How far back in Time do India’s connections with outside the subcontinent go? Very difficult to compute when one considers that the Precursor to the Roman civilization knew about the Ramayan!!
A long held mystery sketch From Etruscia recently had Indologists very excited over a possible interpretation: that it could conceivably be a representation of the two queens of Dasrath, Kaushalya and Kaikeyi sharing portions of the payasam with Sumitra. Does that sound very far-fetched?
What about the story of the founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus, offspring of a divine father who were raised by a she-wolf? Etymologists find a startling resemblance between the Sanskrit words for ‘Rishi’ and ‘Vriki’, sage and she-wolf, making it perhaps the story of Luv and Kush?
Western Italy was home to a seafaring nation, the Etruscans whose superior cultural exploits by intentionally obliterated by the barbaric Romans who rose in 300 B.C.
Mysterious surviving fragments of artifacts reveal insights of the amount of interaction between the India of the Epics and the Etruscans, with Indian influences even in the styles of clothing, jewelry and even dancing. Un-deciphered inscriptions can be identified with episodes that abound with the names of Dasrath, Hanuman, Sugreev and even Devki Nandan Krishna in their tales, their sculpted works and sketches. Features of the Etruscan men and women show especially large eyes like Indian ones and distinctly Asian attire with a sari-like garment that covered the head – perhaps later fashioned into the Roman togas.
In common with other ancient civilizations, the Etruscans also cremated their dead. The burial process was a post Christian development that came along with the rejection of so-called pagan customs by the newly minted Christians converts.
Much like our traditional building practices, Etruscans temples stood elevated, rising over series of steps for the faithful to rise up to witness the glory of the Lord; and the their homes were built around a central courtyard that offered fresh air and ventilation, just like our own traditional homes used too.
Etruscan jewellery too seems to have borrowed from and much influenced by the Indian civilization.
Further Indian connections are available more than halfway across the world from Italy, in Peru in western South America. There, the shamans, the traditional healers or medicine men brewed specialized infusions, using recipes and ingredients again startlingly similar to those we are so proud of in our ancient medical repertoire.
Amazonian basil is a South American basil used to prepare infusions for “Ayuhuasca” rituals. This word is often translated as ‘ the vine of the soul’ or ‘the vine of the dead’.
These infusions enhance connect with the spiritual world in much the way that Soma-rasa and Amrit-rasa were regarded as elixirs of spiritualism, not to be used as intoxicants. One of the ingredient herbs is Justicia Pectoralis, known in Sanskrit as ‘vasaka’, again well known to us.
In India, ‘Ayuhuma’ is known as ‘parusa’ or ‘neel parna’ or ‘naga linga’. Ayurveda recognized its antibiotic, antifungal, antiseptic and analgesic qualities. Naga linga trees, associated with Lord Shiva are planted in Shiva temples.