Mythos 28 – Shraddhadeva and Matsya

 

In the Indian epics, a flood like the Atra-Hasis flood from Mesopotamia is recorded, however there is a noticeable difference in the dating. In the Hindu epic the Shatapatha Brahmana dating from around 2,700 years ago,(1)Jan N. Bremmer (2007) The Strange World of Human Sacrifice, Page 158 a Dravidian civilization is flooded, and King Shraddhadeva survives in a big boat. In this story King Shraddhadeva is told that a great flood is coming to destroy his Kingdom by a talking fish with horns called Matsya. As in the Akkadian era Epic of Atra-Hasis Enki, who warned Atra-Hasis, was described as a talking merman with horns that slept in water. The later Babylonian iconography of Oannes; Enki’s son in the Babylonian mythos,(2)J. Bottéro (2002) “Intelligence and the technical function of power: Enki-Ea” In Mesopotamia: Writing, Reasoning, and the Gods, Pages 232-250 was depicted as a fish-human hybrid, as were many depictions of Matsya.

Traditional view of King Shraddhadeva and other survivors in a boat pulled by the horned-fish god Matsya

Traditional view of King Shraddhadeva and other survivors in a boat pulled by the horned-fish god Matsya

During the flood, Matsya guided Shraddhadeva’s boat to the Malaya Mountains; mountains that were mentioned in several Hindu sacred texts like Matsya Purana, the Kurma Purana, the Vishnu Purana, and the epics of the Rāmāyaṇa and the Mahābhārata.(3)Diana L Eck (2012) India: A Sacred Geography, Page 125 The location of the Malaya Mountains is not known, however several mountains in India have been suggested. Naturally, if this flood was during the last glacial maximum, then it is likely that these mountains are either under water today, or if they are still above water would not likely be described as mountains. It is possible that the Malaya mountains are the Malaya peninsula, as the indigenous people of Southeast Asia are Negritos, closely related to the Dravidians of Southern Asia. The Negritos are probably descendants of the indigenous Negroid populations of the Sundaland landmass and Sahul,(4)David Bulbeck, et al. (2006) “Races of Homo sapiens: if not in the southwest Pacific, then nowhere” World Archaeology Volume 38 Number 1 Pages 109–132 predating the Austronesian peoples who later entered Southeast Asia. Multiple studies also show that Negritos from Southeast Asia to New Guinea share a closer cranial affinity with Australo-Melanesians.(5)William Howells (1993) Getting Here: The Story of Human Evolution Sundaland would have started flooding around 22,000 years ago as the ocean levels started to rise, at the same time the Sumerians believed Curuppag flooded. Given the relatively high levels of Denisovian DNA in the surviving in dark-skinned Pacific and Southeast Asian populations,(6)Ewen Callaway (22 September 2011) “First Aboriginal genome sequenced” Nature News it seems plausible that the mixing of Homosapien and Denisovan DNA took place in Sundaland.

A Traditional Carving of Matsya in a Hindu Temple

A Traditional Carving of Matsya in a Hindu Temple

In the Indian epics, Matsya was caught by Shraddhadeva while he was attempting to drink from a river in his homeland. Matsya was a small fish that swam into Shraddhadeva’s hands, and then begged Shraddhadeva to not throw him back into the river were larger fish could eat him. Shraddhadeva protected the small fish, first by keeping him in a jar, then later a pond, and then a lake, before the fish ultimately swam freely in the ocean. In both the Indian and Sumerian epics the merman is considered to be a teacher. Nevertheless, regardless of similarities of story and bizarre characters, the Indus and Sumerian flood narratives do have a noticeable difference: when they happened. The Sumerian story can be set in the time period of the last glacial maximum based on the Sumerian King List. The dating of the Indian story is subject to a great deal of debate, depending on the metric used.

The modern Hindu view is that Shraddhadeva lived over 120 million years ago, however as pointed out by Sri Yukteswar,(7)Sri Yukteswar (1894) The Holy Science, Page 11 in many Sanskrit texts the 12,000 year duration of the Maha-Yuga was artificially inflated to an abnormally high value of 4,320,000 years by introducing a multiplication factor of 360. When using the 12,000 year long maha-yuga, the time-period is 339,900 years ago, which is still very different from the Sumerian value of 22,300 years ago. The main reason for the difference is the fact that 27 maha-yugas, were inserted between the time of Shraddhadeva’s flood and the beginning of the current maha-yuga. This insertion dates back to at least 1,200 years ago,(8)Romesh Chunder Dutt (2001) A History of Civilization in Ancient India, Based on Sanscrit Literature: Volume 3. Buddhist and Pauranik Ages, Pages 208 however in the actual epic it simply stated that the flood took place at the beginning of a Satya Yuga.

