrogate celestial descent.’ How soon after the flood the Suryas, or sun-worshippers, entered India Proper, must ever remain uncertain.* It is sufficient that they were anterior in date to the Indus, or races tracing their descent from the moon (Ind) ; as the migration of the latter from the central lands of Indo-Scythia was antecedent to that of the Agnikulas, or flre-worshippers, of the Snake race, claiming Takshak as their original progenitor. The Suryas,^ who migrated both to the East and West, as population became redundant in these fertile regions, may be considered the Celtic, as the Indu- Getae may be accounted the Gothic, races of India.’ To attempt to discriminate these different races, and mark the shades which once separated them, after a system of priestcraft has amalgamated the mass, and identified their superstitions, would be 1 Bhumiputra. ^ Vanapulra.

^ Suryas and Induputras.
“• [For the Vedic cult of Surya sec Macdonell, ” Vedic Mythology,” Grundriss der Indo-Arischen Philologie und Altertum’skunde, 1897, p. 30 ff.]
‘• The Sauromatae or Sarinatians of early Europe, as well as the Syrians, were most probably colonies of the same Suryavansi who simultaneously peopled the shores of the Caspian and Mediterranean, and the banks of the Indus and Ganges. Many of the tribes described by Strabo as dwelling around the Caspian are enumerated amongst the thirty-six royal races of India. One of these, the Sakasenae, supposed to be the ancestors of our own Saxon race, settled themselves on the Araxes in Armenia, adjoining Albania. [There are no grounds for these comparisons.]
‘ [There are no grounds for this classification.]


Analogies to Rajput Customs in Northern Europe. — In treating of the festivals and superstitions of the Rajputs, wherever there may appear to be a fair ground for supposing an analogy with those of other nations of antiquity, I shall not hesitate to pursue it. The proper names of many of the martial Rajputs would alone point out the necessity of seeking for a solution of them out of the explored paths ; and where Sanskrit derivation cannot be assigned, as it happens in many instances, we are not, therefore, warranted in the hasty conclusion that the names must have been adopted since the conquests of Mahmud or Shihabu-d- din, events of comparatively modern date. Let us at once admit the hj^othesis of Pinkerton, — the establishment of an original Indu-Getic or Indo-Scythic empire, ” extending from the Caspian to the Ganges ” ; or if this conjecture be too extensive or too vague, let us fix the centre of this Madhya-Bhumi in the fertile region of Sogdiana ; ^ and from the Ughts which modem history affords on the many migrations from this nursery of mankind, even since the time of Muhammad, let us form an opinion of those which have not been recorded, or have been conveyed by the Hindus only in imperfect allegory ; and with the aid of ancient customs, obsolete words, and proper names, trace them to Indo-Scythic colonies grafted on the parent stock. The Puranas themselves bear testimony to the incorporation of Scythic tribes with the Hindus, and to the continual irruptions of the Saka, the Pahlavas, the Yavanas,^ the Turushkas, names conspicuous amongst the races of Central Asia, and recorded in the pages of the earliest Western historians. Even so early as the period of Rama, when furious international wars were carried on between the military and sacerdotal classes for supremacy, we have the names of these tribes recorded as auxiliaries [560] to the priest- hood ; who, while admitting them to fight under the banners of Siva, would not scruple to stamp them with the seal of Hinduism.
In this manner, beyond a doubt, at a much later period than the events in the Ramayana, these tribes from the North either forced themselves among, or were incorporated with, ‘ the races of the sun.’ When, therefore, we meet with rites in Rajputana and in ancient Scandinavia, such as were practised amongst the Getic nations on the Oxus, why should we hesitate to assign the origin of both to this region of earliest civilization ? When we see the ancient Asii, and the lutae, or Jutes, taking omens from the white steed of Thor, shut up in the temple at Upsala; and in like manner, the Rajput of past days offering the same animal in sacrifice to the sun, and his modern descendant taking the omen from his neigh, why are we to refuse our assent to the common origin of the superstition practised by the Getae of the Oxus ?
Again, when we find the ‘ homage to the sword ‘ performed by all the Getic races of antiquity in Dacia, on the Baltic, as well as by the modern Rajput, shall we draw no conclusion from this testimony of the father of history, who declares that such rites were practised on the Jaxartes in the very dawn of knowledge ?

^ Long after the overthrow of the Greek kingdom of Bactria by the Yuti or Getes [Sakas] thia region was popular and flourishing. In the year 120 before Christ, De Guignes says : ” Dans ce pays on trouvait d’excellens grains, du vin de vigne, plus de cent villes, tant grandes que petites. Il est aussi fait mention du Tahia situe au midi du Gihon, et ou il y a de grandes villes murees. Le general chinois y vit des toiles de I’lnde et autres marchandises, etc., etc.” {Hist. Gen. des Huns, vol. i. p. 51).
^ Yavan or Javan is a celebrated link of the Indu (lunar) genealogical chain ; nor need we go to Ionia for it, though the lonians may be a colony descended from Javan, the ninth from Yayati, who was the third son of Ayu, the ancestor of the Hindu as well as of the Tatar Induvansi. [Yavana is the general term for a foreigner, especially the non-Hindu tribes of the N.W. Frontier, and those beyond them.] The Asuras, who are so often described as invaders of India, and which word has ordinarily a mere irreligious acceptation, I firmly believe to mean the Assyrians. [This theory was adopted by J. Fergusson, Cave Temples of India, 34.]


Moreover, why hesitate to give Eastern etymonologies for Eastern rites, though found on the Baltic ? The antiquary of the North (Mallet) may thus be assisted to the etymon of ‘ Tir-sing,’ the enchanted sword of Angantyr, in tir, ‘ water,’ and singh, ‘ a lion ‘ ; i.e. in water or spirit like a Uon ; for even pani, the common epithet for water, is applied metaphorically to ‘ spirit.’ ^

It would be less difficult to find Sanskrit derivations for many of the proper names in the Edda, than to give a Sanskrit analysis of many common amongst the Rajputs, which we must trace to an Indo-Scythic root : * such as Ey^’orsel, Udila, Attitai, Pujim, Hamira,* and numerous other proper names of warriors. Of tribes : the Kathi, Rajpali, Mohila, Sariaspah, Aswaria {qn. Assyrian ?), Banaphar, Kamari. Silara, Dahima, etc. Of mountains : Drinodhar, Arbuda, Aravalli, Aravindha (the root ara, or mountain, being Scythic, and the expletive adjunct Sanskrit), ‘ the hill of Buddha,’ ‘ of strength,’ ‘ of limit.’ To all such as cannot be [561] resolved into the cognate language of India, what origin can we assign but Scythic ? ^

^See Turner’s History of (Ua Anglo-Saxons, identifications are obsolete.]
h, to kill.
Tap ia heat or flame ; the type of Vesta.
Baba, or Bapa, the universal father. The Hindu Jiva- pitri, or Father of Life [?].
Aitiswara, or Sun-God, appli-cable to Vishnu, who has every attribute of Apollo ;
from ait, contraction of aditya, the sun.
Apsaras because born from the froth or essence, ‘ sara

^ of the waters, ‘ ap ‘ [‘ going in the water ‘].
Thoenatha ; or God of the Waters.
Amba, Ama, Uma, is the universal mother ; wife of ‘ Baba Adam,’ as they term the universal father.

vol. i. p. 36. [Many of the Festivals in Mewar. Nauratri Festival. — In a memoir prepared for me by a well-informed public officer in the Rana’s court, on the chief festivals celebrated in Mewar, he commenced with those following the autumnal equinox, in the month Asoj or Aswini, opening with the Nauratri, sacred to the god of war. Their fasts are in general regulated by the moon; although the most remarkable are solar, especially those of the equinoxes and solstices, and the Sankrantis, or days on which the sun enters a new sign. The Hindu solar year anciently commenced on the winter solstice, in the month Pausha, and was emphatically called ‘ the morning of the gods ‘; also Sivaratri, or night of Siva, analogous, as has been before remarked, to the ‘ mother night,’ which ushered in the new year of the Scandinavian Asi, and other nations of Asiatic origin dwelling in the north.


The Repose of Vishnu. — They term the summer solstice in the month of Asarh, ‘ the night of the gods,’ because Vishnu (as the sun) reposes during the four rainy months on his serpent couch.
The lunar year of 360 days was more ancient than the solar, and

^ [Such analogies of custom do not prove ethnical identity.]^ [The theory breaks down, because the name of the sword of Argantyr was Tjrrfing, or better Tyrfingr, the derivation of which word, as Mr. H. M. Chadwick kindly informs me, according to Vigfiisson’s Icelandic Dictionary, is from tyrfi, a resinous fir-tree used for kindling a fire, because the sword flamed like resinous wood.]

