Posted on

Pralaya – Part II

hinduism solar

Cosmic Floods, the Sun and the Solar Race Part II

Alexander Jacob


Manu of the Sun


alexander jacobThe course of the sun’s emergence in our universe coincides with that of the first Man, who is called Manu Vaivasvata, or Manu of the Sun (Vivasvant). This primal man is of interest in a study of the flood since it is he who is said to preserve the life of the universe in a boat that is at once a solar barque, as in Egypt, and an ark that carries the seeds of universal life through the flood to safety atop a mountain (from whence the sun too will arise). Manu is thus the divine ancestor of the race that is to inhabit the universe. As a personification of enlightened humanity the role of a Manu is to maintain the cosmic order at the time of the creation of the universe (BP VIII,14,3). Since Manu is called King of Drāvida in BP VIII,24,13, we may assume also that the entire mythology of Manu appeared first among the proto-Dravidian peoples, who, as we shall see, are also identifiable with the proto-Hurrians,[1] and the Noachidian race.

Manu Vaivasvata is also called Shraddhādeva (BP VIII,13,1) and is the seventh Manu of our kalpa (BP VIII,13, there being fourteen Manus in all in each kalpa.[2] The seventh manvantara of the Varāha Kalpa is thus called Vaivasvata (=of Vivasvant, the sun) Manvantara (BP VII,8; VIII,7,12,18), or the Age of Manu of the Sun. Since each manvantara has a duration of around 317,000,000 years (BP III,11,24), life on earth must have begun more than 1,902,000,000 years after the inception of the Varāha Kalpa.

The incarnation of the Lord as the Fish, Matsya, which transfers Vaivasvata (or Shraddhādeva) Manu from his celestial origin to Earth occurs early during this manvantara. For, according to the BP, this manvantara is marked by six cosmic avatārs from that of the Fish, Matsya, to the dwarf sun, Vāmana, who is the last of the solar Ādityas (BP I,3,15-19). The avatars following Matsya are the tortoise Kūrma (which helps bear the mountain Mandāra[3] on its back while the latter is being used as a ladle to churn the cosmic ocean with for the elicitation of the nectar of immortality), the seductress Mohini, and the man-lion, Narasimha. There are six further, human incarnations of the deity after that of Vāmana, from Bhrgu to the Buddha, the last coinciding with the Kali Yuga of our manvantara.

Though Manu is differentiated in RV from Yama, who is considered to be another son of the sun, Vivasvant,[4] Yama bears the same epithet of “Shraddhādeva”[5] which Manu also does in BP. So it is likely that we are dealing with the same figure, especially since the flood hero of the Avesta is also called Yima.[6] Manu’s “half-brother” (or alter ego), Yama is said to be the ruler of the lower heavens, according to RV I,35,6, and the sun and moon themselves are located in the mid-region between Heaven and Earth.

In the Shiva Purāna, the sage Mārkandeya substitutes for Manu. When Mārkandeya appeals to the Lord for a refuge in the boundless ocean, “the ocean of mundane existence”, the Lord points out to him the holy heavenly river Narmada (a form of Pārvathi, Shiva’s consort corresponding to the Egyptian Mehet-Ouret), on the banks of which Mārkandeya along with other sages practises penance. Narmada also represents the flood which bears the sun. Narmada assumes for this solar birth the form of a cow with golden horns, a shape we  encounter in the Egyptian representation of the flood Mehet Ouret, or Hathor, as the bearer of Horus, the sun, between her horns.[7] At the same time, Narmada represents Earth, the material universe, itself. This is in consonance with her role as the consort of Shiva, who is the counterpart of the Egyptian Geb [Earth] and Chronos/Time.[8] The transformation of the elemental universal matter of Earth into a Cow that yields nourishment to the various forms of life in the manifest universe is related in the BP IV,17ff. And this transformation is a repetition of that which occurred within the Cosmic Egg itself at the moment of the impregnation of the cosmic streams with the seminal ‘water’ or seed of the supreme deity.[9]

Mārkandeya is saved from the cataclysm by seeking refuge in Narmada’s “flanks”, for this cow’s milk is said to be “ambrosial”, just as Aditi’s is, since it contains the divine “soma” [seed]. The result of Mārkandeya’s imbibing of Narmada’s milk is that “Divine vital energy” … “streamed through [him]” so that Mārkandeya “was able to breast the raging sea”. As he is dragged along by the cow, whose “tail” he holds, for thousands of ages, Mārkandeya catches a glimpse of the Purusha “asleep”[10] in the cosmic ocean. There is also an intimate connection between Hathor and the Tree of Life, which springs up from the waters of the abyss, just as there is between Aditi and Indra in the Vedas, and Narmada is a form of Aditi as well as Pārvathi. Both Hathor and Aditi represent the basis of universal creation after the periodic destruction of the cosmos, and the Tree of Life is the form of the material universe itself which arises from the abyss through the divine seed represented by Indra/Ninurta/Marduk.

It is clear that Mārkandeya is a form of the solar force itself, and we may conclude that Manu, whom he replaces, is, as the “son” of the sun, equally one. Both Manu and Mārkandeya are thus ‘superhuman’ solar figures that are considered ancestors of the human race.


We may now consider some special aspects of the flood story of Manu that may require elucidation. In the Shatapatha Brāhmana Manu[11] is warned of the deluge by a fish(representing Vishnu/Prajāpati in his piscine Matsya avatār). Manu saves himself in a ship which is tied to the “horn” of the fish[12] and is borne by the latter to the heights of “the northern mountain”, which, not being specified as a Himalayan one, may well be the Ararat of the Armenians mentioned in Genesis 8:4.[13] In the Mahābhārata, the divine identity of the fish is revealed to be that of Prajāpati/Brahman (the name of the supreme god in his luminous, creative aspect), since the fish declares to the “seven sages” – who, unlike in the SB version of the story, accompany Manu in the ship – “I am Brahma, lord of progeny [Prajāpati] … I in the form of a fish have delivered you from this peril”.[14] The fish goes on to state that Manu should create all creatures including “gods, asuras, and men and all the worlds and what moves and what does not move [i.e. animal and vegetable life].”

