Indus sybolism

Indus symbolism

The Indus calendar dates from ca 3100 BC and it has something in common with the Chinese symbolism. Since we find similar symbolism in Indus as in the rest of the Old World it is important to study their culture and get some answers too.

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Similar symbols

Archaeology on the "World Agenda" is very Euro-centric and in early days it build much on theories. That means we have to look out for what I call the Heinrich syndrome, i.e. he read Homer and went out for Troy and found it. Others use the Bible, Rigveda, Edda, Aryan theories and prefabricated big works that could be understood in thousand ways so there is always an answer to your questions. Theory too often becomes true when people see what they want to see.

The Greek sophists had their point when they asked, "Does the world exist when we are not talking about it?" Too often our interest in some particular question fills the agenda and we loose the proportions and forget the question, "What would be the reasonable answer?" As soon as we move to India comes two "toads" that covers it all. It is not science but political imperialism that formulate theories about Aryans and Indo-Europeans and their supposed "original home" somewhere.

Aryans /Indo-Europeans are supposed to come from some "people factory" conquering the world. They have not found that place yet. The Indian archaeology is new. When I began more than two decades ago there were only Harappa and Mohenjo Daro on the agenda. Today they tell about 2600 sites and few of them are excavated. Even in these two places they have only looked at a corner. The efforts have given much material, but in proportion it is too little to draw conclusions from.

Next question is how big was the population in the Indus Valley and how big was it in the Ganges Valley in east? Is there any place on earth that can have produced not only people but also means as weapons and transport vehicles of the size that they could overrun India and Europe nearly simultaneously? Where are the genetically evidence of the "White Aryans" in India … I think there is much more of the black from Africa. However I do not believe in any genetic theory since trade and intermarriage have mixed blood. We should talk about influence since culture is always tied to the local landscape when we look at the proportions and remains.

We cannot stand in the stream of history looking back without being affected by the tele-effect. It is like using telephoto lens in the camera. Near things are big and far things fade away. That happens when we stand in the present stream and look backward. I prefer to stand in parallel and try to see causality how things developed and were spread in time and space.

There are many with much more knowledge about Indian culture and language than I have. I cannot compete with them, but my speciality is ritual astronomy and symbolism connected to that. In India I seek for that kind of icons and symbolism and try to create simplified explanations so that my readers can grasp the reality of those days.

Generally I seek what unites us in our world and that lies in the rituals created to lead peoples' life in space-time during the past 6000 years. I am curious about how and why they formulated ideas that we still are dependable on today. Some of the original ideas were created in the Indus Valley and travelled in all directions without trademark.

The Indus Script and symbolism is an enigma where we see jumps of parts of the vocabulary in time and space. We cannot yet see how it survived through ages and it was spread to distant places. We have to wait for more evidence, but we can line up what we know today.

When we talk about the Easter Islands, we cannot avoid a few words about Thor Heyerdahl. He is the "daring one" to many and like a red rag to a bull for others. His attitude to history and local people have been an inspiration to them and have given them pride ... that is a good name for a man. I think he has proved that the Asians and Americans in the past discovered each other and influenced each other. Lately I have shown the Indus Script in North America the Snake River Script. Europeans maybe also discovered America before the Spaniard.

The Snake River Script could be a hard nut for old scholars believing that America was the uncivilised wilderness until Columbus and the Spaniards pacified the barbarians. I only ask, "In which conditions are highly abstracted scripts created?" I do not think that American Indians living as normal nature users would create a symbol language. When I note around 50 symbols looking very similar to Indus Script I get interested and use my open mind.

Some evidence is found on Easter Islands as for instance the Indus symbols and the long-ear syndrome coming from west. The evidence about the American connection is less but Heyerdahl has found some pieces with clearly American symbols on the islands. These are questions for scientist to quarrel about and I think the Snake River question is another.