* See Turner’s History of Anglo-Saxons for Indo-Scythic words.
* There were no leas than four distinguished leaders of this name amongst the vassals of the last Rajput emperor of Delhi ; and one of them, who turned traitor to his sovereign and joined Shihabu-d-din, was actually a Scythian, and of the Gakkhar race, which maintained their ancient habits of polyandry even in Babur’s time. The Haoli Rao Hamira was lord of Kangra and the Gakkhars of Pamir.
^ Turner, when discussing the history of the Sakai, or Sakaseni, of the Caspian, whom he justly supposes to be the Saxons of the Baltic, takes occasion to introduce some words of Scythic origin (preserved by ancient writers), to almost every one of which, without straining etymology, we may give a Sanskrit origin. [There is no ground for ascribing a Scythio origin to the proper names in the text.]


Sun Worship. — In the mythology of the Rajputs, of which we have a better idea from their heroic poetry than from the legends of the Brahmans, the sun-god is the deity they are most anxious to propitiate ; and in his honour they fearlessly expend their blood in battle, from the hope of being received into his mansion.
Their highest heaven is accordingly the Bhanuthan or Bhanuloka, the ‘ region of the sun ‘ : and Uke the Indu-Scythic Getae, the Rajput warrior of the early ages sacrificed the horse in his honour,^ and dedicated to him the first day of the week, namely, Adityawar, contracted to Itwar, also called Thawara* [564].

The more we attend to the warlike mythology of the north, the more apparent is its analogy with that of the Rajputs, and the stronger ground is there for assuming that both races inherited their creed from the common land of the Yuti of the
Jaxartes. What is a more proper etymon for Scandinavian, the abode of the warriors who destroyed the Roman power, than Skanda, the Mars or Kumara of the Rajputs ?

Atre (1987: 197) speculates that terra-cotta figurines with an antler-like headdress represented a vestal virgin (cf. the Greek goddess Diana) who served to preserve a sacred fire in Harappan households. These figurines were periodically discarded in a ceremony of renewal and replaced by new ones. Other female figurines with fan-like headdresses were votive figurines to be offered as sympathetic ‘magic’ to promote fertility. Others which were pregnant might have been offered in a rite of gratitude. In the Harappan town of Kalibangan, evidence has been found for fire altars in private homes which may preview a new ritual in which the vestal fire subsumes the cult function of offering votive figurines. Sacrificial offerings made through fire are characteristic of Brahmanism and have widespread currency throughout the world. There is a small two-sided relief sculpture from Kalibangan which shows a goat being dragged to be sacrificed on one side and the horned Lady of the Beasts on the other.
There is a sacred acacia, possibly a world tree, depicted within an enclosure on the seals from Harappa and structural tree guards have been excavated in front of the pillared hall and annex with the Citadel of Mohenjo-Daro. Three groups of compositions provide food for thought. A human figure in the branches of a tree may be the goddess residing in the sacred acacia. A deity appearing between two branches or a tree or under an arch composed of two branches might represent the goddess emerging from the Pipal tree, which may have been considered a direct manifestation of the goddess herself. A tree is also seen on some seals forming part of an alter where a pillar is capped with the goddess’s three pronged antler head dress with possible pig-tail. There is a seal showing this probable world tree with two single horned animals with serpent-like necks sprouting from its base (Atre 1987: 198-199). There is a seal from Harappan which shows a nude female, head downwards, and legs outstretched and raised upwards with a plant (’tree of life’?) growing from her womb. Battacharyya (1977: 19-20) sees this figure as a prototype of the later Indian mother goddess. A number of seals show scenes of sacrifices and rituals pertaining to the goddess. A priestess kneels before the goddess who is standing between two the branches of a Pipal scene. The priestess wears the headdress and pigtail characteristic of the goddess as would be the case if she were considered either a manifestation of the goddess or the oracle through which she spoke. Behind her is a gigantic goat with human face whose interpretation is obscure but recalls imagery from Neolithic Old Europe, Egypt and the ancient Near East. In the register below are seven standing figures with plumed headdresses and long plaits. Atre (1987: 201) notes that in the Hellenistic world, there were seven vestal virgins and implies that this seal depicts the virgin priestesses attendant upon the goddess and high priestess.9… Atre (1987: 202-202) believes that female terra-cotta figurines represented these ‘vestal virgins ’and were periodically replaced in individual households when the high priestess herself was replaced in the temple precinct. The obverse of the seal that shows a prototype of the Mother Goddess depicts a female figure with disheveled hair and raised arms confronting a male figure in a threatening attitude with a possible shield in one hand and a sickle-like object in the other. Battacharyya (1977: 20) quotes Marshall’s interpretation that the scene shows a possible human sacrifice to the Goddess.
Devotees are depicted holding a libation vessel flanked by cobras as they face the goddess sitting on a platform. Were cobras in this context seen as a manifestation of the Snake Goddess? Two human figures standing between the goddess holding trees in their hands are difficult to interpret (Atre 1987: 202-204). The iconography of Harappan civilization places it firmly within the ritual symbolism which characterized the Neolithic Culture of Old Europe and therefore Harappan civilization seems to represent the most eastward extension of this cultural region. More specifically, Battacharyya (1977: 150) speculates that cult of the Great Goddess Inanna in Sumer spread eastward and heavily influenced the form of the Harappan Goddess. The origins of these mytho-poetics in northwest India are obscure, yet it seems unlikely they arose de novo considering the detailed parallels with those found in Europe.

Goddesses in the Rg Veda are reflections of the gods to whom they are married and little is known about many of them except their names. The goddess Prthivi remained in the Vedic pantheon as consort of Dyaus, the sky Father. However, the word go denoting a cow is a synonym for prthivi – the earth – and this language change indicates Prthivi’s incorporation into a new family in which cattle are all-important and function as economic currency. It is not too far fetched to see in this linguistics the concept of women as cattle, i.e. valuable possessions to be hoarded and bartered: the Earth Goddess has become an Aryan cow. Additional linguistic analysis of the meaning behind the ancient words for woman and widow support this view. Prthivi is usually invoked with Dyaus in the Rg Veda and heaven and earth (Dyaus and Prthivi) are invoked as the universal parents in which heaven is often termed ‘father’ and earth, ‘mother’. Prthivi is derived from the root prath meaning ‘to extend’ and her attributes are ‘great’ (mahi), firm (drdha), and shining (arjuni): see Battacharyya (1977: 98, 99). In later Vedic writing, Prthivi is the divine cow giving milk to her children as daughter of Prthu, Vainya and Viraj. She is the divine producer of corn and enjoys giving her wealth to men. She deserts the sinful and treacherous. Mother Earth becomes overburdened by population (!) and Brahman creates Death to relieve her of this burden. In the Mahabharata, she is present as giver of all good things (Battacharyya 1977: 102).
In Vedic literature Aditi is the mother of the Gods and, while she does not have a hymn devoted to her alone in the Rg Veda, she is mentioned 80 times. Her sons are the Adityas, one of whom is the all powerful Indra. Some Western scholars interpret her name to express ‘nonbinding, ‘boundless’, ‘boundlessness’ and the ‘visible infinite’ – the endless expanse of space beyond the clouds and sky. In unavoidable competition with the male gods of the Vedic pantheon, poets of the later Rg Veda find it difficult to acknowledge her as mother of the gods.
By the period of the Brahmans, a male god named Daksa-Prajapati who creates all from his body parts has replaced her. In later Vedic writing her position has visibly declined. In the Mahabharata (finished c.300 A.D.) Aditi is described as the mother of heroic sons (Adityas) and invoked as the great mother of the devout, who is strong, undecaying, a skillful guide, widely extended and protecting. She is identified with the earth in the Brahamanic literature and often spoken of as a cow: in ritual the ceremonial cow is addressed as Aditi. In the Mahabharata, Aditi is present as the ancient mother of the god but by the time of the Puranas, she is simply the daughter of Daksa (Battacharyya 1977: 94-96, 101, 102). The name of the goddess Diti occurs only three times in the Rg Veda. Her conception is vague; she apparently was a liberal giver. By the time of the Puranas, she is the mother of demons and the antithesis of Aditi (Battacharyya 1977: 102).