In the Matsya Purāna, too, the fish that saves Manu is said to be a form of the supreme lord, Janārdana (Vishnu), while the rope that Manu ties between the fish’s “horn” and the boat is the serpent, Vasuki, identifiable with the serpent of the Abyss, Sesha.[15] We note here again a similarity also between the Ship of Life and the Tree of Life since both bear the serpent at one end and both bear the seeds of universal life as well as the solar force – the latter represented by Manu himself as well as by the sun that arises atop the branches of the Tree.[16] Besides, the Ship of Life containing the seeds of life of the universe comes to rest atop a mountain, and the sun too appears atop the phallic, mountain-like, Tree of Life.


In the Dravidian Cikalittala Purānam of Arunāchalakkavirayar, we get further glimpses into the nature of the ship of life. The divine personages who survive the flood are said to be Siva himself and his wife Uma. The boat which saves Siva and his wife are considered as being symbolic of the sacred sound “Om” itself, while the resting place of the boat is a “shrine” which stands as firm as “Dharma”.[17] We may remember also that Ziusudra is blessed, at the end of the deluge, with immortality in the sacred land of “Dilmun”. The original form of Dilmun may well have been “Dharman” and represented the perfect holiness that this concept signifies in Vedic religion.[18] Dilmun is identified with the sacred “mountain” from which the light of the universe arises and which is the terrestrial source of the “me’s”.[19]

David Shulman has pointed out that the creation stories in the Dravidian versions emphasise the importance of the shrine as the centre of the universe and seat of the renewed creation after the deluge.[20] Shiva interestingly names this shrine “the root of the universe”, which is situated on a hill rather like the primordial hill from which the light of the cosmos arises in Egypt. The shrine therefore is the foundation of the universe itself. In the related Dravidian accounts of the deluge which engulfed the sacred city of Madurai, the latter city serves as an analogue of the shrine whence the universe emerges. In these stories, the flood is said to have been caused by Varuna [Enki] at the instigation of Indra.[21] The flood caused by Varuna, Lord of the Underworld, precedes the formation of the new sun. Shiva is the god who protects the city Madurai from the flood, no doubt that it may serve as the sacred foundation of our universe. The shrine atop the mountain is secure (as also is the sacred city of Madurai) from any destructive flood which may well up from the netherworld, Pātāla.[22]

The mountain atop which the boat comes to rest is also considered to be situated at the centre or navel of the universe. For the concept that the sanctuary is to be found atop a mountain at the navel or centre of the universe is to be found in Jewish (and later Muslim) theologians as well,[23] who no doubt derived it from Babylon. The mountain and navel clearly represent the phallic deity Shiva and his consort Pārvathi (representing the cosmic vulva), so that they together constitute the entire emergent universe.

The Mahābhārata also includes the crucial detail missing in SB, that Manu was instructed to carry on board the boat “seed of every sort”. That the seed that is preserved during the cosmic deluge is indeed the divine seed which informs all life in the universe is made clear in the Dravidian accounts of the flood, which state that Shiva instructed Brahman/Prajapati to safeguard in a golden pot (a substitute for the boat) the Vedas and other scriptures along with the seed of creation.[24] After the flood, the pot comes to rest at a sacred spot and Shiva reappears to release the contents of the pot and thus initiate the terrestrial creation.[25]

The curious passage in Atrahasis, III,20, where Ea (Akkadian for Enki) speaks to the “reed wall” of Atrahasis’ dwelling may also be explained by the frequent Indian references to the lake of “reeds” in which the golden seed of Siva is dropped after being infused with his fiery form, Agni.[26] In a Sumerian magical text, Urn.49, the holy reed is said to rise from the swamps of Engur=Abzu.[27] The “reed” thus is an analogue of the ship of Life itself, since both contain the seeds of the incipient universe as well as its light. Thus it is not surprising to find that the boat of Ziusudra is also made of “reed”.

The fact that this ‘ship of life’ is the same as the one through which the sun arises into our system is made quite clear in the Egyptian Book of the Gates. The solar journey is undertaken in a barque which is called the “barque of the Earth”,[28] since Earth is the region from which the sun is manifest. In both this book and in the Amduat, the solar journey through Earth is undertaken within the coils of the World Encircler, the gigantic serpent representing Time.[29]

In the Heliopolitan myth of the sun too, Seth, though the murderer of Osiris, the divine Light, helps Horus the Younger fight the serpent Apop on the barque of Re in order to ensure Re’s emergence as the solar light.[30] The barque itself represents the material universe, which bears the light of the universe, Re. Seth overcomes Apop using his characteristic rage (nšn),[31]corresponding to the Indic ‘manyu’ and Iranian ‘mainyu’ which are associated with Shiva/Indra (RV X,83; AV IV,31,5).

In Mesopotamia, Ninurta, like Shiva’s son, Skanda, represents the seed of Enlil.[32] The reference to Enki’s ‘makurru’ boat (l.107), the sun-barque which is featured prominently as Ninurta’s own in Lugal e, makes it clear that Ninurta is a continuation of Enki, the Lord of the Waters. In fact, Enki is said to have received the “lofty sun-disk” in Eridu (l.121) showing that as ruler of the underworld he is identical to the “dead” Osiris who is transformed into Horus the Younger.

In the poem ‘Enki and Inanna’, Enki is depicted embarking on a “magur” boat, also called “the Ibex of the Abzu”, which is a symbol of Enki’s shrine itself. It may also be the Sumerian counterpart of the sun-barque in Egypt. Enki’s voyage, in the myth, does not take him on a patently solar course but moves from region to region in “Mesopotamia” and the surrounding lands.[33] The boat of Ninurta too is called the “magur”. Once again the close identity of Ninurta (Marduk) to Enki as the underworld forms of the solar force is apparent.

