Contrary to popular belief, the earliest evidence of the “lotus pose” comes not from Asia, but from the Mesolithic burials of the Lepenski Vir culture in modern-day Serbia (9,500 BC).
The oldest evidence of the Swastika can be found in a bird-shaped object discovered in Mezine, Ukraine, dating back to approximately 10,000 BC, which happens to be the same period as the Mesolithic burials in Lepenski Vir.
The Slavic goddess Mater Sva was depicted as a bird and was married to the god Svarog, whose emblem was the two intertwined swastikas of the Kolovrat. This old belief predates the discovery of the bird-shaped object with a swastika found in Mezine, Ukraine.
In Sanskrit, Veda means “knowledge”. In Slavic languages, like Czech, Slovak and Polish this word has the same meaning. A Slavic word for God is “Bog”, while a rich person is “bogat” and the same parallel exists in Sanskrit where “Bhaga” means “Lord” as well as “wealth, prosperity”. The list of such cognates is way too long to be mentioned here. However, the similarities are strikingly noticeable when it comes to religious concepts. Here are some of the most interesting examples:
The law of Karma
The wheel of Karma is known as Dharmachakra. It looks like a ship’s helm. Interestingly, in the Serbian language, the word for the helm is “kormilo”. Moreover, the Sanskrit noun “dharma” is a derivation from the root dhṛ, meaning “to hold, maintain, keep”. In Serbian dr-žati means “to hold, maintain, keep” – the same root.
Holy mountain – Sveta gora – Sveta-giri
The name of Mount Athos, one of the holiest places of the Orthodox religion, is “Sveta Gora” in all Slavic languages. The words mean literally “Holy/Bright Mountain”, from Slavic words “svetal” – bright and “svet” – holy. There are dozens of other “holy mountains” scattered across the Slavic territories.
Interestingly, the same meaning exists in Sanskrit, as well as the toponym itself.
This is not the only mountain name that connects these two remote parts of the world. Karakoram is another major mountain range that spans between Pakistan, China and India. In ancient India, this mountain was known as Krishnagiri – black mountains (also Kanhagiri and Kanheri). This is a cognate with the name Montenegro, or Crna Gora – black mountain in Slavic langiages.
Moksha and Svarga / Mokosh and Svarog
Agni and Oganj / Jagnje
The name of the Vedic god Agni meant “fire” in Sanskrit. The Slavic word “oganj” comes from the same root. But in Slavic languages, we see an additional parallel: “lamb-jagnje”. Lamb (Jagnje) is an animal associated with Agni.
Perun – Parjanya and Volos – Vala
Mara, Morana and Mara
Moreover, at certain times of the year, Slavs used to “drown” a doll representing the goddess, placing it in a river. This practice is well-known in Hinduism and relates to many deities, of which the most popular is probably Ganesha.
Triglav and Shiva
The triple-headed god of the Indus Valley civilization, later associated with Shiva, appears in Slavic mythology as Triglav (three-headed). This deity was very important in Slavic mythology, as witnessed by numerous toponyms still present today, from the Balkans to Poland.
Zbruch Idol and Brahma
On the other hand, the famous four-headed Zbruch idol from Poland
These similarities could not be a coincidence. They indicate that some precious information on ancient Slavic beliefs might still exist in Hinduism.
St. Andrew and Indra
Similar parallels exist in Christianity. With its arrival in Slavic lands, pagan gods became saints, and so Indra became St. Andrew. We are not talking only about the similarity of names. Indra is a thunder god, and as such it relates to Jupiter of Roman mythology. In astrology, the planet Jupiter rules the constellation of Pisces. And the Bible tells us that Andrew (and his brother ju-Peter) were fishermen. Jesus promised to make them “fishers of man”.
Even Andrew’s cross somewhat resembles the shape of the constellation of Pisces. So without getting deeper into astrotheology, similarities are obvious. There is no historical explanation of how Indra ended up in Christianity. Or why is the day of this saint so popular in Slavic nations?
St. Demetrius and Mitra
Vedic Mitra appears too in a disguise of a Saint Demetrius. The worship of this horse-mounted saint came to Christianity via the ancient city of Sirmium, modern Serbia, probably under the Sarmatian influence. In the Balkans, the day of this saint is still called Mitrovdan – Mitra’s day.