The most important goddess of the Rg Veda is Usas, who is celebrated in 20 hymns and mentioned over 300 times in all. She is the dawn-goddess who by unveiling her charms when appearing in the east drives away darkness, discloses the treasures hidden by darkness and distributes them generously, awakens creatures, sets every being in motion, manifests all beings, drives away evil dreams, opens the gate of heaven, and renders service to the gods by causing worshippers to awake and light the sacrificial fires. She rides in a shining, adorned chariot drawn by powerful horses. (Usas appears to be holding her own against Duaus quite well!) Usas is beautiful, shining white, golden and ruddy. She is the consort of the sun, daughter of heaven and often the lover of Agni. She arouses the gods so that they may drink Soma and bestows wealth, children, protection and long life. In spite of this spectacular opening appearance, Usas does not have the stamina needed for long-term survival. In late Vedic literature, she is hardly mentioned at all and is nearly absent in the Epics and Puranas. In Rg Veda IV, Indra crushes the chariot of Usas, because she was arrogant and ego-centric, then rapes her and she flees. Clearly, the domination of the Aryan Indo-Europeans over a major goddess of the indigenous tribes is the history behind the myth here. Indra is the sky thunder god of the Vedic Aryans and at the head of their pantheon (Battacharyya 1977: 96-98). Ursas does not survive to the times of the Mahhabarata for in that epic she is either the lover of Surya or a ‘mere’ human being, daughter of Bana and lover of Aniruddha (Battacharyya 1977: 102).
…]The most charismatic animal in the Rg Veda is the stallion. The sun is depicted as a bright bay stallion galloping across the sky; a stallion is sacrificed to ensure fertility and royal prosperity; the image of sacrificial success is the victorious horse winning the race. The popularity of the Vedic stallion can easily be explained: the Indo-Aryans were a nation of warriors whose conquest of much of Europe and Asia was made possible by the fact that they alone had tamed wild horses thoroughly enough so they could be ridden also harnessed to a chariot. Men, rather than women, are the creators of Vedic life – aggressive, sexually potent men, symbolized by the stallion. The Vedic horse was linked with fire through the rituals of the sun stallion and the sacrificial fire; the stallion symbolized controlled aggression, the taming of violent powers that are ‘curbed’ as an unruly horse is checked by a strong bridle with a curb chain. The Upanishads and Plato liken the senses to horses which must be either controlled or remain vicious and wild; and a monk said to the Buddha, “The senses of others are like restless horses, but yours have been tamed. Other beings are passionate, but your passions have ceased.” (Buddhacarita 15. 1-7, 13 as cited in Conze 1959:53). A striking example of the early association of the horse not only with the taming of the wilderness but, with fire and water as well, may be seen in a passage of the Gopatha Brahmana in which the four Vedas compete over the taming of a wild horse. The horse, produced from ‘terrible, destructive water’, is referred to as ‘she’, but no word for mare is used; the horse is also identified with Agni Vaisvanara (the fire that dwells within the human body in the form digestive fire) and is said to have fire smoldering within it. The verb used to represent the taming of the horse (sam) is the same as the term for the extinguishing of a fire or a passion (hence santi, ‘spiritual peace’)”: see O’Flaherty (1980: 239-240). Certainly, there are hints here that the Vedic stallion has absorbed attributes of a Goddess and thus has characteristics of the mare as well. If so, the taming of the stallion also represents the taming of the Goddess, particularly her ‘passionate’ qualities.
Even more striking, although partially veiled, is the strong possibility that the Great Goddess gave birth to the horse and thus the mytho-poetics of the Indo-Europeans views the Goddess as an ultimate, first source of the ‘world. “The connection between the horse and the ocean is an ancient Indo-European relationship. We have seen the close mythic tie between horses and Poseidon, god of the ocean; in ritual too, the Greeks sacrificed horses to Poseidon” (Penzer 1924, 4: 14-16). Celtic mythology describes aquatic monsters known as Gorborchinn (‘horseheads’, which in English is another name for moonfish), as well as horse eels and water horses (the forerunner of the Loch Ness monster). In the Avesta, the star horse, Tir or Tistrya, fights against a black horse named Apassa in the cosmic ocean; here one sees both a splitting of colors and moral qualities and an association with the ocean that remains typical of the mare in later mythology.
“In the Vedas, the horse is sacred to Varuna, god of the waters (SB 5. 3. 1. 5: 6. 3. 1. 5); the horse is born in the ocean or comes from beyond the sea (RV 1. 163, 1-2); it is also the womb of the family of the horse (VS 13.42). … And the British, good Indo-Europeans, speak of the foaming crests of the waves as ‘white horses’.

Battacharyya (1977: 40-1) observes that today everywhere in India Devi is mainly concerned with agriculture. In Rajasthan, the Earth Goddess Gaurí holds power over agriculture and fertility. Gaurí is one of the names of Isa or Parvati, and her name means ’yellow ’in the sense of the color of the ripened corn harvest: her rites are almost exclusively reserved to women. Durga, who is a major war goddess, had her origins as a goddess of fertility and vegetation according to Battacharyya (1977: 58) although he does not explain how an earth and fertility goddess could evolve into a war goddess: an association with mountains and wild inaccessible regions is his only reference and seems an inadequate explanation. Candika and Kali appear to be terrible, fierce war goddesses from their inception. In the Puranas, the Devi is the war goddess who confers victory and success upon her worshippers and also participates in the war which will deliver a world oppressed by demons. Her form known as Raktadantika slew powerful demons and her color is red, the usual color of fertility associated with Mother Goddesses (and the color of blood also, of course). After a drought of 100 years, she reappeared as Sataksi at the request of sages and nourished the whole world with vegetables which grew out of her own body . In this tale we see the intimate connection between a war goddess, agriculture and the nurturing of her worshippers. Several war goddesses in their first incarnation appear to be agricultural deities who in successive incarnations assume the role of warrior. They assume such a role in the Puranas in order to kill demons (i.e. end the ‘drought’). This victory restores the gods to their dominions and proper share of the sacrifices (i.e. restores agricultural prosperity to the people which is the proper responsibility of the Vedic nature gods). It is interesting that the final power resides with the Goddess, not the gods. Battacharyya further notes that the Goddess cult belonged to the oppressed and lower classes at this time; it was not accepted in the upper castes of India until medieval times. Yet the upper castes (rulers, priests, landlords) were dependent upon the lower castes ( farmers, craftsmen for example) for labor and survival and so, an accommodation in cult and ritual had to be made first by formal recognition and later by adoption in a new and more sophisticated form (Battacharyya 1977: 59-60) Sacred mountains as homes of the Goddess may be found in India as lakes, wells and pools which confer miraculous cures. Pairs of hills which are the breasts of the goddess remind us of the Paps of Anu in Ireland and rivers whose waters are the nourishing milk of the Goddess echo universal themes. The Ganges is a Mother Goddess and the most sacred river in India (Battacharyya 1977: 62-64)…All women are regarded as manifestations of Prakrti or Sakti and hence they are objects of respe ct and devotion. Whoever offends them incurs the wrath of the great goddess. Every aspirant has to realize the latent Female Principle within himself by becoming female is he entitled to worship the supreme being (vama bhutva vajet param)” (Battacharyya 1977: 225-226).
We need hardly repeat that the cup of the Scandinavian god of war, like that of the Rajputs, is the human skull (khopra) [567].’ [see also Scythian chalice and cannabis/bhang]


New Year ‘s Day. The Festival of Flowers.— Chait Sudi l st ( 15th of the month) is the opening of the luni-solar year of Vikramaditya.

Ceremonies, which more especially appertain to the Naiu-atri of Asoj, are performed on this day; and the sword is worshipped in the palace. But such rites are subordinate to those of the fair divinity, who still rules over this the smiling portion of the year. Vasanti has ripened into the fragrant Flora, and all the fair of the capital, as well as the other sex, repair to the gardens and groves, where parties assemble, regale, and swing, adorned with chaplets of roses, jessamine, or oleander, when the Naulakha gardens may vie with the Tivoli of Paris. They return in the evening to the city.

1 See p. 394. * See p. 324.

‘ [See Hastings, Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, viii. 868 f.]
* It fell on the 18th March 1819.

The Festival of Flowers. — The Rajput Floralia ushers in the rites of the beneficent Gauri, which continue nine days, the number sacred to the creative [570] power. These vie with the Cerealia of Rome, or the more ancient rites of the goddess of the Nile : I shall therefore devote some space to a particular account of them.^

Ganggor Festival. — Among the many remarkable festivals of Rajasthan, kept with peculiar brilliancy at Udaipur, is that in honour of Gauri, or Isani, the goddess of abundance, the Isis of Egypt, the Ceres of Greece. Like the Rajput Saturnalia, which it follows, it belongs to the vernal equinox, when nature in these regions proximate to the tropic is in the full expanse of her charms, and the matronly Gauri casts her golden mantle over the beauties of the verdant Vasanti.^ Then the fruits exhibit their promise to the eye ; the koil fills the ear with melody ; the air is impregnated with aroma, and the crimson poppy contrasts with the spikes of golden grain, to form a wreath for the beneficent Gauri.

