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KRONOS Vol IX, No. 2
THE HAMON-GABRIEL-MARS CONNECTIONTo the Editor of KRONOS:
I see that Dwardu Cardona has referred to Velikovsky's Sources [henceforth VS] in his article "The Archangels" in KRONOS VIII:2. pp. 27-28. This prompts me to make a few comments.
(1) The point I am making inVS1, p. 12 is that Isaiah's most direct reference to Martian catastrophism is Is.33:3. This point is not fairly represented by Mr. Cardona's extract from my book.
To make Is.33:3 into Martian catastrophism does involve (WIC, p. 280) the tumult-hamon-Hamon-Gabriel-Origen-war-Mars network of associations; and though it is true that the tumult-Mars link does not depend on the inclusion of Origen in the list (on which subject more below in 3), nevertheless, Mr. Cardona's correction is a relatively minor one, since Is.33 :3 remains, as I state in VS, a tortuously indirect and nebulous piece of "evidence" for Martian catastrophism. I find it very difficult to take seriously the idea that Isaiah is describing an era of catastrophe induced by the planet Mars when the closest we get to a mention of Mars is Is.33:3. Thus when the remarks which Mr. Cardona quotes from VSI, p. 12 are considered in their proper context - viz. a commentary on the Martian content of the Book of Isaiah - those remarks are far from being out of order; and indeed I note that Mr. Cardona does not actually go so far as to tell me that I am outrightly wrong in what I say. Presumably he does acknowledge, therefore, that by no stretch of the imagination can Is.33 :3 be dubbed a good, solid and direct reference to Velikovsky's scenario!
(2) I do not "object" to the statements that "hamon" means "tumult", or to the statement that Hamon is an alternative name for Gabriel. What I do object to or what I am not happy with is the assumption that because the word "hamon" is used for "tumult" in Is.33:3, therefore the reference is necessarily to the planet Mars. The word "hamon" is also used for "tumult" in l Sam.4: 14 (why has Mr. Cardona edited out my other Biblical hamons here?), but I rather doubt that any of us would see Martian significance in that!*
As a matter of fact I am rather dubious about whether "hamon" in Is.33:3 necessarily implicates Gabriel, except via rabbinical-type deduction and wordplay as encountered in VS4, sections 43-5 . After all, in Act 3, Scene 4, of King Lear, Edgar talks of being led "through ford and whirlpool", but this can hardly be taken as a reference to Mistress Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor! Finally, the assertion that Is.33:3 refers to Mars is "according to V", as I state.
(3) I do not claim that Gabriel is never associated directly with the planet Mars. The references to Trachtenberg, in which Gabriel is directly associated with the planet, I deal with in VS4, section 46, and in the notes in the forthcoming index volume, finding them to be of dubious significance, and of such a late date (as Mr. Cardona himself notes) as to render them scant justification for hailing Is.33 :3 as a decent piece of Martian catastrophism - with or without Jerome's "insight"! Indeed, Velikovsky himself seems not to have been happy with the information supplied by Trachtenberg. He firstly notes that "in some medieval writings Gabriel is associated with the moon, but in one or two with Mars". The italicized words, I suspect, prompted Velikovsky to attempt to reinforce the Martian angle by recourse to the hamon-Hamon-Gabriel-Origenwar-Mars complex, hence his phrase "the following, however, makes the identification of Gabriel possible . . ." It was this chain of associations leading up to Is.33:3, of course, which prompted the exasperation evident in VSI, p. 12.
(4) In VS4 I do deal in some detail with the characters of both Michael and Gabriel (showing that for the most part they are distinctly non-planetary) and with the direct references to the planets Venus and Mars in both the Talmud and the Midrash Rabbah (showing that in no case is either planet ever associated with Velikovskian catastrophe: I follow the same sort of tack re Ginzberg on the planets in VSI, pp. 45-6). On many points I agree with Mr. Cardona, though of course I go further and reject the proposed Venusian catastrophes at the time of the Exodus as well. Since Mr. Cardona does not mention these parts of my work, I presume that, at the time of writing his article, he had not read VS4, rather than that he is guilty of "wilfully suppressing" material!
This brings me conveniently to Mr. Cardona's insinuation that I might have deliberately ignored a snippet of Ginzberg. Presumably he has it in mind that I found it too difficult for my avowedly skeptical mind to cope with. In the first place, I was not aware that I had claimed to have dealt with every single one of Velikovsky's references to Ginzberg, though I naturally hoped that I had netted most, and tried as far as possible to cover all the main ones. In the second place, as I stated in the introduction to VS2, I have not wilfully suppressed anything as "too hot to handle", and anything I have "missed out" has been missed out simply because it slipped through the net. However, I suspect that Mr. Cardona is here getting back at me for my comments on the way Velikovsky frequently ignores "inconvenient" details in the texts from which he culls his evidence, so I will assume that he (Mr. Cardona) is not really serious in his insinuations. I had perhaps best add that though I do frequently accuse Velikovsky of selectivity, I have never accused him of sharp practice!
I am grateful to Mr. Cardona for drawing my attention to this Ginzbergian omission (and indeed for drawing my attention to various points of order), but really it makes little difference to the basic issue: Is.33:3 is still far from being a decent reference to a catastrophic approach of the planet Mars. That, as I have already stated, is really the point I am making in VS1, p. 12. (In much the same way the "noga" of Is.9:2 is a very weak piece of Venusian catastrophism - see VS 1, p. 12 and VS4, sec 43.)
(5) Re the Ginzberg quote, for the noise of Gabriel's wings - and alternatives - see VS1, p. 41 and VS4, pp. 309-10. If this wing beating, etc., has anything to do with the planet Mars, then, in common parlance, I'll eat my hat.
I have not seen Aggadat Shir 5:39, and since he doesn't quote it, nor I take it has Mr. Cardona. Also, just what does Jerome say?
A Couple of Afterthoughts :
(6) One place where I have been a bit unfair to Velikovsky, I think, is in VS1, p. 42 where I have stuck rigidly to Ginzberg and forgotten about Trachtenberg (at the time I wrote VS1, I had not seen Trachtenberg). That lapse I hope to have rectified in VS4. It is worth adding here, though, that the Gabriel-Mars connection was apparently not prominent enough to merit a mention in Ginzberg, and that the dominance of the Gabriel-Moon connection must cast considerable doubt on the validity of the less prominent Gabriel-Mars connection (i.e., did the Moon beats its wings and destroy Sennacherib's army?).
This brings me to an interesting point regarding Mr. Cardona's opening paragraph ("The Cities of the Plain"): If planetary agents can be "identified" so readily and so variously, surely each must act as a "control" for the others? As an avid student of the Shakespearean authorship problem, I have long been amused by the number of rival "true" authors, each of whom supposedly "reveals" himself through "hints" concealed in the "Shakespeare" plays. My attitude has always been that if the plays can be used to "prove" so many "true" authors, then they have surely proved nothing at all. The parallel between this situation and the rival theories listed in Mr. Cardona's opening paragraph is clear enough I think.
(7) A good point made by Mr. Cardona is that "the archangels were associated with, but not identical to, the planets" (p. 30). I have repeatedly made the same point about gods and planets - namely that the two are not synonymous.
Dwardu Cardona Replies:
I disagree with Bob Forrest's claim that Isaiah 33:3 represents that prophet's "most direct reference to Martian catastrophism" since, in fact, Isaiah does not refer to "Martian" catastrophism at all. Of course I know exactly what Forrest means but, if he wishes scholars to take him seriously, he should be more precise in his meanings. Seeing that, in actuality, Forrest himself is of the opinion that Isaiah contains nothing about a "Martian" catastrophe, I could give him the day and end my reply right here. After all, it is quite obvious that, on this point, he and I are of one mind. But that is not what our argument is about.
