The Gold Age. The Hyperboreans
There is a “Holy Land” par excellence, which is the prototype for any other. That spiritual centre, to which the other sacred lands are subject, is the seat of the Primeval Tradition, or Sanātana Dharma, from which all the other Traditions, in dhārmika or religious shape, have derived adapting themselves to a time, to a place and to a mankind.
This primordial “Holy Land” is the “Supreme Country” according to the saṃskṛta term Paramadeśa, warped by the Chaldeans in Pardes and by the Latins in Paradisum, Paradise. The site of the Primordial Tradition, source of all the others, is located northward or, more exactly, at the North Pole, as mentioned in the Vedas and in several Sacred Books of other Traditions1.
During the rule of Kronos2, during the Gold Age, the Satya yuga of the Hindūs, the Supreme Country, where day and night lasted each for six months3, was located very close to the Pole or at the Pole itself.
We will call Hyperborea that land, as the ancient Greeks did, even if this term shows that they had already lost the knowledge of its true location. Indeed, if Borea means North, Hyperborea (beyond the North) appears as a nonsense. In this way, Borea is the exact equivalent of the saṃskṛta term varāha. The root var for the name of the wild swine is found in the Anglo-Saxon languages in the form of bor-boar4. Since Hyperborea was a land or an island, one should call it in the feminine form Vārāhī, i.e. the “Country of the boar”. Later, in the next Silver Age (Treta yuga), it was known as the Country of the Bear. That second Era coincided with the kṣatriya rule on the world, which Paraśurāma5 concluded. Ancient Greeks symbolized the kṣatriya rebellion against the brāhmāṇas with the myth of the hunting of the Calydonian wild boar. The killing of the Calydonian boar by Warriors and Kings represented the defeat of the priestly caste. Athenæus of Naucratis6 relates that the Calydonian boar was white-haired, as well as the śveta Varāha of Hindū Tradition. Also in Celtic Tradition boar and bear respectively were the symbols of Spiritual Authority and Temporal Power, that is to say the two Celtic castes of Druids and Knights.
During Greek-Roman antiquity, the island of Hyperborea was called in two other forms: Thule and Syria. With regards to Thule7, there is a short text by Pytheas of Marseille8 on the journey in search of such land all the way up to the polar icepack.
The Greek name Thule is obviously the equivalent of the saṃskṛta Tula, meaning scale or libra. Libra is one of the zodiacal signs; however, according to another traditional interpretation, in the primordial times Tula was the name of the polar constellation. The two weighing plates of the scale were represented by the two Bears, Ursa major and Ursa minor, the two Saptaṛkṣas. The bear, as we have seen, is the symbol of kṣatriya usurpation. Nevertheless Libra, as polar constellation, is also the mansion of the seven ṛṣis, and in this case is called Saptarṣi. This name is surely more ancient than Saptaṛkṣa, and leads us back to the Hyperborean Arctic Tradition. Homer in his poem Odyssey9 refers the Supreme Land as Syria (Συρία, read Süria). This name means Home of the Sun (sskr. Sūrya). It is described as an island located beyond Ortygia (the ancient name of Delos), another island faraway in the Atlantic Ocean. Being farther than Delos, Syria can be easily identified as Hyperborea10.
We will now add some other information about Hyperborea from Greek and Roman literature. Diodorus Siculus affirms11:
“Their land was in the Ocean and was similar in size to Sicily: Leto, mother of the God Apollo, was born there. This explains the very close tie linking Apollo with these people, and the presence in that land of a magnificent spherical temple dedicated to the God. Hyperboreans lived in perfect happiness ignoring sorrow, illness and death.”
Pliny12 adds some more details:
“In that country is located one of the Poles around which the cosmos revolves. This is a sunny, temperate land, free from any harmful air; here Hyperboreans live in woodland and forests and they do not know any struggle or disease.”
In that blessed age the Gods mingled with human beings and it was difficult to tell them apart. In fact, men were so long-lived to appear almost immortal. They were born directly from earth and the earth spontaneously provided them with all kinds of food. From the foregoing information we can say that the Hyperboreans were closely related with the Haṃsas of Hindū Tradition, the primordial mankind not yet divided into social castes (ativarṇa).
In the Homeric Hymn dedicated to God Dionysus we read:
“You cannot find the wonderful road to Hyperborea”13
Pindar also states:
“Neither by land nor by sea anyone could find the wonderful road leading to the Hyperborean feasts”14.
With the beginning of the Silver Age, the road towards Hyperborea was disrupted. The new fallen humanity could no longer reach that blessed Land in life. However from their inaccessible home, the Hyperboreans continued to protect the weakened humanity intervening any time was necessary in order to correct the deviations arising in other branches of humanity. Now one can easily recognize the identification between Hyperborea and Uttarakuru of Hindū Tradition. The access to the common original Home being obstructed15, Tradition took two different directions in East and West. In Asia the Sanātana Dharma continued in its correct Vedic form, whereas in Western countries it developed deviant tendencies manifested in the subsequent Atlantean Tradition.
Since then, the Hyperborean Home was protected by the griffins, mythical animals with eagle head and wings and lion body. They were the God Apollo’s mount (vāhana)16, and they pulled his chariot. The griffins were protecting the Hyperborean frontiers against the Arymaspes, one-eyed barbarians dedicated to blacksmithing, looking like the monocle Cyclops17. In Greek mythology, Cyclops18 were the assistant of Hephaestus19, God of blacksmiths. From this we can infer that Arymaspes, the Hyperboreans enemies, were connected with dark underground powers. As we will see further, Atlanteans also were devoted to metallurgy.
