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New -- 8 April 2007

Hinduism is the world's oldest extant religion. It has no known founder, although many scholars assume its foundations derives from within the Vedic Civilization. This suggests a distinct antiquity to the religion as the Vedic period or age extends from approximately the 2nd millenium BCE and continues up until the 6th Century BCE. While Judaism can be said to have Abraham as its founding father (circa 2000 BCE), and the first five books of the Old Testament written around 600 BCE, Hinduism's roots, and that of the Vedic Civiliztation go much further back. Both Hinduism and the associated culture on the Indian subcontinent derive ultimately from the Indus Valley Civilization (circa 3300 BCE), the latter which includes the impressive city, Mohenjo-daro, built roughly 2600 BCE.

This long history of civilizations is important to the foundations of Hinduism in that the earliest elements of the religion appear to date back as far as the late neolithic or early Harrappan period (or early Bronze period), all of which is circa 5500 to 3300 BCE. The Old Testament, if taken literally, could be said to date from Adam and Eve, circa 4000 BCE. Because of Hinduism's exceptionally long span of time in human history, the religion has developed a highly diverse system of beliefs and traditions. If there is one thing that can be said of Hinduism, it is that it has never rested on its laurels, and has been amenable in the long term to new ideas and thoughts. These variations are extremely important and are covered in considerable detail (with numerous links to relevant topics) in the Wikipedia article on Hinduism.

It should be emphasized that Hinduism also provides a vast body of scriptures which expound on a wide range of theology, philosophy and mythology, all providing spiritual insights and guidance in the concept of religious living. A common factor in this religious diversity, however, is a:

"propensity to assimilate rather than to exclude.  This last feature divides Hinduism sharply from the religions of the west, [particularly those] based on Judaism.  The latter, at least in their earlier forms, generally reject as false all other religious beliefs and practices; Hinduism, on the other hand, concedes some validity to them all.  The western attitude is expressed by the words of Yahweh on Sinai: ‘You shall have no other gods before me”; in the Bhagavad Gita, the incarnate god Krishna says, ‘Whatever god a man worships, it is I who answer the prayer.’" [1]  

While the many webpages on the subject of Hinduism (and a host of related topics) are readily available on the web, the subject is addressed on this website from two unique perspectives. One is the timing of certain critical changes in the philosophy of Hinduism, and the other is with respect to Hinduism's various concepts of God.

For example, the earliest phase of a formalized Hinduism is rooted in the religion of the Vedas, which were composed between 1000 and 600 B.C.E.  Essentially appendices, “the Aranyakas (circa 600 B.C.E.) and Upanishads (circe 600-300 B.C.E.) respectively expounded upon the symbolism of the more recondite rites and speculated on the nature of the universe and man's relation to it. When Vedic religion gradually evolved into Hinduism between the 6th and 2nd centuries B.C.E., these texts taken collectively became the most sacred literature of Hinduism." [1]

“By perhaps 600 B.C.E., the new doctrine of the continual process of reincarnation (samsura) was known to comparatively small circles of ascetics and was coupled with the idea of karma, the fundamental law of cause and effect by which the evildoer is reborn in unhappy conditions.  It spread very rapidly, and seems to have been accepted almost universally in the time of Buddha (6th century).  It’s orgin and rapid diffusion are not yet satisfactorily explained.” [1]

In addition, as mentioned above, the ending of the Vegic Civilization and the beginning of Hinduism and the Indian subculture can be dated circa 600 BCE.

The point worth emphasizing is that around 600 BCE, there were notable changes in the emphasis of the Hindu religion. The critical factor was the speculation on the nature of the universe, and suddenly for the first time, man's relation to it. This constitutes additional evidence of the critically important juncture in man's history and the sudden influence of religions shifting from the sole emphasis on the gods and initiating the development of philosophies which were oriented toward mankind. Suddenly, the reincarnation of human souls and karmic implications for human beings became important (as opposed simply to the latest news on the schenigans of the gods and goddesses).

Note also, very importantly, the last sentence of the Encyclopaedia Britannica quote above, i.e., that its rapid diffusion is not readily explained. If in fact the 600 BCE sea change in human philosophy was engineered by superior beings -- those with the means to charge about the planet -- the diffusion of and and all concepts can be much more readily explained. In other words, if the ruling gods and/or goddesses were bringing the entire human race up to philosophical speed at this time, using the various means of transportation and communications they undoubtedly possessed, the rapid diffusion of philosophies and technologies becomes easily explained. Furthermore, the existence of such diffusion having occured in turn implies that these gods and goddesses actually existed. How else could one explain the rapid diffusion of the philosophical concepts to virtually every civilization on the planet?

