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Why do European People Need Yoga?

Andrey Verba
I hope you have been in India and you have an idea about this diverse and multicultural country. And some of you even practice yoga – a certain school or style. Then you will surely be interested to hear little-known facts from the past which will allow a modern man practice yoga more consciously, conceiving your nature. And maybe someone will obtain a desire for a better understanding of a topic brought out in this article.

So how did it all start?

When first time I got to the sources of the Ganges, I was impressed by wise men whom I met on a narrow path from Gangotri to Gomukha and surroundings. And it not only concerns their vigor. There was a language barrier between us and I couldn’t understand what they were saying in Hindi except for the international greeting – Hari Om. J I was impressed with their look – their delicate face features. Anywhere else in India I haven’t met such concentrated amount of people with facial features alike to the European people of Russian. The conclusion obvious - the people in our countries have common genetic and therefore of cultural and moral roots. It was another call of motivation for a better understanding why also in this life I began to practice yoga?

Academic texts that have escaped the fires and survived till our days state that the first mention of India was made by a Tver merchant Athanasius Nikitin. In the XV century he traveled to this distant country and brought the information about it recorded in the travel notes "A Journey Beyond the Three Seas”. Later travels to India continued ​​in the XVIII century by Philip Yefremov and Gerasim Lebedev. The last one was so carried away by Indian culture that he learned Bengali, Hindustani, Sanskrit and had lived in India for 12 years. In the early XX century the first Russian Imperial General Consulate was established. This organization became a fundamental factor for essentially new relationship between Russia and India. This has contributed to the growth of trade and economic relations, increase of Russian visits to India and Indians to Russia, and most importantly - spiritual rapprochement of the two countries.

But so only economic and political relations unite our countries? Is our friendship with India based only on successful diplomacy and trade? Recent studies indicate that our culture has common basis that lies deep in the past, centuries and millenniums ago. There is a much close and subtle connection between us which is barely visible for an eye but can be felt, that probably transferred at the genes level. Separated by mountains, many countries and states, historical ups and downs experienced individually, with time people of Europe and India lost the traditions and memories of an erstwhile connection. Let's see what can now be found online about the relationship between our countries besides business and diplomacy.

Hints of ancient texts, symbols and signs.

The fundamental author of the theory of community is Bal Gangadhar Tilak. He was born in 1856 in the Konkan region (the west coast of India) in a family of Brahmins - the representatives of that layer of the intellectual Indian elite, which is famous for the knowledge of traditions associated with the religion of Hinduism. Due to the fact that he knew from the early childhood Sanskrit (the language representing Indian culture) learned from his father and teachers among the Brahmins, he received a Bachelor degree in Philology. He has published several philosophical treatises, giving comments on the unclear parts of Vedas. In my opinion the most important work of his life was the book "The Arctic Home in the Vedas", published in 1903. It was published in 1925.

A brief summary of his research would look as following.

Ancient texts - Veda, Rigveda and Shastras - sometimes describe the events in the night sky concerning stars and other natural phenomenon that can be observed in the territories located far north of modern India. He suggested that perhaps the authors of those writings lived in the northern latitudes of our planet. I recommend to read the whole book. You can easily find it online.

In cultural terms between the European culture and ancient Indian scriptures there is much more than just similarity. You can call it a parallel or copying.

The story of Indra's victory over the serpent Vritra is surprisingly common with some archaic versions of “The book of the Dove" which tells about a snake who didn’t let people drink water (by the way, Vritra is a demon of drought). Regarding this, another mythological parallel may be noted. The myth of eternal war between Volos, the god of cattle, and Perun in the European mythology bonds to Vedic mythology. Aryan Indra, the god of thunder, accompanied by Brihaspati and Angiras rescues cows, imprisoned in an underground cave by a demon Vala. There is a version that in Rus (Ruthenia) Volos god was placed under a mountain and Perun stood on the top of it. One version of the name origin of Perun derives from Sanskrit word parvata – meaning “mountain”. Volos is under the mountain and Vala in a mountain cave; Perun is on the top of the hill and Indra comes from a Mount Meru - the similarities are obvious.

The goddess Lada is alike to the Vedic Lakshmi. If you think of their activities and what awards they bring to their worshipers – the correlation is apparent.