I also grant Forrest that my previous "correction" of his statements concerning Velikovsky and Hamon "is a relatively minor one". For that reason, other than setting the record straight, I did not make much of it. It is, rather, Forrest himself who wishes to press the issue. Let us then pursue it - and to the end.
Velikovsky's interpretation of the Isaiah catastrophe as a Mars-induced one does involve "the tumult-hamon-Hamon-Gabriel-Origen-war-Mars network of associations". The fact, however, remains that the Hamon/Gabriel equation does not rest on Origen as neither does the Gabriel/Mars one. Nor, for that matter, was the interpretation of Isaiah 33:3, as presented in Worlds in Collision, a concoction of Velikovsky's. To state that Velikovsky based the Hamon/Mars equation on a similitude of Origen's is therefore incorrect and does Velikovsky an injustice. It falsely implies the equation to be a strained one and of his own invention. The fact that others, with their evidence, preceded him in the identification of Hamon as Gabriel, of Gabriel as Mars, and of the general tenor of Isaiah 33:3, all of which was clearly spelled out in Worlds in Collision, was suppressed by Forrest. And that, whether due to ignorance or not, is a misdemeanor. It is, in fact, the very same type of misdemeanor that Forrest has repeatedly accused Velikovsky of committing.
The fact that I, also, see Isaiah 33:3 as free from reference to a Mars-induced catastrophe is beside the point. Like Forrest, I, too, am a critic of Velikovsky but fairness demands not only that an opponent's views be correctly represented but also that credit be given where this is due.
So much for generalities. Let us now descend to specifics.
Forrest is "rather dubious" whether the "H/hamon" of Isaiah 33:3 "necessarily implicates Gabriel". This means that he is doubtful whether "hamon" should instead be rendered "Hamon". Hebrew, however, is a script without majuscules so that whether "tumult" or "Gabriel" was meant by "H/hamon" has to be inferred from the context.
The debated verse reads: "At the noise of H/hamon the people fled." That the controversial word cannot here be translated as "just plain, ordinary noise, din, or hubub", as Forrest insisted in his work,(1) is more than obvious. Were he correct, the verse would translate as: "At the noise [qol] of the noise [hamon] the people fled."
To be fair, "qol" can also be translated as "sound". "At the sound of the noise the people fled" would therefore make for a better translation even if it renders the verse somewhat tautological. "Qol", however, is not the debated word.
Actually Forrest should have paid greater attention to Robert Young's Analytical Concordance to the Holy Bible on which he relied for his Hebrew translation. There the word "hamon" is translated inter alia as "multitude".(2) And it is "multitude", rather than "noise", that is meant by "tumult" in the King James' translation of "H/hamon". Thus the verse is better translated as: "At the sound of the multitude the people fled."
Since Hamon is an alternative name for Gabriel, Jerome's rendition from a script without majuscules is as grammatically correct as the above. Nor will it do for Forrest to ridicule this rendition by the example he gave from Shakespeare's King Lear and The Merry Wives of Windsor. Edgar's speech of being led "through ford and whirlpool" would be meaningless if rendered "through Mistress Ford and whirlpool". "At the sound of Gabriel the people fled" makes perfect sense. In fact, these various translations of the same verse should indicate to Forrest that the rendition of Hebrew into English is not all that simple. Thus, to this day, the Douay version of this line actually reads: "At the voice [also "qol"] of the angel the people fled."
It is, of course, no secret that the Douay is based on the Latin Vulgate which Jerome had translated directly from Hebrew. Concerning the accuracy of his work, Jerome's boast was this: "Let him who would challenge aught in this translation ask the Jews."(3) Unfortunately, the Vulgate has suffered a great deal from changes made after Jerome; and the text, as we now have it, is very corrupt. This could explain how Jerome's "Gabriel" became simply "the angel" in the Douay.
Forrest's suspicion that the rendering of "H/hamon" as "Gabriel" is due to a "rabbinical-type deduction and word-play" might at first sound plausible when one remembers that Jerome translated the Old Testament under the tutelage of Rabbi Ben Amina. An argument, however, can be raised against this. The line we have been analysing follows no previous mention of either "tumult" or "Gabriel". But the continuation of the verse - "at the lifting up of thyself the nations were scattered" - betrays its divine tenor. Thus "At the sound [or voice] of Gabriel the people fled" would not only be more in keeping with the rest of the verse, it is actually demanded if the obvious parallelism is to be maintained.
Jerome not only translated the Old Testament, he also wrote commentaries on various of its books. The most authoritative edition of his complete works was published in Verona in eleven volumes ( 1734-1742) by Vallarsi. Rather than asking "just what does Jerome say?" why didn't Forrest look it up?
I do not have the Latin in front of me but, following Ginzberg, Velikovsky correctly paraphrased what Jerome had to say - that Jewish tradition considers Hamon to be another name of the angel Gabriel and that the words of Isaiah 33:3 should accordingly be made to refer to that angel.(4) Aggadat Shir 5:39 merely offers the same disclosure.
After what has already been divulged, none of this is paricularly illuminating. But I hope to have made it clear that the Hamon/Gabriel equation and Jerome's rendition of Isaiah 33:3 are both valid.
As for the "hamon" of I Samuel 4:14, and the other "Biblical hamons" mentioned by Forrest, no one has ever questioned their conventional interpretation. Just because "Gabriel" fits "H/hamon" in one Biblical verse, it does not necessitate the rendition of the word as "Gabriel" in every passage it occurs. "Tumult" and/or "multitude", as sometimes also "noise", make sense where they do, just as "Gabriel" makes sense where it does.
One more correction before I leave this subject: In his major work, Forrest cited Young's concordance as translating "hamon" also as "stone". To my knowledge, the word does not have that meaning but it can mean "store" as in "abundance". I shall not belabor this point; I merely indicate it as an obvious typographical error.
Forrest claims that he did not state that "Gabriel is never associated directly with the planet Mars" my emphasis. But in that part of his work that I quoted he did give the false impression that Velikovsky's equation of Gabriel as Mars was a most indirect one. Thus He wrote:
The fact that Gabriel's association with Mars is a Jewish tradition dating back to Gaonic times was, again, suppressed by Forrest - at least in so far as the first volume of his work is concerned. It is not enough to remind us that this tradition was dealt with in Volume 4. By then the harm was done. Those who would have read Volume 1 would have gone away with the impression that Velikovsky pulled this equation out of a hat and might not have bothered pursuing the matter three volumes and one year later.
Notice now that Forrest does not like the taste of his own medicine. Noting that I did not mention his fourth volume in my article, he presumes that I had not yet read it rather than that I was guilty of "wilfully suppressing" it. The sarcasm is noted but Forrest is mistaken; I had read it and I did suppress it.
Forrest's fourth volume came into my hands when my article was already on the editor's desk but I read it before my article was in print. I realized then what Forrest had done. Organizing his series of books by source material rather than by subject matter, he managed to separate Velikovsky's evidence on every topic and scatter it pell-mell over seven volumes in three years. Thus the unity of Velikovsky's argument was broken and the weight of his evidence dispersed. Whether this was done through design or not, it turned out to be a neat trick. Forrest's work. if nothing else, appears persuasive - but only to those who are ignorant of Velikovsky's method.
What if critics were to treat Forrest's own work in like manner - pointing out the misconceptions and shortcomings contained in one volume in one article while reserving the amendments and corrections of another for a later one? I decided not to recall my article but to let it stand unamended. In other words. Forrest's suspicion that I was "getting back" at him for the manner in which he treated Velikovsky's work is right on the mark. I baited him, he bit, and my point is now made.
In Volume 4 of his work, Forrest not only treats of the Gaonic tradition which associates Gabriel directly with the planet Mars, he also tries to explain it:
Even as a "possible" explanation, this can hardly be accepted. The archangel Michael was also associated with fire,(7) yet nowhere do we find him coupled with Mars. On the other hand, like Michael, Gabriel was associated also with snow.(8) Can Forrest link this to Mars?