How explain that American peanuts are found in two provinces in China dated to 2300 BC and we can add maize, sunflower, annonas (custard apples), peanut, squashes, yam bean, sweet potato, chili pepper, grain amaranths and several other crop species in Asia prior to 1500 AD. When I see Indus Script in Snake River Valley naturally I ask if Indus traders made the symbols with copper tools. Some of the rock carvings are clearly made with sharp tools. Did the Indians know metallurgy?

At the same time we have to say a word or two about the paradox of archaeologists. In one moment they demand for physical evidence and deny even successful experiments ... in other moments they are talking about magic and cults of our forefathers as if that has real existence? ... anyhow maybe there is some consequence. They ask for steady and physic evidence in earthy matters and fluffy in the spiritual matters.

Here are 60 symbols from an early source for comparing Indus and Easter Islands' script. The difference is that The Easter Islands script has double lines.

We do not know if they store some tales from the tablets in the folk memory. They call them "speaking tablets". According to what we know about ancient rituals maybe they read the texts in public at certain festivals.

Maybe local people are shy when the omniscient westerners come and laugh at almost every primitive culture. Humbleness has never been a pride among the big bosses on earth. On one tablet can be up to 1500 symbols cut into the hard wood by a narrow chisel. If we only use just a small stroke carrying the meaning, they are exactly of the kind we find in the Indus culture. The enigma is that we find the Indus Script at Easter Islands more than 2000 years later than the heydays of the Indus culture.

There are no bilingual examples of Indus and another script. That means we can never be sure of our interpreting. But there are several openings since the Indian culture continues and have saved the Rigveda texts from around 1000 BC and of same age as the Bible. It is only a little worse than the Egyptian script we know a little of thanks to the bilingual texts.

Culture is a living process and the biggest changes are in the urbanising process and that the temples grew and many generations of scribes have added things to the texts. It is impossible to sort out an earlier stage of script and culture. In fact it looks as if the Indus people were a different culture. Yet the research shows many bonds to the known Hinduism still living today.

We have to search for the early layer of Rigveda when rural agriculture and cattle keeping were the main professions. We see it clearly that the symbolism was adapted to cattlers as well as growers. The script is surely created in cities with traders as part of the society. But they followed the rural life and we have to search for original rituals and calendars. Since they were skilled in metallurgy we have also to look for such thing in symbolism. My biggest enigma is that there are no horses in the symbolism, while the Rigveda symbolism build much on the horse as ritual animal.

India is today a heavy part of world population. Naturally it shows that in the fertile valleys lived many people even 4000 years ago. That means many cultures and different rituals. India is known for the diversity in religion in the same way as ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. For simplicity we must try to make some common example that pictures the core of the culture.

The starry sky is with some exceptions the same in the Old World and with little correction even in Europe and Scandinavia. We know from other cultures that ritual astronomy and scheduling space-time was the core of their World Order. That helps us in finding some pattern that can be confirmed by analysing and comparing the symbolism. We have also to sort out what is specific to Indus.

Once more teasing the good old Ellegaard. We can say that the tablets could never be science, because they are not written it in plain English. Now we are going to use the literate side of the evidences. I hope I can prove that we do not necessarily need to interpret messages word by word in symbolic languages to understand the message. Some work and time is of course needed. No one learns it during a coffee break or in the pub with a beer. Even the second reader have to be patient.

Asko Parpola has made good efforts in interpreting. He understands that we cannot double-check it in the same way as the languages around the Levant where we have several interpreting to cross-examine and get proof … it is much the same with my Scandinavian interpreting. He thinks that the script was for the upper class and it is not so sure that spoken language was the same as written.

His research implies knowledge in the ancient languages and especially Tamil. Another part is the knowledge of the history and old texts from India. There are naturally other scientists in the field with different views so we get a mixed picture like India itself. My aim is to use my knowledge about rituals and ancient practical astronomy on part of the texts and seals so I do not claim for the entire solution. My knowledge of Indian culture is far too little. However scientist of future are surely glad since they have something to get different opinions about.

