- Hebrews And Vedic Brahmins
- Jews: A Branch of the Vedic Family
- Heliodorus and Vaishnava-Jewish connection
- The Oldest Language in the world
- The Sepphoris Synagogue Mosaic with Helios
- The Sepphoris Synagogue Mosaic with Helios - large photos
- Rabbi and I: Equality based on the Soul by Isa das
- The Blue God of Judaism by Rabbi Robert dos Santos Teixeira, LMSW, with introduction by Bhakti Ananda Gosvami
- ditto, with afterword by Vrin Parker, inc. link to the source
- My Metamorphosis from Judaism to Vaishnavism (Len Cohen)
Author of Jews: A Branch of the Vedic Family
aka Parama Karuna Devi, a resident of Puri, Orissa, India
"From the results of my research, I can affirm that M. Samar Abbas' thesis is wrong. Actually, the facts are exactly the opposite. It's the Jews who descended from the Vedic family, and not the other way around. The son cannot generate the father."
Dear friends, Namaste!
I have read with much interest the posting on connections between Jews and Vedic Brahmins. I would like to add a small contribution to the issue.
According to my research, most of the "Hebrew" traditions and linguistic features, especially those mentioned by the article, had been absorbed from the Egyptian society and knowledge, which had directly come from Vedic settlers in ancient times.
Before moving to Egypt, Jews had a civilization and language (and religion) descending from their Sumerian origins (Ur, too, had an early settlement of Vedic knowledge). During and after their life in Egypt they took up a lot of new (or forgotten) things, including the cow worship connected to the moon, mentioned in the article, and the worship of the snake, not mentioned in the article but mentioned in the Bible in connection with Moses' secret knowledge of medicine. Schools and scholars speak too little about the Egyptian civilization, religion and science, that influenced the early Western civilizations, until the destruction of the famous library in Alexandria.
However, from my research I have seen that the similarities of Egyptian civilization, science and religion with the Vedic knowledge are even more amazing than the ones mentioned about the Jews. Specifically, in the philosophical and religious field. The details of the temple worship practiced in Egypt are strikingly similar to Vedic temple worship, including the three sandhya meditations on the sun (Ammon-Ra, the main Deity in Egypt), the form of God as both male and female (Osiris/Isis, assimilated with the Sun and the Moon), the bathing, dressing and decoration of the Deity (with red cloth, still considered in India as the traditional color of cloth to be offered to Deities), arati with the offerings of food and incense, etc. The Egyptian Book of the Dead is an almost exact replica of the Tibetan Book of the Dead, which is coming to us through the Yaksa Saivite Tantric tradition of Himalayas, which strongly influenced the Vajrayana Buddhism or Lamaism. Egyptian priests had a complicated knowledge about the various subtle bodies and astral traveling (as Tantric Buddhists do), and some bits of knowledge about yoga, too. Egyptian priests were strictly vegetarian (not even eating eggs), followed brahmacarya vows and abstained from intoxicants, and went through several initiations in order to practice their service. Meat was only consumed by them in later periods, and exclusively coming from fire sacrifices. (It is therefore very misguiding to say that Brahmins "became vegetarian" in a later period, after detaching themselves from their "origins" as Jews).
They were also in charge of medicine and astrology, and had an immense knowledge about both. Even the temple decorations used the lotus flower as a symbol of purity and beauty. The list could go on and on. Many ancient Greek scholars (including Plato, Pythagoras, etc.) traveled both to Egypt and to India to get their knowledge. While reading Plato's and Pythagoras' teachings, we find exactly the same Vedic knowledge explained in Greek language.
[In his introduction to The Six Books of Proclus on the Theology of Plato (1816), Thomas Taylor gives a good summary of Plato’s philosophy, which, although formulated in a very abstract way, seems similar to the Pancaratra view (monads analogous to vyuhas):
"According to this theology, therefore, from the immense principle of principles, in which all things casually subsist, absorbed in superessential light, and involved in unfathomable depths, a beauteous progeny of principles proceed, all largely partaking of the ineffable, all stamped with the occult characters of deity, all possessing an overflowing fullness of good.