Gauri is one of the names of Isa or Parvati, wife of the greatest of the gods, Mahadeva or Iswara, who is conjoined with her in these rites, which almost exclusively appertain to the women. The meaning of Gauri is ‘ yellow,’ emblematic of the ripened harvest, when the votaries of the goddess adore her effigies, which are those of a matron painted the colour of ripe corn; and though her image is represented with only two hands, in one of which she holds the lotos, which the Egyptians regarded as emblematic of reproduction, yet not unfrequently they equip her with the warlike conch, the discus, and the club, to denote that the goddess, whose gifts sustain life, is likewise accessory to the loss of it: uniting, as Gauri and Kali, the characters of life and death, like ^ [For festivals in honour of Gauri see lA, xxxv. (1906) 6L]


the Isis and Cybele of the Egyptians. But here she is only seen as Annapurna, the benefactress of mankind. The rites commence when the sun enters Aries (the opening of the Hindu year), by a deputation to a spot beyond the city, ” to bring earth for the image of Gauri.” ^ When this is formed, a smaller one of Iswara is made, and they are placed together; a small trench is then excavated, in which barley is sown ; the ground is irrigated and artificial heat supplied till the grain germinates, when the females join hands and dance round it, invoking the blessings of Gauri on their husbands.^ The young corn is then taken up, distributed, and presented by the females to the men, who wear it in their turbans. Every wealthy family has its image, or at least every purwa or subdivision of the city. These and other [571] rites known only to the initiated having been performed for several days within doors, they decorate the images, and prepare to carry them in procession to the lake. During these days of preparation, nothing is talked of but Gauri’s departure from the palace ; whether she will be as sumptuously apparelled as in the year gone by ; whether an additional boat will be laimched on the occasion ; though not a few forget the goddess altogether in the recollection of the gazelle eyes (mrig-nayani) and serpentine locks (nagini-zulf) ‘ of the beauteous handmaids who are selected to attend her. At length the hour arrives, the martial nakkaras give the signal ” to the cannonier without,” and speculation is at rest when the guns on the summit of the castle of Eklinggarh announce that Gauri has commenced her excursion to the lake.


The Bathing of the Goddess. [which later morphed into the Bathing of Buddha / Hanamatsuri rituals]— The cavalcade assembles on the magnificent terrace, and the Rana, surrounded by his nobles, leads the way to the boats, of a form as primitive as that which conveyed the Argonauts to Colchis. The scenery is admirably adapted for these fetes, the ascent being gradual from the margin of the lake, which here forms a fine bay, and gently rising to the crest of the ridge on which the palace and dwellings of the chiefs are built. Every turret and balcony is crowded with spectators, from the palace to the water’s edge ; and the ample flight of marble steps which intervene from the Tripolia, or triple portal, to the boats, is a dense mass of females in variegated robes, whose scarfs but half conceal their ebony tresses adorned with the rose and the jessamine. A more imposing or more exhilarating sight cannot be imagined than the entire population of a city thus assembled for the purpose of rejoicing ; the countenance of every individual, from the prince to the peasant, dressed in smiles. Carry the eye to heaven, and it rests on ‘ a sky without a cloud ‘ : below is a magnificent lake, the even surface of the deep blue waters broken only by palaces of marble, whose arched piazzas are seen through the foliage of orange groves, plantain, and tamarind ; while the vision is bounded by noble mountains, their peaks towering over each other, and composing an immense amphitheatre. Here the deformity of vice intrudes not ; no object is degraded by inebriation : no tumultuous disorder or deafening clamour but all await patiently, with eyes directed to the Tripolia, the appearance of Gauri. At length the procession is seen winding down the steep, and in the midst [572], borne on a pai,’ or throne, gorgeously arrayed in yellow robes, and blazing with ‘ barbaric pearl and gold,’ the goddess appears ; on either side the two beauties wave the silver chamara over her head, while the more favoured damsels act as harbingers, preceding her with wands of silver : the whole chanting hymns. On her approach, the Rana, his chiefs and ministers rise and remain standing till the goddess is seated on her throne close to the water’s edge, when all bow, and the prince and court take their seats in the boats. The females then form a circle around the goddess, unite hands, and with a measured step and various graceful inclinations of the body, keeping time by beating the palms at particular cadences, move round the image singing hymns, some in honour of the goddess of abimdance, others on love and chivalry ; and embodying little episodes of national achievements, occasionally sprinkled with double entendre, which excites a smile and significant nod from the chiefs, and an inclination of the head of the fair choristers. The festival being entirely female, not a single male mixed in the immense groups, and even Iswara himself, the husband of Gauri, attracts no attention, as appears from his ascetic or mendicant form begging his dole


from the bounteous and universal mother. It is taken for granted that the goddess is occupied in bathing all the time she remains, and ancient tradition says death was the penalty of any male intruding on these solemnities ; but the present prince deems them so fitted for amusement, that he has even instituted a second Ganggor. Some hours are thus consumed, while easy and good-humoured conversation is carried on. At length, the ablutions over, the goddess is taken up, and conveyed to the palace with the same forms and state. The Rana and his chiefs then unmoor their boats, and are rowed round the margin of the lake, to visit in succession the other images of the goddess, around which female groups are chanting and worshipping, as already described, with which ceremonies the evening closes, when the whole terminates with a grand display of fireworks, the finale of each of the three daj^s dedicated to Gauri.


^ Here we have Gauri as the type of the earth.

^ [The Gardens of Adonis, for which see Sir J. Frazer, Adonis, Attis, Gsiris, 3rd ed. i. 236 ff.]

* Here the Hindu mixes Persian with his Sanskrit, and produces the mongrel dialect Hindi.

^ Takht, Pat, Persian and Sanskrit, alike meaning board.


Considerable resemblance is to be discerned between this festival of Gauri and that in honour of the Egyptian Diana ^ at Bubastis, and Isis at Busiris, within the [573] Delta of the Nile, of which Herodotus says : ” They who celebrate those of Diana embark in vessels ; the women strike their tabors, the men their flutes ; the rest of both sexes clap their hands, and join in chorus. Wliatever city they approach, the vessels are brought on shore ; the women use ungracious language, dance, and indelicately throw about their garments.” ^ AVlierever the rites of Isis prevailed, we find the boat introduced as an essential emblem in her worship, whether in the heart of Rajasthan, on the banks of the Nile, or in the woods of Germany. Bryant ‘
^ The Ephesian Diana is the twin sister of Gauri, and can have a Sanskrit derivation in Devianna, ‘ the goddess of food,’ contracted Deanna, though commonly Anna-de or Anna-devi, and Annapiirna, ‘ filling with food,’ or the nourisher, the name applied by ‘ the mother of mankind,’ when she places the repast before the messenger of heaven
” Heavenly Stranger, please to taste
These bounties, which our Nourisher, from whom
All” perfect good, unmeasured out, descends,
To us for food and for deMght, hath caused
The earth to yield.”

^ [Diana is the feminine form of Dianus, Janus.]

^ ii. 59-64. * Analysis of Ancient Mythology, p. 312.

Paradise Lost, Bk. v. 397-401.
furnishes an interesting account from Diodorus and Curtius, illustrated by drawings from Pocock, from the temple of Luxor, near Carnac, in the Thebaid, of ‘ the ship of Isis,’ carrying an ark ; and from a male figure therein, this learned person thinks it bears a mysterious allusion to the deluge. I am inclined to deem the personage in the ark Osiris, husband of Isis, the type of the sun arrived in the sign of Aries (of which the ram’s heads ornamenting both the prow and stem of the vessel are typical), the harbinger of the annual fertilizing inundation of the Nile : evincing identity of origin as an equinoctial festival with that of Gauri (Isis) of the Indu-Scythic races of Rajasthan.

The German Suevi adored Isis, and also introduced a ship in her worship, for which Tacitus ^ is at a loss to account, and with his usual candour says he has no materials whence to investigate the origin of a worship denoting the foreign origin of the tribe.
This Isis of the Suevi was evidently a form of Ertha, the chief divinity of all the Saxon races, who, with her consort Teutates or Hesus ^ (Mercury), were the chief deities of both the Celtic and early Gothic races : the [574] Budha and Ila of the Rajputs ; in short, the earth,^ the prolific mother, the Isis of Egypt, the Ceres of Greece, the Annapurna (giver of food) of the Rajputs.
On some ancient temples dedicated to this Hindu Ceres we have sculptured on the frieze and pedestal of the columns the emblem of abundance, termed the kamakumbha, or vessel of desire, a vase of elegant form, from which branches of the palm are gracefully pendent. Herodotus says that similar water-vessels, filled with wheat and barley, were carried in the festival of Isis ; and all who have attended to Egj’ptian antiquities are aware that the god Canopus is depicted under the form of a water-jar, or Nilo-meter, whose covering bears the head of Osiris.