The total source is about 450 symbols in the script today. They had gathered it from more than 3000 seals mainly from Harappa and Mohenjo Daro. I know most of the symbols and I have found 25 symbols on Dal with much likeness. As an estimated total we can find similarity in about 5 - 10% of the symbols in southern Scandinavia.

If it were only a few, it could be a coincidence purely up to the fact that they are perhaps made to symbolise the same reality.

There is about the same similarity between the symbols in the triangle Aegean sphere ... Anatolia and the Levant. In the Indus collections I have seen 20 human symbols and in Egypt they had more than 50. The meaning is how they stand and in the attributes mostly in their hand. By just using the human symbols it is possible to tell quite a story.

My interest in the Indus Script is naturally caused by the similarity when I search for explanation to Scandinavian script in the Indus symbolism


Just this seal directed my thought towards astronomy.

The elements are Argos and Unicorn the star configurations below Gemini. On some seals the Unicorn seems to have a twinkle in the eye. Both are signs of a wish to give the observer a hint, that the figure is not real. We see that somewhere else too.

Unicorn became for the Indus culture what the Scorpio and Ox were for the Egyptians from 3100 BC onward. The Sothis/Sirius syndrome seems to be reconstruction after event made by the Greeks. The methods and fix stars vary from time to time and from culture to culture. They all have in common that they used the stars for the planning of years. Somehow Scorpio and Water-snake and perhaps some more icons also reached America.

 …They explain this as offer utensil for rituals. But even such things are designed to represent some important feature. Some of the seals made me think about ship with sail and in fact we have the ship Argos in front of Unicorn.

Many of the seals are found in Mohenjo Daro that must have been an important port to the international trade. Unicorn and the "ship" in the corner could be the symbol of the fellowship of traders. Sails of this type with Oxen-heads are seen on the Egyptian pottery in predynastic time 4th millennium BC.

The investigators of the Vikings' square sail tell that "it lifts the ship over the waves". Even the Viking ship has fairly high stern and stem. We know that the Vikings sailed on the oceans and far away to North America. From the Pacific we know how they made maps for their waters as help for navigation.

 … Normally there is a boss on the back of the squared seals. That tells the seals surely have been fastened on something like goods. Then it is maybe the owner's name and other normal commercial texts we see. Commerce is father of calculation and script in modern society. Mother is ritual astronomy and early religion. We know this from Mesopotamia and Egypt and the Scandinavian rock carvings are much about ritual and calendar.

They suggest that an eland or oryxantilop is behind the Unicorn, but soon it became a symbol with incarnation in the early zodiac below Gemini. Note even the pattern on the shoulder that as suggested could be sign of the "animal" as ritual animal used for offer. Most of the seals from Mohenjo Daro have the Unicorn as symbol. The finds show that they were maritime people with many overseas connections … as for instance discovering America!

The idea of making the sky to be common memory and world order was the most ingenious thing in the very ancient times. Thanks to that all cultures shared in common and that made it easier for people to go along all over the world. It is only a matter of definition and taste if there is difference between religion with few gods compared to those with many gods. There is no big difference between animal gods and human gods as longs as the most important thing is what the symbolic idols stand for. As long as humankind survive we can only measure efficiency compared to sustainability.

When the Indian chose the one-horned animal they knew that none else used the same as tribe idol. It is still unique and seldom seen. Our Scandinavian fishermen made later money of it by going for narwhal in North and selling the sprout as "horn of Unicorn". That is the way business works

There are finds of Indus seals in Mesopotamia and that means even in Elam the former Persia and not only Sumer. The cultures have much in common. The same is case with India and Egypt both in ritual and the ship type. Still today the ships in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific have a lot in common with Egyptian high seas ship. Some of the motifs are clearly similar to early Egyptian symbolism.