"From these dazzling summits, these ineffable blossoms, these divine propagations, being, life, intellect, soul, nature, and body depend; monads suspended from unities, deified natures proceeding from deities. Each of these monads, too, is the leader of a series which extends from itself to the last of things, and which while it proceeds from, at the same time abides in, and returns to its leader. And all these principles and all their progeny are finally centered and rooted by their summits in the first great all-comprehending one.
"Thus all beings proceed from, and are comprehended in the first being; all intellects emanate from one first intellect; all souls from one first soul; all natures blossom from one first nature; and all bodies proceed from the vital and luminous body of the world. And lastly, all these great monads are comprehended in the first one, from which both they and all their depending series are unfolded into light. Hence, this first one is truly the unity of unities, the monad of monads, the principle of principles, the God of Gods, one and all things, and yet one prior to all."]
Now we know from the Puranas that at the times of Parasurama avatara, the ksatriya kings of Bharata varsa were scattered all over the planet while fleeing the avatara's killing wrath. We know that a group of such ksatriyas, followed by their family priests and retinue, reached ancient Egypt and established a kingdom there. Other groups settled in South America, Mesopotamia, Northern Europe, and in the lost continent of Atlantis mentioned by Plato and others. Striking similarities can be observed, for example the pyramids that can be found almost exactly identical in South America, Mesopotamia and Egypt. And which also resemble the large and high domes of the most ancient Vedic temples.
Linguistic similarities between Vedic civilization and Northern Europe civilization brought European scholars in 1800s and 1900s to assimilate the Aryans with the ancient Germans or "North Men". In facts from subsequent studies it became apparent that Sanskrit had to be "the mother of all languages" as its basic roots and meanings are the same in all European languages, and much more similar than the stretched "transformation rules" of language and pronunciation mentioned in the article.
Still today, both Siberian native nomadic populations and North American Lakota Sioux call "Meru" the mountain they believe is at the center of the universe, and "Garuda" the powerful thunderbird eagle who is so prominent in their mythologies.
The sanctuary of Apollo in Delphi, and all the Pythian sanctuaries after it, were all centered around the "omphalus", also called the "center of the world", which from the depictions was obviously a Siva lingam, with the Sakti serpent coiled around it and even bilva leaves scattered on it. I can send the drawing by jpg file if anyone is interested. I found it in a book where Vedic civilization was not mentioned at all, and the writer had never heard about Siva or lingam worship.
When Jews came on the scene of historical records (as per the story of the Bible), the Egyptian civilization was at the height of its fame and power in their area. Moses - one of the main figures of Hebrew religion, tradition and science, who single-handedly fashioned the culture of the whole people of Israel by bringing up a new generation of a small core of individuals during the wanderings in the desert before reaching the Promised Land - had received the best Egyptian education (in religion, philosophy, science and Tantric magic) as a royal prince, having being adopted by the King's sister at his birth. He had much more knowledge than what is explained in the Bible. Besides giving the famous Ten Commandments and putting down the Bible text into writing, he wrote a number of other secret books (for "more advanced readers") and organized a priestly class (until that time non-existing in Hebrew tradition) and a number of other powerful secrets (like the famous Ark of Covenant).
Such powerful knowledge was at the origin of the mystical branch of the Hebrew knowledge known as Kabbala, which became so famous and controversial during the Middle Ages in Europe.
Since Kabbalistic knowledge has always been a mystery and a secret (as its mass application is politically undesirable for the Establishment), it disappeared from mainstream Hebraism and failed to bring about its good effects on Jews (with a few and less known exceptions). However, it created a host of seekers of hidden knowledge in Europe - templars, alchemists, mystics, "wizards", etc. Basically, before coming in such a close contact with Egyptian science and religion, Jews had taken very little from the advanced civilization of Ur. They were simple illiterate shepherds without much culture. However, their traditions recorded in the first books of the Bible clearly show their Sumerian descent and influence. The Genesis is filled with Sumeric symbols and references, and it has been explained as such by Bible scholars like Zecharia Sitchin.
From the results of my research, I can affirm that M. Samar Abbas' thesis is wrong. Actually, the facts are exactly the opposite. It's the Jews who descended from the Vedic family, and not the other way around. The son cannot generate the father.
Regarding the famous "lost tribe of Israel", that's another point altogether. According to my research, it should consist of a group of Jews who settled in Kashmir much later than the Vedic period (i.e. after the beginning of Kali-yuga), and who gradually became known as the Sikhs after the preaching of Guru Nanak. This is also confirmed by the local people, geographical names and even family names.
