[Note: A recent archeological find in Kuwait unearthed a gold-plated statue of the Hindu deity Ganesh. A Muslim resident of Kuwait requested historical research material that can help explain the connection between Hindu civilisation and Arabia.]
Was the Kaaba Originally a Hindu Temple?
By P.N. Oak (Historian)
Glancing through some research material recently, I was pleasantly surprised to come across a reference to a king Vikramaditya inscription found in the Kaaba in Mecca proving beyond doubt that the Arabian Peninsula formed a part of his Indian Empire.
The text of the crucial Vikramaditya inscription, found inscribed on a gold dish hung inside the Kaaba shrine in Mecca, is found recorded on page 315 of a volume known as ‘Sayar-ul-Okul’ treasured in the Makhtab-e-Sultania library in Istanbul, Turkey. Rendered in free English the inscription says:
"Fortunate are those who were born (and lived) during king Vikram’s reign. He was a noble, generous dutiful ruler, devoted to the welfare of his subjects. But at that time we Arabs, oblivious of God, were lost in sensual pleasures. Plotting and torture were rampant. The darkness of ignorance had enveloped our country. Like the lamb struggling for her life in the cruel paws of a wolf we Arabs were caught up in ignorance. The entire country was enveloped in a darkness so intense as on a new moon night. But the present dawn and pleasant sunshine of education is the result of the favour of the noble king Vikramaditya whose benevolent supervision did not lose sight of us- foreigners as we were. He spread his sacred religion amongst us and sent scholars whose brilliance shone like that of the sun from his country to ours. These scholars and preceptors through whose benevolence we were once again made cognisant of the presence of God, introduced to His sacred existence and put on the road of Truth, had come to our country to preach their religion and impart education at king Vikramaditya’s behest."
For those who would like to read the Arabic wording I reproduce it hereunder in Roman script:
"Itrashaphai Santu Ibikramatul Phahalameen Karimun Yartapheeha Wayosassaru Bihillahaya Samaini Ela Motakabberen Sihillaha Yuhee Quid min howa Yapakhara phajjal asari nahone osirom bayjayhalem. Yundan blabin Kajan blnaya khtoryaha sadunya kanateph netephi bejehalin Atadari bilamasa- rateen phakef tasabuhu kaunnieja majekaralhada walador. As hmiman burukankad toluho watastaru hihila Yakajibaymana balay kulk amarena phaneya jaunabilamary Bikramatum".
(Page 315 Sayar-ul-okul).
[Note: The title ‘Saya-ul-okul’ signifies memorable words.]
A careful analysis of the above inscription enables us to draw the following conclusions:
1. That the ancient Indian empires may have extended up to the eastern boundaries of Arabia until Vikramaditya and that it was he who for the first time conquered Arabia. Because the inscription says that king Vikram who dispelled the darkness of ignorance from Arabia.
2. That, whatever their earlier faith, King Vikrama’s preachers had succeeded in spreading the Vedic (based on the Vedas, the Hindu sacred scriptures)) way of life in Arabia.
3. That the knowledge of Indian arts and sciences was imparted by Indians to the Arabs directly by founding schools, academies and cultural centres. The belief, therefore, that visiting Arabs conveyed that knowledge to their own lands through their own indefatigable efforts and scholarship is unfounded.
An ancillary conclusion could be that the so-called Kutub Minar (in Delhi, India) could well be king Vikramadiya’s tower commemorating his conquest of Arabia. This conclusion is strengthened by two pointers. Firstly, the inscription on the iron pillar near the so-called Kutub Minar refers to the marriage of the victorious king Vikramaditya to the princess of Balhika. This Balhika is none other than the Balkh region in West Asia. It could be that Arabia was wrestled by king Vikramaditya from the ruler of Balkh who concluded a treaty by giving his daughter in marriage to the victor. Secondly, the township adjoining the so called Kutub Minar is named Mehrauli after Mihira who was the renowned astronomer-mathematician of king Vikram’s court. Mehrauli is the corrupt form of Sanskrit ‘Mihira-Awali’ signifying a row of houses raised for Mihira and his helpers and assistants working on astronomical observations made from the tower.
Having seen the far reaching and history shaking implications of the Arabic inscription concerning king Vikrama, we shall now piece together the story of its find. How it came to be recorded and hung in the Kaaba in Mecca. What are the other proofs reinforcing the belief that Arabs were once followers of the Indian Vedic way of life and that tranquillity and education were ushered into Arabia by king Vikramaditya’s scholars, educationists from an uneasy period of "ignorance and turmoil" mentioned in the inscription.
In Istanbul, Turkey, there is a famous library called Makhatab-e-Sultania, which is reputed to have the largest collection of ancient West Asian literature. In the Arabic section of that library is an anthology of ancient Arabic poetry. That anthology was compiled from an earlier work in A.D. 1742 under the orders of the Turkish ruler Sultan Salim.
he pages of that volume are of Hareer – a kind of silk used for writing on. Each page has a decorative gilded border. That anthology is known as Sayar-ul-Okul. It is divided into three parts. The first part contains biographic details and the poetic compositions of pre-Islamic Arabian poets. The second part embodies accounts and verses of poets of the period beginning just after prophet Mohammad’s times, up to the end of the Banee-Um-Mayya dynasty. The third part deals with later poets up to the end of Khalif Harun-al-Rashid’s times.
Abu Amir Asamai, an Arabian bard who was the poet Laureate of Harun-al-Rashid’s court, has compiled and edited the anthology.
The first modern edition of ‘Sayar-ul-Okul’ was printed and published in Berlin in 1864. A subsequent edition is the one published in Beirut in 1932.
he collection is regarded as the most important and authoritative anthology of ancient Arabic poetry. It throws considerable light on the social life, customs, manners and entertainment modes of ancient Arabia. The book also contains an elaborate description of the ancient shrine of Mecca, the town and the annual fair known as OKAJ which used to be held every year around the Kaaba temple in Mecca. This should convince readers that the annual haj of the Muslims to the Kaaba is of earlier pre-Islamic congregation.
But the OKAJ fair was far from a carnival. It provided a forum for the elite and the learned to discuss the social, religious, political, literary and other aspects of the Vedic culture then pervading Arabia. ‘Sayar-ul-Okul’ asserts that the conclusion reached at those discussions were widely respected throughout Arabia. Mecca, therefore, followed the Varanasi tradition (of India) of providing a venue for important discussions among the learned while the masses congregated there for spiritual bliss. The principal shrines at both Varanasi in India and at Mecca in Arvasthan (Arabia) were Siva temples. Even to this day ancient Mahadev (Siva) emblems can be seen. It is the Shankara (Siva) stone that Muslim pilgrims reverently touch and kiss in the Kaaba.
Arabic tradition has lost trace of the founding of the Kaaba temple. The discovery of the Vikramaditya inscription affords a clue. King Vikramaditya is known for his great devotion to Lord Mahadev (Siva). At Ujjain (India), the capital of Vikramaditya, exists the famous shrine of Mahankal, i.e., of Lord Shankara (Siva) associated with Vikramaditya. Since according to the Vikramaditya inscription he spread the Vedic religion, who else but he could have founded the Kaaba temple in Mecca?
Encyclopaedias tell us that there are inscriptions on the side of the Kaaba walls. What they are, no body has been allowed to study, according to the correspondence I had with an American scholar of Arabic. But according to hearsay at least some of those inscriptions are in Sanskrit, and some of them are stanzas from the Bhagavad Gita (HINDU SCRIPTURES).