Mythos 43 – Hamuman and Babi

 

A Traditional Hindu Depiction of Hanumān

A Traditional Hindu Depiction of Hanumān

Rama and Ra were also both assisted by upright walking monkeys who wielded maces. Rama was assisted by Hanumān, who found Sita in Ravana’s capital in Lanka. Hanumān is believed to have been a proto-Dravidian (Indus Civilization) hero or deity, as proposed by several scholars in the past century. The orientalist F. E. Pargiter theorized that Hanumān was a proto-Dravidian deity, and the name ‘Hanumān‘ was a Sanskritization of the Old Tamil words Aan-mandhi meaning ‘male monkey.’ The Hindu scholar Ray Govindchandra influenced by Pargiter’s opinion, suggested in 1976 that the early Indo-Aryans may have invented a Sanskrit etymology for the deity’s name, after they accepted Hanumān in their pantheon.(1)Philip Lutgendorf (2007) Hanuman’s Tale: The Messages of a Divine Monkey. Page 40 A twentieth-century Jesuit missionary Camille Bulcke, in his Ramkatha: Utpatti Aur Vikas, documented that Hanumān worship was also found in the cults of aboriginal tribes of Central India,(2)Camille Bulcke & Dineśvara Prasāda (2010) Rāmakathā and Other Essays. Pages 117–126. indicating that Hanumān predated the modern Hindu religion.

An Ancient Carved Relief of Babi

An Ancient Egyptian Depiction of Babi

In Egypt, Ra was helped by Babi, also transliterated as Baba or Bebon, whose name translates as ‘Bull of the baboons,’ and roughly means ‘Alpha-male of the baboons,'(3)George Hart (2005) The Routledge Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, Second Edition, Page 44 a monkey-god with a virtually identical name and iconography as Hanumān. The worship of Babi seems to have been most intense during the pre-dynastic era; so much so that some depictions of Narmer, the unifier of Egypt, depict him as being Babi. Both Babi and Hanumān were described as being created by the Celestials or gods; in the case of Babi he was Osiris’ creation,(4)Wilhelm Max Müller (1918) Egyptian Mythology and in the case of Hanumān his mother Añjanā was an apsara (Celestial Maiden) who came to earth and married Kesari, a monkey. Hanumān was one of many monkey-men created by the Celestials at the time, and eventually became their king. These monkey-men were known collectively as the Vānaras, a word that became the Sanskrit word for monkeys, however was not used by the writers of the Vedas.(5)Vanamali (2010) Hanuman: The Devotion and Power of the Monkey God. Page 13 Given that Hanumān was absorbed into Hinduism from the old Dravidian beliefs, and as Vānara has no clear Sanskrit etemology, it seems likely that the word Vānara was also inherited from the old Dravidian culture.

In both the Egyptian and Indian mytho-histories there were also other creatures present, that were made at the same time by the Celestials or gods. In the Rāmāyaṇa there was Jambavan, the King of the Rikshas. The Rikshas were described in the Rāmāyaṇa as creatures like the Vānaras, but bear-like instead of monkey-like, and with long dog-like snouts. Jambavan was made by Brahma to help Rama in his struggle against Ravana.(6)Patricia Turner & Charles Russell Coulter (2001) Dictionary of ancient deities. Page 248 In the epic Rāmāyaṇa, Jambavan helped Rama find his wife Sita and fight her abductor Ravana, by making Hanumān realize his capabilities and encouraging him to fly across the ocean to search for Sita in Lanka.

Traditional Hindu Depiction of Jambavan with Krishna

Traditional Hindu Depiction of Jambavan with Krishna

In Egypt Osiris created the jackal-headed Anubis, originally called Inpw by the Ancient Egyptians.(7)Ronald J. Leprohon (1990) “The Offering Formula in the First Intermediate Period” The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, Volume 76, Pages 163–164 Inpw was one of several jackal-headed deities known to have been worshiped since Pre-Dynastic times, including Anput, and Wepwawet, also called Upuaut. These Jackal-headed deities merged into Anubis by Hellenic times, leaving the Greek name as the one generally known today for the iconic jackal-headed god. Nevertheless, there were originally a group of these deities in Egypt, and today Egyptologists generally agree that they could not have been jackal-headed to begin with, because jackals are not indigenous to Egypt.(8)Juan David Romero (July 30, 2015) “African golden jackals are actually golden wolves” Science The current theory is that they were wolf-headed, as there is a variety of wolf indigenous to Egypt. Given that there are no bears indigenous to Egypt, if the original inspiration for these Jackal-headed characters were bears, it would explain why they don’t look any more like wolves that they look like bears.

References   [ + ]

1. Philip Lutgendorf (2007) Hanuman’s Tale: The Messages of a Divine Monkey. Page 40
2. Camille Bulcke & Dineśvara Prasāda (2010) Rāmakathā and Other Essays. Pages 117–126.
3. George Hart (2005) The Routledge Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, Second Edition, Page 44
4. Wilhelm Max Müller (1918) Egyptian Mythology
5. Vanamali (2010) Hanuman: The Devotion and Power of the Monkey God. Page 13
6. Patricia Turner & Charles Russell Coulter (2001) Dictionary of ancient deities. Page 248
7. Ronald J. Leprohon (1990) “The Offering Formula in the First Intermediate Period” The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, Volume 76, Pages 163–164
8. Juan David Romero (July 30, 2015) “African golden jackals are actually golden wolves” Science