The Samguk Yusa, that is, the ‘Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms’, is a historical account relating to the ‘Three Kingdoms’ of Korea by the names of Goguryeo, Baekje and Silla. The Samguk Yusa also contains details of the kingdoms that precede the ‘Three Kingdoms’ period.

According to the Samguk Yusa, a princess by the name Heo Hwang-ok, travelled from the ancient kingdom of Ayodhya, India, to Korea in 48 AD. Obviously the name Heo Hwang-ok is the Korean version of her Indian name.

In the year 2010, when the President of Korea and first lady Kim Yoon-ok arrived for a state visit to India, the Korean President’s office stated that the first lady is a descendant of one of India’s royal families dating back two thousand years. More specifically the office said, “Kim is a descendant of Heo Hwang-ok, a princess who travelled from an ancient kingdom in Ayodhya, India, to Korea”. Click here to read the news item in Korea Times of 25th January, 2010.

The princess, who became the consort of Suro of Geumgwan Gaya in Korea, is known to have carried some kind of a stone from Ayodhya on her voyage, which it is believed had the power to calm the waters of the sea. Archaeologists have also discovered a stone artifact with two fish kissing each other in Korea, which is a symbol unique to the royal family in Ayodhya. 

It is said that the two fish represent the two sacred rivers of India, the Ganges and the Yamuna. The two rivers signify the lunar and solar channels of the human body, originating in the nostrils and carrying the alternating rhythms of breath, also known as prana. The state emblem of Uttar Pradesh is also represented by the ‘two fish’ symbol and is found depicted on the ancient temples of Ayodhya and present day government buildings.

A Professor Emeritus of Hanyang University and national archaeologist from Korea, Professor Byung Mo Kim stated thus, “The twin fish, which is the state symbol of Uttar Pradesh and is found on almost all the ancient buildings of Ayodhya, is the biggest clue to the link and the route undertaken by Princess Hoh.” Professor Kim has spent his time researching on the sea-route that the princess might have taken from India to Korea. Click here to read more about his research in the Indian Express newspaper.

Interior of a temple in the ancient
Vedic city of Ayodya in India. Ayodhya
now has a sister city in Korea

Times of India reported, “What’s South Korea’s Ayodhya connection? To get the answer, pay a visit to the picturesque banks of river Saryu in the holy city. Here one will find a monument in memory of an Ayodhya princess who is believed to have ‘mothered’ a dynasty in South Korea”.

That there was a link between India and Korea after the advent of Buddhism is an established fact. However, links with the Far East are mentioned in Valmiki Ramayana too, which refers to the huge land mass of ‘Shalmali Dvipa‘ which is the present day Australia and the smaller islands around it. 

One of the ‘vanara’ brigade is known to have travelled on the sea-route from India via Shalmali-Dvipa and the neighboring countries to Peru in search of Sita.

There is a lot more research happening in Korea on this issue and we are bound to hear about the same in due course from Korean sources.

There is one additional point from Indian sources which say that the worship of the Vedic Goddess ‘Gauri‘ was prevalent both in China and Korea. That there is truth to this argument is confirmed by this report of China Digital Times where they quote an Indian researcher Ananth Krishnan . He says that there is a forgotten history behind Hindu temples in Chedian village of Quanzhou where residents pray before a ‘cross-legged’ ‘four-armed goddess’ with a ‘demon lying at her feet’ but she is not a Chinese goddess.

Ananth Krishnan explains that while scholars remain uncertain about her identity, they do know that the shrine’s roots are Indian and that the history of these temples and their Tamil links were ‘largely forgotten until the 1930s’.

“This is possibly the only temple in China where we are still praying to a Hindu God, even though most of the villagers still think she is Guanyin!” adds Li San Long, a Chedian resident.

Goddess Guanyin

The name ‘Guanyin’ is the distortion of the Indian Goddess ‘Gauri‘ which is another name of both Parvati and Durga. It is said that it is from ‘Gauri’ that Korea gets its name via ‘Gauraiya’ and ‘Guanyin’. Goddess Guanyin is also known as ‘Kwan Yin’.

Goddess Guanyin is often depicted as
a many armed-goddess like the Vedic godddess
who entered Korean culture via China

Suggested Links:

1. India: The Origin of Korea

2. China’s forgotten Hindu Temples


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