When I started on this journey, i first looked at the Aryan Invasion Theory debates and had come across the Kurgan Hypothesis from Marija Gimbutas, a brilliant Anthropologist from Lithuania. As you know, i later switched strategies to look at the entire Neolithic plate and its mother goddess religion. Over the past few weeks, i have formed a hypothesis. When I was testing it, i again came across Gimbutas – and found that she had forecasted that the entire world was following the mother goddess culture. She added that the world was matristic initially and later changed to a patriarchal setup via the Kurgan Expansion. You can read her interview that throws some light on this.
This matristic-patriarchal aspect of Gimbutas’s theory was pilloried by critics and i think it also indirectly reduced the credibility of her Kurgan Hypothesis. I think that Gimbutas was right in guessing that the whole world was following the same religion in the Bronze Age. I agree with her on the broader principles, but i think she made some critical errors in assuming it was matristic.
At Priya Raju’s constant goading, i started reading Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code. My hypothesis about the religion was formulated before i started reading this book. So any similarities you see are accidental and may serve to corroborate my hypothesis.
Astronomical Foundation – Solar with a Lunar Twist
Symbologically speaking, IVC denizens believed that the Sun, Earth and Moon were 3 equal parties in the functioning of the world as they knew it – the proto-trinity. Additionally, they also believed that the Earth was the one that was providing the energy to both the Sun and the Moon.
As i have mentioned before, these people had phenomenal powers of observation. They must have observed and calculated the day lengths and figured out that there are 4 equinoctial points – vernal and autumnal equinoxes, summer and winter solstices.
Next they partitioned the 360 degree sky into twelve 30 degree parts to arrive at the 12 zodiacs. Based on where the sun rises in the horizon, they assigned the sun rise to the various zodiacs throughout the year.
Next they looked at the moon and figured out that it revolves around the earth in a 27 day cycle (modern calculations put it at 27.3 days!). They assigned a star to each of the days of the moon there by giving rise to the 27 star system. From a symbology perspective, they thought that the Sun and the Moon were competing for their energy from the earth. When the winter solstice occurs (Uttarayana Punyakalam starts), they deemed it as victory for the Sun and this cycle lasts for 6 months till the summer solstice. At the summer solstice (Dakshninayana Punyakalam), the Moon is said to have won the contest and the Moon’s 6 month cycle continues till the next winter solstice.
The next piece of symbology is in the regular monthly cycle, the moon wins during the waxing phase and loses during the waning phase.
Therefore each day in the calendar was marked with the cycle (sun or moon), the zodiac, the month and the day marked by the phase of the moon and the star associated with it.
Tamils follow to this day the same calendar as outlined in their Panchank (Almanac). My research shows that Keralites, Bengalis, Punjabis also follow a similar calendar framework. [Citation Needed]
Flora & Fauna’s Impact
As we all know by now, Cows and Bulls were extremely important for the IVC people. The Bull symbol was assigned to the Sun – the Uber-Father God. The Cow symbol was assigned to the Earth – Uber Mother Goddess. It is not clear to me what symbol was assigned to the moon, but my guess is that they assigned a Goat (Ram). BTW, the Egyptians also equated cows with their mother goddess (Goddess Hathor).
Trees were very holy for them symbologically because, its roots connect it to the earth (mother goddess) and the top foliage connects it to the sky – and by extension, to the sun during the day & the moon during the night. Trees also bear fruits and seeds which indicate growth and fertility.
At this point, i recalled the Egyptian “Crown” Symbology – the type of crown the gods wear shows if they are from lower or upper Egypt. They controlled both parts if they wore both types of crowns.
Now when i looked at the 3-horned mother goddess, things fell into place. The 3rd horn in the middle is usually a branch of a tree & it signifies the Mother Goddess – Earth – Parvati. She was also known as Durga in Bengal. For some reason they also thought that the mother goddess was from a mountain. Ninhursag, the Sumerian Mother Goddess is supposed to be from a mountian as well.
Now when you go back and look at the peepul tree worship seal, you will see the 3-horned symbology with the middle horn shown as a branch of a tree.
Let us consider the Bull. It also has 2 horns, and we already know that the Lingam is a phallic symbol. If you now look at the 3-horned male god’s crown, you will notice that the middle horn is a phallic symbol and that represents the Father God – Sun – Shiva. In a later post, I’ll explain why I think this is a phallic symbol and why we worship it.
Now that we have established the premises for Mother, Father & the IVC Almanac, it must be now clear to you that the Uber Son is – the Moon. Also known as Murugan (Karthik in Bengal).
This Sun, Earth, Moon is the Proto-Trinity which is a concept that was later incorporated into Vedic Hinduism and Christianity as well [Father, Son and the Holy Spirit]. I’m not saying that IVC loaned the concept to Christianity. What I mean is, Christianity adopted a concept that was prevalent in Neolithic societies.
