Baffling Links to Ancient India:
History is full of misnomers; one such term is the New World, as applied to the Americas. The landing of Columbus in 1492 undoubtedly created a new life on the continents, but it neither created nor discovered a new world. Many centuries ago Asian migrants had come to the western shore in substantial numbers. What if the popular idea that Tibetans and American Indians have much in common in terms of their spiritual culture is largely a result of another historical scenario?
What if Hindus and Hopis, Advaitins and Aztecs, Tibetan Monks and Mayans were part of one world culture - a spiritual one?
Baron Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859), an eminent European scholar and anthropologist, was one of the first to postulate the Asiatic origin of the Indian civilizations of the Americas. Swami B.V. Tripurari asks, " What mysterious psychological law would have caused Asians and Americans to both use the umbrella as a sign of royalty, to invent the same games, imagine similar cosmologies and attribute the same colors to the different directions?"
The first Maya Empire had been founded in Guatemala at about the beginning of the Christian era. Before the fall of Rome the Mayas were charting accurately the synodical revolutions of Venus and whilst Europe was still lingering in the Dark Ages the Maya civilization had reached a peak of greatness.
It is significant that the zenith of Maya civilization was reached at a time when India had also attained an unparalleled cultural peak during the Gupta period. Indian cultural intercourse with Southeast Asia, the Gupta period, had begun more than a century before the Mayan classical age in 320 and Buddhism and Hinduism had been well known in neighboring countries for centuries. If there was contact between Mayan America and Indianized Southeast Asia, the simultaneous cultural advance would not appear surprising. In marked contrast, this was the darkest period in Europe's history between the sack of Rome and the rise of Charlemagne.
The most important development of the ancient American or Asiomerican culture took place in the south of the United States, in Mexico, in central America and in Peru. The early history of Asiomericans is shrouded in mystery and controversy due to the absence of definitive documentary evidence, which was destroyed by the European conquerors in their misguided religious zeal.
However, it appears that after the discovery of introduction of maize into Mexico, Asiomericans no longer had to wander about in search of food. Men in America, as in other parts of the world, settled down to cultivate food and culture, a by-product of agricultural life, inevitably followed.
Of the Asiomerican civilizations, the best known are the Maya, the Toltec, the Aztec, and the Inca. The Mayas were possibly the earliest people to found a civilization there; they moved from the Mexican plateau into Guatemala. They were later pushed out, presumably by the Toltecs, who, in turn were dislodged by the Aztecs.
Baron Alexander Von Humboldt, whilst visiting Mexico, found similarities between Asian and Mexican astrology. He founded systematic study of ancient American cultures and was convinced of the Asian origin of the American-Indian high civilization. He said:
"If languages supply but feeble evidence of ancient communication between the two worlds, their communication is fully proved by the cosmogonies, the monuments, the hieroglyphical characters and the institutions of the people of America and Asia."
In 1866, the French architect, Eugene Viollet-le-Duc, also noted striking resemblances between ancient Mexican structures and those of South India.
Scholars were also greatly impressed by the similarity between the Hindu Trinity - Brahma-Visnu-Shiva and the Mexican Trinity Ho-Huitzilopochtli-Tlaloc as well as the likeness between Indian temples and American pyramids. The parallels between the Hindu Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva Trinity and the Mexican Ho-Huitzilopochtli-Tlaloc Trinity and the resemblances between the attributes of certain Hindu deities and those of the Mayan pantheon are impressive. Discussing the diffusion of Indian religions to Mexico, a recent scholar Paul Kirchhoff has even suggested that it is not simply a question of miscellaneous influences wandering from one country to the other, but that China, India, Java and Mexico actually share a common system."
Kirchhoff has sought "to demonstrate that a calendaric classification of 28 Hindu gods and their animals into twelve groups, subdivided into four blocks, within each of which we find a sequence of gods and animals representing Creation, Destruction and Renovation, and which can be shown to have existed both in India and Java, must have been carried from the Old World to the New, since in Mexico we find calendaric lists of gods and animals that follow each other without interruption in the same order and with attributes and functions or meanings strikingly similar to those of the 12 Indian and Javanese groups of gods, showing the same four subdivisions."
E. B. Taylor also found the counterparts of the tortoise myth of India in ancient America.
Donald A. Mackenzie and other scholars, however, are of definite opinion that the ancient Mexicans and Peruvians were familiar with Indian mythology and cite in support close parallels in details. For instance, the history of the Mayan elephant symbol cannot be traced in the local tradition, whereas it was a prominent religious symbol in India. The African elephant has larger ears. It is the profile of the Indian elephant, its tusk and lower lip, the form of its ear, as well as its turbaned rider with his ankus, which is found in Meso-American models. Whilst the African elephant was of little religious significance, it had been tamed in India and associated with religious practices since the early days.
The Mexican doctrine of the World's Ages - the universe was destroyed four consecutive times - is reminiscent of the Indian Yugas. Even the reputed colors of these mythical four ages, white, yellow, red and black are identical with and in the same order as one of the two versions of the Indian Yugas. In both myths the duration of the First Age is exactly the same, 4,800 divine years. The Mexican Trinity is associated with this doctrine as in the Hindu Trinity with the Yugas in India.
