Vishnu: Universal Deity or ‘Another Ethnic Hindu God’?

Note: Written in 2011 as a reply to a Hindu Critique of Sri Bhaktiananda Goswami’s thesis recognizing the Universality of Ancient Vaishnavism, with a particular rejection of the evidence confirming Christ as Vishnu/Krishna.

V.A. wrote: Actually this swami is a christian missionary and wants Hindus to convert to christianity. Jesus is Vishnu !! i ask this swami : why didn’t you said/say jesus is Allah ? certainly he knows that if he write such nonsense then Muslims will chop his hands. Jesus is not Vishnu Tattwa. He is and was a MYTH. So please swami ji stop writing nonsense.don’t impose your Lord on Hindus.

Bhaktiananda Goswami on right, with Catholic Father Karl Schray & Christian Hermitess Amata Rose, Coquille, Oregon, USA

My Reply: Greetings V.A., I am a student of Bhakti Ananda Goswami Maharaj, whom you call Swami. I have an entire chapter in my book, The Serpent, Eagle, Lion and Disk, that was written inspired by my studies of his research. The chapter is entitled ALLAH THE CARVER OF CREATION. Theres no hiding here. In fact Maharaj has revealed to me that the ‘Allah as a lunar goddess’ theory is wrong. Bhaktiananda Goswami clearly states that the very name Allah is in fact rooted in the name Hari.

And before you assume I’m an Islamist apologist, please refer to my hard hitting expose in the same book on the evils of religious iconoclastic extremism. I also clearly reveal that the Muslim rulers were very often tyrannical, brutal and genocidal towards their Hindu citizens.

I also focus on the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas as well. I reveal the ‘ignored by the world‘ Taliban declaration that it was vengeance for the demolition of the Babri Masjid (Mosque) at Ram Janmasthan in Ayodhya. In other words, the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas, though a historically recent event, represents a long list of ancient and sacred wonders forever lost to history. Stolen from posterity, countless treasures of humanity have been destroyed by the fires of iconoclastic zealotry.

Ayodhya of Lord Ramachandra as described in the Ancient Vedic Ramayana. Painting by Amit Nitore

I share details about the forgotten 1990s era ethnic cleansing of the Hazara people of the region as well. So there is no ignoring or white-washing of the Islamic rule of India.

We are clearly not ignorant of the conspiracies against Hinduism and India. Yet the irony of ironies is that as you claim to ‘defend’ Hinduism you miss the MOST IMPORTANT point. Thus you fail to see the glory of your own tradition. The fact is, in today’s world it is ‘Hinduism’ that has maintained the CLOSEST ties to the original template.

This is the original template as given by Lord Krsna himself at the beginning of time and in the Bhagavad Gita as well. In the Gita, Lord Krishna says ‘Time I Am’ thus the worship of God as Time was once prevalent in the ancient world.

In the ‘I Am’ verses of the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna reveals himself within key archetypal beings, elements and forces of nature. We find that all these same exact forms self-identified by Krsna, have been worshiped as Divine whenever and wherever they are manifest.

Thus Bhakti Ananda Goswami’s is an effort to VEDify the Vedic claims that Krsna is worshiped across the innumerable universes, what to speak of this one small planet. Indeed Maharaj has discovered many evidences confirming that YES indeed Lord Vishnu as Hari is at the foundation of ALL religion! 

Meanwhile you in the name of defending Hindu Dharma are limiting Vishnu to a small geographical area and to one section of humanity. This is the view of one who does not truly believe in Lord Vishnu but assumes Vishnu and all religion are the mere inventions of the delirious and fearful human mind. Thus in this view all religious differences are a mere competitave clash of civilizations as if this were some petty blood-sport.

Whereas Bhakti Ananda Goswami Maharaj has revealed that just as we see India’s great diversity of Vaishnavism, be it Ram-Bhaktas or Jagannath or Gaura Nitai Bhaktas, the entire world was at one time unified in its diverse expressions of Bhakti. Differences are always there yet they are/were all authentic forms of Vaishnavism.

Diversity and harmony are naturally elementally part of functioning culture and civilization. Artificially imposed ‘top down’ narratives are unnecessary and redundant.

This is specifically true within the realm of Divine Faith. Ultimately there is only one primal tradition at the roots of Ancient humanity. Yet it is and has always been diverse in it’s varied expressions.

A case study of the diverse schools of Vaishnavism, be it Ram-Bhaktas or Jagannath or Gaura Nitai Bhaktas, they are all part of the same Vaishnava tradition. The ancient world was the same.