Let us review parallels from the reference cultures – Sumer started with a pantheistic religion and later moved to the Trinity – Utu (Sun), Ninhursag (Earth) and Sin (Moon). Egypt moved to the Theban Triad during later Middle Kingdom and the start of New Kingdom – Amun (Sun), Maat (Earth) & Khunsu (Moon).
I believe the Minoans had the same triad, but I couldn’t get the name of the Moon god – the male god was called Cernunnos and the female god was Potnia Theron (both are greekified names of Celtic and Minoan gods). Notice that Potnia is known as the Mistress of Animals. Please note that this concept is present in IVC also. In order to understand that symbology, i had to consult Desmond Morris’s brilliant work – “Animal Watching”. I will explain this in later posts.
Now going back to astronomy, they assigned the Bull Zodiac (“Taurus”) to the point at which the Sun rises during the Vernal Equinox. It also marked the New Year – the agricultural season. Pleaides are a part of Taurus. Due to precession, the vernal equinox now falls in March. But since the Tamils place a premium on “Taurus”, their new year still occurs on April 14.
There are 4 major festivals coinciding with the 4 equinoctial points (new year coincided with the Vernal Equinox as explained above).
1. New Year – At Vernal Equinox, the agricultural season starts, the fields are ploughed and the seeds are sowed. Here is where their symbology of the Sacred Marriage enters. They analogized the start of a New Yearly cycle with the sexual union of the Sun and Earth.
So the festival celebrated sexual unions. Celts called it the “Beltane Festival” – sometimes also called Corn Prince/Princess Festival. There is evidence to show that real sexual unions took place to symbolize the holy union of the Gods. The Uruk Vase found in Sumer shows the “Akitu” festival; Egyptians celebrated the “Opet” Festival which i wrote about during my visit to Karnak. Minoans must have done it as well, as indicated in the Fresco of the Prince. This is celebrated as “Chithirai Thiruvizha” in South India – Where a sacred marriage takes place in madurai between Meenakshi (Parvathi) and Sundareswarar (Shiva). I guess over time the sexual union was converted to a wedding, which is more palatable to our prudery!
The festival of colors must have also happened duing this time with the associated drinking of the Bhang. I believe the IVC people had the Bhang as well. This will be covered later. Holi is today celebrated during the Vernal Equinox – which as we saw occurs in March due to precession. During the IVC days, it would have fallen in April alongside the new year. Even today, the sexual undertones of Holi can’t be missed.
2. Winter Solstice – this is the festival of Suriya Pongal, which marks the Victory of the Sun over the Moon. Bull leaping was done during this festival. As we saw previously, Minoans did the Bull Leaping too.
The above 2 are the only Tamil festivals i knew before i did this research.
3. Summer Solstice – this marks the start of the victory cycle of the moon, and there are festivals that celebrate this. Please delve into your backgrounds and see what your families celebrate during this time. I was able to predict the existence of this festival and I managed to find the Tamil festival celebrated around the Summer Solstice 🙂
4. Autumnal Equinox – this marks the culmination of the victory of the moon, over the evil forces. Again, dig deep into your backgrounds to figure out which Indian festival would be an ideal candidate for this equinoctical celebration.
Let me give you another insight into the minds of these people. Right after the Winter Solstice (Pongal in the month of “Thai”) – “Thai Poosam” which marks the birth of Muruga under the “Poosam” star is celebrated. Star Poosam is the 6th star from Karthikai (the Krithika goddess) – this is to accommodate the 6 pleaides stars [Citation needed]. Interestingly, “Thai” is the 10th month from “Chithirai” when the Holy Sexual Union takes place – They even made sure the gestation period was taken into account!
The celts had smaller festivals during what are known as cross-quarter days or mid-equinoctial points. I have not come across any festivals in India that coincide with this. If you think otherwise, please let me know. Do remember that the equinoctial points mark the quarters of the year.
Gimbutas had correctly predicted that the mother goddess woship was common. As you can see, the Neolithic people actually went a few steps ahead of that to create a religion that was egalitarian – with male, female and child having equal dominance to create the world’s First Trinity. Since the Sumerians and even the later Babylonians followed a Lunar Calendar, i think the IVC people are the first to originate a complex solar calendar system with a lunar twist. Egyptians did use a Solar Calendar, but i don’t think they superimposed the star system on it.
Some more puzzles for you to crack:
1. Who is the snake goddess in Tamilnadu (may have local variants in each region, i think) and why do we worship the snake goddess?
2. What was the real original name of Siva? [Shiva is the Aryanized name of Siva]
3. How did the Vedic Trinity – Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu replace the IVC Trinity?
4. How was the Muruga Symbology constructed? I believe it indicates a balance of both feminine and masculine symbols.
5. What was the Indus script element that signifies the Sun and Moon halves of the year?