The Agastya Festival. — To render the analogy perfect between the vessels emblematic of the Isis of the Nile and the Ganges, there is a festival sacred to the sage Agastya, who presides over the star Canopus, when the sun enters Virgo {Kanya). The kamakumbha is then personified imder the epithet kumhhayoni, and the votary is instructed to pour water into a sea-shell, in which having placed white flowers and unground rice, turning his face to the south, he offers it with this incantation :
” Hail, Kumbhayoni, born in the sight of Mitra and Varuna (the sun and water divinities), bright as the blossom of the kvsa (grass), who sprung from Agni (fire) and the Maruts.” By the prefix of Ganga (the river) to Gauri, we see that the Ganggor festival is essentially sacred to a river-goddess, affording additional proof of the common origin of the rites of the Isis of Egypt and India.

The Egyptians, according to Plutarch, considered the Nile as flowing from Osiris, in like maimer as the Hindu poet describes the fair Ganga flowing from the head of Iswara, which Sir W. Jones thus classically paints in his hymn to Ganga :

Above the reach of mortal ken,
On blest Coilasa’s top, where every stem
Glowed with a vegetable gem,
Mahesa stood, the dread and joy of men;
While Parvati, to gain a boon.
Fixed on his locks a beamy moon.
And hid his frontal eye in jocund play.
With reluctant sweet delay;
All nature straight was locked in dim eclipse,
Till Brahmins pure, with hallowed lips
And warbled prayers, restored the day.
When Ganga from his brow, with heavenly fingers prest.
Sprang radiant, and descending, graced the caverns of the west [575].

The Goddess Ganga. — Ganga, the river-goddess, like the Nile, is the type of fertility, and like that celebrated stream, has her source amidst the eternal glaciers of Chandragiri or Somagiri (the mountains of the moon); the higher peaks of the gigantic Himalaya, where Parvati is represented as ornamenting the tiara of Iswara ” with a beamy moon.” In this metaphor, and in his title of Somanatha (lord of the moon), we again have evidence of Iswara, or Siva, after representing the sun, having the satellite moon as his ornament.

^ His Olympus, Kailasa, is studded with that majestic pine, the cedar ; thence he is called Kedarnath, ‘ lord of the cedar-trees.’

^ The mysteries of Osiris and those of Eleusis * were of the same character, commemorative of the first germ of civilization, the culture of the earth, under a variety of names, Ertha, Isis, Diana, Ceres, Ila. It is a curious fact that in the terra-cotta images of Isis, frequently excavated about her temple at Paestum,* she holds in her right hand an exact representation of the Hindu lingam and yoni combined; and on the Indian expedition to Egypt, our Hindu soldiers deemed themselves amongst the altars of their OAvn god Iswara (Osiris), from the abundance of his emblematic representatives.


The Aghori Ascetics. — In the festival of Ganggor, as before mentioned, Iswara yields to his consort Gauri[Isani], and occupies an unimportant position near her at the water’s edge, meanly clad, smoking intoxicating herbs, and, whether by accident or design, holding the stalk of an onion in full blossom as a mace or club — a plant regarded by some of the Egyptians with veneration, and held by the Hindus generally in detestation : and why they should on such an occasion thus degrade Iswara, I know not.
Onion-juice is reluctantly taken when prescribed medicinally, as a powerful stimulant, by those who would reject spirituous liquors ; and there are classes, as the Aghori, that worship Iswara in his most degraded form, who will not only devour raw flesh, but that of man; and to whom it is a matter of perfect indifference whether the victim was slaughtered or died a natural death. For the honour of humanity, such monsters are few in number ; but that they practise [576] these deeds I can testify, from a personal visit to their haunts, where I saw the cave of one of these Troglodji;e monsters, in which by his own command he was inhumed ; and which will remain closed, until curiosity and incredulity greater than mine may disturb the bones of the Aghori of Abu.

The MjiocfiayLa, or eating raw flesh with the blood, was a part of the secret mysteries of Osiris, in commemoration of the happy change in the condition of mankind from savage to civilized life, and intended to deter by disgust the return thereto.^

The Buddhists pursued this idea to excess; and in honour of Adiswara, the First, who from his abode of Meru taught them the arts of agriculture, they altogether abandoned that type of savage life, the eating of the flesh of animals,^ and confined them-selves to the fruits of the earth. With these sectarian anti- idolaters, who are almost all of Rajput descent, the beneficent Lakshmi, Sri, or Gauri, is an object of sincere devotion.

^ [Germania, ix.]
^ [Germania, ix.]
* Hesus is probably derived from Iswara, or Isa, the god. Toth was the Egyptian, and Teutates the Scandinavian, Mercury. I have elsewhere attempted to trace the origin of the Suevi, Su,or Yeuts of Yeutland (Jutland), to Yute, Getae, or Jat, of Central Asia, who carried thence the religion of Buddha into India as well as to the Baltic. There is little doubt that the races called Jotner, Jaeter, Jotuns, Jaets, and Yeuts, who followed the Asi into Scandinavia, migrated from the Jaxartcs, the land of the great Getae (Massagetae) ; the leader was supposed to be endued with supernatural powers, like the Buddhist, called Vidiavan, or magician, whose haunts adjoined Aria, the cradle of the Magi. They are designated Aripunta [?], under the sign of a serpent, the type of Buddha ; or Ahriman, ‘ the foe of man.’ [Much of this crude speculation is taken from Wilford (Asiatic Researches,
iii. 133).]

^ The German Ertha, to show her kindred to the Ila of the Rajputs, had her car drawn by a cow, under which form the Hindus typify the earth (prithivi).


Affinities of Hindu to other Mythologies. — But we must close this digression ; for such is the affinity between the mythology of India, Greece, and Egypt, that a bare recapitulation of the numerous surnames of the Hindu goddess of abimdance would lead us beyond reasonable limits ; all are forms of Parvati or Durga Mata, the Mater Montana of Greece and Rome, an epithet of Cybele or Vesta (according to Diodorus), as the guardian goddess of children, one of the characters of the Rajput ‘ Mother of the Mount,’ whose shrine crowns many a pinnacle in Mewar; and who, with the prolific Gauri, is amongst the amiable forms of the universal mother, whose functions are more varied and extensive than her sisters of Egypt and of Greece…

^ Let it be borne in mind that Indu, -Chandra, Soma, are all epithets for ‘ the moon,’ or as he is classically styled (in an inscription of the famous Kumarpal, which I discovered in Chitor), Nisanath, the ruler of darkness (Nisa).
* [Kedarnath has, of course, no connexion with the cedar tree. The origin of the name ‘ Lord of Kedar ‘ is unknown ; probably Kedar was an old cult title of Siva.]
* I have before remarked that a Sanskrit etymology might be given to this word in Ila and Isa, i.e. ‘ the goddess of the earth ‘ [?] [p. 636, note].
* I was informed at Naples that four thousand of these were dug out of one spot, and I obtained while at Paestum many fragments and heads of this goddess.


Festivals in the month Sawan : July-August. — Sawan, classically Sravana. There are two important festivals, with processions, in this month.

The Tij. — The third, emphatically called ‘ the Tij ‘ (third), is sacred to the mountain goddess Parvati, being the day on which, after long austerities, she was reunited to Siva : she accordingly declared it holy, and proclaimed that whoever invoked her on that day should possess whatever was desired. The Tij is


accordingly reverenced by the women, and the husbandman of Rajasthan, who deems it a most favourable day to take possession of land, or to reinhabit a deserted dwelling. When on the expulsion of the predatory i^owers from the devoted lands of Mewar, proclamations were disseminated far and wide, recalling the expatriated inhabitants, they showed their love of country by obedience to the suimiions. Collecting their goods and chattels, they congregated from all parts, but assembled at a common rendezvous to make their entry to the bapota, ‘ land of their sires,’ on the Tij of Sawan. On thiis fortunate occasion, a band of three hundred men, women, and children, with colours flying, drums beating, the females taking precedence with brass vessels of water on their heads, and chanting the suhaila (song of joy), entered the “town of Kapasan, to revisit their desolate dwellings [580], and return thanks on their long-abandoned altars to Parvati ^ for a happiness they had never contemplated.

Red garments are worn by all classes on this day, and at Jaipur clothes of this colour are presented by the Raja to all the chiefs. At that court the Tij is kept with ‘more honour than at Udaipur. An image of Parvati on the Tij, richly attired, is borne on a throne by women chanting hymns, attended by the prince and his nobles. On this day, fathers present red garments and stuffs to their daughters.

