Who is Zeus? Who is Kouros and who is Welkanos?
(Note: Originally written July 2011 in Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India)
Over 100 yrs ago the scholar Jane Harrison, one of the world’s greatest experts on Greek religion, wrote of an ancient hymn to Kouros. The hymn had been discovered at an ancient temple on the island of crete. ‘This hymn was inscribed on both sides of a limestone slab, four fragments of which were recovered from votive pits near Roussolakkos at Palaikastro, Crete in 1904. This discovery confirmed that Palaikastro was the site of the ancient Diktaion – the sanctuary famed in antiquity for the worship of Zeus’.
Jane Harrison highlighted this hymn in her book ‘Themis: a Study of the Social Origins of Greek Religion.’ In this book she revealed that the worship of Baby Zeus as Kouros is at the very origins of ancient Greek religion. The hymn, discovered among the ruins of an ancient temple in Crete, identifies Zeus as Kouros ‘the youthful and the greatest.’ who, just like baby Krishna, was ‘hidden away at birth’.
In Crete, (a civilization of greater antiquity than the Greek,) Zeus was represented in art as a long-haired youth rather than a mature adult. He was praised in hymns as ‘ho megas kouros’ or “the great youth”. He is sorrounded by the Kouretes, initiated young men into the Kouros tradtion. They were a band of ecstatic armed dancers, protecting Zeus in his infant form. These are all exact parallels with the story of Child Krishna.
The hymn to infant Zeus states ‘Kouros most great, I glorify you, Kronian, lord of all that is moist and gleaming, you stand at the head of all gods…rejoice in our dance and our song! with lyre and flutes as we sing around yr altar…” it talks about how he had to be hidden at the time of his birth and given to another to be as his mother.
In the famous HYMN TO MEGHISTOS KOUROS (God of Gods Kouros, megha and maha are the same word) found on Crete, the description of Infant Zeus, known as Kouros, is an exact match with the Infant Krishna. Kouros is described as leading the Kouroi in their dancing revelry. Zeus as Kouros is called the origin (head) of all the gods. A series of 2500 yr old praisos, Cretan coins also depicts this same baby Zeus being nursed by a cow. In fact this was one of the most popular coins of the region.
Young Zeus or Kouros was also named Welchanos. (Here the CH is pronounced as K and Welchanos has thus been confused with the demigod Vulcanus.) Some scholars doubt that Welchanos, Kourus and Zeus are one. Yet the only proof they give is that his name is found along with the name of Zeus within the same prayer. Thus they say he must be a totally different god.
However if we applied this to any Vedic mantra, in which the same deity is always addressed by various names, we easily see the innaccuracy of this conclusion. It is an example of scholars with no background in bhakti, or any of the living sacred traditions of India, attemtping to reach a mundane conclusion based upon ignorance. Using such logic the entire Vaishnava ‘hari haraya namah krsna’ song would be about 100 different gods competing for our worship and prayers.
As Welchanos, (most likely a dialectical version of the sanskrit Bala Kana) Kouros is always represented as a youthful beardless god often in a gesture of worship or adoration to a female goddess. Yet again we find an exact parallel in the relationship between Krishna and Radha.
THE INDIAN TEMPLATE
A basic requirement for the comprehension of these discoveries is to look at India as a template. if one had no sampradaya/samskriti, spiritual lineage or Vedic culture based information, how could anyone tell that Jagannath/Bala Kanha Gopal/ Rama/Matsya/Buddha/ Vishnu/Balaram etc were all in fact various forms of THE SAME Vishnu?
Only India has been able to maintain the correct understanding of these truths. However wen we come to the rest of the world, cultural continuity has been shattered. In this way people see ‘this or that’ god in a setting of chaotic randomness. Thus they claim and assume these diverse forms of the same Divinity to be various polytheistic, and at times rival, gods.
Another link between Zeus amd Vishnu is found when we apply his Roman name of Jove. Jove has been recognized by all scholars as a direct Latin translation of the Sanskrit ‘Dyaus Pita’ which means ‘Father Sky God.’ In the Vedic Purusha Shukta, Dyaus is described to have been created from the head of the primeval being, the Purusha. Purusha is Vishnu. Now one can say this is Brahma or some other divinty yet when combined iwth the great panorama of evidence in totality it is clear that Zeus/Jove has a greater compatibility with the Supreme Godhead Vishnu himself.
