Sunday, January 02, 2005

Spice merchants and Sea Kings

The early term for "merchant" in Austronesian is *dagang (Dempwolff) and this word is very similar to one of the terms for "ocean."

That the word for merchant might be derived from the word for ocean would make sense in light of archaeological evidence showing the earliest Nusantao trade involved coastal shell tools traded further inland. The tradition of maritime trade would expand to unprecedented levels with the introduction of spices and precious metals.

The movement of spices from Southeast Asia to Tanzania and other ports of southeastern Africa continued well into medieval times. The Muslim texts speak of merchants from Zabag and Wakwak in Southeast Asia conducting regular trading missions to Africa. The merchants from Zabag and Komr appear to have had a friendler trade relationship with Africa at this time, while Wakwak was more militaristic. Madagascar may have been populated originally by people engaged in the spice trade. The local Malagasy language is of Austronesian origin.

By the time the spice trade was roaring around 3,500 years ago, the names of spices coming via the clove route, even those of certain Southeast Asian origin like cloves, usually were of Indic origin further west in Europe and the Middle East. Those coming via the cinnamon route usually had more Austronesian-looking names in the West. This would indicate that the Nusantao were mostly only traveling as far as India on the clove route, but were moving all the way down the line along the cinnamon route.

For such long distance trade to work in this early period, autonomous sea kings had to manage things in their own regions along the spice routes.

Torsten Pedersen has reconstructed *H-r-g- as a probable Austronesian word linked with these early types of rulers.


Regarding the word rex, Torsten quotes E. Benveniste:

Rex, which is attested only in Italic, Celtic, and Indic - that
is at the Western and Eastern extremeties of the Indo-European
world, belongs to a very ancient group of terms relating to
religion and law. The connexion of Latin rego with Gr. orégo:
“extend in a straight line” (the o- being phonologically
explainable), the examination of the old uses of reg- in Latin
(e.g. in regere fines, e regione, rectus, rex sacrorum)
suggests that the rex, properly more of a priest than a king
in the modern sense, was the man who had authority to trace out
the sites of towns and to determine the rules of law.

However, Torsten suggests the rex words may belong instead "to a very ancient group of terms having to do with navigation which were introduced by invaders arriving from the east into exactly those Western and Eastern extremeties of the IE area because they have a coastline."

He links rex and related terms with the idea of a ship captain whose duties include ship-building and navigation. Indeed, one of the Austronesian terms for "ruler" is ratu/datu, which can also mean captain of a ship (barangay). Some likely cognates of this word in the Pacific -- ratu and latu -- have the meaning "master builder."

The builder and navigator must both use measurements for accuracy.

The idea of a builder is strengthened by some ancient images associated with early kings.

Fu Hsi and Nu Gua as part sea-serpents with entwined tails (sometimes fish tails) and holding carpenter's square and bow compass respectively (Shandong temple)

Shamash shown holding the royal lapis lazuli measuring rod and looped measuring cord

The practice of ship burial of kings and chiefs may be another remnant left by the ancient Nusantao sea kings. The practice was found in ancient Egypt, among the Vikings and of course among the Austronesians.

Paul Kekai Manansala


Mog said...

Dear Paul,

Borders Books in Santa Rosa, has a wonderful World Mythology (also in pictures) Book for discounted 19.99. My wife got it for me for Christmas, but I’ve already been reading it.

Torsten Pedersen has reconstructed *H-r-g- as a probable Austronesian word linked with these early types of rulers.


Regarding the word rex, Torsten quotes E. Benveniste:

There IS a common thread here with H-r-g. Don’t mean to be overly artistic (or creating more delusive obscurity), but for me the Esoteric or prophetic talking of the “Man of the West” bowing to the “Man of the East” is not of two fascist type new age gurus, but in fact a plurality of peoples recognizing common threads, which lay in the peoples of the East. Of course if we think of primordial man, it is likely that the common philological / phonological roots are of a small number of African & Chinese & South Indian & SE Asian people 70,000 – 50,000 years ago. So “Man of the East” could very well be the Austronesian “KEY” which unlocks our common heritage.

Looking back beyond the layers of patriarchy, within H-r-g, we have

Hera (H-r)
Durga (r-g)
Herakles (H-r-g/k) or Hercules (H-r-g/c)

Also using the Polynesian and Scots/Pictish interpretation, there used to be Sky/Sun/Clouds designation for Goddess, Hina, and Earth/Moon/Chaos/Sorcerer for man, Maui, Loki. This “switching” is often forgotten in the later fixed roles of God-Sun, Goddess-Moon-Menses. But of course the storytelling switching, could also not mean that the motifs were permanent, because of the inner alchemy (neuroscience) that in fact all of us have sun/moon within, it’s reconciliation occurring through nondual indigenous view, or a kind of tantric crossing of a threshold in a Kingship ritual. E.g. the very male, straightforward non-manipulative Thor, having to dress up as a woman bride, in order to infiltrate and slay a giant. Or the fact that Odin and Loki (associated with trickery, much like Coyote in Native American Mythos) have a kind of blood brotherhood, or that Set/Seth is a secret aspect of Horus or Osirus.

