(Selected extracts from Return of the Aryans by Bhagwan S. Gidwani, published by Penguin Books, India, ISBN 0-14-024053-5 (Reference page 875 to 938)
Explanatory Note: As Gidwanis Return of the Aryans shows, it was around 5,000 BCE, that many from Bharat Varsha (Indian subcontinent) began to leave their home-towns to join contingents to travel to far-away lands in Asia and Europe, including, Iran, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Italy, Greece, Finland, Scandinavia, Lithuania, Russian lands and Germany. They called themselves Aryans for reasons explained in the book.
The Aryans who left Bharat Varsha were not warriors or conquerors or soldiers of fortune, and certainly they were not religious zealots, fanatics, or crusaders. They went neither to plunder, nor to persecute in the name of dogma, nor to propagate their faith, nor to dethrone and destroy gods and idols of others. These travelers simply had a dream that led them on towards an unreachable goal of finding Land that was Pure and free from evil and where hopefully was the abode of their departed spiritual leader. It was a road that led these Aryans everywhere but finally No where, and at last they realized that there was no Land of Pure, except what men might make it so by their own efforts. If in their travels, these Aryans of Bharat Varsha performed deeds of nobility and honor, to assist everyone in these foreign lands, they were what they were guided by their self-imposed vow of noble conduct.
Gidwani, in his book has clearly pointed out that not all the triumphs of Aryans of Bharat Varsha in foreign lands should be credited to them alone. The help they received from locals who joined their cause, and came to call themselves as Aryans, was tremendous. That book gives many instances of extraordinary help to Aryans of Bharat Varsha, by those locals. For instance: Priest Odin (Woden) of Germany, his wife Frigga and their son Bal Deva (Baldr). Later, these three came to be regarded as gods in Germany and throughout Europe, (though not in India, where they were regarded simply as heroic humans who were friends of Aryans of Bharat Varsha). So much were they honored in Europe, that WEDNESDAY was named after the German god Odin (Woden), and FRIDAY was named to honor German goddess Frigga. And so continues the practice throughout the world till this very day. Incidentally, Bal Deva (Baldr) who also came to be regarded as a god in Germany, passed his last years at Hardwar, and was cremated in Varanasi.
The Chapter Aryans in Germany begins with reference to a song by Bana Bhagat, composed possibly some centuries after the large Aryan contingent reached Germany through various routes which are more fully described in earlier chapters. In this Song, the singer shows how some of the local heroes who helped the Aryans of Bharat Varsha came to be known as Gods in Europe though not in Bharat Varsha where they were simply regarded with respect as friends of the Aryans and supporters of their noble mission
Read on, now, the excerpts from the Chapter Aryans in Germany:
Children, today I shall sing of the ancient gods of Germany. Banaji, were they honoured as gods only in Germany? Oh no, many lands in Europe honoured them. For instance, In England: -Wednesday was named after the German god Odin (Woden). -Thursday was named after the German god Thor. -Friday was named after the German goddess Frigga. But Banaji, were they also gods of the Aryans of Bharat Varsha? No, children, they were heroic humans and friends of our Aryans. Together, they vanquished all their enemies to reunite the German tribes. Then Banaji, how did they become gods? Nothing is impossible for story-tellers and myth-makers. Are they still regarded as gods in Europe? No, children. New religions disallow gods of others. So Banaji, the old gods vanish! No children. Memory remains.
(From Songs of Bana Bhagat, Wandering Minstrel)
Through the Black sea and river Danube, a large Aryan contingent eventually reached the land presently known as Germany. The contingent was led by the three sons of Manu of Tungeri. The influence that these three sons of Manu left in Germany is both profound and lasting. Even thousands of years later (in AD 98), Cornelius Tacitus in his historical work, the Germanica (De Origine et situ Gennanorum), relates that according to their ancient songs, the Germans were descended from the three sons of Manu and that the people of that area came to be known as Tungeri. Tacitus was, of course, a renowned historian of the first century AD; he was a great public orator and high official in the Roman Empire. Some of his information about Germany also came from his father-in-law, Gnaeus Julius Agricola, Roman Consul, and later Roman Governor of Britain. Actually though, Tacitus was wrong in suggesting that the German people were descended from the sons of Manu of Tungeri. The fact is that the Germans existed long before the three sons of Manu of Tungeri led the Aryan contingent to Germany around 5000 BCE For the rest, Tacitus is right-certainly there were innumerable songs about the three sons of Manu, throughout the German lands and the name Tungeri came to be adopted by the people there. As it is, in Germany and even in the Bharat Varsha of today, there is a great deal of mystery about the origins of Manu of Tungeri, whose three sons crossed the Sindhu sea to reach Iran and thence from Turkey traveled first through the Black Sea and thereafter by river Danube to reach Germany. Some say that Manu of Tungeris father was a dacoit who may have come to Avagana either from the north (Russia?) or from the west (Iran?). He joined a gang of robbers and raiders camped at Sindhan in Avagana (Afghanistan). It was the same camp which Sadhu Gandhara attacked to free the region from the brutality of raiders (See Chapter To Discover the Edge of the earth in Return of the Aryans, from page223). Everyone at Sindhan were overpowered and captured by Sadhu Gandhara but Manus father was treated kindly. The reason was simple. He had a one-year-old child in his arms and it was assumed that he was a victim of the robbers and was not a culprit, himself.
When they asked him about his wife and the mother of the child, he had tears in his eyes. Obviously, the raiders must have killed or sold his wife as a slave-they thought-and everyone was sympathetic.
Soon, the Sindhan camp was converted into an ashram. The child, the youngest there, was loved and his father was treated kindly.
