Will Durant, eminent American historian, in his book Story of Civilization: Our Oriental Heritage, described India as the most ancient civilization on earth and he offered many examples of Indian culture throughout the world. He demonstrated that as early as the ninth century B.C. E. Indians were exploring the sea routes, reaching out and extending their cultural influences to Mesopotamia, Arabia, and Egypt.
Although modern-day historians and anthropologists might prefer to accept Egypt or Babylon as the most ancient civilization, due to various archaeological findings, their theories are by no means conclusive. The popular theory in the academic community that the Aryans invaded India has also been disproved. Perhaps it is easier for modern people to accept ancient Egypt and Babylon, whose ancient civilizations have no living representation and thereby pose no threat or challenge to the status quo.
The New Zealand pre historian, S. Percy Smith, tries to show in his Hawaiki - the Original home of the Maori that the ancient Polynesian wanderers left India as far back as the fourth century B.C. and were daring mariners who made, more often than not, adventurous voyages with the definite object of new settlements. A people who reached as far east as Easter Island could not have missed the great continent ahead of them.
Baron Alexander von Humbolt (1769-1859), an eminent European scholar and anthropologist, was one of the first to postulate the Asiatic origin of the Indian civilizations of the Americas. He found that the systematic study of ancient American cultures and was convinced of the Asian origin of the American-Indian high civilization. He said: «if languages supply but feeble evidence of ancient communication between the two worlds, their communication is fully proved by the cosmogonies, the monuments, the hyeroglyphical characters and the institutions of the people of America and Asia». (India and World Civilization - By D. P. Singhal).
Swami B. V. Tripurari asks, «What mysterious psychological law would have caused Asians, and Americans to both use the umbrella as a sign of royalty, to invent the same games, imagine similar cosmologies, and attribute the same colours to the different directions?».
Dr. Robert Heine Geldern anthropologist, has written that «Those who believe the ancient peoples of Asia were incapable of crossing the ocean have completely lost sight of what the literary sources tell us concerning their ships and their navigation. Many of the peoples of South-eastern Asia had adopted Indian Hindu-Buddhist civilizations. The influences of the Hindu-Buddhist culture of southeast Asia in Mexico and, particularly, among the Maya, are incredibly strong, and they have already disturbed some Americanists who don’t like to see them but cannot deny them». «Ships that could cross the Indian Ocean were able to cross the Pacific too. Moreover, these ships were really larger and probably more sea-worthy than those of Columbus and Magellan. The Periplus of the Erythraean sea mentions the large ships of Southern India which engaged in trade with the countries of the East. A Chinese source of the third century A.D. describes vessels from Southern Asia which were 150 feet in length, and had four masts and were able to carry six to seven hundred men and one thousand metric tons of merchandise when the Buddhist Pilgrim Fahien returned from Sri Lanka to China, in 414 A.D.».
Geldern, in collaboration with Gordon F. Ekholm, said: «Ships of size that carried Fahien from India to China (through stormy China water) were certainly capable of proceeding all the way to Mexico and Peru by crossing the Pacific. One thousand years before the birth of Columbus Indian ships were far superior to any made in Europe up to the 18th century» (The Civilizations of Ancient America: The Selected Papers of the XXIXth International Congress of Americanists).
Sir William Jones (1746-1794) judge of the Supreme Court at Calcutta, was one who pioneered Sanskrit studies. His admiration for Indian thought and culture was almost limitless. He has remarked: «Rama is represented as a descendant from the sun, as the husband of Sita, and the son of a princess named Kauselya. It is very remarkable that Peruvians, whose Incas boasted of the same descent, styled their greatest festival Rama-Sitva; whence we may take it that South America was peopled by the same race who imported into the farthest of parts of Asia the rites and the fabulous history of Rama» (Asiatic Researches - Volume I).
Sir Stamford Raffles, the British historian, and founder of Singapore as a British colony, expressed a similar view when he wrote that «the great temple of Borobudur in Java might readily be mistaken for a Central American temple» (India: Mother of Us All).
Edward Pococke (1604–1691), English Orientalist, has written: «The Peruvians and their ancestors, the Indians, are in this point of view at once seen to be the same people» (India in Greece).
Ambassador Miles Poindexter states in his book, The Ayar-Incas: «Aryan words and people came to America by the island chains of Polynesia. The very name of the boat in Mexico is a South Indian (Tamil) word: Catamaran».
Dr. B. Chakravarti author of The Indians And The Amerindians has written: «It will be evident from a close study of the texts of Indian Astronomy that Latin America was known to ancient Indians, who called it Pataladesha. The Surya Siddhanta, a textbook of Astronomy, composed before 500 A.D. identifies and describes Pataladesha in very clear and definite terms in the chapter of geography (chapter XII)».
The celebrated astronomer Bhaskaracarya mentions the time difference between the important cities situated in different parts of the world in his Siddhanta Siromani (Goladhyaya) thus: «When the sun rises at Lanka, the time as at Yakakotipura to the east of Lanka, will be midday. Below the earth at Siddhapura, it will be twilight then, and at Romakadesa in Europe, the time will be midnight».
From such location of places round the globe and the movement towards the east, it appears that many Indian merchants used to sail frequently and some even settled down in Indonesia and Indochina, who used to relay on to Polynesia and then further on to South or Middle America, may be not a single ship and in a single effort, but after stopovers at the important ports on the other islands-chain of which seems to have existed then and some of which submerged later because of tectonic movements. It seems that some contact with the cities mentioned by Bhaskaracharya might have existed till his time.
Alexander von Humboldt, who spent fifty years doing research on Ancient America, said: «It is surprising to find, toward the end of the fifteenth century, in a world that we call “New” the ancient institutions, the religious ideas, the forms of edifices which, in Asia appear to belong to the first dawn of civilization».
Those Indian ships that carried Fahien the Chinese historian and scholar through stormy China waters could without difficulty proceed all the way to Mexico and other countries. A thousand years before the birth of Columbus Indian ships could carry hundreds of passengers.
According to Donald A. Mackenzie writes in his book, Myths of Pre-Columbian America: «Tezcatlipoca, was like Hindu god Kubera, was a god of the north. The story of Yappan appears to be of Indian origin. The story of the temptation and fall of Yappan is too like that of the temptation and fall of his Indian prototype to be of spontaneous origin in the New World. The conclusion drawn from the evidence of the Yappan myth that Hindu cultural influences reached America is greatly strengthened when we find Acosta informing us that certain Mexican ascetics, who assisted the priests, “dressed in white robes and lived by begging”. The wandering Brahmin and Buddhist pilgrims in India similarly begged their food».
When Cortes invaded the valley of Mexico he found that the Mexicans had the same word for God that he himself had. His own (Spanish) was Dios, from Greek Theos, the Mexican, as Cortes converted it to writing, was Teotl (Devata or Deva in Sanskrit).
The Indian myth of the Churning of the Milky Ocean reached America. In Codex Cortes there is a grotesque but recognizable Maya representation of the ocean churning. The tortoise, however, is on the summit of the mountain-pestle instead of being beneath it, and the other form of the serpent god appears above his avatar. Round the mountain-pestle is twisted a snake, called “a rope” by Seler. Two dark gods, like the Indian Asuras, hold one end of the snake-rope while the other end is grasped by the elephant headed god. To the rope is attached a symbol of the sun (Kin).
The American writer and explorer, Mr. John L. Stephens, who, accompanied Mr. Catherwood, an accomplished artist, visited the ruins of Maya civilization in Central America in the middle of last century, detected the elephant on a sculptural pillar at Copan, which he referred to as an ‘idol’. A reproduction of one of the ornaments in question should leave no doubt as to the identity of the animal depicted by the ancient American sculptor. It is not only an elephant, but an Indian elephant (Elephas Indicus), a species found in India, Ceylon, Borneo and Sumatra. In India the elephant was tamed during the Vedic period. It was called at first by the Aryo-Indians “the beast having a hand”. and ultimately simply Hastin “having a hand”. An elephant keeper was called Hastipa. The Maya long nosed god is regarded by those who favour the hypothesis of direct or indirect Indian cultural influence in America as a form of the Indian elephant-headed god, Ganesha. Professor Elliot Smith comments: «If it has been possible for complicated games (like Pachissi) to make their way to the other side of the Pacific, the much simpler design of an elephant’s head could also have been transferred from India or to the Far East to America» (Myths of Pre-Columbian America - By Donald A. Mackenzie).
Discussing the diffusion of Indian religions to Mexico, a recent scholar, Paul Kirchhoff from the University of Frankfurt, had even suggested that it is not simply a question of miscellaneous influences wandering from one country to the other, but that China, India, Java, and Mexico actually share a common system. Kirchhoff has sought «to demonstrate that a calendaric classification of 28 Hindu gods and their animals into twelve groups, subdivided into four blocks, within each of which we find a sequence of gods and animals representing Creation, Destruction and Renovation, and which can be shown to have existed both in India and Java, must have been carried from the Old World to the New, since in Mexico we find calendaric lists of gods and animals that follow each other without interruption in the same order and with attributes and functions or meanings strikingly similar to those of the 12 Indian and Javanese groups of gods, showing the same four subdivisions».
Trilokinath, the Hindu ruler of the three worlds, was known to the Mexicans by the name, until the Spanish conquerors mistakenly changed the name into Tloque Nahuaque.
In a temple in Guatemala is a statue of an incarnation of Vishnu as Kurma, the tortoise. The sculpture is richly detailed and strongly suggests that it might have been wrought by Hindu hands. In Palenque Temple of the Sun in Mexico Surya occupies the place of honor.
Even Yama, the god of death of Hindu mythology, has found his way to Mexico and Peru, while typically Hindu lotus and chakras motifs adorn the temples. Maya and Aztec architectural styles are remarkably similar to those in India and South east Asia. In both areas the chief structures were pyramid shaped, with serpent balustrades and surmounted
Sir Edward B. Taylor also found the counterparts of the tortoise myth of India in ancient America. «The striking analogy between the tortoise myth of North America and India is by no means a matter of new observation; it was indeed noticed by Father Lafitan nearly a century and half ago. Three greatest features of the Asiatic stories are found among the North American Indians in their fullest and clearest development» (Early History of Mankind).
The Mexican doctrine of the World’s Ages - the universe was destroyed four consecutive times - is reminiscent of the Indian Yugas. Even the reputed colours of these Mythical four ages, white, yellow, red and black are identical with and in the same order as one of the two versions of the Indian Yugas. In both myths the duration of the First Age is exactly the same, 4,800 divine years. The Mexican Trinity is associated with this doctrine as in the Hindu Trinity with the Yugas in India.
Donald A. Mackenzie writes in his book, Myths of Pre-Columbian America: «The doctrine of the World’s Ages (from Hindu Yugas) was imported into Pre-Columbian America...the Mexican sequence is identical with the Hindus… The essential fact remains that they were derived from a common source… It would be ridiculous to assert that such a strange doctrine was of spontaneous origin in different parts of the Old and New Worlds». According to the Mayan calendar, which is extant, the time record of the mayas began on 6 August 613 B.C. It is an exact date based upon complex astronomical calculations, and prolonged observations. To work out this kind of elaborate calendar must have taken well over two thousand years of studying stars, and the Asiomericans must have been remarkably shrewd observers.
Donald A. Mackenzie and other scholars, however, are of definite opinion that the ancient Mexicans and Peruvians were familiar with Indian mythology and cite in support close parallels in details. For instance, the history of the Mayan elephant symbol cannot be traced in the local tradition, whereas it was a prominent religious symbol in India. The African elephant has larger ears. It is the profile of the Indian elephant, its tusk and lower lip, the form of its ear, as well as its turbaned rider with his ankus, which is found in Meso-American models. Whilst the African elephant was of little religious significance, it had been tamed in India and associated with religious practices since the early days.
Chacla in Mayan refers to force centers of the body similar to the chakras of the Hindu Tantra. K’ultanlilni in Mayan refers to the power of God within man which is controlled by the breath, similar in meaning to kundalini. Mayan chilambalam refers to a sacred space, as does Tamil Chidambaram. Yok’hah in Mayan means “on top of truth”, similar to yoga in Sanskrit.