It seems it is no longer known why Gabriel was linked to Mars. But even though this view was held by only a minority, there is one other piece of evidence, also mentioned by Velikovsky, which corroborates it. In his letter to the Editor, Forrest quotes Velikovsky's phrase: "The following, however, makes the identification of Gabriel possible." Once again, Forrest should not have suppressed the rest of this passage which states that "Gabriel [like Mars] is connected with the foundation of Rome".(9) And therein lies Velikovsky's method - in gathering corroborating and complementary evidence from various quarters and various sources to bear on any one issue. Moreover, the method is one of long standing, utilized by researchers the world over in a variety of subjects and disciplines; it has been tested; it is valid.
Thus, to recapitulate, that Hamon was an alternative name for Gabriel we learn from Jewish tradition and Aggadat Shir 5:39; that Isaiah 33:3 refers to Gabriel we learn from Jerome; that Gabriel was the angel of Mars we learn from the Geonim; and that, like Mars, Gabriel was connected with the foundation of Rome we learn from Tractate Shabbat 56b of the Jerusalem Talmud. In all of this Velikovsky was correct. More importantly, none of it was of his own invention. The only conclusion that can be laid directly at his door is that since Gabriel was Mars, Isaiah 33:3 can be made to refer to that planet thus reinforcing his belief that the destruction of Sennacherib's army was somehow connected to a close encounter with Mars.
Yet, like Forrest, I disagree with this conclusion. Why, then this argument with him?
Had Forrest restricted his criticism to Velikovsky's conclusion, he would have received no flak from me - at least not on this point. But to give the impression that Velikovsky manipulated his sources, that he forced the Hamon/Gabriel/Mars equation, and that this was based on a mere similtude of Origen's, is neither fair nor accurate. In my article, I accused Forrest of no more and no less.(10)
Where, then, did Velikovsky go wrong?
On the basis of what he uncovered, Velikovsky's argument appears to be sound. That he did not dig deeper was one of his misfortunes. In my article
I showed that many of the deeds and characteristics attributed to Gabriel were also attributed to Michael whom Velikovsky, on inexact and invalid evidence, saw as Venus. The Jewish tradition concerning the foundation of Rome is no different. Abodah Zarah 1:39c of the same Jerusalem Talmud casts Michael
in the very same role. Unless otherwise explained, conflicting evidence such as this has to be discarded. We are thus left with the Gaonic tradition which, as both Forrest and I have already noted, is of dubious value. As I indicated in my article, only a minority believed in Gabriel as the angel of Mars; the majority saw him as the angel of the Moon with Sammael allocated to the planet Mars. Moreover, and let Velikovskian scholars take note of this, regardless of what Isaiah 33:3 is made to state, it has absolutely no connection with the destruction of Sennacherib's army as described in Isaiah 36-38.
In a recent issue of Stonehenge Viewpoint, Donald L. Cyr praised Forrest's work with these words:
Were I of a vindictive disposition. I would wish such a disaster on Cyr's head. May his hopes never be realized. And yet, to be quite honest, there is a little truth in what Cyr stated. Whether Velikovskian scholars like it or not, Forrest did render them a service by tabulating the various sources utilized by Velikovsky within their original context.
Let me go further. What Forrest has attempted should have been accomplished by Velikovsky's followers years ago. While the merely interested and lay readers are not expected to, supporters of a theory should check its originator's sources before proclaiming its validity. In a paper which I read at the San Jose seminar in 1980,I even offered this insight:
I might add here that Velikovsky would still have been condemned unfairly, but the criticism would have appeared so devastating that the world would have lost yet one more chance to discover the truth concerning the past history of our solar system.
But is Forrest a knowledgeable mythologist? His own work betrays him since it contains ample proof that he was actually learning the trade as he went along. There is, of course, nothing shameful in this but his apprenticeship is a far cry from the seasoned knowledge required to properly understand both Velikovsky's method and the principles involved in comparative mythology.
In the matter we have been pursuing, Forrest confesses that, at the time he penned his first volume, he forgot all about Trachtenberg (concerning the Gaonic tradition mentioned above) and that he had to rectify this "lapse" in Volume 4. With Worlds in Collision open in front of him, one wonders how Trachtenberg could have "slipped through the net" since he shares the very same page which treats of Gabriel as the angel of Mars.(13)
This slipshod craftsmanship, which keeps recurring in Forrest's work, is not always due to carelessness - which is bad enough - but, quite often, to downright ignorance of the subjects he felt competent in handling. Consider, for instance, the case of the missing Noga. In his first volume, Forrest attempted to trace the Isaiahan reference to "noga" which Velikovsky interpreted as the usual Hebrew name for Venus.(14) I will not here comment on the correctness, or otherwise, of this interpretation since I intend to handle that subject elsewhere, but one cannot help smiling at Forrest's conclusion:
Did Forrest expect to find the Hebrew word "noga" in an English Bible? Did he find the Hebrew word "hamon" there?
It was, again, three volumes and one year later that Forrrest rectified this blunder,(16) having by then learned that it is the word translated as "shined" in Isaiah that appears as "noga" in the original Hebrew.
The case of Nergal's planetary identity is even worse. In his first volume Forrest confessed:
Apart from this clear proof that Forrest is prone to jump to conclusions. such admission of incompetence, despite its honesty, can hardly pass for scholarship.
In the "Notes" section of the same volume, Forrest then had to admit that:
Stephen Langdon's Semitic Mythology, published in 1931, had come to his rescue.
Had the association of Nergal with the planet Mars been one of those obscure mythological curiosities, one might have sympathised with Forrest. But this is such a well-known fact, that having discovered it only after he had already typed 78 pages, one is bound to wonder: With what mythological expertise did he commence?
If this is the "considerable talent" that Cyr hopes will come to his cause's aid, he is more than welcome to it.
I could go on in this vein, but to criticize Forrest's entire seven volumes would take me forty-nine. Neither I nor KRONOS can afford the time and space required for such an effort. There is, however, one more point I wish to tackle - and I do so only because Forrest brought it up in his letter. This concerns his oft repeated assertion that while the ancient gods were sometimes associated with the planets, "the two are not synonymous". Let him not find solace in the fact that I myself made a similar statement concerning the archangels. Archangels are not gods and while they did not, in my opinion, originate as personifications of the planets, they still owed their genesis to astronomical phenomena.(19) As to the identity of the gods, it is neither Forrest's opinion, nor mine or Velikovsky's, that must be considered; it is, rather, that of those very people who once believed in, and venerated, them. Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend, who are hardly catastrophists let alone Velikovskians, recognized the truth when they wrote:
Among the Greeks, Lucian of Samosata also knew this truth.(22) Plato, who recognized it on his own, had it verified by the Egyptians.(23) But just in case there are those who believe this to be a late idea invented by the Greeks, let me go back over the millennia to one of the earliest known civilizations. In Sumer, the cuneiform sign employed to depict both "star" and "god" was one and the same: (*!* Image) And I purposely give no reference. If Forrest can find me an earlier proof to the contrary, I will be the first to acknowledge him.
What needs to be stressed here - and I say this not only for Forrest's sake is not so much that the gods were planets, but that the planets were gods.
One good analogy can replace a lengthy argument. A bad comparison can invoke one. Forrest's analogy re Shakespearean authorship is of the latter kind, but I shall try to keep the invoked argument short.
The different planetary agents which have been proposed by various writers as having caused the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah(24) are compared by Forrest to the different "true" authors which various writers have "proven" to have authored the Shakespearean plays.
By the same token Forrest would have us believe that if the destruction in question can be theorized to have been caused by so many different planetary agents, nothing at all would have been proven.