But some refugees who came to the ashram recognized the childs father as a robber. Sadhu Gandhara treated this as a case of mistaken identity as the refugees often made mistakes in their eagerness to catch criminals.
The next day, the childs father fled, stealing a horse, a sword and a few belongings of the others. The child was left behind.
Sadhu saw everyones love for the child turn into contempt and was surprised that people should attach a fathers guilt to a one-year old. He promptly announced that this was not the child of that dacoit, but simply an infant who was cruelly snatched by dacoits from the loving embrace of his murdered parents. When the Sadhu was asked about the identity of the childs parents, he had no difficulty. He said it was the child of Manu- a learned sage.
Note: ¹Manu is a title that recurs in Bharat Varsha through the ages. Normally, it was accorded to a person who sought to discover Gods laws-physical and spiritual-to convey his knowledge to others. Manu, then, was regarded as distinct from a hermit, muni, yogi, sadhu or rishi, who were concerned chiefly with the matters of the spirit, meditation, yoga or worship. Though it was also common for a hermit, for instance, to be known as Manu, if engaged in the discovery of Gods law. Thus a hermit, who studied astronomy, mathematics, or devised rules for seen (written) language, could be called Manu.
The child now sprang back into everyones affection with the Sadhus announcement. Some may have had lingering doubts, for after all, Manus title is earned at an advanced age and it was odd that a Manu should have a one-year-old child. But they realized that for a child to be born, a mans age does not matter; only a woman has to be young, as nature, in its infinite wisdom, ordains that in each childs life there should be many years of mothers love and care-though a father was at best an asset.
Yet again, their doubts came to the forefront when, six years later, the dacoit who was briefly known as the childs father was mortally wounded in an encounter. He asked about the child at the ashram. Quickly, the child came but the dacoit had died by then. The child wept. They told the child, He was not your father. He is nothing to you. But the child replied, He called me his son!
The elders did not understand the orphans world. He wanted to belong to love, not to judge, his father.
A later poet gives a clearer account. The poet, first, based his version on the last words of the dacoit before he died. The dacoit was asked if he was really the childs father and he replied, I saved him once, he saved me once; and the bond lives, he will save me after 1 die. Many regarded the dacoits words as the ramblings of a dying man. But this poet had no difficulty in explaining them. According to him, when the real parents of the child were killed by raiders, the child had wrapped his tiny arms around the leg of the dacoit who felt sorry for the child and decided to save him. Later when Sadhu Gandhara attacked, it was the child in his lap that saved the dacoit. Maybe, the dacoit even hoped that the child would pray of him, to bend Gods will to grant him paradise.
The seven-year-old child now was disenchanted with the Sadhus ashram at Sindhan. He had begged that they dig a grave for the dacoit whom he regarded as his dead father. No, they said, the bosom of the earth was too sacred for robbers.
The child left the ashram; after years-and none knows how and whenhe reached the heartland of Bharat Varsha. There too he was a wanderer; finally, at the age of twenty-two he settled on the banks of the Tungabhadra River (map reference 15.57n; 78.15e). He had no name as such, except that Sadhu Gandhara had called him Manus son at Sindhan, to fit in with his story that he was the son of a Manu, murdered by dacoits.
At Tungeri (Tungabhadra river), he experimented with herbs and became renowned for his healing powers, both with humans and animals. He taught his healing art to many. No longer was he known as Manus son but as a Manu himself Manu of Tungeri. No one knows for certain if he was the son of a Manu or a dacoit, or a poet. But he was a Manu in his own right.
Yet a greater mystery remained about his three sons.
When Sindhu Putra went to the Land of Tamala (Dravidham), Sage Yadodhra went to meet Manu of Tungeri. But Manu died, just before Yadodhra reached, leaving behind three children, no more than five years old, who were known to be his sons. Manu of Tungeri was known to be old when he died, with no women nearby; and it was difficult to believe that these three dark-skinned children were the sons of Manu of Tungeri who was so fair.
The three went with Yadodhra to Sindhu Putra who adopted them as his sons; but they would always be known as the sons of Manu of Tungeri.
For the three sons of Manu of Tungeri, who commanded an Aryan flotilla from Bharat Varsha, it was an enchanted voyage Over the Sindhu Sea up to Hari Haran Aryan (Iran). They suffered no shipwrecks or mishaps.
But there was much in Iran that they found distasteful. Purus, the Aryan leader in Iran, had no cheering information. He spoke of Aryan disappointment everywhere in Iran and in nearby Sumeria and Assyria.
Why not give up this journeying, Purus asked. But those who were with the sons of Manu of Tungeri asked-why not try elsewhere!
Many Aryans, disenchanted with Iran, Sumeria and Assyria, joined them and their numbers grew. They knew that two huge Aryan contingents had left one by land (which eventually went on to find its way to Egypt) and the other by the Caspian Sea (which reached three different destinations- Russian Scythia, Scandinavia and the Baltic States).
Tungeris group moved towards the land presently known as Turkey. Their experience was gruesome. Their numbers were large, their weapons many, but they had to remain on guard against sneak attacks and robbery. This certainly was not the land of their seeking.
When the sons of Manu of Tungeri tried to be friendly, even to give away gifts, the locals saw it as a sign of weakness and their demands and attacks grew.
The difficulties multiplied as they went deeper inland. The thought of returning to Iran and thence to Bharat Varsha began to seem more and more attractive. But then as they saw the inviting spectacle of the vast body of water (the Black Sea), their minds went to their smooth passage on the Sindhu Sea; and their imagination drew bold strokes, leaving a hope in their hearts that beyond those waters lay the land of their quest.