Still today, Sikhs observe the traditional custom of Jews of not cutting one's hair in sign of special austerity and religious fervor, from which some Christian scholars have taken the derivation of "Nazarene", a name by which Jesus was called. We may remember that according to the Gospel Jesus' hair "had never been cut by anyone from birth". We may also remember that, as the Gospel clearly and specifically relates, Jesus' dress was in one piece only, without any stitching - a characteristic which we find in the strictly traditional requirement for Vedic pujaris. These were not usual habits of the general Jews and surely are not today.
If Mr. Abbas would care to meditate and research on these points, I think he will find amazing discoveries and a new vision.
Vedic knowledge and civilization is incredibly old, and before the onset of Kali-yuga it contained inconceivable powers and wonderfully advanced science, as the findings in the Sindhu and Sarasvati valleys clearly show. It could not possibly come from a relatively young, uncultured and nomadic people like the Jews.
Even the Bible and the Torah, compared to the Vedas, appear insignificant as per quantity and quality of information. Unfortunately, even many Indian born scholars minimize the value and antiquity of Vedic civilization and knowledge. We hope this trend can soon be reversed.
I think Mr. Abbas should take the pain to actually study Vedic knowledge deeply from a bona fide teacher - which is the system recommended by Vedic knowledge itself.
Roman historian Josephus writes that the "Jews are derived from the Indian philosophers". He tells in Apion, Book 1, verse 22:
"For Clearchus, who was the scholar of Aristotle, says that 'Aristotle his master related what follows of a Jew,' and sets down Aristotle's own discourse with him. The account is this, as written down by him: 'Now, for a great part of what this Jew said, it would be too long to recite it; but what includes in it both wonder and philosophy it may not be amiss to discourse of. I shall herein seem to thee to relate wonders, and what will even resemble dreams themselves. For this cause it will be the best way to follow the rule which requires us first to give an account of the man, and of what nation he was, that so we may not contradict our master's directions.'
"This man then was by birth a Jew, and came from Celesyria; these Jews are derived from the Indian philosophers; they are named by the Indians Calami, and by the Syrians Judaei, and took their name from the country they inhabit, which is called Judea.'" (emphasis mine)
Dr. S. Radhakrishnan offers confirmation of this heritage in his book Pracya Mattu Paschatya Sanskriti, "that the Greeks asserted that the Jews were Indians whom the Syrians called Judea, the Sanskrit synonym of which is Yadava or yaudheya, and the Indians called them Kalanis, [sic] meaning orthodox followers of scripture." The characteristic of strictly following scriptural injunctions is a noted similarity, and would seem to be a requirement of anybody to be identified as a Jew.
Please note that the Jews so identified in this connection are quite different from those who later became the orthodox Jews of Palestine in the 1st century. The later, having capitulated to the occupying forces of Rome were considered as having abandoned their precepts by their contemporary counterparts such as Ebionites, Essenes, Sicarii, etc.
Yvette C. Rosser
I thought these notes from a lecture I gave about Judaism and Bhakti might be of interest:
During the sixties and seventies, numerous Hindu and Buddhist spiritual groups came to the West and established outposts of their religious teachings. These groups were called cults by the western media... the "Hare Krishna Cult", the "Tibetan Buddhist Cult"... when in fact they are centuries' old religious traditions practiced by millions of people in their countries of origin.
A generation of American youths, the demographic bulge of the baby boomers, sought spiritual guidance from these wise men and women from the East.
Why did several million Americans turn to the East for wisdom and inspiration? Who were these seekers who were drawn to Asian spiritual movements? What were their religious and social backgrounds? Were they children of secular humanists or atheists who lacked religious training, seeking to fill that void? Were they children of fundamentalists, fed up with the exclusivist, dogmatic approach? Were they disenfranchised, disillusioned malcontents dissatisfied with the options offered by their own culture or were they contributing, creative members of our society?
The majority of the participants tended to be between their late teens, twenties or early thirties. In class or race, it is easy to see that the "neo-Oriental movements" were made up almost exclusively of white, educated, middle- and upper-middle- class people below the age of forty, though a significant number of older citizens were drawn to participate in these religious groups. The percentage of African-Americans who were involved in these Eastern spiritual movements was far fewer than the proportion of blacks in the population at large, as also Hispanics.
