Holiest Shrines Are Indian Imports!
D. Matlock, B.A., M.A.
It has been truly said that the most glaringly obvious is often the most
difficult to see. This is certainly true in Mexico's case. When I was a
young student there, an English ex-Bengal lancer living there told me that
he thought Mexico was more Indian than India itself!
To say that India never conquered Mexico is like saying that England had
nothing to do with the settlement of the United States. Wherever one goes
in Mexico, he sees place names that are as Indian as curry and rice.
The state of Chihuahua was named after a Native-American name for the region:
Shivava; Tamaulipas = Tamralipta; Nayarit = Nairtti. In pre-Columbian (or
should I say in Hindu) times, the hereditary kings of the area were called
Nayar. Tehuantepec = Devantepec (Divine Hill); Tabasco = Tapas-Koh (Place
of Meditation); Sinaloa = Sinhala; Jalisco (pronounced HallEEsko) = Halys-Koh.
Halys was an ancient North Indian name for "Sun."
Chiapas = Shiva-Pas (Chiefs of Shiva); Yucatan = Yakhustan (Land of Guardian
Angels); Cosala = Cousala; Sonora = Sunuta, a mythical Hindu devil. The
place is well-named. It has one of the most inhospitable deserts on earth.
Purandaro = Puruandaro, a name of Shiva. The list is endless!
Taking into consideration that the Nahuatl-speaking people could not pronounce
"R," their word for "Temple Mount," Sacualli, is nearly identical to its
Sanskrit equivalent: Sugkharu. Citlalli (pronounced "S'tlalli"), was the
Nahua "Star Goddess." This name must surely derive from the Sanskrit Str
(Star) plus Ili (Goddess).
Early in December, 2000, my wife and I attended a Novena (nine day rosary
ceremony in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe) in the home of a neighbor.
While I was watching the people chant, I wondered whether they could appreciate
the antiquity of their sacred hill of Tepeyac, and the deep significance
of that name, on which the Virgin of Guadalupe made her appearance to the
Native-American farmer Juan Diego.
They probably didn't know that the words Tepe and Depe meant "hill" in Northern
India and Central Asia. A Tepe, in both ancient Northern India and Mexico,
was usually a natural stronghold, usually rocky and devoid of vegetation,
jutting up abruptly from the surrounding region.
The English term for such a hill is "Acropolis." In ancient India, as in
Mexico, the shrine of an important deity was usually located on top of the
Tepe. In Northern India, many of the Tepes appear to have been abandoned
about 2,000 BC.
It is curious to observe that the name Tepe, known first in ancient India,
given to certain sacred mountains and to a deity to which such mountains
was related, would go to Mesopotamia and Persia, finally arrived in Mesoamerica
(El Astronauta de Palenque, by Tomás Doreste, p. 28.)
More than 120 Tepes can be found on the map of Mexico.
In ancient Harappa, several villages were built on Tepes and Depes. Yakh
was the Northern Indian word for "Guardian Angel." In remotest times, the
Northern Indians worshipped guardian angels. "Gods" were a later innovation.
They evolved from the Yah(k)s Yakhs, Yakhus, or Yaksas. Some Harappan ruins
in South Central Iran are named Tepeya-yah. (See From Sumer to Meluhha,
edited by Jonathan Mark Kenoyer, p. 4.)
When the Spaniards invaded Mexico, the most sacred holy Tepe of the Aztecs
was Tepeyac, outside of Mexico City. On top of Tepeyac, the Aztecs had erected
the temple to their Mother Goddess, Innan. This goddess's ancient Indian
equivalent was named Inan or Innana.
They also called this goddess No-nan-tsin. Tsin was an Aztec or Nahua honorific,
nearly exactly the same in pronunciation as the Sanskrit Sin. No-Nan-Tsin
derived from the Sanskrit Naya-Nan/Naya-Nana, which meant "Wise Mother Goddess."
I believe this Innan to be none other than Parvati, the consort of Shiva.
When the Spaniards conquered and destroyed the Aztec civilization, they
eventually turned the latter away from all their old gods except one: Nonantsin,
The Mother Goddess, whose shrine was at the top of Tepeyac hill.