” Strife arose between Mahadeo and the faithful Parvati : she fled to the mountains and took refuge in a cave. A crystal fountain tempted her to bathe, but shame was awakened ; she dreaded being seen. Rubbing her frame, she made an image of man ; with her nail she sprinkled it with the water of life, and placed it as guardian at the entrance of the cave.” Engrossed with the recollection of Parvati,^ Siva went to Karttikeya ‘ for tidings of his mother, and together they searched each valley and recess, and at length reached the spot where a figure was placed at the entrance of a cavern. As the chief of the gods prepared to explore this retreat, he was stopped by the Polia. In a rage he struck off his head with his discus (chakra), and in the gloom discovered the object of his search. Surprised and dismayed, she demanded how he obtained ingress : ” Was there no guardian at the entrance ? ” The furious Siva replied that he had cut off his head. On hearing this, the inountain-goddess was enraged, and weeping, exccaimed, ” You have destroyed my child.” The god, determined to recall him to life, decollated a young elephant, replaced the head he had cut off, and naming him Ganesa, decreed that in every resolve his name should be the first invoked.
^ [Savitri-vrata means ‘ the vow to Savitri,’ and has no connexion with tlie vata or banyan-tree. But the tree is worshipped in connexion with it on 15th light or dark fortnight of the irionth Jeth {Census Report, Baroda, 1901, i. 127).]
^ Aj), ‘ water,’ and sara, ‘ froth or essence.’ [The word means ‘ going in the waters, or between the waters of the clouds.’]
^ The Romans held the calends of June (generally Jeth) sacred to the goddess Carna, significant of the sun. Carneus was the sun-god of the Celts, and a name of Apollo at Sparta, and other Grecian cities. The Karneia was a festival in honour of Apollo.
The Nagpanehami Festival ; Serpent Worship. — The 5th is the Nagpanchami, or day set apart for the propitiation of the chief of the reptile race, the Naga or serjjent. Few subjects have more occupied the notice of the learned world than the mysteries of Ophite worship, which are to be traced wherever there existed a remnant of civilization, or indeed of humanity ; among the savages of the savannahs ^ of America, and the magi of Fars, with whom it was the type of evil, — their Ahrimanes.^ The Nagas, or serpent-genii of the Rajputs, have a semi-human structure, precisely as Diodorus describes the snake-mother of ^ The story of the vigils of Parvati, preparatory to her being reunited to her lord, consequent to her sacrifice as Isati, is the counterpart of the Grecian fable of Cybele, her passion for, and marriage with, the youth Atys or Fapas, the Baba, or universal father, of the Hindus.


SWORD WORSHIP 679 [see shichishito and kusanagi no tsurugi and Futsunushi and veneration at Katori shrine of the god of swords]


Khadga Sthapana, Sword Worship. — The festival in which this imposing rite occurs is the Nauratri,^ sacred to the god of war, commencing on the first of the month Asoj. It is essentially martial, and confined to the Rajput, who on the departure of the monsoon finds himself at liberty to indulge his passion whether for rapine or revenge, both which in these tropical regions are necessarily suspended during the rains. Arguing from the order of the passions, we may presume that the first objects of emblematic worship were connected with war [583], and we accordingly find the highest reverence paid to arms by every nation of antiquity. The Scythic warrior of Central Asia, the intrepid Gete, admitted no meaner representative of the god of battle than his own scimitar.^ He worshipped it, he swore by it ; it was buried with him, in order that he might appear before the martial divinity in the other world as became his worshipper on earth : for the Gete of Transoxiana, from the earliest ages, not only believed in the soul’s immortality, and in the doctrine of rewards and punishments hereafter, but, according to the father of history, he was a monotheist ; of which fact he has left a memorable proof in the punishment of the celebrated Anacharsis, who, on his return from a visit to Thales and his brother philosophers of Greece, attempted to introduce into the land of the Saka (Sakatai) the corrupted polytheism of Athens.


If we look westward from this the central land of earliest civilization, to Dacia, Thrace, Pannonia, the seats of the Thyssagetae or western Getae, we find the same form of adoration addressed to the emblem of Mars, as mentioned by Xenophon in his memorable retreat, and practised by Alaric and his Goths, centuries afterwards, in the Acropolis of Athens. If we transport ourselves to the shores of Scandinavia, amongst the Cimbri and Getae of Jutland, to the Ultima Thule, wherever the name of Gete prevails, we shall find the same adoration paid by the Getic warrior to his sword.

The Frisian Frank also of Gothic race, adhered to this worship, and transmitted it with the other rites of the Getic warrior of the Jaxartes ; such as the adoration of the steed; sacred to the sun, the great god ‘of the Massagetae, as well as of the Rajput, who sacrificed it at the annual feast, or with his arms and wife burnt it on his funeral pile. Even the kings of the ‘ second race ‘ kept up the religion of their Scyithic sires from the Jaxartes, and the bones of the war-horse of Chilperic were exhumed with those of the monarch. These rites, as well as those long-cherished chivalrous notions, for which the Salian Franks have ever been conspicuous [584], had their birth in Central Asia ; for though contact with the more polished Arab softened the harsh character of the western warrior, his thirst for glorj% the romantic charm which fed his passion, and his desire to please the fair, he inherited from his ancestors on the shores of the Baltic, which were colonized from the Oxus. Miether Charlemagne address this sword as Joyeuse,^ or the Scandinavian hero Angants’r as the enchanted blade Tyrfing (Hialmar’s bane), each came from one common origin, the people which invented the custom of Khadga Sthapana, or ‘adoration of the sword.’ But neither the falchion ‘made by the dwarfs for Suafurlama,’ nor the redoubled sword of Bayard with which he dubbed the first Francis, — not even the enchanted brand of Ariosto’s hero, can for a moment compare with the double-edged khanda (scimitar) annually worshipped by the chivalry of Mewar. Before I descant on this monstrous blade, I shall give an abstract of the ceremonies on each of the nine days sacred to the god of war.

^ Nauratii may be interpreted the nine days’ festival, or the ‘ new night ‘ [ ? ].

” ” It was natural enough,” says Gibbon, ” that the Scythians should adore with peculiar devotion the god of war ; but as they were incapable of forming either an abstract idea, or a corporeal representation, they worshipped their tutelar deity under the symbol of an iron ciaieter. If the rites of Scythia were practised on this soleinn occasion,* a lofty altar, or rather pile of faggots, three hundred yards in length and in breadth, was raised in a spacious plain ; and the sword of Mars was placed erect on the summit of this rustic altar, which was annually consecrated by the blood of sheep, horses, and of the hundredth captive ” (tiibbon’s Roman LJmjnre, ed. W. Smith, iv. 194 f.).

^ St. Palaye, Memoirs of Ancient Chivalry, p. 305.

The Dasahra Festival. — On the 1st of Asoj, after fasting, ablution, and prayer on the part of the prince and his household, the double-edged khanda is removed from the hall of arms (ayudhsala), and having received the homage (puja) of the court, it is carried in procession to the Kishanpol (gate of Kishan), where it is delivered to the Raj Jogi/ the Mahants, and band of Jogis assembled in front of the temple of Devi ‘ the goddess,’ adjoining the portal of Kishan.^ By these, the monastic militant adorers of Hara, the god of battle, the brand emblematic of the divinity is placed ‘ on the altar before the image of his divine consort. At three in the afternoon the naklgiras, or grand kettle-drums, proclaim from the Tripolia * the signal for the assemblage of the chiefs with their retainers ; and the Rana and his cavalcade proceed direct to the stables, when a buffalo is sacrificed in honour of the war-horse. Thence the procession moves to the temple of Devi, where the Raja Krishan (Godi) has proceeded. Upon this, the Rana seats himself close to the Raj Jogi, presents two pieces of [585] silver and a coco-nut, performs homage to the sword (khadga), and returns to the palace.

Asoj 2nd. In similar state he proceeds to the Chaugan, their Champ de Mars, where a buffalo is sacrificed ; and on the same day another buffalo victim is felled by the nervous arm of a Rajput, near the Toranpol, or triumphal gate. In the evening the Rana goes to the temple of Amba Mata, the universal mother, when several goats and buffaloes bleed to the goddess.

The 3rd. Procession to the Chaugan, when another buffalo is offered ; and in the afternoon five buffaloes and two rams are sacrificed to Harsiddh Mata.^


On the 4th, as on every one of the nine days, the first visit is to the Champ de Mars : the day opens with the slaughter of a buffalo. The Rana proceeds to the temple of Devi, when he worships the sword, and the standard of the Raj Jogi, to whom, as the high-priest of Siva, the god of war, he pays homage, and makes offering of sugar, and a garland of roses. A buffalo having been previously fixed to a stake near the temple, the Rana sacrifices him with his own hand, by piercing him fro in his travelling throne (raised on men’s shoulders and surrounded by his vassals) with an arrow. In the days of his strength, he seldom failed almost to bury the feather in the flank of the victim ; but on the last occasion his enfeebled arm made him exclaim with Prithiraj, when, captive and bltfid, he was brought forth to amuse the Tartar despot, ” I draw not the bow as in the days of yore.”