Rather than a pantheon of disconnected competing deities, all people recognized that there was one Supreme God of gods. They recognized that he had come to all the different tribes of the world in variety of expressions. Matching the diversity of peoples and cultures, God reciprocated accordingly. Thus there are diverse expressions of the same recognized Divine personality,God,be it as a Tortoise or a King. A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada states that, “Krishna has incarnated even into the Ant community and is engaged in a variety of Lila, (Transcendental play.“)

Lord Ramachandra, God as the Perfect Man and Ideal Ruler and various related Lilas

By applying this template to the primal mystical root traditions of the world. Differences are always there yet they are/were all authentic forms of Vaishnavism.

The revolutionary and revelatory research of Sri Bhaktiananda Goswami establishes both the textual and contextual foundations confirming the actual origins of religion. Overawed Cavemen, Intervening Aliens or Divinely inspired humanity?

Yet whose Nature is it that awes? Who created the Galaxies, the origin of any potential Aliens? It was the same Divine Being(s) that inspired our Pyramid building ancestors and Human civilization itself. Thus today, rather than agriculture, Archeologists now identity Religion as the impetus for the very first cities.

The noble recognition that Hari is truly everywhere is at the foundation of Sri Bhaktiananda Goswami’s thesis. In fact, rather than a new fangled concept, this concept is foundational to Vedic thought.

It is also a natural part of the ‘Hindu’ outlook. It is a welcome opportunity for the Universal Lovers of Hari=God to overcome the number one impediment to true world harmony= Sectarianism.

Thank God there are nearly a billion people who Do Not claim to have a monopoly on God. Thank God for the Hindus of the world. It is their sacred Vedic legacy that has the potential to awaken this same universal recognition of God in the hearts of all.

For indeed Vedic India has maintained the Siddhanta (the Perfected Conclusions) and the actual mechanisms along with the rituals required to maintain and fulfill humanity’s covenant with Hari. 

These same mechanisms are also present in other ‘faiths’ but their meaning and significance has often been obscured and is definitely less accessable. Yet because of Vaishnava Siddhanta, Bhaktiananda Goswami has been able to once again revive our recognition of those eternal principles that are at the basis of the original and true religion.

The ancient Mediterranean traditions were also centered upon Hari long before Homer fabricated his version of Greek religion. And we find that the Jews worshiped the same deity as their neighbors in the same way the Gaudiya Gaura-Nitai Vaishnavs of Bengal are worshipping the same Lord as their Odiya Jagannath Bhakta neighbors.

Ancient prophecies regarding the Messiah, have been claimed by the Jews, perhaps in the same manner in which you are claiming Vishnu to be some sort of ethnic Indic ‘tribal’ deity.

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.

However these ‘prophecies’ were in fact part of the entire ancient Mediterranean socio-religious paradigm and it was shared by all the theistic traditions of the West. And this is why Christianity spread so rapidly among the Gentiles. They recognized their long-awaited ‘Messiah’ their Great Healer and Serpent God Aesclepius, Zeus-Helios-Apollo in Lord Jesus Christ.

And similarly Buddhism spread so rapidly around half the globe. For the people recognzied their various forms of the Divine in Lord Buddha just as the Western world recognized their Supreme Deity/Creator God in the revelation of Lord Jesus Christ.

Asclepius and his Daughter Hygeia, Attic Relief, last quarter 4th century BC
Marble relief of Asclepius and his daughter Hygieia. From Therme, Greece, end of the 5th century BC. Istanbul Archaeological Museums.

It is also amazing how these alleged religious experts never mention the fact that Aesclepius and Helios worship was the predominant religion of the Mediterranean world during the Pre-Christian era. 

Yet they continually harp on the ‘highjacking’ of pagan symbols by the Christians. There was no need to hijack anything. Jesus Christ was the latest Avatar and revelation of these very same ancient ‘Pagan’ traditions as he was to the Judaic tradition. It was a new phase in an ancient continuity of religion and prophecy. Thus the symbols representing the same Deity and concepts were maintained by the followers of the Christ. 

A Google Image Search Return of Helios in Synagogue

Note the 4-Horse Self-driven Chariot of Helios, whose symbol is the Disc and whose primary bird is the Eagle. Helios who had herds of sacred cows and who was associated with the peacock feather. These are exact parallels to Vishnu Krishna Hari. Meanwhile the Sun God, Surya, does not drive his own chariot and has 7 horses. Yet just like Vishnu or Krsna, Helios is identified by the atheists as yet another ‘solar god’.

Lord Krishna Driving a 4 Horsed Chariot Rescues Princess Rukmini

The prominence of the chubby blue baby Butter-pot holding Harpocrates throughout the region is also a crucial fact proving the extant of ancient Vaishnavism in the region.

