The News Agency of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness

Vedic Influence in Iraq and Iran

By: for on Jan. 19, 2017

Long, before the advent of Islam, even as early as the third millennium BCE, India had cultural bonds with the Mesopotamian civilization, now the region of Iraq and Iran.  As explained by N. N. Bhattacharya, there are plenty of references to establish a very close contact between India and the Islamic world. Actually, Iraq was an area that had been a part of the Vedic civilization at one time. The extreme antiquity of India’s trade with the West-Asia (now known as middle-east) is an established fact.

In the Rig Vedic age, Afghanistan and its neighboring countries were culturally a part of ancient India, Bharatvarsha, and ancient Iran was also hardly distinguishable from India. It is recognized that some forms of Vedic culture prevailed in Western Asia. According to the Syrian writer Zenob, there was an Indian colony in the canton of Taron (in the region of modern day Turkey) on the upper Euphrates, to the west of Lake Van, as early as the second century BCE. Two temples were built there containing images of the Vedic divinities as large as 18 and 22 feet high.

According to Dr. Sayce, a pioneer British Assyriologist and linguist the commerce by sea between India and Babylon must have been carried on as early as about 3000 BCE, when Ur Bagas, the first king of United Babylonia, ruled Ur of the Chaldees. Indian teak wood is believed to have been found in the Babylonian remains of the third millennium BCE, and Hewitt is of the opinion that this wood must have come by sea from some port of the Malabar coast. (Mookerji, Indian Shipping, p. 86) Herodotus even explains that Babylonia imported precious stones from India. (Cowell, Jataka, III, p. 83) The Baveru Jataka (no. 339) speaks of the visit of Indian maritime traders to the kingdom of Baveru (Babylon), which may refer to the Seleucid empire, established in 312 BCE., with its capital at the city of Babylon.

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