Not even the cruelest of tortures could make them quit worshipping Nonantsin,
the beloved mother of the Mexicans. Since torture couldn't turn the Mexicans
against Nonantsin, the priests in Mexico City devised another strategy.
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day, a Mexican Indian named Juan Diego, supposedly a dyed-in-the-wool Christian,
was running to Mexico City to buy some healing herbs for his deathly ill
uncle. The small but exceedingly steep hill of Tepeyac, which stands on
a plain, was beside the path.
When Juan was passing by the hill, a beautiful lady appeared before him,
requesting that he convince the Church to build a shrine in her honor atop
Tepeyac. The rest is history. Nonantsin became the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Mexico became totally Christianized almost overnight, without the Spaniards
having to gouge out any more eyes or burn anyone else at the stake. The
Nonantsin tradition, inherited from India itself, has been kept alive for
thousands of years!
We must ask ourselves why that hill was named "Hill of the Guardian Angel"
several thousand years ago, and in the Near Eastern language Farsi (Persian):
Tepeyahk. Perhaps something supernatural has always happened there.
The guardian angel Nonantsin could have taken on the form of the Holy Virgin
in order to save her people from further misery. Even today, the Mexican
country people hear the cries of a beautiful woman in a blue dress who wanders
around at night sobbing, "My children! What has happened to my children!"
I say that she is the holy goddess of both the Hindus and Mexicans, who
constantly grieves at the poverty and suffering of her people!
In Sanskrit, Zailamaya = "Stony; of stone." In Kashmiri, Shail = "Rock;
a big stone." Maya = "Source; essence."In my opinion, the shrine of Chalma
(Shalma), near Toluca, Mexico, provides extraordinary evidence that Hindus
once inhabited the country.
The word "Shalma" (similar to the Hebrew and Indian "Salem") has the same
meaning in Sanskrit that it does in Nahuatl: "Great Stone." Similar "Great
Stone" place names exist in various parts of the world "Jerusalem" = "Great
Stone of the Yadavas."
There is also "Dar-es-Salaam" in Africa. In the Sarawan district of ancient
Afghanistan was the land of Shal or Shali. They, too, were devoted to God
Shiva and shivalinga. The Native-Americans living in today's Chalma probably
descended from the people of Shal.
Before the Spanish invasion, the ancient Mexicans made frequent pilgrimages
to Chalma to adore a large, man-sized, black, cylindrical stone reputed
to have magical healing powers. The pre-Colombian pilgrims honored the Chalma
"shivling" by decorating it with garlands made of fresh flowers.
When the Spaniards conquered Mexico, they sculpted the stone into the shape
of Jesus Christ. Although few foreigners visit the shrine, I regard it as
one of Mexico's most beautiful and fascinating tourist attractions. It is
said to be Mexico's second greatest shrine after that of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
However, it is my favourite. It is said in Mexico that he who makes a pilgrimage
to Chalma (Shal-Mah) always gets a wish granted during his visit. The stories
I can tell you about the wishes granted at Chalma are nothing short of unbelievable.
today's pilgrims approach the suburbs of Chalma, vendors sell them brightly-colored
crowns and chains made of fresh flowers. After putting the crowns on their
heads, and if they are in automobiles, decorating their autos with floral
chains, an old Native-American man approaches, violin in hand, and obliges
females and males to dance together (Nataraja, or Lord Shiva in his role
as "Lord of the Dance). After dancing for a minute or two, the pilgrims
At the entrance to the temple housing the "worked over" stone shivling,
visitors must place their garlands and other floral offerings on a a wooden
shivling, just as the Indian Shaivites did and do. After that, they enter
the temple. Indian members of the Shaivite cultus would feel at home,
both geographically, culturally, and spiritually, in Chalma.
Pilgrims are not permitted to get too close to the black stone effigy
of Christ. The local Indians never did take kindly to the liberties that
the Spanish priests took with their shivling. I know that some of them
would like to remove it from the temple and return to their ancient practices
visiting Chalma also adore an ancient tree which is reputed to have the
same powers to grant wishes as the Christ (Shiva) image in the local temple.
The description of Mexico's most popular Catholic/Hindu shrines is just
one of many hundreds of proofs in my possession that India once conquered
Mexico. I can almost guarantee that any Hindu pilgrim to these shrines
will almost convince himself that he never left home!