The Biblical name of ‘Syria’ was ‘Aram; and the language of the Bible is known as ‘Aramiac’.
In the year 2009, 50 km north of Damascus in Syria, was discovered evidence of an ancient civilization in an uninhabitable part of Syria. There are massive stonehenge like stones here, which archaeologists say, are about about 8000-10000 years old.However, the archaeologists have no clue what those structures might be. They call it the ‘Syrian Stonehenge’ and are perplexed at what this site might have been used for. The history of the region sheds absolutely no light on this mystery.
The ancient Indian epic Ramayana gives a few clues though. The Ramayana mentions a number of structures or manors built by ‘Vishwakarma’ – the celestial architect, massive in size, some shaped like a mountain, others circular in shape, spread around the world. One example is the structure by the name ‘Chakravan’. In Kishkinda Kanda of the Ramayana, the ‘vanara’ commando leader, Sugreeva, provides a route-map to each of the four ‘vanara’ brigades travelling in four different directions in search of Sita, the abducted wife of God-King Sri Rama. Read an earlier blog on the details of the sojourn of the ‘vanaras’ travelling West and to ‘Chakravan’ here.
That the ‘vanaras’ are headed beyond present day Indian borders to what we call the ‘Middle East’ is evident from the description of the sea (Arabian), mountain peaks (of the Zagros range of Iran/Iraq) and the tall ‘palm’ trees that the ‘vanaras’ encounter en-route. Other clues include the fact that Sugreev tells the ‘vanaras’ to go west, pass the point where the Indus falls into the sea (which is in present day Karachi), and then move forward up unto the ‘fourth quarter of the sea’ (Arabian) till they pass many mountains (Zagros) and see Chakravan, a circular built by the celestial architect Vishwakarma.
Crossing that they are told they will pass Mt. Varaha. Onward they will come across Mt. Meghvanta, moving forward they will see a mountain range of many peaks of which one is the majestic Mt. Meru. Then they are instructed to move to their final destination – Astagiri (which translates as ‘Sunset Hill’).
On Mt. Astagiri they are told they will find a huge and majestic multi-storied manor, also built by the celestial architect ‘Vishwakarma’ – this is a second example of a massive structure built by the celestial architect mentioned in the Ramayana in the Kishkinda Kanda. Says the Ramayana, “On the pinnacle of Mt. Astagiri, or the Mt. Dusk, there is a supreme and heavenly manor-house compacted with multi-storied buildings, which in shine will be similar to Sun and which is arranged by Vishvakarma, the Divine Architect. ” [4-42-44]
The gigantic structures built by the celestials, west of India, which Sugreeva’ says elsewhere in the epic are visible from the skies, must have left some traces, signs and ruins. In Eurasia, recent excavations at stonehenge like sites include Goebkli Tepe and Nevali Cori in Turkey, Arkaim in Russia, Balbek in Lebanon and the sites of Urkesh and the ‘Syrian Stonehenge’ near Damascus. Syria is the western most country to the east of the Mediterranean Sea.
Where is Mt. Astagiri of the Ramayana? ‘Astagiri’ translates as ‘Sunset Mouintain’ and is the western most point that Sage Valmiki says he is aware about. Beyond that limit he writes, “…we have no knowledge of those sunless and boundless realms available far and beyond.” [4-42-51]
Is the Syrian Stonehenge, the majestic, multi-storied manor built by celestial architect Vishwakarma for Varuna (God of the Sea and Ocean) mentioned in the Ramayana the Syrian stonehenge? The Syrian Stonehenge is located close to the Mediterranean Sea, on a mountain. The majestic multi storied structure of the Ramayana too was located on a mountain at the furthermost point beyond which as per Valmiki (the author of Ramayana) no culture had yet evolved.
The massive stonehenge like structures at this Syrian excavation site could not have been constructed without some kind of advanced technology and hence their construction may be attributed to celestial or divine architects. Though the ruins of a partially-destructed monastery built much later during the Roman times still stand, architects have found that it is built over the much more ancient multi-layered megalithic structure of which they have no historical record.
|An aerial view of the Syrian Stonehenge
excavation site 50 km from Damascus.
|A monastery was built during the Roman times
over the far more ancient Syrian Stonehenge.
