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Secrets of The Bible – The Lost Heavens
An Enchanting Belief:
How charming and delightful is the image of immortal and eternal life of Heavens! The luxurious and carefree life after death, where there will be life and only life. None will have the concept of death. Happiness, bliss and comfort will be scattered all around. The gloom of woes, grief or sorrow won’t linger there. There will be magnificent palaces and castles made of precious stones and gems. Ambrosial food and necessities of life will be available without any struggle or toil. Lush green and blooming vales, twisting rills, singing waterfalls and lakes will be the jewel of that dream land. The evergreen trees of the orchards will be laden with luscious, scrumptious and mouth watering fruit. Rainbow colored and fragrant flowers will be blossoming in the bewitching gardens. The dainty birds will fill the hearts of the listeners with their soulful songs. Mother Nature will be kind enough to the dwellers of the land and there will be no rigors of seasons. Life will be at its prime without any fear of malady and aging. Drenched in youth, lustrous and delicately pretty nymphs will be showering the pleasures of life openly while the handsome and young male servants will be holding aloft the wine in crystal goblets. In brief, all the human wishes, desires and longings which remained unfulfilled in this frail world will be fulfilled in that infinite and endless life.
Effects on Human Psychology:
Anyone who is hopeful of attaining such life would obviously want to die sooner. We come to see that this fascinating image of Heavens has occupied the human senses since time unknown and has also been the favourite belief of most of the people. The concept of Heavens is not only found in the ancient religious legends, but has also been the subject of the literature of every era. But there is one problem; the person who can enter that world will be the one who wins the grace of his God. Thus we see that the worshippers, ascetics, saints, monks, mendicants and mystics of every era withdrew themselves altogether from the joys and luxuries of the mortal life and devoted their lives in worshipping their God in order to please Him and assure their place in Heavens. To satisfy Him, many passionate people massacred the enemies of God and sacrificed their own lives too. What multitude of people have been made away to please the God? Perhaps only the angels can keep the count of these lives. Who is the friend of God and who is His foe? It could never be decided. The religious history of humans tells us that every nation claimed itself to be the friend of God, while they believed that the other nations were born to fuel the fire of hell. Even today, the Jewish nation claims to have been the chosen ones as God bound His covenant with them. Therefore, they are the only nation who has the right over God. The Christians claim that Jesus Christ paid for all of their sins in his mortal life; therefore they will be the ones to rule the immortal Heavens. On the other hand, Muslims believe that the rest of the nations are sinners and polytheists, thereupon God will never be pleased with them and being monotheists, only they deserve the Heavens. Indians also believe that except them, all other nations are maleech (filthy) and defiled and their life hereafter is doomed. Who is right among these nations? It will obviously be decided by the God who is the Lord and Creator of these nations. But the decision will take place on the Day of Judgment.
Reality of the Bible’s Heavens:
It is usually believed that the concept of Heavens was first introduced by the book of Genesis, the Old Testament. What is the reality of Heavens mentioned in the book of Genesis? Were they a part of the land or sky? Let us try to find the answers to these questions.
Many scholars are of the opinion that the initial chapters of the book of Genesis were written in the land of Mesopotamia (present Iraq), in about 1400 BC, but it is certain that the concept of Heavens is much more ancient than the era in question. This concept is even older than the pre-historic epoch (i.e. 3200 BC). So obviously the concept of Heavens must have been borrowed from some other nation by the writer of the book of Genesis. Amazingly there are no details about the world of Heavens in this book. The interpreters of the book assumed on their own that Heavens are in the sky and it is the same world where the pious people will go after death. In the beginning of the book, it is said that God created the universe including earth, Heavens, sky, expanse, beings and living things in six days. Here we quote the statement of the book of Genesis about the creation of the first two days:
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning-the first day.
And God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. God called the expanse “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning-the second day.”
(1 / 1-8)
After reading these verses, a question which naturally rises in the researcher’s mind is, what had the writer declared as Heavens? Those Heavens cannot be a part of expanse because when they were created, expanse had no existence. The book clearly tells us that the Heavens, earth, day and night were created on the first day, whereas the expanse was created on the second day. Henceforth, the first day’s creation cannot be a part of the second day’s creation. We cannot imagine the sky without expanse, so Heavens can’t be a part of the sky either.