They camped near the Black sea for over a year and built boats. Their voyage for the most part through the Black sea was smooth. They saw in the calm sea, a portent of things to comea fulfillment of their dreams at their journeys end. .
But a long way off, sudden storms whipped up the waters. A boat separated and was lost, never to be seen again. Two boats capsized, though except for a woman, everyone was rescued.
Ahead and around, more terrible storms were forming. The sky was overcast and the sea assumed a savage aspect; its currents gave up their sense of direction, as if intent on forming whirlpools to suck in the Aryan boats. Was this not the very image of the funeral of all their hopes and dreams and of life itself?
And then the Aryans did what they knew best they prayed. And the poet is certain that it was this prayer that dispersed the threatening clouds, dissipated the storm and brought calm to the turbulent waters; and lest we doubt the poets words, he says, Remember! Among those that prayed were also the sons of Manu of Tungeri they that Sindhu Putra graciously adopted!
The poet continues his heart full of gratitude, not only at the sudden calming of the sea but at the far greater wonder which the Aryans saw. To their left, suddenly they saw a river, calm and tranquil. They called it the river Dana-for surely this was the bounteous gift from the gods.
Thus the name of river Danube in every country bears the closest relationship to its original name Dana, which the Aryans gave to it. However, some may regard this similarity as simply a coincidence.
Note: ²Dana River is commonly known as the Danube. It is the second largest river of Europe, after Ra (Volga). Along its course of 1,770 miles, it passes through many countries. But each country has a different name for it: in the Soviet Union, it is known as Dunay; in Bulgaria and Yugoslavia, they call it Dunav; in Romania, it is known as Dunarea; in Czechoslovakia, its name is Dunaj; in Hungary, it is called Duna; in Germany and Austria, it is known as Donau.
Slowly, the Aryans proceeded up the river; they often stopped, but only when the banks were deserted. Somehow, for reasons they never understood, they faced hostility from the people on the banks. People threw stones at their boats and ran when the Aryans tried to come close to the bank.
Did the locals fear that these strangers were some sea-monsters with innumerable heads and arms, intent on mischief against them? Fortunately, there were many deserted banks to serve their needs to repair the boats and rest. But months passed. The voyage continued. At times, they forced their way to the banks, even with the people around; and the locals would then flee, while the Aryans remained for months waiting for the weather to turn merciful.
Doubts, even despair, would assail them on this endless voyage. The shadows on the river, even when it was calm and serene, began to appear like spirits of demons The dream that once inspired them lay dormant and the agonized question in their minds now was-where are we going and why?
The land around the banks was generally inhospitable though inland, fruits and herbs could be gathered. It had taken them more than two years to complete their 1,700 mile journey on the river Dana. Now there was nowhere for them to go, for they had reached the end of the river, where it rose to the mountains of West Germany.
The locals saw the Aryans disembark. They did not run away but kept their distance. The Aryans were in a quandary. Should they remain, or return? But their boats were no longer sea-worthy and needed extensive repairs. Their own need for rest on land was urgent. The locals, however, did not respond to their friendly gestures and appeared to be more hostile than curious.
The next day, the local crowd grew larger. It grew excited as an old man reached them. Apparently he was highly respected by the locals. Indeed, he was, Odin (Woden) -their most renowned Priest.
Slowly, Priest Odin approached the Aryans. He was shivering, as he asked his question, which the sons of Manu of Tungeri did not understand. At last, he raised his finger up to the sky, and then to the earth, as if to ask where they came from. One of Manu of Tungeris sons pointed to the earth, to deny that they came from heaven.
It was the wrong answer. The gesture terrified the old man. Actually, his question was whether the Aryans came from the sky, where heaven was located or from below the earth-the nether worldwhere hell was located. The idea that these Aryans belonged to the mortal world of earth itself did not readily come to Odins superstitious mind; nor had it occurred to the vast crowd watching the Aryans.
There was perhaps a good reason for it. The locals had never seen boats as large as theirs; they had never seen such strange bows and arrows; their dress was different; the speed with which they put up their tents was something remarkable.
But none of this mattered so much. What astounded them most were the dark skins, black hair and brown eyes of these people and they were certain that these strangers came, not from the earth but from a different realm altogether. Their own world, they knew was peopled by men with blond hair, blue eyes and fair skins, and however enticing the different colors of these visitors, the locals could not conceive that there existed a part of the earth where people could be so different.
In their own local festivals, the actors appearing as devils or angels would color their skins and hair, black. But in their real world, these colors did not exist on the faces and figures of men and women.
Even so, the visit from the higher or nether world would not have been so frightening except for the age-old prophecy that either angels would arrive to transport mankind to the moon or devils would come to take them to the lower world, where wolf-headed women, serpents and malignant spirits would be laughing at them while they burnt in slow fires every day and were thrown in a deep, dark well to be stung by scorpions and wasps each night.
The tragedy about this prophecy was that it was restricted not just to individuals, but affected the entire tribe. The fault of any of its individuals would result in the tribe being damned. And amongst the greater sins was also the failure to maintain the purity of the tribe, for instance, marriage with the member of another tribe or allowing a deformed child to live.
Even the old Priest Odin, who now appeared before the Aryans, was responsible for allowing his own child, born with a birth defect, to live. Thus, unknown to others, he himself had contributed to the impurity of his race.
The deeply-rooted local belief simply was that each member of the tribe had to be pure and blameless, but if even a single member strayed from the path of purity, the entire tribe must suffer the nether world. There was no individual salvation. All rose or fell together.
The Tungeri sons were unaware of the devastating effect their reply had on the old man. They were busy ordering a cask of wine to be opened in order to serve the guest.
They had brought these wine-casks from Sapta Sindhu. They remained untouched for nobody was permitted to drink during the voyage. Even now, they wanted the drink not for themselves but for their guest, to earn his friendship and goodwill.
