Known in Hebrew as Aram, Syria was also variously referred to with names such as Mesopotamia, Aram-Naharain, and Padan-Aram in ancient times.
Mesopotamia: It is generally accepted that Mesopotamia gets its name from Ancient Greek and means ‘in the middle of rivers’, where ‘meso’ means ‘middle’, and ‘potamos’ means ‘river’, literally ‘rushing water’, traced to PIE ‘pet’ meaning to ‘rush’ and ‘to fly’ – ignoring the Sanskrit pat (पत्) which means ‘descend’, ‘flow’, ‘to rush down’, to ‘fall rapidly’. The Greek ‘meso’ itself is derived from Sanskrit ‘madhya’ (मध्य) via Proto-Germanic ‘medjaz’.
The two major rivers of Mesopotamia referred to here are the ‘Euphrates’ and the ‘Tigris’. Edward Pococke, the 17th century historian, traces the name ‘Euphrates’ to ‘Su- Bharata’ meaning ‘Good Bharata’, derived from the name of the ancient king ‘Bharat’ (भरत्) via the Assyrian name for Euphrates ‘Su Paruttu’. The ‘Tigris’ has been equated with the word ‘Tiger’, which is said to be derived from the Sanskrit ‘vyagr’ (व्याग्र) meaning ‘tiger’.
Aram-Naharain: ‘Naharain’ which means ‘canal’ in Hebrew’ may be traced to the Sanskrit ‘nira’ (नीर) meaning ‘water’ and ‘nihara’ (निहार) meaning ‘mist’.
Padan-Aram: Padan-Aram may be traced to the Sanskrit ‘padam’ (पदम्) meaning ‘to tread’ and ‘padan’ (पदन) which means ‘to move’. It is said that the name ‘Aram’ comes from Hebrew ‘rum’ meaning ‘high places’. However, the Old Testament was originally written in Aramiac.
Edward Pococke has traced the name ‘Aram’ to the Vedic God Sri Rama, the name brought into Mesopotamia by the descendants of the tribes of the sons of Sri Rama – Luv and Cush.
Notice the names Ramadi, Kish and Nippur.
Euphrates was decoded as ‘Su-Parata’ from Su-Bharata’
by Edward Pococke. Tigris gets its name from Sanskrit ‘Vyagr’.
There are examples of words in Aramiac and Hebrew which are very close cognates of Sanskrit words. For example, there is a possibility that words such as ‘hara’ (हर) which means ‘God’ or ’eminent’ in Sanskrit, were passed on to Hebrew, and the meaning transformed from ‘God’ and ’eminent’ as in Sanskrit to ‘mountain’ or ‘elevated’ in Hebrew. In the Bible too, mountains are often associated with places of worship (pagan: Deuteronomy 12:9, Isaiah 65:7; YHWH: Exodus 17:9, 1 Kings 18:42), and it’s been proposed that people like to pray on mountains because it gives them the feeling that they’re closer to the divine realm.
The Sanskrit ‘hara’ appears in the names of mountain peaks in India such as the ‘Harmukh‘(5142 m) and ‘Hardeol‘ (7151m) which are ‘elevated’ because they are mountain peaks, and ’eminent’ because they are named after ‘Hara’ meaning ‘god’. Then there is Hari Parvat (1709 m) in Srinagar, Kashmir.
And we find in Hebrew that though the word ‘hara’ does not mean ‘god’, yet it means ‘elevated place’ or a ‘mountain’ – for example – Har HaKarmel – or Mt. Carmel (1724 m), that has been considered sacred since the times of the Cananites. The ancient ‘Cananites’ of Israel who chronologically preceded the Jews regarded all high places and mountain peaks as sacred just as did the Vedic Hindus. It is therefore logical that the word ‘hara’ might have been transported by the emigrating tribes of India and acquired a slightly different meaning by the time the word emerged in Aramiac in Mesopotamia and Canan (Israel). In any case the Sanskrit ‘hari’ (हरि) also means ‘of a mountain’ and is therefore common with Hebrew. According to Edward Pococke’ the author of ‘India in Greece’, the word Canan is derived from Sri Krishna’s name ‘Kanha’.
|Mt. Carmel Range in Israel
or Har HaKarmel
The name Rama occurs in the Old Testament and refers to a Biblical town that existed before the birth of Jesus and is mentioned in the ‘Book of Genesis’:
“A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” Matthew 2:18
Here is another verse of the Old Testament:
“The man of God came up and told the king of Israel, “This is what the LORD says:
“Because the Arameans think the LORD is a god of the hills and not a god of the valleys, I will deliver this vast army into your hands, and you will know that I am the LORD.” Kings 20:28.
In the Vedic scriptures, ‘Hari’ or Shiva is known to reside in the hills. The peak of Kailash and Kedarnath are the abode of Shiva, so is Harmouk and the cave of Amarnath. Many mountain peaks and highlands bear the name ‘Rama’ in Syria, Israel and Jordon – which include the Aramaen Mountains – and these too were considered sacred.
Ramah, also called Ramot is named after the biblical city of Rama, where the Prophet Samuel lived and was brought for burial:
Now Samuel had died, and all Israel lamented him, and buried him in Ramah, and (each one lamented him) in his own city. (Samuel I, 28:3).