Which brings us to Hinduism's concept of god (or gods), which is in itself extremely noteworthy. Wikipedia's take on this subject is worth quoting:

"Hinduism is sometimes considered to be a polytheistic religion, but such a view tends to oversimplify a diverse system of thought with beliefs spanning monotheism, polytheism,[11] panentheism, monism and even atheism. For instance, the Advaita Vedanta school holds that there is only one causal entity (Brahman), which manifests itself to humans in multiple forms[12] while many scholars consider the Samkhya school of thought to have had atheistic leanings." [References in this paragraph refer to the Wikipedia essay references]

On the one hand, Encyclopaedia Britannica [1] takes the position that:

“The Rigveda reflects in general a polytheistic sacrificial religion very different from that of later India.  In involved the worship of numerous divinities, most of whom were conceived as male, and were connected with the sky and natural phenomena.  In some of the more recent hymns of the Rigveda, however, there are speculations on the source and fundamental nature of the cosmos.”

If we in fact assume the worship of numerous divinities in earlier Hinduism, it becomes apparent that there might be a direct correlation between this aspect of Hinduism and the Anunnaki of Sumerian fame. And of course the speculations on the universal fundamentals in more recent times, speak again of the 600 BCE worldwide epiphany.

Similarities between the Anunnaki and Hindu gods and goddesses include the aforementioned timing of the 600 BCE shift in philosophies. In addition...

Hinduism “religion contrasts sharply with the religions of the west in its conception of the size and duration of the universe.  In place of the comparatively small, transient cosmos of traditional Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Hinduism postulates a universe immense in size and immensely long in duration, passing through a continuous process of development and decline.  The fundamental cosmic cycle is the “day of Brahma”, a period of 4,320,000,000 years known as a kalpa. [1]

This may constitute an additional connection between the religion of Hinduism and the long-lived Annunaki. The Kalpa certainly predates by a very substantial margin the limited time of the Anunnaki on Earth (only the last half million years or so?), but this in itself may not preclude a possible connection.   For beings that may very well live for at least 250,000 years (a valid assumption based on the dates of the Adam and Eve of modern science), a kalpa of 17,280 human lifetimes in sequence is not that hard to comprehend.  On a smaller time scale, the current yuga (the Kali Yuga or the Age of Discord) lasts some 432,000 years. Perhaps the Age of Discord is really nothing more than the presence of the Anunnaki on earth! [Shudder!]

There is in addition, supporting evidence from the myths and stories of Inanna who has been equated in Sumerian literature with the Indian subcontinent goddess, Kali the latter not to be confused with the male demon who is considered the personification of the Kali Yuga). Inanna may in fact have been the presiding goddess and patron of Mohenjo-daro and the early Harrapan culture. Sumerian myths do in fact describe the awarding of such lands to Inanna. The fact that being a more social Anunnaki meant that she might not have spent as much time on the Indian subcontinent, does not in itself constitute evidence that the Harrapan culture was not her home away from home.

Finally and possibly quite importantly with respect to the Hindu concept of God, it would be well to recall that the Samkhya cosmology mentioned above in the Wikipedia article is decidedly less inclined to the polytheism of numerous gods. The Samkhya school, which is regarded by some as the oldest philosophical system in India, was nevertheless incorporated within the systems of Hindu philosophy with the major text, the extant Sankhya Karika, written circa 200 CE. It is generally assumed that "there are no purely Samkhya schools existing today in Hinduism, but its influence is felt in Yoga and Vedanta schools of philsophy." The end result, therefore, is that Yoga does not dwell a great deal on worshiping gods -- other than perhaps praying that during a particularly stressful yoga session, one will still be able to later walk out of the gym with one's yoga mat tucked safely under one's arm.

Another noteworthy factor is that, according to the Wikipedia article on the subject, the epistemology of Samkhya concludes that knowledge is possible through 1) direct sense perception, 2) logical inference, and 3) verbal testimony. This sounds vaguely like certain aspects of gnostism -- wherein the path to knowledge and enlightenment is emphasized. Gnostism may in fact be a parallel effort (particularly considering the comparative dates of development). It is also noteworthy that Gnostism's additional emphasis on the existence of a dysfunctional creator god, i.e. Gnostism is:

"a religion that regards this world as the creation of a series of evil archons/powers who wish to keep the human soul trapped in an evil physical body, [and] a religion that preaches a hidden wisdom or knowledge only to a select group as necessary for salvation or escape from this world.” [2]

These "evil archons/powers" may likely be various sects of the Anunnaki.

The Samkhya school of Hinduism clearly does not teach of such a duality. However... One can speculate that Samkhya is that philosophical school of Hinduism which has concluded that the gods and goddesses of ancient times (the archons) are in fact not gods and goddesses, and that it's high time to quick kidding ourselves (and them). Furthermore, Samkhya, freed from the worshipping fashion might thereafter be more likely to take a gnostic view of developing knowledge. Such a technique might include, perhaps, an emphasis on developing the body so as to increase the quality of direct sense perception (item 1 above). Such a speculation can then be construed as a combination of items 2 and 3, i.e. logical inference and verbal testimony. (Or at least, written testimony.)

It remains to be seen as to whether or not this makes the author a Yogi or not. Or to finally bend his right knee in the fashion it was originally designed.



[1] Encyclopaedia Britannica, vol 11, 1968, page 507.

[2] http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/gnostics.html


Jewish History         600 B.C.E.         Some Biblical Law

Forward to:

Taoism         Lao Tzu, et al         History 009








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