This is asinine, to say the least. Is Forrest here telling us that a multiple choice question can never be answered or that a problem with more than one possibility can never be solved? For one thing, the point Forrest misses in his own analogy is that while so many different "true" authors could not all have penned the same plays, one of them could.
To give but one example from the current pages of science: The ejection of sulfur dioxide, or other sulfur-enriched gases, from Io's interior has now been accepted as a fact. Yet there are at least three different views of Io's eruptive mechanism.(25) Would Forrest then tell us that none of these views can be correct or, worse still, that their incompatibility actually negates the ejection of Ionian sulfur?
When the evidence is not all that clear, opposing theories are to be expected. More than that, they should be encouraged. Theories are offered to be tested. That, after all, is the way of science.
In the case in question I have seen fit to set myself up as an arbiter and while, to date, I have eliminated all but one possibility,(26) I should like to point out to Forrest that the verdict is not even in yet.
The trouble with Forrest is that he fell prey to his own method. He should, perhaps, reorganize his work by subject matter and weigh the totality of the evidence rather than its dispersed weakness. Even so, I would be guilty of a gross misdemeanor myself were I to state categorically that his seven-volume commentary is so badly argued as to be entirely useless. As often as my own work overlaps his, I will, of course, continue to take him to task. But when those occasions arise, I will also be pointing out the correctness of some of his views as indeed I already have.(27)
In a recent review of The Cosmic Serpent, John Gribbin had to confess that, where Velikovsky was concerned, he had "fallen into the trap of throwing out the baby with the bath-water in an area of science crucially important to mankind".(28) Robert Forrest can perhaps learn from this lesson for - worse than Gribbin - he has ended up throwing away soap, sponge, and bath-tub as well.REFERENCES 1. B. Forrest, Velikovsky's Sources: Part I (Manchester,1981), p. 12.
3. "Jerome, St." Encyclopaedia Britannica ( 1959 edition), Vol. 13, p. 3.
4. I. Velikovsky, Worlds in Collision (N.Y., 1950), p. 292.
5. B. Forrest, loc. cit.
6. Ibid., Part 4 (Manchester, 1982), p. 322.
7. I. Velikovsky, op. cit., p. 293; L. Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews (Phila., 1968), Vol. l, p. 385, Vol. V, pp. 22, 70.
9. I. Velikovsky, op.cit., p. 291; L. Ginzberg, op. cit., Vol. VI, pp. 128, 280; Tractate Shabbat 56b of the Jerusalem Talmud.
10. D. Cardona, "The Archangels," KRONOS VIII:2 (Winter 1983), p. 27.
11. D. L. Cyr, "Vail Versus Velikovsky,"Stonehenge Viewpoint, 33 (May-June 1983), p.16.
12. D. Cardona, "Other Worlds, Other Collisions," read at the seminar "Velikovsky and Secular Catastrophism," held at San Jose, California, Aug. 30, 1980.
13. I. Velikovsky, loc. cit.
14. Ibid., p. 175.
15. B. Forrest, op. cit., Part 1, p. 12 (emphasis added).
16. Ibid, Part 4, p. 299.
17. Ibid., Part 1, p. 15 (emphasis as given).
18. Ibid., p. 79 (emphasis added).
19. D. Cardona, "The Archangels" (see note No. 10), pp. 29-32.
20. G. de Santillana and H. von Dechend, Hamlet's Mill: An Essay on Myth and the Frame of Time (Boston, 1969), p. 177 (emphasis added).
21. Ibid., p. 4 (emphasis added).
22. Ibid., p. 177
23. Plato, Timaeus, 22.
24. D. Cardona, op. cit., p. 21, Idem, "Jupiter - God of Abraham," Part III, KRONOS VIII:I (Fall 1982), p. 73.
25. R. Gore, "What Voyager Saw: Jupiter's Dazzling Realm,"National Geographic (Jan. 1980), pp. 18-19.
26. D. Cardona, "The Archangels" (see note No. 10), in toto.
27. Idem, "Child of Saturn," Part IV, KRONOS VIII:4 (Summer 1983), p. 8. 28. J. Gribbin, "The Cosmic Serpent - Reviewed" in Ibid., p. 59.
GEOMETRY - AND CALENDARSTo the Editor of KRONOS:
In a letter submitted originally at the beginning of 1982,I pointed out to Lynn E. Rose that however the information is derived, knowing the latitude of only a single point on the Earth's surface (other than one of the poles) is not sufficient to determine the location of the north geographic pole. Dr. Rose now states (KRONOS VIII:2 note, p. 85) that if we also know the "placement . . . Of the celestial equator among the stars", then "that is sufficient". But I'm afraid it isn't. Of course, the celestial poles and equator are merely projections of the terrestrial poles and equator onto the imaginary celestial sphere, but their orientation with respect to the fixed stars and with respect to the surface features of the Earth are two entirely distinct and independently variable parameters, and solving one problem will not help to solve the other. This is obvious from the fact that the celestial poles precess continually around the pole of the ecliptic, while the terrestrial poles are fixed. Now let us move on to other matters.
In the same issue, the exchange on the Egyptian calendar and chronology between Parker, Rose, and Mage continues. I am gathering material for a comprehensive discussion of Velikovsky's many references to ancient calendars as alleged evidence of disturbances in the Earth-Moon system. In the meantime, my remarks will be brief. Let me introduce a few important facts into the discussion:
1) In spite of repeated assertions to the contrary, whether made in vacuo or with reference to the limited compass of Breasted's 1906 compendium of historical texts, Eighteenth-Dynasty inscriptions dated to the epagomenal days are indeed known, and were published in a well-known journal. See William C. Hayes, "Inscriptions from the Palace of Amenhotep III," Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Vol. 10 (1951), Figs. 3 and 11, discussed on page 87. The epagomenae also appear in the lists of festivals in three Eighteenth Dynasty tombs at Thebes. (See N. Davies, Tomb of Amenemhet (1915), Pl. XXIII, p. 97; idem, Tombs of Menkheperrasonb . . . etc. (1933), Pl. XXIX, p. 24.)
Mage now wants to reject all the earlier evidence, without examining the transcriptions and without advancing any specific epigraphic argument. He calls attention to Breasted's note on the "Will of Nekonekh": "from Fraser, with . . . restorations and corrections by Sethe." But these are indicated in the notes, and none is noted for the epagomenae. Fraser's transcription in Annales . . . is clear enough (Plate IV). Mage suggests that all four mentions of the epagomenae in the "Contracts of Hepzefi" could be restorations in damaged passages in the text. Since they lie at widely scattered intervals, that would be quite a coincidence. He says nothing about the other texts.
2) According to Rose, and consistently with Velikovsky's theory, there should be no intercalary months in luni-solar calendars between the middle of the fifteenth century and 776 B.C. On the contrary, intercalary months from Kassite period Babylonia are found, and in the numbers expected. (See Brinkman's Materials and Studies for Kassite History.)
3) Mage mentioned Daressy's (not Breasted's) reading of the date of the Osorkon flood inscription, "which, if valid, flatly refutes the entire system of Sothic dating". It will not do that. I have a transcription and comments from an epigrapher at the site. There are perfectly good epigraphic reasons for reading the month number as either two or three, rather than one, either of which would fall well within the normal range. I will discuss them in a paper on Velikovsky's alleged eighth-century catastrophes, one of which is supposed to be represented by this flood.
It does not necessarily follow that the 365-day civil calendar was never adjusted, or that Sothic periods were actually observed, but Velikovsky's theory of a 360-day year during this period is not compatible with the contemporary documentary evidence.
4) Finally, everyone now identifies Usimare Setepenamun Osorkon Meryamun Si-Ese ("son of Isis") of the inscription with Osorkon III of the Twenty-third Dynasty, rather than Osorkon II of the Twenty-second (Usimare Setepenamun Osorkon Meryamun Si-Bast). They had different genealogies. (See Kitchen's Third Intermediate Period . . . pp. 88-94.) Daressy later corrected himself in Annales du Service.
