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The ancient Hindu texts are difficult to date because they are believed to have been passed down through oral tradition more than 100,000 years before being written down for the first time somewhere around 1400 BC to 900 BC.

The ancient texts of Vedas, sacred to Hindus, were composed by sages and poets from different priestly groups. The Vedic literature which contains the basis for the Hindu religion is composed of many books, the oldest among them being the Rig-veda, Yajur-veda, Sama-veda, and the Atharva-veda. There are also many other compositions like Upanishads, Puranas, Brahmanas and auxiliary texts called Vedangas.

The Maya account of the creation of the universe and mankind also began a long time ago and the story was handed down from generation to generation through the centuries.  The account was finally recorded in hieroglyphics in the language of the Quiché Maya (they are considered as the inheritors of the legacy of the ancient Maya) in the highlands of Guatemala.  The Popol Vuh, is the sacred religious book of the Maya.  In 1558, a Guatemalan Mayan translated a hieroglyphic version of the Popol Vuh into his native language of Quiché.  In the 1800’s, a Spanish priest, Padre Francisco Ximenez, found the translation in his church in Chichicastenango, Guatemala.  He translated it into Spanish. After being lost for almost a hundred years, it was discovered and eventually taken to the Newberry Library in Chicago. Another sacred book is the Book of Chilam Balam of Chuyamel which was heavily influenced by post-Conquest Christian teachings. Only four hieroglyphic books called codices survived the mass destruction of the ancient texts by the Spaniards. These include the Dresden, Madrid and Paris codices and an unknown codex discovered in the 1970s. The sexual-religious contents of this much-discussed unknown codex have been such that some experts have proclaimed it as a textbook on Maya tantric knowledge, a strange similarity to the well-known ancient Hindu texts.

Furthermore, it is said that the hymn 121 of the book ten in the Rig-veda is very similar to the description of creation as found in the Popol Vuh. A fascinating similarity is the story of the churning of the milky ocean which is common to both the Hindu and Maya mythologies. It goes like this: Once a fierce battle took place in which all the Devas (demi-gods) were defeated. The Asuras (demons) brought all the wealth including the jar of ambrosia to their kingdom in Patala, the netherworld. But the Asuras were not destined to be the owner of this plundered wealth for too long as the entire wealth got submerged into the Milky Ocean. Meanwhile the Devas, after being defeated went to seek Lord Vishnu’s help. After giving a deep thought to the whole issue, Lord Vishnu advised them to patch up with the Asuras so that all the wealth could be retrieved from the ocean bed. The Devas went to Patalaloka and convinced the Asuras to participate in the churning of the ocean. When the process of churning of the ocean began, Mandarachal Mountain was used as a churner and the serpent Vasuki as the rope. Both, the Devas and the Asuras immersed the Mandarachal Mountain into the cosmic ocean but it sank down, as there was no base upon which it could be placed. So, Vishnu took the form of a tortoise and dived to the bottom of the cosmic ocean and held the mountain on his back. From the churned Milky Ocean emerged all planets, poisonous halahala, many treasures, and finally the jar of ambrosia. The Devas wanted to keep the entire jar of ambrosia. However, a serpent Asura named Rahu, disguised as a Deva, was able to get a share of the ambrosia. But, the Sun and the Moon discovered him. Rahu’s head was instantly cut off. However, as he had already ingested the ambrosia, he could not be killed. Even today, the head of Rahu tries to swallow the Sun and the Moon. Rahu represents the ascending node of the moon’s orbit, and swallowing of the Sun and the Moon represent symbolically the occurrence of the eclipses.

In the Dresden Codex there is a representation of this churning of ocean. The tortoise, however, is on the summit of the mountain-pestle instead of being beneath it, and the other form of the serpent god appears above his avatar. A snake is twisted round the mountain-pestle. Two dark gods, like the Asuras, hold one end of the snake while the other end is grasped by the elephant-headed god (the Hindu Lord Ganesh?). To the snake a symbol of the Sun is attached. The similarity of the picture to the churning of the Milky Ocean of the Hindu mythology is remarkable. The Dresden Codex contains glyphs representing eclipses and depicting the sun or the moon being devoured by a serpent. The similarity to the Hindu representation in which Rahu tries to devour the luminary object is unmistakable.

This article and a lot many interesting details were part of my epic book titled “Mexico: A grand voyage through the fascinating land with ancient links to India” which I completed in 2010. I set aside these incredible details when I converted the epic book into three e-books Discovering MexicoMexico: The Country, Its History & The Maya World and A Guide To Mexican Cuisine which are available for sale on this blog.

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