A Traditional Carving of Matsya in a Hindu Temple in Southern India

A Traditional Carving of Matsya in a Hindu Temple in Southern India

As the story of Shraddhadeva is of Dravidian in origin, the use of the 12,000 year long Aryan maha-yuga is no longer valid, and so one is forced to determine what system of measurement the Dravidians were using that the Aryans translated as maha-yuga when they translated the story of Shraddhadeva and merged it with the Vedic story of Manu to create the Hindu Shraddhadeva Manu. When the Aryan elements are removed from the Hindu system of time measurement as recorded in the Vishnu Purana,(9)Ascribed to Vyasa (prior to 1030 AD) Vishnu Purana, Book 1, Chapters 1-3 it becomes clear the Dravidian civilization used a calendar based on the precession of the equinoxes, which they calculated as approximately 25,932 years long. This is easily seen when removing the factor of 12,000 for the maya-yuga, and correcting the number of days from the theoretical 360 in the year to the generally accepted ancient observational number of 365. The reconstructed Dravidian Calendar would have 1 Deva Ahoratra (year) of 365 days, and 1 Deva Vatsara of 365 years, and 1 Manvantara (precession of the equinoxes) of 71 Deva Vatsaras. This calculation show the ancient Dravidians believed the precession of the equinoxes was 25,932 years long, less than 0.02% different than the 25,920 years calculated today. Manvantara is also the Sanskrit compound of manu and antara, literally meaning the time since Manu.(10)Ascribed to Vyasa (prior to 1030 AD) Bhagavata Purana, 3.13.14-16 Clearly the adoption of Shraddhadeva Manu into Aryan beliefs predates the merging of the two calendars.

Using the old Dravidian measurement for the Manvantara of 25,932 years, the previous transition from Treta Yuga to Satya Yuga was approximately 21,975 years ago. This date is less than 1.7% different from the recorded flooding of Curuppag in Sumerian the mythos 22,350 years ago. This slight difference is essentially null when one considers that Assyriologists don’t have a consensus as to when the later well attested Kings of Mesopotamia such as Hammurabi lived.(11)S. W. Manning, et al. (2001) “Anatolian tree-rings and a new chronology for the east Mediterranean Bronze-Iron Ages” Science, Volume 294, Pages 2532-2535 This confusion is caused by the so-called dark-ages during which records are inconsistent. As we don’t know exactly how long the dark-ages lasted, so we cannot know precisely when the people before the dark-ages lived.(12)Glenn Schwartz (2008) “Problems of Chronology: Mesopotamia, Anatolia, and the Syro-Levantine Region” in Joan Aruz, et al. editors Beyond Babylon: Art, Trade, and Diplomacy in the Second Millennium B.C., Pages 450-452

References   [ + ]

1. Jan N. Bremmer (2007) The Strange World of Human Sacrifice, Page 158
2. J. Bottéro (2002) “Intelligence and the technical function of power: Enki-Ea” In Mesopotamia: Writing, Reasoning, and the Gods, Pages 232-250
3. Diana L Eck (2012) India: A Sacred Geography, Page 125
4. David Bulbeck, et al. (2006) “Races of Homo sapiens: if not in the southwest Pacific, then nowhere” World Archaeology Volume 38 Number 1 Pages 109–132
5. William Howells (1993) Getting Here: The Story of Human Evolution
6. Ewen Callaway (22 September 2011) “First Aboriginal genome sequenced” Nature News
7. Sri Yukteswar (1894) The Holy Science, Page 11
8. Romesh Chunder Dutt (2001) A History of Civilization in Ancient India, Based on Sanscrit Literature: Volume 3. Buddhist and Pauranik Ages, Pages 208
9. Ascribed to Vyasa (prior to 1030 AD) Vishnu Purana, Book 1, Chapters 1-3
10. Ascribed to Vyasa (prior to 1030 AD) Bhagavata Purana, 3.13.14-16
11. S. W. Manning, et al. (2001) “Anatolian tree-rings and a new chronology for the east Mediterranean Bronze-Iron Ages” Science, Volume 294, Pages 2532-2535
12. Glenn Schwartz (2008) “Problems of Chronology: Mesopotamia, Anatolia, and the Syro-Levantine Region” in Joan Aruz, et al. editors Beyond Babylon: Art, Trade, and Diplomacy in the Second Millennium B.C., Pages 450-452