Does this relate to man being evolved from fish, who came to land, or, to the sky, which was a sea or milkyway river, and constellations. One can clearly see how different cultures carried the same depictions and concept.
Pictures: Hindu God Vishnu in Fish Avatar, Sumerian God Oannes
The Story of Floods is in every culture. The first incarnation of Hindu God Vishnu known as Matsya Avatar (Fish Incarnation) has spread to different parts of the world.
We read about it in Sumerian Atrahasis /Ziusudra/Gilgamesh, Biblical Nova and other cultures including Mayan culture.
Matsya Avatar from Srirangam Temple
In Hindu myth, Lord Vishnu took the form of a fish in order to save Manu, the ancestral father of the human race. Every Manvantara (Period of one Manu=306,720,000 years) will have a new Manu. (manu/first man)
- Sumerians, Mayans and Egyptians say that they did not belong to the land they lived. Either they said that they came from a far off place or someone from a far off place came and taught them civilization. Another strange thing about this Great Floods is that this happened in South India. Sanskrit and Tamil Books are unanimous in pointing the direction to south. Tirugnana Sambandha, a Saivaite saint who lived 1400 years ago, even called his own place Sirkazi as Thonipuram (Boat Town). He sang about the great floods and he praised Lord Shiva for making the town safe during the deluge.
- The gradual development of Fish to fully fledged, civilized man show that the story started its circulation from Indian soil. The scriptures and sculptures stand as a proof. Hindus believed that TIME is cyclical. Civilizations start from Golden age (Krita Yuga) and deteriorate into Kali Yuga/Black age. So even before the Great Floods, there was civilization.
- Fish Gods
Apart from Matsya Avatar of Lord Vishnu, we hear about other Fish Gods such as Oannes, Dagon and Sindhi saint. Berossus (Vararuchi ?) was a scholar/priest who lived in Babylon in 3rd century BC. He wrote the history of Babylonia. He gave us the story of Oannes. Oannes was a mythical being who taught mankind wisdom. He had the body of fish, but underneath the figure of a man. He taught arts, science and writing. Oannes came from the Uanna, another name for Adapa. Akkadian connects this word to Um Manu. I guess this name as Indian Law Giver Manu. Adapa was a sage according to Sumerian legends. Going by this version I will take it as Manu or a sage from India who taught them Manu Dharma.
Berossus said that the half man-half fish creature was attended by other monsters called Apkallu. Apkallus are Sapta Rishis of India. The Sumerian legend says Seven Apkallus (sages) were created by Enki to establish culture and give civilization to mankind.
First King Narmer ( Nara Meru also knowns as Menes=Manu) was called Catfish Chisel. In other words he was also called a fish. Perch fish was sacred to Goddess Neith.
He was called Dagon in the Bible. He was worshipped throughout the near east from 2500 BC. He was considered god of rain, corn and death. The kings of third dynasty of Ur established for Dagan an official state cult and a sanctuary to him was constructed at Nippur. From fourth century AD, he was considered a fish god.
7.Sindhi Saint on Fish
Picture shows Sindhi saint Jhulelal on Fish
Sindhi saint Jhulelal is depicted riding a fish. He saved the Sindhi people from a tyrannical ruler called Mirkshah. He was considered a man sent by Vedic God Varuna. He convinced the ruler that God is one and he is common to everyone.
Picture shows sculpture at Garwa, Allahabad
Following the fish come turtles in the Hindu myths. When the Devas and demons churned the ocean god took the form of a turtle (Kurma) and gave stability. He supported the mountain Mandara that acted as the churning rod while Vasuki the snake was used as the rope. This turtle also figured in the world of mythology in the names of Ao (China), Ataentsic (North America), Bedawang (Bali, Indonesia), Gong Gong (China), Sciron (Greece), Xbalanque and Hunaphu (Mayan Twins).
The Atlas like Mayan deity Pauahtun who supported the world on his shoulders is sometime depicted wearing a turtle shell on his head. Turtle shells are also associated with altars in some contexts, and the maize god is sometimes shown emerging from turtle shell.
Picture shows Mayan gods
9.I reproduce the following passages from my earlier post, ”SANSKRIT INSCRIPTION AND MAGIC SQUARE ON TORTOISE”:
Hindu Gods are associated with all the important birds and animals. They are associated with insects and reptiles as well. Take any animal whether it is elephant or rhino, snake or scorpion, fish or crocodile, eagle or crow, boar or tortoise —they are all associated with Hindu gods. We see it in the Vedas, in the Indus valley civilization and in the temple Vahanas. But when we read that even the Chinese, Mongolians and other cultures believed in such things we raise our brows. When we see Sanskrit inscription on a tortoise statue,that too in the remotest part of the world, we are wonder struck!!
Picture shows Hero Twins from Mayan culture, Boston Museum
Kurmavatar, the Tortoise incarnation of Vishnu is the oldest tortoise we know. But we have even Rishis (seers) in the name of frog (manduka)owl (Uluka) and tortoise (Kasyapa)in Vedic literature. Kasyapa is one of the Vedic Rishis. Kasyapa means tortoise. Kashmir is named after Kasyapa Rishi. Kumaon hills in the Himalayas is named after Kurma Avatar. If you read the history of Kashmir and Kumaon in Uttaranchal state you will find more surprising things. We have Kurmavatar statues in Kahajuraho Lakshman temple (M.P) and Osiyan temple in Rajasthan. One exclusive temple for Kurmavatar is near Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh .
Three thousand years ago a Chinese king found a turtle with a magic square on its back. The magic square will add up to number fifteen whichever way you add the numbers. From that day it was considered a lucky square and people believe that they will get money etc. It is called Lo Shu. Hindus also believe this as money making square and call it Kubera Kolam. Egyptians and Hindus used the magic squares. Even the Vedic mathematics has magic squares.
Posted 27th October 2012 by Swaminathan
Note: Some edits and text deleted from original article by me.