Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ancient Egypt's Vaishnava Culture

by Vrindavana Dasa
Aug 2000

Recently, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art held an exhibit called "Pharaohs of the Sun". It turned out to be the most popular exhibit ever. The exhibit featured artifacts from the reigns of Akhenaton, Nefertiti, and the famous King Tut.

Modern scholars claim that Akhenaton was the worlds first known monotheist. However, the fact is, he was actually reviving an ancient monotheistic religious tradition.. Unknown to most is the true nature of this religion. This religion was not only Vedic, but was actually an indigenous Egyptian form of Vaisnavaism.

Research has proven Akhenaton's vedic roots through his familial connections to the Hurrian/Mitanni peoples. Everyone agrees that the Mitanni were a Sanskrit speaking and writing people and they worshiped the Vedic gods. What is forgotten is the fact that Akhenaton's father, his mother, and wife were all related to the Vedic Mitanni. Thus, it is no surprise that Akhenaton's religion has so many Vedic similarities. The research of BhaktiAnanda Goswami has proven the Vaishnava nature of his religion.

On April 10, 2000, Bhakti Ananda Goswami of E.O.H.N. (Ecumenical Order of the Holy Name), and Vedic Empire Productions put together a tour and presentation on Akhenaton's vedic/vaishnava past. During the two hours of the tour BhaktiAnanda Goswami enthusiastically pointed out the various vaishnava connections. Again and again he amazed and enlightened the tour participants. It is truly amazing how many ancient artifacts are related to the worship of Hari. Using the torchlight of knowledge, BhaktiAnanda Goswami clearly revealed the Vaishnava nature of Akhenaton's religion. During the tour, many people unconnected to our group were intrigued and asked intelligent and sincere questions which BhaktiAnanda Goswami answered.

The program continued that evening at the Los Angeles Hare Krishna Temple where BhaktiAnanda Goswami gave a detailed talk on various examples of the ancient world's global Vaishnava traditions. Using a scientific approach called linguistic archeology, some of the key points he presented are as follows:

1) The original forms of the Supreme Personality of Godhead worshiped in the Mediterranean region were Radha-Krishna and Balarama. The center of this ancient Vaishnava culture was the Greek Isle of Rhodes.

2) Jews, Egyptians, and Europeans all worshiped Lord Krishna in many forms all familiar to the modern day Vaishnava. Forms such as Matsya, Korma, Narasimha, and Kalki. This tradition was called Heliopolitan because they worshiped Helios (Greek for Hari).

3) Hundreds of Jewish, Egyptian, and Greco Roman deity names (theophoric names) can be clearly identified as names of Krishna or Vishnu.
4) Official religious emblems, including the state seals of the Jewish kingdoms of Israel and Judah, were indisputably Vaishnava symbols, and directly connected to Akhenaton's religion and the eternal Vaishnava traditions of India.

5) In ancient Egyptian religion, creation began from the form of NHRYN (Narayan) lying on the primordial waters. A lotus grows from His navel, and on this lotus appears the four armed and four headed Heliosphanes (Brahma) who speaks creation.

6) Ancient Mediterranean Vaishnavism can be properly understood when we compare it to the authentic Vaishnava scriptural sources especially Bhagavad-Gita, and Srimad Bhagavatam, where the viratarupa (Universal Form) conception of the Supreme Lord is revealed. For example, Krishna's self revelation in the "I Am" verses of the Bhagavad-Gita directly parallels the great hymns of HR-Heri of ancient Egypt. Therefore, ancient Egyptian religion considered HR-Heri the origin of all gods and deities. That is why they used the name HR-Heri or Asu (Vasu) along with deities considered to be aspects of Heri. Thus, the god of wealth was called KPHR/Kepe-Heri because in the Gita Krishna says "øI am Kubera".

7) Being authentic followers of Vaishnavism, ancient Heliopolitan cities always had a presiding deity of Helios (Hari). He was always worshiped with His Fortuna (Goddess of Fortune or Shakti). Evidence shows that the original form of Helios (Hari) was worshiped on the Greek Isle of Rhodes as Kouros. The original form of Fortuna was named Rhoda.

8) Even modern scholars accept that Kouros was considered the origin of all the Greek gods. He is described as a beautiful youth tending His sacred white cows with His elder brother and friends. He plays a flute and leads the boys in dance as they clash their cymbals. He dances with Rhoda and Her expansions in a circle dance named after Him called the Chorus Dance. As the Lord of the Dance He is called Choreagos from which is derived the modern word 1choreographer'. The peacock feather was the pre-eminent symbol of both Helios and Kouros. Throughout the region Helios (Hari) was worshiped as the Lord of the Heart and the Supreme Personality of Love. That is why He is the Lord of all living entities, cultures, and traditions.

All of this evidence highlights the fact that we are all rooted in the tradition of pure devotional service to Sri Sri Radha Krishna and Balarama. BhaktiAnanda Goswami hopes that his research can be instrumental in reuniting all of God's children and awaken the world to its common heritage as the people of Hari.

Please Chant...
Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare |
Hare Rāma Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma Hare Hare ||

...and be Happy

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