Indus Valley and Sumerian Civilizations
It is referred that Abraham (Ibrahim) , the common father of Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Israelites’ religion has been referred that he went from a place called ‘Ur’ 72, (Genesis 11:31) the Capital of the Sumerian Kings. (‘Ur ’ is a Tamil word for a village or a town.)
“At some time before the dawn of history, people whom we called Sumerians moved into Babylonia from the East.”73 (George A. Barton, Archeology and Bible, American Sunday School Union, 3rd ed., Philadelphia, 1920)
“The origin of the Sumerians is not known, though theories on this include migration from the East”.74 (NEW BIBLE DICTIONARY, J.D.Douglas and others (Editors), Inter – varsity Press, Leicester, England, Reprinted 1996.P.1149)
“The history of the Sumerians falls into three periods: a) early Sumerian, 3000 – 2700 bc; b)classic Sumerian, 2700 – 2250 bc; c) Neo – Sumerian, 2100 – 1960 bc. It is reconstructed in each of these respective periods chiefly from the epic poems, scattered historic records and hundreds of thousands of business documents”. 75 (NEW BIBLE DICTIONARY, J.D.Douglas and others (Editors), Inter – varsity Press, Leicester, England, Reprinted 1996.P.1149)
“The archeological evidence seems to show cultural influence on southern Mesopotamia both from the east and from the north”.76 ENCYCLOPAEDIC DICTIONARY OF THE BIBLE,Louis F.Hartman, C.S.S.R.. McGRAW – HILL Book Company, Inc., NewYork, Toronto, London, 1963, (R.220.3)HAR 3682) (P.2351)
Influence of Semitics on Sumerian civilization is distinctly seen.
“There were Sumerians who wrote in the Semitic tongue, and vice versa” 77 THE FACE OF THE ANCIENT ORIENT, SABATINO MOSCATI, Anchor Books, Doubleray & Co., Inc., Garden City, New York, 1962. (P.2)
“The third dynasty of this city assumes the title: ‘King of the four quarters of the earth’… But the Kings of Ur bear another title, which is worth noting; they are ‘King of Sumer and Akkad’. Henceforth this is their normal appellation, and it expresses the fusion of two elements, Sumerian and Semitic, in Mesopotamian civilization. There are many other characteristic indications of the fusions, such as the names of sovereigns, partly Sumerian and partly Semitic; their divine appellatives, testifying to an approach towards that apotheosis of the monarch which had been a feature of the Semitic intrude; the retreat of the religious power before the political one, part of the trend towards the bureaucratic state for which the Semites had also furnished the model”.78 (THE FACE OF THE ANCIENT ORIENT, SABATINO MOSCATI, Anchor Books, Doubleray & Co., Inc., Garden City, New York, 1962. Pp.24,25)
Correlation between the Semitics andIndusValleypeople, that is, the Dravidians are explained as follows:
“The evidence alone for continuing of religious beliefs and practices to an archaeologist seem particularly convincing. Three sites already mentioned make impressive contributions to the argument. The sequences of ‘Al Ubaid itself, Tell Uquair and Eridu start chronologically with a conventional Ubaid settlement and, by analogy with Eridu; the two former may also be assumed to have had an Ubaid period temple, frequently rebuilt. At these two cities, the settlements themselves……………..” 79 J.H. Breasted, A History of Egypt, New York Scriber’s, 1912, P.187 [BAHE]. Footnote No.13 ARCHAEOLOGY AND BIBLE HISTORY, Joseph P. Free Ph.D. Professor of Bible and Archaeology, Wheaton College, 1962 Revision (Ist ed.1950, 7th edition 1962) Scripture Press Publications, Inc., 1825, College Avenue, Wheaton, Illinois P.64).