There is another issue worth noticing. The early man believed the blue sky to be a solid roof. This large blue umbrella cannot be taken as plural, whereas Heavens are usually used as plural and considered to be more than one. According to some religious traditions, they are seven. That is why even today many interpreters of the heavenly books consider the visible blue sky as a solid roof and insist that there are further six skies similar to it with expanse in between. But it seems to be their own supposition. We should keep in mind that the concept of Heavens was introduced in the eras when man was accustomed to believe in only what he could feel or see. He was mentally backward and could not believe in the unseen world. So if it is the fact of the matter that he also considered the seven heavens, they must have been visible to him. They must not have been a part of an unseen world.
In the light of this short discussion, we come to the conclusion that Heavens were not a part of expanse or sky. Then what and where was this fascinating and delightful world? According to the book of Genesis, the Heavens and earth were created together; therefore, we can suppose that the Heavens must have been a part of the earth. Another statement of the book of Genesis also supports this supposition. In the seventh chapter of the book of Genesis, we find the legend of the flood of Noah and here also we come across the mention of Heavens in the following words:
“In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month-on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the Heavens were opened. And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.”
(7 / 11-12)
In these verses, the following three sources of water, causing that great flood have been mentioned:
a) The springs of water burst forth from deeps of the earth.
b) The flood gates of the Heavens opened.
c) It started to rain from the expanse.
Here I have to point out that in the eleventh verse of seventh chapter, two sources of water have been mentioned, which are deeps of earth and floodgates of Heavens. In the twelfth verse of the same chapter the rain water is mentioned separately, which means that the Heavens and their floodgates were a part of the earth.
I shall now move on to a linguistic discussion of the word Heavens which will prove to be very interesting. The linguistic scholars will accept my claim that this word belongs to the family of Aryan languages. They will also agree that Vedic Sanskrit is the oldest among the Aryan languages. Many words similar to Heavens like Him, Himvant, Himant, Himan and Himel could be found in the Vedic Sanskrit dictionary and they could be considered as the source of the word Heavens. Here it should be kept in mind that exchanging the letter W for M is a tradition of the Indo-Aryan languages. Interestingly, the meaning of all these words is the great range of Himalaya Mountains. This mountain range that is found in the Indo-Pak subcontinent is the mightiest mountain range of the world. Mount Everest and K-2, the two highest peaks of the world are a part of it. Hence, these peaks could truly be called the sky of our world. So, it seems that the word Heavens has been deducted from the words Him, Himvant, Himan and Himel. This point of view is further confirmed by the fact that the word Himel stands for Himalaya and Himmel means sky in the German (Indo Germanic) language. Another word Gagan or Gagnam in Hindi language means row upon row of skies. It is understood that no such rows of skies are visible in the expanse, but the rows of mighty mountain range of Himalaya are visible to the whole world and most probably the word Heavens is used in the plural form for the same reason. Then why were these Heavens considered to be seven? The religious books of India tell us that a river Ganga burst forth from the Heavens (Himalaya) and was divided into seven streams. Perhaps the areas bordered by seven streams were considered the seven Heavens.
Tribal Legends and Traditions:
After the linguistic discussion, let’s take a look at the tribal traditions of the Himalayans and ask them whether they also consider their Himalaya to be the sky? Tibetan plateau is a part of the great Himalayan range. It is the highest inhabited area of the world and it is also known as the roof of the world. The famous Muslim traveler and chronicler Allama-al-Masoodi (died 956 AD) writes about Tibetans in his famous book, Marooj-uz-Zahab Wa Ma’dan-al-Jawahir:
“These people believe that they had descended from the sky and were brought up by it. They also claim themselves to be spiritually linked with it.”
Hunza (Pakistan) is a very beautiful valley of Himalaya. The people of Hunza call their ruler family aashi which means the descendants of sky.
Which sky are the Tibetans the descendants of? Which sky does the ruler family of Hunza belong to? In the search for this specific sky, there is no need to wander in the expanse because the sky of Himalaya lies right by the side of Tibetans and the people of Hunza valley. If the sky of Tibetan and Himalayan tribes was Himalaya, how could we prove that the Heavens of the book of Genesis were also the same? Let’s consult the book of Genesis itself for the answer.
Tibetans and the ruling families of Hunza claim to be the descendants of the sky (which is Himalaya), similarly book of Genesis declares the descendants of Adam and Seth as the offspring of God; as per the following verse:
“the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.”
(6 / 2)
Which words of Hebrew have been translated as the sons of God? We cannot be sure about that as we have no version of the book of Genesis written in its original Hebrew language, with us. But fortunately, a famous Muslim scholar Allama Alberuni (11th century A.D) not only had The Book of Genesis written in Hebrew, but also possessed a copy of it in Ancient Syriac. He also had the book of a famous prophet Ayub Siddiq with him. With reference to those books, he calls the sons of God as the Bani Elohim meaning Sons of Elohim in his famous book India. The suffix of Him in Elohim stands for Himalaya and the word El stands for God. Thus Elohim means the God of Himalaya. It is a common belief that the God has His abode in the sky, but the abode of Indo-Aryan God Brahma was a specific peak of Himalaya. So according to ancient man, the Himalaya was the sky as well as Heavens.