Now we will examine the character of Apollo20, the supreme Hyperborean God. Apollo was born from Zeus and Leto. Seeking Leto a place to deliver her children, she was welcomed in Delos island21, in the Hyperborean domain. Here she gave birth to the divine twins Apollo and Artemis, the Goddess of the moon. At the age of four, Apollo built his spherical temple in Delos. Then he arrived in Greece carried by swans (haṃsas), the Hyperborean sacred birds. In that Silver Age period, Greece was devastated by Python, a monstrous titanic she-snake (asurī)22. In Delphi, Apollo killed Python with the arrows of his infallible bow, arrows that are the sun rays23. Apollo, then, built an oracular shrine over the asurī corpse. In this Sanctuary the God established a priestess, Pythia, who gave oracles when possessed by the God. There, Apollo was called Pythagoras, the “one who possesses the Pythia”. Thereafter, Delphi became the most important temple in Greece.
In conclusion, we would like to mention a passage from Iamblichus demonstrating that the initiatory organization (sampradāya) founded by Pythagoras was indeed the continuation of a primordial Hyperborean paramparā: “A certain Abaris, priest of Apollo, was original from the Hyperborean land. He was a wise old man, very knowledgeable in sacred subjects. During his travelling he gathered gold for the Temple of his God. Coming back from Greece he passed through Italy24, where he met Pythagoras. In his opinion Pythagoras looked like the God, so Abaris recognized him to be Apollo himself. Then, he gave him the arrow used as defense during his long journey. Pythagoras took the arrow without any surprise, without asking the reason of that gift, just as if he were the Hyperborean God himself. He, then, privately showed his golden thigh25 to Abaris. That was the ultimate evidence that the stranger priest’s intuition was not wrong. Moreover, Pythagoras enumerated, one by one, the votive gifts kept in the Hyperborean Temple, convincing him that he was right. Finally Pythagoras explained that he had come there with the purpose of healing and benefiting mankind; he had assumed that human appearance so that men would not fear his divinity and shy away from his teaching”26.
- B.G. Tilak in his The Arctic Home in the Vedas (III ed. Poone, Tilak Bros, 1971; I ed. 1903) offers the exhaustive list of all the different literary sources.
- The God of Time, called Saturn by Romans, father of Zeus (Lat. Jupiter, read Iùpiter). Zeus, the deity armed with lightning, became King of Gods in the Silver Age. When Zeus usurped his throne, Saturn hid himself in Italian Latium region, where later Rome would be founded. Here the Gold Age covertly kept on for many centuries. Latium means “hidden”, “covered”.
- In the Vedas the year was similarly divided in uttarāyaṇa and dakṣiṇāyana, day and night of Gods.
- In Latin the boar was called verrus from a similar root.
- The kṣatriya revolt, viz. the degeneration of the Atlanteans, will be the subject of next article.
- A Greek rhetorician and grammarian of 2nd century A:D:.
- Maybe from the Etruscan word tular, extreme border. In Central America the ancient Toltec nation proclaimed to come from a northern island called Tula. This demonstrates their Hyperborean origin, while the Aztecs claimed to come from the eastern island of Aztlan, i.e. Atlantis. See next article.
- A Greek geographer and explorer of 4th century B.C.
- Homer, the most celebrated Greek poet (10th century B.C.), Odyssey, XV, 502.
- The present Syria also designates a “Solar Country” but referred to a much more recent era.
- Diodorus Siculus, Roman historian (1st century B.C.), Bibliotheca Historica: II.47.1-2.
- Pliny the Elder, Roman admiral, writer and naturalist (23-79 A.D.), Naturalis historia: IV. 89-91.
- Homer, Hymn VII: 28-29.
- Pindar, Greek lyric poet (522–443 B.C.), Pythia: X.30.
- “Then, Zeus transformed the golden mankind in protector geniuses; they dwell underground and are the guardians of the mortals. They verify their good and bad deeds and, dressed with air, they invisibily wander over the earth spreading blessings. In this way they are surrounded by a halo of majesty.” Hesiod, Greek poet (8th Century B. C.), Works and Days: 110-131.
- In the Bible the guardian of the threshold of the lost Paradise was a six winged Cherub angel armed with a flaming sword. In Hindū mythology the Himavat blocks access to Uttarakuru.
- The solar God Apollo is very similar to Lord Viṣṇu and the griffin, his vāhana, to Garuḍa. Being the griffin composed of eagle and lion, he is the symbol of sovereignty on sky and earth. Nevertheless he does not have the lordship of the underworld. This reminds the antagonism between Garuḍa and the nāgas. Moreover griffins are the keepers of Apollo’s treasure, as Garuḍa is of amṛta.
- Homer, Odyssey, IX. Cyclops means “with just a round eye”
- Called Vulcan (Vulcanus) by Romans.
- Pythagoras interpreted the name of the God as a-pòllon (A-πόλλων), not-multiple, in the Vedāntic a-dvaita sense.
- Not to be mistaken with the homonymous Greek island. The primitive Delos (Ortygia) was part of the Hyperborean archipelago.
- As said before, it is an allusion to a Hyperborean intervention to correct some deviation of Greek Tradition.
- As in the Hindū myth of Vṛtra killed by Indra, even Apollo had to purify himself for the spilled blood.
- Pythagoras lived and taught in Italy.
- In Greek Tradition there was another symbolic tale regarding the “thigh”. Indeed, Dyonisos was born from the thigh of Zeus. Thigh in Greek language is expressed by the word méros (μέρος), which sounds like Meru, the polar mountain of Hindū Tradition. The golden thigh corresponds to the saṃskrita Sumeru, the golden Meru. See René Guénon, Le Roi du monde, Paris, Ch. Bosse, 1927: p. 45. For this reason the ancient Greeks regarded Pythagoras as an avatāra of Apollo.
- Iamblichus, Syrian neo-platonic author (2nd century A.D.), Life of Pythagoras: XIX.91-92.