On the 5th, after the usual sacrifice at the Chaugan, and an elephant fight, the procession marches to the temple of Asapurna (Hope) ; a buffalo and a ram are offered to the goddess adored by all the Rajputs, and the tutelar}’ divinity of the Chauhans. On this day the lives of some victims are spared at the inter-cession of the Nagar-Seth, or chief-magistrate,^ and those of his faith, the Jains.

On the 6th, the Rana visits the Chaugan, but makes no sacrifice. In the afternoon, prayers and victims to Devi ; and in the evening the Rana visits Bhikharinath, the chief of the Kanphara Jogis, or split-ear ascetics

The 7th. After the daily routine at the Chaugan, and sacrifices to Devi (the goddess of destruction), the chief equerry is commanded to adorn the steeds with their new caparisons, and lead them to be bathed in the lake. At night, the sacred fire (horn) is kindled, and a buffalo and a ram are sacrificed to De\a ; the Jogis [586] are called up and feasted on boiled rice and sweet-meats. On the conclusion of this day, the Rana and his visit the hermitage of Sukharia Baba, an anchorite of the Jogi sect.
8th. There is the homa, or fire-sacrifice in the palace. In the afternoon, the prince, with a select cavalcade, proceeds to the village of Samina, beyond the city walls, and visits a celebrated Gosain.*


9th. There is no morning procession. The horses from the royal stables, as well as those of the chieftains, are taken to the lake, and bathed by their grooms, and on returning from purification they are caparisoned in their new housings, led forth, and receive the homage of their riders, and the Rana bestows a largess on the master of the horse, the equerries, and grooms. At three in the afternoon, the nakkaras having thrice sounded, the whole State insignia, under a select band, proceed to Mount Matachal, and bring home the sword. When its arrival in the court of the palace is announced, the Rana advances and receives it with due homage from the hands of the Raj Jogi, who is presented with a khilat ; while the Mahant, who has performed all the austerities during the nine days, has his patra ^ filled with gold and silver coin. The whole of the Jogis are regaled, and presents are made to their chiefs. The elephants and horses again receive homage, and the sword, the shield, and spear are worshipped within the palace. At three in the morning the prince takes repose.

The 10th, or Dasahra,^ is a festival universally known in India, and respected by all classes, although entirely military, being commemorative of the day on which the deified Rama commenced his expedition to Lanka for the redemption of Sita ; ‘ the ‘ tenth of Asoj ‘ is consequently deemed by the Rajput a fortunate day for warlike enterprise. The day commences with a visit from the [587] prince or chieftain to his spiritual guide. Tents and carpets are prepared at the Chaugan or Matachal mount, where the artillery is sent ; and in the afternoon the Rana, his chiefs, and their retainers repair to the field of Mars, worship the khejra tree,* liberate the nilkanth or jay (sacred to Rama), and return amidst a discharge of guns.
??? nth. In the morning, the Rana, with all the State insignia, the kettledrums sounding in the rear, proceeds towards the Matachal mount, and takes the muster of his troops, amidst discharges of cannon, tilting, and display of horsemanship. The spectacle is imposing even in the decline of this house. The hilarity of the party, the diversified costume, the various forms, colours, and decorations of the turbans, in wliich some have the heron plume, or sprigs from some shrub sacred to the god of war ; the clusters of lances, shining matchlocks, and black bucklers, the scarlet housings of the steeds, and waving pennons, recall forcibly the glorious days of the devoted Sanga, or the immortal Partap, who on such occasions collected rotmd the black changi and crimson banner of Mewar a band of sixteen thousand of his own kin and clan, whose lives were their lord’s and their country’s. The shops and bazaars are ornamented with festoons of flowers and branches of trees, while the costliest cloths and brocades are extended on screens, to do honour to their prince ; the toran (or triumphal arch) is placed before the tent, on a column of which he places one hand as he alights, and before entering makes several circumambulations. All present offer their nazars to the prince, the artillery fires, and the bards raise ‘ the song of praise,’ celebrating the glories of the past ; the fame of Samra, who fell with thirteen thousand of his kin on the Ghaggar ; of Arsi and his twelve brave sons, who gave themselves as victims for the salvation of Chitor ; of Kumbha, Lakha, Sanga, Partap, Amra, Raj, all descended of the blood of Rama, whose exploits, three thousand five hundred years before, they are met to celebrate. The situation of Matachal is well calculated for such a spectacle, as indeed is the whole ground from the palace through the Delhi portal to the mount, on which is erected one of the several castles commanding the approaches to the city. The fort is dedicated to Mata, though it would not long remain stable (achal) before a battery of thirty-six pounders. The gims are drawn up about the termination of the slope of the natural glacis ; the Rana and his court remain on horseback [588] half up the ascent ; and while every chief or vassal is at liberty to leave his ranks, and ” witch the world with noble horsemanship,” there is nothing tumultuous, nothing offensive in their mirth.
^ The Jogi’s patra is not so revolting as that of their divinity Hara (the god of war), which is the human cranium ; this is a hollow gourd.

^ From das, the numeral ten ; the tenth. [It means ‘ the feast that removes ten sins.’]

‘ In this ancient story we are made acquainted with the distant mari-time wars which the princes of India carried on. Even supposing Ravana’s abode to be the insular Ceylon, he must have been a very powerful prince to equip an armament suiJiciently numerous to carry off from the remote kingdom of Kosala the wife of the great king of the Suryas. It is most improbable that a petty king of Ceylon could wage equal war with a poten-
tate who held the chief dominion of India ; whose father, Dasaratha, drove his victorious car (ratha) over every region (desa), and whose intercourse with the countries beyond the Brahmaputra is distinctly to be traced in the Ramayaiia. [Dasaratha has no connexion with desa : the name means
‘ ho who possesses ten (dasa) chariots (ratha).’]

* [Prosopis spicigera.]


The steeds purchased since the last festival are named, and as the cavalcade returns, their grooms repeat the appellations of each as the word is passed by the master of the horse ; as Baj Raj, ‘ the royal steed ‘ ; Hayamor, ‘ the chief of horses ‘ : Manika,’ the gem ‘ ; Bajra, ‘ the thunderbolt,’ etc., etc. On returning to the palace, gifts are presented by the Rana to his chiefs. The Chauhan chief of Kotharia claims the apparel which his prince wears on this day, in token of the fidelity of his ancestor to the minor, Udai Singh, in Akbar’s wars. To others, a fillet or balahand for the turban is presented ; but all such compliments are regulated by precedent or immediate merit.
THE TORAN ARCH [recalls the ubiquitous tori arch of Japan] 685

The Toran Arch. — Thus terminates the Nauratri festival sacred to the god of war, which in every point of view is analogous to the autumnal festival of the Scythic warlike nations, when these princes took the muster of their armies, and performed the same rites to the great celestial luminary.^ I have presented to the antiquarian reader these details, because it is in minute particulars that analogous customs are detected. Thus the temporary toran, or triumphal arch, erected in front of the tent at Mount Mataehala would scarcely claim the least notice, but that we discover even in this emblem the origin of the triumphal arches of antiquity, with many other rites which may be traced to the Indo-Scythic races of Asia. The toran in its original form consisted of two columns and an architrave, constituting the number three, sacred to Hara, the god of war. In the progress of the arts the architrave gave way to the Hindu arch, which consisted of two or more ribs without the keystone, the apex being the perpendicular junction of the. archivaults ; nor is the arc of the toran semicircular, or any segment of a circle, but with that graceful curvature which stamps with originality one of the arches of the Normans, who may have brought it from their ancient seats on the Oxus, whence it may also have been [589] carried with them the Indus.


The cromlech, or trilithic altar in the centre of all those monuments called Druidic, is most probably a toran, sacred to the Sun-god Belenus, like Har, or Balsiva, the god of battle, to whom as soon as a temple is raised the toran is erected, and many of these are exquisitely beautiful.