Indus Valley civilization, at its height, its geographical reach exceeded that of Egypt or Mesopotamia.80 (The Columbia Electronic Encyclopaedia, Sixth Edition )
“The ancient name for the plain of Khuzistan, watered by the Kerkh river, which joins the Tigris just North of the Persian Gulf. Civilization in this area is as old as, and closely connected with, the cultures of lower Mesopotamia. A local pictographic script appeared very soon after the invention of writing in Babylonia. The Elamites cannot be certainly linked with any other known race, although their language may be related to the Dravidian family. The reference to Elam as a son of Shem18 may well reflect the presence of early Semites in this area, and there is archaelogical evidence in the time of Sargon 1 (c.2350B.C.) and his successors of their influence on the local culture. Rock sculptures depict typical Akkadian figures and bear Akkadian inscriptions, althoug carved for Elamite rulers”.81((NEW BIBLE DICTIONARY, Op.Cit., P.312)
“The first known appearance of the Hebrews, who were members of the Semitic language family, was in Mesopotamia, for according to the Bible, the Hebrew patriarch Abraham’s family was native to Sumer”.82 (WORLD CIVILIZATIONS THEIR HISTORY AND THEIR CULTURE Volume 1, Ninth Edition,, W.W.Norton & Company, New York – London, 1988. P.75)
It is given in ‘The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia that the Sumerians have cultural links with theIndusValleyculture ofIndiaas follows.
“The original homeland of the Sumerians is unknown, but there is no question that they did enter Mesopotamia from outside area. Their language includes many non-Sumerian words for basic economic concepts such as farmer, herdsman etc.,………. One theory is that the Sumerians came from the mountainous region to the northeast. Most scholars, however, believe that the Sumerians arrived via the Persian gulf, because the concentration of the Sumerian population in historic times was in what is now Southern Iraq. Early Sumerian history also shows signs of cultural links with the Indus Valley culture of India.”83 (THE INTERNATIONAL STANDARD BIBLE ENCYCLOPAEDIA,vol.iv, Goefrey W.Bromiley (Gen.Ed.) and others, Michigan, William B.Eerdmans publishing company, Grand Rapids, Reprinted 1991)
“There is evidence of a substrate language of ancient Sumer; this language could be located in India in the contemporaneous Sarasvati – Sindhu civilization ca.2500 B.C.Sumerian has no known relation to any other language. There seems to be a remote relationship with Dravidian languages (like spoken by the Tamils, now in the South of India). There is evidence that the Dravidian languages were spoken in the north of India, being displaced by the arrival of the Indo – European invaders around 1500 BCE. Because of the term ‘the black headed ones’, sag.gi ga. it is possible (but far from proven) that the Sumerians are an early branch of one of the people now living in southern India.”84 (http:/sarasvati.simplenet com/sitemap1.htmSITE MAP Home Indian Lexicon Corpus of Inscriptions Artefacts Decipherment See map of Mesopotamia sites.
On the basis of linguistic analysis, the linguists explained genealogical relationship exists between the Dravidian, Elamite, Sumerian languages etc.85 (Web article titled “dravidan.Mande and Elamite” – Clede A. Winter., firstname.lastname@example.org)
Some similarities which occur between Dravidian worships and religions of Indiaand outside are briefly touched here. Abraham or Ibrahim who is the common father of the religions viz., religion of Israel, Judaism, Christianity and Islam has been referred to in the Bible, and similarities occur between these worships and religions are hinted at as follows.
Tree was given significant place in theIndusValley. Similarly the trees were given significant place in the Old Testament.
Reference to the tree Moreh finds a place in the Old Testament. People gathered under the tree to hear the Word of God. God revealed Himself to Abraham under the tree.86 (Genesis 13.18) Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beer -Shebaand there called on the name of the Lord.87 (Genesis 21 : 33)
People made Abimelech as a King beside the great tree at the pillar in Shechem88 (Judges 9.6) Joshua installed a pillar under the Oak in the sanctuary of the Lord and worshipped God89 (.Joshua 24. 26) The bones of King Saul and his sons were buried under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh90. (1 Samuel 31. 12, 13) People made offerings upon the hills under oak, poplar, and terebinth.91 (Hosea 4.13)
As in the IndusValleyworship, the figures with horns represent divinity, the horns represent divinity (god), ruling authority (King) and Teaching authority (Guru) in Sumeria and Babyloniatoo, says Marshall.92 (John Marshall, Mohenjadaro and Indus Civilization, vol.1, Arthur Probsthin, London, 1931,P.55)
In the Old Testament, the horns represent power, victory and ruling power 93.(Deuteronomy 33.17, Micah 4.13, Psalms 92.10) The loss of power, victory or ruling power was symbolically represented by the cutting off of the horns.94 (Jeremiah 48.25)
One of the ancient Dravidian worships that could be seen in the Dravidian religions is the ‘memorial stones.’ The memorial stones are found in theIndusValleyworship.