The mountain rising from the foothills is the Mid-region of the universe, and the seed of the “primordial hill”, Ninurta himself, will finally emerge atop it as the sun of our system. Indeed, in the epic, Ninurta, having accomplished his great deed, finally assumes his natural role as the sun by boarding a barque, a vehicle that is familiar to us from the Egyptian solar theology:

The Hero had crushed the Mountain; when he moved in the steppes, he appeared

 as the [S]un (?),


Ninurta went joyously towards the “magur”, his beloved boat,

The Lord set his foot on the Makarnunta’e (boat).[34]

We have seen that Indra, infused with the powerful seminal force of Soma, constitutes the Tree of Life. Indra also represents the rising solar force. In the vala myth (RV 10.67,1-12) he succeeds in freeing the “cows” from the “vala”, a rocky enclosure in which they are hidden by the evil Panis. The “cows” symbolise the radiant solar energy, since RV I,164,3 suggests that this is the secret name of the rays of the dawn.[35] In RV X,108,5, the “cows” are described as “flying around to the ends of the sky”. The Panis themselves are described in BP V,24,30 as serpentine, Asuric creations of Diti and Danu and inhabit Rasātala, the sixth of the seven subterranean regions of the material universe bordering on the last, called Pātāla, below which lies the serpent Sesha.[36] The Panis are thus related to Sesha/Vrtra. “Vala”, significantly, is the same term that is used in the Avesta (“vara”) for the ark which bears Yima during the flood which accompanies the birth of the sun.

In the Babylonian epic, Atrahasis, Enki particularly advises Atrahasis to “roof [the ark] over like the Apsu/ So that the sun shall not see inside it”, which indicates that the vehicle which contains the seed of all animals is, like the Abyss, completely dark.

The fact that the ship of life represents the entire universe is suggested also by the similar detail in the Ugaritic texts relating to Baal and the construction of his “palace” by his craftsman Kothar-and-Hasis. There Baal specifically objects to the inclusion of any windows in his “palace”, since Mot (who represents Mortality) would enter through such an aperture. Unfortunately for Baal, Kothar-and-Hasis disobeys him and thus allows Mot to enter in, whereupon Baal is killed and thereby rendered subject to his rule. It is only after Baal’s consort, Anath’s destruction of Mot that Baal is resurrected (no doubt as the sun), in a manner resembling Osiris’ resurrection as Horus the Younger.

If we turn to the Iranian Vendidad, we find that Yima the son of Vivanghvant (the sun)[37] is warned by Ahura Mazda of a “snow storm” which will turn into a flood on melting.[38] In the Avesta, as in the Purānas, Yima (Manu) is mentioned in connection with the seventh incarnation of Verethraghna (Vishnu). In order to escape the cataclysm, Yima is asked to construct a “vara” [ark] which will bear the best examples of men, animals, and plants, and especially the “cows” which are on the mountains as well as in the valleys in “closed stalls”.[39]Special reference is made to the fact that the “window which lets in the sunlight” be closed. That the Iranian version closely follows the Babylonian in this detail (which is perhaps found also in the original Sumerian though lost in its present fragmentary state), while at the same time leaving out the crucial reference to the Abyss, suggests that the Āryan flood stories as well as the Mesopotamian are based on an older proto-Dravidian/Hurrian original.

At the end of the Iranian Vendidad account of the deluge, Ahura Mazda explains that “the lights which shone in the vara” were “natural and human lights. All eternal lights shine from above, all human lights shine below in the inside (of the vara). Along with them one sees the stars, moon and sun shining in space”. It is clear that the “human lights” are souls and that the vara, or the Ship of Life contains the light of the manifest universe, including the stars of the Mid-region. In the Vedas (RV I, 35,6) the realm ruled by Yama is, as we have seen, said to be the lower Heavens adjoining Earth.

The Seven Sages

In the Mahābhārata version of the Flood, Manu is said to be accompanied in his boat by “seven sages”,[40] and it is worth studying their significance for an understanding of the exalted spirituality of the first enlightened humanity. Each of the Manu’s in a kalpa is accompanied by seven sages (GP I,87) and these sages appear in order to consolidate the transition between cosmic ages with their special knowledge and powers.

The seven sages that accompanied the first Manu Svāyambhuva were called Marichi, Atri, Angira, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu and Vasishta. In Brahmānda Purāna I and Bhāgavata Purāna VI, these sages are considered to be the “intellectual progeny” of Brahma who antedate the Ādityas, the twelve suns of the manifest universe. In the BrdP III,iv,2,29, the sages of the family of Angiras are said to be located in the Bhuvarloka, which is the Mid-region between Earth and Heaven. At BrdP III,iv,2,49ff., however, all the sages including Angiras are said to originally reside in Janarloka, the fifth world, which holds the seeds of mankind. The seven sages that accompany Manu Vaivasvata are called Atri, Vasishta, Jamadagni, Kashyapa, Gautama, Bharadvāja and Vishvāmitra.[41]

The seven sages are found also in the Sumerian accounts of the flood. In the tablet W 20030,[42] we find that each of the antediluvian kings (or, rather, gods) is accompanied by an extraordinary being called “apkallu” and, since this tablet lists only seven such kings, there are seven “apkallu” in all.[43] The apkallu are the sages who arise from the Abyss to reveal science, art and civilisation to mankind. The names of these apkallu are u-an, u-an-du-ga, en-me-du-ga, en-me-galam-ma, en-me-bulug-ga, an-en-lil-da and u-tu-abzu,[44] and their respective appearances are in the reigns of “a-a-lu”, “a-la-al-gar lugal”, “am-me-gal-an-na lugal”, “e[n-m]e-usumgal-an-na lugal”, “dumu-zi sipa lugal”, and “en-me-dur-an-ki lugal”.[45] From WB 1923,444 and W 20030,7, it is apparent that these kings ruled in Eridu, Bad-tibira, Larak, and Zimbir respectively, which establishes that the “apkallu” appeared during the development of the solar force in the underworld. The first of these apkallu, U-An (identifiable with Adapa),[46] is characterised in Berossus’ list by a piscine form which may correspond to the Matsya incarnation of the supreme Lord, though the piscine Matsya incarnation of the supreme Lord in the Indian Purānas appears later, during the flood, with the seventh Manu, of the Treta Yuga.

In Egypt too it is most probable that there was a tradition of seven sages who preceded the establishment of monarchy after the “deluge”. The Palermo Stone, for instance, contains the names of nine kings of Lower Egypt, while the Cairo fragment which may have formed part of the former contains a list of “kings” who clearly precede the kings of the Palermo dynastic list.[47] Of these kings seven bear the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt.[48] Since these “kings” precede Menes (who represents Manu himself), we may reasonably conclude that these “kings” are indeed the same as the seven sages who ruled heaven and earth, which are represented in this list as Upper and Lower Egypt.