Vedic Radha, Slavic Lada, and Roman Leda
Radha, one of the favorite Indian goddesses, is the same as Slavic Lada. The names are slightly different only because of the common change between R and L. Like Mitra above, both of the goddesses also relate to the Virgo constellation. This is clear not only from the specific body posture which mimics the shape of the constellation (see photos below) but also from the holidays of the Fiery Maria, which came as a Christian answer to Lada worship. The constellation of Cygnus the swan dominates the night sky at the same time.
The question is who and when brought Leda to the Roman empire.
Kresnik and Krishna
Not much is known about the Slavic deity Kresnik, as we only have medieval records of its name. However, scholars have already proposed that his name is etymologically close to Krishna.
The Slavic Vedas, Vishnu, and the Vishny god
Speaking of Vedas, we must also mention three different controversial books.
The first one, called “Slavic-Arian Vedas” is allegedly thousands of years old (but published only a few decades ago in Russia) This book even gave rise to a Russian pagan church of Ynglism.
The second one, called “Veda of Slavs” is older – dates to the late 19th century, and it is supposedly a compilation of ancient folk songs from the area of Bulgaria and Macedonia. Both books have divided the public into passionate supporters and those who equally passionately label them as forgeries. And while I have my doubts about the authenticity of the first book, in the case of “Veda of Slavs”, it is worth a mention that it contains names of many Vedic deities, mainly Vishnu (Visnyi, or Sve-visnyi, “the exalted one” in Slavic) and that it is indeed written in an archaic language, in a style similar to the original Vedas.
One Serbian writer concludes that the author either had to be a “poetic genius” to forge 23,809 lines of archaic poetry… or there is simply more to this book.
The third one, from late 19th century Serbia, has been discovered in an old monastery manuscript. It is a compilation of 345 poems of which at least 15 speak of Serbs being in India (under the name Hindustan and Indjija) mentioning also toponyms such as the Hindu Kush, Manchuria, and Tatarstan.
Yin Yang symbol from the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture
Similarities between Sanskrit and Slavic languages
It is not at all unusual to find cognates in Indo-European languages. But when it comes to Sanskrit and Slavic, the number of cognates fits into a proper book. Any Slavic-speaking person can play with an online dictionary such as Spoken Sanskrit and see for themselves.
There are books such as “Slavic – Sanskrit dictionaries” in many Slavic countries, like Serbia and Russia. In case you can’t get hold of any, you can check these English links:
Indus Valley connections
One study, published in the journal Nature Communications in 2015, found that the Slavs have about 10% of their ancestry from the Indus Valley Civilization. The study analyzed the genetic data of 2,600 people from 120 different populations across Europe. The results of the study showed that the Slavs have a higher percentage of ancestry from the Indus Valley Civilization than any other European population.
Another study, published in the journal PLOS One in 2016, found that the Russians and Ukrainians have a higher percentage of ancestry from the Indus Valley Civilization than the Poles. The study analyzed the genetic data of 1,700 people from Russia, Ukraine, and Poland. The results of the study showed that the Russians and Ukrainians have about 12% of their ancestry from the Indus Valley Civilization, while the Poles have about 8% of their ancestry from the Indus Valley Civilization.
The caste system with a notion of democracy
The word “caste” comes from Latin words CASTUS – (PURE) and CASTITAS – (MORAL PURITY), which translated into Slavic would be CHIST and CHESTITOST. An interesting connection between Slavic and Latin.
There is no proof that ancient Slavic society had a caste system, but it likely existed in many pre-Roman societies of Europe. Celts and Gauls had Druids in the role of high priests, as well as merchants, warriors, and slaves, just like the Vedic India of the time.
However, the Slavic word for work – “rabota”, actually implies that the work is done by a slave – “rob” or “rab”, depending on pronunciation. The word “robot” comes from Czech and has the same connotation.
Moreover, the Sanskrit word Sabhā, mentioned already in the Rigveda and Mahabharata, meant: “an assembly, congregation, meeting, council…” Interestingly, this word survived in all modern Slavic languages, with the exact same meaning, directly from Proto-Slavic.
This word is very important, as it could also be the root of both, the Slavic word for Saturday (Subota) and the Jewish “Sabbath”.
There are many toponyms across Slavic countries that have their match in Asia, while they don’t mean much in the Slavic language, and vice-versa. In order to avoid mistakes, I will focus only on Serbia, a region that is familiar.