The ancient  Epic text "The book of Yarila" records of the acts of Bus Beloyar. He was called BuddAy - "The one who has awakened and awakens other from "sleep". That’s mote of a title than a name. Moreover the book describes the story how a serpent tried to mislead Bus on his path. Relates to the Buddha of the Shakya clan. Before his liberation from the illusion of Maya he also was inhibited in many ways by Mara. And later on through all of his life he helped people bringing knowledge.

Grigory Bongard-Levin and Edvin Grantovsky showed the similarities of our cultures on the basis of the story written by Nikolai Gogol "Viy". Many times researchers analyzed the plot and characters of this novel, they also found correlation to East Slavic folklore, but the image of the Viy remains unexplained. Moreover there was a suggestion that he is a fiction. Meanwhile, Nikolai Gogol was perfectly familiar with the Ukrainian folk tradition claimed that the image of Viy and so his name belong to the folklore and the whole novel "is a folk story". Based on this the one of the researchers Vasiliy Abaev concluded that the image and the name of the Viy goes back to the ancient pre-Christian eastern Slavic god Vay “Vay” is a restructured form that can naturally reflects Ukrainian Viy and meets Indian and Iranian god of wind and death Vayu. Vayu takes an important place in the ancient Aryan pantheon: Indo-Aryans and Iranians worshiped him as a god of wind, wars, the grantor of fame and fortune. But since ancient times he also retained opposite qualities - he could also bring retribution for negative karma.

The rituals and customs of European and Indian people also have certain similarities. Now we can certainly say that they are based on the ancient tradition of the Aryans. Thus an Indian scientist R. Pandey describing the funeral Hindu ceremonies, mentions a reed bundle which is "evidently to serve the purpose of boat to the dead". The reed bundle as a boat is an image of the ship sailing between the Yav world and "the other world". Some elements of Aryan funeral rites preserved up to the beginning of 20th century at the Greben Cossacks in their Trinity ritual of “sailing ships" of the Terek. Ahmad ibn Fadlan gives a very detailed description of a Rus funeral in his "Memoirs". "For a poor man they make a small boat, put him inside and burn it. At the death of a rich man, they bring together his goods, and divide them into three parts. The first of these is for his family. The second is expended for the garments they make. And with the third they purchase strong drink, for the day when the girl resigns herself to death, and will be burned with her master… When the day had come that the dead man and the girl were to be committed to the flames, I went to the river where his ship lay, but found it had already been drawn ashore. The dead man lay at a distance in his grave, from which they had not yet removed him. … The family of the dead men drew near, and taking a piece of wood, lit the ship. The ship was soon aflame, as was the couch, the man, the girl, and everything in it. The Northman had said: "You Arabs are stupid! You would take him who is the most revered and beloved among men, and cast him into the ground, to be devoured by creeping things and worms. We, on the other hand, burn him in a twinkling, so that he instantly, without a moment's delay, enters into Paradise.” Then they built on the site of the vessel something like a round hill, inserted a large tree, wrote the name of the deceased person and the name of the Russian Tsar on it and left". As we can see, the basis of Hindu and Rus funeral rites is an ancient tradition of the Aryans.

In ancient Northen Europe there were a large number of different types of solar signs. They decorated national costumes, banners, weapons, churches , household items and Slavic houses. Kolovrat (swastika) is the main and almost one of a kind among elements of Northen European ornaments. There were about 144 versions of this sign. All symbols have a protection (security) or religious (sacred) significance. If you take a look at almost any religious building in India (by the way so as Nepal, China, Iran, Syria and others) be sure to find solar symbols in the design of facades and interior decoration.

Geographical names.

Mahabharata is the greatest monument of culture, science and history of the ancestors of all the Indo-European people. So as other ancient Indian scriptures It recalls names of rivers and ponds and they almost literally coincide with the names of the rivers of modern central and northern Russia and even have a correlation in location. The country of Bharata and the epic event described in the epos take place at Kurukshetra in the third millennium BC. But we know that at that time Aryan tribes had not yet reached Iran and India. In the mid 20th century a German scientist Scherer suggested that the ancestral home of the Indo-Europeans was situated on the territory of Russia, and according to the texts of the Rigveda and the Avesta in the 3 millennium BC Aryans lived in Eastern Europe. The sacred Zoroastrian book of Avesta dated 2nd century BC speaks of the river Rangha or Rha; Rigveda and Mahabharata - of the river Ganges, which fully complies with one of the major Russian rivers - Volga. These scriptures give locations of a number of the Aryan countries, including Bharata, which was located between Ganga and Yamuna (in Rigveda and Mahabharata). According to writings Yamuna is the largest tributary of the Ganges in the south-west. Hence such tributary of the Volga is Oka. According to the Aryan texts the second name of the Yamuna river was Kala. Up till now, the mouth of Oka locals call Kala.