In the Avesta, the Amesha Spentas, the “well-doing ones”, correspond to the Seven Sages, though they are deprived of their mythological form and considered as abstract mental qualities. In the Bundahishn I,53, after the creation of the primal astral bodies, the Mazdean creation is said to continue with the production of the Ameshaspends, the “seven fundamental Beneficent Immortals”:

of the material creations created in the spirit the first are six, He Himself as the seventh; for both spirit first and then matter are of Ohrmazd. He created forth Vohuman… then Ardwahisht, then Sahrewar, then Spendarmad, then Hordad and Amurdad [the seventh in the order of immortal beings is Ohrmazd himself]

These are derived directly from the Wind, the Lord of Duration. We may remember the wind god Vāyu in the Vedic literature who emerges from the nostrils of the macroanthropos in the form of a boar. The Amesha Spentas also correspond psychologically to the faculties of the Ideal Man, Purusha, namely intelligence, intellect, feeling, thinking, knowing and explication, along with the soul, represented by Ahura Mazda himself (Bundahishn, XXVIII).[49]

In the Hebrew Bible the ante-diluvian patriarchs before Noah are the counterparts of the Seven Sages and the Sumerian apkallu and Egyptian antediluvian kings.[50] In Genesis 5, there is a reference to the descendants of Adam, starting with Seth, and continuing with Enos, Ca-i’nan, Mahal’aleel, Jared, Enoch, Methu’selah, Lamech and Noah. Since the brāhmans are, in the the Ethiopian version of Pseudo-Callisthenes,[51] said to be the sons of Adam’s son, Seth,[52]and Noah was considered a transmitter of the wisdom of Seth,[53] we may assume that the personages from Enos to Lamech are the Hebrew counterparts of the seven sages.

Since Adam is indeed the Cosmic Man and not a human, we may assume that the brāhmans referred to here are associated with the preservation of the Divine Consciousness of Brahman which arises from the Cosmic Egg and is later conveyed to humanity by the seventh Manu/Noah. As for Seth, Josephus declares that Seth

strove after virtue and, being himself excellent, left descendants who imitated the same virtues. All of these, being virtuous, lived in happiness in the same land without civil strife, with nothing unpleasant coming upon them until after their death. And they discovered the science with regard to the heavenly bodies and their orderly arrangement.[54]

The brāhmans are also considered in the Indian tradition to be descended from the seven sages, though, in Indian astronomy, the “seven sages” are typically represented by the Pleiades. So Seth himself may be the same as the Egyptian deity Seth (Ganesha), who is the son of Horus the Elder/Brahman. Manu/Noah, however, is the first man rather than an antediluvian sage or patriarch.


In the Vedic Shatapatha Brāhmana. Manu, the son of Vivasvant (SB I,viii,1),[55] is described offering a sacrifice after the flood, and from this sacrifice arises, first, a “daughter” Idā [a variant of Ilā],[56] from whom is derived the human race. In the SP, Idā is called the “potency of Shankara [Shiva]”,[57] that is, a reincarnation of his consort Parvathi herself, and is identified with Narmada “who destroys sin and delivers (mankind) from transmigration”. Narmada is, as we have seen, the power of the Flood itself which has borne aloft the incipient sun and the life of the newly formed universe.[58] Since Idā is the “potency” of Shiva, we have here a reminder that Manu must be a form of Shiva himself.

Manu’s daughter Idā represents an original lunar dynasty while her brother Ikshvāku begins the solar dynasty.[59] These two primal dynasties of the Indian king-lists may be representative of the Elamite and the Kish/Akshak cultures of Mesopotamia, which began the great civilisations that marked the beginning of our Kali Yuga, which is dated traditionally around 3100 B.C.[60] The Sumerian, as well as the Egyptian, culture is attributed in Genesis 10:6 to the Hamitic branch of the Noachidian family, as Cush and Mizraim respectively. Ikshvāku has four sons, Nimi, Nābānadishtha, Sharyāti and Nabhāga, who constitute solar dynasties.[61] The son of Ilā is called Purūravas and it is he who is supposed to have learned the secrets of fire-worship from the Gandharvas, or Gāndhāras.[62]

If we consider Josephus’ description of the lands associated with Noah, who is said to have preserved the wisdom of Seth, we find that the land of Seth is said to be located around “Seiris”. In the Christian Opus Imperfectum in Matthaeum of Pseudo-Chrysostom, the books of Seth were supposed to have been hidden by Noah in the land of Šir, and the so-called “cave of treasures” in which they were hidden is identifiable with Mt. Ararat.[63] In Genesis 14:6, the Horites, or Hurrians, are particularly identified with Mt. Seir. But, since Manu is the same as Noah, who is the last of ‘the sons of Seth’ and, according to BP VIII,24, Manu is King of Drāvida, the brāhmans who are considered to be the “sons of Seth” may have originally constituted the priesthood of an original proto-Hurrian/proto-Dravidian population.[64] F.E. Pargiter maintained that Brāhmanism itself was not originally Āryan but adopted into Indo-Āryan religion from Dravidian.[65] However, Pargiter did not consider the possibility that both Āryan and later Dravidian may have been derived from a proto-Dravidian/Hurrian spiritual culture.

One of the earliest regions to be settled by the Noachidian peoples from neighbouring Armenia must have been Anatolia.[66] This is suggested by the great antiquity of the Neolithic archaeological finds at Çatal Hüyük in (ca. 7th millennium B.C.). The civilisation of Syro-Palestine may be even as old as that of Anatolia since settlements in Jordan are traceable from the late 7th millennium B.C. and in Byblos from the 6th.[67]


As regards the racial identity of the Noachidian family, which may be considered proto-Dravidian/Hurrian, we may remember Lahovary’s pioneering research into the Mediterranean race, which he equated with the Dravidian, as being the original inhabitants of the ancient Near East “in its largest meaning”, that is, including “Anatolia, Syria, Palestine, Caucasia, Persia, Mesopotamia with its extensions towards India, as well as Arabia and the African regions facing Arabia, i.e. from the Nile valley to the high tablelands of East Africa”.[68]Lahovary goes on to remark that

It was from this world of Anterior Asia, where the foundations of civilization had been already laid, that the bearers of the neolithic and chalcolithic civilizations of the Near East spread, by successive migrations, in general of relatively small groups over a period of more than three thousand years, first towards North-East Africa, and later, during the fourth, third and second millennium, towards Europe.