One of the most obvious toponyms is the city of Indjija, which simply translates to “India”. There is no official explanation for its name whose first mention comes from the 15th century. When Serbian monastery poems were discovered, some authors tried to connect mentions of India with this town. Indeed, some of the poems also refer to India as “
Not far from Indjija is the town of Chenei which mirrors Chenai, India. And not far from there is the city of Kikinda, also mentioned in the 15th century, a name that does not mean anything in Serbian, but reminds of the name of the ancient kingdom of Kishkindha.
Another Indo-Aryian Kingdom, of the Vedic period, the Nishada Kingdom, perhaps mirrors the city of Nish. This is an important city, as Emperor Constantine was born here. In Latin, the name of the city was Naisus, but since this was not a Latin name, we can perhaps assume that the Slavic word is closer to the original, pre-Roman name.
There are also many other toponyms, most of them being in Pannonia, ancient Sarmatia:
- Horgosh – Compare with Kazakh city of Khorgas, on the border with China.
- Paracin (Roman name “Sarmates”) – Compare with Parachinar, Afghanistan
- Choka, Serbia – Choka, India
- Pachir, Serbia – Pachir, Afganistan
- Begech, Serbia – Two places called Baghechi in Pakistan
- Churug, Serbia – Churugara, India (many others too)
- Sombor, Serbia – Sambhar, India (from Sambhar – deer)
- Sanad, Serbia – Sanad, India
- Not far from Sanad, Serbia is a place called Bogarash, and not far from Sanad, India is Bhagirathi river. There are also a few towns called Bhagirath in India.
- Serbian city Sabac, mirrors in Indian Shahbaz Garhi. The origin of the word is Persian and refers to shabhaz – the royal eagle, whose breeding grounds in Southeastern Europe begin precisely in the Serbian region where the city of Sabac is located.
At the beginning of this article, we also talked about the mountains Rtanj and Sveta Gora. And You can read a full article on the etymology of Belgrade here.
This is just a small sample of many “strange” toponyms we encounter every day in Serbia without thinking that they may have a story to tell. Tribes of Sarmatians and later Avars had indeed once thrived in this region so it is not strange that they left such traces. The only problem is that modern Serbian historians for some reason consider this topic taboo.
Pannonia, marked as Sarmatia in the 1st century AD, from Arheoloski vesnik 41, 1990.
The question of Gypsies
When I use the word “Gypsie”, I don’t mean to be offensive. Gypsie means someone who comes from Egypt, as this was a popular belief in medieval times. So even in the middle ages, there was a riddle of how and when these people arrived in Europe, and most of all – in the Balkans. They refer to themselves as Roma, which could be related to the Roman empire of which their ancestors had probably been a part of, as there is no evidence of their migration in more recent history. The other possible etymology could be related to the god Rama.
Modern genetics and linguistics clearly point out that their origin is in Northern India, more specifically in the Punjab region. So when did they come here? We know that Alexander the Great went as far as India, from this very region of the Balkans. But according to the popular episode of Greek mythology, he only repeated what Dionysus had done some centuries before him, a story which must have been quite familiar to Alexander, although we have no evidence that it ever happened.
But then again, we know of tribes of Scythians and Sarmatians, whose empire once stretched from Northern India to the Balkans, long before Alexander. There are actually people in North India who claim to be descendants of Indo-Scythians to this day. They are known as Jats.
If you read the highlighted article you will see that Jats have no doubts that their fair skin, unusual height, and blue eyes are the inheritance of people who came from Ukraine, or according to others, from Gets or Goths (presumed to be the same word as Jat) which used to be a Thraco-Scythian tribe of modern-day Romania.
Moreover, over 70% of the Brahmins (the highest caste in Hinduism) belong to the R1a1 haplogroup according to genetic research presented on Eupedia. This “Sarmatian” haplogroup is now the most dominant in Poland. (Around 60%)
Anyway, in conclusion: we have people from India living in the Balkans for millennia, and we have people in North India tracing their origin to the Balkans and no mainstream theory to explain this.
I don’t know about you, but I find it all a little bit bizarre.
Finally, in the 10th century, a Baghdad-born historian Masudi, had this to say about Serbs:
The Sarbin, a Saqaliba (Slavic) people much feared for reasons that it would take too long to explain and whose deeds would need much too detailed an account. They have the custom of burning themselves alive when a king or chieftain dies. They also immolate his horses. These people have customs similar to those of the Indians.”
For more on this subject please see the related articles below: