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Matsya protecting Svayambhuva Manu and the seven sages at the time of Deluge

Startling Similarity between Hindu Flood Legend of Manu and the Biblical Account of Noah

In 1872, the amateur Assyriologist, George Smith, made a discovery that would shock the world. Whilst studying a particular tablet from the ancient Mesopotamian city of Nineveh, he comes across a story that many would have been familiar with. When Smith succeeded in deciphering the text, he realized that the tablet contained an ancient Mesopotamian myth that paralleled the story of Noah’s Ark from the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament.

Today, we are aware that flood myths are found not only in Near Eastern societies, but also in many other ancient civilizations throughout the world. Accounts of a great deluge are seen in ancient Sumerian tablets, the Deucalion in Greek mythology, the lore of the K’iche’ and Maya peoples in Mesoamerica, the Gun-Yu myth of China, the stories of the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa tribe of North America, and the stories of the Muisca people, to name but a few. One of the oldest and most interesting accounts originates in Hindu mythology, and while there are discrepancies, it does bear fascinating similarity to the story of Noah and his ark.

‘The Deluge’ by Francis Danby, 1840.

‘The Deluge’ by Francis Danby, 1840. ( Wikimedia Commons )

The Hindu flood myth is found in several different sources. The earliest account is said to have been written in the Vedic Satapatha Brahmana , whilst later accounts can be found in the Puranas, including the Bhagavata Purana and the Matsya Purana , as well as in the Mahabharata. Regardless, all these accounts agree that the main character of the flood story is a man named Manu Vaivasvata. Like Noah, Manu is described as a virtuous individual. The Satapatha Brahmana , for instance, has this to say about Manu: “There lived in ancient time a holy man / Called Manu, who, by penances and prayers, / Had won the favour of the lord of heaven.”

Manu was said to have three sons before the flood – Charma, Sharma, and Yapeti, while Noah also had three sons – Ham, Shem, and Japheth.

Both Noah and Manu are described as virtuous men.  ‘Noah and his Ark’ by Charles Wilson Peale, 1819

Both Noah and Manu are described as virtuous men.  ‘Noah and his Ark’ by Charles Wilson Peale, 1819 ( Wikimedia Commons )

In the Book of Genesis, the cause of mankind’s destruction is given as such, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. / And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. / And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.”

Augsburger Wunderzeichenbuch, Folio 1 (Genesis 7, 11-14), 1552.

Augsburger Wunderzeichenbuch, Folio 1 (Genesis 7, 11-14), 1552. ( Wikimedia Commons )

In the story of Manu, however, the destruction of the world is treated as part of the natural order of things, rather than as a divine punishment. It is written in the Matsya Purana that “Manu then went to the foothills of Mount Malaya and started to perform tapasya (meditation). Thousands and thousands of years passed. Such were the powers of Manu‘s meditation that Brahma appeared before him. “I am pleased with your prayers,” said Brahma. “Ask for a boon [favor].” “I have only one boon to ask for,” replied Manu. “Sooner or later there will be a destruction (pralaya) and the world will no longer exist. Please grant me the boon that it will be I who will save the world and its begins at the time of the destruction.” Brahma readily granted this boon.”  

In the flood myth from the Old Testament, God who saves Noah by instructing him to build an Ark. In the Hindu version of the story, it is also through divine intervention, in the form of the god Vishnu, that mankind is preserved from total destruction. In this story, the god appears to Manu in the form of a little fish whilst he was performing his ablutions in a pond. Manu kept the fish, which grew so quickly that its body occupied the entire ocean in a matter of days. It was then that Vishnu revealed his identity to Manu, told him about the impending destruction, and the way to save humanity. There is also a large boat involved in this story too. Vishnu instructed Manu to build a boat and fill it with animals and seeds to repopulate the earth:

O kind-hearted man, you have care in your heart, listen now. Soon the world will be submerged by a great flood, and everything will perish. You must build strong ark, and take along rope on board. you must also take with you the Seven Sages, who have existed since the beginning of time, and seeds of all things and pair of each animal, when you are ready, I will come to you as Fish and I will have horns on my head. Do not forget my words, without me you cannot escape from the flood.

When the time came, Manu was to tie the boat to the horn of fish, so that it could be dragged around. Interestingly, this would not be the only time that Vishnu saves mankind from destruction, as he would re-appear as avatars over the course of time to preserve life on earth.   

Incarnation of Vishnu as a Fish, from a devotional text.

Incarnation of Vishnu as a Fish, from a devotional text. ( Wikimedia Commons )

After the flood, Noah’s Ark is said to have rested on mountains of Ararat. Similarly, Manu’s boat was described as being perched on the top of a range of mountains (the Malaya Mountains in this case) when the waters had subsided. Both Noah and Manu were then said to repopulate the earth, and all human beings could trace their ancestry to either one of these flood survivors.

‘Noah's ark on Mount Ararat’ by Simon de Myle, 1570 AD.

‘Noah's ark on Mount Ararat’ by Simon de Myle, 1570 AD. ( Wikimedia Commons )

Featured image: Matsya protecting Svayambhuva Manu and the seven sages at the time of Deluge ( Wikimedia Commons )

References

International Gita Society, 2015. All 18 Major Puranas. [Online]
Available at: http://www.gita-society.com/scriptures/ALL18MAJORPURANAS.IGS.pdf

The Bible: Standard King James Version, 2015. [Online]
Available at: http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/

Wilkins, W. J., 1900. Hindu Mythology, Vedic and Puranic. [Online]
Available at: http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/hmvp/hmvp19.htm

www.bbc.co.uk, 2015. A History of the World in 100 Objects, Episode16: Flood Tablet. [Online]
Available here.

www.mysteryofindia.com, 2014. Similarities between Noah’s Ark and Manu’s Boat. [Online]
Available at: http://www.mysteryofindia.com/2014/12/similarities-noahs-ark-manus-boat.html

www.mythencyclopedia.com, 2015. Floods. [Online]
Available at: http://www.mythencyclopedia.com/Fi-Go/Floods.html

By Ḏḥwty

Comments

Deception and forgery by Francis_Wilford (The Charma, Sharma, Yapethi forgery comes from him)

Wilford later admitted his guilt; according to Indira Ghose, that the Hindu expert who had been providing him manuscripts and who had been assisting him in his studies of sacred texts had corroborated the veracity of his religious theories. Wilford said:[7]

In order to avoid the trouble of consulting books, he conceived the idea of framing legends from what he recollected from the Puranas, and from what he had picked up in conversation with me. As he was exceedingly well read in the Puranas, and other similar books ...it was an easy task for him; and he studied to introduce as much truth as he could, to obviate the danger of immediate detection...His forgeries were of three kinds; in the first there was only a word or two altered; in the second were such legends as had undergone a more material alteration; and in the third all those which he had written from memory.(Wilford 1805:251)[8]

This deception of Wilford had become the theme of general campaign by European intellectuals to belittle Indian learning against some respect which it had before. This was followed by flurry of other claims of deceptions by Indian informants in the fields of Medicine, Astronomy, and Literature. Wilford wrote to H.H. Wilson that:

he was really disgusted with the blunders, anachronisms, contradictions, etc,. of the puranics [Pandits versed in the Puranas] and their followers

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Wilford

"Indeed the gross imposition practised on Captain Wilford and Sir William Jones in the supposed Sanscrit account of Noah and his three sons under the names of Satyavarnam Sherma Charma and Jyapeti forged in the Padma Puran and translated by Sir William Jones Asiat Research Vol iii p 67 262 octavo are abundantly sufficient to justify the charge of disingenuousness in the modern Pundits or interpreters "

Page 198
Chronology and geography William Hales - January 1, 1830
C.J.G. & F. Rivington - Publisher

free ebook
https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=iEqky3l6riQC&printsec=frontc...

There is a painting in temple of edfu in egypt which depicts seven sages traveling in a boat. I believe these are the same seven sages, Saptarishi, who traveled with manu in his boat during the flood, as depicted in the picture above.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saptarishi

On the inner face of the enclosure wall of the ancient egyptian Temple of Edfu near Luxor, it’s written that the temple was built by the dictates of the Ancestors, also known as the Seven Sages, the Senior Ones, and the Followers of Horus, who lived on he Primeval Mound, which was consumed by a flood, the Seven Sages having ostensibly created the new world after the flood, the temples according to their design, for instance, of the Great Pyramid of Giza

https://dancingfromgenesis.wordpress.com/2010/03/12/egyptian-temple-of-e...

The Edfu ‘building texts’ are sacred texts on the temple walls that speak of a time thousands of years before the first king of the First Dynasty sat on the throne of Egypt. It is a veritable library in the form of acres of hieroglyphs carved on the towering limestone walls of the temple itself. These texts speak of the original historical temple of Edfu being the gods’ ‘genuine Great Seat of the First Occasion’. The texts also refer to ancient books and writings handed down from the early primeval age, what the ancient Egyptians called the ‘Zep Tepi’, the time of Osiris and Horus. The texts speak of an epoch far back in the mists of time, in which a group of beings known as the Seven Sages (or sometimes the ‘builder gods’) were believed to have settled in Egypt and picked out various points along the Nile where temples were to be established.

http://www.secretofthesacredscarab.com/map/edfu/popup1.asp

The texts of ancient Sumer and Babylon also ascribe great power to the "Seven Sages," explaining that they were the ones who founded or laid out the plan of the sacred city of Uruk (tablet one, line 19 -- also discussed in pages 300-302 in Hamlet's Mill). There, we read:

Go close to the Eanna Temple, the residence of Ishtar,
such as no later king or man ever equaled!
Go up on the wall of Uruk and walk around,
examine its foundation, inspect its brickwork thoroughly.
Is not (even the core of) the brick structure made of kiln-fired brick,
and did not the Seven Sages themselves lay out its plans?
One league city, one league palm gardens, one league lowlands, the open area(?) of the Ishtar Temple,
three leagues and the open area(?) of Uruk it (the wall) encloses.

Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval note that:

In the whole corpus of ancient Egyptian writings, the Edfu Building Texts preserve the only references to the 'Seven Sages' that have survived to the present day. Egyptologists have therefore paid little attention to the identity of these beings beyond conceding that they appear to have played a part in 'a much wider and more general theory concerning the origin of sacred domains and their temples.' In our opinion, however, there is something notable about the context in which the Texts describe the Sages. This context is marked by a preponderance of 'Flood' imagery in which the 'primeval waters' (out of which the Great Primeval Mound emerged) are depicted as gradually receding. We are reminded of Noah's mountain-top on which the Ark settled after the Biblical Deluge, and of the 'Seven Sages' (Apkallu) of ancient Babylonian tradition who were said to have 'lived before the Flood' and to have built the walls of the sacred city of Uruk. Likewise is it an accident that in Indian tradition 'Seven Sages' (Rishis) are remembered to have survived the Flood, their purpose being to preserve and pass down to future generations the wisdom of the antediluvian world? 200-201.
http://mathisencorollary.blogspot.in/2012/09/the-seven-rishis.html

Why does the story of Noah speak about these seven sages/builder gods ?

Why does the story of Noah speak NOT about these seven sages/builder gods ?

it doesn't

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