The Immortal World:
Now we will look at this matter from another angle. It is believed that a person who enters Heavens once will neither be expelled from there nor he will die. Ancient Indians had the same belief about their northern mountain ranges of Himalaya. They believed that if a person dies in Himalaya, his atama (soul) keeps wandering and enjoying those intoxicating scenes. Many Indians used to go to these beautiful mountains to commit suicide in the desire of gaining the eternal life of bliss. The Pandwa brothers, who are the heart and soul of the famous Indian myth, Maha Bharata, went to the snowy mountains of Himalaya in their old age. Ergo, they attained the eternal life of Heavens while they were still alive. Another person, Nand Kishore is also said to have entered the Heavens of Himalaya bodily after giving many sacrifices for Maha-Dev. According to a famous and old book of Vedic religion, Markandeya Purana, King Harsh Chandra entered these Heavens while he was alive. Similarly, Enoch also gained eternal life of that blissful world as told by Bible.
“Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away”
(Genesis, 5 / 24)
A similar belief is to be found among the Muslims about an elite prophet of God, Edrees. He is said to have entered Heavens with his living body. Probably Idrees and Ved Vayas are the same person. The word Edrees stands for teacher and Ved Vayas also means the teacher of Vedas. Ved Vayas also entered Heavens while he was alive. Probably the ancient man considered Himalaya as an immortal world because in the snowy mountains, where the temperature always remains below the freezing point; a dead body is naturally preserved for a long time without decay.
Let’s take a look at some common beliefs about the mysterious world of Heavens, It’s a famous belief that the angels live in Heavens and are always busy in the worship of God. These angels are made of light and are known to be resplendent. Indians call their angels devta, who are also said to be refulgent and the literal meaning of the word devta is also resplendent or made of light. Indians believe that their devtas lived in the northern mountain ranges of Himalaya.
The believers in life hereafter state that the humanity will be gathered in a ground on the doomsday, where they will be rewarded or punished according to their deeds. The doomsday is said to be held on a mountainous peak of Pakistan named Mashar Broom as in local language, the meaning of Mashar Broom is the mountain of punishment or reward.
It is believed that only the spirit of pious or forgiven persons can enter Heavens. The ancient Indians thought that the forgiven souls lived on the world famous peaks of Nanga Parbat (Pakistan). The ancient name of these peaks is Dyamar which means forgiven souls in Sanskrit language.
It is said that this world is the world of deeds, whereas the world hereafter is the world of reward and punishment. Vedic religion says that Karam Bhoomi (world of deeds) is the land of India and the land of reward or punishment is its Northern area which is obviously the mountain range of Himalaya.
The Specific Land of Heavens:
Sometimes the linguistic references lead us to unknown eras of human history. For example, an alternative word for Heavens or Sky used in some languages of subcontinent Indo-Pak is aasman. Let us discuss the matter and composition of this word. The original word of Sanskrit language was Aashariya-Maan, which means the worshipping place of Manu. Sanskrit word Manu stands for the earliest man, who is Adam. The Aashariya-Maan of Sanskrit has been abbreviated as aashram of the present day Hindi Language. This aashram is used as astra-um-i in Latin, astrun or azurn in German, assama in Arabic and hashamayim in Hebrew, and all these words mean aasman (sky). Perhaps Spanish word altura and Italian word alto meaning expanse or height also belongs to the same tribe. We are sure that the worshipping place of the Indian Manu must also have been a peak of Himalaya which turned into aasman meaning sky or Heavens afterwards.
All these linguistic references, chronicles and traditions prove that the great Himalayan ranges from Tibet, Kashmir, Gilgit, and Hunza to the valleys of Hindukush ranges including Swat, Keelash and Chitral, were Heavens for ancient men, but a specific peak, Mount Manu held central position amongst the extensive area of Heavens. The Mount Manu was attributed to Manu, the father of humans. According to Vedic legends, this golden colored mountain is situated in Jumbu Daweepa (Jammu and Kashmir) and Bharat Varsha (India) is situated in its south. This mountain is also given the name of Sawarg meaning Heavens and hence it was called the abode of Brahma, the creator of universe. It was believed that only pious people can live here, sinners cannot reside there. The beautiful valley of Jammu & Kashmir is still called the Heavens. It is not only in phrasal sense, but also has the historical background. Even today when we view the peerless natural beauty of this valley, the legendary image of Heavens fills our minds. Vedic legend tells us that Mount Manu is golden in color. In Vedic Sanskrit language, word Him means golden as well as Himalayan mountain range.