But Odin shivered all the more. He was deep in the throes of his superstition. He was sure he was being offered the last draught of the Devil and then this life would be no more, his eyes would close, and he would move to his eternity in hell. He pleaded, begged, to be given five days to put his affairs in order.
The Tungeri sons did not understand; they saw the old mans emphasis on his five fingers, and thought that the old man was simply pleading that he had given up drinking five years earlier. But what a kind, courteous man he was-they thought-to have tears in his eyes for resisting a drink from his hosts! With gestures they assured him that they understood. The Tungeri sons themselves never touched wine. They told him so. Odin understood; they were not insisting that he drinks; he looked so relieved and grateful that one of the Tungeri sons was touched by his courtesy. He brought out a Swastika seal and gave it to the old man as a gift.
With words and gestures he explained that it was the Swastika seal of Sindhu Putra, his adoptive father, who was now in heaven and his finger was raised to the sky to indicate heaven.
A thrill went through Odin. He thought he understood now. Reverently he placed the Swastika seal against his breast.
In the old mans heart, suddenly, rose joy ineffable; in his eyes, tears unstoppable. Now he knew-surely these celestial beings were not the emissaries of the Devil but of God in heaven; if they now came from the nether world, it was no doubt God who had sent them there for inspiration, a visit, or whatever; but they held a seal from God in heaven! And they were in effect leaving it to him to take the last draught of the Devil, or instead, this seal of God! Humbly, he bowed to the Tungeri sons and was about to place his hands near their feet; but one of them quickly raised him and instantly they were locked in an embrace.
Limply, Odin lay in Tungeris embrace, unable to move, even to think. He knew, as everyone in his race did, that to be in the embrace of a Devils emissary is to die instantly and go to the nether world; and to be locked in an angels bosom also means the end of life, to be instantly transported to heaven.
The old mans whole life flashed before his eyes; he did not want to die, even to go to the highest heaven; there was something terribly urgent he wanted to do, before he died, for his unfortunate son. Heaven and hell could wait. But that, as even a child would tell him, was impossible. Everyone knew that even the founder of their illustrious race had begged but was denied a moment after his embrace with the angel. No, there was no escape from that eternal, inexorable law. Oh, my son! My son!
Odin came out of the embrace, numb and dazed, his eyes closed, for he wanted to shut out the sight of whatever awaited him in the land of the dead. But nothing seemed to have changed. The earth was firm under his feet. The familiar sounds of the living were all around. Am I not dead then! Have I died without knowing I am dead? Is there no difference, then, between the dead and the living?
Then like the passing shadow of a fast-flying bird, his own superstition, formed by his ancestors of centuries past, vanished into nothingness. Still, he lacked the strength to speak. Everything was drained from him. Silently, he pointed to the wine-cask. Gladly, they poured soma wine for him.
Odin felt ecstatic joy as he sipped his wine. His mind clearing now. He looked at them all closely from the dark skinned Tungeri sons to others of lighter complexions. He saw the color differences in the hair and eyes of many. Yet they were together as a single tribe! v He had many questions but did not know how to ask them. The Tungeri sons sketched lines to show how they had come from beyond the river. But that was impossible, he gestured. Surely the river went into the forbidden realm of the gods? No, he was told, it merges into bigger waters (that later came to be called the Black sea) which leads to many lands and waters, thence to another sea (Sindhu Sea) and, finally, through many lands and waters, to the land of Bharat Varsha.
Even in the midst of his wine, old Odin had a sobering thought there was a vast world beyond their river; and many tribes lived in the land of these strangers. Yet they did not kill each other, even though the complexion and physiognomy of some was different from others.
Yet he had a terrible doubt why did this tribe of dark people come here? With all their gestures, the Tungeri sons could not explain that they had set out with the impossible dream to seek the Land of Pure. All that Odin understood was that they were wandering everywhere.
But why wander around, far from home, without lust, hunger, hatred or greed -Odin wondered. Clearly their gestures implied that they left, not for want of food, floods or the ill-will of gods. Why then? Were they going to enslave people and select sacrificial victims for the altar of their gods?
But if that was their intention why would they not say so? Odins own tribe never fought deceitfully. Openly and boldly, they informed the other tribes of their intention to attack. Other tribes too never marched stealthily. Their tradition of honor and gallantry would never allow such treachery.
Only robber-bands or thieves attacked without warning. No; battles must be pre-announced. And if some unforeseen tragedy overtook the enemy tribe-like floods or a priests death the onslaught was postponed.
Odin was a priest one of the twelve of his tribe. He had to ask the awesome question about their intention, even though it was undignified.
Amongst them always, the arriving tribe stated its intention, openly and frankly. To ask, was to be suspicious, even insulting. Yet, he felt, he had no choice. He pointed to the swords and daggers, arrows which they had shown in response to his curiosity; and he asked, with gestures that were eloquent and expressive whether all these weapons were intended to cut the throats and pierce the breasts of his own tribe.
The question saddened the Aryans; but then they knew of the bloodshed in Iran, Turkey, Sumeria and Assyria. These people obviously had good reason to ask. With every possible gesture, they reassured the old man that they came in peace, that the locals here they considered their brothers; that they sought nothing, wanted nothing, and coveted nothing but harmony. The Aryans even started embracing each other and then pointed at the locals standing at a distance to show the affection they felt for them.
Odin looked into their friendly eyes, into their open, honest countenance. They were people of honor, he was certain, and the path they would take would never be one of treachery.
His parting from the Aryans was friendly. He gestured that he welcomed their stay in the forest. The Aryans wondered, though was he suggesting that they not venture too far out of the forest? But then the forest was so vast. It had everything. They had no intention of moving out.