The proto-Dravidians are most probably identifiable with the proto-Hurrians. The geographical region in which the earliest Hurrians are found corresponds to the earliest Anatolian-Halafian settlements associated with the Subarians/Suwarians/Hurrians from the seventh millennium B.C. These earliest Hurrians spoke a language that possessed Dravidian characteristics and F. Bork[69] and G.W. Brown[70] have revealed the intimate linguistic relationship between Hurrian (along with its Mitanni dialect),[71] Elamite, and Dravidian. Thus Elamite, which is today generally considered a Dravidian language,[72] is also related to the Hurrian. However, Elamite and Dravidian are possibly later dialects than the northern Hurrian, since they lack the initial ‘s‘ of Hurrian personal pronominal forms.[73] The Dravidian of the Brahui-speakers in northwestern India itself retains archaic elements resembling Hurrian which are lost in the southern Dravidian languages.[74] This confirms the route taken by the Dravidians from northern Syria and Elam to South India.

Although the Hurrians are attested in historical records only from the Old Akkadian period and more particularly in the following Ur III period,[75] the fact that the Hurrians, as Wilhelm has shown,[76] are in all probability identical to the Subarians may advance their presence in Mesopotamia to a much earlier date.[77] Subartu itself may have referred later to the north-eastern lands bordering on the Tigris, and particularly Assyria,[78] but it is likely that the Elamites too formed a southern branch of the same people.[79] The gentilic “subari” is, according to Speiser, in its original form, “suwari”, which suggests that it may be derived from the name of the sun-god “suvalliyat/suvariya” (Skt. sūrya/Av. hvare). It is also related to the later ethnic term “hurri”, which would be the Iranian pronunciation of the same name, as the Iranian name of the sun-god, “Hvare”, suggests. And the entire Hurrian ethnos may have been characterised by sun-worship.

The Hurrians, who are found widespread throughout the ancient Near East, are closely associated in the seventeenth century B.C. with the Indo-Āryan Mitanni[80] (who spoke a Hurrian dialect as well as a sacred Sanskritic language) as well as with the Hittites.[81] The Mitanni themselves may be identifiable with the Medes, who, as Herodotus (VII,69) reveals, were once universally called Arians,[82] as well as perhaps with the proto-Iranians, since several Median words are traceable in Old Persian.[83] However, the Mitanni represent an Indo-Āryan religious tradition rather than an Avestan or Zoroastrian since the list of Indic gods in the treaty of the Mitanni-Hurrian king Šattiwaza and the Hittite king Šuppililiumas I dating from the sixteenth century B.C.[84] includes the names Mitra-Varuna, Indra, and Nāsatyas – and Indra and Naonhaithya were considered to be demons by the Zoroastrians.


Though derived from an Ur-Indo-European family, it is the Āryan, and particularly Indo-Āryan, line deriving from the original proto-Dravidian/Hurrian population, that seems to have retained the brāhmanical tradition best of all, especially since the latter is preserved mostly in Sanskrit, the extremely refined classical language of the Indo-Āryans.

As regards the characteristic Āryan custom of fire-worship, it is stated in the Purānas that Purūravas, an early Aila [=Elamite?] king, is said to have obtained sacrificial fire from the “Gandharvas”, who also taught him the constitution of the three sacred fires of the Āryans.[85]While the Gandharvas are mythical beings as well, it is possible that they or their culture are closely associated with that of the Gāndhāras, who are a dynasty descended from the Aila king Purūravas himself.[86]

The Gāndhāras may be located archaeologically in the Gandhara Grave Culture (1600-500 B.C.) of the Swat Valley. W. Bernard has suggested that the human remains from Period I of Gandhara bear resemblances to those of Bronze Age and early Iron Age crania of 2500 B.C. – A.D. 500 from the Caucasus and Volga region as well as from Tepe Hissar in Iran [87] The Gandhara Grave Culture itself follows the Bactro-Margiana Archaeological Complex (BMAC), where, from 2200-1700 B.C., there is clear evidence of typical Indo-Āryan settlement in The BMAC is not far north of Mundigak, where from 3000 B.C. we notice extensions of Elamite culture resembling that of the Indus Valley. The fact that there is clear evidence of fire-worship in the BMAC and little evidence of it in Mundigak suggests that the former is derived from the Andronovo rather than from the Elamite colonies.

The BMAC thus seems to represent new immigrants from the Andronovo culture associated with the Indo-Āryans (1800-900 B.C.).[88] The Andronovo culture is itself derived from the Hut Grave and Catacomb Grave culture of 2800-2000 B.C.[89] and the Sintashta culture of the southeast Urals (2300-1900 B.C.),[90] which is marked by chariot burials and may have been proto-Āryan rather than proto-Indo-Āryan. The fourth millennium predecessor of the Hut Grave and Catacomb Grave cultures may have been the Yamnaya culture dating from 3500-2800 B.C.[91]

This suggests that the early Hurrians of Elam and the earliest Iranians, who did not worship fire,[92] learnt it from another wave of Āryans who may have been a Japhetic branch of the Noachidian family of proto-Dravidians/Hurrians that moved northwards to the Pontic-Caspian steppes to create the Yamnaya culture there which is considered a major source of the Āryan tribes.


Our manvantara, that of Manu, of the Sun, will be followed by seven other manvantaras ruled by other Manus called Savarni, Dakshasavarni, Brahmasavarni, Dharmasavarni, Rudrasavarni, Devasavarni, and Indrasavarni (BP VIII,13). At the end of our kalpa there will be another Naimittika Pralaya. In the Egyptian Book of the Dead, Ch.175, too, Atum declares:


in the end I will destroy everything that I have created,

the earth will become again part of the Primeval Ocean,

like the Abyss of waters in their original state.

Then I will be what will remain, just I and Osiris,

when I will have changed myself back into the Old Serpent

who knew no man and saw no god.[93]

The deluge that Atum threatens to overwhelm the universe with will mark the dissolution of the material universe into its original state in the Abyss Nun and the flood Hehu.[94]

However, the seeds of the universe are contained in the phallic Tree of Life and will renew themselves after every cosmic cataclysm. Thus the ‘fig tree’ which symbolizes the entire emergent universe at the centre of the cosmic streams is described in the Skanda Purāna as being unshaken by the “doomsday hurricane”.[95] In the Nordic Edda, too, the cosmos will be renewed after Ragnarök:

Now do I see the earth anew

Rise all green from the waves again[96]


At the end of the lifetime of Brahma, however, there will be a different sort of flood called a Prākrita Pralaya (BP XII;4,5-6) which will dissolve not just the gross form of the universe but even the subtle elements of Nature (Prakriti).