Sumerian Paradise of Dilmun (Tilmun):
The ancient Indians gave another name to this mountain i.e. Tilmanu. The word Til gives the meaning of hill, knoll, cliff or hillock. The same words with minor differences in pronunciation, like tila, teela and thala are still being used in Indo-Pak languages whereas til means hillock in Arabic language as well. The word til is also used as a prefix or suffix with the names of some towns and places of Pakistan (ancient land of India). For example the ancient name of a historical town of Pakistan was Taxila Taksa-Sheela. Here the word Sheela means hillock. Another Pakistani town situated in the province Punjab is known as Tala-Gang. The ancient name of yet another town of Punjab was Tal-Wandi (mandi) which is called Nankana-Sahib nowadays. A holy mountain of Indians, Tila-Jogian is also a part of the Pakistani Punjab. In light of the above evidences, it could be concluded that the Mount Manu which is situated in Jammu & Kashmir must have been called Til-Manu by ancient Indians. When those Indians migrated to Mesopotamia and settled there in an unknown age, they named their colonies as Til-Asmara, Til Al-Maqiyar, Til Al -Madain etc. Maybe Til-Dalay in Egypt and Tal-Aviv in Palestine were also founded by ancient Indians. There are some reasonable and interesting proofs which indicate that the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, especially the Sumerian civilization migrated from the land of ancient India. The inscriptions excavated from Mesopotamia tell us that the seven intellectuals who were the founders of Sumer came from the east, which is obviously ancient India. The word Sumer means Holy Mountain; on the other hand Vedic legends also tell us that seven rishis (sages) escaped the great flood of Noah (Indian Narada). It is possible that the seven intellectuals of Sumer were the same seven rishis who reached Mesopotamia. Those immigrants took the concept of the holy mountain of Himalaya along with them. The inscriptions excavated from Iraq, tell us about their eastern Heaven, Dilmun or Tilmun which has to be the Til-Manu of Jammu & Kashmir. According to the archaeologists, these inscriptions belong to the period from 2700 BC to 700 BC. It can be proved with several logics that the Tilmun of Sumer was in ancient India. This particular topic needs comprehensive discussion and a separate book can be written to that end. We will refer to only three inscriptions of Sumer here to avoid useless prolixity. An inscription of 2400 BC tells us about the onions of Tilmun. Most probably those onions, a special product of Tilmun, were carried to Sumer by ships. Those onions grew in abundance at a height of eleven thousand feet in Gilgit (Pakistan). This area is called Song Lung in Chinese, meaning the mountains of onions.
In many inscriptions of Sumer, we find the description of the ships of Meloha, Magan and Dilmun (Tilmun) that used to carry gold and silver to Sumer from their countries. Reflect on the statement of the famous scholar and geographer of the 2nd century BC, Ptolemy, in the light of inscriptions in question. He relates that lots of gold is found in the country of Durds (Durdistan, Pakistan) whereas silver is found in abundance in the land of Sethians.
Some inscriptions of Sumer indicate that their Heaven Tilmun was some island. Ashurbanipal, the great Ashurian king writes in his inscription that he ruled an area stretching from upper sea to lower sea. According to him the island of Tilmun was in the lower sea. The question which requires answer is that why did he divide the surface of sea into upper and lower parts like land? Seas never used to exist on mountains and heights. Perhaps they have given the name ‘Seas’ to all the storages of water like lakes, rivers, streams and seas, that is why the streams or lakes of mountainous or high areas have been declared as upper sea in the inscriptions of Ashurbanipal, and the rivers and streams of plains are termed as lower seas. This point of view is also confirmed by the book of Genesis which calls every stock of water as sea:
“And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.”
(1 / 9-10)
In Arabic language, behrin means river or sea too. On one hand, only sea is called behr but on the other hand, river and sea both are called behrin. The beliefs of the ancient Sumerians about Dilmun or Tilmun were as follows:
“Dilmun which is holy, neat and clean
Which is illuminated and lustrous
Where the crows do not crow
Where the voice of the bird of death is not heard
Where neither the lion tears anyone
Nor the wolf takes anyone away
Where there are no widows
Where the dove does not bend its head in grief
Where no one complains that his eyes are aching
Where no one says that he has a headache
Where no woman says that I am old
And no man says that I am old
Where the virgin does not have to take a bath (due to Menses)
Where the singer does not have to sing elegy
Nor does the priest have to shed tears
While revolving around the God
Nor does anyone have to wail standing
By the wall of the city
There are many springs of
Sweet water, and grain could
also be found in Dilmun.”