A monastery was built during the Roman times over the far more ancient Syrian Stonehenge. The Hindu Epic Ramayana mentions ‘a supreme and heavenly manor-house compacted with multi-storied buildings, which in shine is similar to Suna and which was designed by Vishvakarma, the Divine Architect’.
|Another view of the site of the Syrian Stonehenge.
A monastery built by the Romans stands on this ancient site.
The Ramayana also states that in a region, west of India, after crossing many mountain peaks, on ‘Mt. Asta-giri’ where the sun sets, is Lord Varuna’s (Vedic Sea-God’s) multi-storied manor.
|Was Valmiki describing this Syrian structure to
the ‘vanara’ when he wrote about the multi-level manor
built by the celestial architect Vishwakarma?
This contention is not far-fetched at all if you were to check out some place names even today in Syria. The ancient name of Syria’s largest port city Latakia was Ramitha. A certain part of the city (at co-ordinates 35°35’15″N 35°44’10″E is still known as Ramitha. The city of Ramitha is identified as the same as ‘Ramoth’. The name Ramoth is mentioned 33 times in the Bible as stated here.
There is another fairly large town in Syria by the name Ram. Another village by the name ‘Kafr Ram’ in central Syria, is the site of a well known little pond which bears the name ‘Rehmat er Ram’. Then there is Lake Ram on Mt. Hermon.
|Lake Ram, Near Mt. Hermon, Syria. The name of the mountain
may itself have been derived from the name ‘Rama’. Mt. Hermon
was also known as ‘Senir’ which is said to be derived from the
words Syria or Assyria, ultimately from Sanskrit ‘Sura and ‘Asura’.
That Syria and Assyria are names derived from the Sanskrit ‘Sura’ (सुर) and ‘Asura (असुर) is an idea which has found support of quite a few well known scholars. Also, Edward Pollocke in his book ‘India in Greece’ attributed the name Syria to the Sanskrit ‘Surya’ (सूर्य) meaning ‘sun’. He wrote, “The term Syria is derived from the Indian tribes that, under the appellation of Surya, or the Sun, gives its enduring name to the province of Suriya, now Syria”.
** Here are the verses about the ‘Multistorey Manor on a Hill’ in the Valmiki Ramayana. (Kishkinda Kand Section 42, Verse 44). Courtesy: www.valmikiramayana.net
शृंगे तस्य महत् दिव्यम् भवनम् सूर्य संनिभम् |
प्रासाद गण संबाधम् विहितम् विश्वकर्मणा || ४-४२-४
tasya shRinge = on its, pinnacle, [Mt. Astagiri’s pinnacle];
praasaada gaNa sambaadham = building with many stories, or multi-storey, compacted with terraces;
suurya sannibham = similarto Sun in shine;
mahat = a supreme; divyam = a heavenly;
bhavanam = manor-house; vishvakarmaNaa vihitam = by Vishvakarma, arranged – is there.
“On the pinnacle of Mt. Astagiri, or the Mt. Dusk, there is a supreme and heavenly manor-house compacted with multi-storied buildings, which in shine will be similar to Sun and which is arranged by Vishvakarma, the Divine Architect. [4-42-44]
शोभितम् तरुभिः चित्रैः नाना पक्षि समाकुलैः |
निकेतम् पाश हस्तस्य वरुणस्य महात्मनः || ४-४२-४५
citraiH = with amazing ones;
naanaa pakSi sam aakulaiH = with diverse, birds, well [musically,] twittering;
tarubhiH shobhitam = with trees, brightened with; mahaa aatmanaH = great-souled one; paasha hastasya = tether, in hand [wielder of];
varuNasya niketam = Sea-God Varuna’s, villa – is there.
“That villa is brightened by amazing trees, on which diverse birds will be twittering musically, belongs to the great-souled Varuna, the Rain-god, who wields a tether. [4-42-45].