Later, two English scholars Channing Arnold and Frederick J. Tabor Frost, in their The American Egypt, made a detailed examination of the transpacific contacts, reinforcing the view of Buddhist influences on Central America. The most recent and by far the most systematic well-reasoned, and effective case has been advanced by the eminent archaeologist, R. Heine-Geldern and Gordon Ekholm, who favor Indian and Southeast Asian cultural influences on ancient America through migration across the Pacific.
According to the Mayan calendar, which is extant, the time record of the Mayas began on 6 August 613 B.C. It is an exact date based upon intricated astronomical calculations and prolonged observations. To work out this kind of elaborate calendar must have taken well over two thousand years of studying stars and the Asiomericans must have been remarkably shrewd observers.
Use of Zero
The Mayas of Yucatan were the first people besides the Indians to use a zero sign and represent number values by the position of basic symbols. The similarity between the Indian zero and the Mayan zero is indeed striking. So far as the logical principle is concerned, the two are identical, but the expressions of the principle are dissimilar. Again, whilst the Indian system of notation was decimal, as was the European, the Mayan was vigesimal. Consequently, their 100 stood for 400, 1000 stood for 8000, 1234 for 8864. While the place of zero in the respective systems of the Indians and Mayans is different, the underlying principle and method are the same and the common origin of the Mayan and Indian zeros appears to be undoubted. Disputes continue amongst scholars in the absence of conclusive evidence. As chronological evidence stands today, the Mayan zero appears to be anterior by several centuries to its Hindu counterpart.
In 1949, two scholars, Gordon Ekholm and Chaman Lal, systematically compared the Mayan, Aztec, Incan, and the North American Indian civilizations with the Hindu-oriented countries of Southeast Asia and with India herself. According to them the emigrant cultures of India took with them India's system of time measurement, local gods and customs. Ekholm and Lal found signs of Aryan civilization throughout the Americas in art (lotus flowers with knotted stems and half dragon/half fish motifs found commonly in paintings and carvings), architecture, calendars, astronomy, religious symbols and even games such as our Parchessi and Mexican Patilli, which have their origins in India's pachisi.
Both the Hindus and Americans used similar items in their worship rituals. They both maintained the concept of four Yuga cycles, or cosmological seasons, extending over thousands of years, and conceived of twelve constellations with reference to the sun as indicated by the Incan sun calendar. Royal insignias, systems of government and practice of religious dance and temple worship all showed remarkable similarities, pointing strongly to the idea that the Americas were strongly influenced by the Aryans. The theory is found in the Vedic literature of India. The ancient Puranas (literally "histories") and the Mahabharata make mention of the Americas as lands rich with gold and silver. Argentina, which means "related to silver", is thought to have been named after Arjuna (of silver hue).
Another scholar, Ramon Mena, author of Mexican Archaelogy, called the Nahuatl, Zapoteca, and Mayan languages "of Hindu origin." He went to say, "A deep mystery enfolds the tribes that inhabited the state of Chiapas in the district named Palenque... their writing, and the anthropological type, as well as their personal adornments... their system and style of construction clearly indicate the remotest antiquity... (they) all speak of India and the Orient."
Still another scholar, Ambassador Miles Poindexter, a former ambassador of the United States to Mexico, in his two-volume 1930s treatise The Arya-Incas, called the Mayan civilization "unquestionably Hindu." He proposed that primitive Aryan words and people came to America by the island chains of Polynesia. The Mexican name for boat is a South Indian Tamil word, Catamaran, and Poindexter gives a long list of words of the Quichua languages and their analogous forms in Sanskrit. Similarities between the hymns of the Inca rulers of Peru and Vedic hymns have been pointed out. A. L. Krober has also found striking similarities between the structure of Indo-European and the Penutian language of some of the tribes along the northwestern coast of California. Recently, an Indian scholar, B. C. Chhabra, in his "Vestiges of Indian Culture in Hawaii", has noticed certain resemblances between the symbols found in the petroglyphs from the Hawaiian Islands and those on the Harappan seals. Some of the symbols in the petroglyphs are described as akin to early Brahmi script.
Indeed, the parallels between the arts and culture of India and those of ancient America are too numerous and close to be attributed to independent growth. A variety of art forms are common to Mexico, India, Java, and Indochina, the most striking of which are the Teocallis, the pyramids with receding stages, faced with cut stone, and with stairways leading to a stone sanctuary on top. Many share surprisingly common features such as serpent columns and banisters, vaulted galleries and corbeled arches, attached columns, stone cut-out lattices and Atlantean figures; these are typical of the Puuc style of Yucatan. Heine-Geldern and Ekholm point out that temple pyramids in Cambodia did not become important until the ninth and tenth centuries, a time coinciding with the beginning of the Puuc period.http://www.veda.harekrsna.cz/connections/Americas.php#1