This also explains how and why these ‘Non-Jewish’ elements appear repeatedly in most Jewish houses of Worship dated to the pre-Christian era. They were all worshiping the same God. The evidence confirms it. Yet theories are accepted claiming the Jewish people, swept up in a post-Alexander Hellenistic mania, negligently adopted Greek divinities into Judaism. It’s a theory, yet it leaves too many unanswered questions. Bhaktiananda Goswami’s thesis, however, provides the answers.

The 2,700 yr old Royal Judaic Winged Disk Seal of King Hezekia directly links the ‘Abrahamic’ Faiths with the Vedic & ‘Pagan’ Traditions.

A piece of clay inscribed with the 2,700-year-old seal of King Hezekiah found in Jerusalem. The seal was used by the King himself, according to experts. The Winged Disk is the ancient Aniconic symbol or God. It is the Su Darshan (Auspicious Vision) of Hari on Garuda. The fact that one of History’s most devout Judaic Kings used this as his personal Royal Seal confirms the Sacredness of the allegedly ‘Pagan’ emblem of the ‘Winged Disk’.
The Ancient ‘Winged Disk’ is the Aniconic form of Hari (God who takes away) coming to the Rescue on the back of His Eagle Carrier, Garuda. This image of God as the ‘Winged Disk’ represents the Liberating Loving God as the Ultimate ‘Auspicious Vision’ of God, the Su Darshan of Hari, thus the Disk shape. This Aniconic form is found at the core of diverse cultures, religions, tribes and regions because the same Hari was being worshipped throughout the entire Ancient world.The 2,700 year old Royal Judaic Winged Disk Seal of King Hezekia represents Yahweh, the God of Abraham. And the exact same symbol represents HR/Heru and the Supreme God of every Ancient Mesopotamian civilization. It is also the symbol for God within the ancient Zoroastrian religion. It is the same Vishnu being worshipped.

The impact of this Aesclepius Serpent-God as Healer tradition is such that today we still use this symbol to represent anything related to the medical field.

Egyptian Anubis with the Serpent Staff of Healing
Caduceus & Staff of Asclepius

Thus today we still use a word named after Hygieia, the daughter of Aesclepius, whenever we use the word Hygiene. These ancient elemental impacts on modern society are not limited to the realm of medicine alone!

This same symbol of healing is universal be it the Serpent-staff of Moses, the Serpent Staff of Egyptian Anubis or the words of Christ, ” As Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up so that everyone who believes may have eternal life in Him.” John 14-15

The fact that the same serpent symbol has the same meaning even today is yet another piece in the puzzle Though forgotten and denied, the evidence is Undeniable. We all share a common legacy. This common legacy reaches back to the earliest epochs of time and history. It is our common heritage; a part of all humanity at the most primal level.

Ancient Christian Peacock Symbolism Predates the use of Christ on the Cross imagery

The very similarities that the athiests and religious chauvinists abuse to discredit the historicity of Christ are in fact the evidences confirming that Jesus Christ indeed walked this earth. Isis and Baby Horus, Yashoda and Baby Krsna and Mary and Baby Christ all reflect the same concepts because they are representing the SAME Divinity. These commonalities are genuine and not based upon the shallow attempts of some to hijack the ancient Coptics or Hindus.

This theory requires either the total denial of God as a living force that actually interacts with humanity or hinges upon the idea of a very narrow small-minded and prejudiced God. In other words it is to hold that humanity invented God or that God is so distant he chose one small group to interact with.

Asclepius the Divine Healer, Baladeva/Ananta Shesha Naga & Jesus Christ are One

The entire creation and all its creatures are the equal recipients of God’s love. True religion is the imprint of God’s relationship with humanity.  What human beings did with that legacy is an entirely different subject.

Asclepeions were healing temples located in ancient Greece, dedicated to Asclepius, the first doctor-demigod in Greek mythology. Asclepius was said to have been such a skilled doctor that, (like Lord Jesus Christ, BP) he could even raise people from the dead. Wikipedia

So who’s perspective matches the very words and claims of the Vedas and of Lord Krsna himself? Yours that obviously sees Vishnu as a mere Indian invention and thus another mundane myth of a certain numerically minor/major population group? Or is Hari-Vishnu truly the Supreme Lord of countless billions of planets and beings thru out the entire creation?

The study of the how, why and when of that cosmic divine imprint upon humanity, civilization and culture is the study of the entire history of world religion. 