In 1927 an academician Alexey Sobolevskiy in his book "The names of the rivers and lakes of the Russian North" wrote: "The starting point of my work is an assumption that the two sets of names (rivers and lakes ) are related to each other and belong to the Indo-European language family, which until I find a more appropriate term name Scythian".

This similarity between languages arises not only in the names of basins. For example the northern city of Arkhangelsk was founded on the site of the Northen settlements that were named Pur-Navolok. "Pur " translates from Sanskrit as "city".

In the second half of the 19th century in provinces of Vologda , Arkhangelsk , Olonets certain names of villages were common such as: Purovo , Purino, Pura , Purka , Purkino. The word Kurukshetra (the place where the main battle of the Mahabharata happened) consists of two words “Kuru” and “Kshetra”. “Kuru- field” means "the field or land of the country Kuru or Kauravas". In Russian we use Kursk field (is quite consonant with the Sanskrit “Kuru”).

An eminent linguist Vasiliy Abaev wrote: "Through a series of centuries Aryas carried the memory of their ancestral home and the great river Volga (Ra) . Vedic word “Race” derives from "Ra" which is the name of a mythical river that encircles the earth".

Interesting information is brought out by Svetlana Zharnikova : in "Walking on Krynica" of Mahabharata there are descriptions of more than 200 ponds and reservoirs located in the sacred land of Bharata in ancient Aryan basins of Ganges and Yamuna around 3150 B.C. Only using this example you can convince even the most ardent skeptic (first listed the name of a "holy of spring" in Mahabharata then the name of a reservoirs in modern territory of Oka region). Agastya – Agashka; Aksha – Aksha; Apaga – Apaka; Archika – Archikov; Asita – Asata; Ahalya – Ahalenka; Vadava – Vad; Vamana – Vamna; Vansha – Vansha; Varaha – Varakh; Varadhana – Varaduna; Kaveri –Kaverka; Khedara – Kindra; Hubdzha – Kubja; Kumara – Kumarevka; Kushika – Kushka; Manusha – Manushinskoy; Pariplava – Plava; Plaksha – Plaksa; Lake Rama - Lake Rama; Sita – Sit; Soma – Som; Sutirtha – Sutertki; Tushni – Tushina; Urvansh – Urvanovsky; Ushanas – Ushanes; Shankhini – Shankini; Shona – Shana; Shiva – Shivskaya; Yakshini – Yakshina.

On the territory of Northern Europe many names of rivers and lakes can translated from Sanskrit only. In 19th century in province of Olonets (modern Karelia) there was a river called the Sagar stream. Close to the Lake Onega there are rivers called Shiva , Ganesh and Padma. Next to the rivers you can still find two Ganga lakes and a mountain called Gandamadana. In the Vologda region there is a river Sukhona which can be translated from Sanskrit as “the one that can be easily crossed”. There are many rivers with similar roots to "kava " - "sacrificed food" - Kavakaurya, Large Kaurets, Small Kaurets, Dry Kaurets, Kaursky, Kaurov.

Let’s take a look at an ancient epos of Ramayana. An interesting point occurs - Queen Kaikeyi exiles Rama into the forest for 12 years. And one of the conditions was to wear clothes made of birch bark. Can you imagine a birch tree in the hot Indian climate which can give enough bark to make clothes? Neither can I. Perhaps the events described in the epos took place in latitudes where birch-trees are normal for the forest?

Language similarity.

From rock inscriptions of the King Ashoka (273-232 B.C.) and books of the outstanding linguist Patanjali it appears that in 300 B.C. in northern India a common language was used that included several significantly different dialects. It developed as a result of mispronunciation of the Aryan language by women, children and the Shudras.

This vernacular is called the Prakrit from word “Prakriti” (nature) meaning "natural, rustic, rough". Being more specific it is called secondary Prakrit unlike primary Prakrit which already existed in the time of Vedas and which was the source for the secondary Prakrit or vulgar Sanskrit. Attempting to save the "language of the Gods" from a damaged Prakrit Vedic scholars and pundits cleared it and restricted with grammatical rules. This purified and ennobled language was named Sanskrit.

As a tool of expressing thoughts Sanskrit is beyond any comparison to any modern language. It combines the possibility of philosophic thought transfer and poetic writing full of associative meanings. Spoken Sanskrit has less expressive options.