For the total extinction of the cosmos the destruction of the final crucial knot of Egoity (Ahamkāra) that prevents individual consciousness from realising its identity with the Divine perfect Yogic enlightenment is required. Such a liberation of the individual as well as of the cosmos would then result in what may be called an ‘Ātyantika Pralaya’ (BP XII,34) – or a dissolution without end.


[1] See below.

[2] The names of the first six Manus of this kalpa are Swāyambhuva, Svarochisha, Uttama, Tāmasa, Raivata, Chākshusha (BP VIII,1).

[3] The Mandāra mountain is one of the four mountains surrounding the central Mt. Meru, the other three being Merumandāra, Supārshva, and Kumuda (see BP V,16,11).

[4] In RV X, 10ff, Vivasvant engenders the first “man”, Yama, as well as Yama’s twin sister and wife, Yami, by mating with a daughter of Tvastr .

[5] See The HW II:615.

[6] See below

[7] See above.

[8] See A. Jacob, Ātman, Ch.XI.

[9] See above.

[10] Or moribund, in Osirian mythological terms.

[11] The ancient Germans too considered the ancestor of the Germanic race to be ‘Mannus’, according to Tacitus, Germania, Sec.2.

[12] See SB I,viii,1,5. It is hard to determine what the “horn” of the fish might be, unless it were a sword-fish. On the other hand, we may recall the image of Re emerging as the sun by holding on to the horns of the Cow Mehet-Ouret. The Indic imagery may be a hybrid transformation of the Egyptian. This impression is reinforced by the fact that Manu’s daughter, Ida, who in SBI,viii,1,11-12 is said to characterise “cattle”, is, in TS I,7,1 and II,6,7, represented as a cow produced by Mitra-Varuna. We shall see below that Ida is the same as Narmada.

[13] See below.

[14] Mbh II, 187, 2ff. (tr. S. Shastri, op.cit., p.9); cf. H. Usener, op.cit., p.28ff.

[15] See S. Shastri, op.cit., p.28.

[16] See A. Jacob, Ātman, Ch.XXIII.

[17] See D. Shulman, ‘The Tamil Flood Myths and the Cankam Legend’, Journal of Tamil Studies, 14 (1978), 10.31.

[18] It is unlikely that Dilmun originally had anything to do with the little island of Bahrain which later came to be identified with it.

[19] The Sumerian ‘me’ corresponds to the Vedic ‘rta’, which are principles of the divine ordering of Nature. ‘Mey’ is also the Tamil word for “just” (see K. Mutturayan, “Sumer:Tamil of the First Cankam”, Journal of Tamil Studies, 8 (1975), p.51). See also Y. Rosengarten, Sumer et le sacré, Paris: Editions E. de Broccard, 1977, p.56. The epithet “great “mountain” of the pure me’s” is applied to other sacred Mesopotamian lands, such as Aratta and Sumer, as well (ibid., pp.54ff.).

[20] See D. Shulman, op.cit.

[21] See the Tiruvilai of Paranjoti, 12, 18, 19 (See D. Shulman, op.cit.).

[22] The spire (gopurum) of the Hindu temple represents this mountain while the sanctum is dark and mysterious as the Apsu/Abyss whence the universe and its light emerge.

[23] See A. Wensinck, “The Ideas of the Western Semites concerning the Navel of the Earth”, Verhandelingen der Koninklijke Akademie van Wetenschappen, XVII (1916), no.1, pp.15f, 19ff, 40.

[24] The common Vedic notion that the Vedas precede the actual creation of the universe is copied in the Hebrew rabbinical literature which maintains that there are seven things created before the world: “the Tora, conversion, the Garden of Eden, Gehenna, the divine Throne, the Sanctuary, the name of the Messiah” (see A. Wensinck, op.cit., p.17). This confirms the cohabitation of Indic and Hebrew peoples in the Near East and dates back perhaps to the contacts in the 17th c. B.C. between the Hurrian-Mitanni and the Habiru who served as their mercenaries (see  B. Landsberger in J. Bottero, op.cit., p.160; cf. M. Salvini, “Un royaume hourrite en Mésopotamie du Nord à l’époque de Hattušili I”, in M. Lebeau (ed.), About Subartu: Studies devoted to Upper Mesopotamia (Subartu IV,1), Turnhout: Brepols, 1998, p.307).

[25] D. Shulman, op.cit.

[26]See RV X, 51-3; SB 6, 3.1.31; RV X, 32.6.

[27] See H. Steible, Die altsumerischen Bau- und Weihinschriften, Wiesbaden: F. Steiner, 1982 (FAOS 5) I:110.

[28] See E.T. Hornung, Ancient Egyptian Books, p.60.

[29] Ibid. In the Enigmatic Book of the Underworld, the ouroboros serpents represent the birth and end of time (ibid., p.78). In the Nordic Eddas, the Midgard serpent is called the “encircler of Earth” (‘Voluspa’, 60).

[30] See H. te Velde, , Seth God of Confusion: A Study of his Role in Egyptian Mythology and Religion, Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1967, Ch.4.

[31] See H. te Velde, op.cit., p.101.

[32]  So in the myth “Lugal-e” (see T. Jacobsen, Treasures of Darkness: A History of Mesopotamian Religion, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1976, p.131).

[33] See S.N. Kramer and J. Maier, The Myths of Enki, the crafty God, Oxford: OUP 1989, pp.42ff. But the fact that the name of Sumer is itself probably derived from that of the primordial mountain at the centre of Earth, Meru, makes it likely that these geographical regions reflect cosmological ones.

[34] J. Van Dijk, Lugal e, p.137 (my translation of van Dijk’s French).

[35] H.-P. Schmidt, Brhaspati und Indra, Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1968, p.222.

[36] In the Egyptian Book of the Heavenly Cow too the underworld is described as being populated by serpents supervised by Geb [earth] (see E. Hornung, op.cit., p.149).