Till today, the forest occupied by the Aryans is known as the Black Forest (Schwarz Wald: schwarz-black, wald-wood or forest).
Tungeris hut was later erected at a place now known in Germany as Karlsruhe (map reference: 49.03n; 8.24e). When the Aryans set up camp there, it was called Kararuhe (which meant appearance of black people or place of rest or leisure of black people). Subsequently, it was named Karlsruhe, after King Karl established his lodge there.
Note 1: Dark complexion of Aryans but now not so dark see from page 885 Return of the Aryans.
As Return of the Aryans will show, from page 885, place names, associated with Aryans, came to be known with the appellation of Black, such as, Black Forest, or Kararuhe (Place of rest of Black people), or the Black Sea ( which Aryans used to reach the Danube river). It had much to do with the darker complexion of Aryans. To the fair-skinned locals who had never seen such dark-complexioned people before, it was a spectacular sight; and it should surprise no one that when the locals began to respect the Aryan values, ideals and ethics, they commemorated these places with names to honor the advent of the Aryans.
The book also explains how and through what specific stages over the long centuries since then, the skin color of the people of Bharat Varsha has been progressively transformed so that today it can be described as brown be it light or dark.
Note 2. Greek Legend of Jason and the Argonauts and their search of the Golden Fleece sees from page 886 Return of the Aryans.
Aryans were naturally the first to use the sea from Turkey to join river Danube, and finally reach the source of the river in the Black Forest Mountains. Strangely, the Germans named it the Black sea before even setting their eyes on it, after the Aryans explained their journey to them. Later, not only to the Germans but, throughout Europe, it became known as the Black Sea and even to people living in the land now known as Turkey, came to call it Kara Dengiz (literal meaning: Black sea).
Names, by themselves, hardly matter. Yet the name Black sea itself led, many centuries later, to a celebrated Greek legend, which even today is regarded in the European mind and literature as quasi-historical in the sense that events in that legend are accepted as having really occurred and its heroes and heroines are believed to have actually lived.
Simply stated, the Greek legend speaks of the heroic voyage of Jason and the Argonauts who set out across the Black sea in search of the Golden Fleece to be found in a kingdom of black people there.
This thrilling saga has been embellished by folk tales and fiction over the centuries, but is believed to have a definite substratum of history. What is undoubtedly accepted as true is that the voyage of Jason and the Argonauts did take place but despite their heroism it was doomed to fail³
The fact is that there never was a kingdom of black people in the Black sea. Nor was there a golden fleece, anywhere there. But what then was the inspiration for the fable? This information is given from page 886 in the book. *
Odin, the old priest, who had met the Aryans, was certain that his colleagues the other priests would agree to a peaceful attitude towards this new wandering tribe of Black people. He was the first to reach the Aryans, as his home was nearby, though other priests had also been hastily summoned. All twelve priests and the Chief- Priest gathered two days later and their meeting was stormy. It need not have been. The spoken wrath of the priests was against this new tribe. In their superstition, they regarded this tribe as a symbol of evil, because it was so monstrously different.
But their unspoken wrath was also against Odin. He had not realized before how unpopular he was with his colleagues, and the more he supported the Aryans, the greater was their venom.
The reasons for his unpopularity need to be explained. A priest enjoyed a position of wealth, prestige and honor. Wealth came to the priests from offerings made to them on days of sacrifice, which were thirteen in a year of 339 days. Before each sacrifice, the priests had to publicly immerse themselves in ritual prayers for thirteen days. Gifts to priests participating in sacrificial prayers were so lavish that even in dire sickness; a priest would have himself carried there.
If the chief of the tribe died, his successor was appointed from among the priests. Normally, the position went to the Chief-Priest, but not always. That decision rested with the Council of thirty-nine.
In fact, every recommendation by the priests had to be approved by the Council. (Maybe this was their way of achieving checks and balances).
Thus, the priests spent the days of public prayers on thirteen annual sacrifices. The number increased when a battle against another tribe was won and enemy prisoners were taken for human sacrifice.
The formal meetings of priests took only a few days. For the remaining days, the fiction remained that the priests were engaged in private prayers·- though everyone saw that such free time was devoted to entertainment.
Yet, two years earlier, Odin annoyed his priestly colleagues. He stopped attending sacrificial prayers. Initially it was understandable, as his son was just born. But his absence continued, and later he said he would pass all his time in private prayers.
Odin left his priestly cottage and went to live with his wife and new-born son and a nurse in a hut far into the forest. Out of curiosity, the priests visited him at his hut. He discouraged their visits and would not speak, remaining engrossed in prayers when the visitors came.
The institution of hermits was unknown in that land then. No one was reputed to have retired to silence and solitude and certainly not a priest, who led a charmed life with choice liquor, music, entertainment and rights of intimacy with virgins selected for sacrifice.
But it may be that the hermits appeal is timeless. The priests laughed at Odin but not others. As news of his seclusion spread, people came in large numbers. Odin begged for silence lest his communion with the gods be disturbed. People even built fences for him so that visitors to seek his blessings remained at a distance. But there was no way to prevent throngs of people collecting beyond those barriers.
Something strange will always occur whenever crowds collect for blessings. Some are healed by miracles of their own faith and credit the healing to the blessing. Others spread the word of those miracles, if only to prove that they knew something that many did not. Whatever the reason, faith in Odins blessings grew. The crowds grew too. Many left gifts a clear proof that their wishes had come true. Odin sometimes mingled with the crowds to distribute the gifts left by so many. That only sent Odins popularity soaring.
The priests were furious with Odin as his popularity rose.