Prudently in use the term "have in common" since we do not know in which direction the cultural influence went those days. We know too little of India: It was not an interesting object for the excavations as long as Great Britain ruled India I suppose. How would it look if they found a great culture? The Egyptian and Sumerian culture were hard to deny because of the big buildings. It was imposing to steal the walls from the Egyptian tombs and place them in British Museum.

New cultures always steals from the old sources. That is normal cultural imperialism … but it is something like "borrowed feathers". Hopefully the World Community will put and end to stealing the history of any culture. Culture belongs to local people and that make it easier for us to study at the place.

The Indians are mostly dark skinned with raven black hair and slender body. Some of the genetic heritage seems to come from Africa.

Like in Egypt some of the figurative art shows clearly Negroid people even in the nobility. Until now it has been nearly taboo to tell about African culture. Today people with possible African roots seek their roots and maybe the DNA technique would be of some help.

Too long the dominating theories have been about mighty Aryans conquering the world including India. Not many signs of white skin and golden hair in India! Neither many signs of the 13-year long period with Alexander. India is a true big country and The Great was only an occasional traveller. From the perspective of the frog it is hard to see India.

Too often history is the tool for religious and political interests. Then the investigator sees what he wants to see. My nightmare in young days was the Aryan question and now it seems to be mostly a fake. In Rigveda the name means sometimes "companion" and sometimes the neighbouring Afghanistan to Rajasthan.

Trading ship with compass birds

Three sided moulded tablet. One side shows a flat-bottomed boat with a central hut that has leafy fronds at the top of two poles. Two birds sit on the deck and a large double rudder extends from the rear of the boat. On the second side is a snout nosed gharial /crocodile with a fish in its mouth. The third side has eight symbols of the Indus script. … Text from "Indus Tour". The Gharial was an astronomy symbol for Ramadan

It is evident that the Indians were trading on China and North America as far as we know today. I have lately shown around 30 Indus Script symbols at Snake River sites in Idaho. They have found occurrence of several kinds of American vegetables in China ca 2300 BC. In later temples there are corn in the symbolism as for instance a Somnathpur Karnataka in India

The cardinal animals were similar in China around 1300 BC. Left upper corner the Dragon and right lower corner the Tiger

We speak about Four Corners of heaven and weather corners or cardinal directions since we need to navigate on land as well as on the seas. In ancient times they used often proper names or gods for these. We can replace them with our east, south, west and north. The normal beginning of the season ritual is at the Turtle and the Snake that are Cancer and Hydra originally symbolising the sowing time. The others China have in common with India.

In Chinese symbolism the astro-symbols were tied to the cardinal directions. In the texts of Confucius we find in Yao that the asterisms at the times after 1100 BC were Cancer, Libra, Capricorn and Aries and we can compare that to the Egyptian correction in 1159 BC establishing the same asterisms. In general the Chines folk memory is as long as the Indian, i.e. to 3100 BC that seems to be an important turning point of civilisation

Indian rock carvings showing Tiger, Cock, Water-snake and Scorpio replace the Dragon … the six human figures are probably representing double-months

These rock carvings should using Scorpio be from latest 2000 BC. But for instance in Egypt they use the old calendar until 1160 BC when Libra replaced Scorpio. They stepped a sign forward on the "big clock of precession or Magnus year.

In most places in the world we see only a small collection of animals in ritual art. Some of them we can tie to the time and calendar but many of them we do not know why they portrayed them. The period of ancient art and calendar is long and precession altered the use of symbols. Sometimes there was a cultural change due to change of power. Best known is when the Hebrews changed from the naked Astarte and the Calf to the one and only

In all cultures with agriculture the spring ritual was "to step down" as the term was in Sumer and Egypt about Inanna an Isis and in fact even their consort since they were sent to Underworld. We see the iset-step in Sumer as well as in Egypt. In Scandinavia they began in 4th millennium by making megalith monuments showing ritual "going beneath"