[37] In Iranian mythology the twins Yama and Yima represent death and life. Yima is called the first king and the founder of civilisation and his fabulous dwelling is in Airyanem Vaego, corresponding mythologically to the Indian Yamasadanam (in the lower Heavens) and etymologically to Āryāvarta, the name applied to the Indo-Gangetic Plain settled by the later Indo-Āryans.

[38] The “snow storm” is a reference to the icy state of the incipient universe that prevents the manifestation of the solar energy.

[39] See H. Usener, Die Sintfluthsagen, p.208ff.

[40] In BrdP II,iii,1,7f. there are seven sages, whose names are given at II,iii,1,50 as Bhrgu, Angiras, Marīci, Atri, Pulastya, Pulaha, and Vasishta. In Manusmriti III,195ff. too there are seven, though Viraj takes the place of Pulaha. These are clearly the sages of the first manvantara.  In BrdP II,iii,1,21, however, there are eight sages, Bhrgu, Angiras, Marīci, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Atri and Vasishta. In the BrdP I,i,5,70 there are nine sages, Bhrgu, Angiras, Marīci, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Daksha, Atri, and Vasishta. In BrdP I,ii,32,96-7 Manu is included after Kratu to make a total of ten sages. However, given the relative frequency of seven as the number of the sages in the Puranas, the Mahābhārata, in Sumerian literature, as well as in Indian astronomy, we may assume that this was the original number, which was later amplified by the addition of such figures as Manu himself as a sage.

[41] In BrdP I,ii,38,26-33 the seven sages of the present manvantara are called Vishvāmitra [who was originally a Kshatriya and not a Brāhman], Jamadagni [who is a descendant of Bhrgu], Bharadvāja [who is a descendant of Angiras], Saradvan, Atri, Vasuman, and Vatsara.

In the Baudhāyana Shrauta Sūtra, there are eight such sages, and they are Vishvāmitra, Jamadagni, Bharadvaja, Gautama, Atri, Vasishta, Kashyapa and Agastya. Agastya is obviously a later addition as the sage who transmitted Vedic learning to the “Tamils”, i.e. proto-Tamils/Sumerians.

[42] See J. van Dijk, “Die Inschriftenfunde: II. Die Tontafeln aus dem res-Heiligtum” in XVIII. vorläufiger Bericht über die von dem Deutschen Archaeologischen Institut und der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft aus Mitteln der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft unternommenen Ausgrabungen in Uruk-Warka (1959/1960), Berlin: Heinrich J. Lenzen, 1962, pp.44ff.

[43] These apkallu are complemented in the postdiluvian section of this list by the “ummannu”, or the scholars who aided the several postdiluvian kings in their respective reigns.

[44] See J. van Dijk, op.cit., p.44.

[45] Ibid. In WB 1923, 444, the names are “a-lu-lim” and “a-lal-gar” reigning in Eridu, “en-me-en-lu-an-na”, “en-me-en-gal-an-na” and “dumu-zi sipa” in Bad-tibira, “sipa-zi-an-na” in Larak, and “en-me-en-dur-an-na” in Zimbir. In W 20030,7 the names are given as “a-a-lu”, “a-la-al-gar”, “am-me-lu-an-na”, “am-me-gal-an-na”, “enme-usumgal-an-na”, “dumu-zi sipa” and “en-me-dur-an-ki” respectively (ibid., p.46).

[46] Ibid., p.48.

[47] Breasted thought that the Cairo fragments must also have originally contained a set of kings of Upper Egypt who followed those of Lower Egypt (see S. Mercer, Horus Royal God of Egypt, Grafton, MA: Society of Oriental Research, 1942).

[48] See S. Mercer, op.cit, p.16. The set of seven “kings” of a united Upper and Lower Egypt is followed by the kngs of Lower Egypt (in the Palermo Stone).

[49] See above.

[50] See H. Zimmern, “Biblische und babylonische Urgeschichte”, Der Alte Orient, II (1901), pp.26ff.

[51] This work incorporates information culled from the anonymous History of the blessed men who lived in the days of Jeremiah the Prophet.

[52] See E.A.W. Budge, The Alexander Book in Ethiopia, London: OUP, 1933, pp.74ff.

[53] See A. Annus, Standard Babylonian Epic of Anzu, Helsinki: The Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project, 2001, p.xxix.

[54]  See Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, I:70-1.

[55] In KYV VI,5,6, Vivasvant is called an Āditya whose offspring are men and the one born after the first four Ādityas. In the SB III,1,3,3 Vivasvant is identified with Mārtānda, the eighth Aditya, who is at first unformed but later moulded into a man who generates the creatures of Earth.

[56] Ilā and Idā are interchangeable in the BP (Ilā: IX,16,22) and other Purānas (Idā: BrdPIII,60,11, VP 85,7) In SP (Vaishnava Khanda), it is a name of Narmada, the mighty river (and consort) of Shiva (see S. Shastri, op.cit, p.72).

[57] See S. Shastri, op.cit., p.72.

[58] See above; cf. S. Shastri, op.cit., p.81.

[59] It may be noted, in passing, that the Edda (‘The Deluding of Gylfi’) too records the first human beings as a girl called Embla and a boy called Ask.

[60] This is the calculation of the 5th c. astronomical treatise, Sūrya Siddhānta.

[61] See F.E. Pargiter, Ancient Indian Historical Tradition, London: Milford, 1922, p.84f,

[62] See below.

[63]  See G.G. Stroumsa, Another Seed: Studies in Gnostic Mythology, Leiden:E.J. Brill, 1984, p.117.

[64] The term “Hurrian” (derived from Suwalliyat/Suwariyat/Sūrya; see below p.113) however may not be equated with “Āryan” since both Iranian and Indian have distinct terms for the sun (sūrya, hvare) and for the community of Aryans (ārya, eira), respectively. Hurrian certainly includes a strong Dravidic element in it (see G.W. Brown, “The possibility of a connection”,273-305).

[65]  See F.E. Pargiter, op.cit., Ch.26.

[66] Though the urban Neolithic achievements at Çatal Hüyük seem to be older than those in Armenia, there is evidence of similar development at the border of ancient Armenia in Jarmo (see D. Lang, Armenia: Cradle of Civilization, London: George Allen and Unwin, 1980., p.61).