The interior of a Healing Temple of Asclepius. Note the Serpent Staff which was the Serpent Staff of Moses and is the Modern symbol for anything related to the Medical field

The interior of a Healing Temple of Asclepius. Note the Serpent Staff which was the Serpent Staff of Moses and is the Modern symbol for anything related to the Medical field.

Star of life, blue version. Represents the Rod of Asclepius, with a snake around it, on a 6-branch star shaped as the cross 
The Disputation of the Sacrament by the Italian Renaissance artist Raphael. It was painted between 1509 and 1510

Pharaoh Akhenaten, Sanskrit Mittani & Ancient Mediterranean Religion

A 3300 year old stylised glass portrait of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten. Amarna Period © Corning Museum of Glass

EDITORIAL, Aug 8 (VNN) — Los Angeles, CA – April 10, 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 Akhenaten, 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 Vaisnavism.

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 worshipped 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 and Vedic religion share so many vedic similarities. The research of BhaktiAnanda Goswami has proven the Vaishnava nature of his religion.

Detail of the throne of Tutankhamun. Queen Ankhesenamun holds a salve-cup and spreads perfumed oil on her husband’s collar in a typical Amarna style scene. The sun-disc Aten shines above the royal couple. Country of Origin: Egypt. Culture: Ancient Egyptian. Date/Period: 18th dynasty 1327 BC. Material Size: Wood, gold, silver & precious stones.

On April 10, 2000, BhaktiAnanda Goswami of E.O.H.N. (Ecumenical Order of the Holy Name), and Vedic Empire Productions put together a tour and presentation on Akhenaten’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 gave a detailed talk on various examples of the ancient world’s global Vaishnava traditions. Using a scientific approach called linguistic archaeology, some of the key points he presented are as follows: 1) The original forms of the Supreme Personality of Godhead worshipped in the Mediterranean region were Radha-Krishna and Balarama. The center of this ancient Vaishnava culture was the Greek Isle of Rhodes.

950 BC Creator Ptah Divine Father Pita Lapis Lazuli

2) Jews, Egyptians, and Europeans all worshipped Lord Krishna in many forms all familiar to the modern day Vaishnava. Forms such as Matsya, Kurma, Narasimha, and Kalki. This tradition was called Heliopolitan because they worshipped 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.

The Chios Kore

Ancient Cretan Korous 600 BC

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 “·I am Kubera”.

7) Being authentic followers of Vaishnavism, ancient Heliopolitan cities always had a presiding deity of Helios (Hari). He was always worshipped with His Fortuna (Goddess of Fortune or Shakti). Evidence shows that the original form of Helios (Hari) was worshipped 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 ‘choreographer‘. The peacock feather was the pre-eminent symbol of both Helios and Kouros. Throughout the region Helios (Hari) was worshipped 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.

Peplos Kore, cast and reconstruction, Cambridge Museum of Classical Archaeology

Alexander the Great Worships Blue Amun Ra & Eye of the Serpent

“Alexander is the King of the South and North, He is chosen of Amun, Beloved of Ra and the Son of Ra, Lord of Risings” Carving and Inscription of Alexander the Great Worshiping a Blue Amun Ra. Amun Temple Thebes, (Luxor) Egypt.

Amun Ra is also holding an Ankh or a crux ansata (Latin meaning “cross with a handle”.) The Cross, the Ankh, the Swastika and the Disc are all representative of the same thing. It is verily the Sudarshana Chakra of Vishnu.

Close up Amun Ra

In the original Egyptian language the word Ankh is a combination of the letters ayin, nun and ha. Ayin in fact means EYE and the letter nun means Serpent. Vishnu’s Sudarshana Chakra literally means Auspicious Vision Disc. And this Disc is in fact an Avatar of the Divine Serpent Ananta.

Thus the ancient Egyptian word Ankh has within it the words and concept of the EYE and the Serpent exactly like Vishnu’s Sudarshana. And just like Vishnu, Amun Ra is depicted as blue and he holds an Eye Serpent emblem (Sudarshan Chakra) in his hand.

Note: Vultures, Eagles, Falcons, Hawks, Condors are Symbolically One and the Same

These are just two similarities. When combined with Amun Ra’s Eagle/Hawk associate and avatar and not just any snake, but often blue Cobras resting over his head, along with Amun Ra’s various titles, activities and descriptions that are an exact match with Vishnu’s, it is obvious that the ancient Egyptians worshiped the same Godhead as the Vaishnavas of India.

Ananta Shesha Naga Carrying Vishnu in His Auspicious Vision Form as the Disc – Su Darshana Chakra. From the Reverse Side of King Tutankhamun’s Throne
Purport by Bhaktiananda Goswami / David Sherman