Prof. Lynn E. Rose Replies:
Mr. Mewhinney is correct in saying that in order to pin-point the location of the terrestrial pole some terrestrial tie-in would be needed in addition to the information that the celestial equator passed near the zenith of the site in question. Such a tie-in might have been in the form of the cardinal directions in use at that site. It might also have been in the form of the information that the data were applicable to two different sites, such as Calcutta and Bombay. With such a tie-in, the terrestrial pole could well have been pin-pointed in the Baffin Island region, as Velikovsky suggests. It may be noteworthy that both Calcutta and Bombay are roughly ninety degrees from Baffin Island; thus both sites would have lain on the old equator. This in itself is supportive of Velikovsky's suggestion.
Even without such a terrestrial tie-in via cardinal directions or multiplicity of sites, a celestial chart, indicating nothing more than the fact that the celestial equator was within a few degrees of the zenith of either Bombay or Calcutta, would be sufficient to show that the terrestrial pole lay somewhere on a great circle that did pass near Baffin Island but did not pass through the present pole. If, in addition, the course of the celestial equator through the constellations were given, that would uniquely determine the position of the celestial poles, though some further terrestrial tie-in would still be needed, as Mewhinney correctly notes, to determine uniquely the position of the terrestrial poles.
Since we do not yet know what source Velikovsky had in mind here, it may be pointless to speculate about just what such a source might have contained. I do stand by my original position, however, which was that Mewhinney has not established that there could not have been any source of the kind that Velikovsky seems to have had in mind (see KRONOS VII:3, page 88). Mewhinney and I may not yet have found that source, but that does not mean that it does not exist. More than one of Velikovsky's "unknown" sources has subsequently been found. It is certainly going too far to claim, as Mewhinney does, that this source cannot possibly exist.
Mewhinney has called attention to several scholarly sources that may be of considerable importance, for they would suggest that the length of the year from the fourteenth century to the ninth century may have been more than the 360 days proposed by Velikovsky. I do not know how any of this will turn out. But it is not enough merely to cite the places in the scholarly literature where these uniformitarian claims are made. Rather, it is necessary to check whether those claims are justified and, if so, to what extent.
My own work on Egyptian calendars has mostly been restricted to the period of the Canopus Decree, and I cannot speak to the earlier periods of Egyptian history (especially when most of the alleged evidence against Velikovsky has only been alluded to, and not yet presented, examined, or even cited). It is common knowledge, however, that the vast majority of Egyptologists would claim that there is such evidence and that it is supportive of a nice, neat, uniformitarian pattern, with the 365-day calendar in uninterrupted use for at least several millennia. Velikovsky himself pointed out (Worlds in Collision, page 123) that there are references to "five days" in the Pyramid Texts, said to be older than the Old Kingdom. And I have been aware for many years of the reports of epagomenal days found in the testament of Nekonekh (Old Kingdom) and in the contracts of Hepzefi and the inscription of Khnumhotep II (Middle Kingdom). All of this material needs to be carefully and objectively scrutinized. Raymond Vaughan and I have done work along these lines with various of the Mesopotamian sources. but we have not checked into these early Egyptian sources with the thoroughness that they deserve. Perhaps Mewhinney will view such checking as the part of the work that is committed to him. In any case, Velikovsky's extensive collection of materials pertaining to early calendars is just a start. It is not exhaustive, and much more needs to be investigated, especially with regard to the number of days per month and the number of days per year. All such investigations must of course be conducted in terms of what the evidence is - not in terms of what uniformitarians say that the evidence is.
The pronouncements of the uniformitarians about these matters are an ongoing scandal. Thus Vaughan and I have found that the Ninsianna tablets are simply not in conformity with the uniformitarian claims that have been made about them. The Ninsianna observations in fact constitute evidence for Velikovsky, but the literature abounds in statements that they are in accord with uniformitarian retrocalculation, as well as in statements that the evidence pertaining to intercalary months is in accord with uniformitarian retrocalculation. When pressed and examined, such statements collapse. They seem to be based on hope and expectation, not on fact. It turns out that Langdon, Fotheringham, and Schoch, Reiner and Pingree, and Huber simply sidestep anything that does not fit the uniformitarian mold. We have found that even drawings of cuneiform tablets have routinely been "edited" and "corrected" (see Sachs' Late Babylonian Astronomical and Related Texts, page vii). This sort of experience in dealing with claims about calendars, intercalations, and astronomy in the area of the Tigris and the Euphrates leads one to be very cautious in accepting any similar claims about the land of the Nile. Citing the conclusions of such people is of little value unless we have also uncovered the tracks that they made en route to those conclusions.
I am not fully convinced of Mewhinney's claim that "everyone" now attributes the Tybi 12 flood inscription to Osorkon III rather than to Osorkon II. But no matter. Let us accept that it should be Osorkon III. Even if the Twenty-Second and Twenty-Third Dynasties overlapped, Osorkon III would presumably have been later than Osorkon II. That moves Tybi 12 earlier in the seasons, making the Gregorian flood date even more of an embarrassment for the uniformitarians. Early July Gregorian is simply too early for the crest of the Nile, even at Thebes.
Mewhinney does not explain his "epigraphic reasons" - could they be uniformitarian reasons? - for "reading the month number as either two or three, rather than one, either of which would fall well within the normal range". It should be noted that Breasted is silent about and presumably unaware of any such "epigraphic" alternatives to the "Tybi" reading (that is, the reading of season two, month one). But Mewhinney's month "two" would take us only to early August, and even his month "three" would take us only to early September. The "normal" crest of the Nile may have come still later than that. Perhaps Mewhinney should seek "epigraphic reasons" for reading the month number as four!
Lynn E. Rose
State University of New York at Buffalo
KARTIKEYA: MARS OR VENUS? - IITo the Editor of KRONOS:
Dwardu Cardona's reply to my previous letter(1) invites the following additional comments:
(1) Cardona wrote: "It is quite obvious . . . that Isenberg was influenced by the fact that Kartikeya is presented as the son of Shiva . . . whom, after Velikovsky, he accepted as a personification of Jupiter."(2) Through no fault of Cardona's, this only seems to be "obvious". The sentence upon which he presumably bases his statement - "Significantly, Velikovsky identifies Shiva with Jupiter"(3) was inserted into my article by someone in the editorial offices of KRONOS without my prior knowledge. It does not occur in the MS of my article for the good and sufficient reason that I have never examined this proposition and therefore neither accept nor reject it. (With the benefit of hindsight, maybe I should have written a letter to the Editor of KRONOS, dissociating myself from the insertion . . ., just as I should have noted that the parenthetical definition of "puranas" as "legends composed on the Hindu model"(4) was [likewise] inserted in the course of the editorial process . . . )
(2) Shani certainly is the common Sanskrit (and modern Hindi) name of the planet Saturn. Cardona is right in supposing that "even Isenberg will accept" that fact. That said, permit me to add that I fail to see what bearing the correct or incorrect identification of Shani and Shiva has on the question raised in my letter which was entirely limited to the asserted identity of Karttikeya and the planet Mars. That also explains why - in the present context - the genealogy of Karttikeya and the comparison with Babylonian palaeoastronomy and/or mythology are not at all relevant. Even if Cardona were entirely right in the conclusions he draws from mythological genealogies and comparative palaeoastronomy, he would still have to show that Karttikeya was a synonym for the planet Mars in ancient India.