Gates.^ — An interesting essay might be written on portes and torans, their names and attributes, and the genii presiding as their guardians. Amongst all the nations of antiquity, the portal has had its peculiar veneration : to pass it was a privilege regarded as a mark of honour. The Jew Hanian, in the true Oriental style, took post at the king’s gate as an inexpugnable position. The most pompous court in Europe takes its title from its porte, where, as at Udaipur, all alight. The Tripolia, or triple portal, the entry to the magnificent terrace in front of the Rana’s palace, consists, like the Roman arcs of triumph, of three arches, still preserving the numeral sacred to the god of battle, one of whose titles is Tripura, which may be rendered Tripoli, or lord of the three places of abode, or cities, but applied in its extensive sense to the three worlds, heaven, earth, and hell. PYom the Sanskrit Pola we have the Greek TrvX-q, a gate, or pass ; and in the guardian or Polia, the TrvXMpo-i or porter ; while to his langiie mire our own language is indebted, not only for its portes and porters, but its doors (dzvara).^ Pylos signified also a pass ; so in Sanskrit these natural barriers are called Palas, and hence the poetical epithet applied to the aboriginal mountain tribes of Rajasthan, namely, Palipati and Palindra, ‘ lords of the pass.’ ^
‘ In this ancient story we are made acquainted with the distant maritime wars which the princes of India carried on. Even supposing Ravana’s abode to be the insular Ceylon, he must have been a very powerful prince to equip an armament suiJiciently numerous to carry off from the remote kingdom of Kosala the wife of the great king of the Suryas. It is most improbable that a petty king of Ceylon could wage equal war with a potentate who held the chief dominion of India ; whose father, Dasaratha, drove his victorious car (ratha) over every region (desa), and whose intercourse with the countries beyond the Brahmaputra is distinctly to be traced in the Ramayaiia. [Dasaratha has no connexion with desa : the name means ‘he who who possesses ten (dasa) chariots (ratha).’]
* [Prosopis spicigera.]

^ [Formerly an important personage, but his authority has now much decreased {BG, ix. Part i. 96).]

^ On this day sons visit and pay adoration to their fathers. The diet is chiefly of vegetables and fruits. Brahmans with their unmarried daughters are feasted, and receive garments called chunri from their chiefs. [This is a kind of cloth dyed by partly tying it in knots, which escape the action of the dye.]
^ Raj Jogi is the chief of the ascetic warriors ; the Mahants are commanders [the term being usually applied to the abbot of a monastery]. More will be said of this singular society when we discuss the religious institutions of Mewar.

* The god Krishna is called Kishan in the dialects.

‘ This is the sthapana of the sword, literally its inauguration or induction, for the purposes of adoration.

* Tripolia, or triple portal.

‘ [The chief centres of worship of Harsiddh Mata are Gandhari and Ujjain. It is said that her image stood on the sea-shore, and that she used to swallow all the vessels that passed by (R. E. Enthoven, Folklore Notes Gujarat, 5 ; BG, ix. Part i. 226).]



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”.


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

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.

The Tumulus

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 throughout 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, ”especially 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

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

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 ]

Sun-Based Architecture

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 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 ]

” 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 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 ]

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”.

Dietary Customs

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 ]

Who are the Children of the Sun? 

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

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

See Eurasian-Scythic and Indian Rajput Connections by Vrndavan Parker on the major extant Indian branches of the Scythic (`Saka’) tribes and their historical ancestry.

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 ]

On the Persian/Parsee/Sisodian ancestry of the “Sun People”:

” 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 authoritythree 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 ].

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.

Source & reference:

Isani-and-Iswara vs Izanagi and Izanami: Similarities and common Saka-Sassanian-Sila roots of the royal myths of Indian and Japanese tribes

Excerpted from”Panjab castes; being a reprint of the chapter on “The races, castes and tribes of the people” in the report on the census of the Panjab published in 1883 by the late Sir Denzil Ibbetson” are passages that throw light on the identity and culture of the Rajputs:

“…as to the identity of the Jat and Rajput stock as it stands at present, and how the Rajputs merely consist of the royal families of that stock. I might indeed have gone further, and have said that a trilie of any caste whatever which had in ancient times possessed supreme power throughout any fairly extensive tract of country, would be classed as Rajput. It seems to me almost certain that some of the so-called Rajput royal families were aboriginal ; and notably the Chandel. How the aborigines of the Nepal Himalayas rose to be Kshatriya is well told by Hodgson in his Essay on the Military Tribes of Nepal. He points out that when the Brahmans were driven up into the hills by the advancing tide of Mahomedan conquest, they wedded with the aboriginal women whom they found there. But to render this possible it was necessary to conciliate the people among whom they had come to dwell ; and they called their first converts among them Kshatriya, while to their own offspring by the hill women they gave not only Kshatriya rank and privileges, but Brahminical patronymics.
“From these tn’o roots mainly sprang the now numerous, predominant, and extensively ” ramified tribe of Khas — originally the name of a small clan of creedless barbarians, but now the “proud title of the Kshatriya or military order of Nepal. Tims too the key to the anomalous ” nomenclature of so many stripes of these military tribes is to be sought in the nomenclature of the “sacred order.” And even now in spite of the yearly increasing sway of Hinduism, and of the efforts of Brahmans in high office to abolish the” custom, the Khas still, insist that “the fruits of ” commerce (for marriage is now out of the question) between their females and males of the “sacred order shall be ranked as Kshatriya, wear the thread, and assume the patronymic title.” So again, when the Rajput immigrants from the plains took aboriginal women in concubinage (and concubinage among the hill people is for all purposes of legitimacy and inheritance the same as marriage), “they were permitted to give their childi’en so begotten the patronymic title only, not ” the rank of Kshatriya. But their childi’en again, if they married for two generations with the ” Khas, became pure Khas, or real Kshatriyas in point of privilege and rank though no longer so in ” name. They were Khas, not Ksliatriya, and yet they bore the proud title cognominal of the “martial order of the Hindus, and were in the land of their nativity entitled to every prerogative ” which Kshatriya birth confers in Hindustan.”

The Rajputs of the Panjab are fine brave men, and retain the feudal instinct more strongly developed than perhaps any other non-menial caste, the tribal heads wielding extraordinary authority. They are very tenacious of the integrity of their commiuial property in the village lands, seldom admitting strangers to share it with them. Pride of blood is their strongest characteristic, for pride of blood is the very essence of their Rajputhood. They are lazy and poor husbandmen and much prefer pastoral to agricultural pursuits, looking upon all manual labour as derogatory and upon the actual operation of ploughing as degrading ; and it is only the poorest class of Rajput who will himself follow the plough. They arc, in most parts of the Panjab plains, cattle-stealers by ancestral profession ; but they exercise their calling in a gentlemanly way, and there is certainly honour among Rajput thieves. …to preserve his name and honour unsullied, must scrupulously observe four fundamental maxims -.First, he must never drive the plough; secondly, he must never give his daughter in ” marriage to an inferior, nor marry himself much below his rank; thirdly, he must never accept money

“in exchange for the betrothal of his daughter ; and lastly, his female household must observe strict “seclusion. The prejudice against the plough is perhaps the most Inveterate of all ; that step can ” never be recalled. The offender at once loses the privileged salutation ; he is reduced to the second ” grade of Rajputs ; no JVL’iin will marry his daughter, and he must go a step lower in the social scale ” to get a wife for himself. In every occupation of life he is made to feel his degraded position. In “meetings of the tribe and at marriages the Rajputs uudetiled hy the plough will refuse to sit at “meals with the Hal Bah, or plough driver, as he is contemptuously styled ; and many, to avoid the ” indignity of exclusion, never appear at public assemblies. This prejudice against agriculture is as ” old as the Hindu religion; and I have licard various reasons given in explanation of it. Some “say it is sacrilegious to lacerate the bosom of mother-earth with an iron plough-share; others declare that the offence consists in subjecting sacred oxen to labour. The probable reason is that the “legitimate weapon of the Kshatria, or military class, is the sword; the plough is the insignia of a flower walk in life, and the exchange of a noble for a ruder profession is tantamount to a renunciation of the privileges of caste”

The dwellings of Rajputs can always be recognised by one familiar with the country. The houses are placed in isolated positions, either on the crest of a hill which commands approaches on all sides, or on the verge of a forest sedulously preserved to form an impenetrable screen. When natural defences do not exist, an artificial growth is promoted to afford the necessary privacy. In front of their dwellings, removed about fifty paces from the house, stands the ‘maudi’ or vestibule, beyond whose precincts no one unconnected with the household can ventibule to intrude. A privileged stranger who has business with the master of the ” house may by favoui’ occupy the vestibule. But even this concession is jealously guarded, and only those of decent caste and respectable character are allowed to come even as far as the ‘ maudi.’ A remarkable instance of the extremes to which this seclusion is carried occurred under my own experience. A Katoch’s house in the Maudi territory accidentally caught fire in broad day. There was no friendly wood to favour the escape of the women, and rather than brave the public gaze they kept their apartments and were sacrificed to a horrible death. Those who wish to visit their parents must travel in covered palanquins, and those too poor to afford a conveyance travel by night, taking unfrequented roads through thickets and ravines. …Their emaciated looks and coarse clothes attest the vicissitudes they have undergone to “maintain their fancied purity.”

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