Hindu dharma started out as a civilization than the ‘dharma’ itself. In modern times, the political nature of the world has somewhat curved the true meaning behind Hindu dharma. However, no historian or modern-day anthropologist can deny the influence of Hindu dharma across the world. And there are some historical positions that link the Hindu civilization to the Egyptian civilization.
The Egyptian Civilization
‘Egypt’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Ajap’, which symbolizes Lord Roam as the most illustrious forebearer of the Aja clan. (Aja was the grandfather of Lord Rama). In Hindu tradition, the rulers such as Rama were considered to be the descendants of God. Likewise, in Egyptian civilization, they considered Pharaoh as their God and their descendants. They were named as Rameses I or II.
In his book “Hindu Mythology as prehistory”, Dr. S. K. Balasubramaniam writes that history of Egypt goes back thousands of years in time during the times of Yayati. Yayati was known to have two wives – Devayani and Sharmishtha. When Yayati got old and very depressed, he asked his eldest son Yadu (son of Devyani) to exchange his youth with old age. But he refused, along with all the other sons. Only Puru, the youngest son of Yayati and Sharmistha agreed to help his father. Thus, Puru was crowned the sovereign of the world. They were the Puravas, who were later known as “the Pharaohs of Egypt” and ruled over his father’s domain.
Some words written
In his famous book “World Vedic Heritage”, Professor P.N. Oak says that Egyptians labeled India as the land of Punt or rather Pankht, and regarded it to be the divine land peopled by Punts, which means Pundits, Seekers, seers, or Gods. Stephan Knapp mentions in his book “Proof of Vedic Cultures Global Existence” that Rama was spelled as Rham is the west. Later, the R was dropped and consequently, in African school textbooks, Ham became the father of Kush. The twin brother of Kush was Luv and the region was named after him, i.e. Laviya from Sanskrit, now Libya.
Comparing Vedic and Egyptian civilization
There are many similarities between Egyptian and Vedic civilization. Biornsttierna accounts the principal trinity, the pre-existence of the soul, the transmigration, the division of caste into the priest, warriors, traders, agriculturists are the primary essence of both the system. The symbols on the shores of Ganga and the Nile are exactly the same. Thus, if you look at the Phallus of the Ammon temples in Egypt, you can find the Shiva Linga too. In both the culture, the lotus is the symbol of the sun and the symbol of the immortality of the soul. In the temples of Shiva, they are claimed to have the power to render barren women fruitful, which is the same in the temple of Ammon in Egypt.
The Contacts between Vedic and Egyptian worlds
It’s always been known about the Indian contacts with the western world, dating all the way back to prehistoric times. The trade relations, which were related to the migration of people, developed into cultural relations. But the contact with ancient civilization is yet unknown.
What we know is that knobbed pottery vases and cotton came to Sumer from India. Assurbanipal during the 600 B.C. cultivated Indian plants. In Egypt at Alexandria, Indian scholars were common; they have been mentioned by Dio Chrysostom in 100 A.D. and by Clement, in 200 A.D. The indirect relations have been well documented, but the evidence related to the direct contacts are at best fragmentary.
Peter Von Bohlen, Germ Indologist (1796-1849) compares the cultural connection between two ancient times and claims that the elements of folk, language, the culture of Bengal has a great affinity with Egyptian cultures. There are even similarities between the names in Bengal and Egypt.
Another important cultural relation can e seen in the worship of cow, sun, snake, and river in both the culture.
In more recent times, there have been better evidences that show contact between India and Egypt. Only recent the terracotta mummy from Lothal that resembles an Egyptian mummy and similar terracotta mummy found in Mohenjodaro were of great interest to understand this connection. These mummies are said to have been wrapped in Indian muslin.
Similar characteristics have been seen in the Indus seals found on tablets that were excavated from Easter Island. Gordon Childe writes about the Egyptian objects and motifs that indicate the contact between India and Egypt during the Indus Valley period:
“the cord pattern occurring in a copper tablet in the Indus Valley and on three Egyptian seals is the most striking link between the two countries. In other words, in the third millennium B.C., India was already in a position to contribute to the building up of the cultural tradition that constitutes our spiritual heritage as she notoriously has done since the time of Alexander.”
The Mystery of Lotus Flower
The history and cross-cultural contents cannot explain the unique parallels between the myths and imagery of India and Egypt during the ancient days. Walafrid Strabo, a German scholar writes:
“The lotus flower, sacred to Buddha and to Osiris, has five petals which symbolize the four limbs and the head; the five senses; the five digits; and like the pyramid, the four parts of the compass and the zenith. Other esoteric meanings abound: for myths are seldom simple, and never irresponsible.”
Not only the symbol, even the mathematics have shown to pervade influence than earlier Christianity. A. Seidenberg, an American mathematician, has shown that the Shulbasutras – the ancient Vedic science of Mathematics – constitutes the mathematics in the antique world of Babylon. He writes: “The arithmetic equations of the Shulbasutras were used in the observation of the triangle by the Babylonians as well as in the edification of Egyptian pyramids, in particular, the funeral altar in the form of pyramid known in the Vedic world as smasana-cit.”
In the imagery, the flower is so prolifically shown to grow out of the water and open the petals with the warmth of the sun to be fertilized. The lotus is associated with sri, the goddess of fertility in Vedic tradition, and later invoked Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and abundance. This lotus is held in each hand by Surya, who signifies the power of fertilizing of the sun when he travels through the universe.
In Egypt, the blue lotus is seen to be the earliest wall paintings of VI Dynasty as the pyramid of Saqqara. The symbol there was used to hold the power of revitalizing the deceased back to life. Then, the lotus became a leitmotiv, the symbol that links water with the sun, the earth to sky – signifying fertility and regeneration. It symbolizes the seed of the plant that spells out the cycle of birth-decay-death and rebirth in the pattern of both the societies that had roots in the riverine and agricultural upbringings.
The Nile and Ganga have survived five millennia and both of them are personified and worshipped greatly in both the civilization. All these symbols only show the great correlation between two great civilizations in the history and give some indication that it was perhaps the Vedic tradition that influenced the Egyptian tradition.