(3) En passant, Cardona attributes to me a belief in the cometary aspect of the Devi based upon her association with peacock feathers. Actually, a careful reading of my article(5) will show that I noted explicitly that the cometary nature of the peacock motif, according to Grimm's Teutonic Mythology, had been called to my attention by Stephen L. Talbott. My own final comment on this matter was an entirely non-committal statement beginning with the words: "If peacock plumes are indeed a cometary symbol . . . "(6)
Ignoring my caution in this matter, Cardona tries his hand at a little sarcasm: " . . . the same exotic bird [i.e., the peacock] is also renowned as the vahaman [sic], or mount, of Brahma . . . Are we to believe from this that Brahma/Saturn was also once a comet?"(7) Aside from the fact that the Sanskrit word for the mount of a god is vahana (i.e., vahana, not vahaman, as it appears three times in Cardona's reply), Brahma's vahana is not the peacock at all but rather the bird known in Sanskrit as the hamsa. This word is etymologically identical with Latin anser, German Gans, and English gander, and is usually tranlated into English as gander or swan. It is sometimes also rendered as duck and even (more rarely and, I believe, somewhat dubiously) as flamingo - but never as peacock, as far as I know.(8) Nor have I ever seen a representation or sculpture of Brahma on a peacock (in Sanskrit mayura, whence, incidentally, "mayurakatu" as an epithet for Karttikeya).(9) If Cardona wishes to base himself in such a matter on H. de Wilman-Grabowska, ignoring all other relevant scholars in so doing, he is of course free to do so. As for Brahma/Saturn vs. just plain Brahma, Cardona might like to read the entry "Brahma" in Prof. R. S. Gupte's Iconography of the Hindus, Buddhists and Jains.(10) The entry does not prove that Cardona is wrong; it merely shows that he might not necessarily be right.
(4) But retournons à nos moutons: In support of his contention that Karttikeya = Mars, Cardona essentially offers two kinds of evidence, one lexological, the other literary.
Apte's entry under "Mars" does indeed show that "Mangala, Bhauma . . . Lohitanga", etc. are synonyms for the planet Mars. But the entries following "2" ("Kumara, Karttikeya" . . . etc.) are - one and all - varying names of a Hindu deity nowhere identified by Apte as the planet Mars.(11) In his Sanskrit-English companion volume to the English-Sanskrit dictionary cited by Cardona, Apte writes under "Directions to Students (to be studied before using dictionary)" -
Is it unreasonable to assume that Apte used the same device in both of his dictionaries? Or will Cardona tell me once again that I am free to cite one book while he is equally free to cite another - clearly a companion volume by the same author - in support of different interpretations?
As for the literary reference, I admit that Cardona has indeed met the lesser of my two challenges - to a certain extent. The quotation from the Lingapuraina does show that someone referred to the planet Mars as Skanda (Karttikeya). (I accept the essential identity of Skanda and Karttikeya, although there is at least some possibility of conflation). Still, to affirm a planetary identification on the basis of a single "it is cited" does strike me as rather weak, the more so since the Lingapurana itself is, according to most Indologists, almost certainly not earlier than the 7th century A.D. What is more, the Lingapurana does not itself, as far as I could determine, ever again refer to this alleged identity, just as it itself never refers to the planet Mars as Karttikeya.
On the other hand, "even Cardona", I assume, will not claim to have shown that "Karttikeya" was ever used as a common synonym for the planet Mars in classical Sanskrit sources - the major one of my challenges.
(5) I do wish to offer Cardona an apology concerning the last two words in my earlier letter. "Caveat lector" was not intended to convey an indiscriminate rejection of his article in toto. To the extent that it might - falsely - be thought to have done so, I retract my phrase. What I did mean to suggest is perhaps important enough to spell out in a little more detail - pro bono publico, as Cardona put it. I do so in full awareness of the fact that I am now leaving the terrain of the Karttikeya/Mars problematique proper. Hindu sectarianism being what it is (i.e., extremely prevalent and omnivorous, if one might use such an adjective in such a context), asserted identities of gods and mythological figures must be taken with an extra-large grain of salt. To cite just two examples:
There exists a version of the celebrated Bhagavadgita written by, and for, devotees of the god Ganesha. The Ganeshagita differs from the former in only one respect: Wherever the Bhagavadgita mentions Sri Krishna (directly or epithetically), the Ganeshagita substitutes for him Sri Ganesha (likewise directly or epithetically).(13) From this it does not follow that Krishna and Ganesha are, or were, identical or that one may indiscriminately be substituted for the other.
The second sample is different. The Bhavisyapurana (henceforth B.P.) goes back in time a long way, perhaps to the 4th or even 5th century B.C.(14) At the same time, however, the B.P. also includes material from as recent as the l 9th century A.D. (including references to Queen Victoria and such English words as "Sunday", "February", and ''sixty'').(15) (For all I know, there may even be a more up-to-date version of the B.P. with references to the lunar rocket landing since India's puranic literature is not yet dead but quite alive and still growing.)
The B.P. contains a section (Pratisarga Parva, Chapter IV) which recites in detail the genealogy from Adam (called "Adam") and Eve (called "Havyavati", Hebrew: Hava) to Noah (called "Nyuah") and his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japhet (called "Sima", "Shama", and "Bhava"). Wherever possible, the Biblical names have been Indianized but are still easily recognizable (e.g., "Shvetha" for Seth, "Anuha" for Enoch, "Kinasha" for Kenan, "Lomaka" for Lamekh, "Matocchila" for Methuselah, etc.). The ages ascribed to all these personages in the B.P. closely agree with those of their Biblical counterparts or are entirely identical. For the Biblical God, the B.P. substitutes Vishnu; and for the serpent, the goddess Kali.(16)
Using such material obviously calls for very great care. Who borrowed what? From whom? When? It would be rash indeed, and signally unconvincing, to proclaim, on the basis of the B.P., that Vishnu is identical with Yahweh, or that the Biblical serpent is identical with Kali. Certainly it is legitimate enough to use material from the B.P. - but this must be done with extreme care and the greatest attention to all relevant details.
These examples demonstrate, I trust, that against a background of conflation and syncretistic tendencies in ancient (and not-so-ancient!) India, names alone will not carry much conviction among Indologists. The contents, too, must be carefully analyzed and discussed, as must the context, if valid conclusions are to be drawn. In the end, all approaches must converge - at least ideally contextual, linguistic, historic. (To forestall any misunderstanding, the above examples are intended only for their methodological implications concerning the handling of Indian materials.)
Now to apply some of the desiderata implicit in the above to Cardona's thesis - purely by way of an illustration. Why is the most common Sanskrit (and Hindi) name for the planet Mars "Bhauma" - meaning "related to the Earth", "earthly", "terrestrial"? Why does the same word also mean "water" and "light"? Why is it an epithet for the demon Naraka?(17) Why is Mars also known in Sanskrit as the "Son of the Earth" or "Earth-born" (Bhumiputra; bhumi ja)(18) - all of which, apparently, also serve as epithets of the demon Naraka? What was the earliest (Vedic) appellation of the planet Mars? How early is Karttikeya? Is there any evidence that Karttikeya (definitely a celestial generalissimo) might have been linked with the planet Mars after Indians learned (via persons in the entourage of Alexander the Great, for example, or via Megasthenes) that the Greek (and Latin) God of War was Ares (Mars), and that Mars (Ares) was the planet previously known to Indians as Mangala, Bhauma, etc.? To my mind, all these are legitimate questions, to be studied in depth, before confidently dismissing someone else's differing opinion as an "error" to be replaced by one's own "truth of the matter". (I am only too painfully aware how far my own essays in the sphere of Indian mythology fall short of meeting such tests, but that does not deny the validity of the approach per se.) Lest anyone should misunderstand, I always look forward to Dwardu Cardona's articles and feel enriched as I read them. In my opinion, they are well worth criticizing.
REFERENCES1. D. Cardona, "Kartikeya: Mars or Venus?" KRONOS VIII:2 (Winter 1983), pp. 74-76.
2. Ibid., p. 74.
3. A. Isenberg, "Devi and Venus," KRONOS II:1 (Aug. 1976), p. 96.
4. Ibid, p. 102.
5. Ibid., pp. 99-100.
6. Ibid., p. 100.
7. D. Cardona, op. cit., p. 75.
8. V. S. Apte, The Student's Sanskrit-English Dictionary (Delhi, 1959), p. 634.
9. Ibid, p. 426.
10. R.S.Gupte, Iconography of the Hindus, Buddhists and Jains (Bombay,1972), pp. 26-27.
11. V. S. Apte, The Student's English-Sanskrit Dictionary (U.K., 1920), entry under "Mars" as cited by D. Cardona in op. cit., p. 76 (emphasis added).
12. Idem (see note No. 8), p. 5.
13. J. Dowson, A Classical Dictionary of Bindu Mythology (London, 1879),p. 108 (entry under Ganesa-Gita).
14. Cf., for example, P. S. Chinmulgund & V. V. Mirashi (editors), Review of Indological Research in Last 75 Years (Poona, 1967), pp. 702-703, where Jackson, Pargiter, Gyani, et al. are cited; R. K. Arora, Historical and Cultural Data from the Bhavisya Puraina (New Delhi, 1972), p. 19, especially discussion of age of Bhavisyapurana on pp. 15-21.
15. J. Dowson, loc. cit. 103
16. S. Shastri, "The Flood Legend in Sanskrit Literature, Embodying an English Translation
of All the Sanskrit Versions of the Flood Legend with Appendices Containing English
Translations of the Babylonian and Hebrew Versions," Pratisarga Parva (Chapter IV),
pp. 95-101, in the Bhavishya-Purana [sic] (Delhi, 1950).
17. V. S. Apte (see note No. 8), p. 413.
18. Ibid., p. 410.
Dwardu Cardona Replies :
I am pleased that Artur Isenberg finds my articles worth criticizing. It indicates that they are not falling on deaf ears. I am not pleased that he continues to doubt the Kartikeya/Mars equation. It either indicates that my evidence was not strong enough or that Isenberg wishes to be difficult. I will let my readers decide which.
I do not profess to be the last word on Sanskrit and Hindu lore. But before Isenberg tries to correct me on these subjects, he had better be more careful and watch where he treads.
If Isenberg wishes to split hairs, it can safely be stated that he is wrong in presenting "vahana" as the Sanskrit word denoting a deity's mount. "Vahana" is more properly the Hindi version of the Sanskrit word which is correctly transliterated as ''vahanam''.(1) Unfortunately, in my previous reply to Isenberg, I mistyped this as "vahaman" -yes, three times. To give credit where credit is due, I have to admit that Isenberg has caught me on a typographical error.
As for the rest, what can I say? I nowhere wrote that "hamsah", or "hamsa", is anywhere translated as "peacock". I merely stated that the peacock ("mayurah" or "mayura") is also renowned as the mount of Brahma. I did not present the peacock as the only, or most prominent, Brahmanic mount. Neither did de Wilman-Grabowska, Professor of Sanskrit at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes, whom I cited. To quote the latter: "The vahanam of Brahma is the peacock, according to others the swan .."(2) This swan, or goose, or duck, or flamingo (?) is the hamsah. Would Isenberg have us believe it to be the only vahanam of Brahma?
It is no fault of mine if Isenberg, as he claims, has never seen "a representation or sculpture" of Brahma riding on a peacock. I happen to know of at least one such sculpture. It is, or was, on exhibit at the Guimet Museum in Paris.
No sarcasm was intended when I asked if we are to believe that Brahma/ Saturn was also once a comet. The question, obviously rhetorical, was meant to cast doubt on the peacock's association with comets. And no, I did not ignore Isenberg's "caution" in this matter. But if he did not wish his readers to at least consider the possible validity of this association, why did Isenberg stress the Devi's peacock attire in his paper on the subject in a section which he distinctly titled "Cometary Aspects of the Devi"?(3) Which leads me to ask: If peacocks and comets do not mix, what and where are the Devi's cometary aspects?
"As for Brahma/Saturn vs. just plain Brahma", Isenberg "might like to read" the entry under "Brahmanyah" in Apte's Practical Sanskrit-English Dictionary, page 707. Derived from the name of the god Brahma, this noun translates, inter alia, as "the planet Saturn". Again, I owe this revelation to Roger Ashton and while it definitely does not prove that Brahma was once the same as Saturn, the relation is quite obvious.
The disclosure of Shiva's epithet as Shani, which is Saturn, was meant to negate Velikovsky's identification of Shiva as Jupiter(4) upon which Isenberg seems to have partly relied in his tentative identification of Kartikeya as Venus(5) - an identification which, at last writing, he was still inclined to believe in.(6) But if Shiva was not Jupiter, the fact that Kartikeya was Shiva's son cannot be used as a comparison of Velikovsky's contention that Venus was born from Jupiter. Remove the peacock, and its feathers, as a cometary aspect - and on what does Isenberg continue to favor a Venerian identity for Kartikeya?
Isenberg is correct on one point only. If the statement concerning Velikovsky's identification of Shiva as Jupiter did not appear in Isenberg's original manuscript, and if it is true that it was inserted into his work without his prior knowledge, and if it is also true that he objected to it at the time, then he should have complained in a letter to the Editor of KRONOS. But seven years passed before he saw fit to disassociate himself from the insertion - and then only because he was criticized regarding it. So what is one supposed to believe? Hindsight, unfortunately, is of limited value.
If Isenberg can now decide that he does not accept Velikovsky's identification, that part of our argument is resolved. If he ends up accepting it, he can take it up again with me at a future date. Somewhere along the line we might even come to an understanding.
I do not accept that "the several meanings of a [Sanskrit] word . . . given separately and marked by black Arabic figures" in Apte's dictionaries are necessarily unrelated. To give an example, the word "manth" is defined as:
It would be asinine of Isenberg to insist that the above groups of definitions, "given separately and marked by black Arabic figures", are unrelated. In fact they are synonymous. So, also, with the word "mandu".
The synonymous interrelation of one group with the others is more than obvious. Nor were these examples especially looked for. The page from which they are cited just happened to be in front of me.
It is therefore obvious that just because "Mangala, Bhauma, etc." are "given separately" from "Kumara, Kartikeya, etc." and marked by "black Arabic figures" in Apte's dictionary under "Mars", it does not follow that the two groups are unrelated - and related they are by virtue of Kartikeya's identity as the planet Mars as supplied in the Linga Purana.(9)
Isenberg admits that I have "indeed met the lesser" of his "two challenges to a certain extent". May I ask why only "to a certain extent"?
Isenberg's challenge was to "cite any instance of the word 'Karttikeya' being used as a common (or even not so common) synonym for the planet Mars in any - and more especially any classical - Sanskrit sources''.(10) This challenge was met. Such a citation was supplied.(11) It will not do for Isenberg to complain that just because "someone referred to the planet Mars" as Skanda/ Kartikeya in a source "certainly not earlier than the 7th century A.D." it does not make the identification justifiable. For one thing, one late reference to Kartikeya as Mars is better than none as Venus. For another, Kartikeya is not the only deity identified with a planet in the Linga Purana. It is there also recorded that Yama is Saturn "the lord of the worlds", that Brihaspati is Jupiter, and that Sukra is Venus.(12) Is Isenberg ready to discount these identifications also because they were recorded by the same "someone" in the same late source?
Like Isenberg I, also, am wary of late sources. But until he can present an earlier one that will flatly contradict the Linga Purana on this score, the burden of disproof rests squarely on his shoulders.
Isenberg assumes that "even Cardona . . . will not claim to have shown that 'Karttikeya' was ever used as a common synonym for the planet Mars in classical Sanskrit sources - the major one of [his] challenges".
The assumption is correct. I do not so claim. I have never so claimed. If Isenberg was to refer to my original article, he will realize that I did not state that "Kartikeya" was ever used as a common synonym for the planet Mars. What I did state was that Kartikeya is one of the Sanskrit names for that planet.(13) And that makes all the difference for, although Isenberg seems somewhat reluctant to swallow this bitter pill, that disclosure remains "the truth of the matter".
At this point I should ask Isenberg to be more careful with his choice of words. I have never referred to this debate as the replacement of his "error" with my truth. The truth in question is not mine and I have nowhere alluded to his tentative Kartikeya/Venus equation as an "error". He should therefore not put false words into my mouth.
Isenberg should also learn to count. He claims that I have "essentially" offered "two kinds of evidence [in favor of the Kartikeya/Mars equation], one lexological, the other literary". Whether he wishes to accept it or not, I offered a third - that which is based on comparative mythology. All three point in the same direction - that Kartikeya was, and is, a name or personification of the planet Mars.
So that "in the end", the contextual, linguistic, and historic approaches do converge, thus meeting Isenberg's own ideal criterion.
Isenberg is fond of offering challenges. I offer him now one of my own: Can he, from anywhere, supply any valid evidence in favor of Kartikeya having ever been a name or personification of the planet Venus? Or, failing that, can he supply any valid evidence that Kartikeya was not Mars? Until then, it behooves him to turn his talents to something more worthwhile.
Most of what follows is actually immaterial to the Kartikeya/Mars "problematique", as he called it, but, as usual, Isenberg saw fit to muddy the waters this time by introducing new arguments based on the syncretistic tendencies of Hindu sectarianism. Unless I read him wrong, what Isenberg is here warning is that one should be cautious about accepting mythological syncretism, especially as a basis for planetary identification - a system I have utilized in various of my papers. Isenberg's examples, as illustrated by the Bhagavadgita, the Ganeshagita, and the Bhavisyapurana, are, however, not only irrelevant to the Kartikeya/Mars debate but to anything I have ever written re Hinduism. The substitution of Sri Ganesha (in the Ganeshagita) for Sri Krishna (of the Bhagavadgita) is such an obvious sectarian transference of loyalty that no serious Indologist could ever be fooled by it. This is hardly an example of my method in which I have been careful to utilize only single-source syncretism - that is the identification of one deity with another as supplied by the same writer in the same source.
As for the Bhavisyapurana, the direction of its borrowings is as obvious as the sectarianism of the Ganeshagita. While the Biblical names (Adam, Havvah, Noah, etc.) have clearly defined meanings in Hebrew, their Sanskrit equivalents (Adam, Havyavati, Nyuah, etc.) are at best strained - so that Isenberg need not have asked who borrowed what from whom. In any case, is Isenberg trying to tell us that one would be wrong in identifying Havyavati as Eve, Nyuah as Noah, etc.? This example is so ridiculous I don't even know what to make of it. I have absolutely no idea why it was brought up. But so that it will not go wasted, let me add that, no, I would not make the mistake of equating Vishnu with Yahweh I would, instead, identify him as a prototype of El (Eloah or Elohim) who was the Biblical god before Yahweh and who, like Vishnu, stood for Saturn. The Hindu Kali and the Edenic serpent are not exactly mismatched either since they both personified the darker aspect of the same planet.
As Isenberg did in his previous criticism of Roger Ashton,(14) he again warns that "names alone will not carry much conviction among Indologists". Aside from the fact that my planetary identifications are not based on "names alone", am I again to inform him that the convincing of Indologists is not the prime aim of our studies? Do I again have to ask Isenberg if he has convinced any Indologists of the Venerian identity of the Devi?
It is not so much that I wish to harp on Isenberg's identification of the Mahadevi as Venus - but doesn't the method he used in that exercise, coupled with the criticism he has raised against my work and Ashton's, make him somewhat guilty of abiding by a double standard? He chose one set of rules for his opus magnum in KRONOS, but he will not allow others to abide by them. In his paper on the Devi he was not concerned whether he would win any adherents among Indologists; it did not trouble him that nowhere is "Devi" used as a synonym of the planet Venus in any - and more especially any classical - Sanskrit sources. He bemoaned the lack of Greek support for his identification but discounted the Greek support Ashton uncovered for his.(15) He utilized the proven method of comparative mythology as a basis for his identification but refuses to allow me the use of the same. He is allowed to compare the Devi to the Greek Pallas Athene,(16) but will not let me compare Kartikeya to the Babylonian Mars (Nergal) stating that "comparison with Babylonian palaeoastronomy and/or mythology is not at all relevant". It seems to me that what is sauce for the hamsah should be sauce for the mayurah.
And then come the questions: "What was the earliest (Vedic) appellation of the planet Mars?" "How early is Kartikeya?"
I'll answer the last one first. Kartikeya is at least as early as the Devi since both of them are first mentioned in the Mahabharata, believed to have begun "to take shape about 500 B.C.''(17) - What does it prove?
As for the Vedic appellation of the planet Mars, there doesn't seem to be one; but then neither is there one for Venus. - What does it disprove?
Isenberg also asks if there is any evidence that Kartikeya was linked to Mars through knowledge of the Greek Ares. To my knowledge there is none.
Isenberg asks many other questions: Why is Mars called "earthly", "terrestrial", "related to the Earth"? Why is the planet known as "Son of Earth" and "Earthborn"? Why is the planet's name synonymous with "water" and "light"? What is the connection between Mars and the demon Naraka?
True - these are legitimate questions but the answers to them would take us well beyond the realm of this debate. After all, I have not yet delineated, and hardly analysed, the myths pertaining to Kartikeya in my slowly-unfolding scenario. But I can promise Isenberg that the items he seems so much concerned with will be clarified in time. Do not misunderstand me. I do not profess to have all the answers. In this matter, like Isenberg, I am merely a student, a scholar, a searcher and researcher. More than he, I question everything. But where contradictions do not exist, I accept what I find.
REFERENCES1. V. S. Apte, The Practical Sanskrit-English Dictionary (Delhi, 1965), pp. 839, 847. (NOTE: I am indebted to Roger Ashton for the correct transliteration of all Sanskrit
words appearing in this rejoinder.)
2. H. de Wilman-Grabowska, "Brahmanic Mythology,"Asianc Mythology (N. Y., 1972),
3. A. Isenberg, "Devi and Venus," KRONOS II:1 (Aug. 1976), pp. 99-100.
4. See also D. Cardona, "Child of Saturn," Part II, KRONOS VII:2 (Winter 1982),
pp. 29-33; D. Cardona, "Vishnu Born of Shiva," KRONOS VII:3 (Spring 1982), pp. 15-18.
5. A Isenberg, op. cit., p. 99.
6. Idem, "Kartikeya: Mars or Venus?" KRONOS VIII:2 (Winter 1983), p. 74.
7. V. S. Apte, op. cit., p. 742.
9. Linga Purana, 1:60:2.
10. A. Isenberg, op. cit., p. 73 (emphasis as given).
11. D. Cardona, Ibid., p. 76.
12. Linga Purana, 1:60:3-5. (NOTE: To be fair, Brihaspati and Sukra are not here mentioned by name. The line actually reads: "The preceptors of Devas and Asuras are the great planets Venus and Jupiter . . ." It is, however, well known that the preceptors of Devas
and Asuras are Sukra and Brihaspati.)
13. D. Cardona (see note No. 4), p. 34.
14. A. Isenberg, "Indra and Brhaspati," KRONOS VIII:4 (Summer 1983), pp. 75-78.
15. Ibid, p. 7 7; D. Cardona, Ibid, pp. 8 3-84.
16. A. Isenberg (see note No. 3), p. 94.
17. Ibid., p. 101.