Despite the similarity the ancient Sanskrit surely shouldn’t be compared to the modern Russian language. For an adequate comparison the languages should be approximately of the same development stage. That leads us from the modern and even Cyrillic letters down to the more ancient Northen graphics system – Runes. They also contained syllables - each character corresponds to two sounds: a consonants and a vowel. Runic alphabet divides into "ligature" and "linear" and was usually used for sacred writings. For both types of letters a presence of a vertical stroke is inherent. Both belong to the same linguistic and graphic group of the eastern branch of the Indo-European languages called ​"Satem". However Slavic Runes are little probably because of geopolitical reasons, hence could be proposed as a basis for Devanagari only as a hypothesis. If you leave aside the efforts of finding the origin, and instead focus on the parallels between Russian and Sanskrit, we may find many interesting things.

In the early 1960s the Indian Sanskrit researcher Durga Prasad Shastri visited Russia. After two weeks of stay, he asked his interpreter to stop translate because everything was clear. He called Russian a modified form of the Sanskrit language. Upon his return to India he published an article about the affinity of Sanskrit and Russian. And at the Meerut district conference of the Indo-Soviet Cultural Society (February 22-23, 1964, the city of Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh ) he reported : “If I were asked what two languages of the world resembled each other most, I would reply without hesitation: 'Russian and Sanskrit. And not because some of the words in both languages ​​are alike just as in many languages ​​belonging to the same linguistic family.

In all European languages are found a great number of words having the same root, but the common ground ends there. But in the Slavic languages, in addition to the coincidence of 60% of word roots, the very structures of the languages, which change the least over time, are identical. In addition another big similarity is grammar - a matter of deep curiosity for all who are familiar with linguistics and who wishes to know more about the close ties set back in the distant past between the people of the USSR and India.

The young languages of the Indo-European group, such as English, French, German, and even Hindi, which directly goes back to Sanskrit, must use the verb 'is,' without which the sentences given above cannot exist in any one of these languages. Only Russian and Sanskrit can manage without the link verb 'is,' while remaining completely correct, both grammatically and idiomatically. The word 'is' is also very similar in both, 'est' in Russian and 'asti' in Sanskrit and yet another 'estestvo' in Russian and 'Astitva' in Sanskrit meaning 'existence' in both. You can hardly find another two different languages ​​that preserve the ancient heritage to the present day. Thus, it becomes clear that not only similar syntax and word order , the very expressiveness and spirit is retained in these languages ​​in an unaltered original form. It's time to focus on the study of the two largest branches of the Indo-European family and discover some dark chapters of ancient history for the benefit of all peoples".

Sanskrit is an ancient language with a complex synthetic grammar. According to one version the word "Sanskrit" means "refined, perfect ". Aryans who migrated to India spoke so-called Vedic Sanskrit , which is also called Devanagari or "the language from the home of Gods", the language of consciousness or the language of nature. The language of the overwhelming majority of philosophical, fictional, scientific and religious texts of the ancient times on the basis of which Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda and Atharvaveda were written, and all the Brahmins (priest book), Aranyakas (books of forest hermits) and the Upanishads (religious and philosophical writings). Much later “polished” language of Mahabharata, Ramayana and Kalidasa's works, is known as epic Sanskrit. Language of the rest of Vedic literature called classical Sanskrit.

It is believed that rhyming in Sanskrit is very similar to the modern poetry. One talking Devanagari used verses. While reading Buddhist Sutras or Jatakas you will come across a double narration. First a speaker uses the language of the majority present at the meeting to bring the thought, and then speaks in Sanskrit for “foreign” guests (alien) and for deeper explanation of his thoughts. May that not surprise you but in Sutras it is described that representatives from other planets periodically visited Buddha and his disciples to listen the teaching about self-development. This adds to the perception of Devanagari as " the language from the home of Gods".

As described earlier in his report Durga Prasad Shastri was struck by the similarity between the languages ​​in an everyday life. We give examples of just a small part of words (Sanskrit – Russian - English):

Mata – mat – mother; matra – matr – mother (Ukrainian матiр); nana –nyanya – nanny; pardada – praded – great grandfather; svakar – svekr – brother-in-law; svaka – svoyak – in-law relation; tata –tyatya – father (Ukrainian татo); snusha – snokha – daughter-in-law; sunu/suna – syn – son.