DOUBTS DO NOT DISQUALIFY A TRUTH
At times some followers of Vaisnavism will be dismissive of these discoveries and say ,“I never heard Prabhupada speak about the Greeks” or “If it has any value it is already in Prabhupad’s books and if it is not in his books than its useless” This kind of rejectionism is only voiced by those who refuse to actually look at the evidence or investigate the research. it is basically the application of the ‘fox and sour grapes’ philosophy. A lack of understanding or a lack of recognition of a truth does not automatically disqualify the truth in question.
Rather it reveals a mindset that is reflective of one not genuinely interested in the information being presented. A true challenge can only come from one who has actually investiagted the information in question. The fact is the ‘if it aint in the bible than its bogus‘ mentality has been one of the greatest enemies to the propogation of truth throughout history. Though the flavor may change the prejudice is the same.
As for Srila prabhupad’s books etc they are complete in themselves for they fulfil the very reason they exists. There can be no doubt that anyone who dedicates themselves to their teachings is guaranteed to achieve the goal of life-krsna prem. however to say that anything not written in there is false is clearly an incorrect assumption. That said his books are one of the primary templates for recognizing the same vedic truths throughout the history of the world. This universal reality is found within other cultures though these very same cultures may have forgotten or lost any conscious links to their own past.
NO SENSE WITHOUT SANSKRIT & SAMSKRITI
Within the Greek language many words have no meaning until they are recognzied as a form of Sanskrit. I have provided many details in my upcoming book ‘THE SERPENT, THE EAGLE, THE LION and THE DISK” We find this same phenomenon in english as well. This kind of linguistic archeology is one of our most powerful research tools. However it is not solely thru the sanskrit language alone that we can discover the vedic nature of the primal civilization of humanity.
By combining the Sanskrit language with the Vedic Samskriti (culture) the vedic traditions and siddhanta (teachings) suddenly the incomprehensible becomes clear and recognizable. A basic example: archeologists have discovered that the walls of many ancient tombs and sacred sites throughout the world are frequently coated with a layer of vermillion. Yet scholars publicly state their ignorance as to the why and what reagrding the significance of this red vermillion coating.
However there is a country of over a 1 billion people that still uses vermillion powder to this very day. This power is called kumkum powder. The real question is why are a majority of these sholars so indophobic? Why not look to the world’s most ancient ongoing civilzation and research their use of sacred vermillion powder in order to understand its use within the ancient world?
It is not the use of kumkum alone that can be understood through the prism of the vedic tradiitons and culture.if we had a dearth of knowledge about krsna and his relationship with radha and the gopis, the 100s of similar stories and coins depicting the same exact activities by korous/zeus/welchanos could never be recognized.
The gap of time combined with the efforts of the atheistic mindset and religious exclusivists have obscured these many truths. this vedic culture is considered by the vedic authorities to be the primal reality of all existence. it is not only practiced thru out creation and amongst the demigods but believe it or not it was practiced in the nearby lands of ancient greece, egypt, babylon etc.as well.
KEEPING CURRENT WITH THE FACTS
In conclusion lets apply simple science. recent discoveries have revealed that within the indian ocean there are powerful and regular currents.this fact was intentionally hidden by avaricious merchants and hegemonistic political powers in order to stymie any potential competition. These Indian ocean currents go one way for 6 months and than switch around and go the opposite for the next 6 months.(details in my book)
The ancients knew about these currents and used them for trade. all an indian had to do to get to egypt crete etc was get on a boat at the rite time of year and sail west. there is vast evidence that many indians did indeed do this. paradoxically though a majority of schoalrs never deny that indian preachers spread buddhism throughout half the planet they are silent wen it comes to the influence of vedic culture by these very same indians.Though the vast globe-trotting ventures of many indians are recognized, and the Indian ocean currents a proven fact, secular scholars merely focus upon the westward bound merchants and the flow of trade.
Yet the massive flows of transcendent spirituality that clearly rode upon these very same ocean currents remain ignored and virtually forgotten. It is hoped that these significant episodes in the history of humanity and civilization will once again come to light. Let this knowledge and truth regarding our common global heritage inspire a renaisance of unified yet diverse expressions of devotion throughout the entire planet.