The Chief of the tribe was old and not likely to live much longer and the priests feared that the Council of thirty-nine might select the odious Odin, by-passing all the other priests, including the Chief-Priest. Already there were rumors that some Council members were enchanted with Odin.
As for Odin himself, he was leading the life of a lie for the last two years. Earlier, he had been popular with the priests. He had hunted, drunk, and sung with them and even delighted them with his poetry and painting. If he had a sorrow, it was that he married late and his nine years of marriage had not given him a child.
At last a son was born. He was ecstatic. He saw tears in the eyes of his wife and the nurse. They were not tears of joy. The child was born with a twisted foot.
The law was clear and inexorable. Anyone with a birth defect must die. How else can the purity and strength of the race are ensured!
The law respected no one. Once, even a child of the Chief of tribe had to die as he was born deformed. The Chief had tears in his eyes but came forward himself to announce the birth defect, and with it, the death of the child.
For Odin, there was no way out. He knew it. His wife knew it. The nurse knew it. But Odin shut out that knowledge. Iron entered his soul. I shall keep my son he said.
Swearing his wife and nurse to secrecy, he covered the childs body in blankets and carried it out to accept everyones congratulations, as if all was well.
Odin had no clear idea of what he wanted maybe to keep the child for a few days but then what? He had already broken the law brazenly. The law of race-cleansing was clear. A deformed child cannot be allowed to live even for a day. Perhaps there was some sense in this senselessness to prevent bonds of affection from growing, to make a later parting even more difficult, leading to the temptation to break the law.
Later, Odin thought, that if he could keep his child invisible for two or three years, he could then fake an accident to show that the foot-injury was not a birth-deformity but arose from an accident. Many had tried this trick before but too soon after birth, leading to suspicion and arrest. He would wait.
But a priest and his family were highly visible and it would not be easy to sustain the charade!
Finally, he reached his decision. He would remain in isolation on the pretext of devoting his time to personal prayers to commune with the gods. With his wife, nurse and baby, he went with his 360 thralls (slaves) to a remote area, next to a stream. His thralls erected a hut, then sheds, to store his supplies. Thereafter, they hauled rocks, felled trees and dug ditches to make the approaches to his hut difficult. He then freed his thralls and no one knew or suspected his babys defect.
Since then, Odin did not join public prayers and attended only a few meetings with the priests. But the wave of admiration for Odin came soon after and with it, -waves of people.
Certainly, Odin was not at prayer in his hut. He had simply hoped to be left alone, so that no one discovered his secret and, meanwhile, he would paint and even compose poems while enjoying the proximity of his wife and the baby.
The nurse had bought a healthy baby from a mother willing to part with her son for a large sum. There were now two children in Odins hut one that was hidden and the other that was displayed.
Distant watchers saw the baby playing and frolicking; at times, Odin took the child to the crowds. The baby- they all saw was healthy and whole.
The day came for the real child to have a safe fall from a tree and fake a foot-injury.
But messengers came rushing to Odin to announce the sudden arrival of a strange new tribe. Other priests were sent for but Odin was the nearest. As a priest, it was his duty to check on behalf of everyone if there was any danger. He went.
His meeting with the Aryans convinced Priest Odin that they had no hostile intent and would soon return after they repaired their boats and even built larger ones. Actually, Odin hoped that his own people would learn boat-building from the Aryans.
Now, as Odin sat formally with the. Priests, his every view were dismissed with contempt. The conclusion this Aryan tribe was evil and had to be wiped out.
Odin felt the heat of their personal anger against him. But he remained unperturbed. Priests rarely recommended war with the tribes. A defeated tribe had to surrender six priests to the victors for human sacrifice. No wonder then that the priests never chose war and only the Council of thirty-nine or the Tribe-Chief took such decisions.
Odin shrugged his shoulders as if, to say, Very well; consult the Council and Tribe-Chief and if war it is to be, tell the new tribe. War! thundered the Chief-Priest, Who spoke of war? They are not a tribe. They are thieves, robbers. We dont war on robbers!
Odin protested, Lord Priest, they are not robbers. But have it your own way. They can be told to leave.
Are you mad? So they leave, taking their boats and all they have! I hear they even have gold.
I saw no gold with them, Odin said.
How could you! You were too busy drinking their liquor and embracing them!
Odin realized that the bystanders had obviously been questioned. Simply, he said, that was necessary to assess their intention. Really! And they gave you a gift of gold? Odin showed his Swastika seal. Chief-Priest laughed, Is that all they gave you! These robbers are not generous. We should make them part with all they have.
I wonder, asked Odin, who is the robber? They that came with gold or they that wish to take it away from them!
The Chief-Priest controlled his anger. Try to study this seal, Odin! See the rods pointing in all directions. They rob everywhere. What is our duty, then?
At least to tell them to leave, as I promised them they could stay in the forest, said Odin.
That right you did not have.
Certainly, I had the right. A priest speaks for everyone in their absence. All I must now do is to tell them to leave:
You will do nothing of the sort, the Chief-Priest ordered. You will have no contact with them. I dont want them warned. Do you understand?
I do. They are to be killed while they sleep! But Lord Priest, is this your decision or everyones? He continued, as all the priests nodded, I see, it is the decision of all. Who am I then to question or disobey?
The Chief-Priest asked, I want a priestly promise from all that none will speak to anyone of todays discussions lest it reach the ears of the new intruders.
Each gave the priestly promise. Odin gave the promise readily; the Chief-Priest asked, Your word to the Aryans to stay, troubles you no more?