Maui’s attempt to have sex with the Death Goddess and Herakles having as a babe sucked on the breast of Hera, are indications of warrior societies, even “builders” who had meditated on Death.

Let’s not forget that Maui represents the left side of the body (chaos, whole) and that Tapa represents the right side of the body (linear, building activity, brick by brick, stitch by stich). Cannot forget that tapa refers to using a kind of round mallet (straightforward, like Thor’s hammer) to pound out “clothing” sometimes especially where Hina is concerned, WHITE as the clouds. So Maui red warrior sexual energy and arising wisdom (left side) and Tapa is activity of patroness of building, Hina, descending method (right side) or organized behavior, rythym. Where does the word tapping come from? This Polynesian word TAPA, is most certainly related to Tagalog TAPANG (bravery, weapon is in right hand) as well as Indonesian/Hindu practice of Tapas (austerities, purification), or Sanskrit base TAPA (heat, or spiritual heat, like a crucible).

Let’s take Hindu root words in relation to H-r-g.

First Durga. The Hindi term Durga means “fort”. Durgadagudi means 'temple near the fort'. And Durga usually has many weapons, associated with warriorship at least in light of defeating demons. Dagudi as fort, surely correlates with Irish deity Dagda. Dagda with the wooden (oak) club is the very basic representation of Herakles as well. And then we have Dagda’s lover Boan (similar to Ba’I, Babae, Banna) and wife Brega (r-g) which takes us to later Brigit and Brigid, and Brigantia. In Irish the High King would tantrically, or ritually wed the land via a consort or woman, or a few representative queens (like Naginis?), all representing Maeve. Curiously the word High King in Irish is Ard Righ (H-r-g).

And this linking with Durga is evocative and linking anciently even with “Don” “Danaan” or even the Scandinavia Goddess Iduna. A “dunum” is another pan-celtic word for fortress. Lugodunum (fortress of Lugh), Rigodunum (fortress of the king).

Now curiously both the Hill fort Toponyms in Celtiberian (North Western) spain, all ended with Briga, and the people in the hilly country of Northern England were called Brigantes. And a town in Northwest Spain called A Coruna (meaning the Crown, evocative of ancient buffalo horn/dear horn wearing priest kings, or Cernunnos(Celtic)/Kronus(Phoenician)), and A Coruna was originally called Brigantium. Curiously in A Coruna is an old roman “Tower of Hercules”, which is the towns present symbol, possibly dating back to pre-Roman times.

So we’ve digressed into Celtic, but let’s go back into Hindu again with Briga, in light of “hill fort” (building) and the root word for Brahman. The word "Brahman" is derived from the verb brh (Sanskrit:to grow), and connotes greatness. Curiously Briga directly means “exalted” as well as indirectly meaning “hill fort” or in the Alps, a wooden structure/town extending over a lake (lake Bregenz, Austria). The famous Nemetobriga (or exalted grove) in Spain, used to have a meeting of Druids from all parts of Europe, every 12 years, extremely similar to the major Kumbh Melas in India.

And back to rex, we also have raja, and rey, and even Arya (rya = ra). Arya not being the mistaken racial term, but Arya having same meaning as root of Brahman, Brh, which is “exalted” or “noble one”. There is a further extremely critical Egyptian juncture with Rex-regulus, and Ra-Ma’at. We must not forget that the BASIS of Greek culture is actually North African. The word METIS is fascinating. It means “magical cunning”, but somehow it is much more like the LEFT HAND and Metis, being related more to MAUI (left handed wisdom).

Also we see Metis being associated with Kronus (Phoenician) which is just another name for royalty/crown/kingship/realization of timelessness tantra, or Chronos etc.

Kronus (as timelessness) and Metis (as timing) is EXACTLY the same root meaning as the full meaning of Shambala teaching which is Kalachakra Lagutantra.

Kala (is timelessness, even death, which eats all) Lagu (is Hindu/sanskrit word closely associated with women's dance timing and numbering). Possibly LAGU also relating to Kapampangan word for beautiful or "defined" by makeup or rythym, or grace.

We see a kind of more HINA, or possibly ORIGINAL sky goddess association with Ma’at which means Truth, Order, Morality and Justice, Ma’at being more TAPA (methodical, not necessarily Wise). Well, back to RA (r-g), this is quite obvious relationship to priest kings, and solar dynasties, including Surya (r-g) or “SHU-RA”. Obviously Akhenaten saw this, and so has Subhash Kak (see Akhenaten, Surya and the Righ Veda) You also have righ (or Rig, as an r-g).

So did Maui come about AFTER a patriarchal shift? The patriarchal shift can be dated in China to 2,500 B.C. Anyway, sorry to meander, there is no one clear path, but obviously this is all related. It is unmistakable, and hopefully you can apply a more academic method to my maui’ness.

- Bill

Mog said...

First of all, messed up a bit on solar/lunar associations of Maui/Hina. Maui is solar (red bodhi), Hina is lunar (white bodhi), and interesting that the legends say Hina was usually accompanied by a dog (Asu). And of course in New Guinnea we have sorcerer as SU-ANGI.

Can't believe where this has all led, and though the Philippines seems more recently somewhat accessory historically to the major Javanese influence, it is now appearing that Nusantao inquiry is actually unlocking a common ancient tradition.

Now please meditate on the Kapampangan word "BADUI", as "old fashioned" and realize that "old fashioned" relates directly to Sunda megalithic culture (with some crossover to Hindu/Buddhist) which was a mystery tradition with endless taboos. I'm sure Filipino culture originally had endless taboos and somehow this Javanese word for a sacred retention of tradition, ended up with the Pampangs, as Badui

Is there really any other explanation?

Some esoteric Indonesian words (don't remember area "Puya" comes from), if we take NUSANTAO as ORIGINATORS.

PUYA (Paradise) became PUJA for Hindu

JIWA (Javanese esoteric word for "self") became JIVA (as in Jivanmukta) for Hindu

BUDHARA (Javanese word for Mountain) became BUDDHA/BODHI (awakened, sitting like mountain)

Now working our way Westwards, we can link Murugan (Tamil) with former Maui and Maori, and even further West in East Africa we have the name of G-d as Murungu in 26 different tribes (Bernard Sergeant).

Why is Murugan (Tamil) significant here?

Murugan's opponent is typical battling demon/Asura motif (Asu-possible indiginous peoples of India, or older shamanic forms), but really it could just be evocative of an inner battle of self (linear vs chaotic). In fact let's look at Murugan's named opponent.

confront and vanquish the titan Surapadma and his demonic horde

In brief, the Surasamharam goes like this. Around 3pm or so, a huge palanquin bearing the titan Gajamukha ('Elephant-faced') is carried by men of a local caste group down to the beach where he stands and dares Senthil Andavar to come out of His temple and fight. Some say that Gajamukha is "Surapadma's brother". But the most ancient Tamil traditions mention only the terrible and cruel Soor ('Terror' personified) who is described as a shape-shifter who can take any form and who cannot be killed. (do I hear BERSERKER?

***Note: I cannot help but remember that T.V. special where New Guinnea people were TERRIFIED of someone speaking to spirits as SUANGI. In fact that's how they justified cannibalizing within their own family group, if someone went SUANGI.

On the sixth day of Kanda Sashti, Lord Senthil Andavar and his army of devotees engage the army of supertitan Cur in battle on the beach at Tiruchendur and vanquish them in an hour-long running battle. At last Cur hides in the form of a monstrous mango tree (below) at the bottom of the ocean, but Murugan hurls his Vel and splits the tree/demon into a cock and a peacock.

No let's look at supertitan CUR. Is this not a similar word to KUNA/TUNA who Maui has to battle? (Eel, Dragon?).

And let's look again at battle deity of Hawaii...


Ku's name means "to stand" and "to strike" and he was the god of war to whom human sacrifices were made. In Hawaii, where he was known as Ku-of-the-deep-forest, Ku-of-the-undergrowth, Ku-adzing-out-the-canoe, he was also the patron of wood workers; but he was also known as Ku-the-snatcher-of-land and Ku-with-the-maggot-dropping-mouth, who received human sacrifices. The family of gods classed as Ku were formidable gods of war in Hawaii.

The Meaning of Kaili

* From: Hawaiian
* Sex: Both male and female
* Meaning: Hawaiian God

Is this not CUR/KUR of Tamil?

So we have


Maui-Kunu (Eel)

Isn't Kunlun somehow related to (Dragon?)

And then let's take middle name of Hawaiian Ku, which is Kaili, and kind of male/female, and read more on Murugan interpretation...

Tamil Murukan is also clearly a solar deity. In calendar terms he may represent the bright half of a year. But if we interpret the myth of hiw war with the demons as a calendar myth (Murukan and Cur representing accordingly bright and dark parts of a year otherwise hot and rainy months), we see that Murugan having overcome Cur becomes the sole protector of the year. This is in accordance with the fact that Murugan is seen as commanding the central position, which is symbolically represented by his act of cleaving his enemy in two (Cur and the Krauncha mountain). An interesting parallel to this tendency to occupy the central position is found in Kuriñci-tinai of akam poetry: the hero, who represets Murugan on his level, comes to a tryst precisely at midnight -- a detail which is conisidered by Tolkappiyam as characteristic of Kuriñci-poetry.
The marriage of Murugan to Valli is a myth symbolising the union of male and female natural principles. The idea is also expressed by way of vegetative (marriage of venkai and mango trees) and astronomical (union of sun and moon) symbolism. The latter has a striking parallel in the Mahabharata: it is said that before Skanda was born the sun and moon joined together.

Pretty clear.

And the Priest Kings of old had to be warriors too, am sure...

Sure as Sooth!