The Makara motif, a serpent head with upturned snout and with a human face in its mouth, from India, Java, Bali and Sumatra, is comparable to the Mexican Xiuhcoatl, the fire serpent on the Aztec Sun Stone.
All sorts of architectural elements are common to Mexico, Gautemala, India, Java and Indo-China, the most striking of which are the pyramids with receding stages, faced with cut stone, and with stairways leading to a sanctuary on top, also of stone; in many there are surprising common traits such as serpent columns and banisters, vaulted galleries and corbeled arches, attached columns, stone cut-out lattices, and Atlantean figures, which are typical of Punuc style of Yucatan. The most striking and highly specialized of these traits is the lotus motif interspersed with seated human figures common to Chichen-Itza and Amaravati, southern India. Amaravati is dated about the second century of our era, but it exercised a powerful influence over the Hindu-Buddhist art of Cambodia, Champa, and even modern Bali. It is significant that temple pyramids in Cambodia do not antedate the eighth century, and only become important in the ninth and tenth centuries, a time coinciding with the beginning of the Puncu period of Yucatan according to Heine-Geldern and Ekholm, 1951.
The buildings of Chichen Itza show certain influences from Southeast Asia; for example, the lotus motif occurs in the Mercado (covered market). The Mercado is strikingly reminiscent of the galleries so typical of the Cambodian architecture that eventually blossomed into the galleries of Angkor Vat. The lotus motif, interspersed with seated human figures, which has a deep symbolic meaning in Hindu and Buddhist mythologies and as such is an integral part of early Indian art, especially of Amaravati, is found at Chichen Itza as a border in the reliefs of the lower room of the Temple of Tigers. The similarity between the art of Amaravati and that of Chichen Itza is particularly noticeable in reclining figures holding on to the rhizome of the lotus.
The Mexican Lion-throne and Lotus-throne remind one of Indian Simhasana and Padmasana. The parasol, a mark of royalty amongst the Mayas, the Aztecs, and the Incas, may be an adaptation of the royal Chatra in us in India and Indianized Asia from the earliest times.
A kind of caste system prevailed amongst the Incas of Peru. Peruvians worshipped an omnipotent and invisible Supreme being, Viracocha, creator and preserver of the world. Imprints of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata have been noticed on the poetry of Peru. The official history of Mexico officially admits that «those who arrived first on the continent later to be known as America were groups of men driven by the mighty current that set out from India». Lopez, Spanish author of The Aryan Races in Peru writes : "Every page of Peruvian poetry bears the imprint of Ramayana and Mahabharata».
In Indian art the lotus rhizome frequently protrudes from the mouths of makaras, sea monsters with fish-like bodies and elephants-like trunks. At Chichen Itza, stylized figures of fish are found at both ends of the lotus plant, in the same position as the makaras in India. Such a combination of highly specific details cannot be accidental. It suggests the existence of some kind of relationship between Maya art and not only Buddhist art in general, but the school of Amaravati of the second century A.D. in particular.
In 1866, the French architect, Eugene Viollet-le-Duc, noted striking resemblances between ancient Mexican architectural structures and those of South India.
The only plausible argument against cultural diffusion from southern Pacific is the distance involved. It is asserted that it would have been unlikely for a large number of people to have crossed the vast expanse of the Pacific without well-equipped boats and skilful voyagers. The argument, however, falls, upon close scrutiny. It would not be at all difficult for a large canoe or catarmaran to cross from Polynesia to South America even at the present time, and the ancient Asians were skilled and enterprising seafaring men.
However, Asian ability to cross the seas during this period is undoubted. The art of shipbuilding and navigation in India and China at the time was sufficiently advanced for oceanic crossings. Indian ships operating between Indian and South-east Asian ports were large and well equipped to sail cross the Bay of Bengal. When the Chinese Buddhist scholar, Fa-hsien, returned from India, his ship carried a crew of more than two hundred persons and did not sail along the coasts but directly across the ocean. Such ships were larger than those Columbus used to negotiate the Atlantic a thousand years later. According to the work of mediaeval times, Yukti Kalpataru, which gives a fund of information about shipbuilding, India built large vessels from 200 B.C. to the close of the sixteenth century. A Chinese chronicler mentions ships of Southern Asia that could carry as many as one thousand persons, and were manned mainly by Malayan crews. They used western winds and currents in the North Pacific to reach California, sailed south along the coast, and then returned to Asia with the help of the trade winds, taking a more southerly route, without however, touching the Polynesian islands.
In ancient times the Indians excelled in shipbuilding and even the English, who were attentive to everything which related to naval architecture, found early Indian models worth copying. The Indian vessels united elegance and utility, and were models of fine workmanship. It was also known that in the third century a transport of horses, which would require large ships, reached Malaya and Indo-China.
Professor Ramon Mena, curator of the National Museum of Mexico and author of Mexican Archaeology, called the Nahuatl, Zapoteca, and Mayan languages “of Hindu origin”. He went to say, «A deep mystery enfolds the tribes that inhabited the state of chiapas in the district named Palenque… their writing, and the anthropological type, as well as their personal adornments… their system and style of construction clearly indicate the remotest antiquity… (they) all speak of India and the Orient». «The (Maya) human types are like those of India. The irreproachable technique of their reliefs, the sumptuous head-dress and ostentatious on high, the system of construction, all speak of India and the Orient».
A. L. Krober has also found striking similarities between the structure of Indo-European and the Penutian language of some of the tribes along the north-western coast of California. Recently, an Indian scholar, B. C. Chhabra, in his Vestiges of Indian Culture in Hawaii has noticed certain resemblances between the symbols found in the petroglyohs from the Hawaiian Islands and those on the Harappan seals. Some of the symbols in the petroglyphs are described as akin to early Brahmi script.
Indeed, the parallels between the arts and culture of India and those of ancient America are too numerous and close to be attributed to independent growth. A variety of art forms are common to Mexico, India, Java, and Indochina, the most striking of which are the Teocallis, the pyramids, with receding stages, faced with cut stone, and with stairways leading to a stone sanctuary on top. Many share surprisingly common features such as serpent columns and bannisters, vaulted galleries and corbeled arches, attached columns, stone cut-out lattices, and Atlantean figures; these are typical of the Puuc style of Yucatan. Heine-Geldern and Ekholm point out that temple pyramids in Cambodia did not become important until the ninth and tenth centuries, a time coinciding with the beginning of the Puuc period.
If the history of pre-Columbian America, is obscure, it is because after the Spanish conquest, the first Bishop of Mexico, Juan de Zumarraga, burned all the records of the Library of Texcoco in Tlateloco market square as “the work of the Devil”, and religious fanatics destroyed temples and statues. Zumarraga, gloating over his success, wrote to his superiors in 1531 that he alone had five hundred temples razed to the ground and twenty thousand idols destroyed.
Fray Diego de Landa, the second Bishop of Yucatan, following the pattern, reduced the Maya Library in Yucatan to ashes in 1562. Post-Columbus history of America for 300 years was the story of ruthless destruction and fanatics like Bishop Diego da Landa burnt a huge bonfire of valuable documents and nothing but the three codices of ‘Chilam Balam’ could survive the holocaust. He wrote Relación de las cosas de Yucatán, A Narrative of the Things of Yucatan in 1566, Therein the states, «We found a large number of their books of these letters, and because they did not have anything in which there was not superstition and falsehoods of the devil, we burned them all, which they felt very sorry for and which caused them grief» (Proof Vedic Culture’s Global Existence - By Stephen Knapp).
Landa, in his religious zeal, ordered all their idols destroyed and all Mayan books to be burned; he was surprised at the distress this caused the Indians. His orders to destroy all icons and hieroglyphics obliterated the Mayan language forever, helping to undermine and destroy the civilization he so vividly described.