[67] See G.W. Ahlstrom, The History of Ancient Palestine, Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1993; J. Cauvin, Religions néolithiques de Syro-Palestine, Paris: J. Maisonneuve, 1972; S.A. Cook, The Religion of ancient Palestine in the Light of Archaeology, London: Oxford University Press, 1930for Jericho, see K.M. Kenyon, Digging up Jericho, London: E. Benn, 1957..

[68]  See N. Lahovary, tr. K.A. Nilakantan, Dravidian Origins and the West: Newly discovered ties with the ancient culture and languages, including Basque, of the pre-Indo-European Mediterranean world, Bombay: Orient Longmans, 1963, p.2.

[69] See F. Bork, “Die Mitanni Sprache”, MVAG, I and II, 1909.

[70] See G.W. Brown, “The Possibility of a Connection between Mitanni and the Dravidian languages”, JAOS, 50 (1930), 273-305.

[71] For the dialectal relationship between the language of Tushratta’s letter to Amenophis III and Hurrian, see Knudtzon, Die el-Amarna Tafeln,  2 vols., Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1915, no.24; cf. S. Smith, Early History of Assyria, London: Chatto and Windus, 1928, p.71.

[72] See D. McAlpin, “Linguistic Prehistory: The Dravidian Situation”, in M.M. Deshpande and P.E. Hook (ed.) Aryan and Non-Aryan in India, Ann Arbor, MI: Center for South and Souteast Asian Studies, The University of Michigan, 1979, 175-190.

[73] See G.W. Brown, op.cit., p.290f. For further discussions of the connection between Dravidian and Āryan, see F.C. Southworth, in Aryan and Non-Aryan in India, 191-234; cf. also J. Harmatta, “Proto-Iranians and Proto-Indians in Central Asia in the 2nd Millennium B.C. (Linguistic Evidence)”, F.R. Allchin, “Archaeological and Language-historical Evidence for the Movement of Indo-Aryan speaking Peoples into South Asia”, in Ethnic Problems of the History of Central Asia in the EarlyPeriod (second millennium B.C.), Moscow, 1981, and A. Parpola, “On the Protohistory of the Indian Languages in the Light of archaeological Evidence: An Attempt at Integration”, in South Asian Archaeology, Leiden, 1974, 90-100.

[74] See G.W. Brown, op.cit., p.297.

[75] The calcite tablet of Tisadal, king of Urkis, composed entirely in Hurrian dates from this period (see E.A. Speiser, “The Hurrian participation in the civilizations of Mesopotamia, Syria and Palestine”, Cahiers d’Histoire Mondiale, I,2 (1953), p.313).

[76] See G. Wilhelm, The Hurrians, tr. J. Barnes, Warminster: Aris and Phillips Ltd., 1989, p.1.

[77] In the Hebrew Bible, the Hurrians are referred to variously as Horites, Hivites or Jebusites (see Interpreter’s Bible, p.665) and are not listed separately in the ‘Table of Nations’.

[78] See S. Smith, Early History of Assyria, p.70.

[79] See G.Wilhelm, ibid.; cf. A. Ungnad, Subartu: Beiträge zur Kulturgeschichte und Völkerkunde Vorderasiens, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1936, pp.113f.

[80] The Mitanni themselves may be identifiable with the Medes, for, as Herodotus (VII,69) reveals, the Medes were once universally called Arians, as well as perhaps with the proto-Iranians, since several Median words are traceable in Old Persian (see P.O. Skjaervo, in G.Erdosy, (ed.) The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1995, p.159). That the name “Mede” may be related to the term Mitanni was suggested by J. Charpentier, “The Date of Zoroaster”, BSOS 3 (1923-25), 747-55; B. Landsberger and T. Bauer, “Zu neueroeffentlichen Geschichtsquellen”, ZA 37 (1927), 61-98; E. Forrer, “Stratification des lanuges et des peoples dans le Proche-Orient préhistorique”, JA 217 (1930), pp.227-52; and F. Cornelius, “Erin-Manda”, Iraq 25 (1963), pp.167-70.

[81] Although the so-called Hittites were Āryans, the Hittite kingdom also gives evidence of a strong neo-Hurrian cultural influence from the fifteenth century B.C. and many of the Hittite queens bear Hurrian names, just as in the case of the Mitanni. The Āryan language of the Hittites and Mitannis may have been limited to the male members of an Āryan aristocracy.

[82] That the name “Mede” may be related to the term Mitanni was suggested by J. Charpentier, “The Date of Zoroaster”; B. Landsberger and T. Bauer, “Zu neueröffentlichen Geschichtsquellen”; E. Forrer, “Stratification des langues”; and F. Cornelius, “Erin-Manda”.

[83] See P.O. Skjaervo, in G.Erdosy, op.cit., p.159.

[84] See D. Yoshida, Untersuchungen zu den Sonnengottheiten bei den Hethitern, Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag C. Winter, 1996, p.12; cf. V. Haas, Geschichte der hethitischen Religion, Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1994., p.543.

[85] Vāyu Purāna 91,40ff (see F.E. Pargiter, op.cit., p.309).

[86] See F.E. Pargiter, op.cit., pp.85ff.

[87] See K.A.R. Kennedy, “Have Aryans been identified in the prehistoric skeletal record from South Asia?” in G. Erdosy, op.cit., p.49.

[88]  Andronovo type pottery has been found in the early layers of Margiana (see A. Parpola, “The problem of the Aryans”, in G. Erdosy, op.cit., p.363).

[89] The Hut Grave culture apparently separated into the Timber Grave (proto-Iranian) and Andronovo (proto-Indo-Āryan) cultures.

[90] See J.P. Mallory and VH. Mair, The Tarim Mummies: Ancient China and the mystery of the earliest peoples from the West, London: Thames and Hudson, 2008., pp.260f.

[91] See A. Parpola, ibid., p.356.

[92] See Herodotus, Histories, I,132.

[93] See R.T. Rundle Clark, Myth and Symbol in ancient Egypt, London: Thames and Hudson, 1959, pp.140f.

[94] See K. Sethe, Amun und die acht Urgötter von Hermopolis (Abhandlungen der preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1929, Nr.4), p.64.

[95] See S. Shastri, op.cit., p.65.

[96] “Voluspa”; cf. The Prose Edda, Ch.XVII. Also, R. Cook, The Tree of Life: Symbol of the Centre, London: Thames and Hudson, 1974, p.12.