If it does not trouble you, why should it trouble me? Odin replied, That word I gave on behalf of all the priests. And now my solemn priestly promise overrides all
The meeting ended. The Chief-Priest smiled at Odin, Do not grieve. Too long have you secluded yourself to understand realities? Go enjoy your two huts, two women and two children
Odin nodded miserably but his heart raced. Two children? Did he know something? Quietly, he left. But his mind remained confused. Two women, yes his wife and nurse. Two huts, yes-one in which to live and the other in which to store goods. No problem. But the two children! How did he know? Had the nurse been indiscreet? Did the thralls (slaves) who escorted the nurse when she went to buy a baby suspect something? Did someone see his childs defect before he moved out? How? Who? Above all, the awesome question: did he know of the birth-deformity of his son? But if he knew, why had he not unmasked Odin? Why should he? Would he not wait for the most dramatic moment? Maybe when the Tribe-Chief died, he would make the denouncement, so that he would be nominated Tribe-Chief. But he was already Chief-Priest and bound to be Tribe-Chief!
Odins mind got more clouded. Was it simply a slip of the tongue two women, two huts, two children? Maybe, but then why that silky smile? The Chief-Priest was too crafty to speak carelessly. Why did he speak at all, except to frighten Odin with the sword he held over him forever!
From fear, his mind moved to certainty, in the next few days for how long will he spare me? He is bound to unmask me; my child, wife, nurse, the other baby will be killed. My own person, as a priest, is inviolable and they will leave it to me to kill myself. Should I have obeyed the law and killed my child? No, he shouted defiantly, hurling his fist against the floor.
Closely, he questioned the nurse. Could anyone have detected the birth-defect of the child? She was positive that no one could have. The child was always well-covered.
But the nurse also gave him some terribly disquieting information. The village-woman, from whom she had brought the other child, had been among the crowd outside the hut, twice. The nurse had never given that woman her identity when buying the child from her and ignored her, pretending not to recognize her even when she came to speak to her, outside the hut; and when the woman asked how her child was doing, the nurse told her that she must be mistaking her for someone else. The woman went back, disappointed. The only information that the woman gave the nurse was that she had moved from her original village as she was now married to the man who looked after the upkeep of the house of the Chief-Priest. The next time, when the woman came, she did not speak to the nurse but she had come with a number of people and, among them, the nurse recognized two servants of the Chief-Priest. But the nurse did not consider that strange as many came to collect outside the hut to seek Odins blessings. In fact, the nurse was satisfied that the woman had believed her story of mistaken identity as she did not speak to her on this second occasion.
Odin was clear in his mind now. Loki, the Chief-Priest, knew. That smirk on Lokis face was not innocent, nor was his reference to two children a slip of the tongue.
Odins decision was made. In the dead of night, with his wife, nurse, and two bundled children, he left for the Aryan camp. Surprisingly, the route was active, with so many locals having pitched camps nearby. He was challenged six times by his own people, but who would question Odin He goes wherever gods voice guides his footsteps. It was Odin who asked why so many sentries were in these deserted areas. They knew nothing except that they were so ordered. Amazing !-thought Odin- how quickly had the Tribe-Chiefs approval been obtained for attack!
He reached long after midnight, to find the Aryans asleep, unaware of the impending danger. LeaveOdin warned them leave tonight, when nobody is watching. His gestures were clear. There was danger, terrible danger. The message sank in. But at night, where could they go? By land, they would be chased and hounded. By river, yes, though that was fearful too on a moonless night, but their boats were in poor condition; the journey had taken its toll; their repairs would take days and months.
After the last visit of Odin, in their assumed safety, they had taken apart the rafters from their boats to repair and refashion them. No, there was no question of some Aryans running away and others remaining behind. They all must live or die together.
Odin was in a daze. He wanted no battle. In his confused mind, he had thought that, once warned, the Aryans would flee and he was ready to flee with them. But he had no idea of the distances involved or of the danger and hostility that the Aryans had met everywhere en route.
For Odin, there was no going back. He had been seen on the way and his people would know where he was. But how could he remain with these people who were to fight his own people!
Oh, for one crime how many crimes have I to commit! All he could think of was that he would neither go back nor join the Aryans in their fight against his people.
Odin knew the philosophy of his times in the tribe which men are frail and fallible creatures who require strong leadership and firm discipline to behave properly and function effectively. Only the Tribe Chief and priests are strong. It was for the priests to establish a lofty moral order that each one in the tribe would adhere toor else, the impurity of a single individual will contaminate many and the entire tribe shall then decay and crumble.
He recalled how Thor, the illustrious founder of their race, had ordered an intense search of that decay; and how hundreds were caught and wiped out in a single day, not in hatred or anger, but with compassion, only to ensure that the tribe was not corroded with those who were born retarded, handicapped, ill-formed or limbless. The weeds must be pulled out: Thor had said, or else they will crowd out the flowers:
It was then a single tribe. As its people moved to different areas, new tribes were formed, with new interests, new pursuits, new ideas and even new animosities. Yet they all honored Thor, that single, illustrious founder and each tribe regarded him as their own. Each tribe also honored its own priests as the strongest of all individuals.
But now, Odin did not feel strong and powerful. He felt like a futile waste in time and space.
Odin decided to leave his wife, nurse and two children with the Aryans. He himself would go out to die.
He would hang himself by his own hand. That is what the gods would demand for the crime of threatening the purity of his race. Yet, in his mind, he bargained with the gods See gods! I do not harm the purity of my race. I leave my child to these Aryans. His impurity shall be theirs and shall not soil my tribe. And for my crime of sheltering him for two years and violating my priestly vows by warning the Aryans, I shall give up my life. Is that not enough! Surely a priests life is worth a thousand! In return. Now gods ! Protect my child, my wife, nurse and the other child. They are blameless I am the one who forced my crime on them.