Women and men seemed to participate equally, more seemed to come from urban than rural areas, which is understandable given the availability of access to the teachings of these non-Western religious movements. 70% of the participants had been active members in a church or synagogue prior to their participation in Oriental religious practices. Most came from mainstream Christian churches: approximately 20% were Roman Catholic, 15% Methodists, Presbyterians and Episcopalians made up about 6 or 7% each, there is even about 3 or 4% from groups such at the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses, these statistics are essentially parallel to the demographic distribution of the American population in general.
The most amazing statistic that emerges from a demographic survey of these religious movements is the fact that people of Jewish heritage comprise at least 20% of the populations of most of these groups, when Jews comprise only 3 or 4% of the general American population. In some of these religious organizations, the number of Jews is even higher, approximating 30 - 50%! Why is this?
In his book titled, "Turning East", Harvey Cox, a noted Christian theologian, enumerates several reasons why the youth of this period stepped outside the boundaries of their traditional Judeo-Christian religious backgrounds and studied Hindu and Buddhist meditation techniques and philosophies. First of all he found that these people were looking for friendship, and were "in search of a supportive community" in which they found a sense of belonging.
Secondly, he found that many of the "East Turners", as he called them, were "looking for a way to experience life directly", to experience a direct relationship with God that they did not get from their traditional Western religious organizations.
Some were "refugees from uncertainty and doubt" and were looking for an authority figure in a teacher or guru. Others were looking for something more "natural" and were rejecting what they believed was the "effete, corrupt or outworn religious traditions of the West." This group of seekers generally shared a concern for health, ecology, and the conservation of the earth's dwindling resources."
But why would the demographics of these Eastern spiritual groups obtain fifty to a hundred times greater percentages of their members drawn from the Jewish faith than are represented in the population at large? In asking this question, I telephoned several of my Jewish friends who have been closely involved with Indian Gurus and asked them what they thought. Here is a narrative summary of their answers:
There seems to be a need for devotionalism. Several of my friends agreed that in their Jewish tradition, the learning was by rote, with a lack of experiential emphasis. They felt alienated from a direct relationship with God, there was too great a gap between God and humans, too great a duality. They felt that Hinduism, and specifically Bhakti Yoga, which is the path of devotion, gave them a greater access to the divine, a closer relationship with God, an immediacy of the spiritual moment. "The Jewish faith", a male informant from Chicago said, "doesn't have a devotional aspect of the supreme deity that can be easily accessed".
The Hindu tradition gives them an opportunity to open up and develop a personal relationship with God. "In the Jewish faith", I was told, "there is little opportunity to experience God as living in your heart". We discussed the concept of subject-object dichotomy, which is greater in Judaism than Hinduism. Increasing the intensity of belief in dichotomy increases the amount of fear of the "divine other", a tangible part of the Judao-Christian belief of being damned or unfulfilled. Either way, "you are not living in the moment, you are living in fear of some future reprisal". Whereas "in the Hindu devotional sects, especially the Bhakti aspect, there is an immediacy of the moment", experienced as "spiritual gratification".
We also discussed ancient Jewish traditions in comparison with Hinduism. My friends noted that "It's laid out very clearly in the Zohar and the Kabbala, which is the mystical aspect of Judaism: the tree of life and the many different planes of consciousness connected with that Tree. The corresponding chakras in Hinduism are the analogous format through which the different expressions of energies can manifest."
Both of these faiths have multiple myths and tales and books written reflecting their parallel ideas that "Godhead was not dual, not two, but one". However, "in Judaism you usually have to read between the lines to get that idea, whereas in Hinduism, it IS the idea". The mystical aspect of Judaism is much closer to Hinduism, but most Jews in America have lost touch with this mystical element of their religion. "This mystical element has been lost and Jews can fill this mystical need in Hinduism". There is also an emphasis on learning in the Jewish tradition has correlations in the Hindu religion's approach to contemplation and speculation.
From the comments of another Jewish informant, a female in California:
"Ultimately, is doesn't matter if you use the format of Hinduism, Judaism, Islam or Christianity, it's the act of talking to God, of becoming ecstatic with love for God and communication with Him or Her. The act of talking to God, of opening your heart to God, the act of humility towards God, are the components through which you can become absorbed in God, drunk with God as they say in the Bhakti tradition. The more the intensity and the thirst for God, the more that God will reach out to you. And the main block for most of us Jews and Christians is that we are caught up in externals, we worship the externals, including our minds. When we get out of our heads and into our hearts, where we really feel the love of God, then the journey is really beginning."
There are also several similarities and correlations between the rituals found in Hinduism and Judaism: food is offered to God and consecrated by God which is accomplished by praying over the food and then sharing it. The lighting of candles and the Hindu arti, or waving of the lights, is also analogous. Shabbat is also similar to the Hindu idea of taking time out for reflection and meditation. Additionally, they are both nonproselytizing traditions, more than a set of religious tenets, a way of life, with historically situated cultural associations beyond the mandir and the synagogue.
Another reason that Jewish people often join these groups is that they want to become conscious of the Goddess. They want to experience the mother as Kali, as Durga. "In Judaism," one of my friend commented, "we live in denial, but in Hinduism we face the negative and try to understand it. In Judaism the teachings are in austere tones, more measured, but Hinduism doesn't do this at all, it brings everything to the forefront. There is a lot of shame and blame in Christianity and Judaism, Hinduism doesn't get into that. Hinduism says, 'stop blaming everyone else and then stop blaming and shaming yourself'. Hinduism brings you closer to the moment. Stop trying to produce-produce all the time and change everything, Hinduism is like a full time Shabbat."
An important thing that happens is that Jews who get involved in Asian religions do not reject their Jewishness. Judaism is a culture as well as a religion. Even Jews who actively and sincerely follow a Hindu guru, or the Dalai Lama, still have barmitzvahs, still often send their children to synagogue schools, they celebrate Passover, Hanukah, yet they feel comfortable in their embrace of Hinduism as well, after all Hinduism is, one informant mentioned, "the ultimate inclusive religion".
JanM, June 2002
(based on text by Brother David Sherman/HH Bhakti Ananda Gosvami)
Among apocryphal (non-canonical) Biblical books stands out Second Book of Maccabees. It describes personal appearance of God in forms known mainly from Vedic tradition to Greek ambassador Heliodorus.
Entry "Heliodorus" in The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001.:
"fl. 175 B.C., Syrian statesman. The treasurer of Seleucus IV (Seleucus Philopator), he murdered the king and attempted unsuccessfully to usurp the throne. According to the Book of Second Maccabees, he entered the Temple at Jerusalem but was prevented from taking the treasure by three angels."
The book is written in Greek based on earlier lost Greek original (Septuagint) in 120 BC. Its story revolves around the sin, divine chastisement and miraculous conversion of a Greek Seleucid ambassador named Heliodorus. It ends with his vow to God and return to the Seleucid emperor. Other (extra-Biblical) sources later implicated this same Heliodorus in a plot to kill the emperor. It is thus clear that this man played a significant role in the history of the time.
During the same time period in India a man named Heliodorus of the same office had a votive column to Krishna erected in his name (famous Heliodorus' column). Such offerings were common in fulfillment of religious vows (thus 'votive' offerings) at that time. This same column has survived to the present, and is one of the primary pieces of evidence used to prove the existence of Vasudeva-Krishna (Krishna-Balarama) worship in the pre-Christian era.
On the column erected in Besnagar in central India near Vidisha, north of Madhyapradesh State, at 113 BC (sometimes also dated 140/150 BC ) he calls himself a worshiper of Vasudeva (Vishnu). This is the first known record that other than Indian-born person became a follower of Vishnu (Vaishnava).
The inscription (in Brahmi characters) says:
1) Devadevasa Va[sude]vasa Garudadhvajo ayam 2) karito i[a] Heliodorena bhaga- 3) vatena Diyasa putrena Takhasilakena 4) Yonadatena agatena maharajasa 5) Amtalikitasa upa[m]ta samkasam-rano 6) Kasiput[r]asa [Bh]agabhadrasa tratarasa 7) vasena [chatu]dasena rajena vadhamanasa
"This Garuda-column of Vasudeva (Visnu), the god of gods, was erected here by Heliodorus, a worshiper of Visnu, the son of Dion, and an inhabitant of Taxila, who came as Greek ambassador from the Great King Antialkidas to King Kasiputra Bhagabhadra, the savior, then reigning prosperously in the fourteenth year of his kingship."
(Transliteration and translation of this ancient Brahmi inscription was published in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (London: JRAS, Pub., 1909, pp. 1053-54.)
Another column inscription says:
1) Trini amutapadani - [su] anuthitani 2) nayamti svaga damo chago apramado
"Three immortal precepts (footsteps)... when practiced lead to heaven - self-restraint, charity, consciousness."
From this inscription it is clear Heliodorus was a Vaisnava, a devotee of Visnu.
The Archaeological Survey of India has inscribed its history on a white marble slab. It reads:
"History of This Pillar
"This column is locally called Khamb Baba and is worshiped especially by fishermen. It bears two inscriptions in Brahmi characters and Prakrit language.
"One of these inscriptions records that the column was set up as a Garuda Pillar in honour of God Vasudeva (Vishnu) by Heliodoros, a Greek inhabitant of Taxila (Takshasila), who had come to the court of Bhagabhadra, king of central India, as an ambassador from Antialcidas, an Indo-Bactrian king of the Punjab. Heliodoros had evidently adopted Hinduism as he has styled himself a Bhagavata, i.e., a follower of the Vaishnava sect. The approximate date of the column is 150 B.C."
The reference to Garuda, the vahana (carrier) of the Lord, is found
also in the Old Testament.
2 Samuel 22:11 And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: and he was seen upon the wings of the wind.
Psalms 18:10 And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind.
Thus a Greek ambassador named Heliodorus figures prominently in both the Biblical and Vaishnava history of that same time period. Whether one takes these stories as real or 'legendary' there is obviously still some connection.
If we doubt that there was much contact between India and Jerusalem at that time, again the Greek Jewish-Catholic Bible (Septuagint) has the answer. The post-Alexandrine Seleucid emperors reigned from North West India to North Africa. There was tremendous interaction between India and Judea during this period. For example, there are entire Indian units of elephants and their foot-soldiers described as fighting under the Seleucid Emperor in Jerusalem in the First Book of Maccabees, Chapter 6. Indian elephant units from India, with Indian troops, lead by Indian officers, were commonly used throughout the Eastern Mediterranean region in the centuries just before the advent of Christ. This is only one example of the complete integration of Levantine and Indian history which characterized that entire period.
The 2 Maccabees book describes experience of Heliodorus with theophany (revelation) of God. In chapter 3 (3:25-26, 33-34) of this book God manifests Himself in His temple in Jerusalem - first appearing as rider (Kalki) on a richly armored horse trampling the ambassador who is trying to plunder and thus desecrate the great temple of Jerusalem. Then the Almighty Lord appears as two beautiful youths (Eli-Yahu as Krishna and Balarama), who beat the ambassador with Their own hands. A Vaishnava recognizes that such a chastisement from the hand of God is a great benediction and Heliodorus obviously understood it as such.
2 Maccabees, Chapter 3:
1. While the holy city was inhabited in unbroken peace and the laws were very well observed because of the piety of the high priest Onias and his hatred of wickedness,
2. it came about that the kings themselves honored the place and glorified the temple with the finest presents,
3. so that even Seleucus, the king of Asia, defrayed from his own revenues all the expenses connected with the service of the sacrifices.
4. But a man named Simon, of the tribe of Benjamin, who had been made captain of the temple, had a disagreement with the high priest about the administration of the city market;
5. and when he could not prevail over Onias he went to Apollonius of Tarsus, who at that time was governor of Coelesyria and Phoenicia.
6. He reported to him that the treasury in Jerusalem was full of untold sums of money, so that the amount of the funds could not be reckoned, and that they did not belong to the account of the sacrifices, but that it was possible for them to fall under the control of the king.
7. When Apollonius met the king, he told him of the money about which he had been informed. The king chose Heliodorus, who was in charge of his affairs, and sent him with commands to effect the removal of the aforesaid money.
8. Heliodorus at once set out on his journey, ostensibly to make a tour of inspection of the cities of Coelesyria and Phoenicia, but in fact to carry out the king's purpose.
9. When he had arrived at Jerusalem and had been kindly welcomed by the high priest of the city, he told about the disclosure that had been made and stated why he had come, and he inquired whether this really was the situation.
10. The high priest explained that there were some deposits belonging to widows and orphans,
11. and also some money of Hyrcanus, son of Tobias, a man of very prominent position, and that it totaled in all four hundred talents of silver and two hundred of gold. To such an extent the impious Simon had misrepresented the facts.
12. And he said that it was utterly impossible that wrong should be done to those people who had trusted in the holiness of the place and in the sanctity and inviolability of the temple which is honored throughout the whole world.
13. But Heliodorus, because of the king's commands which he had, said that this money must in any case be confiscated for the king's treasury.
14. So he set a day and went in to direct the inspection of these funds. There was no little distress throughout the whole city.
15. The priests prostrated themselves before the altar in their priestly garments and called toward heaven upon Him who had given the law about deposits, that He should keep them safe for those who had deposited them.
16. To see the appearance of the high priest was to be wounded at heart, for his face and the change in his color disclosed the anguish of his soul.
17. For terror and bodily trembling had come over the man, which plainly showed to those who looked at him the pain lodged in his heart.
18. People also hurried out of their houses in crowds to make a general supplication because the holy place was about to be brought into contempt.
19. Women, girded with sackcloth under their breasts, thronged the streets. Some of the maidens who were kept indoors ran together to the gates, and some to the walls, while others peered out of the windows.
20. And holding up their hands to heaven, they all made entreaty.
21. There was something pitiable in the prostration of the whole populace and the anxiety of the high priest in his great anguish.
22. While they were calling upon the Almighty Lord that He would keep what had been entrusted safe and secure for those who had entrusted it,
23. Heliodorus went on with what had been decided.
24. But when he arrived at the treasury with his bodyguard, then and there the Sovereign of spirits and of all authority caused so great a manifestation that all who had been so bold as to accompany him were astounded by the power of God, and became faint with terror.
25. For there appeared to them a magnificently caparisoned horse, with a rider of frightening mien, and it rushed furiously at Heliodorus and struck at him with its front hoofs. Its rider was seen to have armor and weapons of gold.
26. Two young men also appeared to him, remarkably strong, gloriously beautiful and splendidly dressed, who stood on each side of him and scourged him continuously, inflicting many blows on him.
27. When he suddenly fell to the ground and deep darkness came over him, his men took him up and put him on a stretcher
28. and carried him away, this man who had just entered the aforesaid treasury with a great retinue and all his bodyguard but was now unable to help himself; and they recognized clearly the sovereign power of God.
29. While he lay prostrate, speechless because of the divine intervention and deprived of any hope of recovery,
30. they praised the Lord who had acted marvelously for His own place. And the temple, which a little while before was full of fear and disturbance, was filled with joy and gladness, now that the Almighty Lord had appeared.
31. Quickly some of Heliodorus' friends asked Onias to call upon the Most High and to grant life to one who was lying quite at his last breath.
32. And the high priest, fearing that the king might get the notion that some foul play had been perpetrated by the Jews with regard to Heliodorus, offered sacrifice for the man's recovery.
33. While the high priest was making the offering of atonement, the same young men appeared again to Heliodorus dressed in the same clothing, and They stood and said, "Be very grateful to Onias the high priest, since for his sake the Lord has granted you your life.
34. And see that you, who have been scourged by heaven, report to all men the majestic power of God." Having said this They vanished.
35. Then Heliodorus offered sacrifice to the Lord and made very great vows to the Savior of his life, and having bidden Onias farewell, he marched off with his forces to the king.
36. And he bore testimony to all men of the deeds of the Supreme God, which he had seen with his own eyes.
37. When the king asked Heliodorus what sort of person would be suitable to send on another mission to Jerusalem, he replied,
38. "If you have any enemy or plotter against your government, send him there, for you will get him back thoroughly scourged, if he escapes at all, for there certainly is about the place some power of God.
39. For He who has his dwelling in heaven watches over that place Himself and brings it aid, and He strikes and destroys those who come to do it injury."
40. This was the outcome of the episode of Heliodorus and the protection of the treasury.
- Vedic Archeology - Heliodorus's Column (more info)
- Raphael's painting of Heliodorus in the Jerusalem temple
When I went to the Mutt to have His darshan for the first time there were four
foreigners there, an Israeli, an Italian, a German and a Britisher. They had
come to do their PhD in Philology on the topic of 'the most ancient languages
in the Occidental and the Oriental world'. They were studying Latin, Hebrew and
Greek languages in the Occidental part and Sanskrit and Tamil in the Oriental
He went inside to do His Anushtanas; they had wanted to [do] a photo of Him but His kaingaryams refused. They were heartbroken that they could not take a picture. All the four of them were standing near a tree since morning. They asked His Sevakas when He will be done with the poojas but get an unconvincing reply.
I told the foreigners that we Indians are used to the way of life at the Mutt, but how come you all have been standing for the past 6 hours? One of them looks at his watch and exclaims, 'oh my God, has it been 6 hours? He is a man of certainty and is beyond time!'
Periyavaa came in after 10 minutes and we all went and prostrated to Him. Looking at the man (who had the camera hanging on his neck) who had wanted to take the photos, He gestures with His hands that he can take the pictures now. He posed for three photos and stops him before the fourth and enquires as to why they have come.
They tell him their purpose.
He asks, "So, did you arrive at a conclusion as to which is the most ancient language?"
The Israeli replied, "Hebrew is the most ancient in the Occident; but in the Oriental, people say that both Sanskrit and Tamil are the oldest, we are confused and that is why we are here for Your opinion".
He said, "There is another language which is the most ancient than all these, it is the Vedic Language. It is the Source of even Sanskrit and Hebrew."
"There is a verse about Rebirth in Hebrew, can you recite it completely?", asked Him to the Israeli by giving the man the first two words.
The Israeli recited it for 3 to 4 minutes. Swamigal looked around and asked some boys, "have you studied Rig Veda, can you recite the particular verse on Rebirth?"
Those boys recited it for 5 minutes.
He asked me, "can you ask them if they understood what these boys recited now?"
The four men remained quiet.
Swamigal turns to the boys and says smilingly, "you all will definitely not understand what this man had recited in Hebrew!"
He turns to me and says, "tell that Israeli that what he had chanted before is the same as what these boys chanted!"
I told him, "Swamiji says that what is you had chanted is 'verbatically' same as the what the boys had chanted".
Swamigal corrects me, "What? Do not use the word 'verbatically', tell him that both the chants are 'alphabetically' the SAME!!!"
He said He will prove it and asked if we have a paper and a pen.
"In Vedas it is mentioned that the world has been classified into 32 portions/regions. And in each of the 32 geographic regions, Vedas say how the Veda Aksharas, alphabets have changed/pronounced in those places!"
He asks each of them which region they come from and then explains to them how a particular Veda Aksharam is changed in their individual places! He asks the boys to recite verse from Rig Veda again and tells the men how each Aksharam in Rig Veda in that verse will sound in their regions!
The Sarveshwaran tells me, "I will now say this verse with some difficulty as it has been a long time since I had Abhyasam. Ask that Israeli if he understands my recital!"
To the boys He says, "I will now say it in a slightly different form based on how each Aksharam will sound in Hebrew. Please do not think it is wrong; there is this injunction in the Vedas that it can be recited this way also."
And The Sarveshwaran starts to say it, slowly. Wonder of Wonders, the Israeli starts to recite it together with Him!!!
(Sarveshwaraa, I am unable to type now due to a flood of emotions...)
We were all stunned!
"I told you earlier, the same verse in Rig Veda is present ditto in Hebrew, but the Aksharas have changed slightly. (like we say Yamuna but in the North it is Jamuna, Va in the south is Ba in West Bengal, Paa in Tamil is Haa in Kannada etc.) Therefore, the most ancient language in the world is the Vedic language!"
Swamigal asked the four men to prepare a table and fill it with how the Rig Veda Aksharams sounded in their language. This was completed in 15 minutes.
The Israeli was shocked and exclaimed, "this is something unimaginable!"
He asks him, "what do you think now, do you now agree that everything has sprung from Vedas?"
The look on the Israeli was not convincing.
He says, "what, is he thinking that why, could not have Vedas originated from Hebrew?"
The man says, "yes, it could have been the reverse also, the Vedas could have come from Hebrew".
Periyavaa replies, "you have only the lock, whereas we have both the key and the lock! It is even mentioned in the Vedas as to which Maharishi from here in India went to your region and spread/taught Vedas in Israel!"
The man seemed to be convinced in the end.
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