Memorial stone is widely prevalent in Israelite worship and it is known as a stone pillar in the Old Testament of the Bible. For instance, when Jacob had a vision, he took the stone that was kept as a pillow by him while he slept on the way, and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it, and he said,
‘and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house; and of all that thou givest me I will give the tenth to thee.’ 95 (Genesis 28.16, 35.14)
Like this there are many references in Israelite worship in the Old Testament of Bible 96.(Genesis 31.41-48; Exodus 24.4; Joshua 4.9; 1Samuel 7.12, 1Kings 12.28-33)
Stone Pillar, Altar and Calf
Jeroboam, the king ofIsrael, set a calf inBetheland another one in Dan and offered sacrifices upon the altar.97 (1Kings 12.28-33)
So in the Israelite worship the memorial stone, the sacrificial altar and the calf were present and these three are also present in the Saivite temples ofIndia.
According to historical analysis, the earliest instance for the form of worship mentioned above is found in the Bible from the period of Jacob to Hosea (approx. 1700 B.C.-722 B.C.), whereas the Saivite temples which also have the memorial stone, altar and calf are found together in the post-Christ era.
In Judaism, instead of memorial stone, temple worship is seen. Instead of placing a single stone and worshipping God, they built a temple which was built of many stones and offered sacrifice upon the altar and worshipped God. In Judaism, a single memorial stone had developed into a temple and there are no stone pillars and the image of the calf inside the temple.
The Dravidian memorial stone as was found among the Israelites, attained its fulfillment in Christ and he is referred to as the living stone in Christianity.
“Come to him, to that living stone, rejected by men but in God’s sight chosen and precious….Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a corner stone chosen and precious, and he who believes in him will not be put to shame” 98 (1Peter 2.4)
Referring to the ‘Son of God’ as living stone in Christianity leads to the ideology of calling every one of us as thetempleofGod.
“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s spirit dwells in you? 99 (1Corinthians 3.16)
“For we are the temple of the living God.100 (11 Corinthians 6.16)
This same concept is also found in Saivism. 101 (Thirumular Thirumanthiram 1821)
The same memorial stone could be seen in Islam also. Amongst the five important duties of a Muslim, one is to pay a visit toMeccaand worship there.
The Encyclopedia Britannica elucidates;
Every Muslim who makes pilgrimage is required to walk around the Ka’bah seven times, during which process he kisses and touches the black stone … Muslims consider the Ka’bah the most sacred spot on earth and they recite their prayers looking in its direction…102 (Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol.5, Micropaedia, 15th (Ed), 1982)
InMeccathere is Ka’bha (or Qaaba) and a black stone (memorial stone) and, it is believed to be the Old Sivalinka. Malkani says:
“Also much of what passes for Islam is Pre – Mohammedan Arab tribal customs, The Qaaba, says Syed, is believed to be an old Shivalinka.”103 (K.R.Malkani, Why a Separate Sindh, Indian Express, Madras, February 2, 1992)
A person who reaches Mecca for worship should change his clothes whoever he may be and wear only white dhoti and a white towel that are unstitched, go around the Ka’bha again and again and kiss the memorial stone as a mark of his worship. They claim that they worship in the way their forefather Abraham (Ibrahim) worshipped. Also they observe tonsuring like Tamilians who go to Palani or Thirupathy temples and undergo the same ceremony.
Scholars are of the opinion that wearing unstitched white dhoti and a white towel and going around a stone kissing and worshipping it, and observing tonsuring ceremony are the Tamilian or the Dravidian method of worship.