Now compare these beliefs of Sumerians with the statement of a Muslim scholar Allama-al-Masoodi of 9th and 10th Century A.D. He writes about the Tibetans:
“The atmosphere and mountains of Tibet have strange properties. No one has ever seen the people of this land as being sad, dejected and weary. Old, young, children, women and men, all of them always remain active, happy, ever smiling, ever singing and cheerful. Maybe it is the effect of the herbs which are found in abundance in the valleys of these mountains.
If someone dies here, neither their relatives nor others are grief-stricken because they consider it to be a natural process that is bound to affect the commoners and elite alike. All of their towns are same”
Let’s look at the matter from another angle. The ancient Indo-Aryan tribes used to call their native land (India) as Sapat-Sindhu which means the land of seven rivers. Probably Shaka Daweepa was a part of ancient India. Bhavishya Purana tells us about Shaka Daweepa in these words:
“It says the cities of Shaka Daweepa are clean and the inhabitants have long lives. Famine disease and old age were unknown in that land.
There were seven snowy-white mountains in the region and these mountains abounded in precious stones. Jewels were also to be found in the seven rivers that flew through the country.”
I have cited many religious, historical, linguistic, geographical and archaeological evidences. These evidences clearly point to the fact that the mountain ranges of Great Himalaya, Hindukush, Karakoram and the Tibet Plateau were the Heavens of ancient man, but the valley of Jammu & Kashmir was the central point of these Heavens. It is the same land from where the ancient man carried the torch of civilization to the land of Sumer. Those immigrants remembered their Heaven like motherland, specially the Mount Manu of Kashmir which was considered to be the abode of Brahma, the creator of universe. Sumerian word Tilmun seems to be the translation of the word Mount Manu. Til = Mount + Mun = Manu. The writer of the book of Genesis also obtained the concept of Heavens from
When we read this verse in the book of Genesis, we see the reflection of the Heavens-kissing peaks of Himalaya and its deep valleys:
“Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep…….”
(1 / 2)
This could only be the daily observation of a highlander who was no doubt the inhabitant of Himalayan valley of Kashmir. Who was that particular person? He must be one of those holy persons, who according to chronicles of Kashmir, were the first six Manus (holy persons) who ruled over the valley. The forefather of that holy race is named as Rishi or Muni Kusheepa. Muni Kusheepa’s race was considered holy. It was the same race which is called the descendants of Elohim (El = Lord + Him = Himalaya) by the book of Genesis. They were not Gods. We could call them the priest kings, the prophets are the messengers of God. It was the same race which was considered to be the master race among the ancient Aryan tribes. Those people introduced the heavenly code of life for the first time in human history. Rishi Kusheep, the forefather of that race, seems to be the same person who is named as Adam by the book of Genesis. Perhaps the word Adam is the abbreviation of the Sanskrit word ‘Adee Manu” meaning the first holy person or a prophet of God.
Islamic Concept of Heavens:
After discussing this matter from references of holy books of Indians, Jews and Christians, we turn to the Islamic point of view for the whereabouts of the Muslim world of Heaven. As far as the common belief of Muslims is concerned, their world of Heaven is the same where the souls of pious people go after death, but the famous Muslim scholar Imam Razi writes that the two famous and authoritative Muslim scholars of the past Abu Muslim Asfahani and Abu Al-Qasim Balkhi were of the opinion that Adam’s Heaven was not the same where the souls of pious people go after death. Adam’s Heaven was some beautiful and green part of our Earth. Especially Abu Muslim Asfahani has proved this point of view by providing strong logics derived from the Holy Quran. He writes according to the Holy Quran.
(a) Adam was born for the caliphate of earth, so Adam’s heaven must also be on earth.
(b) The earth is a place of deeds, whereas the heaven of the world hereafter is the place of results of deeds. Adam was born to live in the world of deeds.
(c) The Holy Quran says, “If any person is allowed to enter the heaven, he will never be expelled from it.” As Adam was expelled from heaven, that heaven could not be a part of the world hereafter.
However Abu Muslim-Asfahani uses the terms of heavens of sky and the heavens of earth which means there are two different heavens according to him. The earthly heavens were a part of earth and the sky’s heavens are the ones where the pious people go after death. Anyhow, if Adam was born to live in earthly Heavens, it must be the same land of Kashmir which we have identified as the land of Heavens.
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