Purva – pervy – first; dva – dva – two; dvi – dve – two; dvaya – dvoe – both; treat – tretiy – third; trayas – troye – all three; chatvara – chetvero – all four; chatura – chetyre – four; dashan – desyat – ten.

Etad – eto – this; etaih – eti – these; etat – etot – this; ete – te – those; te – tebe – to you; vas- vas – you (formal); to – to – that; ta- ta – that (feminine); tatsama – tot samiy – that exact; tatha – tak – in such manner; tva – tvoy – your;

Asti – est – is (to be); kudas – kuda – where; stupa – stupa – mortar (or also stupa); tvar – tvorit – create; vatar – veter – wind; ghore – gore – misery, terrible; dam – dom – house; dara – dyra – hole; dvare – dveri – doors; laghu – legkiy – light; lad – ladit – get along with; lala- lyalya – baby; nava- novyi – new; nitya – nit – thred; nihina – nizina – callow; ned – net – no; para- para – pair; phena – pena – foam; svaya – svoy – personal; suha – suho – dry; hlad – holod – frost; chashaka – chashka – cup; yuna – yuniy – young; yama – yama – hollow (meaning end).

It is believed that the sounds of Sanskrit are in natural harmony with the cosmic vibrations, so even a listening to Sanskrit texts or reading would gain a salutary effect on the body and the human mind as well as contribute to the spiritual search. Therefore, in Vedic society it was recommended to study Sanskrit within couples, teach Sanskrit to children. Having common roots we are obliged to develop and integrate our cultures, find more and more similarities, revive customs and traditions of our ancestors, preserve and protect our language.

In support to everything said above a relatively young science and DNA-genealogy studies the change in the Y-chromosome of a human. The changes occur naturally through mutation with a very slow speed (about 1 mutation per 200 years). Based on the data a resettlement of people can be traced throughout the planet. Anatoly Klyosov in his work "The Origin of the Slavs and the other peoples" writes:

"From everything stated above, it inevitably follows that the"Indo-Europeans " have an ancient genus R1a1. Aryans. Then everything, or at least much, falls into place - and with the arrival of people of this kind to India and Iran, and the spread of people of the same race all over Europe, and the emergence of Indo-European languages, since it is actually Aryan language and its dialects".

In his studies Anatoliy Klyosov shows that so far most of the higher castes (Brahmins and Kshatriyas) in India belong to the Aryan haplogroup R1a1 (about half, sometimes this indicator reaches 72 %). And the highest concentration of this group is presented in the northeastern part of India, which historically corresponds to the Aryan arrival model.

Based on these facts and comparisons we can conclude that between our cultures there is much in common. The word "yoga" can be translated from Sanskrit as "connection" and , probably, it is able to restore the lost connection with our ancient culture, memory, and the goal of our presence on this planet.

Andrey Verba.

videos Andrey Verba.

P.S.: To get in touch with sacred places of the world, experience the connection with ancient roots yourself, you can join the “Yoga Tour to India – Nepal” and yoga tour "The great expedition to Tibet" with Andrew Verba.

If you have a possibility – join us.

P.P.S.: If you have a desire to get acquainted with a monumental works on this subject, here is a brief list of articles and books:

B. G. Tilak "The Arctic Home in the Vedas", 1965

B. A. Rybakov “Ancient Slavic Paganism”, 1981

O. N. Trubachev “Names of rivers of the Right-bank Ukraine”, 1968

O. N. Trubachev “Linguistic peripherals of ancient Slavs”

Indo- Aryans in the northern Black Sea coast / Linguistic questions # 6, 1977

A.S. Seybutis “Migration of the post-glacial man as a reflection of changes of ecological conditions “/ Proceedings of high schools of the Lithuanian SSR, series "Geography”, VIII, 1982

N. R. Guseva “Arctic Home in the Vedas? // Who are they and where they come from?” Ancient Slavs and Aryans connection, 1998

N. R. Guseva “A brief summary of matching and similar Russian words and Sanskrit ( 400 words )”, the same collection

S. V. Zharnikova “Ancient secrets of the Russian North”, the same collection

S. V. Zharnikova “Hydronyms of the Russian North” (Experience of decryption from Sanskrit ), the same collection

Durga Prasad Shastri “The relationship between the Russian and Sanskrit”, the same collection

Marina Kachaeva “Treasures of the Russian ornament” 2 vol 2008

E. Elachich “Far North as the birthplace of humanity”, 1910 .

A.A. Klyosov "The Origin of the Slavs and the other peoples"