Odin looked around in the Aryan hut. The Tungeri sons had left the hut to warn their men and to prepare to defend them. The nurse was asleep, unconcerned what can go wrong when the priest is with you? The two children were also asleep. Frigga, his wife, had tears in her eyes.
Had Odin spoken aloud or had she understood what was passing through his mind! Frigga said, 1 want to come with you Miserably, Odin looked at the sleeping child. She understood, but said, Your gods are wrong. . .
He pressed his hand to her mouth to stop her blasphemy. This was no moment to annoy the gods. He had just struck a bargain with them his own life, to protect his familys. By this surrender to the gods, he felt free in his deepest being and purified of all sins. Yes, he had heard the voice that never lets anyone down the voice of Thor, the illustrious founder of his race. My son will bring no impurity to my race and I too shall pay the supreme penalty of surrendering my life for this momentary disobedience.
He looked at his wifes anxious face, Frigga, dearest, do not try to shake my resolve. There is no way out, except that I die.
What will your death avail? she asked. You think Loki will spare your child after after .
Soberly Odin replied, No, Frigga, fear not; Loki hates me. But what has he against you? With my death, his hatred shall be no more. And you will be sheltered by these Aryans
For how long? Frigga cried. This forest is soon to be attacked. This refuge will be our tomb. And these Aryans? Those that do not die instantly will be sacrificed to the gods. Only only my son Frigga wept. She knew that her son could not be sacrificed to the gods as he had a birth-defect, but would certainly be strangled to death. Frigga, try and understand, Loki is your cousin. Ties of blood will prevent him.
She laughed bitterly, Ties of blood did not prevent Loki from plotting against my father.
But that was only so that Loki himself could become the Chief-Priest, Odin replied. And after your fathers death, how gracious he was to your brothers, sisters and to you. He even helped your brother to
Yet he always hated you! Yes, but with my death that hatred shall cease. By pursuing you what can he hope to gain?
Gain? He will show the tribe that for their sake he is ready to persecute his own. Your illustrious founder, Thor, did that.
Odin knew the story. Thors brother-in-law was a cripple from birth. Thor had him killed.
You grieve unduly, Odin said. Loki may hate me. There are those who love me. They will protect you. If these Aryans can flee, go with them. If they cannot flee, rejoin your people and claim that you were prevented by the Aryans to come out. As for our son, do what we decided. A fall from the tree, an accident, a hurt to his leg
Odin was about to embrace Frigga again as he said, There is no other way; let me part. I cannot part from you, my husband. I part from a priest. Bless me as a priest when you leave
She knew she had hurt him with those words. She wept. And quietly, he said, So long as I live, I am unforgiving by man. I need their forgiveness not in life but in death. Only from you, I need.
She embraced him; and words tumbled out of her, like a lament that could neither flow nor stop, What can I deny you! But you are wrong, your gods are wrong gods that do not love, have no right to live; they are the ones that are retarded they are the ones who must be sacrificed and not a little, innocent baby no, gods must learn to forgive, to love . All you did for your son was out of love You are a better god than those unfeeling, unseeing, sightless gods You are better, nobler gods are not you are merciful.
There was a cold chill in Odins superstitious heart. What was she saying? He knew that the gods never forgave an insult. He prayed, Gods, forgive her! It is a momentary madness. It will pass; forgive her.
He kissed his wife. He kissed the sleeping nurse on her forehead. He kissed the other child and turned to his own. With a rush of feeling, he kissed the child on his lips, eyes, and forehead. Surprisingly, the child was smiling in his sleep, maybe, in the midst of a pleasant dream. Softly, Odin said, My son! Nothing more can I give you. Only my love and that will remain till the end. He kissed the child again. But suddenly the child opened his eyes, looked around and went into his fathers embrace.
Why is Mother crying? the child asked. Odin did not reply. Why is nurse sleeping? asked the child. That Odin could answer and said, Because she is tired. But she never sleeps when I am awake. Odin smiled and said, Goodbye, I must go. Where? asked the child. To meet God.
The sleepy child closed his eyes. Odin waited a moment held his wifes hands and left the tent. He paused outside the tent to look at the starry sky and moved. But suddenly, he heard the childs shrill cry. He went back in.
Excitedly, the child was saying, Dont go, Father! God is here. You will not find him outside. He is here! Here! With me! Here! Odin was staring at the child. Frigga said, Listen to your child! He speaks with the voice of God!
Odins gaze was glued to his childs eyes, awake, bright, with no sleep in them. They were the eyes of a god, he thought. The child said, Yes, father! God is here. and went back to sleep.
Now here, we are left at the mercy of the poets. They sing variously, and at length, their songs overflowing with rapture. But their message is the same-that the child had seen a vision of the God that exists within us all. Yet, there are also poets who are direct and forthright and one of them says, The child saw nothing of the sort. And let me now parade all the circumstances for you in a simple manner so that your simple minds can grasp this simple fact. Hear me then:
The childs father, Odin, had given the Swastika seal presented to him by the Tungeri brothers to his son. When the child had asked what it was, Odin had said that it was the seal that belonged to the God of the people that came from a land far away. And when the child heard that his father was going out to look for a god, he wondered why his father should look elsewhere, as the god was there with him. The child had opened his eyes, and said, Yes, the Swastika seal of gods is still here. Why is my father leaving then? Does he think I lost it? How can 1 lose gods seal? The child clutched the seal and cried out, Dont go! Dont go! God is here, with me, with me!
Hear ye then my friends! That is simply how the unseen god of all gods sprang before Odins minds eye and his wifes minds that were steeped in superstition, self-doubt and despair. But then that is how most gods are born and made.