It was Landa that gave the orders for all the Mayans to bring all manuscripts to the public squares in Mani to be burned. All these books contained what would now be priceless information on astronomy, medicine, religion, and philosophy. What Emperor Theodosious of Constantinople did to the library at Alexandria to save Christianity from the Greek and Oriental pagan knowledge deposited there, these priests did in Central America with similar motives but larger success.
The burning of manuscripts continued for decades. Soldiers were encouraged to ransack palaces, public buildings, and private houses to find manuscripts. Pablo Jose de Arriaga, the head of the Jesuit College in Peru, in almost unparalleled fanaticism, caused the systematic and wholesale destruction of all state archives, customs records, royal and imperial archives, codes of laws, temple archives, and historical records. Less than a score of manuscripts escaped annihilation. These libraries contained records of ancient history, medicine, astronomy, science, religion, and philosophy.
Beyond Mexico, the ancient Andean or Peruvian civilization also suffered an even worse fate at the hands of the Spainard’s than did their neighbours in Central America. The Spanish assault on the Incas, the Spanish avarice of gold, and barbarities perpetrated in the wake of victory, including the inhuman tortures publicly inflicted on the Inca King, Atahuallpa, are illustrations of savagery seldom surpassed in history.
Most people believe that Asiomericans were uncivilized hordes with an occasional freak of knowledge, who had contributed nothing of permanent value to civilization by 1492. Despite a good deal of information to the contrary, there is resistance to accepting a change in this image. Misconceptions multiply fast but die slowly.
The Devastation of the Indies – by Bartholome de Las Casas - excerpts — «The Devastation of the Indies is an eyewitness account of the first modern genocide, a story of greed, hypocrisy, and cruelties so grotesque as to rival the worst of our own century. Las Casas writes of men, women and children burned alive “thirteen at a time in memory of Our Redemeer and his twelve apostles”. He describes butcher shops that sold human flesh for dog food (“Give me a quarter of that rascal there”, one customer says, “until I can kill some more of my own”). Slave ship captains navigate “without need of compass or charts”, following instead the trail of floating corpses tossed overboard by the ship before them. Native kings are promised peace, then slaughtered. Whole families hang themselves in despair. Once fertile islands are tuned desert, the wealth of nations plundered, millions killed outright, whole people annihilated.
The papacy empowered the two crowns (Spanish and Portuguese) to conquer and even enslave pagans “inimical to the name of Christ”.
The Spaniards killed more Indians here in twelve years by the sword, by fire, and enslavement than anywhere in the Indies».
The archaeological remains of ancient Maya civilization of Mexico are lying scattered in the parts of Yucatan, Campeche, Tabasco and eastern half of Chiapas as well as in the territory of Quintana Roo of the republic of Mexico. Covering an area of about 125,000 square miles, its traces are to be found in the western section of Honduras Republic, Peten and adjacent highlands of Guatemala and practically in the whole of Honduras.
Admiral Christopher Columbus mistakenly called the New World inhabitants as Indians. Although he corrected himself subsequently, the natives of Americas continued to be called ‘Indians’. During the course of his third journey, Columbus came into contact with ‘Maya’ people.
Many theories have been advanced by scholars to explain the origins of these American Indians and if there were any links between the ancient civilizations of the Old World and the New World. There are historians who believe that the American civilizations were purely native in origin and also those who maintain the theory of Asians crossing over through Bering Strait via Alaska and reaching the American continent some 12,000 - 15,000 years ago. However, the antiquity of American Indians remains shrouded in the veil of mystery. In spite of a great deal of investigations, explorations and deep study by scholars and innumerable historians during the last many centuries, what we know about pre-Columbus Americas is very little in comparison to what we do not know. To quote Glyn Daniel from his bookThe First Civilizations, «within 15 years, between 1519 to 1533, the Western world discovered and brutally destroyed three civilizations - the Aztecs of Mexico, Maya of Yuacatan and Guatemala and Inca of Peru».
The unique elaboration of the Mayan civilization has been a challenge to the imagination of explorers and students of history. The Mayans had attained the highest maturity in art, craft, sculpture and hieroglyphs. Innumerable theories exist about these ancient people. Their magnificent achievements in social, economic, political and religious fields, their calendar and hieroglyphic writings, reasons of the sudden collapse of their classic culture everywhere in Mesoamerica, the reality of ‘Kulkulkan Quetzal-Coatl’ myth are some of the riddles of Mexican history challenging modern research. The Maya Indians spent thousands of years in building their magnificent monuments and Mayapan, Palenque, Copan, Tikal, Kaminalijuyu and Piedras Negras were the centres where Mayan culture flourished in splendour. How and why these places were deserted in the past is still a mystery. Although modern scientists have achieved significant success in deciphering Maya calendar system, none has been able to decipher their hieroglyphic system of writing.
«Sri V. Ganapati Sthapati», read Deva Rajan's fax to our Hawaii editorial office from Machu Picchu high in the rugged Andes Mountains of Peru, South America, «has just measured with tape, compass and a lay-out story pole, two ancient Incan structures at Machu Picchu: a temple and a residence. He has confirmed that the layout of these structures, locations for doors, windows, proportions of width to length, roof styles, degree of slopes for roofs, column sizes, wall thicknesses, etc., all conform completely to the principles and guidelines as prescribed in the Vastu Shastras of India. Residential layouts are identical to those found in Mohenjodaro. The temple layouts are identical to those that he is building today and that can be found all over India». These startling discoveries came during a March, 1995, visit of the master builder to the ancient Incan and Mayan sites of South and Central America. Ganapati Sthapati is India’s foremost traditional temple architect and perhaps the first true expert in sculpture and stone construction to personally examine these ancient buildings. To do so has been his dream since the 1960’s.
The fundamental principle of Mayan’s architecture and town planning is the “module”. Buildings and towns are to be laid out according to certain multiples of a standard unit. Floor plans, door locations and sizes, wall heights and roofs, all are determined by the modular plan. More specifically, Mayan advocated the use of an eight-by-eight square, for a total of 64 units, which is known as the Vastu Purusha Mandala. The on-site inspection by Sthapati was to determine if the Incan and Mayan structures did follow a modular plan and reflect the Vastu Purusha Mandala. He also intended to examine the stone working technology-his particular field of expertise.
Amidst the crowds, Sthapati, Deva and Thamby again unsheathed their tape measures and closely examined the Pyramid of the Castle. It too conformed to the Vastu Vedic principles of Mayan. The temple structure at the top was exactly 1/4th of the base. And the stepped pyramid design derived from a three-dimensional extension of the basic eight-by-eight grid system. The temple room at the top was also modular in design, with the wall thickness determining the size of doorways, location of columns, thickness of columns and the width and length of the structure.
As in Mayan buildings, Indians have been using lime mortar for all of their stone and brick buildings. This can been seen in the monumental creations in Mahabalipuram and also in the stone temples of Tanjor and Gangai Konda Choleasuram in Tamil Nadu. The outer surfaces were plastered, embellishments worked out in lime mortar, then painted. This method was strongest among the Mayas at Tikal and Uaxactún, where all of the structures once had a plaster coating painted with many colours.
Sri Ganapati Sthapati postulates, after deep thought from his journey to the land of the Mayans and a lifetime study of South Indian architecture, that Mayan, the divine architect of Indian tradition, came from Central America. Ancient Tamil literature speaks of lands to the south of India 30,000 years ago, at the time of the first Tamil Sangam. According to scientists 160 million years ago India did lie physically close to Africa, South and Central America, but has since moved away as a result of continental drift. At that date, it would have been dinosaurs and not Mayans who wandered from the Americas to India, but perhaps the time frame for the continental drift is not correct. Architecture aside, there are significant similarities between Hinduism and the native religions of both Africa and the Americas.
There are other explanations. The simplest is boats. In 1970 the Norwegian Thor Hyerdal sailed a reed boat from Africa to the Americas in 57 days using no modern equipment. The boat, Ra II, was built for him by the Aymaro Indians of Lake Titicaca, Peru, neighbours of the ancient Incans. The double-hulled catamarans of India are also capable of long sea voyages. Historians discount contact between ancient people, but many cultures, such as the ancient Hawaiians, had remarkable sea-faring skills.